Monday, January 26, 2009

Can You Hear Your "Heartbeep"?

Sweet Emily has to have a checkup tomorrow.  You must understand that I've been prepping her on this for a couple of weeks now, because as you probably know, four year olds don't deal well with being stuck with a needle!  Since my kids always do better when I'm completely honest with them, I decided to be proactive.  I talked to her about how the doctor would listen to her heart, check her ears, mouth, eyes, etc.  

So this morning she asked us all to be quiet so she could listen to her heart.  She laid her hand across her chest, looked around patiently, and then suddenly exclaimed, "I think I'm not going to die--my heart is still beeping!"  

Yea!  She understands that you must have a "beeping" heart to be alive!  Isn't that the same for us spiritually?  How many times do we do a "heart check"?  The Bible says in Psalm 139:23-24, 

Search me, O God, and know my heart
Try me and know my anxious thoughts
And see if there be any hurtful way in me
And lead me in the everlasting way.

That sounds like a spiritual checkup to me!  There have been times in my life when I've felt uneasy, even though I couldn't quite put my finger on the reason why.  I have prayed that Psalm during those times, and God has always been faithful to answer.  Many times I would be convicted of sin; perhaps an ungodly attitude or a wrong that I had committed.  As Christians we should regularly pray that God would examine our hearts, even when we think everything is fine, so that we can either become or remain spiritually healthy.  And remember, David wrote this Psalm in praise to God for His intimate knowledge of us, even before we were born.  That means we can trust in our Father, the Great Physician, that He won't miss a thing!  He loves us and desires for us to be in good fellowship with Him, and promises to work in our lives.  Be open to hear the Holy Spirit so that you can keep your spiritual "heartbeep" in check!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thoughts on True Worship

What first comes to your mind when you think of worshipping God?  Is it music?  Going to church?  A sermon?  A lifestyle?  

Sadly, so many times, we assess our worship "experiences", and then rate them according to our feelings during that particular time.  Please don't misunderstand me; God created us to have emotions!  That is very much a part of who we are as human beings, created in His image.  So while true worship does involve emotion, it must be invoked only as a response to the greatness of our God and the truth of His Word.

God is spirit, and those who worship Him 
must worship in spirit and truth.
John 4:24
I really believe that's what true worship is: a response.  Not a response to our mood.  Not a response to a climactic sermon.  Not a response to a key change.  Real worship is a response to truth.  Not a personal experience, but to the truth of who God is.  It's about Him.

For so long "worship" has been branded this label that is far from what it really is.  Worship isn't just going to church.  It isn't just singing songs or making music.  It isn't just hearing or delivering a good sermon.  Of course, those are wonderful ways to express worship to God, but true worship is an attitude of the heart--an expression of adoration and reverence for the Creator of the heavens and the earth.  When we are confronted with the reality of the greatness of our God, whether it be through a lyric, Scripture, a conversation or a life change, we worship Him, and then yes, it is a great experience!  The truth of who God is causes us to live our lives differently--for Him--and that is also an act of worship.

Tonight at bedtime, Emily prayed a really sweet, heartfelt prayer, then immediately and enthusiastically proclaimed, "I love God more-ther!"  It was as if she really couldn't find the words to say how much she loved God!  I smiled, because even though she didn't realize it, that was an act of worship.  I know that she meant it from her heart, and that is exactly the thing that God sees.

Hoping to hear your thoughts...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I said that I was only going to watch the Ceremony.  But the festivities surrounding the Inauguration today drew me in, and my TV was fixed on Fox News!  I didn't sit down and watch it all day, but I was tuned in, even when it was just background noise.

No, I am not a supporter of the policies or ideas of our new president.  But I am a supporter of him in that he is now my president.  I must say that it was discouraging to hear so many people today booing President Bush.  Where is the respect?  He served as our leader for eight years, and they could not show him respect as he was bidding the office farewell?  

As I watched and listened carefully to President Obama's speech, I wondered about our country; what will it look like in six months?  A year?  Five years?  I know what I think, but only time will tell.

