Wednesday, December 30, 2009

His Grace....It STILL Amazes Me

Your Grace Still Amazes Me ~Phillips, Craig, & Dean

This song has been in my head 3 days now. I've been falling asleep thinking about it, as well as waking up to the though of it in my mind.

A friend that I've know my whole life was visiting my church on Sunday. I didn't even know that she was there until the person leading the service (my friend's uncle)asked me to step out into the foyer to watch her baby,a beautiful baby less than a month old, that I had yet to get to see in person. Needless to say, he didn't have to ask me twice. :o) I quickly relieved my friend so she could go sing a special..the song she sang was "Your Grace Still Amazes Me".

As I sat there, holding her adorable baby for the first time, while listening to her sing those words, I began to think about the blessings God had brought her way the last few years. A Godly husband. A job in which she is able to help people in which she has a burden, a burden derived due to her own personal life circumstances. She is also a youth pastor's wife and now mother of one of the cutest babies I've ever seen.

Through the years we have randomly shared our hopes and dreams. Many of which, have been very similar, other than the location of our callings. As I sat there, I realized I could have felt jealous, that many of her dreams are already coming to pass & most of mine are still in process. But I wasn't. This same friend is the one that had shared words of encouragement with me about this same time the year before and had been one of the greatest sources of encouragement I had received in a long time. No I wasn't jealous at all; I was just very thankful for her.

Not long ago I was talking with another friend. One of the best girls I know. One who hasn't had luck on her side lately or for quite a while it would seem. Many of the circumstances she has faced and has to face I can't imagine going through. However, the one we were discussing that particular day..that she was going through at that moment, I not only could imagine, but had experienced. She began to say things such as "It's not fair! I deserve better. WE deserve better!" Though I wanted to be her friend and shake my head and say, "Yes, you're right! You're absolutely right!" I had to tell her the truth..that WE don't "deserve" anything. Every blessing we receive is a gift; we don't nor can we "earn" God's blessings.

A line of one of my favorite songs, whose lyrics I believe I have already shared on here, says:"Every good & perfect gift that I possess was sent from the Father above." And that's exactly how it is. We were born sinners; we were born undeserving. BUT, thanks to God's grace, He still chooses to bless us.

Do I have any idea why some people seem more blessed than others? No. I've seen some of the most dedicated people I know go with out many desires and some of the least committed people I know squander blessings those dedicated ones would have given their right arm for.

However, as I sat there holding my friends baby, thinking about God's blessings in her life, I thanked God for grace. Grace for her. Grace for me. Grace for anyone who will accept it.

The words of another favorite song say:
"Where would I be, if not for your grace?
Carrying me, through every season.
Where would I be, if not for your grace?
You came to my rescue. And I want to thank you
For your grace.

Yes, His grace STILL amazes me. Past. Present. Future. And I thank Him for it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A New Year...

When I started this blog earlier this year I wasn't sure who, if anyone, would end up reading it. All I knew was God was speaking to me, showing me things I had never understood, or realized before, and that maybe, just maybe, others could also benefit from what I was learning as well.

Blogging like this is not always easy. Sometimes, in order to write about certain subjects of which I might feel to write, I have to be more transparent than I would otherwise normally desire to be. However, over the last few months I have had various people...from family, to friends, to acquaintances, to complete strangers comment regarding various things they have read and encourage me not to stop writing. I now see that what started out as me feeling a subtle tug from God to do something with all the thoughts crowding my head has turned into an opportunity to minister to others. I am thankful for this and look forward to sharing this coming year with you as well!

I plan to also change things up a bit, maybe sometimes writing a little more "blog like" rather than "devotional like". I feel only one side of me has been shown thus far through this blog, and it has been a side even some people who know me personally may not have been familiar with. In general, I am a bubbly,outgoing, yet randomly timid person who loves to laugh and find enjoyment in the small things in life. I never meet a stranger (trait adopted from my Dad no doubt) and try my best to be a person who welcomes both advice & criticism equally. I have a huge heart, which sometimes seems like a good thing & other times like a bad thing. I have amazing friends and family both near and far..soon to be mostly far. This saddens me; but I also welcome the opportunity to develop new friendships with new people of which I haven't been blessed to know yet.

In the past, some of you have felt to email me for advice or requesting prayer for certain situations you may be facing. Feel free to continue to do so. I may not always have an answer for you, but I am definitely always willing to join you in prayer.

This next year is going to be a major adventure. New place. New people. New Challenges. I welcome you to join me while continuing this Journey called life...the Pilgrim way.

May God bless you & yours abundantly in the year to come!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Godly Heritage

When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. - II Timothy 1:5

Last night as I was sitting on my pew at church, listening to my parents sing one of the hundreds of songs my dad has written, I lost it. Literally lost it. The tears began to flow nonstop. The emotions I was feeling were a mixture of earthly and heavenly. A pinch of pain, quickly engulfed by the peace & love of God. And thankfulness. Lots of thankfulness.

I have listened to my parents sing more times then I can count. I have probably listened to them sing the same song they sung that night more times than I can count. So what, you may be wondering, made the difference this particular night? The song they were singing was about God turning the tables around. The chorus goes "When it's God's time He'll turn the tables around. When it's God's time He'll turn them upside down. There's no power can prevail, none on earth, nor in hell. When it's God's time He'll turn the tables around."

The reason I "lost it" so to speak is because I know my parents. I know what they face day in and day out. I also see day in and day out their Godly character and faith in God shine through, no matter what the circumstances may be.

What began as one of the best years of my life turned into one of the worst years. It has also been one of the worst years for my family as a whole. However, I am thankful to have such a Godly heritage...parents that truly believe, and are an example of Job when he said, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him."

My mom was raised up 3rd generation Pentecostal, her grandfather having helped build the church with his own hands in the tiny town where she grew up. My dad was 1st generation; his family came to truth when he was a teenager. His step-father being healed of cancer at a local tent revival brought the whole family to truth.

Many years later,after my parents had been married for a short while, my mom who had always been raised in church, but never received the Holy Ghost or been baptized, did so during a 3 week revival that took place despite a snow storm. My dad had been quite involved in singing for the country music industry up until then. At this time he also recommitted his life to God, leaving the industry behind.

This was all many years before I was born. All my life I have known that, if I walk down the stairs around 6 in the morning, I will either see my dad praying or reading his Bible. If I'm still home an hour after my mom has woke up, I will no doubt hear sounds of praying coming from their bedroom....A Godly Heritage.

As a little child one of my strongest memories is visiting nursing homes, going door to door inviting kids to Sunday school, and playing outside during Women's prayer...

