A gentle whisper from the LORD...

"Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." 1 Kings 19:11-12

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Naughty List

“For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.” Hebrews 4:2

I know God loves me. This is a truth I learned in my childhood. I know the Bible stories…the stories of the dreadful first day of sin, the crazy old man who built an ark, the scared prophet that tried to run from God but was swallowed up by a big fish, the baby that was born in a lonely stable in Bethlehem, the healing of the blind, lame and death and ultimately the resurrection of my Lord and Savior. I’ve heard it all. I’ve studied and read it. My Bible is outlined and highlighted, marked with sticky notes. I’ve eagerly written down notes and filled in blanks during sermons and teaching sessions. I’ve written Bible verses on note cards to put them out as a reminder of His Word throughout my day. I’ve taught these truths to my kids and repeated the lessons over and over. My life has been immersed in the Bible.

But do I really get it? Do I completely understand the grace Jesus has lavished over me? Do I grasp how deep my sin really goes?
I tried to sum up some of the things I’ve struggled with in my heart and mind. I decided to write them down to have a visual aid to show myself the crazy ideas and struggles I have dealt with and continue to deal with in my life, somewhat of a “naughty list”. Some are blatant sins. Others are daily struggles I never give over to God or ask for His help. Here are a few…

A cluttered mind
A constant nagging of Satan
Being exhausted
Being fake
Aches & pains
Ugliness in my heart
Wrong perceptions
Surrounded by unseen evil
Feeling overwhelmed
Quick temper
Being too busy

And that is only the beginning! You would think, looking at my “impressive” résumé above, that the list would be much shorter! When am I going to get it? All the Bible knowledge in the world is worthless by itself! This knowledge must be meshed together with faith.

I am eternally grateful to God for His holy Word. But I want more. I want a relationship that runs so deep that the list above grows shorter and shorter. I want a relationship that invades every part of me. I want knowledge and faith.

The bad news is we all have a list like this and no one will completely overcome their own lists this side of heaven. We will always struggle on this earth. But the good news is we have a day coming when our list will be erased forever…no more to be seen…no more to be remembered!

“…though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6-9

Usually something happens in my day that the Lord will use to lead me to writing a post. Today I came to a place of complete defeat. I fell to my knees and came to the Lord with a broken heart and spirit. I didn’t even have words to pray but the Lord heard my unspoken and tearful prayers. And after I laid it all before Him, he gave me renewed strength and a peace that passes understanding! My list of faults and failures brought me to my knees. The knowledge I’ve learned combined with a true faith prompted by the Holy Spirit led me to praise, glorify and honor our Lord, Jesus Christ!

Continue to seek His Word! Keep the faith! Endure for a time! And all praise be to God, our Savior, our Lord!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Blog of Honesty

“Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:34

“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 8:25

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Yesterday was a typical day. As the children began to wake, I felt refreshed from a good night’s sleep and from some peaceful time alone. I was ready to face the day and take on any challenge the kids would throw at me. And I did pretty good at the start! I was patient. I was using a calm and quiet voice. And with one complaint or argument, I calmly dealt with it. But as the day continued, my patience wore thin. My voice became more firm, with quick answers as to get through the moment. And the calm serenity moved to a more chaotic, self-centered mood that settled in the house like the dense fog over the ground that morning. My heart was filled with frustration if, at one single moment, things didn’t go exactly the way I thought they should. To top it all off, Troy told me that Henry thought I didn’t like him. “Crack!” And there goes the sound of my broken heart!

And that was just yesterday. I am so sad to admit that I feel this way most days. And many would say something like this in response, “Well, you have three small children!” “Things are just overwhelming right now. It’s understandable.” But I say, “No! It isn’t ok!” When Christ explains how we should treat others, he gives no excuses for any wrong behavior! So at this point, the guilt sets in and the accusations overwhelm and condemn me in every way.

But as I was praying about the sad situation this morning, I was led to the verses above. And I was not seeking them either! It just “happened” to be what I read in a book I was reading at the time! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah, who was perfect, is interceding for me right this very moment! He is talking to God about me, taking up for me! Wow! What an amazing thought…or might I say an amazing reality! I do not know how people can live in this world without His grace and mercy. I cannot comprehend living without knowing I am forgiven, I have one who intercedes for me and I have a Holy Spirit that is and will change me and strengthen me. And this same truth is for you as well!

