Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One Word for 2014

I was reading a blog yesterday and this person said they have picked a word for the next year.  The word was creativity.  I have never picked a word for my new year but as I was lying in bed this morning praying, that blog post came to my mind.  I thought, at first, there are so many words…how could I pick one????  This other person’s word was a broad word and could be used in so many areas.

It, surprisingly, only took a moment for me to come up with my word.  I thought next, how would I make this “my word” for the year.  I don’t know, maybe I could write it on our school calendar, maybe our wipe-off board in the kitchen, maybe a background on my phone… I am sure I can find ways.

The next thought was, blog this! Certainly, I need a ray of sunshine on my blog!  I can tell the quick prayer that lead up to this decision and my word, which is simply, my son wasn’t able to find his hat and gloves before needing to leave for work this morning.  He had a hat and pair of gloves (he had to because it is about 1 degree right now) but it wasn’t the ones he wanted…the good pair.  As he walked out the door I said, “Dear God.  Please help me find his gloves right now”.  Now to say my son’s room is disorganized is an understatement because he has his entire dorm room’s worth of stuff in there since it came home with him during break and his room isn’t that big.  Anyway, I went in the room as he was going to his car, I moved one thing and there they were. (Yes, he got his “good” hat and gloves before he left) J

Since, it was so early (5:45), I decided to go back to bed, but during the time of getting back to bed (I was already outside and started the car and shoveled the walk, so I was changing back to just my pjs) I said thank you again to God; and then had a time that I realized just how unbelieving I am.  Something so simple as a pair of gloves are important to God; He showed me that by answering that pray so quickly, and yet I forget that He cares about me, what’s going on in my life, and that He is able to do anything, on a regular basis.  So, as I said, I now was lying there and my mind had already started, so I got up and started my post.

Next part of “my word” and post I thought would be to put my word in my Power Bible CD and see all the verses that come up… I was shocked there were NONE.  Hmmmm Well, that didn’t go according to plan.  Okay, fine.  Let’s shorten the word; got it! 


Psalm 92:4
For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work:
I will triumph in the works of thy hands.


Okay, so what is my word?

My word for 2014 is “triumph” or “triumphant”.

So, why triumph? I know my faults and I think that I am so focused on my faults, failures, and desires that I don’t “realize” what I have in Christ and who I am in Christ.  I lose my focus and when I do that, I am anything but triumphant! 

Can a word make a difference?  I’m sure it can.  I guess the truth of following through is yet to be seen.  We, I, will have to check back in one year and see how I did.  That’s a long time to wait, so what’s the plan for “now”…

Simply to start to think; think about what God has done so many times for me personally, remember what He has done for others around me, and just don’t stop believing who He is based on what I am experiencing around me. 

There is a great, big God very much involved in our lives but sometimes we (I) just forget His triumph.

Hebrews 10:23 
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; 
(for he is faithful that promised;)


Monday, December 16, 2013

Down In December

December "should be" a joyful month but often times it isn't a joy but rather depressing. I am sure there are many reasons people are depressed from unhappy memories of childhood Christmases, anniversaries of a death of a loved one, a sense of emptiness, being overwhelmed by bills, or countless other reasons. 

Each year from late November- early January I find myself getting snappy and sad in between times of actually enjoying the time or events that are taking place.  I can't say when this started because I really don't know, but for the past few years I have noticed this pattern.  I think that my life is actually very good, but there is just something about this time of year that throws me off. 

I have been able to "adjust" my thinking since I have noticed this pattern and although I can't say I don't experience this anymore, it certainly isn't as intense as years past.  I know myself well enough to know that for me this issue is coming, each and every year, and knowing that, I can prepare for it. 

How do I prepare?

First, I expect it; I have noticed the pattern. It seems that we just "accept" things we expect to happen and know we have to deal with it. Check yourself for a pattern; if you are constantly "surprised" by it, it will seem harder. 

Second, I don't pretend it's not there or that everything is just fine. Take it one day at a time and talk to God about it. Do what you can do and don't do what will add stress; know your limit. 

Third, I remind myself that it will pass. I know this is a "season". I don't know why it is here but I also know it will pass. 

Fourth, I don’t make big decisions. During times of sadness, loneliness, or frustration, we shouldn't make big decision as things always seem worse when we are in that kind of state. 

Fifth, I do something that will recharge me. I know that spending time alone whether I am reading, writing, spending time with God, or watching a movie makes me feel better. I don't know where the idea came from that we can't have our time but it's just not so. Some people need time alone and others want lots of people around them, whatever the case, do what you know makes you feel "better" but also be practical and don’t expect being able to chuck your responsibilities for “me time”.

Lastly, realize that all the fun activities and time alone and everything else I listed above isn't lasting. 

At this time of year, or any time of year or during difficulties, the one thing that will help is the Lord.  The only thing that we have that will "last" is being secure in our relationship with Christ…and even that needs to be nurtured!  Nothing in this world can give you the peace you long for because it is all physical and we live in a fallen world.  We all need to spend time with God to understand, and more importantly BELIEVE, the promises that he has told us. Each person’s relationship with God is special and personal. So whether you are sad, frustrated, or down right depressed go work on your relationship with Him because he truly cares about you.

2Timothy 2:19b The Lord knoweth them that are his.

Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

1Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.


Psalm 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Circling Back

Have you ever had the same sin come back time after time? That's where I am at again. I feel like I am in a loop and at some point in this circular pattern I jump on a hamster wheel and run around the same thing again and again. 

