Saturday, March 31, 2012

A to Z Challenge 2012

Here it is... A formal announcement of my participation in:



Considering the lack of preparation on my part, the last minute decision to participate, and the thrill of the challenge, this endeavor will be probably not be the easiest--but, I'm doing it. 

The challenge is to post a blog post daily throughout the month of April.  Each post must start with the designated letter of the alphabet, beginning with "A."  Sundays are off days, continuing through "Z." 

Schedule looks like this:


There are over a thousand other blog participants with all kinds of different "A to Z" themes.  I'm leaning toward a scriptural theme and am excited to see how this plays out day to day.  Considering Letter A is tomorrow, I think I should get started. 

They are accepting blog entries until Monday night.  So, if you blog and are looking for a challenge, sign up and join me!

In His Love,
F....

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Question For God

After reading Epicparent.tv's blog post, I went home and thought I'd invest five minutes.  Five God honoring minutes of conversation with my children. 

Let me introduce you:

Meet my princess:  She is kind, outgoing, bubbly, animated, and absolutely adorable.  Eight years of sheer awesomeness.

Meet my prince:  He is incredibly intelligent, sweethearted, creative, hilarious, and such a stud.  Eleven years of pure joy.



I went home from work that day, and in all honesty I began to get caught up in the every day moments of life.  You know... dinner, cleaning, baths...  Then my princess emerged from the shower all jammied up and wanted me to brush her hair.  So, I did.  The tv was off.  The quiet stirred my thoughts, and I remembered the Epicparent blog I had read earlier.  So, I called for my prince.

I asked them what they were thankful for today.  To me, it just felt like they gave "default" answers.  So, I asked them a tougher question.

"If you could ask God one thing about yourself since He knows everything, what would you ask Him?" 

Princess piped up and said, "I'd ask why was I bald when I was a baby."  We all giggled.  I could tell my prince was in deep thought about his question... I glanced over and smiled.  Then, he asked, "how long will I live?" 

[[Thanks for the reminder to maximize each moment, Epicparent.tv.  Had I just told the kids to go to bed after brushing their teeth and baths, an opportunity would have been missed.]] 

The following day, I talked to my mom and grandma on a three-way phone conversation.  I told my grandma the discussion from the night before.  Then, unexpectedly, she flipped the question on me.  She asked me what I would ask God about myself.   My question would be: "What if...? What blessings did I miss by falling so hard?"  Her question would be: "Will I be here when the rapture comes?" 

Now it's your turn...  What one thing would you ask God about yourself?  Your life?

In His Love,
F....

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wow God! Wednesday

Wow God! Moments can be monumental or seemingly insignificant, but a moment of awe of God Almighty. On Wow God! Wednesday, let's celebrate one of these moments.



Colossians 3:12 - Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Easter is just around the corner.  This picture of my princess was taken two years ago when we colored eggs for the festivities of Easter.  She wanted the color of her eggs to be bold and bright.  So, she grabbed her pillow and blanket and curled up to await their boldness and brightness. 

She did not check them every five seconds with a rushed and interrupted anticipation.  She did not try to force the eggs to color or give up on her desire for the eggs to be bold and bright.  Rather, she knew the coloring process would take some time, so she made herself comfortable. 

As adorable as it was, it was, to me, a lesson in awaiting the boldness and brightness.  In my life, I cannot force circumstances when I know transformation takes time.  I cannot throw in the towel and give up when I know brightness is in store for me and those around me.  It will be in patience that I await the boldness and brightness of what is to come. 

What are you patiently awaiting (or not so patiently awaiting)?  An unanswered prayer?  An opportunity?  A response?  A change?  Feel free to comment, and we will be in prayer together!

In His Love,
F....

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday's Phrase: Patient Continuance

To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life... Romans 2:7


Patient:  Bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like; quietly and steadily persevering or diligent, especially in detail or exactness.

Continuance: Act of going on with or persisting in; to carry on from the point of suspension or interruption.

