Monday, December 15, 2008

elf yourself

http://elfyourself.jibjab.com/view/E6TdnJqAeNT2MEgtwt6J

Lori Ann

 

Looking at yourself in the reflection of the living water, see yourself through the eyes of God.

~C. Ankesheiln


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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cute, crocheted tiara for a doll.



I made this for my daughter's amigurumi frog backpack that I made. The backpack pattern is on Crochetmagazine.com. I altered it to suit my needs. Visit me on Ravelry.com to see my version of the backpack!

Here are the directions:

Experience Level: Beginner
Size: Approximately 14 cm long and 11cm tall with the sock folded down as illustrated.
Materials 50g balls of worsted weight yarn, 5mm crochet hook (or size to acquire gauge), needle to tidy away ends
Gauge 4 sc per inch, 3 rows per inch

Round 1: ch. 1, sc in each chain around, sl st. to join. Repeat 2 times for rounds 2 and 3.

Round 4: 6 sl st, *sc, hdc, dc, tr, 3ch, sl st into the top of the tr, dc, hdc, sc* repeat from * twice to make 3 points on the tiara. 6 sl st to the end.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Praying like a child



My daughter said her first prayer last Sunday. It went something like this, “Mumble, mumble, Jesus. (peek at Mommy to see if I’m doing this right) Amen!” It was a very proud day for my family. Since Sunday, she has been praying all the time. On the way home from work the other day, she prayed from Mandeville to Lacombe. While her first prayer was pretty simple, her prayers have become more elaborate. She prays for family members, her kitty cats and her dolls. She prayed for her daddy to come home from work and for her poppa to “feel better”. She thanked God for the satsumas that her grandma brought. What amazes me is her simple faith and how easy her prayers flow.
How often do we make prayer more difficult than it needs to be? Is prayer a struggle for you or is it like talking to a friend? My Baptist upbringing led me to believe that prayers needed to be flowery with lots of fancy words. After listening to years of deacons and pastors praying long-winded, poetic prayers, a person can get a complex. God wants us to pray to him. He desires us to come to him as children in simple faith. Spend time today in the arms of our Father. Praise Him for Who He is. Thank Him for His blessings big and small. Ask for His forgiveness for your failures. Give Him your burdens and know that He loves you and will not forsake you. Blessings to you!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

And the giant came tumbling down

Only a boy named David,
Only a little sling
Only a boy named David,
But he could pray and sing
Only a boy named David,
Only a rippling brook
Only a boy named David,
But five little stones he took.
And one little stone went in the sling,
And the sling went round and round
And one little stone went in the sling,
And the sling went round and round
And round and round,
And round and round,
And round and round and round
And one little prayer went up to God
And the giant came tumbling down.

My daughter and I were driving in the car this week, listening to a children’s Bible song CD when this song started to play. It got me thinking about the story of David and Goliath. I started wondering why David got five stones from the stream. Did he have a crisis of faith? Did he think that God wouldn’t protect him with just one stone? Why five? Why did God feel that it was important to tell us that David took five stones, but killed Goliath on the first try?

This is what David said, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands." 1 Sam. 17:45-47 I don’t think that David was struggling with his faith. David brought the 4 extra stones along in case the rest of the Philistine army attacked. When I think about the fact that he only brought 5 stones to defeat an entire army, it really puts the story in a different perspective.

Think about that as it applies to our daily lives. Do we prepare ourselves for the battle? Do we come against the enemy “in the name of the LORD Almighty?” Or do we hide in our tents like the army of Israel? No matter what battle you are fighting today, fight it in the name of the LORD Almighty and victory will be yours! Blessings to you!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Trust Him

What a difference 2 weeks makes! Two weeks ago, we were facing Hurricane Gustav in the Gulf. People were evacuating and boarding up. The sun was shining and bright, but we walking around with the memories of Katrina and the trepidation of Gustav. As I write this, Ike sits just south of our shores and is churning up thunderstorms, but the mood is light and free. The weather forecasts put Ike’s arrival in Texas and we put our trust in their prediction. The peace that we have this week knowing that the storm may pass by us, but won’t cause the damage of the past.

We trust in the forecasters, because they have proven themselves trustworthy by predicting accurately in the past. Likewise, Christ can be trusted. How often do we forget to put our trust in Him. He is always there. He is always right. He is all we need in the storms of life. Trust Him today!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Louisiana hurricane evacuation routes!

It has been a while since I last blogged. We had to evacuate to Plano, Texas which is where my husband's company sends us when they evacuate. Thankfully, Gustav was not a Katrina and we are home again. No major damage here! The worst part was cleaning out the fridge and freezer. I hated throwing away hundreds of dollars of food, but I'm not a gambling woman when it comes to food poisoning my family.

Along our evacuation, we followed the evacuation route signs like good little evacuees and ended up lost! So I decided, before Ike makes it into the Gulf, I'm going to google various routes and put them up on my blog. Maybe this will help others as they plan to evacuate.

This one I would love to travel, but I'm pretty sure my huband will veto. He doesn't really like going off the interstate. I love back roads though, so here it is.

View Larger Map

This is the all interstate route. Most people know that anyone planing to evacuate on these roads will end up stuck in traffic for hours.

View Larger Map

This was our original plan, but we ended up getting off of I-59 in favor of Hwy 11. This was a good route, but I-59 will be crowded and contra-flow will end in MS way too soon.

View Larger Map

This was the route that we took home. We were able to bypass Jackson, MS. I highly suggest taking Hwy 27 in MS if you like scenic routes! The countryside in Mississippi is beautiful!


View Larger Map

Hope this helps others in the future! I'm sure I'll be looking back at it next time I need to evacuate!

Friday, August 15, 2008

My little Picasso! Freebie!!!



