Thursday, October 30, 2008


The world's definition of success is centered around the things of this world - things you can earn, buy, demand, manipulate, be, or make.  God views success distinctly different: it is that we glorify him by obeying him.  

The Lure of Success
What type of success beckons you?  Is it fame, wealth, possessions, power, perfection, or popularity?  Is it an impressive job title, getting invited to the right parties, or being a size eight? Is it having a company car and a key to the executive elevator?  Is it academic excellence, looking good, meeting deadlines, or having an expense account?  Is it being known on a first-name basis at the country club or having a reputation as a big tipper at restaurants? Or, is it more closely aligned with worshipping God with your life?

How Do You Define Success?
To me success is: Finding God's will for your life and doing it.  I believe seasons of our life will look different so at times God's will may be different.  We just have to obey what we know to do. Right now I feel like I am being a success-finally to be able to serve my husband with full abandon, the calling I felt God birth in me 6 years ago.  I am for the first time in a long time at a place where God truly is first, (Mt. 6:33) and to me that is success.

All Things Work for Good

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good  of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Romans 8:28 

Not all things that happen to us are good in and of themselves, but God is good and He can cause them to work toward our good if we trust him.  God makes this promise to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  We must love God with all of our hearts, and we must want His will.  We must be willing to submit to His plan at all times.  

God's will:  to be molded into His image.  Sounds spiritual but in reality it hurts.  Just think of clay being pressed into a mold.  If the clay had feelings, being changed into an entirely different shape would probably be painful.  

If we take a lump of clay and press it into a mold, there is always too much clay and some must be discarded.  Often times there is more of us than will fit into the mold of Jesus, so thoughts, words and actions have to be discarded.  

We must learn to remain steadfast, knowing that no matter how things appear now, God will work them out for our good-and in the process , He will use them to make us better people.  His purpose in everything is to make us more like Jesus.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

God is Big Enough

Do you ever wrestle with fear, worry or being anxious? Interesting to note: In New York Times there was an article about a Scientist working on a human genome project and they've identified the cell they call the worry gene.  People short of this chromosome are especially prone to worry.  

But God's promise is "fear not for I am with you."  I am bigger than your problems, I'm bigger than your failures.  I'm bigger than your regrets, many though they may be.  I'm bigger than your sin and guilt though I know what it is. And if you will let me and if you will try me and if you will open the door of your heart, I will come into your life and I will be your forgiver, and I will be your strength and I will be your friend. 

Our pastor is doing a series called God is Big Enough, click on the link if you'd like to hear the rest of the message.  It's an amazing truth we all need to hear.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Girl's Night

Last night I hosted 8 of the PVC staff/staff wives at my house.  We did a potluck of ingredients to make Pad Thai for dinner as we relaxed and had great fellowship.  Not being on staff and only passing on the weekend between 3 busy services I was feeling a bit disconnected from everyone.   I was stirred to challenge everyone to share something God was doing in their life and it was a very enlightening time as we gained insight, encouragement and direction to pray for one another.  

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Praise from God

Was up in the wee hours last night writing a blog I entitled "God Noticed".  During this morning's devotions I found myself stuck yet again on a verse to meditate.  "True circumcision is not a cutting of the body but a change of heart produced by God's Spirit. Whoever has this kind of change seeks praise from God, not from people." Romans 2:29  I've realized in light of the big picture it's all a matter of our heart.  Yes, God is the one that has wired us to need people and their deposits in our life but essentially if we seek praise from God we won't need/depend on praise from people because we'll find our significance/fulfillment in Christ.  

God Noticed

Too many seasons in my life have been consumed and driven by the satisfaction of peoples praise. For a few weeks now God has been trying to get my attention and I found myself revisiting this verse in Luke 17:10.  Jesus said, "When you obey me you should say, 'We are not worthy of praise.  We are servants who have simply done our duty.'"

If we have obeyed God we have only done our duty and we should regard it as a privilege.  Do you sometimes feel that you deserve extra credit for serving God?  Remember obedience is not something extra we do; it is our duty.  Jesus is not rendering our services as meaningless or useless, nor is he doing away with rewards.  He is attacking unwarranted self-esteem and spiritual pride.

