Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Pre-thoughts

2008 is winding down and 2009 is coming. What are you going to do differently this next year? Here is my top 10 list that I am putting before the Lord with prayer for him to help me!

1) Try a new adventure- not sure what yet
2) Qualify for the Boston Marathon- I am not giving up Lord willing!
3) Travel to a new country- thinking about Costa Rica this year
4) Celebrate our 10th anniversary- can you believe it has been 10 years?
5) Get to know the other wives at Jonathan's company better
6) Be more dedicated in my scripture memory- trying for 2 verses a month- Thanks Beth Moore
7) Read a daily devotional with my quiet time- for something new and different
8) Be more dedicated to prayer with accountability- Thanks Bonnie
9) Be more loving to all the ones God has put in my life
10) Be more vocal and winsome in my representation of Christ- Help me Father!

Psalm 6:9
The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

After Christmas Thoughts

I am working on taking down all my christmas decorations today. I have enjoyed having my house decorated and all the fun activities that Christmas brings, family to see and places to go. But I am glad that it is done for another year and I am packing everything away. As I have been putting them away, I have been praying that I will remember Christ's birth more this upcoming year and that I will focus more on him! May God do this for all of the body of Christ in the coming year!

Here are a few pictures from our Christmas gatherings. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

10 Things of Christmas

1) Hearing the Christmas story
2) Looking at Christmas lights
3) Snuggling in a blanket with my sweetie
4) Sharing Christmas goodies with friends
5) Watching those I love open their gifts

1) Ba humbug spirit (this is a no Grinch zone)
2) Long lines when you just need 1 thing
3) Mall traffic (I live by the mall so it is irritating)
4) Selfish "gimme" attitude
5) Forgetting the reason for the season- JESUS

What are your 10 Christmas things?

Luke 2: 9-14
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas to you!

Just wanted to wish all of you a wonderful blessed Christmas. May your hearts be overwhelmed with the love of the Savior at the celebration of his birth this week.
My prayer for the body of Christ is that we focus on God's gift of his son and not get distracted by the worldly cares and worries that pull us away! May Christmas remain about Christ!
Wishing you a wonder filled Christmas!
Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born,to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder,and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Luke 2:10-12
And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Encouraging Words!

After my last post and telling everyone that prayed for me and thought of me during that marathon, I just wanted to say how thankful I am for encouraging words. People have been so sweet and encouraging to me about my race and what to do in the future!
Thank you to all of you for your thoughtfulness and encouragement.
God has shown me 2 things so far:
1) I love encouraging others but don't look for encouragement often myself. God has blessed me with lots of it the last few days and shown me how much I need all of those around me! They weren't let down because I wasn't super woman and didn't make my goal. They just came along side and encouraged me to not give up and to try again.
2) I like to pride myself on being self sufficient and able to handle whatever comes my way without asking for help. God reminded me through this race that others are a blessing and their help is essential to me! I need to reach out, humble myself and ask because they are more than happy to answer. I might even be getting in the way of something God is doing in them by not asking for assistance.
Praise the Lord for working in and through us in all things! He uses whatever means to get to us and through us to others. I am still learning and grateful for the experience. But most of all I am grateful for the relationship I have with God!
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Psalm 30:11-12

Monday, December 15, 2008

Marathon Lessons & Blues

Yesterday I ran the White Rock Marathon in Dallas for the 3rd time. I have been training to qualify for the Boston marathon for the last 3 marathons now. I have gotten close and was really praying and hoping that yesterday would be the race. It felt like it might be when I first started running. I had really been praying for good weather and energy to make it till the end. The forecast was warm, humid and windy but I was okay with that. Jonathan was my course support as always and even ran the last few miles with me.
Standing at the starting line facing straight south into the 25-30 mph wind I still stayed positive and prayed continually for God to help it die down. I was doing well till mile 14 when we turned straight into the wind on White Rock Lake. For the next 6 miles, it pulled the energy right out of me to just stay moving. By the time I finished, I was as exhausted as I have ever felt. And I was way over my time that I aimed for. It was discouraging! I do have to be thankful for Jonathan and for 2 friends that I saw out on the course that ran with me for a while! Their encouragement helped me finish even though I didn't feel like it.
Now I am not sure what to do about the marathon thing. Do I try again or give it up? I prayed for weeks about this race, especially having energy and good weather and ultimately my goal of qualifying. God answered with a no so now I am just praying about what he wants me to do from here! My pride took a beating in that I came in so slow! I haven't bombed a race like that in a long time and it was tough to be okay with that but I know that dying to self is always a good thing even if it hurts! I am bummed but I know that He is good all the time and that there is a plan and purpose in this all. I will wait and listen.
Psalm 5:3
In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fun Christmas Quiz- Favorite Things

Here are some fun Christmas things. Take a look and post your own comments to your top 10 Christmas things!

