Monday, March 10, 2014
Sometimes I think the greatest battle a believer faces is that of being alone, or dealing with feelings of loneliness. Just this weekend, I watched numerous people post status updates on their Facebook pages looking for confirmation or validity that they are more than what they feel. That they have purpose, that they are needed and in fact loved. Who hasn't questioned their purpose in this life?
In fact, before reading everyone else's updates I found myself telling my confidant cat, Boba that very same thing. How is it possible to feel alone when you are in a room or home filled with people? I began to question why I was feeling this way. It was if I was very present in this life, but at the same time invisible. Everyone else in my house was pretty much in their own world, my youngest daughter, chatting away with her friends in her room via Skype, my husband watching the latest Nascar race on TV just trying to relax and me, with my never ending To Do List.
I found myself questioning if I mattered or if the things I did even mattered. I know if I failed to clean the bathrooms or did laundry eventually of course, they would notice but I found myself wanting to fill needed besides someone who took care of things so others didn't have to.
Trust me, I don't need praise to let me know I matter, but it often times seems as though we take people for granted. We gain a sense that there will always be a tomorrow. That perhaps they feel much the same as I do. If we mess up in our relationships today, we can always fix them tomorrow. I wondered how different life would be if we knew when our expiration date was and just what we would do differently if we knew we only had just so much time to spend with our loved ones and friends. How different we would be around them?
I tried to seek God's wisdom in my feelings of loneliness knowing of course, I was not really alone. The Bible tells us God is always present in our lives. He is very concerned with what we are going through and dealing with. But God reminded me I was placing my faith in people instead of in Him. I was looking for why people didn't respond the way I wanted even though in my mind I was doing all the right things. Yet even in the midst of profound wisdom, I still failed in my attempts to fix things. I said things I shouldn't have said in my effort to get my husband to understand my feelings of being inadequate and lonely. It's hard sometimes to even put those feelings into words because all he wants to do is fix it. Tell him what I need and he'll try to do it.
However, just for once, I don't want to have to explain it. Just for once I wish I didn't have to provide a "To Do" list for what I needed. All I know is that I'm going back around the mountain again with God in hopes to correct my short comings. A way to learn how to communicate without hurting, a way to learn to settle in the provision of what God has in store instead of what I expect of others. I felt like Peter who took his eyes off God and instead looked at his circumstances and began to slip beneath the waves. It's time to refocus and keep my eyes on God instead of on my circumstances.
Psalm 25:16 ~ "Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted."
How about you?
Do you ever feel lonely even in the midst of being around others?
What do you do to help you overcome that feeling?
I'd love to hear your thoughts if you 'd care to share them in the comments below!
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Harbinger as defined by Webster's dictionary means a person or thing that announces or signals the approach of another. God is speaking but are we listening to what He is trying to tell us?
I've been doing quite a study on the end times and where we, as a nation, are headed. It seems that our country is sliding further and further into moral decline and it's happening while we are passively sitting back and letting it happen. What can we do? What are the signs of the times? Are they really that significant or is this simply a difficult time and it will pass?
The parallels between Israel and America are chilling. In fact if you take a look at Israel's history, you might be surprised at just how in sync the two countries are and why now, America's leaders are pulling away from their support of Israel, the tiny country that has had the Hand of God covering it since the creation of the world and why any country that allies itself with Israel and follows the ways of God will be blessed.
Looking back we can see Israel's own destruction and arrogance when they felt they could defy God and take control of their country without God's help. God allowed it to happen with signs that if they simply would turn back God would heal their land. But did they listen? No and thus Jerusalem was destroyed by the Assyrians and the Israelites were scattered upon the four corners. It was only in 1948 that Israel became a great nation again and in 1967, after the six day war, Israel gained Jerusalem back as their capital. So what that's ancient history right?
Look at America, and it's foundations. We were founded on Christian principles and those principals have slowly been eroded from our country bit by bit. When 9/11 struck this country it was the first sign of things to come as our country was slowly attacked by terrorists from the Middle East, much like Ancient Israel was attacked by the Assyrians who came from the Middle East. We failed to heed the warning.
We cannot simply keep pushing God out of our lives, being prideful and arrogant and think He will continue to without His judgement from the earth. We can not continue to live our lives thinking there will be no consequence. When we removed prayer and God from government buildings, courts and schools, we have have more violence than ever before happening in our schools. Coincidence? I don't think so.
