Monday, September 28, 2009

Where is Your Focus?

Do you believe God?

I mean really believe Him?

Do you believe that you are a new creation in Christ Jesus, OR
are you still focusing more on your behavior and ways of living?

Do you believe that you are the righteousness of Christ in Jesus, OR
do you still see yourself as a pitiful sinner trying to do whats right?

Do you believe that when God looks at you He see's you covered in the blood of His Son, that He sees you perfect without spot or blemish, OR
do you believe that God is still waiting for you to clean up your act and get some things right before He can look at YOU this way?

I used to live in such bondage! I thought I believed God, I really did. Yet, I did not see myself through the light of any of the truths I just shared above, I always saw what comes after OR.

I thought that if I did not focus on cleaning up my act, God would certainly become displeased with me, if He wasn't already. I thought that the way to become better, more like Jesus, was to TRY HARDER...but I found after years of frustration and condemnation that this is completely WRONG!

Under the Old Covenant, yes, try harder, follow all of the laws, and then God would be pleased with you. Even then, they could not do it, they could not perfectly follow all of God's commands, or righteous ways of living.

But, under the New Covenant His life flows and lives through us as we begin to BELIEVE Him and what He says is truth about us!

If we focus on changing behavior, we will find ourselves in a vicious cycle of pride when we get it right, or think we got it right and condemnation when we feel that we have failed.

If we focus on Jesus and the truth, grace and freedom He came to give us, we find ourselves walking in those truths as we begin to REALLY believe them.

I forget where it is at this moment, but somewhere God tells us

"As a man thinks in His heart so is he."

So I ask, what do you think in your heart? What do you believe about yourself? Do you believe what Jesus says or do you believe what you think you see?

This truth has and is continually setting me free! The more I believe I am who Jesus says I am, because of what HE has done for me, the more I find myself walking in truth. Not because I am trying harder, I am actually not trying at all...yes, you read that right. I am learning to not try at all, but to trust.

To trust Him to flow in me and through me as I learn to believe Him. To trust that He has given me His Holy Spirit to work in me changing me from glory to glory one moment, one day, one year at a time.

Now, you might be thinking..."Come on Daveda, we can't just stop trying, we have to do things."

Sure we do, but they will naturally flow out us.

See, I have discovered that if we believe God, then we believe we are who God says we are. We are His! We have a new nature. We have been given new life and a new heart. It is only natural that we will be and act upon who we truly are!

Tigers instinctively do what tigers were created to do, they hunt, they sleep, they play, they mate, etc...

As they grow they mature in their ways, just as we do.

The question is...

Do you believe that you have a new nature, a new heart, a new instinct if you will, OR
do you still believe that you are the old person?

I am no way saying that I or anyone else for that matter, has it all right, or is skating on close to perfect.

I get many things wrong ALL THE TIME, everyday. I make mistakes, I yell at my kids, I get mad, I get frustrated with my husband, God reveals places in my heart where I still believe lies, etc...Just like you.

Only now, I do not get into a state of condemnation when I see these habits or unhealthy ways. Now, I do not look to God saying "How can you love me, I am a horrible person. Please, please forgive me and my sinfulness against you. If you will forgive me I will to never do that again. How can you ever use me when I make so many mistakes...ALL THE TIME"

Nope, not any more!

Now,I look to Jesus saying "Lord I know you love me, thank you for forgiving me Lord. I know you can change me and I know you want to. Help me believe what you say is truth. Give me a revelation of your love for me in this area and help me to be in tune with your Spirit as you bring about the changes that will set me free!"

See the difference?

A change of focus...

From what I could never do, to what He has already done and is bringing to maturity and fulfillment more and more everyday.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Natural

Have you ever had one of those seasons, when you just knew that God was doing a work in you? You know what I am talking about, when the land you seem to be trudging through feels thick and the next step must weigh a million pounds, yet you just know that it is going to work for the good?

