Small steps in faith

Friday, December 31, 2004

Bringing two worlds together

"As the saying goes: Some Christians are so heavenly minded, they’re of no earthly good.
The gospel is all about caring for the real human needs of people, not just about getting them into heaven.
The more committed we are to heaven (the more we get an eternal perspective on life) the more deeply we will be committed to this life and those around us.
Heaven brings meaning to earth, not an escape. It brings dignity to every human being, a reason for our existence and a desire to want to connect everyone to God."

"Faith in action brings two worlds together" John Fischer

I think alot of times we forget the important reason Christ has us here make disciples of all nations That doesn't happen if you sit in your comfort zone That means you go out and connect with others and share your faith and love them into heaven whether its at work, Starbucks, or in your own family.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

New Year's Resolutions

I hate New Years Resolutions I feel like it's a setup for failure "I will lose xxx lbs, I will stop doing xxx," and then 2 weeks into the New Year when you relapse, you feel like a failure It's the human need to "start over" and make things right
I don't think we always look to God when we're making those resolutions which leads to our failure

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:12

I pray that in this next year I allow Christ to work through me so that I grow in my love and obedience to his will and that he uses me as a blessing to my friends and family whom I love very much

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


"You called in trouble and I delivered you;I answered you in the secret place of thunder" Psalm 81:7

I always like the sound of thunderstorms and the smell of rain in the spring and summer My mom used to tell us the angels were bowling in heaven to keep us from being afraid My dad was a bowler so that may have been why she used that :)
I feel like its one of the ways God speaks to us He wants to get our attention
Sometimes the sound of that thunder is in "the secret place of thunder"... your heart

"Are you in trouble? Cry out to God in your sorrow and distress. You may not hear the thunder roll, but it will reverberate through the heavens once again as He answers you " in the secret place of thunder" David Roper

Monday, December 27, 2004

Windows of the Soul is a dangerous web site for me when I'm feeling low with post holiday blues This is my new purchase

"We reach for God in many ways. Through our sculptures and our scriptures. Through our writing and our worship. And through them he reaches for us.

His search begins with something said. Ours begins with something heard. He begins with something shown. Ours, with something seen. Our search for God and his search for us meet at windows in our everyday experience
These are the windows of the soul.

We must learn to look with more than just our eyes and listen with more than just our ears, for the sounds are sometimes faint and the sights sometimes far away. We must be aware, at all times and in all places, because windows are everywhere, and at anytime we may find one.

Or one may find us. Though we will hardly know it unless we are searching for Him who for so long has been searching for us."

Windows of the Soul by Ken Gire

Dealing with Conflict

When I read this it pretty much smacked me in the face because this is definitely something I struggle with I hate conflict and alot of times will avoid it until I have no choice but to deal with the situation I've dealt with this alot in the last 6 months and sometimes I've had to learn the hard way how to deal with conflict but with God's help I'm doing a better job with confrontation Avoiding a situation is one of the worst things you can do for yourself as well as the other person It destroys relationships

Blessed are those who work for peace, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

"I will opt for peace at any price, which usually means, if I know a conflict exists in a particular area, I will avoid the subject altogether. Or if I am in conflict with a certain person, I will avoid them altogether. This is not being a peacemaker. It’s being a coward. A peacemaker works for peace and by avoiding conflict I am saying I am not willing to put forth the effort necessary to face into a problem, I am too afraid to face into it or I don’t care enough for the other person to want to seek peace. Do I care enough for myself to want to live in peace instead of conflict and denial?
Think about where there is conflict in your life and ask God to show you how you can make peace. It’s true that a relationship is made up of two people, and if there is a conflict, both have to want to make peace in order to achieve it. We can’t change the other person, but we can do our part to create the environment for reconciliation.
If there is a chasm in a relationship, you may have to reach all the way across to establish peace, but won’t it be worth it? God didn’t stay on His throne of righteousness, but reached all the way through the cross to bridge the chasm to us. Halfway is probably not far enough
Peace is never found in walking away from our fears, but in walking into them"

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Holiday Traditions

Unusual Holiday Traditions

What people remember and look forward to every holiday season isn't the gifts and goodies -- okay, not only the gifts and goodies. Folks eagerly anticipate the traditions and rituals that they celebrate together, especially those that go beyond the expected and become unique and special to a particular family or group of friends.

"The traditions that a family chooses or creates themselves will probably be sustained for a much longer time and have more positive effects than something imposed on them by the much-maligned Hallmark," says Barbara Fiese, PhD, professor and chair of psychology at Syracuse University.

