Life Happens and God Draws Near

Brokenness

Coffee is brewing and the warm smell fills the room and I want to linger here in the presence of my Father.  He is calling me and I have not been listening.  I have been avoiding, living my own life, believing I was still in relationship with him only to find myself afraid, alone, and on my knees.  “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18.  I know I have not been listening, but God has my attention.  I know that he held my life before me and called me back to him.  I am here in your presence once again, not pretending to be whole, but broken and needy.  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  Psalm 147:3.  I am binding my wounds.

Self-Righteous

Who have I been?  I have been a selfish, self-righteous person, yet Romans 3:10 reads, “As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;”   I have not put others first, I have failed to not just be strong in myself, but allowed myself to wallow in self-pity.  I see all the ugliness inside of me.  Who did I think I was?  Did I feel I was better than others?  Did I forget to walk in others shoes?  How did I find my way back to this place?  I know I have allowed Satan a crack into my life and he encouraged me to think only about myself.  Why did God choose to bring me out of this pit?  I feel the weight of my selfishness lifting off of me as God is showing me my lack of relationship with him and begins to heal the brokenness.  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17.

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Broken Vessel

Walking along in my selfish life, I suddenly found myself in a situation that was like deja vu deep from my past.  Where did that ugly person come from?  This person that I thought was lost suddenly emerged like a monster from the dark.  Yet, probably not as suddenly as it seemed.  Recently, I have been a “Debbie Downer”.  I have been a self-righteous pompous person.  So finding myself selfishly raising my ugly head like a monster in the dark may have seemed sudden, but now I see that I was racing down a path of destruction. The humiliation means I want to hide, but I know that I have to move forward.  Although, the pain that comes with seeing my selfishness hurts deeply, it has been nothing like facing the emptiness where God should be in my life.  It is nothing like knowing he could choose to take my life with each breath, but has chosen to hold my beating heart in his hands.

My heart is broken because I have broken the most important person in my life.  I alone have created deep pain and sorrow that is hard to forgive.  I have hurt my husband deeply and that pain is like no other pain.  I imagine that the pain God has felt is much the same, watching his son hang upon the cross for my sins.   Words and sometimes even actions can not repair such damage, but I pray that our relationship can weather the storm.  Romans 5:1-5 promises me, “Father, we feel the burden of our sin, and it is exhausting to try and make ourselves whole.  Our hearts long for your presence.  We rejoice in our sufferings, know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”  I am a broken vessel… (a few lyrics from a powerful song)

Broken Vessels

You take our failures, You take our weakness
You set Your treasure in jars of clay
So take this heart Lord, I’ll be your vessel
The world to see Your life in me

Oh, I can see You now
Oh, I can see the love in Your eyes.
Laying Yourself down
Raising up the broken to life

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”  Corinthians 4:7

(1° Broken Vessels – 00:00 2° Touch The Sky – 09:32 3° Say The Word – 13:55 4° Heart Like Heaven – 18:19 5° Closer Than You Know – 24:49 6° Even When It Hurts – 33:34 7° Oceans – 39:52 8° Love Is War – 48:48 9° Captain – 56:05)

Worthy

As I contemplate my sin and move toward Christ, I realize that I am worthy in God’s eyes.  I feel God drawing near to me and feeling his strength now I can see where my focus should be.  First and foremost I need to focus on him and ensure he is the priority in my life.  “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  James 4:8.  So I seek his presence in prayer and in my daily walk.  I think of others before myself.  I smile so others might smile.  I seek the happiness in my life that is my choice and no one else.  I trust in God.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6.  I am focusing on my heart once again in order to put my Father first in my life.

My Worth Is Not What I Own 

Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed – my ransom paid
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer,
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul

Closing Verse: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Challenge:  Protect Your Heart.

