Hi everyone!! What a crazy day it has been! I’ve been writing today in between various back-to-school appointments with my middle school daughter. You know the fun ones like getting her schedule, paying all kinds of fees, etc. Most importantly though, I get a chance to spend time with her and there aren’t too many school years left where I get to do that. I cherish this time.
The reason it has been crazy is that I spent a huge chunk of time writing about our trip to Scotland and the churches there only to not have a clear confirmation from God that He wants me to share it now. Does that make sense?!
Every time I go to write the conclusion, edit it, and polish it up with pictures, I have no peace about publishing it.
I have been mulling over it for the last 45 minutes trying to figure out if it’s from God or what. Seriously?! The more I thought about it, the more uncomfortable I felt. God finally put me out of my misery, and the Holy Spirit led me to read something I had written in my bible back in January 2017 from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young:
“When you seek my face and my will–searching for guidance–I may show you the next step on your journey without revealing the appointed time for you to take that step. I want you to trust me enough to cling to me and follow wherever I lead, whenever I choose. Your times are in My hands.”
Wow! God really spoke to my heart. The timing was all wrong in what I was writing–that’s why I didn’t have peace. No matter how many times I tried to fit that square peg into the round hole, it was not going to work!! I am so thankful that God is so persistent with me and doesn’t give up!!!
Who knows, maybe some day I’ll share with you what I wrote–on God’s timeline of course. 🙂
However, here are a few of the pictures from our trip to Scotland!!
All the glory to God,
Young, Sarah. Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence. Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2004. Print.
I know a few of you were singing along, toe-tapping to “Good Morning” by Mandisa (shout out to my fellow Jesus lovin’ blogger Brenda!!) Mandisa’s music is so up-lifting, inspiring, and real! I encourage you to check her out, you won’t be disappointed! 🙂
My Labor day morning started with coffee and prayer. I felt led to begin my churches’ new Fall small group bible study, “Raised Together: A study of Colossians” by Gloria Furman. We don’t actually begin the study until September twelfth, but we never know what a day may bring forth, and I know my Spirit led me to read today for a special blessing. 🙂
I have to say, I love, love the apostle Paul and I delight in reading his letters and books very much. Every time and through every season, something new and refreshing is revealed to me. Today was not any different.
The first session of our bible study begins with us getting acquainted with the letter Paul wrote to the Colossian church while he was imprisoned and, in chains, in a Roman prison. The letter focuses on the dangerous false teaching at Colosse, in southwest Asian Minor, and to “stress the true nature, characteristics, and necessary standards of new life with Christ” (Fire Bible: Global Study Edition, NIV).
While I was reading, this scripture was highlighted and burned with loveintomy heart:
“For you died, and your life is now hidden in Christ” Colossians 3:3 (NIV).
I know I’ve read over this scripture before, but today the Holy Spirit has breathed new life and meaning into it. Don’t you just love that?! I love that the precious Word of God is living. Ready to fill us, encourage us, and bring life to our parched soul. Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst” (John 4:13-14, NIV, emphasis mine).
Because that scripture spoke to me, I really felt the need to dive into it point by point using my bible’s concordance and study notes. Shall we start at the beginning of the verse?
“For you died…” This is a direct reference to my being born again through Jesus Christ, my Savior, and being dead to sin through His saving grace. Apostle Paul explains this in great detail through two verses in the book of Romans.
“By no means! We died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:2, NIV, emphasis mine).
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11,NIV, emphasis mine).
We also died to the law.
Apostle Paul, “So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to one another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God” (Romans 7:4, NIV).
“God has freed us from the guilt and consequences of not being able to live up to the requirements of his old covenant law. Christ himself fulfilled the law (Mt. 5:17) and made a new covenant based on his life, death, and resurrection (Study notes, Fire Bible). My heart is so full of love and gratitude for my Savior, Jesus. There are no words that can express my heartfelt gratitude, only my obedience to Him and placing Him first in my life.
“…and your life is now hidden in Christ.”
One of the first words that stood out to me in this scripture is the word hidden. My first thought was, “being concealed or protected by Christ.” Like a Father would protect a child. While that idea is very loving and comforting, it didn’t seem “deep” enough to me based on the scripture.
