Friday, July 29, 2011

Re-Tagging Posts by "Day of Month"

I am in the process of adding a "tag" to all the posts by recommendation of a reader, Kimmi! (aka: Kiki)

She follows along with reading the Proverbs of the day (if it's the 1st of the month, she reads Proverbs 1, if it's the 14th of the month, she reads Proverbs 14, etc). She then goes on to read the devotion for the day. In efforts to help YOU, I'm adding "tags" to each devotion so on days I don't post, you can either go to that day and read a previous devotion, or just catch up with any one that sounds interesting.

This is a process and may take me a bit of time to "tag" all of them.... but it will be a project that will be done I would think within the next week or two.

Hope it can be of help to you! :)

Thanks for the great suggestion Kimmi! :)


#182 - Central Focus

Original Post 5/12/11

Good morning! Wherever you are at this morning, do you realize that the mercy, grace & forgiveness of God reaches even to you? Whatever "state" you are in... happy, frustrated, stressed, rushed, peaceful, discouraged, disappointed, dragging, holding on. I encourage you, continue to hold on. Continue to stand. Mercy awaits you. Grace makes you anew. Forgiveness cleanses you to white as snow. The grace of God still amazes me. Continue to hold on, good things are coming, good things are on YOUR horizon! It won't always be this hard. It won't always take this long. Continue on this journey, you will look back in awe of the mighty things God has done and as you sit in your Promised Land you will truly look up to heaven and thank your Father. Hindsight will be 20/20. You will see why you were in this place. Keep going. Press in. Hold on. Your victory is coming!

Let's get into the Word.
Proverbs 12:3b - ...but the root of the [uncompromisingly] righteous shall never be moved.
Proverbs 12:12b - ...but the root of the [uncompromisingly] righteous yields [richer fruitage].
Proverbs 31:15a - She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household ...
I was reflecting on today on my freedom. It has been 18 months now that I have experienced freedom from corporate America. Freedom from emails, phone calls, voice mails, urgent accounts that needed set up, stressed out clients, frazzled bankers, quotas, appointments, corporate meetings, chasing down yet another sale, stress, a cluttered mind. Eighteen months since my mind has been released to actually think. I imagine it's been similar to professors taking a year Sabbatical. I would imagine during that year, they actually take time to really reflect on their life. Are they really where they want to be? Are they headed in the direction they want to go? Are they finding fulfillment in what they are pursuing? Or, is it time for change? Reassessment? This time for me, has been similar to that. Assessing where I am in life. Assessing, without the email stresses, corporate stresses, truly being able to be in a quiet place, consistently and continue to assess.

During the last 18 months, I've had the opportunity to deepen my roots. Deepen a relationship, that at times had been watered down. I remember days while in corporate America, hearing my alarm clock go off, hitting snooze and just pulling the covers up over my head. Rolling over, putting a pillow on my head, trying to hide from the responsibilities or lack of fulfillment. Granted, I was successful in what I did. I exceeded my numbers, but each morning brought me to the same place, pulling the covers up trying to avoid the life that I didn't want. I wanted happiness. I wanted fulfillment. Instead, I was doing really good at just making a dollar bill.

As I read through Proverbs 12, I continued to come back to the word "root." The "root" of the righteous will not be moved. The "root" of the righteous will yield richer fruit. I heard the Holy Spirit this morning tell me, "I appreciate the consistency of pursuing My Word.... Keep your central focus on Me. Do you realize My timing is good. My timing is right. Daily listen. Daily study. Recognize the time and season. Seasons change. Seasons do not stay the same forever." I'll be the first to tell you, I have not been perfect in the last 18 months. Just this morning, had to ask forgiveness from Tyler. I'm still a work in progress. But, praise God for God! Praise God for grace & forgiveness. Praise God for second chances, and for seasons! That if you are not in a harvesting season, YOUR season is coming!

Root. Where is your root? Where are you planted? What is grounding you? Is it nothing? Does the stress of work, family, schedules keep you so busy that it seems you are just tossed with the wind. To & fro, to busy to have time to get out of the state of frustration? Are your roots so shallow that a small burst of wind blows you off course? You may not be able to take an actual "Sabbatical" for a year like a college professor may... but, maybe it's a "Sabbatical" to establish roots. Stronger, deeper roots. Maybe it's a "Sabbatical" from a commitment that you've had that is not yielding fruit. Maybe it's a "Sabbatical" from TV. Maybe it's a "Sabbatical" from one of the soccer leagues that your kids are involved in. Maybe it's a "Sabbatical" from the countless hours spent on FaceBook. Maybe it's a "Sabbatical" to begin to establish roots that are deep enough that won't blow away. These words also came to me this morning, "Your success rises or falls on your ability to be focused & consistent." Establishing a Central Focus, establishing Roots. Developing an ear to hear that still small voice of the Holy Spirit. For maybe the first time in a long time, allowing roots to go deep, deep enough that after awhile, you will hunger and thirst for time in the Word, for time with the Lord. A central focus like our Proverbs 31 friend, how she rises while it is yet night. It didn't say she "sometimes" rises, or "sporadically" rises. She "rises when she feels like it." It simply says "she rises while it is yet night." Taking in the whole of Proverbs 31, seeing her success, seeing the fruit of her labor, seeing her pursuits, I would anticipate that her Central Focus was on seeking the Lord. That very Central Focus took her roots deep, to a place where she not only received direction, but she received fulfillment, she received happiness.

May your Central Focus Deepen YOUR Roots! May your focus on our Father take you to a place above what you could have dreamed or imagined. May your central focus make your roots so deep that you will never be moved! May your central focus take you to a place where your roots in the Lord yield fruit so great that you are able to spill out onto hundreds and thousands of people with blessings.

