Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Decision Making

Find that courageous yes.  Fight for that confident no.

Decision making - Philippians 1:9-10 "And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,  so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ"

Knowledge, Insight, and Discernment.  Ask these questions when faced with a difficult decision.

1 - Have you been reading and praying through God's Word lately?
2 - Have you been applying God's Word in your life lately?
3 - Have you sought godly counsel and insights from wise people who know specifics about your situation?


Wisdom makes decisions today that will still be good tomorrow.

Don't despise the daily stuff, the mundane every day things.  Wisdom is a lifestyle.

2 Samuel 20:16-22 16 Then a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab, ‘Come here, that I may speak to you.’” 17 And he came near her, and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” He answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your servant.” And he answered, “I am listening.” 18 Then she said, “They used to say in former times, ‘Let them but ask counsel at Abel,’ and so they settled a matter. 19 I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the heritage of the Lord?” 20 Joab answered, “Far be it from me, far be it, that I should swallow up or destroy! 21 That is not true. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, called Sheba the son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David. Give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city.” And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.” 22 Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom.

She was a wise woman so they listened to her, she had a lifestyle of wisdom and it spoke loudly to those around her.

Fear the Lord

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever." Psalm 111:10

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight." Proverbs 9:10

Fearing God means looking for the hand of God in everything.


(in italics - The Best Yes by Lysa Terkheurst)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Seek Instruction Before Direction

It was as if God were whispering "Remember - pay attention - see what I want you to see."

Seek instruction before direction.

If we want His direction for our decisions, the great cravings of our souls must not only be the big moments of assignment.  They must also be the seemingly small instructions in the most ordinary of moments when God points His Spirit finger saying, go there.

How many times have I "self-talked" my way out of doing something god was prodding me to do?  What a sinful creature I am.  Lord, help me listen and help me be obedient!

Not every opportunity was meant to be my assignment.

Other people's requests dictate the decisions we make.  We become slaves to others' demands when we let our time become dictated by requests.  We will live reactive lives instead of proactive.

The decisions we make dictate the schedules we keep.  The schedules we keep determine the lives we live.  The lives we live determine how we spend our souls.  So, this isn't just about finding time.  This is about honoring God with the time we have.

Schedule time to work on our next big thing, our dream, what God has truly called us to.  Our Soul Thing!

Do a personal assessment of your time.  Find those precious few hours in your week to work on your soul thing!  How we spend our soul matters.


(in italics - The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me....or want to

1.  I cannot lie.  Ok, I'm not saying I haven't lied but it is really hard for me to lie intentionally...even if the truth might hurt your feelings, I just can't help it, I may tell you the truth and it may actually hurt.

2.  I'm not good at telling stories.  I try, and sometimes they kind of make sense but I need to leave that to someone who can make them sound better than they really are.

3.  I say random things.  This happens in two ways, either I'm thinking about something in my head and I say something outloud, it could be during a different conversation (usually with my hubby) but it doesn't make any sense to him.  And other times, I will be talking about something and insert something that isn't even relevant and then I wonder...did they think I meant something other than I intended?

4.  I say things that don't make sense.  See number 3.

5.  I enjoy cleaning.  Weird I know but I can't sit still at home for very long, if something has to be done I just gotta do it before I can feel like I can relax.

6.  I can flare my nostrils.  Nuff said.

7.  I think I'm funny.  Really, I do...even if I'm not, I think I'm a riot just try telling me I'm not...I won't believe you.

8.  I can be really serious.  Really... Seriously...  I can... It's usually around new people in a new environment, it takes me a while to warm up to some people.  I don't even know why.  Do you think I might be shy?  Hmmm...maybe.

9.  I'm kind of a loner.  I like being by myself (not all the time) but a lot of the time.  I'd rather go shopping by myself which some may think is weird but I never feel like I can really look at the stuff I want to or buy the stuff I want to if I'm with someone else.  I may buy a couple things but most of my good shopping is done by myself, much to James' dismay.

10.  I count things.  This may be the strangest one yet, but I do.  I count things over and over, I have a friend that reads things multiple times but I count things.  There might be 23 people in the room and I will count them...multiple times, maybe it's usually people...you know what? It is usually people!  Wait....go back to number 4.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014


My family has been going through some changes and it is quite an adjustment.  This summer the cabinet industry was pretty slow, really slow, we didn't have any income other than mine for two months.  We got behind and just tried to survive til things picked up, God is so faithful and I have always trusted Him to provide so I really wasn't too worried, I'm really not much of a worrier at all, James on the other hand...  James decided to look for another job and God sat one right down in his lap, it was really incredible.  As soon as he was hired, he sold two kitchens...how is this going to work?  James' sweet dad, James' dad works with him quite a bit, he doesn't want to sit around at home all day and he told James he would work at the shop while James went to work in Sedalia.  And so the whirlwind began.  James working 5 days a week and coming home in the evenings and Saturdays working in the cabinet shop.

