Over The Gap

Over the gap that no man can fill,
God gave up His Son of His own free will.
He paid all our debts,
He covered the cost
of all our mistakes–
He recovered the lost.
We step out on the bridge that Jesus has made,
Set our feet on the firm foundation He laid.
Our sins will be crushed,
Our lives be made pure;
His strength is inside us,
So we may endure.
Every task put before us,
And every struggle within,
With God on our side,

We will conquer and win!

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You’re a flower, I’m a flower

Yesterday while out walking I picked wild flowers to put together in a bouquet. There were many that from a distance looked absolutely perfect, but then as I came closer I would find flaws in them such as holes where bugs had eaten at them and missing petals.

It got me to thinking of how much we are like those flowers. To put it simply, if we are making new friends, attending a new church, or moving to a new community, (in my family’s case, all of the above) we shouldn’t expect things to be as perfect as they may seem at first glance from a distance. If we do, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. I’m not saying we should think negatively–on the contrary, we should be thinking positively–but come on, nobody is perfect!

Going back to the flowers. They weren’t eating holes in themselves. They didn’t pull out their own petals. We grow up in an imperfect world. There are storms, seasons, diseases…all kinds of things that will try and eat us away. The important thing is that we aren’t eating ourselves or each other away.

A True Dance

The other night I was trying to relax as I listened to a new album with many songs I’d never heard before. In my mind it was as though I was dancing to the music, but rather unsure of myself as I wasn’t sure what was coming next in the song.

We go through so many phases in life–several at a time, really. While there may be repeated movements, life is always a new dance, a new song. It’s easy to be so afraid we will mess up that when we do, we tend to concentrate on our mistakes rather than the music–God’s music–extending the mistakes all the more.

To be sure, we need to be aware of our moves, our surroundings, and our attitude. But even more importantly we need to have our ear turned to God, concentrating on His music, His timing, and going with things as they come. That is when our dancing will naturally become graceful, beautiful, and truly lovely as His music is portrayed through us.

Question for today~
Whose music are you dancing to?

This, Too, Shall Pass Away

Oh Lord, how blessed am I!
Never do I walk alone–
You keep fear far from me.

When I cannot stand You carry me;
When walking through storms You keep me upright.

You lift my spirit from the deepest sadness–
Only You can restore my soul.

There is no one like You, my King;
Your peace and joy comes from no other.

I look ahead and see only Your majesty.
Your righteousness outlasts all evil and Your Light will overcome all darkness.

The enemy persists and the wicked oppress the poor,
But this, too, will pass away–
Only Your Kingdom shall stand forever!

Live, Love, Learn

I long so much to be able to help special needs kids one day. As I’ve been doing what I can to learn anything that might be the least bit helpful, I can’t believe how much I have benefited from this…and I am very much grateful.

As I’ve learned things about how the human body works, how it should/shouldn’t be functioning, I’ve learned how to better take care of myself. As I’ve been learning what it is that these kids are going to need the most, I’ve been learning what it is I need most. As I try and make plans, I’m slowly learning that God has the best plan. I’ve been learning what is truly most important, what really matters.

Sign language has been a whole other learning experience. It has been a discovery of another way to worship God like nothing else…I can’t even put it to words. I love it and can’t wait to better learn it.

Anyways, point being, I encourage you to find ways you can serve others…you’d be surprised of what you learn and the fulfillment it brings. Not only that, as we allow God to prepare us, He will open doors for us to share these benefits with others, changing, and even saving lives!

I Shall

Who You created me to be,
That I shall be.
What You desire for me to know,
That I shall learn.
What You incline me to say,
That I shall say.
Where You plan for me to go,
There I shall go.
Where You will for me to stay,
There I shall remain.
What You instruct me to do,
That I shall do.
Your desires shall become mine–
Make me more like You!

What’s in focus?

After writing today, (you know, the old fashioned way with pen and paper) I found myself holding my pen out in front of me, staring at it. I then, still holding the pen out, began to focus on other things such as to the left, to the right, and far ahead. After a minute or so of this, I made an impossible attempt to focus on two things at once—such as the pen and whatever was to the left, the pen and whatever was to the right, the pen and whatever was behind it, etc. I was especially intrigued by the fact that I couldn’t focus on the pen without what was far behind it becoming a blur and vice versa.

It got me to thinking about focusing on God. God is big. To get some perspective, just keep in mind that He is bigger than the universe and outside the constrictions of time. Now, imagine that the pen is the here-and-now. If our focus is on the here-and-now, our focus on God immediately gets fuzzy. Then, if our focus is on God, the here-and-now becomes a blur.

The here-and-now is so, so tiny compared to God and eternity. That is not to say it is not important–every moment is precious–but it is not where our focus should be.

Our life on earth is so unpredictable. We can–and should–lay out our plans for the future, but we shouldn’t rely on them. God, on the other hand, is reliable, unchanging, and–well, pretty predictable. We know one day time will be rolled up and those who devoted their lives to Christ will be given eternal life with Him…and this is where our focus should be.

When our focus is on God, there is a major shift in what truly matters. Instead of wanting our dream house we want others to become a part of God’s house. Our deepest craving will be for more of God instead of our favorite junk food. Our hope will be in the Lord, not our success on earth. We will truly be able to say, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.”

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.”

Philippians 1:20‭-‬24 NIV

The Full Meaning

Nothing can take the place of the Lord and His goodness;
He satisfies what was an unknown hunger.

A taste of His love exceeds that of any other–
It cannot be surpassed.

The Lord knows my every thought and desire;
He calls me by name to His inner courts.

My heart is captivated by His mercy and grace,
And no words can express the full meaning of His love.

