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Women Living Well Blog: November 2008

Women Living Well Blog

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Biggest Shopping Day of the Year!

Today is the day after Thanksgiving and we all know what that means - deals deals deals! It's shopping day!

I must admit I will not be fighting the mobs this morning because I have nearly everything purchased on my list for my Christmas gifts - BUT if there was an item I needed on my list at a rock bottom price I would be venturing out! And I know for many of you - you thoroughly enjoy the excitement in the air and the deals! Deals are a good thing!

As a matter of fact the Proverbs 31 lady is described in verse 14 like this: "She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar..." In verse 16 it says "She considers a field and buys it." and in verse 18 "She sees that her trading is profitable" and in verse 24 "she makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.

The Proverbs 31 lady is very busy in the area of trade and commerce. Verse 14 says she is like a merchant ship - bringing her food from afar. This shows that she takes special care in bringing in the best for her family. She doesn't do what is closest and easiest. She is willing to travel far and look hard for what is the best for her family - whether that includes flavor, nutrition or bulk.

"She sees that her trading is profitable." She makes sure she has the best deal! She is very wise in her purchases and isn't wasteful.

So as we shop this Christmas season - we must remember the bar that God has set for us women. We must be wise in our purchases and willing to look at shopping as hard work. It may be hard work to run from store to store finding the best prices or a product that is most useful to a loved one - but it is a worthy and noble task. So shop to the glory of God girls!

Walk with the King!

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! The day is finally here! Hooray! I hope you have a wonderful warm day planned. We will be going to my sister's house tomorrow for our Thanksgiving dinner - so today is a special day with just our family of four.

Since we are having turkey tomorrow - my husband has requested a honey baked ham and I'll be making mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, rolls and a pumpkin pie for my little family to enjoy! And though we are not expecting guests - I'll be pulling out the best china for my family, the crystal and the cloth napkins - because they are the most important people in the world to me and I want them to know that! I am so thankful for them!

My biggest goal for today is to live out Psalm 145:4-6. This passage emphasizes the importance of one generation telling the next generation about God’s glorious splendor. It says “One generation will commend your works to another and they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works and I will proclaim your great deeds.”

It is our job as moms and grandmas and aunts and friends - to tell the next generation of God's awesome works! It says "they will speak" and then "I will meditate" on what they spoke to me. My parents told me of God's glorious splendor and as a child I meditated on that and believed and now it is my turn to proclaim God's glorious splendor to the next generation so that they too will believe.

I am starting a new Thanksgiving tradition today with the kids - I bought a journal and I will record the date and each one of us in our family will record what we are thankful for this year. Then I will put it away in the attic until next year when it is Thanksgiving and then we will pull it back out and continue to record new things every year. Someday when the children are grown - this journal will be priceless and they can read it to their children and proclaim the glorious splendor of our God to the next generation!

Walk with the King!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve

It's Thanksgiving Eve! And it's time to do what the word says - give thanks!

My children and I have been reading Laura Ingells-Wilder's Little House on the Prairie together. As I read I am constantly thankful that I live in this century! Her stories are set in Pioneer Days -the 1800's - and Ma works terribly hard to survive. Making cheese for her is a three day process - for me it's a 10 second process - pick it up at the grocery store! Sugar is a luxury and the girls rarely see it much less eat it! They'd be shocked to see our Halloween bags! To get honey or syrup they head to the forest of trees. To get milk they head to the cows in the barn. And going to the store is something only for Pa. Pa goes and trades skins of animals to bring home some cloth so that ma can sew pretty dresses for the girls.

The girls have little to no toys to speak of. The one girl has a doll her ma made and the other pretends by wrapping leaves in a blanket. There's no television or radio - so at night Pa plays the fiddle and they sing and dance as a family together. Pa always has his gun by the door ready to defend the family of the bears outside and he works hard to provide food through his hunting and farming. It's by the sweat of ma and pa's brow that they provide their daily food for the family. Nearly all their time is spent on survival.

Though aspects of this story are desirable like the close family togetherness. I can see that I am thankful for so many of the luxuries this century has brought me - we have easy access to cheese, milk, honey, syrup, clothing and toys. It is very easy to take something like cheese for granted! We have cheese everyday - but if I had to take three days to make it - I'm thinking we might have less cheese in our house!

