Joy Overflowing

Jul 28, 2011

As I climbed the stairs on my way to kiss my girls goodnight, I could hear their giggling and laughter.  I smiled to myself.  It was a welcome change from the frequent arguments that come during the summer after hours of time together.  This night, they had chosen to have a sleep over in one room.

While coming closer to the door, I stopped and listened as a devotion was being read out loud.  I eavesdropped as the story was read, and my heart swelled with joy.  I couldn't bring myself to move, I was frozen in time.  The reading stopped at the conclusion of the devotion and I heard the words, "let's pray".  My heart skipped a beat.

I couldn't pull myself away from the door, even as I felt guilty for eavesdropping, but it was a situation I had longed to witness.  Words that were music to my soul.  My two youngest girls praying together, on their own, without my begging and pleading.

Tears sprang to my eyes as I realized that through all the hard times of staying consistent with their prayer, devotion and quiet time, God was at work.  I heard them pray for our compassion child, for our family, for their friends, for those affected by earthquakes in Haiti and Japan.  Yes, my heart soared.

Moms, God will take your diligence and turn it into something beautiful.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other, day by day, and your children will learn and follow.

I'm praising God today that he allowed me to witness this significant victory!

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Warrior Prrayers - A Review

Jul 27, 2011


When I meet a Prayer Warrior, I am always in awe!  I want to know them, I want to pick their brain, I want to be like them, I want to learn from them.  God has gifted many women I know with the ability to pray continually, and my friend Brooke McGlothlin is one of them!

I "met" Brooke online through Twitter.  I started seeing prayers for her boys in her twitter stream with the hashtag #warriorprayers.  I was so intrigued, that I had to investigate further.  The prayers were so true from a mother's heart that I began writing them down to pray for my daughters.  The prayers were all based on scripture, so I knew they could be prayed for any child!

Last October I was excited to get to meet Brooke in person at the Relevant Conference.  She was just as sweet and sincere in person, of course.  (Do you know what else I love about Brooke?  She loves photography!)

Soon after the conference Brooke released this fantastic ebook called "Warrior Prayers: Praying The Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most".  I was so excited!  I knew I had to get my hands on this book.  I really didn't care that she was targeting boy moms, I needed this book to pray scriptures for my girls.  I'm sure Brooke thought I was stalking her, because every time she did a review or a book giveaway, I was right there in the mix with all those boy moms trying to win a copy!  Once when I didn't win, she took pity on me and sent me one anyway!  She's awesome like that!!

Well I couldn't wait to dive in, and I was not to be disappointed.  Brooke writes from her momma heart, and as I suspected, every word written is applicable to girl mommas too!

From her introduction,

"Friends, the battle for our sons' (and daughters) hearts won't be won just by reading and implementing the best parenting techniques. It won't be won through late nigh talks, lectures on right and wrong, or even committing to a Bible-preaching church.  These things are all important parts of the equation but they don't trump the most important piece of the fight.

Prayer.

This battle is best fought on our knees."

Brooke has both inspired and convicted me to be more diligent about praying the scripture for my girls.  I encourage you to order this ebook. (you can even buy it for a kindle or nook)  You will not be disappointed!  Once you've done that, head on over to Brooke's websites and get to know her.....for that, you will be blessed.

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Top 10 Tuesday - Favorite Summer Things

Jul 26, 2011


Top Ten {Tuesday}


Summer is my absolute favorite time of the year.  It has to be pretty stinkin' hot for me to stay indoors(we've had a few of those lately!).  So here are some of my favorite things about summer:

1.  Spending time at Grandma's and finding fun things to do!  Husband pulled this archery set out of the shed.  The kids were shocked that we both knew how to do this! (see the bare feet? read #5)



2.  Anything water related!


3.  I can take my office outside on the front porch and watch the kids play.


4.  More time with my dog since I'm outside all day. (she's an outdoor dog)



5.  Bare feet!  Oh yeah, kickin' it old school!


6.  Working in my garden, adding new plants, moving things around and watching it grow!


7.  Waiting for my favorite flowers to emerge.


8.  Enjoying every second that the butterflies visit!


9.  Family Vacation!  Heading up to the family cabin in Canada is always a highlight of our summer!!


10.  Hanging out with this man!  Husband is a teacher, so we get to spend lots more time together during the summer, and we love every minute of it!


