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Lord, Transform Me into a Woman of Mountain-Moving Faith

Dictionary.com defines faith in the following ways….

1.  confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
2.  belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3.  belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4.  belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5.  a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

Faith is an area that I have trouble with, too, at times.  Not in my faith in God or in Jesus Christ as my Savior.  I am solid in that.   But if God asked me to do something like, say, he asked Abraham.   Leave where you are, I’m not telling you where you’re going, but trust me.   Or like the Apostles…. all Jesus said was “Come and follow me, and I’ll make you fishers of men.” and they did.   If God called me to do something like that…. could I do it?   It makes me squirm to think about it.

Then God reminds me that what I am doing right now, I stepped out in faith to do.  Originally, when the CN blog started, there was comfort in numbers.    I was one of 6.  Then one of 5.  Then one of 4.   Then one of 3 for a long time…. but when it became one of one…. could I do it?  I felt so very strongly that God was telling me there was still more work to be done.   So it has been my prayer that God would continue to bless me in this ministry, would continue to bring to me the women who need to hear His word through this blog, and that he would continue to use me as his messenger, speaking his truths to anyone who needs to hear it.   This blog isn’t within my comfort zone, but I have faith that the Holy Spirit, who indwells me, will continue to provide me wisdom in covering topics that are important to you and your marriages.

Mustard seeds are tiny.

but it grows into this….

Read your bible.  Pray for more faith.  Our God is faithful.  He will always be there to do what he says he will do.   I know I will be.

“If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there, ” and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you.”  Matthew 17:20

Lord, Train Me to Speak Only Words That Bring Life

This is a work in progress for me.  I’d like to claim that I have seen improvement in this area, but lately, I’ve been sliding back down that slippery slope.

Sometimes I hate the things that come out of my mouth…. I say things the complete wrong way, and after their out there, I wish I hadn’t said them at all.

I’ve found lately that I cannot tell my daughter things… because she has not learned the ability to discern when to hold her tongue and when to speak.    The other day, we were talking about who our closest relatives were… so I told both her and her brother that I consider them my closest relative, since they were conceived in my body and grew inside me for 9 months until they entered this crazy world…. to which she promptly told her Dad that I considered HER my closest relative, not him.    This hurt his feelings, but it was not the intended way I wanted or even meant for him to hear this.   I had to swallow my pride, apologize and explain what I meant at the time.    Once something is said, it is out there.  There are no take backs…. we have to be sure that what IS coming out of our mouths is kind, gentle and above reproach.

My DH has a relative that constantly is either complaining about life and the things she has to do or making herself out to be a martyr.    In my mind, I really want to tell her to deal with it.  Treat people nicely…. get a real life….your problems, while they seem to be life shattering to you, to most people, they aren’t all that bad.    All the melodrama in her life and in her family….. makes me thank God more that my life is “sane and normal”…. LOL.   But will I ever say this out loud to her…. nope.   It’s not edifying.   Do I get tired of hearing her tirades, yes, but what’s the saying “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. ”

I like how she goes back to the Philippians 4:8 verse I used earlier.  Is what you say true?  Is it noble?  Is it just?  Is it pure?  Is it lovely? Is it of good report?  Is it virtuous?   Is it praiseworthy?  If not, don’t let it exit your mouth.   pray that God would take those thoughts away from your mind at all if they are not one of those.

Lord, help me in all I do to be more edifying to the people I meet.   Lord, remind me that things that I say that are hurtful to my husband, my kids, my friends, my coworkers…. I am hurting you just as well.   Please help me to watch what my tongue says and help me to apply the Philippians 4:8 verse to everything I say. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Lord, Use Me to Touch the Lives of Others.

Since becoming a Christian in 1993, I’ve been growing a little bit more every year.   In the past 5 years or so, I’ve really wanted to make a difference for Christ in the world.  I wanted to touch the lives of others.  I couldn’t go on Mission trips to all places around the world.   But one day, God showed me and a group of lady friends of mine what His plan for us was….where our mission field was…. and it was all of you dear readers!

This chapter has actually been my prayer for the past 4 years, and the answer came in the form of christiannymphos.org.     When I started writing for this blog, I had no clue what I was doing.   I look back at some of my first articles and think “what an amateur she is!”, but as I let God continue to work through me, some of my articles I can tell were most definitely written by God and not me.    He took over my fingers as I started to write them.  I look back at some of the topics I wrote on, and it was by God’s grace that they made any sense!  Amazing.

