Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Just a small prayer


Just a few pithy words before I depart town until early next week. Well, after some moments of thought, I don't have anything to say "in brief."

Therefore, I will say a prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,
Please help this to be a delightful trip for us. Bless my family that are with me, and those that remain behind. Quicken Your words to me and make Your presence alive in me. Lord, it is our relationship that I really enjoy. Go with me, go. Be with me, stay. Hear my prayers for my husband and his business endeavors. Bring peace and rest to me and to each of my family members. Bless each of the readers. Amen.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 9:34 PM | 4 comments

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Blues and the Good News - and a late hour update


What would it be like to row across the Pacific Ocean? Do you ever feel like you are rowing across a vast wide open sea? The waves come and sometimes they crash upon us, but we row still. The night comes and we row. The day comes as we row. We rest and sleep and while we sleep we dream of rowing. We row, row, row and row.

"Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King,
Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King,
Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, we're going to see the King!

No more sorrow there, we are going to see the King,
No more sorrow there, we are going to see the King,
No more sorrow there, we are going to see the King,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, we're going to see the King!"

Though for a little while we work and toil,
Though through our tears we can not see
Though we grow weary and faint,
We don't give up
Our Lord lifts us up,
He carries us
Other times we walk along side
But day by day and set by step
He is leading us
up the golden staircase
to His city in the sky
where we will see Him face to face
and where all our cares will be erased
where our lessons learned will be rich with fruit
where heavens will declare the goodness of God
where there will be no more sorrow
where there will be no more tears
where there will be no more dark clouds
or wondering why
or questions unanswered
or agony felt.

"Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King,
Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King,
Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, we're going to see the King!"

P.S. Yeah, I'm fine, just feeling like writing and singing some blues!

ADDENDUM: Okay -- it is now about fifteen hours later. Got through the day. Super Glue on the fingers and everything. As I went through the day, I thought about so many things that I want to write about. So many things. But there isn't time right now. That was another thing that I thought about today, time. It sure is passing. 50k on the odometer, almost 7 years in the new house, daughter almost 16 and son 14, and the last two right behind.

If I had a few hours right now, I would write about:
-How my heart has been aching for my 14 year old son, and how hard it is to let him grow up, but how I know that God is with him and turning him into His man.
-How difficult it is to see the new furniture arrive in my home. How difficult it is to see the walls transformed into beautiful colors. How difficult it is to see the lovely birds and plants outside my door, because I am so undeserving and I can't believe the Lord has blessed us so much. A part of me wants to say, "take it all back - I am unworthy." Well, most of me wants to say that. It is hard to honor it, to recieve it with a "thank you very much," and be gracious about it.
-How anxious I am to go and visit my two older children for several days in Kentucky this Wednesday. How I am scared about potential bickering, about their wanting stuff, about my not being able to "control" them and about how I am not supposed to "control" them, but to be with them. Oh, how I want it to go well.
-How amazing it is to go to my Bible Study and enjoy and get to know the people there, but to realize how little I know them and how little they know me, and how much I know some people in blog land and how much they know me, and to realize that God is building His church right here, across the world by way of the internet.
-How there is so much I have to do, but I am just deciding not to worry about it.
-How really hard it is for me to let my husband be my husband and like, buy stuff for the house that I don't think we can afford, and to not nag or try to rule over him, or how he should run the finances, and how afraid I am about the way that he does it, and how I would do it differently, but to "let the lead dog lead," and God will bless me for that and will enable him to learn and grow and be successful as a man who is responsible for and cares about his household and family.
-How I have learned that God does speak to His people through the Bible, prayer, circumstances and His church, but just like any of God's creations, we don't worship the created thing, or get distracted or side-tracked by it. Signs and wonders do happen, but we are not to turn our eye to them, but to stay focused upon God Almighty. We don't get wrapped up in the beauty of a tree, for example and worship it.
-How our hearts are an eternal thing that God is growing and shaping for His eternal purposes. To "let go and let God" is a great and courageous thing and we who let God shape and mold and have our fearful hearts will be rewarded with wonderful eternal blessings.
-That I am trusting the Lord with all of my heart, and it is first of all a fearful thing to do, and that I don't always know exactly what I am doing. I feel like I am driving in the fog. I see faintly, but I keep praying and I love His word, and trust in Him.
-That it is important to love your husband and respect him. That is a basic that is repeated from the beginning in the Bible and throughout the Bible, yet we forget about it, minimize it and refuse to do it.
-That I really want God to bless me and my family. That I want God to express Himself through my family in such a way, that wise and spiritual discerning people would say, as they did to Abraham, "God is with you in whatever you do," and that God would extend His grace to us and do that. That God would make a great man out of my husband to do that which only God could do, and even he would be amazed at the great love and grace of our Lord Jesus, and that his love for Him would grow and abound and he would grasp in significant measure, that great love of God over him.

Those are some of the things I thought about today.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:52 AM | 6 comments

Sunday, January 29, 2006

My New Look. The New Me.


Isn't this a fabulous looking site? Eddie, from the site listed on the side, did it for me. Don't you think it looks just great? I love it for the following reasons. First, two of the little boxes have to do with eating. One of the boxes has to do with what I like to think of as a women's Bible Study. One of the boxes has to do with exercise. Now here is another way to look at the series of boxes. One has to do with family, one with friendship, one in career and one with me exercising, and I like to think of myself in my calling and my roles as wife, mother, doctor and friend, so they kind of overlap, see? Also I like these series of boxes because I look fun and happy, thin and the center of things, so who wouldn't like that? (And, I have good teeth.) Another reason why I like the site that Eddo created for me is all of the bright colors and activity. What do you readers think? Does this site capture the essence of me? Why do you like it?

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 4:35 PM | 8 comments

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The view from the tower


I am so happy that I get to sit here and write - even if I do have these new funky fake nails. I am just getting used to them. I like the way that they look. They are not very long for fake nails. I asked the lady for "short, short," so they are medium to short. Next time I will have them shorter and rounded in shape, not squared off. I think that I will get used to them, but I don't really like not being able to feel with my fingernails. Believe it of not, there is more feeling that you have with real than fake nails (not that they ripped off my real nails underneath - I think that you know what I mean). With my new nails, I couldn't pull one of those little labels off my apple. I had to stab the apple with a pen (I was in my car - okay, I can be a little gross - no one is going to die) to be able to catch underneath the label and then pull off the label with my teeth.

Now, completely changing the subject, yesterday I went to bed and wept and wept. I cried so hard that it almost felt as though I were sad. I was not sad at all. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude. I realized that I didn't have to worry and I was so thankful for all that the Lord has done for me. Before, and for so long, I kept trying to do for myself.

I was raised by a worrier-mother. When I found my biological mom, I found that she too was an extreme worrier. Environment and genetics - I had it coming and going. When I acquired a step-mother, she was a worrier, but not so much towards me. My grandmother and my mother-in-law don't worry too much.

When I was a Christian of about ten years, in my early 30's, I was reading the passage in Philippians about not worrying, and although I knew that the words were true, I just couldn't seem to really make them stick and I couldn’t imagine really ever coming to a place that I didn’t worry, since it was such a part of the fabric of who I was.

One of the ways that I combated my worry over the years, for as long as I was an adult was as follows: I would plan. Plan, plan, plan, plan. Organize and list. Plan and think. Categorize and strive. Reach and surpass. Go on and go beyond. Do more and more. More and more. I found that worry was less if I could accomplish something great. Then I wouldn't have to worry about being a nobody. Wouldn't have to worry about my mother leaving me or being disappointed in me or my not having enough money.

Once as a new Christian in my early 20's, I got sick and had to lie in bed with an antibiotic. The fever caused me to just lie really still and quiet. I realized that my mind had been racing so fast for many years. I was continually planning and spinning and going. When I didn't do those things then I had worry.

Over these past few years, my worry level has gone down, down, down, down. Less and less and less and less did I worry. That is why I wrote in my blog last time that I have no security in this world. I don't. But that is okay. Christ holds everything in control. Do you know that He holds all things by the power of His word (Hebrews 1)?

So anyway, last night I was thinking about the verses about how God feeds the birds. I was thinking about how Oswald Chambers wrote that you just got to not worry, and that worry was like a big flood that was out to invade your life and sweep you away all of the time.

My life is literally like a series of driftwood pieces stuck together by a few nails and being thrashed about by waves powerful enough to crush the make-shift raft to bits. But twenty years have gone by and the little raft boat is still the dinky little half sunk, about to go under at any second, held together by who-knows-what-or-how raft boat. Yet, I look around and I see a husband who loves me, I see four children who are beautiful and healthy and know the Lord, are smart and successful. I see a house that I have no right to own that is beautiful. I have memories that are storing up in my mind that are like fragrances of divine perfumes; I hear melodies in my mind of a thousand tongues making beautiful music and I hear the word of the Lord louder and clearer and more perfect and perfectly and completely sufficient for my every need. I find that He is my rich reward. I have no need of anything. I have no stores of grain, built up over the course of years and ready to satisfy my longing for a secure source of bread. I have His rich supply of manna morning upon morning as He feeds me with His right hand.

