Monday, January 31, 2005

Answer to Prayer

In my Rhoda/Prayer I posted that I was praying and waiting on God for some direction. He Did!!! I have some direction now, though it wasn't what I anticipated.A friend called to say she had 5 ladies interested in a self defense class. She wanted to know if I would be interested in teaching them if she found a building and was able to get a date that would work for all of them. I told her yes and then didn't hear from her for a few weeks. That last week I had 4 people call and tell me they had been praying for me,(most called the day before she called me back). It never ceases to amaze me how many people God prompts to pray for one another at any given time. What an encouragment to me that God's love for us is personal and He wants to show us what to do. :) I start teaching this Thursday and I have about 6 more young ladies that might be interested.
The Lord often works in ways I don't anticipate. I think He is moving one direction and then He turns me completely around and gives me something wonderful, but unexpected! I have wanted to teach self defense and knitting to young ladies for a few years now, but every time I tried it didn't work out. I had been considering enrolling in a basic course of study at a college if the Lord didn't open something else. My parents and I had been asking the Lord for direction, and I had just quit checking into things having decided I had asked for wisdom and now it was time to 'wait on the Lord' - to see where He wanted me to go next. I can not express in words how exciting this has been for me, or how it has increased my faith. :)
I am seeing once again that when I don't have direction I need to be diligently working on the last thing I know God gave me to do while I'm waiting. When I have direction I should move with confidence into whatever it is He has placed before me. Focusing on my fear can paralyze me into doing nothing or tempt me to rely on my limited abilities.Case in point: I want to trust God and be who He made me, but I sometimes choose to let my fear of people control what I do. (Will I fail to communicate clearly, be too loud, too giving, too quiet, too talkative, not talkative enough???? & so on and so on....) Instead of focusing on my fears I need to focus on obeying His Word, and then trusting Him to guide me. I need to believe He wants me to be who He has made me, not what He has made my brother or sister. ( Though that one is quite tempting! I know some pretty special people.) Focus needs to be on pleasing my Father in heaven.
I must meditate on the truth of who God is ; omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent.

I'm now studying a book on self defense and notes from classes I have taken over the years. I'm praying that the Lord gives me wisdom so I can teach these girls the basic skills they might need. I am so excited and so nervous.


Right before the class I called a friend and asked for prayer. He was kind, encouraging and patient to take the time to pray that I would have wisdom and peace while teaching. It helped me to pray, and quit thinking of my limited abilities. I appreciated it more than I could express over the phone.The Lord has graciously given me a wonderful group of friends over the last two years. I pray I can be as steadfast & encouraging a friend to all of them as they are to me.

After praying I was able to breath a little bit better and I didn't shake quiet as much. (Sigh) :)

There were 14 ladies in the class and all of them were excited. They asked questions, worked hard, and we still enjoyed ourselves. It is a blast teaching an all girls class, though they were excited in a loud manner. I had to keep raising my voice to be heard over the excitment but I loved it!! We covered a lot more than I expected. They were eager and learned quickly. We went over the safety precautions, wrist grabs and 1 neck grab. They were fun to teach.

Afterward we went to Joanna's house (the friend that set it all up) and had ice cream with peanut butter on it. Wow, that is sooooo good. I had no idea I would like peanut butter on ice cream. Who would have thought?:) One of the truly enjoyable things in life; getting to experience new foods!

I came away feeling very blessed by all of these people that I know. What an amazing Father we have.

This week I am supposed to have 3 or 4 more young ladies start taking the class and I am feeling so much more confident about it. Our heavenly father is personally concerned with us and does answer our prayers. :)

Friday, January 21, 2005

Rhoda/ Prayer

Words and Music by Larnelle Harris

Peter was thrown in prison
Made a scapegoat for Harod's wrath
So a girl named Rhoda met with the Saints
to intercede on his behalf
Hearing their prayers God answered
Like time and time
And while still in prayer
Rhoda heard Peter call
But ran to announce him without letting him in,

And all of heaven said
Rhoda! open the door
Don't you turn and walk away!
Here is the one you've been praying for,
and God answers when you pray.
Oh, don't waste your time,
open the door and find
that the answer to prayer is there,
Rhoda, open the door!

Are you an effectual, fervent prayer,
casting your mountains into the sea?
Or do you pray like these friends of Peter's
not taking God seriously?

Rhoda, open the door,
Don't you turn and walk away
Here is the one you've been praying for,
and God answers when you pray.
Oh don't waste the time,
open the door and find
that your answer to prayer is there,
open the door!

I heard this the other day and couldn't stop thinking about all the times I have prayed without expecting the Lord to answer my prayer. When He does I am surprised! Why is it that we don't believe He wants to give us the best and that He will never forget nor forsake us? Sometimes the answer does not come the way we want it to or in the fashion we thought it would, but there is always an answer.

