One of the Greatest Christmas Miracles in History

I have been having a wonderful time reading Mark Batterson’s new book, “Primal”.  I am almost to the end and I am going to devote a whole post to share my take aways in a couple of days, but I just finished reading Mark’s telling of the story of  Jasper Toe and thought sharing this story was was the best Christmas gift I could give.  I pray that as  we “Know Him More” this next year we will also be able to “Hear Him Better” .  I want to hear the Holy Spirit and be willing to say “yes” to His instructions like the missionaries in this story.  I pray that you take the time to watch the video. 

Blessings in Jesus,

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2010, My Year to Begin to “Be” the Church

 

 I have be “doing” church a long time, actually my whole life. I know God is calling me to “be” the church in this coming year in new and authentic ways.  What does “being” the church really mean in today’s culture?  For me, Jesus Christ made it clear in the following three scripture passages. 

 The Greatest Commandment: Matthew 22:36-40

Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

 Whatever You Did for the Least of These You Did for Me:  Matthew 25:35-36

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

 Great Commission-Matt 28:18-21

Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

 I pray that these words of Jesus affect:

… Every word I say

… Every word I write

… Every thought I think

… Every deed I do

… Every person I reach out to

….Every _________________________ (what would you add?)

Jesus, show us how to be like you in this coming year!

Amen and Amen!

Give Me Your Eyes

I heard this song by Brandon Heath a few days ago and it touched me so deeply that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what it would be like to “see with Jesus’ eyes”.  I must confess that most of the time I am selfish; just concerned about me and mine.  I don’t want to be this way; I want to be like Jesus, but unless the Holy Spirit gives me “Jesus eyes for just one second,” I will continue to be like the folks that Paul was addressing in Romans 12:9-13 (NLT)

He told them…

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.  Hate what is wrong.  Hold tightly to what is good.  Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope.  Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.  When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them.  Always be eager to practice hospitality.

 Over the past few months I’ve been praying and asking the Lord to help me love like Jesus loved.  I now have a new prayer for this Christmas season…  

 

Give me your eyes for just one second

Give me your eyes so I can see

Everything that I keep missing

Give me your love for humanity

Give me your arms for the broken hearted

The ones that are far beyond my reach

Give me you heart for the ones forgotten

Give me your eyes so I can see

 Amen, and amen

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Join Team Ayla

Back in August I wrote a post entitled “Today I found out I’m a C.F. Carrier”.    I wanted to share a few additional details about our Cystic Fibrosis (C.F.) family. Since my granddaughter Ayla’s birth and diagnosis of C. F. in April of 2007 we have learned a lot.  We now know that I’m a carrier and so are my daughters Allison and  Krista and her husband Larry.

We’ve gone through many phases of emotions as we have come to terms with the reality of this genetic disease.  As expected it was hardest for Krista and Larry, Ayla’s Mom and Dad.  I’ve known from the beginning that God was in control and He had an amazing plan, but that didn’t make it any easier to watch Krista, Larry, and Ayla walk through the unknown darkness of a life-threatening disease. Everyday they deal with all the fears and stigmas of words like “chronic condition” & “limited life spans” which are attached to this disease. 

The good news is Ayla is living basically symptom-free of Cystic Fibrosis.  Yes, she has to take enzymes before each meal, have chest therapy twice a day, and take several medicines but other than that she’s an amazingly healthy little girl!  We thank God every day for His healing hand that has guided so many in caring for Ayla. 

Krista received some great news from the C.F. Foundation a few weeks ago that has really gotten this “C.F. Family” excited! 

Here’s a portion of the email Krista received: “I can tell you that advancements have occurred in the past 2 years. We are currently testing several drugs that indicate it may be possible to correct the CF defect in the gene. We believe these have the potential to stop the cascading effects of cystic fibrosis, which will, in turn, add decades of life to those with CF. Dr. Beall (at CFF headquarters) likens it to what asthma looks like today. If we can control CF in a similar fashion, people born with CF will have normal life spans and will die with CF, but they will not die from it.

