Archive: February, 2011

Fresh Popcorn, Old Pizza, and a Tablecloth

Last week, I had the privilege of having my friend/ social worker over to the house. It was our first home-study meeting and my goal was to impress. But of course things didn’t work out as I planned.
Spaghetti sauce dripped and popped over the edge of the skillet and onto the floor. My three girls began a hair-pulling match. A toilet magically stopped itself up. The dog decided to yank left over pizza out of the garbage, which became a gassy gift that kept on giving. Suddenly, the question ringing through my mind wasn’t “How can I impress?” but “How can I survive?”
With five minutes to spare, I frantically wiped down the squeaky ol’ kitchen table smudged with crayon and stained with permanent marker. I tossed on a white table cloth, threw down a couple of candles, and we were ready for a meeting.
After I bribed the kids with popcorn and flipped on Barbie’s, “The Diamond Castle,” we sat down at the table and began our meeting. The social worker asked about our lives, families, jobs, and why we would be good adoptive parents.
I answered questions about my previous marriage and divorce. I described in detail the physical abuse I endured for years. It’s not my favorite conversational piece. However, as soon as the words and phrases rolled off my tongue, I realized God chiseled away those chains a long time ago.
I no longer felt shame.

I no longer cared what anyone thought.

I no longer felt judged by my peers.

I knew what Satan meant for evil, God intended for good, (see Genesis 50:20).
I knew I was lavishly loved by God. Period.
The words from Joel 2:25 quickly came to mind.
“The LORD says, I will give you back what you have lost.”
In that moment, God’s words of Truth came alive in a way they never had before. Yes, Lord you have restored me. Yes indeed, you have given me back what I lost.
I lost my significance but you reminded me it could only be found in you.
I lost my purpose but you created me to be your princess with more purpose than I could ever imagine for myself.
I lost my courage but you restored me to guardian girl status.
I lost divine intimacy but you showed me how to bathe myself in prayer and return to you.
I immediately felt like that old table lurking underneath the stark white tablecloth. I am just like this table stained with unwanted 3 year old murals and dried food that’s never coming off. I too may be a little creaky, extremely uneven, and slightly wobbly but the moment I said “yes,” my King covered me with his stark white robe of righteousness, forever.
But do you know what the greatest news is? He not only covered up the stain of my sin, but he healed it too.
Dear Lord, thank you for restoring me. Even though I’m not the woman I want to be, I’m better than the woman I used to be. Thank you for your love that endures forever. Amen.
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In the Darkness

When my husband travels for work my feeling of safety promptly packs its bags and goes right along with him. Nighttime thrusts me into the wanting arms of despair where I find myself acutely aware of my alone-ness and in complete fear of the darkness.

Did you know that the amount of time that passes from the moment the bottom of the sun kisses the horizon until the top of the sun bids its daytime farewell is less than 5 short minutes?

It is in that time that I am awakened to the opportunities for elusively lurking evil, lingering and waiting in the hidden corners made available by the moon-lit night.

I shrink in the darkness.

When the kids are tucked away in their beds, the TV is off and the lights are out I cannot keep from foreboding what trouble may lie ahead in the coming hours of the night.

The quiet of my room is faithfully interrupted by distant, yet eerily close sounds from unknown origins. As my eyes adjust from pitch black to subtle shades of grays I cannot avoid the mysterious movement of shadows dancing randomly, yet methodically against the crevices of my bedroom windows and walls.

My heart pounds loudly and painfully at my chest as if to escape me in an effort to avoid the on-coming thoughts of the source behind the dancing shadows.

I expect evil in the darkness.

My mind enters the threshold of dark spiritual and worldly possibilities and it sometimes stays there a bit too long.

However, the Holy Spirit, even more faithful than the rising and setting sun, ushers my mind into a super-natural light, fueled by truth that comforts my shaken soul. It sweetly plays the song of Psalm 23:4 on my heart…

 “Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.”

I find Him in the darkness.

Conviction overtakes me as I recall the demon-possessed boy’s father in Mark 9. I am like that father, in my fear asking Jesus to have mercy on me and to help me if He can.

He questions me in this desperate moment… “if I can?” He reminds me… “Anything is possible for him who believes!” And I cry out just like that father… again and again… “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!”

Though dark valleys do call, at night or by passing trial,

I sense your protection, your comfort and your presence with me all the while.

Satan’s fortune is that my distress would deplete and devour me, But my anguish elicits Your being and evil claims no victory.

I trust you my Father, I beg you… increase my faith,

I do believe, you know my heart, cure me, no… save me from my unbelief!

 

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Word Filled Wednesday!

