Archive: March, 2011

Enemy Puzzle by, Dawna

I have made a discovery: people who earnestly seek Gods word really enjoy reading the Bible. They are all smiles and very encouraged, that is until they come to Mathew 5:43-44 (The love your enemy’s verse). I think very few of us read that and say… “Piece of cake, you can count on me God!” At first I read it at least three times waiting for it to sink in and my spirit to take over with happiness and thanksgiving….it never came!
I prayed for conviction and revelation. What he gave me was a piece to a puzzle… 
Never take your own vengeance, beloved, 
but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 
“Vengeance is Mine, I will repay says the Lord.” 
Romans 12:19
There in the stillness a vision I am familiar with came to mind; a long line of hungry kids; a lunch line that always seemed to have a kid that tried to cut in line. Ah, I see the Lord is kindly asking to be first in line, and who wouldn’t let God go first? 
Ok God, I can do that. In fact, I want to do that, but how do I do that when I come face to face with my enemy? The solution was the final piece of the puzzle. Romans 12:20 tells us to feed our enemy if he is hungry and give him a drink if he is thirsty. 
Ok Lord, so if I’m getting this right, you want me to love, feed and give drink to this person that is perhaps rude, arrogant, selfish, prideful, dishonest, rebellious, etc… after a few minutes of silence the pieces to the “Love your Enemy Puzzle” came together.
It is quite simple really… He is asking us to baby-sit.
Maybe I need to elaborate … we are to watch over His children, He is asking that we love them, feed them, give them drink and if they act up, He will punish them when He picks them up. That got me to thinking about my “enemies” and I suddenly wanted to warn them, help them before dad comes and they are in deep trouble!
I have put this in practice and let me say that babysitting for God pays very well, no veins popping out, no heart palpitations, it feels much better knowing I just obeyed God, and gave Him what is rightfully His… The judgment seat. 
Oh, one more thing if it makes you feel better… Romans 20:20 says by doing these things… feeding, giving drink (being nice) to them you will heap burning coals on their head! They really hate it when you are nice to them, just saying 🙂

Word Filled Wednesday!

I asked for strength…  God gave me difficulties to make me strong. 
I asked for wisdom…  God gave me problems to learn to solve.
I asked for prosperity … God gave me a brain and a brawn to work.
I asked for courage…  God gave me dangers to overcome.
I asked for patience… God placed me in situations where I was forced to wait.
I asked for love…  God gave me troubled people to help.
I asked for favors…  God gave me opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted… and everything I needed!
— Author Unknown


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The Crossroads

I love road trips! I think you will agree that good driving directions are essential for successful road trip. Technology offers us some great options that promise to get us where ever we want to go. Google maps, auto navigation systems and Smart Phones easily do all the map work for us. But, even though our old AAA maps seem outdated we still like to keep one handy in our glove box just in case technology steers us wrong… and, it has!
Getting lost is never fun. It takes precious travel time to figure it out. Whether you’re just staring at the map or finding reliable local expert assistance time will be lost.
Life is like that sometimes too, isn’t it?
You find yourself steadily moving along and suddenly you’re at a crossroads. You pull right up to your own personal intersection of life and wonder “where the good way is?”

Crossroads are planted everywhere and they are unique to each individual, but what it all boils down to for each of us are the choices we make each day. And, really it’s about “who” we are making choices for.

We live in a fast paced, self-involved world and it’s spinning so fast most of the time that we are making decisions by the minute, sometimes without thought. And, because of this our own plans and selfish desires often make their way on to the path ahead.

Guess what? The crossroads are not there by accident.

They are reminders. Free supernatural moments handed down to us by our loving Creator causing us to stop and seek the ancient paths to find the good way… His way.

Standing at the crossroads, we put on the breaks to our own urgent agenda; remain still long enough to clearly see beyond ourselves for His way ahead.

So, what should we do at the crossroad?

Get out your road map The Bible.  Just like the fold-up maps our Bible can overwhelm us at times, especially when we are feeling stranded and pressed for time. But, it’s the only way!

Seek expert assistance godly counsel to confirm your new direction. God often gives us great wisdom through the people around us and we are wise to seek it.

Pray Seek Him and test whatever advice you are given by others.