I was being sifted of just that.  There arose a need to help the church... after two weeks of meticulous detail in preparing and setting up for 15 group fellowships there was a sigh of relief when we had an evening off.  I was not asked/expected to attend these meetings.  I was available and I genuinely did it to support my church.  When it was all said and done a lengthy e-mail had been sent out thanking each individual that took part in making this event possible.  As I was reading through the e-mail feeling quite good about myself and all that "I" had accomplished I noticed my name had not been mentioned.  Now to someone who has lived their life for praise and pleasing people there was a moment of disbelief that I had not been noticed.  But God gently reminded me of Luke 17:10 and ultimately I knew my motive was to serve God and to bring glory to him.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat knowing God was truly glorified through my services.  

Once God was sure that any spiritual pride left had been crushed out of me, He rewarded me. God is well aware of how we're wired and the little things that keep us going... The next day I happened to run into the pastor and he said, "Oh, by the way wanted to say thanks for all your hard work helping with the group fellowships."  Honestly at that moment it wasn't about the pastor's recognition at all... I felt like God was smiling down from Heaven saying, "Just so you know, I did notice, thank you!"

Monday, October 13, 2008

To Be Tempted

A person has not shown true obedience if he or she has never had the opportunity to disobey. Thus we need to be tempted.

The word tempted is translated from the verb that means "examine or test to learn another's true nature or character."  When pressed by testing, tempting times, it can strengthen our resolve to remember that trials and temptations are not the real enemy. Eternally, perhaps our greatest enemy on earth is losing perspective and beginning to value our fragile surroundings more than God's faithful friendship in our lives.  From that point of view, if God's presence has led us into trying places, is there really any other place we would rather be? Both James and Peter call us to rejoice when we, like Jesus, experience testing times (
James 3:2-4).

"The choices we make in the place of trial today are greatly the fruit of choices we have made in our yesterdays and every choice we make today is an investment in a future we cannot see."

Satan's basic methods have not changed since Jesus' stay in the Judean wilderness or, for that matter, Adam and Eve's stay in the Garden of Eden.  The same tempting invitations have sounded from generation to generation.  New packaging, for sure, but each shiny, modernized package contains the same tactics.  Thankfully, the power of Jesus' choices has also not changed.  His decisions-and the process by which he made them-can guide us safely through every tempting trial.  (Matthew 4:1-11)

To Be a Part of Jesus' Family

"Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (Psalm 119:11).  Hiding (keeping) God's Word in our hearts is a deterrent to sin.  This alone should inspire us to memorize Scripture.  But memorization alone will not keep us from sin; we must also put God's Word to work in our lives, making it a vital guide for everything we do.  How do we do this?  By reading God's word and doing what it says.   

I am a firm believer that you cannot give what you don't have and you can't pray what you don't know.  So don't expect great things/results without great prayers.  I'm not talking eloquent, polished prayers...  I'm talking humble, confident prayers from knowing the Word of God.  
Only in God's eternal Word will we find lasting solutions to our problems and needs.

As with any career you pursue, or walk of life you choose you must be educated on the subject matter to fully understand and execute that task implemented.  If you were going to be a surgeon you'd probably learn how to use a scalpel.  Well if you call yourself a Christian you should also read the Word of God so as not to take Lord's name in vain (to misuse/misrepresent God).  To truly be a part of Jesus' family we must hear and do (obey) his words (Luke 8:21).  You can't obey an instruction if you've never heard it before, so we must read God's word so we can obey what it says to do.  

We are sanctified (cleansed and made holy) by truth through believing the Word of God.  God's word is truth.  Daily application of God's Word has a purifying effect on our minds and hearts.   Scripture points out sin, motivates us to confess, renews our relationship with Christ, and guides us back to the right path.  "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105).

"Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise.  Use his words to teach and counsel each other... and whatever you do or say, let it be a representation of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father" (Col. 3:16-17).

Friday, October 10, 2008

Psalm 73:22-26

I was so foolish and ignorant-
I must have seemed like a senseless
animal to you.
Yet I still belong to you;
you are holding my right hand.
You will keep on guiding me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on 
My health may fail, and my spirit may
grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.

