Click SMC Intro (under Labels) to learn about the Scripture Memory Challenge - and then look for posts on 1st and 15th of each month!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Game on!

Tied ball game. Time has expired. No one on base. Two outs. The ump yells “Batter Up, sir you have 5 pitches”…a 7year olds dream, his momma’s nightmare! Preseason tournament…no trophy or anything but a game is a game! Background info…the kid has had a batting slump like you would not believe. He has not gotten a decent hit in a single practice this year. His momma wonders if he is suddenly scared of the machine, or maybe needs new equipment, or maybe he lost the zeal he had for it. Hopeless on the bleachers, momma sits…the machine pitches the ball, he swings…

As a Christian we face the batters box daily sometimes many times a day. Sometimes we dread it, sometimes we are excited, sometimes we are scared we will strike out, sometimes we are confident. The real question is what do we do with our turn in the batter’s box? It can go several ways:
1 – stand there and never swing for fear of striking out; 5 pitches and done.
2 – swing at everything that comes regardless if it is a good pitch and strike out
3 – eye on the ball and wait for the right pitch…swing…base hit
4 – eye on the ball and wait for the right pitch…swing…homerun!!

1 - If we never swing, we cannot do God’s work. We have to go into every situation knowing that God does not call the equipped…he equips the called. He will make sure we have the right “equipment” as long as we seek Him and His Word.

2 – If we swing at every pitch regardless if it is a good pitch, we may wear ourselves out and those around us. Sometimes God puts us in a place to stand in the box and watch the ball. He doesn’t want us to do anything except be there. Sometimes there are no words for situations…and our presence is all that is needed.

3 – A base hit is a wonderful thing. It allows the next batter to participate in the game. If we never allow others to play in the game, they do not grow and get better at playing. Sometimes God puts us in a situation to just plant the seed…and then he sends another worker to water it as He grows it. So keep your eye on God and know if He wants you to base hit and then move on. You can “know” by seeking Him with all your heart!

4 – A homerun is awesome! I am certain it is a great feeling…I wouldn’t know…I was not a baller! But I CAN tell you that it sure makes a momma have to fight hard against the feeling of pride!! =) But you can’t hit a homerun without practice, patience, paying attention, and praying (ha)! Everything must align for a homerun to happen in a God appointed situation. And you must pray, seek, study, and pay attention to your surroundings for it to be successful!

I know the two of you reading are not baseball people…so I am sorry to bore you! But this weekend as I was watching the game…I was trying to find God in the small stuff. And when he lays something so clear on my heart…I feel like I should share it with you two =). So humor me today and enjoy the game analogy!

So what am I doing with my turn in the batter’s box? What are you doing today with your turn in the batter box? You only get a certain number of times before the game expires…make the most of your turn by drawing near and listening to God through prayer, His Word, His people, and circumstances. (Yes Tammy…I love me some Experiencing God too!)

Tonight is church night….PRAISE THE LORD! I can’t wait to see you there…hint, hint.

Be a blessing to someone today! And stay in the game!!!
In Him,
Kristy =)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Urgent Prayer Request

My friend, Tammy, is starting her first chemo treatment as I type. Please pray for strength, side effects to be minor and recovered from quickly! Thanks! Kristy =)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekend Recap

What a weekend! The Gardner house was crazy busy…and yet I never got overly tired! Praise Jesus for His strength when I am weak! I hope all of you had a Jesus-filled weekend! I had so many blessings that it is hard to pick my favorite! I will tell you that one of my favorite parts was supper with some girlfriends (and some little girls) and Phyllis Elvington on Saturday night. It was not planned for Phyllis to meet us to eat…and I think sometimes that makes it more fun when it is spontaneous (although Peyton will tell you that spontaneity makes me want to throw up…and she ain’t lying! haha)! I kid you not we laughed until my side plum hurt. That woman is as crazy as I am!

