Friday, July 23, 2010

Feeling Far From God?

When I am feeling far from God, it does not take long to figure out who moved. (It was not God.) I am not RUNNING from God, but I am not running TO Him either. Why? I get caught up in the day to day. Spending time with God is not a task, it is supposed to be a relationship. I WANT to spend time with God. Of course I still talk to Him everyday, more than once a day for that matter! It is an open dialog all day. Kind of like tweeting all day long just without the computer and followers. But that is just "updates." Does God just want my updates? No, He wants me to seek and to listen. He already knows what I am doing, He doesn't need a tweet!
Recently I have been inspired by so many people. Inspired and convicted at the same time. (Funny how that works!) A young man where I work came in and said "Guess what I did last night?" Assuming he was going to tell me something funny or crazy that he did I asked but turned to go back to the task I was in the middle of. He proudly boasted "I accepted Christ!" I was so happy for him. I stopped what I was doing and got all excited! I told him how wonderful that was and "welcomed" him into the family! I am so ready to see how God is going to use him!
Then my friend's son, who was going through a rough patch, came home from church camp with that camp high! He was (and still is) so on fire for Christ! I could see the change in him. He even invited me to read the Bible with him. I was honored. He read aloud and then we discussed what he was reading. Then I asked him how he was going to apply that to his life! It was amazing! I think I got at least as much out of it, if not more than he did! is time to start running to Him. There are so many questions in my life right now. Money problems I am worrying about, trying to decide if past decisions were correct, if recent decisions were correct, what will happen next, what decision do I need to make now. I know I need to rest in His peace. I am not going to find it on my own.
Most people know Jeremiah 29:11. I encourage you to continue reading to the end of verse 13. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
God didn't move, I did. It is time for me to call upon Him and pray and to seek Him with all my heart.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Welcome to 2010!

With the new year here we have a chance to look back at the previous year and look ahead to the coming year.
Ecc 3: 1-8 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."
In 2009 I saw many of these "times." I have wept many days, and I have enjoyed laughing with friends many days. I have enjoyed the time I got to dance, play, and have fun with my students. I have had to spend some time searching and I am still looking! I have enjoyed being able to keep old friends close while I had to throw away bad habits of the past. I have learned that often I need to be silent when I speak too quick. I have loved my family and friends, both old and new. I have enjoyed getting to know other educators that have encouraged and inspired me, even though we have never met face to face. I know that I should love more, or at least show it more. I know that my life has been in the mist of a spiritual war, but I enjoy the peace of God.
I look forward to the good times of the coming year, but I also know that I have to expect the hard times that will come. I know I need to lean on the Lord in those difficult times. I thank the Lord for the blessings of 2009 and thank Him in advance for the blessings of 2010. Please take the time to share your blessings of the past and your hopes for the future here!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Email I Got From a Friend

I wanted to share this email I got from a friend.

You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having 'wealth' from the book sales. This is an absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren , 'Purpose Driven Life ' author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California.

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren , Rick said: People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven. One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity..

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense. Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer. I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life... No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems: If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.' But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her- It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people. You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy. It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease. So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit.. We made no major purchases. Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church. Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation. Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)? When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dear Teachers

To my dear friends who are teachers. The time of year has come that you are dreading...the end of summer. At the same time the time of year has come that you are anticipating...the beginning of a new year! As I am still looking for a teaching job, my heart breaks as I am not in the anticipation phase. Instead I see signs for back to school sales, teacher appreciation days, Smilemakers and Oriental Trading Co advertisements, and I want to cry.

Teaching is not a job, it’s not even a career. It is a passion and a calling. Teaching is changing the life at a time. As the school year approaches, I want to encourage you all...don't dread the coming days...embrace them...go into this school year ready and excited. Take a look at last year, pick three things you really want to change this year, it may be as simple as the way you do attendance, and come up with a new way to do those three things. Then pick three things that you did really well, that you want to make sure you do again this year...write them down and make sure you do them again this year.

I will pray that you each have a wonderful year. If you are going into a year that you think will be difficult know this...the students will focus on you and you set the tone. Don't worry about anything but them! It does not matter if you are in a Christian, private, public, or home school, pray over your class and your students. Love them, and have FUN teaching this year!

I know you are seeing your summer days go away, but enjoy the last few that you may have, and prepare for a school year that you can use to change the life of every student you teach. Remember you are a Professional Educator!

Please share this with other educators that need some encouragement!


