Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Change in Perspective?

You watch and decide. But only watch when you have 33 minutes to devote to this video because that is the only way to watch it. Start only if you can complete it. And I pray that you will and that you will pass it along to others. 

God has been working in my heart that it is no longer okay to just sit around and say I am pro-life. It is not enough to disagree with the moral depravity that is rampant throughout our nation. I do not know where God is leading me or what He wants me to do just yet, but I do know that now is the time to reach out to the lost because tomorrow may never come (especially for innocent babies). Please pray for me as God has been breaking my heart and showing me that I need to move into action.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." ~John 3:16

Monday, April 29, 2013

Fearfully & Wonderfully Created

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. -Psalm 139:13-14 (NKJV)

I saw this video today (below). And it absolutely broke my heart. I know it breaks God's heart. Why? Because He created us! He created us in His image! He formed our inward parts and knew us in our mother's womb! We are fearfully and wonderfully made! 

The Kermit Gosnell trial has brought abortion and infanticide to the forefront of our country. Finally the media has no choice but to report on this disgusting and heartbreaking story and the stories that have come from just this one clinic in Philadelphia. Every time I hear an update or see another video, I can hear God's voice telling me to pray. Pray, pray, pray! So I will and I hope you will join me in praying that abortion will end and that this will be the beginning. Please watch the video below as it shows how callous and inhumane America has become. 

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.-2 Chronicles 7:14

Linking with Titus 2 Tuesdays

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Losing Its Allure

Word of God Speak!
As I started writing this blog, God has been changing my heart and mind in big ways.  First, I have learned that spending time in God's word and in prayer each day is vital to my health-not just my spiritual health, but my physical, mental and emotional health as well. Next, going to church each Sunday and attending small group is so important because I need that connection, encouragement and teaching from fellow believers. Finally, I have been feeling a nudge from the Holy Spirit that I need to stop putting "trash" into my mind. God is calling out and commanding me to stop reading worldly books and magazines and watching popular television shows filled with immodesty, affairs, premarital sex, and other behavior that the world says is okay. 

However, it has taken me a LONG time to start listening. I did not want to give up my mystery books (full of foul language, sex and violence), my magazines and my t.v. shows and submit to His calling. But the more time I spent in prayer and God's word, the allure and temptation of these books, magazines and shows has decreased tremendously. I am no longer consumed with the next book in the series, the mid-season cliffhanger, the preview of a new show or the glossy magazine cover. I realized today that this sin in my life has lost its sparkly and shiny appeal. This is the power of God in me. I can not do it on my own, in my own strength. It is the power of God working in me and He can work in you too. 

I am far from perfect and I still have temptations I deal with daily, but each day I desire and crave God more. I want to know Him more intimately, spend more time in prayer, become a servant to others.God wants me to invest in others and to fill my mind with only those things that glorify Him. Philippians 4:8 has kept popping into my head over the last few months. Coincidence? I think not-it is the Holy Spirit.  

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Come to the Well

This week has been such a gift from God. Its vacation week in New Hampshire and that means rest for me. It's only Wednesday yet God has restored my soul and already taught me many things. I have been listening to pod-casts from Revive our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss about being a servant and from Charles Stanley about the armor of God. Just sitting and being still-listening to the words God has for me through these servants of His- What a time of restoration and challenge! I have also been reading a book called A Woman Who Trusts God-Finding the Peace You Long For by Debbie Alsdorf. I have been struggling with anxiety and finding peace and this book has been a gift from God.

However, as wonderful as those resources are and as grateful as I am for the time to listen and read, nothing can take the place of the Bible. Immersing myself in God's Holy Word each day makes a HUGE difference in my heart, thoughts, attitude and reaction to the trials and temptations this world hurls at me. I know that when I am not in God's word each day, I feel impatient, grouchy and empty. I start to think negatively and things spiral downhill from there.

God's Word is a well of refreshment. A nice, cold drink of water on a hot, summer day. It has all the answers we need for this life. When I open my Bible, God always has something to say and it always relates to my life. I can leave everything behind and be filled with God. I was listening to Casting Crowns in my car today and their song "The Well" came on. This is my prayer-that you will come to the well. That you will be refreshed in God today and find the hope, joy, peace and encouragement that only He can give you. This world takes and takes and takes, yet God is ready and waiting to give you exactly what you need. He has already done all the work (John 3:16). So, will you come with me to the well today? God is waiting for you!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thankful for Thirty

Always smell the flowers!
In just a few days I will turn 30. I have been dreading this day for a while now because I always thought that I would be married with 3 kids and probably homeschooling unless we needed two incomes and then I would be teaching somewhere. As you can see, I have thought a lot about this. However, Proverbs 19:21 says-Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. How true, how true, how true! I can plan all I want but God's purpose will always prevail. It has taken me a long time to truly accept and surrender to God's purpose. I have even tried to take matters into my own hands to achieve those goals of mine. I knew I was outside the will of God, sinning and living my own life the way I wanted to- completely against everything I had learned growing up in church. 

I chose to get in a relationship with a non-Christian and live like the world lives-for 3 years, but not once in those three years did God abandon me, even though I abandoned Him. He was right there waiting for me, the prodigal daughter, to realize I would find no satisfaction, no joy and no peace living like the world does. It took my boyfriend getting arrested for me to let God back into my life. I remember the night clearly and the sobs that racked my body as I called my mom and started to have a panic attack. She sent my brother to come get me and bring me home where I was wrapped in her arms. Instantly, I felt like a weight had been lifted. I could breathe again. My parents had never turned me away during those 3 years, never did they abandon me. God used my parents as physical examples of Himself. When my mom wrapped her arms around me that night it was like God was hugging me too and reassuring me that everything was going to be alright. After that night, I started to live the life God had for me. I repented of my sins and have grown closer to God than ever before. I wish I could take back those years. I wish I waited on God instead of doing things my own way because my own way never led me to true happiness, but only caused more heartbreak, loneliness and fear. 

So back to turning 30-I can honestly say that God has given me peace. He has given me joy! I am beyond grateful that He turned my life around and drew me back to Him in 2008. Yes, I am still single. Yes, I am still waiting, but there is no place I would rather be than here in the will of God. Some days are rough, but God promises throughout the Bible that He is always with me (Joshua 1:9, Hebrews 13:5, Isaiah 41:10), is working all things out for my good (Romans 8:28), that He will provide all of my needs (Philippians 4:19) and that He is faithful to finish the work He began in me (Philippians 1:6). 

My life verses are Jeremiah 29:11-13- "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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

I am thankful that God has given me 30 years of life. My prayer is that for each year God chooses to bless me with that I may continue to call on Him, come to Him, pray to Him and seek Him with all my heart- whether single or married, healthy or sick.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Peace in the Aftermath

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-23

Ever since the marathon bombing, I have felt an extra weight on me. I have been sucked into the news cycle and my focus has gone from looking up to God to the hopelessness in this world.  When I stopped looking up to Him, I have felt more stress, more anxiety, more sadness and less peace, less trust and less faith. I have felt alone, even when I know I am not. Its like my mind knows the verses to say, but my heart does not connect with it. This leads to stress on my body and makes my Lyme disease, fibromyalgia and awful head cold worse. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy. 

After another sleepless night, I got up this morning and saw these verses in Lamentations from John Piper's devotional for yesterday. Oh how I could have used this yesterday. However, I can choose to use it today and every other day God blesses me with. You can find the article here. It is a great read and I highly recommend it especially if you have been struggling as I have with the extra weight of this world. Instead of being sad, I can rejoice that God's mercies are new every morning and that I don't have to worry as Matthew 6:34-Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own troubles- and Philippians 4:6- do not be anxious about anything, but by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God- tell us. But it goes on with verse 7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. What joy we can have! The peace of God is there for the taking and that is right where I want to be!  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Needing Your Prayers

Struggling with anxiety, doubt, worry, stress, life in general? Well I am right there with you. I would like to say that I am rising above my anxiety and stress right now, but I am not. I would like to say that I am wholly trusting and relying on God right now, but I am not. I would like to tell you that I am past these feelings of loneliness and vulnerability, but some days it just creeps up on me and I feel stuck. Today is one of those days. The bombing at the Boston marathon yesterday was way too close to home. It makes me long for heaven and Jesus' swift return, but I know that as close as we are to that day, God is not finished with us here on earth. There is still work to be done and I believe that yesterday made that more than abundantly clear. People are lost, hopeless, helpless and we, as Christians, have the answer-Jesus. 

But how can I be a witness and a light to someone when I am feeling this way right now? Well, I did not have the answer a few hours ago, but in the middle of this post I had to go to my Lyme specialist appointment. In the car, God nudged me to turn on my iPod and listen to Chris Tomlin's Burning Lights album. If you have listened to this album at all, then you know that my God is for us (who can be against us?), He is the God of angel armies, He is sovereign, He is a God of wonders, He alone can satisfy our souls and wake us up-not only as individuals, but as a country. During that 20 minute car ride, God took away my anxiety, my doubt, my worry, my stress, my loneliness and gave me a peace that is beyond all understanding. My ride turned into a worship session with God because I have been promised that GREATER is He who is in me, than he who is in this world (1 John 4:4). That does not mean that I will not feel like this tomorrow, in the days and weeks to come, but I can surrender each day to God and cast my anxieties on Him, because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). 

