Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Galatians 4

(I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. I believe He died and rose from the dead. I believe that He is coming back!)

My Mom was raised in a church that believed women should not cut their hair, wear makeup, wear jewelry, pants and especially not shorts. I am not here to put down her roots. She is no longer a part of that denomination but in less than two weeks I will be attending a Family Reunion where half of the family members that will attend still live their life in the way I have just described, including my own grandparents. They do believe in Jesus and I believe in Jesus so we have some common ground. It doesn't bother me at all and it never has been an issue in my family for me. They love the Lord and that's all that matters to me! My Mother was saved in this type of church. Now she has short hair, highlights, wears makeup, shorts and a whole lot of jewelry! And she is still saved! When she cut her hair, she didn't loose her salvation. All of the beliefs that came with that denomination was a practice but it wasn't what saved her. There are other denominations that don't believe in using musical instruments. Some don't believe you should have a TV or some are even against birth control. Some believe in speaking in tongues, others don't. And what about drinking and dancing? All of these different beliefs will often divide God's children. I believe it will be a huge shocker to us someday when we are in Heaven and realize that all of the so called religious things we did or believed while here on Earth really did us no good! The church we choose to go to often gives us something to hold on to. When we claim a certain denomination to be ours, it makes us feel a part of something. Whether you are Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Assemblies of God or Pentecostal, we like to check off a box stating what we are. There is nothing wrong with that either. But, those churches don't save us and many of us choose a denomination instead of freedom in Christ.

This is not to say that we should eat, drink and be merry without limits. But, instead of splitting hairs over nonsense or debating the word of God so much, we should all concentrate on believing. Christ is coming back, He will return. That is what we should prepare for. This is what we should focus on.

10You are trying to find favor with God by what you do or don't do on certain days or months or seasons or years. 11I fear for you. I am afraid that all my hard work for you was worth nothing. 12Dear brothers and sisters,[d] I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles were--free from the law.

(Please no comments that would put down other religions or denominations.)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Galatians 3 for Tuesday, May 30th

(This is the post for Galatians 3. I have extra kids tomorrow including my niece so I am not sure how my morning will go. So here is the post a little early!)

My son, Josiah, is almost three and a half years old. While this age is a lot of fun, it is also quite challenging! In our home there was no such thing as terrible twos. Although I have been in other homes where that was definitely the case. We seemed to have skipped that trying stage during the second year and hit it with a bang during the third! For the most part, I am truly, truly, truly blessed. Josiah is very well behaved, and does a good job at using his manners. I grew up having to say yes mam, no mam, yes sir, no sir and so on. So my kids are taught to do the same! He's got that down as well as saying please, thank you, and your welcome. He even blesses you when you sneeze and says excuse me when he burps! What about when he does the opposite of burping? Well, he just laughs! I guess that's a boy thing! But while it sounds like I have the perfect kid, I don't! He's three years old! He has issues with sharing, issues with getting along with his sister, issues with eating and he has now hit a new stage where he gets out of bed at least ten times before finally going to sleep! And let's not forget the full blown melt downs! Oh the joy of living with a three year old! Our children were born to make us laugh, make us cry and most of all they were born to break rules!

No matter how many lines have been crossed or how many rules have been defied, there is absolutely nothing that could possibly separate my son from my love. My rules are not made for him to obey just so I will love him. There is nothing that either one of them have to do in order to win my approval. Josiah and Ava Beth are my children, so my love for them is endless. What a relief to know that we serve a God that feels the exact same way about us! His love for us is endless and our faith in Him has made us sons and daughters of a King.

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus

Lord, there is nothing I can do without you. Help me to walk in your spirit, to walk by faith and not by sight. Father please show me when I am relying on myself or relying on someone else to show me the way. I want to live under the power of the Holy Spirit daily!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Just some stuff I wanted to share!

(Many of you know that I have had a tough week. I decided after writing this to come back and post this picture. I really love my husband. I am so blessed to have Him. Things are not always perfect. We struggle with our relationship but this week you ladies showed me that I am not alone. Thank you! Marriage is a journey. Thank you Lord Jesus for the wonderful, Godly man you chose for me!)

For those of you that are reading "Go Eat Popcorn" with me, I will not post Galatians 3 on Monday since it is a Holiday. This will give us an extra day to read it again! Some of you post from work so I wanted to give you an extra day due to the holiday. So have a BBQ, go to the pool, enjoy the weather! I know some of you are in states that are still kind of cool, I already envy you. But you get the point, relax. Isn't that what long weekends are for?

It's hot! The Texas heat has arrived and it's not leaving us for at least four months! I have waited for this season for a while now. I couldn't wait to take the kids swimming. I couldn't wait to go out to the lake. We have already been swimming so much lately that Josiah now has his adorable Ken Barbie suntan! You know the kind where his butt is totally white and the rest of his body isn't? Josiah has his Dad's olive skin and I am so thankful for that. Ava Beth is getting a little tan too in her bikini! My kids are living proof that your body can be saturated from head to toe with sunblock and still somehow get tan!! So wear sunblock, even if you want a tan!

God is good, that's all I can say. He is so good. After I received the incredible Doctor's report that the Precancerous cells on my cervix were gone, we decided to wait on having another baby. Ava Beth's birthday is in December, Josiah's in January. So why not wait until the end of the Summer and try for a Spring baby. Apparently, the Lord saw differently! I am pregnant. I must say that I am in shock. I used to always make fun of those pregnant women that said, "We weren't trying. It was a total shock!" If you are not on birth control or not taking precautions, HOW can it be a shock? Well, I am now eating my words! So be praying for us and this little one growing inside. I think this pregnancy is so exiting to me for many reasons that I will share on another day. But on thing that is so cool is it was a surprise! We planned Josiah and Ava Beth, this time we did not. I think I am about five weeks. The doctor will see me at eight! I am thrilled but I do need your prayers! Remember I am helping a fellow mom this summer with two of her four kids. So on Tuesdays and Thursdays I will be babysitting two children plus my own! In both of my pregnancies I have been sick the first trimester. Throwing up galore! So I need good health, energy, and peace. Really I just need prayer for those HORMONES!

Jeremy found out this week that he has Degenerative Disc Disease. We are waiting the insurance company to approve but he will soon have a test run of a steroid shot. Please be praying for him. He is in a lot of pain right now. One of his legs is shorter than the other slightly. We did not know this until the MRI. It has happened because of the damage to the disc. Weird, I know. He is in good spirits and we had a great date last night. The Lord is really working in both of our lives. We can feel Him.

To all of you that read my blog and write the sweet comments that you do, thank you. Thank you for ministering to me. I never imagined this blog would change my life the way it has. You bless me!


Friday, May 26, 2006

Galatians 2 and so much more

The phone rang a little while ago and it was a friend that asked what I was doing. I explained that I was sitting at the computer trying to post my blog on Galatians 2. "Oh, so you are in the Jesus mode right now?" I guess I had never thought of it that way until she asked. I answered her question with, "Well, I am trying to be in the Jesus mode." The Jesus mode? How often am I truly in the Jesus mode?

Unfortunately, this week has been a difficult one for me. I really struggle with pushing through those moods when they do come. For some reason it's easier to stay in my funk than get out! I know it will pass. I know it will get better! I know that this cloud over my mind will be lifted. It's during these times that I have to continue trusting HIM. Do you ever wonder if God approves of you? Well, I do. But I have to remind my self that Jesus reigns in my life and I have HIS favor!! So it does me no good to sit around and ponder that thought!

I happen to read someone's blog this morning that listed thirteen things that they love about their husband. It sounded magical. It sounded like they had the perfect marriage. I know they don't because it's not possible. But I could sense in her writing that there was true peace in their home and in their relationship. But this is the relationship I struggle with the most. Even now my pride wants me to delete this and allow you to think that I am madly, deeply, in love with my husband. But, that's not truth. I love him. I really love him. I can't imagine my life without him. But I long for that "in love" feeling. I want to crave him emotionally and especially physically, but right now I don't. Both of us have no idea how to have a healthy marriage but we need to learn. I don't want my children to grow up in the same kind of environment that both of us did. They won't! Right? Isn't that what we tell ourselves!? My kids will never live in what I lived in! But when I get mad and slam my bedroom door as hard as I possibly can, I have already broken my word.

So much on my heart today. So much I want to change. I long to truly be friends with my husband. I know he adores me, I know that he loves me. I trust him, I believe him. But right now, I don't like him.