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Fraddling: A Guest Post with My Friend Michelle

Jul 25, 2011

Last year at The Relevant Conference I made every effort to go outside my comfort zone to meet new people.  I was sitting at a table after dinner with no one I knew nearby, so I took a deep breath, thought of a quick question to ask this lovely lady sitting next to me, and fired away.  I can't tell you how glad I am that I took that step of faith to meet Michelle!  She is a delight and we make an effort to stay in touch regularly.  I've asked her to guest post today about a very cool thing in her family called "fraddling".


I sat down at our hotel to write this guest post after a weekend full of activities. My sweet husband was out on a photoshoot (the reason for our trip), I was worn out from travel, swimming, meeting friends... I just wanted to sit down and write. (Not to mention I told Cherie I would gladly write a "fraddling" guest post for her lovely bog nearly two weeks ago and had yet to do it.) ;)

So, I pulled out the computer, cozied myself up to it and started writing away... it took me awhile to gather my thoughts. What would I want to share with you guys about "fraddling?" 

Maybe the definition: Doing things for or with others because you love them.

Or how I came up with the word when my sweet littlest boy came in holding his prized possessions, a large plastic dinosaur and a fishing rod... things I have no interest in, but because he loves them and I love him I gladly go fishing and play dinosaurs on the floor (fishing rods and dinosaurs - F.R.A.D. - fraddling)...

Or ways you and I could fraddle for others by doing things with or for them, not because we love the things to be done, but because we love the people.

All that time that I was trying to figure out how to explain the act of "fraddling," I was missing something...

While I was exhausted and enjoying my time here writing to you guys, my boys were pleading with me to go swimming with them. I kept putting it off because I was tired and had something else I wanted to do.

Suddenly, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head... I had a decision to make... was I going to sit there and write about fraddling or get up and do it?!

You see, it is so easy to talk about putting love into action, but sometimes it takes a little more effort on our part to say: I love you so much that I'm going to stop doing what I want to do and do something you'd like to do, just because I love you.

Now, don't get me wrong... I encourage and enjoy fraddling for myself (at the moment, the day after my swimming incident, I'm in a nice quiet room typing while my husband and boys are off swimming... ahhh.)

But, the bottom line is... we have been given great opportunities to love on others through our actions. And, if we look closely enough to see what those loved ones' "fishing rods and dinosaurs" are and join them in their interest, we can speak a load of love into their lives... just by fraddling a bit.

Now, I'm off to hang out with my guys, but just before that I'm going to grab a nice cold Coke and sip it in peace and quiet... my kind of fraddle. ;)


Thank you, Cherie for giving me this opportunity to share and for helping me see how easy it is to get in the rut of just talking about fraddling and not actually do it. I REALLY appreciate that!




Love,


♥ Michelle (aka SomeGirl)


somegirlswebsite.com - spurring one another on toward love and good deeds... laughing, connecting and provoking thoughts along the way.

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Yep, It's Hot

Jul 22, 2011

Typical for our central Illinois weather, we've gone from one extreme to another.  After a very cool and wet spring, we've now gone to 98* days and haven't seen rain in several weeks.

I'm not complaining.  Know why?

Because this will hit before I am ready:


Keep the summer coming!

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The Power of Modesty

Jul 20, 2011

We are living in a society that does not know the meaning of the word 'modesty'.  Just look around you when you go to a public swimming pool or walk through the mall.  Young women are bearing it all and everywhere you look, advertisers are encouraging them to do so.

I want to introduce you to an incredible resource I found that will help you teach your daughter about God's idea of modesty and why it is so important.  The book "SecretKeeper; The Delicate Power of Modesty" was written by Dannah Gresh from www.PureFreedom.org.  She explains in honest detail with scriptures and examples, the power of modesty.  I can't tell you how many times I have stumbled through trying to have this conversation with my daughter, buy Dannah explains it so much better!

