February 19, 2017

He Defines Me

Priscilla Shirer said it best when she said, "When you're not the same person you used to be, you have no business going where you used to go." Isn't that the truth?  Then why do I continually find myself in the places I don't want to go?  It's like I have an alternate personality or something.

But it isn't an alternate personality that's the problem.  It's my humanity.  Plain and simple.  The human side of me takes over and leads me places I thought I had long since run away from.  In those moments I find myself defeated and frustrated and wanting to eat a gallon of ice cream.  But, as I am on my way to get a spoon for that the ice cream, God reminds me of something so simple yet so profound.  Though I feel defeated, that is not who I am.  I am not defined by my failure.  I am defined by Him and the things HE says about me.  

Though I could come up with a million statements defining who I am in my own eyes, I need to remember who I am in His.  I need to learn to change the way I view myself and allow Him to define me.  When I do that, those places I used to frequent are much less appealing.  I am learning to see that God has much better for me, but I will never be able to recognize it if I am looking at myself as the one who fails, the one can't seem to get it right, or the one who is back there AGAIN.

I am reading Steven Furtick's book Unqualified.  He goes into detail about how God calls Himself I AM.  He connects that to us making statements about ourselves and defining ourselves using I am _______ statements.  He says, "Anytime we take God's name (I AM) and fill in the third word about ourselves (I am _______) with things that are contradictory to what God says about us, we are taking his name in vain. When we allow our third words to override his third words we are treating his name as empty and hollow."  My. Mind. Was. Blown. When I read that, it hit me.  I am always making statements about myself, but never really connecting it to the fact that that is not who I am in Him.  I have been living as if what I say about me matters.  It doesn't.  But I let it.  

When I fail and stumble and feel the pain of regret, Jesus reacts to me the same way he did to the woman who was caught in adultery in John chapter 8. He defends me. He protects me.  And He gives me hope that I can live differently in the future. When I come face to face with my failure, it is far too easy to give up on myself.  But in Christ my accusers are gone. And the One whose opinion matters most stands before me, a smile on His face and tenderness in His eyes.  He tells me there is hope.  There is a future.  I can live a different kind of life.  I can become the person he meant for me to be.1

Felicity







1-Unqualified by Steven Furtick 

December 04, 2016

2016 Christmas CD

Hey friends!

Merry Christmas!  By now your cd should be happily on its way to you!  I hope that when you receive it, you will be merrily singing along!  I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I have this year!

Felicity

1. One and Only- Rend Collecive
2.  Glory and Wonder- Mosaic
3. My Heart is Steadfast- Ellie Holcomb
4.  Death was Arrested- North Point
5. Grace Wins- Matthew West
6. I Lived- One Republic
7. Breathe on Us- Kari Jobe
8. O praise the Name- Hillsong
9. Day to Feel Alive- Jake Reese
10. Write Your Story- Fracesca Battistelli
11. Jesus I Come- Elevation Worship
12. Tremble- Mosaic
13. Sound of the Saints- Audio Adrenaline
14. Wonderful Life- Matoma
15. Holy Spirit- Elevation Worship


August 20, 2016

He is the Goal

So you want to do great things for God?  You want to bear fruit and show that you are devoted to Him?  There is a way. To make that happen though, it may not be how you think.

I have spent most of my Christian life "doing" for God.  I always seem to find things I can do for Him; to bear the fruit I think I should.  But is that what He asks me to do?  In John 15, Jesus reminds us to abide in Him and we will then bear the fruit that we desire.

But I think we often have it backwards.  We "do" for God and think this is the vehicle in which we remain.  When really, the only way for us to bear the fruit we desire is to remain intimate with Christ. When we take the time to read our Bibles and do what it says, we then find ourselves bearing the fruit we have strived to produce all along.

This is such a sweet reminder for me because I often forget.  I keep the busy pace of life, thinking all the while, that I am remaining in Christ.  But in reality, I am far from Him.  When I continue to go, go, go in the name of "serving", I miss what He intended for me.  Because I have not taken the time to sit with Him and just soak Him all in, I miss the target.

However, when I make intimacy with Christ my ultimate goal, I will bear more fruit than I ever thought possible.  I will see Him at work in me more than ever before.  And the fruit I tried to produce on my own will start to flourish.  I just have to remember that He is the goal.

February 03, 2016

Failure IS an Option

Failure.  It seems inevitable.  We work so hard to juggle the things of life: ministry, jobs, families, careers, appointments, meetings, sports games. But more often than not, we seem to find ourselves discouraged because we can't do it all well.  Well, at least that is the story of my life.

I hate the word failure, but sometimes that is how I feel.  I try my very best to do my very best, but sometimes that does not seem like it is good enough.  I work harder and longer to try to prove that I can do it, but ultimately that leaves me defeated over and over again.

Then I remember Psalm 73:26.  My flesh and my heart may fail, BUT GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  

This verse reminds me that in and of myself I am NOT capable, but GOD is.  My flesh will fail every time.  I have to remember to walk in the Spirit and depend on Him so as not to walk in my flesh. When I choose to let the Spirit work though me, I cannot fail because He is the one working.  But the moment I choose to surrender to my flesh, I become overwhelmed and naturally, I feel the weight of failure.  But I don't have to.

God is always waiting for me to call on Him, always.  In the midst of the work day when kids are out of control or when I am juggling the responsibilities of ministry, God is waiting for my to ask for help.  I am realizing how important it is to keep my focus on Him and not on being overwhelmed.  In those moments I am free to do as He has asked and I no longer feel trapped by being inundated.  I just have to always remember that my flesh WILL fail, but God will NOT!


December 11, 2015

2015 Christmas Cd

Hey friends!

Merry Christmas!  By now your cd should be happily in your cd player and you should be singing along to the jams!  I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I have this year!


