Friday, December 28, 2012

One word....

For the past few years, instead of making a New Year's Resolution, I have instead chosen a "word" to focus on for that year. Each year has been different and I can't really explain why the words were chosen except that they seemed to "fit". 

The first year, my word was "Hope", the next year it was "Anticipation", and last year...well last year I cheated a little and chose two words - "Incredible Mercy." Each year, these words have proven to exemplify what I was going through that year and truly be what my year was all about. (Hmmm, makes me want to go back and look at all the pictures from this year and remind myself of just how merciful God has been to me this past year...but that's a blog for another day.)

This year however, as Christmas drew closer, I realized I had nothing. Seriously nothing. I looked forward into 2013 and felt nothing at all. Usually I am so excited about the new year, but this one seemed just blank. So, I prayed. You know, you have to be careful when you pray...God has a tendency to answer! Within a couple of days, I had my word. "Move."

I wondered if that could seriously be my word for 2013. I mean, it doesn't sound very spiritual; but the more I mulled over it, the more certain I became that it was my word for the year. At first, I thought of all the ways I could live out this word. Getting up and turning off the tv definitely came to mind. Taking the time to exercise each day was another option worth considering...but I knew this word had to have a spiritual side that I wasn't quite getting.

I did a search and these are a few of the verses that came up associated with that one simple word - move.

Isaiah 43:18-19
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” 

I love this verse! It was one I worked on memorizing last year on New Year's Day! While it doesn't say the word "move", it's all about moving!

Check out this one from Philippians:
Philippians 3:12-14
Pressing Toward the Goal
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Finally, there's this one from Isaiah:
Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

While all these verses are about moving forward, there was more. There was the feeling that it is time to move spiritually. Like God is setting the stage and now is the time to move.

Two of the more interesting verses about moving that I found were from Exodus 14:15-16 and they follow one of the most well known verses about NOT moving! 

Exodus 14:13-16
Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.
14 God will fight the battle for you.
    And you? You keep your mouths shut!”

15-16 God said to Moses: “Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.

I have a feeling that this will be a year of amazing things in God. I'm not sure what it will far for me it looks like it will include a mission trip to Cambodia and Vietnam, perhaps a career change from classroom teacher to administration, and....and....and I have no idea what else! But I do know it will be an incredible adventure.

So...what will your "one word" for 2013 be? 
For help choosing your word, you can check out this site:

On a much lighter note, to begin my year on "the right foot" and move, I am trying a one hundred day challenge to exercise each day for the next 100 days. I'm posting a picture on facebook to keep me "moving" in the right direction.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Not enough at Christmas....

Want to know a secret? I have trouble with Christmas....

Don't get me wrong....I love Christmas, or at least I want to. I get excited around Thanksgiving to put up the tree, and I start humming along with Christmas carols on the radio WAY too early for those around me. I love what Christmas means, and I love so much about the day - but about two weeks before the big day, my mood takes a definite turn south and no amount of hot chocolate or feel-good movies seem to help...not even if the hot chocolate has marshmallows.

The other day was especially difficult. The "Christmas funk" hit earlier than normal and I just sat in my chair over my morning coffee and cried. Not soft tears either - big, fat, ugly red eyed tears....for no good reason. Then, I did the only thing I could do - I finished my coffee, wiped my face and got into the shower to get ready for work. No time for sorrow. There was much to be done. Besides, I had no reason to be sad. I reminded myself that I am truly blessed. (I will admit, this stern talking to did nothing to improve my mood, but it did get me to work on time.)

Then, the very next day, I happened to see a post from a friend on facebook talking about the sadness some people feel this time of year and I went out on a limb and admitted that for no good reason, I sometimes struggle with Christmas. (Who am I kidding - sometimes? It's become a yearly event!) Then someone commented and asked a simple question - "Why?" I surprised myself that I knew the answer and that it was as simple as the question. I struggle because at Christmas, more than any other time of the year, I realize just how much I fail and how woefully inadequate I am.

Now before you think, "Wow, Donna is really having herself a pity party!", hear me out. This is not some false humility or plea for affirmation. It is actually a very practical reality. I am not enough. None of us is, and at Christmas, God said "I know," and sent His Son to be more than enough for us.

