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Listen… Do you hear Me?

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And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV)

Keep standing on the promises of God with a childlike faith! Rest in assurance that The Almighty can never go back on his word.

“I thank you Father for being our greatest safety. In Your arms we can run to you and we will be comforted. Bless each and every heart who seeks peace, love, forgiveness and salvation. Let our hearts turn to You and rest in the shadow of your wing. Faithful is your name. In the name of Jesus I pray… ~ Amen.”

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Love Drives Me to Press On

The Greatest Gift

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NKJV)

Love and transparency seem to collide a lot in my life. Even through hurt and pain caused directly and indirectly, God always brings me back to a place in my heart that I cannot reject others. The natural man wants to rise up, take control and fully put up a wall of steel to protect my heart and feelings.

I have learned many times that this will never go the way I planned. I can only block and withhold but for so long. Its just a matter of protecting a wounded heart the best way that works for me.

This is not how God would like for me to handle this.

I have known since I was child that I could not hold on to anger, hurt and pain forever, that I could never hate people but that I can dislike their actions.

We all have shortcomings. There is not one man on this earth without blemish. We are a work in progress if we want to succeed. Not just in this life as human beings, but as servants of the Lord.

There is a greater purpose to just being me, being a wife, a mother, daughter, sister and friend. I have been called by the Lord to be a light in a dark world, to be an example of his love that defeats everything else.

No matter the pain, the tears, rejection, answers that have not been supplied….. I have been given an assignment that I must fulfill. I can’t run away from it no matter how hard I try even if that is something that I truly wanted to do. It’s not what I want. It’s just a hard load to carry.

I can’t do it on my own.

I will always need the Lord to carry me because I have had some weary days and nights with a heart full of sorrow and heaviness dealing with various things. It’s not just about my life but that as well of others including you, dear reader. You’d think that I could not drop another tear over the last month or so, but I have.

There’s no boasting at all. It’s hard to be transparent if pride and ego were factors. I can be transparent because it’s a part of who I am. This is how God designed me. I have questioned Him at times why do I have to love others so much when it can hurt so bad.

These were my thoughts when I was younger. Now it’s just about being at His feet humbling my heart and asking for help to never stray away, to never deny love to those who cross my path, to abide in his love and strength always with wisdom to gain because I don’t want to be selfish. I want to be obedient to every thing asked of me.

If we know each other personally and you have not heard from me, I just needed a little time to gather myself. And for those who don’t know me, God has managed to draw me back to the familiar in his own way, lovingly nudging me along that everything will work out just fine.

This journey I walk as a disciple isn’t easy. God did not promise that all my days would be filled with roses and sunshine but he would be there for me when I call out to him.

Love above all else will keep me going. In Him my trust is placed to work out every good and perfect thing that aligns with his word.

Glory be to God for mercy and grace.

Scriptures to think on:

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:12-17
NKJV)

Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them those who are mistreated since you yourselves are in the body also. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:1-3, 5 NKJV)

• Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:29-31 NKJV)

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The theology of the chocolate sampler

One day you bring me a large, beautiful box of chocolates. There are all kinds, too, every type imaginable: some with nuts or cookies or caramel; some with raisins or cherries or other fruits; some with dark or light or white chocolate or a mixture. It’s the wide variety that makes it so impressive – and probably expensive – gift.

But what do I do? I bite into one at a time, and not finding what I like I look for another. Not only that, but I’m rude enough to spit the candy into the trash can while you watch, and make a face of disgust. I don’t even bother tasting the white ones before throwing them away. I only like the ones with dark chocolate, I say, glaring as if I blame you for not giving me just those.

I know what you are thinking…what in the world does this have to do with the Word? This is a great article written by Gary over at Gary Shogren’s Blog. As you read this article, you see what a great analogy Gary makes between the rude eater of chocolate given as a gift, and the gifts that God gives us that we are all to quick to dismiss at times. This is not in reference to spiritual gifts, although those would apply to this article as well.

