Saturday, December 31, 2011

God is not looking for the perfect person to deliver his message, He is looking for the RIGHT one...

...and by "right" I mean the one who will bring HIM the most glory.

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The Next Time You Feel Like God Did Not Make You For A Grand Purpose, Remember:

Noah got drunk, Genesis 9:20-22.

Abraham was too old, Genesis 17.

Jacob was a liar, Genesis 27:19.

Leah was considered ugly, Genesis 29:17

Joseph was abused, Genesis 37:24-36.

Moses stuttered, Exodus 4:10.

Gideon was afraid, Judges 6:21-23.

Samson had long hair and was a womanizer, Judges 14.

Rahab was a prostitute, Joshua 2:1.

Jeremiah and Timothy were too young, Jere.1:6-7 and 2Timothy 1:2.

David had an affair and was a murderer, 2Samuel 11:3-27.

Elijah was suicidal, 1King 19.

Isaiah preached naked, Isaiah 20:2-4.

Jonah ran from God, The book of Jonah

Naomi was a widow, Ruth 1:3.

Job went bankrupt, The Book of Job.

Peter denied Christ, Matt.26:69-70.

The Disciples fell asleep while praying, Matthew 26:40.

Martha worried about everything, Luke 10:40.

Mary Magdalene was cleansed of seven demons, Mark 16:9.

The Samaritan woman at the well had five husbands, John 4:18.

Zaccheus was too small, Luke 19:3.

Paul was too religious, Acts 8:1.

Timothy had an ulcer, 1Timothy 5:23.

Lazarus was dead! John 11.

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"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." (1 Corinthians 1:27)

God desires for you to reach your full potential; truly He does... but even when you aren't there yet, you can rest in the fact that He DELIGHTS in glorifying Himself through the "weak" and the "young" and those who others would consider unlikely candidates for the job. NO BODY wanted the little guy to take down Goliath. Everyone was refusing the idea of David standing up against Goliath, because I mean, let's be real...the armor did not even fit his puny little body for crying out loud! but guess what...it was the little guy (David) who was going to do the job, because it was going to bring GOD the most glory... AND I LOVE THAT, don't you?

You are not the message. You are the messenger!

What message is God trying to send through you??

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Faith, hope, and love, but the most challenging of the three is...

faith...
I think.
"When the train goes through a tunnel and the world gets dark, do you jump out? Of course not, you sit still and trust the engineer to get you through."
-Corrie Ten Boom



"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."
(Ecclesiastes 3:11)


"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose."
(Romans 8:28)


Susie Larson blasted out a great post a while back on her blog that shares some of the things she learned about standing in faith while waiting for a breakthrough. She gave seven key things to remember when seeking God's best will for your life. Here they are:

1.) Humble yourself before the Living God. Then make time and space to hear from Him. He will speak to you about His desires for you.

2.) Pray and believe that His Word is true and that His promises are backed by the honor of His name. How often do we pray without engaging any of our faith muscles? You know the difference between rote prayers and faith-powered prayers! Once God has revealed His promise to you, be bold like David and lay hold of it through prayer!

3.) Give thanks and embrace contentment for your current lot and your daily blessings. There's much to thank Him for today! He has blessed you today! Stay in the moment while believing Him for the future.

4.) Stay in the Word and trust Him to confirm His way for you through His Word.

5.) Refuse an unbelieving heart or a striving spirit. When you catch yourself living in reaction to these things, get back to that place of peace. Be still and know that HE is God! (Ps. 46:10).

6.) Trust His timing and process in this matter. He knows best and works all things together for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).

7.) Remember that every promise He makes has eternity written all over it. In other words, His blessings to us are for more than just us. His promises to us are meant to spill over onto others and to create a ripple effect that we will carry with into eternity. No matter how we choose to view our hearts' desires, there will always be a broader perspective to gain and a bigger picture to see, because when we fully lay hold of His promises for us, our breakthrough will deeply impact and bless others. That's why things take time. And it's always worth it to wait for God's best.


"He is always good and He puts certain desires in our hearts that we might pray them into fruition. Of course I'm not talking about 'name it claim it' theology, but I am saying that God sets eternity into the heart of man. He drops desires into our hearts because He intends to fulfill them. We must pay attention to the longings of our hearts. Sure, at first they may be unrefined or misdirected, but as we dare to place our hearts' desires before the Living God, He will shape, fill, and bring clarity to His desires for us." -Susie Larson

Isn't that great news? For somebody today that is great news! Has God given you a promise in your life? Don't give up. Keep your faith strong by bringing that thing back to him and thanking him for it. Do not be side-tracked by lesser things in your waiting. He is a good God. This is the verse Susie ended her post with- Isaiah 64:4. I just love this statement that presents itself as one of God's faith-building promises...

Isaiah 64:4 ~ For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like You, who works for those who wait for Him!

Thank you Lord, for this promise! We put our hope and faith in you, trusting that you are a good God who works all things together for the good of those who are called according to your purpose.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

AWESOME!!!!! Love this song!!!

Good news and bad news: Part Two.

"Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139:16).

Depending on what kind of a day you are having this verse may strike you as good news or bad news. Do you read this verse as a comfort, or as a threat? If you are loving life you may be thoroughly convinced when you read this verse that God must just completely favor you over all of his other children. :) (I'm smiling at myself right now because I am thinking of myself in high school when I was "da bomb!") If I read this verse my Senior Year of High School when I did everything right (according to myself) and I loved me more than anyone else in the world (I lacked quite a bit of self awareness still at this point) then I would have thought, "WOW! GOD REALLY REALLY THINKS I ROCK BECAUSE...look around you... MY LIFE ROCKS!" If; however, you are going through a tough day, week, month, or season in your life and you are struggling to see a way out of your tough spot, which ya know...happens sometimes even to GREAT people...please allow me to take a moment to briefly share why this verse can be a comfort even to you...

