Monday, January 30, 2012

The Blessing Whisperer

Right off the top, the following book gets all the credit for this post:
The Blessing by Gary Smalley and John Trent

It's just a little paperback with some big ideas.

It explores the idea that we can speak blessings or curses over the people we are in relationships with. It's illustrated in the bible over and over. Specifically in families.

The Blessing of the eldest child was a huge deal in the Old Testament. It was so powerful and God honored it to such a great degree that people schemed and plotted to get it: Jacob.
In the New Testament Jesus threw a curve ball on the idea, He told the disciples to allow all the children, whose parents had brought them to him for a blessing, to come to him.

So if we want to be "Christians" or "Christ followers", we should be geared up to speak blessings over everyone.

Not being an Old Testament Daddy, you might be wondering, "How do I speak a blessing over someone?".

The authors outline 5 elements to Biblical blessings:

1.) Meaningful Touch- typically in the Old Testament the one to be blessed was called to the one passing the blessing and he placed his hands on him. For us this can mean anything from a pat on the shoulder, a hug, a kiss, a hair ruffle or hand holding. The key being the touch is appropriate for the relationship.

2.) Spoken Words- I know, Duh right. But seriously how often do the words that need to be spoken go without being said because of fear?

3.) Expressing High Value- You have to tell that person they have value. This is something you have to think about before you say it. Don't mumble through some standard compliment, really think about ways that this person is special, unique and full of value.

My favorite idea from the book came from this. They suggest you use a parable to do this, like Jesus did. One mother told her daughter that she was like their Mother kitty because she was so loving and tender with her family. Her daughter gave her a huge grin.
I was very eager to try this one out so when my son came home with a perfect behavior report for a week, I told him he was the Optimus Prime of good behavior. (This is the name of the leader of his favorite robot cartoon Transformers- this guy is a hero). I got the same huge grin, it worked just like they said!
 So then I tried it on my daughter. She was cleaning her room without being told so I told her she was the Niecy Nash of bedrooms. (Niecy is the host of our favorite Home Cleaning show "Clean House"). Bam! The same great big grin.
The key is to make the reference to someone or something they really admire or respect.

4.)Picturing a special future- Abraham did this with Issac in Gen. 27:28-29 when he described how he was asking God to prosper Issac. Jesus did this for us in the New Testament in John 14:2-3 when He described what Heaven will be like for us.
You can tell someone what you are praying God will do in their lives because of the special value they have.
Examples: I am asking God to grow and prosper a speaking ministry for you, I am asking God to make you a mother or father who will raise up mighty men and women of God, I am asking God to prosper you in your job or I am asking God to give you financial blessing so that all your needs are met to overflowing.
For Christians the scriptures that speak a special future for us (heaven) are numerous.

5.)Active commitment to the blessing- Be consistent in supporting the ideas you have planted. When that person makes mistakes because, they will, continue to speak the blessing. Let your actions be true to what you have spoken- we cannot scorn that which we have blessed. Let your prayers be true to what you have spoken for that person.

I have a February challenge, make February a Valentine's month. Pick a few people you will spend all month doing little things for. Encouraging notes, spoken blessings, bake something, pick a flower, etc... things you know will in small ways speak of Large Love.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Running in place

On the treadmill today, hating it as always, mind gaming myself into staying on it because I know I need to.
I know I am making progress even though I am not actually going anywhere.

We (Americans, Type A's, etc...) have a hard time with that idea, stationary progress.
We want forward movement at all times.

Maybe we need to stay in one place.

Maybe that one place is the only place we will understand what we need.

A friend of mine posted this on his face book page:
"Everyone says that love hurts, but that’s not true. Loneliness hurts. Rejection hurts. Losing someone hurts. Everyone confuses these things with love, but in reality, LOVE is the ONLY thing in this world that covers up all the pain and makes us feel wonderful again."
You see "Love" gets the blame and we want to run forward looking for a different love, a new love, but really we might never have even had Love. Love for ourselves, our God, our spouses- wasn't there to begin with.
It's easy to latch on the idea that progress involves moving on, running to something or from something but progress can be standing still and actually looking at what is around you or in you.
Learning that I can go to "beast mode" and burn calories like a fiend,
Learning that working on what is, might be smarter than trucking it to "what if".
Sometimes the view from your own front door is the most important one.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I don't think it was an accident that a friend started me thinking this week on the topic of passing away.
I prefer passing away because, I believe every living human being is eternal.
I believe that every human will at some time pass away from this Earth to somewhere else.

My friend was thinking about martyrs in the history of the Christian church she wondered about the ones who, unlike Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, did not survive the trials they faced.

She wondered if their cases were ones not of unanswered prayer or too little faith,
but if they might have been the ones with the prayers that showed a ready heart and complete faith.

I think she's on to something.

It came Friday night. We had just began an all night event with the youth group my husband and I lead. One of our girls in tears shared her 20 year old cousin was battling Leukemia and it looked bad. She was on life support and failing fast.

