Saturday, January 31, 2009

Flawless

"And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times."
Psalm 12:6 (NIV)

"Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him."
Proverbs 30:5 (NIV)

"As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
2 Samuel 22:31 (NIV)

It's wonderful when one verse pops out at you during your quiet time, isn't it? I love when that happens. He is faithful to give us our portion, and sometimes our portion is just one rich and meaningful verse.

I was reading through a few Psalms the other morning and was jaw-dropped amazed at Psalm 12:6. "The words of the Lord are flawless...."! It still takes my breath away. His words are flawless. Perfect. Perfectly trustworthy. Perfectly dependable. Perfectly true. Completely flawless.

I did a little search on the word "flawless" at http://www.blueletterbible.com/ and found the scriptures above. "Every word of God is flawless..." (Proverbs 30:5 NIV) My heart was satisfied, full and comforted reading about His flawless Word.

Still savoring the portion He gave from Psalm 12:6. What verse(s) are you savoring today?

Thou art my portion, O LORD:
I have said that I would keep thy words.
Psalm 119:57 (KJV)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Hand-Written Note

"I...am writing this with my own hand."
Philemon 1:19
"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."
Hebrews 3:13
Ever since I was a very young girl, I have loved collecting stationery. I love note pads, greeting cards and writing paper. I could get lost in a card store for hours! Still, a lovely stationery and greeting card store excites me...beyond even a unique clothing boutique!
As I look back now, I believe that, even as a young gal, God was graciously cultivating Himself in me as a lover of encouraging and as one who so deeply appreciates being encouraged. I love sending hand-written notes to family and friends. Even in this age of instant cyber communication, texting and e-mailing, there is nothing as meaningful as a hand-written note.
E-mails are a daily part of my life, and I appreciate the convenient and efficient correspondence they provide. However, the joy of opening the now almost-nostalgic "snail mailbox" and finding a colorful envelope with your name hand written on it is simply delightful. When I open the snail mailbox and see a personal note or card, my day is brightened. God has often used someone to send me a note at just the right time. His love and care has regularly been expressed personally through hand-written notes.
There is just something special about sending or receiving a hand-written note on pretty paper. In his writings, Paul was known for declaring that he was handwriting the letters he authored (at least handwriting a portion of each letter personally) with his own hand. He would often write, "I Paul am writing this with my own hand." It gave the letter authenticity and that personal, special touch. As with our own hand-written notes, Paul's own handwriting signified his sincere love and care for the people to whom he was writing.
Personal, hand-written notes will always be a treasure, no matter how much our world of communication is taken over by cyber-exchanges.
Heartfelt sincerity and love are so beautifully expressed by a hand-written note.
Pray and ask the Lord if there is someone He would like you to encourage through a hand-written note today. Include a favorite scripture verse. Pray for that person and place that hand-written envelope in your out-going mailbox today! Your hand-written note will be an encouragement to the recipient.
PS -- I like to even send my husband and children hand-written notes in the mail! :) (Much better than all the bills and junk mail we all find in our snail mailboxes!)

"I am sending him to you for the express purpose that...he may encourage your hearts."
Colossians 4:8
"We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."
Romans 12:6-10

Monday, January 26, 2009

Desiring Truth

“Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts...”
Psalm 51:6 (NKJV)

I realized this morning that I am really slacking in my role as the "tooth fairy"! Our children know there is no real tooth fairy. That's settled. They asked me to be their tooth fairy (story below). I am happy to do it. However, last night Joshua excitedly put his 7th lost tooth under his pillow with great expectations for finding treasure this morning. Well, at 6:52 AM, I realized I had not put my tooth fairy hat on during the night. I asked my husband if happened to, and he said "no". Quickly, while (I thought) Joshua was still sleeping, I slipped into his room and put some special coins under his pillow. When I got back to our bedroom, Jim said, "Did you remember to get the tooth?" Ugh! I now ran back to Joshua's room (I wake them at 7 AM on school mornings so I only had a few minutes) and secretly (or so I thought) grabbed the tooth. Later, we all had a good laugh together when Joshua told us he was really awake both times I went in. Thankfully, he was still just as excited to find the treasure under his pillow this morning!
The knowledge to our children that parents are indeed the tooth fairy happened one day during a "car conversation" when they were seeking truth. It became a treasure of a conversation. Here's how it went:
“Mommy, will you be my tooth fairy?” asked my then 7-year old son, Joshua. “Sure”, I replied, “I will be your tooth fairy.” You see, we don’t know much about the tooth fairy, and Joshua didn’t want a stranger coming into our home, even if she was going to leave treasures under his pillow in exchange for a tooth.