This morning I barely had a thought in my mind until I was out in the car because I was focused on getting out on time. I entered my car and turned on the radio and out of the box sang, "The name of the Lord is, a strong tower, the righteous run in to it and they are safe." I rejoiced. What a blessing to commune with the Lord.

I don't have to worry because I have the Lord. He loves me and takes perfectly good care of me. Paul said, "And in all things I have learned to be content, in any circumstance, whether in plenty or in want."

The Lord really is our rich reward. Why desire anything above Him? Nothing else will satisfy and why hurt His feelings like that? He is right there and are you just going to turn your heart to another god? Don't You think He yearns for you to just love Him, when He is what you were created to love? Yes Lord, I’ll take You and Your provision. Help me to trust in Your goodness. Lord, help me to not be afraid, but to be strong and courageous. To look to the eternal, not the temporary. To not be afraid when the waves build up, but to walk on the water with You, my strong tower in the sea.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 9:38 PM | 2 comments

Thursday, January 26, 2006

God protects and plans, so we don't have to


Yesterday for my Bible Study I read about how Abraham denied that Sarah was his wife, on two occasions, and both times the same thing happened. He and his wife went into a new area, and Abraham thought that the ruler of that area would kill him for his wife, so both times he told them that she was only his sister. Abraham told Sarah that she could "show her love" for him by denying that she was his wife, and say only that he was her brother. It seems that Abraham thought that if he just gave the rulers Sarah, then they would be nice to Abraham and not kill him, since they thought that they were only brother and sister. Sarah was in the rulers' camps on both occasions and both times God moved on Sarah's behalf (and Abraham's) and protected Sarah from being used by these men. He so moved to cause the men to give Sarah back to Abraham.

After reading about that, I read Oswald Chambers and it spoke about the purposes of God prevails in a person's life, as one submits to God. God sought out Paul and Paul was used for God's purposes. Paul gave Himself over to God to be used by His purposes and was used for His purposes.

Last blog I wrote about being a pruned rose bush. I wrote about having a sort of contentment in that. I do have a peace and a contentment. I am not in a place that I should have pity. Just as Paul (well, maybe not "just as")was not in a place that he should be pitied when he was blinded by God, because God was training him, and was preparing him for His service and use.

Sometimes I feel like Sarah, trapped in a stranger's palace and wondering why I was not protected enough that I end up in a place like this. Sarah didn't do anything wrong. Abraham told her to cover-up about that fact that he and Sarah were married. Abraham took 300 trained men and fought for Lot, resucing him from an enemy, but for his wife, he gave her away to advance his own well-being. But in both cases, God saved and protected them both.

Dear Lord, my Lord, Thank you that You protect Your own and have done so for all these years. Thank you for protecting me and the plans and purposes that You have for me. Thank you for protecting each of my children and my husband. Thank You that You provide the new manna each day to each. Thank You that we can eat and be filled. Thank You for the words I read yesterday that spoke of how You feed the birds. They instinctively follow You and You provide their needs. Lord, You are the Provider of all of my needs - for my food, my well-being (from eternity's perspective), for my children and their children and future descendents, for Your purposes to be fulfilled through me. Amen.

Yesterday in the car we watched, "A Wrinkle in Time." It was great. There was a Bible verse in it that said, "All that you see is temporary and all that you do not see is eternal." Think about that. That is so amazing. Live hard for the eternal. Fight your flesh to see what really matters. I may be looking like a pruned down rose bush, or feel like one. I may feel I have no security in this world. I may feel betrayed by the ones I love (I don't feel that way at this time, by I have felt that way before at critical and vulnerable and difficult times), but don't be fooled. I am, like all believers, a holy priesthood, a people blessed of the Lord who will live in the eternal, in the real realm, and I am greatly and richly blessed. I am, in Christ, after all - the seat of glory.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:37 AM | 5 comments

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

In season and out of season


I remember walking past the rose bushes at the hospital where I work when they were in full bloom - earlier this year. Because of the building blocking the sun’s rays, their exposure was not directly above them, but was off to one side, so as they grew, the branches seemed to stretch themselves to that side where they could get the better sun that they liked.

The rose garden of 20 bushes was in full bloom and as they were all stretching forth they looked like worshippers reaching forth and bearing good fruit. Red and pink and yellow and white roses smiled up to their Creator. Their branches were aiming and reaching as the bushes learned to grow up in a shape and direction towards that light.

Earlier this year after viewing those roses, I remember praying with a dear friend of mine, that I miss so much. I was praying with her and while I prayed I was thinking of those rose bushes. I prayed with my friend about how I wanted us to be like those roses before the Lord, stretched out and reaching for Him and His great light and bearing good fruit.

Today as I walked by the rose bushes, there was no bright sun of spring or summer. There was no bloom. There was no stretch. There weren’t even branches. Just little stubs all around. The bushes were hibernating. The vinedresser pruned all of the bushes all of the way back. And there they remained quiet and close to the ground. Quite humble and not proud.

Those little stubs of trees seemed content in a way. They knew it isn’t their time to strive, or push forth or sing with the delight of their beauty. It is not the right conditions for that. The light is not right. The temperature is not right. The season is all wrong for that. It was their time to rest and be patient. And so they did.

It is my time to rest and be patient. To not strive. To not try to make something happen. To just sit there and remember that I am a bush that produces pretty red flowers all around, even when none are out. I can remember the pretty flowers that I had in the spring and the summer. I know that I have been pruned way back because the Vinedresser loves me and cares for me dearly, and next year I will bear more fruit.

Yes, the sun will come out again and will stay out longer each passing day. The temperature will climb. The season will change. My branches will stretch forth for the Son’s light. The very structure of my branches will show for Whom I desire and yearn for and strive for. The flowers will come and will be more beautiful than before. They will reflect my Father’s glory.

And He will be pleased with me. Not for what I did, but for who I became. Not for who I became, but for who I am. Because who I am a Christian. His Christian. I am in Him and He is in me. I am a person who is identified by being a part of the True Vine. One who bears much fruit. Who just is there and is beautiful in His sight. Not in body as though the body itself was great. But one who is uniquely and specifically prepared by the King to be more beautiful this year than last. More content. More aware of her existence in and dependence upon Christ. One more becoming of the Lord’s pleasure.

Dear Jesus,
I want to be like You. But You know that I’m not, and that I can’t be. Well, not in and of myself. For in and of myself, I can do nothing.

Lord, these past 8 or 9 days have been really hard on me. It is like the ushering in of a new season. The cold, the wind and the rain. Suddenly I look at myself and I see the stubs like those rose bushes. But I have a peace and contentment. It is like, perhaps maybe, I am learning how not to think and plan so much anymore. Lord, You know how my mind has been spinning for so many years. It has slowed through your training, and now my mind is slowing, slowing, slowing more. I don’t need to plan all of the time. I can trust You, after all. I am sorry for my sins that continue on a daily basis. Forgive me and see my condition, and grant me mercy and favor in this day and in this season. I know who I am. I don’t need a bunch of flowers hanging off of me to know what You have created IN me. I need to hunker down and just stay connected to the vine. You’ll bear fruit of me naturally. In Your timing and in Your ways. Help me to remain steadfast and patient and content in the Vine.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 6:17 PM | 5 comments

Monday, January 23, 2006

Who can know the mind of the Lord or be His counselor?


I worked at the hospital most of the weekend. Yesterday was hard at times and good at times. Over a lunch break I sat in my car and wrote a poem and cried to the Lord. I put make-up back on twice that day, but all was good. Later I had a realization about how I jump to assumptions. I think the devil likes to set things up and then we make assumptions and I go a million miles an hour.

Let me back up a little. The poem was about how I need God and love Him but how I don't understand Him and how I can not live up to His ways, but I need Him to come and help me and about how He is always there for me and is my hope. Actually I wrote a poem before lunch also, and one at lunch. The one before lunch has a line in it something about being like the dust of a piece of wood that was ground down and blown all around (vivid, hugh?). The second poem had a line in it something like, "I am a million scattered pennies waiting to become a dollar bill."

God is my hope and my dream but sometimes I don't understand Him. I learned though, as I was saying, when I realized an assumption that I made yesterday, and it was like the Lord showed me, "See how you just assumed that? I didn't tell you that." I made the assumption because I had been praying the night before about something, and then something happened the next day, and I just assumed that that was God who answered the prayer, but actually I just rushed in and put two and two together. But two and two do not always make four in the eyes of the Lord because He works in mysterious ways and He works in ways that we do not see.