To seek glory, honor, and immortality to gain eternal life, we need to do well patiently and continuously.  When defined, the intriguing phrase of patient continuance paired up with our every day life is like a breath of fresh air to me.  While we endure pain, hardship, or even annoyance, we are to calmly and diligently be persistent in our walk, even when there are interruptions. 

Interruptions in our life can take many forms.  We may trip.  We may fall flat on our face.  Somone else may even inflict the heartache, the pain, the stress.  Circumstances can cause us to veer off path.  Regardless, a hiccup in our journey is not to take us from it.  Rather, we are to do well by patient continuance, holding steadfast to truth amidst our hardship.  When we do this in our life, we are seeking glory, honor, and immortality in our spiritual life.  By not complaining or getting angry as a result, we are trusting that our diligence in persisting with calmness and gratefulness shows the world something that is not of this world.  We are contributing to something greater, something beyond our sight.

In the middle of your circumstances, struggles, pain and hardships, focus on greatness not defeat.  T.D. Jakes once said, "whenever you talk more about your problems than you do your promise, you are praising your problems.  And, whatever you praise will be magnified."  I encourage you today, no matter what you are going through, do well by patient continuance. 

In His Love,
F....

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Track: God's Not Dead

Welcome to the fourth edition of:

THURSDAY TRACK

Track - "any road or path affording passage/pursuit/to follow"

~While maintaining yours, listen to theirs~

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wow God! Wednesday

Wow God! Moments can be monumental or seemingly insignificant, but a moment of awe of God Almighty. On Wow God! Wednesday, let's celebrate one of these moments.



On March 17, 2012, I ventured to Meers, Oklahoma and went to the top of Mount Scott. It was breath taking. The higher up I went, the smaller everything else below me looked. It was, to me in that moment, a display of life with Christ. The more focused on the world, the greater your problems seem. But the higher up, the closer to God you get, the more you realize what matters most.

Feel free to share your Wow God! Moments too!

In His Love,
F....




Sunday, March 18, 2012

Obedience [ Romans 2]

Wordle: Romans 2
Romans 2 Dive

At face value, you can see the righteous judgment of God throughout: whether believer, non-believer, person who does good with belief or without, person who refuses to do good at all. All will face judgment, and God will judge each appropriately and justly.

Being a believer who attempts good daily (fact: I'm not good on my own. Already established that without an overflow my "good" is merely an outward act), reading this I see so much more. In fact, to me, this text screams obedience.

  • Obedience in no judgment of others. (v.1)
  • Obedience in being able to face our own judgment. (v. 2, 5, 6, 11)
  • Obedience in not contributing to hypocrisy. (v. 3, 13, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27)
  • Obedience in repentance. (v. 4)
  • Obedience in seeking glory, honor, and eternal life from God not man. (v. 7, 29)
  • Obedience in facing upward not inward. (v. 8, 28, 29)
  • Obedience in following truth not my flesh. (v. 8, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27)
  • Obedience in steering clear of doing evil. (v. 9, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27)
  • Obedience in doing good out of overflow (v. 10, 12, 28).

I encourage you today if you are not a believer, or even if you are, to read through this text and grasp the truth within it.  Cling to obedience, even when you don't feel like it.  How are you doing in the obedience department?

In His Love,
F....

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday Track: Furious

Welcome to the third edition of:

THURSDAY TRACK

Track - "any road or path affording passage/pursuit/to follow"

~While maintaining yours, listen to theirs~








Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hydrate

[Jesus] cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ ” - John 7:37-38 (NRSV)




After reading this verse this morning, I'll admit, I gave it a cursory glance, as I have heard it before.  After going about my day, I kept thinking about it. So, I reread it this time with more intent...

What is fascinating to me is the invitation does not result in quenching or thirsting no more. You don't get living water flowing from your heart by coming to Jesus.  You actually have to respond.  It is up to you to drink.  It takes action of your own to be quenched. 

