Saturday, November 30, 2013

You Are Protected

          Thanksgiving has passed but I hope we are still in the thankful mindset all year long. There are a host of things to be thankful for. Through church and family gatherings I have heard so many of the normal things people are thankful for which include: Salvation, Bible, our country, families and the list goes on and on. There is another one that has been brought to the forefront of my mind lately.....God's protection in our lives daily.
God has told us He will protect us, but I wonder how many times do we actually acknowledge the times He protected us. Isaiah 43:2 "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." Really the whole chapter of Psalm 91 is good, but my favorite verses are 11, 14-15 "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: i will set him on high. because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him."  The event that brought this on happened on Tuesday. I was backing our van out of a parking space, as usual I looked behind me didn't see anyone directly behind me, but saw two cars on either side. I continued to keep backing up fully confident nothing was behind me, then for some reason I stopped for a second, as I went to press the gas I saw in my mirror directly behind me a car that it seemed was inches from the van. I pushed the brake as hard as I could. That overwhelming relief flooded through me, and I told the Lord thank you for His protection. Now I most likely would not have been killed by this, but the Lord saved me from a very unpleasant circumstance.
        This incident has gone through my mind many times since it happened, there was no reason for me to stop backing up, it was just the Lord's protection. I wonder how many times the Lord protects me or someone I love from danger during the day. I shudder to think of all the danger that is before us each day that the Lord so lovingly moves out of our path.
         Bad things happen to people all of the time, this does not mean the Lord slipped up or 'forgot' to protect them; but as we know sometimes He simply allows things to happen to us for our good and for His glory. If we could see just how much He protects us from compared to what He allows us to go through I believe we all would fall on our knees in thanksgiving and praise to Him.
         This post is not to scare anyone from walking out their door everyday, but simply to make you aware of how thankful we all should be for the Lord's protection in our lives. For most of us the Lord gives us such 'smooth' lives, sometimes we don't see where if ever He has protected us.

Lest you think you don't need the Lord's protection -
* Parents - As good as a parent as you think you are, you still need the Lord's protection! 
Perhaps while you weren't looking your child picked up a penny or small object and swallowed it...the Lord allowed that penny or object to slide down your child's throat perfectly, so they wouldn't choke; though there have been many cases of a child choking on something small. 

* Driver - The road is so very dangerous, there are SO many times I can remember whether I was a passenger or driving, that I know the Lord stepped in and protected me/us.
Perhaps while you weren't looking the Lord made that other careless, distracted driver look up at the right time, to swerve back into their own lane to keep you both from hitting each other head on.  Perhaps when you were driving and weren't paying attention the Lord helped guide you away from hurting yourselves or someone else.

* Person
Perhaps while you weren't looking the Lord protected your house from burning down.
Perhaps while you weren't looking the Lord protected your spouse, child, siblings, parents or friends from an illness or dangerous situation that could cost their lives.

The ones I listed are all physical situations but the Lord's protection occurs everyday in our spiritual lives too. How many times does He guide people or circumstances away from you because He knew it would destroy your spiritual life? Many times I'm sure!


I listed only a very few of the thousands of times the Lord protects us from danger. I hope you can see in your own life some of the times the Lord has protected you from harm or a difficult circumstance. Sometimes through our own carelessness, other times through someone else's carelessness. There are so many attributes of God that we can and should be thankful for, I hope this is a small reminder of how thankful we should be for the Lord's protection we can see everyday, and also the 'undercover' protection (times we will never know about) too!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

** Ladies Christmas Party - Winter Wonderland **

       This past Monday night our church had our Ladies Christmas Party! We had such a good time of fellowship and just having fun with the other ladies of the church! A time where most of the ladies for a little while get to come away from the cares of their adorable children and their husbands, and just worry about themselves and get to fellowship with like-minded Christians! 
       The original intent of this blog is to cover a host of different things: lessons I am learning, decorative ideas, and any other ideas I can think of! ;) So today I just wanted to share a few pictures of how our Christmas Party was decorated! I know a lot of times, for us it is hard to find ways to decorate, (although now we have the amazing site of Pinterest) so here are some of the ideas that our group came up with!