Why the psalms?

Many times over the last two years as I’ve had multiple brain surgeries I have received so many comments such as, “You are so brave!” Ha…this is so far from true…

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably seen psalms that I’ve written and shared, and something that I think is often misunderstood is why these are written.

I will use one as an example:

“By You, oh Lord, I stand upright.
When I trust in You, I shall not be discouraged;
For Your plan cannot be set aside,
And Your time cannot be delayed.”

When I write this, it is not because I easily trust in God, never become discouraged, and think things are going just like they should. Quite the opposite.

“Who holds their head above Your own?
Whose throne stands over the Creator of life?”

I certainly do not write these because God needs to hear them…more like I need to hear them. I need to remind myself these things…like, constantly.

“You know my every suffering;
No pain goes on unnoticed.
By my side You walk with me;
You’ve given me life by giving up Your own.”

As I write these psalms, it is a sort of confirmation of choosing to take on the mind of Christ…instead of my own selfish, worrisome, conceited thoughts.

“Only You bring peace to my soul and true joy to my heart.
You made my very being–who can better satisfy?”

I can hardly imagine having a life without God. He is the fuel that keeps me burning. Even though at times I am a tiny flicker, ain’t nothin’ gonna put me out! 😉

“My God, why have You forsaken me?”

Just as Jesus asked right before He died on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” sometimes as we take up our cross to follow Christ we will feel forsaken, but God is always in control. Jesus came back to life and conquered death…often times it is right before our greatest victories that we have our times of feeling like giving up, like we have been forsaken, and like we have no strength left. Don’t give up! With EVERY victory there is a challenge!!!

Intuition

So…this is a short story that I’ve shared with friends and family numerous times over the years since it happened but never got around to sharing on my blog:

Driving home from work one day, I was in the left lane, not far from where I’d be making a left turn. There was a pickup truck in front of me with a ladder strapped onto a rack over the back. I became very uneasy about it and, despite the inconvenience, moved over. Immediately after moving over, the ladder fell from the truck, crashing on the ground next to me. I was a bit shaken the rest of the way home as it was very evident that had I not moved over the ladder would have gone through my windshield. (At a speed of 55mph, no less)

Some might say it was God speaking to me, others might call it intuition, and still others (including myself) say a bit of both. Whichever it is, it’s God I thank for it since He’s the very One that gives us gifts such as intuition.

Point of sharing this story:

God gives us gifts all the time, and a crazy percentage of them go unnoticed. This was just one example of a gift that was offered to me, and thankfully, I accepted. It’s easy to decline gifts without even meaning to, and in my opinion, this is most often due to distraction. What if my mind was overrun with anger? Would I have still had that feeling I should not be behind that truck?

Just as there is an unending list of gifts, there is an unending list of things that can be distracting us away from those gifts, many of which aren’t inherently bad, just…distracting.

So I want to encourage you to become more aware of your surroundings. Look for gifts and for things that are distracting you from those gifts. Remember your purpose and calling, cutting back–or better yet, cutting out–anything that is pulling you away. As Barney Fife would say, “Nip it in the bud!”

Learn Your Ways

Be my vision, Lord;
When I look down the road ahead of me let it be You that I see.

Let what was of value become worthless and what was my own plan become faded.

May the way be narrow by distinct lines–
May Your Light cast shadows on the ways of this world so that I may be far from them.

Let me not stray away as I follow in Your steps;
Hold me near to Your heart so that I may learn Your ways.

I shall not be discouraged

By You, oh Lord, I stand upright.
When I trust in You, I shall not be discouraged;
For Your plan cannot be set aside,
And Your time cannot be delayed.

Who holds their head above Your own?
Whose throne stands over the Creator of life?

You know my every suffering;
No pain goes on unnoticed.
By my side You walk with me;
You’ve given me life by giving up Your own.

Only You bring peace to my soul and true joy to my heart.
You made my very being–who can better satisfy?

“It could be worse…”

So, here’s my take on why NOT to be saying, “It could be worse.”

It’s taken years of experience for me to get this figured out. I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 17. For years, I was still able to drive, and would tell myself, “It could be worse…at least I can drive.” After a seizure where I blacked out I lost my license and had to take rides to work, but told myself, “It could be worse…at least I can go to work.” Not much later, the seizures became frequent and became very energy-draining to the point that I could no longer go to work. …I practically fear the words now.

Without realizing it, I was relying on my job, my car, my license–I was relying on myself, not God. When we rely on things, other people, or ourselves, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.

We need to rely on God–who is always in control, eternity with Him–that can’t be snatched away, and riches in heaven–which can’t be stolen or become rotted…then, and only then, will we NOT be disappointed!

Now, we still need to be thankful for what God has blessed us with here on earth and need to see what He has blessed us with as not our own, but His, giving all to Him and living according to His purpose. We also need to remember not to worry about tomorrow and that it hurts Him more than it does us when we are suffering.

Instead of saying, “It could be worse.” let’s say, “God knows best.” placing our hope in eternity with Him. (Or as the song goes, “It is well; it is well with my soul.”)

We Desperately Need God

We have good days, and we have bad days. We have happy days and sad days, gloomy days and cheerful days, and some in between. Sometimes I hear stories of people whose entire lives sound just plain miserable…when these people are Christians, they often seem as sincere in their faith and close to God as they can possibly get.

Whether we are quite comfortable or are in a time of suffering there’s something that doesn’t change: we desperately need God. Ironically, when it is hardest to realize this is when life seems easy, not hard, and though it may seem as though we need God less in good times, that is far from true.

