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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I will be out of town the next few days without my computer so I just wanted to tell you I am praying you and your family have a Very Merry Christmas.

I will be back December 26th! Hope to see ya then!


Happy Holidays from the Johns Family!


God Bless You and Yours, Tina

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Moon Rocks

As I mentioned yesterday, I want to give you a recipe for some really great candy that is soooo easy. It has a very unusual name but taste great!


Moon Rocks

2 lbs White Almond Bark (found at Walmart in baking section)

2 cups unsalted peanuts

1 ½ cups chunky peanut butter

1 lg bag of miniature marsh mellows

Melt white chocolate, add peanuts and peanut butter and mix well. Next add marsh mellows and spoon out onto waxed paper.

These are always a great hit.




Today is the last Saturday before Christmas. The house is decorated, presents under the tree. No stress here except due to the weather our flights might get cancelled tomorrow. So what are we doing? My hubby and I are both on our lap tops, watching the weather channel and making phone calls.

So, if I do not make it to my destination on time, I too may be making more Moon Rocks.
If we do make it on time, then I may do the Moon Walk. (Just kidding, this girl can't dance.)



Happing cooking!
Tina

Friday, December 19, 2008

What to Give

Last night we had our annual Johns Family Christmas.

The Johns family consists of Mom & Dad, three sons, three of the most wonderful daughter-in-laws (lol), eight grandkids (two of whom are married) and four great grandkids.

Four of the grandkids are the same ages so we always bring a gift for Tre’ and Shaina who are the ages of my kids Tyler and Chrissy. I am thankful that they more than cousins, they are really good friends.

But all week my son has stressed about the gift we got Tre’. Tyler was worried Tre’ would give him a really good present and the one we got him would not be equally matched in the “greatness department”.

See, my idea of a nice gift cost around $15. A good gift is $20 and a great gift is $25. Call me cheap but I got over having to purchase the “perfect” gift or an expensive gift a long time ago. It takes too much time, stress and anxiety and I found I am not a very nice person when I am stressed and anxious.

With all that said, I do have someone I want to give the best to… but there is no way to equally match back to God the gift He gave to me.

Although there is one thing I can do and you can do; God gave all He had to us, therefore our gift back to Him should be the giving all of ourselves; all our our hearts, minds, soul and strength.

God gave us the most extravagant gift heaven had to offer. He gave it lovingly and selflessly. No Christmas gift will ever top it.

So my prayer is not that I would stress out over matching God’s gift, but that I would just open my heart as Mary did, trust God as Mary did and simply say, “I am the Lord’s servant…” as Mary did.

So… what did Tre’ give Tyler? Would you believe the same thing Tyler gave Tre'! So when you see two teenagers walking around with the same UF hat on, it's probably them.




If you are still looking for a great and easy recipe for candy this season, tune in tomorrow.

Hope you are having a Merry Christmas!
Tina

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First Things First

As I stated in yesterday’s post, I want to share with you a truth today we all can easily forget this time of the year.

There is a popular saying every Holiday Season found across billboards, church signage and Christmas cards. I even ended my blog The Perfect Gift with the reminder of this truth… “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”

And there is no truer statement but as I listened to a Christmas CD yesterday, I was reminded of another truth… We are the reason Jesus came in the first place.

He did not come because there was nothing better to do or because He was bored. He came because… “God so loved the world.”

THE WORLD.

Do you know how many people there are in the world?

It’s really easy to feel a little insignificant when lumped in with a few billion people.

But I wonder how insignificant Jesus feels this time of the year when our attention is focused on, and consumed with, presents, cooking, parties, cleaning, decorating and traveling?

Wow, on the first Christmas we were His priority…but this Christmas, is He ours?

Oh, I pray so.

Every year I make a list. And yes, I check it twice. It’s not a list of things I want but of things I plan to purchase and accomplish. It is my guide to keep me on track and it allows me to see what I have taken care of and what’s left to do with the most important things on the top of my list.

Another statement we quote a lot is… “First things first.”

What does that mean? It means the most important things should always remain at the top of our list. It is the thing that should get the most of our attention and focus first.

So I want us to ask ourselves, who or what is really first on our list? And if Jesus were to write His own list, where do you think we would be?

That question was answered over 2000 years ago on the first Christmas morning.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
1 John 4:9-10

So, yes, Jesus is the reason for the season... but we were His reason FIRST.

Still working my list,
Tina

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Holidaze

Do you feel like you are drowning in wrapping paper, eggnog, Christmas musicals and cookie dough? It is easy to feel like it’s a "Merry Christmess" instead of “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

Here’s a little poem I read this week that I wanted to share with you.

1 Corinthians 13- Christmas Style
By Sharon Jaynes

If I decorate my house perfectly with lovely plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass balls, but do not show love to my family - I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family - I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family - It profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Love never fails. Video games will break; pearl necklaces will be lost; golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift of love will endure.

I pray that you will allow these truths to remind you of what's most important as we go through this last week up to Christmas.

Stay tuned, tomorrow I will post another truth I was reminded of today as I listened to one of my favorite Holiday CD's.

Have a great day!
Tina

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Peace came to Earth

The knock came surprisingly on the door one day. Before the middle-aged woman, stood a young pregnant teenager.

As Mary entered Elizabeth’s home I am sure she wondered how Elizabeth would respond to the news of her immaculate conception.

You see, Mary lived in a time where women could be put to death if found to be with child out of wedlock. The stress and feelings of fear for her safety and the safety of her unborn child had to overwhelm her.

But that is not the picture of Mary we see. As a matter of fact when you read Luke 1, Mary breaks forth in a song of praise moments after entering Elizabeth’s home; a beautiful heartfelt song. Let’s take a second to read and imagine Mary in this very moment.

Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.” Luke 1:46-55 (NLT)

How could she have such peace in the midst of the most troubling time of her life?

Mary had such peace because she was carrying the Prince of Peace!

In 5th grade I auditioned for our school chorus… and made it. What’s crazy about that is I can’t sing, AT ALL. Looking back I wonder, “Mom, did you bribe Mrs. Miller?” You don’t have to answer. My point is this, we always ended every performance with the same song and the very last line of it says, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

Oh, the real Peace on earth did begin with Mary. But thank goodness it did not end with her.

The Prince of Peace is in me today 2000 years later, and in you.

Wow, that means no matter the situations we may find ourselves in, like Mary we too can break forth in a song of praise to God because He truly is "Our God and Our Savior!”

Making a Joyful "Noise",
Tina

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Perfect Gift

It has finally arrived… the time of the year every small boy and girl waits so patiently for… the Holiday Season!

The rush is on. As of today there are only 22 more shopping days left till Christmas. Wow… am I so not ready. Well, I did buy one small gift for the Rents yesterday. But thoughts are filling my head, as I am sure they are filling yours, of cookies to bake, parties to host, menus to decide and yes, the perfect gifts to buy. HO! HO! HO!

