Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not in My Time

"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass."
~Psalm 37:4-5~

I have read these verses often, thinking that it meant if I trusted God everything that I wanted will happen right away. Makes sense, right? Wrong. The other day I read this entire passage and found something interesting a few verses down.

"Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass."
~Psalm 37:7~

Whoa, whoa, whoa!! Rest in the Lord and WAIT PATIENTLY?! I think something is wrong with that wording, certainly God doesn't expect that from me! But nope, that's right....I'm supposed to delight in God, trust in Him and commit my way to Him right NOW (present tense) and then wait for His right timing (future tense). That's pretty tough and involves constant surrender; two extremely difficult things to do.

I have many things that I want, and often we think what we want is the desire of our heart. That is not necessarily true. Sometimes we want lots of things that aren't good for us, and God knows that we are frail, fallible creatures and in His wisdom He brings along the true desires of our hearts. For illustrations sake, this can easily be related to a parent/child relationship. When I was younger I wanted lots of things that weren't good for me. I wanted candy all the time, but my parents knew that wasn't good for me, so they didn't give it to me. Was I always happy about this? The answer would be a resounding "NO!" But was it the best for me, and really the desire of my heart, yes.

God is not a mean ogre sitting in Heaven taking our plans and wants and throwing them away while He laughs at our misery. Quite the contrary, God can see the big picture of our lives. Out of love He takes and gives things to His children. We may not understand, but He never asked us to understand, only to trust that what He is doing is the best for us and the real desire of our hearts.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Someone is Waiting

Someone is waiting
Someone who understands exactly how you feel,
Exactly how you feel...
Someone is dreaming
Someone is hoping just this will be the day
This will be the day...
That you take your eyes off the ground
Out of the blue
And see that someone is looking right
Back at you...

~Jason Reeves~

Monday, February 21, 2011

Contemplating God

Have you ever sat down and contemplated God? I mean really think about Him? He has so many aspects. He is all powerful, all knowing, loving, caring, compassionate, righteous, true, pure, holy, omnipresent, just, glorious, patient, wonderful and on the list could go. In my mind it is easy to think of Him as a creature that is so big, but distant. The best I can relate that feeling to is the President. He's powerful, a leader, and there isn't much of a chance that I will ever get to meet him, let alone have a personal, one-on-one relationship with him. God is not that way. God may be big, but He longs to know each one of His children on a personal level.

God is not some creature up in Heaven sitting back and watching the happenings in the world, unconcerned, and unattached. Rather, He is right here on earth in spirit with His children. He longs for a close, personal relationship with us. I fear that often we go through life forgetting that He is there and totally blowing Him off. But patiently He waits, softly calling our name until we realize that He is there and how wonderful being with Him can be. When we embark on an intimate relationship with God He blows us away with how He treats us.

"God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us." ~St. Augustine Just think about that, God has many children, but yet He takes time for me and treats me as if I am His only child. The hymn "In the Garden" says is well, "And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other can ever know." Sadly, I think we often pass up that precious relationship because we have other things on our mind. Out of a sheer lack of appreciation God is pushed off and we forfeit a sweet, close relationship with Him.

"Because he has set his love upon Me [God], therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name." ~Psalm 91:14

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Whispers in the Night

In the midst of tribulation, seems the darkness has no end
When my light of faith is fragile like a candle in the wind
All alone 'tho I'm surrounded by my friends and family dear
It's Your strong voice that comforts me
Your voice that says "I'm near"

I am waiting for His whisper in the night
I'm depending on His word to
give me light
I'm expecting a victory in this fight
I am listening for what God whispers in the night.

In your word I've found my hope
rest from my affliction
evidence of faithfulness, abiding love and grace
It is in this lonely midnight that I've found my greatest treasure
the assurance that You hear me and that you see me in this place.

I am waiting for His whisper in the night
I'm depending on His word to give
me light
I'm expecting a victory in this fight
I am listening for what God whispers in the night.

~Roger Bennett~
Former Legacy Five Pianist

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Consume Me

"God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like You, Lord Jesus."
~Jim Elliot~

Jim Elliot wrote this one summer while he was in college, which means he was right around my age. He had an evident dedication to God, and he wanted to display that in any way possible -- even to the point of death. He ended up being a missionary in Ecuador, and was martyred by the Auca Indians. As a result of his death the door was opened to these people for the Gospel. Now there is a thriving church among this once feared tribe of cannibals.