His next question was quite courageous. “Mommy, is there a tooth fairy? And is Santa Claus real?” Trying to get a read on where Joshua’s heart was with this question and wanting to reply to him truthfully, I began answering him in a long-winded kind of way. We want our children to be respectful of what other families traditions are (we never made a big deal out of Santa Claus), and I wanted to be sure he really was seeking and ready for the truth at that moment.

After a few minutes of my discourse, Joshua interrupted me with urgency and asked the question again, “Mommy, is Santa Claus real?” I said, “Well, Joshua, before I answer, what do you hope the answer will be?”. His passionate and sincere reply caused my heart to rejoice. “Mommy, I don’t care if Santa Claus is real or not. I just want to know the truth!” Oh, yes! Music to a parent’s ears! “I just want to know the truth!” I rejoiced and told him that our prayer is that he always just wants to know the Truth!

This unexpected tête-à-tête with my son continues to linger in and challenge my heart. Living in and by the Truth is genuinely freeing. “Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 (NIV) However, it is very difficult, and it requires courage. It requires abiding in Jesus, the Truth. It requires that we hold to His teaching and that we trust Him. We must ask the Lord to allow our hearts, words, responses, thoughts and behavior to be based in His truth and love. If we live in the truth, our own hearts will be clear of any debris and we will enjoy His light and life. We will respond to nonsense with God’s grace and wisdom. Our speech will reflect His gentleness and love.
As we live in truth, our lives will be a mantle on which He will be glorified.

Faithful Father, cause me to live in You, abide in Your truth and continually seek Your truth. By Your grace and with Your courage, may my life reflect a life lived in truth for Your glory alone. Gently expose to me areas in my life where I may not be living in the truth. Graciously help me to grow in your Truth daily. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth.” 3 John 1:4 (NIV)

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6 (NIV)

“But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13 (NIV)

“Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for Your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in Your truth.” Psalm 26:2-3 (NIV)

“…guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior.” Psalm 25:5 (NIV)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Keep Me On A Short Leash, Lord

"...you know that you have a Master in heaven."
Colossians 4:1

"He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young."
Isaiah 40:11

"But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
Matthew 7:14

"Keep me on a short leash, Lord. Keep me on the narrow road. Carry me close to Your heart. Keep me abiding in You." This is a prayer of mine. And I mean with all of my heart it because I know it is the only way that leads me to life, His life. It's how His peace fills my heart. It's how He satisfies completely. It's also how He can bear fruit in me.
Yet, sometimes keeping me on a short leash and on the narrow road causes me to be lovingly poked by His mighty right Hand. Yesterday, I was reminded that He is honoring my prayers to keep me on a short leash. You see, in haste and without thinking, I broke a rule...just a smidgen bit...but I broke it nonetheless. And as soon as I did, there was "the boss" watching me. Literally. Thankfully, he handled it with truth, grace and even very good humor. I was immediately convicted, truly remorseful and so very thankful for his grace. I was also thankful for God's faithfulness to not let me get away with breaking a rule, not even a smidgen bit.
I am so grateful I have people in my life who keep me accountable and who can speak the truth in love to me. My husband, who is my covering, keeps me accountable. Honoring God is the desire of our hearts, as individuals, as a married couple and for our family. While we often fall short, we don't want to lower the bar on the Biblical standard of honoring God. By His strength and grace alone can we honor Him.
I am so thankful for pastors and a body of believers at our church who lovingly keep their eyes on us and pray for us.
I cherish precious girlfriends and sisters in Christ who keep me accountable and articulate things so well to me. I am thankful for friends who keep my face towards Him and my feet to the fire. Girlfriends who also do not want to lower the bar. Girlfriends who desire to honor Him. Committed, steadfast girlfriends who allow me to grow and who, without judgment, graciously pick me up, dust me off and encourage me when I have failed.
Often it is painful being on a short leash and staying on the narrow road. But when I wander, I want that leash gently pulled and the fences on the narrow road fortified so I don't step into danger. Often times, He uses people around us to be our fortified fences. I am thankful for those He uses.
Yesterday, He reminded me of my "Keep me on a short leash, Lord" prayer. And I knew my gentle Shepherd was holding me His loving arms and holding me close to His heart. My Master was keeping His promise to me. This puppy is content in His care.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:5