1. Favorite christmas tree (Fake or real) Real- my family ran a christmas tree sales lots growing up so I am a professional tree picker! ;-)

2. Fav ornament- Pewter christmas tree with scripture on it!

3. Fav Christmas Song- Natalie Grant- Believe or One Child

4. Fav Christmas Tradition- My family reads the christmas story on Christmas eve night with only the lights and opens gifts one at a time per person from oldest to youngest. Then we sit and look at the lights flashing on the ceiling and telling stories!

5. Fav christmas gift- Our vacation to Sedona Arizona- we saw snow and went to the Grand Canyon together for the 1st time as a married couple!

6. Fav Christmas meal: yummy homemade appetizers on Christmas eve night and mexican food on Christmas day.

7. Fav Christmas Cookie- My mom's ritz cracker peanut butter sandwiches covered in chocolate.

8. Fav place to be- At home with my hubby, cuddled up on the couch with the christmas lights on.

9. Fav memory- So many to pick from- My family was poor growing up and had very little at Christmas but one year we came home and found a big box filled with presents and christmas dinner on our front porch. We laughed and cried!

10. Fav Christmas Movie- The Grinch, White Christmas, While You Were Sleeping

Monday, December 8, 2008

Monday Again

This morning I awoke earlier than usual and started praying as I usually do. 1st of all because it is a great quiet time to concentrate and 2nd of all because it can help me fall back asleep.
But this morning, I could not go back to sleep so I stayed up, read some scripture and really tried to zone in. The Holy Spirit does this sometimes, impressing on me the need for prayer (sometimes I don't even know why). My mind was spinning this morning over so many different areas needed for prayer and I was struck by how often I simply start asking God for stuff. Lots of the time, this stuff isn't even for me but still it feels like I always asking and never coming to him just because I want to spend some time in his presence. It is like hanging out with a 2 year old, all they ever come to you for is for "stuff", do this for them or do that for them. Many times it feels like "gimme, gimme, gimme" and I wonder if God ever feels like that with me. Yes, I know he is always here for me and hears my petitions but do I make him feel like I want him to be a genie granting wishes instead of the Holy One of Israel?
If that is the case Father God, I apologize right now and ask you to help me change. At this moment, I want to take the time to utter words of thanks and love just because you are the God of the universe! You are worthy. To borrow the words of a praise song, "let my words be few, Jesus I am so in love with you."
"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."
~ Revelations 4:11
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
~ Psalm 145:3

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thankfulness goes on!

Thanksgiving Week- Day 7
What a wonderful week. Although I did not get to blog every day, I was able to focus on all the things that my heart gives thanks for this year! It was a wonderful Thanksgiving and I continue to feel the spirit of thankfulness in my heart.

As I look forward towards the celebration of the best gift of all, I am even more grateful for God's son this year! Thank you Jesus for giving all of yourself for me! I am blessed because of you alone. Psalm 100 sums it all up perfectly so I am going to let God's word speak to our hearts.
Psalm 100
A psalm. For giving thanks.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Thanksgiving week- Day 2
Today I am highlighting how thankful I am for the best husband God ever created! Jonathan is such a blessing in my life and the best thing that ever happened to me. I love him more as the years go by and we are the best of friends. He is absolutely my favorite person to be with. I know I am gushing but I just can't say enough wonderful things about my man!!!
God gave me a lavish gift when he brought us together and has taught me so much about Himself through Jonathan. I pray that I am half the spouse to Jonathan that he is to me.
Here are some excerpts from Song of Solomon that express it better than I can:
"How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming! My lover is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand. This is my lover, this my friend,"
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the gift of Jonathan in my life!
~ Psalm 107:31~
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Thanksgiving week- Day 1
I am going to be posting a little spot each day on something I am thankful for as we progress towards Thanksgiving day this week. I need to focus my heart and mind on the things I am thankful for and what better way than to share them with you.
So today I am thankful for God alone- this is the most important thing in my life and I want to just say "Thank you God for you, Thank you Jesus for you, Thank you Holy Spirit for you." My heart overflows with joy and thankfulness as I contemplate my God and Savior. I can't even think of words to express my heart. I am singing in the shower (poor Jonathan has had to endure), smiling at scriptures and being caught up in the fall beauty as they all point to God!
Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.
These verses caught my eye today and I pray them for you and for me!

~Colossians 2:6-7~
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Week-end Get Away

Jonathan and I took a little trip to get away this weekend. We ended up in the Texas hill country and rented a lovely log cabin on lake LBJ.

Both of us needed a retreat and a time of rest so we took off on Friday night with no bigs plans. We ended up sleeping, hiking, spelunking and enjoying the rustic beauty of God's countryside. It reminded me of God's own time to rest on the 7th day from his work.

