Whose Blood?

Whose blood is it that ties us together?

Is it the blood of our parents or grandparents that tie us together as family? Or is it bigger than that?

But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us

Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.

--Ephesians 2:13-14, 16, 20-21

I found out this weekend that God's family can be as close or closer to me than the family I was born into physically.

On Friday I was getting things ready to move up to Ohio. I had planned on using a friends pickup truck, however when I opened up my storage unit I quickly realized that it would take more than that. So, I called U-Haul and ordered a truck, which ended up being overkill but it took care of it!

So, I asked my mom to help me go get the truck, she wasn't able to. I asked several members of my family to help me load it...I guess they were too busy because I never got a response. So, there I was upset and feeling very much alone...

(In walks God)

A friend of mine helped me pick up the truck and her and her husband and my mom helped me load the truck...

Saturday, when it was time to move everything up to Ohio, my friend Becky came along in her car, for a 4 HOUR DRIVE BOTH WAYS so that I could drop the truck off and get back down here for another couple of days. While unloading the truck, we had several helpers from Ohio available, and it was actually like I was more of a helper in that situation because the men did all the hard work! PRAISE THE LORD!

I was so drained emotionally and physically and I don't think I realized I needed the help until it arrived and I physically felt the tension release...God IS in control...why do I forget???

It just goes to show, that AGAIN, I had expectations of HOW things were going to work, not that they simply would work. So, when they began working out differently that I expected, I freaked a little.

God is so good and provides for our every need in His own ways and timing...PRAISE HIS NAME!

I am so blessed to know that there are people who care about me and love me and we are tied together by the blood of Jesus and/or the blood in our veins...at some point it becomes irrelevant which tie binds...we are ALL family.


Father and Daughter

This weekend was full of hustle and bustle and lots of plans and a visit from a college friend! I had a blast!

Sunday marked the 3 year anniversary of my dad's death. My dad and I used to attend Reds games together and since his death I have attended Reds games by myself to commemorate that time we shared and to remember him. I usually attend on Father's day but since I don't know where I will be this Father's day, I went Sunday!

I had a friend with me this time which was fun and so I hadn't thought a whole lot about my dad. So, when we went to sit down, someone else was in our seats and we settled into some a couple of rows ahead. Well, then along came two others to sit in the seats next to us, a single father with his 9 year old daughter. As I type this the tears are fresh as I realize how fabulous the God I serve is. It was a great reminder as to how my dad and I enjoyed each others company, though neither of us were perfect in our relationship and it was strained at times due to his alcoholism. The little girl was sassy, as I was, and she even got put on the scoreboard while singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

I just thank God for the reminders of how GOOD He is and how good my dad and I were, in the midst of the busy weekend!

AND...Most important! HAPPY BIRTHDAY RYAN!


Body watch...

So, about 5 months ago I found a class that I love...it is a dance class to me and if you call it a workout I might not like it anymore so don't call it that! So, I began going about 3 times a week. I don't weigh myself because I am not out to be a certain weight or size. In fact if it becomes about that then I will probably quit because it is too much pressure for me. But, I have since lost about 2 pant sizes. I have muscles in places that I haven't had them in a really long time! I did used to be a gymnast, acrobat, dancer, back in the day...

Anyhow, this class is something I have come to enjoy. Not just because I can shake it, but also because of the fellowship I have found and the relationships I have built with the other women AND men in there! Yes there ARE men!

Last summer I began running, to become "fit" and because I needed a change! I did ok, but not close to the goal I wanted to accomplish! I wanted to train for a 5k but was never able to reach that goal. Well, I ran about a mile in the EARLY spring this year, which was typical of last summer. Then, on Monday, I completed my first 3 mile run!!! I was astonished! This dance class is hardcore, REALLY, and had prepared me for the cardio training needed for running, though my leg muscles begged to differ!

I was super excited and want to encourage those out there that might be struggling in the areas of weight, body shape, etc. to find something you like, in an environment you like! It is so important to enjoy it! If you need alone time, maybe walking in a beautiful park in the evening or morning is right for you. Or if you like community then there are all kinds of group classes out there to join, swimming, aerobics, dancing, spinning, team sports, and the list goes on! Heck, I think roller skating is still around!

