Monday, August 31, 2009


You know, some days I wake up & I just want to scream or give up bkz everything seems to be going nuts & nothing is going right . . . today was one of those days.

I was reading Psalm 119, such a great chapter of encouragement. It is all about the Word of God. It restores, it rejuvenates, it strengthens, it encourages . . . and on and on it goes. So I just want to leave you with one verse: 165 Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble.

The best way to know the Lord is to spend time in His Word . . . so let's love His word . . . that is where peace is.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Giver vs. the Gift

This morning I was feeling very frustrated that nothing seemed to be going right for me. I've been begging God for a few things in my life, and yet nothing seems to be coming to fruition. I was feeling hopeless & frustrated. I sat on the front porch to begin my quiet time, and there was a steady rain falling. I opened my Bible to Ps. 103 (can you tell I'm reading through the book?).

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle. (NASB)

"Yeah right God" was my first self-centered thought, but the Lord didn't give up on me. I kept reading, and I was reminded of what God does for me . . . all good things (James 1:17). And I was reminded that a few verses earlier in James 1:2, He encourages me to "consider it . . . all joy when you encounter various trials." I was also reminded that He takes care of all my needs, not just the physical ones. HE is all I need. He provides me with peace, love, mercy, forgiveness, etc.

I got to Ps. 104:27-29 They all wait for You to give them their food in due season. You give to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good. You hide Your face, they are dismayed; You take away their spirit, they expire and return to their dust. He gives us the things that I think I give to myself: my house, my job, my food, my breathe, my spirit, His face.

So I walked away realizing that I'm craving the gifts more than the Giver. Lord, help me to crave after Your face, not after what You will give to me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Seeking the Lord

Here is a quote from John Piper's article, What Does it Mean to Seek the Lord (

"Seeking involves calling and pleading. O Lord, open my eyes. O Lord, pull back the curtain of my own blindness. Lord, have mercy and reveal yourself. I long to see your face.
The great obstacle to seeking the Lord is pride. “In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him” (Psalm 10:4). Therefore, humility [emphasis mine] is essential to seeking the Lord.The great promise to those who seek the Lord is that he will be found. “If you seek him, he will be found by you” (1 Chronicles 28:9). And when he is found, there is great reward. “Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). God himself is our greatest reward."

Oh, how arrogant of me to think that if I do certain things that I will find the Lord. If I read enough Scripture, listen to enough sermons, go to church enough times, share the Gospel with enough people, pray long enough. Not that these things are bad, but if our motive is for "me to find God" it may not be effective. It is all about Him. He is the one who has to remove the blinders from our eyes, and if I'm being proud or depending on myself to find the Lord, I'm not going to find Him. So Lord, continue to teach me humility (preferably without humiliation!).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


God has been showing me how prideful I am over the last year or so. The antithesis of pride is humility, so I figure that the best way to fight pride is to learn to be humble. So I've been asking God to show me how to be humble without having to be humiliated. He has graciously obliged. It doesn't make the inner struggle any easier, but it certainly helps me save face (bkz my pride couldn't handle the humiliation!).

So I was confronted with a situation yesterday that was not correct in my opinion. I wanted so badly to correct it bkz I should have gotten more recognition out of it. To bring the mistake to someone's attention would have been feeding my pride, so I had to let it go. I could feel the intensity of the battle in my soul as I contemplated the sitaution. A couple of people even pointed out that it was wrong, I should have been treated differently. I wanted to scream, "Yes!!! Someone notices! How dare this mistake be made against me!! I should hunt down the person who made the error & rectify the situation." I'm still battling it to be honest. But lucky for me, God gave me some time to sit & ponder the situation. I begged the Lord to show me what perspective I should have. All I kept hearing was I Peter 5:5b-7 (ESV) Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." So how do I humble myself God? I'm trying!

And Philippians 2:1-11 came to mind: "So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

So as I pondered that Jesus didn't make sure that He was counted equal with God when He is God, but was only concerned about the glory of God the Father . . . I was strangely humbled.

God's Will for Your Life

I first want to apologize for being MIA for the last week. I missed doing these blogs. Writing these blogs have kept me focused on the Lord. It is so easy for me to forget what my quiet time was about if I don't process it by writing it out in this blog. Which leads me into focusing on the Lord each day and really thinking about what He is trying to teach us.

Yesterday was a bit of a yuck kind of day, and I realized that I got so caught up in the busyness, that I didn't allow the Word to penetrate my life. When I have to really process what the Lord is teaching me in my quiet time in order to write a blog about it, it really sticks with me much more during the day.

