~reflections~musings~inspirations~insights~and life lessons learned by one who is
whole-heartedly, steadfastly, firmly in HIS grip~

Romans 1:6 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me...Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You. - Psalm 51:10-11,13

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Frank Outlaw

Thanks, Pastor Ron!!!! Great word for a snowy day!!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dream Weaver

Daniel Chapter Two

Not long ago I was in a hurry and ran in to a local chain store to pick up a few items. I really do not like shopping that much so I always make a list. That way I can get in and out in the most expedient manner. This trip was much the same, until I got to the cash register, that is.

Though I had not seen the cashier in almost twenty years, she remains to this day someone very dear to my heart. When I was a very new Christian I taught Acteens on Wednesday nights. It was the denominational missions group for young teen girls. I learned so much from that group... they all have a special place in my heart.

This particular girl, now a young woman... greeted me with, "Oh, Ms. Theresa! I teach 3 and 4 year olds at church now, and I love it, thank you!" It is always nice to be recognized for the influence you have on others... but the influence I had on this girl was nothing but God!

Her mother and I attended Sunday school class together and we had been praying for Missy's salvation for almost a year. I had picked up a paperback Bible that had the Roman's Road to Salvation marked. I had been reading those verses and had highlighted them in my regular Bible and made notes on the bottom of the page to the next verse. I had to be prepared in the event these girls, or anyone for that matter, asked what the Bible said about salvation.

Every night, I would read my Bible and pray over that prayer list especially for this one particular girl. One night as I lay there trying to go to sleep... I heard God speak very clearly to my spirit... "She is ready... you are ready... WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?"

Needless to say I turned on the light and went back over those verses again. I knew with out a doubt it was me that was to lead this girl to the Lord. I called her mother, told her what happened, and asked her to rally the prayer warriors because Wednesday night I believed her daughter was going to get saved.

Wednesday rolled around and I prayed, and studied, and prayed some more... I was so nervous but I knew without a doubt that I was on my first mission from God. I asked her if she could help me clean up and she stayed late.

I started the conversation by simply asking her if she had thought about giving her life to Christ and she said, "Yes, a little." I will spare you the exact conversation but I tell you the flood gates opened! She was afraid of the changes in her life and what that would mean... I laughed and told her I was 28 when I got saved and let me tell you... I was also afraid! We read the scriptures together, she cried, I cried... and that night she walked into the sanctuary and sat down beside her mother a changed girl... and before the evening service was over the entire church was praising God!

Just as in Biblical times God reveals Himself to us in many ways. Are we really listening? Do we have a one-sided prayer life? Are we just going to Him with a list of things we want Him to do for us, messes we want Him to clean up? Are we looking for the least little 'sign' so we can twist it around to make it the answer we want it to be?

This is where daring to be a Daniel can have a major impact on our lives and the lives of others. During the time of Daniel's life dreams were considered messages from God and it was the task of the wise men to interpret those dreams. They could at least come up with something that sounded good to the king if they knew the dream. However, this time, the dream really bothered him and Nebuchadnezzar wanted the truth and figured he would get it if the wise men had to not only tell him what the dream was but what it meant as well.

The "wise men" told him what he wanted was humanly impossible, there was no way anyone could tell his dream. In Daniel 2:11 "It is a difficult thing the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh." I love that part...'whose dwelling is not with flesh!' Man, those wise men were not wise at all! They trusted in a lie, in a hollow religion... in fake gods who did not communicate with them... after all, they didn't exist!

This made King Nebuchadnezzar furious and sentenced all the wise men to death... and when the captain of the kings guard came to Daniel and his three friends to put them to death, Daniel wanted to know why it was so urgent. When the situation was explained to him, Daniel asked for a little time... when granted... he rallied his prayer warriors, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He had no doubt that his God,our God, who dwells among His believers would reveal both the dream and the interpretation.

Just as Daniel believed, just as he knew He would, God revealed the dream! (v19) What was the first thing Daniel did? He thanked and praised God!
Daniel 2:20-23 "Daniel answered and said: Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is darkness, and light dwells with Him. I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of You. For You have made known to us the king's demand."