God is speaking loud and clear and this country and it's leaders continue to shoot out to Him, "No thanks God, we got this. We don't need you to interfere."
Look at the parallels again between Israel and America:
The Israelites at one time sacrificed their children to the gods of Moloch and Baal. (2 Chr. 28:3, 33:6; Jer. 7:31, 19:2–6). We too, have sacrificed our children as more than 6 million of unborn babies are sacrificed through abortion centers.
Looking back at the prophecy of Isaiah 9:10 "The bricks have fallen, but we will build [all the better] with hewn stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put [costlier] cedars in their place.
It was uttered by the Israelites who felt that they didn't need God's help to rebuild their city when the walls fell. They were going to make it better than it was before. They refused to turn to God and repent. Verse 11 - 12, picks up what happened next, "Therefore the Lord has stirred up the adversaries [the Assyrians] of Rezin [king of Syria]...and they will devour Israel with an open mouth. For all this, [God's} anger is not turned away, but His hand is still stretched out in judgement.
In the same way when our twin towers fell on September 11, 2001, we became a nation of defiance. We refused to turn back to God and instead took it upon ourselves to rebuild the site of 9/11 in an act of defiant spirit.
Two of America's leaders at that time, John Edwards and Tom Daschal both uttered the scripture of judgement on our country, picking out of all the scriptures in the Bible, Isaiah 9:10.
What we have done in essence is pushed God out of the equation and taken it upon ourselves to do things our way. We have pushed out marriage as God has established it and created what works for us, we have removed God from schools and government so we can feel good about what we are doing as a country. We have watched as our economy continues to struggle after 2008's great recession where our foundations were laid bare and our economic stability fell and has yet to recover.
Yet we still fly our unwillingness to repent thinking we can fix this. If we as a country continue in this act of defiance, we will the see the judgements of God continue to fall. We don't want to see what happened to Jerusalem and Israel happen to the US. God is revealing His signs all around and yet many refuse to believe.
There is only one hope.
If my people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and head their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14
There is NO OTHER WAY! Each of us must find our way back to God and begin to turn back to what God's laws have stated otherwise, there will be no future for our country. God's timetable is running out, and by 2015, God will reveal another judgement on this country. What will it be? Revival or Judgement?
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
So many people all over the world are suffering from the effects of the cold and flu season so I wanted to share my recipe for something that you want to use when you have a cough or sore throat that is 100% healthy and organic. It takes a bit of prep time but once you have it, you will always want to make sure you have it on hand.
First you will need about 3 medium sized lemons of your choice. I prefer Meyer's Lemons when we can find them but any will do. You will also need a small mason size jar or if you like you can use an old spaghetti or salsa jar washed and rinsed. I found if you go to Hobby Lobby, they sell them in all kinds of sizes for around $1 with the lids, no washing required.
Then you will want to slice your lemons. The thickness doesn't matter, but I like mine a bit on the thicker side.
Next you will want to quarter the slices.
Begin to add the quartered slices to your mason jar, and keep adding them til they reach the top.
Once your mason jar is filled with the lemon quarters, get a container of your favorite honey. I love Naked Honey since it's organic and pour it over your lemon quarters in the jar.
You might have to wait a bit for the honey to seep down in the air spaces until it reaches all the way at the bottom.
Be patient, it may take a few minutes.
You might even get a knife and make a space alongside the jar for the honey to make its way to the bottom.
Keep adding honey til it fills up the spaces in the jar and just below the top of the mason jar.
You can either use it right away or put it in the refrigerator. The honey and lemon juice will combine to create a watery mixture. That is what you want it to do.
When you are ready to use it, simply add about (4) quarters of lemon and about (2) tablespoons of the honey lemon juice mixture in a cup or mug. Add boiling water and stir. You may add additional honey to sweeten to your taste and enjoy hot. It tastes like hot lemonade but trust me when I say the moment I get a tickle at the back of my throat, a sure sign a cough or sore throat is on the way, I make some of this mixture and begin drinking as many cups as I desire. I've never had a cough or sore throat manifest once I start drinking this.
