Thursday, December 6, 2007
but I totally recognized it for what it was (but not immediately)....I don't know why but I just had a down day yesterday. I started thinking about how we are not where we want to be with our goals and started to get some discouragement.
Then I started getting a little homesick -- a in missing my family and 'home' where I grew up. Most everybody knows that I never thought I'd raise a baby, so far away from my mom, dad, sister, brother, etc. etc.! I always thought we would raise our kids together! So I'm still sort of in shock how my life has played out. I am soo thankful for everything we have been given - and I know I have been extremely blessed - but really, I just miss my family - my side of the family.
I want to be the best wife I can be for Brandon - and I know that Raymond and Brandon are my family now and we will make decisions that are the best for the 3 of us....but I just wish a door would open for us to move to New Jersey. Grandma's house is sitting empty, waiting to go on the market - and I know it's going to be hard for mom to sell that house. I think we all always thought one of us kids would take it. Brandon is soo willing to move to New Jersey --- he, like me, just wants to fulfill his purpose - and he knows these jobs we have now are just temporary. We want to do so much more than any regular or even great job can give us. We are just using these jobs to get our foundation we need - we are searching for open doors into other opportunties!
So my point it....I was discouraged. And you know how negative thoughts work -- once you get one negative thought rolling - you keep getting more and more to support that though. I started thinking about family members on Brandon's side of the family that keep making horrible decisions that we haven't been able to help or encourage, discouraged with lot of different things really....
and I started having these negative, awful thoughts that were dragging me down - trying to get me to get discouraged and doubtful. At first I didn't recognize what they were.....but then when I spoke some of my feelings out loud to Brandon - I felt soo ashamed. We are all negative once in a while - but I am better than letting those negative thoughts crowd into my self talk. So I opened up my Bible for my readings that night....
And as usual, God answered my doubts and discouragement right away, through His Word. He was there to comfort me. Every single passage I had planned to read that night, was exactly what I needed to hear! For example: I was getting all down on myelf for not moving back 'home' to take care of grandma those last years of her life on earth...I opened my Bible and saw on a sidebar:
"We can't go back... we can only go forward into uncharted territory. To sit in our sorrow would lead to misery. Although regret that leads to CHANGE is a dear friend, regret that leads to SHAME is a treacherous ENEMY! So how do we live without allowing regret to rob us of our joy? "and lean not on our own understanding" (Pr 3:5). There is no guarantee that if we had done a part or our lives differently things would end up any different. We have to trust that the God of the universe who directs the outcome of all things, that He will do that which ultimately needs to be done (in spite of us, if necessary)".
Is that not awesome?!?! God can MAKE my decisions right! He can turn anything around for the good. And even when I can't see Him working - He is! He does have something big planned for me/us. That is what faith is all about --- it's believing when it isn't easy ---- believing when you can't see!!
I am so thankful for God's word and for the people who wrote the sidebars in this version of His Word. Thank God for His comfort right when I needed it. My joy is back! :) Devil doesn't have a place in this house or this heart --- so get out if here devil and don't come back.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Pursue Your Strengths
“Do not neglect your gift…” (I Timothy 4:14).
Today's Word from Joel and Victoria
God has equipped each one of us with specific gifts and talents. It’s up to you to not only to identify those gifts, but to be disciplined to develop those gifts. You have to learn to stay in your strength zone. What are you naturally good at? What do you enjoy doing? Take the time to identify your strengths and weaknesses and as the scripture says, give yourself to your gifts. In other words, don’t spend all your time trying to improve your weaknesses. Don’t waste valuable days pursuing things that are outside your main gifting. Focus on your strengths. There is something that you’re good at naturally—something you can do that comes easy to you. Step out into your area of gifting. Are you good with people? Are you good with your hands? Do you have a great voice? Find ways to develop those gifts. Know that your gifts and talents are a part of your divine destiny. If you’ll be comfortable with who God made you to be, and thank Him for your unique gifting, you’ll not only enjoy your life more, but you’ll be ready to receive the abundant blessing God has in store for you!
A Prayer for Today
Heavenly Father, thank You for equipping me with everything I need to be successful in this life. I ask that You show me how to develop the gifts within me for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen
Doesn't God just work in amazing ways!??!!?! I almost couldn't believe it when I started reading this devotional email this morning.
Some of my thoughts on the questions posed are:
What are you naturally good at? smiling, talking to people, reading, organizing, making people feel welcome, being enthusiastic, being a student, listening, making people feel appreciated, being passionate, not being scared to speak my mind, standing up for what I believe in
What do you enjoy doing? all of the above... plus playing the piano, singing, dancing, sports, competition, any sort of game, spending time with my family, coloring, swimming, enjoying nature
Are you good with people? I think so! I love people and love to make them feel like they are loved.
Are you good with your hands? I think I'm good with my hands - but I don't think I'm GREAT with my hands.
Do you have a great voice? Although I really feel like I was MEANT to have a GREAT voice... to be honest with myself it's only good...or maybe even not that good haha. I am soo moved by music - singing, dancing, playing the piano --- I can honestly say I WISH I had a really great voice. Sometimes I wonder why God gave me such a heart and love for music - but didn't really bless me with a lot of musical talent haha. Or maybe He did and I just don't know it... I don't know.....
Some things I am extremely passionate about are the elderly, babies in the womb, orphans, all little children actually..... I keep thinking about Ghana when I think of what I want to do with my gifts.... after spending time with and learning to love all of the nurses that took care of grandma, that were all from Ghana, I want to help them and their families somehow. I did quite a few lenghtly studies during college on Ghana - and have seen first hand through these ladies what life is like there. They have so many needs in that country that I wish I could help with.
but all these causes I feel so passionate about require financial assistance! I wish I was totally financially independent and could teach others to do the same so we could all help others more!! Imagine if lots of christians had as much time and money as billionaires in our country do -- or even those celebrities in Hollywood? We could do so much good. Not saying we couldn't do a lot of good now --- but just thinking of how much MORE good we could do is incredible!
But we sure could do a lot of great things NOW as well without all being financially independent.... Did you know that if everybody in our country that claimed to be a christian tithed 10% of their income like the Bible says we are supposed to do --- it would be enough money to eradicate homelessness and starvation in America with LOTS left over to spread to other countries. Anyway.. that was a digression...
Mom and other people who know me.... do you have any other insights into what some of my strengths, talent, gifts might be?!?! Anybody!? :)
Sunday, December 2, 2007
I have been a 'baby christian' for a long time. I always loved God, and wanted to know Him like grandma knew Him. Growing up, I was involved at church, loved hearing the stories from the Bible....but I stayed a baby christian for a long time, for so many reasons. What do I mean by a baby christian? Well I just knew the facts. God wasn't my focus. It wasn't who I was -it was just a part of my life. Some days I would even have the whole day go by and not really talk to God until prayer at night. But the differences betwen baby christians and mature christians are for a different blog! But one thing I didn't really understand because I was a baby christian was that once I was saved (age 7), that doesn't mean I have arrived and that's that..... being saved is really just the way BEGINNING! That is why they call it born again!