#210 - A Hamster on a Wheel

Good morning! :) So... I am currently sitting out on my screened in porch, fan blowing, but still hot. A combination of being pregnant and the South Carolina humidity at times just takes my breath away! My morning got away from me a little, when I spent my first few awake hours working on my fiction book proposal, The Ultimate Woman. In my desire to occupy Tyler Junior after breakfast & his "DVD," I filled up the empty plastic sandbox with water and he is currently completely entertaining himself. What a mom will do to entertain her child to get things done!

Let's get started...

Proverbs 29:18 - Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]--blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he.
Proverbs 31:18 - She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust].
Have you every found yourself sitting and just wondering, Is this all there is to life? When I was a college student, I remember thinking that "life would start" when I graduated, got out into the real world and started a job. The vision I had of myself was climbing the corporate ladder, wearing a "power" suit, riding the elevator to the top floor of some sky-rise in a big city, working amongst men and being successful. I thought that life would bring fulfillment & happiness. How I was wrong. Needless to say, when I surrendered my life to Jesus, things changed quite a bit. What I viewed as "success" changed. Although as a young, married, Christian woman, I still found myself like the hamster on a wheel. Running, but not getting anywhere. Working "in the world," but feeling as if the dent I was making in eternity was like the ripples that are made when you pull your finger out of a glass of water. Of little or no impact.

Proverbs 29:18 (amp) expounds on the definition of vision as "redemptive revelation of God." At first glance, "revelation of God" is what specifically jumped out at me. The more I read over the words, the more the whole phrase resonated with me. Redemptive revelation of God. 

Redemptive? Redeemed from what? A few things come to mind:

  • Redeemed from a life of sin. 
  • Redeemed from eternity in hell. 
  • Redeemed from a life of unfulfillment.
  • Redeemed from vanity.
  • Redeemed from a mundane life. 
  • Redeemed to have PURPOSE!
Revelation of God? Vision? The Hebrew also describes "vision" as "divine communication." Having a revelation of the purpose on your life. What were you created for? What were you born to do? What are the giftings in your life that no-one else has? What were you destined to be and do? What brings you fulfillment, happiness and joy? Or, as Mike Murdock says, "What problem were you created to solve?" What is the calling or purpose on your life? 

It is amazing that when we are working towards something that IS NOT our calling, or IS NOT moving us towards our purpose in life, unfulfillment accompanies our daily activities. Then we go back to the question, "Is this all there is to life?" Where there is no revelation or vision, people perish. People go through life aimlessly working towards menial accomplishments. As Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NKJV) says, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!" 

Praise the Lord as Believers, we have Good News! In our fellowship with the Lord, we can simply ask for direction and He will reveal to us the calling on our life if we do not know it. We can be redeemed from a life of vain pursuits, and pursue what we were created for. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, she is able to see the works she has done WITH and FOR God have produced fruit. She is able to see that the work is GOOD! She "tastes" and is able to enjoy the work she has done. She is able to "see" that it is a good work.

Praise the Lord that we are redeemed from a life of the mundane! We are redeemed from a life lacking fulfillment! We were each called to a purpose and a destiny, we were specifically designed with a purpose. Each of us.

Are you having questions about your purpose? When you go to the Lord next in your quiet time, here are some questions to think about:

  • What makes you come alive?
  • What doesn't feel like work when you are doing it?
  • What could you spend hours doing and enjoy? 
  • What questions to people know you'll have the answer to?
  • What makes you laugh?
  • What makes you cry? 
These are just a few questions that may help to lead you down the road of self discovery. The discovery of your purpose. Your passion. And as the Lord reveals it to you, the ultimate vision for your life. What you were born to do. 

Don't perish. Don't life the mundane life. Enjoy life to the fullest. Pursue your vision with fervor!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

#209 - Forgive Me?

Proverbs 28:13 - He who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes his sins will obtain mercy.

Proverbs 31:11 - The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil.

Have you ever known you needed to ask for forgiveness, but knew if you pushed it under the rug, no one would even know? The uncomfortableness of "asking for forgiveness" would mean that you were wrong. It would highlight your shortcomings. Not to mention, having to ask for forgiveness makes you feel shameful. I hate feeling shameful. But, the alternative, is going through your day or days, with this "sin" hanging over your head. It's like everywhere you go, you can't escape the feeling of the shame, it doesn't go away, it follows you. Until, finally you decide to give in.  You decide to go to the person and just ask for forgiveness.

Recently in a Quiet Time, the Holy Spirit addressed this topic with me. I had asked Tyler & the Lord for forgiveness about something the day prior. It was uncomfortable and it felt shameful. Like Proverbs 28:13 says, I did obtain mercy. He did forgive me. But, the next morning in my Quiet Time, the Holy Spirit addressed the importance of asking for forgiveness. Tyler and I have a "confession" rule with each other, if we mess up in whatever area, we've agreed to ask for forgiveness. It's uncomfortable, but it holds us accountable to one another. The Holy Spirit prompted me again of the importance. He said though I may not like confronting an area of sin, it helps. The Holy Spirit pointed out that the alternative would be a hardening of my heart. I know I do not want to get to a point where my heart is hardened to sin.

The Proverbs 31 husband is able to trust & confidently rely on his Proverbs 31 wife. I would like to believe Tyler can trust me. Granted, we both know that I'm not perfect, but he knows despite how difficult a situation may be, I will confront him if I need to. I want him to believe in me & trust me securely as it says in Proverbs 31:11.

So... in person, over text, over the phone.... you will often hear us say the uncomfortable words, "I messed up, will you forgive me?" Praise the Lord for mercy.

What about you and your relationships? Do you have any safeguards for sin? I would love to hear about them!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

#208 - Iron Sharpener!

Proverbs 27:17 - Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose].

Proverbs 31:10-11a - A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman--who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls. The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently....

Clanging swords and metal sparking sounds as you see two warriors sparring in and out of the forest trees. Their moves smooth, swift, planned. Until but a second delay and the opponent is found on the wet foliage with his life out of his hands, he has lost today's battle. It was a good thing it was only practice. His friend helps him to his feet, sharpened just a bit more by the consistent training.