Last night I had a really nice evening with some homework that I did with my daughter. Also over the weekend I had such a good conversation with my oldest daughter. We are going on a trip together for two weeks, Lord willing, later this spring.

One of the things that I was sad about yesterday is how my children are growing up and I miss the time that they were babies, or at least younger. I find every moment with my nine-soon-to-be-ten-year-old so precious, because he is still a kid and there is still that beautiful innocence and carefree nature about him. And his love for his mother is just so simple and right there.

Well, that's it for today - march on!

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:56 AM | 5 comments

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The way it just is


Yesterday was a good day. Because nothing is too hard for my God that I cling to. BTW, you readers crack me up! Love the feedback, but I don't think it "changes" the way I think or feel, but helps me to refine and define the way that I think and feel, which, imntbho, is generally the best way to think and feel! Not that I'm right, but I probably am! Okay, this is my opinion, you're entitled to (be wrong) and think otherwise, but here are Andrea's 2 great she-facts for the day:
1) It is foolishness and inaccurate and confusing and dumb to deny one's real feelings of fear and pain, lonlieness, and this madness of doing so is an unfortunate and silly habit that is popular to fall into.
2) Successful dieting is a way of life that includes a regular array of delicious items we long for. The important fruit of the spirit to utilize is the spirit of self-control and that is what I am learning to incorporate - that and wisdom.

I don't need to debate about these she-facts and you may either realize their utility or not.
Love yall. Thanks for visiting this site And God bless the bloggers who intented it!.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 8:46 AM | 10 comments

Friday, January 20, 2006

What is too hard for God?


Genesis 18:14 asks, "Is anything too hard for God?" And of course it isn't. Nothing is too hard for God. The "great miracle that you have been praying for can be yours today," the TV preacher says as I turn the channel. (Enough hype already.)

Yes, God can do anything and nothing is impossible with Him and believers lives are so blessed by Him. When I read that today, I said to God, "Are you trying to kill me?" I had to respond to that verse in a Bible Study question before me. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick."

I cried and said to God, "I know that nothing is impossible for You, and You can bring another son to me anytime that You want, but can You get me through this day with my attitude right? Can you help my countenance be good, when I am mad at some certain people and be nice to them? Can You help me eat the way that I should? Can you help me at work get the things I need to get done today in a good manner? Can you help me with the four people who are coming to my house to remodel, repair and clean and help that actually go according to plan? I know that You can do whatever You want and intend with whatever You want to do - if You want to bring my husband and I more children, but can You make this day go right now, be with me now in my mood and disposition?" What is too hard for God? Nothing. Not even my cares for this day.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 8:04 AM | 3 comments

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Who's son is it? and Take it to the Limit - a montage of ideas


Early AM: Dear Lord,
You are the initiator and I follow. Help me to stand firm in the ground that You have set me upon. Enable me to stand and watch Your work like a little girl who watches a fireworks show, like the little girl who listen to the orchestra play the 1812 Overture. Let me feel the pampering of Your love today and the warm glow of Your love, provision and care. I rest my burdens upon Your back. You are my God.

8:50 PM Addendum: Jesus, I think that you are teaching me about maturity. About walking with You quietly. Trusting You. Amen.

Oh, yesterday I heard the song twice, "Take it to the Limit," by the Eagles, and I thought that that is how I want my faith to be, to the limit. Like a driver that is racing around a corner, and he can only go so fast - balancing the centrifugal force with the force of gravity (okay physics people, are there any other forces that need to be balanced? I think also the forward motion force too). Some people go around corners softly and quietly, slowly and with boredom. Others can behave recklessly, fall over, leave the arena, never to ride again. I want to take it to the limit, while still maintaining control. "That only I may finish my race," Paul spoke of more than once, about his mission to complete that Jesus gave him to do. Jesus Himself said that His food was to do the will of the Father and to complete the work that is given Him to do. So what if I feel bruised and wounded sometimes. I'd rather go as fast as I can towards the will of God, stumbling as I do, than to do less that give all I know how to give unto God's will for my life. Who cares if there is a little pain, a little so-called embarrassment, more abasing myself against the things of this world?

That reminds me of another song that I heard yesterday. The song was about a man who was a Christian and was questioning God about the probem with his son and the lyric said something like, "it isn't just anyone, that is my son." And I know what the writer means, but on the other hand, what difference is it to God that the song was talking about that guy's son? I mean, if he wasn't the father, then there is another father out there who is hurt, isn't there? I mean, from God's point of view, aren't all people important? The only difference is, when it is our son with the crisis, then we are personally hurting whereas otherwise we don't care. So, really, the point isn't, according to the song, that there is a person in a crisis that needs help, but rather, I am in pain, because I am personally invested in the person who is in crisis. From God's viewpoint doesn't He care about all people? But we only care about some people, and specifically those people who, because we have developed a relationship with them, we experience personal pain if that relationship is altered due the fact that one of the people in the relationship is hurting, in a crisis, or whatever. I am not saying that we shouldn't care about certain people. God has called us to specifically care for and carry the burdens with certain specific people, and we don't have the emotional energy to care deeply about all people, or do we? What do you think of the lyric that says, "that is no ordinary person, that is my son?"

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:23 AM | 5 comments

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Held


I feel so uplifted and held in God's care. Thank you so much to everyone who has prayed with me and walked with me through this journey of these past several months. It has been/it is good to pray for Matt; I know God heard and hears and appropriates those prayers for his transition into his new home. Eternity will show us all treasures in heaven. I feel badly for my husband, because although he has opened himself up a little bit into the things of God, he is still very afraid and stand-offish when it comes to the things of God, so he really isn't able to enjoy the blessings of God that he could. Pray that God would uphold him and continue to bless and minister to him. I know that God will effectively continue to draw him into a deeper walk. I think the thing that he is still getting a hold on/understanding of is the fact that God really does love us as we are and isn't there with a critical sword. Isn't it interesting how God can hold up a standard and not sway from that, and we can not manipulate Him to change who He is, yet at the same time He loves us with a rich abiding love, full of mercy, gentleness, compassion and grace. Short on time - got to go.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:30 AM | 6 comments

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Different Day


Hi. Well, I learned a couple of hours ago that Matt was referred to "another local family," and I was thanked for my "interest." I thought back over these past days and about my journey. I prayed with a wise woman in the Lord. This is what I have come up with.

In my last post, I talked about how Abraham was almost "set-up to fail." Well, in a sense that is true, because us humans have these obvious glitches and defects that just stick out like funny strands on a bad hair day, that are bound to get us into trouble. So in that respect, yeah, Abraham was set up to fail, as was David and Solomon, Sampson and Peter. But God doesn't see that they even failed. "Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness." "The just shall live by faith." "Just like the holy women of old, Sarah, did what was right and did not give way to fear..." David was a man after God's own heart. Peter was a mighty man of God. And on and on.

God doesn't see the failures or their funny looking strands. He sees His holy bride, adorned for her Husband for that day. He sees a holy people, a people set apart. He sees righteousness and beauty, a treasure worth buying by the blood of His own Son.

These "set-ups" are just rocks on the road to learning for us, the people of God, for me. "Learn from me, for I am humble and meek at heart and you will find rest for your souls." "Abide in Me and I in You...."

God prompted my heart to believe that He was going to enable our family to bless a child, and I believed that. The process took us to the point that we chose a child from a display of faces on a screen. In doing that, I prayed for those boys and anticipated their needs. God heard and blessed the boys and put them into homes that are not my own.

At this time, I need to go back to the crossroads and see where I ran ahead of God, and stopped following the Lead, if that is the case, which to some degree I think that it is the case.

I emailed the woman from the agency back and her supervisor and told her our family's original desire regarding adoption, and asked them if they know of a child that they think would be well-suited for our home, to then let us know. My choosing first isn't going really well, and it is a painful process.

So that is where it is at. If they have a child that they think would work out well in our home, given our inclinations, then they can please let us know. Now the ball is back in God's court. Okay God (respectfully), if you want us to help a child or children, then You let us know. There isn't anything else for me to do here at this point.

I am studying Genesis in my Bible Study these days and this reminds me of the time that God said that He was going to bless Abraham and make him a father of many nations. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Then he went ahead and did that Haggar thing, trying to help God out. Well God, I don't think that you need our help. My husband and I have made our availability known in several separate places, now I need You to help give me rest and peace, and to take over the control of these reins. "Jesus take the Wheel." I'll be here waiting and listening, but I don't think that there is anything that You want me to do at this time.

