Friday, April 27, 2012

Speaking Volumes but Saying Little

Lately, the common theme that the Holy Spirit has been dealing with me about, is that of countenance. Whether it's in my prayer time, devotions, or listening to other teachers, countenance has been the subject.

For example, this morning I checked out Joyce Meyer's online daily devotional and, yep you guessed it- countenance. Click Here for Joyce's Daily Devotions. Then as I was reading in Psalms later today, once more- countenance.  I'm not sure that it would be blatantly obvious to everyone. However, since this subject has been rolling around in my heart lately, it was overwhelmingly obvious to me.This is the verse that stood out to me....

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. 2 Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge. 3 There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard. 4 Their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the inhabited world."  Psalm 19:1-4a (HCSV)

and then verse 8....

  "The precepts of the Lord are right, making the heart glad; the commandment of the Lord is radiant, making the eyes light up." 

 I love how these verses talk about nature declaring God's Majesty without saying a word, and then turn right around and make it personal by saying God's Word in us will light up our eyes.  

I can personally attest to the heavy countenance that is apparent with a heavy heart. (I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve.) However, I can also testify to the times when I've had my mind in the right place, and people have said "There's just something about you." (It's Jesus.)  I want to have those experiences all the time, not the emotions on the sleeve kind. 

It's not some magic formula, it's very evident in God's Word how to have a countenance that radiates.  

 "Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces."     Psalm 34:5 (NLT)
 "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!" 
   Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

 These are just a couple of examples. The point is, when our minds are thinking about Jesus and not our problems, our countenance will reflect that. The countenance we then radiate will draw others to Him. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Exercise- It's really just another word for play."

It's ironic how as "mature" & "experienced" adults, we complicate things so easily. Every now and then, we should do ourselves a favor, and watch a cartoon. In my household, we really have no problem with this. If we (my hubby included) find something we want to watch on t.v. 90% of the time, it's a cartoon. The simplistic view points on life that cartoon's teach are refreshing.

An example of what I'm talking about is something I heard on Calliou. A cartoon about "a boy who's four, each day he grows some more, he loves to go explore, CALLLIOUU!" (In case you're not up to date on your Cartoon culture.) Anyway, the dad on the show was teaching the boy's how they could grow big and strong. One of the things that he said really caught my attention, "You have to exercise- which is really just another word for playing." HOW BRILLIANT! How much more exercise would we get if we thought of it as "play". I think most of us think of it as work.

I'm a member at at gym. I have to admit, most of the time I think of it more as a duty, or a hassle, not as play. If you're like me, as a kid your parents would have to drag you inside at night, because you just couldn't get enough playtime in. Maybe if we changed the way we view exercise, we'd do it more often. We'd grab a friend and say "Hey, come play with me." We'd get excited when we got our house chores done, so we could go "play". We'd jump out of bed in the morning, because we couldn't wait to go and "play". (Well, maybe that last one is pushing it.)

A lot of times in life, it's our perception that affects our outcome. Hopefully this will inspire a new perception for you today!  Hey, it's a nice day, let's go outside and play!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bring on the Mom Squad!

Ginger ale, Lysol, saltines, more Lysol, yeah that pretty much sums up my weekend. I don't get sick often. In fact I think I remember getting sick one time in the last 5 years. It's a good thing too. Because I turn into a high maintenance queen when I get sick. It's true, I admit it. I unapologetically LOVE to be babied when I'm sick. Well, I used to....

You see, this is my first real experience of being sick since being a mommy, and even since being a wife. Let me tell you, mommies don't get sick days. (If you're a mommy, you already know this.)  I spent the entire weekend feeling like roadkill while still trying to run a household. My hubby had a busy weekend with the youth group, so me and Chloe stuck it out at the fort together.

My sweet baby girl. I really see in her such a heart of compassion. She would come up to me and lay her head beside mine, just to snuggle, it was so sweet. With care she'd ask me "Mommy poop?" when I had my head hanging over the toilet. HA! However, when she'd had enough of mom trying to clock out for the day, she would say "MOMMY, UP!"  I would muster up any ounce of strength I could find, and we'd color, or play with play dough, or look at family photo albums (one of her favorite things to do).