As I read today in Proverbs 27, it talked a great deal about friends & enemies but I could not help but be drawn back to the familiar verse in verse seventeen. Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. I believe when couples get married, one thing many long for marriage to be is an eternal friendship. To be able to say we are married to our best friend, who sees us in our good and in our bad. To be married to the friend who can finish our sentence where we left off, or know our thoughts without words coming out. For women, I believe we desire to be married to someone who 'completes' us, obviously without taking the place of the One who ultimately fulfills us. No man or woman can bring fulfillment like having a relationship with our heavenly Father, and when we begin to put that expectation on our spouse, we are often disappointed, but isn't it nice that God designed man & woman to come together and be one?! That ultimately the design was for us to be "iron sharpeners" for each other. 

Reading in Proverbs 31:10, a question was posed in the first sentence. In essence, who is he who can find this virtuous woman? HE. Who is the MAN who can find this amazing, godly & virtuous woman? This woman who does excel all other women? It tells us of her worth, how precious she is, her worth & great value. 

Who is HE who can find her? How can this godly man ultimately find the woman who was made to complete him? I believe verse 11 gives us a clue into how he finds her.... by his heart. As believers today, when we accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit becomes our guide. I believe that this man of god is led & directed. His diligence to the Lord, draws him to this woman who will ultimately be his "one." 

Like many places in Proverbs that talks of hidden treasure and having to search for it, Proverbs 31:10 also bears the same characteristics of value. This woman, this jewel, is like a treasure. Because of her faithfulness to the Lord and his calling on her life, she will be searched out! Her love for the Lord causes her to be that jewel, that treasure. She is far more precious than jewels. In the Hebrew, the word "far" breaks down to: remote, far, distant, distant lands, distant ones.   To "find" is defined as: to find, secure, acquire, to get the thing sought, to be found, to be recognized. The Proverbs 31 man, RECOGNIZES what he is looking for when he finds it. The qualities that he has sought after and searched for are obvious when he finally comes across this virtuous woman. 

And... how appropriate, that until death do they part, they can be iron sharpeners for each other. I know in my own relationship with Tyler, he is most definitely an iron sharpener in my life! He sharpens me by asking me questions, by challenging me. He sharpens me by loving & comforting me when I need it. He sharpens me by the encouragement that he gives me to pursue the unique gifts God has given me. He sharpens me by prodding me to follow the Holy Spirit even when it may not seem to make sense to the world. He sharpens me by spending quality time with me when he knows I need it. He sharpens me by his first love & devotion to the Lord. His continual pursuit of growth sharpens me. 

Tyler McCart is truly my best friend. He is my iron sharpener. For that, I am thankful!

I'd love to hear from you! In what specific ways do you sharpen your spouse? How does your spouse sharpen you? 


*Picture used with permission. For handmade swords, shields and products of the like, contact Tim at Forged in Time. Their website is informative about the historical background of Medieval weapons and the theme/graphics of the site draw you in to want to learn more!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

#207 - Fresh Baked Brownies

Good morning! I pray your day has started off well! We are going to get into the Word, so I KNOW that is a great way to start off our day. Let's go... 

Proverbs 26:23 - Burning lips [uttering insincere words of love] and a wicked heart are like an earthen vessel covered with the scum thrown off from molten silver [making it appear to be solid silver].

Proverbs 31:26 - She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].

Have you ever walked into someones home and you smell the aroma of freshly baked, straight out of the oven, chocolate brownies? Immediately your mouth starts watering and you envision yourself biting into the warm, chocolate & caramel goodness. The taste sinks in further when you envision the tall glass of cold milk, sitting right by your plate waiting for you to wash down the special treat. 

This morning as I read Proverbs 26:23, I couldn't help but think about brownies. Imagine this... as you sink your teeth into this soft, gooey brownie you respond with, "Mom, how did you make these? They are so good. They have to be the best brownies I have ever eaten! Did you use any special ingredients? I've got to get the recipe." 

Mom responds back to you, "Actually, yes I did do something different with them this time. Aside from cocoa, sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla....I used a new, very special ingredient." 

You polish off the first brownie and begin to reach for brownie #2, it just seems worth it. The thought of some extra fluff around your mid-drift is un-important, you think, you'll just skip a meal or something.  

"Well, tell me! I've got to know what that special ingredient is so I can add it to my brownies! What did you use?" You ask. 

"Well, as I was on my walk this morning, I stopped by the dog park. With my little plastic bag, I picked up a fresh piece of dog doo-doo. I used about a tablespoon of that in the brownies I made this morning. It was just a little, but that was the special ingredient." 

You gasp and begin trying to spit out the already swallowed bites you'd taken of the brownie. 

The importance of our words are crucial. In Proverbs 26:23, it talks about the same idea. A fraud, a misrepresentation, a fake, a phony. It talks about an object that is covered in scum. The person takes this object covered in scum & tries to camouflage it with silver, making it appear authentic. Like kind words, wrapped in a smile and sincere eyes, "I'm so happy for you. What a blessing that you got this new car. You really deserve it." As you walk away your thoughts reflect nothing of the sort. "I can't believe she got a new car! If anyone deserves a new car it's ME! She's not even as good of a Christian as I am. I mean, I know a lot more about the Bible than she does! Ahhhhhh!" 

How often to our words and actions not reflect what is in our heart. We put on a religious spirit, to look good, only being deceitful to ourselves and others. Do we truly have a grateful heart, a thankful and excited heart for what our friend or family member has been blessed with? Are we just coveting & cursing the very blessing that they received?

It's like the small piece of "dog doo-doo" in the brownies. Not knowing the special ingredients, you eat one, go for a second, and really want to reach for a 3rd. The moment you realize the special ingredient is repulsive, you want to vomit up the very first bite. Insincere words are the same. Insincere words is like scum or dog doo-doo, a replacement, a fake. Proverbs 26 goes on to say that this person is not to be trusted, that he is wicked. 

