21 December 2013

Insights: Things I'm Learning

..... About Me! :)

Over the past several weeks, I haven't had much time to blog. Between sitting in car rider lines to pick the kids up from activities or to rush them to activities, Mom being without a car, and Bible Studies; there's not been much time to sit down and blog. THAT might be a good thing!

Bible Studies? Plural? YES! I've did one through Proverbs 31 Ministries called "A Confident Heart" by Renee Swope which caused me to trip upon another book that is a mix of Bible Study and well ... weight loss but this is an on going study.  I've signed up with Mary Southerland to receive her weekly studies.  The first one was about 7 weeks called "A Balanced Life" and that led into the second one about "Holiday Blues".  Know what they all have in common?

I live for an audience of One!

Other people do not determine my identity.  Other people do not control my time, money, nor energy.  I'm not working to figure out who I am nor to please people!  I am created for God's purpose and only His purpose!  "No one else's" purpose nor agenda matters!

Circumstances do not define me!  I'm learning (key word is "learning") to separate my identity from the circumstance.  Just because I "fail" at something doesn't make me a failure.  When I have a "monster" mom moment doesn't make me a "bad" mom.

Balance and moderation are keys to health!  Not just physical health, this is a by product to spiritual health.  Prayer and Bible study is a heart who is seeking God's purpose and God's will.  Spending time at Jesus feet, learning what He desires for us brings our lives into perspective.  He doesn't have a long "to do list" for anyone of us. Is there work to be done? Yes! 

One of the books we read for our 40 days of prayer at church is Draw The Circle by Mark Batterson. I'm currently working on The Circle Maker.  One of the phrases that occurs a lot in both books is "Work like it depends on us but pray like it depends on God."  To me, this means there has to be a healthy balance of prayer and work together.  Be careful NOT to jump ahead of God and do things out of His timing, but work releasing we are powerless without Him at our side!

You've heard the old saying "God helps those who helps themselves"? Well, there is spiritual logic to this statement.  For an example.  Let's say you need a job, or want to change jobs.  You pray "LORD, I need a job! Please open up opportunities to me. Lead me to the one You want me to have."  BUT you never put in a job application.  Don't you think it's going to be a little hard for potential employers to contact you?

Now ... there is also some not so good theology in that statement. Because, God helps many a people who aren't capable of helping themselves.  I'm learning though how "Work like it depends on us but pray like it depends on God" AND "God helps those who help themselves" are two phrases that mean the same.  As maturing believers, we have to be open to the idea that maybe we are the answer to our prayer and possibly the answer to another person's prayer.  We are in a living partnership with Jesus Christ, a beautiful marriage.  There are choices to be made, work that needs to be done by us for Him but NOT without Him!  We won't know what our task is until we spend quality time with Him getting to know what His Voice sounds like.

20 December 2013

Things To Do To Stay Young

This list was in a Bible Study but the author of the study didn't take credit for writing the list. So, neither will I! LOL

Things To Do To Stay Young



1. Throw out non-essential numbers such as your age, weight, and height.

2. Keep only cheerful friends close. The grouches pull you down. If you really need a grouch, there are probably family members to fill that need.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Just never let the brain stay in neutral gear.

4. Enjoy the simple things. When the children are young - that is all you can afford. When they are in college - that is all you can afford. When they are grown, and you are living on retirement, that is all you can afford.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. Laugh so much that you can be tracked in the store by your distinctive laughter.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person that is with us our entire life is ourselves.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it is family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies or whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health. If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Go to the mall, the next county, a foreign country - but not guilt.

10. Tell the people you love how much you love them every chance you get. Never assume they know.

11. Don't worry about things you cannot change or do anything about. Accept them and move on.

12. Read more and dust less.

13. Spend more time with your family and friends and less time working.

14. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure. Recognize these moments now, and cherish them.

15. Do not "save" anything. Use your good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the next blossom of flowers you see.

16. Wear your best outfit to the market.

17. Don't save your good perfume for only special occasions. Use it even if you are going shopping or just to the bank.

18. "Someday" and "one of these days" should vanish from your vocabulary. If something is worth seeing, hearing or doing, go and see, hear or do it now.

03 December 2013

A Pit

I think I'm struggling with depression ... I don't know. Something feels off ... Thats all I know.

22 November 2013

The Craziest 3 Weeks!

I have been "on the run" the craziest! 

I enjoy blogging and sharing what I'm learning. However, it's the lowest priority right now.  I don't remember being THIS busy when I was in middle and high school. Oh ... probably because I WASN'T! LOL 

My daughter is in the drama club; she had a play not long ago.  My son had a Taekwondo tournament and testing.  Now, the musical audition has started and those practices will begin soon! Jazz Band is meeting after school ... it is run, run, run! ARGH!

I enjoyed Mary Southerland's "A Balanced Life".  What I have learned is ... I can redeem the time I spend in car rider lines. Those can become my quiet moments in Bible Study.  Then there is the "carve time out" for God. It's not going to be natural, not going to feel natural.  It is a choice and takes deliberate action.  I'm now working on her "Holiday Blues" study.  It really continues where "A Balanced Life" leaves off. 

The part I really enjoyed about Week 1's study is Mary tells the story of taking all the Christmas decorations down.  Her husband comes home and asked what she done that day. She said she did her list of things in the most pathetic voice she could muster and ended her list with her back hurting.  He pretty much tells her she doesn't have a back "problem" but a head "problem" and she had him explain that!  What it boiled down to is priorities.  She been in a car accident, they were keeping the grandkids, this thing was going on and that thing was going on "why put out so many Christmas decorations?"  "why feel the need to 'not wait' for help in taking them down?"