An important part of my quiet time is a time of expressing my greatfulness to God. It takes my sometimes negative attitude and focuses it on the positive. This morning I had to give a little devotional to all the new psychology majors, and I talked about being greatful to the Lord. We are always asking what is the Lord's will, and it is clearly spelled out in I Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shine Like Stars

As Charles Swindoll says in his little pamplet entitled, Attitude (loosely quoted), "Life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we respond to it." This is why siblings can live through the same events, and their lives can take very different turns. This is why someone can loose their job and be at peace, while someone else can loose their pen and be angry for a week! It is all about how you choose to respond to negative (or positive for that matter) circumstances.

I chose to be negative and have a bad attitude about an event that I had to go to. I whined to a few people, who mostly empathized with me and my bad attitude spread. The Lord convicted me, and I prayed for a good attitude. I knew a good attitude about this event wasn't coming of my own initiative. At the event, the Lord gave me grace, and I was able to be fairly positive. I was surprised at how many people had a bad attitude at the event. I had to fight to not just sink into complaining again. In fact, the Lord showed me just how ugly the complaining was to Him as I watched others complain, and as I fought against going down that road again. It was really refreshing to run into an occasional good attitude, adnd the Lord reminded me of His Word:

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing." Phil. 2:14-16 (NIV).

I've noticed that people stick out when they are really positive about something . . . they shine like stars. I want to shine like a star for the Lord, so I'll need to nip my complaining in the bud. It is a tough battle, but one that not only pleases the Lord, but gives you a better perspective in life.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lead Me to the Rock, where I'll Sit under the Shelter of His Wings

When it rains, it pours. I have a mug that says, "When you pray for rain, be prepared for the mud." I've been praying for God to teach me humility kindly, bkz being taught humility could be humiliating! :) I know that my pride is a big problem for me, and I want to learn to be humble.

Well this week is the busiest of the semester at work (as far as the number of things that need to get done & the number of workdays and nights that take place). Most of it isn't too stressful, it is just alot. I have some other things going on in my life that are in limbo, and this is the week that many of them will hopefully cease to be in limbo. I'm not sleeping very well, and I'm waking up with a list in my head. I'm trying to let God take it, but I'm apparently doing something wrong, bkz the more I try to let God take it, the more stressed I get. I guess I'm not doing a very good job of resting. So this may be how the Lord is teaching me to rest, as I came to work knowing I only have 3 hours this morning to get some work done before faculty workshop begins, and my computer is on the fritz. This blog will probably look weird just bkz it really isn't letting me format much.

So this morning, as I'm sitting on my porch swing begging for peace, the Lord reminds me of His care for me.
Psalm 61:1-4 Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!

So I'm climbing to the Rock to sit under His sheltering wings. The storm will be over soon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

It is All for His Glory

This entry may seem a bit scattered . . . but hang with me . . .

A friend of mine's 5 year old asked him, "If God wants everything to be for his glory, why isn't that selfish?" What a great question. It is amazing what children understand.

His response to her (though probably not word for word): 1. He has the right to receive glory from all that He has made because HE made it. 2. For God to really love us He must have us pursue that which will make us the most happiest. Himself. It is for our joy that we glorify God.3. Self-exaltation is a virtue for God. For all others it is evil. He is worthy of glory and we are not. (Stolen from Shannon Brown's facebook page . . . thanks Shannon!) :)

Last week, I was about to cross the Tennessee River on my way home from work when an unknown object crashed into my windshield. It left quite the crack, as well as sent my heart racing. I was a bit frustrated wondering what else could possibly happen this week as I called my husband. He is so good for me bkz he just said, "no problem . . . we'll get it taken care of. The Lord isn't surprised by it." My heartrate quickly slowed, as I realized he was right. As I'm driving home though, I'm wondering, "Why didn't He just stop it from happening?" But in all reality, I wouldn't have known to be thankful if it hadn't happened. He proceeded to give me a brand new windshield for $0. No deductible? Is that even possible in today's world? Who cares if it is possible in today's world! The Lord is an expert in the impossible.

Why did the item come crashing into my windshield? Hard to tell, but it looks like the Lord received glory from it. It seems selfish for Him to put us through the whole process just for Him to get the glory; I understand why my friend's 5 year old asked the question. But we are here for His glory, and I'm never happier than I watch the Lord work. He can do exceeding abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine . . . and it is all for His glory.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cease Striving

One of my favorite verses has always been "Be still and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10). I've read it in the NASB many times before, but for some reason the translation struck me today.

