Tuesday, September 30, 2008

09/30/08 - Google Reader

How many of you use google reader?

Google reader is an in-box for all the blogs you follow. So you sign up (with a yahoo, google, gmail account) and then you put all the web addresses of your favorite blogs. Then when you check that site, all the recent updates of your blogs come there. It saves TONS of time!

The web address is: www.google.com/reader

Hope this helps!

Monday, September 29, 2008

09/29/08 - Spiritually Dry

Today I am sharing At the Well today. At the well is a group of women who share each Monday some tidbit of godly wisdom to pass on. It's about coming together as Christian women and being Titus 2 women to each other.

When I was asked to be apart of this on-line encouragement I shared that to me, a Titus 2 woman is someone who will encourage another woman on a path she's already been down.

As my week to share has approached the place where I've been is spiritually dry...so I invite anyone who has walked down this path to come to the well, where we shall find water and be dry no longer.

What causes us to have these seasons of dryness in our walk with the Lord? As I just recently walked through a short season of dryness, I spent some time asking the Lord to show me what causes this.

The Lord brought a few key things in my life that cause me to dry up spiritually: Loss of focus, satan attacks, busyness, being tired, laziness, demanding relationships, and plain o' excuses.

I stop being faithful with my quiet time. I forget to listen to praise songs. I let other things: TV, phone, music, and computer crowd out my peaceful walk with the Lord. I allow things to consume my thoughts and time that simply do not belong!

Then blame game begins: These kids keep me so busy! Work is too demanding! My husband just requires so much of me and doesn't lift a finger to help! This community project I am involved with is draining all my extra time and energy. This 2008 election is important and I need to dedicate time studying, listening and reading. My church obligations keep me hopping around four nights a week! School work is insane and if I don't get good grades no college will let me in! This drama with my friends is exhausting! I just don't have anyone to do a bible study with and I need someone to help me understand it!

We can even being to have misdirected (but honorable) priorities:
  • cleaning house
  • reading a book
  • blogging
  • watching or listening to political analysis
  • having people over
  • making a phone call
  • volunteering
  • sports involvement
  • children's extra activities
  • drama
We then begin to wonder why we're walking through a dry season? Our plate are so full and our minds are so crowded we leave no time for peace and stillness before the Lord.

I have a saying, framed and hanging in my dining room, it reads: Make time for quiet moments, as God whispers and the world is loud.

So this short (praise the Lord is was rather short this time) season of dryness I've just walked through reminded me of the utmost importance of my quiet time each day, making sure my top priority is the Lord, not allowing anything to get in the way of time with Him.

We come to the well, a place where Jesus has offered us refreshment. We gather with likeminded believers to rest with Him. We seek Him. We lay aside excuses and we beg for Him to come near to us as we draw near to Him.

If you are at a very dry place, I offer you this song: The More I Seek You, by Kari Jobe.

For those of you who have walked through a season of dryness I ask you:

* Have you noticed a pattern of when you find yourself spiritually dry?

* What do you do to move quickly through that season of dryness?

Make sure you leave your link so we can read your answers!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

09/27/08 - Fireproof

Last night we went on a double date to see Fireproof. What a great movie! I highly recommend that you take time this weekend and support this movie. It's awesome to see Christian values on the big screen!

Kirk Cameron, of Growing Pain fame, is the lead actor. I think that as a believer he has been able to impact Hollywood. In a recent interview he explained that he only kisses his wife and so for the movie his wife, of 17 years, came in for the one kiss scene!

Here's a link to the trailer!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

09/25/08 - Hiding

Have you ever considered that if you have to do something in secret or hiding it from others, chances are you shouldn't be doing it? (I am not talking about planning a surprise party here!)

I mean if you have to sneak on the Internet at work when your boss isn't around, chances are you shouldn't be on. If you have to hid e-mails from the people closest to you, chances are you shouldn't be having those e-mail conversations. If you have to hid what you eat, chances are you shouldn't be eating it. If you have to hid what you're reading, chances are you shouldn't be reading that book. If you're having a conversation with someone that needs to remain hidden, chances are you shouldn't be saying whatever it is you're saying.

Remember we are walking through our lives for an audience of One!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

09/24/08 - Being Emotional

Ah...how many of you women out there think, "Why do I have to be so emotional?" I know at times I wish I could turn off my intense emotions. Especially, when I was single and I struggled with desiring a boyfriend.

My emotions would play tricks on me! I'd over analyze everything little thing a guy friend would do! I'd go over and over and over again what he said, what he did, how he looked at me, how he interacted with me, and when I would be with him again (This normally included me trying to figure out how I could make sure we'd spend time together!)

My mind was an ever present emotional roller coaster! Up, down, corkscrew, up, up and whoosh...down again! I felt like all I could do was strap in and hang on!

Then God revealed to me the beauty of emotional purity. The power of the Holy Spirit in my thought life! When I began to practice emotional purity in my life, it freed my mind. I was no longer controlled by my emotions! I got off the roller coaster and stood firmly on God's foundation!

