Thursday, July 30, 2009

For I Know The Plans I Have For You

Jeremiah 29: 11-13.

(11)For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (12)Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. (13)You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. (14)I will be found by you," declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity.

So often I think we read verse 11 & 12 For I know the plans I have for you......and then anytime we have trials in our lives we pray for God's help but what about verse 13...."You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart" often we seek God during the bad times but when times turn back around and are good are we still seeking prayer is to seek him everyday...and verse 14 says I will be found by you...When we seek God with ALL of our hearts HE is going to help us in whatever way HE has thing we always have to remember, which is not an easy thing is HE has the blueprint of our life in front of Him, we do not..we just have to have faith and trust in God that it is all part of His plan.......the lyrics to a song written by Zach Neese that we sing at church go like this.....

The more I seek You
The more I find You
The more I find You
The more I love You
I wanna sit at Your feet
Drink from the cup in Your hand
Lay back against You and breathe
Feel Your heartbeat
This love is so deep
It’s more than I can stand
I melt in Your peace
It’s overwhelming

Lord, please let me seek you with all of my heart both in the good times and the bad time, when we are happy and when we are sad, when we are sick and when we are healthy, when we don't know what tomorrow holds and what we will do tomorrow and when we can't wait for tommorrow to arrive. Lord I pray that everyday I seek you with everything within me. In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.

Monday, July 27, 2009

At the End of the Day
Lynda j

When it’s all said and done, how much of our day can the Lord say, “My daughter, well done?”

A lot of women mention how there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete the task they are given. I have to ask, “What task?” Task that you created for yourself, task that the kids just have to compete in, excuse me, I mean complete? Or is it the task that our neighbors can’t see us not do? Ouch, ouch, ouch. Who are we trying to fool here? The average person has burn out at the end of their day for lack of consulting with the Lord before their day begins. Period point blank! We have personal agendas, color-coded calendars, and an alarm that reminds us it’s time to pick up one kid while dropping the other one off. But are all of those things in line with what the Master scheduler has on His agenda for us to do?

I wasn’t the ‘live in the car mom’ with my children. If they wanted to do something, some extra curricular activity, I would support them with choice. Meaning, with my budget, your education, family, friends and church, there will be a limit as to how much you can take on. There will be a balance. I wish I would leave church, or not go to church because Daelon or Jada had to be on the field during Sunday morning services; please! Even the Lord Himself rested on the 7th day. His day! Think about this, the average woman loves to be spa pampered. Hot rocks, sweet aromas, warm towels. My goodness, yes! So how is it that when it comes time for that special quiet, alone time for us, all calendars are clear and the phone gets turned off? Not just on vibrate, but off so it goes straight to voicemail. We want that time, we need that break, and we deserve it, right? We’ve had a hard day lining up meals and shuffling kids around. And don’t forget the spouse if you are married. He has to fit in.

But God in all His glory will be lucky if we can squeeze Him in around noon and 2pm, or after little Alex is done with piano, baseball, soccer and karate class. What? We want to put spending time with the Lord on our personal agenda, wherever we can work Him in? Say it ain’t so. Let’s take a minute and pencil this in on the books. At the end of your day, you are burned out, and trying to figure out why. Is it because you had too much on your plate, or you didn’t invite God to be a part of the early menu?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Coach Mom: Brenna Stull

Much of our purpose is to uplift and glorify God through our writings. We also want to pass on any valuable resources that will help us in our daily walk with the Lord. Here is a breath of fresh air to help moms tackle the day to day grind with a purpose and to make every minute count. (Taken from Brenna Stull's email: Need Some Summer Survival Tips?)
What is it that you do?"
Are you home with kids this summer? Do you wonder some days what you are getting done in the midst of the chaos and busyness that life with kids brings?
When Tony Campolo's wife Peggy was home full-time with children she was asked this question, “And what is it that you do, my dear?”
“I am socializing two Homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia that God willed from the beginning of creation.”*
Now that's important stuff.
*John Ortberg and Ruth Haley Barton, An Ordinary Day With Jesus: Experiencing the Reality of God in Your Everyday Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001.

Summer Organizational Tip:
Choose a drawer that is centrally located in the home to be a seasonal drawer.

Store sunscreen, goggles, sunglasses, and visors there in order to grab them quickly when exiting the house and easily store them as you walk back into the house.
When fall comes and temperatures start to drop, pack the summer things away and use the drawer to stash hats and gloves.

