Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Glory

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8

I have a picture of the fallen angel in all of his beauty, clothed in a sharp Armani suit sitting at an enormous antique oak desk with his perfectly manicured fingers laced behind his head of gorgeous hair letting out a self satisfied, yet somewhat bored sigh. Man has certainly taken most of his work from him. We pay for pain, we flock to fear, and we delve indignantly into debauchery. Any sin that you want to commit is readily available. And, hey, if you don’t want to go to all the trouble of cheating, stealing, or committing murder yourself you can easily sit on your behind in a nice comfortable chair and watch someone else do it.

It is difficult in our culture to sometimes decipher the good from the bad. If it’s something as straightforward as adultery – no problem, take a look in Genesis 20 at the Ten Commandments and God says clearly “don’t do that!” But what about things like an occasional glass of wine, keeping up on the current celebrity gossip, or celebrating a pagan holiday… I mean everybody’s doing it.

For me, I have to ask myself whether what I’m doing is to glorify God. Not indirectly or “sort of” or “in a way”, but honestly. Does looking at pictures of some celebrity’s botched nose job serve to glorify God? It’s not easy – and of course – being man and prone to sin I will never get it completely right. However, I think from now on I’m going to try to ask myself that question more often and see how I test out.

Prayer Requests
Please pray for all the youngin’s out in the dark begging for candy tonight
Janet – Please continue to pray for her parents health – Mom’s knees and Dad’s foot
Elena – Pray for her Aunt Cindy who is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer in her stomach and shoulder.
Judy – Please pray for God to comfort her and her son Rick as they are going through a tough time.
Kelly S – Please pray for Grandma Andersen, she is 94 and has had pneumonia.

Andrea

Monday, October 29, 2007

Enjoy Waiting

Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
Psalm 27:14


Have I mentioned before how I hate waiting? I like to have things right now. Because I am strong and courageous, I’m a woman after all, I’m a real go-getter, a mover and a shaker, and when I get an idea I go for it. I deliberately have to slow myself down. I tend to over multi-task and at times when I could be just enjoying the one thing I’m doing, I feel I have to pack one more thing in there.

So we’ve learned now that I’m full of pride AND impatient…

But the Lord is never late. It might be the 11th hour, and you may be so over wrought, worn out and out of tears, but there He’ll be. He will never let you wait longer than is good for you, and the wait is worth the outcome every time. What are you waiting for? A situation to be over, a person to turn to the Lord, your tax return, a raise, your kids to be grown, your husband to change the laundry? Okay I know I’m being silly, but really…think about it and enjoy the wait.

Prayer Requests
Janet – Please continue to pray for her parents health – Mom’s knees and Dad’s foot
Kelly H – How did surgery go for Karly?
Elena – Pray for her Aunt Cindy who is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer in her stomach and shoulder.
Judy – Please pray for God to comfort her and her son Rick as they are going through a tough time.

It is an honor to pray for each of you. Take a moment now to bow and honor these few requests. Amen!
Have a great week,
Andrea

Friday, October 26, 2007

Let Me Show You Something

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

How do you demonstrate love? I heard a discussion on KLCV the other day with author Gary Chapman who has written several books on the Five Love Languages. Here’s the five ways he has described in his book (click the link for more detail on each of these):

Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, Physical Touch

It’s easy to see right away that men and women can easily miss each other if they speak a different language. If you are busy preparing dinner for your husband to show him that you love him (act of service) and he wants to grab you and kiss you to show you that he loves you (physical touch) it might cause you to be interrupted and irritated and him to feel rejected. Great concept, think I’ll scour Amazon and get a copy of this book. He wrote one about children as well.

The Bible tells us that God showed us that he loved us by sending his only son, Jesus, to die for us. We were (and are) still sinners but He did it anyway. God has spoken the language of love in the ultimate sacrifice – He gave His life for us. And all we had to say was, Thank you Jesus – I believe. God thinks that each and every one of us is special and wants so badly for us to just talk to Him, confide in Him and obey Him. I certainly don’t understand God’s love language, but I accept it and I’m so grateful for it!