I put a lot of thought into the purpose of this blog and my main goal is to be open and honest about my struggles in life. I hear so many people speak or write about all the great things happening in their Christian lives. And I praise God when I hear those things because I truly believe God is in the business of changing lives. And I know from His Word he is the great and mighty God! So we must keep on telling of His greatness. However, from personal experience, life is without struggles. And it’s the daily struggles of sin that really seem to bring me down so often. So might I be so bold to ask you to say a prayer for my day? And in return, I would love to pray for you! We are in this thing called life together and I would love to partner with you in prayer for each other! As His word says, we can go boldly to his thrown and speak with honest hearts. (bagraybeal@gmail.com)

I guess the beauty of it all is that “where sin increased, grace increased all the more,” (Romans 5:21) So may grace fill my heart today. May grace fill your heart as well! And may we rest in the assurance that Jesus is taking care of us. He is taking up for us! And this is where we write and speak of all the goodness in the Christian life! Praise God!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dread or Desire?

“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Luke 22:15

I usually like to keep this fact about myself a secret: I was a music major in college. There, I said it! But the reason I don’t want anyone to know this is because I don’t want to be asked to play for anything! If there was one thing that caused me more stress during school, it was a piano recital!

Ask my husband, my parents or my college roommates and they will agree with me when I say that you would not have wanted to be around me as the time for a recital drew near. I spent weeks dreading these single events. And with each passing day, my stomach churned, my thoughts were scattered and my mood was up and down like the world’s largest roller coaster! I even dreaded events that happened near the date of the recitals because I knew when those were over, it would be time for the dreaded event. As much as I loved learning about music, listening to music and even playing the piano on my own, I downright hated recitals with a passion! I sure didn’t handle the stress and dread of these situations well at all. But in the end, I would hardly call a music recital true suffering.

As I learn more about our sweet Jesus, I am truly amazed by him! Here he is, celebrating the Passover just hours before his trial and crucifixion, and he says he has “eagerly desired” this Passover meal! I was wondering what the original language would have said for this phrase “eagerly desired” and found out that “eagerly” means “to long for, to covet.” “Desired” was explained as, “(in context where the desire is positive), coveting, craving.”

So here is Jesus, coveting this meal, positively desiring and craving this single moment. And in the midst, he is completely mindful of the events about to happen. In his presence is Judas who is about to completely destroy any relationship they shared. He shares this moment with a group of weak men that are about to turn their backs on him out of fear for their own lives. He is completely aware of the physical suffering that his body will endure. He has knowledge of the horrible, indescribable separation from his heavenly Father that would take place and the unbearable burden of taking on all the sin of this world. My mind cannot even begin to comprehend the dread he must have suffered. And yet, he craved this moment.

Did you get that? He coveted…longed for…desired this moment just hours before all the horrible events were to take place! Evil and weakness swirled all around him in that room and yet he desired this very occasion. I can only think of two reasons he was able to eagerly enjoy the Passover meal. First of all, he was focused on the grand scheme of things. He didn’t think about the hours of suffering right before him; he focused on the eternity of glory and worship that would unfold in the end. Second, he enjoyed this moment because he deeply loves you and me! He was excited for us because he knew all of history was changing, prophecy was being fulfilled and death was going to be defeated all because he loves each of us!

Oh how I wish I were more like him! I am deeply thankful I live on this side of the cross so we can learn from his life and apply his wisdom to our own lives. I am thankful he was “tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin” (Heb. 4:15) so that he can sympathize with our weakness. He understands our dread. He knows our worries. Yet all we have to do is focus on him and the grand scheme of life. And only then will our problems fade in all His glory! And who knows, we might just begin to eagerly desire those hard yet precious moments!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


“The Lord replied, ‘I will personally go with you…and I will give you rest – everything will be fine for you.’” Exodus 33:14

Maybe I’ve used this verse too often but it is a promise I hold dear to my heart. It is a Word from God that I have clung to…squeezed so tightly to with white knuckles…desperately cried out reminding me of God’s truth!

In the summer of 2006, Troy was accepted for the Military scholarship for medical school. Although I was his loudest cheerleader and supporter in this decision, it was not without much anxiety and fear deep in my heart. I pretended everything would be fine and I became known in my family as the one who said, “Everything’s going to be fine!” I kept saying it over and over again trying to convince others I was fine and trying to convince myself.

