Friday, May 30, 2008


Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of His body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much would we? Romans 12:4-5 The Message

It is not uncommon to hear a message of encouragment geared towards those who don't feel like they have a significant part in the body. Some people think that because they don't have one of the "noticable" gifts or because they are not great theologians, they have no place in the body. Their function is not necessary and the church will survive just fine without them. The Word of God tells us that the body needs every part to function right. This is often a message preached to encourage those who feel insignificant to take their place no matter how "big" or "small" it may appear to be. It is necessary for God's purpose.

When one part of the body is hurting, the rest of the body suffers. Our bodies react to injuries. It is part of the body's natural function for blood to rush to an injury. Blood cells and mucus to work together to fight off a cold. Nobody has to tell the body to do this. It just does. It's natural. Shouldn't it be that way in the body of Christ? Natural instinct to rush to the part that is sick or hurting...instead of cutting it off?

Sometimes a part of the human body becomes amputated. For the rest of the life of that body, the rest of its parts will have to adjust. The body cannot heal the part that has been removed because it is severed and cannot function anymore.

We learn in church that we are all needed in order for the body to funciton properly. What if that member of the body is sick and the body says, "You are too much work, I don't need you...go away"?

Are we, the body of Christ, inflicting further injury to already wounded body parts so that they don't function properly anymore? Are we chopping off our own fingers and toes?

Good Works

I read something interesting in my daily devotion today.

"We are not saved by good works but for good works."

It is common for Christians to point out to others that it is by grace we are saved through faith alone...not by anything we have done. If we are to boast, it should be in the One who deems us worthy...not in ourselves. There is nothing we can do to earn salvation. Nothing. Mankind is and will always be unworthy of the grace of God bestowed on us by the sacrifice of His One and Only Begotten.

So, since we don't have to do anything to receive the gift of salvation, then does that mean we can get saved and go back to a selfish lifestyle? Does it mean we can sin because we know that we are forgiven? I don't think so. There is evidence that a person has been saved and that's not it!

The evidence I speak of is what the Bible refers to as fruit. The fruit is produced through how we work out our faith. Our good works bring forth the fruit of the Spirit for all the world to see. Good works produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. The motivation to do good works comes from God through the Holy Spirit. Our works are the visual display of an unseen faith. We are saved for good works, not by them. The work we do as Christians is a testimony to the world of Whose we are.

We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. - Eph. 2:10

Monday, May 26, 2008

Stepping Out of the Desert

For those of you keeping up with the Sisters' Weblog, you will know that I, Sue, have been suffering through a spiritual depression, struggling through a very dry and dark desert, and this has been hindering my Christian walk in the Lord as well as relationships with my brothers and sisters in the faith. I have been searching and searching for a way out and my efforts have been falling quite short. Horizon to horizon I have only seen a parched land dotted with the remains of a withering harvest pining for a desert rain.

I have learned some things about enduring the desert and someday I plan to share about that, however, I recently experienced a breakthrough. I feel it is necessary to share about this if only to offer hope to those in the same place. Also, if you haven't already seen this, check out the video I posted below of Kim Walker leading worship to the song "How He Loves Us". It is quite impacting and it will literally draw you into worship. The melody will stay with you and the lyrics are something you need to hear and repeat to yourself many times a day.

I'm still cautious about claiming that the desert is in my rear view mirror, but I do know that I am taking my first steps out!

What you are about to read are my journal entries from this past Sunday (05/18/08) through Tuesday (05/20/08).


Justin graduated today and I am so proud! As all the celebration was going on all around today, I was keenly aware of the stirring in my heart that was aroused in worship last night. I experienced what I might call a “re-awakening” – a new sense of Whose I am. Was it so simple that all this time I’ve been spiritually dry, that all I needed was some focused worship? That all I needed was guided prayer and the time to be contemplative? I can’t explain any of this. I know I have more steps to take, but last night something special happened within me. I felt God again. I felt Him loving me. It was joyous and wondrous and meaningful. I want to go back to it. The experience has reignited hope again. I have hope that God really is alive and active in me.