While God commands us to work and labor for him in all we do, he also desires us to come away, rest and refresh ourselves with him. As we took in his marvelous creation and toured Longhorn Cavern, I was thankful for these sweet times of rest and revitalization.
We are back at work and going strong now but thank God for his rest!
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. ~ Psalm 62: 5 ~

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pics from Hannah's Wedding

We prayed and God delivered! My younger sister was married this weekend outdoors and we were praying hard for good weather for NW Arkansas. God answered us with a beautiful sunny 75 degree fall day and the wedding was wonderful.
Check out these fun pictures!

Jonathan & Esther

Allen Family portrait with new additions!

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Family is Joy

I have been mulling over family and how it affects our lives this week.
This past weekend my brother in law got married and we had the pleasure of helping and being at the event. The wedding reflected the bride and grooms personalities really well. We were all very excited for them and for the future of their family.
Jonathan and I sent them on their honeymoon this week and picked them up last night from spending some time in Mexico. As they were telling us some tales of their trip and the fun things they were able to do, I was struck with how much pleasure it brings to give to others so they experience joy and their dreams can come too! They were alight with joy and simple pleasure after getting away for a few days. And Jonathan and I were also happy because they had experienced such a wonderful time together. It was a joy to give to them.
Two things stand out to me today as I reflect on this.
1) It was a joy to spread joy through giving of ourselves to them during this time! Being willing to give brings joy and fulfillment to the giver as much as it does the recipient. God commands us to give as much for our benefit as for the ones receiving the gift! He doesn't need our gifts as much as he wants our hearts and desires good to come to us through our giving (If only I would better remember this when I struggle to give due to a selfish heart).
2) As the bonds of human family here on earth bind together people that may have never been together otherwise, we learn love and good when God is at the center. Perhaps you would never have been able to stand each other without that family bond but God can help us all love one another and become less harsh and judgemental. If we who struggle with being able to love each other still enjoy giving to one another then God must really love to lavish on us because he loves us perfectly all the time. I acknowledge this in my head but I struggle to grasp and believe this in my heart!
Father help me to grasp your love so I may rest in it lavishly and learn to love others more completely! Thank you for the gift of family and help me to love them better too!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Let Go and Let God

Do you ever come to a point where suddenly you realize that you have been festering over things in your life subconciously and not trusting God?
Well (as the commercial says) I'm so there! I find myself doing this on occasion. It seems to build internally and before I know it, I am holding tension in my shoulders, I am not sleeping well and waking up mulling over things that I should be looking to God about for direction. I really strive to pray over things and turn to God for direction but this problem slowly seeps in and my trust factor is forgotten. I don't mean to and am even thinking that I am trusting God for things. Yet, it still happens.
So now that I am in this place again, what do I do?
Three things came to mind as I was spending time with God this morning.
1) Take a time out- turn off, disconnect, get away and get quiet before God so that you can address the anxiousness of your heart. Getting away so I can focus makes all the difference for me. I am able to recenter my thoughts and heart on Christ and reestablish priorities.
2) Focus on the problems at hand instead of on the future- Stop thinking about future things, stay focused on where you are right now in life and turn the future back over to God's care. I am one to look for the next thing and I forget to enjoy right where I am in life. This often leads to worry instead of thankfulness.
3) Ponder- Mull over how God has come through in the past and praise his faithfulness. Looking over the past provisions brings a peace over me and a thankful heart. I turn upward and outward instead of inward!
So now I am working on putting these 3 things into practice and changing my habits (again). Let go and let God because it is all about him and not about me!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday Musings

It is another Monday and God has been loving as usual to show up and give me some bites of wisdom to chew on.
1st of all let me report that God has continued to work on me after my last post! I am happy to say that when we played volleyball this week, I was more aware of Him and hopefully more responsive to him in the midst of the battle. God is working and I have to will to let go of myself and cling to him!
God has been teaching me a lot about surrendering myself and being obedient when he asks me to do, be or give something up. This morning I was reading in Joshua and came across these verses.
Joshua 5:11-12
"The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan."
What God brought to mind was this, when I am in a place of struggle or desert, he provides manna for my time there but he never intends for me to stay in the desert eating manna for the rest of my days. He has called me to walk through the desert to somewhere, the place he has called me, my land of Canaan. There I will eat of the abundance of the land and God's temporary manna will stop because his permanent produce will be supplied! How cool is that? I am still mulling over this so I don't have all my thoughts in order yet but I wanted to share!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Confession Time

