Wonderful Merciful Savior

Draw Near

Draw Near

I was in the grocery store when my two year old had to “go potty”. If anyone has a two year old you know what that is like. So we were in a hurry! He took the lead and began running in every direction that was not toward the restrooms. This way and that weaving in and out of aisles, while I “led” him to his destination. If I had not been constantly guiding him back to me I don’t think he would have ever made it. What a clear reminder of what our Father in Heaven does for us. We run blindly through this world going our own way. I know the destination that I want to reach. I desperately want to be with Him, but do I always listen to Him? No! I zig-zag through my life, constantly taking twists and turns and detours that I am sure were not part of His original plan. If my son had listened to me and drew close to me, I would have held his hand and the trek would have been so much easier. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8

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Clear Out The Clutter

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S:  “What should we do then?”  The crowd asked.  John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.

O:  John is still stressing the imminence of the coming judgment.  This is not a time to hoard one’s surplus goods.

A:  When you think of personal preparedness, what do you think of?  Personally, I think of what I need to have stock piled in case of an emergency.  I have extra clothes, in addition to my families’ five full closets.  This leads to a lot of clutter and I hate clutter.  Having all of these piles of stuff around drives me absolutely crazy.  I want things to be clean and organized, but with so much excess it is a hard thing to do.  John’s message is as relevant today as it was then….God doesn’t want us to hoard thin we think we might need someday, this is an indication that we do not believe that God is sufficient.  When we think of personal preparedness we shouldn’t think about being physically prepared for the emergency, but instead being spiritual prepared to meet our maker.  “Sow righteousness for yourselves and reap faithful love; break up your unplowed ground.  It is time to seek the Lord until He comes and sends righteousness on you like the rain” (Hosea 10:12).  What things do you have that clutters your time with God?  It is time to throw it out!!!

P:    Dear Lord, I seek Your face today and ask You to restore in me a clean heart. Help me to rid of all the clutter in my heart and my life which is keeping me from my time with You, and prevents others from seeing You working in and through me. Infuse me with a desire to maintain a uncluttered life.  You are sufficient Father, You are all I need, and You alone can satisfy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

S.O.A.P on Luke…..Repentance

S-“Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low.  The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.  And all people will see God’s salvation.” (Luke 3:5-6)Image

O-John was a humble man who submitted to God.  Not concerned with his own popularity, he knew that his ministry was to point people to Jesus Christ.  I find it interesting in this day and age of people so in need of repentance, that the message in many churches today is one of love and salvation and the sin and repentance part is kind of left out.  John the Baptist went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  It doesn’t surprise me that this scripture would stand out, my Pastor preached on that very subject yesterday, and our life group class we are studying revival, which is incomplete without….repentance, and my Beth Moore study is on guess what….pleasing God, and what pleases God more than repentance.  The first thing that John the Baptist taught was repentance, the first thing Jesus taught was repentance, and the word repentance is used 40 times in the Old Testament, meaning to change your mind, heart or disposition.  The scriptures are full of the message of repentance, but I think that it is the hardest thing to do.  Why are “I have sinned” the three hardest words to say?  I could go on and on because frankly this has been drilled into my head for a few weeks now.  I am pretty sure that God wants me to teach a spirit of repentance.  J

A-Like John, I need to point people to Jesus Christ.  The way to do this is by convincing them that they need Him, and the only way to do that is to have the Holy Spirit convict them of their sin.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23) and then lead them to repentance.  Only then will they understand the true love of “God, who made Jesus who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).

P-Father in heaven, I thank you for the joy, pleasure, gratification, favor, and acceptance that you have put into my heart.  All of the things that I was constantly longing for and trying to fill before I found You.  I will never understand the absolutely free expression of loving kindness that You pour out to me, I am so thankful!  I will never be the same THANK YOU!!!     Father prepare people and send them my way because I am ready to tell them about You, I desire to tell everyone about You!!  In Jesus holy name, Amen!

