Life is all about change. When you trust an unchanging God - you have the ability to embrace change and trust Him in the midst of it. Join me as the Lord leads me through a new phase of my journey.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Who I Am

Who am I?  

Well, that is an age old question.  I was reading Judges 6-7 this morning.  This is the story of Gideon.  Gideon is in the promised land, but his people have been disobedient to the Lord in multiple ways, including worshiping idols.  As a result, they find themselves oppressed by their enemies.  Gideon is actually threshing wheat in a wine press - in other words, he is hiding out.  He is afraid and no doubt, very discouraged.

An angel of the Lord comes to him and says, 
"The Lord is with you, valiant warrior."  

I'm pretty sure that Gideon looked all around the room and wondered who in the world this angel was talking to.  He was fearful, young, from a small tribe and hiding out so that the enemy wouldn't notice him.  Words like "valiant" and "warrior" were not even on his radar.

I've always been fascinated with this story because Gideon asks for numerous signs from the Lord that what He is being told is actually from Him and will take place.  The Lord does every one of them - without scolding him.  The Lord seems happy to confirm and reaffirm His word to him over and over.  All along the way, He is building Gideon's faith and readying him for the task ahead.

Gideon is asked to take down his father's altar to Baal.  I'm wondering if that was scarier to him that attacking his enemy.  Oh, starting at home.  That can be the toughest place to start.  Then, Gideon is told that he will be conquering the Midianites.  The spirit of the Lord comes on him and he raises up an army of 22,000 men.  God tells him that is too many - I love that.

Through a series of tests, the army goes from 22,000 to 300.  God says, that will do.  Gideon works his plan and victory is theirs.  With only 300 men, there is no doubt that the victory was the Lord's and not man's.  

Valiant Warrior - well, that turned out to 
be precisely who Gideon was.  

Like Gideon, I see my weaknesses and faults far more quickly than I see who the Lord intends for me to be.  Perhaps it is because He sees me through the righteousness of Christ.  He sees all that I can be and all that He intends for me to be.  He knows that the things He calls me to do are done in His power and not mine.  He challenges me to believe that I am who He says that I am, even if I don't immediately recognize it.

I am thankful that my God sees me as His child. 

I am thankful that He has plans and purpose for me.  

I am thankful that He will complete the good 
work that He has begun. 

I am thankful that who I am rests 
in His very capable hands.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Musings - Fruit - Part 2

Whew - I have had a busy last week full of really great things.  I am so grateful for the people that I have in my life and the opportunities that the Lord gives me.

Have you been thinking about the fruit in your life and 
the pruning that is taking place?

Here is another sign that was in the tool shed at the apple orchard (if you have no idea what I am talking about, check out last Monday's posting!)

Pruning is for a purpose - it is not just random chopping off branches for fun.  It is deliberate and intentional.  This is just as true of the pruning that the Lord does in our lives.

*Pruning thins out a tree so that it can get air and light.  We can also find ourselves needing this.  We get too bogged down in this old world.  We get too busy and we sometimes feel like we are trapped in darkness.  The Lord wants us to breathe freely and to have His light all around us.  Something may need to go for this to happen.

*Pruning lessens damage.  If you have lived long at all, you know that the storms of life come our way.  The wind howls and the rain comes down.  Lightening flashes across the sky and thunder rolls.  I'm sure, like me, you have seen all the branches that have broken off the trees and are laying on the ground.  Pruning gets rid of the weaker branches so that the stronger branches can remain, even in adverse conditions.  The Lord's pruning in our lives does the same thing.  As He cuts out those things that weaken us, we are made stronger to withstand the storms that will inevitably come our way.

*Pruning corrects or repairs damage.  I have met so many people who have heart breaking stories - serious heart damage in their past relationships and hurts that go deep.  The Lord's pruning gets in there and trims out those damaged and diseased portions.  As healing takes place, those areas of our lives become useful and fruitful.

