Love is calling out my name

The song told a beautiful story, a boy walking past his Mom’s bedroom every morning, and catching a glimpse of her through the crack in the door, bowing on her knees.  He knew she was praying for him and he sang, ”Love is calling out my name”.  Through the rocky moments of his life the Spirit of God forever whispered in his heart and he knew, love was calling out his name.

There are moments in my life I know love is calling out my name.  This love, is the love of God that will not let me go.  His love stirs my heart to listen, line up with His will, serve Him.  His love keeps calling my name.

I was on my first mission trip with a singing group in my early 20’s.  We traveled throughout the U.S. and Iron Curtain countries.  Generous people opened their homes to us along the way, and sometimes I was able to stay in a friend’s home.  One night I stayed with my wonderful friend from college.

Not wishing to disturb her at the crack of dawn, I stepped into another room to get ready.  I assumed the room was empty, but  there in the darkness, on his knees, was my girlfriend’s dad.  He was deep in prayer and did not give notice to my entrance.  Quickly, I backed out of the room with my heart pounding.  Personally, I had never witnessed such a thing: an aging man on his knees, intense in his conversation with God, disciplined to awake before the hustle of the day in order to meet with his Lord.

As I was leaving their home, I told me girlfriend what I witnessed.  She told me he has been on his knees every morning of her life.  She lives the fruit of her father’s dedication; a beautiful, confident, healthy, Jesus loving woman.

Oh, the humility of a man who recognizes his daily need for His Father God.  Oh, the great love of a father who prays for his children’s lives every day.  His faithful image remains etched in my mind.

Walking the brick streets of Prague, I had the privilege of partnering with a woman a couple of generations older than me.  We were meeting Czech students and sharing Jesus with them.  We prayed as we walked, asking the Lord to bring open hearts our way.  Countless times students prayed asking Jesus to be their Saviour and Lord.  With a bounce of joy in her voice, my partner would tell me, “We just entered into the prayers of their loved ones”.

Consistently, these students told us their mother or colleagues were telling them about Jesus. It became a life lesson to me.   Now when I pray for the salvation and spiritual growth of others, I pray the Spirit will guide colleagues and friends into their lives who love Jesus.  I am confident they become the ones entering into my prayers as my love and the love of God calls each of them individually.

We said our goodbyes to my husband’s dear Mother a few years ago.  She was a great homemaker, generous giver, dedicated wife, mother and grandmother.  Most of all, she was a lover of God who spent much time praying for the people in her life.  I knew when she went to be with the Lord, we lost a mighty prayer warrior. I know her prayers are still bearing fruit because the Spirit is always at work, faithful to accomplish what concerns us.

Thanks to the modeling of godly men and women like her, my husband and I call out the names of our children.   Each morning I pray over them, each evening their dad prays with them.  Throughout the day, we pray for the details of their lives.  We pray our children will love and desire God, honor Him in their friendships and work, and grow deeply in their character.  Trusting wherever they go and throughout their lives, the love of the Father will continue to personally call them to Himself.

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”  I Jhn 4:10

If you would like to read more about the love of God and the Holy Spirit’s work in your life, you will enjoy the book of I John.

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The power greater than our fear

Compromise, fear, insecurity, these are powerful emotions that bind us from living the life Jesus intends for us. Peter must have claimed one of these emotions as he stood warming his hands by the fire along with the very officers who came to arrest Jesus.

His fear must have been so intense to deny he was ever with Jesus, “But he began to curse and swear, ‘I don’t know this man you are talking about”.  Mark 14:71.  We can relate to the heartache as Peter wept over his weakness.

How did Peter change?

Have you ever asked yourself how Peter changed?  How did he transform into a man God used mightily for the kingdom?

Then Peter filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”  Acts 4:8-13

By the Power of the Holy Spirit, Peter was able to stand in front of the rulers of the people and elders, and declare the resurrection power of Jesus.

This time he doesn’t shrink back!

