Thursday, July 31, 2008

07/31/08 - Rejoice, Prayer, Thankfulness

Last night John and I studied 1 Thess. 5:12-22

He pointed out:
16 Rejoice (be glad) always;
17 pray without ceasing;
18 in everything give thanks

He went on to explain that it's hard to have all three: rejoice, prayer and thanks, in everything and all situations.

When things are going well it's easy to rejoice and be thankful, but we may forget prayer because all is running smooth.

If we're walking through a tough situation it may be hard to be thankful. If we have unmet expectations we may have a hard time rejoicing, but we're good at praying for what we want.

It was a good reminder to be glad always, pray continually and have a thankful heart!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

07/30/08 - God's Love

I may have shared this video before, but I am reminded of God's love for us.

No matter what happens God's love doesn't change. No matter what loss we have, no matter what expectations are unmet, no matter how wounded we are, no matter how slandered we are, no matter what trials we face, no matter how deep our pain, no matter our sin...God loves us, God love us, God LOVES us!

HOW DEEP THE FATHER'S LOVE FOR US

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

07/29/08 - Influences

I just read: Chats with an old lady (Gina) blog today. Her question was stemmed from attending The Rebelution Tour about who are your companions.

I'd suggest you read her blog, but I wanted to share a couple of thoughts.

Many people tell me how hard emotional purity is lived out in life. They struggle with really waiting and not having a desire to date before they're ready to get married and God brings the person for them. They share how truly giving up this area of their life seems completely impossible!

I'd recommend that you look at who you are spending time with. Are they other men and women with the same vision? Are they seeking to lay down dating to purse God? Are they trusting God fully with their future?

Gina said at the conference one the Harris' said it's not just who you spend time with, but what you watch on TV, what you read, and what you listen to.

Are you reading romance novels that keep your head always in the "la la land of marriage"? Are you watching TV shows were pre-marital sex is glorified or where the main characters are always bouncing from one relationship to the next? Maybe you're listening to music that talks about broken hearts, love, and be dissatisfied with not having someone.

If you're struggling with maintaining emotional purity, examine what you're allowing to influence you!

Thanks Gina for a great post!

Monday, July 28, 2008

07/28/08/ Seasons

Yesterday, as I was walking through the halls of our church I walked past a young man who recently graduated high school. I stopped and asked him, "Is it weird to not be at high school camp this week?" (High school camp just started yesterday.)

His response, "Yes, I was just thinking how it's strange to not be on the bus on my way to camp."

As I walked away from that brief conversation I thought of the seasons of life. I remember when I start high school it felt like college was forever away. Then as I graduated high school those four years of college seemed long! But they also flew by.

Life is marked by seasons: tough seasons, enjoyable seasons, seasons you wish lasted longer, season you wish were shorter. All of us have seasons. It may feel like your season won't change, but it will!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

07/26/08 Daniel (part 2)

I didn't think there would be two posts from this weeks family devotionals, but I wanted to share with you these verses from Daniel 6:

3 Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.

They could find NOTHING against Daniel, NOTHING! How I long for my life to so reflect God's love that all my actions prove be blameless! He walked in integrity, in all matters. Praise God for such a great example of faithfulness and trust.

Friday, July 25, 2008

07/25/08 - Daniel

For our family devotions (having such young children) we study one story all week. We'll read it from the bible, a children's bible, a toddler bible, we'll retell story using our own words, we'll watch a video, sing a song about it...just about anything to have the boys remember the story. The last night (Saturday) is their turn to tell the story. I have enjoyed having family devotions in this manner with our boys.

This week we're studying Daniel and the lions den. (On a side note, Luke, my two year old, woke up yesterday telling me, "There's a lion downstairs!" He came down, checked the house, and announced in his sweet two year old voice, "The lions is gone!"

A brief overview of Daniel 6, is that some of the king's officials were jealous of Daniel and his favor with King Darius, so they smooth talked the king to write a law saying if anyone prayed to any other god than the king, they'd be thrown into the lions pit.

Here was Daniel's reaction:

Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

Nothing changed! He did not hide or pray with the window closed. He fully trusted that God would protect him...whether He spared his life or not, that didn't matter to him. Pleasing God was far more important to Daniel than what any man made law said.