Secondly, he went to the chief of the kings guard and asked that he not kill the other wise men for God had revealed to him what the King wanted to know. Daniel was not only concerned for his life and lives of his three friends but he was concerned for the lives of others as well.

Thirdly, when he went before the king... he gave God the credit! He could have taken advantage of the situation and taken all the credit for himself... you know, like... I am so special... or I am so holy... that the real god talks to me and me alone... these other slackers don't even know the real god. BUT HE DIDN'T!

Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar in verse 28 "But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the latter days," then he proceeds to interpret the dream. He also tells the king that is is his God, our God, who has given the king his kingdom, his power, his glory, everything he has... God has given him.

As a result of Daniel's reaction in this situation the king acknowledged the One True God. (v.47) "The king answered Daniel and said, 'truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.' and the king promoted Daniel and gave him many gifts.

God blessed Daniel for his faithfulness through the king... again, Daniel, did not act in a selfish manner... he petitioned the king on behalf of his three friends and they were promoted as well.

How can we be a Daniel in our lives today?
We must stand firm in our commitment to God. Always faithful, indulging in prayer, seeking Him and living our lives for Christ out in the wide open so others can clearly see Him.

We must LISTEN carefully to Him... ensuring our actions are His actions, our responses are His responses... our missions... HIS missions.

We must enlist the assistance of fellow prayer warriors. We all know who they are... we may be blessed enough to be a small part of this band of warriors... we may be a little on the outside... but a true prayer warrior never judges, never fails to bring a petition to the throne of God... never reveals the answer or gives advice before they have received the answer from the God who dwells among flesh!

We must first give God the praise, honor, and credit! Least we become puffed up and prideful... Only God can make the difference in the lives of others and we should always be mindful of that simple fact! It is nothing but God!

We must always remember God can accomplish in us and through us what is humanly impossible when he put Him first... when we seek Him first... when we praise Him first.

Will you join me today and dare to be a Daniel?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Daring to be a Daniel

Brrr.... it is has been so cold the last couple of days! This morning I decided it was the perfect soup weather and so I began digging around in the fridge for the left over chicken, green beans, and corn. As I was peeling potatoes, browning hamburger, and cutting carrots and onions I was thinking how these ordinary veggies and meat were going to become an extraordinary dinner... once they simmered in the crock pot for several hours!

Just like the variety of veggies strewn across my counter, God used a variety of ordinary people to do extraordinary things... and a lot of times, they had to go through the heat to get there. Some made mistakes, some tried to run away, but in the end they all accomplished exactly what God had intended.

What was the defining factor in these people's lives, the common denominator? For Daniel it was commitment to his faith and his God, our God. Our first hint of Daniel’s greatness comes in his quiet refusal to give up his convictions. He had applied God’s will to his own life, and he resisted changing the good habits he had formed. Daniel Chapter 1

Both his physical and spiritual diets were an important part of his relationship with God. He ate carefully and lived prayerfully. One of the benefits of being in training for royal service was eating food from the kings table. Daniel tactfully chose a simpler menu and proved it was a healthy choice. No matter the consequences of his decision to stay true to God and his laws, Daniel stayed the course... and God not only protected him... he blessed him!

While Daniel limited his food intake, he indulged in prayer. He was able to communicate with God because he made it a habit. How often do we pray? Is it a ritual or is it habitual? How often do we actually talk to Him... or are we just talking at Him?

Do you hold so strongly to your faith in God that whatever happens you will do what God says? Such conviction keeps us a step ahead of temptation; such conviction gives us wisdom and stability in changing circumstances.

This year, I am daring to be a Daniel and I am going to start by indulging in prayer! Let's prayerfully live out our convictions in everyday life and trust God for the results! I am excited to further explore the book of Daniel and see just what other characteristics and actions turned him from an ordinary boy to an extraordinary man of God! Will you join me?

Refrain: DARE TO BE A DANIEL by Phillip P. Bliss
Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known.

Friday, January 14, 2011

In Sync or NOT in Sync... That is the Question!

