Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Father Unlike His Son - A Heart Like His

In a way dieting is a walk in faith.  Your heart may be willing but the flesh is weak.  I still weigh 128.8 but then again I'm not really eating in a way that is condusive to losing weight. 

For example, yesterday we went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner.  They had a special deal on cheesecake in honor of National Cheesecake.  No one has to tell me that eating cheesecake does NOT promote weight loss just in case you don't know.

To make matters worse I ordered their Jamalya pasta.  If you've never been to the Cheesecake Factory then you may not be aware that their entrees are HUGE.  I'm talking big enough for two  people. 

I justified the cheesecake by eating only a fourth of my entree.  I even ate a little less than half of the Oreo Cheesecake but still at the most rational level of my mind I knew I'd had too many calories.  I suppose I'm lucky I didn't gain anything after feasting on cheesecake.

Today's bible study from Beth Moore's David 90 Days With A Heart like his is about faith and making the choice to follow God's will and not your own.  It can be difficult walking with God not because he makes it so difficult but we make it difficult because we often demand our own way no matter what the cost.

Saul’s son Jonathan said to the attendant who carried his weapons, “Come on, let’s cross over to the Philistine garrisons on the other side.”  However, he did not tell his father.  (1 Samuel 14:1)
In what ways has God enabled you to build on the faith and godliness of those generations that have gone before you?
When I was a little girl we went to CCD which I looked upon as yet another day of school which included homework.  Then on Sundays we would often go to church, which for awhile was all done in Latin.  I felt like my whole world was structured and I longed for time off.  By the time I finished sixth grade, my parents had pretty much abandoned going to church every weekend.  They were angry at our local priest for a number of reasons.

For the next three years it was me who would wind up walking to a local Methodist church that I used to pass on the way to and from school.  My parents went there for a little while but they abandoned this church too.  I eventually abandoned that church and for a period of time I lived a life that was less than exemplary.
Periodically I would try to renew my faith and live the life of a believer but that didn’t seem to last too long as I’d always stumble, fall, and revert back to my wild ways.

God strengthened my resolve to become the person I was meant to be. He has helped me rediscover the faith I once had in the innocence of my childhood.  I desperately want to be a true child of GOD.
If you don’t come from a believing background, what have been (or continue to be) your great obstacles in adopting a consistent faith?

I can’t say that I did NOT come from a believing background.  We did go to religious training.  My family did go to church some times.  There were the trappings of religion in our household.  We had a cross on the wall and a Bible in our home. 
What I lacked was the actual example of what exactly did it mean to have a Godly life.  I grew up in an abusive home filled with chaos.  I had no examples of what it meant to be a Christian in my life.

“Knowing” and “doing” are surely distinct things and while I may feel I know what God wills me to do, often I still don’t do it.  I realize that I am personally the greatest obstacles to consistently living my faith. I need to learn submit to God’s will consistently. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Under God Indivisible

Last night Darryl and I took his brother and his father to the Under God Indivisible Conference at the High Point Church in Arlington, Texas.  This event was billed as a day of renewed focus on Faith, Family, and Freedom in America.

The evening began with the Phillips, Craig and Dean Concert.  We were then treated to some dynamic speakers with a call for spiritual awakening.

Here are some of our favorite speakers of the evening.

Fr. Jonathan Morris
is a Catholic priest of the Roman Rite in the Archdiocese of New York and a news contributor and analyst for the Fox News Channel. He currently serves as one of several parochial vicars at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in New York City.  Before joining the archdiocese, Fr. Morris served as vice rector at the Legionaries of Christ Seminary in Rome. He was a member of the Legion of Christ but rarely identified with them on camera.  He is the author of the book The Promise:  God’s Purpose and Plan for When Life Hurts. His newest book is God Wants You Happy: From Self-Help to God's Help.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez who was so amazing that he got THREE standing ovations.  CNN named Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, “The leader of the Hispanic Evangelical movement”. The Wall St. Journal identified him as one of America’s 7 most influential Hispanic Leaders, and the only religious leader on the list. Meanwhile the San Francisco Chronicle described Samuel as one of the 6 Leaders of the New Evangelical Leadership. Charisma Magazine Identifies Rev. Samuel Rodriguez as America’s most influential spirit-filled Christian Leader in the political sphere.

Dr. Tony Evans is the Senior Pastor to the over 8,000 member Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, which was founded in 1976 with 10 members meeting at his home. He is also founder and president of The Urban Alternative, a national organization that seeks to bring about spiritual renewal in urban America through the church.  Dr. Evans currently serves as chaplain for the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and is also the longest serving NBA chaplain which he has done by serving the Dallas Mavericks for 32 years.

Ken Hutcherson is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League who is now the pastor of the Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Washington, where he has been since 1985. His nickname from his NFL days is "The Hutch".

