Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Time! Christmas Time!
Enough said in the title. J  When our family first came to Capital City Christian Church, nine years ago, I had many questions.  Some of those questions were centered on Christmas and why we celebrate this special birth.  All births are special right?  Of course they are! We are about to celebrate the birthday of our oldest child, Ethan and my Grandma’s birthday was on Christmas Eve, both are very special  but what is different about  the birth of Jesus? 

Growing up there wasn’t too much emphasis on the spiritual reasons to celebrate Christmas; it was more about food, gifts, Santa Claus and maybe family.  As we began to learn more about Christ, it was amazing to realize what the birth of Jesus really means. It means your life in Christ begins with Jesus’s birth! It means…Freedom!!!  Freedom in Christ!!  This is a concept that is often misunderstood but Christ himself says, “I have come, that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).   Freedom is based on choices as Paul teaches in Galatians.  Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  Later on in verse six, the Word states, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”  So the birth of Jesus was and still is a deep, deep, expression of love which helps us to see our freedom in Christ because He chose to come to earth for us, because He chose to be born as ‘the least of these’, because He chose to experience life as we do and because later on He chose death on the cross.  Jesus chose love, service, and sacrifice all throughout His life beginning with His birth. Freedom in Christ means that we can choose to receive that love, service, and sacrifice as a gift to bless us and share that free gift with others.
One thing that was very special in opening my eyes to the story behind Jesus’s birth is Journey to Bethlehem.  This is a major production that takes many willing bodies to give of their time, talents, service, and sacrifice, and much more.  It is the church body coming together to bless the community with the truth of Jesus’s birth and why we celebrate Christmas.  It is something that our family has come to cherish being a part of and want to thank all of you who volunteer in any way, and if you haven’t yet, please consider doing so…you will be mighty surprised at the blessing you receive as well!

I hope that his Christmas season will bless you and your families with a gift of freedom that you will cherish and carry with you into the New Year. 

Deuteronomy 30:19 & 20, “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose LIFE, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.”




Monday, November 5, 2012

Women of Faith

November 1, 2012

        It is the eve before a few of us depart for Women of Faith in Kansas City….can I tell u that I’m PUMPED!!  (Just a little bit, LOL!)  Actually, life is so busy that I didn’t even connect into that excitement until just a little while ago.  The theme for WOF this year is …Celebrate What Matters!

Wow, can I relate to that in a big way!  If any of you heard my personal testimony on Sunday 10-28-12 @ the Luncheon, you will get my drift!  If not, I want to leave you with this text…Matthew 17:20 & 21.  Verse 20 is well known but verse 21 is overlooked way too often.  Verse 20 is the blessing, but verse 21 consists of the instruction before the blessing.    Yes, I expect you to go look up this verse and comment on here from your response and I will hopefully come home with some valuable insight in my notes from the conference and I will type u and have posted for you.  Have a great weekend all!!  J

                                                          With love from your sister in Christ,


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Heart Healthy

                                              Heart Healthy

How is your heart?  Is it healthy?  Do you make effort in your diet so that what you are eating is beneficial to your heart?  Or do you think you are still too young to be concerned about the health of your heart? Do you ever read nutrition labels on products before purchasing them?  A lot of information can be gathered in that short nutrition label and it will quickly tell the consumer if the product will be beneficial or harmful to them.  For instance, the very first ingredient listed is the majority of what is in the product.  So if the very first ingredient is sugar, it would be wise to put that product back on the shelf!  Or if the very first ingredient is water then it may be safe to read on.

What if I were to ask you about the health of your internal heart?  The internal heart consists of your mind, soul, thoughts, words, actions, and the very depth of our beings, ultimately our Spirit.   It is very natural for us to harbor dark, unhealthy feelings, thoughts, or emotions in our hearts because we are human.  Plainly put, it is just that, we are human.  Bottom line.  Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so human and sometimes I even wish others weren’t so human!  The good news is that in spite of our humanness, God still loves us and He still sent Jesus to be the final sacrifice for each one of us.  This free blessing of love, grace, and mercy should be what compels us to have love, grace, and mercy towards ourselves and others.

