Thursday, November 13, 2014

   Hello everyone!! I have been MIA for the past 4 months, but 3 out of the 4 have been the best of my life. July was super busy with Teen Camp and VBS, in August we went on vacation and since then it has been the best, but also the most stressed time of my life.....and I wouldn't change a thing (well maybe a few things ;) )! God really is teaching me things I already thought I had settled, and it seems to be a never ending time of relearning the meaning of trusting Him and HIS plan completely.
  Glad to hear my little blog has helped and been an encouragement to some of you, God truly gets all the praise for anything good that comes out of anything from me. Stay tuned and the plan is to be back next week with my blogs and share what the Lord has done in the past few months, and also some more fun decorating ideas too in the future!! :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dying to Self

These are the two quotes I have written on my dollar tree makeshift dry erase board, in my room. Why? Because in real life I tend to be a very selfish person!
   Within the past month I was really convicted by a person I had recently come in contact with....I could just feel her love toward God and how much of a close relationship she has with God. Through witnessing her testimony I realized that is what I'm missing.....I want to be oh so much closer to God! So I decided to up my Bible reading, and book-ended my day with Bible reading, but still felt I could do more. So I picked up a book that has been in our house it seems forever, that honestly I had never read because it seemed like a boring book. Boy, was I wrong!! Since I began reading this book I have not ceased to be convicted about so many areas I need to fix. I have yet to finish the book, because I am still working on the first few chapters and don't want to move on lest I forget all the areas I need to strengthen and fix! Some of the ideas in this post are driven from this book, but most are just things the Lord has shown me through my time with Him.
    My biggest problem I am working on is 'dying to self'. Dying to self encompasses so much in the Christian life. To be close to God at all, I must learn to die to self. Luke 9:23 "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." The cross was an instrument of suffering, to die to self or deny yourself what the flesh wants to do is a type of suffering. The suffering is so worth it in comparison with the fellowship and closer relationship we began to develop with our Savior!! Dying to self to many may seem like a small task, but if you have tried it at all you will know differently. Our emotions are not supposed to, but tend to rule any task we do, to deny them in EVERY situation is a tough thing to accomplish. How many times are we supposed to do something that we choose not to, because we don't feel like it? Things we should be doing for the Lord. How many times do we complain about what a certain person said to us? Or didn't do to us? Or we can't believe why we were treated this way? Or many times when someone says something that hurts you, and we respond in anger to the hurt we feel? Those (me included) who choose to complain this way have not yet learned to die to self. The flesh makes us feel every time we are wronged, we must say or do something to "defend" or "justify" ourselves. This is definitely not what the Bible teaches. 1 Cor 6:7-8 "Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren." Now I realize this is referring to taking your brother to court and such, but it's the same principle. The need to justify ourselves when we feel we have been wronged is definitely not dying to self. Jesus is our best example, and here is what the Bible says about Him. 1Peter 2:23-24 "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously; Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the trees, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." Many times when we desire to justify ourselves to those who have wronged us, the moment we go about 'justifying' ourselves we become no better than those who have wronged us. The test of dying to self is when we are wronged or inconvenienced by someone and we can quietly shrug it off as though it's nothing, that is when we are learning to die to self. 
   It seems because I have been praying for the Lord to strengthen me in this area I have had all of these scenarios in about a week. I wish I could say I passed each test, but unfortunately I still have quite a bit of work to do! I have found though that if I place my emphasis on something else, it makes it easier to die to self. As I mentioned in the beginning of the post my biggest obstacle to dying to self is being selfish! Being selfish is defined as "lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure." This is obviously the exact opposite of dying to self. So to help put this into practice in real life, each day I am doing a job or jobs for someone else. All the things I have done so far are things I typically HATE doing myself, so doing them for others when it is not my job takes ALOT of dying to self. Many times I talk to myself, or sing myself through the jobs. Why do I do these? Because it is I who need to learn to not be selfish and to die each day to the things I want or do not want to do! So this is why both of those quotes are up in my room so I can see them each time I come in my room. I try to do all of these jobs as aggressively and positively as I can possibly do them! To be good at anything I must practice, and I have found that this has worked for me. As soon as I look at something and think 'that's not my job' it's like the Holy Spirit says 'it is now, die to that selfish desire!' I really am so thankful the Lord helps me through my learning of this dying to self daily. Some days it seems like I will never get this down, my flesh always wants to dictate what I do....and sometimes it does win. 
   In the end the responsibility of dying to self will not seem like a cross but rather a privilege to reflect the resurrected life. As Jesus had to die physically for me, so must I each day die physically to the flesh that I also may live the resurrected life. When a seed is planted in the ground, it does not cry or whine because the seed has to die to bring forth the life of whatever plant or vegetable it may be. The seed simply yields to the God Who created it, and dies to bring forth life. So also we rejoice when we see the beautiful bloom it produces. Dying to self is not in vain, it brings about a beautiful resurrected life that until our life is yielded, we can only imagine!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Single & Selective