The whole world knows Christmas is here. But does the whole world know Christ?

It is hard to imagine but there was a time where there was no hope… a time with no celebration… a time when there was no Jesus.

Think of how your life would be without Christ, without His Word, without His blood that covers our sin and shame, without His power and authority.

Life would be much different. Christ is our example, so without Him could we fully love, because Christ is Love? Could we freely give, because Christ gave all? Could we firmly stand in trying times, because Christ is our solid foundation?

I do not want to imagine my life without Christ. But for some (make that most) people that is their reality.

So let’s purpose this year to share Christ to everyone. After all, someone shared Him with you.

Reflection:

Think for a moment about the greatest gift you received when you were a child. Do you remember how excited you were? How you could not wait to get back to school and tell all your friends about your awesome gift? I want to challenge you this season to share the Greatest Gift ever given to man.

Remember, Jesus really is the reason for the season.

What more perfect gift could you give!

Have a great Wednesday!
Tina

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful for... God's Handy Work

Three days a week I head to the gym to work out at 5:45am. As I step out of my home each morning I am almost always greeted with the most beautiful dome of small sparkling lights filling the night sky. It is breathtaking.

Last week I took this picture as the sun was going down in the field across from our home.





If you look around you every day you will have the opportunity to be amazed by God’s handy work in nature. From the Great Smoky Mountains to the Grand Canyon to the sunsets on the African plains, God’s fingerprints are all over the earth.

But God’s handy work is not evidenced in nature alone, but in my life and in yours as well. God is the ONLY one that can take something bad in us and turn it for OUR good. When we give God the ashes of our lives He can take it and create something so wonderful and so beautiful. It would be like opening our pantry and fridge to Paula Deen and her turning what we deem as nothing into the best meal you’ve ever had (of course with a little “Hey y’all!” sprinkled in too).

So today I am thankful for a God who can take my messes and my nothings and use it as the ingredients for something so amazing!

Reflection:

What ugly things has God turned and made wonderful and useful in your life?

We do not think about those times or situations very often, so today give thanks to the only God who can and does make beauty from our ashes.


"To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory." Isaiah 61:3

Hope Y'all have a great Thanksgiving!
Tina

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thankful for... God's Promises

Saturday, November 22, was my 18th Wedding Anniversary. When I turned to my daily devotional reading and read the title for that day’s devotion, A Good Wife, it made me wonder if God was trying to send me a message. Was He telling me I am a good wife or I need to be a good wife? I hope it was the former but I am smart enough to know that the largest room in life is the room for improvement and ‘perfect’ is defiantly something I am not.

Although there have been ups and downs one thing has remained over the past 18 years, a promise. A promise Mark and I made to love and honor each other. Sometimes those promises have been kept and sometimes they have been questioned. But through all the vicissitudes of our marriage, our commitment to do our best to be the best for each other still remains.

We are human and sometimes we can make a promise and because of circumstances beyond our control we may be unable to make good on them. Maybe you promised a new toy for your child for Christmas and because of a job loss you were not able to deliver.

But have you ever thought about the fact that God can and will ALWAYS deliver on His promises. If He said He will make a way where there seems to be no way, He will. If He said He will never leave you are forsake you, that’s just what He’s going to do. If He said your eternity is secure, it is. If He said you can have peace, you can. If He promised to forgive you every time you fail, He will. If He said He will deliver you, He will. If He said He’s coming back, He is. If He says His love will never fail, it won't.

If He said it, He will do it.

So today I am thankful for ALL the promises of God!

Reflection:

Sometimes His promises can be so far “out there” if you know what I mean. Sarah does. God promised a child not when she was a really young woman but at a time when Abraham should have been bouncing great-grandchildren on his knee. Romans 4:21 says, “He (Abraham) was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” Today are you fully convinced God will do what He said He will do?

If you are struggling to believe and trust God today, pray and ask Him to help you stand strong on His word. Romans 4:20 “Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God."


Eighteen years ago I said, "I do." Today I still do!

Have a great Monday!
Tina

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thankful for... The Rents*

(*The Rents is teenage for Your Parents)

My parents celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary yesterday. It is becoming more and more uncommon to hear of marriages lasting so long. For instance, I was very shocked to find out 12 years ago, when my child was in kindergarten, that there were only 3 students in his class with both of their parents still together.

I know that the past 41 years haven’t been the easiest for my parents because no marriage has smooth sailing all the time. But because of their commitment to each other they have been able to instill in me the great value of working hard, always doing what is right, honoring your word and how to live a selfless life.

You really do not appreciate some things until you grow up and have a family and responsibilities of your own. My children depend on me and Mark for everything. They may know this intellectually (because we remind them of that often as any good parent does, right?), but one day they will understand it experientially.

When a friend’s wife had their first child, he told me as soon as the baby was born he called his mom and apologized for every wrong thing he ever did. You do not understand the love of a parent until you become a parent. He knew his mom loved him with a love that could never be articulated, only experienced.


So today, I am VERY thankful for my parents. By the way, I am their favorite child! Ok… I’m their only child.

Mom, Dad, thank you for all your sacrifices, love and commitment to me and each other!
Happy Anniversary!


Reflection:

If you were blessed to have your parents love you and make sacrifices for you, whether their marriage lasted or not, give thanks today to the One who IS love.


Do you have children yet to marry? Start praying for their spouses and the parents who are raising them, even though you may not know who they will marry, God does. I am very fortunate to have a mother and father-in-law who raised my husband to love God, honor His’s word and love and honor me and our kids with every ounce of his being!

Stay Warm!
Tina

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thankful for... God's Healing Power

Originally posted on November 17, 2008


Sunday night Tyler, my son, went hunting, as him and his father so often do this time of the year. He harvested a buck, brought it home, cleaned it and prepared it to grill last night. This is what I am thankful for today! Sounds weird but let me explain.


On October 7, 2000 Tyler was diagnosed with Gillian Barrett Syndrome. He was paralyzed from head to toe and in the worst pain I don’t think I could ever handle. There is no cure for this, only a treatment. We were blessed that the treatment did work for him and by the end of the first week the doctors at Shands were ready to release him to a rehab hospital in Jacksonville.


Tyler’s neurologist informed us it would take 6 months to 2 years for him to learn how to walk again, feed himself again, ride his bike again, and we should check him into the facility they suggested and “leave him to the care of trained professionals” (the doctors words exactly).


Well, trained I’m not, but I was not leaving my 9 year old son alone for someone else to take care of.  I didn’t leave him the week we were in Shands and I wasn’t going to do it now.  So we brought him home and every day I took him to rehab, fed him, bathed him and took care of his every need.