This has nothing to do with Galatians chapter two. But our five year Wedding anniversary is coming up and I am not content with how we are doing things now. We need healing from both of our pasts! We need a touch from God, a big one! I read the chapter this morning but I really have nothing to give you except what's in my heart. So, there you go!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Galatians 1

It's time! Time to get back into our Bible reading groove! I am really excited about these three books we will be reading. Please be praying that the Holy Spirit will open up your mind to receive all that He wants to show you through His word. Today I am praying for you ladies. The past two days I have been going through some tough stuff and I appreciate how all of you have wrapped me up in your prayers. Ladies, you inspire me and I am learning so much from all of you.

In this day and age, it is important for us as Christians to stand on solid ground. We have to know the truth. We have to know what is theologically correct. The book of John will help us in the days to come. It's the foundation of our faith. I am so glad we started with that book. With so much hype currently centered on "The DaVinci Code", it is a must for all of us to know where we stand. The book is fiction, the movie is fiction. However, many will believe it's message. Paul warns us in Galatians. 1:6 I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who in his love and mercy called you to share the eternal life he gives through Christ. You are already following a different way 7that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who twist and change the truth concerning Christ. 8Let God's curse fall on anyone, including myself, who preaches any other message than the one we told you about. Even if an angel comes from heaven and preaches any other message, let him be forever cursed. 9I will say it again: If anyone preaches any other gospel than the one you welcomed, let God's curse fall upon that person.

I have sat under preaching that I knew was not theologically correct. Many teachers, Pastors and Evangelists teach and preach things that are false. We can never completely trust Man's thoughts. It's like this with my blog. You can not take my commentary as the gospel. I always pray that the Holy Spirit will guide me in my typing. May I never distort God's Word. But again I am human being. We must pray for those in leadership or those that we receive teaching from. I have had Pastors before that I knew were not spending time with Jesus on a daily basis. I don't want a Pastor that is not chasing after my Lord. How about you? We must pray about teaching that we receive. Is it truth?

Our world is full of false prophets, teachers, radio and tv preachers and more! They are in our churches. There are more out there than you think. We must be careful. Listen for the Holy Spirit, He will always guide you in the truth.

Father, I pray that you will expose those that are teaching and preaching their own agenda. I pray that you will put a burning desire in our Pastors to spend time with you so they will be able to teach us the TRUTH. Remind us to pray for them. They need our prayers. Lord please give us ears to hear truth. Give us eyes to see it! Please protect us from false teaching. May we dig deep in your word so we will know the truth. Protect us from being fooled! Thank you Lord for your Word. I pray that you will help all of us women reading Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians to stay committed to this study. Please protect our minds, our bodies, our families. Lord, we need you. I need you! I can't do anything without you! I love you Lord, Jesus.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

John 21

It's the last day of John. I had big plans for this post but things around the house have been crazy. Too many details to explain but a lot has been going on. Really I think I over committed myself for this week. Keep me in your prayers. I have not blogged about this but my husband has recently suffered a pretty bad back injury. He has physical therapy three days a week and had an MRI yesterday morning. We are still waiting for the report. For twelve years he has worked for UPS and I think it has finally taken a toll on his body. Our home has been under a lot of stress lately in so many ways. Please keep us in your prayers. Also I am always trying to do something to make some extra money. It's nice to be able to go out to eat on the weekends and of course it's nice to shop! So I have taken on two kids for the Summer. Twice a week, sometimes three times a week, I will be keeping two kids. They are great kids and I love the family. Also, it's a huge financial blessing. I don't want to do it but we need some extra money right now so I am trying to take every opportunity the Lord brings me.

Today, I have had a hard day. In many ways I am discouraged and disappointed. It's not really over anything particular, it's just been a tough day. I don't feel like being a friend, a wife or even a Mom today. Maybe I am just tired. My tough day can't be blamed on anything female so I am not sure what my problem is. I need some appreciation, some doting on, some love. I need to just sit in the lap of Jesus and cry.

Tonight is American Idol, so dinner is already cooking! My best friend from High School is coming over tonight for dinner as we watch the final two on American Iol. So I have got to find some energy.

I read John, but I have nothing to say. I'm pooped. Instead of starting the "Go Eat Popcorn" reading tomorrow, I would like to start on Thursday. So just a day later than originally planned.
I am really looking forward to the next three and a half weeks of reading. These chapters are much needed in my life right now. Not really sure how to tell you to pray for me, I am sure the Holy Spirit can guide you.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Dallas Mavericks

It's been a journey, that's for sure but the Dallas Mavericks have won another series and BEAT the San Antonio Spurs! YES! I have actually been nervous all day long about this game, it has consumed me!

My blog has always been used for things of the Lord, at least I hope and pray it has! The Mavericks have definitely been a part of my prayer list lately so this is an appropriate blog for me, in my opinion! So what if I have been praying for the Mavericks!? So what if I have been praying for their health!? So what if I have been praying for victory!? And now I will do that again for a whole new round against the Clippers or the Suns!

I'm a Dallas girl, born and raised! There is no place I would rather be! San Antonio and Tim Duncan are finally behind us, tonight I will sleep well.

John 20

We don't always expect miracles, do we? We pray for them, we believe they can happen, but do we expect them?

Mary Magdalene did not expect the resurrection. Simon Peter and John did not expect the Resurrection. Mary Magdalene thought His body had been stolen. Simon Peter and John had to have thought Mary had lost her mind or went to the wrong tomb. How could He not be there? Even though Jesus told them many times that He would rise from the dead, they still didn't get it. Then when Mary sees Jesus, she does not recognize Him. Her unbelief distorted her vision. His body was a glorified body but I don't think she didn't recognize Him because of that. Instead, she didn't believe so there was no way she could recognize Him.

Do we live our lives like He is coming back? Do we believe it? As Bible believing people, of course we believe it. But, do we live every single day like He could come at any time?

Doubting Thomas represents so many of us. Many of us must see the proof before we will believe it. I remember when I first found out that I was pregnant with Josiah. I took a pregnancy test and it was positive but I didn't believe it. We had gotten pregnant on the first try! How could this happen so easily, so quickly? When I called the Doctor to make an appointment the nurse said something I will never forget, "If the test shows positive, you are pregnant. Believe it!" Well, I would not have my first appointment and sonogram until I was eight weeks so I had to wait about three weeks to see the Doctor. In my worry, fear and disbelief, I began to pray for morning sickness. Yes, I prayed for it! But I was so worried and so afraid that I would miscarry or that the test was lying that I prayed for symptoms. Well, let me tell you I was sick as a dog! The entire first trimester I would throw up probably eight to ten times a day. Thank the Lord I never got dehydrated! But even when I was throwing up in those weeks before the Doctor's appointment I was doubting. Why is it so hard to believe the good reports, the good results, the miracles in life? But Jesus says, Blessed are those that believe without seeing!

Lord, I pray that I will expect miracles in my life and in the life of others. Help me to believe when there are no flowers blooming! Help me to believe when it looks like no rain is in sight! And may I live my life like you are coming back TODAY!

Friday, May 19, 2006

John 19

Good afternoon or should I say Good evening?

It's 6:40pm and my day has been really crazy. The kids just left with The G-Force (aka Grandparents) and I have a date with my husband. So I am looking forward to that! I think we all have those days when our Bible reading gets put on the back burner. Not a good thing, but it happens. So today that's how it has been for me! I have been away from home all day long. This gets my schedule so out of whack, especially for the kids!

I have read but I haven't really sat down and meditated on the scriptures themselves. I need to do this. What about you? How did your reading go today?

Please be in prayer for me. I have a ministry opportunity this coming Monday night. This weekend I need to really prepare so please pray for me.

Let me know your thoughts on John 19.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

John 18

On September 11th, 2001, I woke up to a normal day in my life. I was a newlywed, excited about my new life and future as a wife. Jeremy kissed me goodbye and went to work, I did the same. At the time I was working at Cendant Mobility for USAA Movers Advantage. Many of you from the military are familiar with USAA. My job was to help relocate those in the military. That particular morning I was busy. I spoke with many military wives that were in Germany, France and on that day I spoke with a wife whose husband was being transferred to the Pentagon. My day started very early in the morning so before the attacks happened, I had been at work for almost two hours. Again, it was a normal day. My Supervisor's boss, was a retired Colonel from the Army. Suddenly I saw the colonel rush to the break room where a TV was. Then a co-worker of mine walked up and said, "Did you hear what happened to the world trade center? A plane crashed into it!" Instantly I thought of the Dallas World Trade Center, I had NO idea what was happening. And then it all began. Remember my job was to help in the process of re-locating Military families? Those were the only people I dealt with. The phones quit ringing, the emails stopped coming, the office was completely dead. At one point there was a plane that was rumored to be coming for Dallas. As a new Bride I instantly thought of my husband who worked in Dallas. It was a day of panic, a day of grief, a day of shock. Although I was not directly effected by the 911 attacks, it is a day I will never forget. Anytime there is a show on TV about that day, any movie that is made, any kind of documentary, I watch it. I feel it is my duty as an American to never forget. We have all gone on with our lives, but some are still in deep pain. When I do watch something on television regarding the day on 911, everything in me wishes we could have stopped those planes. After the first one, we had no idea what was to come. But watching it all over again, gives me such a helpless feeling deep inside. Watching it then, we never knew what was to come. We had no idea how many more planes would crash. We did not know how it would end. Every single time I watch it, I keep wanting the story to change. But, I know how it ends.

