Saturday, November 29, 2008

Welcome to Then Sings My Soul Saturday! Amy, at Signs, Miracles and Wonders, is our hostess. Be sure to visit her and link up with your own video or browse around to see what she and others have posted. Also, she's having a giveaway!

Here's mine for the week. I love it. It's so upbeat and expresses my love for Christ. Enjoy!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Welcome to Friday Funnies, hosted by Kim at Homesteader's Heart. My funny for today is the button above to join in on the fun.
Ed's Missing!
Ed was in trouble! He forgot his wedding anniversary.
His wife was really angry. She told him "Tomorrow morning, I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in less than 6 seconds, "AND IT BETTER BE THERE!!"
The next morning Ed got up early and left for work. When his wife woke up she looked out the window and sure enough there was a box gift-wrapped in the middle of the driveway.
Confused, the wife put on her robe and ran out to the driveway, and brought the box back in the house.
She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale.
Ed has been missing since Friday. Please pray for him

Thursday, November 27, 2008

May God's blessings be with you this Thanksgiving. I am thankful for so much in my life that it would be impossible to list my blessings here! God has blessed me far more than I deserve, and I am humbled.

From salvation to freedom, family and friends, I praise God for each blessing He pours out on me. They rain down upon me and I pour them back out to God in praise.

Thank you for spurring me on, sharpening me like iron and blessing me with your love and friendship. I count you all sisters in Christ and my life is richer for having known you.

Be safe in your travels and enjoy the food, time spent gathering with family and friends, and counting the blessings that God has rained down on you this year.

Love in Christ,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Through the Valleys
The valleys of the shadow of death are deep and sunless places, according to the Amplified Bible. I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death more times than I care to remember. My shadows of death include three chronic illnesses, infertility, miscarriage, divorce, family strife, loss of family members and friends, health scares of my own and family members and friends, a grandmother with Alzheimer's, and more. So much more.

The shadow of death is referred to 18 times in the KJV of the Bible.
The Hebrew word for shadow of death is tsalmaveth, which means:

1) death-shadow, deep shadow, deep darkness, shadow of death
a) death-shadow
b) death-shadow, deep shadow, darkness
c) death-shadow (of distress, extreme danger) (fig)
d) death-shadow (of place of the dead) (fig)

Although the valley of the shadow of death is sometimes long and most often painful, we don't walk through it alone. God is there with His rod and His staff, walking along with us, or perhaps even carrying us.

The Hebrew word for rod is shebet, and means:

1) rod, staff, branch, offshoot, club, sceptre, tribe
a) rod, staff
b) shaft (of spear, dart)
c) club (of shepherd's implement)
d) truncheon, sceptre (mark of authority)
e) clan, tribe

This use of shebet refers to shepherds who are tending their flocks. The shepherds would use the shebet to fight off prey and to gently guide wandering sheep, not strike them for being out of line.

When we are going through the valley of the shadow of death, there certainly is no need to fear.
Our great Shepherd uses His rod as a protective mechanism for us. It's not used for discipline here, but for gentle guidance and leading.

God's staff, or mish`enah, in Hebrew, is defined as:

1) support (of every kind), staff

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." ~ Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
God comforts us each of us through each valley of the shadow of death we walk through, leading and supporting us as we go through these times. He is not only our great Shepherd, but also our Comforter.

The Hebrew word for comfort is nacham, which means:
1) to be sorry, console oneself, repent, regret, comfort, be comforted
a) (Niphal)
1) to be sorry, be moved to pity, have compassion
2) to be sorry, rue, suffer grief, repent
3) to comfort oneself, be comforted
4) to comfort oneself, ease oneself
b) (Piel) to comfort, console
c) (Pual) to be comforted, be consoled
d) (Hithpael)
1) to be sorry, have compassion
2) to rue, repent of
3) to comfort oneself, be comforted
4) to ease oneself

Knowing that God cares for me with the compassion and pity makes me want to praise Him. I rejoice that He not only is with me in the valley, comforting me with His rod and staff, but that He leads me through the valley. We are not intended to stay in the valley of the shadow of death forever!

"I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD." ~ Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)

Remember that as we walk through the valleys of the shadow of death, others are watching to see how we endure our trials. They are watching to see how we receive comfort and need to know that we are relying on our Great Shepherd, our Comforter, who is there with His rod and His staff, directing our every step.

