“I Trust You”

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Once upon a time I had this conversation. I hope that if you are reading this and feeling like the trials of life are too much to bear, then you will realize that this is what God has to offer you and He truly is in control. Bless Him even in your storms. You CAN make it through.
Why am I here?

I brought you here.

 But why? I don’t like it here. It’s different and frightening at times.

 There’s no reason to be afraid.

But I feel weak here. I have always been so strong. I can handle anything. I can’t handle this. This is way beyond my limits.

When you are weak, I am your strength. I brought you here to show you how to trust Me. You are indeed strong enough at times but I need to make some changes in you.

But why does it have to be this way? Can’t it be done differently? Isn’t there an easier way?

 If it were easy, you wouldn’t have any need for Me. You wouldn’t know what I was capable of.

 What did I do to deserve this?

 I am not vengeful. The only thing I give you that you deserve is My never-ending love. If you are to be all that I would have you to be, you must accept these changes. You will like the outcome. Just be patient. You are made for so much more, but I must tweak the things within you that will make you more like Me.

 It’s hard to let go of those things. Where is the old me?

 The “old you” was fine in many ways, but the new you will be so much better. The things that wear on your nerves will polish your soul. Like a diamond made perfect by tremendous heat and pressure, these trials will refine you.

 I don’t know if I can do this.

 Draw your strength from Me. Fully rely on Me. Press on, even when it is hard. Keep your mind focused on Me and on becoming more like Me. Stay active. Focus on those around you and not on what your mind is telling you to think or feel. Together we can do this.

What if I fail?

Don’t be discouraged or feel ashamed. I see the real you and I love you just the same. So do those around you.There may be setbacks but you will prevail if you continue to follow Me.

Thank you.

Continue to thank Me for all that you go through and the blessings will continue to rain down. It may seem as if you have been forgotten but you haven’t. Stay conscious of My presence and eventually you will learn to enjoy this journey that you are on. It will become easier and more peaceful. Peace is the greatest gift I can give to you.

I trust You.

That’s all I need you to do. I will take care of the rest.

 And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit – 2 Corinthians 3:18

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“Worth It?”

Callie Rez13 Rez13

I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever spent an entire weekend devoted to God. But this past weekend I did. Along with our youth group, Callie and I traveled to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for Resurrection 2013.

“The idea for Resurrection was formed in 1985 at Camp Lookout by three youth pastors, Don Thomas, Hugh Kilgore and Steve Blakemore. Their goal was simple. They wanted to facilitate the Christian experience for young people in a new way. Less than a year later, the first Resurrection was held in Gatlinburg.

Rather than reach out to the individual, Resurrection, as it was named, became a collection of youth groups dedicated to worshiping in this different way, reminding young people they are not alone in their walk with Christ, and most importantly changing their lives forever.

Resurrection strives to be the premier Christian youth conference that brings youth groups together for awesome fellowship and authentic worship, where the Gospel is proclaimed, and youth have a spiritual renewal and a closer walk with Christ.” (taken from www.resurrectionyouth.com)

This event, geared toward youth in grades 6-12, is separated into two weekend sessions. It has grown so much over the years that it had to be divided to accommodate the nearly 12,000 people who attend each year.

This was Callie’s first year, so it was my first year as well as a chaperone. We had heard how it was life-changing, fun, exciting and an amazing opportunity to form a better relationship with God and to bond with our youth group in a whole new way. I must say, we were not let down. I was brought to tears more than once…sometimes because I was so moved by what I was hearing and witnessing and sometimes from laughing and simply enjoying those around me.

There are four sessions during the weekend. Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday evening and the final session bringing the event to a close on Sunday morning. We usually started with a fun dance to get everyone motivated (and awake!) and then on to the music by an awesome contemporary Christian band, The City Harmonic. This was then followed by the guest speaker, Lisa Yebuah. But before the band, there were several groups from various churches who performed songs or skits. I loved this part. Most of our youth today honestly get a bad rap. They are considered lazy, uncaring, rude, even selfish. But what I saw and heard from these teens this weekend kept my faith in their generation. Their God-given talents were used to honor God and encourage those in attendance.

