Thursday, September 27, 2012

What's OUR Motivation?

I want to continue some thoughts about sacrificing of time. I don't want to move on too quickly because this comes to the root of sacrificing.

Motivation is a powerful tool.   Some very famous people make big bucks trying to motivate us for this or that.  So our question today is this, what is OUR motivation to spend time with the LORD?

Back when I was a child I lived in an orphanage.  It was a "Christian" orphanage and so we were taught some basic Bible truths.  One stands out for me. Some of the girls were down in the room where there were some tables and chairs. At the front of the room was a chalkboard.   The lady we called Aunt so and so was at the chalkboard.  She was explaining that God had a book with our name in it.  Each person had a page apparently.  At the end of the day there would be an accounting of our day in that book.

There would be two columns on the page.  In one column there would be a place for check marks.  If I had done three good things that day then I would get 3 check marks.  However, if I had done 5 things wrong there would be 5 X's in the other column. Of course 5 is a bigger number then 3 so if I died that night I would go to hell.  Each day was a snapshot of our lives. You never wanted to go to bed with more X's than checks!

Can you imagine what my motivation was for being a Christian way back then?  FEAR!  I was motivated by fear.  I wanted to serve God because I did not want to go to hell and burn for eternity.  The motivation of fear can only go so far though.

As time went on and I read God's word I began to realize that fear was not the reason to become a Christian.  I slowly began to fall in love with the LORD.  He started to become my Papa.  Not a Dad who yelled and screamed and cursed you out but a Papa.  A loving father who wanted me to sit on his lap and tell him about my day. A Papa who could tell me stories that kept me spellbound.  A Papa that had so much love for me that He would ask his son to do the hardest thing imaginable, die for me.

That love for my Papa has just increased over the years. I no longer live in fear because I know that perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18.  I do stand amazed at his love for me.  Because of this fact I want to spend time with my Papa.  I want to know what He thinks.  I want my heart to look like His.

That is why I want to spend time and actually sacrifice my time for Him.  So the question we end with is this. What is YOUR motivation?  Spend some time and think about that, won't you?

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

TIME A Precious Commodity

This picture of a Bible is truly sad.  Yet, across our nation each and every day Christians allow the day to end without any time in the scriptures.  It is God's love letter to us.  He is hungry for a relationship with his children.

I can look at my own children and grandchildren to understand the concept.  Most of our children don't live in the same state we do. Almost half of our grandchildren live at least 8 hours away.  I long to hear their voices. I wait in anticipation for the mail each day to see if I have gotten a letter from one of our sons.  My eyes light up when the phone rings and it is one of our children.  Oh how I love to hear their voices. 

Scripture tells us that God loves us much more than we could ever comprehend.
God Is Love
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:7-10 (ESV)

If the Master of the Universe was willing to give up his one and only son for us, then precious one, we can certainly give up some time with him each and every day.

Last time I talked about the verse in Romans 12:1 that says we are supposed to be living sacrifices.  This is step number ONE.  Sacrifice some time along with me as we search for ways to become the kind of women God has for us.

Till next time  :)
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


We drove and we drove, and then we drove some more.  My buddy Rayetta and I decided some months ago that we needed to go make a road trip after the kids were back in school.  Somewhere not too far, but certainly far enough.  New England became our destination, New Hampshire specifically. 

Four months before our son Daniel left for New Hampshire to work on a very large farm for a year.  I had seen a couple of pictures of the place but I was not the one who drove him there.  This was the longest stretch we had ever gone without seeing Daniel.  I figured by now he could use a Mama hug.

So off we went.  Did you know that driving through New York state alone can take most of one day? Both Rayetta and I had lived in upper New York as young moms but had not known each other back then.  The scenery was as beautiful as I had remembered it.  Green Mountain is beautiful.  The colors had already started to change and became more brilliant the farther north east we went.

What a delight to see our son.  I have called him my "man-cub" for a long time, that is until this trip.  No cub anymore.  Full man, responsible for himself.  I am so thankful that God put him right where he needed to be. I am thankful there were 3Christian young men over 40 years ago that envisioned a place that would provide a safe place for young men to mature through just plain old hard work. A place where you grow your own food. A place that offers serenity.  A place for young men to envision a life serving God.

Rayetta and I stayed till after morning worship and if there was ever doubt before Sunday morning there was no doubt now. God, the Father of the Universe was and is in that place. You could just feel the presence of the LORD.  What an awesome experience.

For that I am thankful to the LORD for the opportunity to go and see now only another part of God's country but a time to affirm my "man-cub" is now a man serving the LORD right where He put him. What an amazing God we serve.

