He executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. -Psalm 146:7-9

Friday, February 29, 2008

This is the day that THE LORD has MADE

Acts 26:12-20
"In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language,(1 )'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' 15 And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles - to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' 19 "Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance."



"the lesson we should learn from what was fulfilled in the life of Paul is that God has gospel purposes in all the set backs of our lives.........
Is any of you in the midst of a two year set back today? Anybody on a two year detour that you had not planned? Don't fret as though God has no gospel purpose in it. Trust his wisdom to allow what has happened. And put on those shoes of readiness to move with the gospel ON THE DETOUR. Don't take off the shoes of readiness thinking that detours don't have any gospel purpose. Jesus said, "This will be a time for testimony!"
I see so much encouragement here for an exciting way to live your life expectantly under the providence of a sovereign God. You get up in the morning and you pray and make your plan for the day. But then you pray again and say, "Lord, I know that I do not control this day—what will happen to my car, who will call me at work, whom I will see at lunch, and a hundred other unexpected details. Would you govern my day so that all its unplanned detours are spiritually valuable? Help me to see divine appointments where Satan may only want me to see interruptions and irritations."--John Piper

**********************
My LORD!!!!! And what a providentually hindered day it has been.. I would have never thought when I awoke this morning that Delta and I would be sitting in the hall way of her home waiting for an ambulance to pick up an 16 yr old who we believe had a miscarriage in her bathroom.
Earlier today, D and I were hanging out at a neighbors house who lives a couple of doors down from me. We said our goodbyes and decied to return to her house to see the guys off. As we approached her home her husband tells her that there are two girls inside from across the street. We go in and meet girl #1. Girl #2 is in D's bathroom. As we sat there, we are engaged into some fun conversation with the young girl about who she is, what school she attends, and were they live. We found out that the girl in the bathroom has an uncle who lives across the street from the Kellys. The two girls arrived at the uncle house to find themselves locked out. Girl#1 stomach begins to cramp so they decided to walk over to the kellys to use their bathroom. After 20 min or so..the girl is still in the bath room so Delta( WHOM I MUST SAY HANDLED THIS SITUATION LIKE....A PRO..SHE DID ALOT OF COMMUNICATING WITH THIS GIRL) begins to talk to her from outside of the door. We found out that she was bleeding heavily and that there was a possibility that she might be pregnant. We do all we can to keep her calm and relaxed..we began to pray over her, give her towels to bathe with and just offer a little bit of humor to take the edge off of the "what if" situation. As we help the young lady to get into the shower we hear a knock at the door. She tells us from inside the bathroom that the pain is getting worst and that something is wrong... All I hear next is a loud fall and I look up into Delta face to hear her say..." um, ok, sweetie you may want to dial 911"..... the girl had fallen out due to the amount of blood she had lost

The night ends with Delta and I at the hospital with her mom, grandmother, sister and two friends. We sat in that emergency room for about 5 hours. Still no word on whether or not she was pregnant, still pregnant, or suffered a miscarriage. We return to the Kellys to Joyfully before the LORD clean up the blood that was left from earlier that day

All I can think about in my heart right now is "why LORD"? like..."why Delta house"? ...."Why were we involved"? "what are your plans with this family and us"????? "What is there to do after all of this"???
And then it is clear to me, it's all for the sake of the GOSPEL..this is what it is all about..This is why we(Kelly's and King's) were called to this neighborhood for such a time as this.. We are to ...just as Piper stated above look at every circumstance, and take everyday as an opportunity to preach the GOSPEL through WORD AND DEED to those around us.
Before we left the hospital, we found out that this sweet girl's grandmother and sister will be moving in RIGHT across the street from the Kellys this month~~ This journey with them has just begun..what an introduction...

would you please keep this young girl and her family in your prayers..While in the hospital as well as back at Delta house this younger girl made it clear that she didn want her mom to know that she might be pregnant( it seems that the sister who is 18 now went through the SAME EXACT situation a while back and the mom did not take it well) We will keeep you posted

thanks so much for loving on us with your prayers~




Job 421-5
Then Job answered the LORD and said,
2"I know that (A)You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
3'Who is this that (B)hides counsel without knowledge?'
"Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things (C)too wonderful for me, which I did not know."
4'Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will (D)ask You, and You instruct me.'
5"I have (E)heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my (F)eye sees You


FATHER, I just simply ask that you may show them your glory.. I pray that at the end of the day, LORD it comes to them knowing you as LORD and SAVIOR..Because of your providence, no day is ever a mistake or coincidence. Lord, please help this family to know you through this trial
In Jesus name, Amen

Contentment

Happy Friday!
PRAISE JESUS!! I love the weekend! The husbands and a few of the guys from the neighborhood are going away this weekend to get some quality time with a PCA pastor of a multicultral church in Tenn.(who happends to also minister to the poor in his community) I get excited when Kevin gets to spend some time away with other quality men who can encourage Him in the ministry. They really need that you know. One thing I am often reminded of is to be content. Learn how to be content when Kevin is here and when He is away. It is very hard as many of you know being married to a husband who's life is devoted to full time ministry..but my... WHAT JOY and HONOR (as one sister reminds me) it is to be married to a husband who's life is dedicated to SERVING the LORD through ministry..To have a husband who loves justice, who's dedicated to showing mercy and will stand up for those who can not speak up for themselves..That alone should encourage me to be content with the life that the LORD has called us to live. Please pray that they have an encouraging, life changing time away...pray as well for Delta and I as we stay behind to love on our children as well as encourage one another to love our husbands!
Have a thankful weekend!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Trinkets to Treasure

OUCH!! yes..this one has a little sting to it..


"For those of us mothers with young children, the desire to “escape” and find comfort, relief, and pleasure in something other than God is a pronounced temptation. But all of us can succumb to this ungodly way of dealing with trials, both big and small. In this portion of his Personal Reflection, Dr. Powlison will offer us a guide to how, “Faith works out into a right longing to escape trouble and to help others in their troubles.” -Girl Talk

Personal Reflection, cont.
by Dr. David Powlison

Escapism

1. Ponder the following passages from Psalm 31.

“In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge…Into your hand I commit my spirit…You have seen my affliction; you have known the troubles of my soul…Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress. My eye is wasted away from grief…Make your face to shine upon your servant; save me in your lovingkindness. How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you have wrought for those who take refuge in you, before the sons of men! You hide them in the secret place of your presence from the conspiracies of man; you keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues…Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD.”

Read it over 3-4 times. Take it slowly. Emphasize different sentences, phrases, words. Notice the troubles he faces, and how open he is about his experience. Jesus quoted this psalm as he was dying. Notice also how persistently he calls on the character and promises of God. What most strikes you about this passage as you think about it in comparison to the “false refuges” where you tend to turn when the heat is on?

2. Now work through our six questions.

Situtation: What difficult circumstances trigger your avoidance and escapism?

________________________________________________________________________

Reaction: How do you tend to express pleasure-, safety-, and comfort-seeking (thoughts and fantasies, ‘addictions, ‘vices’, emotions, behavioral choices to avoid or procrastinate)?

________________________________________________________________________

Motive: What “false refuges” do you flee to? What things, activities, and feelings do you turn into your god, your strong tower of safety, your comforter from trouble?

________________________________________________________________________

Message: What specific things does God reveal about Himself (right in this passage), that bid to do battle with your escapism? ______________________________. Fan out into the surrounding sentences, backwards and forwards into the psalm.

Turn: Bring the real you, in your real world, to this real Savior and Father. Have a real conversation about what matters. Talk to God about all these things. Look how honest David (and Jesus) are in this psalm. They honestly experience the difficult circumstances, and come to God about these experiences, interacting with specific things about God.

Respond: What are you now called to do (and to not do)? What specific action will express how faith-working-through-love replaces false-refuge-working-through escapism? What are innocent pleasures? What can and should you do right now? Or when you get back home later today? Or tomorrow when you face your typical difficulties?

________________________________________________________________________

3. Worship is the opposite of being an escaper and false refugee.
What “consolations to delight your soul” do the hymns, ("Jesus what a friend for sinners" & "How firm a foundation" ) offer, give, proclaim, embrace, hope in, delight in?

Trinkets to Treasure

Personal Reflection, cont.
by David Powlison

Anger

1. Ponder the following passage from Ephesians.

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 4:29-5:2).

