Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Have any of you ever gone to a circus?

I love the circus.

I love the colors, and the sounds – the wonder, and the fantasy.

However, for some people, the circus stirs up emotions of terror.

Because, you see, I know that some people have a weird fear of clowns. There's a name for that – I looked it up. Coulrophobia. (I actually have a fear of spelling that word, but I digress).

I've never had a problem with clowns.

I liked Bozo. Hobo Kelly was OK.

Sure, there are some scary, frightful clowns out there. But circus clowns? They're all right by me.

(Incidentally, my sister has a strange aversion to the guys on stilts. Not sure where that originated. But, again, I digress).

So, me and popcorn and a soda at the circus. It's all good.

Except for one particular act.

This act gets me agitated, anxious, sweaty-in-the-palms. It makes me start to hyperventilate. It gives me nightmares…

It is the dreaded *spinning plates* act.

You know the one – when someone has all these plates spinning on top of these miniscule, treacherously flexible, dowel-like poles. At first it's OK, because most of the plates are all spinning fast.

But then, as more plates are added, others start to slow down.


The wobbling, dipping, quivering, threatening-to-fall-and-break part. (Which is usually accompanied by a rather frenetic rendition of "Flight of the Bumblebee"...YAWWW).

I find myself oddly speaking (shouting) out loud to the person.

"OH! Look at that one on the far left, it's almost falling off!"

"Hurry…over there on the right…HURRY!"

"OH NO! Three are starting to wobble now!"

"Spin, you crazy nut, SPIN!"

"NO, you sadist, don't put another plate on another pole!!"

(I feel justified in using all the exclamation points – it's how I feel inside!!!)

Once in a rare while, a plate actually falls and breaks. At this disaster, I feel a huge letdown – and more anxious than ever before. Oh no, I think to myself, not only can they wobble – they can actually BREAK!

Where on earth am I going with this?

Well, just this morning I was telling the women in my Bible Study that lately my life feels like that plate-spinning act. I feel like I have a million (hyperbole, for Debbie's sake) things going on in my head. I feel like I'm rushing hither and yon spinning and re-spinning like a Mad Hatter frantic that something is going to fall.

These two plates are my sons, and that one is my husband, and this one is our finances, and that one is health stuff – oh goodness, and those three on the end are our big decision. I've got a plate with my mom's name on it, and another with my dad's name. And church, and Bible Study, and blogging, and paperwork, and taxes, and…

Stop the world…


The reason I shared these feelings this morning at Bible Study is because we are talking about hearing God, and doing His will.

And frankly, I'm having a lot of trouble finding QUIET within myself.

At some point today I stopped, closed my eyes, and said to God…

"I can't hear you, Lord."

And, He said back…

"No wonder. A gentle whisper can't be heard in the middle of a circus act."

(That's not a direct quote – but I certainly got His message!)


Yes, indeed.

Now, I don't think that God wants all those plates to crash and fall and break. But it does occur to me that I am NOT to be the one spinning them. Last time I checked, I am NOT the Spin Master of the Universe.

God is.

He knows all about those plates, every single last one. And He's awfully good at spinning them *just so*. Under His watchful care, not a one will break. Any breakage will most likely occur when I try to do the spinningand only end up banging into Him.

And He certainly doesn't need my help from the grandstands, speaking (shouting) directions at Him.

What He needs is a spectator who trusts Him completelyand then, He can do something very special.

He can turn to the audience and say, "Can I have a volunteer?"

And He will INVITE me to come alongside Him, to enter into the work He is doing in my life, and in the life of others. He will ask me to join Him as He unfolds the details. He'll teach me how to spin if I need to know. He'll tell me what needs my attention and what doesn't…

A whisper…"Sharon, that one on the far left. Let's go attend to that."

God is not a circus act. He is the Ringmaster. And I can trust Him.

But as long as I have my nervous eyes on those spinning plates, and think that they are ALL MY RESPONSIBILITY, I am going to be a wreck. And I won't be able to hear Him amidst the clamor of my frantic thoughts and troubled spirit.

So, I'm going to take one deep breath, and entrust the spinning plates to HIS care.

I'll wait for His invitation to come alongside, I'll wait for His instruction on how to do it right.

And no, I will NOT be tempted to try juggling!!!

Do you ever feel like your thoughts and/or life are out of control? What do you do about it?

Linked today with Joan at the GRACE CAFE

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, February 27, 2012


Writer's block.

Yeah, it happens.

I looked up the definition in the dictionary:

Writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some "blocked" writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers.

Wow, that sounds great, huh?

In view of that rather fatal definition, I suppose what's going on with me isn't so much a "block" as it is a *snarl.*

Kinda like a hedge of tangled roots and branches.

A traffic jam.

A jambalaya jumble of juxtaposed junk.

(Phew! At least I haven't lost my alluring ability to alliterate…)

And it's not that I've lost my creative edge(at least I hope not) – it's more that my brain is going in too many other directions right now.

And my little gray cells are pooped!

Ever feel like that?!

It's interesting, this writing business.

Even if the writing is "just" on a blog. I actually have great respect for us blog writers. It requires discipline and dedication. It requires inspiration and perspiration. Writing is writing…

Sometimes the words flow like the mighty Mississippi – and sometimes they trickle like a drippy faucet.


There is a certain temptation to start posting less often. But I know, at least for me, that that really shouldn't be an optionat least for right now. For me, I know that God has lessons for me in the discipline of my little schedule.