You can rest in the Almighty God who has plotted out your life and gone before you. This verse is your reminder that He has already determined your days. In our human thinking, if we are going through a really traumatic experience, or a hard time that lasts too long, and we read a verse like this one, we might be tempted to be upset with God, asking Him "WHY?! Why God, if you knew that you could do ANYTHING with my life would you allow it to turn out this way?" but God is not a "small picture" God. He has plotted it all out before you were even a fetus so that ALL things could work out, come together, mesh, make sense eventually, that the bad can be redeemed, and be used for His glory, etc. etc. Your life was meant to bring HIM glory. I am not really sure who I was bringing more glory in High School, to be REALLY honest, when I was busy
being "da Bomb" strutting my stuff from class to class ...ya know? Our lives are meant to bring God glory and sometimes in the process of bringing God glory we have to stop bringing ourselves glory a little bit. I heard an ironic quote by Mark Buchanan the other day that I liked a lot. It was in one of Susie Larson's interviews about Sabbath rest and she was interviewing Mark when he said this:
"We become more like God when we stop pretending we are God."
-Mark Buchanan
He was referring to the pace of our lives, and how we must resist the thinking that we have to run the world and manage all things or the world will fall apart. The whole interview was inspirational, in my opinion. I love all of Susie Larson's interviews, but this one TRULY ranks up there as one of my top ten favorites so far. It's so good!!! Such a great reminder!!! Here's the link to the interview...

::One of Susie Larson's best interviews ever, in my opinion: The Importance of Being Restful.

Okay, so, what does that mean for you? It means you can rest! Even now. You can rest. God's got it covered. He is God, and you can trust in His Sovereignty. Someway, somehow, the rough places will be made smooth again. Resist the temptation to put an exclamation point where God is trying to put a comma, and remember His promises to those who seek God in Isaiah 42:16...

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." (Isaiah 42:16)
PRAYER.
Thank you Lord, for your unfailing Love towards us. Thank you for your patience, your grace and your mercy and the way you make all things new. Thank you for leading us and guiding us on the journey of life. Thank you for new seasons in life...the ones that are meant to teach us, the ones meant to build us up, and the silly fun ones too. Thank you for the gift of life. Be glorified in our lives as we rest in you today Lord, trusting in your Sovereignty, carrying out the work you set before us to do today. Amen.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I can do all things... through Christ who gives me strength.

I love these Lyrics from Matthew West's song, "Strong Enough":

"Hands of mercy, won't you cover me?
Lord, Right now I am asking you to be strong enough."


"Because I am broken down to nothing,
but I am still holding on to the one thing...

You are God and you are strong when I am weak."

"I can do all things...
through Christ who give me strength.

I don't have to be strong enough."



"Even youths grow tired and weary,

and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the Lord

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint."



This video ROCKS my socks off!! Check this one out...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Our identity is secure.

"The more we understand that our identity in Christ is continually secure and that no misstep, rejection, or judgment could ever change that, the more liberated we become from the opinions of others. As the gap increases between God's opinions and others' opinions, we are able to live more freely and are more consumed with the idea that heaven is our home and earth is the place to make Him known."
-Susie Larson


From "The Uncommon Woman: Making an Ordinary Life Extraordinary," written by Susie Larson.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A life God blesses, even if everyone else says it stinks..

A Chinese pastor who had spent eighteen years in prison for his faith was introduced to give his witness at a conference of Christ-followers in England. He recalled for the audience his prison experience with these words:

"My friends wonder what kind of work I did in the labor camp to keep me physically healthy. I answered them that life in the labor camp was very, very hard. The authorities in the camp put me to emptying the human waste cesspool.

"Most of the prisoners were afraid to approach the cesspool, but the authorities were aware of my background--I was well-educated, from a well-to-do family--and especially because they were atheists and they knew I was a Christian leader. So they enjoyed putting me to work in the human waste cesspool. But they did not know in those years how I enjoyed working there.

"It was more than two meters in breadth and two meters in length, filled with human waste collected from the entire camp. Once it was full, the human waste was kept until it was ripe and then dug out and sent to the field as fertilizer. Because the pit was so deep, I could not reach the bottom to empty it, so I had to walk into the disease-ridden mass and scoop out the successive layers of human waste, all the time breathing the strong stench.

"The guards and all the prisoners kept a long way off because of the stench.

"So why did I enjoy working in the cesspool? I enjoyed the solitude. In the labor camp all the prisoners normally were under strict surveillance and no one could be alone. But when I worked in the cesspool, I could be alone and could pray to our Lord as loudly as I needed. I could recite the Scriptures including all the Psalms I still remembered and no one was close enough to protest. That's the reason I enjoyed working in the cesspool. Also I could sing loudly the hymns I still remembered.

"In those days one of my most favorite was 'In the Garden.' Before I was arrested this was my favorite hymn, but at the time I did not realize the real meaning of this hymn. When I worked in the cesspool, I knew and discovered a wonderful fellowship with our Lord. Again and again I sang this hymn and felt our Lord's presence with me.

I come to the garden alone.
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.
And he walks with me, and he talks with me,
And he tells me I am his own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.


"Again and again as I sang this hymn in the cespool, I experienced the Lord's presence. He never left me or forsook me. And so I survived and the cesspool became my private garden."

These are the words of a simple man whose life God has chosen to bless.

(taken from the epilogue of the book, "The Life God Blesses: Weathering the Storms of Life That Threaten the Soul" by Gordon MacDonald)

Might I suggest that this Chinese Pastor encountered Jehovah Shalom, the God of Peace? My pastor preached on what Jehovah Shalom means this past Sunday. Do you want to hear more about how to crawl into the lap of the God of peace? If you do you can click on the link below and listen to a half hour sermon by Pastor Gene Tanner about Jehovah Shalom. Enjoy...




Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bow down.

"Bow low when you'd rather exalt yourself,
and bow lower still when in the presence of God."
-Susie Larson

LOVE that! :)

heh. Susie, you rock my world! God has given you so many reasons to be proud, and yet you remain humble! :) Thanks for teaching with all your life.

Friday, December 9, 2011

My focus, and prayer, this weekend.

General prayer:
Wisdom

-------------------

Scriptural focus:
"Your hands made me and formed me;
give me understanding to learn your commands."
(Psalm 119:73)

-------------------

Specific Prayer:
"Rescue me from the person who tells me of life and omits Christ, who is wise in the ways of the world and ignores the movement of the Spirit."
-Quote by Eugene Peterson

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Awesome Song Time.

WOW! Just wow. I think you'll agree.



Hmmm...good stuff.

Does your Christian walk feel...
  • More like fighting and less like resting?
  • More like striving and less like a "peaceful river"?
  • More like an impossible dream and less like the abundant life?

I don't claim to have ALL the answers EVER, but this old post might be a good place to start for you. Click here.

Side note: I love Barlow Girl. (Just thought I would mention that.)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fill my cup.

Awesome song time.

Testing what you hear against the Bible.


When I worked in the Kid's Church Ministry we taught the kids that they always needed to measure up what they heard in their lives against the Bible to know if it was true or not. We wanted the kids to know from an early age that there would be many times in their lives when they would hear things that sounded REALLY good and inspirational, and they will think it is right...BUT, if it is not from God, then it is not good or right. Period.

I've heard Susie Larson say before, "an un-appointed work is an un-annointed work". This is a biblical idea. It's not just a "fancy little quote that makes you feel good". The truth is that if God is not calling you to something then your work is done in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." Any labor done "IN THE LORD" is not done in vain. The opposite is also true.

I read this yesterday that I thought sounded inspirational.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
IF my goal was to seek my own personal gain here on earth then this quote is very motivational, because it gives me the determination to set a goal and make it happen, but the truth is I want more than that. This quote almost makes me feel like I alone determine what my future will hold, which is not ENTIRELY true. Besides, if I am REALLY honest I want to do more than just fulfill all of MY desires here on earth anyway. Who I am is just not THAT great. I want to lean into God's will for me and find HIS purpose for me because if I do than I am tapping into something greater than myself. YOU too, right? I almost posted the quote with the cute little paint palette guy when I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to test this idea against the scriptures. What it seemed to come down to was this:

Planning is good.
Trusting God is better.
Using your gifts for the Lord and His GREATER purposes while you are here on earth....putting more faith in HIM than in yourself is BEST.



My personal favorite scripture that speaks to this idea of planning is one that speaks in FAVOR of planning. It is the scripture of the "Proverbs 31 woman"...also known as "a wife of noble character", which is just riddled with the idea of a woman who has not become a great wife by chance, but by choice. Every verse is written in such a way that suggests that this is a woman who has done a great deal of planning and her family is blessed for it. To read Proverbs 31 you make click here.

Here are just a handful of other verses that speak on this topic of "planning" (most of them speak "against" it, actually, and suggest that you TRUST God instead):

Proverbs 16:3
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

Isaiah 32:8
But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.

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

Deuteronomy 31:8
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Job 42:2
I know that you (GOD) can do all things; no plan of yours (GOD'S) can be thwarted.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Psalm 94:11-14 The LORD knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile. Blessed is the man you discipline, O LORD, the man you teach from your law; you grant him relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked. For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.

Isaiah 30:21
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

1 Corinthians 7:24
Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

Psalm 33:11
But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Isaiah 42:16
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.

Matthew 6:30-34
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Psalm 20:4
May he give you the desires of your heart and make all your plans succeed.


Give God your paintbrush and the picture will be so much more vibrant than you ever could have come up on your own, and the blessings will be so much greater than any you could have provided for yourself. This is the hope we cling to and believe in. Your life's purpose is totally unique. You were designed EXACTLY the way you were, and brought into the world at EXACTLY the right time because that is EXACTLY the way God wanted it. YOU are part of HIS bigger plan here on Earth right here right now. Breathe in and out slowly right now and thank Him for that.

PRAYER.
All good things come from you, Lord, and we can trust you to prove yourself faithful with every detail of our lives, knowing that you do not forsake your children. It goes against your nature to do so. None of us are here by accident. You have placed us here because you have a purpose for us being here. Lead us and guide us day by day, as we seek your face in all we say and do Lord. May all we say, think and do be for your glory. Thank you for this gift of life. Amen.

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Lord, My Guide. My Strength, My Life.


"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them."
~Isaiah 42:16

"Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always."
~Psalm 105:4

"I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD."
~Psalm 104:33-34


PRAYER.
Lord, We seek your face always. We look to you for our strength. We sing praises to you for all the good you do in our lives, trusting that you are at work in our lives even when we cannot see it. Thank you for the way you guide us into unfamiliar territory and the way you make rough places smooth, bringing light where there was once darkness. We praise you, Lord, and thank you so much for never forsaking us. May the meditation of our hearts be pleasing to you today as we choose to rejoice in you today Lord. Amen.

AMEN!!! And AMEN!! This is just beautiful!!!

I love this. Lord, we pour out our praises to you because you are worthy of ALL of our praise.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My letter of blessing to you.

Dear fellow believer,
You are loved, called, and chosen. You are anointed, appointed, equipped, and enabled by the power of God that works mightily within you! No weapon formed against you will prosper and no enemy scheme against you will succeed. May you be blessed in all that you set out to do today!
Sincerely,
Your Sister in Christ

(inspired by Susie Larson's "End of the Day" blessings on facebook...Thank you Susie Larson!!!)

