Thursday, June 23, 2011

Diving Deeper

This past weekend I got to go see a children’s musical. It was so much fun! A little girl I know was in the musical and even had a solo in it as well as having a couple of speaking lines. That made it even that much more special. The musical was titled “Under God’s Sea” in 3D. It was a lot of fun exploring God’s underwater world, as 5 students are working to get certified on the “Godsquad”. The one thing that struck me and I haven’t been able to forget about all week, was one section and one song. They talked about diving deeper into God’s word every day! Along with that thought they used the song by Steven Curtis Chapman, “Dive”. If you haven’t ever heard it, go search for it. God hasn’t let me quit thinking about getting deeper in to His word.
Interestingly enough, this summer I have also been attending a ladies Bible study. A study on Esther, let me explain, this is not just ANY ole study on Esther. This is a Beth Moore study on Esther. If you haven’t ever had the privilege of doing a Beth Moore study, Girrrrrrrrrrrrlfriend!!!!!!!!!!!! Find one NOW!!! This has been the most enlightening, most revealing, most convicting, best Bible study I think I have ever done!!! Talk about Diving Deeper! She helps you tear apart every verse to find out just what God has for you! On top of that I’m sharing this time with other ladies from Stonegate Church and loving every minute of it!!!
Now that I’m done telling you what I’m doing let me just give you a little of what the Lord is teaching me as I’ve been Diving Deeper! One of the things God is guiding me through is what He has for my destiny. Now don’t go freakin’ out. He is not giving me the BIG picture, but He is slowly revealing new things to me and I AM LOVING it.
A little background on Esther.
Prior to Esther Chapter 4 God has already placed Esther as Queen. Now due to certain events, the Jews that are still in Persia (including Esther) have been told that they will all be put to death the day after Passover (this is in 11 months). Through a messenger, Mordecai (Esther’s uncle) and Esther are having a conversation because Mordecai cannot enter the palace. He has told Esther she must go before the King and tell him she is a Jew and ask him not to kill the Jews. She says she has not seen him in 30 days and if she goes before him he will kill her. Mordecai replies with verse 14.
Esther 4:14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
Though this is pivotal to the story of Esther, consider its impact to your life. Have you been brought to this place, these circumstances, this position in your life for “such a time as this”? Does God have something for you right now that you should be doing or you should be stepping out in faith for him?
I’m finding my answer is a resounding YES!
Then even more than that, Beth Moore has a saying I keep reading and praying over that I will close with.
“I may be one brave decision away from the most important step in my destiny.”  Beth Moore

Living in Grace,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Who Sees Me?

Recently I was out shopping at a mall. As most women do at some point during a shopping trip, I stopped by the restroom, but in this restroom I noticed something different. There was a lady inside cleaning it. I know that is not unusual, but in this case it was. She had her cart of supplies parked in the restroom and was constantly keeping each stall stocked with toilet paper, and neat and tidy. As I went to wash my hands she was at the sink drying up water spots. Just imagine, this lady spends her day sweeping, mopping, refilling soap or toilet paper, and picking up other people’s messes, so that when you or I walk in that bathroom it is clean, sanitary and meets my standards for a decent bathroom. How would you feel if that restroom was neglected all day?
That same day I saw another worker doing his job in a similar way with similar dedication. I was attending a Southern Gospel concert. The group I saw is very popular and extremely talented. They get a lot of attention and publicity. Though the group is a trio, there are 4 people that travel together. Who is the fourth person? Well, let me tell you. He is the sound technician, Robert. That man gets little or no recognition but without him the group would not sound nearly as amazing as they do. That night, due to some unusual circumstances, Robert and a few men from the church where the concert was being held, set up the sound equipment by themselves. There was no time for the trio to do a sound check, but Robert knows them so well, he didn’t have to.
There is another thing I find amazing about this sound technician. He is ready for anything the group throws at him, a change in song order, adding or deleting a song or anything else that might be different from the ordinary. Robert is always ready. I spoke to him after the concert. He is a quiet, hardworking and humble man. He accepted my compliments and appreciation for his work with some hesitation. It was obvious he doesn’t spend a tremendous amount of time with the fans. At least with the ones that know who he is.

