Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Sunday is Coming

So today we celebrated the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I was so excited about going to church this morning that I got up a full three hours before my alarm. This is a big deal because I've barely had a full night's sleep since Tommy left us and I DO NOT like to get up early. But this morning was different. I have been celebrating His Resurrection in my heart for days now. But I couldn't wait to get back to church and join with others to praise Him.
So I got us all ready to go and got us to church an hour early. But we couldn't go in. The kids didn't get to stay at church with me today. Today was their daddy's day to have them. He met us at church and took them away for the day. Even after saying goodbye to my babies, I was still super excited to be at church. For several hours I did nothing but worship my Lord. It was awesome! The first service was so good that I had to do it again so I stayed for the second service. It was even better.
At the end of the service I just sat there for a bit. I didn't want to leave. I didn't want it to end. But it did. I walked out to my car and just sat there for a long time. I was trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with myself for the rest of this Resurrection Sunday that I must spend alone. I sat there and cried for a while. I cried all the way home and a little more when I got inside. I'm not sure what I was crying about. Maybe it was because it was Easter and my kids and my husband were spending it with someone else. Maybe I was mourning the loss of my marriage. Maybe I was crying because I felt so alone. It was a different feeling than I felt when He left. It was a different feeling than when I found out he was unfaithful. I'm no longer in shock. It's as if I am just trying to settle into what will now be our new normal. I'm trying to accept all that has happened and figure out what in the world I'm supposed to do now. This was not the plan. We were supposed to grow old together. We were supposed to raise our children together. We were supposed to be a team. This is not what was supposed to have happened! So I cried.
As I cried I thought about the disciples and how they must have felt...not on the day of the Resurrection but on the day before. The Crucifixion was over. Jesus had been killed in front of them. He had been taken from the cross and put in a tomb. He was gone and they were left alone to figure out what in the world they were to do without Him. He was supposed to deliver them from bondage. He was supposed to set them free. He was supposed to be the Savior. But now He was dead and they had lost everything. What now? I'm sure, like me, they were confused and hurt and scared. And I'm sure that, also like me, they cried.
When they woke on Sunday I'm sure that they were still in pain. They were still confused and afraid. But something happened on Sunday that they could never have imagined. Jesus rose from the dead to give them new life! He was indeed the redeemer. He really was the Savior they hoped Him to be. He really was all that they thought He was...and more!
We all go through times like this. Times of loss and pain and confusion. We are completely shattered by what happened on Friday. We may spend our Saturday in tears. But thankfully Saturdays don't last forever. There is an allotted time and when that time passes...the sun rises on Sunday. No matter what we are going through in our lives right now; No matter what happened on Friday; No matter how painful the Saturday, Sunday is always just in sight.
Even in the midst of my tears, I am excited about what Sunday surely holds for me. And I am encouraged to know that my Sunday is on its way... and so is yours. Won't you be encouraged with me today?

Monday, November 1, 2010

His Strength is Made Perfect in My Weakness

Sometimes it is so hard to understand why we are faced with the battles that come our way. One of our favorite things to say is that God will not put more on us than what we can handle. It would be great if that is what the scripture actually says. Lets take a look at that scripture. In order to understand the true meaning, we have to look at the verses before and after the one in question. It is very important to keep the scripture in context or the true meaning will be lost.

For I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the fact that all of our ancestors were under the cloud, and they all went through the sea, and they all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and they all ate the same spiritual food, and they all drank the same spiritual drink, for they continually drank from the spiritual Rock that went with them, and that Rock was Christ. But God wasn't pleased with most of them, and so they were struck down in the wilderness. Now these things became examples for us so that we won't set our hearts on evil as they did. Let us stop being idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to play." Let us stop sinning sexually, as some of them were doing, and on a single day 23,000 fell dead. Let us stop putting the Lord to the test, as some of them were doing, and were destroyed by snakes. You must stop complaining, as some of them were doing, and were destroyed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down as a warning for us in whom the climax of the ages has been realized. Therefore, the person who thinks he is standing securely should watch out that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is unusual for human beings. But God is faithful, and he will not allow you to be tempted beyond your strength. Instead, along with the temptation he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to endure it. And so, my dear friends, keep on running away from idolatry. (1Co 10:1-14 ISV)

This scripture is clearly talking about temptation. One of the biggest problems going on in that time was idolatry. This scripture is warning against being caught up in sin. The truth is that we are all tempted to sin. But with that temptation always comes a way out. God always gives us a choice. sometimes in our own strength we are not strong enough to choose that way out but one of the tools the Holy Spirit gives us is self control. We do not use self control in our own strength but the strength given us by God.
As far as our everyday struggles go, sometimes we do have too much on us. Sometimes it is more than we can bear in our imperfect human state. But the word of God says that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. when the burden is too hard to bear, step aside. Give it to God. Let Him take care of it. Have faith that He can and He will if we trust Him to do so.
When the burdens of this life become too hard for me to bear on my own, I am encouraged to know that He can lift that burden. And He gives me His strength to make it trough anything this world can throw at me. I can do all things TROUGH CHRIST who gives me strength...and so can you.
Think about that. And be encouraged with me today!
In Christ,

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I know what you are like!

I ran across a passage today that was very encouraging to me.
I know what you are like! But I will heal you, lead you, and give you comfort, until those who are mourning start singing my praises. No matter where you are, I, the LORD, will heal you and give you peace. (Isa 57:18-19)
Did you get that? He says, "I know what you are like!"
That could be a scary statement were it not followed by the word "but". That small word is really a very big deal! Sometimes it makes all the difference. God says, "I know what you are like! But I will heal you, lead you and give you comfort..." He knows I am a sinner. He knows I mess up all the time. He knows I am a failure. He knows about that one thing that I know I shouldn't do but keep doing anyway. He knows just what I'm like. And you know what? He loves me anyway! He knows what I am like and He still promises to heal me and lead me and comfort me...and not just a little either! He promises to do those things for me until my mourning turns into an uncontrollable urge to sing His praises!
Verse 19 promises this, "No matter where you are, I, The LORD, will heal you and give you peace"
It doesn't matter where you are with God right now. There is a way to get where you need to be. Believe His words. Know they are meant for you. Wait for them to happen in your life. I promise it will happen.
Be encouraged with me today!
Trusting in HIM,

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I've been reading about Achan and the accursed thing. Not a very "happy" story to read... unless you back up a bit to Joshua chapter 6. Then we get to read about the crumbling wall of Jericho. What a victory! What an amazing work of God that was!! It wasn't the sound of the horns or the strength of the people's shouts that dropped that wall. It was the power of God, put in motion by the obedience of His people. Had they not done things exactly like He instructed, the power would have been withheld and that wall might still be standing today. Obedience. It may not have any power on it's own...but it unleashes the power if the Almighty God every time.
Just like obedience, disobedience may not have any power of it's own, but it holds back the power of God. It can also unleash his wrath. For proof of this, we need only read of the last days of Achan in Chapter 7 of Joshua.
Just after God dropped the wall of Jericho and gave the Israelites one more example of His awesome power and His ability to take care of them, Achan did a very unwise thing. He disobeyed the Almighty God. But that isn't all. He also stole from Him.
To properly understand this, we have to go over His instructions to the Israelites concerning the entire city of Jericho and EVERYTHING in it.

And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD. (Joshua 6:17-19)

In Hebrew, this word (strongs #H2763) accurse(d), means to dedicate to religious purposes or to completely destroy.

This word, (Strongs # H6944) consecrate(d), means sacred, holy or dedicated.

They were supposed to destroy everything in the city except the things that were to be consecrated for his temple.

So long story short, Achan took for himself some fancy Babylonian clothes, some silver and a big chunk of gold and buried it in his tent and thought no one would ever know. The trouble is, someone did know. God knew. And our sins never only effect us. So the next time the Israelites went out to battle, they did so without the power of the Lord. They lost and they were so confused. So God explained the situation and told them to get ready to find out who did what.

Achan's sins were revealed. His treasures were taken. He and his family were killed.