Four weeks later, FOUR WEEKS, he was walking, feeding himself, riding his bike and shooting his BB gun his Papa promised him if he worked hard to get better.


The following month, Mark and Tyler went on a hunting trip a short distance from our home. One of the greatest moments between father and son happened that first evening. A small buck came in the field, Mark prepared Tyler with his gun, and in just a few seconds Tyler had harvested his first deer. 


There was no prouder moment for Mark but before the celebration started, Mark simply bowed his head and breathed a word of gratitude to God for it was only by His healing power and grace Tyler was hunting that night.


So, today I am VERY Thankful for God’s Healing Power.


O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things...” Isaiah 25:1


REFLECTION:


Has God ever healed you or someone you love? Why not today, simply bow your head and breathe a word of gratitude to the God that healeth thee.


 
Tyler grilling his deer last night!


Have a blessed day!

True Friends

HELP….. I feel another Calgon moment coming on!

I arrived home last night from another awesome ladies event, I looked over at my neighbor’s home and I could not believe what I saw… Christmas lights, garland, bows and all.

It’s only November 17th. But to be honest, before we can blink, Christmas will be in the past, another year will be gone, and we will stand once again before the dawning of a new year.


This is how fast time is passing us (well… me) by. I turned on my CD player a couple weeks ago in my car, Bing Crosby rang out with one of my favorite songs. It was a Christmas song… in my CD player… in October.

No, I was not like my neighbor and preparing early for Christmas, I was actually late. It was in there from Christmas 2007. Not one, but three of my Holiday CD’s were still in my six CD changer.

They say the older you get the faster time flies. It’s true. I like to think I’m not THAT old, but when your 17 year old son is playing basketball at the same High School you attended it makes you feel really, really old. It was just a few years ago I sat on that same basketball court for my Baccalaureate Service.

Graduations will come and graduations will go. Holidays will come and Holidays will go. Children will come and then Children will go. A new year will come and a new year will go. Good and bad times will come and then they will go.

So here’s a question for us all, what are we doing with our lives that seem to be passing by so quickly?

My honest and sincere prayer is to not be so consumed with life that I forget what makes it worth living is the relationships we make on our journey through the holidays and graduations of life. I shared last night with my ladies at Christ Central Alachua the importance of having friends. I read this story to them and I want to share it with you as well.

Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play major league baseball. While breaking baseball’s "color barrier," he faced jeering crowds in every stadium. While playing one day in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he committed an error. His own fans began to ridicule him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the fans jeered.

Then shortstop "Pee Wee" Reese came over and stood next to him. He put his arm around Jackie Robinson and faced the crowd. The fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career.

Now you may say to yourself, "I wish I had a friend like that", or "I’m glad I have a friend like that." But I want to challenge you today to be able to say, "I want to BE a friend like that!"

I told the ladies the way to define a true friend in your life is by asking yourself this question, “Is my life better because of their presence in it?”

But let me change that around today and ask, “Is someone else’s life better because of YOUR presence in it?”

This Holiday Season let’s remember what is really important. The important things in life are not about how well you decorated your house for Christmas or how perfectly you cooked your Thanksgiving meal, but it’s about the people sitting around the table of our lives.

So whose life are you going to make a difference in today? Who are you going to stand next to, place your arm around and face the crowd? You may just save their life, maybe not physically, but their life may just be a little bit better because of your presence.

Happy Monday!
Tina

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gaining Wait

A lot can go through our minds while we are waiting. Thoughts like, “What if…..” and “How come…” or “Why me?”

In 1 Samuel 13 we read where King Saul gathered his army to fight against the Philistines, but being so outnumbered, the men ran in fear hiding in nearby caves.

This was Saul’s time to shine. This was his opportunity to have his kingdom established in the annals of history forever (V. 13). If only he had waited on the Lord.

Samuel instructed Saul to wait seven days for him to arrive to offer the sacrifices to God before they engaged in battle. As the days progressed so did Saul’s fear and impatience. His army was disintegrating right before his eyes. He could not wait one more moment to commence the battle, or so he thought. Saul does the unthinkable, he offers the sacrifice himself.

We live in the confines of time. God does not. So with God, timing is way more important than time.

As soon as King Saul finished making the offering (which only a Priest could do) Samuel shows up. How many times have we given up waiting on God, taken actions into our own hands, only moments before He would have shown up?

Samuel demands to know what Saul had done. The king’s response reflected his fear of public opinion, his lack of trust in God and his cavalier attitude toward obedience. Saul said when he saw the men scattering and Samuel had not yet come, he “felt compelled to offer the burnt offerings.” (V.12)

Saul had a clear command from God. He disobeyed, and it cost him his kingdom (V.14). He lost it all... all because he would not wait.

I have to say I cannot blame Saul. Faith, trust, wait, these are very difficult roads to walk on. But what if we do wait… we do trust… and we do exercise our faith? If the repercussions for not doing these are total loss, then the reward for doing them must be total GAIN.

So is today your day to shine? Is today the day the Lord is going to show up on your battle field? If you give up you may never know, but if you wait on the Lord I promise He will renew your strength for the journey ahead. Don’t look at the circumstances surrounding you, look to God who is securing you.

Reflection:

What are some of the thoughts that have bombarded you during some of your times of waiting?

What do you think are some issues God maybe wanting to purge out of us when He forces us to wait on Him?


Trying to gain wait,
Tina

Proverbs 8:34 says, “Blessed are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home!”

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Got Plans?

How many of you remember the commercial where a woman is seen in a chaotic home scenario and as the tension rises, she utters her famous line "Calgon, take me away!"? In the next scene you see her relaxing in a luxurious bath in a nice and quiet room.

Yep, that’s where I’m living. Not the peaceful bath in the luxurious quiet room, but the chaotic tension filled room.

This week I had plans. Plans to organize closets, catch up on work, maybe even go to our county fair. But as I stated in my last post, Change Happens! So what’s a girl to do? Adjust, stop complaining, and stop worrying about the summer clothes that need packing up and remember what’s really important.

My kids are not going to remember the perfectly organized closets I kept or all the work I accomplished. But my son will remember when I dropped everything to spend hours at the doctor’s office this week. How I helped take care of his injured knee, nursing him back to health. And my daughter will remember the hours of fun we spent yesterday laughing in dressing rooms and the exciting time we had getting a jump start on Christmas shopping.


So, my word to you today is to really look at the plans in your life and prioritize them, starting with what’s really important. Our time can be foolishly spent or it can be wisely invested.


I want to leave you with a great recipe I got from my friend, workout buddy and College Pastor’s wife, Caley. This one pot meal will allow you to invest your time in the things that will give you the biggest return, your family and friends (not to mention it’s really good).


