"Blessed is she, who has believed, that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished." Luke 1:45

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Shepherds and the Magi

Each played a part.
One "spread the word concerning all they had been told about this child... glorifying God for all the things they had heard and seen."

The other "bowed down and worshipped him."

THE SHEPHERDS

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 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 that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, 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 heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."
Luke 2:8-20 (NIV)




THE MAGI

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”



When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:


‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’


Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”


After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh."
Matthew 2:1-11 (NIV)



We are to be like both, bowing down in worship of him, as well as spreading the word and glorifying him for all the things we have heard and seen.
 
Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Unspeakable Joy!

I have always liked Joy To The World but once again, Chris Tomlin takes something beautiful and then takes it to the next level. My favorite new song of the season!

Have a wonderful week before Christmas by finding time to be alone with Jesus and worship with everything you have. His favorite gift is YOU!



Head over to Amy's for a great Christmas music offering!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

God is With Us

This is one of my favorite worship Christmas songs. Just beautiful.



Don't forget to visit Amy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

SNOW!

I am kicking off December with a scene from my favorite Christmas movie: White Christmas. This is one of my favorite songs from the movie and it seems fitting since we have had teeny tiny flurries over the past couple of days. I am praying that we get a good layering of snow in the next few weeks. It is my favorite thing to do to go Christmas shopping when the snow is falling.

Enjoy! (Then go visit AMY for more songs!)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Love Me

This week I am posting JJ Heller's "Love Me".  I had previously written an entry on my blog that fits with this song. It is here.

I have been so blessed by JJ Heller's pure voice and worship. I pray you are as blessed.



Visit Amy to hear more great songs.

Made to Crave - Lysa TerKeurst

Check out Lysa TerKeurst's promo for her new book and study, Made to Crave. It will be out soon and right now she is running a contest on her blog (click on her name above to get to it!) to get some free pre-release copies. Go check it out!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Alternate Reality

I like Fringe. It is a fun show that takes me out of reality for a bit, allowing me to just have fun with what I am watching. Today I have been having more contemplative thoughts than fun, though. 

The show's main storyline right now involves one of the characters being stuck in an alternate reality. It is about her being in a reality that looks like her world, sounds like her world, but she keeps running into things that are not what she knows to be true. She cares for the people of that world, but there are those that are interested in harming her, keeping her quiet, getting her out of the way. She is in their world, but not of their world. Her whole focus is on getting home, where she belongs.

Sound familiar?

"I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.  My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified."
John 17:14-19

There is another aspect of this story. Those that are living in the alternate reality catch glimpses of why the woman is different. The way she says something, the things she knows, how she reacts to situations; those all are just different enough to make people notice. 

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Romans 12:2

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:13-16

Just as the way she speaks, the things she believes and the way she acts sets her apart, God calls us to be set apart as well.

Finally, she knows something most people in that alternate reality don't know. There is a war going on between the realities. This war will end in the destruction of one of the worlds. She is aware and constantly on guard to protect herself, and others.  She knows these people are completely unaware of the danger they are in so she does what she can to protect them.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."
Ephesians 6:10-13

Just as Fringe's main character, Olivia, knows there is an unseen war going on, so do we know there is a real unseen war going on. 

We, as Christians, are living in an alternate reality. We know the truth, we understand there are unseen battles going on every day, we plan and prepare and we even fight on those alternate battlefields through prayer, Scripture and faith. Many in our world don't believe in that alternate reality. Many don't want to know. That doesn't make the truth any less true. 

How would our perception of people change if we looked at them from that perspective? That they are living in a world that is the scene of a fierce battle, and they are completely unarmed and unaware? That we have knowledge of the truth that could not only protect them, but free them to see the truth?

I am excited to see how they get Olivia back to her real world, and how the storyline will play out as she meets up with her alternate, also in the "real" world. 

I am also excited to see how our reality will end up. Those that know God, have trusted Christ as their savior and are following him with their life have an idea. 

"Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Revelation 21:1-4

"I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life."
Revelation 21:22-27

God is gracious in giving us time to get out there and speak the truth, to live the truth, and help other's see that they are living in an alternate reality. Will you take advantage of his graciousness and live boldly, to bring him to those that don't know Him?

Who says you can't relate to what you see on television anymore?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving

Before the holiday season is off and running away from us, I thought it would be nice to just sit quietly for a few minutes and think about what we have to be thankful for.  To look at God and just say, "thank you" in the quiet of our thoughts and hearts. 


I found this song and it was the perfect background for this activity. I hope you are blessed by it.


"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."


Colossians 2:6-7


"I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you."


Psalm 35:18


"But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content."


Psalm 131:2



For more things to be thankful for, head over to Signs, Miracles and Wonders for her Thanksgiving week offerings.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dancing in the Minefields

Wow. It has been so long since I posted anything!

I only have a minute, but I HAD to post my current, new favorite song. Yes, current. I will find a new favorite song in the next few days. It's the way of the music lovers world.

Anyway...

I heard this on the radio a few weeks ago, then didn't hear it again for several days. Then I heard it again, got the title and searched it out. I LOVE this song.

Sometimes I need the reminder of what marriage is supposed to be about. More than anything else, it is honoring the commitment that we made to GOD, not each other. If we always seek to honor God first, then we will naturally honor our spouse.

When was the last time you really thought about who your spouse is supposed to be? Yes, your husband or wife. But they are more than that. They are your port in a storm, your confidant, your sounding board and your reality check. They are the one that God has chosen to show you Himself. And it's the same for who you are to your spouse.

When we look at it like that, that we are representing God to our spouse, well, it changes everything doesn't it? No more excusing selfish behaviors. No more giving yourself permission to be angry for another day. No more blaming their actions to excuse your own.

I love the word pictures in this song. When he sings "we went dancing in the minefields, we went sailing in the storm", all I can see is two people, trusting in God and in each other to not only make it through the challenges, but to grow closer and find joy along the way.

I hope you are as blessed by this song as I am. I hope it makes you seek out your spouse and thank them for honoring the promise.



If you search this song on youtube, you can see the official video by the artist. It is worth seeing.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Where Oh Where and Dreams Are Coming


Where oh where did all this life come from?

It seems the days get shorter and my to-do list gets longer. As the kids get older they have more activities. 

As I grow in my spiritual walk I have more "God appointments".

As I get busier outside the home the housework doubles.

As I focus on all that, I have to figure out how to get a date night in for my hard-working hubby.

And somewhere in all that, a day just for myself would be just peachy-keen, jelly bean!

I miss my writing, but can't seem to find the time to put more than a sentence or two together. Then the thoughts are gone completely. I am writing this at 2:30am. It is the only alone-time I have for now. That's ok, but sometimes what seems inspired at 2:30am sounds wacky and slightly concerning for my mental status at 10:00am. If this post ends up falling into the wacky instead of inspired category, well, at least I finally posted something, right?

I love my life right now. I wouldn't change it for anything. But I am left to wonder, where oh where did all this life come from? 

God constantly reminds me to have margin, to organize and to prioritize. And now, all of a sudden, I am being told that I need to dream. In devotions. In conversations. In other's blog posts. In a random web-page that I found while searching for something completely un-related. Even in songs. 

I have so many dreams. So many things I want to do, to see, to experience. I was over at Beth Moore's Blog and she asked a question in her "If I Could, I Would..." post. My answers?

  1.            be a stay-at-home mom/writer
  2.         learn to read, write and speak Russian and Italian, then spend a month or two in each country,    coming alongside ministries working with women and teens caught in and rescued from the human trafficking industry.
  3.         spend tons of my time with my family traveling to see all of God’s amazing artistry in nature



The amazing thing is that these dreams are just the tip of the iceberg. I have so many things, but those three just rolled right out of my keyboard and onto the screen. 