I don't know about you, but it makes me want to be more cautious in the words that I do say to people and the attitude of my heart. It makes me want to remember that God is no respecter of persons, if He will do it for one person, he will do it for me. He is a good God and gives good gifts to His children. It makes me want to do an attitude check. Am I really happy for this person? Or are my feelings that of resentment? Instead of resentment, can I turn my feelings around and make them be feelings that will build my faith? 

God is for me! God gives good gifts! And He will give them to me too!  


PS - Thanks to the anonymous but kind person that contacted me about a few spelling errors! I must say, with a 2 year old and being pregnant, editing doesn't always happen! Maybe I should put a disclaimer on the page? Praise God with writing books I will have Editors! :) Thanks again!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Publisher Update!

Good morning! I just wanted to say THANK YOU for your prayers! As you may know, I attended a conference this weekend called SheSpeaks, put on by Proverbs 31 Ministries. It was a pretty awesome weekend FILLED with lots of new things learned.

My Update?!: 
Have you ever learned so much, your brain hurt? That was a bit how my weekend was at times. SheSpeaks is a weekend designed for women who are interested one of three main areas: (1) A Writing Ministry (2) A Speaking Ministry (3) A Women's Ministry. I attempted to attend the conference last year, but it sold out before I was able to register. This year I made sure to get registered while it was still in PRE-REGISTRATION! :) Thankfully I did because they sold out again on the last day of Pre-Registration!

Aside from the mounds of information I learned, I also had the appointments to meet with 2 different publishers, but actually pitched my book to 4 total publishers throughout the weekend (2 of them, in more of an informal meeting.)

  • Revel Books - My appointment with Revel went well. As we discussed my completed book, Fairytales Do Come True, the publisher said she would be interested in reading the first three chapters and going through my book proposal. PRAISE THE LORD! So, I left her with my book proposal for her to review upon her return. During the appointment, we had some extra time, so I also pitched a non-fiction that I'm working on entitled, The Ultimate Woman. She really liked the concepts of that book (it has some unique traits that make it very different from other books on the market). She asked if she could get more information on it, so this month I will be working on a book proposal to submit as well as three sample chapters for her to read. YIPPEE! :) That was a blessing! :) 
  • Harvest - I had a great appointment with Harvest, though early in the appointment we uncovered that Fairytales Do Come True does not fit into what they are currently looking for. I anticipated that because though they are interested in books on dating, they are only looking for "historical or amish fiction." She was not interested in accepting my book proposal for Fairytales, so I changed hats so to speak and began to pitch the book idea for The Ultimate Woman. She also was interested in that book and requested a book proposal. YIPPEE! :) 
  • Zondervan - This was an informal meeting where I was able to sit down with one of the publishers for about 10 minutes. She was not one of the publishers on staff that accepted fiction books, but gave me the contact information of someone on their staff which I could contact. Praise the Lord. I will be contacting her this week. 
In a nutshell, that was my weekend. Right now I'm not sure who or what publisher God has for me, but I'm excited to continue to just take the next steps of obedience to Him in this new journey. Thankfully it's not about knowing everything, but just being obedient to take the next steps! I praise Him for the perfect publisher, and for all the books He will allow me to write & publish that will add value to people. This journey is DEFINITELY in His hands. 

After a bit of an exhausting weekend, today I'm going to take my Day of Rest since I did not take one last week! Enjoy your week! I should be getting back on a regular devotion schedule tomorrow! :) Thanks again for your prayers! Continue to pray for favor as you think about it! My prayers are with you as well! Direction, joy, favor, and a deepening in your walk with Jesus! 


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

#206 - Sense of Urgency

Good morning! It's a GREAT day! Yes? I worked on my book proposal for almost 2 hours this morning, finishing up my Quiet Time... now writing this.... I'll be getting Junior up in the next few minutes, so we'll jump right into things. Before we get into the Word... could I ask you to please keep me in your prayers for a few things??

  1. THIS WEEKEND I will be attending a Writer's Conference. During the weekend, I have 2 scheduled Publisher appointments for the book I recently finished, Fairytales Do Come True. I will also be pitching 2 other book ideas. The Ultimate Woman - an in-depth study of Proverbs 31:10-31 and The Proverbs 31 Woman - 365 Daily Devotions. Could you please pray and agree with me that I have FAVOR! :) Thank you!
  2. HOUSE HUNTING! - We have believed God for the perfect house, the perfect size for the perfect price. We would like to move into something that we can grow into and really place roots for awhile. With Trinity coming early October... and we plan on having 2 more kids (Timothy & Taylor), we'd like a place that can fit us all comfortably. Will you please pray and agree with us that God directs us to the PERFECT place & we will also have favor financially with the house. 
OK... let's get into the Word!
Proverbs 19:15 - Slothfulness casts one into a deep sleep, and the idle person shall suffer hunger.
Proverbs 31:27 - She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.
I recently was pondering this question. How do you combine 'Sense of Urgency' with Faith? How do the two work together? 

One awesome woman of God answered me with a quote she heard, "It's YOUR life. Take however much time you want." The quote in its origin was intended to have a jab, but it is true. When are you going to loose the weight? When are you going to build the business? When are you going to grow spiritually? When are you going to spend time with your kids? When are you going to have the money to ______________? When are you going to take your family on a vacation?  ALL of these are great questions, and great things to work towards. The answer to my question, "It's YOUR life. Take however much time you want." Kids get older. Opportunities go away. The whole idea is DO IT NOW, PREPARE NOW. Stop delaying.

I thought it was a good answer, BUT I wasn't completely satisfied with it. I felt like there was something still missing in the answer, from a spiritual perspective. As I meditated on this question more, from a spiritual perspective, this was the answer I received.

