Sunday, December 30, 2007


Hi gang. Recently I've been convicted by my conscience of all the complaints I make. I never really realized how ungrateful I was about certain areas of my life. I often find myself complaining that it's too cold outside, or that I don't have everything I want, or that I don't have the friendships or relationships that I want in my life. Honestly, I sound like a complete whiner. Instead of being grateful and thankful for all the great blessings in my life, I find myself complaining or never being satisfied with the things I do have.

Case and point. This last Christmas Holiday was very nice and I so enjoyed every minute of it. However, the weeks leading up to the holiday I complained constantly that I "just didn't feel like celebrating this year" or "what do I have to celebrate?". What an absolutely AWFUL attitude to have! My mom had to sit me down and tell me to stop acting so childish and be thankful for the fact that I'm even able to celebrate Christ's birth. She had one of her "mommy moments" where she tells you every blessing in your life, like: your family, your friends, your job, your freedom, your country, your house, your car, your co-workers, your knowledge, the fact that you have all your appendiges, the fact that you don't have a disease, the fact that we have a choice and ability to be happy or sad.

Even though I hate to admit it, my mom is 100% correct. I have SO many more things than I will ever need as a human being. I have a house that is safe, I have a car that runs, I have a supportive/loving family, I have amazing friends, I have a wonderful job and great co-workers, I am smart and am an eager learner, I am not handicapped, I am disease free, and I do have a choice to make each and every day. A choice to be happy or to be sad. To be positive or negative. To look at the world with the glass half full or the glass as almost empty. God has blessed me more than I ever take the time to realize. He has given me the basic needs of my life and so, so much more. Why should I not be thankful for everything I've been given?

Then comes the question of "how do I make the best of the time I have here on earth?" I would say by rejoicing and being happy with the many blessings I have. By living life to the absolute fullest. By making the best of my relationships with others. By mending fences with those I've fallen away from. By giving 110% to my job during my work hours. By giving food or money or some sort of help to those that are struggling more than I am. By sacficing my time and my energy to build and uplift someone else. By being Christ like and loving each and every person on the face of this planet.

If I've learned one thing throughout life about others it is this: those that hurt others the most are hurting the most in their own lives. That's right. You know the people who always seem bitter or annoyed or frustration or just down right mean? I'm sure each and every one of us can think of a few. Instead of complaining about those people - why don't we take the time to love them the best we possibly can? Sometimes all those people need is a little human love and attention. I definitely need to do this - no more complaints about others (or at least trying my hardest not to complain) and I'm going to work at loving them better.

And lastly, in Phillipians 2 it says: "Do everything without complaining or arguing". Did I just see that God tells us to do EVERYTHING - (does that really mean everything?) without complaining or arguing? Now that is a LOT of stuff to not complain about- but I think as humans it's a little difficult to never complain. So how about we start with gettting rid of or holding our tongue on at least one complaint a day? I think I can handle that much. What kinds of things are you currently complaining about, and why? What can you do right now or in the next days and months to make yourself more grateful? How are you going to appreciate those around you more? How are you going to mend the fences with people and influences in your life? Where do you even start? I don't have those answers.... but hopefully we can each start our New Year off right without all the complaining.....

Friday, December 28, 2007

Live like you were dying

Over the past several days I've had this Tim McGraw song on my mind - the one about his dad dying and regretting not living his life more. Well, I've begun to realize the importance and the appropriateness of such a song. None of us are guaranteed another day, month, or year - and with that we need to be living life up more. In earlier posts I've discussed the things that I would do if I were told that I had one year left to live. However, over this week I've begun to realize the importance of appreciating and sharing time with the people within our own lives.

Everyday I don't value those that are aound me enough. Honestly, I take them for granted more than I appreciate them for who they are in my life. I'm not thankful enough and I definitely don't spend enough time with those that are closest to me. I wish I had all the time in the world to spend my days with my family, my friends, my long lost relatives, and making and building new relationships.

So then the questions arise... who are the most influencial people in your life? Who are the people you would lay your own life down for - if there are any? Who are the people that have helped make you into the person you are today? If there is someone you have lost track of - who is it, and how can you make amends with the person? Who is worth fighting for in your life? Who is more important to you than anything else in the world? It's the people that we've just answered the questions for that we need to be 100% dedicated to. We need to work hard at cultivating relationships and keeping them strong.

