Monday, August 29, 2011

The End

Well, we made it through the earthquake and hurricane Irene with little damage, praise the Lord.  We were blessed, but it does make me wonder what is next.  To face two natural disasters in a matter of days is a little nerve wracking, to say the least.  It also reminds you that this earth will not be here in existence forever.  The Lord is coming back!  He has made that promise, and we can count on it.  I know I have heard it from preachers all of my life, and so have the generations before us, but it will happen like a thief in the night (2 Peter 3:10)!  Jesus Himself tells us in Luke 22:33 "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away."  This earth is temporary!

We are excited to see the return of our Lord, but I have to say the excitement grows with the number of years I spend on this earth.  My husband and I just had this conversation yesterday driving to a church (not our own, so it was an hour and half drive).  Our youth group kids talk about wanting to do things on the earth, like go to college and get married before the Lord comes back.  I can remember having those feelings when I was younger.  I knew heaven was a wonderful place, but what about meeting the love of my life and having kids.  Is it wrong to desire those things?  We are to desire to be with our Creator in our Home that will be so amazingly wonderful!  But, it is human nature to want things on this earth.  I can remember even praying after Gerrad, and I were engaged that the Lord would just wait so we could be married!

We remember exactly how they feel.  So how do we explain all this to our kids at church?  Paul says it wonderfully with Phil 1:21 "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."  My KJV Study Bible puts it like this, "He means that living consists in serving and glorifying the Son of him to die is gain; that is, even though living and serving God are good, death is a graduation to something better:  it is a promotion to the heavenly presence of Christ and perfect fellowship with Him."  I believe we can tell them it is ok to live their life excitedly about the things God has in store for them.  As long as we are truly living for Christ, we can be happy and content with the life He has given us here on earth.  I tell the the kids constantly to be a light for Him, and we have bracelets that say "Life for Him."  So we must be seeking His will for our lives, but we have to remember we have something so far better waiting for us with Christ.  It will be for our GAIN to be with Him!

Today's Verse
Rev 7:17 "For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters:  and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."

This earth is temporary, but our Lord is forever.  When we have trusted in Him, we do not have to fear what will happen to this earth.  We do not have to worry about the wars and the natural disasters.  When we have truly called on Him to be our Savior, we know we have a place waiting up in heaven for us (our mansion way beyond the blue), and what a comfort to know He is going to wipe our tears away!  He should be all we need in this life and will be all we need in the next!  He is the Alpha and Omega and Beginning and The End!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quaking and Shaking

I have had a topic in mind for today, but I am going to have to add to the content.  Although that does happen to me a lot, it is for different reasons today.  I usually sit down with a subject matter in mind, but my fingers start typing and sometimes something completely different just comes out.  I really feel the Holy Spirit lay something else upon my heart at the last minute.  Today I do want to discuss the changes in our lives as school is getting ready to begin (like I had originally planned to write about). I want to talk about how nervous I feel as we get ready for orientation in a little while.  I feel like I am quaking and shaking with anxiousness for my oldest daughter.  But, wait, I was just actually quaking and shaking.  It is not just from nervousness of her beginning a new year with a new teacher and new friends, but we actually just felt the trimor from the Richmond, VA earthquake.

I was rocking my youngest to sleep for nap and reading an article in the Focus on the Family magazine.  My oldest was on her nap mat on the floor beside me.  I felt shaking.  My eyes grew larger and I looked around.  My oldest saw my expression and asked "What is it Mommy?"  I asked her if she felt anything and she said no, but again wanted to know what was wrong.  I told her nothing and to rest.  I was certain I had felt shaking and I saw the things on the dresser and shelves moving.  We live near an army base, so we have heard things explode before, but nothing like this.  It wasn't long before the phone calls started.  "Were we ok?  Did we feel it?  Turn on your TV!!!!!"

Sure enough it was an earthquake and I wasn't crazy - things had definitely been quaking and shaking.  I am glad the Lord kept me calm.  I am glad He is keeping me calm right now.  I am a little worried about what this means and could it happen again, but my family is in His hands!

