Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Talk to me, Abba.

I AM your standard. Measure yourself against no one but Me. I am the way, the truth, and the life. Everything else that you strive for and compare yourself to is of no worth. This life is not some mystical maze you must travel through. I have clearly lined out a path for you in My Word. Immerse yourself in my teaching and goodness. Not for doctrine's sake or ego, but for life and grace. Live in this moment. Teach. Exhort. Don't get distracted by those who set up other standards for you. Come away with Me.

"Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." -John 14:6

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Trusting God for Everything by Jan Johnson

This seven session retreat guide takes you through the inner workings of Psalm 23. You repeat portions of the passage in each session gaining an insightful familiarity with it. Using the practice of lectio divinia, you walk through each line of the psalm with restful prayer. Meditating on each portion of the scripture is truly powerful.

I love this form of meditating on the word. It gives an intimacy with the word that cannot be accomplished by simply reading the passage. By the time you have read the passage prayerfully multiple times, you know it. Walking through a passage of Scripture in this manner seems to bring it to mind constantly. You will find yourself constantly recalling the passage and hearing God speak to you in it throughout the day. I feel like I have a deep heart tie to this psalm now. I have heard it a million times and God has spoken to me in it, but I feel a deep connection with this word that was not there before.
It is a simple and easy to use book and a great learning tool.

This book was graciously provided by NavPress Publishers for review.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Southern Cordon Bleu

I had surmised to put my own spin on cordon bleu. The one thing I thought was missing from the original recipe was jalapeño. We exchange ham for bacon and let the savory escapades begin.It's a mouth-watering detonation of spiciness with percussive tremors of flavor.

Fry up about 8 pieces of turkey bacon...and a few extra for yourself. After you do this, fry your fresh jalapeño strips in a bit of olive oil until tender.
Cook the chicken in 2 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil with a light coating of salt and pepper. 
Once your chicken is cooked through with a good scald on it, add about a 1/4 inch slice of cream cheese to the top.
Add your jalapeño slices. In this picture I used jar  jalapeños. In the bottom picture I used fresh slices. The fresh slices are definitely more amazing to the palate.
Add one slice of bacon per chicken breast.
Top with a slice or two of aged swiss. Cook in the oven at 350° for about 20 minutes.
Buon Appetito.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gomer: No Double Yellow Line

A few weeks ago, I had the amazing privilege to hear Cindy Foote's debut album as a song writer. She has been singing for many years with her husband, but this is a special project that she has been working on to raise money and awareness about adoption. Her first song on the album entitled "Ready" is an upbeat bluesy solo with a lot of soul. Every time I listen to it in the car my daughter asks me to play it again repeatedly. Track number four is a beautiful song called "Your Little Girl" about the beauty that is seen in her adopted daughters that she wishes their mother could see. I think this is album is an amazing gift to the world. It puts the focus on one of the things that God tells us is pure religion. Join me at the event. Give this cd to a friend. 
Buy it here: http://music.nodoubleyellowline.com/
Meet me at the event on June 17th.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The End of the World.

I read all the funny tweets about the end of the world and I got invited to my fair share of rapture parties. Everyone is mocking Harold Camping. He's a cute little old guy with a deep voice and slow, drawing cadence. He's made millions of dollars on his end of the world predictions. As I read the accounts of people who had sold everything to help this man, quit their jobs, and whole heartedly believed that they were going home to heaven I began to cry. One man I read about said he could not understand what was happening. He said that he loved God and he wanted to be with Him. He believed the voice of a liar and the minions that he employed to carry out his false prophesy. The lie went around the world. Billboards were put up everywhere. Millions of dollars were spent. Lie after lie plastered up. And the innocent and the unknowing were taken advantage of, led to a place of terror, and emotionally manipulated. What will become of them now? I am praying that they fall sweetly into the grace that Jesus Christ offers. May the world be bathed in truth. 

I won't say that we should be thankful for this, but we can surely seize the opportunity. For those of us who are timid in our sharing, this has opened up a big door for everyone to discuss the coming of Jesus Christ. Simply talk to your neighbor about the news and humbly point him to the truth of Jesus Christ.

