Monday, January 28, 2013

Jesus Was Here

Paul Colman shared this on his Facebook page.  I literally laughed out loud when I saw it.

It made me think about something my pastor brought out in the sermon on Sunday.  It was on "How to have a happy life and mourn" from Matthew 5:4.  He mentioned passages about mourning, but he also mentioned that the Bible doesn't record where Jesus laughed.  That being said in Ecclesiastes 3:4 it is recorded "a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;" Sometimes we are to weep and mourn, but there is a time to laugh, a time to dance.

My daddy had a balance of this laughter and seriousness.  He had a unique sense of humor and that was fun to have.  But he was also knowledgeable in the Word of God - had many scriptures memorized.  I remember someone mentioned his balance in life after the funeral.  We talked about how his funeral had tears, and laughter.  My brother shared a moment when daddy talked him about grace, and a good friend of mine shared a moment when daddy rapped a song by Justin Bieber at the table.  Both sides were my daddy.  Balanced!

This picture reminded me of something my daddy would have laughed at.  Jesus' first miracle was turning the water into wine.  I think it's great that Jesus' first miracle was to keep the party going.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Life is Hard, but God is good

"Life in a fallen sinful world is hard, it is painfully difficult, but how else are we going to learn to know God in this world?" - Ryan McKee, pastor Mamre Baptist Church, Kitts Hill, OH

I wrote to my sister about my Pastor's message on Sunday morning.  It was from Matthew 5 and how God wants us to have a happy life, but our happiness is not based on a feeling, but on being content in Him and who He is.  She emailed me a link from a message at Mamre Baptist Church.  This message was given by Pastor Ryan McKee.  I'd like to share a few things that impacted me in this message.

First of all, when I went to the link, the title of the sermon caught me.  I love this statement "Life is Hard, but God is good."  I sing a song with this in the title.  This song was a favorite of my daddy.  When I first got the song to sing, I sang it many times and people would comment on how much they liked it, and how much it spoke truth to them.  I didn't get it.  I sang it at my grandmother's funeral - my mom asked me to sing it and said, "I only want you to sing it if you can sing it again, because this is your daddy's favorite song."  I told her that was fine, I could do it.  I knew the words, I sang them from heart, but I hadn't lived it yet.  However, God allowed me to walk through a valley several years ago. It was such a dark valley, that I couldn't even sing this song. I would cry just hearing the first line of the song.  Eventually God allowed me to come through the valley.  He allowed me to be able to sing the song again...not just sing it as I had before, but really know what it meant.  Really express it in the song too.  Last year, my daddy passed away.  God and I had a talk about this song. I knew it was my daddy's favorite and I wanted to be able to sing it in memory of him.  How life can crash around you and be very hard to us, but yet in those moments He shows up and let's us see who He is and that He's there.  

The second verse of that song says, "Jesus never said it was an easy road to travel, He only said that you would never be alone.  When your last thread of hope begins to come unraveled.  Don't give up, He walks beside you on this journey home."  Believers, God never leaves us.  He is always with us. (This is God's omniscience - everywhere).  We may feel that darkness around us...but God is there...with us...holding us in the palm of His hand.  We can't even jump out!  Because of knowing that He is always with me, I'm able to sing this song again.  I sang it a few weeks after daddy graduated to Heaven, and again this past Sunday night.  I know the song, I've lived the song, and because I am learning to know God more I'm able to share it with others too.

Secondly, God doesn't bring bad things (or hard things) to us to punish us! God allows things to happen to us for us to bring glory to Him.  Last year, I had a word/phrase for 2012 and how I believe God was teaching me.  It was "WAIT ON THE LORD."  The verse I used was Psalm 27:14 "Wait on the Lord and be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart.  Wait, I say on the Lord."  I believe God used this phrase and verse helped me through  my dad's health decline and eventually his graduation to Heaven.  At the end of last year, I began to seek God for what He wanted me to focus my study.  I began to feel He wasn't finished with the waiting lesson, but I was opened for looking at forgiveness (which I believe He's using too - in fact He has used the lesson of waiting with forgiveness).  But, I'm still believing that waiting is what I'll be learning again this year.

Yesterday, I had a doctor's appointment for a program that UK Hospital is doing ovarian cancer.  The program works this way, a woman goes to the clinic to get a yearly ovarian scan. Early detection is vital in surviving ovarian cancer and they are doing this study to show that.  This year was my sixth scan.  Apparently they had seen a cyst before yesterday, but the girl who did my scan, mentioned that she was looking at it.  So I began asking some questions.  She said it had shown up on the previous scans, but that yesterday it did look bigger.  She mentioned that the doctor would review the scan and if he wanted to have me back sooner than a year - they would call me within two weeks.  I left the office, and drove back.  As I was driving, I just gave this situation to God. I want Him to have the glory in my life and that includes anything even health situations.  

This afternoon, I got a call and the doctor wanted me to come back in July for another scan to see how things were going.  Again, I prayed for God to have the glory in this matter.  

