Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Hope


It's just a small word, isn't it.

Hope.

It opens up many avenues to think about. A person can ask for hope. Someone can give hope to another. We can hope for good weather. A student can hope they get  good grades on their next test.  For those of us who live in Florida, we can hope for a silent hurricane season.

A mother can hope their child grows into a responsible adult. A child can hope for many presents under the Christmas Tree. A father can hope for the bonus he's expecting at the end of the year to be a good one.

Do you hope?

Do you believe in hope?

Do you hope to be a person of significance? Do you want to make your mark upon the world? What impression do you want to leave?

In Colossians 1:27 it reads, "To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery which is Christ i you, the hope of glory."

Through faith in Jesus, you become a person of significance, importance, magnitude.

Is't that a wonderful statement?

Did you ever feel like you didn't count for much for were insignificant? Did you feel like no one noticed you?

You don't have to think like that anymore. Following Jesus makes you significant.

You are an amazing person.

Yes, I said it. You. Are. An. Amazing. Person.

Believe in it.

George Herbert said this, "He that lives in hope dances without music."

Doesn't that bring a wonderful image to your mind?

It's all about your mindset and believing in God. You must trust Him completely. He does not take His love for His children lightly.

"Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put hope in you." Psalm 25:5

Hope can move mountains.

Hope is in the tiniest newborn's cry.

Hope is in the eye of a child sitting on Santa's lap.

Hope is in you.

I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas and find all the love and laughter meant to make your life full of joy.




Image credit: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Worship - Why and How?

First, do we all know what the definition of "Worship" is?

According to Merriam-Webster:

: the act of showing respect and love for a god especially by praying with other people who believe in the same god : the act of worshipping God or a god
: excessive admiration for someone


In the context of this blog post, we are going to be talking about Worship as it relates to God. So, I ask again, Is there a Right Way to Worship God?

Or maybe I should define the question further, is there only one right way to worship God?

Where did worship come from? If you look in the bible it starts with men finding a place to build an altar and offer either burnt or fellowship offerings.

Deuteronomy 27:5-7 "Build there an altar to tool upon them. Build the altar of the Lord your God with your God. Sacrifice fellowship offerings there, eating them and rejoicing in the presence of the Lord your God."

The first mention of the word "worship" in the bible appears in Exodus 39:2-7 "They made the ephod of gold, and of blade, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen. They hammered out thin sheets of gold and into strands to be worked into the blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen - the work of a skilled craftsman. They made shoulder pieces for the ephod, which were attached to two if its corners, so it could be fastened. Its skillfully woven waistband was like it - of one piece with the ephod and made with gold, and with blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and with finely twisted linen, as the Lord commanded Moses. They mounted  the onyx stones in gold filigree settings and engraved them like a seal with the names of the sons of Israel. Then they fashioned them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel, as the Lord commanded Moses."

The reason for the fancy clothing were intended to show dignity and honor. The elaborate designs served to elevate the priests to a position of stature in the eyes of the people. The garments may also have helped the people esteem the worship of God and an awesome and mysterious privilege.

So, as far as I can tell so far, worshiping consisted of altars and elaborate and fancy clothing of the priests to show the people how much a privilege it was to worship God.

With me so far? I hope so, we haven't even begun yet.

In Deuteronomy, the Bible showed that God commanded an altar be built of plain stone without using tools. It was their simple beauty that became the frame for the awesomeness of our God.

Sacrifice. Fellowship. Rejoicing. All characteristics that are core to who God's people are and how it teaches us that "worship" is vital.

In Women Opening the Word Living Stones Casandra Martin defines worship this way, "Worship begins with God. The first steps into worship begin with awareness. ... Worship begins by opening our eyes and hearts to the truth that we are entering the presence of God. He created the pathway to worship. He opened its door, covering the way with the blood of His Son and inviting us to draw near to Him. In worship, we meet God." To Casandra, "That is the most defining, amazing thing about worship. It is the place where we come to heart-to-heart with our Savior."