I am so thankful for my overflowing trash cans today - that means we have food. I am so thankful for my overflowing laundry baskets - that means we have clothes. I am thankful for a kitchen floor that has dirt marks from the mud on my kids shoes - that means we have shoes and a warm home. Today I give thanks to God for providing for us!

Psalm 107:1 says "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." Naturally I think about the luxuries that I have been blessed with that I must thank God for but it is his enduring love that I am most thankful for. His death on the cross, his resurrection and his forgiveness of my sin is my complete joy! "There is no better place on earth - than the road that leads to heaven!" As you prepare for thanksgiving - give thanks that you didn't have to raise, kill and pluck that turkey you are about to cook!

Walk with the King!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Ginger Bread House vs. My House!

We built a ginger bread house yesterday and the kids loved it. They loved eating the candy and icing as we built the house -but even more they thoroughly enjoyed creating this new little home. Their imagination went wild with ideas of putting ponies and matchbox cars inside! Now I must admit that though they had some fun ideas - I had veto power. And anything that looked outrageous I had to direct them away from.

In the end, there were two proud sugar plum faces looking up at me and what joy and pleasure they took as daddy was the first to behold our lovely creation! Thank goodness daddy ignored quite a few messy spots and praised the children for their lovely work of art.

Proverbs 14:1 says "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." What kind of home are you building? God says a wise woman builds her house. First we need to be home to build it. If we are so busy outside our home that we neglect our home - we fail to build the home of a wise woman.

Secondly, this verse says that the foolish one tears hers down - how do we tear our own houses down? By discouraging words, short patience, displaying a temper, and not walking with God.

If you saw my house today - it actually does resemble the ginger bread house. It's not perfect - it has quite a few messy spots. But it's cheery - there's evidence of children and fun. And though my home does not look like it popped off of the cover of a magazine - it's my creation. And I hope to one day look into the face of God and see him pleased with the home I have labored to build.

I like in Proverbs 15:15 where it says "the cheerful heart has a continual feast." I would love for my home to be as joyful and as satisfying as the days of a festival! It's up to me to "build my home wisely". Who does Proverbs 14:1 say this starts with? Not our husbands but "the wise woman" - it's up to us women to be wise. Where will we find the wisdom we need? In his word! So, Walk with the King and take joy in building your home!


Monday, November 24, 2008

My Day is Not Going As Planned!

Okay - so I have this problem - I bump into a curb about every 6 months - which in turn frustrates my poor husband and leaves this big scratch on my tire and hub caps. I really have a problem! Well, this time I must have hit the curb extra hard because my car is no longer drivable - so sad! So today I am stranded - I can't drive the kiddos to preschool, go to my normal aerobics class or do the grocery shopping I had in mind! Hmph! My day is not going as planned!

If you know me well, you know that I am not the queen of flexibility. So what do you do when things take you by surprise? Maybe you never planned to live far from your family or maybe you had an unplanned pregnancy? No one plans to be in an unhappy marriage. Maybe you never planned to work full-time? Life is full of unplanned twists and turns and though they take us by surprise - they do not take God by surprise and there's something he wants to teach us. So how do you handle these unplanned twists?
I'd love to say - "I have all the answers for you" - but I don't. I am being stretched in this area in more ways than one. But I always come back to one of my favorite verses, Hebrews 12:2,3 "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so you do not grow weary and lose heart."
In our flesh we can easily be tempted to grow weary of things "not going our way." But when I feel the frustration rising in my soul - I say out loud "Fix your eyes on Jesus. Courtney, fixem'." When I constantly stare at the problem I get upset, stressed out, and act like a fool! But when I fixem - when I fix my eyes on Jesus - I find strength. I find the strength to not grow weary and lose heart over today's challenges!
So Girls - if you feel overwhelmed today - "fixem" - fix your eyes on Jesus! And pray for me as I try to keep them fixed - it's gonna be a long day!
Walk with the King!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Stress

Thanksgiving is now less than a week away. And the holidays for women are one of the most stressful times of the year. On top of our regular house work we have the addition of either cooking a large meal or packing up the kids and traveling to someone else's home - which is a large ordeal if you are traveling far. Some may be dealing with the loss of a loved one for the first time on a holiday (hugs to you) or you may have to spend time with family members who do not get along. These are not easy things to deal with.

Here's a poem that speaks to my personal stress in this season:
Lions or Gazelles?

