Monday, December 20, 2010

Hope, Comfort, and the Promise of Eternity

"Comfort, O comfort My people," says your God. "Speak kindly to Jerusalem; and call out to her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed, that she has received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins." A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." A voice says, "Call out." Then he answered, "What shall I call out?" All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news, Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your God!" Behold, the Lord God will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him and His recompense before Him. Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and marked off the heavens by the span, and calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, and weighed the mountains in a balance and the hills in a pair of scales? Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge and informed Him of the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless. To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, a goldsmith plates it with gold, and a silversmith fashions chains of silver. He who is too impoverished for such an offering selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman to prepare an idol that will not totter. Do you not know? Have you not hear? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble. To whom then will you like Me that I would be his equal?" says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their hose by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing. Wy do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the Lord, and the justice due me excapes the notice of my God"? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40

Okay, I know that was a long passage, but WOW! I must confess that since my son was born in Sept. I have been very depressed. I take that back, I think it started even before he was born, but no matter, the point is for the past few months I have been battling a depression like no other I have ever experienced. During this time, I have been a very angry person. Mostly towards my husband. Yet, I saw God continuing to work in my life, and answering prayer. Josh got a job for the winter that started just as the season ended for his other job, and some other things as well. So why was I so depressed you ask. I honestly do not know. Everything seemed like a huge weight upon my shoulders. All of the every day tasks and responsibilities that I have been accustomed too just seemed like a new burden each day. I know this sounds crazy, but more than once through this time, God just spoke to me that this time I was going through was not just a time of suffering for me to grow, but also to allow someone else to grow spiritually as well. Now, I'm still not sure who it is, but I have my guesses. 

Last night we had our Christmas program at church, and this year the theme centered on hope. I sincerely prayed that the message of the evening would reach those who had come to watch, but also those of us who had participated in putting on the program. And again, God answered my prayer in a way I never expected. Even though I missed some of the pieces of the program, the Holy Spirit was working in me. 

I should mention that Josh's new job has required me to get up much earlier than I ever would on my own, being that I have to take him to work and although he was supposed to start at 10 am, he has had to start at 5 or 6 am for the last week. The good part about this is that it has given me some much needed quiet time alone with God. I had fallen out of my habit of reading my Bible, but was able to get back into it during this time. However, this morning I was going to go back to bed and just do it later, but God was drawing me. First, Kai wouldn't stop fussing until I finally just got up. Then, I just couldn't stop thinking about reading my Bible. So I opened my Bible and was on the passage above. 

I didn't even get past the first verse when I realized, I was being drawn to read my Bible this morning, because God knew what I would be reading and how it would minister to my soul! O praise the omniscient God! I'm not even going to attempt to explain how this passage spoke to me, I think it's pretty self explanatory and I pray that it speaks to your soul as well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Darker Side of the Journey

What is this veil over my eyes
That clouds my vision with haze?
I walk around as though half-blind
Or lost in a self-absorbing daze.

To reach yet another mount,
Through the valley I must pass.
Just how long does the emptiness,
The separation have to last?

Voids replace love, hope.
Reaching, grabbing, I long to feel;
To feel emotion of any kind,
Just to know that I am real.

Caught in the branches,
Tangled in the roots,
Anger rages within me
As I struggle to pull loose.

The fog is so thick
In no direction can I see.
O Lord, attune my heart to hear
Every word you speak to me!

Allow me to be guided
by a quiet, listening soul.
Drawing me closer, back into your light
Where the warmth of Your presence
Makes me whole.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bug Barriers for God's Home

I hate bugs. I especially hate them in my house. Being the time of year that it is, we have found ants, spiders, and other creepy crawly things in our house. So what do we do about it? Well, first I kill any that I find in our house. Even the kids help kill them. But along with that, Josh uses what called a bug barrier, to spray around the house to keep the bugs out. This year, we have had to put up the bug barrier more than once, due to rain and weeding our flower beds, which happen to be right up against the house. When we start seeing the bugs again, we realize the bug barrier has been disrupted and we have to spray all over again.

Now I'm sure you're wondering why I would be writing about all of this. Yesterday morning I started thinking, "Am I as active in putting up the barriers to sin in my life as I am about putting up bug barriers in my house? Am I as on top of squashing out the sins I find in my heart as I am about squashing a little ant?"

