Followers

Friday, January 28, 2011

Quick Answers

Okay, I've really been slacking lately! I'm pretty sure I'm cursed with all things related to technology. For the longest time, my phone wouldn't charge. Bear got me a new one & now that one won't charge! Unless he plugs it in. Weird, I know. Then, our computer got this weird pop-up virus thing that won't let me into any sort of application. For now, it's completely disappeared for no apparent reason so I'm taking full advantage. I've called Geek Squad & they'll fix it...for $200.00. Who has that type of free cash just laying around? Not us. So, I think I'm just going to lay hands on our Hewlatt Packard & pray for the best.

I know I posted last on some unanswered prayer during my fast. The Lord is so good! He answered me despite my imperfection. Doesn't He always do that though? Answer us despite ourselves? I'll quickly let you know what He's been doing.

I fasted from sugar & caffeine...which meant no easy breakfast in the morning. Nothing convenient like Pop Tarts or a cinnamon bagel. No. I had to make oatmeal (a huge 5 minutes) or scramble some eggs (again 5 minutes). Really it wasn't that much more time but it seemed like it. It took more effort. Sometimes, God calls us to areas of ministry that take a little more effort. We just can't always take the easy route.

My diet was a bit more healthier during my fast. Instead of grabbing a Hershey Kiss for a little snack, I'd grab a handful of baby carrots. I abstained from dessert (a biggie for me). I didn't drink sweet tea but just water. Boring water. It wasn't the most enjoyable change but it was the healthiest. Sometimes, God calls us to an area of ministry that might not be the most enjoyable but it's the healthiest for our spiritual walk.

I craved sweets all week. I crave them now & my fast is over. Something about not having them intensified my need desire for them. Honestly, when I spend time away from God, my cravings for Him don't intensify. They grow dull. It's easier to brush off my quiet times in the mornings. Paul said it best: "For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing." (Romans 7:18-19) I'm like Paul and my sinful desire instensify the more I satisfy it. But God's Word is the ultimate satisfying dessert!

"The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb." Psalm 19:9-10

The biggest passage of Scripture that hit me was in Isaiah 36. King Hezekiah's being attacked by Assyria, power nation of it's time. Three of his officials go out to meet the Assyrian field commander who mocks Judah, Hezekiah, and God in front of everyone. The officials ask the commander to speak in Assyrian instead of Hebrew so that the people along the city walls wouldn't be able to understand what they were talkng about. The field official refuses & continues his mocks in Hebrew trying to divide Judah's people, cause rebellion against Hezekiah, and ultimately God and His Plan. In verse 21, it says, "But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.” Hezekiah later takes the enemy's attack in letter form, goes to the temple, and spreads it all before the Lord. What in the world does this have to do with anything?

Well- I've recently been attacked with logical arguments of why I can't continue in my current ministries. I'm the mother of two small children. I need to focus on them while they're at home & don't have the school distractions. It's too much time & stress. Let others who have more free time do it & I can do it once my turn comes around. Logical arguments spoken to me in my language. The enemy knows all of my fears & he can present them in arguments like no other. Hezekiah's people stood in silent trust knowing God would ultimately deliver them. So that's what I am to do. Stand in silent trust of my God knowing He called me to this ministry & He will deliver me from every difficulty. All I need to do is take it straight to Him, spread it all out, and wait.

"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

Friday, January 21, 2011

Brown, Green, or Yellow?

Today is my last day of fasting. I began on January 11 as our entire church family began a fast to seek God's face in 2011. The purpose? To ask Him to do the unexplainable. To see an 11 on a scale of 1-10. I chose to abstain from anything sweet/sugary and all caffeine. This includes my morning "Halle Berry", an affectionate name coined by my friend Stephanie for the way I drink my coffee. (It matches Halle's skintone perfectly. Light and sweet. Basically, I drink coffee as a means to ingest creamer.) I was going to post earlier last week about my fasting but I didn't want to be like those Jesus described in Matthew 6 and wanted this to be all about Him and not me. Bear chose to fast from food.You read that right. Today is his 11th day without any type of food whatsoever. He's just drinking water and V8 Splash. For 11 days. Is it no coincidence that Becky is doing a blog post series on marriage? I think not. ;)

I'm personally seeking God's answer regarding areas of service & ministry. Have I had any profound answer? Not really. I'm still exactly where I was 11 days ago. We were talking about this in our adult small group meeting last Thursday. One of the members said that if you look in the Bible at fasting, God usually answers after the fast. The fast is our complete and total obedience to Him and only after we're fully obedient does He bless it. Makes sense, right?

