Thursday, April 26, 2012

Clay in His Hands? 

The other day, a friend of mine came to pick up a frame she had ordered from Joy-Full Creations (one of our fund raisers).  After she left, Solon (our youngest) looked up at me and said, with a huge grin,
"Okay Mom, NOW can we adopt a little sister"?

On another occasion, we had some teenagers from our ministry over to our house, and Solon was playing tag with one of the girls.  His instructions to her:
"You run, and I will chase you...and when I tag you, I adopt you!  Okay?"

He melts our hearts and he cannot WAIT to meet his little sister. 

If only adoption were as simple as Solon imagines it to be!
There are over 130 MILLION orphans in this world!  But sadly, the average cost for an international adoption is 20 to 30 thousand dollars.  And that, alone, keeps so many from pursuing adoption.  I have said, from the very beginning, that I knew this would be a HUGE mountain to climb. 

There are days we get impatient.
There are days we doubt our ability.
There are days we feel overwhelmed with the length of the process.
There are days our minds race with questions.
There are days we worry about finances...

I cannot lie... I often regret some of our financial decisions - which stem from getting tangled in the web of the "American Dream" -
Nice clothes, nice house, nice 'stuff'', nice car....And then I read in Luke chapter 12 -

"Sell your possessions and give to the poor. 
Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out,
a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted,
where no thief comes near
and no moth destroys.
For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also."
Verses 33-34

Its not that I think God doesn't WANT to bless us, in many different ways (including nice "stuff").  He has just brought, to my attention, that my "treasure" has often been my "stuff" and THAT is not where my heart is to be! 

God is molding us through this process.  He is shaping us.  He is the potter and we are the clay.  Often, the shape HE chooses, takes us out of our comfort zones and increases our faith.

HE is making a way for us to give HIS precious child a
A roof over her head.
A bed to snuggle into at night. 
A family that loves her.
A feeling of safety and security. 
And most of all, a family that will help nurture the path to her Creator...
For her to understand that she is the daughter of a King - King Jesus!

Has God been calling you to something that could potentially take you out of your comfort zone?
Are you clay in His hands?
Will you let Him stretch you?
Will you let Him mold you today?
Don't 'dry up' and become immovable. 
LET Him shape you. 
Trust Him, even when it's hard. 

As we are moved, under the gentle guidance of His hands...
HIS glory will be revealed.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Top News: Petrino's Sins & My Sins

We've lived in Arkansas for five years now, and as a Texas girl, I have always had a great admiration for the devotion of Hog Fans.  I'm proud to admit, all three of our children now know how to call the hogs!  But Arkansas fans, everywhere, are saddened by the poor choices of Coach Bobby Petrino, which ultimately led to the firing of a (once great) leader. 

It's everywhere:  Facebook, Twitter, and the News - ALL covering the
Top Story"Coach Bobby Petrino-FIRED". 

Yes, Petrino lied and tried to cover his tracks.
Yes, he made VERY poor choices.
Yes, he broke contract, and there are consequences for that.

But I can't help imagining what it must be like to be in his shoes, and all morning long, I have been thinking of a man from scripture with a very similar story. 

A man who lied and tried to cover his tracks.
A man who committed adultery & even murdered.
A man named David.  A great and mighty leader.

He defeated the giant, Goliath, and gave Israel a great victory. (1 Samuel 17:1-58)
He was later anointed as King of Judah, according to the Lord's instructions, 
(2 Samuel 2:1-4) And then King of all Israel.
His Kingdom expanded & he was a MIGHTY Leader.
In time, he committed adultery with Bathsheba.
He then had Bathsheba's husband murdered to cover up their sin.


Still used David.

David repented: 
"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin."
Psalm 51:1-2

Petrino's sins made top news because he was the leader of the Great Arkansas Razorbacks.
David, is written about in scripture, because he was a mighty leader.
And Bobby Petrino is held accountable for his own actions just like David was.

The truth is, we can point our finger at a fallen leader,

Fathers - leading their families.
Mothers - leading their children.
Presidents - leading a company.
Workers - leading everyone around them.
Teachers - leading students.
Students - leading their classmates.
I can't think of ANYONE who doesn't have eyes looking up to them (whether they know it or not).

We ALL need to point the finger at ourselves
and really take time to reflect on our own leadership.

If our sins were exposed, what would the Top News read?
"Father Addicted to Pornography"
"Mother's Secret Texts & Facebook Messages Exposed"
"President of Company Neglects Family To Pursue Wealth"
"Local Worker Cheating on Spouse"
"Teacher Gossips About Co-Workers"
"Student Having Premarital Sex"

May God convict us ALL of our sins.
May we not just ignore this conviction and justify our sins, but
May WE cry out to God:

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot our my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin...