WHEW! That has been my season. God has been bringing, change after change after change. I will admit there have been days that I went to my room and cried. There have been days that I thought about going back to bed. I feel like I must not be getting this right, or that right.

The good news is that those thoughts only last for a moment...well, okay sometimes longer than a moment. My point is...Jesus quickly reminds me of what the truth is about me because of Him and I am back on my way...eyes on the lover of my soul.

I was tempted to accept defeat this week. I was tempted to say, I just don't know how to do this. This situation is too big for me! Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of my righteousness, and I remembered that nothing is to big for Him, He is my teacher.

I have to admit, I made several mistake this week with my son. We seem to be going through many challenges together. As a matter of fact, as I am writing this he is sitting on the couch across from me unable to let go of a situation. A part of me wants to cry, another thing, another situation in a line of the many challenges we are facing.

Jesus does not expect me to get it all right...that makes me smile. Not only do I not have to get it right, but He will use my mistakes to benefit me! He will work ALL things together for good. This includes what I do when I get it wrong.

I may not feel like I am a natural at many of the things I am faced with in this moment. My Jesus however, is. He is a natural at everything, and He has sent His Spirit to guide me and lead me in them all.

So, though the steps seem heavy and the rain some days matches my heart, I will not accept defeat. I will not lay down and cry...(well, maybe a little *grin*) because I know that His grace is enough.

His power, favor and love operating in my life makes me victorious because Jesus is victory.

I am not trying to get to a place where I can get God to move in my life so that I can have success in this area. No, the work has been done and victory already belongs to me. Victory belongs to my son as well.

Not because we are going to get this all right.

Not because we are never going to make mistakes.

But because Jesus has already declared...


He is a natural, at all I put my hand to.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rambling On's...Oregano?

This is not a repeat post from a couple of weeks ago, in case you are wondering. No, this is a new Rambling On's...I quite enjoyed posting the last hodge podge post, so I thought I would do it again. I may try and do this every Friday, as time allows.

So, here are a few of the thoughts and such that are floating through my my head and heart this week.

1. I am wondering what kind of a day it is going to be when you reach into the cupboard and accidentally sprinkle oregano into your coffee instead of cinnamon?!? Well, it made me laugh at myself, so maybe that means it will be a good day after all :)

2. My husband decided 2 days ago that we were going to sell a few things in the community garage sale this weekend...yeah me! jk, I am trying to convince myself that it will be good, and maybe it will be. It could be a great opportunity to get to know some new neighbors.

3. I have not only found out that my sons reading problem is contributed to dyslexia, but he also has some eye convergance problems. We will be going for that testing in two weeks. Many of the symptoms are the same, not all but many. So my hope is, as we start the new new reading, writing and spelling program, along with the eye therapy, we will see great improvement!

4. My oldest son had his first treatment of laser surgery on the tattoos placed on his hands...OUCH! I hope the Airforce is worth it! LOL

5. My Jesus loves me! He loves you too!

6. We are not righteous because of what we do or do not do. We are righteous because of what Jesus has done. The behavior we see in our lives, and the lives of others, is nothing more or less than the fruit of what we believe or do not believe. This truth has set me free, and continues to do so. I love the truth of grace. Increasingly so...everyday.

I am so thankful that I am no longer focused on my behavior and everything I think I am not. I am now focused on Jesus and how much He loves me. The more I realize this, the more truth I believe and the more I change. Trying has gotten me no where, but to the dry and dead land of frustration, but trusting has lead me to the land of promise.

To the promise of His power actively at work in my life daily. His promise is shaping me and guiding me, transforming me into all I truly am in God's eyes. He see me as perfect, without flaw or blemish.

I don't know about you, but I think that believing what God believes takes faith in Jesus.

Believing what we see about ourselves, or what we think is wrong with us, doesn't require any faith at all. I am asking God everyday, to help me believe what He believes!

