Monday, January 28, 2013

A Verse to Chew On

Life has gotten in the way a bit...that ever happen to you? 

You start the New Year off with a fresh start...inspiration...and a list of things you wish to accomplish or try.

Then something happens.  Sometimes it's a big something...sometimes just a series of little somethings.  The somethings might be good or bad or a concoction of both...but before you know it your best laid plans have been pushed to the side as you have been sidetracked or become slave to the tyranny of the urgent.

Does that sound dramatic or simply true? 

I didn't have a host of endeavors lined out for the new year.  One thing I did want to aim for was being more consistent in blogging...I haven't quite hit the target on that one.  Good news is, I can start again wherever I may find myself! :)

And so I find myself at the beginning of a new week and that means it's time for a new Verse to Chew On!

YOU keep track of all my sorrows.  YOU have collected all my tears in Your bottle.
This I know: GOD is on my side!
Psalm 56:8,9
(emphasis added)

Sometimes those somethings can not only sidetrack us from the best laid plans for our, they can make us sad...bring sorrow...produce tears.  Have you ever had those somethings pop up in your life, uninvited, unannounced, unwelcomed?  Rhetorical question.  Of course each and every one of us have.  That's what comes of life lived in a fallen world.

This verse brings me comfort and hope, peace and joy.  It reminds me that God sees me...when I feel invisible...or abandoned.  It reminds me that the tears I shed are valuable to Him because I am.  I may never know, this side of heaven, why a certain something(s) decided to make an appearance in my life.  And when these somethings come to visit I rarely know when they plan to leave.  But this I do know, God is on my side!

And He is on your side too.

I love these antique bottles pictured above.  Each one is unique.  Each one is a work of art.  In my imagination (this is not a concept that you can find chapter and verse for) God houses each one of our tears (metaphorically) in a bottle as unique and beautiful as these.  God sees us a valuable...He is not only the Lifter of our heads when sorrows come, He is the Lover of our souls when tears are the only suitable expression of our heartache and frustrations, anger and fear.

God loves you. God loves me.  He is on your side.  He is on my side.  Circumstances may not magically disappear, but God (I love those two words together) is with you...with me.  We can trust that He will never leave us. He is forever faithful.  He has a plan.  He can redeem even the messiest of somethings.  He can take those unwanted sorrows and uncontained tears, bottle them up and turn them into something beautiful.

We just need to trust in Jesus...pour out our sorrows and tears to Him...keep our eyes fixed on Him and not the circumstance...invite Him to change us even more than inviting Him to change the somethings...He is on our side!
I hope this week's Verse finds you happy and healthy...maybe this piece of the Bible is one that you can tuck away for a rainy day.
If, however, it comes to you in the midst of one of those somethings chew on this:  Your something may have surprised you, but it didn't take God off guard.  The Bible tells us that Jesus is acquainted firsthand with our sorrows - find comfort in the fact that He knows.  Invite the Holy Spirit to turn your heart's cry into tears of joy as you proclaim by faith that God is on your side!
Praying for you,

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Food 4 Thot Friday

Hey there!  Hope this post finds you doing well and your New Year off to a great start!

Many of us begin the New Year with a refreshed desire to make some changes to our lives...some call these changes Resolutions...others My Gift to Jesus...and some of us will just call our plans a Do-Over.

Most of us girls, as we flip open a new calendar, desire to shed some unwanted weight.  I am one of those girls.  I have come to realize that reducing the poundage on my body is a three part process. It's more than restricting my diet and buffeting my body with exercise.  To feel be at my best have optimal health I need to engage my Spirit, Soul and Body for success.  Which, when you think about it, makes total sense.  We are comprised of all three parts and all three parts need to work together in harmony to not only achieve this desired goal but also to maintain it.

Food 4 Thot will help with this.  If you are not in need of a more fit body and have chosen something else to focus on in this new year this regular Friday post will help you too!  Almost every slice of Bible served here can be applied to whatever you might be working on.

First off, here are a few tidbits about this weekly post...

