Saturday, April 18, 2009

worship

One of my blog friends posted a video of "How You Love Us" awhile back and introduced me to Kim Walker. All I can say, is WOW! This girl's on fire and her passion for worship really blesses me. I also love how she laughs in the middle of her songs. :-) If you're in a tough season right now and just need to know that you are loved, this song is for you.

On the other hand, if you're in a season of just reveling in how incredible our God is and long to pour out your heart to Him, "Can I Have More of You" is the song for you. I wasn't able to find a video of Kim singing it, but you can buy an MP3 version of both songs on Jesus Culture. (And while you're there, check out Kristene Mueller as well. I just downloaded her entire CD. Love it!)

My favorite line in this song is "God I love you..." Reminds me of what my youngest taught me recently. :-)

Verse 1:
I give up trying to earn Your love,
I just look above, up to You.
My desire is to see Your fire,
Growing even higher than before.
Bridge:
Because You are good,
beyond measure,
My heart longs to give You pleasure.
You fulfill all my longing,
And all my life I will sing:
Chorus:
God I love You and all You do,
Your joy lives inside and does me good,
Can I have more of You?
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
Oh, my God, You never let me down,
Can I have more of You?
Verse 2:
God I need You right next to me,
For my heart to be satisfied.
I decide how I live my life,
I've made up my mind, I'm livin' for You.

Powerful worship is most definitely a part of LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

Enjoy your Sunday,

risk


Fear grips so many of us, especially in this day and age. It robs us of our peace, but also, of the lives we are supposed to be living.

I just ran across this post over at Mocha Club. The video is powerful and takes less than five minutes to watch. Will you take a risk and watch it? Yes, you'll see sadness and disturbing images. There's nothing about children soldiers that is right. And yes, they do exist outside of this season's episodes of "24." If you take a risk, you'll also see hope and joy. You'll be encouraged and hopefully inspired.

You see, my Friend, YOU can be a part of the amazing things that are going on halfway across the world. For only $7.00 a month, you can join our efforts towards meeting the needs of an orphan. OR, you can start your own club on behalf of one of the other needs that Mocha Club supports. Really it's just a matter of giving up a couple tall lattes each month.

If you've been wanting to reach out and make a difference, but weren't sure how, or were worried that your budget might not support it, the Mocha Club is an excellent place to start. Simply click here, or on the badge on my sidebar to find out more. And hey, they are still giving away their awesome tees. :-)

Yes, I still need Africa more than Africa needs me. Do you?

LIVING A BLESSED LIFE and asking others to come along for an amazing adventure!

Friday, April 17, 2009

better than life

"Your unfailing love
is better to me
than life itself;
how I praise you!"

~ Psalm 63:3, NLT


LIVING A BLESSED LIFE because God IS love.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

silent evangelism

I just read this article and appreciated how well the author put into words some of the ideas I've been processing. Thought I would share it with you. If you're not interested in reading that, scroll down a bit more to read today's post. If you do read the article, I'd love to hear what you think.

LIVING A BLESSED LIFE each and every day!

heaven

Lately I've been feeling like I'm with the Brady family in Hawaii, following a trail of popcorn. :-) The more I learn about God's Word, the more intrigued I become. I'm beginning to see that there are keys hidden within Scripture that unlock doors leading to more wisdom. The more insights God shares with me, the more freedom and victory I enjoy.

Many people assume that being a Christian must be (a) boring (b) restrictive or (c) pointless. The reality is that pursuing Christ is the most exhilarating adventure we will ever embark upon. When we let go of the things the world thinks are valuable, God showers us with the richest of blessings. Sorrow, burdens, depression and frustration all melt away. What some perceive as things of value, pale greatly in comparison to what God has for each of us.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about having an eternal perspective and how God calls us to live as citizens of heaven. I realized this week that the key to living a life of love is also living as a citizen of heaven.

Understanding how extraordinary heaven will be is the key to living as a citizen of heaven. Randy Alcorn wrote that the enemy of our souls cannot prevent us from going to heaven. BUT, he can try to make it seem so incredibly boring that none of us would want to spend eternity there.

If sat*n is working so hard at trying to persuade us that heaven is nothing to "die" for, isn't it safe to assume, therefore, that heaven must be phenomenal?!?

