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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Food for Thought

Choosing to live life on your terms, rather than God's, means choosing to miss out on His best for your life!

Praying that each one of us will choose wisely ...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Perseverence in Pain

Dealing with some intense shooting pains and holding onto this hope:

"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."
(1 Peter 4:12-13)

Sometimes (like now), it's hard to rejoice in this suffering, as it serves as a painful reminder of what once was and what will never be again ...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

God's Promise

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
(Psalm 34:18)

Clinging to His promise even as I write this ...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Things Behind the Sun

After waiting 11 years, I finally watched the movie, "Things Behind the Sun," last night. Still, I wish I knew "why," and am sad and angry at the loss of childhood innocence.

Thankful for Deuteronomy 29:29 ...

"The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever ..."

Even at this moment I am struggling with the painful physical aftermath, and crying out to the Lord my God ...

"My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me."
(Psalm 63:8)

Trusting in His Sovereign Grace,

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Seasons of Life

This morning I decided to go to McDonald’s for breakfast because I had a taste for an Egg McMuffin. As I was waiting for my order at the drive-thru window, I noticed a sign inside the cashier’s window informing the cashier that the service time for each customer was to be no more than 10-15 seconds.

“Typical” was the first thought that crossed my mind because we have become a society which does not want to wait for anything. Rather, we expect our lives to be easy and when challenges arise we expect them to be resolved instantly! And, as I drove home in the snow (our first snow-fall of the season, announcing that winter had arrived), the next thought that crossed my mind was “aren’t we lucky that God gives us the winters of our lives so that we can then appreciate the spring times when they arrive!”

“My soul is in anguish, how long, O Lord, how long?”
(Psalm 6:3)

Two years ago (this month), my own “winter” began and, truth be told, there were times when I thought I would never make it through to the other side (i.e. “springtime”). In fact, even as I write this I’m dealing with shooting pains that have no known explanation and no cure, but rather are the residual effects of past trauma (part of my “winter”) and are so excruciating at times that they will actually stop me dead in my tracks.

“So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.”
(Psalm 143:4)

The good news is that two weeks ago, after a week of horrible dreams and nightmares, continuous shooting pains, and a brief conversation with my pastor about how to process all of this, I finally had the realization that perhaps I’m the lucky one with these dreams and shooting pains because they serve as a constant reminder that I am completely dependent upon the grace of God (like Paul’s thorn) – otherwise I might be tempted to go it alone! Been there, done that, and it was a complete disaster!

“For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
(Proverbs 2:6)

I wish I could tell you that this period of winter was completely over and that springtime had arrived but that would be a lie. There are still days when the showers are not hot enough and the shooting pains feel like they are too much to bear. However, I cannot trust my feelings. Instead, I must cling to the promises of God’s Word and to the truth of His character, knowing that while I may feel alone and scared, the truth is that He is right here with me, He is in control and He is God!

“For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God.”
(Psalm 86:10)

Today's Prayer: O, Holy Father, please help us to always remember that no matter what we may feel, the truth of Your Word tells us that You, and You alone, will deliver us from the depths of despair, but only if we seek You with all of our heart, all of our mind and all of our strength, acknowledging that You alone are God! Thank you for loving us too much to allow us to stay the same, no matter how much it may hurt at times!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Food for Thought

"Trials, we must distinctly understand, are a part of the diet which all true Christians must expect."
~ J.C. Ryle

“None are so safe as those whom God keeps; none so much in danger as the self-secure.”
~ Spurgeon

"In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart."
~ John Bunyan

“You can compare yourself to others and tell yourself that you're okay or look into God's mirror and affirm your ongoing need for his grace.”
~ Paul Tripp

“If God’s love for His children is to be measured by our health, wealth and comfort in this life, God hated the Apostle Paul.”
~ John Piper

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cease Striving

A few days ago I was reading through Psalm 46 when I came across this verse:

“Cease striving and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalm 46:10 NASB)

I cannot tell you how often I have read this verse over the years. The NIV Bible (which is the version I usually read) phrases it this way: “Be still and know that I am God,” and I have meditated on this verse many times. However, this time it really stopped me in my tracks. Maybe because of the way it was stated: cease striving!

