Tag Archives: promises

Valuable Lessons

16 Jun

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”  Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT

I lead a study for women. I started this group for women walking alone from divorce, widowhood or never been married, but this summer, God opened this up for all women. It happened so naturally, it could only be Him.  When that happens, there is a magic that takes place, a blessing that comes because He placed certain people together.

Grief is grief, so perfectly shared last night, it isn’t just loss of loved ones, or marriages, but we can grieve our health, or anything we perceive as a loss. We all lose over time, things we value. A friend just lost her home due to fire, a family member just lost their job.

As I prayed this morning, read my bible and thought of our conversations about control, fear and loss, it dawned on me that the root for fear in grief is that we don’t see ourselves or our lives the way God sees us. Yes, we naturally mourn deeply when our life changes, when there is loss. Missing someone or the familiar or what we have had before is natural.

Where we get stuck in loss is when we think whatever we lost, defined us.We fear being nothing without that which we think defined us. Having made us valuable, and losing made us nothing.

I revisited Eve and found this truth in Genesis 3:6. “The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her.”  The snake was able to get to Eve because she wanted to have more. She wanted to do more. She wanted to  know more and mostly, she wanted to BE more. She wasn’t enough.

Somewhere inside us all, there is the fear that we are not enough. It comes alive when we go through our trials, when we are weakened. We become weak in our sorrow, or health issues, our sleep deprivation, our hunger. There are many ways our fears can begin to play havoc with the truth. We begin to compare and fall short.

God already displayed the grandeur and value of us when He created us. We are beyond valuable to him. He tells us over and over, in many ways.  When He created us in His image He didn’t make any mistakes. He made man in His image. Strong and sturdy. He created women in His image as well, though very different from men. He gave one word to name our hearts and it is only used to describe one other heart. HIS. He numbered the hair on our head!

He tells us that He thinks of us more than the grains of sand on all the beaches of this world. 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!How great is the sum of them!18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; Psalm 139:17-18.  

Most of us at one time or another, have lived in a state of comparison. In some way or another. We compare ourselves not just to people, but also to God.  As crazy as that sounds, unless we are fully surrendered, we are trying to control our world, even if it comes from a pure heart.

God doesn’t ask us to be Him. He provides us the Holy Spirit to be our strength where we are weak. He promises to give us wisdom when we seek it from Him. He asks us to humbly submit all the pieces before Him. To trust Him. It is there, in that perfect place of humble surrender that we fully find His Grace and Mercy.

We must accept and battle, what Eve did not remember, the hardest truth to believe. We are who HE tells us we are. He is who He says He is.  Our bodies do not define us. Our marriages do not define us. Our jobs do not define us. Our social status does not define us. Our children do not define us. Even how well we walk with Him, doesn’t define us. We must come to, and then constantly returning, from a place of surrender. Become humble enough to embrace that He is Omnipotent and Sovereign. To stay in worship of Him only. To constantly let go of idols that mess us up!

God defines us and until we actually grasp of the fullness of that we will never have peace.

         

You Know All About Me

139 For the Pure and Shining One
King David’s poetic song
Lord, you know everything there is to know about me.
You perceive every movement of my heart and soul,
    and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.
3–4 You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.
    You read my heart like an open book
    and you know all the words I’m about to speak
    before I even start a sentence!
    You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.
You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way,
    and in kindness you follow behind me
    to spare me from the harm of my past.[a]
    With your hand of love upon my life,
    you impart a blessing to me.
This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible!
    Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.[b]
Where could I go from your Spirit?
    Where could I run and hide from your face?
If I go up to heaven, you’re there!
    If I go down to the realm of the dead, you’re there too!
If I fly with wings into the shining dawn, you’re there!
    If I fly into the radiant sunset, you’re there waiting![c]
10 Wherever I go, your hand will guide me;
    your strength will empower me.
11 It’s impossible to disappear from you
    or to ask the darkness to hide me,
    for your presence is everywhere, bringing light into my night.
12 There is no such thing as darkness with you.
    The night, to you, is as bright as the day;
    there’s no difference between the two.
13 You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside
    and my intricate outside,
    and wove them all together in my mother’s womb.[d]
14 I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex!
    Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking.
    It simply amazes me to think about it!
    How thoroughly you know me, Lord!
15 You even formed every bone in my body
    when you created me in the secret place,[e]
    carefully, skillfully shaping me[f] from nothing to something.
16 You saw who you created me to be before I became me![g]
    Before I’d ever seen the light of day,
    the number of days you planned for me
    were already recorded in your book.[h]
17–18 Every single moment you are thinking of me!
    How precious and wonderful to consider
    that you cherish me constantly in your every thought!
    O God, your desires toward me are more
    than the grains of sand on every shore!
    When I awake each morning, you’re still with me.
19 O God, come and slay these bloodthirsty, murderous men!
    For I cry out, “Depart from me, you wicked ones!”
20 See how they blaspheme your sacred name
    and lift up themselves against you, but all in vain!
21 Lord, can’t you see how I despise those who despise you?
    For I grieve when I see them rise up against you.
22 I have nothing but complete hatred and disgust for them.
    Your enemies shall be my enemies!
23 God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart.
    Examine me through and through;
    find out everything that may be hidden within me.
    Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.
24 See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on,
    and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways—
    the path that brings me back to you.

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A Case For Christmas

23 Dec

A case for Christ, this Christmas.

It isn’t easy to believe, especially if you haven’t really sought to believe. Maybe you sort of believe. That’s okay too..it’s a start.