Food 4 Thot ~ as a Title...1) I had a group of friends meeting in my home a while back for this purpose and when I would text them info about the group I was too lazy type all the words out correctly on my 'dumb' phone so I would abbreviate this stuck. 2) It comes from Romans 12:1-2a, "Therefore I urge you...sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship. Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."  This post will give us a portion of God's Word every week to help us renew our minds...and thus transform our bodies.

Food 4 Thot ~ as a Post...1) This will be just 1 tool that you can use to help you on your journey.  As stated above I will be giving us a verse to help us renew our thinking...and to focus our selves on Jesus during the process.  2) In addition I will try to include something helpful and encouraging, from a practical application stand point most weeks. 3) This post is purposefully designed to appear on Fridays. Don't know about you, but for me the weekend with it's lack of routine that the rest of the week usually provides can challenge my discipline.  So, having this post to get my 'head in the game' as I head into the weekend is helpful.

That about sums up what to expect here! 

To get us started this week our 1st bite of Scripture happens to be one of my fav's and is foundational to ApronStrings Ministries.

Oh, Taste and See that the LORD is Good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Oh, fear the LORD all you saints, for those who fear Him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
Psalm 34:8-10

Those of you who read this week's Verse To Chew On may see a few similarities here. (Scroll down to read it if you didn't).

Here are a couple of things to think on as you look at this piece of the Bible...thoughts I had as I meditated on this and looked in my Commentaries.

*Taste & See = Try & Experience the beauty of God's Being (His Glory) and the bounty of His Grace
*Fear = An awe inspired worship of God which includes being conscience of my duty to Him in everything.
*As I taste & see, take refuge in and worship God my Father will feed me His comfort food and I will lack 'no good thing'.  If there is anything that I desire that God, in His infinite wisdom, denies me I can trust that He will give me the grace to be content without it!  This applies to life in general...and can surely fill in the lack on my plate if I am counting points or eliminating certain food groups as I work on being healthier!

Just for fun...and because I think it helps with getting Scripture into our lives, here's our passage in a couple of different translations...
Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.
Worship God if you want the best;
worship opens doors to all his goodness. Young lions on the prowl get hungry,
but God-seekers are full of God.
The Message
O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him.
O fear the Lord, you His saints [revere and worship Him]! For there is no want to those who truly revere and worship Him with godly fear.
 The young lions lack food and suffer hunger, but they who seek (inquire of and require) the Lord [by right of their need and on the authority of His Word], none of them shall lack any beneficial thing.
So that's that for this week.  I hope that this helps you in your plan.  Here's to a Healthy New Year for us all!

Serving Him and you,

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Verse to Chew On...for the New Year!

Each week I try to give us a little bite of Scripture...a little Taste so that we can See that the Lord is Good...a little something for us to Chew On ~mull over, memorize, apply~ to our day and week.

Today I'm going to give you a Verse to Chew On for this week that can be your theme verse for this New Year if you'd like!

As the end of one year and the beginning of another approaches I like to carve out some quiet time with the Lord and be deliberate about asking Him for a word for the New Year.

By word I mean literally 'a word' and also a bit of 'His Word' for me to hold on to.  This year I had two words (jackpot!) begin to roll over and over again in my heart...& then they seemed to pop up everywhere!  I heard them on the radio, saw them in magazines, and caught glimpses of them even in department stores.  My words for this year are Glory & Grace!  I am so excited about studying those out over the next twelve months...asking Jesus why He laid them on my heart...being surprised by new definitions and revelations of familiar parts of my vocabulary. 

You just might be thinking I'm on a bunny trail with my 'words'...I'm not.  Those two words are also in the slice of His Word that God served up for me for 2013...our Verse To Chew On...