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Treasure The Words of His Mouth

"I have treasured the
words of His mouth
more than my daily bread."
Job 23:12
"Then the Lord said...'...[Job] is blameless and upright,
a man who fears God and shuns evil.'"
Job 1:8 (NIV)

In reading through the NIV Chronological One-Year Bible, I have spent the last several days in Job. The book of Job is so valuable because it discusses the subject of theodicy -- the justice of God in light of human suffering. No small subject. Christians and non-Christians alike have considered this. Admittedly, Job is not my favorite book in the Bible. I pray and ask the Lord to give me His truth and treasures from this book, and He does.

For several days in my chronological reading of the Bible, I listened to Job's "friends" rattle on and on, often presumptuously, ABOUT God. Literally, they made my brain hurt. Here Job was in the midst of his greatest desert experience having lost everything, in pain physically, emotionally and spiritually, and his friends were pontificating rather than giving him some practical help or even offering him a cup of cold water.

After the first few days of reading Job's friends' words, I was so tempted to skip to several chapters ahead to Chapter 38 titled "The Lord Speaks". I just wanted to get to what God said because I knew His words would be pure truth. Refreshment. But I didn't skip ahead. I persevered and stayed on course wanting to glean whatever treasures God had for me.

Observing the difference between Job's words and his friends' words, it's important to note that Job spoke TO God, determined to speak honesty before Him, even in his suffering. Job's friends spoke only ABOUT God. In Job 42:7, the Lord tells Job's friends "...you have not spoken of Me what is right, as my servant Job has."

Job inquired of the Lord and knew He alone had the answers Job was seeking.

This weekend, I finally reached chapters 38-42 in Job. Aaaahhhh....God's voice speaking....a conversation between God and Job. Refreshment. Restoration.

"Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place...?"
Job 38:12 (NIV)
"Have you entered the storehouses of snow...?"
Job 38:22 (NIV)
"Everything under heaven belongs to me."
Job 41:11 (NIV)
God is the Almighty God.

In the end, after Job has prayed for his friends (42:10), "...the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before." His relationships were restored, and the Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. (42:10) Amazing. Job spoke to God and sought His truth only. And the Lord blessed him greatly.

Note the Lord had Job pray for his friends. Yes, pray for the friends that didn't seem too friendly or supportive, and actually they were downright nasty at times. Hello...life application for sure. Pray for your friends, even when they are behaving like Job's.

More life application: I asked the Lord, "Please, if I ever sound like one of Job's friends, please cover my mouth and change my heart!"

The book of Job does give us precious treasure for our hearts and lives. Persevere reading through the tough spots. He will bless you with His truth.

"The Job replied to the Lord: 'I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted. My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You."

Job 42:2,5 (NIV)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Outer Fringe of His Works - From My "Creator Memories" Weekend

Sunset on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland (Friday 1/9/09)

"He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness.
And these are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him!"
Job 26:10,14 (NIV)

Usually once a year, a few friends and I head down to the beautiful shores of the Chesapeake Bay to a retreat center in Maryland for a Creative Memories Scrap Booking Weekend! Our cars are packed with more scrap booking supplies than clothes and toiletries. With one weekend a year dedicated to our role as "Family Historian", we are serious about accomplishing as much as we can in our memory books, while enjoying fellowship and eating meals we did not prepare, nor will we clean up. From Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, it's a fun and productive weekend.

Pentagon-level planning is required for a wife and mom to get away, even for a few days. While our hubbies were enthusiastic and supportive about us getting away this past weekend, still some high-level preparation and management strategies were required to get us to the retreat with all we needed and also leave our families prepared for their weekend activities. Once we gals arrive at the retreat center and set up our table with all of our supplies, we can exhale and get to work!

