Not-another-thing-to-remember: January 2007

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Clean, Clean, Clean

Do you ever get in the mood to just clean and clean and clean, and you can't stop? That was me this weekend. I cleaned every room in my four bedroom/2 bath house, including the garage...and it felt good!!

More than cleaning the physical house in my life, it's been important to me to clean the spiritual house within me. Just as I walk around my physical house looking for what needs to be cleaned, I've allowed God to walk around the rooms of my heart and clean it up...

The commitments I made at the beginning of the year is where it all began. As I've spent more and more time with the Lord, I've found that cleaning the rooms of my heart has been very important in my walk and desire to grow closer to the Lord.

Just as I often put off REALLY cleaning up my house - the areas that just aren't any fun to clean - we can do the same thing with our spiritual house. Have you ever had someone show up at your house unexpectedly, and you ran through the house stuffing things in the closets or under the bed? Do you realize we can do that same thing with God? He shows up at the door of our heart, and we tell him, "hold on just a minute" and we frantically shove the things that we don't want him to deal with us about to the bottom of our heart.

BUT, you know the feeling that follows getting your house clean? That feeling of accomplishment? Or, how you wish people would unexpectly show up now that the house is clean...that they would have seen it clean not dirty? Nothing compares, not even the cleaning of our physical houses, to being right with God, and allowing Him to clean up the rooms of our heart. I can't even begin to explain the joy and refreshing that has fallen on my life as I've surrendered everything to the Lord, since I've allowed Him to walk through my life and say, "Laura, you should look here and under here and do some dusting here."

Today in worship I felt connected to God in such a way that had he taken me to heaven in that moment I might not have even noticed. My heart was completely full and I was crying out, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY IS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY", and there was absolutely nothing else sharing that spot in my heart during that time. He had my whole heart. The house is clean, and though I might have to clean it again tomorrow, I thank the Lord for today and the time in His presence. I thank Him for knocking on the door of my heart, and for loving me enough to help me clean up the dirty spots in my life. I thank Him for loving me even despite the dirty carpet or dusty shelves, and, for many years ago, washing me white as snow!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

God's Gift to Me

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It's often said that our children are a gift from God,
but what about our parents being a gift to us?
* * * * * * *
I think my parents are a gift to me. I treasure and admire so much about them...
Their love - not only for me, but my husband and children, and their love for mankind. My parents are both actively involved in missions, and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. They want others to have the same hope they have. Their love for each other. I'm so thankful that the Lord is in the miracle business and that years ago when the love seemed to grow cold, God restored what Satan tried to destroy. Their love for family. I have three brothers. We're all married and there is a total of 12 grandkids. One for every month of the year! All of us know their love, and have great love for each other.
Their strength - My parents have gone through a lot this last year with my dad contracting Malaria, having knee replacement surgery, and now, just recently, finding out my dad has Malanoma cancer. Just this week the doctors removed an area on his arm, and now we are praying he is well so they can go to India and preach. Where does the strength come from? I think this scripture sums it all up - Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
Their wisdom - Their wisdom is not their own. It comes from the Lord. I love that when I ask for advice (or even when I don't and they give it anyway) that they are concerned about what God would say about it. They give advice that is grounded in the Word, and they lead others to make wise choices. They share their experiences with others, in hopes that they will make the right choice in marriage, in finances and so forth.
There is so much more I could say, but first and foremost, the thing I treasure most about my parents is seeing first-hand their love for the Lord. It is real, and their relationship with the Lord is evident to all who know them. They are faithful to share the gospel. They are faithful to the reading and studying of His Word. They are all the things listed above because of their personal relationship with Jesus Christ. HE is their hope and strength and he makes them wise. All the things they gain from knowing Him overflow into their relationship with others, and I am blessed beyond measure to be their daughter and have the relationship I do with them.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Absolute Time of Refreshing for Me

This weekend has been absolutely WONDERFUL, and exactly what I needed! I actually feel like I've been on a retreat.

With such a busy week behind me, I felt like it would be like most weekends, where I scramble to catch up on all the things I haven't been able to get done during the week here at home, and then before I know it, it's Monday morning, the alarm's going off at 5 am, and it's back to the office. But it wasn't like that at all.

