Moxie Memorizers

Saturday, September 15, 2012  ::   21 important comments

My friend, Jenn, gave me a card of encouragement when I first started going through this weird health journey. She wrote, "As I pray for you I find myself praying often that the Scriptures you have memorized over the years would be used in powerful ways during this time, that the right verse would spring to mind at precisely the moment you need it to..."

Jenn, your prayer for me has been more than answered. Thank you, friend.

Gratitude for His ministry to me through His Word fills my heart. I've spent much time reading Colossians over and over. Thankfully, the scripture I've memorized encourages me throughout each day.

Why wouldn't you want to fill you heart with the very words of God? 

What keeps you grounded in seasons of ease and rest? 

What keeps you focused through seasons of struggle, hardship, difficulty? 

Whose words fill your heart as you pray, speak to others, talk to yourself? 

Who gives you courage in the midst of adversity? 

Let me testify that God is using His very words in my life in precious, rebuking, encouraging, beautiful ways right now. I'm so glad I've sown in the work of memorizing scripture because the fruit I am currently reaping is literally the nectar of God.

Don't give up.

As you know, my brain is healing and I've noticed that taking in new scripture is difficult. I will work on Colossians 2:6-7 as long as necessary. I'm also having my oldest kids memorize this and verse eight.

Colossians 2:6-7 
So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness

I've been meditating on this passage all summer. Rooted, built up, strengthened, thankful. Please let it be true of my life.

What are you working on?

A New Season

Thursday, September 13, 2012  ::   24 important comments

Sometimes a person can coast for awhile with light heartedness, smiles, and ease. These times are a sweet season of peace from the One who restores us with an extended sabbath for our bodies and our souls.

Sometimes a person must tighten up their boot straps, focus a little harder, furrow their brow a little deeper, and lean heavily on the Cornerstone for support, wisdom, and the ability to persevere. These times can often be a season of sweet sifting by the One who molds us through trials which hopefully produce the sweet fruit of dependance on the Sustainer of Life. 

As the sovereign God has seen fit, I've found myself in a season which demands a deeper dependance on Jesus. 

There have been days when fear knocked on my heart all day long. Taking my thoughts captive and submitting them to Jesus felt like I was doing mental squats with heavy weight and my mind fatigued at the end of the day. When fear would sometimes overtake my desire to trust in God, panic and anxiety stepped in to wreak havoc in my heart. The Spirit of God liberates me from these fears through the power of His word. 

Whom have I in heaven but you and the earth has nothing I desire besides you? My heart and my flesh may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

My heart and my flesh may fail, but God you are my strength. Thank you. 

Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  

Be joyful and pray! Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity to depend on you more fully. 

There have been days when self-centeredness tempted me to decorate for a pity party to throw in my own honor. Fighting the battle to look to Christ and care for others, even if only through prayer, took focus and determination. Sometimes I just sat right on down on the party bench, cut myself a big piece of pity cake, and held a few helium balloons shaped like my sad, weepy head. Jesus gently reminded me of His work in my life to make me more like Himself. 

What is more I consider everything a lost compared to the surpassing power of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord for whose sake I have lost all things. Phil 3:8-9

Nothing compares to knowing you, my Jesus. 

Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you, but rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. 1 Pet 4:19-20 

This is for your glory, God. I won't be surprised by this trial, but I will focus on you. 

There have been days where it is difficult to focus, where I cannot find words, noise agitates my nerves, when my head just hurts. The temptation to believe the lie that I'm weak or even worse, faking, entices my thoughts. But, what is so bad about being weak? Struggling through strength vs. weakness are often ponderings of my heart. When I wonder about being the helper I want to be for Chad, He answers. When I wonder about investing in my kids, He answers. When I wonder about mentoring women, He answers. When I wonder about leading a retreat for the women I love so dearly, He answers. 

...there was given me a thorn in my flesh...Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it from me, but He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness so that Christ's power may rest on me...For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7:10

I can more fully rely on You in my weakness. You are deepening my experiential understanding of allowing You to work and move and minister to, in, and through me by the power of your Spirit. Thank you. 

There have been days I have wanted to tell all of you what is going on in my life and other days I didn't want to tell a soul. Truth be told, I don't know the whys to the what just yet. However, I don't want to be a stinker and leave you to speculate. 

A few weeks ago, I had an incident before teaching my spin class. I had no idea what was happening because I am 39 and in excellent health. Because it didn't even occur to me I could be suffering from something significant, I taught my class. Now I have tangible proof that I am one tough, stubborn lady! 