Please help all the people who have been praying for and with me and the boys and my children regarding this situation. Help me not to feel ashamed for trusting You. "Those who trust in You will never be put to shame." I am just a human who is learning to listen and follow on the path of human existence. Help me to appropriate what You have taught me and make me wise. Bless my husband and our children, in Jesus' name, Amen!

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 9:47 AM | 8 comments

Monday, January 16, 2006

my food and my body-jump to the present


1st off, this isnot my entry for today. My entry for today is below, already posted. This, is for (especially) my benefit (but feel free 2 look in). It is a log of my "new diet and exercise program." But it really isn't new. It's just a new day. For observers it will be like turning on a soap opera - O, I'll log the boring data in a new blog. Go there if u want to tag along with my daily food and exercise and moment by (boring) accounts of (ugh) diet and exercise.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 6:12 AM | 1 comments

life is hard


I want to write, but I only have my little phone with me & the last 2 times that I wrote on this phone, when I tried to post the blog, all the data was lost. And I don't know how 2 save before I post. Life is like that. Our refining process in the Lord is so hard. We hope, we seek, we are found in Him, and then He slays us. He cries with us, Satan laughs at us & yells and taunts us, telling us that God doesn't really care and then the data is all lost, but it isn't kost in eternity, but it feels like it. Like what was the last seven months all about anyway? Was I not hearing U? Was Abraham not hearing the Lord for the almost 20 years that God said that he would have a son? No, he heard, but he was just supposed to sit there and wait, I guess. Why did U even tell him? It is almost like he was set up 2 fail.

Lord, U r my great reward. I sit here and read on Matt's web site that his case is "referred," and I haven't heard that he has or has not been referred 2 us. What does that mean? Nobody to get information from, and I just think that we may not receive him and I wonder, was I not trying 2 follow U? Wasn't this your whole idea? Where did I go wrong? If I didn't go "wrong" then why do I have to feel such difficulty? Also, I need Your help, as usual, with my eating, & everything is a continual battle. My prayer is simple: "peace, please." "and sustain me in this walk."

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 5:35 AM | 3 comments

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Homeless and Home


As I was driving in a taxi, on the way to the Miami airport, I noticed a homeless person lying on the stairs of a big church. I've seen similar sights in other cities as well, maybe you have also.

While I was on the airplane, flying United, listening to music on my headphones, I heard Carrie Underwood's new single, "Jesus, take the wheel." I reflected upon what a powerful message the song delivers, and what a great thing God has done, allowing that song to be mainstream.

This morning as I was awakening from my nighttime slumber, I sang in my mind, "Jesus take the wheel," and I gave myself, once again, to my Lord and Savior. I thought about some deep regrets that I have in my life. I prayed that God would heal me from them, as the two I am thinking of, I don't even like to think about. One is silly really, and if I wrote it down, you wouldn't think less of me. You would say, “You were just a child," "That was just childish foolishness." I was ignorant. But still, I feel so ashamed about my inability to handle responsibly what someone entrusted to me. I let myself down and I let her down and her too.

Anyway, as I reflected this morning, I collapsed the two images: the person laying on the concrete steps of the church and the song, "Jesus take the wheel." I layered my own regrets and earnestness of a prayer to make me competent and my husband too. Then I saw it. I am the homeless one. I sit upon the steps of Jesus Christ and all that He is and all that He stands for. What am I without Him to clothe me? Who am I without Him to lift me up?

Lord Jesus,
I do lift up those two memories to you. I guess I feel so ashamed for the first memory, because I was given a great gift and I squandered it. I was swindled from it because I trusted a stranger. It was a set-up waiting to happen.

Lord, help my husband to become a husband like it says in I Peter 3, to live with his wife in an understanding way, and to protect her interests, look after her, pray for her, and want the best for her. Lord, You are my God and my Savior, my only Lord of heaven and earth. However, You desire that the husband and wife relationship reflect Your glory. In that respect, I pray that my husband and I would reflect Your glory. That I would respect my husband and that he would care for me. That I would even obey my husband in the way that You created and intended Eve to be a helpmeet for her husband. I pray that You would enable my husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church, giving himself for her and loving and cherishing her as his own body. In this way, glorify Yourself through our lives.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 6:19 AM | 3 comments

Friday, January 13, 2006

Another Installment in an Occasional Series: "My Food and My Body"


I take advantage of a secret escape when I am away on buisness trips. I go to the Spa and get pampered. Well, this indulgence doesn’t have to be “secret,” because my husband – well, it isn’t like he cares if I go get pampered up. Heck, he probably likes it, and he sees the bill on my American Express card anyway, but I doubt that he reads the itemized list of entries.

While I was at the Marriot’s spa and salon modestly named, “Hair Salon,” I picked up a junkie magazine – another secret occasional indulgence that I read while I am at such places. I read an article of a woman who lost 100 pounds 10 years ago and has kept it off. I read another article about how to seduce a man - either to get him to love you, or to get him into bed.

Reading these two articles reminded me of what happened to me about five years ago. Then, I got an irresistible urge to get up from my manicure, shout “Enough!” and put my hands boldly in front of me like the singers I saw once on TV 100 hundred years ago who put their hands out in front of them while they sang, “Stop, in the name of love.”

I wanted to get up and go the the hotel’s business center and pay the 0.25 cents per minute to write on my blog. I resisted the immediate urge to yell at the lovely lady, who after all, did I very nice job on my toes and fingers, and wouldn’t have understood my antics. Thankfully, I got this urge at the very end of the manicure, so I just patiently waited until I was released to go.

So, this is it. The next installment in the occasional series, that I started last December.

Five years ago it suddenly hit me. Yeah, I knew that I was fat, but I also knew that my husband loved me and that I was successful overall as a person. It dawned on me that I could be sexy. That was a new idea. Sexy even though fat. I wasn't even sexy while I had been thin, not really, not much to speak of. I wanted to become the type of woman who knew who she was with her husband, even though fat. I reflected that, in movies and I think even in real life, that I had seen somewhat older, vuluptuous women act and be sexy. So, I thought to myself that I wanted to become that sort of person for my husband and, whaa laaa, it worked. That wasn’t hard at all. (Oh, oh…won’t go there.)

Okay. Time for a tangent. Stay tuned for the second half of “My Food and My Body,” just after I get done with this next thought, that sort of relates to the topic at hand, and pulls together some of the earlier happenings as well.

I had a sort of, well, I had a sort of new-spiritual realization since I’ve been here and that is this. You may remember, if you read "Adventures" at that time, that while I was fasting that I felt so ugly in my “self-righteousness.” It was like at that time that I realized I was covered with a slime called, “self-righteousness,” but didn’t know how to get it off me. Well, there was a moral conflict that happened when I first got here in Maiami, and it made me search about what to do in a certain situation. It occurred to me that I couldn’t “tithe a tenth of my cumin seed,” (Jesus – New Testament, you had to be there, so to speak - that is, have read it-), because I just couldn’t measure it out. That, my friend, is an analogy. What I mean to say, more clearly, is that I just couldn’t contort myself enough to figure out how to precisely do what I thought was the “right” thing to do. Then it hit me, that some laws are, like impossible, and, that, is like the point. The LAW is a tutor to lead us to Christ. For example, “Obey the Sabbath.” Whether you hold a traditional view of what that means, or a “today’s new day of grace” view of that commandment, one glaring reality remains. How, my friend, do you exactly “achieve” that perpectly? Well, if you try to actually ACHIEVE fulfilling that, then you miss the point and the reality, that though it is a good intention to try to do it, and although we are not to intentionally sin so that grace might increase (Romans), the point is that we CAN NOT ACHIEVE it.

I learned this: Self-righteousness is holding the false belief that you can, in fact, live up to the standard. Humility is realizing that you can’t tithe a tenth of your cumin seed, you can’t fulfill the LAW, and although you may enjoy joy in doing the right thing, don’t think that you are something special for doing it. Don’t think that you are doing anything worhy. Don't think that you can actually do it. Don't judge your brother for seeing a rated PG 13 (or worse) movie, or having a drink. That doesn't mean that you promote those things, you understand, that is, if you can. It is pretty difficult to grasp. It is, after all, slimy.

Take Jesus, for example, he just hung with the sinners. The drunks and the prostitutes. They didn’t feel put-off by Him at all, but comfortable. He wasn’t dirty for being with them.

For me, this moral conflict I found myself in lead me to realize that my sin was not in not tithing a tenth of my cumin seed. My sin was the belief that I thought that I could. When I gave up the slime of self-righteousness, I thought to myself that others were going to judge me if I didn’t have that slime-coat on. Then I realized, no, I was going to no longer going to falsely hold myself to some shifting shadow of an ideal. That is, if God would please help remove the slime-coat, and help keep it off.

