Thursday, October 27, 2011

Plans for You

Jeremiah 29: 11
"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."

Jeremiah 29:12-14
"you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you." declares the Lord....

God has plans for our life and those plans give us hope.  To live out God's plans means we have to call on him, we have to seek him.  When we call on him, he hears us, when we seek him, we will find him.  He is waiting for us to reach for him so that he can fulfill the plans he has for us.  Plans to prosper us-not to harm us. 
The choices we make affect whether we receive the full blessing of God's plan.  When we choose not to follow his instructions we are not seeking him and therefore his PERFECT plan for our life will not be received in our life.  When we follow after sin, when we make that choice...we are not living God's design for our life. God is our creator-he knows how we think, act and respond--he knows more about us than we know about ourselves.  Do you think he has good plans for us, Do you think he has given us boundaries and instructions for a reason?  Think about instruction manuals for cars or warning labels on hairdryers--the creators of those items know those things inside and out--they know how they operate in design with the plan they had for them.  They know what happens when they are operated against that plan--the warnings and instructions are there to help you get the best results, to keep you from getting harmed.
God has a design and plan for your life and that plan is not to harm you--the instructions and boundaries, the warnings and cautions that he has given us are there so that we can get the best results in our lives, so that we can live out God's best plan for our life--so that we will not get harmed.  Call to God and he will answer you, seek God and you will find him, follow his instructions and you will reap the benefits, follow his plan and he will prosper you.

(Thank you Debbie Lamm Bray for starting the hairdryer analogy!!)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Did I mention sometimes its hard?

I had an experience at church last weekend that I wanted to share.  I shared in a previous blog about the hard time that I have been having with our living situation.  Well, that is not all that has been on my mind.  I have been very overwhelmed with every aspect of life lately.  I just continue to feel like I want to turn off my brain so that I don't have to think about anything...cover my head with the blanket and zone out!  Do you ever feel that way? 

Sunday I was really feeling the effects of this mental state.  Our pastor's message - (go to March 27th message) was really good and at the end of the message he did an altar call for those that needed to come back to God and for those that had empty cups.  And when he made the call, I knew I needed to go up, but I didn't want to-I did not want to go in front of 1,000 people-I did not want people to be thinking "why is she going up?" I work at the church as the Childcare Coordinator and what if the people, the pastor...anyone...was thinking that I had done something that has taken me away from God or that I needed to come back to God in some way.  But I knew that I needed to go up...God was telling me to.  My heart was pounding and I was getting all hot and sweaty!!  I waited to see if it would go away and I waited for others to go forward...NO ONE was going...I waited some didn't go away and I knew I had to go and so I went.  I was the only one (I made Randy go with me!) who went forward 2nd hour.  I felt like every eye in the building was on me.  I did not use my altar time the way I should have...really crying out to God for Him to fill me back up...but Randy prayed for me...and I just felt nervous!!  But, I did what God told me to do--I don't know why he wanted me to go, I don't know if it was for me or for someone else to see--but I know that I did what he wanted.  I was feeling empty and I needed God to fill me up. Oh Man it was hard to go and when I think about it, I still feel a bit concerned about what others were thinking. I am so thankful that I listened and did what I was suppose to do.

Earlier this year, when we first began to go to SEC on Wednesday nights an altar call (except it wasn't to go forward-it was just a raising of hands) was made in our class of about 200.  I had the same experience--my heart was pounding and I knew it was for me...I needed to show God that I was commited to Him, that I was going to re-commit myself to Him. I told Him from my seat but I did not raise my hand...I was too concerned with what others would think especially the pastor.  What if they thought I didn't already have a relationship with the Lord--here I am a Bible student, and I needed to raise my hand and possibly have people think that I was on a path away from God.  I was too prideful to do what God was asking me.  I left church that night feeling horrible--I couldn't do that small thing that God was asking me to could He trust me with something of more importance if I couldn't even do that small thing. When at church this last weekend it was that same feeling and I was reminded of this time that I did not listen to God's promptings and I did not want to do that again.

God was speaking to me in both instances.  One I followed, the other I ignored.  I don't want to ignore God's call.  I want to do what He asks of me no matter what it is.  It is hard and sometimes He calls us to do the uncomfortabe, sometimes he asks us to lay our pride aside and humbly admit that we are struggling and we need help, sometimes he asks us to do things that seem impossible.  Amazingly this week, I haven't struggled as much with the mental overload that I felt before!  God is good and faithful to give us strength.  Phil 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Is God speaking to you about something? Are you ready to listen and do what He has asked you to do? Don't ignore it--you may not get another opportunity to do what He is asking you.  It may seem like an impossible feat to follow--but you need to remember that when God brings you to something, He will walk you through it.  We don't do this life alone!  Be willing to lay aside your priveleges and follow Christ's example of Phil 2:5-11 and do what the Father is asking of you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"I will follow"

This is my commitment to God!! Is it yours??

A song by Chris Tomlin--it is great--and fits very well with my blog!! 

You can also hear it at:

"I Will Follow"

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow...

