Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Radical Obedience

Chapter 6 of our on-line bible study: "What Happens When Women Say YES to GOD" by Lysa TerKeurst, hosted by Lelia.

Radical obedience is born out of delight, not duty" (pp.93). I completely get this statement now. If I had read this 4 years ago I don't think I would have. I have learned in my journey of life that loving God is not a duty. It is not about how many christian activities I am involved in but being involved in what God has called me to. It is not about having a faithful quiet time each morning at 5:15 but about my heart during that time and how much of me I am giving Him during not only that time but throughout the remainder of the day. My journey has grown from a duty for God to delighting in Him. Lamentations 3:22-24 reflects my heart, even though it was written thousands of years ago:
"The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him"
I have learned to seek Him in all things, the good and the bad. Seeking Him in everthing is no longer a duty but a delightful habit.

A situation happened last week and as I was praying and later reading during the "wait", a comment spoke to me from the pages of this book (I know God so put it tthere for me for that moment): "Of what manner of spirit am I?" (Having a Mary Spirit-Joanna Weaver). In this situation my husband and I were facing, we could seek retaliation, we could seek justice or we could seek to honor God and see His best for an outcome. I shared this statement with my husband and we both mellowed. The bad is not so bad because we decided to look at it from Gods perspective-a refining process, a moding of who we are in Him and we accepted it willing and with open arms. In the end, God will be honored and He will carry us though. It gives us joy, we are protected, we are being provided for and we are secure in it-because we walk with God in it (just like Lysa described in this chapter!).

There was a time in my life I wouldn't have reacted in this way. Nor am I perfect at this radical obedience but there is so much delight in doing it God's way. As Lysa wrote out this prayer in this chapter, I felt as if she stole the words from my heart:
"God, I love you and choose to accept the assignments You place before me with an attitude that reflects the truth that you live in me. I know I won't do this perfectly, and I admit my inability to do this in my strength. So, I say yes to You today. I say yes to Your desire to invade my natural flesh responses. I say yes to Your forgiveness when i mess up. I say yes to Your invitation to be obedient even when other paths seem more appealing. I say yes even as my lips desire to utter a thousand times over, 'I can't'. I say yes to loving you more." (pp.103)

I rest in the delight of walking with God-it was what I was design for. Though I have know God since childhood, He is more real to me today then He ever was. I wish I had figured this out earlier but now was the time, God's timing. I am scared to death of what is ahead of me. I hear His voice. I am unworthy by man's standards. Only in God's hands can I do above and beyond what I am capable of and I am willing-I say YES Lord. It involves the sacrifice of surrendering my ego, my pride, and my shame because I am no longer of those things. I am forgiven. Using my sufferings for God's glory may be painful but maybe one soul will avoid the same sins I have experienced, maybe one soul will come to know Christ. That is what it is all about.
"The stones that had caused me to stumble in life were the very ones that were also building my character and my destiny"
~Tracie Miles, Reinventing Your Rainbow

My mind has been transformed. I have a new soul and heart that loves God passionately. Radical obedience. I choose it, do you?
In His Graces~Pamela

Sunday, April 27, 2008

He loved His own to His Fullest

Our associate pastor gave a most wonderful sermon this morning that really spoke to me. It came from that old familiar passage of John 13, verses 1-17 in which Jesus washes His disciples feet. We know the story well, we have heard it many times, maybe even taught it in our own classes, but this morning it was presented in a new way, and a new realization was revealed to me from God for my life. This whole story is surrounding the final hours of Jesus and what He left for His disciples, for us. It made me ask myself, what do I want to be remembered for? What do I want to leave from my life?

Jesus washing the feet of the disciples was not just about doing acts of service, it is about being like Him-"behave as I have behaved" (vs 15). We are to be like Him in mind, in spirit and in action. Beyond the act of washing their feet, Jesus was implying the need that we all are to be washed or cleansed by His blood in order to be filled with His spirit (vs. 8). And in an even bigger message, He demonstrated that "He loved His own to His fullest" (vs. 1). He loved US to His fullness. He was about to further demonstrate this to us with the cross of Calvary and His resurrection.

He loves us to His fullest. Did you really hear that? Shall I repeat it? He loves us to His fullest!! And oh how He demonstrates it in our everyday life. Sometimes we have to put on our spiritual glasses to see it but it is there, in the mundane task to the supernatural if we are so blessed. So I had to ask myself, when my end has come, what will others remember about me? What do I want my life to reflect to God as I stand, or more likely bow, before Him in eternity? I quickly jotted three things that came to my mind on the title page of my Bible (all the blank pages in my Bible are filled up with other spiritual incites, Scripture or significant statements for my life). This is what I wrote as a commitment to God this day...