Let me ask you this. What are the top 10 things in this universe that leave you breathless? (Actually, I dare you to stop at ten!) The amazing colors that are painted in the sky at sunset? How the trees know which season we're in? How many different species of plants and animals there are? (If you've never watched the Planet Earth series yet, I highly recommend it.) How intricately a baby is knit together in his mother's womb? Watching the ocean's waves crash one after another? The delicious taste of freshly picked fruit? How awesome it feels to be truly known and accepted by another human being? My own list would go on and on...

If this life is only a precursor, how magnificent heaven must be! No more sickness, hatred or disease? Are you kidding me?!? I'm sad that I have lived almost 38 years of my life being deceived by those lies distracting me from the gift that my King died to give me.

So how does understanding heaven help me to live a life of love here on earth? Well, if I'm storing up riches in heaven for the blessings I choose to bestow upon others now, it's going to affect the choices I make each day.

Am I going to be worried about what's best for ME--or am I going to choose to do what's best for my friend? Am I going to worry about keeping all of MY stuff safe--or am I going to relax when my children want to borrow something fragile? Am I going to spend time trying to convince my husband that my way is best--or am I going to support his decision 100%? If I have my own room in my Father's mansion--do I really need to spend all of my time, money and effort pouring myself into a temporary dwelling?

Don't get me wrong, here. These aren't always obvious choices for me. I struggle with making godly choices daily. Sometimes my flesh just wants to veg out instead of going the extra-mile for my family. But, each time I do choose to honor others first, over my own selfish desires, I have been so incredibly blessed. Choosing to bless, honor and love others becomes addictive. It truly is more blessed to given than receive.

Can't wait to see what the next piece of popcorn along my path will reveal! :-) Until then, I'm going to keep LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

With incredible joy,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

discovering pure love

The lessons on love keep coming and I'm so overwhelmed by how good God is. As I've mentioned before, I'm a voracious reader and plow through books, one and another. Since I've picked up Crazy Love, however, I've only been able to read a page or two at a time. As I do, the Lord keeps showing me different aspects of who He is, while also transforming my heart.

At times, I literally feel my physical heart growing and stretching. I don't know how to explain it, but it's mind-blowing. Really. :-) In the morning, when I sit down to journal what God has been teaching me and showing me, I can't help but cry. This journey I am on is so profound, so rich and so full of blessings. It's almost more than I can handle. Almost. ;-)

In yesterday's post, I shared some simple thoughts on love. Things that God is showing me. I desperately desire to know His love more fully in order to love others more purely. As only God can do, He's giving me opportunities to love others in BIG ways (through adoption, for example), but also in smaller ways. The opportunities are endless and simple enough that my kids can learn right along with me.

Instead of getting irritated at the person who dropped their dirty laundry outside the laundry room door, I can choose to be a blessing. Love picks up the laundry and puts it away.

On Sunday, Geoff woke me up in the middle of a delicious nap to ask me to help him out with our taxes. My flesh honestly wanted to make him wait while I squeezed in another 15 minutes. But then I heard the Lord whisper to my spirit, "Love gets up." And so, I did.

Yesterday, I was in the middle of my quiet time and all three of my kids kept coming in to show me something, ask me a question or request something. It would have been easy to make my time with God my priority and put off my kids' needs. I'm sad to say, I'm guilty of doing that very thing, more than once. :-(

But really, is that what love does? What kind of Gospel am I living out for my children when I make this choice? I'm reminded of Jesus correcting His disciples when they tried to send the children away. He was none too pleased.

No, love stops. Love listens. Love sees. Love gives.

Love is an action; not a feeling. The former takes effort; the latter happens automatically.

I'm sad for all the times that I've missed the "love boat" (pun intended!) All of the opportunities that I let down my husband, my children, my friend, my neighbor and the man on the street holding up a sign. I'm thankful, however, that God is patient and forgiving. I'm thankful that at just the right time He is teaching me what love truly is. He's changing my heart so that I am better able to see and receive His love, and also share it with others.

I'm learning what an effective teacher "love" can be. Rather than lecture my children, I'm finding it's easier and far more effective to gently say, "love forgives," "love helps," and "love listens." You know what? My kids learn much quicker than I do, and, in turn are teaching me a thing or two about love!

Today, I am LIVING A BLESSED LIFE because "Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:8)

Sweet blessings & LOVE,


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

love

Love gets wet in the rain, so another can stay dry.
Love wakes up from a nap to help someone out.
Love stops working to listen to a child's story.
Love believes the best about others.
Love looks you in the eye.
Love speaks blessings.
Love slows down.
Love pitches in.
Love goes last.
Love forgives.
Love gives.
Love acts.

