Thursday, August 27, 2009

Apples of Gold

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
Proverbs 25:11

I have some apples of gold to share with you today! Today I was listened to Nancy Leigh Demoss'two part broadcast. Wow, what a treasure chest of of riches. Mary Kassian was the guest speaker, she speaks the truth and doesn't hold back. If you are a women, a wife, or a mom, you won't be left wanting. If you get a chance, go on over to her website and check out all of the apples of gold in settings of silver.

Until next time,


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cherishing Discipline

Well, day #2 of my healthy eating plan is coming to a close. It wasn't a perfect day, but thankfully this journey is not about perfection. You know, I truly think the first day is almost always the hardest for me to actually get started. However, the second day and days following, I am usually quite tempted to go into auto pilot. Auto pilot meaning- follow the plan, check off my little boxes, and ignore the heart work that needs to take place. But because hindsight is always 20/20 (I have LOTS of hindsight); I know that if I ignore the heart work, I will most definitely find myself getting a do over once more! When I mention heart work, I am not talking about having a visit with Dr. Phil. I am referring listening to the Holy Spirit and applying the scripture to my heart.

With that in mind, I thought I would share a few of the verses that have spoken to me in the last month as well as a few of my thoughts. I desire for these scriptures to make it on a note card with the hope of committing them to memory. Let the heart work begin!

"The sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks and but finds nothing."
Proverbs 20:4
When I read over this verse the first time, my cute little jean jacket came to mind- true statement. I'll be honest, this scripture reveals my own vanity, yet it speaks to me deeply. I have an entire closet full of clothes (really cute clothes) that I cannot currently wear. Yes, I did just have a baby but that was 7 months ago! And I cannot kid myself, those clothes were beginning not to fit before I was pregnant. How do I expect to fit into that cute little jacket when it gets cold if I don't do the work now? When fall comes, which happens to be right around the corner, I really would like to wear my fall clothes. But, it won't happen if I continue to imitate the sluggard and do nothing but ponder at my own obstinate heart.

"My sons, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they though best; but God disciplines us for our good that me may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12: 5b-11

There is so much here and I am in no way attempting to do a exegeses of this scripture. I am however greatly relating to the fact that no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but that later on it will produce a harvest or righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
I cannot tell you how many times Tim and I have shared this scripture with our children. It's never fun to discipline them. When we discipline them we want to encourage them that first, we love them, thus we discipline them. And second, it is for their good as followers of Christ that we discipline in order for them to produce a harvest of righteousness and peace.

The same can be said for me. It is not fun to be under the Lord's discipline, but painful. The last few months have been agonizing. I have flirted with the truth that I need to submit my own sinful desires to Him and yield. I have heard His voice and pulled back and pretended that I didn't quite comprehend. I actually got to a point where I was utterly confused, wondering if this area of my life was even sin! Oh how our own hearts can deceive us. "All a man's ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart." Proverbs 21:2

I feel I must make one thing clear. I really don't think the Lord is concerned with my "weight loss goal". What I do think He's concerned about is my heart. The dreaded heart work...
Going to Scripture with questions like, "Why do I love this sin?" "How many minutes or hours a day am I consumed with thoughts of me and my appearance instead of delighting in the Maker of Heaven and Earth?" or "What does the Scripture say about how I conducting my life and living out my days?". These are the things that I must place at His Throne of Grace and plead with Him to change my heart to desire to do His will!

Lest you are tempted to be enchanted or commend me for my walk with the Lord, please know that I am oh so prone to wander-and quickly! I echo the apostle Paul, "What wretched man that I am, who will rescue me from this body of death! Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:24-25a. It is only by the grace of God and His glorious Gospel that I am not eternally damned.

I rejoice that the Lord is patient and gentle. (Matthew 11:28-30). He is a loving Father who disciplines me for my good that later I might reap a harvest of righteousness for His glory. He is teaching me how to relinquish control to Him and trust Him with the deepest complexities of my heart. When I begin to fret how I will make it on day #3, He reminds me not to worry about tomorrow as today has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)

Lastly, as I previously stated in an earlier
post, I am learning that self-discipline is not about me controlling my sinful desires. It's about submitting, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to the Almighty God, saying no to sin and yes to Him. I am still learning to cry out to my Maker (Psalm 107) and to trust Him as He walks me through this time of discipline. That later, one day I might share in His holiness and reap a life of righteousness and peace.