Loss of Innocence

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Loss of Innocence: 

Today is Valentine’s Day and a day that should be filled with loving those you have been blessed to live life with,  but I sit and watch the sadness of another school shooting.  Deep down in my soul I ache and cry for the innocent lives lost and the innocent lives scarred once again.  As a public school educator, my heart is breaking.  I hold the tears back and just wish that I could make the world a better place for every child.  I look back on this year and the loss of two young lives in my community who chose to take their own life to end the pain deep in their soul that could not be filled.  I find myself once again praying hard for the students that I love each day who just need someone to say good morning, call their name, and make them feel important, put clothes on their back, and food in their bellies.  I pray as 1 Thessalonians 5:17 teaches, “Pray without ceasing,”  God has blessed me with  the privilege of watching children struggle and bloom, yet either way I walk in a world where children just have different lives.  I ask the questions Why?  But I already know the answers.

Loving thru the Darkness:

I watch the news coverage of the shooting, and again I ask Why?  Why God is there so much darkness in the world?  Then I remember that Man made the choice that brought sin into this world, and no one is immune from the darkness and pain that sin brings not even an innocent child.  Genesis 2:17 explains, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”  It is hard, so hard to watch the lives of so many children, and it is hard to accept the loss of young lives cut so short in their prime.  To know their dreams, their families dreams are shattered in one brief moment, yet I feel so blessed each day to go to work and serve children.  My prayer has always been that I am a catalyst that brings some hope, love, and joy to their lives.  I pray to God that I am an example of your love for these children you have placed in my life and that I am able to touch their lives each day, each month, each year.  As 1 John 2:6 reads, “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” May my walk show Christ.

Walking in the Light

“Walking in the light may sting a little, but it is far preferable to life in the dark.  And on top of that, it is the only way to healing.”   -Jared Wilson.  I read this quote at church on Sunday morning and it just resonated with me.  I have been searching the scriptures this week and seeking the light in the darkness of our world because scripture is clear in 1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”  To walk in the light is to walk with the Lord.  God’s light is the one true light that can bring healing into my life, my students lives, and our world.  A world that is hurting and in need of so much healing light.  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”Psalm 147:3.  I know that seeking the light will bring healing in the darkness.   2 Corinthians 4:6, ‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’

Following the Light.

When my heart is broken from the darkness of the world, I seek healing in the light and I find comfort in his word.  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Psalm 119:105.  These words of light written so long ago in such a different time, but yet so relevant today because God knew that the darkness would never leave and his people would need to continue to seek the light.  Comfort is what his word brings to my life.  I pray for a country that will heal in the words of 2 Corinthians  1:3-4 and bring comfort to others, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”  I pray that I can bring comfort into the world or at least the lives of the children I love each day.  Ephesians 5:8, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

Closing Verse:  ‘Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”‘ John 8:12

Challenge:  Do you find yourself in the darkness?  Does the pain of the world seem hard?  Seek the light of Christ for your life, so you can Be the Light for someone else who needs to find their way out of the darkness.

 

Seeing Sin Through Rose-Colored Glasses

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Life of Sin

I know I want to write this post but my mind and fingers just can’t find the words to type what I feel deep down inside.  Although, I know that I am born a sinner and will die a sinner, as a Christian, I do strive to be an example of Christ’s love to others.  This means not letting sin shine from me but allowing Christ to shine the brightest in my life. But, sometimes sin can really bring me down into the trenches of life.  I know that my flesh is sin as Galatians 5: 19-21 states, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  I want to shine, but I find myself buried in the guilt of sin, and in need of some time with my Father to seek myself again.  To know that I am loved and forgiven.  This is hard when I feel like unconditional love should not belong to me anymore.  I don’t want to deceive myself, but recognize my sins, cleanse myself, and as 1 John 1: 8-10 reads not believe that I am not a sinner, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

Rose-Colored Sin  

Knowing that I am a sinner and a Christian, my eyes are open to my sin.  I can not be a Christian who appears better than others, who does not understand others, and one who believes less of others.  Galatians 5:16 reminds me, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  I know that I am blessed to walk with my Lord and Savior through life and I pray that I am an example to others, but I can’t do that if I am looking at my sin through rose-colored glasses.  I can’t compare my sin and believe it is less than others.  Sin is sin.  My sin can not be sugar-coated or viewed differently than others.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”  Romans 3:23.  I know wearing rose-colored glasses to look at my life is easy to do.  I want to see how good I am and not the sin.  It is easy to compare myself to others and believe the lie that I am better, but I know deep inside that I am not.

