Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Joy in... Cleaning?!?

Miserable wife?

Proverbs 14:10 says, "The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy."

If I am bitter and mad, my heart knows it... and probably so does my family and other people around me! By the same token when my heart is truly joyful, no one can get in the middle of it!

Now I have had my share of days (quite often, in fact) when I did not want to do my job--clean or "homemake"--in any shape, form, or fashion! And I am coming to understand that my attitude makes the difference. It is always important to make time to rejuvenate my mind and body so that I can be my best as a homemaker, but probably, if I am honest, I just want to be lazy all the time! 

Commercials on TV, billboards, and ads everywhere shout it out: You deserve a break! You're worth it! Self, self, self... take care of YOU. Look out for Number One. No one appreciates YOU. 

I challenge you, along with me, to take a hard look at your motives as a wife. Take your breaks, yes! Drink your water! Exercise! Get a massage! Take care of your body. Go have a coffee with a friend. You do need time to recharge when you're a wife/mom/nana... but take inventory of how much and how often you tend to shirk your responsibilities or procrastinate (Ahem! That's me!) because you are indulging in an entitlement mentality! (Ouch!) Deep inside, do I often tell myself that everyone owes me, and since they don't "pay up," I'll just pay myself? I'll eat the chocolate or the chips no one knows about... I'll put off doing the dishes until later...

OK, I'm off the soapbox! :)

On a practical homemaking note...

I love finding new ideas for homemaking--whether unconventional or conventional. One day recently I tried a waffle-pattern microfiber dishcloth (from a discount/dollar store) on my mirrors, using good old Windex. Amazing! Two or three swipes and I was done... no vigorous rubbing... no streaks... practically effortless! Love that!

Vinegar Uses. 
Recently I discovered this on Pinterest:
(1) Remove bacteria and pesticide residue from produce - Use 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water, wash produce thoroughly.
(2) Clean windows and countertops - Use a 50% water and vinegar mixture to clean windows and countertops.
(3) Remove shower and bathtub film - Use vinegar full strength on an old wash rag.
(4) Toilet bowl stains - Use white distilled vinegar full strength with a scrubber.
(5) Furniture polish - Use a 50% olive oil and vinegar mixture and polish furniture with a soft cloth. Be sure to test furniture in an inconspicuous spot first because vinegar is acidic. 
(6) Clean microwave - Utilize 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water in a bowl. Place in the microwave and cook until boiling. Immediately wipe interior of microwave.
(7) Wash no-wax floors - Add 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar to a half-gallon of warm water. Mop or scrub floor.
(8) Clean kitchen cutting boards - Use vinegar full strength on cutting boards.
(9) Wash grass stains out of fabric - Use a 1/3 cup vinegar and 2/3 cup water mixture. Apply to stain and blot.
(10) Remove molds and mildew - Use a 50% water and white vinegar mixture for light mildew stains, and full strength white vinegar to kill heavier mildew and mold growth.

All-Purpose Cleaner. 
Found this online somewhere... The person who posted it said they use this cleaner on counters, tile floors, tubs, and toilets. I have tried it, and while it doesn't have the same wonderful smell Lysol disinfectant cleaner has, it is great and cheap! I tried mine with eucalyptus oil, since that's what I had on hand. Maybe I'll try some other oil scents I really like!

2 T.white vinegar (only distilled white vinegar)
1 t. Borax
Hot water
A few drops of a mild dish detergent
5 drops of essential oil (Lavender, Orange, Rose, etc.)
In a 16 oz. spray bottle add vinegar, borax and half hot water.
Swish around until borax has dissolved.
Add the drops of dish detergent and fill the rest of the bottle with hot water.
Add the essential oil… & Shake.
Happy Cleaning!

 Yes... Happy Homemaking! Take care of the king of your castle! How about bringing him his slippers tonight when he gets home from work? Then give him a few minutes of rest and peace from the children's inquiries and your chatting :) before supper! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

My John 17 Prayer

It is powerful to pray God's Word. Because John 17 is Jesus' prayer, I believe it is a powerful prayer to personalise.