What kind of positive effects? Fiese's research has shown that meaningful rituals contribute to family members' psychological health and emotional well-being. Also, children reared in families that ascribe a lot of meaning to ritual tend to feel less anxiety, a greater sense of belonging to a group, and a stronger sense of identity.

The same goes for groups of friends who create traditions together -- especially, perhaps, for those who do so in place of family rituals. "Creating a holiday ritual with friends elevates those pals to the status of surrogate family, and it makes you feel anchored to a place and people that you care about," says Marla Paul, author of The Friendship Crisis: Finding, Making, and Keeping Friends When You're Not a Kid Anymore (Rodale, 2004
). And sometimes, she adds, "gatherings with friends are more stress-free, even more joyful, than family gatherings."

The last line of this article is sad but true alot of times I think because we pick our friends and unfortunately the same is not true of our family If you don't get along with family , find friends to create that special tradition ..


I spent Christmas Eve with my dad and family yesterday My stepmother goes all out on Christmas and my kids love going over there They still live in the house I grew up in so it always gives me a "warm" feeling to be back in that house even though the inside has changed alot in the last 20 yrs. Mike and Michelle spent the day with us which also made it special We've "adopted" them for our family dinners
Christmas Eve service at Southwest is also a special time to spend remembering why we celebrate
Today is a "couch potato" day.. My in-laws,my mom, and whoever else wants to come over
I found this saying to help tie Christmas in to the real reason we celebrate

"As you look at the Christmas tree, remember THE TREE.(Galatians 3:13) When you see the lights, remember THE LIGHT(John 8:12) And when you look at the gifts, remember THE GIFT(John3:16)

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 24, 2004

Zach and Pumpkin and the 16 in of snow Posted by Hello

Christmas Eve

"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet. The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel which means "God with us" Matthew 1:21-23

I started to read a book last night called "Searching for God Knows what" by Donald Miller He wrote "Blue like Jazz" I'm about 1/4 through this book and already I like it better He has a more in depth look at his faith

"The God of the Bible seemed to be brokenhearted over the separation in our relationship and downright obsessed with mending the tear"

Jesus is the thread that mends that tear... "God with us"

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Cabin fever

When you put a family together for more than 24 hrs with no way to escape it can get a little testy but I think we're all friends again Sometimes you just need to do something together and then go to separate parts of the house:) Darrell,Zach, and I decided to take a walk We were going to try to go to DLM but when we got to Lytle 5 Points and realized that the street was clear but the sidewalks weren't we decided it might not be the safest thing to do Anyway it helped release some of that pent up energy We also all watched the movie "Saved" You definitely have to have a sense of humor to watch this but i think its a movie that every christian should watch It brings home the point that you don't have to be "perfect" to be christian and sometimes the ones who "act christian" aren't so perfect
So now I guess it's time to clean out my closet...or not

Snow Snow go away

I got up early this morning thinking I was going to work I don't think so At least not right now I am snowed in my driveway They haven't even plowed our cul de sac and I drive a jinxed malibu so I'm not going anywhere right now The snow is pretty if you don't have to drive in it or get stuck at work in it My friend Mike is stuck at work right now with no signs of anyone coming to relieve him That stinks!
They are saying that the last time there was a storm this big was Jan 26 1978 I was a senior in high school and I remember it really well It had been like 60 degrees the day before and when I woke up the next morning there was a foot of snow and 50 mile per hour winds I was thrilled because I didn't have to go to school I'm not so thrilled with this storm because I have to figure out how to get to work:) I wish I was 17 right now
But at least we'll have a White Christmas

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

What we owe our children

One of my devotionals has had a little series onw what we our owe our children
Here's the list It's pretty good

1 Be there
Spend "intentional time let them see your fear and insecurities at times as well as your delight and appreciation of them

2 Learn from them
God speaks to us through our children

3 Be their parent not their friend
Children need structure it makes them secure
(I personally think you can be both)

4 Separate the baggage
Deal with unhealed wounds in your past or it will affect your children (This one I know from experience)

5 Forgive and ask for forgiveness
Failure is an inevitable part of learning and we must be quick to extend to others the grace thats been extended to us

6 Bless them
Whether it's saying what's in your heart or jotting down a simple note to say how proud of them you are, bless your children at every opportunity