It isn’t always that easy though, is it?  It isn’t always so easy to have love, grace or mercy towards ourselves or others.  At the same time though God doesn’t want us to remain the same, he wants us to change.  He wants us to become more like him, more like his son Jesus.  He wants us to be “more than conquerors” (Romans 8: 35-38).   Again, in our humanness this isn’t something we can do on our own.  We begin by asking God what is it that He wants to change within us.  What does He want to cleanse from our hearts?  We can humble ourselves and recognize that we need His help; we need the Holy Spirit to help us with something this big.  Because when you have been hurt by an abuser or unprotected by someone who was neglectful or even hurt by someone who was simply spreading gossip around about you, it is hard to let go of the ugly feelings those hurts leave behind.  So letting God change us or cleanse our hearts isn’t always for the other persons, it brings us to freedom because we don’t have to carry the heavy weight of those feelings any longer. Keeping our physical hearts healthy requires a regimen of eating well and consistent exercise.  So it is the same with keeping our spiritual hearts healthy.  We can release them to the hands of Jesus, ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment and for help focusing on the things that God wants to grow in our hearts, while always looking to the Absolute Truth, God’s word for even more guidance, Philippians 4:8 and Galatians 5:22-26.  Don’t forget, to keep a physical heart healthy it requires a consistent plan and a consistent plan will also be required to keep your spiritual heart healthy!   J



Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Ripple Effect

                                                The Ripple Effect


                A few weeks ago I was taking the dog on his morning walk and noticed the clouds were beginning to form something quite awesome.  I’m not sure how many of you really pay attention to the heavens but we tend to see some neat things that sometimes also come with very significant messages.  This particular morning the heavens would set the stage again for God to speak something profound to my heart and just recently the same message has been brought to light again and again, through different events.  Therefore, I feel I need to share what God was showing me that day.

            As Louie, the dog, and I continued our walk the sun began to shine a bit brighter and the clouds began to thin out.  The clouds continued to thin looking as if they were forming layers but as I watched longer I noticed the clouds turning from layers into rings while leaving a complete circle in the middle of the rings.  They resembled ripples in water from the result of rocks being thrown into a lake or sometimes boats might leave a ripple effect in the water as they speed by.  Let’s remember that in reality, we are talking about the clouds not water but honestly this is the shape in which they formed in the sky.  I remember thinking, “Wow that is really cool God. Those clouds look like ripples in a lake.”  Have you ever noticed anything about ripples?  They have a trickling effect on one another; one ripple is not created without the one before it causing the ripple to be set in motion.  The center of the ripples also stays whole, as a whole circle.  The only thing that could change the center is for something to disrupt the beautiful process of creating ripples and when that happens the center begins to form a new set of ripples.  So as I am studying this process taking place in the sky, it “dawns” (or rather God made it clear ;-) on me that this beautiful example easily resembles our lives as Christians and as human beings.

            With Christ being the center of our lives, our ripples will have lasting value that can affect many generations to come.  We can make choices that honor Him by really living out our faith, meeting people where they are at and really getting to know them while sharing our lives with them as well, meeting their needs by serving and helping in any way that God shows us.  Does this mean that you take on the world’s problems and try to figure out the solutions yourself?  Of course not!  It doesn’t even mean that we should try to take on all the problems of the local church which we may attend.   We can choose to start the ripple effect by doing something for someone that will help them and share the love of Jesus and hopefully that person will continue the ripple effect by passing on the goodness and love of Christ that was shared with them.  Shortly after this beautiful understanding came to light, I heard “Be the Ripple Effect.” 

            Recently it was made clear to me that “The Ripple Effect” can also be used in a negative way.  A person will either choose not to do anything at all or could make choices that are not beneficial to those whom he or she is trying to help.  It has also been made very clear that nothing will ever happen unless it is in God’s timing and  things will also not happen unless they are within God’s will.  This is part of His plan whether we come into agreement with it or not, it’s just reality. As stated earlier, the center will begin to form a new set of ripples if something upsets the process.  If God sees that we know how to talk well but don’t really want to play on the team, well he can choose to start a new set of ripples with those who are willing to let Him lead.

            In summary, ripples represent movement and change and they speak strongly to the old saying, “What goes around comes around!”  I leave you with these thoughts to ponder…Where do you want me to begin The Ripple Effect God?  How do you want me to begin The Ripple Effect God?  Lord, what if I get scared, prideful, nervous or worried?  2 Timothy 1:7/ Joshua 1:9/ 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10.  Allow Him to be your stable center and together you will make beautiful ripples ladies.  J                                                                                        SMP*/ 09-06-12


Monday, August 27, 2012

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Can I confess something? I'm pretty good at being joyful and thankful when I'm in Church, when I'm hanging out with my life group, or even when I'm having personal devotion time.  But when the chips are down and I'm looking in the face of adversity, I'm not always that good at it.  Who's with me? I have a feeling I'm not alone in this.  Just today, I left work very harried and stressed after a hectic day, drove across town to pick up my daughter from after-school care.  It was hot, I was sweating, and I had an appointment at 5:00 at Dunn Brothers.  When I got to school my daughter was having a dramatic meltdown because her ice pack had a hole in it.  I talked her down, threw the ice pack away, signed her out, got her into the hot car, buckled her in listening to her chatting about her day and all I could think about was a frosty cold iced mocha at Dunn Brothers.  I put the key in the ignition and turned.  Nothing.  What? No, my car can't be dead - it's a new(ish) car! I tried again and it made a horrendous sound.  Ok, one more time.  Nothing.  I called my husband who had just picked up the baby across the river and he agreed to come get me.  I told him to pick us up at Dunn Brothers.  It was a short walk and I was not missing my appointment - let alone my iced mocha!

