Monday, November 7, 2011

Hurts, my most valued possesions

While doing a Bible study by Beth Moore she said something that really ricocheted off in my head. Her comment was about hurts that have been in trusted to us. Wow let me tell you that said something to me. I know that God is not the giver of pain or heartache. I know that He doesn't "cause" bad things to happen to us and the things that happen are "Father filtered". But I never looked at my hurts as something so valuable that God in trusted them to me. How does one find value in pain? When I think about things being in trusted to us I think about children, wealth, power, riches, gold, jewels, all things people prize. Things we want to keep safe. No one prizes physical, sexual, verbal abuse, loss, rape or addiction. Yet when we look through the eyes of Jesus to all the things that have been Father filtered in our lives we can see how very valuable these hurts are. Those that haven't offered up the hurts in their lives to God for His glory might not get this. You might be one of those people asking "Who wants to walk across the coals of life?". Well the answer is me, I do. When I look at my hurts through the eyes of Jesus I see how very valuable they are. I wouldn't trade a single hurt for their weight in gold. These valued possessions have given me my children, paid for extras in the name and service of Jesus, overpowered the gates of hell, made me rich in wisdom, purified me beyond the purist gold and gave new meaning to being blinged out. So yeah, you can have my money, house, gold and jewels but don't touch my past hurts they were in trusted to me for God's glory and that shines brighter then any diamond!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I want to be FAT!

I know what your thinking! "You want to be fat? That has to be the most absurd thing you have ever said and trust me I have heard you say so pretty crazy things!" Well you heard me right. I want to be fat. I don't mean a little plump but so stinking fat it should be a sin. I have been skinny for too long. I have starved myself to the point that I now know I'm anorexic.
Those of you who know me are scratching your heads thinking "Um Angela, your really not that skinny. Weren't you just saying the other day how you're trying to drop a few pounds? Sugar trust me when I tell you that you are definitely not anorexic, far from it. Somebody bless her heart!"
Thanks I always need a blessing! But here's the thing, I'm not talking about physical weight. I'm talking about spiritual weight. God has promised that he will fill us. Through Him we will find complete and total satisfaction. He will provide for us the richest food we could possibly enjoy.
*ISAIAH 55:2 "Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare."
We will have such an abundance that it will over flow.
*Joel 2:24 "The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil."
I don't know about you but I have been starving myself. I've put off feeding my soul for so long I didn't realize how hungry I was until I sat at the Lords table and my mouth began to water at the abundance He laid before me.
*EXODUS 16:15b Moses said to them, "It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat."
Sometimes its good to feel a hunger. A hunger to win, to get in shape, to work harder but God never wants you to hunger for him. He has provided Himself to us at all times so we can feast on His word continuously. We should be glutenous when it comes to God's word. Eating until we're about to pop and then taking one more bite. Everyday in Gods presence should be like a ThanksChristmasGiving Feast! Eat up and pack on a few extra spiritual pounds!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Victory in Jesus

So many of us thank God for what he has done, "Thank you Lord for my promotion, for this new home..." .But deep down in our secret hiding places are we fully thanking God? How often do we give God the glory for winning the war but not the battles. We say things like "By Gods grace I survived --- so I could share this message with you today." did you catch that "I survived so I could share". Not "Gods grace pulled me through so HE could use me to share ...". It might sound the same and you might think it has the same meaning but one uses God as the instrument and one God uses you as the instrument. We forget we are HIS instrument to bring others to HIM.

On Sunday's our preacher often prays for God to hide him behind the cross so we will see only Gods message to us not his deliverance of it. Yet after church we shake his hand and say "Great sermon, you did really well today." or something similar. I've never thought to tell him "Thanks for being Gods instrument "He" blessed me with a wonderful message today." We have been greatly blessed with an awesome preacher, but every aspect about him that allows him to deliver a powerful, touching sermon is God given. His personality~God, skill of public speaking~God, ability to capture attention~ God, knowledge~God, all God. Now don't get me wrong I feel he not only knows this but acknowledges this as well. My question is do you know this? Do you realize that NOTHING you have, do or accomplish is through you. God brought you into this world and God gave you His only Son so you could join HIM when you leave it. He, He, He. Not me, me, me.

Friday, September 23, 2011

What did my sins REALLY cost?

What did my sins REALLY cost? What did Jesus actually pay on that cross? I mean come on He knew at the end of it that He would be sitting beside God the Father. How bad was it REALLY?

We've all felt pain before. Some have felt pain as excruciating as Jesus felt being nailed to His cross. They have lost limbs, been beaten and tortured. There are those who know what real physical pain feels like.