I have done that with this one thing that is bothering me now over and over again and don't feel like I can stop it...I certainly want it stopped but it seems to allude me and just when I think I got it, I am back there again. 

I think we are so easily distracted by our own desires or ways and easily get off track because of it. Although I find these times frustrating, I am so thankful that I can ask God to change me and I realize AGAIN just how much I need him. 

So, if I have to keep returning to the same issues over and over, I am willing to do it just so I realize how much I need him and see how easily I am drawn away. 

And do you know that we are all this way, repeating some sins over and over? 1 Corinthians 10:13a tells us, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man. Being tempted is not a sin; what we do with our "issue" determines whether we are going to sin.  The thoughts of our hearts lead to sin. 

Just like many years ago when Noah was building the ark and the people's thoughts were continually evil, we have an escape by trusting in the Lord's promise that all our sins: past, present, and future are removed by the blood of Christ. 

Trusting in the Lord Jesus for salvation is a one time thing and most people understand that. What we fail to see is our sin nature is battling against us all the time even after salvation. That is a daily battle and one that salvation doesn't "fix".  So, here I am doing the thing(s) that I don't want to do.. Just like the great apostle Paul, but...

...what do we do? 

Rather than focus on the frustration of our sin nature, focus on Christ and tell God again how much you need Him. And remember that it isn't a one time thing but rather a daily surrender to the realization we are just as bad as our sin nature and that's why we need Christ in the first place. 


1John1:9
 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, 
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Above All

Ephesians 6
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

How many times do you think you have read or heard those verses?  I have been going to church for almost twelve years and I can’t count how many times I have heard it.  This time as I read it verse 16 stood out, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked”.

These verses tell us all the things we need to stand in the battle of life, but interestingly God says, “above all, taking the shield of faith”.  As I was listening and reading those verses I thought, “I dropped my shield”.  And isn’t that just what Satan wants, for us to not be able to stand against the darts he is throwing at us?  It is hard to do any of the things listed if you don’t have your shield above all! 

But what kind of faith can possibly be able to “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked”???

To be as simple as possible (for my little brain to handle it) it is having faith in Christ. It is not about what I am doing, thinking, seeing, or whatever.  But it is about the belief that Jesus Christ is everything.

Each one of us has to deal with things, some small and some big; each decision is based on our faith or belief in what we know about Christ.  As we keep walking throughout our lives, our faith is tested.  I think that we believe the testing of our faith is to see if God’s word is true… when, in fact, our faith should be viewed as what we believe about the statement made by Jesus himself in Matthew 28:18, And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Our faith is the root of it all.  If we don’t believe something, we certainly aren’t going to rely on it. Without faith that God is who he says he is, did what he did, does what he does, and will do what he says, we can’t do anything else.  It’s a challenge for us to use that faith but it’s that simple… simply believe what God says…

above all have faith that Jesus has all power. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Wise Enough

As I was reading 1 Corinthians, my thoughts were about people that we look up to because they seem so smart or understand things of God really well.  The verse that started me thinking about this was, 1Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 

Let’s flip that for a minute:
-foolishness of God is wiser than men= the WISEST man is nothing compared to God’s foolishness
-weakness of God is stronger than men= the strongest man is nothing compared to God’s weakness.

The “best”, or “top” people in this world are no match for God.

Just two chapters over, it says in 1 Corinthians 3:
 18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain

The wisest person on earth needs to admit that they are a fool compared to God.  In our flesh, we don’t like to admit anyone it “better” than ourselves.  I don’t have statistics, but the average person, I would think, would like to think of themselves as at least somewhat wise.  I know that I would like to be considered someone that had a little wisdom. We all know that there are people that have amazing wisdom, beyond the average person.   I know there are a lot of people smarter than me and I am okay with that.  But we don’t like to think of ourselves as being fools, which stings.

But, I think this is a problem for us… we think we are wise enough and don’t need to rely on anyone else.  Not bad so if we are talking about people, although life is easier when you have someone in yours; but what about when we are talking about God? I believe that most people think they can live their lives “just fine” without him.

How foolish of us to think the Maker of the universe shouldn't be the most knowledgeable about everything.  If I want to know something, I would go to an expert.  In our lives, we have an expert AT EVERYTHING, and yet we don’t seek Him.  And why? Because we think we can do it without Him.

And all the while we are working out our own issues God is waiting for us and says in James 1:5: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given himWe need to humble ourselves enough to admit we don’t know anything compared to God and ask Him for wisdom.

It’s a choice really; follow God’s wisdom or man’s.  Since we are of this world, we see man’s ways right before us; It seems logical, often, to follow what everyone is doing or sometimes it is just what we do without giving it much thought.  To have God’s wisdom means stepping out of the world’s mold and seeing things as God does…something we aren't so good at.  I am not saying all our problems would be solved, we will never get there, but if we have Godly wisdom our lives would be easier. Let’s try to stop doing the same things over and over and look at everything through God’s perspective (at least the best we can) and seek God’s wisdom.

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.





Tuesday, November 26, 2013

When Being Thankful Is Hard

As thanksgiving approaches, people all over are saying what they are thankful for. That is a good thing. 

But what if you are in a place that is really hard to be thankful for?  Yes, I know the verse, give thanks in ALL things. But sometimes we just can't see clearly enough to be thankful because “our reality” is blocking the view. 