Read it over 3-4 times. Take it slowly. Emphasize different sentences, phrases, words. Where do you tend to misfire in this area? Notice how God boxes us in: you can’t “keep to yourself” (bitterness), or “go to the other person” (wrath and anger), or “go to other people” (clamor and slander)! We are driven to deal with our attitudes before God, and then deal constructively and mercifully with others. Notice how persistently Paul puts specifics about the Lord into the picture. He knows we need strong and sweet-tasting medicine in order to deal with anger. What most strikes you about this passage?

2. Now work through our six questions.

Situation: What circumstances trigger your anger or complaining? What pushes your buttons?

________________________________________________________________________

Reaction: How do you express anger (thoughts, emotions, actions)?

________________________________________________________________________

Motive: What are your “buttons”?
I want _____________________.
I must have____________________.
At all costs, I don’t want _______________ and must avoid it.

Message: What specific things does God reveal about Himself (right in this passage), that bid to do battle with your angry reactions?

________________________________________________________________________

You might also start to fan out into the surrounding sentences in Ephesians.

Turn: Bring the real you in your real world to this Savior and Father. Have a conversation about what matters. Talk to God about these things. It is a huge step to verbalize out loud that our “buttons” (idols, cravings) are core sins, and to verbalize that we need the very mercies that are held out as our example. Christ is not a “model” that we watch from afar and then seek to emulate. Rather, he actually treats us with mercy, so we experience his mercy. By doing mercy to us, he teaches us up close and personal to show mercy to others.

Respond: What are you now called to do (and to not do)? What specific actions express how faith-working-through-love replaces craving-working-through-anger? What can and must you do right now that is merciful? Or when you get back home later today?

________________________________________________________________________

3. Worship is the opposite of anger & grumbling.
What “consolations to delight your soul” do the hymns, ("Jesus, what a friend for sinners" & "How firm a foundation") offer, give, proclaim, embrace, hope in, delight in?

Posted by Carolyn Mahaney on November 09, 2005 at 08:49 AM in Spiritual Growth | Permalink
November 08, 2005

Trinkets to Treasure

Here is part TWO of yesterdays Trinket.. I am doing this in my time with the LORD..please let me know if the LORD lead you to do as well..would LOVE to hear how its going and what HE is teaching you..LORD willing,
until tomorrow.....

Please have a SEAT and TAKE YOUR TIME as you read this

Personal Reflection, cont.
by David Powlison

Anxiety

1. Ponder the following passage from Psalm 94.

“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, your consolations delight my soul” (Psalm 94:19).

Read it over 3-4 times. Take it slowly. Emphasize different words and phrases. Where do you tend to misfire regarding worry, fear, uncertainty, obsession? What most strikes you now as you think about how this voice of faith talks about his experience of both anxiety and the Lord?

2. Now work through our six questions.

Situation: What circumstances tend to arouse your specific worries and preoccupations?

________________________________________________________________________

Reaction: How does anxiety typically show up in you? (thought patterns, feelings, behaviors, inner obsession)

________________________________________________________________________

Motive: What erases God from your universe, hijacking the controls of your heart? Get as specific as possible. Our lusts and lies are evasive and deceitful, but to identify them is like publishing a picture of your enemy.

I want __________________________________________.
I fear (don’t want) _______________________________.
I believe ________________________________________.
If only ________________________, then everything would be fine.

Message: What specific “consolations” bid to delight you and reclaim you? Start to branch out from Psalm 94:19, working backwards and forwards into the surrounding sentences. What brought this worried man delight? You might also consider Psalm 103, Numbers 6:24-26, or Exodus 34:5-10 to prime your pump.

________________________________________________________________________

Turn: Bring the real you, in your real world, to your real Savior. Weave together situation, reaction, motive, and message. Pick one specific “consolation” to focus on. Have an honest conversation with your Father about what matters--out loud, not just spinning words within the anxious chambers of your mind! Honor Him. Give Him thanks. Need Him. Ask. Plead. Confess. Delight. Notice. Remember.

Respond: What are you now called to do (and to not do)? What specific actions will express how faith-working-through-love replaces idolatry-working-through-worry? What exactly can and should you do right now? Later today? Tomorrow?

________________________________________________________________________

3. Worship is the opposite of anxiety.
What “consolations to delight your soul” do the hymns, ("Jesus, what a friend of sinners" & "How firm a foundation") offer, give, proclaim, embrace, hope in, delight in?

Trinkets to Treasure

Personal Reflections PART ONE
By DAVID POWLISON


ok..so as many of you know I struggle with anxiety and fear. As I finished my time with the LORD this morning, the LORD providentially led me to a blog entry that would encourage me during this time..GOD IS SO FAITHFUL AND MERCIFUL!! He heard my cry!! I am so excited to began this journey of complete trust and dependance on the LORD.. I thought that you all might enjoy this as well..so the next couple of blog postings will be what I am doing in my own life to fight FEAR, ANGER and or ANXIETY. I pray that the LORD uses this mightily in your life as well

For more encouraging conversations you can check out the Girl Talk blog here
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Personal Reflection

INTRODUCTION:
Anxiety, anger, and escapism are common life problems, in both senses of ‘common’: everyday, every person. They are sins endemic to the human condition and to our struggle. And they are doorways through which the grace and mercies of Jesus Christ daily invade lives.

This life, therefore, is not righteousness but growth in righteousness,
not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise.
We are not yet what we shall be but we are growing toward it.
The process is not yet finished but it is going on.
This is not the end but it is the road.
All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.
--Martin Luther

In each case, we see three things:

1. It feels like we have good reasons to react with sinful anxiety, hostility, and escapism. The pressures, heat, difficulties, threats, frustrations, wrongs, beguilements of life come at us--and reveal what rules our hearts.

2. God gives better reasons, truer reasons, deeper reasons, imperishable reasons--Himself, reclaiming our hearts--that we learn to respond with faith working through love.

3. The inworking and outworking of faith and love produces the holy anxiety of caring concern (wrapped within deep trust). Faith works through love to produce just anger (wedded to generous mercies). Faith works out into a right longing to escape trouble and to help others in their troubles (alongside hearty enjoyment of innocent pleasures).

We’ve laid out a model, a picture, a map of the terrain of battle. A map is useful for orienting you, but it does not get you there. Our goal is to relate to our God honestly, intelligently, believingly, in ways that change us in real time, real place, real problem.

1. Take one of these three common sins to face and tackle this day. Your Father is the vinedresser, putting his pruning shears into your life:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any hurtful way in me; and lead me in the everlasting way” (Ps. 139:23f).

2. Whichever of the common deviancies you’re choosing, first read and ponder these hymns (and, if you’re so moved, sing with heart and voice!). Notice how we’ve parsed the hymns,

--The pressures of life are described in italics, those things (‘good reasons’) that provoke us to anxiety, anger, escapism. These are the circumstances within which our battle plays out.

--The Lord’s promises and self-disclosures come in bold, these invitations (‘better reasons’) to live differently. These are ways the Redeemer enters human life. Notice how these things that God says compete with the voices and pressures that woo and provoke us towards anger/grumbling, fear/anxiety, escapism/addiction.

--Our responses of faith are underlined. This is the heart of change.

Read all the italics. Then read all the bolds. Then read all the underlinings. Then worship.

Happy Birthday Princess

Here are just a couple of pics of our darling from her birthday party this past saturday..She had a blast!!! Our theme was "A Royal Princess Tea" ( this was in honor of her favorite character and book "GIGI God's Little Princess". I will post more when the photographer sends them to us

I am humbled and thankful to the LORD for granting us grace to raise this child for the advancement of His kingdom..Would you please pray that Kaiya would live out her role as a woman biblically, that she would be a woman after God's own heart and that she would be that support, a pillar in her marriage, church and community.. Pray for us as well as we STRIVE to show her the love of Christ!!


Father thank you for this blessing, when man said "NO" you said, "YES"!!! For your word says" Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, Unless the LORD has commanded it? You alone are all-powerful, and all wise. Thank you for the privilege to partake in raising kingdom disciples for your glory..Amen



-God's Little Princess






"We just love Carrots"

Monday, February 25, 2008

Quotes of the week



"Radical, positive obedience is not merely a grudging passivity. A wife doesn’t just become silent and go into neutral.

To obey Christ’s command to submit, a wife must work actively to know and honor the heart desires of her husband. She conforms herself to its joy, her husband’s heart’s joys, its instincts and its passions. And she encourages the children to do the same.