They will remember me by:
1. She loved her God with all her heart, mind and soul (Matt. 22:37)
2. She loved her own to her fullest (John 3:1)
3. She lived in grace and overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of her testimony (Rev. 12:11)

I want to have "She loved her own to her fullest" put into a frame or "They loved their own to their fullest" etched on a wooden picture block to place in our home. It is my goal this week to behave as Christ-to love my own (the family and friends He has blessed me with) to my fullest.
I will need prayer. It will require me to love to my fullest when the girls decide to bicker, or when I come home to a messy kitchen from the after school pancake snacks that they have made. I will be called to love to my fullest when there are annoying habits to endure (like shoes left out, toilet paper rolls not replaced, just to name a few). I will be called to love to my fullest when I am needed to meet individual needs within my own busy schedule. I am sure it won't be easy, but I want to behave like Jesus behaved and to love, fully love!!
In His final hours He completed His journey and He loved us to His fullest.
To be like Him....
In his Graces~Pamela
PS-I posted actual pictures from my palm camera of the flowers I talked about in my last post. I think they are a form of a daisy called "glebionis segetum"...?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Seeing God in the Flowers...

My house is a two story brick colonial. It has a brick wall in front. This picture is of the house shortly after we bought it-the brick was in need if repair. This winter we had a brick man come and do just that. The most wonderful thing that he did was to remove the top off the center piece that looked like a dog house and make it a planter instead. During Easter I placed fake Easter Lillie's in it. It was so pretty. This spring I have again planted the inpatients in front of the structure (last year they grew so big and beautiful you could not see the brick wall behind them-strangers would stop by and inquire of them).

This spring I planted this new yellow flower in the planter. I didn't save the little card that came with them and I am regretting that. There are no yellow inpatients so I choose the center planter to hold a yellow flower as it symbolizes new beginnings, happiness and energy. I went to the nursery where I got the flowers this morning and they are out. I went to another nursery and they don't have them either. I love watching these yellow flowers as they have such life to them.

The flower itself resembles a daisy but has a lot more pedals. The pictures on the right was taken from my palm since my camera is broken beyond repair. Here is what is so unique about this flower: as night approaches you will see the pedals close in on itself and the stem holding the flower will "lay down" the flower. Then each morning as the sun rises, the reverse happens-the stem lifts the flower up to the sun and opens it's pedal up into full bloom.

Last night we had a storm move in. As I was driving home from church I noticed these flowers and pointed them out to my youngest daughter. The pedals were balled up and closed up so tight-tighter than I had ever seen. The stem was laying them down, except for one flower. Though it was balled up real tight, it stood up as if still reaching for the sun. My daughter was so tickled over this plant she ran out in the rain to look at it closer. I wasn't feeling as brave.

I though about this magnificent plant God has created and drew me to purchase last weekend. It wasn't by chance. There were some prettier plants but He had a plan to teach me through it. Is this plant not an example of our life, our Christan life? When the darkness come through a sin of bitterness, unforgiveness, envy, anger, impatience, just to name a few, are we not called to protect ourself? When the storms of life come our way through an illness, broken relationship, even death...have we not been instructed to protect ourself with God?
1 Thessalonians 5:8 states "But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation".

When the darkness comes...when the storms hit us...protect yourself in faith and love which comes from God. And like that one lonely plant I saw last night standing tall in the storm but balled up tight, we too are to stand out for God's kingdom, fully protected in His armor.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
~Ephesians 6:10-20
May you bloom beautifully this weekend for Christ! Blessings!
In His Graces~Pamela

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I want to be a women who says YES to God!

What keeps us from saying YES to God? That's the title of chapter 5 in our blog Bible study hosted by Lelia using Lysa TerKeurst book "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God". It really is a phenomenal book-convicting, motivating, encouraging. But what does keep us from saying yes to God? What keeps you from saying yes to God?