I am reminded of Billy Graham. When he did that New York crusade, he made a comment that Bill Clinton could travel the country as an evangelist while Hilary Clinton ran the country. All the religious people were up in arms. Did they realize the position that they found themselves in, against the grace of Billy Graham and on the side of the religious Pharisees? So Billy was judged, and misunderstood, all for being gracious, and not uptight.

Okay, let’s take it back then. That’s right. That joke. I’ll leave it in. Oh, I am so embarrased, but it did just slip out. Well, let’s move on.

As a fat woman in my very late 30’s, I realized that I could just be sexy, even though I was fat. When that happened, I divorced the way that I felt on the inside from the way that my body looked on the outside. That really is possible. Looking sexy and “feeling good about yourself,” really does not have to be dependent upon your weight. Divorcing these two notions, the way that I felt about myself, the projection of that “self-”confidence from the number of pounds that I was on the scale, was the first step towards being able to actually live in the little body once the weight was actually off. (No, you may not think that I have a little body, but after shedding 65 or so pounds, there sure felt like there was nothing left to hide behind.)

So, if you are not married, do not try to seduce a man into bed. If you are eligible to get married, you may seduce a man to love you, if God leads you. (Just remember Ruth, now that was bold). If you are married, remember all of the women who read magazines instructing them how to seduce a man, and try to make life a little interesting for your poor husband who is avoiding eye contact with all of them. If he doesn't avoid eye contact with all of them, seek God for wisdom, and don't be self-righteous. You don't sin by pleasing your husband, but you may be in sin if you don't/aren't. If you are married, you do have my permission to occasionally read such trashy magazines that teach such stuff, if and only if, you only use it in order to learn how to be an interesting wife. Enjoy yourself and have a little fun being a woman.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 4:22 PM | 3 comments

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Good Morning


I'm getting ready to go to Miami for a work realted conference. I thank you for your prayers for my ability to do the duties related to the clinical drug trial and that God would bless our hospital's ability to do this drug study. Also, for my husband and children that everything will go well while I am away. And for my peace and rest while I am away and traveling. Thank you. I'll be back Saturday night.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 3:56 AM | 6 comments

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Oh Sovereign One Reigns Indeed


Yesterday I gave my child the last of my available cash for her school lunches. Then when I went upstairs and looked in a drawer I noticed a five dollar bill. I thought to myself, “Good, I don’t have any more cash handy. Now I have some.” I put it by the staircase so when I was done getting ready for the morning and left for the day I would remember to take the money. When the time case, I took the bill and shoved it into my side pocket.

A couple of hours later, I went to get some yarn for my grandmother to make some blankets. I drove into the Wal-Mart store. The store always has a grungy looking parking lot, like it is oily or something. I found my parking space and walked to the entrance. I put my hand into my right pocket and I felt two small pieces of paper. I knew that one of those papers was the five dollar bill. I wondered what the second paper was. I pulled it out and noticed that it was a slip from my calendar dated February 26/27 2005. The “Bible Verse a Day Calendar” pad had a verse inscribed and I started to read it. However my reading was interrupted by an approaching young African-American man who was relatively clean cut, but was a bit unprofessional in presentation. He had slouched posture, not like he has low in self-esteem, because he seemed a little cocky in attitude. He held his clipboard and sign up sheet.

“Do you want to help me with basketball?” I noticed that people’s names were on the board, sign-ups for donations. There were about five names and donations were three to five dollars each.

“Well,” I hesitated, “I’ll think about it.” I figured I ought to pray about it when I was in Wal-Mart, and later I could give a donation if I felt lead of the Lord. I also thought that maybe I would just forget about the whole thing. Upon seeing my hesitation, he was off soliciting the next guest.

I continued to walk towards and into the Wal-Mart store. Still holding my “Bible Verse a Day Calendar” pad slip, I thought about how long this verse on this slip had been in these pants, and how the fact that I am reading the verse now, that it may really mean something important from the Lord.

It read, “Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely…” It had more words listed but I was distracted by the new thought that I ought to go right now, while the Lord was prompting me and give that young man the five dollars.

I abandoned my half-pulled out cart from the row of identical carts and walked out from the entrance of Wal-Mart back into the parking lot. “Here-” I said as we reached out our hands to one another. His friend said something that I couldn’t hear at first.

“What?”

“Do you have something to help me out too?”

“I only have five bucks. Maybe you two can share.”
I walked inside and did my shopping, forgetting about the matter, but settled that I did not ignore the voice of the Lord, assuming that it was the Lord.

About 15 minutes into my shopping as I reached up my hand, I felt my necklace come apart. I quickly grasped for the pendant. “Oh good,” I thought to myself, still safe.

The pendant was given to me by my husband for my birthday. On the gold medallion are the diamond from my original wedding ring, and a second, larger diamond, which hung from a lovely gold necklace. I thought how it really would be wise to remove the necklace, since it just fell open for no reason, and if that happens again and I’m not so “lucky,” I could lose it, and that would be horrible. I’ve always been a bit on the rash side, and this morning was no exception. I thought to myself is a bit of a haughty way, “Well, the Lord protected it this time, and He can protect it again, if there is something wrong with the it.” I reattached the necklace around my neck and tugged at the clasp. Felt tight and normal. I went about my shopping.

Upon exiting the store I was approached my a lanky European-
American woman in who appeared to be in her thirties. She looked at me sternly. “Are you registered to vote?” I didn’t answer. Insisting, she repeated herself. “Are you registered to vote?” I didn’t want to say yes, and I didn’t want to say no. Upon my repeated hesitation, she turned to another guest and I was off the hook and on the way to my car. I noticed that the two young men who solicited me earlier had apparently left.

As I was stacking bags into the back of my white Yukon truck that I have learned to keep clean, at least on the outside, most of the time, with really cool maxed out rims that my husband bought me, I looked at the ground and saw the gold chain of my necklace.

Frantically, I looked around for the pendant. It wasn’t anywhere. I looked though my things. Nowhere. Missing. I thought that I would quickly shove my items into the car, grab the keys and retrace my steps back into the store. I reached for my keys on my car seat and there was the pendant, sitting where I would normally sit in the car.

I picked it up and I said, “My Lord and my King, You are God.” I reflected upon the verse and pulled out the slip of paper again. “Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.” Psalm 112:5-6.

I drove to the jewelry store and told them they needed to fix the necklace. The jeweler said, “This necklace looks fine to me.” I stood there and insisted that the necklace needed a fixing because it fell off twice….Eventually, he took out his little magnifier. “Oh yeah, you have a big problem here.” They’re going to be putting what is called a Lobster Clasp on the necklace.

All day long I thought about what a Sovereign Lord we serve. He controls everything. Nothing is out of his dominion. Rest. Rest. Rest and abide in Him. Stay in Him. Obey and follow and enjoy the peace that passes understanding.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:51 AM | 4 comments

Monday, January 09, 2006

Believe


Lord, Thou art my God and there is no other. There is no other God on earth or in heaven besides You. You have been my only friend from the beginning. Others may say that they are my friend, or want to be my friend, but they can not be my friend, for you alone are good. They are my friends because You are my friend and You are in them, even those that do not know You. You work in them to effect good upon the earth. You are the source of everything good and right and true. You are the only means of peace and goodness and strength. I worship you. I let myself be caught up in you. I abide in You. I stay in you. I hang alongside You. I am with You. And then where I go, there You will also be.

Jesus, it was so beautiful where I read in the Bible yesterday when you said, "Don't be afraid, just believe." It reminded me of those three prayer requests that You gave me through the fasting experience - not to worry but to trust and obey. I thought about how “trust and obey” is the same as “believe”. Believing is the same as faith. Faith is to trust and obey. I thought about how, when we do believe, we are not worrying at that time. We only do one or the other at a particular moment in time. Therefore, all can be summarized as BELIEVE.

So Lord, I believe. I believe You. You are good and You are for me. I believe whatever Your Spirit tells me at one particular moment in time to do. I believe that You are working out everything good for me on my behalf.

When I believe, I am worshipping You. I am abiding in You, resting in You, being still in You.

I want to thank You, Lord, for walking with me. I also want to thank You for the many tremendous blessings that You have bestowed upon me, upon my family, and upon my head. Mostly of course for Your blood and forgiveness, but also the contentment to be pleased in any situation. But at this time I thank You for the bountiful harvest of material goods that You have given me. I am so undeserving of Your grace that You have given me. They have practically been forced upon me, as my husband has purchased these things, but so have I. However, You have not swept them away, but have sustained us in them and have blessed us with more. I feel humbled in Your goodness and the beauty all around me that I see. I don't think that I would have chosen these things for myself. Because I feel and actually am so undeserving, I don't want to do things that will cause me to lose them because I somehow, in my flesh feel like I don't deserve them so I make poor choices to get rid of them from my life.