Heartbeat: He has comforted us in the biggest way of all through His Son Jesus Christ!

Verse for Reflection: "From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another." ~ John 15:16 (NIV)

Heart to Heart: How has God comforted you through a valley of the shadow of death? Thank Him for His love and mercy in guiding you through the valleys.

To view all posts in this series, please visit the links below.

The purpose of WFW is to share the Word of God through photo's and a verse. Amydeanne, over at The 160 Acre Woods, is our hostess. Be sure to link up and share your own. This is a wonderful way to minister to others and to be ministered to by reading others posts. Please visit by clicking on the button below.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Welcome to In Other Words Tuesday. This week's hostess is Deborah from Chocolate and Coffee. The quote she picked is perfect for the upcoming holiday!

Living a life of thanks to God is a reciprocation of the life He has blessed us with. It shows Him how grateful we are to the grace, mercy and love He has extended to us in so many ways, particularly beginning with the death of His Son on the Cross and His resurrection on the third day.

Did you know that a form of the word thank is found the following number of times in each version of the Bible as listed below.

134 times in the KJV
144 times in the NIV
165 times in the NLT
162 times in the ESV
138 times in the NKJV
193 times in the AMP
139 times in the MSG

Obviously, being thankful is important stuff in the Word of God!

Did you know that Jesus actually expects us to be thankful? It's not just a bonus to Him if we happen to remember to praise and thank Him for the blessings He gives us or prayers that He answers. It's an expectation.
Let's read...

"Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well." ~ Luke 17:11-19 (NIV) (Emphasis, mine)

Christ had taken the time to heal all 10 of these lepers, yet only one returned to thank Him.

The word Greek word for thanked is eucharisteō, which means:

1) to be grateful, feel thankful
2) give thanks

Christ wanted thanks, not for Himself, but to give praise and glory to God. How sad it must have made Him that this opportunity of thanksgiving and glory to God had been passed up by 9 out of 10 men healed.

Leprosy was, according to, "2) a most offensive, annoying, dangerous, cutaneous disease, the virus of which generally pervades the whole body, common in Egypt and the East." The stigma of having this dreaded disease that resulted in scaly, rough skin, was awful. Lepers were social outcasts and considered very unclean.

Put yourself in this Samaritan leper's place for a moment. You're traveling from colony to colony, and you hear that Jesus is nearby. You stand, waiting for a glimpse of the One you've heard about all your life. You gather the others around you and say, "Perhaps if we can get His attention, He will have mercy on us. What do you think, friends? Is it worth a shot?" The others around you shoot you down and say, "No, don't bother." To rally the troops, you share with them the story about a woman in your village, the home that you lived in during a life-time ago when you enjoyed life pre-leprosy. You know the one. Remember when Christ had mercy on a sweet Samaritan woman at a well? You remember His gift of Living Water and know His power to heal if He so chooses. The men around you are encouraged and begin to cry out, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" Christ does choose to have pity on you and as you and the others travel, your skin begins to heal. The scales seem to fall off at once and you're so excited! Now, instead of going to find another leper colony to live in, you can go and show yourself to the priest, as Christ directed, and begin living life again. But wait. Part of that life is thanks living! You tell your friends, "Wait! Before we go to the priest, let's go thank Christ for this miraculous healing!" The nine others with you sneer and say they're wasting one precious moment going back. They're on their way to better lives and are moving forward without a backward glance. But you cannot. "Men! We have to go back and thank Him!" "You go back if you want," they say, "but we're heading on into town! Just wait till our families see us!" Breaking away from the group, you head back alone. You have a spring in your step, your skin is back to the olive complexion, clear and bright as it was years ago, but you have to go back and thank Him, the one who healed your body, and possibly your very soul...alone.


Now, what if you were any one of the other nine men who did not return to thank Christ for His healing?

That, my friend, is precisely how to *not* to live a life of Thanks Living.

Let's purpose to always to give thanks to God. In all circumstances, let's find something to thank Him and praise Him for. Admittedly, it's a little easier to thank God in good times than it is in the hard times, but we are commanded to thank Him. He expects it of us. He gave us grace and salvation, after all. Let's not let Him down! During the hardest of the hard times, I have been able to thank Him for being Lord of my life, for the salvation He has given, and that His will is done no matter what.

How can we live a life of thanks living to God, returning thanks in our everyday lives?