I created this little wordart for a layout for my daughter! Here is the layout! I was quite impressed with it. She drew a face and said that it was Poppa. Then, she drew a zigzag on top of the head and said that it was Daddy! Pretty good for a 2 year old. Click on the wordart to download the freebie!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Control your words

As I stopped in the library today, I saw Audra. She and I stopped and talked for a moment. She commented on my lack of voice and how she had had the same thing. I looked at one of her co-workers and said, “Can you tell we are from the same church?” He smiled and nodded. It seems like every family in our church has been struck with this cold that is going around. It shouldn’t take an illness for people to know we are Christians though. People should know from how you live your life. Is what comes out of your mouth from God?
1 PETER 4:11 NIV anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. . . .
When you speak what the Bible says, you are speaking the very words of God. Anything contrary to what the Bible says, should never be spoken by a Christian.
EPHESIANS 4:29 NIV Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
JAMES 4:11 NKJ Do not speak evil of one another. . .
TITUS 3:2 NKJ to speak evil of no one . . . .
You are responsible for what you say. If you cannot say something good, the Bible is clear: keep quiet.
SAY THIS: Lord please help me to keep quiet unless I have something to say that would be acceptable to you.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shaped by God


One of my favorite classes I ever took was an adult education pottery class when I was living in Orlando, Florida. I have always read in the Bible about God being the potter and Christians being the clay, but it didn’t really strike me until I attended this class what that really meant. Most folks think of a potter as a person who sits at the wheel and shapes pots, but there is so much more to it than that. Old world potters will go out and dig up the clay themselves. In class we were given 10 pound blocks of grey clay that was already cleaned and ready to work, but this isn’t so for most artist. They must remove the impurities from the clay through “pugging” in a mill. Next the clay is wedged. Wedging is a process of cutting and kneading the clay to remove impurities and air. When I think of wedging, I think about how God prepares us for a relationship with Him, how he cuts out the parts of our lives that don’t belong.

The next step is centering the clay on the wheel. This is a critical step for pot stability. The clay is smacked onto the wheel with a great deal of force. Then with wet hands the potter centers the clay by applying pressure to the sides to raise it up. The clay is then forced downward into a hockey puck shape. Most students are confused by this step. They don’t understand why the master potter would raise up the clay only to push it back down flatter than it was in the beginning. Centering creates a firm foundation for the pot to stand. In the Christian life we too have our ups and downs. God puts pressure on us to help center us.

After the clay is centered and has a firm foundation, the potter opens up the clay using downward pressure of her thumb into the center of the clay. The clay is opened up with pressure on the base and side of the pot, then it is pulled up. The master starts at the base of the vessel and pulls it up to the height desired. This is the step where student potters go awry. The master knows that the pressure on the inside of the pot must be balance with pressure on the outside. When I think about pulling the clay up, I remind myself that when there is pressure one side of me, the Master’s hand is providing counter pressure to guide my shape. Nothing is done in my life that the Master’s hand is not in. He is the potter. …to be continued …Jeremiah 18:1-17

Monday, July 28, 2008

Delight wordart freebie!


Here's another addition in my series of freebies... Delight! I have also uploaded a instructions on how to make wordart on ehow.com. I love to read your comments! Please keep them coming! Thnaks!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Strength to Endure

My mother is the source of my physical grace and athletic abilities. Mom and I were both blessed with the “slip and fall” gene. When I was in college, Mom and Dad started a janitorial business. Mom’s favorite job was waxing floors. She loved using the buffer; she loved how the floors shined after they were done. One day while waxing the floors in Slidell at the Hibernia Bank, Mom slipped on the wet wax and fell. She hit her head and dented the buffer, but that was minor compared to what she did to her back. Unknowingly, my mother had ruptured a disk in her back. After being in pain for several weeks, the doctors did tests and the ruptured disk. The solution was to remove the disk surgically. The surgery, recovery and therapy were marginally successful and several years later her surgeon suggested that a spinal fusion would be the solution. These were dark times for our family. Mom suffered a deep depression from the medication and pain that she suffered. On many occasions, Mom said that she had done everything she wanted to accomplish in life and was ready to die. The hardest prayer I ever prayed was that if God wasn’t going to heal my mom, please take her. God healed Mom and she is a vibrant 69 year old now. She has a grand daughter, who keeps her active. When I think of the person Mom was ten years ago and who she is now, I am amazed at the transformation.

Often in the Christian life, we expect that once we are saved suffering ends. This isn’t true. The Bible is filled with Godly men and women who suffered. The Bible gives us these examples to teach us how to handle suffering. Our greatest example comes from the life of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. On the cross, Jesus pled to His Father in Heaven, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). The Savior of the world was left alone by His Father to experience suffering. Of His own free will and choice, Christ became the Atonement for our sins. Jesus knew who He was—the Son of God. He knew His purpose—to become our Atonement for sub. His vision was eternal—“to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).
My prayer for you today, is that God will give you the strength to endure your suffering and the grace to overcome it! God Bless you.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

TrueFriendship None of that Sissy Cr@p

Are you tired of those sissy 'friendship' poems that always sound good but never actually come close to reality? Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship. You will see no cutesy little smiley faces on this card- Just the stone cold truth of our great friendship.
  • When you are sad -- I will jump on the person who made you sad like a spider monkey jacked up on mountain dew.
  • When you are blue -- I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
  • When you smile -- I will know you are plotting something that I must be involved in.
  • When you are scared -- I will rag on you about it every chance I get.
  • When you are worried -- I will tell you horrible stories about how much Worse it could be until you quit whining.
  • When you are confused -- I will use little words.
  • When you are sick -- Stay away from me until you are well Again. I don't want whatever the heck you have.
  • When you fall -- I will point and laugh at your clumsy behind....This is actually what people do to me.