And then I stumble upon a true gem…”Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament.” A.T. Robertson was a renowned scholar of the Greek New Testament whom in his book paints, “word pictures from the Greek to bring light to the words and actions of Jesus Christ and the early Christians” (BibleStudyTools). Take a look at “is hid” through the lens of the Greek New Testament:
Is hid (κεκρυπται — kekruptai). Perfect passive indicative of κρυπτω — kruptō old verb, to hide, remains concealed, locked “together with” (συν — sun) Christ, “in” (εν — en) God. No hellish burglar can break that combination.
We are, locked “together with” Christ “in” God!! Wow!! I am (and You, dear brother’s and sister’s) are characterized by, intricately placed together with, and interwoven by Christ, our Savior in God.
Praise God! Thank you, Jesus, that I am YOURS!
All Glory to God!
Fire Bible: Global Study Edition. New International Version. Life Publishers International. Print. 2009.
Furman, Gloria. “Raised Together: A Story of Colossians.” Lifeway Press Publishers. Print. 2008.
Image of “Good Morning…” by Good Morning Wishes.
Image of “Jesus Greatest Commandment” by Lord Jesus Saves WordPress.com
Mandisa. “Good Morning.” Lyrics provided by www.azllyrics.com
Robertson, A.T. “Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament.” Colossians 3:3. Web. www.StudyLight.org.
Good afternoon. What a beautiful day it has been! Yesterday, the first day of August, was my niece, Candice’s birthday. May God bless her today and everyday, she is a very special lady!
Ahhh…August. Pretty soon, the days will be getting shorter, the leaves will be changing, and the cries of children everywhere will be heard when school starts back up. In reality, though, I think kids crave the routine of school and once one day leads into another, they settle back in and enjoy it. 🙂
Our lives are so busy that it’s a wonder we can keep up with it all! It is so easy to miss the connections between family, friends, and even our neighbors as we hustle around getting everything done! Carpool, homework, appointments, church, drama class….and then…?
Did you miss it? That gentle nudge…of the Holy Spirit…
-Urging you to find a quiet spot to pray.
-Compelling you to turn off the TV, slip away, and read The Word.
-Stirring you up out of bed on Sunday morning to fellowship with Jesus and His church?
That my friend was Jesus, inviting you to hang out with Him, get to know Him, and allow Him to speak in your heart at that given moment. Richard Blackaby explains it like this, “He is the One who pursues the love relationship with us. We do not naturally seek God on our own initiative. Everything we are experiencing from God comes in response to His invitation” (Experiencing God, 55). Did you miss it?
In today’s world you can equate that to your Father: messaging you on Face book, texting you that He loves and misses you, or Instagramming you the address of where you can hear His Word and fellowship.
Would you ignore the text of your best friend? He desires to be that. Your confidant? He wants to hear every concern, joy, hardship, and dream.
In the bible, very frequently, we see God inviting the Prophets, Disciples, Patriarchs, and many other’s to have a relationship with Him. It is through this connection-and the time they spent together-that God could reveal all He was, all He is, and all He can do. Moses experienced this with God, take a look:
“Time and time again, God invited Moses to talk with Him. God initiated and maintained a growing relationship with Moses. This fellowship was based on love, and God daily fulfilled His purposes through Moses” (Experiencing God, 56).
What would have happened if:
Moses didn’t take his father-in-law, Jethro’s, flock out to the far side of the desert and tend to them. He could have been lazy and said , “Nah, I got your daughter, Zipporah, already. I’m good. No need to impress you and keep my good reputation. Besides, It’s hot. I’ll take care of them tomorrow.”
He may have missed God’s personal invitation. An angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush when he was tending his father-in-law’s flock on the far side of the desert. This is where the LORD first revealed His holiness to Moses. “God spoke to Moses through the unique experience at a burning bush to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways” (Experiencing God, 56).
Our heavenly Father wants to build a relationship with us and “His desire is to get us from where we are to where He is working” (Experiencing God, 56 emphasis mine).
Did you miss it?
I pray you didn’t. I don’t want you to miss anything our Heavenly Father has for you! I get it though, it can be hard to stop what you are doing and heed the call.
What would you do if Jesus was standing right in front of you, extending His hand, and inviting you to hang out with him, “Come, sit on the bench with me. How are you, my child?”
In all honesty I go through the same thing. Last Wednesday, July 25th, I was not feeling well all day. The Holy Spirit gently reminded me to keep my commitment and go to bible study. I am a co-facilitator of my ladies bible study small group and it was our celebration night. Yay!! We had just finished “Word Writers: Philippians” by Denise J. Hughes, an amazing Bible study, by the way! Her “Word Writers : Ephesians” book is great as well.