When we are on the easy road, not realizing how desperately we need God and relying on Him, we become very vulnerable, susceptible to sin and being deceived without even realizing it. In the Old Testament, over and over again we see the Israelites becoming vulnerable when they’re doing well. They become more and more like those around them, worshiping pagan gods and living a selfish, worldly lifestyle. It is in times of suffering that they soon turn to God to save them.

We need to realize how desperately we need God no matter the circumstance. If we don’t, what’s right and wrong begins to get fuzzy, our relationship with God seems boring and He becomes pushed to the side.

Run a check-up and ask yourself some questions:

Are there things that I’m doing that I’m not sure if they’re okay or not?

Is my time with God special or a chore?

Is there anything I’ve made more important to myself than God?

Am I living with God as my purpose?

Only You Satisfy Me

Oh Lord, how I thirst for You!
When my mouth becomes dry, only you satisfy me.
When I become empty, only You fill me.
When my bones become weak, only You give me strength.
When my heart becomes broken, only You can restore me.
When my spirit is saddened, only You bring me joy.

I look to the Lord and all He has done–
There is no one like Him.
From the lowest valleys to the highest hills He shall be praised;
May every ear hear His holy Name!

Scars On His Wrists

One evening, when finally wound down enough to spend time with only Jesus, I thanked Him for always being close by my side. In my mind, I felt as if I could reach out and touch His hand. And so I did. As our hands met, I immediately saw the scars on His wrists…rather unexpectedly. It was one of those times where I mistakenly thought I had it all together.

I knew all too well Jesus had given His life–scorned, beaten, and hung on a cross. Something I repeatedly fail to realize is that it is because those scars I am able to be close to Him. I began to wonder,

“He may be close to me, but am I close to Him?”

An authentic, healthy relationship should be two-way. If we want to be close to someone, we will need to know who they are–their personality traits, their desires, their heart. Though I will never know God as well as He knows me, I resolve to earnestly seek after His heart for the rest of my days…and I challenge you to do the same.

Instead of just allowing Christ to be close to you, also seek to be close to Him.

Opportunity

After rummaging around the bottom of our bathroom closet looking for toilet paper in the spot where it is usually kept, I stood back up with no luck. And what do I find? It’s right in front of me. Not where it is usually found, but nonetheless, right in front of me.

So what was the point of sharing that story, you ask? Well, it got me to thinking of God’s will for us. As we search for His will for our lives, it’s not always going to be where or what we’re used to. But one thing we can be sure of: it will be right in front of us.

If God wants you to go grocery shopping today you’ll be able to find the keys and you’ll have money in your bank account. If He wants you to go to Africa, He will help you get there. He doesn’t have a will for you without providing a way.

We need to be looking for opportunities. So often I am asking God to help me see as He sees because it is SO easy to miss opportunities right in front of us! God’s will for us is full of opportunities to give, to love, to show grace, to serve, to share joy, and much more…and as is in His timing for each opportunity comes, they will be right in front of us.

I Come to You

I come to You fully broken, and You restore my spirit.
I come to You covered in sin, and You show me mercy.
I come to You in a weak body, and You offer me a new body that lasts forever.
I come to You undeserving, and You place a crown upon my head.
I come to You hungry, and You make me full.
I come to You wounded, and You heal me.
I come to You with weight on my shoulders, and You set me free.

Self-centered “me time”

It is often said that we all need something called “me time”…but do we?

Nothing against treating yourself to a night out or getting a foot massage, what I’m getting at is our attitudes and where our focus is as we get the chance to take a break.

While we certainly need to take care of ourselves, there is simply no circumstance we can possibly be in that we should be living our lives in a self-centered way. Instead of having “me time” with the the attitude of “I deserve this”, let’s try having “God time”, in His presence thanking Him for what He has blessed us with.

When our focus is shifted away from ourselves and onto Christ it makes every minute so much more valuable! Having that five-minute coffee break with gratitude is going to be much more special, and even beneficial, than if you have the attitude of “no one touch me till I’m done”.

It is sooo easy and quite common to live in a self-centered way. It is a constant battle, but it is a battle worth fighting. When our focus is taken away from ourselves–that is where we find peace, hope, joy, and so many other blessings that can’t be found in any other way.

Choose to have “God time” instead of “me time”…you’ll be glad you did!

A Warrior

I am a child of God;
A warrior at His feet.
He lifts me up to serve Him;
When I become weak He strengthens me.
He prepares me for every battle;
I do not go unarmed.
By His shield I am protected;
By salvation I am kept safe.
By His truths I will continue to stand;
Covered by His righteousness I will step forward.
With His Spirit in my right hand I shall face the enemy;
Evil powers will be brought down.
In the light of the Lord, sharing the gospel of peace victory will be achieved even in the darkest places.

By Your Laws I Become Steady

By Your understanding no fear remains;

By Your love my heart continues on.

By Your Spirit I have been restored;

By Your laws I become steady.

Every morning I am covered by Your grace;

Oh, how good You are to me!

Night and day I will praise You;

My hands will sing a new song.

At Your cross the old has passed away;

By Your blood I have been renewed.

Your goodness cannot be snatched away–

Your gift of life will last forever!

A Voice

The night settles,
The coolness comes in,
The stars reveal their beauty within.

There’s something close though it seems far away,
I hear someone calling, I hear a voice say:

“Be still and know that I am your God, Shepherd, and Friend.
I will always be with you, I am the beginning and the end.

I will guide you and keep you close by my side,
Do not be afraid, I will always provide.”

I close my eyes and ponder these things in my heart,
It’s beauty and peace is as an incredible art.

I cannot let go of any words that I hear,
So special to me…I hold them so dear.

I will not forget the words from my Love,
And the gift that my God sent  from above.

