Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Post Perfectly from God

My focus lately with my posts is the power of the Word of God. It can calm any sea, open any sea for that matter, create a universe, tear down kingdoms and prisons, and bring freedom and peace.

Shonda emailed me privately and left a comment about the power of the Word in her life. I suggested she write something up and let me post it (all credit going to her, or course). She then wrote a wonderful article on her blog about being set free from perfectionism through the Word.

I am slow in getting the link here, but if you have ANY prison or shackle that you are wanting freedom from, you need to read this. The verses may be different, but the principle is the same. Even if there is nothing you are struggling with right now, you need to read this. It is that good, and it is good reference for others you know who might be struggling.

Oh, and while you are at Shonda's, you'll also want to read "Rose Colored Glasses" and "From Wild to Privileged"...and lots of other stuff for that matter.

So visit Shonda. Get blessed. Listen to God. Get free.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Do You Know?

The last few days have been war here at the homestead. There have been four or five sizable assaults. While I'm annoyed, I'm not terribly surprised. Rob is in California this week. He thought the earthquake was cool. I'm not finding the shaking here as enjoyable.

Yesterday while the blasts exploded around us, I called my usual support group. Frankly, that only made things worse. Instead of rallying and praying, I heard, "Oh, that reminds me of my..." Friend, child, husband, family, church...fill in the blank with as many as you want because every time I tried to share my heart, it reminded folks of someone else, and they just had to talk about it. In the end, I got tired of hearing how much less important my heart and concerns were than everyone else and quit talking. I just listened silently. What was the point in talking? They obviously weren't listening anyway.

The friends I had turned to for help and aid in the midst of an assault became arsenal in the hands of the enemy.

And it hurt.

Last night I tried to pray through my anger, hurt, and anxiety, but instead, I just kept running into a wall. I tried to just let it go. God, however, wouldn't.

I cannot tell you how many times I woke up in the night with God goading me about my misery and my heart. Each time I answered Him with an angry response, and when He finally got all the anger peeled away, He asked the simplest question, "Don't you think I care about what is important to you?"

I wished I could say I did, but really, that is what all the pain was about. It was the pain of not feeling important, of not feeling like my heart was valuable, of not feeling like my concerns registered on anyone else's worthwhile meter.

I found myself praying something like this, "God, I want to believe you care, but it's hard when others--"

"So I'm now on their level?" He replied

Uh. Oh.

"It's just that in the past there have been things like this that I really wanted, and you didn't bring them to pass."

"Did you really expect them, or did you curse them with your words? I don't care much for the word 'if". Do you believe I will or not? Maybe the issue was more with your belief than my willingness." He responded.

Okay, I can do something with that. I like that, actually. That means I can actively affect things, not manipulate, but free up blessings that the Father wants to give.

"It's just that in the big scheme of things, these things don't seem that big."

"Not big? They are keeping you awake at night and making you grumpy, and they made you cry. Do you care when your children cry? Do you care when they are so bothered that they can't sleep? Are you really trying to tell me you care more about your children than I do mine?"

Yeah, I can see where my suggesting that is just flat rude.

"So, obviously, I'm missing your heart. Can you remind me again?"

He spoke lovingly.

If something concerns you, tell me. I care about everything that affects you (1 Peter 5:7).

Tell me everything that is bothering you, and I will show you the solutions and how to deal with it. If it isn't for you to deal with, I'll give you grace and peace to get through, but there is nothing you have to deal with on your own (Psalm 55:22).

I know what I have planned for you. I've already been thinking about it. I've considered all the factors, and I have the perfect plan for you, and everything I have in store for you is good. My heart is not to harm you but to do good things for you and to give you hope and faith in who I am, my character, and my heart toward you. I want you to know I love you with a perfect love, and all those plans are because I have a destiny for you. All I do is to enable you to fulfill your destiny (Jeremiah 29:11).

