Friday, January 29, 2010

The Danger of Pride

The past couple weeks in my chronological bible study, the focus has been on the book of Job. I have to admit, that until now, although I was familiar with Jobs story and how God had allowed Satan to test him by taking away everything he had, I have never actually read the entire book of Job.

I mean, seriously, who wants to read multiple accounts of Job complaining, his friends accusing, then Job complaining more, then his friends accusing him more, then Job complaining more and declaring his innocence, and then.... well, you get the picture.

But I have to tell you, God has really revealed so many truths to me over the past two weeks as a result of really digging in to all these conversations between Job and his friends and God, more than I can even talk about.

But I will begin by saying, that as a result of having never read the entire book of Job, for years I have pictured Job as this poor innocent man who was caused unspeakable suffering, simply because God wanted to prove his faith to Satan. I thought he was an incredibly strong man, who despite his suffering, continued in his faith without blinking an eye. But in actuality, that is not the story at all.

You see, Job was a faithful man. He loved his Lord. He spent much of his life doing good things and trying to please God. But in his heart, he felt prideful. The story leads us to believe, in my opinion, that Job had begun to think that his attempts to live a righteous life, and his good deeds, made him superior to others, and perfect in Gods eyes. That my friend, I think was his biggest mistake, and the real reason that God allowed suffering to be brought into his life.

Chapter after chapter, we are told of Jobs continued confusion, defiance, and claims of innocence, and how he continued to claim that he had never sinned, proclaiming his righteousness before God, and all the while, also proclaiming that God should be punishing the bad people, instead of him. In other words - God had messed up.

Needless to say, God does not mess up - ever. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-omnipotent, and there never has been and never will be any knowledge or power that surpasses his. So why would he choose to allow suffering to a man who had seemingly devoted his entire life to loving the Lord? It seems to all boil down to one point - his pride.

God hates a prideful man, or woman. Proverbs 11:2 says, "Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom", and Proverbs 16:18 says "Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall." Why do you think God despises pride so much? Why is it so sinful to believe that we are righteous or good or successful or attractive, especially if we have spent our lives trying to be a good person and a good servant? The answer is simply because pride can become a barrier between us and God, and that does not please God at all.

You see, Job felt so righteous and prideful that he eventually began to see himself as good as God. He was confident that he was sinless, and that he had done everything that could be done to please God. But in his heart, he was full of pride, and that pride brought him destruction.

Job had a great friend in Elihu, in Job 35 and 36. Here are just a few of the many, many truths that Elihu shared with Job, to help him see that his pride was a problem in his heart, but also to reassure him that God still loved and adored him, and wanted to save him from future problems:

Job 35:12 And when they cry out, God does not answer because of their pride.

Job 35:5 God is mighty, but he does not despise anyone! He is mighty in both power and understanding.

Job 35:7 If they are bound in chains and caught up in a web of trouble, He shows them the reason. He shows them their sins of pride.

Job 35:15 But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer. For He gets their attention through their adversity.

Job 35:16 God is leading you away from danger, Job, to a place free from distress.

Elihu is careful to point out that Jobs works meant nothing to God, it was his heart that God cared about, and God was willing to do whatever it took to get Jobs attention, and unfortunately, that meant suffering. But although God allowed this suffering, he sent friends to mourn with him, he sent friends to argue with him and cause him to start doubting himself and his existence, and he sent Elihu to gently draw him back in Gods presence and help him again see the loving God.

Nobody wants to suffer - and even moreso, nobody wants to suffer as a result of their own actions. Today it might be time for us all to consider how much we really think of ourselves. Although we love the Lord, do we possibly do things in order to gain His approval? Are we always doing these good deeds with the right heart, or because we think it makes us look good in our church or community? Do we see ourselves as better than other people, because of our strong faith and good deeds?

It is a fine line to consider, and I can attest to the fact that we have to swallow a lot of humility to do this kind of self examination. But in the end, dont we all desire that God love us for our hearts, not for our deeds? Dont we all know deep down, that we can never be like God, because we are born as sinners, even if we think our sins arent 'all that bad'?

