Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hang in There

Do you ever reach a point where you think life would be so much easier if you just went along with the rest of the world? Sometimes I think I think too much and need to just be more laid back.

I'm not saying I follow the scriptures completely or live perfectly, far from, but sometimes when I know I'm following what God has said to do it just doesn't seem right. It seems things would be much easier living by God's word, then at times its not, in fact sometimes its really hard. I hope you don't fall into the trap like I have many times of thinking because things are hard and don't feel right you must be getting it wrong. I have struggled with that some the past couple weeks.

I had Psalms on my mind all week as I was thinking about this but didn't turn there. Yesterday finally I decided to just look at it and I saw what I had been needing all week! Why don't I just pay attention to God immediately!!?

Psalm 1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night...

These verses were such a consolation and encouragement to me to keep going, and yes, to think (meditate) about God's ways and delight in following the Lord. Not quit thinking so much or give in and run with world! God wants us to commit our way to the Lord and trust in Him (psalm 37:5) and to consider His ways and meditate on His precepts (psalm 119:13-16)

We really do serve a good God! One who wants us thinking and on our feet. Life is amazing with God, why would I ever really want to just chill and forget about trying to follow Him!? What a clever tactic of the enemy to entice us to think it must be easy to live without considering Him! We know better!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thoughts on Faith

I have a plaque in my office that reads “Faith is not believing God can, it is knowing that God will.” It has got me thinking a little bit. What do we KNOW God WILL do? Is that not presumptuous? I think it’s fine if the statement is portraying truths that we know about God from the scripture….He will deliver us, protect us, see us through & have what is best for us, etc. But I’m afraid it can be read in a way that promotes false and romanticized ideas about who God is. Not that I understand Him myself, but I don’t believe we can ask for anything we want or even things we feel we need, pray about it, believe enough that God will do it and have it automatically accomplished for us. This idea puts too much power in our hands and completely takes away the sovereignty of God. 

Even Jesus asked for the cup to be removed from him when faced with the cross. Unjustly sentenced to one of the most excruciating and humiliating forms of death, if there was a way out of it in God’s will he wanted to take it and he of all people deserved God's taking it away, but Jesus did not expect that God would certainly take it away. He knew if God's will was different than his own he would follow it, even to the cross. I think the plaque would be better worded “Faith is knowing that God can, but trusting Him when He doesn’t.” 

There are too many tragedies that God could fix that He chooses not to and too many paths that seem good that He says no to. I would hate to cause a weakening of faith in someone who reads it and portrays it in the wrong light. So, even though it’s cute and matches the color theme of my office and can be read the right way, I think I will take it down. Praise be to God Almighty, the author and perfector of our faith!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Proverbs for Life

I have realized there are things I have been praying for that I may not see changed the way I have been praying for them to. I have really sought God on this and have found that my heart can be at peace even so. He has lead me to Proverbs and allowed so many of those verses to penetrate my soul I wanted to share some of what I have embraced in His Word. I have to trust in God's sovereignty, I have to know He sees and knows and I have to trust Him with my heart and not harden it. I must not lean on my own understanding but acknowledge Him in everything. I won't give up or loose hope, but I will not continue to stay in the same spot and not grow because circumstances have not changed the way I expected. I'm submitting to God, in Him I will be strong, and I will stay faithful to Him even if He doesn't answer my prayers the way I think He should, the way I thought was best.

I have realized a Christian's need to sometimes pray for ourself to change doesn't always mean we are having to change because we are in the wrong. Sometimes we have to change in order to move forward.

The Lord watches our ways. He is our protector, not just over our physical bodies, but over our hearts and emotions and our whole lives. He will be our shield and He will watch over every aspect of our life.

Pray for wisdom and discernment, it is a healing balm to a hurting soul. It provides direction, encouragement, grace and purpose.

prov 2:7 He holds success in store for the upright,
   he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
   and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I'm doing Beth Moore's Believing God study right now and todays scripture was Psalm 139:1-5, 13-18. It discusses how God knows us intimately, He examines our thoughts and motives, and He knows our hearts. He made us in the womb and has all our days planned ahead of time. He knows everything about us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made!

As I read this I thought about the difference it would make if we would view people as God's wonderful creation and always be aware that He has a plan for them too. Initially thinking of my kids and husband, how I want my kids to see and realize how precious they are to God and how He has a wonderful plan and purpose for their life. How I want my husband to realize that too and lead our family down the path God has for us. I truly want to encourage them in that way.

Think of all the people in our life who would be affected if we viewed them and treated them with respect, regardless of the circumstance, due to the significance they really have in Christ. I'm not exactly sure how to do that, but I think a start would be to take seriously the plans and thoughts of our Christian friends when they feel God is leading them a certain way, to lift up and encourage those who may feel a lack of purpose or direction, and have a little patience with others because we know they are so special to God, even the lady who has 40 items in the 10 item checkout line!