"Without love, I am nothing."
(1 Corinthians 13:2)

Choosing love & LIVING A BLESSED LIFE,

Monday, April 13, 2009

the alternative

On Good Friday, Geoff and I watched Seven Pounds on DVD. Geoff fell asleep 1/3 of the way through the film, only to wake up at the end because I was shaking the couch I was sobbing so hard! After telling him that it was honestly the best movie I have ever seen, we decided to stay up until 1:30 am to watch it again. Wow.

I highly recommend the movie to all of you. (Unless you have lost a love one to suicide. In which case, I am so, so very sorry.)

It was the most perfect movie to watch on the day that we remember Christ's sacrifice for us. I wish I could say more without giving anything away. But, I will say that the movie portrays a man who does not know the saving power and forgiveness that is freely given to us through Jesus' death on the cross. He is burdened with guilt and shame and feels that he must remedy his problems on his own.

If we choose to pass up the incredible gift that Jesus gave us, there are alternatives we can choose. We can try all of them in order to make ourselves feel better, to numb the pain, or to try to make amends for our sin. There could possibly be some good that comes out of those alternatives. Unfortunately (or maybe, fortunately), everything outside of Christ will end in one thing - DEATH.

The option that God gives us will always result in just the opposite - LIFE. Abundant life--the very best life that God has for each of us. There may be suffering along the way to that life, but it will always bring about good for us and for others.

On Saturday night, Geoff and I enjoyed a rare date night. We set our kids (and their friends) up with our most favorite babysitter and went downtown for a romantic steak dinner. (Loved it!) Afterwards, we decided to stop by a famous doughnut store (for breakfast the next day, of course.)

As we neared the store, we passed several groups of street people just hanging out. My heart was drawn to one gentleman in particular. He had light brown hair, a full beard and amazing blue colored eyes, which also happened to be glazed over from recent drug or alcohol use. He held up a small cardboard sign that read "Hoping to wake up with a hangover on Easter." I caught his eye and I gave him what I hoped was a warm smile.

After ordering our doughnuts, we passed by the man again. This time, he asked me for spare change. Again, I looked him in the eye, gave a sad smile and shook my head, as I kept walking. Each and every step away from him broke my heart. I may have appeared calm on the outside, but instead, my mind and heart were warring against each other.

Although I was dressed up for our date, I desperately wanted to sit down next to these people and talk to them. The problem was that I've never done anything like that and my mind screamed at me how dangerous it was to do so. Or at best, simply "uncomfortable."

I was torn. I'm not sure how Geoff would have responded at the time, but we talked about it afterwards for quite a bit and he did understand the war I was going through. The deep passion I felt in my heart for those desperately broken people, but also the fear that had gripped my mind.

On Easter Sunday, my heart was still aching for my street friend who was seeking the alternative to the cross. I certainly don't blame or judge him. How many times have I sought the alternative. Too many, I'm afraid. How many times have I chosen to numb my pain or avoid life? Too often.

My heart ached because I desperately wanted to find him again. Because, this time, instead of walking by, I would have stopped, looked him in the eye and said,

"Sir, I SEE you.
Sir, I see YOU.
The Maker of the universe SEES you.
He sees YOU.
YOU are loved.
You ARE loved.
You are LOVED."
Because, after all, isn't that all that we are seeking after? To be seen, to be known, to be loved? The greatest news is that we ARE. The saddest news is that too often we fail to realize it.

The man on the street may look different than I on the outside; but, on the inside, aren't all of us humans really the same? My Friend, I may not know you personally, but please know this:

YOU are loved.
You ARE loved.
You are LOVED...

..by the King of the universe. He sees you. He knows you. He accepts you. Just as you are. Just where you are. And I love you, too! :-)

Wouldn't you know that when I picked up where I left off in reading Crazy Love this morning, I was challenged in this very area? Chan wrote that while our prayers for safety, comfort and protection aren't wrong, there may be a better prayer.

He challenges us to instead ask God to do whatever it takes in our life, on our trip, through our journey to bring us closer to Him and glorify Him. Sigh. Suddenly the war between my mind and heart ended. My spirit was again at peace.

I'm desperately praying that you are LIVING A BLESSED LIFE founded upon the victory Jesus Christ had over the cross and over death. He came that we might have life, and to have it to the full. (John 10:10)

Blessings & love,