One by one, 3 of the original 6 writers started dropping out of the ministry.   When it came time for Cumingirl and Cinnamonsticks to also move on to new arenas in life, I was so deeply saddened.   Christiannymphos was something I  was very proud to be a part of.   I just didn’t feel done, so that is the reason for this blog branched off to the next generation of CN.  No, it won’t be exactly the same.  Some of my other spice sisters were much spicier than I am, but I am still hopeful that there is an audience that I can reach.  God wouldn’t have me continuing if there wasn’t someone else out there that needed this blog.   Just as Stormie asked in this chapter for corporate prayer for all her books to reach all over the world, I ask also for corporate prayer for this blog.  That God would continue to use me as long as there is still a need for this kind of blog.   I am finding that I am reaching all over the globe, and it is overwhelming at times.  I have even had an offer to translate my blog into Spanish!  I need a lot of prayer about God’s will and getting me the right translator for the job if that is part of his plan.

Thank you all so much for following me here from CN.   Thank you for all your support and prayers.  It really means a lot to me.   Praise be to God for all his blessings.  May I truly be able to grow in the love and wisdom of Christ.   Thank you Lord for all you do for me.  I couldn’t do it without you.

Lord, Free Me From Ungodly Fear

What do you fear most?

My fears, you ask?  How about falling from heights…. being buried alive….  drowning….at one point in time I was afraid of death….now it’s just the fear of how I will die, not death itself.

Here are two things that  I will never do.   You can wheel my dead body out here, but while I am alive and kicking, these will mortify me forever…..

   The Grand Canyon sky walk …. and

  The glass ledge on the Sears Tower

DH and I actually went up to the top of the Sears Tower on our honeymoon 17 years ago…. way before this was added on, and I wouldn’t go near the windows.  Water parks…. I really had to FORCE myself to do one of those water slides with my kids where the bottom drops out from under you….. there was the fear of falling and drowning all in one.    I hate that feeling, but how do you make it go away?

All of those are ungodly fears.   There was a guy that lived down the street that I went to HS with….he was a senior, I was a freshman.   Just through some innuendo with knowing him, he really gave me the heebie geebies…. so much that I hated taking a shower for fear he was in the bathroom closet.    He died that year….even after he died and I knew he was gone, I still had that irrational fear that he would come back from the grave and haunt me.   I like Stormie’s word for it.  Torment.   I was/am  literally tormented by these fears.  Some I have overcome.  (Yes, David is not in my bathroom closet), but there are some that would still literally cripple me.  I need tons of prayer over those.

Here are 4 ways Stormie recommends to get rid of ungodly fear.

1. Praying: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)  Draw close to your Abba Father and let his love consume you.   There is no fear in the Lord.

2. Control what you receive in your mind:  I don’t like watching the news anymore.  I’ve kind of given it up.  Yeah, I get surprised by the weather, since I didn’t watch the news, but there are too many images that require a brain scrubber sometimes….I loved scary movies as a teen.  Not anymore.  It was no fun trying to run to my bedroom when I was 18 in the completely dark house because I was afraid Freddy Kruger was around the corner…. (Actually, my brother took great pride in scaring the crap outta me then….he is 3 years younger!)   Fear disappears in the presence of the Lord.   Read your bible.  Pray.  Listen to praise music.   I like to do the latter.

3. Be in the Word of God: Reading and speaking the word aloud has so much power in it.  Takes away fear every time!

4. Live in the fear of the Lord:  No, don’t be afraid of the Lord.  That is not what fear of the Lord means.  Fear is respect.  Reverence.  Fear of the Lord makes you want to obey him.   It makes you forget all the things you are truly afraid of.   I can’t imagine my life without God.  Talk about scary!

The Lord is the light of our life.  He is our strength and our shield.  Whom shall we fear?  He is with us wherever we go.

Lord, Heal Me and Help Me Care for My Body

Oh, the Lord knows how much I need this chapter.

I do not take care of my body.   My attitude stinks when it comes to eating and exercising.  You see that avatar that I post on each and every post that I write?  That was probably me when I graduated from high school and that was 27 years ago.   I went to college….and gained weight.  I got married….and gained weight.   I got pregnant… and gained a lot of baby weight that I didn’t work on getting off, so 7 years later when I got pregnant again, I was at a “better” weight, but I still am about 37 pounds overweight according to BMI (which I totally dislike BMI… it is NOT a good gauge of a healthy person…)  Seriously…. when I dropped from “Overweight” to “Normal” in the BMI scale, I was thinner, but I didn’t like how thin it made certain areas of my body.   It didn’t look natural.

But I digress from the point of this topic.  I stink at will power.

So, I am probably about 30 pounds or so overweight.   I need to take care of my body.   And that takes discipline.