T - Tell God often how thankful we are for Him. "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." ~ Psalm 118:1 (NIV)

H - Happily offer our praises to God. "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." ~ Psalm 100:4 (NIV)

A - Acknowledge that all gifts come from Him. "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." ~ James 1:17 (NIV)

N - Never pass up an opportunity to thank God for loved ones in your life. "I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus." ~ 1 Corinthians 1:4 (NIV)

K - Know that God hears our thanks and praise. "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." Psalm 22:3 (KJV)

S - Seek to constantly praise God. "Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise." ~ James 5:13 (NIV)

L - Live a life of gratitude to Christ. "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." ~ Colossians 4:2 (NIV)

I - Invite others to join us in praise. "Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts." ~ Psalm 105:2 (NIV)

V - Visualize how pleased He is with our thanks. "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." ~ 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (NIV)

I - Intentionally thank God for others and pray for them to know the Savior you know. "I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better." ~ Ephesians 1:16-17 (NIV)

N - Never forget to praise Him in the storms of life. "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." ~ Psalm 42:11 (NIV)

G - Give thanks to God by guarding our words and motives in acts of service. "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." ~ 1 Peter 4:11 (NIV)

For more IOW Tuesdays, please click on the button below.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Awards Day

My friend, Kim, from Homesteaders Heart, has passed along the Bookworm Award to me. How sweet! I am a total bookworm! Thanks, Kim! Ya'll have got to head to her site to see what she was reading. It was so funny.


The rules of this award are simple.

This award has a fun twist ... find the book closest to you, turn to page 56, and type in the fifth sentence plus a couple more after that.

"Ephraem's fascinating teaching on the Rapture was never published before in English until I quoted it in my book Final Warning. This important manuscript reveals that he taught a literal principle of biblical interpretation and he believed in the Pre-Millennial return of Christ. However, Ephraem's most important statement clearly describes the Pre-Tribulation return of Christ to take His Elect saints to Heaven to escape the coming tribulation. In addition, Ephraem describes a Jewish Antichrist who will rule a revived Roman Empire and a literal great tribulation of 1,260 days with a rebuilt Temple and the Two Witnesses. Ephraem's text was called on the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World." ~ (from Grant R. Jeffrey - Heaven)
This is an awesome read, I might add!
Now...passing on the award. I'm passing it on to people who I know love to read...
If you're a bookworm and I didn't put your name on the list, consider yourself a recipient of this award as well. Just leave me a comment so I can read what you're reading!

Scroll down for my At the Well post.

Linda, from 2nd Cup of Coffee, found this fun little quiz. Today I'm 'splaining my name, too. I love those fun quizzes. (My notes are in green.)

What Laurie Means

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow. (I am not spontaneous, but I am relaxed. I pretty much go with the flow unless the flow is WRONG. Then I take my stand!)

You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily. (This is all true for me. I am accepting to a degree. Again, if it's wrong, I'll call it wrong and we'll iron out our differences. You'll see it my way and we'll go with the flow together!)

Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is. (This is true! People always ask me how I can be so content and thankful. Then I get to tell them about this Man I know...)

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection. (If I was the horoscopy type, I'd say it was the virgo in me. I'm not, so it's not, but I do strive for perfection. I'm not the best at everything, though I do have amazing beginner's luck!)

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive. (Puh-huh!)

You have the classic “Type A” personality. (Naw - I'm much more laid back than a Type A.)

You are a very lucky person. Things just always seem to go your way. (I am blessed, and God always directs my paths.)

And because you're so lucky, you don't really have a lot of worries. You just hope for the best in life. (Because I trust in God, I don't have a lot of worries - and I do hope for the best in life!)

You're sometimes a little guilty of being greedy. Spread your luck around a little to people who need it. (And share the M&M's? No way! Um, seriously, I try not to be greedy. What would I be greedy over?)

You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something. (My secret is out! Not!! This is *so* not me, although I do have a fun mischevious streak in me that loves to play practical jokes via email.)

You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense. (Not true at all. I have about as much energy as the rest of us who endure fibromyalgia and IBS.)

You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun. (No. I'm not a troublemaker! Well, I did completely cover a co-worker's office with post-it's one time. Hee hee!)

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing. This conflicts with statements above. What's up with that?)

You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long. (Yes, I do. I love to read, hey, hang on while I stop blogging and go take a break. Okay - I'm back. Now, M&M's. Like 'em or not?)