Today I'm sharing my personalisation of this prayer, mostly considering my calling as a pastor's wife, helping, encouraging, and teaching the ladies of our church, but also influencing, as I am given opportunity, my grown children and my grandchild.

(I do not mean disrespect, nor am I putting myself in the place of Christ by praying this prayer! However, because I am His daughter, and He lives in me, I trust that the true intent of my prayer will be clear.)

Jhn 17:1  These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

Father, please glorify Yourself and Jesus through me. The only glory I have is from You.
Jhn 17:2  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

Thank You that because Jesus lives in me, You have given me, through Him, power over my flesh, all fleshly things, power for living this life You have given me to live. Only through that power, I can fulfill Your divine purpose for my life: learning to live for eternal values, sharing with others how to have eternal life in heaven, as well as sharing with others how to live with eternity's values. 

Jhn 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Thank You that life eternal--even the part here on earth--is to KNOW YOU! What a privilege You have given us to KNOW YOU and to truly intimately KNOW JESUS!
Jhn 17:4  I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

Help me to glorify You while I'm here and through Your might, finish the work You have given me to do.
Jhn 17:5  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

Father, the only glory I have is of You, so I ask that You would bless me with whatever I need to fulfill my purpose, which You predetermined for me before the world was. You have promised to give me all things that pertain unto life and godliness (II Peter).
Jhn 17:6  I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

Help me to lift up Your name to everyone You bring into my life, because they are Yours, and You have given them to me to influence. I pray that they would learn to keep Your Word more and more every day.
Jhn 17:7  Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

I pray that they would always see that in me there is nothing without You--that anything good I have to share with them is because of You.
Jhn 17:8  For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received [them], and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

Lord, I have been teaching ladies the words You give me, and I believe many of them have received these words, knowing that You sent me to share these things.
Jhn 17:9  I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

I pray for these ladies, for my children, for my grandchild, for everyone You have given me to influence. You have given them to me. May I always remember that they are Yours.
Jhn 17:10  And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

Everything and everyone in my life is Yours, and Your people are my people. I take joy and pleasure in fellowshipping with them.
Jhn 17:11  And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we [are].

When it comes time for me to leave these behind and go to heaven, Holy Father, I know that You will keep them in Your care, because they are Yours, and that You will continue to teach them to be ONE, unified.
Jhn 17:12  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

While I'm here with them, please enable me to encourage them to seek Your face and increase in their relationship intimacy and devoted discipleship with You. May my example ever lead them to seek You and not go astray, but I trust You to continue to lead them.
Jhn 17:13  And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

I look forward to coming to You when it's my time, but I pray that while I'm still here the ladies will have Your joy fulfilled inside them--that they would truly learn the depths of the ways You can and will meet all their needs (physically and emotionally) if they will only continually yield themselves to You.
Jhn 17:14  I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

I do not want to give them my own words, but Your Word. Help them when those in the world hate them... help them to remember this world is not their home and they are not living for this world.
Jhn 17:15  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

I pray that You would help them while they are working and living in this world, that you would keep them from evil.
Jhn 17:16  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

And that they would remember they are not of this world, just as Christ was not of this world. He lived for eternity. Help me to live for eternity.
Jhn 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Please sanctify them through Your Truth: Your Word is Truth!
Jhn 17:18  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

I want to inspire and encourage them to go into the world to reach people, just as You have sent me.
Jhn 17:19  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

For their sakes, I do seek to sanctify myself by yielding myself afresh to You each day, to receive from You what You would have me to share with those I influence...not just by active teaching, but by example, as they watch my life.
Jhn 17:20  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

I pray also for those whom these ladies and my children will reach...
Jhn 17:21  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

I pray for unity among our ladies, not fighting, arguing, jealousy... help them to be ONE as You and Jesus are ONE. Help us to be ONE in YOU, so that the City of Woodstock and the world around will see and come to believe that Jesus came to save them.
Jhn 17:22  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

Help me to always give away the glory that You give to me... whatever good You give me in spiritual lessons... help me to give it away, so that we can learn oneness... with no bitterness, anger, evil speaking, or malice (Eph. 4).
Jhn 17:23  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Jesus in us... You in me... so that we can become mature in unity, so the world can see YOU in us, and come to know that You love them, just as You love us!
Jhn 17:24  Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

Father, I want them to learn along with me, to become established in the faith, to mature more every day, not to stagnate...I want them to truly see Your glory, as You have revealed it to me, and continue to reveal it to me through Your Word... Thank you for loving me before the world began!
Jhn 17:25  O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.