Every other Saturday: 3 different nursing homes. I loved it! They loved my squeaky voice. And, of course, always wanted me to sing. I remember us all laying hands on many of them in prayer.

Door to Door Visitation: Dressing up in cartoon characters costumes and having random kids bring carrots on Sunday to my dad..who had been dressed up like Bugs Bunny.

Women's Prayer: Every week coming in after playing outside with other church lady's kids to see a group of consecrated women standing in a circle, hands joined, praying....for the lost child of the lady who stood next to them, or for the sick mother of the other lady, or for the one whose finances were in crisis....Sometimes I would walk in and a tongues interpretation would be going forth...
A Godly Heritage.

After moving to Arkansas, when I was 10, I have also learned many other things due to my parents. Through my participation in Bible quizzing for 9 years I have learned what commitment, discipline, support, and teamwork really mean. My mom was assistant coach, in charge of fundraisers, the person I quoted my verses to daily, and, of course, at all my tournaments. My dad also found a way to be at all the important ones as well...A Godly Heritage.

As I've grown older, my parents have been a huge source of support to me in regard to my calling and all the preparation I have felt necessary to go through because of it. They are, indeed, my greatest cheerleaders and most dependable prayer warriors. Most of all, they are my greatest example of faith. Pure and Simple Faith. If through the years I have managed to glean half of their Godly spirit and attitude, I consider myself very blessed.

A Godly Heritage. If you are blessed enough to have this, count your blessings and please, whatever you do, don't let it go to waste. Pass it on yourself. It doesn't have to just be passed to your physical children; those who are babes in Christ need Godly examples as well.

If you haven't been blessed with a Godly Heritage, it's never too late to find a mentor and glean from them all you can. But when you do, whatever you do, don't let it stop at you....A Godly Heritage. Pass it on.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Want to Be a "Giver"

New Year's Resolutions are an interesting thing. Some people swear by them; others make fun of them. I've realized through the years that the ones that swear by them are usually the ones that accomplish them. The ones that make fun of them...well, they tend to make fun because they haven't been quite so successful at fulfilling them and perhaps have stopped trying all together.

I personally fall somewhere in between the two. For one thing, I don't think it takes a new year starting out to decide to make a commitment to doing/ not doing something. Also, some years there is something I really feel to focus on...other years I'm more set on general improvement, rather than something that specifically is standing out screaming "work on me!"

This year I have decided to focus on one. This year I want to become a better giver. I want to give of myself to others like I have never gave before. As the baby of my family, this is not something that comes very naturally to me, but it is a trait I want to pursue.

In part, to fulfill this goal, I want to stay more connected. Not connected as in being on every networking site out there. But rather as in realizing who those people are that I want to make sure I stay more connected with and being the type of friend/ family member that they deserve. I'm referring to those people that years from now when I'm possibly living in Timbuktu (figuratively speaking I hope:o) I won't find myself thinking "I wonder how they're doing?" or "I wonder what ever happened to them?" But rather that I will know and will have been in enough contact with them to have rejoiced with them when they have rejoiced and have been there for them when they have gone through trying times as well.

A few years back a dear friend of mine, who knows way more people than myself and is one of the busiest people I know, decided he was going to do this. He told me he was making a list of all the people (including people like his grandma) that he knew he needed to talk to more often. In this case he was even going to assign certain days a month to call them. While I don't intend to go to this extent, I have seriously been thinking about who those people are that I should be putting on my "list".

I've been asking myself questions such as:
Who have been my closest friends in the past?
Who am I closest to now?
Who would I like to grow to know better?
Who do I feel I can learn from?
Who do I feel may be able to learn from me?

While this is my New Year's resolution, due to choosing to spend this year in a job position/ ministry that consumes a lot of my time & energy, I have already started off a little off track. Talking all day for one's job makes one less likely to want to talk once he or she goes home...and thus less likely to pick up the phone. However, I am determined. I have some awesome friends and family members who deserve my time. And, if I don't feel like talking sometimes, who cares? I can always listen. Listening's good..Listening's better anyway.

So, dear friend, if you haven't heard from me in a while, feel free to call me and remind me of this fact...I won't be offended and will be glad to hear your voice. And once you confirm to me that you fall into one of the list categories above I will be glad to call you back. (Kidding ;o)

Hope you're having a blessed New Year!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Godly Fear...

..."For Our God is a Consuming Fire".

When one hears the phrase "Godly fear" various thoughts may run through his mind: Godly reverence; Being in awe of God; Literally fearing God (He is after all "The Judge"), and so on...

To me,though,this phrase has taken on a new meaning as of late. A while back I confided in a friend about some serious decisions I felt to be making and if she would simply pray that God would take away any fear, due to my not wanting it to affect my making the right decisions. She shared with me how due to the environment in which she lives, fear had been a major battle in her life and how it is important to never let it creep in and that it must be conquered through prayer and not have place in my life.

It's easy to become fearful...
Fear of leaving family
Fear of being misunderstood
Fear of being alone
Fear of change
Fear of failure
Fear of disappointing others
Fear of the unknown

The list could go on and on.

These are all earthly fears.

Revelation 21:8 says, "the fearful...shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone."

Now, I'm not trying to give you yet another reason to be fearful. However, it is true that God does not accept or appreciate His children living in fear. He hates it. He wants you to trust Him and realize He has your best interest at heart. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows the desires of your heart. His thoughts are above your thoughts and his ways above your ways. When you feel a close friend doesn't really trust you, how does that make you feel? Now, imagine being their Savior, the one who created the universe, and knowing that....Are you getting the idea? I think it's safe in saying that God finds it offensive; therefore we shouldn't do it.

That's not actually what this blog is about though (took a detour :o)...

Sometimes you know that you know that you know that you've heard from God. You know it's God's will for you to do a certain thing, say something, go somewhere, not to do a certain thing, etc. ---At times like this Godly fear should be so strong within you that it overrules all else...all other earthly fears.

You see, to me "Godly fear" has came to mean fearing God more than earthly circumstances. It means having a greater fear of disobeying God and therefore removing myself from under His umbrella of protection (aka: stepping out of his will), than a desire to stay within the familiar, within my comfort zone.

God's not always going to be telling you to move or to do anything drastically different...BUT, when He does, and I believe everyone encounters times like this,..when He does, I pray you'll let Godly fear order your steps, and cast earthly desires and fears to the wind.

And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire. - Hebrews 12:27-29

The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. - II Samuel 23:3

But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God. Nehemiah 5:15

The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. - Psalm 36:1

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God - II Corinthians 7:1.

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. -Ephesians 5:21

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. - Isaiah 55:9

Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. - Psalms 37:4

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Amazing Grace

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

An evangelist preached at my church today. He gave his testimony. Raised in an evangelist’s home, seeing all kinds of miracles while growing up, at the age of 17 he decided he didn’t believe in God anymore. For the next 20 years he was away from God; getting mixed up in some of the worst drug situations possible. Eventually he found himself facing 40 years in prison, as a plea bargain for dealing drugs. He never even began the first of those 40 years. When he turned to God and promised Him he’d do what God had called him to do a long time ago, God took control. God can, after all, do anything He wants. God took control and rescued this prodigal son from impossible circumstances; circumstances that were of the son’s own making. Through the miraculous process of God delivering him from both drugs and the extreme legal situation, many people were saved, and, no doubt, all connected learned what God’s glory is really all about…and what His grace is about as well.

Amazing Grace…Amazing. Grace.
False Accusations. True Accusations.----
Amazing Grace.
What time limits do we, as Christians, place on one becoming “new” again?----
Amazing. Grace.
1 year?..10 years?...How about 1 second?----
Amazing Grace.
To whom did God give permission to decide that any sin is unpardonable? And to decide which sin that would be?----
Amazing. Grace.

It truly is amazing that God can forgive us of ANYTHING and use us again. Not “anything but…” -----Anything.

Saul killed Christians---lots of them. David had an affair then had someone killed due to the results of his own sin. Peter, who had the privilege of walking with God in the flesh, denied even knowing him, not once, but 3 times. Moses was a murder…Rahab was a harlot…The list could go on and on.

History proves that God not only forgives, but uses those whom he forgives sometimes in even greater ways then He had before. So my question is this…

Who are we as the church to stop God’s process?

Innocent or Guilty should not be the question.


That’s where the list must end my brothers and sisters.

Perhaps the next Moses, Peter, or Paul is sitting on your church bench, pastor, and you are too busy dwelling on his past to realize he has an amazing future before him…if you’ll only allow him to walk through that door.

Perhaps, saint of God, that brother or sister who you keep holding back with reminders of who they once were is the individual God has ordained to be the key to the great revival and harvest you have prayed for in your city for so long. Yet Satan has used you to plague their mind with thoughts of worthlessness; any distraction to keep them from their full potential. This is one of his greatest tactics. Do not allow him to use you as a tool.

Amazing. Grace.

Yes, it is amazing how a God so powerful and mighty can love us so dearly, so whole heartedly; how he can forgive so greatly and say “It is finished” before we’ve even had the chance to breath “I’m sorry.”

Who better to tell of His amazing grace than those who have benefited from it the greatest?

Still questioning if God can really use ANYBODY? How’s your faith meter? If this is something you question, it is not a matter of doubting men’s capabilities to change, but a matter of questioning God’s omnipotence.

Fact: We are clay.
Fact: He is our potter.
Fact: He can do absolutely anything He wants with the clay.

The Only Question: Is the vessel willing? (refer to the short checklist above…)

No doubt, if you’re reading this, you believe in God’s grace, and you believe it is truly amazing. Never place limits on something that has no limits.….Amazing. Grace.
….And never take for granted something none of us deserve.

Amazing Grace

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Home is Where God's Heart Is

Recently, while talking with some friends about ministry, I had an epiphany. I have never quite been able to explain why, though I have an amazing church family and earthly family, for a very long time now the thought of staying in my hometown and never leaving has been something that makes my skin crawl. I've known, for what seems like forever, that this is not where I am supposed to stay. I realize this is not a "typical" feeling for most a matter of fact, most would think me crazy for even making that statement.

However, I have finally figured out how to explain it...It's like, when God calls you to a certain place, He puts a certain restlessness within you. As long as I am not where He has called me, I will never feel complete peace. While I have a burden for the people in my hometown, my burden for the people where I am called is even stronger. I now realize that God gave me this uncomfortable feeling a long time ago so I could never let myself get too comfortable outside of His perfect will.

Recently I got to talk with an awesome young lady. Her and her husband just within the last year received their calling to the foreign missions field. She told me how, while in the deciding process as to where to go for their first trip, she saw a man from a certain very unfamiliar country praying over her husband and though "NO LORD!!!"..Sure enough...sometime soon they will be headed to that place on their first missions trip. I was thankful though that she shared this with me, because I was able to encourage her that wherever God leads them; that place will feel like home. No matter how different the culture, how distant the place...if that's where God calls them, He'll give them peace.

Lately I have been watching videos from some mission training sessions I was privileged to take while staying in Estonia on the Next Step Program. One day Bro. Lynden Shalm talked about how his wife hadn't traveled outside of the U.S. very much at all, and yet, when they reached the land of their calling, before they had landed, while looking out the window, his wife said that she "felt like she'd come home." She had never been there, yet God had already put something in her heart in advance that she already had a love for those people.

So, I've came to the conclusion that yes, home is indeed where the heart is. One's heart will always be with their family, but one must also follow God's heart...and God's heart may lead you anywhere.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


The following is a poem written by Bro. David S. Norris. Him and his wife are two of the most awesome people I know. When I attended Gateway, they were our drama directors. We kept journals in which they would ask us questions about our callings,roadblocks, desired future plans, etc. and, in turn, they would respond back to us about it. I was just reading through this journal last night and their words and the words of my fellow drama members from that time still mean the world to me. Bro. Norris attached this poem to one of the letters he wrote in this journal.(Please note that it is not formatted as the original author wrote it..for some reason it shows it correctly on the edit page, but makes it plain on my blog. ) It is one of the most touching, applicable, poems I have ever read.


If you have a dream…
(and there is a good chance you do, for God is very liberal at giving these things out),
then you can be assured that your dream is very durable.
Ask Joseph.
A dream can be thrown in a pit,
sold as a slave
and forgotten in prison,
but it will still survive.

In fact, it is not at all unusual for a dream’s future to look bleak, and that’s the
thing that often confuses people. For you see, dreams, like seeds…
must be planted,
and cultivated
before they flower.

Now planting a dream is not something you have to work at---there are plenty of
circumstances which will conspire to bury it for you; enying brothers ready to throw dirt---plenty of pits that act as receptacles for dreams, plenty of Ishmaelites to make sure the dream stays buried.
Oh yes, your dream must be watered—with tears
Tears of fathers who thought the dream died…
…or your own tears,
because you thought that you died with the

They’re singing the funeral song now for your dream—quite buried—stripped of its original colors, shredded beyond recognition. Time has made allies with a scheming Potiphar’s wife and a jealous husband to keep your dream buried for a long, long time.
--dreams don’t die. That is your dream won’t die if you

Cultivate it with prayers
nourish it with faith
don’t let it go
don’t trade it in on another model.

