Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thought for today

Whatever you're going through at the moment, remember this is not the end of your story. We are morning people, called to live by faith and not by sight, to lift our hearts to God in the darkness because we have the promise of morning.

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

God helping me make time for Him

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

Keeping each other accountable for sins

Now on another note... I was thinking about how some say Joel doesn't preach on sin enough and our human nature and how 'bad' we can be and how 'bad' our lives can be when we sin... but here's the thing.....we don't see what Joel does or does not do with his small group and in person - we only see him in the mass media (at least that's true for me). That's a totally different setting.

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'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.


After writing FOREVER on that blog entry from last night... I couldn't really get it off my mind so I didn't get to sleep until real late. To keep busy until my mind slowed down enough to sleep I opened my Bible again. I am in Ezra right now... well actually now I'm in Nehemiah, but last night I was in Ezra. and I thought it was incredible, as usual, that exactly what was on my mind, was exactly what I was reading about. God is so awesome beyond words, just AWEsome isn't He? He always gives me what I need through reading.

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!