Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Inside Out

While listening to music today, I heard the lyrics from Phillips, Craig, and Dean’s “From the Inside Out”. As the words asked God to consume me from the inside out, the meaning of the lyrics struck my heart deeply. I do want Him to consume me, but thinking about Him doing so from the inside out, just amazed me.

Quickly the image of our usual phrase “inside out” came to my mind and I thought about how embarrassing it is to put on a piece of clothing inside out and wearing it thay way by mistake. We’ve all done it at least once if we're honest. I recall a day a few years ago when one of my coworkers, and I won’t name which one (I value my earthly life!) came to work fuming at the rest of us for not telling her that she had worn her uniform pants inside out the entire previous day. Truth was, none of us noticed, but once she was home, she noticed and she was mortified! Rest assured, had we noticed, we would have had a great deal of pleasure at her expense. She loves to laugh and always makes the rest of us laugh.

When speaking of issues of the heart though, how embarrassed, ashamed, and humbled I would be if I had to go through one day with myself turned inside out. There are things inside me that no one knows and if I were turned inside out, those things would no longer be hidden. The entire world could see my hurts, pains, fears. There is jealousy, pride, criticism. What if they saw all of the thoughts within my mind? I would not be proud of what would be on display. I’m sure the seams would be jagged, and the tag would be sticking straight out revealing my faults and weaknesses written on its surface. What I am made of would be listed there just like the 100% cotton is listed on the tag of the T shirt I’m currently lounging in.

What about you, if you were turned inside out, what would be revealed? What can we change about what people would see? What would your tag say? What is your fabric made of?

Speaking of the writing on the tag, what else is listed on a tag besides the size? Go ahead, check your tag and see, I know you want to! At the end of the list of the type of fabrics the garment is made of, it says some form of:

“See Reverse For Care”.

And always on the other side of that tag are the instructions for caring for the garment, cleaning the garment. Often it even says, gentle cycle only.

That’s the hope, that although we might be turned inside out with all of our faults, failures, and weaknesses in plain sight, He includes instructions on caring for us. Instructions for cleaning us. Instructions for ironing out our wrinkles. Sometimes the instructions say, wash inside out. He had our care planned out from the beginning:

“… Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27

God, wash me from the inside out. Cleanse me from within Lord. I cringe to think of what people would see if my heart was turned inside out. I pray that amongst all of the bad things others would see, that they would also see much love woven in and around my heart. They would see threads of You making up fabric of my being. I call upon You, God, to give me more love so that your love within me would crowd out my shortcomings, leaving only room for You. Jesus, thank you, for pouring out your blood to cleanse me, wash me. Iron out my wrinkles day by day so that I might be that radiant bride without stain or wrinkle, or any other blemish. Holy and blameless. I know God that You would not call me to this if it were not possible and I trust you to launder me one day at a time.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Monday, August 30, 2010

Morning, Noon, and Night

When I am troubled, whatever seems to be disturbing me finds its way to the front of my mind throughout the day. I think on it morning, noon, and night, turning it over in my mind with all of the what ifs, whys, and hows. This never brings peace within my soul, it brings confusion, uncertainty, and chaos. I would dare say that most of you can identify with what I am describing to you. If you find yourself in such a place today, let me encourage you with something else we can do morning, noon, and night to take place of all of the what ifs, hows, and whys. Psalms 55:16-17:

As for me, I will call upon God and the Lord shall save me.
Evening and morning and at noon I will pray,
And cry aloud
And he shall hear my voice.

When the walls feel like they are closing in and there is no hope, cry out to Him morning, noon, and night. There is truth in this verse that we must believe and rely on if we are ever to make it through the wilderness we sometimes find ourselves in.

The first truth is “the Lord will save me”, this phrase means He will defend you, He will rescue you, He will help you, He will keep you safe. Call out to Him to defend you in your situation, to rescue you, to help you, to keep you safe and stand believing His word applies to you. There is life that comes from believing His word specifically for your situation. This isn’t just a history book, its real. I have experienced the power of His Word and I can’t stress enough the importance of believing His Word in the deepest places within you.

“And cry aloud and He shall hear my voice. When we cry out, He hears, it doesn’t say that he “might hear”. It says He shall, He will hear. This word “hear” translates as - listens closely, listens attentively, but my favorite definition was comprehends. He comprehends what is breaking your heart. Although we sometimes can’t figure out why a baby is crying, He comprehends why you cry out to Him.

Let’s move on to “my voice”, I was excited to learn that one of the meanings of voice was “bleating”. We are the sheep of His pasture, and sheep bleat. He keenly hears your voice, your bleating, and its as if He shushes the Heavens and says “Shhh! Listen! Everyone quiet. I hear one of my sheep.” He leans His ear toward us and listens attentively to the cry. If one of our children is crying aloud, disturbed, what do we do? As parents, we pick them up, we draw them close to our hearts, we soothe them, we comfort them. We love them until the tears subside. We are given that instinct by our Parent, our Heavenly Father, I believe that when we cry out to Him, when our heart mourns, He will swaddle us in His arms and soothe us morning, noon, and night.

Father, I cry out to you for many people today. I know you hear my bleating because this verse tells me you do. My heart is disturbed for them and I pray that each one will come to you morning, noon, and night, as if coming to you is the meal they need to survive, and cry out. As the Perfect Father, reach down, pull them to safety, swaddle them in your arms. Press their ear to your chest that they may hear your heart for them beating. I do believe if they can ever hear how your heart beats for them, that it will soothe away the tears and the pain to get them from morning to noon, noon to evening, and evening back to morning. I pray that their souls will be sustained on the food of your comfort.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Best and Worst

One day this week, I drove Brenna to school. Don't worry, I'm not picking favorites, McKayla chose to ride the bus anyway - go figure! Brenna had a project that we needed to get to the school in once piece, so I decided the bus wasn't a safe option for our little mouse and cheese made from clay. I remember toting a project to school a time or two and being a nervous wreck that it would get destroyed before I ever descended the steps of the school bus. Busses and projects are a dangerous combination!

After dropping her off, I stopped at the local country store to get my morning jolt of caffeine and saccharin. As I paid the clerk, she spoke the usual empty small talk that we all do while handing me my change.

"You have a good day."

My normal reply to this statement is probably the same as yours, but this particular day, something came out of my mouth, that wasn't from me, because, frankly, I'm not that wise! It left me thinking about the meaning of the statement as I walked to my car and drove off into the wild blue yonder of the working world.

My normal response on any given day would have been the empty "You too," but not this day. Without thought, I said -

"I'm gonna make the best of it!"

"Ok?" she replied, sounding a little uncertain.

"'Cause if I don't - it will make the WORST of me."

How true that is. If I don't make the best of my circumstances and situations and choose to live in them as God would have me to, the worst of me comes to the surface. Once that happens, it's all down hill from there. It greatly affects my perspective and focus on things around me that I cannot control. I cannot control the attitudes and reactions of others, but I can control whether or not I participate or assume that same attitude. That is not the "me" I want them to see.

As you face this day, I am not going to tell you to simply "Have a good day!" I challenge you to make the best of it, so that it doesn't "make the worst of you."

How do we do that?

By taking every thought captive as we they present themselves. Just because I think it, doesn't mean I have to say it or do it. Make that thought obedient to Christ before you ever act on it. This is what we are instructed to do in 2 Corinthians 10:5 "we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ".

Why do it this way? Bend an ear with me to another verse, 2 Corinthians 4:5 NLT.

"You see, we don't go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are servants for Jesus'sake."

My responses, attitudes, and reactions are going to preach something to the people I encounter daily. I no longer preach about myself, I am preaching with my life for Jesus' sake, not my own. I am sending a bigger message to others than only the surface conversation or comments. My reactions and attitudes are a clear example of just how much power Jesus has in my life. If they don't see that light inside me switched to "ON", they will assume that He is not really a source of power and strength. I may not have spoken a lie with my tongue, but I have told a lie with my life and left that person with no hope for herself.

It really is about more than our everday situations, it's about making the best of them so that people see that He is real, He is still working, He still applies, He is still relevant. He is not outdated.



Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

But Not

Before we get into today's post, I wanted to pass something along to you.  Unforgiveness is a very common issue in our lives whether pertaining to a small hurt or a much larger one.  Today's Focus on the Family Broadcast addressed the subject of an unforgiving heart and I really think it is worth listening to if you have anything that you are having trouble letting go of in your life.  It can be heard at http://www.family.org/. Now - on to today's topic.

