Monday, September 28, 2009

HELLO my name is JESUS

I saw this at the drive thru at Arby's last Tuesday where I was getting a french dip sandwich. Au jus! When I saw it, I knew it was significant. I think the people behind me thought I was a loon because I stuck my camera out the window to take a picture of the drive-thru. Perhaps, my lunacy made them look for what I was photographing. I don't know. All I know is that the rest of my week felt like I got hit in the face with a brick. It was a blessing to be reminded that Jesus was there right from the beginning.

God has been so gracious and lavished me with His words. I thought I might share some of them here in case any of you are feeling spiritually hit in the face with a brick.

"... guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith."
Grace be with you." 1 Timothy 6:20-21

"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." -James 4:10

"Oh for the humility of Jesus in myself and all those around me." -Andrew Murray

"He is intimate with the upright." -Proverbs 3:23-24

"He blesses the dwelling of the righteous." -Proverbs 3:33b

"He gives grace to the afflicted." -Proverbs 3:34 b

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." -Proverbs 15:1

All of Psalm 91.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Subdue the Earth

My daughter loves Thomas Nelson's animated and book series Gigi God's Little Princess. In one episode, Gigi goes to a dolphin show. We had the joy of taking Laomai to a dolphin show at Sea World on Saturday. That show was incredibly overcrowded. Denbigh had to stand in the back of the arena holding Laomai so she could see. I could not see and so I sat down right outside.

For the thirty minutes I waited, I prayed for the Spirit of God to fall on the people at Sea World that day and the people who worked there. I prayed that Jesus would teach and heal the people. As soon as that show ended, we headed over to Shamu. I cried in Shamu. That's right. I cried. The Spirit of the Lord taught me.

First let me tell you that I do not like the "believe" theme and I did not have some big emotional moment of hoping to reach my goals in life. I do not want to put my faith in a dream, a mythical character, or even misplace it in myself. I'll keep all of my faith in Jesus.

I have been camping on a verse lately because we have been thinking of miscarriages, having more children, and adoption. That verse is:

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

The trainers were telling us that training a killer whale requires a lot of patience. First they must develop a relationship and slowly build up trust. As I looked at this huge, powerful animal I realized something. There was no forced action. As long as I have thought about subduing the earth, I had the mental idea of forced action. God showed these people how to subdue creation through relationship with it.
Be a priestly king. Subdue through relationship.
Train your children in the way they should go.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

David Robinson Hall of Fame Speech

What an unusual thing to find on my blog, I know. Last night, Denbigh showed me David's speech on You Tube and I started tearing up. When I grow up, I want to be as classy and God glorifying as he is. Denbigh told me that Michael Jordan's speech was in such stark contrast to this one and it would make me sad to watch it. He was telling me that it is team tradition to give a retiring player a gift. While Michael's team mates did not give him a gift, David's team raised half a million dollars to benefit a charter school he started in San Antonio. What a rare and quiet tribute to a man who loves Jesus. May God bless you, David Robinson. I personally appreciate your example. May God heal and romance you, Michael Jordan.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just Give Me Jesus

I hadn't seen my husband in four days. We reunited at Pluckers after I drove from Waco and he drove from Bible Study Fellowship. There is one thing the Cherry family always incorporates into fellowship and celebration . . . spicy food!

Denbigh led worship for a Christian school in Houston over the weekend. A special retreat was pulled together due to the loss of a student. A safe place was created for them to grieve and to celebrate. Denbigh had the privilege of visiting with this family. He was amazed at the joy that the parents had and the trust they had in Jesus after losing their daughter. The father told Denbigh, "hug your children all of the time."

About eight years ago, I stumbled across a book and I knew the Holy Spirit was telling me to read it. That book was My Heart's Cry by Anne Graham Lotz. I fell into the pages and devoured her words. I saw that she did revivals across the country. They were never anywhere close to me, but I kept praying to be able to go. Not only did the Lord allow me to go, He brought her to my door step. You might call it coincidence, but I call it romance.

I must tell you, I loved this weekend. I fell shamelessly in love with the musical styling of Fernado Ortega. This is one of the most amazing corporate times with the Lord I have ever had. You really have to experience it to understand. None of the weekend was personality or charisma driven like most conferences are. There was this calm power coming from each of the people leading the weekend. Jesus. We were led in a prayer work shop by Jill Briscoe. I was challenged immensely by her. I feel like my love for Christ was put to death on the altar and then given new life. I took pages and pages of notes that I will sort through to share with you soon. I am thankful for revival tonight. I am thankful for my husband.
I hug my daughter every chance I get.

