Sunday, January 31, 2010

Life without FACEBOOK

So for the month of January, God laid upon my heart to give up Facebook. See I was spending WAY TOO MUCH time on it. I would check on my way to work (very dangerous), I would check after work, and then when I would come home from work, and "just check" things out, I would be on until 11 or 12, then I would be nodding off during my personal time with God. On weekends, I would get sucked into silly applications with no purpose or eternal value and my weekend would disappear.

So during this past month, I gave up Facebook.

I have had more time to spend with God, my family, relax and reflect. It has been very hard, even now my natural instinct is to type www.fac and then I remember NO and delete it. As I check my e-mail I have pleas from well-meaning friends that miss the inspirational quotes that I send daily, and then I am quickened that maybe the too will turn to the ultimate source for inspiration - the Bible.

So in my life without Facebook, I have read two books, cover to cover. I love reading, I just thought I didn't have time. I have completed a one month devotion on the Bait of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense. And I learned I did have unforgiveness in my heart, and I was set free from it.

I have spent more time in God's Word and listening to praise and worship. I forgot how wonderful it is to spend time alone with God as a first thought instead of a last resort.

I have spent more time with my children. We have played games and watched movies together, without the interference of the computer. I have enjoyed more time with my husband, although he took up Facebook during the month - hmmmmmm.

I have gotten caught up on paperwork, and cleaned house. Of the things that I have accomplished, this one was my least favorite, but also one of the more needed things. As Joyce Meyers says something to the effect of "It is hard to take authority over things in your life, when you don't have authority over a sink of dishes."

I have written more. I love to write, and since I could post it to Facebook, without going on Facebook, it was a way to send little pieces of inspiration throughout the month. I always say I don't have time but the truth is that I do if I make it a priority.

I talked to people more on the phone. I realized just how dependent I am on Facebook as a method of communication, and how much it has taken the place of face to face communication and even phone communication in my life. There were days I felt cut off from everyone as I knew the information I missed was posted on Facebook.

So during this time without Facebook, I have realized that I need to make God and family a priority. They need to come first, not last to Facebook. I have realized that I have a lot more interesting interests than being on useless applications so much. I have learned how important human, not computer connection is to me.

Tomorrow I will go back to post my morning quotes, and checking in on friends that I have lost contact with over the years. I will keep up to date with the happenings of my family, and check-up on what my kiddos are doing on-line, but I will not allow Facebook to be the center of my world. I will have all things in moderation, and know that there is Life without Facebook.

Lesson 4: The tests we go through have a purpose

The final thing revealed was from Ex. 20:20 directly. It was reinforced through the message we heard in church Wednesday night "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning."

So many times when I am going through a problem I am afraid. Worry gets the best of me, as I try to search for a solution within myself to correct it. I want to show MY independence and that I can do it ALL BY MYSELF. But in my own strength, I make things worse, I sin.

Tests and trials are from God,. James 1:2-4 says "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

He is looking for me to turn to Him, in fear and reverence. It is in faith that I turn to Him. Faith that I can depend on Him no matter what I face. When I am dependent on God, He is with me. When He is with me, I will not sin.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lesson 3: Grumbling will get you no where

The third thing revealed to me as I was listening to Exodus, and the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt that correlated to the message by John Bevere in the Extraordinary series we are listening to at church is that grumbling gets you no where.

John Bevere pointed out that Moses left the finer things in life to go into the wilderness. There he had an encounter with God, and it changed him. He never complained about wanting to go back to the finer things in life. The Israelites were in slavery. Moses led them out into the wilderness to have an encounter with God, and they spent the next forty years complaining about wanting to go back.

Hearing that it reminded me of what I had heard that morning and the thoughts that came to me as I listened to Exodus. The Israelites started complaining at the first sign of trouble at the Red Sea. God stepped in to show them He is in control, and they escaped safely. The next chapter is filled with a praise song, and the very next they are grumbling again. This time for food. Again God provides. Again the Israelites grumble, needing water. Again God provides.

I immediately started thinking, how ungrateful. God delivers them, and then they immediately started complaining like He had not just worked a miracle on their behalf. And then, I was quickened to how many times I have done the exact same thing. I receive a blessing from the Lord, and then in the next moment start grumbling when something doesn't go my way.

God has brought me out of so many terrible situations. He has always provided, and yet I am ashamed to say there are times, when I forget about those miracles. I think that it would be easier to go back to previous times. When I really take the time to think about it, I know that God has delivered me and that I do not want to go back to my old life. It is just in the pressure of the trial that I think about going back. I look back to the past with rose colored glasses, just as the Israelites romanticized Egypt. Lord, help me to be more grateful for where you have saved me from and less of a grumbler when things don't go as I plan. Help me to remember that you are in control in ALL things.

I Cor. 10:10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Lesson 2: Obedience is Everything

I Sam 15:22 states "But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams." This verse came to mind as I was listening to Exodus on my way to work a few days ago.

