Friday, March 17, 2017

Contributing

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Two weeks ago I sat down to write the Friday something and, when I had it all written out, realized it discussed the topic-of-the-month for our churches' women's ministry blog, which is now soliciting submissions from folks in the ministry or who have been influenced by it.

So, instead of posting it here, I submitted it there.  And that used up all my blogging time for the day.

It got selected for publication and went live last Friday, so I thought, 'Oh, great!  I'll link it up!'

But wouldn't you know.

Somehow the format gremlins got into the wordpress account that day and turned off the word wrap on the paragraphs.  Several just ran right off the page into oblivion.

My friend Paulette, who's editing the submissions, worked on it for about three days trying to get  it fixed (it had happened to one other post earlier in the week as well).  Finally, she pasted the submissions into Notepad and then back into the posts, which somehow stripped out all the weird formatting and all the words showed up in their proper spots.

Of course, it also stripped out the italics and the bold that I'm so fond of using, but, hey, at least it's readable.  You can read it HERE.

You can also click around and read the other submissions as well; this month's topic is  'She is Worth'...which hearkens to our women's conference theme last fall.  And you will quite soon see that there are some fabulous wordsmiths amongst our ladies.

I am coming down the home stretch on the Master's of Ministry; I should finish class number 10 this weekend.  I just ordered the books for the final two classes; I may make it by the goal I gave myself of the end of April yet.

But blog posts will likely be scarce between now and then. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Current Reading Feb 2017

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi 




Friday being the one day I try to get something posted, I'll give you the best I have right now...which happens to be the books I'm reading at any available time.

Starting at the lower right, The Power of Humility by R.T. Kendall is required reading for everyone in the worship department at church.  We're discussing it at choir practice, as are the other arts ministries.

Humility is not a popular subject, but, wow this book is good.  I'm about halfway through chapter 5, as I took it with me to a couple of dr appointments this week and read in the waiting room.  Chapter 4 was on wisdom, and it was an eye opener, to say the least, to see the connection between wisdom and humility so clearly laid out.

The second book,  The Complete Book of Discipleship by Bill Hull, is from Navigators and it's the textbook for my current class in the online Master's program.  It is rich.  It's also dovetailing nicely with the choir study, since...surprise...humility is a key part of discipleship.

In other words, my paradigms are getting punched one-two, left-right.

The cover on the discipleship book is curling badly; I couldn't get it to lay flat for the picture.  My Bible was laying on the table, too, so I used it to anchor the cover on the paperback and then realized that yes, it belongs in the picture, too.

I'm still plugging along on the 3 + 1 reading, although I did get a bit behind on the trip to Indiana for my dad's birthday last weekend.  But I have so far finished all the writings of John (Gospel, Epistles and Revelation) and I'm heading into Matthew.  I'm 1/3 of the way through Psalms and I'm well into Leviticus for the Old Testament.  This is a relatively new Bible,  so I've got my 4 color pen to hand and I'm marking as I go, which keeps me paying attention to what I'm reading so I don't fall into just skimming through.

But being a bit behind on the Bible reading and definitely behind where I want to be on the schoolwork, I'm pushing to catch up.  Other things that I want to do are, well, not getting done.

But it's just for a season...right?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Everything We Need

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi
I'm still whaling away at the Counseling class in my Master's of Ministry program.  I should've finished it by the end of January, so I'm behind.

The text for this class, however, is a deep word. I just can't charge through it.  It wants slow, considerate reading. And it keeps coming back to a basic text:

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in this world caused by evil desires.  -- 2 Pet. 1:3-4

If I were doing the scripture memorization challenge this year, this passage would make my list.

I've been pondering it off and on as I've been reading...slowly...through the textbook.

Do I really believe I have everything I need for life and godliness?  What in my life shows that I do ...or do not...believe that?

But there are some sort-of qualifiers on that.  I have what I need through my knowledge of Him Who Called Me.  So if I don't have all I need, or don't believe I do, that's not a reflection of Him Who Called Me, it's a reflection of how much I have pursued knowledge of Him.

If there's something I feel like I need... either I don't really need it OR I'm pursuing it instead of pursuing the One who holds it.