I am praying about the Lord sending me to college for some basic training. My parents are great, they are being so supportive, but I don't want to do the wrong thing and go to the wrong place. I am beginning to think He has answered my prayer, in a way I didn't expect. A curve ball so to speak.:) I guess I just have to make the next step.

This weekend a co-worker was talking to a group I was with. We were talking about sometimes having to dive in to a situation God has led you to. I said sometimes it is scary, but it is so much easier to obey when He calls. It is miserable when we don't just obey Him without hesitation. Now it is time for me to step out in faith.

Wow! I feel so much better getting that said.

I heard another song not too long ago about diving in.
It talked about standing at the edge of a river and looking into the rushing current, and giving in to the Lord; or making the choice to go in and not turn back, once your feet had left the edge. The picture is of a man standing by the water, looking in and knowing it will change everything to dive. Once he does in: he will go deep, it will be over his head, he will be caught in the rush and in the flow, and yet he wants to go. It is the same way with the Lord. I know if I dive into this it will be over my head. I will be lost in the rush and flow, but yet I want to go wherever He wants me to go.

I hope this makes sense and is encouraging. It helped me to write it all down and think about it.:)

Monday, January 17, 2005

Practice Happiness

In an ad a model, middle-aged with graying hair and glasses smiles with great glee. The ad says it all. "Practice Happiness".
" Happiness" is a consious decision, a determined attitude, an openness to nuance, beauty, gifts of wonder, requiring ACTION, WORDS, APPRECIATION, and UNDERSTANDING on your part.
* Generally, and ironically, those people who say they are " Unhappy" for reasons unknown, are generally behaving in ways which wouldn't bring any joys to anyone around them either; the same way that bored people are boring people.

*Practice Happiness ; walk with a bounce, smile at people, make thankful, apprecitive comments to others for their acts or words of service to you. Make positive plans to bless someone else, or something that you want to do that you enjoy.

1. " Feelings" of happiness are not what our society makes them out to be (" THE criterion for determining the value of our lives and our relationships".). We can choose to be thankful for all of the wonderous gifts we have. Practicing gratefullness leads to 'feelings' of happiness.
2. Fulfilling our obligations, thanking others for their kindnesses to us, behaving in ways which are kind, loving and positive towards others, make us happy in and of themselves!
3. When we create pleasantness, in spite of our mood, we create an atmosphere in which others flourish and feed us back even more positively.
4. Feelings have no conscience or IQ- they are not to be revered over obligation, morality, service, and common sense.
In conclusion your life, and your relationships are not going to be perfect in this world. That should not stop you from doing every thoughtful, brave, and compassionate thing that you have an opportunity to, to bring pleasure into the lives of your family and friends. And that should not stop you from enjoying the value of what you are privilaged and blessed to have- if only we would choose to see it that way and BE thankful.
If we are not happy, we need to try behaving as though we are. It will lighten life up for us and our families, and how that feeds back, lighting up the world.

Dr. Schlessinger

This is a good reminder.
Of course the Word of God has many passages about this subject: In everything give thanks- and the peace of God..will be yours ; rejoice, rejoice, and again I say rejoice, Give thanks in all things for this is the will of God concerning you; Faith without works is dead.( behaving in a thankful joyful manner) The joy of the Lord is my strength!
I'm sure you can find many verses that echo what shes reminding us of.
I enjoyed the way she said it 'differently' and made the practical application. It made it seem 'new' again to me; made me consider whether or not I was making the choice to be actively ' alive' to the blessings of God, and thankful daily.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Before The Throne Of God Above

Before the throne of God above,
I have a strong, a perfect plea,
A great High Priest whose name is "Love,"
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is writen on His heart;
I know that while in heav’n He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart,
no tongue can bid me thence depart.
When Satan tempts me to despair,
and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died,
my sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just,
is satisfied to look on him and pardon me,
to look on him and pardon me.
Behold him there! the risen Lamb,
my perfect, spotless Righteousness,
the great unchangeable I AM,
the King of glory and of grace!
One with Himself I cannot die,
My soul is purchased by His blood;
My life is hid with Christ on high,
with Christ, my Savior and my God, with Christ,
my Savior and my God.