Taco Soup

1 lb browned hamburger
1 can corn
1 can French cut green beans
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can pinto beans (drained)
1 can bar-b-que baked beans
1 packet Ranch seasoning
1 packet Taco seasoning
1 cup water
Salt and Pepper

Brown the hamburger and dump everything else in together. The longer it cooks, the better, but everything is cooked, so once it is heated you can eat it. Top with cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.

Enjoy!
Tina

Psalm 20:4
May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.(NLT)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Change

Today is Election Day!

One of the Presidential Candidate’s theme of the past 22 months has been Change.

If there is one thing in life you can always count on, it’s change! We can predict some changes, like the seasons, graduations, marriage or the birth of a child. Then there are those unexpected changes; loss of a job, end of a relationship, death of a loved one.

Whether change is welcomed or dreaded, it still rocks our boat for a little while. During all our times of change it is very important to have an anchor and a plan.

If we are anchored to our jobs, our friends, our accomplishments, we are adding to the instability of life. When the waves come, it is very likely you may fall apart and wash away. But if you anchor your life to God and you plan to obey and follow Him, true peace and stability is possible no matter what the change.

Since God is unchanging and eternal, anchoring to Him is the best way to find rock-solid security when you are in troubled waters. Even when your circumstances change your neatly laid out plans, you can still find peace in the middle of any storm.

By the end of today we may know who our next President will be. Change is coming and no matter who will be the next Commander in Chief, God is still the ultimate Anchor AND Captain of my ship!

Reflection:
How can you find security and peace in the midst of change?

Remember Malachi 3:6, “I am the Lord, and I do not change” and Hebrews 13:8-9, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever… Your strength comes from God’s grace.”

God is in ultimate control of not only your ship but the storms of life too!

Happy Voting!
Tina

Friday, October 31, 2008

Safe and Secure

Today, October 31st, is viewed as one of the “darkest” days; a day for ghosts, goblins, and zombies. A day that many will dress up as the evilest of characters to spook those unaware. A day for haunted houses and trick-or-treaters.

But for some people this dark day is just another in the continuation of days seemingly lived in midnight.

We always talk about the goodness of God when things are going our way; when bills are paid, churches are growing, health is good, parking spaces open up in front of a store.

But God is also good when things are not so “peachy.” Listen to the words of Corrie Ten Boom.

Often I have heard people say, “How good God is! We prayed that it would not rain for our church picnic and look at the lovely weather!” Yes, God is good when He sends good weather. But God was also good when He allowed my sister, Betsie, to starve to death before my eyes in a German concentration camp. I remember one occasion when I was very discouraged there. Everything around us was dark, and there was darkness in my heart. I remember telling Betsie that I thought God had forgotten us. “No, Corrie,” said Betsie, “He has not forgotten us. Remember His Word “For as the heavens are high above the hearth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him.” Corrie concludes, “There is an ocean of God’s love available-there is plenty for everyone. May God grant you never doubt that victorious love-no matter the circumstances.”

God is love in our good times and in our bad times.

Today there are two people reading this and you are one of them; those in the middle of a crisis and those who are not. If you are the former I want to share a little story with you I read a few days ago.

Once there was a train traveling through the night in an extremely violent rainstorm. The lightning flashes were almost blinding, the rain hitting the windows was deafening and the strong gusts of wind rocked the train from side to side. As the lightening flashed, they saw outside the windows the rising water along the tracks. This created terror in the minds of the passengers. Several noted that through all the noise, lightening and wind, one of the passengers, a little girl, seemed to be at perfect peace. The adults couldn't figure out why the little girl was so calm during this terrifying ordeal. Finally, one passenger asked her, “How is that you can be so calm when all the rest of us are so worried about what might or could happen?”

The little passenger smiled and said, “My father is the engineer.”

Galatians 3:26 tells me we are all the children of God. There is no need to panic or be dismayed today, or any day, because our father is the engineer of our lives. He’s in control and at the wheel. He’s not going to let you go under. You are safely secure in the palm if His hand. THAT'S LOVE!

I know you may not feel safe and secure right now. But that is why it is a faith walk and not a feel walk.

And faith is more than believing. Faith requires trust.

A couple weeks ago I tensely watched on TV as a man walked on a tightrope, between two buildings with no net, to break a world record. Trusting God is not you walking across the tightrope. Trusting God means you are willing to let Him carry you across the tightrope.

Two of my favorite verses is Psalm 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

And don’t worry... if you can’t walk it alone... He'll be there to carry you across!

Reflection:
Though the darkness may surround you today, it does not have to consume you. What do you need to trust God with at this moment?

Trust God, rest in His peace and allow Him to guide your steps. He will never lead you astray!

Happy Friday!
Tina

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Who is that Masked Woman

For entertainment in ancient Greece, the Grecians would have great theatrical events and plays in large amphitheaters. Obviously they didn’t have microphones to make their voices heard and they didn’t have cameras to magnify their images onto screens, so they had to get creative and invent their own system. Their solution was to develop large masks that made them look like the characters they were portraying. Built into the masks would be megaphones to amplify their voices. The actors would get on stage, and behind their masks they became somebody else, someone different than who they really were.

The actors were called "hypocrites."

In the French language, a hypocrite is one who hides his/her intentions and true personality. The entire world is a stage and for many of us we are that Grecian actor, hypocritically hiding our true selves.

The world maybe our stage, but this is no play, it’s for real. Therefore we need to be real.

If you have been watching the news this week you may have seen some of the most popular costumes for Halloween. Not the typical witches and action heroes this year. Women want to be Sarah Palin and the guys are donning jumpsuits, plunger in hand to be Joe the Plumber.

Oh, we like to dress up and pretend. But that’s all it is, a pretend. It is time to take off our masks and be the women of God we were designed to be.

I can no longer wear my Lone Ranger mask convincing others I do not need them.

And I am defiantly not Wonder Woman. (Although I do wonder how I still have my sanity sometimes)

But even though I do not have Wonder Woman’s superpowers, that’s ok, I know the One who has all power (Matthew 28:18).

So… who are you going to be this year? Why not try and be…you.

You can pull it off like no one else.

Reflection:

Do you find it hard to be real with others? Ask the Lord to help you take off your mask today and heal every area of your life you may be trying to hide.

God made you to be you. Rejoice in the fact you are an original, no imitation needed!

Until next time,
Tina

Monday, October 27, 2008

Satan's Bag of Tricks

Not too long ago I read about two mischievous kids who broke in a local five-and-dime store and changed the price tags on many of the items they sold. Afterwards they sat back and imagined what it would be like the next morning when people came into the store and discovered that radios were selling for a quarter and bobby pins were priced at five dollars each. With diabolical glee, they laughed at the thought of the store clerks trying to figure out what the prices of the merchandise really should be.

Oh, but you can rest assured these two little darlings were not the first to devise such devilish schemes. Deception has been well played out since before the beginning of time starting with the Deceiver himself deceiving a third of all the angels.