God is working on me again and I just need to take a minute to confess, articulate and be honest so I can be held accountable.
We have been playing volleyball with a group of non-believers on Saturday nights for the last 4 weeks. They are a nice group of people but I have struggled with feeling like I fit in or how to interact with them and still represent God well! Sometimes it is hard for me to separate the sin from the sinner and not become haughty or judgmental. I often become self-righteous and harsh towards those who still act under slavery to the world. As I have been mulling over it and talking to God, He faithfully revealed to me what he wants me to change!
1st- He brought 1 Cor 5:9-11
I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
2nd- He clearly delineates in this passage who we are to be careful of and who we are to freely engage. Unbelievers are not held to the same standards as the body of Christ and I need to stop judging them! He clearly came to seek and save that which was lost so I must be looking for and engaging these people too!
3rd- He desires to cleanse me of all unrighteousness and help me see the world and others as he sees it with eyes of compassion and love. Yes, they are lost and enslaved and we hold the key to the chains that so easily entangle. As God has loved me and set me free, so I must love others.
4th- I will continue to progress in this area and am by no means done but for now, I ask God's forgiveness and help. He is faithful to do that which he promised and will help me!
I will keep you posted on how these gatherings continue to go and how my heart changes.
Thank you Father for loving me and seeking the BEST!!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Rich Young Ruler- How do I compare?

I was reading the account in Mark 10 of the rich young man. He came and fell before Jesus one day and asked how he could inherit eternal life. Jesus saw that the man kept all the commandments and aimed to be perfect in his life. Then Jesus looked at him and with love said "One thing you lack." He instructed the man to get rid of all he had and come follow him. The man's face fell and he walked away saddened because he had much and couldn't stand to lose it.Two things leaped out of this passage at me and I started thinking about our own modern day experience of this.
First, the young man would have been considered the pinnacle of success in his day and culture. He had it all and I am sure that everyone talked about him being a success and a "nice guy." No one would have looked at him and saw anything lacking. He was obviously searching since he came to Jesus. He knew that there was still a hole in his heart and was trying to fill it. Jesus saw the lack immediately and told him how to fill it. Yet the trappings of this world and his success were chains around him that drew him away from his salvation and all the answers to this life.I wonder if this is how Jesus sees our successful modern world, especially in the West. We believe that we have or can get anything we need and end up blinded to what is real, true and our only hope. I can see it all around me and have to honestly admit that I get bound by these chains too. I walk away from the source of eternal life here on earth because I am stuck on the temporary material trappings I can see. I would say that these things are our modern day idols. Things that we put before God in our hearts and lives.
Second, the young man walked away. Jesus told his disciples that it is hard to get into the kingdom of Heaven when you are rich or chained closely to this world. They were astounded because they were also caught up in the outward perfection of the young man and missed the heart. Then Peter piped up about how they had left everything behind to follow Jesus. He replied that no matter what you leave behind for him here on earth, God will bless you 100 times for it here on earth and with eternal (as in forever) life and heavenly treasures there. God promises to come through for you above and beyond anything you can imagine if you will just choose him. The young man walked away because he could not see beyond the present or find the faith to choose God above all his stuff. But God has promised all of us that if we believe, He will come through!
Many people I know can't get beyond this big step of faith and so they never find the answer to all their questions and their heart's desire. Even those of us that have found a relationship with God need to ask ourselves if we are willing to put down all the trappings and let Jesus release us from the chains of this world so we can move forward. I encourage all of us to ask ourselves "What is lacking and am I willing to trust God for it? Will I lay down my idols for Him?"
He desires our best and the coolest part is that he even does the work if we will just say yes and believe. I can't lay down my idols on my own. But with God all things are possible. I simply have to be willing! What a comfort and encouragement. STEP UP AND BELIEVE! Anything that I think I might lose, He will exceed beyond my wildest imaginings.
I love God, he is awesome all the time!

Friday, July 25, 2008

How Marvelous are your Works, Lord God Almighty!

I am in such a thanksgiving mode to God. I just had to get on here and brag a little about my heavenly Father!
I am a volunteer at my local pregnancy center and have been assisting in our fundraising efforts for years. We had our annual concert on July 18th with Steven Curtis Chapman (SCC) and it was phenomenal. I was blown away with the magnitude of the event, the blessing of the Lord and the Spirit's prescence that night! Here are a few of the highlights:
- Our concert sold out and people were begging for tickets
- There were thousands of people who heard the gospel and the plea of the pregnancy center movement to bring life, hope and healing to the lost and hurting people in our world
- People were saved
- Over $100K was raised to support the center
- Over 50 people were interested in volunteering
- A new satellite center will be opening due to the raised funds
- SCC was ministered to through our love and prayers before and during the concert- he was most grateful!
And so many other things. We prayed before the concert for specific measures and God exceeded our wildest dreams with his answers. I am clapping and jumping for joy right now.
Praise your creator and uplifter today! He is good all the time!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Just for Fun

