Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cavities & the Cross

My mom regularly took my brother & me to the dentist. We would always get very good reports. Even as an adult, I would receive positive comments about my teeth. Throughout the years, I began to take pride in my teeth. I would brag and boast about them whenever a conversation about teeth came up.

I have come to realize that I did that because I wasn’t totally satisfied in Christ. When Christ isn’t your focus, you fix your eyes on superficial, temporal things for security. When you have a weakness or less desirable characteristic, you tend to flaunt your strengths or better qualities in trying to detour focus from your lesser qualities. That is why we must find our identity in Christ alone. Apostle Paul talked about how we shouldn’t boast in the flesh, but instead boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal 6:11-16). When we do that, He increases and we decrease (John 3:30).

So, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. God allowed me to find out last week that I had not 1, not 2, but 3 cavities! And not only that, I had to have a root canal treatment (RCT) yesterday on one of them. What a humbling experience! Of course I prayed that I wouldn’t have to have a RCT. But the Lord knows best and He knew exactly what I needed. He chose what would be good for me and what would give Him the most glory. So, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn His statutes” (Psalm 119:71).

Praise the Lord for the cross…it is there that I find Total Forgiveness. It is there that I find Amazing Grace. It is there that I find my Merciful Savior!

Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD." Jeremiah 9:23-24

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Potholes & Tests

Living in MN, I have to get used to potholes. They’re everywhere; I’m guessing the snow, salt and oil from the cars take a toll on the pavement. Anyway, no matter how hard I try to avoid them, I still hit them! When I think I’m dodging a big one, I fall into a smaller one that I didn’t see. Wow, isn’t that how the Christian life is sometimes?!?!

You think you’ve been doing all you can to avoid old sin patterns, idolatry, & conflict then a “pothole” comes and you get off track. You become frustrated, aggravated, and irritated. Why are there so many potholes in life? Scripture gives us insight on the answers. The clearest answer I see is that many of our issues are only tests.

God tests us to see what’s in our hearts. To be tested by God is a good thing! Psalm 11:5 says, “The Lord tests the righteous…” For example, God tested Abraham to see if he would sacrifice his only son (Genesis 22:1-19). He passed the test with the assurance of the LORD saying, “Now I know that you fear God…” (v.12). God is all about the condition of our hearts. Our responses & reactions to tests reveal the good & evil in our hearts. Your heart is God’s target (Psalm 7:9, Jeremiah 11:20).

So, don’t be alarmed; don’t let the potholes in your life give you the pits. They’re just tests. You should expect them. Trust the Lord and rely on His strength to endure the hardships. God uses these tests to produce endurance and spiritual maturity in us (James 1:3-4). As a result, may He say to you, “Now I know that you fear God!”

Monday, January 26, 2009

When was your death day?

to die - verb
1. to cease to live; undergo the complete and permanent cessation of all vital functions; become dead.
2. to cease to exist.
3. to lose force, strength, or active qualities.
4. to cease to function; stop

die. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/die (accessed: January 26, 2009).

So, are you dead or alive? I know you're thinking..."Duh, of course I'm alive!" However, as a believer, you are actually suppose to be dead! Here are a few of your "death sentences" -

* Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. Rom 6:8

* I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Gal. 2:20

* For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Col. 3:3

Basically you are dead to sin & alive to Christ (Rom 6:11)! Christ died to sin and if Christ lives in you, sin has no dominion over you (Rom. 6:1-14). You no longer live for yourself, but for Jesus (2 Cor 5:15). You have the Almighty, Creator of the Universe, Living God inside of you giving you the power to overcome sin. You are no longer a slave to sin, but a slave to righteousness (Rom 6:15-23). WOW...WHAT AWESOME TRUTH!

So, I ask you again...

When was your death day...the day that you stopped living and Christ became your life???

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Is there any room on your plate?

Most of us would say, "No!" I know that would be my answer. So, what's filling our plates? If you were to write down all your activities, would they weigh heavier on the self-focused side - all about me, myself, and my family or the others-focused side - looking beyond yourself to the needs of others. Let's take a look at some examples.

* Are you signing up for that 3rd PTO committee position or being a youth mentor at your church?

* Is your son/daugher involved in 3 different sports teams (school, club, city-wide) or volunteering at an after-school program or special needs camp?

* Are you involved in all types of Bible studies (your church one, BSF/CBS, & Precepts) at the same time or taking time to mentor a younger mom and visiting her to provide help?

* Are you involved in several Mom's groups & play groups or taking time to invite that unsaved neighbor over for coffee?

* Are you committed to your weekly time hanging out with your girl / guys friends or visting the nursing home, prison, or center for the disabled.

*Are you spending countless hours rabbit trailing through cyberspace of blogs, facebook, & myspace or writing a Thinking About You, Praying For You, or Encouragement card to someone.

OUCH! It's not that the former things are "bad" things, but are they "better" things for the sake of Christ and His kingdom. God is patiently trying to teach me this. I love just sitting and being spiritually fed. But the Lord is calling me to focus more on ministry to others. For example, this semester I made a very hard decision not to return to the MOMS group at my church. I love the ministry and it's so nourishing for my soul. However, I felt that the Lord was telling me to loosen up my schedule, in this season, for more random ministry opportunites. This Tues when I would have been at MOMS, a younger friend asked if she could come over to hang out before she leaves for the 1st time out-of-state for college. That time was a blessing to both of us! I was grateful that I was available.