This is so cool,  God is amazing!

Shaped by the Word of God

Hebrews 4:12  The Word of God is not simply a collection of words from God, a vehicle for communicating ideas; it is living, life-changing and dynamic as it works in us.  With the incisiveness of a surgeon's knife, God's Word reveals who we are and what we are not.  It penetrates the core of our moral and spiritual life.  It discerns what is within us, both good and evil. The demands of God's Word require decisions.  We must not only listen to the Word; we must also let it shape our lives.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Twelve Points to Hearing the Voice of God

If you know the Lord, you have already heard His voice - it is that inner leading that brought you to Him in the first place.  Jesus always checked with His Father (John 8:26-29) and so should we; hearing the voice of the heavenly Father is a basic right of every child of God.  Here are twelve points to hearing the voice of God.
  1. Don't make guidance complicated.  It's actually hard not to hear God if you really want to please and obey HIm.  If you stay humble, He promises to guide you (Proverbs 16:9). Here are three simple steps to hear God's voice: (A) Submit to His Lordship.  Ask him to help you silence your own thoughts, desires, and the opinions of others, which may be filling your mind (2 Cor. 10:5).  Even though you have been given a good mind to use, right now you want to hear the thoughts of the Lord, who has the best mind (Prov. 3:5-6). (B) Resist the enemy, in case he is trying to deceive you at this moment.  Use the authority which Jesus Christ has given you to silence the voice of the enemy (James 4:7; Eph. 6:10-20). (C) Expect an answer.  After asking the question that is on your mind, wait for Him to answer. Expect your loving heavenly Father to speak to you. He will (John 10:27; Ps. 69:13; Ex. 33:11).
  2. Allow God to speak to you in the way He chooses.  Don't try to dictate to Him concerning the guidance methods you prefer.  He is Lord-you are His servant (1 Sam. 3:9).  So listen with a yielded heart; there is a direct link between yieldedness and hearing.  He may choose to speak to you: Through His Word: This could come in your daily reading, or He could guide you to a particular verse (Ps. 119:105).  Through an audible voice (Ex. 3:4). Through dreams (Matt. 2) and visions (Is. 6:1, Rev. 1:12-17). But probably the most common of all means in through the quiet inner voice (Is. 30:21).
  3. Confess any unforgiven sin.  A clean heart in necessary if you want to hear the voice of God (Ps. 66:18).
  4. Use the Axehead Principle-a term coined from the story of 2 Kings 6.  If you seem to have lost your way, go back to the last time you knew the sharp, cutting edge of God's voice. Then obey.  The key question is:  Have you obeyed the last thing God told you to do?
  5. Get your own leading.  God will use others to confirm your guidance, but you should also hear from Him directly.  It can be dangerous to rely on others to get the word of the Lord for you (1 Kings 13).
  6. Don't talk about your guidance until God gives you permission to do so.  Sometimes this happens immediately; at other times, there is a delay.  The main purpose of waiting is to avoid four pitfalls of guidance: (A) pride, because God has spoken something to you; (B) presumption, by speaking before you have full understanding; (C) missing God's timing and method; (D) bringing confusion to others; they, too, need prepared hearts (Luke 9:36; Ecc. 3:7; Mark 5:19).
  7. Use the Wise Men Principle.  Just as the Three Wise Men individually followed the star and in doing so, were all led to the same Christ, so God will often use two or more spiritually sensitive people to confirm what He is telling you (2 Cor. 13:1).
  8. Beware of counterfeits.  Have you ever heard of a counterfeit dollar bill?  Yes, of course. But have you ever heard of a counterfeit paper bag?  No.  The reason is, only things of value are worth counterfeiting.  Satan has a counterfeit for everything of God that is possible for him to copy (Acts. 8:9-11; Ex. 7:22).  Counterfeit guidance comes, for example, through Quija boards, seances, fortunetelling, and astrology (Lev. 20:6, 19:26; 2 Kings 21:6).  The guidance of the Holy Spirit leads you closer to Jesus and into true freedom.  Satan's guidance leads you away from God into bondage.  One key test for true guidance: Does your leading follow principles of the Bible?  The Holy Spirit never contradicts the Word of God.
  9. Opposition of man is sometimes guidance from God (Acts 21:10-14).  The important thing here, again, is yieldedness to the Lord (Dan. 6:6-23; Acts. 4:18-21).  Rebellion is never of God, but sometimes He asks you to step away from your elders in a way that is not rebellion, but part of His plan.  Trust that He will show your heart the difference.
  10. Every follower of Jesus has a unique ministry (1 Cor. 12; 1 Pet. 4:10-11; Rom. 12; Eph. 4). The more you seek to hear God's voice in detail, the more effective you will be in your own calling. Guidance is not a game-it is serious business where we learn what God wants us to do in ministry and how He wants us to do it.  The will of God is doing and saying the right thing in the right place, with the right people, at the right time, and in the right sequence, under the right leadership, using the right method, with the right attitude of heart.
  11. Practice hearing God's voice and it becomes easier.  It's like picking up the phone and recognizing the voice of your best know his voice because you have heard it so much.  Compare young Samuel with the older man Samuel (1 Sam. 3:4-7; 8:7-10; 12:11-18).
  12. Relationship is the most important reason for hearing the voice of the Lord.  God is not only infinite, but personal.  If you don't have communication, you don't have a personal relationship with Him.  True guidance is getting closer to the Guide.  We grow to know the Lord better as He speaks to us and, as we listen to Him and obey, we make His heart glad (Ex. 33:11; Matt. 7:24-27).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