This is a tough pill to swallow for someone who takes pride in doing things herself. I take personal responsibility to make sure the things around me run as smoothly as possible. I try so hard to make everybody "happy" - but sometimes I hit the wall and realize, I just am not enough. Not strong enough, rich enough, wise enough, patient enough....need I go on?

Now that I think about it, maybe the tears I shed over my coffee that morning were actually a gift. I have been given the gift of realizing I simply am not enough. At Christmas I feel this most keenly, and perhaps that is because it helps me come back to the place where I truly realize, I need a Savior.

Christmas might be the most wonderful time of year for you, or perhaps, like me, it is a time when you meet face to face your inadequacies. Maybe Christmas is filled with the perfect gifts and decorations and celebrations, or maybe despite your best efforts, it's filled with unmet expectations and broken dreams. If it seems to be more of the latter, I guess we can stop and give thanks. For when we are weakest, His strength shows forth most clearly. We are not God sent His Son.

Merry Christmas my friends. Merry Christmas.

Isaiah 9:6-7 (NKJV)
6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why a stable?

This is a repeat of a post from December 2008....but since it is one of my all-time favorite "Random thoughts", I'm sharing it again.

The following "random thought" actually came to me while teaching in Kid's Church one Sunday just before Christmas. I don't think I've ever heard this fact, I had never thought of it before the words began to come out of my mouth that Sunday morning.

It was a typical Children's Church service a week or two before Christmas. I had a wonderful group of kids, most of whom I had known since they were born. These children knew the Christmas story quite well, so making it real and new was quite a challenge. I had told the story and tried to paint a picture so that the children could experience the story anew. It was then that I asked the question - "Why was Jesus born in a stable?" 

Of course, the response was "Because there was no room in the inn." Then I asked a question even I hadn't considered before. "Why wasn't there room at the inn? Did God forget to make reservations?" Of course, we all laughed at such a ridiculous question. Obviously the birth of Jesus being in a stable was no accident....but why would God allow His Son to be born in a stable?

It's not like God didn't know when Jesus would be born. Yes, the city was crowded, but couldn't God have made room for this family in an inn somewhere? After all, He's God! He knew when the angel told Mary she'd have a son that they would be making this trip 9 months later! He could have made arrangements! I understand that there are many different views as to what this stable might have been, but it doesn't change the fact that a stable isn't a place for a baby to be born! That's where animals are born....animals like sheep. The kind of animal you'd use for a sacrifice. In fact, it has been asserted that it was specifically the place ewes were safely brought to give birth to the lambs. In this sheltered building/cave the priests would bring in the ewes which were about to lamb for protection.

You know, every time I think about that, it causes a lump to rise in my throat. Jesus, the King of Kings was born in a place where sacrifices are born. Wrapped in swaddling cloths, much like the lambs were to protect them from injury. 
He was born in Bethlehem, at the birthing place of the sacrificial lambs that were offered in the Temple in Jerusalem.
 Jesus - born as a sacrifice.

This Christmas, as you take time to read the original Christmas story, may your heart be filled with the knowledge of God's love for you. There is so much more to the "story" than we even know. Merry Christmas.

John 1:29 "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

For an interesting read, check out the article at the following link -  ( It has much more information on this topic than I knew when I wrote the blog!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Principals I have known...

I've been thinking about principals lately - probably because I'm currently working on a license in administration myself. At any rate, today's blog is about some of the principals I have known. 

Since I've been teaching, I've had the privilege to work under a number of principals, and I've learned a lot from each one.

My first principal was a lot like Andy Griffith...kind and gentle but with a firm handle on what was right. I don't think I ever saw him angry, but my own children remember having to go see him for something they had done wrong. They hated disappointing that man.

There was the principal who gave me my first chance in a public school classroom. Despite the fact I was from an alternate route program, she saw something in me and made me believe I was a good teacher.

From one principal, who stood all of 4'11" tall, I learned how to deal with parents and children alike. The students would hear her high heels clicking down the sidewalk and all sit up at attention. They truly loved and respected her. She had an ability to find the best in people that truly amazed me. Her wisdom was surpassed only by her smile. No matter what, she always seemed to be smiling.

