Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Me And My Girls Part Two: The Barbie Nudist Colony!

The strangest thing happened over the Thanksgiving holiday. I found a Barbie that was wearing clothes. Those of you who have raised girls know what's so strange about this already. I did not even know Barbie could wear clothes! I mean, sure, she has clothes on in the store when you buy her and in the packaging before she's unwrapped, but as soon as she gets to my house the clothes are coming off! And then they get lost. Never to be found again. I kind of felt sorry for this Barbie. She seemed so out of place amongst the Barbie Nudist Colony that lives in my house. Now, I know I'm weird, but I have never allowed my girls to take their nude Barbies to church. They have to be dressed! I don't get to go to church naked, why should they get to! I was getting pretty excited when I first started reading my friend Sonia's blog post about cutting back because of the economy and becoming nudist's. (I don't know the exact address to her blog, but I follow it. It's under the blogs I follow. It's called My First Launch.). I thought, "Yes, maybe now my Barbies can finally go to church!" But no such luck. As you read the post to the end, she ends up deciding that being a nudist isn't going to work. No kidding! Maybe if we lived in Hawaii! We live in Idaho! I don't know if you've been outside lately, Sonia, but it's COLD out there. It got down to -8 during Thanksgiving Break! It's bad enough that my husband and son were camping in that weather, but I'm pretty sure their would be no men left in my family if they weren't wearing clothes! It was cold even with clothes on! I, for one, stayed snuggled up in my nice cozy bed until it climbed up to at least zero! And I was wearing pajamas at that! I'm sure you're glad to know that!

Anyway, back to the Barbies. They weren't going to church nude until I went to church nude! So if you ever hear about a little church in Moscow, Idaho having to call the police cause some woman showed up to church nude, you know what happened. Me and my girls made a compromise! (Don't worry. That'll never happen! We live in Idaho, remember?)

I once heard Beth Moore talk about her young friend bringing her Barbies to church. She said she always wore her most modest outfits, but once they did have to wrap a bulletin around her waste to make her decent. I'm not sure I heard much after that! I was in such shock that her young friend had Barbies with CLOTHES! I was however blessed to know that there was someone else in the world who had an obsession with what Barbie could wear to church. Yes, I have modesty issues (another reason why the situation above will never occur!). My mother tried to buy me skimpy clothes when I was in college, but I refused to wear them. She barely managed to get them on me in the store. She couldn't believe I wouldn't dress that way, when I had such a slender figure. She was like, "Come on. You can get away with it. I can't."

Excuse me, I didn't want to get away with it! I had a problem with the way I grew up surrounded by pornography as it was. Apparently, I'm the only one who was uncomfortable with it. I didn't even want to be a woman, if that's what women were for! I was so relieved when I became a Christian and realized that's NOT what we're for! Only then, could I learn to enjoy being a woman. I still don't think I was comfortable in my own skin until I read a wonderful book I'd like to recommend to all my female readers. It's called "Captivating" by Staci Eldredge (not sure I spelled her name correctly). It gave me a whole new perspective on who God created me to be. A wonderful one!

So, in conclusion, Barbie will not be going to church anytime soon!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Yet Another Book Segment

