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Monday, July 31, 2006

Love, Love, Love, Love, Love

The tune to Steven Curtis Chapman's song "All About Love" are going through my head this morning. I haven't heard the song in a while, but I've heard about love all weekend. Not man's love. God's love.
God's love is an awesome thing. And just as the song says, it is all about love. We had Bible School Day on Saturday at our church. And I was one of the teachers that took the kids on a treasure hunt to find out what God's love is all about.
Here are the key points:

1. God's love is giving - He gave us His own Son
2. God's love is kind - Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead because He felt compassion for people
3. God's love is caring - Jesus went to the Samaritan woman despite the fact that she was a woman of a different race with a smutty reputation
4. God's love is forgiving - Jesus went to Zaccheus though he was a thief despised by all the people
5. God's love is forever - Though Jesus died on the cross, He rose again, and He will reign for all of eternity, and those of us who accept His gift of salvation will live forever

The kids really seemed to learn a lot. They were a great bunch to teach. I hated when the lessons were over. But the kids weren't the only ones being taught. I did a lot of self-examination.
We are to love as Christ loves us. I was convicted at the first lesson. I know I don't give as much of myself as I should. I selfishly hold things back. I don't fully show God's love to those around me.
Then you get to the part where love is kind. I don't know about you, but there have definitely been many times where I gave up opportunities to show kindness.
And, I haven't been as caring as I should be. I tend to lean towards the judgmental side at times. I'll think to myself, Well, that guy doesn't deserve God's love, he's a druggie. Or I think, That girl has slept with every man in the state of NC, she could never deserve salvation.
The thing is that those people do deserve salvation just as much as I do. Jesus loves all of us. He died on the cross for ALL sins. So I am no better than the hooker on the street corner. I really need to learn to care more for people's souls rather than judge people's outer appearances.
I also need to learn to be forgiving. Christ has forgiven me of all my sins. I'm definitely nowhere near as perfect as Christ, so what right do I have to hold sins over anyone's head? I have no right at all.
The last one is the hardest one I think. We are to have God's forever kind of love. Sure that's easy enough with our family and friends. But we are to love those people that intentionally hurt us. And we are to love them forever, no matter how many times they cause us pain. That's a tough thing to do, but it is what Christ commanded us to do.
After a weekend of learning about this, my daily verse today was John 15:12, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."
I think God's trying to tell me something. So I'm gonna share this challenge with you. Get out there and love, love, love, love, love. And when it seems too hard, love more and more!

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wednesday's Word

First off, congratulations to Teri, Aggiejenn, and kpjara for finding yesterday's trivia answer. The answer came from Genesis 45:22, "Genesis 45:22 To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment."

Yesterday's question referenced the story of Joseph. Joseph is probably one of the most forgiving people I've ever read about. In fact I talked about his story here. But I'm not going to talk about Joseph's story today. I'm going to talk about forgiveness. Today's word is "forgive."

Actual meaning: To excuse for a fault or an offense; pardon.

Meaning to me: Being willing to pardon the wrongs done to us by those around us due to Christ's love in our hearts

Forgiveness. It's so easy to say, but how many of us actually do it? Yes, I'm talking to myself here too. Think back to when you were a little kid. Some kid hit you upside the head with a snowball, and then later said he was sorry. You said, "It's fine." But the entire time you were plotting revenge. You were trying to think of the perfect way you could get that kid alone so that you could bombard him with 100 snowballs.
It's human nature. We want to get make others feel the pain they made us feel and more. We want them to know what it's like to feel humiliated. We want them to hurt. Sometimes we even want them to cry. I have a two siblings, believe me, I know all about seeking revenge!
But that isn't Christ's way. He wants us to grow up and live in His love. He wants us to forgive as He forgave. He died on a cross just to forgive our sins. Those are pretty big shoes to fill don't you think? I mean we should be willing to DIE to show our forgiving hearts to those around us.
Sometimes it isn't easy. I mean sure, it's easy to overlook a friend's faults. But what about that person who does things just to upset you? What about the person whose life goal is to bring you down? It's tougher to forgive them, but we are required to forgive them as well.
In Jesus' command to forgive in Matthew 18:22, he didn't say, just forgive the people you like. He said forgive and forgive and forgive, and well you get the picture.
Just as Joseph forgave his brothers who sold him into slavery, we must forgive those who hurt us as well. Just as Jesus forgave all of our sins, we must forgive those who sin against us.
Like I said, it isn't always easy. But the rewards are well worth it!