The drugs mentioned above are in pill form (yea!), and could be available to CF patients in 4-5 years. It is an exciting time for those of us who have been working toward this for years (I am finishing my 12th!) The more people we have helping fund this research, the sooner it can get thru the trials and on to FDA approvals.”  

As Krista said, “the last sentence of that email kept playing in my mind: The more people we have funding this research, the SOONER it can get thru the trials and on to FDA approvals…” 

In a matter of hours Krista began to put “Team Ayla” together to raise money to fund the research to find a cure for C.F. We will be raising money year round at events and I will update you when we have more information.

We will also attend the National Fundraiser for the foundation called Great Strides on Saturday, April 24th 2010 at the Village Baptist Church in Destin, Florida. 

If you would like to join Team Ayla or make a donation visit the web-site below: 

 http://www.cff.org/Great_Strides/KristaTucker 

 

Believing God for a Miracle for all C.F. Families! 

I’m Thankful for My Mistakes

 

During the past few weeks leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday I have enjoyed reading the emails, blog and Face book posts and Twitter tweets of family, friends, and acquaintances sharing their “thankful thoughts”.  I’ve wanted to join in but it seemed like I really didn’t have anything new or different to offer.  I was thankful for everything everyone else was thankful for.  I just wanted to say either “ditto” or “what she said” and wait for a Christmas post.  But tonight I thought of something I’m grateful for that has probably never been written on a Hallmark© Card.  When the thought first skipped through my mind (I believe the Holy Spirit directed it), I scratched my head and said “that’s interesting”, but the more I thought about my life, the more I knew my mistakes have had a huge impact on who I am today and my first thought was gratitude to the Lord, because He used them to change my heart.

My personality is pretty much black or white, right or wrong; can I just say it, if left to my own devices I’m a legalistic kind of girl.  So for many years of my life I was a self-appointed judge, jury and sometimes prison warden.  Just ask my kids!

Many, many times; too many to count, I have made a judgment about someone or some situation and said…

“I would NEVER do that.”

And many, many times; too many to count, I have had to walk through the exact circumstances.  Let me tell you things look a whole lot different when you’re the one in the hot seat.

 Here are just a few examples:

 Rebellious Teenagers– Before I had teenagers I thought bad parenting and not living a Christian life in front of your kids produced rebellious teenagers.  The Bible doesn’t make promises that we won’t have rebellious teenagers.  What it does promise in Proverbs 22:6 is if we “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”  Praise the Lord, I have seen this promise come true, but I did have rebellious teenagers.

 Divorced Christians-I thought these two words should never be a couple, until I found myself divorced.

 Depressed People-“Just pray more, watch what you put in your head, and listen to motivational tapes” and you’ll never be depressed.  That sounded read good until 15 years ago when I was clinically depressed and had to take antidepressants for a year.

 People with A.I.D.S.-“AIDS is the disease of homosexuals, they’re reaping what they’ve sown,” I’m so sad to say that’s what I thought until my best friend died of the disease that no one should ever have to face.

 Single Christians– “Why don’t single Christians just enjoy their time with the Lord and serve others in their singleness.”  That sounded great until I experienced the aloneness of being single.

 The Elderly- Now that I’m 54 years old and experiencing the aches and pains of aging; oh and let’s not forget to mention hearing loss and lower energy level; I understand my Mom a whole lot better.

 Unfortunately, this list could go on and one, but you get the point.  I’m thankful that the Lord did not leave me in my judgmental, hypocritical state.  He allowed life to teach me. Believe me I have a long way to go, but thank God I’m not what I use to be.  Thank God,  now when I see someone in a tough situation the first thing I think is, “but for the grace of God that could be me!” Everyday I’m asking Jesus to teach me to love like He loved.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanking God for You!