When I saw the Passion of the Christ, I went with a large group of people. We bought our tickets in advance so we could see it the day it opened. I remember standing in line as I waited for the doors to open. No one had popcorn, candy or pickles. Only a few had drinks. As Christians we were prepared for a serious movie. We had been warned that the movie would be graphic. Walking into the Theatre, many showed reverence by remaining quiet. The lights went out, the movie began and no one talked. The media had prepared me for the graphic nature but nothing could prepare me for what I felt. In the movie, we see Jesus as a little boy. We see him fall down and His mother Mary run to His side. I was a new mother so it was then I looked at Mary as a real "Mommy". Then I remember the moment that Peter denied Him when asked if he was one of Jesus disciples. "No, I am not." I have read at least a hundred times about Peter denying Jesus but when I saw it, that's when the tears began. Then the second time he denied him and before the third time I was wanting to scream out at Peter, "DON'T DO IT PETER. HE LOVES YOU." But, I knew. I knew it would happen. I knew how it would end.

In just a few days this study on John will end. But, may we never forget how Jesus was denied, rejected, accused and sentenced to death. Once a year, I think it is important to watch The Passion of the Christ. As you watch, you will wish the story could change. You will find yourself not wanting Jesus to be nailed to the cross. But without the CROSS, we would be bound to live the rest of our lives in Hell. May we never forget.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Go Eat Popcorn

I can remember this like it was yesterday. In Junior High and High School, my Youth pastor would tell us to turn to a certain book in the Bible. Most of the time we were all flipping hundreds of pages in search of the particular book He was reading from. One Wednesday night during our Youth Bible Study, he said "Turn to the book of Ephesians. If you don't know where it is then GO EAT POPCORN. Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians." Time and time again he used this phrase to teach us how to to get there quick! He had plenty of cute ways to teach us how to find books in the Bible quickly, but this was my favorite.

As our study in John finishes up, I am excited about starting a new study. I wasn't sure if I was going to do another but the Lord has showed me clearly that I must continue to use my blog for a powerful purpose. What is that purpose? I want women all over the world to be empowered by the Word of God. For the past year I have really experienced God in a whole new way. The only reason it happened was because I got in His Word. I read my Bible before but I mainly read devotions, Bible Study books or Christian books. All of it contained scripture but I wasn't really focusing on it. Then there was all the time I spent reading magazines that did nothing to bring me closer to Him. Instead I was taken in by the stories of Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson! Finally one day while I was hurting pretty bad over some things happening in the church I attended, God got a hold of me. The Holy Spirit spoke to me clearly! "Put down the magazines, the self help books, the Christians books, the Bible Studies. Read my WORD." And, I did.

Just as my Youth Pastor's GO EAT POPCORN trick has been something that has stuck with me through the years, so have these three books of the Bible. These books are the bookends in my life and have taught me so much about my Lord and Savior, Jesus. Galatians gives us the Fruit of the Spirit. Ephesians teaches about the purpose of our spiritual gifts, the importance of the body of Christ and how the marriage relationship is supposed to be. Philippians contains the world famous scripture used by Christians daily, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." And what about joy in suffering? It's all there! All of these things we can read about in these short books.

I am excited for those of you that have never read any of these books in the Bible. These are some of my favorites and God speaks to me every single time I read them. There is power in the Word ladies, power! So next Wednesday if you are still needing some accountability and you are not sure what to read next, join me for three weeks as I read Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians. I am praying that the Lord will bring more women to this blog that need a push into God's Word. If you have studied John with me and decide to do something on your own, it will not hurt my feelings. As long as you are in the Word daily, my mission is accomplished. This is not about ME. This is not about ME knowing more than you. For I am learning just like everyone else. As far as referring to this as a Bible Study, I no longer wish to do. I want the Lord to get all the credit! This is about being Women of the Word! So if you wish to be one of these Women reading along with me, give it all you got. Read, read, read! It's one chapter a day. Don't let yourself think "I don't have time to read." You do! You have to make it a priority, you have to make it a part of your day. Ladies, you can always read your Bible while sitting on the toilet or taking a bath. You can do this!

The Guidelines are the same as they were for the John Study. I want to hear about what the Lord reveals to you in the chapters so post it in the comments. Or if you wish to read but don't feel comfortable posting comments, just post "I read." This allows all of those that have committed to the reading, to remain accountable. If you wish to discuss theology or debate scriptures, please use your own blog site to do so. This is not about denomination, religion or what spiritual gifts you do or don't believe in. Please know that I don't mean that ugly either. I just never want this blog to turn into a forum for debate. Oh and if you wish to know my theological beliefs or thoughts on spiritual gifts, email me. I'm am open book! I think you know that by now!

So next Wednesday, May 24th, let's GO EAT POPCORN!

Love to my ladies! Wow, you bless me!


Larry, I am so glad I got to talk to you today. You and Cindy invested in me and made a difference in my life. When I am down and out I can still hear you say, "Amanda you are a minister! God's plan for your life is so big, you just can't even imagine. He's gonna use you!" I was only fifteen years old and wondered how on Earth God could use me. You taught me to trust Jesus and go to Him with everything. You have such a legacy and someday in Heaven, there will be a LINE of people waiting to talk to you about how you changed their life. All the times I called you and Cindy while sitting in my closet crying about my life. You always gave me hope, you still do. I love you Larry and Cindy. I know you are proud of me! Thanks for the Go Eat Popcorn phrase, it worked!

"John Girls"

To all of my "John Girls", I just want to tell you what a blessing you are to me. You encourage me every single day with your comments. Our study has gotten smaller, but that's okay. The Lord has exactly the right people involved in this study right now. We finish the book of John next Tuesday. I am really praying right now about whether or not to start a study again when we are finished. I can't wait to hear from all of you at the end of this study about how the Lord has worked in your life. When we make the Lord Jesus Christ number one in our lives, we see mighty things happen. As I have read the book of John, I know that I have experienced power from the Holy Spirit. How about you? Are you living a powerful life? Reading John has reminded me that there is POWER IN THE WORD!

You are mighty women of God and I am blessed to call you my friends! Let's keep running towards the hem of His garment together!

Please send me an email letting me know your prayer requests, I need some specific updates on all of you.

John 17

How many times do we tell people that we will pray for them and we don't do it? There have been times when someone has told me, "I will pray for you." But really I know that they won't. We forget, we get busy, we get distracted. But, God doesn't. We may forget but He won't. When a friend calls me on the phone and asks me to pray, I pray. I pray right then at that moment over the phone. Keeping my word when it comes to prayer is something I take seriously. If I tell you I am going to pray for you, I am going to pray. At times I may forget only to be awoken in the middle of the night with someone on my heart that needs prayer. When I commit to praying, I ask the Holy Spirit to not let it leave my mind. We have to take prayer seriously, Jesus did. Chapter 17 shows us just how serious Jesus was about praying.

As I have been reading the book of John, I have also been reading a book about the book of John. In regards to this particular chapter, Martin Luther is quoted in this book saying, "This is truly beyond measure a warm and hearty prayer. He opens the depths of His heart, both in reference to us and to His Father, and He pours them all out. It sounds so honest, so simple. It is so deep, so rich, so wide. No one can fathom it." Wow. Martin Luther's words say it all for me. I don't even know what I can possibly say about this chapter. It overwhelms me. Jesus is conversing with God on our behalf. He is always there to speak to the Father on our behalf. He is truly our intercessor.

