Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Responses...All I want to do is make You smile.

I briefly want to introduce this post by saying I have been reading and listening to a couple different things and haven't got a chance to write out my responses to them. So I just decided to combine them within one it may be a bit long....aww yes it is but there are some great things in here!

A daily devotion...
I have been rereading this devotion for the past few days, refusing to move on without blogging it out. It does have a great point to it and I'm glad I got to think through it for a few days.

The Warning Against Desiring Spiritual Success
“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you…” –Luke 10:20
Worldliness is not the trap that most endangers us as Christian workers, nor is the sin. The trap we fall into is extravagantly desiring spiritual success; that is, success measured by, and patterned after, the form set by this religious age in which we now live. Never seek after anything other than the approval of God. One life totally devoted to God is of more value to Him than one hundred lives which have been simply awakened by His Spirit. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, April 24)

Spiritual Success, desiring to know and understand at a level that is measured by someone other than God. Instead, Chambers challenges us to seek only approval from God. A wonderful song by Shane & Shane titled "Unto You" has a line that points out this very goal, "All I want to do is exalt You, All I want to do is to lift You high, All I want to do is please You, All I want to do is to make You smile". If I desire to please or make someone other than God smile, my heart is no longer choosing to seek God's approval. My life, if I was to desire to seek God's approval, I would want to do anything He wants me to do. And if He wants me to go to the missions field, I cannot come up with any reason not to go because my desire is to please Him. I love the last line of the Shane & Shane lyric that says, All I want to do is to make You smile. What joy life can be when our only desire is to make Jesus smile and when all we want is to make God smile, our life will be totally devoted to Him.

Link to Shane & Shane song "Unto You"

A sermon...
The previous post to this is titled "The Seven- Part 2(Rev 1:9-20). Link to video I listened to this sermon and gained so much encouragement from God through these few versus in Revelation. All my notes are under that post but I just wanted to spend some time reflecting on it.

First, when we came to Christ as empty broken sinners, Jesus didn't promise a perfect trial-free life. Instead He said that life would be hard, but through faith and trust in Him, He would help us endure anything because He has suffered through the greatest hardship we could ever imagine, the Cross.

Second, through trials, through tribulations, Jesus is there. But sometimes it is hard to worship God when you wonder, where is He? By putting off the worship, we are putting off the reward. Through worship we discover who God is even more, our hearts grow closer to Him and then we see Him in all His glory admist whatever storm or valley we may be facing.

Thirdly, within these versus of Revelation, John has been exiled to Patmos. There here is praying and worshiping God when no other than Jesus, in all His glory, shows up. Admist the suffering that John is facing, Jesus doesn't come and comfort Him but rather asks Him to pull out a scroll to write letters to each of the churches John oversee's for guidance from Jesus. Jesus isn't worried about John, He's worried about His church and is asking John to serve His people. Yes Jesus comforts us where we are, but through serving others, we gain the most joy in life, and it is through those moments of service that Jesus' love is shown to others.

And lastly, "Fear not, for Jesus is with You and Us"-Driscoll. Who am I afraid of? What do I fear? How do I respond to fear? Do I fear something other than God? I cannot fear both something and God. A similar question is who do I serve? I cannot serve someone and God. Fear. The bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom comes when we fear nothing except for God. How much different my life could be if I feared nothing except God.

A book...
Some quotes from Ann Voskamp's book A Thousand Gifts, Chapter 4, A Sanctuary of Time

- God gives us time. And who has time for God? (pg 64)
- "We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing." (Psalm 39:6) (pg 65)
- Being in a hurry... I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. (pg 65)
- I can only live the full life when I live fully in the moment. (pg 68)
- I will not desecrate this moment with ignorant hurry or sordid ingratitude. (pg 70)
- The real problem in life is never a lack of time. The real problem of life- in my life- is lack of thanksgiving. (pg 72)
- Don't I always have the choice to be fully attentive? Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus. Eucharisteo, eucharisteo. that keeps the focus simple- sacred. (pg 77)
- With each passing minute, each passing year, there's this deepening awareness that I am filling, gaining time. We stand on the brink of eternity. (pg 77)

Once again I was convicted. Time. Something so precious, something that controls every thought we possess, something that can be a gift or something that can haunt you. Time is something that is the same for every single person on this planet. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, and years all pass the same for each person. Whether in China or Antarctica or Hawaii, time passes as the sun rises and the moon appears 12 hours later. Time is something that people center their lives around. God is outside of time, something we can't even imagine. Jesus is attentive in each moment we are in and at the same time can see our entire life from start to finish in a blink. As I read this chapter on the "sanctuary of time", I was reminded that it isn't something that quickly passes but rather is a gift, something compared to dessert, something that God desires us to eat slowly and savory. It's a gift, because with God's eternity on the mind, time is something only to be gained. Time. I must not abuse the gift that God so graciously gave by being in a hurry, wasting it away with trying to rush to the next engagement. Instead I desire to taste every second of my life, and thank God for it as much as I possibly can.

A bible study...
Great reminders from Gary Thomas' book, The Glorious Pursuit: Embracing the virtues of Christ. Chapter 6: Surrender

* Surrender to God's purposes is the interior attitude adjustment by which we can live above our time with an eternal perspective. (pg. 68)
* In this, Jesus tells you and me that we must surrender our jealously and envy about God's plan for other people when those plans seem preferable to ours. (pg 69)
* When I insist on control, my anxiety level rises;... (pg 70)
* ...embracing whatever God's will is for me this day leads me into a deepening experience of fellowship with Jesus. (pg 71)
* If Jesus leads me through trail or triumph, the most important thing is that I'm with Him. (pg 71)
* The key to surrender is acceptance...Accept the matter. (pg 72)
* Don't discount the small battles, thinking you can win the war in one tremendous act of "giving it all up to God". (pg 74)
* Above all, we must remember that God's agenda and love for us holds a much bigger concern than supplying our immediate comforts. (pg 74)

Surrender. Surrendering to God's plan and will for my life. The one quote that stuck out to me the most was on pg 72, the key to surrender is acceptance. I must accept that God's plan for me is going to please Him the most. I must accept the fact that even though I think I have a great planned thought up, God's is 10 times better than I could ever come up with. I must remember that God loves me so much that He has a perfect plan for my life and that plan is thought through with eternity in mind, not the feelings of happy and comfortable that seem to be all we want in this life. God is so much bigger than the happy feelings we have on Earth and time is so much longer than our moments of grief. 

A Brief Summary
A life devoted totally to God in order to make Him smile. Worship within trials and tribulations and see God walk through the valley with you. Serve Jesus admist the storm and see God's love spread. Fear Jesus. Time is a gift from Jesus, one to be thankful for. Surrender to Jesus all the plans you can surmise and allow Him to direct your paths.  If our ultimately goal is always to make Jesus smile then whatever it is we face, we will still be able to serve His church and Fear His name. Jesus, all I want for my life, each moment I want to make you smile.

The Seven- Part 2(Rev 1:9-20)

The Seven Part 2: A Message to Seven Churches (Revelation 1:9-20)

How often do you pray? And who do you pray for the most?

How often do you pray for your church?

Do Persevere in Jesus. (we will have tribulation but we must persevere in Jesus)

" the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus..." -Revelation 1:9

- Our life is not tribulation free but it's proof that we can endure whatever tribulations, oppositions, suffering comes to us through relationship with Jesus and His people in community together.

- Our new power and identity to endure these hard times is in Jesus.

- Until that day, there will be trouble, there will be trials, there will be tribulation. Don't let it shock it. Instead, let it compel you. To persevere, to hang in there; who do you want to be in 50, 60, 70, 80 years?

Do Worship Jesus

"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day..." -Revelation 1:10a

- He (John) doesn't question God, he worships Him.

- He worships Jesus and he prays for the church in faith and then Jesus comes to him.

- If and when you are suffering, don't wait to feel like you are filled with the Holy Spirit, don't wait to seem that Jesus has showed up for you to worship.

- Sometimes your body reveals your heart.

Do Serve Jesus' Church

"...and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches:to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” -Revelation 1:10b-11

- Sometimes in the midst of our suffering, we don't need Jesus to show up and make it all about us, We need Jesus to show up and reveal to us who He is.

- Jesus shows up, reveals Himself, and says look at all these seven churches, you think you're suffering.

- (Rev 1:20) 7 lamp stands(churches)...Jesus is the light of the world...bring love and mercy and life and light...reflecting from us meaning to be made in the image of God...light origininates in Jesus and reflects out of us. 7 stars(angels)...for each church, created, immaterial, nonphysical spirit beings, and they are created as messengers and ministers and are sent by to the side, all about worshiping.

- Critic(see's the problem and gossips about it) a Servant (see's the problem and fixes it)

Fear not, Jesus is with You and Us

- "When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: 'Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last'." - Revelation 1:17

- Who are you afraid of? You can't fear someone or something and God

- What do you fear? conflict, failure, poverty, suffering, criticism, death, opposition

- How do you respond to fear? fight, flight, or fright

- Fear leads to depression.

- Fear is not something to embrace... fear is not to be accepted, but a sin to be repented of. Because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

- Fear is vision without God. God isn't with me, isn't going to help me.

- Fear turns us into false prophets.

- Fear preaches a false teaching.

- Between here and heaven is tribulation.

- Genesis 3, Genesis 15:1, Genesis 26:24, Genesis 28:15, Exodus 33:14, 2 Kings 1:15, Psalm 23:4, 2 Chronicles 20:17, Isaiah 31:14, Jeremiah 1:8, Daniel 10:12, Haggai 2:5, Matthew 28:20 (I am with you always, to the very end of the age)
Link to the video:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Be Thankful

It started a couple weeks ago, my friend shared a link with me to a sermon called, "be grateful". I listened to it, and I remember the conviction I felt at the time, I need to be more grateful for what I have. But in the past couple weeks I have determined two things that stand between me being ungrateful and grateful. One is control and two is planning. You put the two together and I'm in a world of hurt. I really do enjoy being in control, whether it is something small or big. Like driving a car, you can ask almost anyone that is close to me and they will say, she always offers to drives. And not only do I like to be in control, but I want to be the planner. I need it to make sense in my head so that when I begin the task, all I am doing is taking the next step...literally.

So what does this have to do with being grateful? Well a friend last night asked me, "So how is missions stuff coming?" I said I'm going to training in May and I really haven't thought about it much. For someone who craves control and planning, I feel as though God has intervened with this situation and has led me to not think about it a lot so that I can't come up with all these possibilities in my head about how I might control this and plan that. Instead, my thoughts when I think about missions and going to training in May and the steps that will follow after have been one's of thanks. I am thankful for how God is moving in my life and I am truly grateful to Him for the perfect plans that He has for me. Lately eternity has been on my mind and the thought my life is just a speck in eternity, one that God can see in completeness and at the same time is here with me this very moment, has put me at ease lately. God has it all worked out, and He wants me to be thankful to Him and abide in His will.

A quote from A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (an amazing book I might add) says this about being thankful, "...and someday I will tell Shelly that life change comes when we receive life with thanks and ask for nothing to change" (pg 61). Control, planning, I love to do things my own way, I'm usually thanking God for who is and what He has done in my life and then tell Him all the reasons why I think this outcome would be great. That's why I say it has been a blessing that God has not had me thinking about missions lately because I could have come up with all these great ideas about how training will go, and time frames will be perfect for me, and money will fall from the sky and I will be doing exactly what I want to be doing where I want to be doing it and for how long I want to be doing whatever God has planned. That just makes no sense. I do want God's will to be my will, but I must relinquish control and the desire to plan.