Today's verses
Nahum 1:5-7
"The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence...his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.  The Lord is good, a strong-hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him."

I am so glad He knows me!  He caused the quaking today for a reason.  We do not know that reason, but he caused it.  But He is "good" and He is my "strong-hold".  Today is a day of trouble.  Not just because of the uncertainty of the future concerning other tremors, but because of the uncertainty of what the future holds for this upcoming school year.  I will be nervous tonight as we walk through the doors, but just like this afternoon, I will not show it.  I want her to feel the calmness and know we depend on God for protection and guidance through the new year.  I want her to see that He is our strong-hold!  I may be quaking and shaking inside, but I will pray for the strength to show her security and peace as we begin this new chapter.  We fear nothing, because He is with us!

And hey, it is just preschool - it's not like it's freshman orientation at college.  Don't even think about that!  That does make me quake and shake a little!!!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Storms Equal Comfort

Storms are a scary thing for me.  Every definition of the word can bring terror and make my imagination run wild with the possibilities.  An actual thunderstorm can cause sheer panic, if I let.  Then there are the hurricane kind of storms that can bring on the fears.  There is also the memories of the tornado I went through as a child, and the thought it could happen again, that can send me in a tailspin.  There are also the storms of life that can bring on anxiety and stress.  No matter the forms of it, storms equal turbulence.

We had bad storms last night in our area.  The lightening was flashing, the thunder was shaking the house, and the rain and winds were howling.  Our 17 month old slept right through it all.  Our 4 year old, on the other hand, was not about to go to sleep.  The lights were flickering and electronic things were beeping with every thunder crash.  Even the toys in the toy box were all talking after one loud boom!  That was kind of scary in itself.  We let our daughter stay up on the couch with us.  She could feel safe and we could keep an eye out in case the weather become worse.  

I used to get extremely terrified in storms, especially after the tornado.  My parents always let me get in the bed with them during a storm, so we have the same policy in our house.  Storms equals a sleepover with mom and dad!  That equals comfort for Macie and Emmie, but not so much for Mom and Dad (except the comfort knowing they are right there with us in case of an emergency).  It is one cramped Queen size been with us four in it!  

When Macie was born, I realized storms were an awesome chance to show her how powerful our Lord was.  He makes the storms, every kind of storm.  He controls them.  And though we often cannot understand the devastation caused by them, He has a plan for the devastation.  I was able to calm down during the thunderstorms and show her how we trust God will keep us safe during the thundering and lightening.  That's not to say we will never jump at a loud boom, but after I will take a deep breath and remind her and myself that we are in His hands. 

So if I can use the weather to show her this comfort, can I not show her the same comfort in the storms of life.  I have had a couple of opportunities just this morning to show her God is in control.  Did I have the best response right off the bat?  I can tell you I did not in the beginning, but God pulled on my heart to show Macie how He has us in His hands always and not just on stormy nights.  He wants to be right there for us during the storms of life, just like I want to be right there with my children through the thunderstorms.  Things didn't start out the best for us with long awaiting vacation plans having to be changed (because of an actual hurricane non the less) and some things involving Macie's school becoming a challenge.  How could this be handled?  Should we show the distress this was causing or show that we were leaning on the Lord for guidance?  We have to lean on Him.  Not just for our own sake, but for the sake of our children who are watching and seeing how we handle storms.

Today's Verse
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (or various trials); Knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh (or produces) patience."  James 1:2-3

I know I don't think of trials in life as something to be joyful over, but if it helps grow my children's faith and my own it should be looked upon that way.  After the storm there is relief, no matter what the storm is.  Things are not going to go like we want them to all the time.  This is life and God has a purpose for it.  That is the peace we have and that is what can make the storms equal comfort!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Blessing or Curse

Can you think of anything that may be considered a blessing to someone and curse to someone else?  Weather for instance, the farmers need the rain, but what if it is your wedding day when God decides to send it?  It could be a bummer for the bride, but an answer to prayer for the farmer.  When I was a little girl we had a tornado tear up our house.  It wasn't as bad as some of the devastation we saw this year in NC back in April, but our house was not livable.  My mother always looked at it as a blessing from God.  Others would have probably viewed it as a curse, but not my mom.  She was thankful everyone was ok (including all our farm animals) and we were able to rebuild in the same spot.  Our 120 year old farm house was lacking some amenities we were able to get with the new house, like AC and a dishwasher!  The tornado brought a chance for a new house!

