Friday, October 28, 2011

Strength, Dignity, and Laughter

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."  Proverbs 31:25

As it turns out, being clothed...accessorized in this case...with dignity didn't happen.  But there will be laughter for days to come.

Funny, I thought I looked dignified.

I even asked the handsome hubby to snap a photo...since we were all dolled up for a night at the theatre.  It's always fun to update your profile picture, you know.  He took three or four shots.  They just weren't working for me and we needed to get on our way, so I deleted them as we walked out the door.

I felt pretty confident as we strolled through the renovated uptown district.  The gentle clinking sound of the buckles on my leather boots seemed the perfect prelude for a Broadway show.  The autumn breeze embraced us...and surely enhanced the flowiness of my black jersey jacket. 

Holding hands with my man, looking all cute in his sweater vest.  Life just doesn't get much better than that.

Unfortunately, the show was appalling and we left at intermission. 

But that was probably a good thing...that we didn't linger in the mezzanine at intermission...or leave at the same time as the rest of the audience.

Upon returning home, I glanced in the mirror. 

Classy black earring on right ear.  Fuchsia fun earring on the right.

I burst into laughter...and shouted, "John Butler!  You let me go out of the house like this???"

We had a good laugh.

Strength, dignity, and laughter.  Two out of three ain't bad.

Lord, thank You for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that guides us, convicts us, and strengthens us in a world that draws few boundaries between good and evil.  Help us to stand firm as we seek to honor You.  Thank You for laughter.  And grace.  And Your love which is not challenged or changed by our appearance, shortcomings, or performance.  Give us the hope, faith, and vision to smile at the future. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday Worship

Let's make this our prayer.
Close your eyes.  Ponder those words.  Allow the High King of Heaven to be your Treasure today.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Meditations

This morning I have the privilege of speaking for the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at Salem Baptist Church in Apex, NC!  As I researched their mission, yearly theme, and focal Scripture passage in 2 Timothy 1, I came across a verse that is the foundation for one of my favorite hymns.

"...I know Whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day."  2 Timothy 1:12b (NIV)

Here are the lyrics to that hymn by Daniel W. Whittle.

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.

But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

Thank you, Jesus.  Amen.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Yummy Fall Recipe

Okay, stop the presses!!

 I'm going to share a kind of cooking.  Easy!

Here's what I'm making today.
Two ingredients. 
Cinnamon & Sugar Pita Chips and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
I got mine at Trader Joe's.  That makes them more healthy.  Right?

Melt the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips in the microwave.  Dip the Pita Chips!

Lay the dipped chips on wax paper or foil for the chocolate to return to its solid state.

Voila!  Cinnamony, chocolatey yumminess!  And all artsy looking, like they came straight from your favorite chocolate confectionery!  (Mine is The Chocolate Fetish in Asheville, NC.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


"For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."  Matthew 12:34b (NIV)

I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. 

My feelings about the book are mixed. 

The thing that strikes me is that in my mind, over the last couple of weeks, I hear my thoughts in Skeeter's or Aibileen's or Miss Hilly's voice.  They have been my daily companions. 

Don't you find that when you are hanging out with people you start to talk like them or at least think in their voice?

Some favorite "voices" in my head are those of my Scarlett O'Hara-ish friend, Emilie...or my German friend, Birgit...or my new British writer buddy, Sue.  And you've gotta love it when you are doing a Bible study and hear some Beth Moore Texas drawl in your mind.    

As Aibileen, Miss Skeeter, or Miss Hilly hijack my thoughts, I can't help but think, "Do I really want their voices there?"  Maybe, maybe not.

That's where the "overflow" comes in.

The verse that follows "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" says, "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him."  (I couldn't help but hear Aibileen speaking the latter words.)

I'm just wondering what we're "storing up."

There's a lot of fiction stored up in me.  Mostly I choose Christian Chick Lit...which makes for overflow that I don't have to be ashamed of. Sometimes I read mainstream literature...some great...some I need to mark off my list.  Girls, we've got to be careful what we're reading.  It affects our overflow.

