Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Testify Tuesday

It's a Testify Tuesday! What do I mean by that? Today is your turn to testify about where you've seen Him moving, where you've seen Him working, or simply where you have seen His presence in your life. As I sat in Bible study last night with friends, we shared several stories with one another about God and we shared examples of who He has been to us and it was amazing to hear their stories, stories that could only have happened by the touch of His hand. It boosted my faith in Him!

"I have seen and testify that this is the Son of God." John 1:34

I am asking you to boost someone else's faith today. Believe it or not, people do read the comments you post, so feel free to blab on and on about how great He is!

How Great Is Our God
How Great Is Our God
Sing with me, How great, How great is our God ..............

(The mean part of me hopes that song gets stuck in your head today!;)

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Getting Ready

This past Saturday, we had somewhere to be at a particular time. The girls had been told to get their clothes and to get ready. As I was trying to make sense of this brown stuff atop my head, attempting to form it into something that somewhat resembled a hairstyle, one of my girls came to me. The following conversation ensued:

“Mommy, I don’t know what to do.” My daughter stated in a rather distressed tone.

“You don’t know what to do about what?” I asked while the thoughts “what could possibly have you so puzzled at your ripe old age of 8?” rolled through my mind.

“I know you and Daddy said for me to get ready, but Sissy keeps wanting me to play house with her and I don’t know what to do.”

Being the parental authority, I gave her some of my best motherly wisdom on the subject, “You go do what I told you to do.”

“But I don’t want her to get mad at me!”

“You don’t worry about her being mad at you. You were told to get ready and that what you should do.”

“Ok,” she replied with her head dropped.

“If Sissy has a problem with that, you send her to me. I’ll take care of it.”

I had given my daughter instructions to get ready for where she needed to go just as God has given us instructions to prepare ourselves as well. There is somewhere we are supposed to be one day, and we are to be spending this time getting ready. His Word tells us to be ready because we do not know the day or the hour. How often, though, do we get distracted and decide to “play house” or whatever else seems appealing? We don’t notice at first how much time we are wasting, but when we finally realize we aren’t doing what we were told to do, the battle begins. We don’t want to hurt someone else or be deemed “weird” by choosing no longer to participate, but we know we can’t please God if we aren’t getting ready. It’s not really the other person we are dealing with, it’s the enemy. He does not want us to be obedient; he does not want us to prepare ourselves.

When that battle begins within us, we should do exactly what my daughter did, take it to Him, the One in authority. His answer will be the same, “You go do what I told you to do. If he has a problem with that, you send him to me, and I’ll take care of it.”

You Go God! I just love that my Abba Father, my “Dad”, rocks! He’ll take care of it. I just do what He tells me and leave the rest to Him.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.
Revelation 19:7

Before we close today, I wanted to let you know that I will be spending as much time as possible this week praying and preparing for Unveiled Faces on Friday night. With that being said, I may not have a post everyday this week, but I will do the best I can to be on here as much as possible. Please be in prayer for me, Solveig who is the worship leader for the evening, and for the women who will be attending. I am ready for God to rock their worlds!

Have a blessed day and a glorious week.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Friday, September 24, 2010

A Full Moon

Last night as I drove at dusk, the moon was just ahead of me and it was luminous. It was almost bright enough to make me blink when I first turned my car in its direction, beautiful with its golden yellow cast suspended in a canopy of deep blue.

As I gazed upon it thinking of what the moon is like, I remembered that the moon doesn’t give off its own light, it gives off the light it absorbs and reflects from the sun. Its surface isn’t perfect, but even through its imperfections, it still shines, and that’s what makes it beautiful.

I am so much like the moon. I have no light of my own to give off. I only have the light that I absorb from God. Without His light, my heart is nothing but stone, a big rock with deep pits and craters, much like the moon’s surface. Although all of my surfaces aren’t completely smooth yet, there are still places where I need to allow His light to reach, it’s the landscape of His brightness shadowing my wholes that can create such beauty.

“For thou art my lamp, O Lord;
And the Lord illumines my darkness”
2 Samuel 22:29

The Son was here upon this earth and now He is gone to prepare a place for you and me. It’s my job to give off His light to those walking in the “night” of life. Although moonlight cannot produce near the amount of brightness as pure sunlight, sometimes it gives off just enough light to help us navigate in the dark. Sometimes the full moon shines so brightly into my bedroom window, it seems as if a light is on outside.

That’s what I want to be – a full moon. Not a crescent moon, not a half-moon, a full moon that illumines the darkness, shining the way for feet that might be stumbling, hands that might be reaching, hearts that might be searching, lighting their paths and leading them to the The Light Of The World.

Again, therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying,
“I am the light of the world;
he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness,
but shall have the light of life.”
John 8:12

Jesus, I fear that I have not been a full moon for You, sometimes, I have been no moon at all. I thank you for Your never ending mercy toward me when I do not shine to illuminate the darkness. Father, show me new ways to spend time with You absorbing Your light so that it may radiate to those who need a glimpse of promise. This world is a very dark place sometimes, God, and I pray that my light from You would give someone hope who is lost in darkness.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Bride for the Second Time

Fifteen years ago today I became a bride for the second time. I became a bride for the second time in the same little church as I did the first time. What I mean by that is today is my fifteenth wedding anniversary to my husband and best friend Todd, but long before that special day fifteen years ago, I became a bride for the first time in that same little church.