She caught a little bit of the ickies on Saturday night so we stayed home from church on Sunday. I caught Bellview Baptist on t.v. and Pastor Steve Gaines was preaching on "Healthy people don't need a doctor, sick people do." How timely! ;)

To be honest, all I really wanted to do this weekend was lock myself in my bedroom, turn off my phone, and go M.I.A. until I felt 100% better. That just does NOT happen when you're a mommy. If you mommies out there have figured out a way to make that happen, please fill me in. 

After about the 20th time of cleaning the house and turning right around and finding another mess to clean, I did come up with an ingenious idea. There should be a business of on-call mommies! They could swoop in and save the day when you just can't. Then swoop out as if they were never there. Ninja mommies! Or Mommies Angels (instead of Charlies).  Something like this....

I could've used a cleaning mommy, a cooking mommy, and a personal secretary. The only thing I wouldn't give up is those sweet cuddling times with my baby girl. What do you think moms? What mom squad member could you use?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Greatest Servant = Greatest Leader

Last night my hubby and I were at a service where ministers in our area were being certified, licensed, and ordained. Two of my hubby's closest friends were in this group. Before the ceremonies began, there were 2 men honored who had been in ministry for over 50 years. It was so humbling thinking of the experiences that they must have had in 50 years of ministry.

As I watched this group of men and women being commissioned and prayed over, I started to think about the men and women leaders that I've known or been led by in my life. I can think of some that were so humble, so genuine, and so Spirit led that they made huge impacts in my future. I can also think of some who were so absorbed with self that the experiences I had with them became stumbling blocks of unforgiveness in my own walk with Christ. My heart breaks for them, wondering what terrible experiences they've gone through that would callous their hearts so much and cause them to treat people with such contempt and haughtiness.

I could only hope that one day I would be one of those people that God has allowed to be in ministry for so long. It's more than overwhelming thinking of the pride, pain, and bitterness that could creep in and forever change my disposition. My prayer is that I would completely rely on God for every detail of my life, and that He would keep my heart soft and genuine.

 "I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself." 1 Corinthians 9:26-27

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Obeying Immediately

"Partial obedience is not obedience at all." -Me

Last year, at about this time, the women's group at my church was going through a Bible study by Priscilla Shirer entitled Discerning the Voice of God. While engaging in this study, the Holy Spirit began to speak to me powerfully about obedience. There were certain things in my ministry that I was ho-humming around about. You know what I'm talking about. When God has told you something, but you're going to spend more time "praying about it" just to make sure it was "really" Him. God was using this devotion, to speak to me more than just discerning God's voice, but obeying Him, and doing it immediately. I remember very clearly hearing Him say to me, "Sara, if you're not obeying me quickly, you're not trusting me, you're not obeying me at all."

I was reminded of all of this today as I was reading in Deuteronomy 1. This chapter is an account of when Moses was speaking to the Israelites about moving from the wilderness that they were in, to the promise land God had for them. Moses' first words to them were "the LORD our God said to us, 'You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on" (vs 6-7). That verse has so much power in it. Think about it, God's people, roaming around in the desert for years, due to their disobedience and unbelief, then God speaks 1 sentence and it's time to move on. HALLELUJAH! 
So on they go. They leave Mt. Siani and head through a "great and terrifying wilderness" (vs 19), to take possession of the land that God had promised them and their enemy was currently occupying. When the land was just out of reach, Moses says, " I said to you, 'You have now reached the land that the LORD our God is giving us. 21 Look! He has placed it in front of you. Go and occupy it as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don't be afraid! Don't be discouraged!'" (v 20) Those instructions seem very clear, and given their history, one would think that they would trust God at this point. However, just like us sometimes, they thought they knew better than God. In the very next verse, they say (this is me paraphrasing) "Well, uhhh, instead of that, how about we send out some of our posse'. They can scope the place out, that way we know what we're getting ourselves into."  THEN their fearless leader, the one chosen by God to direct them, says "Okay, that sounds like a good idea to me." (v 23) WHAT?!?! Uhhh, Moses, did you forget what God had said? (This is a whole different blog about when leaders let self rule, instead of God rule. Hmmm, maybe I'll write that one someday too.) 