What can each of us do today to make our relationships stronger? I know that one thing I'm going to be dedicated to doing in the next year is to keep track of my friends by staying in touch via email, notes, or phone calls. It's amazing how small acts of kindness and friendship can cultivate even the weakest of relationships. So, my dear readers, what are you going to do today or in the New Year to make your relationships stronger? Who are you going to fight for in the next year? And what are you going to do to make sure you don't lose track of those closest to you?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Over the past few months and years of my life I've come to a realization. I've begun to realize the terrifying elements of failure. The disappoinments, the frustrations, the lack of self confidence, the embarrassment - everything that comes with failing at something. However, one quote comes to my mind everytime I get afraid of failing and it's simply, "You won't fail until you fail to try." If that is not a true statement I don't know what is.... we are failing ourselves each and every time we don't try something new or something scary.

I'm the type of person that is not really excited about surprises or having something thrown at me. The only reason I can come up with as to why I have this issue is the fact that I had a very unstable childhood and surprises were never something I looked forward to- most of the time they meant something bad. My mind has been trained to think that surprises are a bad thing, not a good thing, so I'm unwilling to attempt new things in life. However, over the past few months I've begun to understand how drastically important it is for me to be okay with change, for me to be okay with surprises, and to be okay with the unknown.

I've even found in my Bible reading in Matthew 6 that God tells us not to worry about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough problems of it's own. Live in day tight compartments, for you are only guaranteed today.

So what does all of this have to do with failure? Well, failure is not trying something new, failure is being afraid of the unknown and failure is not enjoying life's little "surprises" that come along the way. Because no matter what change or what problem or what issues arise, there is something to be gained and learned from it. For me, I need to be willing to try to learn new areas in my career - because I won't know if I like them until I've had a taste of what they are. I need to start doing the things I've always been afraid to do because I won't know if they are bad or good until I try them. I need to fight for the people and relationships that are important in my life, because I may never have the opportunity to have them again. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. And personally, I'd like to keep all of them around for at least a lifetime, if not eternity.

Well, this random post is super exciting, I know - but I just came to the realization today that I was not trying hard enough - that I was hiding too much behind the protection and barriers that I have built for myself - but I need to branch out and reach out beyond the barriers that are keeping me from my full potential in life. Because there is a much bigger, much more profitable, and much more exciting and challenging world beyond the walls I've built. So this next year, I'm working on making sure to make the best of every moment I have and placing the fear of failure behind me. Carpe Diem - as they say :-)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Be quiet, Be still

Recently, I've found myself running on all cylinders - literally going and going for 18 hours a day, getting a little rest and then back up again for more. Trying to keep myself busy and staying active is the goal, however I've begun to realize a very important part of daily living that I have cut out of my routine. It all goes back to the fact that God created the world in 7 days, but it didn't take all 7 to complete the earth, on the last day God Himself even rested. This has become known as a Sabboth day throughout history where there is to be no work or worry or even thought, but just quiet time spent alone with God - kind of a check up with the one that created all of us.

In my Devotional Reading "Streams in the Desert" last night, of all nights, it discussed the importance of having quiet, uninterrupted time with oneself and God. As humans we were not made to go 100%, 100% of the time. We are called to take time to rest and take time to reflect on our lives. "We believe in having all our irons in the fire and that all the time we spend away from the anvil or the fire is wasted time. Yet our time is never more profitably spent than when we set aside time for quiet meditation, talking with God". When was the last time you sat down in a 100% quiet and distraction free environment and had some time with God? Honestly, I can't even remember the last time I did that - actually it was probably about a year ago. Personally, I use my car as my place for quiet and meditation. I've learned that from an early age, to take myself somewhere beautiful where there are no distractions just me, my car, and Jesus. I have some quiet music on and I bare my soul before Christ. There are tears shed, prayers given, requests received, and quesitons answered. It's truly the most inspiring and amazing points of my life.

In our crazy, busy, never slowing world we are often challenged on all sides with pressure to perform or pressure to do better or do more. However, at least once a week I encourage you to take some time with God - somewhere special to you and somewhere you can truly listen, truly bare your soul without distraction. I'll make you guys a deal, I'll try my very hardest to do this very challenge, if you, my readers do the same. Yes, it will be really difficult to take time away and go chat with Jesus - but I promise you it is more rewarding than anything else and the questions and the issues you are facing today, God will give you guidance with - a peace to get through each day.

