Tag Archives: Oswald Chambers

15 Ways Technology Has Improved My Spiritual Life


Technology.  There are days I love it & other days I really wish I was born in Laura Ingalls’ time & could live in a cabin in the woods, milk the cow, sweep our dirt floor, & tend the stove all day.  But, then I remember I couldn’t do all that while listening to my iPod & quickly thank God I live in this day & age!

I think we all know the huge pitfalls of it in our spiritual lives: it can eat away at our time with frivolous nothingness between gaming, pintrest, twitter, etc., it feeds any perfectionist tendencies (you could make that photo perfect if you just run it through the photo editor one more time…), and can be a huge trap for porn of all kinds if you don’t put serious barriers on your devices.  But I got to thinking this week of all the really great ways technology has improved my spiritual life.  I list them here to give ideas if you’ve never thought to use it these ways.  Please add to the list if you have ways not listed here.  Let’s swap ideas!

1 – The last few years we finally gave in & started texting.  It has been SO encouraging at times we have needed immediate prayer to be able to text my Circle of Sisters &/or Keith’s Band of Brothers to pray for the situation.  The return text alert rings, even if we can’t read them right away, brings such encouragement knowing we are being covered! And my friends & I occasionally get so excited about a passage, we’ll text it to each other for encouragement.  Or a prayer for each other “out of the blue”.  It’s nice to be able to move as the Spirit moves without calling – they can read it when they get a chance.  It always makes my day when I get those kinds of texts!

2 – Speaking of prayer, every Tuesday we can join around the country on a phone conference call to pray for revival in our nation.  How cool is that??  One week I was privileged to pray with a man in Texas, woman in Mass, another in Michigan, etc.  So exciting!  For info on how to join in on the action, click here to visit the One Cry page.  Another great thing about these prayer conference calls is that even when I can’t join them, I signed up to get a text alert to remind me every Tuesday about it.  It’s amazing how fast a week goes by & I think, “Man, is it Tuesday again?”  It makes praying for our nation’s spiritual awakening a priority.  If I have gotten too busy that week to remember to pray for our nation, that little alert gives me the needed reminder.

3 – Our church has a facebook page as well as a ministry trailer in a trailer park.  The lady that coordinates things like after school tutoring, Good News Clubs, coat distributions, etc. posts needs every now & then.  Last week, a neighbor in the park needed a stove so she posted on our fb page.  It’s a great way to get the word out, spread the news for help, & allow others to pray for & contribute.  And you can pass the good news quickly when the prayer is answered.  Love it!!

4 – The last few days there has been a prayer summit in Colorado.  We could join Joni Eareckson Tada, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Shirley Dobson, David Jeremiah, etc. in the 27 hour prayercast in the comfort of our own home for free!  Amazing.

5 – Family worship rocks!  A surround sound home theater system is not out of the norm these days.  Twelve years ago, we had a small group that started using it for worship time.  The leader at that time made power points, but these days, Keith leads our family regularly with ease using YouTube playlists.  Can’t get any easier.  If we need the words, we just put one on with the lyrics.  And it’s so fun to crank the sound up & praise the Lord together!  Keith has lately been putting our family Bible reading up on the TV each night for our evening family devotional time.  He has it set up to mirror our computer (Air Parrot), & we can then read together on the big screen from whatever translation we wish (BIble Gateway), & we can even hear it read to us in various voices using the audio Bible found there.

6 – Can’t say enough about podcasts!  You become who you hang out with & thanks to podcasts, I can “hang out” with some really great people.  If you’ve never been to OnePlace,  go check it out & find some new “friends” to fill your mind with Truth on a regular basis.  We can get anything from daily encouragement from Joni Eareckson Tada & Revive Our Hearts, to our pastor’s sermon if we missed a Sunday or our national missions conference sessions from two years ago.  Keith likes to listen to the messages each week from our Virginia pastor we had when we first got married.  There’s kids programing, Focus on the Family, Phil Vischer now has a weekly podcast, etc.  You can listen on your own time: while mowing the lawn, baking a cake, or grocery shopping.  Plus, you can start & stop it as needed, like when you’re needed to stop & kiss a boo-boo!  Genius invention, that little Shuffle clipped to my collar.  Brings me encouragement daily.