      Hello everyone! I have been MIA for quite a while. My laptop broke recently, and so I can only use a computer/laptop when it's available. I have also been busy with chaperoning a teen camp last week, which was so fun!! Anyways so hopefully I'm back and a little more regular with my posts! :)
     This post is going to be mainly for my single friends once again. I don't know about any of you, but most of my advice from others comes from those who are already married. I so cherish and soak in the advice I get, but the advice that helps me the most is from people who are single. There's nothing like talking to someone who is going through the same thing, and knows what we experience from day to day, as it is with any situation in life! I'm going to ask a couple of questions, think seriously about them and answer them. How will you know when you find that significant other? Will it be a look, feeling or some other idea? Who or what helps you determine this is the person? Are there certain characteristics you are looking for? These are all really important questions that will help you determine what your future will be!
      I personally believe (in the realm of God's will for me to marry) that there is only one guy out there for me! Not a choice of which one I like best, but a guy God made specifically for me, and made me specifically for him! It is not a choice to be taken lightly, but is a choice that will determine my future. This is not as simple as choosing which outfit to wear today, but what man can I love and be a helpmeet to, for the rest of my life. Once the decision is made in front of God, it can never be changed before God. So what helps govern whom we choose? As I believe in everything God has a way this should be done decently and in order. As so many have done before me, I encourage you to sit down and make a list of rules, guidelines, requirements or whatever you want to call them, for your future spouse. Pray about this list and ask God if there should be any additions to this list. Then follow these!!! This list is not preferences, but rules for you to follow throughout the relationship from the beginning to the end, and also requirements for the significant other you are looking for - these are things he/she must have. These things will define his/her character. I'm going to open my mind and kind of share a few of mine and my thoughts about them! These may seem very small, but each of us is accountable for who we choose to marry, and these three are very important to me! :)

1. Spiritual Maturity
    I must see God throughout his life. Not just a guy who talks about God, but a guy who is focused on pleasing God will have the hand of God evident throughout his life. I won't have to wonder if he loves God, it will be evident. I'm not talking about him being a spiritual giant, but simply loves the Lord and is concerned about displeasing Him. I would expect him to be looking for the same thing in me! I'm sure most have heard this quote that I'm about to type, but this is truly one of my "requirements" for the guy. "A womans heart should be so focused on God, that a man would have to seek Him in order to find her." I truly believe that if I'm focused on God, He will bring this man along in His time!

2. No Initiating
    This one is obviously a rule for myself, and this is actually one that has caught me recently. Initiate means "to cause to begin." I get so tired of seeing girls chasing guys, it should be the other way around. If the guy is interested in you, he will seek you out, instead of making you chase him. Within the past month or so I thought about a certain guy, and asked in my heart, "Lord is it him?" To which in His still small voice He answered, "Did he initiate it?" There was my answer. No it was not His will, at least for now! IT IS NOT THE LADIES JOB TO BEGIN A RELATIONSHIP!  If the guy is crazy about you and is who God has for you, then he will make the first move....if he doesn't let him go, he's not worth it! He is not God's will for you. Anytime a woman initiates things it ends bad. Eve initiated the eating of the fruit, and caused Adam to sin....this ended badly. She initiated. He responded. Sin, sorrow and death were the result. God gave the man the responsibility to do the finding as seen in Proverbs.
Proverbs 18:22 
"Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord."

3. Roaming Eyes
    Hopefully if the first two are met, then this won't be a problem. Still it bugs me enough that I have made it a requirement. Girls, you should not feel flattered if another guy is with another lady and is 'checking you out'. You should feel outraged for the other girl!! If you steal a guy like this, he will do the exact same thing when he is with you. He has a serious problem that getting married to him certainly won't fix. This can go for guys or girls, but from my experience it seems to be more of a guy issue than a girl.



**These are only a few of my guidelines I use in "selecting" my future spouse. Yes we are "selecting" our future spouses. Selecting is defined as to carefully choose as being the best or most suitable. Don't ever give into the worlds philosophy that you must be desperate if you reach a certain age and are not serious with someone. This is just one of the Devils lies he will feed you, if you will believe him, in hopes we will grab the next guy or girl we see and quite possibly destroy a beautiful future the Lord has planned for us!! Many before us have and are destroying their lives on the altar of having someone.
**Girls especially, guard your heart. Never allow your heart to have any part of the decision making until you have checked the guy over with your guidelines. As the Bible says, if your heart gets the chance it will deceive you. Proverbs 28:26 "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered." Given the chance your heart will tell you how unimportant all these guidelines and requirements are!
**I don't know about you, but I am choosing to one day walk down the aisle with the man of my dreams.....because he will be exactly the guy God created especially for me.

***Maybe some of you married or single have certain things you were looking for, or rules for yourself throughout your relationship. I would love to hear some of them. Comment below, if you want to share and they are personal I will not publish them, but I always enjoy hearing others who are just as choosy about who their spouse is! :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ladies Banquet - Jewels Of Grace

   Last Saturday our church just had our Ladies Banquet. Commonly referred to as Mother/Daughter Banquet, but we want all ladies to participate regardless, so we call it the Ladies Banquet! It is always so much fun!!! I love all the preparation that goes into it, the decorating...and the actual event!! Each year we search and search for a title, and then decorations to match...this always takes quite a bit of effort. We look at the ever popular Pinterest, as well as any other place we can think of! SO I like to post some of these ideas in hopes that maybe they can help someone else with their special events too! "There is no new thing under the sun" as Ecclesiastes says, so you may have seen these elsewhere too! :)

~ We have a big gym where we do our big events, so we usually use a big wooden partition that folds like an accordion to help give us a backdrop! 

