Welcome to my blog! Odd title you say? Yes, maybe, but I bet you would agree with me that life is chaotic! I'm mindful though, in the midst of the chaos, of Colossians 3:17 "Whatever you do, do it all in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father!" I thank God that my life gets to be chaotic...I know that through the chaos He is transforming me to be more like Him!

Monday, February 22, 2010

What's Your Boast?

"Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God." Psalm 20:7

Today is the second time I have read this verse this week in my quiet time with God. And even yesterday at church we sang a song by Paul Baloche with these lyrics:

"I will boast in the Lord my God, I will boast in the One who's worthy, I will boast in the Lord my God, I will boast in the One who's worthy, He's worthy!"

I figure God must be trying to teach me something...and so I write.

Why did David use the example of chariots and horses in this verse? When David was the King of Israel, and even all throughout history, Israel was never seen as the best army by the world's standards. Yes, they did some great things and defeated some important adversaries, but it was never because of their glitsy, showy battalion. Quite opposite for the neighboring countries, like Egypt. They had great wealth and fine war chariots which were carried by horses. These war chariots were a dread to those in Israel who lacked faith in their defense. Although Israel didn't have the horses like the others, they chose to declare Jehovah their God as their defense. It had been a sure defense that had never let them down in the past.

Many times it seems like I don't measure up in the world's standards. I don't have the most money, or the best job, or know the most important people. The truth is, apart from God, I don't have anything to boast in, but it's tempting to find things. In today's society, this verse could read quite differently:

"Many boast in wealth, glamour, popularity, & fame, and many in stocks, cars, TV shows, & sports teams, but I will boast in the name of the LORD, my God."

What are you boasting in? What do you talk about most, that's usually your boast. Are you boasting in what God has done and is doing? Is that what you spend most of your time talking about or thinking about? Or do you spend most of your time boasting in YOUR favorite sports team that's having a good season, YOUR favorite TV show that left you hanging last week because they knew you would have to tune in this week, who YOU know, what position you hold at work, how much money you make, what kind of car you drive, or how beautiful or handsome you are?

You see, we can have the pretty horses. We can boast in our money, looks, our status, our friends...but we can be sure we won't see victory.

"The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord." Psalm 21:31

What about when it comes to "spritually" boasting? That makes it better, right? "I went to church today, I volunteered for this ministry, I served an extra day this week, I gave money to someone who needed it, look how great I am?!" The bottom line is this kind of boasting has nothing to do with God and everything to do with us. But who are we to boast in ourselves? We are sinners, and unholy apart from Christ.

"For all have sinned and fall short of God's glory." Romans 3:23

"Here is a trustworthy statement that deserves full acceptance, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst." 1 Timothy 1:15

We haven't done anything. We are nothing apart from Christ. And why would we boast in anything else this world offers? Everything good we have came from God and belongs to God. We didn't get it for ourselves. And it can't truly be our defense. The truth is, we can look for other things to boast in, but if we are boasting in anything other than the LORD, our God, we are setting ourselves us for defeat.

"The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord." Psalm 21:31

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Who Wants to be a Superhero?!

There's a picture somewhere at my parents' house of me with a towel draped behind me and tied around my neck for a cape pretending to be a superhero! Most girls pretend to be princesses, and believe me I did! But I think it's interesting that even as a little girl there was still part of me that wanted to have superhero powers & do great things! I remember Superman: The Adventures of Lois & Clark being one of my favorite shows! The thrill of approaching danger like it's nothing, destroying the enemy, saving lives, & having that much power!

I'm entering into day 2 of feeling this overwhelming sense of unimportance and smallness. Just being honest here, I have been reading of the accomplishments of others and thinking, "God, do You have something for me? Is there something important for me to do for You?" I'm surrounded by people who are finding their niche, if you will, that place where God has called them to be and to serve Him faithfully. I'm glad for that, I really am. But there are those thoughts of, "God, what about me? I don't feel adequate enough to do something like that, so what are You going to do with me?" Then of course, we are surrounded by Olympians (risking their lives!) to compete for a medal, & the whole world is watching constantly in awe of their courage & speed! Then there's me. Little ole me. I'm currently at home being constantly confused about my calling in life, and trying to tune out the lies of the devil. Not quite the story that would land me in a superhero comic book or movie. Maybe "The Superhero Who Wasn't!" or "Super-Boring Woman!" (Please excuse my vivid imagination!) And then this morning I read...