It seems everywhere I look over the past few days, people around me are so very troubled, very distressed, downcast, even hopeless. I know how painful it is to feel this way, and have spent many days sharing those same emotions. I even said today that it seems like it would just be easier on all of us if Jesus would return because many are so weary. Although I long to see His shape in the Eastern Sky and His beckoning me to His side, I know that if He were to return today, there are many who would not go with me. We must remain for those who need more time.

Today I want to encourage you all with a truth from our Sword, God’s Word.

We have this treasure in jars of clay
To show that this all-surpassing power is from God,
And not from us.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.
We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.
We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.
We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:7-8

Situations may seem very big, mountainous in size, so painful that there seems to be no relief in sight, heavy enough that your legs are weak beneath the weight of what you carry; you may feel like you are down for the count, even all alone. BUT - can I ask you to take notice of all of those “buts” and what follows them in this scripture?

pressed by troubles BUT NOT crushed
perplexed BUT NOT driven to despair
hunted down BUT NEVER abandoned by God
knocked down BUT NOT destroyed

I have relied on this verse often when I have felt overwhelmed, spread too thin, heartbroken, or without hope. It is always encouraging to me to know that although what I face is difficult, I can trust God when He says that the troubles pressing in on me will not crush me.

If you have a lump of clay in your hands, which is what we are according to His word, and you apply pressure to the clay from all sides, what happens to that lump of clay? It doesn’t disintegrate, it isn’t destroyed, and it gets longer, taller. I realized that when I’m taller, then I don’t have to reach as far for His hand.

Sovereign Lord, my heart is heavy for my friends, your children who are struggling beneath the weight of what life has heaped upon them. For many it seems there is no way out and that they will collapse under it all. With tears running down my cheeks and my heart breaking for each of them, I reach as high as I can lifting their names as close to You as I can get them. Holy Spirit, may they sense You drawing them near. I know each of them longs for simpler times, for things to be as they were when they were a child, so, Father, let them be a little girl or little boy for a moment so that they can bury their heads into your chest as You wrap the arms that created them snuggly around their fragile frames. Whisper your love into their hearts; deposit more of your comfort, boundless measures of your strength in their bones, so that when they crawl down from your lap, they can see things differently. I know You love them more than I and entrust their care to your capable hands. I thank You that your ear is always bent to the cries of your children.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Phone Lines and Ownership

My oldest daughter is approaching the tween years, and the signs are all around us! One of those signs is the phone, since school has started, and her social life is budding, it rings several times in an evening. It’s never for me. I answer it to hear the question, “Is McKayla there?”

After about the thirteenth call of the night (same few kids, they all just call multiple times), I catch the thought going through my mind, Last time I checked this was my phone and none of the calls that come through on it are for me. What’s wrong with this picture? It’s my phone, I paid the bill, and she’s the one doing all the talking.

Tonight after the third call within a 20 minute time frame, I was thinking the above thoughts and even admit that I had a little sassiness to me as I mocked the caller’s voice with “Is McKayla there?” in the closest 5th grade voice I could impersonate. As I grumbled to myself about ownership of the phone, the Holy Spirit reminded me of something spiritual through something practical.

When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, my life became His. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says “you are not your own.” My life doesn’t belong to me anymore. It is His to do with as he pleases. Verse 20 goes on to say “For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” I can’t say this any simpler than this, he paid the bill. I pay the phone bill, He paid the life bill. It’s my phone. It’s His life.

Sad thing is, there’s always someone else using the life He bought, and that someone is me! We go through life living it as we please, coming and going as we wish without any concern that the days we are living are not ours. I like for my daughter to ask permission before making a call, do you think maybe we should ask God’s permission before we use our days? Instead, we spend them with an attitude of possession. Just like my daughter acts as if the phone is hers, I act like my life is mine. It’s not, it’s His.

My purpose on this earth is to glorify Him. That’s the reason we are all here, to bring Him glory. I have no capability in my fleshly state to do such, I can only accomplish that by allowing Him to live and love through me. I challenge you and I challenge myself to let the Owner of our lives use our days for a change, He’s been patiently waiting. I bet He’s excited at the opportunity to use them, and I am sure that what He would do with our lives would have a much more effective outcome.

You are not your own. You have been bought with a price.

God, once again this subject of how I spend my days comes to the surface. I stop right now and ask You, since this day is yours from the beginning, how would You like me to use it? Where would You send me, what would You have me say, what would You have me do? I sit at your feet surrendering that this life is yours to own, You paid my sin debt. I made the exchange with You, You took my deserved death, and gave me your life divine. I will listen for your instruction and your direction as I face today. In your Holy Name. Amen

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Music and Lyrics

I love music, always have. As I think back to how long I have loved music, I really can’t find a definite beginning, but I do remember being obsessed with the 80’s hit “We Are the World.” We had this old radio, AM radio might I add, out in the garage high atop Dad’s mammoth work bench. That work bench was covered in layers of old grease. My sister and I would climb up there, scared to death we would see a mouse, to plug in that radio, hoping and praying that our favorite station 57KYX would come in clear enough to listen to our favorite tunes. We would ride our matching mint green 10 speeds up and down the sidewalk as we listened, singing at the tops of our lungs. I distinctly remember the week that “We Are the World” fell from the #1 slot, hearing Casey Kasem’s voice announcing its slip from the coveted position. My dad happened to be outside and I, as passionately as I could at that age, tried to communicate to him my concern about what would happen to all of the poor African children this song was supposed to be helping now that it was beginning its exit from the music charts.

On most any given week, April and I could tell you at least the top 3 songs in the nation according to the top 40 countdown, and that love for music continued to grow throughout my life. I remember not only loving the songs on the radio, but I also loved singing the old hymns in the little church we attended. Since my mom was the pianist, we sang with her often at home during the week as she practiced, which is one of my fondest memories.

As I grew, I continued to love hymns, and now I love contemporary Christian Music as well. He speaks to me so directly and clearly through music, through lyrics, and the combination of the two. Sometimes, I feel His presence so strongly, in a song that I get goose bumps, and this week I had one of those moments during my drive to work. I was listening to an old Casting Crowns CD, and the song Lifesong was playing. As I thought about what the words meant, I thought of a question.

If my life were a song, what kind of song would it be? What music? What lyrics?

If your life were a song, what kind of song would it be? Would it be a Tear In My Beer country ballad, pining over how terrible things had turned out; a slowly dragging blues number; a C&C Music Factory “Everybody Dance Now” party song as you “live it up” while avoiding real, even eternal issues; a Michael Bolton or Frank Sinatra love song that desperately begs for the attention and devotion of another; a hip hop rap number that leaves the impression that you better not be messed with; a classical piece that flows smooth and controlled? I’m sure you can think of another example that I have left out, but this is a start. I’m not saying any one of these types of music in themselves are necessarily wrong, but are they the songs that our lives sing?

What music and lyrics would be written about my days?

Father, I pray that the music and lyrics played and sung from my life would be a song of praise, a song of honor, a song of thanksgiving, a song with a magnetic pull for others to your Kingdom. Lord, I shutter to think of some of the lyrics to the songs my life has sang. Every one of those songs, I have authored myself and I am not proud of any of them. They were not and will never compare to the song you can play through me. God I pray that You would be the author to my lyrics, the composer to my music. I need your guidance to live a life that walks to the beat of a different drum. A top 40 hit is not good enough when I think of the gift You gave and the price You paid. May my heart play a melody back to you today. What a priviledge it will be to worship You in song throughout all eternity.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Monday, August 23, 2010

Beauty and the Beast

My family and I have been very fortunate to go to Disney World on two different occasions. We extremely enjoyed both trips, and when I think back on the memories from those trips, one of the first things that comes to mind is the musical “Beauty and the Beast”. We went to watch this musical and enjoyed it so much that we saw it three different times on one trip. It really is a sweet story of love, love that is more than skin deep. Here’s a recap -

Belle’s father takes refuge in Beast’s castle after being lost in a wilderness, chased by wolves. The castle was dirty, scary, seemed abandoned; it was not at all warm and welcoming. Belle searches for her father and discovers her father imprisoned in this cold, seemingly desolate, castle for trespassing. Beast discovers her trespassing as well and attempts to capture her. Belle convinces Beast to free her father and to keep her in exchange. Beast decides against locking her in a cell, instead he allows her to have a room. As he walks her to the room, he demands her to meet him for dinner. Although he doesn’t imprison her to a cell, He only allows Belle in certain areas in the castle and strictly forbids her to enter the special room where the rose measuring the length of his life is stored. As dinner time approaches, Beast paces impatiently, angrily asking what is taking so long for dinner. When the clock strikes dinner time, Belle is no where to be seen, Beast throws a fit.  He repeatedly reacts harshly and hateful.