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The "jinxed" malibu

A year ago my daughter was in a car accident that totaled our car Thank God she wasn't hurt physically except a bruise on her forehead from the airbag To replace the car we leased a malibu Honestly I have never liked this car and I think it somehow knows I don't like it I was in a wreck last month and damaged the front end Now today as Darrell and I were driving to pick up his medicine (He has a horrible sinus infection) we got rear ended on 725 Talk about a traffic jam Now I have a damaged back end as well as front end I'm supposed to be driving the saturn he just bought (Bargain! 1995 with only 40,000 miles owned by an 80 yr old lady who kept it in the garage:) but somehow I keep ending up with the malibu again! I just found out that we're getting 6 -12 in of snow and guess which car I have to drive to work the next 2 days.... the malibu ! We did feel bad for the lady who hit us She is a single mother and her car still had 30 day tags on it This is probably the last thing she needed to happen to her at Christmas so say a prayer for her and for me as I drive the jinxed malibu the next 2 days in snow :)

Monday, December 20, 2004

"Pray Hard"

I wear a very simple silver band on my right hand Unless you look closely you don't know that there is something written on that band
It says Pray Hard
I don't wear it"to show I'm a Christian"
I wear it to remind me that when I'm struggling that's my answer
and when my friends are struggling that's my answer too

Christmas spirit

I finally have my Christmas spirit :) I don't know if it's because of the weather (it has to be cold with snow for Christmas right?) or because of the message Roger gave yesterday or that I went to choir practice last night and sang Christmas songs, or that I made 7 dozen cookies this morning for a cookie exchange(plus extra per Zach's request:)or that I had part of my Christmas yesterday with my in-laws (we've already had to do store returns:( or a combination of all but I'm just glad that I have a joyful heart and can celebrate the most important birthday with a positive attitude I think what I read this morning also gave me a sense of peace

"The refining process may be very painful, but it will not destroy us, for the Refiner sits by the furnace tending the flame. He will not allow us to be tried beyond our endurance; it is for our good....So don't be afraid and don't fret. Your present trial, as painful as it may be, has been screened through God's wisdom and love. The Refiner sits beside the crucible tempering the flames, monitoring the process, waiting patiently until His face is mirrored in the surface."
David Roper

"You O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined." Psalm 66:10

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Children of Divorce

I found this article today in relevant magazine and it hit home I am an adult child of divorce Although I didn't do the air traveling I experienced some of the same feeling this person did My parents divorced when I was 17 and my sister was 16 I can easily say that it changed my life .. my views on marriage,love etc It is something you need to deal with or it comes back years later and affects relationships It's only through Christ's love that I can heal It's not easy I still struggle at times with it The holidays can be particularly hard I hope this article helps anyone who has gone through this experience or anything similar There are people out there who know how you feel and what you're going through I am one of them

Children of the Air by Katherine Adair

"No one quite knows where they come from or who they belong to. All anyone knows is that, like clock work, they appear on our planes with their little identification tags once every two weeks or month. Who are they? I call them “children of the air.” They are the remnants of the American dream, an American dream that shattered with a court decree. This is what happens, my friends, when a mommy and daddy decide to part ways.

I know that divorce is not something anyone wants to hear about. We’ve heard it already. Many of us, including myself, have lived through it, and frankly we’re tired of it. How could we not be tired of something that has affected around 50 percent of our country? So we move onto world hunger, soiled politics and wars. At least these problems, we think, stand a chance of being fixed. Yet, as much as I wish to ignore the children I sit by in the plane, I can no longer pretend like I wasn’t one of them. I can no longer hide from the fact that being a child of the air broke me. I can’t ignore the work God has done in my life nor what He so desperately wishes to do in their lives.

This must sound so dramatic, especially to those of you who have survived this experience. I know what you would probably say: “I’m fine. Things could have been worse. I know my parents loved me. There was no other way, so why even think about it?” This is what the children on the planes say. This is what I said. They want so badly to be normal. They want to be like the children in the rows behind them sitting with their parents on either side. Yet, God through my own life has shown me that this dream can only become a reality if we let Him take away the hurt that life tells us we need to ignore.

Admit it. It hurts to be caught in the middle of two feuding families. It hurts to be told, “Don’t use that tone with me. You sound just like your father,” or “Don’t act like that. Do you want to turn into your mother?” No matter how hard I tried not to, I felt like the bad guy. How could I not when every moment or feeling I gave to one side was somehow traitorous toward the other. Saying all that, no one would have ever guessed this was how I felt. Growing up, I would have never spoken of my life this way. It was my life, and I didn’t know any other. By God’s grace, now I do.

