Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Why, Lord?", a tragedy today

I just saw this news, and I think it puts many things into perspective for anyone struggling in ways that greatly pale in comparison to this. Steven Curtis Chapman is a great musician, but I am even more grateful for the work he and his wife have done for adoption in this country. They are an amazing family that I have long admired, and this tragedy that struck them today is one of those times we find ourselves asking "why, Lord?". Please pray for the Chapman family!! God knows the plans He has for us, His mercies are new every morning, and He works all things together for the good. Let's trust Him, even in tragedy!
In case you haven't heard this news, here it is:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The 5-year-old daughter of Grammy-winning Christian music star Steven Curtis Chapman was struck and killed Wednesday by a sport utility vehicle driven by her brother, authorities said.
The girl, Maria, was hit in the driveway of the family's home Wednesday afternoon by a Toyota Land Cruiser driven by her teenage brother, said Laura McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
The brother, whose name and exact age weren't available, apparently did not see the girl, McPherson said. No charges are expected.
"It looks like a tragic accident," she said.
Several family members witnessed the accident, which happened in Williamson County just south of Nashville. The girl died later at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, hospital spokeswoman Laurie Holloway said.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!

This is a classic by Anita Renfroe, and you have probably seen it but... I never get tired of watching it.......especially on Mother's Day!!
video

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

dying to self

This has convicted me today, and maybe it will do the same for you sometime. I needed to be reminded of this, as I began to lose focus and dwell on hurt feelings (dangerously close to a pity party!). I definitely did not die to self this week under some circumstances that tapped in to my worst insecurities. I tend to focus on what I perceive to be the unjustness of it all, and I have to fight the urge to defend myself. Can you relate??
It truly is a privilege to suffer in any way that God sees fit to allow, for His sake. I want to always be able to honestly pray "bring it on, Lord, so that you will be glorified".
I pray this will minister to you, and challenge you to repent of self-focus, as it did for me today:

DYING TO SELF
When you are forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don't sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ.
THAT IS DYING TO SELF
When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take in all in patient, loving silence.
THAT IS DYING TO SELF
When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any unpunctuality, or any annoyance; when you stand face-to- face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility-and endure it as Jesus endured.
THAT IS DYING TO SELF
When you are content with any food, any offering, any climate, any society, any raiment, any interruption by the will of God.
THAT IS DYING TO SELF
When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after commendations, when you can truly love to be unknown.
THAT IS DYING TO SELF
When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances.
THAT IS DYING TO SELF
When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart.
THAT IS DYING TO SELF
Are you dead yet? In these last days, the Spirit would bring us to the cross.
That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. Phil. 3:10

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The reason for The Reason For The Hope That I Have....

Jesus. Yep, He's the reason for the hope that I have. But some have asked "why title this blog" the way I did?? It came from a verse that was once prayed over me at a ministry leadership conference I went to. At the time, I had no idea what it really meant for me, and why God would have impressed it upon this fellow ministry-leader to pray it in such a way that I knew it was from Him, and yet wasn't yet sure of the application until a few months later. I eventually knew, and it was confirmed through circumstance and those who know me best, that I was to move in to a new arena of ministry - Biblical Counseling, and most recently also Women's Ministry.
1 Peter 3:15 tells us to always be prepared to share the reason for the hope that we have. That is true for all believers of course. But it was during this conference that I began to sense God's calling on my life in to full time ministry. I knew that The Lord was challenging me to 'step it up', to be sure that I knew what I knew, and to be sure that I could defend it, and pass it on to others who were hurting and stuck in their Christian walk. It was a call to a higher standard, which would require me to pursue the calling with fervent prayer, passionate study of the Word, and great sacrifice of time, finances, and pursuit of earthly pleasures.
That was almost 4 years ago. Since that conference when that verse was prayed over me, I have completed my counseling certification and have logged a few hundred hours of counseling in my local church. This past year brought another call to 'step it up' and share the reason for the hope that I have to women beyond just the counseling. God has expanded my reach to women in general as I take on the task of Women's Ministry Director. I will still be counseling - that is just how God wired me and I can't NOT do it. So, I remain more than ever on my face in fervent prayer, in the Word for even more passionate study, and the sacrifice of my time, finances, and pursuit of earlthy pleasures is even bigger now.
Some have asked me WHY. All I can say is that I consider this all training ground for.......something........I have no idea what.......but I just know that it is right and that I AM called to it. There is no stopping me, short of God calling me out of it as clearly as He called me in to it!
So there you have it - the reason for The Reason For The Hope That I Have!!!