“He Did It For Me”

But as for you, continue in what  you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus – 2 Timothy 3:14-15

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I read an interesting quote today which led me to thinking and eventually to writing this post. It said “Are we given children to teach or to be taught?” In other words, there is so much we can learn from our children. Probably as much as they can learn from us. Their little minds are always open. Open to new possibilities, an open heart that can see beyond what we see. As adults we tend to look at everything with a bit of skepticism, doubt or worry. Children see things just as they are and with hope and excitement.

In a way, I saw a lot of what this quote meant when I listened to my own child this week. As I worked around the house last night, my heart smiled as I heard her in her room pretending to be the leader of a bible study. She was reading from her bible and explaining the verses out loud. And she was doing a very good job! I thought to myself how I hadn’t taken time from my own busy schedule for reading God’s word yesterday or the day before. So I sat down and made a little time last night after my freckle-faced inspiration had gone to bed.

She also made me stop and think earlier this week when she turned a Wii game into a thought about Jesus. She was playing a game that required a lot of balance on the Wii board and afterward she remarked how hard it was and it made her arms and legs hurt. Then she said “But that’s nothing compared to what Jesus went through! He had to hold himself up on the cross. That must have been hard. But he did it for me!!” She was so excited as she said it. Yes, he did do all that for her… and me… and all of us and yes it was hard. But where would we be today if he hadn’t? And how different would the world be if we were all on fire for Jesus like that??

Take time to listen to the children in your lives. Remember what it was like to think with a happy heart, a heart that is excited for what Jesus did and for what God can do in our lives. And take time to learn with them.

On the flip side of that, don’t forget about the children who aren’t fortunate enough to know God or have Him in their lives. How can you help them? Invite a child to your church or a youth group : )

 

“Grace and Forgiveness”

“Humanity is never so beautiful as when praying for forgiveness or else forgiving another”

SIN. What an ugly word. We all do it. However, we all do it in different ways. Some are more serious than others but to God, a sin is a sin. He forgives no matter what. Sometimes it’s hard though to really believe that your sins have truly been forgiven. The bible says “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 and Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Those words are God’s gift to us. To help transform us with His grace. We all fall from grace so to speak. Some harder than others. It’s how we pick ourselves up that matters.

CONVICTION. The proper definition is the act of convicting (proving guilt). God’s conviction is very specific. He makes it known to us (sometimes in a very uncomfortable way) that we have done something wrong and because of such, we must right that wrong. He will usually show you the way toward that. It can come as a subtle hint or a gut-wrenching feeling that just won’t go away. Once you accept this and do what is necessary to correct it, your heart and mind can be at ease. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

FORGIVENESS. Big word! Forgiving and being forgiven can sometimes be the most freeing thing that a person can do for themselves. Forgiving someone for their mistakes, no matter how hurtful, takes a huge heart, a heart that is shaped by none other than God himself and makes us more like the One who forgives us…of all of our wrong doings. Asking for forgiveness is huge too. Pride has to fall by the wayside. You are admitting you are wrong and sometimes acknowledging a sin. There is nothing more humbling than that. But the peace that comes with it is absolutely worth it. Free of guilt and shame.

I have dealt with all three of these things in my life and one or two this week alone. Each of these with the right outcome will lead to opportunities for growth and a better understanding of ourselves and our daily walk with God. God uses conviction and forgiveness to purge us of those things that are still weighing us down and holding us back from the person He is trying to mold us into. What you have done in your past does not define you. (Whew…thank goodness!) The thing to remember is that what our Savior has done within us and for us makes us who we truly are.

“Blessings and Thankfulness”

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‘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?