But inside I was a wreck. I was a mess. My heart and mind were cluttered with so much stress and worry. I sometimes couldn’t see what was right in front of me because the anxiety was so thick. I remember after we found out where we were moving, my brother asked me what was on my mind one day. In a fraction of a second, my immediate response was Washington! I didn’t even hesitate one bit to answer about anything else…it was as if I was on auto pilot and everything was flying toward the fear of the future. It was in every thought, every conversation, and every moment of my day. The anxiety became so bad when we were under a year away from moving I even began to struggle with anxiety attacks.

One night, Troy was praying for me after one of my weakest moments. He mentioned in his prayer that this way of life, full of worry and empty of peace, was not what God intended for me or for anyone! So I kept clinging to the promise.

Today is Thanksgiving and we are in Washington, away from our family and dear friends back home. Our Thanksgiving plans this year were to stay home and have a family celebration on our own and to be thankful for what God has done in us these past few months…and years! And you know, I realized this morning that I have had more peace in my heart since we have been here than I have the past 3 years! And it is not because of anything I have done or anything that has happened here. It is simply a fulfillment of God’s promise. He personally came with us. He has given me peace…and everything truly is fine!

So if I had to choose just one thing to be thankful for this year, I would be thankful to be in Washington. For only when we are in his will, following his plan will we have a true peace deep in our hearts. It’s a promise He’s given us. And I testify that this promise is true and He will do as He says!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Humble Confession

“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much!...You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” Luke 6:32-33, 36

I pulled my car up to a parking spot at Starbucks today as I was anticipating a much needed moment to myself. My eyes caught a glance at three people who were walking across the parking lot coming from the opposite direction and my first thought was judgment of how they were very different. And I hate to admit it but I actually dreaded going in because I knew they would be right in front of me in the line. By the looks of them, I wanted to steer clear of them and be alone.

Of course, as I entered the store, they were ordering and my position in line would be directly behind them. The group consisted of 2 females and 1 male probably in their early to mid twenties. According to my own description, I would characterize them as “awkward”. Their humor and conversation seemed a bit childish and, it’s sad to say, I kept my distance in line, not to be associated with them. The male made it very clear that he was treating everyone this day and no one was going to argue with him. As I continued to keep my eyes and head toward the opposite direction, I felt him glaring at me and could tell from my side vision, he was waving at me. To keep from his judgment on me, I smiled politely and looked the other way. Then, the unimaginable happened! Before he payed, he turned to me and speaking to Starbucks staff member, said, “And what she wants!” I instantly began to decline his offer to pay for my drink however he continued to insist. Even one of the females turned and said, “He’s being a good Samaritan today!” After refusing three times to let him pay, he crossed his arms, leaned back against the counter and stared at me with wide eyes, saying, “I’m not going anywhere until you order!”

So I ordered.

I got a free drink today from someone I sat in judgment of just moments before accepting this gift. I took one look at these people, made up in my mind that they were different and decided to have nothing to do with them. Oh, how it breaks my heart to say this!! In every area of my life, I wish I were more like Jesus. But if I had to pick one of my favorite things about Jesus it would be how he loved all people. And I’m not saying he was polite to everyone; he deeply loved every person He came into contact with. I love how his group of disciples ranged from a tax collector to fishermen. He ministered to the poorest of the poor and to high end religious and political leaders.

I hate to admit it but it’s easy to love people like ourselves. It’s easy to serve those who live like we do. It’s easy to have compassion on the pretty people.

Oh, God! Forgive me! Fill me with love, service and compassion for all Your people!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Homesick With a Purpose

"...Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah." 1 Samuel 16:13

After my freshman year of college, I recall sitting with my mom on our back porch, lamenting on how homesick I was! As we spent the cool morning chatting, memories flooded my mind of all the events that had taken place in that very spot. So many family parties lit by candle light into the dark hours, slumber parties on mattresses in the screened in porch, graduation and birthday parties, cookouts with friends, and the list goes on and on. My heart ached. I just wanted to stay home where things were familiar and comfortable. Being away seemed so pointless and meaningless. But I clearly remember the wise words of my mom and it replays vividly in my mind even to this day. She simply said, "Maybe God is preparing you for the future."

It was about four years later that my husband and I moved back to Louisville after living our first year of marriage only an hour away from home. Remembering that single day with my mom, I giggled to myself and sighed a sigh of relief as I recalled her words. I came to the wrongful conclusion that God wasn't preparing me! I was home with my husband and we had plans to raise our family in Louisville!

As I write this post 9 years later, those homesick feelings overwhelm me once again as I sit in my home 2000 miles away from "my old Kentucky home". I realize that my mom was right. God was preparing me! And now my eyes have been opened to see just how He took those years of college to prepare me for this very time in my life. But it also leads me to wonder what He might be doing today to prepare me once again for His plans for beyond the here and now.

