Friday, December 23, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
What worthless thing have I been looking at, longing for, consumed with? I imagine every single one of us could come up with at least one thing that we are paying too much attention to, so much so that it is pulling us away from the Lord. In the last few months I have come to realize how I've allowed friends and social media to become too important too me. I know I need to take a break, pull back, and take time to evaluate my heart. Why have I allowed even friends, which can undoubtedly be a good thing, to become so important as to pull me away from the things God has given to me to do? So my prayer is, "Revive me in Your way, O Lord. Draw me near to your heart. Give me the strength to do that which I have not the strength to do alone."
"With my whole heart I have sought you" (Psalm 119:10).
I want this to be true in my life! So much so that I can say in all honesty, "Lord, I have sought after you with my whole heart. You are my God and I love You more then all else. You are my Lord and I will praise You to the end of my days. I shall never cease to seek You as long as I shall live!"
With a prayer on my lips I begin this day, knowing the Lord will hear and answer.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Have you ever been attraction to someone? No, honestly, have you ever met someone and just felt a spark? Not love, just an attraction? You can tell me that you have never felt attracted to someone of the opposite sex, but I probably won't believe you. (Yes, I can be stubborn like that sometimes.) Okay, so if you have ever been attracted to someone, then perhaps you have also wished for a shield, something to hide behind because do not want anyone to see your heart. You are struggling to guard you heart with all diligence,
but it can be so hard!
I was reading in Proverbs the other day and came across Proverbs 30:5 which talks about how God is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. I have also been re-reading Joshua Harris' I Kissed Dating Goodbye and when I read this verse my mind quickly connected the words "attraction" and "shield." If God is a shield to those who put their trust in Him, I thought, then when we feel unwanted attraction---make that distraction---then perhaps we should pray that God be our shield and hide us from the emotions that threaten to take over our sensibilities? Picture the proverbial princess and knight tale. The princess is in distress, the villain Attraction and his identical twin Distraction are trying to steal the princesses most precious jewel, and then picture a grand and shining knight riding in on his majestic white stallion and with his shield he holds the villains at bay protecting the princess' treasure.
Our hearts are the treasure, and Satan is the villain who throwing temptations and distractions our way trying to pull us further from God. When we cry out for help, the Lord hears our cry (Psalm 34:17) and puts out His shield to protect us.
Keeping our hearts with diligence is a never ending battle, and sometimes we wonder if giving in would be all that bad. If the person we are attracted to never knows, then what harm could a little dreaming about "what ifs" do? Have you ever been tempted by this thought? I know I have. So, what harm can it do? There are several ways it can be harmful, and those ways may very from person to person, but one thing remains true for everyone. When you are attracted, just face it, you are often distracted. Distracted as you carry out your daily duties, and most importantly distracted from your relationship with God. Ah, ah, I know what you were going to say. You were going to point out that every dating or courting, or for that matter, newly wed couple you know is distracted, and you were going to ask me if I thought that was a bad thing. Nuh-uh, we aren't going there. You see, attraction often leads to an unhealthy infatuation if dwelt upon too much, and infatuation in some cases is okay, but not when it is founded on your imagination alone. When two people are involved and the feeling is mutual and marriage is the intent of the couple involved, infatuation can be a good thing. But, like I said, infatuation that is one-sided usually is not healthy or good.
What is my point? Attraction will happen, and I don't intend to hide in a deep dark cave somewhere to avoid it, but I do have a plan. I am going to start praying that God will shield my heart. Not necessarily from attraction itself, but from infatuation and distraction. Let's face it. Alone we do not always have the sense nor will power to guard out hearts as diligently as we should. We need help. Instead of praying that trying situations go away, I am going to be praying that God will use these situations to grow me. I will pray for His protection and strength, for I need His shield.
So, you see, I often find strength and direction from Scripture in somewhat randomly wonderful ways. :)
Friday, October 14, 2011
My dear friends,
This is my prayer for each of you, that you may grow daily in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Some days I don't know what to pray for you. I feel that my own words are just rambling nothingness. And so, I pray this.
I am aware that each of my friends has their own challenges, and if you challenges are anything like mine, no matter of trying on your own strength is going to cut it. We can be so stubborn and so...welll....stupid. At least I know I can be. I try and try to do things on my own strength and become so stressed. I feel like giving up. Then God taps me on the shoulder and says, "Why don't you let Me help you?" Then there is one of those embarrassed, hide your face in the closet moments. "Uh...Father, I am SOOOOOOO foolish!!! Have I really been doing it again?" And so goes my life. I am so glad our Lord is a patient Father. I am so glad that He never gives up, but continues to patiently teach me.
Today I pray that God will give you strength for each challenge, peace for each trial, grace for each "Not again!" moment, knowledge and wisdom for each decision life brings your way, and love enough to make you smile thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis big.
To my friends (you know who you are!), I love you all!
Have you ever known someone who was mean, hateful, and seemed to relish every chance to use the name of God in vain? Have you ever wished that they would just disappear and never blot the screen of your life again? Have you despise and turned your back? All we ever thought that person deserved, so we deserve plus so much more. We are all sinners deserving of nothing less then hell, yet God looks down at our dirty and debase lives and is not willing that a single one of us should perish. He calls each of us to repentance. Just think about it...
