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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen of My Favorite Bible Characters (other than Jesus!)
It's been a while since I participated in the Thursday Thirteen on this blog, but I'm kind of short on time today, so I figured I'd share some of my favorite characters with you and why they are my favorites.
1. Jonathan - he was a friend to David in spite of the fact that David would take his throne.
2. David - he spared Saul's life though Saul had tried to kill him.
3. Ruth - she stayed with Naomi even though it meant leaving her people and her homeland behind
4. Joshua and Caleb - I know, this is technically two people, but I like them for the same reason. They believed that God would deliver the land into the hands of the Israelites despite the fact that the enemy was bigger than them. They didn't let the fear of the other spies change their opinion.
5. Solomon - he desired wisdom above any earthly posession.
6. Esther - she saved her people from the hands of an evil man who wanted to kill them
7. John the Baptist - he had a total respect for Christ. He felt unworthy to even unlatch his shoes.
8. Simeon - he trusted God and was able to live until he saw the promise of the Savior's birth fulfilled
9. Peter - he was used greatly of God in spite of mistakes he made
10. John the Apostle - he was called up to the third heaven and allowed to write the Revelation, how awesome would that be?
11. Mary (Lazarus' sister)- for reasons I've already spoke about this week (see Tuesday's post!)
12. The woman at the well - she was saved and immediately shared her faith with the whole city
13. Paul - he went from being one who killed Christians to one who died for Christ.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Don't Worry, He's Got It

Jeremiah 17:7-8:
7Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
8For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

I was reading these verses this morning, and I was really blessed. Especially by this line in verse 8, "and shall not see when the heat cometh." Think about that. I mean REALLY think about it.
It doesn't just say that the heat doesn't bother those who are grounded in the Lord. It says that we won't even see the heat. In other words, the problems of life won't ever seem like problems because we have our trust in the ONE who is bigger than all problems.
If we trust in Christ, the trials of this life don't weaken us. We keep on keeping on for Christ because we KNOW that He is in control. And because of our trust in Christ, we continue to bear fruit even in the hardest times. Others will want what we have because we have a God we CAN depend on no matter what.
So the question is, do you have that much trust in Him? Are you resting in the fact that He has everything under control?


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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Broken and Poured Out

John 12:1-8:
"1Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
2There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
3Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
4Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,
5Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
6This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
7Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.
8For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always."