According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, to strive means: “to try very hard to achieve something,” and that sums up this past week perfectly.

Every time I did something out of the goodness of my heart, it did not go well. And when I then tried to “fix” it, all I seemed to do was make it worse! In fact, even today I did something that I now regret. And while I did it from a place of wanting to serve someone else, I believe I was wrong to do it.

So this afternoon, I sent an email to this person asking them for their forgiveness. At church tonight, however, it continued to weigh heavily on my mind and I started thinking I should send another email to try and “fix” it (even though I have not yet heard back from them one way or the other). Fortunately, while I was praying about it, the Holy Spirit intervened and brought the words cease striving to my mind over and over and over again, and for that I am truly grateful.

In each of these situations, God knew the thoughts and intentions of my heart. Thus, my job is to stop trying to “achieve” something (i.e. fix the things that have happened this week, including today), and instead cease striving, step back and trust that God will be exalted in the earth (in all of these things). And that is my only heart’s desire – HIS GLORY!

What about you? Do you find yourself constantly in a panic, striving to make thing happen in your life? If you’re at all like me, it’s an easy thing to do. So if I may, I would encourage you to stop, remembering that God is, indeed, in control, and to pray that God would be exalted in your own life, as well.

O, Holy Father, forgive me for all of the times when I have stepped out of Your will and tried to fix everything on my own, only to seemingly make a bigger mess of it all. Instead, may I always remember to cease striving so that YOU will be exalted in every situation, every relationship, and every area of my life.

In His Most Precious Name I pray …

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quote for the Day

"When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, he shouts for joy."
-- Corrie Ten Boom


Good words to remember on those days when life feels like it is too much to bear.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Trusting God

"Trust is not a passive state of mind. It is a vigorous act of the soul by which we choose to lay hold on the promises of God and cling to them despite the adversity that at times seeks to overwhelm us." (-- Jerry Bridges, Trusting God)

Praying that I will always choose to Trust God, even when I do not understand what He is doing or why! And, praying that you will choose to do the same, as well ...


"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him ..."
(Romans 15:13a)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Doing the Hard Thing

Yesterday was tough, and it seemed to become more difficult as the day wore on. By 9:30 pm I was tired, angry and hurt. Very hurt. And yet, by God’s infinite grace, I actually slept well last night (i.e. wasn’t awake the entire night thinking about this situation).

Before I went to bed last night, I spent some time thinking/praying about this whole thing. I also started making some decisions on how to handle it. And while I do not know if they are the correct decisions (that will require much more prayer), and while I know that they are not the best decisions for me and will cause me additional hurt, I do believe that they are decisions that will best protect the other person and their walk with the Lord. (But again, I know it is crucial for me to seek God’s wisdom in all of this, to make sure that it is His plan I am following and not my own.)

“Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” (1 Corinthians 10:24)

Please do not misunderstand me – I am no martyr! However, if I claim to be a child of God then I must follow His instructions! And since the Bible makes it very clear that we are not to cause one another to stumble, that is the last thing I want to do when it comes to my friend and their relationship with God. (And, yes, I do still consider this person a friend!)

“Do not cause anyone to stumble ...” (1 Corinthians 10:32)

So as I move forward down this path, I pray that God will grant me: peace around the decisions I have made on how to handle this situation; patience to leave it in His hands and not try to “fix it” my way – which would only make it worse, and the ability to trust Him completely and accept the outcome – whether I like it or not – knowing that He is in complete control.

From the very beginning of this relationship with my friend, He knew exactly how it would play out, and He also knows exactly how it will end. As ...

