man looking out window

Are You Scared?

Moses was a pretty powerful guy in the Old Testament.  Maybe not Samson powerful but he walked with God and everyone around him knew it.  The book of Joshua starts after Moses died and Joshua is put in charge.  Can you imagine?  Joshua was following Moses’ footsteps?!  

Knowing what a powerful guy Moses was it’s probably no coincidence that it’s mentioned five times to “be strong and courageous” or “I will never leave you.”

Joshua 1:5b:  
I will not leave you or forsake you.

Joshua 1:6:  
Be strong and courageous…

Joshua 1:7:  
Only be strong and very courageous…

Joshua 1:9:  
Have I not commanded you?  
Be strong and courageous…
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:18b:  
Only be strong and courageous.

Are you noticing the trend?  That’s only in chapter 1!  There are often times in our lives when we doubt a decision we’re making or we’re just plain afraid of the outcome because we feel like we’ve really stepped out on a limb.  Guess what?  No matter how long and skinny we think that limb is God is there.  He never leaves us.  We might feel like we’re alone but God is always there.  He is our biggest champion.  He is our ultimate protector.

 

bible and iphone

Who’s Stealing Your Identity?

In these days of a thousand different social media networks it’s easy to be someone you aren’t.  Seriously, there are Twitter accounts for babies, and dogs, and even articles of clothing.  It’s easy to hide behind an identity that isn’t the real you on social media.  We post filtered pictures of everything from our dinner to our nightstand.  We update our status every time something interesting happens in our life.  

The New Testament has a lot to say about our true identity.  If we are followers of Christ He should be our true identity.  This verse from 2 Corinthians might be one of my favorites.  We are His.  He is ours.   

“He has identified us as His own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts.” (2 Corinthians 1:22a NLT)

If our identity is in anything except Christ it’s almost as if we are living a lie.  Our true persona should reflect that of Christ and His character.  How do you learn more about His character?  Read His Word.  Start with the New Testament and learn about how Jesus came to this earth, read how He ministered to everyone, read about how He was sent to die for you.  Regardless if you follow Him, He still came to die for you.   

Woman Reading Bible

God Will Make You Relax

As I get older I witness more and more the power God has in people’s lives. The most recent amazement I have is the power He has to make people stop. There is no doubt that people today are busy and we go go go. We tell everyone how busy we are, we don’t have time to rest, we don’t have time for church, we don’t have time to read our Bible because we are so busy. Well, guess what? There have been a handful of times I was burning the match at both ends and God put the brakes on my entire life.

As busy as we think we are God is busier. He is the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE. We are not. By thinking we have any sense of control over our life is ridiculous. Believe me, this is coming from a recovering control freak.

Back in the day when I worked for hospitals I had a pretty stressful job. But I didn’t realize how stressful it was until I wasn’t doing it. The first time I noticed this was when we moved to Fort Worth, TX. Chris had been living there a couple of months while I finished a project at a hospital I was working for. My last week at that hospital was possibly the worst week during my almost 10 years of working there. I was sent on a trip to meet with the people that were taking over our office. A work friend went with me so I didn’t have to travel alone, there was a snow storm, and it was Valentine’s week. Needless to say, we survived the trip by the skin of our teeth and made it home and I think I only cried twice that week. I turned in my badge and moved to Fort Worth. I was unemployed for about a week when God gave me a job at the seminary my husband attended. Compared to the environment I was in two weeks prior this new job was a cake walk! Thank you Jesus!

God slowed me down again when He put me on bed rest during my first pregnancy. Same situation. I was burning the match at both ends until one day my doctor said, “Your blood pressure is really high. You need to be on strict bedrest until the baby is born.” Do you know what strict bed rest is? It is torture. I was allowed to get up to shower and use the bathroom–that’s it. That lasted for 21 days! Message received God, thanks.

Circumstances have happened since then where God did the same thing. I see people going and blowing all the time and they look miserable. They tell me they don’t have time to rest, they don’t have time to relax. Trust me friend…you better find a way to relax and be still or God will make you be still.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

Notice the “!” What does that mean? That’s right, you might as well assume there is yelling involved. So read it again like this, “Be still and know that I am God. I WILL BE EXALTED AMONG THE NATIONS, I WILL BE EXALTED IN THE EARTH!” Does that make it better?