~ Not sure if you can see or not, but we use different color plastic table cloth to put on our lattice (wooden partition) We put 

~ For our tables, different ladies in the church decorated their own table. They were given the 'jewel' and then they just decorated the tables off of them. Some were: emerald, diamond, pearl, opal, amethyst, gold, etc...I will forget each one! SO here are their different ideas of decorating their tables. This is fun to see what each ladies idea is!!

~ I think I got all the tables. The last photo is mine! SO thankful for those who offered their opinions for my table, I drew a complete blank when it came time to do mine! My jewel was pearls, and I LOVE lace and pearls together so knew I wanted to do that...but didn't know much else! All the tables were beautiful, and we had so much fun!! 

~ This next one is of my nephew David. The guys do all the serving for the Ladies Banquet, including cooking most of the food themselves. SO David wanted to help serve so bad, so he matched them, it was so cute seeing him and another little boy serving too! They just melt your heart!! 

Here are all the girls in my family, except one of my sisters! I absolutely LOVE spending time with my family, honestly there is no place I would rather be than with my family! Hope you can say the same!! :)

Psalm 73:1 "Truly God is good to (Israel), even to such as are of a clean heart!"
God is so good to each of us!! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Salvation For Gods Will ~ Part 2

   In the Christian circles Hudson Taylor is a well known man, he is the founder of the China Inland Mission, and a man who was sold out to and for God's will. Reading in a book recently I was amazed, but also a little encouraged after reading about his life. It's encouraging to know that a great man of the faith struggled with some of the same issues I struggle with from time to time - God's will.

Hudson Taylor, son of a chemist who was also a Methodist preacher in a mining 
town, fell in love with a young music teacher while still in his teens. He wrote to
his sister, "I know I love her. To go to China without her would make the world
a blank." She thought his desire to go to China absurd, and did not plan to go. 
In process of time, it was understood they would be married. Each planning 
to change the others mind. Neither won. Her refusal made Hudson heartbroken, 
but he was comforted in the love of God. He could not get over her, and in 1853
 he asked again for her hand in marriage, which she accepted in spite of her 
unsuitability for Gods plan. Her father later settled the matter, refusing for her
to go to China. 
Hudson left for China on September 19, 1853. He was not long in Shanghai before 
he became lonely, miserable and homesick. He longed for a wife. He wrote to his 
sister to relay any news of Miss Vaughan, no news was ever fruitful for his predicament. 
In his loneliness, his thoughts turned to another woman he knew in, Elizabeth 
Sisson. Through process of time, this venture proved to be heartbreaking as well. Her 
father likewise would only permit the marriage if he came back to England. Hudson 
contemplated returning to England, but this put a "blight" on his prayer life. (Thankfully
he did not!) 
A missionary lady in whom Hudson had confided mentioned Maria Dyer, who was 
working at a mission school. He remembered her as "a good looking girl, despite
the slightest cast in her eye". She had a reputation of being devoted to her calling,
and had turned down 2 other suitors. During the next few months he began having
strange feelings for Maria, unlike he'd had for Miss Vaughn or Elizabeth. After many
months and events along the way, Hudson Taylor and Maria Dyer were married on
January 20, 1858.

    If you read this story in depth it is pretty amazing. His own loneliness and desire could have very well caused him to leave China and destroy the entire work.Many souls would/could have been lost, through his choice to follow his own will (emotions) rather than follow God's will. This story is just one way in which we can get so caught up in our idea of God's will. There are so many different scenarios we could put here. It seems very often in life once we reach one stage of life, we are very quick to set our eyes on the next 'goal' and want that now! Most people are truly never satisfied, always wanting the next big thing, which once obtained that is not enough either. 
    I know what I want but IS it GOD'S will? How do we know if what we want is God's will? This is not really a hard question, it is just a hard answer to receive I think.First, the Bible is our source for determining God's will. If any area of what you want violates ANY part of scripture, then it's not God's will. Secondly, if in your mind it doesn't violate any part of scripture, then go to you Pastor/Preacher or someone who is more spiritual than you are and ask their opinion. Many times though we just choose to overlook what the Bible says, because really it won't be THAT bad! I have had ideas and plans that I hoped was God's will, but in some way or another they violated God's Word. I even attempted to try to overlook them, but I am oh so thankful that by the grace of God I was not able to follow through with what I wanted. I can see the outline of God's hand in my life, and His salvation of keeping me in His will. So what is His will for me? It really isn't a big mystery. It simply is to keep serving where I am, until He changes my course. I have heard so many suggestion about where I should find God's will. I have not lost God's will, nor do I need to find it, I am in His will for me now. I feel such contentment and peace in where I serve and am, I have my desires, but they have not fit into God's will right now. Yes, those emotions sometimes make me want to be spontaneous, or make my spirit troubled; but I try my best to quickly get my Bible. Sometimes I will ask my Mom, "Can you pray a little harder for me today/tonight?" Then she knows those emotions are battling inside. This is really a good verse in those times. "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not in us." 2 Corinthians 4:7  Those times when I want what I want, and am tempted to destroy God's will for me, I remember it's not of my own power that I can win, but His alone. It is definitely no glory of my own that I am in God's will, but it is in His power alone. It is in His power that I find strength to help in time of need.To God be all the glory!    
   Maybe you are struggling with IS this God's will? I encourage you to get into your Bible, ask God to show you the answer, but you must be willing to accept whatever the answer is. If you still aren't sure, ask someone more spiritual than you are. Maybe you know what God's will is, and you are just struggling with His answer. My answer is still the same, find your Bible. Certainly the Great Comforter, can comfort your heart too! 
    I am SO thankful today that even in my 'young' life, I can see salvation for His will! I am reminded almost daily how different my life could be, had I been allowed or able to follow through with some of my wants. More than anything I want to please God, and to be IN His will. He is so good, and so worthy of my entire life. 

