Election Day Thoughts

My son at the “Restoring Honor” Rally in 2010 with his daddy.

 

I just finished reading this post by Kevin DeYoung at The Gospel Coalition:

 

Politics Is Hell

Imagine your life were an open book.

Every conversation recorded. Every errant word written down. Every gaffe broadcast before all.

What if everything you ever did was fair game?

What if every action and every decision were held up to the severest scrutiny?

What if all your last minute apologies failed to satisfy?

How would you feel to realize someone knew everything about your past? And someone was chronicling everything about your present?

How would you like to face a barrage of questions for every inconsistency in your life?

What a fearful proposition: anything you ever say or ever do can, and often will, be held against you. If an adversary so desired, he could paint an ugly picture of any of us. And without resorting to lies.

It’s a scary thought to think that your whole life could be an open book. With defenses that do not hold, and sorry’s that do not stick, and excuses which only make things worse.

That’s politics.

And that’s the day of judgment without the blood of Christ.

~Kevin DeYoung

 

Um Wow! That hit me in the gut.

There is NO escaping the fact that this is a huge day! Tuesday night every channel on television will be about the election results – and the suspense of such a tension filled race has us all on the edge of our seats. It’s riveting.

I’ll be honest – I’m very concerned about the direction and future of our country.  Elections have consequences and we decide for our children what kind of America they will grow up in.  Our family cares about this election.  But after voting – as believers we must press on.  God has mandated one way to change this world and it’s through the transforming power of his word and Christ’s work on the cross.

Do not confront culture just with your vote but with the spiritual power of God’s word.

John McArthur says: “This is a lesson evangelicals ought to know from church history. Whenever the church has focused on evangelism and preaching the gospel, her influence has increased. When she has sought power by political, cultural, or military activism, she has damaged or spoiled her testimony.”

So if it was a rough day at the polls – do not lose heart!  Do not give way to fear.

Do as Christ said “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19,20

And please – do vote.  Not just for you and your children - but also for our military who depend on you to choose their Commander and Chief.  They need a man in the oval office they can trust.

Walk with the King,

When the Bottom Falls Out

Last summer, my husband was walking down our deck stairs holding my daughters hand… they stepped on one stair (these are higher up than they appear in the picture) and it gave out – then they stepped to the next stair and it gave out too!  Thankfully my husband had my daughter by the hand and she did not fall through.  He strong armed her onto the 3rd step down but he got injured from gripping the railing – the wood punctured his hand and later developed an infection - it was just a mess!

The bottom fell out literally for him that day.

But I think of so many blessings in that moment.  I am thankful he was holding her hand…if he had not been holding it – she would have fallen through!  I am thankful that he has a strong hand that was able to get her to the next step safely.  I am thankful that he took the injury in place of her being injured…and it makes me think of Jesus and his strong hand and how he has endured the pain of the cross for us..

In Hebrews 13:5 he says “Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you.”

God is always with us – he has a strong hand that upholds us when the bottom falls out.  He has taken the pain of our sin upon him and covered it over at the foot of the cross…he loves us, protects us, comforts us and never will leave us.

So the bottom fell out for me today…

I had a rough week last week with a cold that turned into Laryngitis and then my washing machine broke with a load in it and more loads to go… and really I was just feeling whiny last week!  I thought surely this week would be better…

But today my son tied our wagon to his bike and my daughter got in and he pulled her along – until she flew out!  She knocked out her two front teeth (which thankfully were baby teeth) but really scraped up her face.  Her lips are swollen and right now she can’t close her mouth to drink or eat…I’m pouring water into her mouth :(

Waaaaaaaaaaaah!

Sitting in the emergency room – I put on a smile for the kids…but inside I wanted to just throw up!  The blood was a little more than I could bare!  And the butterflies came as I worried about all the worse case scenarios. After X-rays, some reassurance from the Dr. that her mouth will eventually close again when the swelling goes down (lol! I needed that reassurance!), and some comfort from facebook friends :)  I am feeling a little better.

