"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our Lord stands forever. Isaiah 40:8

29 January 2006

Having a Bad Week

It’s been a busy week and I’ve been too busy to write. I really enjoy posting to my blog but it has to take a back seat to the more important things in life – my husband, my children, my job and most importantly, my God. I’ll pause for a moment to let my husband snicker as he sees himself in that list.

The truth is, the more important things in my life aren’t always the things I want to spend my time on. Sometimes I have to force myself to stay focused on the responsibilities to which the Lord has called me. Some days I am selfish and want to do the things I want to do. Some days I want to hide under the covers and hope no one can find me.

This week was a battle for me. The things I wanted to spend time on had to take second priority to the things I needed to spend time on. I spent my time on the right things, but I did them begrudgingly. That’s not glorifying God.

These are the times though that once I get past the rough spot, I am amazed by God’s grace. Despite my “bad attitude”, God’s love and mercy are still there for me.

I thank the Lord that he is faithful in all things. Even though I often fail my husband and children, the Lord never fails me. He loves me despite my imperfections. He understands my weaknesses and is willing and able to help me if I ask. He is never too busy for me.

25 January 2006

Wanted: Christian Women

From my website:

The Christian Woman is looking to showcase the writings of Christian women. This can be an article, a devotion, or even your testimony. You don't have to be a professional writer, just a woman who loves Jesus and wants to share that love through a written piece. If you are interested in being involved, please send an email with your piece to Carrie.

If you want more details, please email me. Any writings that are published on the website would contain a link to your own website or blog.

23 January 2006

Serving a Need

John 12:26
"Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me."

In our church bulletin this past Sunday was a call for teachers and helpers with the children’s ministry. Since we are fairly new to the church, I have been thinking about a way to get more involved. The children’s ministry was certainly not first on my list as I’m just not a “kid-person”. However, I signed up anyway.

Am I a glutton for punishment? Not exactly.

The tough part about serving is thinking about the benefits of others over ourselves. While doing nursery duty or teaching the young children would not be my first choice for serving in the church, I felt it was important to offer my help where it was needed.

There are many duties that need to be fulfilled to run an effective church and sometimes that means people have to help out in areas not usually of their choosing. While it’s true that the Lord gave us each certain gifts to serve in his church, we can’t box ourselves in to only serving in those capacities. Sometimes we have to pitch in where there is a need.

22 January 2006

5 Questions for Jesus

Carol has a new meme at her site. I am generally not a fan of these, but this one was an interesting question so I thought I would give it a try.

List five questions you would like to ask Jesus when you get to heaven:

1. Who’s here?
2. Who’s not here?
3. What was your life like on earth for the first 33 years?
4. Can you explain the Trinity?
5. Did you like anything about being human?

Beyond questions, one of my biggest hopes when I get to heaven is to be able to watch replays of all the great events in history. Creation, Noah’s ark, Jesus’ ministry, you name it. That would be cool.

21 January 2006

Through it All

I'm not sure who wrote this song, I need to look it up. The last stanza is so great.

I've had many tears and sorrows, I've had questions for tomorrow;
There've been times I didn't know right from wrong,
But in every situation, God gave blessed consolation;
That my trials come, Only to make me strong.

Through it all, through it all,
Oh I've learned to trust in Jesus,
I've learned to trust in God.
Through it all, through it all
I've learned to depend on his Word.

I've been to lots of places, And I've seen a lot of faces
There've been times I felt so all alone
But in my lonely hours, Yes those precious lonely hours
Jesus let me know I was His own.

I thank God for the mountains, And I thank Him for the valleys
I thank Him for the storms, He brought me through
For if I'd never had a problem
I wouldn't know that He could solve them
I'd never know what Faith in God could do.

(Carol thought the artist was Ray Boltz and she was right. Thanks Carol!)

20 January 2006

Blogger Block & Resources

Since I seem to be suffering from blogger block, I thought I would just post a few resources today.

Dan has an excellent series posted at Cerulean Sanctum called “21 Steps to a 21st Century Church”. You may not agree with all he has to say, but it will give you some things to think about as a maturing Christian.

A few months back I stumbled across Ralph’s site Behind the Badge, and enjoyed reading some of his articles. Ralph has a great fervor for the Lord and his articles are very well-founded in scripture. I appreciate his hard-line stance on issues and his openness to share his testimony. More recently I started to read his Apologetics section which contains many questions he has received by email about Christianity and his responses back. Many of the emails are from non-believers (some quite hostile) so I have found his answers to some of the more common oppostion points very informative. I also greatly admire his devotion to take the time to thoroughly answer so many questions from complete strangers.

