Monday, October 3, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
"So he answered me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by strength or by might, but by My Spirit, ' says the LORD of Hosts” (Zechariah 4:6, HSCB).
I love to be in control. Time and again I do things the hard way, trying to solve life’s problems, instead of handing the reigns over to my very able Savior. As I read this verse above, I was reminded once again about how great and powerful our God is. He can handle my worries, He can handle my frustrations, He can handle all of the bits and pieces of my life and make something beautiful of it yet. I can’t, but He can.
And for that, I’m extremely thankful.
What about you? Do you ever try to handle life’s problems on your own?
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
“Haggai, the LORD's messenger, delivered the LORD's message to the people, "I am with you" —the LORD's declaration” (Haggai 1:13, HCSB).
“I am with you.”
Such simple words, but so profound. So often I try to live this life on my own. I somehow think it’s my lot in life to suffer. I push through the pain like a martyr, knowing better things are ahead.
I think that God wouldn’t give me anything I can’t handle.
I think I can do it on my own.
But I can’t.
Sometimes things are thrown at me that I truly can’t handle.
But then God whispers, "I am with you."
They are there so that we can depend on Him all the more. Yes, there are things we can’t handle. But God is there. He can handle them. And all He asks is that we give Him those things with open hands and let Him take control.
This is such a hard thing to do. There are things that I daily have to give back to Him. Physical pain, hardships, loneliness, uncertainty—I give these things back to Him because I cannot deal with them in my own strength, I need Him to provide.
I need to recognize the difference it makes when He walks through this life with me. When He is in control. Because it most certainly makes all the difference.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
“The LORD your God is among you,
a warrior who saves.
He will rejoice over you with gladness.
He will bring [you] quietness with His love.
He will delight in you with shouts of joy” (Zephaniah 3:17, HCSB).
In the words above God is speaking to the Israelite nation. He is reminding them that He, indeed, rejoicing over them.
Did you know that He rejoices over you and me as well?
Sometimes I need this sweet reminder.
Sometimes I need His love to quiet my restless soul.
My soul that tries to fix and mend and keep everything in it’s place.
Sometimes I need to be told that He joyful shouts His love to me.
Where does He do this?
I see it in a new morning, high up on a mountainside. I see it in the laughter in my child’s eyes. I see it in the food on my table each evening. And the victory of a prayer battle won.
How marvelous. How wonderful.
And He delights in you as well.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
"Though the fig tree does not bud
and there is no fruit on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will triumph in the LORD;
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!
Yahweh my Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like those of a deer
and enables me to walk on mountain heights!”
(Habakkuk 3: 17-19, HCSB)
I love these words above. They really caused me to ask myself some questions of myself.
Do I truly trust my Savior to provide?
Do I truly trust Him to take care of us in the days ahead?
It’s hard when things are uncertain. It’s hard when I’m looking ahead to a time of loneliness and stress.
Sometimes I have to be reminded of how far I’ve already come.
I have to be reminded of all the times He has taken care of me.
Because when my focus is on this world I start to mis-step.
But when my focus is on my Savior my footing is sure, and I’m climbing mountains higher than I ever have before.
Jesus is real my dear friends. He can handle the impossible situations. He can give us the footing we need to climb over those tremendous mountains of this life.
Trust Him with your worries, your cares.
His love will never fail.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I think I have a bit of a melancholy soul (is that the right word? Now I’m not sure…). I’m drawn to the sad, the heartfelt. I love rainy days and jazzy music. I like to brood a bit, and ponder, and write. In fact, I think that this very soul is what makes me a writer. I think it’s those pensive times, those introspective times that I write the most.
It’s on such days that I have to choose to be happy. I have to choose to look for the positive around me. It would be easy to become completely depressed, but I’ve traveled that path before and don’t want to get back to that place. Instead, I choose to use those days to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice and to see what He might have for me.
And often, when I’m quiet enough, He talks. Sometimes there’s a lesson involved, a person to pray for, or just an overwhelming sense of peace.
I think such days are good for me. They give me perspective. They give me a sense of connection with my Savior. They are a part of what makes me, well, me.