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Blessings – Laura Story

I started writing this yesterday and planned to post it last night but I forgot to save the document and so I didn’t get to post it when I wanted. Apparently there was a reason for that and God had something different in mind because He put the song above in my heart this morning and I felt like I needed to share those words. So if you are reading this and those words are touching you, congratulations! You’re the one He sent it to : )

We tend to think of blessings as only the good things. Those moments where everything perfect and amazing comes together. Some refer to it as luck or being lucky…I say it is a blessing. And while this is true, it is hard to believe that those moments which aren’t so perfect and amazing can be considered blessings as well. I admit this week I have had a hard time believing (as I do from time to time) that all I have dealt with over the last twelve months could truly be a blessing in disguise. That’s when I have to really pull back from all the negativity I am feeling and focus on what God is trying to tell me…. I’m okay. I will be okay. He is near and will not forsake me. He is just calling me closer again because I am wandering once more, thinking I can do all of this on my own. I have to shut off those thoughts and listen to what He is saying. I’m making it my goal today to do just that.

And as we approach Thanksgiving next week, I realize I have so much to be grateful for. I am so appreciative of the fact that God has never given up on me and that He gives me what I need to thrive despite the struggles. I am also thankful that He has given me an awesome support system, a wonderful man, a loving daughter and amazing parents. I am also thankful for my family, friends and church family who continue to support me in ways that they may not even be aware of.

God is good. Count your blessings this week, and next week and every single day. Give Him the praise and the glory for without Him none of what we are given would be possible.

He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes – Deuteronomy 10:21

“A Heart For God”

For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure – Philippians 2:13

Compassion, forgiveness, respect, courtesy, patience…do you practice these on a daily basis? If we are to have a true heart for God, then these are the things He asks of us. Throughout the last few months, God has been working in me and through me. There is still so much I need to work on but I try, throughout my days and weeks to use those things that He would have me to use when I am out and about. Your conscience will speak to you during a particular moment when you know what you should say, do, or not say and not do. This is God speaking to you. There are so many times in the course of a day that you can put these things to work. Think about this when:

  • You get angry with the slow cashier at the supermarket/department store or the waitress at the restaurant. Maybe he/she is doing the best they can. Maybe it’s their first day or week. Maybe their burden is so heavy that they can’t concentrate on the task at hand. Be patient.
  • You get upset with a spouse/significant other/family member. Put yourself in their shoes. Try to figure out why they may have said what they said or did what they did. Imagine yourself in the same situation. Be forgiving.
  • You see an elderly person ahead of you in the check-out line struggling with a credit card machine or in slow-mode going down the highway. Life can be so fast-paced for people who have lived most of their life during a time when the days were simpler and life wasn’t so complicated and technology-driven. Don’t be rude. Be respectful.
  • You spot that person by the road asking for a handout. It seems easy to judge them. You might ask “why don’t they just get a job?” But do you know their circumstances? Are there mental health issues? Are they illiterate? Disabled? Maybe they have a job but it’s not enough to make ends meet. Obviously, there are those who ask for handouts and use them in less than appropriate ways (alcohol, drugs) but what if that person on the street is God’s way of allowing you to show compassion? Be compassionate.
  • Someone starts a conversation with you in the store aisle. This happened to me a couple weeks ago. I was trying to get a few things and get out as quickly as I could. I was rushed and this elderly man started a conversation with me. He was very kind and I tried to be kind in return, despite my rush. When I left the parking lot, he drove by me, honked, waved and smiled. Yes I was in a hurry but I took the time to speak with him. Maybe I was the only person he would speak to that day. Maybe he had no one else. If that conversation made him smile then it was worth it. Maybe God put me in his path that day. You just never know. Be courteous.
  • You feel the need to gossip. Ask yourself what you are gaining by passing on information (that may or may not be true) about someone else’s struggles or issues. Is it for the reaction that you will get from the person you are telling it to? Is it to make you feel better by speaking about someone else’s problems? If it is hurtful, it shouldn’t be said or repeated. We are all guilty, even me from time to time but I am really working on that.

I want to have a heart for God. A heart that will make Him proud. Think about the true “contents” of your heart. Does it contain things to be proud of? If not, consider making changes so that everything that comes from your mouth and every step you make comes from that place inside you where God wants to live and longs to stay.