All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone
Higher than my side
High above my life
I will trust in you alone

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I'll love
How you serve I'll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for you alone
You're the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone, in you alone

In you there's life everlasting
In you there's freedom for my soul
In you there joy, unending joy
and I will follow

Monday, March 28, 2011

Following-it's tough

It's tough to follow God--don't you agree?  I mean when we are fully seeking Him and fully depending on Him to direct our paths, it can get hard--but there are HUGE rewards and GREAT blessings that come forth when you are turning your life completely to God.

I sat down this morning to finish a homework assignment that is due in 2 hours--but it was so heavy on my heart to write this, that I am doing this instead.

God has brought my family a long ways in the last 2 years.  We have had one adventure after another.  I really wish that I had done a better job in keeping up with my blog...but maybe this is my new start!  We are living in the school that Randy and I are attending--that is our current adventure.  It has been a tremendous blessing-God brought us here and worked this housing situation out for us--but lately it has been HARD. We live in 2 rooms with a bathroom.  The boys have one room and Randy and I have a room.  In our room we have our bed, 2 desk areas, a table to eat at, an "kitchen" area consisting of storage space for food, a mini fridge and a microwave.  In our bathroom we have a coffee pot and toaster oven as well as a spot for our dishes to dry.  It is cramped and this last few weeks has felt VERY cramped.  I miss walking into my living room and dropping down on the couch.  I miss being able to have friends over.  I miss just having a regular home with a kitchen that isn't enormous and one that the boys can come into.  I know God has brought us to our current place, and I know that He has us here until He is ready to take us elsewhere--but it is hard to keep the right prospective--this is temporary!

Philippians 4 is an awesome passage to go to when times are hard and we are filled with anxiousness and feel like we can't go on.  I have been spending time reflecting on this passage and am now trying to memorize it. 

When we are determined to follow God no matter where it takes us and no matter how hard it is and no matter what it means we have to give up, He is going to bless us for our commitment and our steps of faith.  And think about what blessings from God look like!!! He is the almighty creator of the heavens and the earth--what magnificence there is--what blessings there can be.

Be encouraged that God takes us on journeys and He doesn't just leave us alone, He is right there walking with us no matter what is going on and He will be our strength.  We need to learn to trust in His strength as we walk the paths that He has for us.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another lesson on following!

Here I am again at a crossroads. Here I am again at the cross, again at the feet of Jesus, again begging for an answer. Lord what do you have to tell me about the decision in front of me? I am completely and utterly dependant upon you. I cannot make a decision without you, I have no idea what I should do, BUT I KNOW that you do. Lord reveal to me in my incompleteness what you have for me. I desire to completely be in your will for my life. I desire not to stick one tip-toe off of the path that you have prepared. Lead me, guide me-help me to stay on your path! Amen.

I feel like I come to this place often...the place that I have to make a decision and I know I have to rely on God, but I feel like I don't know what God is saying. My flesh, my mind get in the way and I try to work it out on my own--I don't want to do that.  I want God's wisdom to rule within me.

So, I have been struggling with my time commitments.  I am working 18 hours a week, I am taking 12 hours of class a week which leads to 12-24 hours of homework each week, and of course I am a wife and a mother--I am trying to exercise 3-4 times a week, and I am cooking dinner 1x a week and 1 weekend a month for the dorm students (that is just a total of 8 of us including my family). I am feeling overwhelmed and the only thing that I feel like I can give on is my work--by not working.  Now that seems like a simple answer, but I know that God provided this job for me at the beginning of the summer and I now that in the past this summer he has told me to keep at it-so I don't want to leave it and be out of His plan for me. But I am not feeling like He is telling me for sure to stay this time....but my confusion comes because I think maybe I am missing it because I want to leave the job. Then I remember about the time commitment that i have with my job and that I will be required to do some extra unpaid time as well for some trainings that I need to do--and I think I can't do that, I already do not have anymore time to commit to this job.  So then I think, well if I quit that leaves our income source and what God has been using to provide for my family--I can't do that.  So here I am in the midst of confusion....did you know that God is not the author of confusion-Satan is?  I don't want to be where Satan wants me.

This morning I was reading in my Bible in Exodus and Moses says to the Israelites in Exodus 15:26 "If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians for I am the Lord, who heals you,"  I want to listen carefully to the voice of the Lord my God.  I thought about some times in the last year that I had to make decisions and I knew I had written about them in my Blogs so I came back to read.  What has God done before?  What has he brought me through in the past?  LOTS of decisions!! And what always happens when God is speaking to me....PEACE, PEACE that can only come from Him.  So, what do I need to wait for? I need to wait until I receive peace from Him.