Do you ever have rather “melancholy” days? What do you do on such days? Does God ever speak to you during those times?
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
“He is the radiance of His glory, the exact expression of His nature, and He sustains all things by His powerful word” (1:3, HCSB).
"You will roll [the earth and heavens] up like a cloak, and they will be changed like a robe. But You are the same, and Your years will never end” (1:12, HCSB).
Sometimes I need to be reminded that He sustains me. I need to be reminded that He is the one in control. That He does not change with the passing seasons.
Have you ever needed such a reminder?
As Autumn draws closer and closer I dread the coming cold weather. I dread the changing of the seasons. I don’t always like change. I’d rather the sun stood still. But change happens just the same. Times change. People get older. Family travels near and far. Farewells and welcome homes come and go.
This winter will be a lonely one for our family. It will be a dark one at times.
Even so, Jesus brings radiance into my life. He brings light into the darkest corners. He brings an oil of joy into my life time and again (Hebrews 1:9). And for that, I’m oh so thankful. I’m thankful that He will sustain me through the winter months. I’m thankful that He will see me through to the other side.
And I’m thankful that He will not change as the seasons will. He will be the same God next Spring as He is this Autumn, watching over me, guiding me and protecting me every step of the way.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Back in college I took a class on Biblical history. This class argued for the existence of Jesus. The professor told us that there were three main ways that we could prove this issue. We could prove it Historically, Biblically and Personally. (Please excuse my paraphrasing). Historically was through all of the historical evidence over the years (even Jesus’ enemies could not refute his existence). Biblically is through all of the Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled (an impossible amount by human standards). And Personally is through the experiences of friends and family that we trust.
One of the things I have enjoyed the most about reading through the Old Testament are all of these prophesies I keep coming across. According to some sources, Jesus fulfilled more than 300 prophesies! It’s wonderful to read these affirmations of Jesus’ true kingship. Micah 5:2 gives us one such prophesy. The detail is astounding: “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be ruler over Israel for Me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity” (HCSB).The prophet Micah predicted Jesus’ birthplace down to the town! He also affirms Jesus’ Lordship, saying that He has existed for all of eternity.
Another favorite prophesy is found in Nahum 1:15, ““Look to the mountains—the feet of one bringing good news and proclaiming peace!”(Nahum 1:15, HCSB).
Jesus brought words of peace for those who loved Him. He brought the source of life eternal when he came into this world and died for our sins!
What are your favorite words of prophesy in the Old Testament? What do such words mean to you?
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
The books of Joel and Amos were written to the Israelite people as a call to repentance. They had wandered far from God and His ways. They had done everything they could to profane His name. And so He was reminding them both of His love and of His ultimate judgment. He cannot stand the presence of evil. Because of this, He can’t just bring His people into His kingdom. Repentance and atonement are needed.
“For the LORD says to the house of Israel: Seek Me and live!” (Amos 5:4, HCSB).
What words for all of us to hold on to! God holds the keys to life everlasting. We can choose to live completely in this world, or we can choose to reach out at grasp the everlasting life that He offers us. Oh how I want to Seek Him and Live every single day. Yes, in an everlasting sense, but in a daily sense as well. I want to truly live every moment of this life. I want to taste and see everything God has for me! I don’t want one day to mundanely lead to the next, no, instead I want to LIVE each moment for Christ and share His love with those around me.
Because God’s judgment is a very real thing. It’s nothing to joke about. A day will come when all of us will have to give an account, even those that deny God’s existence.
On that day, I’m so glad that my Sins will be covered by the lamb of God (Jesus Christ).
Judgment is real, my dear friends, whether you want to think about it or not.
But there is a way for your sins to be covered as well.
“Then everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved” (Joel 3:32, HCSB).
Jesus Christ came to this earth and died on the cross for all of our sins. He rose from the dead on the third day, showing His Lordship. If we believe this, admit that we are nothing on our own, and call out to God for deliverance, He will save us as well.
It is never my intent to be preachy on this blog. Just the same, I wanted all of you to know how real judgment day is, and how much we are all in need of a Savior.
Will you seek Him and live today?