Well, they did send out spy's to check out the land first. Of course, the spy's had a good report, "They picked some of its fruit and brought it back to us. And they reported that the land the LORD our God had given us was indeed a good land." (v 25) However the spy's also put their own opinions in there and spread around the camp that there were giants in the land. A perfect example of how easy it is to get dissuaded from the plan God has for you, by listening to the voices of others, instead of the voice of God. This sealed the deal for that generation of Israelites. They didn't get to see the promised land, but their descendents did. Except for Caleb, one of the spy's. " "When the LORD heard your complaining, he became very angry. So he solemnly swore, 35 'Not one of you from this entire wicked generation will live to see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, 36 except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see this land because he has followed the LORD completely. I will give to him and his descendants some of the land he walked over during his scouting mission.'" Not even Moses got to enter the promised land. He was their leader and he let his own fear lead him astray. 

I want to be in the center of God's will for my life, I'm sure you do too. It is so vital that we get this obedience thing down. By the way, I highly recommend the Bible study Discerning the Voice of God!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Here Come the Birds...

Sitting at the table during lunch today, there was a loud bang on the window. So loud, I immediately jerked my arm up to cover my face and about fell out of my seat. When I looked over to see what it was, a bird was haphazardly trying to land on the bird food hanger just outside our window.  It was like that moment in the Windex commercial from a few years ago, when the bird flew smack into the glass. WHACK!! Windex was proving how clean their windows were. This bird had no excuse however, despite giving my best effort, my home is never spotless. (Keep in mind, I run a child care business out of my home.)

It is kind of ironic that I have a bird food hanger outside the window. I have quite the love/hate relationship with the feathered fowl. In fact when I saw the picture above on Pinterest, I immediately re-pinned it, because it perfectly describes me. I love to watch them.... behind reinforced glass, or as they play baseball (Go Cards!!). Oh no, I'm not being irrational at all. Just listen to SOME of the less than pleasant experiences I've had with birds.....

**Once, while knocking on the door of a friends house, 2 sparrows started flying around my head, pecking at me furiously. They were so intent on me leaving that they continued swooping at me as I ran back to my car to take cover.  (Birds 1/Sara 0)

**Pooped on by Seagulls at Coney Island. (Birds 2/ Sara 0)

**Stalked by a raven as Dan and I were swimming on the roof top of our hotel in San Antonio. I kept trying to swim to the other side of the pool. The thing just kept following me. (Birds 3/ Sara 0)

**Most recently, while at the Memphis Zoo, while in the "Open Flight Area" the MOMENT I walked in, a large bird flew at me and swooped down at my head!!!!!!! (Birds 4/ Sara 0)

I was not surprised when I realized that a bird had flew into our window today. In fact, I'm chuckling to myself a little now. Chalk one up for ME!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Beautiful Things

So this has been a long time coming. I've considered blogging several times, about many different topics; life in ministry, weight loss, teaching children, even writing reviews for toys and restaurants. When I would start to think seriously about it, I'd tell myself that I didn't have enough info to fill up a whole blog (well except for the life in ministry one, HA!) So, I will just give you a little of all of it, the glitter and grime of life.

My final inspiration to blog came today while watching my 20 month old daughter play. That's where my title came from. She is the perfect little package of an adventurous spirit & princess personality. She's that little girl you would see dressed in a tutu and jewelry (or pretties, as she calls them) while jumping in mud puddles and kicking around a soccer ball. In one of my favorite pics of her, she's got her hair in pig tails, cute little sundress on, and she's tracking deer in the field behind our house. She is a whole lot of glitter and the perfect amount of grime. While I was watching this warrior princess ride her ford play truck down the drive way as her pony tail bobbed up and down, I thought about a song that I had been listening to earlier that day.
Beautiful Things

The song and my daughter reminded me so much of how God looks at his children. We have dirt and grime of sin, but by his mercy and grace, he sees the glitter in each of us.

I'm so thankful for the spirit that God put in Chloe-Lael. She makes life so fun.