Every believer longs for the day when they when they meet God face to face, and can hear the words, "you have been My good and faithful servant". If we serve God with the right heart, without pride standing in the way, I feel confident that we will hear these sweet words, and what a glorious day that will be. :)

Prayer for the day: Lord, please expose any pride in my heart that needs to come out. Help me to see myself for who I am, nothing less, and nothing more. Cleanse my heart and nudge my soul each time pride tries to creep back in. Make me aware of times when I am judgemental or critical of others, and prick my conscience when I am beginning to feel superior in any way. Thank you Lord for loving me enough to remind me when I need to turn back to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Quitting vs Persevering

Have you ever wanted to throw in the towel, and just be done with a situation once and for all? Have you ever wanted to just walk away and leave it all behind?

I know I have, especially when my emotions get tied into the situation, and my feelings start doing the thinking instead of my brain. In fact, sometimes I find myself thinking that it would be easier to surrender to defeat, admit there is no hope for improvement, and just quit, rather than choosing to persevere.

The question I have to ask myself though, when I finally start referring to what my brain thinks and not my heart, is whether or not the consequences of that quitting will be worth it....and usually the answer is no.

I heard about a book today called 10-10-10, by Suzy Welch which I may buy to read soon. But the description discusses how Suzy gives the suggestion that whenever you are faced with a decision, ask yourself three questions, which are: What are the consequences of my decision in 10 minutes? In 10 months? And in 10 years? Sounds simple enough, but the decisions we make each day can have huge consequences on our life, now and in the future.

Those consequences can occur in 10 minutes, 10 months, or in 10 years - or all three and some times in between. So when it comes to quitting on something or someone, we really have to take time to make the best decision, rather than making knee jerk reactions based on feelings or emotions. I have found, that the best choice is usually not to be a quitter, or at least not until you have prayed about it and feel confident that quitting is the decision God wants you to make. Think about it, we tell our kids that they cant be quitters, so why should we get any more leniency than them?!

The truth is, that the desire to quit is natural, and also universal. People all over the world, of all ages and genders consider quitting something every day. Students want to quit school, people want to quit jobs, spouses want to quit on their difficult marriages, friends want to quit on each other when conflicts arise, family wants to become estranged when they cant get along.

We think if something is not turning out to be the deal we signed up for, but instead is an ordeal we dont like, then we decide we want a new deal.

But the problem with quitting, is that it leads to more quitting. As we walk away from problems or people or situations, looking for the new deal that will certainly be better than the one we have, we may actually find it temporarily. But what happens when the new deal becomes an ordeal as well? That thought of quitting creeps in again. It can become a life altering cycle. The more we do it, the easier it becomes, and the consequences can be in 10 minutes, 10 months, or 10 years.

The good news is that perseverance leads to more perseverance, which leads to victory.

Today my son was complaining about having to go to school, again, because at ten years old, he simply does not realize the huge importance that an education will have on his future. All he sees, is that he hates getting up early, he hates having to sit in class, and he hates homework. So I began to tell him that sometimes we have to go through things we dont enjoy, but that we have to persevere. And even more important, we have to choose to have a good attitude and trust that God knows best and has a plan, while we are in the process of trying to persevere.

I tried to help him understand by telling him about a similar situation I used to be in. I once worked for a large international firm in a very stressful, demanding environment. On more than one occasion, I drove to work in tears, with knots in my stomach, dreading my arrival to the office. But I knew that I had to persevere, for the good of our finances and my family. And after several years, I realized that while I thought I was just trying to get through each day, that God had a reason for that suffering.

You see, so many of the skills and talents that I learned and developed in that position, were the skills that God needed me to learn before I could step out in faith and do what He had eventually called me to do. I did not know that at the time, and believe me, I wanted to quit more times than I can count, but I persevered, and realized that God rewarded me for not quitting until the time was right, and under the right conditions.

Was persevering fun? No way. Did I enjoy it? Of course not. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Just like my son needs to continue going to school because that is what is best for his future, we are called to persevere in our own situations because we trust that God is at work, and that He knows best.

Think back on a time when you stuck with something that was hard, painful, or difficult, but your perseverance paid off. Maybe it was a job, maybe it was a relationship, maybe it was a child, maybe it was a marriage. Think about how good it felt when you realized that all your hard work paid off, and what a blessing it was to see how God had been at work all along. Remembering those times helps me face the situations that I am trying to persevere through now. It helps me to stay focused on the fact that God really does have a plan.