  

O’ How He Loves US

Today I realized it has been too long since I have written.  I have felt prompted to many times but something always showed up to pull me away from the computer.  As I type my five year old just “bonked his head” and boxes are piled up all over my house ready to be filled with everyone’s treasures, that I am quite frankly getting ready to throw out, because as Van would say on Cars “we have too much surplus”!  You know you’re a mom when you quote from a Disney cartoon.  And my 2 year old just ran the kitchen sink over, while the pile of dishes still sits there waiting to be washed, but at least the floor is clean.

Lately I have been very removed from my comfort zone.  I am a person that likes structure and preparedness.  I liked having a cow and chickens because if something was to happen, we would have milk and eggs.  Which is why I am moving a truck load of food, because if I have extra everything we’ll be ok….right?  But now I am selling my cows, giving away my chickens and moving into town.  Why?  Because God told me to.  I could go on all day long about why I think I am suppose to move into town and think up all sorts of plans that God might have for me, but truthful I’m not sure, but what I do know is that whatever fits into the plan He has for me will be perfect!

With the election today I am constantly worried about who will win, and what that will mean.  We might be going into the biggest recession this country has ever known (maybe I should have kept the cows and chickens), I could worry about it all day long, but in the long run God is in complete control.  It really doesn’t who wins this election or whether I have 300 chickens, God will take care of me.  Romans 8:29 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Did you know that God can’t be changed?  He is the same today and tomorrow….What does that mean?  It means that the same God that was in the Old Testament is here today, it means everything that God was in the Bible in New Testament times He is today.  That means that everything in the Bible is true for you!   James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Psalm 18:6-19  “A hostile world! I call to God, I cry to God to help me. From his palace he hears my call; my cry brings me right into his presence – a private audience! Earth wobbles and lurches; huge mountains shake like leaves, Quake like aspen leaves because of his rage. His nostrils flare, bellowing smoke; his mouth spits fire. Tongues of fire dart in and out; he lowers the sky. He steps down; under his feet an abyss opens up. He’s riding a winged creature, swift on wind-wings. Now he’s wrapped himself in a trench coat of black-cloud darkness.  But his cloud-brightness bursts through, spraying hailstones and fireballs. Then God thundered out of heaven; the High God gave a great shout, spraying hailstones and fireballs.  God shoots his arrows – pandemonium! He hurls his lightnings – a rout!  The secret sources of ocean are exposed; the hidden depths of earth lie uncovered.  The moment you roar in protest, let loose your hurricane anger.  But me he caught – reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved – surprised to be loved!”

That is how much He loves us!  More than we can ever even understand!  That is how much He LOVES ME!!!!   Then shouldn’t I give my whole life to HIM?  What a wonderful creator we have, I am so thankful today that I was not brought to this life from a spontaneous bang or an evolutionary mistake, but I was created by a loving creator that cares about my life and has a beautiful plan for me!

Thank You JESUS!

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Did you know that the bible says that by every idle word you will have spoken; you will have to give an account on Judgment Day?  If ever the thought crossed my mind that I would get into heaven by my works the Lord has shown to me that it just isn’t possible.  Jesus said that if I lied, had stolen anything, or even look at someone with lust, I had committed adultery in my heart, and that there was nothing I could do to wash away my sins.  Because of all of things I have done, if God judges me by the Ten Commandments on Judgment Day, I would end up guilty, and go to hell.

Let’s look at the Ten Commandments for a minute.

#9 says that we shouldn’t lie.  I have lied.  Sure I can try to smooth it over and say that they were just little, and mostly when I was a teenager, but the facts are there; I will have to give an account for every lie I have told.  Wow!  Hell here I come.

#8 says that I should not steal.  Opps!

#7 says that you should not commit adultery.  But my husband and I lived together before we were married.  Surely that doesn’t count, right?  We are married NOW.

We have only made it through three of the Ten Commandments and I have broken all three.

Have I always put God first?  Never worshipped anything idols?  No blasphemy?  Kept the Sabbath?  Honored my parents?