Several months ago a friend of mine called needing to get her hair done. She called me because she knew my Mom was a hair stylist/colorist. She also knew that my Mom was very busy and booked up weeks at a time. Any accomplished hair stylist is not going to be able to get you in right away unless there is a cancellation and even then there is usually a cancellation list already in place. But when my friend called explaining how bad she needed her hair done, I said "Let me call my Mom and see what I can do." I called my Mom, begged, pleaded and she created a spot for my friend. She was already booked just as I suspected but since I called on my friend's behalf, she squeezed her in. Needless to say, my friend was ecstatic and has become a client of my Mom's. You see my Mom didn't really take that appointment for my friend, she did it for me. I am her daughter and she loves me so she blessed my friend because I asked her to.

In chapter 17, I like to imagine Jesus as He is talking to the Father. I like to picture His face and imagine what His voice must have sounded like as He prayed to the Father about you and me. Today He does the same thing. He intercedes for you and me both. Maybe something like this. "Bless them Father. For they have been faithful and have served you. Please send a buyer for their home soon. They really need this Lord." Our Father can't deny His own son. He loves Him so much that He blesses us on the son's behalf. He loves Jesus so He expresses that by blessing you and me.

Have you heard people say that they have a hard time praying for themselves? I have heard others say that they feel selfish praying for their own needs. But in this chapter, Jesus shows us that it is okay to pray ourselves. He did. He starts off by praying for himself. So why shouldn't we start our prayers off by praying for our own lives? He knows us so well. He knows what we are going to speak before we even speak it. Why not let Him hear what's in our hearts?

Thank you Jesus for this prayer. It seems so generic saying this sometimes but Jesus, thank you for loving me so much. Thank you for dying for me. Thank you for praying for me. Thank you for interceding for me. I pray that my love for you will be planted into the lives of others. Increase my territory Lord. Use this blog to brings women to JESUS. Thank you Jesus for the passion you have given me for your word.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

John 16

As I read the book of John, I am reminded that Heaven is a real place that is being prepared for us. In this chapter Jesus leaves us with these words. "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." This chapter has so much in it but this verse sticks with me, it really hits me deep down in my gut. We know that life is hard and tragic things happen daily but our Lord and Savior has overcome all of it! I read this verse over and over again and one thing kept coming to me in my spirit. The word, WORLD, says it all in this verse. Compared to Heaven what is the WORLD? The world is full of pain, heartache, deep sorrows and tragedy. But Jesus has overcome all of it!

I live in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex where I am surrounded by churches, tons of churches! I am not referring to YOUR church. I am referring to church as a whole. I have been a part of many, many churches that are concerned with getting today's generation in church. So they use secular music, secular movie clips, and try to make Jesus seem more like the world. I do believe that we have to be creative these days in our approach and method of reaching people. But, there is too much compromise going on. We can't come down to the level of the World and when we do, I think we cloud the message of Jesus Christ. If we STAND for Christ, people will not like us. The Bible says so in this chapter. Are we really taking a stand for Jesus when we glitz it up?

He has overcome the world and so it is up to us to take a stand for Him.

Lord, I am not always sure how I can take a stand. What in my life keeps me from doing that? Help me to truly be a Jesus Freak as some people say. I need to look and act differently from the World that you have overcome. Heaven is a real place and the things here are temporary, yet I get so consumed at times by my troubles. Lord, remind me of this when my flesh becomes consumed with things of this world. I want to be more like you and if people think I am weird, then I am doing something right! I want to take a stand for your son, Jesus. Father give me the strength to be BOLD!

Monday, May 15, 2006

John 15

(I have linked BibleGateway on the title. I chose "The Message" translation because it really helped me apply these scriptures to my life . I encourage you to read it.)

What area in my life is not producing fruit? What branch needs to be cut? This is what I ask myself and ask the Lord as I read this chapter. Is there any part of me that I have severed from the vine? I long to obey my Father and stay in His love. The church is not the vine, a denomination is not the vine, our Christian friends cannot be the vine. HE IS THE VINE. So what fruit is Christ referring to? Love, joy, peace, patient, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. (Gal. 5:22-23) And if we bear this fruit then of course He will use us to save souls!

In John 12, Jesus gives us a command to love one another. He didn't suggest it, He commanded it! So this morning I am asking God to show me who I can love. Are the people in my life that I am not loving? Am I looking over people? There was a woman I used to go to church with several years ago that everyone loved and spoke highly of. I didn't really know her but one day I heard someone talking about her. "She is beautiful woman. She loves people!" After I heard that I thought how awesome it would be to be spoken of that way. I want others to see that I love people. That's what Christ called us to do so why can't we do it?! Do others see you loving people? What reputation do you have when it comes to PEOPLE?

Father, I pray today that you will reveal to me the areas in my life that I am not bearing fruit. Where am I not showing that I have peace and patient? What needs to be pruned? Even as I type, I know what you are revealing to me. Lord Jesus, help me. I need you. I can't do anything without you.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day & Thank You!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you beautiful mommies out there! I forgot to take my camera to church this morning so this is the only decent picture I got for our Mother's Day Celebration. The kids went with my parents today right after church to go visit my grandmother. So I got to spend the day at the lake with my husband and that's exactly what I wanted to do. Yep, I got a day off on Mother's Day, just Mommy and Daddy ALONE on the boat at Lake Grapevine! But last night was great! I really cleaned up on Starbucks stuff and that was fine with me! Jeremy is always so creative with gifts on this day. Since I became a Mom, He has learned that this is the perfect day to be sentimental! I plan on writing something about my gift that I received this year so until then I will keep you in suspense!

I pray that each of you felt special today, that's what it's all about! This morning Josiah said, "Happy Mother's Day Mommy! Happy Mother's Day to me too. Okay Mommy? Say it to me too, Mommy." So I did! Happy Mother's Day Josiah and Ava Beth. You are the greatest gifts in the whole world and my life is better because of you and of course your Daddy too!

Oh and I want to say thank you to my best friends in the whole world. You women have helped me in my journey of being a Mommy. Thank you for always being there for me. Each of you teach me so much and I love you more than you know. So, in no particular order, here it goes!

Courtney, you encourage me in ways that no one else can. You met me when I was a new Mom and expecting another one. Instantly, I knew we would be friends. You are the BEST cook I know and I just pray that I can cook almost as good. I wish you still lived in Texas so we could meet at Grapevine Mills to eat at Corner Bakery and then shop till we drop! But now even though you are in Indiana, I still get to talk to you almost everyday. I love nationwide long distance! I miss you so much and I love you.

Kelly Ann, my friend since eighth grade. You balance me out so well. Thank you for taking care of me. That's what you do, you take care of me. I am so glad that we are getting to raise our boys together. We have more babies to have and that is gonna be so fun too! What a precious woman of God you are and one of the most amazing listeners I have ever known. I love you Kelly Ann!

Rebecca, I miss having you across the street. I miss calling and asking to borrow the ketchup AND OTHER THINGS! I am soooooo thankful for you and you have taught me everything I know about taking care of a newborn! When Josiah was colic, you would hold him for me so I could take a bath. I can say anything to you, anything!!! Also, I love how you laugh at my jokes. You know that I love to be funny and you laughing at me really makes me feel great! Okay Betty Sue??! I DON'T miss Little Elm but I do miss YOU!! I love you Aunt Rae Rae!

Lo, (Laura) you are one beautiful chica and a great friend too! You talked me into Karaoke on the cruise, you went down the water slide with me and you yelled, "Jim, hey over here!" while we were watching that Las Vegas type show on the cruise! That was funny! And you make me laugh more than anyone because you are so dang funny! I love you Lo!

Kathy, you say all the right things at all the right times! You make me feel like an awesome Mom, wife, friend, daughter, everything. You are my fairy God Mother and I love you so much. I am so blessed to have you in my life. My kids adore you!

Mom, Mom, Mom, you did things right. Look at me! I turned out pretty darn good! You are a wonderful Mom and wonderful MiMi. I call you a million times a day and each time we have something new to talk about. You do my hair for free, you always buy my lunch, you give me stuff all the time and you make me feel beautiful. If it weren't for you Mom, I would not be the woman I am today. Thank you for your constant Godly example. I love you. YOU ARE MY HERO!

Diana, I was twenty years old and you made me try out for the praise team at FC. You even went with me and I made it! You have always been my big sister and loved on me even when I was an annoying twenty year old. In Salt Lake City I lost my ski poles and cried and you told me "Buck up Mandi, it's not the end of the world." I got mad and said "Don't act like my Mom." You said, "Well, I'm a lot older than you so get over it! God put me in your life for a reason!" You are my spiritual rock Diana! I love you!