Because I heeded the Holy Spirit, I was blessed in several ways that evening. First, after I walked into the sanctuary, I was enveloped in so much love, hugs, and acceptance. The ladies at my church are so welcoming that it feels like coming home. 🙂
Secondly, I felt a special awareness of the Holy Spirit while I was speaking to the whole group of ladies. Let me explain. During our celebration night, a member of each table may share something they learned, were blessed by, or any other special way they were touched by the bible study. I spoke from our group and when I shared, I felt as though the Holy Spirit was very present with me and was revealing a part of me that may be used in the future. It is really hard to put it into words, but I still feel touched by that moment.
Finally, while I was sitting at the table, the Holy Spirit revealed to me, in detail, what my next blog would be about. I quickly wrote it down, so one word, idea, or impression would not be lost! That was last weeks blog “Darkest Before Dawn.”
I was so blessed and my heart was so full on the way home from church. I would have missed such a sweet time with my Savior if I had not been obedient to the Holy Spirit.
Listen to the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit. Spend time with Your Savior. God only knows what you may be missing and I promise you this:
Spending time with Jesus will change your life!
To God All the Glory,
Blackaby, Henry and Richard. Claude King. “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God.” Revised and expanded edition. B &H Publishing Group. 2008.
August image: mycutegraphics.com
Jesus Text image: Christian group’s phone Jesus text
Spend time with Jesus image: peopleandthoughts.com
Happy summer everyone! My husband and I had an amazing weekend away for our anniversary. We walked the beach, strolled the town, and watched, from the balcony of our hotel room, a beautiful beach sunset!
Do you prefer the sunrise or sunset? I’ve got to confess, I looove my sleep! So, I’m sure I have missed several beautiful sunrises! However, there is one that I made my family get up for when we were staying at the Yavapai Point, South Rim area of the Grand Canyon. We got up at 5am, bundled in blankets, and walked over to the center of the railing to get the best view of the canyon.
We were not alone, several other families joined ours as we waited for dawn. As the sun slowly emerged, it was as though I could feel the rotation of the earth moving me slightly forward as the rising sun took over every crevice of the Grand Canyon. The sunrise in the Grand Canyon penetrated my soul in such a deep, spiritual way that has never left me. The all empowering light of Jesus met me at that sunrise!
Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s always darkest before the dawn?” I have. What I recently discovered is that there is no truth to it; it is just a myth. I equated that phrase to the darkest of night being my “problems” and the dawn being my “breakthrough” or “answer.” In my mind, that phrase gave me hope that even through the darkest of night, the light of day will slowly emerge until it outshines the darkness, bringing about the glory and brilliance of a new day.
When I found out it was just a myth, the Holy Spirit shined a light on a new way of thinking for that phrase. 🙂 As believer’s, Jesus IS the light in our lives.
I am not surprised that I felt Jesus so strongly at the Grand Canyon sunrise. He IS the light of the World. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. He has always been with me, even:
In my darkest moments when I felt unworthy and unloved
During my darkest emotions when anxiety and depression isolated me
In one of the darkest places I went where death, in my mind, was taking my mom away from me, and as hard as I tried to see the light, the darkness seemed prevalent
Looking back over those trials, I know that in spite of what I was FEELING, God was always with me. I was treading lightly and feeble in my walk with Jesus in those early days, but He was there! It is in those darkest moments that God can really move mountains, break strongholds, perform miracles, and reveal Himself to us. Complete surrender allows the Holy Spirit to do only what He can do.
After my mother’s death, in exhaustion and complete surrender to Jesus, He showed me all He had done and how present He was during the last few months of my mother’s life. He healed her paralyzed body after her stroke, stopped her from going blind, she had a “vision” of my future family, and all of her medical bills were paid! God did so much, but it was only revealed to me when I surrendered to Jesus and allowed the Holy Spirit to work in my life. I was too focused on my circumstances or the trial I was going through to see what God was doing and had done.
It was in that “darkest hour” that I TRULY first saw the LIGHT of Jesus. The foundation of my relationship with Jesus was built on this tragedy. My mom, a true servant of Jesus, would have loved the fact that God’s goodness was revealed to me in such a special way after this difficult time.
We live in a fallen, dark world but we have a choice on what we choose to focus on: the light of Jesus or the darkness of the world. Since my mother’s death 28 years ago, I focus more and more on Jesus. Is it easy? No. But I realized, I can either give power to the problem or power to Jesus. If I focus on the problem, how can I focus on Jesus? Jesus needs to be first, my friends!