 "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is."
Ephesians 5:17

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
I Thessalonians 5:18  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Salvation for Gods Will ~ Part 1

   Over the past few days I have been so overwhelmed with the goodness of God in my life.  The best thing He ever did was reach down and save my wicked soul from hell, but also has made real to me another kind of salvation. The salvation of keeping me in His will when I am often tempted to run ahead and destroy it. I have always prayed since I was a little girl, "Lord, I want to be in your will. Keep me in Your will for my life." Then at times I get frustrated and saddened when MY own will is not followed. Yet in the same prayer each night I once again pray for His will. How thankful I am for His mercies and that He loves me, even in my fickle and sometimes emotional state. I am so thankful that He DOESN'T listen to my wants!
   A book a sweet friend bought for me quoted the very words that the Lord so often speaks to my heart when I question His will for my life. I say, "If you just give me this, I'd be so happy Lord." to which He responds "Would you be happy in any state? As the children of Israel would you not murmur against Me if I gave you what you wished? In My sovereignty what you have today is all You need right now, and is My most precious gift to you. Do not use My promises against Me as though by loving me you would be able to have what you wish and still stay in My will! When I questions why others have obtained what I so dearly long for. His reply, "I have other things for you. They walk a different path with different problems which would bring you much unhappiness. Do not be jealous, but rejoice in the path I have designed for you to walk." These times of prayer and 'conversation' with my Lord are the absolute highlight of my day. My heart wants to rush ahead and fulfill it's own desires not wanting to heed the warning "he who trusts in his heart is a fool", but when I commit these longings and desires to my Heavenly Father He reminds me through scripture. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9 Once again the Lord has saved me from straying from His will for my life! The difficulty is to keep a tight rein on my emotions. They are there, but it is not they who are to rule the action. A life lived for God is not lived on the feelings, but of the will. I found this excerpt from a book which I found to be so helpful when those emotions try to battle Gods will.

    We are not to use obeying God's Word and serving Him as a condition for IF He gives me what I want, this is not true service, and is not useful to God.God is good and because He is good He does good, so no matter what happens in life He will work it to my good if my eyes are fastened on Him.I have so much more to say, and a example that I found amazing in a well known missionary who tried so hard to run ahead of God's will, but the Lord kept 'protecting' him from destroying himself, and God's will for his life. So I'm going to put this in 2 parts. This truth is so good, and maybe you are not troubled in this area, but it is still a good reminder nonetheless. We struggle so many times with is this God's will, and sometimes decide it doesn't matter, because we know what's best. This happens in many areas of life: college, work, marriage, children, and even the day to day life.God cares for every thing we do each day and has a specific plan. More on that in my 2nd part. Here are some verses that are my favorite, especially when I want what I want now! :)

Psalm 9-10, 15, 22
  "Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. For in thee, O Lord, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation."

1Timothy 6:6
"But godliness with contentment is great gain."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

This dinner/lunch is oh so easy I just had to share! For those who are always busy, but love to have a home cooked delicious meal this is a really good crock pot meal. I made this for our dinner tonight along with mashed potatoes, and Red Lobster Cheesy Biscuits. I was so nervous that it wouldn't turn out well but every one from my nephew and niece to my Dad liked it. So it was a win!! I found a similar recipe to what I made, but tweaked a few things. If you like pulled pork, or even just BBQ this is a great recipe. I will put the brand we used in parenthesis. I doubled the recipe for our family, but this would make plenty for a family with not quite so many people! ;)

- 6-8 boneless pork chops (Aldi brand)
- BBQ sauce (Baby Rays)
- 1/2 c. water
- sliced onions
- slow cooker/crock pot
- seasoning (Masterpiece BBQ Seasoning)

Pour water and BBQ sauce in crock pot and mix together.
Season both sides of pork chops (cut fat if necessary) and layer in bottom of crock pot. I was able to layer 3 across.
Pour BBQ sauce over chops and layer onions, then add another layer of seasoned pork chops followed by more BBQ sauce and onions. (Since our family is so big there was about 12 pork chops, so we had quite the layers!)
Cooked for about 6 hours in the crock pot.