Okay, I love this!!!!

TOTALLY awesome song time!!!! This video rocks! Period.

Renewing your strength by hoping in the Lord.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the Lord

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31

Do not lose heart.


"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
.............

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How to give thanks in all things.

I adore Leslie Vernick. She sent a video out in her e-newsletter today that I am posting for anyone who cares to view it. It's nine minutes long, but worth it. She packs in wisdom like sardines, and she is cute as a button. Check her out...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You MUST listen to this interview...It's SOOO good!!!

I love when that happens!!!

One of my favorite people on the planet, Susie Larson, did an interview with someone on the planet I didn't know, before today but now like, Tullian Tchividjian, pastor and grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, to talk about his new book, Jesus + Nothing = Everything. They talked about how many Christians struggle through their days, trying to be better and failing, forgetting that they already have everything they’ll ever need.

In Susie's blog entry later that week she said this in response to her in interview with Tullian (pictured above):

"Tullian passionately shared how being on the receiving end of gossip, fault-finding, and assigned motives "broke his legs" and taught him to fully depend on the Lord. He now walks in a whole new level of freedom and power! God showed him how very much he depended on man's approval for his peace of mind. Don't we all fall easily into that trap?

And yet, when we put our hope in anything but Christ, even the noblest of causes or the best of people, those things become idols. Our hope is in the living, loving God who promises never to leave us or forsake us."
Don't you just love that?
I know you are just dying to listen to the interview now. :) Okay, I'll let you. Click on the link below. I promise it will be worth every second. Listen right to the end. You won't regret it!!

Faith Radio Net :: The Formula for the Christian Life

Friday, November 11, 2011

God will work All Things Together for the Good of those who love Him: Part Two

Here is the song that goes with the video clip in the post prior to this one: "Already There" by Casting Crowns. Lead Singer Mark Hall refers to this song in the video below. LOVE IT!! Great message, great song, great guy. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. Have an incredible day, resting in HIS sovereignty and embracing the knowledge that you are loved.

God will work all things together for the good of those who love Him.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Do you need healing?




God has surrounded me with AMAZING people of faith, near and far. I am blessed to be in a season in my life right now where there are INCREDIBLE men and women who are solid in their faith all around me-- some of them are intentionally pouring into me because they want to be, some I have intentionally sought out myself, some I look up online, and others just happen to be where I happen to be by the Lord's divine choosing. One of my "happen to be's where I be's" is the head pastor of my church, Pastor Gene Tanner. I just happen to get to be under his influence...along with the rest of the church body, of course. He's one of those preachers that gets better every week. I realize it's November now and Pastor Appreciation Month ended last week, but ya know...he's THAT good that I still brag on him even one week later! :)

One of the things he mentioned in his sermon yesterday he got from theologian Dr. Lawrence Blackburn. He said that on average, "one out of every seven verses in the gospels (which would be the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the Bible) is a healing." Hmmmm... interesting, huh? He gave more facts than that about Jesus' healings. You'll have to listen to the podcast link below if you are interested in hearing them all.

Our church did an anointing service yesterday. It wasn't the first, and it most certainly will not be the last. Nothing screams comforting louder (to me) than a God who desires to heal His children. I said in my post yesterday that I would link up to the message from my pastor in case if any of my readers needed some kind of healing in their life, or knew of someone who did, and wanted to hear what Pastor Tanner had to say on the subject.


So, with no further ado, here is the link to the message Pastor Gene Tanner shared yesterday on healing...
Anointing Message at Valparaiso Nazarene Church on 11/6/11

Hope this message helps someone, and possibly helps spur on the faith of someone who could really use it. YOU ARE LOVED! Whether you need physical, spiritual, emotional, or some other kind of healing, God is still in the business of healing, even today!!!! Sometimes He provides us with a quick, immediate healing when we call out to Him. Other times He hears our prayer, and puts into motion a whole sequence of events and we just trust, in faith, that He is working on our behalf, in ways we cannot see. Have faith. He hears your prayers, He knows your needs, He has ALL the resources in the world available to Him, and there is NOTHING in the world that is above his realm of possibility. HAVE FAITH!!!

YOU (wherever you are reading this) ARE NOT OUT HIS REACH
and YOU (whoever you are reading this) HAVE NOT PUSHED PAST HIS POINT OF LOVE OR FORGIVENESS.

Don't be afraid to accept the love, the forgiveness, and the healing that God offers. The blessings, and the liberating freedom, are so incredibly worth it when we release our burdens, in faith, to the God who can heal us and restore us. Whataya say?

Awesome song time? Sure! Why not? :o)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

THE SECRET TO BEING BLESSED...


Oh, goody. Now that I have your attention... I thought that title might get you here... :)

QUESTION: Where are you at right now??

I'm in my basement, freezing my toes off. I should probably just go get a pair of socks but I am too lazy to haul my butt up the stairs. hahaha... what? :)

Okay, okay...seriously...
I don't mean where are you PHYSICALLY--I mean, where are you at spiritually?
CLOUD NINE ALL THE TIME!?
Shootin' cute little picture messages on facebook telling everybody to "live today like it's their last"
?
Debbie Downer, making sarcastic jokes about all the people who post all the cutesy "live like it's the last day yadda yadda blah blah blah, kill me know" things on facebook? :)

Can I just tell you that wherever you have been on the spectrum I have probably been there, and the REALLY kinda sad truth about me is that I can be all those people in one day if I do not keep my mind and heart in check.

WHATEVER SEASON YOU ARE IN ON YOUR JOURNEY,
GOD WILL BLESS THAT THING WHEN YOU BRING IT TO HIM.