In the song, “God of All my Days” by Casting Crowns I am reminded of all God IS for ME:
In my worry, God You are my stillness
In my searching, God You are my answers
In my blindness, God You are my vision
In my bondage, God You are my freedom
In my weakness, God You are my power
You’re the reason that I sing
‘Cause You’re the God of all my days
Happy Friday!! It’s going to be an amazing weekend! My husband and I are getting away, just the two of us, to celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. 🙂 Actually, our anniversary date is July 24th, but he will be in San Francisco for business all next week, so this weekend is ours! Praise God!
I did it again. I couldn’t help myself, I read ahead in my devotional today and stopped on July 21st, which really spoke to me.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit…” (Matthew 5:3).
I don’t know about you, but I have read the Beatitudes several times and have been inspired and encouraged by the blessings listed by Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus’ message, to a large group of potential followers, is what it really means to follow Him and be a part of God’s kingdom. Of course, living up to these standards is possible only through faith in Jesus, the son of God, and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is where Chamber’s devotional titled, “The Doorway to the Kingdom” really kicked Matthew 5:3 into a whole new way of thinking for me:
“‘Blessed are the poor in spirit…'” This is the first principle in the kingdom of God. The underlying foundation of Jesus Christ’s kingdom is poverty, not possessions; not making decisions for Jesus, but having such a sense of absolute futility that we finally admit, “‘Lord, I cannot even begin to do it'” (Chambers, July 21, emphasis mine).
Friends, I am humbled to say that at times I have left several things at the altar of God and taken back portions of them to help them move along, without trusting God’s provision and timing. Anyone else like me?!
*I’ve taken a job when I didn’t have peace in my Spirit. Guess what? The job wasn’t right for me, but God was faithful in working it out for my good in spite of the fact that I was the one that put myself there in the first place!
*Another time, my Spirit let me know that a friendship of mine was not on the healthy side anymore and that I should take a step back and re-evaluate with prayer. But, I rationalized that we had been friends a very long time, so I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Feelings were hurt, trust was broken, and the friendship was severed in a wearisome way. Clearly, the Holy Spirit was trying to take a different path that would have ended in a more positive way, but I failed to heed the warning.
Those are two examples of how “poor” I really am and how much I need Jesus every day to begin to do everything He created me to be: submitted to Him, relying on Him and His timing, and allowing Him to accomplish His work in me.
“Then Jesus says, “Blessed are you…” (5:11). This is the doorway to the kingdom, and yet it takes us so long to believe we are actually poor! The knowledge of our own poverty is what brings us to the proper place where Jesus Christ accomplishes His work” (Chambers, July 21).
Are you poor? I am! I desperately need Jesus every day to “make me what He teaches me to be” (Chambers). With perseverance and the Holy Spirit, I move forward like the Apostle Paul, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14, NIV).
Thank you Jesus for all that You do and all that You are!
Chambers. Oswald. “My Utmost For His Highest.” July 21st, “The Doorway to the Kingdom.” Discovery House Publishing. Updated edition, 1992.
Fire Bible: Global Study Edition. New International Version, Life publishers International, 2009.
I apologize that my post is a few days later than usual. I have not been feeling well lately and was a bit overwhelmed by the end of the school year chaos. Phew! God is Amazing and blessed this school year and (shhh…just between us) I’m already praying for next year: the teachers, students, and staff that will be coming together for the fall term. My youngest daughter would say, “Summer barely started, Mom, let’s not talk about the next school year yet!” What do you think she would say if I told her I’m already praying for her future marriage and husband? 🙂 We need to pray ALWAYS and WITHOUT ceasing, right?! AMEN!
What a blessing church was yesterday. It’s amazing how God knows exactly what we need to hear and His timing is perfect! The whole message was an answered prayer to me but, the beginning really penetrated my heart:
I really needed the simple, yet profound, meaning of that message. A gift is something that is given, willingly to someone, without payment. I’ll admit, especially on days of good health and ease, it is easy for the days to fly by without giving much thought to the gift (a new day) from the Giver, God.
