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a friend had this quote in her facebook status message the other day and i just thought it was so perfectly profound for where i find myself right now.

“if we postpone our journey till the storm dies down, we may never get started.”

– JI Packer

Lord – you are as close as the mention of your name and You are the calmer of the storms. let us trust You no matter the situation and circumstances. cling to what is true! we are warriors :-)

Last Friday was a BIG day and I didn’t realize it until it was almost over. I was full of emotions and even as I type this, various feelings are welling up inside. The more I think about it, the more I see how this was such a significant anniversary not just for Peter and I, but for me as an individual. It was three years ago this past Friday that he and I ended our engagement and ended our relationship.

I was in a dark and painful place. I wanted to believe God that I would get out of it; I wanted to believe that He had more for me. But I was hurt. It was a pain I had never known and to this day would not wish upon my worst enemy. But He, the Lord Almighty does indeed make beauty from ashes.

I never thought I would stop believing that to be married meant you were successful, I never thought I could love God more than anything else, I never thought I could be a woman capable of marriage, I never thought I would have a love affair with Jesus, and I certainly didn’t believe that God could redeem and restore Peter and I like He has. I am just amazed at what the Lord can do in such a short time.

It has been a hard tearful road. But I’ve learned sometimes you have to fight for the good things, even when the Lord has given you the blessing. I’ve learned, my Jesus is my everything and He is all I need. I’ve learned to grab hold of Him and not let go. Everything else is to be held with an open palm.

My mind has been flooded with these promises:

judges 6:12 (of course!) “the Lord is with you mighty warrior!”

psalm 37:4 “delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

eccl. 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in His time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

I will never know this side of Heaven just how incredible You are Lord. Thank You for the parts You allow me to see.  Thank You for writing my story. A story that could truly only be written by the uncreated One. Only You could be both the builder and the wrecking ball.

Just when my tears were falling deep enough to drown
Down in the valley of the shadow of a doubt
When I gave up that’s when He came to lift me out
And set me high, yeah

When I saw it as a gift of matchless worth
I started thinking it was something I deserved
He pulled the rug from underneath without a word
And left me dry, yeah

So piece together these little mysteries
It isn’t hard to see the writing on the wall
Triumph and tragedy, only God can be
Both the builder and the wrecking ball

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

He gave them freedom and a fertile promise land
They took for granted their deliverance at hand
Thirty-nine years later they’re still walking through that sand
Wondering why, why

So piece together these little mysteries
It isn’t hard to see the writing on the wall
Triumph and tragedy, only God can be
Both the builder and the wrecking ball

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

And He builds it up, and He knocks it down
Just to build it up even stronger

So piece together these little mysteries
It isn’t hard to see the writing on the wall
Triumph and tragedy, only God can be
Both the builder and the wrecking ball

Jill Philips – Wrecking Ball

umm, so on monday i blogged about choosing JOY because of how God speaks to us… yeah, okay, so monday night my good friend cicely and i began the breaking free Bible study by beth moore. guess what scripture she camped out on… yep, JUDGES 6!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i hear you Lord, loud and clear :-)

amen!

Somewhere in the midst of the busyness I took back the burden the Lord gave me. It’s heavy, it’s suffocating—it’s downright immobilizing. And then, just as He always does, He reminded this silly girl that she’s not supposed to carry it.

Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)

Oswald Chambers wrote (taken from My Utmost for His Highest):

We must recognize the difference between burdens that are right for us to bear and burdens that are wrong. We should never bear the burdens of sin or doubt, but there are some burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off. God wants us to roll them back on Him— to literally “cast your burden,” which He has given you, “on the Lord . . . .” If we set out to serve God and do His work but get out of touch with Him, the sense of responsibility we feel will be overwhelming and defeating. But if we will only roll back on God the burdens He has placed on us, He will take away that immense feeling of responsibility, replacing it with an awareness and understanding of Himself and His presence.

Many servants set out to serve God with great courage and with the right motives. But with no intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ, they are soon defeated. They do not know what to do with their burden, and it produces weariness in their lives. Others will see this and say, “What a sad end to something that had such a great beginning!”

