God Stretches Us

God stretches us…and I really don’t enjoy the experience! I know it is good for me, but…not fun. A few years ago I took a visit to my past. Went to Washington where I spent my high school and early adult years. I love to see my family, but there is so much junk from my past that feels right “in my face.” I think this time I finally buried the “old me” there. Left her in Washington! I spent way too much time re-living my past, and finally God reminded me that those memories belonged to someone else! Who I am now is a “new creation” who I was then has been crucified, and is dead and buried. A stretching time. On the way home from that visit, our car broke down. Hadn’t even made it half way! Stuck in Butte, Montana, where it was 100 degrees, and dusty (the people were so very nice and helpful). Spent two days there, pretty stressful, looking for a way home, without giving our car away. God came through and we made it back, after a long 24 hour drive straight through, in an unfamiliar truck, towing our car, no bed, no bath and we all were stretched. My husband called it an “adventure,” same word he used in the spring when our kids car broke down on the way to their vacation in Florida, and he went with truck and dolly to pick them up.(We’ve had more than our share of car problems that year). He said to me while our daughter was sleeping in the back seat of the big truck, “we’ve had lots of adventures in our marriage, and we made it through them all. We still have each other and we have God!”
Stretching has been good for us. Ten years ago, he would have lost it, ranted and raved and been totally mad at the world, now he teases and gives God the glory. Stretching has mellowed him. Ten years ago, I would have panicked and had some anxiety attacks, maybe cried and got emotional. Stretching has strengthened me. God is faithful and He has always brought us through every “adventure”. Until I am made perfect, I’ll be stretched. I am determined to give way and be elastic, not to be brittle and bitter and to snap like an old rubber band. Who will I be when I am done? More like Him… more grown up, better and more beautiful!

Book Review for “Throw Yourself a Party” non-fiction

Throw yourself a party by Dave Duell is a book for everyone.
” How do you react when things don’t go your way?
What do you do when everything seems to go wrong?
In this insightful book, you will learn biblical principles for dealing with difficult situations. As you discover these living truths from God’s Word, you will be refreshed in your spirit and set on a new course of victory over life’s challenges.
Go ahead – throw yourself a party! ”

I have had the privilege of hearing Dave in person and his writing style is as easy as his speaking style. If you are in a hard place, this book is for you! If you’re not, read it and prepare!
Very encouraging, uplifting and inspirational! I give this book 5+ stars. Recommended for pre-teens and up.
You can find the book here. http://www.fmin.org/store/index.php?detail=65&site_id=6
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Book Review for “The Changeling”

The Changeling by Christopher Shields is the second book in the Weald Fae Journals. A fantasy/fairytale. I loved the first book, The Steward and this one is just as good. A book filled with Fae (fairies) and set in the mountains of Arkansas, it is every fairytale lover’s dream. Maggie O’Shea, the main character is a strong feminine character that will do anything to protect her family and friends from the evil fae. As the title states, there is a changeling in book two. Maggie desperately tries to save her little brother, Mitch, while the changeling takes his place in their lives. A great read! I give this book 5+ stars. My only disappointment is that the third book isn’t finished yet. Good for ages 13 and up.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009YAVZYW/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title

Not Incomplete

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Why do we as humans try to add to the work of Christ? Or why do we want to keep dragging Him back to the cross to re-crucify Him, as if the one time wasn’t enough? Charles Spurgeon says, “There is an inherent blasphemy in seeking to add to what Christ Jesus in His dying moments declared to be finished, or to improve that in which the Lord Jehovah finds perfect satisfaction. Trembling sinner, away with thy tools, and fall upon thy knees in humble supplication; and accept the Lord Jesus to be the altar of thine atonement, and rest in Him alone.” Jesus Himself declared, “And the one sitting on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true: It is finished!” (Rev 21:5-6) Jesus told John to even write it down, so that he would always remember and so that we would have these words forever! John shows us again in John 19:30 the scene of the cross stating, “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” What God Himself has declared as FINISHED, can we declare incomplete? Sometimes I think we must all be crazy! How patient the Father is. God gave me a picture of my frustrated efforts in the past. When I had been calling out to Jesus to ‘DO SOMETHING’. It was a half comical movie of a woman with the emaciated version of Christ (the way the old renaissance paintings portray Him, skinny and weak). He was lying on the ground, with the white loin cloth, rolling His eyes to heaven, while this woman had Him by the wrist, dragging Him back to the cross. In her other hand she held a big spike! I had to laugh and said, ‘how stupid”! Then God showed me her face! Yep, it was me! I didn’t even have to ask Him to explain. I got it. I know I am not the only one…admit it we’ve all been there at least once. But I am DETERMINED not to “crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame”. (Heb 6:6 NKJV) The work of the cross is not incomplete. We do not have to ‘earn it’! There is no work that we can do that is greater than what He already did! Jesus is not a man that He should lie! HE SAID IT IS FINISHED! Stand on that!

