Will you follow if there isn’t a shiny, red bow?

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So often one sentence in God’s Word can carry such an impact that I think about it for days.

Matthew 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”

What Holy Spirit conceived in Mary was supernatural.  It didn’t make sense to the human mind.  It didn’t fit into their “culture”.  For Joseph, it brought shame and embarrassment.  It bumped hard up against his pride and perceived identity.  It was the greatest gift ever given, however I wonder if to Mary and Joseph it felt less like a gift and more like a burden, a catastrophe?

This is faith.  This is where we choose to believe that God IS good and He has good and perfect plans for us, plans not to harm us but to give us a hope and a future.  When our “gifts” don’t show up with a shiny red bow and ornate wrapping with promises of wealth, health, and prosperity, do we still choose to believe in God’s goodness?

What about when those gifts show up at a less than opportune time?  Mary and Joseph were going to be married soon.  It was a time in their life where they were looking to the future and planning what would be for them as they began life together.  This was not in their script!  Not only was this not in the plans, but it was unimaginable.  Almost unbelievable.

But they were willing to obey…

Joseph had a choice to make.  Who has ever heard of such a thing?  I’m sure, just because of the period this was in history, that there weren’t a lot of people receiving messages from angels in Joseph’s hometown.  As a matter of fact, God hadn’t spoken to His people in about four hundred years.  Joseph could have attributed this angelic visitation to a pizza dream!  He could have recognized it for what it was, yet still chose to disobey.  He could have chosen fear.

What is God trying to conceive through you?  Remember, what He did thru Mary was not an ideal, perfect situation.  They were possibly looked down upon by everyone, the “talk of the town”, I’m sure.  They probably didn’t understand.  This gift caused them to be in dangerous situations.  BUT OUR SAVIOR was brought forth.

Again, I ask, what is God trying to conceive through you?  What ideas or plans, what gifts and anointing has He placed in your life?

If it doesn’t look or feel easy, will you trust Him and move forward as He faithfully guides?  Can you cleave to Jesus, knowing He will never leave nor forsake you, and rely on Him and the plans that were put in place for you long ago when He knit you together in your mother’s womb?

Prayer:  Father, I trust you always.  I trust your plans and I know that you are always for me.  I give you free-rein in my life; you are my Father, my King, my Savior.  I surrender my will, my whole life to you right now.  Your ways and your thoughts are higher than anything and I will not lean on my own understanding.  I will trust you always.  Thank you my Lord for the blessings in my life, for Your Presence, your guidance, your love.  Amen.

For the joy set before Him…

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I love how our Lord is always there with us, even during a middle-of-the-night bathroom trip!

I woke up a bit sore and stiff. Maybe I AM getting a bit older, ha!  Maybe I was lying in an odd position for too long. Maybe a change in the weather was on the horizon… who knows?!  I got up and did the “my legs and hips hurt” shuffle all the way to the bathroom.

Confession time:  moments like these make me angry!  I could list a myriad of reasons all the way from self-pity to hatred of the devil. I was not about to accept this pain this night!!  I literally wanted to swing my fists at something, as if connecting with a physical enemy might fix a possible spiritual problem.

On my way back to the warmth and comfort of my bed, I asked Jesus how He didn’t get mad as He was carrying the tree He was about to be crucified on up the steep hill of Golgotha.  After all He had recently endured, how did He not lash out and begin swinging His fists and screaming at those watching and those causing Him pain? Continue reading “For the joy set before Him…”

The Cost of Worship

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Today, Monday,  in the holy week timeline we see Jesus clearing the temple in Jerusalem. What exactly was going on in the temple that stirred Him to this kind of outburst?

Remember, it was Passover for these Jewish people. Families had taken their best lamb from their flock, kept it in their home for 4 days as ordered by God, and now travelled to Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the only town that they could sacrifice – that’s where the temple was. They needed to have their lamb offered for their sins, so they had to go to Jerusalem. Once they arrived at the temple, a priest would look at their lamb and say, “This one is unacceptable, it’s not good enough.”  The priest would then take their lamb around back, and bring out another lamb – probably from the person in line ahead of them – and say to them that they would gladly sell this lamb to them so they would have an “acceptable” sacrifice.  They were selling the lambs for an outrageous price. So, in all of this the family would end up out of money and sacrificing a lamb they didn’t even know!

