Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sometimes one reads something that they just have to share. An old high school classmate of mine shared this on Facebook. I just had to share it as well. I did a quick search as I wanted to find the source of her post so I could make reference to it on my blog! From Girlfriends in God on crosswalk.com

You're Just Like Your Father ~ Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

Malachi 3:3 "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver" (NIV).

Friend To Friend

The story is told of a group of women who met each week to study the Bible, hoping to learn more about the nature and character of God and how He works in our life. The women were puzzled and even a little troubled by the description of God they found in Malachi 3:3, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." One of the women offered to do a little research on the subject and report back to the group at their next meeting. The woman found a local silversmith and made an appointment to observe him at work, explaining that she was particularly interested in the process of refining silver. She watched as the craftsman carefully selected a piece of silver for his demonstration. She thought the piece of silver was already beautiful but evidently the silversmith saw something that she could not see. As he held the silver over the furnace, the craftsman explained that in refining silver, the silver had to be placed in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so all of the impurities would be burned away.

The woman was silent for a moment as her thoughts drifted to the fiery trials she was facing in her own life. Honestly, she did not get it. Why would a loving God allow His children to suffer when He could so easily deliver them? In fact, why does God even allow bad things to happen to people who are seeking Him and really trying to live for Him?

The woman asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. "Oh, yes!" he replied. "I cannot take my eyes off the silver. If it is left in the furnace even a moment too long, it will be destroyed." The woman suddenly understood the beauty and comfort of Malachi 3:3, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

Yes, there are times when it seems as if we will be swallowed whole by the fires of Hell itself. The pain seems too hard to bear. The fear is paralyzing. The doubt is overwhelming and questions flood our heart and mind.

Is God really who He says He is?

Will He really do what He says He will do?

Will He really keep His promises?

Our trials are not random persecutions. Heaven is not in a panic and where we are and what we are going through is no surprise to God. We may be knocked down and kicked around by life, but if we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we will not be destroyed.

Our lives are filled with excess baggage and waste - a cherished sin we refuse to relinquish or an addiction to which we are enslaved. What about the emotional garbage that weighs us down or our unforgiving spirit that holds us prisoner? Fiery trials come to burn away the guilt of sin and then purify our heart. From those ashes of freedom, the Father then creates a work of beauty.

I believe the words I just wrote. I know and accept the truth that trials and hard times make me stronger and strengthen my faith, but there are times when I want it all to stop. I find myself asking, "How much is enough, Lord? How many trials do I have to endure? When will the pain and trouble end?"

"How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" the woman asked. The silversmith smiled and answered, "Oh, that's easy. The refining process is complete when I can see my image reflected in the silver."

God is not committed to our comfort. He is committed to our character. Only God can exchange the ashes of our sin for the beauty of His forgiveness and grace. God alone can replace our despair with His peace that passes all understanding. Hope can only be found in Him. Our purpose in life is to know and become more like Jesus ... and act just like our Father.

Let's Pray

Father, I want to be more like You. Give me the strength to withstand the trials in my life. Help me love the people who are hard to love and forgive the people who have hurt and even abused me. Burn away the sin in my life and empower me to live for You. Create a clean heart in me, Lord, and teach me how to live for You.

In Jesus' name,



I pray my dear friends that you are as touched by this as I was... I truly needed this one today. I know many of you are walking in the "fire" right now... God is with you! Refining you! Making you shine! Making you pure!

Much Love,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 2!

The 15th snuck up very quickly! How many times do I utter in a week "where does the time go?" So here I am... ready to begin verse 2. And then... PANIC! I had picked my 2nd verse during a noon time devotion last week! I wrote the verse down on a sticky not and placed it on the calendar. My calendar at the office.... did I tell you that when it came time to post my verse at LPM and write the verse in my spiral that I was home??? The sticky note was at the office. I was a bit upset as the verse was perfect, and of course I didn't recall the specific verse because I hadn't memorized the verse. All I remembered was that it was from Isaiah. Isaiah! Trying to find that verse would almost be like searching for the needle in the proverbial haystack. So I prayed... I read other verses... and I thought about what I need to have the Lord say to me at this time, place and moment! So here it is... Verse 2!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
~ Joshua 1:9 NIV

January/February are always tough months for me. Not only is our business down, but Satan tries his schemes to raise that anxiety level about money, being self-employed etc. I worry... I worry too much. I am afraid... frankly there are days that I feel terrified! This verse will remind me that the Lord never leaves my side. Oh forgive me Lord when I rely on my own strength to get through these tough times!!!
I am praying for all my Siestas who are journeying through scripture memory this year. God willing I will be able to join the Siestas next January!

