Tuesday, August 7, 2012

THE CRAZIEST IDEA EVER

Here I go again, posting something I did not write, but it is so thought provoking (at least it was to me), that I wanted to share it.  And after it is done provoking your thoughts, I pray that you, like, me, will put it into practice.  It was written by my friend, Lara Love.
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012DAILY INSPIRATION - AUG. 7 - The Craziest Idea Ever


Today's devotional is purposely unedited. You will soon understand why. I am sharing it with you raw, the exact way it was written. Straight from the heart.

How crazy is this? My dear friend suggets I write without looking. Yes, she actually suggested I write with my eyes closed. How crazy is this? Think about it? Years upon years of private school education, Ivy League education, a English degree, and now I'm supposed to write without looking?

Yes. I am even trying it now. It's woild. How can I edit as I go along? I can't. Not really. I have to write from the deepest place within and trust all will be well. But is it?

Isn't this what the walk of faith is all about? Walking without living according to our natural flesh. My. What a difference it is to shut my eyes when I'm walking through life - or writing.

I cannot rely on what I did before - like where the keys on the computer keyboard are. I have to rely on something else altogether. I have to write by faith.

I have to walk by faith. Or not. Certainly I can open my eyes and walk the way I have always walked.

Oops, I cheated. I wanted to make sure my fingters were where they belong.

So what about this faith walk? God doesn't want us to walk according to the ways of thew orld, or the ways of the flesh.

He wants us to make decisions not according to seeing the keys on the keyboard, and placing our fingers there. He wants us to put our feet on His pathway and follow Him by voice, by His Word, by HIs HOly Spirit within. And this, I can honestyly say, makes this journey so very craxy - at least in the eys of the world.

I have a smile on my face right now even as I type in the darkness of my eyes being closed.

Oddly, and how crazy is this, I feel more light behind my eyes, more light within my heart nad body, with my eyes closed. Why? I feel His presence more than ever, not distracted by the world without - around me. Smile, smile, smile.

If only I would live my life this way. Even with my eyes open, if only I would disregard the shouts and cries and voices and distractsions of other people, situaitons, circumstances - and walk with Him. Solely. Only. By faith - in the love of my life. My precious JEsus.

Come, follow me, He says. I take His hand. My friend who gave this crazy idea prays each day for Jesus to take her hand and wlak her through the day.

Alas, take my hand, Jesus. I cannot walk with my eyes closed. Hold me. Lead me. TAke me where you desire me to be.

I love you, JEsus. Eyes closed and all. I feel your presence so strongly this way. Thank you for filling me up with yuourself.

Craszy, crazy. I can't wait to open my eyes and go back to see if any of the words came out right. Perhaps my fingers landed on the wrong keys and garbleed everything. But what matter is this? What matters most is this. I love JEsus, and I choose today to follow Him - eyes closed, eyes open. Heart on fire, heart open to the Lord of my life! Amen.

Dear Lord, help me to do something crazy today. Help me to walk with you with my eyes closed. Help me to not rely on the world around me to show me the way to go. Help me to live the way you have called me. By faith. I love you! Amen.

Yes, I am opening my eyes now. I will look for the scriptuyre I know belongs here. For that, I will not mbe able to keep my eyes closed any longer. Yet I choose this day to do my best to walk by faith - eyes open or not. My eyes, I know, must be fised on HIM.

2Co 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Posted by Lara Love at 8:30 AM

Saturday, July 21, 2012

SO YOU STILL THINK GOD IS A MERCIFUL GOD?!

This post was not written by me.  I copied it from Marie's blog--A MINIATURE CLAY POT--because I wish I had thought to write something like this, and because even if I had thought of it, I could not have worded it any better than she did.

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(Maybe, just maybe God spared my life because He loves YOU and wants you to hear this..He wants you to believe that He loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son that if you would believe in Him you would have eternal life.)

"So, you still believe in a merciful God?"  Some of the comments online are genuinely inquisitive, others are contemptuous in nature. Regardless of the motive behind the question, I will respond the same way.

Yes.

Yes, I do indeed.

Absolutely, positively, unequivocally.

Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil.  God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. A man did.

In His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil.

Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil.

I was there in theater 9 at midnight, straining to make out the words and trying to figure out the story line as The Dark Night Rises began. I’m not a big movie-goer. The HH and I prefer to watch movies in the comfort of our own home…where I can use subtitles and get a foot rub. I don’t like action movies. And I don’t like midnight showings.  But, as I wrote in my last post, parents sometimes make sacrifices for their kiddos and I decided I would take my fourteen year old and sixteen year old daughters who were chomping at the bit to see this eagerly anticipated third movie in the Batman Trilogy. Twice I had the opportunity to back out and twice I was quite tempted. But something in me said just go with your girls. I did.

