Saturday, February 28, 2009

Just One Book Needed

As I sat at the kitchen table, reading, researching and writing for next week's retreat, there are literally piles of books and papers all around me. Some might call it a mess - I call it a little heaven on earth. I love books and I love studying them. There are few things that thrill me more than reading and studying the Word of God and seeing how it all comes together and discovering new truths and precious nuggets right there in the middle of the ancient Scriptures. The more time I spend in the Word of God, the more time I want to spend in the Word of God.

With piles of books and countless words and opinions and thoughts before me, there is really only One book that I need to rely on though. It can be so easy to get caught up in reading every other book about God and miss the one He wrote. It is good to read and research and expand our thinking, but never at the expense of being led astray or not spending time reading the Holy Words. If we don't know the truth of what the Bible says, how will we know if what we are reading is a good thing?

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8) Man's words should never be a substitute for our time with the Lord; rather they should be a supplement.

I will keep reading other books right along with my Bible and will take some sound advice from God as I do: "Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil." 1 Thess. 5:21-22

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fast Food or Fine Dining

This past Sunday at church a young girl made a random comment to me that I can't get out of my head. "I read your blog". That was it. Nothing profound. But it has stirred in my soul ever since. Is my blog worth reading? Do I offer something to chew on or just fill more web space with hot-air? I want this blog to be food for thought and something that makes people hungry for more of God.

Tonight I kept thinking about how many people aren't digging into the Word of God and we think they are disinterested. I'm not so sure. I think they have just gotten used to 'fast food' and have never been invited to the fine dining at the Master's table. The few times I have gone to a fancy restaurant there was a little fear that I would totally blow it and use the wrong fork or the wrong plate or knock over my glass of water and make a fool of myself. Fine dining also costs money. Fine dining would mean that I would need to sacrifice something else in my life to enjoy a fabulous, exquisitely prepared dinner. I can remember every detail of the last fine dining meal I had. I can't tell you anything about the last drive-thru I went through.

If I go someplace fancy to eat, I want to go with someone who will show me the way and not leave me feeling like a fool for not knowing what to say or do. I have to wonder if that isn't the case with Christians - particularly new believers or people who are younger. It isn't that they aren't hungry. They are just waiting for someone who has already experienced the fine dining to take the time to show them how amazing God's Word is. You know to show them how to savor it and take it all in. Someone to show them how to use the utensils to cut the Word apart and get the most out of it. Fine dining with the Master will cost us something. It will cost us time to start with. If we are really dining with the Master, it will keep costing us something because He will keep inviting us back and take us to places we never expected to go. Dining with Jesus is an experience we will never forget. It is worth the cost.

Jesus has already prepared the table. I just need to invite someone to dinner.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Scripture Found

My last post was about losing my Scripture memory cards. I will let the picture and the copies of emails speak for themselves.
Email from Pam:
Dear Kim,
Here's my prayer heading heaven bound from So. Cal on your behalf:
"Dear Heavenly Father, I come before the throne of grace in agreement with Kim and our 3-fold cord which cannot be broken (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) that Kim will find her scripture memory notebook in the name of the precious LORD Jesus Christ!" I'm trusting the LORD you have already found it. What a wise thing to do, to call out to your Siestas to agree in prayer. "Nothing is impossible with God!" May the lost be found and praises and thanks go forth in Jesus mighty name.
Lovingly in Him,
California Siesta,
Pam Houston

My email in response:
First, thank you for caring enough to pray and then to take the time to email me that you were praying. My email from you has the time 12:15:54 PM on it. I checked it at 1:21 PM. In between that time a man walked into my office holding my scripture cards in his hand and wanted to know if we had a lost and found or if I might know who they belonged to since there wasn’t a name on them. So between the time you sent the email and the time I checked it – the scripture cards were found and delivered!!!! Only our God could care enough about His Word to walk it back to me! I won’t even begin to apologize for sounding trivial because nothing about God or His Word is trivial. If I didn’t have to look composed right now – I would be in full blown tears on my face before the Lord.
Someone had found them in the parking lot – the same parking lot that I had looked in to find them!