(I took a picture of my daughter’s face but I could see at the Dr.’s office she was embarrassed of it – she complained that she looked like a clown – so I thought it best not to share it with you all right now…but on Saturday we are having her 7th birthday party – so I’ll be taking pictures then – you’ll get to see her toothless smile next week when I post pictures.)

But as we drove to the ER, I prayed with the kids and I told them - even though this took us by surprise, this did not take God by surprise.  When we woke up this morning – God knew this accident would happen today.  His strong hand was with us – and he carried my little girl to the 3rd step down.

And in hard times like tonight – when the tears seem to flow easy…I’m reminded of John Piper’s words:

It is crucial that in our darkness we affirm the wise, strong hand of God to hold us, even when we have no strength to hold him.  This is the way Paul thought in Phil. 3:12 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” ESV

The key thing to see in this verse is that all Paul’s efforts to grasp the fullness of joy in Christ are secured by Christ’s grasp of him.  Never forget that your security rests on Christ’s faithfulness first.

Christ is faithful first!  It is HIS mercies that are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23).  HE gave me just enough mercy to make it through last week’s inconveniences.  HE gave me the mercy I needed for today – when this frazzled mama just wanted to cry her eyes out in the waiting room and I am counting on HIS mercies for tomorrow’s trials!  I can testify - HE is faithful first!

Some days we have to fight for joy.  We have to fight to see God in the hard things of life.  It is crucial that in our dark moments we remember that though our grasp on God may feel weak – He has a strong hold on us.

Walk with the King,

The Biggest Disappointment of Relevant

Me with Ann right before we spoke on a panel about “Upside Down Blogging”.

There was one HUGE lesson God revealed to me during the Relevant Conference…

I’m a huge disappoinment and it’s time I embrace disappointing others -  to the glory of God!

Let me explain.

The closing speaker for the Relevant Conference was my #1 favorite blog writer – Ann Voskamp of  A Holy Experience.  Her writing takes me to the throne of God each time I read it.  I simply can’t get enough of her writing.

Previous to her closing session, I had shared the platform with Ann in a session titled “Upside Down Blogging“.  I spoke about Genesis 11 and the tower of Babel.  The men building the tower of Babel wanted to “make a name for themselves” and in God’s eyes this was wicked and brought judgement.  As bloggers, this temptation to “make a name for ourselves” exists and we have to be so careful of this trap. 

I also talked about Paul and Silas – when the jail doors fell open they stayed in the jail and the jailers family was saved!  Opportunities have arisen this year for me – doors have flown open – but thus far I have stayed put believing that it is God’s will for me to stay right where I am at.  But I’m not always so sure this is completely noble. 

To be honest, I’m scared to death to put myself out there much more than I have on my blog…I fear that expectations may be too high – it raises the bar in every area of my life.  From my marriage, to my parenting, to my homemaking – I feel pressure to not disappoint.  And this fear of disappointing has caused me to stagnate.

 Those closest to me in my real life - know I’m just Courtney…wierd, passionate, talkative Courtney…I have hurts, pains, problems, and fears just like everyone else…I say immature things.  I say sinful things.  I am SO flawed – the cross says I am flawed!  Hallelujah for the cross! 

Trust me, I’m a big disappointment in real life.

And so as I sat with pen in hand, ready to receive the message Ann had to share at the closing session of the Relevant Conference – this fearful, weary, wrestling mommy blogger found hope and tears stung as she spoke these words…

“You have been appointed to disappoint so you will point to the one who doesn’t disappoint.”

Did you catch that?  It’s my calling!

This is my calling – to be a disappointment to the glory of God!

I am free!  Free to be a big disappointment!   Because it’s NOT about me – let me point you to who it’s ALL about – Jesus! 

Here’s more from my notes that I wrote down that night:

There are no rock stars in blogging.  God is our rock and we are all stars shining for him.

Jesus does not need our help to be famous.