God did far more than give us a new day, though. God gave us the ultimate gift: Jesus!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus died to give you and me the following gifts willingly, without payment:
Grace: But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. (Ephesians 4: 7 NIV)
Salvation and Faith: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—( Ephesians 2:8 NIV)
Righteousness:For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! (Romans 5:17 NIV)
Peace: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7 NIV)
Joy:I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15: 11 NIV)
God’s Word:For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. (John 17:8 NIV)
Holy Spirit: Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38 NIV)
Eternal Life:For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NIV)
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2Corinthians 9: 15 (NKJV)
Talk about the Ultimate gift-giver!! God wrapped up unconditional love, peace, joy, eternal life, faith, grace, mercy, and so much more through the gift of His son, Jesus Christ, all for you and me. Wow!!! Have you opened the most life changing, love giving gift that our Creator has for YOU?
I pray that you have, if not a heartfelt, sincere prayer combined with a surrendered heart is the next step.
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
I encourage everyone (new believer’s as well) to keep seeking God, praying, loving others, and spreading the JOY of Jesus to others.
Today is a gift from God. How will you spend today? The two greatest commandments are to Love God and Love people (Matthew 22:37-39).
Love God: I encourage you to spend time in prayer, the Word, or outside in the splendor of His Creation thanking Him for All His blessings. I spent my morning praying, reading my devotional/bible, and writing my heart and soul for Jesus. All the glory to God! My favorite companion, Sasha, our German Shepherd snoring by my desk. A treat, a little love, and she is in puppy bliss for a short while. 🙂
Love people: Love on your family, friends, and all of the people God has placed in your life. Help and encourage others. Smile. Make eye contact when you speak to others. Ask God whom you can bless today. First and foremost, I’m going to ask God to show me who I can bless today, there is so much hurt in the world and many people need extra love and attention. Spend time with family and friends as much as I can. 🙂
Enough about me, how are you going to spend your day? I’d love to hear it!
Thank you for coming to the table. Jesus has many seats available and He has saved a seat for you. Accept His free gift of salvation and invite others. All are welcome, no one is turned away.
May God bless you,
“Everyday is a gift from God.” Image from Pinterest.
“Jesus, the gift of God.” Image from Share a Verse wordpress.com.
Hello my friends! Wow, we are already past the middle of June! I pray your month has been filled with blessings, hope, and most importantly God because He is love, mercy, truth, holiness, and faithfulness. He is a good, good Father.
The month of June has been very chaotic for me and a lot things have been taking place. Some good and some difficult. The amazing thing is that through each situation, I have been able to have JOY and peace in spite of each circumstance.
Last weekend, was our first full weekend camping in our new (used) travel trailer. We didn’t travel too far from home, only 111 miles away. It rained the whole weekend, which living in Washington state, could be expected.
However, the weekend went like this:
Friday night: Two hours into the evening, around 9pm, we completely lost power. It was pouring rain, with a capital P. Since we were new to the trailer camping thing, we didn’t figure it out what was wrong until morning. 🙁
Saturday: After my husband woke up, he figured out what happened. Power surge last night, the trailer blew a fuse. He looked through all of our extra fuses to fix it. Unfortunately, we had multiples of every other fuse but the right one.
He drove our truck out to the nearest city to buy fuses, a travel trailer surge protector, and anything else he could think of to fix our current situation. He left at 8am.
Hours, yes hours, go by and my daughters and I make the most of the time by playing games, hanging out under the canopy with our German Sheppard, and simply resting.
Around 11am, my husband gets back and tells me he has a story to tell. In my mind I felt like he was saying, “But wait, there’s more!?”
He set various bags down on the picnic table and preceded to tell me what my heart already knew: another problem.
“The truck radiator is busted. I realized it on the way to town and had to stop. So, I not only bought the supplies to fix the trailer, I bought the things I thought we’d need to “mend” the truck to get us home tomorrow.”
Wow, ok. God is big and God is good. Several miles and several stores were needed, but my husband fixed the trailer and power was back on! Praise God!
We made the most of the day by going on several hikes near Mt. St. Helens National Park, barbequing steaks on the grill, and making s’mores. Perfect ending to a not so perfect day!
Sunday: Woke up to a rainy day. Made eggs, turkey sausage, and monkey bread for breakfast. Oh and coffee, lots of coffee! We rested for awhile and decided to head out around noon.
Through the rain, we worked hard to get the trailer and truck packed up and ready to go. After I pulled in the slide to the travel trailer, my daughter noticed we had a flat tire on the trailer.
As if on cue and while I was telling my husband, it started to rain hard. I grabbed the biggest umbrella we had and held it over him as he replaced the tire with a spare. Our only spare.