1.  How Can it Be ~ Laurne Daigle
2. You Make Me Brave ~ Bethel Music
3. I Lived ~ One Republic
4. Power to Redeem ~ Lauren Daigle
5. Because He Lives ~ Matt Maher
6. Touch the Sky ~ Hillsong United
7. Great are You Lord ~All Sons and Daughters
8. Furious ~Jeremy Riddle
9.  Raised to Life ~ Elevation Worship
10. Ever Be ~Bethel Music
11. High Above It All ~ For All Seasons
12. Captain ~ Hillsong United
13. I Will Praise You ~Ginny Owens
14. O Praise the Name ~ Hillsong
15. Breathe On Us ~Kari Jobe
16. This is Living ~ Hillsong


July 07, 2015

It's a Matter of the Heart (Psalm 119:9-11)

How can a young man (or woman) keep his way pure?  That is the question being asked by the author of Psalm 119.  Is it a possible to keep one’s life pure by following a set of rules?  Does that, by default, cause us to live as God intended?  I would argue that it doesn’t.


Verses 9-11 of Psalm 119 asks the question of a pure life, but then quickly addresses and answers the question of how to keep our life pure and avoid sinning against God.  These verses mention nothing about staying pure by following a set of rules.  

In three short verses, the word heart is mentioned two times.  This leads me to draw a conclusion that keeping pure has something to do with my heart.  As I dig a little bit deeper into what God is saying, I realize that I must be purposeful in having His Word in my heart so that change can take place. Following God and  living as He intended is more about my heart and less about following rules that cannot initiate lasting change.  Following the rules will last for a time, but ultimately I will fail if that is all I have done.  But sincere and lasting change is only achieved by a change of heart.  

So how do I go about changing my heart?  Verse 11 says that hiding God's Word in my heart is the only way that I will be able to keep from sinning against God and keep my way pure.  God's Word has to have priority in my life and has to be at the center of all I do.  I know that my heart's deepest desire is to live as God purposed for me to live; and hiding God's Word in my heart is the way that can be achieved.

June 03, 2015

Reflecting His Sacrifice

I have always known (since I became a believer) that Christ died for my sins. I knew He did that for me. It is because of who He is that He willingly died so I did not have to. But today something really sunk in about the gravity of what that really means. 

1 Peter 2:24 says that "He Himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed." Did you catch that? He willingly gave His life so I could die to my sin.  This really struck a cord in me.  I am grieved in heart because I realized that every time I choose to sin and willingly give up the privilege to choose righteousness, I am saying that what He did on the cross for me was for nothing.  I am yelling from the rooftops that my sin is more important to me than what Christ has done.  

Of course that is not how I feel, but that is exactly what I am saying when I choose not to walk in righteousness.  He has healed me from the curse of sin and I have a choice.  I can choose to turn towards Him and follow after righteousness because of what He has done for me, or I can choose to walk in my sin and say that what He has done for me is of no consequence.  I choose the former.  

Because of His surrender to death on a cross,  I want to walk in righteousness.  I know the gift of life He has given to me is the most precious gift I will ever receive; I don't want to live as if it does not matter. He has offered up the ultimate sacrifice and my life needs to reflect its weight.  Nothing I would ever choose is more important than what He has already given me.  Nothing.

May 25, 2015

Because of His Grace

Because of His grace I am many things that I would not have been otherwise.  His grace has changed me; made me into who I am today.  It has offered me things that I would have never had the opportunity to experience, save for Him.

Because of His grace I am redeemed and free.  Because of His grace I have a living hope that never fades away.  Because of His grace I have an inheritance reserved and waiting for me.  Because of His grace I can greatly rejoice even in the midst of trials trying to bring me down.  I have been handed multitudes of blessings because of His grace.

But if I was honest, I would admit that His grace could have done so much more in me, more than I have allowed it to do.  But because of myself, I have not experienced the fullest measure of His grace.  I stand in my own way.

1 Peter 2:1-3 reminds me that I need to put aside all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and evil speaking and desire the Word of God.  Have I put all of these things aside and pressed on to pursue the truth of God's Word?  Have I allowed all He has done for me through His grace to cause me to lay aside all that hinders me?  There are times when I can honestly say I have.  But more often than not, I turn my eyes to myself and fall back into the trap of letting these things pull me back to where I used to be. 

God's grace has given me new life.  And because of His grace, I must put aside all that hinders. My desire should be none other than the truth of the Word of God.  When I turn to focus on all God has done for me, I no longer have room to exhibit malice and deceit and hypocrisy and envy.  I have nothing but room for God.  He is all I want anyway.  The rest of it is pointless.

May 16, 2015

An Unlikely Relationship

There is a relationship that seems almost contradictory.  It is the relationship between suffering and glory. If I suffer, how can I subsequently see glory?  Only God makes it possible.

1 peter is a book about suffering.  It clearly demonstrates to us who believe, that when we suffer it is not for nothing.  Our suffering has a purpose.  

Though suffering is not what we would call enjoyable, we can rejoice through it because of what the end result will be.  1 Peter 1:7 tells us that through our suffering we will see the glory revealed in the end.  Though the suffering lasts a little while, God’s glory will be revealed through it when all is said and done.  

We must realize the sufferings we endure here on earth help us to identify with Christ.  He suffered during His stay here and in our suffering we can recognize what He went through.  Though we do not want to suffer, we want to be like Christ; suffering helps us to do just that.

Our faith is a gift given to us by God.  And through the suffering that we endure, we are given the chance for our faith to be proven.  1 Peter 1:6-7 reminds us that our faith is what will reveal the glory of God.  And isn’t that what we want the most: God’s glory to be shown?  Through the suffering we endure, God may be glorified and made known.  And ultimately that is what it is all about anyway.