I have attached this song to this email for ya – it’s a good one.
“To hang between two thieves, in the darkness, Love must believe you are worth it. Hold on, Love will find you.”
Nichole Nordeman – Hold On, from the Brave album
Prayer Requests
Janet – Please continue to pray for her Mom’s knees that were replaced this summer and her Dad’s foot.
Kelly H – Her 5 yo dd Karly had surgery yesterday to remove her adenoids and put tubes in her ears.
Elena - Aunt Cindy just found out she has cancer in her stomach and shoulder.

Have a great weekend!!
Andrea

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pride and Joy

The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
and patience is better than pride.
Ecclesiastes 7:8

I hate waiting. I have attained a much higher level of patience through motherhood, but for the most part I want what I want and I want it right now. If you are unable to comply with that, I provide a service free of charge in which I tell you what to do and how to do it and at what rate I would be expecting it done. Now that also goes double (maybe triple) for myself.

Last Thursday I had a system failure of sorts. My husband came home from work and after directing him to his dinner and pointing out which children were where I kissed him and went to bed. That has been a week ago tomorrow. I think that is long enough to have recovered from this unfortunate and irritating set back. I have missed one day of work and things have slipped enough, darn it. I think that I should feel all better tomorrow and be able to go back to the X-Treme life. I have a lot to accomplish and everyone is counting on me and if I don’t do then who will and no one could really do things the way that I like to have them done, and…

God has taken His wonderfully strong and understanding hand and swatted me the way only a loving Father could. I need to decide that there may not be a time limit to this discovery of my prideful ways and concede to the idea that the end of this matter will be better than the beginning. Dear Lord, help me to Praise, Repent, Ask and Yield when I pray!

Prayer Requests
Janet – Please continue to pray for her Mom’s knees that were replaced this summer and her Dad’s foot.
Kelly H – Her 5 yo dd Karly is having surgery to remove her adenoids and put tubes in her ears on Thursday. Pray for Momma as well, she’s freakin’.
Elena - Aunt Cindy just found out she has cancer in her stomach and shoulder, she started chemo today.

Happy Wednesday!
Andrea

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pride and Wisdom

Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
Proverbs 13:10

I once thought that pride was a tremendous motivator. If you “take pride” in your work, you are motivated to do a good job. I tell my son that all the time about his room cleaning, grooming, etc. If you “take pride” in your house, you will work hard to keep it clean and a nice, healthy place for your family and guests. Same goes for your appearance, your work, vehicle, children, husband, on and on ad nausea.

A couple of years ago my sister in law told me about the FlyLady. This is a sort of housekeeping system that uses “babysteps” to form habits and create routines so that your “house practically cleans itself”. I never looked it up because, after all, I know how to clean my own house, thankyouverymuch. Well…here we are a few years later and ya know, I guess I don’t know it all. I looked it up on www.flylady.net and I’ll be darned, she has some suggestions that apply to ME! I’m one that has to get totally desperate to seek help. I wait until I am absolutely miserable before I reach out. While my house wasn’t a complete disaster area yet, I needed to find a way to keep it clean that didn’t exhaust me and wreck my Saturday every week.

If I could lay down my pride and just admit that I can’t heal myself, do it all myself, or be everything to everyone I would most certainly get more out of life. God gave me a husband to help me with the house and the children, a Mom and a slug of Sisters to help me out with advisement on everything from nursing to what style of jeans looks best on me, and He gave me an instruction manual for my life in the Holy Bible. Part of accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior came from admitting that I was a sinner and was in need of saving. I need to somehow apply that principle to this issue of pride.

Prayer Requests
Janet – Please continue to pray for her Mom’s knees that were replaced this summer and her Dad’s foot.