So back to the quote, I want to be more grateful for what God has blessed me with. I want to be content with where God has me but be willing to move if that is what He wants. I want to be thankful during the waiting periods where I don't know what God is doing and I want to be able to rejoice in knowing that God is working, even though I don't see it. If change is to come, I want God to orchestrate that and me not to ask for it. I want to be appreciative of God and the many blessings He gives, even when I don't see it as such.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Do you Worship the Work?

Do you Worship the Work?

God’s fellow workers… -1 Corinthians 3:9

Beware of any work for God that causes or allows you to avoid concentrating on Him. A great number of Christian workers worship their work. They only concern should be their concentration on God.

We have no right to decide where we should be placed, or have preconceived ideas as to what God is preparing us to do. God engineers everything; and wherever He places us, our one supreme goal should be to pour out our lives in wholehearted devotion to Him in that particular work. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, April 23)

I don't even know where to start honestly. If I could just take this devotion, remember it always, I don't think I would ever be stressed. 

I love my work. I love getting to use my skills to work alongside other believers and share God's love with children and their families. I love trying to figure things out on the computer and get frustrated when a program won't do what I want it to do. I love, I love, I love.... I love Jesus. I know the jobs I have are because God has placed me in each of them to glorify His name. Is my only concern God and what He wants, or sometimes do I ask myself what needs to get done next because it sounds more fun than something else? Unfortunately, the second one is true. 

I realized that when I started doubting God's call to go to the missions field because I didn't want to leave me job, there was something wrong. I don't think it is necessary a bad thing to love what you do, and I feel quite lucky to have found what I have, but when it interfere's with God's calling, I'm afraid I have started worshiping something other than the one true God. And it was Chambers who pointed it out when he said, "we have no right to decide where we should be placed, or have preconceived ideas as to what God is preparing us to do." How often I lay at night and debate what God might be up to! I might add I have come up with some pretty good ideas! But, conviction as led me to realize that those hours trying to debate my future might have been better used focusing on who God is, what He is capable of accomplishing as well as thinking over how the plan that He has for my life has been perfect so far. And yet I still worry about tomorrow...

I believe the verse, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each days has enough worries of its own." Matthew 6:34 And the verse before that, "But seek first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33. Isn't that exactly what Chambers is saying? Seek first God and who He is and all the pieces of my future will fall into place. With my eyes on God, whatever He puts in front of me will be perfect because I have aligned who He is with who I am. So tonight I shall begin anew, eyes focused on Him, and tomorrow I shall walk within His Spirit pouring out myself to the One who knows all, plans all, and purposes everything. 

Homemade Creamer & Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

Cinnamon Strudel Creamer
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract

Whisk together milk, cream, maple syrup and cinnamon in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the mixture begins to steam, remove from the heat. Stir in extracts. Strain through fine mesh sieve, pour into a glass bottle and store in the refrigerator.

Banana oatmeal smoothie
2 whole bananas
2 cups ice
1/3 cup Yogurt (Greek flavored w/ honey)
1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
1/3 cup almonds
**I added a few shakes of ground cinnamon

Pour all ingredients in blender pouring ice in last. Blend on high for 30 sec or until smooth thickens.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Brownies in a Jar
Best brownie recipe!
Tag I made with ingredients in the jar,
those needed (stick of butter & 2 eggs),
and the directions for cooking.

2 eggs slightly beaten
 1 stick butter melted and cooled
If preparing in the jar, layer from bottom to top: 
1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/3 cup Hershey's cocoa, 
1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder,
1/4 teaspoon salt,  1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips,
1 cup Hershey's premier white chips
Heat oven to 350 and grease and flour 8x8 pan
Mix ingredients together, cook in oven for 35 minutes.
Allow to cool in the pan and enjoy!!
So delicious!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Prayer is the greater work

Sometimes you just have to let go of your own plans because God's are sooo much better. I believe today is a perfect example. Laura and I made plans this morning to meet up and then go to Starbucks to get coffee and do some quiet time. We went to two different Starbucks. One the line was practically out the door just to get coffee and the second had absolutely no parking! I must admit, driving to a third Starbucks was not the most appealing of ideas, so I said, how bout we go through the drive-thru, get coffee, if there is a parking spot after we will stay, if not we can just go back to my place and sit out front, it is quite a beautiful day and I guess that would be okay. Ordered and received our very delicious coffee and low and behold no parking spots. So we drove back satisfied with coffee and a little annoyed with our change of plans. As I look back, this "plan B" is sooo much better! I took this picture standing on my patio, a hummingbird feeding off a tree literally inches from my front door. The birds chirping, the sun shining (even though we are sitting in the shade), the wind blowing keeping us perfectly content...all I can see is grass, beautiful plants, gorgeous flowers, a blue sky, no cars rushing by, no people talking, just God's creation making a beautiful sound and landscape around me... and I wanted to sit in front of a Starbucks????

The Key of the Greater Work

And greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. John 14:12

Prayer does not equip us for greater works- prayer is the greater work. Yet we think of prayer as some commonsense exercise of our higher powers that simply prepares us for God’s work. The way fruit remains firm is through prayer, but remember that it is prayer based on the agony of Christ in redemption, not on my own agony. We must go to God as His child, because only a child gets his prayers answered. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Oct. 17)

Prayer does not equip us for greater works- prayer is the greater work. How often I come to God, telling Him how amazing He is, how thankful I am for what He has done for me, for how perfect His plan is for me as hard as it is for me to see it sometimes, and just how much I appreciate Him in my life. Then follows the burdens I feel and how I just want Him to take them away, grow me the process, fine, but ultimately, I want to feel happy all the time. As if the prayer that I lift up is asking God to prepare me for what He is and then sustain me through it because as I face those moments, who knows where He will be?? As I go through my day to day I always forget just how available God is because I tend to face things as if this burden is my own, ask God for the strength, but then walk through it alone. How untrue that is, because even though I ask Him for the strength He will continually with me. The hard part is no longer the task but whether or not I remember to ask God to be present.

Yet we think of prayer as some commonsense exercise of our higher powers that simply prepares us for God's work. I kinda concluded with this in the above paragraph, but realizing more and more how prayer is not something that prepares us but rather is with us. The fact is, our thoughts throughout any ordeal are just as prayerful as the "Dear God.....Amen" that we speak before hand. 