I know it has been a while. I will try to get back onto the Bible study. I tend to stray when I am stressed, when that is the EXACT time I should be running TOWARDS God.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Session Two: Seizing Opportunities

Carpe Coffee
List people you know who have seized opportunities. Were they encouraged or discouraged be the people around them? What was the outcome?
Kelly and Gay - Las Vegas - some encouragement, some discouragement. It didn't work out, but it lead them to where they are now in a good place!
Jeff and Juli - youth group part time - encouragement. Had a good run!
Amber - career move - encouraged (I think) - good I hope!
Chris and Ashley - Showhomes - not sure but encouraged I guess - doing well so far

What opportunities have you seized in your own life? Are there any opportunities you wish you had seized?
Seized: Getting my Masters, job at NCA, moving from NCA (I'm trying to seize that now), DN for Kelly and Gay this year, Ron Clark Academy Conference this year, trying to connect with old friends and encourage them.
Wish I had Seized: Try out Ridgecrest sooner, completing this Bible study, focusing on improving my teaching, classes in college - could have studied harder, encourage my co-workers

Etymology of Opportunity

Col 4:5 "Make the most of every opportunity"
In Chinese the two characters that make up the word crisis mean danger and opportunity

Problems are opportunities in disguise

Had you ever considered that a dimension of spiritual maturity is the ability to see and seize opportunities? On a scale of 1 to 10, how good are you at seeing opportunities? How good are you at seizing opportunities? Seeing: 4; Seizing:2 (and that's being generous)

Can you think of other biblical examples of people seeing and seizing opportunities?
Esther, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions den, Moses, Noah, Peter

Describe a time in your life when you turned a potential problem into an opportunity. After college I was the Resident Director in the dorm that I had lived in all four years, after that I decided that I need to do something else but I did not feel lead to look for a job in ministry as my degree would suggest. I didn't know what to do, so instead I decided that I would go back to get my masters in Elementary education! Then when I was finished God put me in a place where I could teach the little ones and still minister to teenagers!

What problems are you currently facing that might be opportunities in disguise? Well I literally LOL (laughed out loud) when I read this question. My problem is that I do not have a school to teach at next year. The opportunity came in the form of a call this morning from a principal who would like to interview me! I recently had two other interviews on this journey. The first one was at a school that I really didn't want to go to. The grade was too low, the drive was way too long, but the people were very nice. Then second school seemed like the best opportunity ever for me. There were three openings, I hit it off with the principal right off the bat, I knew someone that worked there already, it was only a 45 min drive, all the people seemed really nice and it sounded so good. Well that one fell through and I was devastated. Now today I have been focusing on trying to have a prayerful life where I can see and seize opportunities…and opportunity did not knock, it roared! This school district is right by where I live, they are a nice, well respected school. I am sure they have technology and a wonderful operation. I even laughed when I prayed this morning for God to show me the path. I laughed and said "You must have been laughing when I thought the other opportunity was so wonderful!" The old…we plan…God laughs! Although I prayed about that job, I think God just wanted me to have peace that people are interested in my resume and in me, but I needed to wait. I want to seize this opportunity!

For Such a Time as This

"…God is in the business of making sure we meet the right people at the right time. He's also in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time. But here's the catch: the right place often seems like the wrong place, and the right time often seems like the wrong time. "

Esther 4:13-16
13 he (Mordecai) sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish."

Go back and read the entire story of Esther for the finer points. What opportunity was presented to Esther? She had the opportunity to save all the Jewish people including herself and her family. She could try to get the King to listen to her even though she had not been called for.

What was the opposition, the risk, and the potential reward? She risked her life! She could have easily been killed and the King would have never known why she came. He could have killed her after she told him why she came just because he did not call her. The potential reward was life and life for all Jewish people.

List the other people who played a role in this story. Did they encourage or discourage Esther from seizing her opportunity? Mordecai - "Head cheerleader!" Hathach - helper, Haman - discourager

Is there someone in your life who needs to be encouraged to seize an opportunity? Yeah ME!!! Hilary - move to a new state? Tina - Oklahoma; Jo nursing school; Rachel - MME

List there name and one practical thing you can do this week to encourage them. Hilary - call and ask her about her move and opportunities instead of just texting; Tina - pray ask how the interview went after Monday; Jo - talk to her about it; Rachel - send a card/letter of encouragement.

Prayer Mode

Col 4:5 "Make the most of every opportunity"
Col 4:2: "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful."