***First I'd like to give the credit where it's due. My Mom had the original theme, and our Youth Pastor's wife helped, along with another lady in church who came up and was a HUGE help too! We also had another lady who made a lot of the decorations, she did such a wonderful job! Then we have the 'brawn' of the group, which would be the men! Our Youth Pastor and my Dad, who actually helped with some ideas too! :) This was quite a group effort!

Christmas Party Theme: ** Winter Wonderland **

~ The place where we had the Christmas party is really a huge gym, but my Mom wanted to make more of a room, to give it a comfy feel and make it easier to decorate. SO the next couple of pictures will show you our makeshift walls! Here is the back wall of the gym that we covered with plastic table cloths and added snowflakes bought from Walmart. Straight ahead is a scene a very talented lady painted for different occasions at church which made our 2nd wall. 

Below is our back (3rd) wall, which is a wood partition with tablecloths over it, along with snowflakes. Straight ahead the Christmas trees with lights and white pillars made the border of our 4th wall.

~ The chairs were placed in a circle, and covers were made for the tops. In between the chairs were 4-leg wooden tables with covers over them for drinks and added decoration.
~ Tables for food had blue tablecloths with a sheer cover with snowflakes over the top. 
~ Rounded table for Christmas gifts had just a plain blue table cloth. Centerpieces for all 4 tables were flower type arrangements which had blue lights in the bottom of the vase, these gave a beautiful glow to the table.
~ Entrance - pillars with blue and silver garland wrapped around each one, with a string of lights stringing around each of them
~ We used lights with tulle wrapped around them to string from one side to the other, and we hung more snowflakes and icicles from the tulle too!
**To top it off we turned down the lights, and turned on some Christmas music......this made for a perfect effect for our Winter Wonderland!!! :)

Here are some more pictures to give you more of an idea of what it looked like!!! Hope these give you some ideas of the possibilities. I honestly couldn't "see" all of this before it was up; but others saw it and made it happen! :)

**These pictures were the effort of a team effort, I am not responsible for any of the gorgeousness that you see! I merely did what I was told! ;) 