You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start. (Yup. Sometimes I am like a dog with a bone. I just can't stop. Then there are the times when I stop and can't get started again.)

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone. (This is true.)

You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together. (That's me! I think it's called Approval Addiction, hah hah!)

At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together. (Flaky? No. Irresponsible? No. This is not me!)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Having a Thankful Heart
Laurie, at Women Taking a Stand, is hosting this week's At the Well.
The topic is Having a Thankful Heart.

#1- How do you give thanks during difficult times?

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name." ~ Hebrews 13:15 (NIV, Emphasis, mine)

The word for confess here is homologeō, which is actually a compound of the Greek words homou, and logos. Homologeō means:

1) to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent
2) to concede
a) not to refuse, to promise
b) not to deny
1) to confess
2) declare
3) to confess, i.e. to admit or declare one's self guilty of what one is accused of
3) to profess
a) to declare openly, speak out freely
b) to profess one's self the worshipper of one
4) to praise, celebrate

By giving thanks in this way, I have learned that it's as easy to praise God during the hard times as well as the easy times.
Does this mean I am happy about the crisis I am going through? No, but it helps me realize that I can choose to honor God with praise regardless of the circumstance. In doing so, I have so much more peace during a crisis than I would without praising and thanking Him for being my God.
#2 - Share with your readers a testimony of how God brought you thru a difficult time.
God has brought me through many trials and sufferings in 38 years of living. Each one has been a growing experience for me, and each has brought me one step closer to Him. In March of 2004, after a year of undiagnosed blood in his urine, I convinced my father to go to the hospital one night when he had passed a lot of blood and was in pain. I told him that we would not leave the hospital until we had a diagnosis and they helped him. Daddy conceded. Mother went with us. Although they are divorced, they are still friends and share a 35 year history of love and family. My sister was in the mountains at the time, where she had gone to be a bridesmaid for her best friend at her wedding.
Daddy underwent a test where the diagnosis came back worse than something I could have ever imagined. The diagnosis was kidney cancer. It was contained in his eureter; however, it was so close to his kidney and bladder that in order to be sure they removed all the cancer, they removed one kidney, 1/3 - 1/4 of his bladder, and all the trappings on that side.
I prayed throughout the surgery, thanking God that I had fulfilled my promise to Daddy, that Momma was there, and praising God for Jennifer, the baby of the family, not being there at the time, although I did pray she would return home soon. We let her know he made it through the surgery and she planned to return the next day.
The surgeon came out and said the surgery was a complete success. Daddy would not have to go through chemotherapy or radiation, and it was contained, so he should go on to live a healthy life.
What the doctor did not know was that Daddy would have some kind of freaky reaction to the anesthesia. My father became a madman that I did not know. He bucked and moved around on that bed very unlike a man who had just underwent a major operation. We got a sitter to stay with him so we could go home and rest. We had been at the hospital for three days. They sedated him and, at my request, put him in soft restraints so he would stop yanking out tubes that he needed.
Throughout the evening and night it got worse. The sitter apparently either left or just zoned out. He got out of the restraints and was naked the next morning. I refused to leave him and was literally worn out that afternoon from praying, crying and trying to contain Daddy to his bed. The doctor on call just stared at him for a while, trying to figure out what in the world the problem was. I continued to pray that God would allow him to recover and that they would figure out what was wrong. And I changed my prayer. I did not want Jennifer to see him like this, so I prayed she would be delayed. She was! Her then fiance (now husband) missed an exit and they were postponed by 2 hours in arriving. Only God! By then the doctor diagnosed him with double pneumonia and put him in CCU, where he could be given one-on-one attention and we could get some rest in the waiting room.
I prayed some more, and soon Jennifer arrived. Mother and I talked with her and she stayed with me that night in the CCU, along with our oldest sister. My oldest sister, for whatever reason, chose to stay apart from me the whole time, and I had no one to rely on but God and my Momma. And Steve, of course. But Steve didn't know what to do but hold me while I cried. I sent Steve, who was sick, home. After Mother left, if it hadn't been for Jenn, I would have been alone. I praise God that He let Jenn arrive at just the right time.
After only spending one night and one day in CCU, Daddy made a complete turnaround. He was alert the next morning and improved dramatically enough to go back to a room late that afternoon. He has since recovered and retired from work, mainly, I think, because he could no longer carry a gun on the hip he was so used to carrying it.
By prayer and family togetherness, God brought me through that time. My father remembers nothing of his Wildman Stunt, as we fondly refer to it now, and God protected Jennifer from seeing him that way. Through all his moving around, he apparently worked out any soreness he would have had, and was up and walking the next day.
I remain thankful to this day. Daddy is semi-retired, working two days a week, no longer carrying a gun, but his trusty walkie-talkie. The cancer has not returned, praise God!
#3 - What is the most memorable Thanksgiving you have experienced?
Admittedly, all my Thanksgiving's are special. I treasure the time with family.
Last year's, hands down, was the most memorable, though. I learned to submit to my husband last year. I deferred to his decision to spend the day at his parents house and it went like I thought it would.
At 4:15 p.m. Steve decided it was time to go, that we were heading to my grandmother's. It was WONDERFUL! Everyone was there. My uncle's boys turned 7 that day and skated around on wheelies or heelies or whatever those shoes with skates are called. Momma and Jennifer and Nathan were there. Kristyn and Corey had come with us, along with our grandson Nolan, who was all smiles for his first Thanksgiving. My aunt and her fiancee' were there. Her oldest, Lee, was there with his wife Paige, their daughter Gracie, and their newborn son Jackson. My other cousin, Lee's sister Brooke was there. My grandmother was there in body but not much mind. She thought it was Christmas. She has Alzheimer's, but that's okay, we knew for her what day it was. We made our Christmas Lists and acted like we were all greedy, wishing for gifts like World Peace, a million dollars, and then got real and put things like books, blankets, iPods, chocolate, movies, etc., on our lists, hah hah, and drew names for Christmas for the first time, taking a huge financial burden off everyone. It was just awesome!
This year we are going there for the whole day. Although Kristyn and Corey will be spending time at his Mom's, and not as many of my family will be there, we are looking forward to spending the day with Momma, my grandmother, my aunt, probably one of my little cousins, and my aunt, uncle and their twins, and whoever else drops by. Steve is excited because he can take his targets and do some target shooting toward the woods since my grandmother's house is in the country. I'm excited because God has given us another Thanksgiving with my grandmother. I treasure these times because I know the day will come when she will no longer be with us. Mentally, Alzheimer's has pretty much already taken her. She thinks we are friends and asks us over and over and over who we are, but that's okay. We know who she is, and we know the love that lives there in her house. (She actually lives in an assisted living facility in a nearby city, but my uncle has kept her house and we get together there for holidays and other family gatherings.)
Join us At the Well, by visiting our host, Laurie, at Women Taking a Stand. Tell us how thankful your heart is!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy Thankful Thursday to everyone! I love this day of giving gratitude to God for all that He has blessed me with. I especially love reading your blogs, reading the thankful praises that bring such glory to God.

