Wednesday, March 30, 2016

~The Persistent Widow~

The Lord led me to ~The Parable of the Persistent Widow~ found in the chapter of Luke today while I was struggling over a repeated issue. It spoke volumes to my weary soul. It is a small read. Only 8 verses, but the lesson that Christ wants us to grab on to and understand is so so powerful and will transform your thoughts, prayer life and perspective on ANY daunting issue.


~Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think,  yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?  I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8

Upon reading this it moved my heart to bring my worries and injustices immediately before the Lord and to never tire and stop in doing that!!!! To be persistent with Him! At the same time it convicted me of how I often times find myself trying to solve problems and struggles in my own human strength and find myself on the edge of wanting to throw the towel in and just give up when I feel there is no justice being served, no repentance being made, no fruit being bared, or no use to keep fighting or standing firm on truth instead of denying myself the ability to truly do those things in my own effort and rely FULLY on the work of the holy spirit and Christ. My advocate. My vindicator. My  redeemer. My perfect just and fair Judge who judges righteously. 

We can learn so much from what Jesus spoke on this parable and I found an awesome blog post below that I wanted to share that really brings it all home, but overall we can learn to be persistent in our prayer life like the widow going to this "human judge, believing truth and justice will win in the end" because it will because He is a good and just God! His people should not rest in praying and give Him no rest in listening and answering...in His time. 

Our Lord delights in the prayers of His people!!!! BE PERSISTENT IN PRAYER! DON'T GIVE UP!!





Lessons from the Parables... Stay With Me

The Parable of the Persistent Widow


The seat of power changes anyone who sits upon its lofty height, whether by choice or by chance. Christ painted a picture of this in
His parable of the persistent widow.
“There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man,” it begins (Luke 18:2). Judges hold significant power over the lives of people who appear before them in court. Most judges run a tight ship. They command respect and order. People stand when they enter the courtroom and address them as “your honor.”
All this is heady stuff. It can easily go to judges' heads, and if they're not careful it can impact their adjudication of the law in their courtroom. Because they are to render justice it is vital that they “fear God” and “regard man.”
Christ describes a judge who seems to be weary of his job. Too many people with endless complaints and needs come to him for decisions, advice and assistance.
After awhile it does become just a job rather than a calling or duty. The sense of purpose in the role can be lost. A judge fills a key role in a community, and one who judges cannot allow himself to become burned out or jaded.

The widow

As Christ's story goes, within this judge's city lived a widow who had a problem. She loved God, but the problem was bigger than she could handle. This caused her great concern since she was self-reliant and able to look after herself.
Someone took advantage of her condition and the result was an adversarial situation she was unable to rectify. Her only recourse under the law was to go to the judge and plead her case.
She pleaded for justice, for the judge to listen and see that she was in the right and to intervene for her. It seems she made multiple trips to the judge to plead for help, but he wouldn't listen.
Some time went by. The widow's pleading was persistent and unending. She needed help. She needed relief. Would the judge, would someone, anyone, help her? It seemed hopeless!

A crack in the facade

Even the hardest heart that will not yield to sympathy at another's plight can be worn down through sheer bother. There came a moment of exasperation when the judge realized he did not want to see this woman appear before him again.
He concluded he would fairly hear her case and dispense the needed justice. He had no desire to be exhausted or embarrassed by the lingering case. Maybe there was a twinge of guilt, but it was overridden by a desire to be finished with this woman and her case.
The day came when the judge issued his ruling in favor of the widow. The case was over, and the woman returned to her home. She had learned a valuable lesson about human justice. Above all she had learned to stay with a cause—to not give up—to be persistent. In the end, right will prevail.