Growth in the church, comes to mind also.  What?  You might be thinking I am crazy.  But, seriously, think about it.  With growth comes more people, which brings more opinions, which brings more disagreements, which brings more division.  Growth can be overwhelming for some people who are more comfortable in the small church setting.  Growth means new facilities might be needed, and I know of quite a few churches that have had huge falling outs over building a new property.  Yet, the growth can also mean more friends, more fellowship, and more souls for Christ.

Job loss can also be viewed both ways.  I know this is a tough subject these days.  Here in NC we hit 10% this week of unemployment.  We have to possess a great amount of faith to get through the trials that come from loosing a job.  We have to fully depend on God (which we always should do) to supply our every need. We have been promised he will in Phil 4:19 "But my God shall supply all your need..."  It can help develop such a sense of trust.  I know in the case of my father, after a layoff from a company he had worked for over 20 years, God provided a job that he loves so much.  It was a job he never might have pursued otherwise.  It was a blessing in disguise.

Have you heard that saying before, "blessing in disguise".  God is good at giving us those.  Something we think is only going to harm us, turns out to be a blessing.  It is only by God those things happen.  I was so upset after my transcript got lost at the university and I was put in the wrong English class, only to meet the love of my life because of that mistake!  A blessing in disguise!  God knows what He is doing!  In Duet 23:5b we read "but the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee." I truly felt that was the case when it came to my lost transcript!

The Israelites were given the choice to choose a blessing or a curse after they possessed the Promised Land.  Moses tells them in Duet 11 that they can choose, "A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord..." in verse 27 or "a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord..." in verse 28.

What would you choose?  A blessing or a curse?  "Duh" might be the appropriate response here.  We all want the blessing.  I am sure in the moment of Moses' speech, everyone in the audience was thinking, "I am not going to serve any other gods or disobey, look at where we have been for 40 years because of disobedience."  But, yet they disobeyed time and time again.  Over and over, they turned their backs on God.  They were rebellious and stubborn.

Today's Verse
"That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments." Ps 78:7

Are you rebelling or being stubborn?  Are you looking at the situation you are in right now and thinking it is a curse from God?  Are you longing for relief?  Think of all the things He has done for you.  Salvation alone should put a smile on your face.  As our verse says, set your hope in Him, never forget what He has done for you, and obey Him.  Try to find the blessing in every situation.  I promise there is one.  Look for that glimmer of a blessing in every curse.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Where did the summer go?

 I have the summer is almost over - blah blah blues.  I can't believe it is almost all over!  I am sooooo sad.  It has been a hot summer, but a fun one!  I have to wonder if Macie will remember, when she is older, any of the things we did this summer: the trip to Maryland, the 3 weekends in row we had to go to weddings, the trips to the pool, the carnival at church, or just the fun of being at home and not on the go, go, go.

The go, go, go will start back next week.  We have orientation on Tuesday and the dreaded S word starts on Thursday.  Grant it, we only have to go to school 2 days a week, but it is still not something I look forward to.  And, my main reason for sadness is the fact that next year it starts FOR REAL.  Where will we send her for Kindergarten?  How do we know where she will get the best education?  Do we go private or public?  How will we know where the Lord is directing us to go?

I have no idea how He will show us, but I can know He will show us.  We had no idea where we would end up after marriage, but where we are now is perfectly where He wanted us to be.  As a teenager, if someone would have told me "you will live in Angier, NC", I would have laughed.  But, we are here and loving it after 7 years!  I know it might be down to the wire before we know where to send her, but He will lead us to the best decision.  One of the programs we are a part of gave me info called the "Count Down to Kindergarten" this week.  Although it did make me sad and a little anxious, I know He holds Macie and the plans He has for her in His hands. I also know this life  He has given us is as a vapour (James 4:14 "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.")  and we have to make the most of this life!

