Friday, April 18, 2014

Today's Playlist 4-18

1:00 PM
Good Friday Special with Max Lucado from the album:
"He Chose the Nails"

2:00 PM
"Who Loved You First" Newsong
"Father of Creation" Hillsong "Shout to the Lord"
"From the Rising" Shannon Wexelberg
"The Motions" Matthew West

2:15 Proverbs 31 ~ Lysa TerKeurst
"We Are Free" Aaron Shust
"I Love Your Name" Crystal Lewis
"Sleepless Night" Fernando Ortega

"Carry Me to the Cross" Kutless
"Living In Me" Cindy Cruse Ratcliff
"Marvelous Light" Charlie Hall - "Flying Into Daybreak"

2:45 HeartBeat ~ Jill Savage
"Exceeding Joy" Hillsong - "Hope" 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Today's Playlist 4-17

1:00 PM
"He Lives" Lakewood Church Choir w/Cindy Cruse Ratcliff/Israel Houghton - "Cover the Earth"
"Before There Was Time" Caedmon's Call

1:15 Life Without Limbs ~ Nick Vujicic
"Hurricane" Natalie Grant
"I Can Just Be Me" Laura Story
"Arms Open Wide" Paul Baloche w/Rita Baloche - "Offering of Worship"

1:30 Grace for the Moment, Max Lucado (Used by permission. All rights reserved)
"Lord I Need You" Matt Maher
"The Cost" Rend Collective - "Experiment"
"Nothing Without You" Bebo Norman
"I'm Amazed" Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir - "I'm Amazed...Live"
"O Lord You're Beautiful" Michael W Smith
"Sing of Your Great Love" Hillsong - "By Your Side"

2:00 PM
"Speak Life" Toby Mac
"The Lord Our God" Passion Artitst, Kristian Stanfill - "Let the Future Begin"
"I Can Only Imagine" Mercy Me

2:15 Proverbs 31 ~ Renee Swope
"Your Grace Finds Me" Matt Redman
"Salvation is Here" Hillsong - "God He Reigns"
"The Power of Your Name" Lincoln Brewster w/Darlene Zschech - "Today is the Day"

"My God" Jeremy Camp - "Reckless"
"Press On" Building 429
"Still the Cross" FFH

2:45 HeartBeat ~ Jill Savage
"I Have a Hope" Tommy Walker - "I Have a Hope"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Today's Playlist 4-16

1:00 PM
"God So Loved" Hillsong - "You Are My World"
"Love Come to Life" Big Daddy Weave

1:15 Life Without Limbs ~ Nick Vujicic
"No One Higher" Aaron Shust
"Whom Shall I Fear" Chris Tomlin - "Let the Future Begin"
"In Better Hands" Natalie Grant

1:30 Grace for the Moment, Max Lucado (Used by permission. All rights reserved)
"How Sweet the Sound" Citizen Way
"Blessed is the One" Daniel Doss Band - "Greater Than Us All"
"Who is Like Our God" Laura Story
"Not Home Yet" Steven Curtis Chapman
"Give You Glory" Jeremy Camp
"Cannot Say Enough" Mercy Me

2:00 PM
"Emmanuel" Vicky Beeching
"You Never Let Go" Matt Redman
"Tell Your Heart to Beat Again" Phillips, Craig and Dean - "Breathe In"

2:15 Proverbs 31 ~ Lysa TerKeurst
"Fairest Lord Jesus" Tim Neufeld
"Tim Neufeld interview
"Cornerstone" Tim Neufeld w/Audrey Assad

"My Dependence" Jamie Slocum
"Born Again" Third Day - "Revelation"
"By His Wounds" Glory Revealed

2:45 HeartBeat ~ Jill Savage
"Children of Light" Passion Artist, Kristian Stanfill - "Let the Future Begin"

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Today's Playlist 4-15

1:00 PM
"We Want the World to Hear" Big Daddy Weave
"Grace that is Greater" Bart Millard - "Hymned Again" 
"With Every Act of Love" Jason Gray

1:15 Life Without Limbs ~ Nick Vujicic
"Alibaster Box" Ce Ce Winans
"When the Stars Burn Down" Phillips, Craig and Dean - "Breathe In" 

1:30 Grace for the Moment, Max Lucado (Used by permission. All rights reserved)
"Hosanna" Andrew Peterson - "Resurrection Letters, Vol. II"
"Lord I Need You" Matt Maher - "WOW Worship 2014"
"My Hope is in You" Aaron Shust
"So Come" Israel Houghton - "A Deeper Level"
"The Wonderful Cross" Michael W Smith - "Worship Again"
"Hurricane" Natalie Grant

2:00 PM
"Behold the Lamb (The Communion Hymn)
"Faith to Believe" Shane and Shane
"Oh the Cross" Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir - "Declare Your Name"

2:15 Proverbs 31 ~ Renee Swope
"Revelation" Third Day - "Revelation"
"Open Up the Heavens" Meredith Andrews
"Great Light of the World" Bebo Norman

"Wrecking Ball (Press On)" Building 429 - "Press On"
"Lift My Life Up" Unspoken
"Who's Gonna Move the Stone?" MitchelJon - "Pourin' Rain"
"If We Are the Body" Casting Crowns - "Casting Crowns"

2:45 HeartBeat ~ Jill Savage
"Yours Forever" Darlene Zschech w/Kari Jobe - "Revealing Jesus"

Monday, April 14, 2014

Today's Playlist 4-14

1:00 PM
"Your Name" Phillips, Craig and Dean - "Top of My Lungs"
"Majesty of Heaven" Chris Tomlin - "And If Our God is For Us..."