I had struggled for many Sundays, knuckles white on the pew in front of me, feeling like I would pass out if they didn’t hurry up and finish the invitation. I don’t really remember quite how I approached the subject, but somehow between Sundays, I voiced to my mom the feelings I was having during church. Mom called our pastor and she and Dad took me to meet with him in this little church.

As I sat on the very front row, nervous, my pastor squatted down in front of me and my parents sat down on either side, I answered many questions about Jesus, salvation, and then prayed to accept Him as my Savior.

In that very moment at the tender age of 12, I became a bride for the first time. I was now the bride of Christ, although I had no grasp of the concept at the time. I just knew that I wanted the war inside of me to stop and that I wanted Jesus. I also knew He was the only way I would ever make it through another invitational hymn in that little church! Little did I know, it was the beginning of something much greater. It was the beginning of a relationship that has grown stronger and sweeter with each passing day.

Although I no longer attend that church, instead serve alongside my husband as he pastors now, my home church has and will always have a very sweet place in my heart.

I met both of my grooms at that altar.

And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls containing the seven last plagues came and said to me,
“Come with me! I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
Revelation 21:9

If you are the bride of Christ, not only is He proud to call you His own, even the angels are excited to introduce you as the wife of the Lamb. Did you catch the angel’s excitement in that verse? He said, “Come with me!” (exclamation point!!!!)

Oh how I hope you know how much you are loved by your Heavenly Bridegroom, even more I pray that you have met your Bridegroom and are looking forward to the day of the wedding feast when you walk through the door arm in arm with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!

I would love for you to share with us about the day you met your Heavenly Groom. Bless someone else with your story by posting a comment to share with us, I hope you are as proud of Him as He is of you.

My Groom, I bring my friends to You on this day asking You to show them something special today to remind them of how much You love them and how proud You are to show them off as Your bride. Your love is amazing, it is peace, it is hope, it is a firm foundation, it is life. I pray that each of them would allow your love to be their very life, their very breath.
Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's All In How You Approach It

I have a friend who introduced me to a great pleasure in life. I thought she was crazy at the time, but a few days later, I tried the “approach” she taught me and discovered the suggestion to be quite delightful.

Get your pen and paper out so that you can write down this revelation, I am sure you will want to apply this wisdom yourself, probably this afternoon around two o’clock.

Are you ready?

The approach applies to the process in which to best enjoy a Snicker’s Bar. For a chocolate loving girl, this is information to take heed of!

She said that I should try eating the Snickers by nibbling off the chocolate on the sides and ends first, leaving the chocolate top, chocolate bottom, and the layers of peanuts, caramel, and nougat in the middle. Once this task is accomplished, you proceed to eat the remainder in normal candy bar eating fashion. My friend told me that it tastes so much better when eaten this way, I believe what she told me was, “You get just the right amount of sweet and salty.”

Let me repeat – I thought she was nuts, but I caved to the peer pressure and gave in to doing it "her way", finding it was like eating a completely different candy bar. Her approach really was much better.

In my flesh, I want to approach things and deal with things my way, but God has a better way. He has a way that has a much more beneficial outcome if I will take His advice.

Let those who are wise understand these things.
Let those with discernment listen carefully.
The paths of the LORD are true and right,
and righteous people live by walking in them.
Hosea 14:9

I have my way of doing things, but I think it would work out for my best, if I trusted His way to be better and give it a try sometime!

Snickers anyone???

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Too Many Voices

Let me set the scene for you. I had mentioned to our girls several days ago that we might go and look for some fall shoes while Daddy was at a meeting on Monday. They did not forget about it, so I told them if they got their homework done in a timely manner, which they did, we would probably go. There was no getting out of this deal. I read over their homework, quizzed them a little to be sure they understood, took care of a few necessary things at home, hopped in the car and then headed back to town to look for the shoes. At our first, and only planned stop in my book, we hit the jackpot for one child, but came up empty handed for the other. Preferring not to drag this task on for weeks, I offered to go to one more place. We darted in that place just before they closed, to no avail. So, while we were at it, we walked to the store next door hoping to score some brown fall boots.

Did I mention that the third store was Wal-Mart? Important detail, isn’t it? What person in their right mind goes into Wal-Mart on a school night, children in tow? Typically, not my practice. Steadfast to find these shoes TONIGHT, we trek back to the shoe department and struck gold!

My youngest is full of life, full of joy, full of WORDS at ALL TIMES and feels it necessary to bend my ear in a continuous fashion. As we briskly darted back to the front of the store in the direction of the checkouts, my girls were on either side of me, with my left ear being bent by the usual offender. My other daughter, who is more serious, more of a thinker, doesn’t feel the need to bless me with quite so many words; therefore, when she does talk to me, I try to listen.

Don’t forget, I’m in Wal-Mart with all of that extraneous noise, other shoppers, who apparently aren’t “on a mission” like me. They see absolutely nothing wrong with stepping out in front of me and stopping in the middle of the aisle. I’m making a bee line for the check out, still in my work uniform, while Princess Lots Of Words is bending my left ear filling the air with vocabulary, when my oldest attempts to carry on a different conversation with me in my right ear.

I almost got anxious, thinking “I cannot take both of you talking about two different things at the same time. I am already in a little bit of a tizzle about getting out of this store and getting home.” Those were my thoughts until I thought of God.

Sunday in our services we learned about God’s vastness and His attributes. As I thought about my incapacity to process so much going on at once, He reminded me that He never feels this way toward me. There could be millions of others talking to Him at the same time as I am, He can be in the middle of Wal-Mart, while dealing with division in the middle east, as he provides shelter for a family in Haiti, at the same time as He touches a surgeons hands in an operating room, but my cries to Him never stress Him out. There is so much of Him that He never feels stretched or pulled to be in more than one place at a time.

