"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
~Isaiah 6:8 NIV
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
~Micah 6:8 NASB

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Devotional: Rest In Me Awhile

One of my online "friends" shared this today. I really liked it, so with her permission I'm sharing it here.
It's from a book, 365 Daily Devotional Jesus Calling.

June 27th, Devotion: "REST WITH ME A WHILE"

You have journeyed up a steep, rugged path in recent days.  The way ahead is shrouded in uncertainty.  Look neither behind you nor before you.  Instead, focus you attention on Me, you constant Companion.  Trust that I will equip you fully for whatever awaits you on your journey.

I designed time to be a protection for you.  You couldn't bear to see all your life at once.  Though I am unlimited by time, it is in the present moment that I meet you.  Refresh yourself in My company, breathing deep droughts of My Presence.  The highest level of trust is to enjoy My moment by moment. I am with you, watching over you wherever you go.
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 you I lift up my soul. -Psalm 143:8
"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.  I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." - Genesis 28:15

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

10 Things Tuesday: God's Promises

God has given us promises that we can rely on when we are in need of comfort and assurance. These promises were made by a loving Heavenly Father and it is very comforting to know that God loves us and He ALWAYS keeps His promises.
"Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." (2 Peter 1:4)

1. Jeremiah 29:11 "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."
2. Matt 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
3. Isaiah 40:29
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."
4. Philippians 4:19 "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
5. Romans 8:37-39 "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
6.Proverbs 1:33 "but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
7. John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
8. Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
9. Romans 10:9 "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." 
10. Matt 6:30 "And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?"

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bible Study: Colossians 2

We had a small group at our Bible Study tonight.  It was must have been a tough week for everyone.  I'm definitely praying for everyone that wasn't there.  There was only two of us, but we had a great conversation anyway.  {BIG Hugs} for everyone that needs one.

Insights from Tonight's Chat and Colossians 2

  • "My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have full understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (vs. 2-3)

    I think This is the theme in a lot of Paul's letters...unity and love.
    He didn't like to see Christians fighting over unnecessary things.

    The treasures of wisdom and knowledge... What I think we all need so desperately.
    This verse says that the more we know Christ, the more the hidden treasures will be revealed.

    First, we must be united in love and encouraged.  Because without them, we cannot know the mystery of God.  The mystery of God is Christ and Christ holds the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
  • "So , just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (vs. 6-7)

    This jumped out at me because I know what I've always been taught. I've been a Christian my
    whole life, but there are days now that I feel like a new Christian learning these truths all over again.

    Paul didn't want the people to just receive Jesus and continue to live the same lives.  He wanted them to build roots and be "strengthened in the faith."  The "roots" were planted when we were young, now it's time to grow and be strengthened. 

    Interestingly, it sort of like our tree outside. The roots were pretty deep, so the tree grew really big and strong, but carpenter ants were able to get inside and eat away at it and now it had to be cut down.  I think that's how Satan works with us. He doesn't hurt us on the outside. He slowly drills away at our inside, until we have no strength to grow and we eventually die.

  • "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Chris. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with it's regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; took it away, nailing it to the cross." (vs. 13-14)

    I really like this verse because we all we dead to sin, but we are now alive in Christ.  Is there anything better than that.  He forgave our sins and freed us from the law.  He took everything and nailed it to the cross.  I love this word picture. 

  • "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." (vs. 9-10)

    Christ was both fully God and fully man.

    True fullness is found only in Christ.

    Christ has complete power and authority over everything, including Satan, so we never have to be afraid.  No matter what happens, he has it all under control.  We no longer have a reason to fear death.

  • Since we were "raised with him in baptism and raised with him through our faith in the power of God" we are now cleansed of all our sin. (vs. 12)

Good bye Beautiful Tree

On Friday, we had the tree in our front yard cut down.  Our insurance company threatened to drop our coverage because they didn't like that they tree went over the house.  It was a beautiful tree and gave our house a lot of shade. Hopefully, our house won't be much hotter now.

The company was great.  The were going to come on Thursday, but postponed it because of rain to Friday.  They did the whole tree, haul away and stump removal, and ground leveling included, for $1500 and got it done in one day.  I'm impressed.

Our front yard before the tree was cut down.

