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You know those times when you are battling a feeling or oppressiveness and you don’t really know where it is coming from or what to call it? Well I have been in one of those times in varying levels of intensity for the past couple years. A couple weeks ago I got a lot of help on this, we had a message about the Courage of Faith. How it takes courage to continue on in faith. Ruth was used as the example, leaving her home and going to a new place where she didn’t know what was to happen, but with courage in the faith of Naomi and in Naomi’s God she went. Ruth was facing pain, loss, uncertainty and being disconnected, yet she went by faith with Naomi.

When those 4 things were mentioned, it was like the Pastor was talking about me, in the past 2 years I have been overwhelmed at times with pain, loss, uncertainty and being disconnected, and yet I held on. It was so good to hear that my holding on (for dear life) was courage and not just plodding along. At times I had felt like I was just plodding along, making it, with no thought of turning around, but going through a battle. But to hear that it was my courage in Faith in God that was initiating each step, I could almost feel my spirit with in straighten, stand a little taller and lift it’s head. No the battle hasn’t changed, but being able to call my daily step, a step of courage and not of desperation to hold on to the only thing I have left, has been good.

This last Thursday there was a follow up on Courage in Faith, with Courage to be Alone. This is another feeling that I have had during this time. Feeling alone in the battle, that no one else truly understands, that I don’t have anyone that I can really talk to about it all. But through the message, there was the reminder that it is an awesome thing to be alone with God, that in those times we have to face somethings that we may not want to face, but if we are with God, he gives us the courage to be alone with him. And all along and looking back, I knew that I wasn’t alone, that I had God with me, but those are the feelings that the enemy wants to bring upon us to keep us discouraged. It is a good thing to be alone with God, to hear from and commune with him. And he will bring just what we need.

As I write this now, I think about the blessings that God has given me and how he has provided. I think again of Ruth, she had the courage to go in faith, and look how God used her. She is in the lineage of David and of Christ. Because of her faith all of her needs were met and she was used by God in a mighty way. If we keep Ruth as the example, we will know that if we keep our courage in faith, live with hope when life is hopeless, that God will provide each need (he promised to) and he will be able to use us.

I was reading this morning in Romans 8, a popular passage about what/who can separate us from Christ. It added another layer of encouragement along these same lines.

What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God in on our side?] He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect [when it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?] Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?

Who shall separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword? Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter.

Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us. For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God with is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39 Amplified Bible

I am so thankful to have the assurance that no matter what the Devil will put in my way, who may talk against me, how my life turns out or the needs I may have, I can have victory through Christ. I love how the scripture says “YET amid all these things (In the varying tests and trials of life) we are MORE than conquerors (we have/can overcome each of them) and gain a SURPASSING victory (our victory is above and beyond the trial) through HIM who loved us (all because Christ is our strength.)

In the courage we have in faith and being along, we can take comfort that nothing will sever our relationship with God, we can have the victory in everything, and Christ will never leave us.

Take courage, in faith and in being alone.

God has been teaching or reminding me some things lately…Let me share.

  1. When life get’s busy – stop and take time for the necessities.  Don’t neglect prayer, God’s word, time with his people and your job in his kingdom. Take a little time for yourself, to help cope.
  2. When the trials get long, God’s arms are longer and can hold you close.
  3. Take advantage of the help and encouragement that God’s people are. Don’t hide away when the trials are piling on. Be with the saints, share your burdens, share what God has done.
  4. That God has a perfect plan for ME, personally, not just any person. This plan is for MY good. And he will work it out in the best way.
  5. He has promised perfect peace, when I keep my eyes on him. Isaiah 26
  6. Prayer works for little things as well as big things.
  7. That I need to be more bold vocally about my life with God. I can talk to people I know about him, other saints, I can write about it. But I need to gain the boldness to step out and share the Gospel to those around me. Living the life and being a testimony is great, but when the opportunity comes, I want to and need to be ready to give an answer. (I am praying for more boldness in this way)
  8. That when teaching children about God, one has to make sure to get on their level, with words they understand. Keeping the story true, but with embellishments to keep their interest and attention. That they don’t have to remember the whole thing, but to get the basics.
  9. That our spiritual life is a mirror of our physical life. If we are lazy physically we will tend to lazy spiritual. We need to stay fit and up to par in every area.
  10. Don’t get weary in well doing, in serving God, in being a good testimony, in the work of God, in your job, in your housework, in taking care of your body, in all things you do, they are all for God. And he blesses those that endure to the end.
  11. That I have enough faith to touch God, but I want more.
  12. My trust placed in God is not in vain. He keeps his promises.
  13. It’s ok to cry, God collects the tears.
  14. God provides for all needs and even some wants.
  15. God is.

I am thankful for each lesson and reminder. Life get’s busy sometimes and we can get our eyes off God. Let’s keep our focus on him, lay aside every weight that would hinder us from making heaven our home.

Hebrews 12:1-2  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

This week I started to do some reading about what God requires from us on a daily basis. Salvation isn’t just a Sunday thing, but an every day service to God. I was challenged when I read in Exodus 16 about God’s provision to the Children of Israel after they left Egypt.

