Sunday Inspirations~ Blessings

So, as it usually happens with me when I commit to doing something on an ongoing basis I start to struggle.  And I know this is only the second of these posts, but in general I have made a committment to update my blog more often than once every couple of months. My blog started out as a place that I could go and type out and vent my frustrations.  Most of them I didn’t actually post, they were private and if posted could have hurt me and others.  But believe me some of them I really wanted to post so that they would hurt others. Because I was hurting.

So today I really struggled with what to write about for my Sunday inspirations post.  I want these to not only be an encouragement and blessing to you but I want them to be that to me as well.  I like to use my blog as a journal of my growth in my relationships~ with my husband, my kids, my friends, my church and most importantly with Christ.  I can look at my blog and see where things didn’t always look good or go the way I wanted them to and I can see how I responded and how I grew.  And it’s not always good. But even in the bad times and the times of backward growth, I can see that God was there. Always. No exceptions.

So while I struggled to write this post I knew what I wanted to write about.  My main struggle was how much do I share, how deep do I go.  You see, I am relatively a private person; I don’t like to share my struggles, downfalls, or sin with people.  Some of it is because I have been hurt. I have had my struggles, downfalls, and my sin used against me; spread around like dandelions in the wind for everyone to see.  And it is hard to get past that.  But I know I need to. I need to share and I need to be real and honest with those around me.  Its how relationships are built and maintained; its how you know I really care for you and the same for me.

So here is my inspiration for today~ Blessings

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. ” James 1:2-3

How do you count it all joy when you are facing the trials that life throws at you?  I don’t have all the answers and I am sure there are times that I fail at showing joy through my trials.  But I think the main way to do so is to stay focused on the fact that Christ is in control at all times!  There is nothing that ever takes Him by surprise! And I am so glad for that.  Ok, so here is the song that has really made me start thinking about this and wanting to share with you.

I have fallen in love with this song that I was first introduced to by my sister, Ashlee.  I have sat and listened to it at least a hundred times and I have probably cried through at least 90% of them.  The lyrics just reach in and touch something in me, something that knows the truth behind them in my own life.  The chorus is probably the part that really gets me every time.

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

I know that I am not the only one that has experienced trials or testing in my life.  And I know there are those out there that have suffered far more and far worse than I have.  But I know that raindrops do conceal blessings, healing does come through tears and all those sleepless nights have helped me draw closer and rely on Christ more.  And those trials, the things I really don’t want to go through or like, they have been God’s great mercy in disguise.  I can not tell you of the things I have prayed for and wanted so bad that He has kept from me only later for me to realized that they would have been disastrous if He had allowed me to have them!  I am so glad that God knows the outcome of every situation in my life and allows me to experience certain things to keep from other things.  I heard it said once, just because it is a good thing doesn’t mean it is a God thing!  How true that is!

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can’t satisfy?

Continue reading

Sunday Inspirations~ Love

Been a while since I did a Sunday post.  I have been meaning to do one for a couple of Sundays now but kept putting it off or forgetting.  So much going on, but then again that is life in general (and I am sure not just for me!).  So here is one for you.

Starting in November 2010 Josh became the official Interim Pastor for Lancaster Baptist Church in Lancaster, Mo.  I say official because he had been supplying pulpit there regulary for 4 or so months before that.  At one time they had been interested in hiring him full time but after we sat and discussed things, he and I really felt that it would not be a fit for us at the time.  However, he became their Interim which meant that he preached on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings and lead their nursing home service on Monday mornings.  Normally we was gone Sunday morning until Monday late afternoon.  At times the kids and I would go up with him and that usually meant we left on Satruday later afternoon and stayed overnight.  We loved going with him and especially the time we got to spend alone as just our family unit.

This little church of about 50 became near and dear to our hearts and although we were so happy that they had finally found and called a new full-time Pastor, it was also a little bittersweet for us.  I have to tell you that this little congregation was one of the most loving and generous that I have ever had the privelege of being a part of or experiencing.  And while it is hard to say, the truth is that in the 9 months that Josh was their Interim Pastor we were loved on, accepted and cared for greater than in any other ministry that we have been a part of.  And I will miss that so much!