It was also amazing to see the hands raised to God during the music and the young people walking to the front to show their commitment to Him. It made my heart smile when I heard conversations over the weekend confirming why we were there. It was a chance for spiritual growth. Our group left there with the wheels turning in their heads…how can we help change the world? What are we going to do with what we learned this weekend? They are ready to light a fire for God…an even bigger one! And I have no doubt that they will do it.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.  And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?Is anything worth more than your soul? – Matthew 16: 24-26

“Comfort Zone”

Comfort

Last night I picked up a book that lives on my coffee table….my copy of Jesus Calling, a daily devotional written by Sarah Young. I haven’t read it in a month or two, so I decided to pick it up and see what yesterday’s message said. I have been feeling very tense this week as I face a hurdle this coming weekend, when I have to step outside of my comfort zone. Something inside me said to pick up the book and meditate on the message. This is what I read:

“You are surround by a sea of problems, but you are face to face with me, your Peace. The closer you live to Me, the safer you are. Circumstances around you are undulating, and there are treacherous-looking waves in the distance. Fix your eyes on Me, the one who never changes. By the time those waves reach you, they will have shrunk to proportions of My design. The future is a phantom, seeking to spook you. Laugh at the future. Stay close to me.”

I sat and thought about those words for quite some time and truly meditated on them. Then I allowed myself to imagine Jesus kneeling beside me, comforting me. He reminded me that He is eager to give me peace if I will simply let Him. Curled up under my Grandma’s handmade quilt and clutching my book, I truly felt His presence and was comforted. It was an awesome moment. But it was short-lived because I know that I still have a long way to go to be able to fully release all my cares and burdens. It’s not as easy as it seems…at least for someone like me. However, I realized that if I intend to get there, then this is something I need every day. To feel at peace, even for a few moments and allow those few moments to turn into hours.

Today’s Jesus Calling devotion was just as powerful:

“You know that this day will bring difficulties, and you are trying to think your way through those trials. As you anticipate what is ahead of you, you forget that I am with you- now and always. Rehearsing your troubles results in experiencing them many times, whereas you are meant to go through them only when they actually occur. Do not multiply your suffering in this way!”

Wow…those last two lines hit me. How often when we worry, do we rehearse our troubles? I know I do it all the time. I’ve been doing it all week. But that’s what worry is. When my mind conjures up scenarios that have the worst possible outcome. Rehearsing scenes that most likely will not happen. By doing this I indeed multiply my suffering. I need to focus on the positive and if trouble does come, then I should have to only deal with it when it happens, not a thousand times over and over in my mind to the point where I create more anxiety than needed.

Today I encourage you to step out of your “comfort zone” and step into God’s comfort zone. Let it go and be encouraged by the peace that only He can provide.

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) loveturns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fearbrings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection] – 1 John 4:18

“I Will Not Be Hindered By Lies”

Galatians

January. This month has been haunting me for quite a while. It was January of last year that my panic attacks hit me hard, completely debilitating me. I never really figured out why but I keep thinking to myself, “If I can make it through January (and then February) I will be okay”. So far, I am trying to simply be more optimistic and smile even when I don’t feel like it, laugh when I’m not sure it’s in me and force myself to do something positive even when it’s hard. And as I go, I find myself feeling better. But this morning I realized that isn’t enough. God made it known to me that in the fear I was facing and associating with this month, I still wasn’t trusting in Him as I should be.

I will be honest, there are a lot of times when I know He wants to walk side by side with me but I act like a toddler with a temper tantrum, wanting things my own way and screaming, “Not right now…I don’t wanna!” No, I don’t really do that but you get the picture.

Then there are the moments I do stroll alongside Him but I’m like a sixteen year-old with an iPhone. Head down, only looking up occasionally to say “Huh? What did you say?” Not fully involved in the conversation or appreciating the friend who is willing to “hang out” with me.

So I prayed about these things this morning and God led me to Ephesians 6: 10-12 (Amplified Bible):

10” In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].

11 Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.

12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere”

From this I understand that the enemy wants nothing more than to remind me that January was bad for me last year. He wants me to believe that this month is cursed and that I will not make it through. But with these words from God I know that I can continue on the journey that He has me on. That I will fulfill whatever He has in store for me through the struggles I overcome on a daily basis. I will not be hindered by lies, deceit and strongholds, whose only purpose is to distort or confuse my thinking. Any lie, with our permission, will gain control of our emotions and change our behavior. These things do not come from God.

But these things do:

22 But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,

23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. – Galatians 5: 22-23

What are you facing today? Whatever it is, please let these powerful verses speak to you. Personally I am writing them down and carrying them with me this month : )