 Exodus 16:1-5  And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:  And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger. Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather.

 The Children of Israel were complaining (again) about the lack of food in the wilderness. Moses went to God and God provided the people with Manna daily. It was expected of them to gather the bread every day and twice as much on the sixth day.

When I read this, I thought of God’s daily provision for us, our strength, food, mental health, a job, ability to speak and to enjoy life, his grace through each trial, and faith in him to meet each need. The list of daily benefits from God could go on for quite awhile, we just have to gather them to us. We have to accept each gift, each provision, each blessing. If we stay inside our tent, inside our self, we will never know the blessings that God has for us that day. Part of our allegiance to God is shown through us gathering the bread of this life that God is raining down on us.

At this time in my life, there is a lot of uncertainty as to what the future will hold. Instead of focusing on those things that I am concerned about, I was challenged to open my eyes to see the provision that God has given me each day. The blossoming trees, the birds in the air, enough food to fill my belly, lots of rest at night, friends that I can talk to, a family that loves me, a job that provides for the current financial needs…and the list can continue.

I can’t say that I am aware of each gift during the day, but I am trying to keep my eyes open to the blessings of God that he abundantly gives his people.

I have had this song on my heart the past week. As I have begun to name the moments of thanksgiving, of acknowledging God in each thing, the question came to me; is it any wonder that I love Him? After all God has done for me, the moments of blessings, the over flowing grace, the daily mercies, the gentle rebukes. How can I not love Him?

Is It Any Wonder?

When I think how Jesus loved me
How he waited patiently
Even when I turned my back and walked away.
When he knew I wanted everything this world could offer me,
Then I guess he knew the price I’d have to pay.
So he watched me stumble downward,
Saw each compromise I made,
Heard each lie I whispered just to get my way.
Still he waited there to hear me
When I cried to Him and prayed
Then He saved my soul and that is why I say

Tell me, is it any wonder that I love Him
When you consider all He’s done for me?
And is it any wonder that I want to do His will
And let His light shine out for all to see?
And is it any wonder that I praise him
Each time I think of how He’s set me free?
And is it any wonder that I’ve given Him my heart,
When Jesus freely gave His life for me?

When I think how Jesus loves me,
How He watches patiently
How His arms are stretched to meet me when I run
When I’m feeling down and lonely,
How He’s there to comfort me.
In the darkness He becomes my morning sun
When I think of how He’s healed me,
How He’s touched me in my pain
How his gentle hand have whipped my tears away
How He’s taken every heartache and brought happiness again
Then I want the world to hear me when I say:

Tell me, is it any wonder that I love Him
When you consider all He’s done for me?
And is it any wonder that I want to do His will
And let His light shine out for all to see?
And is it any wonder that I praise him
Each time I think of how He’s set me free?
And is it any wonder that I’ve given Him my heart,
When Jesus freely gave His life for me?

God is so real and I can’t help but express my love for him.

It is a new year with a new look, but the message is still the same.

God is a big God and he has a plan for each and every one of us. His desire is that we live Holy or with out sin. We in ourselves cannot do this, but he made the way possible when he gave his son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for our sins. When we accept Christ as our Savior and turn from our sins, God is faithful to forgive us and provide us with strength and grace to live sin free. It definitely is the best life.

I haven’t been as faithful to this blog in the past few months as I would like. I am sorry for that, but I have a plan for the future.

First – On Thursday night at church we were challenged to make a list of those things in our life that need to change this year for us to draw closer to God.

My list:
–          increase time in studying God’s word
–          increase prayer time
–          don’t be as quick to judge people
–          be more willing to help those in need
–          search for and take opportunities to share the Gospel
–          be careful to not get comfortable in Salvation but keep the challenge and excitement fresh
–          increase of patience
–          don’t procrastinate with God’s work

This list may grow as the year continues, but I plan to use this blog in a why that it holds me accountable for gaining the victory in these areas. As I have victory or challenges I will share my studies on and in these areas.

I challenge you to make a list. How can God better use you this day? What things might you need to change for God to use you? Seek God and ask him to search you. He has the power to help you draw closer to him.
Second – I don’t think I have read the Bible cover to cover. I know I have tried and often would get bogged down in the “begats”. This year I am challenging myself to read the Bible completely. It will be apart of my daily study, but it won’t take its place. A friend of mine had a list of the scriptures to read so that the Bible can be read chronologically. This appealed to me. I found that list and will post each day what those scriptures are so that you can follow along. We can discuss the different points that we read. I invite you to read along and join in on the discussion.
Third – At the end of last year, we moved some of our Bible study teachers around at Church. There was a need for a teacher in one of the elementary classes. I was asked to take this position. As we go through this year I will share the lessons that are brought to the kids as well as the lessons they bring to me. I believe we can learn from all ages. Christ told us that we needed to be as the little children. In the Children’s Bible class, we are making a chain of things we are thankful for and we learn verses. I will share those also. I believe thankfulness and God’s word are good things to learn at a young age. Feel free to add your “thankfuls” and learn the memory verses with us.
Join us this year as we draw closer to God and share how he helps us in our daily walk with him.

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