After many tests and long days of waiting, it was determined that I had a moderate stroke. I do not have a single risk factor which has led the neurologist to refer me to a cardiologist to do some tests on my heart. We don't know why it happened. Very intelligent doctors will be working to figure out if there is a problem and the needed solutions. 

In the global scheme of things, this is small. People deal with unimaginable life circumstances every day. I've asked God to enable me to set my mind on things above where Christ is seated at His right hand, to teach me to pray for all kinds of people I personally know and do not know.

On a personal level, this is heavy. I'm taking a sabbatical from meeting with women. I'm going to need to allow my brain time to heal and rewire. Through all of this it has been thoroughly revealed that I have many amazing people in my life. I am prayed for, loved, and supported by you. The creative ways that people are supporting my family and me blesses me. 

The great God I worship has been gracious to me through His word which is alive and active in my very own heart.

Through this journey I pray I will depend on His grace that enables me to trust Him with all my heart, to not lean on my own understanding (which is pretty much no understanding), to acknowledge Him in all my ways, and to trust that He will make my paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 He is faithful. 

Mug Swaps Are Fun

Monday, September 10, 2012  ::   10 important comments

There are over one hundred million blogs on the internet. Thankfully, I've found myself in a small little circle of bloggers that are fun, creative, and intelligent. One of these internet lovelies is ACUPPAKIM. She recently hosted her second mug swap with over 200 blog readers. Even though penpal-ish activities aren't really my "cuppa" I really wanted to participate. I'm so glad I did!

When I walked up to my door and saw a small little package smiling up at me, I knew instantly it was my new mug.  A complete stranger picked out the prettiest mug for me. What is so great is that I would have totally picked it out for myself, but never would have bought it because I rarely buy cute-for-no-reason-whatsoever stuff for myself. Thank you so much Ashley

Doesn't it look great in my hand? 

I also had fun picking out a mug for Megan. Thinking it would be a fairly easy process, I waited until the last minute to do my shopping. I carried around five mugs and finally forced myself to just choose! This sweet little daisy mug captured my attention. 

Tazo tea needed to be included because I'm not a fan of coffee. 

While packing it up I giggled at myself almost continuously because I'm just not crafty.  

I didn't want it to break and it looked very unstable in the box so I added some not so earth friendly styrofoam. The mess I made is very indicative of my real life. 

But, I didn't want my new mug friend to be greeted by ugly cut up styrofoam so I threw some festive ribbon on top. 

Whew. I'm dorky and I know it. Don't pity me.  

Thanks for hosting, Kim! It was great fun. You've inspired me for some great fun within my own community. 

Each year I'm blessed to lead the women of my church on a retreat to seek Jesus, laugh together, and get away from every day life. Every year each woman brings her own mug for coffee, tea, or chai. This year, I'm asking everyone to bring a new or vintage mug and we will spend an hour or so engaged in a white elephant type exchange. Won't that be wonderful? Don't judge me, but I've already bought three. I wonder which one I should use?! 

Moxie Memorizers :: A Guest Post

Saturday, September 01, 2012  ::   14 important comments

My friend, Jonathan, is sharing some wonderful thoughts on living a righteous life with us today. It is obvious he love God's word. He is a man who invites the Spirit to speak deeply to him and when Jonathan hears from God, he seeks to obey. Please don't read his word just for information. Let them challenge you. Think deeply about your own pursuit of living a holy life to the glory of God. How is the scripture you are memorizing transforming you more into the image of Christ? 

Jonathan, you had some "awesome" pics to choose from on Facebook. I think I was merciful in choosing this Hello Kitty photo.  This one highlights your style and your smile, two of your terrific outward qualities. 

There are few things that get me more pumped than to tell people how God enabled me to live righteously. Why? Because it's so simple, yet the results are so profound.

Trying to live a righteous life can be one of the most tiring and frustrating aspects of following Jesus. For most of my life I struggled with living righteously; but now, thanks to the grace of God it's not hard. So, what is the secret? I think the best way to see how it happened in my life is for me to share my journey.

I've had the deck stacked in my favor. Born to parents who are both believers, I received Christ as my savior when I was about five years old and I've been going to church ever since I was born. I went to Christian school for 8 years and seminary for 5. See the secret? You just need a lot of Christian education... actually no. 

One would think a person surrounded by so much Christian stuff would have figured out how to live righteously; but honestly, even while in seminary sin would get me defeated and I'd feel like a failure.

Everything started to change when a friend shared a teaching series based on 
Philippians 3:9 (ESV) 
9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith 

This was totally new to me. It isn't as if I had never read or heard the verse before, but no one had ever pounded into my spirit that we have “righteousness from God that depends on faith.” He went on and on and on about how we don't work for righteousness, but that it comes to us by faith. So, what is faith?