Moral of the story…take some time for yourself. Have a friend or family member watch the kids for a day. If you can spare, do it over night. Be still and let God be God.

May I Never Lose Your Wonder

One of my favorite songs these days is, “Mercy,” by Matt Redman.  I first heard it on the latest Passion album and have it on repeat every time I’m in the car.  AND I am probably singing it very loud while I’m driving…alone.  My favorite line is, “May I never lose the wonder…”  That should be a prayer for us all!  If you need exposure to this song here’s the link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUQv1mHxc_0

Enjoy…

The Best Advice My Dad Ever Gave Me

In honor of Father’s Day I would like to share with you the best advice my dad ever gave me.  Here it is.  Are you ready?  It’s going to knock your socks off.

“Be nice, have fun, don’t hurt anyone.”

That’s it.  Simple.  Life altering.  The first time I remember it being said over and over was when he coached my softball team.  The last year I played softball was the summer before ninth grade and we had moved to a more competitive league in another city.  As far as I remember, we did okay.  What do I remember most about that summer?  Mean softball girls, mean softball moms, obnoxious behavior from adults, thinking it wasn’t fun any more, injuring my knee when sliding into second and getting up by myself.  I know!  No one came to help me get up even though I was screaming bloody murder because something bad had obviously happened with my knee.  Rude.  Needless to say, my dad would say before every game, “Be nice, have fun, and don’t hurt anyone.”  Thanks Dad.  We needed that reminder because those girls were just plain mean.

The advice still rings in my head when my controlling personality wants to take over and be mean, not have fun, and hurt someone.  I’m really not competitive and did play softball because it was fun and I was an average player.  I knew I wasn’t going to play professional softball but these girls really thought they were.  For all I know some of them might be, but still…so rude.  I played in the out field most of the time and remember moms from other teams that had these empty milk cartons with rocks in them and they would yell at the out field players.  Rude.  If you are one of those moms just stop.  Stop now.  I give my dad props for coaching a bunch of girls for several years especially through “those years.”  You know the years when girls get “visitors” every month and might be a little over-dramatic about it.  I remember one night on our way home from practice I was gross and sweaty and my dad asked me what I thought about practice and I told him I wasn’t really having fun any more.  Before the knee injury I was pretty sure I didn’t want to play any more after that summer.  It never occurred to me that my dad might have actually enjoyed coaching.  I was such a people pleaser [in those days] that if my dad would have told me he wanted me to play again I would have just because I wanted to make my dad happy.  But he didn’t say that.  I don’t actually remember what he said.  I remember taking a shower at home probably after 10:00 and wishing the season was over.  Well, God took care of that.

Remember that second base I slid into?  Well, I was wearing a knee brace because I had some knee issues earlier in the season.  When I slid into second base my knee dislocated and got stuck in the knee brace.  I know.  I still get grossed out thinking about it.  Needless to say, it went back into place when I stood up and hurt BAD.  When I took my brace off that night you couldn’t even see my knee because it was so swollen already.  After a trip to a specialist and an MRI it was confirmed I needed surgery because I pretty much tore or pulled a bunch of necessary parts of your knee.  I had knee surgery, the softball team went to the state tournament, I stayed at my grandmother’s house and read Sweet Valley High books and the book of Ruth over and over.  My dad never pushed me beyond what I was comfortable with.

My softball days were over but the days of my dad giving good advice never did.  He still gives good advice…even if you don’t ask for it.  He loves my mom, me, my brother, and our families with unconditional love.

Happy Father’s Day Tony Scantling!

My dad's 50th Birthday party

My dad’s 50th Birthday party

How I Read

Yes, you read the title correctly.  Back in the day I used to read A LOT.  People think I still read a lot but I happen to enjoy reading so I probably do read more than the average person.  Because I used to review a lot of different books people would ask all the time how I read so many books.  It was easy then…my son took two naps a day equaling about 4 hours a day so that was 4 hours of uninterrupted reading time for me.  That is not really the case any longer.  Before I tell you how I read I’m going to tell you what I read.

Typically, on my nightstand I will have one health related book, one marriage or parenting book, one leadership book, and my Bible.  When I

Actual books on my nightstand.