7 – Our worship leader recently started posting new songs she wants to teach the congregation on our church facebook account.  What a great idea!  Now we can listen at home & get the tune & words down so we are freed up to worship in cooperate worship time.  I enjoy new songs, but hate that awkward first few weeks when I can’t sing along because I don’t know the tune or words.  Those of us who can read music REALLY Do miss hymnals at times like that.  This eliminates that frustration.

8 – When I led our church children’s group, I started a blog to keep parents informed on what we talked about, up coming events, pictures, etc.  It also worked well to keep my stuff organized as a leader.  To see what I mean, click here.

9 – I’ve seen church sites feature testimonies for a few reasons. First it gives a way to share that testimony!  Secondly, it’s a great way for new members to get to know others in the church.  I love the idea & wish more churches did it.  Click here to see how one church does it.

10 – It’s so easy these days to just click & get a monthly prayer sheet to print & pray.  Here’s the pdf for October 2013 for an example.  Or find a great Bible reading plan (Click here for the one we use).

11 – It’s great to be able to get book, game, and movie reviews with a Christian perspective.  Plugged In is our go-to source.  We don’t watch a movie without first checking it out here.

12 – You can get things put daily into your email to remind you to pray, or give you a devotional from your favorite devo writer, etc.  We’ve gotten My Utmost For His Highest, Prayer Challenges from Revive Our Hearts, Commands of Christ, Unreached People Group of the Day, etc.

13 – There are some GREAT websites for kids these days: Adventures in Odyssey for free on line listening, Studio 252 for weekly Bible stories that connect with monthly character qualities all rolled into a cool TV show format, G.C. Kidz Club is a great missions site for kids, & Club Jelly Telly for fresh Christian children’s programing to name a few.

14 – The every day DVD is still amazing.  The fact that I can “travel” with my family any night of the week to the Holy Land & get top notch teaching at the press of a button is incredible.  If you’ve never seen Ray Vander Laan, the next 22 minutes you have free, treat yourself here then go watch more.   We watched the lesson linked below last night with the kids.  I dare you to watch it without being moved to tears by the end.  They never disappoint!  Just one of so many great resources we have at our fingertips these days.

15 – It is so easy to get $$ to people when they need it.  Last year, we had a friend pass away who had a loved one living 2,000 miles away in seminary.  Rather than give flowers, we really wanted to help him get home to be with his family.  Within 24 hours, we were able to get the news, pass the news around to friends all over the country, collect $$ via paypal, & put the gift electronically in this brother’s church fund (they have a way you can give on line) so the pastor was able to personally hand him the love gift with a note from all of us & start making flight arrangements!  Simply amazing.  Most charity organizations now have sites were you can give monthly, one time, it keeps track of what & when you gave for tax purposes for you, too.  And if you have missionaries you support, you can do it all on line & many save oodles of money having their prayer letters on line, too.  My, this list keeps getting longer…

So which of these do you use?  In what other ways has technology bettered your spiritual life?  Do share!

A “GREAT” Response & Three Freebies

Sorry to be so quiet lately. It’s been pretty busy around here, but among the many goings on has been both a Thirst Conference & an Anger Resolution Seminar in the last month. So much to share, but only time to pass on a bit. The Lord keeps bringing the following little nugget up in my life a lot lately so I thought I should type it out. Maybe it’s something you will find useful in your life, too. This is from the Gothard material I’ve been studying lately; both the Anger Resolution conference & the Commands of Christ curriculum (Command #3 – Rejoice).

Have a “GREAT” response to trials/suffering in life. This little acronym is handy for me; I can carry it with me & it sticks. It’s easy to pull up in my mind whenever needed.:

G – Give thanks – This is not a feeling, but rather an act of obedience. I need to recognize this circumstance as from God’s loving hand. Whatever it is! God brought it into my life for my good. (Romans 8:28, 31-32, 35-39) If nothing else, He is using it to build godly character in my life making me more in His image which is the goal anyway, isn’t it? He cares much more about my long-term well being than my temporary happiness. He does not mean it for evil. Giving thanks for it, no matter what, requires FAITH. (Hebrews 11:1-2,6) My reward for giving thanks as we are commanded to do in ALL circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18) is peace, joy, & love that only comes from God & that the world can’t offer. It stands out! (Hebrews 13:12-15; Job 1:21, 2:10; Phil. 2:14-15; Phil. 4:6-9; Psalm 107:22; Gen. 50:20; Jeremiah 29:11)