7. You are perfect in God's eyes, perfect because of Jesus! So, go sprinkle some oregano, I mean cinnamon, in your coffee and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One Person at a Time

I just started reading a book, recommended by my sister, called Unchristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. I can't say whether or not this book is worth reading, as I have just started it, and am only in chapter 2. I can say however, that I am intrigued by the subtitle and topic of the book.

"What A New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity

...And Why It Matters."

So far, this book has been used as confirmation to what I have been thinking, feeling, and sensing for a while now.

Many people no longer see Christians as representatives of a loving God who sees them as the object of His affection.


Heartbreaking, actually.

No, according to the research done for Unchristian, what many people have come to think is that we are hypocritical, insensitive and judgemental.

It is not even close to my hearts cry to impact anyone in those ways.

On page 26 paragraph 3 states that there is growing hostility toward Christians and that it is a reflection of what people feel they get from us.

QUOTE: "They say their aggression simply matches the over sized opinions and egos of Christians. One outsider put it this way: "Most people I meet assume that Christian means very conservative, entrenched in their thinking, antigay, antichoice, angry, violent, illogical, empire builders; they want to convert everyone, and they generally cannot live peacefully with anyone who doesn't believe as they believe."

WOW! Is this the message that the church is sending to the world?

I may be prolife, but I am not antipeople who disagree with me.

Nor do I want to be seen that way..

This book is not written from an opinion only standpoint, there have been countless hours of research and interviewing that has gone into this project.

I am intrigued. Captured, if you will.

I only hope that I will be further enlightened, and forever changed.

Jesus said "I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another." John 13:34

According to the research in this book, and from what I have seen with my own eyes and heart at times...

This is, much of the time, not the message others are receiving from us.

I do realize that Jesus told us to expect persecution. But, I do not believe that this, is all about that.

Some of it, maybe, but not entirely.

I am asking God daily to give me a fresh revelation of His love for me.

This is the only way we will be able to love others as He does.

This is the only way to show people that we represent a love, not a religion.

We can change this.

One person at a time...

Jesus will show us how.

Who has God placed in your path to love today?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Calling Out For Help

I have written my first post for my new blog page about our journey with dyslexia, but I seem to be having a problem...

I can't decide on a name!

I started off with...

Overcoming Dyslexia...

But, then I thought BLAH, be more original!

I am stuck, so I am calling in my wonderful blog land friends for help.

HELP! please :)

So, let me give you a brief synopsis for why the blog in the first place and maybe you can help me?!?

I want to start this page because I know that even though we are faced with what at times, seems to be a mountain, I know God can move mountains (maybe that's a good name, no one would know what it's about though). I want to share with others our journey in hopes that it will help and encourage someone else out there, going through something similar. I also want to keep a record of our journey, for the future, so I never forget what it was like, and how God was faithful.

So, friends, what do you think? anything come to mind? Even if it's just a hogde podge of words that come to mind, please share them with me.

I want the name to declare God's glory, yet show that it's about dyslexia.

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Never Forget"

As we began our school day this morning, the boys and I said a prayer for all of those who were, and still are, so affected by the devastation of 9/11.

It seems that as human beings, it is a natural tendency for us to forget about things once the feelings of emotion have subsided. But, I hope that the Lord will help each and every one of us to "Never Forget" about the pain and the loss that was suffered by so many on that horrific day, eight years ago.

As, they will "Never Forget" for their lives have been forever altered.

There are still so many people being affected by the aftermath of what happened in our country that day. There are families with loved ones overseas, fighting for our freedoms. There are families who are heartbroken over the loss of someone who died fighting for those freedoms.

This is not intended to a "political" post. But, a post about people caring for people. A post about encouragement for those who are feeling lost with no hope. A post about remembering that people need others, to help and pray in times of crisis, pain and heartache.