There was so much in this chapter I am not sure what to go to first. Grace. I love that word. But Lysa stated it has two foes: acceptance & rejection. OUCH. So much grace is left inexperienced because people get lost in the need to be praised (acceptance) or the feeling that one is less than adequate , unworthy, incapable (rejection by self or by others). Here is the truth, pure and simple from this chapter:
"I am precious and accepted, no matter what.
No matter what choices I make,
His love is not based on my performance.
His love is based on His perfect surrender at the cross.
But, I must choose to accept this love
and walk this truth for it to make a difference
in how I journey through life."

Each time we feel life bringing us down...each time we feel the pains of rejection...each time we find our self longing for acceptance we need to remind ourselves that "only He (God) has the ability to fill me completely". AMEN! I have lived that! I have learned that! It is carries me through each time satan tries to bring me down! Ladies, repeat after me: "On God can fill me completely". It you repeat it enough, you will not only start to believe it but you will start to live in it's truth.

"Saying YES to God is a lot more about being than doing"

Bingo! We can serve on every church committee, teach all the Sunday school classes, serve in the AV booth, read our Bible every day but none of that will make the difference if we are not being a women who says YES to God. I quote Lysa from this chapter again:
"As long as my gaze is locked on His, I dance and He smile. The snickers and jeers of others fade away. Though I hear their razor sharp intentions, they are unable to pierce my heart and distract my focus. Even my own stumblings don't cause the same feelings of defeat. My steps so often betray the desire of my heart, but it is not my perfect performance that captures His attention. Rather, it is my complete dependence on Him that He notices. He then whispers. "Hold on to Me and what I say about you. For My words are the truth of who you are and the essence of what you were created to be."

I want to be a women who says YES to God more than ever! Thank you Lelia (http://leliachealey.blogspot.com/) for hosting this Bible study. Thank you Lysa (http://lysaterkeurst.blogspot.com/) for writing this book!

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
~John 8:32

In His Graces~Pamela

Ants, Ants & More Ants

Sunday as I was planting some flowers and setting up our back patio, I put the grill cover back over the grill where it belonged. It had been lying over the deck railing for about a week. I think the grill had cooled off within that time, don't you? As I unfolded it and pulled it over, I open up the vinyl to a huge nest of ants. It's springs! Here was all these tiny busy little creatures all over this covering. I quickly went to the garage and got our handy dandy killing spray and attacked these poor creatures. Needless to say, the battle isn't over as I had thought.

This morning as I ventured down for my first cup of coffee guess what I found on my kitchen counter? Yelp! An ant. I conquered him and proceeded to have my quiet time. When I went back for my second cup of coffee guess what I saw again? Not just one ant but more ants than I cared to see!! The windows in our house are old and they are scheduled to be changed out in May but right now, my old kitchen window sits above the grill and it is apparent that I didn't win the battle of the ants on Sunday. Solomon must have had ants too...

Ants are creatures of little strength,
yet they store up their food in the summer;
Proverbs 30:25

As I fight my battle this morning with these creatures, I am reminded how easy and quickly other "unwanted" things enter into my life: sins like busyness, attitudes, selfishness. If I don't keep grounded in God's word, how easily they over take me. Satan is quick, constantly at work against us, and I have to make sure there are no areas of weakness and leaks which will allow him to enter in and consume me.

Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.
Learn from their ways and become wise!
~Proverbs 6:6

On the positive note, I can look at these little unwanted creatures invading my home and seek to also be like them-committed to the task at hand: to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind and soul. To work diligently at carrying on the ministry He has called me to which is to draw others to Him and His salvation. To be his busy servant!
In the end, I want the ants gone! Is it May yet? I want my new windows!!!

In His Graces~Pamela

This week I have 22 ten page scholarly papers to grade. I will probably be caught up in this for a few days but I want to remind you that I am so blessed when I visit each and very one of your post. Blessings to you all!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Sweet Aroma to God

Have you ever been to a conference or meeting, maybe you can just reference your congregation and thought..."I wish I had her hair"...I wish I had her speaking ability"..."I wish my husband was as godly as hers appears to be" or "I wish I smelled as good as her" and so on? I have to wonder if God views our "wishes" as dissatisfaction for the uniqueness in which He made us.
Man has created plenty of products to help us improve our looks. There are so many self-help books and conferences to make us better speakers, writers, wives, mothers, Christians. I have invested well in these with good results! So I am not condemning these things but I suppose the whole issue comes down to our heart in this matter. And what about the perfume industry? They have created more scents than we can wear in a life time. So, I want to linger here a bit and examine our hearts with this issue of fragrance. My scripture reading took me to 2 Corinthians 2 (NLT) today:

(14) But thank God! He has made us his captives
and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession.
Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere,
like a sweet perfume.
(15) Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.
But this fragrance is perceived differently
by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.
(16) To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom.
But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.
And who is adequate for such a task as this?
Do you hear the message here? With all the wishes we have in our life-look at them closely and ask yourself what motivates this wish-self improvement-Christ reflection-jealousy-insecurity-ungratefulness? What reflection do you see in your heart and in your relationship with Christ? In stead of wishing for better hair-thank God for having hair that is workable and changeable. Some women today are suffering through the drama of life with no hair. Instead of being envious of another's speaking ability, praise God for the opportunity you have to speak, even if it is just to your family and continually pray His words will come through you. Make it your goal to be used by God in your speech. Instead of wishing your husband was more like someone else-look closer and see what God has truly blessed you with. Be a compliment to him to bring our his better side and praise God you have him. Many women have lost their husbands and suffer through pain, loneliness, regrets, and "should-have-been" type moments. And instead of being so in tuned to the latest fragrance on the store shelf, examine your spiritual fragrance!!

What fragrance are you wearing today? Is it a sweet aroma to God? Does it draw others towards God or make them turn away from Him? Of all the things I have mention, probably this is the most important. Is your life a Christ-like fragrance being lifted up as a sweet aroma to God? And who is adequate for such a task as this? Can we ever be adequate enough for God? I have learned yes and isn't just amazing? We are adequate for Christ only when we seek His confidence in our effort to be a sweet spiritual aroma.
Not that we are fit (qualified and sufficient in ability)
of ourselves to form personal judgments
or to claim or count anything as coming from us,
but our power and ability and sufficiency are from God.
[It is He] Who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient]
as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ],
not [ministers] of the letter (of legally written code)
but of the Spirit; for the code [of the Law] kills,
but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive.
~2 Corinthians 3:5-6 (Amplified Bible)
If we are living in God's confidence, the thankfulness and praises for what He has provided you will be there. I challenge all of us this weekend to examine our hearts, our minds, and our spiritual cleanness as we seek God's confidence and live to be spiritually scented in the fragrance God is wanting from us!

Have a blessed weekend!

In His Graces~Pamela

Monday, April 14, 2008

Set Your Heart on Him

I have to admit, I wrote this yesterday anticipating Lelia would be wrapped up in her new granddaughter-can you blame her? Plus my schedule at the end of a semester is always overwhelming so blogging is slower at this time. But I love this Bible study!!!
So, we continue in Lelia's blog Bible study (http://lysaterkeurst.blogspot.com/) from Lysa Terkeurst(http://lysaterkeurst.blogspot.com/) book "What Happens When Women Say YES to God". We enter Chapter 4 and look at what it means for God to be Lord in our life. Everything Lelia mentioned on her blog was also highlighted as I read through the chapter and I really think Lysa summed it up well when she wrote "God must be Lord of all if He is our Lord at all" and she references us to 1 Peter 3:15:
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you
to give the reason for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect..."
It is only by loving Christ and building on that love relationship that we can even begin to make Him Lord in our life. It involves a pursuit of Good's truth, His presence, His fullness in our life verses chasing after the emptiness the world has to offer us-temporary success, financial gain, popularity...and the list goes on. It's saying "I choose to love God no matter what I face". Pursuing that love relationship with God becomes your priority, your addiction, your life goal. And the result of this pursuit? PEACE! Resting in God, believing He is in charge and He has your best interest at heart-always.

Lysa talked about the perception we often hold of ourselves-the perception that we are not able to be a women that says YES to God. I mean, look at our past, look at the mistakes we have made, look at the labels other have given us. How could we ever be able to fully say Yes to God after all our failures? Barrowing the words from this chapter has become a prayer and testament for my own life:
"I am a women on a journey of learning how to make sure my reactions don't deny Christ presence in me. I am a women who says yes to God not because my emotions and reactions are perfect. No, I say yes to God because He is perfectly able to forgive me, love me, remind me, challenge me, and show me how to weather trials in ways that prove His Spirit resides in me. I remind myself often that people don't care to meet my Jesus until they meet the reality of Jesus in my Life"
The reality of Jesus in my life...what can be more powerful and meaningful? More than anything else I want others to see the grace I live by today. To experience the love and forgiveness I have come into. To know God like I do and more. It is a journey, a pilgrimage to being a women after God's own heart, molded by Him to resemble Him!
"Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage."
~Psalm 84:5
Set your hearts on Him!!
In His Graces~Pamela

Friday, April 11, 2008


We are closing in on the end of the semester at the college where I teach and it gets hectic. This week I have found little time to blog-hop. There have been a couple of blogs I have been obsessed to visit t/o my days. Lelia's daughter finally made her a grandmother (http://leliachealey.blogspot.com/)! Congratulations Lelia and family! Beth Moore's cherished family pet Sunny came home (http://livingproofministries.blogspot.com/)- funny how the things that mean so much can cause such drama in our life. I missed the blog-hoping this week but now see how special each of you are because of last night...