This season of waiting can try even the most patient of dream bearers; but in this forgotten soil, it is God who will breathe renewed life into your dream. When it begins to sprout, there are not enough prison bars in all of Egypt to hold it captive.

First the miracle of life,
and then strength,
and then abundance.
And when your dream brings forth fruit, the granaries of Egypt will overflow, a nation will be saved, and the world will be fed by it.

Who needs your dream?
Dreams are for confused pharaohs
and worried butlers…
dreams are for hungry brothers
and grieving fathers.

There is a Benjamin out there who wants to see you; so don’t let your dream die in prison. There’s a father who thought the dream was already dead, but it will resurrect before his eyes.
And when your dream comes to pass, remember that it was not for you alone that this dream was given.

A dream outlives the dreamer. It is never tucked away neatly in a trophy case or set on a shelf with memorabilia of long-passed treasures, but the bones of the dream will be carried into future generations.
It will follow clouds,
pass through the sea,
defeat Egyptians,
And route Amalekites.

No. This dream will not be left in Egypt—for there are three million others who will take it to the promise land.

And that is why you must clutch tightly to your dream—dreambearer!
For God knows, while you do not, just how many are following you.
Don’t let them down.

By David S. Norris

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lessons from God..via General Conference

General Conference was awesome this year! I was privileged to experience a great time of fellowship with many awesome new and old friends. Also, the services were amazing...the Home Missions service blew me away. I don't believe a single person could have sat through that service and not have walked away with a stronger burden and having felt more greatly encouraged about reaching the lost.

Over the years, especially more recently, God has used various men and women of God to speak a word to me, and often this has occurred at this conference. However,this year was different. This year He chose to speak to me in some different ways..and I am in awe of how much peace I feel at this moment. It's true, if His eye is on the sparrow, how much more is He paying attention to what's going on in the lives of His children?

Lesson #1 - Men Can't Close Doors on God

I won't go into personal details as to how God taught me this particular lesson, but I learned that:
Sometimes God closes a door..and sometimes man closes a door. It can be very hard to tell who really has closed a door, but one thing is for sure: If man closed it, there's always another door. Always. No matter how the situation may look. The hardest part is determining whether God or man has closed it, and sometimes this answer only comes through prayer and time...but it will always come.

Lesson #2 - God Cares About the Small Stuff...the Really Small Stuff

One night, the booths where missionaries, the publishing house, etc. sell items had closed and I had walked with friends a ways a way from that area and was standing around chatting with them, when I realized I had left my coat somewhere..I thought of how I had laid it down on a couch in the Foreign Missions area before being in a photo and decided that was where I should check first. So, I ran back as quickly as my aching feet in my heels could carry me, begged the security to let me back in..and lucky for me, my coat was still there. I quickly threw it on and took off to meet up with friends that were waiting for me.

After meeting with them we stood around a few minutes deciding where to go eat with people and took a cab to a restaurant not too far of a walking distance away, but too far for girls who had been in heels for days. :o) Upon arriving at the restaurant, which was on a downtown street corner, my friend and I quickly grabbed 2 of the seats available outside and didn't leave our spots, even though we were freezing, for a good 30 minutes.

After sitting there that long, I got up, don't even remember why, and a bag full of cds bought from the booth area fell out of my lap. I hadn't bought any cds. I asked my friend if they were hers. No. Our other close friend. No. By this point I was starting to ask everyone in the group, even those I had just met.."Did you hand this to me?!!"

Eventually I found myself standing on the edge of the corner, talking to a new friend, who by this point had the cds out and was looking through them out of sheer curiosity as to what they were. Meanwhile, I'm standing there feeling like a thief and not even knowing how I got the things, let alone who to return them to.

About that time a friend of mine runs up, yells something at the guy I'm talking to (she was just acting goofy, trying to embarrass him), sees the cds and yells out to another girl I know, who I hadn't even seen walk up. "She has your cds!"

Apparently a friend who had been in that picture with me at the booths had left her cds by my coat, and I had picked them up, and not noticed until an hour later when her and our other mutual friend walked by that random street corner, where I had just discovered I had the cds, about 5 minutes before. The friend had just prayed with her that they would find the cds, because she was so distraught about losing them.

God really does cares...even about the small stuff.

Lesson #3 - Never Lose Your Zeal for God and the Things of God!

During the Holy Ghost Crusade I was privileged to help with registering the people that received the Holy Ghost. Basically this means that I sat on the platform behind a booth and people who had just received the Holy Ghost were sent to the booths to fill out a form, giving their information, such as their address, whether they had been baptized, etc...the very last line was an "interested in" line, where one would mark the areas of ministry within a church in which they would like to be involved.

Well, an 82 year old women received the Holy Ghost and was sent to me...a couple of people assisted her. She had a cane, and they pulled a chair up behind her so she could sit down as she wrote. I heard a lady in her 80s received the Holy Ghost that had sought it for over 30 years, I'm not sure if it was her, but "have a feeling that it was...anyway, as she was filling out the form, she got to the have you been baptized?" part, and checked was the "interested in" part...The whole time I was watching her I was curious what she would check when she got to this part. There were 7 or so options listed..among them: music ministry, Childrens ministry, Bible studies, Sports, etc...

As I sat there I watched her pause for a moment reading them..then, fully focused on the task at hand, she checked every single one of them...except sports. :O) Then she paused a moment again, looking it over, slid it back over to me, and,though she was missing every other tooth, the huge smile she gave me was one of the prettiest I have ever seen. :o)

If she had that much zeal, how much more zealous should we be about God and working for His kingdom?!

Yes, General Conference was a time of great fun, fellowship, and blessing this year..but it was also a great classroom for me and for that I am very thankful.

Friday, September 25, 2009

More than You Can Bare?

I overheard a conversation the other day, as I was walking around my neighborhood, between a teenager and his younger sibling who were doing something in their garage. The younger sibling was crying.

Teenager: "Come on now... be strong!"
The younger child screamed back at him, " NOOO, I'm NOT strong!!!"

I smiled at this at the time...even laughed a bit. His blatant honesty and complete lack of pride was somewhat refreshing.

Then I thought about it some more. How often have we had this same kind of conversation with God?

