This is War!

I have been been in a war the past few weeks, and at times, I must admit, I have felt DEFEATED! With whom am I battling, you ask? Who is this enemy?

It is the dreaded Japanese Beetle!

To read about how the enemy of our souls resembles this WICKED bug, please visit me at Laced with Grace today.

To finish reading this devotion, please visit me (click on) at Laced With Grace!

Word-filled Wednesday

God cares about us!
He cares for His Creation!
Many times, we can fret and worry and become distracted with our circumstances and discouraged with our troubles...
But Jesus tells us that our Father in Heaven is watching over us.
He cares about the birds of the air.
He cares about the flowers in the field.
And, if He cares for these "little" things-
how much more does He care for you-
His precious daughter-
made in His image?
So, today, give Him your worries.
Give Him your concerns.
Trust in Him~rest in Him.
He cares.

Boy, did I need to hear this again! I posted this last summer during the Flood of 2008. I needed then to know that God cared for me. I need to know that again. If you have been following my blog the past couple of weeks, you will know that I have been "going through it!" But, remembering that God cares for me....He is good. If He cares for the flowers and birds of Creation, how much MORE does He care for me? I walk through trials (both big and little), I will choose to remember His great love and care for me. And, if you would like to read more about my recent struggles, click here and here.

Father God, thank You that You love me and care for me. Help me to rest in You in times of struggles. Help me to fall in Your lap, refreshed and renewed. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who
of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life
28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field
grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these
things will be given to you as well.
34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.-Matthew 7:25-34

Ever run out of gas?

The girls and I had a wonderful time on Saturday. We went to a baby shower back "home" in Illinois. My nephew and his wife are expecting. I am going to be "Great Aunt". Now that is weird!

We enjoyed the "Girls Day Out", dressing up, visiting relatives, and even enjoying the 3 hour drive there and back. On the way home, we drove west into the sunset. It was breathtaking. We had fun taking turns choosing songs on the ipod to sing along to. We sang to Superchick, Hannah Montana, and even Bob Marley.

But, as we neared Cedar Rapids, the unthinkable happened (especially at 10 PM)- we ran out of gas! And, of course, God had spiritual lessons He wanted to teach me.

To read the devotion, please visit me here at Laced with Grace.

Also, you may also enjoy reading, "Fill Me Up (but not with empty cups!)".

Don't Ignore the Holy Spirit's Warnings!!!!!!

Oh, my. What an end to a TERRIBLE day! (Scroll down to read all about the earlier mishaps!)

I just received YUCKY news. My computer died the week of the "A Woman Inspired" conference, so I have been without my laptop for weeks. My friend, who had been out of the country, returned and had some time to fix it. It wasn't as easy as he thought it would be and as it turned out, I LOST all of my Word documents.



Years of work.


Documents for my speaking ministry.

Hundreds of documents.


No problem, you say because everything was backed up, right?


For months now the Holy Spirit had been warning me, whispering to me, to back up my computer files.

Yes, I will do week.....when I have a few more minutes....when I have some free time.

So, each time the Holy Spirit again reminded me to do this, I put Him off, assuring Him and myself I would do it.....eventually.

What is that about delayed obedience? Disobedience! And, when we (I) choose to go our ways, ignore God's warnings, do things in our timing, well.....we (I) get into trouble!

The Holy Spirit is our Helper. He wants to lead us and guide us. God wants to help us in our walk. "When we trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, lean not upon our own understanding, then He will direct our steps, straighten our paths." I should have trusted God, heeding His warning. I should not have leaned upon MY understanding, stubbornly doing it my own way.

So......I am IMPLORING YOU- don't ignore the Holy Spirit! Listen and heed that still, small voice within You. Trust in what He tells you.

Mama said there would be days like these!

OK....what a crazy day....

Got up late (set the alarm for PM instead of AM).

Began with a run. Time to be with Him. Worship to awesome praise music. Prayed over my day, it was going to be a busy one. Asked God to be over it all. Told Him I surrendered my time to Him.


Cut beautiful lilies for inside. Went upstairs to wake Ashley for swim practice.

"Mommy, I don't feel good."

"You'll feel better once you wake up and eat a little something. Come on, you can't miss practice." (Unspoken translation: I don't have time for you to be sick today. Have to stick to our plan. )

Took Ashley to practice. Came home to make toast for the rest of the kids. Aaron came running down. "Mom, the bathroom is FLOODED! The water is running!"