These are SO tender and delicious. You could easily shred or leave as is. Most of us wanted our pork chops shredded, they are delicious either way though. This was definitely a big hit in our house, and super easy to make!
Simple BBQ "Pulled" Pork in the Crockpot using pork chops. Yum!

Also if you like biscuits or bread with your food the Red Lobster Cheesy Biscuit Mix is absolutely delicious, and super easy to make too!:) Hope this helps give someone another meal to add to their selection, and with it being so easy that is a huge plus too!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Do The Next Thing

        I am a huge fan of Amy Carmichael and Elizabeth Elliot, but especially Elizabeth Elliot. I can relate to her in so many ways. I would love to have every book written by her if I could afford it! She is such a great hero of the faith to and for me. Whether it's a good or bad day, whenever I read the one book I have from her, it always challenges me to be just a little better. To reach out and KNOW the God I serve, to not just know of Him, but to actually know Him. She had such a walk with God that I hope and try to have. She is to the point. She doesn't make things easy or allow you to make excuses for why you should or could take the easy way out in life, but strongly reminds over and over God is the ONLY choice there is. I want someone to tell me like it is, in spiritual matter that is. ;) In the recent days I have needed some comfort and words of encouragement, once again first the Bible and then Elizabeth Elliot have been those words of comfort for me. They both gave me the balm I needed for my wounded spirit, but also admonished and reminded me that my eyes are to only be on Him. When my eyes are on Him alone it doesn't matter what happens or doesn't happen, it may shake me, but won't destroy me.
       I love verses from the Bible, and also love quotes and poems from my heroes of the faith. If I could I would have many quotes and verses from the Bible on my room walls. I like to read and re-read quotes and verses from the Bible that help me keep life in perspective. There are a couple of poems I especially have found comforting. Just maybe someone else needs or will need one of these! :)


From and old English parsonage, down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me
It's quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven
Hath, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven
And on through the hours the quiet words rang
Like a low inspiration - DO THE NEXT THING
Many a question, many of fear
Many a doubt hath it's quieting here
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven
Time, opportunity, guidance are given
Fear not tomorrows, Child of the King
Trust them with Jesus, DO THE NEXT THING
Do it immediately; do it with prayer
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverance, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe 'neath His wings
Leave all resulting, DO THE NEXT THING
Looking to Jesus ever serener,
(Working or suffering) be thy demeanor,
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons thee, DO THE NEXT THING!
                                                  ~ Elizabeth Elliot

 *** I love this poem! Are you worried, mad, sad, happy, or just melancholy? That's okay, keep your eyes fastened on Jesus and DO THE NEXT THING!

I have found the last sentence to be SO true, through trials you can either decide to walk away or trust God. Any relationship, if it is true, must stand the test of happy and sad times for that relationship to grow stronger and deeper. A relationship with God is no different. The past couple of years there have been times where I thought I just couldn't handle the difficult things that had happened, but through it all I can truly say from personal experience that that God on the mountain is truly the God in the valley. He gives you the strength to 'DO THE NEXT THING', but you must first be willing to take the next step. Recently in my Bible reading I have come upon 2 Samuel 22, and it was so timely. I have written and memorized passages over and over. I will only write a couple that stood out to me! 2 Samuel 22 7, 31 "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears." 
"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him."

**I hope one of these poems encourage you like they do me. There really is no down side to living for the Lord, whether it's a time of excitement or sadness it is still fabulous all the way around!  IF you have a favorite Bible verse, poem, quote or thought that helps you in difficult times or just in ever day life, please feel free to comment below. I would love to hear it!:)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Single By Design

    Hey everyone, I haven't forgotten about ya'll. The truth is I have been super busy with life, and my sister moved back into town. I have had one on my heart for a while, just waiting for the right time. This blog will mainly be to my 'single' friends'!
     As a 20 something year old girl, I get asked many times weekly am I dating, married, or interested in someone. Which I don't mind at all, it's a typical question, but without a doubt when the answer is no, I am given MANY options that I should think about doing because I surely should be married by now. Some of them include going to college to get that MRS degree, maybe I should lower my standards of who I am looking for, I just am not looking in the right places, and the list goes on and on. Most the time when asked or mainly told what I should be doing, I just smile, nod and change the subject because quite honestly I get tired of 'defending' my stand and my status in life. I am sure many single girls/guys have some of these same questions or comments made to them. So I am going to 'answer' some of these statements made to me, because I know some of my single buddies out there are asked these same questions. Maybe in those times when you just feel so lonely, some of these will help to put things back into perspective.

Why don't you go to college to get that MRS degree?
- This answer will vary for each individual, but this is MY answer. Being raised in a Christian home, I have only wanted to do 1 thing with my life from a very young age- serve the Lord with my life. I was trained to be a Wife, Mom and a Servant of the Lord in my home. Well, for those who don't know me I am heavily involved in my church. Some of the things I am involved in is playing the piano for some services and groups, cleaning the church, nursery duty, teaching Sunday School, working on the bus and a few other things. I AM doing what I have always wanted to do - serving the Lord. For me personally, I do not believe God needs my 'help' to find my husband by going to college. In my opinion going to college for me would be going backwards. You go to college to help you in serving the Lord in whatever capacity the Lord leads, but I am already serving the Lord where I am now. The biggest reason is I have no leading from the Lord to go to any college, but simply to keep serving where He has placed me.