Also, be sure of your own significance. God loves you, He has plans for you. He knows where you go and what you do. He knows your thoughts and what's in your heart and He cares about you! Everything about you! Sometimes I need to remember that too. When we are sure of our own significance, we will be happy to help others realize theirs!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Follow My Lead

Galatians 2:11-14 (New Living Translation)

Paul Confronts Peter
 11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. 12 When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. 13 As a result, other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.

Wow, the implications in these three little verses are amazing. Immediately you can recognize several of them.

1 - Paul, in his devotion, was not afraid to rebuke a brother in love when damage was being done to the gospel and to others.
2 - Human nature is hard to overcome when we precieve our reputations may be at stake.
3 - We are to love those who are different regardless of what others think.
4 - When we don't act as Christians but as hypocrits, people tend to follow and we bring them down.

Legalism will get us no where. Faith is everything and true faith does not discriminate. Let's not get wrapped up in what our church friends might think if they see us hanging out with "sinners", so long as we are doing it out of love of Christ. That's our number 1 command & calling - to love!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Calling All Christians

I am so proud to be in a town where the mayor will declare a day to pray for rain. We live in a drought and fire stricken land. There is nothing we can do about it but turn to God and I am glad our leader realizes this is where our source of help is found. As I read in 2 Chronicles 7:13-22, I see that it is up to us, those who follow Christ and have faith already, who need to not only pray but humble ourselves before God, seek Him, pray and repent. God requires more of us than simply asking in prayer. From 2 Chron 7:

13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

It doesn't get more plain than that. He is a holy God who deserves our whole hearted devotion. There is no denying in light of the drought, fires & storms tearing across the US, not to mention the earthquakes and all kinds of devastation around the world, that this is a wake up call from the one true and living God.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lose it all??

Thought: To anticipate losing everything for the sake of Christ. We always think of the promise "God will provide", but do we really know what that means? How many of us would even know what wholly relying on God to supply our needs felt like? If we look at examples from the bible of those who completely gave their lives in service to Christ, many had very few of what we think of as "needs" met.

I'm reading in Acts 4:32-37 about the early believers sharing all their possessions with anyone in need. In reference to these verses, the Matthew Henry Concise Commentary states "They did not call it their own; because they had, in affection, forsaken all for Christ, and were expecting to be stripped of all for cleaving to him. No marvel that they were of one heart and soul, when they sat so loose to the wealth of this world." I can't imagine what type of impact it would make in our generation and to our own souls if we chose to live life unattached to the wealth of the world and gave generously and affectionately to those in need.

As we go into Easter, I know we will be reflecting on Jesus' death and resurrection. He gave His ALL for us, how much of our all we are giving Him?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hillsong - Stronger
Lyrics to Stronger :
There is love that came for us
Humbled to a sinner's cross you broke my shame and sinfuless you rose again victorious

Faithfulness none can deny through the strom and through the fire there is truth that sets me free Jesus Christ who lives in me

You are stronger you are stronger
Sin is broken you have saved me it is written Christ is risen Jesus you are Lord of all

No beginning and no end You're my hope and my defence you came to seek and save the lost you paid it all upon the cross

So let your name be lifted higher
Be lifted higher be lifted higher

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What About Guilt

Peter and Judas are two disciples in the bible that publicly betrayed/denied Jesus. Both were with Jesus in the flesh, both were disciples, both saw all the miracles Christ performed. They both betrayed Christ openly and were both sorry for what they did. I hadn't really thought about it before, but Judas was remorseful too. He admitted he betrayed an innocent man and took the blood money back. It says in Matt 27:3 he was seized with remorse. So was Peter, four verses above in Matt 26:75. Both had so much in common, but one's life ended in death, one in powerful service. So what was different?

Peter truly loved Jesus and accepted His love for him (John 21:15-17). He allowed Christ to forgive him and he did not allow the guilt to overcome him and render him useless in the cause of Chist once he knew he was forgiven and loved. In fact, Peter later became key in the development of the church.

Also of significance, in Acts 1:15-22 while the disciples waited for the Holy Spirit to fall upon them , Peter is leading the discussion on finding the replacement disciple for Judas and talking about his death and betrayal. That takes some confidence! That kind of assurance, to stand before Christ's chosen disciples so shortly after his own denial, can only come by faith and trust in Christ for complete forgivness and restoration. And note the disciples accepted him as well.

Judas did not know the love of Christ. His guilt overcame him and paralyzed him. He could not overcome it. We can do the same with our guilt if we don't repent and fully let Christ's love heal it. We can be paralyzed by it and so insecure in it that we no longer believe we can serve Christ, and as a result we live in defeat.

By Peter's example, it is possible to let Christ wash over our shortcomings and our guilt and by the power of Christ live in full and powerful service to Him, even after betrayal and sin against the Lord. Something else to consider, if one of our brothers or sisters fall, we can't discount their service after being repentant, just as the disciples didn't discount Peter. Guilt is a powerful enemy but it can be overcome by a repentant heart that loves Jesus and accepts His love and forgiveness.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Me, a Pharisee

I was put in a situation this weekend that I was very uncomfortable with. I did not feel like the atmosphere was Christlike and I felt myself get all in a huff and didn't quite know what to say to anyone. I felt very out of place and very gaurded, and as a result was acting cold toward the people there.

