A Journey of Faith

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Positively uplifting

I have a worn and well loved piece of green paper tucked away in my bible cover. It is creased and slightly faded, not too much though, as it is well taken care of. It is a 'souvenier' from one of the women's retreats the ladies from my church have every year. During this activity we all had a piece of paper taped to our backs. We then walked around writing something on each person's paper, recording our thoughts or feelings about that person. I don't know who wrote each thing, but I have this wonderful little slip of encouragement I can pull out and be lifted up by whenever I am feeling 'down'. But why is it that, even when we have tangible proof that we are loved and respected, we still defer to the negative voices in our heads? You know the ones, the voices from our pasts that aren't so kind and loving. The ones that whisper at us in our dark moments "I knew you weren't any good at that" "You will never succeed at that, you aren't smart (pretty, funny, outgoing...) enough" Why do we listen? Why is it so hard to ignore those 'ghosts of the past' and listen to that still, small voice that tells us we are loved, adopted, redeemed, precious, saved, cherished and strong in HIM who created us? Our GOD loves us so much, HE stepped down from HIS throne and became one of us so that we could spend eternity in heaven with HIM. Why would HE do that? Why would HE make such a sacrifice if HE didn't think we were worth it? And why should we believe sinful, fallible man over the perfect, infallible GOD who never lies?
Lord, help us to hear only YOUR voice and YOUR assurances. Help us to forget the barbs others have thrown at us in the past and remember that YOUR approval is the only approval that we should seek. In JESUS' name, Amen

Thursday, November 24, 2011

silly duckling

I thought I'd do a post about some of the silly and cute things my littlest duckling has said.

1. While driving home from church last night the kids were talking about Pluto and she said "I still think it's a planet, but people call it an elf planet cause it's too small".

2. "You know Mom, I'm not yittle anymore, I'm big now"

3. I noticed her sitting on the couch one day, reading the new Bible she got at church and asked her what she was doing. "I'm reading my Bible Mom, it's not just for putting on a shelf you know, you're suppose to read it." When she was given the Bible, she was told that she was being given the Bible so she could read it, and she shouldn't just put it on the shelf and leave it there.

4. She was pretending to grow faint at the (how do I put this politely?)... odor of her brother's feet. He told her not to 'go to the light'. She snapped her head up and replied ' don't tell me not to go into the light, it makes my hair shiny'.

5. She says to her big sister...' You know, you should always be nice to someone, even if you don't like them. You know, like I'm being nice to you.' (Just for the record, she very much loves her big sister!)

6. When she was a little thing (just barely talking) she would finish her meal, get down from her seat and start making her rounds. She would go up to each person still eating and ask each in turn: "Hi (fill in the blank)! Whatchou are doing here?" when that person replied that they were eating their food she would look up at them with her cutest smile "oooohhhh, you are eating your food. Can I bite it?" Who could resist such cuteness? Needless to say, everyone learned to eat their meal quickly.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 KJV

We live in a world where there is a constant assault on our attempts to remain pure at heart. I was watching tv with my daughter yesterday, a show about animal rescue officers. Now tell my why it is necessary to show half naked people (just random shots of people's bodies, not having anything to do with the show) in a show about rescuing animals? Why do we as a society not respect the human body, instead seeing it as a showpiece? I'm not saying that we should be ashamed of the body GOD gave us, but HE meant it to be cherished by the one HE has for us, not the whole world. Add to that the constant barrage of foul language, impure motives, and disrespect for GOD and HIS ways, it's no wonder that many people have a hard time 'thinking on' the things of this world that are just, pure, lovely, of good report, and worthy of praise. People laugh when my kids and I are watching a show or movie (or just walking along and see an advertisement), if there is something inappropriate (scantily dressed people seems to be the biggest problem) I only have to say 'eyes' and they cover their eyes or look away. I have gotten a lot of grumbling from family that I am being silly, it's no big deal. Well, I disagree, it is a big deal. I want my kids to remain pure, in their hearts and in their minds, for as long as they can. I want them to see their bodies and minds as something GOD has blessed them with, to use for HIS glory.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the HOLY SPIRIT, who is in you, whom you have received from GOD? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor GOD with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Already There

So one of our favorite groups, Casting Crowns, just released a new album (do they still call them albums... or am I showing how out of touch I am?). One of my favorite songs on the new album is called Already There. (lyrics below from elyrics.net) (video on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgFLjlzbSp4 )