 

What Does God Want?

Really, what does He want? You could ask dozens of people and get dozens of different answers. Those answers would range from- obedience, praise and worship, money (tithes and offerings), time, energy, loyalty, attention, commitment, and the list could go on. All of those things are true, but doesn’t that make God sound like some ego-maniacal, dictator who lounges on a throne demanding attention and glory? Who wants that for a Father?
Simply put, God wants you. I know cliché. But He wants your heart. He asks all of those other things from you because those things benefit us. Let’s break this down a little. God doesn’t need your money, but He asks us to give 10% (tithe for the running of the Church and the support of the staff) and offerings (to help others), because He knows that “if we give, it will be given back to us”. (Luke 6:38). Also when we give to God, He promises to “Open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing” (Mal 3:10). God wants us to praise Him because praise “stills the enemy and the avenger” (Ps 8:2), it makes Satan shut up and stops his actions against us. He asks us to work because He works with us (I Cor. 3:9). He doesn’t sit while we work, in fact “He works while we wait.” We work because the Church toilets need cleaning, those little noses in nursery need wiped. Those things bring us together as a family.
God is love! He doesn’t just possess, show, or talk about love, He is love. It is the very nature of God (I John 4:7). That’s why He loves everyone. He loves the drug addict, the prostitute, the serial killer, the child molester, everyone! But don’t be deceived they are not His children, or part of His family. His children are the ones who have surrendered their lives to Him. Those are the ones he promises to take care of. Because He is love and He wants all to be His children, He asks us to work together with Him to build His family. He doesn’t want this love to remain one sided. What does it benefit them if He loves them, but they never experience love for Him? Those others who have Satan as their father (and they don’t even know it), they need to be reached. They need to know God’s love. How can they be reached if we aren’t co-laboring with Christ.
Our ‘work’ for God, those things all mentioned in the first paragraph, and any other thing God may have asked of us, should come out of our love for God. If they are coming out a sense of obligation, duty or fear, the motivation is wrong. Even worse if they are coming out of self-righteousness and pride, it’s going to be harmful to you instead of helpful. What motivates your work? It’s easy to “grow weary in well doing” (Gal. 6:9) if we have the wrong attitude. I know I’ve been there. I’ve screamed in my head, “What do you want from me!” on more than one occasion. I had allowed the thoughts to take root in my heart that I was doing so much for him already, but that somehow that wasn’t enough, that He was demanding more. That I was lacking. Those are just a bunch of ugly lies, God doesn’t demand, we have a choice. At my worst moments of fear, illness, weakness and depression, God patiently reminded me that He loved me, that He wasn’t asking for a slave (being forced), but that He wanted a daughter who served from a heart of thankfulness and love. I had gone back to Egypt (slavery) when He wanted me in the Promised Land (a place of rest, provision and peace).
God showed His love for us through the ugliness and the shame on the cross. Jesus not only poured out His life’s blood on that tree, but also His great love and longing for us. When we know Him, (not know about Him with our reasoning mind, but know Him intimately in our hearts), we understand what He wants. He wants a relationship with Him, two way conversations, and fellowship. He wants us to spend time with Him, not in work or service but in relationship. Get these pictures in your head. First think about how you feel when your child obediently cleans their room, to the best of their ability. Now think of your little one sitting on your lap, with each of their little hands on either side of your face, looking into your eyes, and saying “I love you”. Which one touches you more?
Sure their room needs cleaned and we have to teach them responsibility, it’s for their own good after all (sounding familiar?), but first we want their love. The Church needs cleaned, bills need paid, and the lost need reached. But first and most importantly we need to accept God’s love for us, and love Him back, build a better relationship with Him. We don’t do that by work, but by sitting in His lap. All of those other things will get done and with the right motivation. Sounds easier, freer, and way more fun!
“Yes I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3

Calling

Do you hear the Bridegroom calling for His bride?
The Father is calling all is prepared, the table is set.
The Holy Spirit is calling, the wedding garments are ready.
Can you hear the bride calling?

Are you ready?
Are you washed in the blood?
Is your lamp full of oil?
Are your garments without spot or wrinkle?

“And the Spirit and the Bride say, come.
And let them that heareth say, come.
And let them that athirst come.
And whosoever will, let them take the water of life freely.”
Revelation 22:17