God’s Word

So what does one do, dig and dig and dig into God’s Word and know that He is my Father.  Yes, He is a Father of wrath, but his is also a Father of forgiveness.  God provided me a gift through the sacrifice of his Son.  A gift of forgiveness that I can not even fathom.  Just thinking of this sacrifice makes my eyes water and tears fall.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23.  and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.  I search scripture to cleanse myself of unrighteousness and seek the comfort of His word for forgiveness.  I find myself on my knees with head bowed praying and begging for the forgiveness and love of my Father.  Thank you Lord for your gift, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17

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Sin Scriptures for Study

Closing Verse:  “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”  James 4:17

Challenge: Look closely at your life and ensure that you don’t perceive your sin differently from others.  Sin is Sin and the rose-colored glasses will not change it in God’s eyes.

Be Awesome! Be You!

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New Year Resolutions

As the new year begins, so many of us make resolutions or promises to ourselves and our futures.  A resolution according to the Google Dictionary, is a firm decision to do or not to do something.  Many of these resolutions go unfulfilled each year, so I am struggling as this new begins to decide whether I will make any promises to myself for 2018.  Or, I could just choose to be happy, grow closer to my Father, and just Be Me!.  I am leaning toward the latter decision, but I stumble at Being Me because how easy will it be for me to actually be me.  Can I even be true to myself?

The Scale

I have to stop and be honest here.  Coming out of the New Year, I look in the mirror and struggle to find love for myself.  The holidays are not always physically nice to me, and especially on the scales, but as I work to make a decision on a resolution, keeping the ultimate resolution of weight loss also on my mind, I found this quote…

To be honest, after reading the quote, I added the Be Awesome, Be You, it seemed like a perfect ending.  I  believe that this quote means that if I can Be Me, then I will not have anything to really worry about from the scale.  If I put Me first, and work to bring deeper meaning to my life then the scale will take care of itself.  I know I need to be conscious of it, but not driven by it.  I need to stop the worry of the scale and Be Me!

Choosing Happiness

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 is a direct reminder to seek the Lord to find the happiness that my heart desires.  2018 will be a year for me to really work harder on my relationship with the Lord.  I seek his love and path for me, and will spend more time praying for his guidance in my life.

Relationship with the Lord

James 4:8 reads, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  This is a promise from scripture that if I want deeper relationship with the Lord then God will meet me.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing”.  As I enter the new year I will pray. My constant prayer will be to build a stronger relationship with the Lord and the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 will be more fruitful, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

New Me

This will be my new year resolution for 2018.  I will seek who I am.  I will stop allowing society and others to drive and determine who I am, but will turn inward and dig to find the scattered pieces inside that make me – ME.  I will seek the presence of my Father even more.  I pray for his guidance in walking a path of self discovery.  I have let the world create Me and somewhere along the way, I believe pieces of me have been lost. Psalm 139:13-14 reminds me that God is my creator, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  God knows my heart and he created me, so together we can find ME.  I believe the beginning of a new year is about reflection and moving forward and that is the path I am going to choose to Be Me.  Happy New Year.

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Closing Verse:  You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.  Song of Solomon 4:7

Challenge:  Seek Yourself!  Be Awesome!  Be You!

 

Voice of Truth

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Voice Of Truth – Casting Crowns

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He’s holding out His hand

As 2017 is coming to a close and I am beginning to look toward the future and what 2018 will bring.  As I plan and look at 2018 and my future, I realize that I am going to need the faith of Peter to take the steps to make my dreams come true.   I need the faith he had to step out of the boat and know that Jesus had him.  I need this faith when I step out to know that I will walk and not fall.  “He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. ” Matthew 14:29.

But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. ‘Boy, you’ll never win!’
‘You’ll never win!’

Although, I have failed many times in my life and know that feeling sometimes the fear of failure and how it will affect your life is just too daunting to take the steps out of the boat.  Yet, I know that God is with me and holding me as I make that leap onto the water.  I Corinthians 10:13 makes this promise, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”  Temptation or failure.  God will be there and not allow more than I can handle.
Chorus:
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, ‘Do not be afraid!’
The voice of truth says, ‘This is for My glory’
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

If I stop and listen, I hear God’s voice telling me to write a new and different story in my life.  I hear him telling me to reach and grab a dream.  As long as I have God first he will be glorified.  I know that big changes bring great fear, but I know that God is near.  I believe that God will glorify this decision that he can find a way for him to be glorified in any and all that I do.  “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”, 1 Corinthians 10:31.