God gave us bodies and He wants us to stay in them for as long as possible to carry out His work here on earth...So, be faithful and take care of them!


God on the throne

I am so tired of being afraid, of holding back, and not living out what I feel God calling me to...it is because I forget to die to myself each day...I put myself on the throne way more than I should!

In this world so many of us hold back. Far too many of us are living in our comfort zones and not living out what God has called us to. For us to live the way God wants, we should die to ourselves each day. Paul says so in 1 Corinthians 15:31, "I die every day—I mean that, brothers—just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord."

We should be taking up our crosses and following Him...

I heard a song today (I am not sure of the artist or title of the song, if anyone knows please leave me a comment so I can find it again!)

Anyhow the lyrics were something like this:
You have your Savior on the cross
While you sit on the throne
Put yourself up on that cross
Put your Savior on the throne.

It is so true, until we die, thus putting ourselves on the cross, we will continuously live for ourselves, thinking we are above everything, sitting on a throne.

God belongs on the throne...it is time we put Him there and leave Him!



I promise you God knew what I needed to hear today!!!

Sometimes, I feel like the things I believe, the things I say or write, or the things I do, are over the top. I feel like they are so over the top that others might think I am crazy...

Take, for instance, my 40 day trip that I took across the country this past fall. Soooo many people made comments about how I was "not being safe" or in one instance that I know of for sure, the person said I was "crazy" because I was telling everybody that I was traveling with Jesus.


Today, I was reading in 2 Corinthians 5:13-15

If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

This passage helps me to feel a little less self conscious about some of the "crazy" things I might do and I wanted to share...I am not afraid to be crazy...especially if it glorifies my God!

Watch the video...


God's word being preached...

Our God is so good and wonderful that I can hardly take it in sometimes.

I am amazed at how, even though the past weeks have been soooo very hard, He has been evident and made clear in my life through many different avenues.

I have noticed how much more fulfilling being in the Word is. It is quite literally the air I breathe, what gets me up in the morning and through my days. I have had to focus my heart and mind on His promises when everything else seemed so bleak and often too painful to have to bear or go through. So many times I wanted to give up, but because of hearing His Word, or reading it somewhere...I was able to press on...It was God pushing me forward!!! Praise Him!

One way that I have heard Him through these weeks and trials is through the past 4 sermons at church. Honestly...it has been some of the best preaching I have heard in quite a while and I haven't figured out if it is because I am SOOO thirsty for His Word or if it is because of the preachers talents God gave them (not that I want to discount their preaching ability at ALL).

But as I was sitting in L.D. Campbell's sermon on Saturday night, I realized, while a puddle formed on my lap from the tears that cleanse my soul so often lately, that it was that God's word is being spoken in such a real way...

I appreciate the pastors at my church so very much, that they are dedicated to God's word and not their own agenda being preached from the pulpit, that they are not up there with an ulterior motive to sway everyone to their way of thinking but to preach the Word of God and what HE wants us to learn and know.

So thank you Greg Marksberry for your latest series and thank you L.D. for this past week and for loving God above all, and being faithful to Him with the gifts He has blessed you with!

May all glory belong to God!


1 Peter 4 (part 2)

As I have mentioned, I am reading Living Water, by Brother Yun. It is phenomenal to see how literally one CAN live out a life completely dedicated to Christ in the modern world.

I see and hear others make excuses, and I make excuses myself, for living life the way I do. Life here is so easy and yet, it is difficult for us to stand up for Jesus Christ in our world. What are each of us doing to spread what Jesus did for us?

Are we sitting in our homes each evening, eating dinner, watching TV and saying that our job is how we spread Jesus' love, when in reality, we go to work, complain about the work we have to do while there, talk about people we work with or for, etc.

Is this how our lives should look?

The answer is a resounding NO!

I cannot claim that I am not guilty of that lifestyle though. I desire comfort...I am made of flesh. The call of the Gospel is to fight against flesh and to sacrifice our lives for Him.

"For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God." 1 Peter 4:1b-2

I want to be anxious to DO the will of God. When I put myself aside, and do the will of God...there is no better feeling. I love when I am working, with a JOYFUL heart and know without a doubt that I am supposed to be right there right then, serving God. I long for every moment to be filled with the knowledge that I am not letting HIM down in any way! I want to use my time, talents, and energy for Him and not for the things of this world that I think will fulfill me in some way.