Do we do this? No there are not laws about praying to only a certain king, but we have unwritten societal laws in our society. Things we just don't talk about, as to not offend someone (abortion and homosexuality are two that instantly come to mind), so we Christian's don't say anything and we watch on the sidelines.

We must be informed and love people enough to share the truth with them. In our society of: what works for you works for you and we must be tolerant of everything mindset, it can be tough standing up for truth (then again our society says there is no such thing as absolute truth)! But take courage my friend and be faithful in what God has called you to!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

07/24/08 - Being Aware

In the past couple of months I have been investigating and talking to different people about the Emerging Church Movement. Some would say it's not a church and it's not a movement, but it's worth looking into, especially if you're headed off to college this fall.

This "movement" is trying to minister to the post-modern culture, but has some of it's key doctrine very wrong!

I listened to a great message about the emerging church by Justin Taylor. (Go to the bottom of this web page to find the download) Mr. Taylor says that trying to figure out their doctrine is like "nailing jello to a wall."

Again, if you're headed off to college (or minister to college students), study this movement. Study what post-modern means, how it relates to you, and what you can do!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

07/23/08 - Hurting People

I heard the phrase: hurting people hurt people.

What does this mean to you? What do you think of when you hear this phrase?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

07/22/08 - "They need to hear this!"

Have you ever heard a really great message and thought, "Wow, so-and-so needs to hear this!"?

Last night my husband and I were talking about the message we heard at Sunday school and each of us had a "don't you know who should have heard this message" attitude. He mentioned one person and I mentioned another part of the message and another person.

Then he said, "Why do we always see what others need to hear and not ourselves? When do we hear what we need to hear?"

My response was that we all have a "plank in the eye" problem.

Do you do that? Do you hear or read something and instantly think of this being a message for someone else? You think: if only they heard this their life would be so much better!

After our conversation John prayed that we would be people who would hear what we need to hear! To listen to a message, sermon, or DVD and think of our own lives and change in ourselves and let the Holy Spirit be the Holy Spirit in other people's lives!

Oh pride is a nasty thing isn't it?!?

Monday, July 21, 2008

07/21/08 - At the Well

It excites me to share with you my latest adventure: At The Well!

Chelsea has asked me to be one of the hosts of At The Well. The well is a place for women to gather and share, listen, be up-lifted, and be with other Christian women (thanks to the Internet)! Chelsea asked the hostesses to share: What does being a Titus 2 women mean to me?

Let's read Titus 2:1-5

But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

For me, being a Titus 2 woman is one who has walked ahead on her path of life. She's walked through life with integrity, love, passion, patience, purity, and honesty. She loves God's Word and it is her plumb line for her decisions in life.

Whatever season she's walked through, she is able to pass along the wisdom she learned to those who are still in that particular season.

I pray that God will use me as a Titus 2 women to those who are walking the path of emotional purity and waiting patiently (or not so patiently at times) for God to bring their mate!

Thanks Chelsea for allowing me to be apart of this "well"!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

07/19/08 - Time off

In my time off of the Internet I've realized a few things. Most of these lessons were in how to have better time management with my computer time.

My normal computer time comes when my boys are napping, but I find myself checking e-mail, other blogs, facebook, and various other sites. It's my "down" time. But without the Internet for two weeks I read a couple of books, had some amazing bible time, watched a couple of great teaching DVDs, and found myself more peaceful.

It's not easy to explain, but it was a good thing to be without the Internet. I have some new ideas in how I want to spend my computer time and how I want to spend my "down" time.

All this learning mind has had, it's overfull! God has been casting new light on Scripture and shown me His desire for me to keep on seeking Him passionately. Not just seeking Him for my own sake, but to share with others His deep, love for them. I have this intense desire to point people to Christ, in a new a fresh way. I have a passion to make every aspect of my life completely and totally glorifying to Christ.

I feel like words are escaping me in how to share this fully. My prayer is that you will see, through my blog, a life surrendered to the will of God!

