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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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.