Eph. 6 talks about putting on the armor of God, so that we can resist the devil. Am I putting on this armor daily to keep my heart safe from the strongholds of sin?

Some of you may think I'm a little paranoid about getting rid of the bugs in my house, but I think of it this way - I could let them be, however, leaving them alone could cause bigger issues later on as they set up home in my walls or whatever and begin to eat away at the structure of my house. It's the same with sin. We could let the small stuff go, as not a big deal, but then again, if we continue to let them go they will get worse and develop a stronghold in our lives.

I need to think more proactively about keeping sin out of God's home - my heart.

Monday, May 24, 2010

In Love... In a Different Way

I'm finally writing a blog about what God taught me last weekend at a women's retreat.

At least a week before I was supposed to go on this retreat, my relationship with Christ started to feel dry, almost forced and non-existent. Reading my Bible seemed more like a chore, one that I didn't particularly feel like doing, but did any way. Attempting to focus enough to pray seemed impossible. And my character was anything but an example of Jesus.

During that week, I began to notice little things that made me realize how much I love my husband. Better yet, how much I am in love with my husband. I couldn't help but think about how when he is gone, I long to talk to him, even if only for a few minutes. When I am angry with him, I want nothing more than for him to just wrap his arms around me and hold me close - and as I melt like butter in his arms, forget what I was angry about in the first place. On days I actually get to take a nap, I sleep on his side of the bed, just so I can smell him and feel like he is there. I will drop anything to spend time with him.

I tell you all that to say, I was longing to be in love with Christ in the way I was with my husband. I wanted to have that same longing and desire to be close to Christ. I wanted to really be able to say that I would drop anything to spend time with Him because I couldn't think of anything better to do. But the truth was, I could find all kinds of better things to do.

My prayer going into this retreat weekend was that I would fall in love with my Saviour again. That I would feel the same way towards Him that I did towards my husband. But instead God showed me something different, something better!

God is everything to us and for us. He is our lover, saviour, friend, father, comforter... I could go on forever. I already knew all this, but what He showed me over that weekend was, that I didn't need to compare my relationship with Christ with the love I have for my husband, because He has given me that love for him at this time for a reason. At this point, in my life, God wants me to be in love with Him in a different way than the love I have for my husband. He wants me to be daddy's little girl. His little princess, who adores Him in every way.

You see, God is everything to us, but He doesn't necessarily play all those roles at all times in our lives. At certain times we need Him in different ways, and He knew I really needed Him to be my daddy right now.

This was confirmed to me in so many ways over the weekend that I will not share them all, but most assuredly in the picture He gave me as I prayed during communion. I asked God to show me how to be in love with Him. To show me what that would look like, and He gave me a picture of me sitting on His lap (yes as an adult), like a little girl who was just adoring her daddy and spending time with Him. I was so happy to be with Him, I couldn't stop talking about everything that was going on in my life, both good and bad. All the time with a big smile on my face, even as I cried and He comforted me when I got to some of the rougher parts. But I was just so happy to have His attention, to be with Him, to sit on His lap and adore Him. I was in love with my daddy!

That picture spoke to my heart, like no other. Because He knew what I needed Him to be right now, and He knew that as much as I love my husband, I did not want it to come before my love for Him. So He gave me both! God is so awesome!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Test of Trust

This week God is really testing my trust in Him. Josh and I have been looking to buy a house. We found one we liked, rather quickly, at a very low price. We even had someone who does construction type work take a look at it and tell us that it was a great buy! So what's the problem? Well, when we began this process, I told my husband that I was praying for a miracle. I need to know that this is God. I need to know that when we make a decision as important as buying a house that we are really following where God is leading.

So back to the house. We loved it. It has fantastic gardens, a full finished basement, and was just overall sooo cute. My husband and I were so excited that we were about to get such an awesome deal, because the price was really good. We started going through the process of pre-approval and BAM! we hit a road bump. You see although we have some rough credit history in the past, one of our biggest problems is that we no longer have enough debt to buy a house.