  • How do you combine 'Sense of Urgency' with Faith? How do the two work together? 
- Sense of Urgency has to be associated with listening to the Voice of the Holy Spirit. How fervantly can you listen to the Voice of the Holy Spirit. THAT should be the "SENSE OF URGENCY." As you place a "SENSE OF URGENCY" on LISTENING, you will not MISS anything. You will not miss the opportunities, the business', the vacations. As you focus on "LISTENING" and being obedient, the timing will fall in line with all the other things you desire to accomplish. The Holy Spirit will direct you HOW to build that business. The Holy Spirit will direct you on HOW to loose the weight. The Holy Spirit will tell you HOW to take your family on a vacation. And here's the kicker.... the Holy Spirit will direct you WHEN TO DO IT! Instead of trying to accomplish so many things, maybe good things in the wrong time, the Holy Spirit will direct you WHEN to do it so that your timing is always ON-TIME! We often try to bite off more than we can chew in the name of "being productive" that we get burnt out, and end up failing or disappointing ourselves by goals gone unaccomplished. 
As it talks about in Proverbs 19:15, laziness or slothfulness cause one to sleep, accomplishing nothing. The idle person suffers.

We take a look at the Proverbs 31 woman, and she makes sure not to be idle. Whether it is in speech, actions, or listening.... the word "idle" does not describe our godly friend.

What about you? What is your "Sense of Urgency?" What do you have in life that you want to accomplish? I encourage you.... place your Sense of Urgency on LISTENING. I assure you the Holy Spirit will give you direction on ANY matter that you are working on. As a quote I've heard says this, "There is no question that cannot be solved that sustained thought won't reveal the answer." 

Sustained thought. AKA: Sustained Prayer. Sustained Listening. Sustained time in the presence of the Holy Spirit. ALL answers will be made known to us if we just place ourselves at the throne of Jesus!

Be blessed!

Friday, July 15, 2011


Good morning! :) I'm enjoying my Day of Rest today! YIPPEE!!! No work for me. :)

Have a blessed day and weekend! :)


Thursday, July 14, 2011

#205 - Build Your House!

Good morning! I pray you have started off your day blessed?! My prayer for you today is that you would go out today with FAVOR! That everything you put your hands to would prosper and that today would be a day of fulfillment. That at the end of the day, you would be able to say, "I had a really good day." That is my prayer for you today! Now... let's get into the Word! :)
Proverbs 14:1 - EVERY WISE woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands.
Before diving into things, let's first take a look at the Hebrew definitions for a few words in Proverbs 14:1.
  • Builds:  refers to building a family. 
  • House: dwelling habitation, human body, house as containing a family. 
As we know that the Proverbs 31 woman is indeed a wise woman, let's take a look at how this "wise woman builds her house" and see what we can learn from her!

Physical House: 
Proverbs 31:13, 19, 22 - She seeks out wool and flax and works with willing hands [to develop it]. She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is of linen, pure and fine, and of purple [such as that of which the clothing of the priests and the hallowed cloths of the temple were made].
Our Proverbs 31 friend is working on the area of developing her physical house. She may not do the actual construction, but we know that she does work with her hands to make this house a home. We know that all of the small things that make a home a "home", she is working on them. I'm sure you have been in places that you can tell a distinct difference. Those homes that feel warm, have cushions on the couches and tapestries hanging on the walls, it feels warm & cozy. It feels like a home. Versus a place that may not have the extra touches of a woman. No paintings on the wall, no warmth to the place, no elegant cushions lining the couch. My first thought goes to a "bachelor" pad. Often before a man gets married, the "extras" in his house are few. The walls are white, the furniture plain, minimal if any extra touches to make the house feel like a home. No flowers or plants, no candles, no "homey" extra features. This is what a Proverbs 31 woman brings to a home. She brings the "extras" that make a person want to get comfortable and stay. She has provided an environment of growth & peace.
  • The foolish woman puts little time in creating an environment of peace. Her household is NOT a place that the family wants to be. It is messy, cold & breeds chaos. The foolish woman's husband most likely does not want to come home from work, because he knows it will just be an environment of stress and disharmony. 
Spiritual House (spiritual growth): 
Proverbs 31:15 - She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household..
We have discussed this verse several times. Our Proverbs 31 friend puts a priority on growing spiritually. Her spiritual "house" is important and she takes time to develop her relationship and walk with the Lord. She spends time in the Word. She girds herself up with strength, spiritual strength. She is a picture of stability. Her consistency in the Word grounds her, and that is what also gives people confidence in her. She is stable. She is not swayed or wavering. When people are around her, that aura that she puts off is one of peace. Have you been around people, or in someones home and you immediately feel the presence of stress? The mom always seems stressed or in a hurry, always frazzled or yelling, the whole environment just lacks peace? Sure, everyone has their "days" that may be challenging, but when it is on a daily or a consistent basis, I would anticipate that this woman has not invested into her daily spiritual growth.... "spiritual house." The "wise woman" as talked about in Proverbs 14:1, puts a priority in establishing her own spiritual growth, and it in turn spills into the whole environment and warmth of her household.
  • The foolish woman does not spend daily time developing her spirit. She allows herself to remain B.U.S.Y. - Being Under Satan's Yoke. Though she may recognize that maybe at one time she spent daily time in the Word, she does not make a change to come back to that discipline. The foolish woman may be doing things that appear good, running kids to and from soccer practice, making dinner, going to work, but the most important aspect of her house, her spiritual growth, goes unattended too. 
Physical House (as physical body):
Proverbs 31:17 - She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.
Our Proverbs 31 friend treats her body, "house", as a temple. She strengthens herself in her physical body. She is strong. She does not need to make a "New Years Resolution" to go to the gym because physical fitness is a part of her life. It is a priority. It's not just a short-term goal to loose 20 pounds, physical fitness is her lifestyle, it is part of her regular schedule. Not only does this allow her to have energy and accomplish more, but because she is fit, it also makes her more attractive to her husband. Because she is fit, her innermost parts of her body are healthy & she is able to live a LONG, healthy life because she invests in her fitness! She dies at an old age, and is even physically strong then.
  • The foolish woman neglects her physical body. Her physical "house" may be the home of junk food and processed foods. She spends little time focusing on putting good wholesome food in her body, fruits & vegetables, good proteins, whole grains, etc. Due to her unhealthy eating lifestyle, her vitals are most likely also poor resulting in high blood pressure, being overweight, and higher risk factors for disease. The foolish woman also tears down her body by NOT remaining physically fit. Due to extra weight she carries around, it puts pressure on other aspects of her physical body (organs, ankles, knees, etc). The foolish woman does not remain physically fit causing her to feel sluggish & tired, overall less productive in what she is called to do. 
Household (family)
Proverbs 31:27 - She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.
The Proverbs 31 woman builds her family up. With her words and encouragement she establishes a home that breeds growth and success. Her children grow up truly believing that, "Yes! I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" She sets such a standard of godliness, that her children desire to duplicate her. In her prayer life, her children desire to follow. Because the prayers of the "righteous are powerful and effective" and this Proverbs 31 woman sees results & fruit, her children don't desire to go the ways of the world. They see that they ways of the Word come with blessings! Come with favor! Just like the old "Life" cereal commercial with the tag-line, "Mikey likes it!" You see the little boy copying everything his father does, that is the life of the Proverbs 31 woman's children. They see she is blessed, therefore, they copy what she does leading to a life of godliness and a new generation of believers.
  • The foolish woman unfortunately tears down her family with her words and actions. She may call her children "stupid" or tell them "you can't do anything right." She does the same to her husband. Instead of building up and encouraging, she does just the opposite. She tears down those around her, tends to wallow in discontentment, and enjoys spreading negative about other people. 
So many ways to build our house! My goal is to model the life of the Wise Woman and the Proverbs 31 woman. Sure.... I'm not perfect, and surely do make mistakes.... but my goal is to stay on the path of LIFE. Life that leads to godliness. What about you? Does your life model that of the Wise Woman or the Foolish Woman? What adjustments could be made? 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

