Friday, August 29, 2008

Rocky the Dog

When we first moved to Tennessee, we lived in a rental condo. Because there was a no pet policy, we were forced to leave our beloved dog, Rocky, with my in-laws. I believe I have told you in past blogs that leaving my grown sons and our dog was very difficult on me. However, our sons have flourished and our dog is badly spoiled.

I tell you this because I just got off the phone with my mother-in-law. She is very upset and in tears. She asked me to pray for Rocky today. Rocky is having minor surgery and will have to stay at the animal hospital for about five days. It really is not a big deal but it is sad.

You see, Rocky is a rescue dog. He was abused by his first owners and my youngest son found him at a rescue shelter. Rocky was so beaten down and was in need of a tender touch. Bryan begged to bring Rocky home. This dog is the most loyal, faithful dog there is and is much loved by everyone.

My in-laws tell us all the time that Rocky now belongs to them. We all laugh that if we want custody of Rocky we will have to go to court. To see this animal is to know that he is happy. In addition, the world of my in-laws revolve around God, their family, and Rocky. So when my mother-in-law requested prayer for Rocky, I did not hestiate.

I believe God cares for all his creation. He knows our hurts, our fears, and our worries. He even cares for Rocky the dog. It is in these difficult and uncertain times that our Father wants us to acknowledge Him so that He can grant us peace.

Maybe you are hurting or have a concern today. Tell the Father about it. Ask Him for His peace and then "Be still."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Exercise" Challenges

It was a challenge for me to roll out of bed this morning. It is a dreary, rainy day and perfect for snuggling down under the covers and sleeping. However, my dog had other ideas. She began pouting and huffing around 7:30 a.m. She wanted me to know that it was time to go outside. As a result I had to challenge my body to move. I had to challenge my eyes to open and focus. Today, I even had to challenge my feet and legs to hold my body in an upright position.

Challenges are not easy for me. As I wrote yesterday, I like my comfort zone. Stepping out into the unknown is very difficult for me as I am sure it is for you. A good friend told me the other day that she and I are alike. We like to see the writing on the wall and know the end result before we step out in the abyss. Yep, that's me alright. However, it is not God's way.

While doing my Bible study this morning, I read that God challenges us in order to make us more like Him and to do His work. According to Priscilla Shirer, "The challenges we face are spiritual exercises designed to make us stronger, making us more capable of fulfilling our God-given assignments."

Now I do not like to exercise because I do not like to sweat, however, I know my health is better and I can manage my weight when I exercise regularly. I certainly must limit my chocolate intake each week as well. Just like physical exercise, I am learning that I need the challenge "exercises" God gives me. Since I am being molded into His image He has a lot of work to do. My job is to pray and feed on His word daily in order to have good spiritual health. I just pray that God gives me strength to face each challenges before me.

My dear sister, what challenges are you facing right now? Is God "exercising" you today?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Leaving My Comfort Zone

I have been a struggle with God on an of issue. I can honestly tell you that I wish I could have picked up the phone and call all of you for your advice. Last week was full of me arguing with God and telling what I thought needed to happen on this issue. If you have not ever argued with God, well girlfriends, let's just say I hope you never have to experience it.

Here's how it started. I was asked to take on a part in our Christmas program. Now, I am very honored to be asked but I would much rather have a root canal than speak in public. I am terrified of standing in front of crowds. I forget what I want to say or sing unless I have the words in front of me. My stomach is in knots. I sweat like a farmer hand in the July heat. I think you get the picture. Anyway, God knows all the issues I have about leaving the comfort of my third roll chair in the choir loft.

However, I promised the director to look over the part and pray about it. It really is a cute part and some of the lines said are exactly what I would say to my family. The music is great too. Still I kept repeating, "No God, I just can't do this." Then in the same breath I would ask God to give me a direct yes or no answer. Maybe it is wrong to do that but I certainly wanted to be in His plan. Since I had to give an answer by Sunday, I also asked several people to pray for me.

As I argued like Moses before he followed God's leadership, God patiently kept placing words before me. I kept hearing over and over things like "don't fear," "God can do it," "he is sufficient in our weakness." My Bible study lesson for the week was even about knowing God's plan. (I personally think God has a sense of humor.)

