Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Matthew 16:24

Good morning!

Matthew 16:24: Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me."

This song as been stuck in my head all morning and thus has inspired me to write today.

The Cross before me. 
The World behind me. 
Though none go with me. 
Still I will follow. 

Easy to sing but much harder to do. This has become a daily event for me. This doesn't just happen once when you decide to follow Jesus and receive His salvation. It doesn't end there. The Cross is ever before me and I am always striving towards it. The World is always behind me, desperately wanting to draw me in deeper, pulling me further away from my goal. Most days, it seems like I am all alone. No one is with me. I am the naive child who believes in something I cannot see. I trust in a God others mock and defame. This World tells you as much as it can that following is for the weak. You are the leader and maker of your own destiny. You have to be a blazer of your own path to make a difference in this World.
Still I will follow...

On this Winning Souls Wednesday, the message I want to get across to everyone, saved or perishing, is that you are either following after the Cross or you are being dragged by the World. The two won't ever go together. Jesus said if anyone wants to come after me, they have to leave the world behind. Forget all of yourself and all of the junk that we have believed for so long is important, and take up your Cross. Follow Him even though no one would go with you. God loves to see that one person standing out and shining through the pack!

I found the Cross one night laying in my bed and I was changed forever. But it doesn't end there. Daily, I must take up my Cross and decide to live like Jesus as best as I can even though everything around me sways me in the other direction. Still I press on up that hill. Still I reach out to Jesus who makes being alone worth it. Still I will follow and come after Him.

The Cross before me
The World behind me
No turning back

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Isaiah 42:1-9

Good afternoon!  Sorry this is going to be long but I've been away for a while!

Isaiah 42:1-9: "This is My Servant; I strengthen Him, [this is] My Chosen One; I delight in Him.  I have put My Spirit on Him; He will bring justice to the nations.  He will not cry out or shout or make His voice heard in the streets.  He will not break a bruised reed, and He will not put out a smoldering wick; He will faithfully bring justice.  He will not grow weak or be discouraged until He has established justice on earth.  The islands will wait for His instruction." This is what God the LORD says—who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and life to those who walk on it — "I, the LORD, have called you for a righteous [purpose], and I will hold you by your hand. I will keep you, and I make you a covenant for the people [and] a light to the nations, in order to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, [and] those sitting in darkness from the prison house.  I am Yahweh, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, or my praise to idols.  The past events have indeed happened.  Now I declare new events; I announce them to you before they occur."

Purpose: something set up as an object or end to be attained.  

God's Son had a mighty purpose and He lived His life in pursuit of it.  Everything He did was because of it and every thought was based off of it. It wasn't easy but He finished the race, He accomplished His Father's will, and He fulfilled every prophetic word that was spoken about Him.

God has been reminding me lately, through His Holy Spirit and through preachers, that He has the same type of purpose for me.  Sure it may not be as important and extreme as Jesus' was! But I have something set up before me.  There is an end that is supposed to be attained for me.  Am I walking with Him, letting Him hold my hand along that path that will take me to that end?  Or I am walking side to side, forward and backward, all the while shoving His hand aside, doing it all on my own?

See God has done all of this...Jesus came and fulfilled His purpose.  It is done! Now God is doing new things. They are springing up all around us for the people who are doing His will, who are living their purposes.  He will always be there to hold your hand through it all. He will even announce these new things before they occur! I can't wait to hear more about what God is doing and I am so glad it didn't end with His Son's death.  Oh transferred to us, His adopted, born-again children! We are the ones who are to be a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to set free the prisoners and those in darkness.  They are all around us and they need Jesus!  If you think you have no purpose, there is one that we all have in common!

I am jazzed about what God is doing in my life, in my children's lives, in my family.  He is always tugging on my heart, leading me to new things, opening my eyes and pulling me towards my end.  I don't want to get there and miss out! I don't want tomorrow to be my end and it be too late.  I want to finish what I am supposed to do!

