Sunday, April 30, 2006

Devoted & Dangerous

Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer life. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. ~Colossians 4:2

This was one verse in a passage of scripture that was used as the building blocks for a devotion I read today. And although the rest of the verses are relevant to the devotion, something about this verse just stood off the page for me. That something is the topic of PRAYER.

A month or so ago I was asked to help teach our high school youth group because the leader was sick and couldn't teach that night. Not having much time to put something together I simply gave it to God in prayer and asked that He use me for what He wanted to teach that night. The Lord put prayer on my heart and very faithfully lead me to scriptures and information that I was to use.

One sentence that I came across in my reading, and that I shared with the group, has stuck with me since that night. It is... "No Christian is greater than his prayer life".

This morning I was praying and seeking the Lord for more detail to the plan He has before me for my life. I know where my passion is, but I feel like there is so much more waiting for me that is still unknown - and I've never been someone who is good at being content with waiting. I can do it - and many times I am forced to do it - but the bigger part of me just wants to "get going". I want more from my life, but I'm not willing to move ahead out of my impatience and risk being outside of God's will.

Let me share one part of the devotion I read...

The single most important activity for any follower of Christ to engage in is spending time with God, meditating on His word and praying. Notice that I said "spend time with God". Believers today expect prayer answers to be as instant as microwave meals. If the Lord does not respond immediately, people typically have one of three thoughts: God is angry with me; I must have sin in my life; or this must not be God's will. Usually, however, the real answer is that we haven't prayed long enough for God to have worked out all the details. There is a time for quick, emergency petitions, but most prayer is a continuous effort.

After I read this scripture this morning and the devotion that followed, I was struck with this thought... "Does my life feel like it's on hold right now simply because all of the details for what lies ahead are not yet worked out? Or am I the one who's causing this stagnation because I haven't been devoted and committed enough in my prayer life?"

Honestly, the answer could lie in both questions -- God could still be working things out before revealing more of His plan to me -- but I also know the answer to the latter question: I am not committed enough in my prayer... plain and simple. It's an area that I struggle with constantly... and why do I? I love to pray. I know God has given me the gift of prayer. And yet, even with this knowledge, prayer still is not at the top of my priority list most days. Granted there are days when my prayer life is awesome, and the Holy Spirit is so heavy that I could pray for hours. But it's not like that everyday. Why?

Here's the second part to the devotion and the answer to this question...

We live in a spiritual war zone. Every time we get on our knees we are doing business with God, but we are also doing battle with the Devil. As a result, we must expect interference and harassment. Satan knows that a devotedly prayerful person is dangerous. Such an individual is enjoying a deep, peaceful relationship with God that translates into a passion for obedience and a powerful witness.

No, I am not excusing myself from accountability here and blaming my lack of commitment on Satan. I do take responsibility for the priorities in my life, but I also know that Satan is the master deceiver and any time he can help fill my life or my thoughts with an endless "to do" list -- he's won his battle, and I've lost mine.

Conclusion (taken from the devotion):

If you would like to be "devoted and dangerous", make prayer your top priority!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Birthday to Remember

To All Y'all... and you know who you are! Thank you much for sharing my day with me and for over-the-top spoiling me with great food, great fun, and tons of laughter! Y'all made ushering in my 39th birthday that much easier to handle... gosh, that sounds so old, but I don't feel 39 (maybe 15, right Coli?)

From the Cheesecake (kelsey); to my worst day ever at Starbucks (the only downer in the day); to Xanga page changes that "take the cake" (coli); to crumble birthday cake (teighlor); to Mimi's (what? no more Mi-mi-mi-mi? - nope, just free spinach artichoke dip instead); to Apple Valley's Animal Shelter, which just so happens to have housed the ugliest chihuahua ever known to man with a snaggletooth and 3 good legs - that is until Miss "I-saw-that-dog-this-morning-but-neglected-to-tell-any-worker-that-we-wanted-her-until-they-showed-her-to-someone-else" showed up with her 4 kids and snatched her right out from underneath Coli's big "I'll-take-this-tree(i mean dog)-home-and-love-it" Charlie Brown heart; to 'almost' round two of "oops, we'll give you the opportunity to fall in love with that animal, but you can't take it home because it already belongs to someone else"; to Cats - the musical- and Rum Tum Tugger; to awesome worship (best yet by far); a night among the Psalms (great job, BFF); to one final tummy-stuffing meal at Carrow's.

Gosh, I'm tired just recapping my 24 hours of birthday celebrating!

I am surrounded with and loved by the bestest (which is better than best) people a girl could ever wish for!