Last night while my husband watch the game in bed, sitting next to him I had the opportunity to visits some blogs. We finished a conversation about finances and I was feeling down. It had also been a rough week as a mother. Yesterday after the bickering between the younger girls and my poor reaction to it I had submitted my resignation as a mother to God as it was obviously a mistake on my part (He probably found humor in that, boy I hope). But those finances...God had really blessed us with our tax return to allow us to remodel our basement for living space. With our blended family and having downsized to this smaller home (that we so love), we need the space! But my husband had to use most of that money to make ends meet these past two months. The basement is partially done. He did state he donated a large sum of it to the church before all the other business took it over-God's money-which I am so thankful.

It became more of a stress for me though because I have been negotiating a part-time contract with the college. We had decided for financial reasons I would go back to bedside nursing and teach part-time because the college pays half of what I can make at a hospital. We had such a peace about it. It was going to allow me more time with the family and to also allow me to start my doctorate work. But this week, it all seems to be falling apart. A part-time contract is not looking favorable from the college. Insurances can't be included in the contract, and the health insurance offered through my husbands work is more than double what we have been paying. The college has also implied they will not replace my full time position within the nursing department I teach in if I go part-time or leave-the department can't afford that so another heavy weight on my shoulder.

So the peace left. The stress and weight of all these burdens replaced it. What about my plans for doctorate work? Less time working and more time at home? The college demands so much of my time compared to working 2-3 days a week at bedside nursing. More money is due for the She Speaks conference I felt God leading me to go to. Do I give that up? We have 6 kids and bills. Peace-wasn't that peace I had experienced before this week from God? Even when the meeting with the college dean did not look favorable for what I was asking, my co-worker commented on the peace I had with it. Why is it finances, poor mothering skills or work burdens can take that peace away? Why did I allow it to?

So last night in my discouragement, I went to my blog friends and quietly read your post. WHAT A BLESSING!! God guided each one of you to write your post for me. There was the post on trust (http://slywillie.blogspot.com/) ..."yes Lord, I will trust you in this. I am sorry I allowed my own heart to take over". There was the one on seeing God's will (http://nason5.blogspot.com/) ..."my spiritual glasses are on Lord but I am not seeing it yet...is there a sin in my life preventing me from seeing your will? Show me the sin Lord, please, today, so that I can know your will for our jobs...this family". There were blog posting of comfort, humor & brokenness (http://amahoney-amy.blogspot.com/), peace (http://yolanda-highergrounds.blogspot.com/), surrender (http://putyourfeetinthewater.blogspot.com/), transformation (http://lauraboggess.blogspot.com/), hope (http://lacedwithgrace.com/ & http://amylbrooke.blogspot.com/), and praise (http://lysaterkeurst.blogspot.com/ & http://aromaofjoy.blogspot.com/) of who God is and what He can do in our life. Did I say WHAT A BLESSING?!?!?

Ladies, we have a wonderful ministry here in these blogs. Never hesitate to write what God puts on your heart because it may just be the one thing that helps to bring hope when there is despair, encouragement when there is overload, comfort when there is pain, laughter when there is so much sadness. Thank you for blessing me last night and helping me to see that it is in faith and hope that I will see God's plan in this situation I am facing. And pray for me as we have to make a financial decision regarding our jobs and providing what is best for this big beautiful family. I have peace again. I just need to see clearly His will in this decision.

You are a Blessing! I hope to get to know more of you and I apologize that I couldn't visit everyone I know in blog world or list you here today...I'm out of time!!!