Comfy clothes and little make-up (or none, gasp!) are in order for these cropping weekends. Many of the girls wear slippers the whole weekend. I wore my favorite pajamas most of time.

Friday evening, there was a beautiful sunset over the Chesapeake. Pausing to take in God's handiwork, I gazed at the horizon as the sun just began to seemingly dip into the water. A warmth filled my heart. A perfect way to begin the Creative Memories weekend.

This morning, as I was having my quiet time with the Lord in a chair looking out onto the same horizon, He carefully placed me in Job 26. I am reading through the NIV Chronological Bible in a year, and the last several mornings I have been in Job. I had just shared with my friend, Lucille, yesterday that I just wanted to skip ahead to the end of Job where God speaks. (I was tired of listening to Job's "friends".) In His goodness, God gave me the above scriptures today (Job 26:10-14). His refreshment poured over my heart, and I chuckled that He blessed me through a chapter in His Word that I was considering breezing through quickly.

There I was on the Chesapeake Bay, witnessing the outer fringe of His works as I looked out over that horizon. I was in awe considering what was beyond it and the One who was behind it. This was but a faint whisper of the Majestic One. In that beautiful sunset on Friday evening, and on that promising horizon this morning, I faintly heard Him whisper to me, "Stay and linger with Me a while longer. I will always refresh you as you meet Me in My Word." Yes, He refreshed me indeed.

The weekend was spent archiving and displaying family memories in scrap books. And God so sweetly gave me His special "whisper", a memory from my time with Him. I will write it in my journal and put today's date next to Job 26:10 in my Bible. "Creative Memories" turned into "Creator Memories". What truths from His Word has He whispered in your heart lately? Do tell!

Here are a few pictures of the fabulous gals with whom I spent the weekend.

My dear friend, Lucille. We talked all weekend and still had more to talk about when I dropped her off at home.


Three lovely ladies: Laura, Shannon and Cheryl. Fun, fellowship and laughter!
Me, Laura, Cheryl, Lucille and Shannon (sitting)

The order of packing priorities:
90% - Scrap Booking Supplies; 10% - Clothes and Personal Items



Thanks for stopping by!

"The memory of the righteous will be a blessing..."

Proverbs 10:7


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Loving With Actions and In Truth

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue
but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:18 (NIV)

I am both humbled and blessed to have a "Feature Article" published this month on the Proverbs 31 Ministry "Everyday Life" site. When I originally submitted this article to the P31 editors for consideration, it was purely a written testimony of the Lord moving Joshua's heart to give an unexpected visitor a cup of cold water. The editors then asked me to expound on my foundational scripture for the article (1 John 3:18 - above) and other ways we can teach our children to show Christ's love in actions and truth.

If you have a few minutes, pop on over to "P31 Everyday Life". Then please stop back and leave a comment to share your ideas about sharing Christ's love in action. Let's spur one another on!

A Cup of Cold Water ~ Practical Ways to Reach Out to Others with the Love of Christ
by Sharon Sloan

"If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is My disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." Matthew 10:42 (NIV)

The fiendish heat wave was in its seventh day. Local news reporters were urging residents to stay inside in air conditioning as the air quality was so poor. One particular evening after dinner, the oppressive heat eased up just a touch, and we decided to brave the outdoors. I sat on our front porch while Joshua and Gabrielle played contently in the front yard with some neighborhood friends.

A distinguished-looking man with a friendly countenance walked at a purposeful pace down the sidewalk. Quickly observing an aide assisting him with campaign literature, I knew he must be a hopeful politician seeking support in the upcoming elections.

As he strode up our driveway and reached out his hand to shake mine, it was clear his body was struggling with the stifling heat. As his brow glistened with large beads of sweat, his breathing was noticeably labored. His once crisp and perfectly-ironed shirt was now wrinkled and soaked with perspiration. The visitor's efficient greeting was an effort to politely keep cadence so he could complete his neighborhood campaign and find necessary relief from the heat.

All the children had kept playing during this brief encounter, but Joshua had been taking notice. As the man was walking down our driveway towards our neighbor's home, Joshua said, "Mommy, that man and his helper look very hot. I was just thinking I would like to give them some cold water. He has wet spots all over his shirt, and cold water would help him."