If you could see my life right now, you would see an overabundance of blessings the Lord has given me: my house, my family, my friends, etc.  But it wasn't too long ago that I struggled with seeing what to be thankful for. 


We take for granted the "normal", "regular" things in life because God is so faithful to provide them. But I am not talking about forgetting to be thankful about the air I breathe but rather when you are so lost in your circumstances you "forget" what to be thankful for and it seems every day you lose one more thing that reminds you to be thankful, until you wake up one day with an ungrateful heart and you wonder how you got there. I'm not sure anyone during times like that can say what started the downward spiral but they could be able to say they can't see what to be thankful for. 


Of course, well-meaning people will tell you that you have lots to be thankful for and start listing them for you. I don't think people know what to say when someone has "lots" of things to be thankful for but just can't see it anymore because something in their life started the thoughts of " I can't see..." because they feel empty, sad, or even frustrated.

Some people might read this and say, I have no idea how anyone could get that way. I'm glad for that. But there are some people that seem to have so much and still lack the ability to see it.  I struggled with this for a long time and was told I just needed to be thankful and that I was just bitter. Maybe I was.  Maybe I wasn't. But having someone tell me my "problems" would go away if I just thought thankful things really didn't seem to help me as it just made me feel like there was one more thing I wasn’t doing right and what was the point???  If I can’t even be thankful for the good things I have I must be a horrible waste to God. It is a HARD process to live life day to day existing and getting by doing what needs to get done all the while becoming an empty shell of who you were or wanted to be. 

For me, it took letting go of what I wanted and accepting what I had before I could see anything as good. My situation hadn't changed but God worked on my heart. This was NOT a quick process and I don't exactly know when it changed. 
 


So what do we do when we feel like this? Talk to God and wait!

Only God knows where we need to get to in order to surrender something to Him.  And often times we just won’t move from our “position” and unfortunately God won’t work there.

I wish I could say I talked to God and He made it all better right away, but for me it took a long time for me to START to appreciate what I have. 

It seems that I finally started getting better when I let go of things I didn't have and held the things I didn't want. Yes, I wrote that the correct way.  

So, good for me, right? It still hasn’t changed YOU!

Maybe all you heard was blah, blah, blah and I got better.  And all you thought was yep, got it, you are good at this and have a great relationship with God…that’s why it worked.  I had mixed feelings when I read different blogs that say, here is the answer, do these steps.  I really felt discouraged sometimes more than encouraged.

So, what can you do?

Realize that God is still loving and kind even when you are being unthankful. 

What??? Can that be right???

Luke 6:35b for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Your circumstances, whether created by your doing, lack of doing, other people’s doing, God’s working, or whatever it is, are not going to change because of my words on a page.  But maybe if you just try to think this one thing: God STILL loves me and does care, then, you will start the process of not being stuck.  Your situation, your thoughts, your habits, and even evil spirits will tell you it will never be better, but that’s not true. 

John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

1John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Jesus has overcome already.  As a believer we reap unbelievable benefits!!  Sometime, our world just beats us down we don’t see anything good.  And as time goes on, we only see things as worse.  I have been guilty of that and really I just keep focusing and refocusing on Him.

So, what can someone do who isn’t feeling very thankful?  Thank God for Him being who he is.  If you have to get down to basics, thank Him for: the fact He is faithful to make the sun rise every morning and set every night, the seasons, the air, your sight, your health, that you are full, or that you are warm enough…

…but maybe just thank God for loving you even when you aren’t so loveable, and realize that He is SO incredible to care about YOU that much.

1 Chronicles 16:34
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.







Friday, November 22, 2013

Eli

1Samuel 3:18b It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good

The other day my daughter and I were working in her Bible workbook and we read many verses , but that one stood out to me.

What an incredible faith!  Eli had just heard, from a young boy named Samuel, the judgment of God upon his family because of his lack of leading!  And yet he said, “let him do what seemeth him good”.

 I would love to say that I follow God completely and that if I was told something was going to happen that I would just accept it willingly in the blink of an eye, even if it didn't sound good to me.

I think we all can have moments of faith that just knock the socks off of people (even ourselves), but I think that we often don’t give ourselves “enough credit” for just doing normal things.

You know it takes faith to stay married, train kids, go to church, tell people about Christ, and the list is endless.  What would take a huge amount of faith for one person might be pretty simple for another. 

I am sure Eli didn't like what he heard, but knowing what he knew about God  led him to believe that even hearing that news, he thought God still knew what was good.

Our faith will be tested, often.  Our faith will be tried by God.  Sometimes we will hear things we don’t want to hear.  But…
Luke 18:19b none is good, save one, that is, God.

Throughout all our days, we need to keep trying to lean on the Lord no matter what it looks like because He cares and knows what is coming next, something we will never be able to do.  This is the basic truth of fatih; trust He knows best.  Not always easy, not always done, but something we need to keep trying.

So, today is a simple reminder that no matter what things look like for us even during our difficult times, God is still watching over us, cares, and is doing something good.






Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sometimes I Understand and Sometimes I Am Mad

Sometimes, oftentimes, we can't see past our situation and we make decisions based on what people tell us. When those people let you down it is really hard to know how to process the "information" they gave you. 