Whatever the case, perseverance is what God calls us to do. Anyone can quit, but it takes a special person to persevere. As for believers, we have the extra benefit of seeking the power of the Holy Spirit to give us strength, when we are flat wiped out of our own strength. We have the power of God within our reach, to walk us through hard times, which can cause the desire to quit to become blurred as we keep focused on what God may have in store for us when we become an overcomer.

The last couple years that I worked in that difficult position, God stalked with me a verse. A verse that I underestimated and didnt quite understand, until I began to see a few pieces of Gods plan begin falling into place.

That precious verse was 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.

God had a plan for my trials then, and I believe that His promise in Jeremiah 29:11 holds true for the things I am facing today as well.

So today, I choose not to quit. I choose to have a new attitude. I choose to forgive. I choose to love. And I choose to put my trust in God, and wait for more puzzle pieces to begin to fall, in the hopes that soon, I can reap the rewards of perseverance, and see His sovereign plan becoming a reality in my life.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Our Savior, Our Helper

Sometimes I wonder where my daughter got it, then I remember that she probably got it from me.

My sweet daughter, who is also my middle child, has the trait of stubbornness. In fact, sometimes I get so frustrated with her hard headed-ness, that I just stop and stand in total confusion of how her brain actually works.

Just this weekend for example, her hard headed-ness reared its ugly head again.

She has always had long beautiful hair, all one length, but recently decided she wanted to try a new look. She had been begging me for weeks to get her hair cut, so this weekend, I finally gave in and took her to the beauty salon. She had several inches of golden locks cut off, while I quietly cringed each time one of those locks floated to the floor, and for the first time in her life, she has bangs. Who knew that bangs could bring such joy?!

She admired her new look all evening, and loved her new haircut so much.... until the following morning that is, when she had to fix her new style at home.

For some reason, which us women can understand completely, her new beloved bangs were not seeming quite so lovely. Despite her efforts, she simply could not make them look the same as the hairdresser did. But... she DOES NOT need my help. She does not need her sisters help. She does not want my advice. She does not want her sisters advice.

In fact, she would apparently rather have her hair jutting out in all directions from her head, than allow me, much less her sister, to help her learn how to fix her new hairstyle... because.... SHE CAN DO IT ALL BY HERSELF! Or so I was told, more than once.

My countless offers to help and pleas to get my hands on her bangs went ignored, as she continued to stand her ground and repeat that she did not need any help.

It got me to thinking about how much she takes after me, as I think back about all those years in my life where I spent so much time and effort trying to do things in my own power and strength and ability, instead of seeking out Gods direction, strength, and help. I began to reflect on how I once thought I was so independent, and how that pride kept me from benefiting from the help that God had to freely offer.

I think we all start out pretty hard headed in life. Babies want to learn to walk, so they can have freedom to move. Toddlers have a stubborn mindset to say the least. Kindergartners want to tie their shoes or brush their own hair without our help, because they want to do it themselves. Middle schoolers begin to exhibit more and more signs of desiring independence, and high schoolers are just a whole new league of I-can-do-it-myself'ers.

The truth is, that our human nature is such that we are born with a desire for independence, and a desire to accomplish things without the help of others. But Gods nature is such that He allows us to try to do life on our own, until we come to a point where we have nowhere else to turn, except Him.

I spent years trying to climb the corporate ladder at a place where I worked, which caused me immense stress, frustrations and disappointments, only to find out that working there was not Gods plan for me at all.

I spent years trying to strengthen my marriage through my own efforts and words, only to find out that what I really needed to do, was pray for Gods intervention and guidance.

I spent years in emotional turmoil over my sisters chronic illness, only to realize that peace and comfort, especially in the midst of heartbreak, can only from God.

I spent years living with guilt and shame over past mistakes I made in my life, and trying to fill those holes in my heart with people, things and accomplishments, only to find out that God held the key to forgiveness, compassion and healing all along.

Why do we spend so much time trying to do things in our own strength, when God already has all the answers and power that we need? Why do we think that we are capable of handling life on our own, when God tells us in His Word that He holds the key to our happiness? Why does it sometimes take us a lifetime to realize that not only do we desperately need Gods help, but that He freely offers that help the second we ask for it?

The answer is simple hard headed-ness. An extreme stubborness that becomes a hindrance in our walk with Christ, and a road block in the journey to living the life that God intended for us.