Charlene, thank you for being my gracious, kind, forgiving Mother-in-law. I have not always been easy to love but you refused to do anything but LOVE me. I know I sometimes struggle with believing it, but I really know that you love me like your own. Thank you for being such a wonderful grandmother to my babies. And thank you for my husband, you are a great Mom. Oh and THANK YOU SO MUCH for our date nights. You are always willing to take the kids for a while when I need a break. You are a hard working, amazing, Godly woman and I love you.

Friday, May 12, 2006

John 14

Today you may be surrounded by some who are confused, afraid, lonely, depressed or grief stricken. No matter what the feeling is, it's real. Our world is constantly searching for peace. Some choose to go out for the night and have a few drinks. Others choose to become involved in drugs. Hurting people search for something to come in and bring them peace, even if the peace is temporary. It may sound silly but I know that when I have had a hard day or I am depressed about something, buying a new pair of shoes or a new outfit always brings me peace. But, the peace only lasts for a little while. The peace that the world offers us is only for a moment, it will never last. The Peace that our Lord Jesus Christ gives is forever. It's a peace that come from within and it's deep, very deep. It's that peace that you find when you think you can take no more in life. It's that peace that comes when everything in your life seems hopeless. It's a peace that can't be shaken. That's the peace that Jesus gives. John 14:27"I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid." Ahh, peace of mind. Peace of heart! What can be better? Christ said it himself that the peace He gives us, is NOT what the world gives.

Many years ago when I worked in the professional world, I worked for a man that did not believe in God. Since I was single, this man's wife hired me a lot to baby-sit or house sit for them when they went out of town. They even took me along for a family vacation. One day I was passing by this man's office and he called out asking me to come to his office. For several months I had been witnessing to him and his wife. And I was bold too! It's kind of cool to think about now because I had some guts! When I stepped into his office, he said "What's the point in believing in God? I'm a happy guy." He had many questions and wanted to know why God would want to have a relationship with him. He even took a piece of paper and drew a scale. At one end of the scale was him and the other end was Jeffrey Dahmer. "So you are saying, BOTH of us can go to Heaven?" Of course my answer was yes as I explained that ALL can be forgiven. But something I told Him over and over again was the gift of peace that comes with salvation. "You think you are happy and maybe you are. But when your world is turned upside down, will you have peace?" After that day, we talked a lot more. I still spent time with his family and they even let me take their kids to church with me. Every time I had the change I would tell the kids about Jesus. One afternoon while driving to Saturday night church, the kids began to ask me about Jesus. All the things I had been sharing with them, all the Bible Stories I had read, was now tugging at their hearts. And that afternoon, those two precious kids asked Jesus to come into their life. As I drove I prayed a prayer with them I will never forget and Lord, I pray that they don't either.

I have lost contact with the family. The kids are now teenagers. But I pray that those two kids and their parents have experienced the peace that I have.

Peace, it's one of the best benefits!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

John 13

There are a quite a few churches out there that still have ceremonies of foot washing. I have never been a part of one but I have heard it is a powerful thing. Honestly when I think of washing someone's feet, I don't get excited. But as I read this chapter, I know that this was all about making the disciples clean. Our feet say everything about our walk. Where we walk says everything about where we are in our journey with Christ. We live in a filthy, disgusting world that will always carry us into sin. We have to be clean. We have to constantly be made new.

How does Jesus wash me today? For me, I know that I receive cleansing from His word. John 15:3 says Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. I believe there is cleansing when we confess our sin and ask for forgiveness. We can't keep our day 100% free of sin. It's not possible. We need our feet washed daily.

How often do we walk around with stinky feet? We minister to others, we pray for others, we anoint others, we give counsel to others, all the while we have stinky feet. I pray that I can make a habit of making sure my feet are clean, daily! May my feet walk the walk so that I may talk the talk!

And then there is Judas. I would never go as far as to say that I have had a Judas in my life but I have had someone in my life that betrayed me. We all have had people betray us and even you and me have betrayed someone. But this one particular time, I really heard the voice of God regarding this person in my life. I knew the Lord had showed me in my spirit that this person was not going to be true to me. One day while I was spending time with this friend that I really liked, the Lord showed me that the relationship was only temporary and that I had to be very careful. After that day, I felt weird. I wasn't sure how to act or even if I should return her calls. Nothing was wrong, nothing had happened. But, it was deep down inside my gut and I couldn't shake it. I prayed and prayed about it. Long story, but what the Holy Spirit had revealed to me about this friend, was true. She never really was a friend. It wasn't anything I did either, she chose to reject me. Now she is nothing like Judas and I am for sure not even close to having the character of Jesus. But Judas chose to reject the Lord. He made that decision all on his own. God did not send Judas to Hell! Judas sent himself there! If you are a true friend, you will never sell your friend out! If you are a true child of God, you won't sell him out either!

Father, I pray that your spirit will control my life in everything I do. Thank you for washing my feet daily. I pray that my walk will glorify you. Help all of the women studying John to hear your voice today. I pray that you will wash their feet and make their walk a purpose driven WALK! Thank you for your word and the power within it to cleanse us! Thank you Jesus!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Stick with what you know!

Three days out of the week I pick up a little boy from school. For some reason when that time of day hits, I am tired. I feel sleepy and need a quick jolt of energy. So on some days I go through the Starbucks drive through for a Grande coffee with a tiny bit of cream. Sweet coffee is not usually my thing so the little tiny splash of cream/milk on top just helps me feel like it's a little less strong. This is a good choice for my budget. I don't think my husband would appreciate me buying a $4.00 fancy coffee drink three days a week. When you are on a budget, that adds up! But today, I was feeling different! Why not try something new? Why not spend $3.57 on a cup of fancy java? But then the thought of how sweet a fancy drink would be made me change my mind quickly. I can handle Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Thanksgiving and Eggnogg Lattes at Christmas but it's springtime, I need something a little more light! Then I saw it! The Green Tea Latte! I love Green Tea, it's healthy so why not have some green tea with the latte added in? Sounded delightful, sounded refreshing, sounded different and it sounded so hip! "Yes, I need a Grande Green Tea Latte, please." Now I knew that it was green tea and since the tea was green, I also knew that the drink would be green. I guess I didn't expect it to be so green! I guess I didn't think it would remind me of boogers or vomit. But, it did. The green was overwhelming! But I was being hip, I had ordered a Gen X type of drink and I was not about to let the color spoil it for me. Then I took a drink. It was all over. $3.57 wasted. Now, I am not a picky gal. I love sushi, soy beans, soy nuts, tofu, I love everything and I am not afraid to try new things. But, this I could not handle! So, I'm gonna stick with my Grande coffee with a little bit of cream! Forget the trendy drinks, I will stick with trendy shoes.

Okay, so I am thirty years old now. I am old enough to know what works in my life and what doesn't. It's not just coffee, it's my attitude. When that stressed out, fit throwing (Jeremy calls it this), pouty attitude starts to take over, I shut down. And let me tell you, I can't hide it! If I have had a hard day, you know. If someone has hurt me, you know. For those of you that can slap on a pretty smile and act like everything is fine, I'm impressed. But, I can't do it! The thing is, I know when it's coming. I know what this mood looks like, smells like, tastes like and so does my husband! When those times come, I have to lay it down. Usually I shut down and then I have to work myself back into being happy. It's obvious what I need to do. It's obvious that I need to let the Holy Spirit take over but I usually do something else instead of sticking with what I know works. If only I would get on my knees instantly, things would turn around. Sometimes we can't physically get on our knees, but we can sure get there in our minds!

When you get in that funk, when you get in that mood, when you feel it coming on, do what you know you need to do! Don't try something else, don't try to do it on your own. You know what works! Throw that Green Tea Latte in the trash and stick with the plain, old, familiar, steadfast, cup of java that you know so well! Without my cup of coffee, where would I be?

Never doubt the power of prayer

Okay "John Girls", if you ever have wondered whether or not the Lord Jesus Christ hears your prayers, I am proof that HE DOES!

I wrote to you last week about the biopsy I was scheduled for but did not have to have. Well, they did scrape off a few cells and the nurse called to give me results. "The cells are totally normal. No precancer, nothing!"

Thank you Jesus for the healing in my body and for the power of prayer through this bible study. Satan has been defeated!

John 12

We all have times when we read and our minds are just blank. That's where I am at when I read today. My mind is racing with all the things going on. It's not filled with worry, it's just I have a ton of things flying around that I am trying to think about. Pray for me and I will pray for you. I need the Lord to slow my mind down today. As I clean my house and do laundry today, I'm gonna listen to my mp3 player and worship Him. Sometimes praise is the only thing that can get us back to stable ground.