I hope you read and re-read and re-read again this passage.  It is chalked full of God's goodness, promises, and love.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Isaiah 53:5

Good Good Friday morning! :)

Isaiah 53:5: But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

If this song doesn't just drop you to your knees, then I don't know what will. I get chills every time I hear it. I feel like I am right there with Him, on the mound, watching in expectation, sharing in His suffering. I never feel closer to Jesus than on Easter weekend. It makes me stop focusing on the world and it connects me to Him. This weekend is full of emotion for me and it's become a tradition in our house to watch The Passion of the Christ every Easter. I pray everyone has a blessed weekend and truly can connect like they never have before with ALL that Christ did for us that day. He did it all for you. You can have hope because He conquered the grave. Death couldn't hold him. He is Risen!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Isaiah 44:3

Good afternoon!

Isaiah 44:3: For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

I am so ready for Spring! Everything around me is dry and barren. Colorless and dead. Trees that were once full and tall are now sparse and brittle. But now, as the rain is coming and temperatures are creeping back up, grass is beginning to turn green. New life is forming on the trees. The land is absorbing life and drinking til it's full. The birds are chirping with delight as the sun is warming them once again.  Soon, the trees will be full again and will be swaying and dancing in the wind.

I feel like this has been my life for the last few months. I'm dried up inside, gray and sparse. There isn't much too me Spiritually right now. I need God to pour out His Spirit onto me! We sang this song at church last Sunday and I didn't realize how old it was. It was written in the 1700's but it still is so powerful today. My favorite verse says:

"O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above."

I hope you enjoy David Crowder's version of this song and if you are in "winter" mode like me, I pray you give your heart back to the Lord and let Him water it with His Living water. I pray His Spirit will pour over you and your children and the blessings will be so much that you won't even be able to contain it! Amen!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Philippians 3:10-11

Good evening!

Philippians 3:10-11: I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

This Scripture really stuck out at me today and I've thought a lot about it.  We all want forgiveness and salvation and mercy and healing and redemption.  But there is one more thing that Jesus did on that cross.  He suffered and then He died and then He rose again.  All that He did for us on that cross is what we are supposed to strive to be and do and receive.  But I always forget about power.  I always forget that the same power that raised Christ from the death is available to me!

I want to know Christ...all of Christ!  It is not a surprise to me that I face things every day where I suffer because if I truly want to know Christ, I will share in His sufferings.  All of the evil that He had to bear, I will never know.  But it is my daily goal to know Him more, to fellowship with Him, to become more like Him...even in death.  Not a physical death but a fleshly death. 

Less of me...MORE OF HIM!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Psalm 105:2

Good morning!

Psalm 105:2: Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell about all His wonderful works!

This is one of my favorite worship songs of all time. Why? Because it's one I can keep singing and singing over and over again. It seems there is no end to it. When you sing it, you feel like you have a one on one audience with the Lord Himself. It's just you and Him. You are there to worship. To bow down. To proclaim He is your God. He is altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to you.

You will never know, how much it cost, for Jesus to see your sin, upon that cross.

No other words pierce my heart like those do. Gets me everytime! Brings me to my knees in worship. In humble gratefulness. In awesome wonder. In sweet surrender.

Enjoy the David Crowder Band and lots of other believers singing this great song, "Here I Am To Worship".

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Psalm 31:2

Good evening!

Psalm 31:2: Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.

Turn. Come. Be. Save.

All verbs God loves to hear from His children!  He creates us knowing that one day, we will turn away from Him.  No one is born perfect.  No one is always righteous.  Every one has that decision to make.  Are you going to walk this world alone and make your own way?  Or are you going to call out to God to walk this world with Him?  Will you ask Him to turn His ear?  Will you ask Him to come quickly to help you?  Will you ask Him to be your rock? 

Will you ask Him to save you?