To finish reading this article, please head over to http://justinofnablus.com/2012/05/17/the-theology-of-the-chocolate-sampler/.
While you are there, why not check out the rest of Gary’s site and let him know that something he wrote blessed you.

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The Cowboys Spirit

He had been ride’n the herd for about three days.
Watch’n the moon as the cattle graze.
He had spent his nights sleep’n in the saddle.
Keep’n calves alive is become’n a battle.

His old eyes were weary and needed some rest.
Every day was hard but he gave it his best.
Around the fire the nights seem long.
He played his harmonica as the dog howled a song.

When danger sneaks up he swears he can hear it.
It’ll catch the attention of his dog named “Spirit”.
Ol’ “Spirit” is faithful and true to the day.
He’s rode with this cowboy every step of the way.

The cowboy and his “Spirit” stand fast in the heat.
No matter the struggle, they refuse to be beat.

This is a great poem by Sonny Jacks, check it out! I liked this so here it is to share with all of you! Hope you enjoy. :)

Finish reading this poem here, http://sonnyjacks.org/2012/05/09/spirit-and-his-cowboy/

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Gathering the Tools, Part 2

Proverbs 24:27 NKJV

 “Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.”

As I said in the last post, when you are building a house there is a lot of preparation that should go into that. The same is true of doing work for the Lord. We should be willing to spend a lot of time in preparation before we set to work on something.

In my case, this is getting ready to serve the Lord as a missionary. The first place that I will be going to is Ecuador, in South America. I am going first with a small short term team for about a week or so to encourage and strengthen the church that was planted there about a decade ago. But to do this we will need some practical things, such as learning some children songs in Spanish, so we can lead worship for the Vacation Bible Schools we will be doing. Another thing is money in order to provide the materials for the VBS as well as materials for a women’s retreat that some of the women from our team will be hosting in Cuenca. Something that our church has done almost every time to raise funds is to host a yard sale every memorial day weekend. All the goods for the yard sale is donated to the church and then the team members serve by setting it all up and selling it. Any extra resources either go as a donation to the church in Cuenca or help support summer youth events at the church in Phelan (where we are from).

Thankfully, it wasn’t all work and no play. I think the number one thing that I love the most about the Memorial Day weekend yard sale can be summed up in one word; zombies. Yes, you read that right, I said zombies.

When we have the yard sale we get all the donated “treasures” (as we like to call them) on Friday night then set a lot of it up so it is ready for the morning. We found out from experience that if no one stayed over night (the yard sale is a one day event on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend) to protect the stuff then most of it would mysteriously disappear in the morning. What’s the solution to this? Have a night where the youth group volunteers to stay the night at the church. The youth spends the day working and the night playing. Last year we invented a game (I’m not even sure how it came to be other then a bunch of youth leaders who play too much video games) where we take a lot of the yard sale items, dressing ridiculously and armed with plastic shovels, inflatable or plastic baseball bats, nerf guns, etc. , then engaging in a night of combat against the un-dead.

The game is simple, survive for as long as you can. You start out by turning all the lights out in the church (and warning people to stay clear of the wedding decorations in the main sanctuary for tomorrows wedding, yeah we are brave). Then you gather everyone and pray for safety as well as that we would remember it is just a game (hey, why not?). Then, carnage. Two people are appointed as Zombies and run off into the darkness to hide letting out low growls of terror. The rest of the group is the “survivors”. If a survivor taps a zombie with one of their weapons (nerf dart, plastic bat, random soft item found in yard sale pile) then they are dead for 10 seconds (or 30 depending on prior rules of engagement). The group must then run off to another area for safety. To the survivors dismay though, if they are grabbed with two hands then they themselves fall pray to the zombie infestation and become a zombie themselves. By the end of the night, if you are lucky and God has blessed you with super sweet ninja skills, it will be you verses everyone. Slaying zombies left and right with your plastic baseball bat and toy golf club (my personal weapons of choice) until you are finally overwhelmed by the gnawing horde of zombies and you fall in a moment of glorious battle. Sorry I didn’t take any pictures, I was too busy running for my life..