Survival mode Vs Prayer Mode
Survival = reactive; Prayer = proactive

Aramaic prayer = slotha = to set a trap
Prayer helps us catch the opportunities that cross our paths. People who live in prayer mode see opportunities that other people don't even notice. People who don't live in prayer mode are opportunity blind.

In what areas of your life do you tend to live in survival mode? To be honest most areas of my life

In what areas of your life do you tend to live in prayer mode? Unfortunately I have not been living in prayer mode. I intend to do so now! I have been living in prayer mode this week. Looking for a job is where I have spent most of my prayer time this week.

After reading the definition for the Aramaic word for prayer, do you view prayer any differently? If so, how? It confuses me a little. So, if I am praying I am setting a trap for opportunities. I see how if I am praying that when an opportunity comes by I will be more likely to see it. In the recent past I probably had some opportunities that I did not seize that I am getting the chance to seize at this time. I may not recognize them as opportunities if I had not been in prayer mode.

What are some practical then you can do to move toward prayer mode living? Keeping a prayer journal. That way I can see what I am praying for and see what has happened as a result of the prayers. If I read back to see what I have been praying about and see the current situation I am, I may be able to detect the opportunities and be able to seize them.

What are some prayer traps you need to set? What is God's will in my job situation. What is God's will be my future family? What path does God want me to take next?

The Reticular Activation System

Psalm 5:3 "In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation."

This is how David started his days.

Do you pray better in the morning, the middle of the day, or at night? Do you think that praying in the morning is important? To be honest, I am NOT a morning person. I sleep in until the very last second I can. Is does not matter if I have had 3 hours of sleep or 10 hours of sleep…I don't want to get up! Therefore in the morning I tend to rush and don't spend time in prayer or Bible study. I will occasionally say a prayer in the car as I am rushing to work. My prayer life has been lacking. I need to make an effort to pray in the mornings. So I would have to say evenings. Yes, days that I start in prayer may not go "easy" but I think they do go better. If you take the time to focus on God in the morning you will be able to see what He has for you as the day unfolds. I need to take that time to pray in the morning. Even if it is only in the car rushing to work, I can make an effort to do that.

How is your current prayer life affecting your expectations? Ouch…my expectations have been low because I have not been praying enough. I need to be living in prayer mode so that my expectations will be higher!

The Greatest Opportunity

Have you ever seized the opportunity that Christ has offered to us? If so, list three ways in which Christ has made a difference in your life. If not, please leave a message on this blog and I will be happy to contact you about what the Greatest Opportunity is.
Yes, believing that Christ died for me has made me know that no matter what I have done…I matter, that there is a REASON for me to be where I am when I am there, and that when times get tough I am not alone and that God will look after me and take care of me.

There are times that I feel like I am alone and that God doesn't want to help me. I reality it is not that He doesn't want to help me, it's that I am running away from Him, trying to avoid His help and not asking for His help. All I have to do is ask. No where else is this true, I can't just ask for money from a bank, I have to already have money in the bank or a way to pay it back, I can just go to the store and ask for items I need or want, I have to pay for them. When I want God's help, all I have to do is ask, and I will receive it. Salvation is the same, you do not have to work for it, you can't work for it in fact. You don’t just get it because you was born. But if you ask God for salvation and truly believe in Him, you can receive it, He just gives it to you…He already paid for it.

Mental Preparation: "Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Eph 5:15-16

Spiritual Preparation: Over the next week begin each day by praying the following:
"At daybreak, Lord, You hear my voice; at daybreak, I plead my case to You and watch expectantly. Ps 5:3
After praying that verse, spend one minute in silence, meditating on God and His provision in your life.
Make a list of things you are thankful for.
Make a list of things you are prayerfully expecting God to do.
Over the course of the week, does you list change any? If so, how?

I am still working on trying to figure out what opportunities to seize. Some opportunities seem like they are a good thing, and then they turn out not being a good thing at all. I am getting frustrated when I go on job interviews and end up not getting the job. I have been praying that God show me exactly where I am supposed to be, and I have been trying to take advantage of opportunities that come up. I just don't know which opportunities are good ones and which ones are not so good! I want to live in prayer mode not survival mode…that may help me figure out where I am supposed to be!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Where Have I Been?