As the story progresses, Beast at the instruction and care of Belle, becomes increasingly tender and more gentle. After nursing his wounds, Belle begins to see that his bitterness and anger were only a cover for his deep insecurity and rooted fears, which helps her affections for Beast to grow.

It’s only when Beast frees Belle, gives her away, to go back to her father that he realizes how valuable she had been and how much he had grown to love her. Belle goes back to the village and pleads the case for Beast, describing him as loving, kind, and gentle. When Beast’s life is being threatened by the enemy, Gaston, he decides to just let them come, stating it doesn’t matter now. His life no longer mattered without Belle. When he did not have the will to battle, he hears the voice of Belle, causing him to rise up and fight back. He could do anything with the power of his love for her. He took life threatening wounds on her behalf. It was at the declaration of Belle’s love for him and the surrender of his life, that Beast was transformed into a handsome prince.

Pride had made him Beast, love had made him loveable.

Before you read what I’m about to tell you, may I preface our reading with this - I am NOT saying that God is a woman, this is merely a parallel.

Imagine my life, before I allowed Jesus to change me, I was much like Beast. Angry. Upset. Prideful. My heart was untamed. I did not know how to love. Then Jesus, like Belle, came to live with me and although I was unruly at first, He was kind, gentle, pure in heart, and with time, those unruly characteristics in my heart have begun to change, granted, they still have far to go. I am still learning. I am excited to see the end of the story though, the transformation at the moment I lay down my life, just as the last rose petal drops, as one who allowed Love to make me loveable.

“Tale as old as time
Tune as old as song
Bittersweet and strange
Finding you can change
Learning you were wrong
Certain as the sun
Rising in the east
Tale as old as time
Song as old as rhyme
Beauty and the Beast”

Thank you, Sweet Jesus, for loving me even in my beastly state. Thank you that you saw potential in me and stayed with me. Thank you for nursing the wounds the world has placed upon me. Thank you for teaching me tenderness, showing me grace. Thank you for your continual process of polishing me into your finished masterpiece. The slightest touch of your hand overwhelms me. Although I at times shy away from what you ask of me, just as Beast did, I know that I can trust you and your leading. I pray for a willing heart to take your hand in total surrender, letting you lead where we will go. I can chose whether to stay locked in a cold lonely dark castle or experience love, joy and life by taking your hand. A true image of Beauty and the beast.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Surprising Idols

I read a scripture this week in Ezekiel 14. Verse 3 really grabbed my heart because of the descriptive nature of its words. In this scripture God is speaking to the prophet Ezekiel about His people, Israel, and their false gods. The New Living Translation words it this way:

“Son of man, these leaders have set up idols in their hearts. They have embraced things that will make them fall into sin….”

The word that got me hook, line, and sinker was “embraced”. They had embraced the very things that would be their stumbling blocks leading them to sin. What does embrace mean? Here are a few synonyms: hug, hold in your arms, cuddle, grip, clinch, hold close. Typically, when I think of what might lead me into sin, embrace is not a word that comes to mind. I am more likely to think of idols as things that I would be cautious of, not things that I would hold close, much less cuddle. That in itself is evidence of the enemy’s deception. If I were cautious of those things, I would not be as likely to worship them. After reading and pondering this verse, I asked Him and myself what idols do I embrace. What do I walk up to and hug? You don’t have to ever worry about God being honest with you when you ask Him something. He is always honest, because He is truth, and He was honest with me when I asked Him that question. He revealed to me something that I have been “embracing” that has potential to become a false god in my life. It was an “ouch” moment and I made a conscious choice to refrain from it for several days. Today was day one and I will say, it wasn’t easy, which made it more clear to me the idol status this thing had attained.

As I sat in discussion with my Becoming More Group tonight, the subject of false gods came up again. Do you ever feel like God is just chasing you with something until you “get it”? That’s what this is beginning to feel like. As we discussed some of our false gods He revealed another one to me and to my friend at the same time, our eyes connected and I instantly knew we were thinking the same thing. I am sure most of you can identify with what this false god is. We all have it, it is one of the only things that we are all given an equal measure of every day.

Our Time.

My time is an idol. I analyze it, savor it, cuddle it close, caress it like a baby, and decide what I will use it for. It can be both my friend and my enemy. I plan it out in chunks of days, blocks of hours, and even in slivers of minutes. If we are completely honest, I would dare say that our time is one of the first things we think of each day. “How am I going to spend my precious time today?” “How am I going to get done everything IIIIIIIII need to get done today?”

I was reminded of something I was taught in a study a few years ago, and I want to pass it on to you. God gives each of us the same amount of time in our day and He gives us enough time to accomplish what He wants accomplished in each day. The problem is, what I try to accomplish may not at all be what He has planned, which is why my activity is often so frustrating.

Sometimes I think we need to be reminded of what Psalms 39 says, beginning in verse 4, this is the New Living Translation.

Lord remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered-
How fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer the the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
At best, each of us is but a breath.

We are merely moving shadows,
And all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
Not knowing who will spend it.
And so Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in you.

And all our busy rushing ends in nothing. That phrase bears repeating, did you notice it?

Author of my life, help me to order my days. May I begin by ordering even my moments, sometimes to try to order a day, can in itself be overwhelming, so I ask you to take my hand and lead me through the smallest parts first, my moments. Once I allow You to teach me that part, walk me to the next. I know, Father, that everyday is a gift from You and that I was not created for my own pleasure, but I was created to glorify you. Open my eyes to ways to glorify You in the moments, because moments make up minutes, minutes make up hours, hours make up days, days make up years, and years make up the life I live. I want the life I live to be for You.

Seek the Lord’s face today and ask Him what you might be embracing. I would love to hear your feedback, please don’t tell me I’m in this alone!

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Brittle Leaves

It’s not fall just yet, but the leaves are already turning brown. We all know how dry it has been here for the past several months and I’ve noticed over the past few days that the leaves on the trees are becoming dry, brown, and brittle. Some of them appear as if they would crumble at the slightest touch of a hand. The leaves are prematurely losing their color from a lack of moisture. I fear that the beautiful rich colors of fall aren’t going to be as vivid as usual since things have been so parched, I will really miss God’s display of beauty in Autumn. It’s as if He stands from Heaven with a painter’s pallete supported on His left hand as He splashes and dots shades of reds, golds, yellows, and oranges over His canvas, using the slightest stroke of a brush held within His mighty right hand. This year we’ll just have to look for His fingerprints elsewhere, I know He won’t let us down if we look for His handiwork.

With our weather conditions being as they have been, there have been all kinds of warnings and bans on burning in order to prevent an out of control fire. It will take only a spark in conditions such as these for a fire to take off and spread to everything around it, consuming everything in its path.

My heart sometimes feels like this, dry, brittle, like it hasn’t had enough water and that it’s losing its vibrancy. How about yours? Are you a brittle leaf? Have you ever felt that you were so dry that your heart would crumble and break into pieces if someone were to touch it or even less, approach it? Even though the condition of the leaves on our trees and the weeds in our fields is dangerous right now, let’s look at it from a different perspective. As I mentioned earlier, when thing gets so extremely dry, as they are now, it only takes a spark. Now think about your brittle leaf heart, even though it may feel very dry, void of living water, like it will disintegrate with the lightest touch, it’s in those driest conditions where major fires begin to burn, all it takes is a spark.

for our God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:29

Let the wildfires rage, may He consume me.