This past Sunday I went down to Victory Baptist Church where my brother goes to college. Being that I'm single, I decided to go to the singles class. And I'm so glad that I did. No, not because I found a single Christian fella to marry me, because I heard one of THE BEST lessons I have ever heard.
You've probably already guessed from reading the above verses that it's about when Mary anointed Jesus. The actual lesson was called, "My Life Broken and Poured Out." It was the most anointed lesson. I mean honestly. I wish I had a recording of it so that you could have heard it because I'm sure I can't do the topic justice, but I'm going to try to share a little bit of the blessing I received here.
First he talked about how valuable Mary's gift was. Three hundred pence was probably close to a year's wage back then. A YEAR'S wage. So translated to today that could be like, $25,000 for some, $50,000 for others, up to the millions for a few very blessed. The question he asked us is, "How much is Jesus worth to YOU?" Kinda hit close to home for me. How willing am I to give my ALL to Christ, no questions asked? It's an easy thing to say you'll do, but how much do I give when it's actually required. I want to strive to put my all into every gift God given me.
Then he talked about the reason behind Mary's gift. Mary loved Jesus. Loved Him enough to pour out the ointment it had probably taken her years to save up and buy. The ointment that was probably to be used in her own burial one day. But why did Jesus mean so much to her. Well, if you look up in verse 1, you'll probably find a big part of the reason. Lazarus, WHO HAD BEEN DEAD sat at the table with them. Lazarus, her brother who Jesus had raised from the dead. I imagine that Mary probably thought about those four miserable days that Lazarus was in the tomb often. She was thankful for her brother. Thankful that he was now alive and sitting at the table with the ONE who had raised him from the dead. So Jesus meant a LOT to her because of all He had done for her.
He has done a lot for each of us as well. He gave each of us a way to life. Eternal life. A life free from the guilt of sin. A life where we will NEVER see death. So, when we think back to where Jesus has brought us from, it should break us and make us realize just how much He is worth.
Next he spoke about the rebuke of Mary's gift. Judas said that Mary's gift could have been used to give money to the poor. The thing is that each and every one of us are going to have someone question our intentions. They are going to mock our efforts. And some of them are going to try to act more holy than us when they are doing it. Sure, giving money to the poor is a good thing, but Judas was far from holy. It says right in verse 6 that he was a thief, which probably meant that he had taken money intended for the poor and put it in his own pocket.
The thing is that when Judas scoffed at Mary's gift, she DIDN'T SAY A WORD. Jesus answered for her. He said "Let her alone." Jesus knew the reasoning behind Mary's gift. He knew the heart behind Mary's gift. And He said that Mary's gift would be remembered EVERYWHERE the Gospel was preached.
Sounds like a pretty far-reaching gift doesn't it? Let me tell you just how far. (And this is my FAVORITE part!) It went ALL the way to the CROSS with Jesus. This ointment was meant to last weeks, possibly even months. So think about it, this was 6 days before Jesus went to the cross. Six days before He was beaten in Pilate's hall. Six days before the crown of thorns was placed upon His head. And everywhere He went, Mary's gift went with Him.
A breeze probably blew while the soldier wielding the cat of nine tails tore the flesh from Jesus' back. And the scent of the lily of the valley filled his nostrils. Then a breeze probably blew when Simon took the cross from Jesus, and he probably wondered, "What is that amazing smell?"
As those that mocked Him beat the crown of thorns into His head, a breeze probably blew, and Mary's gift was as potent as ever. As they drove the nails into His hands and feet, I'm sure a breeze blew and the soldier driving the nails probably had to stop and take in the scent.
Mary's gift was lasting and meaningful. It touched everyone that Jesus met that week of the passion. It went all the way to the cross. But think about it. Mary was the one who wept in the garden wondering where they had taken Jesus' body. Now, Jesus was talking to Mary, but she didn't recognize Him, then He said her name, and I almost wonder if the breeze blew, and she breathed in that beautiful scent that she had poured out on Jesus. And she just KNEW that He had risen again because her gift was everywhere He went.
Yes, Mary's gift was lasting, we still read about it today. The question is when you're gone from this world, will the gifts you gave in your life have a great affect on those left behind? I pray that my gift will be a gift that follows Jesus all the way to the cross and then proves He is risen again!
How about you?

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Sometimes God Just Does Little Things

I was sitting outside on Shalee's deck last week enjoying the BEAUTIFUL Kansas City weather. (Seriously, it was the MOST gorgeous day) Anyway, we were sitting there talking about different things, and Shalee asked me how things were going at my church. I told her great and that we had actually just had revival at our church the week before I went to Kansas City, and I totally remembered that I had forgotten to share a blessing with you guys.
What blessing you ask? Well, we were scheduled to go to Kansas City the same week as the revival at my church. It was upsetting when I realized it because I REALLY needed this revival. I needed to hear the messages to stir my faith. But I also have to pay my car payments, and rent, and power bill (well, you get the picture.) So anyway, I prayed about it and asked God to make it where we could change the week that we went to Kansas City.
The VERY next morning my boss came and told me that we would have to be moving our Kansas City trip up a week because of some issues that we had to take care of here in Greensboro. So I GOT TO GO to REVIVAL!
Now, God didn't have to do that, but He did. Sometimes He gives us those handfulls on purpose, just because He knows that we need them at certain times in our lives. And trust me, I needed that revival. My Christian caring needed a SERIOUS checkup.
So anyway, I'll be posting on my funny blog tomorrow about my visit with Shalee. I know, I know, I keep making promises. But I do have to work (for the above mentioned reasons!)
Tell me about some "just because" blessings God has given you lately!!