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Hosea is written to a people who have wandered far from the love of God. This adulterous nation has turned their back completely on God. They are worshiping idols and committing all kinds of ugly acts. Still, he woos them back to himself. Yes, he demands justice, but he loves them just the same. While most of the book of Hosea speaks of God’s judgment of the Israelite nation, the last chapter of the book gives an ultimate promise of restoration: “I will heal their apostasy; I will freely love them, for My anger will have turned from him” says the Lord (Hosea 14:4).
I love the phrase “freely love.” God loves his people voluntarily. He loves them because He chooses to, not because He has to. They have done little to deserve His love. In fact, they've done everything they can to deny Him, but He loves and blesses them just the same.
Everything good in their lives comes from God above: “It is I who answer and watch over him. I am like a flourishing pine tree; your fruit comes from Me” (Hosea 14: 8b, HCSB ).
And so it is with us.
As I look around me, I’m amazed at what God has done. He has given me so many things I don’t deserve, a house, a family, gifts, talents, passions. All of the things I enjoy and hold dear come from Him.
Sometimes it’s nice to look around and simply be thankful. Thankful that He’s a righteous God who demands justice, but thankful that He’s loving as well.
It’s nice to be freely loved.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ Declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out with joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands’” (Isaiah 55: 8-12 NIV).
I question, I doubt, I worry. I wonder why I would have to go through such a time as this. But God provides just the same. These verses above are so encouraging to me right now. They remind me that God has a purpose and a plan far above anything I can imagine. While the road directly in front of my may seem horribly rocky, He sees to the other side. He knows the ultimate outcome. And He will use this time to draw me closer to Him. The choice is now up to me. Will I trust in His faithfulness and love? Will I trust in His ultimate purpose? Or will I wallow in loneliness and self-pity? I chose the former. I pray that today, and everyday will be filled with joy and peace. I hold tight to the promise that He will carry me through each hard day of this journey called life, because there’s no better way to live.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
“Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:9-10, HCSB).
What is good? Good things build others up. They show encouragement and love. They don’t belittle or discourage. Instead they only make that person better in the long run. Sometimes it’s hard to find the good. Sometimes there’s a person out there that really gets under your skin. On Sunday, my pastor told us to “love, just love.” Love, the greatest commandment, is the best way to bring someone to a deeper knowledge of Christ. No, you don’t ignore their sins, but you love them and show them a better way of living. You don’t preach at them. You don’t make them feel bad about themselves. Instead, you “cling to what is good.” You show them the love of Christ, and leave the rest up to the Holy Spirit. You, “outdo one another” when it comes to showing respect and honor. You give that person the respect that the rest of the earth says they don’t deserve. You show them how much they matter to their Heavenly Father up above. You love them.
Who can you love today?
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
“God’s gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable” Romans 11: 29 HCSB
His gifts and calling are final. They can’t be changed. And so it’s up to me. Do I ignore the calling placed upon my heart, or do I embrace it? Do I stay busy and preoccupied, or do I give myself moments of quiet and rest in which to write? This calling, this life God has called me to, is not easy . I feel such a strong calling as a military wife, a mother and a writer. These are all a part of who I am. The first two callings take up a large portion of each day. With a house to clean and a baby getting into everything, I am more than busy. Just the same, my fingers long to write. My soul longs to empty itself on the page. Writing is cathartic for me. It’s one of the ways I talk to God. It’s the way in which I’m the most transparent. I love writing to the point that it scares me. I love writing so much that I’m afraid of criticism. I’m afraid of being turned down. I’m afraid that people won’t like my writing, or will be overly critical of my grammar (my weakest link). Jus the same, it’s my calling. It’s something that can’t be ignored. This gift of writing is such an intricate part of who I am. And so, I find tiny moments out of the day to write. I experiment with styles. I stretch my skills. I search for ways to get published. And most of all, I seek the face of my Father, who gave me this gift for a reason. What that reason is, I may not see until eternity, but it’s a wonderful reason just the same!
What calling has God placed upon your life?
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
“This is the message of faith that we proclaim: if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. Now the Scripture says, No one who believes on Him will be put to shame, for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10: 8-13, HCSB).