My heart rejoiced in Joshua's compassionate and responsive heart. He genuinely cared and discerned the condition and needs of our unexpected callers. Joshua was loving in actions and in truth. "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:18 (NIV)

As my husband and I spend these precious parenting years in the trenches, our desire is to train our children how to apply 1 John 3:18 and be mindful of the needs of those God has placed in our paths. We prayerfully trust the Holy Spirit to gently nudge our children's hearts and fill them with the joy and peace that accompanies obedience. All around us are opportunities to love with actions that bring honor to God.

Ever since the children were small toddlers, we've walked around our cul-de-sac together to bring morning papers from the bottom of neighbors' driveways up to their porches. On trash collection mornings, we often would bring the neighbors empty trashcans up to their garage doors. Now, when our children see a newspaper or an empty trashcan, they take action instinctively on their own. Though they are young, they can serve the Lord in useful and significant ways. "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." 1 Tim. 4:12 (NIV)

Some other ideas may include leaving a home-made card or a little gift at the door of someone hurting or needing encouragement. At Christmas, small gifts can be purchased for other children whose parents may be struggling financially. Sponsoring a child through Compassion International and having your children pray for and write to that child is a beautiful way of awakening your child's heart to the needs of others. For Easter, through Samaritan's Purse Ministries, musical stuffed lambs that play "Jesus Loves Me" can be sent to children in third world countries.

As we respond in obedience to His leading, these acts of kindness stir children's sensitivity and prime their hearts to be actively looking for ways to serve others in their family, neighborhood and around the world.

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." Hebrews 10:24 (NIV) A few years ago, we were inspired by another Christian family in our community who put love into action. So, following their lead, for our birthdays that year, rather than receiving birthday gifts for ourselves, we requested new library books for a Christian school in New Orleans that had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. In total, our little family received almost 200 new books for the school after we had celebrated all four of our birthdays.

This year, our birthday ministry outreach was by theme. Joshua chose basketball, and Gabrielle chose a theme of flip flops. Their party guests brought gift cards for footwear and new basketballs for Rock Ministries of Philadelphia, which ministers to at-risk young men of Philadelphia's inner city. Gabrielle's guests generously gave more than $400 in footwear gift cards, and Joshua's guests donated 30 new basketballs for these young men at Rock Ministries.

Seemingly small expressions of kindness can soften hearts and bear eternal fruit. As we love others with actions and in truth, He is faithful to bring forth a harvest. When we extend His love and kindness to others, they can see His perfect love, salvation and provision. Our rewards blossom in our soul as He fills us with His joy and peace.

As Joshua served our visitors bottles of cold water for their journey that evening, his reward was a personal treasure in his heart between himself and our Heavenly Father. "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me." Matthew 25:40 (NIV) With a pure heart, Joshua had served our Lord and King a cup of cold water. He was loving with actions and walking in the truth of God's Word. Indeed, there is no greater joy for a Christian parent. "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 1:4 (NIV)

About the Author: Sharon Sloan and her devoted husband, Jim, live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. They have two precious children: Joshua (8) and Gabrielle (6). Sharon is a She Speaks! Graduate and has had devotions published through P31 on-line devotions. A paralegal by profession, Sharon now works part-time at her church as an administrative assistant. She leads a P31 Gather & Grow group in her home. Sharon is passionate about encouraging others in their personal walk with the Lord. The Sloans invite you to visit them at: www.joyinthetruth.blogspot.com.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Good Steward Over Chocolate!

"She watches over the affairs of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness. "
Proverbs 31:27

As my hubby and I were carefully packing away another year's worth of Christmas memories yesterday, we both were reflective and so thankful for the many ways the Lord has blessed us. Our lives are rich in His love and truth. We are blessed beyond measure with fabulous family and faithful friends.

In the midst of the wonderfully sentimental and nostalgic ambiance of carefully packing up Christmas decorations, I suddenly went into "practical momma mode" when it came to emptying the bowls filled with Christmas chocolate! I am serious about my chocolate! Each year, we inevitably have many leftover Christmas Hershey Kisses and Christmas M&Ms.