Third, the believers ultimate end in life is to know God.  To truly know GOD! To glorify Him.  To have a fuller, meaningful relationship with Him.  I was created by God to bring glory to Him, but not just bring glory to Him, but to get to know Him...To talk to Him (praying), and to listen to Him (reading the Bible).  Because I do these things, I develop my relationship with Him.  That doesn't mean things are going to be peachy and all sunshine.  There are people in our world who preach "health and wealth."  This is not biblical.  The Bible does teach that we are to be happy from Matthew 5, but this happiness is not based on feelings and being all sunshine and healthy. It's a contentment of being in Christ.  Ryan says,   

"How many times are we told that God wants His children to be happy? and I would suggest to you that it true. God does want His children to be happy, but our happiness lies not in getting what we want, but in knowing God.  There is nothing more meaningful in life, than knowing Him.  And in order to know God more fully in a fallen world, there must be trials and must be suffering." 

James 1:2-4 tells us to "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  I love how The Message puts this passage. "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when test and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows it's true colors.  So don't try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."  

Sometimes we pray that trials will pass quickly from us, but what we need to do is just pray for strength to endure.  To praise Him for the trial and for what He's going to do in our lives and the lives of others.  This reminds me of a scene from my favorite movie "Facing the Giants."  When the coach says, "let's praise Him if we win, and praise Him if we lose." I think when we look at praising God IN EVERYTHING.  We are able to handle those trials He allows to come our way.  

I don't have all this mastered, but I'm thankful God still teaches me and allows me to share my thoughts with others.  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A really good day :)

Had a really GREAT Saturday!  I actually had 9 people at Zumba® including me. This was something that I had been praying about...last week was just really hard on me with not having anyone show up. I know there are going to be days like that, but having 8 other people there today was really good.  

After working out, I worked on cleaning the church - and disinfecting for the flu germs.  It took me two and a half hours to do 2 restrooms (with 4 1/2 stalls), the fellowship hall, and sanctuary.  I am pooped!  

After that I went to the store to get some food for the week.  Took my time reading labels...I put my headphones in and just zoned into reading labels and not really paying attention to what was there.  

I came home and made a salad to eat with some homemade soup made by my neighbor.  She used low sodium ingredients :)  I really am thankful to have other people around me watching their sodium intake. 

Tonight excited that I still get my evening popcorn.  Worked it out today to stay within everything I'm watching :)

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Deliberate People daily reading - January 8th 2013

I wanted to share from my daily reading with Deliberate People.  Today's reading had to do with financial situations.  I know a lot of people who worry about the economy and about money. I have to say I'm thankful that my parents taught me that God supplies all my needs when I'm living in His will.  I believe that this reminder was helpful to me to focus that God is who I need to trust...not the economy, or government, or the fiscal cliff, etc.  I am to trust God and God only. 

I hope you get encouraged by this as well. 

January 8th deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:  

Genesis 18:20-19:38 / Matthew 6:25-7:14 / Psalm 8:1-9 / Proverbs 2:6-15

Standout verse:
Matthew 6:31
“Therefore, do not worry saying, “what shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear?”  For after all these things the Gentiles seek.  For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things.  But seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.”
Wow, challenging verse.  Challenging in the fact that it calls us to directly look at our priorities.  The world we live in tells us that our 401K’s, stocks, retirement and fat savings accounts will give us peace and security, and, if we don’t have these things in place, we’ll be in deep trouble. 
Financial status causes a great deal of anxiety and is such a focus in the day and age we live in.  It can literally be crippling.  Those less well off are continually struggling to keep their heads above water, and those who are wealthy are consumed with keeping their bank accounts fat.  Either way, money and finances seem to be a great source of stress and can be the pivotal place from which we live determining our peace, joy and level of contentment.
God calls us to live differently.  He says that if we seek Him first (i.e. make our relationship with Him our top priority) He will take care of everything else – including our finances. 
So often we want the blessings the Lord offers us so freely, but we don’t want to bother with the relationship end of things.  We want the “good stuff” without the obligation to walk with Him.
God wants our hearts wholly.  He desires to provide richly for us in every area of our lives – financially, the day-to-day issues of life, relationships, places that need healing, etc…
If our focus is our finances, we’re in trouble.  We’ll be tossed about like the wind just as the economy has been over the last many years.
No one is arguing that money isn’t important – who doesn’t like to eat?  It’s just that God asks us to focus on Him first.  When He is our top priority, we open ourselves to the all the blessings He has to give us…His provision goes way beyond the limits of money!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Discouragement or Encouragement

I know it's hard to succeed when we are faced with discouragement.  I am discouraged right now.  I was really looking forward to my first Zumba class of the year because I wasn't able to hit my weekly classes since my work schedule was long.  Well, I got there and no one came.  It's not fun working out alone with Zumba (unless I'm at home, I really don't want to do it alone) - thus the reason to go to a class.  

I can let this discouragement cause me to not want to do anything today, but instead I'm going to encourage myself to get out and get some form of exercise.  It's tough to do this because I can wallow in my own self pity - which is what Satan wants me to do, or I can stand as a person who was made in the image of God and continue on this journey. 

