Monday, October 22, 2007

Fruitcakes and Other Things

Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Psalm 128:1-2

I get so upset with my kids. I want them to do the right thing all the time without me having to constantly remind and correct them. I’m really upset with myself for not staying aware of what they need to be doing.

Once again, at bedtime Sunday evening, my children remembered they have homework. I’ve tried to get them to empty their backpacks and look at what they need to do every day as soon as they get home from school. Some days I remember to remind them other days I’m too busy in my office trying to finish up other things.

It is times like this that I question whether I need to even be attempting those other things I’m working on. I enjoy being with my kids most of the time. As I was writing in my journal I realized that it is not when they are in a good mood that I enjoy being with them, it is when I am relaxed and in a good mood – not busy with other things.

Funny, that is exactly what I tell them all the time. “Your happiness does not depend circumstances or on other people. It depends on your attitude.”

So how do I live what I preach? Seems God gave me the answer in Psalm 128. The fruitfulness of getting along with my kids, being a good mom and accomplishing the “other things” all depends on where my focus stays.

It is the testing of my faith – not the testing of my abilities – that develops perseverance. (James 1:3) Will I place my faith – my assurance of what I can’t see (Hebrews 11:1) – in my abilities or in the Lord, my strength and my provider?

I’m seeing this reoccurring struggle in my life. I want to quit everything and “just enjoy life.” God seems to keep telling me to persevere. I also know that I’ve lived in that picture of “just enjoy life” and it really isn’t all that great. It is equally as frustrating as trying to accomplish great tasks on my own abilities.

The fruitfulness comes in relaxing with my eyes fixed on the one who is all powerful and all loving. He has all the plans for the fruitful life. I like fruit. It’s very refreshing. I want to be fruitful in whatever I’m doing.

Oh God, may my attitude reflect my trust in your unchangeable and unfathomable greatness. In you, my efforts are fruitful. Without you, I’m just a fruitcake.

Monday, October 08, 2007

A touch of humor for today's struggles

Below is an excerpt from Glen Schneiders’ Fax of Life/LIFemail - A Monday Morning Service to the Business Community for October 8, 2007. Schneiders is Lead Pastor of Crossroads Christian Church in Lexington, KY (

“At a conference last week, Francis Chan described a critical person as an appendix in the body. The Bible compares the church to a body, with every member functioning in their created role within the body. Done well – everyone functioning as they are wired - the church (body) is highly effective.

"Chan noted, ‘Some people are an appendix … They don’t really do anything, but they could explode and kill us!’ Any appendixes where you work?”

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Do you fear evil?

When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him.... No one was strong enough to subdue him…. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!" For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!" ...The demons begged Jesus…. He [Jesus] gave them [the demons] permission…. From Mark 5:2-13

Wow! Can you picture this scene? A man who no one could restrain, came and fell at Jesus feet. This man was the manifestation of many evil spirits. Do you know anyone that evil?

Look what this evil man did not do. He did not charge at Jesus. He did not argue with Jesus. He did not run from Jesus.

Why do we fear evil? Evil fears Jesus!

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. John 15:7

These are the words of Jesus. Do you believe him? Are you in Christ or do you settle for just having his words in you? There is a difference.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

How God Works

My journal entry three days ago included a discussion with God on scripture from Mark 4:11-12

He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, "'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'"

I’ve often wondered about this passage. Lord, don’t we want everyone to turn and be forgiven? Why speak in parables so that some may never perceive and never understand?

A couple weeks ago, I recommitted my voice as a speaker to “sing always, only for my king.” I have a strong sense of incompetence in the speaking arena. My greatest fear whether speaking to one person or a thousand (in my dreams), is that I will be misunderstood. The lesson from God on Wednesday was for me not to worry about how his word is received. He will handle soil preparation. I need to be like the sower who realizes that not all seed will fall on fertile ground.

But that didn’t really answer my years of struggle with the passage in Mark 4.

Yesterday, I pulled out “leadership encouragements” material from Moms in Touch and chose to follow the “Personal Quiet Time” on “Listening to God Speak to Me.” It is the basic read a passage of scripture until you sense something jumping out at you. There is an ancient term for this but I can’t think of it right now. If you know it, please leave it in the comments.

The passage was 1 Kings 18:16 through 1 Kings 19:18. I got as far as the second verse, 1 Kings 18:17 “When he [Ahab] saw Elijah, he said to him, ‘Is that you, you troubler of Israel?’”

I’m familiar with this story from 1 Kings because I co-led a retreat based on Elijah’s exciting confrontation followed by his immediate exhaustion and fear of people. So I didn’t need to read all of it to hear God remind me once again don’t worry about how others respond to what I give you to say.” I’ve already been seen as a “troubler” and asked not to participate in one women’s Bible study. I’ve also been called a fanatic. My closing words to God in my journal entry yesterday were “My desire is to Always, Only do what I see you doing, Lord.”

As I glanced at those words this morning, I heard God say that’s why some are always seeing but never perceiving, always hearing but never understanding. It was one of those “huh?” moments. Then it started making sense.

Those who have “ears to hear,” as Jesus says in Mark 4, do understand. But he’s not talking about physical ears. Of course, most of you realized that a long time ago. But wait.

Some years ago there was a popular study called “Experiencing God.” I’ve heard a lot about this study but never read it. What I’ve heard most often is “go where you see God already working.” That’s a fine thought but the problem is many times we are seeing but not perceiving. Do you get it? If you were in my little office right now, I’d be bouncing around as I tell you what’s on my mind.

I’ve rejected the concept of “go where God is already working” because I believe God is working everywhere. And that is the difference in seeing but never perceiving, hearing but never understanding. I want to see what God sees with his eyes, not just what I can see with my physical eyes. I want to do what I see him doing even if no one else around me sees it. If I were to read Blackaby’s material, I would probably have learned this lesson a long time ago.

So why do some people see and others don’t? Well, that’s still somewhat of a mystery but I think it has to do with humbling yourself to God as everything and man (all man including yourself) as nothing without him. With him, does not make me greater than others. But with him, I have life – ears to hear, eyes to see, reason to live a physical life because of the spiritual life.

I will keep sowing the seeds trusting that God is preparing the soil ahead of me. I may get discouraged if I look at what’s growing along the path. So I’ll keep my eyes on things above and consider carefully what I hear.

Are there things you don’t understand about God? Keep listening. Sometimes God leads us through a game of connect the dots so that we can perceive and understand.

“‘Consider carefully what you hear,’ he continued. ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you--and even more.’” Mark 4:24

Monday, October 01, 2007

Need Help?

I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

My help comes from the maker of heaven and earth! Think about that a minute.

I confess, I have a hard time asking others for help. Can you relate? These two verses overwhelmed me today. God, the creator of heaven and earth, wants to help me. He has chosen to be available to help me in everything I do.

  • Volunteer responsibilities… he keeps me focused on his plans.
  • Housework and parenting… he helps me prioritize and empathize.
  • Unhealthy thought patterns… he is right there to redirect.
  • Need encouragement… he sends a friend, an email, or a scripture.

Do you need help today? Lift your eyes not to the hills but to the one who created the hills.

the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

Copyright 2005-2010 Lisa Biggs Crum
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