Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Liebster Award

I'm still trying to figure this out, so if I don't do it right, my apologies!

When you receive the award you are suppose to post random facts about yourself and answer questions from the person who nominated you. You pass the award onto other blogs and ask them to do the same. There are variations to the exact number of desired responses so I have chosen seven as the number for the responses.

Seven Random Facts:
1. I'm an Army Brat who lived in 8 states and two foreign countries. Facebook's "hometown" identification makes me crazy.
2. I was over 40 when I finally settled on what I want to be when I grow up....and older than that when I realized I had already been doing it my whole life. (Writing)
3. Since Lesley Eischen (who tagged me for this award) mentioned Radio Mystery Theater, I have to admit that when I lived in Korea, I used to listen to The Shadow all the time. "The Shadow knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men..."
4. I was a "Trojan", a "Criminal" and finally an "Imp." That's what happens when you move a lot.
5. I am that person who starts a conversation any time I am forced to wait in line for more than 60 seconds. My kids love it. (not)
6. The one talent I most wish I had and do not, is being able to tune. But what I lack in quality, I more than make up for in volume. :-)
7. My favorite place in the world is the desert southwest at sunset.

Seven Questions:
1. Do you parallel park or drive around the block?
Parallel matter how many tries it takes or how long the guy behind me lays on his horn.
2. If someone wrote a book about your life, what would they title it?
Unmerited Grace
3. If you had to choose a favorite book of the Bible, what would it be and why?
Revelations - love to read how the story ends! God wins.
4. Fiction or non-fiction? Why?
Fiction - both for reading and for writing. Love to read others' stories and love to create stories of my own.
5. How would you spend a million dollars?
 Tithe, pay off house, car, etc., set aside enough for my kids' college, help with friends' medical bills.
6. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Could never pick just one place...
7. What recent blessing from the Lord would you like to share?
God's sovereignty - every situation that touches our lives as believers has a purpose - to conform us to the image of Christ.

The seven questions above are the same for those that I have nominated. Here are my nominations for the Liebster Award:
1. Lori Roeleveld at:
2. Daphne Woodall at:
3. Cathy Baker at:
4. Rachel Anderson Piferi at:
5. Wendy Focht Foreman at:
6. Megan Bridges at:
7. Julie Webb Kelly at:

Hope you enjoy playing - if not, send me a message and I'll take your name off the list!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Iron Sharpens Iron

This phrase has been going through my mind a lot lately. I've had several opportunities where God has used others to polish my rough edges or prompted me to offer guidance and counsel to others. Each of these moments has given me a glimpse into some aspects of 'sharpening' that I had not really considered before.

First, in order to sharpen a blade, there must be contact. Metal must touch metal. We can't hone a blade from across the room and we can't influence someone's life without touching it. We have to draw near to them, show compassion and demonstrate the love of Christ - love that is unconditional, not dependent on them taking our advice - before we begin to offer instruction.

Proverbs 27:6
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

Sometimes the contact required to sharpen us makes sparks fly. Just as a blade against a stone will shower sparks as it is shaped, accountability sometimes leads to conflict. We've all experienced times when we were being corrected and immediately bristled at the correction. We are prone to become defensive, to try to justify our actions, to even counter-attack with all the shortcomings we see in the other person. But God desires that we receive correction humbly.

Proverbs 12:1
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid. (OUCH!)

The source for our bristling is our pride. No matter how often we tell ourselves we have beaten that monster down, it raises its head in the most unlikely places. We can even find ourselves becoming prideful about how very humble we are!

Proverbs 15:31
Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise.

The value of correction is not based on the tool used, but on the hands of the One using it. Often we want to judge the words of someone offering correction based on their own strengths instead of based on God's strength. A stone used to sharpen a blade need not be perfect to be useful. Personally, I could pick up a tool perfectly suited for a task, but I don't have the skill or wisdom to put the tool to use. Similarly, God in His omnipotence can use even unbelievers to point out our rough points - the value of the correction lies in how God uses it, not in the person who provides it. We must weigh any correction received against God's Word and allow the Holy Spirit to give us discernment. Sometimes the 'correction' may be simply a distraction or an attack of the enemy, based on personal preferences and biases with no basis in Scripture. If so, receive it graciously and discard it quietly. "As much as it depends on you, live peaceably..."

But if it is consistent with God's Word, then we should accept it as being from the Lord regardless of how He chose to deliver it. After all, even a clock with a dead battery is right twice a day.

Proverbs 15:32
Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.

A dull blade is useless. How can we expect for the Lord to use us, if we don't allow Him to sharpen us? If we want to be true followers of Christ, useful and effective in ministry and to be found faithful servants, we all will undergo discipline, sharpening, as painful as it may be.

Hebrews 12:5-6
And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a

Sharpening can be painful. Coming face-to-face with our own sin is never pleasant. When God shows us something in our lives that grieves His heart, as believers we are cut to the core. Godly repentance is the only response.

Hebrews 12:11
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.