Thursday, June 27, 2013

Last But Not Least, And Really Not Last

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered,"you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what it better and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42

"Martha, dear Martha, you're fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing.  One thing is essential, and Mary has chosen it-it's the main course, and won't be taken from her." MSG

"But the Lord answered her,"Martha, Martha, you are getting worried and upset about too many things.  Only one thing is important.  Mary has made the right choice, and it will never be taken away from her." ERV

Yesterday morning, I was in a place of stress, anxiety, fear, unknown.  I wasn't completely overcome, but I was getting there.  I posted a comment, not only about my current state of mind and heart, but also asking for any strengthening verses or words of encouragement.  After I posted, I said my morning prayer to God and off to work I went.  Last evening, I was in my kitchen making a batch of caramel bars, when my daughter asked to used my Ipad to watch a show.  I took a peak at my comment from earlier in the morning, and was overjoyed with the responses.  I gave her the Ipad and scooted back into the kitchen where I cried in my cookie dough.  But not tears of sadness or fear--tears of complete joy.  My Online Bible Study girls, you are absolutely amazing.  You filled my heart with such joy and confidence through your genuinely kind words--some of the kindest words I've ever received--and you have never even seen my face.  That means so much to me, and I thank you.  Melissa, our awesome leader of OBS, suggested the book, Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment by Linda Dillow.  I ordered it right away...actually I'm going to Tennessee to spend the weekend with my brother's family, and I'm having it shipped to his house so I can start it ASAP.  I just thank all of you girls.  You have warmed my heart like you will never know whether it be from your comments and prayers yesterday, or any day.  It brightens not just my day, but my life to be in this study, and to know that God planned it all.  
I bought myself a cheap Roladex a few weeks ago, and last night, started transforming it into a "Bible-dex" filled with inspiring and encouraging words from my OBS sisters and from my own searching.  This morning, I tried Tracie's idea of "sitting in God's lap." All of the verses I'd written down, and there were lots, were spread all around me as I knelt on the floor to spend my morning time with the Lord today.  Such fulfillment, comfort, and peace He has given me.  If you haven't ever done this, I encourage you to try it. Here are the scriptures I have so far in my "Bible-dex", and I'm going to continue to add more, so any suggested verses would be awesome, and I'll share those as well!  Have an awesome weekend girls...can't wait for the next study.  God opened flood gates of joy and peace for me through this study, and I can't wait to see what he's got in store for the next one.  God bless!


"Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up." Proverbs 12:25 MSG

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

  "...but it is better to have only a little, with peace of mind, than be busy all the time with both hands trying to catch the wind." Eccles. 4:6

 "The seeds cast in the weeds represent the ones who heart the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get.  The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it." Mark 4:18-19

"Jesus said to him,'I promise you that today you will be in paradise with me." Luke 23:43

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."
Isaiah 26:3

Patience and Strength

"I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken." Psalm 62:1-2

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,"plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

"If God doesn't build the house, the builders only build shacks.  If God doesn't guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap.  It's useless to rise early and go to bed late.  Don't you know He enjoys giving rest to those He loves?" Psalm 127:1-2

"Patient persistence pierces through indifference; gentle speech breaks down rigid defenses." Proverbs 25:15

"God is our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

"Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.  I have learned the secret to living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything thorough Christ who gives me strength." 
                                                                                                   Philipp 4:11-13

"Bible-dex" Card

Ring of Prayer, Peace, Comfort, and Strength

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Week 11: The Reset Button

I cannot believe we are almost done with week 11 of this awesome study, and have only 1 week to go.  It has been an awesome ride!  
Here is some verse mapping I did of different translations of our reflection verse this week, with the blue being God's part and the red being my part.  I also replaced the "we" and "our" with "I" and "my" to make it hit home in my heart just a little bit more. 