It’s so simple dear friends, but we often make it so complicated. We try to live this life on our own. We try to handle everything that has been thrown at us. What we end up with is brokenness, despair and defeat. We feel lonely. We feel unloved. When right in front of us is the answer. Right in front of us is One who will carry all of our burdens for us. Growing up in a Christian household I knew all the correct answers, I knew how to sing the songs and act like a good little Christian girl. Although I knew all the answers, a point had to come where I admitted that this world was too hard for me to handle on my own. And believe me, as a perfectionist, I tried to handle it! That point, for me, was a point of extreme loneliness. It was a point of life in which I felt like I didn’t have a friend in the world. It was at that point that I reached out to Jesus and took a deeper step in my relationship with Him. It was at that point that I let Him fully into my life as my truest friend, the number one love of my life, my Savior and my God. All it took was placing all of myself at His feet and letting Him take control of my life.
I’ve never been disappointed.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:1-5, NIV).
I have long struggled with this idea of rejoicing in my sufferings. How can I find good in such things, I ask? How can I be happy that such things come about? I’m starting to think that it isn’t that we are happy for the struggles that come our way, but instead that we see how God uses those times of struggle. I never wanted to experience my grandparents dying, but I know God used that situation for His glory. He used me to show other’s how different my grieving process was, since I had the assurance that I would see my grandparents in heaven one day. He used a bad time in my life to improve my prayer life and draw me even closer to Him. Through it all He was improving me as a person. He was forming me into the kind of Christian woman He desired me to be. That gives me joy. That gives me hope. That gives me a desire to share my story with the world around me. And that, I believe, is what makes this world, with all of its struggles, worth living in.
Friday, February 25, 2011
"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8).
I am here for a reason. My being here has purpose. It has intent.
At times I start to believe I’m insignificant, that I don’t really matter. But there’s no truth in that.
God has called me by name. He has given me a life to live on this earth, and that life has purpose.
That purpose is to share the Gospel. To tell others how much God means to me. How life isn’t worth living without Him. Hopefully this is evident in the very way I live my life.
In addition to this, He has called me to be a mother. He’s given me a beautiful gift in my daughter, one I don’t take for granted. He has created me to be the perfect mother for this little girl. My strengths and weaknesses (and those of my husband) are knitted together in a way that will help to best raise this child.
He has called me to be a wife. He’s blessed me with a wonderful husband, one whom I’m called to love and support day-in and day-out.
He has called me to be a writer. He has put words upon my fingers, and given me an unquenchable desire to share them with the word. If the desire wasn’t there, I wouldn’t write.
He has called me to live my entire life for Him.
What has God called you to in this life? Are you answering that call, or ignoring it?
Friday, February 18, 2011
Reading: Isaiah 3-6; 2 Corinthians 12
"Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for” (Isaiah 6:6-7 NIV).
This morning I felt my human nature well up inside of me. I woke up to a crying baby, who continued to cry for the next two hours. I was filled with woe-is-me type thoughts, filled with grumbles and complaints.
Until I stopped and admitted that once again I needed a touch from my Savior.
Once again I needed Him to place a coal upon my lips and make me worthy.
Worthy to come into his presence.
Worthy to enter the throne of grace.
Once again I needed to be reminded of all of the blessings in my life.
Blessings that are hard to see what I have a crabby, stuffy nosed baby on my hands.
And so I turned to prayer.
I turned to scripture.
I turned to my Savior to feel his heeling touch.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Reading: 2 Chronicles 24-26; 2 Corinthians 11:1-15
“He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not wholeheartedly” (2 Chronicles 25:2 NIV).
Amaziah King of Judah did what was right, but not with all of his heart. He knew the rules, he knew how to play the game, but his heart wasn’t in it. How many Christians have I meant like that? How many Christians know how to say the right words, act the right way, but don’t feel it deep inside? I really don’t have an answer to that. And I’m not here to cast stones. Instead, I’m here to look at my own life and ask if I have always lived my life wholeheartedly for God. I hope I have. I hope that others see that this life I live isn’t just an outward act, but an inward love. I hope they see that I truly love God wholeheartedly, with all that I am. I hope that see all of this.
What does the word “wholeheartedly” mean to you?