I’m sharing a poem with you today for Word Filled Wednesday. It’s called “My Name is Pride,” by Beth Moore. It has a bit of a bite to it, but I love it because it knocks the pride right out of me…


My name is Pride. 
I am a cheater.
I cheat you of your God-given destiny…
because you demand your own way.
I cheat you of contentment…
because you “deserve better than this.”
I cheat you of knowledge…
because you already know it all.
I cheat you of healing…
because you are too full of you to forgive.
I cheat you of holiness…
because you refuse to admit when you are wrong.
I cheat you of vision…
because you’d rather look in the mirror than out a window.
I cheat you of genuine friendship…
because nobody’s going to know the real you.
I cheat you of love…
because real romance demands sacrifice.
I cheat you of greatness in heaven…
because you refuse to wash another’s feet on earth.
I cheat you of God’s glory…
because I convinced you to seek your own.
My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
You like me because you think I’m always looking out for you.
Untrue.
I’m looking to make a fool of you.
God has so much for you, I admit, but don’t worry…
If you stick with me you’ll never know.
–Beth Moore

Happy, blessed Wednesday dear friends!

Love,
Heidi

Christian Soldiers: Are You Ready?


The kids and I are listening to C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia Radio Theatre by Focus on The Family pretty much every time we get in the car together.

We absolutely love it!

They do a fabulous job of bringing the books to life; we are so engaged by the actors and the imagery that they portray in our minds that we can hardly wait to get back in the car again to pick up where we left off. I did not read the stories as a kid, so listening to the audio dramas for the first time with my children is quite thrilling.

What is most exciting to me is drawing out the many Spiritual references that Lewis masterfully weaves throughout his writing. For example, when Aslan sings Narnia into existence much like God breathed us into life. Another, when Aslan gives up his life for Edmunds transgressions just as Jesus did for us.

And, of course when Aslan comes back to life and conquers the White Witch I can’t help but dwell on the resurrection of Jesus and our hope for His return one day. These were all wonderful opportunities for me to pause the audio and delve deeper with my children into those Spiritual truths giving them a clearer understanding of who we are and the magnitude of what Jesus did for us.


Overall the parallel that stands out to me most between Aslan and God is the great mystery that surrounds them. Both are so rarely there physically, but their presence is very much known to those who believe. They each have loyal followers who don’t always know how or when they will reveal themselves yet it is anticipated none the less. Courage and bravery are required of the characters beyond their ability not because of who they are, but because of who he says they are. Aslan, just like God doesn’t always stop the battle or save every life, but you never doubt that he is in control of the unfolding events.
I know most of us are not crusaders battling it out with the enemy by arrow and by sword literally, but in the Spiritual realm there is a real engagement going on. The push and pull for our souls are at stake and we must keep our battle gear on at all times.
The characters in The Chronicles of Narnia were given, armor, weapons and magic to help them in their conflicts, but we are given something different and it requires more faith and trust in our real God. We are clearly warned…

“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” 

Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT
So, are you geared up and ready to resist the devils schemes… not “getting ready”, but ready now? Because he’s here and he wants to destroy you! I’m asking myself… am I really ready and I’m asking you… are you really ready?

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It’s a Dawna Day! Body and Soul

Do you NOT know 
that you are 
a Temple of GOD 
and 
the Spirit of God 
dwells in you?

1 Corinthians 3:16 
Can you hear the tiniest bit of shock in Paul’s voice? 
The warning: “If any man destroys the Temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is Holy.” 1 Corinthians 3:17
And, that is what you are… a Holy Temple.
My question is: how are you treating God’s temple? 
Like me, have you been focusing on being spiritually prepared for Gods calling, but neglecting “His temple?” Are you making his hands and feet strong, healthy, and ready for action?
I admit, I never gave this much thought let alone took action that is until recently, when I found myself feeling “off.” I was tired, sick, and just not feeling my energetic “ready for anything” self.  I exercise regularly and am at a healthy weight, but something was missing. I started reading and doing a little research. I found what I was missing, the right fuel! If I were a diesel truck, I was putting unleaded in my tank. Ouch, I was headed for trouble.
What I found was something we have all heard: the human tank is to run on vegetables, fruits, tress (nuts& spices), plants (grains) animals (meat and dairy). Where had I seen this list before? The Bible! Yep, there it was in black and white. 
In fact, God created the fuel before he created the body; we were created to eat from the Garden of Eden.  Furthermore, nowhere in Genesis is there mention of a Cheetos factory, no wrapped food, nor was anything artificially flavored or sweetened. In the New Testament, it teaches that Jesus got tired, sat and rested by a well for water, not Diet Pepsi (my nemesis) he ate fish and bread, not a Power bar. Forgive me if I’m stepping on some toes, I would be a liar and a hypocrite if I said I ate perfectly. However, since learning how whacked out our bodies get from these man made factory foods, I have decreased them greatly and have not had a Diet Pepsi since. Pray for me! I do feel Much, much better, and am trying to eat as close to the garden as possible.

In closing, please remember that Denying oneself takes on many forms. We need to be disciplined disciples, and deny the things that desecrate his temple. It is important, that when God calls us into action we can act, not feel forced to say “Sorry unable at this time, my health is failing.”  Some illnesses are unavoidable I understand, but many are preventable. I pray dear sisters that the Holy Spirit convicts you, of how truly special you are and that you are a Holy vessel set aside for His specific use.

The Cost of Non-Discipleship

“… And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple,” (Luke 14:25-27, NLT).

