Saturday, February 27, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain
I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray
Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Should my child get a Facebook account?
What’s the right age for a child to get a cell phone? Wear makeup? Go on a date?
Can my child be emo and be a Christian?
They all boil down to this same thing: how much of the world should we be letting into our lives, into our children’s lives. I think that children/youth of this generation have it harder than any generation prior to them. Never before have there been SO many doorways of temptation which lead to sin available. Sexting, internet predators, pop-up porn ads, pharming, huffing, sex parties THESE are the things today’s children and youth are being bombarded with every single day. Back in the day, all I had to "say no" to was drinking, pot and sex. That was about it! Today the things kids have to say no to are so much harder.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
***1.5 mile walk to soccer practice = exhausting
***updating Facebook status to read, “Jami is sitting at soccer practice…NOT looking forward to the 1.5 mile walk home.” = easy
***having a mom who is on Facebook and then comes to rescue you with a ride home = priceless
When I answered my cell phone to my mother’s greeting of, “We can come pick you up at soccer practice.” I was a little confused. How did she know I did not want to walk home from practice? Geesh! Maybe I’m not just talking out of my butt when I tell my kids, “Don’t you dare! I know what you’re thinking!” Then she said, “I was just on Facebook…” and I thought, “Praise God for a mom who is on Facebook!” She and my brother Seth hightailed it up to the middle school and saved me from a 1.5 mile walk accompanied by four WHINING children. For two months or so I had been playing drowning victim to my mother’s role of just-in-time lifeguard saving the day. Over and over again, she would breeze in with a cheerful, “Here I am to save the day!” It made me so grateful I have a mom who is so generous and giving. It also really got me thinking, and I realized two things:
1. You are never too old to need your Momma.
2. I am glad that God has a bit of superhero in Him too.
I'm glad that He swoops in proclaiming, “Here I am to save the day!” But is He really saving the day? Or does it just appear that way to us? Does our perspective make us think He is a superhero, when instead He is really a Master Builder with a perfect plan?
This week the kids and I attempted to make a paper mache piñata for school (HUGE failure, but yeah that's not the point of this story). We started with a balloon. The kids kept saying, "How are we going to get the candy in that balloon? It doesn't make sense." I told them, "I have a plan just watch and see." Then we covered it with the wet, messy, gloppy newspaper soaked in paste and they said, "How are we gonna get the candy in there?" I said, "I have a plan just watch and see." As we tied a string around it for the hanger, they said, "How are we going to get the candy in there?" I said, "I have a plan just watch and see." They were so darn focused on getting that silly candy into the piñata that they were missing out on learning the process of making a piñata!
God called my mind towards the struggles in my life. When I say to Him, "How are you going to turn THIS around for your glory?" He says to me, "I have a plan just watch and see." When I bug Him with, "How in the world are you going to get me outta THIS?" He says to me, "I have a plan just watch and see." When I scream at Him, "Why God!?!? Why!?!?" He says to me, "I have a plan just watch and see." But I stay SO focused on the rescue, SO focused on getting to the end of the struggle that I have to wonder if I get all I need to out of the process of the struggle.
So again I ask you: When God "swoops in to save the day," is He really saving the day? I don't think so. I think the "rescue" was a part of His plan all along. It just feels like He gets there in the nick of time from our perspective. All along when we were crying out for help and for understanding, He was saying, "I have a plan; just watch and see."
It is sooooooo very hard, but I am going to start trying harder to get ALL I can out of the process of the struggle. I am still going to cry out to God, "Rescue me! Save me! Show me how this all makes sense!" I am still going to wonder, "How are we gonna get the candy in there?" But I am tired of being so focused on the piñata candy that I don't learn how to make the piñata.
Will you try along with me? Will you try to focus on the process of your struggles? Will you try to stop and look around you and see what God wants you to learn when you are face down in the mud and the mire? He WILL save the day. There is NO doubt about that! So slow down and LEARN while His plot unfolds, because He has a plan; just watch and see.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
The first sips of coffee were in me, and I was starting to feel the energy and peace they bring. Yes my coffee brings me peace. I am in a difficult spot right now. One of those times when people say to me, “I don’t know how you do it all!” and I want to scream in a almost psychotic voice, “I don’t! I don’t! I’m losing my mind.” I won’t bore you with the specific details of the stress, but suffice it to say that I am stretched beyond my flexibility in every area of my life. I awoke this morning feeling like I had run a marathon in my sleep. I did not get ANY rest or recovery from that night’s sleep! I was walking around in a fog trying to get my day started. Finally the pot was done, and the magic began.
First the smell of the coffee started hitting me. It beckoned me away from my stress and called me to come pour myself a cup. Just the sight of that precious liquid filling my cup helped my heart beat slow and my shoulders relax a little. I stirred in the cream and sugar and took joy in the caramel color that developed. As I lifted it to my face I breathed deeply of the intoxicating aroma. Then the moment arrived, that moment when I got that first sweet taste of that blessed nectar from God. Before I knew it that coffee was doing its job, it was coursing through my veins and bringing energy to my sleep-deprived body.
I am sure that as you read this many of you are thinking, "Dear God this girl is ADDICTED to coffee." I am. I am woman enough to admit it. Last week we returned home from staying at my parents' house and found I had forgotten we were out of coffee. It was about 9 p.m., and we were FRIED! We had spent a week living out of someone else's house and caring for my elderly grandmother. Yet still I made John run to Piggly Wiggly to get coffee for I was starting to get a little sketchy thinking about how I'd weather the morning without any.