In chapter 16, the Lord had delivered the Israeites from Egypt. Then they grumbled and complained and He sent down manna from Heaven. He gave simple directions to test their obedience. Gather enough for one day. People didn't listen they gathered more than they needed. It stank! Then on the day before the Sabbath He ordered get enough for two days. Some didn't gather enough, so they had no food on the Sabbath.

As I listened to this, I realized how often I do the same thing. I think that I am obedient because I follow the 10 commandments, I don't lie, steal, kill, commit adultery, etc. But God doesn't just look at the ten big ones, He is looking for obedience in EVERYTHING. When He prompts me to talk to someone, He is looking for obedience. When he tells me not to do something, He is looking for obedience. He wants me to follow all his commands, not just the ones in Exodus 20.

Ex 20:20 states "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning." God gives us those little promptings to test us, to see if we will be obedient. Obedience is better than sacrifice. He wants us to obey in everything. When we obey we show our reverence for the Lord. When we reverence and fear the Lord, we will not sin.

Lesson 1: We are as close to God as we want to be

As I was listening to the Bible on my way to work, I have been listening to the book of Exodus. As I mentioned in the LALALALALA blog, I was listening to Exodus, chapter 19-20 and I was just amazed that the children of Israel had the opportunity to be in the presence of God. They went through the process of consecrating themselves for three days, to prepare for this, then when it came down to it, they were content to hear God through Moses. They chose to send Moses instead out of fear.

I realized I am more like them than I care to admit. James 4:8 states draw near to God and He will draw near to you. When I have those days where I question where God is, the answer is always "Right where I left Him." He is as close to me as I allow Him to be. When I am in His presence, I am the one who holds back, not God - He is willing to give as much as I am willing to receive.

But just like the Israelites, so many times I have been content to hear from God through the voice of others. I have been content to hear what the preacher says instead of seeking out God for myself. I have been content to read a book by a Godly person instead of picking up God's word and letting God give me a fresh revelation. I have been content to sing the praises written by another than allow God to put a song of praise in my heart to Him.

I am not saying that there is anything wrong with sitting under the teaching of a Godly preacher, reading books that encourage you to grow deeper in your realtionship with God, or listen to the praise and worship music that stirs your spirit. They are all great sources to personal growth, but ultimately you have to take to the time to hear from God yourself. You have to search out God's revealation for you, and allow those sources to be a secondary confirmation of what God is saying.

God already knows everything about us, even those motives and thoughts that we don;t want to admit too. He knows it and He still loves us. His desire is still for a personal, intimate relationship. There is nothing for us to fear, He will not reject us. He will not hurt us. He will not leave us. He will not ridicule. He will only love, forgive, and change us from the inside out.

Draw near to God - that closeness is up to us to make happen. The closer you are to the source, the deeper your relationship will be.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I have to say, that there are definitely areas that God has been speaking to me about, and calling on me to change. Anyone who knows me well, knows I am pretty strong willed. Sometimes God really has to get my attention REPEATEDLY!!! There are a couple things that keep coming up that I know God is revealing to me, so I thought I would share.

I tease our discipleship class at church, that when I feel like God is speaking to me. I will put my hands on my ears and say LALALALALALA. Part of me really is yearning for that next step, but that fleshy part of me knows that when that revelation is received that I am going to be responsible for what has just been revealed. Those close to me know that God is really dealing with me when I do that, just my way of lightening things up.

I love to read God's word, and my husband bought me God's Word on CD to listen to in the car since I drive so much. I have been listening to Exodus Chapters 16-27. I have listened to the CD twice now, cause I put it out and grabbed it out a 2nd time. This one verse caught my attention as it was spoken, Exodus 20:20. Then last night, we are in week 2 of Extraordinary, a series by John Bevere based on his book with the same title. Guess what he is talking about - Exodus 20:20. "Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning."

Now I immediately start saying "LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA" and covering my ears. My cousin, Diane is laughing at me, and I am sure everyone else was trying to figure out what was going on, as I never get what everyone else does out of the message. John Bevere was talking about the Fear of the Lord. He mentioned how Moses had left the finer things of life, went to Mount Sinai and found God, and never complained about wanting to go back to his old like. Whereas, the Israelites left slavery, Moses took them to Mt. Sinai, and immediately started complaining and wanting to go back. His message was awesome and challenging, and definitely a message I needed to hear, but that wasn't what I took from it.

The lessons that God was confirming in me were:
1) We are as close to God as we want to be.
2) Obedience is everything.
3) Grumbling will get you no where.
4) The tests we go through have a purpose.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'm Sorry

So many times things happen, and no one knows the thoughts that go through your head. Well, we like to think that but God knows, and even if it would never be appropriate to say "I'm sorry" to the person that is the object of that thought - God knows our hearts.

As I was driving home, I thought of the people I needed to ask for forgiveness, people who may not even know that I have been offended at them, and yet the conviction was so overwhelming that here I am posting it for everyone to read.  There is this song "These are the words I would say". Well, these are the words I would say to those persons that I have wronged, yet held as offense against me.