Chew on that for a minute. We, in our human nature, are so quick to judge one another based on the one or two things we understand of a person's situation.

With God it's different. So wonderfully, refreshingly, and radically different.
GOD sees the BIG picture. He embraces the WHOLE of you...not just the part of you.
I believe God can, and does, love you unconditionally when no one else can because He gets the intricate parts of you that no one else can. Sorry if you have heard me say this before. I believe it bears repeating since it applies in this context. He designed you, and then he watched you. He has seen when you hurt, and when you rejoiced. He has seen when you laughed til you cried, and when you cried til you puked. He mourned with you when you hunched over life's breaking points and and then He rejoiced over you when you climbed out of those things in victory as you reached your breakthrough moments. Oh, Sweet, sweet victory in Christ Jesus.

HE LOVES YOU ON YOUR WORST DAYS
AND ON YOUR BEST DAYS.


Read what He has to say to you from Matthew 5...

"Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them."
The Beatitudes
He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

~Matthew 5:1-12

Blessed are you... no matter what you are going through.
Why? Because God loves you, sees you, and cares about you.
You are not alone, no matter what you are going through. There is a GOD who LOVES you and who redeems the worst of circumstances in your life, heals the brokenness in your heart, and lovingly restores the things that have been shattered or broken...
This is such GREAT NEWS for all of us! Isn't it?

No one has to beat themselves up in their brokenness. Why? Because it was NEVER God's will for you to stay stuck in your brokenness. BLESSED are you when you come to Him with your need, because it is THERE that GOD can give you what you need and make things right again either on this side of Heaven or on the other side...and you can be at peace on this side of Heaven knowing that He is in control. It is also where He can be, and will be, glorified.

BLESSED ARE YOU WHEN YOU NEED HEALING.
Our church did an anointing service today. The message was wonderful for people who need "healing" of any kind: spiritual, physical, emotional, whatever else I am leaving out. My mind is still kind of on those people today. If you are someone who needs healing, BLESS YOU! I plan to post the link to the message my Pastor shared later so others can hear it, so come back to my site in a couple of days. I happen to think my Pastor is dynamite and I think you will too. In the meantime, for all of us whether you are needing healing or not, hear this message.

The voice of God says this to us...
"Blessed are you when..."

and then, later in Matthew we read this...

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:22-30
There is no "baggage" in that message. There is no reason for any baggage with that message. It is a message of grace and mercy and love. THAT IS MY GOD!!! He is your God too. Hold your head high. YOU are SOOOO LOVED!!!!



If you are reading this, I am praying a special blessing for you today as I prepare to publish this post.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Awesome Song Time.

I had the privilege of hearing my dear friend share a smidgen of his testimony last night and then share this song afterward. He was celebrating 5 years of being free from his drug addiction. I've heard it said before that "the depths of the dealing always corresponds to the height of the calling". I love delivering that message to people because I truly do believe that it is true. I do think that there is a special depth to Alex that is only there because of the "depths" God has pulled him through, and I believe God has a calling for Him that maxes out in height in comparison the depths that God pulled him from. I am VERY, VERY excited for what God has in store for him. He is at the very early stages of his journey toward what I believe will be a VERY large and successful ministry for the Lord someday that will span across the country and eventually the world...although I cannot tell you for sure what exactly that will look like yet. I believe he is destined for GREAT things. Currently we are blessed to have him helping to lead worship at our church in good old humble Valparaiso, Indiana. Check out this message to one of his songs that he wrote:

Push on through to your destination.
Move along without hesitation.
This ain't about denomination.
It's a rising up of a generation.
Sing Amen.

I hear Angels singing in the back of my mind.
God is good all the time.
All the time God is good.

Push on through to your destination.



This is a beautiful song, Alex with a powerful message. Thank you for sharing this! Proud of you brother. Keep on pushing through to your destination Alex. You're right!!! You're absolutely right!!! That IS a message from the Lord! :0)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Restless Hearts Find Rest

"You have made us for yourself, O Lord,
and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you."

-- St. Augustine in "Confessions"

What are you going to do with your baggage?


QUICK REMINDER BEFORE WE MOVE ON: YOU ARE LOVED!!!!!!
Okay, let's move on...
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

#1. Rest. Wait, what?
Resting should be the easiest thing for us to do, as humans, right? What's easier to do than doing nothing? I think that sometimes doing nothing can be harder for us than doing everything. This is so counter-cultural. It might be because we equate doing "things" with being important, and deep down we really want to know that we are important. God says you are important just by BEING who you are, not because of what you do. You don't have to DO anything or PROVE anything to BE important to Him.
Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
~Isaiah 54:10

Isn't that refreshing to know?

#2. Surrender. HUH?
Surrendering our "baggage" can be difficult. We're so used to carrying it everywhere. We don't know what to do once we let go of it. I think God designed us with a tendency to want to have some element of control over the things around us. This is not an entirely bad thing really. God does not want us to live in a world of chaos. There is a place for planning and creating strategy in our lives. But, there is also a place in our lives for surrendering as well. The question is, when do we work through something in faith, and when do we release that thing and let it go (which is also as an act of faith)?

As far as the "baggage" in your life goes, it becomes a matter of surrendering. If you want freedom from your "past baggage" it is not something you fight for, it is something you surrender to God. We don't have to FIGHT for our freedom from those things; we get to rest in God's freedom from those things as we lay them at His feet and allow Him to sift out the stuff we can't. Isn't that ironic? There is a spiritual warfare going on over your life that you cannot see. Satan wants you to think that you have to FIGHT tooth and nail, and wear yourself out fighting, working out every little detail of every little thing in your life. God tells you to stop fighting and to rest in Him, allowing HIM to be God. Lay "it" all down at the feet of the cross and in doing so you will experience the freedom you crave. Isn't that rich? Salvation is the moment you asked God into your heart. Sanctification is the ongoing process of surrendering of your will, and in doing so you will find freedom from the baggage that would otherwise wear you down. Both are in your best interest. God loves you and is crazy about you, and ALWAYS has your best interest in mind.