My prayer today is that I will shine God's light on those around me. I pray that I can be bolder in my witness, that God will give me the words to say when the opportunities arise in the days ahead and that, we, as Christians, can become fishers of men and share the AMAZING news of John 3:16. This can only be done through the power of prayer. So I need your prayers and if you need prayer, please let me know so I can lift you up to our Heavenly Father who is always right by our side.

"You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you,  
because he trusts in you." ~Isaiah 26:3

Linking with Titus 2 Tuesday, Monday Musings

Sunday, April 14, 2013

my Rock, my Refuge, my Fortress

It was inevitable. Twenty-six 5 and 6 year-old students sharing too much time in too little space. The sneezing and coughing, the nose-blowing, the fingers in their eyes, nose and mouths, the germs EVERYWHERE! I was thankful I hadn't received the dreaded gift- that nasty cold that has kept some of my children out for 2 to 3 days at a time. Friday night it came for me and won. Saturday was a little worse and Saturday night was mostly sleepless. Being healthy it can take weeks to fight off the average cold, but having Lyme disease can prolong the sickness for months. 

I know my God can heal me. I know my God can take all the health problems and sicknesses away. I am not saying He won't, but He has not yet and may never. This morning I watched Charles Stanley and he talked about having courage to take a stand. The passage was Genesis 6:5-22 and was about Noah building the ark. I have thought at times about stopping this blog because the enemy tries to convince me that it will not make a difference, that I do not have the time or energy and that I am not healthy enough- and now this nasty cold has arrived.

I believe that God wants me to have the courage to continue to write this blog even if no one reads it. It is my story about how my mighty God is working in my life and when God calls, I better get moving regardless of what I think or feel especially when I am sick. After my shower, God led me to Psalms 62 and 63. It was refreshing and filled me with His presence. It gave me the courage to take a stand despite how I feel and to share His word with whomever might be out there and needs to hear it today or tomorrow or the next day. So I will end with these verses from Psalm 62 and 63 (ESV). 

Psalm 62:1-2, 5-8, 11-12 "For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken." ..."For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us."..."Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this; that power belongs to God and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work." 

Psalm 63:1-8 "O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

More than Conquerors? Yes please!

Romans 8 is an amazing chapter! When verse 1 starts off with "There therefore is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" and ends in verses 38 and 39 telling us "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" I can't help but want to read what God says in between and He says so very much. 

Today was a difficult day. I was in a lot of pain and weary and by noon time I was done with chatty students who did not want to listen or use inside voices. My patience was gone and I confessed to God that I just could not do it. I told my para (who is with me all day and is such a blessing and huge help) that I just wanted to go home. I felt defeated. In God's amazing love, He granted me an abundance of grace and carried me through the rest of the day. 

Normally I get in my car and turn on the radio to country music. However, today I could not listen to even that. I knew I had to turn on my praise and worship music because my whole being-physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually- needed to worship God, to be filled with Him- because really how can we keep from praising His name-even on the bad days? 

As I drove home singing my heart out to God (Chris Tomlin's new CD-Burning Lights is awesome), a verse from Romans 8 popped into my head and stayed there. Verse 37 says "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." MORE THAN CONQUERORS! Not just conquerors- MORE THAN CONQUERORS!!! 

As I sit here writing this I am thinking what exactly does this mean. By definition conquer means "to overcome or surmount by physical, mental, or moral force: to be victorious; win."

We are more than conquerors. Over what? Verses 35 and 36 has the answer "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 

And why are we more than conquerors? Because Christ has already won. He is victorious over sin and death and the grave. He has conquered all and by grace we have received the victory without having to earn it. In my sufferings, trials and temptations, I can be more than a conqueror but only through Christ who has set me free. I can never be separated from the love of God no matter what comes my way. Praise God!!!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

He is MY King!

On Easter Sunday, I decided I wanted to go with my parents to their church. I have been going to another church for almost two years now, but still like to go back and visit my old church. Their pastor started his message with a video presentation. It was a YouTube video from S.M. Lockridge entitled "That's My King" and immediately following I knew it was no coincidence why I was here at this church today. I have listened to this video many times since that Easter Sunday especially when I start to feel vulnerable, tempted, negative, ungrateful...and then I am reminded of how AMAZING my King is, how my King was TORTURED and DIED for me, how my King DEFEATED DEATH AND THE GRAVE, how much my King LOVES me and how He CHOSE me to be His child! Whatever I was feeling before vanishes as God reminds me who He is, what He has done for me and what He continues to do each day in my life. As Philippians 4:4 commands us, "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice." 

Here is the link to the video and I have included the transcript below: 

The Bible says my King is the King of the Jews. He’s the King of Israel. He’s the King of Righteousness. He’s the King of the Ages. He’s the King of Heaven. He’s the King of Glory. He’s the King of kings, and He’s the Lord of lords. That’s my King.