1:15 Life Without Limbs ~ Nick Vujicic
"Magnificent Obsession" Steven Curtis Chapman
"Strangely Dim" Francesca Battistelli
"Keep Making Me" Sidewalk Prophets
"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" Selah

1:30 Grace for the Moment, Max Lucado (Used by permission. All rights reserved)
"Completely Free" Big Daddy Weave - "Fields of Grace"
"If We Ever Needed You" Casting Crowns - "Until the Whole World Hears"
"No One Higher" Aaron Shust
"The Power of the Cross" Keith and Kristyn Getty - "In Christ Alone"
"Who is Like Our God" Laura Story
"Whom Shall I Fear" Chris Tomlin - "Burning Lights"

2:00 PM
"Standing on the Promise Medley" Selah
"Walk By Faith" Jeremy Camp - "Carried Me"
"Wholly Yours" David Crowder Band
"How Sweet the Sound" Citizen Way

2:15 Proverbs 31 ~ Lysa TerKeurst
"One Thing Remains" Passion Artist, Kristian Stanfill
"Resurrection" Nicol Sponberg
"My Jesus, I Love Thee (Your Holy Name)" Building 429 - "Jesus, Firm Foundation"

"Unashamed of You" Chris August
"Praise Adonai" Paul Baloche
"All the People Said Amen" Matt Maher - "All the People Said Amen"
"I'm Not Who I Was" Brandon Heath

2:45 HeartBeat ~ Jill Savage
"Believe" Hillsong - "A Beautiful Exchange"

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lessons From a Schnauzer!

If you happen to think you have things figured out enough in your life and that you and God are on the same page but for some reason you keep going round the mountain, give me a moment of your time to tell you my story.

I went through this huge test--simply put--because I always think I know what's best for me! However, that can come with some troubles, and I am ashamed to admit it, because surely by now I should know better (not fun to admit I'm am a slow learner.)  But I am going to risk some vulnerability because I have a feeling that I am not alone! Maybe you have a decision you are getting ready to make that could change the direction of your life. It could involve a serious relationship, a financial investment or job opportunity. Whatever it is let me urge you to read this somewhat humorous lesson and ponder its implications before you cautiously proceed.

Determination! That's me ever since I can remember. I have always been and still am a very investigative sort. Yes, that can be a great attribute when channeled in the 'right' direction. How else would we ever know that there are (for example) planets that are part of a 'solar system' and that we (planet Earth) belong to one of them? Unfortunately, in my life it has become a stronghold that has gotten me into lots of trouble and this spirit of independence has plagued me even as a more 'mature' Christian. You see when I get something in my mind, I am not easily deterred. One might just reason it away saying I lack common sense at times. But what I really need to have is a plan before taking action and remember how vital it is to have a witness of agreement with two or more to help discern whether or not I am really hearing from God.

You would certainly think that a few hard lessons would reign in this young lass who stepped out into some pretty bizarre situations. Like leaving home at 13 and again at 15 (not to return the second time.) Argh! My younger years were strange years and I grew up rather quickly. Yes, I was rather impulsive. I have heard that half the battle is recognizing there's a problem!

Gratefully, I became a Christian at the age of 30 and God began His deep work in me as I have learned to surrender the many areas of my will with its baggage and consequences (and the deep pain in my heart) to the Lord.  I am learning that as it says in John 15:5 "I am the vine, You are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." And this is where I want to begin, now that you have some background.

Let me begin by honestly saying that I really am beginning to like who God is creating me to be. "Lord, please keep me teachable so I don't quit growing!" I also add that there is a whole lot of refining to be done. As with all of us, I am in process and will be until Christ calls me home. So most of the time I really do appreciate what God is teaching me and doing in my life. Now here's where I will reveal one of my strongholds to you--I still like to call the shots and think I know what is best for me. I forget Whose I am and Who knows best!

My husband and I now have a this dog who was a darling little puppy that I totally obsessed over until I got her. You see, after having to put down our sweet old "Chelsey" dog of 13 some years ago, and then putting down our inherited Sheltie (acquired from Jerry's dad when he went home,) it was then time to get what I wanted and thought would be best for us to have. I have wanted a Schnauzer for a long time! So for two months after the Sheltie was gone I searched online high and low and researching as I went, for our Schnauzer. They are great dogs, smart, sturdy, healthy and cut too! My husband decided that he didn't want any more pets (we also have a Siamese cat) insisting that when these were gone there would be no more. Yours truly persisted to convince him that we really should "try one on for size" assuming that he would just fall in love with her. I did pray about it, a lot. But let me confess, I did not wait on the Lord and like I always do, took matters into my own hands. Yes, Kimberly knows best. In July we acquired our first standard Schnauzer. A scrawny 3.5 month-old black female from Canada (Manitoba to be exact.) I even had her name all picked out before hand, Elsa, a good German name for a good German dog, and it means 'God is my oath'.