And that God chooses to listen to me.

And that God loves me.

Can you imagine, if He is that vast, how large a heart He must have to love with?


The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you,
nor is His ear too deaf to hear you call.
Isaiah 59:1

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Monday, September 20, 2010


I have to share with you an illustration that tumbled from my lips during Sunday School this week. It was one of those times I thought to myself, “where did THAT come from?”. As I thought about the mind picture throughout the day, I realized He had given it to me because so many can identify, so I decided to expand it a little and pass it on to you.

Have you ever been hungry for something, sauntered into the kitchen, opened the cabinet doors or the refrigerator, looked around only to find that the thing you’re hungry for is not there? You settle for something else thinking it will curb your craving. You know, you’re looking for some Oreos, but settle for some Pringles instead. You eat the Pringles and thirty minutes later you end up back in the kitchen, rummaging around for something else because you weren’t satisfied. You find some ice cream, devour it, but it doesn’t fill you either.

I have been in this “predicament” several times, and if I tallied the calories consumed in an effort to squelch my cravings, the amount would be astounding, I’m sure! I could have saved myself lots of calories and waste if I had just gotten in the car, drove to the store, and bought whatever I was really hungry for, ending the battle of the cravings once and for all! (For that day anyway!)

Isn’t that what we do in our lives?

Our souls are hungry for something, but instead of going after what we’re really hungry for, we try whatever we stumble upon first. We try to satisfy our craving with all types of things. We try food, a new outfit, a better car, money, jobs, a nicer home. Once the new wears off, we go back to the fridge rummaging around for something else. We chew on some soap operas, reality TV, the latest gossip, read a book, the praise of others, get a new haircut, redecorate our living room, live through our kids, try a new hobby, etc. only to feel that craving burn again in just a short time. We bounce from thing to thing, activity to activity never realizing our efforts are futile.

There is a longing within us, God put it there, and none of the things of this world will satisfy our hunger until we feast on Him.

Sometimes it’s necessary to get in the car, go to the store, so to speak, and get some God!

What I mean by that is, sometimes we have to put forth some effort. We don’t like effort, we want to just open the cabinet and it fall into our laps. With effort, the reward is soooo sweet. So satisfying. He’s just the thing to tame those beastly cravings.

We can’t stop at just once though; we must feast on Him repeatedly. Don’t worry, your taste buds will never tire of Him and He is calorie free! Unlike eating something until you get sick of it, He is just the opposite. Feasting upon His goodness never gets old, it’s new every time.

He satisfies.

“For He has satisfied the thirsty soul,
And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.”
Psalms 107:9

Father, I come to your feet asking your forgiveness for the times I tried to satisfy my cravings with the things of this world. You did not design me to be filled with those things, which is why they are so unsatisfying, so short lived, so disappointing. You are the only One who has ever quenched my thirst and satisfied my hunger. Holy Spirit I welcome your reminders and warnings to me when I start to feast on the things of this world. I pray for conviction of those places in my life. Open my eyes to see the things I go to to fill me that I don’t realize are playing that role, I pray that the taste buds of my heart would not be affected by the pull of the things that lure me that are not of You.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Friday, September 17, 2010

So Badly

As parents, Todd and I had one of those evenings with one of our daughters where we wanted something so badly for her, but that was all we could do – want. The doing was up to her. She had to want it herself.

We could want it for her.

We could encourage her.

We could lecture her.

We could scold her.

We could tell her the benefits.

We could tell her the detriment.

We could get angry with her.

We could do all of these things, but the change is up to her. It is something she must decide and do on her own. If there were a way for us to do this for her we would, however, she would not have the experience to learn from, probably resulting in the same situation again.

I can’t imagine how God must feel about me and toward me as He watches me do life, sometimes in ways that aren’t His. He knows the outcome if I chose my way, He knows the outcome if I chose His way. He wants me to live the life that is possible for me, the life He planned for me, the one that fits His good, pleasing, perfect will.

But He can’t do it for me.

He can teach me, but…

I have to apply it.

As my heart goes out for my daughter, His heart goes out for me. As my life experiences have given me wisdom and insight toward what she deals with, He has infinite knowledge and wisdom toward what I face.

Still, I must choose.

And He must watch and wait.

Father, You have taught me so much about your love for me from being a parent. I can’t begin to list the places in my life where You have guided me, but the ultimate choice was mine and you patiently watched and waited as I learned, sometimes from mistakes. In your perfect ways though, You have used those mistakes to teach me lasting lessons that have impacted my next steps. God, I have always been taught that I should have a holy, reverent fear of You. This is one of those areas where I am developing that fear. You are not afraid to let me fail. Through failure I learn life lessons. I fear being left to my own devices, and I fear life lessons without your influence. Thank You for your mercy, your lovingkindness, and your longsuffering with this slow learner. I pray God that one day, I might make You proud to say that You are my Dad.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

For Everything There Is a Season

I am ridiculous. I admit it. I know. Ridiculous.

I say that because this past Sunday afternoon I stood over my trash dumpster with palpitations, feeling clammy, and nauseous as my hands held tightly to something I didn’t realize meant so much to me. Something that I had decided, with much deliberation, had to go. Because I love you, I will allow you to laugh when you read why I was in such a state, chalk it up to religious persecution.

What I held in my hands so tightly resulting in such physical manifestations was a stack of scrapbook magazines.

I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and released them, and as expected, gravity snatched them right to the bottom of the dumpster.

