Monday, June 29, 2009

"Set Apart" Series, Part Three: Confessions & Questions

I have a confession to make: I'm at a place in life where I have more questions than answers about what it means to live the "set apart" life. Let me just share with you a handful of Scriptures regarding living out our faiths in the world.

We are "the light of the world." Matthew 5:14

We are to "go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." Mark 16:15

We as disciples of Christ are to "be brought to complete unity to let the world know" that Jesus loves them. John 17:23

We're not to "conform any longer to the pattern of this world," but to test and approve what God's perfect will is. Romans 12:2

The Bible teaches us to "say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age." Titus 2:11

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

"Friendship with the world is hatred toward God." James 4:4

"Do not love the world or anything in the world." 1 John 2:15

The verses go on and on, and it is very clear to me that God wants me in this world, sharing my story and letting His light shine in and through me. At the same time, He wants me to live a holy, blameless life, set apart for Him. For me, the rub comes while I'm trying to live these Truths out practically. Just when I think I've got a grasp on the balance in the two, something comes along to drive me back to my knees asking.

Living out the "set apart" life starts with confessing I have no idea how to do so. I need the Lord's wisdom, discernment and leading. As I pause and ponder, I also pray and praise, knowing that I'll only have what I need if I ask the Lord to provide it for me.

As I've shared from my gut with the Lord this week, here are some of the questions I've thrown out at him:
How can I be holy & blameless without clinging to legalism?
How can I be a light in this world without some of the darkness absorbing me?
Can I be out among those lost without becoming consumed by self-righteousness and judgment?
When something unfamiliar & scary comes along, will I trust You to help me face it, or will I try to protect myself?
Am I too wealthy, God? Do I need to give up more of my possessions?
How do I reach out to the hurting without their hurts consuming my heart and mind?
Is it okay to relax and have pleasure, or should I use every waking moment to reach others?
What in the world do I do with all this technology, God? What is the balance?

I'm back to the beginning in saying that I have more questions than answers, but I know as I continue to seek the Lord, He will teach me His heart. I'm skeptical of anyone who says they've got it all figured out, because I truly believe that the more we grow in our faith walks, the more questions we have, and the deeper they are.

I also believe this is where grace comes in. So many times, we use grace as our "get out of sin free" card, and it is true that when we repent, His forgiveness is readily available to us. But the deeper part of grace is that when we want to live righteously and falter out of ignorance or immaturity, His grace is there to meet us when we hit our knees asking the whys and hows. I love the way the Message puts it for us in Romans 8:26-28:

"Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting,
God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along.
If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter.
He does our praying in and for us,
making prayer out of our wordless sighs,
or aching groans.
He knows us far better than we know ourselves,
knows our pregnant condition,
and keeps us present before God.
That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives
of love for God is worked into something good."
It all goes back to the Lord. (Doesn't it always?) I'm so thankful He loves me enough to help me sort through my weaknesses, my wonderings, my wanderings. I praise Him that He takes my desire to please Him and brings it in line with the will of the Father as I surrender to the Holy Spirit. "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." 1 John 4:4

What are some of the deep wonderings and ponderings in your faith walk?

Friday, June 26, 2009

"Set Apart" Series, Part Two: Snub & Run

In Part One, I pondered if the set-apart life could really be done according to 1st Peter 3:8 & 9. Based on the comments received on the blog and on Facebook, it's obvious people are hungry for discussion on this.

For Part Two, I'm going to pause & ponder the rest of that passage in 1st Peter. Verses 10-12 (The MSG again):
"Whoever wants to embrace life
and see the day fill up with good,
Here's what you do:
Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
run after peace for all you're worth.
God looks on all this with approval.
But He turns His back
on those who do evil things."

I love the way this is worded in the NIV too. "Whoever would love life and see good days..."

Do we as believers in Christ really desire to love life? Do we want to embrace it? Not love it and embrace it in the sense that we love life more than we love Christ, but do we love the life that God has given us to live by the power of the HOly Spirit--that life mentioned in John 10:10--"life to the full."

I think the two verses build on one another:
"The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy,
but I have come that they may have life & have it to the full."

We already have life to the full living in us, but whether we live it out to the full or not is a whole different story.
Sometimes we are content to be discontent with life. "The world is falling apart..." "I can't wait to be in Heaven..." True. But I don't want us to get to the point where we allow our thinking on the ick Satan is doing to rob us of Christ's fullness alive in & available to us today.

