Thursday, May 29, 2014

Disappointed??



The word "disappointment" means "A feeling of dissatisfaction when one’s hopes, desires, and expectations fail to come to pass." When God somehow fails to satisfy our hopes or doesn't live up to our expectations, disappointment inevitably follows. If God doesn't perform in the manner we think He should, we are disillusioned with Him and dissatisfied with His performance. This can lead to wavering faith in God, especially in His sovereignty and His goodness. 

When God doesn't act when we think He should act, it isn't because He is unable to do so. Rather, He simply chooses not to. While this might seem an arbitrary or capricious act on His part, the exact opposite is true. God chooses to act or not to act according to His perfect and holy will in order to bring about His righteous purposes. Nothing happens that is out of God’s plan. He has control of every molecule that floats around in the universe, and God’s will encompasses every act and decision made by every person throughout the world at all times. He tells us in Isaiah 46:11, “From the east
I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.” Even the birds are somehow part of His foreordained plan. Furthermore, there are times when He chooses to let us know His plans (Isaiah 46:10) and times when He does not. Sometimes we understand what He is doing; sometimes we do not (Isaiah 55:9). One thing we do know for sure: if we belong to Him, whatever He does will be to our benefit, whether we understand it or not (Romans 8:28). 

The key to avoiding disappointment with God is to align our wills with His and to submit to His will in all things. Doing so will not only keep us from being disappointed with God, but it will also preclude grumbling and complaining about the events that occur in our lives. The Israelites in the desert griped and questioned God on several occasions, despite having seen miraculous displays of His power in the parting of the Red Sea, the provision of manna and quail in the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord that followed them in the form of a pillar of fire(Exodus 15–16; Numbers 14:2-37). Despite God’s continual faithfulness to His people, they grumbled and were disappointed with God because He did not act as they thought He should. Rather than submitting to His will and trusting Him, they were in a constant state of turmoil and confusion. 


When we align our wills with God’s will and when we can say, with Jesus, “Not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42), then we find the contentment Paul spoke of in 1 Timothy 6:6-10 and Philippians 4:11-12. Paul had learned to be content with whatever God sent his way. He trusted God and submitted to His will, knowing that a holy, righteous, perfect, loving, and merciful God would work all things together for his good because that is what He promised. When we see God in that light, we can’t possibly be disappointed with Him. Rather, we submit willingly to our heavenly Father, knowing that His will is perfect and that everything He brings to pass in our lives will be for our good and for His glory.




Got Questions?? www.gotquestions.org 
Need prayer? http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/prayerandcounseling/ 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Hand of Hope


[This is an older post, but none the less, it is still encouraging... so I decided to re-post it on here]

HAND OF HOPE

I was working with a patient in clinical today and the inspiration of this story has compelled me to share it.

Today, I met an 83 y/o woman whose optimism about her recovery permeated the hospital room. Her determination to overcome her mountainous illness was contagious. As the students and myself encouraged her to keep pushing toward her goal she insisted, "I WILL get better and walk out of here". While I can't explain her condition to you, just know that her agility was remarkable progression for her age and condition.

As we marveled at her strong will and optimistic outlook, we asked her where her strength came from. She reached down into her purse and called us to huddle around her. She pulled out this tiny picture below and told us a story...

The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by a surgeon named Joseph Bruner.

The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother's womb. Little Samuel's mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta. She knew of Dr. Bruner's remarkable surgical procedure. Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, he performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb.

During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby. During the surgery on little Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed, hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon's finger.

The photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity. The editors titled the picture, "Hand of Hope." The text explaining the picture begins:

"The tiny hand of 21-week-old fetus Samuel Alexander Armas emerges from the mother's uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking the doctor for the gift of life."

As the patient showed us this picture she said, "Looking at this tiny 21-week-old baby gives me motivation to go on."

