He Prepares A Table For Me

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When we think of preparing a table we think of a feast. That is exactly what this post speaks to. A feast with a variety of food, the best china and silverware and all the finest food that’s been elegantly prepared. Now stretch your mind a little and instead of seeing a feast of food, look at a feast of possibilities because all things are possible with God. God prepares a feast for you and your only mandate is to come and choose from among the endless possibilities. He prepares opportunities for your success and great surprises as well.

The man whom you choose should never be limiting. He should see the endless possibilities in himself and in you and should prepare an environment where those possibilities are able to thrive and come alive. He should not be the one who fills you wth doubt and he should not be the one who places limits on your potential. Instead he should be your greatest ally. He should be your best encourager.

That is not to say that he doesn’t steer you in the right direction as he has your best interest at heart. That is not to say that he won’t say no to certain things that are not beneficial to you. How will he know that? He is a man of God, a man who truly took the time to get to know you. He is a man who wasn’t only after sex but after a whole woman because he is a whole man. He is a man who knows what it means to be a husband, a man who has died out to his selfish desires as he looks after you.

And what is your role in all of this? You have prepared yourself. You’ve become the woman who is attractive to a man who isn’t carrying around baggage. You aren’t selfish, lazy or determined to sabotage a good relationship because you failed to recognize a whole man.

1 Corinthians – Christmas Version

My Christmas Tree before the dogs decided to play tug 'o war with it.

First Corinthians- Christmas version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny tinsel, 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 colored lights and crocheted snowflakes, hang stockings on the mantel and attend a myriad of holiday parties, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

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

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

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

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

-Something to think about as we try to provide the “perfect” Christmas each and every year.
The stuff is forgotten but the memories of love, happiness, friends, and family will remain.

The Spirit Of The Wannabe

In the bible there was a man named Adonijah who thought he was leadership material and announced it by taking over a kingdom. He had a few followers but the true leadership of the time wasn’t behind him. He took over without the blessing of King David who had promised the throne to Solomon.

1 Kings 1:5 Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, “I will be king.” So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him. 6 (His father had never interfered with him by asking, “Why do you behave as you do?” He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.) 7 Adonijah conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they gave him their support. 8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei and Rei and David’s special guard did not join Adonijah.

Because he never qualified for leadership, he was unseated rather quickly. Rather than take it like a man, he went to the King’s mother to complain that he had been unseated unfairly. In Adonijah’s own eyes he was owed something. So we find Adonijah complaining with the victim mentality of how he is now owed something and trying to make a deal he has no right even asking for.

1 Kings 2:13 Now Adonijah, the son of Haggith, went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. Bathsheba asked him, “Do you come peacefully?” He answered, “Yes, peacefully.” 14 Then he added, “I have something to say to you.” “You may say it,” she replied. 15 “As you know,” he said, “the kingdom was mine. All Israel looked to me as their king. But things changed, and the kingdom has gone to my brother; for it has come to him from the Lord.

So there is nothing new here. It is the Spirit of the Wannabe and it struck a chord with me. Leadership always makes a place for itself. It can’t be faked. I have been a leader my whole life. Part of it is that I was a first born and so naturally bossy and a take-charge personality. A bigger part is a God-ordained gift. Pastor Doug laughs when I bring up the Spirit of the Wannabe and has added to the phrase, “Those that don’t wannabe leaders often are.” It’s true. Leaders naturally lead and others always see their ability.

The Wannabe tries to overtake a position without qualification. The Wannabe is the one crying loudly about how victimized they are and yet how much of a leader they are and how they would do things differently. They create chaos and in that chaos they try to overtake a position. True leadership makes a place for itself through natural talent, appropriately directed. Satan was an angel who had a gift of praise and worship and a position in a kingdom but like Adonijah he tried to forcibly take a position that wasn’t his. Satan was the first one with the Spirit of the Wannabe. He got a few followers but was not able to sustain it and he was unseated in quick order.

You see a true leader really doesn’t fail. The idea may not work but it doesn’t keep the leader stuck in a losing proposition for any length of time. The true leader gets up and tries again even when they don’t want to because their gift directs their path. They never need smoke and mirrors they just are. Leadership is natural but it still has to be developed to its full potential. This is where the Wannabe and the Leader part ways. The leader takes the time to develop skills, the wannabe fakes it saying phrases like “fake it till you make it”. Only the problem with that is authentic leadership doesn’t have to fake it, and wannabes never make it.

Broken

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A homeless man who is mentally ill and needs some warm clothes.

A welfare mom who was born to a welfare mom and doesn’t know any better.

A woman whose husband has left her, alone and afraid with small children and without income.

A person who knows how to work the system.

A drug addict who is looking for something to steal to sell for money for more drugs.

A pregnant woman who has no home.

A family who, due to the economy, has lost their home.

A person with excess who hasn’t learned to give.

A religious person who stands in judgment of it all.

A person who looks away because they are afraid.

A person who believes others owe them something.

A teen who feels entitled because all of her life she’s been told she is princess.

A cheater who thinks others don’t know.

A person who can never get enough because of their poverty mindset.

A smooth operator.

A person who points fingers at everyone but themselves.

I meet these people every day in my ministry. They all have one thing in common. They are broken. For whatever reason, for whatever circumstance, they are broken. Powerful in their original design by the Father but life has taken its toll.

Everyone to an extent is chipped and fragmented. Some hide it better than others, others insist that everything is fine. I can’t ignore it. I can’t fix it. I can only lead them to the One that has a remedy. Nights like tonight it seems overwhelming.