Another principal sticks out in my mind because of the way she stuck her head in our rooms each morning just to say hello. We knew she was there....the kids knew she was there. Trust me, that makes a difference.

There was the principal that went out of her way to help our special education students, or the one who, despite our differences in teaching style, encouraged me to try crazy lesson plans that got the kids involved. 

There is the principal who seems tough, but it soon becomes evident that she has a heart of gold. Having had "imperfect" children herself, she shows compassion for parents and students alike. I really relate with her...(you know who you are, my friend.)

Then there is my current principal. I think what strikes me most about him is that he is willing to confront the tough issues...and the way he loves the kids.

All great principals...all with one common denominator. They freed me up to do my job because I knew they had my back. 

Knowing that someone has your back gives you confidence to do what you are called to do. I don't have to worry about the million and one little things that a principal takes care of like the building, the schedules, the cafeteria, the budget, or the kids that need "a bit more correction" than I can give. They take care of those things so that I can do what I do best - teach. 

Confidence that it's taken care of...doesn't that remind you of what it's like with God.

We often worry about how everything is going to come together when all we need is to do what God has called us to do. We need to relax and trust that He'll take care of all the details. He's got our back and that can give us confidence to do what we know we are to do. 

As long as I am doing what I have been called to do, I can move forward boldly with confidence because God has got my back. I don't have to worry whether the provision will be there for what He's called me to do - He'll take care of that. I don't have to worry about my safety - He'll take care of that. I don't even have to worry about my ability to carry out the plan - He'll take care of that. 

I'm not saying my principals are like God, but sometimes He allows us to see bits of His personality in those around us. I have been blessed with leaders who have shown me a little bit of God's personality. They have helped me simply be what I was called to be because they took care of the rest...and I always knew they had my back.

I belong to God...and He's got my back. If that doesn't give you confidence, I don't know what will. 

Lord, open our eyes and let us see.... 

2 Kings 6:15 - 17
Early in the morning a servant of the Holy Man got up and went out. Surprise! Horses and chariots surrounding the city! The young man exclaimed, “Oh, master! What shall we do?”
He said, “Don’t worry about it—there are more on our side than on their side.”
Then Elisha prayed, “O God, open his eyes and let him see.”
The eyes of the young man were opened and he saw. A wonder! The whole mountainside full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha!

This all reminded me of an old song by Keith Green. Follow the link to hear it: Keith Green - He'll take care of the rest....

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Not exactly what I was hoping for...

This Christmas season seems more hectic than most. I am currently up to my eyeballs in work and school, so I humbly share a repost from last year along with a prayer that all who read may be blessed. Thank you so much for means more to me than you could possibly know.
When I was little, I could hardly wait for that special item to come in the mail. Some of you may remember the excitement, the thrill, the perfect anticipation that came in something called the Sears Christmas Catalog. Oh, there may have been others, but none compared to Sears. 

I'd quickly flip past the dresses and underwear, past the shoes and appliances, straight to the toys...then I'd carefully get out my notebook and pencil and begin choosing my list to present to Santa. Did you know he used the Sears catalog? Oh, I'm sure he did because I remember listing each item, including the page number so that he would have no trouble knowing just which presents to place underneath my tree.

At our house, Santa came on Christmas Eve because our small little town in South Alabama was one of his first stops. We'd watch the Santa Radar out of Mobile and we KNEW when he was getting close. Sometimes we'd be at my father's gas station when Santa arrived - once we almost frightened him away and we had to rush back out of the house so he could finish putting our toys underneath that silver Christmas tree - you know, the one that rotated and had the different color light wheel that made it change colors.

As you can tell, Christmas was a big deal. I don't ever remember NOT getting just what I'd hoped for. Mama must have worked herself silly trying to locate the things on our list but somehow she always managed to find the most important things. I never quite managed to inherit that amazing talent from her...I wish I had. Somehow, the Christmases since then have fallen, well, a little flat.
Somehow, since I've grown up, I've never quite found what I hoped for underneath my tree. Oh, I've had some wonderful presents, but the peace...the joy...the wonder...they just seemed to have disappeared.

Today, I got to thinking about those shepherds - you know, the ones who were watching their flocks by night. I bet they were hoping for something. They may have been sitting around, talking about how difficult life could be. Maybe they were just talking about the weather and the price of wool. Maybe they were just so tired they just sat and watched. I wonder if inside they had that longing for more..more peace, joy, and wonder.