When I arrived at college this year, I thought I had it all together. Yes, I suppose that makes me the perfect freshman. To make matters worse, I really did think I knew everything. While I supposed other teenagers my age were trying to “find themselves,” I figured I already knew who I was. Boy was I wrong. In my first class, my professor said something I don’t think I’ll ever forget, “College is the perfect time to let God heal your past.” Before I could stop myself, I thought of my parents’ divorce. Immediately I pushed it to the back of my mind. I’m over it, I thought. God later taught me that healing comes from Him, not from our own determination to be better. I never dealt with my parents divorce. This is the problem I see in America today. Because divorce is so rampant, people don’t deal with it. It hurts to let God heal us. Trust me, I know, but to not let Him heal us is so much worse. We can’t run this race injured. Don’t buy the lie, “I’m okay,” or “It’s not a big deal.” No matter how brave or strong you are, divorce is a big deal, and yes, you can be okay, but why not allow God to make you great? Just surviving was not what He intended, but I’m afraid that “just surviving” is what children of the air are doing.

Children of the air have no control over their circumstances. Honestly, there is very little that can be done for them. My suggestion is to just be kind to them and to pray for them. Pray that God protects them and doesn’t let their hearts harden. I can’t tell you how many college students are impervious to love because their hearts were broken and never healed. If you are like me, then please make sure you’ve let God take away whatever damage was done. Let Him and others love you. If you can do that, then you can no longer call yourself a child of the air. You are solely a child of God. You see, lost love breeds children of the air. It’s God’s love that makes us His children. We must face the fact that the American dream is broken. So let’s live out God’s dream. Let’s make wise choices and try to keep our children from becoming the next generation of children of the air. It’s time."

[Stories on are user-submitted. The viewpoints expressed are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of RELEVANT magazine. For exclusive in-depth stories, subscribe now to RELEVANT magazine. If you are interested in submitting an article, please check out our writers guidelines.]

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Protection of Angels

"If you make the Most High your dwelling-
even the Lord, who is my refuge-
then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels
concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot
against a stone,
You will tread upon the lion and the
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
" Psalm 91:9-13

this is for anyone struggling with "lions and serpents" in their life.. God promises to protect you and his angels to guard you
I think sometimes his angels are human and go to Southwest Church :)

Friday, December 17, 2004

Franklin Food Pantry

Yesterday afternoon Darrell and I spent 3 hrs at the Franklin Food Pantry I've never been there before It was an eye opening experience It's like a little grocery store in there They have shelves stocked with bulk food and the volunteers pack up grocery carts with set items that people in need can come 1 time a month to get I was there mainly to help with giving out the Christmas presents that had been collected from the various churches and schools for those kids who otherwise wouldn't have any presents I've always done the angel tree but it's a different experience to actually see the parents who receive the presents for their kids Most of them were very young single mothers ...broke my heart to think of them being so young with no help
The volunteers and coordinator are very loving people They made the people coming in feel cared for and they made it enjoyable to work and talk with them It was the best 3 hrs I spent all week

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Escaping Reality with Reading

When I'm under alot of stress and need to escape I read I have loved to read since I was in 1st grade and we went on a field trip to the library and I got to get my 1st library card I still remember the smell of the library when I walked in there
My dad went to Sinclair when we were growing up and he would take up to the downtown library with him They had a whole floor that was childrens books and he never put a limit on how many we could check out so basically as many as you could carry My sister and I would then swap books She loves to read too
I can remember feeling sad about something and sitting in my dad's leather black chair and reading to make myself feel better Some books I would read over and over (Little Women) and Little House on the Prairie books especially
As an adult I still love to read and I still love the library I actually worked in the library when I went to Wright State That definitely has its advantages and I can honestly say was my favorite job I still have "favorite" books I like to read more than once
Last night I needed comfort so I started reading "Messy Spirituality" by Michael Yaconelli It's easy to read, he uses people's life stories, and it makes you feel good

"Spirituality is not a formula; it is not a test. It is a relationship. Spirituality is not about competency; it is about intimacy. Spirituality is not about perfection; It is about connection. The way of the spiritual life begins where we are now in the mess of our lives. Accepting the reality of our broken,flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the sprititual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives. Spirituality is not about being fixed; it is about God's being present in the mess of our unfixedness."