And last, but certainly not least, take time to rest yourself. This means taking a lazy Saturday or Sunday every now and then - not working on the house or the problems or the studying we do so much of, but just sitting - watching a movie, taking a nap, reading a good book - just finding some solitude. Because if we take care of our bodies, our bodies will take care of us. My personal favorite is to take a Saturday, do something for me - like a pedicure - come home, bundle up on the couch and watch some Alias or a movie - fall asleep while watching it, and just rest without the worries and the stress of the world. It's amazing.... and it's something that God Himself even does, and if I remember correctly, He's perfect and we really fall short. So if God does it, we should follow suit and do the same.

Many blessings to all of you this wonderful Christmas morning! Let us take today to rejoice in the Reason for the Season and be grateful for the many blessings we each have - because we are all truly blessed!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Unanswered Questions

Okay men, it's your turn. Today is the day to bring to your attention the problems and issues that you face in your day to day life. Much like my previous post about Captivating, there is another side to the story and it's for the male's in the world. You too have questions that you ask on a daily basis, problems and issues that arise from either your childhood or early adult years. Contrary to the women's questions which are more emotionally based, you too have questions that were either unanswered by your father figure or male friends, or they were answered in the incorrect way. The questions are: Do I have what it takes? Am I a man? Am I strong? Am I courageous? Can I protect another and win the battles of this earth? Will I pass or fail at my masculinity?

The childhood of a man is very much different than that of woman. There comes a time in every man's life that he needs to be released and let go from his mother and passed on to his father for further development into becoming the man he was created to be. However, many times in today's society the mother's are unwilling or too scared to pass their sons off to their fatherly figure. Or even worse, in today's world the mother has no one to pass the son off to to learn about his masculinity becuase the sons father has left the family and is not longer in the picture. All of these events and set backs are truly heart breaking and devastating to a young man. Without "cutting the cord" the young man is unable to grow in his masculinity and in time comes more fearful, more dependent on the female, and truly unable to cope in his daily life.

Then the man grows up and instead of going to his male fatherly figure he is wounded so he runs to a girl or a woman he is interested in and asks her his questions: Do I have what it takes? Am I a man? Am I strong? Am I courageous? Can I protect another and win the battles of this earth? Will I pass or fail at my masculinity? However, the female cannot answer the questions the man has. It is not our nature or our make-up to answer the questions -we can try and try and try but we will never be able to truly answer your questions because we are hurt as well and searching our own hearts - because our own answers have not been made (see Captivating Post).

Also, many men in this world have father's that have been wounded and have never gotten their own questions answered, so they are unable to answer the questions of their own sons and the cycle continues - generation after generation. The only way to resolve and break the generational curse is honestly through Christ. It is through his Strength as our Heavenly Father that men on earth are able to move past their inadequacies or feelings thereof and move on with their lives. For it is through Christ that we are able to get all of our questions answered.

Okay, easier said than done... I'll admit that much. It's hard to feel as though your answers are in God and that He is truly answering your questions. However, the way to meet with God is through quietness - as a man go out in the wild and appreciate the earth that was made: go for a hike, go hunting, go out and experience the stillness and calm of the wild. Also, there needs to be time of talking and quietness with God, for it is in those times that he speaks most clearly. For some that is just sitting in a quiet room and reflecting, for another it's through music, and another yet it's through being out in the hills and life that is around them. Take time to pray everyday, take time to listen, take time to REST and find PEACE, take time to read the Bible, take time for yourself. It is the one and only way the answers are heard that God is yelling our way everyday. Take time for you and make time for God, and He will meet you in a place of understanding, rest, and peace - where no question is left unanswered.

Let God be your father, who redeems you, who answers your questions, who calls you to His presence, and shows you the man that you are created to be. The man that is much more than it takes, the man that is strong and courageous, the man that is confident in himself, the man who is able to lead people and nations, the man that is made to conquer and protect. That man is deep inside every single male on this earth, it just takes some time to find him.... and with God he can be found and rewarded for his questions - not downtrodden for them. I pray that each of you will find the quietplace and get your questions answered... because it is there that your life truly begins!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Am I lovely? Am I beautiful? Am I desireable? Am I a catch? Am I important? Am I worth fighting for? Am I Captivating? So many young girls, young women, and really any woman from any age are constantly asking these questions. I know in my own life I struggle everyday with wondering if I make the cut, if someone would be willing to fight for me, and if someone would let me know that I am beautiful, amazing, lovely, desireable, and worth far more than anything in this world. However, the answers I get from the world are never enough, I'm constantly disappointed.