I always wonder how David felt after he was anointed by Samuel. First Samuel 16:13 strikes me as a bit funny when it says, "Then Samuel returned to Ramah." That's it? What in the world just happened? David was anointed king, the priest left and he returned to the sheep in the fields. I often wonder what he would have been thinking as he came up on the hill to his lowly job of shepherding. Did it all seem so meaningless? I wonder if he, too, giggled at the idea of plans for him to be king in the future. Not only did he continue his job as a shepherd but then became a servant to the king...a servant! Not his top advisor or right hand man but a servant! Of course, as we read on, it's obvious to us that God was using that time to prepare him for his kingship. And I'm sure David looked back on his life and saw, too, the time of preparation.

But in the midst of our current situations, it's hard to see the purpose. Things may seem meaningless, small or pointless. But as we learn from David, God is preparing us, too! How exciting it is to come to that realization. And what peace it brings knowing it's all part of God's plan. But the most exciting part to me is that, in the end, God is always glorified!!

"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." (Ephesians 2:10) What an honor to have God look at us and anoint us for His purposes. We may not be king but we can rest assure whatever it is, it's all part of his plan!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pursuing the American Dream?

"But King David replied...'No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not...sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.'" 1 Chronicles 21:24

I find myself writing this post with hesitation. When God lays something on my heart, it usually means making a change in some way. And the reason this would make me nervous is because I find myself grasping too tightly to the things of this world...or even more specific, the things of this country of ours...America.

I hear so often the phrase "American Dream" and so many people hold it up as THE standard for living. But as I sit back to analyze what the American Dream entails, it begins to break my heart. In reading "Radical" by David Platt, I learned that the phrase came from James Truslow Adams and he gave this description, "a dream...in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are." Platt goes on to explain that this is not a Biblical thought because it focuses on our own abilities and all the praises we can receive as a result of our own efforts. Then he gives this powerful statement: "While the goal of the American dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God."

So it makes me wonder. How am I living the American Dream and what is God leading me to sacrifice in order to make much of God? This is where it becomes somewhat scary for me. According to King David, a sacrifice must cost me much. When I look at Jesus' life and his ministry, he was so simple. He did not have all that we have today yet He was so powerful and his ministry was life changing. I look at my life and see so many unnecessary things that just might be getting in the way of what God wants to do through me. For example, how much time do I waste watching TV rather than spending time in His Word? How do I spend my money...could it be used for others who need it more? What do I think about, maybe even obsessively, that become distractions and keep me from focusing on Christ? Is my time focused on serving others or fulfilling the "me time" needed each week to revitalize me? What must I sacrifice that costs me much in order to make much of God?

I find these to be overwhelming questions. But maybe my overwhelming feelings are a result of listening to a lie rather than the truth. In "Jesus, The One and Only" Beth Moore says, "Satan has convinced us that laying down our self-stuff is some huge sacrifice...Our self-stuff is what makes us most miserable!" As mere humans, we run from sacrificing and think the other side will be desolate, boring and lonely. But in all reality, when we give it all up to Him and for Him, God will be glorified and He will fill us with unspeakable joy! And when much is made of God, the American dream becomes a shallow and empty dream.

So what's it going to be...the easy American dream or the sacrificial Christian life? You decide!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thank You

"He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to his disciples, saying,'This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me...This cup is the new covenant between God and his people - an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.'" Luke 22:19-20

It was Saturday morning, September 11, 2010. Troy was working the weekend. The post was quiet and empty. Just a few patients to see and then he would be on his way home to be with his wife and kids. So you can imagine how strange it was to be in a line of traffic leaving the post. Each car ahead was slowly inching it's way through the Ft. Lewis exit toward the highway. But as he got closer, a beautiful sight came into view. The cars were backing up with active duty American soldiers in uniform, all heading out from work. Huge American flags, at least a dozen, were flown through the sky as a group of people from a nearby church desired to express a simple "thank you" for their service. As Troy's turn came up, he put down his window and tearfully accepted the appreciation. What an honor. What a humbling experience.

I wonder how many times we stop to say thank you to our Savior? I must admit that I spend a lot of time requesting things and expecting big answers to my prayers. But I don't take the time to express my thanksgiving nearly as often as I am indebted to do so.

