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Friday, July 24, 2009

Be Careful What You Ask For

It dawned on me this morning that we better be careful what we pray for. Sometimes we think we are asking for good things, but we fail to realize what we have to go through to get those things. For example, I learned a long time ago not to pray for patience. Why? Because the Bible tells us that tribulation is what brings about patience. I don't want any more tribulation than what I already face in my Christian walk, therefore, I don't pray for patience.

There are other areas, however, that I've prayed about without even realizing what I'm asking for. I've asked the Lord to teach me to wait. Duh! That's the same thing as asking for patience! I've asked Him to help me to have a stronger faith. Do you have any idea how a strong faith is built? You got it. . .by trials and temptations. I've begged the Lord to make me like the Proverbs 31 woman. In answer to those prayers, I've gotten more work, but no strength or stamina with which to accomplish it. You see, I failed to realize that the Proverbs 31 woman didn't become Superwoman overnight. She accomplished the things she did because she had already learned the lessons that I'm still struggling with.

So, am I saying we shouldn't pray? Absolutely not. I'm simply saying that we should pay attention to what we're praying for. As I prayed this morning, Lord, please help me to have more faith, I heard His still small voice saying, Child, what do you think I've been doing for the past several months? Oops! Ive been continually praying a prayer that I thought God wasn't answering. Now I know that He has been answering. I just didn't like what He had to say. God DOES answer prayer, so be careful what you pray for. You may just get it and find out it's not quite what you expected.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Standing On the Promises

Here's a little tip for you. If you write a book entitled "The Deadly Darts of the Devil," be prepared to have all of those darts thrown at you repeatedly. Honestly, it seems like even since the Lord allowed me to write and publish that book, the devil has been on my back nonstop. Just in the past couple of weeks alone, I've faced every one of the darts that I wrote about. God is trying to do a work through me, and Satan is not happy about it.

Along the same lines, the lady who teaches the ladies' Sunday School class at church has been teaching a series about the fiery darts of the wicked. She, too, has been the victim of multiple attacks lately. In fact, as I listened to her lesson last Sunday, I was reminded of how much it reminded me of the book I had written. It was like we both got the same message from God, but we were simply sharing it in a different way. The main difference was that while my book talked mostly about identifying the darts of the devil, her lessons revolved around defending ourselves from them.

As she discussed the various pieces of the armor of God, I was reminded of a song that I haven't heard in years. The name of the song is "You Can't Stand on Promises If You Don't Know What They Are." Wow, isn't that good? The Word of God is our sword, but do we know how to use it?

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He was able to fight off the devil using Scripture. He could do that because He knew the verses. We won't always have a Bible at our fingertips when Satan attacks. For this reason, we need to memorize it. We need to hide God's Word in our hearts so that it will be available when the fiery darts start flying. While John 3:16 is an excellent verse, it won't always be enough to protect us. We need to know more. We need to study our weapon and learn how to use it so that we will be able to withstand the constant attacks of the devil.

When was the last time your memorized a verse? Last week? Last year? Last decade? As we age, it gets harder and harder to memorize Scripture, but I honestly believe the older we get, the more we're going to need it. Let's get better about learning our weapon. After all, the promises of God won't do us much good if we don't know them well enough to claim them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Having the Right Equipment

Last Friday, Jason and I decided to do a little hiking in Oconee County. We were heading to Yellow Branch Falls, but after missing our turn, we ended up at Isaqueena Falls. So, what did we do? We decided to see them both.

The trip out to the observation deck at Isaqueena Falls was really quite easy. However, if you wanted to actually go down to the falls, you had to descend a very steep, rocky trail. I'm talking about steep to the point of sitting on your backside and sliding at certain points. Being seasoned hikers, we were not turned off by this, and within a few minutes, we were standing at the base of the falls.

Not long after we reached the bottom, a family emerged from the trail. They were loud, to say the least. I smiled up at them, and the woman said, "Look, she wore hiking boots. Isn't she smart?" My first thought was, Duh, I'm hiking. What else would I wear? But, I was nice, and simply continued to smile at her. I kept my mouth shut as I glanced down at her footwear. Flip-flops!!!!! In fact, the whole family was wearing flip-flops. I couldn't believe it!

As we made our way up to Yellow Branch Falls, we came across a couple who were already standing at the base of the waterfall. Again, I smiled up at them, and the woman said, "You wore hiking boots. That was very smart. It's painful on my bare feet." My eyes dropped to her feet. Sure enough, she was barefoot. In her defence, she had worn tennis shoes on the trail and had only taken her shoes off so that they didn't get wet while she was around the falls. But still, what's the matter with these people?