God is our helper, if we seek His help. Just to name a few, here are some verses that reiterate that fact to us:

Psalms 28:7 (NKJV) The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.

Psalms 30:10-11 (NKJV) Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper!" {11} You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

Psalms 42:5 (NKJV) Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.

Psalms 46:1 (NKJV) God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

Psalms 54:4 (NKJV) Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is with those who uphold my life.

Psalms 60:11 (NKJV) Give us help from trouble, For the help of man is useless.

Have you been struggling with something in your life and despite all your best efforts, the situation is not improving? Have you found yourself at wits end with trying to make things happen in your life the way you want them to? Have you been wondering if your problem or issue can ever really be resolved because you have already exhausted every effort?

If you can relate to any of those questions, and feelings of frustration or hopelessness, maybe you have been seeking help from all the wrong places. Maybe you have been relying on your own intelligence, skills, and efforts, instead of stopping to seek Gods direction, help and divine power. Maybe you have simply been too stubborn to ask for help, even though you know you really need it.

Just maybe... you have been trying to fix your bangs all by yourself, even though God is standing right beside you, hoping that you will surrender your will over to Him, and allow Him to step in and provide the help and hope that you need.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Compassion for Haiti

The devastation is Haiti is so hard to watch on the news every day. It breaks my heart to see the destruction, death, heartbreak and loss that those people are experiencing. It is also heartbreaking to think that Haiti was already a country with monumental challenges and overwhelming poverty before this earthquake struck, and now, things are worse than anyone could ever have expected.

It has changed my perspective on how blessed I am. I have always felt blessed and appreciated those blessings, but I dont think I appreciate them enough.

Over this past week, every time I go to put some leftover food down the garbage disposal, the face of an orphaned, hungry, impoverished child comes to mind. Every time I turn on the water faucet and clean water comes flushing out, I think of a family who is drinking water out of a dirty puddle. Each time I take some Advil for a headache or a little pain, I think of all the people who are severely injured, with not even an aspirin to take.

This situation in Haiti seems so hopeless, and if you are like me, you may feel helpless as well. But there are things we can do to help, and although there are plenty of things about America that I wish were different, I am proud to live in a country that reaches out a helping hand to those in need, even if they are in other countries who have never done anything for us in the past.

Compassion International plays a huge role in Haiti, by partnering with 228 churches there, and sponsoring 65,000 children. Approximately 6,000 of those children live in the Port-Au-Prince area, but over 15,000 Compassion sponsored children have been affected. Unfortunately, there is proof that many of those children have died, and many are still suffering. There are Compassion staff in Haiti who have also died, and some are injured or still missing. These are people who cared so much about the life of these little children, that they gave all they had, and most will continue to do so.

If you have been wondering how you could help the people in Haiti, but unsure which of the many opportunities out there to get involved with, will you consider Compassion? Below are some ways that you can begin to help the people of Haiti, all the while knowing that your donations and assistance are being handled properly, and will get to the people who need it.

Online giving through Compassion can be done at Compassion's Disaster Relief Fund Donation forms for individuals, churches and businesses can be found on this website. If you are a child sponsor, please write in your Adv # and your appropriate source code, but you do not need to be a sponsor to donate funds.

If you are interested in keeping updated on what Compassion is doing in regards to Haiti relief efforts, you can visit their blog at; or Twitter; or Facebook; or on the Crisis Update Page on .

This is a great time to the be the hands and feet of Jesus, to people who may not even know who Jesus is. And today, I will get on my knees, and thank God for all the little things that I normally take for granted, and be keenly aware of everything that God has allowed me to be blessed with.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

The Quest for a Radical Transformation

Romans 12:2 says, "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."

So many Christians are familiar with this verse, and it is quoted quite often in churches, but have you ever dug deep to figure out what the word "transformation" really means, and it is really possible for a person to be transformed?

The word "transformation" comes from the Greek word μεταμόρφωσις, which means, metamorphosis. To me, the term metamorphosis more clearly describes what God means when he tells us to be transformed through His power. You see, when something experiences metamorphosis, it completely changes.

An example of a true metamorphosis would be an insect that completely changes its biological structure. For instance, what starts out as a tiny larvae, turns into a worm, then builds a cocoon, and emerges as a butterfly. The insect completely changed from one state to another, from the inside out.