What do you think? Does worship begin with God and offer us an opportunity to have a one-on-one with our Lord?

Do you think that is the right way to worship?

Being aware of God's presence, to me, means that I'm close to God. That we are communing together in an intimate way. That it's a personal association I have with God that I have with no other.

By being personal, I think that it brings in a uniqueness to my worship. My worship is unique.
Your worship is unique. Someone else may worship entirely differently. We are all unique and in being so have unique relationships with our Lord and God.

So,  must be be joined together in some type of union to worship God? Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

Does God only listen to our worshiping when we are with others? I don't think so, I think whether we worship on our own or with others, God promises to hear and answer our prayers in line with His will.

However, according to Jesus, in 1 John 5:14-15 we can find a special sense of His presence and power during times of united prayer. "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us - whatever we ask - we know what we have what we asked of Him."

So, what happens when we truly worship?

Should we expect to be changed?

How so?

By surrendering. Casandra Martin says, "Every time we come into worship, we should expect to walk out different from how we arrived. Within that expectation is a challenge. Are we willing to be changed? Surrender is the deep call of worship."

God wants to work in our lives. He uses our worship time to do so. God is always on the look out for ways to transform us. Transforming us so that we are more like Jesus.

And, guess what? The more we look and act like Jesus, the richer our worship experience becomes.

When we worship, our eyes are opened to who God is and who we are. With God's help, we are becoming more like Jesus. God thinks that's the greatest gift we could ever give Him.

What do you think?

By worshiping, truly worshiping, we can strip away all the masks we use on a daily basis that hide us from each other and from God and we can delight in God's grace. With God's grace on us, we have the power to transform into the likeness of Jesus.

By surrendering to God, we give up the ordinary path we've traversed, with so much difficulty, and take on God's sense of direction and pace. We now follow God's lead. We are His.

Wouldn't you much rather go on a journey where you know God is leading, than anyone or anything else?

So, I'll ask you this question: Why do you come to worship?

Have you surrendered yourself to the power of worship?






Reference: Women Opening the Word - Living Stones by Casandra Martin
Image credit: gelpi / 123RF Stock Photo

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Best Way to Know God

God asks that you let your body, mind and spirit relax in His Presence. He loves you. Can you imagine how much God loves you?

I bet you can't.

I know I can't fathom the depth of God's love.

Although He tells us how much.

First, let's find out why. He tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."

How much does God love us? We have to search Ephesians 3:16-19 where the apostle Paul writes "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with the power through His Spirit in your inner being. So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Can you imagine now?

I still can't.

But I can feel. I can feel God's love.

Think of the deepest ocean, the highest mountain, the widest valley, the longest road and you still wouldn't come close to how much God really loves us.

Thank God for His love. Thank God for His blessings. Thank God for Him.

I thank Him for you.

When you sit quietly in God's presence, you are opening yourself to receive God's blessing.

Can you feel it enveloping you and making your heart swell?

God travels with you through all your journeys. The high road. The bumpy road. The rough times. The good times. Everything you do is because of Him. Can you understand that? Can you accept that you need God?

When you have learned to thank God for all the hard times and the good times. When you have learned to thank God for your difficult journeys then, and only then, have you realized that to need God is the key to knowing Him, intimately.

That is the gift of all gifts.

This is how God loves us. "He tends His flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11




reference: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks for Walking Peacefully with the Lord

This past Sunday our minister gave a wonderful sermon. He called it "Contentment Brings Thanksgiving". Afterward, in Bible School, our teacher asked us to think about what we were thankful for and why.

I'm going to pose the same question to you: What are your thankful for and why?

We are thankful for so many things in our lives. We could makes lists that number in the hundreds. Are you thankful for your family? Of course. Thankful for pets? You bet. Friends? Yes. If you thought about it you could make a list so long you'd be amazed.

But, here is the bigger question. Why are you thankful for each of these things?

Is it because you love them? Because they love you? They support you? They provide you with a calmness or peacefulness?