The last 2 weeks have been way too crazy. I'm absolutely exhausted from fighting the anxiety and stress. This morning when I came across Ps. 46:10 in the NASB, I read "Cease striving and know that I am God." I have been working so hard to make things work out like I want them to work out. Surely God needs my help, right? Wrong! So this morning as I sat on my porch swing and looked out at the foggy morning (which is how my brain felt as well), I surrendered it all to Him again. I have to do that daily or I'll just pick it all up again!

So stop striving . . . trust the Lord . . . He is God; we aren't!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Smile God Loves You

I really don't like the cliche bumper stickers: Trust God. Let go & let God. Jesus Loves You. Just have faith. They really tend to get on my nerves, not bkz they are false, but bkz they are cliche. People say them without really understanding the depth of what they are saying. So when I'm talking with someone (whether myself :) or someone else) and I say "You have to trust Him." I can feel the roll of the eyes if I can't see it. I can hear their thoughts, "Yes, yes . . . trust God. I know. I know. Such a church answer. Give me some real help." The reality is these things are true, and they are difficult to believe.

I didn't really begin to understand God's love for me until I met the man that I married. I always felt (I didn't say it was true, I said I felt) that love was based on what I did. I had to earn it. But God freely loves us (Romans 5:8). He loves us more than we could ever imagine. Miles just loved me as unconditionally as humanly possible, and that helped me begin to understand how much the Lord loves me . . . and you!

So now, I pay attention to the little ways as well as the big ways that God loves me. His ultimate act of love was sending His only Son to pay the price for my sin. He reminds me every day that He loves me with things like the fog rising among the mountains, the ocean, a fall day, the rain, the stars in a vast dark sky, the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, a field of sunflowers, etc. Two of my favorites are watching the full moon rise over the ocean or watching the sun rise over the Tennessee River on my way to work. God could have made the world boring, but He loves us.

On my way to work the other day, I saw another similar pet peeve of mine . . . cliches on a church marquee. It said, "Smile God Loves You", but this time I actually smiled . . . knowing the depth of that statement.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Hate Religion

Jesus spoke out often against religion. Religion is one of those things that Satan did. He took something true & twisted it. He capitalized on our pride, and we have religion. The Pharisees were the people that Jesus condemned the most, yet they were the most religious people of the day. I love this quote from Tim Keller.

“Religion is, ‘I obey, therefore I’m accepted’. The Gospel is, ‘I’m accepted through what Jesus Christ has done for me, therefore I obey’. Religion gives you control, that’s why its so popular…If I am saved by what I can do, then there’s a limit to what God can ask of me. I still have some control. But if I am saved by sheer grace, then there’s nothing He cannot ask of me”.

It is always about me. What can I do? How can God use me? What will people think of me if I don't ... (you fill in the blank: go to church, am around those people, etc.)? Jesus obviously didn't care what people thought. They thought He was a drunkard & a glutton bkz He was around sinners. We as Christians isolate ourselves from the lost afraid of being contaminated or something. But how are we to reach the lost if we aren't around them? Jesus came to seek and save the lost not the people who thought they were good enough or the people who didn't see their need for the Savior (Matt. 9:9-13). Do you see your need for the Savior or are you doing everything you can?

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Problem of Me

I've been learning over the last couple of years how incredibly self-centered I am, and how God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble (I Pt. 5:5). God is teaching me new & exciting ways that I can be prideful. It isn't being cocky like I thought. It is being focused on myself.

Since I'm a college counselor, all the students go home for the summer, and I have no one to counsel. So I'm blessed to have my summers off from work. I love the summer because we can all use the break. But I found that it wasn't all that exciting. I didn't have much to do. Each day consisted of, "What time shall I work out or go to the pool?" As nice as that sounds, I had no one to worry about but myself which creates a very self-centered mindset. My best days were days that I was doing something for someone else. I found that my mood was down many days, and I couldn't figure out why. Towards the end of the summer, and again this morning, the Lord reminded me that it isn't about me. It is about loving Him & loving others (Mk 12:28-34).

So this morning when I woke up feeling blah and unmotivated, I was again reminded that it is about Him not me. I've been trying to praise the Lord in many different ways this morning, and it began with Psalm 34. I won't write it all out here, but I encourage you to go read it.

I'll leave you with these verses: Ps. 34:1-5
I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; The humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces will never be ashamed.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Roller Coaster Ride

I must be under some serious attack because this week has been an emotional roller coaster. I fight hard to stay with truth against anxiety, then I'm hit with sadness, depression, happiness, or frustration. It is very tiring to stand firm in what is true especially when the ups and downs come rapidly. No, I'm not bipolar, I promise! It has just been an eventful week.