3. Serve. Ah...Yes. Okay. Now I get it.
So it was never really about me? No! It was! But, God also cares about everyone else as well. Once you are free from your "baggage" what are you going to do with your new freedom? Now you are free to serve those around you. Where once you were completely absorbed in your own "self", you are now free to serve those around you, to the glory of God. This will not sound appealing at all to some people who have not accepted Jesus into their heart yet. It might sound foolish, actually. Can I just tell you, though, there is NOTHING more satisfying in all your life then when you can get to this point... when you are free from the "baggage" and are able to joyfully CHOOSE to serve others, out of the love that God has placed in your heart for them. It's liberating and rewarding, and this is where God's blessings are POURED out. You'll love it. What are you waiting for?

Sanctification was the topic of our sermon this past Sunday at my church....allowing God to be God of your life, putting HIM on the throne where He rightfully belongs-- There is freedom in that. Why? Because putting God on the throne takes all of the other "things" off the throne and releases the bondage and the "hold" that they have on you, giving you the abundant life that God promises in the Bible. Well, now, that sounds good when you put it that way, doesn't it?
Here's a link to the sermon that my Pastor preached this past week if you are interested in listening to it in its entirety:
Pastor Gene Tanner preaches on sanctification on October 30, 2011.


Okay, awesome song time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Guest Post: Cardboard Testimonies

Just what is a cardboard testimony? It’s a visual representation of how God has turned your life around. On one side, a person would write a word, phrase, or sentence about a struggle they had in their lives without God. On the flip side, they would change the words to show how God has blessed them. For example, a cardboard testimony might read, “Always Felt Empty” then on the other side, “Full of Joy.” For a better idea, you can watch this video:




Cardboard testimonies are a powerful way to show the power of God’s amazing love in your life. For those who may be uncomfortable sharing their full testimony in front of a church body, cardboard testimonies are another way to explain how God has changed your life.

Believe it or not, I'm not certain where Cardboard Testimonies actually started. While Hillside Christian Church in Amarillo, Texas, was the first to post a video online in 2006, the church’s pastor mentioned that he “borrowed” the idea from a church in Las Vegas. The idea has since spread to many churches across the U.S. and around the world.

Watching a presentation of Cardboard Testimonies is truly inspiring. People who suffered from all kinds of problems – depression, infertility, drug addiction, anger, and abuse – have found comfort and healing through God’s love. Perhaps you might even think about organizing a presentation at your church, bible study, or conference.

What would your Cardboard Testimony be?

About the Author: Marcia Colgar owns the site, Online Christian Colleges. She writes various articles about faith-based education.
-------------------------------------

Alisha Here:
Thank You Marcia, for sharing this idea!!! Our church has done this before, as well, and I agree with you that and it is a VERY powerful demonstration that brings God glory in a special way!!!

I would LOVE to hear from the rest of you!!!! Take a moment now to post your "cardboard testimony" as a "comment" under this post. There is something WONDERFULLY rewarding, and liberating, in sharing our testimonies. And there is something POWERFULLY uplifting and bonding as we boldly, and compassionately, connect through our stories. Are you at a place in your life where you have a "cardboard testimony" to share? Might you consider letting God use you today. Share your cardboard testimony with us. If need be, you can post your comment anonymously, but for those of you who identify your names, you will be entered into a drawing and I will be randomly choosing one person to bless with a "PRIZE" later this week. :) (and no, it won't be made of duct tape and cardboard)

MAY YOU BLESS AND BE BLESSED!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

God is Faithful!

With everything inside of me I will choose to believe that God is faithful.

Holding on because He's faithful.

Declaring it to my heart.

Singing it when the sun is shining.

Screaming it in the dark.

God, You are faithful.



Isaiah 43:2 tells us,
"When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze."
Hold firm to your faith.
When the waves come crashing, cling to your God.
He is your firm foundation, and
He will show Himself faithful.

How God can take our Trial and make it His Triumph when we cling to our faith in Him.

One of my friends had this saying on her facebook page today and I just loved it. Isn't that just like God? The way he redeems even the worst of circumstances in our lives. And isn't that a huge part of what we love so much about God? The way He gives us a reason to hope in something even when things look absolutely hopeless.

God is our Redeemer, Restorer, Rebuilder, and Rewarder.
I love it.


IN THE FIRE YOU WILL NOT BE SET ABLAZE.
Isaiah 43:2 tells us,
"When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze."
I don't know about anybody else, but there are some days that I just need to be reminded that I am NOT going to be "set ablaze" when I am "walking through the fire" or the "trials" in my life.

AN EXAMPLE FROM THREE MEN WHO'VE BEEN THERE, DONE THAT.
God has been bringing the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to my mind lately. Three guys stepped out in obedience, doing what they felt God was asking them to do, knowing FULL well that the consequence for their obedience to God was probably going to be DEATH. They felt like God was telling them not to bow down to the golden idol that King Nebudchenezar made, because it was not honoring to their God. They stood firm in what they felt God was telling them to do, believing that it mattered that they live out their integrity and honor God with every part of their lives whether it resulted in death or not, and whether anyone noticed or not. Sure enough, someone noticed, and we get a front row seat to see where they are called out in verse 12,
"But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”
And sure enough, King Nebuchadnezzar is NOT happy about it. The Bible says he was "furious with rage". (something tells me he had anger problems) The intensity picks up here. Now, if you are like me you have heard this story growing up as a kid and you imagine it from a kid's perspective. (three happy little guys going into a furnace) Go with me, now, as an adult. Three MEN who are working for the King, are willing to risking their jobs and their lives over this issue. This moment is INTENSE. Imagine your boss staring you down in rage, after having built some trust and a working relationship over some time. The heat in this moment was rising before the furnace ever got turned up, if you know what I am saying.