Friday, July 18, 2008

07/18/08 - New Desktop

I am typing on our new desktop computer. I've been without internet for about 2 weeks. One thing I've realized is the world doesn't come to a halt because I am without internet!

It's been a nice break and I've got a lot on my mind, so hopefully I'll be able to share what God's been teaching me.

Feels good to be back!

Monday, July 14, 2008

07/14/08 - Consistent

"A good witness is a consistent witness."

I just recently heard this quote and it's stuck in my mind.

As I sat to do some bible study the thought came to me again and I began to just pour out what it means to be a consistent witness to a dark, depraved sinful society...looking, hoping, begging for something more than what the the world has to offer.

  • Being steady
  • Being faithful
  • Producing the fruits of the Spirit
  • Being committed
  • Being a person of my word
  • Having nothing in my life I am ashamed of
  • Speaking well of others
  • Keeping my thoughts pure
  • Not setting out to hurt others
  • Being obedient to the laws of the land
  • Being respective of the leaders of the land
  • Being a woman of integrity
  • Submitting to authority (my husband, church leaders)
  • Asking for forgiveness
  • Being humble
  • Serving others
  • Loving people who annoy me
  • Having a pleasant attitude in an unpleasant situation
  • Being okay with unmet expectations
  • Not engaging in gossip of slander
  • Being open to constructive criticism
  • Letting God defend me
  • Not becoming defensive when I am confronted

Phew! How I pray that when others see my life, they see a consistent witness for the cross of Jesus. I pray they see a life that is submitted to the control of our Lord.

What would change if all who profess Jesus as their Savior lived consistent witnesses to those around them?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

07/12/08 - Happy 5 Years

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

We both look so much younger (and thinner)!
Running off to our new lives!





5 Years ago today I married John Patenaude! All glory to Him!
I have to say the first year we were married, we'd hear all the time, "Just wait, it gets rough!" or "Just wait till the real John shows up."

Well, five years later, we're both still waiting!

Marriage is a wonderful blessing and it has only become so much better over time! I can't believe God gave me John and gave me such an amazing marriage! It's all because of Him!

Friday, July 11, 2008

07/11/08 - Misc.

Well, just an update on the computer front! In the five years we've been married we've blown through two laptops! We decided to try a desktop. So last night John ordered one! Hopefully, we'll be up and running next week.

For now, I am again at my mom's! Thanks mom!

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I received these two questions from the post two days ago:

"How can you get satisfied with him alone?"

"Heather, What John Piper books would you recommend for reading?"

I'll start with the easy one!

The John Piper books I'd recommend would be: Don't Waste Your Life, When I Don't Desire God, Desiring God, and Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Of course there are more, but these are some of my top choices.

John Piper is all about free downloads and you can read: Don't Waste Your Life, on line for free! Click HERE!

I am currently reading: When I Don't Desire God

The other two books are more of a "meaty", but worthwhile read!

You can also listen to his sermons on line. I would also recommend: The Blazing Center DVD series!

On to the second question: How do we find satisfaction in Him alone?

This is, I believe, our struggle with the flesh and spirit. We desire things, relationships, power, status...you name it...and we think we deserve it. In reality we don't deserve anything but punishment for our sins.

So we desire these earthy things and they cloud our vision of our standing before God, Jesus' sacrifice, and our response to Him because of those things.

I would also recommend Don't Waste Your Life for you to read.

I am still learning how to be totally satisfied with God alone! It's a life long process, but worth every bit of energy!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

07/10/08 - Key to Wisdom

I listened to a message: Teaching Your Children the Key's to Wisdom, from Norm Wakefield. Although the title may sounds like it is for parents only, I found it to be very encouraging as a child of God!

He shares that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is to know that you are always in the presence of God. He is with you all the time.

Of course, this is something we know, but do we know it...I mean do we live like we're always in the presences of God?

Do our thoughts and actions reflect knowing the Lord is with us?

Throughout the week I remind the boys that we're in God's presences, He's right here with us. Over the breakfast table last week I was explaining to them that God is with us. He's right here, watching us. We can't see Him, but we have faith He is here.

A few minutes later Miles asked, "Has God left yet, mommy?"

"No", I reminded him, "He's always here!"

