Archive: December, 2010

Abraham’s Faith

“He [Abraham] went out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8 (NASB)

Oswald Chambers wrote this insightful description of faith…

“Faith never knows where it is being led,

but it loves and knows the One Who is leading.

It is a life of faith, not of intellect and reason,

but a life of knowing Who makes us ‘go.’”

Isn’t it beautiful?

I couldn’t help but smile as I reread it several times in my mind and even out loud. I determined quickly that in relation to Abraham it really fits quite perfectly. As that specific thought came to completion in my mind I felt God very clearly speak to my heart… “try it on my child, let’s see how Abraham’s faith fits on you.”

As I tried it on for size I felt the burning conviction well up in my heart and I confessed that “no” it doesn’t always fit quite the way it should.

Fear has us wanting to know where were headed and love of self has us going anywhere but to God for the assurance of our safety. In this world we live in we must be very cautious. It will boldly offer us just the quick assurance we “think” we need. Left to our flesh we would have no trouble taking that quick assurance and overlooking the fact that worldly assurance is always a risk, it’s never guaranteed.

However, faith in God is something we can count on. Hebrews 11: 1 says “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” As I reflected on His word I prayed “Lord I am sure that You are Who You say You are and I am certain that You will fulfill what You have promised, help me to know this truth all of the time so that my faith may increase.”

So, God will likely have to have this talk with me again, but for now in this moment I am going to wear Abraham’s faith and believe it for myself…

Heidi never knows where she is being led,

but she loves and knows the One Who is leading.

She lives a life of faith, not of intellect and reason,

but a life of knowing Who makes her “go.”

Go ahead try it on for yourself. Does it fit?

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*Dusted off, revised and reposted from April 2009*

Pursuing Him Still

As we quickly approach the end of another year I quietly reflect on the last 12 months. I take a survey of where I started and where I am today. I look for only one thing found in a single question…

Is there less of me and more of Him?

The answer is yes. And I am so grateful for that. Do I wish I was further along? Yes. As long as there is sin in my life I will wish there wasn’t. But I accept that I am a work in progress. A flesh to be reckoned with.

You may have heard this story about the silversmith, but it so wonderfully explains what God is up to that I had to share…

Some people studying Malachi 3:3 which says: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”

This verse puzzled some in the Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: “He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.” She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”

He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy — when I see my image in it.”

I love this story. The idea that God is at work, refining me by the fire and never leaving my side until He clearly sees himself in me is so mysterious and wonderful. I marvel at His awesome love for His creation.
Last year at this time I wrote on Philippians 3:14…
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

And a year later that scripture continues to express my hopes for the new year. I am not big on a list of New Year’s resolutions. Oh, I could make a list…

take better care of myself,

be a better homeschool mom,

a better wife,

a better manager of my time

But, those things mean nothing because they are what I want for myself and if I am just set on pursuing hard after Him all that He has for me, and likely some of those things on my list, will come to fruition anyway.
So, I welcome the fire. The refinement. The love that He has for me as I pursue Him still.
How about you? What has God put on your heart for the new year ahead?

Believing him Because of HIM

Its date night, a rare but highly coveted occasion at my house and I’m on my second set of clothing. Turning in the mirror I ask my husband that question we all ask…

“Does this make me look fat?” He gives the only answer that ensures the course of the evening ahead… “No, you look great!” He puts his arms around me, smiles, gazing at my reflection and says…
“You are beautiful!”

And I do what I always do, push out from his loving arms, sneer a little and roll my eyes (probably not so pretty) because I do not think I’m beautiful and he must be crazy to think I am or worse he’s just not being honest.

Then a few seconds later I notice a serious look on his face and I ask him, “What’s wrong?” He takes a deep breath and says, “It hurts my feelings when I tell you that you are beautiful and you don’t believe me.” He adds, “I love you and I do think you’re beautiful, even when you’re not at your best I think you’re beautiful. And, I’m concerned because our girls are always listening and watching to see how you respond and they will learn to respond to compliments in the same negative way that you do. I don’t want them to look in the mirror and worry that they look fat or that they aren’t pretty and I want them to believe me when I tell them they are beautiful, but if you don’t then they won’t either.”