The way fruit remains firm is through prayer, but remember that it is prayer based on the agony of Christ in redemption, not on my own agony. When I read this, I stopped and thought, oh yes this life is not about me, but about God. As I go through these burdens, I must remember that what God suffered is so much worse. And because the burden that He carried is so great, what I am going through is understood by the only one who can understand it. 

We must go to God as His child, because only a child gets his prayers answered. Why does Chambers specifically say a child? Because God asks us to have a childlike faith, one that is simply and trusting, one that doesn't think too highly of all the possibilities but one that solely trusts in the simplicity of the Cross. I have noticed, when children pray, they are quite blunt and yet pour out their hearts. God just wants us to be blunt about where we are, what we are thinking and feeling and pour out our heart to Him. He knows that once we have surrendered, He can begin to reveal His plan and we are more likely to follow. 

Thomas sums it up quite well in his book, The Glorious Pursuit: Embracing the virtues of Christ, by saying, "Surrender to God's purposes is the interior attitude adjustment by which we can live above our time with an eternal perspective" (pg. 68). When we realize prayer is happening all the time, something that doesn't just prepare us but helps us through continuously, one that is focused on Jesus and not ourselves and is done as a child would do, God is able to mold us so that we are not blinded by the world but rather have our eyes focused on eternity with Jesus, and really, what could be better?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Key is Prayer

The Key to the Master’s Orders

Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His Harvest. Matthew 9:18

The key to the missionary’s difficult task is in the hand of God, and that key is prayer, not work- that is, not work as the word is commonly used today, which often results in the shifting of our focus away from God. The key to the missionary’s difficult task is also not the key of common sense, nor is it the key of medicine, civilization, education, or even evangelization. They key is in following the Master’s orders- the key is prayer. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Oct. 16)

When I read this devotion, I had to read it again...and again. Work is defined by as: exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something. Synonyms for work are labor, toil and chore. When we use the word "work", the way it is commonly used today is above. Something that takes energy and time and produces something. 

There is a part of this devotion that really stuck out to me, and I believe Chambers was trying to point out that our idea of "work"causes us to shift our focus away from God because we are so focused on the task. I feel as though there has been a theme within these daily devotions that I have been reading about missionary work and that is, we are only God's tool. Just as a hammer cannot hammer a nail into a wall without a person holding the handle and applying the strength, guidance and precision, we too must rely on God's strength, guidance and precision in order to see people receive His gift. What a beautiful picture! We are tools, God is the Worker. And He knows what the finished product is suppose to be. Often times many nails are put in the wall to support different things or used to keep wood pieces together to make something. Only He knows what He's trying to hang or make. We don't get a say as to where the nail is driven. All we have to do is be there willing to do the work.

Willing, through prayer, we come to God and accept that His plan is perfect. We thank God for the opportunity to be used by His hands to be apart of something much greater than what we are "working" on. You see God is creating something beautiful and He needs willing tools to help. Through prayer we align ourselves with His plan, He gives us glimpses as to what He is creating and allows us to have a part in it. Through prayer we continually let go of our own attempts to "work". We can let go of wanting to come up with better ways to make the finished product and trust in God's wisdom to know that He knows exactly what He is doing and perfectly. 

When we "work", often times we get so rapped up in our own tasks that we forget that we are only called to focus our hearts and mind on God. Through prayer, everything else comes together exactly as it is supposed to be. That shift away from God makes us anxious, tired, and often times feeling alone. Once we have regained our trust in our Lord and point our eyes back on Him, all the anxiety, sleepiness and feelings of isolation subside and a renewed since of joy and excitement take over. Joy that leads to a servants heart and excitement to do His will, whatever that looks like.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Perspective...Matthew 28:18-20

The Key to the Missionary’s Work

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” Matthew 28:18-19

The key to the missionary’s work is the authority of Jesus Christ, not the needs of the lost. We are inclined to look on our Lord as one who assists us in our endeavors for God. Yet our Lord places Himself as the absolute sovereign and supreme Lord over His disciples. He does not say that the lost will never be saved if we don’t go- He simply says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Oct 14)

"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth" - As one of the last things that Jesus said before he ascended back into Heaven, there is quite a bit of meaning in these few words. In these few words Jesus acknowledges that He is God. Not only does He have power of diseases, sin and death, but over all of heaven and earth. In this statement, He clarifies that He is not lower than God himself but equal.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations." - As an early Christian, I remember a sermon I heard where the Pastor mentioned the word "therefore" and said that whenever you come across this word in the Bible, you should stop and see what it is there for. Before this word is the command "Go". Not sit, not just pray but Go and make disciples. It's going to take work, but it must be important because Jesus said it. And then we stop at the word therefore and discover what Jesus is calling us to do. To make disciples of all nations. We are called by Jesus to tell others about His love, that He always has, and that He always will. We are equipped with the Holy Spirit so that what God did for us by sending Jesus to the cross and raising Him from the dead can be shared through us to others. 

In the paragraph that follows the verse where Chambers provides a short devotion from the scripture, he says, He does not say that the lost will never be saved if we don't go- He simply says, 'Go...' As I read that small sentence, a weight lifted off my back as I realized that Jesus does all the work. He gives us the strength, power, courage and words to say for in the verse that follows 19, Jesus says I am with you always. He is with me, whether I am here in San Diego or across the seas in another part of the world. His promise goes with His command and He challenges us to hold on to His promise and take up His cross and Go. 

The last few days, I have been thinking about the word perspective. It really does change everything when you look at a conversation, a statement, an action, or an attitude through Jesus' eyes. He always see's the truth in a conversation, reality in a statement, opportunity in an action and genuineness in an attitude. As we go about our day, with boundless opportunities to display His love to others, I pray that we can acknowledge Jesus in all that we say, do and think and hold on to His promise that He is always with us, so that through His power and strength, people may come to know Him as their Savior. Whose eyes are you going to see this world through?