So you ask "What's the point?" Let me tell you how God has and continues to use this little dog to teach me some stuff! I have learned some vital stats about 'Kimberly', like don't make me wait and don't tell me no! And I have had to pay the price for my resistance to learn. Old Frank Sinatra may have sung the song but I keep living it out, 'doing it my way'.

She is pretty cute don't you think?
Our little Elsa is a smart little Fraulein and she really learns quickly the fun things. But...there is a very stubborn and determined side to her and as smart as she is she came with a few issues.
  • Coming off the farm, everything about city living scares her. (I should have named her Skiddles and when she first came through the door of the house, the cat greeted us as she always does and little Elsa freaked and poop literally went everywhere!)
  • She had a horrible case of round worm--yuck--that we had to deal with including diarrhea issues for several months and that was no pleasure to clean up! (Two doses of medicine took care of that and we were good to go although the vet blamed the kennel rearing--how would I know?)
  • We got her at 3.5 months which gave her head start in nurturing her strong will not to mention that the housebreaking took forever (we finally made headway at 7.5 months and they are supposed to be EASY to train!)
  • This little dog has a strong will that runs competitive with mine.
Argh--what have I done? Now I haven't painted a very nice picture have I. So please, don't get me wrong, she has her delightful moments and can be a lot of fun. It is just that there are a few hurdles we are going to have to jump through before it is all said and done. 

So what's all the fuss anyway? First of all, I forgot the time involved with a puppy. For a time and a season I have had to give up some pretty precious time that God and I spend together. I must say that that has been the biggest adjustment for me. Especially our first three months together. I have missed my time to write, read and study or do the little extra things around the house and I so look forward to once again being able to have time back. My mornings and evenings have involved puppy sitting while I try to read my Bible in between disciplining her for snatching the newspaper or pillow when I'm not looking. I know, this is all very typical puppy stuff.

I am also concerned that I am getting old and cranky! A few frustrating times of training--the experts always say don't push it if you're frustrated--have given way to some harsh reactions on my part. I hate that! And have had to cry out to God for forgiveness and mercy for being so harsh. I don't want to ruin her sweet spirit and cause her to be afraid of me. That has been very hard for me to deal with. Who wants to think of themselves as a harsh disciplinarian? Firm and loving, that is the way.

As I conclude this I have realized that things are definitely getting better. (As she learns and I learn.) But for a time I thought what have I done, and am I going to regret once again demanding my own way and going ahead of God? The thoughts have come and gone regarding what we could have had if I had waited for God's best. Like when the vet says his Schnauzer was house broken in short of two weeks at under two months old! Or will she ever get that "stay" is for her good and so is "come". With all the deer in our yard I wonder what would happen to her the day she decides while off the leash, to chase one. Will I ever see her again? I know by heart the verses in Proverbs 3:5,6 that say,

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."

But I forget the rest of the story when I read verse :7

Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil."

Ouch, the Proverbs can really make the tough calls! Old Solomon was in tune to his maker! So when will Kimberly realize that God, Abba, knows what's best for His girl and that it is so much better to wait than to regret? His best is always for our best even if it doesn't seem like it at the time or that is is just taking too long?
Elsa and Patsy Cline
I have prayed that God has redeemed the jump-start girl once again and I know that He alone can bring beauty from ashes. Our Elsa is learning and is now grown up. She has matured into a tremendous companion to me and my husband. The ride is slowing just a bit and as you can see I even have some time to do a bit of writing these days, yeah!

Well, if you can identify with my plight, let's pray and ask God to give us what is ultimately His very best and nothing less and the courage and patience to wait on the Lord. Let's pray

Pappa, once again I jumped ahead of You and You have gently reminded me that Father knows best! I really do want to give You my strong will and I also want to give You that part of me that thinks I know what is best for me. You know how impatient I can be when I don't get my way. Just let me learn this time as I surrender. Thank you for your word in Isaiah 40:31 that says we really do gain great strength from waiting upon You. Mounting up with wings like eagles, running and not becoming weary and walking without fainting. What a promise awaits those who are willing to hold on for Your best. I want that and I am so tired of the learning curve as I traipse around the mountain again and again in this area. Please deliver me and give me the courage to stand fast as I wait on You, in Your powerful Name, Amen!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Slowly but Surely...

If you are a follower of mine, I would like to point you elsewhere as I am hoping to work my way over here:

My goal is to eventually use this current spot for my daily playlist on Psalm FM.  This is where I hope to point to artists and their songs and info about who they are.  My personal thoughts on the "Lessons from the Field will eventually be moved to the new address above.  Not sure how that will all work but taking a step at a time.  (Some days I wonder why I don't just leave things alone:0)...not who I am!)