Ask God to help you discern how you can best serve others in this season of your life. Believe me, He'll let you know what needs to remain on or be taken off your plate.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Phil 2:4

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hard Truth

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
I Corinthians 6:9-11
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Hard truth! It's written in all of our bibles, but only a few are willing to speak up and defend it. Praise God for the faithful few! For example, read this.

Friday, January 16, 2009

God Uses Our Children

Last Wednesday, the daily bible reading plan that I'm following said to read Matt. 6:1-24. I finished reading and thought,
"Yep, that's right, lay up treasures in heaven not on earth." Then I walked away just happy & carefree. About twenty minutes later, I heard a loud crash! I ran to see what was going on. Christian had gotten a hold of one of my favorite picture frames and dropped it.
I thought, "Oh NO, that had sentimental value; I got it on one of our romantic get-aways B.C. (Before Children)." Then I immediately had to laugh and smile at Christian & say, "God is using you buddy. My treasures are definintely in heaven!"
Our material possessions are our treasures on earth. Our treasures in heaven are built by our Christ-like responses, reactions, words, & deeds (Matt. 5:11-12; 6:1-18; 10:40-42).

So, that day I had to add my little piece to Matt 6:20 -

"Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal"...and where children don't pick up and break! :-)
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May Christ be our ultimate treasure!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

And the winners are...

video

Please email me at caryn.turner@yahoo.com to claim your book!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

The Clock is Ticking!

I'm so excited! I have as many entries as my age! I wonder who's going to win??? Well, the entry deadline is today at 5:00PM (central time). I'll post the winners this evening or in the morning. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My 1st Blog Giveaway!!!

In honor of my 100th Post celebration and my last blog series, I will be giving away 3 brand new books that will help in enriching someone's quiet time. The 3 books are all good spiritual nuggets to going deeper in truth and growing deeper in love with Jesus. Here they are...

1) The Loveliness Of Christ by Samuel Rutherford - Not only is the red, leather cover pretty :-) and small enough to put in a purse or pocket, it has short excerpts full of great wisdom and life-changing truth.
2) 31 Days Toward Intimacy with God by Joni Eareckson Tada -If you want help in "knowing God intimately, trusting Him faithfully, and depending on Him consistently," this is the book for you.

3) The Valley of Vision - A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions edited by Arthur Bennett - The prayers and devotions in this book will help satisfy your spiritual hunger and leave you desiring more of Christ. Here's a quote from the prayer titled, "The Saviour" - "May I enter him as my refuge, build on him as my foundation, walk in him as my way, follow him as my guide, conform to him as my example, receive his instructions as my prophet, rely on his intercession as my high priest, obey him as my king."

To enter the Defining Moments 100th Post Giveaway, just leave a comment & your name. I'll draw 3 winners on next Tues, Jan 13. The 1st winner will get to pick whichever book they want. The 2nd winner gets to pick from the 2 remaining books. The 3rd winner gets whichever book is left. If you happen to win a book that you already have, give it to someone who you think would be blessed by it.

For those of you who never comment or don't have a goggle account, you can email me at caryn.turner@yahoo.com.

***Tell all your friends who may be interested. Anyone is welcome to enter the giveaway. I'll announce the winners in 1 week!

Happy Winning!

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's My 100th Post!

What a great way to start the New Year...celebrating my 100th blog post!
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Wow; I can’t believe it! I remember talking to Kempton at the beginning of Feb '08 about why I didn’t want to start blogging. The reason was selfish (& I guess prideful too). I have this thing or should I call it what it is…SIN for wanting to always be THE BEST. Since there are millions of blogs out there there’s no way I’d compete. My hubby felt led to continue to encourage me to start a blog.
One day out of the blue, March 8th to be exact, I started a blog. I really felt the Lord wanted me to and I did! Then a few days later, I read this blog post. I remember thinking how perfectly it described my heart and how I needed to repent of my sin of pride and allow the Lord to use me as His humbled servant. So here we are…..100 posts later!
I consider my blog my ministry. I love sharing what the Lord has placed on my heart; whether it’s a testimony, a transparent moment, or just good ole truth! As I write each entry, I pray that I too will practice what I’m posting. Thank you for being my faithful visitors! I truly appreciate all your words of encouragement whether it has been via comments, emails, phone calls, or in person. They’ve blessed my heart immensely! Now, let’s scroll down My Blog Memory Lane...
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Ten Interesting Facts that you probably didn’t know

1. My very 1st post – "Life in a Fishbowl". I thought that would be a good title for a blog until I realized that many blogs use that. Then I had a “defining moment” and got an even better title which more accurately describes my life.
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2. The verse I use in my header, Psalm 90:12, is one of my favorites! It is a daily reminder that life is short so strive to use every moment for God’s glory (I Cor. 10:31) and His name sake (Col 3:17).
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3. Can you believe the one post I hesitated to write actually had the most readers??? “My Short Bus Rider” was so humbling to write that I hesitated writing it for about a week. However, just writing it ministered to me. Then I wondered how my average viewers that day jumped from 25 to 500! It was because a friend’s husband, who has a very popular blog, decided to recommend others to read it. Thanks Abraham!
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4. Sweetest post
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5. Most Convicting posts
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6. Cutest post
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7. Post that had the most viewers in the shortest amount of time (Hmmm I wonder why :-)
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8. Post that had the most comments
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10. Top Two Best Memory posts – #1 & #2


Thank you for the 7,150 visits to my blog! You are a blessing!