Case and point. Throughout my young life I've had crucial people either abuse, walk away, abandon, disappoint, or throw me away. And the best part of these people is that each and every one of them has been a man. Whether it be my dad, my brother, my best friends, my boyfriends - all of them have hurt me in some way shape or form. And to each and every one of them I came with my questions, "Am I lovely? Am I beautiful? Am I desireable? Am I a catch? Am I important? Am I worth fighting for? Am I Captivating?". However, each and every one of them looked me in the face by their actions and loud and clear yelled, "Absolutely NOT!". By abusing me they proved that I was not worth anything to them. By abandoning me they proved that I was not worth fighting for. By disappointing me they proved that I was not lovely enough for them to stay. And by throwing me away they proved that I am not beautiful, not desireable, and not a wonderful girl - but that I am garbage in their eyes.

So where do I get my questions answered?? The one and only place I am able to go is to my Heavenly Father, who never abandons or forsakes me. Who would never bring harm to my life. He is always faithful, always loving, always there, and always what I need and more. Tonight after a coffee date with one of my friends, I began to realize how drastically important it was for me to realize that my quesitons cannot be answered by the men of this world, because they have questions they cannot answer for themselves (more on that later). Each and every person on this earth is fallen, is struggling, has been hurt or disappointed, and each of us is asking questions. For the female it is emotionally based - am I loveable? For the male it is physically based - am I strong enough? Am I a man?

The problem with all of this is the fact that we need to have 100% true Surrender to our God in order to get the healing and get the answers that we so desperately need. But our human nature tells us constantly - you are not worth it, you are not lovely - which only hinders our ability to let go of ourselves and lay our lives and our very souls and beings before Christ - asking Him to be our answer. Only in the sheer and utter downfall of life do we realize that we cannot go any farther down - that we have hit rock bottom- and it's at this point that we are able to run back to Jesus broken, battered, and torn and with tears in our eyes and our hearts breaking pleading with God to lead our lives, to be the answers we are looking for, and to be the Strength, Wisdom, and Light in our daily lives. For with God we can do anything, but without Him we are nothing.

My hope today is that we will all go to God for the answers to our lives questions. To rely on Him for clarity, for understanding, for love, for acceptance, for courage, for strength, and for life changing ability. It's the hardest thing in the world to admit that we need help, and it's even harder to admit that we need help to Jesus - because our sin so easily entangles us into believing the ways of the world and the things Satan and the world are using against us are too strong for the everlasting love of Christ. But Jesus is stronger, he is braver, He is more able than any force in this world or in the spiritual realm - He is the powerhouse that is able to stand up against the forces of this world and stand beside His children and encourage them through the toughest, darkest, and most terrifying hours of our lives. He has our answers - it just takes patience, admittance of fault, and a heart willing to move.

He who has ears, let him hear and understand the Love and everlasting strength of God. Let us each be captivating to Christ and Christ alone.

Verse of the day:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ... I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35,38-39

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Just too good!

Okay, so today on my 'verse of the day' section on my homepage I found the following verse. I've found myself so often falling for the traps of this world and hearing what TV, Radio, Music, People, and the Media say about things of this world, and I so often fall for their "truth" instead of God's truth. This verse just really stood out to me as something I need to apply to my life, especially the section where it talks about "obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking". I can still have fun in my life and laugh and enjoy myself, but it doesn't have to be laden with awkward, innappropriate talk. This is definitely an area that I and so many can work on... here's the verse:

"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place for God's people, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person -- such a man is an idolater -- has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."
Ephesians 5:3-5

Pretty intense stuff huh?? It just shows me, right there, in my face, that the way I've lived my life in this world is more of this world than I would like it to be. So then the questions arise? What makes innappropriate stuff so much more funny? Why do we say certain things to our friends that we would never say in front of our parents? Could each of us sit down before God and say the things we're saying? I think I may be a little embarrassed if God was sitting beside me, and I think I need to take responsibility and be the bigger person. We can still have fun and we can still laugh and enjoy life without all the nastyness that the world thrusts in our face every two seconds..... good things to ponder....

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Teachings from the Pulpit (last weeks edition)

Well, it's Sunday again and I realized that I never posted Teachings from the Pulpit for last week. So here we go... off and running!