Last night I was watching the movie “The Princess Diaries” for the umpteenth time. What can I say? It was my birthday and I was snuggled deep under my electric blanket, a brownie in one hand and coffee in the other. My Chihuahua, Isabella was under the cover at my feet and “dorkie” Yorkie, Lilly on the top snuggled up to Isabella. Ahhhh… the ending to a perfect day!

That’s when I noticed the voice over on the station was still out of sync. Have you ever seen any of those old Japanese martial arts movies? It was just like that! It was a bit comical at first. Then quickly became annoying seeing the wordless mouths move then hearing the sound. I flipped through the guide on the television to see if there was anything else better on… nope. I’d seen the movie so many times I decided to just lie back, close my eyes, and listen until I dropped off to sleep.

Sometimes our lives can seem like a movie that has gotten out of sync. For whatever reason we are not happy, not productive, and everything seems to go wrong. We begin to nit-pick others to pieces then get grouchy or snappy with our friends and family. We complain about the others we attend church with or we complain the Sunday school lesson doesn’t apply and seems a waste of time. The worship service, the sermon… the preacher… the preacher’s wife… is just not cutting it. We start thinking we don’t want to be involved in this ministry or that ministry because that other person is in charge… or involved… and we don’t like them. Maybe, we simply feel unwelcome.

When we find ourselves in this situation we better not just lie back and close our eyes or our hearts are sure to follow! We must examine what is REALLY going on here… and it should always begin with introspection.

Could it be that laziness has crept into our Bible study routine or prayer time? Maybe we have gotten so busy with life that we simply put it off until tomorrow. This is particularly easy to do when it comes to reading God’s word especially for those who have read the Bible over and over again… I mean, we know what it says, right?

It could be as simple as we are just going through the motions of church, worship, study, praying… even serving. Doing it because that’s what we good Christian’s do… not because we are eager to worship Him, not because we are hungry for His word, not because we yearn to be with Him…
Psalm 42:1 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for God, for the living God.”
It almost sounds like work doesn’t it? It’s not!
Ephesians 2:8-10 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
However, we need to be careful not to take God for granted… careful not to take advantage of the freedom Christianity brings…careful not to depend upon our memory of the Word or our past experiences with God to keep us going.

I opened my eyes just in time to see Mia’s brakes go out and her car crash into the trolley and everyone was making wild gestures then all of the sudden I heard the sound of the wreck. That is exactly what happens to us when we get out of sync with the Holy Spirit! We crash around… because of circumstances we find ourselves in… maybe no one gets hurt… maybe they do…maybe we hear the sound of our foolishness… maybe not. But God, just as Queen Clarisse in the movie, comes round and guides us in the right direction… right back to HIM… we merely have to call His name.

How do we know we are out of sync with God? Examining our fruits is an excellent place to start.
Galatians 5:22-24 “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
With just a little adjustment on the computer the television station could have had that movie synced up in no time… if someone had just been paying attention! Are you paying attention? Do you need to get back in sync with God? Ask yourself… ask God; “Is this what I want? Is it what SOMEONE ELSE wants? Is it what GOD wants?”
Galatians 5:25 "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Renewed Each Morning

(Just click on the title and it will take you right there.)

Please take a moment to visit my friend, Amanda's blog. She doesn't post daily but do love what she has to say!! Of course, I have known her for a dozen or so years and watched her go from a teenager to wife, to woman of God, to mother, and so much more. I am proud to be her "Moma Tees" OH, and you should hear her sing!!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2 THINGS - Meme

Saw this over at Penless Writer who saw it at Home On The Range and it was new to me and looked like fun so decided to do it.

two names you go by: Theresa or Ms. Theresa, of course, but tons of kids (now adults) call me Moma Tees... however, my favorite...Granna! oh, that's three...

two parts of your heritage: French and Hillbilly... that counts right?

two things that scare you: Failing to follow God's direction and loosing my husband

two everyday essentials: My computer & coffee

two things you are wearing right now: Sweats and flip-flops

two things you want in a relationship (other than love): Integrity and loyalty

two favorite hobbies: Blogging & cooking

two things you have to do this week: House work and turn 50!

two stores you shop at: Kroger & Wal Mart

two favorite sports: BASEBALL and golf

two shows you like to watch: I hate to admit it, Survivor is my favorite. Undercover Boss is pretty good too.

two things you’d buy if money were no object: I would re-do my kitchen and buy a truck.

two wishes for 2011: My boys to do well (and continue to seek God's will) in their new lives as single men and that I could spend more time with my youngest grandson, Erick.