This made me seriously consider my life. I have come to the conclusion that I want God to run my life, I want to be filled by Him, I long to have a life that benefits and brings glory to Him alone. Whether I have one year or 60 years left in my life I want them to be filled with helping people and doing what God wants. I desire my life to be a living sacrifice to my Savior. When it is time for me to stand before my Maker, I hope to hear the words, "Well done!" I don't want to look back with regret at missed opportunities, wasted minutes, and empty enterprises. I want to look back at a full life -- full of things done to bring people closer to Jesus. I want my life to be a blazing "stick" for Christ, not a smoldering pile of ash that never amounted to anything.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happiness Is:

The other day I was listening to the radio while driving home from work. They played "Happiness is the Lord" which I have not sung or heard since I was growing up.

Happiness is to know the Savior,
Living a life within His favor,
Having a change in my behavior,
Happiness is the Lord.

Happiness is a new creation,
Jesus and me in close relation,
Having a part in His Salvation,
Happiness is the Lord.

Real joy is mine,
No matter if the teardrops start,
I've found a secret,
It's Jesus in my heart.

Happiness is to be forgiven,
Living a life that's worth the livin'
Taking the road that leads to Heaven,
Happiness is the Lord.

Real joy is mine,
No matter if the teardrops start,
I've found the secret,
It's Jesus in my heart.

I love being a Christian. I love knowing where I'm going when I die. I love having a life that I know is worth living. I love having a close relationship with Christ. I love having that joy, even when life is not hard, and I cry, there is still a joy deep down that brings me hope. Some may find their happiness in their job, or in their friends and family, or in the stuff that they have. Those things are all well and good, but true joy and lasting happiness come from God Above, who blesses His children with the promise of life everlasting. Like Mary the mother of Jesus said, "My soul doth magnify the Lord; and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior..." (Luke 1:46)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Really Quick

I'm so sorry that I have not updated in a while; Time seems to elude me lately. Last week I started working two jobs, and I have been doing other things with church and family that have kept me pretty busy. I love every minute of my hectic's pretty entertaining. Although, I must admit that I have my moments when I wish it would all stop and I could take a break. I guess that will happen in Heaven someday! :D

I have a couple of ideas for posts, I just haven't had time to write them out. I hope soon. I have a day off on Thursday so maybe then...who knows. Anyways, I'm still alive and doing well, just filling up my days with things besides my blog!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I've Been Blessed Beyond My Wildest Dreams

Recently a friend posted this song on Facebook. I hadn't heard it in quite a long time. I really listened to the lyrics this time and began to think about how good God is.

God has blessed me with a wonderful, loving, supportive family. They have backed me in so many ways and encouraged me to grow in my walk with Christ.
I also have a job...well, not just one but two and I enjoy both of them. God has an awesome way of providing for me!
Another blessing is my amazing group of friends. They are so much fun to hang with and talk to. They also are a great Godly encouragement.
The greatest blessing I have ever received is that of a Savior. Were it not for Him my life would be in total shambles. He has made me a new creature through the amazing power of His death, burial and resurrection.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Birthday Plans

August marks the 21st anniversary of my birth...that's right, I'll be the big TWO-ONE! My parents asked me tonight what I wanted to do to to celebrate (they said that going to a bar was out of the question! :P).

Off the top of my head I came up with going to an amusement park, because I have never ridden a roller coaster!! Sad story of my life, I know! So we are talking about going to either Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH), Six Flags (Chicago area), or Kings Island (Cincinnati, OH). I also came up with maybe going to Chicago's Navy Pier.

I'm wondering if anyone has any other ideas?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Call to Courtesy

I work at a fast food restaurant. I make minimum wage. That does not make me less of a person simply because I am the one working in a horribly greasy environment just to make the food you eat. In fact, if it weren't for me, you would have to go home and make your own meals.

I think the stereotype of fast food workers is that of irresponsible teenagers or adults who couldn't find a better job so they had to settle for what they could get. That is not exactly the case. Many fast food workers are like me, college students who have a college bill to pay. We go to school full-time, and most "respectable" employers don't want to work with our class schedule. Others are adults with families who, in the present state of this economy, lost their jobs; they are simply trying to work to provide food and shelter for their family rather than taking money from the government. Yes, some are high school students, but I give them a lot of credit for working a job to earn money instead of bumming it off their parents.