So one of the biggest steps in my journey was thanks to a mentor Brandon and I came across "coincidentally" (totally planned by God) in 2003. After meeting him, we were surrounded by amazing amounts of people that absolutely loved the Lord and understood His success principles. Meeting them really was the catalyst to help us get our lives back on track. Our atheist and super 'educated' college professors and the general liberal aura of a college campus were being used to lead us away from the Lord --- but this man and this group shed Light into our lives again. They reminded us of what our grandparents,
(digression: grandma! I understand you more and more as I get to know the Lord better -- what I wouldn't do for one more day with you!!! I can't thank you enough for all you did for me. Ohhh how much wiser I would be right now if I could rewind time and ask you LOTS more questions and study you more! I know in heaven you have received all the rewards you deserved - I can't wait to see you again - I am taking your lessons and your legacy and continuing! I will make you proud! THANK YOU for always being the best example to me - even though I didn't appreciate or understand you all the time!)
(MomMom! the ultimate example to me of unconditional love, forgiveness and acceptance..... and Daddy Cat! the greatest example to me that life may not always be easy but that the hard times can make you better! His lessons taught me that we need to constantly try our best and that Right decisions won't be easy)
and church leaders had taught us growing up. They brought us back to the lessons that had been ingrained in our hearts, The Truth, The Bible. They challenged us to find a church --- and in late 2003, early 2004 - we found Southside Baptist Church and have been going there ever since.
Since 2004 I have been getting more and more fired up about the Lord. The more mature I get in my spirituality and walk with the Lord - the more I love the Bible! This year will be the first time I have ever read the whole Old Testament straight through. My goal was to read the whole Bible cover to cover because I had never done that before - but I missed that goal this year. Last year I read the New Testament and this year I read the Old. There is just SO much in there! Every other year, I have just skipped around and read my favorite verses - but now I can say I have read the WHOLE Bible! Reading the Old Testament this year, I just did a basic study - writing down my thoughts, journaling after I read, underlining passages that the Spirit made stand out to me. I can't wait to get even more in depth. I just yearn to really KNOW the Bible!
I started out wanting to REALLY start to study the Bible because I thought...when I go to heaven, I will be very embarassed if I meet xyz famous Bible character and not know their story! Then the more I read, the more I understand God.... and the more I understood God the more I understood me! I can truly say I found Randi in the past years from the Bible. I have gotten glimpses of Randi the way God sees Randi. Then after that realization, I yearned for the Bible because I realized it was my defense - when so many people are doing wrong - I want to lay out the black and white. When they ask me I want to say without a doubt... THIS is what is right. This is what the Bible says! See, there IS a right and a wrong and it is all laid out in the Bible. There IS ONE moral code no matter what the media or some politician tell you - there is right and there is wrong and it existed before you and I. This book will guide you, teach you the right and wrong and will teach you how to live! It will keep you out of the gray area that is so dangerous and only leads to a mediocre, average life. It will teach you to truly LIVE and go the opposite direction of the masses!
My grandma read the Bible all the way through every year. I will continue to have that as a goal! As all the people close to me know - I LOVE words. I seem to be BURSTING with them most of the time. My heart is almost always overflowing! I LOVE God's word.
The reason all this is coming out today - is because I just feel God's presence so much right now. More than I ever have. Today the pastor had an incredible sermon again! I just felt God's presence and God's words flowing through Him. God always affirms to me the lessons I am learning - because I will read a certain passage or blog about something the Spirit is nudging me on, and then the pastor will speak about that exact same thing the next Sunday! It's incredible! Through the pastor's words I can hear God saying to me, "great job Randi, keep reading, I want you to know Me even more! " That is how you know you've found a good church - and that is how God will confirm to you, that you are on the right path! There is SOO much potential in this church and I want to help it grow! I want to help all the people that flitter in through those doors to truly feel welcome and accepted -- and eventually challenged to become better and better daily.
During the sermon today, numerous times, I literally had the urge all of a sudden to stand up and shout numerous times, "praise God!" I wanted to shout --- "people do you feel that?! Is God piercing your hearts like He is mine!? He is calling us to action! He is calling up His army!" Nobody can say when the Lord will come back or not -- but I just FEEL something big is happening! The opposing sides are starting to gather more and more with each year! When I feel God's love and when I feel his joy -- I just can't help but smile which is why I'm always smiling! How can people who know the same truths that I do, not be joyful!?! How come they don't have smiles on their faces!??! HOw come they aren't more friendly to each other?!? How come they don't show the world what True joy and fun is!!! I want people to look at my life and lifestyle and I want them to think...now how is she like that? What does she know that I don't!?!?
We sang 'Above all Powers' (I think that is what it's called) today.... and the Spirit was just all over me. I felt like it was just me and God and other spiritual beings not the flesh at all, I don't know if that makes sense, but that's what I felt ---- what an AWEsome experience! The songs just tore my heart... "crucified, laid behind a stone, you lived to die, rejected and alone. like a rose trampled on the ground. You took the fall and you thought of ME (RANDI)...above all...."..... How can you not absolutely break down when you truly HEAR those words. I can't even fathom the love God has for me. and all He asks is for love back --- He asks for me to Love Him and then Love others enough to tell them about Him. He just asks for me to make Him a part of my life. He wants my attention, my love my soul and I want to give it to Him! OHH the power I have been missing out on by not letting Him into my life! I want to be with Him during every part of my day!! I want to always be TUNED into his frequency - I want to be ever-aware of His presence!
Whenever I feel the Spirit - I automatically shed tears - and numerous times during today's sermon I had uncontrollable leakage from my eyes! They aren't tears of sadness - they are tears of absolutey pure JOY and PEACE. It's a spiritual high. When grandma went to heaven this May..... I had some lows in lots of areas of my life - but I got through those tough times waiting to feel like this! I knew God was there even in my lows and I knew that I just had to get through those lows and use it to built my faith because this time right now would come!
Thank you God for showing Yourself to me more and more!!! Thank you for this blog I started in February when I just had SOOO much to say but not a lot of people with time to listen!! I thank you for this outlet. I also thank you for the people I have met that have encouraged and taught me and grown with me. Thank you for the couples I am finally starting to meet at church that are finally ready to get serious about having a small group together!
I want to be used! I feel like I have SOO much to give! I feel like a bursting spring sometimes! After the sermon, sometimes people just switch back to "regular life" and I am just still floating - I want to continue to talk about what the pastor preached about -- I still have so much more to say! I know He gave me this heart and my passions for a reason. I know God is preparing something big for me! I want to use these lessons I have been learning to help others!
Thank you to all my blog friends who have encouraged my growth in the past year since starting this blog. Some of them only stopped by once and left a comment one time...some are always there (hugs!) and some never leave comments - only email me! and I am thankful for every single one of you!
God, what plans do you have for me next!?!? :) I know that You will know when I'm ready --- so when You know that I'm ready -- use me!!!! I'm willing! Which talents have you given me that I can use to bring others to you? I know you gave me a talent in encouraging others. I genuinely love people and love to make people feel welcome and accepted! God --- please help me strengthen the talents you have given me - and please make it obvious what my talents are so I can find what my specific purpose is!!!
That's all I have on my heart tonight....to anybody who actually read all this --- WOW! I hope it was worth all the reading! I am humbled you would read all my words! I love you for it!!
These are some of my favorite blogs of my spiritual growth of the past year. Just thought I'd link them here for my own reference to remember some of the lessons I learned throughout the year:
Friday, November 30, 2007
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I highlighted the parts of the verse that are on my heart right now.