God, doing life on my own is not enough; the fire within me is not one that burns everlasting without your flame to spark it. God I bow my knee, tilt my chin, and raise my hands to touch You. Please light the flame I hold dear to burn with more heat, more reach, a higher flame allowing You to consume everything in its path. I am praying for a wildfire not only within my heart, but within the hearts of my friends and family, and in your church as a whole. I ask you Almighty God, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, keep those who might try to douse the fire, control the fire, or limit its reach occupied in other things so that they will look up and know there is nothing they can do to stop your Eternal Flame. I pray that you remove any tools the enemy might use to minimize the sparks and I pray that You use whatever he intends to minimize the sparks to do just the opposite, that it will fan the flame. I wait in eager anticipation and expectation of seeing You, the Consuming Fire, in action.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010


N/A. Not applicable. Does not apply. We see this abbreviation often, and since one of my responsibilities at my job is to complete all sorts of forms, I use it probably daily. I have been known to fill in a blank with “N/A” on occasion because, frankly, I have no idea what the form is really asking. I “fill the space” with N/A to see if that will pacify the questioner allowing me to scoot on through whatever process it is.

Let me ask you a question. If your life and the display of your relationship with God were a form, in how many blanks would you put the popular abbreviation “N/A”? If your response is like the one inside of me at the moment, you’re really wanting to put a big N/A over this whole thought! Where in my life do I say that Jesus doesn’t apply?

Practically speaking, does He apply to everyday situations? Let’s role play for a minute.

You’re on your way to work and have to stop to pick up something important from, let’s say, a certain store whose catch phrase is currently “Save Money. Live Better.” You have just barely enough time to get what you need. You trek through the store, then are required to search for the item, because of course, it has been moved since the last time you purchased it, finally retrieve it, and head to the front of the store to the one, I repeat one, checkout that is actually open, just in time for someone to zip right in front of you with a cart so heavy the person can barely steer it, then that person realizes they forgot something and leaves the lane for what seems like 30 minutes, returns, scrutinizes every price that comes up on the little display, and at the end whips out her file bursting at the seams with coupons. You shuffle your feet, try not to glare -I mean stare, check your watch, think to yourself now, she has all day to do her shopping, why couldn’t she just wait ‘til later when all the people who work are AT WORK.

Does Jesus apply here?

Let’s think of another scenario – one that just might have actually occurred one recent evening in the life of someone who authors a blog entitled Beyond Sunday Morning. I said MIGHT HAVE. I had to leave work an hour early so that I could accompany my oldest daughter to a meeting at school, which was important. I didn’t want to arrive late and still had to go home and meet up with my family. As I hop in my car, in my mind I’m thinking zippety doo dah, let’s go people, its all about me, I got places to be! Right away I get behind this too long for its own good car at the stoplight. We finally get the green and I’m ready to roll, but she, apparently, prefers puttering to rolling. A good 10 minutes later, it seemed, we made it across the intersection just in time for her to come to almost a complete stop to make a right hand turn into of all things Red’s Donuts, at four o’clock in the afternoon! Meanwhile, Mr. Pickup Truck, who is doing more than rolling, barrels through the intersection headed straight for my bumper. Thankfully, he was paying attention. The next thing I know my hands are off the steering wheel, in the air, and I confess, they weren’t in the air praising Jesus, and I say “Would you just turn already?!” All the while thinking to myself, what on earth does she need from Red’s Donuts at this time of day?

Did Jesus apply here? Let’s keep digging.

Your coworker, you hear through the grapevine, has spoken hurtful things about you? Does Jesus apply in how you respond?

You don’t really have the money to buy a certain item that you want and decide to charge it instead. Does Jesus apply?

Your child’s coach or teacher is being unfair. Does Jesus apply?

You don’t share the same opinion as a fellow believer on something. Does Jesus apply?

The game is close, the ump, ref, official, whichever fits, makes a call you don’t agree with – Does Jesus apply?

Someone honks at you at the red light because you didn’t take off fast enough. (I promise that wasn’t me – I don’t do that!) Does Jesus apply?

The answer to all of these questions is yes. He applies to all of them, every situation. Even in my situation with the donut lady. I did not respond with grace and gentleness like I should have, as soon as I flung my hands in the air, God’s Spirit reminded me that I could have given someone the wrong idea of Him. You and I are His flesh and blood representatives in the day to day. We can either build His reputation or tear it down. He is not a god who only applies to Sunday morning, He is a God who applies in the everyday. There is not a situation we will encounter in our lives where N/A is an acceptable response to fill our blanks with. He gave us His word so that we have an answer for every blank, and His Spirit to prompt us of those answers.

In what areas can we change our responses or attitudes from Jesus does not apply (N/A) to responses or attitudes that seek to make Him apply?

Please forgive me for the times where I don’t apply You to the everyday. I know that You apply in every situation, but often my actions say I believe the lie that you don’t. God please open my eyes to the blanks in my life where I have written “N/A” and give me your wisdom, courage, strength and heart to fill in the blank with the correct answer, Jesus. I am so thankful that You didn’t look down from eternity to say that His blood does not apply to me. What if You had left me out like I leave You out? I would have absolutely no hope and certainly no future. I thank You that your word is crammed full of answers to the everyday questions. You spoke then and You still speak today.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Lesson From Steel Magnolias

What woman who has ever applied a stitch of makeup doesn’t love the movie Steel Magnolias? It has become one of those old faithfuls a girl can pull out when she feels the need for a chic flick. For me, that need typically arises on those days where the estrogen just doesn’t quite know where it’s supposed to bounce. Anybody know what I’m talking about? Sure you do. Everybody needs a good laugh and a good cry all bundled in one movie every once in a while.

My coworkers and I often tease each other about the similarities we see in one another with the movie’s characters. There are a few of us, myself included, who toggle back and forth depending on the circumstances for who best fits the role of Ouisa (yep – that’s how you spell Weezer), although I think most days I fall into the character of M’Lynn. I say that because I tend to try to be everybody’s mother and want everybody’s life to turn out like a story book. However, I think they all know my heart. I’m only concerned about what’s best for each of them, it’s just that sometimes my emotions get in the way, to a great extent like M’Lynn’s.

And Truvy. What can I say, she’s just Truvy. She’s the beauty shop entrepreneur for Chinqaupin Parrish who hires Annelle to work along side her in the salon. On Annelle’s first day, she proudly starts a conversation and Truvy takes the opportunity to give her some advice. Here’s how it goes (make sure you add the southun chawm as you read this to yourself!):

Annelle: I am so excited! I can believe its happening! I’m a beautician!

Truvy: Uh Uh Uh! Glamour Technician!

Annelle: A Glamour Technician!

Truvy: And I’ll have you know you’re workin in the most successful shop in this town cause I have a strict philosophy that I have stuck to for 15 years - “There - is – no - such - thang – as - natural - beauty.”

Annelle: (As if in a trance) There is no such thang as natural beauty.

Truvy: Now you remember that – or we’re all out of a job. Well just look at me, Annelle, it takes some effort to look like this.

I hear Truvy’s voice in my head every time I grumble about applying make up or polishing my toes. It takes some effort to look like this and I see Dolly Parton’s face with that silly bow tied in her hair. If you’re like me, I answer that thought with Imagine the shape I would be in without it! To be presentable, it does take some effort, even spiritually. The same holds true in how our life reflects Christ. It takes effort for His beauty to shine through in us and if we rely on our “natural beauty”, sin, which isn’t beautiful at all, to show through, as Truvy puts it, we’re all out of a job!

Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that our salvation is dependent on our works or our actions, it completely depends on what He did at Calvary. What I am saying is that the conscious choices I make in my life determine which “beauty” is seen. If we want to look like Jesus to other people, we have to remember “it takes some effort to look like this”. It takes effort on my part to put away my selfish desires for His and it is a daily, sometimes even moment by moment decision. It might require me to not take part in a conversation that is not uplifting, choosing to hold my tongue when tempted to comment. It might require me to avoid things I took part in before I met Him, especially if those things would send the wrong message to someone else. Maybe my circle of friends will need to change, or I need to extend grace to someone that I haven’t been particularly fond of in the past, etc, etc, etc.

Don’t forget, as Christians, “I’ll have you know you’re workin’ in the most successful shop in this town and I have a strict philosophy I have stuck to for 15 years. There – is – no – such – thang – as – natural – beauty!” Maybe we should put as much effort into looking like Christ as we do into looking good when we step out the doors in the morning.

Jesus - It takes some effort to look that good!