This caused me to think about being equipped for the journey. When hiking, it is very important that you have the right gear. Water? Check. Hiking boots? Check. Insect repellant? Check. Snake anti-venom? (We still have to get that one.) First aid kit? Check. Flashlight? Check. Trail map? Check. Do we always need allthese things? No, but I'd much rather have them and not need them than to need them and not have them. A lot can happen during a hiking trip. One never knows what they may be in need of. For this reason, we never take off on a trip unless we're equipped for the journey.

Christians, are you equipped for your journey? Ephesians 6:13-17 says, Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

We are on a perilous journey, and we would be wise to make sure we are carrying all the right equipment. Flip-flops are not a good idea. Tennis shoes are fine, but hiking boots are better. God has given us a detailed description of what we need to have to be protected while on our journey. It is up to us to check each day to make sure we are prepared for the trip. Being caught without the right equipment could result in a lot more than just a few blisters. Are you wearing your armor?

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Cheerful Countenance

A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. - Proverbs 15:13

We are living in dark times. People are desperate, discouraged, and depressed. The economy is bad. Employment is nearly impossible to find. But, if we dwell on these things, we will soon discover that our spirit is broken. We need to focus on the good things. We need to smile. We need to laugh. We need to rejoice. I know it sounds difficult, but last night Jason and I found this Christian comedian, and we laughed like we haven't laughed in months. Tears were literally streaming down my face because I was laughing so hard. In fact, my jaws are still sore this morning. I know the clip is rather long, but trust me, it's worth every minute. After all, I'm sure we could all use a good laugh! I hope you enjoy Daren Streblow.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Light of the World

Yesterday, we spoke about being the salt of the earth. Today I'd like to explore our being the light of the world.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. - Matthew 5:14-16

In this passage, Jesus is telling the believers, "You are the light of the world." But how is that possible? In John 8:12, Jesus says that He is the light of the world. Is this a contradiction? Absolutely not, for there are no contradictions in the Bible. As believers, Christ lives in us; therefore, we have been made the light of the world because we each contain that light within us. It's a little confusing I know, but think about the light fixtures in your home. The fixtures themselves contain no light. It is the bulbs that contain the light. However, once we place the bulb inside the fixture, we refer to the entire thing as "the light." The same is true with us when Jesus came into our lives.

The admonition Jesus gives during this sermon on the mount is to make sure that our lights are shining brightly. After all, the purpose of a light is to illuminate or show the way. Have you ever had a flashlight with a weak bulb or battery? It wasn't worth much, was it? It didn't help you to see your way. Weak Christians are the same way. Our purpose in life is to point others to Jesus, but if our light is not shining brightly, others won't be able to see the way.

I am reminded of a story about a naval officer who worked his way up the ranks and was finally promoted to captain and given command of a battleship. While on maneuvers in the Atlantic, during an extremely dark and foggy night, the officer on deck strained his eyes, focusing into the distance to spot any oncoming threats. To his dread, he spotted a light ahead on a collision course. He quickly alerted the captain.

Seeing the threat, the captain gave the order to signal the oncoming ship to bear ten degrees starboard. To his dismay, the ship didn't move, but instead sent a signal for the battleship to bear ten degrees starboard. Needless to say, the captain was livid.

He quickly ordered his officer to signal the ship again. This time, he told him to tell the ship that the captain of the ship is ordering him to bear ten degrees starboard. To his utter frustration, again, the ship did not move. Instead, they received a reply that said, "With all due respect, Captain, I am a Seaman First Class, and I order you to immediately alter your course."

By this point the captain was embarrassed, insulted, and angry beyond belief. Once again, he ordered a signal to be sent. This signal contained the message, "You have one last chance. Bear ten degrees starboard. That is an order. I am a captain, and this is a battleship."

The reply came quickly. "Captain, I strongly advise you to alter your course. You may be a battleship, but I am a lighthouse." The battleship quickly changed its course.

As Christians, we should be like the lighthouse, unmoving and firm in our faith. Though the world may try to get us to alter our course, we must remain faithful, standing true and allowing our light to shine in order to lead others to safety.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Salt of the Earth

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. - Matthew 5:13

Jesus had a lot to say during His sermon on the mount. There were many important truths He was trying to get across. One of the things He was trying to stress was the impact that believers should have on the lives of others.