Dianne

I’m Stressed that I’m Stressed!

resting from stress   

Three Hundred and Sixty-Five Days…

What have we committed to?  To be more exact, what have “I” committed to?

For the past 10 days my life has been different.  Don’t get me wrong, it has been the good kind of different, mostly good anyway…but it has been different from the slower pace of my semi-retired lifestyle.  It has been filled with grandkids, dropping off and picking up in car lines, a chili cook-off at my house for 20 people, church, more grandkids, weenie roasts, smores, hot-tubing it, a minor hurricane, shopping, teaching, attending a 4th grade play, a major checkbook problem, cooking, lots of cooking, eating, laundry…and a trip to the hospital for one of those sweet grandkids that almost involved stitches. No wonder I’m tired.  Needless to say, I’ve been a little more stressed than usual. Not only am I stressed, but I’m stressed that I’m stressed!  You see, I’ve always been comfortable with busyness, loudness, 10 things going on, deadlines, etc.  Coming to the realization that I can’t do it all is pretty tough for a girl who wants to do it all.  I don’t want a slower pace!  I think my age slowing me down in going to be harder on me than wrinkles and gray hair, and that’s saying a lot!

This morning the last of the grandkids headed home to Tennessee and since then I’ve been thinking about our “Journey to Know Him More” (see previous post).  During the busyness of the last ten days I kept thinking, ‘I’m sure glad I haven’t started my journey yet!  How would I find time to post on my blog everyday?” 

Guess what?

During our 365 day journey in 2010, we will have lots of “life” going on.  Let’s commit right now to give each other grace.  None of us have a clue what 2010 holds so we’ll make a plan and then  take it one step at a time.   As your tour guide for this journey, I plan to  do whatever it takes to post each day Monday-Friday. We will have an open format on the week-ends so that anyone who finds a nugget and wants to share can do so.   That’s Plan A but  some days plan “A” may not work, some days we may have to resort to plan “Z”, but let’s start the journey.  We’ll never get anywhere if we don’t begin.

Shalom! (…p-e-a-c-e-)

Come and Go With Me!

AEGM16RCAGE2EJRCATWK4BICAVDUPIXCAIE1N2TCA9GZYHYCAWF590RCAX23LAYCA1BXLuggageHave you ever prayed, “Lord, I really want to know you more?”  “Lord, I’m serious, I want to know you, but I just don’t know how.”  Maybe you’ve tried to read the Bible and pray but it just feels like words moving through the air.  Maybe you’re not even sure you believe there is a God.  Come and go with me, I’m taking a trip in 2010,  a 365 day trip, a journey to know the God of the Universe…are you up for it?  Whether you are Christ follower or just curious, this journey is for you.  As the tour guide for this trip I can promise you one thing—a life-changing experience!  Come and let’s do life together as we take this journey to “Know Him More.”

 When you decide you want to go on a trip, what do you do to prepare?

  • Know the desired destination and what you hope to gain?
  • Set aside the time for the trip
  • Gather the things to need to take with you on the trip

 I’ve traveled a lot in my life. I retired from my job a little over a year ago, but the 5 years before I retired I traveled almost every week.  I found out very quickly that I had to know the purpose and the desired outcome before I could justify traveling and then I had to allow the proper about of time to get to my destination.  And I have certainly learned the hard way that I needed to have the right tools to help me get to my destination. 

 So let’s look at the travel plan for this journey:

 

Step OneFocus on the  T r e a s u r e

 You (Exodus  6:7)

 Those in authority over you (Exodus  7:5)

 Your children and grandchildren (Exodus 10:2)

 The Whole World (1 Samuel 17:46)

  Just like the Israelites in the Old Testament, when you are finished with this 365 day journey YOU

                …will know that “I Am” is the Lord Your God

Step 2:  Commit to Make the Time: 