I CAN  relate to her husband here!  I feel like Christ gets left out in our home each Christmas because of the decorations and the cooking.  I'm going to shoot strait.  My mother is a "gotta have Christmas lights from one end of the trailer to the other end" each year kind of lady.  Each Christmas Day she "has to cook both a ham and a turkey because not everyone likes one or the other".  As the day comes to end what I hear is "I had ALL this dinner to cook by myself .... I had no help in the kitchen" and this is after she has run us out of the kitchen because it is too small for her and us to be in there!  Then after Christmas Day, the weather is never in favor of us taking down the Christmas lights right away and she wants them "now" and well .... Here's my thinking.  If ALL this is so much trouble, why do it?  If it becomes "all about my sacrifice", why do it at all?  It's not about "my sacrifice"!  Nope!  It's about God's sacrifice!  Even though Jesus may not have been born in the Winter, we celebrate His birth.  That IS the beginning of God's sacrifice!  He SENT His Son to us! 

Now, let us shift to churches.  Churches are the worst!  LOL  We try to cram all kinds of programs into one month!  Adult cantatas.  Children's plays and songs.  Parties.  This practice and this schedule.  Then we wonder why we collapse on Christmas Day exhausted.  There are 11 months out of the year to program! Why do we try to cram it all into one?  Instead of trying to fit both adults and kids into the month ... give me the kids for Christmas, their antics bring comic relief to a stressful season! I love seeing the little ones step up to a microphone all confident in their parts and then ... then that look of shyness comes across their face ... that little grin shines and they lower their little heads a bit.  Either the mom or the children's worker whispers them the part. Just precious!  I always got a kick out of watching my son! Not because he's mine BUT because of how he gets into a song!  He can't stand still!  And when that song is down in his heart, he sings out and his whole face opens wide as his mouth!  He's going from foot to foot, throwing his head back to sing it! LOL  I've seen other kids who do that as well!!  Let the kids have Christmas and give the adults Easter. LOL

Where I'm going with any this is ... If the decorating, programming, and cooking is causing anyone to say "look at what 'I' am doing and how 'I' feel" then Christ has been left out of Christmas.  Whether that be home, church, work, or where ever we go.

Whether we spell Christmas as in "Christmas" or "Xmas", the only time we "x" out Christ is when we use the letter "I".

05 November 2013

Day 5 of Thankfulness

Nope. You won't find Days 1 through 4. I'm not going to keep up as much on the blog as I will on Facebook. This morning I saw a beautiful sunrise ... yesterday morning I saw a beautiful sunrise ... 

One of my favorite songs is called "By Faith". The first couple of lines go like this: By faith we can see the hand of God, in the light of creation's grand design. THAT came to my mind today as I saw the sun's rays on the clouds! The oranges, pinks, and purples! They were those deep Autumn colors, not the pastels. They were the colder shades of those colors. They were painted in such a way that my eyes didn't want to stop looking. Humbled. 

I thought to myself "How can anyone look at that and not see God's hand?" Only God can paint such art in the sky! 

So, this 5th day of November, I am thankful for Cloudy Autumn Sunrises! They remind Who holds the paint brush!

30 October 2013

#MovingForward

When I started into A Confident Heart by Renee Swope, I wasn't to sure this was the right Study for me because it is so similar to "I'm Not Good Enough" and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves by Sharon Jaynes. Let me tell you something ... Are they similar? YES! Are they the exact same? NO! The beautiful thing about the Holy Spirit is He inspires each of us differently based on our experiences.  Chapter 4 in A Confident Heart, really helped me get down to a real "heart" issue.

Several years ago, I did something very STUPID! The enemy had me right where he wanted me, in the dark.  In the dark about how God views me. In the dark about the people in my life who love me how they view me.  I had experienced A LOT of rejection in my life.  I will give the cliff note version.

I learned as a child that my dad wasn't my biological father.  However, when he and mom divorced, it was a bitter, nasty divorce.  Of course paternity test were done that showed I wasn't his daughter, my mom in her pain, wouldn't allow him to be in my life (probably a good thing because he had issues that came out later on).  I never met my biological father.  When I went to college, I wrote a letter ... "Hey, I'm your daughter ..." got a letter back "You are mistaken, I don't have any children" of course I had the DNA test that proved 99.9% he is (was) my biological father.  One time I sent him a photo of his grandchildren without my return address because I knew I couldn't handle him rejecting my children.  I had one boyfriend after another looking for "love", "acceptance", and "security".  Each one just used me up and moved on.  My marriage was the same way!  When the divorce happened, I was glad to be getting a divorce.  However, the years of being rejected by my husband left me pretty scarred up.

A couple of years after the divorce, I did a really STUPID thing!  I actually scared myself!  Once God got a hold of me and shook me up a little, seriously, I was in a downward spiral ... Once He got me to take a good look at what I was doing, I threw away the webcam! (That's all the detail you are getting! LOL)  I know God forgave me!!  It is covered under the blood! However, I have lived in fear of my children finding out.  What would they think of me? Would they hate me? Call me a hypocrite? Would they never speak to me again?  I've been more afraid "What if they go into politics? Those mudslingers dig up every piece of dirt possible on each family member?"  I'd die! Not because of what people would think of me but only because of it hurting my kids and embarrass them.  God had forgiven me but I hadn't forgiven myself.  I was ashamed.  I was angry that I had done such a STUPID thing. I was even more angry because I knew I had rebelled on purpose against what is pleasing to God! I was afraid. Afraid of the future.  So, Monday morning, I cried all the way to work! I laid it out! Know what? God was like "Just tell your kids. Talk them just like you talk to Me and tell them before they learn it from someone else. It's no big deal. Once it is no longer a secret, the enemy can't hold you captive. I know about it and still love you! Matter of fact, I only remember it because YOU haven't let go of it."

Do you know how free I feel?!?!?! I haven't spoken with the kids yet but I do plan on it when there is a time where it is just me and them.  Maybe  ... maybe my story will keep them from doing the same STUPID thing!  I'm serious when I put that in caps! I've made a lot of bad choices in my life but that one time (not once but "one" meaning that area in my time line) in my dark place has to be the most STUPID thing. 

I'm now free to move forward!  The funny thing is I'm also reading and working through Loose It For Life by Stephen Arterburn, M. ED. and Dr Linda Mintle. The first chapter or first week goes right along with A Confident Heart! Talks about loosing weight on the spiritual level.  Basic summary is before working on the surface (the physical weight) gotta work on the spiritual weight.  I don't know if I'll loose physical weight or not BUT I have lost a heavy spiritual load this week!

