Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mom Can Fix It. Mom Can Do Anything.

            My children always brought me their needs. If a toy was broken, they brought it to me to fix. If they got hurt, I kissed their boo-boo. They never doubted that mom could make it better.
            When they were toddlers, I started making their Halloween costumes. They were pretty simple at first as Dalmatians made from T-shirts with legs sewn in and painted spots. As my children got older, they just assumed I could make anything. The costumes got more elaborate every year. One year they were Peter Pan and Tinkerbell. One year my daughter was Snow White, and her little brother was one of the seven dwarfs. Another year she was Cinderella, and he was Zorro. One of my favorites was Spiderman. I couldn’t find any red material with web markings, so the black web lines had to be drawn.
            I was both disappointed and relieved when they were finally old enough to stop asking for costumes. The last ones I made were adult size. My daughter was a frog complete with hands, feet, and a full frog head covering. My son was a cow from a popular restaurant with a sign encouraging you to eat chicken. These were by far the most difficult.
            In the same way my children were expectant, asking boldly and with confidence for their toys to be fixed and their costumes to be made, we need to give our needs to God expectantly with boldness and confidence. They requested and at the same time they released control to mom. They presented the need and left it to me.
            God knows our needs and is much better at meeting those needs than we are. We need to trust Him as our Father, just like my children trusted me as mom. While my children’s costumes may have had flaws they didn’t see, God’s provision is perfect. Let go, and let God. His ways are so much higher and better than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Acknowledge that Calorie

The subject of the email read: “Diet Contest, Must Lose Minimum10% of Body Weight”. I could lose 10% easily. Well, okay, maybe not easily, but I definitely had 10% to lose. I’ve been told I’m competitive; and it’s true, I like to win. Count me in for $20.
For the next 12 weeks I acknowledged every calorie I ate and every calorie I burned. I had a purpose, and over the next several years I won not only that diet contest, but almost every annual and bi-annual diet contest we had at work. You may be thinking I had a lot of weight to lose, but the truth is that most of the time I lost the same weight over and over. Why?
After the contests were over, I would begin to ignore the calories in that one cookie or ignore that one morning I had donuts (each week). I ignored how many chips I ate at the Mexican restaurant, and I definitely began to ignore my treadmill and other exercises I had so consistently acknowledged during the contests.
During the contests I acknowledged the truth of the food I put into my body and the exercise that took the fat out of my body. After winning I ignored that truth; and by ignoring it, in reality I was denying what was best for my body.
            An important part of prayer is acknowledging God. To acknowledge is to admit, recognize, accept, or confess. First and foremost, before anything else, there are four things we must acknowledge.
1.      We must acknowledge (admit) we are sinners. Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned.
2.      We must acknowledge (recognize) the consequences of sin. Romans 6:23 says the consequence of sin is death, but God has a gift for us through Jesus Christ.
3.      We must acknowledge (accept) Jesus Christ and His redemptive work. Romans 5:8 explains the gift of God’s love by Jesus Christ dying for our sins.
4.      We must acknowledge (confess) Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord. Romans 10:9-10 tells us salvation comes from believing in His resurrection and confessing Jesus as Lord.
Satan knows about sin, he knows the consequences, and he knows what Jesus accomplished through His death. He believes in God. The key is in also acknowledging Christ as personal Savior and Lord. James 2:19 says even the demons believe and tremble, but they don’t confess Christ as Lord. Once you acknowledge God by admitting your sin, recognizing the consequences, accepting Christ’s payment for your sin, and also confessing Him as Lord, you receive salvation and are sealed as a child of God.
            I pray you have acknowledged these four things in your life. In prayer we praise God, express our thanks to God, and acknowledge Him. Stay tuned this weekend for what’s next.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Thanks or No Thanks

I have written and received many thank you notes over the years. Thank you notes are written for birthday gifts, graduation gifts, shower gifts, wedding gifts, and housewarming gifts to name a few. Do you think someone that sends a thank you note is more thankful than someone who doesn’t, or is it just etiquette? I don’t believe that whether or not you actually send a thank you note determines if you are thankful; however, the act of writing the note requires you to stop and recognize the other person’s kindness. It takes the emotion of thankfulness one step further into an action. It also strengthens the relationship with the other person.
Most of us are thankful for God’s blessings, but to stop and actually take the time to thank Him is an action that strengthens our relationship. I find several correlations between thank you notes and thank you prayers. Many people think the wording of a thank you note must be perfect, and so they never send one; but I have heard it said and agree that an imperfect note written from the heart is better than a perfect note that is never written. The same applies to prayer. An imperfect prayer from the heart is better than a perfect prayer that is never voiced.
            In Luke 17:11-19 Jesus healed ten men, but only one came back and thanked Him. I believe the others were also thankful (how could they not be?), but they didn’t take the time to express their thanks to Jesus. Remembering what God has done for us and expressing our thanks to Him is very important. Our relationship with God grows as we express our thanks to Him.
            Dear God -- Thank you for my health, for my home, for my family’s health, for my husband, my mother, the years I had with my father, my sisters, my daughter, my son, my stepson, my son-in-law, my two grandsons, for my job, for my husband’s job, for my church. I am so very blessed in so many ways, and my blessings come from you. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

And the Winner is . . .

