Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
This was yet the 10th good chapter in this book. So this is what I took from this chapter:
God's love is true and reliable, but sometimes we don't feel worthy of being loved by God. Sometimes, because of things that happened in our past, we think the Lord could never love us. Uggh! For the longest time I let my past run my life. Keeping me uninvolved with other Christian women and just staying in a pit of shame. See, if I stayed out of the picture and not let anyone get to close to me, then they wouldn't know the real me. From a distance I could portray the perfect Christian woman, but nose to nose, I knew I'd never be able to pull it off. All because I believed what Satan spoke over me versus what my Savior speaks over me. I was unworthy and I knew it. I'm still unworthy of God's love, but now I know He is worthy of my devotion.
The Bible tells us that even as children of God, we are not free from troubles. Jesus said, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But, take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
I love that promise at the end...He has overcome the world. Webster's says that overcome means to defeat, make helpless or exhausted. The one who does such a good job at keeping us useless by keeping us shameful of our past has been defeated, made helpless and exhausted by Jesus Christ as soon as we believe Him to be Who He is.
Troubles in our lives don't mean that God doesn't care. During these times when we feel alone and betrayed, we must not give an ear to Satan's lies. Instead, we must trust that God is acting in love on our behalf even in dire circumstances. Even though our fears may lead us to believe otherwise, God, and what He allows into our lives, is always motivated by one thing: love.
I thought long and hard on this while thinking of Tre'von. He is the son of Charity, a 36 year old single Mom who just died from cancer this month. How does he believe that what God has allowed to happen to him and his Mom is out of love? This is where I put my own understanding aside and lean on God and trust that Tre is going to grow up to be the man that Charity wanted him to be and so much more if Tre trusts that God has His best for him. Tough to look at a parent less 15 year old and think God knows what He is doing, but I must trust instead of try to figure it out.
We can experience His love without shame or fear, knowing that troubles don't mean God doesn't care. They mean He does care. Every move God makes on our behalf is based on love. God allows the hard things in life to develop genuine faith in us so that we are able to stand when the next storm comes our way.
Experiencing the love of God is so much different than where I allowed my past to take me. The love of God is shameless and fearless and I know He cares for me.
A person who knows and believes God loves her will not live in fear. If fear is present, the person doesn't understand God's love for her.
It's true that those who remain in sin definitely have something to dread---God's judgement. On the other hand, those who seek His forgiveness always find mercy. While sin separates us from fellowship with God, it doesn't separate us from His love. We always have an open invitation into God's presence by way of honest remorse.
I loved the story of the adulteress woman Micca shared with us from John 8:1-11.
I love that God doesn't base His love for us on our performance and that no matter how ridiculous our choices are that we are welcomed back into His presence 24/7. Micca also pointed out that there will be consequences to our choices, but God's love doesn't stop because of what we choose to do outside His will. So comforting. While we may suffer the cost of our actions, god is not out to condemn us. He's out to set us free from the chains of sin that bind us. Therefore, we have nothing to fear.
No matter how far we miss the mark in living out His plan for our lives, God is never ashamed to offer us His love. He's not waiting for us to mess up so that HE can punish us. He's waiting to restore us. Therefore, we should never be frightened to stand in His presence before His throne of grace and mercy. It's there that we find peace and new beginnings. Our teenage daughter being pregnant again...twice in one year I have to admit has been very embarrassing for me. She is due with her 2nd baby on June 7th and so her belly is sticking out pretty far. This past weekend our son had a basketball tournament and when I saw her walk in, I wanted to ask her to walk underneath the bleachers instead of the full length of the basketball court as we were sitting on the opposite side of the entrance. Almost 9 months pregnant and holding a 1 year old walking in front of many people she could feel all eyes on her, but then my Mom popped up and ran to meet her mid-court and take Amiyah from her. Pure love and grace displayed in front of many people including my selfishness. God is much like that...He runs to meet us no matter what we have done when we show true repentance.
The only true place to find unconditional love an acceptance is in God. He knows our need. I remember hearing a song when I was growing up called Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. How often women do that. Desperate for love we look in the wrong places such as bars, work, magazines, etc. If only we would look into God's Word and let Him be the love of our lives. Being secure in God's love means we no longer have to wonder, pretend, impress, or seek acceptance elsewhere. We are certain that God is pleased with us just as we are----flaws and all.
Micca also tells us that In God's love, we have nothing to fear. We don't dread someone who loves us and has our best interest at heart. Instead, we run to him.
Friday, May 22, 2009
He called a little child and had him stand among them.