Friday, November 22, 2013

** My Precious Holiday Memories **

           Oh how I love the holidays this time of year!!:) As long as I can remember Thanksgiving and Christmas in the Hall household has always been done in great style and with such excitement. No matter how much money we had, my Mom always made both of these holidays special. We used the same decorations for Christmas for many years, but each time we put them up she made it seem like it was her first time seeing them. So we just followed her in her excitement, and were ecstatic when it was time to put them up again. So now that I am grown I still get SO excited about these holidays! I'm now just as eager to get those Christmas decorations put up; and last year we finally got my Dad to put lights up on the house! Oh!! They were just gorgeous to us!!! We are working on him getting them up this year too, but he's really a softy inside so I think we will have some pretty lights up this year too! ;)  I'm going to open the door to our house a bit, and let you see what these holidays are like for us! 
        First thanksgiving. All of us girls (minus 1 :( ) and my Mom pick dishes we are going to make, and are all in the kitchen sharing ingredients and pretty much making a huge mess; guys in the family come in sniffing and complaining about WHEN the food will be ready. Once it's ready we stuff ourselves to the full then take a nap to let it digest you know ;) Then we have a game we play called "bonky ball" where we all stand around in a circle outside and hit the ball going from A to Z. My brothers are at this "macho guy" stage where they just think every time they hit the ball they have to make a sound or make it look cool; then there's my Dad who will hit the ball as hard as he can in a direction, and one of us have to run to hit it before it hits the ground and herd it back to the circle. All of this may sound corny or absolutely boring, but to me it is absolutely the most precious memories in the making. We have some of the funnest times just being together! It's a time where we get to come apart from the cares of the ministry or just the day, and be together. Then late Thursday night/early Friday morning the girls in the house go Black Friday shopping, and often we aren't out for a great deal necessarily, but it's just fun for us to all go out together. Many times we just stop to get something to eat. 
       Then Christmas!! The Christmas season starts well before December gets here. As soon as Thanksgiving is over, sometimes that very night, we get our Christmas decorations up while listening to some Christmas music. It takes us quite a while to get everything up, because one person likes one decoration in a certain place only for the next person to move it, and by the time 7 people do that it has become totally chaotic. Once our house is in the Christmas spirit, then we start making white chocolate covered pretzels and all those delicious Christmas goodies!!! It's no wonder we all think our new years resolution needs to be a diet! Us kids all swap names in a hat to buy a gift for our secret someone. Then all of us kids used to go out with my Dad to buy Moms Christmas gifts until my Mom wanted to come too. Now we have to figure out how to buy all of her Christmas gifts with her there. We all hated leaving Mom behind though, so we have become creative with sneaking things by her! While we are out, we all have to pair up to buy our secret someone a gift too.  Then we finish off with going to Steak n' Shake to get a meal and some holiday milkshakes. (but just butterfinger for me thank you!) We go Christmas caroling with our church, then on Christmas Eve we go riding around looking at lights and singing Christmas carols.
      I'm sure I have left a few things out in our holiday 'traditions', but the general idea of these holidays is family. Of course all of our hearts aren't completely together, because part of our heart belongs to 5 people in Chile! :( We have learned the Lord's will is not our own, and to trust Him even when we miss those we love! 
      I hope each one of you have holiday traditions with your families. I encourage you to put down all the electronics and tell friends no you can't spend a lot of time with them, these seasons are times to cherish your families! Make memories!! I am so very thankful my parents for as long as I can remember put aside most things when it came to these holidays. They paved the way for all of the memories I have today, and continue to have. You don't have to be rich or spend a bunch of money to make these holidays special. Most of the things we do cost nothing but some gas or the price of our ball  ($3.97 at Walmart). All they really cost is the time of each one of us. My Dad instilled in us the importance of family from the time we were all very small, when you feel no one else is on your side family is the one thing apart from God that will always stand beside you! Your family are your best friends, (sometimes) enemies, play mates, audience, partners in crime, will work beside you, will soul win beside you, the people you can always be yourself around, always count on, and will love you always and forever. I thank the Lord every night for allowing me to be born in this family, I personally think I have the best family! (I hope all of you feel that way about yours too!) Parents who realized very early that their children were their greatest responsibility! God has been so good to me, I hope you can look around at your precious family and say the same thing!!
     Maybe you don't have any holiday traditions, it's not to late to start them! Pick some traditions to start and get them going! Maybe you have some great holiday traditions already, if you do and don't mind sharing them I would LOVE to hear about them! I just love all ideas Thanksgivingy or Christmasy! Just comment below! :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What Do You Say?

       For the past couple of weeks the Lord has been convicting me about how many times I say things that don't need to be said, and then don't say what needs to be said. A couple of months ago the Lord impressed this on me also, and I studied the Bible writing down all the verses that had anything to do with the tongue. I also highlighted them in my Bible for easy reference, and memorized a lot of them too. But sadly as time went by it was so easy to let the bad and unpleasant habit sneak back into my life without realizing it. Until during my devotions confessing my sins, it was like the Lord played a recorder back about the things I said that had hurt people, and times I missed the opportunity to encourage someone. As the song says this Christian life is truly a battlefield that we must fight each day. Enemies so easily and quickly show up and sometimes we recognize them, other times not until it has consumed us. Sure hope I'm not alone!  I have a horrible habit to come back with a stinging remark faster than I can think about it before I say it, this makes trying to control my words 10x's more difficult. So I am back once again in the Bible studying it to re-learn how to use my tongue/words right. I will share some of the things I have learned, for those who may also have problems controlling their tongue.

Proverbs 18:21 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." The Lord is telling us there are 2 completely different outcomes that can come just by the use of our words. Whichever one you love, will determine what you produce in your life. We have the power to uplift someone or to completely destroy them with what we allow to come out of our lips.