Long story short I cried as I told the director yesterday that I would take on the part. I begged her to please prayer for me and to help me. I still cannot believe I am going to leave my comfort zone of the choir loft third roll to be in front of people. The thought already makes my stomach churn and it is four months until we do the performances. The one thing I know about this assignment is that I can do nothing without God's help. He will be the one who must speak and sing this part not me.

Maybe you have never argued with God and had this type of struggle in your life. Maybe God has never asked you to leave your comfort zone. However, maybe God has directed your life in a different way than you planned. If so would you be willing to pray for me over the next several months? Would you be willing to send along scriptures that you have claimed when God has moved you out of your comfort zone? Who knows maybe another member of our unique sisterhood is in a struggle too. Your words might just be what she needs to hear.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Everyday Miracles 2

I am so thankful that God answers prayer. You know, that in itself, is another "everyday miracle" that I take for granted. I mean I start each day with prayer and expect God to answer and He faithfully does. Not that He always answers the way I want Him to, but more often than not, and usually sooner rather than later, He -Creator of the Universe- answers my prayers. And take it from me, I am not anyone who would begin to deserve such a high honor. 

Let me tell you about what brought this train if thought to the forefront of my mind:

As a mentioned yesterday, my daughter, Riley, is beginning kindergarten this fall. For months now I have been praying that God would prepare me and her teacher for the start of her public school education. I have asked God that her teacher would be exactly what Riley needed and somebody that I could trust with my "baby".

So, after an open house for all new kindergartners, an introductory first day meeting and one full day of screenings I was called Saturday morning by the dear lady who would be "blessed" with my talkative, inquisitive, excitable, little girl everyday. She wasn't the teacher I thought I wanted Riley to have. She wasn't the one that all my girlfriends at the school had said was "the best." She wasn't the teacher I had met and envisioned Riley learning how to read from. 

As a result, I found myself doubting and forgetting all those prayers I had prayed for this woman. I started scheming and planning about what I could do to put Riley into the classroom that I wanted her in. I began wondering and worrying about what this could mean for Riley's entire academic future . . . 

So with the encouragement of a good girlfriend and the gentle reminder from my husband about God's sovereignty, I again prayed. This time though I prayed for myself. I prayed that God would confirm for me that He had Riley in His hands. 

With a nervous tickle in my gut I walked into Mrs. Tucker's classroom yesterday for her meeting with her class's parents. I introduced myself to the lady standing behind the desk and sat down in a-much-too-small chair with Riley's name on it. As she went through her classroom policies and procedures I took notes and took in the bright cheery space my daughter would be spending the bulk of her time over the next 10 months.

Then she said it. Mrs. Tucker spoke the exact words God knew I needed to hear. She explained that she was a woman of faith and that she believed that God had placed each of her students in her classroom for the coming school year. She said she had prayed over each name and felt that there were very specific reasons each pupil would be under her care. 

God was so good to answer my prayers for Riley's teacher. He was so good to answer my prayers for confirmation, in spite of my own doubts. The Creator God of the universe is intimately involved with my mundane, ordinary, everyday life. If that isn't an "everyday miracle" I sure don't know what is.  

What is an example of how God answers your prayers?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Everyday Miracles

Since my last turn to blog, our family has learned some really exciting news . . .  We are expecting a fourth member to our little family! I am nine weeks pregnant!

With our little girl having turned the ripe old age of five and starting kindergarten, I am dealing with all the fun of the first trimester and I can definitely say that this pregnancy is nothing like my first. Everyone has a tip or two on how to deal with the nausea and the fatigue. So far, I am open to anything, but nothing is working .  .  . Do you have any ideas? Please post them, I would be happy to try them!

Our little girl was born in Kentucky and most of the doctors there only do one ultrasound at about 20 weeks. Well, here in Clarksville, the doctors do one at about 8 weeks to check the due date and "see" the baby's heart rate. So last week we got our first look at Baby Vinson. At just 8 weeks, we could see the little developing arms, legs and heart beating. My husband asked the technician  just how big the image we were seeing on the screen actually was. She raised her fingers about an inch or so apart and said, "Oh, about this big." Totally amazed, we left the doctor's office with a small stack of ultrasound photos and a dvd of our first glimpse of the amazing miracle that God is knitting together inside of me.

