HAND in HAND with GOD...WE CAN HELP END HUMAN TRAFFICKING + SLAVERY

HAND in HAND with GOD...WE CAN HELP END HUMAN TRAFFICKING + SLAVERY
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled



John 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me.


John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."


In any given day there are numerous things that are apt to trouble our hearts. I found it interesting that in the gospel of John where Jesus is comforting His disciples that He mentions, Let not your hearts be troubled, twice in the same chapter. It is obviously a message that Jesus wants to hit home.

The disciples are given horrible news, their beloved Jesus will soon be leaving them, at this point they don't understand the magnitude of what he is saying, what to expect, or how to handle it. They are probably feeling distraught and grieved over the fact that Jesus won't be around to guide them and teach them and lead them any more. Though Jesus acknowledges their sadness He doesn't want it to consume them. He tells them to trust God and Himself. He gives them a promise of peace. not worldly peace but inner peace, A peace of assurance that all will work out if they keep there eyes and and trust on God. He says to not be afraid, God has it covered, they could not know what was to come but God did and does. His apostles ask " How can we know that what you say will happen?" Jesus answers very plainly that if they can't take Him at his word that they could look to the miracles He had performed. Basically saying haven't you been watching, listening and experiencing the very power of God within me? The Apostles saw these miracles first hand and STILL had a hard time believing that what Jesus said was as good as gold!

Our hearts can become troubled by many things, but we must keep in mind that God works all things for the good of those who love and place their trust in Him.(Romans 8:28) This doesn't mean a removal of suffering,pain, hurt, disappointment, or difficulties, but a guarantee of strength to get through it, when we choose to cling to Jesus through it. And what awaits on the other side is more peace, understanding, and opportunity to witness the goodness of the Lord.

How many times have we gone through difficulties in our lives, A death, unruly children, depression, marital discord, anger, abuse and on and on the list could go? What got us through. When we arrived on the other side what was it like? where did you gain your strength? We all have a choice how we will deal with life's disappointments? Some of us choose things that, though for the moment make us feel good, in the long run, cause us to suffer even more, like addictions, isolation, revenge, grudges, anger, etc... But Jesus says He and His Father are the only way. I am the way the truth and the life. (John 14:6).

My prayer for us today and everyday is that we make Jesus the focal point in our lives, facing all of life through the filter of His love. Seeking Him, growing in faith and celebrating that He has come so that we would have the opportunity to know Him on a deeper, more intimate level.




















Sunday, December 13, 2009

Giants In Your Land


I'm reading a book right now called "Embracing Your Freedom" by Susie Larson(an excellent book by the way) In this particular part, it was talking about reclaiming the stolen areas of your life due to fear. Susie gave the analogy of a basketball team that had practiced for an important game, they knew their stuff and were on the court and ready. When the other team stepped onto the court the first team just looked at eachother in defeat, this other team were seemingly from the land of the giants. Fear welled up in the team who had practiced and was ready, they were ready to give up before they had even begun...until their coach yelled to them to look at him, and told them to remember they are ready, they had practiced, they knew the drills...now play. they played their hearts out keeping focus on what they knew and ran circles around the mammoth team. (so here's what came to my mind)

Are there Giants in your land?
Threatening to take you down?
It's faith in God that helps you stand.
Bringing those Giants to the ground.

Look at Him... You know the drill!
Don't let those Giants cause distraction.
Do what you know... Follow His will.
With eyes on Him, spring into action.

Your equipped to win the fight.
It's for this moment you've been groomed.
Use what you've practiced...You know what's right.
Trust God in the battle, till every Giant is consumed.

Your strength does not come from your size
But from the One whom you believe.
He makes your courage grow inside,
When His direction you choose receive.

What are your Giants?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Eyes On Jesus


"Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,the author and perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning it's shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1–3

How do I throw off that which hinders?
When it clings to me like glue?
When the sin that easily entangles
Masquerades as what is true?

How do I run with perseverance,
The race marked out for me?
Fixing my eyes on Jesus,
Is the only solution I can see.

When my eyes are focused on the Son,
And my mind is set on Him.
The perfect faith that Jesus authored,
Lives in me and chases sin.

For the joy of my salvation
He endured the suffering of the cross,
Scorned it's shame and took His place,
At the right hand of God, The Boss.

I think of Him, and what He did
To free me from my chains,
Just so I would not lose heart
Or grow weary in my pains.

How can You love me that much Jesus?
The sinner that I am.
That you would shed your blood for me
As a sacrificial lamb?

I surely don't deserve this gift
But accept it gratefully.
Humbly I receive Your grace
And my faith is set on thee.








Thursday, December 3, 2009

When I Am Weak...Then I Am Strong...


Hand In Hand

Wandering in desolation
Hopeless with despair
Couldn't see through darkness
Caught in evil's snare.

Entangled by the lies
Coiled up in sin
Engulfed by sheer deception
Advancing for the win.

I call out to my God
Reaching toward the sky
God puts His hand in mine
Quieting my cry.

God sees me in my weakest state
Renews me with His strength
Reclaims the land I've lost to sin
He goes to every length.

To assure my life in Him's restored
That I may rest secure
Under the shelter of His wings
Till I'm strong enough to soar.

He leads me by still waters
Walking hand in hand
He gently helps untangle sin
Helping me to stand.

I thank You God, that when I'm weak
I find my strength in you.
Your loving hand sustains me
in all I'm going through.



2 Corinthians 12:10 - That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Stumbling Blocks To Stepping Stones



Obstacles, stumbling blocks, pitfalls appear
Seemingly out of nowhere, instilling great fear.
Will we clear them, or fear them?
Will they cause us to fall?
Can we maneuver around them?
Avoiding their call?

Blind sided, hidden, strategically placed,
These holes in the road of life must be faced.
Will we keep to ourselves or take hold of God's grace?
Will we stay in the pit, wrought with worry and shame.
Or let God's hand lift us
Back into the game?

Obstacles, stumbling blocks, pitfalls and such,
Can turn into stepping stones, used as a crutch.
To aid in the climb from the pit we are in
Helping to lead us away from our sin.
God sent His Son, Jesus to give us a lift,
Out of darkness to light, with His ultimate gift.





Isaiah 49:11 I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up.

Isaiah 57:14 [ Comfort for the Contrite ] And it will be said: "Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people."

John 16:33"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."


Monday, November 30, 2009

Preparations


As the Christmas holiday approaches, our minds are set on preparation. Preparation of what is the question? Preparing for company, buying gifts, baking cookies, cleaning house, decorating, wrapping, visiting friends and family, setting up the tree, the advent wreath? All these examples are ways we prepare for the holiday season. But wait! Are forgetting the most important preparation, that is the preparation of our heart. Are we preparing the way of the Lord?

I have been thinking about what this exactly means. How do we prepare the way of the Lord? Well being prepared means to make things ready. Is my heart ready? Do I have my priorities in order? Is Jesus first and foremost in my life?

Christmas is a time we celebrate Jesus' birth. We can't think about Jesus' birth without also thinking about His life, his reason for coming, His death on the cross and His resurrection. He came to prepare the way for us to enter the kingdom of heaven. His life by example shows us what we need to do to ready ourselves to meet God face to face.

God the Father began preparing the way for his son Jesus after the fall of man into sin in the Garden. He chose his people , He chose the descendant line, He chose the prophets who would tell of Jesus coming well before he was born, He prepared every detail in advance so that when Jesus was finally ready to start his ministry, there could be no doubt that he was the awaited Messiah.

Even with this careful preparation, there were still some who refused to believe. It's incredible to think of all the preparation that God put into Jesus coming, and think about how He also prepares our way for us, setting the plans He has for us before we are even born, plans to build Gods kingdom, the kingdom to which we are invited to dwell. In order to have life and live it abundantly we need to keep this big picture perspective, always being ready, making sure we are living in faith, loving well, ready to serve, and keeping our hearts a clean and welcoming place for Jesus to reside.

So in this Holiday season, as we deck the halls with boughs of holly, let's not forget to more importantly deck our hearts with faith, hope, and love, readying ourselves for action to do the work of our Lord who has prepared in advance our very important role for His kingdom.

May Jesus be the center of our Christmas preparations!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day


2 Corinthians 9:15 -"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"


Thanksgiving, a time to remember the bountiful provision of our Heavenly Father. No matter where you are this Thanksgiving Day, no matter what circumstance you find yourself in, You can be sure that God is right there with you. He has made you, designed every detail, planned every step, and is calling out to you to draw close to Him. God has provided a way for every one in the whole world to know Him, by sending His only Son to become a sacrifice for each one of us. The greatest provision for our lives that has ever been given. Whatever circumstance you find yourself in this day. Be assured, that our Great God is there, waiting for you to run to Him. Go, lay down all your burdens, all your joys and all your thanks and praises before Him, The one who gives life and the one who saves life. Thank You God! For your Indescribable Gift! Life in You through Jesus Christ Your Son!



Blessed be Your name
Lord over Heaven and earth
In You every need is met
You call our name from birth.


To You each one is special
You meet us where we are
Offering us freedom
Your hand is never far


When we choose to take it
You open up the door
To walk the road of life
With you for ever more.


We lift Our thanks to you, Lord
Today and every day
For the gift of our salvation
And showing us the way.


In every situation
May our praises rise
To You Lord, our Creator,
Whose love for us supplies.






Monday, November 23, 2009

A Heart Full Of Thankfulness





A Prayer Of Thanks

With a thankful heart I lift this prayer,
To my God, my All, For His loving care.
For providing everything I need,
And guiding that I may succeed.
For sustaining me though numerous storms,
And showing Himself in many forms.
For placing my feet on the path He has set
And shining His light, lest I never forget.
For calling me out of darkness and sin,
And His still small voice set deep within.
For His sacrifice that saved my soul,
And restoring my life, making me whole.
I will sing Your praises Lord, everyday!
Exalting Your name as I go on my way.
For You are Lord over heaven and earth!
And I am ever so grateful for my second birth!
May I make You famous in all I do!
Bringing honor, enjoyment, and glory to You!
Amen.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Hike


Recently, I went on a 6 mile hike with a couple of friends. It reminded me a lot of life. We had never hiked in this area before and were uncertain where to start. As it turned out, we chose a way that presented quite a challenge. We stood before a mountain of rocks...our destination, the top. Confident we could scale this mountain of rocks, we set out. Step by step, rock by rock, we made our climb. We were certain that when we got to the top that we would find the marked trail we were looking for. With that in mind we took the challenge. Reaching the top, we had to rest. Sitting our weary bodies on a large boulder, we took some time to quiet ourselves and pray, thanking God for this opportunity and asking for direction and protection on our journey.

Once rested, We found the start of our path clearly marked. White blazes on trees and rocks, made it possible to follow the sometimes dense and treacherous path through the forest. Along the way there were areas we had to traverse some very high seemingly impossible cliffs, but the trail was marked, and so we trusted that others had gone before us and it was the way to go. Twinges of fear as we made the climb tried to pester us, trying to thwart our efforts in reaching our destination, but we pressed on, sometimes slowly, and very carefully. We saw wonderful things along the way, we also had some trip ups and falls.

When we finally made it to our destination, the pinnacle of the tallest rock formation, the glory of our God was revealed. The most beautiful view of such a small part of His creation brought us such joy and satisfaction. We had made it! The benefits were incredible, and unforgettable.

This hike parallels life in that God has a plan for us. Our path has been set. We don't always know where to begin and apart from Christ, our choices seem like tall mountains of rocks set before us. When we sit with Him though, and ask for direction and protection, keeping our eyes on the blazes He has marked along the way. God is faithful to guide us. When we are not keeping our eyes on God we will get tripped up and even fall, but He helps us up and sets us back on the path. God has so many encouragements for us as we travel, these things bring us hope on our journey through life. We will have mountains to climb and times that our circumstances are like that thick dense forest. God is like the blazes of white that marked our path on our hike. when we actively seek Him He will guide our way, and if we choose to follow the blazed trail God will bring us safely to our destination, that is, Home to spend eternity with Him.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Desert Streams


"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:18-19


Our past experiences have a way of shaping us into who we are. The problem is, most of the time those experiences do not measure up to who we really are in Gods eyes. When we come to Christ, we are made into a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!) We are called out of our old ways of thinking and living.

The places in our lives where we've been stuck, God is bringing in the WD-40 and unsticking us. When we are lost in the desert, He takes that vast expanse before us and separates the sand, making a definite visible path right before our eyes. When we are drowning in the toxic wasteland of our past and everything around is oozing green, threatening to eat the flesh right off our bones, God places a stream of fresh water flowing through the middle of it. He wants us to jump right into that stream, He wants to wash all the toxic lies we believe, away.

Though our past often shapes how we live out our present, The truth is we no longer have to be trapped by it, God offers each one of us fresh living water and a clear path. Through the blood of Jesus, His son, we are washed clean of that which keeps us bound. We no longer have to live out of our past. God's word says, "Forget the former things"(that which has previously shaped us)"Do not dwell on the past"( let the past in the past,this is not where the life giving waters are)

I don't think God is saying completely forget what happened in the past, because it is important to learn from it, By looking at the past, in light of our new creation, we can see more clearly who we are now in Christ, when we can look at where we've come from. God's word says don't dwell on the past. He wants us to dwell in Him. God knows that where we dwell, our hearts will be. He wants us to choose to dwell with Him, and He will make the way clear for us! What a promise!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Mothers Heart


Little did I know, when I became a mother, that my heart would be stretched, pinched, pounded, pierced, broken, and rebuilt over and over again. There is so much joy and sorrow wrapped into the raising of each child.

When your child comes into the world, you hold so many hopes, dreams and expectations for him/her. In a mother's eyes, she sees all the things her child can become, inevitably though, there comes a time when the realization hits... this child has his own mind. He makes choices that go against our hearts. We watch as they make mistakes, some little and some big. We try to guide, we want their best, we grieve when their decisions will have undesirable consequences.

Much like God feels with each of us. We are His children. He loves us with the heart of a mother and a father. He grieves our poor decisions, and rejoices when we finally get it right. He loves us unconditionally, right where we are and with His whole heart.

As I am challenged with the decisions of my own children, I try to keep Gods love for me and them in mind. I have to hold on to His heart and let Him carry me when mine is breaking. Our children can sometimes challenge us to our very core. They stretch our patience, test our resolve, push us to new heights of love. When we feel crushed by their rebellion, God is our source of strength. He reaches His hand out and places it in ours. He loves us and our children with a love greater than we will ever be able to fathom. When we feel lost. He finds us. When we are at the end of our rope, He ties a knot so we can hold on. When all hope seems gone, He pours out a fresh helping of faith and strength to us.

