David and Shannon

David and Shannon

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Be Specific!

I know a lot of you go to Starbucks. You order a grande mocha latte, non-fat, no whip cream, soy, iced, sweetened thing. You are very specific. One taste and you know they messed things up. And you usually get what you want. If you have a good barista.(apparently blogger does not know that word....or I am typing it wrongly)

How come when we come to God we don't tend to be specific? Or if we are specific....we honestly don't think God is going to answer the prayer. Let me give an example.

I was pregnant with baby #3. Three car seats would not possibly fit in our little Mitsubishi. (neither did my 6'4" hubby for that matter) So we needed a larger vehicle. Badly. Medical bills from pregnancy complications had us stretched completely thin. We were also interviewing at a church that would later become our church. Faith Baptist Church

So we had no money, and we really did not want to get into a car payment after working so hard to pay off our other car debt.

So I started praying for a van. A free van to be exact. And one day in my prayer I mentioned, "Lord, I would even take Bonnie Williams van. It doesn't need to be fancy. We just need the space." A couple of days later I got a call.

It was Bonnie. She had bought a new van. And they were giving us theirs. I had not told Bonnie about my prayer. As I cried and gasped in shock, I told her hysterically ...... I PRAYED FOR YOUR VAN!! She burst out in laughter and said "You should have prayed for a nicer van!"

We still have that van. It has 213,000 miles on it. It has a dent with duct tape on the side and stickers all over the interior widows. (for once it was not my kids) Four years later that old van is still running.

God provided exactly what I asked for. I have never forgotten it. If you read John 14-16 you will see Christ say over and over again, "If you ask anything in my name, I will give it to you."

I won't expound on how you have to ask in the Father's will and how you need to be focused on his desires and not your own. But my point is this. God desires to give us good things. He wants to give us exactly what we need. He is sitting there waiting for us to JUST ASK. "You have not because you ask not!"

You think I would have learned this lesson because of the van situation. But I still find myself shocked every time God answers a very specific prayer. Last year around this time I asked God to send 2 families to our church that had children. I asked him to send complete families with godly men, who would maybe eventually be able to step up into leadership in our church. My children had been alone almost the whole 3 years since we had started this revitalization and I was praying they would have friends. I also desired to see the church grow and to have Godly men to help my husband lead and serve.

This week we got an email. A second family is planning on joining our church. The first family had 4 children. The second has 3. God is good. He hears, he cares, he desires to see his church built. I should have prayed for 10! :)

So that is my prayer for this year. That God will help us win 10 new converts to Christ that we are able to disciple and plug into our church. I know he can do it. I can't wait to see who he leads our direction. And I am going to work to be faithful in praying for these people and sharing the gospel as much as possible.

What are you praying for specifically? What prayers has God answered for you? Are you making God's name great in all the earth? Let me know what you are praying for...and lets see what great things God can do for his children!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quotes that make me think....

Do you ever hear something that makes you stop and think?

Today I saw a quoted posted on Facebook. It said, "Do you know that nothing you do in your life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and loving the people He has made" (Francis Chan).

 That one struck me hard as such a profound and truth filled statement. We are busy people. With jobs, careers and homes and families. We rush around every day trying to do the normal thing and often forget one simple truth. Unless we do it for God (or serve Him by serving others), it didn't matter. It won't last in eternity. I just wasted my time. Phooey.

I think the entire American mindset goes against this. We are all about making ourselves better. We want a better house, car, education, or chance than those around us. We work day and night and sometimes weekends making ourselves richer and richer. We don't know how to be content with simple housing and basic food. We have homes, and we have more food than we possibly need. But we still don't dedicate our time to the Lord.

 I saw a couple minutes of professional bowling on a TV at a restaurant today. A thought came to my mind, in eternity he is going to really regret all the time he spent throwing a ball at pins. And it is true. I think we will all look back at some point and wonder why we wasted our time serving ourselves or our own little personal idols. What a waste.

 So today stop and think about that quote. Evaluate your life. Are you loving God and people with everything? Or do they just get a little bit of your time?
 Where is your treasure? God called us to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Are you doing it? Are you looking at the world around you as your personal mission field? That grocery clerk, or mom next door, or co-worker that drives you nuts. God put you into their lives for a reason. Be a light, not just with your actions because actions don't tell them the gospel. We are to be bold with our words. We are to be witnesses and tell the world of the great things God has done. Make an eternal impact in this world. Live with a heart completely dedicated to your God. That is a life filled with no regrets.