As I watched this video, my heart broke with the simple fact that I just don't get it. I cannot and probably won't ever fully comprehend what happened that day when Jesus died. Although I hope and pray we never forget what happened on September 11 and I believe we should always show our appreciation to our American soldiers, I do, however, beg God to never let us forget what He did for us on Calvary. I may not ever understand it completely or fully feel what those watching felt that day, but I can say thank you! I pray my lack of understanding or comprehension will never stop me from appreciating the most beautiful grace ever shown in all of eternity.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Something Came From Nothing

Today day was a nothing day. My husband was scheduled to work on this Labor Day, we had nothing on our calendar and outside the skies were cloudy and the temps were cool. My goal was to make it to rest time and get cozy with a hot cup of coffee and over sized chair. But midway through the day, things began to change. Troy was home by lunch, the fall, cool winds picked up a bit outside and we were faced with a choice. Do we put the kids down for a nap or take a family walk?
That's when the excuses began: It was too late to start out for a walk. The kids were up late the night before so they needed their rest. They were grumpy and didn't deserve to go have fun...they needed to rest. But something in me began to gather tennis shoes and jackets. The next thing I knew we were headed out not only for a walk but to the park with the kite in hand.
And I am so thankful we did! Our nothing day became one of those favorite days...the kind of days that stick in your memory for years to come...the kind of day you remember as your favorite during your childhood. No, it wasn't anything special. We didn't break a world record. The news channels were not there to report a story. But something came from nothing.
It was cozy and safe. It was family bonding time. There were smiles and giggles, running and jumping. The kite flew high. The shoes came off and bare feel ran wild in cold grass. A cool breeze blew and the fall trees colorfully decorated the dull, grey skies. Something came from nothing!
This is a beautiful example of how God works in our lives. He takes a most ordinary and plain day and turns it into a burst of joy. And usually, the something may not look like much on the surface but in our hearts, we know that God has done something to our nothing kind of day!
So be prepared, especially in those nothing kind of moments. For what you think is mundane and routine, God has in mind something big and extraordinary. But remember, it may not be obvious to others. It may not capture the world's attention. But it's something. Something to ponder. Something to hold dear to your heart. Something for which to be thankful. Something to draw you closer to Him. God specializes in drawing something out of nothing!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In Desperate Need of Your Help!!!

God whispers: "Cry aloud before the Lord...Let your tears flow like a river day and night. Give yourselves no rest; give your eyes no relief. Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children." Lamentations 2:18-19

CALLING ALL CHRISTIANS!! We need PRAYER WARRIORS! There is something stirring...I can feel it. The Holy Spirit is searching for warriors and we must respond to the calling. Our city, our nation, our world is desperate! Sin is lurking in every heart. Choices are being made every second resulting in a downward spiral. We are in need of no God, so they say. We are falling. We are slipping. Time is running out!
What a high calling it is be a child of God. So many of us take it for granted. But it's time to get serious. No more sitting around indulging in the privileges of being a child of God. No more watching people suffer. No more focusing on ourselves. We must get moving. And the best place to start is to pray. In the morning, afternoon and evening and even deep into the night, we need to start praying.
Everyone, please! Take a stand! Pray. Read the Word. Ask God to move in a big way. There is still time. There is still hope.
But we must pray!
We must PRAY!

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Reality of the Future

God Whispers: "And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there - no need for lamps or sun - for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever. Then the angel said to me, 'Everything you have heard and seen is trustworthy and true. The Lord God, who inspires his prophets, has sent his angel to tell his servants what will happen soon.'...He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, 'Yes, I am coming soon!'" Revelation 22:4-6, 20