Fame is the ugly world of over exaggeration.

Jesus rejected, retreated, and resisted fame.  When he healed, he told them go and tell no one!  He reteated from being crowned King.  Jesus knew he would be used more with a crown of thorns than with a crown enthroned.

Be willing not to be esteemed but to be sacrificed.

Our method of ministry must be as counter cultural as our message is.

There’s a dark underbelly to blogging.  Satan would want nothing more than to destroy us.

All the Christian bloggers united are thunder -we are signaling God is about to rain – rain on the wilderness of parched and dry souls.  Since Jesus is the rain, we must be thankful people are reading at any blog. 

And so I conclude, I am but thunder…I pray that when you come here, God rains on your soul.  And when I post something unsettling, don’t answer your email (oh the guilt I carry for not answering your emails :( I just feel terrible I’ve disappointed so many in this way) or you meet me accidently in the supermarket (multiple times I’ve met strangers who are readers in stores) and my kids are standing on their heads lol!…I will remember I am but dust…you can’t expect too much out of dust (as Sally Clarkson says).

And I am learning to make peace with my new identity. 

“I’ve been appointed to be a disappointment so I can point others to the one who will never disappoint.”

It’s my honor to be a disappointment to the glory of God! 

 Walk with the King,

Courtney

Are You Cheating?

Forneys- Missionaries to Indonesia

Missionaries are my heroes! As a child, missionary stories challenged me and motivated me to want to live the crucified life. When I have a woe is me day…where life seems rough, I remember my Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who have sacrificed all to take the message of the gospel to unreached places. My small afflictions are NOTHING compared to what they face!

One of my favorite on-line missionaries to follow are the Forney’s. They fascinate me! Dave is a missionary pilot married to Joy and they have 5 children! Their stories of snakes and jungle flights fascinate me! And my heart most unites with Joy’s when she jokingly says on Facebook – “dreaming of a Starbucks coffee today” – or – “sure missing Diet Coke“….She reminds me - I’m such a baby! I’m spoiled and I’m numb to it because it’s so normal to have so much in the states.

Missionary newsletters challenge me – they challenge my loyalty to God. How far am I willing to follow him? I think “Oh Lord, I will die for you!” but maybe God is simply asking me to walk across the street and meet my neighbor! Why is that so hard?
It’s hard because I’m selfish to the core. I don’t like to feel uncomfortable. My flesh wants the easy life but my spirit longs to glorify God. So I must put to death the desires of my flesh to remain loyal to God.
This 3 minute video below, first played over on GoodMorningGirls.org . I share the story of a classmate  from the Moody Bible Institute who was a missionary in Lebanon.  She was shot and killed. For years, I kept the news clipping hanging at my desk to remind me to live a sold out life for Jesus.

James 4:1-12
Warning Against Worldliness
4:1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

Are you cheating on God with a friendship to this world?
James says “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”(v4)
Maybe God is not calling us to Indonesia or Lebanon – but he is calling us to forsake our love of this temporary world. Release it’s grip, pursue God daily, take a risk and live life to the hilt – all for Jesus!
Walk with the King!

Today We Remember…

Pause for a moment…Be silent.



Today we remember. (Taken from Matthew 27)



We remember…



the betrayal for 30 pieces of silver



the flogging



the crown of thorns



the purple robe



the sign “Hail, King of the Jews!”



the strike on Jesus’ face



the crowd shouting “Crucify Him!”



the long walk to Golgotha carrying the cross



the nails in his hands



the nails in his feet



DARKNESS



the words “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”



the temple curtain torn in two from top to bottom



the earth trembling



the guards exclaiming “Surely he was the Son of God!”