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tuesday Trivia

Okay everybody. I'm gonna stick with the trivia thing. You can e-mail me the answer to, and leave me a comment here letting me know that you sent an e-mail (please make your subject line on the e-mail your blogger name.) Please include the reference where you found the answer. Enjoy!

What did Joseph give to his brother Benjamin once he revealed his true identity to all of his brothers?

Now go search for the answer! And don't forget to tell me here that you sent an e-mail so I'll be looking for it!

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Monday, July 24, 2006

It's Hard to Turn It Over

I spent this past weekend at the beach. It was a lovely relaxing time, but I am FRIED. Though I was already tanned, too much time in the hot summer sun got the best of me, well, at least the best of my face.
I know what you're thinking. You think I should've used sunscreen, but I'm allergic to it, so I couldn't. But I should've known when enough was enough, but I was out on the beach enjoying myself, and I didn't cover my face when I needed to. So this morning I suffer the consequences.
This morning I read a verse that reminded me that God knows our human tendencies. He knows that many times we don't want to admit we need help. We don't want to stop what we are doing. And in those times we get hurt.
God knows that it takes humility to admit we need help. Check out these verses from I Peter 5:6-8, " 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"
God wants us to be humble. He wants us to rest in His mighty hands. He wants us to trust Him to care for all our problems. He wants us to cast our every care upon Him. Why? Because if we aren't humble, we will fall.
The devil wants us to fall. He watches our lives. He looks to see when we are trying to walk on our own rather than walk with God. And in times like that, he strikes.
God wants our best. Satan wants our worst. The only way to live God's way is to be humble. So trust me on this one, follow God's commands in humility. It's no fun being fried!!

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Friday, July 21, 2006

It's Your Choice

Have you ever wondered why God gave us free will? I mean, He could've put us in the garden, ordered us around like animals and had us worship Him, and we never would've known the difference, and we never would've fallen into sin.
But God gave us free will because He wanted us to serve Him out of love, not out of responsibility.He wanted us to love Him because of what He's done for us, not just because we had to.
So it's your choice today. Do you love Him? Do you want to walk in His truth. I've made my choice. I'm going to serve Him!
Joshua 24:15, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Psalm 119:30, "I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me."

I hope you choose Him too!

Speaking of choices, it's time to go over to the Blogs of Summer to make your nominations for your favorite blogs.
Just click here...

Celebrating the Best Blogs of Summer

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen Header Compliments of Goofy Girl

"Fear Not"

1. Genesis 15:1, "After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." We don't have to fear because God will protect us and bring us to our reward.

2. Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. " We don't have to fear because God will be with us wherever we go. He'll never turn away from us in hard times.

3. Joshua 10:25, "And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight." We don't have to fear our enemies because God will fight our battles for us.

4. I Kings 17:13, "And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son." We don't have to fear going without because God will provide our needs if we obey Him.

5. II Kings 6:16, "And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." We don't have to fear because our God is stronger than any other power.

6.I Chronicles 28:20, "And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD." We don't have to fear being forsaken. God will be with us and carry out His purposes through us.

7. Isaiah 35:4, "Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you." We don't have to fear because God will repay those who do us wrong.

8. Isaiah 41:13, "For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee." We don't have to fear because God is right there to hold our hand.

9.Lamentations 3:57, "Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not." We don't have to fear because He will be there when we call on Him.

10. Joel 2:21, " Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things. " We don't have to fear because our God is able to do great things to change our circumstances.

11. Luke 8:50, "But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole." We don't have to fear because the One that we believe in is able to heal us.

12. Acts 27:24, "Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee." We don't have to fear man because God is with us.

13. Revelation 1:17, "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:" We don't have to fear because the One we serve always has been and always will be.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Wednesday's Word