I want to be a good steward of what You have given to this family. Lord, the house is being decorated and all around me is such beauty and blessing, everything from the birds outside the house to the children inside, to the quiet temper of my husband to the peaceful spirit inside my heart.

I really enjoy the color of the walls, the prospect of the stained glass and the hope of the painted animals. Lord, enable us to have the time and the cooperation and ability in You to enable this house to be sustained in beauty and in cleanliness. May peace be upon this house in great measure as a testimony of the presence of You Lord. May the rooms be filled with gladness. May the structure of the house be sustained physically. May all the structural repairs be found and fixed simply while the home is still under warranty, and may there not be abnormal problems later.

Lord, this week, Crystal said that she wants to make a decision regarding the placement of Matt. I remember what You said, "Don't be afraid, just believe." Then You raised someone from the dead, when You said those words in the New Testament. What do You want to do in this situation?

I feel so weak, not knowing how to believe. I think I believe. I think that You are going to be giving Matt to us. I think that You called me, called this family from afar off to get Matt and become His family. I think that, if that is so, You have allowed and even orchestrated certain difficulties in Matt's life to have occurred to delay the time that He would be adopted (in years past) so that he could come into our family at this time. It was not possible for us to adopt him in years past. That wasn't the right time. This is the right time. So yes, I believe, but help my unbelief!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Am I to believe? What do You want me to believe? What is Your spirit saying to me? Be still and know I am God. But what does that mean Lord? Be still. And know I am God. Okay, take my hand, Lord.

Oh, Lord, go with me go. Stay with me stay. Let me feel Your presence in me. Let me be swept away by Your mercies. Let me be absorbed by Your beauty. Let me be obsessed with Your intrigue. Let me be naked in Your presence, yet clothed with all majesty and glory, abiding in the Risen Savor, my Lord and my Christ, my Atonement forever.

And be with Samantha Lord, and Kayleigh., and Anthony and Chuck Sr. Oh, Lord, what are You doing there? Continue Your work there, and everywhere I look, like a great open sea, may Your glory be spreading all around me, through everything I can see and where ever I may look. “While we look not at the things that are seen, but the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are temporary but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:07 AM | 3 comments

Saturday, January 07, 2006

He makes all things new


New List of prayer requests now that I have been fasting for over two days and counting:

I have never fasted for so long. I ask myself why I am doing this. I feel like one of those people who are writing their last words while trapped in a cave away from oxygen or the man who was trapped in the desert when his arm got caught (he cut it off) and away from water. They knew that they were going to be dying soon. No, I will not be dying soon. I will be eating soon, and will forget where I am now.

Aren't I melodramatic? I have just had a flash of an old memory that I think that I have long forgotten. My mother saying, "Oh, Andrea, don't be so melodramatic." I used (“used?” you say) to be. Used to rant and rave and try to control everything. I wonder where my daughter got it.

Okay, so now that I am FASTING (never mind that I completely FAIL the request of Jesus, that when you are fasting, don't act like you are fasting and make a big deal out of it. However, blogger friends, you all are the only ones that know I am fasting, and I suppose it may be okay to go and cry somewhere. As I told my son who was crying the other day when my daughter said, "you're crying," and I said to my daughter, but really to my son, "he's not a machine; he's a human being." Yeah. I am not a machine, and I am even more (vulnerable) than a human being. I am a woman.

So, as I was saying:

Okay, so now that I am FASTING, and have been reflecting upon why I am (expletive) doing this, I thought that maybe there is a reason that God wants me to do this. So what does He want to tell me, now that I am listening? I thought, as I was awakened at 2:30 in the morning, that I should write out a new list of prayer requests that God would have me to write. I've written mine, and prayed mine, and there are several more hours to go until the 72 hour mark which I figure is about 3:45 PM - but I can't remember exactly, just like I can't remember exactly the day or even month that I was saved (March or April 1984), because I didn't write it down, so I guess God didn't want me to remember it exactly. But how am I to know exactly when I can eat after 72 hours and still make that mark, and yet not put off eating any longer? - Which I love to do and which I am dying to do? Answer: because it does not (expletive) matter (yeah, I became a Christian after I learned how to swear) that I make the (expletive) 72 hour mark, or alternatively, it does matter if I fast a little bit longer than 72 hours and get no glory for it. Got all that? (I love being tangential. I read this book, BTW I’m not the New Me by Wendy McClure (several months back) and it was written from her blog, and she was wonderfully tangential, so I decided, since she was published and I even bought her book from a display table at Barnes and Noble, that I could be tangential too, and that my tangentiality could be wonderful (to me) just as hers was to me and obviously to the editors and promoters of her book. Isn’t that delightful?)

Oh, I think I am going to be sick. I should go back to sleep or eat. I will go back to sleep first, unless I throw up first. I wonder if I will ever fast again for two whole (expletive) days. Is this supposed to make you holy? It just shows how (expletive) weak and (expletive) self-righteous that I am. I have never cursed so much, even before I was a Christian for heaven's sake. What's up with that? -rhetorical.)

Okay, so here is a new prayer list that is in addition to the previous prayer list:

1) That I wouldn't be a worrier. Here’s a phrase to remember: “NO WORRIES.”
2) That I would walk with the assurance of Christ, that I would deeply know, feel and believe that HE will take care of me in ALL circumstances, that He loves me and ANYTHING that HE puts me through I can handle and will be good for me, for others and for His glory, because I am not of this world, just as HE is not of this world. Here’s a word: TRUST.
3) That I would go with the flow and He would flow through me STREAMS OF LIVING WATER (from John). Here’s another word: OBEY.

Gee, it is only three things long. Things are so much simpler with God. I pray that HE would give these things to me as a gift. I receive them now, by His power and grace, in Jesus' name, Amen. May He enable me to continue to receive these gifts. For the reader also, may you receive these gifts from Him. For His eternal, divine and perfect glory, Amen. Thank you and God bless you (I feel like a politician ending with that phrase – “And God bless the United States of America”). Love ya.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 3:43 AM | 11 comments

Friday, January 06, 2006

A Need


Jesus said, "He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth: there is nothing false about him" (John 7:18).

First off, I am thankful to the Lord that I am still fasting. It has been over 37 hours (who's counting?) without food and I am still alive. I am not going to exercise until the fast is over, because I don't want to be ridiculous to my body. I feel like it has been 38 days. Two more days will make 40 days.

I feel a strong desire to thank my blogger friends who are fasting and praying with me, and even praying for my needs and desires, and so thank you. But I feel a need to acknowledge that God is that One that I owe my allegiance to, which is obvious, of course. I guess that it is just difficult sometimes to receive gifts from other people. I want to receive them graciously and appropriately. It is something that I am learning to do in my old age (so to speak, I am 43). I don't have to give all of the time. I can learn to receive someone's love and gifts.

My husband and I have developed in our relationship over the years so that I am learning how to place myself in the position of receiving and he in giving. He is a natural giver, but when I placed myself in charge of the relationship years ago, because I did not know how to receive his gifts, did not know how to trust was the basic issue, then everything went topsy-turvy, out of balance. Well, yeah, so God has been helping us to be a godlier couple. I have learned that God wants me to trust Him, and while doing so, give clearance to my husband to act manly, like taking charge of things. Even if he messes up, He'll be watching my best interests, and everything will turn out all right. But, still there are times that He has had me draw a line. So there is wisdom involved, wisdom and direction that are needed. Being married to an unbeliever for so many years as I was was like being involved in hand to hand combat all of the time. Combat with the devil. Good practice. Good training. Don't volunteer for that, but if God puts you there, then fight. Fight in a way that doesn’t look like you are even fighting. (Fast like you don’t look like you are fasting, is an analogy that comes to mind, that I might try to apply.)

Okay. There is a tangent. Not sure exactly what the topic for me today is. Actually, I do and I am getting to it. I think that there is a placebo effect of my fasting. I think I am weary, but is it just in my mind?

I want to address the "issue" of my oldest daughter. Bonnie said that she had it on her heart to pray for her. Let me share a little bit about my first born. She is 15 and a half and in the tenth grade at a Christian boarding school in Kentucky.

Oh my. Where to start? At a very young age she accepted Christ. I kind of pressured her to do so, but I thought that the Lord was leading me in it. She understood exactly, from a spiritual perspective, although she was very, very young. I won't tell you how young, or you'll think she was too young, to become a believer, but I don't think that she was too young.

After she accepted Christ, and then again several months later in a deeper way, she was a marvelous witness for Him. She would talk about the Lord to people in lines at stores. Once when she was signed up for an all day ski lesson, at the pick up time the young woman said to my husband and me, "she told us all about the Bible and Jesus." She was smiling and had a nice tone when she said it.