I hope you were able to hear her speak on Sunday…she brought such a strong and convicting message from God’s Word. And the fact that it was Deu 6:6-9 made me almost squeal! I mean really…how awesome is my God!!! To affirm in me a message He had already shown me last week (see Mar 23 blog post). And the music was just priceless! There is something about a ladies choir that melts my heart! If you missed it I am certain Mr JC will make extra copies…so send me an e-mail and I can snag you one!

The next big thing on the Women’s Ministry horizon is the annual ladies tea! I cannot wait! We have an awesome speaker lined up for it as well! We will have testimony from one of our own! I absolutely LOVE to hear folks I worship with regularly share how the Lord has blessed them in a large setting. There is something about a personal testimony that lights hope in others! Please be in prayer NOW for the speaker. I know she would appreciate having prayer from her sisters in Christ! Mark your calendars – April 16th! Wow…I just realized that is 3 weeks away!!!! I better get busy finalizing some food and d├ęcor! Or we may be eating nabs! Haha

I know this has been randomly thrown together but I also want to share what Beth Moore talked about in Bible Study last night. (I re-read that sentence and it made me laugh…it was worded like Beth was at church in person teaching Bible Study…LOL…I left it so you could laugh too!) Anyway, she broke down Psalm 62 in our study of David, a Man After God’s Own Heart. I have read the Psalm many times but she pointed out some wording that never stuck out to me. One part was in verse 7a…it says “My salvation and my honor depend on God”. We know that we are not responsible in any way shape or fashion for our salvation. As believers in Jesus Christ we KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that salvation comes from God alone and we merely receive the FREE gift of GRACE when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. But she pointed out that WE are also not responsible for our HONOR. I don’t know why I missed that portion of the line. But what a relief! I have lived life many years agonizing over my sin-stained honor…but I don’t have to agonize over it or defend it or anything because basically I can’t!!! My honor is in tact because God washed my honor as white as snow when He washed me in the blood of Jesus. God is responsible for it…not me! Praise the Lord…cause you know we would royally screw it up!

So today…thank God for your salvation and your honor…because both depend on God ALONE! And be a blessing to someone!

In Him,
Kristy =)

PS – If you don’t already have one in mind…pick a verse from the following Psalm to memorize in our SCRIPTURE MEMORY CHALLENGE…starting back on April1st and that is NO April’s Fool! haha

Psalm 62
1 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.

2 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

3 How long will you assault a man? Would all of you throw him down—this leaning wall, this tottering fence?

4 They fully intend to topple him from his lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse.

5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.

6 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

7 My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

9 Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie; if weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath.

10 Do not trust in extortion or take pride in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

11 One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong,

12 and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.

Friday, March 25, 2011

You get out what you put in...

Don't forget that Sunday is WMU Sunday. Basically that means we have a guest speaker that will address the theme for WMU for this year..."Unhindered". And I think we may have an all girl choir/praise team. Phyllis Elvington will be speaking. I am so excited! Invite a friend!

I talked to Phyllis for quite some time last night and she has been led to share something with us that is not her "normal" WMU Day spill. I told her that was great because we did not do WMU or much else the "normal" way! ha Personally I think normal is overrated! So she will share what the Holy Spirit has led her to share and I think that will be perfect! It's a combination message. Combining our personal spiritual walk with missional living! shhhh don't tell her I gave you a sneak peek!

So get your steel toed shoes on and come to church Sunday morning prepared for the Holy Spirit to stomp your toes and knock you socks off! I firmly believe that you get out of church what you expect to get out (or you get out of church what you put into church). My Daddy always said you get out what you put EVERY circumstance. You work hard at something and out comes something valuable. You put in garbage, you get out garbage. (And that ABSOLUTELY applies to your mind!!!) You don't put anything good into a don't get anything back from it. (And that ABSOLUTELY includes your relationship with Jesus!) I see now that there are exceptions to that rule in life...but overall it stands true for many things....especially church worship.