Sunday 12:30pm: Finally we are on our way! I told my husband there was a restaurant down the road that I wanted to stop at for lunch and he thought that was a good idea.
The place we were stopping was only twenty miles down the road. We pulled into the gas station that was near the restaurant. While my husband was topping off the gas tank, he told me to take the girls inside, find a place to sit, and order food for all of us.
Twenty minutes go by and he joins us. Bad news. The spare tire he just replaced is now flat. Praise God we stopped! He bought Fix- a -Flat and prayed it would work to get us home. Only 91 miles to go.
About five miles in, a truck signals to my husband that we have a flat tire. Apparently, the “band aid” we used to fix it didn’t work. We pulled off and into a Denny’s parking lot. My husband spoke to the manager and asked if we could unhook our trailer, leave it there, so we could find a tire store to get two new tires. They agreed.
The only place that could help us was Wal-Mart. And praise GOD they had two tires left that would fit our trailer. Two hours later we were able to get our trailer and get back on the road. Yay!
Sunday 3:30pm: Unfortunately, the rest of the way home is full of hills and inclines. Our radiator does not go more than a few miles at a time without needing us to pull over. To make a long story short this happens every few miles and several times, but Praise God we made it off the freeway every time and into a parking lot. Three hours go by of driving, stopping, cooling the engine, and getting back on the road. It became obvious that we needed extra help.
Sunday 6:30 pm: We pull off the freeway and called our friend, Dan. My husband and Dan work out the following plan: Dan would use his truck to pull our trailer and without the weight of the trailer, our truck should make it home. We are still about 60 miles from home, so it would take Dan about an hour to get to us.
After Dan arrives, we set the plan in motion. Steve drives the truck home. Dan, my daughters and I follow Steve in Dan’s truck and our travel trailer.
Sunday 9:00pm: Praise God, we are finally home!! There were no other problems with the truck or trailer! I have never felt so incredibly blessed and thankful to be home, safe.
Let me tell you that was a long day. However, God’s presence surrounded us in a way that, by human standards, is unexplainable. I truly experienced a supernatural peace and Joy that can only come from God. I knew, beyond any doubt, no matter what happened, God was with us.
Philippians 4:6-7 New Living Translation (NLT)
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
I was also so incredibly thankful that we were all together and God was at the center of it all. My daughters, husband, and I will carry this testimony of God’s faithfulness in our hearts and minds forever and it will help us through other trials. ALL the glory to God!!
Friends, God is ready and able to help you through ALL you are going through. I was reminded in my “Jesus Calling” devotional, dated November 11th, about the power of Jesus:
“Do not let any set of circumstances intimidate you. The more challenging your day, the more of My Power I place at your disposal. I know what each of your days will contain, and I empower you accordingly. Look to Me for all that you need, and watch to see what I will do. As your day, so shall your strength be” (Young, Sarah 330).
Don’t wait, pray, and go all in to the power of Jesus! Experience peace, joy, love, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, gentleness, and faithfulness.
Several people I know have had challenging, fearful situations lately. Job loss, health problems, disabilities, and family emergencies are some of the difficulties they have faced. Fear can easily take root when we are dealing with a case of the “unknowns”. “What if I can’t find another job?” “What if I need surgery?” “What if…?” One of things fear forces us to do is to decide to either put our faith in action according to God’s promises or regard the scripture as simply words on paper, “simply repeating what God says” (Chambers, June 4th).
Hebrews 13: 5b-6
“God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'” (NIV).
In my daily devotional by Oswald Chamber’s, “My Utmost For His Highest,” I was reading today, June 5th, about God’s Assurance:
“The only way to remove the fear from our lives is to listen to God’s assurance to us. What are you fearing? Whatever it may be, you are not a coward about it–you are determined to face it, yet you still have a feeling of fear. Take hold of the Father’s assurance and then say with strong courage, “I will not fear.” It does not matter what evil or wrong may be in our way, because “he himself has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you…'” (Chamber’s).
I was in a situation last week where several difficult hardships were happening and I felt fear start bubbling up inside of me. For a short time, I found myself getting caught up in the “what if’s?” I decided, at that moment, not to go down that road because I have gone that way too many times before. God has been working hard to break that stronghold in me and through His grace and the promptings of the Holy Spirit, I am getting better at “catching” myself before that happens.