If you are a man or woman who is struggling with hurt, shame, fear, guilt, anxiety over something done to you OR something done by you; God loves you! You don't have to clean up your act to win His love. You don't have to clean up your act to win His forgiveness. His redeeming love is FREE! All you have to do is take it! He'll do the rest!

25 October 2013

Behind!

I'm behind in blogging about the Personal Journey! 

God is talking to me through several means!  Mostly books and studies that back each other up!  Here's what I'm reading:

Draw the Circle The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson  which sent me to find ...
The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson (the other didn't tell me to find it I just HAD to learn about who this Circle Maker is ..)
A Confident Heart by Renee Swope (thru Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study which is TOTALLY awesome!)
A Balanced Life a Bible Study by Mary Southerland (receive in my Email once a week!)

Maybe the reason I'm behind is because the stuff I'm reading is sinking in!  I mean, I need the time to process it and apply it before I can share it. 

I know I need a vacation.  Vacations is an important part of spiritual growth!  Rest is good!  Having fun is good!  So few of us actually do these two things.  I have to admit, I hate vacations that are jammed packed with things to do.  There's no rest in that!  I'm longing for the hills and mountains though!  When I look at certain things, they are far away :(  I don't want to go to far because of my mother's health. 

So, if you are passing by ... say a prayer God will show me where to take me and the kids to for a quick get away ...

24 October 2013

Unfailing Love

You, O LORD, have been my Shield!
There are times when You have protected me from my own stupidity!
You have guarded me around every turn,
And guided me in the direction You desire me to go.
Even when I chose a path that made You sad,
Your Spirit gently brought me back to Your path!

At my low point,
You blessed me with Your Presence!
When I chose to do something shameful,
You loved me anyway!
I broke Your heart into
But You spared me the agony and didn't hold it against me!
You asked me "Why?"
But You know the answer ...
You knew I needed to be wanted, loved, and desired!

You are my Lover!
You poured out every ounce of Yourself
To draw me to You!
You have shared parts of Your mysteries
So I'd trust You with my heart.
You spoke to me with such tenderness
That I couldn't no longer avoid yielding to Your
   Kind affection.

You never gave up on me!

Jesus ... You are Unfailing Love!

21 October 2013

In Need of a Vacation

My pastor is always saying vacations are needed. He's right!

Vacations are needed to ...

Refresh the body.
Refresh the mind.
Refresh the soul.

I'm in TERRIBLE need of this refreshment! So are my kids. The biggest issue is money. So, I'm circling this in prayer! It is my prayer we'll be able to go somewhere soon. 

Sometimes a stay-cation is good. Not for me. When I'm at home, there's work to be done. There's this to be done and that to be done. I'm in need of a TRUE rest! To be off from work without feeling guilty about sitting around doing absolutely nothing. And I need a change of scenery.  A place that inspire me and renew me.  A place to get alone with God ...

Know where I'd LOVE to go? The mountains! I'd love to go to the mountains. Right here at Fall with all the leaves changing colors ... Where the lakes reflect the Autumn colored sky!

18 October 2013

Mind Battle

My weakness is always my head! The truth that the enemy twist. Here is what is going on today that I'm battling.

My church is doing VIP visits. Vision Information Prayer (I think "I" stands for information maybe it's informing).  Everyone in church is suppose to get a visit including the teams doing the visits. Wednesday I learn the team who has my mother can't come visit. I understand why. Older ladies. Health issues. Sight issues. However, they also have my name! DUH! Mom and I live together! I also know these ladies travel anywhere else they want to go. If they really WANT to go somewhere they hop in their cars and go.

I was told "Maybe they think they'll catch you at church ..."

Uh ... No! Church IS the WORST place to catch me! I'm way to busy AT church to sit down and "talk" PLUS I enjoy going home. I like to get home and stay home.

So here's what Im battling this morning:

"If it is to far for them to drive to your home and visit you, isn't it too far for you to drive to church?"

You see, there is some truth to this! It's NOT the whole truth. This is where the enemy knows I'm the weakest. Feeling connected, like I matter to someone. The ole devil has taken aim right at the mind's processor. 

The reason I'm sharing is because when we share our struggle we bring it into the light and that robs the enemy of his small victories. As long as we are alone in our struggle, he thinks he has us where he wants us. Once we info others "hey, pray! I'm fighting _____", we bring others in on the fight! Strength in numbers! 

Pray for me! One more request ... How can I pray for you? What are you struggling with today? What seems to be a reoccurring struggle? If you don't feel comfortable posting public, shoot me an Email to nuttin2pursonal@yahoo.com 

17 October 2013

#PerfectLove

What is "perfect love"? Simple!  Loving and giving love without conditions!  That is God's love, pure and true.  God loves us even when we are in rebellion against Him!  His Holy Spirit moves, drawing us to desire to be in a relationship with Him even while  we spit in His face!  THAT is LOVE!

My story of God's perfect love happened in a stairwell when I was about 20 years old.  I was living with my boyfriend.  I had been raised in church, had accepted Christ as a child, and left Him when I left home for college in Louisville.  I was working in Nashville.  Yes, those two cities are far apart!  I had wondered far from God's will and plan!  Anyway, I recognized the Voice.  That still, non-accusing Voice ... "Come home"  "I'm here"  "This isn't what I planned for you" "Vivian, I love you!"

One day, The Spirit was more than I could bare!  I think I knew the "man" I was living with didn't really love me.  I also think that there was a part of me who knew he'd never fill the desire of perfect love that I was so long to experience.  I was lost!  I was broken searching for something I didn't understand because I had never really experienced "perfect love".  I went into one of the rarely used stairwells and cried.  I cried out to Jesus and He heard my heart's scream!

The road has been rough and long.  When I look back, my only regret is I didn't have a stairwell moment sooner!  I can see how God was working in my favor to bring me to the stairwell moment.  I can also see where I would have had a stairwell moment sooner BUT it was my own stubborn choices that dodged Him.  He didn't give up! 

