Thursday, August 22, 2013

His Word Is My Weapon

We've had another amazing week at OBS...and it isn't even over yet!
As I read Chapter 4, a couple of things really stuck out to my heart. Reading how Jesus was tempted by the devil, but refuted those temptations with scripture...this is a powerful tool. Check out these awesome words:
"Then the devil came to Him and said,"If you are God's Son, order these stones to turn into bread."
But Jesus answered, "The scripture says, 'Human beings cannot live on bread alone, but need every Word that God speaks." Matt. 4:3-4

Jesus is saying that we need God's Word to live...we need it to sustain our otherwise empty hearts. And He wasn't just talking about then nice, encouraging Word. He said we need EVERY Word that God speaks...this includes the not so nice. But we take it all into our hearts knowing that God says all of it because He loves us more than we can fathom. His Word proves that He loves us when we're up and when we're down...when we're at our best and when we're at our worst. His love...His Word is always beautiful and always right. No one can refute it. Even the devil knows that.

Another scripture that I really enjoyed reading and studying is actually found in the Bible Study questions...I'll include a few different translations to show some different perspectives.

"The righteous eat to their hearts' content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry." NIV

"The righteous have enough to eat, but the wicked are always hungry." GNT

"An appetite for good brings much satisfaction, but the belly of the wicked always wants more."MSG

Lots of Word for thought here.  I'm going to do a little verse mapping to break the Word down a bit:

"The righteous"/"An appetite for good": those who not only believe in God, but carry Him in their hearts; know that His love is above all else.

"eat to their hearts' content/have enough to eat/brings much satisfaction":  Being a true believer in Christ means that we will never go spiritually hungry; we will never be alone; we will always know love; our hearts and souls are filled to the brim with God's love.

I'll sum up the last chunk of scripture:
The wicked are never satisfied; they always want more; they are always hungry; if they aren't hungry right now, they will go hungry--their time will run out.  Hearts of the wicked are not filled with joy-true joy.  Their hearts aren't filled with the unfailing love of Christ either.  And how much they are missing!  Their hearts are empty caves unable to be filled with God's love because they refuse it. 

I fell asleep praying last night, which is something I love doing.  Talk about preparing your mind for a peaceful rest.  But as I was praying, I was releasing a few matters to God.  Matters that had been consuming my mind and my heart throughout the day, and I just wanted to be done.  So up to God they went!  I know now that it's not an "if" God will take care of these particular burdens or future's "when" He will take care of them. When I say "yes" to God and lift my burdens up to Him, they are off of my heart and into His hands...the way He likes it.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Say What?

Here we are!  It’s already week two in our “Yes” online Bible Study.  I love it!  Saying yes to God is definitely a life-changing experience, and something I will need to do over and over because I mess up.  I get lazy.  I get scared.  God knows that about me and He loves me because of it.  It is those times when I am down and out, and feel hopeless…the times when I am at my weakest He is at His strongest in my life.  During those times of desperation and heartache is when He holds me tightest. 

I’ve had many “Say What?” moments with God, but there is one that always sticks out when I think about how important it is to say yes to God no matter what He is telling me to do.  A little over two years ago, my husband and I decided that we were at a point financially where I could start working part time and be home with our daughter more.  Going back to work after she was born was one of the hardest and heart-hurting things I have ever had to do, so imagine my joy when my husband and I came to this decision of me not having to work as much! 

I went to my bosses a few days later, explained the situation, and they said that while they would need to do some figuring and get certain ducks in a row, they felt strongly that they would be able to help me.  About a week later, I was called back into the same office and learned that in fact they were unable to offer me a part time position.  I was told basically that if a part time position in my field didn’t exist presently, they couldn’t make one.  I was stunned, angry, and sad.  I very still in my office, doing everything I could to hold back tears and thinking about a lot of things.  Thousands of questions were traveling around in my head, the first being, why would they give me so much hope when there was none to be had?  I left work that day, called my husband, and proceeded to let my tears flow. 

A few days after that terrible meeting, I still felt strongly about wanting to be at home with my daughter more.  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved my job very much.  It was my true niche and I didn’t really want to do anything else.  But everyone who knows me knows that my family comes well before my career and always has.  My happiness in my career was a sacrifice I was willing to make for my family.  With the feeling of determination braised with some hurt and disappointment, I started a job search for part time work.  I went to websites, I called agencies and businesses, I put bugs in ears, and of course, started looking on the internet to see what was available.  Everywhere I looked was a dead end.  One place was only offering night shifts.  A friend advised me of another place I was looking at, and strongly encouraged me to look elsewhere because employees were known to leave this particular agency on their lunch hour and never come back.  It was like hitting brick wall after brick wall. 

I was driving home one afternoon and I looked up and said “Ok, God!  What do you want from me?  What do you want me to do?  If you didn’t feel it was important to stay at home more with Caroline then you wouldn’t have placed these strong feelings upon my heart.  So where are you?  What do you want from me?”  As clear as day, I heard a voice in my mind and in my heart whisper, just once, “Be still.”  Say What? I was amazed.  I was expecting God to answer me in one of His special ways that would really leave me thinking, but not this time.  He was as clear as clear could be.  “Be still.” 