Two things help me move my fear to faith in action:
1) I pray out loud for as long as it takes– boldly, courageously, and full of faith. Even if I do not feel strong initially, I keep praying out loud until the fear is gone and faith prevails. I repeat this cycle as needed, and believe me, sometimes that is several times a day! Amen!!
2) I play my favorite Christian music and sing loud, sometimes off-key, and declare boldly the truth of Jesus. And yes, I move to the music. I cannot stand still when the spirit moves me! So, if you ever see me bopping around my house, singing loudly to Casting Crowns, you know the Holy Spirit is coming alive in me to conquer the fear that the enemy is trying to have take root in me.
Do you have an action or a go-to prayer that helps you the most when you feel doubt or fear creeping into your life? The most important thing we can do is start putting our faith in action. Like anything, it may take practice until it becomes a habit. Our natural, sinful tendencies want to take over and allow us to worry because it is what we may be used to doing. I see “faith” as a muscle that will only grow when used or exercised. Begin in baby steps or jump right in to the biggest fear you are facing right now, but start now. Remember who holds you by the right hand and will never leave you nor forsake you: God.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (NIV).
God gave me an amazing revelation the other day. Imagine driving down a dirt road, across beautiful farmland, in a truck with Jesus at the wheel. You are a newly saved Christian, leaning right against Him on the truck bench seat, absorbing every parable and Living Word He shares with you.
Oh no, serve left! There is a pot hole in the road! You grab onto Jesus and while you do that you look down and notice He is also holding you tightly by His right hand. You settle down as you realize just how safe and secure you feel holding His hand and in His presence. Like a Father with His child. A few more content and Word inspiring miles go by.
You spy a herd of cows up ahead, blocking the road, but do not feel afraid because of how close you are to Him physically and spiritually. Two peas in a pod, your Savior and you. The cows easily move out-of-the-way as the truck moves further down the dirt road.
Time and miles go by. Feeling pretty confident in yourself, you scoot a little bit down the truck bench seat, but still in reach and hearing distance of your Savior. Danger ahead! A car just swerved right in front of the truck! Just in time, you grab onto His robe and also hear the whisper of His voice, “I am with you.”
Settling down, your mind reassures you that you are okay, even though you are not as close physically and spiritually to Jesus as you used to be. Because of this, you feel okay to move a little bit further away. God is still with you, your mind reassures you.
This time you scoot to where you are on the edge of the seat, ready to grasp the handle on the door. You are farther from Jesus, but closer to the door that opens up to the world that is based on your confidence, independence, and decision-making. Jesus will not be behind the wheel of your life. You will be.
Ah ha! Now, you are driving your own truck, making your own decisions, and Jesus is somewhere in the backseat of your life. When you are lost, you may ask Him for directions, but for the most part you navigate your own life. Your will be done. Right now you are feeling pretty proud of yourself.
One day you decide to throw caution to the wind and drive without much thought to where you are going. Or who you are going with. No cares in the world. Independence feels great and the miles are moving right along. Driving along, humming to yourself, you realize you made a wrong turn. Flashing lights and road blocks signify the end of the road up ahead. Your life flashes before you. What happened? Where did I go wrong? Jesus take the wheel….
Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
‘Cause I can’t do this on my own
I’m letting go
So give me one more chance
And save me from this road I’m on
Jesus, take the wheel
I am so thankful that Jesus gave me this revelation. Several times, over the course of my life, I have been in this particular situation. I give Jesus complete surrender and control in my life only to find myself inching away or even trying to gain some of the control back when life gets hard, doesn’t go my way, or I get tired of waiting for His will or timing. What Jesus showed so clearly to me is that He never changed or moved. I did. He was always behind the wheel of my life, from the beginning of my salvation, and waiting for me to surrender to His perfect will and timing.
Thank you Jesus, that YOU have never given up on me (and You)! Your mercies are new every morning and You are always ready for us to turn back, repent, and be in complete surrender to You. Your promises and truths are evident in your Word:
Deuteronomy 31:6 New International Version (NIV)
6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 New International Version (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Hebrews 13:8 New International Version (NIV)
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Isaiah 41:13 New Living Translation (NLT)
13 For I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
Staring out over the sea of black graduation caps, my eyes filled with tears and my heart filled with joy. I realized God’s perfect will and timing brought me here–to this moment. Last year, on May 13th, I graduated from SNHU with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing. On that day, God truly gave me the desire of my heart (Psalm 37:4b). Please understand, I’m not sharing this with you in regard to worldly/prideful standards. This is a story of what God has done through me and in me.