Sometimes I over think God.
I try to complicate having a relationship with Him.
Some think they have to know everything about Moses down to what he liked to eat before they are allowed to be close to Jesus.
We put pressure on ourselves to know every Bible story before we dare share Him with anyone else for fear of getting it wrong.
We compare ourselves to the likes of world known Bible teacher Beth Moore or the famous preacher Billy Graham and when we don't come close we shy away from who God wants us to be.
And really, all Jesus wants is for us to become like a child and just come to Him. That's it.
So my mind has been thinking on this. What did He mean when He pulled that child up to Him and told them...
Our 7 year old Alivia's world is simple.
*When she worships Jesus it's for Him. She doesn't worry about those around her.
*The look on her face during worship at church is the same pure joy she has when I've walked in on her worshipping in her bedroom.
*She's the same behind closed doors and in public. It is what it is.
*She doesn't need to go on a 300 hundred dollar shopping spree she can't afford on a credit card to make her smile or feel better. Putting a quarter in a gum ball machine will do.
*Heartache to her is when she has to watch the ice cream truck roll by.
*Blessing is when she gets to buy overpriced ice cream curb side at her house.
The other day as I was braiding her hair, I was talking about something and I can't remember what it was, but I do remember that with all of her 7 year wisdom she shared this with me...
It's kind of like...apples and oranges.
Cats and dogs.
Orange juice and toothpaste.
Didn't make sense to me, but I could tell the way she looked at me she knew exactly what point she was trying to make.
To her it was simple.
I was trying to compare whatever my problem was and to her, there was no comparison.
They were complete opposites. And if you have ever taken a swig of O.J. after brushing your teeth, you know what she is talking about...the two don't go well together.
Just like an overcomplicated relationship we think Jesus wants with us versus a simple Jesus Loves Me joy filled relationship. They don't compare. One is forced, the other is what it is.
Don't get me wrong here, Jesus wants us to learn His Word. He wants us to know about Him and the people mentioned in the Bible, but we don't have to be scholars to be in relationship with Him. He wants you as is. The only requirement is that you believe in Him.
Jesus just wants us to come to Him.
Having a relationship with Him isn't about being religious. It's not about having all the answers.
It's about a friendship, a trust and a love like no other.
Exact opposite of what He wants with us.
Don't over complicate Him. If you need help, sit in a child's Sunday school class and be like that.
And see where He takes you.
You just might find yourself chasing down the ice cream truck or wondering what color gum ball you'll get with your 25 cents.
I want to enjoy the simplicity of my relationship with Him.
Two years ago this winter, I became friends with Kelley through blogging. Last summer we flew to the She Speaks conference together. Over time we have gotten to know each other very well. She is someone I trust and love like I do my own sister. The neat part is that I didn't require her to know much about me at all before we flew to North Carolina nor did she put that demand on me. But it was on that trip, on the flights when we talked and got to know more of one another. It's been through e-mails, blogging, phone calls and weekend trips to each others homes that has made us feel like we've been a part of each others lives since day one. Our relationship is very simple and I love that.
Getting to know Jesus takes time. I shared in my last two posts about a woman named Charity who only months before her death when asked if she loved God said,"I really don't know Him."
BUT without knowing much about Him she was still willing to give her life to Him.
She was reassured she could come as is.
She didn't have to clean her life up first, she could just come.
When Alivia is outside playing and gets dirty I don't require her to get cleaned up before she steps foot in our house. Its after she comes inside that she gets cleaned up. She comes as is.
He just wants you.
"I tell you the truth unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
So glad you have come by to discussion Micca Campbell's first book, an awesome book called
Friday, May 15, 2009
Sometimes I get to the end of the two weeks and have seen every client on my calendar.
Then some weeks someone has passed away or been admitted to the hospital so I either stay home or go see a new client.
God is in control and He is the only One that knows what tomorrow holds.
Would you abandon the career you worked
Would you spend every waking moment with the child that you love and
When I was a child that
There isn't enough time to know what to do with it.
It took so long that Gene actually fell asleep in the car.
Finally, we made it and her family and friends welcomed us with open arms.
Years ago I would occasionally join Alethea and her friends on a night out on the town and so Charity saw a side of me that had nothing to do with Jesus.
I didn't want to intrude, but I felt like the clock was ticking and I had no idea where she stood with Jesus. Then I started reading her Caring Bridge blog and under each post was a verse.
I wondered if she too is a believer and when I asked Alethea she said she thought she is.
She said she did and I had just shared how much I love Sue when into the house walked Ms. Hill.
rub her cheeks and speak verses over her.
