Just a glimpse of me...

My photo
Do you ever feel STUCK? In 2000, I began looking for answers to some tough questions in my life. I'd searched high & low and finally conceded to search the promises found in the Bible. Those promises have sustained & guided me through the loss of a parent, the struggle with anxiety & depression, the loss of a valued relationship and so much more! I've found joy amid the pain. And, I want to share it with you!

29 April 2011

Jagged Puzzle Pieces

"He brought streams out of a rocky crag
and made water flow down like rivers." Psalm 78:16
Photo by T. Getz

With some things that have recently happened in my life & in the lives of others around me, I can't help but think about a small-yet powerful verse, Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say - rejoice!" Close friends of mine have lost loved ones recently or marked the anniversary of the passing of a cherished one or are anticipating the passing of a loved one soon. Marriages & relationships are under attack by Satan. Economic trials are pressing in on many in these day.

But, when I read Philippians 4:4, I can honestly say that I believe that promise. God doesn't ask me to rejoice in what happened but to rejoice in Him through whatever happens. He offers peace in the troubled times. He offers comfort in the times of loss. He offers reassurance in the times of uncertainty & fear. 

David offered the truth in Psalm 37:25a... "I've been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken..." I rejoice in the fact that God will bring His children through anything & everything. I rejoice in the fact that our struggles and hardships will play a part in the wonderful plan of the Father.  It's not always easy... but, God's promises are true. 

Often our "jagged puzzle pieces" are designed to fit perfectly into the masterpiece that will be revealed when we meet him face to face. 

Church Isn't Required for Strong Christians

Photo taken by T. Getz
Community... is BIG for me. I believe in making a conscious effort to connect & have real relationships with others. People in my local church fellowship encourage me, inspire me, and challenged me to be a better person -- not just a better Christian. I know some of their stories.  I know that life isn't that easy for most of them - as they face the up's & down's of life.

The Apostle Paul said in Hebrews 10:24-25, "Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love & good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near." NLT

I love the New Living Translation  with the words of "encourage one another to outbursts of love & good deeds". I'm thinking we could all use some outbursts of love & good deeds - whether we're the recipient or the giver of those.

Can we effectively & consistently do this on our own - without community with other believers?  Who hasn't seen that the closer we get to God, the harder Satan tries to draw our eyes away from Him.  It's easy to fool ourselves into believing that our close relationship with God diminishes our need to be with His people in His house. Often the smallest gestures (such as just BEING at church) can be an encouragement to those around who are watching us.  I would like to encourage you today - if you claim the name of Christian - to make a commitment to regular fellowship with other believers.  And be reminded, we aren't always there for just us!  Sometimes other believers who know our story are encouraged by our regular attendance.

End of sermon.
The Preacher's Daughter -- but more importantly, 
A Daughter of the King :)

(written 14 Jan 2011)

I Don't Really Like "Worship" at Our Church -- Just the Sermon

Photo taken by T. Getz
 Hello Church-Goers Out There :)

How many times have you heard someone from church say something like this, "I don't really like the "worship part" of the service. I come for the Word... the sermon."

What is worship? It's not just the music part of the church before the "real stuff" of the service, the sermon. It's not predicated on whether we particularly enjoy the style, rhythm & presentation of each song. Worship is offered up to God in honesty by each person individually.  It's what each of us does every moment of our lives to bring honor to God.  Yes, we need to hear the sermon from God's Word.  But, we must also offer up our own worship. When we seek Him daily, we worship Him by showing Him his worth in our life. When we seek Him, we find Him. Deuteronomy 4:29 says "... from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul."

When we worship God, we praise Him -through our words, deeds, thoughts... through our lives. Psalm 145: says, "I will praise the LORD, and everyone on earth will bless his holy name forever and forever."

(written 07 Jan 2011)

I Am A Voice in the Wilderness

Each week I pray & ask God to tell me what to say in this section.  The Word is full of great promises & ways that we can draw nearer to God & be used more effectively by Him.  So, finding something GREAT to share from God's Word isn't a hard thing at all.  My goal is to allow God to make the choice of what I share each week in order to fit into HIS plan for that day/week :) 

In reading John 1 this week, I was reminded over & over of a play that Highland High School's Music & Drama Departments did a few years ago, "Godspell" - adapting the 1973 play & movie.  In the New Testament, when asked by the priests & temple assistants if he was the Promised Messiah, John told them flat out, NO.  When they asked, "Well, then who are you, he replied In John 1:23:  ... in the words of Isaiah: "'I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, `Prepare a straight pathway for the Lord's coming!'"  I especially LOVE the fact that John said I am A voice... instead of I am THE voice.  Each of us can be a voice shouting in the wilderness, Prepare Ye The Way of The Lord :)  

Here's a link from Godspell where John is helping PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD:
As said in Ephesians 2:10, "... we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago."  There's lots to do out there that God planned for YOU.

18 April 2011

He Can't Derail the Plan!

Thanks to T. Getz for capturing this photo 
& adding the scripture!
If you know anything or hear anything about "being a Christian", you will most likely have heard 1 Thessalonians 5:18. 

 One translation reads, "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

For ME, when things explode in my life & the walls start crashing around me, I often find myself sulking in a corner feeling like the last part of that verse is a curse on me. But my God, who sees all things & knows all things, knows what I will encounter along the way is often allowing me to go through tough times to better prepare me for what will happen in the future. God doesn't let the road blocks that Satan throws in front of us derail His great plans! Satan wants to pull our eyes away from God. I believe that he tries to do this through hardship & tough life circumstances. However, if we keep our eyes on God in the tough times:

  • we learn valuable lessons, 
  • we grow stronger with the struggle, 
  • we open our eyes to the suffering of others around us, 
  • we soften our hearts to what God wants us to see, 
and so many more things!

And another cool thing... usually down the road God gives us a glimpse of how the tough times served to draw us closer to Him & bring honor and glory to Him.

I've been in a rough patch for some time now. I can't lie & say that it's easy to stay focused on God. But, in all sincerity, I couldn't make it without Him. He has never let any of His children down. He is faithful to save. God doesn't waste a single moment of our lives.

I encourage you (and remind myself) to learn from life's experiences while GIVING THANKS for how God will use them!

Shared with the Ann Voskamp One Thousand Gifts community on 11/12/12: