I reflected, between taking pictures, on the God I serve, the family I was surrounded by, and the church family that I am surrounded by and was overwhelmed. I am just so blessed to be me!
Here are a few pics from the service...
There are two stories I am reminded of. The most obvious being Jesus Christ, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." While we were SO hateful towards Christ, and each ONE of us put Him on the cross with our individual sin...HE LOVED US and DIED FOR US!!! We are commanded to LOVE ONE ANOTHER and to hold our brothers up. Not think of ourselves higher than anyone else so that we ignore them or are LESS than what Jesus is to us. We are called to not only be Jesus to the world, but Jesus to one another. So, if you have a problem with your brother go to him...but don't condemn him...lest YOU be condemned.
The second story I am reminded of is one I heard at the National Missionary Convention. The ULTIMATE example of forgiveness in today's modern world. Ajal Lall, from India told a story about Immanuel, his friend:
Immanuel and his wife were called to a specific people group on India. A group of Hindus that had never accepted the message of Christ. Well, after years of hardwork and dedication to God and HIS people, they began to see the fruit of their labor and were baptizing up to 30 people a week. PRAISE THE LORD! Well, some government officials caught wind of what was going on and three of them came and took Immanuel and his wife out into seclusion, presented them with papers stating that they renounced their faith and that Hindu was the supreme religion, and told them that if they didn't sign those papers, they would cut their hands off. Well, of course, Immanuel and his wife were faithful to their calling and would never sign such papers.
Instead of cutting off their hands, these three officials tied Immanuel to a tree and raped his wife in front of him.
Let that sink in for a minute and think of the deep hatred you would feel for those men, either as the woman, her husband, or as a family member or close friend of that woman...
Then...forward years later. Immanuel calls Ajal (The man I heard speak at the National Missionary Convention) and is rejoicing about 10 baptisms...which is great but Ajal questioned why the rejoicing when they had been baptizing up to 30 a week at one point. Immanuel said, "The men that raped my wife were 3 of them."
The ability of that man and woman to forgive has resonated with me ever since. I know they were able to do it because of CHRIST'S forgiveness for them on the cross and I am so thankful for their example. Glory be to GOD!
This line from a powerful song is stuck in my head as I walk through the aisles at the National Missionary Convention...I walk through the booths, scanning for people I know, glancing, but not paying attention to the booths, I have been here so many times after all...
I walk to a booth with really cute purses, journals and paraphernalia that I of course fall in love with...and it is ALL for sale! I don't pay attention to the title of the booth selling it but I begin looking at prices and thinking about what I can buy for myself and others that I know that would also like those things because one thing is for sure, regardless of the mission sponsoring this booth, it will be for a good cause...whatever the cause is.
As I am looking at a particular purse, I hear a girl speaking with a strong accent, saying, "I am from Cambodia."
Immediately I got "Jesus bumps" and I knew exactly what I was looking at. Rapha House is an organization that aids in the restoration of girls rescued from sex trafficking. The items I was looking at were all handcrafted by the girls that had been rescued and were now learning trades to make a living with.
Later, I attended a workshop on "Male sexuality, porn, and sex trafficking." That night in the main session statistics were thrown up on the big screen and I literally have a feeling in my gut like I have been punched and tears are constantly on the brim of spilling over.
Recently, when I invited someone to attend the "Missionary" convention with me...they said, it was "my thing." I am here to say it is not MY thing...it is GOD'S thing and it is the GREAT COMMISSION...to ALL believers...
Praying, and giving are not enough...Jesus prayed, but then he got up and WENT...
If you don't think you are called to go beyond our borders then making yourself aware of the issues that face the church is your responsibility. Shutting ourselves into our comfortable homes and spending our money on ourselves is selfish and NOT what God had planned. 80% of the world is living on 20% of the world's income...the rest of us 20% live on 80% of the world's income. We are called to LOVE others...not pity them from our living room couches and church pews.
Stay tuned for some more stories and thoughts from this past weekend...
If you are uncomfortable with some of the things I have written...good...we aren't called to a life of comfort...turn your eyes and hearts upward toward HIM and when He calls....GO.
Today I am just so thankful and blessed...
Yesterday was my birthday...I was scheduled to work 5am-1:30pm (So I thought)...my favorite shift...
I got up, got ready, finishing my look for the day with glitter in my hair! :) My birthday also landed on our Christmas launch day at Starbucks! Starbucks recognizes what a great day my birthday is of course...HA!
Anyhow, I got to work, and found out I wasn't scheduled till 6:45...bummer...
So, instead of driving home (less than a mile) and going back to bed, I got my Bible out of my car,bought one of our new Christmas mugs (SUPER CUTE), french pressed our brand new blend of Espresso Christmas Roast, a Cranberry Bliss Bar (YUM!), and sat and memorized Proverbs 2:1-5:
my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,
and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
find the knowledge of God.
After that I got to join fantastic friends for dinner.
The day was simple, yet I couldn't feel more blessed! I am so thankful to God for those He has surrounded me with in life.
I seek to do as the above verses say in my daily life...I want to accept HIS Word, apply it, and I want to find the knowledge of God...My morning set the tone for the day...praying that we each find the quiet time we need to fill up on HIS word DAILY!!!
I walked through doors that were opened for me and I was super excited...and I still AM super excited though my excitement has been seasoned with a dose of reality and the simple unknown. I thought I was following God to a specific place and though I didn't know the timing I assumed I would leave directly from Ohio to that place. Well, I left Ohio unexpectedly and I am not sure where He will take me from here.
Since being back I haven't really spent much time around my friends, or what little time I HAVE spent with them has been pretty surface as far as conversations go. Just know that I have been away from my God for quite a while between the job I worked and the environment I was living in. You see, I have always wanted to be in relationship with people that can be mutually encouraging. By that I mean in Christ. When I am down, I need the people in my life to point me in the right direction (upwards). I quite honestly did not find that where I was and that is not blaming anyone. We are all responsible for our own Spiritual lives and I take full responsibility and am working right now to get back with my God through His Word and prayer. It has been a struggle every day to be in the Word and in prayer...so, I covet YOUR prayers as I rediscover who I am in Him once again.
I have also had some time to get reacquainted with my family...I have been away from them longer than I would like to be, though sometimes it is necessary...unfortunately. Here are a few pictures of my nephew from Sunday...we went to Georgetown to Evan's Orchard, and he crocheted with my grandma! LOVE him!
I don't know where God is going to take me next, though I am almost positive it is something I didn't expect and may not even desire...but I WILL follow!
Scripture teaches us to love and to forgive. Not that we shouldn't hold each other accountable but that should ALSO be done in love and a way that is in the best interest of those involved. When the thought first crossed my mind, it wasn't in a loving kind of way and that is just honest! HA!
I want to be more focused on God working in my life than how other people live their lives. I want to learn to control my tongue especially, which was the focus of my Bible study tonight...Scripture teaches, "If anyone is NEVER at fault in what he SAYS, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check." (James 3:2)
Imagine...that one part of our body has been impossible for us to train and perfect since the beginning of time. We struggle with profanity, gossip, boasting, misusing God's name, inappropriate humor, and I am sure many that I haven't mentioned. Only ONE man was able to tame his tongue...and as a result was completely perfect in everything he said and DIDN'T say...
I pray that God would give me the wisdom and courage to speak when it is warranted and GLORIFYING to HIS name...and the wisdom and insight to know when to keep my lips sealed and to allow the silence to speak HIS glory!
It is usually evident in my frequency of blogging and as you can see it has been quite a while since I last blogged.
Since my last blog things have changed so much from the direction I thought things were going. I am simply trying to walk with Him. And I have some important decisions to make.
In my time with Jesus the past week or two, I have been reading Philippians, and the letters written by Paul, although mostly Philippians. I can't remember which study I was doing that led me to Philippians but I was taken by the introduction and closure of his letter. Something I usually breeze over, because I see it as boring...just being honest...lol.
So, as I was reading, I was taken by his relationship with the people he wrote to, and their relationship to him. I love that he prays for them and was so connected to them even though he couldn't be with them all the time! I feel this way about many of my friends that I left in Kentucky...so much so that I just teared up writing this. I miss being there, miss being included in birthdays, births, deaths, zumba, coffee, dinners, worship, and the tears and laughter we all shared.
I miss them but I know God has a place for me here and now, and may move me somewhere else in the future though the timing and places are unknown...
My thoughts and prayers often turn toward friends and family from home. I want to be more intentional in my prayers for them. I want to be more intentional in keeping in contact with them and encouraging them in the Spirit as Paul does.
The specific passages that spoke to me are lengthy, so if you would like to read them in full, they are:
Philippians 1, 4
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
1 Corinthians 16
Otherwise, I leave you with these words by Paul:
I Have been asking Him to go ahead of me each day before work and to prepare the way...but this Sunday I realized, I always pictured Him going way ahead of me...and we weren't really walking closely...
Sunday I told Him I want Him to go RIGHT before me so we can still be close because I need Him next to me, so I can lean on Him and talk to Him...I just love having Him next to me all the time!!!
Now I picture it differently. I picture me walking on his feet...STEP by STEP!
I LOVE the picture He gave me because several weeks ago I took pictures of a friend's baby. She didn't want to be in them but I caught a few of him standing on her feet while she walked...much how I picture walking with God.
Take a look...and let's try to walk closer to Him...if we walk on top of His feet like in these pics...He is big enough and strong enough to reach ahead and clear our paths!
So, as I was saying, things look SO different now. I am struggling to make sense of what I think God is doing, and I am realizing, it is not for me to make sense of. GOD has it all worked out and has prepared my way. My way toward what, I am not sure but this is what He is teaching me...
I AM LOVED...
I AM LOVED!
Two nights ago, I sat there, with my Bible and my summer Bible study book (Ruth). My study told me to "sit before the Lord in the true state of my heart..."
I didn't realize how ALONE I have felt over the past months and maybe the entire year. That is what came out during my time sitting before Him. As I felt this, I asked HIM, God, what do you want me to know right now? I stopped and waited to hear (I rarely actually stop to listen). I stopped, listened AND HEARD, "I LOVE YOU." I was like, ok, what else (AS IF THAT ISN'T MORE THAN ENOUGH!!!)
So then, I heard it again, "I LOVE YOU."
Then I sat and soaked it in...The CREATOR, LORD, DELIVERER, ABBA, SAVIOR of this world and EVERYTHING in it loves ME!!!
So, then I opened up another book I have been reading...As I was reading it took me to the above Scripture in Romans. The words that stood out most were:
The same goes for all of you...
need to hear it again?
WE ARE LOVED!!!
soak it up friends...
I updated the links on the right side of my page so take a look and check them out if you haven't!
I added Jennifer's blog, a friend of mine from church in Kentucky and I also added Bethany Dillon's blog. She is a Christian song writer/singer and married to Shane from Shane and Shane! :)
Also, God has been speaking and moving in my life and I have been striving to follow Him in everything I do...He is moving me into unknown territory and even though I hate to leave some things behind I am excited to see what HE will accomplish. He is my EVERYTHING...
Here are a couple of more pictures...I was able to get away for a 3 day weekend to Niagara Falls 2 weekends ago. I didn't turn on the TV or have internet on at all. I sat in the parks and walked and talked with Jesus and read His word...It was fabulous...the other favorite from my trip = the pictures I got to take! So here are two more...
for in you I take refuge.
I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing."
As for the saints who are in the land,
they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those will increase
who run after other gods.
I will not pour out their libations of blood
or take up their names on my lips.
LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand."
God has been speaking LOADS into my life...The chapter above has meant SO much during this time I am going through. I am struggling through moving forward the way God wants, but I was assured today that it is okay to "weep forward"...meaning, it isn't always easy to move forward...it is even painful sometimes, but when we are following God, it will be more than worth it in the end! So...I will weep forward and find refuge in Him and one day receive my delightful inheritance. I will keep Him ahead of me and He will fill me with joy in His presence!
Keep moving forward friends...He is there before you preparing the way!
In my life it can be shopping, or calling on a friend instead of Jesus. For some it is having the biggest and best house, for others in the Old Testament it was building calves out of gold and worshiping them...
Before I say this, let me say, I am not judging...just thinking...and wondering.
If you have ever driven on I-75 in Ohio, just north of Cincinnati, odds are you noticed one of the biggest statues of Jesus ever built. It is also known as "Touchdown Jesus" by many because his arms were stretched up toward Heaven, much like football fans do when a field goal is kicked.
Anyways, this past week it was struck by lightning and burned. It is completely destroyed and there is an estimated $70,000 in damage. My question is, who paid that much to build it in the first place when there are starving people, orphans, and so many people in this world that are in need? Not only around the world, but right in the backyard of where that statue was built.
Again, I am not judging or making any presumptions as to if God struck it down on purpose, but I DO wonder...and I pray that I can stop putting other things ahead of HIM, who deserves all of my attention and efforts!
Here is a link to a video...
I have not realized how little I have laughed until tonight! I went to a friend's house and played Scattergories and ate junk...We also did our hair up real nice and just laughed! I praise the Lord for the opportunity and I want to do more of it...I used to laugh it up almost constantly...As of late I have struggled.
So funny how God works too...If you go to Beth Moore's blog on the right side of the screen...her latest blog was about laughing too...I just read it a second ago...God knows what I need! :) LOVE HIM!!!
I want to make it a point to laugh more often, but I am not sure how yet...
In other news...I took pics of one of my favorite babies the other day...here are a few faves!
It began last week when my bosses took me aside at work to discuss my numbers and some other things, which I won't get into here. Suffice it to say, Verizon Wireless is much different than ANYWHERE I have EVER worked and numbers mean a TON!
So...that being said I have been feeling soooo stressed!
Well...I don't want to lose myself (who GOD wants me to be) while working any job. I don't want to fake anybody out to make a sale or mislead anyone...
So...I went to God...in our discussion, I mentioned that I really didn't expect to be in the job that I am in...I expected to be on the mission field by now. I am ok and at peace with the fact that I am not on the mission field yet. What I don't like is that at Verizon, I am under SO MUCH PRESSURE!
So...this weekend in my small group Romans 12:1-2 came up...I LOVE THOSE VERSES!!!
The next morning I was reading the end of John when Jesus appears to the disciples as they are fishing. They are unable to catch any fish while casting their nets...
Jesus tell them, "Throw our net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." (John 21:6)
So, I took "right" as a double meaning...for them it was the direction...for me, I translated it "correct". I will do things at Verizon the RIGHT way...
When they cast their nets on the right side...they couldn't even pull in the number of fish in their nets.
So, I sat before God, presented my needs to Him and asked Him to bless my work to HIS glory.
Needless to say, this week alone...my sales have been more than ALL OF LAST MONTH!!!
So...today as I sold 2 netbooks (Last month I only sold 1) I could NOT hold back the smile and the rejoicing in my heart that I know it isn't me, it is God in me...and His favor coming through.
I love Him SOOOO MUCH!
God bless! Keep serving Him in the RIGHT way! ;)
I haven't been quite the zumba queen I had been for a while...I miss sweating and panting, gasping for air...somehow in the pain of not being able to breathe...I find enjoyment...lol...
Besides that...I have some other thoughts.
In my past posts I have mentioned that things are changing. I am not sure how but they are. I have been so uncertain about SO many things. But one thing is for sure...
God is in it. He is transforming me into what He wants when I follow Him and make choices that glorify Him. So, for now I am taking it day by day. Hopefully I will keep up with the day by day living in His love and acceptance.
Walking With God
Without giving much detail, because of the sensitive nature of what I am struggling with and others involved that may or may not know what I am struggling with, suffice it to say I have had a LOT of anxious thoughts....
Today I was walking from my bathroom to my living room, literally couldn't stand it anymore...
I dropped to my knees, crying out to God.
He answered with Scripture. Because I didn't know what to read or where to begin, I picked up the program from the memorial service I attended last night.
It led me through several Scriptures. Some very familiar and others not as much. I am on the verge. I will move forward soon. The hardest thing about this is that I never imagined moving forward would be this hard and I never imagined it would be in the direction I think it will be in. (That is what I am struggling with). Sometimes in life God gives us a clear direction to go in. Sometimes you have to step out in faith. Sometimes, His leading can be so easy to follow! I love when His leading and what I want match up! Sometimes His leading takes us into territory we never thought we would be in.
All I know right now is that last night I attended the memorial service of somebody that spoke more truth into my life than about anybody I know. It was heartbreaking. I know she is in Heaven, I know I will see her again but how I wish she were here to call on. To ask what I should do! The last time I spoke to her she told me exactly what she thought I should do and I didn't do it. She was amazing at telling me things I might not have wanted to hear, but in a way that was so gentle and kind that you couldn't deny her love for you. She wanted the best for everyone she came in contact with. Now, I am kind of sorry that I didn't follow her advice because it relates directly to what I am struggling with and it was about a year ago that we had that conversation.
Because of the experience last night, I was able to be called back into the relationship with Jesus that I should always be in. It had become a struggle for a while. I had not been giving it everything that I am capable of giving.
She was an amazing woman, I want to be better. I want to be like her...
Well, if you read my last post, you will know I was going through some turmoil with my job situation. I wasn't sure where to go if I lost my job, though I have a few options...the conversation went something like this...
If I am told I will lose my job on either of these days then I will choose option A. If I am told I will lose my job on these other days, then I will choose option B.
I was set. I knew what I was going to do, because I prayed and I know God is faithful and WHAM...God gave me an option I didn't even ask for....I was told that I would keep my job of all the wild things! I had assumed...well, you know what they say about assuming...
That day in my quiet time I had learned that the purpose of life isn't necessarily what we are doing, or rather that we are going through EXACT motions that God wants us to go through, but it is about being in relationship with God. Sharing the daily ins and outs with Him and glorifying Him in our lives, whether it be through a job, unemployment, being a parent, a spouse, a friend, etc. He wants us to take it day by day...How do I forget this with my blog being "day by day for jesus"???
I am so glad that God and I have a relationship where He can turn this situation into something I can laugh at...Laughing is one of my favorite things and I haven't done enough of it lately! Thank YOU Father!
Also...4 years ago today, my dad died...Just a little note of remembrance...Miss ya pops!
This week was super hard! I can't even begin to tell you, but I'll try...
First, I went to a meeting Tuesday morning to find out that as of July 11th I might not have had a job...I JUST GOT THIS JOB FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!! At Starbucks I showed up one day and they were closing...and 4 years ago on May 24th, my dad died, the day after which the company I was employed with informed me I would have to be let go because of an issue with the type of degree I had...Also, during this week I also learned of a dear DEAR friend dying from a brain tumor.
This was NOT a good time!!! But, God spoke Scripture into my heart through friends and the one I kept thinking of was Matthew 6. I went to my car during my lunch break, opened up "My Utmost for His Highest" to that day's entry and it was based on Matthew 6!!!
God never fails...EVER!
So...I went on with my week, fought off a migraine and just worked through it to the tune of 52 hours. Friday morning, during our weekly store meeting we found out we would not have any job losses in our store, that we would be able to maintain everyone with a little bit of shuffling around in positions! PRAISE THE LORD!
In all of this I learned that, I cannot try to be in control. I might not know where I am going or how I am getting there, but the most important thing is to be in relationship with Jesus. Believe me, this week got me back in relationship with Him...we have had some conversation and one that turned out to be pretty funny...that will have to be another blog!
Until then, I leave you with this...
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
"In the desert prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
As part of my Bible study this morning I was supposed to read Isaiah 40:1...but I kept reading as I sometimes do when I am captivated by what God's word is telling me. In the above verses I found some comfort. I found comfort in knowing that life is NEVER going to be perfect...BUT with God it becomes easier...as we walk with Him, the roads become straight and valleys and mountains disappear, because He is more than able to carry our burdens...and the hills, valleys, mountains, and the wilderness ALL bow to His command. Therefore, we are never more in control than when we surrender our lives to Him to direct.
Thank you God for showing me this today!
For the past several weeks I have been really down and depressed...struggling with just lots of stuff including the ability/will to get out of bed on my day off.
So...knowing that I had today off my prayer last night was that God would motivate me today. That I would awake and be rarin' to go...
I woke up to such a beautiful morning that for once in a SERIOUSLY long time, I couldn't get ready fast enough! Praise the Lord!
I was a bit productive while still enjoying the sunshiney day off...
I had my oil changed and 4 (YES 4!) bulbs changed in my car...got a mani and pedi...AND went up to Mt. Pleasant, OH to enjoy sunshine and some kiddos for pics and fam for dinner...
It was a much needed HAPPY day!
Here are a few princess and the toad pics...
Just when I walk into Barnes and Nobles, see a book on a shelf, and think, "I don't need that...I have it covered..."
I open it up and WHAM!!! Gotta buy it.
That is what happened today. I bought the book Breaking Free by Beth Moore. It is funny because I have heard about how wonderful it is and I am a HUGE fan of Beth, but I kept thinking, I have freedom in Christ, I should be good.
Well, I opened it up I read several things but understand the mindset I was reading from. I have been struggling a LOT these past few weeks with temptations and a conflict that I don't want to describe in detail yet. I have been allowing myself to be stifled and to be held "captive."
Here is what I read...
"Come to a place of breaking free. The place where we seek His glory and forget our own. The place where satisfaction comes from the only true satisfier of our souls. The place where we experience His peace no matter what the world may throw our way. And the place where His presence is our constant desire and our daily joy."
She goes on to say, "A Christian is held captive by anything that hinders the abundant and effective Spirit filled life God planned for him or her."
Boy oh boy oh boy...needless to say I walked out of Barnes and Nobles with this book and as much as I hate to admit it...a Godiva chocolate bar...it was tormenting me from the impulse buy section next to the register...the gold shiny paper promised silky smooth milk chocolate underneath...
So...I got back...called a friend in Mexico...talked a little bit...ok a LOT about myself and what I have been going through and then told her about what I saw in the book...
I say all of this to conclude with this...
My life is going somewhere that I didn't expect. I am not sure what steps it will take me to get there...but somehow I know this book and God and His book will help me through it. Along with the support and love of those around me.
In the midst of the trials I have faced, I know one thing for sure...God is who He says He is...and I am who He says I am...I can do all things through Christ... and God's Word is alive and active...and I believe God...OK...so that was 5 things...even better!
I am so unworthy to receive God's grace, yet He extends it to me each time I fail. He accepts me back with arms wide open!
I am praying that He will continue to provide me with the strength I need in the days to come!
The adjustment up north has been a hard one...but God is and always will be the same. He is my comfort, my safety, my refuge, and my home!
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland."
Here are a few pics from today!
I am imperfect....VERY imperfect...
I am sorry.
And God can put it back together if I let Him...
I love what I just read by Beth Moore... "Maybe that's what I love best of all about God. We've never gone so far that we can't be fetched."
I am praying that I can still be fetched...and that I would be fetched soon!
Here are a couple of fun pics I haven't posted yet...
Praise the Lord for beautiful weather, flowers, sunshine, babies, and families!!!