To Know God's Will

To know God's will does not mean we must hear his voice.  He leads us in different ways.  When seeking God's will:
  1. Make sure your plan is in harmony with God's Word.
  2. Ask mature Christians for their advice.
  3. Check your own motives - are you seeking to do what you want or what you think God wants?
  4. Pray for God to open and close doors as he desires.
The Holy Spirit guides us to the right places, but he also guides us away from the wrong places. As we seek God's will it is important to know what God wants us to do and where he wants us to go, but it is equally important to know what God does not want us to do and where he does not want us to go.  

Friday, October 3, 2008

Take Every Thought Captive

Ever find yourself after a victory to be blind-sighted by the enemy?  Well I did.  I blogged yesterday about a divine appointment where I believe the Lord used me to minister to someone. Then last night had repeated bad dreams that played on my insecurities when I woke up this morning.  I knew there was no validity to them but it was one that disturbed me greatly.  So I had two choices today:
  1. I could dwell on the thoughts and let them fester into a feeling of defeat, insecurity and thus allow it to not only affect me but those around me.
  2. Or I could "take every though captive", (2 Cor. 10:5)  stand on what I know to be truth, pray and not allow the enemy to build any stronghold against me.

I chose the latter - My God will prevail!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Divine Appointment

Everywhere I turned today I felt bombarded with this heavy burden but naturally I just equated it with the fact that I wasn't feeling quite to par.   We have been hosting group fellowships each evening for the past week in various church members homes while our pastor casts the vision for building a new sanctuary.  I was not asked to come to these meetings, am not required to go these meetings, and quite frankly didn't think anyone would miss me if I didn't show up.  So, I thought I'd just go and help my mother-in-law set up then escape before the meeting began.  Then there was this little check in my gut that said to stay.  Wasn't sure why... Then I asked a lady how she was doing and to make a long story short it was a divine appointment.  God was able to use me in that moment with a situation that I was able to identify with and in turn minister through.  Yea God!  It's amazing what God will do in and through us when we position ourselves to be used by Him.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

4 Wonderful Years

Lunch at BJ's for our Anniversary

I'll never forget the prayer of my father-in-law on our wedding day as he recalled the years of praying for Micah's future wife from the moment they knew they were having a son.  When Micah initially called to ask for their blessing to propose to me they left him waiting as they prayed one more time.  Then the next morning said they felt like I was the one and that the Lord would have told them otherwise.  I am happy to say Micah and I celebrated 4 Wonderful Years of Marriage today.  He truly is my soulmate, my best friend, the iron that sharpens me.