That is what Romans 12:2 is encouraging us to do in Christ - to allow Him to change us completely. Not partially. Not just the areas that we dont mind changing. Not just the things that we wanted to change. But completely.

A 19th century German philosopher named Friedrich Nietzsche was best known for his statement "God is dead". The death of God movement in the sixties is sometimes technically referred to as "theothanatology" and promotes the belief that humans are no longer able to believe in any supernatural order since they themselves no longer recognize it - which basically means, that since there was no evidence that peoples lives and hearts were changing as a result of their belief in God, then He must certainly be dead.

Obviously to me, and anyone else who claims Jesus as the only Savior of the world, this is an extremely offensive statement, and a grossly false assumption, because we know and believe that the Holy Trinity is alive and well.

However, did Nietzsche have a point with his underlying comment that if you cant see real life change in people who claim to believe in God, then God must not really be present in their lives? I think he did.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, and commit to living a life that brings glory to Him, we are each to experience a radical transformation - one that people can see happening in us.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

When we truly undergo a radical transformation of the heart, mind and soul, our outward behaviors and actions will become a new creation, obvious to all who see us. So if we say we are in Christ, but there is no metamorphosis occurring in our life, are we really a new creation?

We are not impressed by looking at an ugly gray cocoon, but we are always impressed by the beauty and splendor of a butterfly when it emerges from that cocoon. Now our goal is not to impress anyone, but our goal should be for others to see the transformation that has happened to us, because of our love for Christ, which then becomes a witness to people around us who need to find Christ for themselves.

If we truly have a desire to follow Christ, then our hearts will be filled with a longing for Him to change us - even if it hurts - even if it means making some sacrifices - even if it means no longer doing things that we once enjoyed - even it means ending some relationships - even it means pulling away from friends that are not a good influence - even if it means breaking some habits or addictions.

Radical transformation involves removing those barriers that I just mentioned above, which are keeping us from becoming that new creation. Simply put, anything or anyone that causes us to stumble in our faith, needs to be removed from our life.

Becoming a Christian, and living a life that is indicative of faith, takes a commitment to allow God to continually work on transforming us. Radical transformation does not happen overnight, it takes time, effort, perseverance, and faith. It takes a willingness and an inner desire to become that new creation.

It is a brand new year. What better time to embrace the concept of "out with the old, in with the new", and embrace the opportunity to be radically transformed.

The Quest for a Radical TransformationSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, January 15, 2010

More exciting things going on!

We have so many exciting things going on at Proverbs 31 these days! I told you about the Encouragement Extreme event earlier in the week, but today I wanted to tell you about two other exciting things happening that you may want to check out!

My sweet friend and Proverbs 31 sister, Melanie Chitwood, released her new book yesterday, and you need to run out and get a copy!

Building on the success of her book to wives, What a Husband Needs from His Wife (more than 30,000 copies sold), Melanie turns the tables and offers husbands practical ways they can love their wives more effectively and build successful marriages. Convinced that small changes can make a huge difference in a marriage, Melanie provides an upbeat and inspiring challenge for husbands. Men will appreciate this “insider’s perspective” on the way a woman thinks about the relational topics that are most important to her, including ways a husband can…assure his wife of his love learn to be an effective listener become more understanding of her thoughts and feelings grow as the leader, protector, and provider she needs him to be develop a richer sexual relationship overcome and grow through challenges. Perfect for individual or group use by husbands of all ages.While you are at it, you can order a copy of "What a Husband Needs From His Wife" and you and your spouse can read them together!

My other sweet friend Wendy Blight, was interviewed by Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine on Family Life Today. That show will be airing next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nationally, and in the Charlotte and surrounding areas, it will air on 106.9 from 9:30am-10:30am. Wendy shares her story as told in her book, Hidden Joy, of how God's Word healed her pain and brokenness from being a victim of a terrible crime.If you, or someone you know, has suffered sexual assault, abuse, or any tragic event in their lives, this radio interview is for you.

If you do not live within a few hours of Charlotte, you can listen online at, or look for a local listing in your area from the Family Life Today website.

Have a great God-filled weekend!

