Holy Week Perspective

I’ve been on the go this week. Perhaps you can identify. It seems like everybody I talk to has had a challenging week and we still have so much week to cover. I was tempted to feel a little frustrated with the pace of things. It seems like the more I cross off my list as complete, the more things creep back on the list.

New things. 

Challenging things.

And, well quite frankly, I’m tired. Just. Plain. Tired. 

I was tempted to complain to the Lord about how much work stays on my plate. I was tempted to ask Him for some relief. Not because I can’t use time management to get my portion done, but instead, because I am tired. My body is saying “I just don’t wanna….” 

And then I remembered. 

It’s Holy Week. This is the week where we remember and praise God that even when Jesus was tired, He didn’t stop. He didn’t quit. He didn’t sit down and refuse to go another further (like my grandma used to say).

As I replay the Passion of the Christ movie in my mind, I recall what sheer exhaustion looks like. Jesus, my Jesus, your Jesus, pressed His way to a cross that He never deserved. 

He did it for you. He did it for me. 

And, I’ve got the nerve to say I’m tired?!! Oh. Okay. Yeah. Thank you God for fresh perspective! I’m off now to get more work done, but not just to check it off and call it done. I’m working now, as unto the Lord, realizing that I have been privileged to do all that I do because of what He did for me
Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

Contingency Plans!

I think something is wrong with my Google Analytics. Either that, or I messed up something when I moved a few things around my site recently. I checked my hit rate through Google Analytics and saw a very disturbing scene – no visitors.

You see, because I get more emails than comments on my site (how does that work y’all??? – I guess people I know are reading the site instead of people I don’t know??) I’ve learned that comments are not a way for me to accurately gauge traffic. Therefore, I started using a tracker so that I could know if anybody was reading this blog beside me!!! This tracker has been in place for years. Therefore, when I checked last week and it kept displaying no traffic I was alarmed.

Did I say something wrong? Did I offend?

Well, come to find out that NO, those reasons were not correct presumptions. WHEW! I found this out because I have a contingency tracker. I have two tracking services, and I believe I may have a third, with results going to an Inbox I don’t really check that much! The oh-so-nice and flashy Google Analytics that I love and a rather rudimentary tracker, that is functional, but not glamorous, that hasn’t quite working yet are the two I’m sure of! So there! It’s always good to have a contingency plan. And, it’s always good to appreciate the things that aren’t so glossy and shiny and neat.

I like contingency plans. Rarely do things go the way that we expect them to go. Having this contingency tracker in place allowed me some peace of mind. This contingency plan saved me some angst.

Yeah for contingency plans!!!

I like glossy and shiny and neat. Especially when we’re talking electronics! But, some times we need to beyond the exterior and look deeper.

Revisiting my former tracking showed me just how much I’d been missing – and how much I valued the information. So, take it from me, for most things, it’s good to have a contingency plan!

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

Chunks Loves Books

When Chunks was here, we made a little trip to Target. We’d had a big day already, but when you barely see the little person that makes your heart sing, you have to pack in all the things you want to do.

At Target, he spotted the books. Of course, being master marketers, the books for his age were down low so that he could get to them. Chunks loves books. I’ll have you know, this little boy, who was sucking on a lollipop that the lady at the Old Navy store gave him, threw his lollipop on the floor, ran over and picked up a book. (Yes, I picked up the lollipop).

Because he loves books so much, he sat on the floor and looked through them. I guess he was “reading” them, but he was really very serious about his books. One after one, he picked them up, studied them and handed them to me. So, of course, along with the toys we picked up that day, we got a really nice book.

When we got home, we plopped on the couch and read the book. He loved it! I can’t wait to see how his love for books will shape the rest of his life. I’m praying that even now, his love for books will translate into a deep love for THE BOOK, the Holy Bible. Oh…many are the contemplations of this godmother.

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

I’m Featured On Lysa’s Blog!!!

Hot Diggity-dog!!! I’m being featured on Lysa Terkeurst’s blog today!!!
That’s right – the one and only Lysa Terkeurst.
The President of Proverbs 31 Ministries!!! 
 I’m beside myself on both sides!
What a way to kick off my weekend! 

Please drop by Lysa’s blog today and see why I am featured. She has written a lovely book called Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. You may remember, I blogged about it here  when I first got it and here when I finished it.  

When I first got the book, I was super-duper excited because she autographed it for me. And, then I was even more super-duper excited when I read the pages; even those pages that convicted me to my very soul.