I have not left you, and I won't. I don't care if you are sad or angry or doubting. I'm with you. I've committed to the long haul, and I don't go back on my word. I'm with you, and I'm staying here, so just hold onto me, and I'll get you through this (Deuteronomy 31:6).

And I don't care what the circumstances are, and I don't want you to either. There is no circumstance, no power, no plan, no person who will succeed against me. I am above all of those things, and they cannot stop me. Do not let them stop you from believing in me or being all I have declared you (Psalm 128:2).

Trust me. My heart is for you, and I care about everything you do because I love you.

--------

And in case you are wondering, He loves you the same way.
Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Lord's Prayer--Beyond Memory to Meaning

My Beloved Daughter was soaking in the Word this week when she ran across a passage that left her unsettled.

The Word says, "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. (Matthew 6:7)." Anna was concerned because she pours her whole heart out to the Lord. She tells Him all about her day--good and bad parts. She tells Him if she is concerned about something, and when she is mad, she unleashes on Him instead of people. Her question: Mom, is that babbling?

I pointed out verses like:

Cast all your care upon Him for He cares for you.--Psalm 55:22 and 1 Peter 5:7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.--Philippians 4:6-7

"Then what is 'babbling'?"

I explained that folks often say prayers without thinking about what they are saying. Rote prayers are common.

"God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. Amen."

Do we really think about how great and good God is that we are eating the food we have, or do we just give lip service because that is what we are to do at meals?

Bedtime prayers can be the same way. We say the same thing, or virtually the same thing, every night and never really stop and think about what we are praying. We're supposed to say something to acknowledge God, so we do. We talk at God, not to God. That is babbling.

I gave her an example from the Bible--The Lord's Prayer. Many of us can recite it, and I will admit I've used it when my heart was so heavy I had no words. I admit for a long time my children and I prayed it every day at nap time because I wanted it deep into their memories. I wanted it firmly planted in their mind.

At some point, though, God has to go from our mind to our heart. Our prayers cannot be merely words we recite because someone told us they were good. Our prayers are to words of relationship, an acknowledgement of who we are and Who we know God is.

With that premise in mind, we talked about The Lord's Prayer in terms of relationship, not rote memorization.

These are the thoughts I shared with her. I hope they bless you, too.

The Lord’s Prayer
(the Mommy Translation)

Our Father who is in Heaven,
Father—the Loving One who meets all my needs, whose heart is for my good, who desires only the best for me, who is willing to die for me to live, who loves me enough to discipline and correct me, and leads me and teaches me to be like Him, who enjoys my company and delights in me, who will never abandon me or forsake me, hunts me down when I mess up or miss hearing you

In Heaven—Above all things, all situations, all circumstances, all needs, all sickness, all authority, all of the earth


Holy is your name.
You are holy. It is a defining characteristic of who you are. You cannot lie, cannot change, cannot do less than perfect. You deserve all of my respect, honor, and obedience.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Your kingdom is a kingdom of blessing, salvation, healing, and prosperity.

Your will is that none should perish but all know Jesus as Savior.

I give you permission to use my life and all influence you give me to bless others, lead others to salvation, heal others, and prosper them.

Show me your will for my life so that I can release your glory, your presence, and your spirit into this world so that you may save and heal those which are lost.

Give us this day our daily bread,
I refuse to worry about tomorrow. Meet my needs for today. Give me the strategy for living today, what to do, how to use my time and resources, and where to invest.

I refuse to lose today by focusing on what can and should be done tomorrow or being ashamed or regretful of anything in the past.

Show me Your plan for TODAY so that I can be fed body, soul, mind, and spirit and give of my abundance to others.

And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Father, I know I sin, and I need you to forgive me.

I also ask that you would show me if I have offense against anyone because I do not want to hold on to it. You have forgiven me out of the love in your heart, not because I earned it. I do not expect others to earn my forgiveness either. Instead, I choose to freely give it.