 The journey begins January 1, 2010

 Set aside 15 minutes a day

 Subscribe to receive Dianne’s blog via email each day

Go to dianneguthmuller.wordpress.com. Click on [subscribe to Dianne

Guthmuller] enter your email and type in the security word/then you

will receive an email asking to verify the subscription

 Tell everyone you know that you are going to do this—this is the

commitment part

 Visit Dianne’s blog daily to gain motivation from others who are

 traveling on this year-long journey with you and to share what you are

 personally learningNLT Chronological Bible

Step 3: Gather Your Tools for the Trip 

 Chronological Bible (New Living Translation)- This particular Bible is

written in the order in which things occurred.  It’s easy to understand and

reads like a story.  You can purchase at most book stores or online at

amazon.com (costs approx.  $18)

 Journal– Can be as simple as a spiral notebook.

 Internet Access–  

 Step 4:  Record your thoughts as You Ask Yourself:

 What does this passage say about God?

 What does it tell me to do?

 What promise can I hold onto?

 Step 5Take the journey and share your thoughts with

             Dianne  and others who want to “Know Him More”

             at her blog:     

                           dianneguthmuller.wordpress.com

I’m praying that you take this trip with me.  I’m not a Bible scholar but the Word of God has been my compass, my calm and my comfort for over 25 years and I get more passionate about Jesus Christ and His Word every time I hold His Holy Word in my hands.  I look forward to sharing that passion with you.

Don’t analyze this or worry about completing the whole year,  just subscribe to my blog,  get your New Living Translation Chronological Bible, enjoy the Thanksgiving and Christmas season and meet me here January 1.

I don’t want to go without you!

Love,

Ketchup on My Candy

Ketchup on My Candy 

 

Thanks to some good advice from my friend Jennifer I have conquered the Halloween candy.  The funny thing about the leftover trick or treat candy is—it’s the left-over’s, the bottom of the bowl, the stuff I really don’t even like— but it’s there, it’s available, it’s calling my name, “Dianne, just go ahead and eat me, you know you want me!”

A couple of years ago on one of our many road trips Jennifer shared her secret to overcoming temptation with me.  I should have had to give her my credit card number for this piece of advice but she shared it freely and said I could share it with you.

 Jennifer has a nickname – “Cookie Monster”. She absolutely loves those slice and bake chocolate chip cookies. One evening, while sitting in her house alone, she had a strong craving for some of those cookies. She decided to bake the entire batch so she could enjoy them for several days.  She poured a tall glass of milk and prepared to eat only 2 or 3 cookies and save the rest for another day. After her 3rd cookie, she eyed the plate and wanted more but knew she had to resist. She quickly wrapped the rest up and placed them on the counter and went to bed. She couldn’t stop thinking about those cookies on the counter and just wanted another one, so she snuck in the kitchen to eat just one more. She wrapped up the rest and went and laid down already feeling guilty for not being able to resist. A few minutes passed and she heard this familiar voice saying “well, you’ve already blown it now; you might as well finish the rest, tomorrow is a new day.” She quickly started thinking that really is true; I’ve already messed up. Jennifer went back into the kitchen and unwrapped the cookies again, but this time she had a moment of clarity and ran to the trash to dump all the cookies in and closed the lid! With a sense of relief that the temptation was over, she went back to bed to see if she could get some sleep.

Several minutes went by and believe it or not the monster’s voice came back! This time it said “The cookies are on the top of the trash, so they are really not ruined. There is still time to rescue them.” At the time Jennifer thought this sounded rational and considered rescuing the cookies from the pit of the trash. She snuck into the kitchen, opened the lid of the trash and was about to reach into the trash for the cookies when she realized “I am dumpster diving for COOKIES!” She ran to the refrigerator, grabbed the first condiment she could see, she opened up the lid of the trash one final time to coat the cookies in ketchup!!

This is a funny story but to me there’s a huge lesson here:  When you know that something, someplace or someone is a temptation to cause you to sin, you must immediately put space, or some type of barrier between you and the temptation. You need to burn your bridges or as Jennifer says, “Put ketchup on you cookies!”