I don't want to blog politics today though.  Regardless of how I feel about the new administration, today was a very important day in America's history!  I encourage all of you to pray for this administration and pray for our nation.  And when you feel discouraged, remember that this world is our temporary home.  No matter how good or bad things seem on this earth at any given time, we must never forget that we should always be living for eternity, for our lives here are but a speck in the grand scheme of time.  I'm so thankful that I serve a God who is eternal, all-powerful and completely in control!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Our Great God

Jason and I have been reading a book called Crazy Love by a pastor named Francis Chan (I highly recommend it).  He has several video logs online, and throughout the book, he will occasionally ask the reader to pause and watch a video that pertains to that part of the book.  Posted below is one of the videos that I wanted to share with you.  I tried to add it to my previous post, but I was lacking in the know-how.  But after talking to the Waynesburg Technical Support guru, I was able to easily add it to today's.  

I hope that as you watch you are reminded of how truly GREAT is our God.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Lately I have been thinking so much about the "big-ness" of God.  I have always been fascinated by the universe and amazed that God created all of those things.  It really makes me put my self-centeredness into perspective when I realize that God created so many things that human beings will never even lay eyes on in this life, and why?  For His own glory.  It's not really about me, is it?  Yet God chooses to love me with an everlasting love.  And you.  In the midst of all of His magnificent creation, He created people, and His Word is full of great and precious promises, just making sure that we know how much He cares...for us.  I can't even describe the how humbling that is for me.  
Ashlyn and I are doing a study of the sun, reading astonishing facts and viewing mind-boggling pictures.  The library book we were reading today stated as "fact" how the universe was formed, with absolutely no mention of God.  I stopped and explained to Ashlyn that many people believe the universe just happened, without a Creator.  The look on her face was almost funny, but it assured me of her belief in God as the Creator!

Billions of galaxies have been captured on our telescopes, and only God knows what else is out there.  Yet even though we are tiny in comparison, He has chosen to love us.  I feel speechless when I think about it.  I believe that one day, with our God-given glorified minds, we may understand.  But until then, I just try to take it in as much as I can, in awe of the power of my Father, who holds the universe in His hands, yet at the same time, holds me near every day.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Fun Surprise

First of all, I'd like to thank all of you who took the time to comment on my post "The Need for...Sleep".  Your comments meant so much to me and were truly an encouragement for both Jason and me.  I agree that the days of my kids being young and close by my side are relatively short, so thinking from that perspective really helps me to overcome these sleep issues I've been having.  By the way, we are now in the market for a king-sized bed!!

Having said all of that, Jason and I did have an enjoyable weekend, where we were able to get away overnight and spend some time together.  I had booked a room for us and had tried to find some basketball tickets, but was unsuccessful (in finding the tickets).  At the last minute, however, my brother surprised us with some great seats!  I thought it was so sweet that he had been looking all this time for us, and then when he found some, he gave them to us instead of using them for himself!  What a guy!  Thanks again Josh!  (See how happy we look?)

On a totally different note, I have been learning so much lately, and I am working on getting my thoughts together so that I can write about it on here.  I absolutely love sharing what God teaches me, and I love hearing back from you about how he is working in your life.  For today, here's a verse to meditate upon:

Therefore be careful how you walk,
Not as unwise men but as wise,
Making the most of your time
Because the days are evil
Ephesians 5:15-16

My dad spoke about this verse yesterday at church, reminding us that we really should carefully consider how we spend our time, as well as other gifts that God gives us, making sure that we are truly making the most of those things for the glory of our Almighty Father.  He gives us 24 hours every day--no more, no less--how do you spend your time?  Is it more for God's glory or for yourself?  I hope that you are as challenged by that as I am.  It doesn't mean that we have to cut out every activity, it just means that we should manage our time well, and then as we are working or playing or whatever we are doing, we should be focused on how God wants to use us in any circumstance.  God deserves no less than our very best, so today, consider these things and worship Him with your whole life by honoring His gift of time.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Boy Turns 2

Yesterday we had a celebration for Jake.  It's hard to believe that he's already two years old!  He's hardly a baby anymore and he is learning so much every day.  

I made his birthday cake the night before, and the whole time he kept singing "Happy Birthday to You", except he would always sing it about Ashlyn.  I never could get him to fill in his name!

When he was born, I cried during his delivery when my doctor exclaimed, "It's a boy!"  I don't think I realized how happy I would be to have a boy.  So far, raising Jake has definitely been bit different than raising our girls!  It is so fascinating (and tiring) to observe the natural distinctions that God gave to boys and to girls!

