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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ancient Words..EVER TRUE..Changing ME & Changing YOU



Read these lyrics...... imagine hearing a 4 year old singing them. WOW! Touches my heart just to think about it.

Holy words long preserved
for our walk in this world,
They resound with God's own heart.
Oh let the ancient words impart

Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e'er we roam
Ancient words will guide us Home.

CHORUS:
Ancient words ever true
Changing me and changing you,
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart

Holy words of our Faith
Handed down to this age
Came to us through sacrifice
Oh heed the faithful words of Christ.

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world.
They resound with God's own heart
Oh let the ancient words impart.

CHORUS x4
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart


My 4 year old went to another church's VBS this past week and it has truly been a blessing. It was so special to see her become so excited about praising the LORD. We purchased the VBS CD before VBS started so that she could learn the songs. This was one of the songs....... we listen to it ALL of the time in the car. I started to REALLy listen to the words, especially since she asks so many questions and desires to understand EVERYTHING!

This song may seem like an "oldie" and over the head of a 4-year old, but if you could just hear her sing it....... I promise you would be moved!

SING IT LOUD!!!!

I love MUSIC! I LOVE to sing... I know that I am far from a "good" singer, but I still LOVE to sing! I am pretty sure that my family isn't very musically inclined either. When I grew up, I attended a Church of Christ for the Deaf in Austin. There was a handful of hearing people who attended there as well. So, when we did sing... we all thought we sounded pretty good (all 5 of the hearing people) and the deaf members could have cared less how we sounded so we sang loudly! My Dad actually lead the singing at this church too. I always grew up thinking that we were pretty good singers, then around middle school we moved to a bigger church.

My mom and I started attending a Baptist congregation ( my grandfather was a Baptist preacher.) I even SANG in their choir...... only for a brief period of time... no I wasn't kicked out or at least that isn't how I like to remember how things went down! Long story short.... we started attending Westover Hills Church of Christ in Austin. I found a place there and feel that is my church home aside from Altamesa.

We went back to visit over the July 4th weekend and there was a series that they were doing called "Behind the Music."
It is REALLY a special series and I tried to attach a link, but it is complicated and you have to scroll through a lot of the Sunday service to hear it.

http://www.westover.org/node/1754



Basically the purpose of this was to get past the "singing" of the songs and to focus on what we are REALLY singing.

How many of us from time to time sing the words just to sing them without REALLY paying attention to what we are REALLY saying to GOD.
HE is listening.... shouldn't we GET SERIOUS... ESPECIALLY since HE already knows our hearts and minds anyways! I MEAN REALLY.....why SING it if you don't MEAN it. By the way I am talking to myself more than anyone else right now! There are so many times that I zone out and pay attention more to what so and so is doing or wearing and etc. than to singing the words with meaning from my mind and heart.

1 Corinthians 14:15

15So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind


Each person has different spiritual gifts and GOD doesn't care HOW we sing, but we should TRULY mean what we are saying when we sing it. How would you feel if someone you knew lied about everything that they did... every word that came out of their mouth was a lie. Would you want to talk to them? This makes me wonder how GOD feels when we sing without TRULY meaning the words that are coming out of our mouths.

EACH song has a meaning.. each word has a meaning. Westover did this series to talk about what songs meant to the people who attend their church. If we know how songs impacted people individually, we will sing songs that aren't necessarily "our favorite songs" with a new meaning because it is ministering to someone and in turn it will minister to us. WOW.. to think that "my" singing could be ministering to someone.

Here is an example of a "behind the music" story:

(during the church service they showed a video of the members telling their story)

3 years ago a woman and her husband went to the doctor to find out that she had a mass in her abdomen that was going to have to be removed. She had already battled cancer 2 times before. This was a familiar road for them to go down however not a path that they wanted to tread on again. She was sacred... had 2 small children at home... etc.
The Wednesday before her surgery... they went to the Elders and had them pray over her. She specifically remembers one of the Elders kneeling down and in his prayer he asked that God would cover and protect and take care of them because GOD is ever present. Another Elder did the same thing but not only asked for protection for her but also for her small children. Then an Elder's wife sat and prayed with her and talked about God being a SHIELD for us. They attended church on the Sunday before her surgery and they "just happened" to sing "thou oh LORD are a shield about me" This woman felt God's presence and continued to feel that God was her shield. As she went home that night she" happened" to look up at her calendar which had scriptures and it listed Psalms 3: 3-4
Psalm 3:3-4 (New International Version)

3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD;
you bestow glory on me and lift [a] up my head.