This is my oath.... I pledge it to the end. 'Why?' you may ask; 'because you are my friend'. Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it, But only you can feel the true warmth..

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sweet frame freebie!



I've been seeing these little frames on the internet and decided to create one of my own. I used it for a layout of my daughter eating an M&M ice cream bar. These are really simple to use in PSE, just put the photo over the word frame and click ctrl-g to group them together. You can then resize your photo to fit the frame. Click on the image to download. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Another Freebie!



I love this verse and hope you will find a use for it on your layouts and in your hearts!!! God bless all my readers! Click on the image download from 4shared.com.

I fixed the mistake on this one! So, be sure to download the new one!!!

Ready for Battle



The church is in a spiritual battle. The enemy is fighting to keep the Holy Spirit from working. The enemy is shrewd. He knows where our weaknesses are. He knows how to attack us in areas of our lives that we are most likely to falter. He is working against us. That is the bad news.


Here is the great news. We have been given the battle plan. We have been given the tools to fight our enemy and we are promised the victory. The Paul tells the Ephesians this:


“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:10-18


Where is your armor? Are you wearing it? Are you ready for battle? Or is it rusting in the corner? Getting dusty on the shelf? Brush off your armor this week and spend some time in battle. Read your sword. Put on the belt of truth and helmet of salvation. Fit your feet with the gospel of peace. Sin in your life? Put on the breastplate of righteousness. Take up the shield of faith. I love what Paul says about faith, with which YOU can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one! Finally, pray in the spirit on all occasions! Keep on praying for all the saints! Are you ready for battle?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Commercial Use Freebie!


I have a commercial use freebie for you all today! Here is a bread tie and a toothpick. I created these this morning along with several other items that I will be sharing in the future. Hope you enjoy!!!


Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Life Verse


I was asked this week to consider what verse in the Bible was my Life Verse, one verse that means something special to me. This was a hard one for me. Different verses have ministered to me at different times in my life. The first one that comes to mind is Jeremiah 29:11 -”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This verse reminds me that God isn’t out to get me. He loves me and wants me to prosper! As I kept reading in Jeremiah 29, I found verse 13 -You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. What a great promise!


Then I came across this verse 1 Peter 1:8-9 -”Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” This is so true of a Christian!


Or maybe my Life Verse is Mark 11:24 -Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Another great promise for us as children of God.


So, what is your Life Verse? What does it mean to you? Spend some time in God’s Word this week and search for a verse that guides your Christian walk. Here’s the real challenge: share your Life Verse with 3 people this week and ask them what their Life Verse is. I would love to hear your Life Verse too. Email me at lori at ilovecornerstone dot com or leave me a comment.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Independence Day


As I sit here typing this, I am thinking of where our nation started and where it is headed. I wonder if our founding fathers would even recognize the government that we now have? Would they be shocked at the size of the national government? Would they even be able to recognize this new experiment in democracy that they created? Would they marvel at how far we have come? Would they be saddened by what we have done? Are we basking in the freedom that they fought and died for? Or are we trying to become something they never intended for America?
Then I thought about our church. What would the twelve disciples think about the way we do church? What would Paul say to us if he were to write us a letter? What would Jesus do if He came to church today? What would Christ say about how I live my life? Am I living in the freedom that Christ died for? Or am I still a slave to sin and death? Thank God this week for the men and women who have died for our freedom in America and for His son’s sacrifice for our ultimate freedom. Then quit living like a slave and bask in the freedom that God has so richly blessed us with! God Bless America!

Friday, June 27, 2008

A few new pages and another freebie!

Here are a couple of pages that I made and a freebie from one of them. I can't believe that the little baby in my mom's arms is the same child eating the tomato....My how time flies!




This is a little something I made for a challenge over on gottapixel.com....Hope you love it!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Preview of PineappleSage kit and a Wordart Freebie


I'm working on a new kit, Pineapple Sage. It is named after one of the newest plants in my garden.
So far it has 2 bows, 3 flowers, 1 pair of glasses, 1 stamp frame, a doily and 12 papers.
As a thank you for visiting my blog, I have a freebie for you....
Just a little something for my scrapbooking friends, this is a piece of wordart that I created for my husband. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

My June Habit Focus - Dishes


I'm borrowing this and making it my own from Simplemom - This month, I’m going to focus on cleaning the kitchen after every meal. Sounds so easy, doesn’t it? You’d think.


Lately in my vain attempt to get my husband to help around the house, we’ve been letting the dishes just sit there. This week was very busy and I wasn't home most of the time. I suggested that the girls cook, so the boys, my husband and his son, do the dishes on Monday. They didn't, so I ended up cleaning up a stinking mess on several days later. It’s so discouraging, and it’s not how I want to end my day.


So starting today through the end of June, I’m going to clean up after every meal right after we’re done, so that after dinner, all I have left are dinner’s dishes. I’ll clear off the dining room table, put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and clean off the kitchen countertops from cooking.


What about you? What are your plans for the month? Remember, vocalizing your goals helps you stay accountable to your word, and it provides encouragement from everyone around you.
Please share your plans in the comments, or if you’re brave, post your habit focus on your own blog and share the link.


For more good reading, check out Steve Pavlina’s 30 Days to Success.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fear Not. . .