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion,
Or it will be killed.
Every morning a lion wakes up.
It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle
Or it will starve to death.
It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or gazelle:
When the sun comes up, you'd better be running.

If you feel like you are running from the minute you step out of bed until the minute you fall into bed at night - I want to suggest to you - SLOW DOWN. Slow down. This is not my nature - I by nature am a fast talker - quick walker - fast eater. For as long as I can remember people have told me "slow down" when I talk.

But the one time I slow down is right when I step out of bed. I slow down just long enough to hear God's voice in his word and talk to him about my day and my to-do list and any other burdens. Sleeping may replenish the body but it does not replenish the soul.

So I want to encourage you - it only takes 2 mintues to open God's word and read a verse (and hopefully you'll linger longer if you can). An even more practical tip is to write the verse you read in the morning on the top of your to-do list and read it over and over all day long - every time you look at your list. You have so much on your plate you can't afford to do it without God's strength.

Colossians 3:17 says -"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks though Him to God the Father."

Walk with the King!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How To Change

"If you want to conquer a besetting sin, you need to stop loving it."

-Matthew Elliott

Walk With the King!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas Catalogs and Greed

Have they arrived at your house? Recently we received christmas catalogs from Toys R Us, Target, Walmart, JCPenny and on and on it goes. My 5 1/2 year old son loves to get the mail and when these arrived he was so excited. He has enjoyed flipping the pages and dreaming of receiving some of these toys. But what started out as innocent fun - just flipping through the catalogs - has birthed into a favorite past time.

When he wakes up in the morning the first thing he wants to do is flip through the catalogs. As I watch him I realize that these catalogs are a breeding ground for greed. So I mentioned my concern to my oldest (and wiser) sister who told me - she always throws these out! This should have been the obvious solution - although I did want my kids to direct me towards what they'd like for Christmas - but at this point they have circled half the catalog - so it's not working!

Greed - it is inside of all of us. As a matter of fact, when I sit back and think about it - how can I judge my son - when his own mother sits and ponders the Sunday ads faithfully every week? Maybe he's emulating me?

Jesus says in Luke 12:15 "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." So I ask myself - if I believe this - why do I have such an abundance of possesions? According to Consumer Reports, 12 million Americans are still paying off last year's Christmas - yikes!

Although I don't circle half the things I am looking at - as I receive all these Christmas catalogs - I am seeing things that appeal to this mommy also. Christmas is about giving - which requires shopping. And shopping can be filled with temptations if you lack self-control in this area. So let me encourage you to be aware - I John 2:16 says "the cravings of the sinful man and the lust of the eyes... come not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever."

I am by no means a shopaholic (and I have never carried a balance on a credit card - ever)- but I am a magnet to every deal - so I have to actively guard myself against the lust of the eyes and the cravings of my flesh! So as you shop Jesus reminds us, "Watch out! Be on your guard!"

Walk with the King!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ouch! I Burnt My Hand! Hell Must Hurt!

Ouch! I burnt my hand boiling some noodles! My pot boiled over and when I went to remove the pot, I sloshed it onto the inside of my right hand! Argh! After running my hand under cold water - which did not ease the pain - my very next thought literally was - "hell must hurt" - because I am in a lot of pain here!

Hell seems like this unreal place that I do not particularly like to visit in my mind. To imagine it, is to fear it and to fear those who may be going there. But Christ talked about it more than anyone else in the Bible. Jesus refers to it as a literal place and describes it in graphic terms like raging fires, or there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth there and there is no hope of comfort. (Luke 16:19-31, Matt. 8:12, 10:28, 13:40-42, Mark 9:43,44)

Randy Alcorn in the book Heaven says "Christ uses the same word translated "eternal" to describe the duration of both Heaven and Hell. Thus, if Heaven will be consciously experienced forever, Hell must be conscioulsy expereinced forever."

So this brings to mind the Jonathon Edwards sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." I pulled out my copy which has driven my passion to share the gospel with every soul I can find to listen! It reads:

"Your own wickedness weighs you down like lead and is dragging you down toward hell with great weight and force. If God would let you go, you would immediately sink, quickly descending and plunging into the bottomless gulf. All of your health and personal care, all of your best schemes, and all of your own righteousness would no better support you and keep you out of hell than a spider's web would stop a falling rock."

