There's Mail From Mom!

Wouldn't it be nice to have a letter from mom in the mailbox each time you checked it? Here's a place to check your mailbox for a heart-to-heart talk with mom...

Friday, July 20, 2012

“But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God os Israel, and sought him, He was found of them.” (II Chron. 15:4)

Got a problem bigger than you are? While I was alone with the Lord this morning, I was thinking of the problems we have in life that just about take the wind out of our sails. The problems that make you ask "Is it worth it?" "Would someone tell me why I'm doing all thi...s?"
Then I thought of how every single problem I've had what got me through the storm that I thought would never, never pass was "the way, the truth, and the life". He got me through the darkness and into the light.
I am an IFR Christian. I know God had to order this because I am very visual, emotional and a lover of words. So God had to take away my reliance on those things (they were gods for me) and teach me to trust completely and totally on Christ. That has been a journey for me that began with severe and crippling depression in 1987.
I can say that I know, that I know, that I KNOW that He will never leave you nor forsake you. If you will fall at His feet and be a Mary, sobbing and crying and pouring out your heart, agreeing to agree with Him as he leads the way, He opens up the truth to a heart that has no power on its own to comprehend or receive it, and He is the life--He will do all the work, not part of it--ALL of it. He will give faith to a heart that is worn out with “trying to trust”, He will give light on a path that looks like its crumbling under our feet, He will give understanding to a heart that lies very still and waits to hear His voice in the midst of hundreds and thousands of babbling voices in our heads.
You can never untangle all the wires, I promise you it only gets more and more complex--like tearing a computer apart when you know nothing about them and looking at all the parts lying on your table and not even knowing where to start--that’s where you get on trying to solve your own problems.
Job is a perfect example. I believe his friends loved him, I believe they were concerned, but in the course of their “help” they kicked him, criticized him, exposed their own jealousy and personal spiritual limpness and made him more confused.
Then along came Elihu. Job had been mourning and crying for another human to care enough to reach God for him. He wanted human help when he was in spiritual, emotional and physical agony. (Job 16:21) He got that help in Job 33:6 when Elihu said, “Here I am! I am here with you formed out of clay according to your wish ready and willing to help you. Now let me get you to God--because only He can really help you.”
Then he begins to turn Job’s focus to God and His power, His life, His ability to heal, give sight, deliver and put all those mixed up, tiny, confusing pieces of Job’s life that lay like a puzzle poured on the floor all back together and make something beautiful out of it!
I don’t know your problem, but I know you have them. I don’t know what has you so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start.
I do know that if you will seek Him He will be found of thee. “And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord god of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;” (II Chron. 15:12) It all starts with prostrating yourself before Him and confessing that you have no wisdom, no power, no strength, no faith, nothing to offer Him but a hopeless mess and you are willing to rest before Him and let Him fix it as your own Saviour by the power of His resurrected life and righteousness, His perfect finished work of Calvary, and His perfect, innocent blood offered on the mercy seat just for you.
Elihu turned God’s focus to Job and all Job had to do was turn his heart’s eyes upward and God began to reveal His life and power to Job. Then he began to minister it to Job.
That’s the solution to our problems. 1) Confess our complete and total inability and inadequacy. 2) Rest on His total ability and adequacy.
When I have finally worn myself out with looking for solutions and like a person who is going under for the third time I finally go to my Father and lay it all in His lap and ask Him to please give me what I need provided for me by Christ Jesus, my heart goes into a joyful rest and over and over I have come out of the darkness into glorious light with Christ ever so much more real and precious to me. I also came out realizing that nothing and no one, however precious they are to me, (husband, children, friends, church) can replace the treasure I have in this earthly vessel. His name is Christ.
“And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the Lord gave rest round about.” (II Chron. 15:15)
Needing rest? Needing a problem solved? I pray I can be used by Him to take your weary hand and raise it to feel His touch. It will solve your problem--I give you His word on it!

Our prayers are an influence in our home...

No one can intercede for the man of God, pray for his protection from the "destroyer" or set the mood by prayer like we can. This is spiritual warfare, and the battle is on for our husbands, our home, our families...
"Happy the man, called to go forward in any pathway of faith, who has in his life-companion ony sympathy and help....frail in health and only twenty-eight years in age, Mrs. Taylor's... hands were full with the care of four young children, yet from the moment she learned of her husband's call to the great, the seemingly impossible task of evangelization of inland China she became in a new way his comfort and inspiration. Her hand wrote for him, her faith strengthened his own, her prayers undergirded the whole work and her practical experience and loving heart made her the Mother of the mission..." -Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret
"Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses." (Neh. 4:14)
Our families have souls, let's fight for them in prevailing prayer today!