In my mind, (disclaimer here..."in my mind"...enough said!! hahaha) church worship is absolutely effected by what you "put in" and expect to come out. If you come expecting a powerful message that changes your will get it. If you come asking the Lord to speak directly to your will get it. If you come leaving all other burdens and distractions outside so that you can be filled with the Holy Spirit's comfort and will get it. If you come to be seen at church in your new dress and hold a spot on the pew so others know you are get only that. If you come ticked and bitter at Suzy Q because she said something ugly and it got back to you...then you will get bitterness. In fact you will get all the bitterness your heart can harbor. And you will probably be glad that the pastor is speaking DIRECTLY to Suzy Q and so glad you are more spiritual than her and don't need to hear it (note the sarcasm please!). Sorry I side-tracked but that one seems very popular these days! But you get the point...If you...then you get....

So clear your heart...come prepared...and see what HE brings!!!

In Him,
Kristy =)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More OT Nuggets and Toe Stomping and Much Rambling =)

Deuteronomy continued the toe stomping last night. Funny how such an old book can still grind today! I was excited and thankful that one of my prior memory verses was Deu 4:9 and I remembered it! WOOHOO! Praise Him! I never thought I would be able to learn scripture…I was TERRIBLE at memorization in school! That shows you HE can do anything with ANYONE! Just ask Him and see!

But then there was no time for a victory dance because Deu 6:6-9 got the toes again.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Ouch. Do I have the Lord’s Commandments on my heart? Do I impress them to my children? Do I talk about scripture all the time? Are they represented in my house or my work cubicle home? What do I talk about with my friends, family, especially my children? Am I the only one who ponders such things? Tell me someone relates!

In a few areas I could answer positively, but others…not so much. Y’all I believe we all could improve in the area of scripture learning and living. I think we never get so close to Christ that he tells us we can take a break. I think we do a disservice to Him when we fall away from His Word because we “know” enough to live life. I think we never “know” enough!! And I pray He continues to remind me of that!

So today I offer some practical ways to live Deu 6:6-9 for those of you interested or needing a break from your craziness and a glimpse into mine. If you find it helpful…great! If you think I am crazy or psychotic…join the crowd!

1 - These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
My friend Kathy taught me a way to remember the 10 Commandments in order on the way to Caswell when I humbly confessed I never could remember them all in the order they were listed. She used it to teach children…and apparently I needed it too!!! I practiced last night and ALMOST made it all the way through! (If you need help in this area…I can show you! Thanks again Kathy!)

2 - Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Yesterday on the way home my little guy, Caleb was telling me and Peyton that his friend was going to pay back somebody for being ugly. Well it just so happens that one of my recent memory verses was Prov 20:22 “Do not say “I’ll pay you back for this wrong” wait for the Lord and he will deliver you”. So I told Caleb the scripture and told him we could not pay back folks for being ugly that they were God’s children and He would discipline them in His time. So…many of you know my sweet Caleb and will not be surprised that the next thing out of his mouth was “Do we ALWAYS have to talk about scripture every day in this car” in a whine…and I said “Yes, oh yes we do!” So today I am printing this Deu section and making him read it aloud in the car on the way home and telling him to remember he is one of my children and I must impress it on him and talk to him!! HAHAHA Don't mess with momma!

3 - Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads OK…so I got nothing here…except that I carry this in my purse AT ALL TIMES. It is my Scripture memory binder! No it is not necessarily on my forehead, but a woman’s purse is a part of her outer being! Yes it is a stretch, but you get the point! Maybe a nice cross necklace or a scripture charm bracelet would work better as a visual. LOL Anyway point being…I pull it out anytime I am in “wait” mode. For example, the grocery store line, the baseball practice, the doctor’s office, etc. The point is…for me to keep God’s Word with me all the time! Folks will ask me what I am doing and it is a great way to tell them about Jesus! 4 - Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates This is the current list I am memorizing so it hangs on my cube at work.

I know…I am weird…but I thought you could use a smile today! And please know that I struggle as much as the next person with walking the walk and talking the talk. It is hard. Life is hard. It requires constantly choosing to find God and seek Him. And satan is waiting to trip you or pounce on you when you least expect it. But hiding God’s Word in your heart makes satan tremble! God gave us Jesus to give us grace to replace the Deuteronomy legalistic way of living. That is what is so awesome about grace…it is freely given to ALL who know Jesus! Seek Him ladies and you will find Him! And He will change your world!! Praise Him!

See ya at church tonight!

Love ya!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Old Testament Nugget, Toe Stomping, and more

So I am back in the OT in my daily reading. I will be honest…after reading John (one of my favorites!)…it is hard to go to the OT. =)

I started Deuteronomy last night. I read the first three chapters and I have to tell you…Moses made me laugh out loud. I had never noticed the phrase he used before. He is giving a summary of where they started (in Egypt) and where they have come (the edge of the Promised Land). Here is what made me laugh…Deu 1:37 “Because of you the LORD became angry with me also and said, “You shall not enter it, either.” It didn’t make me laugh because the Lord was angry or because Moses was being disciplined…but because Moses is so ME!!! How often have I been disciplined by the Lord and immediately said “because of her and what she did, I am in trouble with the Lord”!? LOL

Yes Moses is being disciplined, but not because the people did anything to him…it is because they provoked him to anger…and it is what he did in his anger that has caused him to miss entering the Promised Land. My little guy, Caleb, asked me just last week “is it against the Bible to be angry?” And I replied with a resounding NO! Jesus got angry in the Bible too…anger is just an emotion…it is what you do in your anger that gets you into trouble with God. The anger is not the sin…it is the reaction! Moses sinned in his anger because he disobeyed the Lord’s instructions. We sin in our anger because we disobey the Lord’s instructions…I love this passage from Luke as to how we should treat our enemies.

Luke 6:27-36
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. "

How do you respond when you get angry? This passage speaks to enemies and how to treat them much less how do we treat those we love. When I get angry with my friends or family, how do I respond? Do I pray for them and ask for them to be blessed? Ouch…my toes feel like they did when Pastor Billie was preaching Sunday!

I once read that you can tell more about a person’s walk with Christ with how they respond when angry or stressed than any other interaction. The closer you walk with Christ the easier it is to respond with grace and mercy in all situations. The farther you walk from Christ the easier it is for satan to loosen your tongue when your buttons are pushed. People are watching you. What are you showing them? Personally I want to be so closely abiding in Christ that people have to know Him to even begin to understand how I respond under pressure and scrutiny!

Luke 6:45 ”A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

What is stored in your heart?

Are you doing anything to memorize scripture this year? I have this urge to start back the scripture memory posts because something tells me some of you needed that even if you were not posting each time. That maybe somehow it encouraged you to see me posting even on days I posted all alone. And then reposting ones I didn’t quite get into memory. So I might post in both places (LPM blog and here).

This time I am learning Jer 17:14 “Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise”.

Learn it with me if you are not actively learning one. And please pray it daily over my friend Tammy…"Heal TAMMY, O Lord, and SHE will be healed; save TAMMY and SHE will be saved, for you are the one WE praise!” (Emphasis added).

Again…what are you storing in your heart and how are you reacting in your anger/stress???? What do people see in your daily interactions?

Reflect the SON!

In Him,
Kristy =)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Supper Club and Discipleship Training

Happy Thursday! If Friday does not get here...I may cry! I love the aspect of the day being lighter longer, but I declare it takes my body FOREVER to get adjusted to the one crazy hour time change! It is so strange...maybe it is just me!

In other news, we have 10 ladies signed up for Supper Club. It is not too late. It is designed to allow the women of the church to get to know a small group of other women really well. I feel like we are losing the "small church" feel as we grow. And to me that is what makes our church special. I love that nearly every person knows my name when they see me in town. As we grow numerically this is challenging. This is an attempt to put people in a small group to get to know each other better. The link is below if you want more information or to sign up. Feel free to send to a wmbc girlfriend that is not active in any other ministry area...this is a good way to break the ice slowly and get them involved!