This time he acknowledges Jesus to the influential people of his day!

This time he stands in boldness!

Will you claim the Holy Spirit’s power in your life?

Women, let’s put away insecurity and be done with its power to push us to compromise.   Your education, your status, nor your personal abilities have anything to do with the power of God in you.  It is a spiritual discipline we all must practice to put away thoughts that conflict with the Word of God.  We are women who are equipped with the power of the Holy Spirit.  Let your mind dwell on these truths!

Jesus told the disciples a Helper would come after He ascended to heaven.  This Helper gives Peter, the disciples, and you and I the ability to live like Jesus.

It is time to claim His power,

Be filled with His power,

And walk daily in His power!

These promises were given to you!

As you read these promises, ask God to help you claim the Truth about the Holy Spirit in your life.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  John 16:12,13

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. I Cor 2:12

Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. I John 3:24

Dear Jesus, thank you for being the God who chooses to forgive and give us second chances.  Thank you for giving us the Helper, Your Holy Spirit, who gives us everything we need to live and look like You!  Oh Jesus, I desire to be filled with Your Spirit, to be used for Your purposes.  In Your power, I stand against the spirit of insecurity and fear, for Your glory alone.  Amen.

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My Shopping Fast

Like many of you, we are on a tight budget.  Problem is, I like to shop.  Okay, that’s an understatement.  I love the hunt for a sale, the smell of new leather, the texture and weaves of fabrics, even the excitement of a new bag of groceries.  Is it obvious?  I can get out of control.  So, I’m fasting this month.  Not from food, but from shopping.  Whenever I have the impulse to shop unnecessarily, I’m staying put.  I’m exchanging the desire with more productive things.  And I’m not doing it alone-I’ve asked my Heavenly Father for help.  Help honoring my husband in this matter, controlling my impulses, and managing our financial priorities.

It’s now the third week of this shopping fast, and it is getting tough! Today I drove past the Galleria and thought about going in to browse.  The quiet voice of the Holy Spirit, our Helper, reminded me, “Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established.  Do not turn to the right nor to the left. Turn your foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:26,27).  I didn’t listen.  I turned right and parked.   I paused for a moment after stepping foot into the store, then stubbornly took the escalator to the woman’s department.  I sifted through the bargains and picked a few to try on.  I can always justify a sale!  Again, the Helper told me “Flee”.  This time I listened.

As I drove home, tears filled my eyes.  Not from guilt or shame, but gratitude that God has given me the Helper to guide me into a life that is honoring to Him.  He doesn’t force me into action; instead He speaks to my heart and gives me power for daily living.  It’s up to you and me to listen, respond “yes”, and then experience the freedom that comes from walking closely with our Lord.  This is what it means to “Walk in the Spirit”.

Whatever the battle you face today, will you let your Heavenly Father know you need His help?  You can trust that the Holy Spirit, your Helper, will do His job by guiding you into all Truth.  Ask Him to help you hear His voice and to respond, “Yes, Lord”.  Then come back and tell me how He blesses your life!

 

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Commit it to Memory-Part 2

There is no doubt we have all been troubled by the events of the day; numerous earthquakes, tsunami, floods, war, death.  But has your concern turned to personal anxiety or fear?  God wants to give you comfort and perspective from His Word.  Are you ready to commit God’s powerful Word to your memory?  When you are, your thought life and fears will be changed.  Your walk with God will be transformed as you experience the Holy Spirit bringing His words to your mind throughout your life.

Claim God’s Word

We either believe God’s Word is true or we don’t.  If we believe He is who He says He is, then 100% of His Word is True.  If it is true, then the promises and commands within are Truth for you.  “Jesus said to the people who believed in him, ‘You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.  And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”, John 8:31,32. As you commit God’s Word to your memory, the Holy Spirit will remind you to be faithful to the teaching, and you are promised true freedom in Christ.

Your armor of protection for the day is God’s Word (Ephesians 6).  The Word of God will always stand guard in your thought life and against Satan’s attempts to drag you down.