I know I personally have been guilty of the "Please more" conversation. Where you try to be patient and endure tribulation, but then you reach a point where you're like, "Ok God. That's my limit. Yep. Pretty sure. It's written in a handbook somewhere '(Insert name here)is alotted 50 1bs of hurt, grief, & dispair' and right below that '(Insert name here) cannot carry 60 lbs or more or will be destroyed.' Now, I'm not saying there is or isn't a "handbook" like this somewhere in God's filing cabinet. If so though, we are not the ones with access to it; He is. We don't know what it says. And He knows us better than we know ourselves. He did, after all, create us.

Apparently Mother Teresa had a healthy sense of humor regarding this subject:
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much."

The Bible says:
"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." - Matthew 17:20 ...hear that? NOTHING.

There are many times in the Bible where even the prayer of a sincere person changed God's mind. If even God's mind can be changed, there are definately no limits in prayer.

Come boldy before God's throne with your requests, and while you are there, cast your cares at His feet. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." ~James 5:16 If something is important to you, Keep praying; but quit carry the load. Show God that you trust...truly, deeply, sincerely trust Him.

Prayer WILL always change something. It may be the situation; It may be you; It may be both. Never stop praying.

"The potency of prayer hath subdued the strength of fire; it hath bridled the rage of lions, hushed anarchy to rest, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of heaven, assuaged diseases, repelled frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. Prayer is an all-efficient panoply, a treasure undiminished, a mine which is never exhausted, a sky unobscured by clouds, a heaven unruffled by the storm. It is the root, the fountain, the mother of a thousand blessings." ~Saint John Chrysostom

Prayer does not equip you for greater works.
Prayer is the greater work. ~Oswald Chambers

Sunday, September 20, 2009

God's Amazing Ways

The other day, during a slow time at work, my coworker and I were googling and yahooing(?)(lol) our names out of boredom. Well, that, and I've also been told that prospect employers may do this, so it's good to know what info/ pics are out there of you. While doing this, I stumbled across one of the neatest "God moments" that I've ever had. A girl I am now blessed to call friend, but had never met yet, had written an article for the apostolic website:

It was basically on hearing God say "wait" and about her desire to return to the missions field. I wrote a letter in reply, thanking her for the article, saying how I could relate, and said, "Who knows, maybe one day we'll run into each other overseas!"...little did I know that within 5 months we would be roommates in Estonia on a mission trip together..having never even spoken to each other besides my reply to her email. I must say that when we realized who each other was, any doubts I may have had about whether I was in God's absolute perfect will vanished. I love when God confirms things so obviously like this. I tend to desire clear confirmation before proceeding with any major decisions..and thankfully, God has usually been pretty good at giving it to me.

Recently there are some things God has been stirring up in my heart, and, as usual, I have prayed for confirmation regarding them. And, He may, or may not give me that confirmation. But, in the midst of asking Him for it, I have felt like I've heard him say, "I trust you"..Now I don't claim to be any pro at hearing God's voice (blogging my thoughts on this later), but, from experience, I tend to know when it's His voice, because it's usually something I wouldn't dream up,do or hear of my own accord. "Trust ME?!" I, of course, trust God, but why would HE trust me? This was very humbling...and I don't know if that's His way of saying, keep praying and the right decisions will come, or what...but I kinda feel like the child at the baseball game, who's not really playing all that truth, he just got 2 strikes, but his father still shouts out, "That's my son!!!" I know I don't deserve it..but thanks to God's mercy and grace, I believe He does trust me and I pray I do Him proud.

Below is the great article that my friend Gabe Reese wrote (Jan 2006..and my short reply following it):

When God Says Wait
By Gabe Reese
January 9, 2006

So, what are you doing these days? The question gets asked when I happen to see friends that I haven’t seen for years. Their careers are getting established, they are married, some even have children! I give them a bright smile and say “Oh-the same old, same old!” It seems like after all this time, I should have something more exciting to say. It’s not like I’m letting life pass me by—I love my job helping special needs children reach their fullest potential and I am very involved in my home church, but it’s not really where I imagined I would be at this time.

I thought by now I would be on the foreign field as a missionary or an AIMer. I was called to foreign missions at Missouri Teen Camp when I was 12 and experienced my first taste of foreign missions on a Youth on Missions trip to Prague, Czech Republic. Incredible! The desire to work in the foreign field burns in me but the door has yet to open for me to step through. (I’ve tried opening it myself a couple of times but I’ve learned God is better at opening doors than I am.) I know the experience I’m getting here in the home field is valuable preparation for the foreign field. The word spoken to me has been to be ready to go, but also to wait on God’s timing.

But Why God?
Wait—it’s a hard word. Who is delighted at having to stop at a red light or gets excited about waiting in a long line? Waiting is especially hard when you are waiting for a prayer to be answered. We can be assured that our prayer is heard and will be answered, but the timing of the answer is in God’s hands.

Waiting times are trying times. In my own experience of waiting, I have felt many questions about why the wait is so long. Weariness in waiting comes when I see desires fulfilled and prayers answered in the lives of friends. I am sincerely happy for them and rejoice with them, but I admit it makes the waiting harder. I get frustrated with myself when the questions fill my heart and I struggle to keep the vision clear. The enemy has taunted me asking, “Where is your God? What is He doing for you?” Though I grow weary, I remember the words of Isaiah,”The everlasting God…fainteth not, neither is weary…there is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength… But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” (Isaiah 40:28-31).

When I am discouraged and filled with questions, I pour it out before the Lord. David encouraged this, “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Psalm 62:8). My God has infinite understanding. Pouring out to Him draws me closer to Him. In these times He speaks to me, encourages and strengthens me to continue waiting on Him. I know He is MY God, MY friend, and He is on MY side.

The Key to Waiting
The way to wait on the Lord is worship and the Word. “I wait for the Lord…and in His word do I hope” (Psalm 130:5). Worship takes the focus off of ourselves and places it on our faithful Savior. We see by the examples in His Word that He is faithful and this waiting time is for His higher purpose. David and Joseph experienced waiting times between a calling, a dream, and the fulfillment thereof. Their waiting times were shaping times used to prepare them for the positions God had for them. The Word assures us that those who wait on the Lord will not be ashamed. David wrote, “I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined unto me and heard my cry…many shall see it and fear and shall trust in the Lord”(Psalm 40:1,3).

Your waiting time is a testimony of God’s faithfulness. He uses circumstances in our lives to show others He meets us where we are, He will walk with us, and He will keep His promises. Your testimony of answered prayer and fulfilled desire will cause others to fear God and put their trust in Him. Isaiah 55:8-11 is an encouraging text as it tells us God’s word never returns void. It always accomplishes His purpose. The word He spoke to you will come to pass. The vision He gave you for your life will be fulfilled!

“Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).

My reply:
Re: “When God Says Wait”
I just want to say thanks to Gabe Reese for writing this article. It’s encouraging to know that there are other people going through the same frustrations as oneself. I wish you all the best, and hope for open doors for you in the near future. Who knows; maybe one day we’ll run into each other overseas. :0) God bless!


Saturday, September 5, 2009


Lately I have had tons of thoughts swirling around in my head..notes have been scribbled, a few blogs started, but, as you can tell, not much has been posted lately. These "thoughts" are gradually starting to take shape and develop some order, so hopefully I will be posting quite a few more in the near future. In the mean time, I just thought I'd share with you a random thought for the day....

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary Perspective is "the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance".

If we kept everything in our life in "perspective" how would this affect our life day in and day out? Our work decisions? Our family decisions? Our financial decisions? Our educational decisions?

Right now I have a quote on my facebook by a famous man that I know very little about. I don't even know if he believed in God, but I do know that these few words hold a lot of meaning:

"Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none." ~William Shakespeare

We are put on this earth for 2 reasons:
- To worship God
- To tell others about Him

One definition of worship is "to adore; revere; reverence; bow to; honor."

If we truly feel this way toward God, we will obey his commandments, and in turn, showing love to all and doing wrong to none will be our second nature. This is, after all, the second commandment after loving him....that's right folks. It's in there, right after loving God... not just love them, but love them as you love yourself.

If our lives are "in the right perspective", every major decision we make will be filtered through a "what is God's will in this?" filter. Not a "which will pay the most money?" or "which will benefit me the most?" or "which will make me look the best?" or "which would everyone else do?" or a "what does everyone else want me to do?" filter.

When you wake up each morning, what are you thinking about? Is God one of your first thoughts? If He's not, check out that filtering system; it might need a few adjustments.

My parents have sung a song a few times through the years. Honestly, it's not my style of music, and when I was younger I kinda thought the song was downright morbid...but now, it speaks to me in a different way:

"Take me home or keep me in the center of thy perfect will,
Take me home, dear Lord, if you should see, that I'm about to fail,
For I don't want to miss that mansion, that I've been waiting for so long,
If you see that I might fail Lord, take me home."

I'm still young and hope to have many more years on this earth, hopefully spent pursuing the second reason I listed earlier above. However, when I sing the lyrics to this song. I mean them. I mean them more now than I ever have. Something about that gives me peace. Peace that maybe, just maybe, while life may not be perfect, or even close to it, if I keep my perspectives right, I still have an amazing eternity to look forward to.

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. -Isaiah 55:6-13

"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
- II Peter 3:8

Heart of Worship

In the Blink of an Eye

Saturday, August 29, 2009

When Anyone Looks at Me

This is another favorite song of mine. Another one of those that I know from a long time ago, but have no clue who was the original artist. I can't find the lyrics online, so I'm just assuming I still know them correctly. Enjoy.

When anyone looks at me
let them see Jesus.
Let them see a reflection
of His love and mercy to me.

When they start to read
my life story.
I want it to bring my Savior glory.
When anyone looks at me
let them see Him.

Verse 1:
I'm not looking for fortune,
and I'm not seeking fame.
I'm not so concerned,
that all the world knows my name.

But I am consumed with one passion,
to share what the Lord's done for me.
And I want my life
to shine with His light,
So all those around me can see!

When anyone looks at me
let them see Jesus.
Let them see a reflection
of His love and mercy to me.

When they start to read
my life story.
I want it to bring my Savior glory.
When anyone looks at me
let them see Him.

Every good and perfect gift that I possess
was sent from the Father above.
And thanks for the way
that I've truly been blessed.
I open my heart
And give to the world His Love.

When anyone looks at me
let them see Jesus.
Let them see a reflection
of His love and mercy to me.

When they start to read
my life story.
I want it to bring my Savior glory.
When anyone looks at me
let them see Him.

I just found a group singing it on youtube!!! Yeahhhh

When Anyone Looks at Me

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Are You Teachable?

I read this a while back and thought it was very good. So good in fact that I typed this out, just so you could read it. :o) I want to be teachable; how about you?

Excerpt from Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World:
"Receiving Rebuke -
What happens when we refuse to listen to God and act on what he says?

The Bible is clear that God, like a loving parent, will administer the appropriate correction in our lives. “For whom the LORD loves He reproves,” states Proverbs 3:12,even as a father, the son in whom he delights” (NASB).

The level of the discipline we receive depends mostly on the level of our teachability. When my mother was small, all her father had to do was look disappointed with her and she’d be in his arms, melting with tears, begging for his forgiveness. Suffice it to say, it required a little more force on my dad’s part when it came to his eldest child. I was not only well raised, I was also well “reared”. And quite often, come to think of it.

Spiritually, the same is true. If we are teachable, we come around quickly to obedience. As a consequence, the level of discipline is fairly minor, sometimes even painless. But if we are unteachable, if we refuse God’s rebuke, the level of discipline increases in severity, just like my “rearing” did. Not because God is ruthless, but because our hearts are rebellious. Our loving Father will do whatever it takes to break that rebellion before that rebellion breaks us. Even if it means giving us a time-out (like having to wait for something we’ve wanted), taking away our toys (like the new computer that just crashed), or allowing some affliction to come our way.

“Before I was afflicted I went astray,” the psalmist writes, “but now I obey your word” (Psalm 119:67). Before you think God cruel, read on. This is no trembling, abused child. This is a chastened son, who like me, can look back and say to his Father with full assurance: “You are good, and what you do is good: teach me your decrees” (119:68).

Jesus was direct in his rebuke of Martha. His words were gentle, but they pierced straight to the heart of her shortcomings. And Martha paid attention. She was teachable. All it took was a tender rebuke from the one she loved. Jesus didn’t have to convince her. She didn’t launch into a debate. She simply accepted his words, though I’m sure they were painful to hear.

Martha knew the secret every child who has even been lovingly disciplined eventually learns. You shouldn’t run away from your daddy. Though correction hurts and rebukes sting, at the end of the pain, there is great reward. Hebrews 12:11 tells us, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

"Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:" - Job 5:17

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Complacency - Condition #1

Complacency - "self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies"
(Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

I believe the church of today's greatest enemy is a spirit of complacency. It's like a sickness trying to suck the life out of saints, affecting individuals in two different ways: One in causing them to gradually drift further and further from God, while not even realizing it. The second, if they aren't drifting, in causing them to be content with whatever state or condition they are in, instead of continuing to move closer to God and whatever calling He might have for their life.