            Every year at the same time, we gathered around the TV. One by one each contestant walked across the stage in an evening gown and swimsuit. Afterwards they showcased their talent. I always had paper and pen to do my own judging and was particularly partial to the brunettes, but the young woman from Texas was always my first choice. First and second round eliminations narrowed the contestants, and then the final few were chosen to answer secret questions. After a series of long commercials while the judges’ votes were tabulated, the winners were announced. Second runner up – first runner up – and then the moment we had been waiting for all evening. The next year’s reigning beauty queen was announced. A crown was placed on her head, roses were placed in her arms, she walked the stage as thousands applauded her, and a song of awe was sung over her. She was the most beautiful woman in the country, at least for this year.
            Every year a new beauty queen is chosen. Every season there is a new American Idol and a new Biggest Loser (the only time it’s good to be a loser). Every year another team wins the Super Bowl, the NBA Championship, and the World Series. We watch and wait with rapt attention anticipating who the winners will be, and then we shower them with praise.
            What’s more amazing than any of these is that at the end of time as we know it, there will be a winner of all time. What’s even more amazing is that we know who wins. God wins. We already know the winner, and we can start praising Him now.
            Bring it even closer to home.  At the end of each day, each week, each month, each year, who wins in your life? Give God the Praise, and make sure He is the winner in your life.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

First Things First

I recently completed writing a book titled Prayer Pearls, 5 Essentials to a Richer Prayer Life. I believe that prayer pearls are the foundational piece of jewelry we should place in our spiritual jewelry box. The foundation for anything lays the groundwork for which that item is built. If you have ever built a house, you've seen the preparation of the forms, post tension, and concrete that goes into the foundation so that your house is secure. These are pics of a house I once had built in the foundation stage.

Scripture references the difference between building a house upon a rock versus sand. The rock is secure, the sand is not. In the same way, prayer is the foundation of our spiritual walk and growth. I believe there are five essentials of prayer for a strong foundation. These five essentials provide a deeper, richer prayer experience. Over the next couple of weeks, I will post regarding each area and why I believe these areas are essential. I’ve heard many women comment that many times they don’t know how to pray or what to pray. The five essentials in this book answer those questions and form the acronym of a pearl.
P – Praise
E – Express Thanks
A – Acknowledge God
R – Release
L – Listen
                Prayer Pearls are also based on the unusual concept of giving to God versus receiving from God as applied to prayer. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Hopefully the next few blog posts will make you want to get a copy of my book for yourself once it’s published. You can be sure I'll let you know when that happens.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What's Your Lining?

A lining is a covering or coating that protects or strengthens an inside surface.
·         The lining in clothing helps give it shape and keeps the fabric from stretching. It also neatly finishes the garment and makes it easier and more comfortable to wear. A professional lining can increase the lifetime of certain clothing.
·         Drapery lining provides insulation, blocks light, and reduces fading.
·         Truck beds have lining for protection from weather and scratches.
·         A swimming pool liner protects against weathering and aging.
·         Wallpaper lining protects against shrinkage and stains. It also provides strength and uniformity when hanging wallpaper.
To summarize, linings are used for strength and protection. 

I use the top drawer of an antique dresser for my jewelry box. For a lining, I covered a piece of foam board (cut to the exact size of the drawer) with red velvet and placed it inside. It not only displays the jewelry nicely, it protects the drawer and the jewelry.

So thinking of your life and the theme from my last blog of a spiritual jewelry box, what is your lining?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What's in Your Jewelry Box?

What is the most treasured item in your jewelry box? Is it your wedding ring? Is it a necklace with precious stones, a diamond bracelet, or a strand of pearls? Perhaps it’s something that belonged to your great grandmother that has been passed down generation to generation? A jewelry box is a special place to keep treasures and jewelry. Yours might be a small musical chest or a large cabinet. It could be anything from a shoebox to a safety deposit box. Whatever you choose is special to you, but sometimes these jewelry boxes become full of broken pieces of gold chain, old clasps, safety pins, broken watches, buttons, and items that don’t even resemble jewelry. What’s in your jewelry box right now -- treasure or junk?
         Now imagine opening a special jewelry box that you receive as a gift. As you carefully raise the lid, you hear the most beautiful music you have ever heard. It’s as if angels are singing and God is speaking to you. As you peer inside you see precious gemstones shining against velvet lining reflecting perfect light. This isn’t just any jewelry box. It’s your spiritual jewelry box.
This jewelry box is a gift from God, but what you place inside is up to you. It will contain either the gemstones you personally receive from God’s word or rocks of worry, pride, and self-sufficiency. When we neglect our relationship with God, we don’t receive new treasures from Him; and even our spiritual jewelry boxes can be cluttered with earthly treasures. 
What gemstones have you received lately? The jewels of this world cannot compare to the riches of scripture. Make it a goal to spend some time digging in God’s word so your spiritual jewelry box will be full and your countenance will reflect God’s light to others. True beauty comes from within as we fill our spiritual jewelry box.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Stop, drop and roll -- Stop, turn and heal

Some synonyms: Halt, break, rest, discontinue, end.
Today as we celebrate Independence Day, let’s STOP to remember that true independence is only made possible by our dependence on God.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
In order to seek God’s face and turn to Him, we must first STOP to see where we are.
STOP, and seek His face in prayer for our nation.