Happy Gratituesday.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Learning to Sit at the Feet of Jesus

The other day I wrote about surrendering our will to the Father's. It reminds me of a scripture that I have been meditating on now for months. Listen:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Romans 12:1 (ESV)

When I think about sacrifices I think about the garden scene in Gethsemene.  Jesus had to wrestle within himself to come to the point where he said to his Father, Not My Will but Thine .  Much tears went into the surrender that lonely night. Do not lose sight of the fact that Jesus was 100% God and 100% Man.

In the book of Romans Paul tells us that we need to present our bodies a living sacrifice.  It is that word sacrifice that I keep coming back to in my meditation.  I can tell you as a Christian who lives in American I don't really have to sacrifice about much of anything unless I want to.  You want to see deep, gut wrenching sacrifice you have to pretty much leave our country and go to a Communist country and find fellow believers who really do sacrifice daily to be a Christian.

Yet, Paul tells believers that we are all to be living sacrifices.  We live in a society that says we look out for number one. We want everything right now.  Want something? No problem, just charge it.  It can always be paid off later in 12 easy payments!  We tend to look at our spiritual lives the same way. May I suggest that our theology gets twisted sideways.

How do we become living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God?  Learning to sit at the feet of Jesus. Would you join me on a journey to be still long enough to hear from our Father? It takes sacrifice of time first and foremost.  Time is our most precious commodity. Are you willing to sacrifice some of your time to learn from the Master?

Next time we will look at how Jesus learned to sacrifice long before the cross.

Till next time.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Laughter, The BEST Medicine

Good morning to all of you.  It is Tuesday, which means we are celebrating Gratituesday.  A time we set aside each week to fill our hearts with gratitude.  Our LORD waits patiently for us to find things to be thankful for.  So, this week the joke is on me.

A dear friend has been sharing her bounty of beautiful tomatoes with me. If you read my blog very often you know that I really love canning fresh things.  Most of my canning done this summer has been in the Plain Community. Which of course is where I learned a really cool shortcut.

Instead of putting one tomato in boiling water at at time like the cookbooks say, you pour boiling water over the entire bucket all at once.  This method is super fast when you are doing buckets of fresh produce. So, Saturday morning I put the bucket pictured above (can't seem to rotate it, sorry) on the floor so I could pour a really huge pot of boiling water on top.

I happily start pouring boiling hot water over these tomatoes when all of the sudden water starts pouring out onto the floor from multiple holes. Of course I start jumping since I am right next to it while I continue to pour more water in.  It is then ( I know, a little slow Jill) that I realize my fatal mistake. This bucket has not one but about 30 holes!

Hubby was sitting in the living room and starts seeing all these holes sprout water and watches me dance while I try to put the silly bucket on top of the counter.  "Get it in the sink," he yells.   Once it is safely in the sink we continue to watch as the bucket empties from every little hole.  Hubby looks at a wife startled, kind of like a deer in your headlights startled and says to me; "Did you not see all those holes Jill before you started pouring boiling water over them?"

It was then that a sweet sound erupted in our little kitchen, laughter.  Belly laughs deep down to our toes. It was so stinking funny that it was absurd.  We laughed and we laughed.  When it was all over and the mess was cleaned up I had to stop and thank God.  For one brief moment in time my husbands pain was not shouting louder than anything else was in our lives.  Laughter was the best medicine that day.

For that I am truly grateful.  What are you thankful for today? I would love to hear.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Friday, September 14, 2012

Life is Messy

Life Gets Untangled at the Foot of the Cross 

At the foot of the cross, that is where all of life's messiness gets dealt with.  It is at the foot of the cross that I sometimes crawl to when I need to untangle my life.
A buddy of mine were talking the other day about the season of life we are both in right now. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would be where we are right now.  Like the child in the Christmas story, we had visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads but now the dancing is not what we thought.Why does life get so messy we asked?

This afternoon I was driving the car pool with two lovely young ladies.  I had a captive audience while listening to Dave Ramsey. I knew he was having a guest for half an hour that might be interesting so I kept it on.  Dave introduced Katie Davis. When she graduated from high school 4 years ago she decided to put college on hold for just one year and go to Uganda on a mission trip.

Katie had lots of plans for her life. Funny thing happened during that year.  God apparently was calling her to a much harder task.  She never did leave Uganda to go back "home" and attend college.  She is now a mother to 13 little girls and runs a huge feeding operation for over 2,000 children a day.  The young ladies in the back of my car had stopped texting and sat spell bound along with me.  