So I was there with them, fidgeting in my seat, some forty or  fifty feet away from the man with the gun. It’s still a bit surreal, but I do know that when the seemingly endless shooting started, as my girls were struggling from whatever gas or chemical had been released, and we figured out what was happening, we hit the floor. I threw myself on top of my fourteen year old who was on the end of the row, straight up the aisle from the shooter.  In that moment, as the rapid-fire shots continued, I truly thought I was going to die. And I realized that I was ready. I have put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the redeemer of my soul, and there wasn’t the slightest doubt that I would be received into heaven, not because of any good thing that I have done but because of His merciful nature and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Still, as I lay over my daughter, I began praying out loud. I don’t even remember what I prayed, but I don’t imagine it really matters. I’m sure it was for protection and peace. It drew me closer into the presence of God. When there was a pause in the shooting, people began to clamor for the exits. The girls and I jumped up and joined the masses. We had to step over a lifeless body, not knowing where the shooter was. We raced to our car and I dumped my purse, frantically searching for keys, looking all around, prepared to hit the ground. I yelled at Michelle to call Matthew and find out if he had made it out of the theater next door. She did. He did. We booked on out of there.

Why would you think such a tragedy would make me question the goodness of God? If anything, both of my girls said it made Him a much more real presence to them; the youngest shared this verse: Do not be afraid of sudden fear nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your feet from being caught.

He is not the cause of evil, but He is the one who can bring comfort and peace in the midst of evil.  It’s been amazing to see the outpouring of love from so many people after this unthinkable act.  Yes, there was one evil act, but it is being covered by thousands, possibly millions of acts of kindness.

We have not yet slept, so the girls and I are overtired and a bit emotional.  But overall, we are praising God and resting in His Goodness.   I love this word of wisdom and encouragement from a former pastor of mine:


Up to this point I haven’t had words to say that would matter. Of course we are all glad that you and the family are safe. Of course we would all state the obvious that this is horrific and senseless. But those words still don’t carry weight that remain in the midst of the questions. Then it hit me… Do you know what the difference was between Job and his wife in their response to the tragedy of losing everything… Job 1:20 Job was the only one that worshiped in the midst of it. Marie, I know your heart and I’ve seen your worship lived out before your family. Before the weight of this becomes unbearable… worship. Your profile pic was not coincidence, not by accident that you changed it on July 15th, but a beautiful foreshadowing of your need to hear the cry of your heart and give Him praise. 

Though we don’t have all the answers, we do indeed listen to the cry of our hearts: When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What  can mere man  do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

God is always good.

Man is not.

Don’t get the two confused.

We will continue to praise and worship our mighty God, anticipating that He will bring beauty from ashes, as only He can do.

If you want to know how to pray for us: first and foremost, we need sleep. Somehow our bodies seem too wired. We also want the life that God has graciously allowed us to continue to live to not be a gift given in vain, we want our lives to draw others closer to Him. We do not want fear to dominate, for God has not given us a spirit of fear. We want His joy to be seen and experienced in all that we do.

Pray for the families who lost loved ones, and for young people who witnessed such horror. Pray for this to be an opportunity for God to manifest Himself in mighty ways.

As for you…we will pray that YOU might know His goodness.

Still grateful for this wonderful life,

Marie

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A STORY OF HOPE

This e-mail forward a friend sent me is such a beautiful story of hope, I wanted to share it with you.  Apparently it's an old classic that's been making the rounds for a long time, but it's new to me.

Enjoy!


THE FERN AND THE BAMBOO
One day I decided to quit…I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality…. I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.
“God”, I said. “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?”
His answer surprised me.
“Look around”, He said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”
“Yes”, I replied.
“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.
“In the second year the fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.
“In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. The same in year four.
“Then in the fifth year, a tiny sprout emerged from the earth.
Compared to the fern, it was seemingly small and insignificant.
But just six months later, the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall.
It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.
“Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you.
“Don’t compare yourself to others.” He said. “The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful.
“Your time will come”, God said to me. “You will rise high.”
“How high should I rise?” I asked.
“How high will the bamboo rise?” He asked in return.
“As high as it can?” I questioned.
“Yes.” He said, “Give me glory by rising as high as you can.”
I left the forest, realizing that God will never give up on me. And He will never give up on you.
Never regret a day in your life.
Good days give you happiness; bad days give you experiences; both are essential to life.
–Author Unknown






Friday, March 23, 2012

TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON

This wonderful post was written by my friend, Lara Love, over at Walk by Faith Ministry.  I hope it blesses and encourages you as much as it did me.

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Resurrection of the Trees

I couldn't believe my eyes. Nor could I believe what the Lord had placed in my heart. Probably few people have been as excited, and humbled, by little buds of leaves on a tree. But I was. After all, I had been quite certain that the once glorious trees that form a long line across my yard were plain and simply - dead.