February 14, 2015

My True Valentine

My First Love,

Today is supposed to be a day where love is celebrated.  I cannot think of a love more worthy of celebrating than Yours.  It is all that I need.  Yours is a love that I cannot live without.  It is what makes me who I am.

There could never be another love that lavishes me the way that Yours does.  It brings me to my knees in adoration and thankfulness.  I do not deserve You in any way, but yet you still shower me with grace upon grace.

I cannot express how deeply I adore You.  I am unable to explain it.  Words are not adequate enough. Ever.  Even my heart tries to express the love I feel for You, but it fails. Every. Time.  But I feel it.  I know the love I have for You.

I am amazed by the relentless love that continually pursues me and calls me to heights with You.  No matter what I have done or how far I have fallen, Your grace continues to pick me up.  That is love. Unrelenting love.  

Your love has changed me and made me who I am.  We have been to the heights of joy and to the depths of sorrow.  But still Your love is there: unwavering and steadfast.  I could not ask for anything greater.  Jesus, there is no love I need more than Yours.  I am Yours.  Always.

Felicity

December 08, 2014

2014 Christmas CD

Yet another Christmas cd is out and hopefully playing joyfully in your CD players!  These are some of my most favorite songs from this year.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

1.  Beneath the Waters- Hillsong
2.  Wake- Hillsong Young and Free
3.  Mighty Warrior-Elevation Worship
4.  In My Love-Phil Wickham
5.  Only King Forever- Elevation Worship
6.  Unto Your Name- Elevation Worship
7.  Let It Be Known-Worship Central
8.  Alive- Hillsong Young and Free
9.  Great I Am- New Life Worship
10.  Great In My Life- Phil Wickham
11. Forever-Kari Jobe
12.  Lord I'm Ready Now-Plumb
13.  He Knows My Name- Francesca Battistelli
14.  Beautiful- Dan Bremnes
15.  Broken Vessels- Hillsong Worship
16.  No Other Name- Hillsong Worship

September 14, 2014

IT'S TIME!

It has been a long road.  One that I really didn't ever think I would find myself walking, but here I am just the same.

I have been a Christian for 14 years and have always loved spending time in the Word...getting to glean all I possibly could from God's gift to me: His Word.  I would rise early every morning to sit with Him and discover all He had to say to me.  It was my source of life.

But over time, I have let life get in the way.  I have slowly been sleeping in more and more.  In turn, reading less and less.  So, during this most recent season, getting into the Word has been a struggle.

But of one thing I can always be sure:  God is still the same and He continues to pursue me despite my short comings.

Now it's time.  I need to put other things aside and get back to spending time with the Lord.  I am excited about this next season: excited about all that God wants to show me, all He wants to do!

So, I am kicking off a new season!  I have joined a study group online through Good Morning Girls Ministries and will be off and running tomorrow morning (if I can get myself out of bed!)! I will be reading through the Bible with them and joining in on their discussion each week.  I treasure the time I have with the Lord and I want Him to know that I LOVE Him with all I am.  He is my source and I cannot make it without Him!




December 31, 2013

2013 Christmas Cd

Merry Christmas my friends!  This is late (as usual) but here are the song titles and artists from this year's Christmas Cd!  I hope you enjoy and that 2014 brings you much to be thankful for!

1.  Little Drummer Boy - Pentatonix
2.  Nothing Is Wasted - Elevation Worship
3.  Open Up Our Eyes - Elevation Worship
4.  Oceans - Hillsong United
5. Scandal of Grace - Hillsong United
6. Great in Us - Elevation Worship
7.  Relentless - Hillsong United
8.  Greater - Elevation Worship
9.  Praise Him - The Royal Royal
10.  Cornerstone - Hillsong Live
11. Always Will - Hillsong Live
12. This is Amazing Grace - Phil Wickham
13. Glorious Ruins - Hillsong Live
14. Mercy Tree - Lacy Sturm

October 12, 2013

Dispenser of Grace

When I was a child, I always got so excited to run into the store and search through the many Pez dispensers to find just the perfect one to bring me those red, orange, and yellow pieces of candy. I could always depend on those dispensers to dispense a continuous supply of candy, as long as my supply never ran out.  Now that I am older, I no longer run into the store and search for the perfect candy dispenser; Instead, I have found something much deeper that satisfies my soul.

I have discovered the relentless love and grace of God.  Just as the Pez dispenser dispensed those mini candies into my hand all those years ago, today I get to be on the receiving end of something much better: grace.  God so freely and continually dispenses His grace upon me, over and over again.  I am not deserving in the least, but He continues to supply.  He never runs out of His grace and never chooses to withhold it as long as I ask.

This is such a comfort to me.  I am, after all, human and I seem to always fall back into the places I don't want to be.  But God forgives and lavishes His grace that is in abundant supply.  I am not bound by my own ability to be forgiven, but am set free to accept His abundant grace as He forgives.  All thanks be to Him!

June 11, 2013

He Knows Best

It has been many months that I have felt this thing, whatever it is. The need to move on, do something  else with my life. I am not sure it is even me, but I feel it just the same. At times this need seems to be my every thought, all I think about. I often wonder if it is me that is needing to find the greener grass or if it is God moving in my heart.  If it is Him, I don't want to miss it....if it is just me, I want to let it fade to the background.

I am spending this week with my dearest friend Jodi at her new home in North Carolina.  I have been with her to her AMAZING church, visited with her awesome friends, seen many places where so much ministry takes place.  It makes me yearn for so much more back home.  Those feelings come rushing back again....

I think God is showing me a little something in all of this, however.  Though it is not exactly the thing I wanted Him to say, He is saying it just the same.  And whatever He is showing me I always want to follow.

