Consider the Lilies..: April 2013   

Apr 17, 2013

I love you because I have to..

I have been reading and listening to the book of James over and over again for the last two weeks..  It's a real in-your-face sort of book..  In a nutshell, it says "if you're going to call yourself a Christian, you need to start acting like it"..  
So yesterday I thought that I would lighten the mood a little and read 1 John..  It's an easy read all about love..  Just what I needed after pouring over James!  

I wasn't actually reading 1 John..  I was sort of  listening to it on my iPhone while I did the dishes..  But  something I heard jumped out at me..  I stopped what I was doing and listened to it again:  

"We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.  Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did".  ~ 1 John 2:1-6

I heard that and my mind went back to James 2:10 ~ "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it".

Jesus gave us two rules to live by "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself."  Luke 10:27

We can say we love God..  Easily..  But if we do not love others, do we truly love the Lord?
I don't mean what a lot of us mean when we say we love others..  You know, what I'm talking about..  When we say "I love them with the love of the Lord" or "I love them because God loves them" when what we really mean is "I don't like that person at all, but I'm a Christian and God says to love everybody, so I'll just keep saying I love them because God does"..

John said whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did..  Jesus didn't pretend to love others..  He didn't tell people, "I really can't stand you, but my Father loves you so I have to"..  
He loved, and His actions proved it..
  He washed the feet of His disciples..  He got down on His knees, humbled himself before them and washed their feet..  Even the feet of the man he knew would betray Him..  If that's not love, I don't know what is..

He didn't just say that He loved others, He proved it..  Not just to the people who were close to Him, but everyone..  Lepers, cripples, and crazed, demon possesed guys wandering around a cemetery..  He even showed love for the Pharisees and the Sadducees..  The very people who tortured Him and nailed Him to a cross..  Even as they mocked Him, He asked His father to forgive them..  
After everything they had done to them, His actions proved that he loved them..

You know, I can say that I love someone..  I can say that I love everyone..  I can even say that I love people who I don't like very much..  But how often do my actions truly prove that?  
I don't know exactly how often, but I know this much..  
My answer isn't "all the time" and it should be..

How 'bout you?

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Apr 15, 2013

New design!

So awhile ago I entered a giveaway at The Watered Soul  for a free, custom designed blogger layout by Kingdom Advantrix (Click the button to visit)
Wanda did a wonderful job..  I didn't give her much to go on either..  She sent me a questionnaire to fill out that would help her make it just like I wanted; favorite colors, pictures, styles, everything..  I replied with "just do whatever ..  
And look what she came up with!  It's just perfect..  I love everything about it..  Especially now that I have my own button (I have no idea how to make one, so I'm super excited)!
 The best part?  It's one of a kind :)  Custom made just for me..  Yay!

So, if you want your own custom made blog layout, go check her out..  She's wonderful!



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Apr 10, 2013

Yaaay!!

I know that I wasn't going to blog for a week but we got some amazing news!

Look!


Sky, won the welding scholarship!  High school seniors, college students, and welding apprentices from all over the state applied for this scholarship, only 10 students were chosen and my baby was one of them!
She's 16, a sophomore, only weighs 100 pounds, and now she's one of the top ten welding students in the whole state!! 

Apr 8, 2013

Just a week..

I have spent more time online than in my Bible lately, 
so I'm gonna do a media fast for a week..
See ya next Monday!

Apr 3, 2013

My eye, my plank..

Have you ever heard God speak to you in that loud booming voice that you hear on all of the Ten Commandments movies?  You know, where the clouds part, the sun shines down, the earth trembles, and the voice of God is so powerful that it shakes you to your very core?
No?  Same here..

When I do hear His voice, it's more like a voice in my head..  My best friend Kathy describes it as God thinking for her..  She says "God thought it for me"..  I think that's a good way to put it..  
Anyway, God thought something for me a couple days ago..

At the beginning of the year I made a few goals for myself..  Not the typical resolutions that we usually declare on January first and then give up on by January seventh (even though I did quit smoking in January, but that was just a perk)..  No, my goals were personal..  Changes I wanted to make in my behavior, how I treated others, my role as a wife, friend, Christian, my relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, etc..
So everyday I pray about these things, asking God to help me to change, grow, whatever..  I have more win days than fail days but he funny thing is, my fail days are always because of the same things..  They are habitual..  Things that I have done for years and years..  Behaviors that are so ingrained in me that I honestly don't even think about them..  Until later when I realize that I did it again..  Then I become disapointed in myself and tend to beat myself up a little..