So, here I sit on Sunday evening, with little to write about.

My mind is on a million things.

My kids, my husband, my parents, my health, my finances, my living situation, my future…

My, my, my.

Oh, Lord.

Here is Your word for me today – I am focusing on the wrong things.

Our pastor is doing a new series on worship.

He defines worship this way: "Responding to all God is…all He has done, is doing and will do…with all I am."

I love that.

For it re-adjusts my vision from earthly things to heavenly things. It takes my eyes off of me, and puts them onto God, where they belong in the first place.

Perhaps this is why I've been struggling with writing lately. I've been looking inside myself for inspiration. I've allowed myself to get caught up in the competing thoughts whirling around my head, vying for my attention.

In my search for words, have I forgotten The Word??

Yes, the cure for the confusion of words in my mind is the Sword of the Spirit.

So, let me share some thoughts on worship, based on Scripture:

It is active – praise is an active decision to pry our hands off the things of this world
"…fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever." (Revelation 4:10)

It is humble – in which we lay our crowns before the throne
"They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 'You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power…'" (Revelation 4:10, 11)

It is courageous – bravely and willfully turning our back on the world and its ways
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world…" (Romans 12:2)

It is sacrificial – giving up any claim to please oneself
"…offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship." (Romans 12:1)

It is complete – holding nothing back
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30)

It is surrender – saying no to me and yes to Him
"'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'" (Mark 8:34)

These were the words that washed over me this morning in church. And I am greatly blessed by their Truth.

My writing isn't MY writing – it's an expression of my worship to God. And if it's not, if I lose focus and start worrying about MY words, then it will all add up to exactly NOTHING.

Our pastor finished this morning by asking this question:

What is Jesus asking you to surrender?

Well, I suppose I never really thought about surrendering my writing, my words. I've held on rather tight to this creative process, as if I had something to do with it.

Lord, forgive me – it has been Your gift from the beginning. And I am called to use it for YOUR glory.

I tell you what – I am learning one thing very clearly.

If I get all caught up in the "snarl," then I have lost focus.

"'You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.'" (Mark 8:33)


So, maybe I need to take another look at this "writer's block" thing – maybe it's just a chance for me to listen more. Maybe it's a time to worry less about my words, and concentrate more on His Word. Maybe it's time to re-focus to worship more than wrangle words. To concentrate more on prayer than prose.

Sure, I'll still be writing.

Because God is still talking to me.

But, I'm gonna let Him sort out the traffic jam in my head.

Fortunately, when we can't find words that come easily, we can always rely on the WORD!!

Do you ever suffer from "writer's block"? What do you do about it?

Linked today with:

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Lately I've had a *guidance* theme going on my blog, huh?!

So, I thought I would do another re-post...(no, not lazy - busy, yes!)

I re-read this post myself, and I just love how God *re-speaks* a good word to me. I was once again comforted by the nurturing and warm character of our Heavenly Father. He is so very good to us!

Please enjoy this post originally posted on September 26, 2010:


Years ago on a family vacation, as we were driving on the highway, we saw a sign:


One quick look at each other, one fast U-turn… and we were off into parts unknown.

It was a quaint country road – mostly dirt and gravel – bumpy, twisty – the four miles took about 40 minutes to navigate!

Around one more bend, and there was an adorable little farmhouse, nestled next to a fruit tree orchard!

The people were the nicest people ever…and the pie???

The MOST DELICIOUS I have ever tasted! YUM, YUM…

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" reminded me of that little orchard:

"[The LORD says] 'I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.' Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them." (Hosea 14:8-9)

What a lovely picture!

God demonstrates His loving careHe listens to our prayers, and He answers them.

He is the source of our nourishment! He is a tree that never dies – His fruit is all we need!

I have this picture in my mind of myself sitting under a giant tree, relaxing in the shade - and then when I'm hungry, I just reach up and pick a piece of fruit to eat.

It's kinda like what I do with "Bible Pick 'Ems" -

God is the Tree, and His Word is the Fruit.

Each time I go to Scripture, there is something *good to eat.* Something that nourishes my soul. Something that is pure, and good, and satisfying!

Hosea reminds us that we need to listen, learn, and benefit from God's Word.

We need God's wisdom – "Lord, help us to understand."

We need discernment – "Lord, help us to listen carefully."

We need guidance"Lord, show us the way to go."

It is only by walking in God's ways that we can live in His power and hear His voice.

Without God's guidance we are lost –

He is the difference between life and death…

"Those who are wise will take all this to heart…" (Psalm 107:43)

"But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them."
(Isaiah 26:7)

We must always remember that God cares for us continually – His love knows no bounds!

What a wonderful promise...

...what a wonderful comfort!

We rest in the hands of the Almighty!!

How does God nourish you?

Linked today with Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Saturday, February 25, 2012



In these posts I will be interacting with Scripture – making it a conversational walk of faith.

Sometimes we'll be talking with Jesus, sometimes God will be talking with us.

There might even be *guest appearances* by some of our beloved characters from the Bible!

So put on your walking shoes – you know we can all use the exercise!