Sometimes to begin dreaming, you have to let go of the old dream.

Bob and I are ending our time in youth ministry this month and I am so very sad. It isn't as if we are leaving the church and will never see them again, but things will be different. 

Change.

I usually like it, but in this instance, eh, not so much.

We have been in the Barn for almost five years and I have grown to love the ministry, the work, the potential, the frustrations and the joys. Now we have to step away.

We will begin our new phase of in-church ministry October 1st as the new leaders of the new college and young adult ministry. I am very excited about this opportunity, and a little nervous.  Just as I should be.  And on the bright side, I will have all of my current students back in my ministry within a few years at most. 

Is this what all the dream-focused God whispers are about?

I don't think so.

We are developing our women's ministry. I am excited to see what part I will play in it over the coming year. 

I never, ever, EVER would have guessed that I would speak to a group of women for an hour and a half, but I did it this summer, and it was an amazing God-thing. I came away happy and convinced I had done just what God had wanted me to. 

What a feeling!

Is that where all the dream-nudging is pushing me? More and deeper in women's ministry? 

I don't think so.

You see, I can dream and hope and imagine all I want, but I will never see as much as God does. And I know that He has dreams for me.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

“your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
       How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
       they would outnumber the grains of sand.”
Psalm 139:16-19

God has big, God-sized dreams for me. 

It is so important to be open to the desires and longings I feel. To the talents I have, the gifts given to me. These are the things that God will use. 

But if I only look for the dreams that I can comprehend, then I am going to miss that big, God-dream that He created me for. The thing that will glorify Him above all others. 

“everyone who is called by my name,
       whom I created for my glory,
       whom I formed and made.”
Isaiah 43:7

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:17-18

So, as I move forward, I will do my best to keep my heart, my eyes, and my hands open to the dreams that seem to be on their way to me. Soon I will sit down and write a list of all the dreams I could possibly dream for myself. Wishes, hopes and desires that will make up my "if I could, I would..." list. Then I will keep my eyes open for God to take my dreams even further than those.

So, dear reader, when was the last time you let go and just dreamed, then gave it to God to take your dreams even further than that?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Safe

I just love this song. Jesus is my safe harbor for everything. Singing songs like this are such a praise moment for me because I have been in the whirlwind of the world, and I know what peace Jesus brings.



Signs, Miracles and Wonders has more songs for praising.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Linky-Linky Loo-Pa-Looza!

These are some of my web-surfing stops. Hope you enjoy!!!!
Interactive for Toddlers:

Game Goo

Primary Games

Preschool Academy

StoryPlace

KneeBouncers

HomeManagement:

Working Moms

FOTF Chore Articles

Gift Guide

Pet Guide

Recipes and Menu Planning:

Healthy Recipes and Menu Planning (This is my friend April's blog!)

A Taste of Home

Kraft Foods

Personal and Spiritual Refreshing for YOU:

Hearts at Home

Lysa Terkeurst

(In)Courage

Proverbs 31

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mommy Rhapsody

This is FUNNY! I love it, and if you are "just a mom" you will love it too!




Go visit Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders for more great music for your weekend!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Love & Laundry


As soon as I heard this song I knew I had to post it. I am pretty sure they followed me around with cameras and microphones for a few weeks. Lyrics are below the video. ENJOY!




Here I go again it’s another messy morning
Walk around the clothes that are covering the floor and
Take my kiss and coffee to go
Then put on my mascara while I’m driving down the road
I thought that I could do it all
Turns out I was crazy
Man I need an iPhone and a cleaning lady
We haven’t had a date night in what seems like forever
It might take a miracle to get myself together
Chorus:
Oh I wish that there were more than
24 hours in a day
I haven’t found it yet but there’s gotta be a way
And I keep praying that
I can get everything done
And still have time for love
And a load of laundry
I’d sure like to relax laying in a bubble bath
But then I’d have to clean the tub and really who’s got time for that
There goes my day dream I’m just wishful thinking
Oh shoot I’m running late, I gotta make it to a meeting
I’ve been waiting for this moment all day, just you and me
The lights are low, next thing I know
We’re both drifting off to sleep

Head over to Amy's for more songs to tap your toe by.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Come As You Are

Lately the theme of worthiness seems to be prevalent in my conversations. How we, as those that love and strive to follow Christ, tend to buy into the lie that we should become a little better before we lead. A little less sinful before we dare to go before Christ in worship.