It seems the conversation about modesty never happens until we are in the middle of a store and begin arguing about why I won't let her buy an item of clothing.  Then both of us are emotional and heated.  This book has really helped us sit down and have a reasonable, honest conversation about it without being "in the moment" of shopping.

Having discussions after each chapter has really helped us understanding each other.  Shopping still isn't easy, because the world dictates the styles of clothes that are out there, but we both know we just have to look a little harder to find things that are appropriate for her age.

Spend some time checking out the SecretKeeper website.  I think you will find it very helpful for both of you!

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Jesus Prayed for Me

Jul 18, 2011

Did you know that in John 17 Jesus prayed for you?  I've been pondering all summer the love that Jesus has for me.  When I read this chapter in John, I am humbled, I am touched, I am chosen.  If you're not familiar with it, read it through a couple of times to really let it all sink in for you.  This is Jesus praying just before He is to be crucified.


John 17(MSG)
1 Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said: Father, it's time. Display the bright splendor of your Son so the Son in turn may show your bright splendor. 2 You put him in charge of everything human So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge. 3 And this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, The one and only true God, And Jesus Christ, whom you sent. 4 I glorified you on earth by completing down to the last detail What you assigned me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor, the very splendor I had in your presence Before there was a world. 6 I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place; then you gave them to me, And they have now done what you said. 7 They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that everything you gave me is firsthand from you, 8 For the message you gave me, I gave them; And they took it, and were convinced That I came from you. They believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I'm not praying for the God-rejecting world But for those you gave me, For they are yours by right. 10 Everything mine is yours, and yours mine, And my life is on display in them. 11 For I'm no longer going to be visible in the world; They'll continue in the world While I return to you. Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life That you conferred as a gift through me, So they can be one heart and mind 12 As we are one heart and mind. As long as I was with them, I guarded them In the pursuit of the life you gave through me; I even posted a night watch. And not one of them got away, Except for the rebel bent on destruction (the exception that proved the rule of Scripture). 13 Now I'm returning to you. I'm saying these things in the world's hearing So my people can experience My joy completed in them. 14 I gave them your word; The godless world hated them because of it, Because they didn't join the world's ways, 15 Just as I didn't join the world's ways. I'm not asking that you take them out of the world But that you guard them from the Evil One. 16 They are no more defined by the world Than I am defined by the world. 17 Make them holy - consecrated - with the truth; Your word is consecrating truth. 18 In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. 19 I'm consecrating myself for their sakes So they'll be truth-consecrated in their mission. 20 I'm praying not only for them But also for those who will believe in me because of them and their witness about me. 21 The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind - Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, so they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. 22 The same glory you gave me, I gave them, So they'll be as unified and together as we are - 23 I in them and you in me. Then they'll be mature in this oneness, And give the godless world evidence that you've sent me and loved them In the same way you've loved me. 24 Father, I want those you gave me to be with me, right where I am, So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me, Having loved me long before there ever was a world. 25 Righteous Father, the world has never known you, But I have known you, and these disciples know that you sent me on this mission. 26 I have made your very being known to them - Who you are and what you do - And continue to make it known, so that your love for me might be in them exactly as I am in them.(emphasis mine)

I am completely undone knowing my Savior prayed for me right before his death.  Do you know what He was thinking hanging upon that cross?  He thought of me...He thought of you. That's the love that I have been trying to grasp all summer.

 

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The Glory of the Lord

Jul 13, 2011

Do you ever wake up with a song in your head and you have no idea where it came from?  Maybe I'm weird, but that happens to me ALL.THE.TIME.  And it isn't even a song I've heard recently or sung at church.

Anyway, today this is what I woke up to in my head.  I'd sing it for you, but....you know.