Was I still an emotional woman? Of course!! But my emotions did not control me and I would keep my thoughts captive for Christ. I'd focus on Him and what He wanted for me, which wasn't spending hours upon hours thinking, daydreaming, fantasizing, about guys in my life or the desire for a boyfriend.

God showed me the purity of trusting Him fully with my emotions!

What is your testimony? Where are you on this roller coaster? Are you waiting in line, riding it, wish you were off, or walking on firm foundation of trust?

Monday, September 22, 2008

09/22/08 - Dry

Lately I've felt a bit spiritually dry. Not sure why, just haven't had much to share.

What do you do when you go through dry seasons in your walk with the Lord?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

09/20/08 - Habits

What habits do you have?

Since highschool...some 17 years ago...whenever I get out the shower I put lotion on my face. I never forget and before I put it on, my face feels weird: tight and dry. I don't start my day without lotion on my face. No one has to remind me to put lotion on my face. It's a habit!

What spiritual habits do you have?

Does your day feel incomplete or not normal without time with God? Is it such a habit that you feel spiritually "weird" without some God time?

Habits are hard to form and hard to break. Why not work towards a habit of time quality time with the Lord each day.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

09/18/08 - Jacob Andrew

This afternoon my sister Lesli gave birth to her second son, Jacob Andrew.

I posted pictures on my personal blog: www.xanga.com/patenaude

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

09/17/08 - Purity

My heart is that God's children will grasp for purity in their lives. Not just in the area of emotional purity, but physical, their thoughts, actions, and any other aspect of their life.

Do I think emotional purity is a salvation issue? Of course not! I do not believe that you have to be emotionally pure to be saved. I do however believe that finding and maintaining emotional purity, as well as other areas of purity in your life, will lead to peace, joy, and a guilt free conscience.

God desire is for us to find purity. Even as a married woman I am called to be pure in many areas of my life. It doesn't end once your married, but takes on a new meaning. For me purity is in how I treat those around me, how I present myself, what I think about, how I treat my husband and remain emotionally faithful to him.

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Matt 5:8

Monday, September 15, 2008

09/15/08 - Psalms 73

Lately I keep coming back to Psalms 73 in my bible study. Have you read Psalms 73 lately? I'd recommend you read it, but here are just a few of my thoughts on the Psalms.

Often we see those who are not trusting and following God prosper. They always have a boy/girlfriend, they are popular, good looking, fun, and seem to have the latest and greatest gadget. They appear to have no worries or cares. Their future is a big canvas that is full of opportunity. All of their relationships appear to be conflict free and they're just sailing through life.

Then you compare them to your life: God is always challenging you to lay aside your will and follow Him, you feel pressed in on every side. Life never seems easy or smooth!

But then you put on your eternal perspective glasses and you see what eternity holds. Once you gain that perspective everything becomes clear. Remember that God doesn't promise a smooth life, but one full of peace and joy if we follow Him.

Two weeks ago my pastor said, "There is no pointless pain in the Christian's life."

So remember God will use whatever it is you are going through to shape and mold you to His Son!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

09/09/08 - Becoming Defensive and Critical

Two qualities I believe destroy God's beloved Church are: defensiveness and a critical spirit.

It says in Proverbs we are iron sharpening iron with each other. What this means is that we are going to run into other people who point out our sins, our weakness, and those areas we need to work on. It does take grace to respond without becoming defensive!

Sometimes those areas are pointed out with no words, but other people's lifestyle or convictions. I know in my own life I've witnessed someones conviction and realize I need to raise the standard in my own life. Those people never know, but it has changed the course of some of my behaviors and thoughts.

Other times people have flat out pointed out what I need to work on. Sometimes it's been an "OUCH, that hurt" moment. Other times I've been defensive. And still other times God has given me the grace to respond with peace, calm and a simple "Thank you."

A few years ago I realized when I do become defensive, most likely it's a sin I need to work on and I just don't want someone else pointing it out! But praise God for people to point out our sins. If we are never cleaning up our lives, thoughts, or actions we just stay stuck in a rut with our walk with the Lord.

Second is a spirit of being critical. I have come to realize that being a parent has humbled me more than anything. I knew everything before I had kids! Amazing how that happens! I've begged God to remove any spirit of criticism in my life and allow Him to judge.

It seems that most people just feel that they have an opinion and they need to voice that opinion, no matter what! These are the steamrollers in my life (which I can easily fall into this category, just ask my family!), but when it is not in God's love and will, a steamroller can just have a critical spirit and pride to think their opinion needs to be voiced and heard.

Purifying our lives takes work, dedication to God's Word, and repentance, but along the path we have great reward as our lives are filled with peace and joy that only come from Him. When we, God's children, purge these from our lives, we function in love towards each other, thus the watching world sees Jesus in our relationships! How amazing would that be?

Monday, September 8, 2008

09/08/08 - Real Life

Our church meets in two services in the summer, then back to one service in September, I was excited to see some faces of church members I've not seen all summer. I was also looking forward to the new series our pastor is teaching in our Sunday school on Christianity vs. Muslim. Needless to say I was excited about Sunday school and church yesterday.