God, You are righteous! And the world doesn't know You! What a privilege I have to know You... and I want the ladies to know You even more!
Jhn 17:26  And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare [it]: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

I have been teaching them, and I have such a passion for Your Name and for them to learn Your love and the depths of intimacy that You desire with each of them!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Corinthians 4:7

For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? ~ I Corinthians 4:7

Everything we have in life is a gift. E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

Nothing should taken for granted. I could lose my sight tomorrow. My hearing. My fingers that enjoy skipping across piano keys and harp strings. My voice that loves to sing.

Am I truly grateful? Have I thanked God for these instruments that I use every day, more than a thousand times a day?

A fellow blogger advocates keeping a running list of gratefulness... 1,000 Gifts. While I have not yet read Ann's book 1,000 Gifts, I am an occasional reader of her blog.

And I fell in love with her emphasis on gratefulness... So I join in...

1. A friend loses her baby. I still enjoy my little granddaughter every day.

Elaine Morie Bender, waiting in heaven

2. An acquaintance's spouse is about to go to jail. I have a wonderful, faithful man who loves and daily provides for me.

3. People around the world have no shelter... I enjoy the warmth of a fireplace on a frozen winter evening. They scrounge for food... I am warmed and filled. Their only clothes are on their back... I have a closetful.

Filipino boy starts his own fire.
(photo, Victoria Wonser, missionary in the Philippines)

4. Many around the world sleep outside because they have no bed or home. I have a warm bed with beautiful blankets I love.

Philippines graveyard:
Missionary friends saw a man sleeping here
and many living here in a graveyard.
(photo, Victoria Wonser)

5. A family of seven children including a newborn loses their mother at age 39. I am 39 and I can still call or email my own mother any time. 

What are you grateful for? 

Will you notice and give thanks for the thousands of gifts God has placed all around you?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Divine Appointments

Last week while getting my hair cut, I met a Turkish lady who has immigrated with her husband to Canada... very friendly... just chit-chatted and then later as my haircut was finished and I was gathering my things and paying, I realised she had moved to the back at the sink to get her colour rinsed. I waved goodbye, and as I was driving away from the store, I thought, I should have invited her to church!

I just gave it to the Lord, thinking maybe He would orchestrate our meeting again at the hair stylist’s.

A few days later in WalMart, I was in the baby section getting some Goodnite pull-ups (I’m rarely in the baby section anymore), and a lady came up to me with a huge smile, brightly saying “HI!” I didn’t recognize her because her hair was normal, not full of colour foils! She told me where we’d met, and I immediately knew that God had appointed this meeting!

After talking a few minutes, I invited her to our church, telling her my husband is a pastor. She seemed interested and said that they might come visit. ☺ It may seem like a small thing, but it is so obviously God’s hand in our meeting in WalMart!

There are other seemingly less significant divine appointments, and I believe we many times don't realise that's what they are.

I think back to one day when I had three specific errands to run. I picked up the mail, went to the garage, backed out the car, and then, out of curiosity, decided to open a personal letter I had received and read it while sitting in the car in the driveway. I read it for a few minutes, and based on the message of it, had a little personal time with the Lord in the car. After I had wiped my tears enough to drive, I backed out. In my mind, I reversed my errand order due to one place being closed over lunch. I was only a couple minutes down the road, having made a decision to turn the opposite direction I had initially intended, when I came up over a rise in the road and saw a semi-truck jack-knifed across the road and a small compact car in the ditch.