Claim it.  Cling to it.

Tell God something like this, “God, I am thankful that You have given me everything I need for life and living in Your Words.  You have promised (fill in the promise of the Scripture you are claiming) and I trust You.  Help me to believe it and live it.  Please remind me of it throughout the day.  Amen”

What Scripture Should You Memorize

There is no rule for this.  These are my suggestions:

Memorize Doctrine.

Find verses that state who God is, who Jesus is and why He came, who the Holy Spirit is.  Memorize verses about His forgiveness, holiness and His love.  I’m talking about verses that will equip you with a foundation to know what you believe.  When someone asks about Christianity or the culture confronts you with the need to be “tolerant”, you will have a firm foundation for your faith.  “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have”, I Peter 3:15.

Doctrine will take time to memorize.  Pick one verse a month to keep on your refrigerator or mirror.  You can find verses under these categories in Bible reference tools in the back of a Study Bible.  A variety of reference tools can be found in your local Christian bookstore.  A classic book to guide you is, “Know What You Believe”, by Paul E. Little, InterVarsity Press.  You can find this book here:  www.christianbook.com/know-what-you-believe-audiobook

Memorize verses that have personal meaning to you.

What are you going through in life?  The Bible reference tools in the back of a Study Bible will also give a short list of topics.  Usually you can look up words like fear, worry, forgiveness, jealousy, marriage.  Turn to the verses listed and find one you need to claim for your life!

Practical Ways to Memorize.

If you have difficulty memorizing, you are not the only one.  If you have never been able to memorize anything, then spend your time meditating on the words for several days.  Otherwise, give these tips a try:

sticky notes

Write the verse you're memorizing on a sticky note & stick to your mirror or steering wheel

  • Talk to God about it.  Tell Him your heart for memorizing His Word and ask Him for His help.
  • Get a spiral notebook with index cards.  Write one verse at a time on a card and prop  it up at the sink or table where you will see it regularly.
  • Begin with a verse that applies to a specific need you may presently have.  Pray over it, meditate on it, ask God to help you apply it to your life.  The more you do this, the more familiar you will become with the words.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew!  At first, try to pick a verse that isn’t too long.
  • Find a partner who will share in your goal and keep each other accountable.

Anticipate blessings in your life as you practice memorizing and claiming the Word of God!  I look forward to hearing what happens.

Do you have another effective tip for memorizing?  Please tell me about it.



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The Note of Honor

The Note of Honor

We have an ongoing saga of car issues in the Christensen home.  I know we are not alone in this.  First you need to know that my husband works in banking.  He keeps a tight reign on the budget in our household, in short, friends have called him cheap!  He is always learning how to be flexible with me, the spender.  Loving to shop, I am always battling to be disciplined with the budget.

I know what one person considers to be a wreck of a car is merely subjective.  But I have personally had to drive some wrecks.  The worst was the van that was severely dented on one side and the bumper that was roped and duct taped together.  Every time I drove on the freeway people would honk and point to the bumper to let me know it was dangling.  One day I tried to tell my husband that I was at the end of my rope.  Here is how the conversation went:

“I parked at the store and two older ladies stopped their conversation to tell me about the bumper.”

My husband replied, “uh, huh”.

“I was very humiliated.  This is happening almost every day.”

“Uh, huh”.

“Do you think we could consider getting a new van?”

“Uh, huh.  As soon as this one is paid off.  We will go look at the end of next year.”

My gut in knots, I walk off quietly, struggling to be content while I honor my husband’s leadership.  Eight years later we find ourselves in a similar position.  This time the van is paid off, 168,000 miles on it, and we are waiting for a good financial time to buy a new one.  No one sits in the front seat with me because the seat belt is broken and will cost more than $350 to fix.  I’m struggling with contentment as the days go by.  Then the miraculous happened.  Someone hit the side of the van while my husband was driving.  No one was hurt, but the damage caused the van to be “totaled”.  Hoot! Hoot!

