Thursday, April 17, 2014

Purpose and Promise

There is a lot of trials, sickness, confusion, and change happening in the lives around me. My 7 year old cousin found out he has leukemia over a month ago. And now his only hope is God and a bone marrow transplant. On top of that his family has to move out of their house in a few weeks. And they need a new van to get them back and forth to the hospital. Our head pastor at our church has had to resign after 25 years at the same church, 10 of them as the pastor. There is change coming, and we don't know what it will look like. 

And yet through all these things, through all the prayer, I hear God say, "Trust me, I have promises to fulfill in your (and their) earthly life (lives). That's why I put you here on this Earth. This is for my glory." Sometimes Christians are so focused on the Lord's returning and going to heaven that they forget there is purpose for their lives here on Earth. Why else would God put you here?! In Beth Moore's book, Believe God, she writes, 

"God has made us promises. Real ones. Numerous ones. Promises of things like all-surpassing power, productivity, peace, and joy… while still occupying these jars of clay."

No matter what you may be going through now, or what you may go through in the future, there is purpose to it. And God has promises for you. The Word of God tells us that He knows the plans He has for us - they are plans to prosper us, to protect us - to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Whatever we go through, God has purpose for. Whether it's to show us a better way, to teach us how to become more like Him, to break down our walls, or to allow our story to affect others for Him. It's all for His glory.

Open your Bible. Read how much God loves us and what He has for your life. Cling to the Word of God. There is TRUTH and POWER in the Word. There is comfort, peace, promises, and solid ground in Jesus' words.


"Nothing keeps the mind sane in adversity like the Word of God.

If you know it, then you know peace. If you've read it, then you know hope. And it you love it, then you know love. You would know that love can heal.

When the waters have breached and flooded the walls of your heart, it's the Word of God that rescues you. 

And when the rhythm of life is out of beat, it's the Word of God that becomes your conductor. And when the earthquake comes to shake you, the Word of God is the pillar you can hang on to.

Our mismanagements, brokenness, and sins are all subject to the Word of God.

They are all subject to love because LOVE CAN HEAL."

Pastor Steve Reynolds
Hope City Church


Monday, April 14, 2014

craving grace: awareness of sin

I am currently reading a book called Craving Grace by Ruthie Delk. Grace seems to be my theme these days. God has been speaking to me so much lately about grace. Wanting more of it, giving more of it, learning more about it, craving it in general.
Grace. Unmerited. Unearned. Not deserved. Not worthy. But yet God gives us this, freely.

We don't deserve grace, but He gives grace, no matter what.

Our identity is based on who He is, not who we are. -- Ruthie Delk

How sweet is that to know? To know that our identity isn't based on what we have done or who we wish to become or who we pretend to be or who we really are. It is based on who He is. What He is. What He says we are.

We are all sinners. Sinners that need grace. Without grace we are enslaved to sin. But Chris sets us free. By grace.

Sin is so much more than just behavior. -- Ruthie Delk

Sin is more than a behavior, it's who we become. We get comfortable in our day to day lives, in sin and we continue in that sinful way. Sin gets rooted into our hearts. And what is in our hearts is who we are truly. It affects more than just our behavior but the innermost parts of us. And that hinders our relationship with Christ.
I read that and thought, wow. Wow. So basically I lose my patience (a sin) with my kids because I do not believe that God is powerful enough to give me more patience. Ouch.

When I become bitter I do not believe that God can give me peace.

When my hormones take over me I do not believe God can help me choose joy.

Where I sin, I do not believe God. I do not believe that He can change me or the situation so I choose selfishly to sin.

I make God small. And He is not. He is more powerful than anything I can encounter and I need to believe and act on that.

Accurate self-assessment is the product of grace. -- Paul David Tripp

Until we see ourselves clearly, we will never understand the sweet gift of grace we have been given. -- Ruthie Delk

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Little of My Story

Hi all!  I feel like I have been absent from you for a while and I apologize.  I've missed sharing what the Lord has been teaching me so let me tell you what's been happening lately!

We (Tiffany, our friend Sybil and I) just completed a study by Jennie Allen titled Restless.  This study blew my world right open and turned it upside down - in a fabulous way!  This study helps us to intentionally begin to recognize the threads in our lives that are floating in the breeze so to speak.  Threads are moments in our life that have had an impact on us either positive or negative.  The challenge was to look at these moments and figure out how the Lord has brought us to this point in our lives through all that we have gone through.  This book met me right where I was at.  Over the last several months I have been trying to narrow down what it is that my calling is.  What is my purpose?  How does my Father want to use me to impact this world?  I am one of those that wants to do EVERYTHING! If you are a multi-tasker like me with a broken heart for the lost and the hurting, it can be easy to jump from one ministry to the next without actually developing and growing in the area where the Lord has called you to be.