I was recently challenged to do a scrapbook page on my greatest fear and what they Bible says about fear. I did the page and listed my greatest fears and when I was satisfied with my accomplishment, I submitted the page. My greatest fears were:
  1. Losing my family

  2. Financial problems

  3. Not having my entire family in Heaven

  4. People not liking me

But then as I was sitting in church Sunday afternoon, God convicted me that I had not been honest with myself about my fears. My greatest fear is that I'm not good enough. I'm not a good enough wife; I'm not a good enough mother; I'm not a good enough friend, employee, or whatever. But most of all I am afraid that I'm not a good enough Christian. As I stood with outstretched hands toward Heaven singing, "In Your presence, I find peace, in Your presence, I find healing . . ." there was this still, small voice speaking to my heart. "No, you will never be good enough." Now for most folks, that might not seem very uplifting. "You don't have to be good enough, because I sent my Son to satisfy your failures. My grace is sufficient. My Son is better than good enough and I love you." In that moment, I stood in the presence of my Heavenly Father and basked in His love and peace. My prayer is that I won't forget this lesson and that with His help, I can give Him my fears.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The time is near....

I had a dream this morning that the day of the rapture was being preached from pulpits across the land. In the dream, Christians were preparing, because they knew the day that Christ was coming back. Christians were closing down their shops and giving away their possessions in anticipation for Christ's return. There was a supernatural feeling in the air like no other. Christians were deemed as crazy by nonbelievers. It was a very strange world, but then again it was a dream.

I woke up thinking, What would be different if Christians did know the day of Christ's return? How would we act? Would we be more actively telling nonbelievers about God's love for them? Would we be more giving and loving? Or would we just act like it was every other day and go about our normal business? The time is near though. The Bible says that we don't and won't know when, but that we should be looking forward to Christ's return.

Romans 13 says....8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet,"and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
11And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

The time is near.....are you ready?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Easy Chicken Parmesan

This is the recipe that everyone oooohhh's and aahhh's over. It is also one of the reason's that my husband married me. My husband and I love Semolina's International Pasta, so I looked at their Chicken Parmesan and made up a recipe based on what I thought it had in it. Recently, I have simplified this even further, but not using the bread crumb crust. I will write down both ways of doing it and let you decide what is best!



You will need for the traditional recipe:



2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus some extra for sprinkling on top

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup oil, your favorite kind...I use olive oil.

Adobe seasoning, found in the Latin foods isle of your local grocery, if not use garlic salt.

1 jar of your favorite tomato based red sauce, I like Ragu Robusto! Parmesan and Romano

1 container of your favorite alfredo sauce, I like to make my own and will post that recipe soon, but in a pinch I use Buitoni in the refrigerated section.

1/2 box of your favorite pasta, I like Ronzoni Smart Taste pasta because it has fiber and fills me up faster and longer.


Start your water to boiling and set out all your ingredients.


Pound your chicken breasts out to your desired thickness. I cut the chicken breasts in half to get 4 breasts, so I can stretch my grocery budget and keep from stretching my waistline. Sprinkle each one with a little Adobe.


Mix the cheese and bread crumbs.




Dredge the chicken breasts in the egg then the bread crumbs.


Fry the breaded chicken breast in the oil until completely cooked through.



While cooking the chicken breasts, I heat the two sauces in the microwave and cook the pasta. I'm also swinging my daughter in the swing that hangs in the dinning room doorway too, but that is totally optional for you. Yup, I can mulitask!



Drain the pasta. Drain the chicken on paper towels and prepare assembly.



Toss the pasta with the alfredo sauce. Make a mound of pasta on each plate. Top the pasta with a piece of chicken and then ladle some red sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.



If you want to simplify this further, don't beat or bread the chicken and cut the oil down to just 2 tablespoons.


Yummy!!!




Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Desire



What is desire? According to Webster’s, it is “to wish, long for, crave, or covet.” Vine’s Dictionary of the Bible, it is “a craving or lust.” Vine’s also reminds us that there are good desires and evil desires. So often in our lives, we pray for healing, for financial blessings, for peace, for freedom from trials and trouble, but often our desires are not God’s desires. Sometimes, I think God allows us the suffering to bring complete glory to Himself. We have to go through the valley to get to the mountaintop. No one desires to live in the valley of life, but the valley is where God is actively teaching through love and compassion. Sometimes, we desire to do things for God, but He tells us to wait. David desired to build the temple, which was a Godly desire, but not God’s will for him. God. What is your deepest desire? Is it for a quick end to a painful situation that you are in, is it a Godly desire that may not be God’s will for your life or is it that God would be praised in all of your life experience?
Max Lucado says it so perfectly, “In all of our thoughts, all of our actions, in every part of our character, the ruling principle that motivates and guides us should be the desire to follow Christ in doing the will of the Father.” Psalm 40:8 "I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."Proverbs 11:23 "The desire of the righteous ends only in good. . ."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Seeker Sensitive Ministry

Seeker Sensitive Ministry: It is all the rage now among churches. Churches are foregoing the preaching about sin, Hell and God, for a softer, gentler approach to ministry. Churches are evolving from the core valued taught in the Bible to fit the marketing strategies of the business world. Serving lattes and crumb cake with their scripture, seeker sensitive churches focus on the personal needs of people in the here and now, not the spiritual needs of people. Sermons are short, light and heavily decorated with humor. Pastors are becoming more like Jay Leno than Billy Graham. Seeker sensitive churches have gone so far as to say that churches need to remove the cross from the church's identity. Smaller churches look at the mega churches and try to figure out what they are doing right. Mega churches are able to offer lots of services; child care, workout rooms, private schools, fellowship groups. Mega churches are doing opinion polls to find out what people want in a church rather than looking to God to lead their church.

What does the Bible say about "seeker sensitivity"?

1. 1Peter 4:14 “If you are rejected for the name of Christ, Blessed are you, for the spirit and glory of God rests upon you."

2. Luke 6:22,23 “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for Joy! For great is your reward in Heaven. . ."

3. 2 Timothy 4:2 "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction."

4. John 15:18-20"If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘a slave is not greater than his master,’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also."