"For by whom a person is overcome by him also he is brought into bondage." If we are overcome by a man, a sinner, this picture looks very bleak, but when I read this verse I do not only hear the warning about corrupt men. I thought instead of how I want to be "overcome" by Him who died on the cross to save me. I want to be brought into bondage in Him. I want all that I am to be wholly His. I want to be a slave to Christ.
To be a slave is to be: "bound in servitude to a person or household as an instrument of labor. One who is submissive or subject to a specified person or influence" (The American Heritage Dictionary).
That is what I want to be. Bound in servitude to Jesus, an instrument of labor in His kingdom, submissive to Him in all things.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
This verse served as a reminder of why I need to spend more time in God's Word. As Christians, we need to know the truth so that we are not fooled by the lies of false prophets. Over the last year or so I have really come to see how important it is to know what you believe and why you believe it. I want what I believe to be in direct accordance to what my Lord teaches in His Word, so obviously I need to know what His Word says. That is one of many reasons why I started this challenge.
What are some of your favorite methods of reading through the Bible? Do you like to start at the beginning and work your way through? Or maybe you read one of those plans that help you read the Bible in a year. The ones where you read a little from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs each day? Or perhaps you are doing like I am at the moment and reading the books you wish to study the most first and in a seemly random order. :) Whatever your choice method is, I pray that you are picking up your Bible and diligently studying it each and every day!
"The best preparation you can make for your life, something that God will use greatly as you interact with others on a daily basis, is the study of His Word. All truth and wisdom lies therein."
I found this note in my devotional journal. There is no indication of why I wrote it there. I don't know if it is something I read, or if it was something I wrote in relation to something I was going to at the time, but it seemed so perfect for today.
I've been really struggling to guard my heart lately. Thoughts keep creeping in that are distracting me from keeping my focus on my Father. I have felt so helplessly weak to stand against them even when I know they are pulling me away from the very One I want to draw closer too. I have not even been able to focus on reading God's Word. When I came across these scribbled thoughts I was reminded of 2 Peter 2:9, "The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations." And, 1 Corinthians 15:57: "But thanks be to God, who gives us victory though our Lord Jesus Christ." God will deliver me from the temptation to put any thought above Him in my heart. He will give me victory. He will be the strength I need in my weakness ("My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9).
My God is good!
Friday, September 30, 2011
"Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit" (John 15:2).
I've seen my daddy prune our fruit trees many times. He cuts back a certain amount of the growth so that the tree will grow better and produce more fruit. At first after he has pruned the trees they look bare and almost ugly, but as spring comes on full force and the trees begin to blossom, all the former ugliness is hidden. Even forgotten.
Many times in the last few years I've felt God's hands as He prunes away at my life. I don't like it. It hurts. I feel like hiding away so that no one can see scars that prove how sinful I have been and how much pruning the Lord has had to do in my life. But just like spring brings the blossoms to hide the ugliness of the pruned fruit trees, so God's grace settles about me and moments of spring come to my life as my faith and trust grow in the Father who loves me enough to cause me a little pain now so that I can reap greater joys tomorrow.
This reminds me of 1 Thessalonians 5:16 & 18. "Rejoice always...in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
Sometimes all we can think about is the pain of God pruning away our sinfulness, and we are blinded to the big picture. God is cutting away our sin so that we can be drawn ever nearer to Him. Next time we feel the sting of God's pruning shears cutting away at our lives, lets remember the big picture and rejoice, for our God, He is good!
"That you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory"(1 Thessalonians 2:12).
Perhaps this verse stood out to me because I have been thinking a lot lately about what I do from day to day with the time that God has blessed me with. Am I walking in a way that is worthy of my Lord?
Today has been hard, I'll just out and out say it. I'm not trying to complain here, just stating the honest truth. In two weeks I will be beginning a college course that is going to take more study time then I have been used to. I have been used to taking CLEP tests, now I'm gearing up for a full-blown college course with lots of papers and interaction with other students. I know I will enjoy it, but at the same time I know it is going to require me to be more disciplined because I will have deadlines that are going to be set by people other then myself. If that makes sense. Soooooo, in light of that, my CollegePlus! coach and I have put together a more strict schedule for me to implement. One that will hopefully allow me to get all my work done, plus all of my school work turned in on time. So, today was difficult because I got my first taste of what my life will look like for the next few months. I felt like I had a drill Sargent breathing down my neck all day and that I couldn't stop pushing and accomplishing! And before you think that I'm referring to my coach as a drill Sargent, I'm not. She is super sweet. The drill Sargent it the thought of all I have to do and the pressure to not get behind.
Anyway, in planning out my days and tracking where I am spending time I have been thinking a lot about whether or not I am glorifying God in what I do from day to day. How do my priorities for me line up with His priorities for me? Am I in His will? What things can I not fail to do?
Nothing too deep, but just another average, everyday moment. :)
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
I am so glad to be safely back home now and having regular times with my Father once again. I've missed Him so much! So, obviously my challenge was not completed. My plan is to start right where I left off. Let's call it Day 18 today, and I'll go from there. I would start back at zero, but I'm not sure I will have time to continue updating the blog so often after two weeks is up and I start a college course on top of my regular work. BUT, I will not stop seeking God first each morning. It is something that I have come to see great value in these last few years especially and I have no intention of giving it up!
So, all that rambling to say, "Hello everyone, I'm back!" :)
And, Day 18, here we come...