Monday, April 16, 2012

The Awareness of the Call

Yes that is my passenger rear tire that has a lovely piece of metal through it. However I was so happy that some very nice guys at church offered to change my tire for me and the place where I took it to get fixed does free fixing of tires!! Yup, completely free. Jesus is so good! I did learn something today through all of us and wanted to share. Last night could have turned out very different. The metal could have punctured the tire enough to pop it. The very nice guys could have not existed at the perfect timing and I might have not thought about it until it was too late. This morning I could of had to take my tire in much later in the day, gotten less hours at work or had to work late. And yet, none of these things happened. As each phone call, change in schedule and conversation I had, I couldn't help but thank God for orchestrating everything so perfectly today.

And then I realized, He does this everyday! He not only perfectly organizes each day, but my whole life! If I could just take every twist and turn in life with the same smile I had today, my sanity would be much more normal! Today did not go as I had planned two weeks ago, nor did last night's attempt at planning today change anything. Only the God who tells us that He has our lives all planned out from before we were even born can take a day like today, or a life we lead, and make it as perfect as only He can design. Which leads me to the devotional for today:

The Awareness of the Call

For necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! -1 Corinthians 9:16

If a man or woman is called of God, it doesn’t matter how difficult the circumstances may be. God orchestrates every force at work for His purpose in the end. If you will agree with God’s purpose, He will bring not only your conscious level but also all the deeper levels of your life, which you yourself cannot reach, into perfect harmony. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Sept. 29)

"God orchestrates every force..." Last night and today were perfectly orchestrated by God. Had my attitude of been differently I could have been frustrated over metal in my tire, I could have been angry that I lost hours in the morning, I could have been irritated that they couldn't find my information in the system and after 15minutes of returning to work they called and said my tire was fixed. I could have been mad when they said it would only take 20-30 minutes to fix and an hour later the guy came out and said were you called, its been done for awhile?? I could have, but I didn't. Acknowledging God's hand at work with each small event that took place today allowed me to sit back and thank him, with a positive attitude. In the end, everything turned out fine. 

I must learn from today. I must agree with God's purpose, even though it may not be in my plan right now or in two weeks. His plan is perfect and He wants me to trust Him and He will place all the pieces together to create something far better than I could ever imagine.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


The “Go” of Unconditional Identification

One thing you lack…come, take up the cross, and follow me. –Mark 10:21

Jesus’ primary consideration is my absolute annihilation of my right to myself and my identification with Him, which means having a relationship with Him in which there are no other relationships. Very few of us truly know what is meant by the absolute “go” of unconditional identification with, and abandonment and surrender to, Jesus.

I must humble myself until I am merely a living person. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Sept. 28)

As I read the last sentence of this devotion, the book that I am reading with my bible study came to mind as we just concluded two chapters on humility. The following quotes are taken from Gary Thomas' book The Glorious Pursuit.

"Humility is the disposition that makes us available to be blessed by God. The Psalms seem obsessed with God's eagerness to reach out to the humble: God saves the humble, guides the humble, sustains the humble, and even crowns the humble. Notice that everything flows from God to the humble servant." (pg 50)

"Humility is thinking less about yourself, not thinking less of yourself." (pg 52)

"When we become content to live in the present, God has given us our lives back in a vivid way; we no longer destroy the present by looking fora better future or a more celebrated now. We are set free to live the life that God crated uniquely for us." (pg 53)

"If you want to practice humility, learn how to remember God." (pg 60)

"I know I will never become humble, as a permanent state, but I need to learn to practice humility, and that can only be done through the routine, small acts of life in which I put others first." (pg 63)

"...practicing humility means we become open to considering the fact that there is almost always another angle we're missing." (pg 63)

"The beauty of humility is that we become empowered to respect others. Relationships are based on entering into other people's lives, but when we're so focused on ourselves, it is impossible to empty ourselves enough to care about someone else....God wants to gives us our lives, families, and relationships back, and HE wants to do it through planting humility in our hearts. In place of an ugly, controlling spirit, God can give us a generous and humble heart- a beautiful spirit." (pg 65)

As I read through these quotes again, I am overwhelmed by my lack of humility that I display everyday. How often I think of myself first above others. What do I want, what's best for me, what's comfortable for me? "Me" is not important, but rather my relationship with Jesus is. And when my relationship with Jesus is right, everything else is about others because that's who Jesus is in me. Jesus practiced humility in everything he did. I must acknowledge Jesus in everything I do, for in His power, I too can practice humility to others. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Banana Foster

I must admit, I was totally going to do this with a recipe...but when one of the main ingredients (brown sugar) was bad in my cupboard...I had to make due because the butter was already melting and the bananas were cut. So what was I going to do?? Every recipe called for brown sugar! Here's my take on Banana's Foster...and I must say it was quite delicious and alcohol free!

1 Banana
4 tbsp Butter...I've watched a few Paula Deen episodes today!
1 tbsp Vanilla
1 tsp Cinnamon (actually about 4-5 shakes)
1 1/2 tbsp Sugar
and 2-3 scoops of french vanilla ice cream

Melt the butter. Place sliced banana pieces into the butter and stir for about 2 minutes. Pour in vanilla, cinnamon and sugar and stir for 1 min. Pour over ice cream and enjoy!

I too must spread my wings and fly.

 I love the rain. Windows are cracked and I can hear the wind blowing as the rain falls on my tin roof. As the wind gushes by, as the rain pours and the clouds move quickly through the sky I can't help but think of my Creator. Such a beautiful trickling sound above me. A blue bird has perched itself right outside my window on a light under cover, waiting for the rain to stop so that it can go out and find it's food that will be flourishing after this storm. The wonder of God's creation. It is in these moments of solitude where the rain is falling and the wind is blowing and no other sound can be heard that I sense God's presence so clearly. He is with me.