*Reasons 3 through 6 are all about getting that tree in the best condition to produce the best fruit possible.  Pruning prepares us for maximum, healthy growth.

*Pruning compensates for transplanting - oh how I love this one. As one who has been transplanted many, many times, this one is a favorite.  The Lord has done some major work and amazing stuff in my life each place that we have lived.  He has used His Word and His people to change me forever.  When He is the one doing the pruning - the transplant is vital and the transplanted one can thrive.  Praise the Lord.

The Lord has a plan for you.  He has fruit that He wishes for you to bear.  That fruit will be used to draw others to the Kingdom of God and to bless the lives of those around you.  The fruit in your life will also be a blessing to you and bring you great joy.

God's pruning comes from His heart to see us thrive.  He desires that we live in His joy, bearing His fruit.

 This is what those beautiful apple trees and apples looked like after they had been cared for, nurtured and ripened. 

Be encouraged, my friend.  The Lord knows exactly what you need in order to yield the most beautiful fruit in your life.  

Just as fruit does the body good . . . 
the fruit of the Lord enriches the body of Christ.

Be fruitful and multiply (blessings that is!)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Grace (my grandmother - that is!)

Today is my grandmother, Audie Grace Cunningham's, 95th birthday. 

Happy Birthday Granny!

I feel truly blessed to be 52 years old and still have my grandmother.  It is fun to think back all the way through my life and remember so many great times that we have shared.  

Some of my best childhood memories took place on my grandparent's farm in central Texas.  I got to watch sheep be sheared, goats herded, cattle rounded up, horses trained and gather freshly laid eggs from the chicken coop.  Life was simple and it was an adventure when we were at the farm.  When I went to college at Baylor, I got to spend time back out at the farm.  It was a place of refuge and rest.  My girls got to spend time at the farm also.  My grandmother loves my girls as much as she loves me.  Her arms are big enough to reach around a very big family. 

There have been many things that I have learned from my grandmother over the years.

*She modeled working hard.

*She loved serving and giving to others.

*She taught me what faith looks like when it is lived out in hard circumstances.

*She showed me what it meant to love your husband in sickness and in health.

*She showed me what faithful grieving looks like.

*She has lived a life more independently than any so called "modern woman" ever could.

*She is tough as nails . . . seriously, as tough as nails.

*She proves that you can eat biscuits, gravy and bacon - and still be healthy.

*She watched out for her neighbors and loved her church.

*She never gave up.

*She loves Jesus, big time.

*She has always loved me, encouraged me and prayed for me.

I love you Grannie - 
and I am thankful for you 
and all that you have 
taught me over the years. 

Happy Birthday!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Musings - Fruit - Part 1

I have been reading Galatians this week and today I came across that very familiar passage in chapter 5, vs 22 about the fruit of the Spirit . . .

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 . . . if we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit (let us keep in step with the Spirit.)

Suddenly, my mind was filled with all these images of fruit!  Not so much literal fruit, as all the imagery that is used in the Scripture to describe our Christ-filled life as it is lived out.

Proverbs 11:30   A good life is a fruit bearing tree

Matthew 12:33  The fruit tells you about the tree

Romans 11  If . . . the primary root of the tree is holy, there's bound to be some holy fruit

Philippians 1:10   . . . bountiful with fruits from the soul

Colossians 1:6   . . . the message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, just as it has in you.

James 2   . . . our faith should be fruitful

So, I would say that the Lord is concerned about the fruit our lives are bearing.    This passage in Galatians tells us that the Spirit has given us this fruit already.  We have it - but we still have to choose to display it.

Can I just say that some of us are hiding our fruit?

John 15 is one of my favorite passages about this subject.  "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit."  

Pruning . . . Last fall, Alan and I went to an apple orchard in Minnesota.  Beautiful.  There was a shed at the beginning of the orchard where they had a display of old tools.  I was intrigued by these signs.