Ran upstairs to find 2 inches of water on the floor, water running in the sink, overflowing.....

"No! No! Please help, God!"

Every towel from the linen closet soaking up the flood. (Just washed, dried, folded and put away yesterday.....another mess to clean up).

Run downstairs to make sure water isn't flooding through family room ceiling.

It is.

More towels.

Holding towels to ceiling. Run to get fans!

All the kids pitching in to help.

Soaking water.

Phone rings.

Ashley threw up at the pool.

Andrew, hold the towel while I get Ashley.

Paint chipping off the ceiling.

Tuck in Ashley. Check the ceiling.

Fight with Andrew.

After 2 hours of taking care of flooded bathroom, time to do basics and chores.

Take a shower (still had not from the 7 AM run!)

Walk into the kitchen.....Buddy (the dog) threw up.

Clean it up.

Start on lunch. Oops. Forgot that the pasta was boiling on the stove.

Lord, what a day. (and it's only lunchtime).

Lord, I know there are things that You want to teach me through the trials of life. Days when "everything seems to go wrong"....I know You are there. What is it, God that You want me to learn from all of this?

I sang this morning that I want to depend on trust You. I know that it is so much easier to say, pray, and MEAN when I am running with praise music playing in the ipod.....just me and You, God. No worries. No chores. No tasks. Just me and You on a country road, basking in the beauty of Your nature.

But, when I come home, that is where I have to live it.

When the ceiling floods. When the dog throws up. When life doesn't go how I would like it. This is where I must live it. To choose to surrender to You. To choose to trust in You. To choose to turn to You, depend on You.

I love You, Lord. Thank You, God.

Blessed be Your Name.

And.....I ALWAYS APPRECIATE your prayers! :)

Thankful Thursday

Since it is late Wednesday night while I write my "Thankful Thursday," I have to say what comes to my mind first is being grateful for an awesome day today with my kids. Because it was a rainy day, we had lots of fun playing board games.

We had a Monopoly championship, then played my favorite, Life.

Lord, thank You for a time of rest and relaxation today. Thank You that we didn't have to "GO" anywhere or "accomplish" anything. In today's world of hurry here and go there and finish this activity and accomplish this is so WONDERFUL to just do NOTHING- but laugh together, have fun, and PLAY.
Why don't I allow myself to do this more often? And, why do I get irritated when my family has no problem in this area of resting/relaxation/playing? I sometimes get frustrated at their (Brian's and the kids) LACK of being upset that things AREN'T "getting done." They don't feel "guilty" when our never-ending to do list "ain't" done.
I know, Lord, that I need to rest in You more often. I need to NOT focus on the doing and just focus on the being. I am not measured by how good I am or how much I accomplish or how together I am. I am good because You are good. My life is hidden with Christ in God. I am "all right" because Your Spirit lives within me, because I am Your Child, and because the blood of Christ has done all that needs to be accomplished.
So, as I ponder how fast "Life" happens when playing the board game- you finish college, choose a career, get married, have kids and retire all in an afternoon- I realize that REAL LIFE happens at equally break-neck speed and I need to slow down and enjoy it! I have awesome, wonderful kids who WANT ME to play games with them. I know this is just a season and before a blink of an eye they will be grown.
So thank You, Lord, for an afternoon of refreshment. And, more importantly, God, thank You for wisdom in teaching me to slow down and rest in You. Enjoy my time each day. Enjoy my kids.
Thank You for rainy days.
Please visit my friend Lynn for more Thankfulness!

Thirsty for His Presence!

First posted October 9th, 2006

"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together!"

I have been reading this great book, "Drawing Near" by John Bevere. He often uses the plight of the Israelites and Moses as biblical examples, so I have been going back to their story and rereading it for myself.

God can teach us so much through their experience! And, I how I see myself, too. Even though God delivered them with signs and miracles from BONDAGE and cruel slavery, every time they would come up against hardship in the desert (or "wilderness"), they would grumble and complain to Moses. They would ask Moses, "Why did you bring us out of Egypt? We should go back to Egypt!" This was the one that REALLY got me, "Isn't is enough that you have brought us up OUT OF A LAND FLOWING WITH MILK HONEY (EGYPT), to kill us in the desert? Morever, you haven't brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards."