Have I always obeyed Him since that moment?  No.  He had to teach me and train me He IS TRUSTWORTHY!  There are things I'm ashamed of doing BUT those are ALL covered by His perfect love and He will NOT hold them against me! Thank You, Jesus! 

(Blog for the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study blog hop)

16 October 2013

Much to THINK On!

I've been silent for a few days :) I have a lot to THINK on! 

You know ... I don't know why I didn't dive into God's Word sooner! I don't know why I didn't desire to learn to pray "continuously" sooner! As I read Mark Batterson's Draw the Circle 40 Day Prayer Challenge with my home church family, as I read Mary Southerland's "A Balanced Life" study, and work on Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study A Confident Heart by Renee Swope ... I'm realizing I don't have time for TV! LOL I don't have time for the things I use to do. Those were the things that robbed my time from God!

Know what the funny thing is? ALL 3 affirm each other! God never ceases to amaze me like that!! I love how His Holy Spirit moves His people to write, sing, preach on things that are similar. Here's the thing, they do it at different times BUT He then lands ALL this material in my lap when He wants to tell me something! That just BLOWS my mind!

I posted this on Facebook and its a good example of what I'm referring to:

"So many times we go through the motions, doing the same things over and over again, hoping something will change. Few of us realize that this repetition is the definition of insanity.” #AConfidentHeart #PerfectLove

"If you want God to do something new, you cannot keep doing the same old thing."#drawthecircle #day29

12 October 2013

Be Still Before the Lord

I was listening to "Word of God Speak" on my drive home last night. I love this song! I've listened to it a hundred times over the past several years.  When God is speaking to me and my heart is open to hearing Him, even the lyrics in a song I've heard many times will stand out.  In the chorus, this line made my heart's ears prick and heard them for the first time!

To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness

Then the 2nd verse ...


All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice
Yesterday, I finished reading Week 3 Day 4 "A Balanced Life".  Through out the whole lesson, Southerland is using the story of Mary and Martha.  Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus.   Mary listening to Jesus speak.  It never has dawned on me until this lesson Mary wasn't talking!  Mary wasn't "praying" a list of request. She was simply sitting and listening!

Southerland writes "Every minute of every day is either wasted or invested ... the Bible contains over 400 verses about time, we can safely assume that time management is important to God ... One of the most valuable investments we can make is to spend time in solitude."  Prayer is communication.  It's a conversation,  When in a conversation, in order to hear the other person we have to shut our mouths and give that person time to talk. Right?  Same with God!  We need to shut off the TV, shut off the computer, shut off the iPhone, shut off the radio, shut off ALL noise. We need to shut our mouths too ... AND LISTEN! Sit at the feet of Jesus and listen!

Southerland encourages the memorizing of Psalm 37: "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him."  And then ask these questions which I'll answer for me:

  • Why am I afraid of silence?  For me, I'm not afraid of silence!  I actually enjoy silence.  I long for it!
  • What is the greatest obstacle to solitude in my life?  Now, this one is easy! Since I enjoy solitude, for more me its more about getting the chance to have it.  One of the biggest obstacles is scrutiny by my mother.  Mom is a "Martha" 100x's over!  I can be out on the back porch, Mom will come out.  There's always "work" to do.  A lot of the "work to do" is created work.  There's always "something" that needs to be done .  She does enjoy watching TV in the evenings, but at this time of year (Autumn) by the time she does that the light is gone from the porch.  I'd love if we had a "comfy" chair in our room so I could go in there and sit.  There's not enough room.  Pretty much, the greatest obstacle is  ... I don't have my own personal space at home.
  • What steps do I have to take in order to remove these obstacles? Short of going in debt and building my own bedroom ... There really isn't anything about the personal space issue.  Now, there is the possibility of not coming home from work, going somewhere quiet first! However, have you ever been to Starbuck's? of Any Coffee House? Those places are ALL noise! Kill the music please ... There is the library! The one close to home is almost finished being remodeled and  it's going to be bigger! Libraries are quiet ...
  • What do I hope to gain from time spent in solitude? To hear Jesus' speaking to me!  To know Him more and more.  I want hear what He has to say.  Yes, I still want to talk to Him about the joys and woes of life but I want to hear what He has to say on those same things!
I so desire to "be still before the Lord".  You know, I think when we hear the word "meditate" we start thinking in a negative sense.  But really, meditate is sitting, thinking about scripture, and being open hearted and open minded to what God is saying through scripture ... to stop talking long enough to hear what He has to say!

Oh, one more thing .... I spend a lot of time doing things with the kids and the church.  I think God is making me aware that I need to be careful.  Be careful that I don't become so wrapped up that I forget to spend time with Him!  I must know His Voice well enough to be catching these messages from Him.  When we live wrapped up in His Presence, we live in constant communication with Him.  Every where we go, we can see how God is revealing Himself to us.  I think "Lord of my Choices" and "Lord of my Time" is this ... Choices over food, He ain't Lord of and wants to be BUT He can see what I can't about Time.  If I'm not careful, I can fall into a "busy for Jesus" trap!  He's pointing it out to me to be watchful!


11 October 2013

Use of Time

While on break, I was scrolling Facebook when I saw this post by Proverbs 31:

Here are some examples of common time management problems: 
- Saying yes to things you shouldn't.
- Not differentiating between urgent and important.
- Allowing too many unnecessary interruptions.
- Using time inefficiently.

To gain control over your time, start making little changes. Five minutes saved here and there quickly add up to an hour. Then, you've got an hour to spend where you want - instead of looking for your cell phone. The more smart habits you develop, the less time you'll waste.

{Thanks for these tips, Glynnis Whitwer!}

Timely!!!! It affirms what God is speaking to me about how I use my time!