I love some reality TV...Survivor, The Sing Off, American Idol.  Hearing Scotty McCreery in my head is good.  Steven Tyler...not so much.

What I really want flowing out is the best...the goodness that comes from the ultimate Voice and His Holy Word.

I'm challenged to invest my time in storing up His truths through time in His Word, listening to music that echoes those truths, and getting quiet enough to listen for His Voice.

Jeremiah 15:16 says, "When Your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight...."  I want to hunger and thirst for Him.  I want to fill up on Jesus, so that the overflow can't help but be good!

Lord, the voices around us scream for our attention.  Help us to follow the ones that lead us to You.  Fill us up with Your Truths, so that the overflow of our hearts honors and glorifies You.   

Wednesday Worship

Let's make this our prayer today.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Meditations

Wrap your mind around words from the Word today.

Psalm 1 (NIV)
"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.  But his delight is is the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields it fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.  Not so the wicked!  They are like chaff that the wind blows away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.  For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish."

Let's truly delight in His Word and meditate on it today!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Finding Balance

You shall have no other gods before me.  Exodus 20:3 (NIV)

I stood firm for years.  Barely even tempted.

Then they said I had to try it.

My friends.  My "tribe."  My Christian writer girlfriends.

I gave in.  And not just a little.  I jumped in with both feet.

And then it happened. 

I was hooked.

I didn't know it could take hold that fast.


Actually, that was one of the reasons I resisted for so long.  I knew it would be fun...and time consuming.  I had enough trouble keeping up with my email and trying to be somewhat consistent on my blog.   And oh my.  It was true.  I can't help being seduced by that tab before me everytime I get online.  In the two short weeks since I joined, I discovered that I need to use some self-control.  I've got to find a balance.

I love the "fellowship" right there at my fingertips...with pictures and everything!  I can feel like I'm near my  Jesus girls that live far from me.  And what a blessing that we can encourage each other...lots of each others with a few clicks on the keyboard.

However, I can get so easily distracted and curious and end up spending hours just browsing.  Fun, but the best use of my time?

My friend, Edie Melson, who lead the rally to get me hooked up with Facebook (and Twitter, this non-techie girl is struggling to figure out) shared her daily schedule with us at the NCompass retreat.  She said that she spends, if I recall correctly, only 30 minutes or so managing her social networking each morning.  That girl has some self-discipline!  (That is her time before her work day begins.  She does check back in and out at scheduled intervals...and in her evening leisure.)

And I'm hoping to find self-discipline too.  With God's help.  He commands me not to have any gods before Him.  Sadly, while waiting on my coffee to brew, I find myself tempted to venture into the cyberworld.  Before my time with Him.  I'm feeling conviction on that.

I want Him to be first.  I desire Him to be the One in whom I live and move and have my being. (Acts 18:28)...not social media.  I want His Spirit dwelling in me so that His fruit of self-control is present and active.

Yes, I'll see you on Facebook...and someday possibly become a proficient "tweeter," but I'm going to have my quiet time first.

Father God, please be LORD over our lives.  Help us to abide in You and allow Your Word to abide in us so closely that our lives are controlled by You.  Thank You for creating minds that devise the technology at our fingertips.  Lord, reign in that technology that it may be used for good and not for evil.  Thank You for "friends" that have easy access to share our joys and even sorrows, our ministries, and encouragement in the cyberworld.  Please help us not to forsake the actual gathering together face to face, hand in hand, heart to heart in communion with one another.  Lord, help us to find balance in our lives that honors You.  We love You!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday Worship

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"-but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.  1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)

God has called YOU.  His calling goes beyond your imagination.

So what are you waiting for?

Friday, October 7, 2011

What Is Holding You Back?

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.  Psalm 118:24-26

Is there something that you know you need to be doing?  What is it that is holding you back?

