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Archive for the month “June, 2011”

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Do you remember the little nursery rhyme, “Mary Mary Quite Contrary”? Here it is:

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells
And pretty maids all in a row.
The other day this little nursery rhyme came to mind, and it got me to thinking about our gardens. No, not the vegetable or flower gardens that we might have. It got me to thinking about our spiritual gardens. Yes, we all have a spiritual garden. Some of us tend our spiritual garden very well. Others tend to it every now and then. Still others never tend to it.  We all know what happens to gardens that are tended to regularly. They grow. They thrive. They flourish, and produce beautiful flowers or delicious veggies. The gardens that are tended to every now and then, might produce a few good veggies or a few pretty blooms, but definitely nowhere near what it could’ve produced. And the gardens that are never tended to, well, they die. Weeds take over. The lack of water provides no nourishment for the soil to produce the flowers or veggies. The garden never reaches its potential, not even a little bit.
The same goes for our spiritual gardens. Listen to what scripture says.
Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.  Hosea 10:12
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.  James 3:18
Scripture tells us of the importance of tending to our spiritual gardens. What we sow into our gardens is what we will produce in our lives. If we sow righteousness, we will produce “unfailing love”. If we sow in peace we will produce “righteousness”. And the same is true for the flip side. If we sow hate, we will produce a hard heart. If we sow unforgiveness, we will produce bitterness. If we sow selfishness, we will sow pride. Do you see where this is going? If we tend to our gardens regularly by reading scripture, praying, fellowshipping with other believers, worshipping, and giving then we will produce a garden that thrives, flourishes, and glorifies God. If we only tend to our garden every now and then, our garden will not produce its full potential. Our faith life will be as the waves (being tossed to and fro), never steady. And finally if we never tend our garden then it will never produce its potential at all. Our faith life will be dead. It will be non-existent.
So, the question is, “______  ______ how does your garden grow?” Is it producing unfailing love and righteousness, or a hard heart and bitterness and pride? My challenge to you today is to tend to your garden.
Grace and Peace


“Welcome to the Wilderness! Don’t be Surprised if God ‘led’ you here.”

I am currently teaching from Priscilla Shirer’s book One In a Million on Sunday evenings, and this past Sunday the chapter I discussed was “The Long Way Home.” This chapter was all about the WILDERNESS. Oh yes, the dreaded wilderness. The dry, dusty, desolate wilderness. The wilderness is not a place that most of us want to find ourselves, but often it is the place that we are. But is it really such a bad place to be? Should we be wishing our way out of it, or should we be fully present? Often we want to blame Satan for us being in the wilderness. We think that the enemy is attacking us and trying to break us. Other times we might feel as if God is punishing us for some sin that we have committed, and therefore He threw us in the wilderness. But what if God actually led us to the wilderness to bring out the potential within us? What if God is using the wilderness as a tool to shape us into the person He desires for us to be?

I don’t know what wilderness you are currently in, if you are even in one at all right now, but I do know that God is with you. He has not abandoned you. He is not punishing you. He is LOVING you, STRENGTHENING you, and SHAPING you. He is doing a good work with you. He is bringing out your potential. So, don’t wish your way out of the wilderness. Trust God. Cling to God. And be present in your wilderness. He will show you things that you have never seen. And you will know Him like you have never known Him before. I pray that when you do come out of the wilderness, you will be able to say just as Job did, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:5) God is bringing you into a closer and deeper relationship with Him my friend, so take courage.

Grace and Peace

New Trend Alert: Parents Give Permission for Teen Sex in Home

This morning on The View they began discussing a topic that Elizabeth Hasselbeck will cover Wednesday morning on Good Morning America. What is the topic you ask: Sex and teens. Yes, I know this is a topic that has been in existence for a very long time, but this time it will be discussed in such a way that I am blown away by it. Elizabeth will be talking with teens, who range from 14-19 years in age, and their parents on the debate over a new trend of parents allowing their teens to have sex in their home! Yes, you heard me right. Some parents are now allowing their teens to have sex in their homes. The reason behind this new trend is that the parents are saying, “They are going to do it anyway, so it might as well be in my house so that I know about it.” The parents set rules as to when “the deed” can take place, if the parents have to be home at the time, and then the parents will supply all  the necessary “safety” precautions so the teens can carry it out. In the words of Hannah Montana, “Everybody say what?!” That is one of the most appalling things that I have heard, and it is one of the BIGGEST parenting mistakes that can be made. The panel was split on their opinions of this new trend. Whoopi & Joy were under the same reasoning as the parents (that teens are going to do it anyway, so you might as well know when and where), but Elizabeth and guest co-host La La Anderson shared a different opinion (not in my house). I like what La La Anderson had to say. She said, “My Momma made it absolutely impossible for us to have sex or do anything else. My Momma always told us that as long as we lived under her roof we had to follow all of her rules. So, there will be no sex for my children in the Anderson household!” Amen sistah!