So for now, I'm gonna sing.

John 12 again for Wednesday

If you have ever been a part of a Bible Study, you know that it almost always starts out with a bang! You may have thirty women signed up but only twenty-five show up for the first meeting. Then kids get sick, bad weather comes, life happens and the next meeting there are only fifteen women that show up. It happens!

So here we are at the half way point with the book of John. The emails have been less and less and the excitement has died down. It happens!

The last few days have been grueling for me. Many of you have had your own battles going on, we all do. But let me remind you that this is not a Bible Study that requires you to drive to a church. It does not require you to read several chapters and then do homework. As women we MUST be reading our Bibles daily. There is no such thing as "I haven't had time." I have not been told that by any of you but I am sure some of you have thought it in your mind. I have. Things get crazy, the kids wake up early and interrupt your time, you get sick, your husband gets sick, your job gets busy. We all have lives that demand our attention. But, how can we possibly be all that we need to be without being in God's Word. If we want to be good wives, good mothers, good daughters, good friends, good employees, we MUST stay in the manual! No excuse!

With that being said, if you are already reading your Bible daily and this study is just adding to the stress of your day, don't feel bad about being behind. If you are struggling with picking up the Bible and reading it DAILY, then don't quit! Just keep reading your one chapter a day. I know John has been tough for some of you. I am really praying about doing another book out of the Bible when this is over. I know a lot of you are needing some life applicable study and John is sometimes hard to understand. I have always heard that John is a good book for new Christians but I really think it's a good book for seasoned believers too. It's a hard one, so don't beat yourself up.

Whether you are reading John or not, read something!! You can read on the toilet if you have to! I love what Kellie said in one of the comments about doing chapter 12 again! So tomorrow we are doing chapter 12 again! It's the half way mark, Satan will try to attack us. This is the exact reason why we have to plug into our power source and the biggest way to do that is by reading His Word.

God has already done mighty things through this study, I was healed! So, get revived, get rejuvenated, get refreshed and GET READY because God still has great things to show us in the book of John!

Lord Jesus, please renew our strength and remind us of the awesome things you are doing in our lives. Show us the Lazarus' in our lives and bring it back to life! In Jesus Name!

(read the post below for an explanation on the past two day's events!)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Where's the power?

Yesterday afternoon while the kids were napping, I was on the computer and talking on the phone at the same time. All of the sudden, the phone went dead, computer went off, air conditioner stopped, and my house was completely silent. It was obvious, no doubt, the electricity was gone. No lights, no air, no computer, no phone, NO POWER! Instantly, I ran outside to see if my neighbors were experiencing the same problem, they weren't. My house was the only one without power. Oh and Ava Beth had a fever of almost 104 degrees! Yep, the day was not looking too good.

Sick child, hot day, no power! To make it even more exciting, I had to unload everything from my freezer and refrigerator and take it to my Dad's apartment. Thankfully, he lives a mile away and we stayed with him. It was too hot to stay at our house and Josiah kept asking if he could watch The Wiggles. It's way too hard explaining to a three year old that you don't have electricity so we packed up and went somewhere that did!

Okay, I am sure you are wondering what on earth happened to cause the power outage?? Well, the man from the electric company came to turn it off because the bill was not paid. It's a very long story but let's just say that I have been doing the bills in my home way too long. Quite often I make mistakes. I have even been known to pay the car payment twice or pay the wrong bill. If you haven't figured it out by now, I am not good with paying bills. It's 100% official, I have resigned! Did you hear that Babe? You now pay the bills! And when you pay them, I promise not to complain. At least I will not be responsible for loss of electricity anymore. In fact, I know that with you paying the bills, that will never happen.

One did not realize that when you have your electricity cut off that it takes 24-48 hours to have it turned back on. "Mam, we do not flip lights on and off over here." Yes, that is what I was told after paying the bill over the phone. I begged and pleaded and cried. Yes, I cried. I explained that I had two babies at home and one of them was sick. "I am sorry but it will be 24-48 hours before it will be back on." Oh and let me mention something before I forget. Don't switch from TXU to someone else. They may offer cheaper rates but it's worth paying an extra 2 cents per kilowatt just to have good customer service. This was our first bill with a new energy company. We switched because a family member asked us to, so we did. But after all that we went through, I will make every attempt to switch back and have TXU again. It was a horrible experience to say the least! Finally, TWENTY-SEVEN hours later, the power was restored!

Today I drive to the house several times to see if the power is back on. One time I forgot to grab some diapers so I had to come back again, only to find the house was still powerless! But for some dumb reason, I walked in and began flipping light switches. Then I tried to use our cordless phone. And I even caught myself walking to the computer to check our bank account! All of these things are impossible without electricity. But I found that I was so used to having power that I expected it.

I would like to say that I handled this with a graceful attitude. I didn't! I would love to say that my character that was revealed during this trial was one that was strong and steadfast. It wasn't! I got mad at myself, mad at my husband, mad at the electric company and mad at the world. Yesterday I cried most of the day and some of today as well. But as soon as I drove up to my house this afternoon, hit the garage door opener and saw my garage open, the stress was GONE. Finally, the power was back on! And wouldn't you know, God decides to speak to me! Loud and clear, this is what I heard."You walk into situations and expect great things to happen just like you expect those lights to turn on. But if the main power source is turned off, nothing is going to work."

How can we know God's will for our lives without being lead by the power of the Holy Spirit? We can't. No matter what it is, we have to rely on Him. As a wife and stay at home mom, I sometimes feel a lot of pressure. There are a lot of things that I am responsible for and I can't do it without direction from the Holy Spirit. When we put our house on the market last year, I had to make all of the arrangements. I had to find a new house. I had to set up phone, cable, electric, gas, water, everything. One of the toughest things I had to do was shop mortgage rates and then choose a mortgage company. My husband's job does not allow him time to do all of these things. So as the manager of this home, it fell under me. I became so stressed out that my hair was falling out, I was sick to my stomach, I couldn't sleep and I couldn't concentrate on anything. Finally, the Lord got a hold of me and showed me that I needed to trust Him with everything. With each decision I had to make, I asked God to make it for me. You know what? He did! When I plugged into the REAL power source, the lights came on!

Lord, show me where I am not using the power source! I want to follow you in everything I do, everything! Help me to be a woman that lives a powerful life! Thank you Jesus for the power of the cross in my life.

John 12

Good afternoon! It's a late start for me today. My world was turn upside down yesterday afternoon. Well, kind of. This is the first chance I have had to sit down at the computer since yesterday morning. I have read John 12 but I haven't really had time to meditate on it. Please forgive me ladies, but it's been a rough two days. We are all back at home now and the first chance I get, I will write about what happened. Everyone is safe and well, but for sure we have been tested. At least I know I have been!

Pray for me, I have had a lack of power in my life. More to come later.


Monday, May 08, 2006

John 11

God's timing seems to be one of the hardest things to rest in. Some wait to find the love of their life. Some wait to become pregnant. Some wait for the perfect job. All of us are usually waiting on something. If I had a nickel for every single time someone said, "It's all in God's timing," I really would be rich. As generic as the statement may sound, I have learned that it really is true. God's timing is perfect.

In John, chapter 11 we learn about Lazarus, a very sick man. Mary and Martha, Lazarus' sisters, sent a message to Jesus telling him that their brother was sick. When Jesus heard about the news he said "Lazarus's sickness will not end in death. No, it is for the glory of God. I, the Son of God, will receive glory from this." But still Jesus stayed where he was and did not leave. At this point I like to get in the head of Mary and Martha. I am sure they thought as soon as Jesus found out about Lazarus, he would come instantly to heal him. But, he didn't. He stayed. In fact, he stayed where he was for two more days. Finally he got his disciples and went to Lazarus. When he arrives, Mary takes Jesus to the grave of Lazarus. Jesus says, "Roll the stone aside." And Martha quickly tells him that the smell in the grave will be horrible because he's been dead for four days. Well, you know the end of the story. Lazarus is raised from the dead.

This story always intrigues me. It shows me how God's timing is so crucial to every single situation in our lives. Jesus didn't have to wait for Laz to die. He could have healed him while he was sick but he waited for him to die. He waited until Laz was dead for four days, then he brought him back to life. Because he waited, the people saw God's glory.