We've all felt loneliness. Jesus had spent his life being around people. Loved by his family and for his last years followed and pursued by thousands, so much so He had to actively seek alone time. Yet when he died on the cross those closest to Him left him. Some people have felt this solitude. Children are abandoned daily, they live in orphanages that have no love for them. We can know His loneliness.

We've all experienced humiliation. Jesus suffered the humiliation of being stripped of all His garments, watching others play games to win His personal belongings, being ridiculed and laughed at, taunted and teased. These are all things that we here and now have felt some even to the extent that Jesus felt them.

We all carry some burden of responsibility. There are those that give their lives for others. They walk a path knowing that at the end of it they won't be walking back. They fight for our freedoms giving all not only for me and you but also for what they know is right. Just as Jesus carried this burden for us.

BUT NONE of us have felt the despair of having God the Father turn his eyes from us. He has never looked at us and been so saddened by what He saw that he looked away.
Jesus felt this.

As Jesus suffered through pain, loneliness, humiliation and the burden of His responsibility He also carried the complete and utter blackness, the vileness of our combined sins. When I think back to the sins I knowingly committed I feel shame, and sadness. Yet I know there are others who have committed sins far, far, far worse than me. Knowing how mine feel for me to carry, imagining how adding more and far worse sin would feel added to mine, I can barely comprehend how broken my Jesus must have felt. Just imagine your worse sin. Think how it makes you feel even now AFTER you've been forgiven and you've set it in your past. Now add murder, theft, rape, and child abuse to it. Feel that. That's how our Jesus felt, only he didn't have to imagine it He felt it.

Jesus was the lamb, the sacrifice for our sins. When God looks at you He doesn't see your sin after repentance. Only you covered by the blood of Jesus. As Jesus hung on the cross there was no others blood to cover him. No sacrifice to stand between Jesus and our sin. God saw every sin that we poured upon His Son. Jesus carried our sin and accepted the punishment for us. We all think that His death was that punishment but He accepted not death because He overcame death but He accepted Gods divine wrath upon Him for our sins. Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying. "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?" Jesus then felt something we will never feel if we have accepted Jesus as our savior. He felt the lose of Gods joy,His wrath, and His rejection. For that one moment He felt what true pain, loneliness, humiliation, burden and rejection was like. Then it was finished.

You see God will never turn from us. We will never feel that rejection or wrath because Jesus took that for us too. He lived a sin free life only to die covered in our sin. We live sin filled lives only to die covered by His blood. It still amazes me.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?"

I'm reading in my bible this morning and I read Matthew 8:23-27. As I begin this passage I'm thinking "Whats up with the disciples? I mean really they had Jesus RIGHT THERE WITH THEM yet they were still scared about a storm." That's when I had my God moment. God and I have been having these a lot lately. I think He finds them amusing sometimes! You know one of those moments where He not so subtly yells in your ear "Really Angela did you just think that. Did you forget the conversation you had with Me this morning about YOUR fears. Yet Jesus is RIGHT beside you and your still WORRIED about things. " So I tell you my daddy has nothing on my Father when it comes to getting on to me! I felt so small and ashamed at that moment. I too was doubting my Jesus as He sits right beside me. I realized that everything I have been reading this week was about faith and trusting in God.

Matthew 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

30 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—you of little faith?31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I was reminded that by not standing fully on my trust in Jesus then I was AGAIN robbing Him of His glory. Its amazing that no matter how many times I rob Him of His glory He still lets me back into the room with Him. No wonder he loved the theif on the cross he was me. No matter what the situation is He is the anchor in my storm. If I don't have faith that after following His will and praying to my Lord and God Almighty that He will take care of my needs then I've learned nothing and all that was sacrificed for me was in vain. I really don't want to be that girl.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jesus and whack-a-mole?

A friend of mine revealed to me that she was praying for refinement in her life. This got me thinking. Scary I know but hey there ya go! I realized that asking God to refine you and show you the sin in your life is a very brave thing to do. Its also like playing whack-a-mole! You know the game. The one at Chucky Cheese's, you have this mallet and every time the mole raises its head you whack it. Let me just tell you I'm horrible at this game. I'm just not quick enough, I'm always a step behind! Now Jesus on the other hand, He is King of the whack-a-mole/sin game! He not only whacks sin every time but He can stay a step ahead of it! When we come to a place in our walk with Christ and are ready to truly give our sin over to be washed in the blood, God will reveal our sin to us. He brings it for front in our lives so that you not only see it but realize it for the sin that is. Its like knowing you've gained a few pounds but you don't really admit it till your pants don't fit! Now we can hand over the mallet and let Jesus whack the sin in our lives. Here's the tricky part of the game. Once you have whacked-a-sin another will rear its ugly head. Its a never ending game because we are never ending sinners. Let me just say I'm very glad that Jesus is the King of the whack-a-sin game!