Well, first of all, congratulations are in order. Red on Head...On Fire for Jesus, Carol at She Lives, Aggiejenn from Reflecting Him and GiBee from Kisses of Sunshine all answered yesterday's trivia question correctly.
The answer came from Hosea 3:2, " 2 So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley:"
Hosea redeemed Gomer with silver and barley. And that leads me straight into this week's word.
Today's word is "redeem." Now I'm sure most of you have heard Hosea and Gomer's story. God told Hosea to marry a harlot. Hosea did. They had some children, and Gomer got to thinking that she wanted to return to harlotry. So she ran away.
Can you imagine the pain that Hosea must have felt. He truly loved this woman. He didn't care about her past. He didn't care that she was undeserving of his love. He just loved her.
So Hosea heard about some slaves that were being sold. He went down to the auction, and there stood Gomer. Her lifestyle had brought her to the lowest point. Hosea started to bid. He would've paid anything to buy Gomer back.
I'm sure that Gomer was a little afraid. After all, if Hosea bought her, he could do anything he wanted to her. He could even have her put to death.
But once every bid had been heard, and Hosea once again had his wife by his side, he told her that he'd come to take her home. He didn't scream at her for the pain she'd caused. He didn't sentence her to a life of being his slave. He restored her to her former position. He showed her true love. Redeeming love. A love that looked past her wrongs.
Now, I don't know about you, but there have been many times that I look at people like Gomer and think how can you do that? How can you keep running back to the slop you used to live in?
But when I really think about it, I'm exactly the same as them. No, I may not be a prostitute, but I'm no less of a sinner than the woman standing on the street corner. And I do things to fail God everyday. Things that I know cause Him pain. But no matter what, He takes me back. He wraps His arms around me and shows me love. He doesn't care where I've been!
Have you experienced that redeeming love? If not run to Him today. He doesn't care where you've been or what you've done. He will forgive everything you've ever done.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tuesday Trivia

Okay everybody. I'm gonna change things around a bit. Today I'm gonna give you a trivia question. You can e-mail me the answer to, and leave me a comment here letting me know that you sent an e-mail (please make your subject line on the e-mail your blogger name.) Please include the reference where you found the answer. Enjoy!

What did Hosea pay to buy Gomer back after she had run back to harlotry?

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Let Me Tell You About My New Home

As I said last week, my sister and her family are in the process of moving into a new house. A process filled with much stress and aggrivation (aka packing) but also much excitement. And none of them is more excited than my niece.
She's telling everybody about her new room and "her Tinkerbell." See, my sister let my niece pick out a border for her room, and she picked out a really cute Tinkerbell border. She's showing good taste early in life!
Her childish excitement made me think. See, all of us who are saved are preparing to go to a new home as well. A new home beyond compare.
See, our new home is built by Christ Himself. Don't believe me? Check out these verses from John 14: "2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. In Revelation John tells us a little about that place that Jesus is preparing. Check this out:
Revelation 21:16-23, "16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof."
Sounds awesome doesn't it? And did you catch the best part? We will live in the light of the glory of God and the light of the Lamb of God. We will live eternally in the light of Christ!
I don't know about you, but I'm ready to go to my new home! And I hope you will be going there with me!

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Friday, July 14, 2006

It's For The Good

Last night I stayed at my sister's house, and we had a bit of a scare. My niece somehow got my brother-in-law's poison ivy spray. Being the curious two year old she is, she sprayed it, unfortunately she sprayed it right into her eyes. I felt so sorry for her. She was screaming at the top of her lungs. I'm sure her poor little eyes burned something awful.
So my sister called the poison control center and asked what to do. They said she needed to wash out my niece's eyes for at least 10-15 minutes straight.
Now, I don't know if you've ever washed out a two year old's eyes, but let me tell you, it isn't easy to listen to or watch. I had to take my nephew and leave the room.
The thing is that my sister had to do that. She had to wash my niece's eyes out as much as it hurt her. Though my niece didn't understand, my sister was helping her, not hurting her.
I read a verse this morning that put me in mind to the same thing. The verse is Hebrews 12:11, "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
See, sometimes when we do things to hurt ourselves, God has to chasten us. He has to turn us back around to His ways. He has to clean the bad things from our lives. He has to wash that dirt out of our eyes.
Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes we don't understand. It's a painful thing to be chastened by God, but it is for our good. In the end, we have peace and are able to once again live in His righteousness.
I'm thankful I have a God who loves me enough to do what is good for me, rather than letting me go my own way and hurting myself far worse!