I am loving the David study! I had forgotten some of the background info that has been brought up. It is funny that you can read the same scripture a zillion times and then one day go "oh I never realized it said THAT". That is the awesomeness of God's Living Word. It never changes but as you grow He reveals more and more in the exact same Words!!!! I just love love love it!

Again I plea...if you are not signed up for a Discipleship Training class, make the commitment and GET SIGNED UP! There are two many awesome studies being offered this semester to waste the opportunity. If you think you are too me you are not. Ask anyone...I absolutely KNOW busy. haha Seriously and honestly, He will multiply your time tenfold if you dedicate your time to Him. But if you hoard it up and always spend it selfishly...the minutes will fly by so fast you will not be able to count them! I can testify to that one a thousand times. When I have been selfish with my time...there was never enough in the day and I was exhausted, but when I give God the portion He requires...I get everything on my list accomplished with some time to spare and make it to bed by 10pm! I strongly believe that time management is a skill that you learn as you practice it...I can help if you need it! It is one of my FAVORITE skills!!!! lol

As I said last night...we will gladly take you in David...male or female! But the other classes will surely take you as pray about it and GET IN A CLASS this week!

Have a Jesus-filled day!
In Him,
Kristy =)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Homework - Praise the Lord!!!

So…last night officially started Discipleship Training homework. Can I tell you it was one of the happiest moments of the last weeks?!? I just have to laugh when I say out loud “I can’t wait to do my homework!”…for a few reasons…1) I hated homework in school 2) I never, ever dreamed in a gazillion years I would enjoy Bible reading and study 3) and The Old Testament at that!!! If you had told me 10 years ago that I would become a Bible toting, scripture quoting, Jesus seeking, people loving, women leading, woman after God’s Heart…I would have laughed out loud in your face with a smirk. I am living breathing proof that God can do amazing things in you…if you let Him! Let Him ladies…let Him!!!

Anyway, it was about Saul and Jonathon, father and son. How differently they both turned out to truly be. Isn’t that just like God? I was spending time with some family recently and wondered if something was wrong because I did not “fit” the family mold. And then God shows me…neither did Jonathon and he chose the better path…to follow God. And God blessed him and kept him for it! The ending focus was on Jonathon and his armor bearer. That is the part that was intriguing. I never thought about his armor bearer in 1 Sam 14. And how Christians MUST be God’s armor bearer (Eph 6:11)…putting on the WHOLE armor of God…not the armor we buy or the armor we make or the armor Pastor Billie has…but God’s armor…that He gives to every single one of us as believers! And how if we put on that armor that is God’s…we have His power to stand firm against the devil’s schemes…not our power, not Pastor Billie’s power, but God’s power! It was a unique and vivid example of trusting in the leader (Jonathon in this case, God in our case) and following in obedience and respectfulness. I loved it!!! If anyone thinks the OT is dead…come see me!!!!!

And then…one of my new favorite scriptures…I had overlooked these powerful words too many times…”…Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving whether by many or by few.” 1 Sam 14:6b.

How powerful is that????? Not “if the Lord can save” but “if the Lord wants to save”… the Lord is able…the question resides with whether it is His will. She referenced my favorite all time story…Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. If you have never read it…I will include a portion because it is my absolute favorite…Daniel 3:13-27
“Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”
They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”
25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. “
Sorry I know this was long…but I couldn’t stop until the best line ever…” and there was no smell of fire on them”! Lord, bring me through my trials without a hint of the smell of smoke on me! Amen

Bless someone today ladies…and get in a Discipleship training class if you have not…it is NEVER too late…I will gladly take you in our study of King David.
Love ya!
Kristy =)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It is too LONG to even title it...salvation

I could write an endless book on the topic of Tim’s message last night. I am sure others of you can too if you’re willing to share. I have blogged several times about the topic of a relationship or lack thereof with Jesus. Last night I went back and read some and laughed at how much I have changed in a year…not that it was funny…just that even as recent as a year ago God was (and is still) shaping my beliefs and thoughts on salvation. And how in the course of months my opinion on salvation changed from a “simply walk the aisle and pray the prayer and believe in God” view to a “believing in Jesus as Savior and clinging to Him in a personal relationship” view. It is amazing the more you seek Him the more He will show you. He knows you can’t handle much at once…so He starts you slow.