Old things become new

2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. This sounds like such a wonderful easy bit of Scripture. If you look at it a little closer, really think about what it says you'll see that yes its beautiful and joyful but not without pain and suffering. God revealed to me so many things in this one verse.

Salvation "if anone is in Christ" This my friend is the easiest thing we can do yet we make it such a battle. If you were saved as a child it was probably very easy. You learned about Jesus in Sunday school, talked to your teacher, took your parents hand and walked forward. You might have been a little scared with so many people around but that's probably it. As an adult you might have struggled with this. "Are people watching me? What will they think? I'll wait one more Sunday when there aren't as many people here." I know there is internal struggles but that's on us. All in all though its fairly easy to become a Christian. God made it easy for you. Simply accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, know that He died on the cross for your sins and your saved.

Creation~ " he is a new creation" The creation process, its bitter sweet! Your new. God Himself told you so and that's that! Unfortunately we make it much harder. It takes a lot of work to be a new creation. Everyone sees this, they want to look and see if your really new. Think about what you do with new things in your life. New car, show it off, take it for a spin and see how it holds up. New toy, show your friends, play with it. New hair show it off too and then get home and play with it, see how it looks in different styles. One thing we all do is show it off to our friends who in turn judge it. Its the same with your salvation. You want to show it off for all of your friends to see. Your happy about your salvation (as you should be!) your excited about Jesus and find yourself telling everyone you know about His love for them. This is the great part about being new but remember there are those who are judging it. They're waiting to see if its real, if your really new. They're watching your every move asking " Is she really new or did she just cover the old?".

Change- "old things have passed away" This my friend is where the rubber meets the road! Man now its getting tough. "old things have passed away" That's such a hard thing to let happen, letting go of your old self. We each have sin in our lives that we hold onto. We struggle with and keep trying to step away from it but its not easy. The problem is we keep trying to deal with it. Its only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ that sin is overcome. We had nothing to do with it. We can not overcome sin in our lives. If you try to fight your sin you will lose. Simple as that, you can't do it. Ah but Jesus can and did. He overcame sin, died on the cross for our sin and rose again to sit at the right hand of the Father. When the temptation to sin rears its ugly head call on Jesus to handle it. This is one of those really aggravating things in life. Its so easy a caveman can do it yet we don't! You have a problem with a sin in your life, pray about, give it to Jesus to cover under His blood and that's it. Every time it pops up do this. Its not hard but we just don't like to release our control even though we're not really controlling anything. This is part of that getting rid of the old things. Turn your life over to Jesus.

The big reveal "all things have become new." Drum roll please!....Tadaa its the new and improved you!! Once you've done the above things you have become new. You now have a new way to think about things, a new way to handle sin. When it pops up you turn to God. People will still see things happen but NOW they will also see you turn to Jesus for strength and forgiveness. Just like any makeover though you have to maintain it. Except your spiritual maintenance is very different from physical maintenance. To maintain a physical makeover you have to take control of your life. To maintain a spiritual makeover you have to relinquish control of it. Everyday you have to give Jesus control over every aspect of your life. There was one word in that sentence that I bet you missed. Its one word that causes us all to stumble...EVERY. That's right every thing in your life. Not just some parts but all parts. Its so hard not to pull things back from God but if we remember that He created us, in Him we have been made new and in Him we will find strength to carry on life will be easier and better! My prayer is that you too will accept the "makeover" God is offering you. Trust that He knows what looks best on you and how to bring out all of your beautiful qualities. I posted a link above to a wonderful website that is offering a opportunity to win a She Speaks scholarship. The She Speaks Conference is an opportunity for women to reach out to other women and bring them closer to God the Father. I'm very much looking forward to attending this and pray I have the opportunity to this year!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Are you a wierdo?

It was Wacky Tacky night in our Kids Klub at church. Their message was the same! Must be something God wants out there!

My daughter came home from school last week upset because one of her friends said her dad was weird. It seems that the girls were discussing mad dads and the things they say! One said her dad cussed and Jenna said hers didn't. This little girl turned to Jenna and said "Your dad doesn't cuss?" Jenna "No he doesn't" little girl " Well your dads weird. All dads cuss." Jenna " Well mine doesn't so I guess he's weird." She came home and shared this with her father, who promptly told her he was weird and it was okay!

See as Christians we should be a little weird to the rest of the world. We should stand out be different. We are to be set apart from them. We look the same, like some of the same things, go to the same restaurants, our kids play on the same ball teams wear the same styles, drive the same types of vehicles but there is to be something very different about Christians. We're to have a light inside us that shines brightly like a beacon to other. There should be this inner something that others just don't quite understand but want to have. That would be Jesus. You should be a lighthouse standing strong for others letting Jesus' love shine through you as a refuge of hope through the storms of life.