Speak Out

Speaking things out often helps give us determination and confidence, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Words can be powerful when we allow them to be.

Many of you who have been following my blog have probably read my personal psalms and poems that I have shared. As I’ve been going through quite a lot at this point in my life, laying everything down at Jesus’ feet has been no simple task nor has simply putting all my faith and trust in Him. Part of what’s helped me get through things is through prayer and writing these psalms—speaking out with confidence that God is great, He is worthy to be praised, I am His child, He has healed me, the enemy is overcome, etc.(though many times I sure don’t feel like saying these things)

So my point is this:
No matter what you’re going through, you need to SPEAK OUT.  Even when you don’t feel like it. God is on our side and we have victory over the enemy—we can’t forget that! Usually when things are the hardest to say is when they are most needed to be said.

It Is You

It is You, oh Lord, that I long for;
You satisfy my every thirst and fill my every hunger.

It is You, my God, that I need;
You heal me from every sickness and give me strength.

It is You, my Father, who makes my heart content;
Your love never ceases.

It is You, my King, who shall reign forever—who can better satisfy?

Hard Things

When someone loves another, they are willing to step outside their comfort zone for them, look for things to do for them even when they don’t feel like it, and even if it’s hard. Shouldn’t we do the same for God, since He should be first in our life?

A lot of times we show our love for Him in ways that are easy for us—which can vary from one person to another. We all have things that are easier, but we also have things that are harder for us as an individual that just don’t come naturally to us…and that’s ok. Thing is, we need to not “let it slide” and just don’t do the hard things—whether it be prayer, spending time with God, worship and praise, living out your faith in your workplace, etc. They are likely our weak points and where the enemy is most likely to attack.

Rather than a little here and a little there to get it off the checklist, we need to focus, tackle, and truly conquer our weaknesses. Let’s show our love for Christ by living for Him even in areas that it’s hard.

 

Allowing God To Rain—Being Made Clean

1504093198378Coming home this evening with my family from a visit to my grandparents we had just had rain and you could tell simply from the air. It had that fresh, cleanliness about it—where you just want to stop, take a slow, deep breath and enjoy it for a few moments.

It got me to thinking of how important it is for us to allow God to let His rain fall in our lives. It reminded me of His blood and how it washes away our sins and makes us holy.

Living in this world, the air that we breathe very easily becomes polluted. Similarly, what we are breathing in as Christians can easily become intoxicated by what’s around us as we are hardly in a perfect world. But if we allow Him to, God can wash away the hate, anger, selfishness, pride–the evil–by His love and precious blood. We don’t have to allow these things into our lives. He can fill us instead with the air that is pure–the wind of His Holy Spirit.

To do this we must come to Him. Out of the darkness. It’s easy to hide away where a lot of the pollution goes unnoticed especially when we don’t particularly want to see it. Something that has caught my attention is how there are many things you don’t see until you’re in the light. When we see the sun’s rays shining in a window you can see dust and tiny things floating in the air that you couldn’t see before. Likewise, if we look towards the light, (God) we will see unhealthy things that need taken out of our lives that has before gone unnoticed.

Let’s do some examining in God’s light. Not only of ourselves, but what we are taking in—what we are breathing in on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable at first, but it’s what we very much need…and afterwards can be so refreshing!

Born Again

“And the vessel that he had made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.”
Jeremiah 18:4

We are far from perfect—nor can we make ourselves to be—but we can choose to allow God to reform us into something beautiful. It requires letting Him hold us in His hands and allowing Him to reshape our lives, many times quite drastically.

“No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine in old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Matthew 9:16-17

I think we often try to hold onto parts of our old lives that are hard to let go rather than fully surrendering to God, and this quickly creates a problem. As long as we are holding onto our old bodies—our old ways, traditions, lifestyle, selfish desires, and such—we are naturally going to be rejecting God without even meaning to. We aren’t going to be ready to receive His Spirit and His blood upon us to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We won’t have His desires within us. We won’t be fully equipped to share the gospel as long as we are like this.

I might as well say it: it’s not easy—not if we’re doing this 100%. It takes a continuous surrendering, but it is worth it. Let’s allow God to fully renew our bodies so that He can fill us to overflowing with His Holy Spirit, His desires, His strength, His love, His wisdom, His peace, His joy, and so much more.

Is Christianity Decreasing?

As I’ve heard more and more of the percentage of the American population that claim to be Christians decreasing, it has really got me to wondering how many truly know what Christianity is. Perhaps I am seeing this wrong, but what I am seeing is less people claiming to be Christians who weren’t truly Christians in the first place. Not all, but a huge part of what America considers “Christianity”, has become very shallow and insincere. I think a lot of it is because much of the modern-day church has become very fact-based.

When I look around me and see the amazing detail of the creation of the world and how we can’t make a single blade of grass I wonder how people could even doubt God’s existence. The way so many things function—where if one single detail were off it wouldn’t work at all…can this really be a coincidence?

But I am slowly beginning to see that as I grew up in a Christian home, I had faith in Christ first—before all the details. And that’s where real Christianity starts—with faith.

God didn’t go to the Pharisees and perform a miracle to prove Himself. He went to the sick, the hurting, the hungry…those who were seeking and willing to step out in faith. God then reveals Himself to those who put their faith in Him.

A lot of the Christian church has been trying to prove themselves with facts—but to no avail because many non-believers already have their own “faith”. They already have something they believe, that they’ve grown up being taught and you simply can’t replace faith with facts. There’s nothing wrong with having facts, to be sure. I’ve been very fascinated by the history of the Church and all the details of God’s creation, but it’s not where my faith is based.