As a Mother and a believer & follower of Jesus Christ, there is no way that I could ever be ok with my children having sex outside of wedlock, much less allowing them to have sex in my home! As a parent, I have great responsibility to raise my children to “live lives worthy of God” (see 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12). And as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, I am to “flee from sexual immorality” ( see 1 Corinthians 6:18) The body of Christ cannot embrace this new trend, because it goes against who Jesus is. This is saddening to me. It is heartbreaking, for it is leading teens down a path that will take them far from Jesus.

My challenge to all of us today, is to pray for our teens & pray for ALL parents. Live lives worthy of God, so that our children will see the example of Christ and walk in that way. The way of the world is a dark and lonely place. That is not a place we want to lead our children, but the way of Christ is way of light and life.

What do you think of this new trend?

Grace and Peace

Is Your Marriage A Def Lepard Jam Session or Elevator Music Snooze Fest?

 I have had marriage on my heart lately. My heart is heavy for struggling marriages. It saddens me to hear of marriages falling apart, couples who have become strangers, and marriages that just seem to be at a stand still. This is not at all what God desires for marriages. Marriages should be flourishing, thriving, and growing. (I am not saying that it will be easy, so don’t go all whacked out on me here.) But God wants the best for us, and that includes our marriages!  But it does require effort on our part (*gasp*, you mean we actually have to do something?!) Yep, you heard me right. We have to WORK at keeping our marriages flourishing, thriving, and growing.

As I was driving yesterday, I popped the Def Lepard CD in the CD player and cranked it up (hang with me, I have a point to this madness). As the CD began to play “Pour Some Sugar on Me” (my Mom is probably shaking her head at this), I began thinking on marriage again. Yes, Def Lepard brought marriage to my mind. I began thinking, “What if all marriages were more like a Def Lepard jam session, rather than a grocery store/elevator music snooze?” What if marriages were rockin’ instead of dropping? When we feel that our marriage is more like an elevator music snooze fest, rather than a Def Lepard rock out session we need to put effort into cranking it up. We have to fight for our marriages, and not just give up. You may be saying, “But you don’t understand. He leaves the toilet seat up all the time.”  “He/She doesn’t understand me.” “He doesn’t take time with me.” “She nags me all the time.” “We just drifted, and I am not sure of how to get back to each other.” Well, all of these things may be true, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel and give up. Here are some things that you can do starting today to put the “rockin” back in your marriage:

1. LOVE your spouse. Even if you are not feeling “in love” with your spouse, love them anyway. Love is not just a feeling, it is a verb. Put love into action. Show love by doing something for your spouse that you know they will appreciate (let him go play golf or go fishing, buy her favorite box of chocolates for her just because, fix his cup of coffee in the morning, help her with dinner, etc.). Show love. Take action!

2. Pray. God is there. He knows how you feel. Talk to Him about it. Ask for His guidance, His strength, and His grace. Don’t work out of your own strength. Turn to God and lean on Him. Pray with your spouse too. Prayer is such an intimate tool that God has blessed us with, and it is beyond powerful!

3. Forgive. Yep, forgive your spouse. Let go of the things that nag you about your spouse. Don’t hang on to things that aren’t worth the time and energy. The toilet seat being left up is NOT a major issue. Her choice of movies is NOT a major issue. If your spouse offends you or hurts your feelings, let them know this (in a kind and gentle manner) and then forgive them. Don’t hold grudges. Offer grace to one another.

4. Celebrate. Celebrate the good in each other. Look for the good things in your spouse, and celebrate them. Give encouragement instead of always pointing out the things that you don’t you like about your spouse. Build each other up by celebrating each other. Everyone loves a celebration! Celebration and encouragement go a long way (much longer than those nagging words).

I pray that whatever stage your marriage is in right now, that your marriage will flourish, thrive, and grow. I pray that your marriage will be a Def Lepard jam session and not an elevator music snooze fest. It’s gonna be tough some days, but it is worth the hard work. So, crank it up & have a rockin marriage!

*If you are in an abusive relationship please seek professional & pastoral counseling.

Grace & Peace

Miracles Do Happen

Yesterday I shared a bit about my Mom’s car accident that happened on june 1, 2005. Well, today marks 6 years since that date. God has been forever faithful, more than amazing, and abundantly good to our family! He has proven Himself to be good more than I can count. He has worked miracle after miracle in my Mom. He has taken care of us, and has never left us. I am so thankful to God for my Mom. I am thankful that He is continuing to work in and through her life to touch others. I am thankful that He is being glorified! And I am honored to be the daughter of an amazing inspirational woman of God. I love you Mom!

Miracles do happen!

Grace & Peace

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