I wasn’t sure if I would pass out or throw up!

As I walked away from the dumpster back into my house, I realized how much scrapbooking has meant to me over the past several years. I have enjoyed it very much and will still participate when I can, but life is changing….

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…..
A time to plant and a time to harvest…..
A time to tear down and a time to build up….
A time to cry and a time to laugh
A time to grieve and a time to dance
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones
A time to embrace and a time to turn away
A time to search and a time to quit searching
A time to keep and a time to throw away."
Ecclesiastes 3

Now, I know you just read those verses without thinking about them since they are so familiar! I caught my husband doing just that as he proofread for me. Do yourself a favor and go back and read them again, soaking them in this time. They are words that were breathed by God onto the pages of His Word.

Yesterday, I wrote to you about our willingness and unwillingness to pay an asking price and I have come to a place where I have decided that something is worth the asking price.

That something is serving Him, serving you, through writing.

I have decided to sacrifice the little nitch in my laundry room I had previously claimed in my home as my “scrapbook space”, to set up a place of quiet where I can peck away at these keys for Him and for you without interruption or distraction. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past few days contemplating how I can make all of this work out and if I really wanted to do it. I have rearranged items and gotten rid of many things in an attempt to store what is left of my scrapbook supplies and make space for a desk in my laundry room.

It’s a new season. For everything there is a season, is what King Solomon said. It’s a spiritual spring time and I am excited to see what grows in this soil.

As I tossed and moved and shuffled things, I thought about how I sometimes have to rearrange things in my life to make sure God is first and sometimes I have to get rid of some things that are no longer needed in a life that works to honor Him. A time to keep and a time to throw away. (verse 6) As my life has changed over the years, and as my walk has gotten closer to Him than it once was, there have been things in my life that the time came to throw away. I have never regretted any of those decisions. Never once have I thought “I wish I still had that” when I have given up something for Him. On the contrary though, there have been times I have thought “I wish I still had that” as I have seen my closeness with Him slip because things in my heart need to be rearranged.

Closeness with Him is always in season.

What season are you in today?

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Asking Price

I’m a bargain shopper. I seek and search for something that I have an image of in my mind hoping to find just what I’m looking for at a good price. You know what I mean, it’s usually one of those “I’ll know it when I see it” things. On my shopping adventures, I am notorious for finding something I JUST LOVE until I look at the price tag and say, often out loud, “I don’t love it THAT much!” That LOVE quickly turns into a like after reviewing the purchase price. Here’s another one of my musings, “That is sooo pretty,” and as you can expect, that phrase is often followed with “It’s not THAT pretty!” as I place the item back on the rack.

I may really like something, love something, want something, but I’m just not willing to pay the asking price. If it costs too much, I walk away.

Regrettably, that’s how I handle my life sometimes too. I read His word, meditate on His power, and I say I want my life to line up with what He has impressed upon me, but when it comes to making a change in my life, I back up a little. If it costs too much I walk away.

Often I watch other, more mature believers and say I want to be like them. Their lives seem so abundant and I want my life to reflect God they way theirs does. I’m sure most of you have looked in awe upon the kindess and wisdom of Mother Theresa and thought If I could just be more like she was. Maybe you’ve been in a Beth Moore Bible Study and, as you watched her teaching, you thought to yourself If I just had what she’s got. I know I have thought those things. The reality is, the same abundant life is available to me, it's not just for Beth Moore or Mother Theresa.

But there’s a problem.

I’m not always willing to pay the asking price.

I say I want to be more like someone further along in the faith. I say I want more of His power in my life. I say I want to love Him more. I say I want to know more of His word.

Then I look at the price tag.

Sadly, many times I put it back on the shelf because the price honestly, is more than I want to pay at that moment. It looks good, but it might cost me something.

Is that what we do? We know what He offers is worth it. It looks good. We know it’s possible for us, but when the rubber meets the road, we aren’t willing to pay what it takes to get it. I might have to make a choice between something I enjoy and following Him. I might have to take a deeper look on the inside, and I might not like what I see. My friends might think I’ve “let this Jesus stuff go to my head”. The price is a little steep, do I walk away? I think to myself, I know it’s what I really want. Or is it?

How ‘bout you? Can you identify with me?

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tools of the Trade

As I was growing up, Daddy was always working on something or repairing something that was broken, probably because we were poor and you didn’t just go out and buy something new when the old one was in ill-repair. I remember watching him hoist his toolbox out of his truck and it being so heavy that he leaned sideways to carry it.

This picture was taken many years ago, I am guessing it was the summer of 1978 as we “helped” Daddy work on his go kart. I am holding a wrench of some sort and my sister, April, is holding a screwdriver. (I’m sure she won’t forgive me or Momma for her attire plastered all over the internet!)

I can’t remember a time when Daddy wasn’t trying to teach me all about tools. I probably could have listed every tool in any kid’s dad’s toolbox in my whole kindergarten class, and if it were a race to do so, I would have won. He took great pride in knowing that his little girl could find her way around a toolbox. If Daddy sent you after a ½ in socket and ratchet, you had better not come back with a Phillips screwdriver if you knew what was good for you.

As I grew older, my “education” in tools faired handy many times. We forever had the lawnmower with a problem, I could repair minor bike problems myself, I could even start my dad’s old pick up. This was a ritual that not just anyone could do. Starting this truck required attaching a set of vice grips to the ignition switch just right, turning the key, and holding the shifter in place, all while you pumped the gas pedal just the right number of times, no more, no less. There were many occasions where his work crew watched in amazement as a little girl started a truck that they had already tinkered with for twenty minutes.