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

07/09/08 - Being totally Satisfied

John Piper says: God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.

This phrase runs through my head often.

How satisfied am I with just Him?

What does the world see, when a person is completely and totally satisfied with Christ alone?

The fruits of the Spirit are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.

Read that list again and ask: Do I feel joy? Am I faithful? Would people think I am a kind person? Do I lack self-control in my time, emotions, or thoughts? Am I loving to the unlovely? At the core of my heart, am I at peace with God's plan?

When we are most satisfied with God alone, these are the qualities that will pour out of the overflow of our heart. Amazing!

I pray for my own life and for yours that we will be most satisfied with God alone!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

07/08/08 2 Dead Laptops

Yes, that's right folks I am completely internet-less at my house (I am at my mom's right now). Both of our laptops have died and I mean they are dead...won't even turn on dead!

We're looking into what to do next...but I do think a new laptop is in the works!

Monday, July 7, 2008

07/07/08 - Her Quest/ion

I received this from a faithful reader and just have to share! I think it's so well thought out!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Her Quest/ion:

Bubbly, loving, lonely girl struggles to know how to conduct herself among guy friends, to be chummy without being intimate. To hug or not to hug? Frontways or sideways? To put sunlotion on his back when he asks? She'd do it if her brother asked, but he's not her brother. To accept a shoulder massage when grieving together over the death of someone dear? To decide on these things before the event, or relax and trust to having wisdom when the moment arrives?

Her Answer:

Upon examination of her nature, she came up with the following protective rationale:

Being needy for physical touch/hugs, she should therefore not encourage them from guy friends.Loving quickly and deeply, she should therefore be reserved in her manner toward guy friends.Being eager to share of herself (thoughts, emotions), she should therefore direct this energy toward family and girlfriends.

These lofty aims at first seemed unnecessarily restrictive because they were opposite to her natural inclinations. But then she thought, which nature am I talking about? My God-given uniqueness? Or my human tendencies? In an environment of tolerance, it's easy to accept the world's philosophy that man is inherently good, when in truth self is sinful and the desires of the flesh lead only to death. (She might have told herself the shoulder massage came from a brother, but he may have had seen it from a different perspective. Certainly it was quite some time before she admitted to herself that she generated a gleeful emotional party out his attention.) Short-term pampering of her emotional needs at the expense of her and/or his heart-wholeness cannot by any stretch be called a God-given inclination.

Is she afraid presenting a reserved front will resign her to the ranks of cold, uninteresting spinsterhood? Yes. But if there is a man waiting somewhere for her (and she has to believe he is), then she SHOULD be holding treasures in reserve for him. Thus to decide which treasures exactly, and conduct herself accordingly. THAT is the bottom line, and not how others may perceive her, which is, in one word, Pride.

Proverbs 4:23 pleads, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

By the testimony of couples who did hold their treasure in reserve for each other, the rewards are well worth every smidgen of restraint.

Friday, July 4, 2008

07/04/08 - Desire and Trust

Thanks for the questions, keep them coming!

"How do we know/trust that God does have a spouse in mind for us? What is the model for living as an emotionally pure single....forever? Would He give us such a strong desire to be married if it were not to happen, when it is something that could be used for His glory? How do we know when we are in the "right" relationship?

I am beginning to feel like all my friends are married and or dating (I´m 23) and having a hard time explaining what being "emotionally pure" means, or how it fits into today´s world!

Does any of this make sense?"

Forever...what a daunting word when your single! Is anything forever, beside eternity? Life is full of seasons, now if marriage is part of your life plan or not, I can't say.

But what I can say is that when you delight yourself in the Lord (this means wanting His will for your life, no matter what) He will give (place or bestow and then grant) you the desires of your heart! (Ps. 37:4)

I do believe that the desire to get married can be from God or from a selfish insecurity. You'll have to ask God to revel which it is. If it is the first, then you can just trust that He is not a meany!

What does it mean to walk in emotional purity during those single years? Faithfully walking with the Lord. Trusting in His good plan for your life and pursing Him with your whole heart. When you're doing this, sure you may have the desire to get married, but you know that you desire Him more than marriage.