Sounds a bit too good to be true, doesn't it? Or maybe it seems like a nice idea but will it ever really happen?
Last November, my precious grandfather, Butch as we like to call him, caught pneumonia and was not able to recover. He had spent a couple of years dealing with many health issues and he was just too weak to defeat this one. On Thanksgiving, he was able to have Thanksgiving dinner with my parents. I remember how happy he was, heard him crack his usual jokes, and witnessed joy in his eyes that had been scarce lately. Little did I know that he was in the last days of his life. The very next day, it was a struggle for him to breath and he was in the hospital gasping for air. I walked in the room to see his two sons along with our minister. At that sight, I realized that this was going to happen. The day I saw my grandfather pass from this earth seemed as though it would never come. Here we were, just hours away.
It was actually going to happen.
The next two days, Butch was quiet and still. But his hospital room was the most popular room on the floor. Many friends and family stopped by and it was as if we held a big family reunion! We laughed and reminisced of old stories, celebrating his life. But still, the reality of the situation was not comprehended. That was, until Sunday evening approached. Most of the visitors were gone except for family members. The laughing and joking quieted down as we began to embrace the finality of the situation. And then in a single moment, as if we were all being moved by the Holy Spirit, everyone encircled his bed to watch him pass from this earth to eternity. And he was gone. All was silent. All was still.
It actually happened.
Sometimes we do not comprehend the reality of the future. Certain events we thought would never happen catch us off guard in the moment that it becomes a reality and we sit around astonished by it, even though we knew it would happen. I must confess that Jesus' return can seem that way to me sometimes...like a nice story or a good idea. But we must come to reality that Christ's return is inevitable. And we better not be caught off guard when it does occur. How horrific it would be to be caught off guard and to spend eternity with regret. So pray hard, study God's Word and be prepared!
It will actually happen!
Here's a song to give you a glimpse of what it could be like. Press "play", close your eyes and prepare yourself for eternity with Christ!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I Just Can't Do This Anymore

God Whispers: "I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith." Philippians 3:9

The Ten Commandments

1 Corinthians 13 (The Love Chapter)

Treat others as you want to be treated

Be sweet

Put others first

Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry

The world is watching the way Christians handle this life

If you get in trouble at school, you get in trouble at home

You're children are learning by watching you

A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day.

Proverbs 31 - The Wife of Noble Character

And the list goes on and on. These are some of the guidelines that have led me to become the person I am today. On the surface, you might see a polite, obedient, soft-spoken, church-going wife and mother. In fact, my family use to tease my by calling me Mother Teresa! But if you were to open up my heart, you just might see a different view. I'm tired. I'm worn out. I'm overwhelmed, insecure and fearful. I dread things, put things off and cover things up. I'm broken, sinful and dirty. I have put pressure on myself to follow all the rules and regulations I've been taught. But I just can't do this anymore. I know what I really am and I cannot and will not ever measure up to what I've been told I need to be.

Thank the good and gracious God in heaven! Today He has whispered to my heart that my work is done. I no longer have to try on my own. I am not bound to these rules anymore! All I have to do is have faith in God. And all these things, the worries, the pressure, the fear, the insecurities are on Him. And He will change me and release me from the shackles that have so tightly held me down all my life. I am so thankful for my parents, family, teachers, youth leaders, friends that have encouraged me and taught me all of what the Bible says but my perspective all along the way has been off track. Today I'm thankful that God has reminded me that I cannot do it alone. But He is doing it through me.

One of my favorite quotes I love to say is, "You don't want to know me if I don't have Jesus!" So if you see anything ugly in me, please pray for me for at that moment for I am trying to do it alone. If you see anything beautiful in me, recognize that it's Jesus working through me!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

When God is Silent

God whispers: "The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The sky displays his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a word or sound; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world." Psalm 19:1-4
It's been some time since I last wrote. I've been waiting for God to reveal His next word to me. But it's been silent. I kept asking God to speak. I wanted to hear His voice. I wanted a new lesson to learn from hearing Him speak to my heart. But it has been silent still.
The amazing thing about it is, although He has been quiet, I have still felt His presence. Every time I see Mt. Rainier in all it's glory, as a giant towering among the surrounding mountains, I know God is still present. As I've stood as a small speck along the massive ocean, roaring so loud it over-powers all sounds around me, I still feel His presence. And as I sit in my "tent of meeting" each morning, quiet and alone, I still feel His presence.
We may not always have a specific word or message from God. However, He constantly reveals himself in so many ways. How can one ever think He is not present? Please, open your eyes and see all that God has created. It may be small, it may be massive. But God created it. And when it is revealed to you, take a moment to feel the presence of our almighty God. And praise Him!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Scared Of The Dark

God Whispers:

"If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go." Psalm 91:9-11

You would think at age 33 I would have overcome being scared of the dark. Would you believe that I still have night lights?! (Notice the plural form!) I keep them on in bathrooms, the hallway and even in the kitchen (just in case I need to get medicine for the kids in the night...like I did last night)! I also find myself moving rather quickly to bed after I have turned off the light in my room. But we'll just keep this between you and me! I wouldn't want the kids to know for they'll never outgrow it either!