On the cross, Jesus said “It is Finished.” (John 19:30)
FINISHED – PAID IN FULL. All the bad things you have ever done are paid for in full by the blood of the lamb who gave his life for you on the cross. Do you wonder if you are lovable? Do you wonder if he really can forgive you of your sins? Does your guilt lie to you?
Psalm 103:10-12 answer these very questions: He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
This song above has a line I just love. It says “in the arms of your mercy I find rest.” It’s in Christ’s mercy that I have found rest in this difficult world. The blog Women Living Well would not exist if it were not for the truth of Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  I have found rest in Jesus Christ my Savior.
Have you found this rest? If you have placed your faith in Christ and believe that he indeed lived, died and rose again and have repented of your sins – your sins have been cast as far as the east is from the west. But, If you have not done this, I John 5:12 says you do not have eternal life. If you have never accepted the free gift that God has offered you of eternal life which only comes through faith in his Son Jesus – I bid you – do it today! And if you have questions about your salvation please ask your local pastor, friend or send me an email.

Happy Good Friday. Have a fabulous weekend with your family and Happy Easter!
Walk with the King!
 

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Philippians 2:9-11

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Have you bowed your knee? If you haven’t or refuse to…one day you will…but then it will be too late.

Are you 100% sure you are going to heaven?

The Bible says in I John 5:12 “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

If you repent and turn away from your sin and place all your faith in Jesus’ blood shed on the cross and believe that he rose from the dead – proving that indeed he is God – you will be saved.

Bow your knee to God now – do not resist…because if you do resist… one day in eternity you will bow – but it will be too late.

Dear sisters in Christ, who are already friends with Jesus (if you wonder if you are a friend of Jesus let me define it for you – Jesus says in John 15:14 “You are my friends if you do what I command“), Let me spur you on to live your faith out radically, so all will see that you walk with the King! Don’t be afraid to say the name “Jesus” to those who do not know him. There is great power in his name and he is so worthy…watch this video below…remember what baby Jesus has done for you on the cross. And together – let’s push each other to obey his word.

Happy Birthday Jesus! Thanks for being the best friend a girl could ever dream of – I can’t believe I have the honor of walking with you – the King of Kings – every single day of my life! I can’t wait to see you face to face! I love you!

Girl – You NEED A Bubble Bath

“Go take a bubble bath.”
“You should go to bed early tonight and get some extra rest.”
“Let me get you a warm cup of coffee, a book and you sit down and take a break.”


No one ever says these things to you do they? And so – I’m guessing you rarely do this. You rarely surrender to your weariness. I know this because you are just like me. I mistakenly believe that I can go and go and go like the Energizer bunny without consequence.

Electricity has created an artificial day during our nights. And so rather than resting like the rest of nature does – we try to defy nature and keep going as if it is morning time. We live in a world that runs 24/7. Computers, televisions, cell phones, ipods, restaurants, grocery stores and more are at our access 24/7. We live in a hyperactive culture and then we wonder why some of our children are so well…hyperactive?!

We must slow down and create slow moments because it is in our slow moments that we can see clearly.

Let me say that again because this must sink in if we are going to embrace the peace Jesus wants to give us. It is in our slow moments that we can see clearly.

When we are on the go go go – we can’t see the person who is hurting and needs a hug. We can’t see our husband who needs our tender affection. We don’t have time to just linger on the bedside of our children to listen. We don’t write encouraging notes to a friend who is hurting. We can’t enjoy a sunrise, a surprise game of hide-n-seek, a spontaneously song of praise and we certainly can not hear God clearly.

I know we carry a long to-do list and heavy burdens at Christmas time. But consider Jesus for a moment - the burdens of the entire world were upon his shoulders. He knew of every single hurting man, woman and child. The needs he knew of were beyond what we can comprehend – and yet he did not help everyone. He did not rush in a flurry of speed to accomplish as much as he could before each sunset. He took time to stop and talk to individuals. He took time to wake early in the morning and get alone with God. He took time to rest when he was weary like the time he slept during the raging storm on the boat.

And so it is time for us to hush not rush.

Here’s this week’s challenge: Take out your calendar and SCHEDULE a night where you will take a warm refreshing bubble bath. Bring your Bible. Read the story of the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1, 2 and Luke 1,2.