The Way the Day Begins

My mornings are no longer my own.  They haven't been my own for a LONG time!  I LOVE mornings! Or at least I use to.  When my son and I changed bedrooms about 3 years ago, I lost my mornings.  He and my mother shared a bedroom.  Each time I brought up the subject that my son and I should change rooms, she didn't like it. I'm not sure why.  It made more sense for her and me to share.  For the record, it's a HUGE room and holds two beds.  So, one week end while she was gone, we switched rooms.  I lost my space.  He gained space.  It was more important for a growing boy to have his own personal, private space than it was for me.  What I lost was my precious, treasured quiet mornings. To adjust for loosing quiet time, I began waking up earlier.  On occasion, I only have 10 minutes.  For some reason, my elderly 77 year old mother thinks she has a LOT of work to do and needs to arise by 5 AM but sometimes she'll arise at 4:40 AM.  Comes in the living room, turns on the TV and steals my quiet time.  Have you ever noticed how sounds seem louder in the mornings?  I HATE the TV being on at 4:45 AM!  I hate it on anytime before 6 AM. Its just so loud!  Most of the time I do have from 4:30 to 5 AM and those days always start better!

Then I began writing prayers for the Prayer Squad.  Now you are thinking .. "That's spending time with God..." Well, yes ... and no ...  The "yes" is I study and write the prayer.  The "no" part is I have to spend 20 minutes writing the text!  It's not like getting on the computer and typing something with a full keyboard using all 10 fingers!  It is very, very time consuming.  It's not so bad if there is actual interaction! There hasn't been.  There are a few ladies who do interact with me.  The whole point is for us to learn to pray together, grow together, and become a group of praying women.  Which means, as I share with them, they are suppose to share with me and each other.  Because that interaction isn't there, I feel like my time with God is being robbed!

Believe it or not, fellowship with other believers ... Sharing of lives and discussing God and what He's doing in our lives with one another IS a way to sit at the feet of Jesus! 

So, Mary states at the end of the Week 3 Day 2 "Think about the way you begin each day".  I start out texting the "prayer" and then my mother interrupts by turning on the TV.  I don't have any time alone with my Father. :(  I HATE IT!! I'm typing this at the very time but since this is reflection and part of the study, I feel it goes hand in hand. 

I don't feel I should give up on the prayer squad BUT it needs to be revamped!  Either a short quick prayer OR  it needs to become an Email where it can be typed easier and require interaction.  I'm praying about it!

10 October 2013

Time LORD

Those who are "Dr Who" fans may think I'm blogging about that alien fellow who can time hop. Nope ... God IS the Time LORD! He can be in the past, present, and future ALL at the same time! But that's not what this post is about either ...

As I study "A Balanced Life" by Mary Southerland, God is showing me how I don't spend enough time with Him. He is kinda picky about this sort of thing! He wants me to spend time with Him! Kinda like scheduling a date! Mary writes in Week 3 Day 1 "Choosing to sit at the feet of Jesus requires decisive planning, purposeful scheduling, and a willful determination. Every day, God wants relationship building time with us, which means that time at His feet and in His presence must be our highest priority." So, it's very much like a date! Makes me wonder if we spent more time dating God if we'd have fewer failed marriages ... Just think! If both the man and the woman are scheduling "dates" with God and learning how to build that relationship, how that "relationship building" skill would carry over into marriages, friendships, work place relationships, parent/child ... The list is endless of relationship combinations! The key is choosing, planning, and follow through on time with God!!

Anyway ... There's way more insight here! I wanna share what God is doing in me. However, it will have to wait till later!


08 October 2013

Dear Mr President

Mr President Obama,

I seriously doubt you'll read this, but writing it makes me feel better. I'm a single mom. No health insurance and I don't want to buy any from the government. You say if I don't get some kind of insurance then I'll have to pay a penalty. Well ... Penalize me then! The Affordable Care Act plans I can "afford" DO NOT COVER THE LOCAL HOSPITALS IN BOWLING GREEN, KY!

Drop the penalty. You blame Congress for the shut down. So do I ... Just NOT THIS Congress! I blame the Congress who railroaded your Affordable Care Act into being passed! I blame the Supreme Court for saying this tax is Constitutional! It's not!! It's NOT Constitutional! Our forefathers fought over taxes on tea and stamps for goodness sake! They would revolt against this tyranny!

I don't qualify for Medicaid because of my daughter's SSI check. She's Autistic. Her SSI is for her NOT for me! I can't use her check to buy my insurance! What's wrong with you? One more thing before I close ... The qualifications go on the amount before the taxes come out of my check NOT my bring home pay that I actually have to live on! I only live off $900 to $1000 a month! 

Your Affordable Care Act is going to chock the very person you thought you were helping!

Before I close, I do qualify to receive $290/month to go toward insurance. We already owe China an arm and a leg! Where does this "$290/month" come from? 

Mr President, you AND ALL of Congress NEED to attend Dave Rampsey's classes! Hasn't anyone told you that you can't help people with money you don't have? 

I can do like I've always done without your Affordable Care Act. When I get sick, I go the the walk in clinic, give them my $60 or $80. The doctor examine me and gives me the prescription for what I need. I take it to Walmart and fill it for $4. Grant it, I do run a risk with the heart and major problems BUT at least I'm free! Free to run that risk! Plus, I'm not out a premium every month for insurance that isn't going to help me anyway. Seriously! The "affordable" insurance policies don't do any more than what I described I do when I run a fever. 

Signed ... Government Contract Employee

Dear Congress ... Hold out for the changes in ObamaCare! Get that penalty dropped!!

NO TAX! NO PENALTY! NO SOCIALIZED HEALTHCARE! KEEP AMERICA FREE!

Get Ready? Or Not Get Ready?

Know how Paul writes about one thing and James writes about another? Then over the centuries people have argued one view verses the other. However, when reading Paul's writings on faith and James' writings on works (or is that vise versa?) in full context, we discover both men are saying the same thing? Faith and Works go hand in hand!

Well, the same thing is happening in two devotionals I'm reading!! LOL  In Mark Batterson's book he writes "You'll never be ready" (Day 20).  In Sharon Jaynes devotional "Got Dreams? Do the Work", she says "Get Ready".  Guess what! Both are right! You see, if I only read a line or two in each devotional, these two God-inspired modern day Paul and James would sound like they are contradicting each other. When I read both in full context, they are both saying the same thing.