If you decide to participate in this Meme please let me know so I can come read yours!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kari Jobe: "You Are For Me" Beautiful!

I love "it when I stumble across" a bit of music that touches my soul and leads me right into prayer... thank you Kari, thank you!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Empty Room

The master bedroom remains empty. He is amazed at just how much relief the sight brings. A few short days ago she moved the rest of her things to a new house. Though the process began years earlier and we were either too busy or too blind to notice.

Suffering from anxiety and depression she briefly moved out this past spring thinking it would be the relief she needed. I knew then this was serious, but kept hoping and praying things would work out. Counseling and medication ensued and quickly got out of hand. She moved back in with the promise of a fresh start only to be derailed by her emotions and what-ever demons she was harboring.

There was an attempted overdose, and she was way too high on anti-anxiety drugs to think straight when it happened. The sleeping pills weren’t actually taken and I don’t know if they were ever intended to be ingested… perhaps it was just for attention… perhaps it was a desperate cry for help, for healing… I don’t know.

I do not even pretend to understand… especially when one comes face-to-face with the altar of God three times a week… when the knowledge that God is always there is so firmly planted in ones heart. How... why... does one look past that altar and to society for the answers to spiritual problems?

She lost her way... she needed to find herself. In reality she fell victim to the image the world offers women of her age and stature. Thirty and married over ten years to the same man she started looking for something more; more of what I have no idea. Maybe she wanted to feel the love she felt when they were newly married… maybe she wanted to feel special… all the while it was staring her right in the face. She was running from God and didn't even realize it!

They went to Christian marriage counseling a couple of times to get through the rough patches. Willing to do everything to make her happy he worked hard to provide a good life, helped around the house, and was involved in the boys school and sports activities. Active in church, he committed his life, his family’s lives to God…steadfastly hanging on to the hope and belief that it was going to get better, it would be all right… knowing only God could change it.

Sadly, it was not enough… change in a marriage takes two people seeking God’s will for their lives… seeking God’s healing… seeking God’s love and having the gumption to walk that road of faith. It is not a two-pronged approach with one seeking God and the other seeking society… that only ends up as a fork in the road.

Mistaking comfort for boredom and security for staleness she tried to fill the hole in her heart with things… a house full of things… a closet full of things… a garage full of things… when all along the answer was in reaching out to God. Not just the going through the motions; but the whole heartedly, grabbing hold of Him and not letting go until she had been reconciled kind of reaching out to God. Alas, the lure of the world was too strong… she thought things through instead of faithfully waiting and watching for God to restore her, restore her love, restore her marriage.

Torn between the life she had and the life of what could have been… or what could be… she set about creating a life of her own leaving a husband and two sons standing amid the broken pieces of their American dream. All I can do is shake my head and say, “Lord, Lord.”

I have to admit, I was caught unaware by the turbulence in their lives this past year. Like most, I only saw “leave it to beaver land.” I had so many things on my plate and God love him, he did not want me to worry. He knew I prayed for them and that was enough for him.

The “I love you, but I’m not in love with you, I don’t know who I am anymore…going out, staying home… moving out… moving back in” see-saw, roller coaster life he was living was undoubtedly one of the hardest things he has ever faced. His eyes rimmed with heavy, dark circles showed the tiredness.

Had I looked closer I would have seen more… the sadness, the anguish experienced by one who has done all they can and the giving up of a dream, of a love. What I thought was weariness from juggling his career, his little league duty and his service in his church was so very far from the truth!

Being burned by wasted time and unconditional love; to him, that empty room could easily be filled with sorrow, regret, and the seeds of resentment. However, new life springs forth from the ashes for he takes comfort in the knowledge that he has done all he could.

He committed family, job and self to God a long time ago and it is that same God who will still guide him and sustain him, watch over him and protect his boys. Though he may have lost a worldly love he can never lose the greatest love of all… the love of God. The architect of his life has never let him down and this phase will be no different.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”