Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Renewing our minds in 2009...

Happy New Year, y'all! A couple of us followers of Beth Moore's blog (check it out by clicking on the link at right if you've never visited) were intrigued by a scripture memory challenge she's issued. The idea is to commit to memorize (or seriously meditate on if you're absolutely convinced you cannot memorize) two scriptures a month for 2009. Lisa Fun-Lowe and I were chatting about it and decided to do it and thought we'd see about some accountability through this blog. Here's the deal: choose a scripture on the first and the 15th of each month to memorize. For accountability purposes (and to inspire other sisters!) you should get on and type it on the blog. Beth suggests one of those index card ring binders so you can write it out and carry it around with you, so that's what Lisa and I are doing. At the end of the year, we'll have 24 new verses memorized! I don't know about you, but this seems like just the thing I need to get my mind (heart, life, etc) right this year! I'm excited - and worried about follow-thru - so, my first memory work will be about worry! I've learned part of this passage before, but I'm committing to nailing down the entire short passage for context purposes. Anxiety and gentless will be themes for me, I think! So here's my first one:
Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Why not join in? Let me know if you're game!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas - I Corinthians 13-style!

My friend Dolly sent this poem to me and I thought it was worth sharing! Some of us (ahem) can allow the busy-ness of the season to sap all of the joy from it - here's a great reminder for us all!

1 Corinthians 13 Christmas Style
©By Sharon Jaynes

If I decorate my house perfectly with lovely plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass balls, but do not show love to my family - I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family - I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family - It profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Love never fails. Video games will break; pearl necklaces will be lost; golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift of love will endure.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I am thankful for...
...our kids, home from college for the holiday, piled up together in a warm, slightly messy house.
...Jesse - all things about him, but at this particular moment, his coffee. (I think I hear him stirring up pancakes, too - God bless him!)
...extended family headed in for a day of good food and extravagant laughter.
...deep friendship. astounding, creative God who makes it all possible. The fact that He even bothers with me is amazing. The fact that He is relentless, stubborn and lavish in His love...that leaves me breathless!

...and I'm thankful for you!
What are you thankful for?
Have a blessed holiday season!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Hey! Just getting back from an amazing trip to the Pacific coast - can I just say, we serve an amazing Creator? I had to keep reminding myself that He just spoke it all into existence. Wow.

Anyway, catching up on laundry, emails and the blog world, I came across a recent post by Melissa Moore-Fitzpatrick (Beth's daughter) on the Living Proof blog (you can link to the blog at right). Within the post was a "homework" assignment she's given to a Bible study class she and Beth are teaching in Houston and I thought it was great. I think it would be fun for anyone interested to pick a passage and get after it! Share some of your insights with the rest of us, while you're at it! I've been hung up on John 17:20-26 lately, so that may be the passage I work on - or one about the vine and branches (John 15:1-8), since I just visited a vineyard :). Here's her tips:

  • Choose any passage (about 5-9 verses) of interest, preferably a passage that you are not overly familiar with.
  • Read the passage several times, at least twice out loud.
  • What book of the Bible is your passage in? Who is the author? Who are the Recipients? What is the occasion and genre of the book?
  • Compare your original Bible translation (whether it is NIV, NASB, etc.) to other translations- use at least three or four translations. Make note of the significant changes/differences in a chart or some other helpful way.
  • If there is a word that sticks out to you in your original Bible translation, use a concordance to do a word study on that word. What is the Hebrew or Greek word that your English translation is rendering? Where else is it used?
  • Are there any topics/places/concepts in your passage that are unfamiliar to you? Use a Bible Dictionary to look up unfamiliar concepts and to answer general questions.
  • After you have done as much of the leg-work as you know how or have time to do, then consult one or two solid commentaries on your passage.
  • Conclude with how these resources contributed to your understanding of the passage.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I always hate to see a Bible study end...but I loved the quote from Eugene Peterson's book, A Long Obedience In the Same Direction, and I think it applies to seasons of study like the one we just completed:

"They are not monuments, but footprints. A monument only says 'At least I got this far,' while a footprint says 'This is where I was when I moved again.'"

Let's keep moving! Again, I encourage all those reading these words to take a minute and share -- something God is teaching you, a prayer request, a Scripture reference. Join the conversation!
Please pray for our new president...and pray that the church will rise and make God famous by the way we love our brothers and sisters. It's time to reach out. Let's do it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Stepping Up...