Nights like last night can not be planned. Check it out – I arrive and once the worship team comes out the leader announces something “different” for the night. There will be a short message, but the evening was going to be dedicated to worship, a night of singing and praising and worship. My reaction was one of displeasure at this prospect since I’m not a “clapper” or a “worshiper”, at least not demonstratively. I thought “Oh great, just great”. So the music begins and I settle in for much more music to come. I listened for awhile and absorbed the sounds and the lyrics and then I felt a nudge to pray. People were standing and worshiping as I chose to remain in my seat having no clue that my life was about to be so heavily impacted. I finally gave in and started to pray. It was difficult for me to focus – prayer has been so difficult for so long, for so many years. Still, I persisted. I felt, literally felt, called to pray.

I guess my praying last night was my sacrifice of praise. As I persevered into prayer it became easier to focus. I let the music take me and the prompts guide me to Him. Soon I was there before Him, before His Throne.

I didn’t know what to say. I said nothing for a time. Praise Him? Thank Him? Adore Him? I was feeling at a loss, somewhat foolish, mostly unworthy. I sat with head in hands grasping for the words to talk to my King. They didn’t come easy, but little by little they began to trickle forth.

My prayer was clunky and all over the place, but I realized something – I realized He was listening. It has been a very long time since I felt God was listening to me, since I felt like He cared, really cared. It stunned me. I smiled. I treasured the moment, those few moments I sat and was talking into my Father’s ear that was turned toward me. At that moment all I could do is thank Him for listening, thank Him for that moment, the music, the atmosphere, the family of God I was in the midst of, the friends He has given me, the deeper relationships He is growing between myself and my sisters in Christ. I found myself thanking Him for life and for loving me despite how wasteful I have been with it.

This was a Divine Connection I was experiencing. Really experiencing. It can only be attributed to the Divine.

The worship continued and the music permeated my ears seeking the thoughts of my heart, hunting them down, coaxing them out and carrying them to the Lord. It started to become easier. There was a free flowing communication in this connection. I had felt that before, but it had been so long. For so long I have been reminiscing about how at one time in my spiritual life I shared an open connection with the Lover of my soul. I could hear Him and I could feel Him, and for years now I have not felt that at all. All I’ve heard is deafening silence. All I’ve felt is numb.

Now, here I was suddenly and unexpectedly swept up in His Arms. Truly, it caught me off guard. Remember? I was actually disappointed when the worship leader announced that the evening was to be devoted to worship with music and singing. I was there for the message. I was there to hear a word through teaching. That’s how God talks to me. I can’t pray, I’m not much into corporate worship so He speaks through sermons and people talking and sharing with me. He speaks to me, well at least He used to, through His Word. I wasn’t expecting burning bushes, angelic appearances, or a talking ass; I was just hoping I’d hear something from Him through a message. Instead, there would be a “short” message and lots and lots and lots or praise and worship. So, I wasn’t looking forward to the evening.

Then, it happened. He touched me. He was listening to me and I had to tell Him what I was thinking. I had to tell Him what I was feeling. Much of my time in this spiritual desert, especially over this last year, has been spent wondering why I am in the desert, how I got there and how to get out. I’ve sought to get out by various means; listening to sermons, seeking my mentors to help guide me out, asking for prayer since mine do not work, doing studies, discarding books about the Bible in favor of the Bible itself, cutting out my talk radio addiction, pulling myself away from the computer, reaching out to others in order to “do life together” and build relationships with others, stepping outside my comfort zone. None of these ideas were fruitful. Nothing worked. Not one thing I was doing, or have been trying to do, has worked. Nothing. I’d get a glimmer now and then, a little something to cling to, a small reminder that God does love me, but even though I have always believed it, and I have always known it, I wasn’t feeling it. I desperately wanted to feel it. I wanted to feel His Presence.