Today I got to spend a day resting. Walking has never really been defined as something restful to do but due to rain falling earlier in the week I needed to get one more walk in. And the rain held out for me to get a good 40 min walk in. I've done a whole lot of nothing since, except take a shower and eat. I did, however, spend some time uploading pictures to an internet website to clear up some memory on my computer and came across a document that I didn't realize I had. As I read through it, I realized that I was in one of the toughest situations I have ever been in and trusted God the most. I kept saying, " have to let go, you have to give this situation to God and not try in your own power to fix it". Such strength in God was present that as I read it I could hear the sorrow in my own voice as God slowly intervened and began talking. I was in so much pain that I had no other choice but to give the situation to God.

As I think back to those words (which are now discarded) and think about the storm that is brewing outside, I can't help but feel as though I am that bird. I am sitting, barely under cover, and all around me the storm is brewing. Rain is falling, wind is blowing and I look out and I'm scared. But God has equipped that bird with all that it needs to weather the storm. The bird has the ability to fly through the wind, to be carried by it in fact, and go to a place where the storm is not as strong. With such ease, the bird left it's comfort of the cover and flew out into the storm. I too must spread my wings and fly. I must trust God through the storm that's brewing even though it looks scary and impossible, He has equipped me with all I need to survive.

The “Go” of Renunciation

Lord, I will follow You wherever You go. –Luke 9:57

Never apologize for your Lord. The words of the Lord hurt and offend until there is nothing left to be hurt or offended. Jesus Christ had no tenderness whatsoever toward anything that was ultimately going to ruin a person in his service to God. If the Spirit of God brings to your mind a word of the Lord that hurts you, you can be sure that there is something in you that He wants to hurt to the point of death. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Sept 27)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Down to the Roots

The “Go” of Relationship

And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” –Matthew 5:41

No amount of enthusiasm will ever stand up to the strain that Jesus Christ will put upon His servant. Only one thing will bear the strain, and that is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ Himself- a relationship that has been examined, purified, and tested until only one purpose remains and I can truly say, “I am here for God to send me where He will.” Everything else may become blurred, but this relationship with Jesus Christ must never be. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Sept. 25)

What a challenge. I must admit my attitude about missions has not been very good lately. I'm struggling with making sure that it is God's will for me to go. As I read the quote in this devotion, I don't believe I can say it aloud and mean it. I must submit my life; which shouldn't be that difficult because it belongs to Jesus anyway, but the human side of me is having a really hard time with it. At this moment, I don't think whether I go or stay is the main issue. If my relationship with Christ is where it should be, I probably wouldn't be struggling with fighting Him because I would understand what He wants and that would align with mine. Deep down I believe it's fear that is holding me back, thinking if I stay away from God that I won't have to acknowledge the possibility of His will. Truth says that His Will is way better than my best. So why wouldn't I want to submit to the God who has a perfect plan for my life, one better than I could even imagine? Because I'm human and think this world is about me. News flash to myself, it's all about Jesus!

Gary Thomas sums it up quite well in his book I am studying with my bible study called The Glorious Pursuit; "We erect dams every ten inches so we can "control" what God has given to us" (pg 55). How true is that for my life. This idea of control I believe is a sin. If I think back to the garden where Adam and Eve faced the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they were struggling with the possibility of controlling the situation. By turning the other way would have left God in control. They chose their own idea, thinking that more knowledge would lead to a better future. If I take that example and look at my own life, choosing my own idea may give me more knowledge of my future (I will have decided and know what is to come) but that may not be the best plan that God has for me. There is a reason that we were not given the knowledge of our futures, but I must rest in the fact that God has a plan for my life, one that is unique for me. I will conclude with another quote from Thomas' book that I believe summarizes this well;

"When we become content to live in the present, God has given us our lives back in a vivid way; we no longer destroy the present by looking for a better future or a more celebrated now. We are set free to live the life that God created uniquely for us." (pg 53)

Challenge to myself: To let go of the control and fear that is pushing me away from my Savior and to run back to Him, for His arms are open and ready. My heart must be laid bare before Him and I must admit my unbelief and lack of trust to the only One who can water our relationship so that something beautiful can be produced. For I am nothing without Him. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

...don't just admit it- confess it.

The "Go" of Preparation

Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. -Matthew 5:23-24

The "go" of preparation is to allow the Word of God to examine you closely. Do you have anything to hide from God? If you do, then let God search you with His light. If there is sin in your life, don't just admit it- confess it. Are you willing to obey your Lord and Master? (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Sept 24) 

This morning before I left for work, I decided to open my Bible (definitely a good move!) and asked that God would lay upon my heart a verse that would change my attitude. (If you've read the last two posts you would see why, if you haven't I'll just tell you, it needed changing!) And of course God was faithful and provided two verses that I clung to today and will have forever (for they are hanging on a card on my desk at work)... and they are both from the book of Colossians:

Therefore as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. -Col 3:12

There is so much hope in this verse you really can't read it and not be changed. One, we are chosen. Not everyone has the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, it truely is a gift that we must not take for granted. And if being chosen isn't enough, this verse goes on to say that we are holy and dearly loved. Another word for holy is perfect, we are perfectly loved by God. By God who created the universe, who is all knowing and all powerful loves you and loves me...perfectly. And dearly. When I see the word dearly as part of how God loves us, I think personal. When I write a note or email, I usually phrase it, "dear....". There's a level of closeness when the word dearly is used, what a realization that our Lord not only loves us perfectly, but personally too. And because we are chosen and holy and dearly loved, Paul says that we must clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Pretty sure I could go on for awhile on each of those attributes that God fully holds that we strive for, but I as I think about this idea of striving, a quote from a book I'm reading I think sums it up perfectly... and of course I can't find it! But I will summarize it by saying that as we strive to reach perfection in Christ, in our knowledge of Him, we are already perfect in Christ because of what He did for us. If we were to go to heaven at this moment we would be no less perfect that if we were to go in 50 years. Those 50 hears of striving to know Christ more and imitate Him better would make us no more "perfect" for God. At this very moment we have all we need. There is so much comfort found in that truth. It's not something that takes energy to clothe yourself in such qualities as it is a desire and a want to do so. It was a joy today to practice these qualities among those I was in contact with.