The big day finally arrived and we bought a new van.  Who knew how thrilled the entire family would be?  A mere 2 weeks went by when after having coffee with a friend, I noticed my vehicle was the only one in the parking lot with a note on it.  I no longer could hear my friend talking when my heart dropped.  “I think my van has been hit”.  Sure enough, in the exact place as the previous accident, it was dented and scraped.

I tell myself I do not want to treat material things with high importance.  Now here I was having a minor hissy fit in the parking lot.  The Spirit of God reminded me to let it go.

Note of Honor

On my windshield was a gift, a note from the person who hit me.  When I told the body shop man  I was left a note, he shook his head with disbelief.  He said he has become so cynical of people over the years because no one leaves notes any more.  I told him we showed our boys the note and explained to them how thankful we are that someone chose to treat us with respect.  I am an unknown face to this person, but she chose to treat me as I am certain she wants to be treated.  I hung the note on our refrigerator door to honor the person who honored us.  It has blessed us.

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My Never-ending “To Do” List

Never-ending To-do List

Sunday evening, and the to-do list for the week keeps running through my head.  How will I ever be able to accomplish everything?  Never mind the several interruptions throughout the day that push my goals lower on the priority list.  The Spirit breaks through my thoughts and quietly reminds me, “There’s always enough time to do God’s will”.  I heard that in my college years  and it continues to stick with me.

When I hit the ground running at the crack of dawn, hustling and bustling to get everyone out the door on time, that is usually how the rest of the day plays out.  I become task driven, anxious, and ultimately burnt out by the end of the night.  But when I turn my attention toward God first thing in the morning, and tell Him how much I need Him, how much I desire to hear His voice and need to receive His help; the priorities for the day begin to fall in place.  The interruptions are welcomed with less anxiety.  The day is purposeful and focused.

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  When I make listening to His voice on the top of my to-do list, my Lord sheds light on His desires for me as I take each step.  Better yet, I am responding in relationship to Him and becoming more of the woman He desires me to be.  The list will continue to revolve from day to day, but I can rest well tonight because I was faithful to the voice of God.

Oh Jesus, help me to keep You on the top of my to-do list each day.  I do not want to fool myself by acting self-sufficient.  I need Your help, Your guidance, Your peace.   I want to honor You as Lord of my life. Amen

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On My Nightstand: March 2011

lady with books

  1. Forgotten God, Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit, by Francis Chan, David  Cook Publishing.   Hooray for Francis Chan!  His heart is sold out to Jesus.  Says Chan, “The truth is that the Spirit of the living God is guaranteed to ask you to go somewhere or do something you wouldn’t normally want or choose to do.  The Spirit will lead you to the way of the cross, as He led Jesus to the cross, and this is definitely not a safe or pretty or comfortable place to be.  The Holy Spirit of God will mold you into the person you were made to be”.  I am using touch points of this book for discussion in our Woman Gone Wise Bible Study.
  2. Embracing Your Second Calling, by Dale Hanson Bourke, Thomas Nelson Publishing.  I recently picked up this book because I want to live passionately the second half of my life.  I’m gathering different insights to ponder.
  3. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School,  by John Medina, Pear Press.  My family is intrigued with the brain.  I’ll let you know about this later.
  4. Boys:  Shaping Ordinary Boys into Extraordinary Men, by William Beausay II, Nelson Publishers.  I love this book!  I carry it everywhere and read snippets at a time.  I pass along a paragraph or a great idea to my hubby.  He has his own long reading list, and this way I’m not asking him to add to his pile.  It’s a good way to encourage Team Parenting!
  5. 1,000 Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, by Ellen Notbolm and Veronica Zysk, Future Horizons Publishing.  Our oldest son has Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder.  What parent of a special needs child couldn’t use more ideas for daily success?!
  6. My Bible.  There’s one of these on the fireplace mantle, in the van, in my purse and on my nightstand.
  7. Cooking Magazines.  Because I can never get enough.

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