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they’d have had the strength to stand

But the giant’s calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again. ‘Boy you’ll never win!’
‘You’ll never win!’

As 2018 approaches, I hear the giant laughing, but I feel the strength of God telling me that I can take the next step in my life.  I can be David before what seems like Goliath and conquer!  “Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” 1 Samuel 17:45.  I walk in the name of the Lord and he will be by my side, so I look to the future may God show me his path that I might glorify him.
But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don’t seem so high
From on top of them lookin’ down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

I choose to listen and believe the voice of truth, the voice of my Father and his son Jesus Christ.  I will not let my heart worry, but know that God is in control.  “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1.  I will find my strength in the Lord on his wings.  “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31.

Closing Verse: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Challenge:  Find Faith, and listen for the Voice of God.

 

Jesus, My Advocate

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Why Christmas?

During this Christmas season it is hard not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle the season can bring, but I should stop and remember why I celebrate this season.  Jesus Christ came to earth as a gift from our Father to save us from myself.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16.  Jesus became our advocate.  I am remembering this precious gift this week because sometimes smooth road become bumpy and rough.  Sometimes we just need someone to have our back, and this Christmas season reminds me not just of the gift God gave me, but of the friend who has walked in my footsteps so he could understand and advocate for me before God.

My Advocate

Having Christ as my advocate brings peace and comfort to my life in times of confusion that this world brings.  His advocacy also bring joy and love to my life when the road is smooth and life seems easy.  Either way he is teaching me his truths and loving me with grace in order to show me himself in my life.  “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  John 1:14.  As I walked through a week of struggles in this Christmas season, I know that Jesus is my advocate and the advocate for my family.  He is teaching and loving me through the ups and downs, so that I might show his love and mercy through my life.  He is standing before God for me.  “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,”  Matthew 10:32

Advocate for Christ

As I move through this Christmas season remembering how Christ has stood by my side, may I advocate for him with others.  I pray that I can stand for him as he stand for me.  May my life be a light, a model, and a source of comfort to those around me.  May I provide for others a way to know Jesus and all things that he has provided for me as my advocate.  “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19.

Closing Verse: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, ”  Isaiah 9:6

Challenge: This is a time to stop and remember why we celebrate Christmas and celebrate Jesus our Advocate.

Christmas Traditions

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Christmas Season

Christmas music is playing now everywhere I go and the lights are shining bright.  The season is here.  I want to enjoy and let the stress of the weeks that lead up that wonderful day that is gone so quickly.  I want to remember why we celebrate this season.  I always find myself this time of year thinking about the past.  Thinking about Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my girls.  The fun, the laughs, the surprises, and most importantly the family traditions we have created together and continue to create over the years.  I believe that traditions are important for families and can be past down to the next generation.  Paul reminds me of the importance of traditions in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”

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Family Traditions

My family has a few old traditions like the mouse calendar countdown to Christmas.  Our girls would almost fight to get to move the mouse each day.  They loved for the one whose turn it was to forget, so later in the day the mouse would secretly be moved. This simple purchase so many years ago has brought so much joy to our family.  Even now my husband takes pictures of Harley moving the mouse and sends it our now grown daughters.  It is a special memory and tradition in our home, and one I hope continues in the homes of our daughters one day with their children.

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Jesus Birthday Cake

Another great tradition for our family is baking Jesus’s Birthday Cake and singing Happy Birthday to him on Christmas Day.  Today my girls bake the cake and decorate the cake together instead of me, but I enjoy watching them back home together in the kitchen having fun carrying on our family tradtion.  We still gather round the cake on Christmas afternoon and sing and eat his birthday cake!  This is definitely one of my favorite Christmas memories and traditions!  “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7

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Even the Cake Decorations are important to our family.