Jer 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you and I will tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know”.

Are you calling Him? Are you seeking Him? Do you know the difference in a Good Bible Study Girl and A Woman after God’s Own Heart? Honestly even after I became Bible Study obsessed…I still didn’t get the relationship thing for quite some time. And I still daily have new ah-ha moments when relationship info becomes apparent and I think “dang I am slow”!!!! Relationship is what it is all about…a relationship with Jesus first and then with others.

You see I had buried myself in some untruths orchestrated by the enemy. Some of them I even thought were scriptural. Until I learned to compare EVERYTHING against God’s infallible word for TRUTH…I was mixed up and believing in a salvation that I truly did not posses! That is how satan wins. He confuses you into not knowing what you believe and why you believe it. He gets you so hung up on the ceremony and the pomp and circumstance that you MISS the billboard and the clear writing on the wall. You don’t hear Jesus because you are listening for a trumpet that will split the eastern sky…but until the rapture…mostly Jesus whispers. Only we are so busy “doing” life and even “doing” church that we don’t hear Him whispering.

Two of the biggest lies satan sold me included:
1) You only need to believe in God to be saved. I can never remember a time in my life that I did not believe God existed. But now I know that it is not JUST believing in God that matters…it is believing in Jesus, His one and only Son who came to earth perfect and blameless and lived perfectly and blamelessly without sin and was crucified on a cross for my sins that he knew would happen and that He arose on the 3rd day and ascended into heaven to prepare a place for me!! Believing in God is ½ of the Truth...I think people miss that obvious point!
example a) satan believes in God; James 2:19 “You believe that there is one God, good! Even the demons believe that…and shudder!”
example b) the Pharisees believed in God but did not recognize Jesus as the Lamb; Matthew 23:13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”

2) Praying the sinner’s prayer is all you need to do to get to heaven. I think you have to have a heart change after you pray that prayer or repeating the words is worthless and just ceremonial. If you do not leave an encounter with God CHANGED…you probably did not really encounter Him (thanks Henry Blackaby for sharing this statement!). And I think that includes the sinner’s prayer.
example a) Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
example b) John 10:26-28 26 “but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. “
You can’t hear Him and do His will if you do not open your heart and have Him CONSTANTLY abide in it. Without a heart change I think you are not His sheep.

I share all this to encourage you…if you are doubtful about salvation…seek counsel from a pastor. You MUST know that you know that you know where your eternity will be spent. I am convinced there might be a church full of Kristy Gardner’s sitting in the seats thinking that Tim was preaching to someone else last night when in fact he was preaching to that Kristy Gardner and she is too hung up in herself and her life to realize she needs a personal intimate relationship with Jesus. It is so easy to think someone else needs to hear a specific sermon worse than our “plank in the eye” selves need to hear it…amen?

The more this topic pops up I really think God wants me to tell others my experience. My story as dysfunctional and not storybook as it is still mine. I wonder if it is so they feel better knowing others have struggled through these issues too. Or maybe because they will know someone else is more messed up than they! Whatever helps, right? This got way longer than intended...y'all can blame Pastor Tim. =)

If you don't mind...anonymously (or if you don't care publicly...but I like anonymous better on this topic though) post a comment if you have struggled through this issue. Briefly tell us if you are still struggling and we can pray for you. Do you doubt your eternity or are you secure in knowing it is in heaven?

Seeking Him,

PS - Did you sign up for Discipleship Training yet?????? You'd better!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

As promised...

I told y'all I would share the scriptural illustration that Phyllis Elvington did at Caswell the last session of The Lamb of God. If you want the FULL effect look up each scripture reference and read it for yourselves. But have a tissue ready because it is POWERFUL! See ya tonight at church!