Fast food workers are subjected to a lot of mistreatment by our patrons. We are often made to feel like second class citizens just because we happen to be on the opposite side of the counter. Many times it seems as if people vent the frustrations of their bad day on us...hey, it's not our fault you had a rough time at work. Oh, another thing, if you move tables around in the dining room, fine, but please put them back where you got them from! And for goodness sakes, we aren't a full service restaurant which means that if you make a mess, clean it up! If your order is messed up, please be polite about it. We aren't perfect and sometimes, especially when we are busy, we try to get your food out so fast that mistakes are easily made. We will correct it, I promise, the nicer you are to us in the process, but nicer we will be inclined to be to you.

Working fast food isn't exactly the easiest job, but it can be enjoyable. Having courteous customers makes our life easier. If people would just relax they would realize that dealing with us can be rather pleasant. It is our responsibility to try our hardest to be nice to our customers, but it's much better when our patrons are decent in return.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jesus Paid it All

Last night my church had a communion service. I was asked to play my cello during this solemn remembrence of our Lord's death and resurrection. One of the hymns I played was "Jesus Paid it All," by Elvina M. Hall. Before I played I read over the words several times and they spoke to me in many ways.

I hear the Savior say,
"Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness watch and pray,
Find in Me thy all in all."

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim;
I'll wash my garments white
In the blood of Cal'vry's Lamb.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

And now complete in Him,
My robe, His righteousness,
Close sheltered 'neath His side,
I am divinely blessed.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper's spots
And melt a heart of stone.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
"Jesus died my soul to save,"
Shall rend the vaulted skies.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I'll lay my trophies down,
All down at Jesus' feet.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

What a wonderful Savior I have to have come to this earth to pay a price for me -- a price so high that it required Him to die on a cruel cross. The most amazing thing to me is that Jesus loved me so much that He not only went, but He went willingly. I truly have nothing good to give in order to claim His grace, but that is the most wonderful of all, He did it for me for free. He paid it all, who am I to not willingly give Him my life, my love, my all?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Gipper's Birthday

Today marks the 100th birthday of America's 40th President, Ronald Reagan. Being a lover of history, and particularly United States history, along with being a staunch conservative, I find President Reagan to be somewhat of a fascination. From his very first days in office to the end of his two terms, Reagan was a man who was and still is a rarity in politics, he was a promise keeper, a doer, and an honest man full of integrity and love for his country. He was not afraid to speak his mind and stand for what was right. No, his presidency wasn't perfect, but he was human, all people make mistakes. The difference is that he was willing to admit his shortcomings, apologize and move on. In my opinion President Reagan was the best President we have had since Lincoln, and one of the best Presidents ever.

"All great change in America begins at the dinner table." ~Ronald Reagan~

"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." ~Ronald Reagan~

"The most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" ~Ronald Reagan~

"When I took the oath of office, I pledged loyalty to only one special interest group, we the people." ~Ronald Reagan~

"Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit." ~Ronald Reagan~

"America is too great to dream small dreams." ~Ronald Reagan~

"I now begin that journey that will lead me to the sunset of my life. I know that for America, there will always be a bright dawn ahead." ~Ronald Reagan~

President Ronald Wilson Reagan, "The Gipper"
February 6, 1911 ~ June 5, 2004

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Thirty Day Challenge: Day 30: A Motto or Philosophy

At long last I have come to the end of this challenge. It has been interesting, fun, and at times a little bit difficult! I definitely enjoyed it!

I have many mottoes that encourage me in different areas of life.
  • "For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die we are the Lords." ~Romans 14:7-8
  • "I am not afraid of the storm for I am learning how to sail my ship." ~Louisa Mae Alcott
  • Live. Laugh. Love.
  • Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.
  • To live is the rarest thing of all, most people exist, that is all.
  • Run your hardest when it is hardest to run.
  • Prayer: When life gets too hard to stand, kneel.
  • "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." ~Philippians 4:13
My philosophy in life is simple:
Do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. Don't ask God why, just trust Him.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 29: Hopes, Plans and Dreams for the Next 365 Days

My biggest hope for the next year is to draw much closer to God. I want to grow in Him, learning from every happening in my life. Like the song says, "Oh, I want to know You more, deep within my soul I want to know You, Oh, I want to know You. To feel Your heart and know Your mind, looking into Your eyes stirs within me, cries that say 'I want to know You more,' Oh, I want to know You."

