Psalm 143:8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143:8

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Philippians 1:3 for the Class of '86

I thank my God every time I remember you.

Twice now this year I have had the pleasure of meeting up with old friends from high school.  We celebrated our 25 year reunion this summer in August and again just last weekend for the homecoming festivities in our old home town.  I have to say it was wonderful to meet up with all my old classmates.  To talk, to laugh, to play, to dance, to take pictures, to relive memories and make new ones.

And truly, I thank God for everyone in the 1986 class from Oak Harbor High School.  The get togethers this year show just how lasting relationships can be.  Even when you haven't spoken to someone for 25 years.  I did not keep in touch with anyone most of those years.  And how I regret that now.

God puts so many people in our lives.  And I just want to say...cherish them.  Love them.  Stay in touch with them.  So much can be lost when we don't.   Our class has realized how much we enjoy seeing each other and wants to make our get togethers happen more often...I think that's great!  I think that it can only enrich our lives.  And I'm excited to see everyone again.  And again....

So, OHHS, class of '86...I do thank my God every time I remember you, my friends!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Who Am I?




Who am I?  I make mistakes of all sizes.  I hurt people.  I say the wrong things.  Who am I that the Lord of all the earth would care to know my name......I think about my life...where I am, where I've been, where I'm going.  And I'm so grateful that our God is a God of second chances, of undying love, of forgiveness and hope.  I am so grateful that He does care to know my name, that He does feel my hurt...that if I say to Him "Lord, change me to be the person you want me to be.  Change me...." I can trust Him to do just that.  So Lord, I lift up my hands to you today...with all that I am...and I say "Change me.  Make me the woman you want me to be.  Open my eyes, my heart, my hands..."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hope and a future

Jeremiah 29:11

11" For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Can I just say "thank you, God"??   It's such a relief to know that He knows what's going on in my life!  I wonder most days..."Really, God?  Where am I going on this ride called my life?  What am I supposed to be doing?"  I have no idea sometimes why things happen the way they do, why I'm supposed to struggle, why I have to watch my kids struggle, why things have to fall apart, why did this good thing happen at this point, why did this bad thing happen at this point, why, why, why....but God does.  He knows the whole path, the whole story, the big picture. 

It's easy to look back some days and see how certain events have linked together to create the NOW I am experiencing.  It's amazing to find that God's hand has been in the midst of it all...even the days when it felt like I was all alone in my mess.  But when I look at my blessings, both big and very, very small, I see that they have all worked together in my mess to bring me to my current position with the strength to carry on.  Certain people have come in to my life, or come back in to my life, or gone out of my life...all with purpose.  Different events have opened doors or closed doors so that I have had opportunities for growth.  I'm sure you can say the same.

During the times when I feel like I am so overwhelmed that I am drowning in the sea of life...I think about the verse above.  And remind myself that God is in control.  That He has plans.  That if I spend some time with Him, watch and listen and wait...I will know the direction He wants me to go, the decisions he wants me to make.  He has plans.  And even though I really want to KNOW what those plans are most of the time, I am glad I don't know it all.  But I am sure that whatever happens, if I trust Him, it will be to His glory...and I have hope for my future.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How to wait on the Lord

Wait.  Just wait.  Be still and wait. 

How hard it is to do that!  How hard it is to be still in this day and age.  How hard to wait when so much is readily available NOW!

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him"  Psalm 37:7

If you're like me it's hard to be still very often.  It's also hard to still your mind...mine races constantly.  I try to quiet it, and yet it just keeps filling up with stuff on and on and on....

And when I have questions for the Lord, I ask them constantly.  I wonder if He gets tired of it like when my children were small and they would ask the same thing over and over.  I would patiently answer until I just couldn't take it anymore and then sharply say, "Enough!"  Oh, how I hope I never bring my Heavenly Father to that point!  Fortunately for me, He has infinitely more patience.

Funny how things happen isn't?  Just after I typed that above I looked up Psalm 46:10...."Be still and know that I am God."  And as I read what the study notes say for that verse I find this:  God's voice breaks through, as he addresses the nations.  Be still.  Here, the Hebrew for this phrase probably means "Enough!"    Love it!  Enough, He says, I AM God.  Know that, know Me. 