GOING THROUGH THE FIRE, BUT NOT IN THE FIRE YET.
He questions them to make sure that they're were "ridiculous" as he has heard they were and then gives them a second chance, reminding them that if they make the same "stupid" (implied) move again, their fate is the FURNACE, and then in complete bully fashion, he offers a threat in verse 15, "Then what god will be able to rescue you from my (as the KING..HELLO!?) hand?” So, he's not really all that nice to them, but he is offering some amount of grace to them at this point by at least giving them a chance to redeem themselves.

UHHHMMM....GUYS?
I would imagine that this would be a time of the guys looking at each other like, "Oh dear, so he's kinda mad, huh guys?" (gulp) Like, ummm...this isn't looking good for us guys...SO... Now might be a great time to retreat...develop an escape route or something! I heard there is a place called Eden somewhere. Let's run away and keep running until we find that place! :) Of course, that would not be consistent with who these three guys are. These are three men who act on their faith in everything they do. A weaker man would buckle under the kind of pressure this "boss" was dishing out. These are not weak men though. They knew what they were getting into. They counted the cost before they got started and they weren't about to buckle now. Here's what they did, and here's what WE are to do when the intensity picks up in our lives and we are waiting on God in our lives...

THEY ACTED ON THEIR FAITH, NOT ON THEIR SIGHT.
They stood FIRM!! In their faith, they stood firm, knowing that God called them to act in obedience, so He was going to pull through for them in one way or another. Verses 16-18 tell us this:
"Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
That's "faith talk" right there. Unmovable. "Your threats mean nothing to us. You are the KING, with all the power of the land, and you're our boss and yet your threats mean nothing." WOW! Right? Okay, keep going.

Verse 19 tells us that then King Nebuchadnezzar was furious (which is actually the same word from before) but it goes on to say that his "attitude towards them changed". What I imagine here, is the difference between the King going from mad, to PSYCOPATH. You know what I am saying? Because what we find out next is that the King's command was so "urgent" to have the guards turn up the furnace SO ridiculously hot (7 times hotter than usual) that his strongest guards who tried to throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace actually died from the flames of the fire by coming close to it because it was TOO intense to even come close to. The three men "fell" into the blazing furnace by the guards who died pushing them in. (I'm sure this was a lovely sight for the townspeople that day.)

HERE'S WHERE THE FAITH JUST BARELY STARTS TO PAY OFF... (This part taken straight from the Bible and my tidbits added in parenthesis to drive home this point of how our faith/obedience when played out pays off over and over again, and how we see that in the case of these three men)

Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”

They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”

25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”(You faith starts to pay off when others see that you are not alone in the "fire" or in your trial, but that God is there with you and they see how God is pulling you through, and start giving Him glory...Amen!?)

26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. (ONLY with GOD can we be healed, restored, and come out unharmed, and even stronger than before the "event" took place like this. He carries us through an emotionally, spiritually, physically, traumatizing event in our lives, and brings healing. THIS is THE TESTIMONY RIGHT HERE!!! Again, God receives glory, and this is when faith pays off again.)

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”(King Nebuchadnezzar is probably just slightly over dramatic here, but still you get the point...EVERYONE began worshiping God after seeing what He did to save Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. God honored and blessed the obedience of these three men. Their faith pays off again each and every time everyone worships God. HUGE. Amen.)

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.


FINAL WRAP UP
When you are being pushed through a hard season in your life, feeling the intensity of your "reality" remind yourself that you are in GOOD HANDS. You do not walk through the fire alone. God is with every step of the way and
When you pass through the waters,
He will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

YOU are going to come out STRONG when you cling to HIM. Trust in Him. Put your faith in Him. Take the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Act out of your faith, not out of your sight. Live out of your obedience, act and speak out of your faith, trust in God. Let your life be a testimony! I want that so bad! Don't you? God is FAITHFUL!! And don't think for a SECOND, that those three men would have had that moment taken away from them. That was their GLORY moment! Their moment with and Angel of God...in that furnace when they should have been TOAST, they were unscathed, with and Angel of God protecting them. Well, now if that doesn't change your faith forever I don't know what will. That was an IRREPLACEABLE MOMENT that they could NEVER have had any other way. Trust me...Those men were blessed, in their own special, personal, unique, "nobody can take this from me" kind of way for their obedience.

LOVE IT!



PRAYER
Lord, Make our lives a testimony for you. Lead us. Guide us. One step at a time. Take us on a journey where you receive glory in our lives and others will be brought to you because of our testimony, Lord. May you always receive the glory for EVERY act of obedience in our lives, Lord. In your name we pray, Amen.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A wife of Noble Character

Proverbs 31:10-31

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

AWESOME SONG time.

You see the struggle
You see the shame
I see the reason I came.

I came for your story.
I came for your wounds.
To show you what LOVE sees when I see YOU!
(Jesus)



There is no condemnation in Christ.
You were bought at a price.
God is love.
YOU are LOVED at all times.
There is nothing you have done, can do, or ever will do that will separate you from the love of Christ, and there is nothing that you ever HAVE to do to be WORTHY of His love.
He loves you unconditionally.

Hope you find some comfort in that today. You are loved.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

By our LOVE!!!