Are you thankful for them because God put them in your life?

Nothing in your life is by chance. God knows your story. He knows all the characters in it and what the plot is and how it all works out.

God wrote your story long before you were born. He loves you. He sent His son, Jesus, to walk among the world to give peace and help others find peace.

Walk peacefully with Jesus every day. Don't be shy about praying to Him to ask Him to show you how.

Or, look in His word and He will teach you.

"The Lord replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."" -- Exodus 33:14

"The Lord gives strength to His people, the Lord blesses His people with peace." -- Psalms 29:11

When you don't know what to do. Wait. Trust in the Lord to lead you. Follow Him. Walk with Him. He will bless you with peace.

Thank Jesus frequently as you walk throughout the day. When you do this you will soon learn how to pray without ceasing. With this ability, you will have a direct connection to God at all times.

So, what are you thankful for?

And, why?

"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." -- Psalms 118:24

The conclusion of our minister's sermon was this "Be content with what you have, never with who you are."

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." -- Philippians 4:11

Have a blessed day.


Image credit: photoestelar / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: kjekol / 123RF Stock Photo

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

God is Watching


Have you heard about the new program cities are implementing at traffic lights? They city is installing cameras at intersections that will take pictures of the license plate of any car that runs a red light.

Any car.

Then, those car owners get their ticket in the mail.

Easy. Peasy.

What's the message?

"We are watching you."

Pretty powerful image, don't you think?

Now, imagine the eye of God.

Whoa. Huh?

He is all powerful. All seeing. All knowing. He is EVERYWHERE! In your mind. In your heart. Watching you.

Do you think of God like that traffic camera? Waiting for you to do something bad?

Please, don't think like that.

God loves you. He watches OVER you. God loves you so much He can't takes His eyes off you.

He isn't waiting for you to do something wrong so He can condemn you for it.

God watches so He can find just the right ways to use your faithful heart and committed outlook in His world. He looks for those with character and faithfulness.

God's eyes are watching you today. As He sees you obeying Him, He'll continue to fill your life with His strength, power, and love.

"The Lord is constantly watching everyone, and He gives strength to those who faithfully obey Him." - 2 Chronicles 16:9




Resource: 100 Favorite Bible Verses for Women

Image credit: rolffimages / 123RF Stock Photo

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Suffering & Sickness - Is it Time to Vent or Repent?

Pain.

We've all experienced it at one time or another.

Emotional pain.

Spiritual pain.

Today I'm venting about Physical Pain.

I am suffering with a deliberating pain. Have you heard about TMJ?







Per WebMD:

What Is the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull, which is immediately in front of the ear on each side of your head. The joints are flexible, allowing the jaw to move smoothly up and down and side to side and enabling you to talk, chew, and yawn. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint control the position and movement of the jaw.

There is also something called TMD, again thanks to WebMD: Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw. These disorders are often incorrectly called TMJ, which stands for  temporomandibular joint.

So, I have TMD and TMJ. Many people probably hear a click or pop in their jaw and think nothing of it. It's like the popping of a joint or a cracking a knuckle in your finger. For post people that is okay. It really means nothing.

Then there are SOME people.
Some people, like me, encounter pain with the pop. Then sometimes there is no pop, and the pain persists.

Imagine this: One day you are enjoying a great bite of steak and you chew, feeling the tasty juices seep out of the meat and flow down your throat. Chewing, not wanting to miss a single morsel. 

Pop.

Your jaw won't shut.

The pain brings tears to your eyes.

You try to close your jaw, the pain pierces through you.

After consultation with your dentist and an oral surgeon, a mouth splint is molded of your bit an you are required to wear it every night, for what seems like forever, not chewing, and liquids only. You take pain medications and muscle relaxers until the jaw joint relaxes and you can close your mouth.

Whew!
Recovery was slow. I never want to go through that again. I'm careful what I chew, I wear my mouth splint when I feel my jaw getting sore.