Wisdom from an unjust judge

Christ tells us to “hear what the unjust judge said” (Luke 18:6). In the judge's conclusion there is a lesson. Not a lesson in the type of judge to be, one who is hard and arrogant, but a lesson in how we should approach our relationship with God.
It isn't that God is unjust or uncaring. Jesus wants us to learn something about how He and the Father administer Their “courtroom.” God is the righteous judge of all the earth, and His judgment is always fair and impartial, and His timing is always appropriate.
Jesus then gives His point: “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?” (Luke 18:7). The elect are God's people, called and chosen and faithful members of the body of Christ. For a moment Christ focuses on this group He calls “His own.”
Not to exclude His prerogative to answer anyone's prayers at any time or place, but this statement has a message for those called by the Father to be part of His Church. There are moments when even the elect of God will question whether He hears their prayers and understands that they need immediate answers. They make their daily requests before the throne of God, pleading for justice, for healing, for peace of mind or for forgiveness and a clean heart.
When sleep escapes them and they wake in the middle of night unable to sleep, they pray, seeking understanding and comfort. They yearn for the soft touch of God's loving hand bringing them to a wide place or a green pasture where still water may be found.
God hears it all. Christ said, “He bears long with them” (Luke 18:7). He knows instantly, before we appear in His presence, what we need. He hears every word of our prayer. His ear is not deaf.
Then Christ says something we can find a bit hard to believe: “I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
Speedily? We might argue with that. We might even think that God doesn't hear or is very slow to respond. But we would be wrong. Because the real purpose for this parable is in the question, “Will He really find faith on the earth?”
Faith is what the persistent widow had. Faith that her cause was just and she was in the right. Faith that the law was on her side and the law was good and would ultimately serve those who are victims of injustice. Faith that even the hardest-hearted old judge could be reached with the plight of a widow like her and could, from the recesses of his heart, be induced to act as he ought to.
Through this example of faith Christ is showing us to be persistent in our walk with God. Don't give up. Don't stop believing. Don't ever begin to think He is not there, or He's distracted, or He's uncaring.
God is there, and He hears. What we may think is a “delay” is not so with God. Time with God is not the same as with us. Remember, Christ said God “will avenge them speedily.” God is always right on time— His time.

“Stay with Me”

What Christ is saying to us is “Stay with Me.” Go back to the beginning of the parable where Luke gives the reason for the lesson: “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1, emphasis added).
The widow didn't lose heart. She kept going to the judge and seeking justice. We are to keep going to God in prayer for every need and every want. We cannot lose heart and fall back in despair and quit.
God is going to finish what He started in each of His elect (see Philippians 1:6). He is just and fair and is going to answer our prayers (Matthew 7:7-11). He has said it, and He will do it. It's up to us to keep coming back to His throne of justice and mercy and keep asking. God doesn't grow weary of hearing us. He's not playing some game with us to see how long or how many times we will keep returning.
His promise is to hear us and not neglect us. He is saying: Stay with Me when you're healthy and happy and your needs are met. Stay with Me when you have a job and your bank account is full. Stay with Me when the sun is shining and life is good and the wind is at your back. Stay with Me when you have the answers, the friends and the applause of the crowd. Stay with Me when you're confident, wise and sound.
Stay with Me, He says, when life is good, and then you'll learn to fear Me in all things, and the wealth and goods you have will serve you and others well.
But also: Stay with Me, He says, when you're lean and hungry and don't know where the next meal will come from. Stay with Me, He says, when your health fails or an accident happens and you suffer as never before. Stay with Me, He says, when all you have worked for crumbles before your eyes and those whose friendship you coveted cannot remember your name. Stay with Me, God says, when you are so lonely and afraid the thought of getting out of bed each day presents a near impossible struggle.
Stay with Me, He says, one more day, one more time and one more prayer. Stay with Me because there is no other.
This is what a story of a persistent widow teaches us about prayer and faith and not losing heart. We can lose a lot in this life, but don't ever think of letting your heart be lost to despair and unbelief. Guard your heart. Be persistent like the widow going to a human judge, believing truth and justice will win in the end.
Stay with Me, God says, because I will bring you into My everlasting Kingdom. I will finish what I started in you. Be patient and never lose heart!~
by Darris McNeely



Oh Lord Jesus,

Help us to not give up the good fight of faith!  Thank you for giving us full and complete access to your Throne Room where we can pray to you with out ceasing! I am so thankful that you long to hear us!!! Keep us persistent in prayer. Keep us persistent in following you. Thank you for your Son Jesus who never stops interceding for us when we grant our requests and for your holy spirit who intercedes on behalf of us when we are too tired and weary to utter a sound to you. You are a great and a victorious God! Help us to know the battle has already been won and help us to know how to live it out here until you come again and take us home. We love you. In Jesus name, Amen. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

No Confidence in the FLESH!

I feel like every single season of my life I find myself in God has to teach me, and sometimes that means relearning basic truths in His word and relearning just about who He is.