Until next time,


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another Do Over!

I believe in "do overs". For several years Justin, Sarah, and I have practiced them together. Usually, when one of us is really grumpy and we know it, we request a "do over". We all put our hands on top of each others and count1-2-3 and then shout, "DO OVER!". And if one person doesn't seem to be into it, well we just do our little do over all over again!

Guess who gets the do over? Yes, that's right, it's me! Except there's no shouting and cheering today and I haven't invited Justin or Sarah to join me. Today I started over (again) on my eating healthy plan. I have been undergoing the Lord's discipline in this area of my life. I think I could write an entire novel on it, but I'll spare you today.

I have mentioned Titus 2 several times in previous posts and am still captivated by Paul's words of instruction for the older women to teach the younger women. There are seven things that Paul instructs the older to teach the younger:

1) to love their husbands

2) to love their children

3) to be self-controlled

4) to be pure

5) to be busy at home

6) to be kind

7) to be subject to their husbands

On July 1st as a matter of fact, I underlined each word in my Bible and stopped and thought of my own life. I entered them into my journal and wrote just a few thoughts out. When I got to self-control I inwardly cringed. Not a great area for me. It seems I have a pattern that has vacillated between shopping a little too much (for another blog entry for sure) and for eating unhealthy food and too much of it. I have struggle off and on with this sin; as it is an area lacking in self- control, off and on all of my Christian life and before. My prayer was that the Lord would grant me a repentant heart that I could truly see this area of my life as sin and turn from it to Him.

Since July 1, I have given this matter in my life great thought-too much thought probably. I have asked the Lord why I do this to myself, what got me to where I am, and how in the world will I ever get back to where I need to be! The answers have come slowly. Honestly, there was an attempt at the South Beach diet and that lasted through breakfast, ha! I even thought of staying away from all sugar again for a period of time....I needed to reign myself in you know?
And there lies the problem. This self-control isn't about ME controlling myself, it's about me submitting to the Holy Spirit and crying out (Psalm 107) to my Maker to help me to be transformed to the image of His Son for His purpose and glory. (see 2 Corinthians 3:18) I have to continually remind myself that self-control is not about me, it's about saying no to the deeds of the flesh through the power of the Holy Spirit.

It's such a hard lesson. My flesh wants to be me centered and not God centered. It's screaming, "No, I've got this one. I have done it before, I know what to do. Just let me take another shot" But my loving Abba Father says, "No daughter, come to me in your weakness, for my power is made perfect in your weakness. For when you are weak, I am strong." 2 Cor 12:8
It's the Gospel, the good news that causes my spirit to rest! If it were left up to me, my life would be in complete shambles, but Jesus Christ has saved me from my sin!

So today, day #1 of my "do over" which is not yet over by the way; I have followed my little eating healthy plan because it helps me stay on track and be accountable for what/how I am eating. But I know that the only way that tomorrow will become day # 2 on my eating healthy plan is if I lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord (Provers 3-5 apmplified)
to sustain me when I have to say no to my flesh and yes to the Spirit. For me, it's a minute by minute confessing my weakness before the Lord and believing on Him for the strength to press on.

My hope is that through this process of learning self-control, I will learn how to live a more God centered life that will prepare me to live in His presence in preparation for an eternity with Him.

Until next time,


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Getting the "messy" out of Missy

"Messy Missy", I never liked that nickname. Who would? I was reminded of it a few weeks ago when asked my name at a local book store. I informed the gal that my full name was Melissa, but I go by Missy. She said, "Messy"? I said, "No! M-i-s-s-y". She replied that she thought that would be a strange name... Ya think?

I was just plain messy by nature. My poor sister and I shared a room for most of our growing up years. She was always tidy and I was not. I was "global". I liked all my stuff around me at once. I was also the queen of stuffing; you know when you were supposed to clean your room and instead you stuffed everything under the bed, in the drawers, and back behind clothes in the closet. Yep, that was me. And unlucky for me, my dad was a true clean freak. Can you say stress? I drove him crazy!

How does that translate into adulthood you might ask? Oh my! When Tim and I were first married we didn't have a washer or dryer in our apartment. We had to tote it all down to the laundry room. I say down because we lived on the third floor, have mercy. We used to store our dirty clothes in the hall closet (it was a small apartment). One day, the pile in the closet was taller than me! I remember Tim counted that there were 14 loads of laundry in all, for two people mind you! Sometimes, I just wouldn't notice things like the cereal bowl still on the table at 5:00 in the afternoon. I finally noticed when Tim would come home from work and firmly place it in the sink.