Today has caused me to reflect upon this whole fasting ordeal and I'm pretty ashamed to admit that I don't think I did it right. I know all about fasting but I've never actually done it before. Bear & I cut things out of our lives all the time in order to seek God's face more diligently. I guess you could call that fasting but food has never been a choice for me. I love it too much. Should've been my first clue, right?

Jonah has a little car that he plays with in the bathtub. It's hypercolor & changes colors depending on if it's warm or cold, wet or dry.

When it's completely dry, it's brown.


When it's wet with cold water, it's green.


When it's in warm water, it turns yellow.


As he was playing in the tub this morning, I was wanting "Halle" more than anything. I began praying asking the Lord why haven't I gotten an answer yet? Will it be tomorrow? Will I even get one? He asked me, "Are you fasting on brown, green, or yellow?" I have been completely obedient with this fast. I haven't even had any salad dressings with sugar in them. In fact, we went to "Milk 'n Shake" (Steak & Shake) and I had water. I've been really good. But when those times come around 2:00 each day when I'm dragging & need a little boost, do I turn to the Word? No. I've been taking naps. I've been watching Netflix on the Wii. Again, coincidence that our Wii broke last night out of nowhere & has to be sent in for repairs? No. I haven't been brown. But I haven't been yellow either.

"For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?" Isaiah 58:2-5 (emphasis mine)

So today, I repent & ask the Lord to forgive my feeble fasting attempt. I have learned several things from this fast which I plan on posting later but for just today, I desire forgiveness.

I wanted to find some synonyms for 'half-hearted' to include in this post. I was honestly looking for ones that started with an 'f' to be cute & alliterative to go with 'fasting'. Isn't that just like me? To make my sin seem not so offensive by cutesy-ing it up? Pitiful. I found these words:

Apathetic. Uenthusiastic. Lazy. Reluctant. Indifferent. Doubtful. Fearful. Fickle. Wavering. Wishy-washy. Careless. Lukewarm. Flat. Lifeless.

Not words that I want to describe my walk with Jesus. But perfect to describe my sinful self. I'm lazy in the mornings and don't get up like I should. I'm fearful of where He will lead me. (How silly is that?!) I'm fickle in my commitments. I'm reluctant to fully commit. I'm careless when it comes to my thoughts and actions. But the words that stopped me in my tracks was lukewarm, flat, and lifeless. Mainly because this is what Jesus says about those.

"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Revelation 3:15-16

I literally make God sick to His stomach. He spits me up. Vomit.

But I'm so grateful there's Jesus! Because when my walk seems flat and lifeless, He's exactly where to turn!

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them." John 17:13 (emphasis mine)

 "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:9-10 (emphasis mine)

I'm so grateful that it's that simple. And that full.

Has anyone else fasted before? Did you get an answer? Was it what you were expecting? I'd love to hear about how God worked in your life!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm a Domestic Diva!

Okay, so this post is about 97% stolen! I stole the title from Deidre at "For Such a Time As This". Last night, I made the BEST dinner and had to brag on myself. I think what won me over was the prep time....a total of 10 minutes. That's right. 10 minutes. Including cook time. I stole it from Amanda at "Kevin & Amanda" and her pictures are better than mine...so I'm stealing those too!

Tortellini Alfredo


These are the ingredients you'll need:

alfredo tortellini

1 (8 oz) pkg cheese tortellini
1 cup ham, diced
(8 oz) cream cheese
1 pkg dry Italian dressing
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 stick butter

Add tortellini to a large pot of boiling salted water and let cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a skillet to medium heat. Add the cream cheese, butter, cream of chicken soup, Italian dressing, and milk and stir until smooth. Once smooth, add in ham and stir to coat. After the tortellini finishes boiling, drain, then add to cream sauce. Stir to evenly coat and serve warm.