Don’t think I didn’t hop out of that driver’s seat with just a smidge of pride!

When I got my own car, I had to have a lesson in changing the oil. He would not allow me to get my license until I had crawled under the car and actually changed the oil myself. He didn’t have to worry about my knowing how to operate a set of jumper cables, he taught that lesson several years prior on the lawnmower, so I got to skip that part.

Although I am married now and my husband takes care of those types of problems and maintenance for me, most of what I learned is still tucked away in the wrinkles of my brain. I am grateful to have been taught what to do incase I have to handle something on my own, which I think was Dad’s plan all along.

Our Heavenly Father begins teaching us about His tools as soon as we will let Him. There is a toolbox full of things to learn about in His word, and I believe He is happy to see His daughter get her hands greasy. Once I see how a tool from His Word actually functions and works in application to life, I can tuck it inside to pull out when the need to use it arises. Different situations call for different tools and I want to be sure to know about as many as I can so that I can be prepared for life at each turn.

Ephesians 6, starting in verse 10 is a great "starter set" to learn and use in everyday life, you can build on your collection from there! Just remember, if you need a ½ in socket, a Phillips screwdriver won’t get the job done.

Father, I thank you for the tools You provide us that are still relevant today. I thank you for my Daddy who taught me what he did and for how You taught me through this memory of his tool box. I will never see a set of hands with grease in the fingernails and not think of him. God I pray that my hands would get greasy in the toolbox of your word, that my spirit would become stained from over exposure to your truth. I thank You for being a God who is ready to teach me in every moment, you simply wait for my willingness to learn.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Something New!

I realize that I have already posted for today, but I have had an idea in the works for a few weeks now and couldn't wait to throw it out there to you all. I would like to introduce to you the "Sisterhood" page. You can click here to visit http://beyondsundaymorning-amy.blogspot.com/p/sisterhood.html or you can click on the link in the page list located in the left hand column of this blog. I'm looking forward to hearing from lots of you and to seeing lives changed for the Kingdom!  Hope you will be a part of the Beyond Sunday Morning Sisterhood.

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Don't Ruin the Surprise

Recently I was having "one of those days" where I was wondering if what I do is really making a difference. I voiced my concerns to my husband telling him that sometimes it is so hard to press on not knowing what God is doing or what He has planned. If I just knew what He had in mind…..

I will continue though, not despising the days of small things.

I went on about my business, ran some errands, and returned home a few hours later. While I had been away, my husband and youngest daughter also ran a few errands, one of which being a gift for our upcoming anniversary. As I combed my daughter’s hair in preparation for her softball game, she mentioned that she knew what Daddy had planned for our anniversary.

“Mommy, I’m not going to give you even a hint!” she gleamed back at me in the bathroom mirror.

“You had better not!” I warned her.

“No, ‘cause Daddy would KILL me!” she erupted with a giggle as she covered her mouth.

“And you would ruin the surprise,” I said, “and I like for my gifts to be a surprise.”

As I pulled her blonde curly hair into a ponytail, I felt God answer my despairing from earlier that morning. The very words I had spoken to my daughter resonated in my mind and I felt a whisper in my heart that said "Don’t ruin the surprise."

If I knew what He had planned, what He was doing behind the scenes, it would ruin the surprise. A gift is always sweeter when you have had no idea it was in the works.  The same is true for you, He is at work on behalf of each of us all of the time.  He has something special in mind that you are the perfect fit for, and we will each learn His secrets at just the right time. Our job right now is to continue pursuing him one day at a time.

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”
Deuteronomy 29:29

For now, I will hold on to what has been revealed to me, for they belong to me, as I wait for His secret to be revealed.  I pray that you do the same as we journey this earth together.

God, You know me inside and out, and I know you are aware of my longing heart. You know how deeply I want to make a difference for You. I want people to know your love and your compassion personally. I ask you, Lord, to be my life and be my breath as I wait for your secrets to be revealed to me. I thank you that you made me the way you did for a reason and you know how special surprises are to me, so I wait in eager expectation for what your plans unfold. May I be faithful in the everyday as I walk through life acting upon what You have already revealed to me. I praise you for revealing just enough to get me through today, for if You were silent, I don’t think I could bear it.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Friday, September 10, 2010

While I Was Fainting Away

Last night I was in Bible Study with friends. We have been going through the book/DVD series, “Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl” by Lysa TerKeurst. As we watched this week’s video, she brought out a verse from Jonah that spoke to me and I want to pass it on to you in prayer that it will strengthen you also.

We all know the story of Jonah. He disobeyed God, ran from what God had clearly instructed him to do, even tried to outrun God’s presence to no avail, and jumped a ship in an attempt to get as far away as possible from Nineveh, the place God had instructed him to go to. Things didn’t go so great and Jonah’s disobedience was having a negative impact on the other people on the boat, so they threw him overboard. Then God appointed an “obedient” fish to swallow Jonah and Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.

Jonah was in a bad place, a dark place with things pressing in around him. Can you imagine all of the grotesqueness of his surroundings? He was pressed against the walls of the fish’s stomach, probably seaweed tangling on his body, no telling what else. In the midst of his environment, he cried out to God begging Him to help him, realizing his disobedience had brought him to certain demise. His life was beginning to faint away. The part that spoke to me was in chapter 2, verse 7.

“While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord; and my prayer came to Thee,
Into Thy holy temple.”

Verse 9 goes on to say-

“But I will sacrifice to Thee with the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the Lord.”