      When negative things come out of our mouth or others mouths it is a good indication of what the heart is like. Proverbs 17:20 "He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief." So we must take special precaution to check the temperature of our hearts constantly because without realizing it the devil will plant seeds of bitterness, jealousy, discouragement and other sins that will begin to grow and make our heart sick. Before long that will come out in our words to others. The devil is so smart and knows in what area we are the weakest. 1 Peter "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." If you find yourself in this predicament you must go to God and confess sin your life.
       Stay away from those with negative attitudes. There's nothing wrong with speaking to them occasionally, but if you spend time with negative people you will become like them. 1 Corinthians 15:33 "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners." Do not be fooled into thinking that you can handle someone who is negative or has a bad spirit, the Lord tells you you cannot! Before long you will be just like them!
       Realize your flesh enjoys saying negative things. Psalm 52: 2,4 "Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue." I hate to hurt someone and will go through great lengths to avoid disappointing or hurting someone, but in a split second I will say an unkind word. Why? Because our tongues LOVE saying words that devour someone. We must be oh so careful! Do not be the reason someone goes home and cries, or leaves your presence feeling worse than when they came! This definitely should not be said of a child of God, the one who was showed the greatest love that anyone could ever show to you!

* LIFE *
    This is the most rewarding one, you can make someones day simply by saying the right thing. Proverbs 31:26 "She openeth her mouth with wisdom and in her tongue is the law of kindness." Do you open your mouth with wisdom and kindness? Or does it depend on what mood you are in?
    We keep ourselves out of trouble by controlling our tongues. Proverbs 21:23  "Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles." We could all use help staying out of trouble!
     Spreading the gospel with your tongue is the best thing you can do. How often do we use our tongue to tell others of Jesus? Proverbs 15:4 "A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit." You can be a tree of life to others, spreading encouraging words everywhere you go! Do others know by your words that you are encouraging, so when they have no one else to talk to they know they can call you because you will encourage them in the Lord? You can remind others just how good God is! We certainly could talk all day about how good God is to us!
     Proverbs 12:18 "There is he that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health." We have the power to pierce someone with our words, or to promote the health of someones soul. This is obvious but the more we use our tongue to say something kind to someone the less time we have to hurt them with our words. You have the power to say just the right thing to brighten someones day! Proverbs 25:11 "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."

James 3:8 "But the tongue a can NO MAN tame; it is an unruly evil full of deadly poison."
The key to controlling our words is to realize who is controlling US! Is it your flesh or is it the Holy Spirit? Without the influence of the Holy Spirit, we will go by our nature which will produce nothing but sadness in us and those around us! We on our own cannot control our words, ONLY through the Holy Spirit will we accomplish this! There is quite a bit of scripture in this post, but the best place you can ever go when you are struggling with something is to go to God's Word and find what He says about it. I have really only given a very small amount of the verses that are in the Bible concerning the tongue. The Lord has SO much to say on the tongue, it would be wise to study and apply them in our lives. This is a daily battle with me, it is so easy to say what we feel; but we must retrain our tongue to say the things that will encourage others.Through the Holy Spirit we can hold our own in this tough battle! :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Family By Design