As you walk closely with the Lord, as you learn to hear how He communicates with you, I believe He'll make it clear when He brings the "right" relationship along! For me personally, learning how God "talked" to me, helped confirm my relationship with John. There were no doubts!!

Yes, emotional purity in this culture is so backwards! Remember you don't have to explain yourself to anyone but God! Make sure you're pleasing God above all else and let Him defend your desire for purity!

Hope this helps!

Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Test Podcast



Click Here for my first attempt at a podcast! (this link will take you to another page, click on audio blog 1)

Let me know if you can hear it!

07/03/08 - Mindset

I received another honest question from a reader! I love real, heart searching questions!

"I have a mindset that I would like to "break free" from. I am making progress, but I was thinking that maybe you could give me some pointers. I am heading back to a college in the fall, and here is the situation. Whenever I hear of, meet, or see girls that will be in my pool of social friends and acquaintances, and that are pretty, intelligent, and seem to have it "all together", I start having these emotions start to play with my head.

I get bitter towards them, jealous, angry; I start feeling like the potential "guy" prospects will go for those girls instead of me, I start feeling like I can never be good enough for, "insert guys name" enough, etc. I feel less than the girls, or else I put them down in my mind, and think myself better than them.

Now that I have recognized this problem within me, how do I change? How do I change my thinking, my actions, etc. and attain peace of mind once again? It's like I know all the right things, but it still doesn't change my emotions/actions/thought processes"

Isn't that honest! I just love it!

Why do we women compare ourselves to one another? Why do we put other women down, to make ourselves feel better about ourselves? Why do we look at the qualities we don't like about ourselves and compare them to other women?

She's smarter, prettier, thinner, funnier, happier, more put together, more extroverted, more reserved than me...you name it we compare it! Reader, you're not alone!

I remember right after I had Luke I went to a story time at the library. Another mom was there with two young kids (about the ages of my boys) and her hair was done, her make-up was perfect, she had no extra baby weight on, her kids were well behaved and beautifully dressed. I remember looking at her thinking, "Now she's got it together and just look at me!"

I was instantly convicted by the Spirit to remember that God had me right where he wanted me: no make-up, kids who had extra energy, baby weight, not totally put together! God was looking at my heart and He is wanting that to be focused on Him and not other moms or women!

What are some helpful ways to break this mindset? Well, you've done step one: recognize it as a problem and seek to change the thought pattern.

Often we don't see the recognize the filter we're using. For you, the filter would be, how you're viewing the women around you. We must see our sisters in Christ as our number one support. We must pray for them to be blessed. We must also pray that we will be sensitive to the Spirit in his matter.

Second, we need to begin to memorize God's Word to fight off these jealous, self-righteous, and angry thoughts. When a thought enters your mind, "Look at her, she's so pretty. Of course every guy I know is going to go after her. But she's really ditsy! I mean she not that smart, I'm so much smarter than her!" use a verse to combat that thought.

Third, invest your energy in your female friends. That may sounds a bit backwards with the issue you wrote me about, but as you get to know these other women, you may find yourself with a change of heart.

Fourth, we have to remember that God has your husband (Lord willing) picked out. I've meet countless guys that once they've met THE ONE, there's not another girl who could make his attention shift! He's single focused on her and not anyone else.

If you've met a guy who flips from one girl to the next, giving his attention and affection away freely, he's mostly likely not the type of guy you'd want for a husband.

So know (although it may be hard at times to remember) that God's got this one! He's not going to forget to introduce to your husband and no other girl will take his attention off of you!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

07/02/08 - A Girl's Eyes

I received this comment:

"Can I ask a question: It was recently said by a friend that there was nothing in the eyes of the girl that he was interested in. I think he means by that no interest. If a girl is guarding her heart and trying to be emotionally pure and the guy hasn't proclaimed himself and said what his intentions are.... do you think an interest would show in her eyes or should show? I am thinking that it won't necessarily because she hasn't given herself permission to because she is guarding her heart and her emotions and can't. Can you give me some input?"

I think that it would depend on each girl. Some girls can't help but show their interest in their eyes. Other girls are able to be restrained completely.

What do other readers think?