Now let me tell you that just because your saved and a born again believer that doesn't make you a lighthouse! Unfortunately too many of us are like the lighthouse's we see now just empty shells of what we were built for. We turn our light off with the switch of sin. God knows we sin. He knows we're going to sin. We have a sin nature.

Romans 3:23 NIV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

BUT theres' hope,

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

As Christians we know this, but what we struggle with is remembering it. With setting ourselves aside as a temple for Christ. EVERY unrepentant sin in your life keeps you one step away from God. Your light should be blinding but sin dims it. As we fall on our faces' and give God the truth in our hearts all of our shameful sin and let it be washed in the blood of the Lamb then our light gets a little brighter each time. We start to stand out again maybe look a little weird or act a little weird. I don't know about you but as I fall on my face before God I pray that today I look like a weirdo!

Whose your Elisabeth!

I was talking to a wonderful friend the other day and giving her the run down on our devotional from our "Sisterhood Supper". I was explaining how I believe that its okay to turn to your friends when things are bothering you. We're suppose to, its our group therapy! Throughout the bible women gathered together to discuss their days, problems, children, and husbands. We're social creatures and share our lives, its how we were created. The bible is an example to us about this. Look at Ruth and Naomi, Mary and Elisabeth, Lois and Eunice. Even the Samaritan woman went out and shared the truth about Jesus after meeting him.
Today I want to think about Mary and Elisabeth. I got to tell you, I think that was a friendship forged and strengthened by fire. Mary and Elisabeth were cousins so you have to know that Elisabeth knew all the questions going around about Mary's pregnancy. If you look at her situation in today's society you can get a good idea about what Mary might have suffered. I'm guessing the family didn't just say "Oh hey its all okay!". She was probably shunned, ignored, not invited to sit with the other woman and help in the daily chores. Unlike Joseph they wouldn't have understood that she was carrying our Lord Jesus Christ. No angels appeared to them to make her life any easier. Imagine not having ANYONE to talk too. Wow no thank you. I talk way too much to not at least have others pretend to listen! Poor Joseph. If that would have been me I would have been talking my husbands head off!! As it is Dean will say " Honey its bedtime PLEASE go to sleep!" and that's AFTER I've been around friends to share my day with! Then to be pregnant with no one to turn to. How scary that would have been. Today you can't walk through the store without someone telling you some little bit of knowledge about your pregnancy. Imagine how scarred she would have been. Pregnant, new family, new husband, and all alone.
We learn that thank you God, Mary had Elisabeth. Oh what a great comfort they were to each other. One who was pitied for not being able to have children the other shunned for already being with child. Elisabeth was so much more to Mary than just a cousin and friend she was her go to girl, her mentor. Her mother in essence. When Mary married Joseph she left her family to join his. Then his family most likely shunned her, leaving her with no one. Elisabeth believed her, loved her, and gave her the support and caring she need to carry Jesus.
So I ask who's your Elisabeth? If you can't answer this question and feel good knowing that she will carry you and support you even when your shunned, then join us for our next "Sisterhood Supper" we have a lot of Elisabeth's. We love to share!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

You'll poke your eye out!!

Lets do a little "experiment"! Are you ready? Okay now I want you to stick your finger in your eye. Thats right just do it. I know, I know. Tell me how did it feel? It hurt didn't it. Could you see clearly after you did that? I bet not at first. That is sin in our lives its like a finger in the eye. It hurts us and causes us to not see things clearly. When we judge others we're judging with imperfect vision.

Matthew 7:4 ASV
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me cast out the mote out of thine eye; and lo, the beam is in thine own eye?

So often we judge others. I catch myself doing this daily. Whether its their clothes, hair, makeup or actions I tend to judge. I'm trying to remind myself that this person that I'm judging either likes what they're wearing, how their hair looks or what they are doing OR its the best they're circumstances allow. There are times when your asked to sit on a jury and judge someones actions but thats not what we're talking about here. This is our daily sin of judgment. I ask, are you perfect? Are you sinless? Have you never done something similar? Were all of your fashion choices in life runway approved? Were you a kid in the late 80's and 90's if so we know you had hair to repent for!

Matthew 7:1 NIV
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

Luke 6:37 NIV
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Matthew 7:2 NIV
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

The scripture goes on and on for this subject. Hmm I wonder if God was trying to tell us something?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Is trusting, forgeting?