Discipline I lack in my time in the Bible.  Discipline I lack in my prayer life.  Discipline that I need to get on  my knees and ask God to help me with.

I’ve probably beat this story like a dead horse, but I had a really dear friend who had breast cancer in her mid-20’s.  She got sick.  Went through chemo.  Went through surgeries.   We prayed for healing.  We laid hands on her.   In the end, she passed away, succumbing to breast cancer.   We all, myself included, prayed that God would heal her so we could have more time with her.   It wasn’t until I became aware that, yes, God is a healer, but sometimes the healing comes in Heaven.  I started praying for healing again for her, and that if it was God’s will for her to be healed on this side of Heaven, that he would.  But I also released her to God if the healing needed to happen with her dying to us, but living with him.   And that’s what happened.  What did she do wrong to contract cancer so young?  Nothing.  Cancer latches on and is an evil tool that Satan uses in his arsenal.  My own mother suffers from cancer and is at this time undergoing chemotherapy.  My mom is the LAST person that I feel should ever get cancer, and Satan knows that.   Did she do anything wrong?  No, she has been the picture perfect vision of Christ to me my entire life.   When I was so obsessed all my young life with my Dad, she sat back and waited, knowing there would be a time when I would seek her out, just like God does.  He allows us free will, knowing full well, that those of us who believe in him may stray and sin, but we always come back to him for repentance and redemption.     Sometimes our bodies get sick.   There is nothing wrong with praying for healing.  Miracles happen.  I have a dear friend that is a coworker who has a new lease on life with an organ transplant that God provided for her from a complete stranger who she now calls her “grafted sister”.  Miracles do happen.  Our bodies can and do heal.

But it is our responsibility to take care of this temple that the Holy Spirit resides in.  I’ve given the Holy Spirit a dump of a place to live.   I need to change that.  He deserves a much better place to live.   I need God’s help and guidance as to what is best for my body.  I need to pray to him to help remove all cravings for sweets that are bad for me, and to give me cravings for his delicious fruits he gives me… natures candy.   I need to get on the bandwagon.  Thank you, Stormie, for this chapter.  It comes at a time in my life where I am really struggling.   Thank you for the words to help me begin my spiritual journey to a healthier body.

What about you?

Lord, Enable Me to Resist the Temptation to Sin

This chapter brought back a question I always used to ask…. King David… the man after God’s own heart…. why would he cheat on his wife and murder his adultress’ husband?   I mean really?   Then I am reminded, that even people who seem to have it all, really don’t.  They have sin, too.

I don’t think I would ever commit adultery.   I love and adore my husband so much.  He is so patient with me, and he loves me even when I am unlovable…. which now is a really good time to love me unconditionally when I am starting through perimenopause… lol.   But that doesn’t ever stop thoughts, does it?  I mean, I don’t ever think my way into lusting over another man…. but sometimes Satan will take a vision of someone that is attractive in some way and play it around in your brain.   Some one with good looks…. someone with an extremely caring heart…. someone with an awesome talent…. someone who just understands you better…. well, the attraction is there somehow.    Any time Satan tries to creep into my mind about something that I see that he (Satan) perceives that is lacking in my marriage, I sing him away.    Sing praise songs to God about just about anything…. I don’t memorize scripture very well, but I do remember song lyrics….then I go find them in the bible.  They are usually there.  Put a scripture to music, and I am there.

I saw this picture on Facebook this past Sunday from a cartoon called “Maxine”.  I think most of you are familiar with her cranky, sarcastic cartoons.  Sometimes I laugh at them and repost them on my facebook page, but this one, I said, “No, I actually don’t agree with you this time, Maxine.”  Here it is….

This is so not true!  This (romance novels) is what got me in trouble in the first place!  Expecting men to be like the ones in romance novels.   I spent too many years before meeting my DH looking for those men!   Sleeping with the wrong men who I thought would be like them…. and even when I met my hubby, he was nothing like any of those men, but God gave me the green light to marry him.   “This is who I have chosen for you, my child.”

She gives six things to remember about temptation….

1. WHO: It can happen to anyone.   I watched as an ELDER of a former church got involved in an affair with a woman on the Praise team (he was the Praise leader)  This man I always looked up to as a highly spiritual man, but it still happened to him….just like King David.  Guard your hearts, ladies!

2. WHAT:  Sex isn’t the only tempter, even though it is a big one in this world….money, power, desire…. Satan knows what you desire the most, and believe me, he will use it to tempt you into sin.    God can give you the strength to resist it.  Ask him to help you!

3.  WHEN: Anytime, and especially when you least expect it.   Don’t think you can handle it alone.   It is always serious no matter when it happens.