Contrary to popular belief, we do not need more "down" time or relaxation. We need to make sure we are filling ourselves each day, through a relationship with HIM...and we need to take what He gives us and use it to HIS GLORY!

"Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen." 1 Peter 4:11

Lastly, when things are hard and we think that because it is hard, we aren't supposed to move forward...


When things are hard, that can be a sign that it is that much more important to complete and that Satan is against it!

We should be joyful during these trials...as hard as it is, this is the time we know, beyond anything, that we are where He wants us, growing, and working for His glory. It isn't about us at this point. It is about the ONE we SHOULD be living for. As soon as we give up and make it about us, we have failed...

"Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you."

1 Peter 4:12-13, 19

To God be the glory!

1 Peter 4

You know...in this case, I am just posting the Scripture I read today...more reflection to come later...

1 Peter 4

So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.

Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. But remember that they will have to face God, who will judge everyone, both the living and the dead. That is why the Good News was preached to those who are now dead—so although they were destined to die like all people, they now live forever with God in the Spirit.

The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
Suffering for Being a Christian
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? And also,

“If the righteous are barely saved,
what will happen to godless sinners?”

So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.


Drawing closer

Well, I have been counting on the fact that Romi and Armando, the boys Ryan takes care of in Romania, would get their visas to return with Ryan to the states this summer. The problem being, since he takes care of them, if they didn't get them then he wouldn't be able to return...

They had their meeting at the US Embassy early this morning in Bucharest and did not receive the visas...

I am disappointed...and a little sad that things aren't turning out the way I thought. But God has bigger and better plans and all I can do is wait on Him and His timing...

I am drawing closer to HIM and relying on Him today.

I pray that I remember to do this daily, when things are hard, or not. He wants relationship with me above all else and I need relationship with Him more than anything else...

I was encouraged by this Psalm today...

Chapter 34

1 [a] I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.

2 My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

3 Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.

5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.

6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.

7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

9 Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.

10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,

13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.

14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry;

16 the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.

18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;

20 he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.

22 The LORD redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.


Live Free

One of the people in this world, still living, that I admire most is Brother Yun.

He has a phenomenal story of how God's almighty power is still alive in the world today.

He has two books. One is about his life, The Heavenly Man, and the other is written by him, Living Water.

This man has undergone some of the most brutal persecution, in the name of Jesus, that I have heard of in modern day history.

I have no other words to say about him because I simply can't do him justice. But if you read his books, read his story first, then you will build a deep respect for him and where he has been, and appreciate his writings that much more!

That being said, I was reading Living Water tonight. In it he says:

I came to realize that prison is mostly a state of mind rather than a physical place. I learned I can be chained inside a dire prison, surrounded by filth and violence, yet be completely free in my spirit.

Conversely, I have seen that many people's lives in the "free" world are bound and tormented.

Ohhhh my.

So many thoughts...what to say?

First and foremost...praise Jesus for his death on the cross which frees us!

Second, how many times I find myself bound by the things here! I am so guilty of putting shackles on myself when God has broken me free over and over again!

I tie myself to so many things, sin, addiction, work, shopping, looking good, feeling good about myself, people pleasing...the list could go on!

He goes on to say that even people who attend churches are prisoners...and I AGREE! We NEED to know and REALIZE the truth of Jesus. Not just one time but DAILY.

Well, while in prison, Brother Yun would praise Jesus at the top of his lungs. He said the guards thought he was crazy but the truth was, his heart and mind were set on the things that we ought to set our minds on!

He is like David, when David experienced dark moments he wrote things such as Psalm 34:1, 19-20:

I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.

The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
not one of them is broken.

I pray that we would each remember to live free lives through Jesus each day!


Time for rest

I am taking time to rest today...my body is telling me to! I am feeling a little sick and SUPER tired...

I am reminded of Jesus.

His rest usually took place with His Father...In the garden, before the dawning of a new day...

I think I will try that today...not that I don't have time with Him, but to actually rest with Him...

I want to receive His blessing and I want to be energized in Spirit, not just physical strength...

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Matthew 11:28-30