Then, there I was – feeling Him. Oh the joy! What I was experiencing seemed foreign to me, but I was breathing it in! I was breathing Him in. He was the air I breathe and I hate that song! (Don’t really hate it, I’m just sick of it.)

As I looked around I saw a great witness of worshipers. I was seeing outward signs of worship, but I was bursting within. I saw faces aglow, arms raised high, eyes closed and lips praising through songs, but I was quiet, contemplative, motionless, yet basking in His glory. I didn’t know these songs, but my heart was singing them to my Father anyway. My meager words are not expressing the experience and the rush of those moments that night. I kept repeating in my mind “only say the word and I shall be healed.” I had believed Him for healing once and He was faithful. He is always faithful! I shall be healed, I shall walk out of the desert!

He was alive and in me and I could feel Him! Do you understand how awesome that feeling is? Do you know how long it has been ? Do you know how refreshing this is? Thank you God!


So then the music was silenced. Time for the message – but I no longer wanted the message – I had already received the message! I heard! The message was delivered through that still small voice that whispered “I love you” with such pinpoint precision that it penetrated a hairline crack in the stony heart of mine. Almost instantaneously I felt a softening. A relief of sorts.

So after having been “rudely” interrupted by a message, again the music and prayer was lifted up. I soaked it all in. I soaked in Him. I was savoring this time of talking to my Father and knowing, f e e l i n g , He was listening and there with me! You HAVE NO IDEA!! NO IDEA!! Literally my face began hurting because I was smiling so much – involuntarily I might say.

I was rejoicing! I am rejoicing! I feel awake again! He Word is alive and active in me! Could this be the end of the desert? Is this the breakthrough I have been pining for? I admit I am somewhat reluctant to embrace the possibility. Which then makes me feel unworthy of Him because I’m lacking faith and not trusting that He really can lift me out of the pit in the fullness of time, which to me may seem like suddenly, out of nowhere – but to Him the timing is Perfect as is He. Could it be that He has pined for this moment too? Could it be that He has wanted this as much as I?

I want to celebrate, but I feel foolish. I want to be glad, but is it premature? Oh God make my brain bow down! Where is my child-like faith?

Is this real? Is it really You? What am I talking about? Yes, of course it is You.

Then I think about the irony of last Saturday evening. It should be highly unlikely for me that God would choose worship time to make the Divine Connection. Logically, at least for most, it would seem the perfect time, but I am not a “normal” worshiper. I like to become “invisible” during worship and allow things to go on around me. I will listen intently to melodies and rhythm and devour lyrics and the open spaces where silences fall. I will look around at faces lost in worship that feel blessed to be in His Presence. I internalize and ponder but for the life of me never expected to encounter God in the midst of worship when I only participate “on the surface.” I don’t know – worship is personal, individual and I have a tendency to withdraw from corporate worship settings – like I don’t fit there.


Oh God! It has been three days and I still feel refreshed and alive. I’m starting to believe this is for real. Still, I have mortal moments that snap me back and threaten to interrupt communication with my Father. Having had the sweetness of His Touch revitalize my soul though, has given me a taste to crave again. Oh God help me push these hindrances out of my way so that I will continue to encounter you in this very personal and meaningful way. (The fact that I used the word “way” twice in that sentence is bothering me.)

This is all virtually unexpected – not that I haven’t believed He would rescue me, but I didn’t see it coming. Not that night. Not in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people and unfamiliar music, unfamiliar voices, unfamiliar words, sights and sounds. I never saw it coming but oh how I have hoped that it would. Deliverance – to the Promised Land – a place He will not withhold from me. A place He has not withheld from me.
“So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way He loves us.”
Those are recently discovered lyrics from “How He Loves Us”, a worship song performed by Kim Walker. (See video below)

This is a gift. I wish to accept it. To embrace it. To ponder it. Treasure it.

It bloggles the mind!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I Must Be Tired

I went in to work very early this morning, but my manager let me leave early today. YAY!