Revelation 3:15-17 says:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Many of my close friends and myself have been blessed to have been raised in The Church by godly parents, having a sheltered home life. In most ways, this is a blessing, but in one way, if one isn't careful, it can be a curse. When people have not been brought up around something, or came face to face with a certain issue before, they might tend to think they are immune to being tempted by it. Examples of this could be drugs, alcohol, sexual immorality, lying, perverse language, etc (aka: any sin).

I don't believe most sincere Christians consciously conspire to commit a sin; I believe most of them are right smack in the middle of it or have already done it, when they realize what has happened. Most true Christian's greatest failure is not the committing of a sin, but the allowance of complacency into their hearts. The definition above refers to complacency involving an "unwareness of actual dangers and deficiencies". A Christian who has lived his or her life faithfully and rarely fallen is apt to look at a verse like Proverbs 4:15 and think it's a good verse, but not one they need to worry about too much. I mean, after all, don't they live a good and holy life? Temptation rarely comes their way anyway....

.....And gradually the guards start coming down. This is when the devil smiles and begins planning.

When a Christian begins to think this way, he does to himself what God did to Job; he takes down his own hedge. This is a very dangerous way to live. And, according to Revelation 3:15-17, God is not at all ok with this.

A few months back I was helping babysit my twin niece and nephew; at the time they were only about 10 months old. As I was watching them stand, holding onto the coffee table for balance, one of them reached over to the other and grabbed the other's hair...for absolutely no reason. The other in turn wacked the perpetrator on the head. 10 months old. Can't walk; hardly can talk---but that sinful nature is already evident. Don't get me wrong; I personally think they are angels..But God says that we are all born sinners. (Psalms 51:5)

Having been born sinners we must NEVER let our own hedge down. satan will grasp at any opportunity to catch us with our guard down. And sometimes it's not satan, it's man's own carnality, but satan is given the credit as a way of bypassing personal fault.

In my opinion, the root cause of complacency is no doubt usually pride and/ or ignorance. Pride, as in thinking one is above and personally stronger than any situation one may face, and ignorance, as in not using prudence in deciphering whether one should even place oneself in said situation in the first place. Separately these are dangerous, but together, they can make for a very deadly combination.

This said, no matter how close a Christian may feel to God, how many hours a day they pray, how many souls they've won, how many solos they've sung, etc..., they must never allow themselves to think they are above reproach. Plan ahead, if you know sin will be present or possible, "Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away." Don't go to that party, have that conversation, be alone with that person, go in that store, watch that movie, listen to that song,...the list could go on forever. But also, in case you find yourself in a situation that you can't get out of, you need to have decided ahead of time how you are going to face it in a godly manner, and make a promise to God that that's exactly what you'll do.

I Corinthians 9:27:
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

James 5:12 says:
But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation

II Peter 3:17:
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness

Psalms 73:2-3, 17:
But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked....Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.

If you have read all this and are thinking "That's great...but what if it would have done me more good too have read this (insert whatever amount of time) ago, before I found myself in such and such situation?" Well, a friend and I read a quote recently and decided that we liked it very much: "Mistakes are lessons that you need to learn."...ok, now read it again, but slowly. I know, you were probably expecting something more deep, but still, this statement is so true. If you make a mistake: repent, learn from it, & don't do it again. If you learn the lesson well the first time, you might well become an even better person because of it.

Guard your thoughts, they become words. Guard your words, they become actions. Guard your actions, they form habits. Guard your habits, they form your character. Guard your character, it determines where you spend your destiny.

Listen to this song:
Slow Fade
Slow Fade Lyrics

Monday, August 17, 2009

Be Kind...

...for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. - Plato

I read this quote for the first time a few years back...and you know what I've discovered? That it's true. No matter how perfect someone's life looks, under the surface, there is almost always, if not always, a battle they are fighting. This battle may be circumstantial, or it may be a battle of the mind, visible to no one, but overwelming to them. But one thing is certain: a battle is just as real whether others know about it or not.

Working in the hotel industry, as a CSR, I try to keep this quote in mind at all times...I never know when someone randomly is going to go off cussing at me because something is wrong with their room,etc or just be completely rude for "no reason". Now, on rare occasions, people are rude just because that's how they are. When I suspect that is the case, I endure, standing up to them if necessary though, and then thank God later that I'm not one of the people who have to live with them. One night of dealing with someone is nothing compared to a life time!

Most of the time though, I know, that person has probably just had a bad day...bad year..maybe a bad life. They are feeling callused and thinking only of themselves by this point and no one else. This is not a good excuse for treating someone bad; however, if you are the one dealing with them, this is a healthy way to view the situation, so their bad day doesn't become yours. It might even be a chance to help turn their bad day around!

I am blessed to have quite a few people that I consider "best friends". Most of them do not live in the same place as me, but are people that I have been blessed to get to know through going to college with them, or through them having lived/ spent time where I am from, then having moved elsewhere. They are all very special, amazing people. All very different and all fighting their own battles. Sometimes I might lose touch with one..or only talk via text here and there and from "surface talk" everything seems perfect. Then we actually talk on the phone and often I realize that they are in a battle. I'm then glad they told me so I can help them fight it, in prayer. Friends should never have to fight anything alone.

When that person on the street flips you off, don't let your temper rage and lower yourself to their level. Brush it off. When you feel you have been falsely judged, hold your head up high and continue living your life as you know you should, and pray that God will reveal to the accuser(s) their wrong. No doubt, they too are in a battle as well. Battle grounds aren't a place where most people feel opportunity to kneel and pray before attacking. They tend to attack first and think later.

I could go on and on with scenarios, but the point is: "...we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places". (Ephesians 6:12) That stranger, that friend, that acquaintance.... you have no idea what they may be facing. Don't write them off or snap back too quickly. You have two options: to be the tool God may use to heal them or to be the tool satan may use to hurt them. The phrase "kill them with kindness" has always seemed like an oxymoron, but I think there's more to it...sometimes you really can "kill" the negatives, by being positive. I am often amazed at work at how someone can come to the desk acting foul, and if I ignore their attitude and go above and beyond to treat them great, they often walk away smiling. Not only have I made their day better, but my day is made better as well.

And, guess what...there's good news for all ya'll out there fighting battles:
If you'll let Him, God will fight them for you!