Alright so it wasn't the next day that I got back to this. Life has been a little crazy and it took me a few! Well here's the question of the day...Is trusting again after you have been hurt the same as forgetting? The topic at hand is forgive and forget. That's the saying and what so many think their suppose to do but struggle with. Well let me go ahead and relieve a little burden for you. Your not God. Therefore you can't forgive and forget. He can, when we ask for forgiveness and repent, our sins are covered under the blood. No longer seen by God. They are as far as the east is from the west. He sets them aside and sees them no more. Again I reiterate your not God. We are to strive to be Christ like. So we work toward an understanding of the wrong that hurt us and give forgiveness. We then rebuild the trust that was broken. Once something has been broke its never the same again. Sometimes it no longer works right, only does the job half as good as before. Sometimes it works again but its just not pretty. Sometimes all we want to do is sweep it into the garbage. BUT you can't Jesus didn't sweep you into the garbage. So you grab the superglue and work the puzzle back together. Sometimes when something is broke and then repaired it strengthens it. Its never the same as it once was but it can be stronger. Our trust in others is that way. We have to work at fixing it. Its never the same again but it can still be good maybe even stronger too. In the back of our minds we'll always remember that our trust was broken. That's okay. It keeps us from having it broke again the same way as before. Its only when you dwell on it, ya know keep the pressure on the cracks that it can never function again.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Does forgivness require forgetfulness?

We often hear the line "forgive and forget". It sounds really easy but can you? Have you? Should you? Is it biblical? Are we suppose to? Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, Yes, Yes, No, No Yes and Yes. There that was really easy to solve! Bet you thought I was going to blog about forever about this!!

The truth is I can give you a solid answer on part of it. Yes you are to forgive. Yes that means EVERYTHING. Is it easy to forgive no, but through the shed blood of Jesus Christ we have been forgiven of ALL of our sins as long as we choose to accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Forgiveness doesn't always come quickly or easily. It takes work but if your not willing to understand and forgive then what does that say about you and your relationship with Jesus? I'm not going to type the entire passage but grab your bible and read Matthew 18 21-35. Go ahead I'll wait for you to finish! ~~~~~~~~ Good your back. We have been forgiven shouldn't we share that same mercy. Have you never hurt another? Is there nothing in your life that you need to ask forgiveness for? Jesus said in Luke 23:34 Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. He was asking forgiveness for those who hurt him. Aren't we to live like Jesus? Are we not suppose to model Him? Who are we to do any less?

What if the person who hurt you isn't a Christian? What if they haven't asked for your forgiveness? What if they don't feel they have hurt you? Luke 23:34 Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. You can't dispute the word of God. At this point I would suggest understanding. I was abused as a girl. We hear that statement and think "Oh bless her" but we don't look past it. I was beat, tormented and terrorized by someone who was suppose to protect me. I have forgiven my abuser. Through understanding and Gods grace I can forgive. I can be in a room with this person, talk to them even have a somewhat relationship with them. They have never asked my forgiveness. They have blocked this from their life. I unfortunately can not. (that's tomorrows blog!) The point is my forgiveness is not based on them. Its based on me and Jesus. Once I gathered an understanding of why then I could work past it. I'm not saying what they did was okay, or right, but I can see why they did what they did. Can you? Can you look past your hurt for understanding? It doesn't always make sense and its not usually how we would have handled things but it is what it is. Can you forgive?
Next we'll work on the forgetting part.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

THANK YOU LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just want to take a few and share with you how awesome and awe inspiring my Lord is. I am not a celebrity follower kinda person. I have met authors that I admire, musicians that I listen to, a football star and our very own local boxer, but I'm not the kind that gets star struck. At EWomen last year I found that I envied the speakers for their lives. Not their celebrity, money, or travel but their relationship with Jesus. They seemed to have this completely holy, uplifting righteous relationship with Him that I was in awe of. I remember thinking wow I want that. I mean I had a relationship with God but we weren't best friends. We were more like really really good acquaintances, maybe just friends but He wasn't really part of my inner circle. He was not my go to Guy. I didn't go to him when I was mad, when little things were falling apart, or for EVERY decision I made. I just went for the biggies, you know when I was desperate. I didn't praise his name with all my heart or cry out with my whole burden. I just gave him the surface.
Since then God has made a few changes in my life. Through his conviction I've given up things that were keeping me from Him, and put him TRULY first. I now can say I feel like Beth Moore and Angela Thomas!! Okay maybe not just like them but woo hoo its close!!! God has blessed me with so many things in my life right now! Working with so many of you on Women's Ministry has just blessed me so much that I almost feel guilty for this overwhelming fullness of the Holy Spirit that its crazy! I now get it, the go tell it on the mountain high so many talk about! I want all of my friends to have this! To know My God in such a personal and profound way. I was trying to explain it to my husband the other day and could only say that I have found a level of "Jesusness!!!" that I didn't know before! You like that didn't you! I know some of you are thinking "What is she talking about "Jesusness" that makes no sense." Well those of you who speak "Angela" you get it don't you! There's just a deeper level to my relationship with God that didn't exist before. Now I'm overwhelmed with the blessings He has bestowed upon me, with the trust He is placing in me to do His will and His work. Its humbling. With this new responsibility though has come new freedoms. Tonight I raised my hands, praised my God with what is only in His ears a joyful noise and didn't care one bit who was around. I simply let the Holy Spirit free to praise my God. Tonight I no longer cared, considered or even thought about others as I worshiped. I must say if freeing! I also watch others do the same and thought that if we all let go of us and simply gave God His reign what an awe inspiring, awesome experience that would be.