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Sometimes our hearts are heavy and our minds are filled with doubts or fears. Other time life is just crazy busy and we feel a bit overwhelmed. I have been going through some of these things lately, well most of them honestly. This morning I woke up with an aching heart, "Why God, why?" I could not help but ask. I opened my Bible with a sigh and begged the Lord to lead me to a verse that would speak to my weary heart. He heard cry this morning and delivered me from my troubles to a greater extent than I honestly had hoped for (Oh, me of little faith!). Everything was not gone, there were still questions, and doubts but He gave me sweet peace. I didn't feel so overwhelmed by the busy day ahead because I knew He was with me and that He would see me through. He calmed my fears and was so near that I knew I could trust Him. That somehow everything is going to work out okay.
He has set my sinful soul free
Even though I don't deserve to be
He holds me close upon His knee
All He asks is that I trust and believe
Rest and leave
And He will relieve
My weary heart.
I could have chosen to write out all the little nuggets of truth that I found this morning, but none seemed so important as this, and to post more might take away from the simple beauty but deep truth of what the verse says.
What is my hidden person like? Would a gentle and quiet spirit describe what is hidden deep inside my heart? I long so much for my inner self to be precious in the sight of the Lord. How much effort many of us young ladies put into our outward adornment. Maybe you do your hair, apply make up, do your nails, or maybe, like me, some days you just cannot decide what to wear! Have you ever added up the amount of time it takes for you to get ready for some event? Have you ever said, "Lord, I'm sorry I didn't spend time in prayer today, but I just didn't have time," and yet you had time to get your nails done?
If we truly desire a heart of incorruptible beauty we need to take the time and make an effort to clothe our hearts with the love and grace of the Lord through time in His Word and in prayer. What are your priorities? What do you spend time doing for your outward adornment while you are neglecting the inward adornment of you heart?
Monday, September 12, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
"You are the sons of the living God"(Hosea 1:10).
To think that the Lord counts me as His child. The Maker of the universe! We are sons and daughters of the living God. Those words just send tingles of awe up and down my spine! It is so awesome and humbling.
"Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:14-15).
I complain way to much, and I know it. Sometimes I think I continue to complain more out of habit then anything. Still that is not an acceptable excuse. I want to do all that God asks of me without mutter that, "But...." I want to be a blameless and harmless child of God. I want to shine as a light for Him in this generation that is truly is "crooked and perverse." So what can I do? How do I break my complaining habit? No, I'm not giving you a suggestion. I'm asking you for one. :)
My schedule was anything but normal today. I woke up at 5:30am feeling poorly. I continued to struggle with various symptoms until late into the afternoon. I did not read my Bible as I most days, or set aside a specific time for prayer. I was praying throughout the day as I did not feel up to doing much and had plenty of time to think and pray.
See, some days things don't happen as we plan for them to. I did not get to stick to my plan for getting up early and spending the first hour of my day with my Heavenly Father. I was up early, but I was feeling so poorly I could barely sit up. The thing is, God understands days like the one I had and He meets you right where you are if you ask Him to. I could have felt guilty for "missing" one of my forty days, but I don't. I met with the Lord where I was and how I was able and that is all He asks of me. He doesn't demand that I read a certain number of chapters, or pray for a certain length of time. He just asks me to seek Him diligently from right where I'm at.
I found my encouragement for the day in a letter from my dear friend Hannah and a quote she shared with me.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2).
This verse always reminds me to be more careful in what I put before my eyes. What I read, listen to, and watch. Those things which I put into my heart and head will influence me for good or evil. Just because people say things are good or okay does not mean they are. I should not choose movies, books, or music based only on the opinions of others, but also hold all things up under the shining light of the Word of God.
"He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth" (Isaiah 53:7).
"He opened not His mouth." Now I would be the first to tell you that I am not a big talker, but this doesn't mean that I don't sometimes open my mouth when it ought to just stay closed. When people do things to me or my loved ones that hurts I want to say hurtful words back. If I were to be oppressed and afflicted because of Jesus I would want to tell whomever what was what, but if I am to follow in the steps of the One who made a way for me, I need to learn to keep my mouth shut and pray for the souls of those who hate my Lord so much that they take their hatred out on me.
Lord, teach me to pray the prayer Jesus did on the cross. "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Give me compassion and love for those who do not know You. Even when, especially when, they are hateful.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
"My brethren, count it all joy, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces patience (endurance or perseverance)" (James 1:2-3).
This verse reminds me of a song that says,"Count it all joy, this trial your in." How very hard this is! Guess what today's challenge is? Yes, that is right. No matter what happens, count it all joy.
"That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7).
Not only are we to count trials big and small "all joy," we are to endure all persecution as if we were gold being purified by fire. No matter how hot it gets, we are to praise the Lord giving Him all glory and honor, pressing forward until the day of His coming. I find this is something I needed to be reminded of. No complaining, but joy and praise in the process of purification by fire.
"If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" (1John 4:20).
That verse is convicting. Enough said.
"You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11).
Oh, how sweet are these words! To know that the Lord will guide us through life's pathways, and that in His presence we shall find joy in it's fullness! Sometimes I think about what life was like before I really knew the Lord. I cannot imagine how I thought that was living. The fullness of His joy makes my heart to overflow in song, my feet to feel like dancing, and my face to be marked by an ear to ear grin. Ah, but to take the time to look into His face and bask in His presence every morning!
"And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:28).
"Neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand." To know that I am His and He shall never let me go. What a comfort that is!
"Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesues Christ" (Ephesians 5:20).
"Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name" (Hebrews 3:15).
Give thanks unto the Lord... How many things I ask of the Lord in pray. "Lord, please protect, help, guide, give, love..." When all is said and done, when He has been faithful, do I stop my doing long enough to and just praise Him? Thanking Him continually for His rich blessings?
"But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased" (Hebrews 3:16).
How often I "forget" to do good and to share. Especially when it comes to my time. But is it really my time? If God gave me life and if His purpose in doing so was that I might bring Him glory, then is it really my time? How can I dare to be selfish with that which wasn't even mine to begin with?
"That we have a good conscience in all things desiring to live honorably" (Hebrews 13:18).
Of one's own accord one would not desire to live honorably or have a sensitive conscience. I find myself lacking. Do you? Perhaps it is time to start praying once more for a conscience that will not be ignored and a desire to always live in a way which is honorable in the eyes of God and man.
"In honor giving preference to one another" (Romans 12:10).
I do not know about you, but I know that I am often a very selfish person. I really needed that reminder to give preference to others. To treat them with honor. The golden rule sounds so simple, but it isn't is it?
"Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).
"The LORD is my helper; I will not fear" ( Hebrews 13:6).
Lately I've been going through a time of spiritual growth. I have been tempted to become discouraged and downhearted, even dissatisfied with where God has me in life. These verses were spring water to my parched spirit. God will never leave me or forsake me. That just shows how great His love for me is. He cares so much and He will not let me fall. I have not been forgotten. I do not need to fear or feel overwhelmed, because the Lord is my helper. He will walk with me through this time. Oh the blessed assurance!
"Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14).
"Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it" (Psalm 34:14).
"For our God is a consumig fire" (Hebrews 12:29).
"Godly fear" (Hebrews 12:28)
Is it my goal to live at peace with all people? Do I seek to live in holiness departing from all that is evil to do that which is good? Do I fear the Lord? Is He my consuming fire? Is He my consuming fire?
"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it: (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Hallelujah, Praise the Lord for making a way out!!!! Self observation: Do I make a habit of always looking for that way out at the very first sign of temptation?
"My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction; For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Jest as a father the son in whom he delights" (Proverbs 3:11-12).
"My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives" (Hebrews 12:5-6).
When I have done wrong, do I grow angry and upset because the Lord sees fit to rebuke me? I hope not! I want to always remember that true love is tough love. God loves me so much that He has my future best interests in mind. That may mean pain for today, but tomorrow I shall see the fruit of righteousness blossoming more fully in my heart.
"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17).
The wisdom that comes from above is to be treasured and guarded. What sweet wisdom it is! Through the process of wrong doing, and chastening from the Father, this wisdom grows within us. and oh, what a sweet treasure it is!
"Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:11).
Would we not welcome the correction of our earthly father if we knew what blessings our future could hold because he has brought us up in the ways of the Lord? How much more so will we rejoice in knowing that our Heavenly Father is chastising us and bringing us into submission and to further righteousness with the promises of great rewards?
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Today I was reminded to not grow weary and loose heart, to not cease to pray, but to continue steadfastly in the way the Lord has shown us through the example of His Son. Also, I was reminded that what Christ suffered, I must not expect to escape (Matthew 10:22). I once heard a speaker say, "If you are not being persecuted for Christ's sake, then you are not where you are supposed to be." Am I where I God has called me to be?
"Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer" (Romans 12:11).
"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we reap if we do not loose heart" (Galatians 6:9).
"For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls" (Hebrews 12:3).
"What David offered to his God was a heart that was utterly satisfied with His will. There were no private reservations, no little whispered "if"---if only I can be where I want to be and have what I want to have, then there will be gladness in my heart...he went further...It (joy) does not depend on what I have, it is more than that sort of gladness. It is a joy that is entirely independent of circumstances." ~ Amy Carmichael Edges of His Ways
I long to be utterly satisfied with the will of my Father, to have a deep gladness within that is not dependant on the circumstances of this life! Don't you? What do you think are some steps each of us can take to find such joy?
I would have to say the number one step is prayer. Studying God's Word. Then action.
This morning was a wee bit more challenging than the last few mornings. An unexpected amount of projects for work came in yesterday that needed to be taken care of in a timely manner. Because of this, I was not able to go to bed at my regular hour. Nevertheless I was determined to still get up by my normal time this morning. When morning rolled around I wanted so much to snuggle deeper into my pillow and keep on sleeping! Thankfully the Lord was with me and reminded me of what a day started without prayer, usually turns out to be. Knowing I had a lot of work to do again today I knew that prayer would have a major roll in keeping my day flowing smoothly. If the doors to Heaven aren't opened in the morning, I always find that they usually stay closed all day. Not because God will not open them. Oh no! But because I am so stressed and harried that I do not take the time to open them. Have you ever found this to be true?
We are strangers and pilgrims on this earth. This is just our temperary home. There is what I like to call a eternal perspective. This is how we view the world and all that is in it. We look at it all through the eyes of our Lord. We look at it with the thought that glorifying our Father is our number one priority, and that Heaven is our goal. So, if I am just a stranger here, if this is not my home and Heaven is, then is how I am living reflecting that?
"By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy passing pleasures of sin" (Hebrews 11:24-25).
What are we willing to endure for the Lord? Are we willing, even eager to stand with His people and to suffer with them for the sake of our Father?