We want God to give us what we want instantly but sometimes what we need is to see God's glory. It may look like no hope is in sight. You may be thirty-five years old and still waiting to find a husband or wife. You may have been trying for a baby for several years and still no pregnancy. There is no rain in sight, the flowers look dead and your life seems like it's nothing but a big drought. Keep holding on! His timing is perfect.

What is the Lazarus in your life? Keep asking the Lord for your miracle, don't give up. His plan for your life is bigger than you could ever imagine! Just as soon as you think your dream is dead, He will raise it from the dead!


Saturday, May 06, 2006

looking for a Savior

Have you ever been at the gas station putting gas in your car when someone drives up and asks how to get somewhere? I have learned that when someone is lost, it's usually because they just didn't pay attention to the directions or didn't ask for them at all. Finally, they have given up and decide to ask someone that looks like they may know. For some reason it brings me great delight to help someone lost. One day while sitting at a red light, a young lady got my attention by waving at me through the window. "How do I get to Grapevine Mills Mall?" Well, I knew exactly how to tell her to get there and my directions would even bring a short cut. The poor young lady was completely going the wrong way and in the opposite direction of the mall. So, since I am familiar with the area and know the names of all the streets, I gave her simple directions and sent her on her way. I could tell by the look on her face that my directions brought relief! No one enjoys being lost, that's for sure.

When I see people give their life to Jesus, when I see them walk down to the front of the church and give their life to Him, I can't help but to cry. Some of them look scared, some look excited, some even cry. But at that moment when I see that boy or girl, man or woman hand their life over to Jesus, I feel it so deeply. To see someone lost finally find their way to Him, brings unexplainable joy. For I know that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has changed my life. I love Him so much.

Most of my life I have struggled with feeling loved and sometimes I still do. But over the last few months, I have grown so close to the Lord. When I was five years old, I surrendered my life to Jesus. Yes, even at five I knew I needed Him. My relationship with Him as a five year old girl was so simple. Simple but powerful. He was working in my life even then. It's so amazing to think about that now because I am so thankful that He called my name so early in life and I heard it! He knew that the years ahead of me would be painful and that I would need a Savior. He knew without Him in my life, I would be a very lost little girl.

His blood is real in my life. It's real. Jesus is real! If you need direction in your life, He is there. If you feel lost and can't seem to find your way in this hard life we live, He is there waiting. He shed His blood for you. He loves you.

Tonight I sit here amazed at how real you really are to me. You are changing me. You are showing me how much you love me. But more than anything you are showing me so many people out there that need you. Lord Jesus, use me! Please use me to minister. Please help me to give my time, my energy, my love to those that need it. When my flesh is weak, give me strength. Thank you Jesus for giving me purpose. I worship you Lord, I worship you. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for healing me. Thank you for calling my name at five years old and thank you for giving me ears to hear that call! Hallelujah!

Friday, May 05, 2006

JOHN 10 & the loss of my mind!

Good morning ladies! I have read John 10 and I can't wait to share with you about John 11 on Monday. John 11 is one of my favorite chapters. Today I want to let you know that I have read John 10 but much like yesterday, I don't have much to write about. But please know, I READ.

It's official, I am loosing my mind. I have been in this house ALL week long with these kids and as much as I love them and love what I do, I am ready for some Mommy time. Well, I can't get that just yet so the kids and I are leaving the house today and headed to the biggest mall in Texas. The biggest mall in Texas is only ten minutes from my house so don't worry, no road trips with the kids for me today! Yikes! I've cleaned up vomit and diarrhea way too much this week. Praise the Lord Ava Beth and Mommy and Daddy have remained HEALTHY! We have had a complete 24hours of no sickness so I feel we are safe heading to the mall. The greatest thing is, I will be with my best friend in the whole world, Rebecca. We moved nine months ago and until that time Rebecca lived across the street from me for almost four years. We built our house across the street from each other on purpose. We were inseparable! So, today we will shop and fight the screams of our children together. Mommy power is so much better when you have a fellow mommy joining you.

So there, nothing very spiritual today. I still love Jesus with all my heart and tomorrow I will have entire morning alone while the kids are with the G-Force (aka GRANDPARENTS) and Jeremy is fishing! Alone time, wow.

Much love to all of you women. You really have brought so much joy to my life!


(P.S. As hard as it is with two sometimes, yes I still want another baby.)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

John 9

Good morning to all of you ladies of John. I will not be writing ANY commentary today, I will leave it to all of you. I have read John 9 but since Josiah is throwing up AGAIN, I am going to try to get some sleep for just a little while. We thought we were in the clear but in the middle of the night it came back! Please, please pray for little Ava Beth and for us too. I really don't want us to get this. Today, I really need strength!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


If you have grown up going to church, you have been singing songs your whole life about the Lord. We sing about the blood of Jesus and how it washes white as snow. We sing about the cross and how our burdens were rolled away. Even as a small child we learn to sing Yes Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so. But when we sing, do we really mean it? Are we truly singing to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Or are we just singing? Until He really means something to us, it's just a bunch of singing. When we truly experience the hand of God something changes! Our singing becomes WORSHIP.

The only way to fall in love with our Lord is to experience Him. For me, the most incredible experiences with my Lord have been when I am hurting. It's happened when I was hurt or sick. It's come when I have been desperate for His love. Through a broken heart, I have felt Him near. The Bible says in Psalm 34:18 that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. When I have been worried over finances, He has given me peace. Matthew 6:34 says that I should worry about nothing! While I faced the pain of a miscarriage, the Lord comforted me with every tear I cried. Psalm 56:8 says that He bottles every tear I cry. He knows all of my sorrows. And last week when the doctor called to tell me that test results came back indicating precancerous cells were on my cervix once again, I prayed for healing. Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

So today, my singing is worship! For through my pain, through my fear, through my worry, through my confusion, He has been near, He has provided for me, He has comforted me and TODAY HE HAS HEALED ME!

That's right, I have been healed! Today I went for the colposcopy. I have been fighting precancerous cells on my cervix for two years! As my Doctor looked at my cervix through the scope, he said "Well, I don't see anything. Your cervix looks fine. There is no need for a biopsy today. See you in three months!" Now, let me refresh your memory ladies. Last week, I was told that the test results came back as a class three, which indicates precancerous cells are present. I was also told that I should go ahead and try for baby number three because it seemed as though the dysplasia was going to keep coming back. But, today nothing could be found! HEALED!

My friend Kathy called me last night and said, "When you go tomorrow, they will not find anything. Whatever was there will not be there anymore!" Also, many of you emailed me and agreed in prayer with me that the Lord would heal me. Thank you my dear sisters! He did heal me!

So, today I sing because I know HIM! When you sing to Him, listen to the words and remember all the things He has done for you. That's what worship is all about!

Praise the Lord! He is my healer!

(Thank you for praying for Kathy! The did an xray on her again today and found nothing! We serve a mighty God!)

John 8

Today is the day that I have the colposcopy. Gather around me ladies and pray for healing! I don't want to hear about any PRECANCEROUS CELLS. Also, if you could pray that this biopsy is not painful. I have had one before and it was so please pray. My appointment is at 10:30am. Also, please pray for Kathy who is a part of our Bible Study. She is having a biopsy today at 1:30 on one of her breast. Pray that God will give her peace and that the report will be good! Our God is a mighty God and He is capable of anything! He saves, he provides, he gives, he loves, he restores, he protects and HE HEALS! In Jesus name!

4"Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. 5The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?" 6They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!" 8Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. 9When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?" 11"No, Lord," she said. And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more."

When I read this scripture I am reminded of how guilty I have been in judging others. Christians are notorious for picking and choosing their sin. Then we have the chutzpah to talk about it among our friends! "Can you believe that she is the pastor's wife and she dresses like that?" "Can you believe they had a bottle of wine sitting in their fridge? I wonder if the pastor knows!" OR "I just can't believe they watch that TV show?" These are just scenarios, please don't think these are real. My Pastor's wife always dresses conservative so I'm not talking about anyone I know. But let's get real! You know what I am talking about. We have all been guilty of putting our sin in pretty little boxes, yet we are way too quick to unwrap someone else's. But in this scripture, Jesus solves the issue of judgment.

Ladies, I am really enjoying your comments and your pursuit. You are holding me accountable and you make me excited about reading His word. I love how He speaks to each of you, it blesses me. I pray that you will keep on keeping on. I am learning so much from your own revelation that the Holy Spirit is giving you. You are in my hearts, I think of you all the time and I won't quit praying. Women, you are making me better! Thank you.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Thank God I'm not in High School anymore!