When my flesh tries to hold on to offense, enable me to let it go and walk in the freedom of forgiveness-both received and given.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Father, protect my heart, mind, and spirit. You are my refuge and stronghold. Remind me of your promises, your strength, your love, your faithfulness, and your mercy. Go before me and behind me. I trust you to not leave or forsake me but to lead me for your name’s sake.

For yours is the power and the glory and the honor forever.
You are all powerful. There is nothing that can stand up against you. There is no sickness—mental or physical, no kingdom, no lie, no temptation, no need of any form, no prison, no form of captivity, NOTHING that can stand against you. You are powerful above ALL.

All glory and honor is given to you because all good things come from you. All freedom comes from you. All life comes from you. All joy comes from you. You deserve all the glory and honor belong to you because you have kept your promises and stayed true to your name.

Amen.
Father, let it be so.

Copyright Jerri Phillips 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gabrielle Update

The abbreviated version:

Gabe is going home with Jennifer today.

Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for them if/when the Lord brings them to mind.
Sunday, July 20, 2008

My NEPHEW Gabe

First, I'm not sure how I gave the impression Gabe is my grandson. Where did I type that? I read through and didn't see it, but I could have missed it. Since I've gotten a few posts and emails congratulating me on my grandson, I'm wondering. I have done such things before.

In any case, he is my NEPHEW, as in the son of my husband's brother and his wife.

Second, I talked to my husband's brother, Ben, today, and there is good news and confusing news.

Good news--the culture came back negative.

Confusing news--Gabe vomitted last night and turned blue, which isn't unusual if you are choking on vomit because there is no nurse watching you in the NICU. As soon as the alarms went insane and a nurse checked on him, they cleared his throat. His oxygen went back to 100%, and he was fine. After that, my sister-in-law has fed him and stayed with him almost constantly. There has been no problem while she is there. If there continues to be no problem, Gabe and Jennifer will be going home together Tuesday.

Why is that confusing? You just had to be part of the four phone conversations that have gone on between here and Louisiana today to understand. In short though, things look like all will be fine.

Thank you for all your prayers. Please keep praying.

Baby Gabe Update

Ben called last night, later than I cared to pull out my computer and post, and things are looking really good. The doctor expects to send Jennifer home Monday or Tuesday. He said in 2 days, so I'm not sure which one that is. She did get to see Gabe yesterday. They rushed him out quickly when his oxygen dropped, and since she was recovering from a c-section, she had not been able to visit. Seeing him did wonders for her.

As for Gabe, they were taking him out of the oxygen tent last night, and they were waiting for one more culture to come back. If it came back negative, they were going to send Gabe home when Jen goes home. If it is positive, they'll keep Gabe in the hospital for 7-14 days and give him a targeted antibiotic. As we understand it, since they are taking Gabe out of the tent, there is reason to believe he is already better. That indicates the broad spectrum antibiotics they have been giving him are already are doing their job.

We will know more later today, and I will update then.
Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Newborn Nephew Needs Prayer

Gabriel Phillips was born Friday by c-section. His oxygen level dropped, and they took him to NICU. They’ve determined he has a bacterial infection. They are working to determine the type of bacteria now. After the cultures come back, they plan to treat him in the hospital for 7 days. Some of you know how my sister-in-law Jennifer is handling this, not well.

We would like to ask you to pray for:
Gabe—that they identify the bacteria and successfully treat it
Jennifer—for physical healing and calming of her nerves
Ben—for his nerves and for him to have wisdom for Gabe’s treatment and understanding in dealing with Jen

I will update you as soon as I know more.
Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Warrior Series--Wielding the Sword

A sword in its sheath does no good. It's just ornamental at that point, so is a Bible that lies on the table or sits on a shelf and gathers dust. If you want the Bible to do you good, you have to take it out, open it up, and learn to use its cutting edge.

Sometimes that edge is used by the Lord to correct us and set us free from our own destructive behavior or the prison we have created for ourselves by through sin habits, rebellion, or simple ignorance (Isaiah 61). However, for now, I want to focus on the Sword as our weapon of offense.