Brenna Stull is the author of “Coach Mom”, a pastor's wife and mother to five children.
She is also a professional home organizer and creator of an eight-week home efficiency course designed to help women live a balanced life.
Brenna is a popular speaker at women's conferences, retreats and Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) meetings.
To sign up for her Coach Mom emails, go to:

Enjoy the day,

Monday, July 20, 2009

"In the Name . . . "

Much of my life I have loved the idea of prayer. It has been my solace. I have run to my Father in pain (Job 19:25-27), laughed with my Friend who is closer than a brother in happiness (Proverbs 18:24, Philippians 1:3-6), sought out advice in seemingly hopeless situations (Proverbs 3 5:6), cherished moments of joy through prayers of praise to GOD Almighty (Psalms 34:1), or sat with the GOD of the Universe as I poured out the deepest pain my mother's heart could know (Psalm 27). Prayer has always "worked." It has not always caused GOD to behave as I requested, but when I approached the Father with a mind and heart that allowed Him to mold and transform me as He wished, wow . . . it really did something.

My prayers come in many forms- just ask my sweet family. I pray alone, with just my husband, just one child, just my three kids, as a family, or with friends. My prayers can be short or long. I used to sing a short prayer as I lifted each of my babies from his or her crib in the morning: "Good Morning, GOD! This is your day. I am your child. Show me your way." (Being the mom of a newborn, this was always just as much for me as it was for them!) I love to use Scripture when praying to the Lord. I also enjoy using a journal for my prayers. (It is convicting to see how egocentric my prayers are when I journal them!) Often when I pray, I try to follow certain formats (ACTS- adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication) or I try to limit my prayer time to just praise, and then later I will go back and have a second prayer time for other needs.

In our family, we always include our kids in prayer- since day 1. Moms, teach your kids to pray. If you fear praying out loud, start praying in front of your kids. GOD loves simple prayers (Matthew 6:7). I teach my girls at our church that "I love you, Jesus." is a complete prayer- and it is! Moms, praying for your children in front of them will change the trajectory of their lives! Go for it! My kids are even OK when I let a few tears slide down the side of my face!
What a blessing it is, too, when as a mom you can ask your child to join you in prayer and even to pray for you! We regularly share age appropriate prayer requests with our 3 kids and let them take the lead. They get to grow and develop a prayer relationship with their Heavenly FATHER. They also realize that prayer does not go through dad and mom, nor does it just happen when dad and mom are present and say it is time to pray.

I think a key element to prayer is praying in the name of JESUS. I have had several times in my life when all I could do was say, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus" over and over again. There is something about this name and all of the names that GOD uses to reveal Himself to us. Several verses in Scripture relating to this that I suggest reading are:
Psalm 20, 115:1
Psalm20:7 “. . . We trust in the name of the LORD our GOD.”
Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the LORD is a strong tower and the righteous run to it.”
Matthew 6:9 “This is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven Holy is your name . . . “
John 14:13&14
Philippians 2:9 “Therefore GOD exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name.”
Isaiah 12:4 “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted.”

When we pray in His name we get to know Him better. He reveals Himself to us more. Then we get to know His will more. All prayer should be aligned with GOD's will. This is hard, because we are one part of the conversation! So, we have a perfect FATHER listening to an imperfect child! Therefore, we must also listen. Several nights in a row I woke at 4:00am. My usual plan is to pray. This worked and I fell back to sleep three nights in a row. The fourth night I could not. Around 5:00am I realized, I was to "Be still and Know I am GOD" (Psalm 46:10). GOD wants to grow us and shape our hearts for relationship with Him. He cannot do this if we are always doing the talking. He wants to prepare us for a close abiding relationship, through the revelation of Himself as we pray in His name.

Prayer is and has been my security blanket. GOD has wrapped me in His presence through the relationship of prayer. I will by GOD's grace, and through much prayer, pass on this love of prayer to my children.

"FATHER, thank You for prayer. Thank You for JESUS and Salvation. Grow my heart into who I need to be for You. In the Name of JESUS I pray. I love You, Lord!"


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Compassion Fatigue?

Many of you have heard the story told in Luke 10:30-37 about the Good Samaritan. The story tells of a man who is walking along a road and is beaten and robbed. He is laying on the side of the road when 2 different church figures (pastor/priest-types) walk right past him. Instead of stopping to help, they both go to the other side of the road to stay away from him. Then, a third man walks by. This man is one who is looked down upon, one who is usually ignored or ridiculed. However, this man is the one who stops and helps the hurt man, going so far as to take him into town and have him cared for at his own expense.

This story, or parable, is one that most of us have heard since childhood. When I was teaching on a mission trip to South Africa we even used this parable during one of our lessons. However, I wonder how many of us really "get" this story; I wonder how many of us actually "live" this story.