From where I'm standing Lord it's so hard for me to see Where this is going And where You're leading me I wish I knew how All my fears and all my questions Are gonna play out In a world I can't control Oh, oh When I'm lost in the mystery To You my future is a memory Cause You're already there You're already there Standing at the end of my life Waiting on the other side And You're already there You're already there Oh, oh, oh, oh From where You're standing Lord, You see a grand design That You imagined When You breathed me into life And all the chaos Comes together in Your hands Like a masterpiece Of Your picture perfect plan When I'm lost in the mystery To You my future is a memory Cause You're already there You're already there Standing at the end of my life Waiting on the other side And You're already there You're already there One day I'll stand before You And look back on the life I've lived I can't wait to enjoy the view And see how all the pieces fit (x2) One day I'll stand before You And look back on the life I've lived Cause You're already there You're already there When I'm lost in the mystery To You my future is a memory Cause You're already there You're already there Standing at the end of my life Waiting on the other side And You're already there You're already there You are already there

I find it so hard to imagine. Nothing surprises GOD. Nothing. HE already knows all the pieces of our lives, the good, the bad, the scary, the inspiring. HE is already sitting with us at HIS throne, seeing how it all played out. Not only that, but HE will show us all the things we could never see from where we were standing. Like an enormouse painting, so big we can only see a little part of it, we wonder why what we see isn't so pretty. But when we can finally see the whole thing, it will be a masterpiece. It will take our breath away.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Psalm 62:5-7

Find rest, O my soul, in GOD alone; my hope comes from HIM. HE alone is my rock and my salvation; HE is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on GOD; HE is my mighty rock, my refuge. Psalm 62:5-7

I was going thru my bible case and found a postcard with this verse on it. What a comfort! GOD has blessed me with many good, godly friends who love and support me. I am so thankful that HE has blessed me with their presence in my life. But someday, they may not be there. I look at my grandmothers, my grandfathers have both passed on, many of their peers have too. In a few short decades, it could be me mourning the passing of much of my support system. But GOD will still be there. HE will still be there, holding onto me, and loving me, and being the rock I can stand on. I've seen so many people pass on; old, young, many who went so much sooner than anyone thought they should have. I don't know how someone can get thru the mourning of someone who died 'before their time' without the assurance of GOD's grace and heaven. When I think of those who have gone before me, children, young mothers and fathers, at least I can rest in the knowledge that, although it is terribly painful for those left here, they are at peace. They are more than at peace, they are singing with the angels. They are looking into the beautiful face of their Savior. Wow. What a joy to have that reassurance, that rest, that hope!

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

I love this verse. I picture myself running thru heaven's streets, full of energy, breathing freely and without effort. I don't know if GOD meant this verse literally, but I like to think HE did. Just think, when we get to heaven, we will get a whole new body! One without blemishes, or defects, or illness, or injury. No cancer, no diabetes, no bum knee from that old injury, and for me... NO asthma. No having to decide if my lungs can handle that set of stairs, or if I can get away with not carrying my inhaler that day. No having to decide if the side effects of my asthma meds are worth the benefit I get from them. No worrying that something will bother my allergies, triggering an attack. I so look forward to the day when I can run and not be weary, walk and not feel faint.
*lol* I just got this mental picture of me challenging everyone to footraces...wooohoooo....wanna race?!?! :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Lord's Prayer

So, I've been thinking about this a lot lately. A while back our pastor did a sermon on the Lord's Prayer and it stuck in my head. The way she did it was neat, she did the sermon as if she was praying the Lord's Prayer, and had someone answering her as if they were GOD. The other day I was able to get some quiet time, and I wanted to pray, but didn't know what to say (still working on that just being still thing) so I just started going thru the Lord's Prayer. It was a nice way to work thru what I wanted to say to HIM, kind of like a road map. As I went thru it, I thought of how each part connects me to HIM.
Our Father, Who art in Heaven... HE is my Father, my author, my creator; and some day I will join HIM in His glorious home!
Hallowed be THY name... Even HIS name is Holy, and special, and amazing.
Thy kingdom come... Soon please!! What an amazing day that will be!
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven... Are we doing HIS will here, are we preparing ourselves for the day when we see HIS face? Will HE say to us 'Well done, my good and faithful servant'?
Give us this day, our daily bread... HE is so faithful to those who trust and obey HIM. Not to say that life will be a cake walk, but HE will make sure we have what we need to stay on the path HE has for us.
And forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive those who trespass against us... Do I forgive as easily as I should? Or do I hold onto past hurts? Sometimes it is so hard to forgive someone who has hurt me so deeply, but GOD forgives me for so much more. HE died on a cross, a horrible, agonizing death, so I could be with HIM for eternity.
Lead us not into temptation... Thank heavens GOD protects us from the many many temptations our world throws at us. Sometimes it is so hard to stay in a pure state of mind in our culture.
But deliver us from evil... Protect us LORD, from the enemy and his lies...
For thine is the kingdom... It's all HIS, not ours. HE made it, HE makes the rules
And the power... HIS power is unmatchable, unbeatable, and unending. We can't begin to imagine the depth of HIM, our little brains can't comprehend something so limitless.
And the glory... All the glory belongs to HIM. If I do something good, it doesn't come from me, it comes from the strength and the grace and the love that I have because of HIM.
Forever... forever is, well, forever. Once we walk into HIS presence, we NEVER have to leave. Ever.