And the second verse was: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as your reward. -Col 3:23

I realized after reading this verse that I had gotten caught up in work being "work" rather than service to God. Getting paid for ministry is a huge blessing, but there is a real challenge that goes with it. My attitude of service to the Lord had been refocused on serving people. I was striving for people's praise instead of God's. (see yesterday's post)...This verse changed my whole perspective today as I saw the list of to-do's as work for the Lord that I am so blessed to be able to do for Him. Yesterday it felt like a burden, today it felt like a pleasure. How transforming His words are to us... I am so thankful for my Bible and definitely take it for granted at times. It really holds everything I need to live this life and God is willing to help me along, if I only turn to Him. The weight is getting lighter, the hole less deep, the outlook more positive.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

All I wanna do is make You smile

The Missionary's Goal

"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem." -Luke 18:31

In the Christian life the goal is given at the very beginning, and the beginning and the end are exactly the same, namely, our Lord Himself. We start with Christ and we end with Him, not simply to our own idea of what the Christian life should be. The goal of the missionary is to do God's will, not to be useful or to win the lost. A missionary is useful and he does win the lost, but his goal is to do the will of his Lord. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Sept 23)

Unto you by Shane & Shane
Helper, keeper, protector, preserver, pro-vi-der
You are my all all the time, with-out rest

Yeshua x4

Unto you be glory, glory
Unto you be ho - nor
Unto you be praises, Jesus
For-ever and ev-er

All I wanna do is exalt you
All I wanna do is lift you high
All I wanna do is please you, Lord
All I wanna do is make you smile

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. -Psalm 68:19

After yesterday and the encouragement that I got from my amazing friend and the even better encouragement that I got from Jesus, I really thought today was going to be much better. But when you are trying to climb out of a hole that has been dug multiple feet down, one day of surrender is not enough to get you to level ground again. Yesterday was a great start, and I don't believe today dug deeper down, but it definitely was a struggle. After confusion over directions with a certain task today at work I felt utterly defeated. The tears that I desired yesterday, flowed today like a waterfall. I felt misunderstood, lied to, and beyond frustrated that I had let yet another person down. I realized, as I sat their crying, that I desperately desire to please others, including Jesus. It was the lyrics to the song above that hit a nerve. All I wanna do is exalt you, lift you high, please you, Lord, and make you smile. That is the most amazing way to put how I felt. And when I feel as though I have let a person down, I feel as though I have let Jesus down. And this evening as I was flipping through the Psalms, I came across Psalm 68:19 and felt a bit of relief. That burden that I feel of letting someone down, including God, must be taken to Him. If I desire to climb out of this hole, I must start laying my burdens down at Jesus' feet.

Which leads me to Chambers, devotion for today. The last sentence I made bold because it spoke directly to me. I am useful and He has plans for me to further His Kingdom, but in order to feel relief from the burden of all that that entails, I must solely desire to be in His will. If I am in His will then I will Exalt Him, Lift Him high, Please Him, and make Him smile. That just makes the tears want to come all over again. I really can't comprehend the amount of patience God has with His children. Whether I am here or across the ocean, I am still a missionary, on a mission to fulfill His will for my life. It's moments like this where I must acknowledge exactly where I am so that in days, months or years to come when I find myself with this same feeling, I know that He doesn't need me to "work" to be useful or stress over people knowing Him. He is the one that changes hearts, He is the one that allows plans to come together or fall apart, He is the one that sends His Holy Spirit to dwell within us so that He can be apart of us. I only must submit to the will of the Holy Spirit and the desire that He gives me to serve and fulfill His will.

I'm bound to let down people in the future, including Jesus because I am not perfect and extremely hard on myself. And when I realize that has happened, I must do as Psalm 68:19 says and bring the burden to the Lord and lay it down. I must then turn to the Holy Spirit and ask that He place His will within my heart so that I can refocus my attention back on what matters, instead of dwelling on the burden. With my eyes focused back on Jesus, I am bound to make Him smile. :)

Here's the link to the video if you desire to listen to this amazing song!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Missionaries Predestined Purpose

The Missionaries Predestined Purpose

"And now the LORD says, who formed ME from the womb to be His Servant..." -Isaiah 49:5

   We must continually keep our soul open to the face of God's creative purpose and never confuse or cloud it with our own intentions. If we do, God will have to force our intentions aside no matter how much it may hurt. A missionary is created for the purpose of being God's servant, one in whom god is glorified.
   Beware lest you forget God's purpose for your life. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Sept 21)

My hope tonight is to begin a 2 week daily time by using Chamber's book of daily devotions to refocus my thoughts back on God and off myself. I must admit, more for myself as I look back on this post, that this morning, I was at a point that I really didn't recognize myself. Everything I did, or thought about doing made me feel overwhelmed. I was getting frustrated over the smallest things and nervous about every little thing that is possibly to come. But that changed today, with lots of questions, probing and 2 tears :) I became aware that I was trying to control every little thing in my life. I worried over possibilities due to my inability and thinking that I would have to do it alone and in my own strength. Realizing that change must happen in order for me to react different, there must be an inner change of mind, heart and soul as well as an outer change in my habits.

So after reading this devotion, I chose to read the entire chapter of Isaiah 49.

Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations; Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor. But I said, "I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me in the lord's hand, and my reward is with my God. 

And now the Lord says- he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord and my God has been my strength- he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth. 

This is what the Lords says- the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel- to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: "Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.