I do not claim to be a politically savvy person. In my opinion it is sometimes hard to have an opinion, when all we hear is monitored. We rarely hear what someone, somewhere, has not deemed okay, fit for civilian ears. Just my opinion.

My prayer as we move forward as a country, a nation, but more importantly God's Children, is that we would know and see his unmerited favor in our lives. That each of us would receive fresh revelation of His love daily. That we would move forward unafraid, knowing that who ever thinks they are in control, are mistaken, as sovereign control belongs to the Lord!

As I think back to the story of Joseph, I am reminded that even when it does not look as if God's plan is in motion, we can trust and rest assured that it is. Even when tragedy strikes, as it did on 9/11, we can know and trust that God will "Never Forget", He will never leave us or forsake us.

When all seems lost and we just don't seem to be able to make heads or tails out of this crazy world that we live in, we must stand together and remember HIS faithfulness. He will never fall short of HIS promises, may this be something we...

"Never Forget"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What Does Jesus Say

This past weekend was a fun one for our family. My husband and I went on a motorcycle ride, we took the boys to see G.I.Joe, went to the free zoo in Madison WI, had a Bonfire (with smores of course), got ice cream from Sonic, and I practiced riding the dirt bikes so I could get better at shifting as I have decided to get my motorcycle license, Woot Woot!

Yet, this weekend was also filled with some mixed emotions for me. On Friday I posted a rambling on post, in which I shared a hodge podge (which is a word!) of thoughts. One of those was about my son Chase and his struggle with reading. Through this post and a couple of other ways, the Lord lead me to read up on Dyslexia. This is where I give a shout out to my friend Kat over at Art's Chili Pepper for mentioning it in her comment. The Lord used her comment to begin leading me in the right direction. Isn't He Awesome!

As I began reading up on Dyslexia, I have to admit, I sat at my computer and cried. my son has so many of the signs and symptoms that his picture could have been on the web page. I found myself thinking..."How could I have missed ALL of this." so many things were registering, even things from years ago, such as not being able to tie to his shoes until he was 7,even to this day, he would prefer not to.

As I read through some of this information with my husband, he too, felt astounded, as he has struggled with this his whole life, yet has gone undiagnosed. Not only does this affect my husband, but my 12 year old struggles with the same issues.

I felt sad and angry for my husband. Not at anyone, but just for the injustice of school systems, that allow children to go through believing that they are less than.

I also learned that if in the school system a child with Dyslexia is tested for a learning disability , the majority of the time they will not qualify for help. Reason being, the test they use is not suitable for diagnosing a child who struggles with Dyslexia.

This too, makes me a bit choked up, as my 12 year old son Shane was tested in the school system, two of them in fact. Both times we were told, "He is really on the fence here, and doesn't really qualify." At which point during the second time around, was followed up with a suggestion of pure laziness. Humph!

This discovery has caused my emotions to roller coaster a bit this weekend. I have felt sad, angry, relieved, and overwhelmed. Yet, I know my Jesus loves us!

As I was pondering this with the Lord, I thought " family is Dyslexic...?!?! Chase having the worst of it, so it seems..." and I heard the Lord ask me this question "Daveda, what do I say about your family? Who do I say they are?"

I sat for a minute as the Holy Spirit reminded me of the truth. The truth is that my children (and my husband) are not labeled "Dyslexic" they are labeled "Victorious" because of Jesus!

They are BOLD and CONFIDENT people in this world, and EVERYTHING they put their hand to will prosper and come to maturity.

So, as we begin this new leg of our journey, overcoming dyslexia, I will remember what Jesus says. I will look to Him as my source, not people, or resources, but the wisdom of the Holy Spirit will guide us (not that God won't use people or resources, I just won't be looking to them, but Him.) I am actually considering starting a new blog, in addition to this one. A blog dedicated to following the journey of victory over Dyslexia. Maybe it will help someone else out there. No one wants to journey alone.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Rambling On's...(I know that's not a word:)

I was trying to decide what to blog about today, and I could not seem to narrow down the many thoughts and themes floating and shifting through my head. I figured this would be a good day for a hodge podge post, if you will. A post about nothing...and a little bit of several things.