I just have to say that being married is such a blast. Jonathan and I love hanging out together and we have some pretty good laughs. I thought I would share a few funnies with you.
- Jonathan and I have some neck rolls that we are supposed to use ~1 hr each day so we usually lay on them as we fall asleep at night. A few nights ago I awoke around 2 am to find that Jonathan was still laying on his. I shook him a little trying to wake him up to get his real pillow. It didn't work too well so I shook harder and started talking louder till I finally got him awake (he sleeps really good). He was very grumpy and went right to sleep when I gave him his pillow. The next morning we laughed about how hard it is to wake him up and how abruptly he comes to. I always imagine a cat clinging to the ceiling by it's claws. That is Jonathan.
- Jonathan works so hard and so many hours that when he finally stops moving at the end of the day, he usually falls right to sleep. Often I often have to wake him up to get him to bed. The other day, we were sitting in the living room and he fell asleep in the middle of a conversation we were having. I woke him up later and he tried to pick up where he had left of but was so confused that I just died laughing. The next morning, he didn't even remember the whole incident.
- The other day we caught our yellow lab watching 2 squirrels trying to drag his bone up a tree to eat. They weren't big enough so they just sat on the ground and knawed on it instead. Jo (the dog) peacefully watched them eat it and then rolled over and fell asleep. They know that he won't harm them and so they come borrow his food and toys all the time now! Great watch dog.
All these stories may just be funny to me but they are also a wonderful reminder of how loving and gracious God is to me. He makes my life so much fun! I love him and am eternally grateful.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Isaacs & Ishmaels

I am working on the study "NO OTHER GOD'S" by Kelly Minter right now and was really touched by a concept we studied.
Sarah had a desperate need for a child but was denied this desire on her time table. She was upset, scared and perhaps angry that she would never have children so she took matters into her own hands and created a surrogate mother through Hagar. Abraham went a long with her and conceived a child with Hagar (he must have missed the flashing red warning light and screaming sirens).
Then all hell broke loose and the women started fighting. I can't even imagine the resentment, bickering and hate that emanated from their tents. I am sure that Abraham felt stuck in the middle and everyone was angry. Hagar despised, Sarah punished and Abraham abdicated. Ishmael was born into the mess and things got more ugly. But God redeemed this mess and made something incredible of the disaster. Isaac was born and God's promise came true. And literally the whole world has been blessed through this promise by the eventual coming of Christ.
So what did I learn?
1) Sarah created an idol out of her need so that it overwhelmed everything else in her life.
2)She decided to act on her time table and created a man based solution
3) Everything fell a part and Hagar, Ishmael, Isaac, Sarah Abraham and all their descendants were affected negatively. Even now we see this conflict between God's people and the Middle Eastern countries continuing.
4) Our sin not only affects us, it affects generations to come. IT IS VERY SERIOUS!!!!!
5) God took the broken mess of Sarah's need and still did something wonderful with it.
Gen 21:1 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised.
6) God never gives up on us and makes beauty from our ashes. He helps us break down our idols and follow his plan.
7) He loves us even with our sin and baggage and sets us free as we turn to him!
My prayer is that I will avoid Ishmaels and seek God's Isaacs in my life! Don't let your needs create idols in your life!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Truth in Love- Centurion's Style

I am becoming a bible collector of late and use different ones for different things but lately I have been loving the New Spirit Filled Life Bible. This morning I was doing my "Unseen Things" study for the Centurion's Program through PFM. I pulled open the scriptures in 2 Cor 3:7-18 and there was a little section on how God's Word is to be Ministered. Wow, it hit me like a sledge hammer especially after Centurions training last year. I love truth and I have a passion to share it but I need temperance of the Spirit too! I tend to whiplash people with truth rather than lovingly sharing it. If you have the bible you can go read it on page 1613. If not, I will summarize.

"Believing in the truthfulness of God's Word does not guarantee that we will minister that truth in the Spirit of God."
Maturity in Christ blends speaking the truth with love. Instantly Eph 4:15 came to mind "speaking the truth in love". Doing this will always result in 3 things. 1) Faithfulness to keeping yourself straight- putting truth forth faithfully and fortrightly to all those around you. Even if and when they may hate you for it. 2) Constant love- even with hard corrections or honest judgment to set before others , love reigns. 3) Expectation of signs following the speaking/preaching of God's Word- Jesus promised confirmation of himself through signs. These are to encourage us and demonstrate himself to the world.
Thought provoking, convicting and hope giving all at once.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Doing Right- Being Encouraged

My sister and I have been having some good conversations on choosing to do right even when wrong seems more profitable. I was mulling over what she said about being discouraged over how things look bleak for her and positive for someone else pursuing self first. I often struggle with this same thing! Some verses in my study this morning jumped out at me as encouragement for both of us and hopefully you too!
2 Cor 4:16-18
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Paul was sorely abused and misused for the gospel as he went around sharing. But he never gave in or gave up, he always did right and honored God above all else. Thinking about that got me going and 3 things stuck out to me.