Continue reading “The Cost of Worship”

Racing Jonah or Embracing God?

Jonah …. Aaahhhh Jonah.  I am not certain I like the fact that I can so easily and quickly relate to this man.

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Jonah was given direction by God– he was told to go to Nineveh and “preach against it”.  Nineveh was a very large and important city in that day.  It would soon become the head of the great Assyrian empire.  It was also a city of great sin.

In the book of Jonah, we are not given very much information about the town or the people of this place.  Because I love the history of the Bible, I’m almost tempted to seek out what was going on in Nineveh during this time.  However, when God was speaking to me about Jonah, it wasn’t the “other people or the other place” He was talking to me about.  It was all about me.  And this book in the Bible is about Jonah.

We are not told specifically in God’s Word what it was that offended Jonah so much about his assignment.  Was it the people he disliked?  They were not “his people”.  The Assyrians were a very fierce and wicked people at this time in history.  They were about to become a world power and the prophet Nahum does tell us they conquered viciously and took over lands everywhere they went.

Maybe I can understand … am I supposed to admit this?  Maybe they looked different on the outside… Heaven forbid they had a different skin color.  Perhaps they had a different “culture” and just weren’t raised the same as Jonah was.  We don’t know why Jonah had such a distaste for these Assyrians.  Maybe it went back generations and he was just raised to dislike them… Continue reading “Racing Jonah or Embracing God?”

The Faith of a Prostitute!

I have a sticky note in my Bible with the names of all “my people”… family, friends, those near & dear to my heart.  One of my favorite promises from God is Acts 16:31. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household.”  Well I pray that verse very, very often and always feel like I am interceding or negotiating with God of who I can claim as “my household”.  I claim them all… everyone on my sticky note!  (And my sticky note is super full of tiny, tiny writing, front and back!) I’ve always questioned whether this was okay or not.  I remind God that He said it was His will that none shall perish, and ask Father God to draw their hearts to Him, and leave it at His feet.

This morning I was reading the story of Rahab the prostitute.  (Joshua 2, and 6). What a blessing it was!  It brought me to James 2:18-19 “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’  Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do.  You believe there is one God.  Even the demons believe that — and shudder.” Continue reading “The Faith of a Prostitute!”

It’s time to fly…

imagesThe last year has been a whirlwind for me. I have had more things shake my secure little life than I can ever remember in years past. “Wait a minute”, you might say, “I remember when this or that happened. Certainly THAT was more disturbing than anything that happened this year.”  Yes, yes the past always likes to rear it’s head and remind us of something we thought, at that time, we’d never get through. But I have survived all of that garbage and I am strong. I’m not afraid of satan’s reminders. He’s such a loser.

So why was this year different…. Even more difficult? I’m just learning myself. Let me share…

This was my oldest son’s senior year of high school. I honestly didn’t see it coming! Yes, I watched him grow everyday into this amazing young man, who I just can’t believe was given to me to raise. Certainly one of God’s greatest blessings on my life. It leaves me speechless. More than once in my life I’ve grabbed the hand of Denial and walked for miles and miles. This was one of those times…  Continue reading “It’s time to fly…”

You are missing from me…

 

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Last Friday I spent an amazing day with my honey in Great Falls.  We were not there for any special occasion; we were not celebrating a certain anniversary, or birthday, or anything like that.  Honestly, we were in town to get groceries.  It was definitely not a “romantic” or celebratory trip at all, haha!  However, I had the best day!