1. My spell checker tells me hodge podge is not a word...hmmmm, any suggestions? Did I spell it wrong.

2. I am becoming more and more aware of the fact that so many of the things I once thought were important to my walk with the Lord, pale in comparison to the simple Gospel. All of the things I once thought I needed to be, or had to try to do, are falling into place as I continually grow in Christ. Sometimes seemingly good ideas, concepts or even truths, can steal our focus away from Jesus and place it onto ourselves.

Let me give you an example, I used to spend so much time "trying" to make myself more disciplined. Only to feel like a failure time and time again. When I stopped focusing on discipline and place my focus back on Jesus and starting believing and saying "Lord you say I am all I need to be because of you. I trust you to change me Lord and bring about any disciplines in my life that you want me to have." As I began to do this the things I used to "try" so hard at simply started falling into place.'s a beautiful thing; God's unmerited, undeserved favor and POWER at work in our lives. You cannot have an undersatnding of grace without realizing it is the power to change us.

3. I just got my manuscript back from a friend. I was encouraged that she is about the sixth person to read it and love it, yet I can't help feeling like it's not done yet, even though everyone says it's great. I have the opportunity to send it to a new friend, who is an author and copy editor, yet again, I feel like maybe I'm not ready??? So, that leaves me all writers feel this way? Or, will there come a time when you just know it's finished. Oh well...I keep reminding myself that it's the Fathers book, I will simply continue to write what He gives me, walk through the open doors, and trust that He will help me continually trust Him.

4. There are some people moving in close to this area where I live, Poplar Grove IL, about an hour from Chicago,who are starting a radical grace ministry. I am excited about that, I am excited to meet them. As of yet, I have only connected with them over Facebook. Isn't it amazing how God can use technology to make these connections?!? I think it will be nice to have some new friends near by, who seem to have a revelation of the same Grace (Jesus) the Father has revealed to me to set me free from the bondages of religion.

5. We started school this week, I homeschool my two youngest boys. Most of the time I like it. Both of my kids struggle academically. When I pulled them out of school for that reason and various others, they were both behind. My main concern is my 10 year old, he really just doesn't seem to get the concept of reading. Don't get me wrong, he reads, but not at a level I am happy with. Not to mention he hates reading and has no desire to do it. This makes it difficult because he is very smart and able to comprehend age appropriate material in every subject, he just can't seem to read it by himself....Hmmm. Prayer is powerful and the Holy Spirit is active. God keeps telling me He's got this not to worry, okay Lord, help me to trust you :) I think I might get his eyes checked...

6. My oldest son, is in the process of going into the Airforce. However, he made a stupid decision awhile back and let a friend practice tattooing...on his hands... and that disqualifies him. So, that means on Tuesday I am taking him to see about having them removed...hopefully they can do it quickly and as inexspensive as possible, as the recruiter is only waiting on that to get him sworn in...Lord let your favor be upon us!

7.I am wondering what you guys think of the stuff I write about. The content, style, is it personable, etc..? I am a teacher at heart, that's what I do, speak, teach and write about the word of God ..who is a person, JESUS!. See what I mean, when I write it comes out that way, teachie...(ya, that's not a word either LOL)

well, you are probably about tired of listening to me ramble on this morning...wait...I think it's almost afternoon, well, anyhow, you are probably tired of it regardless. I hope you all have a great Labor Day week end!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Righteous Apart From the Law

Do you ever find yourself standing in judgment of another believer based on something they do or do not do? Have you ever found yourself thinking "I must be a better christian than that person because I would never do that!" It may be something as simple as what kind of movies we watch, music we listen to, books we read, where we shop, the people we are friends with, what we eat or drink, what we wear, how we entertain ourselves, how often we read our Bible, pray, go to a church service, etc...the list is endless. And, if we are all really honest with ourselves, we have all done it.