You know I want to be like that about God. I want to be so addicted to Him that the thought of one morning without an encounter with Him is unbearable. I want to anticipate His aroma. I want to hear Him beckoning me away from my stress. I want the mere thought of Him to help slow my breathing and relax my shoulders. I want to take joy at my first glimpse of Him, and I want Him to course through my veins bring energy to my stress-ridden soul.
Well, now I can't wait until tomorrow morning! As I brew my coffee I'm going to think about God. As I smell its aroma I am going to allow my mind to be pulled to Him. Do it along with me. As you inhale that first breath of freshly brewing coffee say good morning to God. Then as you sip in that beautiful brew, sip in some peace from Him. Let Him be what gets your heart pumping tomorrow morning. Let Him be better than Starbucks!
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Just yesterday, just YESTERDAY, I ended my blog:
Wherever you are this morning: at the top of the sunny mountain or in the depths of the darkest valley, HE IS STILL GOD! So give Him what he deserves: your praise, your worship, your love.
Monday, February 1, 2010
I was walking down the stairs to my office carrying my third cup of “nectar from God” (that’s coffee for those of you who don’t speak Jamiese) and I thought, “What a beautiful morning! What a peaceful way to start the day! I wish every day started like this.” And all of a sudden conviction hit me so hard my coffee literally sloshed over the edge of my cup and splashed on my foot…. Is God any less great on the mornings that start out anything BUT beautiful? OUCH! As the coffee seeped into my slipper that thought seeped into my soul…
When I awaken John late, and we are racing about getting him out the door, when Hannah won’t be consoled by adolescent turtles throwing great roundhouse kicks, when the cat doesn’t just jump on someone to wake them up but pukes on their comforter and all over their p.j.s, when I stumble down the stairs with a burnt cup of “nectar from God” rushing to my puter an hour late to see what awaits me in my work inbox…. Isn’t He the same God who deserves all my praise and worship?
I know it’s tough to “Praise him in the storm.” Trust me! I know! My life has had its share of storms, and I have not always weathered them gracefully. More often than I care to admit the torrents of rain have tossed me to my knees wailing and screaming, “Why? God! Why?” But God doesn’t change. He isn’t any different. Whether you are standing at the altar pledging your heart till “death do us part” or hunched over a coffin saying goodbye until we meet again…. whether you are rolling in the dough or scraping together $2.63 to put just one gallon of gas in your car and praying you'll make it to your destination.... whether you are healthy and well or sick and infirm... HE IS STILL GOD! He is still on the throne. He is still in control. He is still worthy of your praise and worship.
Let that seep into your slipper today. Mull it over and drink it in. Wherever you are this morning: at the top of the sunny mountain or in the depths of the darkest valley, HE IS STILL GOD! So give Him what he deserves: your praise, your worship, your love.
During the devotions portion of the morning, I resumed my study of Zechariah.... today's reading: chapter 7. In the notes section of my Bible I found this comment on verses 11 & 12:
Zechariah explained to the people that their ancestors brought God's great wrath on themselves by hardening their hearts. Any sin seems more natural the second time - each repetition is easier. Ignoring or refusing God's warning hardens you each time you do wrong. Read God's Word and apply it to your life. Sensitivity and submission to God's Word can soften your heart and allow you to live as you should. (I underlined here just as I underlined in my Bible this a.m.)
Continuing on: read my Love Dare, did my morning workout, started a load of laundry, calmed some babies who woke too early, came downstairs to get started on my early morning work and school plans. I made up a really cool little worksheet Kastner Fire Plan. Number one on the plan: Get out FAST! And that's when it hit me. That's when the two concepts (Fire Plan & Zechariah 7:11-12) came together in my head and rocked me like the collision of two cars traveling in opposite directions: GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!
Do you know how much easier life would be, if when we are standing in the burning building of sin, we just GET OUT! ? How much destruction is wrought through standing still? How many lives are ruined when we smell the smoke a little? How much regret results when we think, "Just a little longer. I can make it just a little longer without getting burned." But why!?!?!?! Why do we stand frozen in the midst of temptation? Why must we smell the smoke of enticement? Why are we so stupid as to think that we can get away with dabbling in sin and not getting burned?
I absolutely LOVE the inspiration I get from the story of Joseph. When Potiphar's wife propositioned him, do you know what he did? He FLED! The Bible says, "But he left his cloak in her hand, and ran out of the house." (Genesis 39:12b). He didn't waste time waiting around. He didn't think about it. He didn't rationalize it. He smelled smoke and thought: GET OUT!
I'm not sure why this is on my heart this morning. I just feel the need to say to someone: GET OUT! Don't play around where you are! Don't think you are the ONE person who can resist! Don't think you won't get caught up in Satan's web when you dance too close to what he's put in the middle of your path! Turn around and RUN! Leave your cloak behind and RUN! I promise you with everything in me, you do NOT want the destruction that will result from your sin and you will NOT be the one person in this whole world to play around in sin and come out sparkling clean.
I'm a little sorry, but only kinda. My blog is so forceful and blaring today. But I can't help it. God put it heavy on my heart, and I know that someone out there needs to hear this warning: Turn back before it is too late and regret is your continual companion. Sure God will forgive your sin. I'm pretty certain the people who love you will give you another chance. However, you will regret for the rest of your days not just turning away from that stupid sin and fleeing.
Just GET OUT! You'll be really glad you listened. I promise.