Then, about 15 minutes into it, I felt the Lord strongly convict me of being judgemental. My job was to love, to show Christs love, and be joyful while I was there, not rigid and cold towards everyone. I was able to let down my gaurd and talk to many in the room and show support to the person the event was for. I truly felt that God gave me grace in that moment for my sin to show grace there and it felt so much better to show love than to condemn.

I guess the bottom line is when we are put in those situations, we should see them as opportunity to love and be motivated and excited  to serve Christ, not have an attitude of self-righteousness as I did when I got there.

Friday, April 15, 2011


I'm looking at Mark 16:15-18 and how powerful and exciting the call of Christ is. In v17-19 it says "And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well"

I'm not saying I'm want to go in the back yard and grab a rattlesnake, but I'd like to see some of this kind power from Christ in my own life! I'm reading in a chronological bible and it really helps put things in perspective. The disciples were given the instructions to go out into the world and spread the gospel and perform these miracles, but after they were told that they would go, before they were sent out, Jesus opened their eyes to the scripture so they could understand and they were told to wait in the city until they recieved power from the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:45 & 49). Then, they followed these instructions and went back to the city, got together with the other disciples and family members and friends and "prayed constantly" (Acts 1:12-14) They knew they were to go out, but they waited on the Lord and sought His guidance and followed His instructions.

I think sometimes we get excited about our calling in the Lord but forget to wait upon Him and rely on Him fully. We can't expect to see the power of Christ displayed if we are not doing our part in seeking Him through the scriptures, asking Him for understanding and praying constantly. Not just alone but also with other brothers and sisters in Christ. When we get serious and truly listen to and follow God, we will see the miracles He promises but we cannot choose to be complacent or lazy in our seeking and prayer life and expect to see great results. Christ didn't send the apostles out without preparation and He won't send us either. But if we do, He does promise us He will be with us always, to the very end of age.(Matt 28:19-20)

This is something I really need to apply to my life. To commit more fully to prayer and seeking God's will. To ask for more understanding so I can know what I need to know to be prepared for His calling.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Living Water

Jesus replied, "If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water."
~ John 4:10, NLT

To reflect on this verse really makes me wonder what we miss out on and how many times we don't even realize the significance of who we are talking to and asking of in our prayers.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


We got a couple sheep, both pregnant, about a year ago. They had three babies that were so cute! The boys and I loved watching them run and play.

Well, it wasn't long before our German Shepherd grew an interest as well, hers not so innocent. Within a few months she had killed all three babies. It was sad for us all. I know I risk sounding crazy, but I actually went and had a conversation with the sheep. Mom to mom, I felt sorry for them that they had lost all their babies. They would walk around bleating and looking around, like they were calling for their children...I know they missed their sweet babies.

Anyway, the same day the last one was killed I was outside and noticed the sheep standing on one side of the wire fence while our German Shepherd sat on the other, right up next to them, salivating over them being so close! They were within a foot of the dog who was in plain sight! I wanted to yell at them, "Sheep-don't you realize that animal you are standing so close to killed your baby this morning!?"

And then I thought about us. How many times have we seen sin kill and destroy lives and hurt us and those we love? Yet many times we stand right up next to the the fence, while the destroyer stands only inches away on the other side watching for us to make a wrong move, waiting for his chance to pounce. Instead of fleeing as the bible instructs, we piddle around with sin and we refuse to give it up completely. Oh, we can see the risk, we know what's waiting just on the other side, but we stubbornly continue to make excuses to keep it near.

HHmmm, wonder why the bible compares us to sheep so much? I'm pointing the finger straight at me. It resonates with me so much because I know its true in my own life.

You know what I love about the sheep though? They've gotten used to me and anytime they hear me they run and find me. They really do follow my voice. I enjoy feeding them, and they know I will if they show up. And if I am around I will make sure the dog doesn't have a chance to kill them! Same with us & and God. Those of us who belong to Christ know His voice and know that if we follow it we can rest assured we will be fed and well taken care of. I love the sound of the Shepherd's voice, don't you?

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Jeff cooked fajitas a few nights ago and they were great, but they were extraordinarily salty. I found myself standing at the fridge downing water before I went to bed and wondered why I was so thirsty. I realized it must be those salty fajitas!

Then the verse came to mind about saltiness. In Matt 5:13, Jesus says we are the salt of the earth. I thought about how thirsty I was because of the salt and how we as Christians need to have that effect on people. When they are around us, they should thirst for the "living water" of Jesus Christ by seeing His goodness shine through us.

It seems that verse keeps popping up now too, in things I read, our sermon this morning, etc. I'm not sure how salty I have been lately...but I know it is something God has brought to my attention so I am excited to follow where He is leading and be more salty!