We also read in Genesis where he tricked Eve in the garden.

Sadly, the Deceiver is not the only one to get in on the game...

Jacob tricked his father into giving him Esau’s birthright.

Laban tricked Jacob making him work seven extra years to get what was promised.

Delilah tricked Samson into sharing his most precious secret.

And I am sure we all can add our names to the list of those tricked and deceived whether by another person or Satan himself.

I can testify to you when Satan comes to deceive you he will not come with flashing red lights making his intentions known. No, he’s more cleaver than that… more subtle. And unfortunately, I'm right there with Eve, Jacob and Samson on this one.

Many years ago I let a seed of bitterness get planted in my heart. And oh did Satan water and fertilize that thing. I was oblivious to what was growing inside me until it was full grown and bearing some very rotten fruit. I could not believe I had been so deceived. Not by the person I had the issue with, but by the Enemy himself who snuck in a cracked door in my heart. 

And to be honest, it scared me to death.

What terrified me so was the realization of just how easily I was tricked and if I was so blind to that trapping, what else might I fall for?


For me, Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” and 1Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:” became more alive than ever before!

It was a great lesson for me. As I am sure Eve’s, Jacob’s and Samson’s was for them.

Hebrews 3:12-14 says, “Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters…You must warn each other every day, while it is still today, so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.”

When we live life alert, guarding our hearts and being faithful to the end… we will share in all that belongs to Christ. 

In other words, we get the Treat!

And Satan? Well, he will be left holding his own bag of tricks!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Eight Simple Words

I hope I am not the only one who seems to start a book and never finish. I have….hang on a second let me go count…8 books on my night stand: 6 Christian Inspirational books, 1 fiction and 1 Bible Study. All of which I have started and only one completed.

Starting a new endeavor is easy; it’s the finishing that is so hard.

I think we all really do know our reasons for, shall I be honest and say, quitting.

It is sometimes easier to discontinue a task than to continue it.

I picked up a new book at a local grocery store about 8 years ago. When I got home and put away our next week’s meals safely in their designated areas, I took my new book and relocated to the swing in my back yard where I intended to learn how to be A Women after God’s Own Heart.

After a few pages into this new pilgrimage of becoming this woman I so desired to be, I was afraid the book was not going to deliver on all the expectations I placed on it. Do know what I mean? When a book just does not grab you?

So, I closed it… thought about what I just did… and said to myself, I am going to finish what I started. I immediately opened back up the book and re-launched on my journey only to discover what became one of the most life altering books I have ever read.

I am so glad I did not quit. Elizabeth George taught me so many life lessons regarding myself, my marriage, my children and my relationship with God that has been invaluable and served me well. It is one book that I recommend every young woman to read.

It has help mold me into the woman I am today. I do not even what to think about how my life would be different had I not said those 8 words to myself that day in my back yard.

Today what task is requiring you to speak those same words to yourself? I challenge you, do the thing you need and desire to do. You may never know how your life will be forever changed.

"So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up." Galatians 6:9 (Message)

Striving to not quit,
Tina

p.s. Thank you for all the kind and thoughtful words and comments regarding my blog 'I Remember' being chosen by Lysa TerKeurst for her national radio program. It is truly an honor.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Truth or Lie

In 1999, Bill Gates wrote his book Business @ The Speed of Thought in which he discusses how business and technology are integrated. He also shares with the reader 11 rules that students do not learn in high school or college, but should. He argues that our feel-good, politically correct teachings have created a generation of kids with no concept of reality who are set up for failure in the real world. Here are rules one and two.

RULE 1 - Life is not fair; get used to it.

RULE 2 - The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

We all know and for the most part have accepted rule no. 1. I am sure if you have kids those precise words have passed through your lips into their darling little ears more than once. But it is rule no. 2 that is so true and concerns me.

The truth- the world values accomplishments, educational degrees, prosperity, and pedigree and if you have all this and more you’re highly valued and at that point you deserve to feel good and have superior self-esteem.

But that truth … is also the lie.

For one thing, you can have all the before mentioned and still deal with low self-esteem because there is no destination of success in your life that will ever be enough. Success apart from Christ leaves you empty and leads to the vain reasoning if you had just a little more money, a newer car, bigger house then you would feel good.

God's truth is… good self-esteem doesn't come from having the “perfect” life or being perfect. It comes from knowing and accepting all your imperfections.

No, we are not perfect by the world’s definition. And yes, we still make mistakes but we always will as long as you are in this life.

And, no, this world may not care about your self-esteem as Rule no. 2 so poignantly states, but the Creator of this world does!

So it's not about what you have done, are doing, or will do as a human.

It's about you acknowledging yourself as a born-again child of the Most High God!

It's not about any "works" you can do, because you already did the one thing that matters most, you took Jesus up on His offer!

So you see, there is nothing else you need to DO in order to BE worthy. You simply ARE worthy now because God says so!

John the Baptist said he was not worthy to even carry Jesus’ shoes (Matthew 3:11) and yet he baptized Jesus.

The Centurion said he was not worthy to have Jesus in his home (Matthew 8:8) and yet Jesus healed his daughter.

The prodigal son said he was no longer worthy to be called his father’s son (Luke 15:19) and yet his father not only called him son, but threw him a grand homecoming party, gifts included.

Paul said he was not worthy to be called an apostle (1 Cor. 15:9) and yet God used him to give us our fundamental instructions for the Christian life.

What will come after your YET? Because of Christ, you are automatically worthy of all the good things the Lord wants to bring into your life!

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 "Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Remember

My kids will attest that I am borderline OCD when it comes to taking pictures. Whenever you see me, you can almost bet I have my camera with me, which has allowed me to capture some really great moments that would otherwise only be a memory. And I don’t know about you, but my camera works much better than my memory.

I was looking at all the pictures I have stored on my computer last night and remembering some really great times I have been blessed to have: pictures with my family on vacations, my kids sporting events, Christmas, birthdays and so much more.

Have you ever thought about the fact our pictures for us are like the altars in the Old Testament? Me neither. It is true though. Pictures are memorials of important times in our lives.

If you look through the Old Testament you will see where God’s people built altars to mark their own moments in time. Times when God delivered, or provided, or spoke peace to troubled lives. They serve as touch stones of remembrance.

Sometimes I wish we still built altars. I am very sentimental and objects like pictures or altars help us remember. All too often we have the tendency to get caught up in the routine of everyday life and forget all the times God has been faithful to His people not just thousands of years ago, but today as well.

I wonder… Did Peter ever row out to the spot where he walked on the water and relive that day?

Did Zacchaeus ever take his grandkids and climb the tree and say, “This is the exact spot I saw the Master for the first time!”?

Did Abraham and Isaac ever go back to Mount Moriah and rejoice once more for the ram caught in the thicket?