I had all our clothes laid out, the boys bags packed, and I went to bed early to avoid being tried at church. (John and I believe in preparing for Sunday morning on Saturday, makes for a smooth, calm morning when everything is ready!)

At 2 am on Sunday morning I woke up to Luke, my two year old, coughing with a running nose, and begging to come to my bed. I knew right then, my expectations of the day were going to be shot. I thought to myself, "This is just a season!" as we drifted in and out of sleep in our bed.

Sure enough Luke was sick and John suggested we flip, he go to Sunday school and I go to church, which we did. So I was able to go and be fed this week.

Luke's runny nose was dripping most of the day, but he was able to play. So it wasn't a knock-ya-out type of cold. I figured I was safe to stick to the plans of having over some long time friends this morning for coffee. I got my house cleaned last night, and prepared for my company. I even pulled out the fall decorations! I was looking forward to some catch up time with my friends.

Again, Luke was up at 1 am and then 5:30 am with a runny nose. I finally got up with both boys at 6 am. Luke was just laying around but wanted juice. A few minutes later my kitchen floor was the spot of his first throw up. He said he felt better and wanted more juice. A few minutes later my clothes, his clothes, and the couch were the second spot of his throw up.

I called my sister, who was also planning on coming over, to cancel our plans.

Why do I share this? One is to share than life is full of disappointments. We raise our expectations and life throws us curve balls, so we adjust. What is our attitude when that ball comes zooming our way? I am no expert in this, normally I struggled to pass the test, but yesterday and today God has given me grace. I calmly accept His plan for my day and know that this too shall pass!

Second I share it because I know many of you are single and hope to be moms some day. This is the joys you get to look forward to. I don't say that sarcastically, I say that seriously. Ask God to prepare you for days such as mine!

Luke's playing in the bathtub, to clean up the throw up that ended up all over him, as I write (don't worry where my computer is I am about 5 feet away from him!) and I pray that he bounces back quickly!

What expectations have you had to let go of recently? How was your attitude?

Friday, September 5, 2008

09/05/08 -Voting

I tend to avoid political discussion on my blog because this is not a blog about politics. However today I want to appeal to you Americans to vote.

The first time I voted was in 1992, I was 18 and too excited to register to vote! I know, I was a little weird.

I've voted in every presidential election since then, most non-presidential elections, and almost every primary. I know it's my civic duty!

If you're not registered to vote, or you just don't take the time to research the candidates and vote, please let me encourage you to vote this year.

Why, you ask?!

Right now there are so many issues and both candidates have different views on just about everything. You may feel it's overwhelming to sift through what you think about the economy, foreign policy, oil, domestic policy, education, health care and the endless list of issues. But I do believe there is ONE single issue worth voting on, the right to life.

Obama is THE most liberal democrat when it comes to the issue of abortion, THE most liberal!! He was unwilling to even be straight forward when asked," When does life begin? "at the Civic forum that Rick Warren conducted in August, saying, "My pay grade isn't high enough to answer that question."

Please watch this video to know how Obama thinks about abortion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYRpIf2F9NA

McCain has said, "This will be a pro-life White House." When asked the same question, he responded with no hesitation: At conception.

This is my issue. I don't agree with McCain on a host of issues, but I do think that abortion and the right to life of our most innocent citizens is worth fighting for.

Now factor into the equation that in the next four year we will be appointing a new Supreme Court Justice! Which man do you want choosing a new judge!?!

Please think of voting if you don't, if nothing else, help protect the innocent lives of the unborn!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

09/04/08 - Clean up time

In the past week I've had a lot of reflective time in my own personal walk with the Lord. God is showing me issues He wants me to work on and I feel a new sense of Him cleaning up!

Of course in times and seasons where God is at work in my life I don't always know how to translate that to my blog. Some of the areas are very common, others are personal, but God is working.

I love when I feel God purging sin from my life. I love to feel His cleaning, all powerful hand, fast at work in my life. This week I've had some time to clear my head, journal, and hear from the Lord.

The one area, that I feel some of you can relate with, is the area of my mouth, my words. I believe that most of us, our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknesses. For me it's my mouth. It's an area that God is always at work in, but I have felt an even deeper sense of Him wanting to "clean" it up and make my words powerful and under His full control.

I think of the verse in James where he says, No one can tame the tongue, it's a restless evil full of deadly poison (3:7b). Only through God's grace can our mouths and words be under His control. This is my prayer!

Monday, September 1, 2008

09/01/08 - Phew

Well, we ended summer with a super busy weekend: high school football game, family picnic (with John's family), surprise anniversary party (for John's brother and wife), family dinner (with my family), fireworks, slumber party (at my parents), breakfast (prepared by my dad), and a parade! The boys fell in bed at 6:30.

What a great way to end summer!

One question that is on my mind: Have you ever prayed for something and then see God answer right away? If so, do you want to share?