It's hard to believe we're almost finished with our journey through the Psalms of Ascent. Our ladies will meet one last time at 6:30 Tuesday for hot soup and warm fellowship as we wrap this study up. I'm hoping to get another study going after the first of the year (suggestions? I'm leaning toward Beth Moore's new one - "Esther - It's Tough Being a Woman").
So, even though we're finishing this study, we still have hearts set on pilgrimage - our destination and our fellow pilgrims! With that in mind, I thought it might be fun if the bloggers among us kept in touch here, maybe posting each week something God is teaching us through His Word. (Kind of an accountability challenge!) It could also be a forum for sharing prayer requests. Let me know what you think. It will only work if we have PARTICIPATION! A one-way conversation is no fun - believe me, I should know!!!
By the way, this conversation would be open to anyone - not just those involved in our last study. So spread the word! I'm excited to see how this little experiment works out! Let's get it started. If you're reading this, click on the word "comments" just below this post and let me know what you think!
Looking forward to hearing from you!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Loving deeply...

I'm just overwhelmed about our upcoming Bible study tomorrow. I just previewed the dvd and I'm sitting here weeping. (What is it with me this week?) Anyway, tomorrow's session is about being the best possible traveling partners on this pilgrimage together. We'll be looking at schemes of the enemy to oppose us as we journey. We have to be willing to forgive, to encourage, to love deeply, to fight for each other. This is so important. We need some unity, don't we? I was reading John this week (in the tractor!) and I was struck again by the way Jesus prayed in John 17 - for himself, for his disciples, then for us. The prayer he prayed for us can be summed up in a simple statement: Make them one.
Lord, make us one. Make it so. Amen.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Of tears and sneezes...

Mother alert: This mom cried all the way through the last couple of days of Bible study homework. Maybe it's just the season I'm in -- a newly-empty nest -- but picturing God's love in motherly terms really got to me! For the past 20 years, my identity has been more wrapped up in motherhood than any other identifier -- wife, daughter, editor...Christ follower? So in recent months I've been trying to allow Christ to help reshape my view of life and my role in it. But I couldn't suppress a nostalgic twinge when reading scriptures that compare God's love for us to that of a mother who gives birth, a nursing mother, a mother who comforts. Nursing my children was one of the great joys of my life - the feeling of overwhelming love and an elemental, nourishing physical connection. When the baby is hungry, everything else stops for a quiet moment of perfect stillness and loving care. God loves us like that! Here's the other thing: Mom's the only one who can fill that role. Likewise, God is the only one who can provide the nourishment we need to thrive and grow. What a beautiful thing! Has this week's study prompted any nostalgia in any of you? What are you learning from God's Word this week?

(Oh, and the 'sneezes' part of the title has to do with my STILL runny nose, which made the crying even messier! Dang allergies!)

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Happy? Really?

I've always been a cheerful the point of being annoying at times. Even when I didn't feel particularly cheerful, it's been my practice to slap a big ol' smile across my face before greeting the world. Fake? Sure, sometimes. But my mama raised me to put on a happy face (preferably with a little blush and lipstick, thank you!) The older I get, the less interested I am in faking out the world with a cheerful demeanor.
I want real joy. Complete joy. Happiness, even.
And that's God's plan for all of us.
Psalm 128 says,
"How happy is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in His ways!"

As we studied this in Bible study this week, I loved the picture of a heart that operates even in the midst of suffering with "a keen sense of God's presence and a lively perception of His activity."
The result? "A life that operates overall at optimum earth-satisfaction, joy and purpose without the crushing burdens of self-glory and sin."
WOW. God's ways are right. They lead to joy.
And happiness.
No need to fake that smile. We are blessed.
Hope to see all the Bible study girls Tuesday for a wonderful session on the Feast of Tabernacles. So much meaning. It will radically change the way you view some of the scriptures that are probably very familiar to you. Exciting stuff! See you there, I hope!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Breaking, mending...

Well, it's been a weird week...Michael broke a bone in his wrist and had surgery Thursday, so I've been in Baton Rouge trying to strike a balance between "caring mom" and "obsessive, overprotective mom." (The latter is my natural inclination!) I was catching up on some Psalms this afternoon and was struck again by the power of God's Word. Like...

"The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy..."

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy..."
"Unless the Lord builds the house
its builders labor in vain..."

One of the things that really hit me in Bible study was the idea of "sowing" and "reaping." We sow God's word when we plant it...apply it in our daily lives. We have to sow the seed to reap the won't do us any good to hoard the seed or even eat the seed. Hmmm.
So, how is it going with you? Any thoughts from God's word this week?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Calling all psalmists...

