My Journey Along the Narrow Way

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Anyone who knows me knows my favorite place in the whole world is the beach. Having grown up in California for the most part gave me a lasting love of the beach. When I moved to Alabama and was able to see the sugar sand of Southern beaches I fell even more in love with them.
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I love the sound of the surf, the sand between my toes, and the warmth of the Sun on my skin.  The colors and sounds just soothe my soul.  I’ve come to believe that most people seem to either love the beach or dislike it.  There is usually not many who fall in the middle.

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When I think about why I love the beach so much, I go back again and again to the verse in the Bible that talks about nature declaring the glory of God. I look at the colors and am in awe at the beauty God has created.  I hear the roar of the waves crashing on the beach and hear the power of God. I feel the sun and marvel that God placed it in the sky. What a great God we serve!

I can honestly say that the beach constantly brings me back to God. It calms
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Brand New…

Who doesn’t like something that’s brand new? Like a newborn baby or a puppy or even a new car? Things that are new and shiny and not yet spoiled tend to appeal to all of us. The problem is that no matter how well we take care of the new things we have, they always get that scratch or ding or just get spoiled.

If it’s a new situation or relationship we are talking about eventually we begin to take things for granted, we tend to start noticing the other person’s faults more. The intensity of our feelings tends to cool down.

This also happens with our relationship with God.  When we are new shiny Believers we are so excited. Just being around a new believer is energizing and fun. They want to tell the world about what Christ has done for them. Then after time the newness wears off.  They start to act like everybody else around them.  Or, they conform back to the world, instead of staying transformed.  Why is this?

I think in all these situations it is because of two reasons…everything breaks down in this world because of the sinful state we live in and because we insist on living in our own power instead through God’s power.  In other words the problems is us and sin.

The sinful world we live in and the curse that we are under seems to drag us down constantly. This is the reason everything decays and breaks down.  Just look at your car…is it as nice as the day you bought it…no.  Just look at your body…is your skin as clear and smooth as the day you were born? Again, no.  Decay and a downward trend are the natural order of things in our world.

Also, we try to live our lives and conduct our relationships in our own power. Clearly, this is a terrible idea as we seem to make a mess out of things every time.  We use our limited knowledge and wisdom instead of leaning on the One who knows everything and has perfect understanding and wisdom.

And we forget about the One who makes all things New. 

I find myself longing for the day when all this decay will be over.  Oh how I long for all things to be made new and shiny and away from this curse of sin. 

I long for the better country.  And I hope and trust that even the biggest messes I have made can be recreated and healed by the one who is perfection.

Who I am…

Sometimes there is a huge disconnect between who I am and who I want to be.  Also, from who I think I am and who I actually am.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who wakes up some mornings and wonders who this person in the mirror is. 

I have spoken in the past about my mother, who was literally one of the nicest, most gentle and caring people I ever knew. As it gets close to the anniversary of her death each year I find myself thinking of her and her kind and gentle spirit and I find myself again lacking.
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I so want to be that person that is quiet and has a gentle spirit. But I am in reality so not that person.  I am more of the rambunctious, loud nature and someone who usually laughs when I shouldn’t.

The more I think anout this though, the more I realize that God didn’t give me that same quiet, gentle nature…but it wasn’t an accident. God gave me my personality and gifted me with the gifts I have because that is who He created me to be.  He gave me these gifts to do His will in the way He wanted me uniquely to do it.   To complain or worry because I am not like someone else is to decide that I know more about God’s will and purposes than He does…and we all know that is not true.

So to me the key is to embrace who God created me to be and use my unique gifts and along the way work on cultivating that gentle and quiet spirit that I know is so pleasing to the Lord.  I just know it’s hiding in there somewhere.

1 Peter 3:3-4 …. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

The Oak Tree…

treeWe have a huge, very old oak tree in our front yard. In fact, that tree was one of the reasons we bought our house. I don’t think I would want to live here without it. One thing I have noticed is how solid that tree is. When we first moved in, even before our furniture had been delivered, Hurricane Opal came through Montgomery. I remember watching that old tree all night long just hoping that it wouldn’t come crashing into our (new to us) house. Everything else around us swaying and moved, including the branches of our tree, but the trunk of that tree never moved at all. A few years later, while digging across the yard to plant some bushes, I found out why that tree didn’t move. There were roots the size of my legs deep across the yard front that tree. You see, the deep, strong roots of the tree held it tight and fast when all around it the storms were raging. Just recently a huge limb fell off that tree onto our roof and it got me to thinking about storms in my life and what exactly keeps me rooted.