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Encouragement Extreme Women's Event

There is a super exciting event going on in Greensboro the weekend of January 29th and 30th, and I wanted to tell all my friends about it! It is going to be an EXTREME event to help you live an extreme life for God, trust me, you dont want to miss it!

My Proverbs 31 sister Luann Prater, along with Carol Davis of the Billy Graham Radio Ministry at 106.9 The Light radio station, in addition to Ramona Davis, co-host of Encouragement Cafe, will be the speakers at this life changing event for women.

If you think you might be interested in going, get signed up quickly, because space is limited and time is running out!

The Encouragement Cafe radio show is who is hosting this Encouragement Extreme Womens Event. The event is only $119, which includes an overnight stay at the Embassy Suites on Friday night, entrance to all conference sessions, all conference materials, and breakfast and lunch on Saturday.

For more information, visit Luanns website, or the Encouragemente Cafe site.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Tired of Waiting, but Waiting Still

Do you ever get tired of waiting on God to answer your prayers? I am feeling that way today. Just tired. Tired of saying the same old prayers day after day, month after month, year after year. Tired of telling God about the same old problems that are still going on. Tired of hearing myself talk about the same old problems that are going on. Just tired. And honestly, wondering if God is as tired of hearing about them, as I am praying about them.

This morning I was sitting here staring at my Bible, hoping that God would suddenly color a couple sentences with yellow highlighter to help me clearly understand what He is doing behind the scenes, and that my waiting is not in vain!! I knew I would feel better if I could just get a little message from God this morning.

And you know what? He did just that.

Today's reading in my Chronological Bible was about Abraham and his descendants. After I got through reading all the genealogy information, which can get a little tedious, I began to read about the births of Jacob and Esau, the sons of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham.

Now this is a story that I am very familiar with, where Rebekah bears twin sons with Isaac, and that Esau was red and hairy when he was born, and Jacob was grasping Esau's heel.

But as I read through the pages, God did highlight a sentence for me - not with yellow highlighter, of course, but in my heart. After reading this sentence, my eyes averted right back to the beginning, and I read it again. I believe that God illuminated that verse in my spirit and it suddenly gained new meaning.

That sentence can be found in Genesis 25:26, which says that Isaac was sixty years old when his twins were born. Honestly, I really never paid much attention to how old Isaac was, and maybe to you, that sentence does not seem that mind blowing.

But today this verse jumped out at me, because I had just read in Genesis 25:19, that Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah. Let's do the math here - twenty years! Isaac had waited twenty years for God to answer his prayers for Rebekah to bear him some children.

Twenty years?! Wow, that is a long time to wait for anything. But the important truth here, is that Isaac never gave up hope that His Lord could make the impossible, become possible, and that His Lord was listening to his prayers.

Another thing that stuck out to me today was in Genesis 25:21, where it says "Isaac pleaded with the Lord". The word "pleaded" is a strong word, which actually means to appeal or ask earnestly for something, and to use arguments or persuasions to try to get someone to come around to your point of view.

So it appears through this verse, that Isaac did not simply just ask God to give him some sons, he begged. He pleaded. He probably laid face first on the ground on more than one occasion over those twenty years and poured out his heart to God. He probably let God know all about how he was feeling, his concerns, his hurts, and his disappointments. The fact that he "pleaded" with God, sounds as if he had heated prayer time with God, telling God all the reasons why he needed his prayer answered. And I can only imagine that he probably spent a lot of time gently persuading God that if He answered his prayers that He would surely be glorified through it.

I can relate to Isaac doing that, because I too find myself pleading to God sometimes, and trying to explain to him how badly I want Him to answer my prayers. I have found myself telling God that I would give him all the glory if He would just answer those prayers. I would make it worth His blessing. Please, please, please God? And how about right now?

But this passage reminds me that God not only listens, understands, cares and hears.... He answers. Maybe not when we want, or how we want, but He answers.

Maybe it will take twenty years to get His answer to my prayers. Or maybe it will take twenty minutes. But today, I am finding peace in being reminded that God is not unaware of my concerns or my hurts, and He is not tired of hearing from me, but instead, He is just waiting until the right time.

Today, I choose to pray for patience in the waiting, and strength to believe that one day, my prayer will be answered.

Tired of Waiting, but Waiting StillSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, January 4, 2010

Out of Shape

On this first Monday of 2010, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Yep, I checked off all my to-dos and did the things that any good girl should do to kick off a new year.