So in the years of the stretching, pinching, and breaking of my heart, I have found God right there, His hand in mine, continually rebuilding, reshaping, and refilling my mother's heart with His abounding love.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Bird Feeder


Hanging from the tree in my front yard is a bird feeder. Bought in hopes that we could watch and enjoy the birds while they ate. But to our disappointment the birds aren't coming as we had hoped. Every now and then one appears but its so far and few between. We have the choicest seeds, said to attract all kinds of birds, the feeder is nestled into the branches of the great tree, so as to provide protection, yet visible enough so they can find it. So what's the problem? Every thing the need to be sustained and fed is there, just waiting for them. Why don't they come?


This scenario reminds me what God must feel like sometimes with us. He has everything we need for life all set out for us. He offers it freely, He wants us to come, He waits as He keeps offering life sustaining food and refuge. Oh, how it must disappoint Him when we don't come and receive what He offers us.


I know when I see a bird finally find our feeder, my heart jumps for joy...How much more must God rejoice when we finally find our way to Him!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Life Reflections



1 Corinthians 13:12-13 "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."


As human beings, we want to know everything! We are rarely content to wait, or accept when things are out of order. We feel the need to figure things out, fix things, and organize our lives so everything around us runs smoothly. These are not necessarily bad things, but what happens when no matter how hard we try things just don't work out?

The fact is, we try to control our own lives, forgetting our limitations, losing sight of God's sovereignty. God created us in His image. When we come to Him; we become his children. He loves us and wants us to love him in return. He becomes our Father, our loving parent, guiding, molding, teaching, and disciplining us for the rest of our earthly lives in order to shape us to be more and more like Him.

Think about your own children, or when you were a child. The curiosity, the know it all attitude, the desire for control over your own life and the feeling of invincibility is the drive. We are very much of that attitude with God at times, especially when things are going well. But just as a parent can see the foolishness of a child. God also sees our foolishness when we operate from that attitude.

We can't possibly explain or understand every situation that comes our way. We can only see as a poor reflection, dim and cloudy in the capacity of our humanness. We can only see small parts of the big picture, little bits of Gods glory and plan; But what comes next in the verse just amazes me. THEN we shall see face to face it says. THEN I will know fully, just as I am fully known. Understanding that our time on earth is our shaping period, a time of being raised up into the perfect image of God and knowing we not be able to figure it all out right now keeps us grounded in reality. Knowing that, God our Heavenly Father, is in charge, that He is our authority, the ruler over our lives, having our best interest at heart, helps us to surrender our need to control. It lifts a heavy weight from our shoulders when we are willing to give up our need to control to Him, trusting His direction, because we know we are on our way to see Him face to face and all our millions of questions will be answered THEN!

You're probably thinking...well that sounds great, but how? It's a long time here on this earth for most. There's a lot of things to let go our control of. But God, our Great God, has left 3 very important tools for us to use as we walk through life...These three things remain...Faith, Hope, and Love...and the greatest of these is Love.

Having faith in God and His Word pleases God, putting your complete faith in Him give us Hope, hope for a future, hope that we will one day know all things just as God does, this hope carries us through the rough spots in our lives, God gave this gift to all who choose Him. And then the greatest of all these is Love. He not only gives us His love but He wants us to love Him. In loving Him and others He covers over our shortcomings, mistakes, control issues, and our humanness, it's Love that drives us to keep going. There is great power in His love. We have access to this power.

So what I am saying is, when we realize that we will never have it all figured out while we're here on this earth, and that we are children of the Most High God, being raised, nurtured and loved by Him, we can be content in living, and striving to be the best we can for God without having to control every aspect of our lives. God has got it all under control. We just need to do our part, which is loving Him, following His ways, learning what He expects, and desiring to be more like Him. Getting to know God and His character will make it easier to give your need to control over to Him because you will find He always has your best interests at heart. He wants you to become like Him and see as He sees. Keep on surrendering and seeking and He promises that THEN you will!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trees And Life


There's a tree that stands in the middle of our front yard, big, and leaf filled all summer long, the birds find refuge there, and the squirrels run up and down trying to score some bird food from the feeder that hangs from a branch. The tree is full of activity and provides shade and beauty to our home.

With the on set of Autumn, our lovely tree begins to change, the lush green leaves turn to a fiery red. A beautiful sight to behold yet a foreshadowing that a transformation is coming. As the winds blow and the weather turns cold, each leave tries to hold on, to maintain it's beauty. Nature takes its course eventually and the leaves are shed one by one, stripped away revealing the trees nakedness, and all that was happening within the mask of its beauty. Bird's nests and sneaky squirrel exposed, straggly weak branches intertwined with the strong. It looks dead and deserted.

But Wait! Though our tree looks to be dead, if you take the time to look further, your will see little signs of life holding on to each tendril of each branch. Life hidden in the tiniest little bud. Each bud holds the capacity to bring forth a whole new crop of fresh new leaves. after a season of cold, stark waiting. Amazingly the tree grows stronger in this time. Its branches thicken and grow and in the spring there seem to be more leaves that the year before.

God has so perfectly orchestrated the life of the tree. It just knows to go with the seasons, knows just what it needs to do to survive. When the winds blow it bends accordingly. if a branch dies it breaks off and the tree lets it go. It conserves energy when needed so that in times of drought it can use its reserves. It shares its space with others in nature and it provides shade and oxygen to the world around it.

The life of a tree can teach us a lot about our own life, so perfectly orchestrated by the creator, we go through seasons of beauty, and sorrow, dry periods and plenty. We gain our strength in the dry exposed times. In those times we are reminded of our neediness and turn to God for our strength, He works in us until it's time for us to bloom again. In our blooming time we share ourselves and the transformation that has taken place helps us to weather the next storm to come, we shelter others with our new found strength and we learn to bend and let go when necessary. The most reassuring thing that I like to remember is though different seasons in life are sure to come, they are also sure to end. So when we find ourselves in a particularly tough season, take heart and remember that it is just a season. Seeking God and relying on Him in faith will bring us through, be cause He loves us and made us and is continually transforming us to be more and more like Him.

Psalm 1:1-3 - Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sits in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Quiet Me

When all the world seems frenzied
I cry out for release.
Calm my frazzled heart,Lord
Send to me your peace

My energy's depleted,
Trying to keep up;
With all the things that people need...
Lord, please fill me up.

Free me from the bondage,
Of the busyness of life.
Quiet down the chaos,
creating all this strife.

I'm fashioned by Your hand,Lord
To be a human being.
I've become a human doing,
Please help me in the seeing.

Teach me to be still, Lord.
That I may learn to rest,
In the shelter of Your presence,
When I am feeling stressed.

Job 6:24 Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Turn Complaining to Praise

The season of Thanksgiving is upon us. Gods word says we should give thanks in ALL circumstances(1 Thessalonians 5:18) It says this is God's will for all those in Christ Jesus.

This is not always an easy task, especially when those little annoying daily "happenings" show up! How many times in a day do our thoughts turn to grumbling and complaint?

When:

*You come out of work and your tire is flat

*You're in a hurry and there's a slow driver in front of you in a no passing zone.

*You're exhausted and come home from work to a messy house when the rest of the family was home all day?

*You can't find an important paper needed for an appointment you were supposed to be at 15 minutes ago.