My servant grew up in My presence like a tender green shoot…

The servant came as a baby, grew up as a child, became a man…

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract anyone to him…

He was not a celebrity, a fashion model, he didn't have a face that anyone would necessarily remember or adore or idolize…

He was despised and rejected…

He didn't win any popularity contests, he didn't win an election, he never won an award…

He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief…

The servant was not a clown or the life of the party – he empathized with those who mourn…

Yet it was your weakness he carried, it was your sorrows that weighed him down…

My sin, your sin, burdened his shoulders and broke his heart…

He was pierced for your rebellion…

His wounds were the ones we deserved, we treasonous bunch of sinners…

He was beaten so you could be whole…

His face was disfigured by punches, his body was wracked with pain – he was wounded – so that we might be healed…

All of you have strayed away – you have left My paths to follow your own…

Willful, stubborn, proud, defiant, and disobedient…

Yet I laid on him the sins of all…

And the Father had to turn His back on His only Son…

He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word…

The graciously silent Jesus…

He was led like a lamb to the slaughter…

The perfect sacrifice, willing to die in our place…

Unjustly condemned, he was led away…

Putting aside his power, he humbly let humans execute him…

No one cared that his life was cut short in midstream…

A meager 33 years…

He had done no wrong, but he was struck down for the rebellion of My people…

Oh Jesus, we are so very sorry…

But it was My good plan to crush him, and this plan will prosper in his hands…

For it was set into motion before the creation of the world…

And because of his experience, My righteous servant will make it possible for many to be called righteous, for he will bear all their sins…

And we will be saved…

See, My servant will prosper and he will be highly exalted…

Above all nations, above all rulers and principalities and powers, above all of creation, with authority in the heavens and on earth…

And kings will stand speechless in His presence…

At His name every knee shall bow, every tongue confess…

That Jesus Christ is Lord – the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End – our Savior, Faithful and True!


(Scripture taken from Isaiah 52 and 53)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, February 24, 2012


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: defiant

What does it mean to be defiant?

Do you think being defiant can ever be a good thing? If yes - how so, and in what situations?

What is the danger of being defiant against God?

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


"The Hub" and I are facing a rather big decision.

And I have no desire to take one step out of His will. (I've done that before - it doesn't work out so well...!)

So I have been seeking after God's direction and guidance.

It's been hard to find peace.

I shared a while back that I have been looking for a *sign*. Does this mean yes? Does that mean no? It was driving me crazy - waiting for a tangible direction to pursue. This mindset just wasn't working for me.

I finally had a conversation with God one day about a week ago. I told Him that I was going to move forward, and that I totally had faith that He could, and He would, stop us if the direction we were heading was not in His plan for us.

I felt peace almost instantly.

I realized that waiting for a *sign* was in some way relying on my own understanding. I was depending on my ability to interpret God's revelation of His will.

But when I switched gears - when I stepped out in faith, trusting God to then lead one way or the other - things changed inside of me. Now, instead of putting the burden on my shoulders, I am trusting God's ability to lead, not my ability to understand.

It's a subtle difference - but it's made all the difference in the world.

I am trusting God to get me or keep me where I belong.

I thought this would be a good time to re-post something I wrote early on in my blog history (July 8, 2010). It's a message that I need to hear again...


Monday I went to a barbecue given by one of my friends.

It was the first time that I had met any of her family. They were wonderful. They treated me as if they'd known me all of their lives – they treated me like…well, like family! I felt the same way.

My friend comes from a large family. I enjoyed my time visiting with her sister, and brothers, and all the others. And yes, OK, the food was delicious!! I ate enough for a small battalion a small battalion of giants, maybe! But the highlight of my evening was spending time talking with my friend's mother.

What a precious woman of God, what a delightfully happy soul.

She and I talked about many things – and the name of Jesus wove through our conversation like a thread pulling all our thoughts together. She had a phrase that she kept repeating – it was like her little faith motto. And I just loved it

"You know, Sharon, God’s gonna get you where He wants you to be!"

When I got home that night, I couldn't get that out of my mind.

Sometimes I fret about my future (read…most of the time). I have so many expectations, hopes, dreams, and yes, fears about what's going to happen. I can get really worked up about it all. I feel impatient sometimes – sometimes excited, sometimes anxious.

I feel everything but peace it seems. Like it's "all up to me!" Like I'm a human "Garmin"I am in control of the direction of my life. Turn here, turn there, speed up, slow down…go, stop…merge, pass, and whatever you do, DON'T CRASH!!

How silly!

I'm not really in control of my life at all. And truth be told, I don't really want to be. I liked it better when I was a little girl. My parents took responsibility for me. They made my decisions. They fed me and clothed me. They took care of my needs. They loved me freely, and all I had to do was love them back – because I trusted them.

I want to be like that with God.

Total trust, total peace – totally free to just love Him back.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good…to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)

OK, Lord.

After all, You’re gonna get me where You want me to be!

Linked today with Joan at the GRACE CAFE

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, February 20, 2012


I've just spent the last few days with some of my family members.

We had a series of family meetings – so we accomplished some "business"but mostly we just had fun!!

Some family background…

My dad was the oldest of two boys, and my mom was an only child. So, my three cousins are the only first cousins I have.

Now I am the oldest of three children. And here's an *interesting* thing – each of us has a "counterpart" in our cousins.

Me – my oldest first cousin, a girl

My brother – my middle first cousin, a boy

My little sister – my youngest first cousin, a girl

Isn't that kind of cool?

My dad and my uncle were part of a very close family – and I can remember spending many birthdays and holidays as an extended family. My cousins were actually more like another brother and sisters.

Last night, at the end of two very intense days of hours-long meetings, we decided to go out to dinner, our last night together.

We ended up spending 3 ½ hours together – just reminiscing.