I think sometimes the best act of love is forgiveness. I like to think that I have become real good at forgiving others; probably because I mess up all the time and need a lot of forgivenes frequently....so because I receive it so much, I know to give it a lot! I am pretty aware of my faults and weaknesses and I like to think this keeps me from being prideful in my relationships. I genuinely love people and I believe their intentions are good and having this optimistic thinking has really helped my relationships. When there's a question, I just assume the person didn't intend to be offensive and I am usually right. I think to always give a person the benefit of the doubt is one of the best people skills I was taught. If you really feel offended -- ask the person to clarify what they are saying. Most likely, there was a miscommunication and things were heard or read the wrong way! Miscommunication is the #1 reason for strained relationships. We "hear" so much more than what is really said!!
or maybe the person has lots of issues going on in their lives, they are just a mess and took it out on the wrong person... their blow up at you might not be really against you at all --- and that might have been a perfect opportunity to witness to this person and show love and forgiveness even when you've been wronged!!
Do you give people the benefit of the doubt? Or do you read into what they are saying to you and assume they are trying to be offensive to you? Do you automatically assume the worst of people? If you are offended by somebody, do you tell them directly or no?
There are some people I have crossed paths with - that absolutely just don't forgive and always assume the worst in my words. We simply don't "click". I can honestly say there are only probably about 5 people in my whole 24 years on earth that this has happened to... and most of the time it's people I've only had very little or no face to face interaction with at all (one I remember is a swim coach I had once... but the rest were only on message boards, my mom's groups, phone calls, and quick face to face interactions). These people won't talk out differences and don't try to see things from others point of views.. they just simply either ignore the problem and think less of you as a person.... automatically using their judgements against you (even if they aren't right)....or they just banish you from their life all together.
Neither of those 'solutions' are healthy or what God would want us to do... in my opinion.
When somebody has done you wrong (or better yet, when you THINK you have been wronged or when you FEEL wronged), and you get hurt and simply ignore the problem, you are putting a deadstop on the relationship. The relationship will not be able to grow or deepen without dealing with the issue. You have left a huge hole in the connection you had and it wil eventually get broken down. There is a verse about this... how when you and a brother have a difference, even if you're in the middle or worshipping - go to him and work it out.... but I can't remember the verse.. ANybody!?!
When you don't try to work things out, you are showing that person, their point of view is not worthy of your attention, and you are showing them they are not worthy of your friendship anymore. It is a selfish act, a prideful act. You are not showing love at all. I know that people make this decision thinking they are protecting themselves from future pain... but the opposite effect will happen. Unresolved issues eat away at you.
There are times where the 2 people do talk and work out their problems and at least try to see each other's points of view....and their relationship still ends. but that's okay. Sometimes people were not meant to be a long term relationship in our lives. What matters though is that you loved them even when you felt wronged.
It is very very very easy to love somebody when they are always good to you, when things are great in your relationship. But what made Jesus truly different and incredible was that He loves/loved people who wronged Him bigtime. He loved when it was NOT easy!! Love and relationships can be hard!! just like life!
So.... that is what was on my heart today. I was just thinking about love from my last post... what love really is... and forgiveness was just so big on my heart. The fact that Jesus sees all my ugly horrible sin and forgives me for it is just incredible! He loves me when it isn't easy!!
So for all the broken relationships I have out there - I hope I have done my part to continue to love, forgive and accept the person. Whether they will love me back, is not up to me. and I want my heart to be okay with that.
I hope you can say the same! :)
Have a great weekend! What are you all doing!??! Anything fun planned!??!?! :)
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I hope anybody that reads these blogs.....realizes that I get so passionate about these politicians because they claim to be christians!!! (and YES there are exceptions to every rule - it's not EVERY democrat, it's not EVERY liberal... but I know the people who read my blog who are politically savvy and who I talk to regularly, know exactly who I'm talking about haha).....I hold christians to a different standard than non christians!!! What makes me so passionate and upset about our 'leaders' and people running for our government is that they claim to know God and Jesus yet all the things they do go exactly against the Word of God!
It's ONE thing if you lead a lifestyle because you don't know The Truth!! We need to teach those people through love and acceptance and The Word. But it's a TOTALLY different thing if you claim to be a christian and still approve and stick up for these lifestyles and sins that are totally against God's word!!!! Do not claim to know God just to move you ahead politically because you know the majority of our country is still christian!! And if you do know God and if you are a christian -- what in the world are you doing trying to change His moral code!??!? We need to keep these people accountable... because "If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share it happiness (i Cor 12:26)...."You are the body of Christ and each one of you is part of it" (i Cor 12:27)..."the body is a uniue, though it is made up of many parts; and though all it parts are many, they form one body" (i Cor 12:12)
Christians need to encourage each other to be better. They need to speak positive and the Truth into each other's lives. We need to stop expecting so LITTLE of each other!!! We are better than we show!! Our leaders will be judged on a much more strict level and I fear for the judgement God will pass on them if they continue to lead our innocent youth to hell. God speaks very bodly against people who stop children from coming to Him... and guess what our "leaders" are doing! The one side of our political government is trying to take God out of EVERYTHING. I don't think He is happy!
I love America --- and I want to continue to be a nation who is one nation under one God. I want America to continue to be based on the FREE enterprise system. I don't want Raymond's peers to be raised by the government. I don't want it to be okay to kill babies --- yet NOT okay to discipline them...and on and on and on
So that is where my fire came from if you were curious. Thank you so much for letting me get out my ranting on here. I don't get that chance a lot. There's a lot of passion between this smile and bubbly optimism that I need to type out sometimes!
**You can not be against what he is for and still be for Him.
** You can NOT be FOR what He is against... and still be for Him.
It ONLY works this way:
**If you are for God.. you are against what He is against... and for what He is for!!!
As can be shown from my last 2 passionate posts, I LOVE the Truth and I LOVE people. I want to be more and more like Jesus. He always always always stuck up for the Truth yet at the same time always offering love to all.
I just genuinely love people. I'm a people person. I love meeting new people, learning about them and talking. I am very compassionate... actually I used to be way overly compassionate (a bleeding heart) never really giving credit to people as to how strong they could be. And never giving credit to God that He can help people overcome. I'd feel so BAD for people -- but I realized that was unncessary. Have compassion - but then use it to help them. Help them realize things can and will get better! Help them put on their big girl (or boy) panties and move on! I was soo compassionate/sensitive that I had to call my mom at least twice a year in school to pick me up early because I was too upset because I saw somebody eating lunch by themselves..or I saw somebody get picked on or whatever.. but literally I went home from school crying quite often up until 8th grade. I remember when I didn't do it in 8th grade, the WHOLE family was excited - I was getting stronger!
But ...like I was trying to get across in my last posts, enough though I love people and have so much fun with them and have so much compassion for them, I want to make sure that I always stand up for my beliefs even if means that I have to give somebody a Truth they don't want to hear.... I don't want to ever give an answer that doesn't boldly speak from my heart. My grandma would never tell me something that was not a Truth just to make me feel good about myself... and I LOVED that about her. I think it was a Jesus quality. I don't think it's possible to truly love somebody and lie to them.
Sometimes loving somebody means setting a higher standard for them, a higher standard then they have for themselves... sometimes loving somebody means you want what's best for them in the LONG TERM (eternity) not just their immediate happiness. And sometimes loving somebody means that you express your love for THEM but let them know you don't approve of their actions/lifestyle/whatever it may be.
I don't believe we ever have the right to "call anybody out" or put somebody down unprovoked. Unasked-for "advice" is called criticism... and one of the first people skills I was ever taught was to not criticize, condemn or complain.