Believer or not, Sue had captured the attention of everyone with her acknowledgment of God.
The acknowledgement that Charity had chosen Jesus to be Lord in her life.
Just ask her
I saw how in control our Savior really is last night as I stood at the foot of this dying woman's bed
with such a peace that only He could give.
And because He is the One who does the saving, not us,
all my anxiety left the room knowing
He already got her.
We were all just sitting or standing around her and someone said something about how Sue's sister Angie had been over on Tuesday and sang to Charity.
Sue's entire family can sing and she's a very gifted worship leader at her church.
We've been blessed with knowing the Hill's for about 11 years now through church, so I knew the woman could sing.
as I watched this young Mom being sung into heaven as she took her final breath.
It was as if He just picked her up and carried her through the pearly gates Himself.
I just couldn't wrap my mind around everything.
He is just so much bigger than we know.
The room was filled with nothing but His presence last night.
The timing of our visit was all about God.
From changing our minds of when to visit,
to stalling us at the store, to Sue walking in when she did.
He wanted us there for a reason.
He wanted us to be witness of His greatness.
and then she turned and held her other daughter.
Last summer I watched my daughter welcome her little one into the world and it filled my heart,
but watching a Mom as her daughter leaves it, was beyond heart wrenching.
and that the hardest part for her was leaving behind her son Tre.
36 years to young.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Hello! I'm so glad you have come by. We are currently discussing Micca Campbell's first book
If this is your first time here you can find out more about YES to GOD Tuesday's on the sidebar. Just click on the blue square YES to GOD button for the FAQ's. Hopefully you will join us for our next study beginning on Tuesday, June 23, 2009. The announcement of what book that will be will be made this Friday. It will be light and easy for the summer. Nothing deep, just a time to grow closer to God.
Okay, before we get started I have to share.
Sunday my husband decided to take us to our friends' church so we could worship with them. It was a great time of worship, sharing and praising God. I talked to many people afterward and then my family all piled into our car to head home. My contact was bugging me so I pulled down the visor mirror to take a look. That's when I saw it.
Coming from my nose.
Then much like those Orbit gum commercials when the brightness of the gum and clean mouth make that little dinging noise...the hair protruding from my nostril gleamed in the sunshine and I think I heard a ding.
It gleamed because it was gray. Or platinum as Gene calls his evidence of aging.
I gasped and so of course Gene asked, "What?"
As if my shallow world was crumbling...
"Gene! I have a nose hair! And its gray! And long!"
"Oh yah, I saw that earlier."
That's when my neck whipped to the side to look at my BFF for life. The one who is supposed to alert me of food in my teeth and hair in my nostrils.
"WHAT? You saw it and didn't tell me?"
"Yah, I saw it this morning."
"Gee ean!! WHY wouldn't you say something??" (The kids are laughing.)
That's when he patted me on my knee and said, "Cuz honey, I just saw it as a sign that we're growing old together and it made me feel good because now I don't feel like I'm robbing the cradle."
I think I just stared. I don't remember.
All I know is I had no verbal response to him. Especially after he sealed it with a wink and nod of his head. So strange.
Even if our greatest worries do come true, we must not allow ourselves to be taunted day and night by "What if?" We must trust God's plan. Regardless of our spooks, God's plan alone stands firm and true.
When my oldest was growing up I parented her out of fear. I did not want her to be anything close to how I was...unmarried and pregnant.
My biggest fears are being played out in front of me and yet in Jeremiah we read that God has plans for us, plans that will prosper and not harm us. Just because my daughter has chosen to stray He STILL has plans for her and plans for her two babies. That hope alone is what I can cling to because if He hasn't given up on her, why should I?
The future is unknown. We can't control it. That's why Jesus says three times in Matthew 6:25-34, "Do not worry." When you and I are tempted to worry, we should heed Christ's advice and not do it. Worrying won't change the outcome. It only steals our peace.
I've heard it said that when Jesus repeats Himself, we better listen up. Do not worry...isn't that so much easier to shout to someone that is sitting in a sinking boat with no life jacket on in the middle of a shark infested ocean while you're standing safely on the sandy shore making sand castles? But that is exactly what God wants us to do. Trust Him. While the future may be out of our hands, it's not out of the hands of an adequate and trustworthy God. Thank God for that!
When we come to a place we've never passed through before, God is always present to help us.