For years, they had probably heard the stories of the long awaited Messiah who would one day day. They'd heard those stories since they were boys...but that had been long ago. Still, they hoped that one day He'd come. Surely when He arrived, He'd be a conquering king and would finally free them from bondage. He'd probably be big and strong and very kingly indeed. I bet each of them KNEW how they thought the King would come. But they were caught by surprise.

Luke 2 - "Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 

15 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.” 

Not what they were expecting, I am sure....but they didn't let that stop them. They said, "Let's go!"

I want to be more like those shepherds. As Christmas approaches, each of us has in our mind's eye what it's supposed to look like. We have the "perfect Christmas" all mapped out, thanks to our Sear's catalog (do they even make those anymore?) and our internet searches, and our tv shows and movies that show us just how it's supposed to be done. But what if it's not what we were expecting? What if, instead of some shiny impressive King, it comes humbly in a cold manger filled with daily life mooing for attention? What if it's even something that at first makes us, as the King James version puts it,  "sore afraid?" (I've always wondered about that, by the way. How afraid must you be to be sore?) 

What if we discover like the Grinch, that Christmas "came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages boxes, or bags!

And he puzzled and puzzed, till his puzzler was sore." (There's that sore thing again!)"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more."

If Christmas isn't what I was expecting, will I still do as the shepherds (and even the Grinch) did and go rushing in to discover more? Will I stand there in wonder and be so afraid I am sore? Will I even notice if it doesn't come the way I'd hoped it would come or will I miss the wonder completely?

The ADVENTure continues...I have to wonder what all I will discover on this journey to Christmas, but I'm pretty sure of one won't be exactly what I was hoping for. Nope, it will be a whole lot more.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

You've got something on your face...

Yesterday as I was out running errands, I drove past a man and a woman getting out of their cars and walking toward each other. My first thought was, they must be mother and son - they have the same scowl etched on their faces.

That got me to thinking of how many people walk around with a permanent frown on their face without even realizing it. I'm sure they know how to smile, but their expression most often shows that frown. They've worn it so long it has become a part of who they are. 

When I was much younger, I was reading one of those teen magazines - probably Tiger Beat, and I read from one of my heart-throbs (pretty sure it was Donny Osmond or Davy Jones) that the one thing they looked for in a girl was that she had a smile on her face even when she wasn't thinking about it. I have to admit that made a HUGE impression on me. I know it did because I still remember it all these years later, and I sometimes check myself to see - am I smiling?

Now I have no ambition to be noticed by Donny or Davy anymore, but I do want my face to reflect the hope that is within me. When people look at me, even when I don't see them, do they see a slight smile on my face? Will it draw them to want to know why?

I know I don't smile ALL the time, because sometimes when I am working online and read something special, my son will ask, "What are you smiling for?" I may not walk around with a grin permanently on my face, but I want it to be so close to the surface that it takes only the slightest nudge to break it out. Besides, I know something. My emotions will often follow my will. I smile and the rest of me follows into a happier more joyful place. I frown and all of me will follow the slide into the doldrums just as fast.

This is a season that can make it easy to smile....or it can bring out the worst in us all. The decision maker is me. Will I notice all the small blessings around me and smile or will I focus on what I don't have and spread the discontent? I want to be an agent of joy. I want to give my smile away every day. In fact, the more I write about this the more I want to break into dance and joy...oh, maybe that is because of the song that is playing in the background as I type this. (Note to self - make sure I have LOTS of joyful music playing this holiday! It helps make it easier to smile! Thanks K-Love for having an all Christmas channel!

As you walk out your doors today, make sure you are dressed completely. You'll have on your shoes and your shirt and pants, and even a jacket if it's cold outside...but did you remember that you've got something on your face? Is it a smile, or at least the beginnings of one? No one has a better reason to wear one - we are loved by God, and that alone is reason enough to shine. 

Proverbs 15:13 MSG
A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.

Job 8:21

New International Version (NIV)
21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
    and your lips with shouts of joy.

Psalm 126:2

New International Version (NIV)
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”

Proverbs 17:22

The Message (MSG)
22 A cheerful disposition is good for your health;
    gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The New Year....