This week I am especially thankful for the confidence I have in God to meet all my needs through Christ. Not just some of them...

The transliterated Greek word for all is pas, which means:

1) individually
a) each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything
2) collectively
a) some of all types

All my needs are supplied through Him. He has me covered!

Two cars in the shop? He'll make a way.

Sick grandbabies? He'll have them on the mend.

Emotional illness? He works within me.

Chronic physical illness? He sustains me.

Wondering how I'm going to face the future? He already knows.

Hurting over sinful choices? He provides forgiveness.

Rejoicing in praise for the blessings He has given in times of need? He supplies the grateful heart and the words!

No matter what our needs are He has them all covered.

I love the definition of meet (or supply, if you're using the KJV). The Greek word is plēroō. It means:

1) to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full
a) to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally
1) I abound, I am liberally supplied
2) to render full, i.e. to complete
a) to fill to the top: so that nothing shall be wanting to full measure, fill to the brim
b) to consummate: a number
1) to make complete in every particular, to render perfect
2) to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out, (some undertaking)
c) to carry into effect, bring to realisation, realise
1) of matters of duty: to perform, execute
2) of sayings, promises, prophecies, to bring to pass, ratify, accomplish
3) to fulfil, i.e. to cause God's will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God's promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfilment

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. " ~ Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV)

How faithful and great is our God? He is most worthy of praise. We have no need to fear. We have no need to worry.

I'm very thankful today! I'll cling to these promises as I drift off to sleep. Now I have God-bumps just thinking about how faithful He is! Knowing His will will be done is my comfort. However He chooses to supply those needs, I trust Him and accept His will for their fulfillment.

