Monday, January 31, 2011

Merciful Monday!

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

So, I found out last week that all of the hemming and hawwing and prayer and anxiety that I had over taking a new job and up and leaving everything I've known to trust God, was all foolish. I mean I KNEW God was pointing me in this new direction. I had sign after sign that it was what I was supposed to do, and yet, I doubted. I wondered. I second-guessed.

And then-as of last Thursday, the largest peace I have known came over me--and humbed me (how darest I doubt the Lord (: ). A few coworkers from my last company told me that they had done a major layoff, and every single one of the contract employees had been let go. Yep-you heard that right, that would have been me. But instead of spending this lovely weekend moping about because I didn't have a job, I rejoyced. I thought about my new job-I thought about every single step that God put in to place to have me here and to keep me safe. Sounds a little bit like he has plans to "prosper me, and not to harm me, and to give me a hope and a future", huh? ( :

God works in funny, amazing ways. Today, I have peace thanks to trusting God. Today my doubt has been removed. I want to go with Him and not the World. Tomorrow may be another story--I am human for pete's sake...but I want to remember that He is so much bigger than I am, and that this beautiful portrait he is painting through the canvas of my life has a purpose, and beautiful.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Utility of a Sharp "Knife"

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”. Proverbs 27:17
So, our second semester of amazing Small Group has begun again, and it has really got me “Praising the Lord” (PTL) about the group of girls I am around. My spiritual life has changed so dramatically since I joined this group, and has blossomed me into a Christian who is beginning to feel like my seed has been planted among the good soil!!
I came across this verse today from Proverbs, and it got me thinking... First let me share the commentary following this verse:
Did you know: It takes iron to sharpen iron. Sharpening a knife requires iron at least as hard as the knife. Once sharpened, a knife is bright, sharp, and ready for much more productive service.
I have recently been thinking to myself in my own kitchen how I need a good knife sharpener. And ironically enough this month’s issue of Rachael Ray Magazine had a comparison of the best knife sharpeners! (I just love funny coincidences like that). So why would I need a knife sharpener, when I am not a culinary guru? Well, when you have a sharp knife, the entire utility of your knife changes.
1)You can cut vegetables and meat more easily
2)Your cuts can look more professional, and less like a chain-saw
3)Sadly, you are also more prone to injury
So just like knife sharpeners (or in the olden days where iron was used), we need to be constantly sharpened in order to be more productive as Christians! Our friends are our knives—and ladies-please feel free to add “wo” in front of the man in this verse. We NEED good Christian women in our lives. We need them to hold us accountable, to be a shoulder to cry on, and to protect us from the injuries of the world. Remember though, that the sharper we get, ladies, watch out, the devil is paying close attention, and he can cut us more easily! That is why we need these special sisters in our lives to be our knife-sharpeners. (Maybe that is why so many of us are afraid to jump in feet first? So that we can be less vulnerable....but vulnerable=on the road to awesomeness with God!!)
I have to throw this one in there too : God places different kinds of people in our lives, just like there are different types of knives for different purposes. There are bread knives, oyster knives, pairing knives, and electric knives, each with an individual purpose. From cutting bread to shucking oysters to carving turkeys-each knife was specifically designed to do a job that can often lead to one beautiful meal that could not have been completed without each tool.

That is how I think of the people God has placed in my life. I have my 2 wonderful Godly sisters and a Godly mother who are great knife-sharpeners, but I also have this great small group that I wouldn’t trade for anything. And I know that each girl (knife) in my family and my small group has a particular purpose in the drawer this semester. We are all going to be knife sharpeners for each other and sharpen each other in very different ways-and I can’t wait to see how!!
So if that was too much of a stretch for you, then I do apologize (well not really because it makes sense to me!!!) will God have you sharpen your friends today? How can you hold them accountable and be there for them? Or maybe, God is calling you to be sharpened?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pasta Foil Packet Wonderfulness!

So I decided to step out on a ledge the other night and make Ree Drummond's "Shrimp Pasta in a Foil Package" and MY-OH-MY how wonderful it was! I have never heard of cooking pasta in a foil packet before! You half-cook your noodles and sauce, throw in some shrimp at the end and then pour it all together in a perfect little aluminum pouch to seal in all of the flavors. Then the shrimp cook and the juice from the shrimp and tomato sauce embeds itself in the noodles as they cook, and it becomes this wonderful blend of tasty tomatoes and parsley and shrimp...mmm I could eat the leftovers for breakfast they were so tasty! I'm not sure if my pic captures the pure beauty of this dish!! I began to think...why isn't everything cooked this way? Why would we not want a world filled with amazing married flavors all packed into one neat little package?