Friday, July 6, 2012


 As I've spent time with the Lord and also spent time with Christian friends for the last few months I have realized how very, very important influence is. 
  Again and again in the Bible we see examples of people who were influenced for the good or for the bad by who they were with.  The Lord told His people Israel not to take on the way of the heathen, but to cast them out.  He even told them to burn their idols and cast down their altars "lest thou be snared therein"... (Deut. 7:25)
  We see where David's son was influenced by a friend who was subtil.  That same friend had an influence in his death!
  We see Solomon's mother warning him of wrong influence, (Proverbs 31) we hear Solomon warning in the book of Proverbs of whose way we should follow and whose way will lead us into destruction of our life and soul. (almost every chapter!)
  Paul repeats again and again who to be with and who to avoid.  He even warns that only the spiritual should try to rescue those who have been snared into sin lest they fall along with them. (Gal. 6:1)
  Rather we want to admit it or not we are all influenced by who we spend time with, what we read, what we look at, or where we spend our time. 
  One of the greatest joys of my life is reconnecting with someone from years ago and seeing that they have remained strong in the faith.  What joy to find that they haven't dropped any convictions, and that although they have had to stand alone in many areas they are still remaining faithful to Christ.
  One of the greatest sorrows in my life has been watching people who you were sure would never lose the wonderful joy they had in Christ and in following Him as a peculiar people decide that they were wrong and reevalutating all those things that at one time they found their sweetest fellowship with Christ in. 
  It is usually obvious that things are not the same.  They've lost that excitment and joy on what Christ is doing in their lives.  They either avoid subjects or are argumentive about tenets of the faith that they once taught new Christians as very important to growing in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  As you listen to them you almost always find certain common denominators:

1)  False doctrine has slipped in somewhere.   Paul warned of this repeatedly.  He said it would happen.  Someone has come in with something that is so close to the truth it is difficult to tell that it's not the truth with just a little poison slipped in.  My dad used to say that just a little rat poison in your loaf of bread would still sicken or kill you! 
   If you're going to disobey the word of God and cease obeying the truth you have to replace it with something else.  I know there's nothing new under the sun, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the doctrines that replace the truth almost always make salvation confusing with works added to it.
  I have found by experience that God's authority and His prescribed design are safety nets here.  If we seek the truth we find it, and the truth will always, always set us free.

2)  Someone has influenced them-- not Christ.  When you find extremes among God's people you will almost always find them following a person.  Rather it's extremes in being just like the world or extremes in being apart from the world when you really listen to people who've moved from the truth they have been influenced by a book, a preacher, a family, an internet site, a Bible college,  etc. 
   I like to ask people how much time they simply spend in the word of God each day seeking His face that they might submit their will, heart and mind to Christ. How much time are they searching for His heart and mind on every issue of their lives.  When you come before Him with a humble heart and a true desire to obey Him He makes it very clear what He desires. 
  Paul told those who wanted to follow him or Applos or Cephas that they weren't to pattern their life after a man, but after Christ.   (I Cor. 1:12-25)
  I know in my own life when I began to wander into the desert of depression I had listened to a false doctrine and other voices above my Saviour's.  It only led to confusion and spiritual darkness. 
  This goes back to authority.  Every human authority in my life is just that--human.  I have to have a deeper faith, one that goes back to trusting a very perfect God to lead my life by a human authority.  I must believe I can trust God--He will never influence me to sin.