I happened to be meeting Miss Lori Noe so that she could show me how to post on this very blog.  I bought my daughter a muffin and a water and ordered my caramel mocha.  Lori arrived just as I was getting my coffee and trying to get my daughter settled and my computer booted.  It was then I realized that they had served me a HOT caramel mocha.  Did I mention I was already sweating? I didn't have time to change my order because my husband was on his way to fix my car. No biggie - I'll just sweat some more.

Lori and I tried and tried and could never get the wi-fi in the restaurant to work.  We even asked the employees and they re-set something or other and it still didn't work.  Lori gave me good enough verbal instructions to get me in here (and I'm hopeful this works!) and by that time my husband had arrived with the baby, so we piled into his van and drove back to the school where he revived my car battery with a jump and the baby screamed the whole time.  At this point, my nerves were shot. AND WHAT WERE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT DINNER?!!! But I had to have a new battery, so Nick sent me to Wal-Mart to have a new battery put in and he took the kids to McDonalds. 

On my way to Wal-Mart I started thinking about how trying the evening had been already, how exhausted I was, and basically throwing myself a little pity party.  And then it hit me.  My husband is going to be out of town tomorrow night.  What if this had happened tomorrow night? And then, suddenly, I was thankful.  Thank you, Lord, that my husband was home tonight and able to come help me and take care of the kids! Thank you, Lord, that it happened in a safe place and thank you, Lord, for (I never say this) Wal-Mart whose auto department is open late and got me fixed right up.

God meets our needs and He takes care of us in every situation. So relax and enjoy those bumps in the road... At the time they may seem like deep potholes, but in hindsight they were probably just rumble strips to keep you awake.

~Liz Roberts

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fear vs. Love

Fear is scary…Fear is sickening…Fear can paralyze…Fear can hinder…Fear is one of Satan’s best weapons…FEAR IS A LIE.
Love is beautiful…Love is hard…
Love can heal…Love can overcome…Love is freedom…Love is God…

by SMP

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

God's Vast Love

 It is Monday, the first day of the first full week of school.  The start of a new school year always brings mixed emotions for parents and children alike.  It can be scary, exciting, confusing and happy and the list could go on; but this year started different for us.  All three of my children are now in school and all three of them hit a big school milestone on the same day.  My oldest went off to high school for the first time, my oldest daughter started middle school and my youngest daughter, the last one, the baby started kindergarten!!  Typing that sentence just stopped my breathing once more.  :O

                        Normally I would push back the tears and sweep the feelings underneath the rug that sometimes covers my heart in order to be “strong” or “tough enough.” This time though, I couldn’t fight it.  I was not prepared for the deep, intense, painful feelings that presented themselves, but God was.  My heart ached so deeply and it felt as if it were being torn in three different directions.  It seemed the heart ache consumed my whole body.   I cried and cried some more and then I finally began to laugh at myself because if I was this much of a wreck about school then what am I going to do when they leave home to make their own lives?!  Still, there was an aching emptiness that consumed me.  So instead of sweeping the aching emptiness under the rug, I began to talk with God about what I was feeling.   Joyce Meyer once said, “You’ve got to feel it so He can heal it.”

 The Lord reminded me that the intense emotions that I was feeling for my kids were only a drop in the bucket compared to how much love He has for them, or me, or anyone who wants a relationship with Jesus.  Oh, what JOY this brings to my heart and soul!!  In Ephesians 3:18 it says, “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.”  This is my prayer for you who read this: that you would come to know His majestic, vast love and come to believe that His love was given, is given and will always be given for you.  The Lord really means you, His LOVE is for you, and it is for all.  We cannot fully love others until we receive His vast love for ourselves.  I encourage you to go on a “love hunt” with me, a love hunt through His word.  The challenge is to look up one verse per day which pertains to love and after meditating on it, post it here to the blog.  Please look at other postings and be sure that your verse is not one someone already posted so that after a few weeks or so we can review what we have learned about love through the blog posts, but most importantly through His word.  Happy Hunting!!  J



Monday, August 20, 2012

The Knots Prayer

Dear God:
Please untie the knots
that are in my mind,
my heart and my life.
Remove the have nots,
the can nots and the do nots
that I have in my mind.

Erase the will nots, may nots
might nots that may find
a home in my heart.

Release me from the could nots,
would nots and
should nots that obstruct my life.

And most of all,
Dear God,
I ask that you remove from my mind,
my heart and my life all of the "am nots"
that I have allowed to hold me back,
especially the thought
that I am not good enough.

Author Known To God