"For now, God stands ready to have pity on you; this is a day of mercy. Now you may cry with the hope of obtaining mercy. But once the day of mercy is past, your most serious and desperate cries for mercy will be in vain."

"O sinner! Think seriously about the fearful danger you are in. God is holding you over a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit full of the fire of His wrath. You are hanging by a slender thread with the flames of divine wrath burning around it...Yet, you have no interest in a mediator?"

All roads do not lead to heaven. Only one does: Jesus Christ. He said "No one comes to the Father but through me." (John 14:6) All other roads lead to hell. Sorry for the grim blog today - but maybe it will motivate us all to share the gospel more freely today and to fall on our knees and praise God for our salvation.

Walk with the King!

Ps. If you do not know Christ as your personal savior and would like to talk more about this please email me at

Monday, November 17, 2008

Discontent Americans

This morning I went to I Timothy 6 in my quiet time. Verse 6 says "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."

I received the below quote in an email last week and I felt it was an interesting perspective on America -

-written by Craig R. Smith and published on at Thanksgiving, 2006.

"Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3s of the country just isn't happy and want a change. I started thinking, ''What are we so unhappy about?'' Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year? Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state? Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough.

Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital. Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You maybe upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings.

Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes , an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67percent of you folks unhappy."

After reading this I definately rethought my views on America - and though this is an unstable time with the economy, housing market, wars and a new president-elect - we have soooo much to be thankful for and God calls us to just be content with food and clothes - look how much MORE he has given Americans! Praise His name today!

Walk with the King!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thanksgiving Traditions

Most of the leaves have fallen - it can mean only one thing - it's almost time for Thanksgiving and quickly following is Christmas. The holidays usher in a long list of traditions that we will participate in - from turkey and pumpkin pie on the Thanksgiving table to decking the halls with Christmas decorations while listening to my old Amy Grant tape (yes, that's not a misprint - I did say tape!) As far back as I can remember my family listened to this record while we decorated our tree - and now my children do the same!

The word "tradition" is not found in the Old Testament but God does give instructions for remembering works that God has done through practices that are traditions. Exodus 12:42 is speaking about the Passover and says "Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come."

Here's how we are to practice traditions:

1. Use them to remember what the Lord has done for us - "Because the Lord kept vigil".

2. As the passage says, use them "to honor the Lord".

3. Teach them to your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren so they too will honor the Lord - "for the generations to come".

Noel Piper says "A tradition is a planned habit with significance."

My Thanksgiving traditions are like most - eat some turkey, spend time with the family, avoid shopping plazas and watch some football. But I'd like to start a spiritual tradition. Does anyone have a spiritual tradition that they could share with me (and others)! I'd love to hear what your families do - and maybe my family can adopt your tradition too!

Walk with the King!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fatigue and Exhaustion

On Tuesday at Bible study a few of us mom's were agreeing that one of the things that steals our joy is fatigue and exhaustion. I've already written for days on joy - so now I want to address what I believe is one of the main thieves of joy for women.

I know many of us are in different walks of life - but one thing we have in common is that we are tired. Your tiredness could be from many factors - from college work to newborn babies to waiting up late for your teens to arrive home from dates - it all brings one thing - fatigue!

For me it's my pace of life. Does your calendar look crazy for the next 7 weeks?! The holiday season quickly fills our calendars with "fun" events that can exhaust us women and steal our joy! Not to mention that whether we have a full calendar or not there are clothes to be washed, floors to be mopped, and meals to be cooked.

When we get physically weary we give the enemy an open door to attack us. We become irritable, lazy in our disciplines whether it's in our quiet times or our eating habits and mood swings. We lose the joy in our call to be a wife and mom - because these other "fun" activities are stealing our joy! Isn't that ironic?

So what's the solution? The calendar is full - there may not be much you can do to change that. And I'm pretty sure there will always be laundry, meals and a clean house needed - so I think of Hebrews 13:15 which says "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise." In moments of stress the last thing we feel like doing is praise God! But then that is why it is referred to as a "sacrifice".

Praise is not optional in our walk with God. When we praise the Lord He fills us with His presence and refreshes and refuels our spirits. Whether it's an overflow of thanksgiving or a cry out of emptiness - praise is the answer.

So my confession - I have begun to play Christian Christmas music in my home and in my car - I know it's a little early - that's why it's a confession - please tell me I am not alone! Yep - the CD's are rockin' and yesterday the kids and I were singing falalalalalalala as we drove down the road. If you were a fly on the window you would have seen a car full of smiling faces - it works!