How can I feel excited when convicted? Because I’ve learned that when conviction comes, it’s God’s way of letting me know the way I’m doing business isn’t good enough, and sometimes far from Him. I get excited because I recognize He’s giving me an opportunity to change, so that I can reflect His glory.

Life isn’t about plastic perfection.  Real life is about establishing and growing a relationship with God where we allow Him in, even in the midst of our not so great moments, and knowing that even still, He loves us.

Great is our God! And great is His work in the writing of Lysa Terkeurst! Thanks Lysa for featuring me today. I am excited and humbled.

So, blogger buddies and facebook friends, if you don’t have this book, make sure you get it today. And now, it even comes with a participants guide and DVD. A great book for you and your best girlfriends to do together!!

Have a great weekend!

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

Watch and Pray

I had planned a “light” post today. But, as I sat down to watch the news, I couldn’t go “light” today. There is something gripping our nation. The vitriol is raging and I think that as Christians we need to do something about it.

What can you do?

The first thing is to pay attention to what is going on in our nation. The venomous build up and fallout due to the Healthcare legislation has been quite frankly astounding. I have my own opinions about it, but at the end of the day, my state representatives are going to vote their convictions. I voted mine when I voted certain of them in, and now, I have to pray that they will vote in the interest of the people they represent. That’s the way the system is supposed to work.

No matter where your opinion falls on this legislation, consider this: there is a way to debate without making it personally combative. There is a way to make a point without attacking and getting negative. I don’t have a problem with the debate of issues. That’s one of the very things that makes America great. But when that debate turns into death threats and spitting, name calling and bullying, vandalism of public offices and private residences, something is wrong. It’s a time for prayer. It’s a time to watch and pray.

Are you praying for our nation? Are you praying for our leadership? So much has been going on both locally and nationally that I feel like the enemy is trying to keep us off-balance and distracted. If we are so busy in-fighting with each other, then he has a greater chance of catching us unaware. He has greater probability to catch us off guard.

At the end of the day, we are not all going to agree with everything or everybody. We are a nation of 300 million plus people who do things in different ways with different motives. So, let’s realize the beauty in that and stop attacking one another. Let’s get the focus off of ourselves and what we feel is right for a moment and put our focus fully on God. If we cast our cares on Him, (1Peter 5:7) He is faithful to meet our needs, because He loves and cares for us. If everybody would stop with the vitriol, keep control of our tongues (James 1:26), and go down on our knees in prayer, things would work out. Healing would come. Harmony would ensue (2Corinthians 13:11).

We need to be careful with our tongues. We need to be alert to the condition of our heart. If, as a nation, we would rather see somebody or some family die because of a piece of legislation, we’ve got a bad heart condition. Laws, if need be, can be amended and repealed with civility. Let’s get a godly, heavenward focus. Let’s watch and pray.

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

I Like Vanilla

This morning, everything was running smoothly. In fact, everything was as it is every other morning. God woke me up and enabled me to dress and prepare myself for the day ahead. My routine was undisturbed. In fact, up until I was preparing to go on the highway, everything was vanilla.

That’s when I noticed it.

I looked out the drivers window and saw it.

Quickly, I prayed.

You see, this morning, other people were not having a vanilla kind of day. Others were dealing with this thing or that thing. And this morning, as I was making my turn to the highway to come to my office, I saw a vehicle accident.

There was nothing vanilla about it.

In fact, it resembled more Hollywood spectacular.

Up close and personal would I be to this accident, for it was the only way to get onto the highway. One SUV, with a mangled up hood and a dislocated bumper t-boned a small sedan, crushing the frame inward. There was glass everywhere.

At the time where my vanilla met their rocky road, the tow trucks were there, making preparations to load up the vehicles. I don’t know if an ambulance had already come and gone. I did see one woman, who looked like she could have been the owner of the sedan, gathering some things from the car. But, she also could have been a friend who stayed behind. Only God knows.

I mention this because I want us to stop and reflect about how fortunate we are when we have vanilla days. They are not boring – they are a blessing.

I like vanilla.

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

Not Quick, But Sure

If one thing can be said about me, it may be this: once I commit to something, I give my all to it. 

That has been especially true in relationships. I am the one that commits and believes all the sweet nothings that have been whispered in my ear. My heart is the one that swoons whenever he draws near. My smile is the megawatt that can be seen from afar.

They say wisdom comes with age, and this is true. Thank God, this is true!

Whereas before, I would jump in, right away, no delay… experience has taught me to look for the concrete before I jump in heart first. Experience has shown me what rushing in can do. I have had my heart splattered, pounded and ripped out of my chest in a rather merciless fashion because I rushed in. Because I didn’t count the costs. 

