"We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 1:3

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Today I feel led to share some lessons I am learning from an older and wiser woman I respect very much. She wouldn’t like the recognition, so I’ll leave this post “nameless” – but if you know me at all – you can guess exactly who I am talking about. She is the most amazing person I know.

The way she lives her life is teaching me to focus on the positive. She breezes past mistakes others make and insults just fall right off her. Sadness and anger do not linger in her presence, but are instead transformed into projects and focuses of her love and prayers. Yes, we have called her “The Queen of Denial” – but I am learning that this may be much closer to the way the Lord has called us to live.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” And this is exactly what she does.

Think about it - aren’t we all living in “capital S” Sin? And, if we are all sinners in desperate need of grace – who are we to judge? Yes, Christ has armed us with the “sword” of His truth (the written word of God: the Bible – Ephesians 6:17) to fight our daily battles here on Earth, but He alone is the sovereign judge and He alone can separate light from dark.  Instead of commanding us to judge one another – He has commanded us to LOVE one another (1 Corinthians 13:13, Luke 10:27). We are called to correct and encourage one another according to His truth (Ephesians 4:15, John 3:18, Proverbs 27:17) – but the Bible is clear – it is more important to show mercy than judgement:

“For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.” -James 2:13

Let us walk in complete surrender to God’s will today – knowing that His grace is sufficient for us. He has tossed our sins so far away and allowed us to begin afresh – let’s learn from His word and wise people around us to forgive and love, just as Christ has loved and forgiven us.

Monday, February 21, 2011


“We are saved by faith without works,
but the faith that saves works.”
– Gary Spooner

After some thought – it is evident that this phrase not only creates parenthesis around a balance between faith and works – but also gives us some criteria to evaluate the authenticity of our faith in general. Works alone do not save us – but faith apart from works is not a true faith in the living God at all.

In the past, I have often confused “works” with doing the “right” thing according to what others expect of me. I am learning that work resulting from an active faith is not just doing the “right thing,” or what WE think we should do – it’s actually the opposite! Spirit led “work” is shown only when we abandon our human nature and letting God show us what he wants us to do in that specific situation. In challenging situations, “fight or flight” are our basic choices. True faith in Christ gives us peace to face challenges head-on as we are led often into uncomfortable and "risky" places, without ever looking back. It is when we are unable to put full trust in the living God that our nature tells us to flee, to run and hide – to stay “safe” instead of allow ourselves to be challenged and changed.

And the situation is ALWAYS changing!! Even the Toomer's oaks which have been a landmark in Auburn and part of the delight tradition of "Rolling Toomer's Corner" after an Auburn win are going to die, and downtown Auburn is going to change.

I am praying for faith that will allow me to face the challenges that are presented to me this week. I am praying that I can trust Jesus with even the tiniest details of my life, that I can embrace challenges, and allow each one to change and soften my heart a little more than the one before.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Learning to embrace CHANGE

The only thing this side of heaven that we can always count on is CHANGE. It can be hard - but more often it is GOOD - and propells us forward, in our relationship with Christ.  Any change in life, whether big or small, is a catalyst for spiritual change in our hearts.  Change helps us let go of this World, and cling tighter to our Heavenly Father who trandscends the time and circumstance in front of us.  Peace comes when we are able to embrace change and see that God has created ALL of life's circumstances (the good, the bad and the ugly!) to sift us and chip away at our very souls, so that God can bring us to a point of "completion."

I was making pattern cards for kids at school today - everytime I changed the colors or shape, I thought about how it changed the overall picture.  Sometimes change comes as a big contrast to the life we are used to:

But, sometimes its only something small that changes:

Sometimes the change is so small that you can barely even notice it:

We welcome the change that looks nice:

Some,we resist, but end up alright:

And, then, there are so many shades inbetween!

Today, let's pray for change in our hearts.  Change that propells us deeper into relationship with Jesus.  Try to see trials and annoyances as refining us - bringing us to "completion." (Phillipians 1:6)

Monday, February 14, 2011

"So now faith,
hope, and love
abide these three;
but the greatest of these
is LOVE." 