Here God IS doing an amazing thing right inside of me, and I seemed to be taking it for granted. I mean women become pregnant and have babies everyday. It can seem like such an ordinary thing, yet life is precious. It is truly a gift, an amazing miracle. God is at work all around us, through us and in us . . . . and we take it for granted? I definitely needed the change of the perspective. Now, when I can't seem to do anything but run to the bathroom, I remember the image of the little, tiny baby on that screen squirming around inside of me. Just because I can't feel it, or see the change in my body yet  . . . baby is still there. God is still moving and working inside of me.

It makes me wonder what other areas of my life I have missed where God is actively working or at the very least taken His presence there for granted. What about you? Would you be willing to share an everyday miracle with the rest of us so we won't miss it?

Sunday, August 17, 2008


As I shared with you last Friday was a relaxing and enjoyable day. This Friday, not so much.

Randy and I decided to go to Cades Cove to ride our bikes and had planned a picnic afterward. We were both looking forward to a quiet afternoon in the park. We went by the bike shop to have the tires aired up, the ice chest was packed and the weather was perfect.

We started out on the bike path and had gone about 4 miles. We came to a steep incline and decided it would be easier to get off of our bikes and walk them to the top of the hill. As I was getting off the bike, the toe of my tennis shoe got caught on the handle bars. It threw me backward, down the incline, and I took the very hard fall entirely on my bottom. I now understand when people say they saw stars!

I have no medical knowledge and I did not sleep in a Holiday Inn the night before, but I just assumed I’d pulled a few muscles so my logic was, after a few minutes, to get back on my bike and ride back to the car in order to stretch out the muscles. But the longer I rode, the worse the pain became. We quickly decided I needed to get things checked out and started to the hospital as soon as we reached the car.

After a two hour visit to the hospital and numerous tests, x-rays and a cat scan, they determined I had cracked my back in several places. The doctor described the impact as what happens when you crush a coke can.

On the way out of the park, Randy and I were behind a white convertible Mustang just like the one we drove last weekend. Truth be told, last weekend was much better than this one…

After spending all weekend in bed, flat on my back, I’ll see a specialist on Monday to determine the plan of action. But God always provides a silver lining. Both of my girls came in from out of town to help Randy take care of me this weekend. It was great to see them both and even though the pain has been severe, it was a blessing to have my family around me.

It serves as a great reminder that our plans are not necessarily His plans and our ways are not His ways. We can make plans all day long but in seconds, those plans can change. It’s what we do in the moments and days after, that determines what sort of glory God receives in how we handle our circumstances.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Two events for Ministers Wives in November

Well, ladies, our blog has been online now for 4 1/2 months. Haven't you enjoyed reading the posts by Tara, Vickie, Dana, Jeanne, and Karen? What a great job they have done making us think about our lives and our ministries. I pray more of you will start to leave comments--we truly want to hear from you.

I'm posting today to let you know about two events we will be hosting at the Tennessee Baptist Convention annual meeting at FBC, Hendersonville in November. These are two events specifically for ministers wives--note the word "ministers," not just the pastor's wife but all staff wives--education, music, youth, administration, etc.

November 10: "The Good Cup, a meeting place for ministers wives" is a new annual event that will be held at FBC, Hendersonville from 1:00-3:30. This will be a coffee-house setting with two speakers and round table discussions. We will start off with Holly Thompson, our channel 4 morning anchorwoman here in Nashville. Bill Choate from TBC, will facilicate round table discussions, then we will finish up with Kay DeKalb Smith, a well-known christian comedian from Brentwood, Tennessee. This will be a great time for you to get to know other ministers wives in our state. We will be in the Youth Pit area at FBC, Hendersonville and there is no cost. We are planning on you--come to the Pastors Conference with your husband and join us at "The Good Cup."