Either way, I need to look at what I'm pursuing.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sitting Down

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

We had a big leadership conference a couple of weeks ago; I haven't blogged much because I'm still processing.

The conference followed a time of fasting and prayer.  I'm not only processing from the conference, but from the week previous.

Been trying to figure out a way to describe what I'm working through and I really don't have any brilliant summaries.  And it may not be applicable to anyone else.

But I kinda have a feeling that, until I work through what I've found in front of me here, my writing/blogging is going to be kinda, well, distracted?

Anyway.

Part of the mix was a shift in roles; as the data base admin, I've been the Person Responsible for Registration for the last couple of years.  Just as we began gearing up for this, I got word that registration was moving over to the Events team.

Which makes tons of sense and was something of a relief.  It was a little more abrupt than I had expected; I figured I'd use this conference to train the newbies and then let them handle the next event, but, no, it was 100% handed off with me just playing the role of consultant.

They didn't even need me to be part of the registration desk team at the conference.

Hold that thought for a minute while I backtrack.

We had several topics to ponder and pray through during the fast; one of the first topics was 'Awakening Passion'.

And, in the process of praying through 'Awakening Passion', I came to realize what my core passion is.

Truth.

Of all the things for a believer to be passionate about, Truth seems to me to be the most objectively cold and lacking in compassion.  But it explained a lot.  Why does it matter if the data entry is sloppy?  Because it compromises the integrity - the truth- of the data base.  Why do I feel an unction to teach?  Because it's sharing truth.  Why do I get all frustrated when movie-makers change the story the book author wrote?  Because it doesn't tell the true story.  Et cetera.

That's a far cry from the little girl who used to tell fantastic stories about things just to get some attention.  Or maybe it's not...maybe the call-out I got on it in middle school was the thing that pushed me from 'tell it like I wish it was' to 'truth matters'.  I don't know.  But I do know that truth matters to me... a lot.

The next great revelation came on the day I was praying through 'Awakening Identity', in which I found myself asking the question 'What AM I afraid of?  What's keeping me from living in my identity?'  Of course, I thought it was failure...but, to my surprise I realized I'm not really afraid of failure.  I'm afraid of disappointment.  Afraid to get my hopes up.  Afraid to dare to believe something...because I might get disappointed.  And, if I'm honest, there was an 'again' at the end of that.  I'll just be disappointed again.  Failure in and of itself isn't what I cringe from...it's that 'disappointed again' that comes with it.  Failure is me. I can try again. Disappointment...well, that comes from so much around me.  It's connected to  The Jinx Lie...that wanting and hoping for something is a sure way for it NOT to happen.  That 'hope deferred' thing that makes the heart sick.  And it may explain something of why I hate it so much if I disappoint someone or let someone down if they were counting on me.

So.  I was going into the conference with those two revelations fresh in my spirit.  And I had no assigned task.  That's hard, for someone who tends to be performance-oriented.  I wasn't needed in my usual spot and I didn't have another.  There were folks on staff who were working their little tails off...just as I had done in previous conferences.  One of my fellow staff members suggested I hang with her at her position and possibly learn how to do some of what she does...at first, I thought, 'ok, I can do that.'  It would, of course, give me the feeling of being Useful and Needed, of Pulling My Weight.  But about two days before the conference, in the fast and seek time, I clearly  heard in my spirit, 'I have cleared your calendar for you.  Now SIT DOWN.'

I hadn't heard anything that strongly or that clearly in quite some time.  So I told my friend I would just be a regular peep for this conference.  My Sweet Babboo being out of town for a professional conference, I sat by my older son for the first session on Thursday night though an awesome worship set led by David and Nicole Binion.  At one point during that set, I had words that I just had to record, so I flipped to the back of my conference notepad and wrote, in the midst of the cry of my heart, 'God... you have set me up.'  I was going to dare to be expectant...to risk disappointment.

The speaker of the evening, Jim Raley, began his message with a series of declarations that the congregation repeated after him.  The first one was 'God, you have set me up.'

Alrighty, then.

What followed...well, you can click on the link and see.