Did Moses ever go back to the desert where he saw the burning bush, take off his sandals and say, “Thank you God for still using messed up me?”

Oh, it is so good to remember. We need to remember. It is like breathing in the moment all over again.

We do not have altars we walk by every day serving as reminders. So just for today… for this very moment… let’s build an altar in our hearts and minds and remember God’s faithfulness and simply say one more time… “Thank you, God. I remember.”


Lord,
Today I stop and remember and say thank you again for my salvation. Thank you for setting me free from the bondage of fear. Thank you for protecting my marriage, for always guiding my steps. Thank you for healing my son of a paralyzing disease. Thank you for giving me courage to do the things I thought I never could. Where would I be today without you, only you know. Father, I just simply and purely want to stop, remember and say thanks.
Your daughter, Tina

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Why Worry, II

Let’s continue our thought from the last posting titled Why Worry. (If you did not read it yet you can scroll down to it.)

Remember I said to be like Chrissy and “Don’t you worry about a thing.”

Some of us may remember Innervisions, an album by Stevie Wonder, released on August 3, 1973. I say some of us because I was only 6 months old at the time.

Stevie recorded a song on that album entitled Don’t You Worry ‘bout a Thing and if you watch much TV you may have seen the recent UPS Store commercials using this song as it’s jingle. The reason they use it is obvious, they want you to have total confidence in their business for all your mailing and shipping needs. When you hand off your package, they want you to be free from worry.

And how many of us really do, worry that is? When I send a package I do not sit around and fret about where it is or whose possession it is in at that moment. Yes, I get their point, but the package isn't a matter of life and death. If it were I would not be shipping it.

But, there are some things that are a matter of life and death I am concerned about. For one thing, I have two teenage kids driving (I would appreciate your prayers!), there also is a community with souls who do not know Christ we are trying to reach, another concern of mine is the fact that on November 4th we will elect the man who will be the next Commander and Chief of our country. And this is just a very small, very valid list of my concerns.

And all of us have concerns but there is a difference between concern and worry, and when our concern turns to worry, doubt walks in and faith walks out.

Let’s see what Jesus has to say in Matthew 6:25. “Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life….” (Amplified)

OK, it’s easy to say stop worrying or being anxious, but how do you really do that?

In Why Worry I shared why we should trust God, now let’s look at how to trust God.

If you read through to verse 33 of Mathew chapter 6 you will come to the answer. “But seek first the kingdom of God (God’s ways of doing things) and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

I like what Rick Warren says regarding this issue, "Worry is the warning light that God is really not first in my life at this particular moment.” Ouch, that hurt.

But if we will seek God and His ways first, this verse says all our needs and issues will be met and taken care of.

Here is the last verse in chapter 6 (verse 34), "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Message)

So, yes, we can choose to adopt Stevie Wonder's song Don’t You Worry ‘bout a Thing as our theme song too, BUT in order to live truly worry free it will require us to seek God first.

Sounds easy doesn't it? That's because it really is!

Try it. Put God first and see. He can handle any situation, any worry, any problem, any relationship, any job, any need. He can do more in one moment then we can ever do in a life time.

If you have a testimony of God taken care of a worry for you when you chose to put Him first, please leave it in the comment section. (Feel free to leave your comment anonymously) You may be the encouragement someone needs who is dealing with the same issue. God does not help and comfort us in life just for our own sakes, He makes us comfortable so we can be comfort-able for someone else.

Also, if you want me and all those reading to stand in agreement for you and your needs, please leave your prayer request in the comment section as well. Again you can leave it anonymously if you need to.

With all my heart,
Tina

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why Worry

I love to laugh. But there does not seem to be a lot to laugh about these days. Staying positive or even somewhat happy in today’s world almost seems impossible.


As I am writing my daughter, Chrissy, just leaned over my shoulder and read my first line and said, “I love to laugh too!” and then she did what she does so often, kissed me on my nose and went on her merry way.


She isn't worried about a thing.


Stock markets, foreclosures, job loss, presidential election, none of this weighs on her mind. Why? She knows she has a mom and a dad that loves her with every fabric of their being and would move heaven and earth to protect and provide for her. She is old enough to understand the dire situation this country is in but she trust in us with all her heart.


Proverbs 3:5 tells all of us to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight."

It is probably easier for Chrissy to trust us then it is for us to trust God. She can physically see us, touch us and hear us. But we are asked to trust someone whom we cannot physically do any of these things.

Trusting God is all to often not the most desirable thing for us to do. So I want to give you four reasons why we should trust a God who does not tuck us in at night or wrap His arms around us when we are hurt or even kiss us on our noses.


#1 He’s Conscious- This means He’s aware. The word of God says in Matt 6:8 that our Heavenly Father knows what things we have need of even before we ask Him. You can’t tell Him anything He does not already know.

#2 He’s Concerned- 1 Peter 5:7 says cast, which means to throw, your cares, anxieties and worries on Him because He cares about you. Yes, He cares about you! Whatever concerns you concerns Him. So whenever you’re faced with problems, situations and obstacles that seem insurmountable just throw them on Him, He can handle them.

#3 He’s Consistent- This means He’s faithful. You can count on Him and trust Him to do exactly what He says He will do, every single time. Others in your life may have let you down or been found to be unreliable, but God will never let you down, you can always rely on Him. 1 Corinthians 1:9 says that God is faithful. That means even we when are unfaithful to God, God remains faithful to us.

#4 He’s Capable- Ephesians 3:20 says that God is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we could ask or think according to the power that He works in us. This would suggest to us that nothing is too hard for God. Even if He chooses not to grant our request, He’s still capable of supplying our every need.


So if you’ve been relying on yourself, your family, your job, or your retirement plan and not depending totally on the Lord to meet your needs, I admonish you today to trust Him completely. And do like Chrissy.... Don’t you worry about a thing.

God is conscious! God is concerned! God is consistent! God is capable!

He may not tuck you in at night but I promise He is watching over you.

Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep! Psalm 121:4
Chrissy and her merry little self.
Love ya!
Tina

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Great Exchange

If I know human nature at all, then I am sure some, if not all of you, reading this today have dealt with or are currently dealing with some form of hurt, betrayal or rejection that you may have never spoken to another human being.

Good chances are the pain is from someone very close to you. It is true that the ones we love the most can hurt us the worst.

Most every young sibling adores, admires, respects and looks up to their older brothers and sisters. They want to be like them. They want to fit in with them and their friends. But how crushing it is when they push them side, ignore them or call them names, not just in private, but in public as well. How it has to hurt and crush their little spirits.

But imagine, if you will, your older brothers hating you so much that they actually sell you into slavery, tell your father you are dead, not even caring what would become of you. Your future becomes worse then you could even think possible enduring humiliating ordeals and many years of false imprisonment and hardships all because of the actions of the ones you love the most.