1) Satan trys to discourage us from continuing in doing right be having us look around at how the rest of the world seems to be blooming as they do wrong. Comparison always leads to discontent and frustration. He wants to discourage you from hanging in there, doing right and trusting God to take care of you.
2) God is more concerned with our best internally than our lives externally. For instance, He would rather have you learn trust in him than give you a new car. Think about your own kids. Woudn't you rather your child learn honesty even when it is hard and change her character and life for the better long term than give her a new "littlest pet" that she will love for a minute and then forget all about?
He wants you to learn trust, righteousness and patience for the long haul, even if it is tough, rather than just give you a job or new place to live. He loves you enough to want your best instead of the temporary good.
3) By turning our eyes and hearts to God, we can be encouraged. 1st of all, I think we should be honest with God and talk out our frustration (look at David's example in the Psalms). 2nd, we should ask God to help us turn to him instead of jealousy or anger. 3rd, we need him to change our attitudes and focus our heart on him. I don't know about you, but I can't do that on my own so I have been petitioning God for that daily! All the sudden, your focus has changed from the frustrating situation to the ability of God and you will be able to soar above the fetters of this world. Encouragement will flood your soul. How do I know, because God has done it for me!

So I hope this encourages you as much as it did me. Keep your focus upward!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Equality of Men and Women- long

A friend sent me a interview about women in the military this week and it has gotten me thinking about equality in our world and the real facts.

I have to say up front that this is an issue close to my heart because as a female I have spent much time and thought about issues affected by male and female equality. I want to believe that I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to but in physical reality, that is just not true. All the training that I do, all the physical effort that I do makes me strong but it does not make me equal. There are just some things that as a female I cannot do! I cannot bench press as much as Jonathan no matter how much I train, I cannot run as fast as many men I run behind in a race, I cannot be interchangeable with a male in all roles with equality.

About war- there is no way that I could go to Iraq and fight others. I don't think I could pull the trigger and kill someone, I don't know that I could physically rescue a man if he was hurt and I was his fellow soldier. I know I could not carry the 100 pound backpack around on the battle field as needed. Also, I would not want my male counterparts to feel like they had to watch out for me or resent me for "special treatmet" so I could qualify to be a part of their unit. And as a prisoner of war, sexual assault is almost certainly assured.

I spoke with some fire-fighters I work with about gender equality in their work environment. I have taken the agility test (2 times now and I will keep doing it till I pass because I can't give up) and it is one of the hardest things I have ever attempted so I know physically their job is demanding beyond what most females could handle. There is no way that I could rescue lives and fight fires in the same way that males could. Physically it is just not possible. I might be able to get the job done but would it take me longer and could put other lives at risk. We discussed living together in a co-ed situation on shift too. Privacy would be tough, relationships could be difficult and several of the guys suggested that affairs are almost inevitable just because of the emotional highs and lows that occur on the job. Wow, that got me thinking that some things are just not the right thing to do.

Now on the flip side, there are some things that males cannot do on an equal basis with females so the road goes both ways. I just don't see many males trying to take over these roles.

So the question I am now mulling over is why gender equality has become such a standard and such a problem for our country? I believe that Satan is at the root of these issues spurring us on to fight and cause division and destruction of God's creation. Honestly, God has created us to complement one another in our differences not to threaten and hurt one another by them. As a christian, what role can I play and how can I make a difference?

I will continue mulling over this and add more thoughts later! Pray with me for our nation and people!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Jonathan's Birthday

June 2nd commemerates Jonathan's 30th birthday!
We had a great weekend celebrating with a volleyball birthday bash on Friday night, dinner (just the 2 of us) on Saturday and Sunday lunch with some friends! I hope he has enjoyed his birthday. I also made him lasagna for dinner! ;-)
Today we are both working and tonight I am teaching running class and he has a softball game but we will still enjoy his day. Once you get out of high-school birthdays are just another day but we do like to exchange cards and celebrate it together. This is a big one though as he is officially old. Or so his friends tell him!
Happy Birthday Jonathan!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

9 Years Happier

Jonathan and I just celebrated our 9th anniversary this week.
We took some time to look back, reflect, laugh and remember some of the goofy things and experiences we have had in the last 9 years together.
On our anniversary night we watched our wedding video and laughed till our eyes watered. What a goofy and fun day. We were surrounded by such wonderful friends and family in our wedding party and our guests. I can happily say that we are almost in contact with everyone still and have been blessed with good relationships.
So much has changed for us and for those around us in the last 9 years but God has been continuously in charge and present, actively engaging us and calling us to a deeper relationship with him.
We are grateful to Him for everything and look forward to the next 9 years together. Who knows what will happen next!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Christ as my Intercessor