Submitting to her husband is far more than avoiding the temptation to belittle him. It involves lifting him up, honoring him actively in her heart and before others and verbally encouraging him."
--Does Christianity Squash Women? by Rebecca Jones
*************




"You can apply the same concept of distinct roles, not just in marriage but also more broadly in the family, where we see that the husband is given the primary responsibility to lead, to provide for, and to protect his family. As we look through the whole of Scripture and if you pull together all the verses that have anything to do with the role of the husband, the role of the man, you would see them falling into these categories—to lead, to provide for, and to protect his family.

Then you’d see that the wife is primarily responsible to help her husband by managing the household and nurturing the children. That doesn’t mean that they don’t both participate in both aspects. Both will often help the other in his or her primary area of responsibility. It simply addresses who has the primary responsibility and accountability before God."--Nancy Leigh Demoss

***********************************************************
I am so tired, and sadden at the LIES we have believed as christian woman about what biblical womanhood is all about
please join me in praying for a counter cultural revolution amongst christian women...pray for me as well as I am given by the LORD opportunities to speak truth..pray that I would stand firm and not fear man... I pray we all find joy ONLY in what and who we are in CHRIST!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pride? or Dignity?

Do you remember the neighbor I spoke about in another entry who the LORD used to teach me a lesson on giving??..If not
read about it here

Well, He's at it again...using the same neighbor!! I am so convicted and encouraged at the things that are revealed about my heart...
it gives me great confidence that the LORD is at work in me and that His promise to complete that good work that He began in the beginning is real, and it's TRUTH

As many of you know, in our first year of marriage I was in hair school, so of course ya girl has skills when it comes to the curling irons and such..lol
I was talking to Kevin the other day, explaining to him the story about our neighbor whose hair I take care of, missed her appointment this past week with me. I went to visit her to find out what happened and to offer my services to cover the time that she missed. She then went on to explain to me how she didn't have any money at the time; but, she did want to reschedule her appointment with me just closer to her pay day. I then explained to her how she didn't have to pay me, and that even if she didn't have the money I would be more than glad to do her hair for free.. She says ,"No"...I want to pay you"... Then I respond again with ,"you are very kind, but really it's ok...you don't have to pay me." to make a long story short, we go back and forth about her paying and me not wanting her to...
Clearly, after that conversation, I start to feel a little convicted..those of you who know me well know that the "biblical counselor" in me stated to come out..(you know, that little person in me that wants to be the next Lou Priolo or Martha Peace..lol)
SO I started praying asking the Lord," LORD, what is it? is she being prideful? why is it such a big deal for her to pay me..i think its pride Lord"...
As I was going over this in my mind, it hit me "nicole, that isn't always the case, remember what your husband has been teaching you about dignity"

oh snap!! that's it...

Let me share with you a little something I've come to learn about our neighbors...They are HARD working people who want to provide for their family just like the next person, this is not a family who is looking for handouts. When they have a need and you give to them, they accept it as a blessing..but they don't like to feel like a charity case. For me, to be honest, when I thought about us ministering to the poor I was thinking we are coming to give, and that may be true in some cases, BUT most importantly we are here to EMPOWER a community. We are here to give the resources we have to empower them to provide for their own families, so that they are not robbed of their dignity or made irresponsible by a workless welfare system. We have a biblical example of helping the poor in Lev 19:9-10 where God said to leave the corners of the fields uncut so the poor could have food. But the grain was not cut, bundled, processed, ground, bagged, transported and delivered to the poor, provided they were able, the poor were to go to the fields and do the work themselves. The Bible teaches empowerment, not dependency, and this is what I see in the heart of my neighbor who was created in God's image; resulting in her inheriting dignity.

I once read a quote by Bob Lupton; who is the President of FCS Urban Ministries, which says..
"”Give a person a fish and they will eat for a day, teach them how to fish and they will eat for a lifetime; if they have the skills to access or own the pond. A commitment to empowerment moves us to create an atmosphere where men, women, and young people in under served communities can grow to become contributing members of society. Instead of giving people hand outs and focusing on trying to make people’s lives ‘better’, empowerment focuses on creating opportunities for the poor to break out of poverty and dependence, so that they can provide for their own needs and the needs of their families."


Its amazing what the LORD has taught me through one missed hair appointment.. In the end I discovered I was the one with the Pride issue

PLEASE click here and read this thought provoking article on empowerment by Randy Alcorn entilted "Helping the Poor and the Homeless"..and please continue to pray for me as I learn more and more about myself as we serve on staff with common ground

much love!

Trinket to Treasure

"Through LOVE serve one another" -Gal. 5:13

"One another" is a theme that runs throughout the New Testament...So often in our devotional lives, we focus all of our attention on building our relationship with God. We read the scriptures-studying, highlighting, underlining( wow, this is soo me!!) and outlining. We select portions of the bible to memorize, sticking little note cards up on the bathroom mirror and on our computer screens. We fill our hearts and minds with songs of worship and praise. We pray for God's will to be worked out in our lives, for the need of our families, and for the furtherance of His kingdom. We buy books that will help to strengthen our relationship with God. We attend conferences so we can become more knowledgeable, more effective, and more zelalous. With all our heart, we pursue our LORD. And that is all very good, of course. But one of the things God is asking us to do is open up our eyes to the people around us. We are not God's only child. We belong to a large and growing family, which spreads across the whole world. Sometimes it takes a little gentle persuasion to take off our blinders and come out of our prayer closets to see the needs of those around us. Jesus is in heaven now, so He cannot walk among us to touch those who are hurting or in need of encouragement. Instead, He asks us to be His hands and His feet. We are His means of reaching out. God works through us to lift the spirit of those around us."




Your trinket to treasure this week is a little gift to help you remember Jesus' call to serve-A nice soft cloth for dusting. Whether you're wiping up a messy spill or helping to wipe away the tears from someone's eyes, you are prepared. And in your service, you will bring encouragement to many hearts

******
wow!! now thats a trinket to remember... I pray that we all serve our hearts out this week! love you all!
Nic

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Kevin and I returned from our little getaway trip in honor of our 6 year wedding anniversary.
What fun we had! Its great to look back on your marriage and remember how HARD and FRUSTRATING those first years were..whew!! praise the LORD that is over.. there were times we didn't think we would make it pass three. Life as I know it today is beautiful...being raised in a single parent home, I never knew what marriage looked like ( let alone a Christian marriage)
I am so thankful to the LORD again, for our commitment to the LORD and to each other..He is my best friend

This weekend has truly given me fuel to engage those in my neighborhood.. My prayer is that many marriages would be changed for God's Glory....and that many children in the hood would grow up with a NEW model of the family..
I know this is Jesus Heart for my neighborhood, I believe that things will be different for these little ones
it's great to be back!
*********************************************
HUMBLE ALERT!!!!!

In peace I will both lie down and sleep,For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.-Psalm 4:8

I knew this verse..yet, I was scarred out of my mind when this happend!!!!!

I must thank the LORD for bringing us through that storm we ran into on the way back home..I had a panic attack as we were headed down I65..we were in Prattville, AL as the news indicated that there was a TORNADO warning...My LORD!! We prayed, and prayed, and prayed, and prayed....We made it in the driveway at 3:15pm. TORNADO/ Sever Storm hit the area at 2:50pm .. Here are a few pics of the damage.. I am in shock and AWE..please pray for those who have lost their homes, and for the rebuilding of this city..pray for me as well as I still at times struggle with fear, worry and anxiety ( which are all sins) Matt. 6


Shopping Center






Walmart




Sky View






Apartment Complex Destroyed

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Friday Funny


I was talking to my grandmother the other day and she and I were conversing about my youngest brother son.
I am always hearing stories of how silly and adult like he acts, and he is only 3 years old

She was telling me how my mom was getting on him for disobeying..the conversation goes something like this:

Mom: "Jay, stop it now!"
Mom: "Boy, did'n I say stop it"
Mom: Boy you better obey or you are really going to get a spanking"

JAY( 3yr old) : Granny....No Weapon Formed Against Me Shall Prosper!"