I feel like I have been wanting a change so badly that I just might have been looking too hard for it.   Though I want to quit teaching and move someplace amazing and work for a ministry somewhere, maybe that is not what God has for me right now.  I really wish it was, but what about what He has given me presently?  Am I being faithful to the things He has put in front of me today? I don't honestly think I can say that I am. If I were honest with God, I'd tell Him that I am just doing enough to get by, not really going the extra mile or being faithful to do things with excellence.  

So today after visiting the Billy Graham Training Center, attending Elevation Church, talking with some awesome friends in The Lord, maybe I am exactly where I am supposed to be.  Maybe I still have more to do right where I am.  Though it would be more exciting to move, find a new career, embark on a new journey, God has given me fresh vision for my church, my ministry, my walk with Him.  He has given me an excitement to serve in my little world and do what I can to reach those around me, encourage those who need it, and minister as He calls me to.  I wait upon The Lord...He knows best!


August 06, 2012

I Belong to Him

No matter what else happens in my life, I KNOW that I belong to HIM...and there is no place I would rather be found!

My walk with Jesus has not been easy as I continually fight the battle of self.  I feel like I am in an all-out war...never completely able to obtain the victory.  But God...

But one thing that I have learned this week, more clearly than I have ever learned it before, is that God is constant.  No matter how I have messed up, God never changes.  He pursues me to the uttermost....ALWAYS! He never gives up on me...NEVER! 

Today God asked me to do something more difficult than I have ever done before, something that I knew I needed to do to be able to move forward with Him and find freedom.  I stepped out in obedience, not because there is any ounce of goodness in me, but because I was desperate for Him and knew that I could not continue on without Him.  As I stepped out in obedience and became completely vulnerable before Him, He proved Himself faithful yet again.  He met me there, right in the midst of my vulnerability...completely barren before Him.  He reminded me that He has been there all along, sweetly wooing me back towards Him.

Will the battle cease? No.  Will the paths ahead suddenly become straight? No.  Will I find it easier to follow Him now than I did before? No.  But God...He is bigger than all of the things that try to separate me from Him.  Though the battles rage, the paths become blurred, and the following becomes more difficult, God is still God.  He is fighting for me and not leaving me to be defeated.  He has given me all of the things I need to be victorious...I just have to reach out and take them.   

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!!!!! Lamentations 3:22-23




July 03, 2012

Saving the Sabbath

In our day and age we have become so busy with life that we forget to stop and remember...

God very clearly commands us to remember the Sabbath, the first day of the week. Exodus 20:8-11 is dedicated to this very topic. In all of the other commandments, God gives the command in one verse and then moves on to the next commandment. Not so with this commandment. Why would He spend four verses explaining that we need to rest on the Sabbath? The reason is because it is more than just resting God wants us to do here...

As I have been reading and studying this week, I have discovered that this Commandment has more to it than meets the eye.  Along with the verses in Exodus 20 about the Sabbath, Deuteronomy 5:15 gives a little more insight.  

The Sabbath was not only intended to bring us a day of rest, but it was intended for us to reflect on all that God has saved us from.  It is to be a day where you take some time to remember all that God has done in your life and  to reflect on how good He is.  

I challenge you to not just treat Sundays as any other.  Take some time to reflect on the goodness of God and all that He has done in your life.  He is worthy to be praised...:)

January 16, 2012

Nominated!!!!! Me?????

First off, let me just say how very honored I am!  I was so very blessed to have had my blog nominated as a favorite by Amanda Rose.  She has a blog entitled "It's the LIttle Things in Life", and she nominated me!  I do not know her personally, but she found my blog and has been reading it as often as I post.  I am thankful and so very honored.  Thank you Amanda!  I look forward to reading your blogs!


If you would like to participate here are the rules:
1. Show your thanks by linking the person who nominated you.
2. Leave links to five of your top blogs and leave a comment letting them know too!
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Enjoy the Love :)


Now to nominate my top blogs...


1.  A dear friend of mine is a wonderful mother and wife, and an amazing writer.  Colleen's blog is full of godly wisdom, charm, and a real sense of life.  She expresses her heart beautifully in her Becoming Chao blog.  This is a definite must read.


2.  My dear Autumn Rae loves to share all the things God is doing in her life.  She shares so beautifully the things He is teaching her.  She allows others to see how He works through her to constantly change her into who He wants her to be.  Come Away with Me is an awesome blog!


3.  And if it is gardening you are into, you must check this blog out!  Extreme Gardener covers it all.  She is a VERY dear friend of mine who loves the Lord and loves her garden!  She broaches various subjects on her blog: gardening, God, her non-profit that she works with, and the love of her family.  She inspires me every time I read her blog...and it makes me miss her too! :)


I hope you enjoy checking out these blogs and that it inspires you to write all the more!  Happy blogging!

November 08, 2011

Desperate for Grace

Time after time, day after day, I find myself desperate for grace. With my tremendous need though, comes God's abundant grace. He lavishes it upon me through every circumstance. As I grow more and choose to walk in His ways, I am understanding more of how His grace is readily available when I fall face-down and choose to let Him pour it upon me.

Minute by minute I see my need for grace. For every unkind word I've spoken, He pours out His grace. For every hurtful look I've given, He lavishes grace. For each spiteful thought, His grace. God redeems my mistakes and challenges me to do it right the next time. Do I always follow? I wish I did. But this I do know: because of His AMAZING grace, I WANT to be a kinder, more gentle, forgiving person. His grace causes me to want to lay aside my flesh and see as He sees.

I am desperate for grace. It causes me to see Him more clearly.





November 02, 2011

Fill 'er Up!

Take a can of soda.

Imagine trying to remove all the bad from it to make it good. Impossible, right? Yes! After a while, removing all the bad has only left you with an empty soda can.

Now, relate that to your spiritual life.