The Lamb of God
As illustrated by Phyllis Elvington

Gen 22:7 Where is the Lamb?
Gen 22:8 God will provide the Lamb
Ex 12:3,5 Your Lamb shall be without blemish
Ex 12:6-7, 11-13 And when God sees the blood He will Passover you
John 1:29 The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world
Luke 22:1, 7-8, 13-20 This cup is the new covenant in my blood poured out for you
1 Cor 5:7b Christ, our Passover Lamb
1 Peter 1:18-19 Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect
1 Peter 2:22-24 by His wounds we have been healed
Rev 5:1-14 Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Rev 21:22-27 the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple; the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp; Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Again

Well it is Monday again...where does the weekend go? It just amazes me how fast those days fly!

I missed y'all last night at church. I got hung up at the funeral is funny because sometimes the family line moves fairly quickly and sometimes it does not...this was a does not kind of night. The line was not long...just slow. And when we left it was wrapped around the place...I imagine it was a late night. But it all worked out great for me because the kids got to spend extra time at Meema's playing with their cousins and then I even got them to bed 30 minutes early so we could start the week on the right foot! woohoo!

And I finished "Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl" last night while Travis was at his meeting. It was really good. I highly recommend it. I wanted to finish it before Discipleship Training started this week so I would not have 3 things going on in addition to my Yearly Bible Reading. Two I can juggle...three make me nervous...ha I can't wait for Discipleship Training. If you have not signed up...IT IS NOT TOO LATE!!!!

I am excited to be doing the study of David again. He is probably my favorite Old Testament character because we have a lot in common...and ultimately I want to pursue Jesus as strongly as he pursued God. That is my life dream...that when I die y'all write on my tombstone..."she fell short but pursued Jesus with all she had". need to sing Victory in Jesus at least once...will suit me to sing it twice (at the beginning and the end haha)!!! And have my services on non-church days (I don't want people missing worship time for me or really to see my family...cause my casket better be CLOSED!). Those are my requests...please and thank you.

Now...lunch is over...back to work! Got to leave for a funeral soon and I have some stuff to finish up!

Pursuing Him,
Kristy =)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Woohoo for Wednesday

It is Wednesday again…yippee! I love Wednesday for many reasons…and they all revolve around church night!!! In addition to getting my spiritual tank topped off with a Fresh Word…there is much joy in other things like supper at Yummi Japan, a day of rest from my running workout, very little or no homework (just love my church going teachers!), fellowship with like-minded believers, etc.

I am trying to finish a book before we start Discipleship Training in a couple weeks so that I only have 3 books going at a time! And it reminded me of something Phyllis Elvington shared that really struck me. I think Amber or Tammy commented on it so I thought I would expand.

Phyllis said that in 5-10 years the person you are spiritually will be influenced and shaped by 1) the books you read 2) the people you associate 3) the choices you make. I have been thinking A LOT about this statement and if I believed it. She challenged us to think of it and decide for ourselves. I have decided I ABSOLUTELY believe it. I think back to several years ago when I gave up watching most (not all) TV and replaced it with reading spiritual growth books. Then I think back to 4 years ago when I started reading the Bible cover to cover each year. Just those two CHOICES alone have majorly changed my life on earth and eternally!!! Then there was the choice made years ago to go to church every time the doors were open and I was physically able to surround myself with like-minded believers. My family thinks I am quite the Jesus freak...and I am certain that I am the topic of many conversations…and to that I say…Praise God!!!! If the worse thing I give someone to talk about is that I stay at church too much and spend too much time in His Word and raising my children in Him…then Praise the Lord!

OK…I side tracked…surprise! The other thing she said that I really wanted to share was that there were two categories of books 1) the Bible (a category all to itself!) 2) everything else. And that reading your Bible is like your daily "tithe" and reading devotions and other spirit filled books are the "offering". I just loved that analogy!

So are you daily giving your “tithe” and “offering”?

See ya tonight!
Kristy =)