Now thats using the scripture in context...lol

Have a great Weekend!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

SHE who wants friends must her self prove to be friendly

agh!!! I am struggling...my little girl is five and she is having the hardest time being friendly to her peers...(i.e.- she will say " I'm not playing with you anymore" when some one doesnt do what she wants them to..ect..)
This part of parenting is really starting to get to me...I dont know what it is..its not like she hasnt struggled in this area before, it just seems now more than ever... sometimes I just want to shelter her from all of her friends and not allow her to play with them
( what will that do?) I know in my sinful heart... I am embarrassed at times, and my expectations are high,then my fear is that no one is going to want to be around her because of her actions ( i know this is taking it a little to far, but its what I believe from time to time)
...I know the LORD is allowing this thorn in my flesh to be here to get rid of all of this and more..but my goodness... My hearts desire and prayer has been that she would be a Barnabus to all those that she comes in contact with and that she would have a heart that is full of kindness, mercy, and compassion

pray for me as I train and instruct her in righteousness
all and any ideas are welcomed
:)

Abortion Racism

wow...makes my heart ache even more for racial reconciliation
May God have mercy on us




Monday, February 11, 2008

Why the title of my Blog

The Lyrics below are from the song that is in my player to the left...This song was written by one of my husbands close college friends..
so appropriate for where we are in our life...
enjoy!!
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Rebuild The City
Lyrics by : Sho Barak
a

Verse 1
Missionaries came through and preached revival /
They took the land and left our hands with the bibles/
No direction no vision no disciples/
Years later the church has become an idol/
It became a culture and it's no longer a faith/
We seek comfortable living and no longer his face/
See churches on the corner but the corners don't change/
Members enter in the building but they come out the same/
Our house looking plush GOD's house looking desolate /
The churches aint serving they to busy protecting it/
We live in the city will we try to invest in it/
Rapper dealing death while everybody just blessing it/
The hood has little hope its like we accepted defeat/
We're from broken homes that's why we stand in the street/
I could complain all day but it won't get fixed/
Since I understand that my prayer has been this/

Hook
GOD give your servant success today by granting him some of your favor/
I need to, You need to , We need to Rebuild the City
(2x)

Verse 2
My man moved to the project invested in a project to offer the promise/
To offer needs to the jobless hope to the homeless escape from the bondage/
He said send me he prayed that for some weeks now he prays with his feet/
He sees the death in their eyes in outward the lie but in the inward they cry (rebuild the city)/
We use to fight for our schools now we fight to be cool like its tight to be fools/
Youngin 13 years old , ready to sell his soul, for a mouth of gold/
He like he wants to climb to the top he wants to sign with the rock, I got a sign from the Rock/ This is passed down from the top repent from your slop, before your breathing just stops/

Verse 3
As the pages turn I had a great concern I had to come to serve/
But then I realized I have the Spirit in me, some faithful men with, the word will equip me to (rebuild the city)/
I got a passion to preach, a passion to reach I got to Sheppard the sheep/
This is not just a speech we will rebuild the souls man along with the streets/

Cam Verse

Ride with me there is work to be done/
We workin the word that works when we working this one/
Start it off with me, to rebuild I need your truth and your grace before I'm hitting the field/So I can Rebuild the city./that's what you called me to do/to convince them to follow me as I'm following you/ to make the streets a little safer by teaching to love your neighbor/ most of all offering life by giving Jesus the savior.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

He is the greatest Reward

Have you ever been so in love with someone that when you are apart... you get this crazy Knot in your stomach when you think about being able to see them again????? It's like you become so sick on the stomach that you just want to brake down and cry...

I feel you..because I am feeling like that right now as I type this( except.. I am crying) Tonight as I was putting my little girl to bed, I became so much more overwhelmed with God's love...
We were in bed going over her scripture memory verse for this upcoming week...She is memorizing verses in the bible that spell out her name..and tonight we are on the letter "Y" which says..Y ou are my friends if obey whatever I command" -John 15:14

so we began to talk about WHO were Jesus friends and WHAT they look like...we then got into whose friends you were when you lived a life not doing what Jesus commanded/ not believing in him as your savior....some how in that conversation we ended up talking about not knowing who Jesus was and having to live far away from him forever..she didn take that too well..she then says to me..."mommy, I think I am ready to be a christian"....i then began to share the gospel with her and she then prays back to God some of the things I had said to her.....I tell you, its amazing to hear a five year old pray..its soo real and precious..Ntway

When she finished praying, I then asked the LORD to, you know, help her to understand this faith, help her to REALLY see that Jesus is real..I prayed that she one day truly walk with Jesus in this life and that the NATIONS would see that she is a friend of God due to her obedience...I just started crying when I closed her door and said good night to my baby, because all I could think about was that I knew who the LORD is.... not only do I know him but we talk..... like...... He's my FRIEND!!! just as kaiya asked me " can satan touch us" I responded " baby, He cant touch us unless God says so, those who belong to Jesus, he cant touch or snatch us from out of his hand!" Jesus isnt like the friends we have here on earth..
Friends sometimes will move away...Jesus will never leave us....
Sometimes friends are unkind.....But Jesus always loves us....
Sometimes friends cant do the things they say they will do, But Jesus is able to keep every promise..He's the best Friend that gave His life so that we can live forever..and thats not even the important part..BUT so that we can LIVE WITH HIM...
He is my reward....I cant wait to be with Him, I cant wait to see His face...This is what I want Kaiya to have....the joy of knowing that you will see His face..I am so thankful for the conversation we had tonight..I am so encouraged at what the LORD is doing in her heart
my prayer is that our little girl has no love for the things of this world....no love for riches, no love for her own name to be so widely known, no love for her own face to be seen, no boasting for who she think she is or what she can do... but I pray that if she boast that she boast only in the cross of Christ and all that His death has accomplished for her if she believes in Him...
Nothing in this life matters if its not done for Him and for others to see Him as He is


"HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, IS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME" REV. 4:8

Philippians 4:8-9 for the week

“What is contentment? It is having a satisfied mind in any situation. It is finding inner satisfaction in God alone and in His provision for you. It is experiencing His peace and confidence in difficult times. It is consciously enjoying the fact that God is good, even when your circumstances are not.”

So what do I do when my circumstances seem “not good”? I know I am supposed to be content, but how do I get there? The answer, says Mr. Jones, is in the verses that come before Philippians 4:11 which he’s arranged into a helpful acronym, “PTO”:
-Pray (vv. 6-7)
-Think godly thoughts (v. 8)
-Obey God’s truth (v. 90)


If you seek God’s face, renewing your mind with His truth and walking in His ways will produce inner peace amid circumstantial problems.”


taken from article "Learning Contentment in All Your Circumstances" by Robert D. Jones in the Journal of Biblical Counseling
(adapted from Girl Talk)

Renewing my commitment



“Be of good courage. Have faith. Be strong, 'For this is day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the Lord go out before you?'” (Judges 4:14).
She’s reminding him that God is there. I think as I read those words of how a woman’s words can inspire courage in the hearts of men; how a woman can inspire courage in her husband, in her sons; how we can inspire courage in our pastors and in others as we lift up their hands and we affirm them with the promises of God. We’re saying in a sense, “Go to it. You can do this. You can fulfill what God has given you to do. I believe in you because God in you is great.
”--Nancy Leigh Demoss

Kevin and I will celebrate our Six year anniversary this weekend( we were married on the 25 of Feb)! I know this sounds so cliché..but I really am excited and I am thankful for these six years..we have been through alot...I am most excited about how the LORD has done a work in my heart in learning what biblical womanhood means and teaching me how to be a woman and helper to kevin...The culture we live in screams the opposite and has us so confused on our roles.I myself grew up believing every LIE there is to know about what part a woman plays in the home, church, and in a marriage..I am so convinced of the TRUTH and I am so thankful that the LORD gave me the heart to listen and obey.. With God's grace I am intentionally trying to think of ways to encourage Kevin in his walk and in his calling( i may have said all of this somewhere else..if so....clearly the LORD is doing something in my heart..which means for you readers, sorry but you are going to be reading topics like this for awhile :) )..... would you pray for me and with me that the LORD would use us as woman to be encouragers to the men, sons,pastors,in our lives..That these men would be so encouraged and IN LOVE with Jesus that their commitment to him would not waver under no circumstances and that they would be able to lead us with joy and not with grief (Hebrews 13:17
PLEASE take the time to prayerfully read the sermon below about Debra and how she PROVOKED a certain man around her to faith by encouraging him to leadership
enjoy!!!