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
"And through it he being dead still speaks." That is what you call a testimony! Even after you have died, how you lived on earth, still speaks of your faithfulness in living for the Lord in righteousness. I crave such a testimony. A testimony that shows that I lived "differently" and makes those who live after me ask what made me different. As they seek to discover my secret perhaps they might find more then they bargained for. Perhaps they might find God! My prayer is that God will help me to live my life so that I might be a testament to His goodness and in my testimony I might please Him (Hebrews 11:5).
Being, a light in darkness, your neighbor's Bible, a testimony to the love of God, pleasing the Lord. All of this is an overwhelming objective if you think you can do it alone. Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Without faith it is impossible, but with Christ, with faith in Him, all things are possible (Philippians 4:13).
So my prayer today is that God will continue to mold me and grow me in Him, that I may leave behind me footprints of faith, a testimony to God's greatness that will point others Homeward.
"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going" (Hebrews 11:8).
Abraham had faith that God knew what He was doing, and even though Abraham did not know where he was being led he obeyed and followed. Do I walk by faith? Do I go faithfully where God is calling me even when I can't see?
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Today Deuteronomy 19:15 stood out to me (another cross reference from Hebrews).
How often I judge others based on the words of one other person. How often I condemn them accordingly. As I was thinking these things, Matthew 7:1-2 came to mind.
That is a sobering thought isn't it? Let us say that someone does something though, that is not against us. Something that is wrong. Maybe we are talking about a fellow Believer who has stabbed a friend in the back, or who's actions were less then Christlike in some other way. I did not witness the act, but one of my friends did and they tell me about the incident. My first reaction should not be, "I will not have anything to do with so and so" or "Someone needs to take action to pay him back!" No, my first thoughts should be to pray for them. "Lord, my friend just told me about this wrong act of so-and-so, and Father I am concerned...Please, work in the heart of this person and draw them near to You. If there has been wrong done, Lord, place a burden on their heart to make things right with You and the one they have wronged."
How often do I do this? How often do I respond in a way pleasing to the Lord? How can I judge another for his wrong deeds while I stand judging him when I have no real grounds for doing so? Doesn't that put both of us in the wrong?
"Judge not, that you be not judged" (Matthew 7:1). I need to take this to heart.
As I continued to read I came across Luke 18:8.
"When the Son of Man comes will He really find faith on the earth?"
Wow, that is a verse that will put you in your place. When Jesus returns will He find that we have faith? This brings to mind another question. When Jesus returns will He find us to have been faithful? Faithful in loving and serving Him, in loving and serving others, in prayer, in studying His word, in being good stewards of all that He has blessed us with? Will He find that we, you and I, have been faithful?
In closing here is a quote from Amy Carmichael's Edges of His Ways.
"Perhaps the Lord is saying to that one and to other who are constantly praying about something they personally desired, "Leave the matter to Me; you have prayed enough about it. You have compassed that mountain long enough."
This little excerpt may not mean much to you, but to me it is a reminder that sometimes we can pray and pray and beg and beg, but in the end it comes down to, "Do we trust Him?" When it is something we desire very much it is so hard to do, but there always comes a time when we need to lay it down at His feet. "Father, you know this desire in my heart, and Lord, this is hard. I do not want to give it up. I do not want to not get my way, but I know, Father, that You love me. You have my best interest at heart. Lord, take this desire, I surrender it to You. Lord I trust You! Whatever You discern in this matter, I know it will be best."
Monday, August 29, 2011
Today is Day 1 of 40. In the next 40 days I am committing to give God the first part of every morning. My plans include studying His Word, devotional reading, prayer, and scripture memory. I already can tell it will not be easy. In fact, a part of me was half-way regretting this choice when my alarm clock went off this morning. That is the half of myself that I am out to overcome. Each day I intend to record something that stood out to me about my time with my Father and share it with you for two reasons. One, I need accountability. Two, perhaps something that God is using to encourage me might also encourage you.
I covet your prayers during the next 39 days as I seek to "know Him more." It will not be easy, but by the grace of the Lord, and in His strength I walk forward.
Day 1: August 29
Friday, August 26, 2011
How often when you have become discouraged by "sorrowful, depressing, or miserable thoughts" have you discovered that the root of it is Satan? Often times I have grown very discouraged with who I am and what I have done. I get so down that all I can think is "Poor me!" Wait. Poor me? I rewind. Poor me? No, blessed am I! Blessed beyond measure.
Satan tries to pull blinders over our eyes and take our focus from God and turn it onto ourselves. Here is my comeback line:
Don't believe the lie. You are precious in the eyes of your Heavenly Father for you were bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20) when Jesus died on the cross for the sins of man, the ultimate sacrifice (Hebrews 9:14).
Sunday, August 21, 2011
"There are no shortcuts to Christlikeness. Shortcuts only lead to masquerading. There is no substitute for spending consistent time alone in His presence. The cost is great. But the rewards are even greater. If we want to be transformed, we must be willing to
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Much time spend in secret with Jesus alone;
By looking to Jesus, like Him though shalt be;
The friend in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
~ Willeam D. Longstaff (1822-94)"
~Nancy Leigh DeMoss
I know I have written several times lately about the urgent need in all of our lives for prayer. This morning in devotions I was remind again of how important prayer is.