No matter what you are going through in life, whether it be a debilitating illness, a loss, or temporary hardship, let this story encourage you to press on no matter how difficult or impossible the situation may seem. All things are possible with Christ. Our creator put you here for a purpose (Jeremiah 29:11) and has a plan and purpose for you. He sees your every trial and is walking beside you AND when you can't walk... He is carrying you! He will always be your strength in times of weakness! 


Abide in Him and He will carry you 
through the storm! 

"But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!" 
- 2 Corinthians 12:9




TIME



“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you." 
- Psalm 39:4-5

"Walk in wisdom... making the best use of the time." 
- Col. 4:5



So - I keep setting an alarm on the ipad to 'talk to God' every night and I've been about 7% successful in the past few weeks. I find that every time the reminder goes off I am doing something, so I hit ignore. Most of the time I never get around to doing it.

I've been convicted of not giving God enough 'personal' time for awhile now and watching sermons and reading His word doesn't count. For me, I need to be in 'prayer' with Him more and even though I talk with Him throughout the day, it's not enough. Lately, I've been really inspired by Billy Grahams life and passion for Christ and a couple from Faith Assembly who started a ministry in Columbia. (Take a moment to check out their site and please consider donating something... even if it's only $5... I laid in bed last night and as I looked up at the ceiling our central air kicked on. I thought, I have a cooling system that automatically turns on and cools my house if a certain temperature is reached. I AM rich!!! I was reminded of a kitchen that looked like a dungeon in one of the photos on their website and I felt convicted. Those people have nothing. God expects us to share what we have for His Glory. We donated today. I hope you'll do the same.


Home - Stirling Ministries

View on stmin.org

Getting back to being inspired by these true followers of Christ... Do you know what it takes... what kind of 'love' for Christ and others you must have to devote your WHOLE day to HIS cause??? I look at Billy G. and he went on crusade after crusade... all his time and energy... all for Christ - not himself! It just inspires me so much to want to do more for Him.

Sooo - I printed out this sign and I am going to hang it on my kitchen cabinet so I do not waste anymore time (that's what the clock is for in the printout below). Ryan recently moved our clock into the bedroom and for the first few nights all I could hear was tick-tock, tick-tock. I thought, "Every second that passes I could never get back. Am I really using all my time to the best of my ability?" Time is so valuable and I want to stop wasting it. Every second that passes is one more second closer to Christ's return. This puts the focus on all the unsaved people (that's what the other picture represents). I need to put God's will before everything. So many things consume my time... but He should get the most of it.

Well, just thought I'd briefly share what was on my mind ;o) Hope it makes sense. I am a huuuge procrastinator... so please pray for me that I use my time wisely and also... that everything I have... money, time, talent, etc. is used for the Lord.

Here is my pic that I'll be hanging, lol...


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Godly Home





Family

Family is defined as: The basic "unit" of society. A unit is a group of individuals that together constitute a "whole". As individuals, we are weak... but as a unit, we are strong. It is true that there is strength in numbers. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, "Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done. If one person falls, the other person can reach out to help. But woe to those who are alone for when they fall they have no one to help them".  



A strong, Godly family can accomplish great things. Satan knows the value of the family, how it is the fabric of a good solid society, the foundation of vibrant growing assemblies, and the future of God's work on earth. If Satan can be successful in tearing down the structure and substance of the family unit, then he will be successful in damaging what is dear to God's heart. 



Satan's initial attack on mankind and the family occurred in the Garden of Eden. Remember, man was created in the "image & likeness of God" (Genesis 1:27); therefore, Satan hates us. It was in the Garden that Satan worked his deception and destroyed the harmony of the first marriage. In disobeying God, Adam and Eve plunged themselves into slavery in the "kingdom of darkness". 
Notice the serpent "between" Adam and Eve in the picture above? Satan's tactic has always been to "Divide and conquer"

Satan's attack on the family continues today. There are signs of his handy-work all around us. He is very busy trying to bring to pass divorce, marital problems, sibling rivalry, division between parents and children, and family strife. 


Divide 
&
Conquer!


