Thursday, February 24, 2011

Surprises from the Lord

You never know what the day will bring. I started my day with meeting with a Social Work grad student here at ACU, Lisa Marciniak. She and I met last September and she had just arrived on campus from NY. Within about two weeks she asked if we could discuss the Bible. I was excited to have spiritual conversations in the near future. We have continued to meet and pray for one another, visit about our lives and enjoy some Bible study. This morning was no different. We visited, took prayer requests from one another and I shared the story of Jonah with her. We really were fixing to leave one another and she mentioned that she felt God recently take her to the cross and say, "This is enough" or maybe a question "Isn't this enough?" She had been fighting the thought of being baptized. Lisa and I had never talked about this topic. As she spoke I asked her a few questions and we visited about some of her questions and thoughts. She seemed to be hung up on when and where....simple decision in my mind. Finally I told her today would be a good day, or if I were talking to her tomorrow, I would say today would be a good day. I also told her each day satan keeps you from it, he has checked off "another day". Later she said this didn't set well with her that satan checked off another day he had kept her from being baptized. As we finished she said, TODAY at 5:00, at Jacob's Dream on ACU campus I will be baptized. WOW!! We prayed and I met up with her small group from her congregation and some other friends. It was a precious time, she gave her testimony ~ her journey of finding God. She was baptized and we sang. My heart is full of JOY when God's handiwork is so clear!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Unexpected Wisdom, Jonah

A very slow pace is what I'm taking with the book on minor prophets,Unexpected Wisdom. Jonah is the first chapter and I'm still pondering what all was verbalized. As I took a fresh, new look at this part of God's Word, I related. I wrote in the margin ~ "God calls me to places I don't want to go." Did Jonah not go because he was afraid or stubborn or did he just not want to go to a city of such awful people? Why don't I want to go?

Jonah was a prophet. Didn't prophets love God and want to follow the plan God had for them. Weren't they excited to take the news to others? (Notice in the text that Nineveh is referred to as a great city in 1:2, 3:1 and 3:3 - an exceedingly great city.) I could also ask those questions of myself. I really enjoyed this examination of self.

All of this reminds me of the two questions David Platt brings up in his book, Radical (you can ask for the first chapter to be emailed to you at this site) What is God saying and what do I do about it? It's an old predicament for humans. The author of Unexpected Wisdom, Dan Schmidt, describes submitting as "to listen and obey takes me outside myself, away from my own direction and into the realm of another. I relinquish control over my own destiny when I let another's words direct me. I am no longer my own master."

Can't wait to post about the next chapter ~ Habakkuh, Don't Fear the Dark...oh, so good!! peace to all.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Walk and A Few Phone Calls

As I think about Daniel's recent back surgery and more recently his dad's brain surgery, I realize it is very important to focus on encouraging activities when you are feeling discouraged. It is with JOY that I realize that God supplies all we need in order to think upon the things He sees best for us. As Daniel and I drove back to Bastrop after spending time at the hospital, I needed to adjust my thoughts - I was feeling a bit anxious. I struck out and walked down the streets of Bastrop. It was in the historic district and it kept my mind full of pretty houses and yards. The air was cold, but there was no snow or ice. Before I knew it 30 minutes had passed and my thoughts were on positive things. True, honorable, right, pure, lovely and good repute, excellent and worthy of praise. Why does He wants us to dwell on these things? He wants us to remember the things on earth that are positive that keep us walking in ways He can use us!!

The first steps I took were to get connected with God and His nature. After I got back home, I got praise music going and then realized the front porch was calling my name. I went out to sit and then it occurred to me that I would enjoy talking with some one. I gave two friends a call. One from Abilene and one from College Station. It was an encouraging time as we spoke about a prayer time, updated each other on health in each other's lives, new marriages and babies being born, and about books we were reading. Friendship, community~God wills for us to commune with others and again I felt encouraged.