Sharing Traditions

As an educator, I could not help but wonder about the traditions of my students, so I asked them to share favorite Christmas traditions with me on a Chalkboard in the school library.  It is engaging to hear them talk about the little things their families do together that are important to them.  Here are a few from this years board:

  1. Enchiladas for Breakfast on Christmas morning.  Why?  Her family is from Guatemala and this is just something her grandmother has always done.
  2. Crab Legs for Christmas Eve.  This student was super excited to share how much the night means getting to eat the crab legs!
  3. Lights.  One student just shared how much she enjoys lights and lots of lights.  She and I have that in common.
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These are just a few shared on the board and in discussions with my students.

Over the years I have heard some wonderful traditions that families share.  Some I wish I had even thought of.  Some that brought a great laugh but was still so important to the student.

  1.  One I wish I had thought of is only receiving three gifts for Christmas.  “And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”  Matthew 2:11
  2. Several years ago a student shared that on Christmas Eve they had to eat their meal with a different utensil from the kitchen.  This was a long family tradition and brought lots of laughter around the table.  Who knew what you would get?  How do you eat with a whisk?

The Gift of Jesus

Traditions are important in families and even school communities.  God shows us how to celebrate him anywhere.  This is a like a tradition.  Praise the Lord in all that we do as Psalm 150:1-6 exclaims, “Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! …”

During this  Christmas season with traditions being shared and even created remembering the reason we have this season is the most important.  God loved us that he gave us the greatest gift of all.  He gave us His Son.  He gave us Life.  ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16.

Closing Verse: “Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.”  1 Corinthians 11:2

Challenge: During this Christmas Season full of traditions don’t forget God’s traditions and gifts in your life.

Christmas Lights

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Christmas Lights

The tree is up and the lights are beginning to glisten and shine on homes around the neighborhood.  Homes and business are beginning to show signs of Christmas with lights abundantly shining.  There have been times in my past where this time of year would bring anxiety to my life, as my to do list just seemed to grow and I had no idea what to buy or give as gifts.  A few weeks ago when God first touched me with the song “Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle​​​​​​​I was sitting at a stop light and reading a church sign on the corner.  It seems funny to me that I can’t remember what the sign said because I love church signs, but only the feeling that this would be a season of enjoying and not worrying.  Maybe it was the darkness full of lights around me as I was driving, that made me think of Christmas and the coming season of lights, but I felt an exciting for the coming Christmas season, excitement, and the lights.  The lights were going to be important this year. I stop and enjoy each new one home that lights up.  I become mesmerized in the beauty of the lights which are reminding me this year of Jesus and his words in John 14:6, “‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The Star

I love the Moravian star.  If I had one I would probably leave it up year round, so this time of year I get to see the star again.  Have you stopped to really look at one and see all the crosses that come together to create this star?   I imagine this is the unusual star in the heavens above the manager.  Matthew 2: 9-10 shares the joy of the wise men when they found Jesus, “After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”  As I enjoy the stars of Christmas, I realize that the stars we admire in the heavens are creation of God.  Psalms 147:4 reads, “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.”  Each star including the one that rose over Jesus’s birth is named by God, the Creator.

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Christmas Season

Let’s all slow down this Christmas season and enjoy the lights of Christmas, find God’s peace, and His blessings in the lights.  Let go of the chaos this time of year can bring and stop and enjoy what is important.  Stop and remember that God brought his only Son as baby to walk in our footsteps without sin.  Jesus knows us and understands our walk.  Stop and walk with him through this season.  I know peace will be found and will be infinitely better than the hustle and bustle.  For as John 1:5 reminds us all, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Closing Verse:  Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Challenge:  Stop and Walk with Jesus through the Christmas Season.

Trust In You

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Trust In You by Lauren Daigle

Another song is lingering on my heart this week that I really feel lead to share.  This one speaks deeply to me, and I realize that what I want and wish for in my life is not what God may want for my life.  I sometimes feel I am drowning.  Life is both good and conflicting all at the same time.  I try to stop and listen to God but I am unsure what He is saying to me these days.  Each day is a different message, but I know somewhere in there is my own confusion, distracting me from God’s will.

Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wondering
Never changes what You see

I’ve tried to win this war I confess
My hands are weary I need Your rest
Mighty Warrior King of the fight
No matter what I face You’re by my side

Then I heard this song.  The words speak to me as we enter this holiday season and the end of another year.  I know that I must lay my life and dreams at His feet.  I am weary from life and I need Him by my side as I continue the fight!  I am David before Goliath.  May my faith in God be strong as I use God’s strength to push forward.  “Then David said to the Philistine, You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel…” 1 Samuel 17:45.

Truth is You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So in all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less

I rest in the arms of the Lord and the knowledge that he has counted my days before my days even existed.  “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139: 16.  I place my trust in him that I can conquer all that he has planned and that his dreams become mine and I will walk in his grace and strength just as Ephesians 6:10 promises, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

(chorus)
When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust
I will trust in You
I will trust in You

I sing these words and I know that I must trust as Jeremiah 17:7 reads, ““Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.”  I will find my blessings by walking and trusting in the Lord.  The God I know can move mountains from Matthew 17:20, “He said to them, Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”  He may choose not to move the mountain or part the sea I want moved or parted.  This realization is sometimes hard to understand but walking his path I know I will find His blessings.

(bridge)
You are my strength and comfort
You are my steady hand
You are my firm foundation
The Rock on which I stand
Your ways are always higher
Your plans are always good
There’s not a place where I’ll go
You’ve not already stood

On this Thanksgiving morning as I write and realize how thankful I am for all that God has provided and blessed my life with – may I remember that He is my Rock.  Psalms 95:1 says, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!”  May I remember to sing and rejoice in this song that God is my Rock each and everyday.  I find my strength from my Rock and “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”, Philippians 4:13.

Closing Verse: “The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”  Exodus 15:2

Challenge:    During this holiday season may we find our path and strength from our Rock and sing a song of praise for all God has done.

Publishing: © 2014 CentricSongs (SESAC) / Sony/ATV Timber Publishing (SESAC) / Word Music & Pocket Full of Rocks Publishing (ASCAP)

Writer(s): Words and Music by Lauren Daigle, Paul Mabury and Michael Farren

 

 

Even If…

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Sometimes God really amazes me.  This week it was through music.  Driving to work I heard the song, Even If by MercyMe.  It was a  moment in my week that struck a chord with where I was at that moment in my life.  I needed God.  He might not give me what I thought I wanted, but I knew he would give me what he purposed for me.  Jeremiah 29:11 is this reminder, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Even If

Hey say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now
Right now I’m losing bad

I realized that I am losing control of my life.  I feel it spiraling out of control.  Sometimes I feel like I just can not stop it.  Luke 1:37 reveals, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” The brakes are broken and it is all moving too fast.  Then I stop and pray because that is the only way I can find the brakes because nothing is impossible with God.

I’ve stood on this stage
Night after night
Reminding the broken
It’ll be alright
But right now
Oh right now I just can’t

It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now

Sometimes the flames feel like they are swallowing me up.  Sometimes I feel lost in the fire.  Romans 3:23 reads, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”  and the flames of life remind me of my sins and I fall on my knees to beg for forgiveness to find relief and love from the flames in God’s arms.

I know You’re able
And I know You can
Save through the fire
With Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

The flames of life are sometimes hard to bear.  I pray for God to move in my life and quench the flames, and I must accept how He choses to move in my life.  My hope is in the Lord.  Psalm 31:24, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!”

They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Good thing
A little faith is all I have right now

But God when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Give me the strength
To be able to sing                                                                                                                                  It is well with my soul

I strive to be strong and find peace even in the flames.  I know that I love a God who can perform any miracle.  Yes, he can move mountains – “He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 – or he may not.  Either way I will take my little faith and in him find the faith I need to walk through the flames. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  Hebrews 11:1

I know the sorrow
I know the hurt
Would all go away
If You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12.  I will live by faith, rejoice in hope, patiently walk through the flames, and bend my knees to pray that may God’s Will be done.

You’ve been faithful
You’ve been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause I know You’re able
I know You can

It is well with my soul

I will cling to the cross as 1 Corinthians 1:18 reveals, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  I will be faithful in my walk no matter the outcomes.  I will seek peace in my soul. “He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3.

Closing Verse:  “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22

Challenge:  When you walk through the valley of flames find your faith and hope through prayer and know that God is preparing your future in his own time.