The most quoted line of scripture last night was 2 Chrronicles 7:14: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will hear their land. (KJV)." If you believe the government is out of control, and it is, then step on is to turn to God.

Are you registered to vote?  Why not?  Get registered NOW!!!!!

Ananias: The Hidden Hero

This week's service was about a hidden hero, Ananais. According to Acts 9:10, Ananias lived in the city of Damascus. In Paul's speech in Acts 22, he describes Ananias as "a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews" that dwelt in Damascus (Acts 22:12).

During his conversion experience, Jesus had told Paul, (who was then called Saul,) to go into the city and wait. Jesus later spoke to Ananias in a vision, and told him to go to the “street which is called Straight”  and ask "in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus". (Acts 9:11) Ananias objected that Saul had been persecuting "thy saints", but the Lord told him that Saul was "a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel". (Acts 9:15). When Ananias went in to Saul and laid his hands on him, the "scales" of dead tissue on the surface of his eyes fell off, and he looked up at Ananias. After additional instruction, Saul was baptized. (Acts 9:18;22:16)

This story teaches us a very important lesson.  If we seek God and yield to him, as Ananias did, we can do great things for the Lord. We may never find out in this life what they are. Our part is to serve God faithfully, not to wonder where the spotlight is focused.

Friday, July 27, 2012

How To Lose A Kingdom - 90 Days With A Heart Like His

CUPCAKE ALERT!  It’s not that I don’t understand how losing weight occurs.  I absolutely do which makes one wonder WHY did I decide to eat TWO cupcakes for lunch yesterday.  It’s no wonder that I woke up this morning to see the scale staring back at me at 128.8. 

Yesterday I was going through some boxes in the room that will be ours and I decided to try on some of my old pants.  While I could pull my size 4 jeans up over my hips, I have to suck in my gut in order to close my jeans.  So here’s the really dumb thing.  I said to myself if I can just lose these last couple of pounds I can fit these again.  I promptly go downstairs for lunch and had not one but TWO cupcakes! 
As I mentioned yesterday, Darryl was disoriented yesterday morning and wound up having to come back to the house about a half an hour after leaving for work.  I was upstairs when he came back and didn’t know he had come home until I heard him yell upstairs; “Didn’t you lock the door?” 

I had when he left but I guess I forgot when I went to take the trash out to the curb.  I suppose I was still out of it and forgot to lock the front door. 
When I got down stairs to find out why Darryl was home, I found him with the screen door open calling for our dog Atlas.

“Darryl,” I said, “You’d better close that door before he dashes out.”  Just as the words fell out of my mouth, there was Atlas trotting in from outside.
How did he get out?  Did he get out when I had taken out the trash or when Darryl came home?  According to Darryl, Atlas was hiding in the bushes across the street and when Atlas saw Darryl he came trotting back home.

Despite my bout with illness last night, Darryl’s tardiness coming home, we were able to make it to the “Taste & Tour” Open House with Interfaith Housing Coalition last night. 
Interfaith is an organization whose goal is to do more than just provide transitional housing to homeless families. Their ultimate goal is to take the poor from working poor to working class to middle class within 3 years.  We both found it to be a pretty amazing organization.  We are contemplating becoming part of it by volunteering.

Today’s Bible Study with Beth Moore’s “David 90 Days With A Heart Like His” is called How To  Lose A Kingdom.
“Does the Lord take pleasure n burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?  Look:  to obey is better than sacrifice.”  1 Samuel 15:22

“Why didn’t you obey the Lord? (1 Samuel 15:19)  It’s always a hard question to answer, isn’t it?  But answer it we must.  Why-why do we disobey the Lord?
We are all born with something in our hearts that likes to have its own way. We all think we are wise enough to decide for himself ourselves was right to do instead of following God’s instructions. 

If we are not obedient to His words and direction in our lives then it characterizes our lack of faith and trust in Him. We must show our trust in Him in every single situation and believe He has the right solution for any situation in our life.
What have you learned about sin in your life?  What are some hard-to-fast expectations of it that we’ll all do well to review on a regular basis?

When we find something we want to do we will fashion a way to accomplish this goal. When opposition arises, self-preservation engages and we employ denial and rationalization in order to justify our desired path. We will sometimes accomplish this goal at the expense of truth, family, friends, and reputation. We will lie to ourselves and berate our conscience until it condones our behavior
God cannot tolerate disobedience, and he has made this abundantly clear.  There are no loopholes in God's commands. While we may work the angles and weigh the costs but in truth, disobedience is still an act against God and His commandments.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Waiting Up Is Hard To Do - A Heart Like His

Morning brings a new day and a new perspective.  Thank goodness for a chance to shake the problems from yesterday. 
Yesterday Darryl called to let me know that his car was not starting up so he called me up to ask me to come pick him up.  This was to be my first foray in traffic in Dallas.  Fortunately I was heading in the opposite direction of the rush—hour traffic.  This did not mean that I wasn’t nervous.  I was very nervous. 