If we aren't still, if we don't wait for Him, how can He do anything in our lives?  If we are constantly running ahead of Him, constantly worrying, constantly fidgeting and moving....how can we hear His voice? Or see His works?  Or be grateful for all He has done?

In Exodus 14:14 we hear Moses speaking to the Israelites as they are being chased by Pharoah and the Egyptians.  They are frightened, questioning why Moses led them out of slavery in the first place. 

Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.  The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Really Moses?  Battle is impending.  Fear is escalating.  Be still?  Stand firm?  Do not be afraid?  And yet, how many times do we see these words in God's Word?  He is always reminding us that in Him we need not fear.  In Him we will find strength.  He will act.  He will take care of things.  And maybe, just maybe, it's in the face of impending battle that we need to stop, hand it all over to Him, and wait....

Wait for the Lord and keep his way.  He will exalt you to inherit the land    Psalm 37:34


Just a final thought for today as I continue to learn how to wait on the Lord....


Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  
Isaiah 40:28-31


If we trust, if we wait, if we are still before God...He promises much.  So today, I'm going to try to be still, to listen, to watch, to wait....


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Today's Challenge

Ephesians Chapter 4:
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Let's let this verse be our challenge today.  How hard...or easy....will it be for you?  I know I need to put some filters on my mouth.  Do I say things that build others up...or tear them down?  Do I exaggerate just a little to make someone else look bad and myself good?  Do I make comments that are more hurtful than helpful?  Yep, more often than I care to admit.  Time to stop, think, and say to myself "Will these words I am about to say build up or tear down?  Will they benefit or hurt?"  Whether I am talking to someone, or about someone....I will keep this verse in mind.  Will you do the same?


Blessings on your day, and may the words that come from your mouth be beneficial to those who listen.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How to be content

Content...what does it really mean to be content?  The dictionary says:

content

adjective
1.satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.
verb (used with object)
4.to make content: These things content me.
noun
5.the state or feeling of being contented; contentment: His content was threatened.


Satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.  As I look around this world I see an awful lot of discontent...we always want more: the new, the latest/greatest, more volume, more, more, more.  We want this, we want that...we NEED this, we NEED that.  When does it stop?  When will we be content with the way things are?  Is it even possible?

Paul found a way.  Paul, who was in prison more than once.  Paul, who could easily have wanted more out of life than he got some days.  Paul knew the secret to contentment.  He tells us in Philippians 4:12-13: 

     "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

Paul realizes that he is not ultimately dependent on stuff, or people.  He is grateful to the Philippians for their support and their gifts, but he knows the secret of being content with what he has.  The secret is knowing Jesus.  Jesus, who can give us the strength to endure hardship and want.

Paul tells us just a few verses earlier in the chapter "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  When we give all those things we think we WANT and NEED to God, when we let Him take care of us, we will find peace and contentment.  Pray, be grateful for what you have.  God will give you what you truly need and make the rest unnecessary. 

Oh, how I want to be able to say like Paul that I am content in every situation.  And how I want to let go of all the things that cause me anxiety and just let God be in control.  It is a daily decision for me because I am a natural-born worrier!!  But I do find that when I am able to fully release the things that cause me anxiety, there is peace and contentment in my heart and mind.  And I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.  Leaning on Him and trusting Him, I am stronger when I feel weakest; my needs are met; my emptiness is filled.  And I can be content.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Music for Saturday...Word of God Speak by MercyMe

I'm finding myself in the midst of You,
Beyond the music, beyond the noise,
All that I need is to be with You,
And in the quiet to hear Your voice...

Be blessed today...find some quiet to spend with the Lord and listen for His voice....

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Grateful today...

....for my children....who I love so very much.
....for sisters and brothers.
....for sisters and brothers in Christ.
....for friends who support with a word, a smile, a quiet listening, a hug.
....for the baby snuggles I got yesterday with lovely little Lilly.
....for the quiet dark early in the morning.
....for the love of God that lights my life from the inside.
....for opportunities to go forward...even when I'm scared.
....and knowing that I can lean on Jesus and He will dispel that fear.
....for the people who come into my office at work...coworkers, friends, members of the church family, those who just need to talk for a while...
....for big belly laughs that sound so joyful.