Can you believe that?! Yes, Egypt was a land flowing with "milk and honey", but not for them! They were slaves! They did not even get to experience the bounty and prosperity! Isn't that just like us, at times? When times get hard, as God is leading us through our own personal wilderness, we cry out for the way things WERE. We would rather grumble and complain about the "good ole' days", even when they weren't in truth so good, then to dig our heals in, take God's hand and walk with Him in the desert. We willingly trade freedom for bondage.

What REALLY blew me away, though, is that a group of priests get really mad and rebel against Moses and Aaron (Moses' brother and "top" priest). A priest named Korah (remember this name!) got his family and 250 other leaders to rise up against Moses. He wants some of Moses' power. He says, "The whole community is holy (yea, right!), and the LORD is with all of them. Why do you put yourselves above them?"

You see, in Korah's eyes, "holy" meant following all of the laws and rituals. But, God looks beyond following the law....He looks at the heart. Yes, they were following and obeying God's directions, but with what kind of attitude? And, didn't God Himself place Moses in charge? Wasn't it Moses who led them out of Egypt? And, this is most important, who talked to God? Who continually was in the presence of God? It was Moses.

Moses had a HEART for God, a relationship with Him, a hunger for His presence.

So, the next day they go to appear before God, to let Him judge between them. God tells Moses and Aaron to seperate themselves from these men (Korah, his family, and 250 leaders) so that He can "put an end to them at once." Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, "O God, God of the spirits of mankind, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?" Moses does what He has continually done through grumbling and complaining of the Israelites- He falls face down and cries out for God's mercy. When you read the story, the people grumble and blame Moses. It strikes me that Moses is forgiving and merciful even when He is the brunt of all their bad behavior. Anyway, God has everyone move away from Korah, Datham, and Abiram (family). He warned the assembly, "Move away from their tents or you will be swept away because of their sins."

God opened the earth and swallowed up the families of these men (women and children, too), then a" fire came out of the LORD and consumed the 250 men who followed Korah."

God was MAD! He was angry at their rebellion, their lack of reverence, complaining, and pride. Now you would think that would have been the end of it, wouldn't you? I mean, if it would have been me, if I saw the earth open up and swallow people and then a fire consume 250 more, I would have been doing some big time repenting! For us, it obvious that they had sinned and offended the LORD greatly. But, can you believe this, the next morning, " the WHOLE (YES, WHOLE!) communtiy grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 'You have killed the LORD'S people' they say."

What rebellion! And, blaming! WHO killed the community???? MOSES????? We never want to take responsiblity of our own actions when it much easier to blame someone else! Notice, again, that it is against Moses that grumble and blame. Even though they saw with their own eyes the earth open up and fire come from the LORD.

Well, you can guess that the LORD was ANGRY! He was going to "put an end to them at once." Again, Moses and Aaron fall facedown on behalf of the people. Moses tells Aaron to put incence in his censer to make atonement for the people. "The wrath came out of the LORD and the plague had started." But, Aaron runs over to the people with his censer and made atonement for the people." The plague had already started, so Aaron was a dividing line between the living and the dead. The plague stopped where he stood. 14,700 people died from the plague.

OK, this so amazed me. I wondered how could the people have been so obstinate, rebellious, stubborn? How could they have witnessed with their own eyes God's anger the day before as He dealt with the rebellious Korah and his followers, and still not be humble and repentant? Instead, they go and do the same thing? Didn't they see how angry God was? I began asking God how could this be? How can people see with their own eyes the will of God, and still rebel against Him? Wouldn't what they witnessed the day before nipped any grumbling in the bud? Stopped it cold? Obviously not. But, how, why?

And, God showed me that these people, although they follwed Him, did not have a "relationship" with the Living God. They foll0wed His commands and rules, but didn't know His heart. They didn't seek after the presence of God ("you go, Moses, and talk to God for us"). They didn't spend time with Him, getting to know HIM. They wanted His blessings and the promised land, but they didn't want to get to know Him.

And, how many of us are like that today? We want all the benefits of God, His blessings, answered prayer, our "promised land", but are not willing to get to know HIM, to spend time with Him, to get to know His heart. Do we hunger after His presence? Do we seek HIM above all else? Not just praying because we need something, but praying and reading His Word because we want Him more and more. We long for Him because life without His presence is NOTHING! Nothing compares to the joy and the passion we fill when we are walking with Him.

Moses was amazing. Do you know that when God got fed up with the Israelites at one point, He told Moses, "OK, go into the promised land. I will send an angel to go in before you to clear the way. BUT, I am not going in with you. You will not have my presence." But, Moses refuses! He knows that life in the desert WITH God is better than any promised land full of blessing and prosperity WITHOUT God.