*The last bit of ice cream was eaten before you had the chance to get any

*Your husband leaves his drawers hanging out after getting dressed and his dirty clothes strewn all over the floor.

*Your kids leave a trail of mud on your freshly washed floor.

*You're asked to do the 101th thing of the day.


This is certainly not an exhaustive list of things that we face everyday. Yet, we are not to complain. So how do we get from our natural tendency of annoyance and complaint to praise and thanks?

First of all, I have discovered that when I give in to complaining, my already frustrated heart becomes even more miserable, it doesn't make me feel better to berate someone else, or whine about a situation. It doesn't change the situation but can actually make it worse. My complaining and grumbling causes division in relating with others, and separates me from God.

I began to wonder...what if God were standing in front of me? Would I continue my complaining attitude? No way! That would be like telling God he's not good enough for me. No, I needed to change my way of thinking to be in tune with God's will for me...But how?

Gods word has this answer for us too! Psalm 34:1 says, "I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of his glories and grace."


Psalm 42:5 says, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him..."


Praising the Lord is the solution to our complaining...I can choose to look at the problems in my life differently. There is always "something" to be thankful for in every situation. Even in those really tough times of major calamity, though we may not be able to see it right away, we can trust that God sees the bigger picture and we are assured that He will work for the good of those who love Him.


I have learned not to complain, but rather put my effort towards praising the God who has given me so much. Instead of seeing my husbands messiness I thank God that I have a loving husband. Instead of becoming anxious when I'm stuck behind a slow driver, I am thankful for the extra time to spend talking with God, and instead of worrying about my freshly washed floor being dirtied, I thank God that I have a home to live in and kids to dirty it.


It's all in the way we look at things. So next time you feel the steam coming out of your ears, Try turning that complaining into praise for all God has done. We are so blessed in this country, let us not give satan the satisfaction of seeing us complain. Give this way of seeing things a try! It is God's will, and it works!


God Bless you in your quest!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pure Love


Secured by His hands
Eyes lit with wonder
Unable to contain
Her squeals of joy.
Face to face they gaze
Perfect trust engaged
An indescribable moment
Encompassed by pure love.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wisdom And Understanding




"Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell? It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing, concealed even from the birds of the air. Destruction and Death say, 'Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.' God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When he established the force of the wind and measured out the waters, when he made a decree for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm, then he looked at wisdom and appraised it, he confirmed it and tested it. And he said to man, 'The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.' " Job 28: 20-28

We are limited creatures. We are alway trying to figure out solutions in our lives, wanting to know the how's and why's of everything. We like to have control over our situations and get frustrated when we can't make things work. We seek wisdom in books, from people,and through education. We try to gain understanding through past experiences, examining every aspect of the events hoping to make sense out of them.

Its good to seek wisdom and want to understand why things happen. The problem is, we are looking to the wrong things. When we are content with the wisdom of man, we will find it falls short of our expectations every time. We find ourselves more perflexed, more frustrated,and more lost. The reason? We are imperfect, limited, and easily deceived.

If we want to find true wisdom and understanding, we need to see what God says. Then we need to believe and fully trust what He says and act on His answers.

God says 'The fear of the Lord is wisdom.' Wisdom can only be found in God, by coming to Him in full reverence and becoming a student of His word,way, and life. Continually surrendering our own control and thinking to His.

God says to 'shun evil is understanding.' Shunning evil is turning our backs to the worlds way of doing things and relying on His way. The only way to do this is to know His way and the only way to know His way is to know Him.

God says if we abide in Him, He will live in us. Abide means to wait for, to endure without yielding, to bear patiently, to accept without objection, to remain stable or fixed in a state continue in a place. to conform to, to acquiesce in. Abiding means we take God as yes and Amen! Trusting that He is going to work all things out for the good of those who love Him.

When we can put God in this first and highest postition in our lives, we gain wisdom and understanding. Seeking Him first in all situations will provide us with all the wisdom we will need for that situation. So rather than seeking after wisdom itself, the next time we feel we need to know something, let us seek God, the keeper of wisdom, instead.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Junk Drawer



"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." -John 16:33


The Junk Drawer


Life can be messy,
Like a packed junk drawer.
Sorting it out, can be quite a chore.

My brain is a place
I store lot's of stuff.
Thought's in abundance, more than enough.

Ridding myself
Of the things I don't need,
Is sometimes painful indeed.

One by one
I pull each thing out.
Keeping or throwing it, comes with doubt.

It's contents
Lay there for such a long time,
Becoming ingrained in my mind.

All kinds of things
Good mixed with bad,
The most perplexing job I've ever had.

When it's finally done
It's a pleasure to see
The grand transformation in me.


Romans 12:2 -Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Love Your Neighbor


...And the second is Like it, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:39




Gods greatest command to us is to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. and then he says the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.

Have you loved your neighbor lately? My oldest son is a waiter. I love to watch him at work. It's more than just a job to him. He serves each party as if they were the most special people in the restaurant. He talks with them, makes sure they are comfortable and satisfied, jokes and listens. By the time their dining experience is over, it always seems my son and his customers have become united somehow, shaking hands, and wishing each other well.

I guess what impresses me about this, is that he takes the time with each customer to treat them as special. He treats them as he would want to be treated. I also notice when my son is on the receiving end of service he does the same. He talks with the servers, puts them at ease, tries to make their job easier by collecting the plates and such and setting them on the edge of the table. He always leaves a very generous tip, knowing the joy and appreciation it will bring them.

Loving our neighbor means taking each individual person we come in contact with and treating them how we ourselves would want to be treated. Looking at them through the lens of God's eyes, and acting towards them with the same love and respect God shares with us.

This command not only benefits our fellow man, but it benefits us as well, and above that it pleases God. Look at the times in your life you have gone out of the way to serve another person, whether it was by gesture, word or action. How did it make you feel? My guess is that you felt good, satisfied,happy,warm,peaceful, special, worthy, proud and humble all at the same time.

We have such power and influence in the things we do and the choices we make concerning how we treat others. Choosing to consciously love our neighbor yields a sweet harvest of goodness and joy for God's kingdom. Loving others is something everybody can do if we so choose.

Test Gods command, go out of our way today to show love to those we encounter, see what happens. We may not know how it touches our neighbor, but it will impact us and God will be smiling.

I would love to hear some ways you love your neighbor, share your ideas, stories and results.

There is an acronym that I learned years ago that I try to keep in mind. It is made from the word joy, and reminds us the order in which we are to love.

J-Jesus
O-others
Y-yourself

Acting in line with this order will produce and spread joy. God Bless you in your quest to love!





Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thinking Differently




What are the things that you're telling yourself?
Are your thoughts causing you distress?
Do you constantly put yourself down if you fail?
Are you quick to second guess?

How do you measure your successes?
How do you view yourself?
Is it through the eyes of how God sees you?
Or through the eyes of someone else?

Do you want to be free of this thinking?
To look at yourself differently?
I will let you in on a secret...
You must understand how our God sees.

You are His creation
Calling you by name
Masterfully, He forms every detail
You were made to bring Him fame.

The possibilities are endless
If following God is your choice
You'll be set apart as Holy
As you listen to His voice.

Train your mind to think upon good things
That which is lovely, pure, and true.
Doing this will secure the promise
That God's peace will come shining through.