That we need to be "good enough". 

Where did we get the notion that salvation stops at the acceptance of Christ as our Lord and only hope? That is just the beginning of our salvation. 

Our true and ultimate salvation, freedom from eternity in hell, separated from God, covered by grace, yes, it only comes once. 

But there is more to it than that. Salvation is not just an event, it is a life-long, no, it's an eternal commitment from God to us.

God offers us daily salvation, over and over, until we are truly free. We will never be perfect until the day we stand before God's throne, but we are to strive for perfection in our daily life, as it is held up to and reflective of Scripture. God is holding out his hand of salvation. For every sin, every self-doubt, every fear and every uncertainty. He knows we will fall short. He knows we will need chance after chance. And he is more than willing to offer that chance. 

But in the meantime...

He wants us. Just as we are. Just where we are. 

We don't have to be good enough. Only desperately in love with him. Jesus took care of the rest.

My song for this week is Sixteen Cities "Come As You Are".  Some of the Scriptures (NIV) that apply to this discussion are listed below the video.



Hebrews 7:25 


Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.


2 Corinthians 9:8 

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Romans 8:31-39

 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 


   "For your sake we face death all day long; 
      we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Ephesians 3: 14-21


For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family, in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

More songs over at Signs, Miracles and Wonders





Saturday, July 3, 2010

With Everything

We sang this at youth camp this week. It is one of my favorite songs off this album so of course I was very excited.  I think I have posted this before but when it is this good, that's ok!



"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."   
1 Peter 1:3-9

ENJOY!

post your favorite song and link to Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders. Happy Weekend!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Endurance

This is the final posting from my friend Susan. I hope you have enjoyed these posts about finding your Pure Purpose as much as I have! Enjoy!

What if someone took a snapshot of you and made it an example for others so that’s all others know about your life? Some snapshots of our lives can be framed into a nice photo that accurately reflects a particular situation in our lives. However, our lives aren’t mere snapshots. Our lives are rich recordings, capturing our thoughts, emotions, relationships, situations, struggles, growth…every detail of every moment of our lives. Our lives are a marathon. We may stop to walk along the way. We might make a wrong turn and need to get back on track. We may enjoy the refreshing wind at times and sit by the side of the road in tears sometimes. Endurance is movement through the marathon of life, regardless of the varying types and speeds of movement. Endurance involves perseverance. Sometimes we persevere at a sprint, and sometimes we barely shuffle our feet.

When have your legs felt strong and you felt the refreshing wind in your face as you ran through life?

When have you been completely overwhelmed with the path ahead, your legs feeling like massive weights, and you wanted to stop for a long rest?

Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have peace with God. This happened through our Lord Jesus Christ, who through our faith has brought us into that blessing of God's grace that we now enjoy. And we are happy because of the hope we have of sharing God's glory. We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us. Romans 5:1-5
When we have problems and trials, we can develop endurance. (We can also sit and mope and whine and become self-focused.) Endurance develops character. Character develops our hope in salvation. And yet…isn’t it our hope in salvation, our relationship with Jesus, our acceptance and understanding of God’s character, that helps us deal with our problems and trials in the first place?

You see, we often stop where we are because we’re waiting on something. We think we need more faith or we need more strength or we need more courage. We may even ask God for it. And then we wait and wait and wait….when we already have what we need! If you have a relationship with Jesus, you have his strength and courage. You may not always feel like you have it, but it’s there. We may feel completely drained and insufficient and incapable, but it’s not because we actually are. Standing on the promise of Romans 1:5.