         Each family is perfect the way God designs them whether you are oldest, middle, youngest or just in between. He places each child in a specific order for a reason He alone knows, but sometimes allows us to have some insight on why. For those of my readers who don't know me personally, I am the 2nd oldest in a family of 7 children. I love my family, it is quite large compared to the normal family, but I wouldn't change it for anything. We are all very close and have a great time together, besides the spats here and there!;)
        Through all of my growing up years me and my older sister were best friends, doing everything together. During different pastorates my Dad had we were the only friends that each other had, so we grew closer due to that also. She tends to be the outgoing one, whereas I'm more shy and kind of to myself. I always tagged along behind her learning so many things to do, and also NOT to do. ;) Unknowingly I depended on her to do so much, and just tagged along behind. When my sister got married in 2009 it was like a rug was pulled out from underneath me. I had lost my sister, best friend, roommate and in a way my confidence too; I became so lonely. As I look at it today it was almost like the Lord said, I can't use you if you're always tagging along behind someone; your eyes must be on Me alone. He also had much greater plans for my sister than always leading me about! Just because I am shy and quiet by nature doesn't mean that's how the Lord wants me to be. I can't show or tell others about the Lord if I'm quiet and don't say a word. It took me quite a while to establish a new normal after a big hole was made in my life. Through talking with my Mom and dealing with loneliness she told me, "Jessica when you feel lonely or are discouraged find a place to serve the Lord, and just keep serving until the Lord moves you or shows you something else. When you are focused on someone else through serving the Lord, you will tend to not notice the loneliness so much." Matthew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you." So that's what I did, I started serving in as many places in the church as I could. Slowly I began to establish a new confidence I had never had on my own before. Those who know me know that I am still shy but slowly the more I serve others, big and little, slowly the Lord is helping me come out of that shell.
        I wish I could say that I am no longer lonely but this is just the opposite, sometimes the ache of desiring someone to be serving along side of is so overwhelming, but the Lord is good and reminds me to not get my eyes off of Him. Seek HIM first, not what I want. Serving the Lord consists of sacrificing what I want for what He wants!
       I Cor 7:43b "The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit:" This is the verse I quote to myself over and over. I remind myself this is my job at this time of my life, until the Lord shows me differently. I have made it my choice to be so busy serving, I have no time for much else. Usually from the moment I step on the church property Sundays & Wednesdays I go from one area of service directly to the next. I have received comments because I don't socialize a whole lot during church, because I'm always going. I have made this my choice so I don't get my eyes off of the focus, there are many temporal things I can look at that will distract me from the Lord, and make me unusable to Him. I know the Lord specifically placed Ashley in my life as my older sister, so I could be a follower and learn things from her; and then for her to to get married and move out of the country (as a missionary) because He knew that was the only way I would become usable for Him. He allowed me to go through a process of stripping me of my confidence in her, to my confidence in the Lord alone. I thank the Lord so much for giving me a sister to learn from, then also for those tough lessons He puts us through to mold us and make us into what He needs us to be.
      Whether you are married, unmarried, in the ministry or not, have children or don't I think all of us struggle with loneliness from time to time. The Lord allows loneliness and other discouragement to come in our lives to always teach us something. It could simply be He wants us to spend more time with Him, or to find somewhere or someone to serve. I think all of us must realize when we start becoming focused inward through dwelling on being lonely, offended, or just discouraged our eyes are becoming clouded by things of the flesh. It is not about how we feel or what will make US happy, it is about how we can please the Lord and what will make HIM happy.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Ministry Battle

               Over the past few years the Lord has given me the great privilege to work with children in the ministry. I personally have taught a 3-6 yr old class for Sunday School for over 5 years, taught Pee Wee Class Wednesday night for about 2 yrs, moved to teens on Wednesday, and more recently have included the bus ministry on Sunday mornings! I LOVE each area I serve in, and thank God for the privilege often! However, let me tell you the bus ministry is a whole lot different than any area I have served before! The Lord has definitely taken me out of my comfort zone with this one, which I am truly thankful for. Everyone can be involved in most ministries if they have a willing heart, I'm not saying every ministry at once, but there should be a willingness to be used in ANY area! I assure you, our church like many, has areas where we could add a few extra volunteers to lighten the load on the rest. 
            The first week I rode the bus, it didn't turn out well, the kids left frustrated I left frustrated and I felt like a failure that entire week! I was so heartbroken when I went to bed that night, and prayed, "Lord I know I failed you today, I'm sorry. I am so out of my realm here, please teach me how to serve in this ministry." That week I kept praying, studying, and reading anything I could to help me. Children are SO important to the Lord, and I so want to please Him. Matthew 18:5-6 "And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." So I kept asking the Lord how to accomplish this task He had placed before me to His glory. I know the Lord was not exactly glorified the week we both left frustrated. 1 Cor 10:31b "...or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 
            These are some of the things the Lord impressed or showed me during my studying. Most of these thing can apply to any ministry we serve in. 
    * Prayer. I believe the battle is either won or lost in the week leading up to the time of your ministry. The ministry whether nursery, choir, teaching, playing an instrument, bus ministry or whatever area you serve in does not began the hour it starts. The greatest tool at our disposal is prayer! How dare we stand up to teach, sing, work with children or anything else without the power of God on our lives. James 5:16 "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." I wonder how many outcomes would be different, had everyone involved prayed for the ministry they would serve in! 
   * Prepare. Whatever your job is in the ministry whether helper, or leading prepare for what you're doing. This goes without saying in a musical ministry, but this should also be wherever we serve. As for me in the bus ministry, my preparation starts Monday (or in this case Tuesday, since I was at Fun Spot with teens Monday ;) ) where I decide what my promotion, songs and everything else that goes along with it will happen next Sunday. If you fail to prepare, you have prepared to fail! 
   * Be excited and energetic. If you are not excited about your ministry, what makes you think those you serve will be excited? Children are drawn in by someone who is energetic and excited! If you are in a children's ministry I can't express this enough!
   * Behavior. At times if you are prayed up and have prepared well, this will curb a lot of the misbehavior issues; but at times there will still be those who will test you. You can always take the easy route and not let them come back, that just breaks my heart. I am reminded how much grace and mercy the Lord has with me everyday of my life. This is the only hope some of these kids will ever have, don't be so quick to give up on them and condemn them to an eternity in hell. What if it takes that child 3 years of riding on your bus route, or coming to your class to realize how much he needs the Lord? Yet he/she is kicked out on the second time they misbehave and they never get to see how much the Lord loves them and wants to save them, because you were not willing to deal with them. If you will talk to them you will see a very clear and unpleasant picture of where some of these children come from. Broken homes where screaming, yelling and violence is common, and where curse words and police visits is a daily occurrence. A young boy on my route has to alternate nights with siblings to watch his 1 month old sister, so the Mom can go out. Just breaks my heart! Then for a few hours a week, they get to take a break from their lives and come to church where God's love should be evident, and where workers are excited to see them and love them! PLEASE love them. Love those you serve, whether big or little. Sometimes you have to figure out how they need your love! Some need tough love, others gentle love; still others may need a little of both. You must learn those you serve, and what they need. You can't do that if you only speak to them when you correct them! 
**I do realize that sometimes there will be a child beyond your control, but before you decide they are beyond help please try EVERY option available; pray and ask God to show you a "new" way to love them. It should break your heart to lose any child, this should only happen very few and far between! 