You may feel like you are drowning in the belly of a fish today, but take heart at God’s words. Jonah prayed and prayed, realizing what he had done to God, but while Jonah was “fainting away”, he remembered God and he knew God could hear his prayers. He spoke with thanksgiving to God. The last words Jonah said were:
“Salvation is from the Lord.”

Only then, when Jonah as his own strength was fainting away, admitted that salvation from his circumstances came from the Lord, did verse 10 happen.

“Then the Lord commanded the fish and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.”

I don’t know about you, but in those moments throughout my days when I feel overwhelmed, that I can’t continue for one more second in the situation I am in, as my own strength fades away, I can raise prayers to Him in my fainting and proclaim where my help comes from. He hears them. I may have nothing left to give physically, but salvation comes from God. He will restore me so that I can go on whether I am in the belly of a fish, in the pit of a laundry room, knee high in homework, settling one more argument between my kids, or in the midst of life’s conflicts. Whatever my situation, He is my salvation from it all. As my prayers reach His presence, He refuels me to go on.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Unfinished Business

One day last week, we talked about old abandoned houses. While I was thinking about that topic, today’s devotion came to mind. Have you ever come upon a place where someone began building a house, but for some reason, it was never completed?

The blocks are laid for the foundation, you can follow their outline of where the rooms might be, but it stops there and was never carried further. Maybe the house actually has a beginning of the framework but time and weather have discolored the lumber and it’s obvious the work is not new.

When I encounter something unfinished like this, I imagine what could have happened to stop the building process and my heart is sad for the person whose dream never came to fruition. Sometimes it happens because of financial strain, maybe the bank will no longer loan money. Sometimes it happens because of divorce and there is no longer a “family” to occupy what it would become. Sometimes progress stops because the builder walks off the job never to return and no one else takes over where he left off. How sad to see such a vivid example of unfinished business.

What about you? Do you have The Cornerstone as your foundation from which all other construction gets is placement and direction? If your answer to that question is no, email me at BeyondSundayMornings@gmail.com , I would be glad to tell you about my friend, The Cornerstone and how He has built and is still building the house of my life.

Secondly, assuming that you do have The Cornerstone, how is construction coming? Has it been left simply as a block foundation? Are there walls framed yet? Is the lumber weathered, worn, and becoming warped? We serve a builder who only comes on the job when He’s allowed to. Are you welcoming Him to the site daily?

My husband and I were fortunate to have our home built several years ago. My parents cared for my daughter, who was then a toddler, while I worked. As I drove her to my parents’ home each day, I detoured by our soon to be home to check the progress. There were days I observed with excitement the work the contractor had done the day before. As my mind drifts back to those days, I can still smell the fresh lumber. One day, in the dead of winter, bundled in my coat, I walked into the framed structure and saw my new whirlpool tub had been put in its place. I crawled overjoyed into that tub - coat, shoes, and all - and rested against its back, smiling inside and out, while I took in what God was blessing us with. I dreamt of the day I could take a warm bubble bath in my new tub.

There were many days that it didn’t seem that much had taken place though, and I wasn’t quite as full of joy. There were days when very necessary behind the scenes work was going on, which seemed slow an unproductive to me at the time, but proved very beneficial later. There were days where the builder hadn’t been able to work at all.

If Heaven were to detour your way each day, would there be progress for them to see? Would the observers marvel at the behind the scenes work, giggle at your new whirlpool tub, look in awe at the craftsmanship of the Builder? Or would it be a mere foundation leaving them discouraged that the Builder hadn’t been allowed on the job site?

He has all of the necessary tools. He has the Blueprint –Jesus. He provided the Cornerstone. Please let Him do His work, you will be amazed at the construction process and even more amazed when He hands you the keys to the finished product as you meet Him face to face in The Holy City one day.

May it be said of us as it was of Abraham in Hebrews 11:10:

“For he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”

Father, I beckon You to the building site today. I welcome You and am willing to get my hands dirty along with You. Teach me, show me, guide me as You put each nail into its place. Give me your wisdom as you carefully calculate measurements trimming where necessary, expanding where needed. Grant me eyes to see my life through the eyes of You, the Architect. Please forgive me for the times I try to change your plans, rearrange the walls You are carefully installing, or for the times I ignore your ideas of support braces so that I don’t collapse under the weight of all that life throws upon me. I don’t want your business in my life to be left unfinished. Construct within me a heart of surrender. I praise You, God, for the Craftsmanship I see from your hand everywhere I look. You are a good God, the One True Loving Father, my King.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Tickle of a Butterfly's Wings

I shared with you yesterday about butterflies and their fragileness amidst the enormity of their environment. As I reflected on the butterflies, I was reminded of a story from my life from MANY years ago.

My mom and I were walking across the Kmart parking lot. Yes, incase you are wondering, this not the first time I have mentioned Kmart in one of my posts. The local Kmart was THE place to be back then and my mom liked Kmart. I spotted a butterfly on the pavement that was injured. Nothing would do but for me to rescue it and take it home, which explains where my daughter gets it. Considering a butterfly doesn’t have to be housebroken or carry a financial burden, Mom didn’t put up a fight. I cupped that little butterfly inside my hands as we walked around in Kmart to keep it safe. After loading into our sky blue, two door, 4-speed Pinto station wagon we headed home with butterfly in tow. There's something about a two door, 4-speed station wagon that seems like a contradiction to me, but that's what it was. I still remember the soft wings of the butterfly tickling the palms of my hands as I cupped the little creature safely, careful not to crush it. When we arrived home, I dug out one of Mom’s canning jars and put the little butterfly in the jar along with some grass and sticks. I poked some holes in the lid with a knife and snuggly screwed the lid tight. I pulled up a chair and placed my little rescue project high atop the refrigerator to keep her safe. For a few days she held my attention, but as most kids do, after that I was on to bigger and better things.