Exodus 14:13-15
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, >that they go forward:

Exodus 15:3
The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name

Exodus 14:15
And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward

The battlefield can be used as a time to draw closer to God..a chance to become stronger in Him, IF you are spending time with Him..."going forward in Him"

Job 17:9
The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger

Psalm 84:7
They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God

This blog I read while researching this subject. While I don't agree with all of it, nor know the background of the person that wrote it, I believe it says some good, strong things, and deals with the very important, yet taboo, subject regarding the fine line between reproof and treating people wrongly. I recommend anyone, especially those in leadership, read it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Waiting Room

Lately I have been thinking a lot about God's timing, and decisions such as when to move and when to stand still. I feel like I'm in a waiting room and I'm not completely sure what I'm waiting for. I could be chilled out, relaxing, while listening to the radio, napping, or watching a movie...but instead I'm sitting on the edge of my seat, twiddling my thumbs, staring at the door. When that door opens I'll jump up, grab my bag and take off...but, for now...I am waiting. I hate waiting. Today I stumbled onto a few interesting websites dealing with this subject. I don't necessarily agree with everything stated, but to the most part, they are enlightening and definately worth the read:

Waiting 1

Waiting 2

Isaiah 40:31 - But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:27-31 (The Message)
Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
or, whine, Israel, saying,
"God has lost track of me.
He doesn't care what happens to me"?
Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening?
God doesn't come and go. God lasts.
He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don't get tired,
they walk and don't lag behind.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The People God Writes About

I LOVE roadtrips. If I'm with friends, I love them because it makes for a fun trip. If I'm not, I love them because they are usually very inspirational times for me. I usually take a bunch of sermon cds, some of my favorite Christian cds, and have one very long devotional time with God. On the trip I took this last weekend I listened to a lot of great messages..Bro. Jason Sisco..messages from the Passing the Mantle Conference '08..and a message Bro. Stoddard preached at my church a few years ago. I had already listened to all of these at least once before, but still found myself gleaning something new from each of them. The message Bro. Stoddard preached: "The People God Writes About" is one of the best messages I have ever heard. I wish that every person serving God, who has served God, or has even thought about serving God could hear it.

The passage of scripture he references is Hebrews 11. The minister spoke about how all these men and women of God are not only mentioned in the past in the Bible..but mentioned yet again, for their faith, in what's pretty much a Bible "Hall of Fame". The author of Hebrews goes as far as to say that the world was not worthy of them....

YET...would not most "Christians" have been quick to write these people off? In this "Hall of Fame" is represented almost every sin under the sun. Yet God didn't write these people off. Not only did He not write them off, He chose to use them in amazing ways that we still read about and learn from even today.

If you are a saint who has fallen, pick yourself up, God still has faith in you.

If you are a saint that is looking down or talking about someone who has fallen, the word "Christian" means Christ-like. Christ wouldn't do this; therefore, if you are acting this way you are not a Christian. Besides, how will God ever be able to use that person as they are meant to me used if the same people who ought to be standing by their side are the ones blocking their way to His Promise?

God didn't write about perfect people. There are no perfect people. That's why there was a Calvary. God wrote about people who had faith in Him and realized that this world was not their home. People, who, when they made a mistake,learned, dusted themselves off, and continued on their journey.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Order My Steps

It was Fall of '97 I believe, I was 16 and we were in Detroit for the Sr. Bible Quizzing Nationals and the UPCI General Conference. I had only been once, the year before, and ever since then had been looking forward to the next year. The mixture of reasons was great..a chance to spend a whole week with my closest friends, a chance to compete for the last time that year over the well over 500 verses from God's Word we'd memorized, a chance to see the latest crush (who, no doubt, I was probably too shy to talk to anyway), a chance to hear life changing devotion after devotion taught by some of the greatest youth speakers in the world, a chance to see over 10,000 of God's people joined together in one location, and a chance to see and visit the missions booths (still today, one of my favorite things about conference), looking at all the beautiful souvenirs and fellowshipping with some of the greatest people on the planet. Ahhh...General Conference. Quizzing Nationals. As far as I was concerned, it didn't get any better than that.

What I didn't expect was how drastically changed I would be when I returned from this God would not just speak to me, but speak to me in a way that would effect every decision I would ever make from that point on. That Friday, in the youth day service, God revealed to me His calling for my life. Something I never realized though, until this week, was that He also gave me my "life song" the same night...

The first and only time I have ever heard this song live was that night at the yearly quiz banquet...all the last year quizzers, many of whom I was very close to and knew I might never see again, sang it as a choir. I cried and cried...largely because I was going to miss my friends so much, but also because I realized that I had absolutely no clue what I was supposed to do with what God had showed me earlier that day and it scared me.

Thanks to modern technology, and a mom who recorded them singing it, I learned the song and very often find myself singing it, even now..12 years later. The same day God revealed to me His destiny for my life, was the same day He gave me a song that I would need in surviving it. God works in mysterious ways...apparently this was a Him knowing the "end from the beginning" moment. When I am feeling lost or confused, in prayer, I often find myself singing this song to God...often when I am overwelmed and at a loss for my own words...this is what I say. I hope these lyrics speak to you as they do to me.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Journey

Journey: an act or instance of traveling from one place to another
Pilgrim: one who journeys in foreign lands; one who travels to a holy place as a devotee

I am a pilgrim on a journey. Thanks to God fearing parents, I was born a pilgrim on a journey. I, of course, had to eventual choose this journey for myself, but I was blessed to be pointed down the right road from the start. My journey consists of two elements...the destination: Heaven...and a closer relationship with my Savior who created Heaven: Jesus.

Seeing as this is a journey I am on, I must never become content with my present "location", my present "location" is and will never be my destination. Until I stand face to face with the one who created me I should be constantly moving, changing, and growing. Life is a journey, not a destination.

In the same instance I find peace in this. Nothing that life sends my way is permanent, because life is not permanent. (James 4:14, psalms 90:12)

As a pilgrim, if I look around at my surroundings and am not touched and concerned with what I see, or perhaps even find myself taking part in it, I should question myself as to if I have begun to assimilate and quickly correct my focus. (Psalm 9:20)

I believe in God's divine will for every pilgrim's life. That means all pilgrims have the same destination, but different journeys to reach that destination. Every commandment and promise in the Bible applies to each of them the same, it's just that it's a big world, and there are different people whose paths God desires each pilgrim's life to cross, so that they too may have the chance to join the journey.

Also, we are all at different stages of our journey in drawing closer to Jesus, and this is ok, the important thing is that we are not sidetracked and still have our eyes on the right road. Don't look at the road God has assigned for your neighbor or the gifts and talents he may have given them that you may feel you are lacking in. Your journey is your journey, He knew what you would need for it before you even began it. (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13-16)

I am a pilgrim on a journey....a pilgrim hoping that sharing what God reveals to me on my journey will help in your journey as well.