Months go by. I have similar pain. Year go by. It doesn't seem serious. Then one day, out of the blue, pain like no there pierces your jaw. It's like having a migraine, a toothache and an earache all at the same time.
What did I do?
Nothing.
I wear my mouth splint for 2 months. Time goes by slowly. The pain isn't better. 

So, I make another trip to the oral surgeon. Out with the old. In with the new. Previous Oral Surgeon retired, in with a new Oral Surgeon.
So, I sit through x-rays, examinations, measurements, etc. He decides to take a conservative course of treatment.
No Chewing
Liquids Only
Aleve
Heat

For three weeks.

I feel better. I think the pain is going away.

Back to the Oral Surgeon.
Some slight chewing.
Aleve
Heat

For three weeks.

The pain returns 100 fold.
Again:
No chewing
Aleve
muscle relaxers
Liquids only
Heat

For three weeks.
"For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an an example, that you should follow His steps." -- 1 Peter 2 19:21

The pain doesn't get better. It's worse.
This time the doctor adds a does of steroids, tells me to continue with the Aleve, gives me more muscle relaxers, stay on the heat, no chewing, liquids only.
I wait.
For three weeks.
More pain. Constant pain.
Ironically, I'm given pain medications for my low back due to two recent RFA procedures. The pills manage to take the edge of the irritatingly vivid pain of my jaw. 

I pray.
"Let us then approach the approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy nd find grace to help us in our time of need." -- Hebrews 4:16
I'm frustrated. I call the Oral Surgeon. I explain how much pain I'm in. How much I need to write. How I can't with this kind of pain. I'm very frustrated. I'm loud. I'm irritated. I'm in pain. I cry.

I pray.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

This time the Oral Surgeon sends me for an MRI.
We get the results in a week. The diagnosis. Surgery.
Okay, great. Let's get it scheduled. Relief. I'm happy. But….
Wait.
My Oral Surgeon says that he think's it's too complicated for him and wants me to go to the best specialist in this field at the University of Florida.
Referrals are sent. A letter written and sent to the specialist.



A letter written to my airline insurance company after having to cancel a special trip, explains why I can't fly out to see my new grandson because of TMJ and surgery. My daughter doesn't understand why I can't come and see the new baby. 

I cry.

More waiting.

More prayers.
"Behold, I will bring it health and healing: I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth." - Jeremiah 33:6

I don't wait anymore. I call UF. My appointment for an "evaluation" is February 5, 2014

2014

No chewing. Liquids only. Heat. Pain. No Thanksgiving Dinner. No Christmas Dinner. No Anniversary dinner. Nothing. I have been beaten down.

"Have faith in God," Jesus answered." - Mark 11:22
I cry.
My jaw hurts.
I cry.
I pray.
I cry.
I seek answers. Who else can help me. 
I pray.
God sends me to my insurance company. Who, after much explaining, gives me a directory or oral surgeons in a 30 mile area of my home.
I send the list in an e-mail to my Oral Surgeon along with a lot of venting and tears.
Again. 
I'm sorry I vented against my doctor. I'm sorry he had to hear and feel my anger and frustration. I'm sorry. Dear Lord, please forgive me.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

I wait.
In pain.
I cry.
I pray.

"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms." James 5:13

"Please, Dear Lord, find someone who can heal me of my pain before the end of the year."

""For I will resort health to you and heal you of your wounds." says the Lord, "because they called you an outcast saying: "This is Zion; no one seeks her."' - Jeremiah 30:17



References:
WebMD

Image credit: robodread / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: andreus / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: razihusin / 123RF Stock Photo

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Obediently Humble

We live in the United States. The land of freedom. The land of rights.

We have the right to

  • choose where we live.
  • choose who we live with.
  • life, liberty, and happiness.
  • read, watch tv, go to the movies.


And so many more rights than these I've listed. What we are actually saying is "we are free."

However, when seeking God, you obey Him.

Do you think obedience is too tough?