I really did desire to want to be organized and tidy. I also wanted to want to cook for our family. I would listen to my friends get all excited about a new recipe and wonder what in the world was wrong with me?!? A few years ago, I started praying about it and asked Tim to pray for me too. I didn't have to be the next Top Chef, I just wanted to give my family a nice meal. I also desired for our home to be a place of peace and refuge, not chaos. I asked the Lord to please change me heart and cause me to desire to cook and clean and I am not kidding around.

Tim and I were talking a few nights ago and we were discussing some recipe that I made. I stopped for a minute and could not believe what I was saying....number one, I followed a recipe (ha!) and number two I actually enjoyed it. I asked him if he remembered me asking him to pray for me that God would change my heart and cause me to desire to "tend" to my family in the way of good meals and an orderly home. He said yes he did and he had prayed for me. Lo and behold, our great God changed my heart! There is hope! Truly, I really didn't want to do those things before, I just knew that I needed to.

I have mentioned being in Titus in different posts because there is one verse in there that I am still chewing on 2-3 years later:
" Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home , to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands so no one will malign the word of God." Titus 2:4-5
It's the busy at home part that has really spoken to me over these few years and that has become my prayer, "Lord, please help me to be busy at home." One thing I've learned is that it's hard to be "busy at home" or a "homemaker" if you're not home a lot, but maybe that's for another post!

Now, let's get one thing straight. My home is not the picture of clean perfection! If you happened to stop by unannounced, you'd probably see shoes sitting out by the door, baby toys here and there in the living room, and currently a few boxes of my home school books in the dining room. If you took a stroll into our laundry room you'd see clean baskets of laundry and dirty baskets of laundry, but this time maybe only ten loads out! BUT, there is order and that's an improvement! Make no mistakes, I don't always desire to do the laundry or scrub a toilet. I am not a gourmet cook; my family will attest to that, but by His tender mercy, I now prepare a menu two weeks out.

I think I know why God has changed my heart (He is still working on me, it's a process). First, it's in accordance with His will. He desires for me to nurture my family, that's my role. Second, it brings glory to His name. Anyone who truly knows me, knows that this was not in my make up.

You might have your own house in order. If you do, please feel free to share a few tips with me....but please share them a little bit at a time lest I become overwhelmed! :)
Truly, you might be the queen of organization and a wonderful cook, but everyone has something. What is your something? There is hope. Ask God to change your heart to transform you to look more like Him for the praise of His glory.

Until next time,

My Daily Bread

Proverbs 30:7-9

"Two things I ask of you , O Lord: do not refuse me before I die:

Keep falsehood and lies far from me: give me neither poverty nor riches,

but give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, "Who is the Lord?"

Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."

I read this scripture more than two weeks ago and I am still struggling to put my thoughts into words. There's a deep groaning that takes place with in me as I recite the vs. "but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, "Who is the Lord?". The truth is, it seems the more possessions I own and desire to acquire, the distraction increases and satisfaction in Him decreases. It's a continuous tension in my life as a follower of Christ. Sometimes my hope is too closely yoked with the balance in my bank account, large or small.

I think of John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" and how this life is a pilgrimage to everlasting life. Somehow, it seems that eternity with our Maker is just so far away I often forget that this life is not all there is. My hope as a believer isn't in what I can see, but rather in what I cannot. In reading through the book of Titus, listen to what Paul says about hope.

"Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness. A faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie promised before the beginning of time and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior." Titus 1:1-3 (emphasis mine)
I don't have all of this figured out. As I stated before, it's a continuous tension. Today, I will echo the prayer in Proverbs and the words of Paul.
I pray the knowledge of your truth in my life will indeed lead to godliness. May my faith and knowledge rest alone in the hope of eternal life. Today, please give me only my daily bread that I might not disown You and say, "Who is the Lord." And I might add; please help me to truly delight in You that everything else might be a dim comparison to Your glory for now and ever more.
Until next time,


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

From the pit

I had a "from the pit" kind of day today. There was no crisis, it was just me and my own heart.
I just finished speaking with my husband about it and his response was spot on and it turns out that he even blogged about it not my pit in case you're wondering.

After reading his blog it gave me a much needed new perspective.

Boasting in the Gospel from the echos of the pit,