In His Graces~Pamela

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Radical Obedience

As we continue Lelia's blog Bible study (http://leliachealey.blogspot.com/)from from Lysa TerKeurst book "What Happens When Women Say YES to God", we enter into chapter three: When Obedience Becomes Radical (http://lysaterkeurst.blogspot.com/). Wow! what a convicting chapter! Just how radical are we as Christian women today?
"God wants us to be wiling to obey with our whole heart" (pp.43). I know that is our whole desire but doesn't other things sometimes get in the way? work, finances, the kids activities, even things that we see as holy-like ministry. As Lysa implies in this chapter, to develop a whole heart, radically obedient to God involves a purifying process in order that we can be "prepared and matured for our calling" (pp.47). As we go through His purifying process, which is sometimes quite painful and difficult, He removes those things that are keeping us from being more like Him. No matter what else is in our life, we are called to love God above everything else!

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. ~Deuteronomy 6:5

As I read this chapter, I felt God asking me to examine my heart. One of the questions in the back on this chapter asked if there was something that God is asking us to give up, that would help to make my heart more pure for Him. Though I love Him, there are areas of selfishness I must admit to, as painful as it is. I felt really convicted to look at my heart as a mother and the time and attention I give to my girls, or don't give to my girls. The times when I am trying to read a blog and one of the girls is trying to share her homework grade with me, or the time I am watching TV or reading a book when I could be more focus on them. I really felt a different kind of message from God..."love them as you love me and they will then learn to love me as you do". I know as mothers we are called to be radically obedient to this calling-to care for His children He has placed in our care. This is where I am not being radically obedient. OUCH. I need to give up some of my selfishness of self and devote more quality time with those precious girls.

Saying YES to God is a discipline that I am striving for in every area of my life-as His servant, as a wife, as a mother, as a teacher, as a friend. It is the delight of my heart. So I am working on the fruits found in this on-going love affair I have with Jesus as mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23, particularly on gentleness (Phil. 4:5),-to be more loving to the ones God has blessed me with; faithfulness (Isa 25:1)-to be more faithful to His callings in my life; and self-control (2 Peter 1:5-8)-to be stronger in my attitude and reactions. I cherish your prayers in these areas for my life.

"The more we say YES to God, the more we will live in expectation of seeing Him. The more we expect to see God, the more we will. The more you experience Him, the more you'll trust Him. The more you trust Him, the more you'll open up your hands in absolute obedience" (pp.53).

Radical obedience. That's what we are called to. Yes Lord!

In His Graces~Pamela

Monday, April 7, 2008

Thoughts for the new week...

I am facilitating a new women's Bible study this week at our church. It all got started when a friend introduced me to the book "Having a Mary Spirit" by Joanna Weaver. We had use one of her other books as a Bible study in the past-"Having a Mary Heart in a Martha world". There was one paragraph that really captured our attention and lead to the development of this Bible study. I don't remember if I have shared it in a blog entry before, but I feel lead to share it again if so because the thought of this is so compelling and challenging:

“My deepest fear is waking up twenty years from now still the same women I am today. With the same annoying habits and petty attitudes; with the same besetting sins and false beliefs. I can’t imagine anything more terrible than getting to the end of my life only to discover that God had so much more for me—more freedom, more joy, more peace, more true effectiveness. And I missed it all simply because I refused to change.” ~Joanna Weaver

Change. It seems to be a struggle for most of us. It means approaching the unknown or it means reaching a new goal. This weekend my husband has been working on the basement. We purchase our home less than a year ago from an estate sale. It was a great deal for a 44 year old two story colonial. It is much smaller than our last home but we fell in love with this home and the potential it had. I don't think they had updated anything in and of this house since its creation. We are in the process of refining some of its old character and transforming its internal structure to meet our needs. We have done so much but there is so much to do. Kind of like our life isn't it?

God has done so much in and through me but there is so much yet to do. The internal structure of myself is far more beautiful then the external structure. It is only through God that has happened. It's called grace. It's called forgiveness. And it all started with brokenness. And though I am a new person eternally, my outward structure is not all that different. I hope that the joy of Christ in my life, being the structure of my life, is apparent to all but just like the repair work of the brick that was done on the front of our house, the new siding and windows that are coming hopefully next month, the outward beauty can hide the internal. When someone chooses to enter your home, to get to know you better, what do they see?

