Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Obedience is Better Thans Sacrifice

"If you WON'T LISTEN to God in one area, there may come a time when you CAN'T HEAR Him in other areas." Pastor Steven Furtick

I have an online "Google Group" that I post scripture verses that have touched me and the thoughts they have inspired. This particular study I have found very poignant in my life.

"Then Samuel said, "Is the LORD as delighted with burnt offerings and sacrifices as he would be with your obedience? To follow instructions is better than to sacrifice. To obey is better than sacrificing the fat of rams." 1 Samuel 15:22

The back story to this verse is that King Saul had just taken an enemy camp and God gave him specific instructions as to how it was to be done. He followed the instructions sort of, but didn't obey some of them. He picked and chose what he wanted to do, rather than obey exactly what God said. Afterward, he decided he wanted to make a big extravagant sacrifice to God to "make up" for his disobedience, but God was not pleased with this. God sent Samuel the prophet to rebuke Saul for his disobedience.

For me, the application is easy to make. If there is an area that God's Word clearly states for me to do, and I am holding back my obedience to God, then God is not pleased. I can make extravagant sacrifices in other areas that look great to other people, but God is fully aware of my disobedience and is still not pleased, even though it may appear to those around me that I am really doing great things.

Know: God knows my heart and desires my obedience.
Change: When God's Word is clear on something and I am not obeying; examine my heart and choose obedience rather than overcompensating in other areas.
Do: Be at peace when I know in my heart I am living in obedience.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Brunch Berry Pizza

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup cold butter or margerine
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1-3/4 cup frozen mixed berries, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2-1/2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
2 cups fresh blackberries
2 cups fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
In a bowl, combine flour and confectioners sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Press into an ungreased 12 in. pizza pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-13 minutes or until crust is set and edges are lightly browned. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, egg andsugar until smooth. Spread over crust. bake 8-10 minutes longer or until set. Cool to room temperature.
For topping, process mixed berries and sugar in a blender or food processor until blended. In a saucepan, combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Add mixed berry mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for two minutes or until thickened. Set saucepan in ice water for fifteen minutes , stirring several times.
Spread berry mixture over the cream cheese layer. Arrange fresh fruit on top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing. Yield: 10-12 servings.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pleasures and Fullness of Joy

Boy is it easy to get bogged down by the negative happenings we see all around us! I am reminded of the story in Matthew 14; when Jesus was walking on water, and Peter asked if he could do it too. Jesus said "Come on!". So he stepped out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus with his eyes on Jesus.

vs 30 But when he noticed how strong the wind was, he became afraid and started to sink. He shouted, "Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately, Jesus reached out, caught hold of him, and said, "You have so little faith! Why did you doubt?"

I feel like sometimes I have "So little faith." The problem is that I have taken my eyes and focus off Jesus. When I return to His presence I am filled with peace that only He can provide in such a storm.

- He makes known to me the next step on my "Path of life."
- He gives me "Complete joy" that cannot be understood in human terms because it does not make sense with my circumstances.
- He gives me sweet "Pleasures by His side."

Psalm 16:11 (NAS) You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Psalm 16:11 (GWT) You make the path of life known to me. Complete joy is in your presence. Pleasures are by your side forever.

Stop - Doubting, and allowing my circumstances to dictate my state of mind.

Know - When I am in God's presence the peace, love, joy and pleasures He provides can transcend my circumstances.

Do - Run to His presence when I need these things. Re-align my focus on Him.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Cure for the Common Cold

No, I'm not kidding! It's not necessarily a "cure", but doing these two simple (and inexpensive) things have shortened the length and strength of my cold on more than one occasion. I learned these from a medical doctor who actually does home visits!

1. Vitamin C Four/4/four treatment: Take 4,000 milligrams of Vitamin C every four hours four times a day (totaling 16,000 milligrams for the day). You can do this for three days in a row.*

With all the new (often costly) powerful antioxidants that have come on the market, this amazing and inexpensive antioxidant that has been sold in stores everywhere for so long is often underrated and pushed to the back burner.

