Sunday, January 29, 2012

Birthday Memories

This weekend I will celebrate my 32nd birthday. Each year, on the week of my birthday, I think about my life and all the major points that I can recall. I have done this deep reminiscing each year---during the week of my birthday---since the year I turned eleven years old.  The year I turned eleven years old was special. On Easter Sunday of my tenth year, I came to faith in Christ Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Although I had a family who all believed in Jesus, I had not yet (until that Easter Sunday) fully surrendered my heart and mind to making Christ King of my life.  God was always an important part of my little life of ten years, but I clearly remember not wanting God to be "in charge or in control" of my destiny.

As a nine year old, I remember many nights, kneeling beside my bed (like my parents had encouraged me to do, so as to pray to God and thank Him for the day and for His blessings) and I would recite a basic prayer to the God that my family knew personally.  I didn't really know what to feel. I felt a struggle in my heart. Many nights, I would recite the basic prayer (with real gratitude in my heart---grateful that there was someone always there to watch over me and my family) and then, after a bit of a pause, I would speak....quite God; the One God my parents believed (and still do) to be the Heavenly Father who sent His only begotten Son Jesus to earth to die in my place and save me from my sins.  I would say something like, "God, I know the Bible says believing in Jesus, your Son, is the only way to go to heaven when we die. But I don't want to surrender tonight. I want to be in control. And I think if I believe in Jesus as my Savior, I'll never get to do anything fun and all of my dreams and desires I have for when I grow up will have to be thrown out if I surrender my life to your Son. I don't want to give up control. So, Jesus may be the only way to heaven, but I'm not going to believe in him tonight."

After such prayer, I would usually lie awake in my bed for a couple of hours so concerned if I was wrong and fell asleep and if I died in my sleep that I would not see heaven or God for an eternity. I was so conflicted. I didn't want an invisible God to be in control of me. But I didn't want to spend eternity in total separation from Him. I believed God existed, but I didn't like that there was only one way to get to Him.  I was (still am) so stubborn.

As a little girl who still didn't believe in Jesus as Lord, I desired to be a girl who did good things and treat people with kindness. However my desire to do good didn't necessarily help me achieve the doing of good things. Being good on a continual basis isn't possible without a supernatural power helping us simply because we are selfish beings.  Well, God is so awesome that He doesn't leave us in our selfish state. Since I acknowledged Him as God and spoke to Him about my lack of desire to believe in Christ, it still kept the lines of communication between us open. God was still working on my heart.....and I was letting Him, whether I knew it or not.

So, on my birthday each year since I turned eleven years, I reflect on the change that was made in me.  I went from caterpillar to butterfly. God saved me that Easter Sunday night in Midwest City, Oklahoma in 1990 when I confessed God's sovereignty over everything; when I believed in His Son Jesus Christ the King of my life--- of my heart.

On my eleventh birthday, I was so grateful to have Jesus Christ in me, God with me, to save me from my sinful ways and help me when I turn from Him distracted by this world and my selfishness. My birthday has been so precious ever since. I am a new creation! My birth on this earth was just the first birth. God's Son Jesus gave me the only way to be born again. My spirit is made new because of Christ. Although I still struggle with things, attitudes and thoughts that were not honoring to God, I am aware that God was and still is the One I could and still can go to with all of my hang-ups and questions. There in God's presence I can be made clean again.  (Matthew 8:1-4)  Now I live life differently because I know that God knew my past, my struggles, my mistakes and still loved me SO much to send His Son Jesus to earth to save me.

Happy Bithday to me!  Jesus Christ is the best gift anyone can ever get.  He is free for the taking.  If you haven't received the gift of salvation yet.  Today is that day.  Open the gift. Cherish it.

"Oh, how I love Jesus.  Oh, how I love Jesus.  Oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It Starts in the Heart

So I have been thinking much about the power of our words in the lives of others.  However, it is always good to look even deeper. Instead of focusing so much on what I say, I should be focusing on my heart's attitude.  If I focus on the heart's attitude toward God and toward this world, the issue with watching what I say takes care of itself.

God allowed this concept to be played out in so many parts of his creation.  When plants take in nutrients at the roots, they grow strong and healthy above ground.  When animals stay nourished, they have the energy they need for each day, living the way God intended them to live.  When we allow truth and positive thoughts to fill our minds and hearts, we are helping our spirit and attitude to be one that is pleasing to God and helpful to others around us.  I was asked once, "What happens when you squeeze an orange?" I responded, "Orange juice will come out."  That's exactly it. What we are made of at our core is what will spill out when trials and attacks of the Enemy press in on us.