There’s something I have to give atheists  credit for, and ironically, it’s their faith. Their strong belief that there is no God. It’s not really something they can prove, but nonetheless, they believe it.

A religion that stands is going to be one that is based on faith. It’s where your heart is set, what no words any man can say will convince you otherwise. Sadly, a lot of Christianity is no longer faith-based. What I’ve been seeing is as there have been so many discoveries and the world has learned new things, a lot of sincere Christians with a faith-based religion mistakenly have been raising up a generation of fact-based religion…which does not stand very long.

And this generation I am speaking of is not our current generation, but previous generations. There was a period in time where many families were growing up saying, “Well, the Bible says it, so it must be true.”, and “good people” keep the Ten Commandments and go to church. This is hardly “faith” that is being passed down, but facts.

I believe the decline of people who claim to be “Christians” is people who never had a faith-based relationship with Christ in the first place. Many grew up in “Christian” homes that literally had no faith…just facts. And then as they grew up, became more independent and were out in the world they were quickly surrounded by a “faith”, but not a faith in Christ…a faith that there is no God.

We need to realize that Christianity takes faith…without it, it won’t stand. Don’t build your life and family on facts, but faith in God and His Word to us. True faith won’t decline, but will grow.

Instant Gratification

The desire for instant gratification in this country has grown astronomically over the years. When we want something, we want it NOW…and this doesn’t just apply to physical things such as a car, a house, a movie right when it comes out, or an awesome cell phone upgrade with all the new features. There are other things we desire to have without too much effort such as achievement, respect, honor, healthy relationships, and the fruit or reward of our hard work.

As we’ve become more and more impatient, we’ve been trying to satisfy ourselves with things we can easily access or achieve. We’ve been satisfying ourselves with all the times people accept or send friend requests on Facebook instead of truly bonding with others as Jesus did with His disciples. We choose our occupation based on what pays the best and isn’t too difficult of a goal to reach. We accept what only gives us satisfaction for the moment rather than a lasting memory. We do kind things for others just to make ourselves feel good, though deep down we know we are capable of doing even more.

We need to stop settling for the instant and fight for the authentic. It takes time, discipline, faith, love, grace, trust, and a whole lot more but that’s a part of the journey and it’s worth it.

Don’t give up. Keep pressing on.

 

 

God’s Seed

Hearts are hardened as stone and you ask why the seed does not grow?
The seed is planted among thorns and you wonder why when sprouted the plants are choked up?
It is no use to plant where the ground is not prepared to receive it;
time is wasted when you plant where nothing will survive to harvest.
Search for ground that has been prepared;
look for land that has not been swallowed up.
Plant where it will be well-tended and fed;
if there is no water and sun it will whither away.
Be sure the roots go deep so that a storm only makes it stronger;
plant among others so that it may bear fruit.
Do not keep the seed to yourselves or hide it away, for if you do when the Master returns it will be taken away.

 

 

Never Alone

This song has been a favorite of mine since I was in my teens. Whenever I have restless nights I have a specific playlist of songs, this song being one of them. (Might as well spend that time with God, right? Sometimes I wonder if God allows me to have those nights for that very purpose) It’s a collection of songs that are reminders that God is always there, and simple songs of worship. Focusing on God and worshiping Him truly is an immense help in taking attention away from ourselves, our struggles and pain, as it allows God to take up our burdens for us.

Something I specifically struggle to keep in mind is simply that God is ALWAYS there…not just some or most of the time, but always…I am never alone. There is a special kind of peace that comes from remembering that. Remember that God never fails. Remember that if we allow Him in He doesn’t walk out on us. Remember that He loves us more than anyone else ever can. Remember that His love never fails, and we are never alone.

Letting Go

Letting go of dreams the world has set,
Sharing our gifts with all we have met.
We always know we can have what it takes,
By God’s love and strength that constantly makes,
A way to get through the struggles of life,
We can face the heartaches, battles, and strife.
It’s not just making it, getting through a day,
But living to the fullest, using God’s perfect Way.

Not “Good Enough”

One of the things that pains me most is seeing people discouraged, that are afraid they’ll never “measure up”, or be “good enough”…whether it’s to fit in at church, for their parents, for God, to be a pastor, missionary, or whatever. Sometimes I see it causing them to lower their standards, seeing themselves as uncapable of doing the great things they are called to do. (EVERYONE has a purpose and a calling, and NO ONE has a “greater” calling, or is more important than another! Remember this!) Well, *newsflash* you probably won’t be good enough. No one ever is. (Rom. 3:10)

But, that does NOT mean you can’t do great and mighty things for God by the power of His Holy Spirit!

God CHOOSES the foolish and the weak. (1 Cor. 1:27) The Devil will try and tell you “you aren’t good enough”, “you don’t deserve it”, “you are not worthy”. (It truly is amazing how the Devil tries to bring us down with the truth, and if we’re living in fear and doubt, he will succeed) Well, we need to be prepared to respond: “But, to each one of us grace has been given…”(Eph.4:7) “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that we are saved…”(Acts15:11) “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.”(Titus3:5)

Guess what? If we are where God wants us to be, and if He’s on our side we (us and God together) WILL be good enough, and we will succeed!!!

A Place

1494331588578Ever since I was young there’s always been a place I can come back to. A place on Jesus’ lap. In His arms. A place of peace. A place to cry, a place to let things go, a place to surrender, a place to ask for forgiveness, a place to say thank You, a place to just remember that everything’s going to be okay.

Oh, what a wonderful place!

If you haven’t yet, find some much-needed time, some quiet, (though I personally prefer some worship music…everybody’s different. 😉 ) and find this place.