Today while reading The Hole In Our Gospel, I was confronted with the term compassion fatigue. Having never heard this term before, I was instantly struck by its meaning. We are part of a generation who are inundated with information. We hear statistics; we see pictures and videos; we even have friends who may have visited another country and have shared their stories. But are we really listening? Are we so overwhelmed with everyone who is asking for money or is telling us about the poor that we tune it out?

I hope not, but I fear that this is the case. Statistics show that we as Americans give less than 5% each year to international causes. Have we forgotten that our neighbor is not just the person who lives in our neighborhood? Jesus clearly tells us in The Good Samaritan that our neighbor is the person in need, whether we know him personally or not. His mandate in Luke 10:37 tells us, "Go and do likewise." Jesus tells us to be like the Samaritan. He shows us clearly that our job is not just to take care of someone we like--or even someone who likes us. We are to help those who need help. Fight the urge to grow tired of helping, or tired of hearing about those who need help. I know it may seem like you can't do anything to help, but you can. You can be the difference in someone's life that changes him forever. Don't put it off. Don't fail to do something just because you can't do everything. (Bob Pierce, Founder of World Vision)

God has a special purpose for your life. He desires to use you, so why not now? Why can't today be the day when you show the kindness of Jesus by giving a bottle of water to the man working on your A/C? Why can't today be the day when you smile and pray for the person who is taking forever to ring up your groceries rather than muttering under your breath? Why can't today be the day you bring joy to a senior adult by visiting a nursing home or volunteering for Meals on Wheels? Why can't today be the day you sign up for a short term mission trip to show Christ to someone who may not have heard about Him before? Why not now? And if not now, when?

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Tiny Glimpse

There is no life... no life without its hunger
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly
But when You come, and I am filled with wonder
Sometimes I think I glimpse eternity
You Raise Me Up"-- Selah

A picture can convey so many things: joy, sadness, fear, humor, pain. Pictures can document a child's growth through the years, or serve as evidence in court. Soldiers so often carry pictures of spouses or children into war... a reminder of what's worth fighting for, hope for a brighter day and happy reunions. Pictures are so valuable to all of us. How many thousands of photos did we see on television in the days following September 11, 2001? And as we've heard countless times, "A picture is worth a thousand words."

But can it really be possible to catch a glimpse into eternity by a look at one photograph?

I caught just such a glimpse last week. The occasion for the photo was indeed a happy one... dear friends of ours had a baby. The picture would be special in anybody's book. Mom & Dad in the delivery room, holding their newborn baby daughter. This picture represented even so much more.

Our friends had lost another precious baby girl several years earlier, and more recently also suffered a miscarriage. They had truly walked through fire. The grief had been staggering, the heartbreak indescribable. This new tiny baby was the answer to so many prayers. She represented life, hope, joy, a new beginning.

As joyful as this scene was, as believers we know that it also reminds us of so much more that is to come. My friends know that not only do they have their new blessing, but they will also be reunited one day with their children that went on to heaven before them.

There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place will be no more
We'll see Jesus face to face
There Will Be A Day"-- Jeremy Camp

Years ago, I was trying to comfort a friend who'd lost his wife and young daughter when their car was struck by a drunk driver. I gave him an excerpt from a special book, "
Things Unseen", by a pastor, Mark Buchanan. In it, he tells a story of a man whose wife ran away with their small daughter. This father searched and searched for his daughter, and never gave up hope of finding her again. When she became an adult, they were finally reunited. He was happy and relieved, but he always felt that something was missing. He was heartbroken over all the moments he'd lost with his little girl. Pastor Buchanan gently reminds us in the book that, as Christians, one day that father would get to tuck his daughter in at all those lost nightly story times; he'd get to be there for that first date, prom, college graduation, her wedding. Those moments were not lost forever. A day was coming when all would be restored.

"Behold! I am making all things new!" the Lord says in Revelation 21:5. As many different pastors have pointed out, God did not say "I am making all new things!". He sent Jesus for this very reason-- so that all things might be made new in Him.

Also in Revelation, the apostle John describes a new heaven and a new earth:

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4

For the believer in Christ, life will be as it was created to be: the answer to all our deepest longings. A life where all is not forgotten... we don't just "start over". Instead all is renewed, resurrected, restored... all things are perfect, they are made new.

We are not longing for an unknown future. We are longing for a new past. Not just returning to September 10, 2001, but that day as a perfect day... all days as they were created to be lived.

And until that day comes, until Christ returns for us, we are so grateful for the reminders of what heaven will be like... the tiny glimpses along life's way.