So bear with me and join my site listed above and I hope to interact with you more over there as well!  To my faithful followers, please sign up in the new places as this one will eventually be used for my program.

Now I also have another place to visit too at so you are welcome to visit there and it is there that I hoped to provide encouragement for those who are hurting with a page for prayer.  I would count it a privilege to pray for you and your is what the body does for one another!

Thanks for your patience!

In His abundant love,

Kimberly Dawn

Monday, January 14, 2013

Introducing A Comforting Place

I would like to invite you to visit a place where I kind of cry out to the Lord.  I recently felt led to start up a new blog that allows me to spew out my thoughts on people in my life and elsewhere who are suffering from either physical or emotional or whatever you want to name the pain and whatever else God reveals to me.  This has prompted me to pray like never before for those in need.  The blog is called "A Comforting Place" with a page on it for prayer and a specific form that will be emailed to me with your prayer requests. I hope you will visit and then let me know what you think!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Abiding in Him

I have this little piece of wall art that hangs on my wall and it says ‘Abide in Him’.  Using wall art that include words or Scripture speak loudly of my convictions and beliefs.  But the word abide (in itself) is such a descriptive of the Spirit-filled life that I desire to live, yet struggle to attain.  I was plowing through a book by Francis Chan, called “Forgotten God”, and in his convicting fashion I was challenged by one of my favorite chapters in the book of John, chapter 15.  Chan issues a challenge by asking a profound question, is my life too loud, to which I could readily say “yes it is!”.  Then Francis proceeds to encourage us to put down his book and pick up the Book and read a few chapters in the book of John.  Right to some of my favorites in John, chapters 14, 15 and 16.  

The verb “abide”, according to Merriam-Webster means to wait, endure without yielding, to bear patiently.  It also means to remain stable or in a fixed state and to continue in a place.  In John 15 where the picture of the ‘vine’ is used to describe our life in Christ--we being the branch, Christ being the vine and then the Father addressed as the vinedresser--John uses the word “abide” ten times: 

John 15:4-11 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love."
Do you think maybe there is a point to be made here? There are ten references to the word abide in the verses above that are being used to drive home some profound points:

The imperative to remain in Christ;
We aren’t fruitful if we don’t;
If we refuse to abide in Christ we can be thrown away for we aren’t fruitful;
There is an invitation to remain in Christ’s love;
By walking in obedience we partake in His love.

So when I am restless, when I am struggling through (with my own resources) and forgetting that apart from Him I can really do nothing, instead of being frustrated with myself I really need to stop and remember that I am a partaker with Christ.  I really sell myself short and settle for less than His best by “trying” or “trying to do it myself”.  I am sure my Father is thinking “Oh foolish one, as I expend efforts that amount to little when in Him I can accomplish great things or at least what He desires and that spells success!  

I don’t believe if you are a driven person that there is necessarily an easy way to submit your efforts for His peace that only comes from abiding in Him!  God desires that we would “remain stable or in a fixed state” by abiding in Hiim walking in the Spirit-filled life.  But from one who has been there...stop striving, try it and see.  Then you can appreciate these words from the Psalmist, "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!" Psalm 34:8 (ESV) Abiding in Him is where we fulfill the Spirit-filled life that God desires we live out for Him and His glory!

Father, I remember that this battle to 'do' in my own efforts is a winnable battle when I walk with you! I will make the choice today to let You lead via Your Spirit which is living in me! The rest that comes from giving You the reins of my life is well worth the concerted effort it takes to hand them over. So thank You Fahter for the gift of Your Holy Spirit who allows me to quit my striving by abiding in You!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Better Than a Hallelujah...

I spoke to a lovely group of ladies, where a  beautiful young lady was asked to do special music for the event.  I knew the song but never really paid much attention to it until that day, hearing it sweetly and gently sung by this precious woman.  I hadn't realized that some of the lyrics in the song really spoke of my story and my journey coming to Christ and delivering my marriage.  I just couldn't get the song out of my mind.  (Interesting how God really does put things together since she and I didn't even know each other!)

God has given me specific verses that I use to encapsulate my story of being a desperate young mom who had exhausted all her efforts to 'make life work' or 'make sense'.  Instead, all I kept doing was digging my hole deeper and deeper with every poor choice and mistake piling in upon me and weighing me down so that every attempt to climb out only felt like trying to pull myself out of quick sand.  I was being sucked in and frankly, I was just about at the place of letting go of all hope, figuring I would never find 'happiness' and I just wanted to give up.  But that was the place or point where God could finally do the work He had planned all along.