I want to live each day making it count somehow for God.  Maybe it is teaching Macie, and even Emmie is starting to learn more about the Bible.  Teach them how to be lights for Him.  Teach Macie how to be a friend to everyone around her in Kindergarten and a good witness by her actions.  Pray her heart will be for Him in the school He wants her to be at.  I have this hope to get me prepared for the coming turbulent school years.

Today's verse - an absolute favorite!
"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

Let us rejoice today because He holds our future, because Fall is a beautiful time of year even if we will miss summer, and because He has given us this day and everyday is a blessing.  Let's get out of the summer is over slump together!  Where did the summer go?  We lived it and, hopefully, we lived it for Him!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Simply Awesome

When I was a little girl, I would often read a Psalms before I went to bed.  I had a Sunday School teacher who told our Jr. High Girls class that this was a great way to close out the day.  I have to say at even a young age, they did truly speak to me.  I felt comforted and safe.  I still love to read from the Psalms, and still feel safe after reading many of the verses.

As I said in Monday's post, I have always been a KJV reader.  This is what was used by my family, my pastor, and my Sunday School teachers.  Recently I was reminded at how that can be hard for such a little one to understand.  As I was reading Ps. 68:35 I had a flashback of being a young girl reading this verse and many other verses in the Psalms over and over and over again.  I knew my eyes had to be reading it wrong, or I was just missing some hidden meaning.  It says, "O God, thou are terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Isreal is he that giveth strength and power unto his people.  Blessed be God."  What a wonderful verse.  He gives us strength and power!  But, how could the same author who tells us this call Him "terrible".  There were several places in Psalms that used that word seemingly describing our God.  How?

This same thing is found in Duet. 7:21, "Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the Lord thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible."  The Isrealites were told not to fear because God was with them and protecting them from their enemies.  He is "mighty"!  But, "terrible"?????

This word "terrible" is used many times throughout the Bible to describe God.  But, how could anyone describe Him as terrible.  When I was older I did receive a Bible that had little numbers beside some words in the verses.  You could then look in the middle column and find the meaning of that word.  I realized when I was about 15 that it meant "awesome".  Wow, what a cool word for a teenager to use to describe God.  He is TOTALLY AWESOME.  In the dictionary, terrible had many definitions such as "extremely bad, repulsive, extreme terror."  But there is one that is also not used "formidable in nature:  meaning awesome".

Verse for Today
"Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations."  Duet 7:9

Our God is God!  The Only God!  The Faithful God!

He shows us mercy and grace!  He loves us no matter what!  He is Everything!

He is simply awesome!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Changes Continued

So what are some other things that have changed in the church?  Besides the different versions of the Bible being taught and music, there are countless of other things.  I forgot to add a brief thing concerning the music in the church.  I know the older generation of people in my life do not like the "canned" music as they call it, or instrumentals on CD.  They believe that just the piano and organ should be played while singing praises to the Lord.  But, it is my understanding that congregations did not take to well to the addition of the organ to begin with many years ago.  Just a thought!  Look how far we've come!  Some churches have entire bands and orchestras on stage - wow!

I was walking on my college campus (It was a secular college.) when I was a freshman.  We had a "preacher" that liked to preach on the campus. (He did have to get permission, but he was able to preach in what we called the brickyard a couple of times a week.)  He pointed straight to me, even though there were close to 100 students gathered around him, and said I was going to hell because I was wearing pants.  I proceeded to tell him that I was not going to hell and was saved, but I embarrassed and not much on confrontation, so I walked away!  Why and how could he say that?  The Bible says "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom 10:13).  It does not have any qualifiers in there and especially nothing about how the person doing the calling should be dressed!

Now although I do wear pants every day of the week, for the most part, I cannot bring myself to wear pants on Sunday to church.  I do not think there is a thing wrong with it.  That is becoming the popular thing or the "norm".  "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." (1 Sam 16:7)  God does not care how we dress when we worship, but that our heart is clean and focused on Him.  Jesus Himself associated with sinners of all kinds when He was on the earth, much to the disapproval of others.  I am certain He never once questioned what anyone was wearing.  