Batterson is saying once you have the God given vision, step out in faith. Take that first step. If we wait for the "25 year plan" we'll never accomplish what God's vision for us and we'll never be ready ...  Jaynes is saying once we have been giving the vision start preparing for the vision, get ready by taking steps that will aide in completing that vision.

"You'll never be ready" -- Batterson's view is from the point of when God calls us to do something this is an excuse we make "I'm not ready!" :: I don't have the education, I don't have experience, I'm not a public speaker, I can't do this because .... So that' the type of "ready" he is referring to! If we wait till we are "qualified" we'll never do what God is calling us to do.

"Get ready" -- Jayes view on "ready" is God has given a vision, planted a dream.  There are things we can do to prepare for the fulfillment of that dream.  She used the example of writing her book for mothers.  How she had this dream to write this particular type of book.  She prepared for it by collecting magazine articles, visiting moms groups, researching, speaking at conferences, then the day came when someone asked her about a book project. She was ready! She didn't have to scramble to put the material together, it was together!

Oh, so what is God telling Vivian? You see ... "Ready" has come across me twice this week!  God must be saying something ... Right?  Well, OF COURSE! Now, I need to figure out what I'm suppose to be doing about the dream He gave me ... I know some of it just not sure what the next step is ... I did the first couple of steps but this 3rd one is confusing.  While trying to figure it out, I study books written by women in ministry and devotionals. Look at studies by men in ministry.  There's a line. Does God want me in Women's Ministry full time OR Compassion Ministry.  I LOVE both! So, prepare for both so I'll be ready for either one. :)

07 October 2013

I Have To Choose

Titus 2:11-12 (NIV) "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age."  

 

Discipline holds restraint in one hand and commitment in the other. Discipline can only be accomplished in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we give our lives to God, the Holy Spirit is set free to train and direct us in the ways of God. God will not give us good habits or character. We have to choose to walk in an "upright" way. We must choose the good habits over the bad ones, and "work out the salvation that God has worked in." That's discipline. -- Mary Southerland's "A Balanced Life" Bible Study Week 3


-----


Maybe I should label these post "LORD of ALL". 


In the Spring of 2013, I joined Weight Watchers online. I lost 50 pounds! From March to November, it fell off. Then in December, I took a night job ... Which I quit this past August. I gained 40 pounds back! It wasn't Weight Watchers fault! It really does work! It is my fault. My lack of discipline. 


Do to finances, I have had to drop Weight Watchers BUT I had quit tracking long before canceling a few days ago. I know God wants me to loose weight! I know He desires me to be healthy! I'm beautiful in His eyes but I'm tired ... When I stress I eat more, I can feel the munchie craving rising the moment the worry begins! Not only am I tired, I'm showing God I don't trust Him to comfort me ... Give me chocolate! Give me chips! Give me something to indulge and take my mind off the problem! That's actually the opposite of trust.


So this morning I mad a good healthy breakfast. Diced tomatoes and green onion with turkey bacon bits scrambled up with my 1 egg. As I ate, I prayed "Lord, Help me make wise food choices today. Thank You for this food for it is by Your provision I even have it."  I like what Mary says "God will not give us good habits or character. We have to choose to walk in an "upright" way." I have to choose! Even though God doesn't give us the good habits or character, He helps us have the strength to do the right thing when we choose to do the right thing. 


It's my prayer for strength in choosing the right foods, for my nose not to find aromas that trigger the munchies pleasing, for strength to choose exercise. I actually enjoy exercising! I feel so much more relaxed! So, not just strength but time! 


I desire to make Jesus LORD of ALL my life not just bits and pieces ....


06 October 2013

LORD of ALL or NOT Lord at all ...

Question: Want to know how you can know God is telling you something? Answer: When you read the same message over AND over again!

It all began with a simple Online Bible Study with Proverbs 31 What Happens When Women Say 'Yes' to God.  It was in this book by Lysa Terkeurst where I first saw the phrase "If Jesus isn't Lord of all then He's not Lord at all."

When God wants our attention about something, He'll make sure He repeats Himself!

At my home church, we are doing the Draw the Circle 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson. I wanted to know more about this "Circle Maker" so I purchased his book The Circle Maker. It's a DEEP book! Makes a gal think! Can't read it fast because I'll miss something! I found Batterson's blog. In his post about his new book All In, he writes "Either Jesus is Lord of all or He isn’t Lord at all.  It’s all or nothing." (www.markbatterson.com)

And if we don't get it the 2nd time, He'll repeat Himself again ...

I have signed up for Mary Southerland's Online Bible Study. The current study is called "A Balanced Life".  What happens with this study is we receive one Email a week.  All 5 days is in one Email.  Makes it nice.  Can read it whenever and go at my own pace.  I was reading Week 2 Day 1 the other day when my eyes caught this "To make Jesus Lord means that we submit to Him as the boss and ruler of our lives. If He is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all."

Seriously? Is God trying to tell me something about me?  I do believe so!

He wants to be LORD of ALL my life not just little snippets here and there.  God wants "my" to be "His".
  • My time to be His time
  • My money to be His money
  • My energy to be His energy
  • My choices to be His choices
  • My mind to be His mind
  • My heart to be His heart
He wants ME to surrender me to Him!  He wants me to see I don't own anything including myself!  Oh, yeah ... to drive home His point ... we are working on Stewardship lessons that go with our Capital Campaign.  To make sure I am hearing Him the first lesson is about His complete ownership! In 1 Chronicles 29, King David gives God praise and glory. He acknowledges God as supreme owner and all he and his people where giving to fund the building of the Temple was stuff God already owned!  David.  Sweet David. (He's one of the many people in Heaven I wanna meet!)  Here David is the "richest" man around declaring everything he owns really already belongs to God!  To drive home the point, he wrote a Psalm!  Psalm 24:1 says "The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it".  Look at that! "The earth is the LORD'S ... and ALL WHO LIVE in it."