***If you are in a ministry, you cannot glorify God if you have not prayed or prepared yourself for those He has called you to serve! 
So in conclusion, the next week I rode on the bus I met with those who are on the bus with me, and kind of gave them my ideas and asked for theirs. We came up with a definite plan of action, I prayed and prepared best I knew was a completely different bus route! One of the little girls on the route said, "Wow, this is the best Sunday ever!" I'm sure it was not, but I believe the Lord allowed her to say that to give me a little pat on the back that I'm on the right track! ;)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Giving It All

             This week God very vividly taught me a principle that I have heard over and over, but it never came alive like it did today! In my posts I use a lot of real life/personal experiences in them. For one reason I never want anyone to think I am better than others and am giving these posts because I am judging others lives, or have this wealth of knowledge but that maybe some of the things the Lord teaches/is teaching me daily can help someone else! Anyways back to the reason for this post!
             I was having a conversation with my Mom today, who also happens to be my best friend ;) I was telling her how I wouldn't make enough money this month working, because I lost some of my work through different situations, to make my Faith Promise Missions commitment. Without a beat my Mom came back and said, "What about your savings?" My immediate thought was no, I can't use that. The savings is NOT for that, it is for my future. Before everyone thinks I'm a secret millionaire, this was a little bit I had saved little by little working, definitely not much by most peoples standards. It was however enough to pay my missions. It was almost like the Lord asked me, "Oh is that your back up plan, in case the trust you have in me doesn't work out?" Ouch! I had never thought this out this much before, but as I thought about it today I was using it as a safeguard.
             If I was asked would I give the Lord my all, my answer would've been a resounding yes!! But I realized through my actions I was not willing to give this up. (I know how horrible!) Sadly, as I type this now I am ashamed. Was my thought if God brings my husband into my life, surely the God of the universe can't provide the funds also?! I don't believe I actually "thought" this, but my actions were clearly shouting this! Here in the beginning of the year I promised God I would give a certain amount in missions each month, but that didn't include that tiny savings account? Can't I have anything, even something so tiny? Absolutely not!! God wants EVERYTHING, it doesn't matter how big or small it is to me!!! If I am not willing to give that, why would God ever give me anything else?
              I think this lesson was not only about my savings account, but also my decision to wait on God's will for my life. I have already decided I will trust the Lord in His perfect will for my life. Realizing that I may not marry until 25, 30, or later; I will not settle for just anyone. The world (or other well meaning Christians) will not tell me what "the age" is for marriage.
              However, it seems like I forgot to tell my savings account that too ;) I think because this is a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily battle; there are times when the emotions take over and it's hard to simply trust God's will. So in having the savings account it was my back up plan, and still not giving ALL of my life to God's will. As in salvation, it is a covenant between me and God. I accept Jesus into my heart, and God said He will do the rest. It is not a feeling, but simply a trust that God will do what He said.So also in my life, submitting it to Him and trusting Him to do the rest.
              Trust is not having a back up plan, but simply giving my ALL to the Lord to do with as He sees best. I believe sometimes God doesn't exactly need everything, but He simply wants to know we are willing to give Him all! Watch out for the little corners in your heart, there may be a bit of you that has not been given to the Lord. Take inventory often, and make sure every part of you is given to the Lord. The Lord knows and sees your heart. Hebrews 4:12c (...and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."