A sword is not a defensive weapon. A sword is something used for offensive attack. That may sound odd to some, but think of it this way: if your whole purpose for using your sword is defensive, you will ultimately lose the fight because your enemy will pummel you until you are exhausted and fall. Instead, you use the sword to attack your enemy, drive him back, or destroy him, thus, freeing you from the attack. Now you can stand, walk, and move at will. The sword is an offensive weapon.

The Word of God is an offensive weapon, too. It is not there for us to hide behind but rather for us to use to drive back the enemy (Deuteronomy 33:27), set free captives (Isaiah 61), and usher in the kingdom of God to this earth (Matthew 6:10) . However, for it to be effective, it must be taken out of its sheath.

There are several ways to make the Sword useful, but they all start in one place--the Word.

For years I've had people tell me they cannot be warriors because they don't know the Word. I have gotten phone calls from folks, been taken out to lunch, received emails--the whole gamut--by people who want help, need help. However, they aren't like me. They don't know the Bible like I do. They can't quote the Bible like I do. they just don't know all those verses.

That just tells me they do not make reading and learning the Word a priority.

It is like a soldier in gun fight hiding his head between his knees depending on all the other soldiers to defend him because although he has a gun loaded with powerful bullets sitting beside him, he chose not to learn to use it. Most of us think that is crazy. Christians do it all the time.

So, let's figure out how to make this Sword that created a universe in six days work for us.

Taking hold of the Sword--finding what pertains to us.

1. Read. Read. Read. For three years I read the Bible through each year. I learned tons. To read the Bible through in a year, you only need to read 4 chapters a day. I made it easier for me and read 5. By simply reading the Word, you learn the marvelous acts of God, see miracles (like when the dead body of a prophet was tossed in a grave in haste and the bones he landed on came back to life, very cool story), and learn God's heart. You also find out just how far God is willing to go because He loves you and some of the things He won't put up with at all.

If you read enough, eventually, you can simply pull things from memory.

2. Word Studies. This is not as daunting as it may sound. You can use a concordance, which is the list of words in the back of your bible (or that huge volume of Strong's Concordance), to look up a topic and then read the verses associated with it. The concordance is good because it gives a few words of the sentence and it isn't overwhelming. The negative is that it is not exhaustive.

If you want all the verses, use a software program such as Bible Gateway. It also lets you easily change translations or even compare them.

One of the common questions I receive is, "What if I can't find the word I am looking for?" Good question. When I battled depression, I couldn't find the word depression in there, BUT I found words like despair, hope, darkness, healing. Look at both the synonym and antonym. The verse might say, "You set me free from my despair," OR it might say, "You gave me hope." Both may be what you need, so look for both "sides" of the situation or word. I use http://www.thesaurus.com/ to find synonyms and antonyms. Just type in a word and hit enter.

Holding the Sword--Being Armed with the Word

1. Memorization--There are several methods for this.
a. Read, read, read.--Pick a passage or a verse and read it over and over and over. Eventually, your mind won't need the paper anymoe.
b. Concentrated time--Sit down with the verse or passage on paper and work on it until you get it. Do this several days in a row, though, so your mind doesn't think you were joking.
c. In reverse--Write the verse or passage on a paper or dry erase board and take out one word at a time (with the children, I do one or two a day) and read the passage over and over until you no longer need that word. Then take out another word.
Example: The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.
The _____ is my shepherd I shall not want.
The _____ is my shepherd I shall not _____.
You get the idea.

2. In your face.--Also known as Notecard Mania.
I have put posters of verses on my wall or papers with verses, but my friend Debra took this to a life-altering level. When the enemy threatened her family, she loaded up on the notecards. She wrote verses on them and put them everywhere--her daughters' bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen, the laundry room, her bedroom, the living room. You couldn't walk into her house without seeing a notecard with a verse. And when she left, she took her baggie of notecards. When her daughters had a bad day, they pulled the notecards out and read them aloud. When Debra had a bad day, she pulled the notecards out and read them aloud. They not only kept the Word before them, they released it into the heavenlies. The Lord says, "My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:11)."