Several times in the Bible it mentions that when we are rooted in Christ we are just like our big, solid oak tree.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. Col. 2:6-7

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD
And whose trust is the LORD.
“For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8

When I read these verses I realize that I, too, can be as firm and steady as that oak tree. But only if I root myself in something strong and permanent in my life. If I only rely on my own strength or the strength of those around me I will surely be uprooted when the storms of life rage. Only in being rooted in something solid and unchanging can I weather the storms.

And boy are there storms in life. Sometimes they are little squalls that come and go quickly like someone hurting my feelings or the car running hot. Other times they are thunderstorms like an argument with someone I care about or having to buy a new refrigerator when we hadn’t planned to. And still other times they seem to be full blown hurricanes like the sickness or death or someone I love or marriage problems. And during those storms I may even feel like I’m falling apart (kind of like a limb falling off the tree), but in reality I’m not because I’m firmly rooted in the love and grace of Christ who will never leave or forsake me.

But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.
I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it,
And I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.
Psalm 52:8-9

imagesCAY7UD39OK…I know probably every guy reading this title is shaking their head in frustration because they NEVER seem to understand what we, as women, seem to want. If that is your reaction then this is the post for you. I am about to let the big secret out of the bag on exactly what women want. And it’s really very simple actually.

Are you ready? Here it is…women want to be pursued.

There it is…plain and simple. Well maybe not as simple as it sounds but let me explain.

From the time we reach that age when we begin to notice boys and they begin to notice us we really like them to notice us. We like the attention and their pursuit of us. It makes us feel really special when a guy makes eyes at us, notices the care we took in getting ready that morning, notices our hair or our new outfit.

And guys usually do a great job of pursuing the girls they like too. They wash their car or truck before each date, they make sure they are clean and dressed nice, they probably walk up to the house to pick her up, they open doors, etc. And, if they are really good, nice guys, they treat her like a Princess. And guys, we eat this stuff up because this is what we have been shown by Disney movies since we were toddlers.

Everything goes along like this and you get married. She probably had her dream, fairy tale wedding and felt like that Princess. Prince Charming is wonderful to her on the honeymoon and probably for a good while after. But this is when the problem comes along. Our guy has now caught us. Which is wonderful. However, now that he has the girl something seems to click off in the guy’s head and he no longer feels he needs to pursue the girl.

In black and white it makes perfect sense but it doesn’t to a girl’s heart. We wake up one day and don’t understand what happened. Why doesn’t he do the things he used to do? Why doesn’t he open doors, or wash the car before a date, or even ask us on a date?

I know it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense but I’m telling you what is deep within a woman’s heart and it’s that she wants to be pursued. And I’m just talking about her relationship with her husband. Because I know that God pursues us and loves us. I know there are other relationships. But I’m not talking about them. I’m strictly talking about what we seem to crave…and that’s for our husband to continue to pursue us.

It makes us feel loved and wanted. And it makes us feel like you would choose us all over again. And let me let you in on another little secret…if you pursue your wife, she will most likely start doing on those things she did in the beginning again too. Like anxiously wait on your call and make sure she is beautiful when you come home from work…so it’s a win-win for everyone.

Just try it and see what happens.

SUFFERING…

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Who among us wants to suffer? I know I personally would prefer not to. We all would prefer life to be happy, fulfilling, and the like. However, that’s not really reality is it? Unfortunately, we all suffer from time to time. Admittedly, some more than others.

Recently I have been going through some tough times. I can’t say that this is something I would have picked to go through. I have had some comfort in the fact that I know it is most assuredly something that God determined for me to go through.

During this time God has continually reminded me that He is with me and He knows what I’m going through. He has brought some wonderful, godly people to my life to walk with me and pray for me through this. This has definitely been such a blessing to me. I pray I continue to see all the blessings He has poured out on me during this season in my life.

I cling to the words of Romans 8:18…For I consider the suffering of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us.

So far the conference has been great. Last night was Tim Hawkins who was hilarious, then Third Day who always rock the house. Today has been some great Bible teaching so far, worship, and now lunch. Also, laughing myself silly and staying up way too late with my b
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