Just like on a road trip, pulling out the bible and seeking godly council will cost us precious travel time. More than that, pursuing Jesus first in our lives means we absolutely will lose our lives. But, in return we get to claim His promises…

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” 
Matthew 16:25


That motivates me… you?

The simple reminder that our eternal lives are at stake by not following Jesus gets my attention, but it’s not enough and it’s selfish thinking too. Don’t get me wrong our eternal lives are at stake and that should motivate us, but we ought to follow Jesus because HE is GOD and because we love Him desperately and so much more than our own life.

If we sincerely seek the good way it can always be found in the ancient paths… the old ways. That’s exactly why God gave us the Living Word, to guide us through this life. It may indeed be old, but as Ecclesiastes reminds us “there is nothing new under the sun.”

What we do at the crossroads determines whether or not we’ll find the rest that our souls are longing for. 


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As Promised…

Pictures from the Matthew West concert Kelli and I went to on Friday night!!!

We bought VIP tickets, so we got in early and got to meet Matthew West and take a picture with him…

Heidi, Michelle, Gina, Kelli, Mandy and Matthew!
Josh Wilson opened the show and he did a great job…
With our VIP tickets we were able to select our seats before the rest of the crowd, so we had fabulous center stage seats about 8 rows back. Last time we went to see him we were stuck on the far right side with limited view and we left with sore necks! Needless to say we were super excited about our seats this time!!!
For the Story of Your Life Matthew went to a cabin and read some 10,000 letters from people looking for inspiration to write his new songs. For the show he wanted to bring us to the cabin with him, so they had a cabin projected in the background…
He’s such a great entertainer, so genuine and funny. At one point he told us how he wondered and feared that he wasn’t really making a difference, that he was just preaching to the choir. But, God showed him through those letters and through writing these songs that the people of God are filled with hurts and sorrow just as much as the unsaved and that they need healing too and to be reminded where their strength comes from. 
Each of his songs from the Story of Your Life were written based on one of those letters, some that he shared with us were….
Strong Enough — about a girl who was in a terrible car accident that changed her life forever and made her run to God for the strength to get through.
Family Tree — about a girl from a dysfunctional family who was told that it would be her legacy and God spoke to her said I am your legacy.
To Me — about a middle school kid who is bullied and made fun of and how his true value in God.
One Less — about a couple who had other plans for their life as empty nesters, but God had another plan for them to adopt a little girl from Guatemala.
Broken Girl — about girls who were sexually abused as a children… there were a lot of these letters. The song expresses how only the love of God can truly heal our brokenness. 
Two Houses — about a girl whose father walked out on her family and how we have a heavenly Father who will never leave us.  
Survivor — a song written to encourage a woman battling cancer. It’s encouragement for anyone struggling in this life.
And, The Healing Has Begun is about a woman who had an abortion when she was 18 and God’s healing. 
But, this song is for all of us… our own healing… each of us likely relates to at least one of these stories and we’ve either experienced His healing or are in the process of tasting it for ourselves. We all need His grace, His love and the Hope that He offers us. 
I relate to several of the songs, but over all the one that touches my heart the deepest and covers all of my personal sorrow is Family Tree…
  

Which of Matthew’s songs connects you right to the heart of God?


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Four Words Ladies…

Matthew West Tonight Y’all!

Pictures Monday!

I’m Not Lazy, I’m Just Resting…

*This post is written in response to Bonnie Gray’s Faith Barista Jam! http://www.faithbarista.com/