Using the Sword--Declaring, Proclaiming, and Praying

I talked about this in a different post, so I'll only hit the highlights. The Bible says every promise by God is yes and amen in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). That means every promise He has made in the Bible, He made to YOU, too.
He promised forgiveness. That is for you.
He promised healing. That is for you.
He promised to be a rock, fortress, and shepherd. That is for you.

When pray verses over you or declare and proclaim God's promises, you are not burdening God or being a pest. Intead, what you are doing is saying, "God, you made this promise, and I trust your character enough to know you are going ot keep, that in fact, you want to keep it. I choose to agree with you so you can do that."

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." The enemy will tell you God is waiting for you to do something wrong, so He can smash you. The enemy will tell you God enjoys watching you be miserable. However, this promise if for YOU, and you can declare it over your own life.

"The Lord has plans for me. His plans are to prosper me--not to do me hard. He plans to give me hope and a future, and I receive His good plans. I receive His hope. I receive His future, and I praise Him for His goodness toward me. I rejoice in the goodness and the love of Almighty God."

Go yell it from your back porch (Yes, I've done that. No community comments, and it did make a difference in the circumstance). If you are having problems in your work place, go in there and start praying that verse while walking around the desks or standing outside your boss' office. If your marriage is struggling, you walk around your house and pray this. Lay your hands on your bed and pillows and pray this. Is your child making some questionable choices? Go in their room and pray this: "I know the plans my God has for this child..." Pray it every morning, noon, and night if you have to, but don't you let the enemy steal from you, and don't you buy his lies.

You have the power of Almighty God. It's His Word, and He has handed you the Sword. Yes, it is there to defend you, but its primary purpose is to defeat the enemy. So, Warrior, get out that Sword, get it polished up, and take what God has promised you.

Copyright Jerri Phillips 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why Series?-- 1 Healing

Now, what convinced me that Jesus wants to heal? The words "all" and "every", coupled with the fact that I never see Him turn anyone down. Show me one place in the Bible where someone asks for healing, puts their faith in Jesus, and then Jesus says, "No."

I can't find it.

In fact, we are told Jesus tried to do miracles but couldn't because people refused to believe in Him (Mark 6:5).

Sounds to me like Jesus is into healing.

The Warrior Series--Praying the Word

I grew up in church. We had a real altar that we actually knelt at, and sometimes we stayed there the whole service. I organized 24-hour prayer chains. I prayed for lengthy spans of time.

I am no stranger to prayer.

I believe God hears sincere prayers. I don't think they have to be fancy or lengthy. I've hydroplaned in my little aluminum Toyota with a large 4-wheel drive in front of me that actually stopped at the red light. My prayer went something like, "Oh, God!" I drove home a bit shaken and a lot slower but without mishap.

Some folks tell me they don't know how to pray. I tell them it is simply talking to God and letting Him talk back. Really. That's it, and I believe the Lord honors that. I know He does. I think God enjoys simple conversation.

Sometimes, though, simple conversation isn't what we need. Sometimes circumstances demand more than a casual, "If you think about it, it would be nice." Sometimes the battle is intense, and the situation requires the big guns.

When that happens, pull out your sword. In Ephesians 6, we are told the Sword is the Word of God. Let's understand the power of this Sword. The Word of God created an entire universe in 6 days. It called people back from the dead, and it took out a giant with a stone. The Word of God closed the mouths of lions, walked three young men through a fire, and opened a sea for millions of people to walk through.

Tell me anything in your life that is bigger than any of that.

So, now that we have perspective, let's find out how to wield this Sword.

Right now I am praying over some terminal diagnoses for three people. They need healing. I don't even ask if it is God's will. God say, "Don't eat the fruit, or you'll die." Sounds like God is all about life to me, so I'm going with that. You don't have to agree but don't expect me to change my mind.

