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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Authentic Compassion?


For these past few weeks, I have been writing on Love…some of what I write is from experience and some is from what the Lord and I are pondering together…but this week my heart has been really challenged…I am having to ask myself some hard questions…


Is my love…is my growing compassion authentic? Is God answering this prayer? I realize it is all a process and we can never exhaust learning how to walk in His love…but every so often it is good to have reality check…and that I did…



“It is a solemn thought that our love for God is measured by our everyday relationships wit others. Except as its validity is proven in standing the test of daily life with our fellowmen, 
our love for God my be found to be a delusion.” Andrew Murray

Compassion… a word talked about in the blog world…I have seen it beautifully walked out through the blog world…compassion for the poor, the orphan, the homeless.  I am so thankful I am being awakened…and I know I can feel compassion from a distance.  But do I up close?…do I when it is family?… do I when I see how addiction continues to blind?…do I even when witnessing all the choices of the past…all the pain these choices inflict on the family…when I watch someone over and over refuse God’s kindness? Do I feel compassion for one united so closely by earthly blood but so far away, not yet joined by the heavenly blood?

Here is the conflict…I am responsive to the needs of others…I will pray when someone asks for prayers…when Kristin writes her stories of the homeless…I pray…when the cry for prayers go out for someone’s salvation…I pray…but how long has it been since I have really prayed for the one so close to me…I mean really prayed for his healing…really prayed for his salvation…oh, I have had moments…but I must admit over the years…watching all the choices…seeing all the pain it caused loved ones…my heart has grown hard…not ruled by compassion.

There is a lot of history here…there were times of really being engaged in this life…but over the past years I have grown cold…maybe tired or thinking it was hopeless…I have chosen to look the other way…just like I used to with the other people in this world who could be marginalized.  Looking away is easier…not so costly...at least in the short term.

So when I felt this conflict…it made me stop…reflect and take a good honest look at myself…and I was found wanting…I am so thankful to God that His mercies are new every morning.  Because this morning I saw my lack…gave it to Jesus and will now let Him deepen His Love in me and make my compassion more authentic. 

So I took a baby step…made a phone call…15 days sober…maybe still not turning to God in the struggle…but I know God will meet him in the midst of the struggle…and work His compassion into me.


Would you lift a prayer with me  for healing...wholeness...salvation?

Other posts on Love...

Please join me as I link-up @ Journey Towards Epiphany and with Ann.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Evolutions In Homeschooling


Sometimes giving thanks awakens us to blessings we can take for granted…
and homeschooling can be one of them...
  I have now homeschooled for some 24 years...
and over all these years there has been so much growth and opportunities afforded.

This evolution has taken us from choosing from a few curriculums…
 to now almost being overwhelmed with all the choices…
but one of the biggest changes I have seen is in the area of sports.

When my older sons played, the programs were just getting to a good competitive level…
but we were thankful to have a place for our boys play. 
Because for us…it wasn’t just about playing but learning …
learning all we believe sports can teach. 
Yes, sports can teach a lot of negative things…
but with the right perspective… sports can be beneficial in the maturing process.


My 26 year old son (he helps coach his brother’s homeschool team) says what sports should be better than I could….
It’s long but I promise it is worth taking the time to read…
especially those with young children.

             …”Many Christian sports organizations often say they want to be more than just the sport they play, they want it to be about developing boys to men, about spiritually equipping young men, and about building character. While I think this sentiment is sometimes overplayed with people in leadership (tending to spout off 'coach talk' and not really investing in their words), I whole-heartedly agree with this philosophy. I believe there are so many parallels when it comes to basketball and our walk with Christ but here is one in particular I've come to appreciate.

            Parallel: As we build our relationship with Christ and walk in His love for us, He draws us out of our self-centered, egocentric focus here on earth and calls us to something much greater than ourselves, to accomplish so much more than anything we could be capable of on our own.

            In a similar way, the game of basketball draws individual players out of their egocentric focus and calls them to something much greater than themselves= the team. When players commit to a cause that is not just for personal edification and success, but rather, invests in the team and the cause greater than his own, this is when a team truly succeeds. No longer is the focus on personal success, it is on the achievements of the team as a whole....right where it should be. A team can accomplish something so much great than anything an individual could if left to himself.

            Another statement that I hear often is that "sports builds character". While many people believe in this idea, I want to take it one step further (with inspiration from the great John Wooden).  I believe 'sports reveals character', and 'Christ builds/changes character'. The reason sports reveals character is because of the intense pressure it can place on a young man during a time when he cannot always control his environment. At these moments, a player will always revert back to his character or foundational principles. If a young man has not allowed God to lay his foundation, the reactions shown on a court usually will be one of self-centeredness or human nature. Now that's not to say someone who has a weak moment on the court does not have a foundation centered on Christ. I have had my own fair share of moments. But when those times arise, it 'reveals' something within my heart that God does not yet have control over in my life. Reflect and ask God what is rooted in me that caused me to act or react in such a way. Is it insecurities? Pride? Anger? Need for control? When we ask these questions about our 'revealed character' to the Father, he will show us the areas in our hearts that we have yet to yield unto Him. And He is faithful to 'build character' in us when that conviction has come. Therefore, Christ 'builds character' when young men allow God to mold them into His image during times off the court, and sports 'reveals that character' or foundation that has been laid.”