I leave you with the words of Annelle (My husband didn't appreciate this part, but I know you girls will!) : “ I overslept cause I was up late cookin and its my Sunday to count the offerin’ and I GOTTA get these beans to the Eatenton’s… and I just KNOW I’m gonna miss church!”
God, I hope my friends were able to laugh at the characters while at the same time seeing the seriousness of what we do on a daily basis. It does take effort to follow after you and imitate your Son. I pray that when we are tempted today to act in the flesh, that your Spirit will remind us with Truvy’s southern voice that it takes effort to look this good. It may be difficult to choose the right path at first, but eventually, chosing right is what brings out Your natural beauty in us. Thank you, sweet Jesus, for loving us even when we act cranky like Weezer or boss like M’Lynn. Only You could love in such a way.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Running Shoes and A Little Celebration

Before we get started in today's post, I want tell you something that is exciting for me. Today I am celebrating my 100th post! There's confetti, noise makers,balloons, and celebration music in my imagination right now! I know it may not seem like much and mentioning this might seem silly to you, but its a marker for me and my relying on God. This day would not have been possible without Him, He fuels my fire. Secondly, today wouldn't have happened without you, the people who read these words daily. Thank you for doing life with me everyday. With that said, lets dig into the 100th post on Beyond Sunday Morning.

Yesterday our pastor taught on 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and his message was entitled “Run the Race to Win It.” He told us that the race we run requires determination, direction, and discipline. At one point during his message, he asked a question. What takes you out of the race? As I thought about my daily life and my relationship with God being a race I run and the things I allow to affect that race, my mind went straight to what is most important to a runner.

Running Shoes.

I need good running shoes if I am going to go very far in this race and showing up in the wrong shoes will soon take me out of the race.

Can you imagine how much success a runner would have if she showed up in stilettos? I mean, come on, I can’t even walk through the Food Giant after church without my feet killing me! The first thing I do when I get home is kick those babies off. If I tried to run a race in heels, I would surely end up with blisters hurting so badly that I would drop out of the race. Did I show up to the race just to “look good”?

My boots, I love my boots, probably because I got them on sale. I have 2 pair, a brown pair and a black pair. They are perfect for fall and winter and did mention I got them on sale?!? But – I couldn’t run in them very well. I might do ok for a little bit, but given my lack of grace, coordination, and athletic ability, before too long, I would break my ankle. A broken ankle won’t take me to the finish line very quickly.

Then there’s the staple that no girl should be without, flip flops. My mom will probably ask to be buried in hers, even though she has slipped and fallen several times and always says “it was them stupid flip flops.” They are much the thing for summer these days, but running in them – have you tried it? I will admit that I have and it wasn’t attractive. I think one of them actually hit my head on its way down after it sailed off the bottom of my foot lofting into the air. I don’t recommend it.

How many times do you and I show up for the race with the wrong shoes on? Is that what happens to us as we do this Jesus thing on a daily basis? Do we show up in the wrong shoes and by ten A.M. we are already out of the race because we’ve either got blisters on our feet, ice on our ankles, or we’re searching over in the weeds somewhere for the long lost flip flop? We didn’t run very far before we dropped out.

We have to wear the right shoes and sometimes I think we would rather wear the more “fashionable” alternative because we get run alongside those we are comfortable with. Does “fashionable” take us to the places where God really wants us to run? He wants us to touch people with a part of him, and as we run by them, feel the breeze from Him, causing them to jump in the race behind us. That’s what we are running for. I’m not running just so that I can whine on the sidelines with a blister on my heel that wearing the wrong shoe has given me or because someone else stepped on my foot resulting in a twisted ankle. Wearing incorrect shoes sends the wrong message to the spectators and they will wonder why we bother to run at all. We appear to them to be in the wrong place, ill prepared, and unequipped.

Do we run to just be running, so we can say we were in the race, or do we run the race to win it?

God, sign me up for the race. I have on my running shoes today. I pray God that I run the distance You have set for me in this particular day and tomorrow I pray that I remember to wear the right shoes again. I don’t want to waste Kingdom time crying over blisters and sprained ankles that I have brought upon myself from bad choices I make. I must decide every day if I am going to run the race in my running shoes, or just clomp around in my heels making blisters, twisting my ankle in my boots, or show up in my flip flops only to lose them on the sidelines, having to sit this part of the race out. Oh God – I want to feel that “runner’s high” I often hear about. A high that comes from chasing after You and letting your breeze cool the people watching the race. Thank You for inviting me to participate in your race today, I pray it’s a spiritual marathon. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Pssst! There's some confetti in your hair!

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Friday, August 13, 2010


Do you have some closet doors in your house that are hard to close? You know - the kind you have to put your hip into as you push the door to its frame, hoping it latches.

One of the reasons Todd and I chose the house plan we did when building our home was because of the amount of closet space. Now, I’m not claiming to have a plethora of closet space, or even extra closet space, with kids you can always use more, but I will say that what we have by way of closets is an enormous improvement from what we had in our first home.

Growing up we always shared closets with somebody! It didn’t matter which closet we had, it was always in disarray. I’d go clean my room, attempt to put something in the closet that actually belonged there, unlike many of the other things, and risk my life in the efforts. How many of you actually had (or have!) your closet so stuffed that when you turn the door knob the door actually “pops” open from the pressure on the other side? As the door opens, something tumbles out on you causing you to duck and cover your head. You don’t have to raise your hands, we don’t want to embarrass anybody.

Nothing gets me more fired up than to walk in my daughters’ rooms that they have supposedly been cleaning, only to eye corners of papers, belts, shoe strings, etc. poking out from under the closet doors or in the cracks between the door and the facing. Those situations usually entail a “Susie fit”. They aren’t pretty. There’s a reason we always stood in front of the closet door when our parents came into our rooms, we knew if that closet door was opened, it was all over!

Maybe you have a closet like that now, a closet where, if company came over, you would absolutely die if they opened the door and saw the condition it was in on the inside. Your house looks spotless, but oh – behind closed doors – that’s another story……

Sometimes my life looks that way. It’s cleaned up on the outside, but inside, it’s disheveled and unkempt. I guard it with my very existence hoping that you don’t open that door. Sometimes there’s so much junk on the other side of that door that it pops open when the knob is touched. Then there’s days when I have done the best I can, but there’s still little pieces of junk sticking out under the door and stuck in the cracks, but I go on, in hopes you don’t see those things. Much like at home, on occasion, I have something new that needs to go in my closet and I open the door and it just plain makes me mad because of the condition my closet is in, and I throw a Susie fit. It’s time for some cleaning. It’s time to get rid of some “stuff” that is taking up too much space in my heart. Things that, when I come across them, I wonder why I even hung on to them in the first place, or things that don’t even belong in there.

If I let God help me work through all of the piles of junk and sort out what’s needed, I won’t have anything there that shouldn’t be, which will always leave room for the new things He wants to store inside my heart. In some instances, the cleaning and organizing process of the closet of my heart takes a long time. There’s always a few things that I just don’t know what to do with and He has to help me work through all of that stuff, and sometimes, like my girls, I try to bargain with Him about keeping things. In the end, though, I know He’s right, painful as it may seem.

What are some things that are crammed into the closet of your heart that you don’t want your “company” to see? Is it pride, insecurity, fear, anger, a short-temper, selfishness?

Please share your comments with us, I would like to know more about your struggles, what “junk” you don’t know what to do with, so that I can better understand some things to teach for our upcoming women’s conference. You don’t have to leave your name, you can post anonymously if you would like.

Faithful, loving God, I am thankful that You are so patient with me when I have supposed to have been cleaning my “room” and you find junk sticking out around the closet door. You have never lost your cool with me and thrown a Susie fit with me like I do with my girls. You are always there to teach and guide me as we go through everything, sorting it all out, getting rid of all the excess junk I accumulate through out my day to day experiences. Lord, it amazes me that the simplest of ideas like a messy closet reveals the grandness and depths of your character and I am moved to tears that your mercy and loving kindness are so long-suffering with me. Who am I that a God of perfection would be endeared by my imperfections?

By the way – as I neared the end in typing this post my husband nonchalantly tells me, “You got too many clothes in that closet, the rack is coming off the wall.” Todd had no idea what I was writing about. Does God know the details or what? Guess we know what I’ll be doing this weekend!

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Red Rover

Red Rover, Red Rover, send (your name) right over! You run with all your might. Your thoughts are racing. What will happen when I get there? Will I break through the tight grip or will they trap me and keep me on their team?

