Thursday, March 28, 2013

nearer to You, my Savior

Often in the middle of the night, I wake up with a tune and/or song in my head.  I usually run to my keyboard and pluck it out in the dark to save for later.  Soooo, here is a song the Lord gave me a few nights ago...

"Nearer to You, My Savior.
Closer to You, I long to be.
Nearer to you, Sweet Jesus.
Forever, most dearest are Thee."

I keep singing it to Jesus and love the simplicity of it's tune.  So soothing to continually hum such joy as He grants me the opportunity to draw nearer to Him in praise.  Love that!

God is soooooo good!


agree to disagree

Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing." Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. (Acts 15:36-39)

I hate disagreements and misunderstandings. But the truth of the matter is that all humans are subject to having different views from one another. It is difficult to accept this because the goal is to have love, peace and unity within the Christian body, but in this tainted world that we live, it cannot always be the reality. People have different opinions and expectations. People disagree.

In Acts 15, we are introduced to such an occasion with Paul and Barnabas. The incident shows that even the best of men are well... men, and subject to having and argument. Strangely enough, when I read this passage, I found it comforting to know that even the Apostle Paul was not immune to such an experience.

The writer of Acts shows us a private quarrel between these two ministers. Barnabas wished his nephew John Mark to go with them on a journey to encourage and revisit the churches established. Paul did not think him worthy or fit for the task, because in a former journey John Mark had departed from them without Paul's consent. (See Acts 13:13) Both men had reasonable viewpoints behind their case and neither would yield. So, there was no other remedy to the matter except that Paul and Barnabas agree to disagree.

Matthew Henry said, "We see that the best of men are but men, subject to like passions as we are. Perhaps there were faults on both sides, as usual in such contentions. Christ's example alone, is a copy without a blot. Yet we are not to think it strange, if there are differences among wise and good men. It will be so while we are in this imperfect state; we shall never be all of one mind till we come to heaven. But what mischief the remainders of pride and passion which are found even in good men, do in the world, and do in the church! Many who dwelt at Antioch, who had heard but little of the devotedness and piety of Paul and Barnabas, heard of their dispute and separation; and thus it will be with ourselves, if we give way to contention. Believers must be constant in prayer, that they may never be led by the allowance of unholy tempers, to hurt the cause they really desire to serve."

The good news is, although Paul and Barnabas were in disagreement, they were still able to follow through and carry out their intended purpose to encouraging the furtherance of the gospel. By returning with John Mark to his native land, Barnabas revisited a portion of the brethren to whom he and Paul had originally preached. Paul did the same, but visited another group by means of a different route. Irrespective of their argument, they did not allow the message to suffer, but accomplished their mission separately.

The lesson here is not that we as humans will have disagreements. The lesson is how we choose to proceed forward from those disagreements. Will we let a misunderstanding stir contention between us and be chained down by our egos with the pride to always win an argument? Or will we move forward in love, holding no grudge or ill-will toward one another, with the hope to keep our focus on serving the Lord?

Matthew Henry concludes that later on, "Paul speaks with esteem and affection both of Barnabas and Mark, in his epistles, written after this event. May all who profess thy name, O loving Saviour, be thoroughly reconciled by that love derived from thee which is not easily provoked, and which soon forgets and buries injuries."

It is so easy for women to fall into an unhealthy mindset that gives them a certain sense of entitlement against one another. We can build up expectations in our minds as to how a task or event should work out "just so". We become easily disappointed with one another when the circumstances don't end up matching our intended plans and then can fall into sin by how we choose to handle our emotions.

Friends, if you find yourself in discordance over a matter, please think back to this example of Paul and Barnabas. However passionate you are about its outcome, remember to handle your quarrels with grace - just as these two ministers chose to do. Paul and Barnabas agreed to disagree, but they were wise and did not fall into grumbling or gossiping against one another. Rather, they chose to respectfully part ways and take their own path toward serving God. Although they clashed on a matter, they did not hold resentment toward one another, but rather spoke in love about each other even after the conclusion of these events were over.

God has made each person to have great value and uniqueness. We must always remember to uphold the mindset that God has for others and equally try to love and respect them. In times of conflict, we can agree to disagree when the solution is unclear and both parties interests are in keeping with scripture. Sometimes separating from one another is the best route to take. But if you find yourself in such a circumstance, remember to separate from one another in love.

In all things, in all relationships, our motivation (even in disagreements) should be based in love.



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

another secret garden!