Friday, January 07, 2005


From Screwtape Letters

Dear Wormwood,

Obviously you are making excellent progress. My only fear is lest in attempting to hurry the patient you awaken him to a sense of his real position. For you and I, who see that position as it really is, must never forget how totally different it ought to appear to him. We know that we have introduced a change of direction in his course which is already carrying him out of his orbit around the Enemy; but he must be made to imagine that all the choices which have effected this change of course are trivial and revocable. He must not be allowed to suspect that he is now, however slowly, heading right away from the sun on a line which will carry him into the cold and dark of utmost space.
For this reason I am almost glad to hear that he is still a church-goer and a communicant. I know there are dangers in this but anything is better than that he should realize the break he has made with the first months of his Christian life As long as he retains externally the habits of a Christian he can still be made to think of himself as one who has adopted a few new friends and amusements but whose spiritual state is much the same as it was six weeks ago. And as long as he thinks that we do not have to contend with the explicit repentance of a definite, fully recognized sin , but with only a vague, though uneasy feeling that he" hasn't been doing very well lately."
As this condition becomes more fully established, you will be gradulally freed from the tiresome business of providing "Pleasures as temptations", ...You no longer need a good book, which he really likes, to keep him from his prayers or his work or his sleep; a column of advertisements in yesterdays paper will do,..... You can make him waste his time not only in conversations he enjoys with people whom he likes, but in conversations with those he cares nothing about on subjects that bore him. You can make him do nothing at all for long periods. You can keep him up late at night, not roistering, but staring at a dead fire in a cold room. All the healthly and out-going activities which we want him to avoid can be inhibited and nothing given in return, so that at least he may say, as one of my own patients said on his arrival down here. 'I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked'. *** The Christians describe the Enemy as one 'without whom Nothing is strong'. And Nothing is very strong ; strong enough to steal away a man's best years not in sweet sins. but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why; in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels,. in whistling tunes that he does not like or in the long dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is too weak and fuddled to shake off.
Do remember the only thing that matters is the extent to which you seperate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the work. Indeed the safest road to Hell ( and an ineffective- wasted life) is the gradual one- the gentle slope, soft underfoot,without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

Your affectionate uncle,

If you have never read Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis you need to. Everytime I get to read some or all of it, I am reminded how we can be so very blind. I would love to hear what others think of this passage. :)

Monday, January 03, 2005

New Year

A New Year, with no mistakes in it. Yet:) It reminds me of Anne Shirley, when she is being told that tomorrow is always a new day with no mistakes in it.
As I went into this new year, I couldn't help but wonder what would happen and think back on what has already taken place that I didn't expect. The Lord has blessed in so many wondrous ways. Last year a good friend of mine got married, I began a full time job, I found a Martial Arts studio to work out in, my church family moved, I had some wonderful friendships start, and so many small, but very exciting situation and instances.
I worked New Years Eve morning and afternoon. Work went really fast and we accomplished a lot of things that needed to be done. We headed to the Christensen's house after work, for fun and fellowship. I had a great time!:) The youth played Volley Ball most of the evening. My cousins came for the evening also and we had her, "Mad Dog Madison" play on our team. Of course we did really well. ;) After playing for a few hours I had to stop, my hand started hurting me. I guess it was from serving. Back in the house all the little ones were playing and running around in circles (literally). Morgan and I explored the house, and than she wanted to play. She didn't need me anymore:) I had a really nice and very needed talk with a few girls as the night went on. Not only did we have our regular church family, but we also had a few people from out of town. My Aunt and Uncle sat around and talked with everyone. McKenna, did great! She didn't want us to play with her, she could do it by herself with the other little ones. I was so glad that everyone had a good time. I enjoyed getting to know everyone. There were all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds. Of course I had fun visiting with my bothers and sisters in Christ. As the evening went on we had delicious food, wonderful s'mores(around the camp fire) and we played Scrabble. I actually won a game of Scrabble (without huge amounts of help):) At Midnight a lot of the families started leaving. A few of us thought it would be fun to stay the night and visit for a while longer. As it ended up we watched the end of The Return of the Kings. I thought we would go to bed after that, but instead we talked about what God was doing in our lives, what we had learned over the last year(or few months) and what was still hard. I was extremely blessed!:) At this point it was already 5:30 am, so a bunch of stayed up the rest of the night and played pick 2 and went outside around the time the sun should have risen. It was too cloudy to actually see the sun rise, but we had a nice time talking and sharing. I can not tell you how much this blessed me. Last year I prayed that God would give me friends to share, fellowship and love. He has and they have blessed me in more ways than imagined. I brought home the girls and then I went home. At home my Aunt, Uncle and family were there. We had our own little Christmas. We exchanged gifts and played games. It is amazing how much noise can be made by 1 game and 7 adults can make. We played Bopit. That was a blast, but very noisy. We spent most of the day playing games and telling stories. My Aunt and Uncle are great, I have never enjoyed getting to visit with them this much before. It was absolutely wonderful. At around 4:30 ish I couldn't keep my eyes open,so I took a nap for about an hour. I woke up feeling better, but kind of groggy. Oh, well!

We played games the rest of the evening and I think we watched a movie. I don't remember much after 7 o'clock, though I was wake. Sort of:)!!!

In all I would have to say it was the best New Years Eve and Day I have ever had. The Lord has really blessed me with wonderful friends and family.