My Calling

1494209990522Ever since I was a kid I never wanted to be normal. Like, that’s just boring. I didn’t know right away, and still don’t know in great detail what God has called me to do with my life, but I know for sure normal is not who I want to be. (And does God really expect us to be normal?) I’ve always felt like there is so much potential in life, and that time is so important…it can be used for great things, or it can be wasted away. One thing is for sure: I do not want my life to be wasted away.

Now, you may be wondering what these “great things” are. It’s taken me years to figure that out myself, and I’m still working on it. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is doing “great things” starts NOW. Some of the greatest things you can do can seem so unimportant, so little, and even pointless. I know if I ever want to do the kind of things I dream of doing one day it’s going to require lots of learning, advice, questions, lots of prayer, and experience.

To put it simply, I want to love people. I want my love for them to reflect Christ’s love for me. I want to be at their feet willing to get dirty. I want to share the truth bringing light to darkness. I want to be there for people who just need someone to listen to them. I want to show my love by providing long term physical care. I want to show my love through teaching the truth of God’s Word. I want to show others how they can love too, so it’s not limited to what I can do myself. And do I really have to wait to start loving people? Of course not! I’m surrounded by people who need to be loved and cared for. Everybody needs to be loved. And, it provides lots of learning experience for myself. God has placed me in so many opportunities to teach, to learn, to love, and to care for people around me…I have been so blessed!

So, that’s the basics of it, but more specifically God has placed a desire in my heart to help orphan children with special needs.
Though the idea of helping orphans has been in my mind since I was a young child and saw commercials for nonprofit organizations asking for donations to support a child, it wasn’t till much later that the idea of helping orphans with special needs even occurred to me, simply because I wasn’t aware of the need.

When I was 20 I had the privilege of being asked to be a personal care attendant for a then 13 year old child with Spina Bifida and transposition of the great vessels. I would do things like homeschool, take him to PT, go along to appointments, cleaning, laundry, home exercises, keep meds in order and such…most importantly, just be a friend…what a wonderful experience it was! I worked with Seth for nearly six years.

I’ve had epilepsy for many years (9), and the family has been incredibly gracious to me as there have been many days I needed to leave early or couldn’t make it.

Finally, in November last year, I lost my license and had to stop working. Even if I could get to work the seizures were becoming too frequent to actually DO the work.
Thankfully, we found help. Seeing a new neurologist, within 10 minutes of telling him what had been going on he recommended brain surgery. So, after doing many tests over the last couple months, I am in the process of getting surgery. (Currently scheduled for July 26th) I am really hopeful of this being a huge help as this surgery typically 80% of the time completely stops seizures, and otherwise greatly reduces them.

Meanwhile, with books as pictured above, I’ve been keeping myself busy with reading and research with some more from Amazon on the way! 😊 I feel like in a lot of ways I hardly know where to start, but every time I’m reminding myself, if God is calling me to something, He will prepare me and open doors and lead me to that calling. If anyone has any reading suggestions, share in the comments below. Prayers appreciated!!!

Battlefield of the Mind

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I’ve just recently finished reading the book Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. I’ve learned waaaay more from this book than I can say in one article, and I can guarantee: I have more to learn yet.

When I first picked up this book I couldn’t help but laugh because I’m in the process of getting brain surgery for my epilepsy. (Brain..mind? I thought it was funny anyway…) My frequent seizures have kept me pretty down and given me lots of time to think and read, so what better time to go through this book?

I’ve always been quite a thinker, and it can be anything from how something works to worrying about something of little to no importance. From early morning to late at night, my mind constantly wants to stay at work.

One of the first things that caught my attention in this book was to “think about what you’re thinking about”. To some extent I already was, I mean, most everybody’s heard of Philippian’s 4:8, right? (Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.) But, with some careful examining, I realized I was failing miserably…and still have lots to work on.

So, just going to share “a few” lines along with scripture verses that stuck out to me from the book: (I underlined over a hundred things in this book…I’ve never done that in any other book I’ve read other than the Bible)

“Cast all your care upon Him.”

“The proud man worries, the humble man waits.”

“Step one to any freedom is to face the truth the Lord is trying to show us.”

“Our thoughts are silent words that only we and the Lord hear, but those words affect our inner man, our health, our joy, and our attitude.”

“Sadly, very few people know how to live each day to the fullest. But you can be one of them.”

“Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it.” -Mark 4:24

“The Lord may direct us to do a certain thing, but if it does not make sense-if it is not logical-we may be tempted to disregard it.”

“Worry will not help our cause at all. It will, in fact, hinder our progress.”

“Remember, your actions won’t change until your mind does.”

“Make a decision to believe God and not the Devil.”

“Negativism has to go.”

“If we want to do what the Word of God says, we must spend some time thinking about it.”

“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”

“The best way to shut the Devil up is to speak the Word.”

“In times of spiritual warfare, we are to tighten the belt of truth around us.”

“Disobedience is disregarding the voice of the Lord, or whatever God is speaking to us personally, not just transgressing the Ten Commandments.”

“If we know in our spirit that a thing is wrong, we should not allow reasoning to talk us into doing it. Also, if we know something is right we must not allow reasoning to talk us out of doing it.”

“It is difficult for human beings to give up reasoning and simply trust God, but once the process is accomplished, the mind enters a place of rest.”

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.” -Proverbs 3:5

“If you only do what is easy, you will always remain weak.”

Okay…I better stop…these are just a few of my favorites. I highly recommend the book. And remember: spiritual warfare is a CONTINUOUS battle. I know I will be going through this book regularly…probably for the rest of my life…I know I will be giving away several copies. Give it a read and may God use it for good in your life as He has in mine!

Am I where God wants me to be?