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Encouraged With Promises
Wednesday, November 15 2006
Leslie Basham: Have you encouraged your husband lately? It may be more important than you think. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I think we as women forget or maybe don’t realize how much men need encouragement and affirmation. They’re going to battle and when they do, they need to know that there’s someone to come home to who cares and who’s been encouraging them in the battle.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, November 15th.
Do you want the men around you to be courageous; to take leadership; to protect and provide? Then maybe you need to be an encourager. Today Nancy will help us see how the encouragement of a godly woman can affect potentially great leaders. Here’s Nancy in a series called When Men Don’t Lead: A Look at the Life of Deborah.
Nancy: We’ve been talking about what it means to be distinctively feminine and to exert our influence as women in ways that are womanly; to exert ourselves in ways that enhance male strength and leadership.
I have to tell you that this is not a way of thinking that has always come easily or naturally for me. Those of you who know me know that I am a strong woman. I have a lot of opinions; I have some natural strengths and gifts; I’m outgoing.
I have found myself at times over the years, really wrestling with the Lord and with the Word of God over my understanding of what the Scripture teaches about—what it means to be feminine. There have been times, honestly, in the past when I resented what I felt was the biblical teaching on womanhood.
Now my theology was conservative. My understanding of Scripture was conservative, so I couldn’t just walk away from that. But, I tease and say, “I was kind of a frustrated preacher in a woman’s body,” because I really wanted to serve the Lord and I wanted to teach the Word. But I had this view that it was men that God used to really do ministry, and that if I’d been a man I could have been more effective, more useful, and more fruitful in ministry.
As a single woman, my role has not been as a wife or as a mother, so what am I supposed to do with this stuff that’s in my heart? There were times . . . I remember when I first was working for another ministry and the leader of the ministry came to me and asked if I would start doing women’s conferences. I was 21 years old, and he wanted me to travel and do these conferences for women on the woman’s role in the home.
Honestly, when I was first asked that, I was really turned off by the idea. I thought, “I do not want to spend my life talking to women at women’s conferences.” I didn’t say that, but that was kind of my visceral reaction. The truth is, honestly at that point, I really wasn’t comfortable with the fact that God had made me a woman.
Through my 20’s I wrestled with a lot of these things and still into my 30’s. Some days I still struggle with what it means to be a woman; to be a receiver; to be a responder; to affirm, strengthen, and lift up male leadership. I want to share with you ladies that for men to be godly, they have to deal with their own issues. Because for them it means the willingness to step up to the plate; to take leadership; to provide and to protect in ways that their flesh doesn’t want to do all the time.
So we all have our own wrestling with our flesh. But as I’ve come to understand more of God’s heart and God’s plan and God’s design and God’s ways and the beauty of God’s creation—male and female; He created them to reflect His image—I have come to love what it means to be a woman.
Now you say, “What does that all have to do with the series we’re in?” Well, we’re talking about Deborah in the book of Judges. She has been used as an icon of the evangelical feminist movement for years and years.
I’ve kind of been afraid in a way to teach this passage because on the face of it, it seems like Deborah promotes the viewpoint that we ought to be putting women in positions of primary spiritual leadership. But the more I studied this passage, the more I realized that’s not what her life says at all.
Her life illustrates to us how to be a woman of influence in a way that is godly and feminine. We’ve been talking about some of he evidences of femininity—distinct femininity in the life of Deborah—in Judges chapters 4 and 5.
We see that she acts in such a way as to affirm and lift up male leadership. As the men rose to leadership in her day . . . It delighted her to see that God was raising up men to take leadership. You see that particularly in the fifth chapter.
Then we see her nurturing leadership in Barak, who is the man that God is raising up to fight this battle. Her role is to provide an opportunity for men to fulfill their God-created calling as leaders, defenders, and protectors.
We see that Deborah is not a woman who’s looking to get the credit. She’s not trying to be the hero of the story. In fact, this story really isn’t about Deborah. This story is about God. This story is about how God used a woman to change a whole culture; to bring men out of hiding; to bring men to the places of leaderships that women wished they really would take.
We see Deborah in a helper role in this passage. It’s helped me a lot to understand that this is why God made women—to be helpers. God didn’t make men to help women. Men are given the responsibility to provide and protect, but a woman was created with a distinctive purpose to be a helper suitable to men, to adapt, to fit in, to help, to encourage and strengthen.
When Barak says in Judges chapter 4, “I’m not going to this battle unless you go with me,” (verse 8, paraphrase) I am not sure whether it was because of unbelief or just because he respected her walk with God, and he wanted to make sure that God was with them in the battle. Whatever the reason he says, “You need to go with me into battle.”
She is willing to accompany Barak into the battle. She says in verse 9 of Judges 4, “I will surely go with you.” Whose idea was it? Not hers, but his. She’s responding. She’s created a situation and a circumstance where he is freed up and empowered to lead.
So he says, “Go with me.” Now he may be scared to death. That may be why he’s saying it. But she responds to that, and she says, “I will surely go with you.”
I’ve been quoting some during this series from a booklet by John Piper called What’s the Difference? It’s a chapter out of a larger book actually. This chapter has been so helpful to me in my role as a woman. Let me read to you a paragraph—a fairly lengthy paragraph—out of that book that I think addresses this subject.
John Piper says:
There are ways for a woman to interact even with a male subordinate [There may be a situation where a woman is actually an employer and has men working for her in different ways.] that signal to him and others her endorsement of his mature manhood in relation to her as a woman. I don’t have anything in mind like sexual suggestiveness or innuendo. Rather, I have in mind, culturally appropriate expressions of respect for his kind of strength and glad acceptance of his gentlemanly courtesies. Her demeanor—the tone and style and disposition and discourse of her ranking position—can signal clearly, her affirmation of the unique role that men should play in relationship to women, owing to their sense of responsibility to protect and lead.1
Now, I don’t know if you got all that. If you didn’t, I encourage you to order a copy of that booklet by John Piper, What’s the Difference? We’ll tell you how you can get it. He’s really just saying that the way we as women speak and function when we’re with men—and obviously it’s different if it’s your husband, a boss, or a man in the church.
How you live this out may look different, but there are ways as women that we can signal to men our affirmation of them as men. John Piper even talks about . . . Sometimes when a woman feels she needs to help a man move into a new direction, he [Piper] says, “A woman who believes she should guide a man into new behavior should do that in a way that signals her support of his leadership.”2
I had dinner this week with a woman who’s in another ministry. She has a very responsible position there, and one that I think is not unbiblical. She’s not having a pastoral role in a local church. I think the Scripture is clear that those positions should be held by men. As I say that I know, I know that some will disagree with me.
But this woman is in a parachurch ministry and has a lot of responsibility, but she’s under male leadership. She really . . . This is a woman who came out of a feminist background. She didn’t come to know the Lord until she was in her 30’s. She’s very capable, very articulate, very bright, but she has a real heart for the Lord, and wants to use those God-given gifts in ways that are appropriate for her as a woman.
We sat at the dinner table across from each other, and I just talked to her about some of the ways that the Lord has helped me—practically, as a woman in ministry—serve (often with a lot of men on staff) in ways that are distinctively feminine. I said, “I’ll be sometimes in a meeting with a whole group of men, and I’m the one woman in the room. I’m at a peer level in terms of responsibility with the men.”
I said, “I look for a chance to notice water glasses being empty and say, ‘Can I get you some more water?’” You say, “Is that un-masculine for men to say that?” I don’t think so. But I think it’s distinctively putting myself in a serving role in ways that affirm men as men.
Affirm them; receive their leadership; receive their input. Does that mean they’re always right? Of course not. Men wouldn’t claim that for themselves. Does it mean we’re always right? No, and that’s what we’ve got to remember. We’ve got to hold, humbly, our own sense of how this ought to be done.
Then get involved in the home, in the workplace, the church, and the community with men. Do it in ways that help them; that lift them up and encourage them in that role.
Before I move into a final point on how Deborah evidenced femininity, in the way that she ministered and served, let me just respond to a question that someone asked me before the session just a bit ago. “What if in your home—which is where most women are having to live all this out—what if your husband just says, ‘You take care of that.’? Is he abdicating responsibility to say that?”
My answer is: He may be, but he may not be. I don’t know any more about that situation than what that particular woman said, but your husband may be being a wise manager of the home, and he may be providing godly leadership by saying, “This is something that you would be more effective at doing. I’m delegating this to you.”
Whether it’s keeping the ledger, decorating the house, picking the curriculum for the children’s schooling, or in other particular areas where he knows that you have God-given gifts and strengths. He’s saying to you, “I want you to use those.” By doing so, he’s not necessarily abdicating his responsibility.
If a man says about every area of life, “You just take care of it,” and he doesn’t show any interest or involvement or participation, that’s a different issue. But a man can be giving a basic oversight and boundaries and direction and still be delegating to you, the carrying out of many of those particulars.