The Holy Spirit gives us everything we need. The strength and courage we need is already in us, and not only is it in us, but the Holy Spirit fills us! You have access to God’s love, courage, strength, joy, discernment (and the list goes on…) inside you, accessible at all times. So why do you think we still want to sit beside the road, bury our head in our hands and quit?

My thoughts might not be even close to yours, but here are a few I’ve considered.

1. Even when we know God provides all we need through him, we try to rely into our own strength and courage instead of tapping into his.
2. We wait to tap into his strength and courage only when we’re completely exhausted. We try to hand him the baton, expecting him to run the rest of the way for us, not with us.
3. We rely on the Holy Spirit to guide, equip, and encourage us so infrequently that we’re not sure how to listen and rely on him.

We’re human. I don’t want this to become a crutch we rely on, but we have to admit, we’re going to struggle with our past baggage, current struggles, and future apprehensions. The key is whether we try to manage it all or rely on God to equip us to persevere and endure.

Our marathon doesn’t start the moment we get the phone call, receive the diagnosis, or discover the betrayal. We don’t run through the crisis and check it off our list. Our marathon is our entire life. Challenging uphill climbs. Downhill coasts. Crushed by crowds of people. Feelings of isolation. Encouraged by others. Discouraged as others fly by. Inadequacies. Doubt. Injuries. Milestones. Rejuvenation. It’s all part of the marathon. And you’re in training through the entire marathon. Increase your endurance through consistent training.

Training isn’t just a to-do list. It’s a to-be list. What you do prepares you for who you become. Who you are influences what you do. Both are intimately connected. What is God prompting you to do and who is he prompting you to become?
Adapted from Pure Purpose by Susan H. Lawrence. Check out Susan’s blog at http://purepurposebook.wordpress.com/ and follow Pure Purpose on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/PurePurposeFB

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Authenticity ~ Guest Post by Susan H. Lawrence

Another wonderful offering from my friend, Susan. If you are interested in a free sampling from her book, Pure Purpose, leave me your email address and I will be happy to send it off! Have a wonderful week! ~ Shannon

*******************************************

  Lord, teach me what you want me to do, and I will live by your truth. Teach me to respect you completely. Psalm 86:11
      Authenticity is “being actually and exactly what is claimed.” (www.merriam-webster.com)

      Have you ever given advice you have difficulty applying in your own life? Have you ever stretched the truth (a.k.a., lied) to make yourself look a little better or perhaps a little worse in order to avoid doing something? (Perhaps you’ve even deceived yourself.) Are there areas of your life in which you know there are principles you should follow, but you just don’t seem to be able to discipline yourself to apply them or you struggle with how they apply directly to you?

      Truthfulness isn’t just about what you say. It’s about the way you live. It paves the way for an authenticity in our lives, a perspective that reflects actually and exactly what we claim. Authenticity is a reflection of God, which means if we want authenticity, we can’t look in our own mirror; we have to use God’s.

      Truthfulness affects others. It affects their faith, because it affects how they see God. Whether I have a long-term relationship or momentary encounter with someone, my character, the way I behave, my attitude…all combine to reflect the God who created me for purpose on this earth. No moment, no situation, no person is insignificant.

      And here’s the truth. I don’t always reflect the truth of God’s character. Sure, sometimes it has nothing to do with deceit. It might have to do with ignorance. But in all honesty, how often are we ignorant in a situation…versus how often werationalize we’re ignorant? It’s much easier to plead innocence than to take responsibility.

      Not listening to God isn’t the same as not knowing his character. We live in a “shirk responsibility” culture. It’s easier to blame someone else. But when it comes to your personal walk with God, it’s between you and him. I can assure you, he’s not the one creating space. Are we distant from God sometimes? Yes, but we can acknowledge the distance and move. Or we can choose instead to try to figure out the distance, whine about the distance, and end up in the same place weeks or months from now. Are we hurt or confused sometimes? Yes, but again, we can acknowledge our emotions and experience and begin the process of moving to another place, or steep in the turmoil and end up in the same situation, or worse, weeks or months from now.