**Maybe you don't think you have this problem! I hope not, I hope you can honestly say you have given everything you have to the Lord. Ask the Lord to search your heart and confirm this! If you would have asked me yesterday, I too would have said yes God has my everything!
1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

You're Absolutely Precious!

           Do you ever have those days you feel so worthless, no one likes you, it wouldn't affect a soul if you left; pretty much so low that if you sat on a curb you still could not reach the bottom? I have had a day like that recently! I think we all have days like this, but they shouldn't turn into weeks or months for sure!
           Recently I became aware of a special lady who felt so worthless and inferior, that during service she would just keep her head down. Those close to her would try to encourage her to sit up, but she simply felt so low she couldn't! This just breaks my heart, NO child of God should ever feel like that for a long period of time! So today I just want to remind each one of you just how precious you are to God!
Psalm 139:17-18 "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee." God thinks about us with precious thoughts that are more than the number of sand on the earth! If you think about how much sand is in a little sand box, you definitely can't count that, but He thinks about us with precious thoughts that are as much as all the sand combined! precious - of great value, greatly cherished, costly, dear, expensive, high, valuable Each one of these describes what YOU are to God!
           The first way to feel precious to God is through accepting Jesus into your heart as your Savior! If you are not sure about that, or have a question please contact me! Then, once you are saved you must recognize all that was encompassed in this! God gave up His most prized possession Jesus, to buy YOU back because you are so precious! If there was no one else on earth, or you were the only one who needed it, Jesus still would have died for YOU and only YOU!
           Today do you need to feel loved? I've had days like that! Tell the Lord, ask Him to show you He really loves you! I promise if you look close enough He will! He wants to show you how much He loves YOU! If you look outside around you and listen, you will hear the Lord tell you just how precious you are! You must learn to love yourself! You cannot obey Mark 12:31 "And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." How will you know how to love your neighbor if you don't first love yourself?
           The world tries to tell you you are weird, odd, out of style or just not worth anything if you don't follow the latest exercise plan, fashion trend, body size, or look like a certain model. This is ABSOLUTELY not true!  Psalm 139:14-15 "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth." The Lord is telling you right here you were made fearfully, wonderfully and marvelous! So from the start you were already made spectacular!!! No one has the right to tell you what your worth is! Your worth is not found in the opinions of others; but in the opinion of the One Who created you!
           A lot of times insecurities come from an unpleasant past. Young children are very impressionable, and if they are constantly told how bad they are, they will start believing it! Also insecurities come from sins committed in the past, that you just can't let go!  Psalm 103:12 "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." Once you have confessed your sins, they have been completely erased. When you keep bringing them up the Lord doesn't even know what you are talking about! You must forget your past and move on!
Little by little you can change your perspective by:
*Accepting you are loved!
    You are loved by God! John 3:16, 1 John 3:1
*Making a list of your strengths and weaknesses.
     Make a list of you strengths and weaknesses, and then set some goals to change the negative things that   you can change. Everyone has strengths, use those strengths for good, or something that will glorify God.
*Smiling and help others.
    Put a smile on that face, and start looking outward. Nothing helps you feel better or give you more worth, than helping others. There is ALWAYS someone you can be a blessing to.
*DON'T hang around negative people.
   You can tell by their actions and speech, which people are negative. Stay away from those type of people, they will never encourage you, but will only make you worse. Find joyful people, and spend time with them; it will rub off on you! :) Yesterday I was just having a rough day, but spending time with some special teen girls and our Youth Pastor's Wife helped me so much! I came with a cloud over me, and left with a smile on my face and laughter in my heart!
*Confess sin and turn from it.
    When you confess your sin to the Lord, don't let it consume you're mind. Forget it, as the Lord did. Don't keep committing the same sin, you have just confessed. Forget the sin, remember the lesson!
*Be YOU! 
  No one could be you, like YOU! Don't try to be your friend, or someone you think it "popular". Be who God made you to be. He doesn't need replicas of the same person, He needs you for a special purpose! Don't make yourself useless to God, by trying to be like somebody else.