1 Corinthians 12:31b-13:13
And now I will show you the most excellent way.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Okay, now this is a passage we are way too familiar with. You need to read it with fresh eyes, not thinking, “Oh, yeah, this is the love chapter. I know all about this one.” I tend to think like that a lot. But there is always something to be gleaned from scripture, even the ones that we've read a thousand or more times! The Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). I believe part of the meaning of that is that it continues to speak to us in different ways no matter how many times we read it. It's not like other books that we can read once and get all we can get from it. The bible can be read over and over again and you still will never get all that can be gleaned from it! I love that about the bible! It's one of the many reasons why I love God's Word so much!
The main point of this passage is that if we do not love others and love God, nothing we do matters. Our highest calling is to love those around us. Not always the easiest thing to do. I believe some site verse 8 when they claim that speaking in tongues no longer happens in the Spirit. I believe you have to take this way out of context to make it mean that. It is saying that in the end, when Jesus returns that will be no longer. There will be no need for speaking in tongues or prophesying at that point. What will remain is our love for people.
This chapter always bothered me because it's filled with “always” and “never.” I don't know about you, but I'm never always anything! This is talking about God's love and is only possible in the Spirit. We will never as human beings on this earth be able to live this way all the time with all people. It should be our goal, however.
It certainly isn't saying that we shouldn't ever use our gifts. I think we established that in the last chapter, but it must be done with love for those we are serving.
One of the things Paul says that I would like to highlight is love not keeping a record of wrongs. I don't know about you, but I have been guilty of this a lot! Have you ever gotten in an argument with someone and suddenly found yourself complaining about things they did years earlier? I have, especially with my husband! I've often thought I'd forgiven those things, but when they come up again and again, it's obvious I haven't really. Sometimes I just have way too good of a memory and when he does something that is similar to what he's done before all the memories of the times he's done that before come forward in my mind. I really shouldn't bring them up, but I do. I think that is what Paul is talking about when he says love does not keep a record of wrongs.
I think another one we struggle with in our culture is not self-seeking. We are taught to look after #1. Meaning yourself. Of course, we know (or we should) that #1 is supposed to be God. It isn't always any our lives and our actions and words prove that. Even when dating and getting married, don't we seek after something for ourselves? I think that is why many marriages fail. After a while they are no longer getting what they were seeking. This can happen to friendships and family relationships as well. I'm not saying none of this applies to singles. It absolutely does, cause we are all called to love as God loves us. Think about why you are ending a relationship before you end it. Are you being self-seeking? If you are, you are not loving that person. Now, I'm not saying some relationships (not marriages) don't need to end. I've ended a few relationships where we seemed to only bring out the worst in each other, but if that's the case it's not helping anyone. Codependent relationships often must end.
Persevering is something we also don't learn much in our culture. We're taught to do what feels good, so when something no longer feels good we bail. We need to persevere through trials. This is another reason for divorce and other broken relationships is our lives. We just flat get tired and don't want to love anymore. So we quit loving. Persevere friends! Like I said there is a time for some relationships to end, but we need to pray and continue loving in any relationships God has called us to continue. Keep loving, no matter how hard it gets!
Next, we are going to understand everything completely one day, but until then, just keep loving people! That's all most people really need! Shine the light of Jesus through loving people everywhere you go!
Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me to love as You love. I need Your power to do this. I can't do it on my own. Help me to love the unlovely. Most of them just need to know they are loved. Help me to share where that love comes from, so they may know You, too. In Jesus' Name. Amen.”

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Book In Need Of A Title

Hey, guys! I really could use help on the title of my book. I'm onto Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians with only 16 chapters, so please help me come up with a title. I promise I'll thank you in the book if it ever gets published.

Another Very Much In Need Of Editting Segment From My Book

1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body- whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don't need you!” And the head cannot say to the hand, “I don't need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts.
Basically, we're all different and that's a good thing. I won't speak specifically about spiritual gifts because I did that already in our last session. As you know, I teach. But what if everyone taught? Who would go out and do the full-time missionary work that needs to be done? Who would feed the hungry? Who would drill wells in countries where they don't have clean water? We need people to do those things. I feel that my job is sort of equipping those who will go out to do those things, with faith and the understanding to know when God is speaking. Of course, I feel a little funny saying that, because I also feel that as I am teaching this, I am still learning these things myself. Of course, I suppose that is good, too. If I thought I knew everything I might become arrogant. I am a long ways from knowing everything and in fact, this side of heaven I never will. That doesn't keep me from learning though. I find that the more I study the bible the more I realize how little I know. That's why I've hesitated to use my gift for two years. I thought, “What do I know? What right do I have to teach anybody anything?” The truth I don't know much and I don't have any right to teach anyone anything, but God has called me to this ministry and entrusted me with this gift and I want to honor Him by using the gift He's given me. It's not real glamorous. Especially since I'm not a man and don't feel that it would be appropriate for me as a woman to become a pastor. There are those that feel differently about this and I won't argue that with them. It is just my conviction that I shouldn't be a pastor. It's absolutely appropriate for me to write books to women (which is where my heart is) and to teach a Children's Sunday School class at church, which I also hope to start doing soon. I've volunteered and given my information to the one in charge of the Sunday School ministry at my church. I'm still waiting for a phone call. Probably after the holidays, I would imagine.
Also, we need to recognize that we shouldn't just hang out with people who have similar gifts or callings. We need those people with those other gifts to fill all the needs in our churches and our communities. We need each other, even if we don't fully understand each other.
I would also like to point out verses 25 through 26. We do need to show concern for one another. When one member is hurting we should ask them if there is anything we can do for them and pray for them, and when people experience victory, rejoice with them. I have had both of these experiences of a fellow believer listening and praying when I'm hurting and rejoicing with me when I have found victory, often in those same areas of my life where I was suffering. A lot of my healing came from being able to talk to this dear friend. She was willing to suffer with me and rejoice with me. I hope to live up to her example for others. We need each other for support as well. I know that God could heal us and not involve anyone else, but He rarely does that. It usually is done in community with other believers. In fact, I cannot think of a single time in my life that He has ministered to me any other way. I've tried to do it with just me and Him. A lot of times it feels safer that way. But that's not how He works. We turn to Him first, but almost always He will bring someone else alongside us to help us. He put us in community for a reason. We need each other!
“Dear Lord, please help me to always remember that I'm not an island. You have put other people in my life, because I need them. Continue to lead me to the right people when I need them. In Jesus' Name. Amen.”