November 11: Annual Ministers Wives Luncheon. Our theme this year is "Help! I Need a Lift." This luncheon will be at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville. We are working on shuttles to provide transportation from FBC to Long Hollow. More information will be on our website about these shuttles. Kay DeKalb Smith will be with us again on Tuesday as our main speaker and entertainer. The planning team is working hard on your gift bags, special gifts and door prizes. I can already tell you that one door prize is a cruise and one is a Cracker Barrel rocking chair. This luncheon will begin at noon and close around 1:30. Cost is $15. You can register online at in a couple of weeks. If you would like to register now you can send a check payable to Tennessee Baptist Convention to PO Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024, attention: Joyce Harvey.

Watch the website: for more information as it becomes available. There is also an article in the August 13th issue of The Baptist & Reflector. See you in November.

Friday, August 15, 2008


I am soooo tired. I stayed up until almost 1:30 this morning watching the Olympics. It was fascinating. I wanted to watch the girl's gymnastic competition.

I have always enjoyed the sport, but it's also very interesting learning about the girls. As I listened to the reporter describe how the Chinese girls are taken from their parents at such an early age and only get to see them for a few days a year, my heart broke. I guess having children out of the nest now myself, and how I long to see them, I can't even begin to understand what these parents would be feeling. This is their "job", as one Chinese gymnast put it in an interview.

Then there are the others, whose parents are with them all the time. Such as Nastia Liukin. She captured the Olympic gold medal in the all-around competition last night. Her parents have been with her from the beginning. They helped train her and encourage her. They certainly knew what they were doing because they were also gymnasts. Her father, Valeri was a double gold medalist at the 1988 Seoul Games, and her mother, Anna was the 1987 rhythmic world champion. They were both reluctant to let Nastia begin formal training, but since they could not afford a babysitter, Nastia tagged along to the gym. From the sidelines, Nastia began imitating the moves of the gymnasts she watched and was soon outperforming them. Unable to ignore their four-year-old's natural talent, they relented.

So began her path to the Beijing Olympics this year. I have thought about how she "imitated" the moves of those around her. How, as she watched them, day in and day out, she took on their habits and their lifestyles. I couldn't help but think about my girls. How they watched Randy and I when they were small and how they imitated us. I remember how on Sunday mornings I would get them dressed (alone, of course, because Randy had been at church since daybreak!!!!) and then I would get myself dressed. I could hear them in the den as they pretended to preach and lead music. I saw them take on the habit of Bible study and quiet times. I saw them begin having a soft heart to what God was teaching them.

All of this has reminded me of who is watching us. What do they see in us? What habits and lifestyles will they form because of us?

My congratulations go out to Nastia. I was so proud to be an American as she took her place on the podium along with Shawn Johnson, the other American who won the silver medal. I cried as I watched the American flag be hoisted up and our National Anthem was played. What a shining moment for us all.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I had one of those rare moments in minstry last week. Randy actually took a day off. No crisis at the church - no deaths - no hospital visits. Nothing. He announced this to me at about 8:00 Friday morning and asked what I would like to do. We had talked about riding bikes in Cades Cove, but they close the bike traffic at 9:00 and that would not give us enough time. Then he suggested going to Knoxville because he could go by Lifeway and the hospitals and... I quickly pointed out to him that if he did what he just planned it would not constitute a day off. So I suggested that we ride over to Murfreesboro to see our daughter and her family.

After checking with Beth to find out if they had any plans we decided to jump in the car and take off. On the spur of the moment, Randy called a friend of ours that works at a car dealership and asked if he had a convertible that we could use. He said that he did, so we went and picked up a
little white Mustang!

We had a blast. It truly was one of the best days of my life. Even though we had not planned an exotic vacation, hadn't spent hardly any money and didn't go half way around the world, it still was a PERFECT day. We drove down the Interstate just talking and laughing and catching up. Then we picked Beth, Derrick and our granddaughter Maddie and took off to a little town called Bell Buckle. The entire downtown section is probably no bigger than a few blocks, but they have cute little shops and a little cafe. We ate at the Bell Buckle Cafe where they have live music and country cooking. The kind you used to eat at Grandmama's. Our 15 month old granddaughter loved the music and we just sat and ate and chatted. Afterwards, we shopped a little and then drove back to our daughter's house and spent the night. We got up Saturday and helped them with a couple of projects and then drove the Mustang back home.