Matthew 6:1-4  Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.  Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Am I willing to serve God and others without public acknowledgement and recognition, like these two people? I’m not so sure I am. That makes me very ashamed. God expects me to be willing to do his work whether any one is watching or not. Am I?

Living in Grace,

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Who Do I Love?

Stephanie as she entered the stadium for graduation!
Before I actually get started let me apologize for my tardiness this week and for actually skipping last week.

Last Friday my daughter, Stephanie, graduated from High School.

We had a party before graduation, where over 50 people dropped by. We were pleased, but shocked by the number of people who came by!

We had a GREAT time! Thank you to all who participated in this special time in our lives!

This week I tried to collapse but I couldn’t because Colton left for a 10-day mission trip to Jamaica. So I helped him get ready to leave. Then we sent him off, with many prayers! So I am slow at getting this one out, but here it goes…………

Let me tell you 3 stories about love.

Yesterday I visited with a woman whose husband was severely burned in an accident 3 weeks ago. Everyday she sits in a waiting room, looking forward to the next 30-minute visit when she can she her husband. They occur every 3 hours through out the day. Some days he smiles, they laugh and talk during their visits. He has even recorded messages to his 4 precious children. Other days are not so good, he may be grouchy, or sleep due to pain medication or surgery where they have begun to graft new skin. No matter the situation, no matter the mood, this wife stands by her man at every turn. In the 3 weeks she has only missed a visit to attend a special activity for her children. This woman loves her man!

A friend I haven’t seen in many years began to post on Facebook that her daughter was very ill. I began to follow her posts. The first few posts went something like this, “Last week we took our daughter to the hospital after 3 days of stomach pain and uncontrollable vomiting. They are keeping her for observation.” Then those posts progressed to; “She has been in the hospital for 2 weeks. They are still not sure what is wrong. If she can keep food down they will send her home.” During all of this, the mom never left her side. Eventually the young girl (probably a pre-teen) was transferred from this rural hospital to Children’s Hospital in Dallas. The mom and the young girl stayed in Children’s for approximately 4 days. The doctors have found some problems with her gall bladder, but everything is treatable. All of this took place over about 2 months time. Imagine being this child’s mother. Watching her suffer in pain and not being able to help her. Taking her to and from the doctor or hospital, listening to the doctor and still no answers day after day. You feel so helpless. This is your baby. You love her with all your heart.

Colton at the orphanage in Jamaica 2008.
As I said above, my son Colton left earlier this week on a mission trip to Jamaica. For as long as I can remember Colton has enjoyed being around children and they have flocked to him. He has also had a heart for missions from at least the first time his older brother, Hunter, went on his first mission trip and Colton was too young to go. This is not Colton’s first trip to Jamaica. He was there 3 years ago. Just like last time, they will visit an orphanage. This is probably Colton’s favorite part of the trip. Playing with the children while meeting spiritual needs, by teaching Bible stories. Colton loves these children. He talked about them for a long time after he came home. He is so passionate about loving these children to Jesus!

These are three pure and true examples of love. Examples that probably tug at your heartstrings, and there is nothing wrong with that. God asks us to love our neighbor as ourselves. I believe that is what each of these people are doing. I also think there is one danger in loving people SO much! Now please read carefully! DO NOT misunderstand me!  Let me start by looking at the verse I just referenced.

Mark 12:30-32
30And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
 31And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
 32And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: (KJV)

The first commandment we are given is to “love the Lord thy God” more than anything or anyone. WOW! Do I love Him more than ALL others in my life? Do I dedicate ALL my heart, soul, mind and strength to my God? I really have to ask myself these questions. I am such a compassionate person. I pour myself into the people in my life, but am I keeping my love and dedication to the people God has given to me in perspective?

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the people you have placed in my life, my husband, my children, the rest of my family and my friends. Help me to remember and keep in perspective that YOU are my reason for living. Without you I am nothing, I have nothing. Jesus, your son gave up His life for me! Help me to keep YOU as my number one love.
In Jesus Name,

Living in Grace,