About 13 years ago at the age of 18, I went through the darkest period in my life.  I was dealing with a very difficult betrayal in my family and my world as I knew it was falling apart.  I strayed from the Lord for a while as I sought to drown my pain however possible.  Through counseling and support from my friends and family, I began to work through my pain.  Over the course of a few years, the Lord healed myself and my family in a way that is nothing short of a miracle.  The enemy could have used that very dark experience to break me - and he almost did.  But my God is so much bigger than that and out of that experience has been born in me a desire to help families struggling in the same way we did.  I told the Lord a few years ago that however He wanted to use me and my story to help others, I would do it.  For a long time I felt the urge to write out my story.  I had told it in many different forms to different people but wanted to get every single detail out in one spot.  I sat on that idea for a long time.  One morning in church the Lord said to me, "Now Julie".  How do I know it was Him?  It was an undeniable voice and it seemingly came out of nowhere... I knew I had to sit down and write it out.  I figured I would write it as it came to me and then I'd have to go back and cut and paste to make it all flow and make sense.  After three separate sittings at my computer I had gotten it all out.  I sat back and read it and it was perfect.  Right there in front of me was my story in the perfect order with all of the details just as I wanted them.  How did that happen?!!  I knew what I needed to do next... I needed to send it to someone.  I sent it to a few of my close friends and then I sent it to my pastor.  I said in my email to him that I was just being obedient to the Lord and if he could think of any way my story could be useful then to let me know.  A week later he emailed me back and said that they were preparing to film some testimonies on relational healing for an upcoming sermon but the lady they had in mind had backed out.  He asked if I would like to share a little bit of my story.  I was scared but I agreed.  My church is a large one with a congregation of about 2000 including all of the services.  On the day my testimony was shown in service I had my whole family sitting next to me in support.  I know that what I had to say was powerful and that lives were touched.  Since that day a few years ago, I have had several people find me and ask me to speak.  I have never sought out any speaking opportunities!  I have only been obedient to say yes when they ask.  I almost chicken out every time I'm about to speak!  But, I refuse to let the enemy stop me from using what he intended as destruction, to bring life to others who are hurting.

All that being said, I'm now at a point where I know I need to take the next step in reaching people.  For a long time I've had an idea in the back of my head that I've been sitting on.  A couple of weeks ago during a rare quiet moment with the Lord (I've got small kids, believe me those moments are hard to come by!), the Lord said to me again, "Now Julie."  I knew it was time and I feverishly started writing notes.  My dream right now is to write a curriculum and start a support group for girls who went through what I went through 13 years ago.  I've searched and found nothing quite like it anywhere yet.  I've learned through our study that when something is God's will, it's most likely not going to be mapped out cleanly in front of us.  We most likely won't be able to see the big picture.  We need only to take one step at a time in faith that God will lead us.  So I am taking one step at a time, and I'm excited!  I didn't think this would be a big project or one that would require much of my time in the future, but in another moment of clarity the Lord said to me, "How do you know?"  I've twice found myself putting God in a box regarding this project.  The reality is, I don't know how the Lord's going to use me, I know only that He's called me and that's good enough for now.   I'm learning to not rely so heavily on my need to plan everything to a T but rather say, "What's next God?" And then take the next step.


I'd love to keep you updated on how this goes.  Part of my purpose for writing this post is so that I can look back and say, wow, look where I was 6 months - a year ago!  Would you ask the Lord what the next step is for you?  I guarantee you were put on this Earth for a VERY specific purpose and I know for many it's a struggle to discover just what that is.  Ask the Lord to remove things in your life that are a distraction from what He really wants you to focus on and if you'd like prayer for this very issue, let us know!  We'd love to partner with you in prayer.

Have a blessed day,

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Lord Has No Equal

I got the rare chance last Saturday morning to have a girls morning. Just me and my best friend talking for an hour at Starbucks then doing some shopping. Before she met me, I sat and read a random Bible passage from Isaiah on my YouVersion Bible App. It was the "Verse of the Day" and I decided to read the whole chapter. Wow - it blew me away! I had to share it with you. We may think the words we speak or write can be powerful or have meaning, but nothing compares to the Word of God!

Isaiah 40:12-31 NLT (portions)

The Lord Has No Equal

"Who else had held the oceans in his hand? Who else has measured off the heavens with his fingers?

Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?

Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord? Who know enough to give him advice or teach him?

Has the Lord ever needed anyone's advice? Does he need instruction about what is good?

Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice?

No, for all the nations of the word are but a drop in a bucket. They are nothing more in dust on the scales.

He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand.

The nations of the world are worth nothing to him. In his eyes, they count for less than nothing - mere emptiness and froth.

To whom can you compare God? What image can you find to resemble him?

Haven't you heard? Don't you understand?

Are you deaf to the words of God - the words he gave before the world began? Are you so ignorant?

God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him!