The greatest love that anyone could ever know
That overcame the cross and grave to find my soul
And 'til I see You face to face, and grace amazing takes me home,
I'll trust in You.
Till I See You"-- Hillsong United

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Luke 9:23 If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

I like Kelly’s entry where it says, “We have started this blog to investigate the Jesus-life, to encourage, equip, and challenge other brothers and sisters in Christ as we journey together.”

One of my favorite songs is One Pure and Holy Passion:

"Give me one pure and holy passion,
Give me one magnificent obsession,
Jesus give me one glorious ambition for my life,
To know and follow hard after you.”

If this is your obsession, you may have noticed that the “Jesus-life” is not always a bed of roses.

As I thought and prayed about what to write about this week, I kept coming back to Balance. Over the past year or so, I have experienced some of the most incredible spiritual highs I have ever encountered, found myself in places I never imagined I would be experiencing God’s kingdom as a present reality. And then there have been extreme lows as I wrestled with God over areas of my life He wanted to reveal and challenge me to let go and live forgiven. So, what does all of this have to do with Balance?

Having grown up without seeing what a healthy relationship looks like, and finding myself at the end of a tumultuous dysfunctional long term relationship, I once asked my pastor at the time, how will I ever know what a healthy relationship looks or feels like? One way he explained is that a healthy relationship is one where there are not extreme highs and lows like a rollercoaster ride. Even though there may be bumps in the road, it should just ebb and flow.

Mirriam-Webster's online dictionary defines Balance as mental and emotional steadiness; physical equilibrium; a counterbalancing weight, force, or influence.

So, applying this to the spiritual life, that is what Balance looks like. God wants to take us to the mountain top, and we do have struggles in our life, but the Jesus-life is a steady flow that lets Jesus write His-story through our lives and provide the mental and emotional steadiness and the counterbalancing weight, force, or influence defined by Webster. I love how Mark Batterson talks about chasing the Holy Spirit in his book The Wild Goose Chase.

Have you ever felt like your life is turning into a tragedy? A spouse cheats on you. A boss unfairly fires you. Or someone hurts you in a way that seems beyond your ability to heal.

Listen, you still get to choose your attitude. And while you may not like the chapter of life you’re in, the final chapter has yet to be written…If you feel like you’re stuck in a tragedy, here’s my advice: give Jesus complete editorial control over your life. You have to quit trying to write your own story.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Seeking spiritual balance starts with prayer, which is the foundation of the faithful life, of the calling to which we are called. Everybody does it differently. The same person does it differently at different times. What's important is that you find a way to do it, because it is the way that you ground yourself in the love of God, in the adoration of God, in the desire for God. Don't leave it out.

I Thessalonians 5:17...
pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

If you need help getting started, a friend shared a 15-15-15 challenge to commit to 15 minutes of prayer and 15 minutes of Bible study every day for 15 days. You will probably find that 15 minutes isn’t enough and it will change your life.

To be continued…

Monday, July 6, 2009

Welcome to Stitches!

Readers of the Bible will recognize Israel as God's chosen people, a sometimes rag-tag family linked by heritage (descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), experience (think Moses parting Red Sea), and laws (10 Commandments, anyone?). But more than anything, they were united by their exclusive covenant with the God who called them. Out of His goodness, power, and plan, the family of Jacob became a great nation that eventually blessed the world by producing the divine Savior, Jesus Christ.

Jesus started a new family--the church, His brothers and sisters in faith. Those who call Him Lord and Savior are woven together by their faith covenant with the same God, revealed in Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself to make a way for reconciliation between unholy people and holy God. The unique spiritual unity between believers is sometimes difficult to grasp. But it is very real. Often this spiritual bond is stronger than blood ties to family. The love of Jesus powerfully attracts those seeking peace, forgiveness, and purpose.

If you seek any of those elements, we invite you to read the book of Luke in the New Testament, for starters. Visit a church that teaches the Bible and see what a spiritual family looks like. Ask questions. Follow this blog or others that we will recommend as the weeks go by. Seek Jesus! He wants you to find Him.

The New Testament book of Ephesians speaks to the oneness that believers in Jesus experience. Chapter 4, verses 4-6, 16, say:

There is one body and one Spirit--just as you were called to one hope when you were called-- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all, and in all. .. From him [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

The Stitches team consists of spiritual sisters, Christ-followers who aim to make Jesus look good and to share Him with each reader. We come from unique backgrounds yet worship together with the same church body. He has "stitched us together" by His Spirit. We have started this blog to investigate the Jesus-life, to encourage, equip, and challenge other brothers and sisters in Christ as we journey together.

Expect two entries per week, Mondays and Thursdays, each written by a different team member. Every two months or so we'll rotate back around. Add us to your Google Reader list, or subscribe to the RSS feed, so you don't miss any new post.

We look forward to your comments and interactions!