May we not be caught in the seat of scoffers, but as a people meekly approaching the subject with great compassion and grace. If the unbelievers see us mocking, who would want to be part of such a graceless brood? Love on. May we convince them that Christ is real by the display of His character in our own lives.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Talk to me, Abba.

I am leading you to a place of rest. I am not leading you to a place of accomplishment. Yearn for My peace. Listen to the words of the psalmist. I led to green pastures and quiet waters to rest and for you to enjoy Me. You will not need to eat or drink there because you will be satisfied by your Shepherd. I will bring you to a table in front of your enemies and I will show favor to you there. I will anoint your head with oil. I will set out a great feast for you. You will be seen in the great protection of My approval and grace. Do away with fear. Your cup runs over.

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 

 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
he leads me beside quiet waters, 
 3 he refreshes my soul. 
He guides me along the right paths 
   for his name’s sake. 
4 Even though I walk 
   through the darkest valley, 
I will fear no evil, 
   for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff, 
   they comfort me.

 5 You prepare a table before me 

   in the presence of my enemies. 
You anoint my head with oil; 
   my cup overflows. 
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me 
   all the days of my life, 
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Radical Together by David Platt

David Platt's book Radical truly got me to thinking about what church was supposed to look like. This book has propelled me into even deeper thinking. It seems that we have been duped into theatrical worship and none of us are authentically living out the gospel. What if we all lived out the religion that God accepts?
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
-James 1:27

When we left our church last year, I asked my husband to not make me go back into that type of environment again. Everything seemed manufactured and we were all emotionally manipulated. As we are planting a church, reading this and being challenged by the words of Jesus, I want to know what God desires. He wants something all together different. According to His word, God wants us to spend our resources of care of others and taking the gospel to the nations. How can we do that if our money is tied up in multimillion dollar sanctuaries that are form fitted to make us comfortable?

Here is an excerpt about seeker churches that spoke to me:
"But let me remind you of a startling reality that the Bible makes clear: "There is no one who seeks God." So if the church is sensitive to seekers, and if no one is seeking God, then that means the church is sensitive to no one. . . Jesus tells us that the Father is the one seeking worshippers for His praise. He is the one doing the seeking."
Have we confused ourselves with God?

I was amazed by how his congregation cut their budgets and decided against greater facilities that they had the money to build in order to share the gospel with the nations. What will we do? 

I highly recommend this book. It was graciously given for review by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Romeo's in Austin, Texas

My dear friend Suzi recently went to Turkey. I desperately wanted to hear what God had taught her there, so I suggested we fellowship over a delicious lunch at Romeo's. We had a lovely time outside in the perfect weather. Our waitress was fabulous. We tried to get her to sit down with us many times, but she wouldn't.

I love Suzi and it was a joy to hear how God spoke to her in Turkey. She shared her experience with her church upon returning home. Thankfully she also shared with me. God is at work in Turkey and God is at work in Suzi. Hallelujah.

Every year Romeo's gets voted the the best calamari in Austin so we started there. Delicious. We both had the Ahi Tuna burger. Debating on what to get, I saw it comes with dolce slaw. Suzi asked what that was and I said, "I don't know, but dolce sounds fabulous." Fabulous it was. Italian cream cake was shared. Laughter flooded the portico. The grace of friendship is a rare gift. 

My friend Suzi does triathlons and little things like writing novels. Her husband is an award winning inventor. His Hyper Vest was featured in Men's Health as product of the year. Fancy that.

Hyper Wear®

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gomer: We Interrupt This Broadcast.

For the next few months we will be on the road as Denbigh leads worship and I will be showing you the other side of Gomer. The internal and external workings in the stead of the work on the house. One thing we are really passionate about is adoption. Though we would love to adopt, we would never pass a home study with our house in the constant state of remodel. We do the best thing we know how to do since we cannot yet bring an orphan home. We love on and support those who do. In a few weeks, my dear friend Cindy Foote will be releasing an EP all about adoption. You can find out about it at nodoubleyellowline.com. You can also come to an evening of celebrating James 1:27 on June 17th. Check out the web site and join me for dinner. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Share Day and Blessings.