Philippians 4:7-9
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chasing Our Tails



"Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take." Jeremiah 31:21 NIV




How many time have we come up against a situation and blew it? Lost our tempers, practiced impatience, allowed bitter thoughts and negative emotions rule our life? Eventually we find our way out, but before we know it we find ourselves in that place again?

This passage in Jeremiah gives some insight to this circular road. Life is meant to be a journey. We are on our way home to our Heavenly Father. How will we get there if we keep circling back? We Can't! Chasing our tail as a dog does will only make us dizzy and exhausted.

In order to move forward we have to stop going in circles and find a way to move ahead on the road. God gives us a clue in this passage. When we find ourselves in sticky situations, we need to take time to look at it, as we work our way out we need to mark the road we've traveled so we know not to take that road again. So if we find ourselves back in the same situation we will be able to find our way out because we've taken the time to mark our path back to the road of life.

We must mark the ways that didn't work and we must set up arrows pointing to the practices that did.

Some of the signs along my road home include: Prayer, gratitude, patience, trust, faith, grace, love, peace, self-control, kindness, gentleness, hope, compassion, etc... These little guideposts remind me to take that road. With each of these signs or markers I have the opposite road marked as well, so I remember that going that way will only lead to more negativity and I'll be chasing my tail once again.

Lord, Thank You for giving us the solutions we need to stay on the road that leads to You. Help us to practice Your answers and continue moving forward on our journey. We are grateful that You supply all our needs. May we remember to seek Your guidance first in all things. In Jesus precious name I pray, Amen


X's And Arrows

Going in circles
Chasing my tail
Just sets me on
A path to fail.

Exhausted and dizzy
I stop and pray
For God to show me
His perfect way.

I mark the road
That took me round
With a big red X
to avoid that ground.

I place an arrow
Pointing home
Trusting to follow
The way God has shown.






Saturday, October 24, 2009

Save The Girls





A ministry of message, rescue, and care




Welcome to Save the Girls, a ministry where you can help free sex slaves by doing something simple but amazing:




Host a Save the Girls yard sale.

You sell your unwanted stuff and buy the freedom and care of a girl, a precious girl, made in the image of a holy God, who has been treated like trash. From junk to gems, from trash to treasure, these girls need your help.


The Real Facts

What is sex trafficking? Also called sex slavery, it is a massive global enterprise based upon force, coercion and deception. Traffickers detain their victims for profit through acts of rape.

How widespread is it? Worldwide, more than 2 million children are trapped in sex slavery. (UNICEF) In the U.S., sex slaves number more than 100,000. (FBI/ABC)

How old are sex slaves? The average age is 11. Some are as young as 5 years old. (CIA)
Is human trafficking big business? Yes! Human trafficking (included sex slavery and forced labor) is the world’s third largest criminal enterprise after drugs and weapons. (U.S. Department of State) The total market value of illicit human trafficking is estimated to be in excess of $32 billion.

YOU can help in the rescuing of sex slaves and the provision of comprehensive care: health exams, medicine, counseling and job training. YOU can get out the message of this horrific crime. YOU can turn trash into treasure, junk into gemstones and. . .
SAVE THE GIRLS!

Here’s how it works:
1. Tell us and we’ll list it on this site and promote your yard sale. Use the handy checklist (downloadable for free at right) and send press releases to the media (also at right).

2. Get out the message of this horrific crime against children. Provide informational handouts at your yard sale. Wear and sell Save the Girls tees and Save the Girls prayer bracelets(both available at Store).

3. Donate a percentage (or all) of your proceeds to respected Christian groups that rescue sex slaves



After Your Yard Sale
Donate a percentage (or all) of your proceeds to one of these respected Christian organizations that help stop child sex slavery. Or choose another charity, the one God places on your heart. Then report back here with your amazing stories and photos!
Purse of Hope runs a home for freed sex slaves in Uganda. The girls receive medical care, counseling in the name of Jesus and job training.

World Vision rescues sex slaves and provides medical care and Christian counseling.

Founded by singer Natalie Grant, The Home Foundation cares for freed sex slaves, medically and spiritually, in India and elsewhere.

This information was taken from Lucy Ann Moll's Web site. She is an advocate for Save The Girls

For more information about this ministry or Lucy, you can visit her site at: http://www.lucyannmoll.com/savethegirls.htm

Now That you've read this post...what will you do? Please join us with getting the word out and raising the money nesecary to rescue these girls and also to provide them with the much needed after care. Imagine it it was your daughter or grandaughter. If you are moved to help, let me know what you are up to. The yard sale is a great idea but I am sure there are many ways in addition to this to raise monies and awareness. I would love to hear and post any and all appropriate ideas! Thanks and God Bless!

Mary






Friday, October 23, 2009

Sex Slavery: Do I Need a Kick in the &@#?

http://www.lucyannmoll.com/beautifulwarrior/?p=108

God Doesn't Make Junk!

Some days I just don't "feel" like being happy. Some days I just want to curl up and sulk in my circumstances. The "why me?" syndrome takes over and before i know it i am in full blown throws of self centeredness. ugh! poor me, I'll never be good enough, i can't do anything right! Sound familiar? This is not your typical self centeredness, you know, the kind when you think you're all that and more. Nope not like that at all. I usually always go the other direction. which in someways is worse. not only is it all about me, but it's usually geared to the negative. I make excuses in my head like I'm not hurting anyone when i feel like this, but the reality is...Yes, it does hurt someone! It hurts God. When I act selfishly I am telling Him that he made junk. I know this sounds harsh but let's pretend you put your heart and soul into a creation, a painting, let's say and you give the painting to special friend and that friend takes it from you, thanks you for it and then turns around and hangs it up backwards with the ugly side out. You ask why would you do such a thing? Your friend replies, well it's not beautiful enough, it makes me sad to look at it, it has some mistakes in it, and some drips. I just don't think anyone would want to see it so I will spare them the embarrassment of having to look at it. Yikes! I know I would feel really really bad and sad if i were the giver of this actually very beautiful gift. God is the giver of our life, and when we take that gift and hide it away it's the same thing as what the friend did. I am learning to look at my self pity in this way. I also have found that the times when i am most self centered is when i have taken my eyes off of God. Sometimes my circumstances make me lose sight of Him, but instead of hiding myself away and dwelling on how horrible I am, I am practicing running to God, the only source of true happiness and contentment. He is always willing to listen to my woes and encourages me to go on. I am learning this is a choice on my part, an act of my will, in which God has given me free reign over. So on days like today, when i am so tempted to hide myself away and sulk I am practicing taking my will and turning over to His. I don't want to tell God he made junk. I want to shine like the star He made me! drips and all!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Walking In His Way

In the silence of the morning, I sit and think of You.
The day ahead unfolds before my eyes.
I give to You the plans I have, set firmly in my mind.
To bless and help me to prioritize.

Since I've come to know you Lord, I look forward to this time,
Of Your instruction in the way I should proceed.
When You're walking right beside me, every move I make,
Gives me confidence that my plans will succeed.

I will put my trust in You Lord, take me by the hand,
In faith I will follow what You say.
Instill in me the courage, to walk the narrow path
That I won't slip into the worldly way.

Not too many understand the faith I place in You
Believing in someone I cannot see
But in holding on to You Dear Lord, I will not be shaken.
Help me live so that you shine brightly through me.