Above all else we must love God... and we do that by putting Him first... and His Truth first... and Then we are to love others above ourselves. We will never win people to our Kingdom while wearing robes, we must leave the judging to God .... but we will also never help people live to the fullest and best relationship they can have with the Lord -- without challenging them to be better!!
SO HOW do we talk to people about sin while still showing them love... and do it without criticizing, and acting like we are better than them???? see this post: http://therooksfamily.blogspot.com/2007/10/keeping-each-other-accountable-for-sins.html those are some of my thoughts on that
We are called to ENCOURAGE one another -- never to Condemn!!
Jesus loved on everybody --- but He challenged people to be better. He saw them for what they COULD be yet loved them where they were... and loved them enough to help them get there and not stay unchanged!
I want to be like that! :) I want everybody to feel my love... but I also want God to shine His light through me so I will offend the darkness in others!!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
We are ALL sinners and I believe it's very important to always speak the Truth, yet in a way that is full of love and compassion. We need to speak the message that we are ALL sinners, we all have our weaknesses and we can ALL be forgiven if we ask for it!! But either way... the Truth needs to be spoken. On the 2 issues mentioned in comments... my opinion is:
Did you know that out of all the MILLIONS of abortions in a YEAR - less than 1 % are because the mother is at risk? Less than 1 %!! Let's be serious --- abortion is used as a common form of birth control - the statistics are TERRIFYING. 1 out of every THREE teenagers right now will get pregnant pre marriage! AHHH Premarital sex is at an all time high - and it is soo disheartening. As a society we ALWAYS try to "put on a bandaid to cure a hemmoraging broken leg". There are deep routed issues here and we need help! And it isn't going to be helped by going the exact same path we have been! We need to run toward God and the black and white TRUTH and stop tiptoeing around this grey area of trying to make the majority happy and not be offended.
I think acting on gay tendencies is a sin. I think killing babies is a sin. Just as much as I think lying and stealing and taking the Lord's name in vain are sins. (Have you read "Bringing Up Boys" by James Dobson -- I will write a blog on this later.. it was great)
I think as a society we make a mistake in thinking that if we don't stand for anything - then we are just neutral - but there is NEVER neutrality - you either stand for the Truth, or you don't.
There is not and never will be a society full of people-pleasers, offend nobody, relational peace and harmony until the Lord comes back and restores our broken souls and broken relationships.
I don't know why many supposed "leaders" in our country try to ignore Right and Wrong. Why do they try to ignore what this country was founded on!? Why are they even HERE in MY AMERICA!? Why are they trying to change this beautiful and wonderful God created country which has been the most influential and most positive power for good in our world in centuries!!? These are the same people that don't think english should be our official language.... and who want to change America, depending on the viewpoints of the people who are moving into it at that time.
So that's all I got for tonight. Point is..... I have friends who lead homosexual lifestyles, just like I have friends who had abortions, just like I have friends who lie, just like I have friends who get drunk, just like I have friends who take the Lord's name in vain.
The common denominator is that their SIN is not acceptable. I LOVE these people - I do NOT like at all their sin. Just like I hate my sin. Although I can love on these people and give them approval and accept them as a person... I can't accept their sin. I probably will end up spending less and less time with these friends if they continue on the path they are on without ever admitting their sin... mostly they end the relationship because they will be offended by the light God shines through me and through my other friends who are running toward the Lord. I won't fit in with them anymore.
I want people to turn from their ways --- I don't want anybody to ever mistake my love for them to be my acceptance of their lifestyles.
I DO NOT accept people who run away from God and then try to change the moral truths that He has laid down (and that our country is founded on)....to make THEM happy and feel better about their sinful actions!!!
How do you have a debate with people who have no moral code? They live and make decisions according to what will bring them pleasure, immediate gratification and happiness..... I feel like I am back in the Roman Empire right before it fell.
Love yall, as they say in the south. Have a great night :)
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Why is it wrong to have different opinions from each other? Why is it so wrong to disagree and stick up for your beliefs? And be passionate about them!? And why does it have to be so offensive when we do stick up and disagree with somebody?
Did you know it IS possible to "get along" yet disagree!? It really is! I mean, who wrote the book that said we all have to have the exact same viewpoints? And that viewpoint (according to the left) is whatever the majority thinks at the time. Don't people realize that it's impossible to please everybody all the time? I learned that in 2nd grade from my dad when my siblings and I couldn't agree on something and he had to make a veto decision.
Don't people realize that if we ALL thought exactly the same things all the time.... there would be no need for any of us, except for one person. We were all created with our own experiences our own talents our own brains our own passions.... and we were created that way for a reason. We are DIFFERENT (GASP! from the liberal mainstream). YES we are DIFFERENT from each other!?? We WERE CREATED DIFFERENTLY! Can you believe it!? You might be able to physically clone somebody -- but we have souls that are UNcloneable!!
I guess liberals (I will call them 'liberals' throughout the rest of my journal.... but interchange that for whatever you want, seculars, moral relativists, clintons, socialists) hate to have differing opinions from the church of liberalism they have created... because then they would have to admit there is a Creator! They would have to admit that there IS a right and wrong... and that it has NOTHING to do with what the MAJORITY BELIEVES! For example: The Truth is is that it is NEVER okay to kill babies just because you can't SEE them! Killing babies will not solve the problem - there are much deeper routed issues obviously! Why has it become okay because the majority ignores these murders?
Liberals believe that life is supposed to be easy and should be centered on our own relative happiness, but I dont' agree! The Truth says otherwise -- and life around us proves it! Some people out there are soo bogged down in not offending anybody -- that they are offending God and all He stands for!!!!!
Wake up people and get some guts. There is one univeral Truth out there written in the word of God -- and it needs to be spoken. When we are challenged we can't back down. Jesus was not a people pleaser and was not afraid to disagree with the majority! He spoke the Truth always right up to His suffering and torture and death! What's the worst that can happen to us?
Speak the Truth in a loving, forgiving way. If you are seen as offensive because you are not agreeing with everybody else --- that's okay! because you will know that YOU were not offensive -- your WORDS were offensive - and you should have NO apology for that!
Speak the Truth in the positive. Tell people what they CAN have -- don't threaten them with what will happen if they don't listen to the Word.
We need to let the Truth be heard --- I believe that when a person hears the Truth enough - they can not deny it. Our souls can always recognize the Truth when heard enough.
I will speak the Truth today - no matter how much it MIGHT make me sweat, no matter what people say about me or to me.
SO MY REMINDER FOR THE DAY IS:
Liberals don't have guts -- they are taught to be people pleasers -- so they can't hurt you! If you speak the Truth, they might talk about you behind your back. Do you care? The worst case scenario is that they will get fired up about their Lies even more... and they MIGHT buy a bumper sticker to stick on their car to do their talking for them! And ya know what? That's okay --- in fact it's great. I love the freedom of speech, I will just choose to ignore those stickers.
I am SO thankful that God loves us enough to have given us free will. He doesn't make us do anything. We have to choose to. And in this wonderful country we have the freedom to choose what religion we want. We have the freedom OF religion. NOT the freedom FROM religion. So that protects me. I can speak the Truth when I want to, to whomever I choose. I choose My Christ and what He stands for.
If we don't stick up for christianity - we ARE sticking up for the other side!!!! If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
Jesus laid down his life for our personal freedom. And our servicemen put their lives on the line for our freedom as a country. I am humbled how many have volunteered to give me all the freedoms I cherish today.