      You’re not a victim. How can I be so sure? Because I know my God. He’s not a victimizer. He’s a Victor. He created you. And he is Truth. There is truth in you. We need to let him reveal it to us, so you see the reflection God sees. So others see the reflection God sees.

      God understands all hearts, and he sees you. Proverbs 24:12


      (For practical tools for how to “get R.E.A.L.,” authentic in your Relationships, Experiences, Attitudes and Leadership, check out Week Eight of Pure Purpose by Susan H. Lawrence.)


Check out Susan’s blog at http://purepurposebook.wordpress.com/ and follow Pure Purpose on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/PurePurposeFB

Friday, June 18, 2010

I AM

This is the song of my salvation. This is the song that was playing when I gave my life to Christ. I may have officially prayed the prayer a few weeks later, but this is the song that broke my heart to Christ, the song that was used to call me home. It is still my prayer and thanksgiving song to my precious Jesus.

I love you my Jesus.



More songs at Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Communication ~ Guest post by Susan H. Lawrence

Here is another great offering from my friend, Susan. Enjoy!


Each of us is impacted by our past experiences, family, health, education, relationships, and much more. Consider everything and everyone who has impacted your life from teachers to friends to coworkers to ministers. Jot as many as you can in one minute.

Each time we communicate, we bring our background with us. We use it to make sense of what we’re saying. Others bring different background to their communications. We may have some similarities, but no two people’s lives are exactly the same, and no two people will communicate in exactly the same way. We filter what we say and what we hear. So every time you say something, it goes through two filters: yours and the person’s to whom you’re talking. Every time you hear something, it goes through two filters: yours and the person’s who is speaking to you.

Understanding our filters helps us understand our communications better.

Consider a situation in which you made an assumption that was later proved to be inaccurate about someone.

If one assumption you’re made has been proven inaccurate, consider the possibility than any assumption you make about people might be inaccurate. We hear and give information based on our filters. But our filters aren’t purely clean. Our experiences, relationships, and attitudes clog our screens…and the screens of people we’re communicating with. That’s why we sometimes think someone said something they didn’t say or insist they didn’t tell us something when they actually did.

Being aware of your filters means acknowledging the possibility there’s been a miscommunication. When there’s a miscommunication, who’s responsible?

There are at least two people involved in communication. Both have filters. Does it really matter who’s right and who’s wrong when there’s a miscommunication? If the goal is communication, and communication isn’t complete or effective, strive to focus on the goal-communication- instead of getting stuck in a blame game.

No one should accuse or blame another person. Don't blame the people, you priests, when they quarrel with you.  Hosea 4:4

We can’t assume everyone shares our experiences. It can be frustrating to start at the beginning to explain something to someone when we just want to move on, but again, if the goal is communication, and communication isn’t complete or effective, we need to strive to focus on the goal, communication, instead of getting stuck focusing on our filters, who should already know what, how much time we need to take to explain something, etc. Building relationships with healthy communication is always worth time and effort.

Here’s my list of communication tips:

       No one is a mind-reader. If you want or expect someone to know something, tell them.
 Take a breath before speaking. Once it’s spoken, you can’t swallow it.
 Communication will fail. Do your best, but know it’s not foolproof.
 Communication is not avoidable. You can be quiet, but you’re still communicating.
 Communication assumes…based on past experiences, relationships, and personality.
 Communication involves relationship. It’s not just about you, your intentions, and your goals.

How will you reflect God in your communication?

It will not really be you speaking but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 
Matthew 10:20

Adapted from Pure Purpose by Susan H. Lawrence. Check out Susan’s blog at http://purepurposebook.wordpress.com/ and follow Pure Purpose on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/PurePurposeFB