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us." ~ 1 John 5:14 (NIV)

For more Thankful Thursday posts, visit our wonderful hostess Iris by clicking on the button below.

He Restores My Soul

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was saved at the age of 17. I walked down some rocky paths in my life as a teenager and although I knew my Savior, I did not truly know Him as Lord until He began a restoration process in me. He pulled me off the beaten path and began leading me down the paths of His righteousness in my late 20's and early 30's. As I've grown closer to Him, I've tried to pull more people along this path with me. I want them to want what I have. I want them to be restored.

When David used the word restored, He spoke from experience. He had gone down some pretty rocky paths himself. I love to know David as the man after God's own heart, but David was imperfect, just like the rest of us. The difference is, he chose not to wallow in his sin and remain on the wrong path.

"He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." ~ Psalm 40:2 (NIV)

The Hebrew word for restore is shuwb, and means, in part, to return, turn back, to return unto, go back, come back of dying, of human relations, or of spiritual relations; turning back to God in repentance, turning back from evil, to restore, refresh, repair, to cause to return, bring back, to bring back, refresh, restore, to bring back to mind, to show a turning away, to reverse, revoke, to be returned, be restored, be brought back.

Just as He did with David, God is willing to restore us from any sin or wrong path we've walked down and lead us down His paths of righteousness.

The Hebrew word for righteousness is tsedeq. Some of the definitions of righteousness are justice, rightness, righteousness, what is right or just or normal, rightness, righteousness, justice (in case or cause), rightness (in speech), righteousness (as ethically right), righteousness (as vindicated), justification (in controversy), deliverance, victory, prosperity, of God as covenant-keeping in redemption, in name of Messianic king, of people enjoying salvation.

I said the wrong things, thought the wrong way, and acted in sheer rebellion as a teenager, living a life of defeat rather than victory through His Son Jesus Christ. God restored my soul from many wrongdoings.

"This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." ~ Romans 3:22-24 (NIV)

He longs for us to enjoy our salvation! The way He restores us are numerous, but my favorite way of restoration is the sacrifice He made on the Cross for me.

Rather than being lost in my sin and spend a life of doom and gloom, He helped me recognize my need, not only for a Savior who took my place in death, but as my Lord, One with whom I could have a relationship with.

What I love most is that He didn't do it for me. He did it for His Name's sake, so that He might be glorified! Oh, the humility I feel at being a vessel through which He has worked for His own glory!

Has God restored you from a life of sin? Do you feel Him leading you down the paths of righteousness, not for your sake but for His?

R - Remember that everything God does for us is for His glory and not our own. "everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." ~ Isaiah 43:7 (NIV)

E - Establish daily Bible reading habits to enhance your walk with Him. "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." ~ Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

S - Seek God in prayer daily to remain on His path of righteousness. "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." 1 Peter 3:12 (NIV)

T - Take time to develop the fruit of the Spirit. They will keep you in Christ. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." ~ Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

O - Order your steps according to His Word so you will not go back down the wrong path. "Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me." ~ Psalm 119:133 (NIV)

R - Remain in Christ once you are restored. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." ~ John 15:5 (NIV)

E - Endeavor to grow in maturity with Christ. "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me." ~ 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)
D - Devote time to encouraging others to pursue restoration with Christ. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

To view my other posts on Psalm 23, please visit my first post here and my second post here.

The purpose of WFW is to share the Word of God through photo's and a verse. Amydeanne, over at The 160 Acre Woods, is our hostess. Be sure to link up and share your own. This is a wonderful way to minister to others and to be ministered to by reading others posts. Please visit by clicking on the button below.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bring The Rain

In "Other" Words Tuesdays hostess is Michelle at Because I Love You...A Life Lived Out Before the Lord. I encourage you to visit her site to see what she and the other ladies had to say on the quote she chose, which is:
“And I don’t regret the rain,
And the nights I felt the pain,
And the tears I had to cry some
of those times along the way.
Every road I had to take,
Every time my heart would break -
It was just something that I had to get through
To get me to you…”
As sung by Lila McCann,“To Get Me To You” [Hope Floats Soundtrack]

The title did come from Bring the Rain, a popular Christian song by MercyMe, whose video I'll share at the end of my post.