"God, please do something with these trees," I had prayed dejectedly, and not so sincerely, just days before. What could I possibly do with a bunch of dead trees? With the South Carolina climate bringing forth months of brutal heat and a large number of dogs that love the outdoors, I couldn't imagine what my life - and yard - would be like in the upcoming months since my trees had so obviously failed to revive this year.

Where would the dogs lie down and enjoy the shade of all these previously beautiful trees? How would I enjoy my yard quite as much when I looked out at a row of dead trees? How could the trees possibly be bare of leaves at this time of year? We have had plenty of warm weather and sunshine thus far in weeks past. Quite obviously, the trees had died. What could have killed them? I wondered as I perused their "legs" (trunks) and "arms" (branches) for signs of disease - not that I know much at all about trees. I can hardly remember saying a prayer, but somewhere amid my sad spirit I surely tossed one up to heaven.

But alas, the Lord knew my trees truly didn't need my prayer at all. The Lord, after all, knows the seasons of the year. He knows all of our needs, even the trees. He knows the life span of everything. He knows the cycles of everything and everyone. He knows the time of birth, and He knows the time of re-birth. He knows all about trees, and He quite obviously knows all about me.

Surely the Lord was smiling down from heaven as He watched His daughter murmur about the state of her trees. The funny thing is, they are not my trees at all. They are His. The yard is not mine. It is His. The dogs belong to Him, and so do I. He knew what was to come, and I can only imagine He looked forward to what would happen when I discovered the resurrection of the trees.

Yes, just today I saw it all. All the buds. The buds of leaves. The buds of leaves of trees I had assumed dead. How I smile to see what the Lord has done. But truthfully, the Lord has not resurrected the trees. The trees have produced their buds of leaves right on time. His time. And not only could I not believe my eyes at the sight of the buds on the trees. But I marvel at what the Lord has placed in my heart. Yet another lesson in faith.

How often in our lives do we presume something is dead? How often do we walk away from a person, place, or thing because we have no hope? How often do we give up praying for someone we love because we believe it is too late? How often do we put the brakes on a vision the Lord has given us because we have not yet seen it come to pass? How often have we imagined a dream has died and failed to give it a chance to come into being? How often have we turned away from a relationship because we would not wait for the Lord's appointed season for it to blossom?

I could have chopped down the trees in my yard because I had declared them dead. At the very least, I had given up on them. I was already morose over the loss of them. But such a short time afterward, the Lord showed me they were not dead at all. They are as alive as they have ever been. This is the time of their season.

Sometimes we give up on people, places, and things the Lord has ordained just a short while before God's appointed time for them. Other times, we turn away because we believe we have waited far too long. Sometimes God gives us a dream or vision for something so far in the future that we give up on it because we cannot imagine waiting that long for the vision to be born.

Do you have something or someone the Lord has put put on your heart that you have quite simply determined dead? Have you given up on a dream He gave you? Or praying for a person in dire need of prayer and love? Or a vision He keeps reminded you is for an appointed time in the future - not now. Please don't give up. Please trust the Lord that He not only knows the seasons of the trees. He knows your seasons also. And He knows your future, and mine. He knows the order, and cycle, and seasons, of all that He has created.

Perhaps the dream He has given you is not dead at all. Perhaps it is simply not yet time. Only the Lord knows.

I look out the window and smile as I see the trees with which the Lord has blessed me and the dogs. Sometime soon, I know, the Walk by Faith Ministry dogs will be lying in their shade. And I will watch them, and remember, that the Lord made these trees. And He has given them another season. And He has given me another reminder that His ways and thoughts are His own - and always the very best. In His time.

Ecc 3:1 "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Ecc 3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
Ecc 3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
Ecc 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
Ecc 3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
Ecc 3:6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
Ecc 3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
Ecc 3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."

Reprinted with permission from Walk by Faith Ministry, www.walkbyfaithministry.com

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

AND THE WINNER IS...




The winner of my giveaway (picked by Random Integer Generator) is #2 -- Randi Fulton.

Congratulations, Randi!

Monday, March 12, 2012

COME TO JESUS

Just wanted to share one of my very favorites.  It so touches me every time I listen to it.  May it bless you too.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

GIVEAWAY -- THE BEAUTIFUL SIDE OF EVIL

"If anyone adds to these things, God will add
to him the plagues that are written in this book;
and if anyone takes away from the words of the
book of this prophecy, God shall take away his
part from the Book of Life, from the holy city,
and from the things which are written in this
book." - (Revelation 22:18)

I've been wanting to do a giveaway on this blog for a while, and this morning as I went through a box of stuff that had been sitting in a box on the floor of my den just waiting to be put away, I came across some extra copies of a book I had read many years ago when I was a baby Christian.