If you're under stress and have a messy life like I do pick up a book and start reading.... it will make you feel better

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Perfect Peace is Possible

this was the title in one of my devotions this morning I found it very ironic in light of "a discussion" I had last night
"You will keep him in perfect peace, who mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you" Isaiah 26:3
Sometimes things are out of my control and I need to realize that and trust that God knows what's best and will be there to pick me up when I fall
I'm having a hard time understanding why there is such division in the church because of different denominational beliefs I was given an article last night to "prove" that the denomination my church takes alot of its doctrine is "a cult"
Why would anyone write something like this I read it and it's one persons "opinion"
No wonder there is so much turmoil and division People read this stuff and take it as "gospel" I pray that God helps me keep my focus on him and his word and guides me in what to say to the person who gave this to me so that I will have "perfect peace"

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Monday Night a friend and football

Those of you who know me personally know that I am struggling with an unresolved issue I couldn't have made it through yesterday without the encouragement I got from Mike,Jeff,and Roger but especially Tina She always knows what to do or say to make me feel better She and I took a drive and then sat upstairs at DLM (What a nice place that would be to read a book in front of the fire on nice cushy leather chairs!) Sometimes it just helps to talk things out even though it's not totally resolved I don't feel as hopeless Thank you Tina I love you
When I got home Zach was watching Monday Night Football He is such a sports nut The fun part of it was that he was so excited because if my fantasy football player made a touchdown I would be in the playoffs I was in 2nd to last place most of the season so for this to happen is basically a miracle But it did ! Zach was more excited than I was Maybe because he manages my team:) The only thing I cared about in fantasy football was that Brett Favre was my quarterback every week So now I guess I play the #1 team which is Chad Who knows ? It could be the biggest comeback in 412 fantasy football!

Monday, December 13, 2004

Times of Trial

"Anyone can be loving,kind, and self-controlled in seasons of blessing.But what happens to our attitudes in trying times? The real test of who we are occurs not when things are going our way but when misfortune comes our way. If the Spirit is in charge, we will learn to love when want to hate;practice kindness when we are accused;give a gentle response when others are harsh; and have self-control when tempation strikes us hard"

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Cross

This quote was in my study on Isaiah I haven't heard this before Tyler..this one is for you :)

"Why is the cross the symbol of our faith? To find the answer look no farther than the cross itself It's design couldn't be simpler. One beam horizontal- the other vertical. One reaches out-like God's love. The other reaches up-as does God's holiness. One represents the width of his love; the other reflects the height of his holiness. The cross is the intersection. The cross is where God forgave his children without lowering his standards." Max Lucado

"Wrestling with God"

Yesterday I had a friend tell me he was "wrestling with God" I remember seeing a book at Borders and on the Relevant books site with that name that sounded interesting Tonight I was in Borders and that book title popped out at me again I didn't buy it but it looks like a good book ( and it's only 6.99 on the Relevant web site :)




This book is about the spiritual journey. Specifically, it has been guided by my own walk with God, which is strange and amazing and wonderful, and by my discussions and sharing with a few hundred other travelers along the paths. I’ve also been guided in my thinking by the writings and insights of the pilgrims who were here ahead of us -- the Christian mystics, the saints, and the great fathers and mothers of the faith. And I’m also led by my own skepticism and my own awareness of how big the world and God are, and how small religion is.

I don’t know where you are, whether you’re a Christian or not, whether you believe in or have rejected religion, whether you know God or don’t. But for me, I’m deeply distrustful of and unimpressed by organized Christian religion. Part of that is because I was raised in three different denominations and was punctuated by disappointments and frustrations. Part of why I feel that way is my having worked in religious settings for the past decade. And part of my distrust is because I have studied the way churches work and have worked through the centuries. The Church has done great good, encouraged moral behavior and charity, and has done its best to point people to what it has understood about God. And yet, the Church is often -- maybe even usually -- corrupt, self-serving, and mostly concerned about defending its own boundaries and safety. It has hurt people in countless ways, either through its own sickness and dysfunction, or simply by setting the standard way too low for what people could become if God were given some room. In some ways, it’s not Christianity’s fault; it’s made up of people, like anything else, and people are broken and dysfunctional, and to be a healthy person, you understand, and have compassion, and move on. But some days you think, You guys say you’re the ones who know the ultimate truth, and you’re arguing over really stupid things. Get over it.