So we celebrated, along with "Mee" Mouse and all his pals from the Clubhouse!  I love my boy!!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Need for...Sleep

Well, thank you for all you who are praying for me.  I must say that I actually did sleep much better last night, that is, regarding thinking about stuff and being discouraged.  However, my sleep was interrupted by little kids moving about, making themselves at home in our bed.  

I guess it was around 2:00 am that I was awakened by Jake's cry upstairs.  He can just about climb out of his crib, so we, not wanting to take any chances, have moved him into a small toddler bed.  The big problem is that he doesn't want to stay in it all night!  So, he ends up in bed with us.  Last night, Emily (at some point) came to our bed as well.  I woke up around 5:00 with about five inches of sleeping space.  I got up to move to the couch, but by that time, Ashlyn was up and ready to climb into bed with me.  So we both went up to her room, where I soundly slept until the alarm clock I'd carried with me sounded off at 6:30.  

All of that left me thinking this morning about the need to find a solution for our traveling sleepers that roam from room to room in the middle of the night.  I've laid out blankets in our floor before, telling the girls that if they wake and MUST get up, they have to lay on the floor.  But they are so sneaky that they crawl into my bed without me being awake enough to notice or really even care at that stage of my sleep.  Oh well.  I guess it's not that bad of a problem.

As much as I'd like to have my own half of the bed for the whole night, I guess sharing it with my wee ones isn't all bad.  They are pretty snuggly after all.  Plus it's not EVERY night that I am booted out onto the couch.    

Perhaps the solution is king-sized bed, huh?  

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

In the Midst of Discouragement...

Do you ever just feel defeated?  I do.  In fact, I've been losing sleep over something lately; just really having trouble discerning what's going on.  Maybe it's because over Christmas break, I sort of got out of my daily routine, which includes a daily time of meditation and prayer.  I don't have trouble going to sleep, but I wake up in the middle of the night and think, think, think myself into a state of discouragement.

Our Sunday School teacher, this past Sunday, talked about Matthew 6:34, "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."  That is a scripture that has had great meaning for me, because as a child I was a perpetual worrier.  As I have grown older and more spiritually mature, I have learned more about trusting God and have been able to (with God's help) put aside worrisome thoughts.  However, there are times, like now, that I wrestle with certain issues, and it really seems to get me down.

Sometimes it's not just worries about "tomorrow", but also dealing with "yesterday" that nags me and seems to take a bite out of my joy.  Of course, that's a no win situation too, isn't it?  It's actually silly, since the past cannot be changed!  I know that God is working, even when I struggle with knowing what He is up too.  I know that His promises are greater than any circumstance.  I also know that, as a human being, I am vulnerable to being hit hard with discouragement and doubt from the enemy, and sometimes I have a hard time distinguishing the truth from the lies.  

I guess I'm asking you to pray for me during this time, for God knows every detail.  Pray for me as a teacher, mother and follower of God, that I will be sensitive to God's direction.  Just being up this morning reading His Word has already reminded me of His goodness and love.  I've always said that it's about saturating yourself in the Word, and during times like these, it's evident that in order to have true peace, abiding in Christ is a must.  

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Our Ashlyn

Wow, it has been a crazy week!  I want to thank all of our friends and family who have been praying for Ashlyn.  She was a very sick little lady this week!  We took her to the Emergency Room on New Year's and she was diagnosed with pneumonia.  But she is on an antibiotic and is doing much better today.

It's so hard to watch your kids suffer, isn't it?  As I was caring for Ashlyn this week, I thought about that, just like I do any other time when my children are sick or hurting.  I remember how, when I would be ill as a child, my mom and dad would tell me how much they would rather it be them than me.  I now understand that feeling!  

When we were in the hospital, waiting for Ashlyn's IV to finish, I saw a commercial on TV for St. Jude's children's hospital.  Seeing those children, many of them bald from chemo or radiation treatments I'm sure, I was just overwhelmed with thanksgiving in my heart for the health of my children.  Sure, Ashlyn was not well at that moment, but we had no doubt that she would recover soon.  Many of these families don't have that.  I really do thank God for the blessing of health and wellness, and always want to use that blessing in honor of Him and for Him.

I hope to start writing regularly again this week.  It's been so busy over the holidays, but now we are getting back into our "normal" routine.  Prayers to all of you who are going back to school too!