I keep running over "things" in my mind and I wonder. Why did I have to do x, y, and z, and now it seems they didn't matter really?  I am confused by people's actions and reactions. Not confused like I don't understand why exactly (we all sin...that's the why) but more that I think why was I told what I was told? What was their purpose? I believe some leaders truly care about people and that's why they do what they do, others I think want to prove something about themselves, others, or even God, and still others, unfortunately, want I use the power for themselves; but  no matter the reason, I still come to the same conclusion that I didn't see, do, or hear something because it wasn't going to be good for me or the greater good. 

It's hard to picture but I am really trying to get a "grip" on something I can't. And I can't because it would involve reliving everything, knowing what I know at this point in my life.  People say hind sight is 20/20. But is it?

We think we know just how it would work out if we knew what we know now then. But if we could go back to a time or place and change something that we think would make things "better" or "right", we would ultimately screw something up in a whole new way. Quite possibly not end up anywhere that we are at now but somewhere completely different and not necessarily good much less better. 

I believe that if we are thinking about a situation and saying what we would do differently, we have just shown ourselves prideful. 

I don't know, still, what God has for me. I wonder a lot about the past and how it all fits together. I wonder what if things were different. Would I be missing the blessing that I have in my life that I take for granted? Would I be missing out on the positive changes I see in myself and others even through the trials?
Would I be in church at all?  Would I have homeschooled Would I still be married?  Would I be working full time wondering how I was going to make the next payment as a single mom? 

I read a book by Dr. Hyles called, "Science of the Christian Life". In that book he references the scripture in Matthew 6:8b for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.  It says he knows what we need before we ask.  If he knows before I ask, he already knew my need before I did.  I think I know what I need. I certainly know what I want, at least at the moment I want it. But if I did get everything I wanted, I would probably end up in a place that really didn't give me what I wanted. 


Learning to be content is always going to be a process for us but I don't think it always has to be a struggle. I may not like what has happened throughout my life but each event in life is a chance to show I am content with what the Lord has given me. I believe that God is watching over us even when we can't see him and gives us what we need at the moment and not before. Pride tells me I did or didn’t deserve something the way that it turned out; that I knew best.


Pride and contentment are two things that don't go together.

Proverbs 16:18
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

I Timothy 6:6
But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Doesn't really seem like a logical thing to pick between, destruction or great gain. I would always pick gain. 

The problem is that we see our surroundings and pick what will make us currently "gaining" rather than the destruction it could cause. Just like when I am scarfing down a bag of Dove chocolates I am NOT thinking about how my clothes will fit. I am thinking about the pleasure for right now.

People sin because that’s what is in us, and it is an unfortunate reality of living in a fallen world.  From little thoughts or decisions to life changing ones, we need to humble ourselves before the Lord and realize that He sees a bigger picture and truly knows what we need.  God isn’t off in the distance and leaving everything completely up to us.  Our God is loving and caring, even through things that aren’t loving...we always need to remember that people are just that and God, well HE IS GOD.  Relying on God will give us contentment because he has promised many things to His people, so many I can’t possibly list them all.  The one I will leave you with was said by David.

Psalm 37: 25-26 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.  He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Understanding

I am beginning to understand.

I get so frustrated with myself for failing over and over.  Today as I was listening and reading my Bible, or trying to, I had some thoughts go through my head… not good ones either!  I would like to say it was the list of “to do’s” I had, but in fact it just wasn't nice thoughts, period.  And it’s not just this one time, or this one thing…it’s the fact I do it over and over and shouldn't I be better?

I stopped my Bible reading program and thanked God.  Seems really silly to stop and thank Him at that time, doesn't it?  Yes, but really NO.  It is horrible I have thoughts other than God even while reading my Bible, but it certainly there isn't a bad time to stop and tell God thank you.

I am beginning to understand that I REALLY do need him ALL THE TIME.   I don’t want to admit I am THAT bad.  Truth is I will always fall short (way short) of where God is at.  That’s why Jesus had to die.  Simple enough…for us!  Remember when you are “beating yourself up again” that is exactly why we need Him.

In Revelation 12:10 Satan is referred to as the “accuser of our brethren”.  I don’t think we make it too hard for him to accuse us!  Even our own thoughts are against God, our thoughts lead to our actions… and well, we give Satan free reign to accuse us.

BUT…and here is the good part!! JESUS paid it all already knowing we are sinful creatures!!

1Peter 3: 18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

Colossians 1: 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Ephesians 2: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

What a wonderful truth!! Even when I fail with my thoughts, I don’t have to wonder if God cares because Jesus’ death made it possible for me to have a right relationship with God the Father.  So, though I fail, rather than condemn myself, I need to be thankful for Jesus.

 It all comes down to what I am looking at, my hopeless state or my “hopeless” state knowing what Jesus did for ME.


Thank you for being and doing what no one else can!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Daydreams

According to my Dove wrapping, “daydreaming is free”.  I love my Dove chocolates, but I am not sure about some of the sayings.  Again, I pick apart the phrase and sometimes, it just is completely different than the sweet little saying.  I guess one of the reasons I pick things apart so much is because I want to please God by what I do.  I know I do a lot of things wrong in my flesh, but I at least have a desire to try to do the right thing.  That fact in of itself is a good start.

Anyway, that phrase got me thinking that we can spend too much time daydreaming about what we want in our lives.  And it can be fun to imagine the ”what if’s” of life as long as we don’t live in that frame of mind.  Daydreaming is free,  it is a truthful statement;  daydreaming IS free.