Consider Jesus. He's royalty. He sits on the throne with God and rules the Universe. One day every person will bow to him. But, when he lived here on earth he was completely obedient. Not just obedient, he was so obedient he did whatever God his Father told him to, right up and through dying on the cross for us.

For us.

Consider God.

He sacrificed His only son to get our attention and free us from a life of sin and damnation.

God wants you to obey even when it involves pain. Even it if isn't in your self-interest.

No matter the cost.

No matter WHAT the cost.

We obey how Jesus obeyed.

God values your obedience so much that he promises to exalt every person who obeys, as Jesus did, in his new heavens and earth.

So.

Go ahead.

Obey.

It's worth it.

"Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to his rights as God. he made himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross." - Philippians 2:5-8

Like I said before, obey. It's totally worth it.





Reference: 100 Favorite Bible Verses for Women

Image credit: iconspro / 123RF Stock Photo

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Keeping the Trust Strong in your Relationship

Trust.

It's just a little word.

But, it means so much.

I'm sure it means something different to everyone, as well.

Trust is elusive.

If you lose trust, how do you regain it?

So, we can all agree that trust is vital, right?

What about the relationship between a woman and her husband? It's VERY important to have trust, wouldn't you say?

Every woman wants her husband to trust her, to rely upon her as faithful and true. However, that kind of trust doesn't come easy.

Here are a few ideas on how a woman can become trusted by the one who is her closest companion.

1. She keeps her word. When she makes a promise, she fulfills it. Always. That way, her husband knows her word is good.

2. She is there when he needs her. When her husband is hurting, she is ready to listen as long as it takes and she is ready to comfort him. When he's in trouble, she defends him. She is his ally.

3. She can be counted on. She would never brush him off.

Do your best to keep the trust strong in your relationship. Then you'll enjoy one of God's greatest blessings on earth - a great marital relationship.

"Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain." Proverbs 31:10-11



Resource: 100 Favorite Bible Verses for Women 
Image credit: eastnine / 123RF Stock Photo

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Whatever your Gift, Give it to God

If you look deep enough, we all have a gift. Some of us can carry a tune an sing like and angel. Others can draw, paint, and create masterpieces. You may have a crafty side. Someone else may be able to sew, while another bakes. All awesome gifts.

Someone can lead. Another can be good with numbers and be a financial wizard. One of you can teach while another can create outstanding programs with computer language.

If you look hard enough, some of us have more than one gift.

And, where did these gifts come from?

Why, God, of course. He is the true giver of all gifts. And I thank God so very much for my gift to write.

Do any of you know the truest and greatest gift anyone can offer God?

I'll give you a few seconds.

tick. tick. tick. tick.

Give up?

Okay, you in the back, bouncing up and down like a kangaroo. I bet you know the answer, right?

Love.

Well, you're pretty darn close, thank you playing, you can pick up your consolation prize when you leave.

The truest and greatest gift anyone can offer God is WORSHIP.

"Mary brought in a pint of very expensive perfume made from pure Nard. She poured the perfume on Jesus' feet, and then she wiped his feet with her hair. And the sweet smell from the perfume fill the whole house." John 12:3

Mary's actions sprang from her heart, and the above scripture is a message of God's greatest desire and a woman's greatest gift to him all in one.

Joyous and sacrificial worship comes in many forms. Whatever your gift, give it to God, and let the fragrance of worship refresh him and strengthen your heart.






Image credit: vadmary / 123RF Stock Photo

Sunday, November 10, 2013

God's Promise to Parents

"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?" - Matthew 7:11

Though many family dynamics aren't perfect, the love a parent has for a child can be the most giving, sacrificial relationship that exists.

What would you do for your children?

What do you do for your child?

Mothers and fathers pour out time, energy and money to care for their children. They'd give their lives to protect their children. Ideal parents deal with each of their children on a personalized level, catering teaching and training to the style that most effectively helps each child.

Do you help your child dream?

Do you want the best for your child?

You also want your child to be happy, don't you?

As parents you want to love your children. You make yourselves available to comfort them, encourage them and simply have a good time with them.

