Archive: January, 2011

Everyday Christian

Hi sweet friends! I am blogging over at Everyday Christian today, so please come over and visit me there! http://www.everydaychristian.com/blogs/post/9389/

Many Blessings!
Heidi

What’s Got a Grip on You?

In case you’re unfamiliar with this clunky, metal device pictured above it’s called a vice-grip. It’s a tool with two grasping jaw like sides used to hold objects tightly in place.

A little play on words came to mind recently as I thought of how my own personal vices get a death grip on me. We all have a bad habit that by itself is pretty innocent, but given in to our needy, hungry flesh it firmly grasps onto us and drags us somewhat willingly into sin.

Some common weaknesses that I’m thinking of are…

Food

Shopping

Alcohol

Internet/Computer

TV/Entertainment

Anything we run after habitually for comfort and relief ahead of Christ has already begun to stink and decay. It puts us right in the dark seat of sin. Essentially what we do is take this “thing” that our flesh relishes and intentionally get on our knees to bow down to it.

Sounds a lot more like an idol now doesn’t it?

Indeed, there is a fine line between vices and idols… if any line at all.

My personal struggle is with food. No matter the mood I find temporary comfort and satisfaction in food. Now, it leaves me completely empty and starved for more, but I keep going back… that’s a vice.

Besides food, if I’m not really careful the Internet is trouble for me too. It’s so easy to find exactly the answer you’re looking for to pretty much anything if you just “google it!” Not that it’s always the right answer, but you will eventually find the one you want to hear.

I am reading Lysa Terkeurst’s new book Made to Crave,” which I highly recommend to anyone even if what troubles you is not food. Lysa offers a lot of great, godly advice on how to deal with these sinful habits that we get ourselves into. A simple statement she says that gets my attention is…

“We were made for more than this.”

And, it’s true. Really. It is.

God’s word also reminds us…

“Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:13 (NLT)

When we head straight for a habit to get the peace and refreshing that we can only get from Him we will always come back dry and desperately thirsting for more. If in our suffering we turn to Christ our endless need for “whatever” is forever quenched by Him.

Ah, I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s SO not easy. But, I am experiencing the taste of a little victory. And, I must admit it has a much better flavor than anything else I’ve ever tried.

The beautiful thing is that instead of me compromising my relationship with Him, I’m starting to notice the grip of my vice beginning to loosen.

So, what’s got a grip on you? Will you join me for a little living water?

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*Participating in Word Filled Wednesday at the Internet Cafe, go there and be encouraged!

Dealing With Unmet Expectations

Who are you holding responsible right now to meet your expectations?

Your husband?

Your kids?

Your friends?

Your boss?

Your parents?

Imagine for a moment the freedom you would feel in those relationships if the pressure for them to meet your needs was released.

Feels good, doesn’t it?

That’s the way it should be you know. I know it’s not. It’s true in my life too, but if we are indeed looking to follow God’s Word than this is an area that needs correction. It’s urgent too, because our relationships, our marriages especially are taking daily power blows because of this crushing burden that we wrongly place on others.

Psalm 62:5 in the New Living Translation says…

“Let all that I am wait quietly

before God, for my hope is in Him.”

Webster’s defines the word hope: to desire with expectation of obtainment, to expect with confidence, to trust.

The King James Version of Psalm 62:5 says…

“My soul, wait thou only upon God;

for my expectation [is] from him.”

Hope and expectation are used interchangeably in the two versions, they mean the same thing. To put your hope in God means that you place your expectations in Him too.

As Christians we must never forget that it is and forever will be God who fulfills all of our hopes and expectations. The people in our lives are only the vessel by which He chooses to use to perform the act of fulfilling all that we need and desire.

Dangerous things can happen when we rely on people to meet our needs. We will more than likely find ourselves drowning in a sea of disappointment. Over time that disappointment will spill over into our hearts and a bitter root will spring to life and resentment rolls right in after it.