This specific season the Lord is teaching me greatly a thing I have allowed to creep into my walk and shift my focus off of Him a bit. I am learning that I have found myself putting way too much focus and emphasis on man failing and not on Him delivering. I have put too much confidence in the flesh of myself and others!

I know allowing myself to do that has robbed me immensely of my joy in Christ at times in this season, and my purpose, and who I am in Him alone, and I can see it happening all around me too. I am seeing friends, loved ones and just random people in general holding on to hurt and allowing bitterness and resentment to set in when someone lets them down. When a friendship feels like it has turned out to be a sham. When a family member disappoints us. When relationships fall short. When that boss doesn't follow through on their promises. When our spouse says something unkind. When our children do not obey. When we feel like we could not live up to others expectations. When we fall short because we had put too much expectations on ourselves. When neighborhood or groups of people in an sinful act of rebellion destroy the very places we found ourselves just weeks earlier breaking bread in and working along side of these people in and going to school with them in...and moreover...when Godly people we have trusted, looked up to and admired so greatly do ungodly things. We just find ourselves loosing confidence and trust in others, and probably find ourselves asking who can I put confidence in?

Who can I even trust anymore? 


One of my favorite books in the Bible is Philippians. I just love Paul and his teachings and letters, and especially love what he had to say to the church at Philipi. When Paul was writing a letter to the Philippians he had this to say:

No Confidence in the Flesh

"Further, my brothers and sisters, REJOICE in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus,and who put NO confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal,persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, nor have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Truth is...people will fail us, and we, believe it or not, will fail people. 

Of course we can still be upset when others sin against us. Of course we can have righteous anger or be disappointed when our children disobey. We are human. Those are natural feelings to uncomfortable, hurtful and unnatural situations. The problem comes when we place TOO much focus on what man did instead of just rejoicing in who God is. We have then allowed ourselves to put too much confidence in the flesh! The flesh of man, and the flesh of ourselves will unfortunately always fail.

So who can we truly put confidence in if flesh ALWAYS fails? Who can we earnestly and always trust? 



Christ. 


He is the "author and perfecter of our faiths. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." 


Love even more how Paul goes on to say a little further down in the letter to the church in Philippi that we should follow his example and the example of others who strive to live godly lives! Love that he adds that in there! Yes and Amen! We can and should follow the examples of other righteous godly men and women, peeps. Thankful and praise the Lord for those beautiful people!! We should look up to them and model their godly behavior, but we should never put our confidence in them.  Never put it in the flesh. 

Never put it in me or I in you.


Always put it in Christ. <3




Stay Joyful,
Corey



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The one about: Spiritual Gifts

I heard a quote one time that said, "I'm not beautiful like you, I'm beautiful like me." Loved that quote so much, but how much it can also be said  in the body of Christ with, "I'm not gifted like you, I'm gifted like me." You know one thing I have been learning over the past few months, but seems so predominate and prevalent in my life in the last week or two (and just a side note I have to owe this to some of the incredible God fearing women that I look up to that are huge encouragers of the faith in my life and just His word too that shows us) is that in the body of Christ we are all gifted differently and uniquely in His kingdom. We all have different personalities, and unique abilities that God has given us to help the church function and carry out His plan and purposes in a world that needs to see Him. With that being said, we believers have to stop picking apart other believers, and I will be the first to admit I am guilty and have been convicted of this myself. We are all called differently, but equipped and live by the SAME SPIRIT. We serve differently, but serve the SAME LORD. Some of us are teachers, leaders, administrators, writers, organizers, have gifts of prophecy, and shepherding, musically inclined and I could go on, but we have to stop criticizing others in the church for not having the gifts you have or lets say maybe you do have the same gift, we still have to stop criticizing them for not using it the way you would. (preaching to the choir here).


Scripture tells us that they would know us in the world and ~know we are His disciples by our love for one another~ John 13:3, dang if we can't get along here as brothers and sisters in Christ, we got to remember we are going to be with each other throughout all eternity. That's a pretty dang on long time to be with someone! So we have to stop with the bashing of when we see another believer that is using their gifts and we feel that what they are saying or doing is not what we would do or not do or coming off too bold, or way too soft, or too truthful and not enough grace, or too traditional and too charismatic enough, or too convicting, or too strong for us or not strong enough. Because it all comes down to the heart condition of the gift user and the fruit they are producing with that gift and the spirit they are operating in. Of course we are going to prefer different styles and tastes, but if the person using the gift is being lead by the holy spirit to speak, to write, to defend, to proclaim then what are we getting upset about? Because it would not be the way we think we would use the gift? 

again...preaching to the choir here.