I have no tolerance for people who do not respect, support and love our servicemen. In fact, I really have little tolerance for people who live in our country but have nothing but negative things to say about it. You don't like our country? You want to change all the ideals it was built on? JUST LEAVE! Nobody is forcing you to stay here. You are here and stay here because of the very luxuries and qualities that you will destroy if you keep trying to undermine our principles our country was built on. Please just leave if you hate it here and you hate what we stand for and who we are!
I am a traditionalist, a patriot and an American through and through and I make no apologies for what we stand for and the good we have done in this world!
God bless America! Thank you God for our veterans and servicemen. Thank you most importantly for your son Jesus that would give us the personal freedom and peace that this world can never offer and was never meant to offer!!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
---- Marilyn Meberg ----
Who are you letting win your heart today? Are you listening to satan's accusations and condemnations? Or are you accepting the invitation from God to commune with Him, the one who accepts you, loves you and approves of you. God doesn't want you to listen to Satan's voice. Don't do it!
This is something I am always working on. I want to make sure I always listen to God's words about me and not satan's lies. But at the same time...I want to understand that I haven't EARNED God's love. I haven't EARNED the precious ability to commune with God whenever I want. Instead I accept an invitation given in grace. I am not great because of me, I am great because I have God. I am loved and approved of and accepted not because of me or anything I've done, but all because of Him.
I haven't EARNED the ability to talk to God whenever I want... Jesus did that for me. Are you taking the time today to appreciate what Jesus did? You can go to God without shame. Christ dealt once and for all for our guilt and we can interact with our Father without shame.
God will be angry when we sin, and He will discipline us for our own good, but He will NEVER hold a grudge against us. His essential nature is gracious, not wrathful. Our actions have consequences (what we sow we shall reep), but God can turn anything around for the good.
So go to Him. He wants your pain, your thoughts, your fears and your joy. Make Him a part of every minute of your day. He has been woo-ing you since you were a little girl, He wants to be the center of your life. Are you allowing Him in?
Do you turn to Him when things are going great to thank Him. "Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father". We have lot to be thankful for. If you don't know how to start a relationship, communition or conversation with God. Start there...with Thanksgiving! Nothing new can come into your life unless you are grateful for what you have.
Do you run to His open arms when you are scared or sad or frustrated. There is no worry or thought to small to share with Him.. He already knows them anyway.
Make Him the center of your day today. You don't have to take 2 hours to kneel on the floor praying. You don't have to be formal with Him. Just talk to Him. Be with Him in thought. Do all things throughout your day with Him and for Him. Show Jesus you appreciate the price He paid for you.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I love this quote for so many reasons.....this quote for me, can be taken literally or figuratively.... I literally do much better in so many areas of my life when it's sunshiny outside....Whenever I've had my really spiritual/emotional lows it's always when it's dark out and Brandon has to tell me to just go to bed, and remind me that the sun will come out in the morning! Randi & sun/light need each other like peanut butter & jelly! :)
I love that there is always hope. The sun WILL always come out. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick" Proverbs 13:12 How is it possible to live without hope?? Is it even possible at all????
I sure am glad that I was introduced to The Savior, the One that brings hope of a new tomorrow... and the promise that we can ALWAYS start fresh with endless "do over's"!!!! I pray for those around me that don't know This Savior, I don't know how they get through even one day without Him and the hope, love, acceptance, mercy, and approval He gives.
This picture was taken in 2004.... when my parents paid for all of us to go on a cruise to Bermuda - it was such a great vacation!! (sorry I think there was a Lennox hair right there on the cloud when I scanned it and I don't have time to scan it again hahaha)
Monday, October 22, 2007
Now that I've talked about what fills my days.... I have to say... that I'm NOT always doing and going going going! I think one of the reasons Americans are so unhappy is because we don't allow ourselves down time. We have no peace, we are never still. The Spirit's nudges and messages are always quiet like a whisper and they can usually only be heard when at rest. Just sitting and "being" is one of my favorite things to do. It's always last on the priority list in our culture however.
Moving down south and being able to be outdoors the majority of the year with absolutely breathtaking scenery is really what openend me up to down time. That and meeting Brandon... a man truly at peace. The only down time I had growing up, was on Sundays... but I have come to realize that the more simple my life is, the less busy, the closer I am with God. Up North, growing up, I just filled my life to the brim! School, sports, friends, always always go go go go go. It was always chaotic, always a rush and always busy up there! And there is fun and happiness and a sense of accomplishment in that for the SHORT TERM.. but it will end up eating at your soul in the LONG term.
That's one of the many reasons grandma and I needed each other so much. She was always at peace. The older I get, the more I understand her. I wish she was still here, I have so much I want to talk to her about! We balanced each other out. I made her go out... and she was able to experience and do things vicariously through me.... and she slowed me down. She helped me just sit and be. I'll never forgot sitting on the backporch with her one summer day and just sitting and not saying anything and all of a sudden I just felt the spirit flood me and I knew she felt it too. We both had goosebumps and tears in our eyes.... which happens instantaneously with me when I feel the Spirit. There was not 2 of us there... There was 3. It was a turning point for me.....
Our lives in general as a society are such a mess because we are so BUSY and the devil tempts us with more and more to fill our lives... the devil will even use 'good' things.. he works on our human nature to want more more more so that even inherently good things turn bad, because they distract from God....ex: volunteering, cleaning, making ourselves and our environment beautiful, creative projects....
The devil will use anything he can to take our eyes off the Lord. God is the Prince of Peace and it's something that can only be received from Him. The opposite of peace is chaos, turmoil, busy-ness. Our prayer, quiet, down time is so important for the soul and our relationship with God. But as usual... the soul isn't a priority. Our society focuses on the outside. Our activities, what we have, what we look like, what our house looks like.... but God looks deeper.
I've come to realize it's ALWAYS the little decisions and small seconds/minutes in our lives that make a difference. It's always the small steps that lead us to huge drastic life changes. I am soo thankful that God has lead me to this point. Sometimes in the past year, I have felt that my life had no purpose compared to what I used to be like. I have such a driving personality, I always want to be excelling and doing and moving forward.... but life is different now. God has stripped everything I thought I was good at, away from me and humbled me. I became a mom and gave up the life I thought I was supposed to be living to be able to train him up the way I'm supposed to. Right now, I don't have a ton of contact with others... I am not making a difference in a lot of people's lives... I'm not really "doing" or "succeeding" as society would tell me I'm supposed to at this stage in my life............ and after months of frustration... I can finally say, I'm okay with that. I need to appreciate this time with Raymond. To my little family, I make a HUGE difference and I do have a great purpose in this small setting.
Thank you God for doing what was best for me, even if I fought it. Thank you for loving me enough for not letting me stay the way I was.
Only after You had taken away all that I thought my life was.... did I find my true self, and You.
"Every day before sunrise, Jesus got up and went out to a place to be alone to pray" -- Mark 1:35
Friday, October 19, 2007
This got me to thinking about sin and talking to people about sin...I believe that as a christian, if somebody close to us is sinning, it is our place to let them know that we disagree with their behavior. I don't believe it's anybody's right to embarass, or 'call out' somebody in public. I think it's something that needs to be approached on a 1 to 1 basis first. I believe it's my job as a christian to encourage others and set a good example and love them -- never to criticize but to always encourage and focus on what they do good .... yet at the same time, I want them to know I disagree with their sinful behavior and that the BEHAVIOR is wrong/bad but I still love THEM.