I can't believe how much we haven't changed.

(Some of that is a good thing – a lot of it is just hilarious!!)

My brother and my boy cousin have been lifelong friends. Both were born (stuck??) in between two sisters. So, they were really more like brothers growing up. I can't believe how much they still tease each other, and joke, and try to out *wit* each other with bantering repartee.

Last night I saw two little boys – (who are both in their 50's now) – joking like kids.

It was just heartwarming.

"The Hub" was with me, the only spouse along for the ride, and he had a great time hearing about some of those old family stories.

I think he actually learned some new "dirt" on me!

When we were coming home, I told him how special it was to know my cousins, to have them in my life, and to love them like I do.

I realized a tremendous thing – we are truly *connected* in a very unique way. Yes, we are friends – which is wonderful. But we are also something else – we are blood.

When I prayed last night, I got to thinking about this bond.

And I got to pondering how this bond isn't the only one I share with "family."

I am also vitally connected to another family – my eternal family.

Connected by the blood of Jesus.

Yes, we are a motley crew sometimes! Sorta like the disciples. Can you imagine what a ragtag bunch of buddies that was?? Sometimes I wonder what Jesus was thinking.

He pulled together the most random group of men – and yet, He chose them to build His church upon. I'm amazed that Jesus saw their potential! I know they didn't realize it – and I'm sure many who knew them doubted it too. But Jesus changed them, molded them, shaped them, transformed them into apostles that would light up the world with His Good News.

I've come to realize that that's how Jesus likes to do His business.

He takes the most unlikely candidates for ministry – and finds His way to use them.

But, what strikes me the most is this – over 2,000 years later, because of Jesus, we are all united together in the Body of Christ.

Brothers and sisters.

Related to Jesus, adopted as children of God – and because of that, we're all in the same extended eternal family.

I'm pretty excited about that.

I was sitting in church this morning, and I looked around at the large community of worshipers that surrounded me. I was quite overcome by the realization that these are "my people" because these are God's people.

We had a guest singer from Africa.

SHE is my sister, too.

And all the people that worship at her church. And all the people in China, and Europe, and Australia – and all over the world. Believers that have already died, believers yet to be born. All part of God's family – all part of mine.

So, what does this mean?

Well, practically speaking, it says a whole lot about how we should treat each other. We should practice unity, seeking harmony in what we say and think and do. We should regard each other with respect. We should act in a way that makes our love for each other VERY apparent.

People should know we are Christians by our love!

But really, we should look at each other and see Jesus. See His blood covering our individual flaws, see His blood covering our selfish tendencies, see His blood covering our mistakes and sins – see His blood covering…

We should look at the band of brothers and sisters surrounding us and see family.

Good, bad, and ugly.

But family – deeply and eternally connected.

Just like me and Jesus…

Just like me and you!


So, when's the last time you told a Christian brother or sister that you really loved them?

Linked with Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, February 19, 2012

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - The Checklist

I've been with out-of-town guests this weekend.

My cousins!

It's been great fun. We've talked, we've eaten, we've laughed, we've hugged...

But I've been super-busy.

So, will you allow me to do another re-post? (I didn't hear anything, so I'm going with YES!!)

This was originally posted on July 26, 2010:

It’s a competitive world, isn’t it?!

It seems like everyone is caught up in the "rat race" – always trying to get ahead, make more money, be more popular, look younger, beat the other guy – WIN, WIN, WIN!

There's a lot of pressure to succeed.

I once saw a license plate frame on a fancy sports car – "He who dies with the most toys, wins!"

Can you imagine a more futile life purpose?

Unfortunately, that's how most of the world operates. Thinking they're in control, people only look to fulfill their selfish desires. It's all about "me" – and being better than "you."

As Christians, we're supposed to be different…right?!

But are you like me?

Sometimes I get caught up in my own form of spiritual "rat race." I put a lot of pressure on myself to DO more for God – and then I chastise myself when I fall short and fail.

Am I dotting all those saintly *i's* and crossing all those godly *t's*?

Sometimes I run through a "checklist" – Bible Study, check…prayer, check…go to church, check…tithe, check…oops, could do a little more serving – oh man, I'm such a failure as a Christian.

Just the other day, I was feeling a little frustrated. Couldn't escape the feeling that I wasn't doing everything God wanted me to do. As a matter of fact, what DID He want me to do? So, I turned to His Word – "Lord, speak to me…"

And He did!

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" comes from Deuteronomy. And these verses told me exactly what God wants from me:

"…what does the LORD your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the LORDyour God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul…Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the LORD…And he chose you…You must fear the LORD your God and worship him and cling to him…He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise…Show love to the LORD your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him."
(Deuteronomy 10:12, 14-15, 20a, 21a / 11:22b)

The checklist just became really easy…

Fear the Lord.
Live in a way that pleases Him.
Love Him and serve Him with all your heart and soul.
Worship Him.
Praise Him.
Cling to Him.
Walk in His ways.
Hold tightly to Him.

Lord, I can do that!!!Check!

Are you *measuring* yourself by the right yardstick?

Linked today with Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Saturday, February 18, 2012



In these posts I will be interacting with Scripture – making it a conversational walk of faith.

Sometimes we'll be talking with Jesus, sometimes God will be talking with us.

There might even be *guest appearances* by some of our beloved characters from the Bible!

So put on your walking shoes – you know we can all use the exercise!



Rely on, depend on, have faith in, do not worry, rest without fear of betrayal...

in the Lord...