In verse 13, Jesus told the believers, Ye are the salt of the earth. Because Jesus knew how hard it was for the people to understand, He often gave earthly examples. He would relate things to terms that people were familiar with. We all know about salt, right? So, what things should believers have in common with salt?

1. Preservation - Salt is often used to preserve foods. Think about the world we live in and how bad things have become. Now, imagine how much worse the world would be if all the Christians were gone. One of our jobs, while here on earth, is to preserve.

2. Flavor - Food without salt is bland. As Christians, we ought to make this life more "flavorful." We ought to add some "spice" to it. It should be more enjoyable because of our lives and the testimonies we hold.

3. Healing - Ever rinsed with salt water when you had a sore throat? Sure, because salt has healing properties. As believers, we do not have the ability to heal broken hearts or bodies, but we can lead others to the One who can. We can help and encourage while telling about the Great Physician.

4. Production of Thirst - Doesn't salt make you thirsty? Christians ought to make the world thirsty for what we have -- a life in Christ. We should live our lives in such a way that the world will look at us and say, "Something's different about her. I want what she has."

So, you see, Jesus made a very strong analogy that day. Christians, just like salt, have many other uses, but these are just a few to get you thinking. Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth. The question is: Are we acting like it? Are we doing the things that salt is designed to do? Are we doing the things that WE are designed to do? After all, Jesus said that salt that's lost is savour is good for nothing. I don't want to be good for nothing. How about you? Just something to think about today.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Don't Be Hasty

The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want. - Proverbs 21:5

When I came across this verse yesterday, it kind of put me in my place. I don't have a lot of trouble with the first part, although there are days that I feel I get nothing done. The second part? Well, that's another story. I tend to have the attitude of "Lord, give me patience, and give it to me right now." I hate waiting for things.

As many of you know, Jason has been out of work for over six months. You talk about a waiting game! I know many other people who are in the exact same boat. So, what's the deal? What is God doing? Does He enjoy making us suffer?

No, and again I say, "NO!" God is not doing this to make us suffer. I don't know, nor can I understand, the mind of God, but I do know that He works with our best interest at heart. I know that He sees "the big picture" and therefore, knows what to give us and when to give it. Plus, it could be that God is trying to teach a little patience. After all, I haven't passed that test yet.

Feeling frustrated and weary today? Tired of waiting for your circumstances to change? Be diligent. Keep doing what you know God wants you to do, and things will work out. It may take some time, but He will meet your need in ways you could never imagine. Wait on Him. His timing is best!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Deadly Darts of the Devil

This is just a short post to let you know that my new book, The Deadly Darts of the Devil, will soon be available for purchase on For those of you who are anxious to get your hands on it, you can purchase it now (for the same price) by clicking HERE.

The Deadly Darts of the Devil is a devotional book that deals with ten of the fatal darts Satan uses day after day to hinder us in our Christian walk. Only by learning to recognize these weapons will we be able to defend ourselves against them. The book is full of Bible verses, as well as personal examples and applications to help lighten the mood while becoming more aware of some of the sneaky ways Satan fights against us. I pray it will be a blessing to all who read it!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fixing Our Mistakes

While visiting family in Delaware, I asked my aunt (a middle-school English teacher) if she would proof-read one of my books. I was so embarrassed when she gave it back to me. There were so many mistakes, and I had checked the book myself many times. The problem is, as many writers will tell you, that when proofing a work of my own, I see what I intended to write instead of what is really there. I had stupid mistakes like confusing "lay" and "lie." I know the difference. There were misspelled words and misplaced modifiers. Needless to say, it was a humbling experience, but a necessary one.

The Christian walk can be similar. As we go from day to day, we make mistakes. Some days we make more than others. The thing is that some mistakes we make without even realizing that we're doing them. We know it's wrong, but for some reason (maybe because it's become a habit) we do it unconsciously.

Now, some of you are probably thinking, What is she talking about? What sins do I commit without even realizing it? I'm glad you asked. How about speeding? We know it's wrong, but we often do it unconsciously or by justifying it because everyone else is speeding too. How about overeating or eating the wrong things? How about whining or complaining? How about the negative thoughts that run through our minds with the force of a freight train? These are mistakes that many of us make daily but that often go unnoticed.

So, if they're unnoticed, what's the problem? The problem is that if we don't get our sins settled, they start to build up, causing a rift between us and our Lord. Don't get me wrong. Our sins don't affect our salvation. If we're saved, our sins have already been paid for, and nothing can change that. However, our sin can affect our relationship to God. After all, it's hard to stay close to One who is so holy when we have so much un-confessed sin in our lives.