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Long Thanksgiving Holiday

My Thanksgiving stretched over 3 days unlike the normal one day holiday. We went to our church to spend Thanksgiving with some people from our church who also had no other plans and nothing to do on Thanksgiving Day. It was a wonderful time of good food, good conversation, and fellowship with a few of our Christian brothers and sisters at Bridge Bible Fellowship, which is the church we now proudly call our church home. It does indeed feel like home. I'm as comfortable there and as free to be me as anywhere else in the whole world! Love my family in Christ!

That evening me and the girls returned home to relax and digest while the boys went out to stay with Josh's sister and brother-in-law and their kids, so they could return to the woods for more hunting the next morning. Josh called me the next morning to tell me he would be returning to get me and the girls and we would be spending the night at his brother, Raymond's house, with his brother and sister-in-law and their little boy, Danyole. (One of the cutest kids I've ever known!) Candy would be going there to spend the night with her six kids as well. (That's Josh's sister. I know this is all very confusing.) Her husband, Danny had to work the next morning, so unfortunately he was unable to join us. The reason we were all gathering at Raymond and Kaci's was that because others had plans with other family members on Thanksgiving Day, in order to get everybody together they opted to have it on Saturday instead. They regularly do this and it seems to work out well, so Josh's mom can get everyone together. Or most, anyway, of her children. Roger and Lis, Josh's other brother and sis-in-law couldn't make it. They live in Spokane. I got to stay with them when I went to Living Proof Live last month. Really wonderful people. Wouldn't even have been able to go without them. No way we could pay for a hotel, so I praise God for them. It was an amazing event for me. God did such a huge work in me, I'm not sure even I can fully comprehend what He did there. Also they are just nice people. Glad to know them and have them in my life.

Anyway, it was like one big sleepover in a little house! Loads of fun, but exhausting! Ten kids in basically like a trailer house size place! Not to mention the five parents, but we were seriously outnumbered. We had a great time, though. Me and my family slept in the living room with me and Josh on a big air mattress that seriously needed more air. (I rolled around in that thing like it was a water bed everytime Josh moved. Then he got out and slept on the couch and I was pretty much on the floor. The whole thing just sunk to the floor. It was crazy but fun! I was so tired and I'm not sure I slept a wink. Certainly not a minute of deep sleep. I kept hearing kids wake up and cry and cough and stuff like that. Normal stuff. Nothing I didn't expect, so my attitude remained positive. You know....oh, I'll save that for another time. Okay, fine. I won't. If we only expected that almost always there will be disrupted in life, it woulnd't affect our attitude. That's our problem most of the time, I think. We get frustrated because we expect things to go just right and they almost never do!