"My eyes have seen the glory of the Lord"

As the words kept swimming through my head I had to stop and examine them.  I looked up the phrase in the bible (a handly online version) just out of curiosity.  I'd forgotten that this was the term used throughout the Old Testament when they were talking about the physical cloud of fire that represented God's presence as they traveled and within the temple.

At the close of the Old Testament did that mean that the glory of the Lord was done?  Vanished?  Look what the angels are singing in Isaiah:

"And they were calling to one another: 
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;  
the whole earth is full of his glory." Isaiah 6:3

The Glory of the Lord is all around us.  We tend to forget as we go about our lives that we are surrounded by it, that it permeates our lives.

"The most significant use of the ideas of glory and majesty is their application to God. In this regard, it is sometimes stated that God's glory is the external manifestation of his being. God's glory is something that appears ( Exod 16:10 ), is revealed ( Isa 40:5 ), or can be seen ( Num 14:22 )." (crosswalk.com)



Look around you today.  Watch with waiting eyes to see the Glory of the Lord.  It is all around and within you.



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My Summertime Fun

Jul 12, 2011

Before you even get the question out of your mouth asking my favorite thing to do in the summertime, I have already blurted out "Gardening!"

So if you ever wonder why my posts are so inconsistent during the summer, now you have your answer, and here is the proof.



I'm typically out there for hours everyday.  There is always something to do in the garden!  The weeds keep growing and it always needs watered!

So I hope you'll continuing hanging in there with me through the summertime of inconsistent posts.  I'll be back more regularly in the fall when the flowers fade and the kids are in school.

But for now, I hope you'll enjoy what you find sporadically each week!

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The Book of Acts - Bold

Jul 11, 2011


Acts 28:17-30
Sermons to Build a Church On

Our last several posts on Acts have been centered on great sermons that were given while Paul was building the church.  This last passage finds Paul in chains once again, on his way to appeal before Caesar.

We know throughout Acts Paul's message is met with unbelievers.  Even the Jews were sometimes the ones responsible for putting him in jail!

If you read verses 23-30, you'll find some powerful words:

explained

declared

convince

preach

taught

Paul had spent his entire ministry teaching and preaching the good news of Jesus Christ.

  "Boldly and without hindrance 
he preached the kingdom of God 
and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ." (v31)

Have you ever examined your life and asked yourself what are you building-within your home, your church and your community?

Are you building a legacy for Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven or a carnal life for this world?  I hope you are building a life for Christ, brick by brick, through grace!

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Interpreting God's Word

Jul 7, 2011

If you are a believer in Christ, you probably came to that decision because you believe what the Bible says as truth.  If you've read anything here at my blog, you should certainly get a clear indication that this is what I believe. 

In my discussion on yesterday's post about hell I quoted various scripture that indicate hell is a real place, just as I believer that heaven is a real place. (John 14:3)

But what I want to discuss today is a point brought up in a comment yesterday about interpretation.  Let's look at what the word actually means:

Interpret

  1. to give or provide the meaning of; explain; explicate; elucidate: to interpret the hidden meaning of a parable.
  2. to construe or understand in a particular way: to interpret a reply as favorable.  
  3. to bring out the meaning of (a dramatic work, music, etc.) by performance or execution. 
Thousands of volumes have been written by biblical scholars with the mission of fulfilling #1 in the definition above.  Their passion as been to tear apart every single word down to the root meanings in every language that the bible was original written to give us a clear and concise English version.


But what we need to be careful of is the meaning in #2 above.  Notice that it uses the word 'construe' or to 
'interpret favorably'.  This is where many of us can be misled.


We were talking about Rob Bell yesterday, but this applies to any author who is discussing a biblical subject.  If anyone is taking a passage of scripture and explaining it in a way that makes them or us feel better about it, we have probably changed the meaning to suit our own desires.  Just because the subject and idea of hell is very uncomfortable for many of us and we don't understand it, doesn't mean that we can choose to just not believe it.  Nor does it mean that we can make up our own definition of hell.  This is true of any subject in the bible, not just hell.