Not on people, or money, or position, or jobs, or health, or yourself...

with all...

Not some of it, not a portion, not just the part that's easy...

your heart...

The innermost, secret part of you - the thoughts and feelings that make you YOU...

and lean not...

Do not prop yourself up, or turn to your own abilities for support...

on your own understanding...

Your knowledge, your intelligence, your wisdom, your ability to figure things out...

In all your ways...

The little things, the big things - in everything you do...


Surrender, yield, give over, be humble, set aside self...

to Him...

The One and Only Almighty Sovereign LORD...

and He...

Not you, not anyone else...

will make...

Alter, change, confirm, guide, lead, reveal...

your paths...

Where you go in life, what you do, who you come in contact with...


In the right position, in line with His will, according to His purposes, in the way of Truth!

YES, Lord!

Lead me away from myself and my own way of looking at life. Give me Your wisdom, Your understanding, Your discernment. Teach me to know Your will. And by Your Spirit, give me the strength to follow You with all of my heart.

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"
(Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)

(Selection today is Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, February 17, 2012


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: rely

What does it mean to rely on something or someone?

What are some earthly things that people rely on?

How do you rely on the Lord?

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I'm pooped.

Yup, tuckered out, dragging my feet – beat, whipped, spent.

(Sounds like I'm making a recipe or something…)

Reminds me of something from my childhood.

Back in the day – (Neolithic Age) – we had something called the Presidential Fitness Tests. Basically, for about 3 days, we had all these challenges. Like doing sit-ups and push-ups, running and jumping and throwing.

I remember I never did very well.

I was tiny.

Short and skinny. Not a pillar of strength at all. More like a noodle of weakness.

(However, I do remember impressing everyone with my softball throw of 105 feet in 5th grade!!)

But, all these events culminated in the last day's challenge – the 600-yard run.

Oh, how I dreaded it…

I was slow, very slow. Think turtle, or snail, or slug.

And inevitably, the 600-yard "crawl" (in my case) – always made me feel sick. Nauseated, headachy, sweaty, short of breath, faint.

I walked most of it, bent over with a searing sideache.

It wasn't pretty.

Now, "The Hub" was different. That man was a regular decathlete. And he was FAST! Very, very fast. He was a sprint champion. He always ran "anchor" on relay teams. He almost always won – even when he was way behind.

He told me that he was really good at the 600-yard run. (Of course he was…show-off!)

Since we were in the same 4th, 5th, and 6th grade class together, I'm sure he was one of the (many) people that lapped me – and probably more than once.

I remembered that 600-yard run today, and thought about how tired it made me.

And I got to thinking about our spiritual race.

Yup, that faith walk varies a lot, doesn't it?

Sometimes we sprint, sometimes we crawl. Sometimes we win, coming from behind. And sometimes we're barely walking it.

There are times when we're just plain physically tuckered out, and our spiritual lives suffer. There are other times when we're spiritually weary, and our hearts suffer.

The Bible talks a lot about running the race of faith. And perseverance seems to be the key.

"…let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us…"
(Hebrews 12:1, AMPLIFIED)

I want to run a good race. Even when I'm tired. Even when I'm scared. Even when I'm discouraged.

I can't do it alone.

Only the power of the Holy Spirit can give me the strength to start the race, and the will to finish it.

Only the Holy Spirit can set the course, and keep me on track.

Only the Holy Spirit can…

I'll finish with a poem today:


I've loved you, Lord
For all my life,
Through every toil
And every strife.

Through ups and downs
And in between,
Through tears of joy
And pain unseen.

You set the race
Before my feet,
You guide my course
Without defeat.

You give me purpose
You give me hope,
You help me run
When I cannot cope.

Some days I run
With an athlete's grace,
Some days I crawl
At a snail's pace.

But I run, oh Lord
Just as hard as I might,
Always striving
To do what is right.

Now I am closer
To the finish line,
The victor's crown
Will one day be mine.

And though my steps
Have slowed a bit,
This race I will run
I will not quit.

For You sacrificed all
On a darkened day,
You gave me light
You showed the way.

So guide me, Lord
'Til this race is done,
When the sweetest victory
Is finally won.

For the one thing I've carried
Every mile,
Was the thought of someday
Seeing Your smile.

And having you look me
Square in the face,
And say, "Faithful servant…
What a great race!"

© Sharon Kirby
April 26, 2008

Lace up, my friends.

Let's run our race well.

How are you running today?

Linked today with Joan at the GRACE CAFE

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, February 13, 2012


OK, I am exhausted.

I need one of those naps I talked about last week.

Wanna know why?

It's a long story. Pull up a chair and pour yourself some coffee or tea.

Here's the intro.

"The Hub" and I treated ourselves to a rather big gift in December. We skipped birthday gifts, our anniversary gift, and Christmas gifts last year. We figured we're always kinda getting stuff throughout the year – mostly at our western festivals – so we'd save the money.


We saw something in a catalog that tempted us beyond our pocketbook sanity.

It was a life-size Cigar Indian.

Do any of you remember those?

"The cigar store Indian or wooden Indian is an advertisement figure, in the likeness of an American Indian made to represent tobacconists, much like barber poles advertise barber shops…The figures are often three-dimensional wooden sculptures several feet tall – up to life-sized.

Because of the general illiteracy of the populace, early storeowners used descriptive emblems or figures to advertise their shops' wares. American Indians and tobacco had always been associated because American Indians introduced tobacco to Europeans, and the depiction of native people on smoke-shop signs was almost inevitable.