~ Friends for a reason

~ Friends for a season

OR

~ Friends for a lifetime

To God be the Glory,

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Cold Shoulder

For someone who is a professional life coach, and who is pursing a master’s degree in biblical counseling, I couldn’t coach – much less counsel – my way out of a paper bag right now! :D

I wasn’t expecting a marriage proposal! But, I wasn’t expecting the cold shoulder, either, which is pretty much what I received from someone today … right after they were as warm as molasses to the person with whom they interacted right before me.

Two of my biggest struggles in life have been trusting God and trusting others. So when a day like today happens, in which someone I have come to trust explicitly pushes me away (and has done so for about 8 months now), and because this has happened a handful of other times in my life with people I have come to completely trust, and who have hurt me so deeply, it becomes very easy for me to retreat and withdraw from the world.

“Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” (Psalm 66:20)

Matthew 18:15-17 talks about the fact that if someone sins against you, you should go and talk to them, which makes me wonder: “what exactly did I do, and how exactly did I sin against them,” to warrant such a cold shoulder? Do I need to go and talk to them? Do they need to come and speak with me?

Truthfully, this whole situation hurts. A great deal. And, honestly, it makes me want to go and worship somewhere else because it would make my life a lot easier and a lot less painful – especially because I know that this person is not going anywhere.

I started this blog to help me learn to trust in “His Sovereign Purpose” in my life on a daily basis. So while I pour out my heart to God about this, I also know that He knows why this is happening, and what the outcome of it will be – for all parties involved.

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him … Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him, God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:5,8)

In the meantime, I hope that I can just let go and trust Him to do what He needs to do – in this situation and in my life – in order to conform me into the image of His Son, no matter how much it hurts. And it really hurts a lot right now!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Today's Verse

"The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever leans on, trusts in, and puts his confidence in the Lord is safe and set on high."
(Proverbs 29:25 Amp)

Lord, please help me to remember this on a daily, if not moment-by-moment, basis!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Food for Thought

I'm working through a Bible study entitled "Discerning the Voice of God," by Priscilla Shirer, and love this thought from today's reading:

"Faith is the channel of living trust that allows us to experience God in our everyday lives. He is looking for someone who believes He is who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do. Go to God expecting to hear His voice, and don't hesitate to move forward in obedience. When you obey, you move from your agenda to His, and God's plan is always greater."

I am so grateful to God for bringing two people into my life who have impacted my walk with Him in ways I can never explain: one who showed me what a relationship with Christ truly looks like, and the other who walked with me and helped me find my way back to Him. I am, and always will be, grateful beyond words ...

"For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory."
(Proverbs 24:6)

Thank You, Lord, for showing me the truth of who You are through the faithfulness of these servants. Please bless each of them, as well as their ministries and their families, and may they continue to choose to be open vessels through which You work, through which Your will is done, and through which Your glory shines!

In Christ's name I pray ...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Ultimate Father

When I woke up this morning, I started thinking about the fact that it was Father’s Day today, and how lucky I am that after my birth father died, God chose to bring my dad into my life. He is the man who has raised me, and I absolutely love him to pieces!

Then I thought about God, and the realization hit me that He is our Ultimate Father!

I also started thinking about how much He loves His Son, Christ Jesus Our Lord, and how much it must have hurt Him to sacrifice Christ for us, so that we would be made righteous with Him.

Have you ever thought about that? Have you ever truly thought about the fact that the whole father / son relationship was started by One Father and One Son?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
(John 1:1)

I know that today is difficult for many people who are without their father, either through death, abandonment or other circumstances. And yet, for the believer, while their earthly father may not be present in their life, we are not alone, no matter how lonely we may feel, because the Lord promises us:

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
(Joshua 1:5)

And because God NEVER breaks His promises, the fact that He is with us right now is something we can take to the bank!

Thanking God for being the Ultimate Father, and asking Him to bless fathers around the world on this special day…

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thought for Today

Always surprised by how much power the words and actions (or sometimes lack thereof) by others have to cause us pain.