If you are a new believer and you struggle to wrap your mind around some of the difficult concepts in the Bible, you are not alone.  We all wrestle to understand the ways of God, but we must be careful to not try to put God in our box of understanding.  

Faith is all about accepting what we do not understand, knowing that one day in heaven God will reveal it all. 




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A Strong Opinion About Rob Bell's Message

Jul 6, 2011

I'm not always up on all the news and latest and greatest out there in the world.  I prefer to remain optimistic and I tire easily of the constant coverage of bad news. That means I may be slow here in responding to the recent controversy surrounding pastor and author Rob Bell.

I must confess I just went out to Youtube to find the controversial video recently produced by Rob Bell introducing his new book about hell.  Can I tell you that I am deeply disturbed and irritated with what I just watched?

From what I can tell he is proclaiming that there is no hell.  He is insinuating that because God is a loving God, that he would not condemn people to hell.  Rob Bell couldn't be more wrong.

No one can take what they like about scripture and leave what they don't like.  Scripture is clear, and over and over again Jesus himself talks about hell, and that the only way to God is through him.  God is love, but He is also just.  We see countless examples in the Old Testament of God exacting His justice on many who were disobedient.  Those who did not obey the commands of the Lord were put to death.

"So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded." Joshua 10:40

If what Rob Bell suggests were true, there would have been no reason for Jesus to die.  If God didn't demand payment for our sins as our way into heaven, then Jesus didn't need to die for us.

"For the wages of sin is death
but the gift of God is eternal life 
in Christ Jesus our Lord." 
Romans 6:23

The word "hell" is mentioned 14 times in the New Testament, and many of those were spoken by Jesus himself.  Was Jesus just making that up?  Why would he mention a place that wasn't real?

I invite you to study the scriptures for yourself.  It is very clear.  You don't need to be a scholar to understand it.

  • Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
  • "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?" Matthew 23:33
  • But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Luke 12:5
  • Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.Mark 16:16
  • Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." John 3:36
  • If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15
Many are called and gifted by God to spread His message of salvation in and through the church.  But when someone suddenly goes in the wrong direction, don't follow.  Investigate.  Ask questions.  Pray.  Read your Bible.  Study.

All Scripture is God-breathed and truth.  Not just part of it.... ALL OF IT.








iFellowship

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A Skewed Vision of God

Jul 5, 2011


Has your view of God ever been challenged?  Do you think you see Him and know Him clearly?   If you are a believer in Christ, you've been taught the power and love of God.  You've been taught that he is full of goodness and a deliverer of justice, but forgiver of sins.  All of that is true and a beautiful picture of the attributes of God.

"He who did not spare his own Son, 
but gave him up for us all-
-how will he not also, 
along with him, 
graciously give us all things?"
Romans 8:32 

God gave us the ultimate gift, the life of Jesus Christ, to forgive our sin so that we may enter the Kingdom of Heaven with Him. What else could we possible ask of Him?  He owes us nothing; we owe Him everything.

But yet, we expect God to answer every prayer to our liking, heal every sickness, provide every whim of our heart. We put conditions on our faithfulness and understanding of God.  We may refuse to surrender every area of our lives because we don't think He will take care of our needs. 

Because in our weakness, we think it is all about us!  We forget that God has a plan and a purpose for each of our lives to the benefit of His glory.  That plan may include heartache, doubt, frustration, bankruptcy, death, cancer, or something else equally horrible.  Does He love us any less?  NO!

We are never going to understand the ways of God, and we were never meant to!!  Isaiah 55:8 reminds us "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD."  I've been through some tremendous pain in my life, and I have come to have peace with the unknown.  I'm never going to understand why God allowed some of those circumstances into my life, but I remain faithful in trusting the God who made me..the God who loves me.


Can you do the same?  Can you remain faithful to Him regardless of your circumstances?  Perhaps memorizing the following verse will help you remember all the goodness that the Lord wishes to lavish on you!

"The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made." Psalm 145:8-9


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Jul 4, 2011


AMERICA, BLESS GOD!

Praise God today for the blessings he pours out on our country.

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