Sunday, December 13, 2009
I rarely watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (just because I never have the time), but when I do, I am always so blessed by the impact and imprint that show leaves on the hearts of the deserving. I can't watch this show without crying. Tonight, I was deeply touched by Ms. Claira, the person being honored by the show. Ms. Claira is an older African-American woman in a wheelchair who lives and breathes the desire to help children, the homeless and the less fortunate people in her neighborhood. Her home was falling apart, she was barely mobile, yet she poured herself out to the youth of the community; housing them and taking care of them for many years. But what touched me the most is when the producers did a segment on the children in the neighborhood and how most of them live in extreme impoverished conditions - no clothes, toys or even a bed of their own.
Even though the makeover team was busy building a new home for Ms. Claira and the children she takes care of, they somehow found the time to remodel the bedrooms of some of those kids in need. The makeover team gave each kid a new bed of their own and painted their rooms cool colors, etc. At the reveal, the kids just wept, walked over to their beds and wept some more. Wow. The most important thing they had was their bed because it represented a small piece of ownership and an even smaller piece of home. The kids didn't have to share their beds anymore (some of them sleeping 4 in one bed). Watching those kids cry reminded me of a time when my family and I were homeless, and with that experience, I can say this: There's nothing like having your own bed. Seriously, there's something 'independent' about it. Home is more than just where the heart is; it's also a place where you can lay your head. For some, a bed represents stability.
I was so blessed by this show tonight. Thank God for the people whose life mission is to give back and to help change/influence a life. Thank God for the selfless actions of those who don't live with a "what about me" mentality but are servants from sun up to sun down.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Preparing 4 dinner... my 5 year old niece sees me marinating "beef." She asks me, "Auntie, what are you doing?" Since I am too tired to think, I tell her, "its chicken..." But before I can correct myself, she responds, "Oh... is that the cow from the chicken?"
Hahaha! What a great laugh for the day!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
by Kelli W.
Today I was thinking about the Scripture where God promises to give His people “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3), which Jesus referenced when he stood up in the synagogue and read this very same passage, proclaiming his fulfillment of these verses (Luke 4:17-18). I have heard this verse many times and it has always seemed sweet but maybe somewhat distant from my heart personally and like it applied to others, but today it struck me in a new way. It was as if suddenly I was very aware of what ashes are. Profound, I know ;-). I mean I guess I never thought about it in context to this verse. What are ashes? NOTHING. They are the charred remnants of something that was, but really, what can you do with ashes? NOTHING. Ashes are worthless leftovers that only get stuff dirty by their presence. You can’t build anything with ashes… you can’t really do anything with ashes except put them on your head and go about mourning… And what does God give us for the ashes of our lives? BEAUTY. Oh, something of such substance. He gives us real, true, eternal beauty. He adorns our souls with something that is lasting. He gives us love…. Perfect Love… not just a love that toys with our hearts or makes empty promises. Not a love that manipulates or connives or takes advantage… He gives us PERFECT, FAITHFUL, ETERNAL, COVENANTAL LOVE. Wow. God takes the nothing of my life: my failures, my shortcomings, my vain attempts at reaching righteousness in my own effort, my broken heart, my tears, my lost hope… all of these ashes…and in His Divine Providence, in a way that only He can do, He gives me BEAUTY. He crowns me with His love. This is quite the exchange.
It strikes me that in this exchange, what He gives us has real substance. It is not just a nice idea, a nice thought or an encouraging word in the way people have sympathy and try to make you feel better when you had a really bad day or the girl or guy does not return your admiration or you didn’t get the job or make cheerleading tryouts or the first string of the basketball team or whatever it is. When God names you, when God defines you, He holds the Trump card. He has the absolute and final say about who you really are. And He says who you are is beautiful. He says you are perfect. He says you are worthy of His love because of His blood.
And there’s more! This beauty is not solely substantial, it is eternal. What He is doing in us will last forever. How true the verses Paul writes, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:17, I just liked the KJ version in that one☺, emphasis mine).
The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The things which are not seen are ETERNAL. Did you hear that? He is giving you BEAUTY for your ASHES. All those shattered dreams, that rejection, that abandonment, that self hatred, those failures…. Ashes all of it… but ashes just blow away. And the Refiner of our hearts is creating a new thing. Like gold is refined through the fire, so our hearts are refined in this furnace of trials and tribulations (1 Pet. 4:12-14) if we but say YES to His Love in the middle of it. In the midst of the questions, as we journey on without knowing the way… as we come up leaning on His faithfulness rather than our own fleshly might our hearts are being refined and something beautiful is being formed… something of eternal value. We are being made into a Bride fit for a King. We are being given beauty for our ashes.
:: O God, I will receive this wonderful exchange. I will take Your Beauty for my ashes…. How can you be this good? ::
Thursday, November 26, 2009
She came to Virginia to spend a week with me for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I didn't realize how much I've missed her until I picked her up from the airport and kissed her cheek! Ah, there's NOTHING like a mom. I mean, there's nothing and no one that could ever take the place of a mother. I love my mom and am SO thankful and grateful for her life. Just being in the same room with her is inspiring. I love that God loves me so much, that He would spoil me with an amazing mom. Wow. He's so good!