Oh.

In that moment I realized that my sweet husband sees me very much in the same way that God does.

It doesn’t matter if I just woke up or if I’m all made up, He thinks I’m beautiful.

It doesn’t matter if I’m overweight or the perfect weight, He thinks I’m beautiful.

It doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do, He thinks I’m beautiful.

Inside and out.

Beautiful.

And, my husband is right. My girls are listening. Do I want them to believe it when they’re daddy says they’re beautiful? And, do I want them to believe HIM when He says that they’re beautiful too.

I do.

And it’s so much bigger than just believing my husband when he says I look nice, it’s more about believing that he is speaking and acting on behalf of God. That He appointed this man to me as a representative of Him. After all Ephesians 5:23 says “the husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the church.” Why wouldn’t I believe that my husband takes this seriously and is acting as such?

God reveals himself to me in my husband in so many ways and if I’m not careful I will miss it…

When he encourages me, it’s God.

When he imparts wisdom to me, it’s God.

When he provides for me, it’s God.

When he protects me, it’s God.

When he leads me, it’s God.

When he loves me, it’s God.

And, when he says I’m beautiful, it’s God.

I believe it now. Not just for my girls. But for me too.

I can’t tell you how freeing this Truth is, to not doubt my husband’s words or actions. It removes all the mental anguish that I place on myself. It allows me to just believe him, to smile and graciously say “thank you.”

What about you? Are you believing him because of HIM?

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Merry CHRISTmas!

Warm Wishes from McDonalds Playland – A place where we can have peace on earth for a couple of hours!

Merry Christmas from Kelli and Heidi!

We really appreciate our bloggy friends who take time out of their million mile a minute days to leave comments that encourage us so much. We are so thankful for you!!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” (James 1:17 NIV).

Twelve Reasons For Christmas (John Piper)

1. “For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37)

2. “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8; cf. Hebrews 2:14-15)

3. “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)

4. “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)

5. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

6. “God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:5)

7. “For God so loved the world that whoever believes on him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16).

8. “God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9; cf. John 10:10).

9. “The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” (1 Timothy 1:15).

10. “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against . . . that the thoughts of many may be revealed” (Luke 2:34f).

11. “He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” (Luke 4:18)

12. “Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.” (Romans 15:7-8; cf. John 12:27f).

Uneven Swap

The other day I sat down to pray with my 2nd grade daughter. The charred aroma of a new recipe gone terribly wrong filtered through the air as she prayed to receive Christ. I tried offering up wise words and lengthy phrases to the Lord but He quickly reassured me simplicity was the way to go.

My toothless wonder drew the above picture to signify how Jesus swapped her sins for his righteousness. “He swapped my bad stuff for all his good stuff,” she explained. “What an uneven swap!”

Isn’t it amazing we don’t have to do anything to receive such an uneven swap? Romans 3:24 tells us,

“Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous.”
God gave Jesus the ultimate assignment which was to “die for our sins,” (see 1 Cor. 15:3).

My intuitive daughter adds, “Nothing, not even Barbie, pillow pets, or an easy bake oven is more important than following Jesus!”

Search me Lord and know my heart. Speak in and through me as I teach my children about your undeniable love for them. Amen.
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This is posted in response to Word Filled Wednesday at Internet Cafe Devotions!

In Spite of Who We Are

My husband and I are in the process of obtaining our adoption-foster care license. We’ve been pursuing this for the past 6 months. God just didn’t think we had enough crazy in our life so he called us to this too. I previously wrote about our God-inspired journey. If you would like to read more, click here.

Our last appointment with the social worker is this morning. The paperwork is mountainous. The classes are time consuming. The extra babysitting fees are inconvenient.

But God.

But God… has a plan, has a purpose, and has a way.