Yesterday I received an e-mail requesting prayer for a couple in Ainsworth, Nebraska. On May 4th, Tom and Amy Ford's 16 year old daughter Ashley was killed in a car accident. They buried her on Saturday, May 9th. On Monday, May 11th exactly one week later they lost their 21 year old son Andrew who was killed in a separate car accident. Their other son, 19 year old Adam was driving and is okay.
HOW this Mom is even breathing is beyond me. From the shore I can yell to Amy...don't worry! God is in control! I can yell it because my 3 kids are alive and well, but what if I was in same sinking boat that Amy is in? Would my faith waver or become stronger? I want to believe that based on what I know of Him that my faith would go deeper, but I can imagine the fight to stay focused on the King would be a might tough one. Please keep the Ford's in your prayers.
I just wonder how Tom and Amy Ford will ever let their only child left out of the house. God...how do You allow someone to be led into this kind of dark, deep valley and expect them to trust in You? How do you keep them from panicking every time their only child that they haven't buried walks out their door? Micca tells us that It takes endurance not to give way to fear but to press forward with our eyes firmly fixed on our leader---Jesus Christ.
I pray that the Ford's gets to this point during their time in the valley of the shadow of the untimely deaths of their children and that many will come to Christ because of their witness of how great our God is even during the unimaginable. Something amazing happens when we faithfully cry out to the Lord, believing in His perfect care. Our faith suddenly becomes stronger than our fear. None of us knows how to act or what to do during a crisis. However, if we will fall on our face before His throne in total weakness and cry out, He will strengthen and lead us. This is God's promise.
I loved how Micca reminded us that we have to surrender to Jesus and it's not just a one time thing. It's every day. Every minute. Something miraculous happens when we yield our lives to Christ. Surrender is not just a one-time action we take when we first give ourselves to Christ. Yielding our will to God's will is a day-by-day, moment-by-moment, even minute-by-minute way of life for the believer. Surrender is challenging, but it wasn't meant to be that way. It's where fearless living begins.
Remember that reality show Fear Factor? The contestants had to go through a bunch of challenges and whoever made it through all of them won some money. They did that for a TV show that was only an hour. Can you imagine if they had to put down their fears every day? As a believer we have to do it for 24 hours, not just one. It doesn't work for us to only give the Lord certain areas of fear in our life. To win the big prize we need to surrender every minute of every day. It is challenging, but our prize is much more eternal than a bag of money. We get a relationship with Christ that goes to a new level when He sees us surrender and trust Him.
I want fearless living...but how do I get it?
We can either continue to live our lives our own way---by holding on to fear, doubt, and control---or we can die to self and allow Jesus to live His life of wisdom, faith, power, and holiness through us. This is probably one of the hardest things for me to do daily. I get in my own way of having my desired relationship with Christ. I kneel before Him and give Him whatever is going on in my life at that moment and then when I feel He isn't going fast enough then I take over and create a mess. Again and again I do this. All about choice.
The reason surrender is the way to go is it allows us to follow His plan for our lives, which is so much better than our own plan. AMEN MICCA!
Is God trying to move you off your old land onto new land? If so, He can be trusted with your unknown future. Remember, it's not unknown to Him. He has a plan far beyond our suffering. He will not let our trials go to waste. No, God will use them for our good and His glory---if we allow Him.
Unknown future. We carry a planner that holds our schedules in it, but no matter how much planning we do Jesus Christ is the only One who knows our future. 24 hours from now you or I may be gone. Amy Ford planned many things with her kids, but never their deaths. Unknown future to us, but not to God. If allowed, God will use the Ford's tragedy for His good and glory as Micca tells us.
How can she say something like that?
Because she's lived it. She tried dealing with her first husband Porter's death on her own and until she surrendered her loss to Christ, Porter's death was unusable. Once Micca gave her grief to God He took her pain and her story and is using it bigger than she could ever imagined. If Micca continued to do things her way we would not be discussing this book right now. God knows what is best for us, we just need to trust Him.
Surrendering our will for God's changes the way we live. It also quiets our anxieties as we wait for God's next assignment.I believe when Jesus sees our white flag go up waving showing we want to surrender all to Him that He comes running to meet us. I doubt He just stands there with His hands in His pockets looking bored waiting for us to get to Him. I think He gets to us first and embraces us so tight that it just squeezes out any anxieties or fears that Satan has planted in our minds. I bet our Enemy just hates the moment we surrender to Christ because he knows God's big presence overpowers his little self.