The chorus of the song that was sung by the beautiful guest was so fitting because I was there, I was a broken, miserable and pretty desperate mess of a woman, failing in all of my attempts to find happiness.
We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking heart,
Are better than a Hallelujah...
I am reminded of how patient our heavenly Father is with us.  He really does know that some of us have to bottom out not only once sometimes more times as we stubbornly keep trying to do things "our way" instead of pleading for help.  This only reminds me of how kind our Father truly is toward His wayward children.  Another line from the song:
The tears of shame for what's been done
The silence when the words won't come,
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.
The verse that speaks so clearly of the day that Jesus rescued me from everthing that I had attempted to do on my own in an effort to find peace is from Psalm 40:1-3:
"I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD."
God, my Father, could have left me flailing, trying to continue in my useless efforts to get out of my self-made pit...but He didn't!  He heard the broken cries of one who finally let go of trying to "do it on her own"!  Instead  He knew I was truly ready to be plucked out.  

Here is Psalm 40:1-3 once again but from the Message paraphrase:
I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened. He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud. He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn't slip. He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise-song to our God. More and more people are seeing this: they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to God.
My life has never been the same since the day I gave my broken Hallelujah to my God.  I am very encouraged to know that the heart song we sing never goes unnoticed by the Father!  He never turns His back on our cries.  Like the verses above read, He is patient in His waiting for us to finally say we can't do it on our own, or by ourselves!  Help, help me Lord...

Better Than A Hallelujah

Are you at that place today where a broken Hallelujah is all you can muster or where out of sheer desperation your heart is on the verge of failing and you just can't go another step on your own?  Oh my friend, God has been patiently waiting for this very moment when you would lay down your self-efforts and allow Him to 'bring you up', up out of your own miserable pit.  He is your rescuer, your deliverer and your present help in times of trouble.  I urge you to cry out to Him now, give Him your broken Hallelujah, He not only cares for you but He loves you and He won't turn His back on you!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Do I Have to Let Go?

Have you ever had to let go of something but believed that it just wasn't the right time, just not yet or maybe you never thought you would have to ever?  Back in the fall of 2009 my story was featured on the front page of Living Stones News, a fabulous newspaper filled with stories of faith, miracles and life-changing testimonies that included my own.  The stories proclaim the goodness of the Lord and the work He does in and through people's lives (and some of us have have been pulled through some pretty awful messes).   However, these were real life stories of God's redemption, encouragement for others to be able to see just what God is able to do in a person's life!

Almost a year after my story was published, Corinne Scott (she and her husband began this marvelous ministry) asked if I would be interested in having a monthly column in the paper since they recently lost one of their contributors.  I was overwhelmingly blessed by her request and accepted.  So for almost two years I have been contributing to this paper which went online last November.  It has been such a privilege to be connected to the world this way with a fabulous host of other writers and I have seen it as a gift from God to be part of this team.

At the end of August, we received word from Corinne that the Living Stones News would no longer be published for a variety of reasons.  Needless to say I was sorely disappointed to hear the news but understand that everything in life has seasons.  I was reminded of this bittersweet Scripture:

John 12:24 (ESV)  "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."

It is sort of crazy and somewhat of a paradox to think that something has to die to begin anew!  But it is true.  Every single seed that falls to the ground falls lifeless only to eventually sprout and bear fruit.  And some seeds have to endure intense pressure before they will be able to sprout new life!

The verse above in John reads like this in the Message paraphrase: "Listen carefully; Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat.  But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over."

What is it that you are holding on to that may need to fall to the ground?  For my friends at Living Stones News, well, god knows what might be stirring under the ground that may resurrect as a new thing that will be used to glorify Him in a fresh, new way.  And I myself have had to lay down hopes and dreams so that the Lord can have His way and rebuild what I have tried to do myself.  (Much like that dying to self' business!)

Don't be afraid to let His directing hand and know that when God begins something new that it may be for a time and a season, a specific purpose or use that will give Him glory! After all, Jesus Himself had to willingly die and because He did, we who identify with His death and resurrection now live.  

Finally, it is fall and every thing around my neck of the woods has mostly drained of color and appears dead...until spring that is!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What Does Sin Look Like?

When I walk my little girl in the woods, most days are filled with appreciation of God's creation.  Many times He reveals truth through what I see giving me spiritual insights through my visual observations.  When I remember to do so, I like to take my camera with me to capture various interesting creatures, plants, etc.

One day I was captivated by all the varying types of fungus that grows on seemingly alive and dead trees on our property.  These come in a wide variety of shapes and colors and according to my Google search there are different types but the ones on my trees are fungal and require a 'host' to grow.  In otherwords they can drain the host for their own survival.   There many shapes and sizes and some are just fascinating even attractive in some cases like the petticoat or lacy look at the bottom of one tree.   But interestingly enough, when they die off, they shrivel up and get nasty black, slimy and become very yucky looking.  There is nothing attractive about them at all.  And in a lot of cases their host begins to look unhealthy and may even die off.  Maybe they even reveal an unhealthy interior in some cases? 
In one of the pictures I felt God showing me how this is like sin.  We can become captivated by what looks to be something not only satisfying but lovely, exciting, attractive, delicious, and yes, alluring.  The word alluring, really says it well, to attract or tempt by something flattering or desireable.  And the word seduce is also a good descriptive of anything that captures and lures us from where we are in a disingenuous manner, to cause us harm.