Lord, I thank YOU that YOU gave me a 'road map' to YOU, that YOU see my need for YOUR strength and love and grace and mercy, and provide me a way to reach YOU. Thank YOU for holding onto me and never letting go. In JESUS' name... Amen!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Joyful Day

So today was a good day. It started out SO stressful. I had been asked to speak in church (I am not a good public speaker) about tithing and our family's experience with it. I was unsure how interested anyone in church would be in what I had to say, and was very nervous about getting up in front of the congregation, but my pastor seemed to think I should do it, so I agreed. I wrote out what I was going to say last week and ran it by her. Then I proceded to worry for the rest of the week. Worry about whether I would speak clearly, worry about whether people would be able to hear me, worry about if I would sound intelligent, or like a dofus (ok, does it make you a dofus if aren't sure how to spell dofus, doofus, dufus?). Worry about if my asthma would act up, or if I would be shaking so much I would knock stuff off the podium. The list goes on (and on). Last night I couldn't sleep (despite being up at two o'clock Saturday morning and being exhausted by bedtime) and by 5 o'clock this morning I got up and rewrote part of what I was going to say. I was ok, until the sermon started ( I was doing the 'JESUS' prayer, I never heard of it, but the pastor told me before church to do it, so I did it the whole service til it was my turn). I knew the pastor was going to mention me in the sermon and I said I was ok with that, but it seemed to go on a long time, and I felt like everyone was looking at me. Needless to say by the end of the sermon I was shaking so badly I almost couldn't stand for the hymn. All I could think about during the hymn was ... 'wow this hymn is short. I hope we are singing it more than once' (we weren't) and 'oh no oh no, I'm next and the hymn is over'. I briefly thought about yelling encore, but thought better of it. SO up I went, shaking like crazy (which thankfully was not obvious due to the choir robe I was wearing), made my speech (even got a little laugh... cool!) and survived (!!!). To me it felt like I was shaking enough for the whole congregation to notice, and that my voice was shaky and hard to understand, but hey, I stayed upright, and didn't do anything embarrasing. Then (* and this is what made the day a good one!) after church people kept coming up to me and saying they liked what I said and that I did a good job. OK, cool, not only did they actually understand what I was saying (when I am nervous I tend to talk really fast, you know, get finished asap!), but at least some people liked what I had to say. I am so thankful that GOD got me thru what was a really scary thing for me. I am thankful that I have a church family who is patient with my insecurities, and loves me despite them. And I am very thankful that I have people who believe in me even when I don't believe in myself, who push me to be more than I think I am and do more than I think I can do. I am thankful that I have a witness to give even, that GOD has led me on a path where I have been able to learn about HIM and grow closer to HIM, that HE has put people in my life that help me see HIM and HIS plan for me. I am thankful that HE opens my eyes to HIS workings in my life, that I can see (sometimes not at the moment, sometimes much later) all the ways HE has blessed and is blessing me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More choices, more joy

So last night I was watching tv with my hubby and saw a Sears commercial. Their 'catch phrase' if you will, was something along the lines of "more choices for more joy" implying of course that they had more to choose from to bring you joy (more stuff = more happiness). That thought has been with me all night. When did we start equating stuff with joy? There are certainly things that can make you (temporarily) happy, but joy? The Bible says that joy is found in CHRIST, but what does that mean? How is joy different from happiness? As one who has dealt with depression most of my life, there are often days when I don't feel happy, but since becoming a Christian, there is never a day that I don't feel joyful. Happiness is temporary and conditional, give a child a cookie and they are happy, take the cookie away and they are not. Joy is more than just being happy, it's knowing that, no matter what the world throws at you, GOD has you in HIS hands. It's knowing that this world, with all the crime, poverty, immorality, and fear, is NOT all there is. For those who accept CHRIST as their Savior, there is something so much better waiting. Now the dwelling of GOD is with men, and he will live with them.They will be His people, and GOD himself will be with them and be their GOD. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelations 21:3,4 What a thought! There will be a day, not in this life, but the next, that there will be no sadness! No grief, no sadness, no pain! Wow! That is something to be joyful about! JESUS commands us to spread the word. The LORD is not slow in keeping HIS promise, as some understand slowness. HE is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.2 Peter 3:9. GOD wants us all to come to HIM, to experience HIS joy. Sears has some great stuff that can make your life more comfortable, or more convenient, or more entertaining, but that stuff can't bring you joy. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves can break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21.