Anyway, back to my story. I had a fun morning playing with several of the kids in my bed before I got up. As always, I was the last one up. Have I mentioned that I don't do mornings! Anyway, we had cinnamon rolls, compliments of Candy and Kaci, that morning. Yum! Like the hard work of getting ready for a huge feast was not enough for them! Talk about motivated. Josh, Jeremiah, and Raymond once again had disappeared early in the morning to go hunting. They soon arrived back at the house with Josh's and Raymond's (and Candy's and Amy's and Roger's) mom in tow! They had to pick her up. She doesn't drive in snow at this point in her life and in case you didn't know, the northwest has gotten dumped on this week! Fifteen miles an hour is the norm for me these days and I'm sort of used to it, having driven on these roads the last 2 years, since I got my license. It's mighty slick out there, and doesn't seem to want to stop snowing! Anyway, Amy and Mike and their three girls showed up shortly after, but boy did the boys have a story to tell! Josh apparently had gotten attacked by coyotes! Thankfully, he's fine. I can't speak for the coyotes, but he's fine. He was a little scared cause his first thought when he noticed the attack coming, of course, was wolves! That might not have ended so well! Needlesss to say, that cut their hunting trip short. It was a great dinner and great pie and great company! But oh, boy, am I tired and ready for a good night's sleep in my own bed! Unfortunately, no meat for my freezer this season I suppose. That was pretty much Josh's last chance to go hunting. Back to insane work hours and no time for hunting for him for a while!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm Not Sure This Is Very Good: Ugh!

1 Corinthians 11:17-34
In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval. When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.
And when I come I will give further directions.
This is a familiar passage to most of us, because portions of it are frequently quoted when we participate in the Lord's Supper or Communion in our churches. Some of this we have a hard time relating to, because the way we practice this today does not involve a full meal as it did for them. I am sure some churches have a full meal with the Lord's Supper, but most now-days do not. However, I think the basic principles here can be applied. We should not partake in the Lord's Supper as a snack, because we forgot to eat breakfast or something. It's ultimate purpose is not for food. It is to proclaim the Lord's death. It is, as this passage proclaims, a remembrance. We do, also need to examine ourselves before taking the Lord's Supper. Make sure that you are right with the Lord first. I have at times in my life, let the cup and the plate pass and have not taken from it, because I knew me and God had some issues between us. Of course, the issue was mine, not God's, but there is no shame in that. If you know that you have something between you and your God don't participate. Deal with what you need to deal with between you and God before you do that. This is why we don't allow our children to partake in the Lord's Supper until they have received Christ, either. Obviously if they do not yet have a personal relationship with Christ than they are not yet right with God and shouldn't partake. My husband once pointed out to me that as far as them eating and drinking judgment on themselves, they are already under judgment because they don't know Christ. That is true, but I wonder if maybe God then puts that judgment on us, as their parents when we offer them the bread and the cup knowing that they do not yet have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Just something to think about. That's not the gospel truth, but I think God does hold us responsible for many of the things we allow our children to do, so why wouldn't He hold us responsible for this as well.
In closing, I sure would have loved to have been privy to the “further directions” Paul gave when he came to them, wouldn't you? I wonder what he might have said?
“Dear Father, please help me to always examine myself before I partake in the Lord's Supper. Help me to stay in a right relationship with You, so that I can always enjoy Your fellowship. It's a very painful thing to be out of fellowship with You. I know that feeling all too well and never want to experience it again. In Jesus' Name. Amen.”

Please comment. I need to know if my writing is something plenty of people would want to read. Be honest, but gentle! If I totally suck, I want to know!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow, Snow, Snow!

It's been snowing like crazy here ever since last night, off and on. My kids are playing out in it right now! Even in the dark they can't stand not to be out in it! It's supposed to snow a whole lot more tonight and tomorrow morning! I'd love to share with you more about my girls, but I'm a little distracted right now with kids and everything! It will be bedtime soon and I'm wondering if the kids will even have school tomorrow! Their five day vacation may be a six day vacation, because in addition to the snow there are going to be 20 to 25 MPH winds, so there will be drifts more than likely. I'm glad I don't have anywhere I need to go!