I went to http://www.biblegateway.com/ and put the word "heal" into the blank. It brought up 182 references for the NIV. I copied that list to a Word document, and then I started deleting anything I didn't feel fit my needs. When I was done, I had 7 pages of scriptures.

Then I sat on my deck, which is my prayer perch, and I started praying scripture over these people by inserting their names. Anna had a head cold earlier this week, and I did the same for her.

Here are just a few from Matthew:

Matthew 4:23[ Jesus Heals the Sick ] Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness Anna had. {among the people}.

Matthew 4:24News about him spread all over Syria, and Jerri brought to him all {Anna} who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed her.

Matthew 9:35[ The Workers Are Few ] Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every Anna's disease and sickness.
Matthew 10:1[ Jesus Sends Out the Twelve ] He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness of Anna's.

Matthew 10:8Heal the sick {Anna}, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

You get the idea.

Maybe the issue is a prodigal. I have one right now I am praying for. I pray verses like, "It is not the will of God that (my prodigal) should perish but that he should turn from his ways and be saved." I read the story of The Prodigal where God is standing in the yard watching for My Prodigal, and My Prodigal comes home, and instead of a cranky brother, I put me in there with tears ready to kill every fatted calf we own in celebration.

If you aren't where you use a computer program, look verses up in your Bible in from the concordance in the back. One lady I know has a small book that fits in her purse, and it has a myriad of promises in it for different situations. When she needs to pray on the fly, she whips out that book, and she rips the doors of Heaven off their hinges calling forth the will of God.

Every wonder how folks can do that off the top of their heads? They read the Bible a lot, and they pray those verses at home from their prayer perch. They just have them memorized from use.

The Sword is for every believer. It isn't for the super spiritual. It is for the one who has the guts to believe for better things and to believe God wants to give them.
Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July

I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands
one nation under God
indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.
Please remember all of our service people and their families in your prayers.
Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Value of Nurturing

Cindy left a comment on "Be Still and Know" that leads right into where I was heading next, so I am going to post it here.

Cindy said, "What a true statement, Jerri! I've recently been impressed with the need to have more women friends, and to nurture the friendships I already have. We women need each other!"

Yes, we do.

"The need to...nurture the friendships I already have."

As my daddy used to say, "Now, that'll preach."

Instead of talking about the importance of what Cindy said, I want to talk about the application of it, and I want you to talk back.

A few years ago, a friend of mine went creative for her three best friends' Christmas gifts. She went completely out of the box. She took one friend to an ice sculpture display and a lovely restaurant, one her friend loved but could not often afford. Another friend was taken to a ballet. I was taken to a Michael W. Smith concert. I have no idea how much those gifts cost, but I can tell you for one evening I felt like royalty sitting in my evening dress listening to amazing music in a beautiful music hall. Now, Vicki says she picked those three things because she wanted to go but didn't want to go alone, and her husband wasn't interested. If that is true, his loss was our gain, and I thank the Lord for her generous selfishness.

I confess, this is not an area where I have excelled, but I am working on it. I'll toss out some things I do and have planned for the future.

1. Cards. I used to be really good at sending cards, but then I had children. I have a friend who always has cards to us on time, and I asked how she did it. She said she takes $20 to the dollar store along with her list for three or four months and buys cards for everyone there, goes home and puts the addresses on them, and finishes signing them the third week of the month before they are to be sent out.

I made my easier.

I went to Family Christian store when they had a "buy one get one free" sale, and I bought 8 boxes of cards. On the third week of the month, I do the cards for the next month (or sometimes I do several months at once depending on how many cards I need to send and the time I have right then). Where the stamp goes, I put the latest date possible to send them. I used to put the date they were due, but that only led to procrastination. On Sunday night, I pull out my cards, pick the cards to send that week, and stick a stamp on them. They go in the mail on Monday.

2. Notes. I used to do this a lot, but again, then I had children. I used to pick two or three people from my address book and drop a note to them just telling them I appreciate them and speaking a blessing over them.