I work at my church which is a 35 minute drive, James has the cabinet shop (at our home) but James' new job is in Sedalia, the same town I work in... a mediocre jaunt.  Of course, Cameron goes to Lincoln High School which is only a few minutes away from our home.  Everyone has their own vehicle, which makes our driveway look like a used car lot when everyone is home, but is good because we can all go where we need to be.  Our biggest issue is James' truck is a monster fuel sucker and it would cost a small fortune to drive that thing to Sedalia every day so we came up with a system to save on gas.  The catch is that on multiple days of the week I am getting up at 4:30 a.m. and arriving at work by 6:00 a.m., it's not every day but even two days in a row wears me out.  James works from 6:30 to 3:00 p.m. and I work from 8:30 to 5:00...hence the sleep deprived me; I go to work early, he stays around town late.  Some days I start working right away and other times I write blog posts or have extra Bible Study time, which really is nice...but I'm oh so tired.  Pray for me, I know this is a small sacrifice and we are fortunate to have extra income.  God is so good to us, I am constantly in awe of His love and care for lil ol me.


Monday, September 22, 2014

The Rush

Wisdom ~

"When we have a reverential attitude and look for the hand of God in everything, we start seeing things from the perspective of wisdom. This becomes our focus." - tby (The Best Yes)

1 Corinthians 1:24 "but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."

Colossians 2:3 "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

"The rush makes us rebellious" - tby

"Don't miss your assignment." - tby

"Long for unbroken companionship with God." - tby

"The one who obeys God's instruction for today will develop a keen awareness of His direction for tomorrow." - tby

Isaiah 30:21 "And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left."

~ My rushing (busyness) causes me to miss my "Best Yes" moments or opportunities.  "Be Still" whispers to me often, it's God trying to get my attention, to stop and listen; it's hard to hear His voice above my own and the whirlwind of rushing.  The rush makes us rebellious; disobedient to God's leading and prompting.  Let's stop, be still, and listen for His "Best Yes" today.


The Best Yes

My online Bible Study "The Best Yes" has just begun, yesterday, as a matter of fact!  It is already challenging me, this is the stuff I love, conviction, change, new found knowledge of who God is, the list goes on and on.

A few insights...

"We must not confuse the command to love with the disease to please." - tby (the Best Yes)

"What is my best yes?  The Best Yes is you playing your part.  If you know it and believe it, you'll live it." - tby

~ I feel like I've searched this out for a long time and have actually made some headway on this journey for this particular issue.  I know I'm supposed to, am called to, music ministry and I'm being used in this way already.  I have tried to weed out the things I'm not "called" to and have had to use the word "no", much to the surprise of some.  This is only the beginning.  I did a study last year, maybe 2 years ago about surrendering.  In many ways this goes along with that "anything", the titles seem completely opposite of one another but saying you'll do "anything" - surrendering yourself to God means you are opening yourself to God's "Best Yes" for you.  I don't believe that His will and plan for your life is to say "yes" to anything that comes along.  That kind of thinking keeps us busy and distracted for what God's purpose is for us.

Start chasing your "Best Yes".


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Church Secretary

Yesterday, someone introduced me and said "this is our church secretary", it happens quite frequently, and almost every time, I cringe.  I don't blame anyone who does this, it's perfectly natural, it's my problem.  I don't know why but somehow I feel it's derogatory, maybe it's because of the pay or the difficulties of the job, or because I've felt "less than", or maybe because people run the other way or don't make direct eye contact when they see me approaching them because they just know I'm going to ask them to serve somewhere.
But I don't want to be defined as the church secretary.  Now, don't get me wrong, I really love my job...most days ;)  I love serving my Pastors and my church family...all of them.  I am not just a church secretary.  I am a wife, mother, musician, a friend, a missionary, and most importantly a child of the King.  I need to remind myself that Jesus being mine and me His, is the best definition of who I am and that's all that matters. 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fantasy Football is NO Fantasy

I admit it...I'm addicted to Fantasy Football.  Well, not as addicted as my oldest son but I do really love it.