“Cast your burden on the Lord . . . .” You have been bearing it all, but you need to deliberately place one end on God’s shoulder. “. . . the government will be upon His shoulder” ( Isaiah 9:6 ). Commit to God whatever burden He has placed on you. Don’t just cast it aside, but put it over onto Him and place yourself there with it. You will see that your burden is then lightened by the sense of companionship. But you should never try to separate yourself from your burden.

I took a personality/work style profile assessment a week or so ago for work purposes. What I found out managed to confirm some of my greatest fears. I fit the perfectionist profile – ack!

I’m bothered by it solely because I so desperately want to be the laid back fancy-free type who can easily roll with the punches and take life in easy, breezy strides. As I write this I’m realizing how ridiculous that is considering even the “easy breezy” people in my life have times of stress, doubt and anxiety.

There are many blessings that will come out of doing this assessment, at least that’s what I’m believing ;-)

But my ‘ah-hah’ moment with the results came when I read the section that explains how people with my profile tend to need fact upon fact to make a risky decision. We need it all laid out for us. So I suppose it’s really not a risky decision then if you can predict the outcome… and herein lies the dilemma.

I believe in Jesus. I have a saving faith.

What is faith? Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

May day! May day! Perfectionism is the antithesis of faith. All hope is lost. I should just give up now.

Okay, totally unnecessary drama, but you see my ‘ah-hah’ moment? If faith is being certain of what we do not see and my tendency is to need all the facts to make a “risky” decision, what does my faith look like?

James 1:5-6 says:

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

If I ask, I must believe.

Oswald Chambers said in today’s devotional from My Utmost for His Highest:

“Are you debating whether you should take a step of faith in Jesus, or whether you should wait until you can clearly see how to do what He asked? Simply obey Him with unrestrained joy.”

This perfectionist is seeking to step out in faith and trust the Almighty God in a season of radical change. Here we go Jesus!

ps. I found this whole perfectionist thing quite comical as well because my house and my desk at work do not even remotely look like a perfectionist lives and works there. Just in case you were wondering ;-)

I have an insane listing of blogs I read on a daily/every-other-day basis. It’s totally ridiculous and I think I need to cut back. But I’m just not sure who to cut?? I’ve cut the blogs that I was only following because they angered me and got me fired up on certain issues that I was determined to blog against… you might now be wondering, really? You blogged “against” other blogs. Confession: nope, never did. Every time I tried it was like God gave me writers block. Which I knew was from Him because every rebuttal post sounded so eloquent and perfect in my head. But alas, when I tried to get it on the virtual paper, it never penned well. Never ever. I’m so grateful God saves me from myself ;-)

I also cut the blogs that I was following simply for nosey, snooping reasons—decided that wasn’t cool either…

So I know I need to cut some more, but not sure what my criteria should be now, nor who should really go… and then today, I read one that hit home with me. This blog will not be cut. It hit home because this blogger put herself out there and made herself vulnerable, she blogged about prayer requests. And real ones. Not the, “sure, I’d like prayer. Could you pray for my second cousin’s dog who may need a really expensive surgery?” Nothing against dogs or second cousins, but really?? Someone asks you if they can pray for you and your biggest concern is your second cousin’s dog? Captain Obvious here, you need prayer more than the dog does.

Self: you need prayer more than this fictional person you’re blogging about… hmm…

So back to the blogger I was talking about. Her blog is called In the Name of Love and I don’t remember how I found it. It might have been through the (in)courage blog actually, even the blogging world is a small world. But like I said, she asked for prayer for some major things in her life, and it was really refreshing to read. She’s in ministry full-time, she is incredibly articulate, she’s well-educated, she tackles issues of the day with grace and dignity, yep, she’s beautiful, and I’m pretty sure if I met her I’d like her. Her online presence is a great example to me, her writing is compelling and I’ve watched a few of her speeches/sermons, her passion for Jesus is contagious. She’s a really great role model for me (we’re probably the same age…).