3. Coffee with a friend. Not always easy to plan but usually worth it.

4. Cookie exchange. I have never hosted this, but I have attended, and I want to host one. Lots of ladies bring two dozen cookies with copies of the recipe and take two dozen cookies home with them. Lots of eating, singing, and talking involved.

5. Cookie bake. I have hosted this, and it was a hit. I was actually shocked at how much of a hit it was, and I was surprised by the number of women who were unhappy they weren't invited. What I did was simple. Everyone sends out an ingredients list, so we all bring what we need (including utensils, storage containers, and ingredients). We then share our recipes, bake together, and spend the day in a "cookie bee". We talk. We laugh. We go home with tons of cookies for the holidays.

Those are a few things I've done and want to do. Now, your turn. What do you do to nurture your friendships? Tell us.

I know there is some unspoken rule on how much one is supposed to leave on comments. Ditch the rule. It's more of a guideline anyway. Make your comment as long as you need to or email me personally. uniquelyb (at) tx.rr.com I'm going to make a post of all the comments, so share abundantly!
Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Thoughts from Jared Wasdin

Jared Wasdin is an amzing young man. Right now, he is in India having a long study time with God. I know he is technically there on a missions trip, but really, God wanted to Jard alone and talk. Periodically, Jared shares their conversations and things he learns from those conversations. Below, you will find his impromptu thoughts resulting from his time with the Lord.

Jared's study focus in media. I think it is focused on television. I think he'll be good. He has a heart for God and a heart to reach people. I have no doubt the Lord will bless him in that endeavor. However, I hope while he is busy working out films and productions he takes time to pen the things the Lord says, and I hope he shares them. They need to be shared.

When I get an update from Jared, I make sure I have "pondering time" because it is never something to read through, smile, and dismiss. Jared's reflections have life-altering power.

As I said, an amazing young man, but then, he is in love with an amazing God, so what can you expect?

Enough about Jared. The following is from Jared:

Now I am on a rant and can't stop, I have just finished reading Lord of the Rings and it often talks about Aragorn and how he is the King to be and a descendant from Higher men. It talks about how there is virtue is his blood. He is from the Kingly line of Numenor.

I have been pondering this lately thinking, what does it take to be more than a simple man, and to be a man who is called to virtue by blood and is defined by the virtuous lives of his forefathers to live likewise and himself carry the banner.

At some point every king was just some guy, who decided to live for more and in him and passed through him a great line was made, an ordinary man became a king. (except for all the ones who did it by killing their uncle, borther, or father etc, etc, aka most of medieval Europe) At some point the Shepard boy who is overlooked is chosen because his hidden qualities are shown. In my life I have seen how there are not many "real men" left or so I hear it out of the mouths of many women.

Is it a bold assumption to think that I am one? Or rather am becoming one? If I choose to be better than I am today, if I choose to live for more the next meal and next satisfaction of my senses, will virtue not rise in me and through me a line of great men, real men can again be found?

Of course it is nothing that comes from myself, but in my heart am I not already of royal lineage by blood? (this applies to women too) If I have been crucified and raised with Christ and am a part of his family, and He himself is a high priest as it says in Hebrews of the line of Melchezidek, a line of Priest Kings, is the blood of virtue not already coursing through me? Have I already in me that which I wish to find?

Am I already of a rare line of men, who stand upon the precipice of a fading world longing and fighting for renewal, standing for the King as an ambassador to this world? Can men still be sires of nations that are proud, fierce, dangerous, and yet virtuous? Does being a Christian require me to be a lamb, or can I not also be a Lion in the line of Judah? Why inside do I feel like I was meant for so much more, perhaps we all are, and right now I am just hearing the trumpet call from my King, calling me out to stand.

In my mind this quote comes from CS Lewis..."Of course he isn't safe, but He is good."

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Quotables

"It's not the wind in our hair that makes us free. It's the movement of the Spirit, the growth of our invisible side." --Amber Haines

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My simple life plan: To live the kind of life that when asked, "If you could be anybody, who would you be?", I'd choose me.

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