I started back on my nutritional eating plan by eating a white egg omelet with tomatoes and some cottage cheese; got the kids to school on time; came home and worked out for an hour; did some housework; and read todays Bible reading; and the rest of the day I plan to work on some ministry work that I have let slip over the holidays.

Although these are simple things that I typically do, what I realized was that I was sorely out of shape in doing all of them, and as a result, they took a lot more effort than usual.

You see, as most people do over the holidays, I let my desire for yummy goodies and delicious casseroles outweigh my focus on healthy eating habits. I didnt have to take anyone to school for two weeks so I could stay in bed a while longer than usual in the mornings. I was too busy to do my exercise each morning because I had too much shopping and other fun stuff to do. And it was hard to set aside time to focus on Gods Word daily while the kids were home and the overall busyness of the season consumed my attention.

So when I went to do all those things this morning with great intentions,honestly, it was kind of hard! I realized that everything took extra effort, from getting up when the alarm sounded, to finding the energy to get through my workout, to making myself sit down and have my quiet time.

I realized I was out of shape in every area!

I know that as each day passes this week, each thing will get easier and my normal routine will soon fall back into place. But my point this morning, is that I have been reminded that when we let things slip, there are consequences.

If we sleep in, its harder to get up early when we have to. If we dont excercise, we lose stamina and gain pounds. If we dont spend time with God each day, we forget to seek His guidance and may stumble in our faith walk.

I have given a lot of thought to what my New Years resolutions would be this year. I have gone back and forth about the things that I hope to accomplish this year and self improvement areas. But the result I came to after all that thought and prayer, was that I have decided not to make any resolutions.

Instead, I have decided to be more committed to the things that are important in my life, and to the things that I feel God sees are important. Not that personal goals are not important, because they are crucial to success in every area of our life, but sometimes I think we get caught up making surface level, tangible goals, instead of goals that will impact our heart, our life, and the lives of others.

So, rather than setting a weight loss or clothes size goal for myself this year, I am committing to continuing my exercise and eating plan each day, and remembering that I am Gods temple, however, allowing myself some grace when I fail.

I am committing to being the best wife and mom that I can be, trying to be a Godly example, and always making my family my top priority, however, allowing myself some grace when I fail.

I am committing to focus on my speaking and writing ministry, continually striving for growth and improvement, and embrace opportunities to walk through any new doors that God opens, however, allowing myself some grace when I fail.

And lastly, I am committing to read the Bible in its entirety this year, however, allowing myself some grace when I fall short of my goal.

I am looking forward to living out each day with these goals in mind, but I am especially excited about reading the whole Bible! I have always wanted to, but never felt like I could do it, but God has placed in me such a desire to not only know His Word better, but to extract life applications and guidance that I have missed out on before, that I believe that He will help me be thirsty for His Word and meet my goal by years end.

My husband and I are both partnering with my good friend and fellow P31 sister Wendy, who is leading a one year class at our church on this one-year Chronological Bible study, but also offers an online study on her blog with comments each day about the daily reading. Its a great way to keep ourselves accountable, and further motivate us to keep striving for the goal. Plus I am looking forward to sharing what God speaks to my heart each week with all of you!

Can you imagine how amazing we will feel, if this time next year, January 2011, we can honestly say that we have read the entire Bible?! Not for purposes of bragging,and not just so we can say we actually read all those pages, but because our faith walk, and our dependency on God will be at a level that we never experienced before - and that is something to be excited about! If you want to join us on this journey, just click here.

Maybe you have recognized that you are out of shape physically, and made a resolution to get in better shape this year. Is it possible you might be out of shape with God too? If so, this is a great new years resolution to work on - getting back into faith shape! Trust me, once you realize that you are at a different level of faith through your commitment to spending daily time with God, it will be far more satisfying than anything your scale could tell you.

And remember - whatever your goals/resolutions are - allow yourself some grace when you fail, and dont give up! We all fall short of the glory of God, and fall short of our own expectations, but if we pick ourselves up and start over again, even if time and time again, God will reward our efforts and our commitment, and walk beside us as we strive to be the person we desire to be.

Happy new year!

(If you want to purchase the One Year Chronological Bible, click on the link. You can also get a daily reading schedule here and use your regular Bible if preferred.)

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