                     No one can make you feel inferior without your consent

There is so much more I could say about this subject, I believe there are so many more woman/ladies/young girls who feel this same way. Like they are a nobody, and just want to walk around with their heads down, like the lady I mentioned. If I could talk to each one of you personally I would tell you: (insert name) YOU are smart, YOU are talented, YOU are gorgeous, YOU are absolutely perfect the way God made YOU, God created YOU with the perfect face and body. YOU are a child of the King, royalty. YOU are so expensive, and valuable it cost God His most prized possession to buy YOU back. Don't EVER let someone tell YOU, or let yourself believe YOU are ANYTHING less than a precious, prized and cherished possession! We have a kingdom in heaven, royalty prepares for their kingdom from the time of their birth. Walk like you are a child of the King!:)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

God IS Good!!

           Today's post isn't going to WOW anybody, but is simply going to praise My Savior Who deserves the utmost praise! I was reminded by a song that was sung in our church Sunday Night, titled "God Is Good"! I encourage you to listen to it sometime! It was sure a great encouragement to me!
            God IS good! This is a fact. He doesn't NEED us to acknowledge it to be good, He just is. It reminds me of my 3-6 yr old class, there are times when I will tell a child how good they are being, to give them praise, but also as an incentive to continue to be good. This is unlike God, He doesn't need us to acknowledge that fact, for Him to CONTINUE to be good. He just is! I am so thankful of that. There are times when I "forget/neglect" to tell God how good He is, or to thank Him. How grateful I am, that He doesn't just shut off His goodness to me because I don't tell Him. I do believe that God gives us maybe a little extra blessing, if we thank and acknowledge that He is good; but He still continues to be good regardless.
      Psalm 145:9 "The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works."
            Now, I just want to tell  how good my God is! On April 13th, 2001 He reached down and made me aware of the fact, that if I died I would go to hell; and I bowed my head along with my sister (and best friend) and asked Jesus into my heart! That was the happiest day of my life!
            The Lord also allowed me to be born and raised in a Christian home, with parents who love God and have made it evident through their love and devotion to the Lord. Refusing to allow me to do what was popular, but rather what was safe and right before the Lord; they have saved me from many a heartache. I often wonder in my quiet time, why God allowed ME the privilege to be raised in this kind of home, instead of some of the homes of the kids on my bus? I am certainly not better than any of them, but simply because God IS good!
             I get to be apart of THE greatest church (in my opinion!) and I am allowed to serve Him through so many capacities. I get to serve along some great people; but also serve some awesome people too! The ministry is truly one of the hardest and can be physically and emotionally exhausting; but to me it is the greatest occupation on earth. It will truly be the one that matters in eternity. Sometimes when you walk away from a ministry you serve in and have this overwhelming feeling that you failed, but because God IS good He comforts us and reminds us that He is there to help us!
              There are so many more areas that God is abundantly good to me in, that if I listed them this post would never end! Every day I wake up God IS good, as I go throughout the day God is still good, and when I lay down at night He remains good! Anything that is good in my life, is simply because God IS good.  I think if we could see all the many dangers and circumstances the Lord keeps us out of, we would be willing to tell the Lord more how good He is; but we get use to this "safe" life and take for granted that it is His duty for us to have an easy life. If His goodness depended on our acknowledgment of it, as with those little kids in my class, I'm afraid with everyone His goodness would cease and we would all be destroyed by this life. I hope everyone frequently tells the Lord how good He is! If you have nothing else to praise the Lord about (although everyone is blessed beyond measure) then just be thankful that God IS good!!!