Friday, November 21, 2008

Being Known

Ephesians 5:1

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."

Have you ever asked yourself who you really are? Is the me people see the same me that I know?

Recently I have begun asking myself these questions. Is the me "in the flesh" the same person I am in my heart? Do all my actions and words reflect my innermost attitudes and beliefs? Do the values my life puts forth match the values held in my heart? if they don't, then why?

Often times, we get hurt by others because we've been misunderstood. Someone gets to know us and says we're nothing like they thought.

I want those around me to get a true picture of who I am, what I believe and the freedom Christ has brought into my life. If they don't, my flesh is in control of my life. Not my heart. That would mean my flesh is not free. I want my flesh to experience the freedom, Christ came to give.

Galatians 5:17 says, "For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the spirit and the spirit desires what is contrary to the sinful nature." They are in conflict with teach other so that you do not do what you want.

I want to be a person whose outward life reflects her inner self. I want my heart to be expressed. I want to be known.

In order for that to happen I must battle the flesh and its desires on every level. I must continue in this good fight and never give up until that day when I know and ma fully known.

I want my actions and life to fully reflect my heart. 1 Corinthians 13:12 "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tex-Mex Madness

I am posting this in honor of the new recipe I tried last night. It was so yum. My whole family ate seconds. We ate the whole 9X13 pan of this last night. You should try it. So easy and so yum!

Mexican Lasagna
1 ½ lbs. Ground beef
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 large tomato sauce
1 pkg. Taco seasoning
1 pint sour cream
2 c. grated cheddar cheese
10 tortillias cut in strips

Preheat oven to 325. Cook meat. Drain. Add Ro-Tel, tomato sauce and taco seasoning. Simmer for 10 minutes. In 9X13 pan layer as follows, tortillia strips, meat mixture, sour cream and cheese. Repeat layers as desired. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes. Let stand until firm.

Here are a couple other of dishes to add to your family fiesta.

Yia Yia’s Tortilla Soup
Sauté together chopped onion and two crushed garlic cloves in a Dutch oven or soup pot.

4 oz. can undrained Chiles
1 (14 oz.) can beef broth
2 (14 oz.) cans chicken broth (can use broth from cooking chicken)
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 can diced Rotel tomatoes
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Chili powder

Cook 45 minutes. During the last 10 minutes add 3 cups grated or chopped Velveeta cheese and 6 corn tortillas cut into strips.

Serve with sour cream, corn chips, grated cheddar cheese and avocado.

Makes 8 servings.

Weight Watcher’s Taco Soup
1½ lb. Ground beef
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 can pinto beans
1 can chopped green Chiles
1 envelope Ranch dressing mix
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
1 small onion
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can kidney beans
1½-cup water

Brown meat with chopped onion. Add all other ingredients. Do not drain the vegetables. Heat thoroughly and it’s ready to eat. Garnish with sour cream, cheddar cheese and corn chips.

Makes 10 servings.

King Ranch Chicken
Place one layer of corn tortillias on bottom of 9X13. Mix 1 can Ro-Tel, 1 can cream of chicken, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1 teaspoon garlic chili powder, and 1 cup baked chicken pieces and spread over top of tortillias. Cover top with grated cheddar mix. Bake ½ hour at 350.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Being Heard

This is the latest edition of my Prodigal Series.

I want to be heard. It's a very big, very real need that I have. Just let me say my piece and I'm just fine. Thank you very much!

I often have the need to vent my frustrations. I fill up to the brim and then spew out my venom on those closest to me. My husband and closest friends can sure get an earful.

Very humbly I am coming to realize that venting and spewing are not my rights. They are wrongs. When I spread my anger and frustrations all around it is inconsiderate sin. If I get all I need for each day from the Lord by sitting in His presence and allowing Him to fill my cup with thanksgiving and praise I will be less prone to spewing. If I only allow encouraging words to come out of my mouth, there is no venting allowed.

Each choice made is motivated by an attitude of the heart. God is much more interested in the posture of my heart than the justification of my actions. The Message says this, "When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: 'Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don't deserve to be called your son ever again.'

"But the father wasn't listening. He was calling to the servants..."

When the prodigal comes home the father doesn't even listen to his speech justifying his homecoming or his begging for forgiveness. Instead the father interrupts and says, "Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We're going to feast! We're going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!"
So stop justifying and start the journey to the father today. He's waiting.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So You Say...

Today is my birthday.

I am counting blessings for they far outnumber the years.

I am forgetting where I was and enjoying where I am.

I am loving today instead of waiting for tomorrow.