Seriously, the night does bring on fears that seem different than what one might face in the day. They are more spiritual and I am fully aware of the spiritual warfare that goes on around us. I remember one night when Troy was in TX for six weeks of training, I became so frightened that I broke out in a sweat, felt completely paralyzed and I began to shake with fear. I cannot even tell you what I was actually afraid of at the moment. But with the strength of the Holy Spirit, I sat up, grabbed my Bible and began to read and pray aloud. Instantly, I began to feel a calm and peace in my heart and mind. As I began to calm down, the Lord gave me rest and soon it was morning.

There are many things we fear in this life. But when we make the Lord our God, He promises to watch over us. There are two phrases I love from these verses in Psalm 91. The first is "no evil will conquer you". We will face trouble and hard times but the evil from the spiritual warfare around us cannot and will not conquer us. God is the ultimate power and He is watching over us!

I also love the phrase "he will order his angels to protect you". He actually orders them on our behalf! And they are actually present! Sometimes I tend to picture the cartoon angel with the crooked halo floating around me not doing much of anything. But I know that they are real and they work for God! That gives me much peace.

The one common denominator that I have noticed in these times of fear is that the only thing that makes them go away is prayer. And sometimes those prayers are on my knees, pleading with God aloud. God is my refuge and my shelter. Fear comes from me but peace comes from God.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

When The Tears Fall

God Whispers: "Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go plant their seeds but they sing as they return with the harvest. Psalm 126:5-6

During the last 6 months, we have shed many tears. Troy and I love our home in Louisville. Leaving our family and friends behind has been heartbreaking. After spending 6 weeks in WA, we both feel as though we have enjoyed our time here and now are ready to return home. We face the reality that we are not going in anywhere for some time.

This life of being a military family with an unsettling future and being told where to live was never our plan when we began our journey and life together. We imagined comfortably living in Louisville and raising our family in one home. God had other plans.

Even knowing this is God's plan, I cannot say we do not have sad days. As the reality of the situation is setting in, it seems as though it has only gotten harder. But I must add that with every tear shed, it is accompanied by an overwhelming sense of peace. I can honestly say that I believe our sadness is not in vain. I know there is a greater purpose beyond what we can see. Joy will come. A harvest will grow. I don't know if I'll ever see the harvest on this side of heaven but I will hold on to hope knowing I will see it someday.

I will wait on God. I will trust in God. And I will continue to plant the seeds even through the tears.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Weight Watchers and The Christian Life

God Whispers: "So let us not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a blessing if we don't give up." Galatians 6:9
In May, I decided to join Weight Watchers to get rid of the last of my baby weight...for my baby is 2 years old! It's only been a little over 2 months since I joined and although I have made some progress, it is going slower than I hoped. And since we've moved, it's been a roller coaster ride. But I am learning that the weeks I focus on every detail of my diet and record every crumb ingested, those are the weeks that I have a good weigh-in. When I say I can keep track in my mind and don't need to record everything, those are the weeks I gain!
I've also found that when I don't keep track, I lose motivation. Then I end up eating one more cookie, snatch one more bite of chocolate, drink one more coffee until I've ruined the week in just one day! However, if I do keep track, I have a desire to resist the temptation and keeping my eye on weigh-in day. My perspective changes.
It's a lot like our lives as Christians. We have so much sin that is very unhealthy and harmful to us. But we MUST keep going to God's Word. We must faithfully spend time in the Bible allowing the Holy Spirit to invade every aspect of our lives. When we stay in the Word, we are renewed and focused and empowered. But when we allow those times to slip away from us, believing we can do it on our own, sin seeps it's way back in and we are soon out of control.
So keep doing good! Get up early or take a break at lunch or stay up a few minutes later at night so God can change you, making your heart new and pure! We so desperately need to stay on track in order to reap a harvest! Keep the faith!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

God Bends Down

God Whispers: "I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen."
Psalm 116:1-2

Sometimes children can speak so quietly that you have to bend down on their level to hear their meek voices. Not only can you hear them but it communicates to them that you hear them, that they are important to you and that you think they are important. I love this verse from Psalm 116 because it gives a beautiful description of how God bends down to hear us. The God who created heaven and earth and the God who is so magnificent that we fear Him wants to bend down on our level to hear us.

"Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth." Psalm 73:25

And in return, we begin to yearn for Him. When we begin to comprehend even a little how much he cares for us, our hearts passionately seek Him and we want nothing other than His love. It's beautiful, isn't it?!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Am Desperate

I once heard it say that a mountain is big from a distance. But as you stand at the base of the mountain, it is enormous! That is how God is. From a distance, he's pretty neat. But as you grow closer to Him, He is glorious, magnificent and all-powerful. When you are close to God, you begin to realize just how small you are.