Yet my conservative side that is so engraved in my thoughts tells me to wear my Sunday best, to be modest at all times, and only wear a skirt or dress on Sunday mornings.  Is there anything wrong with that?  Should I be judged for that thought?  I don't want someone to come to our little church and think, who is she trying to impress or what is she trying to prove?  Again, I am torn!  

Today's Verse
"Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular (meaning - individually)" 1 Cor 12:27

The church is labeled as "the body of Christ" in the New Testament.  We are members and in a sense the parts of the body.  Do you function well where you are?  Do you feel accepted and comfortable to worship Christ?  I think that is what matters in our worship on Sundays and Wednesdays and whatever other times you may walk through the doors of your church.  It is just important that you are part of a church.  You need to have a church family that can support you, help you grow, and encourage you!  There is not going to be a perfect church out there.  The church is made of us - sinners!  We are all sinners and things are going to go wrong.  But, there is a place for you to worship out there.  There is a place that will have music you like (at least for the most part), preaching that inspires and touches you, and people that will not judge your appearance no matter how you feel comfortable going.  Find it!  Embrace changes or find the one that is not changed too much for your liking.  As long as the church is focused on The One that Never Changes!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Change - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!

"Change is good."  Have you heard that before?  Do you ever try to convince yourself of that when you are going through a big change?  "Change is inevitable."  Another popular thing to hear, and basically it is true.  "Things change", some for the good and some for the not so good, depending on how you look at it.  Some people love change.  Some people detest it.  I am in the middle I suppose.  I am comfortable when I get in a routine, but I know there will always be a wrench thrown in the plan that I wasn't expecting.  How do we handle change?

I was just having a discussion today with a friend regarding changes in churches.  From traditional to contemporary, and even the combination of the two, churches are changing.  I, myself, am a very old fashioned girl.  I still read and quote the KJV.  I do study other versions, but the KJV is what I grew up with; it is what I know!  I love old hymns.  I sing them all day long in my head or hum them to calm myself down.  They are comforting and speak to my heart; there again, it is what I know.

I used to never think about looking at another version of the Bible until I joined a Bible study in college.  I was the only girl with a KJV.  So, my mother, very surprisingly, went and bought me a NKJV!  My dad was not happy, but He made sure the word "virgin" was still used and then he wasn't as upset (No offense to the NIV users, he just wasn't keen on them switching to "young woman" for Mary).  We now do have an NIV and ESV in our collection of study materials, but one change I cannot make is always referring back to my KJV.

I used to not be a fan of contemporary Christian music, but that did change, and I do love a lot of it now.  Francesca Battistelli's "This is the Stuff" is my theme song and can make me smile in the worst of situations.  So even though I love my hymns, I have learned to absolutely love a lot of Christian bands and singers that my parents or my in-laws probably would not like to change to.

A lot of churches do have 2 services these days.  One focused on the older generation and traditional, and one for the younger more contemporary group.  I never really thought the idea of that appealed to me, but lately I have felt the Lord reminding me that He loves all of us.  It was a huge change when Jesus started His ministry.  He basically told the Jewish community to throw everything out the window that they had grown up with.  He was the New Way and the Only Way.  Some chose to believe and accept the change, while others refused to acknowledge who He was.  He was the Ultimate Change and One that without we would not have a mansion to look forward to.

Today's Verse
Deut 5:33 "Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you,..."

Are you in a church where you feel comfortable?  Are they a Bible teaching, nothing added and nothing taken away, church.  My meaning, there is no extra things to follow or do besides what the Bible tells us to do, what God has "commanded" us to "walk in all the ways".  And nothing is left out of the Bible teachings.  Like there is nothing omitted from the Bible with the example of Hell.  Some churches today refuse to acknowledge the place exists, but it does!  That is not a change that is acceptable!  Nothing is to be added or taken away - Rev 22:18-19!

Do you need a change?  Do you need to be a little more open minded or maybe a little more conservative?