I came home and was motivated to start my decluttering project and tackle the laundry room, which doubles as a storage room, and triples as an extra guest room. It's complicated. Regardless, it's a mess and I get stressed out just knowing that room is attached to the house.

So I started in on it.

After working on it for a couple of hours, moving a rocking chair and filling one entire large trash can, I took a "short" break. Thing is I just found myself awakening from a nap.

I was seated in my chair and my head was on my desk in front of this computer which was blaring music...the "motivational" kind, you know, to clean by. I normally don't do naps, but this one was not intentional!

Hmmmm...I must be tired. After the last load I'm going to bed!

Monday, May 19, 2008

How He Loves Us

I challenge you to watch this all the way to the end.

We are never the same after we encounter the love of God.

Kim Walker "How He Loves Us"

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Proud Mom and Son

Katie kept her composure during the commencement ceremony until the one unexpected moment when the principal of JCS asked the three young men who have committed to the armed services stand.

Justin is in the Navy now and when he and the other two young servicemen in his graduating class stood, they received a standing ovation from all those in attendance at the ceremony. The place roared with applause and it was a very moving tribute to these young men who will soon be trained to serve our country. It was really a neat experience that had Katie swelling with pride, and deservedly so.

I had to pass the box of Puffs to her because it was then that she lost it.

Congratulations Justin and thank you for commiting to protect our country. We are all so proud of you!

To see more pictures of some of the day's events, click HERE.

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Congratulations Justin!

We are sooooooooo proud of you Justin!


To see more pictures of some of the days events click HERE.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Prayer - An Offensive Weapon

I worked on preparing a lesson one night. A few years ago each member of our SaLT group was assigned to do a lesson one of the parts of the Armor of God. I said "I want an offensive weapon!" (they asked, "why, because you are offensive?" LOL) and I asked to do a lesson on prayer. I found some interesting stuff about prayer and also went back to some old studies I have done to gather my info. I wanted to show prayer as a weapon in spiritual warfare and also the power that is in prayer. I don't want to mess around with little handguns...I want to show the big weapons! I want to reveal the atomic bomb of prayer!

After demonstrating how prayer is an effective weapon, I wanted to look at the best example of a prayer, Jesus Christ.

I decided to look at the ways and whens of Jesus' prayers and the results of those prayers. This is a summary of what I learned.

Refueling and Gaining Strength: Jesus often retreated to the mountain side or the garden to pray alone after teaching and healing. He did this to "refuel" and to learn God's Will for his next move. (Mark 1: 5, Luke 5:15)

Avoiding Temptation: Jesus taught about prayer (obviously) and made sure it was understood that prayer was the way to avoid temptation. (Matthew 26:41, Luke 22:40)

Decision Making: In Luke 6:12 after praying Jesus came down from the mountain and chose His disciples. That was a pretty important step in his ministry! They would be the ones to carry on His teaching.

Opening Connections: In Luke 9:28 after praying he was transfigured before the disciples there with him. His face glowed and clothes became bright. That's a pretty powerful prayer and open connection to the Father!

Opening Heaven: In Luke 3:21 we learn of Jesus' baptism and when Jesus prayed, "the heaven's opened" and the dove descended to Him. What I find interesting as well is that in Acts 7:54 Stephen prayed as he was about to be stoned to death. When Stephen prayed he saw the "heavens open". Eventually his spirit went to be with the Lord.

Prayer causes the heavens to open!

Heaven opened to allow the Spirit to descend on me when I prayed to receive Christ. At my death, the heavens will again open to receive the Spirit back. cool.

If prayer opens the heavens, OPENS THE HEAVENS, why don't we pray more often? Prayer is very powerful! Heaven opening is a direct connection to God, the Creator of heaven and earth...HE OPENS HIMSELF UP WHEN WE PRAY TO HIM! That is pretty awesome! Prayer moves mountains, opens the heavens...THAT IS MORE POWERFUL THAN AN ATOMIC BOMB AND IT IS AVAILABLE TO ALL CHRISTIANS, who are called to pray, and PRAY EMPOWERING PRAYERS!