Had I not stopped to read the letter and have that time with the Lord and changed the order of my errands, I might have been the victim. I later learned that the car crash was fatal.

Though I plan to go to heaven at my appointed time, I would like to go in a less painful way! I thank God for a divine appointment that kept me from the accident that day!

Have you noticed any divine appointments lately?

Monday, October 31, 2011

In the Closet

But thou, when thou prayest, 
enter into thy closet
and when thou hast shut thy door, 
pray to thy Father which is in secret... 
Matthew 6:6

Lord, I have shut the door,
Speak now the word
Which through the din and throng 
Could not be heard;
Hushed now my inner heart
Whisper Thy will
While I have come apart
While all is still.

Lord, I have shut the door,
Here do I bow;
Speak, for my soul attent
Turns to Thee now;
Rebuke Thou what is vain,
Counsel my soul,
Thy holy will reveal,
My will control.

In this blest quietness
Clamorings cease;
Here in Thy presence dwells
Infinite peace;
Yonder, the strife and cry,
Yonder, the sin;
Lord, I have shut the door,
Thou art within!

Lord, I have shut the door,
Strengthen my heart;
Yonder awaits the task
I share a part;
Only through grace bestowed
May I be true,
Here, while alone with Thee
My strength renew.

~ William Runyan

(public domain)

Have you spent time in the closet today?

photo: americanbella

Friday, October 14, 2011

Amazing Grapefruit Seed Extract

I have been a believer in natural supplements for as long as I can remember. They are just what they are called: "supplements" to eating well.

While I'll admit I'm still working on the "eating well" part, I love the product GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract)! It has many amazing benefits. I have cured many a cold and sore throat with GSE. I think one of the greatest things about it is that grapefruit seed-extract remains effective even if the cause of an infection is unidentified, misdiagnosed, or unknown.

In my struggle against candida (yeast overgrowth in the blood), I enjoy the info from Sarah at her Candida and Food blog. Recently Sarah reviewed GSE and listed many household and personal uses that are, of course, all natural! No worries about synthetic ingredients.

You can read the entire post here. However I wanted to let you know some of the benefits right here:

Suggested Uses For Grapefruit Seed Extract

CAUTION: ALWAYS DILUTE! Do not use full strength. Do not put in eyes. Avoid all contact with sensitive areas. May cause irritation if used full strength on skin. If full strength contact or irritation occurs, flush with water for at least 10 minutes. Irritation is temporary and may last up to 48 hours. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.

Internal Uses

Internal Use: (Never use full strength)

Orally. Adults, mix 1-5 drops of Maximum GSE into a glass of water or juice (5 oz. or more), 1-3 times daily, with or without meals. Children (5 years and older), 1-3 drops mixed into a glass of water or juice (5 oz. or more), 1-2 times daily, with or without meals. Do not use full strength in mouth.

Throat Gargle. Stir 1 drop of Maximum GSE into a small glass of water (3 oz. or more). Gargle several times. Use as often as needed. Always dilute.

Ear Rinse. Thoroughly mix 1 drop of Maximum GSE with 1 oz. of glycerin or alcohol. Apply 1-2 drops of this solution in affected ear 1-2 times daily. Use as often as needed. Do not use full strength in ears.

Nasal Rinse. (adults only) Mix 1 drop of Maximum GSE with 6 oz. of water. Use one full eye dropper of the mixed solution per nostril. Tilt your head backward and release the solution from the dropper into your nose. Swing head forward and down (head is now upside down) to force solution up into the nasal passages. Return head to the normal upright position and allow nasal passages to drain. Do not inhale through the nose during this process. Always dilute.

Vaginal Rinse. Mix 3-5 drops of Maximum GSE with 6-8 oz. of water. Douche once daily for one week or as directed by a healthcare professional. Always dilute.

External Uses

External Use: (Never use full strength)

Facial Cleanser. Thoroughly moisten (splash) face with warm or cool water. With hands still wet, apply 2-3 drops of Maximum GSE to fingertips and gently massage facial area with circular motions. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and pat dry. A tingling sensation may follow. This is an indication of the deep cleansing properties of Maximum GSE. Always dilute.

