I’m a Believer

…blessed is she that believed… -Luke 1:45

What Should I Get? March 2, 2009

In keeping with my “New Year’s Revelation,” here are a few more things we need to get, straight from God’s word.  (They would all make great t-shirt slogans, wouldn’t they?)

life-cerealGet a Life!

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life ~1 John 5:12

 

dallas_cowboys_helmet_rightface1Life’s Tough, Get a Helmet!

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  ~Ephesians 6:17

 

hands-holding-bibleGet a Grip!

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.  ~2 Thessalonians 2:15

 

 

What do you need to get from God’s word?  Leave a comment & let me know!

I’m a Believer!

Laura

Advertisements
 

Oh, The Depth of the Riches… February 18, 2009

I haven’t been writing much lately (as you can tell), but I have been studying in preparation for upcoming ministry opportunities.  In looking back over old beach retreat information, I found something I had written after one of our ladies’ retreats.   I thought I’d post it here.

May, 2007

bw-beach-girls3Imagine standing at the edge of the seashore with our toes barely at the surf line, occasionally the waves reach out and touch us, lapping at our feet. Sometimes we take this touch as an invitation, and wade deeper; sometimes it makes us run backwards, depending on our desire to get wet. Often, we have stood at the edge of God with our toes (and our hearts) barely at the edge of what He has for us. Occasionally He will come closer to us than He has been, and we find ourselves ankle deep. To some of us this is thrilling, to others of us, frightening . Sometimes we wade deeper into Him, sometimes we retreat, because we are just not ready to get that wet, to be fully immersed.

We stand as sisters, united through Jesus Christ, yet all separate people. Some older, some younger, both physically and spiritually, all wanting to go in the same direction, but not knowing exactly what is out there, beneath the visible surface. Some of us are looking forward, towards the unknown vastness of what God has for us, some looking back at the footprints of where we have been, all of us at the edge of possibility in God.

As we stand at the edge of the seashore, it seems as if we are touching eternity. These same sands and waters have been here since “God created,” and have touched the feet of countless souls. The ocean is so much like God-much more vast and powerful than we can ever imagine. All we can experience with our mortal bodies is the surface. When we, through faith, allow God to be our sustainer, we are carried up over the tops of the waves, into the midst of deeper love and trust. The ocean is always moving, never standing still, changing the shoreline and nearly everything it comes into contact with, but it is always the ocean. So God is-eternal and unchanging, yet infinite and never standing still. Once you have been touched by God, your shoreline will be changed, and your rough edges washed away.

And so we stand at the edge, dressed in His righteousness, ready to go forward, linked up with our sisters. As we hold hands and proceed forward we are able to help our sisters overcome when the waves get big, to go back and pick them up when they get knocked down, to bring them forward when they fall behind, to laugh together as we triumphantly make it over the top of another wave, and to encourage each other to go deeper.

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! ~Romans 11:33

I’m a Believer!

Laura

For more on the deep things of God, visit my husband’s blog at  www.swimthedeepend.wordpress.com.

 

Daughters… January 23, 2009

gulf-shores-2008-129I have three…three girls that God saw fit to give to my husband and me.  (Amazin’ in itself!)   I’m the oldest and only daughter with three little brothers, so even though I am a girl, I was a little concerned about what to do with girls, having grown up taking care of boys.  I was grateful when baby number one was a girl because my mom always told me that “Every mommy needs a little girl.” (It still makes me feel special when I think about that – thanks, mom!)   Whew – I was glad to get that out of the way.  After that, I just knew the others would be boys.  BOY, was I wrong.  Two more beautiful baby girls.  And I was grateful for them, too!  And now, well, here’s the problem…

It has recently come to my attention that these three girls are growing up.  As I said to my husband in December (with a new sense of realization)  “THE BABY IS NINE!!”  And just this month, my oldest has turned 16, gotten a driver’s license, and started her first job.  Last summer my sweet middle child 🙂  hit double digits!!

This has thrown me into a little bit of shock, I think.  I’m to the point of struggling on a daily basis with measuring the amount of mercy and grace I give to each child, wondering if I’m being too lenient or too strict.  Am I holding them back from discovering something wonderful, or am I protecting them from being discovered by evil?  Am I parenting by faith, in full assurance that God has His hand on their hearts and their lives, or am I parenting in fear, living out every “what if” scenario in my mind in great detail?  Sometimes I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even know what to pray for.  For those of you who have done this, or are in the process of doing this, maybe you can agree that THIS IS HARD. 