Friday, November 19, 2010

This Is A New Segment I Wrote Today For My Book (Rough Draft)

1 Corinthians 10:1-13
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did- and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did- and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did- and were killed by the destroying angel.
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
I know it's a lot of reading but I think that it's important in understanding this passage that you read Exodus 13 through 14 or at least skim through it as a reminder if you've already read it before. Also Exodus 16-17:7, all of Exodus 32, Numbers 21:4-9, 25. Again, you can just skim through them if you're familiar with the stories to remind you of what Paul is talking about when he talks of the Israelites in the desert and the different things that happened to them there. I assure you it will help in understanding this.
This was taught in order to teach us the fear of God, to understand that He will punish us when necessary to turn us back to Him and His ways. We may not understand idolatry in the ways that it was practiced in their culture but we can make idols of things in different ways. Really anything that takes the place of God in our minds and in our hearts is an idol. One that I frequently deal with in my own life is the idol of other people's approval. I desperately need other people's approval and really I should only need God's approval. I deal with this daily in my relationship with my parents and their disapproval of the lifestyle that I have chosen for me and my family and with people in my church and other Christian circles that I really want to like me. It's been a hard lesson for me to learn that others may not approve, including family members, but I have to do what God has called me to do regardless of how others may feel about it. Most of my family do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ or at least are not following Him and trusting Him on a daily basis and I realize that in pursuing a writing and teaching ministry most of my family is not going to approve and are probably going to shun, but I have to go ahead and do it anyway, and still be able to face them and love them without turning hard and cold. It's going to be a difficult balance to find, but it's something I realize is probably going to be a reality in the very near future. They will not approve of the things I say and do as an openly Christian “fanatic” in their way of thinking. I hope you all will pray for me as I go forward in what I believe God has called me to do. I am desperately going to need it with my need for approval being what it is. It's sin and I have to ask for forgiveness frequently. It's definitely an idol in my life. Yours may be different. It may be a television show or a career you're working towards or maybe you're a workaholic. No matter what it is, if it gets in-between you and God it's an idol that needs to be removed. Now I think you understand that I am not talking about your spouses or your children. We can't just do away with the people God has put in our lives to care for and honor appropriately. But if we relying on them to fulfill us instead of God, we need to put them in their proper place as well. God must be #1 in our lives.
Verses 12 and 13 are commonly quoted and appropriately so I think. Verse 12 tells us that we need to not think that we are beyond falling to sin. We need to be continually on guard, not paranoid, but aware of our surroundings and the temptations that we could encounter and pray against those always. Verse 13 tells us that we are not facing anything that no one else has faced. We can trust that if it's a temptation for us, it probably is for others, too. It's important to share with others when we feel tempted, so that they can pray for us and so others know that they are not alone as well. We don't need to share details, just enough to stay in genuine fellowship with other believers and so you don't feel so alone. Isolation has nearly been the death of me so much more than any of the sins I was actually tempted in. It was probably the #1 cause of my being suicidal in my past. No one could possibly understand, so I could not live with myself. No one is as bad as me. Such lies that Satan has put in my head, and I still frequently need to be reminded that those are lies. Also verse 13 says that “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” Don't believe for one minute that God has put you in a situation where must sin and you can't get out of it. He will never allow that to happen. Pray and look for a way out. There is one. He has promised that to us.
“Dear Jesus, please help me to be honest in my fellowship with other believers when I'm struggling. Remind me to always pray when I feel stuck in a dangerous situation and show me the way out, so I need not sin. In Jesus' Name. Amen.”
Added an image at the top just for fun and because I haven't put one on for a while.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Blessing Of Girls

When I gave birth to my son I figured this was it. I was going to have a houseful of boys. You see the last baby girl born into my family was me, and me and my sister had no female cousins. They were all boys. At the time my son was born my sister had a boy as well, so I figured we were in for another generation of boys. You can not imagine my excitement when I found out that my second child would be a girl! My mother didn't even believe it when I told her. She said she was not buying anything pink until she saw this baby for herself. I went ahead an bought pink and was having a great time shopping for my soon-to-be little girl, but apparently I didn't completely believe it either, because as soon as she was born, even while still in pain from a horrible delivery, the first thing I said was, "Is it really a girl?" They kind of looked at me funny and assured me that yes, it's really a girl. We named her Angela Nicole, after a young woman who had a big influence in my life in Christ and Nicole was Josh's favorite girl name, so that became her middle name. We think they go beautifully together.