Oh, God, may that always be OUR prayer, the cry of our heart! May we say we don't want the thing (no matter how wonderful) if You are not going to be with us! We don't want the job promotion if we won't have Your presence with us. I don't want any speaking opportunity if Your Spirit is not there!

Oh, God, may we hunger and thirst for Your presence above all! May we continue to seek You with all of heart, our soul, our mind, our strength. May Your love be better than life!

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Rejoicing in His amazing love!

Thirsty for Him,


I have been so excited to meet many new people at my blog recently. As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that many who haven't followed me and don't know my "story" might not know what "Thirsty for Him" means.

I choose this as the name and theme of my ministry because it is the cry of my heart for myself and other Believers- to be so thirsty for a relationship with God. To HUNGER after desire to know Him more and walk in His be filled to the MEASURE of all the fullness of God.

The first time I read Psalm 63, I cried "YES! That is how I feel!" I continue to go back to this psalm because my prayer is that I never stop feeling this way. When I am walking through deserts or dry places, I want to continue to turn to seek HIM with all that I am.

O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen You in the sanctuary and beheld Your power and Your glory. Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise You. (verses 1-5)

My favorite devotion, Thirsty, is really my ministry passion. I thought I would reprint it here. Also, if you haven't yet, I invite you to read my "story." Just click on "Testimony" at the top of my blog.

Have you ever been thirsty, really thirsty? So thirsty that your tongue was sticking to the roof of your mouth? So parched and dry that your throat was sore?

I believe we are thirsty in today’s world. We are thirsting for God and His Word. We are longing for Him, as Psalm 63 cries. God has placed this desire in our hearts and our souls to know Him, to search for Him, to worship Him. There is a deep yearning inside of us to grow closer to our Creator.

You may be feeling this desire, this longing, this thirst right now, but you are not sure why you feel it. You only know that something is missing. You have a longing, a need that has not yet been met. You begin to search for the cause of your thirst.

Unfortunately, in today’s “me-centered,” impatient society, we try to fill that thirst, that longing with a “quick fix”- a chocolate brownie, a shopping spree, a margarita, TV, our endless activities, or a gossip session with a friend on the phone. We think these worldly pursuits will fill us up, make us feel better, and quench the thirst we are experiencing. These invitations look so appealing. The world claims we will experience fulfillment and satisfaction.

And, we want instant gratification! We don’t want to wait for God to fill us. We want to control our lives, to take care of ourselves, to pamper ourselves. We look to the world’s methods of making us feel better. We don’t like the uncomfortable feeling of thirst. We don’t want our spirits to feel pain, discomfort, longing or loneliness. So, we become deceived into looking for the “water” of the world to quench our thirst.

But, Jesus offers us such a better way! While talking to the Samaritan woman at the well, (John 4) Jesus talks about “living water.” He points out the “world’s” water- the water of the well, and says, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again.”

Isn’t that true with our “water”? Food, possessions, praise from man, turning to exercise or watching TV never satisfies us. We continually want more and more. Our desire becomes insatiable, sometimes consuming us. The more we have, the more we want!

Jesus tells the woman at the well, “But, whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

Doesn’t that water sound so much more refreshing? Not only will our initial thirst be quenched, but we will have a SPRING bubbling, flowing within us! Not a glass of water, a drop of water, but a source of water. You will never, never be thirsty again!

Jesus says in John 7:37-38, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” Remember, your soul is thirsting for the Lord! When you fill it with Him, you will be satisfied.

Come, drink of this water and be refreshed.

Father God, thank you for loving us so much! Thank you for creating this longing in our souls to know You. Please help us Father to seek you earnestly and to look to you to fill our heart’s longings. Father, please help us to ignore the invitations of the world. Help us to instead drink in Your living water. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Word-Filled Wednesday

Live in harmony with one another. Romans 12:16 the Berta "Bunch" has not been getting along too well with one another lately. Maybe it has been too many INSIDE days "cooped" up in the house.....

Maybe it has been too many late nights sitting around a firepit and running through the grass with sparklers...

Maybe it is just plain FUN to tease your siblings! (I grew up with only one sister who was 9 years older than me, so I didn't experience the "joys" of tattle-telling, teasing, and temper tantrums!). All I know is that after the 6th or 7th interruption of me having to stop the lawn mower while trying to get the grass cut, I had had ENOUGH!