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." ~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV)

Paul knew all about praising God when the going got tough. He drew near to God in prayer over a matter of something he chose not to disclose that caused him great pain, and God opted not to remove it. I have a feeling that when Paul asked God three times to remove his thorn in the flesh, that it wasn't just a quick prayer. In fact, he wrote that he "pleaded". He sought God earnestly and begged Him.

But God did choose to provide something else. His grace and His power. Paul accepted that. I truly admire that about him and it's one of my favorite things about him that makes him one of my favorite men in the Bible.

God's grace was called charis in the Greek language. It means:

1) grace
a) that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech
2) good will, loving-kindness, favour
a) of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues
3) what is due to grace
a) the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace
b) the token or proof of grace, benefit
1) a gift of grace
2) benefit, bounty
4) thanks, (for benefits, services, favours), recompense, reward

God's power was called dynamis in the Greek language. It means:

1) strength power, ability
a) inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth
b) power for performing miracles
c) moral power and excellence of soul
d) the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth
e) power and resources arising from numbers
f) power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts

I love seeing these qualities at work in my life and in the life of Paul. In fact, Paul's example here has given me encouragement so many times in the past. I have faced rain, pain, tears and going down the narrow road in my life, and like the lyrics above, I can honestly say that I have no regrets.
I spent extensive time with God in prayer, a period of eight years, in fact, over a matter close to my heart. My prayer was to have a child. I drew close to God and received in return His grace and His power. It was there all along, but I was slow to grasp the hand God extended to me. Morning by morning, I began a journey of time spent with Him that led me to experience His grace and power. He saw me through some tough times.
I underwent physical torture trying to have a baby. The medication I took was so hard on my body that it literally wore me down. I was so tired and my body went physically crazy. The emotional aspect of it was hard, too. I tinkled on so many pregnancy test sticks that I should have owned stock in the company! Every time the - sign would appear, the tears would flow and I would snuggle back up to God the next morning. I'd go deeper into His Word, deeper into prayer, and though sometimes I felt like I was walking down that narrow path of devotion to Him alone, I knew I wasn't.

Then one day, when I least expected it, my hopes and dreams were realized and dashed within the same breath. The sign was positive, but the baby was born into Heaven. I went numb. While I was at the hospital, the radiologist asked me if I was okay to be alone for a minute while she ran and conferred with the doctor about another case while he was downstairs. "Sure!", I said, in a voice that betrayed the hurt I was feeling. About fifteen minutes later, the thoughts began racing and I never felt so alone in all my life. I called out to no one, "I'm not okay alone anymore!"

"You're not alone. I'm here." I didn't hear the voice so much as I felt it. It sounded gentle, yet powerful. It felt comforting. It was the Holy Spirit.

The radiologist came back, almost an hour later, and I was asleep. She said it was the pain medicine, but I knew it was God's rest. Where my tears had soaked my gown and pillow, they were now dry as a bone. God had found me in that maze of a hospital and collected my tears for me. He let me feel His grace and power once more and I got the best sleep I had in eight years in the span of less than half an hour. I got comfort. My token of His grace was my dry tears, and the power He gave me was that of strength enough to rest securely in Him through the most horrible crisis I had ever endured.

Throughout this 8 year period and especially after the miscarriage, His grace and His power held me up. Grace under one arm, Power under the other. They were literally carrying me through those years. I cried, I begged, I pleaded, I had 3 surgeries, a miscarriage and finally, a hysterectomy.

I'm not superwoman. I am not a super-Christian who has it all together. I am not anything on my own. God has given me the grace and power not to regret a single thing in my life, because each and every time I have suffered, it's all been with Him by my side and brought me closer to Him.

And because of that grace and power through God, I have learned, as the apostle Paul has, to be content.

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." ~ Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

So I say...

Monday, November 17, 2008

What it Means to Stand for Your Marriage

Welcome to At the Well, where we gather each Monday to talk about our role as wives, mothers, etc., as we are in pursuit of living a life pleasing to the Lord as women. Chelsey is hosting this week at Joyfully Living for His Glory.

The topic she's chosen this week is a good one.

What does it mean to you to take a stand for your marriage?