Here’s why: A bubble bath is something COMPLETELY free that only you can give yourself. It is something we do alone and a place where we can stop the rush, hush, reflect and see clearly. I know there is a temptation at the end of a weary day to turn on the television and have a snack. This is a common stress reliever – but it doesn’t get us alone with God and it doesn’t give us the peace that our souls long for. Television is empty. God’s word is full.
An awesome bubble bath takes planning so here’s what you need:
1. Privacy – all children asleep and the husband aware that you don’t want to be interrupted

2. Hot water and loads of Bubbles – preferably ones that smell yummy!

3. Some soft classical music

4. A hand towel rolled up as a pillow

5. A cold drink to set beside the tub

6. Your Bible and if you are afraid you’ll get it wet – exchange it for a good Christian book or simply quietness – reflecting on your day and talking with God in prayer.

Optional: a lit candle

Now sit back, RELAX, be alone with just you and God – 25 minutes and VOILA – you emerge a new woman.

Do not wait until the house is clean, the laundry is folded, and your presents are all wrapped. It will never be all done! Give yourself permission in the midst of your busyness to have a moment of peace – Peace on Earth.

If you are participating in this challenge leave a comment below with how it’s going – if you are a blogger copy this button into your blog post, write about how it’s going and link up below!

Walk with the King!


I am linking up to: Motivation Monday, Hip Homeschool Hop, Finer Things Friday, Raising Homemakers, Making My H0me Sing Monday , Holiday Haven and Works For Me Wednesday. Please check out these blogs for more great homemaking ideas.
live the gospel

I’m 35 Today!


I woke to a new beginning. The age 34 is behind me and today I’m 35! A lot happened in my life last year – I began my first year of homeschooling and LOVED it! We moved to a new home. The blog grew with the Rachael Ray appearance. The Good Morning Girls groups began on-line and grew to over 600 ladies this past summer! My husband began a new business. We lost two loved ones to death. We made many wonderful memories as a family and have grown spiritually. I grew as a wife, mom and friend. It was one of the busiest years of my life. It was a good year filled with many blessings but we also had our fair share of struggles and sadness.

As I reflect, my heart is filled with thankfulness to God. I sat this morning quietly with the sunrise – alone with Jesus. I looked at the communion cup that I keep by my computer. It’s a reminder to me of why I honor my husband, why I read God’s word daily to my children, why I do this thing called “blogging”. It is my whole reason for living. Jesus is everything to me.

The last time we took communion at church, I was at a discouraging point with blogging. I felt “exhausted”. As I held this cup in my hand there in the pew, I sensed God’s presence. And these thoughts went through my mind – “Jesus is Worthy of all my sacrifice. He is worthy of my complete surrender. He is worthy!” And so when communion ended, I slipped this cup into my purse. And now it sits by my computer reminding me of the blood Jesus shed on the cross that takes away my sins and THAT is what I am MOST grateful for on my 35th birthday.

I don’t know what the age of 35 holds for me. I don’t know what’s going to happen next on my journey. But I know who holds the future and I know “My Redeemer Lives”. I am not alone. And that gives me great hope for the future.

If you do not listen to anything else I say on this blog, this is the one thing I so desperately want for my birthday from you, my dear reader. For you too to experience Jesus in your daily life. He is alive, he speaks through his word. He hears our prayers and answers them. He is worthy of our complete surrender to him. He is worthy of us rising early to meet with him. He is worthy of our sacrifice to serve our family and friends. Don’t let your life slip by too busy to sit down alone with him. One day we will look sweet Jesus in the eyes. We will see his nail scarred hands and feet. Will we have regrets? What we do today in our homes matters. Live it for him alone!

This is my life verse and my prayer for you. Galatians 6:9 “Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due season you will reap a harvest IF you do not give up.”

Persevere sweet sisters. You are not alone – we are in this together! I love you!

Walk with the King!