Soon after she was born it became very obvious that there was a problem. She wasn't breathing! They rushed her off to get her breathing an hook her up to oxygen. In my sick, unhealed mind at the time, I remember thinking to myself, "Wouldn't that be just like God, to give me a beautiful little girl, only to take her away from me before I have a chance to get to know her." Just goes to show how little I knew about how much God loves me. To make a long story short, she's a very healthy 10-year-old girl today and I adore her! And as if that were not enough, God saw fit to bless me with yet another little girl! This one was not planned and I was a little upset with God when I first found out I was pregnant, because the way I saw it I was already screwing up two children, why did He want to torture me by giving me another one to mess up. But, of course, she has been an unbelievable blessing. They are two very different girls and I plan to tell you more about "Me and My Girls" in the future.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Another Segment From My Rough Draft Book

1 Corinthians 6:12-20
“Everything is permissible for me”- but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”- but I will not be mastered by anything. “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”- but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
This is a very simple and yet difficult and uncomfortable passage in the bible. Paul starts off by speaking of our freedom in Christ, that everything is permissible for us, but not beneficial and that we don't want to be mastered by anything. The first thing that comes to mind when I read this are addictions. Maybe because of my own alcohol and drug abuse and because most of my friends at Celebrate Recovery have struggled with addictions of various kinds and of course that is pretty much the only way we can be “mastered” by something. By being addicted to it, we are mastered by it. I have been addicted to many things other than alcohol and drugs. I've been addicted to various internet sites and food. I'm sure there are a wealth of other addictions out there. We want to remove anything from our lives that pulls us away from God, whether it be a relationship or a substance.
I find it interesting that in a passage where Paul is about to talk about sexual immorality yet again that he throws in a statement about the stomach and food. Do you think maybe Paul knew how obsessed our own culture would become with food and what is healthy or too fattening or too sugary or whatever? And that many would feel they were fat and starve themselves and other would gorge themselves? Well, I don't know if Paul did, but I can assure you, God did! And it breaks his heart to see us hurting ourselves with something that was meant only to sustain us, so that we can serve him while on this earth in these temporary bodies. Which he does emphasize how temporary food and our stomach's are with the statement “but God will destroy them both.” If you struggle with food issues please do get help. There are many counselors who deal with this and recovery programs. Again, ask your pastor. He can probably assist you in finding the appropriate help for you.
Now, Paul gets into what he will talk about for the rest of the chapter: sexual immorality. (Are you struck by the similarities between their issues and the issues or our culture yet? I am!) “Our bodies are not meant for sexual immorality.” That statement alone is a whole message in itself to us and to our culture. We have twisted and perverted what our sexuality is supposed to be about for far too long, and even if we deny it, it is clearly destroying people. I have seen this firsthand in my own life. Sexual sin gets on you like no other sin there is in my opinion. And Paul does kind of get at this when he says that “All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” Also earlier when he says, “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, 'The two will become one flesh.'” Like I said, I've experienced this. The emotional anguish I had in my life as a result of my sexual promiscuity has caused me more grief, I'm sure, than all the other sins I've committed put together. And I didn't even experience any of the other consequences that many have to also experience in addition to the anguish of realizing that you gave yourself away to someone who really didn't value you or your relationship enough to stick around! I never got any STD's nor did I have a child out of any of that, only by the grace of God, but if you don't think I suffered, think again! I have had to live with those decisions all of my life. Most of the time now I don't feel the torment of that, but it took years of counseling and recovery and time crying out to God and pouring through His Word to convince myself that I am who He says I am and not who I believed myself to be for all those years. It's very hard to explain, but trust me when I tell you I had to work hard to break the ties I had to every single person I participated in sexual activities with before I could even begin to be emotionally healthy and truly enjoy my relationship with my husband the way it was meant to be experienced! If you haven't experienced this, I am begging you, don't do it! If you're married do not go outside of your marriage for sex and if you're single do not participate in any kind of sexual activity! You do not want to have to go through what I went through! If you've done this one right, I envy you. I would give anything to have a completely pure mind that doesn't have all the perverted things in it that I have. If you have already done this, though, God can and wants to set you free! It is worth the work it takes! It is worth the pain of working through that stuff to be able to live free in Christ! It won't feel like it for a while, but just trust me, please. It's worth it! And, particularly if you have been sexually abused as I was, please get help. There is no shame in seeking professional Christian Counseling.
Lastly, in every decision you make involving your body, such as drugs or alcohol or sex or food, remember that your body is the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” Treat it with respect and honor Him with it!
“Dear Jesus, please keep me from addiction. Show me as soon as I begin to become addicted to anything other than You and set me free from that addiction. Keep me from sexual sin and even purify my mind, Lord. In Jesus Name. Amen.”