Jeremiah 29:11-For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalm 16:8-I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Matthew 5:16-In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 7:13-[ The Narrow and Wide Gates ] "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

Matthew 7:14-But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lord I Just Want To Be Happy

Lord, I just want to be happy.
I want to learn to walk in your ways
To see the world with Your eyes
Change my heart from complaining to praise.

Lord, I just want to be happy
I want my heart to be set on You
Loving others sincerely
The way You want me to.

Lord, I just want to be happy
To embrace the pain in my life
I want to know how to transform it
Gleaning something joyful from my strife.

Lord, I just want to be happy
I am aware this life is rough
Even in the midst of suffering
I want You to be enough.

Lord I just want to be happy
I want to grab hold of Your grace
Live my life contently
No matter what circumstance I face.

Lord I just want to be happy
I want to seek You in the storm
Anchor myself to You
When life's problems start to swarm.

Lord, I just want to be happy
You have made me to this end
To experience joy, love and peace
When on You I will depend.

Lord You have made me happy
Now that I'm rooted in Your love
You've given me the tools I need
To take my trails and rise above.

What does it mean to be happy?
Look to God and you will see
That He is the only answer
In our search to be happy.

"But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God;may they be happy and joyful" -
Psalm 68:3

"Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence." - Psalm 21:6

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tear Catcher

"You've kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book. "- Psalm 56:8 (The Message)


Tear Catcher

Many kinds of tears are shed
Tears of sorrow, tears of dread
Tears that saturate our bed
And those that stay tucked in our head.
Tears that trickle, tears that gush
Tears that turn our heart to mush
Tears of embarrassment that make us flush
Anxious tears when in a rush.
All these tears have wet our face
Each one has it's special place
But today, these tears, filled with God's grace
come flowing at a frantic pace.
The realization of what He's done
For you, for me, for everyone.
Placing our sin on His only Son
Who willingly took it, so the battle was won.
Then sending His Spirit to guide our way
To be with us night and day.
Flowing tears of thanks convey
The grateful hearts we now display.
The special meaning of each tear
Is something that our Lord holds dear
Collecting them, He's always near
Using what He's caught to wash away our fear.
Then very gently, He wipes us dry
Lifting our faces to the sky
On Him, we learn, we must rely
Each time we have ourselves a cry.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Divine Connection

My Prayer life has gone through many changes over the years. From bargaining with God, to requesting, to sharing, to listening. Now God has become my constant companion. Our conversations are just that. I talk with Him all day long. I enjoy sitting quietly in His presence. I love seeing just how He is going to work things out in my life and the lives of others I am praying for. I've learned through my prayer life, to be patience in the waiting, as God sometimes chooses to not to answer things immediately, but I know with out a doubt He always answers. I also don't always like His answers...but this has made my trust that He has our best interests at heart grow. Like when I prayed for God to keep my son from drugs. He didn't answer right away. My son continued on that dark path, landed in jail several times, I thought God wasn't hearing me. but a few years later God met my son in his dark place and at that point my son was ready to be led out. God answered that prayer of mine. More so than I could have ever imagined. Today my son is a hard working young man, giving back to his community, by sharing his story and helping other young men navigating through the world of addiction and recovery. I marvel at Gods goodness and timing. He knows each of us better than we ever could. He knows and He sees. I choose to place my trust in Him! I hope you will too!


Divine Connection

My heart is ever grateful
To the Lord, for answered prayer
When I send up my requests to Him
I know He's always there.

He listens with His faithful ears
To every word I say
He does His best to grant for me
The things I ask and pray.

Sometimes He doesn't answer
In the way I think He should
But through the years I've learned to trust Him
Because He looks out for my good.

When I sit and listen
In the silence of the night
I sometimes hear Him whisper
"Child, it will be alright."

There's nothing I can't tell Him
For He already knows
But every time I open up
The bond between us grows.

I'm glad for this connection
Between my God and me
For never will I be alone
Because I know the God who sees.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ramblings Of Friendship And Love...

I had lunch today with one of my oldest and dearest friends. We don't see each other often but she's one of those friends that is etched so deeply in my heart that no amount of time apart can separate us. We met in high school and have been through marriage and children, separations and divorce, death, traumas, tears and worries, Lots of fun times and always lots of laughter!


Friendships are a treasured gift given to us by God. He commands us to love Him first and then to love others. He places those others strategically throughout our lives. It got me thinking just what does it mean to love them. I've been thinking a lot lately about loving. Not romantic loving, but real heart to heart loving, the way Jesus did. I fear I fail miserably to really love my fellow man at times...like today for instance...as i was driving to meet my friend for lunch, I saw a homeless man standing in the pouring rain, holding a sign: "Will work for food." I have seen him there before and as before I drove right by...but today it really bothered me. I was going to buy him some food on my way home but he was gone. I prayed some kind soul did what I should have done. I feel like that was a missed opportunity to show Jesus love. Everyday we have opportunities to show this love. to our spouses, our children, our friends, our acquaintances, and strangers, who in essence may be friends just waiting to be met. Lord, please help me see and seize these opportunities.


I am blessed to have many friends. I don't ever want to take them for granted. I want to share my heart with them and hope they grant me the same privilege. My heart goes out to those who are alone, who don't know the Lord's love for them. I realize that I may be the only form of Jesus they will ever meet. Since Jesus lives in me I need to be able to share him with everyone I come in contact with. not in a preachy way, but through my actions.

Am I loving as best I can? I thought about Jesus when He walked the earth. His mission: To carry out His Fathers will. How? By loving God first then others. Loving well means seeking God then going out and following Jesus example. In Jesus' 3 years of ministry He walked among the people, interacted with them, listened to them, prayed for them and with them, taught them, healed them, served them, shared with them and sacrificed for them. In essence this is what loving well is all about. Being a follower of Jesus is more than just believing in Him and what He did for me. It means becoming like Him in every area of my life. To follow is an action not just a statement.

Lord, help all of us who choose to follow You to do just that...stand up move forward and take hold of every opportunity to follow Your lead. Place our fears and pride aside and help us learn to love well, so that the message of Your life can be spread as You intended. Thank You for the privilege of this great calling! In Your precious name I pray...Amen

Digging Deeper


I'm digging. I am tired of walking on the surface of life, of love, of feelings, and in relationships. I want to know and experience that deep gut level love in all areas of my life. I feel like I'm missing out on the diamonds of life when I stick to the surface, The most beautiful treasures are found by chiseling away the rock, shoveling out the dirt and shining and polishing them to sparkling clean. that's what I want from life. I want to dig out that deep love for Christ and others. I want to know their hearts, I want to find the jewels in every experience set before me, and take each one as a precious dig. No more passing them by because the effort to get to them looks too hard. The reward is in the effort.

How do I do this is the question? Well using Jesus as my shovel, my chisel, and my strength I know I can get to the treasure.

Digging for the heart of Jesus is my first priority, to know his heart, His ways, His wisdom, His love is what makes digging for the other things important. Because He loves deeply I want to too! Because he savors experiences I want to too! Because he wants to know each one of us, I want to too! He is not only my shovel and chisel in the digging He is also my treasure, giving way to a whole chest of treasure waiting just for me to discover.

Jesus is our ultimate treasure, our hearts are His. He lives in each one of us, when we ask Him in. So within each person lies the ultimate most beautiful shining treasure, ours to share if we only choose to begin to dig.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Message

God's given a message
That He wants you to share
It's a message of redemption
Of love and hope and care.