A few days later, the executive director of our agency, who had been present at the horrific meeting a couple of weeks prior, made a surprise visit to one of our satellite offices where I work once a week.  He appeared to be bummed out. 

“What’s the matter, boss?” I asked him.

“Well, I don’t like the way our meeting went a couple of weeks ago.”

I semi-chuckled and said,” Well, I really didn’t like the way it went either, but what it is what it is, I suppose.”

“I know that I made you feel like something was a possibility when it wasn’t, and I know I let you down.  I’m sorry.”

Say What?  How many times in my life has an executive of any kind apologized for making false promises?  I was a little taken back, but I told him that I appreciated his apology of how the situation ended up.  He then proceeded to tell me that while he knew I needed to do what was best for my family, he wanted me to hang on for just a little bit to see how things would unfold.  If after that time, I still felt the need to go elsewhere, he would not stand in my way.  Once again, I was whoa’d.  I thought about it briefly and looking straight into his eyes responded,

“I love this job.  I am good at this job.  I really don’t want to leave, so I will hang on for a little while.  But I do not expect to be strung along.”  He agreed, and that was that. 

This conversation, to me, was just another way that God was telling me to be still.  My big boss, traveling almost an hour to have this particular conversation with me was God telling me again, “Be still.”  So I did.  I remained still for about eight months until a position became available and I grabbed it with both hands and never let go.  I’m now working in a job that I love with people that I love, and most importantly, I get to be at home with my daughter more days than I work.  I said yes to God and received one of the greatest blessings I will ever receive.  It took a while for this blessing to be in full swing, but it was a learning experience that only God could teach me.  I learned the importance of waiting on God’s plan for my life instead of jumping ahead with my own.  I learned how that patience for His plan reveals blessings I would’ve never known otherwise.  Just think if I would’ve jumped the gun ahead of God and taken a night job.  What blessings I would have missed!  No matter what the situation, God’s got this.  He has us in the palm of His hand and He is not going to let us go. 

As for now, I must go and get ready for the job that I love so that I may stay home tomorrow with the child I love even more.  God bless! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Me and God

I am so excited to be back into OBS.  I've continued Bible study while we've been on a break, but nothing compares to the OBS experience! 

Today I've chosen to my blog-hop topic on:

"What is holding you back from going deeper in your relationship with God?"

I was thankfully raised in a wonderful Christian household, so I really don't remember a time when I didn't believe in God.  He has always been a part of my life.  But my relationship with Him didn't start to really mature until I was an adult.  Thanks to OBS, my relationship has grown even more!  But there is always room for improvement.  
I feel like I have a deep relationship with God, but not as deep as it could be, but to be honest, I never want it to hit that point.  I always want to be longing for a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God.  I do believe that fear is one of the things that holds me back from God...Fear that God will want me to do something that I can't see myself doing...Fear that if I go down the path of God's plan that I will mess something up, or something will occur that I can't deal with.  
Time can also interfere with my relationship with God.  I'm usually the first one up and the last one down, simply because as a mother and a wife, that's the only time I have to just be with myself (I say as my 3-year old angel yells for me from the top of the stairs).  I do my OBS first thing in the morning, but if sleep to long and miss that window, it's hard to find another time throughout the day to devote to it.  I like to get the most I can out of the study, so I can't do it when I have kids running around and commotion going on in the background.  I pray to God throughout the day no matter what environment I'm in.  But I need that true one on one time with Him every morning...just me and that I can start my day right.  I know you all will believe that BIG difference between start the day with God than without.  What a blessing it is to start my day with the Lord.  

"The revelation of God is whole and puts our lives together.  The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road.  The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy.  The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes.  God's reputation is twenty-four carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee.  The decisions of God are accurate down to the nth degree.  God's Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds.  You like it better than strawberries in the spring, better than red, ripe strawberries.  -Psalm 19:7-10 MSG

I had never read this Bible verse before, and it has brought such a blessing to my life.  This verse just lays out for you what God has promised us if we just believe.  
  •    God promises to point us toward the right road...we just have to open our hearts and our minds so we don't miss His signposts.
  •    God has a life full of joy waiting for us...we just have to ensure that we're follow His life map and not our own.
  •    God's directions for our lives are clear and easy...we just need our eyes and our hearts to be open to Him, and not the rest of the world. 
  •    God's very existence is flawless and eternal...we just have to believe.
  •    God's Word is the perfect guide for our lives...we just have to fill our hearts and minds with as much of it as we can.

God promised to never leave us nor forsake us, and I believe that with all of my heart.  This week has been a very tough week for my family as we lost one of our dearest friends, and heaven gained another angel.  There have been and will continue to be lots of tears shed as we miss her, but never a doubt of God's presence.  Though it has been hard to get through our day to day, God has been with us every step.  He never promised us that life would be a easy.  He never promised that we wouldn't experience loss and sadness.  But He did promise that through it all, He would be right here with us.  His arms are firmly wrapped around all of this and He is holding us tight as we remember the wonderful person who touched our hearts for so long.  For this, I am so thankful.  He is our strength.  He is our comfort.  He is our salvation from life.