Starting at about age eight, one could see the developing of an attitude problem, though she was still absorbed into the things of God. She wanted to hear the entire Bible on tape, so we listened together in my car. (I bought her the collection for a present.) She wrote commentaries about sections of the Bible, like Esther and Ruth.

About age 11, she went on a three week trip to Australia for a People to People tour. She was gone for three weeks. She wanted to bring a whole bunch of bibles on the trip, so I bought them for her.

Two weeks into the trip I get a call from the instructor for the trip that my daughter was causing problems preaching all of the time, and forcing her views on others, and that she didn't seem to get along with the other kids. The woman said, "The purpose of this trip isn't religious, and she has all of those bibles..." The woman said that the other kids didn't want the bibles and my daughter stuck some in the children's baggage anyway. When my daughter came home, most of the bibles that were sent off with her came home.

At age 12, one day my little girl decided she didn't want to do some chores that she was told to do. She had to stay in her room for the day. I gave her a list of things to do to get out of her room. They were not that difficult. She had done the same things at other times. But she refused to do anything on the list. Two days later, my husband and I said that we were going to take away her dog if she did not comply with basic rules.

Well, she ran away with her dog. She was only gone about two hours at the most, but it was frightening. The police ended up being called because she had run away, but when the police came, we had already found her. I asked them to speak with her. As they did, I watched and saw that she was smirking. She wasn't frightened, or didn't think the matter was serious, etc.

That is when I thought that she should actually go to boarding school. (I had thought about it before that, and she had even said that she might like to go to a military school.) I was afraid for her because her father and I had no control over her, because she had disengaged herself from the relationship with us. She went to the Christian Boarding School in Kentucky for five months at that time. She was then home for about a year and a few months, and then went back again. She went back near the start of ninth grade and will graduate high school there.

She is not very happy in some ways, because she is not following the Lord for her life. However, she is doing well, in that she has a 4.0 and is like a star at the school. She is ranked second in her class. She has learned a lot of social skills in getting along with others, which didn't come naturally for her.

Her basic problem, spiritually as I see it is as follows. She had been puffed up about her knowledge of the Lord and what she could do for Him. She didn't realize the relationship part of the relationship, and the need for humility. She was trying to win disciples her own way, in her own strength, and of course God couldn't use her that way.

My daughter has been protected from sex, drugs, alcohol and things like that and I know that she has never done any of those things, because she has never had opportunity that I can see. However, she has engaged in spiritual idolatry in her mind extensively. She has gotten into darker types of music and books, although her access to them is limited, because the school has banned the obvious bad stuff. When she was home she listened to a CD that she got from somewhere and on the cover it said, "To Lucifer," and one of the songs was something about hell.

On the other hand, she is in the school choir and every Sunday travels all around the Kentucky region singing hymns. She has taken the required Bible class this year, and she didn't have to. She could have put it off. She also defended Christianity in the form of Christmas cards this past couple of weeks.

To my friend who has been a mentor to her for many years, she has been sweet and kind. She can be sweet and kind, but to her parents she presents herself as not so.

She wants to enter into a six year college and medical school program right out of high school. Her resume reads very impressively. Several months ago she informed me that she would be going to University of California at Irvine this summer of 06 and staying with Grandma, and going to classes there, working at a lab doing research and volunteering at the hospital (all as a high school student). Okay I said, and have been helping her arrange that. It will be just the thing to help her get into the medical school program immediately out of high school. She wants to be a surgeon, and would make a good one, because as long as she has lived, she has been a natural leader of people, she is good mechanically, she has done surgery on pigs (at the farm at her school), she is very good at science and math, she is a hard worker and motivated to surpass her mother, which is good.

So that is my daughter. Pray for her that she returns to the Lord. Once she had written a beautiful poem on a church bulletin about it being so late to return to God after everything that has happened. She was 14 at the time that she wrote that. Crazy, but the enemy deceives us. Pray that her eyes would be open to see that Christ loves her, and He is not surprised by her actions. I think that He has allowed this root to grow up big so that He could pluck it out. Like me with the pride thing, God let it build up big enough so I could see it and understand it, repent of it. He is letting her see her own heart, the way that it is, full of pride and dark, so that He can remove it. Before she want astray and was puffed up about her knowledge of the Lord and trying to accomplish things in her own power, she couldn't see her state.

I pray that she would change for the Lord. She hangs out with kids that want to do the wrong thing. She doesn't choose kids that want to do the right thing. She is influencing my oldest son into confusion, because of her constant pulling upon him to think badly and do badly. He is impulsive and swayed at times, but inwardly does not have rebellion against the Lord. I want him to stand firm in the Lord, and pick good friends and use the opportunities that he has to seek the Lord. I want him to learn how to stand up to peer- pressure and stand up on the side of the Lord. That is the battle that he is in.

It is difficult to share, but I would appreciate your prayers. Thanks.

ADDENDUM: Is anyone still with me? I posted this all (the above) earlier today, but I want to add to it, rather than starting a new entry for today. Just a few thoughts: The Lord asked two discordant things when He told Abraham to give Issac as a sacrifice, and when He told Abraham that through Issac would come all of the future blessing of children. Abraham knew this when the boy asked, "we have the wood, but where is the sacrifice?" And Abraham gave the name of the Lord, Jehovah-Jireh "I AM PROVIDER." He answered to the boy, "The Lord Himself will provide a sacrifice." Abraham could not understand because it was impossible to make sense of what God was saying. Abraham simply had to obey. That obedience was drawn out of his faith. That "Against all hope, Abraham in hope obeyed" (Romans 4).

As I am continuing in this fast, I am realizing how much I like food, and how good it smells and looks. But not thinking about that for long, just noticing. What I am realizing really, what I am trying to keep with me spiritually, is just how humility can be more and more, because we are, because I am, really a sinner. So more and more humility doesn't reach how low I should go. And I should go lower still more, but I don't, and that huge gap is filled with grace. God's grace. We come to Him in such ignorance, but He just loves us in grace upon grade. May I be that way, pouring out grace upon grace, not self-righteous in my own drummed up works and acts of humility. I feel so pathetically self-righteous!

Saturday I am going to break my fast, about 70 hours after it began. I am going to have a nice dinner with my husband, and a little before that have a snack so I don't get sick with the dinner.

How are y'all doing with the prayer and fasting?

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:22 AM | 3 comments

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Holding nothing back


Should I talk about the fears that I had, the doubts, or where I am at now, at this moment? How about where I am at, at this precious moment in time. Okay, that I will.

ACTS 21:24 "...I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me." Paul said that.

He also spoke of not yet being perfect, but that he presses on unto the high calling of Christ, who called him (Phil chapter 3: around verse 14).

I am not perfect (of course), and I fail (of course). I press on, but then I doubt and feel dumb, humiliated.

There is a feeling of humiliation that I have when I am totally surrended to Christ, and am doing something that I wouldn't normally do, but do anyway for the sake of Christ. There is a place of vulnerability there, and neediness and foolishness and humiliation. But then I can just surround myself with the knowledge of Christ, realize that "if (since) God is for us, who can be against us" (Romans 8:31). So who cares if I am dumb, foolish and feel humiliated.

"Those who trust in Him will NEVER be put to shame."

He isn't the one humiliating us. HE is for us. Let us press on.

There is so much that I want to do. I want to clean my house. I want to get done about 15 hours worth of these work reports that I want to do, I want to mail some packages, write a thank-you note, catch up on dictations, join the blog Bible Study, pray and seek God, read two or three books that interest me, begin writing the book again that is about my grandmother's life, that is shelved right now, yet she is so old and what information will be lost forever when she dies that I should get now, yet I have already gotten so much, and what about my mother's story too? I want to do exercise, fix my bike, get a years worth of banking statements up to date, write a letter to my oldest son, learn how to use my digital camera, call the Verizon people to fix the software on my fancy phone.

Yes, there is so much that I want to do. There is a lot that I do not want to do. I do not want to watch football, get drunk, use drugs, laugh as a waste of time with people who are going to hell and are laughing along the way and are blind (that is hanging with them so as to be like them).

"But one thing is important and Mary has chosen that, and it will not be taken from her," Jesus said to Martha.

Okay. I will spend time with Jesus in prayer in worship. I will meditate upon His word. I will walk step by step and moment by moment and day by day. He will show me what to do, where to go, what to say. Jesus didn't seem to worry. HE just did whatever the Lord showed Him to do. HE slept in the boat when the disciples thought they were going to drown, forgetting that He said, "Let's go to the other side of the lake." Forgetting that the Lord of glory was there with them. Why were they worried?

So Lord, I lay down all of these things on my to-do list. I have always had a long to-do list. Why am I troubled by it now? I guess that I do worry and I don't need to. I just need to walk with You.