So if we truly desire loving Christ's life in us, this passage shares how to do that. Peter chooses to go back to the advice given in Psalm 34:

"Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
run after peace for all you're worth."

Sounds so easy, doesn't it? I can't think of anything I pray about more than God helping me in these areas. My words come from the overflow in my heart, and folks, it ain't pretty in there a lot of the time. If my spiritual life could be measured by how much time I spend in the Word, I would get an "A" for sure. But if it were measured by how much time I live out the Word, well, I'd never graduate!

But we don't ever graduate, do we? His grace gives us opportunity after opportunity to live life His way. He loves us that much.

I love the picture in my head when I read "Snub evil." There's no major rant, no violent declaration. Just snub and run on ahead. God in us is too good to spend time chewing out evil. We hold our heads up high, realizing we have the Word of life in us, and we go on to "cultivate good & run after peace." HE is the Prince of Peace, and when we run after Him, evil runs the other direction.

Don't mean to trivialize the power of evil. In every post on a passage of Scripture, there is another passage to give it more depth or light. Sometimes we are faced with a horrible battle with evil, and the Lord gives us more intense training in our faithwalks. We are to stay aware and on our guard against the devil's schemes (1st Peter 5:8). We are to fight with spiritual weapons (Ephesians 6). But I would still argue that if you are running after the Lord, you will be fully aware and armed when those intense battles come.

Please don't be intimidated if you are not to this place on your Christian journey yet. I've been a committed Christian since childhood, and I'm still not. But the question is, do we have the want-to? And if we're at a place where we have the want-to, are we willing to go about it God's way? We can't get there on our own.
"'Not by might, not by power, but by MY Spirit,' says the Lord." Zechariah 4:6
"...apart from Me, you can do nothing." John 15:5

I can't leave the topic without the last few points of the passage. They are key:
"God looks on all this with approval.
But He turns His back
on those who do evil things."

When we live life HIS way, He approves. When we do evil, He doesn't. He's holy. Yes, there's grace and forgiveness when we repent, thank goodness, but if we struggle with the same sins on a repetitive basis, we are wise to remember He is holy and that He hates sin. Often I have to get to the place where I've grown to hate my sin so much that I am more submissive to Him than ever to help me turn from it. Inevitably, when I do, it's hard and uncomfortable. But it's worth it in the end, because "life to the full" is so much sweeter than life to the comfortable. Full life keeps on giving and flowing. Comfort-driven life not only has limits, but also begins to deplete.

Wild stuff, but true. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Set Apart" Series, Part One: Can We Really Live This Way?

It doesn't matter where I turn lately, it's all around me: sarcasm and insults that is.

It's in reality shows, news reports, the blogosphere, social media. It's in my church, and even worse, in my home.

God has laid this on my heart as a matter of urgency to discuss among believing Christians, and though I'd much rather write on a Psalm or an encouraging passage, my eyes & heart are locked into this series, and the key is nowhere to be found. So after much prayer, I'll share.

"Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless--that's your job, to bless. You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing."
1 Peter 3:8,9
Disclaimer: I'm not a theologian, so I'm not going to attempt to take apart the meaning of this passage. Rather, I'd like to share some of the insight and ponderings the Lord has laid on my heart--what it has stirred up in me. So, no sermon here...but think along. Pray along. And ask the Lord to reveal His Truth to you in a fresh way...

First and foremost, can we as believers really live this way? I believe we can, but not by mustering up our own discipline or fortitude. Rather, by the power and with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Every action in our Christian lives comes down to Spirit-filled living. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Sure, as a stand-alone, these verses in 1 Peter could be used by any "peace-loving" person or religion. But we are not talking about loving peace, we're talking about loving Christ.

The truth is, if you live this way as a believer, you will be put down, ridiculed or worse. Those who live this way as a non-believer will rarely be persecuted. Have you ever noticed that? Maybe this is because when we do what is right because the Holy Spirit is leading us, the Lord shines through...thus resistance from those who don't know Him. When someone lives with "the common good" as his motive, most of the time, people admire them, even follow them, so to speak. Even Christians can be deceived by these "good people," and if we're not careful, we'll begin to imitate them instead of Christ.