This week I have been studying about Christ ascended and what he is actively doing in heaven right now. One of his roles is as an intercessor for me. Funny that I have known this but have never meditated on this. As you read this you may think, "duh!" But it was a fresh revelation and blessing to me this week. Bear with my slow brain and growing faith! ;-)
In the old testament God was often prevailed upon by one of his fleshly servants interceding for the rest of poor, dumb, blind humanity. I think especially of Moses interceding for Israel when God wanted to obliterate them after they let their hearts follow adulterous ways. God repented from his desire to destroy them after Moses spoke on their behalf. God was so holy and pure he could not abide with their sinful ways yet in his love and compassion he listened to the intercession and forgave once again. God is magnificent, holy and completely pure. Not to be trifled with or held in minimal esteem. He is above all and we need to have more awe of him. Obviously Moses got that and intervened on others behalf for forgiveness when they did not.
In the new testament, Christ came and changed everything by fulfilling the law. It says in John 1:17 "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." He was the complete one time for all sins sacrifice that God accepted. When he ascended back to heaven after fulfilling his earthly high priest role of offering the only needed sacrifice, he took up the role of intercessor. Hebrews 7:24-26 says it perfectly "but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens." So I am covered with the blood that sets me free and Christ literally makes intercession for me daily with God the holy, pure, father. I am no different than the poor old Israelites whose hearts were constantly lead away but I have the complete intercessor who has 100% access and the right to appear before the Father on my behalf. He stands at his father's right hand and says "this one is mine and I am standing in the gap for her" to the holy, awesome, magnificent GOD of all creation! This blows my mind and knocks my socks off!!!!!! WOW.
Jesus is my eternal greatest gift and all I can do is bow in worship before the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I can't say it any more beautifully than Job.

Job 16:19-21 NIV
"Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend."

Monday, April 28, 2008

America the Beautiful

America, America, Land that I Love

After spending the weekend in Washington DC taking my husband's grandmother on a tour of the capital for her 80th birthday, I have been contemplating a few of the blessings that we have here in America.
Here are a few:

A beautiful land that God created, diverse and unique in each state. We come together to form a powerful and blessed place to live.
An environment of freedom. We saw many protestors and people with a cause out in the national mall and I was blessed by the fact that although we may not agree, we all have the right to speak out and participate in our country.
A place that honors our past and aims to inspire our future. As we visited the different monuments and memorials, I was in awe of the history that America shares and the future that it inspires. Lives have been lost, hearts broken and dreams shattered only for others to be created. I wish I could say thank you to all those who have sacrificed for America.
And lastly, while many may want to wipe God out of our history or stop acknowledging him now, He is everywhere in our nation's capital. In inscriptions, speeches, monuments and memorials, God's prescence can be felt. What a testament to the biblical worldview that our country was created upon and modeled to follow.
Take the time to visit and contemplate if you can.
God bless America,
Esther White

Monday, March 17, 2008

Conflict Resolution

I hate conflict and having to resolve situations with others. I have always tried to smooth over rather than ruffle feathers so there is calm. But this is not always good because I can fester over things rather than air them out and resolve them quickly. I have a hard time letting go and forgiving so that I can be free and so can the other individual.
I bring this up because I have been in a tough situation this month with some people and am working on resolving it rather than pushing it under the rug. My way doesn't work so I am trying to do it God's way even if it is hard.
Peace does not mean the absence of conflict but the ability to maintain calm in the midst of the storm. Situations happen and I can't control them but I can control my reaction to them and this is how I have an opportunity to trust God and remain in His peace.
The heart attitude is to clear up relationships in a loving and resolute manner as quickly as possible so anger, resentment and a door to the enemy does not open up. God brings to mind one of my favorite verses-

Isaiah 26:3
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

So I am endeavoring to do that and I can't wait to see how God resolves all this.
Happy Monday and may you have peace this week!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My Heart of Stone

It has been over 1 month since I have posted. Please forgive me for being distracted with all of life and missing out on keeping in touch!
It has been a busy time and God has been working hard on me but that is always a good thing!
I have been very busy with opening another hospital location- their nutrition department- and getting staff hired and ready to go. This has been an adventure and a little out of my league but a good challenge.
I have been working on the Hope River Run at church and doing some intense training in evangalism and Godly leadership. It has been really good to be challenged and not allowed to live in the comfortable christian life I settle into so easily. Sometimes it is ouchy though!
All things have been good but have required self sacrifice and this is where God has been hammering away at the stone of my heart. God has been bringing this verse to mind- Ezekiel 36:26 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."
So as this heart is being changed out I will keep you posted.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Faithfulness in Service

It's time for an attitude adjustment!
I have been swamped with some extra work this week and at first I wanted to grumble and complain. I was a little overwhelmed and let my attitude reflect this poorly.
What hit me was that I was being ungrateful, unthankful and unfaithful in my service. Not just with work but with other commitments too. I tend to agree to things and then grumble about how much work they take. Instead of my eyes being fixed on Jesus with a grateful heart, I get bogged down with myself. It all boils down to selfishness!
So I have been praying about this and asking God to help me die to self. I realized something as the Holy Spirit brought it to my attention. I have been praying this but not seeing the opportunities He has been answering me with. God has given me specific work, volunteer and church activities to help me die to self and grow in Him. AND I HAVE BEEN GRUMBLING ABOUT THOSE!!!! Crazy human me ;-)
So starting today, I am asking for the right attitude and a grateful heart to serve Him in whatever area it is.
Colossians 3:23
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for me."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I am a commissioned Centurion