A wise husband, like a wise president of a corporation, will do that. He’s going to play to your strengths and encourage you to use those. We need to be careful not to be too hard on men and to not assume that they are abdicating just because they’re encouraging you to take a particular responsibility.
In some situations where, for example you have a single mom, a wife with a husband who’s not a believer, a husband who is not walking with God, or he is abdicating responsibility. It’s still appropriate for you to do what needs to be done as necessary, but in a spirit that says, “I’m not taking this out of the control of my husband.”
Your spirit can communicate, “I would welcome a man’s leadership in this area of my life.” Your demeanor can still communicate you are being womanly; you are being feminine. Though in the particulars of how you live that out, you may be put in a position where you have to take some responsibilities that would not be ideal.
That’s where I’d encourage you, again, to go back to that wonderful little booklet by John Piper called What’s the Difference? As I’ve said before, you have to read that chapter carefully, thoughtfully, and prayerfully perhaps, to grasp the whole intent of what he’s saying. But he gives a lot of illustrations of how this masculine and feminine thing works out in the course of real life situations.

As we come back to Deborah in Judges 4 and 5, one of the things that really stands out to me in this passage is that Deborah was an encourager—an encourager of the men in her world. She used the gift of encouragement, the ministry of encouragement to stimulate faith in Barak.
Barak, as you remember, was the military man that Deborah summoned and said, “God has a message for you. He wants you to amass the troops and to go to battle against the Canaanites” (Judges 4:6-7, paraphrase). Deborah encouraged Barak and strengthened his faith by telling him about God’s promises. She encouraged him with the promises of God.
In chapter 4 of Judges, verse 7 she quotes what God has said to her. This is a promise, and she is communicating this promise to Barak—“I [that is God] will draw out Sisera.” That is the opposing general. “I will draw out Sisera, to meet you . . . and I will give him into your hand.”
She’s saying, “God has given you a promise. Let that promise be what creates faith in you.” Then we come to verse 14 of chapter 4. Now, they’ve got the army; they’re getting ready to go into battle. Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the Lord go out before you?”
As you put this in the whole context of the passage, I don’t think Deborah is giving Barak marching orders saying, “Now’s the time to do it,” and he’s just her puppet and he’s just carrying out her orders. I think she’s standing behind him and underneath him to support and to encourage him in saying, “Be of good courage. Have faith. Be strong, 'For this is day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the Lord go out before you?'” (Judges 4:14).

She’s reminding him that God is there. I think as I read those words of how a woman’s words can inspire courage in the hearts of men; how a woman can inspire courage in her husband, in her sons; how we can inspire courage in our pastors and in others as we lift up their hands and we affirm them with the promises of God. We’re saying in a sense, “Go to it. You can do this. You can fulfill what God has given you to do. I believe in you because God in you is great.”
I think we as women forget or maybe don’t realize how much men need that encouragement, that affirmation. They’re going to battle—when they do—for their wives and their daughters. They need to know that there’s someone to come home to, who’s there, and who’s been encouraging them in the battle.
I see in Deborah, a woman of faith and courage. To me, the legacy of this woman’s life . . . In the next session we’re going to get into the actual battle. But as we wrap up this section of masculinity and femininity issues, to me the legacy of this woman’s life is that through her faith and through her courage, the men of her day became men.
They were challenged to become more manly. They came forward; they stepped to the plate to accept their responsibility to fight against evil, to defend their wives and their children, to be the protectors that God intended them to be.
The legacy isn’t that Deborah won this great battle. The legacy is that she lifted up Barak and the 10,000 willing men and soldiers who came to this battle after 20 years of being intimidated and oppressed—one woman’s faith and courage and verbalizing that inspired these men to become really manly.

I read in Acts chapter 6 about how the early church chose a number of men to serve as deacons. We’re told that they were men of good repute and full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom and faith (verses 2-4). As I read passages like that, I pray, “Oh God, give us godly men to lead Your people today.”

That’s something that’s been on my heart for years. I know it’s on some of your hearts. One of the roles we can have is to pray and then to encourage those men to be men of faith; to be men of good repute; to be full of the spirit. I think God has a way of using us to encourage them to step into those roles.


One of the things that struck me as I was studying this passage is when I referenced Hebrews chapter 1—which refers to this story we’re studying in Judges chapter 4. Hebrews 11, you’ll remember, is the list of all the great men and women of faith—not all of them, but many of them. That passage lists fourteen Old Testament men and two women, Sarah and Rahab, who are named in this hall of faith. Deborah’s name is not in that passage.
Do you know whose name is? Barak—the man that she inspired to take courage and to lead. Hebrews 11:32, after all of these different heroes of the faith have been listed, verse 32 says, “And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith [Barak through faith] conquered kingdoms, enforced justice” (verse 33). Verse 34, “escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.”
Did you catch that? Barak is listed as a man of great faith. His exploits, his feats are the ones that are celebrated in this passage. But he didn’t start out as a man of great faith. He apparently was back there hiding with all the other intimidated men in Israel. For years, nobody had stepped to the front. They were scared, and they became passive and inactive. He lived in an era when men were fearful.
Deborah was the one who had faith. But in the end, when the New Testament story was told, it’s Barak’s faith that was recognized.
Now some women would look at that and say, “That’s cheap. Deborah should get the credit. She’s the one who had the faith in this story. That’s not fair!” Do you know what? I think Deborah would have been thrilled to see Barak’s name in that list because she wasn’t living for her own credit, for her own glory. She was living for the glory of God.
I think she was thrilled that these men who—yes, were weak. Out of weakness they were made strong. Samson surely had his shortcomings and others listed in that passage. They weren’t flawless men, and neither is your husband, and neither is your pastor. But they can be made strong out of weakness when there’s a Deborah behind them; when there’s a woman lifting up their hands and encouraging them and praying for them.

I’ll tell you what ladies, when you get to heaven, if you can hear the Lord say to your husband, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were a man of faith; you were a godly man.” Won’t you be thrilled? Because you will know that you fulfilled God’s calling in your life, which was to be a helper, suitable to your husband. If your husband is one day recognized as a godly man of faith, won’t you feel that you succeeded?
So as we exhibit godly womanliness, God uses our lives to motivate godly manliness. We can’t wait and sit around and say, “If the men would just be more godly; if they would just be more proactive; if they would just be less passive then we could be more godly as women.”
Listen! We’re only responsible for ourselves, and we need to say, “Lord, what is it You want me to do? Who is it You want me to be in this hour? How can I exercise faith, and how can I encourage the men, the husband, the pastor, the sons, the other men in my life? How can I encourage them to be all You made them to be?”

Common Ground Weekly Update

This update comes from the President of our Ministry..please pray for us!
Thank you

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Common Ground Weekly Update

Two Special Observations

I thought I would share two things I saw this week that burdened my heart.

First, I was driving down our street one day at about 2:30 in the afternoon and saw seven neighborhood kids playing in the street. I knew all of them so I stopped to talk. After I realized that school hadn’t let out yet, I asked them why they were home. Five of the seven kids had been separately suspended from the middle and high schools. The other two kids were ‘sick’, so they stayed home and played outside all day. The kids were between five and fifteen in age. I’ve also seen another fifteen year-old walking our streets all day long for about two months. He comes by my house in the afternoons to play basketball. He flashed a pistol at one of our neighbors last week when she told him he needed to quit walking the streets and go to school. As mentioned before, a recent national study gave our high school the name of ‘drop out factory’.

The second thing I witnessed occurred during our baseball practice earlier this week. We watched a police car come barreling around the outside of the center-field fence while we were batting. As the policeman parked and jumped out of his car, at least 20 youth came running from behind a building. Some of them jumped the fence and came running through the middle of our practice, and some ran away in other directions. They were gambling and smoking marijuana. During our practice times in the course of the last year we have witnessed gangs initiate their prospects (other teens) by coming together in groups of 25 and beating them. We’ve seen kids smoke marijuana on many occasions. Just yesterday, one of the guys we are mentoring told me about the aftermath of a stabbing that happened at school that day.

Our kids seem to be on a crash course with destruction. Please pray for us and the other churches in our neighborhood as we seek to see the Kingdom of God manifested in our midst. Unless godly families are raised up as light in our community…unless a new culture begins to replace the old one as we participate in the new creation in the Gospel of the Kingdom of God … it will only get worse. Obviously, I believe there is real hope for transformation. Please pray for our community.



Will you pray for our next potential decisions on a facility?