So - when the Lord is pruning me, it is to maintain my spiritual health.  He cuts out the dead, diseased and injured wood so that I can flourish in my walk with Him.  Some of this pruning is a bit painful, but it is necessary.

How about preventing trouble?  Oh yeah.  There are those little sins and habits that I start to baby and nourish - the Lord, in His mercy, just cuts that stuff out.

Pruning also controls growth and form.  The Lord is shaping me into the image of His Son.  He uses the joys and trials of my life to mold and shape me into that form.  

Look at encouraging the yield - I love this one.  The Lord wants to produce just the right kind of fruit in my life.  Removing fruit spurs make fewer blossoms (you know, the showy, outer stuff) but it makes the fruit larger.  Hmmm . . .  that is something to ponder.

When I saw this list of tools, I started thinking about all the ways the Lord has brought pruning into my life.  Sometimes, those small one-handed pruning shears were enough.  I was attentive and obedient rather quickly and the pruning was fairly easy.  I have certainly experienced the lopping shears.  OUCH  Sometimes, that dead thing just had to go and go quickly.  Then we moved into the saws . . . Perhaps some stubborn disobedience or a season where my ears became dull to the whispers of the Lord.  The serious tools had to be brought out.  Lord, help me, when the power pruners have to come out.  My prayer is that I will be much more pliable than that.  

Is that enough for you to ponder today?
Do you need to speak to the Lord about your pruning?  

I'm going to continue this on my next Monday Musing.  Stay tuned for more pruning information . . . In the meantime, go and bear good fruit for the Kingdom.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday - PT

Praise the Lord - the boot is off my foot and I can actually wear shoes on both of my feet.  I have to wear a tennis shoe most of the time, but at least it is a shoe.  I started physical therapy a couple of weeks ago.  It is as much for plantar fasciitis as it is for the fractured bone.  If you don't know what plantar fasciitis is - be happy. It is inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. This tissue is called the plantar fascia. It connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot.  When this is inflamed, it makes walking very painful and the tightness goes all the way up your calf muscle.  In short - it is not FUN.  I am so thankful to be getting some relief from the pain.

I assume that when the Lord puts me with a new person in my life, there is purpose in that.  So - enter Stephanie Penny, my physical therapist.

She is a great physical therapist and a very sweet girl.  She is about the same age as my Ashley - so that is just a sweet thing right there.  She is from Michigan, she loves her family, she loves her job and she is working hard to get additional certifications.  We always have good conversations.  We spend an hour together twice a week, so I figure that I will know her pretty well by the end of all that. 

What does the Lord have in mind for Stephanie and I?  I am eager to find out.  I am going to invite her to my church and I'd love to include her in some girl's nights.  We will see where the Lord takes that.  I'm not sure where she is coming from spiritually, so I will be exploring that in the weeks to come.  I have had the opportunity to share a bit about my faith and I have an idea that I will have many more opportunities to do that.

Who knew that the Lord would use all my foot ailments to bring someone new into my life?  I am grateful for that.

Stephanie - watch out.  I'm already invested in you.

I am thankful for physical therapy - but I am even more thankful for my therapist.  I am thankful for physical healing, but I am even more thankful for spiritual healing.

I know that Romans 8:28 is quoted a lot, but I think it fits here:

For we know that God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes.

I love that the Lord has used my fractured foot in so many positive ways.  He has brought so much good out of what could have been seen as a very bad situation.  He is at work and His purposes are being accomplished.  I am so thankful that His promises are true.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Musings - Hidden Treasure

My Bible reading plan has me walking straight through the Old Testament right now - mixed in with some New Testament readings and some Psalms.  I love the Old Testament, but reading Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy all in a row can be pretty challenging.  I think the Lord is having some fun with me by pointing out all the hidden treasures in these passages.  Here is a treasure I came across this week:

You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.  Deuteronomy 13:4

The Message puts it this way:
You are to follow only God, your God, hold him in deep reverence, keep his commandments, listen obediently to what he says, serve him—hold on to him for dear life! 