Over the past couple of days I have re-connected with several high school classmates. Some friends, some acquaintances, some that I never really knew. But something we had in common was our High School, so chatting is quite easy! As I have sent messages to some of these folks through myspace, I have been a bit nervous. You never know! What will they remember? Was I nice? Was I rude to this person? It's been eleven years since graduation and I now have two kids, how on earth can I remember my interactions with every single classmate? What the heck, I take a chance. It's been fun talking about old times, old teachers, old classmates. Tonight I got a message from someone that I went to High School with but never hung out with. The way myspace works is pretty simple. You can find their profile and then send a message to them, kind of like an email. Tonight I got one asking, "Did your last name used to be ____?" I couldn't tell who was asking me by the profile so I bravely said, "Yes." Anxiously I awaited a reply and got one. "I remember you. We were in the same Geometry class. You were always so sweet to me and I remember you were a singer." She also told me who she was and I remembered her instantly. Her statement actually made me smile very big. It was a relief. For back in those days I didn't like myself at all, so how I am remembered for being sweet, I will never know.

I wasn't able to go to my ten year reunion last year. It happened to fall right in middle of us moving so there was no possible way I could attend. But one of my best friends Kelly Ann did go and so I got the full report from her. I wanted details! Who was there? What did they look like? Are they married? Do they have kids? Are they still totally gorgeous? Much to my surprise, Kelly Ann said, "Everyone's pretty much the same."

Well I think she's right. In High School I sure didn't think I was sweet, I thought everyone hated me. Some days they probably did. Today, I still don't think I'm sweet and I still have days where I think everyone hates me. Some days they probably do. Even though some things are the same, a few things have changed.

1. I don't have to be a cheerleader to get the guys to like me. I have a wonderful guy and he adores me and I adore him. As bad as I wanted to be like those girls, I just wasn't and never will be. But, I no longer want to be someone else. I want to be ME, the REAL ME. And that's honest folks!

2. I'm not obsessed with name brands. Well I do have to have Cottenelle toilet paper and Cheer laundry detergent and Downy fabric softener. And I can't handle Dr. Thunder, it has to be Dr, Pepper! For crying out loud I have a fake Louis Vuitton purse and someone gave it to me. I have fake LV luggage too! My husband calls it the "FLV" which stands for the FAKE Louis Vuitton! When someone comments on it, I quickly say "It's fake!" For I have learned that I am not comfortable acting or trying to be something that I am not. I can't afford a $1,400 purse and I'm not up for acting like I can. That's a relief because I spent too much time in high school trying to be someone else.

3. I don't care of anyone is gathered around the lockers talking about me. Girls will be girls but if my name happens to be the topic of gossip, I'm not gonna freak out over it. For I have learned that it really and truly doesn't matter what people think about me. My hair changes a lot, I am loud sometimes, I talk a lot, and I am extremely dramatic when telling a story and sometimes I even get a little winy. So gather around the lockers and talk, I will be okay. Really, I will be okay.

4. I feel loved. I feel needed. I feel wanted. I feel appreciated. I feel accepted. Now any teenager walking around today that feels all five of those things has to be a supernatural teenager. You just don't feel all of those things in the teen years. But, now I know that all of those things are true for my life.

5. I can forgive. Back in High School forgiveness took a while to take place among the ladies. You have a little tiff and it takes a long time to get things right. But, now the Lord has taught me that I have to HURRY and forgive. It's sometimes hard, especially if you have been done wrong, but we have to do it! I have to do it. But back in High school I could just give you a roll of the eyes and be done with you. Not anymore.

So there you go! It may seem a bit silly but God is just always teaching me so much stuff and I love to share it with you. I have to say, I am so glad we are not in High school anymore. How about you?


Monday, May 01, 2006

John 7 & and the stomach flu

What a night it has been! I decided to post my thoughts for John 7 tonight because Josiah started throwing up about 5pm this afternoon. It may be a long night. At lunch I shared a popsicle with him and Ava Beth so we have all three been exposed. So please join me now as I rebuke sickness! Last time this happened, we all got sick except for Jeremy. You know when one of your kids starts throwing up, your stomach instantly feels weird. I am praying that it's all in my mind so please pray with me.

My friend Kelly Ann and I have been studying John for a while so I knew that John 7 was one of my favorite chapters. I realized in this chapter how much God's timing is important. 6Jesus replied, "Now is not the right time for me to go. But you can go anytime, and it will make no difference. 7The world can't hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of sin and evil. 8You go on. I am not yet[a] ready to go to this festival, because my time has not yet come." 9So Jesus remained in Galilee. Timing was crucial for Jesus and it's crucial for us. I know that the Lord has called me to be a wife and a mom, that is first. But I long to minister to women. I struggled with this calling for a long time because I did not understand it. In fact, I didn't want it. A while back I had a dear friend that felt the calling to be a Woman's Pastor and I said "That's great but there is no way I could ever do that. Not women!" Singing has always been my thing. I love to worship, I love to sing, I love to sing in front of huge crowds, I love music. So I always assumed that would me my ministry and I am sure it always will be to some extent. But, I knew God had called me into a particular ministry beyond that. There was no way I wanted to minister to women though, no way! Women have hurt me, women are sometimes hard to love, women are sometimes mean to each other, women are like me! As God kept revealing to me that my primary ministry was going to be with women, I thought there was no way because I knew I couldn't love other women if I didn't love myself. Then a few months back, God showed that it was it was time to take a step in that direction as far as ministry was concerned. Now, I long to be a minister to women. I long to teach them and help them find healing and restoration in their life. But right now, that call has not come to total fruition because I know it's not time. When will that time come? I don't know. I know what I desire that picture to look like but I have to wait on God's timing. For now, I will be faithful in the areas He has given me now. Until the dream comes alive, I will minister to every woman he puts in my path. And may I pursue relationships so I may minister and be ministered to. His timing will be perfect. So as I share recipes, may I share His love. It starts with the simple things.

37On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, "If you are thirsty, come to me! 38If you believe in me, come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within."[b] 39(When he said "living water," he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.) I pray that the Lord Jesus will use me daily. Whether it's in my home, my church, my blog or my grocery store, may living water flow deep within me.

(Totally off subject. I heard that all the teenagers are big into this thing called, well I had never really heard of it. But now I know. It's not just teenagers that are into it, it's 30 year olds! Now, I feel old! I have found so many people from High School, it's crazy! When you graduate from a huge school in a huge town, you forget about a lot of people. Half of them I really don't remember! It's kind of neat to re-connect. So if you are wanting to find some old classmates, go to

John 6

Good morning. I hope that all of you had a relaxing weekend. Sometimes you have to force yourself to relax instead of making your weekend a time to catch up on chores. We all need rest, true rest. This morning I woke up early like I normally do and my kids, who usually sleep until almost 9am, decided to wake up early as well. My time is a little distracted this morning with sounds of Winnie the Pooh in the background. But a Mom has to do what a Mom has to do!

Chapter 6 has a lot that spoke to me so since I am wanting to keep this short and simple, I will highlight only a couple.

5When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" 6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. I have heard many people say that God does not test us. But right here I believe that it proves that He does. Right now we are trying to teach our three year old how to recognize words. We are want him to be able to read before he gets to kindergarten so we work on it with him a lot. The only way he can learn how to read is for me to test him. "Josiah, what word is this? Can you say this word?" I am not asking him to help me out, for I already know the word. Not only do I know what the word is but I know how to say it, how to spell it and I know the meaning of the word. But if I don't test him on the things he has learned, how can he possibly remember? Through this scripture I believe that God has showed me that he does test me. He gives me opportunities to exercise my faith. Otherwise, what good is it? In this chapter, Jesus already knew how he would feed the five thousand.

16When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19When they had rowed three or three and a half miles,[b] they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. 20But he said to them, "It is I; don't be afraid." 21Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. I love this verse! This is how I like to view Jesus because he has protected me so much in my life from danger. This goes back to my testimony and things I experienced as a child. He protected me. He was there during those times saying, "Mandi, I am here. Don't be afraid my precious child."

Thank you Lord for your word. This morning brings a fresh start Lord. Renew our minds and help us to see you in everything we do. You still walk on water and you still provide just as you did the for the five thousand. You are the same God today that you were then! Thank you Lord for you son, Jesus Christ. I pray that we can all experience you in a very personal way. Father I ask you to show these women how the Word is changing them. Help them to know that it really is making a difference in their lives. I pray that as the word fills our lives that you will give us boldness to share Jesus with others. Clear our minds today and help us to focus on you. Thank you Jesus for changing my life. I love you. In Jesus name. Amen!