We have been told all of our lives that He has us in the palm of His hand. Job 12:10 says:

“In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind.”

With the thought of being in the palm of His hand in mind, as I read Psalms 139, a chapter that never gets old to me, verse 5 reminded me of that feeling of the butterfly’s wings tickling my hand as I held her safely.

“Thou has enclosed me behind and before,
And laid thy hand upon me.”

Think about that, I am in the palm of one hand, and then He encloses me behind and before and lays His other hand upon me. He has cupped me safe and secure just like the butterfly, I just pray that my wings sometimes tickle His palms as I try to fly. Thinking of how safe I am in His hands overwhelms me which makes the next verse so fitting:

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain it.”
Psalms 136:6

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Flutter By

This past Saturday morning, I sat out on my back porch preparing for Unveiled Faces. It was beautiful outside. The temperature was perfect, the sun was shining, there was just enough breeze to move the air, but not blow all of my papers and pages around. As I sat typing and enjoying my surroundings, I noticed this butterfly that fluttered around about where I was sitting and a couple off in the distance.

Even as I sit now typing, I see three or four flying around my backyard, which in itself shows me that my God is so in tune with my heart and what I delight in. I planned to write this devotion since I saw the butterflies on Saturday, but wasn’t able to sit and do so until now. Every time I look up from this keyboard I see one flutter by and I feel Him here with me. The one that just flew by is one of my all time favorites, you know, the black ones with the blue patterns around the bottoms of their wings. I cannot deny His presence as they dance around my yard and I know that this moment is a kiss from Heaven.

I have always appreciated the beauty and delicacy of butterflies, as most girls do, but as I sat there Saturday morning, I thought of how light a butterfly is and how fragile its frame is, yet it still manages to move about in this great big world, doing what it was designed to do. In its beauty, the butterfly exists and flies around in the same atmosphere as things that aren’t quite so nice, like wasps, nevertheless, they still fly.

The fragile wings of the butterfly and its tiny frame in comparison to this great big world remind me of us. We are fragile beings, tiny in comparison to our Creator. In fact, James 4:14 says “you are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away,” which illustrates to me just how small I am in comparison to His enormity. Although our frame is fragile, when we allow Him to touch us and we take flight, stirring about in this world, sometimes among wasps, doing what we were created to do, there is a beauty that is displayed that is nothing short of a display of His splendor.

More on butterflies tomorrow.

Flutter about today. I love you all.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Friday, September 3, 2010

Handing Over Hurts

My oldest daughter is very sensitive to the words and actions of other people, especially her peers; she gets that from her momma. She regularly comes home from school reporting actions or words of another person that she feels were unkind. She is so tenderhearted that the smallest offense shakes her to her core. We spend a lot of time in the evenings rebuilding what the world has torn down during the day. We discuss what God says about her in comparison to what she is “feeling” in that moment to realign her feelings with the truth. Frequently after questioning her and getting more information about the situation, we come to the conclusion that the offender was only playing. Unfortunately, sometimes the offender was not playing, but actually mean, which turns our discussion to why people hurt other people.

How quickly she forgets her heartache when it comes to her relationship with her sister though. There is just enough of an age gap between them to allow for some heated arguments and McKayla finds much enjoyment in persistently picking on her little sister. There are times when it results in a flood of tears down Brenna’s cheeks because she wants her sister to accept her so badly and because she feels so belittled by what has been done or said to her.

One night this week we experienced a loving family exchange much like what I described. As I was in the kitchen, all of a sudden, I see Brenna throw herself onto the love seat yelling and crying as she pulls a pillow over her face to cover her pain. All the while, I see and hear McKayla leaving the scene of the crime as she takes off down the hall snickering. Let’s just say Momma was full of a little, hopefully righteous, anger and the next thing I know my index finger was having a seizure right in her face! I promise it was a short seizure.

Once the seizure stopped, I asked my first born a question.

“Do you remember the feeling you have inside when someone has hurts your feelings or has embarrassed you at school?”

Her head dropped and a muffled “yes” tumbled from her lips.

“Doesn’t it make your heart hurt?”

“Yes.” Head still dropped.

“If it hurts you so badly, why would you ever want to do something to someone else that would make their heart hurt in the same way?” I asked trying to mask the irritation in my voice with a cover of softness and concern.

“I wouldn’t want to.” She answered.

“But that’s exactly what you do to her when you tease her and say hurtful things to her. You are taking that pain that was in your heart into your hands and handing it to your sister so that she can feel it. Is that what you want her to feel?”

“No”, she answered, as I saw the light bulb came on in her eyes.

Without my prompting she said, “I’m sorry, Brenna.” I think it was a genuine apology, because it was different from the ones we force her to say. I think she “got it” in that moment.

I pray we would do the same in our relationships with each other, but often we don’t, even within our Christian circles. Easily we forget how broken our hearts have been, how wounded we were by the actions of someone else. We forget how bad the pain was and fail to extend love and grace to another in their time of need. Instead we take the pain that was within our hearts into our hands and hand it to another, snickering as we walk away.