'Divide and conquer' is a classic military strategy, one in which Satan utilizes himself in spiritual warfare. The concept is to separate a larger force into smaller pieces making the enemy weaker and more vulnerable to multiple attacks; thus, making it more manageable to conquer! 
Gods word says, "It is not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). Isolation is key in war. Satan likes to cut off/separate and isolate us... that way it's easier to weaken us and claim victory.

We must be alert and watchful for Satan's tactics. A strong, Godly family that walks in love is a major threat to the enemy. God's plan is agreement, harmony, and unity - a family joined together as one whose purpose is to do the will of the Father. Mercy needs to be abundant in our homes. Minor issues should be overlooked.

Mother Theresa of Calcutta said, "A family that prays together stays together. If they stay together, they will love each other... just as God has loved each one of them. And works of love are always works of peace".



Allow Jesus to be the Head of every area of your home. Have some house rules that get everybody involved in keeping the home a place of peace. Here are some tips from Joyce Meyer on peaceful living:

1. Speak in voice tones that bring peace. Avoid being harsh.
2. Build each other; don't tear down. Be positive.
3. Work together to keep order.
4. Have fun together on a regular basis. Laugh - it's good medicine!
5. Be merciful, freely forgiving because God has freely forgiven each of you.
6. Be slow to anger, slow to speak, and quick to listen.
7. Be slow to take offense.
8. Judge not.
9. Arrange your schedule so you don't have to hurry all the time.
10. Don't worry!

If there is conflict in your family - forgive one another, pray for one another, and leave it to God to transform hearts! There is nothing our God cannot do! Satan would love you to forever hold on to offenses. He loves to nail grudges, bitterness and resentment on the doorway of our hearts. But don't let him... Instead, follow God's word...




Father,

I pray for your love and grace to fill the hearts and homes of every family in the world. Wherever there is conflict, I pray you rain peace. Wherever there is cruelty, I pray you rain kindness. Wherever there is hopelessness, I pray you rain hope. Wherever there are wounds, may you mend them with your love. In Jesus name, I pray you protect every family from the attacks of the evil one and bring them all to the knowledge of the saving grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Amen.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Celebrate God's Creation






Abba...

All of creation celebrates Your glory and dances with a heart of joy in Your presence. I watch in awe from this window, at the breath-taking beauty created by Your word. 
"By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible" 
- Hebrews 11:3
Even the trees know your love for them. Your whispering wind gently cradles each delicate branch with care.  They sway ever so gracefully to natures lullaby, which is delightfully sung by a multitude of praising birds. 

Even they can’t stay quite in Your presence! How their heavenly melodies seem to carry away the heavy sorrows of this world.

Oh, How You don’t miss a thing! How You care and provide for all things! Nothing is of insignificance to You... nothing.


I gaze across rolling fields of lustrous green. My eyes are drawn to a colorful bed of flowers, arrayed in deep purples, shades of blue, and a hue of yellow. The sweet fragrance of Your presence envelops every flower. Not one petal is left untouched by Your radiant glow.


Basking in Your glory, one by one, they desperately reach upward towards You, seeking Your face! If only we would emulate these flowers, and constantly look upward to heaven… seeking only You… we would shine with a similar blinding radiance.


Help me to remember Father, that those who shine brightest are those who spend the most time in the light. Teach me be a beacon of light; to walk with You daily, spending all my waking moments with gratefulness, and always contemplating on Your greatness. How I love You and pray to live a life that glorifies You like all of Your creation does!


And a fine finish to this glorious day... 
A beautiful bouquet of flowers from my son, Jayden. I am so grateful for my family.




Wednesday, May 29, 2013

GPS: God's Positioning System


We are exactly where God intended us to be 




The place in which you find yourself, is exactly where the master desires you to live your life. "Thou cam'st not to thy place by accident: It is the very place God meant for thee."There is no haphazard in this world. 