The days seemed to be longer than most...With time to sleep in, lay around if I felt like it, spend quality time with the Lord and in His word, spend quality time with my husband and children - giving them plenty of attention and affection, blog (something I only seem to do when I have enough time that it doesn't make me feel like I'm taking away from something more important), and even read through most of a brand new book I found. I found myself thinking today, "I feel this smile on my face - it feels good!" (Not that I don't smile, just that I don't usually notice it like that!)

My husband is a pastor so we thought long and hard about whether we should cancel church or not on Sunday. We wanted to be sure our people were safe, but, at the same time, be able to open up the doors for corporate worship. Several called from the church Saturday night, asking what we planned to do, but we couldn't give an answer. Sunday morning the roads were clear, and we rejoiced to be in the house of the Lord! We were glad we did not act too quickly (especially when visitors showed up!!). It was a wonderful time of worship, and God's message to us was very powerful. In fact, many people talked of conviction and just how powerful the sermon was. God was faithful to show up and touch our hearts!

I don't want to give credit to anything but God in regards to this weekend. He has done a work in my heart, as I've asked Him what He desired for my life this year and truly began to seek Him with all my heart, more so than ever before. I also don't think it's by chance that just last night I picked up this book off our desk, The Slumber of Christianity; Awakening a Passion for Heaven on Earth. A very precious man gave this to my husband as a graduation gift in May and he brought it home the other day. I saw it laying there and I just so happened to pick it up and start reading it last night. I couldn't put it down. I'm caught in this question - have I been in a slumber? - and God is showing me what my heart is desiring to know -- TRUTH. I don't have the whole picture, just pieces of the puzzle, in my quest to know more of God and His desire for me, but this caught my eye on the front inside cover of the book, and I felt compelled to read more.

What if we're missing the point of our lives here on earth? - First question to hit me!

Then this:

I'm simply saying that the prevailing teaching of Christianity has become preoccupied with finding true pleasure and happiness and purpose on earth rather than the age to come. (Page 10).
The gravest concern we now face is the fact that our hope for the afterlife has slipped into slumber.
Our hope of heaven has fallen asleep. And when I say heaven, I mean Christ in heaven, for He is the Light of heaven, of the afterlife, of all the glory that awaits us.
We are more interested in the pleasures of this life than the bliss of the next. (Page 11).

I found myself asking God - are you trying to tell me something?! I feel like I must be in a bit of a slumber. Then, immediately, I prayed...God, get me out of this me more...speak to my heart...I'm listening!

Maybe God has me blogging this to speak to the hearts of other Christians out there who might be asking the same questions now??...I don't know. I don't even know how to end this, but I felt compelled to write it. Only God knows how this ends, but I'm up for the journey to know Him more. I pray others out there are on the same quest. May God do something in all of our lives this year!

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, and a hymn of praise to out God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
Psalm 40: 1-3

Thank you, Lord, for your unfailing love. I love to worship You, and lift up Your name. You are my Redeemer and my Rock!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sanctity of Life

This was our twins 11 years and 2 months ago.
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I had originally typed something else here, but as I typed, the thought came to mind that today (or sometime this week) is National Sanctity of Human Life Day. When I was trying to verify the day, I came across a website that literally broke my heart. I saw pictures of aborted babies not much smaller than my twins in this picture, and I just cried. It was horrible!!!
As I looked at the photos, I cried for all those children who were taken before they even breathed their first breath, and were given the chance to make a difference in this world. I wondered how many preachers and teachers and great, godly leaders were pulled from this earth.
I don't know what else to say, except, if you are contemplating abortion, PLEASE DON'T! There are people all over the United States who want children, but for some reason or another can't have them. If you think it's no big deal, check out a couple of websites when you type in sanctity of life on google, and find someone to help you make the right decision.
...written in love
I added this after the original post, as a comment back to someone, then realized it might not be understood to come from me so I wanted to add it here:
My heart also aches for the women and teenagers who were deceived and told that was not a life inside of them, or who feared what would happen if they continued to carry the child so they just gave in, or were forced by their parents to abort their child because they were so young, or who just didn't know any better...AND, my heart rejoices for the women who've sought forgiveness and have found restoration in Jesus Christ, and are willing to share their story with others, in hopes that they won't make the same mistake.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I pray this year, for my own life, will be one of growth. I spent a lot of time today with the Lord, asking Him to show me areas in which I need to grow. As I sat still before the Lord and thought about what I wanted for my own life, and asked Him what He desired for my life, one thing stood out in my mind; would I fail to keep my commitments?