Romans 8:26:
"In the same way, the Spirit helps me in my weakness I do not know what I ought to pray for, the but the Spirit himself intercedes for me through wordless groans." (NIV)

"Meanwhile, the moment I get tired in the waiting, God's spirit is right alongside helping me along.  If I don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter.  He does my praying in and for me, making prayer out of my sighs, my aching groans." (MSG)

"In the same way, the Spirit also comes to help me weak as I am.  For I do not know how I ought to pray: the Spirit Himself pleads with God for me in groans that words cannot express." (GNT)

 "Also, the Spirit helps me I am very weak, but the Spirit helps me with my weakness.  I don't know how to pray as I should, but the Spirit Himself speaks to God for meHe begs God for me, speaking to Him with feelings too deep for words." (ERV)

The words I notice the most in each one of these translations are "I am weak" and "God helps me." He takes care of it all.  He takes care of me, of us.  He knows our hearts and our minds well enough to intercede. praying on our behalf when we don't even know how to put our words together.  That, alone, gives me so much comfort because I know that when I am overwhelmed to the point where I can't even speak His precious name, He knows my heart and soul, and He'll fix it.

 This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

'Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way ('cause I don't wanna go through the motions)
take me all the way (I know I'm finally feeling something real)
take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way (I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go)
take me all the way (through the motions)
take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions

This entire song makes me thing of a man that goes to my church.  He spent close to 80 years just "going through the motions" of church, Sunday school, everything.  Throughout that whole time, he says he never truly understood what it felt like to believe in have an intimate relationship with the Lord.  This year, He realized being a believer in Christ is more than just reading some chapters in the Bible and making sure he was at church on time.  It is so much more than that.  When you believe in Christ, you honestly believe in your heart that He loves you unconditionally without fail, and that He is capable of anything.  He is always on our side.  He is capable of helping us walk a better walk, talk a better talk, and just live a better, more fulfilling life...a life where we know we are always loved and accepted in His eyes.  He created all of us.  We are all His children.  We just have to let our hearts defeat our minds, as the song says. 
I can remember a time when I was younger when I was essentially going through the motions to some extent.  But as I got older and my faith got stronger through the experiences God placed in my path, or really His path for me, I developed a relationship with God that continues to grow in different ways everyday.  I don't read my Bible everyday now because I feel like I have to or because I think I'll get in trouble if I don't.  I read it everyday because it gives me strength and comfort.  It's God's big instruction book for life showing me where I need to go and how I need to get there.  It's my alarm clock.  It's my morning cup of coffee.  I love it, and it warms my heart to no end that this sweet gentleman at my church has that in his life, too.  He's not going through the motions anymore.  He's living the life!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

He Heals the Brokenhearted...

"He heals the broken-hearted and binds their wounds."
-Psalm 147:3

Wow.  This has been an awesome week for my family--an awesome week of faith testers, us testers, and hard work toward a stressed-less life.  Immediately after reading Psalm 147:3 several times in the begining of the week, my daughter whimpered to me that the tail of one of her stuffed animals had come off.  It is one that she loves and sleeps with, so I knew her little friend had to be fixed quickly.  I took some pictures of my daughter for our photo assignment this week, but I took so many that I couldn't post just one!  As I was looking at these pictures of my daughter attempting to "heal" her pal, I started thinking about how God heals us...

He not only listens to our hearts, He wants to be inside of our hearts...
He is there for us when we feel like we are under pressure...  
He heals our illness or keeps them away all together...

definition of reflex: an action that is performed without conscious thought in response to a stimulus 
This is how God want us to be everyday, not just during times of stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, and over all, bad days in life...He wants us to come to Him, lean on Him, rely on Him without conscious thought in response to life. 

When we start getting too hot, agitated, frustrated, anxious, helpless, all of the above, He wants to guide us...He wants to help us...He wants to heal us!

 He can always hear our cries...He never leaves us...He wants to heal us...He will heal us...but we have to drown out the distracting noise in our lives, clear out the junk in our heads so we can listen for God and His guidance...

He forever has His arms wrapped around us in love...

He will never let us go...
Below you will see my daughter writing down her animal's injury in her "Big Book of BooBoo's--Doc McStuffins".  It got me thinking how He know's every name...He hears every cry...He heals every ailment and fulfills every need according to His purpose...