R – Rejoice – This is where the feeling part comes in. Rejoicing involves emotions. The ONLY way to be able to do this in horrible situations is to think of all the ways this situation could be beneficial. This requires looking at it from God’s perspective. Could He be working in someone else’s life who is looking on? Is He building a character quality in my life I need to strengthen in order to be the godly person I long to be? Is He using this to keep me on my knees & totally dependent on Him? Than that’s good! That’s where I need to be anyway. It is also helpful to remember that even in those times when a bad situation is mostly my own stupid fault (we all have them), God is graciously able to use even those bad situations to turn it around & get the glory in even that! Whatever that is! Isn’t that wonderful?! (Phil. 4:4; Hebrews 10:34 – read vs. 32-39; Matthew 5:12; Isaiah 55:8-9; Psalm 119:71, 19:8)

E – Engraft Scripture – In other words, transform my way of thinking by drenching my mind in God’s Word. (Romans 12:2; 10:17) Satan will undoubtedly be whispering lies in my ear about this trial I’m going through, no matter how big or small. DON’T listen! Even more than that, actively pursue the Truth! Whatever the situation, find applicable verses in God’s Word that speak to this area. Seek them out & collect them. Write them out. Meditate on them. Post them where they will be before my eyes multiple times a day. Mull them over. Engraft them into my life just like a horticulturist ties new branches onto a tree to make them literally grow into & become a part of the tree. (John 15:5) Memorize them. Have them ready to throw back at Satan whenever his lies pop up, day or night. (Ephesians 6:16-17; John 15:7; Psalm 119:25-29)

A – Appeal to God – Literally cry out to our heavenly Father. He knows what I need! He has given me the authority to do this! I am His child & He has promised that He hears my cries. Isn’t that amazing?! (Psalm 50:15; 55:16-17; 56:9; 107:13; Hebrews 10:19-23; 1 John 3:1, 21-22; Romans 8:15-18)

T – Triumph over evil with good works – Overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). This is what I am commanded to do as a Christ follower (Matthew 5:43-48). This goes against everything humanly natural! This only happens as I allow God’s grace to flow through me. This is where the Holy Spirit’s fruit is produced & evident in my life (Galatians 5:22-25). Jesus is our example in this – He did this for me! He took the initiative in forgiving me & changing my sinful self for His glory. I can in turn, by the power of the Holy Spirit, pass forgiveness on. This is where the world sees Christ in me! (Hebrews 12:1-4)

I’ll close with three free resources God has been using greatly in my life. Maybe you would be blessed in them as well…

Commands of Christ – a 49 week discipleship challenge. If you click the window on the right that says “select a command”, a drop down window will allow you to click through all 49 & select whichever one you want to study. You can have daily emails sent with links to help you dig daily into the wealth of materials here.

– Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ Revive Our Hearts radio program – You can listen to past programs here, or set yourself up to have it come into your iTunes or email automatically every day. I have enjoyed these daily broadcasts SO much! If you’ve never heard it, might I suggest you start with this series. I give it three sessions & you’ll be hooked!

– Oswald Chambers’ daily devotionals from My Utmost For His Highest – You can read it free daily here, or have it sent to your facebook page by clicking “like” there. I really love his short but challenging thoughts & have for years. They are always applicable & worth reading. It also doesn’t hurt that he looks a lot like my Keith – easy to love him. : ]

To My Single Friends

I meant to post this before Christmas, but you know how that goes. Anyway, I found this old draft of a letter I’d sent to a friend right after Callie was born (eight years ago). She was feeling down about her singleness & this was what I sent her for encouragement. I know so many friends out there waiting for God’s best. Another holiday of waiting is hard to take! Facing yet another year with that dream still allusive. This is a long post, but I hope it brings encouragement. It’s what I plan on sharing with our children if/when God calls them to wait…

This morning, after our phone conversation, I awoke at 4am & couldn’t sleep. So, I got up, took a hot bath, read Oswald Chambers, & the Lord brought to mind some things I should’ve shared last night but didn’t think of. So, I thought I’d write them down & share them in a letter.