Imagine yourself, day after day, trying to remove all the bad in an attempt to make yourself good. Have you tried it? Does it work? Well, if we are honest, the answer is no. As honorable an effort as that might be, it is not productive and leaves us defeated. We could potentially spend every waking moment trying to rid ourselves of all the bad we find in our lives. At some point we have to begin to fill our lives with good to replace the bad, not simply remove all of the bad.

God has given us so many good things to fill our lives with that we can begin the transformation with any number of them. Seek first the kingdom...see what He has waiting for you. Fill your life with things that are excellent, praiseworthy, noble, and edifying. See how quickly transformation takes place and the junk of our sinful nature subsides. When we spend time pouring good into our lives, we can't help but be changed.

July 05, 2011

Love Beyond

I was reading through Hebrews yesterday and God just gave me this poem. I LOVE how He does that....


God, being a Lover of Man
reached down with His outstretched hand
His love went beyond all reasonable thought
as He sent His Son to die and therein bought
our freedom from sin and death

He who suffered and those He rescued
now called family, no longer destitute
He calls us His own, we're bought with a price
now one with Him who redeemed all our lives
to live for eternity in glory with Him

July 03, 2011

I'm Becoming a Cowboy!

I never thought I wanted to be a cowboy, but as it turns out, I do!

We are instructed in 2 Corinthians 10 to "[bring] every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." The word used for captivity in this passage means to lead away as a prisoner. This is similar in context to a cowboy riding a horse and lassoing his prey.

When a cowboy swings his lasso around in the air, his focus is on his prey. He reaches high into the heavens with his hand outstretched, concentrating, focusing on the cattle in front of him. Then he swings his arm around one last time and lets the rope go, lasso falling on the animal in his sight. Once he "ropes" the animal he jumps off his horse and ties the prey up, wrapping him by the feet so he can no longer move around and have free reign. He is held captive by this cowboy.

So it is with us in the battlefield of our mind. We are to take our thoughts that are unpleasing to the Lord, lasso them, tie them up completely, and stop them from roaming free in our minds. Only then can we be victorious and walk this race with endurance, the race that God has set before us. We can be victorious!

July 02, 2011

Planned Neglect

Most often we would all consider it immature or irresponsible to be neglectful. Neglect is looked at as a sign of weakness or frailty. In this instance, I would disagree.

In our lives we often get so consumed with our daily activities and routines that we in turn become neglectful; neglectful of God, what He is saying to us, what He wants to do through us. We get so caught up in what we are doing that we forget to be attentive to Him.

Maybe the solution is to plan a little neglect. Planning to neglect the things that will distance up from the voice of God, could draw us closer to Him. When we lay aside all things that hinder us, we are then free to fly.

The Bible tells us to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (Hebrews 12:1). In doing this we can be victorious against sin and lead a life that is all that God has planned for us.

Pieces from Greg Laurie devotional, Beyond




June 26, 2011

Words are not Enough

I am at a loss for words.

God never fails to be amazing. He knows the innermost workings of my heart, yet He continues to lavish His grace upon me. I don't understand or comprehend such beauty and grace, but I am thankful.

I sit here tonight, completely humbled and broken. I have encountered my God tonight in a way that I have not experienced in a long time. I have missed Him.

God has been speaking very sweetly to me for quite some time now, about surrendering ALL to Him. Yeah, yeah we have all heard it before, but this time it is different. God has been calling me away with Him and I have resisted out of pure, selfish, stubborn pride. I have wanted to do my own thing in my own way. But God is too kind and compassionate to allow that go on forever. :) (Thank you LORD!)

Wednesday started out like any other day, but it ended with a challenge from God to surrender all. It came in the form of a testimony from an 18 year old boy, who discovered at such a young age, that life is not worth living unless it is being lived in full submission to Christ. That night I prayed and sought the Lord for strength to give Him all of my fears, my sins, my dreams, my desires...

Thursday brought sweet fellowship with God; just me, my Bible, my cup of tea, my blanket, and my Jesus!. I poured out my heart to Him and felt that this time it was real, this time it was different.

Then came Friday...why is it that when you are seeking God whole heartedly that temptation and sin seem the strongest? Well, I had a setback and allowed my flesh to overpower my spirit.... I HATE SIN!

But TODAY...oh how beautiful my precious God is! Church was awesome and challenged me to be changed in Him. Then I came home and "stumbled" (it was no accident...God had it planned all along) upon a friend's blog that TOTALLY convicted me. I KNOW that God had her write that just for me.

I have not felt this peaceful in the arms of God in a long, long time. I am assured that He is gracefully watching over me and drawing me back in...He is breaking me right now of some things that are hindering our relationship, and it hurts. But I want it more than anything...

January 04, 2011

As promised, unlike last year, here is the cd insert for the 2010 cd. :) The order somehow got all messed up so I honestly have no idea what order the songs are on the cd...sorry about that. But, at least you will have the name and artist of each song! :) It will be like a treasure hunt to figure out which song is which! :) Merry Christmas, friends!

1. Your Love Sets mMe Free by The Advice
2. Your Beloved by By the Tree
3. Walking on the Stars by Group 1 Crew
4. Oh, Happiness by David Crowder Band
5. No Matter What by Kerrie Roberts
6. Unashamed by Starfield
7. Angels We Have Heard on High by Relient K
8. Hanging On by Britt Nicole
9. Light Up the Sky by The Afters
10. You Can Have Me by Sidewalk Prophets
11. Revelation Song by Kari Jobe
12. Our God by Chris Tomlin
13. We Are by Joy Williams
14. Starry Night by Chris AUgust
15. This is Our God by Chris Tomlin
16. You ALone Can Rescue by Matt Redman
17. At the Cross by Hillsong
18. Christmas Time by Phil Wickham

July 29, 2010

Another Blog :)

I now have the Home for Hope blog on blogspot! I hope that you can find it easier now to follow the happenings of Home for Hope! We can't wait to see you there! http://homeforhopeav.blogspot.com/

June 15, 2010

Did You Miss Me?