Taking a stand for my marriage means to always support my husband, to never bad-mouth him to others, and to always be willing to remain committed to our marriage. Divorce is a word that is no longer in our vocabulary. As I said in an earlier post, there was a time in our marriage where we hit a rocky spot. More than one, to be exact. I bailed twice on him. Both times both sets of our parents told us we were better off apart. Neither set encouraged us to fight for our marriage. Fortunately, God restored our marriage. We had issues, yes, but not worth divorcing over. We learned how to communicate properly, how to love each other, what our roles were as husband and wife and daughter, and we remarried. I also learned not to say a bad word about my husband to others, especially those who loved me. After all, they only heard one side of the story, and in their own protective and loving way, it caused problems. Fortunately, God restored that, too.

I say we have been married for 17 years. Our first wedding was in May of 1991. We legally divorced in late 2002 and remarried May of 2003. We don't count that second marriage. We don't count the divorce. We only count the first time we married. Committment was obviously not part of taking a stand for our marriage in the early years. I could blame it on lack of example, but I won't. We were divided, we were spiritually immature (not that we have "arrived", but we are growing closer to Christ each day), and our parents, both sets, are happy that we've worked things out. "But God!" He seeks to unite, not divide.

When Steve and I were married in May of 1991, we recited a passage that Ruth said to Naomi in the Book of Ruth.

"Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me." ~ Ruth 1:16-17 (NKJV)

When I remembered that, I was reminded that the unity expressed to Naomi from Ruth was what I had expressed to Steve.

I believe that unity is a vital key in taking a stand for your marriage. Fight tooth and nail for it, my friend. Don't give up easily. Seek counseling if you must. But first of all, seek God. We didn't. Learn from my mistakes.

Discussion Questions

What does commitment in marriage mean?

"To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife." 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 (NIV)

This verse sums it up pretty well for me. The Greek word for separate in verse 10 is chōrizō, which means:

1) to separate, divide, part, put asunder, to separate one's self from, to depart
a) to leave a husband or wife
1) of divorce
b) to depart, go away

While there are a few valid reasons we may chooose to separate from or divorce our husbands; adultery, abuse, danger, to name a few, in a good marriage, we are commanded by God to stay in it. We don't bail out on the small issues. Some issues might not seem so small at the time. Please understand that I do not judge people who are on second, third or fifth marriages. If you've been a product of divorce and are remarried, I do encourage you to make a committment to stay in the marriage God has placed you in now. Love your husband with all your heart and purpose not to let divorce be a part of your vocabulary. If you feel you must divorce your husband, talk to your pastor or a counselor first. Obviously, we can learn from the mistakes of our past and commit to take a stand for the marriage we are in now. Sometimes we do need outside help for circumstances that arise in our marriage. Based on my experience, I believe that outside help probably needs to come from a pastor or a counselor, not a loved one.

What kind of wife are we called to be to our husbands?

I'm going to share a few verses with you that I think are indicative of what we are called to be as wives. I'm going to bold some of my favorite qualities.

"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." ~ Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)

"In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything." ~ 1 Timothy 3:11 (NIV)

"Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." ~ Colossians 3:18 (NIV)

For those of us unequally yoked, whether we are married to a non-believer or to a believing spouse who has drifted in his walk with Christ, I'd like to add this verse.

"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives," ~ 1 Peter 3:1 (NIV)

Here are some hopes and dreams that perhaps Bathsheba had for her son Solomon's future wife...

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." ~ Proverbs 31:10-31 (NIV)

What are ways that we can Biblically stand for our marriage?

S -Seek God's best by praying for our marriages faithfully, during good times as well as the bad. "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

T - Talk positively about our husbands and our marriage to others. Never slander him. "In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything." ~ 1 Timothy 3:11 (NIV)

A - Admit when we are wrong and confess it to our husbands and to God. "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." ~ James 5:16 (NIV)

N - Never neglect our husbands, um, intimately. /blush/ "The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 1 Corinthians 7:4-5 (NIV)

D - Decide that divorce is not an option when hard times come. Seek God, seek counsel, but don't give up at the first sign of trouble. "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife." 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 (NIV)

Thanks for visiting with me At the Well this morning. I have a big day ahead of me, including visiting with a friend for her sister's funeral visitation and some meetings throughout the day, so I may be late in visiting with you, but I'll be around later.

In the meantime, step over to Chelsey's at Joyfully Living for His Glory and visit with some of the other ladies. I have a feeling there are going to be some great things shared this morning! Would you like to share your thoughts, too? Do a blog post and link up! I'd love to hear your thoughts.