Thank you Lord for turning, for coming, for being and for saving!

Monday, January 25, 2010

John 8:12

Good evening!

John 8:12: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Webster says that light means something that makes vision possible. I couldn't describe Jesus any better than that. He is the One thing that makes vision possible. You never realize how blind you are until you finally come to know Him. You never realize all the things you are missing that you couldn't see before without Him. You never realize how bad your eyesight is until you go to the best Optometrist in the world! Do you need vision? Go see the Great Light of the World!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Psalm 146:6-10

Good morning!

Psalm 146:6-10: ...He remains faithful forever, executing justice for the exploited and giving food to the hungry.  The LORD frees prisoners. The LORD opens [the eyes of] the blind. The LORD raises up those who are oppressed. The LORD loves the righteous. The LORD protects foreigners and helps the fatherless and the widow, but He frustrates the ways of the wicked. The LORD reigns forever; Zion, your God [reigns] for all generations. Hallelujah!

This just put a spring in my step, as my Pastor would say, when I read this!  You see, I have been exploited and I have been hungry.  I have been a prisoner and I have been blind.  I have been oppressed and felt like a foreigner in my own body.  But God brought me justice and fed me with His Word!  He opened my eyes and raised me up.  He loves me and protects me.  He will continue to frustrate the ways of the wicked who seek to do my family harm.  Don't you just feel like proclaiming, "The LORD reigns forever!  He reigns for all generations.  Hallelujah!"

I love The Message version of this too so I will close with that. 

He always does what he says—
he defends the wronged,
he feeds the hungry.
God frees prisoners—
he gives sight to the blind,
he lifts up the fallen.
God loves good people, protects strangers,
takes the side of orphans and widows,
but makes short work of the wicked.

God's in charge—always.
Zion's God is God for good!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Isaiah 65:17-20

Good evening!

Isaiah 65:17-20: "For I will create a new heaven and a new earth; the past events will not be remembered or come to mind.  Then be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I will create Jerusalem to be a joy, and its people to be a delight.  I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people.  The sound of weeping and crying will no longer be heard in her.  In her, a nursing infant will no longer live only a few days, or an old man not live out his days."

Oh my heart is heavy today.  I follow a photographer who lives in Hawaii and I've always loved her work on her blog.  She helps other photographers and gives tutorials on different subjects.  She's always been a help to me, even though I don't know her personally.  She has 3 beautiful boys and she became pregnant again last year with another boy!  His name was Gavin and he was born healthy and sweet and I enjoyed seeing pictures of him.  And then, around Christmas time, he was put in the hospital.  He contracted RSV and then Pertussis.  He was very sick and was getting worse.  He was beginning to suffer and yet I still really believed he would recover.  He would get well.  He would go home.  He would grow up and rough house with his brothers.  He would be their sweet baby boy and be spoiled.

Never did I expect to read this.  Please join me in praying for this family as they face their worst fears and live their worst nightmare.  Their lives will never be the same. 

My prayer is that Gavin's short life will live longer than any one dreamed possible.  I pray he can help other women be more aware and educated about illnesses, vaccinations and medical care for their children.  I pray he will help all of us to cherish our children even more, realizing that life is short.  You never know what tomorrow will bring.  It could bring could bring death. 

But rejoice!  One day, there will be a new heaven and a new earth.  One day, rejoicing will be heard when there once was crying.  The worst pain imaginable of losing a sweet little baby will not be able to be found.  Babies will grow to be men who live out their days as they were meant to.  Oh Lord come quickly!

So while you are praying for this family, trust what God says in verse 24 of the same chapter.  "Even before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear."  He knows what this family needs and will answer even before they call out to Him.  And while they cry out to Him to help them survive this tragedy, He will hear them and be everything they need Him to be. 

Sending you love and praying for peace that passes all understanding Natalie.  God be with you and your family.  Gavin is with his Savior; he is loved...he is whole...he is perfect.