I was never, and I emphasize the word never, an athlete. I was that student that made the P.E. teacher sigh as our class filed in for P.E. each week. (That’s ok, she made me sigh too!) I really did try though, it just wasn’t in me. My lack of coordination mixed with my long scrawny legs, my navy blue kangaroos, and my long frizzy head of hair just didn’t measure up to the image of the perfect P.E. student I’m sure she was picturing in her mind. Needless to say, I looked forward to the days when our P.E. activities were not quite so “P.E.ish”. When the stars would line up just right and the P.E. teacher was miraculously in a rare good mood, she would let us play red rover out in the field behind the school. Those were my kind of P.E. days. I could do red rover. It never felt like one of those games where you were the “last one picked” to be on a team. You knew that sooner or later you would get your name called to try to break through the bond made on the other side. I would smile inside at hearing these precious words:

“Red rover, red rover, send Amy right over!”

As soon as I heard it my heart would pound, because with each turn that had been taken, I would calculate in my mind what I would do if I was called next, after all the game required great skill. I would strategically weigh my options. If several of my friends were on that other side, it greatly affected my well thought out plan. In the event that a number of of my friends were on the other team, any skilled red rover player knows that you pretend you aren’t strong enough to break through and you “have” stay on that side if they capture you. Then there was the issue of a lone ranger friend on the opposing team. Well, it was imperative that she be rescued, so if your name was called, you darted forcefully across the playing field, charging full speed ahead, breaking the chain of arms so that you could rescue your friend bringing her to the other side. Told you it took a lot of skill – it takes natural talent to be good at this game!

Let’s compare our life to a game of red rover for a minute. God’s on one side and you’re on the other. He looks across that field and spots you – He wants you on His team, arm in arm with Him. He takes a deep breath –

“Red rover, red rover, send _________________right over!”

You’ve weighed your options, calculated your risks, tallied the friends one each side. Do you run purposefully toward Him, knowing He’s so strong that there’s no way you’ll break through and willingly let Him keep you there with Him? - OR - Do you run as hard as you can, searching for what you think is the weakest link so that you can chose someone to take back to the other side with you?

I hope your choice was the first one, I hope you want to be captured in His love.

Now, let’s look at it from the other side. It’s your turn to call a name. You can choose any name, the hands that are holding you are gripping so tightly you think you will never be out of their grasp and you desperately want off of this team. What name do you call?

“Red rover, red rover, send my Savior right over!”

His heart pounds with joy, but He doesn’t have to weigh His options. He knows that He will run full force and that He has the strength to break through any grip that is holding you. Isaiah 65:24 “..before they call, I will answer, and while they are still speaking, I will hear”. He will, with pleasure, rescue and take you back to the other side.

“They will call on My name, and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people.’
And they will say, ‘the Lord is my God.’ ”
Zechariah 13:9

Red Rover, Red Rover, send Jesus right over.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Beings not Doings

I heard someone say this statement on the radio “We were created as human beings, not as human doings” and I would love to give credit to the proper person, but I cannot retrieve that little tidbit of information from the central processing unit buried beneath my skull. Often my brain operates a lot like my computer at work. You know that little hour glass that pops up? My computer frequently has to “think for a minute”, and my brain frequently has to think for more than a minute, and sometimes, well, it just needs the control + alt+ delete treatment because the task manager is overloaded. If you’re ever speaking to me and I give you a blank stare for a couple of seconds concerning something we have already spoken about, just know that my hour glass has popped up and I’ll catch up in a few seconds. If I don’t, just blame it on the motherboard!

I am so guilty of overload, not only in my mind, but in my schedule and that is not God’s desire for me. There is a reason we were created as human beings and not as human doings, He knows our limits, but more importantly, He knows we need to take time to just "be". To be in His presence, to rest in His love, to recharge from His strength. We can’t “be” if our focus is what we “do”. If I am too busy doing, even doing good things, I won’t take time to be still, be quiet long enough to know, realize, and be reminded of who He IS.

God made it clear in Jeremiah 17 as he told Jeremiah how important it was to keep the Sabbath. He wanted the people to stop bringing work in through the gates of the city, to stop carrying their loads in and out of their houses, He asked them to stop doing any work of any kind on the Sabbath to set it aside as a holy, special day. A day to rest – a day to be. He promised them if they obeyed that they would be blessed with a descendant of David enthroned as their king always and that their city would remain forever. This was a good promise to them, cities were taken over and destroyed in the blink of an eye in their culture, so to be told that the city would remain forever was huge. They had the promise of security. But - He also warned them what would happen if they chose NOT to set aside a Sabbath.

“But if you do not listen to Me to keep the sabbath day holy by not carrying a load and coming in through the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day, then I shall kindle a fire in its gates, and it will devour the palaces of Jerusalem and not be quenched.” Jeremiah 17:27

They had a choice. They could stop doing and just be, or they could continue in their doing, but eventually there would be nothing to do, because He would destroy all of the things they were working so hard for and toward. I guess if that happened, all they could do at that point would be to just be.

Lord, You make it very clear in your Scripture that You do not want us running back and forth in constant activity, even if it is activity for You. Many of the things I do are for You and for your kingdom, but often they crowd out the time to just be with You and the time to simply rest. You will accomplish your kingdom’s plan even if your people take a sabbath. You don’t need me, You will unfold your plan with or without me, and even You took a day to rest when You created the heavens and the earth. If I work, but do not spend time with You, You can destroy the very things I am working at. You will get my attention. Father, please nudge me from within when I have been doing more than You intend and remind me that You are calling me to be. Be still. Be yours. It is in the moments of being that I can hear your voice so crisply, only then will I know what You really want me to do.

I have to be
To know who He is
To find out who I am

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wimpy Wimpy Wimpy

Not too many days ago, I had to make quick sprint into everyone’s most loved and loathed superstore on my way in to work. As I came through the doors, a poster caught my eye. The poster was advertising the DVD release of the recent box office movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”. I had seen ads for this movie before, but it never caught my eye in the way it did that morning and I immediately sensed God teaching me something. On the poster you see a school kid who appears to be a little, shall I say, cautious, but not terribly fear stricken. Then there is his shadow, a scrawny stick figure much taller than the boy stretching high onto the wall behind him appearing more than simply cautious. He looks scared to death, fearful for his life. If you could read his mind, he’s probably thinking about how bad he is going to get beaten up, running over in his mind how worthless and insignificant he is in comparison to the one he fears. He searches in the recesses of his brain for some idea to escape from what seems a death sentence. He wears the biggest frown on his face you ever did see. If that frail, stick figure shadow were in 3-D action, I would bet you could see it actually trembling. Go ahead - google it, take a look at the picture and you'll see what I mean.

I have not seen this movie or read the book, therefore, I can’t tell you exactly what the story’s about, but the image on the poster reminded me of how we approach struggles, temptations, or challenges dealt to us by our arch enemy, satan. We don’t always live like this “Jesus thing” works in real life. We are tough, strong, resilient, and steadfast when we stand with one another in worship, in Bible Study groups, in Sunday School, etc, but the moment we step outside the walls of our safe environment, we take on the persona of that wimpy shadow spiritually. We stumble through everyday moments like a school kid who has been bullied. We move as quickly and as quiet as possible through the hallways of life with our spiritual eyes focused intently on the floor in front of us, hoping not to draw too much attention to our way so that we can avoid being noticed by the one we fear. We never raise our heads in confidence to look our bully in the eye, showing him what we are really made of.

This is not the image that God intends for us to portray and it certainly isn’t the image that Christ gave His life for. Proverbs 28:1 says “...the righteous are as bold as a lion.” If you and I are Christians, we are righteous in His eyes because of the blood Jesus poured out at Calvary, therefore we can be as bold as a lion. The enemy doesn’t want you to know that. He doesn’t want you to know that this “Jesus Thing” really does work, because the moment you realize it, he knows that he has no hope, and then the tables will turn. What’s interesting is, when everything plays out in God’s story and we get to the final chapters, the enemy knows that he will be the one resembling the wimpy shadow. He will be terrified when he is faced by the ONE who is in ALL authority, the ONE who DEFEATED death, hell, and the grave as He tells him, “That’s what happens when you mess with my kid sister!”

“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur…” Revelation 20:10

I’d say, it’s not too smart to mess with a Jesus girl!