What I started wondering about was how much time is wasted on daydreaming… I could spend lots of time thinking about other things: exotic vacations, being rich, having a perfect man, perfect children, the perfect body, and/or the right house.  (I certainly don’t dream myself into a shack, deep in debt, and dying a miserable life)  But really, how much time do people waste on daydreaming? I don’t know.  Some much more than others I’m sure.  Even though day dreaming is free, it can cost a lot if you are left in a state of wanting so much different in your life.  It’s not wrong to want nice things, or have nice things.  But it is not good if we put our daydream desires as our main goal above all else.

Have you ever had a time when things were going REALLY tough and whatever it was occupied all your thoughts?  Ever gone to sleep like that and wake up and think, “I am still here”?  I have.  Sometimes life can be a real struggle and running away seems like a good option.  But I for the “average” lady, I don’t think we really want to leave, some perhaps, but that’s not what I am talking about.  The daydream that takes a few minutes of “I wish I was on a beach, or mountain, or wherever”, is fun and makes you think, “that would be nice”.  But daydreams that take over your thoughts are no longer a quick, fun thought, but a reminder you don’t have what you want or you don’t want what you have.  Those “daydreams” are more of a hindrance than a help because we start seeing all we don’t have and seeing what we do have as something not worth having.

I certainly wouldn't need God too much if I had a mountain side view and “perfect” family, house, etc., So, I would rather leave daydreaming behind and focus on finding my fulfillment in God.  God has each one of us in a place of His choosing because He knows what we need to draw closer to Him.  I have wonderful things and people in my life, but I do need Him for my every day, real life, role as wife, mother, friend, daughter, or sister.  It may not be as easy as the daydream but it is far more rewarding!

Ecclesiastes 6:9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Waking up on the Wrong Side of the Bed

It seems to me when I have something bothering me or have had an "off" day that when I go to sleep with it still bothering me, I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. That just happened....

Rather than going to bed with a negative spirit, it would have been in my best interest to stay up a little longer and confess my sin and make sure my heart was right with God. But, truthfully, I said a quick prayer and "hoped for the best" for tomorrow.

Every time we don't confess to God that our hearts are not right, we give the Devil a little place to start planting a gardens worth of "struggles".

Ephesians 4:26-27
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.

1John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


I know that I don't confess enough to God. I think I haven't done "too bad" and it's okay, but really I shouldn't be looking at it any other way besides God's way.  I will always fall short of Him and that's what it is really about.  
I don't need to do anything for my salvation because Jesus paid it all. I take that for granted. I know it, I believe it, but really I take it for granted so much that I don't do the simplest I things, like tell God I have done something against him. 

How foolish and prideful to think that we can just get by and not have our spirits affected. Just as I felt it before going to sleep and since I didn't do anything with it (besides a flippant prayer) it was still there this morning.


Rather than start off a few steps behind, we should start off with some searching of our hearts and begin anew so yesterday's bad attitude or issue won't be in the front of our minds. The "wrong side of the bed attitude" I had, was forced out by the word of God and confession. Now I am ready to begin a new day with it's new challenges, struggles, and blessings.  

God is faithful and just to cleanse me and I won't even take the time to realize how much I need him? Well, I did just that this morning. Rather then spend the day in the cranky state I woke up in, I spent extra time with God. 

I'm a so glad that HE is faithful and just!!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Well

Recently, I have been feeling close to God even though there have been things going on around me that are unsettling. That is a wonderful feeling.  This past week has been different.  As you can tell I haven't posted. I kept asking God to let me know what he wanted said and I haven't "heard" anything. A friend told me I need to post, two friends actually. 

But I had nothing.


Even yesterday during my morning time with God I had such a hard time focusing on the words, it was distracting me from focusing on the Word…doesn't that sound ridiculous!  Then at church yesterday, I was a little distracted so I was only half listening.  And then the pastor said something which kicked my brain in gear and I was pondering where I am at spiritually.  That isn't a bad thing, but probably not the best thing during a sermon!!!

 I think I walk through the valley because I expect the time I have been with God to last longer and it will be "okay" to skip the schedule time because I sincerely plan to do it later. It just doesn't really happen for me

Today I woke up with the song, "He's Been Waiting by the Well" going through my head; it has been for about two days. And this morning it hit me. I haven't been with God enough to satisfy MY needs, let alone say anything to help another!  I noticed "the Well", I thought about Him, but I didn't put him first. 


So….
I am "off" and wondering what is wrong and thinking it to death…. but, this “valley” I am in doesn't need to be analyzed to death.

I need to remember:
-what I really need and get that done.  
-my flesh is saying it’s better for me to do anything rather than be with God. 
-I am not totally off track and nothing is wrong with me (a hard habit to break!). 
-the filling I get from God doesn't last as long as I think.

What I need is to get back to putting God first.   

I just need more time with God!

He is waiting for me to choose to be with Him... waiting at the well for me to be thirsty enough to choose Him.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Didn't Think God Was That Good

I didn't think God was that good.

As I was sitting in the chapel and the group started singing it took everything I had not to burst into tears and RUN out.

I need to take you back to before that moment. Wednesday July, 3 2013, started like every other morning except I was packing for an overnight trip to a Christian camp my son was working at.  He had left on the 15th of June and this was going to be the first time I had seen him and I only talked to him a couple times since he left; something that was very atypical for us as we home schooled and spent lots of time together.  Even though I was going to see my son, I was heading to camp. Camp. Camp like kids go to, outside with well water and lots of strangers...not something that I like in the least.