Okay, so, why I’m blogging about this blogger is because of her transparency. And because she seems like someone “who has it altogether” yet she’s admitted, she still needs prayer. So I thought why not follow suit and steal one of her prayer requests as well, it rings so true for me too. So, if you’re reading this blog and wouldn’t mind praying for me, that would be such a blessing.

  1. As worded by Bianca:  “I want to be faithful like David, but I’m a sign-seeking Gideon. I want signs for signs. What I really need is faith. More faith.”
  2. After two years of living together my roommate who also happens to be one of my bestest friends is moving out. We both know this is the Lord’s timing but it is really hard. It’s a huge step of faith for both of us.
  3. My boyfriend (ah! I mentioned him on this blog, it’s the first time ever―how’s that for transparency! Totally laughing at myself right now, this is ridiculous—although if you know our story you know it’s not that ridiculous that I would hold out on mentioning him, but that’s a looong story for another time) is in the homestretch of tax season. I’ve learned from him that today, March 15, is a HUGE tax day for corporations so while I was enjoying beautiful Mexico, he was literally working until midnight every night… I would greatly appreciate prayers for him and prayers for creative ways that I can show him support in this time and not be the naggy girlfriend when he’s working six (sometimes seven) days a week and is doing his darndest to seek God every day, stay in the word, faithful to prayer, lead our relationship, be a diligent employee, and attentive to every other role he plays in this life.
  4. I’m totally insecure about my friendships and need to seek the Lord more on why and how to get over it… I’ve never been like that before but I think that’s because I had an insatiable pride issue (although being insecure about this stuff is still pride, hmm, vicious cycle!)
  5. We’re moving into some pretty exciting plans for the women’s ministry at church, would love wisdom, discernment and sensitivity to what God wants for His women.

So those are my most pressing requests right now. I’ve noticed the longer I walk this life of faith, the more aware I am of my inabilities. The hard part: walking out my faith with humble gratitude and not intense self-doubt and dislike. He made me and while I seek to become more like Him I need to remind myself He loves me and cherishes me just the way I am. It’s a hard concept for this thick head to grasp.

If you’d like to leave a prayer request in the comments, I would love the privilege of praying for you. It can be anonymous or you can be transparent… it’s up to you! I won’t judge either way ;-)

today, well really this whole week I guess, I’ve been choosing JOY because God is in control of EVERYTHING. i tend to forget that quite a lot these days. i’ve found great comfort in the fact that His will is perfect and it is permissive. meaning, He allows certain things that might not seem so great to me, He allows them to happen. tough times, difficult situations, they don’t just happen. God in His perfect sovereignty allows them so that I might be made more like Him. and when I take my eyes off myself and fix them on my God, the truth of who He is, there is great peace and genuine JOY. circumstances don’t change, but my heart and view of them do. ugh, why do I find this so hard? thank you for your patience Lord, you’re AWESOME.

psalm 62 

1 My soul finds rest in God alone;
       my salvation comes from him.

 2 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
       he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

 3 How long will you assault a man?
       Would all of you throw him down—
       this leaning wall, this tottering fence?

 4 They fully intend to topple him
       from his lofty place;
       they take delight in lies.
       With their mouths they bless,
       but in their hearts they curse.

       Selah

 5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
       my hope comes from him.

 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
       he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

 7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
       he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

 8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
       pour out your hearts to him,
       for God is our refuge.
       Selah

 9 Lowborn men are but a breath,
       the highborn are but a lie;
       if weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
       together they are only a breath.

 10 Do not trust in extortion
       or take pride in stolen goods;
       though your riches increase,
       do not set your heart on them.

 11 One thing God has spoken,
       two things have I heard:
       that you, O God, are strong,

 12 and that you, O Lord, are loving.
       Surely you will reward each person
       according to what he has done.

I read Genesis 48 today as I’m at the point in Beth Moore’s Believing God study where she takes us through the Hall of Faith in the book of Hebrews. Today was Hebrews 11:21: By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

She touched on one point and it stood out in a major way to me. Jacob, when blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, purposely crossed his arms so that his right hand was resting on Ephraim and his left hand on Manasseh. At that time, the blessing given to the first born was to be given by placing the right hand on him, in this case, Jacob intentionally put his right hand on the younger of the two sons. Joseph got a little fired up and told Jacob to switch his hands back, but Jacob knew it was God’s will to bless the younger over the older.