Now, don't take this as I'm not saying we should never rebuke, or train or correct or point out sin, because yes there are times when believers have not 100 % been good stewards of their gifts. Have used them sinfully and hurtfully to appeal to the flesh. So we definitely need to discern and as scripture would also tell us we need "to not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." So we def  to steer clear of those teachings and make others aware and we absolutely want to always discern and approach the fruit people are producing and the spirit they are operating in through the lens of Christ and test it to see if whether it is from God or not. But if its not...PRAY for them and then pray for yourself that God would reveal to you through His word and truth what He wants you to see or learn from this person and situation.

which leads me to....

 If we all didn't know this by now that SIN is sin. I mean lets just call it what is it. It's ugly. It is nasty, evil, stupid, and I HATE IT! We all hate it! God hates it! I hate my own sin! I really do. It disgusts me and I freaking hate it so much. It hurts me to see others sin, a believer, a non believer, whoever, and it hurts me when I sin, and it hurts God. Sin just hurts.

 So if someone gets fired up over sin and freaks out in their gifts and maybe lets just say starts flipping tables 
because they are just angry and upset over ungodliness can we just maybe give them a little room? (and as a woman sometimes when we are fired up over sin mixed with hormones oh lawdy, watch out now...because it might not just be a table). But just PRAY, PRAY PRAY for that person!!! Trust me the holy spirit will eventually convict. Been here and praise God for conviction, repentance, mercy and grace!

 As I am typing I'm starting to think about some of the most influential Christians in the public eye that have some amazing spiritual gifts and I have gleaned so much from in my walk. They all have something in common, other than the fact they are brothers and sisters in Christ, but that all have been criticized in their gifts for being just too whatever and honestly I have seen them flip tables and freak out a time or two in their walks and thought "WHOA" now. They be getting fired up, and I am sure being in the public eye doesn't help as they are more under scrutiny and their witnessing is heavily questioned. 

I am sure you have heard of them, but they all are coming to mind as I type and so I want to share.

 ie. John MacArthur. He is one incredible bible teacher, author and pastor. If you ever get a chance to listen to his sermons or read his blog check it out sometime. (www.gty.org). He seriously is like the Paul of today and has often been referred to that. He is so bold. SO BOLD. It is so inspiring to be that bold in the faith! He has such a heart for his flock knowing the truth of God's word and also warning them of the dangers of false prophets and exhorting his flock to be made aware of false teachings, but I can not tell you how many times I have heard other Christians say he's too judgmental and too bible thumpy, and too harsh etc. He truly cares about his flock and wanting to equip and guide his sheep and he is doing what God has called him to do with his unique gifts. 

Then there is Joyce Meyer! Love her! She has such a powerful testimony! She is such an encourager of God's word and truly wants to see captives set free in Christ from a life of bondage. But, she has been referred to as a false prophet, criticized for being a woman and preaching to men by other Christians and too much of a charismatic for her to come speak at "their" church.

You got pastors like John Hagee (may not be some peoples cup of tea, but man he be on fire for the Lord now...that is for sure). Definitely a John the Baptist of today! He is passionate about end times and about people getting ready for the coming of the Lord. He preaches with conviction and authority. Repent...repent!! (def a John the Baptist move) But look at the fruit he produces. People have been radically changed and set free and saved under his ministry!

You got writers like Jen Hatmaker! So thankful to a couple girlfriends who turned me on to her because I seriously can not get enough of her. She is hysterical, and blunt and straight forward and a no nonsense type of woman. You might be offended if you read some of her books because she kind of just tells it like it is, but this woman is passionate and relentless and gung-ho about going into the dark and ugly places of the world and seeing the lost saved in Jesus name!! Love her!

You got soft spoken people like Charles Stanley who is your traditional preacher that bring so much joy when he preaches. You can't not sit through one of his sermons and not smile. He reminds me of my grandfather Herb, just a little bit taller and slimmer and doesn't wear cowboy boots. :) I know he has been told in his ministry a time or two that he is too narrow minded or that he is too black and white and not enough gray. Needs to be more like his son Andy Stanley, who also has been criticized for too much grace and not enough truth on certain doctrines.