Wait………….I have kept one I have never killed anyone.  But wait Jesus said “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:21-23).

Are you on your knees yet, head in hands weeping over the fact that neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”(1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

I have been there.  That is what I was.  But I was washed, I was sanctified and I was justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6: 11).

It was like I had been judged for everything I have ever done that was wrong, and the law stated that it was all very wrong.  And then someone that I didn’t even know just appeared and paid all of my debt for me.  No prison, No lake of eternal fire, no damnation.  Just Jesus.  All I had to do was give my life over to Him.  Turn my back on all of the sin, repent and let Him have my life.

Thank You JESUS!!

Do Not Be Afraid

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The very first time the phrase “do not be afraid”  is used in the bible God is speaking to Abraham, the father of all nations.

Abraham had already done things that would have caused me to be afraid.

“The Lord said to Abram: ‘Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you’” (Genesis 12:1)

He left his homeland and became a nomad, traveling to an uninhabited place in the middle of nowhere, he makes it through famines and even though at times his faith is shaken he keeps on trusting God.

“After this the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:  ‘Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward.’”(Genesis 15:1)

Believing fully in God and trusting in Him, means standing up and facing the impossible without fear and obeying God’s will.

The choices we make, very much determine the roads we take.  Every choice has a consequence, and when those consequences come it reveals our true character.

Will we stand firm in our decisions if we know that God is on our side?

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance.  He went out, not knowing where he was going.  (Hebrews 11:8)

Abraham is considered the father of the faithful.

God called him and he moved.

Fear is an enemy of faith, and fear can easily be part of our lives but God is “your shield”.

When Abraham was life was over “He took his last breath and died at a ripe old age, old and contented, and he was gathered to his people” (Genesis 25:8)

He had run the race and kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

Someone once told me it wasn’t about the numbers on the stone but the dash that really matters.  How will you live your dash?  How will you be remembered?

“Do not be afraid of death, be afraid of the unlived life” ~William Hurt, as Mr. Tuck, from the motion picture “Tuck Everlasting”

I love how on t…

I love how on the movie The Backup Plan he explains being a father as being terrible, terrible, terrible and then there is a small amazing moment that makes it all worth it, and then terrible, terrible, terrible and then that small amazing moment.  Of course this statement is meant purely for comic purposes, but it wouldn’t be so funny if there wasn’t some truth to it.  Sometimes when I get stuck in a rut that is how I feel.

It is almost like that small amazing moment is the only thing keeping me going.

Usually it is when I am feeling intense pain deep inside that I decide to go my own way.  Sometimes I just want to wallow in the pain and feel sorry for myself, but that isn’t what God wants us to do.

He doesn’t want us to desperately run around and scramble to put our broken lives back together.

He wants us to rest in Him. 

I can be made new by resting in Him, resting in His plan for my life, resting in the knowledge that He works all things together for the good of those that love Him.

Just resting in Him.

A lot of times I have problems resting and being still.  There are too many things circling around in my head, to many things that have gone undone.

When I need help resting I ask the only one that can give me the rest that I need.   

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Today while I w…

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Today while I was pondering why I haven’t written lately, I realized that every excuse that I could give is only that, only an excuse.  Life doesn’t really ever have to be too busy for God, but sometimes I make it that way.  I thank God everyday for the people that He puts into my life that help me realize that I am not doing what He wants me to do.

Writing has never been my favorite activity.  I would much rather be doing a whole list of other things, but for some reason God has put it on my heart to write.  Why?  I don’t really know.  When searching for my talent, I have always wound up troubled.  I can do a lot of things OK, but I’m not really good at anything.

I have always blamed it on being a ranch girl.  At a young age I was told to figure stuff out and get it done, and I became good at getting things to work without much to work with.  My favorite thing to do is train horses, and I would love to have a place where special needs children could come and ride my horses, but that dream is far away.  Even with the beautiful view outside my window while sitting at the computer isn’t much help because I think of all of the wonderful things I could be doing on the other side of that window that are so much more compelling.  But I will try to focus.