In thinking back to Keith & me, the critical point for me was when I gave him up “as my Isaac”. Let me explain. There was a point when I knew I loved him & was pretty sure he loved me, but he didn’t know it (women usually know before men i find!). This was about the time I had signed up to go teach in Korea & he was all “excited for me”, remember? Well, that Sunday, after wrestling with all this over a very long weekend, I decided to give him up to the Lord. And not just him, but any & all relationships with guys. My heart’s desire was to be married & have/raise godly children, & God knew that – I felt he gave me that desire. But I had to (as Abraham) literally place that whole desire on the alter, give it up to God by walking up front at TRBC that night, & leaving it all on the prayer steps before the Lord. I told Him that I would give Him my dreams of a family & if He chose to give it back to me, great. But if not, I would be happier with Him alone! And I had to really let that dream die. I think at that point, I was able to make the right decisions about Keith – as far as not writing him, totally letting him go & leaving it up to God to bring him back to me if that’s what was best for me & Keith, etc. & not get “mopey”.

It doesn’t end with marriage. God brought me to a similar “test” later – just last year. We got pregnant right away with Nate & I just assumed we’d be able to “control” & “decide” when we had our kids. Boy, did God show me Who’s in control & teach me through this one! (And I’m so glad He’s in control & not me!!) We “decided it was time” for another child in our family when Nate was a year & a half, but God wanted to teach us something about Himself instead. We prayed – no baby. After over a year, I was really sad about it & (of course) everyone around me was having a baby. There was a time I even prayed for twins thinking, “Well, Lord, since there’s this gap here, maybe You could make use of the extra time between kids & ‘double our money’.” : )

Then Keith’s cousin got pregnant with twins! I struggled with that one. The twins were born & I was still not pregnant & very sad. A week later, while taking a meal to a friend who’d just given birth to her 8th baby, I finally came to the end of the struggle. I had to again totally give my dreams to the Lord & say, “Lord, this is not my life, it’s Yours. You are the Master planner & You have a master plan with my best interest in mind. If Your will is for us to raise one child, I will raise that child happily with all my heart. I will not waste any more of the precious time You have blessed me with all sad about something that obviously isn’t best because You haven’t given it to me & if it was for my best, You would give it to me. You know what’s best for all involved & I trust you. Thank You for being trust worthy!” And I left the dream of any more children totally with God, not to worry about it again but to instead rest in Him & thank Him for this time in my life. A week later, the twins were found to have CP & one almost died. That family went through so much. I was able to pray for them a lot through that because I felt a “connection” to them having prayed for twins & all & feeling that if God had let me “have my way”, that could’ve been me sort of thing. They came to mind very often through all that. Anyway, long story longer, a year later (note: we found out Callie was on the way literally the next month after I gave it all to the Lord!) the twins have been healed completelyno sign of CP now – it “disappeared”! We have a beautiful baby girl! And again, I’ve learned Who’s in control & knows best. It was not until I totally died to my dreams & gave them completely to God that my dreams were fulfilled – as with my relationship with Keith. But I couldn’t lay my dreams on the alter to “manipulate” God into giving me my heart’s desire – I had to just die to them & rest/trust in Him PERIOD.

The other part of that was to find JOY in my dead dreams & to really believe this was all for good. This is where real faith comes in. With Keith, it was going & teaching in Korea – pouring my heart into ministry. I did that before I met Keith, too – teaching Sunday School with all my heart, and I loved it. I really miss not being able/having the time to teach SS like that now! I loved it! I really felt God was using me to make a difference in those kids’ lives. With waiting for Callie, it was praying more for others focusedly (is that a word? Cuz I just used it.) Like, praying for pregnant women, for barren couples, for the abortion issue, etc. I am now much more keenly aware of infertile couples & their pain – I was clueless as to that before! Now I can pray with knowledge for them. I can also testify to God’s perfect timing & encourage them (as with you & relationships) that God does have a plan & His timing is perfect – REST in the mean time! Concentrate on your relationship with the Lord through it all. he is bringing these things into your life & using these circumstances in your life to make you into the person He wants you to be, which is where you will be most fulfilled as His child.

Matthew 6:25-33 = “…don’t worry about everyday life…Look at the birds…your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him than they are. Can all your worries add to a single moment to your life? Of course not…why worry…if God cares so wonderfully for the flowers that are here today & gone tomorrow, won’t He more surely care for you?… So don’t worry…your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, & He will give you all you need… if you live for Him & make the kingdom of God your primary concern.”