3)  The direction of the life usually doesn't go to a purer and holier life, but to a life that is void of spiritual life.    In most lives you see great outward change.  There is a change in what they wear, where they feel comfortable going, what they call "godly music", etc.  This is outward manifestation of a deeper problem.
  With others the person becomes more extreme in their outward appearance and personal standards of life and practice.  They make more and more demands on what it requires to be right with God.  They have a "prescribed" list that grows and grows as they decide what is spiritual and what is not.  Many times you find them swallowing camels and straining at gnats.  This is because they are putting an emphasis on the flesh and not on the spirit of Christ.  Many times you find they have a root sin they've never gotten victory over and so other areas are overemphasised.  In both cases the root problem is not allowing Christ Himself be the authority. 
  Matthew 5-7 is Christ's discourse that makes it plain that God is a holy God with very high standards.  He also makes it clear that they are impossible in the power of the flesh.  When we attempt to carry out God's holiness in the power of the flesh it creates a very filthy, spiritually superior spirit.
  On the other hand, separation is from page 1 of the Bible to the last chapter.  God hates sin.  Sin destroys us.  When we ask Him to save us He starts a work of saving us of each and every thing that He cannot have as a holy God.  It's not that we aren't to live separated lives, it's that we are to live them by the power of the Spirit.
   I once saw an illustration showing white, gray, black and in that illustration were things listed that most Christians saw as definitely white, some that they saw as gray, and some most Christians saw as black.  Then it showed Christ as perfectly white and pure.  It showed the world in the lighter black and the church in the white.
  Then it showed the world going deeper and deeper into the black, and as it did the church was moving deeper and deeper from the white to the gray and almost to the black.  The problem?  The church was saying, "We're staying the same distance from the world as we always have!"
  But are we to compare ourselves among ourselves, or are we to have Christ as our goal?  If you keep your eyes on Christ as your comparison you will  live a purer and purer life as you grow.
When I think of my own life I think about what I have in my life that influences me.  Then I ask the question, "How does it influence me?" 
Am I influenced when I get a new seed catalog, beautiful Southern Lady magazine, or clothing catalog?  Yes.
Am I influenced when I watch a movie or read a book?  Yes.  I can name books that literally changed the course of my life and thinking.
 Am I influenced by the people I spend time with?  Yes.  I have people that leave me feeling like a limp rag from the emotional weight they pull out of you,  I have people that convict me, (but in a good way) and motivate me to do more for Christ, love Him more, spend more time with Him,  I have people that make me unhappy with who I am and where I am, (if I let them) I have people who energize me.  Yes, people influence me.
Am I influenced by my family?  My children can influence me to laugh, cry, and pray.  They can make me so proud I want to wave a flag and say "Hey everyone, that's my child." and they can shame me to where I would like to not answer when they say "Mom".  Yes, my family influences me.
Am I influenced by the word of God?  Yes, when I prayerfully get alone with the Lord in the word of God I can't believe what it does to me.  It's alive!  It permeates, cleanses, renews, and is engrafted into me.
  Am I influenced by what I listen to?  Obviously, if I'm having an overwhelming day my husband will say, "Why don't you go turn on your Christian radio station?"  I can go into a store playing rock and fully understand why teens get a gun and shoot someone after listening to it!  Why do you think bars don't play hymns?  I could name two men that told me their infidelity in their marriage started with listening to country music on a regular basis. 
  Am I influenced by what I wear?  You better believe it.  I have outfits that make me feel fat, frumpy and irritable just by glancing in the mirror.  I also have clothes that make me feel good about myself. I have clothes that say I'm going to be painting or in the garden, and I have clothes that make my kids say, "Where are you going today?"  Many times in my life my clothes have motivated the question from a complete stranger, "Where do you go to church?"  I always reply, "What makes you ask me that?"  It's what I wear!
    I can dress in a way that is suggestive, and I can dress in a way that is pure.  I can unbutton one more button and make an entirely different statement. I can make it slightly tighter and slightly higher up on my leg and I promise you my husband would say it wasn't going out the front door of this house.
   I can convince people I'm a businesswoman, a lover of country music, a motorcycle mama, going to lay on a beach or a street walker -by what I wear.  I mark every scripture that discusses clothing with a small picture of a garment.  There is no argument--clothing matters to God.
  Am I influenced by where I go?  Yes, I am.  I don't shop too much or I become covetous.  I don't go spend time in bars, certain stores, or in the wrong section of a book store because I don't want to be influenced in a wrong way.  I am careful with social networking because it has a powerful influence in my life.  I have been influenced by what I saw on a Facebook page to laugh till I cried, to say A-men out loud, and to weep like a baby at where that person's life has gone.
 I know this is long, but I've got a deep, deep burden for today's child of God.  I prayerfully ask you to turn to the Lord and yield yourself to His influence in your life  (Rom. 12:1,2) and then beg Him to make you an influence in someone else's life to turn them to a life of abiding in Christ.  There is no joy like the joy of the Lord Himself being your strength. 
  Influence.....who is yours and who are you influencing?