In fact everyone I have told about this, raves how well it works. I even had a Bible study teacher who was completely sore, swear it was the only thing that not only made her feel better after she had lost her voice but soothed her sore throat. I even had friends make it for people after they realized how good it was as a gift. You simply can add more lemon quarters or honey to your mixture as you begin to use it to make sure you have enough on hand.
There are some amazing benefits to using honey and lemons and this one for me works every single time!!!
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Sometimes we can get so immersed in our favorite television shows that we would give anything to simply be on the set, watching the action unfold. I had the chance quite awhile to do just that when I worked installing cell phones in cars back in the day, when car kits were big. Our assignment was in Burbank, not sure where exactly and we found ourselves meeting with Jackie Cooper. Now some of you might be saying who? But if you're my age, you just might remember. He was one of the Little Rascals, he was also Perry White from Superman, and was on the television show Cagey and Lacy. When we pulled up, we meet him and he instructed us in where he wanted his phone to go in his car and when we were done, he took us inside to watch an episode being filmed. It was truly a great honor to be there not only because it was amazing seeing how filming of a television show happened, but we were treated like important people because we knew Mr. Cooper.
Often times people will flock to Universal Studios for the same purpose, to see where their favorite movies and television shows are filmed. It seems to make it all the more real instead of simply just watching it on television or on the big screen. Some even hope for their five minutes of fame and being discovered by some director or producer just looking for that right person.
God is much the same way. He created each of us with a unique purpose in mind. To be someone with a real purpose. He created us as a one-of-a-kind masterpiece and a true work of art. But if you ask yourself the real question, do you believe it, most of us don't see anything special about ourselves. So how do we remedy that problem?
I believe it's through spending time with God reading His word, the Bible. It's only in knowing more about Him that we can begin to see the truth that has been right in front of us the whole time. We can feel important, because in God's eyes, we are!
Each time, I hear about people taking a trip to visit the Holy Lands, or Israel I often am wishful in hoping one day I might get up the courage to go. I have an issue with flying on a plane so that is where my obstacle is for now, but I love looking at the pictures. I would LOVE to get a sense for how it feels to simply be in the places I've only read about but I know exist for real. To be baptized in the Jordan river, to take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee, to pray in the gardens just outside the tomb of Jesus, to walk along the ancient streets where Jesus taught and walked with his people, to look upon the wailing wall, to visit Bethlehem at night, and so many other special places where I know Jesus as a man, lived and walked this earth. I know God is with me wherever I go, but for me, there is a sense of purpose in wanting to be there, to just breath the air and simply just sit and bask in the presence.
What about you? If you got the opportunity to visit the Holy Land, what would you like to see? Where would you go? What would you do when you got there? I'd love to hear your answers.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
So many of my friends have commented about the ongoing relationship I share with my husband Steve going over 16 years of marriage now but having dated and been friends for almost 19 years. Often times we can see the condition of our own marriage through the eyes of others, especially non believers. Often times we can think things are going along perfectly but when looked at through someone else's eyes the picture is completely different.
While sitting in church last night, the question was raised to husbands what would happen if you were asked to write a list of the things your wife loves the most, what makes her happy. How accurate do you think you'd be?
Then he asked, what if we asked your wife to grade your paper, how well do you think you'd be then?
Most men when challenged probably think they have a pretty good understanding to what makes their wife happy. In fact, it was overheard in a conversation some time ago, that if you want to make your wife happy, agree with her. Let her always be right.
I would have to disagree.
Wives don't want to be right, at least not all the time, and definitely when we are not right. That would be lying right?
So how can you truly find a way to make your marriage last not just exist?
I believe the first step is where our foundations are being built. If your marriage isn't founded on Jesus Christ, good luck in the odds of that working out for you both.
I'd take my chances with God over anything else anyone could ever promise me, including my own husband. You know why?
"Because with God ALL things are possible to those who believe." ~ Mark 9:23. ( Not just some things, ALL things. Who better to keep things together than the Creator who designed and blesses marriages!
God is the one who designed marriage to work and thus the one who will keep it together as long as we are willing to do our part. We can't sit back and expect it to grow without work. It takes a joint effort too, not just one person while the other sits back and enjoys the benefits.
God's Word pretty much helps us understand the work involved and He's pretty clear on what each of us needs to do to make it last.