I was deeply convicted of something while attending a missions conference one night this week. I feel like I have strayed off course in some of our planning towards some ministry ‘space’ to carry out various outreach, recreational, and development initiatives. We have been thinking hard about finances, about locations, strategy, and what to include in building or renovating a facility, etc. These are all necessary and are a part of good stewardship. But, something else happened in my heart. I believe that God moved us to actually seek Him earnestly in prayer over these upcoming decisions. I am asking you to consider doing this with us. Will you seek His face with us about the timing, location, type of space, and resources toward a ministry facility with us? Many of you tell me constantly that you pray for us. I believe it, because so many doors have opened for us over the last year and a half. Now, I am asking you to commit to doing it daily with us over the next two months. We have two potential options.

Our first potential option is to build on some land we already own at the front of our neighborhood. It would require rezoning, and the city would have to relax some set-back rules for this type of building. We could build office space, a full size basketball gym size floor we could use for a number of things, a kitchen, a few small classrooms, and a small computer lab. The location is great, but parking would be very limited, and we will have used all the space available. It would be new, nice, and an easier and much quicker ordeal than our second option.

The second potential option is on the west side of the neighborhood. I love the location because it’s three blocks from my house and sits between both housing projects and Washington Park . It has a number of old buildings on the property, sits on 5 acres, and is connected to 10 more acres of vacant land that is also for sale. It’s next door to the neighborhood middle school. It would be a renovation nightmare, but it has tremendous space for any future growth of our work. It obviously would be more expensive. Please consider committing to pray for us in these decisions.

We hope that God will clarify the best decision as we pray. I am so grateful for your friendship and support of our ministry. We could not do what we do without your prayers, help, and support. May God bless you and keep you until I speak to you again.


Psalm 34:3, Bryan Kelly

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Trinket to Treasure # 5




"COMFORT EACH OTHER AND EDIFY ONE ANOTHER, JUST AS YOU ALSO ARE DOING"-1 Thess. 5:11


"In the body of Christ our attitude towards one another should be "All for one and one for all!" With that motto in mind, your gift today is a Three Musketeers candy bar. (you'll remember this was their rallying call as well.) In our case, the "all for One" is all for Christ. We each belong to Jesus, and we give our all for Him. The "One for all" is a reminder that God is for us, and He loves each of us equally. So don't fall into family squabbling, but instead join forces with all believers. It's a great way to encourage each other!"


In so much of our devotional life, we focus on strengthening our personal relationship with God, Sometimes we neglect the building of our relationships with each other. That might mean we may need to come out of our comfort zones...

Father this week we ask that you help us to reach outward. Would you help us as believers to treat other people in the same way you have treated us. When love and kindness does NOT come easy, would you please help and give us inspiration. We ask and wait in expectation...Amen

Just for Laughs

I was talking to my grandmother the other day and she was explaining to me how silly and adult like my nephew was. He is two years old and acts like a little man..
The other day my mom was telling him he needed to obey or he would get a spanking..his response was ..." granny, no weapon formed against me shall prosper"

well....at least we know he is hearing the scriptures :)

HAve a great Weekend!!!

Just for Laughs

Found this online..very cute, Enjoy!!


"Once there was a little boy that lived in the country.
They had to use an outhouse, and the little boy hated it because it was
hot in the summer and cold in the winter and stank all the time. The
outhouse was sitting on the bank of a creek and the boy determined that one day
he would push that outhouse into the creek.

One day after a spring rain, the creek was swollen so the little boy
decided today was the day to push the outhouse into the creek. So he
got a large stick and started pushing. Finally, the outhouse toppled into the
creek and floated away. That night his dad told him they were going to the woodshed after supper.

Knowing that meant a spanking, the little boy asked why.
The dad replied, "Someone pushed the outhouse into the creek today. It
was you, wasn't it son?"
The boy answered yes. Then he thought a moment and said, "Dad, I read
in school today that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and
didn't get into trouble because he told the truth."
The dad replied, "Well, son, George Washington's father wasn't in the
cherry tree."


Have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Quote Of the Night

Strategic Hospitality

"What I mean by strategic hospitality is a hospitality that thinks strategically and asks: How can I draw the most people into a deep experience of God's hospitality by the use of my home or my church home? Who might need reinforcements just now in the battle against loneliness? Who are the people who could be brought together in my home most strategically for the sake of the kingdom? What two or three people's complementary abilities might explode in a new ministry if they had two hours to brainstorm over dinner in my house?

Strategic hospitality is not content to just have the old clan over for dinner again and again. It strategizes how to make the hospitality of God known and felt all over the world, from the lonely church member right here, to the Gola farmers in Tahn, Liberia. Don't ever underestimate the power of your living room as a launching pad for new life and hope and ministry and mission!"--John Piper

Today is a good day to DIE

"And He was saying to them all "IF anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me...."- Luke 9

Today some friends and I had the chance to visit with a couple who ministers in another country( the husband is a pastor)...Today was the most encouraging, draining, and emotional time for me. For the past couple of weeks(maybe months) I have been struggling with the whole hospitality aspect of ministry and just what limitations should there be for our family as we try to reach this neighborhood for Christ..my complaint has been,"honey, you know..we have to make sure we protect our family"... With that being said, I came up with a family ministry plan on when to have people over, what times, what day of the week, what day is for games, what day is for just hanging out.... talk about LIMITATIONS..

Little did I know what effect this would have on my life and marriage. My poor husband has been discouraged with my support. I thought I was doing great, ha! But seriously, I told my self, "girl, you already moved into the hood, what else the man want' ( as if I didn pray about the decision to come on staff as well) The couple we saw today talked about how hospitality looked in their country..how there were NO LIMITATIONS when you invited others into your home..they said they noticed how here in america that we dont allow people to come through our homes..come through in a sense where you invite them in but you keep them out of certain rooms, or maybe you place restrictions on your things..As I was sitting there listening to them talk about their country, fell into tears thinking about the limitations I have placed on what I considered "our home".. Was this not what I agreed to when I told Jesus I would die to myself and follow Him? Better yet, what was the commitment I gave my husband in joining him in HIS calling into this ministry...ya'll I am soo heavy with conviction over the way I have acted... I love having people in our home, but in my heart it was like, I did it with no joy...with no confidence in this being what the LORD has called us to do...I had a friend to remind me..."life is so easy when you know what the LORD want you to do..it becomes hard when you dont have peace in knowing for sure if thats the calling on your life..knowing what the LORD wants you to do helps you ACCEPT the challenges, the trial and all the suffering that ministry/life may bring"

Today I was encouraged with the fact that being in full time ministry is hard work and very messy...But God says in Hebrew 4:14-16 that.."Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need"

God knows EXACTLY what he has called our family too, I dont have to place restrictions on the amount of food I use to feed people in our neighborhood, because HE has promised to provide all of our needs according to HIS riches...When I feel worn out from kids in the neighborhood being in our home all day and worrying about how my husband isn't helping me ( is that even biblical?? I thought woman was made for man?? clearly...) I can remind my self that Jesus understands, he himself would get burned out...BUT would then turn to the one who can give us STRENGTH to endure all things and look to HIM to provide what I need to continue to minster to others...I dont have to worry and try to play God or Jr holy spirit on my husband, or try to manipulate him in spending what I FEEL is time with family..the truth is..my husband does that..VERY WELL...just because its not what I want, how I want and when.. I start to trip...I have to learn to be content in all circumstances..be content when he is home and when the LORD places him outside the home to minister to others.. In our times of need(family time, break from ministry, ect...) GOD has promises to provided that if its for our good and HIs glory...what I am to do is just what he says..If that's feed the people, than feed them...if its open your doors, open them... I am to deny my self, pick up my cross and do it with JOY!! would you please pray for me as I began a new perspective on ministry and accept the TRUTH that this Life that I live is no longer my own..but that I have been brought with a price

Father, thank you for all the conviction and the trials that you use to show us the filthiness that is in our hearts...I pray all the time, "GOD show me who you are" yet, i respond as if I dont know you or as if you are not doing just that...This is what is means to know you in the fellowship of your sufferings, oh my GOd!!!! what joy and peace knowing that I am identifying with you when I go through trials..Help me to keep a fresh perspective on our calling...and holy spirit please continue to help me be a excellent helper to Kevin..Thank you for such a God fearing man..what a privilege to rebuild the city along side of him..my I not tear my house down, but build it up
in Jesus name,
AMen

Monday, February 4, 2008

Just for Laughs

Here is funny story I found on the web...aleast the sister was trying to practice what the scripture says.."the righteous ponders how to answer.." ha!