And once again, this was all in a book I finished last night. God always does this for me! I am reading the Janette Oke love series right now... and what do you know, the book I was reading and finished last night, had a whole situation exactly like this. I think the characters handled it as a christian should.....here's the excerpt from the book with a lot of conversation cut out... but here's the major part between a pastor and an elder in the community:
Pastor: "it's one of my parishioners", the preacher began. "Rumor has it that he's been seen in town-doing-ah-doing something that he shouldn't be doing...I say 'rumor' because I haven't talked to the individual yet, and a man is innocent until proven guilty. Well this source who told me this, is concerned that others have been seeing it too and that it will reflect on the whole church. If it is happening and if he is doing what he shouldn't be doing - this man's right, Clark. It could reflect on the whole church. It's wrong - and it's against God's commandments - and I'm really not sure what to do about it"
Clark: "What do you want to about it?"
P: "What I want is of no importance here, as I see it. What I want to know, Clark is what does the Lord want?"
C: "First of all, someone, meanin you as preacher, I think, needs to talk to the man and find out if ya can, iffen he's really guilty as charged. Iffen he refuses to give ya the truth, then one needs to inquire further from the source an from others. Iffen one person has seen these.. indescretions, then it's very likely thet others have seen it also."
P: "So I go to see him and hear his story. Now I need to know what to do about it"
C: Well if he admits to his guilt, I don't reckon he can seriously deny the error of his way, though it's true that some have tried"
P: "all right, let's say he does admit his guilt but he has no intention to stop doing what he has been doing. what then? Does our little church discipline its members?"
C: First, I think that we need to understand what discipline is all about and why it is sometimes necessary.
P: It's not easy to discpline a fellow believer, Clark. Who says that I'm so storng that I never fall? I'm not good at setting myself up as judge and jury.
C: And yer not the judge. God's Word is what we judge a man upon. Iffen He says thet it's wrong - then we can't make it right.
P: "But should we bring judgement upon him - or leave it to God to judge?"
C: Iffen ya committed a sin, do ya think that you'd need to be a carin fer it?
P : Certainly. I'd be guilty as such I'd need to straighten the thing out with God and make resitutition if it was necessary.
C: "the Bible teaches thet all the members of the church are of the same body. Iffen anypart of my body sins, my whole being is held responsible. Iffen any part of the churh body sins, we are all responsible to get that thing made right. Iffen we, as the rest of the church, accept it as okay and pass it off, we too are guilty of that sin"
(By the way, this is direct out of the Bible. It's true... Read Ezra 10...Ezra's grief over the people's sin that he didn't even directly commit... can you believe how God brought all these lessons together for me!?)
P: "His sin is my sin if I make no attempt to correct it when I know about it"
c: "Church discipline is done for 2 reasons - to keep the body pure before God and to bring the erring one back to a forgiven and restored relationship with God. Never should it be done for any other purpose. It's not to punish, or to make someone pay, or to whip someone into relucant shape, or show the comunity that we really are holy and pure. God already knows whether we are or not"
P: "To restore them to a right relatioship to God. Then what about sending him from the church?"
C: Iffen he makes the thing right with God, ther'e no need to throw him out. He's still part of the body - forgiven just like you and me's been forgiven"
I thought that was great.... but there are some snags that the devil will try to work into our relationships. Did you know the devil's greatest tool against christians is other christians. He works at our sinful nature and uses us against each other! We have to remember that WE are NOT the judges. We are FRIENDS to this sinful person. An encourager and uplifter to let them know they can get past this sin and that we know their actions are not a direct mirror of their heart. The sin is not who they are... we all make mistakes.
Also, we have to have a trusting, healthy relationship with this person FIRST. If the person doesn't trust you coming to them with a loving, humble heart... it can't work. You have to be able to relate to this person and have a 'good' relationship already. That's probably why the 'source' in this story went through the preacher to get to this public sinner. He didn't have a godo enough relationship with that person to make a difference. Above all else, make it about the Word of God. It's not about what YOU want, what YOU think is right... it's about the Bible.
In my Bible on a sidebar was this message:
"Hope for the CHristian is much more than pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. The dictionary defines hope as a verb of expectation - to hope against hope', to actively and confidently expect fulfillment. Hope as a noun is defined as a confident expectation that a desire will be fulfilled. Hope as a virtue is described as the confidence with which a Christian looks at God's grace in this world and glory in the next...Did you get the common denominator? Hope is all about placing our confidence in what we can't yet see, about having high epxectations that, in spite of all appearances to the contrary, our deepest longings will be fulfilled. And as Christians, that's exactly what we can count on." --- Thelma Wells
I love it! Joel's message is this same message. Give God room to make miracles happen in your life, by being expecting and hoping for prosperity, success and opportunity!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
This thinking of my actions is one of my blessings/cursings. I am extremely sensitive to guilt. It's a battle I fight. Guilt is a great thing because the guilt I might feel keeps me from sinning ---- but that isn't a good reason not to sin. The guilt I'm always aware of is a bad thing also though, because it never allows me to live to my full potential. The devil places guilt on me so hard sometimes that I have a hard time seeing myself through God's eyes. I sometimes have a hard time forgiving myself and getting over my mistakes. God doesn't want us to be laden with guilt - He wants us to learn from our mistakes and then MOVE ON. He loves us unconditionally and He always accepts and approves of us. He wants us to get better but He loves us RIGHT NOW.
So anyway... I just typed that to lead into what is on my mind right now after reading posts from Candy: http://athomewithcandy.blogspot.com/2007/09/all-i-have-to-say-is-amen.html and Connie's son: http://fullypersuadedbaptist.blogspot.com/2007/09/our-entertainment-cultivating-of.html
I do feel some guilt over some things I have let slide in my life. I can blame it on the people I 'have' to be around (family), I can blame it on circumstances... but really we are all in control of what entertainment we partake in or not. We can remove ourselves from 90% of the sin that we see on a daily basis.
There are some areas I have let slide in my life... and some areas I have let other people convince me to lower my standards. A lot of those areas have to do with entertainment. More than ever, I am working on myself. Being a parent has helped me become a better me. I think of everything I do from a different perspective now. Before Raymond, I had to be able to explain my actions to myself, my husband and my God. Before that, I had to be able to explain my actions to my parents and to God. I never REALLY had to explain my actions... but in my mind I felt like I had to. But NOW I have a whole new set of eyes looking at me. I think about my actions and think, "would I want Raymond to do this same thing I am doing?".
And sadly enough, a lot of the time I say that no.... what I'm doing right now.... I wouldn't really want Raymond to watch this, or do this or have this.
BUT WHY IS THAT!? Why are some things okay for adults but not children? This relates a lot to my inhibition post.
http://therooksfamily.blogspot.com/2007/08/uninhibited.html the answer is that if it's not okay for children.. it probably shouldn't be okay for adults!!!
The reason we lose all our precious purity and inhibition is not because it goes away at a certain age --- it's because of what we allow into our lives at a certain age!!!
What makes us an adult? Does becoming an adult mean that we can now watch cussing on TV, watch violent movies, and be surrounded by others that get drunk? Why does age make a difference? and if adults can do these things..... why can't our children!?
That will be the next step society will take. Somehow the devil has convinced us as a society that sin really is okay when you're an adult...and especially it's okay if we're not doing it ourselves... it's somehow okay to watch, because we're just being entertained, we're not taking part in it. But that's wrong. We ARE taking part in it. Anything we allow into our self affects our subconcious. Everything we see and hear and experience becomes a part of our reality, our view of the world.