Monday, January 24, 2011

You are what you eat?

Well I just need to go ahead and let you all know my preacher is a thief! He stole my message and used it for part of his sermon on Sunday. I don't know how he cracked my computer and found it but there ya go! I figure since he stole my message than I can use part of his to add to mine! Okay he's really not a thief but it seems to be a message The Lord wants out there. I would say he was talking to just me but He and I already had this discussion a little while back! (FYI I did listen so if your reading this and I haven't called...)

Remember that song from Saturday morning cartoons with the singing egg, "You are what you eat from your head down to your feet..." I always loved those cartoon snippets. This message makes me think of that. Its the same idea and we often tell our children this yet we forget to practice what we preach. Its guilt by association. You are a reflection of your friends. If you surround yourself with Godly, church going, Lord loving, bible reading Christians you either are or will be one yourself. If you eat healthy veggies and fruits then your body will be healthy. If you eat junk your body will reflect it. If you surround yourself with hateful ugly people your attitude will reflect that. I think we all got that. It pretty common sense and its basic. BUT the kicker the ones we never see coming are the things like chocolate covered strawberries. Its fruit right so its should be good for you. It lost some of its goodness when you added the chocolate. We have many friends like that. Their church going Christians so we can hang out with them right? They're good right? Do they have a sweet layer of sin coating them? Maybe they're not so good after all. Are they in the word? Are you in it? We all say we love the Lord but are yours and their actions showing that. What parts of your life have a thin layer of chocolate sin covering them?

Those friends aren't bad they just might not be good for you everyday. Your attitude is often caught not taught. (Thanks Brian!) We tend to reflect those around us. Like surrounds itself with like. We tend to surround ourselves with people who are similar to us. If you look at your friends they probably have similar attitudes, lifestyles, families. Kids are usually within the same age ranges, things like that. Now look closer at them. Is their worship the same? Is that a good thing or not? Do they go to the same church? Do you go at the same times? Are you studying the same things? Or at least similar churches, times, study groups, and books. If your answer was no to the last few than maybe you need to change a few habits. Go on a spiritual life style change. Not a diet that implies your losing something but a lifestyle change implies your making changes for the better, your gaining health, your gaining a better relationship with God. See we know who is "bad", but what about the ones who think you don't have to read the bible to know God? You just have to show up to church on Sunday and you've done your part. The "Sure I pray"ones who don't hit their knees daily much less two or three times a day. What about Sunday school? Sunday night service? Wednesday nights? (I'm often guilty there. Just thought I should point out my on beam.) VBS? Special fellowship gatherings? Daily devotionals? Music? Books? Movies? These things matter. I'm just saying.

Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise , think on these things.

Sometimes you have to step back from friends, change YOURSELF. Its hard, people like to keep you in the mold YOU created. When you change and create a new mold it can make others uncomfortable. They now no longer "know" you. You've changed the dynamics of the friendship. Some friendships can't stand up under that kind of weight. If that's the case it was poorly built to begin with. Try building your new friendships on "Christ solid rock" as your foundation. Don't surround yourself with what you are but with what you want to become.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Building Honor

Been mulling over my earlier post about honoring my parents. I think God has granted me a little bit of insight on this today. To recap I don't or haven't always honored in thought one of my parents and God is working with me on this issue so heres todays glimpse of understanding. I have to blog this cause tomorrow I might lose it!

Its kinda like the president, we don't have to like everything about them but we have to honor the posistion. I honor the fact that my parent gave me life, raised me, did the best that they knew how to do by me. I don't have to like their choices or even respect and honor those choices. I do have to respect and honor the position. I have to give this parent the same consideration I give my past abusers. They have a past. That said past has shaped who they are and the choices they have made. For the good or bad its there. I don't have to submit myself to them. I'm now an adult and a parent myself but without them I simply wouldn't be who I am today.