I found something this morning that helped me immensely!  I dug a beautiful treasure out of God’s word that spoke to me suddenly and strongly.

…that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:  ~Psalm 144:12b

King David was praying for protection for his kingdom and thanking God for all the strength and provision He gives His people and he stopped and asked that the daughters would be “as corner stones.”  And not just any plain old cornerstones (too boring!) – but “polished” and “after the similitude of a palace.”  This is breathtaking to me.

What exactly is a cornerstone?  Well, off hand I know that Jesus is the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20).  That’s good company to be in!  We are supposed to be becoming more and more like Jesus, so praying for my daughters to be corner stones seems like a fabulous idea!

Corner stones in this scripture probably more specifically mean  pillars.  Pillars were used in building temples and palaces.  They were the support system the structure.  Pillars of old temples and palaces were beautifully carved, carefully crafted, and this verse refers to them as being “polished.”  

I yearn for my daughters to be polished, yet  I can’t imagine that polishing stones or pillars of stone is an easy process.  It must involve cutting away parts of the stone that won’t meet the design standards.  Surely it involves a constant attention to bringing out the beauty of the stone without marring it.  It must take a careful hand to cut the stone to the proper size and shape and yet maintain the strength and integrity of the original material.  I’m certain it has to be difficult to balance these tall structures so that they will stand strong and not topple, for if they fall, they may shatter into tiny pieces that can’t be put back together again.

But when the stone is finally fashioned, this verse says that it is fit for use in a palace!  What better place for a daughter of the King of kings, than a palace?

This is my prayer for my daughters – that they “would be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.”

I can see that it will be a long, sometimes painful, sometimes joyful, sometimes tedious process.  I know my husband and I won’t be able to do it by ourselves.  We will need the Master Craftsman to guide our hearts and our hands and fix our mistakes.  He may have to take the chisel out of our hands and replace it with a gentle polishing cloth, or point out to us a rough spot that we ignored because it seemed to difficult to reach.  But when I see my girls standing strong, supporting whatever is placed upon them, carefully polished into the beautifully strong yet fragile pillars that God has designed them to be,  I know it will be worth it.

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.  Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.   ~Philippians 3:20-4:1

I’m a Believer!

Laura

 

Get to Gettin’! January 6, 2009

Throughout the holiday season, I found myself doing some serious “getting” !  I had to go GET groceries, go GET the kids, GET a gift for a party, GET ready to go.  People asked me “What are you GETTING for Christmas?”  I had to GET some things done.  I needed to GET my house clean, GET my Christmas tree, GET the ornaments down from the attic, GET the tree decorated.  With all that “getting” I also GOT tired!!!

As I was reading the Bible yesterday morning.  I came across this verse:

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.  ~Proverbs 4:7

This verse really spoke to me.  First, because it was worded in a way that makes it humorous to me.  It sounds like something I would tell my kids – “Go get your backpack and everything you need, and with all your getting get your dirty clothes off the floor!” 

But as I looked at it further, I noticed that it really speaks to what needs to be first.  It says “Wisdom is the principal thing…”  The word that is translated “principal” means FIRST, BEGINNING, BEST, or CHOICE PART.  As I start 2009, I need to first seek wisdom.  I need to start from the beginning looking for wisdom.  I should know that wisdom is the best thing.   Wisdom should be the part that I choose first and foremost.  Wisdom is what I should be GETTING! 

And not only that, with all the time I’m getting all that wisdom, I need to get UNDERSTANDING.  I’ve found that it requires UNDERSTANDING to apply wisdom in any way that is helpful.  What good is all the wisdom in the world if I don’t understand how to use it or apply it?  The word UNDERSTANDING in this verse also means discernment.  Boy, do I need some discernment!  There are so many things I need to understand about God, about His word, about what His word says about me.  I also need understanding in dealing with other people.  I need to understand what their needs are.  I need to have discernment about how God would have me minister.  I need to understand what God is trying to teach me at any given time.  I NEED understanding!

I don’t do well with New Year’s resolutions, so this will be my New Year’s “revelation”: 

GET TO GETTIN’! 

This is going to mean spending more time in God’s word and at God’s side.   I do pray that God gives me the spirit of wisdom and that the eyes of my understanding will be enlightened so that I can KNOW what it is that He has for me and just how powerful our God is !