"A few years ago I was Christmas shopping by myself. As I hurried past the stores I saw a large UNICEF display set up ahead and could tell that the people running it were asking shoppers for donations. I had to pass it but didn't like to, as my husband and I plan our giving together and I hate telling people "no" when they ask for money. "Just say 'no' and keep walking," I told myself. A woman at the booth caught my eye as I approached. "Just say 'no' and keep walking," I told myself again. The woman stepped towards me and asked, "Do you like children?" Without thinking, I said "no" and kept walking. I was too flustered to stop or explain, but I peeked back over my shoulder at the woman and will never forget the look of shocked disgust on her face

Blessed Assurance



This quote was taken from John Piper's book" Future Grace"..( if you read my blogs consistently, i know you may be wondering, gesh, she has something from a different book on here daily..lol, I do..its whatever He wants me to read for that day :)

I love this because as a ministry wife, I find myself always worrying, about my marriage( are we balancing it out with ministry?) my child..(am I teaching her to love the LORD, to love justice, show mercy and walk humbly with our God?) and now the children in our neighborhood( are they really ok at home? who is this child wondering the streets during school hours? where are the parents? where are the FATHERS?) I am reminded of the fact that worrying is a sin that I must confess before the LORD and trust in HIS promises to give me the peace that surpasses all understanding..this happens ONLY In OBEDIENCE to what HE says...
For the past couple of days I had found myself anxious over a meeting I had today.. I was in bondage to the fear of what people may have thought of me, how they may have felt about my interpretation of scripture, and the like...NOTICE all that I mentioned is what I thought...not hard core facts...my fear was based off of what I had came up with in my heart...again.. I had a THOUGHT, it brought up an emotion(FEAR, ANXIETY) , which lead.. to me trying to think of ways to not attend this meeting(my will)

Taking your thoughts captive is so serious..BUt I love that the LORD has given me everything pertaining to life and godliness and His presence was so ever faithful with me today..His word( which is my windshield wipers) and His holy Spirit( my windshield wiper fluid) definitely soften/ erased the lies(the mud on my windshield) that caused me to be blind to the truth


Father would you please bless all who read this FUTURE GRACE to trust in your sovereign care over them and those they love..

***************



"There is another possible response to the truth that our anxiety is rooted in our unbelief in God's promises. It goes like this: I have to deal with feelings of anxiety almost every day; and so I feel like my belief in God must be totally inadequate. So I wonder if I can have any assurance of being saved at all.
Being Faithless Vs. Having Faith Attacked
My answer to this concern goes like this: Suppose you are in a car race and your enemy who doesn't want you to finish the race throws mud on your windshield. The fact that you temporarily lose sight of your goal and start to swerve does not mean that you are going to quit the race. And it certainly doesn't mean that you are on the wrong racetrack. Otherwise the enemy wouldn't bother you at all. What it means is that you should turn on your windshield wipers and use your windshield washer.
What I mean is this: when anxiety strikes and blurs our vision of God's glory and the greatness of the future that he plans for us, this does not mean that we are faithless, or that we will not make it to heaven. It means our faith is being attacked. At first blow our belief in God's promises may sputter and swerve. But whether we stay on track and make it to the finish line depends on whether we set in motion a process of resistance. Whether we fight back against anxiety. Will we turn on the windshield wipers and will we use our windshield washer?
The Testimony of Scripture
Psalm 56:3 says, "When I am afraid, I put my trust in thee." Notice: it does not say, "I never struggle with fear." Fear strikes and the battle begins. So the Bible does not assume that true believers will have no anxieties. Instead the Bible tells us how to fight when they strike.
For example, 1 Peter 5:7 says, "Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you." It does NOT say, you will never feel any anxieties to cast onto God. It says, when the mud splatters your windshield and you lose temporary sight of the road and start to swerve in anxiety, turn on your wipers and squirt your windshield washer.
To the One Who Struggles Daily with Anxiety
So my response to the person who has to deal with feelings of anxiety every day is to say: that's more or less normal. The issue is how you deal with them.
And the answer to that is: you deal with anxieties by battling unbelief. And you battle unbelief by meditating on God's Word and asking for the help of his Spirit. The windshield wipers are the promises of God that clear away the mud of unbelief. And the windshield washer fluid is the help of the Holy Spirit.
Without the softening work of the Holy Spirit the wipers of the Word just scrape over the blinding clumps of unbelief. Both are necessary—the Spirit and the Word. We read the promises of God and we pray for the help of his Spirit. And as the windshield clears so we can see the welfare that God plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11), our belief grows strong and the swerving of anxiety smoothes out."

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Top four goodies eaten in the Hood

well.. I would like to dedicate this post to all my hood eaters out there...The goodies that l name on this list are just a few favorites that you will find in your nearest urban city (and abroad).. here goes...



#4 Now and Later (sometimes pronounced "nah layders"..thanks Keish) lol



yes, as a urban kid this was one of my favorite as well...my brother and I use to love running to the neighbors house who sold candy and buying these babies buy the bunch..we would then place them in the freezer and then eat them when they were hard. I am really surprised we have as many teeth as we do today..FYI: The Now and Later® name was meant to suggest to children they could, “Eat some now, and save some for later.” ® However, many also liken the name to the fact that the candy is, “Hard and fruity now, soft and chewy later.” ®...clearly we did our own thang :)




#3 The Chick O Stick
(Sometimes known as Chico Stick)




ORIGIN OF THE CHICK-O-STICK NAME

How did the Chick-O-Stick get its name? The real answer has probably been lost in our corporate history, but here’s one account by Eric Atkinson, President of the company.

Generally, when we began making Chick-O-Sticks in the late 1930’s, that kind of candy was traditionally known as “Chicken Bones”. Back in those days, Atkinson candy was distributed only inside the State of Texas. In the 1950’s, Atkinson Candy Company began distributing their candy nationally and discovered that another company already owned the rights to the name “Chicken Bones” (and that’s probably a good thing). Our then Vice President of Sales, J. Powell Ware, working with Joe Atkinson and an artist for the box company, somehow came up with the name Chick-O-Stick..…and it stuck!

Why “Chicken Bones” in the first place? Well, one thing is certain about that – there is no chicken in a Chick-O-Stick! Our best guess is that the toasted coconut on the outside of the candy gives the appearance of a piece of fried chicken. ..






#2 Hot MaMa Pickle



This is one of my favorites!!! Coming up on the south side of Chicago, we as kids craved a good spicy pickle with a pepermint to go along with it!! LOL! (a little FYI :there is a whole pickle family-Little Pepe, of course Hot Mama, Big Papa, Sour Sis, and Garlic Gus..lol) you can check them out at: http://www.vanholtenpickles.com/


and now ladies and gentleman...(i wonder if there are any gentlemen reading..if so...hi!) the moment you have all waited for..the #1 goody that is loved by child, man, and woman alike...they are a must in our home when we have tons of people over..thats right you have guessed it........




#1 Chicken WINGS!!!!




yes.. I will be preparing these babies tomorrow.. of course.... its super bowl sunday!!! The wing is enjoyed so much that some one decided to write a song about them..I will leave you with this to enjoy! :) you know I am always wanting to encourage you, so I hope that this finds you lickin fingers and dipping in Ranch Dressing



**PLEASE NOTE THIS VIDEO IS OFF the metor for funny!!! ( this is all in fun people..)
SANG MZ Peaches!! ROTF!!

Trinket #5


Clueless in Prayer
By: Kathy Hicks


Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to GOd. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in CHrist Jesus

We all face situations in which we either have no clue what to do, or we dont have the ability or resources to solve it. When I find myself in these situations, I've discovered a little course of action that helps me give it up to God's responsibility-which is where it belongs. This exercise relieves me of the anxiety I experience when I feel the need to fix the problem myself.
I remember a time when my daughter was very upset about something. I could'n solve it for her and didn't have a clue how to comfort her. As I prayed for her, I remember stretching out my hands as though holding an invisible box that contained her problem. As I lifted it up to the LORD, I prayed, I don't know what to do with this LORD. I need you to take it and solve it for me. I can't do it.

It was amazing how simple physical action of handing over that problem to the LORD helped bring peace to my heart. This physical action represented my dependence on God and my submission to HIs will in this situation. Since that time it's become my way of expressing my trust in him and reminding myself that these problems are no longer mine to worry about. He is my problem solver.


All-powerful Father, thank you for being bigger than any problem I could ever have. Thank you for the peace that comes from knowing that you have the power and the desire to care for me as your beloved daughter. Help me to go to you and ask rather than to worry. Amen



My prayer this week is to remember that HE is able and HE DOES solve all of life's problems because HE HOLDS ALL THINGS TOGETHER!! Col.1:16-18