There is so much more to get into with the topic of change and especially change in the church, I think we will finish our thought and discussion tomorrow!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sleep Sleep Sleep

I am tired.  I need to sleep more.  I refuse to go to bed earlier.  It is not that I am doing important, life changing things, I just stay up way past my bedtime.  I need to get in the bed earlier for my family, my health, and also to resist the devil.  When I am tired, I can get cranky and that can lead to sin in the form of anger and bad attitudes.

Sleep is especially hard to come by when my other half is in another state.  When he travels I am not only gripped with sadness, but fear seems to appear right before bed.  If I let my mind get away with me, I can think of so many horrible things that could happen.  If I am honest, I say I am letting my kids sleep with me because they miss Daddy, but I really want them with me.  I want us to pile up in the bed and lock the bedroom door!

I spoke of the Book of Psalms yesterday and the verses that can help us with sadness.  There are also so many that can help us deal with fear.  Fear can grip us at any time about so many things!  We could fear every step we make if we give in to the deceiver.  He can make us fear anything.  It can rob us from rest, it can rob us from peace, and it can rob us serving the One that provides relief from all our fears.  We know to fear God, but not man (Ps 56:4 and 118:6)

Today's Verse
"I will both lay me down in peace and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.  Ps 4:8

That verse can put me to sleep when my girls and I are home alone.  It can put me to sleep when I am thinking about everything that is going on around me and fear grips me.  It can put me to sleep when I think about the state of our world and when so many thoughts and worries come at me from all sides.  It became my ultimate verse when I was pregnant for the second time and was dreading the scheduled C-section.  I had no fears with my first child, but knowing I was going to have to have the surgery with my second paralyzed my with fear to the point of no sleep.  This verse was my life line and sent from God above to coax me to sleep.

Use it today.  Sleep in peace no matter your circumstances.  Sleep in peace wherever you are.  Sleep in peace and put the worries that can creep up at you in the night far behind you.  Sleep Sleep Sleep in peace! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lift Me Up

I had no idea that as I read a devotion about sadness to my girls, that I would be hit by sadness later in the afternoon.  We talked on how it is ok to feel sad.  We talked about reasons we felt sad.  But, we also talked about how there is a rainbow after a rainy day, the chances to make lemonade with lemons, and turning your frown upside down.  My example of a time I feel sad is when Daddy has to travel.  I talked about how blessed we were because he had not had to leave lately.  Little did I know he would be leaving in two days (today), very unexpectedly.  Little did I know I would be feeling that empty feeling that comes with the traveling.  (I am not trying to make you feel bad honey! XOXOXO) It is a sinking feeling when he is away.  A nervousness that is unlike any other anxious feeling.  It is just plain sadness knowing I will be facing life here in NC without my other half while he is a few states away.

But, we know we have a Friend with us always.  We know we have someone we can lean on constantly.  We know  we can cry out in our sadness and He will hear us.  Isn't it a relief to say "we know".  It's never a maybe He is listening, maybe He can help me, it is a FIRM "we KNOW"!

The Book of Psalms is full of great verses that speaks to my heart, especially when I am down.  David was a man after God's heart, yet he experienced sadness.  He speaks candidly about feeling down and even refers to being in "the pit", but his praises to the Heavenly Father always raised him up.  Ps 30:1 says "I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up..." and later in verse 11 we read "Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing..."

Verse for Today
Ps 73:23 "Nervertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hands."

Although David is not listed as the author of this Psalms, it is still someone who was having a down time and clearly needing answers to some questions.  The author, at the end of the chapter, acknowledges who is in control.  We are always our Lord's child, and He does hold our hand through the rough times.  Even when we are as deflated as a popped balloon, He is there to take away our sadness in His timing.  No matter the circumstances, we can know He will show us a spot of joy even through the sadness.  Yes, I am going to miss my husband dearly, but maybe I will get to work on my scrapbooking and paint my toenails, that's my glimmer of joy! ; ) And, I know he is safe in God's hands while he is away!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Whisper of Encouragement

Do you ever need encouragement?  We all do.  We need to know there is someone there thinking about us, praying for us, and even fighting for us.  When I wrote on serving our Lord, I talked on not doing it for pats on the back.  But, there are those times when a pat is what we need to stay in service in the ministry.  There have been times I have wanted to quit everything at once and walk away from our small church.  So many times, that I am ashamed thinking about it.  But, there was always an encouraging word from some unexpected person just when I needed it that kept me going for a little longer.