So, what is God saying to Vivian?  He is saying ... "Take a look at your life with Me and let Me show you where you aren't letting me be LORD. You are mine but there are some areas you need to let Me have ..."

For me ... it's TIME! That's why He asked for Netflix.  Instead of spending time catching up on episodes of shows gone by, He wants me to spend time with Him.  Instead of me spending time checking Email and Facebook-ing, He wants me spending time with Him.

For me ... it's CHOICES! Mainly food choices. He wants to be LORD of my food consumption.

For me ... it MONEY!  I'm good at paying tithes, but I'm not good at saving money for a rainy day.  I'm not good at penny pinching so there is a resource for Him to ask me to give for causes dear to His heart.

I went in that order for a reason.  CHOICES is the key to both of those!  Choices for the use of time. Choices for the use of money.  Jesus wants to be LORD of my choices, He wants to be the one calling the shots for ALL areas of my life that isn't my life ... its His life to spend not my own.

Check out the following Women and Man in ministry referenced in this blog:

Mark Batterson  http://www.markbatterson.com/  
Lysa Terkeaurst  http://lysaterkeurst.com/
Mary Southerland  http://www.marysoutherland.com/

01 October 2013

Contend For Me

Father, contend for me. You are my Advocate! My Mighty Defender! Contend with those who contend against with me. Fight against those who fight against me. Awake and arise to my defense! 

Intercede for me Holy Spirit in moments when I do not know how to pray or am defenseless. Jesus, intercede for me before the Father as my accuser points his finger at me to remind me of my sin You have washed away. You are merciful! You are my valiant Defender!!

Draw the Circle Day 15

Continue to circle those you've been praying for. You can re-word it to "Jesus, contend for ___. Rescue him/her from the evil one schemes. Intercede on ___'s behalf."

Addressing My Mountain

One of the things I've learned in the JOY study is there is no "right" way to pray. A certain "magic" wording, correct posture. The 4 Steps of Prayer is just a guide! I say this because this one takes us away from the 4 Steps! It won't end with an "Amen" either! :) 
---

Father, today I do not bring before You my mountain of problems. I bring You to my mountains! You are my God and I desire to proclaim who You are to ALL this craziness the enemy throws at me!

Listen to me, Depression and Anxiety, my God IS in control! Neither of you can bog my mind down with worry and threats! You maybe a chemical imbalance but you don't own me! Listen to me, "I cants", you're right! I can't do anything on my own! But I'm NOT on my own! I have Jesus! I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength!

God, I will cling to Your promises! I will say to illness, tornadoes, and thieves: "you can rob, kill, and destroy BUT all is well for my God is with me and will give me what I need to see this life through!" You have never abandoned me! You have always been with me and will be with me to the end. When the end of my life comes, You'll still be with me! You are Sovereign! You are Holy!  You are God and there is nothing this mountain can do to me for You are my Shield!

From Draw the Circle Day 14

On a personal note, my mountain is "trusting" God. I bet you are thinking "Vivian, why do you day you don't trust God?" It's not what I say but how I live! I'm a stress eater! I eat out if boredom! Anytime we rely on something else to calm us or to sooth us instead of taking it to God in prayer, that IS a trust issue! 

Shopping to relieve stress. Drinking alcohol to relieve stress. Venting on Facebook to relieve stress. Indulging in a chocolate binge to relieve stress. Whatever we turn to other than God speaks more about our trust in God than anything we can say with our mouth! So, my mountain is trust ... Trusting God instead of food. 

27 September 2013

Father, You are more than my words can express! Your Presence surrounds me daily and Your blessings overflow from Your hands! You are God and there isn't another who can hold a candle in comparison to You!
 
LORD, I pray I'll be watchful, bent before You in prayer! Even if "devoted to prayer" means while driving the car, walking down a hallway, or singing a song. May my mind be focused on You. Jesus I pray I'll be thankful. When the glass appears "half empty", I'll see it "half full".  Remove the spiritual cataracts from my eyes so I can see You are with me in this place.
 
Jesus, thanks for suffering.  Thanks for coming as a poor boy to an ordinary girl. Thanks for coming "fatherless" to a step-father who took You in as his own.  Thank You for enduring people who made fun of You! Even Your own brothers and sisters thought You were nuts!!  Thank You for enduring being spit on, beaten, whipped, and humiliated. I thank You because who am I to think I won't suffer too? You set the example and You over came! They killed You but You arose! You defeated death! Thank You for setting the example to not give up!
 
Today, we circle ourselves. I circle me. I circle my sisters in this prayer group. May we be women who set our hearts and minds to being devoted to prayer!  Give us strength not to give up on those who are lost. Give us strength to lift up our family members to be devoted to You. Give us this day what we need to suffer for You! We live in an imperfect world and the World hates You!  May we be the Watchwomen for our families, friends, churches, schools, communities. Help us to bury the "I can'ts" and focus on "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength"! May we be women who open up and share about the God sightings in our lives! Jesus, we want to be the crazy women You answer prayers for because we are getting on Your nerves! The funny thing is ... That's the kind of women You want us to be!! May each of us be the woman You have designed us to be ... Crazy, Mad in love with You! Amen
 
Draw the Circle -- Day 11 First-Class Noticer

26 September 2013

Jesus and Protocol

Have you ever read the devotional "Jesus Calling"? Well, here you go! It goes so well with the Draw the Circle book and the prayer the Squad prayed today! 

Oh how I wish sleep would come to my eyes! So I leave you with today's devotion from the Jesus Calling book:


September 26

Come to Me and listen! Attune yourself to My voice, and receive My richest blessings. Marvel at the wonder of communing with the Creator of the universe while sitting in the comfort of your home. Kings who reign on earth tend to make themselves inaccessible; ordinary people almost never gain an audience with them. Even dignitaries must plow through red tape and protocol in order to speak with royalty.

Though I am King of the universe, I am totally accessible to you. I am with you wherever you are. Nothing can separate you from My Presence! When I cried out from the cross, “It is finished!” the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This opened the way for you to meet Me face to Face, with no need of protocol or priests. I, the King of kings, am your constant Companion.