I've often wondered if I am becoming a worse and worse person as I grow older or, as I grow closer to God, am I realizing just how sinful I am! I am a sinner and in desperate need of God's grace and strength. Somedays, I'm overwhelmed by the sin that haunts me. Sin seems like a stubborn cancer that invades my life. As I read through God's Word this morning, I saw how David was desperately pleading with God to rescue him from his enemy. God whispered to my heart that my enemy is my sin. I encourage you to read through God's Word and allow Him to reveal His glory and faithfulness to you and remind you how small and sinful you are. I am deeply thankful He still loves me, even when I am chased by my enemy and knocked down to the ground. God is so faithful!!

"Hear my prayer, O Lord;
listen to my plea!
Answer me because you are faithful and righteous.
Don't put your servant on trial,
for no one is innocent before you.
My enemy has chased me.
He has knocked me to the ground
and forces me to live in darkness like
those in the grave.
I am losing all hope;
I am paralyzed with fear.
I remember the days of old.
I ponder all your great works
and think about what you have done.
I lift my hands to you in prayer.
I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.
Come quickly, Lord, and answer me,
for my depression deepens.
Don't turn away from me
or I will die.
Let me hear of your unfailing love
each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I run to you to hide me.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing.
For the glory of your name, O Lord,
preserve my life.
Because of your faithfulness, bring me
out of this distress.
In your unfailing love, silence all
my enemies
and destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant."
Psalm 143

Friday, June 25, 2010

Not At Home

God whispers: "Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord." 2 Corinthians 5:6 NIV

OK! Let's have some fun! Remember this song?! It sure brings back memories of Sunday night church as a little girl in Kentucky. Come and enjoy the past time...

Today was one of those crazy filled days where you go nonstop at 100 mph! Just before the kid's nap time was over, I sat down for a couple minutes to catch my breath. In a moment of rare stillness, I looked around our new home and thought, "How did I get here?" We just moved 2000 miles away from home. Our deepest conversations recently always end with, "It was nice to meet you," and the GPS is our newest best friend. Nothing is familiar. There's no one here I can call my friend and go meet for coffee. Our house is the most familiar place but it still isn't like the home we left in Louisville. And the trip to the grocery store takes at least 30 minutes longer because it's not my usual store! (I use to be a super shopper at the grocery store!)

However, I'm thankful for all the unfamiliarity. God has whispered in my heart the truth about this world...it is not our final home. And as long as we are on this earth, we are away from God. So I'm ok with not feeling at home because I know my final home is with God! I'm just passing through!

I encourage you to enjoy the ride while it last but keep your eye on eternity with our God!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Lord Is Searching For You

God whispers: "The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." 2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT

I love it when the Lord reminds me of this verse. My favorite phrase is "the Lord searches". He is actively searching for the faithful. He doesn't pick and choose. And He strengthens those who are actively committed to Him. This is a give and take situation. The Lord searches for us when we stay committed to Him.

And we can't miss the word "fully". God wants all of us. We can't split our commitment with Him and this world. Only when we are fully His will we receive His strength!

Think about it! The majestic and holy God who created this world and conquered death is searching for you so He can strengthen you. Who wouldn't want His strength in their life!!

Throughout your day, commit to Him fully and completely. And listen intently for His voice. He has much He wants to teach you. Watch for His strength and be amazed! He's searching just for you!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Dandelion

The dandelion is a weed that grows all over the world. This simple and most hated weed is a miracle. Just look at the color. No one can walk past a yard and miss them. The yellow is vibrant and easily noticeable. During the day, the flower petals are open; at night, they close. And all it takes to plant new flowers is a gentle wind to blow the seeds a far distance. And then they multiply.

Many see the flower as a bother. But in realty, they can be quite helpful. They protect grasses and grains from army worms. It also has a deep root that reaches down to break up earth and release nutrients to more shallow-rooted crops. But even still, they are chased after by homeowners and lawn-keepers.

God had a purpose when he created this flower. It is a quiet miracle, a whisper. But we have been taught to miss it. We have become so busy and so caught up in following the neighborhood rules that we have blocked out the whisper. So next time you see a dandelion, go ahead, blow it off and make more! And thank God for his intricate creation. Take the time to be quiet long enough to hear his whisper. A whisper by nature is small and quiet and you must intentionally listen to hear it.

This is a blog to share with you how I hear God's whisper. And I encourage you to share how you hear God whisper in your daily activities. Keep your ears open and be alert...it's all around us, all the time!