On our last Sunday with them, they held a thank you dinner for Josh and the family.  It was a great time of sweet fellowship.  Thank you Lancaster Baptist Church for loving and accepting my husband, my children and me!  We will never forget you.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart,  ~Philippians 1:3-7

Here are some pictures from that day.  Please try not to notice how large I look in most of these, I was little shocked when I seen them.

Sunday Inspirations~ Seeking God

Ok, so I know that missed last weeks but I truly did not mean to! Honestly, I had planned to sit down and write after church because something that we had studied during Sunday School really spoke to me.  But I think at that moment I was still trying to digest it all and make sense of the thoughts in my head!  Needless to say, that did not happen  But I think I am finally ready to share them with you.  So please bear with me since this might get a little rambley! Sorry if it does.

And they went and stayed at Geruth Chimham near Bethlehem, intending to go to Egypt because of the Chaldeans. For they were afraid of them, because Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had made governor over the land.  Jeremiah 41:17-18

So I little background here.  Johanan and his group freed some captives from Ishmael who then killed Gedaliah.  Johanan and his group then became afraid of retaliation because Gedaliah had been appointed by the king of Babylon.  So they quickly made plans to travel into Egypt to try to escape from the Chaldeans.  But in the middle of the plans they had already made, they decided they better go and ask Jeremiah what the Lord wanted them to do.

Then all the commanders of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest, came near  and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Let our plea for mercy come before you, and pray to the LORD your God for us, for all this remnant—because we are left with but a few, as your eyes see us— that the LORD your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.”  Jeremiah 42:1-3

So the first thing that really struck me about this passage that we were studying is how after they had made plans and started to follow through on those plans, they decided that they needed to see if this is what God wanted them to do.  How many times in my life have I made plans, started to carry out those plans and then said “please bless this father and show me if it is your will?”  I don’t go to God seeking his will for my life, instead I go to Him with what I want to be His will for my life and ask him to make it so.  I am not trusting Him enough to wait, instead I have to plan.  And this is where I get into a lot of trouble, because I am a planner. I don’t really like the unplanned or spontaneous things.  Just ask my husband.  I must have a plan and then a contingency plan if that doesn’t work right.  And then sometimes I even have to have ANOTHER backup plan, just in case!  When I do this to God, how much am I limiting Him?  How many extra blessings and gifts do I miss out on because I have to plan for any and every little thing that can happen.  And how much glory am I taking away from him?  These were all questions running through my head as we were going over this lesson.  But there is more!

Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the LORD be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the LORD your God sends you to us. Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.” Jeremiah 42:5-6

So not only did they go to Jeremiah and ask him to seek out what God wanted them to do on their behalf.  They said that no matter if it is good or bad we will obey the Lord!  Wow, that is a powerful statement.  Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the Lord our God.  How many times have I told God that no matter what He asks of me I will do it, good or bad.  No matter what He gives to me I will accept it, good or bad.  There have been times in my life when I have prayed and prayed and prayed for something, prayed for the outcome I wanted and then when it hasn’t happened been disappointed and even mad about it.  That isn’t what I have told God when I prayed.  I prayed that His will be done and that glory be brought to him.  Could glory be brought to Him if it looked like I did it all on my own? Like my planning had made all the difference?  I guess it could, but how much more glory comes to Him when the outcome is something that I couldn’t have planned for or controlled or done on my own?  So much more!

So I don’t paste almost the entire rest of the chapter here, I am going to sum it up for.  Jeremiah seeks the Lord on their behalf and after 10 days (yes 10 days!) he gets an answer from God.  He tells them that God does not want them going to Egypt and that if they remain where they are, He will build them up and not tear them down.  However if they go to Egypt, they will be overtaken by the sword they fear, they will face famine, and none of them will survive.  I think another important thing to notice in this passage is that it takes Jeremiah 10 days to hear from the Lord.  10 days!  Wow, how long do I wait for the Lord to answer my prayers?  Sometimes, I don’t even wait a day before proceeding on with what I want.  I really need to take time to seek God’s face and wait for him to answer.