Then there is Ann Voskamp! Such a beautiful writer. So gifted with her words and the way she can melt your heart for the Lord and make you just fall in love with Jesus, but she too has been criticized from the church for being just too much. Too mystical, too wordy and just too.....

There are so many other's I can list in the public eye who are such bold proclaimers of the truth or maybe gentle quite spirits, who have produced GOOD fruit and whose hearts are sold out for Jesus and making Him known, but that have been attacked and criticized for being too forward, or too bold, or being judgmental
or too soft or not enough this and not enough that....


Then I think about those that are unseen, but seen in our lives. Those that we actually do or have done life with, and who have been huge influences in our walks and journeys in Christ.

Johnnie Laye, a beautiful God fearing woman who was an amazing bible teacher. She recently passed last year, and no doubt that this woman is not wearing many crowns and will be sitting next to Billy Graham. I had such the privilege to be my Sunday school teacher growing up and about 2 years before she passed I had the honor of sitting under again one of her bible studies on Revelations and let me just tell you should could teach revelations like no bodies business. You will walk out of her bible study just desperately waiting to see the Lord coming through the clouds and hearing the trumpet sound. But, I am sure she has felt attacked and persecuted at some point in her walk too.

"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." 2 Tim 3:12

Then I think about such fierce women like my grandmother, Louise. Man, she a straight up spit fire, but she LOVES Jesus and she loves people. She was my mentor when I came to Christ back in my early twenties and she poured so much of Gods word in me and instilled in me a passion to know Him and make Him known and to love music and His word. She is such a lover of His word and has taught many of women in her walk in His word. She also has an incredible voice, so musically gifted and I just know she will be conducting the angels choir for Jesus one day in glory, but she is no different. She has been attacked and criticized for being holier than thou and judgmental, and the more older she get's the more blunt she gets but we love her. ;)

So many others I could type here but this would turn into a book, and I already need a trusted editor and I am not sure you would even read it all......

My point to all of this is we all have different spiritual gifts and abilities, and personalities and just uniqueness about us and it's time we start encouraging one another and spurring each other in love to good works in Jesus name instead of criticizing each other for not being more like the gifts each other have or desire to have. Not everyone will be a street evangelist (I know that is not my calling. I can see someone straight up telling me to just go on somewhere and sit down.) but lets not criticize others for doing it, and
saying they are hurting the church or giving us a bad rap (yes... I have heard this recently...from other Christians) If at least one person comes to Christ was it not worth it? Not everyone will be a bold proclamier some will be quiet in spirit, but let's not criticize them for being Pauls or John the Baptists'.

 Some of us do not know what gifts we have and still trying to figure out the gifts we do have or desire to have. Some of us may be operating in the wrong gifts or still trying to see how God wants them to use them based on their personalities or unique abilities, so as brothers and sisters in Christ, let's all commit to encourage each other in our spiritual gifts and abilities and spur it to good works in Jesus name!!!

REMEMBER: You are doing great Saint! Keep your eyes focused on the Cross. Keep running the race! Keep shining His light in dark places. Keep boldly proclaiming or quietly praying. Keep trusting. Keep loving. Keeping going. Keep running. Keep pressing on toward the prize! Just keep doing and being all He has called you to do and be....

~We got one life to use them, there is one Church to use them in, and one Kingdom to advance. We may have many different spiritual gifts, but there is one Gospel, and one God!!! ~






Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The One About Headaches....

Have you ever had one of those tension headaches. You know the kind where it throbs behind your eyes and seeps up around the sides of your temples and shoots down the back of your neck?  You can't lay down. As bad as you want to cry from the headache you can't even shed a tear because it will make it worse. You try ice, and then a hot shower. You pop a few pain pills and finally, finally it eases up and that moment that it does you feel like you can now breathe a sigh of relief...for a moment, but then you realize your sore. Your head and neck are sore. Your eyes are tired and you are plain worn out and exhausted, but, the tension is gone.

I feel like this has been my life over last 4 or 5 months. One big tension headache. It finally let up this morning, but man, I am so sore from it. I am tired. I'm worn out.