God ministered to me today in spite of the elephant sitting on my chest this morning. Psalm 19:7 (CEV) "The Law of the LORD is perfect; it gives us new life. His teachings last forever, and they give wisdom to ordinary people." The NASB says "it restores the soul." The NIV says "it revives the soul." And the ever entertaining MSG says "it pulls our lives together." This is what the Word of God does. Why aren't we all reading it like it is our lifeline? It is our lifeline to the Savior! I love the second half of the verse as well. Knowing Scripture makes simple, ordinary people wise . . . even people like me and you.

On my way to work I listened to Chris Tomlin's version of "It is Well with My Soul" the whole way, and the Lord again reminded me, that He is the reason that peace is within my grasp regardless of what is going on around me. Praise Him for what He has done!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Key to Close Relationships

Today I want to talk about one of the keys to staying close in relationships. Once you see that someone is worthy of trust, you choose to trust and love them. So whether this is a parent, spouse, friend, sibling, whoever . . . you need to choose to trust and love them.

Occasionally, I will say or do something to my husband or vice versa that comes across mean, unloving, or rude. We have learned to trust and love the person regardless, knowing that our intentions to the other person is never to hurt the other one. We always assume that we are loved by the other one because we chose to do that about 5 years ago. I know that Miles loves me, so if I interpret something that he does as hurtful to me, I have to reassure myself of truth: that he loves me. Love has a lot of great characteristics that are somedays very difficult to carry out. It isn't self-seeking or arrogant. It doesn't keep a record of wrongs (I Cor. 13). So I live in the truth that I know Miles loves me.

It is the same way with the Lord. If you have surrendered to his lordship in your life, He tells you that you are His child (Jn. 1:12). He tells you that you are complete in Him (Col.2:10). He tells you that He loves you (Rom. 8:35). He tells you that you are being perfected (Phil. 1:6). He tells you that you are His temple (I Cor. 3:16). He tells you that you can find grace & mercy in time of need (Heb.4:16). Those of you who know me well, know I could harp on this point for a long time, but I'll stop here. Some days it feels like He is out to get us, but love doesn't do that. Love has our best interest at heart. So live in the truth . . . you are loved.

And look . . . when you speak truth in your heart, you may abide with the Lord!

Psalm 15:1-2 O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart.

P.S. I know that alot of you have experienced alot of pain due to imperfect human beings trying to love in a self-seeking way. Remember that the Lord loves you perfectly, and only He can do that. So trust Him always.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Choosing to Believe Truth

In the book of Psalms, David is a great example of how to shift perspectives. He expresses his frustration, fear, anger, depression, etc to God, but then he shifts his perspective to the Lord. He reminds himself of what is true in spite of how he feels. I think this is one of the keys to shifting of perspective. We allow our feelings to determine how we are, when your feelings are only a reflection of how you believe. Sure, we all feel down or frustrated or angry or whatever, and we need to acknowledge that. But don't dwell there . . . remind yourself what is true. Here is one (there are many) of David's Psalms that exemplifies what I'm talking about . . .

How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my foes will rejoice when I fall. {Here is where the shift takes place from focusing on his circumstances to focusing on the truth} But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me. (Psalm 13, NIV)

David chose to believe that the Lord loves him, that he is saved by the Lord, & that the Lord has been good to him in spite of the fact that he felt like the Lord had forgotten him. Why? Probably some experience, probably some Scripture. So today . . . what is true? Shift your perspective there.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Shifting my Perspective

Life is a constant battle of shifting my perspective. Things happen everyday that can destroy me or make me stronger. If my perspective is on the Lord, it makes me stronger. If it is on me, I get depressed, or angry, or frustrated, or sad, or bitter, or whatever emotion is appropriate, you fill in the blank.

I noticed this morning as I was doing my quiet time on my porch enjoying the warmth of the early day, that I was feeling pretty good. I asked myself, "why am I feeling so good this morning?" The realization that I came to is that things are going pretty smoothly (or at least in my perspective). Things aren't always going smoothly. Do I still feel good when they aren't going so smoothly? My husband quoted the elusive "someone" yesterday when he was telling me that God is more interested in our character than our comfort. That rang in my head all day. It is why James says in chapter 1:2-4 . . . "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." (MSG)

So as I grow, I'm able to get to this point more quickly, but I'm far from perfect. I still don't jump for joy when the HVAC unit crashes in the middle of summer or my step-brother dies in a motorcycle accident leaving 3 kids under the age of 16 or once again there are a lot more bills than money to pay them . . . but I can start to see another perspective. What does God want to teach me . . . bkz I'll be stronger for it.