I think so…or so I thought. Just when I think I’m where God wants me to be, things start to change…I begin to second guess myself and ask, “Am I truly where God wants me to be?”

Step by step, and moment by moment, we should be in a continuous motion towards our goal: towards Christ.

As what is going around us changes, sometimes it’s so gradual we don’t even realize it’s happening until everything is completely different, and other times the changes are so rapid and frequent it’s hard to know how to react.

So things change. What now? Did I go the wrong way? Sometimes a change in our life is a result of our own choices and decisions, and sometimes it is a result of something completely out of our control…maybe even a little of both.

The question that really needs to be asked, is not whether I’m where God wants me to be, but rather, “Am I going the Way God wants me to go?”

It wasn’t until recently that I learned that to figure out where God wants me to be so I can just stay there is a never-ending battle. It just doesn’t exist.

It’s like a first-grader working so hard to get to second grade, and then once that is achieved, becoming content and proud of where they are in life and decide to stay there.

Does this mean we should skip “second-grade”? No. We need to have goals ahead of us to work towards. Just getting the idea that when we have reached a set goal, we are where we should be and should stay there, is going to cause a major set-back in our growth, maturity, and understanding of what Christ being our goal truly is.

Everybody is different, so our goals are going to be different, right? Not necessarily. No matter who we are, where we are, or what situation we are in, Christ doesn’t, hasn’t, and never will change. Christ should be the center of everything and everyone. So how do we make Christ our goal, what we are running towards with all our heart, mind, and strength?

Typically, we want to find two or three not-so-hard-to-change things in our life that we notice Christ is not the center of, and work towards making Him the first priority of those things. But are we putting Him before ALL things? (This includes our relationships, how we spend our time, our jobs, who we put our trust in, and more)

If He is not our One, True desire, then it’s like we are running the right direction backwards, with our eyes on something else, which will very quickly lead to going off track and running into unexpected bumps in the road. (I mean, come on folks, we’re not Mater)

Often times we think, “How do you MAKE yourself want something? It’s impossible.” Love. It might take some digging deep to see it, but Christ LOVES us. More than anyone on this earth possibly can. If we open our eyes to how much He truly loves us, even though we will never be able to compare to His immeasurable love, we will very quickly want to honor, respect, follow, love and be forever devoted to the One who has love so great as Christ has for His children!

Now, we can’t trust in someone we don’t know, we can’t live for someone we don’t love, and we can’t have a desire for something we’ve never tasted or seen. We have to taste and see that the Lord is GOOD. Get into His Word, learn that He is a fair and just God. He is loving in all His Ways…oh, what a Mighty God we serve!

Once we have our eyes set on drawing closer to Christ as our goal, there is no stopping us! There will be distractions, for sure. But if we continuously remind ourselves why staying in “second grade” is just plain foolish, that walking the right direction with our eyes off track is very quickly going to lead us into many unwanted and unnecessary challenges, and that God’s immeasurable, continuous love is a gift that we can either accept or turn down, we will quickly have a desire within us to run, full-force, towards Christ, making His Way the path that we are on.

If you want to make a difference in this world, make Christ your goal. It’s a life-long journey and commitment, but it’s WORTH IT.

Hear The Sirens

On the road home from work, after hearing sirens and seeing flashing lights in the mirror from an ambulance approaching behind, I immediately started looking for somewhere to pull over.
Most-inconveniently the traffic was completely stopped on a bridge filling all the lanes, leaving no where for the ambulance to cross. As the ambulance quickly grew closer, I instinctively pulled forward off the bridge and to the side. Thankfully, the cars behind me followed giving the ambulance a clear lane to pass through.
As the ambulance sped past and was soon out of sight, I immediately began to think of how important that ambulance trip may have been.
What if I, or the line of cars behind me, had ignored the sirens and stayed just where we wanted to be?
Sometimes God will call us to do something that seems small, inconvenient, or unimportant.
I think we many times go around with earplugs and a blindfold on, preventing us from hearing and seeing those sirens and flashing lights. Failing to be attentive to where we are and where we should be rarely affects only ourselves, but typically those around us as well.
If we are truly surrendering our lives to our Creator, it means taking up our cross, going outside what is comfortable and convenient, and showing Christ’s love and kindness to those around us. What if Jesus had only stayed in the “comfort lane”?
Time is another important factor. When God leads us from one place to another, if we’re dragging our feet trying to find reasons not to go, but then eventually going, by then there’s a good chance it’s too late.
Not to mention delaying doesn’t make it any easier.
So, listen up. God may call you to something that seems small or unimportant, but actually has a life-changing impact on someone else even though we cannot see it.

Am I where God wants me to be?