Last few months or so, I have been wrestling and battling so much. Trying to find my place in friendships. Trying to trust Him in the direction that He has for our family and what place He has for me specifically in His kingdom. Carrying the heartaches, pains and the devastating news of others, all the while, feeling like I am trying to keep others around me a float and encouraged, and in all honesty, needing it so desperately for myself.

This season I found myself several times mad at God. I have never been mad at the Lord before. Never. Even after several pregnancy losses, loss of family members, and things I have had to endure in my walk with the Lord I have never been frustrated or upset or mad at my God. I have often encouraged others to trust and lean upon Him. To keep their eyes on the cross and to turn everything over into His hands when they have felt angry or confused or frustrated with His plans, and for the first time I am having to preach all of this to myself. Daily having to tell God that I am sorry and ask for forgiveness for being so angry with Him, even when I clearly know what His word says about His goodness and love, I have found that in this season I am having to battle with resting in all of that.

With all of that said, this season I am learning that God can handle that. He can handle me being mad at Him. He can handle my frustrations at His plans. He can handle my emotional outbursts, my sensitivities, the absolutely tender touchy parts of my heart. The immaturity of my little finite human brain at times. He can handle all of that. He actually gladly wants me to be open with Him about that. When we can fully come before Him broken and all poured out, nothing left to give, and truly allow ourselves to be real with God then He can start truly working in us. Refining work. Hard, pressed, shifting, digging, and drilling into the wells of our souls. Clearing, cleaning, purifying and scraping out the well walls. Doing hard manual labor. Sanctifying work.

(This type of work I had prayed for over the summer, and let me just tell you saints...don't ask God to break your heart and sift it if you ain't ready.)

This morning as I was sitting down to try and do my devotions after breakfast I had tears just streaming down my face. The tension was just too much. I tried hard to not let my son see me, but he did. He left his little trucks and cars that he had been playing with and ran over to me, and gave me the biggest hug and kissed me several times, and said, "Oh, mommy. It ok mommy."

In that moment is where the tension left. In that moment I felt my heart being opened to surrendering to His work.

It that moment I felt the Lord wrap His arms around me, and tell me, "my child, it's going to be ok."



Friends, I just have to tell you that whatever you are struggling with in this season of life...please know that everything is going to be ok. Whether you are mad at God, you are suffering loss, you are battling depression, or anxiety, financial problems, a broken marriage, a strained relationship or maybe just difficulty trying to figure out where He wants you to be in life and in His kingdom. You may feel like your life is just one big tension headache with all this pressure and there has been no relief. Please know, and rest in the fact that It will eventually let up. It will pass. This too shall pass. Just be open to His leading. Surrender your heart over. God loves you. He made you. He can handle it. Whatever it is.

 He can handle it.



Now that the tension has let up...I feel worn out, sore and exhausted. But, nonetheless, the tension is gone. I know God can begin to heal and continue to work in my heart. Sanctifying work, and I'm ready.


Prayer: God, you are so faithful and so patient with us. In your forbearance Lord, You sit so quietly and patiently and lets us throw these knock down tantrums in our strong will that we tend to sometimes have. Our hearts can not be more grateful and thankful for that. Thank you for handling all of that. Thank you for being a God that can handle the raw and the rough. The broken and the beautiful. The dark and weak parts of our hearts. Thank you for your faithfulness for GREAT it is! God continue your sanctifying work in our lives. Lord, create in us hearts that beat at the sound of your voice alone. In  your word it says that in you Lord we move and breathe and have our being. Help us to rest in that. To rest in your unfailing love you have for us. Help us to trust you with our whole lives, with every turn and direction. With every single part God we give it all over to you, and help us to rely upon your holy spirit to guide us in all of our ways. In your name. Amen

Monday, October 27, 2014

~The One About Student Ministry~


Recently, at the beginning of the fall, I jumped on board to help lead with the other student leaders at church, specifically the high-school girls, on Wednesday nights. But, little did I know this journey had a huge purpose. I never would of imagined how God was going to move in our hearts....in my heart.

During the last couple months I have stepped completely out of my comfort Christianity zone. I say that because I have always been comfortable just leading women my age or in their early twenties; encouraging them, loving on them, pouring into them, and discipling those new women in the faith, but student ministry was a bit of a uncomfortable place in the church for me because well honestly...how does one relate? I have forgotten how it was to be where they are now...or maybe it was because I remember my life at their age and its a place I wasn't sure I honestly wanted to revisit.