Something else to ponder: Oftentimes, Christians believe that being "agreeable" means you can't speak out on evil or other issues. That is not true. But we must realize when we do speak out, the Lord wants us to do it His way. In Spirit and in Truth. (John 16:13 & Romans 9:1) For me, I'm still learning what that means, and it is a continual process of surrender for Him to teach me.

On the opposite end, I hear & read of other Christians who seem to think that bashing their spouse or boss or pastor or another believer is perfectly within their freedom to do. While I try not to stand in judgment of these actions, they still wrinkle my spirit and make my heart feel sick. Unfortunately, I have been a "basher" a time or two (or two times three) myself, which makes me sicker than anything.

So, in summary today, let's pause and ponder this:
Why are so many Christians fighting?
Have we lost our sympathy and passion for the lost & hurting?
How can we get away from using the same humor and retaliation that the rest of the world does?
Are we busy looking for ways to be blessed, or are we blessing others?
How can we stand up for and help those who can't defend themselves without using the world's methods?
Are we living a "good" life or a Holy-spirit filled life? 
From whom do we receive our advice and counsel on right living?
Why is it so hard to live this way, and how can we start to turn the trend around in the church and in our homes?

Share your thoughts and your ideas, your struggles and solutions if you feel led.

Father, I praise You for giving me Your Word to help me in this life. I am more aware than ever that this is not my real home, because each day I feel a little more uncomfortable than I did the day before. I long for my Heavenly home, yet I know You still have work for me to do here. Help me to be content, not to lose my passion to love and live Your way, and not to grow bitter and sarcastic toward others. Lord, show me how to depend on You more fully to live out these passage of Scriptures in every situation and relationship. It gets so muddy, so complicated, and I often try to figure things out on my own. Cause humility & work salvation in and through me, I pray. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Message Worthy of an Encore

Reading through my Message Bible yesterday, this passage stopped my heart. The Lord had some work to do in me.

It was pause-worthy.

1st Peter 4:7-11
"Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless--cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: If words, let it be words; if help, let it be God's hearty help. That way, God's bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and He'll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything--encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!"
So many applications jump out at me, and I'm caught off-guard by the depth of them. 

"Stay wide awake in prayer."
This doesn't mean stay up all night. Rather, each situation I face can be one in which to pray through or over. Every person I meet can be one to bathe in prayer. Of course I'm not necessarily going to grab their hand and start praying out loud with him or her, but in my mind, heart & soul, I can pray to the One who knows them intimately.

"Love as if my life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything."
It's intentional. Urgent. Insistent. Christ's love in and through me is miraculous, and it is to be showered on others. This kind of love is really important to the Lord, and it is the kind of love He lavished on me.

"Be generous with the different things God gave me..."
I always want to give my money away and buy people things, but am I generous with my words? With tangible help? With prayer? With His message? Am I generous in love?

All of it is so that "God's bright presence will be evident in everything." 
I pray that I will never feel entitled to someone else's applause or love in return to what I give out. When I'm serving others because I love Christ, then I expect nothing in return. If I'm loving His way, the receiver experiences God's presence. Period.

I pondered:
How many times do I "love" someone until they say something that hurts or offends me? 
How often do I count what others have or have not done for me based on what I've done for them?
Do I hope deep down for applause? An encore even?
Have I grown complacent in praying for others?
Am I sometimes numb to the needs of others?

Even more deeply, I pondered:
There is so much pain. How can I possibly meet all the needs around me? What are the boundaries?
Are there things I spend my time on that are fruitless which could be shoved aside to obey in these areas?
How are these verses lived out practically in my season of life as well as the way He's wired me?

I praise the Lord for helping me come up to answers to these things inside my heart and mind, at least for now.  I'd share them, but His answers may be different for you.

One thing I can tell you for sure is that I pray my hands & feet & mouth & heart & mind would give the Lord the renown He is due...that His light would beam through me, making His sacrificial love evident to all.

May it be so, Lord. I lift my hands in praise, giving You an encore with my everyday living. You are mighty to do so in me as I stay surrendered to You.

How do these verses cause you to ponder in your life? 

Friday, June 19, 2009

Loving Knee-Deep

1 Peter 4:8
"Above all, love each other deeply,
because love covers over a multitude of sins."

You know, I've read this passage a gazillion times, but the last few times it has come to my attention, the word "deeply" has popped out like a goblin in the night. It could just say, "Above all, love each other, because love covers...." But there's that word: deeply.

I must confess, now that I've discovered this, it has changed my perspective on the word "love." I can't believe how many times a day I shower shallow love in my conversations (not that it's wrong, just that I notice it now).