I know, it's a little early to start thinking about the new year...we haven't even had the turkey for Thanksgiving yet. Just hear me out. 

The past couple of days I've had something cluttering my mind. It is, in fact, clutter. That insidious disease of American prosperity that has crept into my life in the past 7 years. I know it has been 7 years because when Hurricane Katrina swept through our area, it effectively "de-cluttered" my home by almost destroying it. So the stuff that is now stuffing my closets has pretty much accumulated since that time. And we have a LOT of closets!

And now it's TIME for it to GO! 

The problem will be - how? How do you tackle a monster that is so overwhelming? I guess like you eat an elephant. One bite at a time.

I might have delusions of having a garage sale - my daughter loves having those, but honestly, I think that will mean just moving my clutter to another room till we can figure out how to have a garage sale and then spending an entire day of our lives to make only a few dollars. My junk isn't really worth that much. 

No, I think it's time to toss....let it go....move on. I saw someone up the street who has recently been putting some "good stuff" by the curb for whomever might want it. Don't worry - I remained strong and did NOT stop. This person has got the right idea. Just let it go!

Clutter has a way of taking over your life. You can't clean clutter. You can't enjoy clutter. You can't even really hide clutter...not for long, anyway. It has a way of creeping out of its hiding place at the worst times, falling on some unsuspecting victim who just happened to open the door. Obviously this goes for mental and emotional clutter as well, but that would be a post for another day.

I just want all this clutter GONE!

In the past, I've noticed that when I get this urge to "clear out" and get rid of the stuff that is crowding my life, it usually coincides with something going on in my life spiritually as well. I had a friend that used to joke with me after an exceptional worship experience that it was time to go home and do some cleaning! This time, it's not quite the same. This time seems like it's going to take a bit more determined effort on my part. It involves a decision - not a feeling.

Growth is like that. Sometimes it just happens, and sometimes you have to make a decision that it will happen...changing habits and life-style patterns. Realizing you have somehow gotten off course and you need to grab the wheel and turn the ship from its projected path to the right one...the one it should be on.

I'm really not sure what I'll find in the process. Perhaps I can post weekly what surprising things I have found. That could be very interesting in the laundry room...the deep abyss that I fell asleep thinking about last night. I do spend a LOT of time in there for it to be such an unpleasantly cluttered place. 

All I know is that this clutter is weighing me down and its time to lose it before it brings me to a grinding halt. I'd love to think that before we hit 2013 I could have it under control, but I'm not sure. It's a pretty big job. What I do know is this, it will never get done if I don't start.

For now, I'm promising myself 15 minutes a day to tackle the problem. (Some of you who are familiar with Flylady will recognize that number.) I'll try to keep you posted on my progress. Feel free to remind me of the goal. For me at least, it's time to lighten the load and move forward into the New Year and what God has planned for us.

Hebrews 12:1

So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up,

Romans 13:11-14
But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm a little short. (Revised)

Seems like I have spent my entire life being "a little short." Well, maybe not my entire life. 

When I was about 12 years old, a relative remarked that I was growing like a weed and it looked like I would take after my great uncle John. Uncle John was well over 6 feet tall. Evidently I hit my peak at 12 and never grew another inch. 

So here I am, at 5' 2"with eyes of blue, has anybody seen my gal? Ooops. Sorry for that unexpected song interlude.

At any rate, I have been short most of my life...and in more areas than just height. I can be short-tempered, have a short attention-span, short on time, and of course I ALWAYS seem to be short on money. Unfortunately for those who love me, the only thing I don't seem to be is short on words.

I don't really mind being short. It is a part of who God created me to be...but there are parts of my "short" life that are a problem. 

My short attention span. I start things and don't finish. I find I have a bit of trouble concentrating when I read. You get the picture.

My short-fuse...dynamite comes in small packages and can cause a lot of damage when used improperly. Still working on that.

My short-sightedness. I can tend to look at today and the chaos around me and lose sight of what is really family and what God has called me to do. I keep thinking I'll "get around to it" only to find once again I'm short on time.