Our front yard after the tree was cut down. :o(

The Silver Lining: We will now have a lot less leaves to rake in the fall.

Friday, June 22, 2012

1 Samuel 2: Hannah's Prayer

Hannah’s Prayer

Then Hannah prayed and said:

“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
in the Lord my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.

2 “There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

3 “Do not keep talking so proudly
or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the Lord is a God who knows,
and by him deeds are weighed.

4 “The bows of the warriors are broken,
but those who stumbled are armed with strength.

5 Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
but those who were hungry are hungry no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
but she who has had many sons pines away.

6 “The Lord brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave and raises up.

7 The Lord sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.

8 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and has them inherit a throne of honor.

“For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s;
on them he has set the world.

9 He will guard the feet of his faithful servants,
but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness.

“It is not by strength that one prevails;

10 those who oppose the Lord will be broken.
The Most High will thunder from heaven;
the Lord will judge the ends of the earth.

“He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

When God Has Another Plan

For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11



Songwriter : Amy Keffer Shellem, Daryl Williams

"For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:9-14

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

10 Things Tuesday: Colossians 1

It is interesting to me how God brings people today.

For today's 10 Things Tuesday, I am going to pick out 10 takeaways from this weeks Bible Study. We had our first online chat session last night and it was a great way to end my birthday. One of the members of the online group, decided last week that she wanted to start a Bible Study, so those that wanted to participate started studying Colossians. I'm so glad that she did.

These are a strong and exceptional group women with all different faith walks and similar but different life experiences. None of us know each other in real life, as far as I know, but we all came together. This is not an online group that one would voluntarily join, but together we are taking our next steps towards Christ.

The Christian walk is a journey with bumps along the way. God never promised that the Christian life would be easy. He just promised that if you trust in Him that He holds the future.

1. We are asking God to fill us "with the knowledge of His will" through "spiritual wisdom and understanding." (vs. 9)
2. Why was Paul thankful and praying for the Colossians? Because they had heard of their faith in Christ and their love for the saints. (vs. 4)  This is encouraging for me to think we belong to a body of believers that regularly prays for us and I hope they see "our great faith and love," even when it's difficult.
3. We need understanding, so we can "live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way." (vs. 10)

How do we get "understanding?"  We have to wait until God reveals it to us.  There are things that happen that we won't understand until we get to Heaven.  I find comfort in knowing the God sees the future, but I find myself waiting to know NOW.
4. We are being "strengthened with His power...so we might have endurance and patience, and joyfully give thanks to the Father. (vs. 11)

When was the last time I used patience and joyful in the same sentence?  I want so much for things to happen on my time table.  I had a plan.  I can't do this without His strength.  I haven't' found complete joy, but have found joy in knowing God has a plan and His plan is better than mine.
5. I think that is really the summary of this whole chapter.  We need God's understanding and wisdom, so we can strengthened with His power when the troubling times come, so we can endurance them with patience and joy. 
6. "For He rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the love." (vs 13)
These past few months, I know that I felt the darkness and it does bring me joying knowing He "rescued" me and He continues to rescue me.
7. God created all things, "in Heaven and on Earth."  All things were created by him and for him. (vs. 16)
Why would God create something, just to take it away? 
8. There has to be plan. God knew before I was born everything that was going to happen to me. With God there are no accidents. Proverbs16:9 says In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
9.  He knew the hairs on our head, He knit us together, He knew it all, and I pray that I can look back one day and see how God used this group. What was the purpose?  What are we being prepared for?

10. "To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery , which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (vs. 27)

Which joy of the spirit is your strongest? weakest? (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control from Galatians 5:22-23)

I know have room to grow in all of these. I don't any are particularly strong, especially right now. My strongest is probably faithfulness. I don't like to give up on people. My weakest right are definitely joy and patience. I want to feel joy knowing God is in control, but I want it to happen NOW, so patience is hard. I'm trying to find joy in ALL circumstances, (I Thes 5:18, James 1:2) but it is not always easy, especially when feel like you have nothing left.

Does having joy in all circumstances mean that you now happy about what happened and that you are no longer sad or hurting? No, because joy and happiness do not mean the same thing. Happiness comes and goes often depending on circumstances, but joy is from God. Even in the darkest days, when sadness, grief, and loss may threaten to overwhelm you, God’s joy is there.