There are a few things here that are fascinating, but the one that really spoke to me today is the fact that the blessing was to be given to the first born yet God decided, in His sovereign plan, it should go to the second born in this case. Fabulous, big deal you might say. But that’s the thing, it IS a big deal. God decides what the “rules” should look like and He decides when to “break” them.

I like order. I like organization. I like things that have steps laid out for them A, B, C, etc. And while I know I commune with the God of order, I felt this passage showed me yet again (I need to hear a lesson 110+ times before I get it and even then I’m bound to forget it down the line) that my God, the Sovereign God decides how His story will look. How He will receive the glory.

In this case He decided number 2 would get the blessing. Why did God decide it had to be that way? I don’t know and even if I studied this in depth I’m sure there would still be some kind of mystery behind it. Because that’s just the thing. God doesn’t need a reason. He’s God. He’s in control. He’s got a perfect plan. And sometimes, His perfect plan “breaks” the rules.

The question to apply here is, will I trust Him in my life when He “breaks” the rules? When the plan He sets before me may seem contrary to what I thought would glorify Him most?

Sometimes I just can’t stand being human. I’m very aware today of the struggle between my humanness and the call to be holy like God is holy.

So I wrote a few days ago about the conviction I felt about not going to a children’s ministry meeting, so in the middle of listening to a sermon I picked up my lap top brought it into my bathroom so I could keep listening while I showered and got ready at lightning speed to make it to the meeting. And I’m glad I went, even though my presence resulted in my designation as the teacher of the toddlers for the weekly Tuesday night prayer meeting (the meeting is weekly but I’m on a monthly serving rotation). I am not a teacher nor am I very good with toddlers. Babies, yes, I love babies. Toddlers, I’m no good with toddlers. Coupled with the fact that I’m not a teacher, I knew those poor kids would be in for something that night―something good? Don’t think so, but definitely something.

But alas, the snow storm the weather men were calling for has hit and the prayer meeting has been canceled. So what does this have to do with being human? I’m kinda, sorta really glad it was canceled… I’m glad it was canceled so I have an extra evening to work on my paper that’s due Thursday morning. I’m glad it was canceled because I knew I’d be distracted while I was trying to teach the kids thinking about the paper due Thursday. And this is why I just can’t stand being human sometimes.

You see, there are many, many people, especially the moms of those toddlers that could really use a prayer meeting tonight. And while I know I have nothing to do with the weather, hence why in legal terms massive weather events are called acts of God, I can’t help but feel convicted of my attitude. It was/is all about me too often.

But what I started to see in the past few days, even though teaching these toddlers is WAY out of my comfort zone and not a natural gifting of mine, I was really starting to get excited about it. You see, the Lord really spoke to me about the moms of these little guys, and the fact that there are plenty out there who don’t know Jesus. If I can serve their children, help them to know that their babies are in good hands, teach the little guys about God and His word, while mom gets to sit in a prayer meeting, what kind of Kingdom impact could that be? But here I am, more concerned about my paper and getting it done even though I’m the one that planned poorly and got myself in this place.

I plan to remind myself of the conviction I feel today for the next time I’m supposed to teach the toddlers. I plan to remind myself how much more important Kingdom impact is than getting a paper in on time (although I do plan to schedule my time better so I don’t find myself in this predicament again).