I'll just fess up and admit that the thing at the forefront of my mind this morning is the need for exercise.  For my health and appearance, I need to pull on my sneakers and head out the door.  Which I plan to do as soon as I finish this post.  However, my plan is often thwarted because I hear voices in my head that taunt, "Why even try?  You know you won't be consistent. Sure, it's a beautiful fall day today, but winter is coming.  Cold weather will be a hindrance."  I'm fighting back.  Today.  I have to remember those words that I learned as a child, "If you try and don't succeed, try, try again."

What is is for you?

Last weekend some amazing new friends and I soaked in outstanding teaching by Edie Melson and Vonda Skelton at the NCompass Writing Retreat.  Those in attendance came from a broad spectrum of writing experience and as travelers on the journey in response to God's call.  We packed our bags of writer's clothes, our dreams, and headed off to the beauty of Lake Keowee, SC.  Unfortunately, insecurity and fear snuck into our luggage as well.  Yet, we braved new territory...with the prayer, encouragement, and tutoring  of our new sojourners.  For some of us, we forged ahead (with a little trembling) into the worlds of Facebook and Twitter.  For others, it was jumping headfirst into the blogosphere.  And steps were even taken that will lead to publication of articles and books!

I feel pretty comfortable surmising that most of us returned home and felt at least a twinge of doubt and uncertainty that we were up to the task we embraced just days earlier.

Hindrance to do something is absolutely not limited to those in the writing world.

Your "thing" might be pursuing a new career, starting a diet, joining a Bible study, committing to daily Quiet Time, entering into a relationship, committing to an existing relationship, forgiving someone, or following a call that you know God has placed on your life.

What is it for you?

As I head to my Reeboks, I'm thinking the Nike slogan of "Just Do It"!

We are not alone or incapable.  As we are promised in 1 Thessalonians 5:24, The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.  He's got the power!  Let's embrace it!

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your unfathomable love.  Thank You for Your desire to use us to further Your kingdom.  Thank You for the call that You've placed on our lives.  Help us to trust in You for all that concerns us.  Help us to yield and obey whatever You command.  We love you!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday Worship

Wow.  This song by Natalie Grant celebrates the power in the Great Name of Jesus!  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Get Out of the Boat

"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 
Matthew 14:28-29 (NIV)

Stretched before me this morning is beautiful Lake Keowee, SC.  The deep blue water shimmers and ripples as a chilly fall breeze stirs.  Geese glide along the surface. The occasional fisherman emerges from the coves before me, drifting slowly as he stands in his boat to bring in the catch of the day.  Birds sing their autumn song as the leaves offer a glimpse of the brilliance to come.  Gentle lapping of the water on the shore and against the bearings of the dock and gazebo stills my heart and mind.

My thoughts travel to another lake...long ago.  A lake that bore not only the livelihood of some scruffy, rugged  fishermen, but on whose waters Jesus walked...and one of His followers who obeyed the call to, "Come."

I'm spending several days with a precious group of Christian writers.  We are a multifaceted bunch...coming together from various states, even a couple of other countries.  Our ages range from early twenties to senior adult.  In personality, temperament, shape, size (which will be larger for all of us after these days because of our amazing chef), hair color, and life experiences we are all different.  But we share a common bond.  The calling from our Lord to "Come and write."

Like Peter, we are exhilarated by His words...yet often bound by fear. 


Of sinking...of failing.

As with Peter, we must keep our eyes on Jesus, the One who beckons us to commit our steps to Him.  We must trust Him to empower us, to walk with us, and to do His will through us.  It must be His voice we hear.  The Voice of Truth.
 Is Jesus calling you to "get out of the boat"?  To write for Him?  To speak in His Name?  To tell someone of His great love?  He has a plan for each of us.  Something He wants us to do for Him.  Are you going to obey?

He's says, "Come."

Will you?

Fix your eyes on Him.  Believe.  And take that first step.

Jesus, we hear Your call.  We long to obey.  Lord, help us to listen to You, to trust You, to go forth in Your power.  We love You and desire to do Your will.