"Oh, no know I luv ya, chica."
"I love, Love, LOVE your hair like that."
"Email ya more later. Love, LaLee."

And I mean those words. I do. In my knee-deep sort of way. God has shown me that the only way I can love deeply like he tells me to is if He loves through me.
This is the way God loves:
"I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the saints,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep 
is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-
that you may be filled to the measure 
of all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 3:17b-19
When He loves through me by the power of the Holy Spirit, it knows no bounds. It is unconditional. It fills others up. When I love knee-deeply by the power of my own knowledge,'s difficult to love the unloveable. I want it to be comfortable and easy.
Anyway, I'm thankful for His continued reminders to me that I can be "rooted and established in love"--the fully under-water kind--and that I have His powerful love to tap in to, if I am willing and get myself out of the way.

Thank you, Lord, for loving me so deeply. And may I love like you today, Father. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Internet Cafe Devotions: Waves Overwhelming

I'm at the Internet Cafe today with an honest look at the waves of trials that have surged in and out of my life. Here's a preview:

I knew that if I just cried out to the Lord, His strong arm would hold me afloat and eventually land me on solid ground, but it took way too long for me to actually give it all over to Him. I felt like the man in Mark 9:24 who exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
To read more, go over to the CAFE and share how God uses this Word in your life. Also share how God has brought you through your own "stuff." I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Stuck In Traffic on "Joy Boulevard"

My friends,

I wrote draft one of this poem almost five years ago with the retreat theme of “joy” in mind. As I’ve hit a great number of bumps since then, the message of true joy has become even clearer to me. So, with a few twists and bends, the Holy Spirit has inspired my pen to present it to you with a fresh message. I don’t doubt that in five more years, it will need some tweaking again.

Our lives are constantly changing, and the Lord loves us too much to keep us immature in our faiths. The questions for us are almost always the same, however, no matter what bend in the road: Will we do things our own way or His way? Do we trust Him to lead us where we need to be? Are we walking in His light right now, or do we need to walk away from something taking His place? Have I made Him the center of my life?

I’m praying for each one of You, that You will take the time to ask yourself those questions. The Lord already knows the answers, and He’s willing to lead you to them if you’ll only ask. I have experienced first-hand doing life my own way...trying to find pleasure in stuff this world offers, looking for other fulfillment when His way gets too difficult. It’s in the memory of those mistakes that I care enough to share these words. I hope you will consider them.

Stuck In Traffic on “Joy Boulevard”
By LauraLee Shaw

I was driving down life’s freeway,
Unhappy, no pleasure in sight.
When all at once, I saw a sign:
“Joy Boulevard, NEXT RIGHT.”

Joy Boulevard, I thought...
Then felt immediately compelled--
“I must turn right, I can’t resist,”
So I swerved to hit Joy’s trail.

At first, I was speeding ‘long nicely,
Sheer elation running through my brain;
Reality interrupted with a rude, loud POP!
And I jerked to the caution lane.

Before I knew it, a car appeared,
He said his name was ‘Ease.’
“I’ll change your tire, give you every desire;
Just hand me over your keys.”

Behind me, I suddenly heard a commotion--
I turned to see a stampede...
Car after car, lined up in a row,
Waiting to fill my need.

There was ‘Money’ and ‘Success,’
Marriage’ and the usual suspects.
Behind them were others,
like ‘Comfort’ and ‘Rest.’

‘All Smiles,’ ‘Best Friend,’ and ‘Security’
Were honking at ‘Good Job’ and ‘Serenity.’

I heard a still small voice begin its persuasion:

What were you thinking?
There’s no true, lasting joy in this traffic.
All of these vehicles, while eager to please,
Will only serve as ‘joy static.’

So I got out of my car and grabbed my spare.
Took me over an hour to complete.
Then I jingled my keys, waved the traffic on by,
And jumped into the driver’s seat.

When at last all the cars had passed me by,
I was tempted to follow them home.
Then I saw a blood red blinking sign,
“Back to Life’s Freeway, NEXT ROAD.”

My car was the only exiting that day,
Resisting JOY Boulevard’s appeal.
But that moment I experienced truest joy,
As I gave the Holy Spirit the wheel.

Whoops, there’s a bump and a curve in the road,
The gas tank is running low.
Engine’s due for an oil change,
And the lane is uncomfortably narrow...