Bitter roots are destructive to any relationship, but particularly a marriage, often times bringing it to a slow and painful death from the inside out.

By placing our hope and expectations in the people we love we literally risk the health and life of our relationships. It’s careless and often costly.

If we rightly place our hopes and expectations in the hands of our creator there is no one left to blame when they are left unmet. By doing this we hold no person responsible for fulfilling our needs, we bypass anger, bitterness, resentment and our relationships are protected. That is good news! This is a great battle plan against the flesh and the devil.

The only way we can truly place our hopes and expectations in Gods hands is by taking all of our requests to Him (Phil.4:6).

He’s not only waiting, but wanting to hear our every concern, our every desire our deepest needs. We can trust Him with our hopes and we can expect His very best plans for us.

So, how should we receive our unmet expectations?

As an answer from God. It may come as a resounding “No”, but it may also simply mean “Wait.”

And because we know His ways are not our ways and His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) we can accept His answer and feel “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) The assurance of answered prayer brings about precious longed-for peace.

Father, you are the awesome fulfiller of all that we need and desire. It is so easy to get off track by expecting others in this world to meet our needs. Forgive me for allowing any bitterness to take root in my own heart, for risking the very relationships that you have handed to me as a gift. Help me to wait quietly and only upon you, my hope is in you and only you. Faithful God continue to allow me to veer off path so that you can keep rescuing me and revealing to me your precious and Holy Truth.

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Dusted off, completely revised, revamped and reposted in response to Marriage Mondays at…



Broken Shells, Written by Debbie Dillon

We walked beneath jagged patterns of Monterey Cypress that jutted out from rocks and cliffs; their twisted, tangled branches formed by the swift breath of the sea. Each swell of surf deposited even more bits and pieces of shell and rock onto a beach already peppered with remnants of the mystery taking place beneath the rise and fall of each wave.

My daughter and I zigzagged our way from trinket to trinket, fascinated with the many colors and shapes and filling our pockets with each little treasure.

Together, we searched for the whole shells; the most beautiful ones miraculously complete and still intact without flaw or crack.

But I soon realized the beauty left unappreciated in the remnants. What about the broken pieces randomly strewn about?

I marveled at the history recorded in the ragged edges worn smooth by every turn of the tide. If they’d remained fully intact, they wouldn’t have been nearly as unique nor as interesting.

It’s the cracks, the breaks, the scarring that produce strength of character and make each one stand out among the rest, I’d decided.

How amazing that something so small and fragile could withstand the rough and raging sea only to emerge bearing evidence of the journey, and to speak such a vivid story.

It’s in our brokenness that we look to the only One who holds our missing pieces. The One who sees His children whole and vibrant. The One who looks beyond flaws and mistakes and into the heart of His creation.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
~(Psalm 34:18) NIV

You’re forever beautiful to Him whether broken or whole; crumbling with the world around you, or dancing on top of it.

How wonderful to belong to the God who holds the missing pieces that restore and replenish. And He does indeed hold them…there, in the scars of His hands.

“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence … I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
~(Ephesians 3:12; 16-19) NIV

Thanks to our sweet friend, Debbie Dillon, for guest posting this morning. Please visit her website http://www.writin4him.blogspot.com/ for more daily inspiration. I know you’ll be as encouraged as we are!

Author Bio:
Debbie Dillon is a wife (of 22 years), mom of two teenagers, a church secretary, women’s ministry leader, a writer, coffee lover, chocolate devourer and follower of Christ. Her articles have appeared on various web sites as well as in print. When she’s not blogging or networking, she’s cooking, working in her garden or sneaking off to the plant shop. You’re invited to join her at the Writin’ 4 Him Café:

Deny

Deny Yourself and Be Different.

The word that will forever be etched in my mind is “deny.” God breathes these words across my heart, “Lay down more of you, so you can pick up more of me… You are still way too comfortable. Get uncomfortable and follow me!”