This weekend we had a Carnival at our church.  At 5 minutes until it was time to start, we had about 20 workers and 5 children.  I went to a room and prayed and begged that more would come.  I had a moment where a dart of doubt was thrown and I thought, "this is it, I will never plan anything else ever again".  But, my pastor's wife came to me with that encouraging word out of nowhere.  She told me if only our kids were there, they would feel special knowing they had a church that loved them.  I needed that.  And just for an FYI, we had close to 70 people before the day was over!  Thank you Lord!  

In Deuteronomy there is a verse where Moses is going to be handing things over to Joshua.  He is putting him in command.  In chapter 3 verse 28 we read "But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him:"  Moses was to be an encouragement to Joshua.  With that encouragement, strength was also going to be provided.  Strength to carry out the huge task.  Strength to lead God's people.  Encouragement and strength is always needed to carry out the plans God has for us!

Verse for Today
Ps 147:3 "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds (or sorrows)."

Do you know someone who could use an encouraging word today?  God can use you to speak words that just might help heal a broken heart.  I was reading a story on suicide in the Focus on the Family magazine today.  It breaks my heart to think someone is so discouraged to take their on life.  Is there someone you know that needs to be uplifted?  Maybe they are not on the brink of something so tragic, but they are down.  We are all hurting or in need of some sort of answer from God.  We all have an unspoken request that we are praying to be answered.  Ask God to lay upon our hearts someone we can be that encouraging word to today!  Someone who needs a call, a hug, or a card with a verse or whisper of encouragement.  He can certainly do anything, so lets ask to be an encouragement to someone today!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Working for Him

I am sitting at a desk.  Well, if you saw it, you might not consider it a desk.  It is on wheels and has about a
 2 ft. x 2 ft. working space.  It is just enough for my laptop and a stapler and book (a small book might I add).  But, it is a desk and right now it is all we have.  I very seldom sit here.  I am more comfortable just working on the bed, the couch, the kitchen table, really anywhere but here.  Today I had to print some things and this is where I come for that, so why not use my $10 office chair every now and again.

I say this because I am thinking of all the places we can serve God.  In our homes, no matter the size, on the missions field, no matter the place, in our church, no matter the number of members, wherever the Lord leads us to work for Him, we work.  We do it for Him.  We labor for Him.  We plan for Him.  We sacrifice a little because He sacrificed it ALL.

Today's Verse
2 Tim 2:24 "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient"

 I am uncomfortable here at this tiny work station, but it is not even a drop in the bucket, not even a speck on a speck, compared to what He has done.  So I work; I type; I enter numbers for the church tithing records; I plan a carnival for our little church kids.  I do it for Him.  I am patient, knowing if He has bigger plans that this small desk, He will show them to me in His time.  The devil tries to make me believe I am not good enough or I do it for the wrong reasons.  But, I resist his lies and pray for peace and ideas and a confident heart.  I work for Him.

Col 3:23 tells me "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men."

I do not do it for pats on the back (not saying that isn't nice).  I do not do it to stay busy (I am plenty busy without it).  I am doing this because He has called me to.  I am doing this because He has blessed me with a love of words, numbers, kids, planning, and places where I can use my gifts.  I might not feel worthy.  I might not feel appreciated.  I might not feel adequate.  But, I don't have to.  I am working for Him!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Speaking for Him

My pastor asked the other day if anyone was nervous about witnessing.  I shook my head yes and he immediately singled me out and asked why.  (I am not mad at my pastor, I'm just telling the story.)  Well, the main reason is because I have a fear of speaking and now he was making me speak in front of the congregation (we are a small church at least).  I also have a fear of rejection (I know they are not rejecting me but Christ), I am worried they will ask me something and I stumble, or they will just flat out tell me I am stupid.