I posted this earlier, but something just did not rest easy in me. I removed the post because I knew I was missing something...I just wasn't sure what. Then while getting ready for the day I was praying and asking God why did I lose my peace so quickly when it came to finances? That's when it hit me...what I am really short on is TRUST.

When I am short-tempered, I am not trusting God to take care of me and I am instead trying to look out for me. 

When I am short on patience,I am not trusting God to do what He said He will do and trusting in His timing.

When I am short on finances (and lose my peace) it's because I am not trusting Him to provide for our needs no matter what the check book says.

It all boils down to being short on trust...and so today my prayer is, Lord - help me to grow. The problem isn't that I am's that I've forgotten my need to grow.

Thank you God....You are NOT short! You are not short in providing for our needs....

Exodus 16:16-18

The Message (MSG)
15-16 So Moses told them, “It’s the bread God has given you to eat. And these are God’s instructions: ‘Gather enough for each person, about two quarts per person; gather enough for everyone in your tent.’”
17-18 The People of Israel went to work and started gathering, some more, some less, but when they measured out what they had gathered, those who gathered more had no extra and those who gathered less weren’t short—each person had gathered as much as was needed.

Your arm is not too short to save us...

Isaiah 59:1
Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.

And best of all, You are not short in Your love for us....

Psalms 136:1 (But check out the entire Psalm when you're not short on time...)
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

Be sure and check out the link below...God never falls short...His love never fails.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bruised from the fight...

Today as I woke up, my body ached. My neck is stiff and my core feels as if I have been in a fight. No, it's not the flu, although that is running rampant around here lately. I know why I am so sore today....yesterday I participated in a Krav Maga self-defense intro class, and today I am feeling it.

This is not the first time I've taken part in a Krav class - been doing this at least twice a year for about the last 5 years (I am evidently a perpetual beginner.) Today, however, I realized that my "pain" isn't from doing all the hits and kicks - the pain I feel today is a result of being the pad holder.

For those who have never taken a class like this, one part of the training involves holding the "tombstone" for your fellow Krav novice and allowing them to work on their moves. Yesterday I had a partner who was quite a bit taller than myself, which of course meant she outweighed me a bit as well. Let's just say, she had a pretty powerful punch. Since I had taken this class numerous times, I also could help her with a few tips every now and then....which meant her hits got harder and far more powerful! The results - today I feel like I have been hit by a pick up truck!

Of course, all this got me to thinking. Krav always does it seems.

Being ready for a fight has been on my mind a lot lately. Of course, I don't mean a fight with my fellow travelers here on earth...I mean that fight we have with our true enemy - the one who would destroy our souls if given half a chance. Like the Pevensie children in Narnia, it is time to prepare for battle. While Aslan will strike the deciding blow, we are all a part of the coming battle.

Back to the pad holding and Krav. I will admit that holding the pad is not one of my favorite parts of these classes. I love to hit, kick, and yes Sam (our instructor), I love to yell! Holding the pad, well - that's just a necessary part of the participation. But today, I'm realizing it is more than just helping someone else prepares me to take hits and keep standing.

We are foolish to think if we are in battle that we will come out unscathed. We will take some hits...and I am realizing that those hits will be hard - very hard! It's called a fight, not a tea party after all. A phrase came to mind yesterday during our training - "do not fear the pain." In a fight - there will be pain.

I sat down to write this blog thinking my "random thought" would be about holding the pad so that others could learn....sort of a discipleship sort of theme...but as I began typing this blog took a turn. As Christians, we often think we aren't supposed to feel pain, have difficulties, or even take hard hits. We think we are dressing for battle and will swing our sword and never really have to fight. There may be times when, like Elisha and his assistant we will find that God will send angels to fight the battle for us. At other times, we may find that the battle is more like what Nehemiah and his men fought - with a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other, and more often than not, we may find ourselves in an all out war - like David. 

Today I have a new appreciation for Sam and Dwayne and my new fighting partner, Beth. You are not only preparing me to fight - you are preparing me to take a hit and get back up. I'd hug you if I could raise my arms that high.

1 Timothy 6:12

New International Version (NIV)
12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nobody looks fine with a toilet in the background...

This blog might be seen as somewhat of a public service announcement to all women everywhere who feel the need to take a "cute" picture of themselves while in the bathroom. I'd like to think this message is limited to teenagers, but from some of the pictures I've seen posted, this message crosses multiple age boundaries...and it applies to men as well! People need to know, nobody looks "fine" when they have a toilet in the background.