The end of summer has been busy for me, and in all my bustling around I have slacked in the one area of my life that should always remain consistent, prayer. Again I have reaped the fruits of my lack of faithfulness in seeking my Maker. I have been overwhelmed, discouraged, and lacking a sense of direction. When I sat down to ask myself why things were going so badly and why I was frustrated at every turn, I did not have to search my heart more than a few seconds to discover that I was doing it again. I was trying to do everything alone. Again, God used circumstances, including a failed test and being in a minor car accident to remind me that I need Him. I cannot hope to cope with all life throws at me alone. I just cannot.
Prayer is the ANSWER!
in everything give thanks; for this is the will
of God in Christ Jesus for you"
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Saturday, August 6, 2011
As I began to realize that in dressing with care I could assist my brothers in Christ in being faithful and guarding their eyes and minds, I also began to advocate modesty. I am a sister. I have brothers. I want other girls to dress in a way helps my brothers not to stumble, so, in turn I dress modestly to help other girls brothers. Most of all, I want my actions to glorify God. My motives in dressing should be a reflection of my heart, and I long for my heart to reflect purity.
Modesty is not about a list of rules. It starts with the heart. When you become more concerned about helping your brothers and sisters in the Lord to walk uprightly and not stumble then you are about your own appearance, that is when you will find that you do not feel restricted. You feel privileged. I am not here to point fingers or judge, to give you a list of rules. I just wanted to encourage you to think twice before you buy a new outfit, and to thank those of you who have taken modesty to heart. You are an encouragement to me and a blessing to the men in my life. Keep holding steadfast God's standards for purity. May God be glorified!
Sunday, July 17, 2011
~Nancy Leigh DeMoss
A Place of Quiet Rest
What about you? Is your time alone with the Lord the most treasured part of each day?
I spend time with the Lord, yes, but is it the most treasured, the most well guarded, part of my day? Right now I wish I could answer, "Yes," truthfully. The truth remains, when life gets busy, when the unexpected happens, I often find myself doing the "just enough to not feel too guilty" routine. I pray as I run out the door, "Lord, I had to leave by six this morning and You know I just did not have time. Oh, I love You Lord." And that is that. My day is busy, most likely stressful, but I rarely take ten to just be still and know that He is God. To raise my voice in praise. I complain, I gripe, I exclaim in frustration, but I do not often thank and praise. When those hectic days draw to a close and I lay in bed I sigh, "I wish I had stopped to spend time with You this morning Lord. I wish I had gotten up a little early so I could dedicate this day to You. Lord, I tried to do my best, but I'm not proud of what my best was. I needed Your help, but I was foolish and did not stop to pray. Lord, I'm sorry."
And yet, the next time, do I really guard that time any better? I have been thinking over the past month and I see that I have not. I cannot promise to change overnight, or that the next time I will get up earlier. But I mean to try. I want to be more like Jesus. I want to have more to give, because how can I give what I do not have? I need God's grace, love, and kindness if I am to give those things to others. I must seek His wisdom and strength if I am to encourage and to advise. With this in mind my motto for this coming week is going to be, "prayer is the reaction before action." Basically, before I do anything I want to pray. I want my first reaction to any question or doubt about a decision to be prayer. And so, another week of striving to live for the Lord begins. This time, not just with good intentions, but also with prayer.
What has God been speaking to your heart lately? I would love to hear from you. Please take a moment to comment about God's faithfulness in leading you ever nearer to His heart.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Sometimes we fall. I know I do. But let us not grow discouraged down hearted. Let us "fall on Jesus." In Him there is hope, life, a bright future. It is easy to grow discouraged. To fall and not want to get up. We would like to just lie there, we are tired and discourage, downhearted and blue. Why keep struggling? The truth is, lying still on the ground is tempting. It sounds so peaceful, but nothing is really peaceful without Jesus. He is the Prince of Peace. In Him only is there true peace.
We must not buy the lies that Satan tries so hard to feed us. The ground is no place to rest, in the warm and loving arms of our Savior, now that is a place where we could lay contented, safe. Stand firm, stand tall, push forward though it seems like a strong wind is determined to push you down. He will uphold you. He will give you hope. He will give you rest. Be encouraged. For Christ died to save the World! To save you! We may fall, but we don't have to stay down. In fact, let's fall up...up into the arms of Jesus.
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace."
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Often times when we think about witnessing we feel that we cannot do it. It is too hard, we do not have the right words to say, etc. That is why I found this quote so refreshing. God does not expect me to have all the answers! Yes, witnessing can be challenging, but it is a good kind of hard. The stretching kind. How are we showing up in every day life? How are we shining for Christ in what we do and in what we say? How has He met us today? How have we been blessed? And most importantly, what are some ways that we can share what He has done for us, how faithful He is, with those around us?
Sunday, June 5, 2011
I have been at what looked to be the nearing ending of a path recently. I sought out God. I did my best to trust, I knew He would be faithful, but once in a while a doubt would sneak in. I would brushed it away like a pesky fly. "God, I don't know what you have for me, but I'm choosing to trust, even when I don't understand." I kept walking, intent on finishing faithfully on this path He has had me on. The pesky doubt tried to land in my heart, but I brushed it away again and again with what I knew to be the truth. God would be faithful. And He was!
Now as I look towards the future I rejoice that God was with me, and that He kept the doubt away with His Word. Many times I have faltered, but this time I can rejoice with no regrets because I was faithful in believing that He is always faithful. I thank Him everyday for keeping me close to His heart, and faithful, because I know myself too well. Alone I would have doubted, been scared, sat down and refused to walk forward, and then missed all that He had planned for me.