** I read through this post before posting it and felt like I still needed to publish it, but I also need to add a little something. You see, there’s another element at work here. I did go to the meeting on Saturday believing God to make time for me to do my paper… perhaps this was God’s answer to my belief? I won’t ever know for sure this side of heaven and I certainly won’t begin to think that my need to get a paper in on time is even remotely close to the needs the people would bring before the Lord tonight in prayer had we still had prayer meeting, but what I do know is I can take it as just that [an answer to my belief] but ALSO ask the Lord to grow my heart to be like His, a lover of all His people; and, to make me more like Him, a selfless servant of all. **

that’s pretty much the best word to describe my current state. and i am so grateful to God. i was trying to come up with some clever post for today, some really cool way to explain how God met me in a simple yet beautiful way this weekend, but the only thing and what i think is the best thing i could come up with is the word BREAKTHROUGH.

i imagine this is how hannah felt after pleading to God for a child and leaving her plea on the altar, trusting her God. i love hannah, i love her story. and i believe i just might understand her a little more after this past weekend.

thank you Jesus.

this might sound super silly, but i put my faith in the Lord to the test today. okay, not really my faith i guess, more like my belief in His power. i had to do some work-work this morning before i could dive into my quiet time and then start my paper for school.

backing up, i got a reminder yesterday from my church that today i needed to attend a meeting to help write our curriculum for the early childhood ministry at church. now besides the fact that this is hilarious because i am no good with toddlers, nor do i have a teaching bone in my body – when i was a substitute teacher i rocked at it only because i had grown-up in the schools i was subbing in so i could easily “bribe” the kids with, “i’ll tell whatever you want to know about all your teachers if you do your work first.” (i know, horrible right?!?! but i will note i never spoke a poor word of any of my teachers to those kids, just used it as a way to get them to do their work, and it DID work)- i had set this day aside to work on my paper. i do better work when i have huge chunks of time rather than little ones and especially when i can start my day and go right into it. so i planned on not attending. i figured the ladies in my group are smarter than me anyway on this stuff, oh, and more creative.

so back to the work-work to be done before my quiet time. i really thought i had planned well, my colleague and i had set things up in such a way that we’d tag-team, if you will, the work that had to get posted online in a timely manner. what we didn’t consider is the fact that we both use macs at home. so windows media files were not gonna open on our computers. when our trusty coworker explained to us the lovely little software we could use to convert the files, we happily began that process. but then my coworker realized she needed her roommates password to download the software. needless to say the roommate was gonna be MIA until way past our deadline. so i had to take one for the team and do the work myself. not a big deal, but it did throw everything off as it took a lot more time than i had planned.

once completed i started my quiet time. right now i’m doing the study, believing God by beth moore for a second time. if you are reading this blog and you haven’t done that study, you NEED to. seriously, it’s the only study i’ve ever done that i think everyone and their mom should do. it’s INCREDIBLE and FAITH CHANGING.  anyway, i digress. so i progress in my quiet time to the point that it’s time to listen to this week’s sermon. and as i’m listening to beth speak about believing God and believing that He can do what He says He can do i got super convicted… i wasn’t believing God to quicken my mind and increase my time that i might serve Him where i have committed to and come back to studying later.

i was so convicted that i brought the sermon into my bathroom, hopped in the shower and tried to get ready as fast as i could to make it to the meeting. and wouldn’t you know, i was the only one from my team who was able to go.

so tonight and for the next week, i’m believing God to help me get this paper done and get it done well. i know, this sounds super silly, but i’m feeling super challenged lately to believe God in ALL things, no matter how small they might seem. even as small as multiplying my time and quickening my mind to understand all that i need to know to do something like a school paper.

luke 1:37: for nothing is impossible with God.

Take your post. Those are the wise words delivered to me by a wonderful woman of God. I learned a lot in my conversation with her. I was honest, brutally honest with her about how I was feeling: the inadequacy, the jealousy, the uncertainty, the fogginess, the lack of trust, lack of belief. And she just looked at me with eyes that said, “I know, its okay. I’ve been there too. You’re not a bad person―you’re human.”

She reminded me of the truth I had lost sight of, the truth I tried to put in front of my face and hoped would drop from my head to my heart. But alas, I needed to hear it from a loving, caring and encouraging woman of faith. I’ve said it 100+ times before and I will say it 100+ times again, He knows what we need and how we need it so we’ll receive it.

So, the truth she reminded me of, the post (aka where I find myself serving in the Kingdom) where God has called me, is just that, the post where HE has called me. No one else has placed me there. He has. He has gifted me for certain things and somehow in some way they help the Kingdom move forward. He’s opened my eyes to how each post in Kingdom work is significant because God made it that way, not because of the people He assigned to it.