You can put a glass to your mouth without drinking.  You can intend to drink without taking a swig.  You can add ice, you can add flavor packets, and you can even give it away.  However, until you actually choose to drink, you continue to thirst with a full glass in front of you.  It is a choice, an intention that you have to follow through on and finally drink. 

It is not until you believe, until you choose to believe and follow through with the drink, that living water will flow.  There is a difference between coming to Jesus and being quenched by Jesus. Today, I encourage you to drink. If you have been thirsty, choose to believe.  If you haven't had a drink in a while, revisit and drink.  If you have been at that point in your life where you came to Jesus and still haven't truly believed and let the rivers of living water flow from your heart, put the glass to your mouth and drink. 


In His Love,
~F....

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pregnant Hope Abounds

The section of Romans 8:18-25 discusses our trials, pains, and sufferings in life and uses a metaphor of pregnancy.  I admit my intrigue.  The MSG version and NIV version bluntly list pregnancy within the verses.  KJV mentions "pains of childbirth."

Quick Overview

What we go through today is nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us (v.18).  Creation waits in earnest expectation for this birth of believers and their subsequent transformation and ultimate glory (v.19&30).  While we were made subject to worthlessness and pride, God's hope is our choosing deliverance from the chains of moral perversion into magnificent freedom within ourselves (v.20-21).  We "groan and travail" in pain (v.22).

Groan: Sounds indicating deep suffering. A brief, strong, deep-throated sound emitted involuntarily under pressure of pain or suffering.
Travail: To suffer the pangs of childbirth; be in labor; to toil or exert oneself.


Even though we have the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit, we groan within ourselves waiting for adoption and redemption (v.23).  This sonship and redemption comes from an unseen hope (v. 24).  As this hope is unseen, we wait patiently for what we hope for (v.25).
  • Pregnant women endure contractions and birth pains, as we endure pain and falls in our journey through this life. 
  • Pregnant women alter their lives to accomodate the growth and well being of their child, as we realign our level of obedience for the glory of becoming a Child.
  • Pregnant women continually expand and grow, as we are stretched and grow closer to a relationship with Christ than mere knowledge of Christ. 
  • Pregnant women are excited with the first signs of a baby bump, as we find joy in the firstfruits of the Spirit.
  • Pregnant women hope for what they cannot see, as we hope for what we cannot see.
  • Pregnant women anticipate the holding of a sweet precious bundle of joy, as we anticipate the adoption into sonship with our sweet Savior. 
  • Pregnant women forever have marks of being stretched even after they are no longer pregnant, as our lives are marked by sin even though we no longer are in bondage to sin. 
  • Ultimately, pregnant women become mothers, as we are adopted into sonship and declared a blameless (v.30) Child of God. 
  • Just as stretchmarks fade but never go away, our sin isn't a permanent reminder of our mistakes, but rather moments in our life that God worked everything together for good (v.28). 
Where are you in your walk?  Are you enduring pains knowing there is more to life than this?  Are you making steps toward change but still feel lost?  Are you being stretched and growing from knowledge of God to relationship with God?    

I encourage you to open your bible (don't have one? click here) and read the remainder of Romans 8.  Learn who can be against you if God is for you. Learn who can condemn you, with Christ interceding for you at the throne of God.  Learn how nothing can separate you from the love of Christ. 

In His Love,
~F....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thursday Track: Beautiful Things

Welcome to the second edition of:
THURSDAY TRACK

Track - "any road or path affording passage/pursuit/to follow"

~While maintaining yours, listen to theirs~



Friday's Phrase: Adoption to Sonship

"The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by him we cry, "Abba, Father.” ~ Romans 8:15 (Emphasis added)

I absolutely adore Romans 8.  This is my favorite chapter in all of the Bible.  I recently took another plunge through this text, and unsurprisingly I learned even more than I did the first few journeys through this specific chunk of text.  Zeroing in on verse 15, the phrase adoption to sonship really peaked my interest.  So, I thought I would really dissect this concept of "adoption to sonship."

Adoption:  To bring into a specific relationship, esp to take another child as your own.
Sonship:  The state, fact, or relation of being a son.