Lord bring me your peace for the decision I have. Thank you Lord!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Measuring Up Game

I read an article this morning, and I wanted to share it.  It discusses something that I have recently been thinking about and thought it a great piece to begin this blog.  Please follow the link below and read it:

I get so tired of this "measuring up" game! I constantly find myself doing this.  Usually it has to do with seeing other women--tall, skinny, beautiful, energetic--and comparing myself to them.  We have begun to exercise 3-4 times a week at the YMCA, and I have done a pretty good job not comparing myself to the other more in shape women, but there is a woman that I see regularly and she has one of the flattest tummies I have seen!!  She of course is also tan and has beautiful hair.  I think to myself, gee I wish I could have a tummy like that, and I start to feel bad about myself, knowing my tummy will never look like that, and I will never have a tan like she does!  So then I start to find fault in her to make myself look better in my mind.  First of all--this isn't a fault, but works as a good excuse for me--I am almost 100% sure that she has not had any babies, if she had--her stomach could never look like it does!  Second of all her teeth are crooked!!  Ok, I admit it, this is not how I should be responding to those around me.  I should not be finding faults in them to make myself look better.

Lately my struggle has been more with comparing myself to others in what they are doing.  Like as a mother, wife, friend, or even in my walk with the Lord.  The beginning of the article that I posted has the author at a home of another and she is just disgusted with the way this other woman can put the house together for her children...I feel this way so much when I hear of mothers making their own baby food, picking all their own fruits and veggies, spending the day doing crafts with their children, or constantly taking them to the library or to other fun places.  I think to myself "I am a horrible mother, I hardly ever take my kids to the library, I certainly don't go picking my own fruits and veggies, I don't do crafts with them....what do I do with them?"  Then I begin to go over the things that I do with my children and this week I have felt that I am selfish with my time and choose to do with my children the things only I want to do. 

So, here is what I did; I made a list of the things I like to do with my children and then I made a list of the things that my children like to do with me.  Now when it is time for us to do something together we can choose from the things that we really enjoy doing, and I am not spending our time trying with all my might to do, do, do.  I have realized that each of us does not have to parent like those around us.  We do have responsibilities as parents to look out for their needs and safety of our children, but we don't have to be running ourselves ragged trying to parent like the neighbor does, or our best friend, or even our husband.  My husband could be the one who does the more entertaining things with the kids, while I do the care taking or visa versa...God has given us different gifts and abilities, some of us are great at crafting and thinking of things like that to do with our kids, some of us really enjoy reading to our kids, some of us love to play games with them, some of us love to be outdoors with them....whatever it is that we do with our children as long as we are meeting their "real" needs of showing them God, giving them love, supporting them, providing them with safety and so on--it doesn't matter how what we do compares to those around us.

Our culture is so stuck on being approved by those around us...I don't want to get stuck in that rut...I find myself there so often, with so many different things.  I really want to begin to take my focus off of those around me and put my focus on God.  Twice in the last month I have heard a comment from an adult to a child about "what will others think?" Once was to a 3 year old who was being a bit silly and not listening to the adult and the adult said, "Now stop, your friends are all looking at you and thinking you are silly." This adult was planting the early seeds of worrying about what others are thinking.  The second  time was when a child was wearing a funny outfit, I believe it was jammies and he was going to go out in public and this adult said to him "You don't want to wear your jammies out, people will think your funny" - or something to that affect.  The older of the two children that was going out was worried about people looking at them too, he said "those people are all laughing about you."  The kids and people around us pick up on what we do around others and how we act, I certainly do not want to teach my kids to be so absorbed in how others view me that they can't think and act for themselves.  I am choosing to fight this battle and to begin to focus on what God thinks about me and not what others are thinking, and to choose to show this to my children.

I want to be able to stop comparing myself to the world, I am not of the world as it says in

John 15:19

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

1 John 2:16

For everything in the worldthe cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.

Those of us who choose to follow the Lord our God, the maker of heaven, the maker of earth, the one who formed the first man out of dust and the first woman out of that man....are not of this world, therefore; we can not compare ourselves to the world and those in the world.  We can not conform ourselves to this wordly pattern of worrying about what others are thinking, we need to let God transform us and renew us in Him.  The sinfulness, lusting and boasting of what a person does comes from the world--so again we should not be comparing ourselves to what others are doing.  Are you doing what God wants you to be doing?  This is what we should be thinking and comparing ourselves to.  Not are you doing what God wants someone else to be doing...Not are you doing the things your friends, neighbors are doing, but are you DOING WHAT GOD...WHAT GOD...wants you to be doing?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Challenge

I issued a challenge in my last blog.  Someone did take me up on that challenge.  I am posting today to add to the challenge and to update on my progress and to find out if anyone else has given it a shot!

I did about 50% on the last challenge. I am going to strive to do better this time! The last challenge consisted of daily readings and 2 meditations. I also suggested working on memorizing some scripture.  I did about 1/2 of my daily readings, didn't work on much memorizing, but did finish the meditations. 

If anyone worked on this things, please post and let me know what you learned and what you are working on memorizing.

For the next 2 weeks

This week:
Daily reading: Acts 23 & 24
Memorize: I am still working on Romans 6:1-10
Meditate: Romans 7

Next week:
Daily reading Acts 25 & 26
Memorize: Romans 6:1-12
Meditate: Psalms 25

I hope that you will give this a try and let your mind open up to what God wants to show you! I am looking forward to working on it and really putting effort into connecting with God and seeking His will for my life.