I’ve taken my post with pride―a pride in the Lord that He would allow me to serve Him even at all. No matter what it looks like. It’s not about me, it’s about Jesus.

I left lunch that day knowing the knowledge had made the journey from head to heart. Now it’s my job to cultivate it in the heart.

Psalm 84:10 – Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

i’ve heard people say forgiveness is a choice. i think trust is too. yes, i think people need to earn trust. but i think it is a two-sided equation, you need to give trust to those who desire to earn it. the more you give, the more they earn. the more they earn, the more you give.

so today i did a search for vereses that talk about trust in the Bible. and wouldn’t you know, a passage of scripture i have read 100+ times, heard 100+ times and in fact have stated that when i get married i will not read this passage at my wedding, is the very passage the Lord used to speak LOUDLY to me today.

from 1 corinthians 13:

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

wow. love trusts. i love. i must trust.

i’ve been a huge advocate for titus 2 ministry (let the older women teach the younger women) yet i never really found myself in a place where i’ve seen it in full motion like i did this past weekend. it began friday when i met with a wise and wonderful woman from my church for lunch. she spoke into my life in such a way that only God could make happen. she didn’t judge me or my situation, she just listened, smiled at me as i talked – i could see it in her eyes, that “i know exactly where you are kiddo” look. and she did. she’s been there, done that, has lived to talk about it and is ready to equip me so i don’t have to make mistakes i might have if i were to “go it alone.” the peace and comfort i felt by the time our lunch ended was totally something that can only come from a God-ordained and anointed conversation.

it also encouraged me to see that one day, Lord willing, i will sit where she was and counsel a younger woman in my shoes. for now though, i am more than happy no, delighted really, to be on the receiving end. oh Lord, bring wisdom and courage my way :-)

then on saturday we had a women’s event at my church, the first of its kind we’ve ever done and it was powerful! we began with powerful worship and then my pastor’s wife brought a word and then gave her testimony. both were incredible! afterwards there was a time for women to pray with each other and for each other. i know God moved that day in many, many lives. we then had a time of Q&A with a panel of women in various seasons of life: single, married, single mom. there were so many questions and so much wisdom offered. it truly was a massive titus 2 event.

i am so grateful for the body of Christ, so grateful to be surrounded by such strong and courageous women of faith.

i’ve found there is nothing more beautiful and profound than God’s word. and perhaps the byrds knew that when they used the Bible for their lyrics. i wonder how many have heard their song and felt the draw to the living God…

today this is what the Lord has washed me with. a beautiful passage of scripture that speaks for itself.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

1 There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 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. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

someone very dear to my heart wrote this to me today:

“i really believe that as we accept what He has in store for us in our lives, He can move mountains through us.  i know this well as i surrender more to Him each day.

do your best to walk and talk in the joy of the lord even as He works on you.  not covering up and hiding your feelings and battle but happy to be alive, your confidence will lift and others will know your grace as you battle.”

thank you Lord. that is my prayer :-)

The semester has begun and I am so extremely EXCITED for the class I’m taking. The class, Biblical Theology of the New Testament, is taught by a man I deeply respect. His name is Dr. Bill Thrasher. I’ve never had a class with him before, but a few years ago when I was unhealthily (is that a word, I don’t think so, but I like it) fearful that I would never get married, that I had somehow earned the punishment of singleness for life, I read his book Believing God for His Best: How to Marry Singleness with Contentment. It was the first book on singleness that I read that gave me hope. And it was the first book I ever read that helped me recalibrate my brain to really appreciate being single―and I don’t mean it taught me how to say being single is a gift; it really helped me see the beauty in it and to appreciate it for all its worth. It was the first book I read and didn’t finish thinking I’ll never be satisfied in this state of singleness.

Instead, I finished the book with a desire to wait on God. To wait for God’s best for me and to fall more in love with Jesus as I did. And this isn’t a waiting like with baited breath hoping prince charming will round the corner on his white horse any minute. But believing God that He put the desire on my heart for marriage and while I wait for that desire to be fulfilled I will move forward with Jesus, pursuing Him, letting Him pursue me and seek to become the woman the Lord made me. It opened my eyes to the fact that the Lord is in control of all things.