My husband and I sit around the kitchen table scribbling across the pages and checking the appropriate boxes on our “Child Acceptance Survey” packet. These answers convey to social services what type of behaviors and/or characteristics we are willing to accept in an adoptive child. We are to mark each section with preferred, acceptable, would consider, and unacceptable.

There is an endless list of heart wrenching disorders: seizure disorder, blindness, difficulty attaching to others, sexual abuse, conceived out of rape, etc.

I think to myself, “Thank goodness God loves us just the way we are.”

As my black ballpoint pen scratches the surface of each page, God speaks.

I don’t love you just the way you are. I love you in spite of who you are.”

God loves us in spite of our imperfections, mistakes, flaws, messes, rough edges, and disobedience.

To me, that makes the gift of grace so much more wonderful. Don’t you think?

This beautiful insight into God’s love inspires me to rethink how I love other people. God fine tunes my heart strings. My heart shifts from neutral driving me to a place where love comingles with acceptance.

God urges me to think more like he does—to love even though problems will arise, even though perfection will never be reached, even though hard times might be ahead, even though I may want to pull my last hair out, and even though I might feel like giving up.

Finding God while filling out a survey doesn’t surprise me. It’s so comforting knowing that God’s divine presence can fill even the smallest, most mundane moments in life.

Whether we’re sittin’ in our kitchen, sippin’ a peppermint mocha (my favorite), or servin’ at a homeless shelter, God is there to show us how to love others the way He first loved us.

in spite of who we are.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, italics added).

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Women Who Are Weary…

This year, our family has experienced great loss. My husband lost a father a few months ago and a son two weeks ago. Have you experienced the loss of a loved one, a job, or a home this year?

As a result of such a loss, have you prayed a prayer like this…?

“How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day” (Psalm 13:2-4 ESV)? “I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears. My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out” (Psalm 6:6-7 NLT).

I’ve prayed this prayer more times than I care to admit. I’ve sobbed at stop lights, faked smiles, and said “I’m okay,” even when I’m not.

Like the author of Psalm 6, have you ever cried so hard your eyes hurt? Has grief blurred your vision to the extent you couldn’t see Jesus through the haze of sadness?

Weariness Depletes Our Energy.

When our bodies become physically worn out, our souls become spiritually worn out. The Bible says grief sneaks up and robs us of strength. Grief empties our energy, takes over, and completely wears us out.

Our reply: I’m not strong enough to handle this.

God’s response: You don’t have to be.


When we are physically exhausted and spiritually weary, we need to…

Find Jesus;

Run to Him;

Wait on Him;

Focus on Him; and

We rest in Him (instead of wearing ourselves out more by asking “Why?”)

“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish” (Jeremiah 31:25, ESV).

We can’t find rest on our own. According to Jeremiah, God is the only one who can satisfy and replenish a weary soul. He is our only source of help. No matter how strong we think we are, we will never be strong enough. We need God.

Putting Faith into Action.

When the dense fog of spiritual weariness covers us, we must act before we rest. First we act– we wait, we look, and we find. Once we draw near to God, he gives the rest we need. The result– replenished strength, refreshed energy, and a renewed spirit.

I’m not saying the pain instantly disappears. But, we must make the decision to get up every morning, put one foot in front of the other, and honor God in the midst of our pain. This is how mustard seed faith grows.

Sweet friends if you are weary today, get to Jesus. He is the oxygen our soul gasps for. We will suffocate without it.

I know one thing’s for sure, God cares about his baby girls. He knows when we hurt and why we hurt. He cares so much that he made a promise to weary women everywhere. He WILL turn pain into possibility, hope into a future, and toil into triumph.
Remember, God is in the miracle business where all things are possible! “Don’t be sad for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

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The Real Meaning of Christmas!

My friend posted this on her Facebook page and it was just so sweet and precious that I had to share it with you…Praying your Christmas is overwhelmingly filled with the presence of Christ!

Love,
Heidi
PS… if you have trouble with the video just click on it and watch it on YouTube.