Just as I needed my aunt to point out the stupid mistakes in my book, so do we need the Lord to point out the stupid mistakes in our lives. Allow Him to "edit" your life today, and when He points out the problems, make an effort to get them right.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. - Psalm 139:23-24

Monday, July 13, 2009

Can the World See Jesus in You?

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13

What a high honor! At this point, Peter and John were living their lives in such a way that the world was able to see Jesus in them. There was no doubt. There was no dispute. It was obvious. Peter and John had been with Jesus.

Is it so obvious is our lives today? When the world looks at us, do they see Jesus? When they examine our lives, can they tell that we've spent time with the Master? Better yet, are we even spending time with Him?

In my mind, the highest honor is not to be rich or famous. The highest honor to me is for someone to say that they can tell I'm a Christian -- not simply by my words, but also by my actions and attitude. There's an old saying that goes something like this: "If you were charged with the crime of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" In other words, are we just saying that we're Christians, or are we living up to the name. It's something worth thinking about today. Can the world see Jesus in you? If not, why not?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

We Are Not Our Own

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? - I Corinthians 6:19

Has anyone else noticed the growing number of VERY overweight people? While in Delaware, my cousin invited Jason and me to go for a walk on the boardwalk. I don't mean to judge, but I saw people with enough meat on their bones to make up three or four people. I could tell by the way they walked that they were extremely uncomfortable. What has happened to our world? When did people stop caring about their bodies?

Do you realize that the very first sin in the Bible involved food? Do you also realize that in the wilderness the first thing Satan tempted Jesus with was food? Why? I think it's because it's a weak area for humans. We like to eat, and food is good. Boom! Bad combination!

Now, for those of you who think I'm just some skinny girl on a rampage, let me say that I have a problem with food as well. I may not always eat a lot of it, but I often find myself eating the wrong kinds of food. We live in a day of convenience. Fast food chains are on the rise. Foods are processed beyond belief. And unfortunately, some things taste better than ever. It's hard to choose an apple over a piece of chocolate cake, isn't it?

My point this morning is simply a reminder that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost. We should be taking care of them. These bodies do not belong to us, yet we're destroying them. I know it's hard to eat right, but that's really just the beginning of our problems. How about exercise? How about taking care of our bodies to the point where we won't need damaging prescription drugs? Taking care of our bodies is more than just eating the right things. It's about doing what we know is best for us. We know it's not good to lie around on the couch all day. We know it's not good to eat fast food four and five times a week. We know these things, but are we doing anything about it?

My challenge for all of us today is to start thinking of our bodies as God's temple and to take care of them accordingly. I know it won't be easy, but we can do all things through Christ. He will give us the strength!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Psalm 121

1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and
even for evermore.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Obedience Is the Key

John 9 tells the story of a man who was blind from birth. Jesus used the healing of this man to teach the disciples (and us) a great lesson. And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. (John 9:7)

II Kings 5 tells the story of Naaman, the leper, and his miraculous healing. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. . .Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. (I Kings 5: 10, 14)

Luke 17 tells the story of the ten lepers who asked Jesus for healing as He passed by their way. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. (Luke 17:14)

Do you see a trend (besides the obvious thread of healing) in these three passages? Please notice that in all three instances, the men were not healed until they obeyed the command of the Lord. What would have happened if these men had not followed God's instructions? I believe they wouldn't have been healed. Obedience is the key to great blessings.

If we are going to ask God for healing, we must be willing to follow any orders He gives us. Even if the command seems strange, we must be willing to obey. I just wanted to leave you with that quick thought today.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Getting Ready for the Trip

We're getting ready to take a trip to Delaware to see some of my family. We'll be leaving tomorrow, but already we've spent several days just preparing for this short trip. We've gotten some food and supplies. We've done laundry. We've gotten together our packing list so that we can pack today (and hopefully not forget anything.) We've made preparations for taking care of our dogs while we're gone. We're going to be exhausted before the trip even begins!

Aren't you glad our trip to Heaven won't be this way. When God decides it's time for us to go, we're out of here. No worries about what to pack and what to leave behind. No other plans to make. Boom! We'll just be gone. Now, to me, that's a great trip.

Please be in prayer for us as we travel over the next few days. Because of how busy and hectic that time will be, I probably won't be able to post anything in either of my blogs until we get back.