And yet, even with all of the brokenness of the church overall, I’m always hopeful about what Jesus called The Kingdom of God, which is the work that God’s Spirit does all the time -- and the transformation that can happen when the Spirit is allowed to breathe. God’s persistence and hopefulness amaze me and tell me to continue to believe in things I thought weren’t possible. And it’s important to make the distinction that the Kingdom of God is much, much bigger than the Christian Church. God is in all of creation, all of that mysterious stuff out there we don’t even know the first thing about or understand, working in all of human history. God isn’t restricted by our denominations or definitions. God is the “other” that we’re longing for -- and that God is very real and very present, regardless of how we small we’ve attempted to make God. So the work I do, and what I hope I’m doing in this book, is looking forward, past religious experience or denominational doctrine. Those boxes are too small to put God in.

I can’t begin to fathom anything for sure about what God is. What I am convinced of is that there is Someone who is larger than everyday human experience, Someone who wants to know me, Someone who is already present with me. I think that’s what the real heart of being a follower of Christ has always been about. So that’s what I wish for you. I hope that your life will be made more meaningful because you are curious, listening, feeling; I believe that what you’ll find is God’s love. It takes effort and openness to let love happen in us. We’re not great at it. But love is persistent, and doesn’t give up easily. That’s why this book is about wrestling.

So may God’s love go with you on your journey. Wait -- that’s not right. May you find that God’s love has always and will always be there, right where you are at this moment, and may you become a person who knows he or she is God’s beloved.

Rick Diamond

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Life in Prison or Death

Darrell and I had an interesting discussion last night about which is the worst penalty Death or life in prison We had just watched on the news where the jury for Scott Peterson is still deliberating his fate
Darrell said he would rather die than be in prison for life because of the horror stories you hear but my question to him is whether Scott Peterson is saved If he's not and he's put to death then that's the worst punishement of all..eternity in hell
If he has life in prison he has that chance to repent and give his life to Christ and be forgiven
He said if he repents just because he's afraid of hell then that's not true repentance I don't disagree but that's up to God to know that person's heart and motive and I do believe there are people in prison who make that decision to follow Christ with the right heart
I watched a movie a couple of months ago called "Dead Man Walking" that deals with this subject A very powerful movie if you've never seen it Get your box of kleenex
I would not do very well on the jury that had to make the decision of life or death
I personally could never make the decision to put that person to death I would always have hope that their heart would be changed

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Fragrance of Christ

I have several Christian friends who are struggling in what to say to those who need Christ in their lives I think sometimes we put so much focus on the person and what we're going to say to them that we forget who the focus needs to be on ...Christ Let him work and speak through you He's the one who changes hearts and he will use you if you let him
Be a friend and love people where they're at Our lives are messy and smelly sometimes Let your fragrance rub off on them

Now wherever we go He [God] uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Good News like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

"God rubs off on us and in turn, He rubs up against the people we know and encounter. Some welcome this and some don’t, but that part is out of our control. Our focus is to be on Him.......

Author David Roper has put it this way:

Change, as it comes to us, is the fruit of our association with God. As we draw close to Him day by day, walking with Him, talking to Him, listening to His words, relying on Him, asking for His help, His beauty—the beauty of holiness—begins to rub off on us. Quietly and unobtrusively His influence softens our wills and inclines us to deep righteousness. In His quiet love He takes all that's ugly in us and gradually turns it into something beautiful for Him.......
Our impact among others, therefore, is not something we have to overly concentrate on. It’s not: “I’ve got to remember to tell somebody about Jesus today,” it’s more like: “I want to be aware of God in my life today.” Walking in an awareness of God is already speaking volumes. "

"I'll take a stand"

I went to see a concert last night by Denver and the Mile High Orchestra I'm not a musician but I love to listen to different kinds of music and these guys were amazing musicians It was a christmas concert so they took christmas songs and "jazzed" them up plus they did some blues christmas songs New Orlean style With each song he featured one of the band members, sax,drums,trumpet,guitar,etc
The best part of the concert though wasn't the christmas songs it was the message based on a song called "The Stand"
It was a song about Steven's stand for Christ from the book of Acts The line that absolutely pierced my heart in the song was "I'll stand for you because you died for me"
It started out with Steven saying that and then when he got to heaven it was Christ saying that to Steven (If you click on the site you can hear a clip of the song in the audio section from the album "STAND")
Denver challenged everyone in the audience to let their life be a stand for Christ
If you ever get a chance to see them you should even if it's not a Christmas show
They are based out of Nashville and have performed at the Aranohoff Center in Cincinnati There was a guy from the band who played the acoustical guitar at the beginning who I could have listened to longer
The concert was at a baptist church called Urbancrest They have the nicest chairs to sit in Their like our chairs at Southwest only they have twice the padding :) Zach wanted to know if they had to set up and tear down their chairs like we did :) We got to try our new camera out too We definitely need to practice! It has a video feature and we had great audio but the video part of it wasn't so good Kristen has a concert this Thursday so hopefully we can figure it out better before then :)