Goodbye 30...Hello 31

So it looks like I survived another year. This last year is not everything that I wanted it to be. There are just a few things that I would change. I would love to say that overall it was a good year, but the stress-filled parts seem to over shadow all the good parts. There are dates that will be stuck in my mind for the rest of my life. No matter what, God is still in charge and I am ready for whatever year 31 decides to throw at us.

I did have a great birthday weekend. Sunday, we went to a friend's small group and talked about our journey to Cameroon. We definitely enjoyed ourselves. Thank you Matt and Stacey for inviting us.  Then back at home, we took a nap and then went to my parent's house for Father's Day dinner.

Thank you to everyone that thought of me on my birthday. My phone died on Saturday, so if you tried to call me I will be getting a new phone this week. I didn't ignore the call, I promise.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

10 Things Tuesday: My Favorite Foods

This weeks 10 things are my favorite foods.  Oh, the simple joys of life.

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV) 

 "And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food."Genesis 1:29 (ESV)

Here are just a few:
1. Corn
2. Frozen Yogurt
3. Fruit
4. Chili
5. Fried eggs and Bacon
6. Milk
7. Lasagna
8. Cheese
9. Chocolate Cupcakes
10. Potatoes

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Oh. What a Great Weekend

This weekend was a pretty relaxing weekend despite having a work both Friday and Saturday.  Work at YWCA is still pretty busy because I'm still trying to get caught up from being gone for 2 weeks in April.  After work on Friday, we were originally going to have some friends over and have homemade pizza, but they ended up not being able to make it.  :o(  So we ate the pizza anyway and went to the Greek Fest.  Yum... Baklava.

Saturday was work on day until 6.  After work, I went to Debbie Werbrouck's School of Dance's annual recital.  Both of my best friend girls were in it this year and also a young friend that my mom used to babysit for when she had her home day care.  It was Cadence's first year in dance and she did such a great job.  Kariana got an award for being a 6th year student.  Gracie got an award for 10 years.  They all did a great job.

Today, Steve is working on repairing the roof on our shed.  Our Homeowner's Insurance company gave us negative marks this fall because the shingles on the empty shed were falling off.  We also have to cut down the tree in the front yard or they have threatened to drop our coverage.  I really like that tree.  It keeps the front yard nice and cool.  Silver lining: Having the tree gone will mean less leaves to rake this fall.  We are now getting bids to get that done and it won't be cheap.  The tree is huge.  The picture above should give you an idea of just how big this tree is.  It actually is taller and wider than I could fit in the picture.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

10 Things Tuesday: What my Parents Taught Me

I've decided to borrow something from my online group.  I hope they don't mind. :o) Basically, you just list 10 random things about yourself.  It's fun to think of 10 random things and it's fun to read what everyone says.  Last week on here, I listed 10 people that are blessing in my life.  Here is this weeks...

10 Things My Parents Taught Me:

1. Thank you for teaching and modeling by example the value of work. For teaching me that work is where money comes from and that debt and borrowing are only for emergencies when their no other option.

2. Thank you for teaching me that I didn't always have to have the best and trendiest clothes or the newest electronic gadget to be important or loved.

3. Thank you for teaching me that the world doesn't owe me anything. I am not owed a new car, new house, great high paying job, or anything else. I am not entitled to anything. Nothing in life is free. If I want to achieve success, then I have to go out and earn it.

4. Thank you for teaching me the value of education, but that college does not guarantee to you a good job. Your hard work does.

5. Thank you for teaching me that working during college, making me pay own car insurance and car payment, and making me pay my college expenses was not child abuse and for not enabling me by paying for everything in the false sense that you were helping me.

6. Thank you for teaching me and my siblings by example what a solid, healthy marriage and family looks like.

7. Thank you for raising me with morals and values, so I didn't fall into the traps that so many in my generation have fallen into.

 8. Thank you for teaching me that have as little debt as possible and having a retirement fund is so much better than having a big house, a new car, or going on vacation every year.

9. Thank you for teaching me to never do or say anything while angry that you might regret later.

10. Thank you for teaching me personal responsibility and not to look for someone else to blame when I don’t get what I want.