So I'm trying to get out of myself and risk disappointment.  And the first thing I have to do is finish what I've started.  So I'm digging back into the online Master's degree; it's the home stretch and it is getting a little tougher.  Taking some time.

 And, in all honesty, I'm still pretty much in 'SIT DOWN' mode regarding anything else. Just waiting to see what 'double door' will open.  I have a feeling it will be something I have not expected and couldn't have planned.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Rephrasing an Old Lie

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

The Enemy targets women.

He has from the beginning.

And the only weapon he has is....a lie.

He twists it and rephrases it and camouflages it, but it's still just the same lie.

What God has said to you isn't right.  You know you want, no, you NEED, to make yourself like Him.  You can decide what's right and wrong.  You're not going to let Him fool you, are you?  I know better.  Listen to me.

He said it directly to Eve and she chose to listen to him.  Today, he uses other people.  Folks with status.  Folks with a platform.  But he's still targeting women.

What God has said isn't fair.  You know you want, no, you NEED, to declare yourself the supreme authority.  You decide what's right and wrong.  You're not going to let a bunch of backwards-thinking fundamentalists fool you, are you? We know better. Listen to us.

And because women have such an need for approval they listen to the voices on the platform, the influential personalities who have nothing to offer but an illusion.  The still small voice of reason and deliverance is not even acknowledged.

Jesus, talking to folks who 'diligently study the scriptures,' not unbelieving, ignorant pagans, pointed out the crux of the matter:

I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own [her own?] name, you will accept him. (John 5:43)

If someone else comes in their own name...with no backing but the generalized approval of a crowd, with no authority other than what possession of a microphone provides....oh, yes, it's happening.

It's all over my facebook feed today.  One agenda proclaimed to draw crowds, another agenda entirely declared from the platforms.  I am angry on behalf of sisters who believed they were standing, who had a passion to stand, against abuse, against double standards, against  marginalization of women all over the country, against  the loss of  a generation of women who were never born because they were sacrificed on the altar of abortion, only to find that they were not welcome because their cause did not fit with the ideology of those who  had the microphones, who were determined to make the day a political statement.

Did anyone march for the women who are abandoned, along with their children, by their husbands and left in poverty while the husband remarries and then 'can't afford' to support the family he left behind?  No-fault divorce at work there.  Was anyone protesting no-fault divorce?   Who was calling for the end of sex trafficking of untold numbers of young ladies...and young men?  Anyone? Anyone addressing the crowd call for the nation to value our daughters before they are born?  Did anyone sympathize with women who are suffering post-traumatic stress disorder after they discovered that aborting their babies was not the moral equivalent of having their appendix removed, as they had been told, when they found themselves mourning and grieving a loss they could not admit?

Or was it just about pitching a fit that we have a president that the folks in the big cities don't care for?

How many women went along with it just because they were led to believe it was about 'women's rights'?  How many are re-posting and re-tweeting on social media because it is the cool thing to do at the moment?

How many are swallowing the lie?

It's the same lie.

And it targets women.

The lie, at it's heart, is that there is a higher approval than that of God Almighty.

It sets women to chasing something that is not there.

How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?  - Jn 5:44

Friday, January 6, 2017

Awakening Champions....

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Happy Epiphany!

I'm pretty much taking a break from social media; it's our annual church-wide fast season and, since I've got some, um, health issues that preclude true fasting and have me on an extremely limited diet anyway, I've decided to 'fast' social media.  Only this post for the week.

Which is probably harder than drinking juice for 8 days, actually.

But I did do 'lunch' with my Bible and journal in the sanctuary on Wednesday (the first day of the fast...it runs through next Wednesday) and Thursday;  that is the best part of skipping a true lunch.  Not that I don't enjoy spending that short daily break with my co-workers...but there is something about sitting in the sanctuary, in the quiet, with no other demands apparent and just listening and writing and reading. 

We've had different focus points for each day; Wednesday was 'Awakening Passion' and yesterday was 'Awakening Identity'.  Today's is 'Awakening Covenant'.

I've had some rather raw moments during my journaling; saw some things I hadn't considered.