Sports can help prepare for marriage…jobs…following Christ…

God is faithful to give wisdom to help your kids work through the ups and downs that comes when playing sports…

sports can give very practical ways to work out life lessons...
not quitting when it’s hard or not longer fun...i.e. losing…(marriage)
when someone else gets the starting job…still contributing to the team…(the work place)
teaches perseverance….respect for authority…( Christian walk)...
the life lessons are endless…

Sports in the homeschooling arena have come a long way…
this week was our regional basketball tournament…
in a couple of weeks we will be going to the national basketball tournament….
thousands of homeschooled kids getting an opportunity to play basketball…
 the opportunity to allow this thing called sports help grow them up in Christ.

Teaches us not yell even when no foul is called:)




Celebrating winning the championship:) 
Ellie sending out a cheer for her aunt and uncle:)



~2851~2872
~a husband who actively listens to my heart
~just being together
~watching woman who press into Jesus through difficult marriages
~great deals couponing
~just sitting in God’s presence
~learning to trust His still, small  voice
~God’s kindness
~God’s perfect timing
~job offers for son getting ready to graduate PT school
~mystery letters in the mail
~basketball
~fellowship in the stands with sweet woman
~laughter
~free coffee
~spring weather in February
~the newlyweds spending the afternoon with us.
~scattergories…oh my brain doesn’t work so fast anymore…
~new contacts…now I can see small print
~clean sheets
~back feeling better
~seeing the Holy Spirit do His work.
Join me as I link-up with Ann Jen and Shanda.

Friday, February 24, 2012

True Grit


Grit and determination….that is what the world tells us it takes to get through….
In some areas this may be true…
when running a race and you hit the “wall”…
working out and your body if feeling too fatigued to do keep going...
when a team is way behind and the deficit seems too wide….
all this takes grit and determination to keep going…
to keep fighting through…
a digging deep to do that gut check…where grit is found…

Many of us take this same view in our spiritual walk…
I know I did…
every morning I would grit my teeth…I will be a better mom…
I will not lose my temper…When my faults became evident…
I would apply discipline…determination and grit…
but in this upside down kingdom I now think it the very opposite…

I have learned to yield…not yield to the sin and struggles…
but yield to God with a trusting heart…
trusting that He is willing…He is able to make me a better mom…
                    to free me from anger and all the other sins weighing me down…
instead of gritting my teeth and clinching my fist in determination…
I come with open hands…asking God to change me…yielding to the process and trusting in HIS ability to transform me.

Maybe true grit is trusting in God’s ability not our own.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Cry Out for Mercy


Ann turns toward fasting…God keeps me looking at love…

When I read this line…it pierced right through me…
God does not ask us to be “justices of the peace…but angels of peace”
(Divine Intimacy)  
oh, I spent so much of my Christian life in the role of “justice of the peace.”

“Judge not, that you may not be judged” Matthew 7:1

Judgment in my heart, caused me to view others through a negative lens…
this negative lens narrowed my vision…
causing me to focus on the faults of others…
especially those who had wounded.
 
Narrowing of the lens closes off the Light…
allows little room for Love and Mercy…
no longer able to see with God’s heart… His eyes… His love…
Love that covers a multitude of sin.

I am so thankful God doesn’t hold a standard over us and demand we reach it…
He gives us His Spirit and He gives us His Truth…

So how do we keep from judgment?
“First take the log out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to take out the speck from your brother’s eye.”…Matthew 7:3

God shows us the pathway…exposing what’s at the very root of judgment…
PRIDE.

“Humility plows up the soil of the heart…removes the weeds that choke out love”
it removes the log that dams up the heart …
so love can come and fill our soul with Mercy…
because Mercy triumphs over judgment…James 2:13

I am learning when I see the faults of others...
to ask God to show me my own heart…my log.
And He is always faithful to answer this prayer. 
And aren’t we all really just the same…born of the same Adam?
With a maturing that comes with age... I have come to see…all our struggles are just the same.  Everyone is selfish…prideful…everyone has fear…and the list goes on…. 
But how I struggle with my fear or some other sin versus how someone else struggles might look completely different.

And we cannot rightly judge…
Man looks at the outward appearance…God looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7. 
Only God knows the inner struggles of each heart…
the deep longings and desires…the cries…the prayers for greater healing. 
 Don’t we all struggle through the conflict within?
because sometimes our heart’s desires and our actions can be miles apart.
But God sees…and He sees with Mercy and Grace…
and Loves me with His longsuffering Love.
”Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in Love”… Ephesians 4:2

Do I want God to show me the same judgment or
lack of mercy, love and grace I have shown to others? …NO

I long to walk in Love…
continuing to  allow Him to fill my thoughts with His Mercy …
instead of choosing thoughts filled with judgment…
to choose to do the one thing…the only lasting thing…To Love…
to trust His Love for me…His Love for others.
and the rest I need to leave to God… 

Now I am learning…instead of railing judgments….I cry out for Mercy…
because God is so merciful to me. 