I want to speak boldly for Christ.  I long to speak in front of other without panic attacks (which actually did happen to me in college - hence my huge fear).  I love to write, but refuse to tell anyone besides my wonderful husband (I know you are the only one reading this honey which makes me love you even more because you take the time to do so - XOXOXO).  I am so scared someone might ask me something about what I have written and I just stand there unable to open my mouth.

I know I should be leaning on my favorite verse that I can do all things through Christ (Phil 3:14) and that my God has not given me a spirit of fear (2 Tim 1:7), but when I think about standing in front of a group and opening my mouth I literally feel like my heart will jump out of my chest.

Verse for today
Phil 1:14 "And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear."

To speak boldly without fear is such not possible without confidence.  Not in ourselves, because without Him we are nothing.  We have to believe His truths.  If we don't speak for Him, and are doing so out of fear, it is like saying we don't believe the Bible.  We have to have confidence in Him.  Confidence He will give us the words to say, the answers to questions, the love for others, and the ability step out and win souls for Him.  Confidence in Him alone.  We don't need confidence in ourselves only in the One who provides.

I am usually an old fashioned hymns girl, but I can only think of one song "Give Me Words to Speak" by Aaron Shust.

Calloused and bruised
dazed and confused 
My Spirit is left wanting something more 
Than my selfish hopes
and my selfish dreams 
I'm lying with my face down to the floor 
I'm crying out for more (crying out for more)

Give me Words to speak 
Don't let my Spirit sleep 
Cause I can't think of anything worth saying 
But I know that I owe You my life 
So give me Words to speak 
Don't let my Spirit sleep 

Every night, every day
I find that I have nothing left to say
So I stand here in silence awaiting Your guidance
I'm wanting only Your voice to be heard
Let them be Your Words
Let them be Your words

More lyrics:
All about Aaron Shust:

More lyrics:
All about Aaron Shust:

Monday, August 1, 2011

Let's Get Ready

So, we did it!  Our house if for sale.  Yikes!  We have the complete attitude that God will move us, when He wants to, where He wants to and only if He wants to.  But, I will have to say in all honesty, it is hard not to get a little excited.  Especially since we already have our first showing scheduled for Wednesday.  We have to get this house picture perfect, or "show ready" as they say in the biz (not that I know the biz, but it sounds so cool).  We have been throwing things in the attic, touching up here, moving things there, and the dreaded taking down of my pictures.

I am a picture fanatic.  I love photos.  I had my daughters picture taken at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, Christmas and then a big 1 year photo.  I had to be fair for both girls and have the same thing done for each. We joke saying if God wants us to have more kids, we are going to have to have more walls to hang the pictures on.  Realtors do not like for you to have many pictures up.  You want the new family to envision themselves there.  But, I just can't seem to make myself take down every photo in the whole house.  Those are our memories!

As I am thinking about getting our house "show ready" I can't help but think about our lives in this house.  What a blessing!  I also think about if there are things around this house that the families would see to know we are followers of Christ.  Is our actual lives "show ready".  Would we be ashamed of anything in our house if it was Jesus coming to view our house?  Is there things in our lives we try to hide in the attic so others will not know about them?  God knows.  He doesn't have to knock on the door, He sees it all.  Are we living our lives ready for Him to come and take us home?  If the trumpet would sound right now, is there something you would be ashamed of in your home?

I am asking myself these questions too!  We know the Lord will come as a "thief in the night" (1 Thess 5:2).  We have no way of getting our lives "show ready" right before He returns.  We have to stay "show ready".  We have to live for Him everyday, not just on Sundays when we go to church and maybe Wednesday nights.

Verse for Today
"Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honor all the day." Ps 71:8

It says "all the day".  Not most of the day, or when someone is watching, but "all the day".  Please, Heavenly Father help me to keep my life and my heart "show ready" for you and let me "be filled with thy praise...all the day."

You know I love old hymns and so I can't help but think of "Blessed Assurance" when I say "all the day".  So below is the lyrics from the chorus.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.