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

  Something the Lord has been really dealing with me about is giving Him each day at the beginning of my day.  I like living a planned life--"fail to plan, plan to fail" is one of my mantras.  I live by a list.  However, I also want the Lord Jesus to be the one who is my Way and I yield to His authority in ordering my day's path.
  A few months ago dear friends of ours who are missionaries to Australia called and told me they were going to be coming down I-40 on July 4th and would like to stop through.  Because of Gary's work schedule now I knew we wouldn't be going anywhere and told them to be sure and stop by.  Then it fell right out of my memory bank!
  Yesterday, they called to get directions to our house.  I had told them in the previous phone call that whatever we were doing or eating we would just include them in it.  But the Lord did have to remind me of my verse  "My soul,  wait thou only upon God ; for my expectation is from him." (Psalm 62:5)
 Not because I wasn't absolutely thrilled that we were going to see them, not because it wasn't a change in the right direction.  It was because I had "planned" to let the house go this week and rest (as I'd promised my husband I would do because of health reasons) and because I hadn't planned a special 4th of July dessert today because most of the family is on a diet. If you're a planner you know what I'm talking about. 
  The house wasn't filthy, it was picked up.  But I hadn't scrubbed bathrooms, mopped floors or polished the wood floors.  I hadn't dusted furniture this week.  I hadn't "planned" for company today!
  The kids pitched in a gave the floors a quick vaccum and sweep, John emptied trash and dusted, Cierra wiped down the bathrooms, Asher checked and swept porches and I mixed up some baked beans and Marble Toll House Squares.  By the time they arrived the Lord had changed my "expectations" to HIs and we were prepared.  I even remembered I had a frozen diet strawberry dessert that would pass as a 4th of July dessert in the freezer! 
  What a wonderful afternoon of catching up we had.  They have ten children and we have seven.  We looked at each others pictures, looked at our children's websites and listened to their music, saw their furlough dvd, and when it was time for them to leave I wasn't ready to let them leave.  After all the years we hadn't seen each other they were still faithfully serving the Lord, sticking to sound doctrine and principles of living and listening and talking was "iron sharpening iron".  I can't say how strengthening to your heart and faith it is to reconnect with people from your past who are sticking by the stuff and living as valiant men and women and not lowering the banner for the Lord.  I felt like I'd got a spiritual B-12 shot just spending time with them.
  Tonight as I write this I realize that because I am making a point to give each day to the Lord He made a point to give me a gift today.  I can't thank Him enough!
  As for that wonderful diet dessert.  I might have put this on my blog before--if I did you can skip this part.  This dessert is called Mile High Pie.  It is 3.5 points per serving if you cut it into 18 servings. 
  You will need a stand mixer to do this.  It would wear your arm out to do the 20-30 minute mixing and it might wear your mixer out!  It's a delicious summer dessert and fulfills the qualifications I have right now of "Don't use that oven one minute more than you have to!" -Gary Neal

   Crumb Crust:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup light margarine
1/4 cup sugar

3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
2 T. lemon juice
1 (10 oz.) frozen strawberries (partially thawed, may use canned fruit)
2 large envelopes of prepared Dream Whip topping. (Make ahead and refrigerate.)


Mix crumb ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Stop and stir every 5 minutes. Reserve 1/3 cup of crumbs for topping. Let cool. Press remaining crumbs into 9x13 pan.
(Be sure and reserve that 1/3 cup to sprinkle on the top!)
(This is how high the egg whites, sugar, lemon juice and strawberries get in my professional Kitchenaid mixer bowl!)
Beat the filling ingredients for 20-35 minutes until very stiff. (A good stand mixer will do it in about 20 minutes.) Gently fold in the prepared Dream Whip. (Do not overstir.)
(Don't forget to make the Dream Whip ahead of time and have it in your fridge to fold into your strawberry, sugar and egg white mixture.  I use Kroger brand Dream Whip and it works just as well and tastes just as good, but saves money!)

Pour into pan over crust and sprinkle crumbs on top. Freeze 12 hours. Serve frozen.

Number of Servings: 18
This is a very light, almost ice cream like dessert with a wonderful crunch on the bottom and on the top.  It's a favorite here!  To make it more holiday you could add some little flags all over the top!