I was thinking about what I was so wrapped up in, and a couple things in this chapter really stood out to me (Those underlined above).  I was really worried that God was going to give me a task that I couldn't accomplish. I have asked the question many times when it comes to missions, why me? The verses in Exodus where God calls out Moses come to mind each time. Moses gave God every possibly reason why  He was incapable of completing the task that God had given him. To every excuse, God had an answer. First, if Moses (and I) would pay better attention, we would see that God said from the beginning that He was the one who would rescue them (not us)...I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good an spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey (Ex 3:7-8). Who heard the crying, who is concerned, who is going to rescue people from their sins? Not Moses and certainly not I, but the hands of the Lord; all we are called to be are servants. Moses goes on to say, Who am I, that I should go...?(Ex 3:11), Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you" and they ask me, "What is his name?" Then what shall I tell them?(Ex 3:13), What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, "The Lord did not appear to you?"(Ex 4:1), O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue(Ex4:10), O lord, please send someone else to do it.(Ex 4:13)... His words ring too true to my own.

But what I learn from Moses' life was that God did not change Moses into a person who knew all the answers or had perfect speech to accomplish His goal. God used Moses just the way He was because He only needed him to be a light, to put aside his own intentions "no matter how much it may hurt" (Chambers) so that the Lord could use him for the purpose that He created him for, as Isaiah said, "Before [he] was born".

So, this is only a start, but I do feel as though I am on the right track back to the person that I am fully in Christ. I must acknowledge that to make excuses, to worry, to be frustrated and to ignore things is not going to make them go away or make any situation better. I must let go of my plans, I must let go of my intentions in order to allow God to use me for His purposes so that His name is glorified. God is faithful, and He has chosen me to be His child, to be able to know Him, grow closer in likeness to him, while having all that I need in Him to have a forever relationship. To begin to doubt this God has left me feeling empty, alone and scared. I'm ready to trust Him, for He promises that when we trust in Him and lean not on our own understanding, when we acknowledge Him in all that we do, He will make our path straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6

Saturday, April 7, 2012

With His hands...

What produces Joy? Just thinking the word and I get a sense of Hope, Calmness, a release of burdens. Why does the word Joy just bring a smile to my face? 

I must admit, coming into this day, even into these moments of time with Jesus, I wasn't really sure what I was looking for. Even after I have read, listened, prayed, and meditated on what Jesus did for me, I sat down to write and wasn't even sure where to start. So I thought about what I had read, listed to, prayed about and meditated on and instantly I felt Joy. But why?

In the past week or so, I have put off doing my quiet time. Allowing other things to "fill" the time, hoping for renewal, and instead feeling more tired than I had when I begun. It amazes me each time I switch my thinking and realize that sitting in front of the tv or reading a "good" book is not refueling. Even though I am sitting there wasting away little physical energy doing such things, my spiritual energy is depleting even faster. When my soul is full with truth, comfort and trust, I feel refueled... I feel Joy. 

As I was listening to the song by JJ Heller called Your Hands, a few lyrics stood out to me.

Your Hands- JJ Heller
“When my world is shaking, Heaven stands. When my heart is breaking, I never leave your hands.”
“When you walk upon the Earth, you healed broken, lost and hurt. I know you hate to see me cry, one day you will set all things right, yea one day you will set all things right.”
“Your hands, your hands that shaped that the world, are holding me, hold me still. Your hands that shaped the world, are holding me, hold me still.”

And so I thought about those hands and discovered: With His hands He created the Earth. With His hands, he bore the nails that held Him to the Cross so that He could carry my sins to death. With His hands, he reached out to calm the storm that holds me scared. With those same hands, He Saved Me.

How precious are those hands. Hands that can be stretched out as if to say, “Come to me with your burdens”. Hands that can be put together as if to say, “Pray, in My name, for I came to provide a way for you to have communion with my Father forever”. Hands that can be lifted as if to say, “I will Worship you now and always”.

His hands held out are the what I run to when I feel as I do now that remind me that His hands and His heart are the only things that can refuel me, only things that can bring me Joy.

Jesus, my Savior and my God. I desire to bring you all that is on my mind, all the burdens that I carry and lay them down at your feet. The daily tasks feel overwhelming, certain one’s I desire no more to accomplish. I pray that you would take those away or that you would change my heart and mind. Either way help me to be grateful for the opportunities you grant me to serve You. I ask you to direct my steps so that I am within your will for me each day. I also want to lift up my future to You Jesus. Help me to rest in the fact that You know my future, you have planned my future from before I was even born, from before this Earth was even created. Help me to be grateful for my future, whatever that looks like, knowing that ultimately my path leads to You. What a sweet reminder of just how amazing you are. You have purposes for us to accomplish on this Earth, but nothing is as great as running the race to the finish line. My life is a race, one that is meant to be run with one pace, not speeding and then snail crawling.

And Jesus, I must take a few moments to recognize what today and tomorrow mean. Easter is such a Joy to celebrate because the story didn’t end with your death. The end of the story is life, because you conquered it. Your plan from Creation to now is being accomplished and I praise you for the privilege to share this great news with so many. As we celebrate your risen life, Lord Jesus I pray that many would come to put them trust in You. I pray that your Holy Spirit would be alive in me as well as the other teachers and helpers, preachers and deacons so that many can know you as their Savior and their God. Give us the Joy only you can provide by seeing people’s eyes open for the first time. Help us to be aware of doubts and questions and give us Your words so that only truth is spoken. Remind us that the story doesn’t end with getting saved but rather growing and sharing our Hope and Joy with others as well.

I’m so thankful for what you did on the Cross for me. I’m so thankful that you didn’t stay dead, but that you rose again. Use my hands today and tomorrow to be your servant, to do your will, to fulfill your plans and to accomplish your desires. May you be glorified in all I do.

It is in your precious name that I pray,

Saturday April 7, 2012
"Fear is just a lie" video journal by Tenth Avenue North for the song "Strong Enough to Save"
"Strong Enough to  Save" song

Sermon "Be Grateful" by Pete Wilson, Cross Point Church
- You can't be grateful for something you feel entitled to.
- We start to focus on the gifts rather than the giver.
- Gratitude is not based on how good your situation is but on how good you SEE your situation to be.
- Has the gift become a burden?

Reading of Jesus last days by Mark (Chapters 11-16)

Lesson Planning for Easter :)

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