I hope in Your Word" (Psalm 119:114).
"You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God and I will exalt You" (Psalm 118:28).
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore" (Psalm 121).
"I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever;
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations" (Psalm 89:1).
You can walk in faith, because He will always be FAITHFUL!
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
1 1/2 c. Water
4 T. Orange juice concentrate
1/4 c. Lemon juice
1/3 c. Rice vinegar
2 1/2 T. Soy sauce
1 c. Brown sugar
1/2 t. Minced garlic
2 T. Chopped green onion (white or yellow onion minced is just as good)
1/4-1/2 t. (three good hard shakes) Red pepper flakes
6 T. Cornstarch
4 T. Water
2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 c. All-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
Pour water, orange juice concentrate, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir in brown sugar, garlic, onion, and red pepper. Bring to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat and cool until it is warm to the touch, or 10-15 minutes. Place the chicken pieces into a resealable plastic bag and add 1 cup of the cooled sauce. Reserve the remaining sauce. Seal the bag and refrigerate at least 2 hours. In another plastic bag mix the flour, salt and black pepper. When the chicken is done marinating, take out of sauce and put into the bag with the flour mixture and shake until all the pieces are well coated. Reserve the sauce used to marinate chicken. Heat oil (start with 3-6 tablespoons, then add to oil as need as you cook, keeping about the amount you started with in the pan) in a medium skillet over medium heat. Place the coated chicken in the skillet, making sure the pieces are not touching (you will have to cook the chicken in about 3 different batches). Cook until chicken is well browned, and totally cooked. This is why small pieces is important. Take out of skillet and drain on a paper towel covered plate. Cover chicken with foil to keep warm. Add reserved marinating sauce back to the sauce pan of saved sauce from earlier. Bring to a boil. Mix cornstarch in 4 tablespoons of water pour this mixture slowly into sauce while stirring vigorously. Keep stirring to prevent burning, until sauce has thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Now dump chicken into the sauce, and stir. Cook for another 1-2 minutes stirring constantly but gently so as not to break the chicken cubes. Turn heat off and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Serve over fried rice or oriental rice noodles. Then prepare to have the best dinner ever! Serves 4-6 depending on how hungry the eaters are. :)
Sunday, May 29, 2011
~ Beth Moore
Get Out of That Pit
When trials come I think that sometimes God is just pulling our hearts closer to His. He is calling our names, trying to get our attention. Our God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5) and He wants nothing in our lives to consume us more than He does. We should look at hard times, not as punishment or as some message from God that He no longer loves or cares about us, but as a message from Him calling us to allow Him to walk with us, and be our strength when we have none.
If you are speaking about parenting, true love for one's child demands you to discipline them (Proverbs 13:24). God's love is the purest form of love, if He tells us that true love requires discipline, then you can be sure that as His children, He will chasten us from time to time, because He loves us. I am not saying He won't, but whether He does or not hard times will come. It is just a fact of life, and when those rough times come to us we will likely long for instantaneous deliverance but God may not grant it. He longs for us to be draw closer to Him, whatever it may take. Even if this means that we must struggle for a while to overcome.
If we were to always keep Him first, perhaps the trials would not last so long and would be fewer, or at least we would not mind because our hearts would be so full and overflowing with love for Him that nothing else would matter.
Complaining when hard times, temptations, come is a natural occurrence to many, but if we look deep enough we will discover that we were tempted because we were weak, we were weak, because life had been going smoothly and we begin to think we could do it ourselves, and in failing to put God first, we fell. We hated our self, we were tempted to be angry with God for not making us strong enough, we were ashamed, hurting, and in time, crying out to God for forgiveness and deliverance. We cried out to God. We drew closer to Him. Think about it. If weakness brings you closer to God, than trials can be a blessing.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
But I'm just not strong enough
I can't do this along, God I need You to hold on to me
I try to be good enough
But I'm nothing without Your love
Savior, please keep saving me"
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
If I were a pair of shoes, what would I think about most? Would I think about my owner, and how well he or she cares for me? Would I always be excited over the new ground I was able to travel? Would I ever consider who had made me and stand in wonder of the creativity of his hands? Would I love to dance for joy helping my owner to celebrate? Would there be times when I did not want to go on the path that was at hand, but instead would long for some other much smoother path?
In thinking about what a pair of shoes might think if they had brains and could think, I began to see something very familiar. If I were a pair of shoes who would I think of pleasing most? My maker/owner? Would I think of how I was cared for? Yes, I would and I would hope with all that was in me that I was treated tenderly with special care that showed I was valued. I would be excited when opportunities arose for me to tread new ground, and I would surely leave my mark, my brand, upon every surface that would allow me the privilege. I would often think of my maker, and wonder about how wonderful he must be. I would dance with joy every chance I got, rejoicing in the happiness of being "alive," at least I hope I should. Sometimes there would be paths that I would not wish to tread. Ones filled with fearful things, some filled with pleasant things that might be just a little to long for my tastes.