Yesterday's focus on identity brought up questions like...where does my identity really come from?  Legally, identity comes from the father...ponder that for just a second.  Identity comes from the Father.  Not from folks around me, not from what I do, not from the lifestyle I choose...from the Father.

That dovetailed nicely with the verse that had jumped off the page when I read it yesterday morning during my 3 & 1 time... John 5:44, 'How can you believe if you accept praise from one another yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?'

How can I really believe, really follow what God intends for my life if I let others...people...determine my identity; if I'm seeking to get their approval, their affirmation, their attention. 

That was a big SELAH when I read it, and I came back to it again as I pondered identity at lunchtime.

How can I seek the praise of the only God instead of getting my affirmation and direction from folks around me?  

Definitely food for thought.

The fast culminates in our Champions Summit Leadership conference which will be Thur - Sat next week, so I probably won't manage my typical Friday post.  But maybe I'll have some thoughts to share on the other side.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year; New Paradigms

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I goofed up a bit on my supplements yesterday and, as a result, had a slight reaction today that meant it was wiser to stay home and watch today's worship online.

And pastor's message challenged me. Four words for 2017.  God's heart to Strengthen, Empower, Prepare, and Entrust.  And I was caught feeling tired,  routine, unfocused and lacking credibility on many levels.  Just being honest.

Suddenly, I realized that, since the rest of the family was at church for all three services, I  had a chunk of several hours all by myself to reflect and ponder and pray.  That is something that NEVER happens on New Year's Day.  Was my miscalculation yesterday part of a plan to give me that opportunity?

Hmmmm....

I had been debating whether or not I would participate in the Siesta Scripture Memory Team this year.  I did it in 2013 and 2015, but, to be  honest, I didn't do so well at it in 2015.  It became more of an assignment than a discipline, if that makes sense.  But I didn't want to be a slacker and not pursue an opportunity to develop a discipline.  Maybe all I needed was some determination?

But it was time to decide, because if I were to participate, verse number 1 is due today.

As I sat with my journal, I found myself nearly weeping.  My reflection time had all but evaporated. The dry weariness I was experiencing was nothing more or less than the direct result of running on spiritual fumes for far longer than I should ever let myself.  Why hadn't I recognized the signs?

There is nothing magical about January first, but it is a good opportunity to ask forgiveness, from both God and myself, for neglect, and shake off old routines that aren't working and start again.

In years past, I've had a word (or words) for a focal point for the year.  Through a rather convoluted process, I have three words this year.  The first came to me a day or two ago.

Whisper.

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.   - 1 Kings 19:11b-13a, NIV 84

Am I close enough to God to hear His whisper?  Am I attuned enough to Him to not be distracted by  noise and chaos, but to hear His voice?  Am I trusting enough to even whisper the desires of my heart?   In 2017, I need to be determined to stay close to Him and focused on His voice.

As I listened to the sermon this morning, a second word attached itself to the first: Simple.

I have allowed my life to become overly complicated.  There's a lot going on, and it occurred to me that the more I have to accomplish the more I need to simplify.

...you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. - Lk 10:41b-42a, NIV 84

The ONE THING -- that's what I need to pursue.  And that is the same thing, you know, being close to Him and listening to His voice.

Which means I need some intentional, disciplined time in the Word. And that gave me the third word. Structure.

 I haven't had that in a while.  A long while.   I decided I need to set my goal of reading through the Bible in a year.  4 chapters a day is all it takes and our church has long promoted the idea of  3 + 1 reading: 3 chapters in the Old Testament and 1 in the New, every day.  Gonna start with Genesis, Psalms and John. 

I even found a journal to hand to record what I glean as I read.  I'm a verbal processor (no shock to anyone who's been reading BLR for a while!); writing notes helps get those truths rooted where they need to be.

And, you know, that's enough for me for this year. Simple and all. So instead of SSMT 2017, I'll be doing 3+1 2017.  I'll probably be sharing bits from what I read as the year progresses.  Just doing that much this morning...Genesis 1 and 2, Psalms 1 and John 1...was like a long drink of fresh water.

I have a feeling 1/1/18 will feel a whole lot different than 1/1/17 if I just stick to a simple structure to attune myself to the whisper of God.