Let’s be honest, I’ve been kind of sheltered from city traffic for about ten years.  Now magnify the traffic I dealt with in DC and you’ll get a good idea of what I was facing.  The traffic signs in Texas may say “Drive Friendly,” but trust me NO one seems to read those signs.  I clutched my directions, said a prayer for God to be with me on this trip, and headed off to pick-up Darryl.
Even though we couldn’t get his car to start, things seemed to settle down once we arrived home.  Darryl fired up the grill and we got the chance to try those ribs that I won.  We paired them with some waffle fries I was reviewing for my blog and I joked with him about how dinner tastes even better when it’s free.

I crawled into bed around 10 PM and figured the troubles we had earlier that evening were over.  After all Darryl could have use of my car so he could get to work and I didn’t mind being confined to the house because I had some things to do.
Around one in the morning I awoke to a pounding headache and a parched throat.  I immediately decided that the reason for my headache was because I was dehydrated.  Ever so carefully I slipped out of bed and to the kitchen for a glass of water.

Within seconds of swallowing some water and an aspirin I found myself running down the hall to throw up.  From that point on I found myself wavering between chills, the urge to throw up, dizziness, and a strong need to go to the bathroom. 

At one point I went out into the backyard and lay on the cement slab in the warm Texas night.  I’d feel a gentle warm breeze caressing me, soothing me.  “God, I feel so bad.  I know I will feel OK soon because I am in your loving arms.”  Another breeze gently calmed me and about ten minutes later I was able to crawl back in bed

Apparently I wasn’t the only one feeling poorly.  Darryl was very disoriented this morning and he also had a headache.  Even Atlas joined the sick parade and threw up all over the floor after eating his food. 

Despite my bout of illness I stepped on the scale for the first time in almost a week and I discovered that I weigh 128.8.  Great! 

I think what I really need to do know is to do my Beth Moore Bible Study so I can get my day back on the right track.

“You have not kept the command which the Lord your God gave you.  It was at this time that the Lord would have permanently established your rein over Israel” 1 Samuel 13:13
A lot can go through your head while you’re waiting.  What are some of the thought that have bombarded you during your latest waiting experiences?

Darryl and I had to live apart for most of the last school year.  We both decided that he should take the job in Texas and I would finish out my school year at Rome. 

At first I was excited about the prospect of moving but once Darryl moved I was vacillating between should I stay or should I go.  This is not to say I wondered if I should leave my husband.  I didn’t have any doubts that we should stay together.  I worried about leaving the school where I had taught for the past seven years and “retire” to a life as a stay-at-home housewife.

Funny how the very thought of it was overwhelming considering how many years I desperately wanted to be a housewife.  How was I going to make friends?  What kind of volunteer work would I do?  When would I get to see the grandkids since I would be moving even further from home?
I’ve decided to put it all in God’s hands and he will help lead me down the path I was meant to take.

What do you think God is most wanting to purge out of us when He forces us to wait on Him?
I HATE waiting!  It makes me feel uncomfortable and in weak moments, doubt rears its ugly head Impatience is a form of laziness. In order for God’s promises to be fulfilled in my life, I need to demonstrate both faith and patience. God is showing me how to not just to wait but also to watch, to keep my eyes on Him and watch Him do something even better than what I was praying for.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

'Medical Center' Star Chad Everett Dies At 75

Many young girls fantasize about the man that they will one day marry.  I certainly did and they were generally actors I saw on my favorite shows.  One such “fantasy husband” was Chad Everett. 
Chad Everett, the hunky actor who played the thoracic surgeon Dr. Joe Gannon on Medical Center.  The show appeared on CBS from 1969 to 1976.

Everett was born Raymon Lee Cramton in South Bend, Indiana to Virdeen Ruth (née Hopper) and Harry Clyde “Ted” Cramton. He was raised in Dearborn, Michigan, where he became interested in the theater as a Fordson High School student.

After attending Wayne State University, in Detroit, he headed to Hollywood and obtained a contract with Warner Brothers studio. Agent Henry Wilson signed him and changed his name to Chad Everett. Everett claims he changed his name because he tired of explaining his real name, "Raymon-no-D, Cramton-no-P."

Everett battled alcoholism for many years before seeking treatment from Alcoholics Anonymous. He had a much publicized argument with feminist actress Lily Tomlin during the taping of the March 31, 1972, episode of The Dick Cavett Show. Tomlin became so enraged when Everett referred to his wife as "my property" that she stormed off the set and refused to return.