They are still occasionally used for their original advertising purpose but are more often seen as decorations or advertising collectibles."

They're pretty cool.

So, we bought our very own.

He made a long trek to get here. He was crafted in Thailand, and then shipped to Florida, and then on to us in sunny California.

We were told that the FedEx truck would be here between 10 AM and 2 PM. Well, waiting was very nerve-wracking and exciting. I felt like we were waiting for a baby to be born.

Finally, we heard the truck approach.

The guy unloaded this GIANT crate(the Indian is almost 6 feet tall). At one point it slid partially off the ramp as it was being lowered. "The Hub" made a flying leap to rescue the crate. Fortunately, the sliding stopped or I think I would have had a pancake husband!

By the way, the crate and the Indian wrapped up in layers of cardboard looked just like we had imported King Tut! I'm not kidding, the FedEx guy gave us some very strange looks. ("Who buys a mummy these days?!")

We finally got the Indian into the house, and uncrated him. He was perfect – except for one small area on his nose that got a little crunched, and some of the paint rubbed off.

Well, I've been known in my family for being an expert at "restoration" work. I can't tell you the countless times that I have used my combination of Sharpie pens, colored pencils, and acrylic paints to mask and blend and fix flaws on my collectibles.

I'm really, really good.

So, I spent a good long time working on Mr. Indian's nose. Like at least an hour. Then, mostly satisfied with my finished product, it was time to move him into his chosen place in our home.

"The Hub" said, "Check the bottom of him before we move him. I don't want anything to hurt the carpet when I jockey him across the room."

As hubby tipped over the very heavy Indian (he weighs around 350 pounds) – I ran my hand over the underside of his base.

"I think it's OK," I told my husband.

So, jockeying commenced.

Almost immediately, a terrible, terrible ripping noise occurred. And then I saw a very long thread of carpet pulled out. Turns out there was a screw in the bottom of Mr. Indian, and it snagged a piece of carpet.

We've got this berber style carpet – with all these little carpet loops. Well, now I was looking at about 12 inches of unlooped loops.


So, for another hour I was on my hands and knees armed with Elmer's Glue, tweezers, and two pairs of glasses for the up-close work of trying to resurrect some semblance of normal carpet again.

It looks pretty good – actually really good.

The fruit of all my labor?

A crushing headache, and burning eyeballs.

Got me thinking.

God created this beautiful, perfect world once upon a time. And it was glorious. Until it got all messed up.

It had to be one of the most disheartening, frustrating things for God to see His work ruined. To see sin begin to fade the colors, and dampen the sounds, and dull the taste, and numb the feel of it all. To watch the shadows begin to take over His Light.

Oh, how His heart must have broken.

It breaks my heart to think about His breaking…

But then, in His infinite wisdom, He began His best work ever – fixing it all.

He is the ultimate Master Restorer.

After all, isn't that the Real Story behind every story in the Bible?! God at work, restoring His beloved creatures, and His glorious creation, back to His standard of holy perfection.

I might have spent hours today trying to fix flaws and mistakes and imperfections – but God moved His hand, and in one masterstroke He made restoration possible. Because He painted a cross. And on that cross, He glued all the broken pieces of every human heart back together. He retied the loops, and blended His Spirit with ours.

He did a fine, fine job.

He still does, every single day. Faithfully, He takes painstaking care – and with infinite patience He works all things together.

He's very serious about this redemption/sanctification business!

And I'm so very grateful.

Aren't you?!

How are you at fixing things? How is God fixing things in you?

Linked today with:

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, February 12, 2012

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - God's Victory!

I've been feeling sick this past week, and am still feeling quite tired. (Not to be confused with being sick and tired!)

So, today I'm re-publishing a post from July 12, 2010.

It's all about God's victory!

He is the One who carries us when we are too weary to take another step. I know, because He is upholding me right this very minute. His victory is something we can count on, rely on, and trust in forever.

I hope you enjoy today's selection:

JOSHUA - Victory!

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" comes from the book of Joshua.

Moses, the great leader of the Israelites, handpicked Joshua to be his assistant. God later confirmed his choice when He instructed Moses to commission Joshua as his successor (Numbers 27:15-23).

Joshua was a hero. He was smart, confident, brave, and faithful to God.

Today’s verses are inspiring. They talk about courage – courage that comes from complete trust in a powerful God, a God who assures us of victory.

"'Do not be afraid of them,' the LORD said to Joshua, 'for
I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.'

'Don't ever be afraid or discouraged,' Joshua told his men, 'for the LORD is going to do this to
all of your enemies.'

"…for the
LORDwas fighting for his people."

(Joshua 10:8, 25, 42)

Who are our enemies?

Temptations, struggles, failures, suffering – so many earthly circumstances threaten to steal away our peace. They can lead us into the dark valleys of discouragement, destruction, and despair.

And there is another enemy – a very real enemy – Satan. He is described in the Bible as a"devouring lion." He is constantly on the hunt, looking for ways to ruin us to steal away our trust in a good God. He has clever and effective weapons. He knows how to get to us at our weakest point. He delights in our vulnerability.

But, we too can claim the promise of God – "Not a SINGLE ONE OF THEM will be able to stand up to you."

The very same God who empowered Joshua, is the same God who will help us with ALL of our needs.

He ALONE gives us victory – He ALONE delivers us from our enemies.