In the Scriptures it talks about being enticed and seduced by sin and its results when it is allowed to have its way in our thinking and actions.  James 1:14,15 says, "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."

It is indeed an unfortunate thing that we allow ourselves to be tempted and swayed by our 'natural' desires instead of using the weapons of warfare--God given in Christ Jesus--to win the battle of temptation in our everyday world.  The lure is there everyday and everywhere, it pulls and tugs for us to obey in a sense demanding our attention where instead we might choose to focus on the tools God has given us to win the war against sin.  Sometimes, even daily, it can be exhausting, however on the other side of the battle is the peace that is ours when we make right choices.  

I like the way the Message paraphrase puts Proverbs 2:6-8 "And here's why: God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding. He's a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well, a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere. He keeps his eye on all who live honestly, and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones."

God's word reminds us that we will be tempted!  But He also shows us the benefits of making the right choice, telling our minds the truth about the temptation.  If it is only going to bring a momentary burst of enjoyment then give way to a not so pleasant outcome then why not refuse to indulge in it?  My biggest struggle is with food and I can really apply this to what I allow to pass from my hands to my mouth.  And it isn't very often that I win the battle once the temptation is in hand so to speak.  But that is my struggle.  For you it might be something different.  But the bottom line is that we have the freedom to make the right choice or decision every time we are faced with temptation.  Mentally frisking--if you will--by putting it to through the Philippians 4:8 test is a big help when we take the time to ask ourselves if it is "...true...honorable...just...pure...lovely...commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise..."

The war is played out in the mind, and today like every day we have all we need to be victorious! How is it going for you today?  Take a moment right now to reflect upon the Scripture in Philippians above that ends with "...think about these things" and you will see that the battle really does belong to the Lord!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Let Your Love be Genuine!

I love to observe people who really walk in their gifting.  When we come to Christ, He gives us (according to how He created us) the ability to "minister" the love of Christ in various ways to people.  Could be people yet to know Him or members of the body in need.  It is something that is within us and part of us that can come to life as we become His vessels to show God's love to this world and each other.  

A friend of mine and a loved one of mine are so good at picking up on the needs of others.  It amazes me how a segment of their life is all about using their gift of mercy to come along side of  those who have been in tough places and have real physical and spiritual  needs.  These women are an inspiration to me and they truly walk out the verse in Micah 6:8 that is really a verse for all of us!

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
After reading through the minor prophets in the Old Testament, I came away with knowing how important it is to stay connected to the Father and then walk out my love for Him by loving others.  If Jesus said in six different verses in the New Testament that we are to " one another..." then I think it is a pretty important point to pick up on and to live out!
  • John 13:34: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have love you, you also are to love one another.
    John 13:35:  "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
    John 15:12:  "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
    John 15:17:  "These things I command you, so that you will love one another."
    1 John 3:11:  "For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another."
    2 John 1:5:  "And now I ask you, dear lady--not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we havce had from the beginning--that we love one another."
  • Are you getting the picture?  This is for the body of Christ today, right now!

    How are you doing with your part of the words above from Jesus?  I know we all don't have the gift of mercy but let me ask you how you are doing with issues toward another?  You might be gifted in teaching or helps but if you are not living out the above "commandment" are you being effective?  Nothing we speak or do without the inspiration that comes from genuine care or concern amounts to a hill of beans if it isn't lived out in us first.  I have heard it said that our pets know instinctively who is a dog or cat lover.  And that can be applied to people as well.  If we love each other and sincerely care, we will accomplish what Christ calls us to because we have taken seriously the mandate to "love one another".

    Lord, I know there are people that I struggle to love and I want that to change so that I can walk in Your ways, not my own.  Please stir in me a desire to let go of any misunderstandings and really desire to put love into practice.  I can call out to you when it gets difficult and if I listen to You, You will show me how!  Paul says it well in Romans that we are to "If possible, so far as it depends on you (me), live peaceably with all."  When I purpose to live letting love be my motifation, you can use me to touch lives with Your words and minister to the hurting!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shackled By A Heavy Burden

“Shackled by a heavy burden,
‘neath a load of guilt and shame...”
The the hand of Jesus touched me,
And now I am no longer the same.”

The Gaither Vocal Band wrote the lyrics to this gospel song which after a walk in the woods one morning with the pup kept coming to mind and I began to sing it.  I was admiring the beauty of the freshly fallen snow but as I glanced at the trees they were so heavy laden with that thick weighty load bearing upon the branches.  I am sure that some of them were so close to breaking and I thought of how familiar that is to us when we are full of unconfessed sin.

Sin is a very heavy load to bear, after all, the Father didn’t design us to carry that kind of a weight around!  It is a weight that will eventually cause damage physically and spiritually.  Physically we hide our sin and by hiding or stashing it we become unhealthy in our actions trying to cover up our mess.  And what about the guilt that we carry around because of our sin?  It could be from something we’ve done or said or we might live in denial pretending that we have done nothing wrong yet wonder why our happiness and joy is stifled, only a facade.