No, you did not read that wrong. Over the last two years, Josh and I have been working on paying off our accounts and closing them. To the credit world, this is a problem. Now that we are almost debt free, it is our lack of current revolving credit accounts that is hurting our chances of getting a house.

Not only does that mean we cannot go forward right now and purchase the house we like, but worse we are being faced with a major decision to make. Our choice is to either do what the world (including many close friends) are telling us and open up some more credit cards to use and pay on regularly to help build our credit, or to do the right thing and continue working our way to a credit-free life.

This has come as a huge slap in our face, during a time when we thought we were finally gaining ground having made the right choices. We were upset, grieved, completely disappointed. But then I realized something that almost immediately changed my attitude


Sometimes I need to be reminded that even though my plans and ideas sound soooo good, God's are always better. Remember that from the beginning I said that I needed to know that this was from God. I needed a miracle. Yeah, it probably would have seemed like a small miracle, or at least a good stream of coincidences had everything worked out the way we wanted them to, but they didn't. I have to believe that God has something far more marvelous in store. I said from the beginning that this has to come as something where I have no room to take the credit. To be honest had it worked out, I probably could have found a way to take at least some of the credit.

Even though all of this hit us just last night, I am at peace about the situation. Why? How? Because I'm waiting for God's better plan to come into place. I may not know what His plan is, but I do know that it obviously wasn't mine, so it must be even better than I can imagine.

Stay tuned for a miraculous update...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Faithful to the Faithless

"If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself." - 2 Tim. 2:13

How often do we fail to remain faithful to our God? How many times do we seem to forget to trust Him when things get hard? How frequently do we stray from His commands?

Oh, but even more importantly, how wonderful is it to know that our God will remain faithful even when we are faithless!!

Why would He continue to be faithful when it seems we have forgotten about Him? Why would be hold to His promises, when we doubt they will come true? Why, because He cannot do anything other than be faithful! Our God is perfect and unlike so many people we know, His Word is His bond. When He makes a promise, He must be faithful to fulfill that promise because if He did not, He would be denying Himself.

Too often, we deny Him. Too often we doubt. Too often we try to put our lives into our own hands. Thank the Lord, He continues to carry out His plan, His promises!

Imagine for a moment where we would be right now, if God decided one day to say, "Fine, if you will not have faith that I will carry out my promises to you, then I won't. If you don't believe I can use you, then I won't. If you don't think I can restore you to righteousness, then fine, I won't." Whoa! I'm sure we can all think of many many times that we are certainly thankful God did not just leave us high and dry because we wanted to be an idiot.

I can personally say that too often I have given Him good reason to say, "Forget it. You go your way, I'll go mine, since that seems to be what you want." But He doesn't do that. Instead He says, "As much as I wish you wouldn't do this, I'm going to let you, so I can show you how amazing my unconditional love is for you!"

Take some time today, this week, to thank God for His faithfulness in your life. It's the least we can do.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Trust Me... Regardless"

I'm not one to be a scaredy-cat. Sure, I get a little scared of being up high, and my stomach goes nuts before getting on a roller coaster, but I still get on, because I know I will enjoy it. But there are things that even those of us who are not general scaredy-cats are fearful of happening. Especially for those of us who have others in our lives we are close to and love dearly (which I imagine is most of us, if not all of us). We fear something may happen to our loved ones. Now, for most people this is just an "in-the-back-of-your-mind" awareness. But for me, it has been


condition. I have an overwhelming fear of either my husband dying - leaving me to raise 4 (soon to be 5) children on my own, or (I can barely think it) something happening to one of these precious little babies.

Those of you who may know me well may know that I have a wonderfully vivid imagination, but sometimes it gets a little out of hand. Even my dreams can be so vivid they seem real. Unfortunately, it has been a source of weakness, leaving me vulnerable to the enemy's attacks on my mind. I have often been left almost paralyzed by the thought process of what I would do, or where I would be if something like this happened.

But last night, I heard something wonderful, something completely freeing:


We all want to say we trust God, but to what extent? I was limiting my trust in God to trusting that He would not allow those worst nightmares of mine to happen. But what if they did? Where would I be then? It would be incredibly hard for me to deal with at first, but my God is faithful and He will bring me through. He has brought me through the tough stuff before and He will do it again and again and again.