Lay aside the bad relationship that is causing you to lower your standards and follow me;

Lay aside that situation screaming with sin potential and follow me;

Lay aside your “center stage” moments, come behind the scenes, and follow me.

At some point in our lives, we must make the decision to follow Jesus no matter what. No matter how much it costs, no matter where He leads. Even when our body aches to do what we want, we have to be willing to follow instead.

Let’s exchange glamorous for righteousness.

Who said denying ourselves would be easy and fun? Who said the red carpet would roll out and parties would be thrown because we served a meal to the homeless? It isn’t fun. It isn’t glamorous. It’s a roll up your sleeves and sweat through your shirt kind of work. Sometimes it’s really hard.

I have trouble thinking of what modern day “denial of self” would look like. So just for fun, here are a few examples.

*Your day has been a total mess. Your un-showered hair smells like a wreck. You feel like pulling into the local shopping center, parking, and crying for a couple of hours. All you want to do is drown your sorrows and escape your pain. Instead of making a pit stop at the local bar, deny yourself that drink. Remove the chains of addiction and instead chain yourself to God’s purpose.

*Someone interrupts your day and engages you in gossip. You feel trapped. You want to plug your ears and go running for the hills, but there you are actively listening. Ears are burning and they aren’t yours. You know a juicy scoop that would go nicely on top of all the other slander. But you deny yourself the pleasure of telling what you know. You deny yourself by walking away and rejecting to participate in gossip.

*You become angry. You are in a fender bender. It was your fault but it feels good to blame the other person. You can stomp your feet, flail your arms, and cry out if you need to but deny yourself the satisfaction that anger and harsh words can bring. Deny yourself the speech of hateful words that would so easily roll right off your tongue and instead hold every thought captive.

*There is a steamy T.V. program on that you don’t want to miss. This show would make even your mamma sweat. You realize this program is not appropriate to watch but you want to see it anyway. Deny yourself the pleasure of being entertained by scandal and instead use that hour for devotional time.

For me, this year will be about denying myself. Not just sacrificing the purchase of a super cute outfit, but really denying myself to follow Jesus. Won’t you join me?

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This post is written in response to Bonnie Gray’s Faith Barista weekly topics. Please go check her out!
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I’m NOT Working Out!



My resolution this year is NOT to work out. But before y’all lay down your dumbbells, toss aside your jump ropes, and kick the exercise balls to the curb…please hear me out.

I’m not saying we Jesus girls don’t need a little strengthening and toning. I’m not saying we shouldn’t work out this year. And I’m not saying exercise is bad—because studies show it promotes healthy living.

However…

What I am doing is presenting a challenge for us work-out kings and queens.

The question is do you work on your outward beauty more than your inward beauty? Are you spending more time working out your body than working out your faith?

Confession: I didn’t exercise the entire year of 2010– unless you count chasing kids and running up and down stairs with 10 pounds of laundry (for the record, I totally count this). For me personally, the more I exercise the more I focus on me.



Do my hips look good in these pants now that I’ve done all those leg lifts?

Is my stomach flat after all those crunches?

Why do I still see dimples when I’ve been working so hard?

Seemingly, time I spend on me is time I don’t spend with God.

You may not have this issue, but for me it works.

The point of 1 Timothy 4 verse 8 is to challenge us in the area of gospel training. Even though working out is good for the body, getting into God’s Word is even better for the soul.

Resolution: This year, let’s make sure our physical toning isn’t taking priority over our spiritual tuning.

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This post was written in response to WFW at Internet Cafe Devotions. Go Check it out!


Experiencing God at the Kitchen Table


My bottom lip quivers with emotion as my eyes squeeze back happy tears. Her dainty seven year old hands clench mine. With a high pitched, little girl voice she reverently prays to God. “I have decided to follow you Jesus,” she says firmly. She feels, hears, and sees God with innocent child-like faith. With tear stained faces and tightly squeezed hands, we conclude our prayer with “Amen.”