"The God who girds me with strength & makes my way blameless. He makes my feet like hind's feet, and sets me upon my high places. He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze! You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand upholds me. It's Your gentleness that makes me great. You enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped." (Psalm 18:32-36)

Wow! Talk about some superhero powers! But I'm sure this only applies to those people who have really important jobs to do, I mean, David was writing this and he was a stinkin king! Au contraire! The verse right before these verses says that this is what God promises not just to those with an "important calling" in the world's eyes, it's for (v30) ALL who take refuge in Him! That could be me! But it doesn't stop there...

"I pursued my enemies and overtook them, and I did not turn back until they were consumed. I shattered them, so that they were not able to rise; they fell under my feet. For You have girded me with strength for battle; You subdued under me those who rose up against me." (Psalm 18:37-39)

Take that Satan! I bet that hurt a little! That's for telling me things that go against the Word of God!

Here's the thing, we are powerful beyond imagination! God promises us...VICTORY over our circumstances. How can I sit here and feel powerless & helpless when I have these resources available to me? I can't. If I am thinking these things & listening to the devil, it simply means that I am not taking refuge in my God. And why wouldn't I take refuge in Him? Do I really want to stand out in the battlefield by myself & let Satan pelt me with thoughts & accusations until I'm black and blue all over?! That's crazy! When I take refuge in Him, He becomes my shield! He provides for me my superpowers, because He is all-powerful! I may not know what is next for me, but I do know that no matter where I am presently, I have no excuse to feel defeated. God wants us to be superheros. He has equipped us to be!
So here I am God! This is me. I choose to be a superhero today & I choose to take advantage of the power You have given me through Jesus Christ! I'm taking refuge in You, I've got my superhero gear on, & I'm looking up into the sky ready for wherever You want to take me!

"I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Romans 9:17

Friday, February 12, 2010

White Friday!

The morning started very early this morning! Zach started crying around 6:50! That may not be early to you, but at the May household...that's early! Especially on a Friday which is everybody's day off. We did, however, wake up to lots of snow this morning! LOTS of snow!! Got Zach up and changed and I had a blast playing mommy for the morning. So cute eating Apple Jacks!

We played inside for a while, and he got a little morning nap. Then it was time to bundle up and head outside for some fun in the snow! I'm not sure how much fun Zach actually had, but Bryant and I had a blast taking pictures! How obvious is it that we don't have children of our own?! Ha! Here's some pics!

I have to hand it to you Allison & Kevin (Zach's mom & dad), after playtime, bathtime, & lunchtime...by naptime Bryant & I were tired! So funny, he's sleeping, so we are squeezing in our to-do list before he wakes up. Valentine's Day party tonight, which is sure to be a blast (I hope you can hear the sarcasm in my voice). Fun times!

Some words of encouragement God gave to me today from Psalm 12:6 "The words of the LORD are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace of the earth, refined seven times." You can trust Him today! Trust what He has told you to do, and do it!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow, Sitters, & Sales

It's that time again! Time to declare a state of emergency in Mississippi! The low tonight is 33 degrees, and we Mississippians just can't continue to live normal lives as long as it's this cold! And of course, the big news around here is the 90% chance of snow tomorrow...we must now stock up on bottled water, canned food, and matches. I wonder if in Michigan & Detroit & other places where snow & low temps are a common occurrence...do they declare a state of emergency when temps soar into the upper 70s?! Well, that's just how we do it down here. It's looking like schools, parties, and other plans for the weekend are quickly being canceled.

In other news, Bryant and I are going to be sitters for the weekend! We actually get to play "mommy & daddy" for a few days. Some friends of ours are leaving town for 4 days, and since they know how much we adore this little boy, they asked us if we wanted to keep him! I'm not sure if we know totally what we're getting ourselves into, but it will be good experience! This is my favorite picture of little Zachary Hoober! I mean, can you blame us for being in love?

So now that I will be playing mommy for a few days, and now that my computer is working again, I'll be sure to blog about our adventures...

Which leads me to my last S word, sales. I don't usually shop at JCPenny, but you just can't beat their sales right now! If you're in need of some new clothes, or if you're just like me and love a good sale, you need to check it out! Tons of stuff, 80% off!...They should hire me to be in their ads!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back to the treadmill...