#204 - Are You Happy?

Good morning! I pray you are doing good! I woke up this morning... maybe because I've had two great back-to-back nights of sleep... but I woke up just feeling happy. Happy. Jesus is on the throne and I am HIS daughter! How exciting! I'm the daughter and loved by the King of Kings! What a blessing!

Let's get into some Word!
Proverbs 13:12 - Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:22b - ...and the wealth of the sinner [finds its way eventually] into the hands of the righteous, for whom it was laid up. 
Proverbs 31:18a - She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good...
I was thinking about several different things this morning. My first is July 13th. On July 13th, I'm obviously ALWAYS reminded of what a special day it is & was in my life. You probably know if you've kept up with these devotions, but let me fill you in. July 13th, 1998 in a park in England, God revealed to me that Tyler was going to be my husband. I had only known him for a week, but God showed me an amazing sign that Tyler was "the one." Two years later, July 13th, 2000, Tyler asked me to marry him. "Would you be #2 in my life for the rest of your life?" He asked. Proverbs 13:12 falls on such a perfect day. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. I remember very well during the 18 months of waiting how my heart just longed to be with him. For 18 months, my heart was sick. But PRAISE GOD for July 13th 2000! My desire was fulfilled! What an accurate verse!

For some reason this morning, I've also been thinking about "happiness." I'm sure like you, "happiness" may differ from day to day. I know for me, there are some days where I feel "happier" than other days. But, I'd ask you the question, "Are you happy?"

As I reflect and look back to a few years ago, I remember most days feeling miserable. I would not have described my life as "happy." I was discontented. I felt unfulfilled. I felt like I was just going through life, not really accomplishing much. Now sure, on paper, our bank accounts were filled up. We had an abundance. We were able to go out to eat and not think about the cost. We were able to bless people financially, and not even think about stroking a check. But, at the end of the day, I was not happy. When I woke up in the morning, I dreaded the day that had not even begun. I was a success in Corporate America, I brought in great bonuses, but I lacked true fulfillment. I chased a ladder to the top until I reached the top of my ladder. It was either sit there, topped out, or find a different ladder that could go higher. I found that I was on the right ladder for a season, but my next ladder would be destined to be leaned up against a completely different building.

Take a "happiness" survey on your life. Are you happy? Are you fulfilled? I know God's timing is perfect, and we surely have seasons of our lives where we are called to be in a certain place. I have a list of goals that I wrote out over 10 years ago. It had secret dreams that I wished to accomplish one day. I had visions of who I saw myself being one day. The picture of "Who Amy was" was in my mind. I saw myself living out my dreams. Living in the center of my calling. I could close my eyes and see the "Dream Me" and I could even sense how fulfilled that "me" was. I could sense a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. When I closed my eyes and went to that place, I could tell that "that Amy" was truly happy. I've always wanted to go there. About 18 months ago, I officially got onto that path of becoming that Amy. Sure, I have had some off days, but for the most part for the last 18 months I have been HAPPY! I have been pursuing the dream and calling that God placed in my heart. I have been in the pursuit and that has brought fulfillment AND happiness. God put me on this earth to write, teach, help people & to impact the world for Christ. I may not be climbing the Corporate America ladder anymore, but God did not call me to climb that ladder forever, but just for a season. I am now climbing the ladder that leads to my Vision! The vision I've seen for 10 years. The vision I've seen when I closed my eyes. I'm not there yet, but I'm on the path. I'm on the right ladder to get me there.

The Proverbs 31 woman "tastes & sees" that the gain from her work with and for God is good. She enjoys the fruit. She sees that what she is doing is good. I anticipate that SHE is happy. She has found the ladder that gets her to "her" happiness, "her" calling. She is on the ladder that is good! She is not traveling in vain. She is not working in vain. She is working towards the purpose which she was created for, her calling.

For me, I've found that in this place is where true happiness is.

What about you? Are you happy? Is now the time for change?

Monday, July 11, 2011

#203 - RAIN Your Words!

Good morning! Today I officially begin my 3rd trimester carrying Trinity! It's amazing the things you forget about being pregnant. Like, not needing an alarm clock to wake up! All is well. I call my sleep SWEET every night in Jesus Name. :) The Word promises it, so I'm going to receive it for myself.