Well that is a good question. I have been to busy to finish Chasing the Lion because I was chasing my own interests. I saw that no one posted so I figured, why do it. Then I got started into other things and didn't come back to the study or to blogging. Well now it is time to come back. The last post was in November. Many things have happened since then. Some have been good, some have not been so good.
It has been 8 that's crazy! I have not been a PALACE lady lately. I have not been pursuing a life according to Christ's example. I have been pursuing a life according to what was easy that didn't require much of me. It is time to get back to my royal status! I am The King's daughter and it is time to stop acting like the spoiled little princess and be the princess that I have been called to be!
I would like to invite everyone to start the Chasing the Lion Bible study with me again. If you don't want to do it, that is okay, I am still going to post, maybe you will get around to it some day...or not. I am alright with that.
I am going to post my thoughts on a few sermons that I have listened to that really helped me get back to where I needed to be! You can find them as podcasts on iTunes the speakers name is Scott Crenshaw. He was a camp pastor one year when I was in the youth group at FBCKC. I really enjoyed his lessons so when I saw his podcasts on iTunes I had to download them. He has not lost his step! He recently moved to a new church and the sermon series is about "New Beginnings" I started with "New wine" then "reNEWal" and then "New Beginnings." I encourage you to listen to them.

I hope you will join me in Chasing the Lion!

New Wine - Scott Crenshaw

Matthew 9:16-17

God wants to poor out "New Wine." He love us where we are, but wants to take us to the next level.

Jer 29:11

He wants to move us from glory to glory.
God wants to grow us in spiritual life, business life, and relationships.
We never stop growing in God.
What is God DOING in your life?

Hab 3:19

I need to get through…right now. New heights - He will get me through this.
When I go through the flames - He will bring me through it.
He does not want me to stay in the flames…he wants me to move through it

He has enabled my feet…It is MY choice to follow
Don't listen to the enemy…He will bring us through it. He IS moving…follow.
God gives us a choice to come with Him to the heights
He invites us, then gives us a choice
Is 43:18-19

Celebrate the past, but do not dwell on it! You must take time to remember what God has done.
Learn from the past but don't stay in the past
God will talk to us through us in our DAILY readings.
"I will take you out of bondage into a land flowing with Milk and Honey"
There will be times when we are moving up, we will get frustrated. Might start grumbling, look back to the past "the good ol' days"
The agenda of God is to move us up.

Ps 139
We must examine ourselves. Draw a circle, put yourself in the middle and then pray for everyone in the circle.

Make my heart like a renewed wine sack so that I can have new wine in my life!


Luke 15

When you leave God - could be mentally or physically

Transference - earthly father = heavenly Father

Maybe bitter with God
God can handle it

May run hard and fast - knew He was still there
May run to drugs
Sins of Flesh

Not a quick thing - thinking process

It's not a question of if there is a God, it is that you choose to do things your own way.

Prodigal son - Dad gave his money to him, it was like saying dad was dead to him.

When the party is going - your party friends are there - when the party is over, so are the friends!

If you are running from God, the problems WILL come.
If you are running - give up and come back
May have to sleep with the pigs before you come back

If you are with the pigs, you will see a light of revelation, God wants you to come back
The son had prepared a speech ready to ask for fathers forgiveness
The father just sat on the porch waiting for his son to come back, when he saw the son, he started running to him
Bring your junk, your struggles, your bondage to God, He will take care of it!
Receive forgiveness - and then know that you are worthy for the grace

Sandals - path for you
Robe - cover of righteousness
Celebration - Church body celebration

New Beginnings
In the Beginning… all God had to do is speak and the universe came into existence
The only thing God "created" was man. He used dirt to create man. And then breathed life into it.

We are not here by accident, we have a purpose
Everything that is in life over flows out of the one purpose…it is to know Him, be transformed by Him and enjoy Him
In the Garden they had all they ever needed. They even got to talk to God face-to-face!
God let them eat of EVERYTHING except the ONE tree. When He told them not to, He knew they would.
God takes us to the tree…we can say we love God, but He lets us choose.
Sin separated them from the Garden…and God.
Sin is an archery term…to miss the mark
The mark is 100% life without mistakes and bad things

God loves you, but He can not have sin come into His presence
God makes a way…OT time…sacrificial time…must have shedding of blood
For most people it's not "if" there is a God, not "if" we sin, (all religions agree that we sin, other religions believe you can do it yourself), God says only I can do it.
Some people think it is works that bring them back to God
The works are not good enough

When Jesus came down and took on our sins. He took on the sins I have done, even the ones I am going to do.

God loves us and has a plan for our lives. He went to the cross and paid for our sins.
The gift is not yours unless you come and receive it.
God gives us an invitation
We are not God's children…we are God's creation
We are not children of God because of being dedicated as a baby, because of going to church, because we are good, because we believe in God.
You must choose to receive God into your life.