She told me how her cousin had a hard life. Difficult family life. Mom had died of an overdose last year. Dad was not as supportive as he could be. But this cousin never let it drag her down.
She had a joyful attitude at all times.
Even when she lost her ovary to a cyst and found out that her fertility would be very low, she stayed full of life.
Even when she lost all her hair to chemotherapy, she said she felt freed.
Her cousin told me this girl had a personal relationship with Christ.
She died that night. My friend left to grieve with her family.

I had one thought locked in my head that night. How many babies do you think are in heaven?  Babies whose lives were cut short in the womb. I think there is one more mother for them in Heaven now. I just had a vision of a smiling girl wrapping her arms around a crowd of children gathering around to embrace her.

Or maybe Heaven is even some how more wonderful than that.

The next day little Tripp Roth lost his battle with EB. Two years and 8 months of life. Most of it spend in pain few living human beings have ever experienced.

Heaven is not a punishment. It, in the whole universe and everything beyond that, is the ultimate reward.
Nothing else that can ever be conceived will ever be more wonderful.
Jesus is there, Father God is there.
That's a pretty big idea to think about.

Does every one go to heaven? I don't believe they do, because I believe every word of the Bible.

Everything I know about Heaven as written in the Bible and about these two souls leads me to believe they did. They may even, somehow, be together right now.

Death, beats up the living, if we let it. The separation seems to much to bear. As many older folks will tell you time passes much more quickly than you could ever imagine. The reunion is never too far away.

For those whose loved ones rejected God, I believe even there, God's arm is strong enough and long enough to bring comfort and healing to those grieving hearts.

So there is my 2 cents on the weekend.
I will spend a little more time loving people this week, every opportunity I get.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Long Haul

Paul talks in the bible about the Christian life being like a race and how we should strive to run worthy.
Hebrews 12:1 says
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

I am dragging some weight. Discouragement, impatience, etc... but I really want to lay it aside.
Here's the tangle, I been praying for revival for so long (6 years), that I wonder if it will happen. I want to believe, but deep down I feel shaky.

Lord, right here, infront of the whole world (or the five people who read my blog) I confess I have doubt, I am unsure of my situation.

I don't doubt You, I just don't really know if what I am asking is what You are going to do.

I know you can do it.

I have spent six years in various stages of pleading with You for revival and to be honest I don't want to stop. I might be dragging but I am so heart set on my community being forever transformed by you, I just cannot stop.

So there it is. I am certain I will never make it to the spiritual olympics but I just will not stop. I want revival so badly, I just refuse to stop praying for it.

I just will not stop. Who's with me?

Monday, January 2, 2012


I hate fasting.

Yep, let me start off this bright shiny, first blog of the new year with my lame complaining.

I hate the feeling I get when I fast.

By around 12 noon my head begins to ache with a low level ache and my jaw begins the clinch.

By 2 pm I start getting very tired and cold.

By 6pm the coldness is bone deep and only many layers of blankets and clothing can keep it at bay.

I go to bed as soon as I can in a subconscious race to morning.

So why fast? If I feel grouchy, miserable and desiring to withdraw from all human contact, why would I do this?

The Louisiana Baptist Convention has asked all member churches to enter a 21 day time period of prayer and fasting for the first 21 days of January 2012. They have a 21 day devotional called Awaken that you can do at the same time.
(It is a priceless devotional, it is AMAZING!).
It calls into question all my complacency and foolishness. It points out the fact that real revival changes the tone of the whole community and gives some pretty amazing examples of that. Like the faith based transformations at Angola Prison in Louisiana.

My husband and I desperately want to see that kind of transformation in our community. Deep down I know it has to start with me. I have to be wholly submitted to Christ. I have to seek Him in prayer like never before.

I pray. I pray frequently, multiple times in the day. But I have grown discouraged, my scripture memory is not what it should be. I want to see my Church transformed for the glory of God but doubts have been creeping in about if it will ever happen. 

The 21 days seemed like a great place to face the issues. We decided to fast from food for three days- the three Mondays of the 21 day time period. I will drink only water, milk and juice on those days. We will also abstain from TV on those Mondays to make time for prayer. Also we will pray together and read the devotional every night of the 21 days.

Now the bible instructs that I am to appear as normal on the days that I fast, not drawing attention to my fast to keep it secret. Matt. 6:16-18

I know I pretty much just blew that one, but I want to share what is happening not because I am spotlighting my super buff spirituality but I want to tell you I am a CRY BABY and even I can do this. 
I scratch and scrap my way through this but it's doable.

Their are dozens of types of fasts: a Daniel fast (basically vegan but more strict), media fast, sweets fasts, caffeine fast, etc... they're basically as diverse as the types of habits people can have. God will lead you to the one that will have the right impact on you.

The only way to waste a fast is to do it with out God's leading and not pray when it gets hard.

Every time I have ever fasted God has revealed something important to me. Usually about a problem I have been blind to in my own life. It's a time of deep repentance.

Already on the 2nd day of this fast my husband and I realized we have not been communicating about important spiritual issues in our lives. We have already made real progress in our commitment to God and each other. That's day 2!

In this new year I challenge you to think about ways you can let God stretch you.

You can trust Him. HE IS WORTHY OF YOUR TRUST.