"No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us." (Romans 8:37)

"If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" (Romans 8:31b)

Oh Lord, how we thank You for being our strength, our power, our courage. We could not do anything without You. Thank You for fighting our enemy, and for winning the victory we couldn't hope to win on our own. You alone, Lord - that's all we want, and all we need.

How goes your battle?!

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God"

Saturday, February 11, 2012



In these posts I will be interacting with Scripture – making it a conversational walk of faith.

Sometimes we'll be talking with Jesus, sometimes God will be talking with us.

There might even be *guest appearances* by some of our beloved characters from the Bible!

So put on your walking shoes – you know we can all use the exercise!



Today, this minute, right now…


Not some for God and some for me. No, ALL…


Magnificence, splendor, majesty, grandeur, beauty, wonder…

To God…

Almighty God, The LORD, the One and Only…

Who is able…

Omnipotent, powerful, strong – who alone has the ability to do anything and everything…

To do…

To work out, to make happen, to change, to renew, to turn around, to restore…

Through His mighty power…

His power, His might, His strength – not mine…

At work…

Not idle, not uninvolved, not uncaring, not passive…

Within us…

Not just around us, but IN us – through the awesome transforming work of the Holy Spirit…

To accomplish…

Achieve, complete, finish, get done, bring about, carry out, undertake…


Forever and ever, without ceasing or ending…


Extra, better, above and beyond, to a greater extent…

Than we might ask…

Dare we request?

Or think…

Dare we dream?


He invites us!

May we have the power to understand how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.

May we experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully!

Glory to Him through all generations, forever and ever!

Can I get a great big AMEN?!

(Selections from Ephesians 3:18-21, NLT)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, February 10, 2012


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: seek

How do you define the word seek?

Is it the same as looking for something, or is it different?

How and where do you seek the Lord?

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

(Note: I've been a little "under the weather" this week - hope to be out *visiting* everyone in the next few days!)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Do you like naps?

When I was growing up, I NEVER liked taking naps. I can vividly remember my mom trying to make me lie down in the afternoon for a while. I remember her telling me it was a good idea to take a nap so I wouldn't be tired.

I was never tired.

Years later, I finally realized the truth.

SHE was tired – very, very tired!

Sometimes she would try to lie down next to me, to encourage me to nod off. Never worked. And she didn't get to nod off either. Evidently I had a strong penchant for tossing one of my legs over her back…and over…and over.

Poor dear Mom.

God has a sense of humor, and years later Mom got some humorous revenge. Because, you see, neither one of my boys were good sleepers either.

Oldest never slept through the night until he was more than two years old(yes, years – not weeks, or months).

And by the time he was nine months old, he was only down at night for a total of 10 (interrupted) hours, and one 45-minute catnap in the afternoon.

Yes, we bonded a lot – because he was always around!!

I thought that I might have better luck with my second son.

Well, evidently he thought he needed to *copy* his big brother in everything – he didn't sleep any better. In fact, I’m not sure he ever napped – he didn't want to miss any action!

And he walked (ran) at 10 months old, too.

Poor dear Mom (me).

I was tired – very, very tired.

So, have I ever grown to like naps?

Yes, but I rarely take them. Why, you might ask? Because if I take a nap, then I can't fall asleep at night. Grrr. But I do usually put my feet up in the afternoon, and take a little time to relax. A Sharon Siesta.

Time to rest.

The Bible makes it really clear that rest is important.

How do I know this?

Because Jesus set a good example. He often went off by Himself. I know He probably spent most of that time in prayer. But I'll just bet that He did some snoozing, too.

Can you even imagine how tired He must have gotten sometimes?

All those people following Him around, demanding His time and attention and healing. Then He had to be mentally sharp, intellectually on task, to be able to teach and guide in wisdom. Not to mention having those rather entertaining debates that He had with the Pharisees and religious leaders of the day.

I'm sure that Jesus got physically tired, too – He did an awful lot of walking.

So, Jesus rested.

And He invites us to do the same.

"Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

Now I know that Jesus thinks it's very important to have mental and physical rest. But, I think in this verse He's talking about our "inside stuff"the spiritual rest we so desperately need.

How do we find rest for our spirits?

A lot of people who don't follow Jesus find other ways to calm their inner storms. A lot of illicit activity is driven by the deep desire to escape pain and boredom, and the basic world-weariness that plagues us all.

But how does a follower find rest?

I think it's very important to have a daily quiet time with the Lord. I know it's hard to do. I've only developed the discipline of it in the last three years. But, it's been well worth my effort.

I think prayer is crucial to a restful spirit. I'm not as good with that discipline. I talk to God a lot – but I really desire to have a more vital prayer life. Because praying helps me calm down.

Unloading my burdens in prayer brings me peace.

I find church restful, and Bible Study – even reading Christian books, both fiction and nonfiction – are great ways for me to rest and relax.

But, there is one thing that brings spiritual rest to me like nothing else. And that is the great outdoors. I love nature, and I never feel quite as close to God as I do when I spend time in His creation.

Fresh mountain air.

Salty waves at the beach.

Green, tree-filled hikes.

A glowing, crackling campfire.

Miles of empty spaces in the desert.

Snow on my nose.

A warm wind in my hair.

Wildlife, in all its untamed glory.

These are the things that set my spirit soaring – and bring deep spiritual rest to my soul.

So, let me emphasize again the importance of spiritual rest. Let me encourage you to seek time apart, time away, to relax. Let me challenge you to follow the example of Jesus – and develop the wisdom of self-care.