Trusting God to heal my heart in ways that only He can ...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Always Remember

Always remember, when God made you He did so with a purpose and a plan

He saw all your days before you lived one of them and placed over you the covering of His protective love.

He has allowed nothing to come into your life that has not first been screened through that love.

His hand has remained upon you to this very day.

He calls you by name.

You are His beloved child …
The apple of His eye …
The delight of His heart.

Today you are in the exact place He wants you to be, and tomorrow He will be with you as He has always been – in goodness, in kindness, in faithfulness.

~Anonymous

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Pruning Effect

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." (Isaiah 26:3)

Have spent the majority of today feeling the effects of God's pruning and the truth of the matter is that it hurts! However, whether He chooses to ever restore this friendship or not is up to Him, because He is my FIRST PRIORITY!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Prayer for Today

Lord,

Please make my heart COMPLETELY Yours! Show me how to want to want YOU more than anyone or anything else in my life ... No matter the cost.

I am a sinner in need of a Savior, now and always!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On Prayer

"It is comparatively easy to wait upon God; but to wait upon Him ONLY-- to feel, so far as our strength, happiness, and usefulness are concerned, as if all creatures and second causes were annihilated, and we were alone in the universe with God, is, I suspect, a difficult and rare attainment. At least, I am sure it is one at which I am very far from having made. In proportion as we make this attainment we shall find everything easy, for we shall become, emphatically, men of prayer; and we may say of prayer as Solomon says of money, that it answereth all things."

~ Edward Payson

(from the book "Purpose in Prayer" by E.M. Bounds)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thought for Today

Thinking that life is so much more than I will ever understand this side of Heaven!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Food for Today

"My son . . . acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with whole-hearted devotion and a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts."
(1 Ch. 28:9 NIV)

"We will never be men and women after God's own heart with half-hearted devotion."
(Beth Moore)

O Father in Heaven, please help me to always be a woman after your own heart, completely devoted to you, no matter what the circumstances!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Praise You in This Storm

Dreamweaver,
May you be able to praise Him in this storm … no matter what!
♥ sm


Praise You in This Storm

I was sure by now
That You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen,” and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I lift my eyes until the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

I lift my eyes until the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm


© 2005 Casting Crowns

As I was listening to this song by Casting Crowns the other day, it made me think about how much easier it is for me to trust God with my own life and trials than it is to trust Him with the lives of those I love! I am so sorry, Lord, please forgive me …

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance, and my God” (Psalm 43:5).



P.S. You can listen to Praise You in This Storm here!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Meditations

Meditating on Psalm 51 today . . .

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment." (Ps. 51:1-4)

There is nothing more humbling to discover -- and more importantly, accept -- how deceitful my heart truly is . . .

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jer. 17:9)

Even now, as I struggle with this, the pain in my heart is more than I can bear, as I wish I could just wiggle my nose like Samantha in “Bewitched” and bring this particular struggle to an end.

"Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit." (Ps. 51:9-12)

So grateful that He is still willing to allow me to enter into His most glorious presence . . .

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, o God, you will not despise." (Ps. 51:17)

Forgive me, Lord, for grieving You so much . . .

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Mercy of Christ

I've been working through a Bible study by Beth Moore entitled, "A Heart Like His: Seeking the Heart of God Through a Study of David," and came across this quote by Beth today, which absolutely speaks to my heart:

"For those who have received Him, Christ remains our sympathizer, ever ready to lead us to a door of escape from temptation or a door of mercy when temptation has turned to participation."

Sadly, when it comes to my own participation in sin, it seems like I'm spending more time calling on God's mercy than on His sympathy these days.

Fortunately, "[we] do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are -- yet without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Thank God!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Psalm 33:4

Came across this verse this morning and love it:

"For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does."

So desperately needing Him to show me the truth about Who He is today!