Another secret gem found right in my own back yard of Houston!  Love it!!!....

turn the other cheek and pray

It is late late late, and I was in the process of finishing DW's blog for tomorrow morning. Before posting, I took the time to check in on DW's social networking page and at the top of the page was a new comment from a women using foul language and hateful sentiments directed toward our ministry... Sigh.

As one of DW's administrators, I quickly removed the comment from our Facebook Wall and took time aside to send her a private email to inform her why her post did not meet our prayer network's objective: to encourage and pray for one another to walk daily in fellowship with Jesus Christ. I took great care to be as respectful as possible and even offered to speak with her directly about the matter, if she felt it necessary. Before sending the note, my husband and I reviewed her profile and anticipated that her response (if any) would most likely be venomous due to how she openly represented herself (atheist, illicit behavior, etc.). But as we have done with many others who have posted profanities on The Devoted Woman's pages, I took some time to extend the courtesy of explaining why we would be removing her comment and did my best to address her with the respect I would wish to be treated.

Shortly after my note was sent, I received a one sentence reply attacking me personally. And that was that.

Although this is not an unusual occurrence, here I sit, saddened by what just took place and writing a completely new blog as a result. I bring this to your attention to share the words of our wise Savior in how we are to respond in such situations.

Read Christ's own words in Luke 6:27. Jesus instructs us: (1) love your enemies, (2) do good to those who hate you, (3) bless those who curse you and (4) pray for those who mistreat you. And that is exactly what I intend to do for this woman...

Almighty Father,

In love, I lift up this woman to You knowing that You are able to save anyone. Please soften her heart and bring her to know You personally. Show her Your unending love and bring her to understand how valuable she is in Your eyes. Give her the ultimate blessing of knowing and accepting Your son, Jesus, and the honor of becoming one of Your children. Forgive her hate-filled words spoken against You, Lord... for I am certain if she really knew who You were, she would never have spoken them.

I pray that You use this experience to remind all DW's (including myself... especially myself) to turn the other cheek to those who persecute us. I pray that in our walk against the enemy, we do not forget or lose sight of the fact that those who follow Satan are lost and in need of a Savior. Help us to love them as You loved us and avoid becoming judgemental or complacent. Remind us that we are no better except in that we have You, dear Jesus!

Thank You for every opportunity You give us to grow closer to Christ. We thank You for all experiences and all moments and ask only that you use our lives to reflect Your image in our words and actions. Do not let the world's opinions and hatred toward You influence our commitment and devotion to serving and following our gracious Master.

Praise Your Holy Holy Holy Name, Precious Jesus. We love You and trust You - always!


"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6:27-38)



Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Today was so much fun just hanging with our dear friends Mike and Michele who are visiting in town this week into next.  What wonderful peeps!  However, right now... everyone has retired early for bed tonight since we were all up early and have been go go go all week so far.  That said, I'm now enjoying the quiet of my home and praising the Lord for the blessing of family and friends, the bounty of food to readily eat, and the abundance of all we have to protect and clothe and entertain us.  Mostly, I'm grateful for the grace of my King, who constantly surprises me... taking care of every detail and always proving Himself madly in love with me and mine.

God is so good all the time!  I love Him.

Sweet dreams my sweeties online.
And, I love you, Jesus!



Big planning at the kitchen table. We have a whole week to catch up on our playtime!!! 
Woo hoooooo!!!

Sure, we haven't built the pool yet... but our yard is just (pause) that (pause) comfortable!

Cheesecakes!!! (Nothing more need be said... just savor the greatness!)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

today in pictures: Austin, TX

Morning coffee.

Sweet nectar of all that is pure and good!

Apples in a wood bowl.

Wooden tentacles.

Secret garden of Hotel San Jose in Austin. Lovely.

My kind of graffiti.

Momba & me on Austin boat tour earlier tonight.

Momba & Sarah on boat tour! So pretty!!!

Austin, TX's capital building.

The girls at Au'Cap!

Inside the Capital at Austin, TX.

Halls of justice.

Too funny. Austin is such a quirky place.

Common commodes.

Momba and Sarah behind the bars. Haha!

Awesome wood-slatted entrance.

Pottery piggy bank.

Go green.  
Definitely an artistic town full of folks making their own statements. 
God bless them, every one.

Naked bicycle man!!!
What most amuses me is that this guy knew to put a hat on.
Really... just a hat, dude?!!!

The heavens declare the glory of God!

Thank you Austin, Texas for a great day!