Just after we arrived in Great Falls, I reached over and touched Lonnie’s arm as he was driving and said, “I’m so happy to be spending the day with you in Great Falls.  I’ve been lonely for you.”  Those words, as they were escaping my lips, struck my heart in a very unexpected way.  Continue reading “You are missing from me…”

To Infinity and Beyond!!

infinityOne thing about our kids growing older is that as parents, we look a bit ridiculous going to the theater to watch cartoons without little kids. I’m not saying it has stopped me, I’m just sayin’… haha! However, I will admit that these trips are much less often than when the boys were younger. I remember well when they were still my “babies” and their room was all decorated with Woody and Buzz from Toy Story. My oldest son was a fan of Woody, my youngest of Buzz. We had the action figures, the VCR tapes (remember those?), the sheets and comforter sets, all of it! So, when Toy Story 3 came out in theaters, I was very excited. “The sequel!! Andy’s going to college…!” I announced, excitedly. My oldest son informed me that it was a little “creepy” how excited I was about this movie. Bah-humbug!! Or whatever you say when it’s not Christmas!! Anyway, we didn’t go. So, last spring during our month of rain, you can only imagine my excitement when Toy Story 3 was on TV! You can bet that movie was set up in our DVR schedule right away! I figured it would be a great movie for a rainy day, which we were having our share of, to say the least. I was planning a family evening with popcorn. What I got was a very good lesson from ol’ Woody and Buzz. For those of you that haven’t been fortunate enough to see this movie, let me give you a bit of a recap. Continue reading “To Infinity and Beyond!!”

Running toward Jesus

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One of the books I’m reading is Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  I am currently in a chapter called, “Your Best Life… Later”.  I’ve typed a bit of this chapter out for you… here, have a read:

“What does running toward Christ and pursuing Love look like in daily life?

The best place I know to look is in Scripture; here we gather wisdom and study the examples of those who followed God wholeheartedly.  The best passage is probably Hebrews 11, a chapter often called the “hall of faith.”  It is tempting to assume that the people listed there were super human, or supersaints, and that you and I could never do the kinds of things they did.  … Continue reading “Running toward Jesus”

Just a little peek inside….

You’re treading on scary ground going here, you know that, right?  Hehe!  I’m only kidding.  Don’t be afraid, come on back… don’t run away!  I have no idea how to title this entry… but a peek inside my head is what it is, so here goes… (hang on, haha!)    Continue reading “Just a little peek inside….”

How Deep Are Your Roots?

Deep Roots

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This is an old story.  About new life.  About roots.  About false appearances.  About growth.
It’s almost Spring here in our part of the country.  We haven’t really had Winter, so there is an eerie feeling of what’s to come.  I am not sure if I should expect that we are going to have cold and snowy late-Winter, early-Spring storms or if this is “it”… all we’re going to see of this so-called Winter.  I am not really complaining; I’ve loved our mild winter with its Spring-like days of sunshine and mild temperatures.  But as I got up this morning and looked outside into my yard, I was reminded of how much moisture we need and are going to need when the hot, blistery days of summer arrive.
And that’s when I saw my trees.  Small shrubs, is more like it, I guess.  In my front yard are 4 trees.  They were planted by my mother-in-law years and years ago.  I am guessing close to 30 years for sure.  I have been a part of this family for nearly 25 years and they were here when I got here!  My husband and I moved back into this house where he was raised in 1995.  I had a brown thumb then, haha!  Or maybe no thumb!!  Ok, that’s not possible… so yeah, brown.  What I’m trying to say is that I didn’t have a gardening gene in my body, or so I thought. When I looked into what was then a field with 4 little bushes and a drive way, I didn’t care if things lived or died.  (Plant things I mean, that sounded harsh!)  I didn’t want flowers, I didn’t care about those little bushes; I figured the wild prairie-type grass that was growing on its own was good enough. And as far as the trees were concerned, I figured if they had the strength and willpower to live on their own, kudos to them.  They were welcomed to it.  As life continued on and I grew up a bit more, I realized that my love of gardening just hadn’t blossomed yet. (Pun intended, haha!)  And if I gave it an honest thought, I knew better.  My family could grow flowers and veggies out of a rock.  As a child, some of my best memories were about my grandpa’s garden.  Everyone I know in my family is some type of master gardener.  I was doomed!!  Haha!  … Continue reading “How Deep Are Your Roots?”

I am Free

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I am free!