From the moment you accept Him
You're commissioned to go forth
Bearing witness for His Kingdom
Reaching south, east, west, and north.

Telling the story
Of life giving change
How when Jesus entered
Your heart wasn't the same.

He opened you up
To a love you've not known
Gave His life as a sacrifice
The greatest love ever shown.

God took all your sins
Forgiving each one
Put them all on the cross
With Jesus His Son.

You have every reason
To go out and tell
Of the wonderful mercy
You now know full well.

Grace has been showered
Now what will you do?
Keep it all to yourself?
Or pass on the news?

Your life has been spared
From the depths of the pit
Will you stand up and shout it?
Or on this gift will you sit?

Today is the day
What will you choose?
There's a dynamite message
Will you dare light the fuse?

Blowing the lid off
This worlds point of view
Gives God the Glory
That He alone is due.

The time is now...share with others, what having Jesus in your life has meant to you.

What's Your Measure?

Life flies by so fast....My son Steven and I were shopping in Wal-Mart tonight. He needed dress clothes for a Home Coming Dance he is going to. My mind began to wander to years past. Steven was always my shopping buddy, always willing, always easily pleased. Now Steven is 18, practically a man. He is still easily pleased, but he no longer has interest in hanging out with his mama, and shopping just doesn't hold the appeal it used too. Spending time with him these days is far and few between, and that's OK. He is growing,maturing and changing just as he should be. He has developed his own life and interests. It does my heart well to watch him progress; but it saddens me too, that those care free days of shopping, and ice cream cones, kickball games and riding big wheels are gone forever.


In hind site, I wish I would have realized how quickly my time with my children would go. I wish I would have spent more time enjoying and less time being busy with things that just don't really matter. Like, did I really have to make sure the dishes were done immediately after dinner every night, or was it so important to have a spotless house or that all the kids toys were perfectly put in place? Nope, looking back those things really had no meaningful impact other than regret. I f I had to do it all again, those dishes would sit and I would have spent time playing board games or cards with my kids. I would have cherished time to talk and laugh with them over a clean house and I would play with the toys along side of my children if given a second chance.



Once a moment is gone it's gone forever, this can be a sad thing when we waste our moments. God created us, placed us in His beautiful earth and gave us everything we need to live happy, successful, contented lives! What is our measure of happiness, success, and contentment? Do we measure it by how much we have, what position we hold, and if our lives are running smoothly? If this is our measure we are bound to be disappointed, all of those things are temporary and could be taken away at the drop of a hat...then what? How we measure these things needs to be rooted in the eternal...Our relationships with God and others, how well we love, and faith. When we use these measures of success and are striving to live from the eternal point of view we will find we take less for granted, we see time, material possessions and positions in their proper perspective. They are just things.



Think about this: what if you had every single thing you've ever wanted, worked hard to get it all your life, persevered through trials and finally GOT every THING you wanted, but in the process you forsook all your relationships, justifying it that you just didn't have the time! Well here you are king of the mountain so to speak, your standing on top... but...You are alone. Alone with all your things. You though getting all this would make you the happiest person in the world! As you shout from your mountain you realize there's no one around to hear or share your accomplishments. Sad, but that's just the way many of us are going through our lives.



Take some time today to examine your life. Where do your priorities lie. What is most important to you? I am not saying that having things, doing things, or having a career is bad. It only becomes bad when they are out of order. Loving God first, then others, is the only order for success and contentment...everything else will fall into place. God is our only source of true lasting peace and contentment. Seek Him first, You will not be disappointed!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Book Review, A Slow Burn






Slow Burn, Fast Read!, October 8, 2009
By
Mary Dreisbach (Emmaus, PA USA) - See all my reviews

Mary DeMuth has done it again! In this second book of the Texas Defiance Trilogy, she takes us into the lives of those involved with the disappearence and murder of 13 yr old Daisy Chance. The first book in this series focuses on that incident, and gets us to know the characters surrounding Daisy Chance. The gist of the first book "Daisy Chain" is seen through the eyes of Daisy's best friend Jed Pepper. His agony, guilt and shame about letting his friend down.


In "A Slow Burn" DeMuth takes a different route. This book tells the story through the eye's of Daisy's negligent, broken by life mother, Emory Chance. Emory has a world of regret on her shoulders, she goes through the grieving process, struggling with her self worth, things from her own past and other various problems that arise as a result of Daisy's death. This book tackles, with great realism and grace, true heart issues of each character. DeMuth holds nothing back, She takes us intimately into the lives of each character, so much so I found myself routing for them, thinking about them and crying with them. I have never read a book so well put together, so intruiging, and so devastating and hopeful all at the same time.


I highly recommend reading this book!

Casting Your Burdens

" Cast thy burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22

We all have burdens. Situations come into our lives that may feel heavy, annoying, hopeless, and just plain too much for us to bear. Our human tendency is to lash out or crumble
under their weight. To be honest, if I did not know God and continually keep Him in the forefront of my heart, soul, and mind, I would resemble a squished bug at this point.

When my oldest son was in the throws of drug addiction I and my whole family was living every day in a cyclonic funnel. Uncertainty was the norm. Nothing we did to "help" our son seemed to be helping, life was out of our control, he was completely out of control, and fear ruled in our hearts. Day by day we watched helplessly as he continually made poor choices, rebelled against our rules by staying out late, came home high, stole from us and others, and constantly lied. Adding to these obvious stresses, was the internal battle going on inside of me. Why God? Why my son? What did I do wrong? I must be a horrible mother that my son chose this route. I was riddled with guilt and shame. I felt nervous all the time. I feared that phone call or visit from the police telling me my son had overdosed. Truly this was one of the most burdensome times in my life.

I am sharing this with you in light of today's passage in Psalms. At the time all this was happening, my relationship with God was born. I was so distraught at one point with the reality that I could lose my son at any moment, that I could scarcely function. I honestly didn't know if I would make it through. I felt if anything happened to my son that I would surely die, and actually looking back I was in danger of dieing. Had I not cried out to God in that dark moment literally casting my burden on Him, I am sure Satan would have gotten his way and I wouldn't be here writing this today. In my desperation I begged God to take this burden from my heart, to take control of my life and take control of my son's life as well. I gave my son to God entrusting the God who gave him his life to take care of him and me. I was so completely broken at my failure.

Now I'd love to say that everything just melted away and we lived happily ever after, but that is NOT how it went. My son's behaviors actually escalated, he did end up overdosing(my worst fear) but thankfully his life was spared. He ended up spending a couple years in and out of jail. He became more and more manipulative and self centered. He wouldn't accept any help, or acknowledge he had any problem unless it was what we wanted to hear in order to get what he wanted. But what did happen in my life was incredible. I no longer was alone in this battle. God became a very real presence, He guided me to constructive resources and placed support people in my path. He helped me see that my son was also His child and just as he was watching out for me all these years he was also watching over Him. That as much as I loved my son, He loved him even more. This brought me a great amount of peace, just knowing I was not alone. As I sought God and met with Him throughout my days, He opened my eyes to the ways I could truly help my son, He showed me areas where I was enabling his behavior and He gave me the strength to stand firmly in this truth making it clear and guiding me in ways to reverse my enabling patterns. When I began to change my ways of reacting to my sons manipulation it pushed my son to start manipulating others who were even less likely to let his poor choices slide and the result ended in his final incarceration. Gods divine orchestration of this final lock up is just so clear to me today. He placed my son in situations where he had to really look at himself and make some choices. Thankfully my son chose well. He no longer had his enabling mother to "save" him. and he had plenty of time to think about it as he sat in prison for 8 months.