Then I opened up The Good Book, and bear with me, it might be a stretch--I began thinking, can we describe God in this way??  Can he be an amazing pouch of every thing that is wonderful? He is Mighty, All powerful, Alpha, Omega, Beginning and the End, right?

"But the Angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High. The  Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." 

"How will this be," Mary asked the Angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered...."Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."  Luke 1:30-37

    So here is Mary, a normal gal like you and me, doubting that she could have found such favor in His eyes, and doubting (understandably) the anatomy of the ordeal! But God places Elizabeth's story in the Bible right before the Angel comes to Mary so that He can show her--if I can impregnate a very old woman who has been barren for years, surely I can impregnate you with the Holy Spirit. And then the Angel says the obvious to Mary--that we OFTEN forget: "For Nothing is impossible with God." So this answers my question--God cannot be put in a "foil packet". We can't just put Him away on a shelf until we are ready for Him. We can't expect there to be boundaries holding God in to only the "church" and "appropriate" aspects of our lives. There are times in our lives when there are so many things that we think God doesn't want to have the time to deal with--our work bonuses, where our children should go to school, saving the heart of even the most stubborn and scientific of Atheists....but NOTHING, and He means NOTHING, is impossible with God. So we can't save God for when we are ready for him--when the timer on the oven goes off--we need to look for Him all day everyday in the circumstances He places in front of us and decide: How can my God find favor in me? 
      He is Mighty, All powerful, Alpha, Omega, Beginning and End, but he is also so much MORE. Those words only begin to describe God and all that He can do! If He can find favor in a young virgin sinner gal to carry His Son, what then will he find favor for us to do? Has he called us to do something, take a leap that we are too afraid to take? Or that we think is out of God's realm? Can we trust the path He gives us, like Mary, in her response? 

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered, " May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

And On to New Year's Resolutions...

Happy 2011!

The TV commercials for weight loss supplements have started again, along with sales at fitness stores and reduced gym membership prices. If I had the power to "make" 2011 more promising (which I promise the Big Man upstairs not to try), I would resolve for this....

More QT with God. A semester long Bible study has woken me up to God again, and helped to give me the verse of fresh air that I needed to hear-loud and clear (posted at the top of my blog):

Jeremiah 29:11"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future."

Wow. I never thought I could memorize scripture, but lo-and behold this one spoke loud and clear to me, and now, I can spout it off like like a sweet song. 2010 had me in a job I didn't love, driving to country towns I could care less to see, and working with pompous people who could care less that I drove 2 hours to see them. God placed this beautiful verse in my lap and promised me that he had a plan. A BIG plan ,and all I had to do was wait for it to unfold--and TRUST him.  And sure enough, by the end of 2010 he delivered a beautiful, exciting job right in my lap. PTL!! So it is time to wake up early, open up my Bible and sit my butt down for more exciting and earth shattering verses that are sure to wake up my heart for Jesus!


"And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

Ok so this is so simple and elementary but my long story short is that I was in between THREE churches at once (serving in nursery at one, bible study at another, and church services at another). God and my sweet sister had really pressed upon my heart to narrow it down to at least two and plant both of my feet in one church community. And until I was there, I kept wondering, which church should I tithe to? All three? My favorite? I basically had plenty of reasons not to share the money that God had provided to me. And then I gave my notice at the first church that I would no longer be serving in nursery. Whew. Down to 2. I then started attending church number 3 weekly, and I kept hearing God tell me that this was not my money, but His. So on Dec 13th, after years of not tithing-I tithed. (Not at all bragging--wait for the awesomeness of God to follow...) On December 15th the church cashed my check and guess what else happened December 15th? I got my job offer for my new job!! Now I just don't believe in coincidences...Here I am, patiently waiting for God to provide me deliverance from this icky job situation and NOT obeying him, and then I take that one simple measure to be an obedient follower of Christ and he showered his blessings on me! This is what Klove would call a WOW God moment!

And Don't forget Weight Loss...
Of course I wouldn't mind losing 5lbs...but luckily last New Years I scored a sweet treadmill of for almost nothing and plan to hike my 5lbs too heavy behind up to the attic to run off the many cake balls that have come to move in [temporarily] to my hips.