What are some quotes that have made you think in the past few months?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Musical Musings

Those of you who know me know I am a musician. I was raised with a rich heritage of appreciation for music, specifically sacred and classical. One of the things I find very unique about myself is the wide range of music that I enjoy and appreciate. I am mostly speaking of Christian music, but different styles. To be honest I very rarely listen to anything but Christian music. Recently when speaking with a teen from our church I told them they could bring their Ipod and sinc it with our new radio transmitter as long as it was Christian stuff. They told me they only had about 5 Christian songs. That honestly concerned me. I know of massive amounts of Christian artists from all different genre's. There are great theologians and a lot of fluffy stuff so you have to be discerning, but there is a lot of amazing stuff out there. My concern is that we fill our minds with good stuff.

When I listen to Christian music.... it is a lot more difficult to be stressed or sin. When I hear words that challenge my heart and direct my thoughts toward God my life pattern adjusts as well. Philippians tells us to think on things that are good, lovely, of good report etc. When I listen to Godly music I am filling my mind and heart with these things.

I want to give you a picture of some of the wonderful music I have been filling my life with the past few years. Like I said I have a huge spectrum of stuff I love, so not all of it may be for you. But my preferences are strongly driven by rich doctrine and beautiful music or powerful writing.

My first favorite is by Sovereign Grace Music, they include rich doctrine with upbeat music and they also do a ton of hymns, some in original forms and some with re-written scores. My favorite songs from them are tied between Oh the Deep Deep Love listen here amp;amp;lt;/p>

(purchase below)and a song called The Father's Love- listen here:

 I love listening to my children sing The Father's Love. I hope they understand and appreciate its meaning.

 One thing that I have had to work to appreciate is Christian rap. Several men in recent years have made it their mission to teach young people deep theological truths through rhythmic verse. It is astounding to me what teens can learn in minutes of listening to this stuff. Some of my kids would never sing a hymn through, but if you give them one of these they will have it memorized in a day. I know some may argue that rap isn't an acceptable method, but I have seen people who fill their minds with this good stuff instead of what they were listening to, and I have seen it highly helpful and instructive. If you want to hear an idea of what I am talking about check out Shai Linne and his expository of Jesus as our High Priest.Listen here
or purchase at amazon below.

And I am saving my favorite for last. I absolutely love the Getty's. Their song The Power of the Cross is truly the gospel in a song.

 I have many other favorites of theirs but honestly you would get tired of checking out all the links....so just go buy all their albums. It is worth the money!

Who are you listening to? Are you listening to Christ exalting, God focused music? Who are your favorite artists? Lets share our favorites and encourage each other together to fix our minds on Christ. This is just one of many ways to do exactly that.

Monday, July 2, 2012

You want me to pray for how long?!

So recently my dear hubby challenged us to pray for one hour uninterrupted. In my mind I thought no big deal. To be honest I pray a lot. Constantly if you count the frantic cries upwards as I try to deal with my busy and often challenging children. (who will remain nameless in this post!) If you don't count those desperate cries for help, (which often involve asking God to help me spare their lives) then I still would say I pray a lot. I'm constantly getting calls, texts, and Facebook posts from friends, family and church members asking for prayer, support and advise. Which means I go to the Lord a lot in response.

So my prideful, crazy, unwise self thought that one hour of prayer was an easy task. I tried 3 times. Things came up. Phone emergencies arose. Children kept getting out of bed. I felt ill. Go. Figure. I finally got a chance to really pray. I prayed through every family of our church. I prayed for each issue and person involved and prayed specifically. I prayed for my hubby and my children and my teens. I thanked God and praised him. Oh yeah, and I confessed my sin.

And then I peeked at the clock. It had been 20 minutes. WOAH.

Man that seemed like a long time. I got a little concerned. What more could I pray for? I remembered a few more things and got right back to it. Those things reminded me of a few more and I got a pattern going. Honestly it was the most ADD prayer ever. I wondered if I was the dog in the UP movie. SQUIRREL! (ok only some of you will get that....but those of you who do are CRACKING up right now!)

I peeked at the clock again.

6 more minutes had passed. I almost groaned aloud. Not because I didn't want to pray. I did. I just didn't know it would be so hard to pray for one hour. No wonder those disciples fell asleep. I wondered if I would make it.

Then I remembered Facebook. Ok I know that sounds weird. But I have 600 Facebook friends and I know each one. Many of them are believers or in ministry. And the ones that aren't need prayer even more! So I started thinking through all my Facebook friends. I was able to think of a ton of serious needs that many of them had been asking for prayer for.

The time finally flew by. Apparently God wanted me praying for someone on FB this time. This was a good exercise in godliness for me. It was harder than I thought it was and helped me see how much praying I could get done in just one sitting.

So here is my challenge. Pray for one hour uninterrupted. Tell me how it went! :) Let me know if you need prayer here too....I will make sure I cover it the next time I sit down for my long prayer session.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Worship: Huh?!