At the end of my time, it was great to see how God wills for us to think on good things. I love being impacted by God, My Father and His Son and Spirit. So refreshing!! So much better than anything I am capable of in myself!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Training My Heart

In Abilene the sun is not out today, the music in our house was a bit too slow and serious and my heart seemed a bit low. So I have fought today to turn it in another direction. Daniel requested breakfast out and so I went. It is not my favorite but I moved on, training my heart. As we returned there were things to do around the house and we stayed busy until around noon. I ask if we could go on a walk, thought that would be good for the heart. As we started walking I ask for a heart that was grateful and one that thought of others. God gave us a wonderful time. We walked farther than Daniel expected he would want to go. I haven't measured it yet but I am anxious to tell him just how far he was able to go.

As the walk we talked about the prophet Jonah. This is the first minor prophet in the book we are reading. As we walked we talked about how God called us to Abilene and how He had prepared us for this move. I will have to confess I do not think I have allowed myself to enjoy all that God has for me here. One of the things God has called me to do and I have just not planned it and carried through with is VISITING! I love to be visited and I love to visit, so why have I resisted?? It's like God is asking me to go places I don't want to go. We continued to talk about a prophet bringing the Word of the Lord to the people and how we all are at a place to hear from the Spirit and able then to bring the Word of the Lord to one another. That is exciting news. We would love to hear from others as they hear from the Spirit.

When we got back home, we sat down and read through Jonah and reflected on what we read. The fact that Jonah tells the sailors that he is a Hebrew and that he fears the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land brings the sailors to a point of actually speaking to God. God is glorified just by us telling others it is He who makes a difference in our lives.

Grace is given to Jonah and to the great city of Nineveh. God will go out of His way to give us grace. He continues to be patient with me. When you look at the message Jonah gave it was very simple, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown". Wow! We don't have to have an exciting message or be eloquent, God does the pricking of hearts and brings people to understanding of Himself. The great city believed and a fast was called. Why do we worry about our message? My heart deceives me. These people had no background with God, yet they called on him and God did not overthrow them.

Two quotes about grace from the book:
"Grace is resisted only to the point that people cling to idols."
"The recipients of grace are to "pick up a bucket and dump it on someone else."

My heart is at a different place now -- training my heart, exercise everyday!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


As the snow has continued I checked out our book shelf for a book I have not read. I looked at several ~ Pilgrim Heart by Tippens, Here and Now by Nouwein, I, Issac take Thee, Rebekah by Zacharias, or do I try to finish Abba's Child by Manning...I settled on Unexpected Wisdom by Dan Schmidt. I have not been disappointed in the direction I was lead. It is major insight from the minor prophets.

How many times do you skip past the introduction in a book?? This is not one you want to pass. He uses the analogy of a closet in describing the minor prophets as packed to the brim and you open it up having really forgotten what all is in the closet. This is what my craft closet looks like. It is also a Cailyn and Corban closet and also contains all of our games. You don't really know what all you will find until you sit and dig!!

Another analogy the author mentions is that the minor prophets is like the sea. You dive in and won't see the bottom for a good long while. Prophets are messengers from God. They know His message and they are bringing it to God's people. God has much to say and wants to show Himself to us all - then and even now in our lives today.

Ps. 50:3
Our God is coming; He will not be silent!
Devouring fire precedes Him,
and a storm rages around Him

II Cor. 4:8-11
We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; 9 we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. 10 We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who live are always given over to death because of Jesus, so that Jesus' life may also be revealed in our mortal flesh.

Life is hard for all of us at different times and with different situations. The minor prophets have a message for us today. I will list the chapters and you will see how practical the reading is, but not just the book, more importantly the Bible~~especially the minor prophets.

  • Receive and Extend Grace
  • Don't Fear the Dark
  • Abandon Pride
  • Use Power Well
  • Choose Wisely
  • Be Courageous
  • Stay Close
  • Keep Your Heart Soft
  • Radiate Integrity
  • Hope

    Let me know if you pick this book up. Daniel and I are reading it together and would love to hear your thoughts!!