I wonder, do you know Him?
My King is a sovereign King. No means of measure can define His limitless love. He’s enduringly strong. He’s entirely sincere. He’s eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful. He’s imperially powerful. He’s impartially merciful.

Do you know Him?
He’s the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world. He’s God’s Son. He’s the sinner’s Saviour. He’s the centrepiece of civilization. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He is the loftiest idea in literature. He’s the highest personality in philosophy. He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology. He’s the only one qualified to be an all sufficient Saviour.

I wonder if you know Him today?
He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He strengthens and sustains. He guards and He guides. He heals the sick. He cleansed the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharges debtors. He delivers the captive. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent. And He beautifies the meek.

I wonder if you know Him?
He’s the key to knowledge. He’s the wellspring of wisdom. He’s the doorway of deliverance. He’s the pathway of peace. He’s the roadway of righteousness. He’s the highway of holiness. He’s the gateway of glory.

Do you know Him? Well…
His life is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. And His yoke is easy. And His burden is light.

I wish I could describe Him to you. Yes…
He’s indescribable! He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible. He’s irresistible. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hand. You can’t outlive Him, and you can’t live without Him. Well, the Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Death couldn’t handle Him, and the grave couldn’t hold Him.

Yeah! That’s my King, that’s my King.


Friday, April 5, 2013

No Longer A Cliche

It's been a tough last few weeks, but then again it has been a tough past few years. For those of you who don't know, I have been seen by many doctors and have had multiple diagnosis' since December of 2010 when I could barely walk on the treadmill at the gym. Since then my final diagnosis has become chronic Lyme disease which is causing fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I have prayed many times for God to heal me completely and let me have the body I had before (where I could go to the gym 4 to 5 times a week after work). I have people praying for me all over the world. 

Yet God, in His sovereignty, has chosen not to heal my body at this time. However, He has faithfully walked beside me on this roller coaster ride. I have been given so many different answers that at times I felt like giving up. I am a teacher. My job is emotionally and physically draining on a healthy body, but for a disease ridden body? Forget it! I was told that I would most likely have to go on disability or find a different job or a part time job. At each doctor visit, I am still asked if I am teaching. Not only am I still teaching, but God has taught me that I can do ALL things through Him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). It is no longer a cliche to me. The word of God is alive and active in my life. Second Corinthians 12:9 tells me: "But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." Paul understood what God has shown me through these last few years. His grace IS sufficient, His power IS made perfect in my weakness. The glorious answer to how I can still teach, 25 kindergartners no less, is through my God! I am weak, but He is strong!

 I am not saying it is easy or that each day I have a grateful attitude, but God carries me through. He is the ONLY reason I am able to get up each morning and go to a job I love with the precious babes He has entrusted me to care for and educate. God has shown me that it is for HIS glory that I am not who I used to be. The old me was more self-centered, less loving, less patient and always in a rush. God has used my illness for my good (Romans 8:28). My relationship with God has never been more intimate and alive. This is what makes the tough days, weeks and months even sweeter! God is good ALL the time and ALL the time God is good.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Waiting for What?

I suppose I would say I have been waiting for, dreaming about, hoping and praying for a husband and 3 children. :) HOWEVER, in the last few months God has been changing my heart. My dreams of becoming a wife and mother have not wavered, but my viewpoint has. Instead of looking out to the world, I have begun to look up to God, my sovereign God, who has said He knows the plans He has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). But my God does not stop there. In verses 12 and 13, He tells me to call on Him, pray to Him, seek Him and that He WILL be found. 

So that is where I started and what I have found has surpassed my wildest expectations. I am now waiting for Christ to come again and praying that He will come quickly. Before my perspective was "Please God don't come back before I get married and have children, please pretty please." Now it does not matter because God is so much greater than those dreams. He is a God who sent His ONLY Son to die for me on the cross and to defeat death by rising again on the 3rd day. He promises me so much through His Holy Word- the Bible. I cannot wait to spend eternity with Him. So while I am waiting for God to return, I have started to worship Him through His Word, through prayer, through singing and through my church. But I have just started to scratch the surface because He who has started a good work in me is going to complete it (Philippians 1:6) He is a faithful God. 

I still want a husband, but a Godly man that I can serve God with and together we can bring more glory to God than apart. God has called me to serve Him right now through my teaching and singleness, but I also long for the day when I can serve beside this man of God. If God calls me to singleness, then He will change the desire of my heart and I will embrace that reality.

And so starts my blog. My desire is to share my heart and what God is teaching me about Himself and how it relates to where He has me NOW...single and satisfied in Him...not when I am married with children. Every day is a gift from God and He has blessed me abundantly.