Other post on Love...
This Kind of Love
Love Calls to Love
An Invitation


Join me today at Journey to Epiphany.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The hard Ecuharisteo


Oh, when the suffering of this world is all around….

Hard ecuharisteos…believing…the assurance of God is Good….

Still seeing God’s kindness in the midst of tragic circumstances…

The beauty of hearing the wounded one seeing God’s small gifts in the dark…

When my daughter brought Ellie to the house of grief…
She brought pure joy to the heart of the hurting…
Watching one after another hold little Ellie…
Ellie being salve to the wounds…




~seeing God’s provision
~God’s love that continues to reach out through rejection
~God's gift to my brother....5 days in the hospital...
~God’s spirit giving boldness to speak truth and love to my brother
~grace to leave the rest in God’s care
~opportunity to be with my friend through her grief
~connecting with old friends…
~finding fellowship of the Spirit with friends who walked different paths long ago
~Getting to stay with my daughter through the weekend…
~coming back to hold Ellie after long, hard days
~Ellie coming and bringing such love to the hurting
~driving safely through a short snow storm over the mountains
~arriving home safely
~sweet husband having happy flowers for me….


Little sweetness...5 weeks:)


Join me at Ann’s and Jen’s…always a blessing!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Extreme Satisfaction


Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:4

Definition…delight 1. A high degree of gratification. 2. Extreme satisfaction

Wow…to delight in the Lord we will be extremely satisfied.

For so long, I thought I had to earn everything from God…
so I tried my best…performed all the duties I thought would earn me good favor….

But than He won me over to His love…and when someone is in-love …
one cannot help to delight…to be delighted in the one they love.

Just like in a marriage…the more I delight in my husband…
the more in love I fall…the more in-love I fall…
the more I want to meet his needs…give him joy…bring pleasure to him.

Isn’t the same with God…if we soak in delighting in Him…
than I hearts are transformed…than our desires are one with his…
and he will give us all we desire.

So today…let’s delight…be overjoyed…fall head over heels in Love with our Savior….
Let His delight for us... Zep. 3:17…”He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” and our delight for Him ignite a great love affair.

Join me today for Five Minute Fridays.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

An Invitation.


Love thy neighbor as your self…He took me back to this basic
But now He gives a new command
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

My commandment...I never really stopped to ponder this word My…
This new command comes from the very heart of Jesus…
The commandment that would be the very reflection of Himself…
”By this all men will know you are my disciples”. John 13:35.

This is Jesus…calling us higher…

Loving our neighbor as ourselves still has some human qualities to this love…
There are filters that distort how to love…
Self-love, self-hated, self-condemning…
If we don’t know how to show mercy to ourselves…
How can we mercy to others…and the list goes on….

Now His new commandment is truly divine…
Our gaze now looks higher…
The focus is no longer on our love…
But now we are looking into the very heart of Christ…the heart of God.
This Love can’t be emulated…
This love is a love that flows right from the artery of Christ’s heart…

So back to the basics here too…to the beginning…
Do I really comprehend...Ephesians 3:18-19...
How wide, how long, how high, how deep His love is? If I don’t…can I really Love?

This has been a long journey for me…
For years my view of God was one of anger and punishment…
Each night laying in bed…judging my day…
Condemning myself…FAILURE.

Through the love of my husband and through many joys and trials…
My Father won me over to His love…a love that brought me to trust…
To a place of rest and abiding in His perfect love for me…

Now I know… I now I receive His love that is patient…kind…
Full of mercy, grace and forgiveness.
This love that is unconditional…longsuffering …
This love that doesn’t hold my wrongs committed ,against me…
This love that sees all my faults, sins ….all the ways I do fall short…
But though His eyes of love He sees me as His precious child…
Sees me white as snow…covered under the blood…redeemed.

I now really see…we only love with the Love we receive from God…
If our view of that love is twisted and distorted…
We love others with the same twisted and distorted love…

Jesus’ new command is not a requirement…but an invitation…
An invitation to enter into a love relationship with Him…
Becoming One with Him in Love…so out of this beautiful love affair…
His love will flow to others…John 15:5

My prayer for each one who reads this today…that each one will know how high…how deep…how long... His love is for you …and if you are like me…you will allow Him to win your heart...opening it to  receive all His conditional love…not the kind of love that has to be earned…but the kind of Love that loves just because you are….because He created you in His image…because you are His child…because He died for you.
And from this Love…His Love…we will love our husbands…children…family…and the world around us with a Love that can transform the world.

Please join me as I link up with Ann and Kd@journey towards epiphany…you will be blessed.

Other post in this series…