The weather was perfect both days. Not too hot - as a matter of fact, I had to turn the heater on for a little while a couple of times. We were not in a hurry and didn't have to get back for anything particular. It was soooo enjoyable.

I thank God that every now and then there is a lull in ministry. The Good Lord knows that we are usually going at it 90 to nothing. And then, quite unexpectedly, He gives us a great day. All too often though I don't seize the moment or the opportunity to get all I can out of it. But I praise Him and thank Him for the rest and refreshment and fun we had this past week.

Maybe we can borrow that car again soon....


Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Well, as you know, the Olympics are in high gear. It has been so exciting watching the competition and getting to know more about the athletes. Michael Phelps has been quite an astonishment as he has won one gold medal after another in the swimming events.

I have to admit though, gymnastics have always been my favorite. I am amazed when I see the atheletes control their bodies and make them do things that I can't even phathom. It may be because yesterday I had to go to the orthopaedic doctor and get a shot of cordisone in my hip because I have pulled the tendon doing I don't know what!! So the thought of being able to jump up and grab a bar, let alone twist myself around it, is unbelievable. I would be lucky to be able to just hang there.

Last night as I watched the girls perform I was in awe at how they had trained for years for this one event. One gymnist, Alicia Sacramone, has been nicknamed "Beamer" because of her ability to do so well on the balance beam. She too had trained for years and this was considered HER event. After she mounted the balance beam she fell. First thing. Wham. Right off the bat - a huge deduction in her score. As she jumped up and did a flip to land on the beam her foot slipped and she fell completely off. She did jump back up and finish, but you could see the disappointment all over her face. Then, as she performed the floor exercises, again, the unthinkable. She fell again. Her feet slipped from underneath her. My heart broke for her as she realized that because of her performances the team had lost the chance at a gold medal.

There was a scripture that came to my mind. Psalm 17:5 says: "My steps have held fast to Your path. My feet have not slipped." It is so easy for our feet to slip. Alicia had trained for years and with what she thought was a very regular routine, her feet slipped.

That's how I view my walk with the Lord. It is usually in the everyday things that I have done for years, things that I am comfortable in, when satan comes and I slip up. My daily prayer has been that the Lord would keep my feet from slipping. That I would accomplish what the Lord would have me do without messing up. Oh, I know that we will slip, we are just human after all. But I do realize that it is only in the power of God's grace that I make through a day without falling.

Hope your steps are secure today!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

God is at Work Behind the Scenes

Ernie and I have been madly working these past 2 weeks to get our house ready to sell. You know the drill….doing things that have needed to be done for a long time but just did not have the motivation to attack it. There is nothing that will motivate you to clean up like showing your house to complete strangers and probably even people who know you!! (Hummm…I wonder, will some want to come see the pastor’s closets just out of curiosity?)

Cleaning out the basement, we found boxes that had never even been unpacked when we moved here 15 years ago!!! We have taken truck loads of stuff and trash to Goodwill and to the dump. Stuff, stuff everywhere! Basement, garage, attic, closets, utility room, everywhere!!

How easy it is to accumulate stuff!! We lived 9 months without most of our stuff when we first moved here and did just fine!! God continues to remind me that stuff is just stuff and stuff is not enough!!! Stuff never just accumulates!!

Thursday, as I was working on the house (someone was coming to see it Friday) as well as studying and preparing to speak on Saturday to a group of widows and deacons, I got a phone call. An unfamiliar voice asked if I was Dana James. She said that I did not know her but that she wanted me to know that God had put me on her heart and that she was praying for me!!! She said I had spoken at her church years ago and she heard that we were moving and knew I would need prayer.

Ladies, I sat on the floor of our bedroom and talked to her and cried and cried!! Remember, earlier in the week I shared with you that I had been under such attack from satan and to think that God would raise up someone I did not even know to intercede for me!!! Me! I am continually amazed at how God is at work behind the scenes even when we don’t see or know it.

