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

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

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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.