Pastor Mike has been going over his Adventus Teachings during the month of December, and last weeks was on Peace. The world defines peace as "everything working together for my own personal good/gain". However, as Christians we need to realize that Jesus did not give us a trouble free world to live in, he gave us the ability to get through the troubles in life with His peace - that may or may not mean you are "feeling good" from it - but you are confident that things will work out for God's best in your life.

Everyone on earth has problems, whether they be emotionally, psychologically, financially, mentally, spiritually, physically - you name it we've got it. However, during the times of unrest God makes us aware of the peace that He gives - "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you" -John 14:27

When Christ came to earth for us, he did not bring a promise of problem free living - Sometimes His peace or the problems of life will actually cause us to stumble and struggle along the way. However, His peace brings us tranquility and strength to get through the stumbling blocks of life. His peace guards us and gives us a sense of confidence and strength in times of struggle and frustration. "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Phil. 4:7

God's peace is not a "warm-fuzzy" feeling - it takes work from both parties to become accepting of the peace of God. Peace is not "no fighting" or "offering self as a doormat" or "getting what you want". Peace is being content with Christ and His best for your life. The Prince of Peace brings: 1. Peace with God, 2. Peace with ourselves, and 3. Peace with others.

I wish you all the peace which only God can give throughout your lives. For it is that peace that far outreaches our struggles and heartaches.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


This week I've been really getting into my Worship Music again. Now this stuff has the power to literally break a person inside and make the strongest and most standoffish person in the world fall down and start bawling their eyes out. I came across one of my favorite songs from High School - yes, total old school, and it's by Passion (I think) and it's called Romanced. I thought I'd share it with the blogging community as it has really helped me throughout my single life:

I want to be romanced by the King of the Ages
I don’t want to sing of a passion I’ve never known
I want to get lost in the beauty of Jesus
And dance through the night around your Throne

So dance with me, dance with me
I am weary but I know your touch restores my life

I want to be romanced by the King of the Ages
I don’t want to sing of a passion I’ve never known
I want to get lost in the beauty of Jesus
And dance through the night around your Throne.

For right now, this song is exactly what I need. One of my dear friends, Megan, has shared with me that during this time in my life I need to fall in love again with Jesus. Making Him the first priority in my life. It's strange because I so often feel like I'll never be as close as I used to be with Him. Somehow thinking that if He knew all the mistakes and the problems and the hurts I've had through my years that He will somehow want nothing to do with me - no one wants to be with a messed up person, at least not in the human realm. But the fact of the matter is that God is our Heavenly Father. He is the one Great Power and Great Person that is able to love us unconditionally - without blame or frustration. He loves us more than anything else, we are His precious children whom He created in His own image. I can't even begin to fathom the strength, power, and sensitivity that our God has for us, His fallen children.

I guarantee you that no matter where you are or what you've done, God can meet you anytime, anywhere. It definitely feels like you're constantly lonely and without someone to lean on, but He is there, cry out to Jesus and He will answer - but it may not be the way you are expecting it to be. Fall in love with Jesus again. Let Him transform your heart.

What is holding you back from a 100% devoted relationship with Christ? I know that for me it's the fact that I'm too stubborn and stuck in my ways that I don't want to surrender my life to Him - I've got it figured out on my own, right? What fears and restrictions do you have that hinder your relationship with the one and only God that loves you so dearly? What mistakes have you made that you are worried are unforgiveable? What problems are you facing today that seem too big for your earthly body? I don't know how to say it, but I know that God is bigger than all the problems, all the issues, all the reservations we have in this life - and He is big enough to help each and every one of us through our struggles. See "Footprints" below.... it's INCREDIBLE!

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was
walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the
sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he
noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one
belonging to him, and the other to the Lord. When
the last scene of his life flashed before him, he
looked back at the footprints in the sand. He
noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed
that it happened at the very lowest and saddest
times in his life. This really bothered him and he
questioned the Lord about it. "Lord, You said that
once I decided to follow you, You'd walk with me all
the way. But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life, there is only one set
of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed
you most you would leave me."
The Lord replied,"My son, My precious child, I love you and I would
never leave you. During your times of trial and
suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I Carried You."

AMEN to that - because that's exactly what He does for us....

Sunday, December 9, 2007

More Greatness

Well kids, teachings from the Pulpit will be for another day this week, as I left the notes in my car, and it's FAR too cold to make my way out to get them. :-) However, I have had quite a few different ideas and thoughts coming into my mind lately... so let's dive in, shall we?