Chad leaves behind two daughters. Kate is happily married and the CEO of a multimillion dollar company in San Francisco. She has 3 children. Shannon owns a successful business and has 3 children. Both daughters share their late parents’ love of helping those in need. In May Chad and family were in attendance when Shelby was honored for her charity work Gift of Life.

People Pleasers - A Heart Like His

 Today's Bible Study fom Beth Moore's David involves the topic of people pleasing.  Sadly I have been a slave to this debilitating condition. 

But some scoundrels said, “How can this fellow save us?” They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent. 1 Samuel 10:27
How has God been transforming you from a person always wanting to be liked and accepted into someone who simply wants to be obedient to the Lord, whatever the cost? 
Learning to get past the need for being liked and accepted is part of my personal journey.  In the past I put far more value in the opinions of others than being obedient to the Lord.  It is important to do what God wants, which may not necessarily be what people expect of us and this can cause people pleasers like myself to make poor choices when trying to please the wrong master.   
It's more important to concentrate on what God commands me to do, than it is to worry about outward appearances.  Obviously, there are times when the opinions of others are part of the plan of God for my life.  This is why it’s important that I seek counsel from godly men and women and not popular culture or people who are trying to mold me into their world view.
What are the most debilitating results of people pleasing?  What has this desire caused you to do (or not to do) in the past?
People pleasers like me try desperately to do the impossible, make everyone happy. In fact no one is happy - including me. I try to avoid anger and confrontation so I will attempt to “kill others with kindness” as self-defense camouflage.  In a way I use this behavior as an attempt to control the situation and helping me avoid negative outcomes.
I realize that this form of defense is rooted in my poor self-esteem which in turn is from the physical, emotional and verbal abuse I was subjected to growing up.  As an adult I have felt the need to be accepted by others. And not just a general acceptance, but that of each person I come in contact with.  Think about how CRAZY this is!
You see the problem is that as a practicing people pleaser, I allowed myself to get beat up by the world around me, I would come home each day in a state of despair

Sherman Hemsley Dead -- Actor Who Played George Jefferson Dies at 74

Every week the brash, wise cracking,"Weezy" loving, "honky" calling, money obsessed, boisterous George Jefferson was invited into our homes as we watched the Jeffersons from 1975-1984. Obviously my family wasn’t alone in their affection for this show because The Jeffersons is the longest-running sitcom with a predominantly black cast in the history of American television.

The show focused on George and Louise Jefferson, an affluent Black couple living in New York City. The show was launched as the second spin-off of All in the Family, on which the Jeffersons had been the neighbors of Archie and Edith Bunker.

Sadly, Sherman Hemsley died on July 24, 2012, at the age of 74 at his home in El Paso, Texas, apparently of natural causes.
Sherman Alexander Hemsley (February 1, 1938 – July 24, 2012) was an American actor, most famous for his role as George Jefferson on the CBS television series All in the Family and the Jeffersons, and as Deacon Ernest Frye on the NBC series Amen. He also played Earl Sinclair's horrifying boss, a Triceratops named B.P. Richfield, on the Jim Henson sitcom Dinosaurs.

Hemsley never married and had no children.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Self-Centeredness In Disguise - A Heart Like His

Last weekend was yet another in a series of 12 hour drives from Texas to Georgia trying to finish emptying the house. I grab small snatches of sleep as the truck bounces along but when we arrive I’m desperate for some sleep.

Darryl and I had decided to read the book Minutes In Hell: One Man's Story About What He Saw, Heard, and Felt in that Place of Torment by Bill Wiese on our journey back to Georgia. The book is claimed to be non-fiction and recounts the author's alleged 23-minute-long experience in hell in 1998. This turned out to be a bad decision as I will recount shortly.

The high point on the trip was stopping at Hooters and having wings and chocolate cake, I say high point but that quickly changed to low point as I felt as if I ate too much.

Once we arrived all I wanted to do was fall asleep but I was so over-tired that I couldn’t the searing flames of hell, the total isolation, the putrid and rotting stench, deafening screams of agony, and the terrorizing demons that await me if I don’t do something about my life.

I tossed and turned and turned and tossed until finally streams of morning light invaded the darkness of the room. I was absolutely exhausted but the show must go on.

Once the truck was loaded we took Atlas for a walk and began the long trip home. I try to finish reading the book May God Have Mercy: A True Story of Crime and Punishment by John C. Tucker. That particular case has always intrigued me because the play it got from the media that we were going to kill an innocent man. Donahue, Geraldo, The Times, ad nauseum all trumpeted that there was NO possible way that Coleman could be the killer. I wrestled with the truth. Was this man an innocent man who was to be put to death simply because his lawyers filed his appeal a day late? Was he guilty as charged? What was the truth?