Walk with the King!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Getting My Heart Ready for Thanksgiving!

I came across this poem that I loved and that I have to share with you! I Thessalonians 5:18 says "Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." For a Christian everyday should be thanksgiving as we daily celebrate God's goodness in our lives. Here's a poem with that reminder:

I love the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

I love the taxes I pay because it means that I'm employed.

I love the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
I love a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.

I love all the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.

I love the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.

I love my huge heating bill because it means I am warm.

I love the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear.

I love the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.

I love weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.

I love the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I'm alive!
- Author Unknown

We have so much to be thankful for - we just need to adjust our perspective and open our eyes to all the many many blessings that we have been given - then our hearts will overflow with thanksgiving.

Walk With the King!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In God's Presence

This morning I am reviewing my memory verse for Bible study and in a few hours I'll be expected to know it and dare I admit - I do not have it memorized yet!!! I could be writing on procrastination this morning - but I'll save that for another day hehe!

So here's the verse I'm working on Psalms 16:11 "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

The Psalmist says "you have made known to me the path of life" - amen! Yes - Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life (Jn. 14:6) and God has made that known to me. Then he says "You will fill me with joy in your presence" - now that statement is GOLDEN! When will I be filled with joy? In God's presence! Here on earth I will never experience full joy because of the sorrows of life - but one day in Heaven, in God's presence, I will have full joy. But for now - on this planet earth - where is my joy found? In God's presence.

If you are struggling to have joy in your life - start first by getting into the presence of God - turn the television and ipod off, get on your knees and speak to God Almighty the creator of the heavens and earth. He hears your prayers - he loves you and cares for you! He longs for you to open the Bible and hear his words of comfort or guidance.

If you are struggling to have joy in your marriage - go to God's word and be refreshed in his presence. If you are struggling in your parenting - finding anger and frustration more than joy - turn to God and ask him to help you. If you are fearful of your financial state and it's robbing you of joy - turn to God and cast your anxiety on him - he cares for you! Whatever it is - he bids you to come and find joy and rest in his presence.

The verse ends by saying there are "eternal pleasures at your right hand." We find momentary pleasures on Youtube or shopping with the girls - and God isn't offering those fleeting pleasures - he is offering you ETERNAL pleasures! Have you experienced this joy and pleasure in your life? They come with the price tag of Christ's blood shed for you. Pursue it.

Do not turn away this pleasure he offers you - go to his presence and Walk with the King!
Courtney Joseph
Ps. What did you read in your quiet time? Anyone feel comfortable to share?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Practicing Thankfulness in My Marriage

I started taking piano lessons at the age of 5 and from that age until I was almost 12 I practiced piano nearly everyday. I remember my mom "forcing me" to practice over and over. And so I obeyed - sometimes unwillingly (poor mom - she deserves a gold star!!!) - but I practiced. As a result there are a few songs I have committed to memory and every once in a while I sit at our piano and just go to town on these songs. My children dance around the room and we have great joy together as a family. I've played these songs for so long - my fingers just naturally hit the right notes without any thought or effort.

You know the saying "practice makes perfect" - well I believe this applies to marriage. What are you practicing in your marriage? Have you practiced bitterness, hurt feelings (which is really anger) and discord so long that you just naturally hit these notes or respond this way to every little thing your husband does wrong? Do you find it easy to complain?

If everyday you practice a thankful heart that is merry and joyful you will find hitting the notes of thankfulness easier and easier. It starts by forcing yourself to have a happy heart as Proverbs 15:13 says, "A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit."NIV

Some people may say - "I'm not like you - bubbly and cheerful". And though I am FAR FAR FAR FAR from perfect I can say that "practice makes perfect" and God has been forcing me to practice thankfulness through difficult circumstances in my own marriage. For the last 2 years my husband has traveled extensively for his work. This has brought some unique challenges into our marriage but it has also made me extremely thankful when he is home to just have him there!!!

After Elizabeth Elliot had been a widow for 13 years her second husband proposed and she said "There is one thing I can give you that no woman on earth can outdo me in, and that's appreciation. The perspective of widowhood had taught me that.
Though marriage is "till death do us part" - there are no guarantees that we will have tomorrow together. Elizabeth Elliot was caught off guard when her young husband was murdered and she was left with a little toddler to raise on her own. Her appreciation and thankful heart was cultivated through this tragedy. So - let it not take a tragedy for us to realize how blessed we are and let's practice a thankful heart and make sure you tell your husband TODAY that you are thankful for him. The joy of the Lord is my strength!