I told my brother the other day that we have to look at our parents and the mistakes they made with us so we don't make them with our children ( we get to make new ones!!). How else do we learn. We try so very hard to keep our children from making our mistakes yet we sometimes repeat our parents. The writer of yesterdays devotional made it a point to open her self, kids, and home to her parents. Well truth be told more power to her! Thats not always fesible for all of us BUT we can open our hearts to them. I dont have to let my parent have free range with my children, I don't have to go to their house, invite them to every occasion. I do need to pray for them. Open my heart and mind to them. Know that God is in control and if He can remove this acorn VERY far from the tree than he can strip the tree down and renew its growth. I don't have to be there physically for that to happen but I do need to be there spiritually.

How can I know that Gods grace saved me and not believe that it can save them.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A lack of honor

First off I must say I have a love hate relationship with my Journey daily devotional. Most days I love it but then God goes and uses it to bring the smack down on me and I just have to say "Really?".

Today was about honoring our parents. Sounds normal. As a parent I try to instill in my children that they honor me and their father but do I honor mine. They answer to that is no. I love the both immensely. But honor them both not so much. I think its because I tie honor into respect. I feel they go hand and hand but they don't. Today's story truly hit home for me. The author had bad parents who were not believers. She pulled her life away from theirs and avoided them. Let me just say that sounds VERY familiar to me.

God said EXODUS 20:12 Honor thy father and thy mother;that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Often times we feel that only applies to "good" parents. Well we're wrong. God wants us to honor our parents period. There is no scripture that says "Honor your father and mother BUT only if they are good, holy, christian parents." It just says "Honor thy father and thy mother.

What is honor. Honor is (verb) * to hold in high respect or revere * to confer honor or distinction upon * to show a courteous regard to * to accept as valid and conform to the request or demands of.

By not honoring our parents period we are not honoring God. He commanded us to honor our parents. So what does this mean to us who have had less the "Godly" parents? I don't know. Yes I'm sure your now thinking, "What? You don't know? Whats the point if you don't know?". Well I don't know that either! I'm still working this one out! If you know me personally than you know my story. If not call and I'll tell you. But at this point in my life I don't honor one of my parents. I don't respect them. They have given me nothing to respect. Yet I'm muddling through Gods command for me to honor them. Where is the line for this. At what point do we get to say I'm done or do we? Is God the Father ever done with us? What if he just says "I'm done".

Hmmm Questions, questions, questions. Lets toss this one around and pray on it some more. Did it give you something to think about. It did me. I'll have my nose in my bible a whole lot for this one and I might have to bust out some knee pads!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

LEGO'S like words?

EPHESIANS 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Todays daily devotional was about the tongue. Yes the almighty tongue. For such a small body part it is amazingly strong. I read somewhere that is was the strongest muscle in your body.(this may or may not be true) I do know it can be the greatest detriment to the body of Christ or our most powerful tool to further His kingdom. JAMES3:10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. We can use our tongues to praise Gods holy name and blasphemy it as well. Often times from the same tongue. We can do good and evil with that small little muscle. It has the power to save, kill, build you up to your highest and knock you down to your lowest. Animals show their love with licking. Humans show their hatred with the vileness that spews from it. We can hurt someone with the smallest comment or make their day. That is one powerful muscle.

A few months ago a good friend made a comment about what I was wearing that day. I thought I looked nice but her innocent remark made me question my choice of outfits. She meant nothing by it ( I hope!), but was simply saying she tried something simlar and didn't look good in it. I then had to seek affirmation from others. Hers was a simple remark that did damage, caused doubt.

Jenna was singing at church one Sunday when she started getting a little extra joyful in her song. I told her to bring in down just a notch. Well I broke her heart, crushed her spirit at that time. My comment no matter how well intended did damage.

Most think our tongues don't come with warning labels. Ah you would be wrong! We sometimes forget we have an entire owners manual. The Bible. It directs us in how to operate EVERY part of our body and our lives. Oh but so many people just toss out the manual and wing it. They think they're smarter than the Author and Creator only to figure out later they do need the directions. I am often one of those people. (Not the smarter part just the winging it part!)

JAMES3:2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

I am not perfect and in many things I offend others. Its a daily battle to wield my tongue with careful precision and not reckless destruction. Words are like legos it only takes one to finish a masterpiece, but remove the wrong one and you will destroy an entire creation.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Were you BOLD today?

HEBREWS 3:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy , and find grace to help in time of need.

Where you bold today? Now that's a loaded question! Some days my clothes might be bold, some days its my actions and more times that not its my mouth but what about your worship?