There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18

Father I pray that we would love one another, that we would honor one another, that we would see one another through your eyes. If we don’t see others through your eyes, may we pray for that ability. God, I pray for a heart that is more compassionate to those around me. Teach me to love them as You would love. I pray that my tongue, my words, would not be a sword being thrust into someone else, inflicting wounds and pain upon someone that you created. Your word tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that your works are wonderful. If I am fearfully and wonderfully made, so is the person that I am hurting. If your works are wonderful, then the person I hurt is wonderful because they are the work of Thy hands. I know that You love me, but sometimes I forget that You love them too. Father, please forgive me for words that have been insensitive and unloving. I pray your healing balm of love onto any wounds that I have inflicted upon any of your children. Just as McKayla felt during our conflict the other night, I would never want to hand someone else the pain that has been handed to me.

I leave you with a quote from a very wise man. His name was Jesus.

“…Love one another, even as I have loved you…” John 13:34

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

An Old Abandoned House

As a child, I was always intrigued when we passed by an old abandoned house on a country lane we drove often to go my grandparent’s home. I would wonder about the family that used to fill it, the children that used to roam the yard, the parents or grandparents that at one time enjoyed the breeze on the front porch. I imagined old hound dogs lazily napping in the shade and could hear the sound of the wooden screen door slapping its frame as the family came and went. Disappointed at its condition, I would tell myself that surely someone still owned this lonely abode. Surely someone in the world appreciated the life that the home once held within its walls.

The overgrown weeds, twisted trees, and heavy vines made its outline difficult to see in the summer months, but when winter came and after the bite of the first frost, it was easier to see its form and its dilapidated condition was more vivid. Truthfully, I was a fearful of looking too closely in the winter, because it seemed so spooky. I remember closing my eyes on several occasions when we passed, afraid of what I might see.

Sometimes our hearts can become like an old abandoned house. There are traces of love and life once living within a shape of what used to be. As a home and its surroundings deteriorate quickly without TLC, our heart’s condition rapidly declines if it is neglected. In the perfect weed growing conditions of summer, thorns and vines can take root, thickets of small trees begin to grow hiding the dwelling that once was so welcoming to life and love. The vines and bushes take over, camouflaging the true condition of the house. The boards clamor to the ground, the porch begins to buckle, and windows shatter. Sometimes the door is blown open by the wind allowing anything and everything to wander inside. Our heart can become creepy looking to passers by after life has bitten it with its frost causing people to avoid us and look the other way.

I went past the field of a sluggard,
past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment;
thorns had come up everywhere,
the ground was covered with weeds,
and the stone wall was in ruins.

I applied my heart to what I observed
and learned a lesson from what I saw:

A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest –
and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man.
Proverbs 24: 30-34

It only takes a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of our hands in rest and our hearts will look like the picture this scripture draws for us. It’s encouraging to read the author’s words in verse 32 when he said “I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw.” We can do that, we are never too old to observe and learn a lesson especially in matters of the heart.

By the way, remember that old house that intrigued and scared me so? How ironic that my husband and I, many years later, purchased the land, tore down what was left of that old house and now our home stands in the place it once stood. Once again there is life, love, and lots of noise within it the walls of a home, a porch that beckons you to come and sit, bicycles in the drive, and a back door that slams shut as the girls come and go. I draw the line at the lazy hound dogs though! He can build a healthy heart in the place where an unhealthy one has stood.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:26

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shared Scripture

I love to chat with other believers about Scripture that has spoken to them or a verse that they have experienced afresh. I dare say I love it more than scrapbooking, and that says a lot! One day this week my boss and I were discussing our Sunday worship services and he shared with me a verse that was used in the message he heard. I loved the verse and, in light of the struggles many of you face today, I wanted to take the opportunity to pass this gem on to you.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?”
Jeremiah 32:27

Do you believe that?

He said “Behold”.  Behold makes me think of Him speaking up to get our attention. If He were talking in the language of our culture, I can just imagine Him saying “HELLLLOO???? Heaven to Amyyyy!” with His hands cupped around His mouth in an effort to perk up my ears.

Once He has captured my interest, He reminds me of who He is – “I am THE LORD!!!”. Not just a lord, not just some lord, THE Lord. I could so imagine Him saying “Duhhh” as He shakes His head in disbelief of my unbelief.

He then asks a question, which is where our part comes in. This is a crossroads for us to exercise our faith.

“Is anything too difficult for Me?”

What’s your answer? I don’t mean the expected correct Christian answer, I mean what is your answer in the deepest places of your marrow. What do the deepest places within you scream? Is anything in your life too difficult for Him?

I looked up the original word for anything and discovered quite a list of examples that I know will apply to the things we all face. I found that there is no matter, thing, cause, affair, answer, advice, or business. No disease, duty, glory, portion, power, or promise. No provision, question, report, request, or thought too difficult for Him, and that’s only a few of the words listed!

First of all, Behold! Does He have your attention? Trust Him when He says nothing is too difficult for Him. We still serve the same God today who inspired these encouraging words.

God, I thank you for the power and the comfort I find in this verse. I believe that nothing is too difficult for you. I trust that you have us all in the palm of your hand. I pray God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, that You would pour out a fresh measure of belief, of faith, of revelation upon your people today. I ask that your people stand taller today after handing their heavy burdens over to You, the One who can handle them. Touch and heal hearts and lives and homes and relationships today by the power of who You are and who You will always be. I thank you most gratefully for calling me your own. Continue to pour yourself onto me, bathing me in your presence, touching me with your words, healing me with your truths. In Jesus Name, Amen.

If you have a scripture that has struck you with a new revelation, post it for us.  You never know, it may be just what someone else is needing to hear.

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