"For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory.  No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly." Psalm 84:11 KJV
As you Chew on this Verse here are a few things to think on...little bits and pieces from my Study Bible Notes, Commentaries and Bible Dictionaries.
Sun = God gives the Light of life, He Enlightens us, Enlivens, Directs & Guides us.  He Warms us.
Shield = God is our Protector...providing Protection and Security.
Grace = God's Favor & Fruit in our lives, Kindness & Beauty, that which is Pleasant & Precious. It's the Goodwill of God towards us...and His Good Work in us.
Glory = Honor given to us by God as His Adopted Children and the Recipients of His is weighty (in a good sense...we don't want to loose this in the New Year) and His Splendor Revealed To us and Through us.
No Good Thing does He Withhold = this is a Comprehensive Promise of Infinite Wisdom.  God will withhold what He sees as not good for us but will grant the good in His perfect timing for those who prefer Him and His Worship to everything that the earth/world system can produce.
To Those Who Walk Uprightly = that is Those whose Faith is Genuine - living a Life that Aims at doing God's Will.  Living in His Light, the Faithful enjoy Good Things only to the degree in which they express the Life of the Upright.
So ask yourself the questions I'll be asking myself this week and through out the year...How does it make me feel to know the God who is all that a sun & shield represents?  How does it feel to be blessed by all that is His Grace & Glory?  What is my response to that?  A desire to walk ask Jesus to show me how to do empower me to walk more like Him in this New Year that He's blessed me with!
Please let me know here or on the Facebook link if this verse resonates with you...and if you got your own word(s) from HIM and/or a serving of His Word for 2013...I would love to hear what He's saying to you!
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve!

Here we are...the very last day of the year!

Some of us may be wondering how we got here so fast...

Others of us may be ready to start the count-down for the ball to drop for the New Year now!

For most of us this year is probably similar to every other...a Mixed Bag. *Good & Bad  *Gross & Beautiful  *Messy & Mundane  *Satisfactory & Stimulating.

Today TV shows will probably cover the 'Best of' and 'Worst of' this past year...Hair styles, clothing options, movies, music, etc.

Many of us will start today with this evening in mind...with thoughts of a party to prepare for or which pj's we will wear while eating pop-corn and watching a delayed Time's Square celebration ringing in 2013.

Before we get there though I thought it might be a good thing to have our own personal Year in Review reflection today...a look back through all of what 2012 dished up with a specific purpose in mind...Looking for Lord's Faithfulness!

In some circumstances God's Goodness my be blaringly obvious...with that display at the forefront of our thinking and praise for Him on the tip of our tongue.

Other circumstances may require us to get in touch with our inner Nancy Drew to sort through the Clues and dust for evidence of the Father's Fingerprints in our lives.

Whichever the case...and if you are like me...and this year like will have snapshots of both the obvious and the obscure as you reminisce over 2012 with the intent of acknowledging the Hand of your Creator.

Before we don our best for the evening festivities (jammies or party dud's) and get ready to ring 2013 in and say 'adios' to this year, won't you join me in taking a look at the 'Best of' what God has done in and through you during the Good & Bad, Gross & Beautiful, Messy & Mundane, Satisfactory & Stimulating?  Let's end this year by giving Him the praise that He's due for His Faithfulness, Provision, Peace, Love and Presence that has the nature of Who He is and His heart toward each of us...permeated this past year.

And if you want to give Him a 'shout out' for His Blessings please do so here or on the Face Book's always such a blessing to rejoice in what He has done in each other's lives as well.

Serving Him and you,

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gift or Resolution?

I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas! 

Gifts were given...Gifts were received...and by now, Gifts have been returned or exchanged if they didn't 'fit'.

Any of you have an awkward Gift situation?  Awkward Gift situations can include receiving that 'thing' that we have no idea what we are going to do with.  Or an awkward Gift situation may be shopping for the person who has everything or who you have no idea what to buy for.  It's awkward when someone Gift's you when you have no gift for them...has that ever happened to you?

Did you leave anyone off your Gift list this year?  Anyone...anyone?

Some of us do so - inadvertently...we aren't thoughtless people...or people with Scrooge-like tendencies...we just get busy and forget someone...or we just never saw that Gift coming and wish we would have had one to reciprocate with.

Unfortunately, we sometimes forget the most Important Person when it comes to our Christmas gift giving...the Person who should be at the top of the list...the Person this holiday is all about to begin with.

Did you give Jesus a gift this Christmas?  It is His birthday we are celebrating and most of us do a good job of acknowledging that even in the hustle and bustle of this commercialized holiday...but how many of us are actually purposeful in Giving HIM what He wants for Christmas?