"You don't need to go to church every time the door opens or fulfill the rituals of your religion. You just need to go to the cross." - Anne Graham Lotz

"The Holy Spirit did not come to do His deepest work in the shallowest part of you."
-Jill Briscoe

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Fearless by Max Lucado

Fearless, by Max Lucado, released today!
"Why are you frightened?" he asked.
"Why are your hearts filled with doubt?"
Luke 24:38

The content of this book is obvious. Can we live a life without fear? Max takes you on a journey through the things most people fear every day. Do we matter? Do we disappoint? Will my kids be okay? Can I handle this situation? From violence to not having enough. Can we trust God? He points out how we have taken holy fear, which is a good thing when we apply it to the Lord, and turned it around to fear absolutely everything else. We don't have to. We can have our lives back and not submit ourselves to the authoritarian rulership of fear. Dive in.

I have been praying for quite some time to be free from all fear. It can cripple you in ministry. It can cripple you in relationship. As I have cried out to the Lord, God gently reminded me of something I tell my daughter every day. "Look to Jesus. Talk about Jesus. Trust Jesus." Good Christians know what we should do in every given scenario. Living that out is another matter. Max reminds us where to focus our hearts when we are fearful. We are taken to the Upper Room where the disciples are filled with dismay and we see what Jesus did for them.
He showed up in an intimate and tangible way.
He does the same for us.

There are wonderful words I have taken away from this. "Courage is fear that has said its prayers." Instead of indulging ourselves in the fears of what is most likely not to come, we can take our thoughts to the Lord. Another line tells us to "acknowledge threats but refuse to be defined by them." We can focus on Christ and be defined by Him. I don't know about you, but for me, it's time.

"Do not be afraid," he said. "Take courage. I am here!"
Matthew 14:27

I review for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers

© 2009

Friday, September 04, 2009

Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Sometimes you read a book at just the right time. It challenged me on every level. How much do I hoard and how much do I give away? This love shouldn't even seem that "crazy" or radical inside the body of Christ, but it is. It does. This book is a must read. It isn't a big emotional exposition. It is a beautiful rendering of the command and the call of Christ on each of us. It gave me a deep desire to forego the unending diatribe of church politics and minister as deeply and effectively as possible to my poor and drug addicted neighbors. It made me want to give. The words of Christ tucked inside its cover cried out to me. We were not created to be lukewarm. I do not want to be any longer. I don't want to spend all of our money on our family and give the least amount possible. I want to be challenged by the example Francis has laid out. May Christ challenge you to think less of yourself and more of the people around you.
I am challenged. This is the change we need to see.

Are we good soil? Do we serve leftovers to a holy God? Are we hearers who are deceived because we do not do what the Word says?

"Lukewarm people call radical what
Jesus expected from all of His followers."

Here is the profile of the lukewarm:
"Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly, are perceived as good Christians, give money to charity as long as it doesn't impinge on their standard of living, choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict, are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ but fail to act, rarely share their faith, say they love Jesus and that He is a part of their lives, try to assure you that radical devotion is not possible for the average person, think about life on earth much more than eternity, are thankful for their luxuries, feel called to minister to people in their socioeconomic status, do anything to keep from feeling guilty, play it safe, were baptized, structure their lives so they do not have to live by faith, drink and swear less than the common man, and equate their partially sanitized lives to holiness.
Their lives wouldn't look much different if they stopped believing in God."
- Francis Chan

Francis Chan impressed me. He convinced his congregation to forego the building of a huge 20 million dollar facility. They are building an outdoor amphitheatre instead so they give away more. He said that there are certainly going to be days when they are cold, but because they are cold, someone will have a blanket.
What will we do with this love?

*disclaimer. I am not calling anyone lukewarm. I wrote this to myself.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Day Without a Christian

This blog is updated each Tuesday.
Recipes and reviews periodically.
About five years ago there was an unsung film made. The premise was simple. What would happen if all of the Hispanic people disappeared from the state of California? The point was to show how needed the Hispanic people were. I am not sure if it was meant to be comical, but it turned out to be. All the Hispanic people disappeared and the white people had no idea how to function. (I know this is controversial. Stick with me.) There were no nannies to raise their kids or migrant workers to grow their crops. No one even wanted the jobs made available because the pay was too low. I am not sure if it got the impact the film makers desired.
I only know that it made me think.

What if all the Christians disappeared? Are we genuinely providing a service that would be missed by those around us? Would the people on your street be effected? I thought about all the nice programs we have at church. If we only serve punch and encourage the people around us, would the people outside the walls of our church notice our departure? Perhaps, we don't act very Christian and some people would be thankful we were gone. What do you think would happen if everyone in your church disappeared? Have you left enough of a spiritual footprint to be missed? What could be done to enlarge that footprint?
What is God calling you to? You know He's calling when you realize the task is not safe.

What if all those "radical" Christians disappeared? The ones who are always challenging people to think about how they are living? The George Müllers? The Francis Chans? The lost people might notice. Would you? Would you be happier that they were not upsetting your nice little life? Would life be easier if the people whose lives call out a different standard for you to live simply vanished?

We have become accustomed to hearing a sermon and not reacting. Are you giving God lip service? What if God told you to sell your house, or your mini van, or your jewelry and give to the poor? Would you do it? Or will you turn to your husband and say, "that was a really great message" and never live it out?
© stephaniecherry 2009

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...