As overwhelming as my fear may seem, my God is bigger than my fear and I don't have to be afraid any more, because I can trust God even if my worst fear happens. How wonderfully freeing it is to know that regardless of what happens, I can still trust in my God to be faithful!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cleaning House

I hate cleaning the house. It's tedious and laborious and by tomorrow it won't even look like I did anything. To be quite honest, the dirtiest part of my kitchen is under the table (and probably under the appliances). The dirtiest part of my living room is under the furniture. The dirtiest parts of pretty much any room in my house is under something that I don't want to have to move, and I'm pretty sure no one is going to see under anyway, so I don't bother. No matter the fact that these are the places where the germs fester and spread throughout the rest of the house.
Unfortunately, this is also true for my soul. It's so easy to not bother cleaning up the areas of my life that I think no one will see. The thoughts that no one has to know I had or feelings I have about someone or something, but don't share because it seems shameful. But just like the areas in my house that I neglect, these are the ares that affect everything else, even if not noticeably. Huh? Because these are the things that affect my character. Does it matter if no one else ever knows about it? No. God knows and He doesn't like it. That should be enough to make me want to take care of it. Is it tedious work trying to keep the secret places of my heart clean and pure? Of course it is! But I know that I don't have to do it alone. I have the Holy Spirit that can is living within me, and believe me, He's definitely checking under all the junk to make sure I'm not neglecting anything.
Does this mean I'm going to start cleaning my house better? Hey, I gotta start somewhere, and well, my life is more important. : )

Monday, January 25, 2010

I am a P.R.I.N.C.E.S.S.!

Most little girls dream of being a princess. They are enamored with Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, castles, tiaras, fluffy dresses, etc. - you get the picture. Even grown women want to be princesses, but as we get older our idea of what a princess is changes. In the eyes of a woman, being a princess means beauty, fashion, financial security, luxury, and (drawing a breath) royalty! We picture being the most beautiful being in the most fashionable dress. No worrying about money, because we have all we could ever need or even want. We have the finest of all things possible, jewelry, dishes, you name it- we have it made out of some precious stone or metal. Oh, don't forget about our Prince Charming - so handsome! But to top it all off, we are royalty. Admit it, you still dream about being a princess.
Our society makes this dream of being a princess so enticing. From the time we are little girls watching those Disney movies to the constant pressures the media puts on us to want to be like the celebrities (which is not that far from our more "mature" view of being a princess). I'll admit, I dream of being a princess, even now as an adult. However, recently I have been studying the book of Esther, through a study by Beth Moore, and one thing she mentioned really caught my attention. We, as Christians, are princesses. We are daughters of a Divine Ruler. That got me to thinking, you know what, I am a princess. But my view of what it means to be a princess needs to change. So, I looked at it from a biblical perspective and here is what I believe God wants me to know about being a princess.

I am...
Precious in God's sight - 1 Peter 3:4; 1 Peter 1:7
Redeemed by the blood of Christ - Gal. 4:5; Gal. 3:13; Titus 2:14; Luke 1:68, and many others
Indwelled by the Holy Spirit - 2 Tim. 1:14; 1 Cor. 6:19
Nominated for righteousness - John 15:16; Acts 13:48; 1 Tim. 1:12
Chosen for His glory - Eph. 1:4; John 15:16, 19
Embraced by His love - Psalm 32:10
Saved by grace - Eph. 2:8, 9
Surrounded by the mighty hand of God! - Psalm 59:17; Psalm 144:2; Isa. 40:29

That's better than any amount of beauty, money and riches if you ask me! But knowing that I am a Princess, a daughter of the Divine King, is not just about giving myself a boost of self-esteem or confidence. It is a reminder about how I should live as a child of God. To know and remember all of these things means I can't just go through life full of pride and self-righteousness, because I am nothing without God. Nor does it mean I can put myself down and wallow in self-pity, this is just as selfish because it puts the focus on me. Rather it means that because of all He has done for me, all He has given me, I need to give Him back all that I have and show His love and grace and mercy to others. This is a high standard to have to live up to. It doesn't mean I have to be perfect, but God does expect me to respond to what He has given me with my life, and He never said it would be easy. It's not easy, but that is exactly why I need to be reminded what it means to be a P.R.I.N.C.E.S.S.