The Bible tell us to not judge and criticize.

"Do NOT judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourself."
Matthew 7:1

For years I knew this. I knew the Bible said it, yet I continually made judgments about people based on what I saw on the outside. I formed my opinions about anothers walk with the Lord according to "The Gospel of Daveda." If we agreed on at least the majority of the choices I listed above, among a few others, then in my book you were okay, for the most part. This is how I thought God judged me, therefore this is how I judged others.

I have discovered something wonderful and freeing. The Lord has set me free from this crazy judgmental way of thinking. I can't even begin to tell you how great it is to be able to love people in spite our different opinions or believes. But, as I said knowing that we are not supposed to judge, being told that we are not supposed to judge, does not make our hearts any less judgmental. So how do we get there?

"But now the righteousness of God has been revealed independently and altogether apart from the law, although actually it is attested by the law and prophets. Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe, there is no distinction." Romans 3:21-22

As we begin to see that we are righteous not because of what we do (the law) but because of Jesus and our trusting, relying, and believing Him, we begin to see others as righteous because of Him as well, apart from the law.

I have discovered that the more I realize that the Father is not condemning me or judging me, the less I feel the need to condemn and judge others. I realize that the love and grace of God, His power moving in our hearts and lives, is what brings true change and I am free to love them, and accept them for who they are.

Just as God loves and accepts me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Laugh and Learn

I have discovered and learned a lot of new lessons over the last few weeks. I love that every day, every situation, is an opportunity for Father to teach us new lessons, each one drawing us closer to the heart of Himself.

Sometimes we learn lessons from watching and listening to others. We feel, see, and hear how what they do affects us and we quickly realize this is something I never want to make someone else feel, see or hear.

I had a few of these happen to me during the time of my grandmas showing and funeral. As I think back to them I have to laugh a little, as I wonder "what were these people thinking?" So, I thought I would share with you three wonderful things that you should never say to someone when they have just lost a loved one...yes, that was a hint of sarcasm you detected...

1. Now this one I realize is probably pretty common, people mean well, and in these types of sad circumstance many simply do not know what to say. But, telling someone that "It's okay, she is in a better place." does not make them feel better. When Jesus said "weep with those who weep" I think that's what He really meant . The people who helped me the most did not try to minimize my grief, but cried with me and understood that even though I KNOW she is in a better place, I will still miss her, my tears were for me.

2. I had one person tell me that of all the people they could think of I had the most faith, so come on can do this! Ummmm...okay?!?! Sure, but this still bites, it has nothing to do with faith. Having faith gives you hope, but it does not make your heart stop hurting.

3. This is favorite; at my grandmas showing a man (a rude man) walked up to me, hugged me and said "Hi Daveda, wow, you look like you have put on a little weight?" Mind you there were six people sitting around listening...things got very quiet all of a sudden. I was stunned as I responded with "Oh, wow, that's really nice of you, thanks..." (yes, another hint of sarcasm) It's my grandmas funeral, and that's the nicest thing he could think of to say to me...Oh my!

I guess if nothing else, these are three things I will never say to someone. As I look back, I can now laugh about these comments. Laugh and learn, what else can you do...

Blog Award

I want to say thank you, to my friend Christy over at The Secret Life of an American wife and Mom for giving me this Loyal Friend and Visitor award. Christy is not only my blogging friend but, my real life friend as well. If you have never been by her blog for a visit please take the time to do so. She has a wonderful teaching gift, and the love and grace she lives in comes through in her writing in a way that touches and transforms you.

Now it's my turn to give away the Loyal Friend and Visitor Award. The following are 10 people who not only come and visit my blog regularly, but also have wonderful blogs that I love to read. They are encouraging and wonderful to have as friends. Please stop by and visit them.

Sarah Dawn