And I am grateful for each of you for sharing a moment of your day with me by stopping by to read.  Take a few moments today...every day...to think of a few things you are grateful for...and see if it doesn't change your attitude just a little.  Live in gratitude, in thankfulness for what He has given you.  And look at the challenges in your life and find the positives - the things you can learn from, the things you may be able to share, encourage, or help someone else through later.  Whisper a word of thanks to our Creator, our Father, our Rock.  Be grateful today...and choose joy!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Gift of Grace...no line drawn...

God's grace.  What is it?  It's a gift.  A gift...nothing you earn, nothing you are "worthy" of, nothing you can ever repay in any way.  God holds out this gift to each one of us - it is ours to accept, or reject.  It is for everyone, all sinners.  No matter how "good" you are or how "bad" you are.  No matter how many sins you have committed or will yet commit.  You can't bargain for it, do good works for it.  It is a gift.  Will you accept it?

A friend recently asked me if God won't draw a line at some point in your life because you have sinned too much.  It is God's desire that all be saved.  ALL.  Not just the good people - and really, "good" people sin, too, let's be honest!  It is God's desire that we all come to a life eternal with Him.  He is not going to take a look at your life and say, "Well, on this day 15 years ago, you committed your 2,194,763rd sin...so off to hell you go!"  No way.  He just won't do that.

And how do we know this?  Let's take a look at Matthew chapter 18 where Peter asks Jesus about forgiveness.  "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?  Up to seven times?"  Peter thinks he is being generous with seven times...according to the law at the time it was prescribed to forgive three times.  Seven is better than three!  But Jesus tells him "not seven times, but seventy-seven times."  What Jesus means is that you just keep forgiving...and if he wants us as humans to just keep forgiving...then won't he do so even more?  Won't God keep forgiving us because His love for us is so great?  Yes. 

Peter even denied Christ - three times! Disowned Him.  But did Jesus hold that against him?  No.  He spent time with Peter later, asking Peter three times "Do you love me?"  Each time Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."  Jesus reinstated him, gave him work to do, and said "Follow me."  (John 21:15-19)

The thief on the cross....a sinner to the point of execution.  Yet, as they hung there together, the thief acknowledges Jesus as he realizes WHO He truly is....and Jesus tells him "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."  Really?  A sinner who was at death's door?  And yet, no line drawn...Jesus knew this man's heart...He knew this man's sins...and he was accepted into paradise even at the last moment.

God loves us - wholly and unconditionally.  When we seek forgiveness, when we repent and turn from our sins, when we live our lives for Him...He will forgive.  He will not draw a line and forsake us.  He will take us to Himself in heaven.

Now this is not to say that we should be willfully going about sinning!  We should be living our lives for Him.  He knows our nature, our tendencies.  He knows we are not perfect.  And thankfully, He is NOT going to give up on us, even if we give up on ourselves.  We may say "There's no way I'm going to heaven...so I will just have to resign myself to going to hell because I've been so bad God will never accept me."  But that's just wrong.  He will accept us because Jesus Christ being fully God and fully human came to this earth, lived a human life (albeit a perfect one), and died a human death...for us.  FOR US! And then, three days later, He rose again in power over death. So that if we believe in HIM, we will be saved!  If we live our life for HIM, He will not deny us.  If we ask forgiveness for the sins we have committed...He will give it.  There are no boundaries to His love.  There are no boundaries to His forgiveness...it is deeper than the deepest oceans, as far as the east is from the west, greater than anything we can imagine in our fragile human minds.

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” ~Rom 8:1

So won't you reach out and accept that gift of grace?  He's holding it out in nail-scarred hands...waiting for you to take it, even as He prepares a place for you in heaven.  Grace.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Trust in Jesus - Third Day

What will you have to say at the judgment throne?  I already know....I trust in Jesus!

Have a blessed Sunday praising and worshiping our Lord!  Rest in Him and know that He will never forsake you...never draw a line that says you have sinned too much...never leave you alone in this world....