Well, friends, did you miss me? I think I have been gone from my blog for quite a while now, but do not fear, I have returned!

I do miss writing and sharing my thoughts, but I sometimes get into a "funk" and decide I don't want to write. But I have purposed to begin writing again, so be on the lookout... more to come! :)

December 21, 2009

2009 Christmas CD

Hello everyone! I will be working on the cd insert later today, I just have not had a chance as of yet! So, if you are here looking for that, do not fear...it is coming!!!!

October 21, 2009

To Have Unconditional Faith

The difference between conditional faith and unconditional faith... I've never thought much about it until yesterday. What if a traumatic event occurred in my life tomorrow, would I still have faith in the only One who could heal my brokenness????

Up until yesterday, I have always thought that a tragedy in my life would be the end of life as I knew it, that I would not be able to get up off the floor ever again; but I received a little perspective from God yesterday.

So, what if someone I loved dearly was taken from me, or I was stricken with a terminal illness? What would I do? How would that affect my life? My faith? God showed me very patiently through one of Beth Moore's stories that went something like this: "What if any of those things did happen? What would you do?" asked God. My response, "Well, I would cry, a lot". Then God said, "Okay, then what?" "Well, Lord, I would go into a depression." "Okay then what?" He asked. "I would spend a lot of time on the floor, asking why." "Okay, then what?" He said. "I would read my Bible to find comfort." "Okay, then what? He said. "Then I would miss serving You and desire to be in ministry again." "Okay, then what?" He asked. "Then I would realize that if something horrible happens then YOU ARE STILL YOU."

I spent this morning crying my eyes out and pleading with the Lord to allow me to have that kind of unconditional faith. I don't want faith that is contingent upon bad things not happening to me. When the hard things happen, I want to cling to Him because it is what I have always done. He showed me last night that I cannot rest my faith on things not happening because if they ever do, my entire life support will be taken away.

I need Him now more than I ever have. And I pray that as I learn to love Him more and more, I will be able to see that unconditional faith is worth far more than anything I could hope for. He will still be God, always. If tragedy, then GOD!

July 12, 2009

New Blog!

Ok ya'll! I know I have not been very diligent to keep this blog updated, but I started a new blog for this new venture I am about to embark on. So, if you have some time, check out http://web.me.com/fishlicity/. I hope you will bookmark that page as well and come back often to see all of the things God is doing!

June 22, 2009

Beholding is Becoming

Deuteronomy 10:16-17 gives us a very specific command.  It challenges us to "Circumcise [our] hearts therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.  For the Lord your God, is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the GREAT GOD MIGHTY AND AWESOME!" This is part of the verse that I am memorizing right now.  I have been working on it for a little while now, but today something made me wonder...

The fourth word in this verse says "therefore".  To me that means that because of something previously stated, we should be moved to circumcise our hearts.  So what is the thing that has taken place that should cause me to circumcise my heart; to cut away anything at all that is hindering me from reaching heights with God?

Verse fifteen explains it very clearly.  It says that God has chosen me (and all of us) and set His affection on me and all of those who have come before me.  And because of this act of love that He so willingly gave, I should be allowing my heart to be molded and shaped into the things that are pleasing to Him.  This is a huge challenge and not an easy task, but it is required if any ground is to be gained on this spiritual journey. 

So, in light of God's Word, I am asking Him to help me and empower me to remove all the things that hinder me from meeting with Him and hearing from Him.  I am pleading with Him to get up in my business and remove the junk that I have placed in my heart... 

Will you join me in praying a dangerous prayer?  "God enlighten me to see myself in light of Your Word, to see myself for who I really am so that I can allow You to change me and circumcise my heart to be beautiful for You!"   

February 14, 2009

My Beloved

Dear My Beloved,

There has never been, and will never be, anyone more beautiful. I have never met anyone else that I have loved so very much from the first moment I met them.  You have shown me more love and care than anyone else ever could. I cannot imagine my life without you.

The moment I met you my life was changed forever.  There never was any inclination in my mind to turn back from this love.  I was, and continue to be, amazed at the depth of your beautiful love for me.  I cannot, most times, comprehend why you love me as you do.  I have not been the kind of person who deserves the love that you have given.  I am forever thankful, though, that you do choose to love me.  I could not ask for anything more.  

I think back to the beginning and I wonder how it is that you came to desire someone like me.  I know that I never showed you much interest, but you still pursued me to the uttermost.  I never could have loved you like that, yet you gave your all to me.  There never would be a relationship if you had not chased after me with all that you had.  I am thankful beyond words.

The heartfelt conversations we had, and continue to have, are such a treasure to me.  I get to know you more each time we sit and talk.  I love that about us!  Sometimes, I want to sit all day and listen to you: learning and soaking up all I can.  What thrills me more than anything is knowing you feel the same way towards me.  There cannot be a relationship anywhere that compares to the one that we have together.  

Now, as I imagine our future together, I can hardly contain myself.  I look forward to, with such great joy, falling more in love with you as each day passes.  I know we have an eternity to be in love, but I feel like I must know the depths of your love more and more each day. 

You have done all You could do to make sure that I loved You, and I cannot begin to tell You how much that really means to me.  You are my Beloved and are more breathtaking than anyone I have ever met.  You have loved me with an everlasting love and there could be nothing greater.  Jesus, You truly are My Beloved and I am so happy that I belong to You!

Happy Valentine's Day!

February 12, 2009

What a Teacher Really Means

I love being a teacher!  I love being able to connect with little people!  There have been some seriously amusing situations and comments involving my students, while there also have been some really profound and treasured moments as well.  I don't think there is a better job anywhere in the world!

For Christmas I got a flip calender from one of my students and I love some of the entries.  I thought I would share one of them with ya'll.