Skin Rinse. (minor skin irritations) Dilute 1-3 drops of Maximum GSE with 1 tablespoon of water. Apply this solution directly to affected area twice daily. Do not use full strength on skin.

Nail Treatment. Dilute 1-3 drops of Maximum GSE with 1 tablespoon of water or alcohol. Apply this solution directly on surface of nail along the cuticle and underneath the front of nail, or soak nails, twice daily for as long as desired. Do not use full strength on nails.

Scalp Treatment. Add 2-4 drops of Maximum GSE to each shampooing (mix in hand or on head with shampoo). Massage into scalp and leave on for at least 2 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with water.
Household Uses

Toothbrush Cleaner. Stir 2-4 drops of Maximum GSE into a glass of water. Immerse toothbrush for 15 minutes (or leave in between uses). Rinse toothbrush before using. Change water and remix every few days.

Vegetable/Fruit or Meat/Poultry Wash. Sink washing - Add 20 or more drops of Maximum GSE to a sink full of cold water. Briefly soak any vegetables, fruit, meat, or poultry. Rinse if desired. Spray washing - Add 10 or more drops of Maximum GSE to a 32 oz. pump sprayer bottle filled with water. Spray on any vegetables, fruit, meat, or poultry. Rinse if desired.

Dish and Utensil Cleaning Additive. Add 10-20 drops of Maximum GSE to sink dishwashing water or to final rinse. Add 10-20 drops to automatic dishwasher with detergent or to final rinse.

Cutting Board Cleaner. Apply 5-10 drops of Maximum GSE to cutting board and work into entire board with a wet sponge or dish cloth. Leave on for at least 30 minutes. Rinse with water.

All Purpose Cleaner. Add 15-30 drops of Maximum GSE to any 32 oz. pump sprayer bottle filled with water or cleanser. Use on all surfaces around the house.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in healtheven as thy soul prospereth. ~ III John 2

*I was not compensated for reviewing GSE.
**This list of uses as well as the photo of GSE was copied from Sarah at Candida and Food.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Greatly Blessed

Greatly blessed and highly favoured,
Imperfect, but forgiven child of God!
©2010, William J. Gaither, Inc.

We are so blessed
By the gifts from Your hand

I just can't understand

Why You've loved us so much

We are so blessed

We just can't find a way

Or the words that can say

Thank You Lord for Your touch

We are so blessed

By the things You have done

The vict'ries we've won

And what You've brought us through

We are so blessed

Take what we have to bring

Take it all ev'rything

Lord we bring it to You

When we're empty
You fill us
'Til we overflow

When we're hungry

You feed us
And cause us to know

We are so blessed

Take what we have to bring

Take it all ev'rything

Lord we love You so much

©1982, William J. Gaither, Inc.

This is the song that played as I walked down the boardwalk at our beach wedding ceremony to marry my love nearly four years ago. 

We are still so blessed!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


The late Sara Frankl

Sara has inspired me to learn to choose joy every day.

Sara faithfully shared her gratefulness to God in the midst of a terminal illness that kept her in constant pain for more than the last fourteen years of her life. She was honest, open, real. She, like Jesus, "learned obedience through the things which [s]he suffered."

I’ve learned to appreciate the simplicity in my moments. I’ve learned that being thankful in everything is more important than being thankful for something. I want to be grateful for everything in my life, not just the special moments. ~ Sara

Sara could not leave her home for years, due to the need for continuous purified air to keep her alive, and so she could not spend holidays with her family. She could not eat food brought to her from family gatherings, because she had so many food allergies that were deadly.

Yet Sara was grateful. Two years ago around Thanksgiving, she wrote about how thankful she was for the good things in her life.

I am simply grateful. I appreciate my life because it’s the one He has given to me, and I don’t want to waste a moment of it wishing for anything else. ~ Sara
Sara's acceptance of her illness from God's hand as His divine purpose for her, whether she understood it or not, is expressed in the following paragraphs. (Honestly, she sounds just like me in the first two paragraphs!)