 It was quite the learning experience I received from God through my three year old.  As far as I'm concerned, He can keep these beautiful lessons coming.  God bless you all and I hope that you have enjoyed this as much as I have! 
Check out my blessings blog later this evening...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Blog Hop Week 9

Summoned by Name...
Isaiah 43:1b-3a

"I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you upass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior" NIV

Wow.  The reflection verse this week from Isaiah is long but full of meaning and inspiration.  And love!  I decided to dig in a little deeper and list some different translations to see if these loving words could pull at my heart strings in an even bigger way. 

"I've called your name.  You're mine.  When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you.  When you're in rough waters, you will not go down.  When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end--Because I am God, your personal God, The Hold of Israel.  Your Savior."  MSG

"I have called you by name--you are mine.  When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you.  When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you.  For I am the Lord your God, the holy God of Israel, who saves you."  GNT (US Version)

So many words and messages speak to me in these verses, and they just fill me up with love, honestly.  If you notice, in every verse and in the same way, the Lord states "You are mine."  We are His!  And He takes care of us always!  These words remind me that when I'm in the bad, God is in the good and will not fail me.  He can't.  He won't.  That's not the promise He spoke. 

"He has called my name.  I am HisWhen I'm in over my head, He will be there with me.  When I am in rough waters, I will not go down.  When I am between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end--Because He is my God, my personal God, The Holy of Israel, my Savior." MSG

"He has called me by name--I am His.  When I pass through deep waters, He will be with me; my troubles will not overwhelm me.  When I pass through fire, I will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt me.  For He is the Lord my God, the Holy God of Israel, who saves me." GNT (US Version)

Obviously, the red parts are about me and the pickles I get myself into.  But the blue parts are all about Him and how He never fails to fix it.  You'll notice that I switched some words around to make it more personal.  I was hoping that the words would affect me even more if I addressed them to God is speaking directly to me.  It worked.  What a fantastic reminder that I should never forget. 
I went beyond the reflection verse and read verses 1-4 entirely.  Check out the befores and afters:
"But now, God's Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: 'Don't be afrain, I've redeemed you...I paid a huge price for you;  all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!  That's how much you mean to me!  That's how much I love you!  I'd sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you."  MSG

"Israel, the Lord who created you says: 'Do not be afraid--I will save you...I will give upu Egypt to set you free; I will give up Ethiopia and Seba.  I will give up who nations to save your life because you are precious to me and because I love you and give you honor.  Do not be afraid--I am with you!'  GNT

"Jacob, the Lord created  you.  Israel, He made you, and now He says:' Don't be afraid.  I saved you...I gave Egypt to pay for you.  I gave Ethiopia and Seba to make you mine.  You are precious to me, and I have given you a special place of honor.  I love you.  That's why I am willing to trade others, to give up whole nations, to save your life. So don't be afraid, because I am with you."  ERV (Easy-To-Read Version)

Speaking of "Spiritual Vitamins..."
How much more spiritual can you get when you read these words as the Lord spoke them, and you take them into your heart, your mind, and your soul?  How much better does it get?  Much better, if we can imagine.  I don't know about you, but I don't ever want to reach a place in my life when I can say "Ok, God.  I'm done.  I've gotten all the spiritual messages in my mind and I'm good to go."  Talk about going down the wrong road.  God doesn't ever want me to think that I've learned all there is to know about His Word and His love, because guess what?  There is no end to it!  We can't ever learn enough!  As Christians, we won't ever be done learning about God and His greatness.  And as Christians, as children of God, we shouldn't want to be done!  Right now, as I sit in my breakfast nook typing away on this blog hop, I have a cup of coffee that I've consumed about a quarter of, and I am a coffee nut!  I love it!  But when it comes to waking me up and lifting me up, coffee has nothing next to God.  God is the greatest morning cup of warmth and pep I've ever had and will ever had.
This has been an awesome week again!  Never fails!  God bless!

Check out my blessings blog!