Thursday morning I drove into Austin to attend the last day of my Bible Study Fellowship class. Eight years culminating. Rain was pelting my car as I stared at people who were at bus stops, walking, or pushing broken down motorcycles. I thanked God for my old car. We had been in the worst drought on record in some time and I thanked God for the rain. My mind drifted to Laura Story's song Blessings. She wrote it about her husband's brain tumor. I sat there in my car outside the church with the rain beating against my car so hard that it sounded like the tin roof over my studio. "What if your blessings come through raindrops . . .," typed into my twitter. Words from Laura's song. The next line echoed in my head, "What if healing comes through tears?" Little did I know what God was about to show me that day.

I sat in the sanctuary listening to teary-eyed women share about the extensive glory God had shared with them through His word the past year. I listened to the Holy Spirit whisper things deep into my own heart. "Your turn," God says. Standing, I thank the women who show up to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with my daughter. I told of the babies I had lost and how I don't turn loose of my two sugars easily. I told of how God had spoken to me in Isaiah 58:10 and led me to love on a homeless man. God opened my heart up in that moment to realize a very profound truth. Giving it some background, I have lived through multiple types of childhood abuse, 11 total marriages by my parents, losing two brothers, losing six babies, and so forth. However, the pain I experienced in my church the past year was by far the most agonizing I had experienced. I walked into that BSF class in September with a knife in my back that went through to my belly. On that morning as I spoke and God shook the heavens, I quoted that verse from Isaiah, "If you pour out what you have to sustain your life on the needy and afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness." My healing had culminated in that moment. As I have sought to pour out the love of God on those around me, God was busy mending. As I met Jesus in Isaiah, what seems to be a fifth gospel, God was knitting together. All of this came together like a mighty thunderclap and I knew I was healed far beyond how deeply I was broken.  "What if the trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Talk to me, Abba

I am not the cause of your problem. I am your solution. Turn from your prayerless state and ask Me for the thing you need. Come to Me when you are weary or burdened instead of unloading your problems on someone else. I want to heal your situation. I want you to experience rest. My deep desire is for you to relinquish control and let me reign over your parenting, your marriage, your home. Simply praise Me and call on Me in My power and holiness. I want you and everyone around you to see and be healed by My glory. 

" Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

Monday, May 16, 2011

Prayers To Bless Your Marriage by Kay Arthur

Do you ever feel like complaining about your spouse, or worse?  When I get irritated at things concerning my husband, I am trying to develop the habit of running to the Lord in prayer. Nagging never works. Griping to your mother never works. 

I employ many methods of thankfulness and prayer to help sustain my marriage. Put your husband before yourself and pray for his betterment. Ask God to make you a better wife. May God use your grace, humility, and prayer to help your husband become more like Christ.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Southern Chicken Fried Steak

This chicken fried steak will win you the heart of any cowboy or worship pastor, as the case may be.

I have found the key to making a good Chicken Fried Steak is to marinate it and to add garlic to the oil. I do a few things different than most people. I marinate the steak either overnight or all day for dinner. Melt butter in a sauce pan with milk, garlic, and pepper. I usually do this for about six hours. If I can do longer, I do. I also salt and pepper every step. Season your flour, your oil, everything. Throw bunches of garlic in your oil to add that extra flavor.  Kosher salt is a must. Throw regular salt out of your kitchen. 

Steps to Ensure Great Steak
1. Marinate.
2. Season oil and simmer.
3. Tenderize meat.
4. Prepare egg mixture.
5. Season flour with salt and pepper.
6. Dip steak in egg mixture.
7. Press steak into flour and evenly coat.
8. Repeat 6 and 7.
9. Place steak in hot oil and season each side as you turn it.
10. Cook until golden.