I'd really love to write some deep insightful message to go along with this post, but it just sort of speaks for itself. I guess we all have some sort of "toilet" that we try to make sure no one sees, that part of us that just doesn't fit the picture of "fine" that we present to the world.

We all like to present a picture of ourselves to the world that looks pretty that does NOT include a toilet in the background. We pretend that we've got it all together, yet we have to realize that no matter how we pretend, that toilet is still there. It's normal. We're normal. No need to spend a lot of time focusing on that "toilet", analyzing it and telling others about it...just realize it is there.

Other people have toilets too. They probably don't need you to point them out - they already know about them. No need to think we are superior either. Remember we have our own "toilet" at home.

So there you have it. Nobody looks "fine" with a toilet in the background. Just thought I'd share.

Romans 12:3

Common English Bible (CEB)
Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead, be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Carry a Sword

The other day I sat down to do some serious channel hopping and came across a favorite movie, The Book of Eli. That movie is so thought provoking and I love finding it on regular tv (they clean up the language and I can focus more on the plot.) I'd use a picture from the movie, but I'm afraid it might infringe on some copyright law. Be sure, however, to read all the way to the bottom of this blog for some really cool quotes from the movie. 

Days after the movie was over, I was still thinking about what I had seen, and it hit me. Eli carried a sword. A sword....and a Bible.

In the movie, Eli traveled for 30 years carrying that Bible and a sword...heading he did not know where. And as he traveled, he read that Bible...committed it to memory...sharpened it as it were. I have to wonder if the reason it took so long was so that he could commit it all to memory and make it sharp.

Along with the Bible, Eli also carried a sword, and he knew how to use it when necessary. He never pulled it out unless he needed to protect himself or someone else. Then, whatever enemy that dared to try to stop him would be met with the sharp edge and let's just say they realized they were pretty much powerless against Eli as long as he carried that sword.
It seemed as if the enemy could not touch Eli. Some tried, but their threats and weapons could not touch him as long as he carried that Bible.

All this has been mulling around in my mind and today as I drove to work, it was on my mind once again. It is time to sharpen my sword. Of course I don't mean I plan to go to the nearest pawn shop and purchase some ancient ninja weapon. (I'd look silly dressed up like a ninja.) Still, everywhere I turn, I seem to see devotions that nudge me to get serious about reading the Bible and learning His word....committing it to memory....sharpening it and learning how to use it to protect....

I recently had a conversation with an old friend. We were talking about kids who sometimes make wrong choices and I asked - "Have you done battle for them?" 
"I pray for them," was the response.
"I didn't say pray - I asked do you do battle?" It was then that I felt that warrior spirit inside me start to rise up. So THAT'S what the sword is for!

We are in a battle - every mom, every dad, ever sister or brother or aunt or uncle, young and old, big and small. We battle not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities and spiritual wickedness in high places....this battle isn't with people. It's against the one who would destroy those people.

I don't know what mountain is standing before you...what battle you are facing. But you have a sword. The question is, will your sword be sharp when you need it? Will that warrior spirit rise up in you? Will you face the battle secure in the knowledge that you carry a sword?

Hebrews 4:12 -13 The Message (MSG)
12-13 God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.

Ephesians 6: 10 - 18 (Message)
10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Joshua 1:8 (Message)

1-9 After the death of Moses the servant of GodGod spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant:
“Moses my servant is dead. Get going. Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people. Cross to the country I’m giving to the People of Israel. I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon east to the Great River, the Euphrates River—all the Hittite country—and then west to the Great Sea. It’s all yours. All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”

Oh, one more thing. I really liked these quotes from the movie, so I decided to share them. We'll let them speak for themselves.

Eli: People had more than they needed. We had no idea what was precious and what wasn't. We threw away things people kill each other for now.

Eli: In all these years I've been carrying it and reading it every day, I got so caught up in keeping it safe that I forgot to live by what I learned from it.

Solara: Do you really read the same book everyday? 
Eli: Without fail. 

May we never forget what is truly precious...and may we remember to live by what we 
learn from God's Word.