We women who already know Jesus as our Lord and Savior are, as the Word of God says, a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We are ones who have left the old life (the caterpillar life) and have been made completely new (the butterfly life) by the Almighty God through His Son Jesus Christ. So if we are made new, when the stresses and trials of life press in on us, we SHOULD exhibit the characteristics of our new identity; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control which are all products of knowing Christ as Savior; the "fruit of the Spirit". (Galatians 5:22)

I am going to end with the first chapter of the book of James and the second chapter of the book of Ephesians in the New Testament of God's Word. It is so insightful and challenging to me. Both books, James and Ephesians, remind us of our new identity in Christ. They remind us that our tongue (our speech) is influenced by the condition of our hearts. Let us read it together and allow it to change  Sisters, don't let this wait for another day.  Butterflies can not return to the caterpillar stage. Let us embrace our new identity and honor God for His great work in our little lives.

James 1


 1 James, a servant[a] of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
   To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:
Testing of Your Faith
 2 Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
 9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass[c] he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
 12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[d] 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Hearing and Doing the Word
 19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak,slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
 26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Ephesians 2
By Grace Through Faith
 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] 4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been savedthrough faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
One in Christ
 11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.   17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,[d] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[e] the Spirit.

Women of truth, rise and shine your light!  Embrace your new identity in Christ! 

p.s.-  Are you still in caterpillar stage?  Are you ready to receive Christ as your Savior and be changed from the old life to the new?  Take a moment and admit your great need of a Savior.  Speak to God, confess your sin to Him and ask for His forgiveness. God is ready and willing to forgive all of your sins.  His Son has already paid the price for your sin against the Holy God.  If you are ready, accept His forgiveness and believe in Christ Jesus as the Son of God and the source of your salvation and eternal life. 

Romans 10:9-11 says, "...because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, 'Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.'"

Friday, January 13, 2012

What Can I Say?

Hopefully the start for year 2012 was great for you and your family.  My year started with my husband away in Atlanta for six days.  So for about a week, I got a fresh appreciation for single parent families.  Our son is almost two years old and he is testing his boundaries more and more each day which is always a bit of a challenge for us parents. ha!

My new year also started very lacking in the category of reading God's Word.  Yup, that was random....I know. However, that is basically why I haven't posted a blog yet this year. I have felt so inadequate. I didn't think I had much to offer in terms of healthy encouragement since I hadn't spent much time in the very Source of the best encouragement anyone could ever get. However, as I am typing these thoughts I am realizing that it was a silly thought to not want to write a post.  Honesty is the best way to encourage.....if done with grace and gentleness.  So, there you go......I have just let you all know that I haven't been the best at consistently reading God's Word this past week or so.  Now, that the awkward confession is out of the way, I am going to move on with my thoughts for this post today. Hopefully you will be understanding and continue to read after that strange introduction to this post.


These past few weeks I have been thinking much about they are used in my conversations, in my e-mails, in my posts, in my texts, in my phone messages.  I have been trying to be aware of what I say and how I say things.  When I have been reading the Word, it has been time reading through the minor prophet books of the Old Testament; for no reason really, just basically because I haven't read those books as much as the other parts of the Bible and I wanted to refresh my mind and heart on what God has to say through those stories.

Time spent reading those minor prophets books of the Old Testament has been very interesting... ...especially when I have been using my study Bible to help with much of the background historical information that goes along with the scriptures. I have been reading to see how these books in the Bible share how the words of ordinary men and women can have profound effects on their family members, their businesses/co-workers, their culture, their enemies and even their future generations.  It is making me take a closer look into how carefully OR carelessly I choose my words each day.  The question I frequently have these days is something like this: What kind of effect does my choice of the "attitude" of my words plus the words themselves really have on the lives of others who hear them?  Does my choice really sway things of history very much?  Does my choice of the "attitude" of my speech greatly help and/or hurt others to the point that I can be helping set someone free from struggles OR helping to bind someone up?

Fascinating thoughts have been swirling in my mind. I will be addressing some more thoughts similar to this current idea over the next few posts, Lord willing.  Where do you stand in this whole idea of the possibility of having...let's just call words or words with heart (good or bad in nature)?

My scripture of interest that I'll share with you today is the small book of Haggai in the Old Testament. If you are not a Bible reader, you should still take a minute or two to check it out on   I will do the same before I publish this post.
There are several moments in the prophets words to the people of Israel (that is: words that come from God that the prophet was to speak over the people) when God says, "consider your ways".  My husband likes to say our modern way of phrasing that could be "check yourself before you wreck yourself".  hahaha!  I like that.  It's funny, but very not funny at the same time.  haha!

Like me, I hope you all have learned (hopefully quicker than I do) that 'fessing up to things and moving on is a vital part of being a believer in Jesus. I think it is vital because Jesus Christ is the Victorious One and if we are believing in Him to be our Savior, we should live in victory and not live rehearsing in our heads those little moments of defeat or fall backs we get from time to time. Oh, I SO need to stop rehearsing failures; instead rise up and live as I one who is forgiven for my past, present and future, not because I earned it but because of God's great love. WHOA.