The last day of 2011. I want to shout, sing, and dance and I don’t even “party” on New Year’s Eve!! Hahaha! But seriously, I am anxious to send this year packin’… put it in the books and say good-bye! I’m not sure of my reasoning; I’m unable to pin-point one specific reason why this year has not been my favorite.
I’m anxiously looking forward. I don’t have any idea what 2012 holds and that is SO okay with me. I know my Lord Jesus knows, and I’m tellin’ ya, that to me is PEACE!! I don’t have to worry about tomorrow. I am okay. I am looking forward to a new start… a new start to what, I’m not sure. But I look forward to it, haha!! … which brings me here. The other day while finally taking some time to spend with my Lord, I was reading in the book of James. It was so good. It always is, you know, spending time reading, praying, learning at the proverbial feet of Jesus… I’ve never walked away from that time feeling anything but renewed, refreshed, and full of peace. So anyway, this was about five days ago and a couple verses are still very stuck with me. I’ve reread them, bookmarked them in my phone’s bible, and talked about them with my son. I woke this morning thinking of one of them again, and how it should be my “theme” for 2012.   Continue reading “I am Free”

Starving to death in the midst of plenty…

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Last Monday, my cat Cletus Bub was diagnosed with Diabetes and now requires two shots of insulin a day.  The list of my frustrations with this situation is looong and I won’t go there.  My list of hopes and anticipations for what God is going to do in this situation is ten times as long and I already see Him at work!  But this is not so much about Cletus Bub as it is about the lessons God is teaching me right in the middle of this situation. Continue reading “Starving to death in the midst of plenty…”

For Everything There Is a Season…

 

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The smell of freshly baked bread. Football. Jeans and sweatshirts. Back to school. Not flip-flops. HaHa! How is it that these are the things on my mind? Fall is the air. I can feel it. I’m having a harder time explaining that feeling though, especially because I am the one who loves summer. It seems I am in search of a long, hot summer day nine months out of the year, and when summer comes, I never want it to end. I love the lazy days. I love that all the horses are not in the barn needing to be fed, but rather out in the pasture, grazing. I cherish the days when my two teenage boys say, “Mom, let’s go to the creek and go swimming.” My garden is flourishing… and my war with the grasshoppers is on! Our lawn that we’ve worked so hard for came in so well this year and is now in constant need of watering. Ahhh, summer! Bare feet in the grass. Cooking outdoors on the grill. No homework!! I spend many a waking hour wondering what it would be like to have days like this every day… if winter would never come! I can only imagine it to be blissful! So why the thoughts of fall?

Continue reading “For Everything There Is a Season…”

Domesticated Elephants

Domesticated Elephants! Yes, this is really gonna talk about domesticated elephants!! Ha Ha ! …. I bet that peaks your curiosity, huh? When an elephant is still young, the trainer will put a metal band around the elephant’s ankle and attach it to a stake in the ground with a huge chain. After the elephant grows up a bit, the metal band and chain are removed, yet the stake remains. By this time, the elephant has learned that he can only move a certain amount of distance from the stake. He will never move out of that circle unless led by a trainer. When I first heard this, it was huge to me… how many stakes in the ground are we circling in our life right now?

Continue reading “Domesticated Elephants”

Climb that mountain!!

This is an older post, but I had to share it anyway….

Well, my plan was workout on my elliptical today, but it was so beautiful outside, I just had to go for a walk. Who’d have thought it would be so nice and beautiful in the month of January where I live that I could go outside and walk… Thank YOU MY LORD!! I have this same walk that I do… it’s hard. We live right under a buffalo jump and everywhere behind our house up near the barn is uphill. But, once you get up there, there are the gorgeous Rocky Mtns so clear and awesome! How anyone canNOT see God in them I don’t know… Going up those hills is hard. There are a few that even my boys, who are in INCREDIBLE shape, can’t walk upright to get to the top. There are 3 that I have to stop at least once on each hill just to catch my breath. I noticed today that I always turn and face downhill when I do have these short rest periods… 1. because I’m looking down at our Ranch… the house, barns, shop, basketball court… horses… all of it! BUT 2. God reminded me that when we’re facing “mountains” in our life that we must look back on those times He’s already brought us thru. Continue reading “Climb that mountain!!”