Today, my dad challenged me to study Psalm 119. Although, I have read it many times before, one verse jumped out at me tonight. Psalm 119:139:

My zeal wears me out, for my enemies ignore your words.
Oh! that we all had a zeal for our enemies like the psalmist! Where is your church? Are your trying to make everyone comfortable? Are you trying to entertain instead of correct, rebuke and encourage? Are you focused on providing services or teaching eternal life?
One more passage....For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." Romans 1:16-17
We are all called to tell people about this gift we have been given by Christ. The Bible says some will be offended. We can not stay silent any longer! Let the Holy Spirit move!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

In the Garden


Nebraska is a wonderful and magical place in my mind’s eye. I moved there when I was five and left when I was 11. I miss the snow up to my thighs and the streets that are lined up in perfect rows and columns that are numbered for ease of getting around. I miss getting lost in the cornfields when the stalks were taller than my daddy. When my family moved to Nebraska, we moved into a house with a large backyard. The yard had two of my favorite things, a garden and a swing. That vegetable garden taught me several lessons about life. Mom and Dad would take us out and give us hoes and rakes to break up the dry brown earth. It was some of the hardest work I have ever done. We would make perfect rows of beans, corn and cucumbers. “Don’t put the seeds too close together.” Mom would tell me. I never understood why we couldn’t just scatter all the seeds like we did the radish seeds. I do now; crowded plants like people struggle for light and resources. As the garden was beginning to sprout new life, we would go out and hoe again to give the sprouting seeds a better chance to grow. Dad taught me to recognize the weeds from the important stuff in the garden and in life. In the fall, we would take bushel baskets to the garden and harvest the fruits of our labor. My parents showed me how to tell when the vegetables were ready for picking and the patience to wait on those that weren’t.

Christianity is like a garden, We have to sow the seeds of the Gospel carefully and on good soil. We need to tend to the tender seedlings as they are growing. We have to hoe the weeds of sin and worldly influence out of the garden to help young plantings grow strong. Finally at harvest time, we have to realize that not all of the garden will be ready to harvest at the same time, but loving patience will prevail.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lessons on Praise



Recently, I had the opportunity to become a “Pixel Praiser” on one of my favorite digital scrapbooking websites. Pixel Praisers go through the gallery of scrapbook layouts online and leave happy little comments about the layouts that members have uploaded to the website. I decided to join this group mainly to fuel my digital scrapbooking addiction. Pixel Praisers have full access to a wide variety of free stuff to use in their scrapbooks.
In my quest to do a good job, I have been studying up on effective praise and have learned that whether you are praising adults or children or even praising God a few rules apply.
1. Praise specifically—If you want to develop a world class athlete for the New Orleans Saints, which would be more effective, “Great game!” or “I like the way you coordinated your body movements in that front block tackle.”? Likewise, God wants you to praise Him specifically for how He has blessed you. 2 Chron. 20:21 and Ps. 99:3-4
2. Praise effort not accomplishment—I found this to be strange, but studies show that kids who were praised on their intelligence often refused to attempt anything that was deemed harder that their last success. So, rather than telling a child that he is smart, congratulate him on his success and praise his effort. With God, often we don’t see the whole picture. God wants us to praise him in all things, because we know that all things work for our good. Romans 8:28
3. Praise builds a bridge to relationships—People like to be noticed for their hard work. I am amazed how people respond with just a little note of praise. In the same way, God is a personal God. The Bible tells us that we are the temple of God; that He dwells and walks with us. That is pretty personal, and through opening your heart to praise Him, you will build a closer relationship with Him! 2 Cor. 6:16
4. The more you praise the easier it is to praise—As you spend time praising others, you will find that the attitude of gratitude continues and becomes a habit. God desires our praises continually. Hebrews 13:15
Spend some time this week praising! Praise your family for their efforts. Praise your co-workers for helping you, but most of all praise God for the blessing that He has given you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Unplugged!



The water fountain at the office isn’t plugged in to the outlet. We have been in this office building for almost a year now, and the water fountain has never been plugged in to the outlet. I don’t know if the water fountain works if it were plugged in, or if it is unplugged because it doesn’t work at all. Maybe the owners of the office building are saving electricity or maybe the water fountain makes too much noise for the people in the office close to it when it is plugged in. Maybe someone in the offices in our building likes their water lukewarm or maybe the one of the custodians unplugged the water fountain to plug in their vacuum and just forgot to plug back in the water fountain. I like my water cold, so the water fountain has been a mystery to me for many months. I always wonder if I should plug it in to see if it works, but I’m a coward and never do. I just drink lukewarm water and wait for the day when we will be moving into our new offices.
People are like that water fountain. We pass them everyday; they serve us at our favorite restraint or grocery store. They live in our neighborhoods and subdivisions, but do we wonder if their spiritual life is plugged in to the Power Source of God? Do we stop to see if their spiritual life is working or broken. Or are we just cowards and wait to see if they happen to show up to church on Sunday? Our church is great at ministering to people when they come to church, but I want to issue a challenge to “plug in” the people you touch everyday in your life. We don’t have to drink lukewarm water. Maybe I should plug in the water fountain!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring Cleaning