4 To the LORD I cry aloud,
and he answers me from his holy hill.



After reading this she felt an ever surrounding presence that God was going to take care of her and her family. Her fear was lifted and the day she went in to surgery she knew it was all going to be ok. In the end it was OK.. she received great news, but also goes on to mention that even if she had not have received "good news" about her mass... that she knew God would have taken care of her no matter what.


God speaks to us in many ways. One of the ways that HE speaks to us is through song. This song is short, but it now holds more powerful meaning to me than ever before.


Thou, O LORD, are a shield about me, your my Glory and the Lifter of my head ...


I know that I am not the GREATEST singer, however I know that GOD delights in hearing me sing, especially when I get past the "going through the motions" of it and sing it with MEANING from my heart and mind.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What On Earth Am I Here For?

Thoughts taken from Rick Warren's book, "The Purpose Driven Life."

"A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree." Proverbs 11:28 (Msg)

It all starts with God. It's not about you.

The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose.

Every other path we try to take to "find" happiness, joy, or contentment is a dead end. But how do we find our own unique purpose? We can turn to what God has revealed about life in His Word. The easiest way to discover the purpose of an invention is to ask the creator of it. The same is true for discovering your life's purpose: Ask God.

God's Word is our Owner's Manual, explaining why we are alive, how life works, what to avoid, and what to expect in the future. God has not left us in the dark to wonder & guess. IT'S ALL IN HIS WORD!

"For everything, absolutely everything above & below, visible & invisible,...everything got started in Him and finds purpose in Him." Colossians 1:16 (Msg)

Thoughts to ponder...In spite of all the advertising around us, how can we remind ourselves that life is really about living for God, not myself?

"Blessed are those who trust in the Lord..They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)

Hope you have a great day living a life full of purpose for Him!

Friday, July 9, 2010

IT WON'T BE LIKE THIS FOR LONG

Who here likes to drink COFFEE? I know I do, and a PERK is to have the opportunity to drink it while it is HOT! FOR ME....that seems to be a rarity these days! However I am starting to learn to enjoy my cold cup of coffee...keep reading to see what I'm talking about!

Anyone else like to take a shower? Without an audience.....? When I say audience..I am talking G rated here. Some of you might be thinking I am crazy...however when I say an audience, I am simply meaning that I leave the door open and gate off the living room so that my 2 kiddos don't hurt themselves or each other while I am getting clean. I also like to close the door from time to time when I am going to the restroom. However, that just rarely happens these days. I do have to remember to close the door when we have company over! Am I exhausted? You betcha! Who isn't? I am willing to bet that I am not ALONE and there are A LOT of other exhausted Mommies out there! Even if you are not a Mommy or a wife , I know how you feel as LIFE just gets busy and we lose focus from time to time.

So, the other day I decided that I needed JUST a brief moment of alone time. I reached up on the bookcase and dusted off (literally) a Women's devotional book. I thought the title was so fitting for me... "15 Minutes of Peace with God" by Emilie Barnes. It should be noted that I also had a devotional book about having "quiet time" with God, but I just wasn't feeling that there would be a quiet moment just yet.
I held the book in my hands...... and did something I have done in the past with devo books and my Bible................... held it unopened and closed my eyes and asked God to "show" me what HE wanted me to learn today. Then I opened it up to the lesson on "being a Living presence."

I have to admit I wasn't feeling "the peace" just yet..... as I had just put one of my children into time out and I was in NEED of a "Mommy-time-out" just a break before I pulled out my hair! This devotional talked about Psalm 127 1-5.
Here it is from the CEV version:
Only the LORD Can Bless a Home
1Without the help of the LORD it is useless to build a home or to guard a city. 2It is useless to get up early and stay up late in order to earn a living. God takes care of his own, even while they sleep. 3Children are a blessing and a gift from the LORD. 4Having a lot of children to take care of you in your old age is like a warrior with a lot of arrows. 5The more you have, the better off you will be, because they will protect you when your enemies attack with arguments.