She was rather embarrassed to call….in fact; she had tried several times and hung up!! Of course the enemy did NOT want her to let me know she was praying for me. He did not want me to be encouraged. Is God asking you to make a phone call or write a note that does not make sense to you? DO IT!! Are you longing for God to use you to serve Him? Let Him!!

Never underestimate the significance of the seemingly insignificant things you do!!

God is at work behind the scenes….we must trust Him!! You might feel alone, neglected, fearful, and maybe even wondering where is God. Know He is at work. Read all of Psalm 121 and be encouraged. A portion of it says, "...the One who watches over you will not sleep. Indeed, He who watches over Israel never tires and never sleeps."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ground Rules

I do training for businesses and industries in areas such as leadership, coaching, managing for success, customer service, etc. and one of the very first things I do with them is to go over the ground rules for the training sessions. It lets them know what I expect out of them and what they can expect from me.

As a minister's wife and/or mother, do you have "ground rules"? By that I mean, are there certain things that you always do or always don't do? For example, below are just a few of mine:

  1. Normally I don't host "at home" business parties like Tupperware, etc. I go to them, I just don't host them. I am too afraid that I will hurt some one's feelings if I have one person's event and not anothers'.

  2. I will help with wedding and baby showers (or often called teas/coffees depending on the part of the country you live) but usually do not have my name put on the invitation. Again, I don't want to hurt someone or leave anyone out and I cannot be a hostess for them all.

  3. In business meetings I keep my mouth shut. If fact, I have to confess that I had stopped going to business meetings because it was so hurtful to see some people so self-centered at times. When I don't go, I pray at home for God to move and meetings have changed!!

  4. I don't ask my husband the names of people who said or did "mean" things.

  5. Our children were not allowed to have friends at home if Ernie or I were not here....and they were not allowed to be at any one's house whose parents were not at home.

God has given us lots of ground rules.....and the one that I want to cling to today is found in Proverbs 3:5. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your path." NLT

Oh, Father, I ask that You would so pour out Your power on each one reading this....we are not capable in our own strength to even begin to trust You....we are weak and fearful and powerless. YET, we KNOW that Your power is perfected in our weakness and so Lord give us the ability to trust You.....In Jesus' name.....amen.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I am conflicted. Excited about the future….yet sad to leave. What a blessing it is for us to be sad to be leaving because, to be honest, there have been times over the last 15 years that we have been here that I begged God to release us from this ministry here. Times that were so difficult and painful. Yet, how grateful I am that He did not release us when times were hard. That through His grace we persevered and saw the mighty hand of God at work.

We needed those times to know God in ways we did not know Him before. We have grown so much during the difficult seasons of ministry and it has given me such a passion and compassion for ministers and their families.

We have been showered with overwhelming love and tears as people found out we were leaving. I did not know how loved we were! Such sweet conversations and hugs and tears have blessed and encouraged us.......and then the joy was suddenly replaced with a cloud of oppression that came over me this weekend.

Of course the enemy is NOT happy and satan pointed out to me that there are some people who are glad we are leaving. Why is it that I allow just one negative person distort the entire picture? Why is it I allow them to affect my mind and heart? I can hear just one thing and it sends me into a state of depression or puts me on the attack!! I had my words all planned out….I was going after someone!! Why not? We were leaving….I could say it now!!!

Then, God took my face in His hands and spoke this very important truth to my heart. “Dana, I have asked you to forgive, to not be bitter or angry, and to love your enemies. How do you suppose you are going to do these things if you never have the opportunity? I am allowing these people to come against you in order to give you a chance to forgive and love well!!”

Wow! What freedom!! Bring it on!! As I forgave and loved and quit trying to plan what I was going to say to “get back”….my heart changed and my mind is no longer focused on the one negative word that was blinding me and robbing me of joy and I can now see and hear and accept love.

I have lots of questions for you as we leave here! So, tell me….

1. How do I make the wisest use of the short amount of time I have left here?
2. I will be staying for a while after my husband leaves….do I keep teaching my Sunday School class? Do I keep going to “our” church? Will that be difficult? Weird?
3. What tips do you have for selling a house?
4. What tips do you have for finishing well?
5. What has worked for you as you left ministries?

