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Monday, December 1st 2008

8:45 AM

Taking a Break

Friends, Happy Thanksgiving and Merry (almost) Christmas.

I will be taking a break from posting on this blog for a bit. This was my first blog, making it difficult to let go of. For that reason, I will be back. When? I'm not so sure.

You can find me now blogging at:

http://princesswarriorsreignreal.blogspot.com/

You can visit my new website for ministry (speaking and writing) information.

http://princesswarriorsforchrist.com/

When I start to re-blog here, I'll make certain it is announced on my other sites.

Why not take a peek back in time at some of my older posts?

God bless you richly and beyond measure.

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Tuesday, November 11th 2008

12:32 AM

Stay Inside the Line ... or else!

Picture for a moment sitting in front of your TV to watch a sporting event. Let's go with baseball, the All-American pastime. The pitcher winds up ready to send a fastball over the plate and into the catcher's glove. Hopefully, the ball will hit that outside corner, making it harder for the batter to connect.

Suddenly, though, in the the middle of his wind up, the pitcher stops and waltzes up and stands about five feet from the plate. To everyone's astonishment, he tosses an underhand pitch to the already shocked batter.

The crowd is going wild. What is going on? This isn't the right way to play baseball.

Then the batter slugs the ball out, out, out, and up, up, up, right over the centerfield fence into the stands. But something else out of the ordinary happens, the centerfielder climbs the fence and grabs the ball right out of a spectator's hands. He waves it in the air and the umpire yells, "He's out!"

Sounds like a bad dream for any halfway sane baseball fan. What happened to the rules?

We can all agree that in sports that there are rules or guidelines that keep the game running smoothly and that actually make it fun to play and watch. When a player steps over the line (say in the batting box) there is a consequence. There simply are things a player cannot do. Had a pitcher actually thrown an underhand pitch, you better believe his coach would have been pulling him off the mound faster than you can say fast.

As we can see, in this case, the rules were established to keep things in some type of control and make the game fun, competetive, and safe. And orderly.

So it is in life. God has established certain guidelines for living. There are lines that we are better off not crossing. If we live by a swamp filled with crocodiles, we will certainly set protective boundaries separating our property from the danger. We will instruct our children to stay on our side of the fence and away from the jaws of danger. Crossing into the swamp could result in utter devastation.

However, everyday, we as Christians try to find ways around the guidelines God has set for us. He didn't give us boundaries to halt our fun, but rather to protect our hearts. He wants to keep His children safe from physical, emotional, and spiritual harm. When we choose to do things our own way and venture away from his protective covering, we put ourselves in dangerous situations.

I was watching a toddler this weekend at church. His mom sat at one end of the row and his father at the other. He had a whole row of chairs to sit on and he could move freely in the space they'd provided. I bet you see where this is going, huh? After awhile, this little guy wanted out. The limits felt too confining for his busy body and curious mind.

Patiently, his parents guided him, sometimes by gently moving him, back to safety. At one point, he attempted to climb the seat in front of him and almost pulled the chair on his head. Dad once again, rescued him. This little boy wasn't being confined to cause him misery, rather, he was being surrounded by love.

I'm guilty, too, at times, of trying to stretch the line, climb over the chair, and do things my way. Sometimes I fail to recognize that God's Way, ultimately, is the best way. He can see things we can't. He has seen the results of "crossing the line" since the beginning of time when Eve decided she had to reach out and take the only fruit he'd asked her to avoid. She had free reign of EVERYTHING but that little ole tree. For Eve, it wasn't enough.

Friends, the world tells us that "anything goes." If it feels good -- do it. In fact, many people believe that each person can make his or her own rules. Set your own limits, or none at all. After all, it's all about me, me, me.

We, as believers, don't belong to this world. We belong to the King of Kings. He gives us a hope and future, and a ton of other blessings if we choose to stay within the lines He's drawn for us. Our King knows that we will still wander on occaision. Thankfully, Jesus gave us the gift of forgiveness.

If you're outside the parameters of God's best, get back in here! God will welcome you with open arms.

My, oh my, I needed that reminder. I hope that this post helped you, too.

JUST REMEMBER: The grass may seem greener on the other side, but, truthfully, God's grass is always the best and it will even give our souls rest. (Sorry, couldn't help the rhyme)

God bless you.

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Monday, November 3rd 2008

1:01 AM

Stay Salty!

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Once at a meeting, some young people were discussing the text, “ye are the salt of the earth.” They were suggesting uses of salt, and the meaning. Salt gives flavor to food. It preserves food to keep it from decaying. Then one girl said, salt makes you thirsty. They all got quiet and thought have I ever made anyone thirsty for Jesus?

When I saw this quote, I knew I had to share it.

In this anything-goes day and age, it is very easy to judge others. What helps me, always, is to think about Jesus. He stated that he was here to help those who were "sick." We're to do the same.

There's a lot of wounded people out there that with the right doses of truth and grace can become Warriors for Christ. 

I know I spent many years in the trenches of sin and death uncertain how to climb out. If not for Christians that were "salty" I might have been buried beneath the weight of my own sin for, well, forever.

Salt ... that's what we're suppossed to be. Unfortunately, we are more often like sugar or sour grapes.

Sugar in that we are so afraid of offending and remaining "politically correct" we fail to speak the truth. We talk a lot about God's love, but, without the recognition of sin, why would someone choose to follow God? Although God is love, He is not a giant teddy bear in the sky handing out lolipops. He's the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth. He is fierce and and fearsome, yet loving.

Sour grapes meaning our frequent negative and judgemental attitudes. Hey, I'm guilty, too! We walk around complaining about life, showing what little faith we have, and then can't understand why people don't want to follow Jesus. Oh, let's not forgot the hypocritical message we send, too.

Friends, the holidays are fast approaching and are a great time to sprinkle the salt around. Let's season things up, shall we? After all, there are some pretty thirsty people out there. We can provide the Ultimate Source that will quench their spiritual thirst for eternity. Amen?!

That's right. Go on! Get salty ... and spread the seasoning this Season. God bless you!

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Thursday, October 23rd 2008

11:23 PM

Training for Battle

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http://sermoncentral.sermonspice.com/videos/4967/warfare--training-for-battle--

Have you ever found yourself arguing about your spiritual beliefs and presenting God's truth in such a way that people assume you are nuts, or, at the very least, a little Kooky?

Me, too.

Especially, right now, while the political battle rages. It's so easy to get caught up attacking those with opposing viewpoints from an emotional standpoint rather than using spiritual weapons to defeat the real enemy and cause of so much division - satan.

Yep. I'm going to blame it on the devil.

After all, he is the father of lies. His goal is to destroy mankind, and what a great way to do it - keep us fighting against each other.

Even Christians are debating amongst themselves and drawing lines. Is this how Christ would have handled the situation? Somehow I don't think so.

I remember when I was a baby Christian (new believer). I was so excited and overwhelmed with the Good News of God's grace that I simply had to share it. I was also pretty threatened by sin. I could  easily identify the planks in your eyes and I decided it was my duty to make sure that you were well aware of those planks as well. If you didn't want to hear about them, no problem. I'd point them out anyway, in spite of your protests.

I was fighting the good fight, right? -- Pointing out sin and paving the way for God's truth to reign. No-o-o-o-o-t! (That's "not" all drawn out if you're wondering)

Well, surprisingly (ehem), my method didn't work quite the way I'd hoped. I was running around pointing out problems and looking under every chair (figuratively, or course) for demons and disasters. I was kind of like the little boy in the above video. (Please, go to the link and watch!) I was wasting a ton of time and energy on the wrong things.

Since those early days, I've discovered one very important truth. My battles are best fought (and won) on my knees.

Prayer, without ceasing, is the most powerful weapon we can wield. Add worship, a whole lot of forgiveness, grace, self-control, and peace, in addition to God's truth, and you have the making of a successful strategy for spiritual success that ushers victory, often times, right on in to the physical realm.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't speak the truth boldly, but we often forget who we are fighting. It's not those people who don't share our viewpoints, it's a shrewed and capable creature that would like nothing more than to confuse the issues and keep us focussed on people, places, and processes rather than on the Truth, on God.

Friends, I'm not shaking my finger at anyone, I'm mostly reminding myself of the best way to be victorious in a difficult spiritual, emotional, and physical climate.

I have very strong views about the presidential candidates, but, more importantly, I have very, very strong views about who I really serve -- my Commander and Chief -- Jesus Christ. It is up to me to reign real as His Princess Warrior, representing His Light during dark times.

So, as the next election approaches, let us do the one thing that is sure to change not only minds, but hearts, let's pray. Let's stop karate kicking our co-workers, friends, and neighbors and instead kick the devil's you-know-what from our ultimate battle stance -- our knees in prayer.

Please, if you are committed to praying daily for our nation and its leaders, send me a note. Together we can accomplish much more than we ever could alone. God bless you.

 

 

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Monday, October 13th 2008

7:48 PM

Road Rage Recovery

 

Becoming A Praying Road Warrior, Carol Van Atta

 

It was fifteen minutes before 8:00 AM. 

My turn signal clicked impatiently. Why couldn’t these other drivers understand that I was late — again? 

Finally, I merged into the right lane, boldly advancing toward my exit. Out of nowhere, another driver raced up beside me shaking his fist.  No —! Not another incident of road rage. 

I wanted to scream. Unfortunately, I had not taken time out of my chaotic morning routine to pray and prepare for the commute that seemed to be growing increasingly stressful each day.  I knew all the proper ways to pray.  I just needed to set the alarm for earlier, find a peaceful place, and talk to the Lord before venturing outside the security of my home. 

Unfortunately, for me, this lofty ideal was not working no matter how hard I tried. Yet, I knew, without a doubt, as I watched the rear-end of the fist-shaking-driver’s car vanish around the bend, I could choose to pray for the angry driver or I could fantasize about kicking a rear, and it definitely would not be the backside of a car!

In that moment, I realized that I needed a plan, a plan that I could implement from my car during my hectic morning commute to work. A method of prayer that would allow me move over to the passenger’s seat in my life and surrender to God’s control behind the wheel. Thus began my quest of becoming a focused, dynamic, Praying Road Warrior. 

Wherever we are prayer is appropriate.  Even in the car! Our Lord told us to pray without ceasing. I understand that commandment to mean that we are to pray all the time, whenever and wherever possible.  I also realized, as I prayed for myself, my family, my friends, and my church, there were a large number of hurting, angry, and very impatient people roaring by me on the road — people who looked pretty gloomy about their own freeway circumstances. 

I started right then listening more closely to God. Now, when I see a car whiz past and I hear the loving voice of my Father say, “Pray for that woman.  She is hurting.” I do.  I have learned to start off my daily road trips in the presence of the Lord. 

Over time, a new prayer pattern emerged. This simple method that I used to rise above “road madness” and draw closer to my Savior was really starting to work. 

Breaking down the word WARRIOR provides a simple, yet very thorough process of prayer. It can be used behind the wheel or wherever else we desire to enter the Throne Room of God.

 

WARRIOR:

 

W-Worship — It is always appropriate to enter God’s presence in worship.  Worship provides a certain element of holiness that nothing else can. When done with complete abandonment and with Christ as our sole focus, we discover freedom and insight on a deeper level. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found the solution to a problem in the midst of praise and worship.  However, I offer a warning:  Do not close your eyes and raise both hands in a posture of worship while driving. Not because you look weird, that’s okay, but we want to be a blessing while praying, not causing accidents! 

Psalm 68:4 (NLT): Sing praises to God and to his name!  Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds.His name is the Lord—rejoice in his presence!

 

A-Adore — I have discovered that adoring God immediately following worship is a natural act. We can speak words of love and praise to Him. For he is worthy, incredible, creative, forgiving, loving, merciful, kind, just, all-powerful, perfect, and so much more. You may find this portion of your prayer time hard to stop. Fantastic!

We will become totally energized when we learn to take the focus off of ourselves and place it where it belongs — on our Lord and King. He alone is truly is worthy of all adoration. We can never honor Him too much.

Psalm 88:15 (NLT): But you, O Lord, are a merciful and gracious God,

slow to get angry, full of unfailing love and truth.

 

R-Repent — Before we go any further, it is time to do business with God. He already paid the price for our sins, didn’t He?  I don’t like that feeling when I know I’ve sinned and I’m trying to hide from the Creator of Heaven and Earth. He knows it all!  Hiding isn’t possible — ever.

This is an opportunity to remove any unbearable, sin-caused, weight we’ve been carting around, giving it to the Only One who can handle our burdens — Jesus Christ. In prayer, we can chose to start our day fresh and free or under the enemy’s thumb.  I don’t know about you, but I want freedom and forgiveness, forget the thumb! 

Acts 3:17 (NLT): Thankfully, that is what our God wants for us too.

Now turn from your sins and turn to God, so you can be cleansed of your sin

 

R-Repeat — Now is the time to repeat God’s word. Are you working on a memory verse?  Have you ever tried praying scripture aloud and in prayer form?  If not, this is the perfect opportunity to start.  Here we can fill our minds, in prayer, with God’s truth found only in His Word. 

Through memorization of God’s word, and praying familiar scriptures back to God, we arm ourselves with the belt of truth. We need this truth in order to live successfully in a deceitful and dangerous world. This is the perfect time to pray through the Armor of God found in Ephesians, Chapter 6. We have a responsibility in our prayer time to take our thoughts captive and replace the enemy’s lies with God’s incredible truth. Let’s do it!

2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT): All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.

 

I-Invite — Now we should make time for specific requests and talk about our concerns, our fears, and our hopes, inviting Him to partner in every area of our lives.

 I know when I pray in this manner my day just seems to flow so much easier.  Not perfectly, because this is a fallen world, but certainly a whole lot better. 

I also invite Him to speak to me.  It is crucial for me to be silent for a few moments and seek God’s plan. I ask Him to show me anyone on the road, in the traffic jam, or even in a building close by that I should be praying for. God always responds to my request for divine appointments. He is waiting for our invitation. The good news, God always shows up where He is invited!

Proverbs 8:17 (NLT): I love all who love me. Those who search for me

will surely find me.

 

O-Obey — It’s time to obey and actually do what He has revealed to us during worship, while we were repenting or repeating His word. He may have shown us someone to pray for, or something specific we need to do. It is now up to us to follow through. 

Just the other day, I drove past an extremely disheveled young man sitting on an overstuffed duffel bag at the side of the freeway entrance. He was holding up a piece of cardboard with “I am hungry” scrawled across the front. On this particular occaision, I felt compelled to drive back and pick up a meal at a fast food restaurant. I was very nervous about the whole thing.  I mean, what if he was faking it? 

I heard God’s word clearly in my mind, “Feed my sheep.” Now that was hard to ignore.  It was not up to me to judge this man, just to bless him in a simple way. I added a five-dollar bill to his lunch bag, stopping nearby while other drivers watched me in obvious shock.  I let this man know that the care-package was a gift from God.

 Do I do this all the time?  No. But this day, I knew it was my duty. So, I obeyed. I can’t even begin to describe the joy I felt in my heart from such a simple act of obedience.  I simply had to rejoice! 

Jeremiah 7:23 (NLT) This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Only do as I say, and all will be well!’

 

R-Rejoice — Finally, as we pull into that parking spot, or return to our driveway, we should now be rejoicing.  We have just spent the duration of our drive in the presence of God.  It is time to rejoice. Rejoice for He is good. He longs to spend time with each one of us.  We can approach His thrown with freedom and confidence.  Let us celebrate the good news that we never have drive anywhere alone.  We have the best driving partner ever, don’t we?  We have Jesus. 

Next time you get in your car and realize you have not said your morning prayers, don’t fret. God is waiting for you. So are all those people in the world who are hungry for life, hungry for God. 

When we become a Praying Road Warrior, we impact our world and our own lives in powerful and unexpected ways. With God driving and us praying, our commute will never be the same again!

Revelation 19: 7a (NLT): Let us be glad and rejoice and honor him

 

FINAL NOTE:  Don’t stop just because the car does! After we park the car, heading to our daily destinations, we often leave God back in the car. Maybe we should invite Him to join us for the rest of the day?

We don’t ever want to leave our dependence on Him for the road trip only. Let’s invite Him to stay with us every minute of everyday. Amen!

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, October 8th 2008

9:56 PM

Echoes of Truth from the Past

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I find it utterly amazing amazing when people insist that our country was not founded on Christian principles. Have they seen the inscriptions on the government buildings in Washington? or researched the leaders of our past? Our nation is rich with a Christian heritage.

Recently, I purchased a very interesting book titled: America's God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations, William J. Federer.

I actually bought it as a resource for speaking and writing, but soon discovered it to be overflowing with a wealth of exciting stories and quotes that have made history come alive as I read. Yes, I'm reading this "educational" book and totally enjoying it. Not boring at all! Really.

So, I thought I'd share some quotes with you now and in future journal entries. Hopefully, these tidbits of history will wet your thirst for more.

The book offers a section featuring Supreme Court decisions. Consider the following:

United States Supreme Court 1973, im the case of Anderson v. Salt Lake City Corp, 475 F. 2d 29, 33, 34 (10th Cir. 1973), cert.denied, 414 U.S. 879 stated:

"But this creed does not include any element of coercion concerning these beliefs unless one considers it coercive to look upon the Ten Commandments. Although they are in plain view, no one is required to read or recite them. It does not seem reasonable to require removal of a passive monument, involving no compulsion, because its accepted percepts, as a foundation for law, reflect the religious nature of an ancient era."

Hum ... as a foundation for law.

Anyone who attempts to argue that today''s laws are no reflection of biblical law, is sadly mistaken and misinformed.

I find it extremely unsettling to read the many responses listed online following political articles. The lies people believe are astounding. It's like people are wearing glasses and earplugs that keep them from seeing and hearing The Truth. God's Truth is foolishness to them as the god of this world -- satan -- has blinded them. They are simply unable to see through the veil of deception.

Fellow Warriors for Christ, it is up to us to lovingly, but firmly, share God's truth in practical ways with those around us. First, though, we must pray (without ceasing) for God to open the eyes of their understanding, allowing them to see clearly without blinders.

This topic makes me think about a horse pulling a carriage. He trots along, focussed only on what his master wants him to see, the road ahead. Now, in this case, the blinders keep the horse (the driver and passengers) safe. HOWEVER, imagine if the master never removed the blinders following their trip. The poor horse would be unable to see danger on the sidelines. He would be stuck looking straight ahead missing out on everything around him. His worldview would be limited and missing crucial elements of truth.

I have to remember to pray rather than complain when I read the posts written by persons blinded by the Deceiver. After all, they are deceived.

I am choosing to pray that the people around me, people around our country, and our world, will be freed from their blinders and open to seeing the Savior and hearing His voice. Won't you join me?

After all, as the above scripture states ... the Lord is our King; it is He who will save us.

PS. Don't forget to read Part II on removing the Seductive Mask at my other BLOG: http://www.princesswarriorsreignreal.blogspot.com/

 

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Sunday, October 5th 2008

10:12 PM

Why not smile?

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Isn't this a great painting? When we lean on God, He is there to draw us close. That certainly is a reason to smile.

I've had one of those weekends where I just feel happy. I've spent a lot of time in God's Word, went to Church, spent time with my kids, including a great "talk" with my teenage son. Lately, we have been communicating on a whole new level. My daughter's at times "out there" behavior has been much improved, as well. (not perfect or close to it, but better)

On Friday, I took Jordyn to the surgeon for his six-week follow up appointment. We were both very nervous. Thankfully, the doctor said he is doing fantastic and should be fine for baseball season. Praise God! The relief on my son's face was priceless. He already returned to the gym and starts physical theorapy next week.

I've been writing away on a proposal and a new fiction book. I'm excited about both these projects.

I also just received my author copy of a new devotional Bible study that I contributed to. It is a great resource for healthy holiday living. You can order it at Christianbooks.com or of course, Amazon.com

I guess that is about it for today, just a mish-mash of what's going on in my life. For deeper thoughts, head over to my other Blog: A Woman's Place is on a Throne.

http://princesswarriorsreignreal.blogspot.com/

Here you can learn about removing those masks that keep you from being the "real deal." Today, we're looking at the Seductive Mask.

God bless you all!

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Thursday, October 2nd 2008

12:25 AM

Worship Obama?

Friends, I truly am trying to keep my political views to myself. I wonder why. No one else is. However, I saw this disturbing video today. It almost seems like they're worshiping Obama. It's seems that people think that if elected, He will somehow change the world.

Unfortunately, I think the so-called changes he'll make may be far worse than what we hope for.

There is only one person that can change the world. That is Jesus Christ. This election has proven, in my opinion, to be one of the strangest and nastiest. We've got politicians like Hilary and Joe Bidden who a few months ago couldn't stand Obama, but suddenly, he's The One.

Frankly, if I didn't have God in my life, I'd be very concerned. Okay, let's get real here. I still have some concerns. At work, I can barely mention that I like McCain. People look at me like I'm insane, yet, when I ask for concrete reasons why Obama should run our nation, all they can do is say "change." Uh huh. I can say change, too.

I want to know exactly what this man has accomplished and what qualifies him to run our nation. So far, none of his supporters can give me those answers. All they can do is point fingers at "the other side."

That's it for my political tirade. I'm sure you can read more of the same from both sides all over the Internet. I just had to share this rather strange video. Any thoughts?

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Saturday, September 27th 2008

9:28 PM

The Big Bailout

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Okay, so this adorable picture has nothing to do with what I'm going to write about. I just like it. I hope it makes you smile, too. We need more smiling.

It seems that lately, with the declining economy, upcoming election stress, the wars abroad, and the state of our world overall, people are really, really stressed. Granted, we are facing some major stuff. I've felt the economic crunch for some time and have had financial issues well before the latest crisis.

Sadly, our news media makes certain we are tormented with commentaries, and debates (not just the Presidential one) with so-called experts arguing more about why we're in such deep doo-doo than trying to clean up the smelly mess.

The newest news that caught my attention was, of course, what's being referred to as the Big Bailout. You know, the billions of dollars our government intends to spend so financial crisis can be Band-Aided up in hopes that further devastation is avoided.

The only problem with Band-Aids is that sometimes they serve simply as a cover for much deeper issues. If we have an infection raging under a cut, a Band-Aid will only mask the real problem, allowing it to fester until it finally bursts. I know. Gross picture, but it sure gets the point across, doesn't it?

I have no idea what the fast answer is to all our woes. I do know, though, worrying about it isn't the answer; nor will worrying help us find a solution.

Tonight, at church, our pastor made several really good points when talking about the state of the nation in relation to our relationship with Christ. It helped me put things back in perspective. Maybe it will help you, too.

Ultimately, there was one massive bailout in history that truly worked. Do you know what it was?

When Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again, He "bailed us out" of a pit. He kept us from spending an  eternity in the pit of all pits -- hell. He did more than apply Band-Aids, He saved our lives from the inside out. The work He did on The Cross translated into a deep and intimate work in our hearts. He settled the score once and for all. He provided a solution to our deepest concern and greatest fear -- death.

Because of His selfless solution, we have a hope and future that awaits no matter what crisis takes place in the present.

In fact, there's a scripture that is ideal for us to reflect on, actually, perfect for us to cling to right now. I sure am using it.

Col. 3:2 -- Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.

When I remember to hang on tight to this truth, I am no longer frightened by the doom and gloom those talking heads on TV are spouting.

Can you imagine if for just one day, one day only, the news focussed only on good and positive stories? What that could do?

Unfortunately, I don't see that day coming anytime soon. So, it's up to us to stay focussed on the good and on God rather than the negative.

I know. I know. This is no easy task. God didn't say life would be a walk in the park. He did promise that if we followed Him, He would lighten our loads. Not to mention, He gives us a ton of promises and instructions that make living life in this fallen world a whole lot easier.

Friends, let us remember, God is in control. He's not panicked about Wall Street or worried about the next President. He's the same yesterday, today, and always.

So, I'm going to do everything I can to stay focussed on the Only One that can provide Big Bailouts that work -- Jesus Christ. Hopefully, you will, too.

Here's a challenge: Everytime you start to worry (this goes for me, too!) pray and ask God to help you keep your mind focussed on things above rather than earthly things. Turn off the news and open His Word. Ready, set ... let's do it! Amen!

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Saturday, September 20th 2008

11:58 PM

Looking at my life in light of Eternity

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I absolutely adore this picture. Beautiful. I've used it on my other blog, too.

After church this evening, I found myself taking a look at my life in light of God and His plan. Are the things that I spend time on simply good or are they from God? I've written on this subject several times. No wonder. The theme is one that  comes up time and time again.

As Christians, we should contstantly be evaluating our lives, including our thoughts and how we spend our time.

Does what I do line up with God's purpose for me? with His will? with His Word? Unfortunately, I have to say, in my case, not always.

When I speak at retreats, I often share an illustration about "being busy." BUSY: Being. Under. Satan's. Yoke. Ouch! So often, we can roar though our days like a hurricane, leaving devastation all around us, or at the very least not completing those things that truly need completing because we are so "busy" tearing through life.

Recently, I've found all kinds of fun new things to do on the Internet. I actually gave in last week and created a MySpace. Sure you can visit! I'm collecting friends (smile). http://www.myspace.com/princesswarriorforchrist  

As I menioned, I've been playing on another sight called polyvore www.polyvore.com I've had a ton of fun creating cool collages. Seriously, though, this stuff can take up a lot of time. Time that might be better spent reaching out to others, playing with my daughter, working on my writing projects, doing a Bible study. I hate to admit my evening devotional and Bible reading time has diminished greatly since I've started trying to keep up three blogs, a myspace, a facebook, and enjoying polyvore. Just explaining it makes me feel overwhelmed.

For me my two main blogs, this one and my other Reigning Real site, are ministry. Especially the other site. There, I attempt to encourage and challenge Christian women in their daily walk with God. Unfortunately, I've had little time to stay current there and here. This whole Internet thing isn't bad in itself, but I think when we start living on our computers we end up missing out on God's best. If we're not careful, our computer use can actually become an idol in our lives. Seriously.

Here's one way that the dictionary describes an idol: any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion: Madame Curie had been her childhood idol.

Let's go one step further. What does devotion mean? Profound dedication; consecration. Earnest attachement to a cause, person, etc., An assignement or appropriation to any purpose, cause, etc.: the devotion of ones wealth and time to scientific advancement.

In other words, spending hours and hours and hours on the Internet could be considered devotion to something. Even a form of idolatry.

There are so many good causes and opportunities that can pull us every which way except the way God wants us to go.

If, like me, you've noticed that some person, thing, or activity is keeping you from doing your spiritual basics like -- Bible study, prayer time, devotions, attending church, or moving toward your God-given calling -- you might want to examine your priorities. I know I have to. 

It's time for me to slow down again. If God isn't first place, I'm in trouble. Without His power, I'm left to pushing through life by my own power, which sooner or later, won't be enough.

Is it time for you to ask yourself if what your spending your time on is good or from God? Go on. Ask.

I've asked and heard; now it's up to me to follow His directions.

God bless you all.

 

 

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Thursday, September 11th 2008

9:24 PM

A Time to Remember 9/11

I can't believe it has been seven years ago that tragedy struck our beloved homeland. Like most people, I can remember exactly where I was that mornng.

Getting ready for work, I'd stepped out of the shower and heard the radio announcer say that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane. At first, it appeared that it might have been a horrible accident. I had to hurry to work, but in the car, as I continued to listen to live news, I realized that this was no accident. Our nation was under attack and no one seemed to know by who.

At work, we all sat open-mouthed in front of the TV speculating about what was going on. World War III was mentioned more than once. Outside the skies were abmormally silent as planes had been banned from flying. Our nation was in shock, mourning, and fear. Yet, there was something else growing beneath the surface and in the hearts of men and women everywhere -- a sense of commonality and love for country -- our country ... a desire to help others and support those who were hurting. People forgot about East Coast/West Coast, we were, after all, one nation under God.

Today, sadly, our nation appears to be split right down the middle, and the political climate is scorching with fiery rhetoric from the right and the left. Our enemy is still out there and we are so busy bickering among each other we have forgotten on some level that we are ONE NATION.

As a Christian woman, I am thankful that I can see meaning and purpose through these dark times. God is still moving and eternity awaits His children. Right now, on this historic day, I choose to love others as God intends. I choose not to engage in political debates. I choose to pray for all our leaders whether I agree with them or not. I choose to honor the brave men and women who are fighting for my freedom here and abroad. I choose to pray for my enemies. May God change their hearts.

For one day, can we just love? I believe we can. God bless you.

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Monday, September 8th 2008

5:20 PM

Over-cooked Carol

Blessings, everyone! I have to admit that this blog has become somewhat (okay, a lot) neglected since I started my newest Princess Warrior Blog: A Woman's Place is on a Throne ... with a Sword.

http://princesswarriorsreignreal.blogspot.com/

I guess you've figured out that I'm trying to tempt you to read my newest creation. If you're a woman who is determined to embrace her identity as a Princess Warrior for Christ, you may want to add my newest blog to your reading list.

Oh, by the way, this blog is more about my life, what's happening, and how it all relates to my highly imperfect walk with the Lord. The other blog is more about encouraging you in yours.

Okay, back to the updates:

My most recent escapade was a trip up to Wild Waves near Tacoma, WA. If you've never been to Wild Waves, and you're not too far away, consider going. It's fun. Except the part where you try to get a lounge chair to lounge on while your kids run rampant.

Let me explain.

One of my daughter's friends, Dillon, hurried down by the wave pool to secure a spot for me to rest my towel and my hiney.

So, I joined him there, after paying, only to be verbally assaulted by an older woman who insisted that a certain towel-less chair was hers. Politely, but firmly, I asked if the chairs were for kids. She stated that they needed all nine chairs, and, yes, the kids were indeed the "chair owners."

My comment, "How often will these kids be on the chairs? Really?"

You've got to understand, 90% of the chairs around the pool are covered by towels, and no one returns to their chairs until the end of the day, or for brief midday breaks. I wasn't even looking for chairs to seat the four children with me. I only needed one lounge chair.

Anyway ...

 She was not willing to budge one inch. These were her chairs and that's that, thank you not so much. Humph!

I told her she wasn't very nice and she expressed the same sentiments to me. Yep. Great way to start my day.

It gets worse.

Thankfully, one kind-hearted woman offered me one of her chairs. She totally, "got it" that her kids wouldn't be sitting anytime soon. We formed a friendly alliance and all was well. Until about 3:30 PM when I found myself chilled to the bone in the wave pool, my teeth chattering uncontrollably.

I hurried to the ladies' room to face the evidence of my stupidity. I was so burnt that my calves were blistering. I'd failed to put on sunscreen. Ahhhhhh.

I'd failed to protect my skin from the sun's harmful rays. I'd left myself wide open to the scorching heat. Oh, did I mention that I had been using a spray bottle to squirt myself with water? I had been adding fuel to the already flaming fire.

By the time we arrived home last night, I could hardly bend my swollen red leges. I had to rest (sleeping was out of the question) on my bed with ice-cold rags draped over me. The consequences of my carelessness are still evident today. What a miserable mess I am.

Isn't that how it is with sin. So often, we fail to protect ourselves and plan for the enemy's assualts. He is waiting to sizzle our souls, yet we go about our lives like it's no big deal. We fail to put on our protective armor and, at times, we head into tempting situations without a care in the world.

Consider sexual temptations -- Huge area of struggle for so many men and women. Many individuals continue, as proclaiming Christians, to frequent nightclubs and bars in search of fun and friendship, and, sadly, much more. Although their desire is to remain sexually pure, they have basically walked up to the fire and are running their hands over the flames. Sooner or later, we all know, if you play with fire: You will get burned.

The Bible tells us to flee sexual immortality not cuddle up to it.

I guess my day in the blazing sun served to remind me that I need to heed God's Word and make wise choices in all areas of my life. At places like Wild Waves, we should make sure to cover ourselves in sunscreen, just as daily we must cover ourselves with God's truth.

Unfortunately, sin can cause more lasting damage than a bad sunburn. Wouldn't it behoove us to stay out of hot sun ... sin?

Friends, are there any areas of sin in your life that you need to flee? God already knows. Why not take some time to talk with God about those areas.

For me, overeating and my temper still get the best of me. Thankfully, I've been set free from sexual sin for a long, long time. I share this with you so you know that there is hope. Whatever you struggle with, and we all struggle, is not to much for God to handle: He can bring complete healing and hope -- if you let Him.

Don't let sin over-cook you like the sun did me!

Go on, open up. God will help you put out the most raging fires of sin and refresh your soul. He is the ultimate Sin Fighter and through Him freedom reigns.

 

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Friday, August 29th 2008

11:53 PM

Obama vs. McCain: The American Way

Wow! What a week in the political arena. Historical speeches, surprising presidential running mate selections, and commentary galor. Every time I turn on the Internet, I'm bombarded by stories, blogs, and newscasts comparing the presidential candidates and their various viewpoints.

I must admit that I too have been curious, and have spent a ton of time reading up on all candidates, their positions and profiles, hoping to glean deeper insight into who they are and what they stand for.

It's difficult to weed through all the political jargon and heavily biased opinions, but I'm doing it. Trying anyway! And according to the statistics, so are millions of other people around the globe. We're all wading through the rubbish in hopes of finding diamonds of truth about these men and women who desire (why anyone would want the job is beyond me) to become our country's leaders for the next four or more years.

Tonight, as I was once again "studying" the options, I was hit hard by an internal (God driven) question. Carol, do you spend this much time pursing information about your Heavenly King and Savior's character, positions, and opinions? Do others?

Ouch!

Americans are deeply concerned about the future in this country, and rightly so, but, are they as concerned about their eternal futures? Apparently, not so much.

Amazing speakers, preachers, and godly teachers, share igniting messages every weekend, yet, not very often are we impacted enough to spend the rest of the week learning more and digging deeper. But put a few savvy career politicians on a stage, and we all scramble to listen, learn, and and attempt to determine what side we are leaning toward.

What if we all pursued our spiritual future as much as we do our earthly one? What if we got all worked up over what God says in Bible and took hours to research His Message? Hum ... interesting proposition, isn't it?

For me, these thoughts have convicted and reminded me that there is One Ruler who truly deserves my devotion, my time, and my talents. He is the most amazing and historical Leader of all time -- Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

I don't ever have to worry about Him flip-flopping and changing His postions based on popular opinion. I need not be concerned about His experience level, or past relationships. He doesn't lie, and He cared enough to die for me. Opinion poles don't influence Him; He remains steadfast in what He stands for -- always.

Sure, it's important we make good decisions about our nation's leaders, but it is far more important that we make the right decision about our eternal destiny.

The funny thing is; if we investigate our Heavenly Leader and embrace His ways, we are far more likely to make better choices when it comes to voting and making other crucial life-decisions. His truth is a light that helps guide us through the deceitfulness that plagues every person and every politician. After all, God's Word clearly says that we are all sinners and have fallen short of God's glory.

God forbid if we are "bowing down" to any political figure no matter how great of a speech they give, or how much charisma they have. Let us bow to the Greatest Leader of all and allow Him to direct our steps. Amen!

I'm turning off my computer and ceasing this relentless research of "man" and his pursuit of the Oval Office. Instead, I'll be pouring over the pages of my Guidebook for Living and pouring out my heart to its Author, trusting that He will direct not only my vote, but also my life.

May God bless you and God bless America and the rest of this great, big, amazing world.

Remember: True change comes from only One Source -- God.

 

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Monday, August 25th 2008

12:15 AM

The whole truth and nothing but the truth

My household has watched the Olympics on a semi-regular basis these past few weeks. We have been treated to victory, defeat, and a fair share of surprises and history making moments.

We've also seen some major controversies unfold. Can anyone say underage gymnasts? Okay, okay, so I don't know for sure, at this point, no one but these girls and their families (and the Chinese government) truly knows the truth. However, I strongly suspect based on some of the online documentation available that these talented young women (girls) are not the legal competing ages.

Let's for a moment say that they have indeed been dishonest about their ages. What does that do to these precious girls? They are talented, lovely gymnasts. Obviously, very, very good at what they do. But is it worth it to lie to win the gold? How will this influence them years down the road when they read about the doubt that plagued their victories. Will they feel guilt, shame, grief, over the cover up?

I can't speak for them, but I know how I've felt when I've been dishonest. I can't imagine what it would be like to lie before the whole world. I do know, however, how it feels to lie before my God. Not good. Not good at all. Secret sin always comes back to bite us in the you-know-what? You know what I mean? Ouch!