I really used to think it was quite silly or annoying but Christian started a family league "The Hoagland Cup" a couple years ago and I've been hooked ever since.  This is year 3 and I plan to win it all this year, I came so close last season but Christian's stinkin' kicker scored an unbelievable amount of points to overthrow me.

I participate in mock drafts before the season begins.  Christian schedules a Fantasy Football Draft night and I wait in anticipation.  The order is random and this time I got to choose my first player last, I knew who I wanted to pick first but was afraid one of my offspring was going to pick him.  I threatened them with something but Cameron still picked my first choice.

I talk to my players.  I know they can't hear me but I talk to them anyway, I threaten to bench them, I cheer for them, urge them to run faster!  I've always like football but this, this is something else.  I played in 3 leagues last year...too many, I would sometimes be playing against a player I had on another team and I just didn't like that.  I am playing in 2, our family league and a friend's league, my friend, one other person I know and a bunch of his friends from college.  Yes, I'm the only girl but that makes it all the sweeter when I kick their butts and I do kick their butts.

I get to name my teams anything I want, my Hoagland Cup team is named "Mama's Monkeymen", don't ask me why...I don't have any answer but for some reason I like to name them with two words that start with the same letter.  My other team is "Porky Passers"...I know, I know...cool name.

James laughs at me, I'm not sure if he thinks it's cute when I talk football or thinks I'm completely out of my mind.  Maybe a little bit of both...


Thursday, September 11, 2014

That's Laughable

If you really know me, then you know I'm a laugher...even though I don't think that's a real word but whatever.  I laugh at almost everything, I just can't help myself, things are funny to me.  Is that strange? 

And I may laugh at the weirdest stuff...gross boy humor (of course, because I have boys!), people falling down (don't even lie, that stuff is funny), and the list goes on and on.  I actually recently had two laughing episodes that I had to leave the room, I just couldn't control myself.  I have to admit, it was a bit much and I am blaming it on my lack of sleep.

So, is it strange that I laugh sooo much?  Only if it is pointed out by many people...right?  The first that I can remember is Kyle Burney, 4th grade, he looked at me one day and said "you laugh at everything"....I can't remember my reaction and people say that quite frequently but my reply now is "I am a happy person, okay? I am filled with joy!"  I think this is actually a gift from the Lord, He gave me laughter, how awesome is that?  If you're annoyed by that....sorry, I really can't help it.

I thought I'd add a picture of myself laughing but found this one instead because it made me laugh out loud.
Ok...so maybe it started when I got a little older.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What I'm Reading

What am I reading?  Sometimes it's hard to keep them straight.  I think I have (I don't even know) ____ many books I'm reading all at once.  I used to read all kinds of Christian fiction but lately I really just want to grow in the Lord so I'm doing multiple Bible studies, reading books that show me who God is, how I can be closer to Him, the list goes on and on.

This year....

Here's the one Christian fiction I've read, Christian got this for me for Christmas so of course, I had to read it and it's by one of my favorite Christian fiction authors, Karen Kingsbury.

I started this one "Worship Matters" by Bob Kauflin in the Fall of 2013 but am still reading it to this day...it's a lot to take in but oh, so good.  It's for the Worship Leader but speaks to so many issues of the heart of Worship that anyone reading it would be effected by it.  It is also very practical for the Worship Leader or musician.  Highly recommended!!

I read this in the Spring, James and I were starting this community Bible Study and we wanted something to read for ourselves before we began.  Everything revolves around the gospel and so we wanted to immerse ourselves in a greater understanding of how to relate that in a deeper way to others.  So appropriately, I read "Gospel" by J.D. Greear.

I Am a Church Member by Thom Rainer, a short book showing what a church member should look like.  Really good, our Pastor did a Wednesday Night Bible study with it.
The Ultimate Pardon by Bill Corum, now this was a doozy.  Bill came to our Celebrate Recovery meeting one Monday and shared his testimony. 

He wrote this book about his life and gave anyone that wanted one a copy.  His story is intense and not for young readers, he wrote about his sin and how God delivered him.  Really, really good...I read this one in only a few days time.