First off, I was asked to give a Biblical Interpretation in Class the other day on the following scripture from Luke 17: "7"Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'? 8Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? 9Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.' "

So I sent this out to my friend Brandy, and she then sent it to her significant other, and his answer to this question of - what does this mean - follows here... it's Terrific stuff!!! :-)

"In my view, this issue is a matter of respect. Even Jesus did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. He modeled submission and humility, always praying to the Father before performing miracles, ministry etc."
As an employer, I'm not obligated to thank my employees every time they do something for me. They are performing a role according to the worker-employer relationship we've negotiated. God is also not obligated to thank us for every good deed we perform. We are the ones always indebted to Him! This position of dependancy will never change. We cannot add to Him; He can only add to us. I am always in the position of slave to my Master in Heaven - and will be judged accordingly."

So the questions arise - what does respect mean? Well, according to it means "to hold in esteem or honor - or to regard or have consideration for someone". Today, our world is many times lacking in the respect area of life. How many times do we disrespect our parents or those that are in authority over us? How is it that we can have such esteem and appreciation for the authority placed over us at work, but in our own personal lives we lack the esteem and respect for those closest to us? Are you respecting your families, friends, significant others - the way you should? Do you hold them in high esteem and have great respect for them? If not, why not? What is holding you back from loving the people that mean the most to you? For me, it's my own selfishness. How about you? Definitely something to think about...

Now my next point, lately I've begun to have a greater understanding for why I go through the things and the trials in my life that I go through. I've realized that God is using my struggles and my pain to help others - whether they are going through something similar, or if they are going through something drastically different - I know I am being used by God to Bridge the Gap for people in despair. When those people are so lost that they don't even know what to do with themselves or how to let themselves mourn, I know that my job is to Bridge the Gap for them and be in prayer constantly for their own healing to come from God. He has a plan and a direction for each and every thing that happens in our lives - and for me, right now, I'm called to love those that feel unloved. I'm called to pray for those who cannot pray for themselves. I'm called to help those that feel helpless. I'm called to be the joy in someone's life who is struggling with despair. And if that is the only thing I do during this time of growth and healing for myself, at least at the end of it all I'll be able to see how many lives I was able to help and touch through my most difficult times. Are you helping others right now? If not, what can you do to help those around you? And what is holding you back from helping your fellow man get their lives filled with happiness and joy?

"Streams in the Desert" last night talked about a man who carried a tin of oil around with him wherever he went. He oiled squeeky doors, and rusted gates so they could again do the job they were called to do. Then the writer applied that to our daily lives - "Your oil of cheerfulness will mean more than you know to someone who is downhearted. Or the oil may be a word of encouragement to a person who is full of despair. Never fail to speak it, for our lives may touch others only once on the road of life." So what kind of word or action can you say or do today to help uplift someone else? How are you going to help someone else today?

My dear friends, if there is anything I can be doing or praying for you with - please let me know. You are all in my prayers and thoughts constantly, and don't forget that God has not given up on you, and I won't either - together we can get through anything. God has always promised not to give us more than we can handle. And He will provide us a way out - and sometimes that way out is through the help and encouragement of others.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Lead me in a straight Path

Well gang, it's that time again. . . time for learning experiences! Woot! So, this week I've really been thinking a lot more about life and the meaning of life and why we even exist in the first place. It's strange because God has placed us on earth to be pleasing to Him and as His followers to do His world towards our fellow man while we are on this earth. But are we really living for God? How many times do we put our own selfish desires above what God has called us to do? How many times would you rather go out with your friends than spend some quality time with God? How many times do we ignore His still small voice - for the louder, booming voice of this world? How many times are we convinced that He has no idea what's good for us and that we know best? How many times do we push Him out of our lives everyday - by saying "if it makes me feel good I'll do it - if not it's not worth my time"?

I have news for all of us! God is worth FAR more than anything we could ever get throughout this world. Do you want to spend eternity- that means FOREVER - in misery or in a place of joy and peace? I've begun to realize lately how precious our life on earth is. It can all be taken away from us in a matter of seconds- EVERYTHING- our families, our friends, our homes, our work, our bodily functions/mobility, our sanity, our money, our things, our toys - there is no guarantee that anything we have right now will be ours tomorrow. Are we really aware of the great cost and the great value that we place on things today? It's like the song goes, "you don't know what you've got till it's gone". There is NO way of knowing how important something is to you until you have lost it - and possibly forever.