For those of you who read my previous blog the answer is YES I openly praised and worship my Lord today! I felt self conscious and thought "Is anybody watching?" and raised my arms in adoration anyway. I watched one of my favorite people today worship in song and praise and as I watched her boldly share her love for our Lord and Savior I remembered that there will always be those who will think your making it about you. That's only because they don't know Jesus love so fully to understand its only about Him. Being brave isn't about not being scared its about acting in spite of that fear. Well worshiping boldly isn't about being a outgoing person its about worshiping God no matter what others might think. I learned that if your brave and give yourself over to the Lord someone somewhere is watching and just maybe your boldness will give them the strength they need to be bold too.

To my very special friend who was bold today. Thank you. You have blessed me more than words can say. I'm happy and blessed to say there are probably a few of you who are asking yourselves " Is she talking about me?" The answer is YES!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sometimes its good to be childish

Psalm 148:12 & 13 ~ Both young men, and maidens; old men and children: (13) Let them praise the name of the Lord: for His name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven.

Open worship has always been a difficult thing for me. Lifting my arms and worshiping the Lord with others around I feel self conscious. I have this fear of someone looking at me and thinking " What is she doing, or Look at her," or all sorts of silly things. I didn't want anyone to think I was bringing attention to myself and I didn't want to draw attention to myself even though I've had the urge to left my arms in worship on occasion! Now that being said I have a few friends who openly worship with all they have. So I thought to myself do I think they look silly? Well yes but not because of their worship!! Just Kidding!! No, when I even noticed them (because I was focused on Jesus or should have been) I thought they looked beautiful and free. I admire their boldness in fully worshiping our Lord the way the Spirit called them too. I told myself I would left my arms in praise the next time the spirit urged me too. Well I chickened out! My hands were halfway there when I again got an attack of the "Oh is anyone watching?" and grabbed some wood. (That would be the pew in front of me.) I later realized that I didn't lift my arms because I wanted my worship to be all about my Lord and not about me. That makes sense except by me NOT worshiping the way the spirit urged me to I then made my worship all about me and NOT my Lord. It was an AHA moment! Then as if that epiphany wasn't enough I open my daily devotional and read a commentary about Wholehearted Worship! I mean come on God is good and He likes to make sure He gets his point to you! It was about a young girl worshiping with abandon, not worrying about what others might think. The author jokingly referred to her own worship as sedate, refined, upscale and mature. The mature part binged for me. My earlier post was about I might be growing older but I'm newer in Christ each day. Well Christ urged us to have a childlike faith in him. I'm also seeing that we should have a childlike abandon in our worship to him as well. See its okay to be a little childish! Sometimes we get a little to "refined" in our worship and forget to worship fully. That being said I promise to be bold, make my worship about God, not me and raise my arms in praise when the spirit tells me! What about you?

PSALM 95:1-4 O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.(2) Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. (3) For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

Newer not Older

Psalm 25:7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness sake, O Lord.

(left to rigt) My cousin MaryJo, Deana and myself.

While reading my daily devotional yesterday I came across this bible verse and it just spoke to me. I started thinking back to all the sins of my youth (let me just say there were MANY) and I just thanked God that He has showed me His mercy. When I run into people from my past I'm ashamed of my actions and embarrassed when they want to reminisce. All I can do is pray they see the changes in me and for the opportunity to show them how Jesus has changed my life, my decisions and my thoughts. I'm not the same girl I was 20 years ago, (thank you Lord Jesus for that!) nor the same woman I was 2 years ago, or even 2 days ago. Every day that I grow older and I steep myself in His word, I grow newer! I'm newer today than I was yesterday because today I grew more in Jesus word and love. I don't know about you but I like being newer instead of older! The more I read His word and learn His ways the fresher my faith is. You can only accomplish this through a daily walk with the Lord. This I think is the hardest part and sadly enough its the easiest. Just a little bit of your morning, 30 minutes that's it and *BAM* your newer, fresher, better! I can spend 30 minutes in the shower getting cleaner, 30 minutes on hair, makeup and clothes getting "prettier", 30 minutes eating breakfast, drinking coffee getting slimmer (or fatter depending on what I'm eating!) 30 minutes or more doing Zumba trying to get slimmer, 30 minutes planning my grocery list and dinner menus getting better organized and financially sound. Yet its so very hard to spend 30 minutes with the Lord getting into his word and becoming a better servant to him. My preacher preached a message on New Year, New You...your attitude. Well he got it almost right. New DAY, New you,...Renew your attitude. I don't want to wait and make a New years resolution each year. I'm making a New Days reVolution each day. Today I was in Gods word. Tomorrow I might fall BUT that's okay because I'll get up dust my old self off and on the next day make me a little bit newer.