Hebrews 11:1 (ISV) 
1 Now faith is the assurance of things we hope for, the certainty of things we cannot see. 

Faith is my confidence in the things I hope for with certainty in the things I cannot see. So, putting these two things together I have to believe that righteousness comes by my belief in God's truth even in the midst of not seeing it in my life. When I don't see myself living righteously I must believe that I will be living Christ's righteousness. 

Let's take it a step further. Even in the midst of my sinning, I must believe that I have the righteousness of Christ. It's not that I had it or that I will have it, but that I have it in that very moment.

What else does the Bible say? What else should we believe? 
Matthew 5:6 (ESV) 
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 

Jesus said that if we long for righteousness we shall get it. Boom! Done! This is a wonderful promise! And still God has more for us.
1 Corinthians 1:30 (ISV) 
30 It is because of him that you are in union with Christ Jesus, who for us has become wisdom from God, as well as our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. 

Jesus IS our righteousness and we know that his righteousness has no darkness in it. So, even in the midst of our sinning Christ is our righteousness. It's not just His, it is ours. Your righteousness is perfect.
This is so wonderful, but wait, there is even more!

2 Peter 1:3–4 (ESV) 
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 

Do you notice what this passage says? It says God HAS granted (Past tense)  ALL (nothing missing) things that pertain to life and godliness. This comes through the knowledge of Jesus, which comes through Scripture (John 5:39). Additionally, He HAS granted to us “his precious and very great promises.” And we HAVE “escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 

If this passage doesn't get you extremely pumped to know Jesus more and more, and to find God's promises in Scripture then you should probably read the verse several hundred times - at least.

These verses alone would be wonderful enough, but let me tell you about how God did even more amazing work in my spirit. He took me through a familiar passage into unfamiliar territory.

Philippians 2:12–13 (ESV) 
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 

I had gone to church many years and my mind stopped at verse 12 and I thought I had to work so hard to mature, but one day He opened my mind to verse 13. 

I saw truth I had not seen before. God is working in me. And if there is one person I can trust to do a perfect job it is God.

There has been no more influential verse in my life over the last several years.

Jesus is the “founder and perfecter of our faith.” If God is working, then I don't have to stress out about the challenge that stands before me when I face temptation. I might mess up, but God is still working. Why do I stress out about messing up when I know God is working on me?

Since God is working on you, you will surely have His holy will and you will surely do His righteous works. He wants to take pleasure in you. He loves you. That is why He never gives up on you. 

In the midst of messing up, remember that you have the righteousness of Christ and God is working to make it manifest in your life. Remember that your righteousness comes from believing this truth even when you don't see it.

As my journey in righteousness continued God taught me how I should think about my forgiven sins. Part of feeling defeated about my sin was that I remembered I failed – that I had sinned.

One day God reminded me of verses I had heard many times
Isaiah 43:25 (ESV) 
25 “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. 
Ephesians 5:1 (ESV) 
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 

Since I am called to imitate God, and He remembers my sin no more for his sake, then I should remember my sins no more. Of course, this had always been hard on my own, but when I realized that this was God's will I asked Him to change me. It's pretty awesome when you know you messed up, but by God's grace the remembrance of past sin is fuzzy.

This revelation along with Philippians 2:13 have radically changed my life. If I sin, I ask for forgiveness. I don't remember it and move forward. For freedom Christ as set us free! (Galatians 5:1) We are free from our past!

Lately, I've been meditating on 
Psalm 1:2–3 (ESV) 
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 

I have seen this verse be true. As I have dwelt upon God's truth, He has grown me. He has brought forth fruit of righteousness. It didn't happen immediately. The tree brings forth its fruit in its season. 

Your fruit of righteousness will come in its season. God is patient with us and He wants us to tell stories of supernatural changes that happened instantaneously as well as the supernatural changes that took years to manifest. Each fruit has it's own delightful taste. Rest in Him. He will do it.

The process took time, but it was simple. I sought truth in Scripture. I asked Him to conform me to it. I dwelt not on my efforts or failures, but on His ability and victory. I left it up to Him and saw change happen to me.

And so I leave you with this
1 Thessalonians 5:23–24 (ESV) 
23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 

Please post your verses. Also, pray for Jonathan as he seeks to live a life of freedom that is pleasing to Jesus! Pray also for yourself that you will be obedient to God's call to be holy as He is holy. Ask Him to deepen your understanding of living the righteous live that He is working in you for His good pleasure!