[17] That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: [18] The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, [19] And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,   ~Ephesians 1:17-19

Happy New Year!  Go get some wisdom, and while you’re at it, don’t forget the understanding!

For more on what you can get from God’s word, click here.

I’m a Believer!

Laura

 

Conference Synopsis – Guest Writer! November 17, 2008

My friend Judy always writes such sweet summaries of the fun we have at church.  She gave me permission to post this on my blog – YAY!!  Thanks, Judy…

flowers-shirt-dream-bigI’m surrounded by notes, pamphlets, CD’s, name tags, gift bags and more notes, all having to do with the 7th Annual Women’s Conference that was held November 7th and 8th, 2008. The theme, of course, was Dream BIG!

To get a handle on what this conference meant, you would have to go back several weeks, to the first meeting in August, when the theme was revealed. LaDon did a skit for us and I just knew our theme was “Get Out of the Box”, but that wasn’t it. There was more to this conference than those before it. This was to be our 7th year – our Sabbath Conference! This put a whole new emphasis on the conference. Not only could we expect God to pour out a harvest on seed previously sown, but also in areas we haven’t sown at all!!! Our Conference Scripture, Ephesians 3:20, says ‘Now to Him who is able to do EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us’. How perfectly appropriate that in this, our Sabbath Year, we could expect such a harvest that would EXCEED ABUNDANTLY all that we had DREAMED (seed sown) or could DREAM (seed unsown)! And so it was that our theme, Dream BIG, had been birthed!

Our monthly “Joy Rides” were transformed to our “Dream Dates”. But our September Dream Date was not what we expected. Hurricane Gustav had roared through (devouring whom he could…) and had knocked out power to our entire area, including the church. But Praise God, we had POWER on 9/11/08! (We had electricity, too!) Attendance was light, but those who came were blessed. We were reminded that our home – our true home – is in Heaven. Anything the hurricane blew away was only temporary anyway. We were reminded to let God complete us.

Meetings and planning and practices continued through the month of September and October, bringing us to the very weekend for the Conference. We’re always so excited to see what God will do!

journey_to_heaven_1

JOURNEY TO HEAVEN

Friday evening, walking into the sanctuary, the beauty of the decorations was only matched by the filling Spirit that seemed to be everywhere. Even with an Interstate shut-down delaying traffic, we had 100 ladies registered Friday evening. After grazing through a lavish buffet of all kinds of wonderful dishes, we went into the sanctuary. Delma and Cochise were back to kick things off.

LaDon presented a drama about the Journey to Heaven and then Lollie spoke about our Dream Home – that heavenly place that is already prepared for us! It was hard to leave, but we did have an early morning call.

Saturday started with our great smoothies and assorted breakfast pastry goodies, then Jenny Rogers spoke on Dreams Present, reminding us of the story of Joseph. LaDon presented another drama – the Scarlet Cord – Present, about Rahab.

Scarlet Cord - Present

The Scarlet Cord - Present

After a coffee break, Lollie’s Dream Girls handed out the cutest Goodie Bags full of all kinds of neat things. The bags were made up like little tuxedos. Too cute! LaDon was back with the Scarlet Cord – Past, showing us where Rahab had been.

The Scarlet Cord - Past

The Scarlet Cord - Past

Laura spoke on Dreams Past, reminding us to learn from our past, remembering where God has brought us FROM, but to let go of the past in order to move to the future! The analogy of the monkey bars was perfect. I think next the door prizes were drawn and given out – my memory isn’t what it used to be. Regardless of WHEN, I do know that there were LOTS of door prizes!

We had a fabulous catered lunch with extra goodies from our wonderful River of Life cooks, and we were served by a few of our faithful men, in white shirts, black slacks, bow ties, and starched white man-aprons! Always such a treat to have the men wait on us!

Right after lunch, the crowd was entertained by the Dream Girls – a group of our more mature ladies, dancing in their PJ’s and robes to a mix tape of “dream” lyrics! Did I mention the curlers and mud packs?

rahab_future_1

The Scarlet Cord - Future

After group worship, LaDon was back with one more drama – the Scarlet Cord – Future, showing us where Rahab finally ends up. Jenny Rogers played and sang a special song and then Lollie spoke of Dreams Future. We are to live in the present but we are given the HOPE of our FUTURE with God in Heaven!

By the end of the weekend, we knew that God had been present in our past (the planning), our present (every aspect of the conference) and our future (the harvest even yet to come). We all may have different concepts of what dreaming is all about, but if you were at this conference, you left knowing that the key to our Dreams is Jesus.