Pam's response back:
Praise the LORD
! Precious, precious Siesta Kim...God has turned your mourning into dancing! Now let me join in your praise and worship to Him...I had just finished a powerful lesson I'm teaching on Sunday called "...To Dancing" from Beth Moore's study of "A Heart Like His" (a study on the life of David.) The days lesson was actually called "From Mourning into Dancing" but the LORD had instructed me to make it into two lessons, and there would be signs and wonders following! (Last week, one of our womens husband was healed miraculously of a heart attack, and verified by the hospital and tests! They were stunned, and said tests showed a heart of a 35 year old, and he is 65 and has suffered 2 heart attacks! When this happened to him, we "just so happened" to be there and reached out and laid hands on him and prayed for God's miraculous and divine healing in Jesus name, and so it was!) God is calling us to ramp up our praise and worship like never before! I will be taking a copy of your EMail to class with me on Sunday, because nothing is trivial to Him! I heard the cry of your heart, and I knew God was up to something miraculous with you! Thank you for gracing me with the time it took for you to write it all down and bless we California Siestas. I asked the LORD specifically that you would feel compelled to let me know what God did in response to your cry. And you did! Remember this awesome Word from our One and Only (and as I remember this is Mama Beth's scripture memory verse for the 15th): "And those that feared the LORD talked often one to another; and the LORD listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who reverenced and worshipfully feared the LORD and who thought on His name. And they shall be Mine, says the LORD of hosts, in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be My jewels (My special possession, My peculiar treasure).
And I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him. Then shall you return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God and him who does not serve Him." Malachi 3: 16-18
Blessings to you dear siesta Kim and thank you for sharing your love in Christ. Heaven will tell how mightily God is using LPM Him be the glory!
Pam Houston><>
Your So. Cal. Siesta

Father - it is recorded and remembered for Your glory and Your glory alone.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lost Scriptures

In January I signed up and committed to memorize two verses a month over the next year. With spiral bound note cards in hand, I jotted down the first scripture and diligently began to memorize the Word. Two weeks later - another verse. Two weeks later, yet another. I quickly discovered that I was so hungry to have the Word of God hidden in my heart that I craved it with a new found passion. Every morning, I would take the note cards with the current verse displayed on the top and prop them up in the bathroom as I got ready for work. Then I would take the cards with me to work and lay them on my desk. Back home again - they would go on the kitchen counter as I prepared supper. Throughout the day I would concentrate on the current verse and then begin reciting the previous verses so I wouldn't forget them. Something stirred within me that I had never felt before and it felt good - really good.

This past Monday I had my notecards on my desk. Got up on Tuesday morning, went to pull out the scriptures and couldn't find them. Sure that I must have left them at work, I walked into my office with anticipation of seeing them beside my computer. Nothing. Came home later - searched high and low. No scripture cards. I'm not sure it was panic that filled me, but it felt awfully close to it. Yes - I had memorized those verses and could certainly make another set of cards, which I did. The loss of those note cards struck something within me though. I was zealous for the Word of God like never before and just reading the Bible was no longer enough.

What if tomorrow our Bibles were taken from us? Do I have enough of God's word engraved on my heart and mind to hold true to it? Do I have enough of His promises to stay the course? What about being able to share my faith? Think it will never happen to us? If we were to ask the Jews or others who have been persecuted throughout history, I'm guessing they might have thought the same thing. Who would ever take their Bibles from them? I don't know what the future holds and I certainly pray that I will never be in a situation where I am without the written Word of God. But this I know, I have tasted something good and I want the fullness of His Word in a place that can never be taken from me.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Under the Snow

I am not a huge fan of all the snow that we have had, but I have to admit it has been absolutely beautiful! The snow came heavily at times and then we seemed to get a daily coating to keep it fresh and white for weeks. The last couple of days it has warmed up and the snow is melting. You can now see the dirty snow along the roads, foot prints, leaves, and whatever else is now being exposed that was hidden under the snow. Not quite as pretty.

It made me think about my own life. On the outside, I can have the appearance of having it all together. I can look like my life is in order and that I am living within the standards that God has called me to. Appearances, just like snow, can be deceiving. What lies underneath is what tells the truth about who we are.

The snow melts and we may find the long forgotten gardening tools. We may see signs of new growth in plants or we just might see the trash that got covered by the snow and then forgotten. After all, if you can't see it then it isn't really there right? Then spring comes and things started getting heated up.

Who are we when the covering is melted off and the heat is on? Will people see new growth in our lives or will they see a heap of trash that got covered up? Will footsteps be exposed of places we have gone that we shouldn't have or will they see our footsteps walking along those of Christ? Will they see tender new shoots or bitter roots? Will people see an image of Christ under the melted snow or simply the temporary remains of a snow angel?

The beautiful thing with Christ is that no matter what is exposed after the snow melts it can be cleaned up, fixed up and transformed into something new again. Who we are on the inside matters more than who we are on the outside. When the heat comes, and it will, what will people find in me? What will they find in you?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

God knows where I am

Have you ever wondered if God knew exactly where you were? I had some time to ponder that question yesterday, but in the oddest of situations. My sweet, sweet husband and 12 other guys headed off to the KD Ranch in Adamsville, Ohio for a weekend retreat. My husband was speaking and doing a demonstration on Saturday night. Friday night I get a frantic call from my husband. In the midst of all the hurrying to get out the door on Friday, he left all the materials for his demonstration sitting at home. I believe he said something like this "Can you please bring it (the box) to me on Saturday. The address is on my desk. You will probably get lost and there is no cell phone reception down here." Well, at least I think that is what he said. Anyway . . .

Saturday morning I Google the directions, pack a bag for the 2+ hour drive and head out into the unknown. Afterall, it can't be that bad and I can easily make it in two hours. Highway driving for the first 70 miles. Made that part of the trip in about 60 min. It only took me another 1 1/2 hours to make the last 10 miles! The moment I turn off the highway, I am on completely snow covered roads with few houses in sight. The kind of roads where the signs are somewhere over in the snow facing all sorts of directions because of the snow plows.

Still doing okay for a few minutes, until the first challenge. The road splits and the sign says DO NOT ENTER - authorized vehicles only. Authorized coal mining trucks mind you. And no sign telling which way the road goes or which road I might be on. Finally find someone in an oversized pickup truck to tell me "oh I'm not from around here, but just go to the left." So, I go to the left. Not long until there is no sign of life. Just a wide road, lots of snow, no place to turn around and no restroom. It has now been two hours since the last potty break, but not since my last cup of coffee. Enough said.

I realize at this point, I may be lost. Call my husband's cell phone. No reception. Call the ranch - they have never heard of the roads I'm talking about. So I hold on to my trusted google map and move forward. Afterall there is no where to turn around anyway. At one point, I began to think that no one knows where I am. No one would be able to find me if something happened. It is too cold and too far to walk for help. And I could feel a slight panic coming over me. I had been praying the whole trip for protection and direction, but now I just lifted my voice to my God and reminded Him (and me) that He knew exactly where I was and He was with me.

Finally come to a small bait and tackle shop along the side of the road. Figured I should stop and ask for directions in case I am really lost. Have you ever seen the movie "Deliverance" - you get the point. I again reminded the Lord He knew where I was and what kind of deliverance I might need. Someone there was able to give me directions that went something like, "go past the dam, over the wooden bridge, take a right, take a left, go up the hill and when you see the church you will know you are going the right direction."How profound! I have never shouted "PRAISE YOU LORD" louder than when I saw that little church.

Eventually found my husband, dropped off the box, prayed for a miracle to come from his talk and demonstration, hopped back in my little Acura and headed into the wild. Only saw about 10 very large pickup trucks and lots of men with guns and camo on the way back. I was without any question the only person wearing lipstick and in a car for about a 60 mile radius~

But God knew exactly which one was me and exactly where I was. I think He was probably getting a kick out of the whole thing as He watched over me.