PRAY PRAY PRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reposted from 5/13/03

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Questioning Forgiveness

What does God require of us to be forgiven?

Do we really need to repent?

Are we forgiven even before we sin? or after we sin?

Is forgiveness different for those who are not children of God? Are there those that God does not forgive?

I get stuck on these questions a lot. I wonder about forgiveness and the difference or similarities of "giving it to God".

If a person wrongs you and then comes to you to ask forgiveness, without a doubt you are commanded to forgive.

If a person wrongs you and never asks forgiveness and continues to wrong you, what is the point in forgiveness? Some say "forgiveness isn't for the offender in that case, it's for you, your peace of mind." But then I ask, if forgiveness is for the one who was offended, why would God ever forgive? Does God need to forgive for His peace of mind?

Are we really required to forgive those who wrong us, who never ever repent, and then continually wrong us? Or, are we asked to give that person/situation over to God. Let God deal with that person and remove ourselves from harms way?

Is forgiveness a "two-way" deal? Can there be true forgiveness if one party doesn't want it? Would God forgive me if I didn't ask?

I do wonder sometimes if we require more of ourselves than God himself requires when if comes to forgiveness. If God forgives when we repent, shouldn't we require the same?

Maybe forgiveness is the actual act of handing over an unrepentant offender to the Lord. If we can do this, we are acting biblically. We are maintaining our relationship with the Father and not allowing unforgiviness to become a sin "of the mind" that would hinder our relationship with God.

This is one of those things that keeps me up at night...pondering.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)
At first glance it seems that verse is teaching that God only forgives us when and if we forgive others who may have wronged us. As I examine this closer I see that it is possibly teaching that not forgiving = sin, and that sin of unforgiveness is what is separating us from God's forgiveness.

God's forgiveness: It bloggles the mind!

Repost from 2/17/04

Thursday, May 01, 2008

For Tradition's Sake!

Growing up I have been exposed to many traditions. Some are family traditions while others are cultural and/or religious. Recently I have found myself on a quest for truth regarding Christmas and Easter. Now, I'm not going into all the details of the discoveries I have made regarding pagan practices vs. God glorifying practices, but I do have a problem with the fact that Christians who know the Truth continue to celebrate traditions filled with flaws.

For instance, how many kings were present at the stable when Jesus was a "babe in a manger"?

Answer: None!

There were no kings and no wisemen present when Jesus was born. Wisemen came to see King Jesus when he was a toddler and he wasn't in a manger! There is only one King who really stands out to me and he didn't come to present Jesus with gifts!

This is just one simple example of many many stories that have been passed down through the ages amongst Christians...folklore presented as truth for the sake of tradition. For years...even now, I find myself guilty of falling into patterns of living for tradition's sake. Where does that leave God?

I have to question....

Is it harmless? What if Jesus came to visit a local church at Christmas time to see the portrayal of His birth? Would he sit silently or would he correct our misinterpretations?

Where does this leave me? What will I do differently?

I don't have an answer at this time. I only know that I will continue on my quest...while searching my heart and seeking God for answers.

When asking religious leaders why Christians continue to practice things that are not true and teach them as if they are, they don't seem to think there is anything wrong with it. They think it's okay as long as the point is made.

Is it okay to create confusion for a new believer right from the start?

Lies, lies and more lies:

A friend made an excellent point. He said that we indirectly teach our children to worship Santa, the Easter Bunny, even the Tooth Fairy...eventually they learn that it's all a lie. Then we tell them about Jesus and expect them to believe?

My words are not written in judgement or accusation. Perhaps they are written from personal conviciton. Or perhaps they are simply the ponderings of my heart as I hunger for Truth.

Today's Flavor Shot:

Deuteronomy 13: 29-32
Don't worship the Lord your God the way pagan nations worship their Gods.