Now if you didn't give Jesus anything for Christmas yet don't panic...contrary to popular belief which is supported by a few faulty Christmas Carols...the Magi or Wise Men didn't show up with Jesus' first Christmas Gifts until He was closer to two years old.

Right now, during the brief lull between Christmas and the celebration of the New Year, is a great time to ask Jesus what He would like from you for Christmas!  In my home we have done this for years.  We start talking about, and praying about, what Jesus might want from each one of us beginning the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Being deliberate in this really helps to focus our attention, throughout the season, on what is really important.

After each of us have heard from the Lord we record our gift on a slip of paper and place it in specially designated boxes under the tree. These are the first gifts we open on Christmas morning...sharing with the rest of the family what we 'got' Jesus for Christmas.

Now I know it's too late to do that this year...but again it's not too late to ask and give Jesus what He really wants this year.

The good news is that this can take the place of a New Year's Resolution as well!  Almost every year Jesus has asked those in my home for a long term taking better care of His temple (that would be my body), or praying for an unsaved friend, or being the one to make sure that a food donation is made to our church pantry each week for the needs of the community. 

I don't know about you but I'm not very good at keeping seems like my good intentions and determination of will tend to wane before the end of the month.  This Gift to Jesus approach is much more successful for me though.  Due in whole to the fact that I don't give my Gift to Him under my own power.  Gift giving to Jesus becomes a catalyst to a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him as I seek the power of His Spirit to carry it out.

So if you haven't taken the time to ask Him what He wants this year take the next couple of days to prayerfully do so.  The answer may come immediately...there might be something that He's been hinting at for a while now.  Or it may come more slowly and you might have to be deliberate in making time to sit quietly at His feet to listen.

This year it took a while for me to figure out what He wanted from fact it didn't all come together until Christmas Eve morning.  As I sat with Him I began to journal words and phrases that had been rolling around in my heart and mind over several I asked Him what all of this meant I saw a common thread...and realized just what He wanted.  I am excited to see what will come of this as He and I work together in the New Year to bring it to pass!

I hope you have fun asking Jesus for His wish list...and that you enjoy the process of giving Him that special Gift!  If you want share here in the Comments or on the Facebook link what your Gift to Jesus is this year.  I'll be sharing mine in this week's Verse to Chew On.

Serving Him and you,

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Verse to Chew On

Here's this week's little devotional.  The verse I felt the Lord leading me to pen on 3x5 cards for my girls this week fits perfectly with the season we are in so I thought I would share it here too.

It's like God's little gift to us this week...

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

And it's my prayer for each of us.  The Christmas Season is, in it's purest form, a time of hope and peace and joy...a time for us to focus on and connect with God in a profound and intimate way.

But it seems like there are 'forces' at work against the desire to celebrate and reflect on beauty of our Savior's birth.  Sometimes those 'forces' can be the glitz of the holiday season and trying to keep up with the buying, baking and busyness.  Sometimes the 'forces' are painful struggles we may be going financial or relational challenges.  Annoying problems like appliances on the fritz or cars that need work or finals that need to be studied for can sidetrack us from the Hope, Joy and Peace that believing in Jesus affords us.

For just a moment or two why don't we pour our self another cup of coffee or brew a pot of tea and Chew on this Verse.  While we quiet our physical self's let's make the effort to quiet our souls before the Lord as well.

First take a moment to identify any thing that may make you feel there something standing in your way of feeling the Joy of the Lord...are you void of Peace and experiencing anxiety about something?

Now that we have identified what may be standing in the way of us experiencing the Hope and Peace and Joy of this season let's focus on God!  This verse tells us that He is the God of Hope and that He can fill us with Joy and Peace.  The God of this universe, the Creator of all things seen and unseen is not limited by the circumstances of our life.  In the midst of the busyness or challenges or heartaches He can still fill us with His Hope and Joy and Peace by the power of His Holy Spirit.  The same Holy Spirit that came upon Mary making that Virgin Birth possible...the same Holy Spirit that later raised Jesus from the the same Holy Spirit who has the power to invade our souls, our circumstances with the Hope and Joy and Peace that Jesus came to bless us with.