You may already do this yourself, but just in case....here's a little tip. I sort the Christmas Kisses and M&Ms into three piles...silver (for our foyer candy dish); red to use for Valentine's Day; and green to use for St. Patrick's Day. (St. Patrick's Day is big in our home as Jim and I both have Irish heritage, and a certain someone's birthday is on St. Patrick's Day.) I feel rather pleased with myself after doing this little chocolate-sorting chore, and I am just certain my hubby and cherubs are going to rise up and called me blessed for this brilliant good stewardship of chocolate!

Here is Gabrielle's hand-made bowl (filled will silver Kisses!) on our foyer table that welcomes guests and visitors to our home. The red and green Kisses are now stored in our pantry for Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day respectively.


Please do share your brilliant stewardship ideas with us! Hugs and KISSES to you!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Unearthing The Fallow Ground of My Heart

"Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy;
break up your fallow ground:
for it is time to seek the LORD,
till He come and rain righteousness upon you."
Hosea 10:12 (KJV)

"Sow for yourselves righteousness,
reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
for it is time to seek the LORD,
until He comes and showers righteousness on you."
Hosea 10:12 (NIV)

Today was a "pajama day". I love pajama days. I contently spent the day putting our house back in order after the Christmas season and yesterday's "New Year's Day Buffet", entertaining a house full of loved ones. Nowhere to go today and nowhere to be. Just a cozy day at home...in my pajamas!

As I took in the tasks ahead of me this morning, I paused to take some "before pictures".

I put laundry on hold for a few days.
The dirty laundry seems to have reproduced on its own! Our basement play room, for which we are so thankful, left little carpet to be found. The kids did help, but this was a task I really wanted to do on my own (i.e. time to really clean out!).
Unearthing our laundry room and our basement play room took me most of the day. As I was working on making dirty laundry clean again, picking up messes and putting things in their proper places (sometimes that being the trash can!), it reminded me of the worship song "Break up my fallow ground". I began to sing the song over and over, and I made that scripture my prayer throughout the day.

"Lord, break up the fallow ground of my heart. Unearth in me the things you still want to refine and make new. Make me willing to let go those things that I stubbornly hold on to that do not honor You. Take the remnants of my old self and make them new. Do a fresh work in my heart. Awaken Your love more deeply in me. Show me again Your sweet personal love for me. Bear fruit in me for my husband and my children. Fill me so I am a vessel for Your honor and purposes to reach out to those you put in my path. I graciously want to receive from You through those precious vessels in my life with whom You have blessed me. Break up the fallow, unplowed ground in my heart. Let me sow Your righteousness and reap Your mercy. Let me continually seek You until You come and rain Your righteousness on me."

As I worked for hours on unearthing our floors and breaking up the recently unplowed rooms of our home, I began to rejoice as things were looking pretty spiffy. I also realized that as I pray this prayer to the Lord, I need to take steps of faith and trust in Him and constantly work hard to allow Him to complete His work in Me. Asking to be refined makes me gasp at times. I know it will be bittersweet. Bitter as the fallow ground is broken up and plowed by His tender hands. Sweet as He so graciously and mercifully refines me because of His faithfulness and for His glory.

So, here are the "after pictures" of our laundry room and the basement play room. As you can see, the kids were jaw-dropped amazed with the transformation! May they also witness and be in jaw-dropping amazement of God's continual, much-needed transforming work in Mommy this year, too! Only by His grace and strength.


It is indeed time to seek the Lord.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."

Matthew 5:8

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 - The Word Divine!

"I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word."
Psalm 119:16
Happy, Blessed, Peaceful and Joyful 2009 to you and yours! We pray His perfect love and truth resonate in your hearts every moment!

This year, I am joining my friend Wendy and hundreds of others reading through the Bible in a year. I'll be using the NIV One-Year Chronological Bible.

While I love my current inductive and topical Bible studies I am doing, I am also looking forward to reading through God's Word in chronological order in one year. To be honest, I've already started! God's Word is a treasure. He is faithful to give us our portion as we meet with Him, regardless of our mood, our circumstances or our feelings. He is faithful.

I pray He makes my heart continually like that of a Berean...receiving His message with great eagerness and examining the scriptures every day. Interested in joining us in our journey through God's entire Word in 2009? You can click on the Bible pictured above to order your copy today!


"Now the Bereans were of more noble character
than the Thessalonians,
for they received the message with great eagerness
and examined the Scriptures every day
to see if what Paul said was true."
Acts 17:11