He spread out the heavens like a curtain and make his tent from them.

He judges the great people of the world and brings them all to nothing. They hardly get started, barely taking root, when he blows on them and they wither. The wind carries them off like chaff.

"To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?" asks the HOLY ONE.

Look up into the heavens. Who created the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.

Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.

He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.

But those who trust in the Lord will find their strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. 

They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

There's God

I have been wanting to write this post for a while now and have been a little timid because it can be a touchy subject. But here I go! :]

I think many you would agree that lately there has been a lot going on in our world. So many shootings, crime, natural disaster, disease, cancer, etc. It seems never ending. There is always something that seems to be going on in our lives and those around us. I am with you there! But lately I have been reading One Thousand Gifts and God has been touching my heart and showing me the beauty he put on Earth and in people. Yes, there is still A LOT of hurt and pain going on but there is even more beauty in God, His creation, and His love. I got to go outside today and sit on the cement by our pool in sweat pants and a tshirt, sun shining on my skin for the first time in what seems like FOREVER. And in northern Indiana that is a gift :] Considering we spend 75% of our lives under cloud cover here and haven't been able to go outside without freezing for about 6 months!! But I'm not complaining about the lack of sun and warmth, I just enjoy them more when they are around!

To my point... God is blessing us every day ladies! I know there are hard things going on in each of our lives but he desperately wants us to connect with him and see his beauty. Join with me and looking for those specs of beauty, specs of light in our seemingly dark world!


Today mine were sitting outside, seeing spring flowers starting to grow(pardon the fence that got in the photo... :] ), and having a day off work!!! When I took a moment to pause and look at what God wanted me to see, I could appreciate what he was giving me! How about you? have you paused today and seen your blessings?:]

Also I just want to say again I know many of you are going through rough times and this post is not meant to hurt you or make you feel guilty but to help you to know God is still there for you and he still loves you! If there are any of you reading this that need prayer and are having a hard time right now, who aren't able to see God's blessings and you would like someone to pray for you please feel free to comment on this post or contact us on Facebook we would like to pray for you!
 

Thanks be to God for His gifts!
2 Corinthians 9:15


God Bless and have a great rest of the week:]

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

anchors the soul

Hi there! I'm Allyce and I blog over at Anchors the Soul, a lifestyle blog where I share my journey and how God is leading me through every twist and turn!  

To get to know me a bit more, visit my "About" page or any social media links here!

One of my favorite aspects of blogging is connecting with other God-fearing women and utilizing my small space as a somewhat larger platform to share how Jesus is working in my life.  I've been participating in the #shereadstruth community this year and have loved every study!  I'm constantly challenged and feel as though my time with God is more intentional, as many of my posts are a reflection of this.

With all that being said, I'd like to thank the ladies here at Girls of God's Heart for allowing me the opportunity to guest post today! I'm truly honored to hang out here and share a piece of my heart with the readers here!     

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During my quiet time today I came across a few verses that struck a series of cords that tie directly to my heart.  If you're not aware, I've been following along in the #shereadstruth studies and every day I'm challenged in a new way through reading God's Word and joining in a community of honest, God-fearing women.

Today's focus was on 1 John 2:15-17

"Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.  For everything in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-- comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever."

Ok so this was hard hitting for me.  Sentence by sentence I felt as though God was prodding at my heart, reminding me that the things that I tend to consume myself with SEEM important, but don't have much of an eternal impact.  For instance, having a yellow shirt to wear tomorrow does not impact eternity.  So there's no need for me to stress about something so trivial.  I can't tell you the amount of times I subconsciously compare what I have or want to someone else, how much I complain about the things of "this world."  Obsess about the things I think I need and these thoughts literally consume my mind DAILY.  But what God is telling us here is to do the very opposite.

Fix your eyes and give your attention to the things that will impact eternity.  

It's hard not to love the world.  God's creation is beautiful and something to be in awe about.  But it's a place full of sin where we naturally find temporary comfort, love and satisfaction.

"The temporary things in the here and now can be so lovely, but let's not love them above the One who created them all." #shereadstruth

I've feared when that day comes when God takes me home and I get to experience Heaven and the wonder of eternity.  I'll say it again.  I've feared that day because I have feelings of not wanting to leave Earth and all that is in it.  And in my honest of hearts I've often wondered if there will be a Starbucks and a Chick-fil-A in Heaven.  I'm not sure about Starbucks, but I'm fairly certain there will be a Chick-fil-A. :)

I'm challenged today to shift my thinking from worshiping creation to worshiping the Creator.  

It's easy to get caught up in the daily grind, to let our sinful desires take over our good intended hearts.   I hold tightly to the things of this earth, the things that bring me comfort and satisfaction.

My prayer for this week is that with God's help I can start to shift my selfish ways of thinking to having more of an eternal mind set, where my focus and my intentions are fixed on worshiping my Creator, not creation.