It's never easy to share our faults, or the areas in which we know we need to grow, but I'm drawn to share a commitment I've made to the Lord and the fears that come with it, for the glory of God.

We all have areas we need to work on in our lives, but I find myself asking this question: Why do we fear sharing our commitments, and the struggles we face keeping them, with others? God knows us better than anyone else. He knows our struggles and failures and, yet, He still loves us.

Natalie Grant has a song - The Real Me - and as I listen to the words of that song I think, "does anybody see the real me?". God does, I know, but I don't want to hide behind anything, so I'm laying down my pride to share this with whoever God desires to read this and use it for His glory.

One of my most important commitments I've made this year is to spend 30 minutes with the Lord every single day. (Yep! I'm a preacher's wife, a youth and music minister, and I've never been faithful on a DAILY basis to make time for the one who gave His life for me!) It's a huge commitment, I know, but I know God is calling me to climb higher and go deeper in my walk with Him. I can think of numerous times when I felt the Lord calling me to get alone with him, and I'm ashamed to say it, but sometimes I pretty much just said, "Not right now, God." The very one who loves me more than anyone, and desires the best for my life, has heard the words, "I don't have time for you" come from my heart.

I don't ever want to be someone who lives behind a mask. I mess up...sometimes really, really bad, but I want people to know the real me. Why? So that they feel comfortable enough to be real with me, and so that those who are struggling in their own lives know that others out there struggle, too. Sure, we as Christians are called to live holy lives, and that truly is my heart's desire, but there are times I'm disobedient, and stubborn, and just plain lazy, and I don't want to break my commitments, but I do. I WANT THIS YEAR, AND THE REST OF MY LIFE, TO BE DIFFERENT!!

Mom, Dad, 3 Brothers and Me

Christmas 2006

Friday, January 12, 2007

Reading through the bible in one year

This year I commited to the Lord that I would read through His word in one year. It's been exciting! Though I am reading scripture I've read many times before, it always amazes me how I can read it again and not be bored and gain new insight. God's Word is ALIVE and ACTIVE!

My husband is also doing this, and our twins, who are 11 years old, wanted to do it as well. It was neat to hear one of them say to his dad that he was commiting to read through the bible this year, and to see them take it so seriously.

Many in our church made this same commitment, and I can't help but wonder what will happen if we are all faithful to reading, studying and applying it to our lives this year. I think it's neat to know that others are reading the same scriptures I am each day, and to know that He is touching their hearts through the reading of His word like He is mine. Maybe not in the same way, but in some way!!

Get in the Word, if you aren't already. Allow it to speak to your heart, to soften your heart, to show you great and mighty things. God speaks through His holy bible. Don't let it get dusty on the shelf this year! You'll never regret giving anything to the Lord -- even your time!

Thank the Lord for hearing our prayers

My dad does have Malanoma, but the doctor said if you're going to have it this is the best form you can have. They should be able to remove it all, and not have to have radiation. They even think he will be able to go to India, if the surgery goes well. Praise the Lord! When my dad first told me the doctors thought he had Malanoma, he seemed more concerned about not getting to go to India to share the gospel with people than he did about having cancer.

I thank the Lord for His unfailing love and compassion on us. I can't imagine not having a relationship with the Lord. How aweful that would be to live a life without hope!

Thank you for praying!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Prayers for my dad

If you read this blog, please stop and say a prayer for my dad. He has a spot on his arm that is most likely cancer. We'll know more next week, but for now we're just praying for a miracle - that it's not as it seems.

Thank you for praying!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Go Light Your World

To my daughter -
It's January 1, 2007 and so many things are going to be different beginning today. New adventures, new challenges, new house, new friends...
I am so excited for you, but at the same time sad that I won't be able to see you every day. I'm not really sure at this point how well I will handle that, but I know you will be happy and that makes me happy! Your dad and I are SO PROUD of you, and know you will do very well living on your own.
This picture always makes my heart well up with emotion and joy because I see such passion and love in your eyes, and know God has great plans for you! Keep living for Him and giving Him your life to do what He wills. Continue to lead others to Him and live a life that lights this world!
I love you and will miss you terribly!

Happy New Year!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful year and that you make resolutions that matter! If you are a Christian, I challenge you to make resolutions that will have an eternal impact. Share the gospel with those you come into contact with, study God's Word more, spend more time in prayer and listening to the Lord...and whatever else the Lord might lay on your heart. Make 2007 all about Jesus!

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