1. "Husbands are to love their wives like Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless] Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wives loves himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church." ~ (Ephesians 5:25-29 Amplified)
What does this mean? Willing to do whatever it takes to ensure success and growth, even willing to die for her if necessary. It means putting her needs ahead of yours. There is no selfish motives within and he's not working to please her just so he can get brownie points either. It is the unconditional sacrifice of doing, expecting NOTHING in return. If we expect our efforts to be noticed, then our motives are wrong and selfish. Not honoring God in the process. Husbands are asked to go first, because according to God's law they are the leaders of their house, their wives are much more likely to follow suit if they set the example. Again without expecting ANYTHING in return for their efforts. Their hearts have to line up with God's.
2. "Wives are submit to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:33b) "and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.]". Amplified Bible.
There's that word submit. Some husbands interpret that to mean to be slave like and that is NOT what the Bible means. It means if the husband is being the spiritual leader in the house, loving his wife like is explained above, what wife wouldn't want to be lead to do things in the same way for her husband? Wives were never meant to be treated like doormats to walked on, stepped on and mistreated. They were meant to be cherished, nurtured and protected as well as loved.
Once these guidelines are willing to be filled by both the husband and wife, establishing a solid Christ foundation as their base, then the marriage will be on solid ground. But the minute one of us falls to the way side, the balance shifts. Think of it like a triangle with God being at the top of the triangle and the husband and wife and the bottom two corners. The more that each work towards their own relationship with God, the closer they each come to one another as they move up the triangle towards God. When one or both falls away from God, they fall further away from one another.
If you are struggling in your own marriage, these might be a great time to examine where you find either yourself or your spouse in relation to that triangle. Are you moving towards God or away from God, if so is it any wonder why the marriage is less than happy or problems are creeping in, conflicts are happening?
The solution is simple. Move back towards your right relationship with God.
There is a reason our marriage has stood the test of time. We both have committed our lives personally and together with God being our center. Without God, we will struggle like everyone else. We may even wonder if marriage is worth it, worth trying to hold on to in this rapidly disposable world where if you don't like things, change them.
I caution you if that is where you find yourself now. GOD CAN change anything and ANYONE, if you are willing to do YOUR part. God can restore marriages! He can restore right relationships! He can work in your life if you are willing to commit your relationship and marriage to God. Even if you are the only one willing, I've seen God restore marriages on the brink of divorce and even bring them back after divorce. But it takes faith and strength to walk the walk.
If you need prayer in this area, or want to talk, please send me an email and I'd be happy to pray for you in any way. I believe marriages can be better than all the fairy tales we've ever read about because I serve a God that created them.
Oh and just in case your wondering, Yes! That is my official wedding picture from February 9, 1998! I love my husband more now that I did that day and I can't wait to spend an eternity with Jesus and him!
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Lately I've been debating just which quilt pattern I want to attempt next, but have always been drawn towards the Mariner's Compass. It's such a beautiful but complex pattern to attempt to quilt but I think there is a reason I've been drawn to the sea my entire life.
There is something amazing about the sea. It's endless, meaning it has no end and no beginning, It just is. Surely all the oceans are linked and they all stay within the borders of not overflowing onto the land masses on earth but it's more than that. People have long admired the sea. Not knowing what lies beneath the deep dark blue waters, or just how far it goes. One can simply set out on a destination and ride the wind blown waves to another shore given enough provisions and patience.
The sea calls.
The waves seem to beckon us to draw near and come in.
There is a lull to be immersed into the waters when we can be rocked by the waves.
I often wondered at the salt content in the water. Why God chose salt as the basis for water's unique taste.
The Bible says God carefully keeps every single one of our tears in a bottle and often times, I wonder if those aren't poured out into the oceans kept preserved until the end of the world.
Psalm 56:8 ~ "You keep track of all my sorrows, You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book."
If God cares enough about each of our sorrows, each of our tears, you can surely believe He cares about whatever you're going through right this minute.
But is also danger found in the ocean. When rogue waves come at us unexpectedly. When turbulent hurricane blow with unparrelled power threatening everything in its path.
Even an experienced captain has often found himself at the mercy of a storm and his only prayer is for God to save him.
And sometimes God saves and sometimes He doesn't.