**Updated to add: my niece is fine now! Not half an hour later, she was jumping on my bed and laughing and declaring that she was taking over my bed. And she could see perfectly well, so don't worry!**

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Twisty Path

I'm not gonna do a Thursday Thirteen on this site today (but you can go to my other site if you really want to see a Thursday Thirteen list.)
I've been kind of slack this week. (I think my brain is still on vacation) So I want to share something today about what I learned this past weekend. I partially learned it at the concerts, partially on the Anaconda roller coaster.
What can you learn on a roller coaster? Yeah, I'm sure you're asking that. Well, here's what I learned.
See the Anaconda has a very steep hill at the beginning. At the top it looks like you're going off into nothing. You can't see the track in front of you because it takes a sudden twist off to the right. So for a second all you see is clear blue sky and you're thinking, "Oh my goodness."
Of course King's Dominion wouldn't be allowed to run a roller coaster that sent you sailing off into the wild blue yonder. They've tested and retested those tracks thousands of times. So by the time we got onto the ride, it was pretty much certain that we'd make it back to the station.
It made me think about my walk with God. See, sometimes I can't see where God is leading me. I don't always understand the path. Sometimes I get thrown into a corkscrew, and sometimes I feel like I'm just about to be thrown into the wild blue yonder.
But God has a certain path for me. Yes, it may be laden with corkscrews and hills and sudden drops, but God is with me. All I have to do is trust that He will never leave my side.
So that's why I want to be available for Him. That's why I want to trust His leading. See, if I chose to sit down and quit the path that He wants me to walk, I'd probably miss so many things.
Many of the artists this weekend reitereated this same truth. We are to be in an active relationship with Christ. We are to be working with Him, and we are to trust His guidance no matter what.
So I'm passing that message onto you. Remember the truths of Psalm 23 and remember that no matter where God leads you that He will never leave you!

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tuesday Toss Up

Today's toss-up is about something I heard a lot about over this past weekend (more on that later.) Now to the toss-up, let's see those comments, people.

"God doesn't look at our abilities. He looks at our availability."

What do you think of when you see this quote? Post your comments and let me know!

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Don't Take That Road

I'm not going to do Wednesday's Word today. I have a thought I want to share. Yesterday we had a big cookout for the 4th of July. This means of course that my dad had our 4-wheeler out (or as some of you more proper folk might say, our ATV!) Anyway, I haven't ridden in a good while, so I hopped on.
I wanted to go to our back field to see how our corn and everything has grown. Now, dad didn't forbid me, but he said, "The road looks pretty bad down there, the rain has washed it out a lot." In other words he was saying, "I don't think you should go."
And you know what, I didn't go. I just rode up at the top field. In that moment I realized that I've grown up a lot. In my teen years, that washed out road would've been my first objective.
Now, I may have been able to drive that road and not get hurt, but I trusted in the wisdom of my father who has a lot more experience on 4-wheelers.
God has a lot of warnings in His word for us. The book of Proverbs is full of warnings not to associate ourselves with the ungodly. See, there is a chance that we may not fall into their ways, but there is also a very big chance that we will fall into the same sins that they are known for. The more we mature, the more we realize that God's warnings are there for our own good. We learn that He loves us and has our very best in mind.
So, the next time you are faced with a decision to walk the line between good and evil, don't take that road.
By the way, I will be out of town the next few days, so I won't be posting! I pray that you all will have a blessed week, and I'll be visiting you again on Monday!

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Under God

On this Independence Day, I decided to share a song that I love by the Booth Brothers. I pray that each and everyone of you have a safe and happy 4th!

Here's the song:

Under God
written by Sue C. Smith and Phil Johnson

1. Half a century ago
Two simple words
Declared a truth that's planted in our hearts
And every time the flag is raised
We've been honored to repeat the phrase
So the world will know we are

Ch. Under God
America's been blessed
Under God
Brought through every trial and test
We are sheltered by the mercy he chose to give
In privelege and abundance this nation lives
Under God
Freedom has survived
Under God
We need to recognize
We're dependent on His goodness
Indebted to His care
Maybe more than any people anytime or anywhere
Still our only hope and prayer
Is Under God

2. When we pledge allegiance now
It's Under God
Those words have shaped the land that we hold dear
Some insist it's not allowed
To acknowledge that we need Him now
But to me it's never been so clear

Repeat ch.

Have a great holiday everybody!

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Live For Jesus, He Died For You

When I was in high school, one of my best friends would always put this little saying as a PS to her notes, "Live 4 Jesus, He died 4 You." It was just a gentle little reminder about who we were supposed to be following.
I've been out of high school for six years now, and I'll be in my friends wedding in just a few months. But though many things have changed, the truth of that saying never has. No matter how old we get or how much life changes, we should still live for Jesus because He died for us.
Check out these verses:
Hebrews 12:1-2, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
It says in these verses to lay aside the weights of sin that so easily beset us. How do we do that? By looking to Jesus. He's the entire reason that we have faith. He took the shame of the cross for us. We owe our obedience to Him!
So live for Jesus today! He died for you!