Fearless living is achieved when we take captive every thought that doesn't line up with God's truths. Either our thoughts can take us captive, or we can take them captive. The difference lies in where we place our focus. Micca....I loved that! Either we take a hold of our thoughts or our thoughts will get us. That's one thing I've really been working on as of late is my thought life. I have to take captive the thoughts that don't line up with God or else I'm in big trouble. A few years ago I was blessed to hear Bible teacher Beth Moore speak in Omaha and she taught on anxiety. She had us memorize
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable----if anything is excellent or praiseworthy---think about such things.
When I captivate the thoughts that aren't lovely or pure and I replace them with thoughts that are God thoughts, then my whole life is changed from that simple act of obedience. In our last study by Jennifer Rothschild of her book Self Talk, Soul Talk she taught us what to put on the shelves of our thought closet. If you struggle with your thought life then I highly recommend her book. Because as we know...thoughts become words and words become actions. (See sidebar for study notes if you missed it.)
When we trust God in a crisis situation, no matter how big or frightening it may be, it always leads to a greater confidence in God for the future.
I have lived this one out. A few years ago when my daughter was lying in a hospital bed, I can remember crying out to God in the bathroom. I was grabbing on to the edge of the sink and I remember just telling Him You have my trust. For once I stayed out of His way and He amazed me. So after that when I have found myself at the crossroads of faith or fear, it is faith I choose because I know God is trustworthy. Right thinking leads to right living. As we practice taking each stray thought captive, our thoughts begin to reflect the mind of Christ, and so do our actions.
In order for you and me to change from fearful living to fearless living, we must be willing to
surrender our fears of the unknown,
take our thoughts captive,
and keep our eyes on our Leader.
Even if you're in a place that you've never passed through before, you have the assurance of God's guidance.
I doubt that Amy Ford ever had the fear of losing 2 children from separate car accident's only 7 days apart. So now what does she do? The beginning of May she had a family of five. Before we even flip our calendars to June her family has been downsized to three. Will she keep her eyes on her Leader or will she stumble through the valley she is in right now by trying to lead herself through it? Oh Lord, please be with this family and may they get to know a side of You they didn't even know existed.
It's only when you and I respect God's name, power, and ways that we come to understand His love, which, in turn, eliminates fear.
This book is so rich. To me it's like my favorite Starbucks drink...White Chocolate Mocha. I can't wait to sit down with it and just drink it all in. I am learning so much from what God gave Micca to write for us in this book. It's what I needed and God knew that. I love that about Him.
Join me next Tuesday for chapter 9~The Right Kind of Fear.
I'll be back later this week just to talk and share. I better get going, I have nose hairs to pluck.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
As a Mom of three, there are many things the older I get that I regret either doing or not doing when Alyssa and Aaron were young. I wonder if Mary felt that too. With Jesus being her oldest by the time she was raising His siblings, did she sit in reflection and wish she would have done things a different way with her firstborn? Or was Jesus just too perfect that He didn't really need her guidance and so the other sin filled children she later bore shocked her system? My flesh tells me that Jesus was a kid and did normal kid things, but my heart knows that He was not the ordinary boy next door. Boys will be boys is probably something Mary didn't say much about His actions. I wonder if His perfect ways were found to be frustrating to the other moms in their neighborhood or were they just all in awe of residing next to such Majesty?
So if you were in Mary's sandals and Jesus handed you a bouquet of flowers and a Hallmark card telling you that you are the #1 Mom in the world...how would you respond?
I mean, the flowers...He created them so that alone would be extra special.
The card...He created the Hallmark artist who wrote out His feelings so that's pretty cool.
But beyond that, do you believe Him when He is telling you that you do a great job and that He wouldn't want anyone else to be His Mom? Or would you question His compliments based on what you know of yourself? Based on your latest reaction to something your child did. Based on your thought life of your blessing from above. Or do you simply believe the One who cannot tell a lie?
When my kids present me with gifts or handmade cards whether its for Mother's Day or my birthday I love every part of it and my heart just melts. I momentarily forget all the stuff they have done that year and even that day that has made me want to pull out my hair and theirs. And for that moment in time I believe that I, Lelia Chealey, am the world's #1 Mom. Why? Because my child told me so. Because my child wrote it out on a folded piece of construction paper recorded permanently in Crayola's Midnight Blue framed by their effort of a red heart.
So how does Mary take a compliment of truth from her child? How did she handle hearing greatness about herself from her kid? The kid that she knew could live up to the title of being #1 and the best kid in the world.
Sometimes our kids are given awards in sports or in the classroom and as their Mom, knowing that behind every great kid there is usually a great Mom, we proudly accept their award on their behalf in our heart. But can you imagine if your kid brought home a certificate that named him or her as just one of these things?