The parental relationship is the basis of all earthly relationships.

Think about this: As much as you, a parent, loves your child, it's truly staggering to realize that God loves His children even more than the most perfect parents on earth.

God makes Himself available to love you, comfort you, and encourage you. He's glad to be your divine Father. Relish the closeness you can have with your heavenly Father.

Scripture from God to parents:

"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you." Exodus 20:12

"Fathers do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." Colossians 3:21

"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart: you shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:6-9


Thursday, November 07, 2013

God Has a Blessing For You

Do you have a dream? Have you prayed to God for special gifts or a particular blessing?

We all have dreams and we all have desires. There is that one thing we really want and we pray to God to give it to us. 

It could be a child. A new job. A promotion. A man in our life. That pretty pair of shoes you saw at Macy's. Whatever it is. It's something special to you.

Do you remember the story of Sarah, Abraham's wife? When she reached her 90th birthday, she was still childless. I'm sure she prayed all the time for God to bless her with a child. Don't you think? Every day. Every night. Every week. Every month. All of those years, praying. Even so, do you think she got tired of praying for something she didn't think would ever happen?

When Abraham was 75 and Sarah was 65, God promised him a son. Even so, nothing happened. For years, nothing happened. No child ever came. So, Sarah tried to take matters into her own hands and make God's promise happen by having Abraham have a child with her maidservant, Hagar. They were trying to fulfill God's promise by human means, rather than spiritual means.

However, God rejected Hagar's son, and continued to promise Abraham that he'd have a son of his own through Sarah. 

Wasn't Sarah surprised when she found out she was with child! What a blessing from God. She praised God, worshipped him, and Abraham made great offerings to God. 

Think about this. Instead of asking God for the blessing you desire, give God the opportunity to bless you the way He wants to.

Your blessing may not be for a longed-for child, but if like Sarah, you look to the Lord, His blessing will come. And it will bless you in the unique way only the God of grace can imagine.

Be patient. Pray for your blessing from God. 

Let Him do the rest.






Image credit: Novic / 123RF Stock Photo

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Blog Name Change to "Living Stone Faith"


Living Stone Faith lives in the fullness of Jesus.


I love my God and I want to share Him with all of you. I hope that you find solace in what I write and that you also find hope and healing. Love is important, and I write about it a lot.







Do you remember back in the 1980's those Pet Rocks that were so popular? I do. 

Now think of this. Too many times in our lives, we've settled for imitation this or imitation that. Our world sells us PET ROCK faith as a convenient, less-messy version of what it means to walk with God. 





We were given Free Choice as humans of this world.



God always leaves the choice up to you: Pet Rock faith or Living Stone faith.

Which faith do you choose?

Pick up a rock, open your Bible, and discover what God wants to build in you.


Image credit: benchart / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: mrscathyokeefe / 123RF Stock Photo
Book Reference: Women Opening the Word Living Stones by Casandra Martin

Worship Begins with God

"Build there an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones. Do not use any iron tool upon them. Build the altar of the Lord your God with fieldstones and offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God." - Deuteronomy 27:5-7

Altars have a very prominent place in God's word and our history as a people. Altars were the place to meet God and be changed.

The above passage from Deuteronomy shows us how God commanded the people to build the altar of undressed stone. The people used the rocks from the fields and around the mountains. It was with this simple beauty that became the frame for the majesty of God. In the unworked quality of the stones, the people were reminded that God is the one shaping them into His image.

Can you define worship?

Worship is a hard word to define. We want to define it by what we do. But, that's not the true meaning of worship.

Worship begins with God.

Worship begins with an awareness of God's presence. Open your eyes and hearts to the truth that we are entering the presence of God.

In worship, we meet God. It is the place where we come heart-to-heart with our Savior.

How do you worship?

Do you expect to be changed when you worship God?

I do.

I listen for God's voice, His guidance, and how He fills my heart with love.

Every time we worship, we should expect to walk out difference from how we arrived. Every time.