After reading this, the thing I am left to ponder is this; After trecking through the wilderness with the rest of the Isrealites and experiencing the MANY miracles and provisions of God, why did he need such a small treasure. Why did he still trust in what he could aquire for himself instead of trusting in the Lord to provide the very best for him...He had always provided the very best for them all. But Achan still felt the overwhelming urge to provide for himself instead of depending on God.

We all do that don't we. If we didn't we wouldn't spend more time and energy in pursuit of money and things than we spent in pursuit of God. If we really trusted Him to provide all we He already promised He would....we wouldn't run ourselves ragged and stress ourselves out. We would simply pray, trust and relax.

In this. I am just as guilty as Achan. But I am encouraged to know that it doesn't HAVE to be this way. God allows do overs! I can stop stressing right now and trust Him to come through for me like He promised He would! I am encouraged to know that where there is repentance, there is forgiveness. I can repent of my mistrust. I can be forgiven and renewed...and so can you.

I am encouraged to know of (and receive) His love and grace. It is sufficient for me. It is sufficient for you. I am encouraged. Won't you be encouraged with me today?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Everyday Miracles

Have you ever looked back on your life and completely understood what God was doing years after He had done it? I had a moment like that today.
About 4 years ago my husband and I were looking for a piece of land to make our home on. We thought we had finally found the perfect place. We were approved for the loan and gave our down payment to the bank. We were on our way to a better place to that was all ours!
Suddenly the seller backed out, for conscience sake. They said that there was something wrong with the property and they refused to sell it to us. Once the property was off the was the loan.
Needless to say, we were utterly confused and so very disappointed We remained in the same place for another painful year.
We have been in our new home for the last 2 years. God brought a fantastic blessing from a bad situation. Had we bought that property we would spend the next 40 years paying for second best.
God new 4 years ago. I realized it today.
God had the miracles of the past recorded for the present so that we would know about them today and be encouraged. Think back on some of the ways that God has worked miracles in your life and be encouraged with me today!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Above all, brothers, do not swear oaths by heaven, by earth, or by any other object. Instead, let your "Yes" mean yes and your "No" mean no, lest you fall under condemnation.
(James 5:12)
So why don't we all just say what we really mean; and really mean what we say?
So many people could avoid so much pain if we all lived by that motto!
This post wasn't brought on by the actions of anyone I know. Actually I was watching one of those movies where 2 people refused to admit that they loved each other for fear of exposing their vulnerable hearts one to the other.
So, it is my conclusion that we all are afraid to be honest, completely honest with each other because we don't want to become vulnerable. We have to stay guarded to stay safe. After all, what would people think if they knew what we really think, how we really feel, who we really are? It is exhausting to wade through all of the facial expressions and body language and cues, codes and just plain lies. We are all so afraid to be found out.

And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
(Hebrews 4:13)

There is One to whom all things are laid bare. There is One who knows every single thing about us. No matter how deep or dark or scary or secret, no matter how well we think it is hidden or how deep we think it is buried, there is One who sees and knows all.
His name is Jesus. And He loves you anyway. He wants you anyway. He died in your place anyway. He knew what you would become and He still chose to create you. You are wonderful and valuable to Him. Don't hide from Him. Don't try to pretend or put on an act. You can't fool Him.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:14-16)

The great thing is that He has been where you are. He understands your weaknesses and because of that, He is there to give you strength to overcome them.
Knowing this, I am encouraged to be open and honest with Him so that I can accept His strength in my weakness.
I hope you are encouraged with me today.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I have a question. DO we really believe what we say we do? Do we really believe that the lost will go to an eternal hell if they are not told the truth of the gospel? Do we really believe that there is an eternal home in heaven for those who believe and give their hearts and lives to the Lord Jesus? DO we really believe that He is coming soon?
If we really believe all that we say we do then why aren't we out there preaching the gospel with urgency? Why are we not spreading the good news to the lost and telling them about the choice they MUST make if they want to spend eternity with Jesus instead of an eternal hell.
That is just something to think about .
I encourage you today to go out and spread the good news before it is too late for the lost.
I know I am encouraged to do so. So wont you be encouraged with me today?