God leads every one of his children by the right way. He knows where and under what influences each particular life will ripen best. One tree grows best in the sheltered valley, another by the water's edge, another on the bleak mountain-top swept by storms. There is always adaptation in nature. 

Every tree or plant is found in the locality where the conditions of its growth exist, and does God give more thought to the trees and plants than to his own children? He places us amid circumstances and experiences in which our life will grow and ripen best. We may think we would ripen more quickly in a more easy and luxurious life, but God knows what is best; he makes no mistakes.


There is a little fable which says that a primrose growing by itself in a shady corner of the garden became discontented as it saw the other flowers in their beds of sunshine, and begged to be removed to a more conspicuous place. Its prayer was granted. The gardener transplanted it to a more showy and sunny spot. It was greatly pleased, but there came a change over it immediately. 

Its blossoms lost much of their beauty and it became pale and sickly. 

The hot sun caused them to faint and wither. So it prayed again to be taken back to its old place in the shade. The wise gardner knows best where to plant each flower, and so God, knows where his people will best grow into what he would have them to be. Some require the fierce storms, some will only thrive spiritually in the shadow of worldly adversity, and some come to ripeness more sweetly under the soft and gentle influences of prosperity whose beauty rough experiences would mar. He knows what is best for each one.


When God chooses a home for us, he fits us for its trials. He adapts his grace to each one's necessity. For rough, flinty paths, he provides shoes of iron. He never sends any one to climb sharp, rugged mountain-sides wearing silken slippers. He gives always grace sufficient. As the burden grows heavier, the strength increases. 
As the difficulties thicken, the angels draws closer. 

As the trials become sorer, the trusting heart grows calmer.

Jesus always sees his disciples when they are toiling in the waves, and at the right moment comes to deliver them. Thus, it becomes possible to live a true and victorious life in any circumstances.
Instead, then, of yielding to discouragement when trials multiply and it becomes hard to live right, or of being satisfied with a broken peace and a very faulty life, it should be the settled purpose of each one to live, through the grace of God, a patient, gentle and unspotted life in the place and amid the circumstances allotted. The true victory is not found in escaping or evading trials, but in rightly meeting and enduring them.

The tree that grows where tempests toss its boughs and bend its trunk, often almost to breaking, is more firmly rooted than the tree which grows in the sequestered valley where no storm every brings stress or strain. 

The same is true in life. The grandest character is grown in hardship. Effeminacy springs out of luxury. The best men the world ever knew have been brought up in the school of adversity and hardship. 

Besides, it is no heroism to live patiently where there is no provocation, bravely where there is nothing to perturb. Not the hermit's cave, but the heart of busy life, tests as well as makes character. If we can live patiently, lovingly and cheerfully amid all our frets and irritations day after day, year after year, that is grander heroism than the farthest-famed military exploits, for he that ruleth his own spirit is better than he that taketh a city.

Yet we must keep through all a brave heart, an unfaltering purpose and a calm, joyful confidence in God. Temporary defeat should only cause us to lean on Christ more fully. Heaven is on the side of every one who is loyally struggling to do the divine will and to grow into Christ-likeness  And that means assured victory to every one whose heart fails not.


"If only we strive to be pure and true,
To each of us there will come an hour
When the tree of life shall burst into flower,
And rain at our feet the glorious dower
Of something grander than ever we knew."

-unknown author



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Glorifying or Gratifying?




If you take notice, the description under my blog title reads: 
"Learning how to bring glory to God as we live our lives together one day at a time". 
As a Christian, this is my life goal - but what does this look like to the average person? A few things may come to mind such as,  A+ church attendance, volunteering for community outreaches, Sunday school teaching, attending bible studies, witnessing, being nice to people, reading your bible everyday, going on mission trips, etc. Basically, a lot of things the public mostly sees... right? While all these things are great, God has been shifting the focus for me lately.

