Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Heaven is For Real

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson publishers in exchange for doing a book review. I will admit to you that I did not go into reading this with an open mind. I have a big theological problem with books that encourage us to believe that God allows us into His heaven only to send us back to continue in life here on Earth. The heaven that I read about in the Bible is one of such wonder and awe, beyond all our imagination, that I can't imagine a worse punishment than to leave and return to this life.

I found the story to be an easy read. It took me only a few hours to read through the whole book. The story is a great reminder that we can not do this life all on our own. There are times when we must rely on others and there are times that we can rely only on God. Faith in an all powerful and all knowing God can get us through some tremendously difficult times in our lives, including the illness or death of a child. Without God, these could easily break the best of us.

Unfortunately, I did not find the picture of heaven that was presented at all satisfying. I saw none of the majesty or glory of God presented. If the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, it stands to reason that heaven will be a manifestation of that purpose. I would not recommend this book to anyone. There are much better books written to help us understand what heaven may be like, and there are much better books written about the struggles families face with a child's illness or death.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Proverbs 31 Gal

Don't you just hate that Proverbs 31 woman? Just who does she think she is, showing the rest of us up like that? Wouldn't you die if you had to be her next door neighbor? Just imagine your husband coming in at the end of the day and asking, "Why can't you be more like 31 next door?"

There are days (okay only once or twice in my life) where I think, "YES, (see fist pump here) I can so totally do this!" Then I get out of bed.

My plans are always to do those things. I plan to get up while it is dark out to make breakfast for the family, but then the kids need a ride to cross country practice and they don't want to eat before they run, even if they did, they wouldn't want to get up any earlier to eat. Plan ruined before it even sees the light of day. I plan to make clothes for the family, but nothing ever comes out like the picture on the pattern and no one is happy wearing a shirt with one sleeve longer than the other. I would love to plant my own vineyard (because I'm thinking I could use a glass of wine about now), but every plant that I have ever tried to grow has up and died on me. At least the bugs, rabbits and birds are well-fed around here. I just can't seem to keep up with her and it stresses me out.

Most days I just give up before I start, and I know that is not what God has planned for me either. He didn't raise me to be a quitter. Through Him, I am more than a conqueror. So, how do I conquer the ideal set before me? I don't. Did you catch that little word in the sentence before? Ideal. The Proverbs 31 woman is an ideal, she isn't a real woman. She is what we strive for. God wants me to take care of my family, make a home, be a helpmeet to my husband, be generous to those in need, be a good friend and neighbor. Even that sounds like an over full plate, but God is growing me more and more into the ideal every day. Will I ever get there? Not this side of glory, but in the mean time, I will press on because I know that He has already won the war.

Go ahead. Read Proverbs 31 without cringing. She may not be real, but we can learn a lot from her. She reminds us that we can bring glory to God even in our menial daily chores. " Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." This is the true secret of the Proverbs 31 woman.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Outrageous Prayers

How is your prayer life? Are you praying something outrageous and expecting God to answer with a resounding "YES!"? I am not talking about praying for the winning lotto numbers or a new sports car in the driveway. Our God is without limits in his power. He is able to do ALL His holy will. Isn't that an exciting thought? I find that when I dwell on this for a little while, I am dissatisfied with how I have been praying. I have been putting God in the little box that is my mind. My requests are limited to what I think is "doable". No more. I am going to be praying outrageously. I am going to start asking God to do things that are bigger.

I have set my heart on real, lasting, and positive change for America. That is where I am starting with my outrageous prayer list. I invite you to join me. Let's ask God to intervene in the course of our country. Beg Him to turn the hearts of the people to Himself. I have been weeping over the sin blatantly displayed across the USA, including my own, and asking God's forgiveness and mercy upon us all. My prayer is to see an obvious turning toward God in this country by the beginning of 2015. Is that possible? Of course. "All things are possible with God." Is it probable? Not with things going the way they have been, but we can be a part of changing that. Won't you join with me in outrageous prayers? God is pleased to give us the desires of our hearts when we are praying His will.

Let's not limit God with what we think is a possibility. Ask Him for your heart's desires. Do you have a barren friend who aches for a child? Is there someone you know in need of healing from a terminal disease? Are you jobless in this economy with no prospects in the foreseeable future? Take your burdens to Him and ask. The answer may not be yes, but we can always trust Him to give the best answer.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Home Building

Has it happened to you? You are with your husband at the company picnic and all that anyone wants to know is, "What do you do?" There they are, the women with manicured nails and coordinated outfits, wanting to know what exciting, interesting career is yours. How do you tell them that you are a stay-at-home mom? My answer? I am a home builder. No, I am not in construction. I don't build houses. I am building a home. What could be more exciting, interesting or important to the future of the world?

Being a home builder is not an easy task. You must constantly watch your attitudes. The saying, "Ain't momma happy, ain't no one happy" is so true. Our attitudes can create an atmosphere of stress or peace, forgiveness or condemnation, love or anger. We home builders have great power in our realm. When we learn to choose attitudes, words and deeds that honor and glorify God, we teach our children to do the same. We can show them how to react when someone's words are hurtful, how to show mercy to someone in need, and how to show honor to other's in our lives. What a burden, what a joy. Fortunately, we home builders don't have to go it alone. God gives us all of the skills that we need to build a home that pleases Him. We just need to make sure that we are putting Him first and spending time getting to know Him better each day.

Home building is becoming a lost art here in America. Women are so busy with their jobs, keeping house, running kids to after school activities, and volunteering in the community, that they seem to have forgotten that God has called them to build a home. Proverbs 14:1 says, "The wise woman builds her home, but with her own hands to foolish one tears hers down." Don't be a fool. Don't get so busy that you tear down your home. If you don't know how to go about building a home, find an older woman who can help teach you. Women, let's reclaim home building as the calling God intended for us.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bullies Beware

I've been reading some headlines this week about bullies and their victims. I find it interesting when I read the comments from others that say things like, "Bullying has to stop." and "Something should be done about this." It seems to me that bullies have been around forever and will always be around because we are a sinful people always wanting our own way so that our lives are as comfortable as we can make them. Heck, even Satan is a bully.

Doesn't he come to you when you have messed up and tell you how worthless you are? Doesn't he whisper to you that you will never amount to anything and that no one could ever really love you if they knew what you were really like? Doesn't he tempt you to take the easy way out when things get hard? Doesn't he beat you over the head with every mistake you have ever made? He is the supreme bully, isn't he?

Do you know the story of the little boy who was being bullied on his way to school each day? He finally told his parents about it and decided to stand up to the bully. He was scared, after all the bully was at least three times his size and had a reputation as the meanest kid in the school, but the little boy was determined. When he met up with the bully the next morning, he stood his ground, knees shaking. As he told the bully to leave him alone and not bother him any more a wonderous thing happened. A look of fear came over the bully's face and he turned and left. What the young boy didn't know was that his older brother had followed him and stood a discreet distance behind nodding his head while the bully was being confronted. The bully got the message.

You have a big brother who will do the same for you. Stand up to Satan and tell him that you are not falling for his lies and deceit any longer. Confront him and let him know that you don't want him hanging around any more. You don't have to fear. Your big brother is right behind you ready to add all of his considerable power to the battle. The best thing of all is that we already know how that fight ends. Someday there will be an end to bullying everywhere. Until then, we must lean on Jesus.