On May 20, 1992, the Commonwealth of Virginia executed Roger Keith Coleman in the electric chair. As Coleman was strapped into the electric chair, he made one final declaration. "An innocent man is going to be murdered tonight," he said. "When my innocence is proven, I hope America will realize the injustice of the death penalty as all other civilized countries have."

In 2006, Virginia Governor Mark Warner announced that the state had re-examined DNA evidence had conclusively proven Coleman's guilt. In the light of these findings it was interesting to hear from an author who was convinced that the death penalty had been improperly administered in light of the DNA findings.

We arrived home Sunday shortly before midnight and I fell into a blissfully sound sleep. This did not mean that I felt rested. I dragged through the updates about James Holmes who was arraigned today.

During the court session, Holmes appeared sedated. His eyes appeared to have a blank stare as though the 24-year-old was not coherent and unaware of his surroundings. He did not say a word during the proceedings.

The judge informed Holmes that he will be kept in custody on a no-bail hold due to the egregious nature of the crimes he's been accused of committing.

Homes was informed he will be kept in custody on a “no-bail hold” due to the nature of the crimes he’s been accused of committing. James is also forbidden from contacting any of the victims or their families.

Today I finally feel up to continuing my Beth Moore Bible study about David 90 Days With A Heart Like His.

Then Samuel said Notice that the reserved piece is set before you. Eat it because it was saved for you for this solemn event at the time I said “I’ve invited the people.” So Saul ate with Samuel that day (1 Samuel 9:24)

How do you commonly react when someone pays you a compliment or gives you some kind of recognition for your efforts?

When I receive compliments or recognition I often discount the compliment by suggesting that it was nothing or that someone else could have done it better. Sometimes I do this in a sarcastic manner or insisting that the person who paid me the compliment didn’t mean what they said.

I really have a very difficult time accepting a compliment because I always compare my achievements to others.

What are the root causes behind your answer? Are there any similarities of heart in the person who responds with shy inferiority and the one who puffs up with obvious pride?

The root cause lies in my insecurities and low self-esteem. The problem is that self-centeredness is often disguised as self-pity. Self-anything is self-centeredness. Any attitude that causes the focus to be on me is self-centeredness.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Heroes - The Gospel According To Rahab

Rahab was one of those unexpected characters in the Bible. Even though she made her living as a prostitute, she was selected for high honor.

She heard about the God of Israel and recognized him as the true God, the One worth risking your life for. And she did risk her life for him.

Rahab ran an inn built on the Jericho city wall where she hid the spies on her roof top. When the king of Jericho learned the men had been to Rahab's house, he sent orders for her to turn them over. She lied to the king's soldiers concerning the whereabouts of the spies, and sent them off in the opposite direction.

Then Rahab went up to the spies and pleaded for her life and for the lives of her family members. She made an oath with them. Rahab would keep silent about their mission and the Israelites would spare everyone in her household when they invaded the city. She was to hang a scarlet cord from her window as a sign, so the Jews could find and protect her.

Rahab learned that following GOD will change your life forever.  God judges us differently than people judge us.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Is This What You Really Want? - A Heart Like His

Listen to them but you must solemnly warn them and tell them about the rights of the king who will rule over them (1 Samuel 8:9)

Think about a time when you insisted on having your way, but it turned out to be a mistake. Try to describe who the “king” of your own self-desire treated you.

When I think of this question, I can’t help thinking of how much I “LOVED” my ex-husband. Actually with the 20/20 hindsight that comes only with time, I would say I worshiped him. I was willing to do anything, say anything, be anything just to be with him. This was in spite of the chaotic and abusive nature of the relationship.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I begged GOD to let us get back together. I bargained with God to allow me to marry him. I pled with God to make me the kind of person that my EX wanted me to be. I beseeched God to keep my ex from beating me and cheating on me. I wanted to find a comfortable way to stay in this relationship despite how it was spiraling out of control.

By seeking my own self-desire the outcome was not good. If instead I had heeded the voices of friends and family members and of course the doubts and warnings God put in my path I orchestrated the suffering I received at the hands of my ex.

How would it affect your next big battle of wills if you approached it with patience, waiting long enough to see what God was really wanting to do in this situation?

It is of course a constant struggle to approach situations with patience and prayer to wait to discover the path where God leads.

Sometimes we need to remember to thank God for unanswered prayers. (Thank you Garth Brooks) Remember that when God doesn’t readily give us what we want when we want it, it is because He knows what our desire would cost us. Faith sometimes means forgoing our desires because we trust Christ to have a better plan for our lives

James Holmes Declares He Was The Joker

As news trickles out there are more updates about the tragedy at the Aurora movie theater.

The suspected Colorado movie mass murderer was a loner and graduate school dropout who dyed his dark hair red in homage to Batman’s arch-nemesis the Joker.