What Teacher Says:
Whenever I need help in class, I can always count on James to volunteer.  He genuinely enjoys it.

What Teacher Means:
If the little punk doesn't stop sucking up to me, I'm going to throw a stapler at him!

Hope this makes you smile! :)

February 11, 2009

A New Call

I never thought that I would ever do anything else but teach.  I can always remember wanting to teach and finally deciding that I  was actually going to do it.  So, with high school diploma in hand, off to college I went.  I  spent five years learning, studying, and accomplishing all I needed to be the best teacher that I could be, always imagining that I would always teach until the day of retirement.  

This year however, will be the second year in a row that I have gotten laid off.  Though I have not officially gotten my pink slip yet, it is coming.  But there is something different this time; I have a complete sense of peace because I feel like God shown me that teaching in the public school system is not all He has for me.

While I was in Bible College God showed me that there was more to life than what I was doing. Ever since then I have felt like I am to start a group home for foster children.  I have no idea how this will happen, but I am so ready!  I have started to work on the Non-profit organization paperwork and get that ball rolling.  While I get that started I also have in my sights on a piece of property that would make this dream a reality... the only problem is... it costs 3 million dollars! :)  But, I do know that if God wants me to do this, He will make it all happen.  

So, if I do really lose my job, I would like to really focus my energy on making this place a reality! So, keep an eye out for anyone willing to donate 3 million dollars to the cause! :)


February 07, 2009

Fertile Soil Equals Growth

While studying this morning I was led to the parable of the sower in Luke chapter 8.  As  I was reading the comments of Beth Moore on the subject, I got to thinking... what, in gardening terms, is the definition of fertile ground.  So, I did  a little investigating of my own (Mama Shari, aren't you proud... I'll be a gardner yet!) and then viewed it in light of a healthy walk with the Lord.  Here's what I came up with: 

Fertile soil must be:

1.  Rich with nutrients.  For any plant to grow healthy, the soil in which it is planted must be     filled with phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and nitrogen.  When these elements are present   the soil is then considered to be fertile.  

How like our Christian life.  We cannot be a healthy and growing follower of Christ unless we are filled with the proper "nutrients" (the Word of God).  God's Word provides all we need for life and godliness.

2. Tilled.  The hard ground must be broken up and softened for the soil to be considered usable. The process of turning the soil upside down and inside out also allows more oxygen to flow through, giving it benefits to the plants that will be planted there.  

Like the ground being tilled, our hearts must be as well.  The hard heart must be broken up and pliable so God can speak and work.  Though this is a process that is far from "comfortable", it is a necessary part of being a healthy Christian. 

3. Able to retain nutrients.  The soil that retains the nutrients is the soil that produces the most growth.  The magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and nitrogen all work together to produce healthy growth.

The word of God does that for the believer if we retain and apply it to our lives.  When we hear the Word we must allow it to take root and to allow it to penetrate well into our hearts.  As the Word dwells in us richly and we apply it to our everyday lives, then, and only then, can we become healthy.

January 30, 2009

Extraordinary Love Part 1

This is my first attempt at fictional writing. I'm not sure I can do it, but here is the first little snippet. Should I write the rest? :)


Extraordinary Love Part 1:

She never considered herself to be the sort that needed anything from anyone. She very much liked doing things her way, in her own time, at her own pace. She was doing just fine, at least that is what she convinced herself of.

Depraved, however, is what she really was. If she were to be honest with herself she would admit her dissoluteness. But wasn't that true of humanity? Weren't most individuals too proud to ask for help, while at the very same moment crying out to be helped? It is the paradox of human existence: living while never choosing to recognize the pulchritude of life as it has been given.

For her, though, she eventually came to admit how very wrong she had been. And now, her eyes seemed to be showing her things which she had never been able to see before; things she had missed and didn't even know she was missing. Why the change? The answer was simple; it was because he stepped into her life and changed it forever...

January 29, 2009

I Think I'm in Trouble

Today I introduced my students to the Cannonball read, but I put a little bit more of a twist on it. I told them that I would also be participating, and that I challenged them to each read 100 books before I read 100 books. Of course I did not tell them that I could not possibly read 100 books by the end of the school year (4 months from now), but it sure put a fire under their little tushies! All they wanted to do today is read, read, read! I will do my very best to read as many books as I possibly can, but I think I might be in a bit of trouble; their books, you see, are like 30 pages each... mine have to be 200 or more! Any suggestions??

I am putting up a chart with each of our names on it and a little bar graph so that at any moment they can see how many more books they have to read until they get to 100. They can also see how far BEHIND Miss La Rue is! :) This will hopefully motivate them even more to press on with the reading business! I am willing to be humiliated by third graders reading more books than me if will cause them to love to read; I'll take one for the team! :)

January 28, 2009

Cannonball Read

**UPDATED 3/17/09**

I have long since thought that reading has become a lost art. Did you know that less than 50% of American adults read literature today? That, if you ask me, is an absolute tragedy.

Being a teacher in the public school system, I have seen the decline in the desire to read starting as young as 8 years old.There is no longer a desire. Television, video and computer games have taken the place of reading a good book.

There is so much to be gained by reading. With a good book in hand so many possibilities open up. Vivid imaginations do not just form themselves; by reading frequently the imagination is stirred and thought processes run wild. No only that, the more one reads, the more exposure to print one has; they then become a more fluent reader, the quality of their spelling deepens, and the exposure to good writing is instilled. Most of our younger generation lack all of these skills. It is no wonder that the students we are producing are struggling readers.

What can we do about this you ask? Well, I am not sure I can change the world, but I am going to try. Starting with my little class of 3rd graders (who hate to read) I am challenging them with the cannonball read (a challenge that I am also undertaking myself). The cannonball read is a challenge to read 100 books in one year. Yes, it is designed for adults because the books have to be more than 200 pages and are not to be short stories, but I am adapting it to my class and just asking them to read 100 books each. What is the incentive???? I told them that those who succeed will get a limo ride with Miss La Rue to a movie and lunch destination of their choice. So, may the challenge begin! Anyone else up for it????