OK.... let's get started. Maybe I can catch a quick nap before Junior gets up! (***yawn***)
Proverbs 11:25 - The liberal person shall be enriched, and he who waters shall himself be watered.
2 Cor. 9:6,8 - [Remember] this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to someone] will also reap generously and with blessings. And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].
Proverbs 31:16b - ... she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.
I was reminded this morning of the question: "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" As I sat thinking about sowing and reaping, I began to just ask questions of the Holy Spirit with a desire to receive some direction, some insight. I was brought back to the beginning. What really came first? If we think back all the way to the beginning of time, WHAT really came first? It all started with THREE words. What three words? "And God said." The WORD came before SEED. I've went over in my head the physical aspects of sowing & reaping, but also want to know the spiritual aspects of sowing and reaping. There are similarities, but also differences. The spoken WORD plays an important part in growth of spiritual seed. Physical work is part of sowing and reaping, but rain, watering is also crucial. 

In my quiet time before church yesterday, I thought on the subject. I thought about the multitude of "seed" we have planted over the years. Be it time, money, belief, friendship, love, whatever seed it was at the time, I envisioned actual "seed" going into the soil. Just part of the work involved in receiving a harvest. As I continued to ask questions and press in to the Holy Spirit for insight, an picture came to my mind. If a seed was planted in soil, but never watered, the seed would remain dormant until the environment was right for growth. Action brings planting. Obedience brings sun. Words bring rain. Thankfulness waters the seed that are in the ground. The greater the conditions, the greater the harvest. WE have the ability to change the conditions at any time but it takes WORK to WATER too! I realized in certain areas of my life where I have not received a harvest was because seed lay dormant in dry soil. Dry. Dry. Dry! My words nor my thankfulness had been watering my seed enough if at all. Sure... I speak goals, and confessions but here's the kicker.... BELIEF, ENTHUSIASM & THANKFULNESS! Rote words often came from my lips, memorized and spoken on schedule... but true gratitude and emotion did not accompany my words. 

Let me give you an example. July 1998, I met Tyler. Shortly after meeting him, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that he was going to be my husband. As we returned England, where we met on a mission trip, I began a period of 18 months until I would finally see him again. Often I would go months without hearing from him, not an email, not a call, not any contact. Every day that went by, EVERY day for 18 months I remember crying out to God, "PLEASE God, Let him know that He is going to be the man that I marry." I would proceed to THANK God that He revealed to me my husband, but DAILY I would water the seed that was planted in my heart. The word that was planted in my heart July 13, 1998 that Tyler McCart would be my husband, I began to DAILY water it with my words. It took 18 months for that seed to finally grow up! It took 18 months of WATERING while I WAITED for Tyler to realize that he wanted to pursue me. I saw him for the first time again on December 23rd, and from that day forward, he began to pursue me. July 13th, 2000, EXACTLY 2 years from the day God told me he was to be my husband, he proposed. "Would you be willing to be #2 in my life for the rest of your life? Will you marry me?" And the rest is history. For over 10 years, I've been married to the man of my dreams. 

The difference between what I did 10 years ago, and what I've done with some "un-harvested" seed that has been in the ground? PASSION! Every day, for 18 months, I did not recite a rote goal card, or list of confessions. I was PASSIONATELY engaged with the words I cried out to God. I was passionately engaged with the NEED & DESIRE for my words to come to pass. From the depths of my heart, I NEEDED Tyler McCart. My heart longed to be his wife, his completer. 

What about your goals? Is there passion behind them? Are they being WATERED consistently? Or have they been left in dry soil only to lay dormant. Frustration often comes from lack of harvest. The Holy Spirit told me something very empowering... let me repeat it to you... The greater the conditions, the greater the harvest. WE have the ability to change the conditions at any time but it takes WORK to WATER!

Like the Proverbs 31 woman... her vines were FRUITFUL. To receive a harvest, WATER is required on your seed. RAIN your words today! Engage your passion & words. Watch your harvest come to pass!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

#202 - Don't Hurry!

Good morning! :) We are going to get right into the Word this morning...
Proverbs 7:21-23 - With much justifying and enticing argument she persuades him, with the allurements of her lips she leads him [to overcome his conscience and his fears] and forces him along. Suddenly he [yields and] follows her reluctantly like an ox moving to the slaughter, like one in fetters going to the correction [to be given] to a fool or like a dog enticed by food to the muzzle. Till a dart [of passion] pierces and inflames his vitals; then like a bird fluttering straight into the net [he hastens], not knowing that it will cost him his life.
Proverbs 31:16a - She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties] ...
Ok... I guess today is going to be "Transparent Thursday." Don't get me wrong... sometimes it's not fun to be transparent, but this morning I learned a lot from Proverbs 7. As you read through Proverbs 7, you see that like Proverbs 5, it discusses the "loose woman." The stage is set as an onlooker in verse 6 sees what is about to take place. The onlooker sees this young man coming "NEAR" danger, "NEAR" where the loose woman has set her trap. From verse 9 on, we see the loose woman beginning to work her "magic" on this man who has come by her house. She has begun to lure him in, persuade him, and get him to not "think" with his right mind. She is trying to get him to avoid his "consciousness" which may have otherwise led him away from her house.

Isn't it interesting, that at all levels of sin, this is what happens? In Proverbs 7:23, we see just a quick glimpse of it in two words, "he hastens." Haste or Hastens is defined as follows: to hurry, accelerate, speed, urgent need of quick action, thoughtless, rash, unnecessary quick action, rush. Let's just look at a simple example, the tray of brownies on the counter. Have you ever walked into the kitchen or break-room, see the yummy treat and in your mind you have a quick conversation with yourself something like this, "You know you shouldn't have any brownies. You are trying to drop 10 more pounds and that is not going to help at all...." And right as your "consciousness" is trying to get you away from the tray of brownies, you cut it off, grab 1, 2 or maybe even 3 (if they have carmel, chocolate AND pecans!) and eat them as quickly as you can so you can't be talked out of it. It's like you are running down the hall, trying to hide and enjoy them quickly. I must say, I have done things like that before. "Made haste." Done things that though my consciousness (aka: the Holy Spirit) is trying to get me away, I partake before I talk myself out of it because I know the temporary "goodness" that will be associated with it.