2. Drown your cold: Drink 8 ounces of water every ten minutes for one hour (totaling 48 ounces in an hour). I mixed it up by adding an Emergen-C packet to be able to enjoy it a little more.

This is surprisingly easier than you would imagine! I thought I would spend forever in the bathroom during and after this treatment, but apparently, my body was dehydrated, because I absorbed a lot of it!

* One in about ten or twelve persons can experience diarrhea from this regimen, but the benefits far outweigh this possible side effect.

**This is not intended as medical advice. See a doctor if you need medical attention. It is simply something I have tried that has helped me tremendously!

Earthen Vessels

I'm just an old clay pot....but with a priceless treasure inside!

2 Corinthians 4:7 "But we have this treasure in a fragile vase of clay, in order that the surpassing greatness of the power may be seen to belong to God, and not to originate in us."

I just returned from a visitation of an old friend where I was reminded of the mortality of our human bodies. It was sad in a way to see his lifeless form laying in still silence, when I was used to hearing him joke and laugh, and belly ache about life's quirks and turns. He was always fun and thought provoking. But his footing was solid. He had known his time was coming soon. He had lived a long, and a full life. "I'm ready to go." he said, "And be with Jesus."

So, here WE are. We have this great treasure in earthen jars "so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;" 8-10 says "In every way we're troubled, but we aren't crushed by our troubles. We're frustrated, but we don't give up. 9 We're persecuted, but we're not abandoned. We're captured, but we're not killed. 10 We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies so that the life of Jesus is also shown in our bodies."

This earth is not our final home. I look forward to the great eternal glory ahead, but I pray I live a life worthy of my calling in Christ Jesus while I am here!

2 Corinthians 4:6 "We are his servants because the same God who said that light should shine out of darkness has given us light. For that reason we bring to light the knowledge about God's glory which shines from Christ's face."

I pray I reflect the light and the glory of Christ!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

God's Math

I used to hate math. Now I've come to appreciate it. It's actually fun when you don't HAVE to do it! Well, some math is fun.

Have you heard the story of Jesus miraculous feeding of the 5,000 men (plus women and children)? He was teaching, and there were thousands of people following Him, and no McDonalds in sight (it was around 2,000 years ago!). It was dinnertime. Everyone was hungry, but only one little boy had brought food. Perhaps everyone else didn't expect to be around for so long. But in the innocent generosity of a child, the little boy offered his lunch of five loaves and two fishes to Jesus. I doubt anyone expected what happened next; Jesus miraculously turned that tiny lunch into enough food for all the thousands of people there!

That's not the only example of math that is outside of the natural realm when God gets involved. He made the natural laws of the universe, but He also made the spiritual laws.

I was recently meditating on Romans 12:15 "Be happy with those who are happy. Be sad with those who are sad."

This is another example of how things can change when God's power is in play. When we bear one another's burdens, the one with the burden has some of the burden subtracted. It is made lighter for them. But when we laugh with one another, the happiness is added to and increased!

I love God's math!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Grace!