I keep hearing people say.... we do worship and then listen to the preaching. Or we open with praise and worship and then go to the message etc. These statements show a shift in our generations perception of what worship is. The current adult generation (mine) often equates worship with music. This may not seem like a big deal....but it is!

Worship is many things and lest I bore you with a deep theology paper that you will not really want to read let me quickly explain. Worship is something we do for the glory of God. Pretty much anything done with a heart and mind directed toward God is worship. There is a very important reason for understanding this distinction. It comes down to the first of the 10 commandments. "You shall have no other God's before me." If worship is just merely singing to a false god or about false things than this would be an easy command to obey. Except it isn't. Worship is a life dedicated to putting God first. It is a life that sees every circumstance from the hand of God. Worship bows in humility before the throne in prayer when in good times and in the bad. Worship for the one true God controls our beings and fills us with the desire to see His name made great every where and in everything.

Yes we worship in song. We worship when we listen to the Word of God read and taught. We worship when we pray together and alone. We worship when we choose to focus our mind on the mighty hand of God instead of the horrible situations you have faced today.

Worship is very important. Who are you choosing to worship? I challenge you to go to Bible Gateway and do a search. Look at the hundreds of verses that deal with worship. See all the different ways people worshipped before a holy God. Then look at praise. We have a great God. He is worthy of all our worship and praise. And that does not mean you should just sing really well tomorrow. It means you should live well every day as an offering of life Worship to the King of Kings.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wisdom and Discernment : Lost Treasures

I know it has been way too long since I last posted. I'm working on figuring out a day to write. It is nice to get my thoughts on paper and tell you a bit of what I am learning and thinking about.

The topic today is one that is near and dear to my heart. Proverbs tells us to search for wisdom like hidden treasure. I don't see many people doing that today. We as women tend to run to our friends, co-workers, mothers and even husbands. We don't tend to run to the Word of God. Often what I have found is that not only do we not run there, we don't even know where to go if you are running there. Ladies, we need to be diligent students of the word. We need to know where and how to find passages that help us combat stress, anger, sin and the daily struggles we face. There is no excuse for not being prepared. Most women around the world do not own a Bible, but many of us own many copies. We can access it online and search in 2 seconds for a word on any topic in any version. We just get lazy. Or we don't value God's opinion on things enough to turn to him.

I like to define wisdom and discernment this way.
Wisdom: God's perspective on life and godliness
Discernment: knowing how to specifically apply God's word to a real life situation (accurately)

I think that wisdom is lacking in today's world, but even more so is discernment. I see many women and young ladies who know what God's word says on an issue but they refuse to apply it correctly to life. Lets pick on modesty....
these ladies know what the Bible says (adorn yourselves modestly, don't bring attention to your outward appearance) but out of a self serving desire to express their individual liberty they excuse their immodesty as just a difference of views. I recently had someone tell me that bikini's were fine for Christian ladies to wear. My answer, "bikinis are the most naked you can get in public without getting arrested. No one in any culture at any time ever thought they were modest." For Christian ladies to pretend it is ok to push the limit and flaunt their "freedom" shows a huge lack of wisdom and discernment.

I'm not pretending I understand all the ins and outs of this issue myself. Know what to do and what to say at the right time is a constant battle for me. I also struggle with what to wear and not wear at times. The cardinal rule: When in doubt, Don't. Widsom thinks in love first. Wisdom does not push every limit. Wisdom works to be as Godly as possible, not as close to ungodly as possible. Wisdom shines out as different.

Know God's word. Apply it correctly. Be a light in a confused and ignorant world. We need wise men and women.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful.....an attitude of life.

As we enter this time of year I think it's important to think about how much we're thankful for.

Many of us aware of our blessings at this time of year. But this year I've been reminding myself that gratitude should be a daily  attitude, not just something that's a once a year occurrence. "In everything give thanks" scripture tells us. But do I or most people really do this? No, we get frustrated with work, our families and church. Most of this anger, frustration, and discouragement comes from a lack of a thankful heart. We don't see Gods mighty hand working in the mundane. We miss that even bad days are working good in those who love God. And we allow a complaining, ungrateful and overwhelmed attitude to prevail, shutting Gods blessing out.

Next time you or I have a rough time look deeply. Are you thankful? Have you been displaying gratitude to God and those around? I've found most of my rough days are not a result of issues in my world, it has everything to do with my attitude and approach to them. I can respond in a grateful way or  I can fight, cry and moan about what just happens. If I asked those around us if we were grateful people what would they say? I'm guessing I would not be nearly as grateful as I want, and honestly I'm probably more critical than I ever would want to admit.
How will you exhibit and attitude of gratefulness this year long?