We had a good night in Bible study last night! One of the exercises in the study of the Psalms of Ascent is to rework each psalm into a personal expression, praying it, making it ours. Gladys Edwards shared one of hers in class - a powerful expression of thanks to God for being "for us" (Psalm 124). She shared her Psalm 122 with me and I asked if I could share it with you. Just as the original Psalmist spoke with both joy and longing of his church and his town, Gladys expresses hope and confidence for our community.

I, Gladys Marie Hamlin Edwards, was glad when they said unto me,
"Let us go into the house of the Lord"
because we can depend upon God for help.

All my help comes from the Lord.

Let's get excited to worship and praise the Lord.
Now we are standing on the inside of the house in the presence of God.
So we can pray for peace in Wisner
and may all who live in this town prosper.

For the sake of the town of Wisner I will say, "Peace be to everyone."
In order to find peace of mind and peace with others
one must find peace with God.

The people of Wisner must seek to please God
and in turn eliminate eveil.

REAL PEACE comes from Our Father in Heaven.
We must follow Him and obey His commandments.
Enter the house of the Lord with Praise and Thanksgiving.

For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I, Gladys Marie Hamlin Edwards,

will seek to do what is best for the town of Wisner.

How about you? Got a psalm to share this week? Or an insight, prayer or praise? Feel free to comment by clicking the comment button below!
Do your homework, girls! You will be blessed!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Our eyes look to the Lord...He is on our side!

This week in Bible study we'll view a very interesting dvd on the first of three major Jewish feasts which are linked to our study of the Psalms of Ascent. We'll be talking about Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, both of which have so much relevance to our lives and our pilgrimage. I'm always amazed at the beautiful correlation between Old Testament traditions and their fulfillment in Christ.
And if you have any insight or revelations or "aha!" moments from this week's homework, click on the comment button below and share with the rest of us!

In our girls' Sunday School class, we're going to be doing part two of a discussion of dating - YIKES! We had some lively discussion Sunday and we'll be delving deeper into what God has in mind for His precious daughters. Pray for me (please!) and for the girls. If they can get a handle on God's design for their lives at this age, they can, hopefully, avoid some unnecessary heartbreak. (Can I get a witness, sisters?) Any thoughts or insights to share with the girls would be appreciated. What do you know now that you wish you knew at 13? 15? 17? Thanks!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A few Bible study pics...

Some photos of small group discussion during Stepping Up Tuesday...these are some fabulous women! There is a real sense of anticipation as we journey on to the next place with God.

Yay! Bible study tonight!!!

I'm SO excited to be meeting with a great group of pilgrims (sans starched white collars and buckle shoes) as we continue "Stepping Up." I hope everyone had a great week - and completed their homework - in preparation for tonight. But come on, even if you're behind! We're going to (try) to start promptly at 7, share a little about what we learned during the week and then enjoy this week's video (here's a teaser: it's all about music and song and it's GREAT!).

On another topic, I was reading Tozer in the tractor again (that could be a series, don't you think: Tractor Time with Tozer?) and wanted to share some of his thoughts on meekness. This book was written 60 years ago and the writing has an old-fashioned quality yet the truth is absolutely timeless. This passage has meant a lot to me over the past two years as my heart makeover (with Jesus as my "contractor") has progressed:

"The meek man is not a human mouse, afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather, he may in his moral life be as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson, but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God's estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is, in the sight of God, more important than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He rests perfectly content to allow God to place his own values. He has attained a place of soul rest. He has found the peace which meekness brings."
-- A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Time to step up!

I'm beside myself with excitement about "Stepping Up - a journey through the Psalms of Ascent." A group of women will begin the Beth Moore study tonight where we'll be challenged to go up - move to the next step in our relationship with God. We're different ages, different stages of life, all setting out on a journey carrying different luggage. We're pilgrims, clinging to this promise of God:
"I'll shower blessings on the pilgrims who come here,
and give supper to those who arrive hungry." -- Psalm 132:15
Are you hungry?
I am!
See you tonight!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Broken shells...