I am worried about this fast so much, because the last time I tried to fast for days, it was horrible in so many ways. There was intese spiritual warfare and I felt sick and practically laid in bed the whole time. I don't want that to happen. I do want You to show me things, but I know that my motives are impure. I am impure. Yet I know that You forgive me, You know that and You want to use me anyway.

So Lord, I give myself to You. I do know that I count my life as nothing because I surrender it to You at this time. All my dreams for self-redemption, that I could make something great out of myself, that would redeem myself. You will make something great out of myself for Your glory and pleasure and eternal fellowship with this child. I can rest in You and sleep while You take me to the other side of the lake.

I want to hear You more, but I don't want to honor experiences, I want to honor You. I don't want to look for signs, I want to walk hand in hand with You upon Your road, fellowshiping with You. I want to worship You with my life.

I know that You will use me to be of increasing service to others because this is Your will for all of us, through our sanctification. Help me to be the wife, the mother, the doctor and the friend that You have called me to be. Help our finances to work out, and that You would bless my husband and his abilities - make them Your abilities. Help him to be one with You in increasing measure, increase his faith and actions on Your behalf.

Bless each one of the precious children that You have bestowed upon me. Oh my heavens, Lord, open wide Your heavens and declare "I AM THE LORD WHO LIVES AND REIGNS" with their lives. And make Your testimony great with this family unit, that all who see would know that You are a God who has been the Lord and ruler of my life. Is Matt my son? Is Brent my son? I will wait upon Your will, but Oh my goodness, what wonderful thing that You seem to be doing. What gift have You called me to? What great thing are You doing in Matt's life? Did You call me, like a bird from a far to be this boy's Mom? What a blessing to marvel at the wonders that You are doing now in and through this situation, too many to name - oh that a work of the Almighty God is occuring.

Lord, help me in my body, to possess it with the power and authority of Christ. Grant me wisdom. Be with my blog friends who are joining me on this prayer and fast. Be with the church at CCLC who are praying and fasting for the Africa trip. Be with those other missionaries that Corry and Casey are praying about. Be with the many written needs on the prayer list both at blogland and at my Bible Study. Go with me today in strength and power, that I would be well today and not sick and that You would be the determiner of my fate. Amen. Got to go, love y'all.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:44 AM | 5 comments

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Details


I am glad that people want to pray and fast with me. The time is for each of your concerns, not my concerns, per say, but our concerns. It doesn't have to be a total fast of all food, just whatever the Lord leads you to do and whatever you can do. It is a time for seeking Him, His direction and favor so He may do as He pleases in and through our lives. I know it is short notice, but I was thinking about Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week as in tomorrow the 5th, 6th and 7th. Due to the different time zones, you can do your own 5th, 6th, and 7th or mine. If you want to do a different time completely due to dinner obligations, that is fine, or (Kitty) you may think about enjoying the dinners with your friends, and while not at the dinners then fast. This is what I have done last year and it worked out nicely. As for me, one time I tried to pray and fast for several days, and mid day the second day, I had to break the fast because I was so sick, and that was okay. God had broken some strong holds in my life during prayer and fasting times for me in the past, specifically for my obesity problem, that just had a hold on me that was intense.

I am praying that the Lord will open up the opportunity that I will have enough time for prayer with Him during these days. I am just going to trust and rely upon Him for time to seek Him during these days. I am going to depend upon Him as far as how much I am able to fast, and try not to be legalistic about it.

Well, I have to be off now. Love y'all. I'm going to start the fast my time tomorrow, Thursday, Jan 5th. Let me know who is able to join me. I'll also be praying for the prayer list items on Corry's prayerlist blog.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 6:07 AM | 6 comments

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

What do you think?


My church is having a prayer and fasting time between Thursday and Saturday this week. They are meeting each night to pray and they are fasting (in part or completely abstaining from food, but drinking a lot of water). They are seeking God before they go into some remote parts of Africa, on missions.

I want to participate with them, but I have not been able to participate that much with the things that the church does, because basically I am a lot more of a fanatic when it comes to church things than my husband, who has just recently begun to follow the Lord. So, I find the need to be more discrete, and less intimitating and less "know it all." God has not called me to run off to church all the time, actually the opposite. He has built up my ministry in my home.

I want to pray and seek God's will and favor for the following things in my life:

1) Matt's adoption, healing, integration into our family and salvation
2) God's favor and purposes be upon our family unit and with each member specifically - like how Job prayed for his family in the beginning of that book
3) That my husband be perfectly directed and given favor by God
4) That I would possess this vessel (body) according to God's power and authority
5) for my wisdom, discernment, understanding of direction and tapping into God (abiding with Him).

I thought I would ask my blogger friends. Does anybody want to seek a time of prayer and fasting for three days later this week for seeking God and understanding and His favor in their lives and for the things that we have been praying for, and for our own little community that God has obviously created amongst ourselves - for our going out into our parts of the world with Christ's message? Does anyone want to join me in this?

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 9:30 AM | 8 comments

Monday, January 02, 2006

update about my meeting with the lovely social worker from Louisville (pronounced Lu-a-vul, as per the locals).


I'm at the Lu-a-vul airport - plane's delayed at least an hour. I didn't have to get up this morning until 4:40 am, so I got an unanticipated 60-95 minutes of sleep. I'll jump straight to the meeting and cut to the chase.

The social worker really cares for Matt a lot, whom she has worked with for over two years. She is looking for the "perfect" family for Matt, and is pleased to have a large stack of homestudy reports from which to choose. She has narrowed down her choice to three families. She is meeting with each of those families to narrow down further. I was her first meeting of the three.

The meeting went really, really well in so many respects. I think at this point I feel particularly warmed about my belief that God is involving our family in His activity and not me pushing forward my agenda. Kind of like what I was trying to get across regarding my New Year's resolutions. I want God to initiate and me to follow Him - not try to manipulate God into doing my agenda.

I want to be faithful to God's calling. Today's meeting was like holding a puzzle piece in my hand, and the social worker describing the rest of the puzzle.

I know that God will fulfill His purpose for my life, for Matt's life, for my family's life. Yet, I think it will be pleasing to Him to pray about some specific matters.

1) That if it is God's will, Matt be referred to our family within the next couple weeks (her timetable that she mentioned).
2) That there would be no problems or unforseen delays with interstate or other potentially problematic obsticles.
3) That God would prepare all of our hearts and our home and provide for all answers to all details.

Thank you and God bless you.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 3:13 PM | 5 comments

Sunday, January 01, 2006

2006


Happy New Year! IT is finally 2006 in California! I think Kitty had the New Year about a week ago, anyway.

Here are my "resolutions":

I really want to eat according to God’s calling and leading. Is that possible? I want to exercise in His strength and according to His leading and guiding. Is that possible? I want to write when He tells me to write and how HE tells me to write, about many exciting and insightful and even funny things, that HE would even say through me. I want to go where He says, come when He calls. I want to submit to my husband, and serve my children, my older children the way that Abraham served Lot. I want to have opportunities to fast, and that He would sustain me through that and do great things through that opportunity. I want to love patients the way that Christ would. I want to wait for His timing. To speak only when HE says. I want His wisdom to fill me. I want to feel more deeply the things of God and of laughter. I want to appreciate wisdom and speak it and kindness more readily. I want to be possessed by Jesus Christ more fully. I want to consider everything else in this world loss. I want to live an authentic Christian life. When I am discouraged I want to have Christ’s reality in me that Christ’s truth is the light that sustains through any darkness. I want to avail myself to whatever radical thing that God wants to do in my life. I want to lay down my life for Him and not to worry about the things that HE is taking care of. I want God to take care of my finances, my husband, my children’s walk with the Lord, with the adoption, with the time that I am able to work and the times that I am not able to work, with missing meetings that I may need to miss. I want to rely on God and I want Him to do great things through my family and through me. When God looks upon me I want Him to see and remember and have mercy upon this family unit. I want Him to fulfill Himself through this family, to have His way with us. I want this family to see that the book of ACTS is the ordinary way of Christianity. That my children, even because of my faith, and my husband, would think great things of God to be just regular things that happen. I would like for my kids to see that they are called by God for a great purpose in their lives, and that if God has called them , then HE will do it. And that God would flow His living waters through this home in Elk Grove, California, and He would protect us from disease, food, earthquake, financial disaster, problems with society or reputation and He would be our guiding light, our shield, our bulwark (What is that Bonnie? It came to mind and I don’t have time to look it up. Did I use that in the right context? I think so, so I’ll go on.) God bless us Lord. Oh, and I want to memorize more Scripture and speak more Scripture, live more Scripture. Live more of Him. “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:25 AM | 4 comments