Wow, I am sure we cannot completely comprehend how we would truly feel or respond to pain that deep.

We read in Genesis that Joseph had the perfect opportunity to “get back” at his brothers for these very actions. To cause them pain just as they had caused him pain. And who would blame him?

Genesis 45:4-5 (NKJV) And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said, “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.”

Joseph, who amazingly still loved his brothers deeply, allowed God to exchange all his moments of pain and difficulty for moments filled with a greater purpose then his own trials. Again, wow!

When we study the life of Joseph it will allow us to see our own situations and hardships very differently. In every area of your life where the enemy is wreaking havoc, God wants to use it for His purpose and turn it for your good just like He did for Joseph. (Genesis 50:20)

Think of your very own pain today and know that God can accomplish great miracles in the midst of your worst trials. I do not know about you but that gives me peace and hope to know that my pain, my hurt and my every tear is not in vain.

God will take everything Satan is using to destroy our lives and turn it for our good. That’s why I love Him so.

Give it all to Him today and let Him exchange today’s hurts for tomorrow’s miracles. He is more than able! As a matter of fact, He is the only one who is able!

I am so glad I know Him, aren’t you?

Exchanging my pain for His purpose,
Tina

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Being Still

Technology is a wonderful thing, that is until it does not work properly. As I am writing I am having an issue with the Internet connection on my computer. So, as any good non-technological savvy person would do, I called Geek Squad. To my dismay, they want me leave my laptop with them for a couple of days to work on it. Whatever shall I do without my HP Pavilion that I am soooo dependent upon? It is my connection to the world and the world’s connection to me. On second thought, this actually may be a good thing.

I told my teenage daughter, who thinks texting is considered a hobby, when I was growing up (yes one of those speeches) we did not have texting, Internet or personal cell phones. The shock on her face made me feel like I grew up roaming the earth with the dinosaurs. After she got her composure together enough to speak she said, “How did you survive?”

Survive I did. How? I did not know any different. I had no base of knowledge concerning what life was like when you had the ability to take your work home with you, work till midnight or get cell phone calls in the middle of every lunch, and dinner, and shopping trip, and doctor’s appointment and even on the beach relaxing and “getting away from it all”. (Yes Rascal Flatts, I miss Mayberry too.)

Don’t get me wrong, technology is a good thing. I am a huge fan of it. But I know if I am not careful I will get so busy doing that I forget I am not the HP Pavilion with the ability to run 24/7.
I have to remind myself I am not called a Human Doing but a Human Being.

Psalm 46:10 does not say, “Be busy and know that I am God”. It says, “BE STILL and know that I am God."

The Hebrew word for “be still” is raphah which means to sink, relax, to let drop, withdraw, idle, to refrain, to let go, be quiet. Do those words sound like Greek to you as they do to me?

In the time before refrigerators, people used ice houses to preserve their food. Ice houses had thick walls, no windows, and a tightly fitted door. Each winter, when streams and lakes were frozen, large blocks of ice were cut, hauled to the ice houses and covered with sawdust and often the ice would last well into the summer.

One day while working in his ice house the owner lost his very expensive watch. He searched diligently for it, carefully raking through the sawdust, but was unable to find it. His employees also looked, but their efforts also proved futile. A small farm boy who heard about the fruitless search slipped into the ice house during the noon hour and soon emerged with the watch. Amazed, the men asked him how he found it. "I closed the door," the boy replied, "lay down in the sawdust, and kept very still and soon I heard the watch ticking."

Let’s stop and think for a moment and ask ourselves a very serious question. When was the last time we were so still and quiet we actually heard a watch tick? Can we even remember?

It is in the quite moments that we will hear God, feel God, know God and find God.

God is near and He is speaking in the ice house of our lives, but whether we are still and quiet enough to hear Him is up to us.

I promise, if you purpose to live Psalm 46:10 you will find in those moments is where God's grace resides for all 24/7 of your life!

Trying to Be Still,
Tina

p.s. I'm back on line!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Who Knew

My friend Lauren has the coolest camera EVER! While we were on our trip this past week she took some of the most amazing pictures I thought only a professional photographer would be able to take. I had no idea this camera existed or the possibilities it possessed. Needless to say I got excited at the new found ability to document our time in the mountains with not just your average pictures.

Follow me for a second, Psalm 105:1 instructs us to "tell everyone we meet all that God has done". There is a more common word we use for this particular activity- witness. The word witness comes from the Old English word wit. Wit simply means “to know”. So a witness is someone who knows something and shares that knowledge.

As I researched Lauren’s camera on the Internet, I soon realized it was not new to the market and many people owned one or at least knew about it. I was just not aware of it UNTIL someone “witnessed” to me.

Sometimes I think we over analyze our call to witness. See, I am sure Lauren could not tell me every detail regarding her camera. There are some things only the creator of the Power Shot SD1000 understands and knows.

Likewise, to witness we do not have to know all the answers concerning God or the Bible, all we have to do share our very own experiences with Christ. It is as simple as showing someone the different features on a really great camera. No manual, no Power Point presentation, no outline needed.

So today as you go to work, the grocery store, school or just visit with your friends and family, the odds are you will encounter someone who desperately needs to know about the awesomeness of God. And how will they know? Only if we witness (share knowledge) of our life with Christ with them.

No one made Laruen share her camera with me, but I am so glad she did.

No one had to share Christ with me, but I am so glad they did. Why would I want to keep it to myself? Life and liberty in Christ is for everyone, but we have to be willing to witness so everyone can have the same opportunity to know.

Our call to the mission field may never lie overseas. Your greatest harvest just might be found on the mission fields of every day life!

By the way, is it too early to tell Santa what I want for Christmas? Do I have to even wait until Christmas?

Just wondering...


Pictured: Me, Lauren, Caley (of course this was taken with Lauren's really cool camera!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hello Tennessee!


Just wanted to let you know where I am. Mark and I along with 4 other couples from our church are in Tennessee at a Couples Retreat.


We are heading out to have a fun day!


I wanted you to see what I am looking at on this beautiful day.


Wish you were here!
Tina


p.s. I will try to be a little more spiritual in my next post!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Simply Speaking

It is here at last. The autumnal equinox for the northern hemisphere! (A.K.A. - Fall) This is a wonderful thing for people like me. People, that is, whose hair will not stay and frizzes in this North Florida heat and humidity. The only thing is I’m not so sure Mother Nature has yet to receive the message that change is suppose to be in the air. Which leads me to want to walk outside and tell the weather to lighten-up, literally.

Unfortunately, that will not work. There are some things that I cannot seem to change by simply talking to it (like my kids, lol). But there are other things I have full authority to speak to and command to change. Remember my last posting regarding the line in In Christ Alone. We visited the fact that Christ commands our destiny and because Christ is the Commander in Chief then He has all authority. (God has put all things under the authority of Christ- Ephesians 1:22). But what is so great is Christ does not keep it for Himself. In Luke 10:19 He told the disciples, “I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy.”