I always believed I had that faith… but mine was a faith of conditions. I had faith He would take care of me, but I assumed that meant I would be cared for with good health. I had faith that I would prosper, and assumed that meant my career would follow a good path. I had faith that He wanted the best for me, and assumed that meant my life would unfold in a way I envisioned.

But as the years progressed and I lost more and more of what I thought defined me...I realized that being a servant meant all or nothing. A line was drawn in the sand and I had to choose my fear, or I had to choose to completely trust Him. It had to be an all or nothing choice because one cannot exist if the other is true.

I chose to trust, and I’ve never looked back. I can be tired, I can be frustrated by my circumstances and exhausted from the pain, but I am never fearful of what is to come because I know that He is in control. I have faith that He will take care of me, and He has given me fortitude and peace in my heart as I face the challenges my body inflicts on me. I have faith that I will prosper, and I have been blessed with plentiful friends who walk this journey with me. I have faith that He wants the best for me, and He shows me that daily by using my life in ways that serve others--being there in small ways I would never have been able to if my life had unfolded the way I envisioned...
If Jesus was a servant, if he lost everything to come to Earth in the form of a baby who had nothing more than love to give, why would I assume to deserve more? ~ Sara

Sara's doctrinal beliefs are far different than mine, but in the few articles I have read, she has taught me her one little word for 2011: Praise.

Sara is gone now, but her exhortation lives on. This Thanksgiving season, will you join me in the simple praise she modelled... by yielding yourself in new, tangible ways to the One Who knows best for you? ...The One Who has a purpose greater than your own plans? ...The One Who "will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ"?

“The world has yet to see what God can do through a man who is totally yielded to Him.” ~ D.L. Moody

Raising Homemakers

Friday, September 30, 2011

Card Shower

Will you participate in a card shower for Missionary Sheila Campbell during her fight against cancer?

I went to Bible college with Sheila. She, her husband Steve, and three sons, have been missionaries to the Philippines since 2000 serving with BIMI. She is now home in Maryland for treatment.

With the bone marrow transplant that she's going to need (which is 60 days straight, including holidays and weekends), she will have lots of expenses 
such as gas, food, room and board, extra medical bills, etc.

We are encouraging people to send a card and include a gas card, gift card, or cash if possible. If not, at least a card of encouragement.

If you would like to send her a card or help with a monetary gift, you can send it to:
Sheila Campbell
P.O. Bo 9215
Chattanooga, TN, 37412

Please also help me spread this news to other 
churches or friends that you know would participate.

Thank you to Rhonda White for coordinating this.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Trying Hard

"I'm trying."

How many times have you said that about your Christian walk?

"I'm doing my best."

I believe that this is many times my problem! It's "I" and "me"; not "He" and "Him."

Galatians 2:20 says, "...not I, but Christ liveth in me... and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God..."

It's not even my faith! It's His faith!

"That I may KNOW HIM, and the power..." Philippians 3:10

Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit {at salvation}, are ye now {in sanctification/spiritual growth} made perfect by the flesh? Galatians 3:3

When we got saved, it was all HIM, so why do we think now we can mature spiritually in our own strength and "trying harder"?

Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. Hebrews 4:1

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his {God's} rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his. Hebrews 4:9-10

One thinks, well, we have to try or else nothing is accomplished. Yes, it's true that I still have a choice to yield to the Spirit inside me when He tells me to pick up my Bible and read it. Yes, it's true that I still have things to accomplish in my day. In order to get them done, I do need to focus my mind and actually put one foot in front of the other--actually fill that cleaning pail up with soapy water.

It's not that "doing" goes away and we just lay around "enjoying God's presence" all the time! It's just that the "doing" is not ours to accomplish; our responsibility is just to yield and rest in His power, strength, faith, and love. I take my orders from Him, but--here's the key: He bears all the responsibility and burden!

My husband handles our finances, and I am happy that he does! Numbers are definitely not my forte! There is such a comfort and rest for me in this, because I trust my husband to bear the responsibility of the finances. He gives me a budget, and I follow it. Then I don't worry about the money. I have great freedom in this!