Plans for this next year include working, working some more, going to Shawnee for graduation, maybe going out east with a friend, probably going to Virginia for a family reunion, working, going back to Shawnee in the Fall, and working, Christmas break, and then STUDENT TEACHING! I know, not very thrilling, but that's all that I know of at the moment. God has a funny way of doing what He wants in my life and changing all of my plans. I have learned to simply accept what He wants and go on with life. Fighting God's leading tends to bring much heartache and pain, and it's not worth it.

Dreams for this year are finishing my in class training by the end of the year and to finally be student teaching. It seems like I've been in college forEVER, I'm soooo ready to be finished and on my way to doing other things with life. Another dream of mine is to finally purchase my own car that actually works (I seem to have a problem with getting a decent car). Oh, and an extra dream that doesn't necessarily have to come in the next 365 years, but would be a nice bonus, is the man of my dreams! ;) It never hurts to wish for something, right?!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 28: A Scar and its Story

Somehow I have made it through life without many scars. I don't know how this happened (or should I say didn't happen) because I was a rough and tumble tomboy growing up. Amazingly I have never broken a bone, although I have come very close on several occasions.

The scar I'm going to tell you about did not happen while I was growing up, in fact it came about last March, less than a year ago. When I am at school one of my jobs is at an ammunition factory. I have assembled thousands of bullets for all kinds of guns. One day I was working in the casting room making lead balls. When I work in there I have to wear safety glasses, a leather apron, and leather gloves. At this point the lead is nearly 700 degrees Fahrenheit!

One day the machine got stuck so I took my gloves off to fix it, BIG MISTAKE. As I reached into the machine to fix it some of the hot lead got on my middle finger of my left hand. OUCH! The lead left a hole in my finger that went nearly to my bone! It hurt really bad. It took about 4 or 5 weeks to completely heal and now I have nasty scar on my finger.

Ps. I never fixed the machine without my gloves on again.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Next Day

The past few days I have seriously been thinking about how quickly life changes. With the sudden death of Mrs. Williams life has taken on a whole new meaning. I keep thinking of Proverbs 27:1
"Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."

Friday afternoon she was babysitting some of her grandkids. I am sure that she was planning what she would fix for dinner, what time she was going to put the baby to bed, what she was going to be doing the next morning, and so on but none of that happened. Instead she ended up in the emergency room, flying to a bigger hospital, having surgery, and ultimately going Home to be with her Lord.

For some unknown reason to us, God chose to take His servant to Heaven with Him Saturday morning. He chose to take her suddenly, without giving any of us a chance to knowingly say our good-byes. I honestly don't remember the last time I spoke to her, but I do know it was in the past two weeks. I don't remember what our conversation was about, or how long it was. I do know that I did not have a clue that I would never speak to her again.

I have learned that taking life for granted is really a sin. We don't know what will happen to us, in a minute, an hour, a day or a year. Make sure that you leave no hard feelings, no sadness, and no wrongs that have not been made right. Most of all, make sure that you have trusted Christ as your personal Savior, and that you have a short account with God.

None of us knows when it is our time to die. For some, it may be a prolonged illness, where we know that our days are short. Although some major suffering may be included, at least those have a chance to say good-bye to their loved ones. However, others may go in an instant with no extra chances. Only God knows, He it is Who knows our moment of death.

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make profit'; whereas ye do not know what will happen tomorrow.

For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.'"
~James 4:13-15~

A Time to Die

"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
~I Corinthians 15:22

The past few days have been insanely hectic. My former pastor's wife had a massive heart attack Friday night and went to be with Jesus Saturday morning. This was incredibly shocking to everyone because she had no prior heart problems. She left behind a husband of many years, 8 children, 38 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by a son and a granddaughter.

Her husband is now an evangelist and on the road preaching most of the time. Thankfully he was home the night of her heart attack and with his wife most of the time, except when she was flown to a heart hospital and in surgery. Several of her children live in the area and were also able to be with her during this time.

Visitation was Monday and her funeral service was Tuesday. My mom is her husband's secretary, since she is still not up to par from her surgery, I stepped in and was able to do most of what Mom would usually do. I made a zillion phone calls, made food, watched little kids, and helped with the funeral dinner.

Thankfully all eight children, most of their spouses and children were able to be at the funeral service. It was one of the longest I have ever been to, it lasted well over two hours! Each of the children spoke as well as the oldest grandson. A few close friends and people that she had touched in her ministry also gave a testimony of how she impacted their lives for eternity. There was lots of music and then a dear pastor friend gave a clear presentation of the Gospel. God was honored in all that was said and done.

"When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have refuge."
~Proverbs 14:32