There is a saying that a skilled mariner does not gain his experience and skill in calm waters, but in turbulent storms and I believe that is true.
But throughout it all a captain would never venture into the ocean without his navigation equipment or his compass. Because despite what things look like around him, the compass will always point to true north. Once you know where true north is, you can find your bearings.
God is like that, being our True North. He is our ultimate destination. When storms of life threaten to overcome us, we can find comfort when we realize where True North is. We can use our compass, or Bible because it will always point to the truth. No matter what we find ourselves in the midst of, the Bible will always provide us with God's truth to endure and overcome our storms. It will never mislead us. If we are only willing to use it wisely.
We would never look at a compass and say, well I want this to point me to where I need to go, I'm not sure that's north or not, why doesn't it simply tell me where to go. No, we simply are given the choice to follow where it points and make the decision to use our skills to gain the insight to find our home port. Where safety resides.
I would encourage you if you are feeling lost, alone and out to sea without hope, that you'll find a Bible and search for the answers. I can promise you, you will not be disappointed in what you find inside. Your True North awaits.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
I don't know about you but there are certainly times when I crave salt. From buttered popcorn in a movie theater, to adding a little extra to my pizza, I love salt. I love soft pretzels with salt and mustard, and it's a must on a turkey sandwich with mayo using Thanksgiving leftovers! Just thinking about it makes my mother water.
But have you really thought about why God uses the analogy of believers being the "salt" of the earth?
What would happen if all the Christian believers were to simply vanish?
Besides there being a mass, chaotic unrest in the world, after a while, people might begin to enjoy the fact that those so-called ignorant religious people with their version of right and wrong are gone and the world can now do what it wants without any consideration or thought to someone telling them it's wrong.
That is precisely the reason for Christians to become salty! We add flavor! We are meant to enhance the way things are in this world, making it better by showing people how wonderful life can be when you are walking in the truth of what the Bible has to say.
Oh I can just imagine some people cringe when they hear us read what the Bible has to say. There is conviction when light is shined on the dark, when our sins are revealed. We don't like that and want to flee into some place of safety, some place to hide.
We don't want to give up what we are doing and we feel justified and attempt to rationalize it anyone who will listen.
Don't believe me?
Why is it the very people who are in support of abortion are against capital punishment?
They believe in the killing of innocent, unborn babies, but feel justified in not killing another person who deserves punishment? Why is it that those that support abortion don't realize that if their parents decided on abortion, they won't be among the living.
The Bible is very clear on a few truths people want to run from!
1. God created marriage. Not man/man or woman/woman but man and woman! He even defines it further after the creation of Adam and Eve with the 5th commandment, Honor your father and mother. Not father/father or mother/mother but parents, a father and a mother.
Genesis 2:21-24, "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the flesh. And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. Then Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
Exodus 20:12 - " Regard (treat with honor, due obedience, and courtesy) your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land of the Lord your God gives you.
2. God created family which is why there is such an all out assault against what God has defined and formed. People now want you to accept that anything goes when it comes to family. But the Bible is clear on what God deems is a family.
3. Abortion is a sin and is murder of the unborn baby. Life doesn't begin at birth, it begins at conception.
Psalm 139: 13 ~ "For you did form my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right as well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret intricately and curiously wrought in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days were written before every they took shape, when as yet there was none. "
Jeremiah 1: 5 ~"Before I formed you in the womb I knew and approved of you, and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you;"
You might not like God's laws, but they are true because He said so. Anything different from that is sin, simply stated.
You will hear people saying that they are born that way, that they can't change, well I would argue against that simply saying that just because we feel a certain way, doesn't mean we should act on those things that are clearly defined by God as wrong. I simply say we are all born sinners, but we are commanded by God to resist committing sin, whether that is homosexual urges, lust for anything outside of marriage, murder, lying, stealing, you name it. Just because we have the urge doesn't mean we are born that way.
We need to resist those temptations, even those that are stronger than others, but it doesn't mean we need to fall into that pattern of doing it. Everyone struggles in certain areas of sin but it is what we decide to do with those temptations that define whether we are following God's law or our own definition.
Would love to hear your thoughts!
For now, we need to remember that once salt loses it's saltiness, we are no longer effective. We must walk in the path's God has laid before us. We need to spread out, because like salt, it works better when it is sprinkled out not poured!