Since coming on board it has been absolutely one of the most rewarding opportunities ever for me in my walk so far, BUT it also has been one of the most challenging and faith testing times that I have ever experienced. God has stretched my faith in more ways that I could of imagined each week, shaken up my spirit, healed parts of my heart that have never healed, and has rebroken places in my heart that healed wrong to begin with. He has also revealed to me areas in my life that still needs purifying and sanctifying and areas of my heart that had these huge walls up that needed to be wrecked and completely taken down.

In the last couple weeks I have told several people that if you want your faith rocked and shaken up, step out and become a student leader at your church, but honestly now come to think of it...just step out of your comfort Christianity and help lead, disciple and teach a group of people His Word that other wise you wouldn't of.

Because ultimately the teacher....always becomes the student.

I have learned SO MUCH over the course of this fall semester so far, and not just because of the amount of studying and lesson planning that we have all put into it, although that is HUGE, but because God ultimately had a purpose, and I am incredibly thankful to the Lord for the purpose. I am also so very grateful for the dear friend who kept pursing me to help her lead and to be apart of this amazing ministry and for the Holy Spirit who kept poking and prodding my heart and would not stop until I said, "Yes Lord!" I now have an absolutely special place in my heart for each and every girl in our group on Wednesday nights. For each awesome win on the drill team. For each success on that test that they were so worried about. For every soccer practice they had to run late to. For their faces that light up when they talk about their chorus team and the high note they have been working on that they hit just right. For the friends and family who we never see, but hear about who they love with all their hearts. For each burden they carry daily. For each hard trial they face. For every rejection they have to endure. For the obstacles they are going through. For those who doubt and question, and still in need of His precious gift of salvation, and for every praise and prayer request that they so willingly want to lift up each week. Yes. There is such a tender and special place set aside just for them in my heart because I see that 15 year old high-school me in them and I so desperately want them to know God's love, mercy and grace in such a real and tangible way...

and I know the other leaders feel absolutely the exact same way too. 

So I thank each of them, leaders too, because they have no idea how instrumental they are being just by their presence each week in my life. We think that we are being used by God in the students lives to make a difference, to disciple, and pour into them His truth, but WOW how God is using them to do just the exact same thing in my life.

Although, this journey is just getting started and each week me and some of the other leaders are finding ourselves at times like we are just so unequipped to lead and doubting our capabilities I am learning this week specifically to just be encouraged that we are merely just the vessels. The seed planters. The obedient hearts and the willing servants who said, "Yes Lord!" to the calling to lead these precious souls. What an honor it is to help pour into, disciple, mentor and teach this generation that is rising up in the ways of the Lord, and in turn also raising up men and women with a passion and a purpose and after His heart in each of us leaders.

So on ending thoughts with this blog post I just want to encourage you, whoever is reading this today, to step out of your comfort Christianity zone.

Serve someone, bless someone, lead someone, teach someone, share with someone, engage someone, disciple someone, pray with someone, love someone...and ultimately just be someone who says,"Yes Lord!",..and watch Him move in ways you would have never imagined.



Blessings <3

Monday, October 13, 2014

What's all this debate Church?!?

(This post is written just as much for me to listen and read as any other follower of Christ.)

I just got to share a little something that has been on my heart the past week or two in light of all that is going on with the same sex marriage debates, and some other hot topics in the current media. What I cant seem to understand is how are we gonna sit up in our homes that are filled with gossip, debauchery, pornography, wives not submitting to their husbands, husbands disrespecting their wives, lust, hate, divided families, divorce and adultery and then we going to try and stand up and tell the homosexuals to sit down!?! I know what the Bible teaches....it is SIN...so are the other things I just listed.

"You hypocrite! First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."- Matt 7:5 

I mean seriously? Who are we?!! We have not arrived, and we are not the standard. Jesus is.

