Friday, July 23, 2010

I received this email today and thought I would share it with anyone who may read my blog.

I haven't read Rick Warren's book or done the Purpose Driven Life Study yet, but, I think he is a pretty amazing man and I think His love for God and his family and his ministry is wonderful.

You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now
having cancer and him having 'wealth' from the book sales. This is an
absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren, 'Purpose Driven
Life ' author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California .

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:
People ask me, What is the purpose of life?
And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were
not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body--
but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of
years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants
us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity..

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life
isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just
coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than
your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in
making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of
life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the
toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark
time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of
like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good
and something bad in your life..

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad
that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something
good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems:
If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centerdness, which
is my problem, my issues, my pain.' But one of the easiest ways to get rid
of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of
thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her-
It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her
character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a
testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.
Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For
instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million
copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with
before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or
for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety
and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what
to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our
lifestyle one bit.. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from
the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan
to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and
educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since
I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able
to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or
am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God,
if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love
You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's
more interested in what I am than what I do.

That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.
Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD..

2 Corinthians 9 (taken from The Literary Study Bible ESV)
1.Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints. 2. for I know your rediness, of which I boast about you tothe people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3. But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4. Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated-to say nothing of you- for being so confident. 5. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you ad arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.
6. The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows bountifully will reap bountifully. 7. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under copulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9. As it is written, "He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."
10. He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14. while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Psalm 72 (taken from The Literary Study Bible ESV)
Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son!
2. May he judge your people with righteousness. and your poor with justice!
3. Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness!
4. May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!

5. May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
6. May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth!
7. In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!

8. May he have dominion from the sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth!
9. May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust!
10. May the king of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts!
11. May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!

12. For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper.
13. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.
14. From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight.

15. Long may he live; may gold of Sheba be given to him! May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day!
16. May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may it's fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field!
17. May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed!

18. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.
19. Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!
20. The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Being "Pruned" hurts

I purchased a little book called "100 Verses Every Mom Needs To Know." Everyday, I'm supposed to memorize a scripture, for my benefit and for the benefit of the kiddos. Today's verse, is something I struggle with. The key word being "I".

2 Peter 3:18 (ESV)
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Even though the root of the verse deals with spiritual growth, it's the process of growing spiritually that's uncomfortable. Life's lessons are sometimes painful. My friend Lindsay says, "Anna, God is pruning you and pruning is uncomfortable." And she is correct.

I've never had the patience of Job. And God prunes me in this area of my life daily. God puts people in my life that I'm FORCED to be patient with. Lately, I'm failing miserably. Now, after a day of dealing with situations where I need to be patient, I'm reflecting on my behavior. Did I just talk the talk? Or did I actually walk the walk? Answer... I need to do better. Friends, I ask you to please pray for me in this area. I don't want to ruin my witness because I have zero patience.

James 1:19 (ESV)
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

I struggle with completely trusting God with my issues. Why is it so hard to say, "Lord, I'm at a loss. My way doesn't work. Your will is what I desire. Please Jesus, take it. Take it from me. I don't want the burden of it any longer."??? I know that He says He knows the desires of my heart. It's hard to "let go" because we are used to the immediate answer. I'm having to remind myself that the immediate answer is not always God's answer. Over the years I've learned that Anna's answers aren't worth spitting on! God's TRUTH is ALWAYS reliable and ALWAYS right!
Psalm 37:4 (ESV)
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

John 14:6 (ESV)
And Jesus said, I am the way and the truth and the life...