I'm not a runner. I'm just not. As much as I've dreamed about becoming a runner one day, it's just not gonna happen. No matter how many times I think in my head I can do it, it's just not the case. The truth is, I'm asthmatic! I've thought about how great it would be to be able to conquer my asthma and run a marathon (haha) and be able to say "I did it! It's a miracle!" and then I woke up...the truth is, no matter how hard I try, I can't run for a long time. But I'm back on the treadmill trying again, because the doctor says I need to work on expanding my lungs and pushing them a little harder to hopefully improve them. So it's only been since Monday that I've been back to a regular workout schedule, but I'm feeling good about it. Not in the moment, but definitely after the fact.

1 Corinthians 9:27 "I discipline my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

This verse is also applying to the P28 challenge that our church is doing. It's 28 days of prayer & fasting. God has been teaching me a lot about self-control lately, but it's a really good lesson. I've also been trying to teach my small group girls about fasting and the power that comes with it. But I will admit it's hard! I keep remembering this verse:

1 Corinthians 9:27 "I discipline my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

This verse in context is talking about self-control in all things. Not just in running, exercising, or eating right. It's also God working through us, giving us self-control, to not have to have things the world says you must. We control our bodies, they don't control us. God, give us self-control today so we can experience the freedom that comes in serving you!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Let's Make A Deal!

I was doing some stuff around the house the other day, and turned the TV on a few minutes before Dr. Phil came on. I was setting the TV to record my Dr. Phil show (as I do everyday!) and I stumbled across an old game show with a new look! Let's Make A Deal, hosted by the very funny Wayne Brady, was on. I watched as he gave 3 contestants each a designer purse which contained different money amounts in them. The contestants were then given the opportunity to keep the purse and the amount of money it contained or trade it in for whatever was behind...yep, you guessed it, "curtain #3!" Every one of the contestants chose to trade in their purse for something else behind a curtain.

I lead a 7th grade girls' small group at our church where we've been talking about the fruit of the Spirit. Yesterday we talked about the fruit of kindness. Not a fruit that many people choose to dwell on. What does it even mean to be kind? In my mind, it means...um, to be kind, right? To do kind things...it's hard to define. Webster states the definition of kindness as "the state or quality of being kind." Gee, thanks for the clarification Mr. Webster. We all have some idea in our minds about what kindness looks like though. I think of it like this "Extreme Home Makeover" kinda mentality that we see in movies or TV shows. But how often do we just want to do something kind for someone not asking anything in return?

You see, I think the way we treat kindness is a lot like "Let's Make a Deal." "I'll do something nice for you, if YOU do something nice for ME!" You've heard the expression, "I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine!" Oh we may not come right out and say it, but when we do something kind for someone else, do we secretly have an agenda or hope to gain something selfish from it? This is not at all the definition God had in mind when he told us to cultivate the fruit of kindness in our lives.

Philippians 2:3-4 says, "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Micah 6:8 "He has told you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."

How many times have we asked God, "God, what do You want from me? What do You want me to do?" This verse says it! What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, which simply means to do the right and moral thing; to love kindness, which means to LOVE putting others needs ahead of yours; and to walk humbly with your God.

We see a great example of kindness in the very first church. In Acts 2:44-45 it says, "All those who believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing with all, as anyone might have need."

This is what the church is supposed to be like! Where we aren't controlled by our stuff and always having to have MORE stuff when some people have nothing! They shared as anyone might have need - they viewed each other as more important then themselves.

We read this past week in the L3 in Acts 9. In v36 we find the story of Tabitha:

Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.

I was so excited to be reading this verse! "Yay, God! You know we're talking about kindness later this week and You are giving me an example of someone who was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity! I can't wait to read about what You did in her life!" Then I read the very next verse:

And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died;

"Really, God? I mean, really? This is your great example of why we should be kind too...so we can fall sick and die?!" But God said to keep reading...

and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him, "Do not delay in coming to us."So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.

Wow! Do you get what happened?! Because Tabitha (or Dorcus, since that's so much better...) was continually abounding with acts of kindness and charity, these people were mourning her death. They all gathered there holding the tunics and garments she had made. Do you think they would have really cared that much that she had died if she would've just been a jerk? If she would have always been only looking out for her own interests? But she wasn't like that, and because of the way she lived her life up to this point, people were mourning her. So much so, that they called for Peter to come in and raise her from the dead. He did, and because all the people were there mourning her death, Peter was able to present Tabitha to the people as a testimony of God's greatness!! V42 says, "It became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord."