Before we know it, our society will start using the argument that if children are going to watch (or do) these things when they are adults anyway, why don't we just let kids partake in all these things now? Why wait until a certain age to be allowed to partake in this entertainment?
So WHY DO we keep these things away from our children!? In my eyes, I want to keep Raymond away from things of the world to protect his purity. To plant good seeds in his mind and heart. Don't we want that for ourselves as adults too? At what age do we no longer protect ourselves from purity!? Some people say children shouldn't be allowd to partake or see these 'adult' things because they are still 'impressionable'... but what does that mean!!?!!??!?? We are ALL impressionable. Somebody's view on the world or view on any issue isn't set in stone at age 18. Our views can always be changed!
Parents hope that if they keep their children away from these sins, then when they are adults they will stay away... but why will they stay away if they see their own parents and all other adults, especially ones who claim to be christians doing these acts!??!? Parents shouldn't blame it on TV, blame it on their peers, or other family members.. they should feel and burden all themselves. When children see adults doing these things and that it's allowed... the opinion is then formed, that we can watch sins or even partake in them when you're an adult, just not before! I am so thankful my parents kept me away from drunks, away from violence especially R rated movies and kept me surrounded with as much good clean fun as they could.
Thank you both Candy and Connie (and son) for your posts, very thoughtprovoking.
I really need to take control of what I am watching and be more conscientious of what I allow in to my heart, my soul and my house.
I want to do this so I am the best mom I can be, and the best wife. But the most important reason I need to watch what I am doing, watching and listening to is because I want to please God. I want Him to be proud of me. I want Him to trust me. I want to be used. God can't use me if I am constantly allowing worldly and satanic views into my soul, even if I am just allowing it in for entertainment.
You can not be FOR God but against what He's for. You can not be FOR God unless you are against what He is against!!
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
But in this specific prayer request from a couple weeks ago, God answered me. God did refresh me and let me start over. I truly felt renewed (gradually) and I was at peace again and... happy. He freed up times during my day and made it very effident to me WHEN I can read the Bible. When I had some free time during the day, He nudged at me and said, "Randi now would be a great time to read the Word" . He helped me get back on track - even though I'm not completely where I need to be in my daily habits - He's helping me get there.
His answer to my question on finding my purpose came in the form of words from my husband Brandon in a book he was reading called "Quiet Strength" by Tony Dungy (coach and super bowl winner for the Colts). Brandon said, "well even though you may not know what exact roles God has for you in the future... I think I have an answer for your question on what your life purpose is.....
So now I have words for what my purpose is. I KNEW this before - but I needed a reminder!! And as always my strong wise husband was there being God's arms for me that day.
To glorify God in all areas of my life and to lead others to the Creator who can give them eternal life, love, acceptance, prosperity and approval.
Thanks God for answering my prayers and pleas. Help me today to get one step closer to you and to what you want me to be. It's true... the sun always does come out tomorrow! There's always hope and with each new sunrise - you can be a better, refreshed new you again!
Sunsrise at my in laws
Monday, August 20, 2007
- to kill him and he might not like that or
- somehow change the way he acts
woah --- I had a deep moment then. I bet that is what God is thinking of us humans sometimes. Sometimes I'm shouting, God I want out of here. I need help, I want to be closer to you, I want to be absolutely FREE from this xyz (addiction, pain, guilt, low self esteem, unhappiness, depression, lack of hope) ----- but I'm not really willing to change. I want you to just magically set me free.
It doesn't work like that. God wants us to be FREE and absolutely victorious and prosperous in our life - but to get closer to Him to be free of what we are chained to, we need to surrender. We need to surrender our habits, surrender our attitudes, our way of live. We need to change. He will give us the strength and discipline we need to have -- but have we asked for it? Do we REALLY want to change, do we REALLY want drastic changes in our live.
If only that fly knew I could REALLY REALLY help him if he would just give a little. It would have saved him from being smashed shoofly on my fly swatter.
Well I hear you God --- and I love it that you love me enough to teach me through flies.
Monday, July 9, 2007
Maybe it's just because when grandma went on to heaven - things were crazy for a while and I got out of the habit. Then after I came back home, I was too heavy-hearted to even read the Bible. Whatever the reason... I need help. I need to get my life and my reading and my relationship with God back on track. I don't treat Brandon like I want to - I know I can be a much better wife for him. And that's just the beginning of the flaws I know I possess that gives me a heavy heart. It's one of my sins that gives me guilt that tears me down. My mouth can be so evil sometimes... see previous posts on words. I need God to take his soap and rinse my mouth out - and actually just rinse EVERY part of me out! Please God make me anew. I do love you and do so want to be close to you. I'm ashamed as always of my sins - but I don't want to be trapped in this guilt. Free me from this guilt God. Don't let me listen to the devil -- I AM good enough for you - not because of who I am, but because of what You've done. I know you love me, although I know I don't deserve it.
The only thing I can offer right now is the song that popped out of my lips this morning out of nowhere while in the shower:
"How many times have I turned away? The number is the same as the sand on the shore. But every time, You've taken me back. And now I pray You do it once more. Please take from me my life. When I don't have the strength, to give it away to You Jesus. How many times have I turned away? The number is the same as the stars in the sky. But every time You've taken me back. And now I pray You do it tonight."
I don't mean my physical life God -- I mean my worldly sinful life. Take everything I am God and help me start over fresh once again. I so yearn to be who you want me to be. I know that I am not doing what I need to to get closer to you - please help me! Help me keep my discipline up to read your word everyday. I don't know why I don't take the time to do it every day -- because I LOVE your word, I really do! But I need to do it the same time every day I guess to be able to make it a habit!! Please help me stay in constant communication with you. Please help me be ever-aware of your presence! I am so in love with you God and in so much awe of everything you are and have created. I do want to fulfill whatever purpose you have for my life. Please help me remember grandma and the example she was for me and don't let the devil let me lose my focus. I want to be better - for grandma, for Brandon, for Raymond, for ME but most importantly and above all else - for YOU.
Make my purpose that I'm supposed to fulfill extremely evident, God. Father, light the path and tell me which direction I am supposed to go in -- or tell me I'm on the right track and to just keep doing what I'm doing!
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
a) we hear about it a lot
b) we feel like we don't have a lot of people in our age group at Southside and are looking to connect with a small group somewhere else even though we want to keep our membership at Southside (I'm hoping this will change though and we can meet more young couples at our own church!)
c) it's a huge congregation (3 services on Sunday -- 2 of which are broadcast live over to Mayfaire cinema -- so really it's 5 viewings on Sundays) and they don't even have a church building yet. They are building a facility and I mean facility it's HUGE off of Cardinal which is off of Eastwood.
d) it was started after one of the now-pastors who at the time was just studying I believe to be a pastor visited Willow Creek Community Church outside of Chicago (which is the church one of my bridesmaids, Anna attends) and I think that is such a small world!
So we went is my point haha. And although I didn't connect with the way they did everything (just technical miniscule stuff really) I believe the pastor was right on!!! The truth is the truth. He said a lot of things that made a lot of sense. And as usual, when I hear the truth spoken and I feel the spirit, I cry. Whenever I feel the spirit's presence and feel Him communicating and speaking right to me through others, I cry. I don't mean to - it just is something that physically happens - tears come to my eyes almost instantly. And as always when I hear the truth, I think of grandma.