I was wounded. I needed to be healed. God did that for me by taking me through what I call reconstruction. 

Reconstruction takes time if you’re going to do it right. You’ve got to make an assessment of how much damage has been done. Once the damage estimate is together, you’ll need to clear out the debris. From that point, you’ll need to check the structural integrity and make any improvements to the base. And then lastly, after all that other work is done, you can start rebuilding. It’s a long process but worth it, when done right.  

Don’t rush in with matters of the heart. The Bible instructs us to guard our heart. Part of guarding is taking thoughtful and deliberate actions, not just going with the flow or being carried along with the breeze. 

Once more, I exhort you – don’t rush in. What’s the rush anyway?! 

Take your time. You don’t have to be quick, just be sure. 

Picture from broken_heart_by_starry_eyedkid-1.jpg

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

Dogs Don’t Harbor Hate

**Update from this weekend – forgot to post! But, better late than never!***

My eyes are still red.

I’m late to the party, but I finally watched Marley and Me. 

Those writers sure do know how to tell a story. 

Dogs have always been around me. Either my family or someone in my family has always had a dog. I guess you could say we are “dog lovers.” I remember the black and white dog at my grandparents farm and I was just a little girl back then. Less than four years old. I believe that dog’s name was “Cookie.” 

The wonderful thing about dogs is their absolute loyalty and heart. You can say mean things out of anger to dogs and they will still love you. Even if you had a spat the day prior, a dog doesn’t drag that back up the next day. That dog will still be happy to see you when you come home. S/he’ll greet you with happy panting, tail-wagging,  and a pink tongue ready to slurp you up. 

Too bad most people don’t share these same characteristics. Well, maybe not the tail-wagging, tongue-licking part. But some humans, after a fight (or in some instances, before a fight) like to hold grudges. 

But dogs don’t do that. They live in the moment. They don’t hold on to yesterday. All they know is that they love you, and want to be around you. 

Watching Marley and Me reminded me of the great compassion that dogs have when we don’t. It reminded me of their nobility – if you’ll work with me on that one. I’m saying that the characteristics that some dogs display is of higher character than some of us humans when it comes to forgiveness. All through the movie, Marley was referenced as the world’s worst dog – that is until the end. And, if you’ve not seen the movie, I encourage you to do so. It will pull you into the story, allowing you to feel the joy and the pain that comes with owning a pet. 

Marley, even through her antics, many of them hilarious, others not so much, has reminded me that no one is unloveable. No matter how talk to you, not matter how they treat you, no matter all the mean things that they may say about you behind your back or even to your face and no matter how many grudges they decide to hold against you.  If they want to hold a grudge, don’t drop down their level.  Instead, drop down to your knees and pray for them.  
Take the high road and be kind. 

I needed to be reminded of that. Thank you Lord for such sweet encouragements and reminders! You see, for me, once trust has been broken in a relationship – when mean things are said to me, or when someone decides that they would rather hold a grudge against me instead of working on whatever the offense may be, my general response is to let them fade into the background, until they can get their act together, and see that there is a greater, more important work at hand. I want them to see that we are in a spiritual battle and that the enemy would like nothing more than to drive divisions in purported Christian relationships. Aren’t we supposed to be about soul-winning for Christ? Aren’t we to have a solid focus on things other than ourselves.  The answer – yes. So, when I allow myself to think on things other that those which bring Him glory, I waste time. 

Sure, the sting of grudges can be severe – especially if you care for that person. But, don’t waste time licking wounds and plotting come-back strategies. Pray for them, be open to how God may ask you to move in that situation, and then, let it be. Go on with your life. 

You can’t make someone treat you right, and you don’t have any control over somebody else’s grudges. Accept that. 

So, pray for them, and guard your heart. (Proverbs 4:23)  You don’t want somebody else’s issues creeping up into your life causing you problems. Be sure to ask yourself: Am I harboring any unforgiveness? Has that person’s venom of immaturity been transferred and pumped into my heart?  Is hatred present? And if so, if any of this rings true, now what? Take these cares and concerns to the Lord.  

You see, that’s why I’m encouraging us all to take an “animalistic” approach to relationships. My good friends and I talk about not letting things fester in our relationships with others and in our relationships with each other. And this is how we remain good friends – we communicate with kind words even in heated debates. Yet, because we value each other and have compassion toward each other, and desire most to see each other’s good, we are even able to quickly forgive and continue our relationships when an offense occurs (though they don’t occur often). 