Birthday Wishes

Chatterbox Comments:
: Thank you, My Family, for making me feel so very special! What a great surprise to come home too! Hugs & Kisses to All!
: Happy Birthday! We all miss you very much and can't wait to see you again! Just think, this is the last year that you can say you're in your 30's (that's what I told Joe this morning). Love you!
: Happy B-day! you are 24! *In my world, at least!* Love forever, Kate
: Hi Auntie Lexi! Happy B-day!I miss you sooo much! I hope you had fun at the Cheescake! *It looks like you did!* Thanx for everything!
: Too bad I cant spell hope - once you turn 40 your brain turns to mush - take note !
: Happy Birthday Beautiful ! We hpoe that you have a wonderful, happy, and laughter-filled day !
: Happy Birthday to our beautiful 39 daughter. You are truly special.We love you!
: Happy Birthday SexyLexie!
: Happy Birthday to you! You live in a zoo. You look like a monkey. And you smell like one too. I love you.
: Happy Birthday to you! You're 39 now and you're getting old. haha J/K I love you. Happy Birthday!
: Happy Birthday for the second time!

Happy Birthday to YOU! Happy Birthday to YOU! Happy Birthday AUNTIE BABS! Happy Birthday to YOU!

Hope you had a swinging day at work! Did anybody join the tee-shirt club??? haha

Thanks for playing the birthday game with me last night! I could have listed 50,000,000,000 more things ... but I'll save some things for your next birthday. (Shedding a tear, for added sentiment. haha)

The number one greatest thing about you??? YOUR FAITH. In God. In Every Believer. In Me. You're greatness seriously can't be matched!

"Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you..." (Psalms 36:10) Lord - pour your LOVE out on my BFF today!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Worship Concert

Just got home a little while ago from seeing Shawn McDonald at Grace Baptist Church in Lancaster. What an awesome evening full of awesome worship! I am so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open, so I will go to bed now and write more about this tomrrow... or actually later today!

April 14 - 10 p.m.
Okay... so I'm adding on to my own blog from a couple nights ago. I was so tired (I mean... I was just sooooooo tired - that's for you Coli) that I couldn't write anything that would have made sense... to me or anyone else.

What I really want to say about this concert is that the best thing about it is that it wasn't a typical concert from a Christian artist. This was like sitting and having Shawn McDonald lead us in worship. It was so intimate and so stripped down musically but that was what made the night so special. Just Shawn and his muscially-gifted pal, Will, with a couple guitars, a cello, and some harmonicas. No fancy lighting or sound effects (except for some echo on the Shawn's mic)... just Shawn's raw voice and the guitars -- and the cello too.

Not only that but God blessed our socks off with amazing seating. We sat in the third row -- it was first come, first served seating. Sitting that close we got to see Shawn and Will's amazing talent as they worked the guitar strings like crazy. God has definitey annointed these two men with amazing musical ability.

Wait... there's more. The absolutely, fantastically, supersplendific part of the night was how Shawn started it all off. He has got to be the most humble artist I've seen live. Instead of coming out and wowing the crowd with a long set of his original songs (and soaking up all the applause he would have received), he came out and started with his slowest worship song, Yahweh, and then followed it up with about 6 more contemporary worship songs - none of which were his. I just closed my eyes, raised my hands, and worshipped the Lord. For the first 20 minutes I forgot that I was there to see Shawn McDonald... I was just having an awesome time worshippping with a man whose raw voice is absolutely, amazingly beautiful. I could only think this as I was worshipping, "Man, what church wouldn't be totally blessed to have this guy as their worship leader."

All I have to say to end this blog is this... if you have any chance to see him play... DO IT! You won't be going to see someone perform... you'll be going to have this man draw you into an incredible night of glorious worship!

Monday, April 3, 2006

Moses and the Lamb

I saw before me what seemed to be a crystal sea mixed with fire. And on it stood all the people who had been victorious over the beast and his statue and the number representing his name. They were all holding harps that God had given them. And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:

"Great and marvelous are your actions, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations." Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name?For you alone are holy.All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous deeds have been revealed." Revelation 15:1-4

While believers stand in this world, in times of trouble, as upon a sea of glass mingled with fire, they may look forward to their final deliverance, while new mercies call forth new hymns of praise. The more we know of God's wonderful works, the more we shall praise his greatness as the Lord God Almighty, the Creator and Ruler of all worlds; but his title of Emmanuel, the King of saints, will make him dear to us. Who that considers the power of God's wrath, the value of his favour, or the glory of his holiness, would refuse to fear and honour him alone? His praise is above heaven and earth. (Commentary Notes)

As I sat here tonight, I was determined to not let my attitude of this day be the final thought that I went to sleep with. So I turned to God's Word, the one thing I should have held close to me today and yet neglected... I paid the price with a discouraged soul -- and I can't help but think of those who walked my day with me and yet reaped not one benefit of being with me.
God is ALWAYS faithful to minister to me when I reach out to Him -- no matter how late I am in my reaching...

Did I start out seeking verses out of Revelation? No, I probably would have chosen something from the Book of Psalms to minister to me. But God always has a way of getting me to rise above ME and see HIM. What better way to remind me of who He is?