It helped me see, God’s timing and His plan are perfect. I don’t have to be perfect, I’m not being punished as I wait―I’m in a state of singleness because God decided this for me right now. That’s not to say I was brushing off the fact that I needed then and still do now a lot of Jesus and a lot less of me. But it helped me to see there isn’t something fundamentally wrong with me. Okay, I think I just totally rambled there; it was just such a radical change in mindset for me. Totally liberating.

So, now this semester I get to learn from this very wise man. I’m so excited and eager to see what God does in me through this class. I just know it is going to be good!

That’s me. I’m an elf. I look around me and I see GIANTS. Massive, strong, solid GIANTS. And I’m an elf. Small, tiny, squeaky. This is how I feel most days. And it’s because I’ve been blessed with this incredible church that is filled with the super godly. I know we are all human and we all fall short of the glory of God. But I kid you not; I haven’t been many places in my short life as a Jesus-lover where there has been such a concentrated group of on-fire-for-Christ people.

This is a blessing. But my flesh and the enemy would have me believe it is a curse.

I’ve been battling this insecurity since the day I came to my church, which coincidentally is where I’ve met most of my amazingly godly girls. But the most recent battle showed me much of what I still need to learn and accept. We’re all different but created for a purpose and this will never be rooted in my heart until I understand just how much the Lord loves me. Jealousy rears its ugly head when I take my eyes off the Savior. Insecurity penetrates deep to my bones when I don’t dress in the armor of God, “forget” to hold my sword high and run instead of just stand.

I’m doing a study (by Beth Moore of course!) on love right now and learned something fascinating. 1 John 4:18 says: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”

From the study: “Perfect love refers to love which is mature, not lacking boldness or confidence and therefore, not hampered by insecurity or anxiety which is characteristic of immature love.”

You see, I’m the administrative type (ooh, how I hate to even admit that). My brain operates in one mode most of the time, efficient. I know in and of itself it’s not a bad thing. I think of a list of places I need to go to run errands and immediately my brain puts it all in the proper order of how to get it done the fastest based on where I am currently located and where I would like to end up. It’s this weird gift/curse I’ve had since I was little. (Being the oldest of four girls might have a little something to do with it.)

So, often when it comes to ministry things I’m asked to help in areas where administration is needed. And I love to serve in that capacity but I also feel like, “is this it? Is this all I have to offer?” Because in my head administration is so not spiritual. For example, you need a woman to pray over you or with you, I’ve got a friend for that. You need a woman who will open the heavens with the way she leads worship, I’ve got a friend for that too. You need someone to love on you with the love of Christ, I have another friend for that. I could keep going but you get the point, Apple’s got an app, I’ve got friends :-)

Me. I’m practical (not spiritual) to a fault. Visionary (spiritual) I am not. But the Lord is trying to show me something, and if I would just get out of the way, I just might see it. He made me this way for His purposes and loves me just as I am. The visionary needs someone like me to figure out the logistics behind making the vision a reality. I don’t consider myself a prayer warrior, a worshipper or all that compassionate (all things I desire to become). My giftings are much more administrative and communication-oriented. I do have faith and usually it isn’t too hard for me to believe God for the impossible. But my flesh and the enemy would love for me to minimize all that I am and look at my sisters with eyes of envy, allow myself to remain in a state of immature love, living in insecurity.

So I am fighting these days to stay in the Spirit and out of the flesh; to not let that punk we call the enemy steal my love and respect for all the amazing and godly women He’s put in my life; and to truly grasp God’s love for me. This sounds utterly crazy to me, but I even made a list of all the things I am and have it taped to my bathroom mirror. It even includes things I don’t think I am quite yet, but that I know with the Lord’s power I will be. It’s actually really powerful (seriously, I feel like I should be that guy from SNL who looks in the mirror and says to himself, “I’m smart enough, I’m good enough and dog gonnit people like me!”).