Due to a lack of time (I am trying to write a book in one month for crying out loud!) I'm every now and again going to keep posting segments of my book. Granted this is a long segment. In the final draft I'll probably have to split it up or something. I don't know, that's why it's a rough draft. I'll figure it out later.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy!

I am loving this writing thing more than I could have possibly imagined! I have an idea for a series of blog posts having to do with raising girls. Something I might even present to like Focus On The Family or something like that, but since it's about 1:30 in the morning I'll start working on it maybe tomorrow. I just thought I'd check in and let you all know I'm still around, just busy and I still have a cold, so trying to get some rest.

Monday, November 8, 2010

More of My Book

I have a cold today, so I've barely been up let along writing. At this rate I'm never going to get a finished product. I'm going to copy and paste another segment from a couple of days ago from my book. Please keep in mind these are first drafts, so they are very rough, but I would really like to know what you think.

1 Corinthians 1:18-31
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased trhough the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."
Oh, I love this passage. I have often felt like one of the most foolish people in this world and I am so glad that God chose me, so that even in all my foolishness I can be used by God: "Please, Lord! I'm begging you! Use me!"
But backing up let's look at this from the beginning. Vs. 18 says, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,..." This in itself is an important reminder for me. The world does see it as foolishness. How in the world can one man die for the sins of all of mankind? How can it really be that simple? I think that is a lot of why it is so hard for the world to understand. I have talked to many who seem to think that the cross takes all of the responsiblitly off of us. Personally, I have found quite the opposite to be true. I have lived most of my life in completer fear of failure. The only reason I can even write this devotional is because I know there is forgiveness and God can fill in the gaps I leave, because of what He did on the cross.My lack of perfection does not excuse me from faliing to use my gift of teaching. I can't say, I'm not fully healed so therefore I can't teach. Obviously there is a certain amount of healing and preparation that needs to take place before we can use our gifts effectively. However, God and I have been over this a million times and one of the things He made very clear to me at Living Proof Live last weekend is that I'm ready to teach. I've done a loft of studying and a lot of healing and it's time to start teaching.
I love the next half of that verse where it says "but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
Power! I don't know about the rest of you, but I've spent most of my life feeling absolutely powerless! I love that God has all the power I need! When I feel powerless now, I know that it just means I need to rely that much more fully on God's power! I love that there is power in the cross. There is power in what God did for us on the cross. Now all we have to do is lean on Him and He will give us all the power we need to live out our lives and do the things that He has called us to do. And again that brings us back to foolishness. It's so simple that it's foolish in the world's eyes. And my heart goes out to you if you're reading this and thinking with great frustration, "Lady, it's not that simple!" Maybe even thinking (or yelling) that at this book, I know. Trust me, the only reason I can picture you doing that is because I was YOU! I have been in recovery through Celebrate Recovery for 5 years! And looking for solid, biblical counseling for longer! I was seeing a Biblical lay Counselor, trained through the church, for about a year, before God moved her on to somewhere else. And I experienced a large amount of healing from that, but not enough, and when she had to move I felt abandoned, not just by her, but by God. I promise you, God did not abandon me, and He has not and WILL NOT abandon you! Feelings on their own are so unreliable. We have to trust that God's word is TRUE! I type that in all caps for a reason! I, myself, still have to remind myself of this every day! His WORD is TRUE no matter what I feel! If you feel powerless, you have a stronghold in your life somewhere. Stay in God's Word, don't give up on Him. He will not fail you. Can I say that again, with more emphasis! HE WILL NOT FAIL YOU! If you need counseling get it. If you need a Christ-centered recovery program like the one I'm in, look for that, but stay in God's Word. I am convinceed that no recovery program or counseling will work in your life outside of God's Word. God's Word has literally saved my life! And I'm not exaggerating! You can ask anybody who's ever been close to me how badly I've wanted to take my own life at times. I am alive because of Jesus and His Word! Praise you, Jesus!
Okay, moving on! Whew! That was something else, huh! I'm going to jump to the last half of verse 21 now (aren't you relieved) where it says "God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe." The word there that pops out at me is pleased! God was pleased! Oh, my goodness! I don't about you, but I have always had a hard time imagining that God could look at my life and be pleased with anything! Oh, how I want Him to be pleased with me, but couldn't imagine how He could be. And I thought for years that He just put up with me. He only saved me, because He did die to save the world and I'm part of the world, so okay, I guess if I have to save you, too, I will. But that's not how He feels about any of us! Myself and all of my self-loathing included! Praise God He was pleased to save me! Oh, I am having so much fun writing this! I hope you're having fun reading it! I love God's Word so much there are tears in my eyes right now! I'm telling you this is my life! But please remember He was not just pleased to save me when I chose to believe Him. He is pleased to save you, too, when you choose to believe! I feel compelled to rewrite that: God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save Shellie Paparazzo. Say that out loud, but instead of my name use yours! Cause He was pleased to save you! He wants you and He wants me! Oh, my heart is so full right now, I feel like I'm going to burst! I love you, Jesus!
Now, we're going to skip to verse 25, "For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." No matter how wise man may seem to me; no matter how wise I may seem to you, I promise you God is wiser. And even at His weakest, God is stronger than we are! Praise God for that, I need His wisdom and His strength every day.
Now, verse 29, "so that no one may boast before him." I don't think He chooses the lowly things, because He doesn't love those that are strong. I think He chooses those of us that are weak, because we are not going to boast before Him. We are very aware that we have done nothing to deserve what He has given us. We are just going to praise Him for it and that's what we're supposed to be doing on this earth. Not drawing attention to ourselves. I'm not writing this so that you will look at me and think, "What an amazing person that Shellie is!" I'm doing it so that I can tell you, it's not me. I am so messed up. I want you to look at what I'm writing and say, "What an amazing God she serves" and want to know Him more. I do not boast before God. I have nothing to boast about. So, that leaves us with verse 31, "Therefore as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." I believe that is what I just did. Praise you, Jesus!!!
"Dear Father, thank you so much for choosing me and for being pleased to save me. Thank you for saving my life. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Want To Be A Writer When I Grow Up