Their answer in response to God’s word that really gets me.

Johanan the son of Kareah and all the insolent men said to Jeremiah, “You are telling a lie. The LORD our God did not send you to say, ‘Do not go to Egypt to live there,’ but Baruch the son of Neriah has set you against us, to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they may kill us or take us into exile in Babylon.” So Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces and all the people did not obey the voice of the LORD, to remain in the land of Judah. But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took all the remnant of Judah who had returned to live in the land of Judah from all the nations to which they had been driven—  the men, the women, the children, the princesses, and every person whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan; also Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah. And they came into the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the LORD. Jeremiah 43:2-7

They called the prophet of God a LIAR!  Wow!  And they did want they wanted to do and planned to do from the very start!  How many times do I do the same exact thing?  Maybe not calling the wise counsel of the Godly liars but disregarding them none the less!  At the moment we were reading this passage, the cry of my heart was “oh God please forgive me!”  I realized that there are many times that I plan and then half-heartedly pray or seek wise counsel, disregard what I hear God telling me through prayer or counsel and go right on ahead with my plans!  How many half-hearted prayers of “your will be done” have I prayed lately?  Not really wanting or caring if what I wanted was in God’s will for my life?  I can honestly say too many to count!  And that is sad.  Not only is it sad but it is sin on my part, the sin of pride– thinking that I know better or more than the God of this universe!  Sin that shames me and sin that I had to confess to my Savior.

My prayer after this week of seeking out God and really meditating on this and other passages is that I will always, whole-heartedly seek God’s will for my life before I make any plans.  And I need to wait on the Lord, knowing that He will answer and that His answer is the best.  And I pray that you will do likewise if you aren’t already.

The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.  It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:25-26

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.  Psalm 127:1

Sunday Inspirations

Usually I don’t post much on Sundays, just because of church and trying to spend the day with my family (usually napping!) and not being on the computer that much.  But I thought maybe each Saturday I could schedule a post for Sundays that incudes some inspiration for you.  This may be in the form of a favorite verse or a scripture that has been speaking to me lately or it might be a (recent) favorite song that I have heard or an uplifting story.  Something along those lines, something that will encourage you, lift you, make you smile, basicall lighten your spirit and help you through the week!

July 31, 2011 (can’t believe that today is the last day of July! wow time is flying by)

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

When we were little and would attend church, which actually wasn’t very often for me or my brothers, I can remember that we sang this song quite often:

He’s got the whole world in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands.

And then of course you have the next four verses: you and me, the sun and rain, the rivers and mountains, and everybody.  The song was teaching us then, even as little children, about the sovereignty of God although we had no clue what that was.  And I am sure that as adults some (ok a lot) of us still can’t quite wrap our minds around God’s sovereignty, that He (and He alone) is in control of ALL THINGS!  It is hard for us to understand and at times accept.  I know that I still struggle with realizing that my life is in God’s control and not my own.  I want control, I want my own way and I want to be in charge of everything related to me.  The only problem with that is, I usually end up messing it all up.  And usually just when I am getting comfortable and thinking “I got this” something comes along and reminds that I have not got this and never will.

Recently I ahve been listening to a great song that I have fallen in love with.  And it reminds me of the fact that God is in control, always!  It is by 33 Miles and is called “Arms That Hold the Universe.”  Isn’t that a great title?  In some ways, it says it all.  Here is a video of the song sung by 33 Miles, take a listen!

And here are the lyrics to the chorus, that is one of my favorite parts of the song:

And the arms that hold the universe
Are holding you tonight
You can rest inside
It’s gonna be alright
And the voice that calmed the raging sea
Is calling you His child
So be still and know He’s in control
He will never let you go

No matter what is going on in your life, the arms that hold the universe (God) are holding you!  You mean so much to him, enough so that He sent His only son to die for you.  As I have dealt with some things these past couple of weeks and some things that I was hoping for not come through, I have realized that no matter what I am going through, He is holding me and I can rest in Him!  And I don’t know about you but I think that is the safest and best place to be~ in Him!  So I will be still, know He’s in control and know that His plan is so much better than anything that I can think or dream of for myself and my family!