Monday, November 23, 2009
God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him.
Philippians 2:13 NCV
What God said about Jeremiah, he said about you: “Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work” (Jer. 1:5 NCV).
Set apart for a special work.
God shaped you according to yours. How else can you explain yourself? Your ability to diagnose an engine problem by the noise it makes, to bake a cake without a recipe. You knew the Civil War better than your American history teacher. You know the name of every child in the orphanage. How do you explain such quirks of skill?
God. He knew young Israel would need a code, so he gave Moses a love for the law. He knew the doctrine of grace would need a fiery advocate, so he set Paul ablaze. And in your case, he knew what your generation would need and gave it. He designed you. And his design defines your destiny. Remember Peter’s admonition? “If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies” (1 Pet. 4:11).
I encountered walking proof of this truth on a trip to Central America. Dave, a fellow American, was celebrating his sixty-first birthday with friends at the language school where my daughter was studying Spanish. My question—“What brings you here?”—opened a biographical floodgate. Drugs, sex, divorce, jail—Dave’s first four decades read like a gangster’s diary. But then God called him. Just as God called Moses, Paul, and millions, God called Dave.
His explanation went something like this. “I’ve always been able to fix things. All my life when stuff broke, people called me. A friend told me about poor children in Central America, so I came up with an idea. I find homes with no fathers and no plumbing. I install sinks and toilets and love kids. That’s what I do. That’s what I was made to do.”
Sounds like Dave has found the cure for the common life. He’s living in his sweet spot. What about you? What have you always done well? And what have you always loved to do?
That last question trips up a lot of well-meaning folks. God wouldn’t let me do what I like to do—would he? According to Paul, he would. “God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him” (Phil. 2:13 NCV). Your Designer couples the “want to” with the “be able to.” Desire shares the driver’s seat with ability. “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4 NIV). Your Father is too gracious to assign you to a life of misery. As Thomas Aquinas wrote, “Human life would seem to consist in that in which each man most delights, that for which he especially strives, and that which he particularly wishes to share with his friends.”
So go ahead; reflect on your life. What have you always done well and loved to do?
Some find such a question too simple. Don’t we need to measure something? Aptitude or temperament? We consult teachers and tea leaves, read manuals and horoscopes. We inventory spiritual gifts and ancestors. While some of these strategies might aid us, a simpler answer lies before us. Or, better stated, lies within us.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Haillee asked her mom what a "period" was. Her mom asked her where she heard about it... Haillee said, "You know, mom... when I read!" "Phew!" said Haillee's mom. "...was sure glad I hadn't launched into the OTHER "period" conversation!"
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
If you love Me, keep My commandments —John 14:15
Our Lord never insists obedience. He stresses very definitely what we ought to do, but He never forces us to do it. We have to obey Him out of a oneness of spirit with Him. That is why whenever our Lord talked about discipleship, He prefaced it with an "If," meaning, "You do not need to do this unless you desire to do so." "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself . . ." ( Luke 9:23 ). In other words, "To be My disciple, let him give up his right to himself to Me." Our Lord is not talking about our eternal position, but about our being of value to Him in this life here and now. That is why He sounds so stern (see Luke 14:26 ). Never try to make sense from these words by separating them from the One who spoke them.
The Lord does not give me rules, but He makes His standard very clear. If my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says without hesitation. If I hesitate, it is because I love someone I have placed in competition with Him, namely, myself. Jesus Christ will not force me to obey Him, but I must. And as soon as I obey Him, I fulfill my spiritual destiny. My personal life may be crowded with small, petty happenings, altogether insignificant. But if I obey Jesus Christ in the seemingly random circumstances of life, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God. Then, when I stand face to face with God, I will discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed. When God’s redemption brings a human soul to the point of obedience, it always produces. If I obey Jesus Christ, the redemption of God will flow through me to the lives of others, because behind the deed of obedience is the reality of Almighty God.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Below is one of my favorite songs by Misty Edwards & band. Hope it blesses you today! Muah!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Me: Hey homie! How was school today?
Him: Okay. But I didn't get in trouble today! (as he munches on a peanut butter cracker)
Me: That's awesome!!
Him: You wanna know why? (totally excited)
Me: Sure, buddy!
Him: Because Jason made me upset today and I almost got in trouble, but then I remembered what my mommy read to me last night about loving my friends and so I didn't get upset at Jason and fight or be mean. (all in one breath) And you wanna know something else?