I am having such a great time with my NaNoWriMo project! I'm definitely going to try to get my devotional book published once I have written the first draft and edited it and given it to some respected friends to look over and reedit based on their suggestions and then try to figure out how this publishing thing works and try that. Unless of course everyone decides that I totally suck and shouldn't write another thing as long as I live, which is the more likely outcome, but we'll see.

Monday, November 1, 2010

My First Segment On NaNoWriMo.org copied and pasted for you

1 Corinthians 1:1-3Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ-their Lord and ours: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The first word in this segment that pops out in my mind is "called" where it says we are "called to be holy." Mostly that's because I just spent this last weekend in Spokane, Washington at a Living Proof Live conference and one of the things Beth Moore told us is that we are "called with a calling" based on Ephesians 4:4. She said that where it says "just as you were called tot one hope when you were called" the more literal way of saying that would be that part about being called would be that we are "called with a calling." I might have messed that up a little but the basic idea is that if you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you were not just called, but called with a calling. It is not just those in full time ministery who have a calling on their lives. We are all called to serve the Lord Jesus in a particular way, largely dependent on your Spiritual gifts, which we'll learn about more when we get to Chapter 12.
Paul also says here that we are "sanctified" in Christ Jesus. Now, how can that be when we are still so flawed? I believe the word "sanctified" here to be more how God sees us, even as we are continuing to be sanctified in Him, because when Jesus died on the Cross all of our sins died with Him. We are covered by His blood and so now when God looks on us He sees us without those sins. We still sin, but we're forgiven and therefore fully sanctified and completely holy in His eyes. He sees us through Jesus, not with all of our sins still on us that we know we have in the flesh. Because the word "snctified" literally means "made holy." So in a sense we are already sanctified. Now this does not mean we are off the hook as we will learn later on in 1 Corinthians. We are still responsible for our own actions in practicing our spiritual gifts and leaning on Jesus and living out our faith on this earth. Being witnesses for Christ. In that sense we're still in process and learning how to do those things effectively.
Finally, He offers us grace and peace, which I think we all know we desperately need. I know I do.
Prayer:"Dear Lord, I do need Your Grace and Your Peace so very desperately. I need it to live a sanctified and holy life. It is only possible with Your Grace. In Jesus' Name. Amen."