I know that for me the most important things in my life are not my clothes, or my work, or my social status, or my cars or toys - but the people. I love each and every person that has come into my life, because I know they have been there for a reason. But do you know how many times I have taken the very dearest things to me for granted? Not really appreciating them until they disappear or problems arise or distance comes between us. It's terrifying for me to think that I can lose those people. . . but think of how terrifying it is to God to lose one of his children.

Have you ever lost anything before?? Like something or someone of great value? Do you not go searching for it immediately?? Then the panic sets in that you may never find it again.... and we, as humans, put God through that every day. We constantly disappoint our father by choosing this world over spending time with Him.... we are constantly shoving our own selfish selves into His face and literally saying, "You're not worth my time". How in the world can we say that the God of all creation is not worth our time? He gave us the very life we are now living... He gave us breath and He gave us every blessing we hold so dearly. Why are we not spending more time with Him? What has happened to us as a generation? Where did our hearts and passion for Christ go? And how do we find it again?

I have no idea how to even answer these questions.... but I do know that the first step is just being mature enough to even say, "Jesus, I don't even know where to begin at this point - but the only thing I can ask is that you put the desire that I once had for you back into my life... help me to find the child that you once knew - I know he/she is in there somewhere.. but I've lost track of it... and I don't know how to find it again". Be sincere and honest with God. It's not going to come back over night - but constant prayer and focus helps as well. I don't even know if I'm making sense at this point... but I just hope that I'm encouraging at least to someone. Christ is near the brokenhearted and uplifts those that are crushed in spirit. Come with open honesty, and it may take time, but He will meet you where you are right now.

So with that - I'm praying for all of us... we all can use some prayer sometimes. Please let me know if I can be praying for any of you in any particular way.

"I know, Oh Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps - but for You to direct." - Jer. 10:23

"Many people want to direct God, instead of surrendering themselves to be directed by Him. They want to show Him the way instead of submissively following where He leads."

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." - Jer. 29:11

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Just some good ol' Jesus Loving

Welcome back friends! I'll tell you one thing... this week has been unbelieveably busy! But I've been reading more and more of my Bible lately and getting more great advice that is just too wonderful not to share. SO here we go.

Today on my lunch break (while sitting in my car) I opened up to Psalm which always has numerous words of wisdom. Psalm 1 says: "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish." This Pslam has special meaning to me because while I was in HS I dedicated to memorizing it. It has so much to tell about life - which road will you choose the way of the righteous or the way of the wicked? Really great questions are brought up here... God blesses the righteous and whatever they do prospers. I love it!! It gives me hope that taking the road less travelled by will actually bless me in the end.

Next up on the docket... Psalm 4:4 "In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent." This one is also another one of my life verses - I've had a past of anger and problems with getting through issues with other people. But I need to not let my internal angst become and external sin. I need to calm myself and relax before reacting to something and causing more harm than good.

And last but not least - a parable from Jesus.... Luke 6:43-45, "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." Just overall good stuff!! Have good things in your heart and in your life and in your influences and your heart will speak nothing but good. The question arises... what kind of legacy do you want to leave or what do you want to be known for while in this life?

A note about taking time for oneself and resting. From my "Streams in the Desert" Devotional, "There is a special strength that is found in solitude. . . Strength is found not in the busyness and noise of life but in the quietness." Even Jesus himself went to the hills for solitude and time with God during his time here on earth. When was the last time you actually took time away from the TV, the internet, the computers, the stress, the people, the homework, the jobs, the radio, the magazines, the books - and really focused your attention on God? I honestly can't remember the last time I spent some quiet solitude with my one and only Father. . . and I know that I need to spend more time in solitude to gain more understanding of His love, plans, and peace He has for my life. So I encourage you, as I encourage myself, to go to the hills or find your own "secret place" and just sit and talk with God and meditate on His words. You may just find that it's the one thing that you've needed more than ever in your life - the part that's been missing that no one or nothing else can fill.

I'm praying for all of you tonight and I pray that my few ramblings have encouraged you in some way, as I've found they've encouraged me. God Bless you all and enjoy the adventure of finding your "Secret Place" with God.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Teachings from the Pulpit Part 5

Well another Sunday come and gone and there is always so much amazing stuff to share! This month we are focusing on Adventus - the arriving. This week Pastor Mike talked about hope. Hope is the belief that events will turn out for the best. Hope from God is built on a promise - a promise that He has what's best in store for us and that we need to be looking towards his everlasting promise. God has promised His children the nations and everlasting life.