You will never find a guy with your standards.
- Quite frankly I am not looking for just any guy. I would rather not marry at all then find someone who I would have to lower my standards for. I'm not talking about opinions or preferences, I'm referring to those convictions and standards that are Biblically based, and Holy Spirit led. I believe there is a guy out there who has just as high or higher standards than I have, who I will one day complete. I set my standards long ago, and they are not an option any longer.

You are not looking in the right places.
- When I get these statements, I never really ask where I should be looking. I don't think I really want to know! Where else would I look for someone who loves God and wants to serve Him? He will be around what He loves - the Church or functions of the church. I'm not necessarily saying He will be waiting at church for me, the Lord can use any avenue to bring him across my path. You would go to a zoo to find a bunch of animals, to Fenway Park to find the Boston Red Sox (GO BOSTON!!), so why wouldn't I expect to find my husband in church, or at a Church Conference? Those who love the Lord, will be around the things that please the Lord.

~ When asked these questions and many others, it's easy to let others who are panicked about your singleness affect your spirit and your trust in God. Don't let others make you stress. Sometimes when I get these comments I want to ask them, "Do you think that question or comment helped me at all?" "Did it have a positive affect on me?"  Don't worry my single friends! Do you not think this is in Gods plan? That maybe He looks down and says, "Oh I forgot to create her/him a spouse!" Certainly not, Gods timetable is not mine or yours. He did not make a mistake, He is not worried everything is going according to HIS plan! As Valentines Day or Heart Day is coming up, this can be a hard day if you don't have that special someone, but don't let it be! Make someone else's day special, there's a chance there is someone else out there who just lost a spouse or maybe is feeling just the way you are. Get your eyes off of yourself, you will ALWAYS be miserable if your focus is yourself, find somebody else and make their day special. The purpose of our lives is not marriage, it is to glorify God in whatever we do! Don't let the Devil use your weakness, or someone else's tongue to get you off track.
  Wherever God has placed you today, whatever He has called you to do, do it! Maybe it's working a job in the world, going to college, or serving somewhere in your church/school. Focus on the job the Lord has placed you in and do it to glorify Him. People are still people, and those times will come when those stinging comments will be made, but don't let the Devil use that to make you become desperate and settle for something that God never intended to be yours. WAIT for who HE has planned for you. As my Mom tells me in her 'pep talks' to me, 'It will be absolutely gorgeous, and better than you could have ever dreamed!'
  Don't stop believing, don't stop praying, and don't stop looking. Don't panic and don't let anyone tell you that you are running out of time. When the time is right you will find him/her and it will be a picture of the Lord and His bride; the prettiest picture that could EVER be!!

                          Trust God's timing: Toil on! Nor deem tho' sore it be. One sigh unheard, one prayer forgot; The day of rest will dawn for thee; Wait meekly wait & murmur not!
Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Power Of Influence

    Within the past couple of weeks there was a time I was so consumed with a situation that has taken me a bit of time, understanding and yes even sympathy from my parents to overcome. Nothing huge, just a inner struggle that I couldn't shake. I am SO thankful for both my parents, but especially my Dad. He took time from his already super busy Pastor schedule to just spend some time with me. Sometimes just a hug and Him telling me, "I don't have all the answers, but I know Who does." and Whatever you want I'll get it or do for you." (What girl doesn't enjoy that!;) ) Just letting me ride with him as he did an errand with a little 'sweet treat' along the way....sometimes sweets can help mend things too! Other times just someone knowing, caring and understanding what you're feeling and thinking can make a world of difference! Without my parents I no doubt would still be struggling; God put me in the PERFECT family!
   Anyways through some of this time the Lord placed something on my heart, that I kind of shoved aside, just not 'feeling' like doing anything with it. 'Feelings' shouldn't be followed when the Lord directs, but the Lord has much work to do on me yet. So tonight He brought it to my attention as I was praying and just couldn't get to sleep until I finished. So here I am!:) Just 2 simple words He placed on my heart, but still SO powerful: Influence and Influenced. These 2 words hold the outcome to so many of lifes situations: encouragement, joy, happiness, gratefulness, peace, love, hate, anger, bitterness, heartache, discouragement, rebellion, backsliding and so many more! My Dad always told us, and still tells us before we go somewhere: "Be the influence, not the influenced!" Such a small phrase, but yet so key to the outcome of good or bad. In every situation that we find ourselves, we are either the influence or we are being influenced by others around us or things we are seeing or listening to. The only difference between these 2 words other than the tense, is the word "D". This letter in my mind stands for Direct. Direct - to aim something or someone in a particular direction. You cannot be neutral, you are either being directed or directing others. This may seem like such a tiny matter, but can lead to a life full of the blessings and sweet fellowship with the Lord, or a catastrophic sin filled life. Looking at both words we can see the good and the bad with each:

   Influence - the capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behavior of someone or something. This definition made me think of a little child. I'm not a Mom so the closest I can get is the kids I work with on a regular basis whether on the bus, nursery or my 3-6 yr old Sunday School Class. This made me realize more than ever that each time I am with them I am either helping to build their character or to destroy it. I have such a tiny part in how the outcome of their lives. How much more does a Mother or Father have in the life of their child! With each decision made in the childs life they are either strengthening them for the Lord, or pushing them away from the Lord.
   As I have said before, each day we are influencing someone for good or bad. If you think back over today or yesterday. Who have you encouraged? Who have you brought closer to the Lord? Who have you pushed away from the Lord? There are so many questions we can and should ask ourselves. Each decision you make affects those around you. It may be just 1, or 5, or maybe even 10 people with that one either good or bad decision! Be very careful what you influence others to do. That may become the very thing that leads those close to you either away from the Lord or closer to Him. If you are responsible for leading them away, you will one day have to answer for that. When someone leaves your presence are they better than when they entered your presence? 1 Cor 15:33 "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners." Are you allowing yourself to be a tool in the devil's hand? 1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" Each choice we make influences someone. That choice may seem so tiny, when in reality that may have been the very thing the Devil needed to destroy that person you influenced.
   On the other side, when you are in the Word of God spending time with Him daily, and have the 'mind of Christ'. You may be the very one who influences that person to make the right decision. I pray this is you!

   Who are you being influenced by to make decisions? Is it those who are just like you? Or someone who you know is more spiritual than you? Are they people you know will only give you the answer you want to hear, instead of what is right? We are influenced by so may things each day: television, radio, computer, people and the list goes on and on! You choose who to be influenced by. The company you keep is usually who you become like. It doesn't take long for people to start spending time together, before they think, act and sometimes even dress alike! Be so careful what you allow yourself to get talked into. That 'sure decision' may very well be the loose rock that sends you crashing down into the lions den! Who are you allowing to hinder you? Galatians 5:7 "Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? We all know this next verse very well. Proverbs 27:17 "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." The one who should be helping or influencing you is the one who is going to sharpen you for the Lord, not someone who is going to allow you to stay the same or even become dull and unusable for the Lord.
   Pick those who you can see fruit of a walk with God as your 'friend'. Fill your time being influenced by those things that will make you grow in the Lord, and edify Him! Listen to good God honoring music, memorize scripture that will help you in this area and spend time with the GREATEST Influence - our heavenly Father! Sometimes in my own life I just need to spend time with someone I know is more spiritual than me, it just gives me more of a desire to know the Lord and not to allow the flesh that is always battling for control win. I truly need that friend who will sharpen me! When I was struggling my parents were the best influence I could have had. They sharpened me, but also showed me the great compassion that my Lord also offers to me!


I think sometimes we all need to do some investigating and cleaning out in our lives, to see just who is being allowed to influence our lives, there should really only be a few. The majority of those around us should not qualify for important decisions. Then also, who are we influencing for good? It gets so easy to go through the motions of the Christian life never realizing that each move we make, and decision we make is affecting someone else. You don't have to be a teacher, pastor, or someone in a place of service to influence someone. EVERYONE no matter who you are, YOU are influencing someone either for good or bad!    

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

In His Strength Greatly Rejoicing

Psalms 28:7 "The Lord is my strength and my shield: my heart trusted in him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him." If you read my blogs you know they are usually about one of the many things the Lord is teaching me everyday.....and this one is no different. I am thankful the Lord is teaching  me. When He stops and we become 'unteachable' I think that's when we ALL need to worry!
  A funny thing happened to me that kind of helped to teach me some things, and has stayed in my mind for a while! In our house we have a sunk in living room, so our living room is a step lower than the rest of the house. Anyways, last night I was going up the step and my brother was already standing there talking to me, well when I stepped I didn't get my foot all the way on the step before I picked the other one up; and as I'm clumsy I lost my balance and started to fall backwards. I grabbed my brothers arm (who is 9 years younger) with one hand, he thought I was just playing and so started to come down the step. When he realized I wasn't joking, he said matter of factly Oh NO, put his foot down and with his strength pulled me back up. I was a little surprised because he has always been smaller, as he's 9 years younger, but is now taller and stronger than I am. Now I wouldn't have most likely seriously hurt myself, but I still would've had some nice bruises since we have tile floor.
   I have thought about that so many times, and the Lord seemed to remind me through that little episode, I am your strength I want to be your strength; but can only be if you choose to let Me! As seems to be around me lately, the Lord has seem fit to bring into my life very recently something that has caused great sadness and I can't do anything to change it. I went through a couple days of sadness, but realized I can't live this way and do what I need to do! Then I was reminded, as my brother only used his strength when he knew I needed it; in the same way our Heavenly Father desires to show His strength through us - especially in times of sadness or disappointments! Sometimes the situations we are in, show no signs of getting better, and all we can simply do is go through them. As the Bible says there is a time for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 10,11 "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.:" "I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end."
   The 'season' that God has placed before me doesn't look like it is going to end very well, but I know I need to decide now how I will handle it when it comes. I have been praying and asking the Lord to direct my steps and especially my emotions. Resting in His strength alone is the only way to handle this or really any problem we face! As the verse says in the beginning, when the Lord is our strength and shield, our heart doesn't just simply rejoice but GREATLY rejoices, with song or with our words we will praise Him! How sweet it is to rest in the Lord!
   On the news yesterday it said that January 6th was the most depressing day of the year! I kind of thought that was funny, and told my parents that yesterday was the worse this year would ever be! Although in reality for the Christian who doesn't rest in the Lord's strength daily, everyday of the year is depressing. We certainly cannot live this life on our own! I have recently seen quite a few Christian families go through some really tough times, and have been simply amazed at their attitudes through it all. I know they have already discovered their source of strength - the Lord!