In short, if I were a pair of shoes, I would be not so much different then I am now. I would praise my Maker, rejoice in His tender care, dwelling always in the intense pleasure of knowing that He values me. I would dance for joy in all things that made Him happy, or at least strive to. I would strive to leave my mark, Christ, everywhere I went. I do not always wish to go down the paths He points out to me as right. Some are hard and steep, others seem way to long, but in the end I hope that I can be like those shoes. I will go where my Owner takes me, I will do His bidding. I will take stones into my treads for Him, yes, those little barbs that those who hate Him shall throw my way I will catch, for I wish to protect His feet. I know that I will get worn and old, but I will rejoice in the fact that I am not as a shoe in this way. I will not get thrown away nor forgot in the deep dark corner of some closet, for He never forgets. He never throws away one who seeks Him with all her heart.
Setting out with my picture to write this little post, I really had not clue what I would say, nor whether it would even be worth my while to share. As I wrote I could not help but think of the One who is all that is good in me, and thus, the post was born. Who would have thought that you could see Christ in a pair of worn out shoes? I did not! I am quite as surprised as anybody.
Somehow, I do not think I will ever see shoes quiet the same again...
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
"I have often noticed that any one, who has been asked to do a difficult thing for the sake of the Lord Jesus, does it and does it heartily, that one seems almost at once to gain a new power of joy and a wonderful new liberty. Sometimes a shy reserve that covered the soul like a thin sheet of ice melts, and there is a freedom to share things and help others; sometimes a dullness that was there before just disappears. To see it do so is like watching a mist dissolve in sunlight. In my reading this morning I came upon the reason for this happy fact. 'Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity: therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows' (Psalm 45:7). Our Lord Jesus did the will of His Father with delight, He hated that iniquity which so often tries to dominate us--selfishness, surrender to the easy, and so on. Therefore He was the gladdest of all the sons of men. The same law applies to His followers. Who among us can be counted on for happiness? It is those who never take self into consideration at all. By the grace of the Lord they honestly hate iniquity even the iniquity of self-pleasing, and delight to do the will of their God. They are the happy ones of the family." ~ Amy Carmichael Edges of His Ways
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Since then I have ups and downs in my blogging adventure, I have had weeks where I could not stop writing and others where I did not write at all. My faith has been tested more then a time or two since I first launched this site, and each time God has been faithful to see me through, and I guess that is why I am here writing today. I have nothing really special to say, these last few days have been tough. Apathy towards that which I once was so passionate about has lulled me to sleep, realizing this has "rocked my world" in the quietest sense.
I needed today, I needed this review of the last two years, I needed to remember that God has always been faithful and cling to the fact that He will continue to be as I wind my way through new and difficult paths.
If I could have looked ahead to today two years ago, somehow I doubt I would have even guessed where I would be and what all would happened. I had a different set of fears then, yet, would I have changed a thing? Yes, I have had times that were less then thrilling, some down right hard, but looking back I can see God's hand so clearly in it all. What I might have thought then were just senseless troubles I can see now were used to grow me and prepare me for today. No, I do not think I would changed things that much. I would have liked to have been more faithful with the time the Lord has given me. I would have liked to have loved more fully. Yes, I would have changed some of the ways in which I handled life, but not what happened in my life.
So, what have your last few years looked like? How have you seen God's hand in your life? Taking a minute to go over what has happened is sometimes a good way to remind us to try harder, do better, and it especially has a way of making us praise God all the more for His rich blessings.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
I am quite sure I have used this quote before, but the truth is it needs to be repeated again and again, remembered every single day of our lives. I am not just saying this because it sounds good. I am saying it because I know it to be true. I had a heart aching revelation a few days ago, I was more the center of my life than God was. As I began to sift through all my emotions I began to see that it all had not happened over night. It never does. Has it ever happened to you? God is your everything, your every other thought is a whispered prayer of praise. You get busy, you get distracted, you get tired. Before you know it you are now the center of your own life. God is somewhere on the outskirts whispering to get your attention, to reclaim your loving devotion. You sing your own praises, troubles, and "wisdom" so loud that you block out His still small voice. You do not even realize it. One day you wake up and all that you truly loved about your existence lies in crumbled ruins at your feet. When you are here, what do you do?
Through the wispy cool of a spring morning, with the sunbeams hazily swirling their magic touch around her willowy figure, wrapped in a soft white dress, her head bowed low in shame the young woman wound her way slowly down a winding path through the garden. Roses blossomed sending their sweet fragrance to mingle the the air around her golden-brown curls, their dewy faces lifted with wide smiles. Yet, the young maiden saw them not. Her face showed signs of reluctance in her journey, yet a wistfulness too.
"He will be so terribly disappointed in me. How could I have been so foolish. Why was I so blind! How can I face Him?" the rush of sorrowful thoughts tumbled through her brain. "Oh, but I do want to be able to look into His face again. Feel Him so near. Hear Him call me His child in His tones so tender and loving."
She does not even notice how her feet move faster, her pace doubles. Thoughts full of longing for her Father continue and her longing to stand before Him grows stronger with each second. Suddenly she rounds the bend and there He is, seated upon His throne. She throws herself at His feet.
"Father, I was such a fool! Can You ever forgive me?" Tears stream down her once rosy cheeks, now pale from her lack of time spent in the Son.
I glance away, my eyes misty, as the Father of all creation takes His wayward child into His arms and holds her close. Because that child has been me more times than I wish to remember.
How easily we forget. How easily we stray. How I thank my Lord for His mercy and grace. For His patience with His foolish daughter.
Pray always. Every minute, every hour, every day, always. If you want to stand well and on firm ground through all of life then don't stop. D. L. Moody's words are so true! Prayer is the cement that holds our solid foundation together. We must treasure it. Always.