Thank you all for being such a blessing to me!
Andrea

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pride in the Name of Love

To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
Proverbs 8:13
Pride - a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc. www.dictionary.com

My previous mode of thought has been that perfectionism isn’t a bad thing. So I like to have things done right, what’s the matter with that? For example: I have recipes that I have printed off of the internet and torn out of magazines. I have a perfectly good three ring cook book with sheet protectors, but I won’t put them in there because I don’t have time to transcribe each one on a matching recipe card. Heaven forbid my recipe book would be a hodge-podge…the horror of that word alone makes me shudder.

I have to figure out why, periodically, I seriously burn myself out. It’s perfectly normal to be tired and even some days, totally wiped out! All of us are trying to do a tremendous amount of work on a daily basis. However, I don’t think its okay to fall into a hole of mental and physical exhaustion. I don’t see what possible good I could be to my husband and children when that happens. That is where I have been for the last few days. Because I can’t be as good as I think I should be…I cannot live up to the inordinately high opinion of my own dignity as cherished in my own mind. I work hard at it and it’s impossible.

So, I’m turning to the One with all the answers. I’m happy to have finally found out what it is that causes me to over extend, over work, over commit, and over plan. I’m not to happy that it happens to be pride that is the issue. After all, I’m better than that.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

You Are Beautiful!

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

That person at the bus stop that hasn’t showered in years, that politician on TV that is so crooked we can see it in their smile, cops, teachers, your boss. That woman that cut you off in traffic, the kid that made fun of your son, janitors, cashiers, your landlord. Your sister you don’t talk to much anymore, your brother with whom you don’t see eye to eye, your Mom, my Dad.

Every person on this earth has been created in God’s image. So when you are staring at the face of your enemy, remember that they were created in the image of our God. Now go take a good look in the mirror and find something nice to say about what God has made. Go on…

I’ll start…Dear Lord, thank you for making me healthy. I praise you that my legs are strong and my heart beats regularly. Thank you for giving me a body that stores energy oh so efficiently. Please slow the downward shift of my energy stores and bless me with continued good health. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

No Way, Noah!

Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
Genesis 6:22

He built and ark that was large enough to house two of every kind of animal, all their food and his family. He loaded ‘em up and sailed on the waters from the floodgates of Heaven. Now that’s faith! And the Bible says that he did everything just as God commanded him! Can you imagine the stress that guy was under? The Bible says that the world was “corrupt in God’s sight and full of violence” at that time (sound familiar?) so I’ll bet Noah didn’t make a whole lot of friends doing what God told him to do (bet that sounds familiar, too).

But that was Noah. He certainly has to possess many more redeeming qualities than I. I mean, it had to be easier for him to obey the Lord that it is for me, for sure! The Bible says that upon being deeply troubled and deciding to wipe out humanity, Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord! Surely he must be as perfect of a human specimen as there ever was, right? You can’t possibly compare my level of obedience to that of Noah!

Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Genesis 9:20-21

Oooh. Drunk and naked, not so good. And the real brain fry is that God KNEW that he was going to pull this trick! He knows everything we have ever done or will do. God trusted a naked drunk guy with loading up the ark and making sure that humanity got one last stab at it. He knew that when the rubber met the road, Noah would be obedient and allow himself to be used by God. He also knew that Noah was still human and in that, prone to sinfulness. Yep, even Noah.
*****Dear Lord, help me to remember that your strength is made perfect in my weakness. Please fill me to the brim with your Holy Spirit and use me today to further your Kingdom. And please help me not to yell at my kids. In Jesus’ name, Amen*****

Monday, October 8, 2007

Plans to Prosper You

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 hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13

Bad things happen. Women loose their husbands, get cancer, have abusive relationships, miscarriages, get fired and get stuck in the bottom of a bottle. I used to tend toward the “that’s their lot in life” or the “bad things happen to good people, too” theories. You can drum up a hundred clich├ęs that will suffice for most. But what if you believe in God and look to Him for answers and not Oprah?

There’s no way that I can look at that verse of Jeremiah and say “oh, so that’s why (insert tragedy here) …God has a plan for me”. I cannot know the mind of God, and while I may not know what the plan is…at least I know there is a plan. Some of you are nodding your heads, you’ve come out the other side of tragedy and the Lord has put those in your path that you might help with what you know. You’re a better person, others around you are better for it too. Others of you are shaking your heads and wringing your hands in hope that your faith is not misplaced. Me, I’m in between the two. I can certainly see how my life has been shaped by my experiences, but man, there are some scars that are still sore.