Sudden Terror

This is a partial picture of my darling boy. And yes, that’s a bee creeping along on his amazingly still hand. His father told him not to be afraid of bees. He instructed him to just stay calm and the bee would not bother him. I had to take a picture to keep myself busy because it took everything in my mommy blood to keep from batting that bee away. I watched in awe as Robbie stood motionless and completely unafraid. When the bee landed on his hand he peacefully observed it crawl around and eventually fly away.

Amazing.

Being from Texas I’ve had my fair share of surprise insect run-ins. As a kid I can’t tell you how many times super-sized, stealth-like, buzzing insects have launched an attack mission on pig-tailed, bike-pumping me. I’m no stranger to poisonous scorpions, spiders, fire ants, chiggers, mosquitoes, swarming wasps and of course bumblebees.

I’ve had a tick removed from my head with a match and… brace yourself… I’ve even flushed an unsuspecting, disgusting cockroach out of my ear with full-blast faucet water in the middle of the night.

Let me say it for you…EWW… the thought of it still makes me cringe. I slept with earmuffs for a very long time after that and I am convinced that I suffer mental instability due to that one incident!

Needless to say I really dislike all things buggy and especially all things stingy. To this day they still evoke sudden terror in me. I know… just bugs, but still I don’t like them.

But what about things that really threaten us? Unexpected things. Like…

losing your job or your home

unforeseen health problems

sudden or accidental death of a loved one

you fill in the blank… the list goes on and on

Life launches surprise attacks on us every day. Are you prepared to enter into the unpredictable and do what your heavenly Father instructs you to do? Can you be unafraid? Unmoved? Do you trust Him in your sudden terror?

We know well that He is at work and that He will lead… but we must wait and see.

He’s proven to us that He is our comfort and our refuge in times of trouble… but we must stop and seek.

Because in our sudden terror when we wildly react in our own strength we often make matters worse. When a bee lands on me I break into a crazy dance, arms flailing, body shaking and I scare the bee… provoking it to attack… I make it worse. He tells us to be still and unafraid for long enough to remember that He is God.

It’s a trust thing. A faith thing. It’s a God thing.

I want it all, don’t you?

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This is posted in response to Word Filled Wednesday at Internet Cafe Devotions!

The 7th Commandment

I hear it everywhere. In lines. At restaurants. In movies. At the basketball games. Especially at the basketball games… where we have season tickets for our family! But, it’s everywhere. His Holy name casually being thrown around as vile profanity.

I’m sure you’ve heard it too. It makes me cringe in offense. My body physically responds similarly to the sound of finger nails dragged violently against a chalk board. Fists clenched. Back arched. Face contorted. Smile set to sneer. I am ready for battle.

But, what to do?

Shoot a look that will instantly slice them into a 100 tiny, painful pieces?

Chew them out verbally hoping to publicly humiliate them?

Break out my bible and share the gospel, hoping that they’ll drop to their knees on the spot?

None of that works. The dirty look goes unnoticed or only serves to spur them on. Giving them earful usually only gets a double earful back. And sharing the gospel, well you can imagine how well that would go over. I’ve come to the realization that judging, condemning and admonishing the lost serves no purpose, but to gratify my own sinful urges.

So, what should we do?

Well, this won’t surprise you, but the Bible gives us instructions on how to handle these rocky situations. And it also won’t surprise you to hear that it’s not them we need to learn how to handle it’s us.

We need to…

Exhibit self-control in the midst of outrage.

“Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.” Proverbs 19:11 (NLT)

Be thoughtful and cautious with our words.

“Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. Eclesiastes 5:2 (NLT)

Pray for the lost.

“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. .. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1,3-4 (NLT)

Getting into a verbal altercation with unbelievers in a noble attempt to “defend” God does not bring Him glory. In fact it tempts us into sin. Since when does God need us to defend Him? Never!

The best thing to do is pray. Right there. At the scene. Pray. And somehow knowing that’s all I can do gives me peace. That truth is like cooling water on my burning anger. Bringing me to a place of purpose, where I am filled with mercy and compassion for the souls of the lost.

How about you? Have you encountered God’s name being misused? How have you handled it?

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