The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
—Isaiah 50:4

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
—Isaiah 55:2–3

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
—John 19:30

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.
—Matthew 27:50–51

Crazy Faith

God, You don't care about protocol! You baffle the minds by honoring people who take desperate measures to get to You! You are amazing!
 
Father, I want this crazy faith! I don't want people to think I'm sane. Being nuts about You is all that matters in this life. (I think people at work already think I'm crazy. Over the next few days, what will be will be. If I'm out of work a few days or weeks or months that is ok. It is all in Your hands. Its the same "scare" this time every year! What's the point in worrying? If the Government shuts down, You don't shut down. You are eternal! Father, I just know I'll need that faith to be a little bit more radical crazy!)
 
Jesus, thanks for the peace You give!
 
Father, in the name of our King Jesus, we come before You with confidence! Confidence that You are at work in ___'s life! May __ grow in You and You teach him/her about You in ways that only You can reach his/her heart and mind! (Switch names) Father, we circle ___ for his/her salvation. ___ is making choice displeasing to You and we know time is short. Jesus, please speed Your 4th day up!  Pursue ___ as if You are coming to set Your Kingdom up today! Send Your Spirit after him/her and don't let up on this "hot pursuit"! Not even You know when You are coming, Jesus, only the Father knows! We are circling for a divine intervention in ___'s life!  In Your name we pray this will be done because it is Your will no one perishes. Amen
 
Day 10 in Draw the Circle -- Crazy Faith

25 September 2013

Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday Prayers

I'm a little behind this week!  My head has felt like a "ton of bricks"! The most recent prayer will be first (Wednesday's Prayer).  We are doing the Draw the Circle ... 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson.  The prayers will take "that" focus.

Wednesday 9/25/2013

(Change the underlined statement in the 4th paragraph to your personal dream! Feel free to share or not share yours.)
 
God of all Inspiration, You are Good and desire good things for us!
 
May I take every thought captive and make it obedient to You! Give me the ability to make each thought obedient to You, Lord Jesus.
 
I thank You, Lord, for this day. I thank You for the trust I have in You. Trust isn't something easy BUT You have proven Yourself to me over and over. Thank You for another day to walk with You and for the chance to tell someone one about Your faithfulness!
 
Each of us has a dream. (Mine is a house. A 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, living room, kitchen, & utility room that is above the water run off.)  But I also have a spiritual dream!  I dream and long for the day ___ comes to know You, Jesus, as his/her Savior.  I dream and long for the day ___ declares You Lord of his/her life!  And I will ask, seek, knock, and circle as long as it takes!  I join my sisters circling the names they are lifting to You!  I also join them in circling their personal dreams!  Whatever they dream, I lift before You as well, Father. As always, we desire Your will.  We desire Your will in our lives. Amen
 
Day 9 in Draw the Circle
 
 
Tuesday 9/24/2013
 
God, the star breather, You are the VERY BIG God!
 
God, do I really believe You are THAT big? Do I really trust You? Jesus what am I holding onto that You want me to let go of? You and I have been through some tight spots together. Surely I trust You by now! I thought I'd ask You this today. My ole Friend, through thick and thin we've come. So, I ask You to search me. Test my faith to prove You true again and again, not for my benefit but for others to see! May I be a living testimony of Your faithfulness! Just let me jump in Your arms and let me squeeze Your neck tight. I'm no fool! I know You'll answer this request and I wanna be ready ...
 
Thank You for being the Source of my strength! Thank You for not abandoning me when I make choices that put me in tight situations. You don't always rescue me BUT You do stick with me growing me in You! Thank You!
 
Father, I don't always know what to pray nor how to pray for __ but that is ok! You know ___'s need! As long as it takes, we'll bring ___ to You! You the faithful, consistent God! May ___ come to know You as his/her God! May ___ come to know You as his/her God! We pray in the name of Jesus Your will be done! Amen
 
Day 8 in Draw the Circle 
 
Monday 9/23/2013

Today's prayer will have 3 blanks for 3 different names. Of course you can pray for as many as you like! Think of 1 lost person, 1 person who is good at posing a Christian walk (or a person who is "on the fence"), 1 person who is saved. When you reach that part of the prayer, this will make more sense!

Dear Jesus, You are the true Circle Maker! You, the Word of God, spoke the planets in to orbit around the sun! You have circled us from the moment You decided to create us!

Thank You for circling me! Thank You for never giving up on me!

Jesus, forgive me for telling You how to save people, when to save people, and for becoming frustrated with You when You don't do it my way! Help me to remember four things: 1) You are in control 2) You gave each of us free will to choose right from wrong AND to choose You or not 3) It's my job to pray to You for as long as it takes 4) It's the Holy Spirit's job to work on and within people. (I'm sure there is more Jesus needs to help me remember!)

Jesus, people matter to You! The lost matter to You! The posers matter to You! Even those who are safe in the sheep pin matter to You! Jesus, may we not give upon ___, ____, and ____! You love sinner, poser, and saint all the exact same! We are each made in Your image and its not Your desire for anyone of us to perish! In Your name, we lift up ___, ___, and ___. We pray God's will be done in their lives. Amen

Read Draw the Circle days 6 & 7

20 September 2013

God, The First and The Last

LORD Almighty; King and Redeemer! YOU ARE THE FIRST AND THE LAST; apart from U there is no God! There is none like You! You are Supreme and in control!

LORD, write Your love on my heart! Write Your words in my mind! I'll put pen to paper to write what You reach me so I don't forget forget! "The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory" and I do NOT want to forget You!

Father, we lift ___ up to You. "This is my prayer, lifted to You knowing You care so much more than I do. This is my prayer, in Jesus name, Your will be done, I humbly pray" ...

Isaiah 44:6-8; Day 5 in Draw the Circle; Petra's chorus to "This Is My Prayer"

“This is what the Lord says—
    Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LordAlmighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
    apart from me there is no God.
Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
    Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
    and what is yet to come—
    yes, let them foretell what will come.
Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
    Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any Godbesides me?
    No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”
There was an error in this gadget