Are you willing to be changed?

I am.

Surrender is the deep call of worship. Meeting God and understanding that it is His desire to transform who we are in these moments of praise requires that we be prepared to let Him change us.

The more we look like Jesus, the richer our worship experience can become.

Why is it necessary to make a commitment to surrender as you come to worship?

I know. For me, it is to be transformed by God to look more like Jesus. And to always put His will above my own.

Worship opens our eyes to who God is. Worship opens our eyes to who we are. Each worship experience offers us the opportunity to be open to God and be willing to change.

Worship allows us to experience God's grace. The grace that He offers us has the power to transform everything about today.

Have you ever been changed by a worship experience?

Worship empowers us to surrender. Surrender is the key that opens the door to transformation. Can you surrender to God?

Worship is meant to be transformative. The opportunity to be changed is available each time we come into God's presence.

Why do you worship?

I worship to glorify God, praise Him, receive guidance, ask for His love and grace by making me a better person.

God commands us to worship.

Worship Him today and be transformed. You won't regret it.




Reference: Living Stones by Casandra Martin

Image credit: drizzd / 123RF Stock Photo

Saturday, November 02, 2013

God's Master Plan

"I say this because I know what I am planning for you." says the Lord. "I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future." -- Jeremiah 29:11

How do you interpret the verse above?

Some people think that if they love God everything in their life will be perfect.

However, that's not necessarily true.

God has great plans for you and for all that love Him. But, times may get tough occasionally. However, always remember, He has a great future full of happiness for everyone who relies on Him.

God is aware of every situation you encounter, and He can fit it all into the master plan for your life.

Sometimes unfortunate things happen in a person's life. You may hear those people say, "Well, they say everything happens for the best." Did you know they are actually quoting a spiritual promise?

We all live in a world where problems occur. Bad things strike at a moment's notice to anyone and everyone.

Just remember, no matter what happens in your life, God promises He will use it-even the tragedies-for some redeeming purpose.

He is the Lord of your life. Yes, even during the good days and the bad.

So, be patient with God. Everything that is meant to be will come at the designated time.


We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. -- Romans 8:28


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Being Still Amid a Busy Life

A woman has a very busy life. There are kids, family, husbands, bosses, friends, pets, finances, homes and more that take up her time.

Studies show that not only is the average woman busy from the time she gets up to the tie she goes to bed, but she also is reducing her sleep time because she has too much to do.

Does this sound like you?

You must learn to slow down. It takes self-determination and control. But it can happen.

Being busy all the time not only affects a woman's physical life, but their spiritual life as well. I know. It's really hard to slow down for anything, even for God.

God can help put your life in perspective. To do so, you must be still and know God. When you take time to be with God, you can build a better relationship with Him. When you focus on God, you can remember how vast He is. God knows everything. Always remember that.

God is everywhere. He's the focus of the universe. Knowing all of this really puts your life into perspective, don't you think?

When you are still, you are refreshed spiritually. You gain a new sense of how important you are to God.

Just think about it.

Be still. Listen for God's voice. He loves you. God whispers his love, support and reassurance to you.

Can you do it? Can you be still enough to hear God's voice?

Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth! -- Psalm 46:10






Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Escape from Childhood


The front porch of my childhood home wasn’t a porch at all; more like a stoop or just a step. Concrete, about eight inches high, it separated the front yard from the front door. To everyone else it was just “the front step,” to me it was much more. It was where I perched my bottom on the cold concrete and waited. At first, I didn’t know what I was waiting for, only that I didn’t have it.

I sat on the front stoop and watched cars drive by, restricted from going any further away from the familiar confines of my home. As I grew older, I sat and waited for friends to come over to play or for parents to visit on “their day.” Hundreds and hundreds of days came and went, with visits and later with disappointments when the clock ticked away the minutes, then hours until I could no longer deny that no car would pull into the driveway; no parent would swoop in and take me away. On that stoop I dreamed and I waited. What was I waiting for? I waited for my chance to escape.