Today I heard a wonderful story from a man that came to speak at our church.  He talked about a bunch of starfish that had washed up on a beach, there were thousands!  And this man just started throwing all of them back into the water one by one.  A passerby stopped and said that he was wasting his time because even if he spent three days he wouldn’t even get half of them back into the water, he could never save them.  And the man said, as throwing a starfish back into the water, “I saved that one!”

Sometimes my job as a Christian, wife and mother, seems small and meaningless sometimes I don’t feel like I really matter.  But I do matter to those people in my life that I touch.  God has great plans for my life!  And he has great plans for yours too!  The bible is full of stories of ordinary people with an extraordinary God.

Sarah

There is only one word that really describes this day ‘Beautiful’.  The fog is hanging low on the fresh green hills; there is just something about days like this that make Heaven feel so near.  Like I could almost walk to the top of that hill and be there.

And I think to myself, wouldn’t Jesus pick a day like this to come.  So that the clouds could split open and He could appear shinning through them with all of His glory!  Sometimes when I sit at the computer and look out my window at the beauty around me the image feels so real.  Have you ever noticed that everything about Jesus seems more real than even the touchable things here on earth?

On days like this I find my mind wandering away to Him.  What will I do when I see Him?  Will I bow down at His feet, will I fall on my face before Him, or will I just stand there in awe and amazement not really sure what to do.  One thing I know for sure I will be smiling!

Today I watched a story about a lady that I want to be like.  Her name is Sarah.  She has an incredible way of making people feel good about themselves and she cares more about their lives then her own.  I didn’t know her.  She went home to be with the Lord in 2011, but she has taught me such a valuable lesson from her beautiful words.  This is an excerpt from her blog “Gitz Girl” that I just have to share.

 I learned that it was all about the person, and in order to care about the person I needed to choose to care about what was important to them, and make it important to me.

I was thinking about this because you all saw this photo and said you weren’t sure who was more the kid, me or Elias:

 

And the truth is that I couldn’t have cared less about a car zooming off the bed. But I cared that Elias did. His interest became my interest and his excitement became my excitement, and before I knew it I was filled up with contagious joy.

We all do that for children. Imagine if we did that for other adults as well.

Imagine if we cared more about them feeling happy than us feeling right.

Imagine if we cared more about them feeling known than us feeling superior.

Imagine if we cared more about them feeling accepted than us feeling righteous.

Imagine if we cared more about them feeling joy than us feeling envy.

Imagine if we cared more about them feeling abundance than us feeling security.

Maybe sometimes it’s not so much about being who we are at all costs. Maybe sometimes it’s about letting go of who we are to see who we might become.

These are such beautiful words from such a wonderful person!  Find out more about Sarah’s story @ http://www.incourage.me/category/bloom.

Look up

ImageThere is something about baby chicks running around their mother after they hatch that intrigues me.  They are such cute little balls of fluff, running this way and that so fast that it amazes me she never steps on them.  God tuned those tiny little chicks to know exactly what to do to survive.  Isn’t life amazing!

When I tuck the baby chicks and their momma into bed at night they go into a separate pen from the other chickens, and the pen that I have is an old dog run with a gate that they have to step up, to get in.  The bottom is chicken wire so the chicks can see the hen right through the wire and they pace back and forth and try to get through the wire.  When all they really have to do is look up, then they just have to jump over the wire.  There are always a few that just can’t get this.  They continue to run back and forth along the wire, even after I show them the way.

Sometimes I wonder if I am the same.  I spend my life in such a hurry to get here and there, I know that I want to be closer to God and I think I can get to Him my way.  So I run back and forth looking down and trying to get though, when all I really need to do is just look up and the path is clear.  Do you ever feel this way?  Sometimes when I take over and try to live life my own way, I end up feeling just like this chick running back and forth with my head on the ground.  All I have to do is look up, and He is there with open arms waiting for me.

If you are running with your head down today, look up He is waiting for you.