Demented gunman James Holmes declared “he was the Joker, enemy of Batman” after his arrest for the killing spree during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Returns,” said NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

The Aurora PD says Holmes was in possession of an AR-15, a Remington 870 shotgun and a 40 caliber glock handgun when he was arrested this morning. Holmes legally bought the firearms at a Bass Pro Shop and Gander Mountain Guns within the last several months. The first gun was bought in May.

Cops say they found another 40 caliber glock in the shooter's car, located right outside the movie theater.

James Holmes will tentatively appear in court on Monday.

Mass Murder At Colorado Movie Theater

Today started like so many other days.  I rolled out of bed at 7:17 and jumped on the scale.  I was pleased to see that my weight had dropped to 127.2.  Guess it was all the housework I did yesterday. 
I headed over to the fridge to get my morning dose of caffeine and in my sleep induced fog I noted that I would have to run out and get some.  I rubbed some of the sleep from my eyes, asked my dog Atlas if he wanted to go for a walk.  Silly question really because he’s always ready for a walk.

After our walk to the bridge I fed Atlas, grabbed my keys, and headed out in pursuit of my caffeine fix.  The radio was on the talk new station and I caught the tail end of a news story.  “We’ll have more on this tragic news coming out of Aurora later.  What news?  What happened?  The station broke for commercials and I arrived at my destination.

I got back in my car to head back home and the local morning show was discussing Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant arrested in assault on his mother.  This discussion was the static in the background as I began making a mental note of all the things I had on my plate for today.

·          Pack for trip
·         Make some Tazo Wild Sweet Orange Tea for trip
·         Clean fridge
·         Do laundry
Just as I pulled up into my driveway the radio host said that there would be more about the tragedy in Aurora after the traffic report.  I was clueless.  I wondered what happened. 
When I walked through the door I flicked on the television to learn that a heavily armed gunman attacked an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater early Friday, tossing tear gas before opening fire on the terrified audience and killing 12 and wounding 38.  One of the victims was only 3 months old. 
Police said the gunman appeared in the front of the theater and threw a smoke bomb before opening fire.  Some people in the audience thought the thick smoke and gunfire was a special effect accompanying the movie, police and witnesses said.
Witnesses watching movies in theaters next to the one where the shooting took place said bullets tore through the theater walls and they heard screaming.

The suspect, James Holmes, 24, of the 1600 block of Paris Street in Aurora, was caught by police in the parking lot of the Century 16 Movie Theaters.  Holmes was dressed in his riot gear, an outfit eerily similar to a villain in "The Dark Knight Rises." He warned police that his Aurora apartment was booby-trapped.  Police believe he acted alone.
Holmes, originally of San Diego, Calif., was in Colorado pursuing a PhD, sources told ABC News. He was a student at the University of Colorado Denver Medical Campus but he withdrew in June.
Police have blocked off a three-block area around an apartment complex in north Aurora where Holmes lived. 


In an eerie coincidence there was a scene in the 1986 comic Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. The comic features a crazed, gun-toting loner who walks into a movie theater and begins shooting it up, killing three in the process. The passage concludes with the media blaming Batman for inspiring the shooting, though he is not involved in the incident at all.
Of course partisan politics rears its ugly head as Breitbart Furthermore, the James Holmes for whom records were obtained by Breitbart News registered as a Democrat on June 14, 2011. He registered from an address in La Plata County, Colorado, and his status is listed as "inactive."  On the other hand ABC News' Brian Ross and George Stephanopoulos speculated on Good Morning America that Holmes was a Tea Party member, based solely on a name appearing on a Tea Party website.
ABC News has since walked this back and Brian Ross are apologizing for an "incorrect" report that James Holmes, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting, may have had connections to the Tea Party.
"An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect," ABC News said in a statement. "ABC News and Brian Ross apologize for the mistake, and for disseminating that information before it was properly vetted."
In a similar statement released minutes earlier, ABC News said the report was "incorrect" but, rather than apologize, wrote: "Several other local residents with similar names were also contacted via social media by members of the public who mistook them for the suspect." The statement appeared at first to be an attempt by the network to abdicate responsibility for the report.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Warrior Artist - A Heart Like His

I've begun obsessing with my weight again.  I brought the scale home from the camper last night and I saw that I weighed 128.9 lbs this morning.  I know this sounds crazy but I wonder if I’ll see 125 again.  I realize that’s only three pounds but I just seem to hover around the weight.  Admittedly I’m not overweight but I felt I looked better at 125 so I guess I have to get my butt in gear.  In the big scheme of things four or five pounds are not a game breaker. 