But most of all, let me urge you to turn to Himour loving and merciful Yoke-Bearer. For true rest cannot be found without Him.

He brings the rest our spirits need – the rest that our spirits crave.

The rest that only a soul saved by grace can ever feel.

Total rest – in this life and the next – at peace with God.

Do you like/take naps? How do you find spiritual rest for your soul?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, February 6, 2012


OK, by the time you're reading this, the Super Bowl will be over.

Most wives would send up a big cheer over that little bit of news.

Not me.

I LOVE football!

I usually watch more of it than "The Hub" – because I’m really *into* college football, too. And I'm gonna miss it until pre-season games start in August.

(I’ll let you in on a little secret – my favorite player? Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. I think he's a great player, and he's cute. And please don't tell anyone about my crush on Tim Tebow, who happens to be younger than my youngest son…but hey, who's counting??)

Who was I rooting for in the Super Bowl?

Well, let's just say that the match-up between the N. Y. Giants and the New England Patriots garnered the same feelings from me as the upcoming presidential election. A whole lot of "I don't like anyone" with a little dollop of "I don't really care because it doesn't seem to make a whole lot of difference what I think" thrown in there for good measure. (Wow, where did that little tidbit of political cynicism come from??)

Back to football.

There is something known as a "Monday Morning Quarterback."

Defined like this:

American football: A person who criticizes or passes judgment with benefit of hindsight. Monday morning refers to the games played or broadcast on weekends, with criticisms leveled by a spectator the following week.

(Applied to general situations): A Monday morning quarterback is someone who is always criticizing and saying how he would have done something better or differently after the event has passed.

And I just LOVE this example – (wish I had thought of it!):

An example of a Monday morning quarterback is a person who talks about how he would never have bought those curtains, after they have already been installed and have been found to clash with the sofa.

So, I'm having a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking going on today.

Last week I added photos to my blog posts for the first time in my 1½-year history. First of all, I really wanted to share with all of you what "The Hub" looks like! Then, after that post published, I sorta liked the look of a photo at the beginning of my post…

So, I did it again.

I love that picture on Wednesday's post – "The Hub" took it on a visit to a small mountain village that we love to visit. And I thought that mountain photo fit my subject matter pretty well.

I thought – "I'm gonna start adding photos. I like looking at photos on other people's blogs. And I've got some really cool pictures."

But, here’s the deal.

The more I've been thinking about it – the more I’m *looking back* – I'm re-thinking the whole deal. My "Monday morning quarterback" isn't so sure that this change fits me.

It's kinda like seeing a really cool dress that looks great on someone else – and then trying it on for yourself. The dress is wonderful, and you're pretty darn cute – but somehow, the two just don't go together quite right.

That's how I'm feeling (on Monday morning, looking back) – so I'm going back to just my words.

(See note about photos at the end of this post - I've come to a compromise decision!)

There's gotta be a lesson in this, right?!

Do you ever do some "Monday morning quarterbacking" in your faith journey?

I sure do.

There have been many moments when I look back at my "wandering" years and think that they were much easier. Not so much stress – not so much questioning – not so much angst of spirit.

I just kinda did life – and didn't worry about it too much.

There were problems, yes – of course. Life is always bringing on those pesky problems.

But there didn't seem to be the more subtle *attack* feeling I have felt since following Jesus again.

I think that's the answer.

When you decide to follow Jesus, a spiritual aspect enters into your life. Now, I've been a believer all my life – but I did do some "prodigalling"(if you're asking if that's a word…yes, it is now!)

But when I really turned my life over to Him – when I asked Him to be my LORD and not just my Savior – oh boy. Things heated up.

Evidently, following Jesus is not a popular decision with the enemy. And making that choice opens the door for spiritual attacks. Pick up your weapons, friend – there's going to be war.

Frankly, this is part of the reason that sometimes I'm afraid to trust Jesus. I don't like being on Satan's radar. I don't want him to come after me.

The ugly truth is this – there is some safety in complacency.

Following – being a disciple – is not an easy path.

I believe that's why Jesus was so very clear about making that choice intentionally. He advised us to count the cost. He warned us that cross-carrying is difficult business.

"If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison…yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don't begin until you count the cost…So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own." (Luke 14: 26-28, 33)

"If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it."
(Matthew 16:24-25)

Stern stuff.

I talk about this with my sons, with my friends.

Wasn't it easier before we turned our lives over to the Lord?

In some ways, yes. But, there's really no turning back, is there? Because once you love Jesus with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength you can only go forward with Him.

It's the only choice.

So, this Monday morning quarterback (me) is looking back at Sunday's choice to become a disciple. Truthfully, I'm not regretting it at all.

A little scared about some of the requirementsnot sure what's coming afraid of the battles and worried about the attacks.

However, in the Super Bowl of Life, I know the Winner.

And He leads my team – He's the quarterback.

I'll let Him call the plays.

I'm ready.

What do you think about when you look back at your faith journey? What has been the cost of discipleship for you?

(I've decided to add something new on my sidebar - MY PHOTO ALBUM - located right after My Word for 2012, and My Verses for 2012 - so I can feature some of those pictures I want to share with you. Also, if you scroll down a bit, you'll see a lovely picture of a hawk (not mine) - post link. And, a picture of a seaweed holdfast (yes, mine) - post link.
Phew, a lot of business...)

Linked today with:

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"