It is spring cleaning time! My mom would get the bug to do spring cleaning, and that would always mean we children were on the floor with a bucket of soapy water and a rag cleaning the baseboards. I hated cleaning baseboards!
Spring cleaning would also mean that we would all be sent to clean our rooms. “Don’t come down until it is clean!” Mom would say. She would give us garbage bags to put throw away our trash and then she would want to go through the trash bags to make sure we didn’t throw away anything that we shouldn’t have. As most moms know for an eight year old, clean is a relative term! By eight years old, my brother had figured out that if he just dumped everything on the floor in the trash bag or stuffed it under the bed or in the closet, Mom would be happy and he could go on with life. I, on the other hand, was not so smart! Mom knew that if she just sent me to clean my room, I would go up there and start cleaning but then get sidetracked and start playing. Mom would call up, “Is your room clean?”
“It’s getting there.” I would call back down the stairs. I spent most of my childhood “cleaning my room.” The problem was Mom never taught me how to clean my room or explained the steps to get it cleaned. I’m the type of person that I need a list to keep myself organized, so today I want to give you a list to help with your Spiritual Spring Cleaning.
1. Get healthy/Cleanse your heart—Psalms 51:10—Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit.
2. Deep clean inside and out/Clean out your mouth—Philippians 2:14 –Do everything without complaining or arguing.
3. Take out the garbage/Renew your mind—Romans 12:2- Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
4. Clean out your closet/Repent from hidden sin -Psalm 32:3-5 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"—and you forgave the guilt of my sin
5. Get rid of old baggage/Release unforgiveness and bitterness -Hebrews 12:1 Therefore ... let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress...
6. Let the Son shine in/Involve Jesus in your daily life—1 Corinthians 1:9 God ... is the one who invited you into this wonderful friendship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
7. Learn to laugh and love life! - Psalm 126:2 -Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Well, it is mower season again! I know some folks are reading this and saying, “No, dear, mower season started several weeks ago.” I put it off as long as I could, but the weeds have taken over. I don’t mind mowing as long as:
· The grass isn’t too tall, the terrain is flat,
· The trash, toys and sticks are picked up,
· The mower is running smoothly,.
· There is plenty of gas,
· There are no rocks to be thrown.
· The weather isn’t too hot or humid.
Nope, I don’t mind mowing at all if all of the above conditions are met.
Isn’t that like telling someone about Christ? I don’t mind witnessing as long as:
· They are willing to listen.—Matt. 10:14, Luke 6:22-23
· They don’t ask questions that I can’t answer. Luke 12:12
· They are willing to follow the Roman Road to Salvation and not get off on all these sight-seeing trips. John 14:6
· They don’t want to do a doctrinal comparison of all the different religions. 1 Tim. 2:5
· They don’t bring up my past sins. –Eph 2:5
· They are ready to accept Christ! -1 Cor. 3:8
Sadly, when I was ready to mow Wednesday evening, it had been raining; the mower wouldn’t start; and the yard still had rocks and holes in it. Just like mowing, witnessing needs to be done. We are called to share our faith. The Bible has all the answers to my excuses. Stop making excuses and share Christ with others. Want more information on how to witness? Visit www.markcahill.org.

If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.
Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My first mini-kit

Well, I have started designing digi scrapbooking kits. This is my first one and I want to share the mini kit version to my blog readers. The colors were inspired by two of my daughter's favorite outfits. If you like it and would like the mini kit, leave me a comment and I will email you a link. Thanks!

Amazing Grace--My Chains are Gone, I've Been Set Free!



Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine
Written by John Newton and Chris Tomlin

I love this old tune and the additional chorus by Chris Tomlin just adds to it.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Another one of my weird ideas!

Well, that is the way that I presented it to my husband. He said something to the effect of aren't they all!

I decided to turn gardening upside down, but after looking at the $20---75 planters that they sell on the internet, I decided to make my own. I came across this site that shows how to make one out of store bought objects but that just didn't do it for my frugal side....so.....I decided to use those wonderful plastic buckets that I get with the kitty litter and food. Yes, I try to buy things in paper bags that can be composted, but the TidyCats Small Spaces litter comes in either a bucket or a jug. I have tried other litters, but that Small Spaces litter is the best! It is even better than regular TidyCats...I don't know what the difference is, but I digress.....

Here are some photos of my upside down cherry tomato plants. I should have painted the buckets before planting them, but I will get around to that later...


This is the bucket laying on the side with the tomato plant fed through the hole in the bottom of the bucket. The news paper is used to prevent the soil from fallling out the hole.


My Bonnie tomato plants say to bury 80% of the plant which I have never done before, but am doing it this year. This is supposed to help the tomato have a deeper, stronger root system since the stem will put out roots if it is planted. That is why you see green in the bucket there.


The twine was used to replace the handle which would have made the bucket hang crooked on the hook that we had.



This one shows the plant sticking out of the hole!

Here they are hanging up! I planted oregano seeds in one and basil seeds in the other. I'm hoping that this will serve as "living mulch" to prevent moisture loss.



Thursday, March 27, 2008

Don't take moldy bread!


Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask the counsel of the Lord. Joshua 9:14

At Bible study this week, we were reading Joshua chapter nine when this verse jumped out at me. Joshua is an account of the children of Israel’s trip into the Promised Land, and the battles that they had to fight to take the land. Now, I would think that if God had brought my family out of Egypt, allowed us to cross the Red Sea on dry land, fed us manna, gave us water from a rock twice, led us by a pillar of clouds and fire or one of the other 32 miracles of Moses, I would have faith in God to spare, but then again we so easily forget the provisions that God provides for us. In the story of Joshua, the children of Israel fight mighty battles with God’s help then fall into sin. God forgives them or tells Joshua to stone the sinner as in the case of Achan (Joshua 7).

In Joshua chapter 9, the men of one of the neighboring cities, Gibeon a city that Joshua has been told to destroy, came to Joshua in disguise and asked for a treaty. The men of Gibeon lied to Joshua and told them that they came from far away. They showed Joshua moldy bread and said it was fresh when they left for their journey. They showed Joshua their worn out shoes and clothes and begged for mercy.

Joshua and the other men of Israel took the bread and agreed upon the treaty; but they didn’t seek God’s counsel. They forgot to pray! They accepted the word of these men; they looked at the evidence and made a life altering decision.
How often do we take moldy bread for evidence and accept it as fact? Do we believe the lies that the world tells us and bring the enemy into our camp? Do we forget the promises of God?