   Although my heart may be breaking and maybe yours is too, let's decide to trust the One Who is the strongest! Remember it is a choice you must make, and the demonstration of that choice that you are resting in His strength is a heart that is greatly rejoicing and praising Him. Knowing that God is ALWAYS good!!!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Martha's Most Needful Thing

   Most of us have either heard sermons about, or read for ourselves the story about Martha, Mary and Lazarus in the Bible. Usually Martha is seen as the "bad" sister or the one who didn't care to sit at Jesus' feet. As I did a study on her life, it seems to me, that this one area the Lord was trying to warn her about rather than labeling her unusable! After reading about Martha in my book, I also looked into scripture and studied Martha's character - what a precious lady Martha was!
  From what we see in the Bible, we are not given much insight as to Martha's parents, obviously it was not needful for us to know. It seems the home that Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived in was owned by Martha. She was the oldest of the three, and so carried the responsibility of the household affairs. One of the neat things the book brought alive to me is after Jesus left His home and started His public ministry, it was not back to the home He had lived in growing up, but to Martha's house that He went. Jesus loved the three who lived in this house, and this place meant much to Jesus. The first time we see Martha the Bible says she "received Jesus into her house" A chapter earlier we see the Lord say "The Son of Man hath not where to lay His head" but the next day "He came to Bethany....and Martha made Him a supper." He knew in the town of Bethany there was a home that was always ready to welcome Him. To cater to Him in His weariness and exhaustion, He was refreshed in the home. To Martha her home responsibilities were not a drudgery. She was so diligent about her housework, it would seem she never had to rush around to straighten up for company to come.
   The story tells us that Martha was up busy serving, while Mary sat at Jesus' feet. Martha was irritated that she was up busy serving, while Mary was able to sit at the feet of the Master. Once she voiced this complaint to the Lord, He reproved her in Luke 10:41-42 "Martha, Martha, Thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." A few verses earlier Luke tells us "Martha was cumbered about much serving." Cumbered means to be distracted, she was so busy she was distracted from what was most needful. The Lord warns us in 1 Cor 7:35 to "attend upon the Lord without distraction."
   As being head of the household Martha was torn between her responsibilities and sitting at the feet of Jesus. She felt it was more important to serve Jesus, than to be served by Him at that time! When Jesus reproved her for her complaint, He reminded her that she was allowing her outward activities to hinder her spiritually. Her emphasis had been placed on the wrong act. The word careful in Jesus' rebuke means, inward worrying anxiety. She was mentally divided in her mind, which the Lord warns us about also in 1 Cor 7:32 "But I would have you without carefulness." Everything has it's proper place, and one isn't to distract from the other. One of the comments I saw from the book that I really liked is,  'Much serving has its right place and time, but ought to give place to hearing when Jesus speaks.' This is so true, our service should never substitute or hinder our walk with God. Sitting at the Masters feet every morning is the most important thing I will do every day. This helps me to better perform each task to His glory!
   Later in the story, when Lazarus is sick and then dies; Jesus is sent for. We notice that not Mary but Martha was the first one to run out to Jesus. I don't believe this one story of Martha complaining about her sister is indicative of Martha's complete character, she had a love for her Lord that developed as she sat at His feet learning of Him; and yes, even serving Him. In John 11 when Jesus is told of Lazarus the Bible says, "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister, and Lazarus. It mentions by name Martha and Lazarus, but not Mary. As said before He loved each one of these siblings, they were each so different, but He loved them each. After her rebuke from the Lord the service of Martha was the same, her spirit was changed though. She was no longer "distracted" over her tasks, or mentally anxious, but calm, and in full agreement with her sister's act of love and devotion to the Master. At last Martha, too, chose that good part which could not be taken from her.

*** I have learned in my study of Martha:
 First - She absolutely loved her Lord, but for a time had got her focus off of what was most needful for her. She is not someone to be scoffed at for her mistake, but rather to be admired for her diligence and love to her Lord. I dare say we often get our focus off of the most needful thing to something that won't matter at all in light of eternity. As Herbert Lockyer says, "Some people are all Martha, and no Mary. Others are all Mary and no Martha. The happy combination is that of Martha and Mary the practical and the spiritual making possible the glory of the commonplace." The church needs both the Mary's and the Martha's to complete the needs of the church. Secondly - It is so important to keep serving in it's proper place, both are duties learning and serving, but in both areas we should honor God. Thirdly -  To trust the Lord with our cares, responsibilities and sorrows knowing He can surely undertake for us. Though Martha didn't understand why the Lord had allowed her brother to die, the Lord had and always has a plan that we are not to know, but only trust!