Right after I graduated high school I had a ten-year plan: graduate college, start a “real” job, and then get married around thirty-ish. I had it all figured out. What I didn’t know that graduation night was how drastic my world was about to change.
Within two months of my high school graduation, my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Three months later, at the age of thirty-nine, she was gone. I had just started my first semester of college when she was diagnosed and, of my four classes, I was barely passing one of them. I was literally in survival mode at that time. Existing, but exhausted. Devastated, but putting one foot in front of the other.
God was with me. I knew it, but it felt like He was an arm’s length away. What I realize now is that He never moved. I will never leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:5b). I did.
Obviously that ten-year plan was a distant memory. At that point, I was on the day-to-day plan. The meaning of life had changed so much because of my mother’s death. Trivial, small things didn’t matter. Lasting, relational treasures were very important to me.
God knew what I needed in my life and five months after my mom died, I met my future husband Steve. Right from the moment I met him I knew there was something very special about him. Talking and hanging out with him was so easy, as though I had known him for a very long time. God answered my prayer for my future husband. Thank God, it was on His time frame and not my ten-year plan.
Two years after we met, Steve and I were married. Yes, we were very young. In fact, we were the same age our oldest daughter is now, 21. We settled into married life; working and moving to new places when my husband was promoted in his job. Still stuck in our old ways, of having it all figured out, we decided to give the eight year plan a try. We wanted to start a family, in several years, around the age of thirty. This way we have time to grow as a couple, travel, grow roots in a solid neighborhood…guess what?! God had His own plan for us.
Three years into our marriage, I came down with a flu that was lasting several weeks. I couldn’t shake it. Talking to my sister one day she asked, “Could you be pregnant?” “Nah, we decided to wait a few more years…remember?” Wait…I wasn’t feeling well. However, we were using every precaution known to man to not get pregnant. Could I be?
I was twenty-four when I was staring with disbelief and shock at the plus sign on my pregnancy test. My heart skipped a beat in delight for a moment until sheer terror took over as I thought of all the medicine I had consumed over the last week or two for my flu!! As soon as I could, I saw a doctor to confirm my wonderful news and settle my fears concerning the meds I had taken. God had indeed blessed us with a baby. Much to my surprise, I was a full two months pregnant with my daughter before I knew I was pregnant. God knew just what our family needed, and she was right on time. His time.
My college dreams moved to the back of my mind. I shared with my husband early on in our relationship of my desire to be a stay at home mom. Even before she was born, my husband started working a few extra hours a week at another job to make that happen. What a blessing and an amazing provider he is to our family. We scrimped, saved, and worked hard to make it happen. God provided everything to once again give me my heart’s desire. My legacy is my family, and experiencing my mother’s short time on this earth, I wanted to make the most of every moment!
Several years later, we decided to have another baby. Now. Our daughter had started kindergarten and we were READY! Cue the crickets chirping and silence…for two looonnngg years. Do you think we figured it out yet? Nope?! Let’s say it all together now, “it’s all in His timing.” We, finally, resigned it all to God and prayed. When our oldest daughter was eight and a half years old, God blessed our family with another daughter. Two blessings, straight from above, that I would not change in any way–especially God’s perfect timing.
God blessed us tremendously during those early years. Our days were filled with Him, volunteering in the classroom, and homework. As time went on, I fit in college classes here and there while my daughters were in school.
Several years into my studies, God placed the idea to write on my heart. This could only have come from him because I would never have come up with this idea myself. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, God slowly watered the seed of writing He had placed on my heart. Over the course of a few years, He encouraged me to keep a journal, write, and read. I devoured the Word, devotional’s, and Christian books. I also applied and got accepted into SNHU’s English and Creative Writing Bachelor’s degree program. Through hard work, perseverance, and a whole lot of Jesus’ I graduated in the class of 2017.
The beautiful thing is, I can see from my high school graduation night, He knew what the desires of my heart would be and He wove them through the tragedy and heartaches He knew I would be going through. I needed to be faithful to Him and He took care of me, in His perfect and beautiful timing.
Is there a specific time in your life where you can look back and see God’s perfect will and timing through all of it?
God is first and foremost in my life.
my husband Steve, daughters Suzanne and Savannah,
my AMAZING family and friends,
the majestic beauty of the Pacific Northwest,
traveling and camping,
a GREAT cup of coffee with my morning devotionals,
and my Sumner Family Church family. :)