I kept busy all day and then, it was time for church. The service was very typical and near the end of it I was "checked out" but was abruptly brought back when the pastor read his letter of resignation. I sat there completely stunned and then started to cry. I felt confused, miserable, sad, and a multitude of other emotions.

I went home and cried and cried. I have no idea what time I fell asleep but I knew the morning was going to come all too quickly. I don't remember the time we left; I guess it was about 5:30 in the morning. I "slept" in the car between siting there thinking and crying. How in the world we were going to tell our son? When would we tell him? How was he going to take it? How was I going to handle this time acting like everything was fine?

My husband and I talked and agreed it was really not the best thing to say, “Hi, nice to see you. Pastor resigned”. So we agreed to wait until the camp finished for the week on Friday afternoon, just about 27 hours from out arrival time.  We acted like everything was fine but inside I was a complete mess.. And now I was at camp. Camp. Bunk beds, stall showers, and two toilets for the roomful of ladies.  :(


At this point I am thinking, you have got to be kidding me, God. I am at one of the lowest points in my life and I am at summer camp! I hate everything about this! The only good thing was I was going to see my son but he was so busy working we didn't spend that much time together and I worried whether or not I could hide my inner turmoil.  I made it through the day, and enjoyed the quiet night with my family and managed to fall asleep in the middle bunk. It wasn't all bad but it certainly wasn't where I wanted to be!

I woke up extra early because I was tossing and turning all night and figured I would get showered before the mad rush of these ladies trying to get into one of three showers. I was up way too early! But it was great to have no one making noise and to finally have some quality time in my bible.  Eventually, people started to get moving and it was time for breakfast.

Right after breakfast it was time for chapel and then going home. Leaving, wonderful and yet dreaded because of having to tell the horrible news we knew. Chapel started and my husband was in my right, my daughter on my left and then my son came up to be with us sitting next to her.  Lost in thought again I sang the hymn mindlessly and I was still questioning what was going on and how I was going to deal with everything later that morning and for the unnumbered days of dealing with the aftermath of the resignation.  So now we are where we started from at the beginning of this post and I was sitting in the chapel and the group started singing it took everything I had not to burst into tears and RUN out.

There were two special music groups but the one that really got me was a husband and wife with 5 young children, all singing together and playing musical instruments

The song was, God Is Good, this is a similar version of it.


I had never heard it before. But at that moment I heard it and scoffed at it in my heart. I thought you haven't been good in my life! My dad died when I was 19, my marriage was still  "struggling" after 23 years, my extended family still wasn't saved, I was still struggling with the same issues since being saved, things weren't what I expected, and NOW you take away my pastor!!! I know that you're good but....this is not good.

That's when I heard the Holy Spirit say, "That's the problem, you know I am good but you don't believe I have been good in your life".

Nope. I didn't believe it. Faced with those thoughts, why would I think God was good? Have I had more gains than losses? Has he been there through it all? Did I feel blessed each night?

I honestly thought, no to all those questions.

God told me that although I didn't believe that he really has given me more gains than losses, he has been there even when I didn't know him or want him, and he has there through everything.

His grace rolled down upon me undeserved...
God has been my Father, Saviour, and Friend....

I admitted to God that I really didn't believe that he was good to me and I said I was sorry. A flood of things to be thankful for raced through my head like a movie.

I realized that I was basing God's "goodness" on my worst or hardest times and not noticing all the times he had been there.  He was still calling me to him because he wants all that for me!  He wants me to see what a blessing it is just to have Him. We all go through hard times, that's just a fact.  But now believing that even through the hard times God is good because he is drawing me to Him, I can't think he isn't good.

The way he makes our world operate alone makes him good; I don't wonder about things working right (the sun, moon, seasons, etc.), I take that for granted. The fact that he is the Maker of all makes him good. And the fact that he made things for me makes him good.  The truth is, I expected a lot from God. And we can expect things from him but when we only expect good things as “I” see it, we can't see it. I couldn't see God as good because he didn't meet my expectation of good.
  Let's face it, my version of good is a little off when comparing it to a universal plan.... And that's what I learned during that song that I wanted to run from, a song that only took about three minutes.

But three minutes is enough time for God to change a heart. :)

Since then, we did tell our son the news on the way home and of course he was upset and is dealing with it the best he can.  I purchased and played that song like crazy; I have had to "go back" to that place and had to repent of unbelief again. Like I said, I am just trying to see God in my day and some days are easier than others. And honestly, some things are easier to do than others.  I don't want to pretend that it was a special, miraculous moment and changed everything and I have been "great" ever since. No, I want you to know that it WAS a special, miraculous moment that changed my heart and thoughts to realize and accept that I need God. I didn't "arrive" on that day at a place where I realized God was good; I touched down and make myself remember that each and every day. It wasn't the day I arrived at "peace", it was the beginning of part of a journey to know Him better.

God is good. I believe that now.


Even through all that happens, I truly believe that.  I still have hard times and struggles... I still didn't get that perfect life (go figure), but knowing, understanding and BELIEVING God is good, makes the journey better!