17 January 2006

Nothing to Offer But Hope

One of my coworkers has been going through a very difficult time. Her son has serious and multiple health issues, she’s getting a divorce, and she’s trying to juggle all this while working full-time (it’s actually more complicated than that but there is no point in going into details here). Her life has been such a struggle lately that I sometimes feel depressed for her.

Over the past few months I’ve tried to be a friend to her, offering her help, talking with her, visiting the hospital. I have given her lots of advice, helped her with some of her work, and tried to do as much for her as I can. But after awhile her problems became too big for me and I started to feel drained and overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure what else to do.

I finally realized that I couldn’t fix her problems, she had to do that on her own. That was a tough realization for me because as a child of God, I felt I had to do my all to support her. In her case though, she needed to step up and take responsibility for herself and try to get her life back on track. The day after coming to that conclusion I was very happy to see Carol’s post on a similar topic (my confirmation from the Lord that I was headed down the right track – don’t you love when he does that).

But the bigger realization that came to me after this whole ordeal is that I myself have nothing to offer someone except hope. I couldn’t fix my friend’s problems and I couldn’t take her sorrow away – all I could do for her is offer her the hope that is in knowing Jesus. He is the Counselor and the Great Physician. He may not choose to alleviate her problems, but he would certainly make the burden easier to bear.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

16 January 2006

Verbally Impaired

Last night we met for a Discipleship class at our church. It’s a ten part series based on a study from Campus Crusade for Christ where we break up into small groups to discuss each chapter. After meeting with my group of three other women, I realized why I prefer to write. It’s because I can’t speak.

If you read enough of my blog posts, I think you would be surprised to meet me in person. I love to meditate on God’s words, study the scriptures and I really enjoying sharing my faith through writing. But a people-person I am not. I tend to be quiet and have a difficult time talking with people I don’t know well. It’s not that I don’t like people, I just have never felt very comfortable talking to strangers.

Now, I am not sure if I feel uncomfortable talking around people because I do not express myself well or I do not express myself well because I feel uncomfortable around people – a kind of chicken and egg conundrum. But last night while meeting with the other women, I was reminded that I am verbally-challenged. I did venture out to speak up as one of the women in my group admitted that she was still “seeking” and I wanted to share my own testimony. But once I had finished speaking I was wishing I could have frozen time for a few moments and written something up to just hand to her to read. Not that I think that I am some great writer, but I am much better at conveying my thoughts and feelings on paper than in words.

Not to be too hard on myself - I can speak and sometimes I can even say something coherent. But often times I feel like I am at a loss for a particular word or more often than not, my statement takes a turn to the left while my point took a turn to the right never to meet again.

But despite my shortcomings at all things verbal, I know that the Lord can use me anyway. One of the greatest prophets from the Old Testament was not gifted in speech and yet the Lord used him anyway:

Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." Exod 4:10-12

Clearly we all have our strengths and weaknesses but sometimes God doesn’t agree with our own self-assessments. If we try to limit our work for the Lord to what we think we are good at, we may miss out. So while I may prefer to communicate in writing, that isn’t always an option. Do I just not speak? Obviously not.

I’ll likely never become an eloquent speaker, but that’s okay. The Lord will be there to help me. I’ll seek his guidance in all my areas of weakness and not let my own insecurities keep me from testifying to His Glory.

14 January 2006

Need More Time!

I have so many different thoughts kicking around in my head, but I just don't have the time to sit down and write. At least I've organized enough to write a few thoughts out on a piece of paper by my bed. Maybe I can actually invest in a journal one of these days.

In addition to posting some thoughts here, I need to do some cleaning, cooking, painting, reading, shopping/returning and take care of the kids, of course. I'd also like to work on my website for Christian Women. Clearly I need to better organize my time and prioritize. My fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants life management system just isn't working for me.

Makes me really appreciate a God who can create a whole world in six days.

13 January 2006

Blogger Tag

Carol tagged me with this 2 thingy survey. If you knew me you would know that I’m totally not the type to do this kind of stuff, but since I dig Carol (especially her post today) I’ll be a good sport.

2 names you go by:
1. Mama
2. Carrie

2 parts of your heritage:
1. Mother
2. Father

2 things that scare you:
1. Flying
2. Spiders

2 of your everyday essentials:
1. Water
2. God

2 things you are wearing right now:
1. Jeans
2. Watch

2 things you want in a relationship (other than real love):
1. Humor
2. God

2 truths:
1. The Word.
2. Jesus is Lord.