Actual books on my nightstand.

wake up in the mornings I will always read my Bible.  Right now, I’m reading through the New Testament so I typically read 1-4 chapters in the morning before my kids wake up.  Now, I have this one child that thinks when the sun comes up it is time to get up.  That is an incorrect thought for a 3 year old so that child will usually go back to their room to rest some more.  I usually don’t read again until after the kids are in bed.  Rarely, do I read on my lunch break or any other time during the day.  The kids are supposed to be in their beds no later than 7:30.  I usually crack open a book around 8:00 after a load of laundry is started or the kitchen is picked up.  I try to read for the next two hours.  Unless I am really into a book I usually read one chapter of each type of book I’m reading until 10:00 PM.  If I’m doing laundry I will take breaks between each book to put clothes in the dryer or fold clothes or just put clothes on the couch to fold at another time (most often the last).  This is the ideal schedule for me.  Occasionally, my husband is mentally exhausted from his day so we will watch Frasier on Netflix to wind down.  We also have several nights of the week that people are at our house or we are busy doing other things.  On those nights I typically don’t read at all.

Now, moving on to how I read.  No, I can’t speed read.  I would love to learn how but those classes are typically the same price as two nights in a hotel so I have never committed to a speed reading class.  So here’s the Cary Plunkett method for reading:  I always read with a pen in my hand (gel pen preferably).  When I come across a sentence I like I will put a check mark at the beginning of the sentence.  When I read an entire paragraph I like I will put an asterisk at the beginning of the paragraph.  Whenever there is a scripture reference I will underline the reference.  Underlining the reference helps me to quickly flip through a book to see how often they refer to the Bible.  Lastly, I will put exclamation points next to sections or sentences that really speak to me.  Rarely, do I right words in a book unless I’m planning to lead or teach through it later than I might make notes in the margin.

This is what I have going on right now:

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Books next to my nightstand that I want to either read or re-read.

 

Women & Theology

women and bibleLately the Lord has awakened a new spark in me.  It’s a spark that has been there for quite some time but it’s been a small spark and as of late that spark is turning into a flame.  Now, this spark has been a flame before but it got hovered and shoved down and covered so it went down to a spark again.  Now it’s back and I can feel it growing.  It’s the topic of women and theology.  I know, blah, blah, and blah.  A couple of reactions happen when women hear those two words.  One reaction is eye roll…why do I need to know about theology, isn’t that my preacher’s job or my husband’s job or someone else’s “job?”  The other reaction is excitement…let’s argue about theology, why are women not ministers, why is my preacher not a woman, why do women make less money?  Hold.  The.  Phone.  Can we just agree that there is a line in between those two sides that I fear most women don’t even consider?

The line is the line of reality.  I know a lot of women that are curious about theology, they don’t want to argue about it, they want to learn about it, but they have a house full of kids, art projects, chore charts, and meal plans.  Do they really have time or the energy to learn about God’s grace, redemption, sanctification, etc?  Ladies, hear me say this in love…you need to know what these things are because there will come a day or days when you question your very existence, you better know about what God has to say because you are going to doubt the very day you were born.

This day could come when you have a miscarriage and you question God’s plan in your life.  This day could come when you find out you can’t have kids.  This day could come when your home study didn’t go through and yet again adoption is delayed.  This day could come when the job you knew you were going to get didn’t happen.  This day could be the day your husband confesses to having an affair.  This day could come when you get a call from the police that your child is with them.  This day could be the day your doctor informs you that chemo starts tomorrow.  This day could be the day a newly wed couple has their first real fight and yell things they immediately regret.  This day could be when the kids move out and you realize it’s just you and your husband, now what?  This day could be the day that mental illness over takes you and you are tempted to make permanent solutions to temporary problems.  This day will come.  And as Paul Tripp says, “You’re always preaching some kind of gospel.”  When these days come and they will come, what gospel are you going to be preaching to yourself?  What theology are you leaning on?

I’m working on a project right now that I’m very excited about.  Only three people know about this project because the seed was planted years ago but only recently has God allowed the watering and sprouting to occur.  I see the full-grown tree of this project and I hope women get excited about what God wants to teach them through theology.  It’s not just for seminary graduates or preachers or missionaries.  It’s for everyone.  Everyone needs to know what their theology is.  This world is sinful and we are sinful humans that turn to ourselves more than God, shouldn’t we learn what God says about His theology before we try to tackle one more day in this world alone?