So how do we exercise our authority? The same way God did in the first book of the Bible. The same way I would love to change the weather. Simply command it by using your voice. Nine times in Genesis chapter 1 you find these words, “And God said….” and something great was created. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that life and death are in the power of our tongues. Our words have more power than we could ever imagine. As a matter of fact, the pathway to salvation requires confession of the mouth (Romans 10:9).

So let me encourage you (and me) today. Whatever may be obstructing your path, simply speak and command it to move. Not because of your great power, but because of your belief in the One who has given you an all-access-pass to the power, dominion and authority you will ever need. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus again tells his disciples, “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible!”

Do we believe it?

Then let’s start speaking it!

Praying you have a Wonder Fall Day!
Tina

Sunday, September 21, 2008

In Christ Alone

I do not know if you ever get like me or not, but every so often when I do buy or download a new CD I find myself listening only to those 13-17 songs over and over and over again. I get all the goody out of it and then it's time to return to iTunes again and purchase some new music.

This is exactly what I found myself doing the first week in April of this year. After a trip to Jacksonville to see Beth Moore I downloaded Travis Cottrell’s Alive Forever. Travis travels with Beth and is the Worship Leader for all her Living Proof Live events. I initially heard him in Mobile, Alabama years ago at my first LPL experience. I have enjoyed his voice and music ever since but not like I have these past few months.

The reason I am stuck on the album is due to a song written about the implications of Christ’s life, death and resurrection entitled In Christ Alone. In my opinion you can match it up against any hymn written in the 20th Century and it will be at the top of the list. When you listen to it you will immediately know this is a timeless piece of music artistry. But what amazes me is that it was written not in the early 1900’s but 2002 by two song writers in England.

The entire song is awesome but I want to quote the last stanza (if that is what it is called, my music theory left me years ago).

No guilt of life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

Like I said the entire song is very powerful and I could address so many points in just this last section but look at the 4th line and read it again. I cannot tell you what that does to me each time they sing this line. It excites me to no end! Do you get what those words are saying? Jesus commands my destiny. If he commands it then that means He is in charge of it. If He is in charge of it then no one or nothing can change it. I hope you are really getting this. It does not matter what happened to you, where you find yourself in life today or what you have done He is still in control! He is the Commander in Chief of your life. He has the final word. It’s not over until he says it’s over. Psalm 119: 96 says, “Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit.” There is no limit to what God wants to do or can do in your life.

My husband and I had lunch today with a couple in our church. I got in the car afterwards and said, “That is so neat.” Marks replied, “What are you talking about?” You see, this couple is coming to the realization that Jesus is commanding their destiny and what they thought once was impossible, it is more than possible to them that believe. And that is, well, neat.

All my love, Tina

Friday, September 19, 2008

T.G.I.F.

It is finally here. Yes Friday. But more importantly tomorrow is the opening day of Bow Season, the day that my husband, my son and a host of men and some women look so forward to.

My intention for this blog is to always provide you with a word of inspiration along with scriptures to help us through our daily lives. The scripture that comes to my mind today of course is Psalm 42:1 “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.”

If you study deer or any animal in the wild, you will soon discover that when that animal becomes thirsty it begins a deliberate quest to find water. Nothing can stop or distract it. They have one and only one thing in mind, find water and find it now. And when they find their salvation, that animal will sink its head into that cool stream, forgetting everything else around him.

Which led me to ask, when was the last time I was that intentional about finding the Living Water with such a reckless abandon? When was the last time you were on that quest? If it has been a while let’s purpose together to begin our deliberate quest to find the Living Water as if it was a matter of life or death, because it is. I promise when we seek Him with a whole heart He will be found. And nothing or no one will satisfy our souls or quench your thirst like Jesus!

Please click on the comment and let me and those reading this blog know we're not alone. There is strength in numbers. The Bible tells us God has raised us up together to sit in heavenly places… let’s do this thing called life together!

Happy Hunting,
Tina

p.s. I have to leave you with the text my husband received this morning from a fellow hunter.
“Tomorrow…Tomorrow… I love you, Tomorrow…You’re only a Doe away.”

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Carpe Diem

I want to revisit our scripture again from the last post. In Corinthians 1:27 Paul teaches us that God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. Power by definition is the ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something. Think about it, nothing can operate on its own. Cars need fuel. Light bulbs need electricity. Our bodies need food.

In 2003 The Gap clothing company introduced a new pair of jeans known as Carpe Diem (seize the day) denim. The jeans fit into their new marketing campaign that was aimed towards women's empowerment. I am sure you know that if a pair of jeans had the ability to empower us and change our lives, then Gap would not be able to keep them on their shelves.

To give them a little credit they were on to something. There is somewhere we can go to get empowerment it is just not sold in a retail store for $49.99. Philippians 4:13 says “I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me.” I do not know about you, but with all I have to accomplish in a day for my family, my church, my friends and most importantly my God, I have to have fuel. If I am running on empty then I am not going to run anywhere and a pair of jeans I may purchase in a store, well they are not going to give me the power to live a life of contribution, blessing, joy and purpose. God is our only source. Plug in ladies and let’s allow the power of God to fuel us not for "women's empowerment" but for His glory!

Powered by God,
Tina

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tee Time

In Corinthians 1:27 Paul teaches us that God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. This has always intrigued me. Because if you consider yourself foolish, if you consider yourself powerless, then he is proclaiming to us there is good news. We are the kind of person that God deliberately chooses to do great things through. The problem is we have a hard time believing a perfect God would use imperfect me.

My husband and 17 year old son love to golf. There-fore (pun intended) if you glance in my laundry room you will find the typical items that accompany the golfers life. Golf bag, golf shoes, golf socks, golf gloves, golf tees and golf towels. (Yes they have their own towels.) But if you take one if the golf balls and look closely at it, you can see that the surface is covered with dimples. Those dimples make the ball look less than perfect. However, experts tell us that a perfectly smooth golf ball would only travel about half the distance as the ball "flawed" with dimples. Those apparent imperfections minimize the ball's air resistance and allow it to travel further than a perfect ball would.

In a similar way, we possess imperfections and weaknesses along with limitations in our own lives. However, it is those very limitations, those very weaknesses, that make us prime candidates for God to use and work through.

God has not asked us to be perfect, just to have perfect willingness. Let me help simplify it for us, whatever God has done for you, He also wants to do through you. If He has blessed you, are you willing to bless others. If He has loved you, are you willing to love others. If He has inspired you, are you willing to inspire others. If He forgave you, are you willing to forgive others.

So as you go about your day today I want to challenge you to do unto others as God has done unto you. He may just be setting you up for your next tee time!

Sunday, April 13, 2008