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
A girl at my church danced to this song this past Sunday, and I almost cried! It was so beautiful! So, I tracked it down so I could share it with you! Hope you enjoy!
|BarlowGirl - Surrender|
|Found at bee mp3 search engine|
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I remember the first time I heard the word integrity and actually took it to heart. I was a sophomore at Oral Roberts University, and I was walking with a friend who was sharing with me their concept of leadership. I remember our time together being very fruitful because I walked away from the conversation challenged about being a leader and about this word called integrity. At the time (and a little while after), I thought integrity only meant, "who you are when no one is looking," but it wasn't until recently that I learned it means so much more. Besides ethics and moral character, I learned through a word study that integrity means 'integer' or the state of being whole. Integrity is huge in relationships, finances, friendships and even our walk with the Lord. A person of integrity is a person of their word; they are ruthlessly honest. And being ruthlessly honest means having a healthy fear of God. It means that you love God more than your desire to disappoint man... As I try to live my life after Christ, with no walls and as transparent as possible, I've got to share that a few months ago, those few principles was not only a reminder, but a stern wake-up call for me.
There was an area in my life where I lived life thinking I've been integral in certain situations when I have not. My word fell through on certain promises, I had not been faithful in certain situations and I certainly had not been ruthlessly honest with myself, others or the Lord. I've even told a little "white lie" before - you know that kind of lie that is partially the truth, but not really. For example, it's a "white lie" when you tell a friend you can't hang out because you have other plans, when really, you do not and you just want to avoid them. Or, calling your boss to tell them you're late because of traffic when actually you're late because you decided to sleep in 15 extra minutes or because you wanted to finish watching Good Morning America. "White lies" slip in in instances where you really don't want to tell your friend the whole truth because you're afraid that they'll not want to be your friend anymore, so you tell a partial truth in good faith. You do the right thing the wrong way. In essence, all "white lies" do is cloud the presence of integrity. "White lies" are what I call silent assassins because they leave seeds that eventually grow to quench the root of internal integrity - when the Holy Spirit convicts, we hear and we obey it.
Growing up, my mother would always tell me, "Terri, swear to your own hurt and change not." "What does that even mean?!" I would think. I didn't see it then, but even as a child, my mother was teaching me about the presence of integrity; she was actually quoting scripture. The latter part of Psalm 15:4 says, "...He swears to his own hurt and does not change." It means, be a person who makes firm on commitments and do not change. Speak the truth outwardly and in your heart. Even if it hurts, do what you say you're going to do. Forgive and then model that forgiveness by not changing, reneging or keeping record of wrongs. Being firm.
As I move towards a greater presence of integrity in my life, I know that God's grace is sufficient. It makes me cry every time I think of it. Even when we mess up, we get to try again. And, although grace is there, God also holds us accountable to His standards; walking in integrity is part of the fabric of God, being truthful is a part of His standard(s). In this instance of integrity, developing a healthy fear of God will keep us mindful of "white lies." We'll not want to tell them; instead, we'll want the truth to pour out of us because that's all that's in us. Practice purity because purity is not an absence of evil, but a presence of light.
What's your biggest struggle with integrity? Are you a person of integrity? Do you keep your word? Are you transparent and honest with others and with God?
Be faithful. Keep moving forward.
"The integrity of the upright will guide them..." Proverbs 11:3
Monday, October 5, 2009
Beyond all else, He is faithful!
Friday, October 2, 2009
Nina Landis - "Tired," "Gluttons At A Table" & "Greatest Weapon"
Jake Newton - "Burn In My Cage"
Fred Hammond - "Show Me Your Face"
Chasen - "Nothing Like You'
Hillsong - "Desert Song" & "I Will Exalt You"
Canton Jones - "Doin' It Big," "5 seconds" & "Warrior"
Cory Asbury - "My Beloved"
Ryan Edgar "We Become"
Kari Jobe - "The More I Seek You"
John David Helser - "Fly"
Christmas music (I play it all year long!)
Monday, September 28, 2009
This weekend, I had a chance to spend an entire day with Jenny! I am so blessed by her life. Most importantly, I am thankful, grateful to God for allowing our paths to cross and for the opportunity to model Christ, influence & pour into her life. I met Jenny almost two years ago when she joined a small group I was leading with three other beautiful women from our young adult ministry called, AWAKE. Jenny LOVES Jesus, is an English teacher, just recently engaged (yay!) and most of all; Jenny is a blessing. I like to tell her, "she keeps me on my p's and q's" all the time... Besides hanging out in our favorite coffee shops, discovering cool little stores, having amazing Jesus/life conversations at the beach or anywhere, I love walking through and discovering life with her. She's even in the final stages of beginning a Wyldlife middle school ministry in the area where she teaches! She works hard and is amazing -"Do all that's in your heart..."
Every year, VABeach has a Neptune Festival on the beach in celebration of the fall. This weekend, there was a 36 block parade, sand castle building contests, misc. contests, concerts, vendors, etc. So fun! During the festival, there was a national cake show/contest and my friend Beth submitted one of her cakes! So proud of her! She did very well and was graded (no trophies, just national recognition) very high! Beth loves to bake and she'll be the first to tell you that God was the one to develop the dream of a baking business. She's so talented and extremely creative! Oh, and her cakes are not only gorgeous, but they taste GOOD, too! It's been a blessing to watch God walk her through the doors she'd never thought she'd enter. Way to go, B!
*(become a fan of Beth's Sweet Experiments on Facebook)
Friday, September 25, 2009
Happy Friday & have a great weekend! Hugs!