I thought back to that time and how difficult it was for me to accept that there really was only one way to be reconciled with God, and that that was through the Cross.  The cult I had just come out of quoted many Scriptures, particularly from the Gospel of John, and since I wasn't as familiar with my Bible back then as I am now, I didn't realize that some of the verses had been altered just slightly--a word here, a word there--so that John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life," for example, was quoted as "I am the way, the truth, and the light..."

The book I am giving away was what finally enabled me to let go of the one little doubt I had been struggling to relinquish.  The author, Johanna Michaelsen, had been involved in many of the same things I had been involved in on my path to the foot of the cross, and had believed the same lies.  In the beginning, neither one of us had known to heed the warning in Matthew 24:24, "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect."

The following is taken from the back cover of the book.

Are all miracles from God, or is there a beautiful side of evil?  The blind see, the deaf hear, and the lame walk.  Is God always behind such miracles, or can there be another source?

This is a true account of a young woman who, while in search of spiritual truth, became a personal assistant to a psychic surgeon in Mexico for 14 months.  Then, in answer to her prayers, God revealed the true source behind the miraculous healings she witnessed.  Lifting the veil of deception, He allowed her to see the evil behind the outward appearance of beauty and holiness.  Johanna Michaelsen reveals how this deadly deception is not isolated to her unusual experience, but rather is invading our everyday lives, even in our churches.

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment and an e-mail so I can contact you if you are the winner.  I will use Random Integer to draw a winner on Wednesday, March 21st, the 5th anniversary of my very first blog.

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE

Powerful video I took from a friend's FaceBook wall.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR -- 2012

Happy New Year, dear bloggy friends and readers!  I wish you peace, joy, good health, and many blessings.  I've also been wanting to share this devotional by Ron Hutchcraft, entitled "Going Not Knowing," and this seemed like the perfect time to do so.  
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Going Not Knowing

Mystery rides were part of growing up at our house. Usually it was a Sunday afternoon, and I'd pile our three kids, who were little then and never will be again, into our car for a ride. I think we explored every corner of our area. And as we did, we discovered over the years, a lot of great things. But I've got one son who's a lot like me. He wants to know the plan before we leave.

"Hey, Dad, where are we going? Where are we going to eat? What are we going to eat? What are we going to do while we're there? How long will we be there? What time are we going to get home?" He would pump me with questions; I felt like I was being interrogated by a police sergeant. Sometimes I knew it was better not to explain where we were going. Oh, we've done things that would have sounded boring if I had told about them, but they turned out to be exciting and I knew they would. Plus surprises are fun anyway. So, my kids got used to hearing two words when we were about to begin a mystery trip, "Trust me." I don't think I let them down. It was good training for journeys with their other Father.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Going Not Knowing."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from the life of the Apostle Paul; he's still Saul of Tarsus here. Acts 9 - he's on his way to wipe out Christians. He missed some in Jerusalem. So he said, "I'll get them in Damascus. They all went there; I'll find them in Syria." We begin in verse 3: "As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?' 'Well, who are you, Lord?' Saul asked. 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' he replied. 'Now, get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.'"

Now, it's interesting that Saul's training for his whole life in Christ began immediately with a mystery trip. Yeah, did you notice that? He has just opened up to Jesus, and the Lord says, "Go into the city and you will be told." "Lord, what do you want me to do there? Who am I going to meet there? How am I even going to be able to see; I'm blind right now?" The Lord says, "Go and you will be told." Well, he spent the rest of his life living like that.

In Acts 20 , when he was on his way to Jerusalem as the great Apostle Paul and his friends were trying to discourage him, he said, "Compelled by the Spirit, I am going not knowing." See, you have a heavenly Father who often takes His children on mystery trips. Maybe you're on one of His mystery trips right now. There's a good destination He's got in mind, but right now He's telling you just the next step. In essence, He's saying to you as He did to Saul, "Go, and you will be told as you are on the way."

It may well be that you're in the middle of one of those times right now, and the tendency is to say, "Now, Lord, if you'll just give me all the information, give me all the facts, I'll start going that direction." And the Lord says, "No, you start moving in that direction I've told you to go, and you'll get more information as you go."

Now, maybe you're waiting to have all your questions answered before you move, and right now there are more question marks than there are periods or exclamation points for sure. Can you almost hear your Father saying as He bundles you into His car, "Trust Me, let's start traveling together."

Hey, He died for you. Is He ever going to do you wrong? God's mystery trips always lead to a destination that is selected with you in mind for your good. So, why not settle back, enjoy the trip, and let Him drive. Trust your Father and don't be afraid of going not knowing.