After reading the book Radical, by David Platt, I begin to consider the cost of non-discipleship. It challenges me, grips my heart, and floods my mind. I begin asking the question:

Is it more costly to be a disciple or to have never been one at all? ….

 Today you can join our conversation about this topic at A Moment with God! Will you read the rest on A Moment with God, with me? Oh, thank you! You are awesome!

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Thoughtful Thursday: Do we have more than we need?

Verses of the day: “O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name,” (Proverbs 30:7-9, NLT).
Do I really need this skirt, this new car, or this new “stuff?” The answer is probably not. “Lord, please don’t give me too much because I might forget about you; give me just enough to satisfy my needs.” Have you ever dared to pray a prayer like this? Do you want more of God or just more stuff?
In Proverbs 30, the author begs God for two things. One is to keep falsehoods away from him. The second is a plea for God not to give him too much. The author fears if he has too much or too little, his divine intimacy with God may be negatively affected. His desire is to remain completely dependent upon God, no matter the cost. This prayer is reflective of complete surrender to a greater person and a greater agenda. He prays for God to provide just enough to get him through the day, nothing more, nothing less…just daily bread. This kind of prayer is the exact opposite of the kinds of prayers we as Americanized Christians pray today, don’t you think?
Usually our prayers sound more like this: God, please give me enough so I can be independent and ‘make it’ on my own. Please give me a big savings account so I’ll always be financially secure. Oh and God, please grow my 401K so I can comfortably retire to an ocean side golfing community. Amen.
Instead, what if we prayed more like this? God, please give me just enough because I don’t want anything to steal away divine intimacy with you; please only give me the monetary blessings you see fit; and retirement- please help me to remember that my precious treasure is in heaven, not here on earth.
I think the point of these verses is to warn us. They make us aware that sometimes the more we have the less we need God. What do you think?

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How Are Your Roots Today?…And I Don’t Mean Hair!

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This post was written in response to WFW at Internet Cafe Devotions

Tangled Lights

Has sin tangled with your emotions and left behind a knotted mess in your heart? It’s like trying to straighten a string of lights on an overly dried-out Christmas tree. Why in heaven’s name is taking the lights off a tree so much harder than putting them on?
Two weeks after Christmas, my mother-in-law and I begin pulling the lights away from the crispy branches. Razor sharp pine needles poke through my t-shirt as I reach over the top to grab the lights she’s tossing over. In the midst of our light removing efforts, the strings intertwine and knot themselves into a post Yule tide mess. It makes a girl wonder how three strands of 150 twinkling lights can pull such a snag in a perfectly good day.
Trying to untangle strands of lights is discouraging. But even more discouraging is dealing with emotions tangled in sin. Have you ever tried yanking the kinks out of raw emotions only to find a bigger knot than you started with?
Sin is the root of most emotional entanglements.
Sin tangles with our emotions. I believe it’s the catalyst for emotional catastrophe.
Sin is subtle. It twists, bends, and distorts truth. Like a mirage, it looks beautiful from a distance but up close it’s a distorted mess.
Sometimes, we get so tangled in sin that we forget what it’s like to be God’s girl. We get accustom to the presence of sin twisting through our lives that it becomes the new “normal.”
Unleashed emotions roaring out of control lead to sin.
Emotional messes seem to catapult us into the kind of sin we never thought we’d indulge in. Until one day after folding the fourth load of laundry, our well-meaning-selves begin dabbling in things that have real sin potential.
At this moment, we must ask ourselves: Are we choosing sin over spiritual holiness? Are we turning away from the teachings of Jesus? Are we growing numb to sins that seem insignificant?
I like the way the Message paraphrases Deuteronomy 30:16,
“And I command you today: Love GOD, your God. Walk in his ways. Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by GOD, your God, in the land you are about to enter and possess.”
After a little pulling, twisting, and unraveling, my husband’s mama and I succeed in separating the strands of lights. This is what God’s presence in our lives can do. He loosens our kinks, untangles our emotions, and pours divine de-tangler over our knots.

So, how do we invest in a tangle free plan? Verse 16 tells us –

~Love God,

~Walk in his ways, and

~Keep his commandments.

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Remembering Your First Love

“Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent,” (Rev. 2:5 HCSB).

This Valentine’s Day, let’s remember our first love.

Remember

~don’t forget the desert times;

~remember what it was like the day you accepted Christ.

Remorse

~ remorse for back-turning;

~ sorrow for sin.

Repent

~confess your sins;

~realize He doesn’t exist for us, We exist for Him.

Renew

~ God uses the longings of our hearts to bring us into a deeper relationship with Him;

~ We begin doing things out of love for Him.

Return

~ return to your first love; the One who first loved you;

~ make sure our light (lampstand) still burns for the glory of God.

Retain

~the Bible is a book about God;

~get to know Him.

Your earthly Valentine may bring you candy, but your divine Valentine, the Lord Your God, provides you with something even sweeter, His Holy Word.

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103

Happy Valentines Day Sweet Sisters!
Love, Kelli

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