The author of my devotional went on to tell a story of a young mother who was inquiring about the path of raising children. She was told that "the way IS hard and that she would be OLD before she reached the end, but that the end would be much better than the beginning" This young mother was very happy and she WOULD NOT believe that anything could be better than these years. HOLD THE PHONE.......wow that was convicting to me as there ARE times that I do not feel the way she did... I KNOW my children are a BLESSING however I admit that I become so tired and run down quite often. TOO MANY women and parents have forgotten or have NEVER KNOWN the promise of the LORD...that children are a gift . They are the fruit of the womb. Many young mothers are completely frustrated with life because children take so much time from their day.

REMEMBER we won't always be in this phase... ENJOY the children while they are young because as they get old we (parents & children) will face new sets of difficulties.
ALSO...as stated in Psalm 127, we MUST have the help of THE LORD!!! Without HIM we are wasting not only our time but our children's time as well.

As I am thinking about all of this...... I can hear "Hootie" (Darius Rucker) in my head. I'll spare you from typing all of the lyrics as I have already rambled on plenty...

But, here are a few of the lyrics from his song "It Won't Be Like this for Long" that pretty much sum up the fact that life is quick and we need to enjoy every PRECIOUS minute that we have with our little BLESSINGS!
" It won't be like this for long
One day soon that little girl is gonna be
All grown up and gone
And this phase is gonna fly by
So he's trying to hold on
It won't be like this for long
It won't be like this for long"


I am learning that it really doesn't bother me to drink my coffee cold, admittedly I would prefer for it to be hot. But today as I am drinking it and I can hear my children playing and singing in the background...... I am reminded that YES!! IT IS WORTH IT! Children are a gift from GOD! One day soon they will be all grown up and I want to have peace knowing that I have taken care of the SWEET blessings that GOD has entrusted me with! So, if you ever want to grab a HOT cup of coffee....and have a "MOMMY time-out" because we ALL need one..give me a CALL because from time to time I do like to enjoy HOT coffee! May God Bless You and Your family today!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Living Like Daughters of the King of Kings!




We enjoyed a great time at the Power Source Bible Study on Monday night. It was so nice being surrounded by women who are filling their hunger & thirst for the Lord! What an encouragement these ladies are to me! Here are our notes from Monday night's study. Let's just don't read the King's Words, let's LIVE THEM!!

We Are Daughters/Princesses of the King of Kings!

*Our identity is in Him, not all the things in our world that try to distract us from who we are designed to be.

*Romans 8:14-17 "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, "Abba, Father." For His spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children. And since we are His children, we are His HEIRS. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering."

*John 15:16 "You didn't choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go & produce lasting fruit..."
My Chosen Daughter,
You are not a pretend princess, my child. You are a real princess, and I am your God, the King of Kings. I chose you before you were even born to be my princess. You are very important in my kingdom. I have chosen you to do something special that only you can do. I have amazing plans for you now and in years to come. Your love for me and for others makes you a true princess. If you read my Words everyday, I will teach you all you need to know about living like a daughter of the King.
Love,
Your King & Father in Heaven

*Jeremiah 31:3 "I have loved you with an everlasting love!"
Dear Precious Daughter,
I am your Daddy in Heaven and I love you so much! You are precious to me in every way. I think about you all the time. Nothing is more important to me than you. I want you to tuck this truth in your heart: No matter where you go, you'll always be my girl & I will always be your God. I will always love you & I will never leave you!
Love,
Your King who will never stop loving you

*Psalm 139:13-17 "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body & knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!"
My Pretty Little Princess,
I want you to know how very beautiful you are to me. I adore you, my daughter! I love the way I created you. When you look in the mirror, remember that I carefully chose the color of your eyes & the highlights in your hair. I love you so much that I know exactly how many hairs are on your pretty little head! I designed the shape of your nose & your happy smile. I made every part of your precious body. Don't ever try to look like anyone else but you. I think you're perfect just the way you are. There is no one in the world like you.
Love,
Your King who created a perfect you