Okay, so I will conclude my random ramblings with this truth from God’s Word:

Psalm 139

1 O LORD, you have searched me

and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue

you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;

you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,

for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me

were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand.

When I awake,

I am still with you.

19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!

Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;

your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,

and abhor those who rise up against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;

I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.

I’ve been emailing with a sweet friend this week and besides hoping this keeps up (it is a HUGE blessing) I’m reminded how important it is to be in community and to dialogue about His Word and what the Lord reveals to us through it.

We are two women, in different seasons of life, yet both lovers of Jesus. And that, the love of the Lord, has made us fast friends.

I shared with her something the Lord showed me regarding Mary, the mother of Jesus, a year or so ago. And it went something like this:

In Luke 1 we read about Mary’s encounter with Gabriel:

29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God.”

What the Lord showed me here is that even Mary, who had great faith and instead of saying to the angel, “heck no, I can’t be the mother of the Savior” she essentially said, “ok, but how is this gonna work?” Even she needed to hear the testimony that her cousin, old in age and considered to be barren was with child. God knew she needed Gabriel to testify to His incredible power with a tangible story, a tangible miracle.

When the Lord showed this to me I was like WOW!! Lord, You are AMAZING!! How you know our every need and desire and how you lead us just as we need to be led because You created us. I was and still am just mystified by this and so grateful. So grateful that the Creator of the universe would testify to us about His greatness. Like we deserve that? Thank you Lord.

Praise God this ministered to her and then she responded to me about how this passage ministered to her, and essentially this is what she shared with me (I’m paraphrasing and taking the liberty to explain how what she told me ministered to me as our conversation is private :-)

She explained how she was Mary and had to accept that the Lord was asking to grow in her. To accept that no one would be able to see him right away and no one would know that she had Jesus in her until she started to grow! And then came Joseph, he had to take Mary at her word and believe her that the Christ was in her. And then the vision came to Joseph and he believed. Mary and Joseph together were amidst others who may or may not believe their story. All they could do was tell the truth and remind each other.

I went on to add: and it was nine months until the Messiah was born and 30 years until He performed His first miracle. And yet Joseph believed Mary, not without struggle I’m sure, but he believed.

This challenged me greatly. Will I believe God that He is birthing something in me? Even if I can’t see it right away? Will I believe God that He is birthing something in the people around me like Joseph believed Mary? Will I believe God at His word, the scripture promises He has given me even if I don’t see the fulfillment of them for what seems to be a long time to this small human mind? Will I believe God to change my focus from being all about me and my struggles to being all about Him and the work He has created me to accomplish for Him?

i don’t have anything profound to share today just soemthing simple and basic: every new year’s eve for the past three or four years i have read oswald chamber’s devotional for this day from his book my utmost for His highest. it ministers to me each time i read it and truly charges me up for the next year. 2009 has been an incredible year of miraculous blessings, unexpected change and intense challenges and i know these challenges will bleed into 2010 as well as new challenges. but i also know the blessings will continue and in order to walk in the fullness of these blessings i must embrace the challenges and trust my God to continue the work He has promised to complete. i’m excited for 2010 and can’t wait to see what the Lord does :-)

Yesterday

You shall not go out with haste, . . . for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard —Isaiah 52:12

Security from Yesterday. “. . . God requires an account of what is past” ( Ecclesiastes 3:15 ). At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise when we remember our yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God’s grace tends to be lessened by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future. God reminds us of the past to protect us from a very shallow security in the present.

Security for Tomorrow. “. . . the Lord will go before you . . . .” This is a gracious revelation— that God will send His forces out where we have failed to do so. He will keep watch so that we will not be tripped up again by the same failures, as would undoubtedly happen if He were not our “rear guard.” And God’s hand reaches back to the past, settling all the claims against our conscience.

Security for Today. “You shall not go out with haste . . . .” As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, forgetful delight, nor with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness. But let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.

Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.

“What if we start listening to Him, instead of Oprah, for a definition of healthy female sexuality?”

http://blog.kyria.com/2009/12/oprah_porn_and_jesus.html#more

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