Good isn't a place to arrive at, it's a daily journey to be with The God that is good. :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Crying Time with God

I am one of those people that cry, even in public.  I know sometimes it makes people uncomfortable but just as it is weird to you I cry, I think it’s weird someone wouldn’t.  I know we are all different and I am okay with it.. I just tell myself it is just how each one of us is made.  Some people are criers others are not.

Last night after church, I cried.  Actually, I was bawling like a baby!  I was sobbing because I am hurting.  It’s the same stuff that has been going on and I am working on going forward but there always seems to be at least a speed bump or two or worse, potholes, on that road to recovering.

Last night was my night to have a “meltdown”.  And I was a crazy mess last night; tissues, tears, blowing my nose…and repeating.  My husband came in the room I was in during all this and had no idea what he was walking into.  My husband is so wonderful; he sat with me and he said a few things, I attempted to talk but mostly just blubbered.  He asked if there was anything he could do and I said there wasn’t and I just really needed to sit there and cry.  He doesn’t like that so much because he is a guy, but he agreed to leave me.  (That took YEARS to get him to understand that he can’t always fix things and sometime I just NEED to cry.  That’s a whole other post, which I might do so “all” you ladies can just show them this so you can prove you aren’t alone lol)

So, back to me...  I continued to cry and I prayed.  I cried some more and thought all kinds of things; what if, did it, how does… you know.  I cried some more and listened to my Bible, twice.  I fell asleep just like that.  I woke up throughout the night just heartbroken and prayed more and asked God to help.

I woke up early this morning and made my husband’s lunch and I went back to bed.  I didn’t sleep really, but rather prayed and thought and dozed off and on.

Here it is hours later and although the situation isn’t changed.  Although things are very much the same, I am different.  I told my friend about my night and she said, “It sounds like torture.  Do you do that all the time you are overwhelmed?”  I said, “No, only when it’s really bad”.


She didn’t understand it, but for anyone that really wants to know, this is why it works for me:

-I cry because I am heartbroken and the Lord understands.
Psalm 27:7-8 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.  When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

-I cry because I have no one else to go to that can actually help.
Proverbs 19:11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

-I cry because Jesus knows how I feel.
Isaiah 53: 4a Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:

-I pray because He hears.
1 Peter 3:12a For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers:

-I pray even when it doesn’t make sense because the Holy Spirit makes my words something when I don’t even know what to say to God.
Romans 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

-I read and/or listen to the Bible because it is the only Truth I can be sure of being truth.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.


 I would LOVE to never be at the point I was at last night but reality is things happen that make people sin, cry, or get hurt.

My whole point is, this works for me!  You need to get to the place you rely on God. For me, my time spent crying, praying, and listening to the Bible was what I needed to get back on track from a very spirit draining place.  Each person needs to find out what actually fills them back up.  There are small things and big things throughout our day that drain us and we need to hear from God. 

Last night was my way of stopping and talking to the One that understood EVERYTHING!  He knows the truth and I don’t actually need to know the truth to move forward on the road of life; I need Him to just hear my heartache and comfort me… it’s a big order but something He is so willing and able to do.


If you never shed a tear, God still hears everything you are expressing but you have to go to HIM and express it somehow.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

When Tragedy Strikes

As church started last night I sat there physically present but my mind was miles away.  My mind was on things of the past, horrible news I had just heard and what that news is doing now to all that hear it.   News that I don’t care to think about much less write about it.  I wish I could just not think it and it would go away, but this thing is probably going to get worse before it gets better and probably involves much more than people know. L 

As we started our first song my mind came back to church and I smiled.  Amid everything that I was thinking, wondering what was going to be said by our pastor, and worry about who would say what, I smiled.  I smiled because I felt good, peaceful, relieved, and loved. This is the song:

No, Not One!
There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus
No, not one! No, not one!
None else could heal all our souls diseases
No, not one! No, not one!

No friend like Him is so high and holy
No, not one! No, not one!
And yet no friend is so meek and lowly
No, not one! No, not one!

There's not an hour that He is not near us
No, not one! No, not one!
No night so dark but His love can cheer us
No, not one! No, not one!
                                                 
Did ever saint find this Friend forsake him?
No, not one! No, not one!
Or sinner find that He would not take him?
No, not one! No, not one!

Was the e’er a gift like that Saviour given?
No, not one! No, not one!
Will He refuse us a home in Heaven?
No, not one! No, not one!

Chorus:
Jesus knows all about our struggles
He will guide till the day is done
There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus
No, not one! No, not one!

I smiled because I felt God speaking to me through this song.  God is not gone.  God is still very much where he was before all this news became public.  Our eyes have been opened to sin, and I am not trying to justify it, all I am saying is that OUR walk with God is still OURS even though we heard this news.

I keep thinking, what happens now when trust has been broken and many people have anger, doubts, confusion, fears, and questions?  I am thinking, what do we do next?

Again, I am going to say the same thing,  FOCUS ON GOD.

We have example after example of people in the Bible that have done crazy, wicked, or stupid things.  These aren't just stories; these are examples of real people in real situations.  God left us what he wants us to know and things that would help us in his Word.  I can’t tell you what story will speak to you and what you might get out of the story, but that’s the beauty of God, He will! 

He wants us.  He wants to help us.  God wants us to read the Bible. God wants us to pray. 

God wants us!

When tragedy strikes, as I and those around me found out, our first thought shouldn't be to run away from God but TO HIM.  Protecting ourselves and our families doesn't mean hiding out, it means putting our trust back on Him rather than a man.