Guess I better head back into God’s Word to find the answers. We had a discussion on forgiveness last week and that got me thinking. I thought that I had no problem with the forgiveness. I need to know that even after forgiveness, when the hurt is still there, that God is using all of this “to prosper…and not to harm…plans to give hope and a future”. I need to seek God with all my heart, ‘cause that’s what he says to do.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Do You Know?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Witnessing is hard. I don’t know why – probably because the world really doesn’t want to hear that we can’t fix ourselves. We don’t want to hear that we need to get down on our knees and humble ourselves. We are all pretty self sufficient and all grown up around here. That seems to be why I don’t share Jesus with people more as well.

I’m so busy trying to formulate what I should say in every feasible situation, that I don’t say anything! There are all sorts of books out there, aka The Lost, The Case for Christ, The Way of the Master and others that can help you to know what to say when trying to share the Gospel. There are little visual aids, cheat sheets and index cards. We have slogans, initials, and abbreviations. Many, many people a lot smarter than me have gone to a lot of trouble to make it “easy” on us. Recently I heard the best of them all.

My 5-year-old looked at my sister bright and early in the morning and simply said “Do you know John 3:16?” Of course, Aunt Amy let Alahnnah witness to her by telling her what that verse said and that she should “know that and also go to Church, too”. Yep, that’s it – God loves you all very much, and you should know that!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Flowers for the Bully

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
Matthew 5:46-47 ***This page really is the right link to this verse and the Beatitudes…really.***


Jesus is talking about the old “love your enemy” thing here. I picked this particular excerpt from that chapter of Matthew because it really drives home the difference between how most people love and the way that God wants us to love. For the most part, people will tolerate someone who is hard to deal with. Maybe they avoid them at break time, or watch the caller ID and just let the voice mail catch the call. Some are more irritating and require something more, like the old “we’ll see when we can get together” or “I’ll call you”.

That’s what sets us apart. The fact that when someone gossips about us we pray peace for them instead of reciprocating. When that person at work takes the credit for our idea, we pray for them to have their own creativity instead of shunning them. When the ex says that he’s really changed this time, instead of rolling on the floor laughing, I pray that he really has. Wasn’t always so. I never knew how freeing it could be to pray for and in that, to love my enemies until I did it.

So won’t you try it, huh? Pick someone that you can’t forgive. Maybe something really bad has happened to you. God knows what it is and He even knows how you are feeling right now. Try something different to try to heal – pray for that person. Start by praying all the success and love for them that you would want for yourself. Try it more than once, heck you may have to pray that you will even be able to try, but you’ll get it. Get it?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Meat of the Matter

Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Matthew 5:8 ***Click here to read all of the Beatitudes!***

Purity! Purity? Purity. Sounds like this purity thing gets us the blessings! I want to see God, sure – put purity? Seems like a tall order. Where do I start? For me I start with what I allow to enter into my eyes and ears. In short, media sources. I’m not saying that I sit around in a dark room and listen to hymns and read only the Bible (sounds kinda nice though – would the kids have to be there?), but I am saying that we have to be very careful of what watch and read these days.

I try to apply the same standards to what I am “allowed” to watch and read as what I allow for my children. Granted, I am more mature and more able to handle complex themes such as death, family issues, etc. But for the most part, I don’t need to be watching CSI, Desperate Houswives or The Young and the Restless either. I used to be really into horror movies, ooh – and action “shoot ‘em up” movies. I saw things and learned about concepts that I would have otherwise never been exposed to. Sometimes I think about a scene from one of these shows and it makes me feel scared, embarrassed, ashamed, or just plain sick to my stomach.

I want to keep my mind and heart pure and open for the use of God. I don’t need a bunch of junk off of the tube messing up my blessings. Besides, I do that enough all on my own.