My husband makes fun of me because I use the word icebox. I like it. It reminds me of my grandmother who was an amazing cook and a smashing party hostess. Here's the definition.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Gomer: Our Homeless Man

I have been thinking about something for a while now. I grew up being taught, by nice enough Christian people, to not help homeless people. The excuse is always that they will just end up using whatever you give them to buy drugs and alcohol. Apparently, to these minds, that gives us an out. We don't have to help anyone. Then I realized that these were just excuses based on fear.

I read in Under the Overpass about men who had not had people speak to them in over a month. They were not smiled at or even treated with common decency. A few months ago I saw a homeless man fall down and I took off running toward him. When I looked up, I saw all these grown men just staring at him. What's wrong with us? The tiny blonde runs over and the grown men gawk. I have heard repeatedly that we can't help everyone. We can however help someone.

Recently, I found my someone. He was on the access road at the corner where I turn to go to my house. I looked up to see a homeless man. He looked like my husband. That will make it real won't it. That could be my man on the street. There he was, an emaciated version of Denbigh Cherry playing guitar on the corner. It was like a punch in the gut. As I went to get my family a treat that day, I bought him a cheeseburger, fries, and a coke. Then I was asking God for something that I could do to convey His love for this man. That's when I bought him some guitar strings. I wrote him a note about why I did that and told him how deeply loved he was. 

The first time I took him food, my four year old asked me why I was doing it. As I tried to explain it, she said, "O, you're the good Samaritan." Tears welled up in my eyes and I realized I had taught her a life lesson without teaching it.

Now, I am about to hit the road with my husband and I won't get to take him lunch or gifts every Thursday. If you see him on the corner of 80 and s I-35, buy him a frosty or take him for tacos. Remind him that he is deeply loved and someone is relentlessly praying for him.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ten Thousand Steps

I have been slowly integrating healthy habits into my day. It is a habit to be healthy. We daily make choices that will add to or take away from our lives. I want to stay healthy and get to enjoy my girls as long as I can. We have a good diet rich in vegetables, beans, fruit,  & nuts. I have seen so many people in my family slowly deteriorate because of poor health choices. I have been thinking about what I can do to change this pattern and teach a new way of life to my children.

My step dad is doing this program that encourages you to walk ten thousand steps each day. He is the most physically fit person I know and he is still challenging himself. If he can do this at sixty, surely I can step it up at 34. 

This average amount of activity can help reduce blood pressure, reduce your risk of colon cancer, reduce risk of diabetes, protect your brain from dementia, relieve stress, and help you lose weight. I thought I would try it out. I walk every day, but this is taking the habit to a whole new level. Time to order my pedometer. Who will do this with me? 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Talk to me, Abba

Do not be concerned with material things and the injustice of this world. I come with provision and justice. Trust Me. Simply put your life forward with the sowing of seed. Share what you have been given. Pray for prepared soil and trust Me when the seeds do not seem to yield vegetation. Do not be trapped in your thinking. Refuse to preoccupy yourself with the thorns of cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, and concern for material things. Let me grow the seed and harvest it. Humbly make it available to the earth.

"The seed that fell among the thorn represents those who hear God's word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced."
Matthew 13:22

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Blessing of Adversity by Barry C. Black

Dr. Barry C. Black is the Chaplain of the United States Senate. Articulately displaying the way God's word tells us to handle adversity, he inspires the reader to a life of blessing. He shares his own stories of growing up in poverty and rejecting the godly guidance of his mother to returning to God's word and becoming the Chaplain of the Senate.

I admit I wasn't sure I wanted to read this book. Would it be preparing me for something? Would it be soft on the gospel since he was ministering to much of the government? I do not know if I am being prepared for something, but I do know that, as far as this book goes, Barry C. Black is a solid teacher of the gospel. I was much impressed with his respect for the word of God and the power it has. He did not write some emotional diatribe trying to sway the mind to a particular way of thinking. He simply laid out how God used adversity to make him the man he is today. He made me desire the word of God. Highly recommend.

This book was graciously provided by Tyndale Publishers for review.

Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope

I encountered Jesus as a young child in a church pew in the balcony of an old country church. Through a lifetime of trial, I knew he was the...