Believing in the goodness of Jesus and the greatness of God gives me that abounding hope regardless or how things look or feel.  In choosing hope and joy and peace I am not ignoring the reality of the stuff of life that tries to creep just means that I am focusing my attention on the Lord instead...realizing that He is bigger than any distracting 'force' in my life...and that true hope and joy and peace is found in the Gift of Jesus and not in my circumstance and surroundings.

As we choose to believe in Him and to believe Him we can see His Joy and Hope and Peace fleshed out in us...and through us to others...that's my prayer for us this week!

Serving Him and you,

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ford Hall

This past Saturday I had the privilege of speaking to the Freshman Girls at Northwest Nazarene University!  It was so much fun to spend time with this great group!

The event was a breakfast hosted by the Resident Assistants (a group of sophomore girls, each in charge of a wing of freshman girls) under the direction of the Resident Director (the Head Honcho, over the RA's and responsible for the entire dorm of freshman girls).  These gals went all out with made to order chip-of-your-choice pancakes, bacon, mini quiches, muffins and such accompanied by an NNU original Peppermint Brick ~ a yummy rich frozen coffee drink invented by the Ford Hall RD Lindsay back when she was a student!

Here's Lindsay and I in the kitchen area...I admire and respect this lady so much!  She invests her life into these girls all while being a mom to her own adorable two kids...what a woman.  Sorry about the quality of these pictures.  My first born took them and they looked great until I tried to format them here...I am a bit technically challenged! :/
Here are the RA' firstborn is the second from the right in the back row.  Ford Hall is four stories tall...each level has two wings (north and south)...which gives us these eight great girls that give of their time to help the freshman adapt to life in the dorm.  Such a sweet bunch! Notice that most of them have their aprons on making this ApronGirl feel right at home! :)
Here's a little glimpse of some of the group.  As you can see most showed up in their jammies...too cute!  I spoke the Saturday after dead week and before finals so they needed to sleep in as late as possible that day. :) These girls were such a great audience...they laughed at all the right times, fully participated in my Q & A style of teaching and made me feel really welcomed and at you girls! :)
If you look behind me and out the windows you can sort of see that we had our first dusting of light snow the night before...we were up on the third floor so it's not the best view from this vantage'll just have to trust me that it made for a very pretty campus that morning.
Our topic that morning...Body Image.  I am no expert on that but I do know Someone Who we deferred to HIM realizing that in order to have a healthy Body Image we need to know our Creator intimately...basing our self image on the truth of who He's created each of us to be...not on the world's relative truth of beauty that changes faster than we can keep up with.

We spoke a little about Marilyn Monroe and Twiggy...two very differnt women...from different decades...with different body types...and yet they were 'it' for beauty in their time...relative truth at it's best.

We also spoke about Fergie...not the Black-Eye Pea's version...Fergie, short for Sarah Ferguson, who was married to Prince Charles' younger brother....a long time when I was about the age of these college girls. We talked about how this Commoner turned Princess lost it all, including her Prince, because she felt like she wasn't 'good enough'...believing the lies told to her and about sad.
And then we talked about how, if we have made Jesus the Lord of our life then we belong to KING of kings...which makes each of us a Princess.  It doesn't matter what other's say about doesn't matter if we fit today's standard of 'it' for beauty...we are deeply loved and valued by our Father...created by HIM on purpose for His purpose.  We are 'good enough' because He created us and redeemed us! By Him we are 'skilfully and carefully handcrafted'...not 'squeezed together' - right NNU girls!?! (wink-wink) {on a side note ~ spell check wants to change NNU girls to Nun girls...which just isn't right since I'm pretty sure none of you want to be a nun...not that there is anything wrong with that...just sayin' :)}.
I left these girls with a saying that I used to write on my girls lunch box napkins when they were little...
You are a Daughter of the KING, so walk like a Princess!
A reminder that they can walk in the confidence of knowing who they are in Christ Jesus...that's a powerful thing...not only enabling us to feel accepted but empowering us to be Kingdom representatives bringing the love of Jesus to our areas of influence!
Thanks NNU-Ford Hall ladies for letting  me share with you and blessing me.  Each and everyone of you are beautiful, inside and out, and deeply loved and valued!
Serving Him and you,