This is going to be a really random post, but here we go... The time and dates of everything in our life in the future are for God to know, but for us to keep hope for - for His plans are great and far beyond our expectations. In the midst of darkness and sadness - God gives us the hope and the strength to get us through. And Jesus walks among us even today by the miracles of life, prayers being answered, people being healed, friendships being restored, families brought back together, and relationships mended. It may not always be the way we hope it would be - but it will always be God's best for us. And there is nothing that can cover the loneliness, sin, and brokenheartedness of everyday life and pain except for the unwavering hope and love of Christ. For, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." - Revelation 21:3-5

Also, in my daily devotional reading I came across a great passage that was too perfect and wonderful to not pass on. Do you ever wonder why some people go through more trials and difficulties than others? I know for me that it sometimes seems that others have always been far more blessed than I have, and I find myself wondering and questioning God as to why I have to hurt or struggle or fight for things in life more than other people have. Well, I found my answer last night and it was perfect timing for my life. In "Steams in the Desert" it says, "great character is made not through luxurious living but through suffering. And the world does not forget people of Great character. . . "

"Someday God is going to reveal this fact to every Christian: the very things they now rebel against are the instruments He has used to perfect their character and to mold them into perfection, so they can later be used in His heaven to come."

And last but not least, "The great objective of life is character, for it is the only thing we can carry with us into eternity. And gaining as much of the highest character possible is the purpose of our trials."

God bless you all and have a wonderful night! I hope this made some sense to you! :-)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Saturday's Ramblings

Happy December one and all! I can't believe that it's the holiday season again.... how crazy and how fast time flies!! I feel like yesterday I was a freshman in college getting ready to go home for Christmas. The Christmas season, for me, always brings a little hope for a better tomorrow, and at times a little sadness on the things or the people I have lost through the years. I wish life could just be one big cup of Peppermint Tea - never changing and never having to go through hardships. Well my friends, the unpleasant part is that life is constantly changing, and if we can't accept lifes changes for what they are, we will never be able to move on in our life. It would almost be like putting ourselves in a time capsule and never allowing ourselves to grow.

Do you sometimes feel that way? Like you're one person stuck in another times/persons body? It's a weird sensation when you're not comfortable in your own skin. But take courage in knowing that God has the best plans for you. He never said life was going to be a piece of cake, and each and every one of us has struggles and pain and regrets. Some of us have worse struggles, but that's where God comes in and says: "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." Temptation here is anything - it can be hurt from a friend, sins that we bring on ourselves by situations we put ourselves in, it can be the loss of someone close to us, it can be the loss of a job, and it can be the frustration we as humans so many times have for each other. Temptation is anything that can hinder our walk with Christ - so what are you being tempted by today??

You know, it's the hardest thing to admit you are wrong - especially to God. He already knows all the things and the people you have struggled with through the years. God actually knows everything -even that one part of your life that you're trying so hard to hide or to fake. He knows every hair on your head, every pain you have ever felt, every fear that you have had, and every struggle you have gone through. He knows you more than anything and He has a plan for the problems and issues in your life - plans to prosper you and not to harm you (see Jeremiah 29:11). And do you know that Jesus went to the cross for everything you or I have ever done? Many times as a Christian I think, well Jesus went to the cross for liars and cheaters and people who don't know him. But my friend Megan shared with me the other day that God went to the cross for EVERY sin we have EVER committed. That means He went for our doubts, our fears, our lying, our cheating, our blaspheming him, our sexual sins, our rudeness and unkindness towards our fellow man, our empathy, our selfishness, our addictions whether it's alcohol, drugs, porn, relationships - really anything you can think of that you have ever done - God has forgiven you for if you ask Him and Jesus took all of that stress and pressure and nailed it with him on the cross.

This week has been another one of those weeks with frustration and struggles with school and friends. One of my close friends shared a life saying with me that completely struck home to me, and I have to share it! "It takes a big person to admit they are wrong and an even bigger person to keep quiet when they know they're right"

One last morsel of wisdom that I've gotten this week. It's from my daily devotional "Streams in the Desert" - from my friend Ashleigh. It says "You can always count on God to make the "later ons" of difficulties a thousand times richer and better than the present".

And Verse of the day:

"No discipline feels pleasant at the time.... later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace." -Hebrews 12:11

Enjoy the weekend all!! By the way.... I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments!! :-)