I think that if someone wrote us a prescription for life - this would be it.


Sounds simple enough - right?  What a treasure tucked away in Deuteronomy.  The essence of what it means to follow the Lord is right here.

Follow:  I want to follow Him with an attitude of humility and with the courage to take that next step.  It is so easy to find yourself following after something else.  I want to stay focused on following Him alone knowing that everything He has for me is on that path.

Fear:  I want to only fear Him with an attitude of reverence.  All the other things that I fear are just traps that keep me from only fearing the One who deserves my awe and reverence.  What if fear was only displayed in my life in this manner?  Wow - that would be so freeing.

Obey:  Ugghhh  What a challenge!  How I wish I would respond in obedience every single time.  Obedience to the Lord is always associated with blessing in my life.  Obeying His commandments brings JOY and PEACE.  An obedient life is a blessed life.  That tension and sorrow associated with sin and its consequences is gone and a life lived walking close to the Lord replaces it.  I want to choose this over and over again each day.

Listen:  Most of us are better talkers than we are listeners.  I want to learn more every day about listening to the Lord.  He is constantly whispering in my ear (and occasionally shouting) through the Spirit to guide me throughout the day.  When I am listening and then responding to His instructions -- those are the most amazing times of my life.  Never a dull moment when I listen to the Lord and respond in obedience (there's the O word again!)

Serve:  True joy is found in service to others.  Don't you just get sick of thinking about yourself?  I know I do.  To shift my focus on to others and their needs is such a JOY.  There is such a sweetness in serving the Lord and seeing others loved on by Him through my hands and feet.  In the book of James, he asks the question - What good is our faith without works?  I have to say, not much good.  Our faith must be exhibited by serving others or it can not have effect.

Cling:  This is probably my favorite instruction.  CLING  If I do this one thing, the others will more likely fall into place.  Above all, I must cling to the Lord every single day, in every single circumstance, in every decision, in every interaction and everything else that comes along.  I want to be stuck to Him like glue.  I want His righteousness to cover me so thoroughly that it is the Christ in me that is seen.


If someone gave you a prescription that would save your life, 
would you take it?  

Well, here it is . . .

Unlimited refills

Spirit empowered

Guaranteed results

Hidden treasure, indeed.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Praybook

Last June, through a friend (thank you, Leigh Ann) I came across an app connected to facebook called Praybook.  It is such an awesome tool for ministering to others.  I absolutely love it and wanted to share a bit about it with you.

If you go to, you can sign in with your facebook login or with your email address.  It connects with your facebook friends and then you choose how many people you want to pray for each day.  As I go out to that site daily, my facebook friends names come up.  Initially, I chose to have 7 names come up each day because I wanted to get through all of my friends rather quickly that first go round.  It was challenging, but it was FUN.  After I went through all of the names that first time, I changed it to bring up two names a day.  As I pray for each friend, I have the opportunity to send them a message that appears in their message inbox on facebook. 

Can God really use a facebook app?  Well, yes He can.  God can use the internet any old way He wants to.  I know that He is in this, because over and over again, I hear back from someone that the prayer I prayed for them was exactly what they needed that day.  God has used it to encourage so many and to reconnect me in a more significant way with some of my friends.  I have learned of needs and hurts that I would not have known about otherwise.

It is an amazing privilege to intercede for others.  I'm telling you, no one yet has written me back to say, "Please don't pray for me."  That includes friends that do not know the Lord.  In fact, some of them have been very touched that I took the time to pray for them.  It is a small effort on my part that the Lord can use in a big way.  I don't hear back from everyone, but that is not the point, anyway.  My part is just to be obedient in praying for others and the rest is up to the Lord.

It also gets my mind in a good place - focused on what others need and how the mighty power of the Lord can move in their lives.  I am amazed over and over again at how this blesses me in the process and I have to say, it is just fun. What a profound privilege we have to lift up the names of those that we love to the Father.