As you face the challenges of life today, are you seeking the counsel of the Lord or are you falling for the lies that the world tells you? Is someone feeding you moldy bread? Remember the miracles of your forefathers and seek God’s counsel. He will lead you to the Promised Land.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Seems like yesterday....random thoughs...

Well, my baby is a little girl! Today is her second birthday! Happy Birthday Ellie!

It does seem like yesterday that I was bringing her home from the hospital, that I was waking up several times a night to feed her. She has grown from this helpless creature that required hours of care a day into a little tornado that can destroy a clean room in a moment's notice.

I have a quote from a very wise woman, Elizabeth Stone, that says, "Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." This is so true! As I watch my little one become more independent each day, I wonder how I will survive when she wants to borrow the car or walks across the stage in her cap and gown. Thankfully those days are far ahead of us! One day, she will be holding a child of her own and wonder those same things.

As I was passing David's Bridal the other day, is struck me that as young, single woman, I used to imagine myself in those beautiful gowns. Now I'm a mom and it isn't me in the window anymore...it is my daughter's future self looking back at me in the mannequins.

Happy Birthday, Ellie! We love you more than you can ever imagine!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here. He has risen!" Luke 24: 5-6

Praise the Lord!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Butter! I want butter!"

Well it is official! Ellie is speaking in complete sentences. This was one of her first. We were eating supper when my little one exclaimed, "Butter! I want butter!" She is definately my child. I love butter too, although I have stopped sticking my finger in the butter dish.

The other day, I caught Ellie, Cali and Snowball on the table taking turns at the stick of butter in the dish. We now keep the butter dish on the kitchen cabinet where she can't get it and closed where the cats can't get into it. Life is grand!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More Scrapbook pages!






Daddy's Gotcha!


The other morning, my daughter and I were awakened by one of the cats climbing in the mini blinds in the window above my bed. I tried to get him out of the blinds without waking EG, but when I pulled him, he dug his claws into the window sill and down came them mini blinds on top of my little one's head. Out popped the cat bearing claws and scratching EG's eye. EG started screaming! "Shhhhh! It's ok. Mommy's here. Mommy's here," I comforted her not realizing that she had a bleeding gash on her eyelid. I picked her up to survey the damage. Poor baby had a four inch scratch in her eye. She is fine now and her wound is healing, but it got me thinking about the comfort of a parent's arms. Whenever my little one wakes in the night, my husband or I will go pick her up and whisper those comforting words, "Mommy's gotcha." or "Daddy's gotcha." Sometimes as an adult when the whole world seems to be against me, I long for the comfort that can only come from a parent's loving embrace. Then I remember, I have a loving Heavenly Father that is always near. When you need the love remember these facts:

1.You Are God's Child - John 1:12-13
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. (NIV Bible)
2. God Loves You - 1 John 3:1
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are! (NIV Bible)
3. You Have The Assurance Of Eternal Life - John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV Bible)
4. He Put His Holy Spirit In You - 2 Corinthians 1:21-21 "Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come.
5. You Can Talk Directly To God - Matthew 7:7-11
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (NIV Bible)
6. Nothing Will Ever Separate You From His Love - Romans 8:38
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Daddy's Gotcha!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Grace, Grace, God's Grace!



Grace, Grace, God’s Grace! Grace that is greater than all our sins!
It really is an amazing thing, isn’t it? That the same God who made the Heavens and the Earth cares enough about me to send His only son to die for me. That even though I fail Him daily, He still loves me and wants what is best for me. It amazes me that when I pray His Holy Spirit speaks for me even when I don’t know what I need to pray.
The Bible says we are justified by grace. (Titus 3:7) Meaning that we are made righteous, not because of what we do, but because of what He has done for us. As Christians, we are the ONLY religion in which our salvation is based on grace. Every other religion is works based. Romans 11:6 tells us that our salvation comes from God’s Grace and not our works. We can’t earn it; grace is a gift from God.
In our Bible study, we have been studying about Joshua leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land. I was confused. Where is God’s Grace in the dealing with the people in each of these different cities? Why would God tell the children of Israel to destroy everything and everyone in the city of Jericho? Where was the grace for the people of Jericho? Then there was Rahab. She received God’s Grace, because she believed. In Joshua 2:11, Rahab proclaimed that the God of Israel was the God of the Heaven’s and Earth. She got it when everyone else in Jericho choose to fight. Rahab asked for grace! And Grace is what she received not only for herself, but for her entire family. Have you asked for God’s Grace today? He wants to give it to you.


Marvelous Grace of our loving Lord, Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt, Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured, There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt . . . Grace, Grace, God’s Grace, Grace that is greater than all our sins!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Gold Edges


Some of my fondest memories are of times spent sitting with my dad by his side as he taught me truths from the Bible. Once while we were sitting together with his worn Bible in his lap, I was fiddling with the pages. I was always intrigued by the gold edges on the pages. I would spread them out so they no longer shined then lined them back up, admiring the shiny gold edges. Dad asked me if I knew why they put gold on the edges of Bibles.


"It's pretty?" I responded.


"Nope," he said, "It is to remind you of the importance of being part of a church."


He explained that when the pages were separate, they weren't as shiny as when they were close together. Like Christians need the fellowship of other Christians to be at our best, the gold edges on the pages of our Bible don't shine as brightly without their "brother and sister" pages. Now, I know that his reason is probably something he made up, but for a young, impressionable, little girl, it was an object lesson than I have never forgotten.


People joke about the "Bedside Baptists" who attend "The Chapel of the Tube". Recently, major television news shows have focused on "internet churches" and propose that in the future churches will be online and people won't want to leave their homes to worship God. But television evangelists and Christian chat rooms will never be an adequate substitute for a church body. Christians need other Christians. We need to worship together. We need to fellowship with one another. We need to hold one another accountable.