I'm stumbling onto some absolutely incredible songs by Christy Nockels. They are new to me, but I am sure they not new to many others. She is apparently more established than I realized, or she would not have thousands upon thousands of "likes" on youtube and what not...that's what happens when you have kids. ;) You stay home wiping noses and behinds, and you keep popping in your old CD's from your high school days, oblivious to the fact that there is other music out there. :)

At any rate, she is AMAZING and all of her music is AMAZING...so I am REALLY happy today to be listening to these songs that are speaking to my heart. The last one I posted I imagined being like the song that brings Heaven here to earth. This next one I wanted to share with you I believe sums up the point of being HERE on EARTH. :) Of all the things you can pour yourself into during the time while you are here ON EARTH "the greatest of these will always be 'Love".

Christy Nockels, you will never know me, but you are a new "Alisha Hughes" favorite, which means nothing to you except that now your name will show up on the side of my blog list of things. FUN! On the off chance that you might accidentally someday stumble onto my humble little blog, Thanks for making INCREDIBLE life changing music!! You ROCK!! For real! :)



WOW!!!!!!!!!! Most incredible song! How have I never heard this song before!?!

I am amazed at this absolutely BEAUTIFUL incredibly written song!

Speechless! Wow!!! That's all I can say. Where has this song been? Somehow God helped me find it today. Thank you Lord. Thank you Christy Nockels!!! Heaven is here on earth through this song. Thank you!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

God blesses our obedience.

I've been throwing out this idea that God blesses our obedience a lot lately. Today I thought I might take a moment to share one of the verses that solidifies that belief for me.

The verse I found today is small, but mighty. It is packed with many messages for us to digest if we really take a second to look into it. Before I dive into the verse, though, I want to say one thing: This is MEATY material. It is for someone who is firm in their faith, who is digging deep, trying to take their faith to the next level. When I read this verse I think of someone who is sold out on trying to live their life for the Lord and is ready to do what pleases Him. If this is you, by all means, read on...

James 1:25,

"But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-- he will be blessed in what he does."

Here's what I gather from reading this verse...

1. We are to read (look intently into) the Bible (the perfect law).

Really dive into it and find what is in there. Stop coasting. (If you are coasting) Don't know where to start? Wherever you are at...Take it to the next level. Challenge yourself. Go to church, get into the Bible study, open your Bible, what? Why is it so hard for us to just pick up our Bibles and just open them sometimes? ...start somewhere. :)

2. We are to search intently to find what it is saying to us and in doing so, find freedom.

As you allow God's word to transform your heart and your mind, it will transform your life, and you will find a new freedom in your life. The cleansing redemption of God gives freedom. There is freedom in Christ. There is no condemnation in Christ, only freedom. His word tells us that. Amen?

3. We are to "continue doing this" (reading the Bible and finding our freedom in it).

Continue to go back to his word. The world will throw you curve balls so you will have to continue to go back to the word to find your strength, renewal, freedom, and peace in this world.

4. We should not forget what you have been taught, but continue to live it out.

Keep going back to what you were taught. Repeat number 1 and 2. Remind yourself what God has done in your life, and in the lives of those around you. Continue to live out of the faith that you have been taught to stand on. Do not waver in that faith. It is a ROCK you can stand on.

CONCLUSION: When you do number 1-4... You will be blessed in what you do.

Do you want to be blessed in what you do? OF COURSE YOU DO!

The question becomes, then, Are you willing to do what it takes to receive that blessing?

Because sometimes digging into God's word and living it out requires us to sacrifice our in-the-moment living for the sinful, selfish nature, which can be VERY appealing at times....but only leads to destruction, and eventually death.

So, the way I see it, it comes down to this...

Sinful Nature...Temporarily Appealing...but leads to eventual destruction, and death.

Divine Nature... Temporarily Sacrificing...but leads to eventual blessing, and eternal life.

God is calling us to think BIG picture here, because HE is looking for faithful followers who are willing to lay down their selfishness and pride, and get the mind of Jesus Christ. God is calling his believers to obediently fulfill His plans here on Earth, and as it His great pleasure to bless them as they do.

Whataya say? You wanna join me?

Let's throw off the sin that so easily entangles and live a life worthy of the blessings that God wants to bestow on us!

I got a feeling that we'll never regret it if we do. If we don't, on the other hand...all kinds of regrets. Let's think BIG PICTURE. Let's pray, and seek the mind of Christ, digging in the word because the times call for it.

Be blessed!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What to do when you are afraid...


I am quickly (not slowly) becoming a fan of Leslie Vernick, who is a counselor, author, and a speaker, who I have only known from (very) afar. I found some of her posts on a life radio station website that I like to go to because of Susie Larson...someone I met at a conference who I have grown to greatly admire and respect (also from afar)...and on and on it will go with people who I glean from (from afar), I am sure. :)

Below are just a few scriptures that back up who God is and what He offers us, that Leslie Vernick suggests helps her regain her strength and sense of God's purpose, when she is feeling fearful. You can click here for her original post. Hope it helps someone else too....

Presence: He said, I will be with you always, even to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:20). I will never leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5).

Protection: He said, “If God be for you who could be against you? (Romans 8:31). He will shelter you with his wings, his faithful promises are your armor and protection (Psalm 91:4).

Provision: He said, The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need (Psalm 23:1) My grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:8) Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously and he will give you everything you need (Matthew 6:33). And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you (Matthew 6:30).

Purpose: He said, And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28). We can rejoice too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love (Romans 5:3-5).

Peace: He said, I will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stead on him (Isaiah 26:3). My peace I give you, not as the world gives, let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27). Don’t be anxious for anything, but by prayer with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7). May the Lord of peace himself, give you his peace at all times and in every situation (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Friends, I’ve discovered that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but fear So I must ask myself once again, am I going to believe what God says or am I going to believe my own fearful emotions and scary thoughts?

The psalmist says, “When I am afraid I will trust in you “(Psalm 56:3,4). I choose to trust God. How about you?