When you are a person of kindness, people WANT to listen to what you have to say. People will WANT to be around you. And in the me-centered culture that we live in, when you consider other people more important than yourself, you stand out! You stand out in a good way, and God can use that fruit in your life to help other people see God's goodness!

Super Bowl Wings!

I found this recipe and tried it for our Super Bowl party last night! Event though the Saints won, the food was good!

Slow Baked Chicken Wings
5 lb frozen chicken wings
10 oz. soy sauce (yea, I know...)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons molasses or honey (I used molasses since I'm allergic to honey)
1/8 teaspoon (or to taste) cayenne pepper (optional)
5 cloves garlic, peeled
fresh ginger, 1 inch piece, peeled

In a blender, combine soy sauce, sugar, molasses or honey, cayenne pepper, garlic, and ginger.
In a disposable aluminum 10x12 inch pan, (or a regular pan lined with foil), pour blended mixture over the still frozen chicken wings.

Place on center over rack and bake at 250 degrees for 2-2 1/2 hours, turning and basting every 30-40 minutes. When wings are done they will be tender. Remove from sauce and serve immediately or keep warm in a Crock Pot.

Just be sure you have lots of napkins handy!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Safe or Good?

Aaahh, it's cold & raining outside, the perfect conditions to snuggle up with a new book (which I did buy yesterday! Beth Moore's new book called So Long Insecurity: You've Been a Bad Friend to Us! I'm sure I'll be blogging about it soon enough)! It's been on my list of things to do today, but it hasn't happened yet...oh well. But I did read an article today that contained a quote from one of my favorite childhood books, The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe! It's officially the only C.S. Lewis book I've ever been able to read in its entirety! I would read & re-read that book constantly! This was before the movie was made, mind you, so I had to actually imagine what the characters & settings looked like...mind-boggling to my younger sisters! Here's the quote I read today:

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Who said anything about safe? 'Course He isn't safe. But He's good."

If you've read the book (or seen the movie) then you know the spiritual significance of the storyline. C.S. Lewis uses fictional characters & imagery to depict many aspects of the Christian life. I love this quote! It's so true about the God I serve. He's definitely not safe! Let me clarify what I mean by that. I read this week in the L3 in Acts about Stephen being stoned to death for his faith in God. STONED TO DEATH! Not exactly the kind of thing that makes you wanna scream, "Sign me up!" Bryant was writing a seminary paper earlier this week on Job and how he lost everything important in his life, including his own health. This is what happened as a result of following his God and being a faithful servant. Again, any takers?! I was in a conversation today with someone talking about the Baptist missionaries who are being held in a Haiti prison right now for trying to take orphans across the border into the Dominican Republic to get them some help. Now, I don't know the whole story about those people, but I seriously doubt they were trying to harm the children in any way. The media has done an amazing job of making these "Christians" look like lunatics! Imagine feeling like God is wanting you to go on a mission trip to Haiti, and then thinking you are doing what He wants you to do, and ending up in prison. "Really God? This is what You had in mind?! Prison?"

God isn't safe. This is a fact. But He is good. I must admit I don't know what God is doing in my life right now. I'm still thinking it's not really safe to quit a job before you have another one...but can I really trust that God is good? YES! I have to remember God's faithfulness in Scripture, and His faithfulness in my life in the past! He has never let me down. I always look back and say, "Yep, God. You did know what You were doing...Thank You for not doing things like I wanted them! That would have been a DISASTER!"

I will sing to the LORD, for He has been good to me! Psalm 13:6

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man that takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8

For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues to all generations! Psalm 100:5

Thanks Mr. Beaver. I needed to hear that today...

Monday, February 1, 2010

God, Are You Sure?!

Good Morning! It's been morning for me since about 4:45 this morning, not by choice of course. If you know me, you know I don't play around with my sleep! If I'm gonna miss a minute of it, it had better be a good reason! I suppose the reason for my lack of sleep last night and for the past few nights is because I have a lot on my mind.