Jesse and I are at Orange Beach, which is beautiful, though rainy today. The sky is gray, the gulf is gray, the waves are huge. We've enjoyed two good beach walks today - the one this afternoon ended in a soaking wet jog as we attempted to get back to the condo in a sudden downpour! Something that struck me on both walks was the number of really large, beautiful seashells scattered along the water's edge. Every time I reached down to pull a particularly large, colorful one from the sand, however, it was only a piece of a shell. The jagged, broken edges were submerged in the sand. It kind of reminded me of our lives at times. We want to be seen as beautiful, perfect, together. So we desperately try to keep our jagged, broken edges covered. I guess we're afraid that once our brokenness is revealed, we'll be cast aside. Thankfully, God makes it clear in Deuteronomy 31:6 that He is the Keeper of broken things.

"Be strong. Take courage. Don't be intimidated. Don't give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; he won't leave you."

Let's accept - embrace even - our own brokenness and be like God in our love for the broken.


(Betsy's teaching her younger 'sisters' in Sunday School in my absence - pray for her! And I'll see the 'big girls' when we kick off our study Tuesday - Can't wait!)

Monday, September 15, 2008


A fellow blogger, "V," wrote something that I think will resonate with a lot of us in the "be all you can be" generation. She certainly captured the essence of much of my journey for the past year -- the essence of what I'm hoping for. I asked her permission to share it with you, and she graciously agreed. Her blog can be found at

"I’m a recovering business - administrator.

Previously driven by all things productive, motivational and rewardable.

Currently driven by all things true, honest and pure.

Previously devoted to things to fill the void.

Currently devoted to nothing that serves myself.

Previously devoted to acceptance and admiration of others.

Currently devoted to redeeming things others have passed by, passed on, passed over or dismissed.

Life is too short to be plagued with worry, with fear and with
any sniff of doubt.

Life was made to be whole, complete and find its purpose in

I’m a Wife. I’m a Mom. I’ve lived to be older than my Mother.

I understand the fragility of life.

I understand the permanence of kind words, actions and love for those placed in our lives.

I live very far from perfection, but I am being perfected.

I live far very far from having it all, but I am supplied for.

I fight against wanting more and am learning to live with less.

I fight against judgment and am learning to live in awe of the gifts within others.

I fight for others on the things that matter. I fight against things unseen.

I am a warrior.

I am wholly REPURPOSED."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A prayer...

I read this prayer on a tractor this morning and thought it was worth sharing...

"O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, 'Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.' Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus' name. Amen."
-- A.W. Tozer, "The Pursuit of God"

Friday, September 12, 2008

Blogging 101...

Okay, girls, I'm new to this, and I know some of you are too. if you want to leave a comment, you click on the little thing below the post that says "0 comments" or "2 comments" and you can type a message where it says "Leave your comment. " When it says "Choose an identity," you can just click "anonymous" if you don't want to set up a blogger identity, just be sure leave your name in the comment and I'll know who you are! I think if you click " google/ blogger" it will prompt you to set up a blogger identity, which is pretty simple and kind of fun if you plan to post on anyone's blog! Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

And for the 'big girls...'

...the women are invited to join us in a new in-depth Bible study on Tuesdays, beginning Sept. 23.
"Stepping Up" by Beth Moore is a look at the Psalms of Ascent. It's a six-week study of Psalms 120-134 (with homework!!!) that will challenge and inspire serious students of the Scripture and those brand-new to Bible study. Here's what Eugene Peterson says about the psalms:
"There is no literature in all the world that is more true to life and more honest than Psalms, for here we have warts-and-all religion. Every skeptical thought, every disappointing venture, every pain, every despair that we can face is lived through and integrated into a personal, saving relationship with God -- a relationship that also has in it acts of praise, blessing, peace, security, trust and love. Good poetry survives not when it is pretty or beautiful or nice but when it is true: accurate and honest. The psalms are great poetry and have lasted not because they appeal to our fantasies and our wishes, but because they are confirmed in the intensities of honest and hazardous living."
I want to press to a higher place with God. I want to step up. Come along...

This Sunday...

...our Sunday School class (girls in grades 7-12) is looking at the family. I'm going to have to break some tough news to the teen girls: their parents are flawed -- deeply and without exception. And yet, we're still called to honor our imperfect parents. What does this mean? How does this work out in real life? And what about siblings? The good news is this: God isn't asking us to fix every family struggle - He's calling us to obedience and asking us to trust Him. We're also called to I Corinthians 13-style love:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
We'll look at some other Scriptures and have a lively discussion of all things 'family.' Join us!

I have no idea what I'm doing...

Well, after blog-shadowing friends and family for about a year, I decided to jump into it myself. My initial thought was to provide a spot for our girls' and women's ministries - a place to share thoughts, insights, concerns, celebrations...who knows?