Surely you heard of him and were taught in him
in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life,
to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
and to put on the new self,
created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
~Ephesians 4: 21-24

I challenge each of us to enter this week looking at our internal structure. Your life...is it God's home? Find a special piece of scripture to meditate on-really meditate on it. "When God's truth is allowed to touch the deepest corner of your soul, the Holy Spirit will transform you into the image of Christ" (Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day). Mediate on God's word and ask Him to remodel any area's that have become old and unusable for Him.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
~Psalm 1:2&3

It a daily job, this remodeling process. It will never end. It shouldn't and it should be our hearts desire to be constantly seeking to be all God has called us to be. Just as we enter into the season of spring, may we blossom into the beauty of Christ-likeness!!
In His Graces~Pamela

Just for fun...here's the before and after pictures of our kitchen!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Short-n-Sweet for today...

Since yesterdays post was rather long, today I leave you with but a couple of thoughts to ponder as a reflection off it's topic..

"Faith is God's invitation to
make the impossible possible.
He is glorified when we are enabled
to do what we're unable to do."
~Beth Moore
It's about releasing self-our flesh-and letting God!

"He who knells before God
can stand before anyone"

My Blackaby Bible study from Experiencing God Day-By-Day reminded me that our responsibility is not to convince others of the reality of God-in and through ourselves we can not be convincing enough-but we are simply required to bear witness to what the Lord has said and done for us.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.
~Psalm 62:5-8

May we all reflect Jesus in our life! Have a blessed weekend!!

In His Graces~Pamela

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Quiet Reflections

I had the chance this morning to visits a few blog friends while my daughters were getting ready for school. Today I do not have to go into work so I have been able to sit down in my beautiful red paisley chair (you can see this in my 12/22 blog entry "He's my cup of coffee each morning")and have some unlimited quality God time. God started bringing to my heart something I needed to again address a few days ago when I was asked to respond to a blog survey and He has continued to lay the ground work through today's blog visits and my quiet time with Him. I feel compeled to share it as I sense it is not just a message for me but for some other souls out there.

I was asked to list my fears for a blogger friend Christine (http://awakentheheartministries.blogspot.com/). One fear, though not my greatest, has weighed heavy on me since I posted it--"fear for not being seen for who I am now vs. what I have been". Daily I have had encouragment in readings and scripture that I am only to be judged by Christ-His opinion is what matters most so why then do I fear? Then it came home hard this morning. Amy (http://amahoney-amy.blogspot.com/) posted yesterday on "Facts vs Feelings" and stated "I challenge you to see for yourself what God's Word says is true, and base your beliefs on facts not feelings". Confirmation again of the issue I needed to deal with this morning. Hang with me, it gets even better....

Often I have thought that if I could only have walked with Jesus how much easier it would have been to be a perfect follower of Christ and not to fall prey to sin. Been there? Felt that way? I was spiritually slapped in the face with my wrong thinking this morning in my devotional reading from "Experencing God Day-By-Day" by the Blackaby's when they wrote "We grossly underestimate the God we serve! To ignor God's word or disobey a direct command from Him is to ignor the magnificant nature of Christ. Our fear of other people proves that we do not understand the awesome Lord who walks with us. The Christ we serve today is the Lord of all creation. He is vastly more awesome and powerful than the gentle rabbi we often imagine from the scripture". Look at how He is described after His ressurrection in the close of the New Testiment:
His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow,
and his eyes were like blazing fire.
His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace,
and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.
~Rev. 1:14-15
How could I not have the faith that this Christ is powerful enough to transform me from what I have been to be a women who flollows hard after Him and desires to love Him more? Is not His power enough to change even I? Is not His power enough to over come the fear of what other people think or see of me?
Sin holds such an aweful grip on us, doesn't it? How many times have you asked forgiveness of a sin and find it creeping back, whether as an action or as in remembrance. Van Walton (http://www.vanwalton.blogspot.com/) wrote the devotional today for the Proverbs 31 Ministy and I encourage you to go here (http://proverbs31devotions.blogspot.com/) to read it. She references sin being like a splinter. It's a nagging discomfort that can lead to infection and destruction. She referenced the Biblical account of the women at the well in John chapter 8 that was caught in the sin of adultry (our lesson for tonights youth Bible study-how convienent!!). She stated:
"Jesus’ words gave clear instruction about sin. “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). He didn’t say, “Study it.” He didn’t help her analyze her psyche, to understand her sin. He made his point, “Go and sin no more.” The only way to deal with sin is to accept that sin exists: spot it, name it, and find an instrument to remove it. Use prayer, the Bible, a trusted friend, fasting, worship and praise. Pain may remain for a while, but a clear conscience quickly heals the surgical wound left behind by the once-harbored sin.
Is that how some of us are dealing with our shame? Studying it-reflecting on it when we should be moving on-allowing it to come back and taunt us like the nagging discomfort of a splinter under our skin? Have we been made a slave to our sin or to our past shame? That's what satan wants. But we are called to to step away from it and to live in the freedom of God's redemptive grace. It is not always easy but it is possible. I am learning. It requires a releasing of self daily to allow God to enter in and take the reigns of our life-every aspect of it. We are to live outside of our shame, our past, our ordinary lives, and to magnify Chirst, like Peter and John did in Acts 4:13:
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished
and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
There is value in examining what others see in us now as compared to what we have been. But we are only to live in Christ-not their views or opinions. We need to have the courage to be God's disciple here and now. When others look upon our life we want them to realize that there is nothing spectacular in us other than the presence of our living God and that alone should be an astonishing reflection of how much more God can do in their life!
I quote Jan McCray "Nothing betrays the conditon of your heart as readily as the words you speak". Can I have a big ouch here? Your conversation is a reflection of where you spend your most time-so what does your converstaion reflect today? Last nights TV show? A cold uncaring heart demonstrated by harsh words? Unforgiveness as reflected in gossip?
We are called to walk away from the shame of our past and to live fully in Him, to release our "self" and to allow Him in our life. We are to celebrate that the time has come to put our shame behind us.
As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
~Romans 10:11
We are to reflect our heart in our converation and in our actions--we are to reflect Christ. We are to be servants of Christ, entrusted by God to share in Christ ministry:
So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.
~1 Corinthians 4:1
I am living in Christ, not in my shame. I am becoming a women that says yes to God, despite where I have been or who I have been because He has called me to. I pray my conversation will also be a reflection of Christ in my life. Will you join me in this today?
In His Graces~Pamela