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Psalm 56 Fear

"Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you" Psalm 56:3

This is one of my favorite psalms to go to
I suffer from panic attacks at times
They come out of nowhere and can be hard to deal with at times This psalm is what I read over and over sometimes and it makes me feel better
In my devotion this morning they had this thought "To overcome fear you must first acknowledge it"
To admit we are afraid is to admit we're human Trusting in the Lord with that fear takes the fear out of the fear

"For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling that I may walk before God in the light of life" Psalm 56:13

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

warm fuzzies

My dad sent this to me and I'm giving it to you

"Today...I wish you a day of ordinary miracles-... fresh pot of coffee you didn't have to make yourself.

An unexpected phone call from an old friend. ...Green stoplights on your way to work or shop.

I wish you a day of little things to rejoice in...... The fastest line at the grocery store.

A good sing along song on the radio. ...Your keys right where you look.

I wish you a day of happiness and little bite-size pieces of perfection that give you the funny feeling that the Lord is smiling on you, holding you so gently because you are someone special and rare.

I wish You a day of Peace, Happiness and Joy. ...They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them. "

Criticism self destructive way to live

I read something in my devotional this morning about having a critical attitude
There was a study done where they looked at emotionally and mentally disturbed people
There were 2 groups a stressed out group and a stress free group What they found is the stressed out group were habitual fault finders, constant critics of people and things around them while the stress free group were loving and accepting of others The next time you want to complain about something try to find the positive in the situation I don't know if you'll live longer but you'll live happier:)

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

On my knees

I think God's trying to tell me something about my prayer life this week
When the alarm went off Chris Tomlin's "Indescribable" was playing and these are the words that stuck in my head "All powerful Untamable,Awestruck we fall to our knees and we humbly proclaim, You are a very big God" I opened my "Our Daily Bread" devotional and the title was "It's the Knees" and this was the question
"When was the last time my knees hurt because I was on them praying ?"
I wish sometimes we had "kneelers" at our church like they have in Catholic churches I don't think God listens any less when we're sitting or standing but I think personally it humbles my heart and prepares me to talk to God better if I'm on my knees It's like the Jaci Velasquez song "I don't know how but there's power when I'm on my knees"

Monday, December 06, 2004

Klove It Pays to Listen

I was driving home from dropping Zach off at school after an orthodontist appt and turned 104.3 Klove on The only thing I heard her say was a "chance to win a trip to Germany to see Mercy Me and call now" so I did and I was the 1:30 pm winner for the prize package and a chance to win a trip to Germany ! How cool is that! plus she played my favorite song "God of Wonders" :)

Baby News

Congragulations Jeff and Mindy!!
They announced to the kids last night at Student Rev that Mindy is 11 weeks pregnant
They will be awesome parents..and definitely won't have a lack of babysitters:)
yesterday afternoon Kristen told me that she had a dream Sat night that I was pregnant (I'm not just to squelch any rumors:) I went to a church service yesterday where they talked about Elizabeth, John the Baptist's mother, and Mary and how miraculous their pregnancies and births were "For nothing is impossible with God" It made me wonder what it was like to be Mary when she was pregnant I wonder what kind of thoughts went through her head I wonder if she had morning sickness ( I did with both my kids I worked 3-11 so I was always Ok by the time I had to go to work:) I wonder if she had doubts or fears When she talked to God I wonder what she talked about
I loved being's something that's hard to put into words it's just an overwhelming joy and love you experience
I can't even imagine what that feeling had to be like to know you are carrying the Son of God ..