I have been contemplating different ways I can bring God glory - with my 'private life' being the focal point. Our private life is an accurate gauge as to where we are spiritually vs. where we may 'appear' to be publicly.  God cares more about what we do and think in secret than we know. Matthew 7:21-23 is a good lesson in the importance of our private life vs. our public life. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the person who does what my Father in heaven wants. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name? Didn't we force out demons and do many miracles by the power and authority of your name?’ Then I will tell them publicly, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you evil people.’ These people 'publicly' confessed their belief that the Lord was their Savior, along with the public display of miracles; however, look how the Lord responds to them on judgement day. He says, "I will tell them 'publicly' I never knew you." The problem with these people is that their works were not a true reflection of what was in their hearts. While they had an 'appearance' of righteousness, their hearts were far from Christ. Only He knows our hearts. "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve" (Jeremiah 17:10). 

I don't want to be partially, yet *fully* committed to the Lord, in that my private life matches my public life. To truly have a heart for God, you must realize that every little decision you make affects your walk with the Lord. Every sinful choice means we have to override our conscious *every* single time. Ultimately, our decision will either Gratify our Flesh or Glorify our God. 

Speaking of decisions -  a few nights ago, my husband and I wanted to see a movie. We made the decision to glorify God and not our flesh by looking up the contents of the movie before viewing it (this counts for redbox/rentals as well). *Note* MPAA ratings are a worldly perspective as to what is/isn't acceptable. I have seen plenty PG/PG-13 movies that had inappropriate material. God's word tells us exactly what is acceptable and non-acceptable to Him. A movie does not have to be a 'Christian' movie for us to view it; however, the contents should meet God's standards based on His word. Here is God's MPAA rating scale as to what we should watch and listen to.



Let me ask you a question - what movies have you gone to see recently? What TV shows have you been meditating on? Was everything in it pure, honorable and praiseworthy? Would you have taken Jesus to see that movie or invited Him over to watch that episode? Obeying this concept really limits what my husband and I watch - and I will admit - it's hard at times. When we do see something inappropriate, we turn our heads. When I think of the grand scheme of things, it is extremely selfish to whine about sacrificing something so simple compared to Christ sacrificing His life for us. It's just a movie - we can't keep it or take it with us.




I don't know where you live, but currently playing in our theaters are: Epic, fast and furious, The Hang over part three, Star Trek into darkness, the great Gatsby, and pain and gain.

I want to share a site we use as a guideline for movie viewing: www.IMDB.com There are many others, but we use this the most. I encourage you to type your movie in and scroll all the way down to where it says:

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Parents Guide:

  »
You may be surprised at what you find and... if you are serious about having a closer walk with God, this is a decision that will glorify Him. 

Continuing with decisions... I do not always make good ones! Today my husband and I fell short when we got into an argument over something so ridiculously, trivial. Are you ready for this? It was over a spot on the backseat of our car! Yes, I told you it was stupid! Out of anger/frustration, we both said something to one another that definitely was not glorifying to God. Pray for me (and my husband) because I want to have more control over my tongue and emotions. If anyone else struggles with *SPEECH* here are some good verses to mediate on:


Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up others according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Matthew 12:36
But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the Day of Judgment.

It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
  1.  Our speech shows are heart.
  2. “Unclean” refers to anything that Moses’ Teachings say is not presentable to God.
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
a.      If displeasing, unclean things come out of our heart/mouth, then we do not love God completely (with all our heart, soul and mind).

Psalm 39:1

I will watch my ways   and keep my tongue from sin; 
I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.

John 14:26 

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Lastly, to touch on a few more decsions... we glorified God by praying and giving thanks for every meal. Also, while on our way to Knoebels Amusement park - praise God - my husband turned his head away from a few girls who were dressed inappropriately! I also made the decision to glorify God by dressing modestly - instead of becoming a stumbling block to the men around me. I didn't always do this, but as my relationship with Christ grew, He placed this on my heart. 


Do you feel God calling you to change anything in your life that will bring Him glory?

I thank the Lord for today! I really a had a wonderful time with my family. We ate and rode rides to the glory of God :o) 
Here are a few pictures and a video...