1. I am so sorry if my words hurt you, or caused you fallout when I left.  I never meant to hurt you.  I was upset by your actions, but I forgive you, and I pray that God will continue to bless you and increase your ministry.
2. I am sorry that I expect you to take on a responsibility that you can not, to be someone that you can not be.  I am sorry that I have held that against you.  I pray that God will help you overcome and be reconciled.
3. I am sorry for being judgemental of your actions. I do not know what you are thinking or why you make the decisions you do, but it is not my place to judge.  I am sorry.  I pray that God will give you wisdom and guidance.
4. I am sorry for holding past hurts against you.  I thought I wasn't, but I guess I have.  I release you from not being perfect.  I release you from the mistakes that have been made.  I am sorry I let that come between us.  I pray God will help you become the person He created you to be.
5.  I am sorry I get cranky with you.  I can not imagine what you must be feeling, when I try to I remember I have compassion, but I am sorry that I have more compassion and empathy for strangers.  I pray for patience (just not too quick - cause it is a painful process).
6.  I am sorry that I put other things before our relationship.  I am out of balance in a number of relationships, and I want to do better.  I think sometimes it is easier for me to focus on other things, because then I don't have to see the mistakes I make, my faults, my failures.  I promise to keep working on this with the grace of God.  I pray that you will know how important you are to me.

I am sure that there are other things I need to apologize for, but for now these are the things God has laid on my heart.


I have been reading the Bait of Satan by John Bevere. Well technically I read it, then at the beginning of the year I decided to do the study and really digest what was in the book. I admit, as I read it, I could think of a few other people "who needed to read this book," I didn't think I had a problem with unforgiveness or offense.

Last night I finished day 25, and well maybe I do have a problem. Any time I hear a message about forgiveness, I do a brief search of people and think that I do not have any people in my life that I have not asked for forgiveness for or that I need to forgive. Last night, the study talked about emotions, and I had four listed on the negative side - OUCH! I admit that I knew that they were things I needed to work on, things even that God has been dealing with me about - being judgemental, bitterness, anger and pride. However, I never connected it with unforgiveness.

So I was still asking God today who I needed to forgive, I could not think of anyone I held something against. Then that quiet still voice said "Where do those feelings of judgement, bitterness, anger and pride usually show themselves?" Being the person that I am, I immediately said "oh just at random times." And being the God that knows me better than I know myself, he sent me two or three other gentle nudges throughout the day. The radio DJ's in the am and pm talked about forgiveness in one way or another. It seemed that the songs that came on the radio that really spoke to me were about forgiveness, and then I got that "See What I AM Talking About" message as God pointed out several behaviors that I exhibited today that were rooted in offense and unforgiveness.

So consider the message received, and accepted. I take responsibility for my unforgiveness. I need Christ's forgiveness, and it is directly tied to my forgiveness of others. I cancel all offenses against me through the grace of God.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lessons in Death

A week ago tomorrow, a young life was lost. He was just eight years old, and died tragically in a car accident with his father and stepmother, leaving behind two older brothers and a host of other family and friends who cared about him. I had the honor of being touched by this family and getting to know them pretty well.

I believe that everyone comes into our life for a purpose, and that we can learn from anyone if we open our self up to it. I started thinking Saturday after the funeral for this young man and his family about what I could gain from knowing them. Here is what I came up with after thinking about Zach and my contact with him.

1) Greet everyone with a hug. Zach was a hugger. He greeted you with a hug, and left you with a hug and often had a few in between. It didn't matter what his mood, he always had a hug. I had to smile when the pastor giving the eulogy recalled his last contact with Zach, hugging his leg. Human contact is so important, research has showed that it is vital.

2) Smile. I started thinking, there was not a single day, regardless of what was happening that Zach did not have a smile. It doesn't take anything to share a smile.

3) It is okay to show emotions. I remember one day Zach had gotten into trouble. Even though he gave me a smile when I came in, he was not concerned with letting me see how mad and sad he was about being in trouble.

4) Share with others. I admit sometimes I didn't want it, but Zach always had a gift he had made - a little arts and craft that he had made - plastic mesh, a picture, etc. He would give me clovers and flowers, whatever he had. It never cost him anything, but it was worth everything to him.

5) Take time to play a game. Zach liked to play hangman. I have to laugh because usually his word was his name. One time, he spelled it wrong. However, he didn't let it get to him, he just drew more lines as we went.

6) Someone always gets left behind. Zach left behind two older brothers, a mother, step and half siblings that loved him. As much as we like to keep connections, there are times that we move on and leave others. Hopefully it is for something better, like Zach getting to be in Heaven free from pain and the troubles of life. But sometimes it isn't, like for his family and friends. We still have to move on, taking the good memories with us and leaving the rest behind.

7) Life goes by too quick. Zach was eight years old. He had his whole life ahead of him. I know I take for granted so much, I hope that I will always remember his short life, his smile, his laugh, his hugs, his games, his gifts - and not take so much for granted.

Rest in Peace Zachary E. Smith, safe in the arms of God.
July 3, 2001 to January 19, 2010