Oswald chambers wrote, “Pay attention to the Source, & out of you will flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). We cannot discover the source of our natural life through common sense & reasoning, & Jesus is teaching here that growth in our spiritual life comes not from focusing directly on it, but from concentrating on our Father in Heaven. Our Father knows our circumstances, & if we will stay focused on him, instead of our circumstances, we will grow spiritually – just as the lilies of the field.”

That really struck me this morning. Isn’t that ultimately what life is all about? We are here to glorify God. PERIOD. God uses life circumstances to shape us into glorifiers (is THAT a word? cuz I just used it!) give us His character so the world may see Him through us & know him. His whole theme throughout the OT & NT & on to Revelation is to “make Himself known”. Psalm 59:13b says, “Then the whole world will know that God reigns…” If I can do that best single, than let it be so, Lord! If I can best do that married, let it be. Best with no children, one child, many children…Your will, not mine! Let me be like Mary & sit at Your feet, learning from You, loving You; rather than getting so caught up in life around me like Martha.

In conclusion, as I was flipping through Psalms to find a verse (they are all over if not looking for them, but not as obvious when you are looking!) about God’s aim of “letting the world know I am God”, these popped out at me & I’ll just list them – you can look them up. I have the NLT which is what I was reading when I found these. Hope they bring the needed encouragement…

Psalm 84:5-7/10-12 Psalm 81:10b/16 Psalm 73:25-28 Psalm 71:5-7 Psalm 66:5,7,9,12b,19,20 Psalm 63:1-8 Psalm 62:1,2,5,8 Psalm 56:3,8,9b Psalm 46:1-3,7,10 Psalm 43:4,5 Psalm 42 Psalm 40:1-3,10,16,17 Psalm 37:3-5,7b,16,18,25,34 Psalm 34:1-19 Psalm 31:5a,14,15a,19,23,24 Psalm 30:5b,11,12 Psalm 27:1,4,8,10,13,14 Psalm 16:2,5,6,8,11 Psalm 4:3,7,8 Psalm 5:3,12

Your sister, Leigh Ann”

2009 Update: The girl I sent this letter to is now married with two sweet boys, God has given us two more children so far, & the twins are still healthy! Saw them over Christmas up in MN – cute. Until I read this letter again, I had totally forgotten they ever had CP. Oh, and God continues to teach me He has a great plan even in the twists & turns. It always turns out better when you lay your plans in His hands!

Also, since writing this to my friend, I’ve found Nancy Leigh DeMoss. If you’re a single woman (or married!), check her stuff out. Run! Really!! She’s that good.

Three Quotes

These don’t really have anything to do with one another, they’re just three quotes that have caught my eyes/ears recently & have been on my mind, so I post them…

“The middle way that some in this chamber (Congress) have been seeking is no way at all. If we finally fail in this great & glorious contest, it will be by bewildering ourselves in groping for the middle way!”
– John Adams –
I don’t know the date on this one. It just struck me in the John Adams movie so much I had to write it down verbatim. We did get to see the whole thing, BTW. Excellent!!! There is a scene or two in it, though, so don’t watch it with the children the first time.

“Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny! Compared to the Soviet Union. They don’t pose a serious threat to us. Iran… they spend 1/100th of what we spend on military. If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn’t stand a chance.”
– Barak Obama –
May 18th, 2008, Pendelton, Oregon

“We can see God in exceptional things, but it requires the growth of spiritual discipline to see God in every detail. Never believe that the so-called random events of life are anything less than God’s appointed order…
Beware of being obsessed with consistency to your own convictions instead of being devoted to God. If you are a saint & say, ‘I will never do this or that,’ in all probability this will be exactly what God will require of you… (Love that!! So true!)
The important consistency in a saint is not to principle but to the divine life.”
– Oswald Chambers –
My Utmost For His Highest, November 14th

Link Love

Just a few links to articles I’ve read in the last 24 hours & had to share…

Alex & Brett Harris on Doing the Hard Things/The Rebelution. I always love these guys’ blog! It gives me such a hope for America’s future. Today’s post is a good one.

Read today’s post on Randy Alcorn blog on the new earth & our future hope. He puts it so well!

And lastly, if you don’t read Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest” every day, you should. Yesterday’s reading was yet another stellar entry. I find myself saying, “Preach it, Brother! That’s so true! Good stuff!” on a daily basis. He had amazing insight & said it so concisely. Plus I think he looks a lot like my Keith, as does Bill Nye the Science Guy. Keith’s the much better looking one of course, but that’s another post all together.