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me...Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."
Psalm 51

Friday, April 6, 2012

On This Day...

On this day I will be busy. 
So much to do, and not enough time to do it.
Work, Laundry to fold, a house to clean, meals to cook and everyone to care for.

But will I remember the business Jesus was about today?
He carried the burden of the sins of this world upon His shoulders.
He had one task on His mind.  One task to complete.

On this day I will go shopping for Easter Clothes.
I will go to the grocery store to prepare for Easter lunch.
I will stress about finances, with the beeping of the registers.

But will I consider the cost of my sins?
He could not eat, or drink, and it was not a day of celebration for Him.
He paid the ultimate price, worth far more than ALL of my earthly treasures.

On this day my phone will ring.
I will chat about the casual things of life,
Considering what fun things to plan for the weekend.

But will I listen to the ringing in my ears?
The ringing of each time the hammer fell,
And drove the massive nails into His hands and feet?

On his day I will hear the shouting of thousands of sports fans.
It's opening day of baseball season,
And the fans are on their feet.

But will I hear the shouting of the people?
"Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!"
"If you're King of the Jews, then save yourself"!

On this day, I may feel alone.
Wishing someone could just understand.
I may groan and complain because of circumstances.

But will I feel the rejection Jesus felt?
"My God, My God.  Why have you forsaken me"?
The ugliness of my sins, so horrible, that God had to turn away.

On this day, He cried-
"It is finished". 

"God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, SO THAT in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Cor. 5:21

On this day...
May I remember what Jesus did!
May I consider the cost of my sins!
May I listen to the hammer ring!
May I hear the shouts of the people who did not recognize their Savior!
May I feel the rejection, and understand it's magnitude!

Not just on this day, but EVERY DAY,
May I remember ALL of this,
And rejoice, that it did not end at the cross!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Out of the Overflow of the Heart, the "Status" Speaks

The world of Social Media has exploded to levels we never imagined possible!  We have become social butterflies through a simple, yet complex device called a cell phone.  Sitting in a restaurant, at a sporting event, even driving in your car - everywhere you look, people are on their phones; Checking twitter, e-mails, texting, checking Face Book or updating a status.  It's everywhere!  We've come a LONG way from Bag Phones!  :)

Do you remember our first form of texting?  If you had a pager or a calculator you could write 07734:  "HELLO" upside down.  From there, the first text message was sent (only 20 years ago) in 1992.  And according to Wikipedia, the first 3G Web access from a cell phone happened only12 years ago. Now, we have everything at our fingertips!  Forget 3G, we've got 4G!

No more "chain calls"
No more waiting to get home to check our messages on our answering machines.
No more waiting to get to a computer to check e-mails.

We have group texting, mass e-mails, and Facebook access in a split second - with a "Status Update" we can tell EVERYONE in our "friend group" exactly what's on our minds:

"I've folded all the laundry, cleaned the entire house, AND worked out"
"Have you seen the movie...?"
"I need a vacation"
"I hate Mondays"
"I AM SO MAD!!!....."

Freedom of Speech; it's a beautiful thing.  But, as a believer, what will I do with this freedom?  How will I use this freedom?  I can say whatever I want on Facebook! Not only that, but I can get people to "like" my status (thumbs up) and if I'm lucky, they will "comment" and back me up in my efforts for justice when "I am MAD". 

"A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of".
Luke 6:45

"For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks"  Matthew 12:34b

What we say is a reflection of what's in our hearts?  Does that apply in the world of social media?  Isn't it just easier to write out our frustrations through a text or a status update?  Then, we can be as brutally honest as we want to be and not worry about the repercussions.   

"If your brother sins against you,
go and show him his fault just between the two of you"
Matthew 18:15

Go to our brother (or sister) if they sin against us?  This is HARD!!! 

It's the battle of the flesh and the spirit. 

Once again, I am reminded that Jesus did not take the easy road out when He walked this Earth.  He did not respond the way the world responded. 
He did not live the way the world lived. 
He was different from the world, even when He was persecuted by the world. 

"Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."  Ephesians 5:15-16

The Days ARE evil, and Satan can often gain a foothold in our lives through power of Facebook:  Comparison, Jealousy, Connections with old flames, Criticism, Judgement and more.


Can use it for good!

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying Facebook is a bad thing.  But, I do believe we've been given this unbelievable opportunity to reach, encourage and help hundreds and even thousands of lost and hurting people through the platform of social media. 

"Go into all the world and preach the good
news to all creation."  Mark 16:15

Are we making the most of this opportunity
Is it just one more way of building another idol in our lives - 
an idol in the shape of ourselves?