Last weekend I traveled up to Washington DC again for the final trip of my Centurion's program. We were there for the last intense weekend of training and fellowship as well as our commissioning ceremony!
I was excited to go and had been praying for God's will and for us to bring him glory through the weekend. All my fellow Centurion's and I were invited to bring our spouses and enjoy a packed weekend. Jonathan wasn't able to make it so I went solo. It was great fun to meet all the spouses of friends I had been making all year!
The weather was cold and snowy which was fun to see. I ended up getting deathly ill while I was there but I would not let it distract me from being present or learning. (Although I did try to stay away from everyone else;-)
Friday afternoon and evening I heard some amazing talks about how to continue pursuing God and his worldview now that we go on into the world. Saturday we spent the day seeking revival personally and asking God to come and do something in our hearts and in the lives of those we encounter. Saturday night, PFM-Breakpoint held their Wilberforce Award Ceremony where we saw Al Quie honored for his service and leadership through the years as a believer and change maker. It was neat to see Chuck Colson honor someone who meant so much to him!
Sunday we had a blessed worship service and commissioning ceremony with TM Moore & Chuck Colson. It was very special to walk the stage and receive the baton from them to carry on! It also came with lots of responsibility as we are asked to write a 3-year plan and petition God to see where he leads us to use our training. The program may have ended but we are just beginning!
I will keep you posted on what God does next! I can't even imagine but I am excited to be used by him!
God Bless!!!! :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Where are my spheres of influence?

Back again! Sorry it's been a few days. Work has been crazy with all the New Year's Resolution Rush (exercise and nutrition are hot commodities for a few weeks). I have been meeting with lots of people to help them create and reach their nutrition and physical activity goals for 2008.
Our church is praying and working on a strong evangalism emphasis this winter. They are asking us to pray and engage those around us for Christ, not just to get them to come to church for Easter but to give them a chance to see a christian life being walked out besides them in the real world. At 1st glance, this emphasis makes me a little squirmy because I have always hated "evangalism" in the sense of knocking on someone's door to tell them the gospel. Even as I write this I hate to say that this is how I feel. I love God and certainly want everyone to find him but I have to be honest and say that sometimes I am scared to share him for fear of what they will think of me. Then I often feel like I don't know to many lost ones or those questioning spiritual matters. Who would I share with?
2007 I spent the year working on learning, growing and gaining confidence in my faith through the Centurion's program (http://www.breakpoint.org/generic.asp?ID=2748) so I would be prepared for just this. As I have finished this program, I have been praying for a way to use my knowledge and passion for God. Yet here I am being uncomfortable about it!
Then God caught my mind with a phrase "engage others where your lives cross".
To go back up to my 1st thoughts, I encounter people in some of the most personal ways through what I do each day. Literally working with them on bettering their health, lifestyle and future. I have many opportunities to engage others, offer encouragement and live out my faith before them. God has provided me with ample opportunities and I have not seen them or realized that they were there. In my exercise classes alone, I have a captive audience and we can have some great conversations as we work out! How cool is that? I think I have been looking for or operating out of preconceived notions rather than seeing where God has placed me and why he has placed me here!
So now, I will be praying for my eyes to remain open and my heart to be willing and sensitive to the spirit's leading! I am excited about what God can do if I let Him work through me! I will keep you posted on all the goings on and how I do. Thanks God for opening my eyes and heart and giving me a chance to practice what I preach, I love you!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2008- New Year Thoughts

So today is back to work!
All the holidays are done, my christmas decorations are down and I am getting back into the full swing of things with all my schedules. 2008 yawns ahead of me with many new opportunities and waiting to see where God takes us this year. But my heart is contemplative about a few things too...
-2008 elections- I believe this will be a most crucial turning point for America. For good or for evil. I am burdened to pray harder and deeper.
-The awakening of the body of Christ- because we are in such a pivotal point, I think believers are going to have to become more serious. There will be less riding the fence and being semi-committed because the price and consequences for being a true christian are rising.
-Knowing why you believe what you believe and how to articulate it will be vital. The Centurion's program is such a blessing and such a responsibility. I think God will be doing something with this but I am not sure what.
-Jonathan's business is at a critical cross-roads and God is blessing them but will also ask of them for His purpose. I must pray continually for them, strength, wisdom, integrity and a willingness to obey whatever He asks!
There are more thoughts swirling but I am not sure how to articulate them yet! I will keep posting.