Sadly, it's not just the olympic athletes who are lying about who they are, many of us refuse to reveal the "real deal" to others. In our world it is acceptable on many levels to do whatever it takes to "win." So what if you tell a few little lies to reach the top or win the prize?

For us, as Christians, we are supposed be set a part from the world. We are to follow our Lord and King's example. Jesus was completely honest and open in His dealings. God cannot lie. Our arch foe, the devil, is known as the father of lies. Personally, I don't want to be labeled a liar.

Remember back in grade school when someone was caught lying. The ear-grating sing/song chorus would ring out across the playground or through the classroom: "Liar liar pants on fire ... !" I hated to be the one that song was directed toward.

Just this evening, my daughter was watching a taped Hanna Montanna concert. She said, out of the blue, "I'm going to tell everyone at school that I saw Miley in concert."

My response: "Why would you do that? It's not true?"

"Well, maybe I'll just tell em that I sat way up high and didn't see much."

Say what little girl? As if that additional fib would somehow make the lie more digestible.

I probed further to find out why this was important to her. Here's the big reason ...

"I want to be popular. The other kids will think I'm cool."

Oh, baby, I wanted to cry. Instead, I reminded her that she was enough just as she is. She doesn't need to lie to be accepted. In fact, I pointed out, lies always end up backfiring somehow, someway. Not to mention, gaining friends this way isn't a way to find true ones. We then discussed several situations where being dishonest, in order to be popular, caused more heartache. I pray that our talk helped.

Friends, it's so very important that we set an example to our kids and others reminding them that TRUTH is the foundation we must stand on. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He alone is the foundation to a "winning life." Only through Him can we gain the greatest reward of all: Forgiveness of sins and an everlasting eternity in with our Forgiver. All other prizes and awards will fade away.

As we start our week, let us remember to keep our eyes focussed on the Truth, Jesus Christ. Unlike popularity, worldly acclaim, and gold medals, His love is forever, and that's a long, long time.

 

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Tuesday, August 19th 2008

1:01 AM

Be Still and Know

Helloooooo everyone! It's been way too long since I've written. I have a good reason, though. Really! I do.

I had a speaking engagement at a women's retreat this past weekend. What a wonderful time! God showed up in a big way. He always seems to do that where two or more are gathered in His Name. Maybe you've noticed that, too.

I've got so much on my mind. By the way, this is my more "personal" blog. I try to share spiritual encouragments and messages, but, if that is what you are looking for, please visit: http://www.princesswarriorsreignreal.blogspot.com/ Here you will find encouraging words to help you on your journey as a Princess Warrior for Christ. Yes, that blog is specifically for women. Although, men can certainly gain insight by reading.

Anyway, this is going to be a major rambling post. Phew!

Tomorrow, my son has his knee surgery. He will be "asleep" for about three hours. I am praying that God will perfectly orchestrate the surgeon's hands and all others involved will be annointed by His Spirit. This is my son's very first major surgery. He had his toncils out years ago and that's about it.

I've been slightly obsessed with the good ole' Olympics. I'm sure most of you can relate. I've been (I hate to admit) kind of caught up in the whole Chinese age scandal. It appears that there is some very compelling evidence that demonstrates the illegal age of some of the gymnasts. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. Very sad for the young girls if they are being asked (told) to lie about their ages. This won't be the first time that a chinese athlete has done this. I believe they should lose their medals. Okay, enough of that.

Retreat. Olympics. Surgery. What else?

The retreat went fantastic. The women were absolute jewels. So many of them have overcome major bondages and addictions in their lives. It's so exciting to see how God is moving and changing these princess warriors from glory to glory. I am honored that He uses me to share His goodness and grace. It still stuns me, at times, that today I work for the Lord. Looking at my past, you'd expect to see me working on the "other side of the tracks" so to speak. But God works miracles and sets captives free. Amen!

Okay, deep breath. Can you sense that I'm a bit rattled and rushed?

One thing that was common for a number of the retreat participants was busyness. These ladies, like so many of us, feel overly worked, too busy, and see that they need to slow down and simply "be" with God. Can you relate? I know I can.

On Saturday night, I was awakened by what I thought was an atomic bomb. We were up in the Washington mountains at a camp retreat center nestled in a lush forest surrounding a lake. God's handiwork  was divine. Back to the "big bang." The sound I heard was thunder. From my lodge's window I was treated to an awesome display of God's power. Without the annoying street lights, the sky lit up brighter than a Fourth of July fireworks display. Lightening zigzagged across the night sky.

I have to admit I was more than a little awed by this magnificent display of God's power revealed through nature. Wow! A sort of fear and reverance gripped my soul as I grasped once again just how small and insignificant we truly are in comparison to our mightly King and His creation. I guess you could say I was "struck still." I was captivated by His glory unable to do anything but watch.

Listening to the women and seeing God in action reminded me just how important it is to slow down and rest in His presence. We can only stay in the running mode for so long before we collapse under the pressures of daily life. It's like trying to drive a car on fumes. At some point, you have to pull over and fuel up.

Don't you love how God can speak so clearly when you listen? I'm going to make every effort to slow my personal pace down to a dull roar rather than a hurricane of activity. How about you? Do you need to recomit to simply being in God's presence. If so, join me in leaving busyness behind.

After all, I've heard it said that busy is:

B: Being

U: Under

S: Satan's

Y: Yoke

No thank you! I'm going for the God with God.

God bless you till next time.

 

 

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