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hearing God's Voice

Today I am commenting from the blog Bible study I am participating in from my dear friend Lelia's site (http://leliachealey.blogspot.com/). We are in chapter two of Lysa TerKeurst book "What Happens When Women Say YES to God". Lysa (http://lysaterkeurst.blogspot.com/) is president of Proverbs 31 Ministry and has such a talent for bringing women closer to God. This week's chapter challenged us to open ourselves to hearing God's word and gave us principles to use to measure if what we are hearing is indeed from God. These principles are shared by Lelia on her blog site.

We are all seeking transformation-to become a women after God's own heart, chosen to do great and mighty things for Him, and to be able to hear His voice, right? So where does this transformation come form?

"If we want the fruit of the Spirit to grow in us, we must join our lives to His.
We must know him, Love him, remember him, and imitate him"
Lysa TerKeurst, pp.29

It comes first and foremost with faith-faith that Jesus came to sacrifice Himself for us so that we might have a way to God-it's called salvation. And through salvation-believing Jesus is the son of God, died for our sin, rose again for us so that we might have life in eternity with Him-that we gain the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us into being like Christ. We begin the transformation process by being a women that says "yes" to God in anything and everything.

"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us,
not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
so that, having been justified by his grace,
we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life."
~Titus 3: 4-7

Not that we are worthy of this gift of the Holy Spirit or this gift of grace we live in, but because God loved us so much and desires we have a relationship with Him. Only then can we be transformed. Living in and through Him requires time spent with him daily-through reading of Scripture, Bible studies, spiritual readings from good Christian authors, scripture memorization, serving others, songs of praise, etc-activities that can lead us to become more like Christ. It take releasing ourselves-our past failures, our own desires-so that we can be more like Him, desiring what He wants for our life above everything else!

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory,
being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

Unveil your heart, your life, your thoughts, your actions so that you you can come clean and allow God to enter in. Like Lelia stated, you have to to "reek of obedience to God...I want others to taste Jesus when they see me because I choose to say YES GOD!"

The most significant part of this chapter for me comes from the last full paragraph: "...to this day I have to seek it by asking for the desire, discipline, discernment, direction and delight. I ask for the desire to want God more than anything else. I ask for discipline to make my relationship with him top priority. I ask for discernment to know the difference between my own thoughts and God's voice. I ask for clear direction at each crossroad in my life. I ask for my relationship with God to be characterized by sheer delight rather than a sense of duty".

This has become my prayer. Make it yours too and you will succeed at becoming a women who says "yes" to God in anything and everything.
I love becoming a women who says YES to God!

In His Graces~Pamela

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
~Jeremiah 29:13