I thanked God that He had led me to listen to Romans while I was mowing. So, when I came in, (still grassy and sweaty), I called a "family meeting." We began reading the "love" chapter in Romans together!

12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

For my kids, I wanted to make sure that these verses actually APPLY to our lives. We talked about how spatting, fighting, being unkind to one another is "evil." Loving, forgiving, bearing with one another, being patient with each other is "good."

12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.

"Devoted" to one another....even when we don't "feel" like it...even when the other person has hurt our feelings or isn't agreeing with BROTHERLY love (and their bibles said "sisterly" as well!). We were able to talk about how family loves each other.

Honor one another above yourselves.

I don't have to always get my own way! Think about being kind to your brother/sister. Let them go first, make up the game, choose first...

12:12 Be patient in affliction.

Don't lose your temper! When you are being "wronged" (affliction), don't fly off the handle. Don't say words that will hurt the other person.

12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil.

Tattle-telling to "get the other in trouble"! Don't "get even"!

12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. As Ashley said, "try to think about what Jesus would do or say. Would He call someone a 'jerk' because He's mad? Would He hold a grudge or forgive?"

As we talked about the teaching in Romans, we agreed that these behaviors are HARD and go against what our "natural" impulses would be. (Maybe that is why the chapter is titled "Living Sacrifices"!) I explained that it is IMPOSSIBLE to act and react in these ways on our own. We have to rely on the Holy Spirit to help us. When we are in the middle of the temptation/trial/conflict, we must STOP and pray, asking God to help us.

And, when we do these things, we "live in harmony with one another." (verse 16). Just like a piece of music, with many different instruments playing, when it is in harmony, it comes together to make a BEAUTIFUL sound.

By the way, I love this image! I first used it in another parenting post called

I want what YOU have! . Click here to read it. I hope you have a few minutes to read this as well. And, please visit Amydeanne this week for more great WFW!

Gathering at the Well

Deb from One Single Minute has written a GREAT post at the well today! Please, please take a minute and read it. I am again convicted about wallowing in self-pity instead of truly LOVING my family, as 1Corinthians tells us.

Deb has asked us to chat about love. I woke up late this morning, so instead of writing a new post, I have been encouraging myself with Deb's, two past posts I have written here and here, and of course, all of the other ladies' posts who have gathered at the well.

Click on pictures for past posts on love.

Making the the Internet Cafe

Do you like making the bed? Have you ever thought making the bed is like MARRIAGE? I wrote about it today at the Cafe.....

To read this devotion, please come over to the Cafe. Click here.

Cafe Chat......What if they don't think like ME?

I am so glad you joined us for a chat today at the Internet Cafe! The topic is not a light one, but a very thought-provoking question.

Today at the Cafe, Kim asks us:

When it comes to an issue or truth that you believe in, maybe even feel like God revealed that truth to you; how do you respond to another Christian that might have the opposite view from you? Do you feel like the way you respond lines up with how God would want you to respond?

First of all, God ALWAYS wants me to respond in love.

This question is a little "tricky" because how I respond will definitely depend on if this is truth that God has revealed to me personally, or the Truth AND how God CALLS me to respond. There may be things in my own personal walk that God has spoken to my heart. But, that doesn't mean that He is teaching everyone (my friends, my husband, my small group members) the same truth at the same time.

Here's an example. Several years ago, when I was just beginning my walk with the Lord, He placed on my heart to throw away all of my Halloween decorations. I had several "cute" ghosts, witches, etc. I had a desire and conviction to GET RID of everything that represented Halloween. For me, (and this is where we have to be careful. I don't want anyone reading this post to feel condemned if God hasn't laid on your heart the same convictions!) I couldn't stand any Halloween decorations to be in my home- no matter how "cute"! I filled a whole garbage can with decorations.

Now, here is the thing.....I know several Christians who do "celebrate" Halloween and put up witches, ghosts, Frankenstein, etc. God may not have placed on THEIR hearts to toss all of the decorations. I am not to condemn them and tell them all to throw away their decorations. I AM NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT! But, I do share openly with my friends what God has shown ME about it.

Here's another one. There are several TV shows I would not watch because they are not glorifying to God. If I would watch them, the Holy Spirit convicts me and I feel uncomfortable. But, that doesn't mean that I go to my friends and tell them to stop watching their favorite TV shows. I DO openly and honestly share what God is teaching ME and the struggles I may have with obeying. I share how the Spirit is led me and taught me, and allow the Holy Spirit to do the convicting.