 

I’m a Believer! (and a Dreamer!)

Laura

 

Daily Mercies – The Best Way for Bad Things to Happen November 10, 2008

daily_mercies2My friend Rena & her sister Ginger have started a new “meme” called The Daily Mercies in which we are encouraged to share a story or testimony of how we’ve seen God’s mercy at work in our life or in the lives of others.  What a great idea!  I’m so excited!  Now I’ll have a place to record all those wonderful moments when I get to see God’s hand.  At the moment it happens, His hand may be SO OBVIOUS, but in a few days, or in different circumstances, I’m tempted to forget those “Daily Mercies” that He shows me.  So thanks, Rena & Gin!  You’ll help me to remember…

Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
1 Chronicles 16:12-13

So, for my first Daily Mercy, I would like to share with you how God can allow bad things to happen to you, but happen in the best way possible.

As I pulled out of Hobby Lobby parking lot after a delicious lunch with my friend Rena, I thought about which way to go.  Left to the interstate – quicker.  Right to the back way – less traffic…  I decided to go right, the back way.  Something seemed daunting about the interstate. 

As I drove down the road about 2 miles from Hobby Lobby, 3 miles from the interstate, 6 miles from home, 20 yards from a stop sign, and 100 yards away from an old bridge in the middle of road construction, my gas pedal suddenly went to the floor, all the dashboard lights came on, and my three year old van stalled.  GREAT! (That’s a sarcastic “GREAT”, by the way.)  As I tried to crank it again, it WOULD NOT START!  So, I sat.  A sitting duck in a bright blue van 20 yards away from a stop sign. 

I tried to turn on my flashers.   My battery was so dead, I could not even turn my flashers on.  I tried to put the van in neutral so that I (haha) could push it onto the shoulder and out of the main lane.  The battery was too dead to allow me to put the car in neutral.  What???

And so I called my friend who has recently decided that she will not talk on the phone while she is driving.  Great idea – but I think she was driving when I called.  No answer.  I promptly forgot that my other friend lived 2 minutes away, so I didn’t call her.  Then I remembered the ringtone on my phone  “When you call on Jesus, all things are possible…” it sings at me regularly.  So I called on Jesus and tried to start the car again.  Nope.  So I called my husband at work, my regular knight in shining armor who always comes to my pathetic rescue when I need it.  The rescue is not pathetic – no, it is far from pathetic, it is always selfless and noble, and I’m grateful for that.

As I sat IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD, I figured I better get out of the van in case anyone plowed slap into me as I waited for my hero.  Alrighty then – There I stood, beside a stalled car.  The children would be getting off the bus in 45 minutes.  Oh look – I suddenly saw a tow truck.  “Maybe he’ll stop!”  (That’s me talking to myself.)  Nope.  Sit, sit, sit.  Wave to direct people  – “Just go around it.  I’ll just stand here.  Thanks for stopping. ”  (More sarcasm – no one had stopped.)

Aha!  A police car!  Yes!  “Hey!   Yooo hoooo…”   Wave, wave, wave…. Over here!! Wave higher, wave bigger, wave louder….  Oh – he turned.  But look – that creepy guy that looks remarkably like the uni-bomber is headed my way.  He must have thought I was waving at him instead of the at the cops.  I wonder if he’ll let me borrow his “hoodie” or his mirrored sunglasses, or maybe his house shoes. 

A black pickup truck pulled up behind me, just as UniBomber made his way to my front fender.  The kind, older, trustworthy-looking man inside asked how he could help.  He jump-started the van so that we could put it in neutral and push it onto the LOVELY CORNER LOT that I was just inches from.  He shoooed away UniBomber and assured me that he “Had his eye on that fruitcake.” 

Five minutes later, my knight in shining Mazda showed up and took it from there.  

What on earth does that have to do with the mercy of God?  I’m so glad you asked. 

I’m learning to be thankful to God for times like this.  Times when it is inevitable that something has to go wrong – car batteries and pcv hoses (whatever that is) don’t last forever.  It was time for my van to break down.  But the breakdown didn’t happen when I was flying down an unknown interstate in Georgia just the week before.  It didn’t break down in the middle of New Orleans while I had a vanload of kids only 2 days before.  It didn’t break down on a rickety bridge.  It didn’t break down on the interstate.  It broke down just inches away from a lovely corner with plenty of room to park.  My husband was not in court or in an appointment when I called.  The uni-bomber didn’t get me. 