But I’ll accept these challenges on life’s highway,
No more detours for me;
His fruit of joy will drive me along,
Providing all that I need for my journey.


“I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord;
apart from You I have no good thing.’
The sorrows of those will increase
who run after other gods.
You have made known to me the path of life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”

Psalm 16:2, 4 & 11

Friday, June 12, 2009

Growing Up is Hard To Do

“I tell you the truth, when you were younger, 
you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; 
but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, 
and someone else will dress you and lead you 
where you do not want to go. 
Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death 
by which Peter would glorify God. 
Then He said to him, ‘Follow Me!”
John 21:18-19

It seems as though Jesus would have said everything He had to say to His disciples before He died. But He was gracious enough to show Himself to them after His “mysterious disappearance” from the grave. He didn’t just appear to them, he ate with them and told them what to do next…several times. 

Of all the disciples, Peter probably needed to see Jesus the most…not because he loved Jesus more than the others, but because He was in need of reassurance after he had told Jesus he would be faithful, only to deny him three times. Jesus has the familiar conversation with Peter: The “Do you love me?” question series….all three times Jesus asks him the question, Peter pledges his love to Him—“Lord, you know that I love You.”

The next verses, the ones listed above, are those that really strike me in this conversation. Isn’t this the case with us, though? “…when you were younger, you dressed yourself and went where you wanted…” When we were young Christians, and some of us still are, we pretty much did what was expected of any new believer…we began to live a “Christian life.”

“…but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands…” The more we mature in our faith, however, the more out of OUR control our lives become. We begin to learn the process of suffering, of depending on Him for our next move, and of giving up the more meaningless methods of coping with life.

Just as Jesus stretched out His hands, let others clothe Him, and allowed Himself to be led to the cross, we too will learn to give ourselves up and be led for Kingdom purposes as we become “older” in our faiths. What is really surreal is that each one of us will learn to die to ourselves in different ways. God is creative as He works on us…His masterpiece, His creation. AND…it may take more time on some of us than others to lead us to that place of spiritual old age with Him.

As Peter and Jesus were having this conversation, the verse goes on to tell us what John was doing: “Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them…when Peter saw him, he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? YOU must follow me.’” In other words, we can’t compare our walk with Him to anyone else’s. He is very clear—YOU must follow Him.

Isn’t it cool that John didn’t even have to be asked… He just followed. John followed Him during His ministry, he followed Him at His death, and He followed Him the rest of His life. Let’s ask God to help us do the same….hopefully, without being asked to do so over and over.


Will you consider pondering the verses above, as well as the following passage in Mark? Then as He leads, pray...ask Him to teach you from His heart today...
Mark 8:34 -35 says: 
"Then He called the crowd to Him along with His disciples
 and said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself
 and take up his cross and follow me. 
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, 
but whoever loses his life for me 
and for the gospel will save it.’”

What does “losing your life for the gospel” mean to you? 
What cross has He given you to carry as you follow Him?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Keep Writing?

Pause & Ponder this:

One of the comments I received upon newly joining a writer's site some years back was "Keep writing!" To me, it was a neutral comment. Depending on which mood I happened to be in, I could take it to mean "Keep writing, hopefully next time you won't stink." Or the opposite, "Keep writing. I like what I've just read & want more." Maybe what it really meant was "You have potential." If only the commenter had gone on to explain which they wouldn't have left me wondering. And what if I don't feel like writing next week, should I keep writing anyway?

The "keep writing" example came to my mind when I was reading Romans 12:11-12 in The Message today.
"Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.
Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.
Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder."
Nothing ambiguous about this instruction, is there? We are to "Keep Walking" as believers, good mood, bad mood, and every emotion, struggle & circumstance in-between. We keep from getting burned out when we keep ourselves fueled and aflame by the power of the Word. We keep expectant, cheerfully so, as we keep alert to our Master, working in and through us. We keep going and keep praying during the hard times. There's no other choice.

I had to stop and ask myself today:

Am I keeping on as His disciple, or have I given up in some areas?
Is my walk powered by His fuel or my own?
Do I talk talk of the walk without keeping the walk worthy of my talk?

My friends:
"Since this is the kind of life we have chosen,
the life of the Spirit,
let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads
or a sentiment in our hearts, 
but work out its implications in every detail of our lives."
Galatians 5:25
Living Him out in every detail of our lives is only possible when we surrender our lives to the Lord, keeping Him front and center. I'm praying "all the harder" for that now.