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Monday, August 9, 2010

Above ALL

Isn’t it amazing how whatever you are around influences your thoughts and actions without your realizing it? Let me give you an everyday, simple example in hopes of illustrating a much bigger point. My children and my husband, yes, I said my husband, are fans of a certain cartoon series that apparently is pretty popular in the world of kids and tweens. Not sure where the husband fits in to that age group, but he likes it just as much. It would surprise many of you, especially those who know only his “serious side”, to know that there are times when I go through the living room and him snicker and even laugh loudly at times as a result of the actions of a duckbilled platypus dressed in a hat. It seems that this show is on every time our TV is turned on, and I am on the verge of going “radical”, as I have been known to do with other shows, and ban it from being watched in our home. It’s like it has them in a trance and they are reeled in like fish to bait.

I acknowledge that I have never actually sat down and watched an episode of said cartoon series, and that fact itself is what surprises me when I realize how much this show has affected my thoughts and actions. I can be in the middle of my work day and not have heard one blip from or about this animation for the entire day, and I will hear the little jingle playing in my head at random. My coworker who sits next to me probably thinks I have totally flipped my lid when she overhears the tune and lyrics “Doofenshmirtz Evil, Incorporated” rolling off my lips. Lucky for me, she has a son in the same age group as my girls, so she can at least identify. If it isn’t the jingle playing in my head, it’s the voice of the character “Candace” tormenting my brain. She is the older sister of the main characters and snitching on her brothers is apparently the entire purpose of her existence. For some reason hearing a tattle-tale makes me feel quite a home!

Did you notice I know an awful lot about that show to not have ever sat down and watched it?

The same holds true with us in relation to things that influence our hearts and lives. God instructs us in His word several times to be on guard, one of those times is in Proverbs 4. It tells us in beginning in verse 20 to pay attention, to listen to His instruction, to keep them in our hearts because they bring life to us, but in verse 23 it goes on to say, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Above ALL else. Above all – above everything we guard, our heart is to be guarded above everything else. Why is that? I believe we can see an answer to that question in Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” No wonder we need to guard our hearts, they can be polluted so easily by what we are around. If I am around an influence long enough, even if I wasn’t of the same opinion at the beginning of the exposure, given enough contact, it will eventually pollute my heart, and my heart will become deceived before I recognize it has happened.

I didn’t set out to learn all about the cartoon series, but with it playing in the background as I type even now, I bet tomorrow I will be able to tell you something about the episode even though I wasn’t interested in it at all. This is but a simple example of a greater issue, my heart is where I make a home for my Lord, so I must ABOVE ALL be very careful and selective about what I allow to influence it, to prevent it from becoming sick and deceived.

Father, I bow my knee confessing to You that my heart is not always clean, it is easily deceived and ask You to cleanse my heart from any deceit that I have allowed to pollute it. I pray that my discernment would become sharper for things that would influence my heart negatively and ask You for strength and courage to remove myself from those situations in the very moment I sense Your Spirit speaking to me. Give me your wisdom about what I allow to speak into me, for what is spoken into me is what I will eventually speak into others and I only want to speak You into them. Nothing else. May my heart be a carrier of your life and your love to those I come across. I pray that people I associate with, people I meet, people I merely cross paths with will feel your presence after our encounter. To You be all glory.

By the way, the episode was about Paris being the city of love - I got that and I wasn’t even listening, it was just background noise. Interesting huh?

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Friday, August 6, 2010

Throw Another Log on the Fire

Growing up my parents heated their home with wood heat. I detested our family “bonding” times where we all piled in the truck venturing out into the wild blue yonder to cut wood. Dad would cut the wood while Mom and we kids lofted it into the truck. It never failed that either the chainsaw would malfunction or someone would make Dad mad somewhere along the way which set the tone for a lovely family afternoon in nature.

It was our job to carry in the wood every day after school and I got in more trouble over that than everything else combined. Let me remind you that the whole reason we had to use the wood was because it was cold outside, and I never have been much of a cold weather girl. For some reason I get really irate when someone who shares the same DNA as me drops a chunk of wood on my already frostbitten fingers. It never failed that we kids would get into a verbal boxing match, if not a physical one, over who was bringing in the wood. My sister, I won’t name which one (I’ll let the Holy Spirit do the convicting here;)!), always managed to find the smallest twig of wood in the entire stack to carry in. My brother and I would badger her telling her that she wasn’t carrying anything but kindling and that she better go back and get some more because we had to keep bringing wood in until that wood box was full.

Amazingly, and much to my parent’s daily despair, we conveniently suffered from amnesia each evening about this chore. Dad would stroll by the wood box surveying its contents while he muttered over his shoulder, “It’s gonna get awful cold around here tonight.” You might as well have told me we were having spinach and liver for supper. We would huff around, donning our coats and shoes and trek out to the shed, never happy about it, as we discussed how we were the most mistreated kids in the world.

I stumbled upon a verse, or shall I better state, a verse stuck its foot out and tripped me, so I must share it with you in case you find yourselves in the same situations as I often find myself in. No since in me having sore toes all by myself! While scanning through the Proverbs for a verse on none other than “wisdom”, I practically fell and scraped my spiritual knees on this verse causing me to take notice and inspect it in relation to my thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

Here goes:

“For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.” Proverbs 26:20


I don’t know about you all, but I am often in situations whether from office politics, family politics, church politics, etc, where if I lived by this verse alone, the situation would improve as far as it depended on me.

Let’s tear this verse apart. If something is aflame – an ongoing argument, a difference of opinion, relational disputes, juicy gossip, policy changes, I can either throw a little log on the fire by adding my two cents worth, or I can refuse to go to the wood pile that night! I shouldn’t even bother to add my sister’s famous kindling. If I don’t add any wood, the fire can’t spread as fast. Where there is no wood the fire goes out.

Contention – who likes it? I don’t, but it seems to be everywhere these days. Differences of opinions over even the smallest things can brew the loudest contention in atmospheres of people. Sometimes you can feel it when you walk into a room and it makes people uncomfortable. There’s a solution for that in this scripture also. When something has happened, we tend think what are sharing is ok as long as we “whisper” it to the next person. Isn’t it ironic how something as quiet as a whisper can create such loud contention? Take out the whisperers and the contention will dissolve.

I think today would be one of those days where I would actually welcome Daddy’s famous quote,

“It’s gonna get awful cold around here tonight!”

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Cupboards Were Bare

One night this week as I perused the cabinets for something to eat for supper, I came up pretty short. Since Todd and the girls were gone to a swimming party, and I had other things to do, I decided that a bowl of cereal would work just fine for my nutritious dinner since it would take no time to prepare, gaining me a few extra minutes to accomplish my mental to do list. I dumped the cereal into a bowl and opened the fridge, and let’s just say I was just a tad irritated to find the spot where the milk goes completely empty. There was milk when I left home yesterday morning, but none now, so my elegant dinner plans were foiled. I resorted to a little dry cereal and went about my business. It wasn’t long before the dry cereal gave way to my stomach gnawing in hunger, which led me back to search the cupboards for a little nourishment.

The cupboards were bare.

The only thing that I could dig up at that point in time was the very last bag of microwave popcorn, so I settled for that and pretended it was a big, juicy steak complete with garlic mashed potatoes and a salad with ranch dressing. Hey! A girl can dream! Thank goodness for things like microwave popcorn, I always try to keep a little something like that on hand for appetite emergencies and that popcorn came to my rescue. In case you haven’t gotten the serious nature of my need to fill the cupboards, let me also add there was NOOOO chocolate to be found in my house anywhere and I’m pretty sure that rates up there around the twelfth commandment.

Since grocery shopping had become a dire need, it moved to the top of my to do list for the next day, and that’s where I headed right after work. As I thought about my cupboards being bare, how I needed something to fill me, it struck a chord in my mind in respect to my heart. There have been so many days throughout my life where my heart has felt hungry for something, empty, and that has always been my fault. There are all kinds of ways I can fill the cupboard of my heart with things that will spiritually nourish me, yet as I often get too busy to grocery shop, sometimes I get to busy or too lazy to stock my heart’s cabinets.