I believe that God’s MERCY has to do with His witholding bad things from us.  God withholds so many bad things from happening to us every day.  We usually don’t know the extent of His mercy towards us.  Sometimes, though, as in this instance, we get a little glimpse.  It was time for my car to break down – it was time for “something bad” to happen.  But God allowed it to be in the best way possible.  He loves us, He wants good things for us, and many times He provides those things by His mercy. 

This is why Jesus says that we can have peace.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  John 16:33

Did you hear that?  Jesus says that we can have peace in Him.  In the midst of the troubles of this world (i.e., car trouble), we can be of good cheer – that means happy and not anxious, because He has overcome the world.  When we are in Him, He can allow us those breakdowns that have to happen, but they can be turned into breakthroughs when He has directed our paths.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.  The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.  The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.  Psalm 121:8

I’m grateful that my help comes from Him and that He preserves me and keeps me and that His mercies are new every morning.  Visit Rena & Ginger to hear what else our merciful God is up to.

I’m a Believer!

Laura

 

Receiving What God Has for Us – Fruitful Dreams Part 2 October 22, 2008

When we truly know how to DREAM B.I.G., then we will no longer waste our time with fruitless dreams and needless disappointments.

Discern the voice of the Lord
Receive what He has for us
Exalt Him
Allow Him the right of way
Minister to others through what He has given you.

Believe
In
God

In the previous post about Dreaming BIG, we looked at how Discerning the Voice of the Lord will help us to have fruitful dreams.  Now I would like to look at the next part of DREAM using the same portion of scripture.

1 [[[A Psalm] of David.]] Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; [so] shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring [it] to pass. 6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. 7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Psalms 37:1-7 KJV

Receive What He Has For Us

  • God wants to give us something

4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Looking at this portion of scripture we see in verse 4 that when we begin to “delight ourselves in the Lord,” that is when He wants to GIVE us something.  That “something” is the desires of our heart.  If someone wants to give us something, then our response should be to RECEIVE what is being given!  As God begins to place desires in our heart, we should joyfully receive those desires.

The funny thing I have found about the desires that God places in my heart is that those desires are often things that previously would not have had a place of priority in my life – things like a desire to serve others, a desire to forgive, a desire for more time with the Lord, a desire to give, a desire to spend more time with God’s people, a desire to share God’s word with others. In fact, it is often difficult to find a place in our old hearts to put these new desires.  Many times it may involve cleaning out some old desires to make room for new ones.  God places these desires in our hearts, but unless we receive them as God’s plan for us, we will most likely remain self-centered, and spend much of our time chasing after those fruitless dreams that we are trying to avoid!

  • Receive the “Food” that God serves

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; [so] shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Verse 3 tells us that we shall be fed.  I like to be fed! (Unfortunately a little too much!)  But the food that God has for His children is always good for us.  We need to receive the “food” that God has for us.  That food is His word.  We need to be hungry for and ready to receive everything the Bible tells us.  We need to partake of His word in such a way that it is digested fully and becomes part of us, making us stronger and nourishing our spirits much the same way that physical food nourishes our bodies.  When it comes to dining at the Lord’s table, we should always eat what is set before us and make a “happy plate.”

  • Retaining what we receive

One more point I would like to make about Receiving what He has for us is that we need to respond to what we receive.  As I sat in the prayer meeting reading my Bible, I felt a gentle prompting to turn to Psalm 37.  I did.  I read the portion of scripture that is listed above.  As I read that portion of scripture, God revealed DISCERN, RECEIVE, EXALT, ALLOW, MINISTER to me.  I grabbed a scrap of paper and jotted that down.  In this particular instance, I was at a prayer meeting, so I was expectant to receive something from Him.  I can’t say that I’m always ready.  I know too many times I have missed something that God has had for me because I was simply too lazy to write it down, or too doubtful that He was really trying to teach me something.

I’m grateful that in this particular instance I obeyed.  On Tuesday of the next week, my friend and Pastor’s wife asked me to give the message on our Thursday night Dream Date for the ladies (ONLY 2 DAYS LATER!).  Normally this would have caused great panic in me with only a day and a half to prepare a message, but the Lord had already given it to me and I had already received it. 

Imagine all the opportunities we will have if we willingly and faithfully receive everything that God has for us!

I’m a Believer!

Laura