Spiritually speaking, we might do likewise as we pretend that our walk is just fine and that all is well.  When in fact we for some reason have a difficult time with people, especially certain ones who seem to remind of us of a place we would rather not visit.  Or those especially nice ones who make us uncomfortable because they seem so clean and right.  Why can’t I just find peace?  Then there is also that void when I don’t know Jesus and He doesn’t reside or dwell within, you just want peace with yourself and with others!

“Then the hand of Jesus touched me,
And now I am no longer the same...”

I have learned that sin is a weight that is not intended to be can’t be carried.  And I am unable to soar bearing its load.  God created me/you to fly like an eagle and soar to great heights but by carrying an  unnecessary burden, I become handicapped so to speak unable to attain those things that God designed me for!  But there is a remedy...

Psalm 51:17 "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart--these, O God, You will not despise." (NKJ)

God delights when we turn from sin!  There is no degree of one sin over another, it is all unacceptable to Him.  And there is nothing sweeter than being released from that burden which stood in the way as a road block between me and God!  No more guilt, no more shame and one thing is for sure, the world takes on a whole new look when it isn’t skewed with our sin and guilt!  You see, God provides enough grace and mercy daily for every wrong we confess.  After all, He delights in our felllowship and right standing with Him because of the sacrifice His Son Jesus made on the cross.  When Jesus rose from the grave on Resurrection morning, He made a way for us to have life and a relationship with Father God.  It was extreme love, given for us!

John 15:13 says it clearly, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (NKJ)

And like the song continues...
“He touched me, oh He touched me,
And oh the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole.”

So if it is unforgiveness, adultery, abuse, a besetting sin, the sin of unbelief, you just name it and give Him your burden, don’t delay, it belongs at the foot of the cross!  Jesus blood covers it and God has already forgiven it!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Don't Leave Home Without It!

What is your covering?  Right off the top we know that God is our ultimate covering.  He is Lord over all!  But as a married woman in ministry I am learning that my “covering” is my guy.  There was a time that I would not have liked or wanted to live that out.  However, being a female representative for Christ and a wife means this is key to God’s blessings as I serve Him!

My guy--old-fashioned man that he is--really enjoys having his girl home.  As the Lord began to open up more ministry opportunities this meant that I would have to be gone more frequently.  Believe me, I love to be home, especially being one who works all week.  But as requests to speak began to come more frequently I sensed that the guy was not very approving especially when there would be overnight stays.  I sensed and heard some grumbling and I knew that we had to go tete-et-tete!

Television is his evening routine spent with Bill and then Sean but I asked that he would please turn it off and hear my heart.  I then began to ask some questions like “Do you think that God uses my story to help, encourage and bring others to Christ?” and he admitted He does and has been for a time!  You see I have always done Bible study groups with teen girls and women which he has observed over the years.  Not to mention my program on air every day.  I then let reminded him that being a Stonecroft speaker means that I would be asked to speak all over our state (and bordering states).  Not to mention the other speaking events I would be doing.  It is at this juncture that I said to my guy, that if I don’t have your blessing, there is no way that I will have an anointing to go forward, if he didn’t agree that this was where God was taking me then I would lay it all down.  You see, I realized I cannot go forward if my husband disagrees with me doing so and it is vital for me to be under his covering, not out from under it “doing my own thing.”

After a bit guy paused and then said that he thought it was important to continue what I was doing but he also gave me some very sound advise and for the fist time I truly felt he was protecting me not restricting me.  (This was quite a breakthrough for us!)  Like not traveling to the Dakotas via automobile in the winter months, that makes sense!  I knew he was lovingly showing his care for me!  But the long and short of it was he had released me to “go”!

I was writing this on a plane en-route to an event in Platteville, WI where I would be keynotes at an all day women’s seminar!  This however did not come without some difficulties!  While preparing for this event I was overwhelmed at one point because of all these things that kept coming up out of nowhere!  The cold the guy acquired was over in three days while it stayed with me for ten.  And,  during the end of that time I somewhere along the line contracted conjunctivitis, not fun when you are praying and evaluating your talk!  Not to mention that it affected my voice for work.  Not only that but the weekend before I was to leave saw my husband admit himself to ER for chest pains (this is one of the healthiest guys!) where we suddenly had a pile of concerns to deal with.  Although, as we prayed I sensed God’s peace in it all.  I was ready to cancel out on the event but he settled, was put on a medication and sent home the next day.  Whew, Lord, what in the world was going on?

The rest of the week leading up to the Wisconsin event found me living with a grumbly man. The night before I departed I had to once again go tete-et-tete as we discussed our meeting over a year ago and the fact that he had released me to do this!  (He was feeling better and had been working that week)  I mentioned that as we prayed I knew things were going to be alright and he relaxed a bit and agreed but I am sure that there was a lot of uncertainty as to what the future was going to hold going on in his mind!