January 2009:
The Sunday Philosophy Club by A.M. Smith
The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

February 2009:
The Soloist by Steve Lopez

Currently reading: The Warrior by Francine Rivers

3 done, 97 more to go!

January 27, 2009

To Do Them All...

Being the very good student that I am, when given an assignment, I do it. So, thanks to Heather, I have an assignment to do. The assignment is to create sort of a bucket list. I am to write down things I would like to do in my lifetime. I will start the list of with the things I wish to do in 2009 and then the rest of the list will be what I have my lifetime to achieve. If you feel so inclined, jump right in and join me and post your list on your blog too!

2009:
  • read 100 books
  • mentor a child in the Big Sister program
  • start a homeless food kitchen through my church
  • teach the struggling readers in my class to read
  • buy a house
  • memorize 100 scriptures
  • see prayer really change lives
  • take a writing class
  • start my Master's degree
  • write blogs that encourage others to walk with Jesus
  • take a Spanish class and learn the language fluently
  • sponsor Compassion Sunday at my church in April
To accomplish over my lifetime:
  • write a book (or two)
  • build Hope House for orphans
  • read all the Newberry Award winner books
  • help a child achieve their dreams
  • become a good cook
  • study EVERY book of the Bible inductively the Kay Arthur way
  • meet Beth Moore and tell her how much she has inspired me
  • spend a month in England
  • learn to play the piano
  • learn to play the guitar
  • become a linguist
  • see my family come to Christ
  • be a part of the rapture of the church (Oh yeah!)
I can't think of anything else right now. I will let you know when I add more. But for now, that should keep me busy enough!

January 26, 2009

Birthday Blessings

There were great plans for the weekend. A birthday day at the Happiest Place on Earth... that's right, Disneyland! Since this year you get in free on your birthday I was going to take advantage of it. My mom, Step dad, and brother were all headed to visit Mickey right along with me, but that sort of fell apart when my mom got bronchitis and was at home in bed all weekend. It was no big thing though... I know we will get there eventually. I was kind of bummed since I was looking forward to hanging with the fam at my favorite place in the world, but another time I suppose.

Instead I got to spend the day at home sitting with my Bible and being blessed by gifts and flowers, hugs, birthday songs and phone calls. I enjoyed my day at home.

I got to spend my birthday evening with my Grandma, my brother, and my stepdad at my favorite restaurant, Claim Jumper. I got to indulge in some delicious fare and an even more delicious dessert... the CHOCOLATE CHIP CALZONE! Ok, I am not even a chocolate fan, but this dessert is AMAZING! It is better than amazing; it's deliciously, deliriously, delectable (do you like how I used all d's to describe the dessert). If you have not had the pleasure of giving yourself over to one of these desserts, please do so immediately!

January 21, 2009

The Poor, Pitiful Blog

I must not be a very good blog writer. Seriously. My friends are getting nominations for best blog of the year and I can't get a comment to save my life! Who knows if anyone is even reading this thing! I even sent out Christmas cds to 50 people with the blog address and not ONE reply! NOT ONE! Wow... I better step it up a notch!

I guess I could write about what time I got up, what I ate for breakfast, or how long it took me to drive to work this morning... maybe those things would be more interesting to my readers (which apparently I have none) than what I am currently writing about. Wow! I better research some creative ways to get people to interact with me on this thing! (Now picture me pouting with my lip stuck out really far and my puppy dog eyes all droopy like)...

January 18, 2009

Back to Basics

Every year, for the last five years, I have asked the Lord to give me a scripture for the year; something that is between Him and me, something we can work on together. Each year He has been faithful to show me a specific scripture that has been a challenge and a blessing all at the same time. This year is no exception.

In years past the scriptures have always been ones that have challenged me to move forward and to allow God to use me in the things He desires. I have always been very excited about the possibilities of what He will do. This year, however, He seems to have given me a back-to-basics type of scripture and I completely understand why....

This past year has been a rough one for me in so many ways, but especially spiritually. I had sort of tuned God out because I had a very bitter and angry heart. I wanted nothing to do with a "religion" that told me I had to "be of good cheer" all the time because I was definitely not cheerful. I'm sure I could fool most of you into thinking I was doing just fine, but to a select few I was definitely not alright.

Recently though, a precious, precious friend of mine finally stood up to me and called me out on NUMEROUS things. She had to be very rough with me to make me open my eyes to the horrible attitudes I had claimed as mine. In all reality I knew exactly what I was doing, I was just so mad and hurt by life that I did not care how I treated others. Such a sad state to be in...

By the complete grace of God He allowed me to be broken enough to take to heart all the things she had to say to me. It was only then that I could see all the damage I had done. He had to completely break me and make me see that was not who He had chosen for me to be. He desired so much more...

All of this to say...this year God is taking me back to the basics. He is leading me through the fundamentals of my faith: prayer and scripture memorization. I am so thrilled that He is ushering me into this season of truly putting Him first. My scripture memorization begins with the verse that I feel He has given me for this new year ahead: "How can a young man (woman) keep his (her) way pure? By living according to Your Word. I seek you with my whole heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden Your Word in my heart that i might not sin against You. Psalm 119:9-11.

I know this is a VERY long post, but I feel the need to "speak" it out loud and share my heart, because none of us is too far past His rescuing. Our heart and our flesh may {will} fail, but GOD is the strength of our heart and our portion forever! He will redeem and save those who call upon His name. I KNOW it's true... He has done it for me!

"Call to Me and I will answer you and teach you great and unsearchable things which you do not know" Jeremiah 33:3