I just recently did this just a WEEK ago! I look back and think it was such a "kid" thing to do. I was part of a conversation with several other people online. I typed up this long message that I thought was very helpful for those involved. BUT.... here's the kicker.... it was late, Tyler was driving, and instead of doing what I knew I should do... I hit send right away because I figured Tyler would talk me out of sending it. "But it is so well spoken and so well written." I reasoned with myself. After hitting send, I decided to read it to Tyler. Like I assumed, his recommendation was for me NOT to send it. He played the other side of the coin, and everything he said was right. Everything he said was COMPLETELY right. After listening to him, like a dog with my tail between my legs, I knew I shouldn't have hit "send." At the time, I just wanted to QUICKLY HASTEN to send it because I KNEW I would otherwise be talked out of my well written rebuttal.

Here in Proverbs 7, we see because this young man HASTENS, though he doesn't know it, it is actually going to cost him his life. His quick decision to go down the wrong path is not a wise one. We can compare the difference between what the Proverbs 31 woman does, she acts in all situations with such wisdom. She considers before making a decision. She expands or acts prudently before moving forward with something. She is not in a hurry to just rush into something. When her gut says to hold off, she listens.

James 4:7 reminds us to resist the devil and he will FLEE from you! Sometimes that may mean, literally leaving your house, or escaping your thoughts and watching a good movie. The bottom line is this... don't run haste-fully into sin. Consider your ways. Be Prudent (wise, careful).

Enjoy your Thursday!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

#201 - The Enemy Uses People too!

Good morning! It is good to be back! Two mornings in a row... I've woke up in my own bed and smelled the aroma of coffee made by my sweet husband! :) Love it! Still working on the Proverbs 31:15 concept... waking up while it is still night... and before my household. Well, regardless... lets get into the Word.
Proverbs 6:12, 14-15 - A worthless person, a wicked man, is he who goes about with a perverse (contrary, wayward) mouth. Willful and contrary in his heart, he devises trouble, vexation, and evil continually; he lets loose discord and sows it. Therefore upon him shall the crushing weight of calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken, and that without remedy.
Proverbs 31:18a - She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good... 
Wow. I looked at this "worthless & wicked" person, how they SOW discord. One thing that I found was interesting was the word "contrary." The dictionary defines "contrary" how I thought it would as: opposite in nature or character. As humans, we were made in the image of God. Our hearts were made to want to love and serve Him. In this case, we see a person whose heart has been turned to do something COMPLETELY opposite of what it was designed to do. This wicked person has a heart that is not doing what it was called and designed to do, but it is being a servant of the enemy. Our nature, being made in God's image, is naturally bent to want to believe in a Savior, believe in what is good & honorable, serve & worship our Creator. Our spirits are drawn to want to fill the void in our heart that was designed to house the Holy Spirit. The wicked person is doing completely the opposite. In speech and action, he/she is devising evil. The words the proceed from his/her mouth are evil and come from the evil one. This person is SOWING discord. Discord is defined as: strife, dispute, war. Synonyms for discord are: conflict, struggle, controversy, argument, contention, quarreling. 

As we read further, we see the results of sowing discord. We see the results that this wicked person reaps. Sowing & reaping is a law, and for the wicked person the unfortunate series of events is what they reap. Many places in the Bible use the word "suddenly." I often enjoy reading the "suddenly's" of the Bible as many places it shows how "suddenly" things change in the favor of the man or woman of God. "Suddenly" blessings flow. "Suddenly" things change in their favor! SUDDENLY. I look forward to the positive "suddenly's" in my life to see the Lord change things, or add blessings to my life. In the case of this wicked person in Proverbs 6, the "suddenly" it is talking about is not a good "suddenly." A "crushing weight of calamity" comes upon this wicked person. It happens suddenly. As if not expected. The dictionary defines calamity as: a great misfortune or disaster, grievous affliction, adversity, misery, serious injury. The idea of "calamity" by itself is bad enough, but Proverbs 6 describes it as WORSE than just calamity, it describes it as CRUSHING WEIGHT of calamity. It is not just bad, but it goes from bad to worse.

I read through Proverbs 31 and just marveled at the life of the Proverbs 31 woman. Her life is far from calamity. Her focus and every effort is in partnership with God. Her work with and for God is good. She  is a vessel and tool for God, and because of it she is blessed. Proverbs 31:18 even says that she is able to TASTE and see the fruit of her labor. She is able to experience the blessings that come from her obedience. She is able to REAP the fruits of what she has sown. She has sown good, and she reaps blessings. We read everything about her life and it is as if her life is filled with blessing. She goes from blessing to blessing. Her diligence paves the way for God to be magnified and the "good" that she sows, she reaps in countless blessings.

Are there vial people in your life? Are you unsure how someone could be so mean, or say something so unkind, or act in a way so unbecoming? In some cases, all we can do is to pray for these people. Like the wicked person in Proverbs 6, that person needs to come into the saving knowledge of our Savior. The wicked are used as tools of the enemy to destroy the righteous. It is our job to recognize it and then pray for them. Don't take it personally. The enemy will attack in ANY way he can, and sometimes he uses people! Gird yourself up with FAITH and through prayer, PRAY these people into the Kingdom!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

We're Back!

Good morning/afternoon! Home sweet home! We officially got back this morning around 1:30. It's good to be home! Tyler Jr did well on the 13 1/2 hour car ride.... as well as anyone could do.

Just wanted to say hello. Junior and I slept in a little this morning, so I look forward to picking things back up tomorrow.

I pray you had a great 4th of July?! We had a nice time with family... and Junior got to do a lot of swimming! :) Here's a picture at Grandma's pool....

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