Today is a new day for me. It's scary and somewhat exciting. You see, Saturday was my last "official" day of working with my mom at a store we built together over the last 2 years, Monkey Charms. Monkey Charms is a women's clothing & accessories store in Flowood, MS. My family has spent the last 2 years devoted to this store. In the very beginning, it was just me & mom (& dad, of course). It has been such a blessing to have been able to work with my mom who has always been like my best friend! It has been amazing to get to work with my family, and see God take an idea that He gave my parents during a very hard season of their life, and grow it into something great! It was also a blessing for me to have such an awesome job even before I graduated college, and then to not have to worry about what I was going to do when I graduated. It just fell into place, well, God made it fall into place. I have gained so much experience from working there. Mostly how to deal with people! All kinds of people! And yes, there are many, MANY crazy people that shop in Flowood! God has taught me so much working there over the last couple of years, and time after time, when I would ask God, "Are you sure this is where I am supposed to be?" Each time God would answer, "Yes, when I want you to leave, I will let you know!" That has been another blessing, to know that I have been exactly where God wanted me.

Sometime back in September/October of last year, I began feeling a discontent, like God was calling me to something else. My only problem was I couldn't figure out what it was He was calling me to. I chased after a couple of different things I thought might be God, but they weren't. This left me very confused for some time. I finally said, "God, if you want me somewhere else, You're going to have to give me something else." After all, I reasoned, we do have bills to pay and I will need something else to go to if I leave Monkey Charms. The discontent continued. I couldn't figure it out, and I became very impatient & frustrated with God. "Hello....didn't you hear me God?! If you want me somewhere else, YOU'RE going to have to give me something else!" Nothing. Long story short, after telling God my demands multiple times but completely failing to ask Him what He thought about it, God completely humbled me by showing me my selfishness. Who am I to make demands of God? Who am I to ask Him do things MY way?! God showed me that He will do whatever it takes to bring Himself the most glory! Deep down, this makes sense to me. This is ultimately the desire of my heart - to make much of Him, & to bring Him the most glory possible through my life! So I finally began listening to God again and got on board with His agenda. His answer, "I want you to quit Monkey Charms now in faith, believing that I am in control - My plan is perfect." Thus began the "buts"..."But this...But that..." What about money? What about my mom? What about Monkey Charms? God's answer seemed to be, "No buts....My plan...My glory...don't worry!" So...I told my mom, and while we were both sad, we both acknowlege that God's plan is better than ours. God is blessing Monkey Charms and will continue to bless it! I'll still be around and involved, but God is asking me to take this time off and trust Him.

I was reading Acts 8 this morning in the L3-the story of the Ethiopian that received Christ. My favorite part of this story is Phillip's sensitivity to the Holy Spirit's voice. He was just preaching, doing his thing and the Holy Spirit spoke to him in v26"Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza..." He didn't even know where he was going to end up! God told him to start walking down a road! How great is my God that He knew I needed to read this today!! Many times God's plan doesn't make sense in our brains. I would dare to say most of the time! Who wants to just start walking somewhere not knowing where they are going, how long it's going to take to get there, & who's going to be there?! This story is very much what is going on in my life right now. God just said, "Move." God said, "Go, start walking down this road..." Aaahh! God is so good to us! I love His Word! Here's where it gets tricky though. In the next verse, v27, it says, "So he got up and went..." Well, of course he did...You mean he didn't ask a million questions?! He didn't have to know where he was going?! If he needed to take some food to eat?! Who was going to be there?! You're telling me he didn't just argue with God saying, "Why do You want me to leave, I'm here preaching! I'm doing good...and I don't want to leave...things are going good for me here!"? Well, I guess that's why Phillip is in the Bible, and I'm not! God knows I have been asking Him the questions! "What about another job?" "What about the money?" "What about the store?" "What are people going to think about me?!" (because we all know that last one's so important, right?!)Phillip got up and went. The reason God told him to start walking was that God had a divine appointment waiting for Phillip to arrive. You should read the story, but what ends up happening is Phillip gets to tell an Ethiopian eunuch the whole story of Jesus. He ends up believing and was baptized that day!! God led Phillip to lead the stinkin prime minister to the Queen of Ethiopia to Jesus! Hello! Do you think that made an impact on that region?! Saul is trying to kill all the Christians in the region, and God is using Phillip to get the message of Jesus inside the Ethiopian government! I would say that was a pretty big calling!

God has a plan; a reason for everything He does. He is so amazing. He has so many great things He wants to use us to do, we just have to be quiet and listen! We have to listen! And when He says, "Go." We just have to. How could we not?! He wants to use us...little ole us! His plan...His glory...that's what it's about!