Keep remembering that "His grace is sufficient....His power is perfected in weakness...."

Monday, August 4, 2008

I Should Have Known!

I should have known “it” was coming!!

A few months ago I was taking the beautiful drive to the college where I have worked and taught for 14 years. The gorgeous trees, rolling hills, little traffic and kudzu all seemed to smile at me as I drove along praising my God….so full of gratitude and thankfulness and an overwhelming sense of “I love my life”!!! Everything is going so well!!

1. I love teaching at the college
2. God is at work in my ministry at church and opening doors for speaking
3. Our children are following and serving the Lord
4. My husband is picking up after himself and being so sweet!!
5. God is doing amazing things at church
6. And on and on…

Like I said, I should have known “it” was coming.

I remember saying the exact same thing living in San Antonio….”I love my life”! Great friends, church, neighborhood, etc. Then “it” came.

One other time I said, “I love my life” we were living in Lake Jackson, TX. Great job, friends, house, ministry, etc. and “it” came.

What is “it”?

The hand of God leading my husband and me away from what is comfortable, natural, somewhat easy (as easy as it can be in the ministry!!), safe, known, sort of secure and understood to a new place that He had prepared us for.

We have been in the ministry full time for 33 years…..and have only served 4 churches….moving is not something we are accustomed to or familiar with….but we KNOW we are being led.

Have you found God wanting to “move” you? It may or may not be a physical move but He may want to do a “new thing” in your life. He does not want us to become too comfortable or complacent….but to be ready to “move” on a moment’s notice to go where He is leading. For us…this is a HUGE move….to another state, in fact….for you, He may be asking you to go to your husband or child and ask him or her to forgive you for your critical spirit.

I do not want to be afraid to move…..but want to look ahead to all that God has planned and to trust HIM in all things.....I have nothing in myself to be able to battle fear or to trust Him....and must claim the promise that "...His grace is sufficient...!"

Friday, August 1, 2008

Satan's Traps

"Protect me, and keep me from falling into Satan's traps."
I Chronicles 4:10

This is the last part of the study of the prayer of Jabez.

The last portion of this prayer is vital to our victory in Christ as we go through our daily lives. I am going to use many of the quotes from the study book, as I cannot express it any better.

"The onslaught of temptation seems to bombard us when we are being used by God for impact in our world." I know as a wife of a minister, you have felt the attacks of Satan on your life, your husband, marriage, children, finances, health, church and more. We are most vulnerable to Satan's attacks when we are serving God.

As Jabez prayed this prayer, he recognized that attacks would come and time spent with God is the key to overcoming the temptations and traps. "God can use our praying to illuminate us, to shed light on those traps that could ensnare us. Sometimes the traps are not necessarily bad things, but they are things that divert and distract our attention from impacting our mission for God."

"Satan does not fight fair. He is dedicated to destroying a life that is passionately committed to Jesus Christ. He knows when and where to attack you. Although he cannot read your mind, he studies you and knows the time and the place to tempt and attack."

As I was studying this last chapter in the book , my husband walked in the room. He told me a couple things that were going on and walked out of the room. SNAP! The trap slammed shut and I was caught! It was not anything big or life altering, just enough to distract me from my study. Distracting me from the work of God is always Satan's plan. It was just enough to make me lay down the book and my Bible and begin to worry.

When I stood up and began to walk away, I remembered a verse from my study that day. I Corinthians 10:12-13 "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

I stopped, turned around and picked up my Sword (God's Word). I began to read, pray and ask God to focus me on Him not circumstances. I put my Helmet of Salvation firmly in place and asked Him to protect my thoughts. The best part is ... He did it! God answered, opened the trap and let me out. The circumstances did not change, but my focus changed. My faith strengthened and God's truth comforted.

I hope this reminder of a simple prayer has been helpful to you this week. It is a reminder of the power of God's word, the love in God's heart and our mission in God's world. Stand strong, dear sisters! We have already won the victory in our Lord Jesus Christ!