I used the 16 oz. package of green & white mixed tortellini because Jonah likes to eat "Incredible Hulk Noodles". I also mixed in some frozen peas for an added sweet crunch. Mmmmmm. It was SO good.


For those of you who think it looks a bit slimy- it does. But take it from someone who can't stand slimy food- it wasn't. It was also very flavorful. When I usually make quick recipes, they taste pretty bland. I think the seasoning packet of Italian dressing makes all the difference. This was what I saw the entire dinner time. He didn't even stop to wipe his mouth!


 This sauce would also be great with grilled chicken and broccoli served over fettucini. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

SSMT #2

It's already time for a new verse?! Crazy how time flies....

We'll, my next verse is really to help me remember just why we study Scripture in the first place.


I study God's Word so that I can endure this life, be encouraged, and ultimately have hope in Him. That's what following Jesus is all about...endurance and hope! Since this verse is my second, I'll spend the rest of the year reciting my first verse, then my second, and so on. I figured it would be a good one to memorize early on so that throughout the year as I repeat my verses, I'll be encouraged to endure SSMT 'til the end because I'm hopeful that I'm going to go to Texas in January 2012! :)

What was your second verse?

"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope."
Romans 15:4

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Can You Find Jesus?

I really appreciate all of your comments on my last post. They all had me thinking a little harder on the subject "How Much is Too Much?" and got me digging a little deeper into Scripture than I had originally planned. (We're gonna have to do this more often! I've really enjoyed it.)

The Lord brought me to the passage in John 4 that speaks of Jesus' conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. The conversation began by a simple request for a drink, which had a whole slew of meaning in itself, and ended up in her salvation and a two day stay for Jesus, the longest He ever stayed in one place during His public ministry. I'm pretty sure that she didn't expect a life changing experience with God at the water hole that day. Jesus took advantage of an everyday situation and used it for God's glory. I believe that we are called to bring Christ into everyday conversations with everyday people He puts in our path. It's lifestyle evangelism.  Amy responded that one's heart has to match one's words. I wholeheartedly agree. If your walk doesn't line up with your talk, you immediately lose credibility with anyone whom you try to share the Gospel. You can't use lifestyle evangelism if your lifestyle isn't evangelical. His Jules said, "If the condition of our heart matches the words that we are saying, if we are loving the unlovely, forgiving ALL those who hurt us and reaching out and accepting those who others will not accept then and only then can our authenticity be seen." Absolutely. But what about those Christians who really, truly do have a walk with the Lord and aren't afraid to tell you so despite the situation, like Angela observed?

Jonah got a book for Christmas from Grammy and Papa.


This book pretty much sums up my whole vision for this blog: finding God in everyday situations. I want to be able to train my kids to see God's hand in everyday life so that He's relatable, personal, and available to them. He won't be real if they never see His work in their little lives, right?

"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:5-9


I don't think that God meant for us to literally strap on our favorite verses. I do think He meant to bring Him into our everyday lives, in our daily comings and goings, and in our routines. Even if He did mean it, what a great conversation starter! "Hey, Tobias! What's that weird thing strapped to your head? It's not your "Here's your sign" sign, is it?" But the question still remains....when do you talk about Him and when do you not?

When first faced with this question from others a few weeks ago, I immediately thought "You can't balance Jesus!!!". We should all be consumed by Him so much that He pours forth in everything we do. Then, like Ansley, the Lord convicted me of past eyerolls, sighs of contempt at similar comments, and scornful thoughts towards those in my history. He softly spoke to me, "Do you really believe that? Because if you did, why do you struggle with these?" So, I reevaluated my heart. I reexamined my attitudes. It wasn't pretty.



I can tell you that I've thought how silly others sounded when they dropped comments referring to Jesus in everyday things. I thought that they sounded so.....homeschool-ish. (Forgive me, all my friends who homeschool! I fully respect your calling and mean no harm in this stereotypical comment. This was all when I was younger and a bit spiritually immature and my thought process reflects such.) Yes, I had a love for God and a desire to please Him...but all with balance. I didn't want to be one of those all-consumed freaks that go a bit extreme with everything. I still sought acceptance from the world because I feared being an outcast.