Grace is a popular name in some circles, and there may be a reason for that. When my little girl was born two years ago today, though we didn't know before that she would be a girl, we had already chosen the name Grace (with no alternate girl names). That was because through her birth we experienced God's gentle grace in a special way.
Grace has an older sister named Eva. Eva is in heaven. She was still born on August 3rd, 2005. Her death was the most difficult thing we have ever experienced, but through it, God revealed to us in a tangible way that He loves us deeply, and would sustain us even through the valley of the shadow of death. When Eva was born at 8 months, I wasn't sure I wanted another child. I know that may sound strange. My husband, in an effort to comfort me, said through his tears; "Honey, we'll have another one." But my heart was not prepared for that, and not for many months after. I loved my Eva, and it seemed like a desecration of her memory to me at the time to even think of having another child.
But God had different plans, and as my heart began to slowly heal, He opened it up to love another. My pregnancy was good, but I won't say it was without fear. It was a walk of faith in itself. When Grace was born, she immediately stole my heart. One of our Seacoast pastors (Shawn Wood) recently wrote a post about the expansion of our love, when we have a child. We think we have a limited amount and couldn't possibly love another child, since all of our love is already in use.
Everyone who has lost a child (and probably most people) know there is no such thing as replacing a child. Your heart expands yet further, to make room for each precious gift God gives you.
Grace is special, in so many ways. She brings us such delight, and we are so thankful God gave her to us for this time. We look forward to how He will grow in each of our children and recognize that if Eva had lived, we may not have Grace (because of the timing). I know that is a strange way to look at it, and nearly impossible to figure out, but I am so thankful the God is in control and that He is loving Eva perfectly while we wait to see her, and enjoy the sweet gifts He has allowed us here.
Happy Birthday my Dear Grace. I thank God for you and love you so much.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Meditation For The Day

Psalm 23 has always been one of my favorites. A friend sent this in an email, with a beautiful photo to go along with each phrase.
It is great for meditating on how much God loves us!

Psalm 23

The Lord is my Shepherd = That's Relationship!
I shall not want = That's Supply!
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures = That's Rest!
He leadeth me beside the still waters = That's Refreshment!
He restoreth my soul = That's Healing!
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness = That's Guidance!
For His name sake = That's Purpose!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death = That's
I will fear no evil = That's Protection!
For Thou art with me = That's Faithfulness!
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me = That's Discipline!
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies = That's Hope!
Thou annointest my head with oil = That's Consecration!
My cup runneth over = That's Abundance!
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life = That's Blessing!
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord = That's Security!
Forever = That's Eternity!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Baking Bread

Here are some fun pictures of a warm summer day on which Jessica and Joshua baked bread with two friends.

They are outside, because they put the bowls of dough in the back of my sun-warmed car (covered with towels) to rise. They are good little bakers!

They love doing fun activities like this and doing it with friends makes it even more fun!

Glad the health inspector didn't visit! I probably should've pulled their hair back into pony tails! :)

Mmmmmm, makes me hungry for the smell and taste of fresh baked bread! (And warm summer days!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Design of a Loving God

I have been enjoying teaching science to my 8 year old daughter, partly because as I am reminded of the 3rd grade basics of science, I am reminded of the amazing design of a loving God. Things as simple as the distance between the earth and the sun being perfect, any closer and we would be burned to death, any farther and we would freeze to death. Also, the fact that while other liquids become more dense when they freeze, water becomes less dense when it freezes, so that it floats, and as the top layer freezes, it does not sink to the bottom, layer upon layer and kill all the plant and animal life in the lakes, rivers and oceans!
Another detail is the placement of the animals in the right amounts for balance of our ecosystem. See this article for an example of how meddling with that can challenge that delicate balance!
It's small details like these that make me rejoice with wonder to know the loving kindness of my heavenly Father!

What about you? What are the things that make you realize how deeply loved you are by God?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Wisdom Is Miraculous Too

James 1:5 says "But if any man among you is without wisdom, let him make his request to God, who gives freely to all without an unkind word, and it will be given to him."

We tend to think of God's provision as being some unexpected, surprising or even supernatural "Miracle." While He sometimes uses each of these things to provide, He more frequently gives us wisdom to handle the situations we need help in. He wants us to dig in his word, know Him and his heart intimately and learn his will as if it were our second nature.

Most of all, He just wants us to ask Him. Like we want our children to ask; How many times do we say to our children "Use your words." We usually know their desires, even without words. God always knows our desires, but it pleases Him when we turn our faces up to Him and say "God, please help me, give me wisdom." Language is something powerful. God loves to hear us speak and praise Him, and He loves to provide for our needs and desires, and give us wisdom for every situation...generously!