With an overwhelming sense of understanding, beyond my young years, I knew I didn’t belong. I didn’t fit into the life I’d been born.  I only existed; floating between the other lives that continued on around me. Born to a mother who couldn’t love my father she married another who gave me his name. Parents and stepparents drifted in and out of my life; so much so that I lost track of their names and faces. Nothing was real, only the cold realization growing inside of me of an unknown desire to escape.

My pursuit for escape took a dramatic turn in the early 1970s. Escape encompassed my desire to disappear; disappear from my family, my school, but most of all, from my life. Unsure of how to fulfill my desire, I searched for a solution to what I envisioned as my problem.

It didn’t take too long to discover the key. It appeared, almost as if by magic.  Eager, excited, and full of anticipation, I watched it take shape. For many months, from the window of my school bus, I kept an eye on the builders as they moved concrete blocks around and poured cement. First the foundation, then the walls, and finally a roof appeared as if right before my eyes. Large glass doors and plate glass windows gave the building a wide, gaping, friendly look that seem to say, “come in, I’m here for you.”

The two small windows from which tickets were sold balanced the smiling face. Unblinking, they beckoned to me, “come in, I’m here for you.”  I knew it was meant for me.

Opening day arrived. I paced, checking the time every few minutes until I could find an excuse plausible enough to satisfy the adults in my life. Rushing to the door, I reigned in my excitement, certain that if my joy were detected, it would be taken away.

As casual as I could, I opened the front door, stepped onto the front stoop, and closed the door behind me. Tense, my spine stretched tight, waiting for any noise from inside to call me back. Nervous, I took the first tentative step off the stoop, slowly at first then gaining in speed as I covered more ground across the lawn. Out of the driveway and finally on the road, I could start to relax. I was on my way.

I walked the two miles from the house with the front stoop to the first walk-in movie theater in our town. The two miles seemed insurmountable, although, with each step, I knew it brought me closer to my destination. I kicked at gravel along the side of the road and swiped at waist-high weeds along the ditch. With each kick I wished I were already standing in line for my ticket. With each swipe I willed myself to already be sitting in my seat.

I spent most of my teenage summers huddled in a soft seat in the darkened theater staring up at the wide screen. Nearly every weekend you could find me in the cool, dark shadows, far away from the realities of divorce, step parents, and becoming a teenager. In the theater I didn’t have to think; only see.

I absorbed every horror film shown, devouring them over and over again. I couldn’t get enough of the creepy, campy horror films of the early 1970s. No matter that I had nightmares every night. I was addicted. They were my anti-thesis. I endured life, knowing the dark theater with its visual trips to far away places would comfort me in times of need.

The characters in the movies became an extension of my identity. In observing their evil deeds I could manifest my inaction through them. I watched a young boy train rats to attack people in Willard and then watched Ben do the same. Not truly understanding the significance, I pretended that those in my life who hurt me would end up in the same predicament. They would pay for their misdeeds.

Trainable animals gave way to intelligent vehicles. My appetite for horror was voracious. Just like the gasoline truck in Duel, I plowed my way through more and more films.  It was when I first saw Carrie, that I understood my reasons for watching these shocking shows. Here was someone that dispensed justice to those who harmed her. I silently rooted for Carrie while those in the theater around me were frightened. 

My life took on a new twist – graduation. I found a new escape from that small house with the small stoop - I lived.

The theater is still there although it no longer shows first run films. Age has caught up with my once favorite refuge, just as it has caught up with me. Wrinkles on my face and the gray in my hair mirror the cracks in the building’s concrete surface as it shines dully in the sun showing pits and broken cinder blocks.

It’s been a very long time since I sought to escape using horror films or theaters. Today I write my dreams in journals. I no longer ache to escape a dreary life, but to embrace its beauty. Every morning I thank God for having one more day to live. Every evening I thank God for giving me that day. Life has become valuable. And I am grateful to a small, hometown theater for rescuing me before I ever got the opportunity to understand that life truly is precious.