I believe Matthew 10:16 holds the answer.

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."


Well, we got the innocent part down. Life must match your speech. Check. I loved all of your responses but I think Lone Butterfly said it best when she wrote, "You have to earn your right to tell someone else they are wrong in what they believe." A relationship must be built before you throw Jesus in their face. Can you give Him credit and/or acknowledge Him to complete strangers? Absolutely. Plant seeds as often as you can. But we also are called to be shrewd.

shrewd:
     -adjective,
     1. astute or sharp in practical matters: a shrewd politician.
     2. keen; piercing.
     3. artful
     4. discriminating; intelligent.

We should be artful in our speech of the Gospel. We should discriminate when is the proper time, sharp in practicality, keen in knowing when it will be well received and when it won't. We are among wolves in this world and we will be devoured if we are not shrewd.

Can there be too much Jesus? Never. Can we refine our zeal and passion to a more productive ministry? So, others will look at our authenticity and instead of seeing Jesus in us as too much, they will say "Oh, I wish I had that!"? Yes- and I'm thinkin' it's gonna take me more than this lifetime to perfect. What about you?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

How Much is Too Much?

I've been gone so long it seems from blogville. It's just been one of those crazy weeks....fighting shoppers at Wal-Mart for the last loaf of bread can be exhausting! I live in Georgia & for those of you who are unaware, they've forcasted ice and snow so everyone in the state is in full blown panic mode. I've been trying to catch up on all of my reading from the blogs I follow and feel like I've missed so much in so little time. I did want to pose a question to you that's been mulling around in my mind for a while now.....

How much Jesus is too much?

Recently, I've been faced with this question from others. To keep their confidence, I won't expose their identies or even their story but use another example from my past.

My mom used to know this sweet woman at our former church. She was very genuine & truly loved the Lord with all her heart. Often times, she'd make comments that referred to her romance with her Savior. My mom recalls once when someone complimented this lady on how beautiful she was one Sunday morning. Her reply was, "Yes, I know. It's Jesus who lives in me that makes me beautiful." My mom also recalls the eyerolls & groans from those behind this oblivious woman. Those around her felt annoyed by her frequent comments and thought that she imposed a self-piousness that damaged the Christian label rather than help promote the Gospel. So my question is, how much is too much?

Can we talk about Him too much? Can we interject Him into conversations too much? Can we give Him too much credit? Can we overspiritualize, damaging our testimony and credibility with this world? Is it possible that these sort of responses do more harm than good?

I know what my answer is....I'm pretty sure I do. I'll share it later. But for now, what do you think?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

SSMT #1

Okay, today's the day. SSMT begins. It honestly snuck right up on me. I've been praying about which verse to memorize. Which verse will aptly kick off this year of commitment? Which verse will pave the way as I journey with so many Sisters across the world? Which verse will be the most ingrained as I repeat my spiral over and over?

Nothin'.

I've contemplated a few...

Romans 12:2 thinking that I want my thoughts to be focused on Him and not revert to old ways as I step into this new year.
Psalm 25:5 because I want Him to teach me as I study and memorize Scripture this year.
Isaiah 35:8 as I follow His direction and travel His highway.

Still, I always felt like these were all chosen by me and not Him, completely defeating the whole purpose. Until today.

I went to Miss Beth's blog to log in for the first verse this year and read her post. Bam! There it was, clear as day and perfect to kick off my journey with the Lord. In light of everything that's happened over the past week, I'd say it's perfectly perfect. That's God for you. I'm pretty sure He likes to show off like that just to remind me that He's not only Sovereign God, but my God. Don't you just love when He gets personal?

So my verse?


Please join me as God does a work far beyond what we could possibly imagine. Let's claim the bountiful harvest He has prepared for us this year so that when we walk the hard pathways, His abundance will overflow from the treasures stored in our hearts & minds. All the updated details are here. Let's do this thing. Together.

"You crown the year with a
bountiful harvest;
even the hard pathways
overflow with abundance."
Psalm 65:11
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