Walk with the King!


Friday, November 7, 2008

Is Marital Bliss Possible?

Hmmmm... Is marital bliss possible? I am currently reading a really enlightening book on marriage and it has opened my eyes to how cranky women (more specifically "I") can be! Yes, it's easy for us to try to take the role of teacher and judge to our husbands - thinking that we see their faults and we are here to point them out - but does taking that role ever bring a woman marital bliss? Nope!

We know that when our husbands fell in love with us it was not because we were wonderful teachers and judges - no they married us because they loved the sparkle in our eye when we smiled at them, they loved how we made them feel, they loved how we respected their thoughts and wanted to hear and understand them. They loved how we embraced their dreams of the future and were so trusting and loyal and how we overlooked their short comings. Then they married us - and well - Proverbs 19:13 says "a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping."

Do you catch yourself maybe not criticizing your husband out loud but thinking critical thoughts in your heart - maybe he comes home late from work one night and your annoyed that dinner is cold. Then he does it again. Then he does it again and suddenly you boil over with anger and an abundance of bitterness comes out. Luke 6:45 says "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."

What if in the dinner situation we thought how blessed we are to have such a hard working husband who brings a pay check home so we can have a warm home, food on the table and a bright future for the children? There are women who are all alone at dinner time with no husband to be expected. They are living pay check to pay check and worried about their children's future. If we thought this way - when our husband walked through the door he'd be greeted with a warm hug rather than the cold shoulder.

Who you are behind closed doors when no one sees, is who you really are. Does your husband come home to a quarrelsome wife or a wife who has a sparkle in her smile when she looks at him? Does your husband feel judged by you or does he love the way you make him feel? Now you may say - but Courtney - you don't know the awful things my husband does! I don't - you are correct - but I do know that God's word says to not be quarrelsome and to store up good things in our hearts - no exceptions are given.

When we resolve our own heart issues and choose to have joy (see past 2 blogs) I believe every woman can have marital bliss. Because bliss (or joy) does not come from our husbands but from God. And when we are obeying God's word and doing his will we will find peace, rest and joy.

Walk with the King!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Joy - Part 2

Okay - yesterday I started out my day focusing on Matthew 10:20 which says - our "names are written in heaven" (see yesterdays blog). This reminder gave me joy. Then I turned on the radio in my car - and as I listened to the news sadness flooded my heart. I took my mind off of Christ and immediately all the joy had left my soul!

So I thought I need to re-address this issue for my own hearts sake. Isn't life sometimes a battle for joy! The reality is life can be hard - and joy is not our natural reaction to disappointments.

John Piper says "By nature we get more pleasure from God's gifts than from himself." This is truth. But when we suffer a loss I think we realize that God is still there and he is enough.

I was reading in Acts 16 during my quiet time. It's a familiar story - do you remember the story of Paul and Silas when they had cast a demon out of a servant girl and the master was very angry? He had Paul and Silas beaten and flogged and then thrown into jail. How did Paul and Silas respond to their jail time? Acts 16:25 says "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God."

Awesome! They were praying and not just praying but singing! Paul and Silas walked so closely with God that in the midst of literal torment (they were not just in jail but in chains) they were able to sing praises to God.

Well, I was not beaten or flogged this morning - so my day is going better than Paul and Silas's yet I cannot on my own conjure up joyful emotions. Paul and Silas so loved God that it was the overflow of their heart to rejoice. Galatians 5:22,23 says "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

So the challenge is to not be led by our emotions but to walk in the Spirit and yield to him today. Crank up your worship CD's girls!
Walk with the King!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Joy in the Midst of Unanswered Prayers

So what do we do when God answers our prayers with a big "no". I have prayed a lot over the last month about the outcome of the election and things did not go my way. Have you taken a problem to the throne room of heaven and humbly asked God to do something and He answers "no." I have. We have two ways we can respond - get angry and lose faith OR have peace, keep the faith and one step further, just simply appreciate the many blessings God has already given us. We can mope around with a sad face - or change our countenance and have joy in the midst of our disappointment.