I want to encourage you to check it out. 

I am thankful that someone thought of this (no doubt, Holy Spirit inspired) and that we have the opportunity to utilize this technology for some major good. 

Have fun starting a prayer adventure!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Musings - My All

One of the things I love about scripture is that it is always fresh because life is always changing.  The Lord can use the same verse to teach me different things at different times.

"And you shall love your God with all your heart, 
and with all your soul, and with all your mind 
and with all your strength."
Mark 12:30

Heart * Soul * Mind * Strength

Such a familiar passage and some of the first instructional words from God Himself.  It's loaded and it's challenging, but it is certainly what I want to be doing.

God must be my first love.  My heart must completely belong to Him above all else.  In that, He has the opportunity to truly shape me.  Out of that I am freed up to generously love others because it is an overflow of His love - not something I am trying to stir up in my own heart.  There is a needy, love-starved world out there.  Only God Himself can meet those needs and He chooses to use us as His big arms and love notes to those around us.

I believe that my soul is the very essence of who I am.  It is my soul that the Lord saves and my soul that lives on for eternity.  The fact that the Lord has redeemed my soul impacts everything else in my life.  Everything springs from this knowledge - this grace - this mercy.  My soul belongs to my Savior.  

Perhaps the most difficult of all of these.  I think that keeping my thoughts where I want them to be is the most difficult challenge.  Oh, that crazy, wandering mind - too quick to criticize or make snap judgments.  I want to feed my mind with the things that honor God - His Word, good teaching and good conversation.  With all that is out there, this can be difficult.  I have to be intentional about it or it won't happen.  Loving God with all your mind is a tall order.  You have to WANT it.

God deserves the best I can give.  My best efforts and my best energy should be available for His purposes.  There is an "all in" idea here - that every ounce of me is directed toward my God.  I don't want to leave this earth with even one ounce of strength that could have been used by Him.  Even in my weakness - He is strong.

When you look at this verse, it is essentially saying that ALL of me belongs to the Lord.  To live for Him requires loving Him with everything that I've got and then some.  When I give Him full access, He can do anything.  He is not limited by my limitations.  In fact, those very limitations make me more useful to Him.  

He shines where I do not.  

He is strong where I am weak.  

He loves when I struggle to love.

His thoughts are higher than mine 
when I need a reboot.

His redemption saves my soul.

What does loving the Lord with all your heart, 
soul, mind and strength mean to you?  

I'd love to hear about it . . .



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Face to Face

There is nothing like seeing someone face to face.  Phones, emails and text messages can only take you so far!  I haven't seen my daughters in 2 months and I can tell you that as much as I love talking to them on the phone, emailing, facebooking and text messaging -- I can not wait to see them face to face.

1st Corinthians 13:12 -13 says:

For now we see in a mirror dimly but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.  But faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

This verse has always jumped out at me.  Maybe it is because I have been around antique mirrors most of my life.  My Mom has always collected antiques and both of my grandparents has those old silver mirrors where the silver wore off and the mirror looked more mottled than like shiny glass.  When you looked in them, your image was distorted a bit.  You could see it - but it wasn't clear.  

Sometimes it is frustrating to see things like I'm looking in one of those old mirrors.  My images of who I am and of who Jesus is are not as clear as I would like them to be.  I want to know Him fully -  to understand His plan for me and yet it can be a struggle.

But here is the hope - even now, I am fully known, the good and the bad, and in that, I am fully loved by Jesus.  One day, I will see Him FACE TO FACE.   I will know Him as fully as He knows me. 

That makes my heart sing. 

That brings me great peace.  

That fills me with JOY.

So today, I am thankful for this promise.  I am thankful for what I am able to see now through God's Word and the indwelling of the Spirit and I am thankful in advance for that day when I will know Him as I am fully known.