When I was growing up, my folks had serious rules about resting on Sundays. I’ll admit, my brother and I thought our parents used it as an excuse to be lazy. We praised Jesus on Sundays and that was it. Period. We went to church, came home, ate a big meal, and took a nap. We finished homework on Saturdays. My daddy never mowed the lawn after church. He never churned his famous home-made ice cream either. My mama prepared Sunday meals mostly on Saturdays. She refused to even grade her Chemistry papers on Sunday. Yep one thing’s for sure, if you were in my family resting on Sunday was mandatory.
As a little girl, I figured everyone on my street probably did the same thing. Instead of staying up late on a Saturday night watching the ‘Dukes of Hazzard,’ they were carefully selecting their Sunday best. Maybe they too were coordinating shoes, hats, and gloves like me. Later, in High School, I realized no one cared what they wore to church. Most of them didn’t even go to church.
Suddenly, I became aware of all the Sunday activities going on. I watched as the neighbors manicured their lawns, construction people hammered things while smoking something other than cigarettes, and kids were riding bikes and eating ice cream. It became blatantly obvious. We were the only ones napping and watching Lifetime movies on Sundays, and that was so not cool.
Now as I strive to become a sold-out Gospel girl, I appreciate my parent’s ambition to honor God by practicing a day of rest. Resting is a gift from the One who created us. God knew His baby girls would feel insane come Friday afternoon at 5:00pm. He knew we may feel like throwing in the towel. He knew we’d be tired of all the running around. So He commanded us to take a day for reflection, restoration, and rejuvenation. After six crazy days of being plumb worn out, who wouldn’t want some of that?
If our ambition is to imitate Christ then maybe we should begin taking inventory of our Sunday activities. Maybe scratch a few things off our “to-do” lists.
I love how the Message paraphrases Exodus 20:9-10 (HCSB, emphasis added):
“Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to GOD, your God. Don’t do any work—For in six days GOD made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore GOD blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.”
God set us apart for Himself just like He set apart the Sabbath as his holy day. He knows what we need even before we do. Maybe he knew how busy we’d all become and wanted to ensure we stopped at least once a week to spend quality time with Him.
I don’t always rest on Sundays like I should. But when I do, I feel like a new woman. For me, resting removes the crazy and chaos and replaces it with peace and serenity…just the way God intended.

How do you honor God on Sundays?

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God’s Recipe for Peace

1. Be full of joy always;


2. Be considerate in all you do;


3. Don’t worry, pray instead;


4. Tell God what you need; and


5. Be thankful to God for everything.


Happy Word Filled Wednesday Y’all!
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This post was written in response to WFW at Internet Cafe Devotions

Satan’s Words are Alot Like Kudzu

Do you ever feel like you aren’t good enough? Like you don’t make a difference? Do you realize those thoughts come from Satan? I don’t know about you, but Satan’s tyrannical taunts are like Kudzu around my heart.
In Georgia, where I was raised, the Kudzu vine grows rampant. It wraps its green ivy-like arms around everything in its path. Trees, telephone poles, homes–it doesn’t discriminate. Kudzu is a vine that when left uncontrolled will eventually grow over anything in its proximity. It kills trees by blocking sunlight, stealing nourishment, and stunting growth.
Satan’s words can be like Kudzu. If we aren’t careful, they can be growth stunt-ers, joy-killers, promise-grabbers, and desire-destroyers.
Maybe you too have heard similar whispers:
You can’t get up early enough to read your Bible – you’re a failure;
Look at you, you’re yelling at your kids again – you’re a horrible mother;
Your past is too shameful – people won’t accept you;
If you really believe in God, then why can’t you produce spiritual fruit?
Sometimes, these words take the shape of a small vine. They start small seeming insignificant. But after a while, self-defeating words begin winding and wrapping themselves around our vulnerable hearts…

Making us hesitate.
Making us question.
Making us believe we are less than.
Then we become tangled and twisted by these un-truths. And y’all, that is exactly what they are… lies, lies, and more lies.
Satan chooses a script he knows we’ll fall for. He rummages through old files to see what tripped us up last time. Then once we’re hooked he chips away at our dignity, our pride, and ultimately our hearts. Piece by piece, day after day…
chip, chip, chip.
We weren’t made for Satan’s cheap shots, we were made for God’s Promises.
We must untangle ourselves from Satan’s twine of lies. We need to reclaim our position as Jesus girls and secure our ‘princess with purpose’ status. We must walk in truth with our Savior and give Satan the boot.
We don’t have to be victimized by the Kudzu vine anymore. Instead, we can be “rooted in Christ” (see Col. 2:7); and joined together with the ultimate vine– the vine of Christ, (see John 15:5-8), forever and ever, Amen!
So girls when Satan tries to wedge himself in between you and God this week, how will you respond? Let’s promise each other that when it happens, we will all say with finger-snapping punctuation, “I know what you’re up to evil one so take a hike!”

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