Be strong and courageous dear ones... HE is with you!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter Musings....

It's hard to believe we are almost through the 2nd week of January! Winter settled in weeks ago in our area! For the first time in quite some time we had a White Christmas. Not just a White Christmas, but snow throughout December! It really added to the season! New Year's Day rolled around and temps actually hit the 60 degree mark! It seems that only in Indiana do the temps go from the teens to 60 in a matter of days! We were fortunate enough to get out on the road for an urban MTB ride!

Look Ma! No Hands!

After Epiphany I began to Undeck the Halls from their Boughs of Holly.  I am always ready to tuck away the ornaments until the next season rolls around, even if a bit sad.  Each ornament tells a story... each year I seem to add an ornament or two to my collection.  This year my dear friend Paula gave me two ornaments!

I placed them on the tree in our small guest room - she gave me the treble clef  because she noticed  I always have music playing... the acorn, because we hand feed the squirrels.  They were perfect and I love that she thoughtfully picked them out for us!!!

It wasn't long after the new ornaments we placed on the tree that they were removed and carefully put away!  The house is back to "normal"! 

One of the many Christmas decoaration boxes we have!

We had more snow move through and the ground and landscape is white again!  We might as well have snow in my opinion - we can't control the season so we might as well enjoy what comes with it!  I went out today and took a few pictures! 

Little Visitors

Jim needs to fill up the feeders!

I removed the red bow, but kept up the wreath - lovely winter greenery

The Wren House Jim made for our neighbors

Long afternoon shadows
We have settled in for winter!  I have a lot of plans that will play out in the living room!  I dumped my recipe box (by accident) last summer and I need to reorganize.  I have too many recipes that need a home in a binder or written out on recipe cards tucked into a drawer in the kitchen sideboard.  I have a lot of pages torn from magazines for holiday ideas/ decorating ideas etc that I plan to put in binders... yes... I PLAN on doing this in the comfort of my living room, on the sofa in front of a blazing fire!  I really, really, really want to get this done!  I have a few months to complete the project... surely I won't procrastinate?!?   (roll eyes here)  I am also going to start planning my veggie garden!  I do have to admit - I'm getting antsy to get my hands dirty!!!

I am enjoying the blessing of the Siesta Scripture Memory verse (mine for Jan 1-14 is John 8:12)  I should have started a tally on how many times I have repeated and prayed this verse in the last few weeks.  Truly, it's been a blessing! 

We are going to start redoing the back hall off the kitchen (the hall connects our kitchen to the living as well as allows us access to exiting the house on both sides.  I will post pics as we transform this area!  We have a lot of "house" plans for 2011!  Mostly it's a lot of painting!  It's time - the halls need fresh paint, the family room, the living room! 

Our small group Bible study starts again soon - I'm looking forward to digging into the Word again with my loving small group family!  Of course we continue to workout at the Y and to plug away in this unpredictable housing market! 

2011 is yet to be written - only the Lord knows what lies ahead... I'm trusting Him and putting it all into His hands!

What are your "winter musings"?  What have you been up to?  What plans do you have for the months ahead?  I pray I have a little more time to spend in blogland this year!  I have truly missed connecting with  some of you that I came to know via my blog and your blog!  I hope to meet some of you this year!!!

God Bless! Stay Warm and enjoy what the Lord gives us during this winter time of His seasons!

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Team

I am so excited to begin 2011 participating in the Siesta Scripture Memory Team!  On the 1st and 15th of each month during 2011 I will be choosing a verse of scripture to memorize.  By the end of 2011 I will have memorized 24 verses!  Your prayers would be wonderful as I attempted to do this a few years ago and failed miserably.   By April I got lazy and quit!  I am determined to make it through this time with the Lord's help and plenty of prayer!

The verse I have chosen for January 1st - 14th, 2011 is John 8:12: 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

I have this scripture highlighted in my bible to read the day after Christmas - I always get a bit depressed the day after Christmas when the lights, trees, and sounds of the season seem to immediately cease!

For all my "Siestas" participating - I am praying for you as we journey together!  For those who have not heard of  the Scripture Memory Team - click the link above - read on and join in!

Happy New Year dear ones!!!