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Back To Reality

Okay guys, I'm back. This won't be a very long post because I have a HUGE (and yes I'm mean HUGE, baby!) list of e-mails that I need to get through by 12 today (so that I can go home and wash a HUGE pile of clothes!)
Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I'm back in the lovely eastern time zone, where 6:30 AM comes an hour earlier then it should, but that's okay! Maybe I should seriously consider Shalee's idea of moving to Kansas City. Not really though!
Anyway, I just wanted to thank all of you guys who prayed that I'd have a safe trip and all! I promise I'll share more later about my trip and meeting Shalee and all that! When I'm more coherent and not 232 work e-mails behind!

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Friday, March 09, 2007

For His Own Purposes

II Timothy 1:9:
"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,"

Have you ever thought about how totally awesome it is that a holy God chose to save us. I mean, we were just one of His many creations. And He could've created something else that would obey Him. But HE LOVED us. He didn't want to just let us go. So He sent His Son to die on the cross to save us from our sins.
But He didn't stop there. He has given each of us a calling. A holy calling to do His work in this world. He didn't just save us from death, He gave us a purpose. A reason to live.
May I ever live my life to fulfill His purpose in my life. After all, I wouldn't have true life if it weren't for Him!

I'm not sure if I'll be able to post much next week! I'll be in Kansas City to meet this lady ummm...I mean to work! Hopefully I'll get some blogging time in, but if not then I'll tell you all about my time in Kansas City when I return!!


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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Little Party Music

Well, no party is complete without music, so I figured my contribution to the Ultimate Blog Party would be a few suggestions of some great music you REALLY need to hear!

First of all I have to say that I got the newToby Mac CD last week. I say it's totally his best yet. I especially love the songs "Made to Love" which talks about the fact that we were made to love God, and to use our lives for Him, and the song "Lose My Soul" which talks about the fact that nothing in this world is worth more than our soul.

I also got a CD with music inspired by this movie (which I totally want to see!) And I have to say that I love the song "Amazing Grace" that Chris Tomlin sings on this CD. It's absolutely gorgeous!

I also got several Greater Vision CD's last weekend! They are always such a blessing! A group I would highly recommend. I especially love the songs "Faces" and "He's Still Waiting by the Well."

So you're probably thinking by now that my musical tastes are quite mixed up. I admit, I have an eclectic taste in music. I sing, and I love to hear how a new arrangement can make an old, well-known song completely new. I love to hear Biblical ideas set to music. That's just me!

So as you party around here, drop me a line about some of your favorite music, if I've never heard it, I'll check it out. I'd list all my favorites here, but it would take pages and pages!

Feel free to check out my archives and recent posts! You'll see a little bit of what God has taught me through my lifetime! And I hope you find a blessing in it!


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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Nothing is Impossible - Power in the Walk

From Shepherd's Staff to the Rod of God

Have you ever read that poem, "It Depends on Whose Hands It's In"? It's a pretty interesting little poem that talks about how small insignificant items can mean different things to different people. For instance, a basketball in my hands is worthless, but a basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth millions.
I was thinking about that poem last night when I was reading my Bible. I was reading the passage in Exodus 2:2-4 where God told Moses to throw down his shepherd's staff. When Moses threw the staff to the ground, it turned into a snake, and Moses ran in fear. But God told Moses to grab the snake by the tail, and when he did, the snake turned once again into a shepherd's staff.
Several things struck me in this passage. Number one, Moses was willing to listen to God. Otherwise, he would never have thrown down the staff to begin with, and he definitely wouldn't have grabbed the snake that he ran from by the tail.
Secondly, Moses was afraid when he saw the power of God revealed. He ran from the snake. Now, I totally would have done the same thing because snakes are not animals I like.
But the thing is that God hasn't given us the spirit of fear. He has given us the spirit of power. (II Timothy 1:7) His power. The power to overcome any fear that threatens to overtake us. Fear is a form of torment that Satan uses to keep us in bondage. (I John 4:18)
The question is, why do we allow that fear to overtake us when we HAVE ALREADY SEEN THE POWER OF GOD? I mean think about it. God merely told Moses to throw the staff to the ground, and the stick turned into a living, breathing, slivering serpent. I don't know about you, but I've never thrown a stick to the ground and seen it do that. No, God was showing His power to Moses, yet Moses was afraid.
And most of us are just like him. We have seen the power of God in our lives. He saved us didn't He? He's answered prayers in our lives, worked miracles that He alone could work, yet we cower in fear wondering what darts Satan will throw our way next.
We don't have to live that way. Every day ordinary things in our lives can be used to show God's power if only we will be willing to accept the fact that we need His power.(We'll talk a little more about that tomorrow)
Thinking back to the poem about whose hands it's in, I wonder how awesome each and everyone of our lives would be if we truly placed them in God's hands and without fear allowed Him to work His power through us?
I don't know about you, but that's something I'd like to find out!