I think so…or so I thought. Just when I think I’m where God wants me to be, things start to change…I begin to second guess myself and ask, “Am I truly where God wants me to be?”
Step by step, and moment by moment, we should be in a continuous motion towards our goal: towards Christ.
As what is going around us changes, sometimes it’s so gradual we don’t even realize it’s happening until everything is completely different, and other times the changes are so rapid and frequent it’s hard to know how to react.
So things change. What now? Did I go the wrong way? Sometimes a change in our life is a result of our own choices and decisions, and sometimes it is a result of something completely out of our control…maybe even a little of both.
The question that really needs to be asked, is not whether I’m where God wants me to be, but rather, “Am I going the Way God wants me to go?”
It wasn’t until recently that I learned that to figure out where God wants me to be so I can just stay there is a never-ending battle. It just doesn’t exist.
It’s like a first-grader working so hard to get to second grade, and then once that is achieved, becoming content and proud of where they are in life and decide to stay there.
Does this mean we should skip “second-grade”? No. We need to have goals ahead of us to work towards. Just getting the idea that when we have reached a set goal, we are where we should be and should stay there, is going to cause a major set-back in our growth, maturity, and understanding of what Christ being our goal truly is.
Everybody is different, so our goals are going to be different, right? Not necessarily. No matter who we are, where we are, or what situation we are in, Christ doesn’t, hasn’t, and never will change. Christ should be the center of everything and everyone. So how do we make Christ our goal, what we are running towards with all our heart, mind, and strength?
Typically, we want to find two or three not-so-hard-to-change things in our life that we notice Christ is not the center of, and work towards making Him the first priority of those things. But are we putting Him before ALL things? (This includes our relationships, how we spend our time, our jobs, who we put our trust in, and more)
If He is not our One, True desire, then it’s like we are running the right direction backwards, with our eyes on something else, which will very quickly lead to going off track and running into unexpected bumps in the road. (I mean, come on folks, we’re not Mater)
Often times we think, “How do you MAKE yourself want something? It’s impossible.” Love. It might take some digging deep to see it, but Christ LOVES us. More than anyone on this earth possibly can. If we open our eyes to how much He truly loves us, even though we will never be able to compare to His immeasurable love, we will very quickly want to honor, respect, follow, love and be forever devoted to the One who has love so great as Christ has for His children!
Now, we can’t trust in someone we don’t know, we can’t live for someone we don’t love, and we can’t have a desire for something we’ve never tasted or seen. We have to taste and see that the Lord is GOOD. Get into His Word, learn that He is a fair and just God. He is loving in all His Ways…oh, what a Mighty God we serve!
Once we have our eyes set on drawing closer to Christ as our goal, there is no stopping us! There will be distractions, for sure. But if we continuously remind ourselves why staying in “second grade” is just plain foolish, that walking the right direction with our eyes off track is very quickly going to lead us into many unwanted and unnecessary challenges, and that God’s immeasurable, continuous love is a gift that we can either accept or turn down, we will quickly have a desire within us to run, full-force, towards Christ, making His Way the path that we are on.
If you want to make a difference in this world, make Christ your goal. It’s a life-long journey and commitment, but it’s WORTH IT.

Search for the Way

Through valleys and forests we search for the Way,
Though darkness does follow, in light we can stay.

There is no burden too heavy to carry,
While the strength of our Father is there.

What we are told may be contrary,
But He’s already shown He does care.

Chains can’t pull away what we have in our heart,
Hands cannot break, true love apart.

Make A Difference

Making a difference in this world seems so hard,
Unexpected journeys–getting caught off guard.

We should be prepared, ready to listen and share.
Surrendering our all, even when it seems unfair.

Are we willing? Will we try?
Without asking God why?

We don’t really deserve this gift we’ve been given.
We should share with others, or this gift can be taken.

How can we keep this love to ourselves,
Kept in books that are left on the shelves?

Stand on the Truth, hold tight to the One,
Who gives us the strength, Who has already begun,

Preparing the way, of our tasks He has planned.
Writing each day, with the love in His hand.

Filling hearts that are empty, giving strength to the weak.
Providing the words, when we lack words to speak.

Don’t wait till the end, when it’s too late to take part,
In the saving of lives, and the changing of hearts.

My hearts desire

In my faith I often fail,
In my weakness I won’t prevail.
In my trust I sometimes doubt,
My God I can’t go without. 

It’s not me who has the power,
If it were just me I’d only cower.
It’s God who has the plan,
Though I may not understand.

It’s the creator of life and of this earth,
The One who has shown us worth.
The struggles and temptations,
The battle of complications. 

It’s in Him I place my trust,
Having Him with me is a must.
He is my hearts desire,
He’s filled me with His fire. 

It’s Him I’m running toward,
He keeps me going forward.
It’s His armor that protects me,
It’s His light that helps me see.

By Him I have the guidance, 
He provides the patience. 
There’s only One who can save me,
Only one who sets me free.

Galatians 1:10

Who’s pleasure am I seeking?
Am I workin’ for my own?
Do I think I have control,
That I’m takin up a loan?

Is this my life or another’s?
For me or for my brothers?

Did I give it to my God when I was born again?
Or was I just speakin’ words, hey, I’m just sayin’…

…if I’s a dyin’ to my self, an’ takin up my cross,
Puttin’ my old life on the the shelf, though it may seem like I have lost,

Can I take parts of it back,
Did I really lay it down?
Is the old body still intact,
And just covered with a gown?

If I gave it up to God,
Then it’s His pleasure that I am after.
The King who offers life,
the One who rules forever. 

So, I follow the True Leader,
not the world or my best friends,
Not the popular crowds or preachers,
For it’s God who comprehends,

The big picture, He can see,
What is better, who we should be. 

He will speak through us all, in the ways that He sees fit,
He will teach through His servants, as we all are closely knit. 

He will be revealed in situations, 
in His time and perfect plan.
Not our carefully laid out schedules,
If it’s all in our God’s hands. 

Time isn’t mine.

Time isn’t a game for man to play,
or a song that begins and ends in a day,
It’s a temporary thing; it won’t always exist, 
It’s not for our pleasure, yet we always persist.

I think I deserve a time all my own,
Time for anyone else is simply a loan.
It isn’t that way-or at least it shouldn’t be-
For not even a day should belong to me. 

‘Cause that day that I gave my life to my God,
Has made taking it back seem rather odd. 

A season will pass, the harvest will come,
The celebration that day, will be only for some. 

The time that I’ve given,
It’s worth all the loss,
For forgiveness we have 
By the gift on the cross.

We’ve been offered a gift,
Eternal life with our King,
that can’t be replaced by any earthly thing.