Dogs don’t harbor hate. They quickly forgive – they don’t hold grudges. They still think you are the cat’s meow, the cool breeze in their face and the apple of their eye. And they will be right there waiting for you, no matter what mean thing you said, with their happy panting, tail-wagging and pink tongue, ready and willing to slurp you up! 

So, once more, don’t harbor hate. Don’t embrace grudges. And when someone has done you wrong and hurt your heart, no matter the circumstance, take the higher road of compassion and model for them what forgiveness looks like. Don’t drop to their level, drop to your knees in prayer.  Think about Marley. 

I know it can be hard. People can say some hurtful things. But let’s be encouraged together and know that this is the right thing to do. I’m still working on it myself and do not profess to be an expert in the matter. But I believe that by so doing, we will honor God in our relationships with one another. And we, together, build a stronger witness for Christianity.  

A key verse to ponder: James 5:9 

Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

God Doesn’t Half-Step!

Excuse me while I flash back, but do you remember a rapper named Big Daddy Kane?

I used to think he was cute. Emphasis on “used to.” I was sooo young.

I digress.

Anyway, He had this song “Ain’t No Half-Stepping” back a long, long time ago. Well, I haven’t heard that song in what feels like a millennium – and still haven’t heard that song recently, but this morning, when I was reading my devo, “ain’t no half-stepping” popped in my mind.

In fact, the exact phrase in my mind was “ain’t no half-stepping” and then my mind followed it up with “cause we’re, cause we’re, cause we’re the get fresh crew.” Now, I believe this is happening because I’ve been sleep deprived! Nevertheless, as I was reading about God’s abundance in my life, I begin to apply said lyrics to my relationship just to see what I could come up with.

If I think about the fact that God is G.O.D, then surely, He’s no half-stepper. He has such abundance. In fact, out of every breathing thing, He’s the only one that doesn’t half-step. No one has as much as He has because no one else is the Messiah!

Ah…the Messiah complex. We struggle with that at some point in our lives whether we want to admit it or not. So, I’m not going to ask. I’m just going to stand with John Ortberg on that one.

Anyway, my devo says “for God does nothing in half measures.” That’s certainly true. When have you ever seen God do anything half-heartedly? Seriously. When? He doesn’t half love us. He doesn’t half supply the air we breathe. He doesn’t half sustain our lives. He doesn’t half-step.

So, then why is it that we feel that we can half-step with Him? We half-step at Sunday School and with church service. We make a decision that it’s alright to come late and leave early. We make a decision that we don’t have to study every day. We sometimes show up for ministry work and sometimes decide not too. Yep, we half-step, in one way or another.

But, I want to challenge you to take another look at this. God is gracious enough to forgive us when we half-step, so let’s do something that shows Him that we can be better. Let’s make a commitment that we will no longer half-step with God.

Will you be bold enough to tell the Lord, – and I know it’s bad English – but tell Him and mean it – “ain’t no half-stepping. I’m turning over a new leaf”!

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

Is the Church Sick?

Have you been paying attention to what’s been happening on television lately? 

When we turn on the television set, the morality factor that governed “tasteful” television in the 50s has long left the production studio. Instead, we see blatant displays of graphic sexual images – both heterosexual and homosexual. We see excessive drinking and hear cursing. And somehow, this has become common place.

Church services are on television too. Not all are good to watch, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ. I have seen and heard blatant mis-interpretations of the Scriptures, right on television. It seemed to me the focus was on personal prosperity instead of the real call of the Gospel. Speaking of that, we are never without the call for money through some popular phrases from some slick evangelists  … “sow a seed” … “money cometh” … etc. 

Then there is the subject of what’s permissible in church. I was on my computer on You Tube, which is essentially like watching television, and saw a preacher singing secular love songs in the pulpit – leading and encouraging his congregation to do the same. Most sang right along with him, in the house of God. I blogged about that here

Anyway, it seems that even some houses of worship don’t have God as the object of their worship. That’s not right. Which makes me question – is the church sick?

The enemy has slipped in and we behave as if we are unaware. Are we? Or is it the case that we do know, but refuse to do anything about it. Is the church sick and afflicted with the cares of this world? Has the church lost focus?

Our enemy comes in like a virus or perhaps in some cases, a parasite, where the church is the host. And, he draws strength from the church, weakening it until he gains control. 

Our airways are infiltrated now with his poison. Our churches go on – same as usual, with only a few strong pastors fighting off the disease, while some congregants watch their watches. Do you see this, or is it just me? Is the collective church sick? 

The antidote can be found on our knees in prayer and repentance; through the reading and application of the Bible, but will we take the medicine or leave it on the counter? 

I think it’s about time we take our spiritual temperature to see where we really are. 

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.