*Psalm 126 (entire chapter) but focus on verse 5 "Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy."
Dear Princess,
Sometimes sad things happen. Life will not always go the way you want it to. When this happens, it's ok to feel sad & disappointed. I know how hard it is to act like my princess when your heart is hurting. It's ok to cry. Just know I am hear for you and I can make your heart happy again. But it may take some time before you feel better, so stay close to me when you're sad or disappointed. I will help you keep a princess heart, and I will give you joy while you're healing.
Love,
Your King & your joy

*Romans 12:6 "In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well...."
My Princess,
You have a very special gift that I have placed inside of you. Do you know what that gift is? It is something you can do very, very well. You will learn that some things are easy for you and make you feel good when you're doing them. There will be other things your friends do better. Remember, you do not have to try to be like anyone else. I want you to be thankful for the way I created you. Then I can help you open that precious gift inside of you. I have a wonderful purpose for your life. Ask me, and I will help you find it.
Love,
Your King who is preparing you for something special

*I Corinthians 2:9 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, & no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him."
Dear Daughter,
One day you will come to live with me in Heaven. I am very excited because I have so many presents here to give you. Did you know that every time you do or say something kind to others just because you want them to know you are mine, I am preparing another gift for you in Heaven? Remember, my love: Even if no one else notices the sweet things you do for them, I see everything you do. And for all the kindness you do in secret, I will reward you richly in Heaven. I want you to know in your heart that I am so very proud of you.
Love,
Your King who has wonderful surprises waiting for you
(All the letters came from the children's book, "His Little Princess" by Sheri Rose Shepherd)

*Ephesians 1:13-14. God put His seal on you as His child. This is His signature on you as His masterpiece He created! The word seal means authentic ownership. The Holy Spirit in a believer's life signifies God's ownership in him/her. The Spirit is both God's guarantee of future blessings & a foretaste of eternal inheritance that He has for us!

*We don't always look/act like royalty, do we? We have to CLAIM it if we are going to LIVE it!!

*We are adopted into Father's House. We don't know (as flesh) how to fully live and dine with the Father. As His adopted daughters, we need to be close to Jesus to learn more about Father and how to live in His House. Jesus is our brother. He points us to Father, shows us around, & teaches us how to live in Father's House. Jesus will teach us & guide us if we get to know Him & ask Him.

*I Corinthians 2 talks about receiving wisdom from the Spirit. The end of chapter 2 says that we understand things of the Sprit because we have the MIND OF CHRIST! Did you hear that correctly! We have HIS mind! We don't have to settle for anything less in ourselves. We are HIS daughters, His vessels, with the mind of Christ. We are royalty to Him!

*Monday night, we talked about the crown of life that God has promised us as believers/daughters of Him. Study these to learn more about the crown He has waiting for you...Isaiah 62:2-4, James 1:12-18, Revelation 2:10.

*He also crowns us here on earth as His daughters with gifts. Some we looked at in Scripture were: Victory (Psalm 149:4), Glory & Honor (Psalm 8:5, Hebrews 2:9), Knowledge (Proverbs 14:18), & Everlasting Joy (Isaiah 51:11)

*We also looked at Revelation 2:17 "Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches: To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it." HOW AWESOME IS THAT! He has special manna waiting for us. He has given each of us a new name written on a white stone! I can't wait to know what my new name will be from my King! I am charging each of us this week to find a white stone around somewhere and write "My New Name" on it to help us remember whose we are and the gifts He wants to give us both in heaven some day & on earth as well.

*So, what are you going to claim when you look in the mirror this week? Maybe at first, we will see our physical flaws. But we are called NOT TO STAY THERE because we are beautiful and flawless to the Creator. We must not be dictated by the world's standards. Cellulite-So What! Bad Hair Day-So What! Clothes Not Fitting Perfectly-So What! We have to stop obsessing over these things and live like the King of King's Daughters that we are! Write out this week how you are going to change your mindset and start claiming to live like the daughter you are designed to be.

We are so blessed to be His!
Laura