On what basis can we have such joy? Jesus says in Matthew 10:20 "rejoice that your names are written in heaven." If you are born again - your name is on the reservation list in heaven!!! I love it! Doesn't it feel good when you arrive at a restaurant and there your name is on the list and they seat you immediately! They've been expecting you and no questions are asked, you are simply ushered into the restaurant. This is what it will be like in heaven - God will open the book of life and there your name will be written and he will welcome you in.

Revelation 17:8 says that our names were written before the creation of the world! We have been saved from the lake of fire, the second death and judgement since the creation of the world! Hallelujah! Doesn't that make you want to smile!

Psalm 39 says our life is just a breath - it's short - but we will be in heaven for eternity! And Psalm 43:4 says that God is my joy and delight. He is our joy! We don't have to seek joy through entertainment, friends or even answered prayers - but simply find joy in God - he is my joy! I need nothing else - I don't need a perfect husband, perfect children, a perfectly ordered home or prayers to be answered my way - I just need God - God alone is my pure joy! So the challenge of the day is to go smile and radiate the joy of the Lord to everyone around you despite your circumstances! If you focus on nothing but your name in heaven you will find that you can't help but to smile - there's so much to look forward to in eternity!

Walk with the King!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This Blog is not About the Election!

There is NO escaping the fact that today is a huge day in the history of America! Today either a black man will become our first President or a woman will become our first Vice-President. It's huge and exciting! Tonight every channel on television will be about the election results - and the suspense of such a tension filled race has us all on the edge of our seats - wondering if the polls have been right.

It's riveting - But it's temporal! God has mandated one way to change this world and it's through the transforming power of his word and Christ's work on the cross - so, we will waste no more time on politics and return to the transforming power of God's word and Christ!

Christ means "the annointed one by God to save his people". And Jesus has made many debuts in our pop culture - like in Carrie Underwood's song "Jesus Take the Wheel" or Kanye West wearing a crown of thorns on the cover of a magazine. Madonna, Ashton Kutcher, Brad Pitt and Pamela Anderson have worn t-shirts that say "Jesus is my homeboy". And in the world of sports we almost always see the winner say thanks to Jesus. Jesus really is popular in our culture - until you say He is the ONLY way to heaven.

Pop culture America likes to think of Jesus as a type of Mr. Rogers - loving, kind, and a docile teacher. But do they see him as Almighty God - the one who stopped a raging storm? Now that's a miracle I've yet to see a tele-evangelist perform! Buddha, Muhammad and Gandhi claimed to speak FOR God - but Jesus claimed to BE God! Jesus was not crucified for his miracles or parables - but for claiming to be God.

And while many cults have offered the path to heaven Jesus has said he is the ONLY way to heaven (John 14:6). So I challenge you today - no matter what nation you reside in - be faithful in preaching and leading a godly life. Do not confront culture with political and social activism but with the spiritual power of God's word.

John McArthur says: "This is a lesson evangelicals ought to know from church history. Whenever the church has focused on evangelism and preaching the gospel, her influence has increased. When she has sought power by political, cultural, or military activism, she has damaged or spoiled her testimony."

So if it was a rough day at the polls for Christians - do not lose heart! Do as Christ said "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19,20

Walk with the King!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Day Desperation!

We are down to the wire today! Today both candidates will pull out the stops in their final desperation to get out the vote! Desperation - what does it bring out in you? For some it's the best - we perform well under pressure. For others desperation looks ugly and we buckle under pressure.

One of my college friends, Jackie Fuchs, said something poignant last week. She said "when there's a deadline, a goal, or a final end to a race we see desperation." And she wonders if we treat life's race to eternity with the same desperation. No one on this earth knows when Christ will return - we are just asked to be prepared. If we knew wouldn't we live life differently? How desperate would our plea be to those around us to choose Christ or to spread the Word that He is the One to choose?

Have you been involved in any political debates or discussions over this election? I hope that you will fight with the same vigor to share the gospel and convince people to choose Christ. These are desperate times when evil is called good and good is called evil.

2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2 says "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For He says "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation."

Do you hear the desperation in the words "appeal, implore, urge, now, now"?

Stand for truth. Stand for truth at the polls - and stand for truth in your everyday life. I desperately ask you to vote tomorrow and then put it behind you - and go and be an ambassador for Christ. Be sure your loved ones and neighbors know - today is the day of salvation! They desperately need to choose Christ!

Walk with the King!