God has taught me a truth that I need to get up and spend time with Him daily first thing in the morning. I don't "impose" this truth on others. Again, I share with them my personal experience of needing the Lord's presence and guidance first thing. I share with them that I need to fill up on Him before I try to go about my day, otherwise I find myself depending on my own strength and not Him. But, I can't force this truth on others. I share my own experience, but the desire and truth has to come from the Holy Spirit.

Diet Coke. I used to be addicted and drank several cans a day. God spent a lot of time teaching me about my body being the temple for the Holy Spirit and that DC was horrible for it. God has convicted ME of not drinking it. Although now I drink it in once in awhile, FOR ME, going back to a lifestyle of having it daily would be sin.

So, it is IMPORTANT to SHARE what God is teaching you personally, but don't be judgemental and condemning. I have learned the hard way that only God can do the work of the Holy Spirit.

But, there is a difference between what truths God is teaching you personally and THE Truth. I believe we need to be honest with one another with His Truth and sin.

For example, if a friend would start gossiping about someone on the phone with me, I would stop the conversation and say something like, "I'm sorry. I don't feel comfortable with this. I have struggled with gossip and need to be careful not to engage in it. I don't like to talk about someone when they aren't here."

Now, I am a chicken in person. I can think of two times I walked into a group who was gossiping. I excused myself and walked away immediately without participating, but didn't say anything. I didn't say, "hey guys, this is wrong. We shouldn't talk about someone like that. It's gossip."

And, for me, it's much easier to be honest and authentic in a small group. We are all there to grow in our maturity in the Lord. Our hearts WANT to turn from sin, to walk closer to the Lord, to press in. So, speaking the Truth in love is "welcomed."

But, there are times in life when God WILL call you to sit down with someone, IN LOVE, and confront them about a sin.

God has called me to confront a friend about her sin, BUT, HE INITIATED IT!!!! He opened the door for the conversation. He placed on my heart such a strong command to talk to her that when I stalled, trying to avoid it, I had such a sense of unrest, no peace. I knew without a doubt that God was commanding me to talk to her.

I have a friend that is caught in a sexual sin. God placed on my heart to sit with her and confront her lovingly, sharing with her that this sin was not God's best for her and that it hurt Him deeply that she would walk in disobedience. I knew it could only be God because we had an incredible, loving conversation full of tears (from both of us). The conversation brought us closer together as friends. Her sin, which was out in the open but never discussed had become "the elephant in the room." After our conversation, we can openly talk about. And, she knows that I care about her enough to bring up uncomfortable things BECAUSE I love her.

My hairdresser, on the other hand, is a different example. He is homosexual. I have known him for 8 years and God has NOT placed on my heart to confront him. Instead, I pray for him and LOVE him. I share with him personal stories of my own convictions and battles. He asks many questions. I wait for a time when GOD OPENS THE DOOR to talk to him about it.

Wow, I know this is a long post....didn't mean to ramble and I don't know if I even answered the question! LOL! These were the thoughts that came to my mind....

I guess one last thing. Kim asked us how we respond to people with the opposite view of us with truths God has spoken to us.

Again, I believe we need to be honest, but NOT try to be the Holy Spirit. I think politics is a good example.

God has laid on my heart that I can NOT vote for a politician who is pro-choice. Period. No discussions. I also care if the politician would support gay marriage. I would not vote for him. God has revealed to ME personally these truths and I am passionate about my political beliefs. But, I have had conversations with other Christians who do believe the OPPOSITE. They voted and were concerned with economic issues. And, although we had conversations where I prayed over the conversation, gave bible references, and shared what God has taught me, they didn't change their beliefs. They voted the same. These conversations were difficult. And, I have to admit I couldn't believe they thought differently than ME! (I tend to need to be "right", especially when I know God has taught me things).

I had to be intentional in NOT allowing these conversations to taint my love for this person. I dreaded seeing another email in my inbox from her. I would have liked to avoid responding. AND, I needed to pray over each word of my responses, making sure God was directing my words. I had to be aware and alert and not allow strife to enter in my heart. When I saw here at church at Christmas, a fleeting negative feeling came over me. But, I pushed it away, hugged her genuinely and tightly and wished her "Merry Christmas." In that instance, all negative feelings vanished I did feel love towards her. Through it all, the words I heard at a Joyce Meyer conference in September kept rolling through my mind: "We are not responsible for anyone else's vote. In the end, we are only responsible for our own."

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