I guess I feel guilty because I at a bag of chips and four chicken fajitas the other day so I’m beating myself up for doing such a stupid thing.  Today I had thought about going to Burger King for an original chicken sandwich.  Fortunately I checked the weight watchers points and learned that just the sandwich was 17 points.  OMG!!!!  I am only allowed 19 points so I would not be allowed to eat ANYTHING else today.  I guess I won’t be using that coupon. 

Believe it or not a Whopper Jr with no cheese is only nine points and a soft serve cone is only four points. 

Yesterday was Darryl’s birthday.  I got him a happy birthday balloon, a card, and some cake.  Darryl doesn’t like making a big deal about his birthday like I do. 

Our Love Dare yesterday was to contact each other sometime during the business of the day.  We are to have no agenda other than asking how our spouse is doing and if there I anything we can do for our spouse. 

I emailed Darryl several times throughout the day with little love notes and asked what I could do for him on his birthday.  I helped him unload more of the truck and he helped me move some boxes. 

Now for today’s My David 90 Days With A Heart Like His Bible study by Beth Moore.

I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the harp.  He is also a valiant man, a warrior, eloquent, handsome, and the Lord is with him (1 Samuel 16:18)

Have you ever felt like Saul—threatened by someone like David who seemed to have so much of God invested in him?  What puts us off about people like that?

The reoccurring theme of my life is that I feel threatened by others.  Are they prettier than me?  Are they smarter, thinner, more educated and the list goes on.  I fell as thought I was captive to the expectations of others.  While I understand that in all the world has never been and never will be anyone else like me, I’m not so certain that it’s such a great being me.

I need to learn to acknowledge that my uniqueness is God’s gift to me, and uniqueness is my gift to God.  Every past experience is preparation for some future opportunity.  God has designed me for a specific person. There is nothing God cannot do in my and through me if I simply yield my life to Him. 

I need to acknowledge that GOD is crafting my character through the circumstances of my life. To see myself as anything other than God’s masterpiece is to devalue and distort my true identity. At the end of the day, God isn’t going to ask, “Why weren’t you more like this person or that?” God is going to ask, “Why weren’t didn’t you use the gifts and talents I gave you?”

Would you describe yourself as more strong than tender, or more tender than strong?  What are the greatest dangers of getting out of balance in either direction?

I would describe myself as more tender than tough.  I wear my heart on my sleeve and so I can be easily hurt.  If you asked others they may describe my tenacity as my tough side that helped me overcome the obstacles in my way.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Putting God In A Box - A Heart Like His

Today is Darryl's birthday and because we are still adrift in a sea of boxes we won't be doing anything special.  I do plan to go out later today to buy a balloon and a cupcake for his birthday, 

As I mentioned the other day in addition to doing this David - A Heart Like His Bible study, Darryl and I are doing the Love Dare.  Yesterday's dare was to buy your spouse something that says, "I was thinking of you today."

We both agreed that the sum of $1 should be the largest amount that either of us spend.  This amount would be a token and not a full representation of the love we share.  By agreeing on the amount we would not be in competition as to who got the nicer gift and who spent more. 

I bought Darryl a Mega Millions Lottery ticket and told him that he was one in 176 million (the odds of winning) and that I prized his love far above the value of the $28 million jackpot because he is priceless. 

In keeping with the $1 limit I also snagged him a half gallon of International Delight ice coffee which I had won from a Facebook contest so it was FREE.

In return I received an ice cream cone from Burger King.  We had heard an advertisement on the radio the other night saying that all summer long you could get a cone from Burger King for only 50 cents.  Well that was wrong because we were told that cones were $1 at our local Burger King.  Perhaps it was only valid at some locations.  Anway I really appreciated and enjoyed my cone so on to today's challenge.

Today's love dare is to contact your spouse sometime during the business day and ask how are they doing and if there is anything you can do for them.  I've sent Darryl several emails related to his birthday which is today.  I'm getting ready to send him an email asking if there is anything I can do for him.

Now on to Beth Moore's David - 90 Days With A Heart Like His.

“Take the ark of the LORD, place it on the cart, and put the gold objects in a box beside it, which you’re sending him as a guilt offering.  Send it off and let it go its way.” (1 Samuel 6:8)

What are some of your hardest questions when it comes to discerning God’s will?  In fact is there something that’s presenting a huge mystery to you right now?

When you are used to calling ALL the shots it can be hard to pause to listen for God’s direction. It is easy to misuse the free will that GOD gave us and slip into the pattern of thinking “My will be done.”  How can I know that I am truly following God’s will and not my own?  This question can be difficult when the only voice you are used to following is your own. 

Saint Augustine said "Love God and [then] do what you will." In other words, if you truly love God and his will, then doing what you will, will, in fact, be doing what God wills.  This means that we should allow God to write the story of our lives with the pen strokes of our own free choices.