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Monday, March 05, 2007

Sometimes Repitition ISN'T the Key

I spent the weekend at my sister's house helping her take care of my niece and nephew because her husband had to work all weekend. So my weekend was spent hearing about the Disney Channel, dancing, and Thomas the Tank Engine.
Especially that last one. My mom bought a new book for my nephew about Thomas the Tank Engine on Saturday, and both he and my niece were amazed with it, because it played a little song, and you were supposed to sing the words of the book along to the music. Of course I just read the words at first, but then I mistakenly decided to sing the Thomas the Tank Engine song.
Thus began a million singings of this ANNOYING I mean DELIGHTFUL little ditty. The problem is that last night when I was sitting in my own bedroom with my Karen Kingsbury book in hand, I was sitting there singing the Thomas the Tank Engine song to myself. In vain I tried to think of another song. No, there's no way I can forget the song now, and I'm sure at random times, it will just pop into my head when I least expect it. Let's just hope I don't unknowingly start singing it out loud at work!
We're all the same, we learn by repitition. I'm sure you've ended up with a crazy little tune in your head before. We do things over and over until we master them, then we add new steps to the things we already learned. The problem is that sometimes the things we learn aren't good things.
Now, we are all born with a sin nature, and no one has to teach us to lie or cheat or steal. That is in our fleshly nature. But practice of those sins can make us masters at doing wrong things.
And pretty soon we find ourselves in a position where we're thinking, "How did I get to this point?"
The awesome thing is that if we confess our sins to God, He will forgive us. (I John 1:9) But once we ask forgiveness, we should change our ways COMPLETELY. We shouldn't have to be taught the same lessons over and over. God wants us to take the lessons that we have learned and build upon them so that we grow more and more mature in Him.
He doesn't want us to be running around with junk in our heads. He wants us to focus on the things that are true, just, pure and lovely (Philippians 4:8). He wants us to focus on the things that will draw us closer to Him, not the things that will keep us far from Him.
So remember, sometimes repitition isn't the key. There are some lessons we don't need to repeat!

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Kansas City Here I Come...

Yep, you read that right. The week after next I will be travelling to the lovely Kansas City (well, I've heard it's lovely anyway, never actually been there myself!) Anyway, I'm pretty excited about it because we've been talking about it at my work for the past TWO YEARS. (Suffice it to say that no one makes many quick moves around here, but at least we're making sure all the pieces are together before we go.)
Now, my mom is not nearly as excited as I am about this because she totally hates planes. I mean HATES. She refuses to ever fly, and I'm pretty sure we'd have to knock her out like Mr. T if we were ever to try to get her on a flight. She claims the verse, "Lo, I am with you always as her own." Only she spells it "L-O-W". I should really talk to her about that adding a jot or a tittle (or a "W" in this case) to the Bible thing.
In all seriousness though, I think this is a place that God has brought me in my life. See, I've always wanted to travel. Always. And this year, I'll be spending much of my time travelling here, there, and everywhere for my job. First stop, Kansas City.
And you know what I think it is, God cares about the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4). He cares about the little quirks that make up a North Carolina girl named Heather Smith. He cares about my dreams and my wants. He is a PERSONAL God.
That isn't to say He gives me every little things I want, but He loves me enough to allow some of my dreams to come true as long as I'm in His will. And He loves my mom enough that I KNOW He'll give her peace when it's time for me to step onto a plane many times over the next several months.
What are some of the dreams of your heart that God has allowed to come true?