Christians truly shine when we are with other Christians!


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Stretching

This was written for our church bulletin for Sunday. We will be moving, again. We are renting another church's building, but will be having church at 3:30pm instead of 10:30am....Big changes!

Are you comfortable today? Here you are sitting in a new seat in a new building. The worship team isn't in the right place. The service isn't starting at the right time. Everything is strange and new. So, are you comfortable? Probably not. Last week, we talked about how fabric stretches and how that applies to us as Christians. As I think about this new temporary building situation, I'm feeling stretched.

But stretching isn't a bad thing. Taffy has to be stretched to achieve the proper texture. Stretch-Arm-Strong was one of my favorite toys in my brother's toy box. Great inventors stretch their brains to create new wonderful things to make life better. Athletes must stretch to prevent injury. Even stretch marks can be a positive when they are the result of having a baby.

Without stretching, there is no growth. God doesn't want us to stay in the same situation. His desire is to move us into a greater ministry for Him. I think about how Hannah prayed for a son and promised God to give him back to God when he was weaned. How she must have felt when it was time to leave Samuel with Eli. As a mother, I can't imagine the emotions that she went through. The desire to have a child is so strong, but then to have to give up that child, it's inconceivable to me. We, like Hannah, have been given an incredible gift. With that gift, comes great responsibility. We must be willing to stretch, to invite others to come join us as we look toward the future.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Barak

When learning to sew, most people will eventually come across the term "bias" at some point. For me, it was after I had already cut the fabric the wrong way. Sewing on the bias is something that few designers attempt let alone home sewers. It is one of those mysterious qualities that fabric has can be used to work for a designer to make a fabulous outfit stretch in all the right places. For the novice sewer, sewing on the bias can make a fun afternoon of sewing become a nightmare.

Fabric has three different grains, straight grain, cross-grain and the bias. The straight grain of a fabric tends not to stretch at all. It holds its shape and would sooner rip than stretch. Cross-grain fabric has some stretch. It will keep its shape, but will give some without ripping at the seams. Bias, on the other hand, is very stretchy. It not only has enough stretch not to rip at the seams, but it can be very useful to making fabric hang just so on the body.

People are like fabric. Some are straight grain folks who see things only one way; there is no stretching them. Some are cross-grain folks; they will give a little, but if you stretch them too much they will come apart at the seams. Then there are those wonderful bias cut folks; they will stretch for days and they are great for adapting to different forms and figures.

I really feel like we are in a time of stretching by God. We have moved from our old building to the theater, now we are moving again to a new building and a new time while we wait for our building to be completed. How are you cut? Can you handle the stretching from God? Or are you coming apart at the seams? As we look toward the future, we need to be ready to stretch out of our comfort zones. Our Hebrew word for the day is barak, which is an act of adoration, kneeling expectantly and quietly before God. It seems so fitting in our time as a church that we need to kneel expectantly before God. Take time this week to get on your knees before God. Thank Him for stretching us and ask Him to show our church His Perfect will for us.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hallelujah!

Have you ever watched other people during worship service? At my old church, we choir members would joke about having the best seat in the house, because we were able to watch the entire congregation during the service. There were the benchwarmers, who looked as if they were just there to fulfill their weekly obligation; the note-takers, who were either very studious or maybe they were making out their grocery list; the sleepers, which included but was not limited to a choir member and a deacon; and the clock-watchers, who appeared to be more focused on the big clock on the back wall than what was happening in the front of the church.

There was one woman though that wasn’t like the rest. “Claire” would raise her hands in worship and sometimes even sway back and forth. Granted, she was pretty tame compared to most Pentecostals, but she was doing this in not only a Baptist church, but the biggest Southern Baptist church in town where quiet, orderly decorum if not followed would result in the elderly sitting on the third row of the piano side giving the offending worshipper a stern frown until they had the sense to slither back to their padded pew. One night at a high school function, I had the opportunity to talk with Claire. She had a genuine love for God and really wanted to let others know in the church that it was ok to express your feelings in worship. She wanted people to quit looking on the outward appearance of what was going on in the church and become intimate with the Savior. She said that she really wished more people shout, “Hallelujah!” (In most Baptist churches the only time Hallelujah is heard is when it is sung in Handel’s Messiah)

In my studies of words for praise in the Bible, I found Halal is the primary root in Hebrew for the universal praise word, Hallelujah. It means to shine, celebrate and rejoice in the Lord with a distinct sound. When was the last time you celebrated Jesus with a “Hallelujah”?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Tehillah

The other day, I sat and watched my daughter playing with an old stuffed tiger from the collection of toys I saved from my childhood. This tiger is over 30 years old; the faded, lime green, orange and yellow stripes are reminiscent of the groovy patterns in the early 1970’s. My child likes this old faded tiger more than the new toys that were given to her. She likes to wrap it up in her baby blanket and carry it around as she sings to it. So, I wonder, where does her song come from? Does she remember when I carried her around and sang to her? The joy in her eyes as she makes up new songs and sings them to the tiger is captivating to me. I love to sit and watch her play. She does not care who is watching or that the words don’t make sense to anyone but her. She just wants to sing.

God wants us to sing a new song, too. Tehillah is to sing a new, spontaneous song. It is a song from the heart. Sometimes it is called “singing in the spirit.” Tehillah takes time. It is where you set aside your schedule, your phone, your watch and just wait in God’s presence. It implies the total involvement of one’s self in praise. When was the last time you sang a new song? When was the last time you let yourself get lost in praise and worship? Forget about what the person next to you might think and spend some time in Tehillah today.

And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise [tehillah] unto our God: many shall see it, and fear and shall trust in the Lord. Ps. 40:3