Bare cupboards in our hearts are dangerous and we – notice I say “we”, me included- are without excuse for them to become bare, that’s just what the enemy is waiting for. He sits around looking for just a moment where your heart begins to wander because it hasn’t been filled with what it needs, and then he tiptoes in, sure not to disturb you, with something that tastes sweet at first, but sooner or later will leave us sick at our spiritual stomachs. He’ll even do the “grocery shopping” for us, delivering the goods to our door step if given the slightest hint of an opportunity.

Storing up the things of God will never expire, they will never go to waste and its up to me to be sure I feed my spirit. I can store spiritual food so that I have something to feed upon when it’s been a crazy day preventing me from cooking up a spiritual gourmet dish. I can store things up to lift me on a sad day, a lonely day, or for when I just need a little “snack” from His heart to mine.

What are some ways we can stock the pantry of our hearts? Of course, there’s the obvious- prayer, bible reading, bible studies, attending worship services, etc. But, often I nibble on other things like the lyrics to Christian music. They can hold me over until my next meal when I purposefully think about what the words mean. I try to remember a verse that fits the lyrics instead of mindlessly singing along. Devotionals are great too, all you have to do is read, the author has already done the work for you and you can carry the thought with you all day. Simply chatting with a friend about who He has been to me recently or an answered prayer lifts my heart all over again and will carry me on for a while, and at the same time lifts them too. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to fix a spiritual meal that only a connoisseur would appreciate, start simple with one verse and chew on it for a while until He teaches you something new or brings you a greater understanding from it. He won’t let you go hungry!

I would love to know what you are stocking in your pantry with these days. Please share a comment, you never know; what you are doing may give someone else a whole new menu!

“But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ The disciples therefore were saying to one another, ‘No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.’” John 4:32-34

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Back To School Night

Summer break is officially coming to a screeching halt this week. As we crossed the threshold of the school entrance last night for back-to-school night, the halls were filled with parents and students rushing to and fro, meeting teachers, signing up for football and cheerleading, confirming bus routes, prepaying lunch fees, PTO registration, and unless my eyes were playing tricks on me, I even saw haircuts going on in the gym. It was fun to watch the children’s expressions so full of excitement when they would encounter a face that they had not seen all summer.

Kids scurried by in the direction of their soon-to-be classrooms, scouring the lists outside the doors, first to see which teacher they had gotten, and then to see if they were lucky enough for any of their friends to be in class with them. As we entered their classroom, where I was greeted with a file folder of forms to complete and pamphlets to read, the girls browsed the rooms to find their name on a desk and then examined the names on the desks around them in anticipation of what their daily atmosphere would entail.

New shoes, new clothes, and new school supplies. We shopped for the perfect backpack, binder, pencils, and the folders had to be oh-so-stylish. What fifth grader would be caught dead with a folder that Mom picked out? We even had to have a theTHARus, as my now third grader calls it. The start of a school year always seems like a new beginning and the most popular and anticipated question always is “Who’d you get?” I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I overheard that question as we traveled the halls of the elementary school.

They know that whichever teacher they have will set the tone for the whole school year and it always helps to have a few allies in the rows beside you.

Our lives are like a classroom and I now have to ask you the all important question.

“Who’d you get?”

What teacher will you sit in front of this year to learn the lessons of life?

There really is only one wise choice, and thankfully we get to chose whose class we sit in. We aren’t doomed to a teacher we don’t like. We can choose a teacher that doesn’t assign much homework, where there is never a pop quiz, where the class is all fun and games, ignoring the things that are really important. The teacher in this class doesn’t care if you pass or fail, he’ll never call your parents if you struggle - OR – we can choose the Teacher that, yes, sometimes does assign homework, and yes sometimes gives quizzes, it may not always be fun, all of our friends may not be there, but the Teacher will teach you lasting lessons and push you to be something greater than the first day you stepped into His classroom. He cares whether you pass or fail and will stay with you on a subject until you get, because He loves you. The roster outside His room never gets full, and those who have participated in His teaching never regret it. They never walk away being less than when they started.

That’s the Teacher I want. I hope that as every new school year that approaches in my life, I run down the halls of time’s school thrilled to see my name on His list of students.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I'll Sign The Deal

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, She Speaks was bustling with all types of people, some of those people being publishers and editors. A few of the ladies I met had taken advantage of the opportunity this conference provided to schedule and appointment with an editor or a publisher so that she could “pitch her idea” in hopes of either a book deal or at least some positive feedback and direction. These courageous women brought along with them something very near and dear to their hearts, and were willing to risk vulnerability and pain to get their dreams off the ground. I know intensity of the emotions I experienced about my simple blog article being critiqued by someone else. It felt as if I was handing over my child to be cared for by a stranger, not knowing what the outcome would be. I can’t begin to describe what each one of these talented women must have felt as she handed over a work, some requiring over two years of writing, to a professional in eager anticipation of either a book deal or a morsel of positive feed back. Imagine the despair after pouring blood, sweat, and tears over computer keys for two years only to hear words verbalized that each of them feared “It’s not good enough” or “It’s not what we’re looking for.”

Once writing is complete, the author finds an editor to inspect her creation. The editor scours the pages and as the editor reads, additions, deletions, corrections, and adjustments are made. The editor suggests to the author different ways of presenting her idea or story that she thinks would be better. Now, I realize I am still an infant in this huge literary world, but there is something that puzzles me. How can the editor understand the subject or the story well enough to make the best decisions about someone’s written work when the editor does not possess the same passion for the subject as the author? It seems to me that the outcome of the work might be different.

I know an Author. His writing is perfect, so flawless that He doesn’t need an editor. Even though He has proven time and again the perfection and creative genius of His work, there are editors knocking down His door volunteering to dissect and make changes to what He has written. Any idea on who’s doing the knocking?

You and me.

How many times have I asked Him to allow me to edit His ideas? I suggest, even demand that He leave chapters out, and make changes or additions where I feel they are necessary so that the story turns out the way I think is best. Because I do not share the same passion about the subject as the Author, and I cannot completely understand the ideas He has for each of His characters, I am not qualified for this job. I don’t know what is best, and my suggestions might cause a different outcome than He had planned. Flawless writing does not require an editor, but an awesome story does require a publisher. A publisher is just what He is looking for, and that is a job I can do. I can publish His story everyday as I live my life for the entire world to read, offering my life as the advance, allowing Him to turn in one chapter at a time.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Monday, August 2, 2010

Right Where I'm Supposed To Be

As I pack my things to return home to my comfortable surroundings, many things swirl through my mind. There have been several moments of feeling insignificant and overwhelmed while I have been here, for there are so many women here much more qualified women to attend than me, and there have been one or maybe ten times I have thought "what was I thinking?". This place has been bustling with women who already speak, who already write books, there have been publishers, agents, you name it.

As I left one of my classes, a class I now know was way over my head, I was more than a little downcast and, truthfully, wanted to get in my car and come home. I wondered if I had misinterpreted His leading by coming. God, being the loving Father that He is, knew how I was feeling.  He was aware that deep down inside I felt like a little girl who wanted to run home to momma. I sat down for lunch and introduced myself to the woman already sitting there. She returned the greeting introducing herself as "Susan".

That's my mom's name.    Isaiah 66:13  "As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you."

After lunch He reminded me of the prayer room that had been set up for us to use whenever needed. I went there because I needed feel His presence and I did the very moment I walked into that room. On the tables every woman's name was written on a piece of paper next to a specific verse that had been prayed for them. I was excited to see what was written there and I just knew He would have a special message for me.

He did.

In haste I wrote down all of the scripture references they had for my name, I knelt and prayed for a few moments, and then rushed off to my next class. He gave me enough strength to press on for at least one more teaching time, and the next class was much more my speed. As I listened to the teacher, I felt Him reaffirming to me that I am me. There is no one like me. He did not create me to be like any of these amazing ladies I have admired as they stand on the platform. He wants me to be me. Write what He tells me, speak His words. That's it. Just obey.

At the close of the evening I went back to my room. Just before crawling into bed, I dug out the little note I had scribbled in the prayer room. I wanted to treasure hunt the scriptures that had been prayed for me, but I didn't have to hunt at all.  He had a diamond on display just for me, that could not have been placed in that room without His design.

Here is what I read:

"........and His resting place shall be glorious."  Isaiah 11:10

Now, I ask you to scroll up to the top of this screen and read the scripture that I typed on my blog header over four months ago.

I knew in that moment I was right where I was supposed to be.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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