This is the way it is when I am in Christ. He bears all the burden and responsibility, and He takes care of me. All I have to do is listen to His voice telling me the very next step to take. His Holy Spirit lives inside me, and in Him, I have all the power I need to respond to that irritation in a godly way, to love that annoying person, to have patience with that toddler, to clean up for the millionth time after someone else!

Do I "get it"?

Today, as I peck away at my "to-do" list at home, I want to focus on "being"... "feeling at home in the presence of Jesus... laying way back in His love."

When I rest confident in His love and acceptance, I am so humbled by it, that I can extend grace to the next person.

I feel honoured to serve.

I feel compassion for the unseen hurts that cause another's insecurities, and I can show love to them in the face of their immature actions.

This is not an opportunity to put myself on a pedestal... when my attitude is right (remembering and being humbled that I am in Christ and His Spirit lives in me, I have no desire or reason to be proud!

Instead, I hide myself in the Secret Place of the Most High, and allow HIS life to flow through me. What a privilege!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Choosing Joy

Sara (pictured here with her dog Riley) is dying of a hereditary, autoimmune disease abbreviated AS, but as her blog proclaims, she is "choosing joy."

This is the most inspiring, convicting, and sobering thing I have read in awhile. She writes...

“How do you manage to stay so positive? So happy? Don’t you ever just get really mad?”

I suppose the cop out answer, while true, is that I just don’t have the energy to be mad. Seriously. It takes so much effort and energy to wallow. And it’s not any fun. I live 99.8% of my time alone, and if anger was all I had to live with I would lose my mind.

I think, for me, it has been about learning to want what He wants for me more than what I want for myself.It's a tall order and I don't say that flippantly. But my joy has truly come from Him finding His joy in me rather than me finding my joy in what I desire. It doesn't mean I don't long for different, it just means I find peace in fulfilling rather than understanding. In the knowledge that this life isn’t about me, it’s about Him.

The thing I try to remind myself of, as I am without all the things that I wish I had to make me happy, is that my biggest need is Him. More than I need to be outside in the fresh air, more than I need to move without pain, more than I even need Dad... I need His will to be done in my life whether it is comfortable or not. There is not one thing that feels comfortable about my world right now, but I need Him more than I need to change my circumstances.

It's still brutally hard. I have to remind myself of these facts every day. It doesn’t always come easily.
But it doesn’t make the truth any less true.

And the truth is that I can choose the joy.

So I do.

~ Sara at Gitzen Girl: Choose Joy blog, http://gitzengirl.blogspot.com/

Update: Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2011...

Sara received information late yesterday afternoon that her body was beginning to shut down, and things have moved quickly since. Hospice arrived this morning and Sara is comfortable. Her family is surrounding her and reading her texts, facebook posts, and emails, so please feel free to contact her and share your love; she will not be able to reply but is taking great peace in your words, your heart.  I know how thankful she is for each of you, how much joy you’ve added to her days, and what purpose sharing Him has given her. I will continue to post as things change and want to thank each of you for the ways in which you have loved sweet Sara so well.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Come Thou Fount

Keukenhof Gardens, Netherlands

Have you ever meditated awhile on the words of the hymn "Come Thou Fount" by Robert Robinson? Would you take a few moments just to read carefully and dwell on these thoughts?

1. Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
 Tune my heart to sing Thy grace; 
 Streams of mercy, never ceasing, 
 Call for songs of loudest praise. 
 Teach me some melodious sonnet, 
 Sung by flaming tongues above. 
 Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it, 
 Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Jesus is the Fount that pours out every blessing in my life. When I realize that everything I have is a gift from Him--whether perceived good or bad*--my spirit (which is redeemed) wants my heart (my mind, will, and emotions, which are still carnal) to be tuned into that fact! Then I want to sing and tell everyone I know about His grace and never-ending streams of mercy!

*"Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting, e'er to take as from a Father's hand."
(from the hymn "Day by Day.") 