The Lost Sheep

Every year I take the boxes of Christmas decorations out of the garage and begin to take the decorations out of their packaging and arrange the house. I bought this shepherd, star and sheep at a craft fair several years ago in honor of my husband being a Pastor.

Every year at the beginning of the Christmas season I pull the star and the shepherd out of one box and then can’t find the sheep. Each year I vow to pack them together so that they don’t get lost and each year at the end of the season for some strange reason they don’t get put back together. I have a lot of ornaments and it takes time to find the sheep. One year, I found it on top of the guest room closet after going back out to the garage sure that I had missed a box. Go figure that one out. I’m still trying to figure out how that happened as well.

Everything stops as I go looking for this lost sheep. I don’t move forward with the decorating because it bugs me that I’ve lost it again this year. It reminded me of a story in the bible as I was looking all over this sheep.

Luke 15:3. Then Jesus told them this parable:
4. “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
5. And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders
6. and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’
7. I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

I have 100’s of ornaments but I look for this one each year. I stop everything I am doing to find it. What is it about sheep that get lost? The feeling of finally finding it gives me great joy as I call out “Found it!”

This Christmas when I found the sheep I put it in its place next to the Shepherd and I thanked the Lord. The not-so-simple little feat of leaving the other sheep behind to go off and find me when I was lost is not wasted on me. The fact that the angels rejoice when one is found takes my breath away. Think about it, what is one in 6 billion people? Yet, everything stops as the God of the Universe sends his only begotten son to earth to search and to find that one that was lost? Then he carefully restored that sheep to stand next to the shepherd where he was called to be all along.

He Won’t Disown Me Because I Am A Part Of Him

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God chose me before the foundation of the world. There is no going back on that. When I recognized him for who he was, I gave myself fully to him and I haven’t looked back. Divorcing God is not an option for me. I’m in it for life.

This how your relationship should be. It shouldn’t be one where you are just there until something better comes along. It should be solidly cemented where neither of you has a desire to go anywhere else. This is what it truly means to be a part of one another.

Find someone who at 2 a.m., when he’s opening a bag of chips and waking you up with the crunching and you give him the death look, you love him anyway, knowing you’ll have bags under your eyes. Find someone who loves you when you do your own manic things as well. Don’t hook up with a man who doesn’t understand that there are times in a marriage when you both don’t want to deal with anymore of your stuff but you do anyway. Don’t hook up with a man who thinks it’s okay to throw the relationship out the window when times are tough. Find someone who recognizes that you are a part of him and he is a part of you and without the other there would be a part missing. Find someone who is in it for life. Most importantly do the work right now to be that person with whom a man wants to claim you and be a part of your life forever.

Perspective

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So in my line of work these questions come up all the time. The judgments we are called to make or not make are sometimes very tough on these hearts of ours. Sometimes they speak more about us then they do about the people we serve. I’ll let you read what I am talking about for yourself on Stuff Christians Like. Click here.

Submission Continued

I love military life. I love the protocol and I love the well-executed plan. It fits my personality to have order. In the military and in boardrooms across the world there is a meeting where everyone is given a task and expected to fulfill it. There is a meeting of the mind where everyone and everything is clear. A general never goes to battle with soldiers who don’t know what they are going to do because he expects to win. To do so would be foolish. It makes it easy when the couple is on the same page. Often though we hear a couple say, “He/She should know what we are working towards.” Without a meeting of the minds in which both people come together to set the mission, there is no mission, only chaos. We can’t assume anything. A mission must be clearly defined.

Just tell a woman that you want to go to Fiji next summer and that it’s going to take $10k to go. I guarantee you she will clip coupons and wear ‘that ‘ol thing’ in the closet to get the money to go. Tell her you want to save an extra couple of grand for her new wardrobe and she’ll make it happen. Most women are not evil or scattered. They are willing and able to help a mission to get on its way. If she didn’t love the man or didn’t care about their family, she’d go shopping but most often she want to please him and he clearly set the mission and she is going to follow it.

What if I don’t agree with the mission? I mean, this one is an easy one to submit to because I get something right? That happens sometimes when we don’t agree we don’t want to submit to the plan. The time to speak is in the initial meeting. I would voice my opinion and why I don’t think it’s going to work. You can’t whine, you don’t get emotional, you just practically stated your views and back them up with fact. Sometimes your appeal works and sometimes it doesn’t but let’s face it, this is when the rubber meets the road. Submission isn’t submission until you disagree.

So you have to ask yourself two important questions. Does my agreeing to submit to this plan violate my relationship with God? Does my agreeing to submit violate my belief system? If the answer is yes, then you can’t submit period. You can’t override your convictions without losing a part of yourself. BUT HERE IS THE GREAT PART! Your man, the one who vowed to love you forever, would never ask you violate these areas of your heart because the bible is very clear that we submit one to another. God really had the idea that we’d work together for the good of the whole and not for the good of the one. That means that I don’t pull the conviction card out for just anything. I really have to be honest and search my heart. Let me just say here that if you are really honest most things don’t fall into this category. Just because you don’t want to do it, does not excuse you.

There is nothing sadder, and I mean this nothing sadder, than a woman without a mission. She will use her energy for what she thinks needs to be done and we don’t need to ask Eve the outcome of that story. There is nothing more dangerous than a marriage without a mission. It may limp along but it will never be what God designed it to be. A marriage without a mission doesn’t have unity, peace and ultimately the blessing of God. If you find yourself in a marriage without a mission it’s time for a meeting. It’s time for a God-seeking moment. Simply ask the question, what are we working for and how are we going to get there? God will bring the answer. Then work the plan.