The Bible is full of stories in which God’s guidance comes, not by word or vision, but through circumstances. We often don’t realize the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit until we look back in retrospect. But, later on, we see how God wove events together to accomplish his will in our lives. 
I've wanted to be a stay-at-home wife for so long and now I have the opportunity to do just that.  I wonder if I've dug my heels in for so long that I wonder if I've convinced myself that was what I truly want and not what God requires of me.  I feel that God wants me back in the classroom.  I felt my heart tug when I went passed a local high school for vocational students.  I haven't said anything to my husband yet but I am thinking about taking the test to get a license.

What are one or two things you’ve learned about getting direction from God?

 When you use your free will apart from God you rely on your own limited ability to gather the information, to consider the options and make your best guess at the outcomes. In a real sense, it is just that, a guess. For no one can know future or all the factors that will matter.

When you trust God, it involves less deciding and more following – following the one who is all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful.

Will you trust yourself and what you can discern and achieve (despite your obvious limitations)? Or, will you trust God for all that he has for you, with his infinite love and wisdom? 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

All Too Superstitious - A Heart Lke His

Today's Bible study from David 90 Days With  Heart Like His is timely or me.  I will admit that I have prayed or earthly rewards like a spouse or a new job.  I need to be more conscious about the purpose of my prayers.  It is OK to tell God how much I need him.  It's OK to tell God that I feel like I'm in a situation that I can' handle on my own and communicate that I need him.
When the ark of the covenant of the Lord entered the camp all the Israelites raised such a loud shout that the ground shook.  (1 Samuel 4:5)

In what ways do we well-meaning Christians, sometimes use our faith like a good-luck charm, thinking that if we handle it just right, it will grant our wishes?

It’s easy to fall into the promise that God will grant our prayers if we just pray in faith.  We want to believe that you will receive everything you ask for if we pray long enough or loudly enough. But God does require something on our part: obedience.

When our prayers are for self-centered purposes, we are not praying the way Christ taught us to pray. We are not praying in God's will; we are only seeking what we want, what we think is best.

It is important that we pray with a penitent and obedient heart, not a list of demands for our personal riches and happiness.  God is not some supernatural Santa Claus, just waiting for us to present Him with our "wish list.” Throughout the Bible God makes it clear that obedience is the key to receiving God's blessings.   

 What’s the real danger in this?  How have you seen this cause other people’s expectations of God (or perhaps even your own expectations of Him) to stray from biblical truths?

The real danger is that He will not hear or answer our prayer. God will not be mocked. He wants His children to draw near to Him in prayer, but we have to do it His way, not ours.
The prosperity philosophy leads people’s expectations of God to stray from biblical truths.  Instead of seeing Him to be GOD, they try to make Him into a fairy godmother who seeks to grant our every wish.  We need to acknowledge that we have access to God because of his grace through his Son, not because we deserve it. Our relationship with him, our ability to pray and have God hear us, is completely dependent on God’s mercy and love.

A balanced prayer life includes praise, thanksgiving, listening, and confession; it is NOT sending God a to-do list. God will NOT always make things go your way. God is more interested in changing us to be a reflection of Christ than He is with solving all of our problems. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

When Role Models Go Bad - A Heart Lke His

This was an incredibly hectic weekend.  We had to go back to Rome and get the refrigerator, the freezer, the washer and the dryer.  Trust me that’s a long trips and we didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before because we went to a seminar called “We Still Kiss.”

When we arrived at our old house, I vacuumed and packed a few more boxes.  I had hoped that this would be the end of it but it appears that we have to make one more trip. 

We arrived home at almost 11 o’clock at night.  Trust me I was extremely tired.  This did not mean that I skipped my Bible study.  Instead I wrote down my notes in order to elaborate at a later time.

Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord…by contrast, the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men (1 Samuel 2:12, 26)

“The word of the LORD was rare” during these days in Israelite history (1 Samuel 3:1).  What can you do when the people around you are not listening for His voice?
I think the most effective thing you can do when the people around you are not listening to His voice is to pray.  I do not mean that you should pray that they change their mind in order to agree with you.  I am talking about asking God to open their hearts and soul to hear His words and apply His truths to their lives. 

When Christ comes into your life and you become a Christian, God gives you the resources to be a different kind of person. I believe that sharing our faith is the #1 most important task of Christ's followers.  When you do this, your example may bring others to come to God.

Have you been let down by some of your role models and authority figures?  How has this affected your relationship with Christ and your outlook on life?

I think we have all been let down by role models and authority figures.  People can inspire us but we can’t put our faith in them.  They will let you down and disappoint you. Our inspiration should come from Christ. It is only through Him that our faith can by renewed.

The Psalmist writes that we are role models when we proclaim God to be the place where we go when we face challenges in our life.  We can always go to God and he will be our strength in times of trouble.  When we place our faith in God for everything we begin to live thankfully and gratefully.