I remembered Moses' request that God's presence be with him or else he (Moses) would not go forward to do as God had called him:
Exodus 33:15, "Then Moses said to him, "If Your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here."
Moses knew he needed God's presence to accomplish the daunting task set before him and God certainly let His presence be known and Moses' face was radiant from his God encounter.

Now God really does show up in the eleventh hour.  I called my husband before I left and asked for his blessing upon the Saturday event and I asked him to pray for me especially during the times I would be speaking and he surprised me by saying that he would and that he loved me!  I can only tell you that it is much better to leave home knowing you not only have the Lord’s blessing but also your husband’s.  Isn’t God good!  

Friend, don’t just make sure that your bases are covered but don’t leave home unprotected!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wearing the Blinders

The young girl asked, "What are those things by the horses eyes?  How can he see?"  The owner of the beautiful Percheron pair said "They are blinders and they keep the horse from being spooked or surprised (especially when pulling a sled full of people.)"  Which is just what we were getting ready to enjoy!

These are 1,600 pound horses that could do a lot of damage if they were spooked not to mention that one step on a someone and wow, I think you would break!  We had a delightful ride and my, that pair pulled a sled with 8 adults and 10 kids ranging in size and age.We had a marvelous time and we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful winter day.  By the end of our hour long ride it began to snow so so although beautiful, it was somewhat heavy and wet, it all timed out beautifully!

As I pondered the thought of blinders I realized that in essence we all should be wearing spiritual blinders.  When I think of how easily we can be pulled this way or that in our thinking, (by the the wiles of the enemy of our soul) I think yes, that is just want he wants to do with us, spook us into old behavior and get us to regret and feel guilty and the like.  He is so sneaky!

My favorite verses in Philippians basically reminds us to keep our eyes on the prize so that we will attain the goal in sight, so we don't become distracted and pulled away from that goal!

The Message Paraphrase puts it this way:

:13 Friends, don’t get me wrong:  By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. :14  I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

If we do likewise, then we really can’t use excuses when we get pulled away and tempted to walk contrary to our Christ life.  God has certainly given us everything we need to literally be armed and dangerous.  I like that thought! We just need to read and lean into Ephesians 6 and remind ourselves of the armor God gives us to use, applying the armor daily just like the horseman.  He dresses his horses to protect them and others!

So, do you have your blinders on today?

Father, I can’t make excuses when I fall, you have fully equip me to stand the wiles of the enemy who would love nothing other than to trip me and then watch me fall. And, he would get double for his effort if I caused someone else to fall.  So guard my heart Lord, may I be armed and watchful and a trustworthy example keeping  my gaze upon the end result of an eternity with You!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tending The Garden

Do you like to garden?  Once upon a time I was an avid gardener.  I had a small hobby farm and I grew produce and planted flowers.  I even had some ducks, geese and chickens to tend.  They weren't just any old chickens but rare breed chickens. It was just fun for my little boy and I although he struggled with the birds as they weren't very nice to him.

The older I got the more involved I became in kid things as they grew and I too began to participate in more stuff and suddenly I didn't have much time left over to take care of my garden and flower beds.  After all they take lots of work, and hours of dedication to keep them cleaned out so the tender shoots don't get choked out. they also need to be thinned out so that the plants themselves don't get over crowded and then there is harvesting...lots of work!  But what is there that is good that doesn't come with effort?

I have discovered a new web blog called A Holy Moment that is authored by Ann Voskamp who has come to the forefront with her book--now on the New York Times best-seller list--One Thousand Gifts.  

I think this beautiful girl is definitely on to something.  Nothing new, nothing that takes rocket science but an effort.  An effort to wake up alert to whose you are and gratefully appreciate what God has blessed you with. Oh friend, this just isn't quite as easy as it looks.  As I mentioned above, tending a garden takes effort and so does cultivating a heart of gratitude!  

You might be like me, having gone too long in the negative zone, with a negative mindset to start and finish your day.  But what if we put forth an effort to counter that mentality with thanking our Sovereign for who He is as the giver of all good things, acknowledging His marvelous presence in our lives each and every day?  And just like a garden we would tend to weeding out unwanted foreign thoughts that are contrary to our Sovereign's truth, and replanting with thankfulness after we have tilled up the crusty, dry ground that has settled for too long in in one place.  

Let's imagine looking at life with nothing less than a handful of things to be grateful for each day!  I will just bet that as you and I work toward cultivating our heart of gratitude that we are going to naturally adjust our outlook, in turn to other's and our family's, and then who knows what could overflow even outside of our immediate sphere of influence?  Seriously, what would the world look like filled with grateful hearts?

Today, I have decided to diligently proceed to my flower bed and take the trowel to grumbling and complaining and replant with appreciation and thankfulness. 

Psalm 66:1-3a says "Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory  of His name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, "How awesome are Your deeds!""

The joy that comes for from a heart of gratitude is where we get the strength to stand in the difficult times (and they will come!)  Without it we will wither but joy is wrought with gratefulness!  So let's get our tools and get digging.