Christ tells us in His sermon on the mount given in the book of Matthew that if we even lust after another then we have committed adultery in our hearts, and if we are even angry with our brother we are liable for judgment. Matt 5-7

We are out here running around like dagum Pharisees and picketing for pro-life causes, and holding up all these signs, and we have mothers sitting at home carrying around the guilt and pain of their past mistakes. Where are all the Christians embracing those women who walk out of the abortion clinics after emptying their wombs? Instead of us wrapping our arms around them our hands are too busy tied up trying to fight it and call out their sin. Instead of the first to be in line to adopt the millions of children waiting for a family we are posting on social media our rights and defenses and using platforms to promote morals on the matter when we are not even doing anything to help, embrace or show the love of Christ.

Just like we are all out here picketing against same sex marriages and having these "Support to keep Amendment 1" signs boldly placed front and center in our yards, but walk up inside of our homes and see they are far from perfect. Our marriages are not Christ centered. Sometimes Jesus is no where to be found except for on Sundays.

Non-Christians are probably sitting up in their homes flabbergasted, wondering who really is this God WE say we love and claim as Lord and Savior.

I think we have been trying so hard to be so ethically right, so morally and politically correct in the streets, on social media, and in our communities and towns that we will go to the extreme to fight a cause and take a stand of defense and not be what Christ ultimately has called us to be. To be love. To be Jesus and to share His precious Gospel message to those who are perishing.

The bible says, "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." 1 Corin 13:2

Let me be clear, I am not saying that we should just sit back and let matters fall where they may in our government. Let us be walked all over, drenched and then hung out to dry, or that we should never take a stand against injustice. I am simply saying we should not be so quick to call out sin in others, and to be so quick to stand up when we are the first ones that need to just go ahead and sit right back down and to study to shew thyself approved. 2Tim 2:15

I got lots more to say on so many issues, but I am not the standard either. Only Jesus is, so I will challenge all of us, myself included, to search and examine our hearts, and to allow God to truly search and examine our hearts as well, so we will not be so quick to cast that first stone. 

Let us humble ourselves....for we all need His grace.



SN: 
 I also want to add and make clear as well that we ARE to show others their sin and where they have fallen short because scripture clearly tells us to, but we must show them how they have failed God's moral law with a purpose for them to see their need for forgivess and to lead them into a relationship with Christ for the unsaved. For the born again it should be our purpose to point out their sin in order for them to approach the throne of grace in confidence and with humility at the same time in order for them to seek His forgiveness and receive restoration. Ultimately though, we should do it all with LOVE not out of pride, arrogance or with a self righteousness spirit or attitide. So easy to get caught up with self when we see the sufferings of our world and the broken and evilness, and to forget we were just as in desperate need of saving and forgiveness, and yet still need it. ♡

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

LEGACY

So this week has basically started and its already been bittersweet so far. Within the last couple of days we have celebrated new life, mourned death, and in turn celebrated eternal life! Through all of these sweet bitter sweet events one word has really been echoing in my mind.

the word Legacy

This word comes to mind when I think about the passing of my husband's sweet grandfather and I think about what a tremendous legacy he left behind. The legacy of love, faithfulness, servant-hood and Christ for his family and friends. Legacy also comes to mind when I think about my girlfriends who recently gave birth this week to their precious newborns. These tiny little beings are just getting started in this big ole world and will one day leave their own little legacy's behind. (If they are anything like their mother I know they will leave such a sweet and beautiful mark on this world.)

Legacy

I have been thinking about my legacy this week. The mark I will leave behind for my children and grand-children, and my family and friends. Man, that's some deep stuff when you think about it.

Singer Nicole Nordeman has a beautiful song out called "Legacy" (It's not new, a few years old now). If you have never heard it please youtube, itune, icloud it...however you download media these days....just listen to it. Because it's beautiful. The chorus says this, "I want to leave a legacy, how will they remember me? Did I choose to love? Did I point to you enough to make a mark on things? I want to leave an offering. A child of mercy and grace, who blessed your name unapologetically, and leave that kind of legacy."

I don't know about you, but that's the kind of legacy I'd love to leave behind. To leave this kind of mark on my family, children and friends, neighbors and people who knew me. The mark that I choose to love. That I pointed them to Christ, and that I loved mercy and was gracious to others. That I blessed and glorified His name unashamed and without apologizing for it.

How beautiful!

I pray that in those moments where I choose not to love or to be gracious to others or moments where I struggled to find mercy that I will be reminded of the legacy that I want to leave behind...because I want it all to reflect Him.

What about you? What type of legacy do you want to leave behind?

Share and comment your thoughts.