4.  WHERE:  Anywhere…. on the metro bus on the way to work, at work, at church, at home… anywhere.  If there is a certain man that tempts you, don’t be around him.  Separate yourself from the temptation at all costs.

5. WHY: Satan knows what God has planned for you, and he wants to distract you from it knowing there are pleasures that you would rather seek than doing God’s will.   You never realize that it’s not only you that gets hurt by your sin, but others, too, as well.    Temptation comes your way, then FLEE!

6. HOW: Doesn’t matter how…. Wherever your weakness is, the how will find you.   I like the way she says it’s a set up by the enemy intended to bring you down”    Don’t let him bring you down.  Put on the full armor of God, put up that shield, and tell it to be gone!

When you feel the urge….the temptation… that is when you start praying.   It really works.   If you are like me, and don’t memorize verses well, most of you know the Lord’s Prayer … “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil….”  (Matthew 6:13)   Pray “Lord, guide me away from this temptation and keep me safe from Satan and his lies.  Show me the truth.”

The leader of my Ladies Bible study who has become a very good friend to me, said once when evaluating if something is from God, put it to the Philippians 4:8 test… “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”    Thinking about that man who is tempting you … is that thought true? (no), is that thought noble (no), is that thought right? (definitely not),  is that thought pure? (nope), is that thought lovely (it might seem lovely, but in the grand scheme of things…no), is it admirable? (ummmm…no), is it excellent?  is it praiseworthy?   If the answer to ANY one of these questions is no, then it’s not of God.   Actually, she told me if you ask the first question and the answer is no, there is no need to go on….. it nullifies that thought right there as not biblical or being from God.   God would never tell you to cheat on your husband with another man.   God wants us to think of things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy…. if your answers are all yes (truthfully yes, not tempted to say yes because that is the way you feel), you can tell that it is from God.

Feelings….that’s a whole nother post!

In what ways do you use to overcome temptation?  Do you wish to share?

Lord, Comfort Me in Times of Trouble

This chapter was a good reminder to me about the job of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  When we become a Christian, God sends us a helper than indwells us, which is the Holy Spirit.   He is Christ in us.

Stormie talks about two of the jobs the Holy Spirit has… a comforter and a helper.   Tough times are going to come.   Being a Christian isn’t easy, especially newbie Christians.   There are times when we need to take a deep breath and holler “HELP!” to the Holy Spirit.  He is there.   During times of pain or heart ache, call on the Holy Spirit for comfort.   When things get so overwhelming you don’t know what to do, call on the Holy Spirit for help.   He is right there ready and willing to fulfill your needs.

She lists four reasons we have difficult times

(1) Sometimes they happen so that God’s glory and power can be revealed.  Sometimes we don’t understand why things happen.  We may never understand it on this side of heaven, but God’s glory will be revealed in it.

(2) God uses difficult times to purify us.  God helps us in troubled times to reveal to us that we need to live for HIM and not for our own selfishness.    He wants us to let go of all the things we lust after and to cling to him.

(3) Sometimes our misery is caused by God disciplining us.  Yes, as children of God, we need to be pruned sometimes, so that we can bear good fruit, and yes, it means discipline.    One of my favorite songs is “Praise You in This Storm” by Casting Crowns, and in the song, the lyrics say “I was sure by now, that you would have reached down, and wiped my tears away….stepped in and saved the day, but once again, I say AMEN and it’s still raining….”  Sometimes we wish we could pray away our problems, but sometimes God isn’t through with us yet, and we have to say “I will praise you in this storm… and I will lift my head….that you are who you are ….no matter where I am….and every tear I cry…you hold in your hand….you’ve never left my side….and though my heart is torn…….I will praise you in this storm.”

(4) Sometimes we are caught in the middle of the enemy’s work.  Yes, Satan takes great delight in messing with your life…making you doubt God and his provision for you.  He will destroy your life if you let him.   God will defeat the enemy.  Call on him…praise him in difficult times… and he will bring SO much good out of it.  Walk with the Lord in times of trouble or despair.  He will lead you through whatever you are going through.  AMEN!

No matter how dark the situation may be, God is the light of our life.   Ask God to reveal his presence to you in dark times.   Give thanks to God is all times, in all situations, and not just in good times, but in bad times as well.    Reach out to God, and he will take your hand and lead you out of the pathways of despair.

Another song I like…. You Are God Alone … “You are God alone…before time began….you were on your throne…. you are God alone…and right now….in the good times and bad…. you are on your throne….you are God alone.  God doesn’t disappear and hide when bad times hit you.  He is right there in the middle of the battle with you.  Call on him to help you through.