Our sermon was founded on a study conducted by MIT Calculating Odds Of Jesus Fulfilling 8 Old Testament Prophecies! I loved the mathematical implications for Christ! I needed to share this.

This study took the specific prophecies and layed out the odds (Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies) but these were the prophecies that Jesus could not have manipulated.

“Many of the prophecies concerning the Messiah were totally beyond human control: Birth: Place, time, manner of Death: People’s reactions, piercing of side, burial Resurrection: Where did His body go? By using the modern science of probability in reference to just eight of these prophecies, the chance that any man might have lived to fulfill all eight prophecies is one in 100 trillion!
To illustrate this point: If we take 100 trillion silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas, they would be two feet deep. Now we mark one of these silver dollars and thoroughly stir the whole mass–all over the state. Now blindfold a man and let him travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick only that one silver dollar.

What chance would he have of picking the marked one? The same chance that the prophets would have of writing just eight of these prophecies and having them all come true for any one man if they had written them without God’s inspiration!
The chance of any one man’s fulfilling all of 48 prophecies is one in ten to the 157th power. The electron is about as small an object as we can imagine. If we had a cubic inch of these electrons and tried to count them, it would take us (at 250 per minute) 19,000 times 19,000 times 19,000 years to count them.

Now mark one of them and thoroughly stir it into the whole mass. What chance does our blindfolded man have of finding the right electron? “

There is so much out there, so much attached to the name of God, man made thoughts, legalistic ideas, religions and extremes. Thoughts that can keep a person from seeking Jesus all together. Be curious.

I spent years trying to find the measure of good enough. Being self reliant, thinking religion was for the weak. Seeing the hypocrisy of Christians and scoffing. Now I get that. We find Christ where we are at, not from perfection and Christ like behavior but rather from our brokenness. For me, that was the only way I would be able to find him.

Christ isn’t always found in the behavior of Christians, but Christ is who He said He is, and He beckons and longs for ALL of us. But you must make the first step.

This Christmas, ask Him to show you. Ask Him into your hearts and let Him begin to change your life. Look at that baby and wonder about a God so loving he would become so humble to come as a small new life.

Merry Christmas.

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Hebrews 4:16 – 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.

The Call to Surrender

12 Jul

My beautiful, fellow Christians. I have so much to share with you. This is what God has shown me in the last few weeks, with all this avalanche of hard times, scripture and questions coming at me left and right. We are being strengthened and called to keep our eyes firmly on Him. He is showing up and He is doing a great thing in us. He is preparing us for something big. I see this.
This is the season of hardship. I do believe we are being put to the fire to get us on the same page of surrender right now. We are not under attack from Satan, we are being honed by our loving Father; pruned and honed. Our questions, if we seek Him, will be answered. If we ask for and seek the wisdom He is waiting for us to seek,it will be ours. Being put to the fire, is difficult. Dustin, my pastor, once prepared me for the painful process of this, quite some time ago. It IS painful, but he gave us The Holy Spirit, to soothe our troubled hearts and quiet our troubled minds.
He gave us The Word, the beautiful Living Word that will give us instruction during this time of hardship. Seek the truth, choose your close friends wisely, they will sharpen your knowledge and your walk, with great love.Let them. He gave us fellowship. Seek it, find it, let other’s know you need prayer and ask how you can pray for them. If we are praying for other, we tend to not feel our hardship quite so deeply. He gave us His promise. To love us even as he puts us through hard times.
I am coming through to this eye opening,understanding and calm. This, what I am feeling, is a different knowing. This is peace that surpasses understanding, but with a deep sense of purpose. I feel equipped and prepared for what comes next. I don’t know what that is, but it is coming. I feel it. Pull together, set aside ALL the things that don’t matter, and ask Him to whisper in your heart..

Father, I am yours, and you are mine. Ready my mind, ready my heart to be all you have placed me to be on this earth. Surround me with the Body of Christ followers. We are strong in numbers. Put our minds on the same page, removing the traces of fight and battle amongst your believers so we can walk together in unison, with love, with gentleness, with mighty supernatural strength. Prepare us for the breaking. So we can lift one another, carry one another. Fill our boats to overflowing with new believers. We are your Army, ready for what comes next. Amen.

John 14: (MSG)
The Road
14 1-4 “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.”

John 14: (MSG)
25-27 “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.

John 14: (NIV)
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Psalm 5:11 (NIV)
11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
 let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
 that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
 and lean not on your own understanding;6 in all your ways submit to him,
 and he will make your paths straight

Hebrews 10:24-25 (MSG)
22-25 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

Matthew 18:20(NIV)
20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Matthew 18:20 (MSG)
18-20 “Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”

Colossians 2: (NIV)
2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,
James 1:12 (MSG)
12 Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
3 Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5(MSG)
3-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Job 11:13-20 (MSG)
Reach Out to God
13-20
“Still, if you set your heart on God
 and reach out to him,
If you scrub your hands of sin
 and refuse to entertain evil in your home,
You’ll be able to face the world unashamed
 and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless.
You’ll forget your troubles;
 they’ll be like old, faded photographs.
Your world will be washed in sunshine,
 every shadow dispersed by dayspring.
Full of hope, you’ll relax, confident again;
 you’ll look around, sit back, and take it easy.
Expansive, without a care in the world,
 you’ll be hunted out by many for your blessing.
But the wicked will see none of this.
 They’re headed down a dead-end road
 with nothing to look forward to—nothing.”

Zechariah 13:9(NIV)
9
This third I will put into the fire;
 I will refine them like silver
 and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
 and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
 and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”

Matthew 26:36-44(NIV)
Gethsemane
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.