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Christmas Shopping

I've spent the last 2 days Christmas shopping and am not done yet :(

Zach is my hard one to buy for this year Everybody always gets him Michigan and Kentucky stuff so I don't want to go there We did find a present at Sam's Club that we got him and wrapped in a huge box It's driving him crazy :)

Last night we went to the Kenwood mall to the Apple Store
Zach has an iPod so we were looking at possible accessories for the iPod They did have this really nice Bose speaker system but it was also very expensive so that's a "no" .. I think
Now I'm not very knowledgable when it comes to computer stuff but I will say that the Apple Store is definitely a very cool store They have computers with screens as big as a TV and they have cameras connected so you can "play" with their stuff
I want a iPod mini so I can download books and listen to them on my motorcycle trips Darrell thinks I should get a regular iPod because they hold more but I like the smaller version I asked the guy how many books he thought I could put on there and he didn't know ( I thought you had to know that kind of stuff to work there :) He only knew it holds 1000 songs that are approx. 4 minutes long so if you know the answer let me know..Mike,Doug,and Jeff :) He thought I could get at least 10 books on it because he said books don't take as much space as music so I think the smaller version would be just fine and it comes in colors:)

Christmas shopping with Darrell is always fun He chats with everyone whether he knows them or not You meet interesting people that way :) The woman in Yankee Candle Company wanted to know if "he's always like this when he shops" He changes his mind about 50 times before he buys something and he always asks their opinion You can also count on going to Starbucks 1-2 times during the trip :)

I'll be glad to get this part of Christmas over

Friday, December 03, 2004

Denver and the Mile High Orchestra

Darrell and I ran into the worship art minister from our old church at the Fairfield Mall He is the head of the music dept at Cedarville and he was there with the jazz band He told us about a group who is coming to a church in Lebanon,Urbancrest Baptist Church, next Thursday night at 7:00. The concert is free which is always what we like :) They are a really young group that started out as a praise and worship band They are called Denver and the Mile High Orchestra They remind me of Harry Connick Jr. They all look like they are in their 20"s If you click on to the link you can hear their music
Should be fun :)

"Help Us Remember"

My friend from work sent this prayer to me this morning and I think everyone reading this has had 1 of these situations happen to them I know I have
It makes you think
This can be a hard time of year for some people I know from my own experience as a nurse we see alot of sad cases and our psych unit is usually very full
I had a patient this week who is dealing with more stress than anyone should have to deal with which is probably what put her in the hospital and shot her blood sugars out of control She just needed someone to listen to her more than "diabetes education" I was there to give her ...I think God uses those situations to make me realize what I have and to use my faith to reach out to those who need to be listened to and prayed for

Heavenly Father, help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic
>last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing
>to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious
>moments with her children.
>Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who
>can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student,
>his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student
>loans for next semester.
>Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same
>spot every day is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our
>Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the
>store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment,
>knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will
>be the
>last year that they go shopping together.
>Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the
>greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we
>dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all
>humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience,
>empathy and

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Treasures of your heart

I'm going Christmas shopping with Darrell today I've had a hard time getting in the Christmas spirit until this morning when I listened to 722 The message was by Joel Thomas this week He talked about where you put your focus...What is your treasure? For anyone who loves Ipods and U2 he shows the U2 Ipod :) It's not what you get, it's not even what you give.. it's about what you've already been given.. Jesus Christ as your Savior
His prayer at the end was so heart felt it made me cry and the song "Wonderful Savior" was awesome
If you want to see true heartfelt worship watch 722 for Nov 30th ...

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Anonymous serving

This was in my morning devotional This is a great time of year to be an anonymous servant
We're having a blood drive at work on Friday and this is a great way to be a servant and save someone's life I've done it many times It doesn't hurt and only takes about 20 to 30 minutes and you get a sweatshirt :)

When you give a gift to someone in need, don’t shout about it as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I assure you, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone, don’t tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you. (Matthew 6:2-4 NLT)

Servants don’t expect thanks for what they do. I’m sure it’s nice to hear it once in a while, but servants, when they serve, are just doing their job. If you find you need to be recognized for your service, you might want to take a second look at your motivation. True servants go about their work quietly and with little acknowledgement because they know their heavenly Father sees everything and their reward will come at the right time if they remain faithful.

A servant’s satisfaction comes from watching what his or her service enabled. Maybe it’s a homeless person’s appreciation for a Thanksgiving meal, or the smile on the new neighbor’s face when they are welcomed with a gift, or maybe it’s simply a brightening awareness on someone’s face that you are actually paying attention to their problem, taking their point of view seriously, and offering to help them with a solution.

The truest kind of service is that which is anonymous. Jesus once said that when you give, don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing. In other words, keep your giving as a secret even to yourself. Don’t use your service for self-gratification. Serve and don’t think twice about it. Move on to the next thing. God sees everything.

John Fischer is an author, speaker, and song writer based in Southern California. His latest book, Love Him in the Morning has been released by Revell Publishing.