Lord God, help us to live this message large today through the power of the Holy Spirit. You are our Lord. Apart from You, we have no good thing. In Your faithful name we pray, Amen.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Grace, Behind and Through My Calling...


~Ponder this:

"Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time—pray that our God will make you fit for what He's called you to be, pray that He'll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with His own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, He will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving Himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving Himself freely."
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, The Message

These verses were salve to my distressed soul today. As much as I hate to admit it, in my quiet moments the past few weeks, I've been stressing over the calling God has given me.  But in this passage, I'm humbled. Not that I was "puffed up" before, but I wasn't depending on His ability to meet my needs.

I've felt inadequate in my calling as a mother, my calling as a wife, my calling as a writer, and some brand new callings as a speaker and short-term missionary.

Lots of tears. Lots of self-pity. Lots of defeated thoughts. All in cycles, in my quiet, private moments with the Lord.

But I've chosen to continue speaking His Words of faith, privately and publicly, because I know them to be true. His promises don't stop being true just because I'm not feeling them true. And all of these thoughts of inadequacy? Well, I'm not happy I gave into them, but it could be that it took me getting to that place in order to bring my will into submission with His.

The truth is, I'm not able to do this mom and domestic thing--IN MY OWN STRENGTH.
I fall short as a wife...really short--IN MY OWN THINKING.
I have so far to go as a writer, and I'm intimidated by others in my field and genre--IN MY OWN ABILITY.
I really question whether I can do the new, out-of-my-comfort-zone ministry stuff--IN MY OWN STRIVING.

Then God gave me these verses when He knew I was fully ready to receive them.

God will make me fit for what He's called me to be. HE will fill my good ideas and acts of faith with His own energy so that it all amounts to something. If my life honors the name of Jesus, He will honor me. Grace is behind and through it all.

Yes, Lord. Thank You. I praise Your name for breaking through my selfish, willful thinking. Let my thoughts revolve around living in Your grace, honoring Your name instead of worrying about "my calling." It's in Your name I pray, Amen.

So, my friends, where are you on this journey? You can share if you like, but feel free just to pause & ponder His Words, taking the time to ask yourself the hard questions. Use my prayer as your own if you wish. I hope that in the end, you & I will choose to constantly depend on this One who gave Himself freely, the One who is faithful to strengthen us according to His will.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Adding Zest...Oo La Laaa

I'm almost positive that every married couple has struggled with the "sex" part of their relationship in one way or another. In my opinion, in the areas men struggle most, there seems to be a myriad of resources. But for women, has only gone so far.

Brian and I have certainly had our issues, and for the most part, the Lord has enabled us to work them out. I can't help but wonder if I had been led to better resources earlier on, we wouldn't have worked through our struggles more quickly and painlessly.

One of my close friends and another writing acquaintance have decided to listen to God's leading on this issue for wives. This was not an easy decision for either of them, but they gave way to obedience. Today is their very first post, and I encourage you to check it out. Below that post is an introduction and explanation of their hearts & testimony on the new site.

Meet me over yonder? God is in it, folks!

Adding Zest to your Nest

Monday, June 1, 2009

Who is He?

"Who is He, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty—
He is the King of glory.
Psalm 24:10

Now this is a question over which to pause, ponder & praise: "Who is He, this King of glory?"

He's "The LORD Almighty"!

But who is He? So many great resources exist on the names of God and the attributes of God. One of my favorites is "The Names of God" by Ken Kemphill. Before you read any other book (other than the Bible), I'd encourage you to grab this one or another that focuses on who God is & what He does.
As you read your Bible, and you see a character trait of God, underline it, circle it, highlight it, journal it, whatever. The more you know HIM, the less you need to understand yourself. The more you know what HE does, the less you need to strive yourself.
One of God's promises that gave me incredible comfort and encouragement in my youth is 
"You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more." 
Psalm 10:17-18

The fact that He hears, He listens, He encourages, He defends...that stays with me each and every day when I feel lonely or defensive or downcast or negative.

I love the Lord, that He has an answer for every problem, be it big or small. He has a promise to grab & run with each day. He is my King of glory. I could go on and on, but I'd love to hear from you. 

What promise, what fact, what characteristic, what action from The Lord Almighty, your King of glory gives you reason to pause, ponder & praise Him today?