2 of your favorite hobbies:
1. Blog/website
2. Reading

2 things you want really badly:
1. More time with God.
2. More time with my family.

2 places you want to go on vacation:
1. Anywhere
2. Wherever

2 things you want to do before you die:
1. Tell more people about Christ.
2. See my children follow the Lord.

2 ways that you are stereotypically a chick:
1. Moody
2. Indecisive

2 things you are thinking about now:
1. It’s almost the weekend.
2. I need to lose some weight.

2 stores you shop at:
1. Target
2. Walmart

2 people to tag:
1. I can’t do it. I was never the tag or chain mail type.
2. If you would like to be tagged, let me know.

12 January 2006

Spiritual Gifts

On Sunday evening I watched the In Touch Ministries show where Charles Stanley was doing a study on spiritual gifts. It was a very nice study as he was not only going over what the gift was, but how people with a certain gift can sometimes be misinterpreted. The particular show I watched was on the gift of prophecy and I was very surprised that I had a lot of the qualities of that gift. I guess my view of “prophecy” was more in the line of Old Testament prophets, but Charles Stanley presented it as a “perceiver” which I thought was interesting.

If you don’t know what your spiritual gifts are, you should check out this Spiritual Gifts Survey that was listed on the In Touch Ministries website. Only recently have I tried to figure out my gifts and this survey helped confirm some of my gifts, and give me some insights into what it all means. My top two were “The Perceiver” and “The Teacher”. Now I need to figure out how to best utilize my gifts!

10 January 2006

Carnival of Beauty

Carol of She Lives is hosting the Carnival of Beauty this week. The topic is the Beauty of Winter. Be sure to check out the writings of other Christian women bloggers.

08 January 2006

Short Hiatus

I’ve had to take a mini-hiatus as my arm has been bothering me. In my profession, there is the chance of repetitive motion injury and using the mouse can just inflame the situation so I’m trying to be careful. I’m hoping to write up something for The Carnival of Beauty this week. I also have two half-written posts saved away and one kicking around in my brain that I’d like to get posted. Things seem to be a bit slow on other blogs also, where is everybody?

05 January 2006

Opposing the Truth

It amazes me how hostile this world is to God. I know it shouldn’t, but it does.

If you’ve kept up with the news you’ve heard about the case in Dover, PA in which the school board had decided to present a small disclaimer during the teaching of evolution in science class. The disclaimer simply stated that evolution was a theory, not a fact and pointed the students to other resources including a book on Intelligent Design (ID).

Of course, a bunch of parents took the case to court and during re-elections a new school board was appointed that opposed the “mention” of ID. A court ruled it was unconstitutional and the board voted out the curriculum. Now the parents of Dover, PA can rest assured that their children won’t be exposed to the insidious idea that a loving Almighty God created us in his image but instead be taught (as fact) that we evolved from Apes.

But of course, we know this battle isn’t really about the merits of evolutionary theory. It’s about opposing God. God-haters have now found a way to publicize their opposition to Christianity through civil liberty cases in a nauseatingly liberal court system.

But the sad fact is that these people have no hope. They can kick God out of schools, strip his name from the Pledge of Allegiance, and even outlaw Christianity. But all of their opposition and seeming victories won’t change the one eternal truth. That Jesus is Lord.

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phillipians 2:9-11

04 January 2006

Isaiah 53

I was looking through some verses and came across one of favorites, Isaiah 53:5. I laugh as I say that because I have so many "favorite" verses so it seems silly to even say it. Anyway, I just thought I would post all of Isaiah 53 as it's such an amazing prophecy of the Savior that was to come, and such a sweet summary of Jesus' sacrifice.

Isaiah 53

1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

03 January 2006

Looking for Balance

Well, I wanted to write something today but I’m not sure what to say. I’m feeling a bit down today. I think it has something to do with coming back to work yesterday after two weeks off. Or maybe it’s just me.

Do you ever feel like you are in limbo? Like your life isn’t quite settled? I’ve been feeling like that for as long as I can remember and I always blamed it on my husband’s career as he was in a long drawn-out process of school, then internship – we moved to another state for awhile leaving behind a job I liked. Now we are back to PA, finally bought a home, and yet I still feel uneasy.

I wish my life could be simpler. I wish I could spend more time in God’s Word. I wish I didn’t have to worry about finances.

And yet, I know I need be thankful for the things I have and rely more on God. I guess I just have trouble finding the balance between pursuing God and staying afloat in this world. There must be a better way.

01 January 2006

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Back to my tribute to hymns. He's a beautiful one:

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Words: Isaac Watts
Music: Lowell Mason

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

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