Dave wanted to know if she was ever disappointed that her life had not turned out like she had thought. With such a sweet young voice she admitted that the first year or two she would have moments where she would grieve what she would miss by not having a "normal" life. She then went on to describe the "stripping" that God was doing in her life to mold and shape her.  

That brought me back to my conversation with my buddy.  We both have times when we are disappointed that our lives have not turned out like we had visioned.  Life truly is pretty messy. The great news is God takes our messes and untangles them.  He has a will for our lives.  The question then becomes, are we willing to allow God to mold and shape us into HIS will and not ours?  

This takes me back to Gethsemane. Time spent alone with the Father. His disciples can't seem to stay awake to wrestle with the choice Jesus will have to make.  His will or his Father's will.  Drops of sweat pour off his face.  Tears and anguish. Pleading with the Father for another way.  After the anguish though comes sweet surrender.  "Not my will but yours Father" 

Katie Davis surrendered to the will of the Father.  Forgive me Father for wanting things my way.  Lead me to that sweat surrender.

Katie has written a book called  Kisses From Katie and has a blog

In Christ Alone,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Meet My Precious Sister Robin

Good morning everyone. I am SO excited to share with you some thoughts from my sister Robin. She holds a very special place in my heart. Together we have gone through fire.  She was that precious little baby in the crib the night our house burnt down.  Today, 50 years later she is a strong woman of great courage.  She truly adores the LORD.  Robin has a deep and abiding relationship with our Savior. 

She sends me encouraging words and scriptures and one day not long ago she sent me some thoughts about soaking.  I asked if she minded expanding it and sharing this with all my readers.  Below is her thoughts. So sit back and grab a cup of tea and read with me.

Some friends and I had a great discussion about prayer the other night.  Two of them had recently attended a Christina Yoga weekend where they learned about and experienced "soaking" in God.  Not familiar with that terminology, I asked for details.  The exercise started by having them lie comfortably on the floor and closing their eyes.  Then they were led in deep breathing relaxation exercises while listening to soothing music, relaxing and affirming words, and encouraging scripture.  The experience left them both energized, invigorated, and with an overwhelming sense of awe, peace, and refreshment. At the conclusion of their exercise everyone joined in spontaneous and sincere praise. 

Since our conversation, I've been chewing on the concept of "soaking" in God.  Long, uninterrupted quality communion with God is the equivalent of enjoying a gourmet meal.  I call it "gourmet prayer time".  Life is busy and honestly, sometimes my prayer diet isn't very balanced.  Some days all I get is fast food prayer. It's short and to the point yet satisfies the immediate hunger pains.  Normal everyday time with the Lord is like a good home cooked meal:  nothing too fancy but warms you from the inside out.  But every once in a while I take the opportunity to enjoy real gourmet prayer time.  Knowing a gourmet meal is in my immediate future, I save up all day because I know I'm going to eat something so delicious it's worth taking time to linger over each and every morsel until I'm so stuffed, I am full to overflowing. 

Yet too much of any one thing leaves us out of balance and we start to crave what our bodies are lacking.  Its human nature to crave what we're missing or don't have, right?  Take rain for example.  Some parts the country are so tired of rain their eyeballs are swimming.  I live in the desert and one of my favorite things about living in Phoenix is occasional yet much appreciated rain. It's not just the moisture we crave, but the fresh and rich aroma of the desert the rain releases.  It is hands down better than any perfume ever made. One could conceivably hyperventilate while trying to soak it in! I know, I've tried. In the same way, how sweet it is when we soak in God.  Our prayers are a fragrant and a sweet aroma to his nose.  Can't you just see him with a smile on his face, eyes closed, welcoming the scent as he waves it closer? When God spoke to Hosea he made it clear that he's after a love that lasts, not mere religion. He wants us to know him, not just mindlessly go through the motions or attend more prayer meetings. It takes time to really know someone.  When we take time to really breathe him in, soak in him, "He comes as rain comes, as spring rain refreshing the ground. ".   I don't know about you, but I'm craving awe, peace and an attitude of praise.  Soak + Breathe = Refreshment. 

I really hope the weatherman is right and it rains today.


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


A picture is truly worth a thousand words.  My heart is so full of gratitude.  A beautiful, healthy grand daughter.  Her skin as soft as downy. She has an itty bitty mouth and a tiny button nose.  Adorable baby feet, so tiny. She loves snuggling and she has that fresh baby smell. Who could not love a fresh newborn?

I am so thankful that she came into the world safely. Anything could have gone wrong in that tiny cabin in the woods.  God was watching over all three of them and showered amazing grace.  For that I am truly grateful.

What are you thankful for today?

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".