We remain seated at the kitchen table in pin-dropping silence. Then she hops off my lap, flashes her toothless 2nd grader smile, and skips up to bed. I think to myself, “Whatever view I had of you God—I know now you are even greater.”

I remember when I first believed…

The movement of the Holy Spirit jolted my soul awake. It felt as if the Spirit yanked my limbs into action as an unexplainable joy moved through me. But I also remember that somewhere along the way, I thought being saved went something like this: you prayer a prayer, ask Jesus into your heart, and you go to heaven…the end.

Salvation isn’t just about a one-time act or one emotional prayer. It’s about making a decision and following through with it.

There is a point in time when God opens our eyes to what Christ did. As we begin to follow, God opens our eyes to what Christ does.

“…Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose,” (Philippians 2:12-13, NIV).

This verse explains that after we accept Christ, we spend the rest of our lives following Him and “working out our salvation.”

God empowers us to work out our own salvation.

We are to discover our salvation for ourselves as we pursue a relationship with God. We are to work it out by reading God’s Word and coming up with our own ideas. Not ideas we hear in church but ideas God reveals to us as we read his Holy Word. Only then will salvation truly be our own.

As I turn out the lights in my kitchen, I reverently stand before God in my fuzzy brown slippers and mistletoe pajamas. I’ll never forget this night. My baby girl’s decision to actively pursue God will forever be etched across my heart.

Her personal love story with Jesus is just beginning….

Reflection for your day:

Are you following God with everything you’ve got? Are you realizing that there is more to following Jesus than just praying a prayer and walking down the church aisle? Are you digging deep into the Word and working out your own salvation?

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When God Girls Choose Sin


My parents raised me to be a y’all using, grits eating, horse riding Southern Baptist kind of girl. We attended church every Sunday, Girls in Action (GA’s) every Wednesday night, Bible drills, and youth camps. To say that I was exposed to religion would be an understatement. Y’all might say I was sopping in it– like a biscuit smothered in red-eye gravy.

Yet there seems to be a snag in the fabric of this little girl’s life. Once I reach the age of 19, this God girl chooses sin instead of her Savior. She chooses suffering instead of saving. I should have high-tailed it as fast as I could away from sin, but instead I flirt with it, I test it, and I push its limits. I am dressing like a Christian, looking like a Christian, proclaiming to be a Christian, but certainly not acting like a Christian.

What happened?

Why did I think the opposite side of the street apart from God would be sunnier? Did I take my blessings for granted because I got used to them? Did I get too comfy in those cherry wood pews?

I used to be the Bible drill queen. I could locate any book of the Bible in 6 seconds flat, but my head knowledge never truly became heart knowledge. This girl chose sin because she knew informational religion instead of transformational relationship.

Why did this good girl choose sin?

Somehow, somewhere, I ceased to be amazed by an all-powerful, all-mighty God. I never denied myself. I never gave until it hurt. I didn’t trust God the way he calls us too. I got comfortable and lazy. I sat in the pew of a mega church because that’s what good girls did. I wore my control top pantyhose, sear sucker dress, and oversized hat because my mamma told me to. After a while a girl becomes more amazed by the cutie sitting in the back of the church than what’s going on in the front of the church.

Sin will always be around trying to lure and entice us.

Unfortunately, for me, tragedy had to strike before I woke up from my sin stupor. I had to learn denial of self 101 the hard way. God allowed extreme hardship in my life so that today I could stand in absolute awe of Him, never ceasing to be amazed.

My prayer for this New Year is that even though we may want to sin, we will deny ourselves anyway. We will be determined to pursue absolute devotion and radical obedience. And most importantly, I pray that we will NEVER EVER cease to be amazed by our awesome God.

“That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.”

~ Romans 6:12-14 (The Message)

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