 2. Here I raise mine Ebenezer*; 
 Hither by Thy help I'm come; 
 And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, 
 Safely to arrive at home. 
 Jesus sought me when a stranger, 
 Wandering from the fold of God; 
 He, to rescue me from danger, 
 Interposed His precious blood.

Oh to fully realize and continually remember that it's only by God's help that I have come to whatever place I've matured thus far in my life. And to acknowledge that it's only by His grace and pleasure (because He desires it) that He will safely conduct me home to Heaven. I'm so grateful that He searched for me when I was a sinner--born in sin--and that he "interposed" His precious blood on my behalf! 
*Ebenezer is a reference to I Samuel 7:12, meaning "hitherto hath the Lord helped." Other study helps indicate its meaning as "stone of help." It was a memorial stone erected by Samuel as a remembrance of the Lord's help in defeating the Philistines. 

3. O to grace how great a debtor 
 Daily I'm constrained to be! 
 Let thy goodness, like a fetter, 
 Bind my wandering heart to thee. 
 Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, 
 Prone to leave the God I love; 
 Here's my heart, O take and seal it, 
 Seal it for thy courts above. 

I am such a debtor to His grace! Because I was saved as a young child and did not dabble much in the world, at times I have not understood everything from which Jesus saved me. Now daily I can recognize more and more from which He saved me! I can recognize my proud heart, my arrogance in thinking I've been spiritual, my quiet rage and inward bitterness others don't see. Yes, He saved me from so much! And it's His goodness that makes me want to more tightly bind my heart to His! He doesn't force me to live for Him. I want to, because I'm so grateful for His grace daily shown in my life, ever willing to deliver me from my pride and arrogance, my anger and bitterness. My flesh makes me prone to wander away, to sink back into these besetting sins, but my spirit wants Him to take my heart and keep it close to His--a daily choice to walk in the power of the Spirit of God that lives within me! What freedom! Freedom to choose Him, not the destructive way of living!

Renewing the Mind with Good Christian Books

It is so important to renew our minds with Scripture daily! Nothing can replace the Word!

But there is also a place for good Christian books that point us to Scripture. Often I am asked for a list of books that have helped me in my Christian walk, so I thought I would share that list here. I wish I had kept such a list years ago, because, naturally, I do not remember every book that has benefited me. Thus, this is a list to which I'm continually adding, as I remember them.

Note: I cannot give a blanket endorsement to these authors and books. As with anything, one must "eat the meat and throw out the bones."

A Song for All Seasons/ Wilma Sullivan
Abandoned to God (biography of Oswald Chambers)
Abide in Christ/ Andrew Murray
Be Transformed/ Scope Ministries *
Breaking Free Bible study/ Beth Moore*
Climbing/ Rosalind Goforth
Created to Be His Helpmeet/ Debi Pearl
Dorie: The Girl Nobody Loved/ Doris van Stone
Experiencing God daily devotional/ Henry Blackaby *
Hinds’ Feet on High Places/Hannah Hurnard
How I Know God Answers Prayer/ Rosalind Goforth
Humility/ Andrew Murray
Knowing God/ An Unknown Christian
Lifetime Guarantee/ Bill Gillham *
Living Free Bible study/ Beth Moore *
Love & Respect/ Emerson Eggerichs
My Utmost for His Highest/ Oswald Chambers
Reclaiming Surrendered Ground/ Jim Logan
Search for Significance/ Robert McGee *
So Long, Insecurity: You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us/ Beth Moore *
Streams in the Desert/ Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life/Hannah Whitall Smith
The God of All Comfort/ Hannah Whitall Smith
The Hiding Place/ Corrie ten Boom
The Silent Years of Corrie ten Boom/ Pamela Rosewell *
Whispers of His Power/ Amy Carmichael

Missionary biographies, Holocaust stories
Keswick Convention talks

*Does not use the KJV

Andrew Murray
Corrie ten Boom
Darlene Deibler Rose
F.B. Meyer
Elisabeth Elliot
Rosalind Goforth
Ruth Paxson
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