1 Corinthians 13:13

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

What can you see from where you are standing?

"What you see and hear depends a great deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are." – CS Lewis

This is my example for my first grade art lessons this week. We are creating imaginary worlds outside of our windows.  It is so interesting to see what my students are drawing! I feel like I am getting glimpses of life from where they are standing! And their pictures are inspiring me reflect on my perspective.

When my perspective is from a stance firm on Christ's truth alone, I am able to have an eternal perspective. But - when my stance wavers from Christ alone it is my circumstances, as opposed to the love and grace of Christ which affects my perspective, attitude, and actions. We live in a fallen and sinful World – so it’s inevitable that when we put our hope in people and things on this Earth we will be disappointed.  I want to stand firm on Christ’s truth!! Pray for me and I’ll pray for you – that we will choose stand firm on Christ’s truth alone and to allow Him to give us perspective from above the circumstance of our lives!

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

On another note - praying for the world this week has been a blessing to me. I have prayed for the protest in Egypt, Cyclone Yasi in Australia, the rebuilding of Haiti, and today specifically for protests and hunger in Bolivia. I found the “continent a day” prayer schedule very achievable – it takes a little time, which I am glad to spend with Jesus and thinking about others, and hope I can give more time and thought to it next week.

I forgot to add this link last week  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ On the BBC website you can choose which continent or region you want news for and often this week I was able to even watch part of the news from the area I was praying for! Pretty cool.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Radical Experiment:

"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb." 
Revelation 7:9

I just finished reading Radical – which just like most Christian books, is complete with a life application challenge at the end. This one is good though – but surprisingly not because it is“radical” – but because it is actually Biblical and do-able.

The "Radical Experiment" involves five specific challenges to carry out over the span of a year:

1. To pray for the entire world.
2. To read through the entire Word.
3. To sacrifice your money for a specific purpose.
4. To give your time in another context.
5. To commit your life to a multiplying community.

Number one on the list is what this blog is dedicated to. I hope and pray to rise to all five parts of the “Radical Challenge” – but today I am focusing on number 1: PRAY FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD. On the http://www.radicalthebook.com/ website, there are plenty of resources to help for readers rising to the challenge.

After thinking and praying about this – I decided to simplify – and make a habit of praying for the World, hopefully in a way that I can continue for the rest of my life.  So, seven continents to pray for, and seven days of the week – Ill just assign a continent to a day and done. But listing the continents – I got to Antarctica and thought – "there’s just not much to pray for there." So, I decided to add a specific city that the Lord has called us to pray for to Antarctica’s day: Jerusalem.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
"May they be secure who love you!
Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!"
For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, "Peace be within you!"
For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.” Psalm 122:6-9
So, here is my “Pray for the World” challenge schedule. My plan is to take time each day to learn about what is going on in each place – and then let the Lord show me how to pray.








Please join me as I begin praying today for South America.  And - let me know if you have another way to "PRAY FOR THE WORLD."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Recycled Paper!!!

Paper is for sell at Moxii in downtown Auburn!  It looks great - and all the proceeds go back to my friends in Ghana!

They come in a variety of colors and patterns, and each card comes with a matching envelope, and this story about the artisans who created them:

This recycled paper was handmade by a friend in Ghana, West Africa.  The artisans are part of a dear group of disabled Ghanains who have difficulties in finding work in their culture.  They formed the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, Akwapem South Branch to fight their common goal of finding work and respect in their community.  By purchasing this product, you are supporting these artisans, their families, and lovingly encouraging them.  

I am blessed to have had the honor of working with these artisans.  They are an inspiring group of people.  Here are a few pictures from our time together:

Please visit Moxii to purchase your handmade stationery!
152 North College Street
Auburn, AL 36830
(888) mymoxii
Or you can email me for direct purchase at inspiredbythecreator@gmail.com
and hopefully soon at http://inspiredbythecreator.org/

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ghanaian family night!

Lydia cooked mac & cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches, MMmmmmMMM!  Then, we played some wii!

Even my grandmother played! 

It was so fun to introduce my Ghanaian family to more of the Johnston family:) Great night!