Here's a description and a link to his personal testimony.
Bill Corum rode over 2500 miles in handcuffs, leg-irons and waist-chains in his first twenty one years of life. After his release from prison, he finally returned to his home in Kansas City, MO determined to never go back. Yet, he had no intentions of ever becoming a law-abiding citizen...only covering his tracks. Bill's insatiable hunger for money, power, and influence drove him. He spent the next eighteen years evading the law. Like a frog in a slowly boiling pot, he found himself in the ever tightening vise-grip of drugs, pornography, prostitution and organized crime, until he found himself in so deep... there was no way out. After being arrested, he faced the probability of spending the rest of his life behind prison walls. Will Bill Corum receive the Ultimate Pardon?
Right now I'm still reading "Worship Matters", I'll probably have to read it for the next several years to really "get" all of it.  I just started to read "Restless" by Jennie Allen but have discovered a study guide and have decided to put it on hold because I ordered "The Best Yes" by Lysa Terkeurst which will coincide with an online Bible Study with Proverbs 31 Ministries starting September 22nd.  Meanwhile, I'm doing the Esther Study with loveGodgreatly.com.  I really like online studies, they are convenient for us "busy" moms...ironically enough, "The Best Yes" is about making wise decisions in the midst of endless demands.
What are you reading?


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"His" Faith - Part 2

The end of Summer...time to go back to college and return to the "world".  Christian went to church with us a few times (no, we didn't force him to go) whether that was a mistake or not...I don't know, he is 19 years old and we still wanted him to own "his" faith.  He did attend a revival that James preached a couple weeks into the Summer, I saw conviction all over his face.  That was a blaring sign of hope for me :)  My gracious Father and Lord gave me glimpses into Christian's heart and I could see that he didn't really have doubts, he was being rebellious which had been my suspicion when we first talked.  He was a sweet kid all Summer, he wasn't out partying or reeking havoc; he was living for himself.

I took him back to college on move-in day, it was just he and I.  To my dismay, I looked around and saw that I was helping him move into a fraternity.  I wasn't pleased, it looked like trouble.  That along with PMS did not do my heart good.  We had one last thing to get before I went back home so we jumped in my car and headed to Wal-Mart.  Then the tears began to roll, Christian's reaction was one of surprise and he began to ask me what was wrong, if I was okay.  I felt like I was throwing him to the wolves.  I told him I was concerned about his decisions and the consequences those might have, yada yada.  When we got back I looked him in the face and said "I know you know the truth, I've seen it all over you all Summer long and you're going to come around".  I told him I was going to pray with him whether he liked it or not and we both kind of chuckled.  He held on to my hands and I prayed with him and for him.  He said "amen", which is an acknowledgment to me that he does indeed know the truth.  I then told him I was going to pray for his roommate's salvation.

I think my son is running, running from God, running from his calling that God placed on his life when he was only 13.  But I have my Lord's promises that my son will come back to Him.  In the meantime, I wait on the Lord, I trust Him, and I will be Jesus to my son as long as it takes.

"Thus says the Lord:
“Keep your voice from weeping,
    and your eyes from tears,
for there is a reward for your work,
declares the Lord,
    and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
 There is hope for your future,
declares the Lord,
    and your children shall come back to their own country." Jeremiah 31:16-17


Monday, September 8, 2014

"His" Faith - Part 1

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 1:4

I could see some compromises in my child's life, although small, they were still there and it troubled me.  He had just finished his freshman year of college and was home for the Summer.  Don't get me wrong, he is a great young man but I was concerned he wasn't following the Lord as closely as he used to be and the world was crowding in on him.  I saw an opportunity to have dinner with just the two of us, dad and little brother were off doing something else so I sought the Lord on how to approach this needed discussion with my son.

I made the two of us dinner and just simply began.  "How is your relationship with Jesus?" I asked.  He started with "not as good as it should be" and then began to tell me about doubts he was having, that he believed in a creator but wasn't really sure about anything else, that there are a lot of other things out there.

I. was. devastated.  This was not what I had expected.  The tears began to fall as I tried to hold it together.  I talked to him about the evidence of Christ and the testimony of His power in my life and the lives of others.  He said he was still a moral person and I told him that only Jesus is good and it's only Him that makes us moral or good that without Him we are nothing.  I can't remember all the things I said to him, I only know my heart ached for my boy, for his doubts, his lack of faith at this time in his life, for the consequences this would bring for him.  I asked him if he would read "More Than a Carpenter" and he said that he would.

He hugged me and went to watch tv or something, I went upstairs and cried out to God.  I asked at least 30 people I knew to pray for my son.  The response from others was encouraging, there seemed to be a theme forming..."his faith", when he figures this out he will own his faith, it will be "his" faith, he will have no more doubts or fears, he will know and he will come out better on the other side.  As his mother, I don't want him to suffer while he's going through this.  But isn't that selfish thinking?  God has a purpose and plan for him and it may indeed include some pain to mold him into who He wants him to become.

God gave me peace, an assurance that this does have a happy ending.  God is faithful, God is trustworthy.  And I trust Him.

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6



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