I am celebrating all I have been given not dreaming about what I have not.

I am loving my family, friends and God today!

Today is my birthday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Forgiven & Livin'

This is the latest installment in my Prodigal Series.

How often have I said, "I just want her to say she's sorry!?" When someone has hurt me, I want acknowledgement. I want her to know she's hurt my feelings and show remorse. I want my feelings to be known and understood. That's all.

It's not asking that much, really. Or is it?

After this admission, the reconciliation will be complete. I will be free to forgive. My feelings will be satisfied. The friendship can go on in an only slightly interrupted way.
If I'm to be more like the father, I'm not only not looking for an "I'm sorry" speech, I'm not even listening when it's coming. I'm way too busy celebrating!

The Message says this, "When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: 'Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don't deserve to be called your son ever again.'
"But the father wasn't listening. He was calling to the servants...And they began to have a wonderful time. "

So stop looking for that apology that may or may not come. Stop waiting for that friend to love you and instead love them, forgive them, accept them, bless them. Look toward their heart. Reconciliation is worth it.

The celebration is so much fun!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bags and Baggage

The bags of which I speak are under my eyes from lack of sleep. I've been catching up with old friends since Tuesday and the pace is grueling but I love it! I've slept through my alarm twice and my house is in piles but the facebook pictures keep coming.

Our youth group is now planning a reunion. My thoughts are filled with...baggage. Seriously as the adrenaline rush of friending all 140 of these people began to fade, my first thought was, "I hope no one sees my car."

The teenage angst, social awkwardness and overwhelming insecurity lies just beneath the surface of my life. My face even broke out this week. No lie. I really thought I had matured.

Maybe in some ways I have. I plan on actually going to the reunion. The shame and shortcoming that would have once kept me away has now given way to love and longing for those who greatly and deeply influenced me for Christ so many years ago.

Unless I lose ten pounds, I may not be going in clothes...See what I mean? Boy, the shallow part of me is buried in a grave to match ready to be unearthed at the ding of my facebook account updating.

Get ready, faithful readers, I'm unpacking my twenty-something-year-old baggage.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I did it!

I joined facebook and I now have a problem. A habit. An addiction.

Call it what you will. I can't log off this thing. I leapt out of bed at 4:30 this morning to check out my new/old friends. In twenty-four hours I have reconnected with over sixty friends that I haven't talked to in fifteen or twenty years. Most from youth group so we were close. They made my life feel like I was part of my own "brat pack" and my life seem like an episode of 90210, big hair style.

The best/worst part is I get it on my phone. ugh! So you know what that means...laundry piled up, kids pulled out ten million legos among other toys, water was spilled and I laughed until I cried over shoulder pads, huge sweatshirts, mullets, MC Hammer pants and perms.

I also cried tears of joy over the possibility of seeing people that I L.O.V.E. that I thought were lost from my life forever. It's nice to know they miss me too and are just as ready to reconnect!
Long live The Heights!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Going Too Far

Before today's regularly scheduled post...go vote if you haven't already. That's all I will say about the awesome privilege we have as Americans. Don't take your freedom lightly. Exercise it by voting today...Be heard!

The third in my Prodigal Series.

"So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off...he ran to his son." Luke 15:20

The question I am asking myself as I read this is, "How far is too far?" In a relationship where there have been hurt feelings, misunderstandings, rebellion, resentment, abandonment and rejection, how far is a long way off? I have studied this, read commentaries, different translations, pondered it, meditated on it and prayed about it. The conclusion I've come to is no distance is too far to mend a relationship.

This is what God showed me on this journey of becoming more like the father.

Friends, we all have them. But the friends I'm talking about are the soul sisters, the ones who get you and even more specifically, the ones who used to be BFF's to you and for some reason a space crept into the closeness. Secrets told, betrayals, bad decisions, sin, jealousy, you know the friendships I mean.

Then you see a mutual friend, "So and so misses you," she says casually. A long way off...

I've begun to use these opportunities to patch old friendships. God is all about redemption and healing. He wants to mend your broken friendships.

"Oh, I could never trust her again after what she did to me. She'd have to earn it back," you say. The world says trust is earned. God says trust like this is a choice.

"I don't want to be around anyone who treats me like that," you say. The world says we don't have to forgive. God says love covers a multitude of sins and keeps no record of wrongs.

"I just can't be around anyone who doesn't believe in me," you say. The world says, "You go, girl." God says don't be dependant on anyone's approval but his.

Make a hard choice. Go find someone who's a long way off and run to them. Go too far for someone you love today.