I'm also learning that spiritual growth doesn't always come through adversity. And the more I grow spiritually the more I learn to remember Him and praise Him in the happiness and beautiful aspects of my life. For instance today, I was dreading the heat in a cemetery with nearly no shade. The heat and humidity of being outside in my funeral suit for no telling how long was so despairing. As we pulled into the cemetery in our air conditioned vehicles, I looked for our tent over the grave. It was then that I noticed that our tent was up in the one spot in the whole cemetery with shade! God knew that the desire of my heart today was to not be in the open sun! And you know what??? He answered that prayer! I immediately looked up and said, thank you Lord! It makes me smile that even simple prayers like that, He answers. He loves me. I don't deserve any of it. None of us do. But He loves me in spite of my selfish, impatient, bad tempered, moody ways. And I'm so thankful He does.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lead Me

Sanctus Real - “Lead Me”

I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling
But on the inside, I can hear her saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They're just children from the outside
I'm working hard, I tell myself they'll be fine
They're in independent
But on the inside, I can hear them saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I'm called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won't You lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can't
Don't want to leave them hungry for love,
Chasing things that I could give up

I'll show them I'm willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

Father, lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

In early May of this year, I knew my marriage was over. So much had happened in the last almost 4 years. And so much had dramatically changed in the last 11 months.

As I began a new chapter in my life, this song.... THIS SONG...played on KLove...
As tears blurred my vision, my heart broke at the words I was hearing and the words that were on the surface of my heart, but I just couldn't VOCALIZE. Facing another divorce instead.
The lyrics to this song is exactly what I wanted to say. But not to the person I thought I wanted to.
I have realized something in the year that I have been saved. I can't do anything without my Heavenly Father. He leads me with strong hands, stands up for me and NEVER ever leaves me hungry for love. I know I can't make it one single day without Him nor do I want to. When Jacob and Olivia look at me with their sweet eyes, I want them to see my desire for Jesus and not the world. I want them to look to Jesus for everything.
Now, depending on God to lead me, instead of the world, things are different. And I pray that God will give me strength to be who He intends. A child of The King, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, an aunt, an employee and maybe one day (again) a wife to the one He wanted me to be with all along.

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bedtime talks with Jesus

I began the process of getting Olivia in bed around 8 p.m. tonight. We knelt on the floor beside her little bed and began to say our bedtime prayers. (Which are sweet moments that I'll cherish with both my children for the rest of my life)

I always say the prayer and Olivia ends it by repeating "AMEN" and clapping! HA! Tonight was a little different though. My sweet little girl, bowed her head, closed her eyes and with her little hands pressed together in a genuinely innocent prayer to JESUS, said "TANKS"... That may not seem like much to other people, but, to me, that one sweet word (which by the way, translates into Thanks) was the beginning of her verbal prayers to God... I scooped her up and praised the One who blessed me with this sweet little girl!

but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” MATTHEW 19:14 ESV

James 1:1-6; 17-Trials and Joy / Doubt and TRUST IN JESUS

This is my very first Blog! YAY!

Tony has been giving us a series of sermons on the book of James. I have never read through James up to this point. I'm learning that James is a very practical book and very straight forward. James is telling us to have faith and do... I'm learning a few things... One, being, FAITH + GOOD WORKS = FRUIT.

But, also, to be thankful and for the troubles or trying times in my life. God is pruning me and pruning is NOT comfortable. However, by God's pruning there is also a time of healing. I'm learning I'm never alone.

James 1: 1-4

1. James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.
2. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
3. for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
4. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

As I'm embarking on a new journey, these scriptures became a solace for me. It NEVER seems joyful as I face trials. But, as I said before, God's pruning is NEVER comfortable; but what He produces through our trials is a beautiful thing. And that IS joyful!

James 1:5-6; 17

5. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
6. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

17. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

I told a friend the other day, "Tell God what you NEED", I need to take that advice myself. I'm so hesitant to tell my heavenly Father what I need. He knows what I need, He just wants me TO ASK HIM!!! Then, the other hard part is to believe HE will answer that prayer. Having faith is something that has always been difficult for me. In fact, the only time I've ever had complete faith is on June 24, 2009 when I through faith asked Jesus to come and live in my heart and be the LORD of my life. Having faith in anything of this world is never easy. Looking at all instances in my life, if it had anything in the world to do with this world, I always was and am currently doubtful. Verse 17 confirms that EVERY good and perfect gift is from God. I never have to doubt my sweet Jesus.