I, obviously, am not a son.  So, to make this applicable to me, I converted this to daughter.  (Interesting fact - daughtership is not a word.)  Okay, phrase defined and applied.  Time to revisit... "The Spirit I received brought about my relationship as daughter to God."


Still not quenched, I dove deeper.  What does this really mean?  Yes, I'm a daughter of God. To the right of this very blog in the About the Author section, even I list it as the top issue about me.  It's true.  I wave that flag.  At the same time, I humbly admit before you now that I have taken such "phrase" for granted.  Let me explain...

Think of every relational issue between a child and parent.  Think of your role as a child.  Stay with me here...
  • When I fell and scraped my knee as a child, I went to my mom for a Band-Aid.
  • When I was hungry, my mom never let me starve.
  • When I got my feelings hurt, I cried to my mom.
  • When I was afraid, all I needed was for mom to wrap her loving arms around me and say "It's alright, honey.  Mommy's here."
  • When my little arms were to short to carry my whole pile of laundry to the basement, she carried what I couldn't.
  • When I forgot to grab my coat in the morning before school, she was there to remind me.
  • When that boy who I dated for all of two weeks broke up with me, my mom let me cry and listened to me be pathetic.  (Two weeks... seriously!  She probably chuckled inside knowing the best was yet to come.)
  • When I was busted at a party in high school by my step-father and taken home to my mom, she shook her head and loved me no less.
  • When I went to state for Business Professionals of America and made the newspaper, my mom saved the article and cheered me on - even though I was sooo nervous.
  • When I needed answers to hard, serious questions, my mom was always there to listen and either answer me or encouraged my own deeper investigation.
  • When I thought I was going to devestate my mom with the news of an unplanned teen pregnancy, my mom said (I will never forget this as long as I live)... "Well, it looks like we are having a baby."  She never once condemned me for my mistake, but turned a seemingly sad situation into a joyous blessing all the while never turning her back on me.***



God is an all mighty, all knowing, all powerful God.  The Creator of the universe.  As I am adopted into sonship, God swoops me up, and:

  • Helps me when I am hurt.
  • Feeds my soul and meets my needs.
  • Comforts me.
  • Helps carry my load, be it burden, hardship, heartache, or (insert struggle here).
  • Even when I know what I should be doing and don't do it, is constantly reminding me what I should be doing.
  • Cares about my heartache, even though sometimes He chuckles at the fact that the best is yet to come.
  • Wraps His loving arms around me and calms my fears.
  • Loves me no less when I wander off path and is there waiting when I come home.
  • Celebrates my successes and calms my nerves when I am nervous.
  • Gives me foundational truth in my life.
  • Has a plan for me, but when I slip still has a  plan for my life, full of blessing and triumph.
The parallels are endless.  This is only my perspective as the child.  Flipping the script to my perspective as a parent takes these parallels to an exponential depth.  Rebellion,  maturity, wisdom, appreciation for sacrifice, still your friend, knows what is best for your life, freedom.  I could go on and on... 
Paralleling the roles of parent v. child with God v. me has taken this whole concept of sonship to another level.  A new appreciation for the phrase "child of God" has flourished.  It is easy to say "I am a child of God," but the cold hard reality is this is more than a phrase.  Six little words have such depth that it is truly hard to grasp the meaning without being intentional about it. 


It is here that I encourage you to dive through your role in your relationship with God.  What is your view of God?  Is Holy yet approachable Father on the list?

In His Love,
~F

***DISCLAIMER: I know that my mother is a rarity in this world. Her responses and reactions to my life can only be described as divine. I do not want to minimize or take for granted the Godly example of her role as my parent. At the same time, I know many, many people were raised with not so great responses and reactions from their parents. To those children, this lesson of sonship is that much more critical. Because, where your parents may not have responded kindly, God always does. Where your earthly father failed you, God will restore you and never fail you. Where your mother wounded you, God will heal you.  He is a Father to the fatherless.  Seek his truth.  Don't just read it here.
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