The title of this series is Frequency - we were able to see the first sermon - we'll probably keep going to Southside and just watch these sermons online... but some of the things he said just hit me in the gut because he was talking about grandma!!! It can be watched here http://www.portcitychurch.org/ in the middle of the page, "watch online".
At one point during the sermon he was even refering to being 85 and in a hospital bed and how is THAT when will be the only time you'll have with God. Will you wait until that point before you really communicate with your maker? Not for grandma. She lived and breathed God's word and God's will for her life. Just so you know she was 85 and she did go on to heaven after being in a hospital bed for 4 weeks - that message was a direct message from God for me. "Bring me your pain, Randi, I know you realize the things that were great about grandma and I know you want to pass on grandma's legacy. Do it by seeking Me out more. I'm here --- tune in. Let me work through you. The first step is coming to me hourly."
The pastor talked about how Billy Graham still although his body and mind are failing Him knows scripture because of how much he soaked up those words all his life. I've said the same thing about my grandma. She was sick for quite a while. I don't even know how many years since it was undetected so long. She was a genius so we couldn't even tell anything was happening --- at the point where she was least-sharp she was still 'smarter' than 80% of the population. But my point is... I always said that about grandma --- until the last month of her disease she was able to FINISH SCRIPTURES when I started them!! I would even bring up a scripture I hadn't thought about in a long time and that I didn't even know the end to - and she would finish it for me. THAT is INCREDIBLE! She had marinated her mind so long in the word that it was part of her. It was her life. The last month, even though she couldn't always speak the rest of the scripture, she'd listen and do her "mmhmm" after I finished each verse. She'd even humm Jesus Loves Me, Because He Lives, and Old Rugged Cross along with me. God is so incredibly proud of her.
This brings me back to a moment that we had a couple of summers ago - I don't even remember the year. But grandma was down. We were sitting on the swing in the backporch - a beautiful day outside. we sat on the porch and I really didn't have anything to say to her. I didn't want to talk about politics, or bring up the past - because at that point she would get discouraged not being able to understand or remember what I was talking about. and I only wanted to speak of positive things together. So I just sat with her and just held her hand and hummed and just sat and existed. I felt the spirit come and sit right there with us and I know she felt the same thing. My eyes welled up, and as we sat for probably an hour I looked over and she was also crying. We both knew that we knew that we knew. We were going to be together for eternity, God was good and He was going to take care of her. That will be one of the fondest memories I have of my times with grandma. We did start talking after a while, I had been praying for the spirit to give me words -- and what came out was, "grandma, do you realize how much you're going to be rewarded when you go to heaven? Because of your work on earth, thousands will know your name (because of exponential growth). Grandma do you realize what you have done for me, for your family and for generations to come? When you get to Heaven God is going to take away all your pain and discouragement. All your sadness and worry. All your guilt and doubt and He's going to say, 'well done my good and faithful servant'. We sure will sure you a lot when you're gone, but I trust that God knows when it's time to call you home." We didn't really say much after that - she was such a selfless humble person, and as hard as it was for her to accept the praise, she knew I was right and I think that day rejuvenated us both. Grandma even to today allows herself to be used by God. That day - once again - she allowed herself to be used...to bring me back to the Lord's presence again.
Back to the sermon..... what he was saying were things I had just come to the realization well recently as well. Like just being tuned in, being aware of God's presence. He is always there. I have been thinking about that and gradually working on 'tuning in' for the past year or so I'd say but most definitely the past months with all that has gone on. Knowing He's there I mean, HERE is incredible. I remember when I was pregnant with Raymond - about a year ago this month probably MomMom and Brandon & I (& Raymond in belly) were in Sunday School and I don't remember what the conversation was about but I remember bringing up the point that God IS always there -- we try to pretend He can't see the way we talk to our spouse/treat others/treat ourselves - but He is ALWAYS there, He can see it all, all knowing. It's hard to even put my mind around. But it really makes me feel ashamed knowing that God sees me in my sin. It makes me want to throw up when I think that He was THERE all the times I was so evil. I/we must break His heart continually. But yet He still loves us more than we'll ever understand. and He makes all things new, all the time. His grace DOES flow down.
So let this be a reminder for myself now that I have it in writing -- God IS always watching you Randi. Tune in to him every HOUR this week. He wants your communication, He wants your attention, He wants YOU. Thank you Jesus for the air in my lungs the clothes on my back, the beautiful townhome you've provided for me. Thank you for this beautiful day, for shoes that I am continually marking up and ruining. Thank you for EVERYTHING EVER... Please help me God tune into you. Help me not be so darned 'busy' all the time -- what are we doing anyway!? What fills up all our minutes?!?! We have to find a balance --- we can't just go run away to some beautiful remote location and just go and do nothing but pray and 'be'. We have to DO --- God help me during my boring mundane tasks to thank you that I'm able to do them. and help me realize that I am doing those tasks for YOU!
Help me get tuned in to what is REALLY going on around me. The physical realm I see is only a small drop of what is going on. Help me be the best I can in this physical realm, but help me get connected again with the things that I should most treasure - things that can be seen by You alone. and I would tell you to tell grandma that I love her and she's my hero - but she knows that so I'll just tell her myself whenever I get to heaven.
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
The name Easter comes from a pagan figure called Eastre (or Eostre) who was celebrated as the goddess of spring by the Saxons of Northern Europe. A festival called Eastre was held during the Spring equinox by these people to honor her. The goddess Eastre’s earthly symbol was the rabbit, which was also known as a symbol of fertility. Originally, there were some very pagan (and sometimes utterly evil) practices that went along with the celebration. In our day, Easter is almost a completely commercialized holiday, with all the focus on Easter eggs and the Easter bunny being remnants of the goddess worship.
In the Christian faith, Easter has come to mean the celebration of the resurrection of Christ three days after His crucifixion. It is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the church year because of the significance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the events upon which Christianity is based. Easter Sunday is preceded by the season of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and repentance culminating in Holy Week and followed by a 50-day Easter season that stretches from Easter to Pentecost.
Because of the commercialization and pagan origins of Easter, many churches prefer to refer to it as Resurrection Sunday. The rationale is the more we focus on Christ and the less we focus on the pagan holiday, the better. As previously mentioned, the resurrection of Christ is the central theme of Christianity. Paul says that without this, our faith is futile (1 Corinthians 15:17). What more wonderful reason could we have to celebrate! What is important is the true reason behind our celebration, which is that Christ was resurrected from the dead, making it possible for us to have eternal life (Romans 6:4)!
Should we celebrate "Easter" or allow our children to go on Easter eggs hunts? This is a question both parents and church leaders struggle with. There is nothing essentially evil about painting and hiding eggs and having children search for them. What is important is our focus. If our focus is on Christ and not the eggs, our children will understand that the eggs are just a game. Children can participate in an Easter egg hunt as long as the true meaning of the day is explained and emphasized, but ultimately this must be left up to the discretion of parents.
For those interested in information about current celebrations of Passover, I thought they did a great job explaining that as well:
I encourage you to use this site if you have any questions about Salvation, the Resurrection or any other Godly truths. I think they do a great job providing biblical, well-researched answers. What a great ministry!
I love this group and site, it's so encouraging... I pray that all the Jewish friends I have crossed over my 23 years do sincerely seek out the truth and answers to the fulfillment of scripture they study. They will see that Jesus IS the Messiah they seek..... http://www.jewsforjesus.org/