Had I not given my burden to God to help me carry, I and my son would not be where we are today. I am sure we'd still be in that cyclone of a life or we would not have any life at all. Choosing God was, is, and always will be the answer. He doesn't necessarily take the circumstances away but He rather takes your hand and accompanies you through it.

Today, 2yrs later, my son is following God. Realizing, without Gods hand in his life he would be completely lost. Sometimes we have to go through crushing burdensome times in our lives. How we go through them is the key. Do we try to go it alone, struggling in our own power feeling crushed and hopeless? Or will we let go of ourselves and our burdens, trusting them into God's hands? God promises when we do, that He will sustain us...and He DOES!

What is weighing you down today? Have you been going in circles with something? If so take some time today to get alone with God. Pour your burdens out to Him. Even if you think it's hopeless, do it anyway. Give all your thoughts, feelings, and circumstances to Him, admit your weakness, and when you've laid it all out before God...leave it there and trust that He will now take what you've left with Him and be your life sustainer though it. There will still be things you may need to do. But God will help you to see it more clearly and give you the strength needed to persevere.

Thank You Father God, for Your desire to carry our burdens, for making Yourself available to us 24/7 in order that we can come and cast them onto You. Help us to be aware of our weakness and powerlessness over our lives and to realize that our strength and power reside in You and You alone. Help our faith and trust in you grow, and may we boldly bear witness to all the burdens You have helped us carry over the years so as to bring glory to Your name. Amen.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Threads Of Love

A friend of mine had a baby a couple weeks ago, and she brought her to the women's meeting at church last night. This was the first time I had gotten to see her in person(I had seen pictures). There is just something so miraculous about the birth of a baby.

I remember when my friend first announced that she was pregnant. The joy I felt inside of me was incredible. She and her husband had just gotten married a year before and this little baby was a result of their love. I can recall how happy I and my whole church family felt for them.

Over the next nine months we prayed for them. Followed her progress. Marveled over the Ultra Sound pictures and rejoiced when we found out the baby was going to be a little girl. My friends husband was so hoping for a girl, probably because he came from a family of four boys and one girl. So, we were so happy for them when they got this news. We watched as Baby Olivia Joy grew in her mommy's tummy. We prayed as my friend found that she had gestational diabetes, that all would be well with them both. As her due date approached, we prayed the delivery would be smooth, and when the day came for Olivia Joy to be born we were updated throughout the labor. Their family was with them and their church family was praying.

I feel such a joy and privilege to have been part of this birthing process. To know this child is so loved, so wanted, so beautiful, just makes me want to sing God's praises. I just feel I need to thank Him for allowing me to bear witness to His Amazing love. I Thank Him for placing Olivia Joy with a loving, caring, God fearing family and grateful she was born into an extended church family that will help guide her as she grows up in the Lord.

I am posting this because I have come to the point in my life where I don't want to take anything for granted. God's orchestration of events in our lives have deep deep meaning. Babies are born every day and yet we give them very little thought. But the fact is, they are all beautiful little image bearers of Christ. Yet some never get the chance to be born. Their mommy's aren't seeing them as they really are and they are snuffed out before ever being given the chance to love or be loved.

God's word says in Psalm 139 that "All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be." also, "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mothers womb." Its very clear that we were thought of and planned before we were ever conceived. on the day of conception God began the knitting of our earthly body's as we grew inside the protective secret place of the womb. Think about this for a moment. As a baby grows we can't see the process because baby is hidden away, being formed by the Almighty Himself. Every detail was carefully sculpted and developed by God's own hands. We all started out the same way. Every human being goes through this process. On the day of our earthly birth we are just as we should be.

It's our responsibility as Christians to see to it that we love all of Gods children, love the mothers, love the fathers, and love each other with all our hearts and through the eyes of Christ. We all start out the same way... Every life is precious to God, every life has a purpose. When we see teens walking the streets with there pants hanging and boxers showing we are so quick to judge, when we see a homeless man all dirty and begging for food we so often just look the other way and drive right by. A child throwing a tempertantrum in the middle of the grocery store, do we stop and pray for that mother and her chid or is our first reaction" well he sure is a spoiled brat!" When we see an obviously anorexic or obese person we tend analyse that they must have some kind of problem not our problem... and we shy away, or a handicapped person sitting alone, how often do we befriend them. What about the drug addict who steals for his next fix or a murderer or rapist. Can we look upon them with Jesus' eyes? They too started out the same as us. They too are called to be part of Gods family. We all start out the same way, but unfortunately due to the brokenness of this world, other people, and circumstances, we get blown way off the course that God has planned for us.

My challenge to all who are reading this is...Stop, take time to see people as Jesus did. Pray for those people that come into your path. Know they are just like me and you. Take nothing for granted. Picture them as a little baby. They were once you know. And above all show love. Love is the thread that holds us together, individually and collectively. Love never fails, Love covers a multitude of sins, Love is our highest aim. God is love...So choose love. Start today and see what happens. I can guarantee powerful results!

From now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view (2 Corinthians 5:16).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Psalm Of Promise, Psalm 23

Psalm 23
A psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.


We all know this Psalm, most of us recognise it as one read at funerals as a passage of comfort for those mourning death. For me this Psalm is not only a comfort in times of mourning but an encouragement to enhance our living.It fosters ideas that lead us to holy confidence in our God. God's word, the Bible is so deep and rich, and the message within is one of hope and expectation of getting to know Him more intimately as we choose to follow Him. Lets look at what this Psalm promises those who choose to make God their All.

Promise #1 - God is our Shepherd, our care taker, protector,rescuer,provider, Under His care ALL of our needs are met.

Promise # 2 - God takes us to places of plenty He fulfills our lives, brings peace to our chaos, offers us His best, again meeting our needs.

Promise #3 - When God brings us to this place of peace and fullness, he doesn't just leave us there to fend for ourselves, He restores our souls, nourishes our spirits and fill us to overflowing with His love and peace. Restoring means bringing something back to its original condition. Sometime, by the time we come to God we feel beaten down and broken from being out in the storms of life on our own. When we finally find God and enter His flock His work on restoring us begins. God takes our hand and leads us down His path of righteousness. This Restoration and transformation brings glory to His name, we become a witness to His faithfulness and love.

Promise # 4 - Even though there may be times in our lives of great struggle and sorrow, trial and tribulation, hurt and pain, frustrations and illness, even when it feels like to world has dumped all of its garbage right on our heads, we have nothing to fear because God is right there with us. God is always with us bring comfort, encouraging, strengthening, and helping to dig us out from under the garbage heap. As a shepherd tends his sheep, so God tends to us. We may find ourselves in some pretty precarious situations over the course of our life time but Fear Not! God is there and working to free you from your mess.

Promise # 5 - God promises peace, protection, and confidence in Him, so much so that we are able to "dine" in the presence of our enemies. Imagine feeling calm enough to sit right in from of someone wanting to kill you and enjoy a meal. It's that kind of peace and protection that we find in God. We are under His special anointing, His silver spoon is in our mouths. I like the picture of our cups overflowing and washing the enemy away!

Promise # 6 - Surely, yes surely, when we are walking with God, goodness and love will follow us all the days of our lives and we will dwell in His house forever.