Jeremiah 17:5-7  Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.  For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.  Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.


We all need to look to God.  Look around you today and try to see God.  Remember what you know about Him. Read, listen, or watch what makes you connect with Him.  Rejoice in who He is and what He has done. 

Look at the words again:

No, Not One!
There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus
None else could heal all our souls diseases
No friend like Him is so high and holy
And yet no friend is so meek and lowly
There's not an hour that He is not near us
No night so dark but His love can cheer us
Did ever saint find this Friend forsake him?
Or sinner find that He would not take him?
Was the e’er a gift like that Saviour given?
Will He refuse us a home in Heaven?
Chorus:
Jesus knows all about our struggles
He will guide till the day is done

There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus
No, not one! No, not one!


Thank you Dear Lord that you are the One that watches over us.  Please help each person that reads this message to hear what you are saying.  Heal each and every heart. In Jesus name, Amen.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

God Is With Me

When my alarm went off this morning my very first thought today was, Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”.  I LOVE when the first thing that goes through my head when I wake up is scripture!

That verse got me thinking right away how wonderful it is that God is ever faithful to stay with us ALWAYS. What a wonderful thought!  Then, I thought about the day I got saved and the next verse that came to my mind was, John 10:29 “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand”.

With all the issues and struggles we face on a daily basis, I think we really need to stop and think about our salvation.  There is so much hope in Jesus Christ!  I know even as a stay at home mom, that I am busy, so busy I forget that this is all temporary.  Think about all the things you have to deal with in just one day… The Lord would love to have you thinking about Him while you are going through all that.  And I know that if your mind is on Him, at the very least your day will be spent with Him.

I really believe that God knows how crazy our days can be and that we will be noticing everything around us that needs attention.  Let’s face it; it is what we HAVE to do.  We need to work, take care of children, clean, cook, take care of other people, and many other things; whatever your day holds most of it is necessary things just to “get by”.   But God told us, Colossians 3:2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth”.  We have to do this on purpose, but think about the Lord Jesus Christ during everything you need to do. 

I know I put in a lot of scripture today, but my heart has been troubled lately and although I have been able to talk with my husband and that is good, he isn't home all the time with me nor even if he was could he possible handle all that goes through my head and he wouldn't want to!! But the Lord, He listens to it all!!  And not only that but I hear back from the Holy Spirit, just like all those verses I wrote today.

God is real.  He is.  He is everything I need.  Sometimes I just need to be reminded that he will never leave me and that nothing anyone on earth or in heaven can do to change that.  And often, I need to be reminded that I need to set my eyes upon Him and see things from an eternal perspective rather than the worldly one that surrounds me.

I have NO idea what my day holds, I know what I have planned and what I think it holds but really I cannot know what it will actually be.  But with God always with me and my thoughts on things above, my days go better.

 I am so grateful to have such a kind and loving God who cares about me knowing these things!



                                                                       

Monday, October 21, 2013

Seeing Things As They Are?

“Seeing things as they are” doesn't sound too difficult, does it?

We are right there. We are going through the time, situation, and interacting with people.  So, why is it that we see things only as we do and not as they are? I’m not saying we never see things clearly, but I am just thinking about the times I thought I so clearly had something figured out and then later wondered why I didn't see that, understand it, or believe it.

I feel like I have been parked there a lot lately…

My friend, we cannot be accountable for what people do, what people say, or how they seem one way and turn out differently; we can only be accountable for ourselves.

I am going to be honest, my faith has been shaken.  I needed and still need time to work though things that I didn't do but that have made me wonder…. Where do I stand in my Christian life now?  What does it all mean? How do I process all this??  What in the world is going on???

I have done one really important thing since I have been questioning “my state, my spirituality” or whatever it can be called.
The important thing is seeking God.  I have first, before anything else, have been saying, “God, I don’t know how to take all this in.  I know you are real but I don’t know if I know what’s real in my life”.

It doesn't matter what people are doing, have done in the past, or will do in the future.  People are sinful, plain and simple. 

God is the ONLY one that can be fully trusted. 
God is the ONLY one that can be believed.
God is the ONLY one that loves unconditionally.
God is the ONLY one that is never wrong.

When the doubts of your Christian walk come up, whether it is because of you or someone else, go back to God. 
Part of me, quite honestly, wanted to leave.  What is the point of all this I wondered.  Who cares?? Does ANY of “this” matter??

Well, the answer is yes.  Yes, it does matter.  My spiritual side got knocked like you wouldn't believe, but I still know that God is very real and it does matter to HIM. It matters very much to God that I keep going.

There isn't anything wrong with me.  Maybe my “spiritual” state isn't where I would like it to be, hoped it would be by now, or whatever.

But I realized something big!!  

THERE ISN'T ANYTHING WRONG WITH ME!!!!! 

Sure, I am a sinner; I will never measure up to Jesus, but hmmm  I don’t think God ever said I had to.  Yes, I should be more Christ like as time goes on, but for years I kept wondering what’s wrong with me. And I believe the answer is nothing.  I have been struggling but that’s okay. 

The fact that I keep TRYING to meet with God, attend church, read my Bible, and anything else I am doing, is not wrong.

The fact that I am struggling is NOT WRONG.

The thing that will be wrong is for me to turn my back on God because of what people do!!!

I can never, never say God hasn't been good because of what people have done.  I have thought it, but I can’t really say that because it just isn't true!



Psalm 9:9-10 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.