Can you guess which one I'm gonna do?  I hope you guessed correctly. I was created in the image of God.  He loves me! He doesn't want me to be down trodden. He wants me to live as royalty, because I am a child of His. I'm a jewel in His crown...therefore I'm to live as though I'm royal.  I wear a ring on my finger that is a crown.  I bought this ring as a reminder to myself that I am a jewel in God's crown.  I'm wanted...even when there is no one that shows up to Zumba class...God still wants me.  Even when I feel like my friends have moved on to other friendships...God wants me.  Even when I feel as though I'm the only person who's alone...I'm not...God is there with me.  

I think when we focus on what we don't have ... that's when discouragement wins in our lives.  But when we focus on what God has given us...that's when we can live with encouragement.  

I love the fact that God brings people into our lives for a reason and purpose.  It's hard to see some of them go in and out of our life, but there's reason and purposes for them to be there.  Praise God that HE is always in our life.  We just need to focus on Him all the time.

God is good...all the time!  All the time...God is good!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Devotional from yesterdays reading

I am going to attempt to read through the bible this year.  But I also read a devotional from Phil Joel (former bass player from Newsboys). He has created a website for people to be deliberate in their pursuit of God.  I read several of his devotions last year, but have decided to read through the bible in a different way this year.  However, I still like reading his thoughts from their daily readings. 

Here is what he wrote for yesterday.

Standout verse:
Psalm 1:1-3
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the way of scoffers.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord (God’s Word, the Bible) and on it he meditates day and night.  He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water that brings forth fruit in its season.  Whose leaf shall not wither and whatever he does shall prosper.”
A great verse that talks about the blessings that God promises as we determine to meet with Him and fill ourselves with His Word.  “Day and night” suggests that time alone with the Lord must be top priority in our lives if we want to be a green, healthy, growing tree that drinks from the river and brings forth good fruit.  When we spend time in the quiet, alone with the Lord, we will grow in wisdom and understanding and will hear and know His voice clearly in our lives. As we seek Him, our foundation will become increasingly solid, we will begin to produce good and healthy fruit, and we’ll become the person God created us to be.
When we are truly pursuing the Lord, He will equip us through trials and challenges so that our “leaves shall not wither” and the outcome will be prosperous as we continue to press in and allow Him to take first place in our lives.
I love this passage of scripture in Psalm.  Casting Crowns recorded a song that is based on these verses called "Slow Fade." Every time I read this passage I think of Mark's words about how he decided to write the song. He stated that "blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly."  We are to be walking in God's way...when we stop walking in God's way, we can end up standing - which brings us to the "stands in the way of sinners."  Which speaks of standing with them ... where they hang out.  Also it goes as far to say "nor sits in the way of scoffers." This is where we get comfortable with the world.  It's a slow process...that we may not realize how quickly we got out of God's will.  

The song was featured in the movie "Fireproof" by Sherwood Pictures.  This is another favorite movie of mine.  The song is played during a montage of when the wife of Kirk Cameron's character is getting friendly with another man.  He compliments her, he seems to be doing the things she wants her husband to do, he gives her attention - all the while he's married as well.  

I love the last paragraph from Phil about how God will equip us during our trials and challenges.  It's true God equips us for His purpose.  We need to seek him daily to know where He's leading.  

Until next time... 

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! 2013 has began.  

Last night, I spent part of the evening at Royersville Missionary Baptist Church.  They had asked me to sing.  I was so excited for the opportunity to share with them.  I ended up singing "Psalm 139," "Need You Now (How Many Times)," "One Child," and "All is Well."  It was really fun being with their church family. I was able to catch up with some classmates from high school. The preacher who spoke was also a classmate  (a few years younger).  

My friend Sara came with me and momma.  I really was glad to have her with me.  She is such a great friend.  After the service, we came back to my house and watched "Facing the Giants."  What a great movie to watch at the end of one year and the beginning of a new one!  

My favorite quote from that movie is 
"I think He cares about your faith.  He cares about where your heart is.  And if you can live your faith out on the football field, then yes, God cares about football, because He cares about you.  He sent His son Jesus to die for us so we could live for Him.  That's why we're here.  But see, it's not just on the football fields, we've got to honor Him in our relationships, our respect for authority, in the classroom, and when you're at home alone surfing the internet.  I want God to bless this team so much that people will talk about what He did.  But it means we gotta give Him our best in every area.  And if we win, we praise Him. And if we lose, we praise Him.  Either way we honor Him with our actions and our attitudes.  So I'm askin' you...What are you living for?  I resolve to give God everything I've got, then I'll leave the results up to Him.  I want to know if you'll join me."  
I was glad to be reminded of this way of living at the beginning of the year, so that I can get my focus back to where it belongs.  

It was a nice way to ring the new year...being at church then watching "Facing the Giants."  I'm thankful that God allowed me to enjoy the time I had last night.

Well...that's all for now.  Hope you all have a great new year...and that 2013 brings you closer to God.