Well it happened again on Sunday and I became really frustrated..  So I prayed again..  Well, actually I yelled in a prayer-like manner..  I asked God "Why??  Why does this keep happening?  Please make me stop!"  Then in my head, I had a thought..  It wasn't my thought because it surprised me..  I heard in my head "Read James"..  I knew who it
was..  I knew right away..  I know that some people question it when they hear God..  Was that God, or was it me?  But I know..  When it's not Him I know..  I just know that I know, you know?  I have learned that when I have a thought and I have to ask "was that me or God?" that it was just me..  When it's God..  There is no doubt..  Ever..  I know..

So when He said "read James" I was confused..  I have read James..  Several times..  I know the book of James quite well..  So like an idiot I sort of argued..  "Lord, I have read James, you know I can even quote it!"  But then He thought something else for me..  
"Read it the right way"..

Then I knew..  Yes, I have read James so many times that I can quote it..  But I have never read it the way that God intended ..  I'm gonna ask you all a question, and I want you to answer honestly..  Have you ever read a book in the Bible and thought "Oh I wish John would read this!" or "Jane really needs to read this"..  We do it during church sermons too..  The pastor will say something and you immediately think "I really hope John (or Jane) heard that.."

We have all done it..  Matthew 7:5 seems to be a favorite of most Christians..  "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
That is the verse we throw at someone when they upset us or they say something about us that makes us mad..  But how often have we taken that verse and applied it to ourselves?  How often have we read that verse and said "Oh!  It's me! I'm the hypocrite!"..  Do you ever have a judgemental thought about someone and then say that verse to yourself?
Me neither..

I'm gonna be honest with you..  That's how I read James..  I read it and think of all the other people who should read it..  I do not read it as a lesson to myself..  So I read it..  The way God intended me to..  Wow, what a difference!  I had been praying, begging God to just make me stop!  Make me behave!  Make me act, think, and speak the way I should..  
But then I realized that God doesn't make us do anything..  We have to chose to do the right thing..  We have to chose to be obedient..  We have to chose to let Him help us..  I am sure that God could make us do anything he wants us to..  But that's not how He works..  God will help us, but we have to let him..  We can't just tell him what we want and how we want Him to fix it..  If we want His help, we have to do things His way..  The book of James tells me exactly how to make the changes that I want to make..  But I never saw that before because of the big whopping plank in my eye..


We need read His word the way He intended us to read it..  He gave us His word so that we would read it and apply it to our own lives..  Not as something to wave at everyone else to point out their mistakes and to make ourselves seem more righteous..  

The Word of God can and will change lives..  
But truly, how clearly can you read anything with a plank in your eye?


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Apr 1, 2013

The day after..

I didn't get to wish everyone a happy Easter yesterday..  Sorry about that..  My Easter didn't go as planned..  It started out OK but sort of went downhill at church..  The spot I had chosen to sit turned out to be the wrong spot..  For those of you who don't know, our church has opened up a second campus a couple months ago..  My family usually attends the main campus but for the last 5 or 6 Sundays I have been volunteering at the newer (and quite a bit smaller campus)..
Yesterday during worship the lights from the stage were sort of messing with my head..  I'm epileptic and I don't do well with bright white lights..  Usually, when a strobe is going to be used, the worship leader would let me know so I would be prepared for it..  And, usually when they use strobe lights, they use the colored ones..  But yesterday they used the bright white strobe..  
At the smaller church,the room is darker so the lights are brighter and we stand closer to the stage..  The lights don't bother me as much at the bigger church but yesterday?  Wow..  I was not expecting it..

Anyway, our worship pastor left to lead worship at another church and no one knew to warn me..  So, the light turns (they are controlled by remote so they move) and points right at me and then strobes 3 times..  I closed my eyes and for a few seconds but then the moment I opened them it happened again..  I knew what was going to happen but by then I couldn't get my thoughts in order..  I got confused so I just sat there..  I think the lights flashed once more at me when my daughter (Sky) noticed what was happening, grabbed all of our stuff and sort of shoved me out of my seat and up the aisle..  
I made it out of the sanctuary but by that time it was too late to stop it and I had a seizure right there at church..  ugh..  Fortunately they were able to usher me into an office away from everyone, and it was only a petite seizure..  I didn't loose consciousness or bite through my tongue (that's always a plus)..
So, I missed the service (I'm told it was really good) and spent the day on the couch..


Another bummer; I had a really good blog post in mind but my seizure kinda messed that up and now I don't remember what I was going to write about..  

Oh!  I won a blog giveaway at Watered Soul so someone is going to revamp my layout..  Yay!! 
Well, I guess I'll be back when I remember what I was going to blog about :)
Happy belated Easter!