1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

We all are tempted, even Jesus as tempted (Matthew 4:1), but the good news from the Word of God and Jennifer’s story is God is faithful and He will provide a way of escape.  That way of escape can come from the most unlikely sources, like ketchup on cookies; it’s our job to look for God’s escape route in every temptation.

 So tonight after I had eaten ten dried up, hard “Now and Laters I gathered up every ounce of inspiration I could muster from Jennifer’s example and threw all of the left-over candy in the trash and covered it with a thick layer of ketchup!  “I am woman, hear me roar!”

A Plan for the Pain

A Plan for the Pain

A conversation with a friend this week-end reminded me of a lesson I learned a few years ago about dealing with our past.

 During this particular time of my life, most every Monday morning I would get the kids off to school and go to church to pray for my business and to ask God’s blessings on my week.  I was a Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics at the time.  If you’ve ever been in direct sales you know it takes faith to believe God when you are in a commission only industry.

However, during this particular time of my life I had more on my mind than money.

I was in my first year of life as a single Mom.  There was so much hurt, anger, and fear.  It seemed like everywhere I turned there was something that forced me to face the reality of my situation.

Our church was building a new sanctuary next to our old one.  For weeks, it actually seemed like months, every time I went to pray I could barely hear myself think.  These huge dirt movers would push all the dirt to one side of the property.  The next week they would move it to the opposite side.  They would dig deep holes, fill them and then do the same a week later.  It seemed like a huge waste of time and money.

One day I remember talking to the Lord about it and saying “when are they going to get serious about building our new sanctuary?”

 It certainly wasn’t an audible voice, but the thought immediately came to my mind, “they have to get every piece of trash out of that dirt before they pour the foundation; if they don’t, at some point the foundation may crack.”

Then it really felt like the Lord said to me–Dianne, that’s what I’m doing with you.  I’m putting you in a place where you have to deal with the hurts in your life.  I want to do great things in you, through you and for you but you need a firm, flawless foundation.  We can’t begin to build until we get rid of the pain.

After that day, it was still hard, but I knew that God had a plan for the pain.  With the help of the healing power of Jesus Christ and an amazing thing called “time” I was able to face the pain and grow through it and past it!

Luke 6:48:  He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.

Dear Lord, I pray for my friends who are dealing with the pain of their past.  Holy Spirit, help them to trust You to prepare to soil and lay the new foundation for the plans you have designed for them.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

A New Point of View

glass-half-full

  

This past Sunday my pastor spoke about God moments (http://nicevilleag.com/369420.ihtml) in a message entitled “Any One.”  It reminded me of a God moment I had a couple of weeks ago.  This year I have been reading the One-Year Chronological Bible as my daily devotional.  It has literally changed my life.  The really amazing thing about spending time each day in God’s Word is you can have a God Moment every day.  In the upcoming weeks I will be sharing many more thoughts about taking a journey through the Bible, but just know for now, “you want to do it!”  🙂

So here’s my God moment:

I was reading Mark 8:31-33 in the New Living Translation:

Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law.  He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead.  As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.

Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said.  “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

 

Over the years I have read this scripture many times, but on this particular day immediately, after reading this, in my mind I thought, “Dianne, this is exactly what you are doing concerning a situation that has brought you great sadness and concern.  Yes, people you love dearly are hurting in this situation and yes it seems like it will never end, but you are looking at it merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”  It was as if God said to me, “Dianne, just trust me, I am working this out for my good and my glory.”

The Word of God became personal.  It has completely changed my point of view and my prayers regarding this situation.

Guard Your Point of View.  Make sure it lines up with God’s Word…a glass can be half-full or half-empty; the weather can be partly sunny or mostly cloudy; a difficult situation can be for God’s glory or for man’s loss.

Dear Jesus, help me to see things for your point of view!  Amen and Amen!

 

 

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