Before you say, hey that doesn’t sound very Christian of you, I have to tell you who is playing and how something as silly as this has changed peoples lives. There was a kid in the youth group that came to help out with the yard sale last year and wasn’t attending the youth group regularly until after that weekend. I think he had so much fun playing zombies, as well as serving the Lord the next day with so much tiredness that you might as well have really been a zombie, that he started attending youth group regularly. Also, all the youth leaders are of drinking age (our early twenties). We could be out partying and drinking like everyone else our age, but instead we are having fun playing zombies. One of my friends, Caleb Garcia, is currently on tour in Afghanistan. But in between deployments he was coming to a lot of the youth events and helping out, and let me say he set the standard for zombie persona. Who ever said that being a Christian is no fun hasn’t lived.

When you are a Christian you are free to have fun with just about anything, and you don’t have to care what people think. You are free from always having to turn to substances in order to have a good time. There is something to be said about that.

Come morning, we wake up with the dawn of the sun and the selling begins. Its a great ministry because we have no sentimental attachment to the things we are selling and can sell them for dirt cheap. No one feels ripped off, we get free profit, everyone goes home happy. Thank God for Zombies, yard sales, and good old fashioned clean fun.

Feeling like Zombies after a night of Zombies, but blessed to be able to serve the Lord and having fun while doing so.

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Good or Evil…Right or Left…Call it What You Will

they label all of us

People are jumping off the fence and they’re landing on the right—or is it far right—maybe left, far left, or right-center, maybe left-center? Depending on which news affiliate a person listens to, or which up-and-coming blog he or she reads, one of the labels mentioned above will be used to describe a person’s stance on moral and immoral issues. These people however, are not set in stone at these positions. It is being spoken often how a person of the far-left will be moving in the direction of the left-center camp—or someone of the far-right is moving to the center. (So, where does that put the person who has left the group from the far-left and is moving to the left-center, but just hasn’t made it there yet? I know: far-mid-left-of-center! Whew! That took some real ciphering!)

hurt feelings can mean life instead of death

The American media, and those who discuss these groups, will continue to give these positions of personal values many different names. However, God refers to these groups of people as “good and evil” as quoted in Hebrews 5:14: “But solid food is for those who are full-grown, who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil.” The writer of Hebrews is speaking of food as the knowledge obtained, and the moral values created, by knowing the Word of God. Call it what you will, a person’s moral or immoral values place him or her in a group which represents good or evil.

This is an excellent article on good and evil and how our choices affect our position in life. Written by Writings of aragamuffin.
We all will stand before a Moral Judge someday….God. We had better have our facts straight and be acting in love in this life, so that we will have nothing to fear when standing before the Righteous Judge…Jesus.

To finish reading this article, please head over to http://pmacoach.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/good-or-evil-right-or-left-call-it-what-you-will/. While you are there, why not check out the rest of this site? Let them know you were there and liked something they wrote.

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Horsin Around

Originally posted on Creative Photo:

These pictures were taken on a horse ranch that works with troubled kids of all kinds. I was at one of their clinics to learn what they do, and how they do it. It was a very blessed time while I was there. The ranch is in Oregon and is named Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. Awesome place, Troy and Kim Meeder have helped so many kids, and more then a few adults. You can check them out here, http://www.crystalpeaksyouthranch.org/default.aspx These are Godly people with a huge hearts to help others. Kim Meeder when speaking could make a stone sit up and take notice. I am thankful that I was able to spend some time with these people. By the way…all these horses you see were all rescued from bad situations.

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A Tribute

I have here reposted the entire post, which I usually do not do. I wanted to share the entire post on this one today with all of you as it is Memorial Day and I thought this to be a great post with a greater idea.
Written by Debbie from Two Minutes of Grace , you are sure to enjoy.

Thank you Debbie for this uplifting post with a beautiful idea. You can find the original post here, http://twominutesofgrace.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/a-tribute/ Stop by and like this post over at Debbie’s site, and while you are there, check out the rest of her site. Lots of good stuff here!

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract…

…that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

I memorized The Gettysburg address on a trip the battle ground when I was 12. I thought the words were sad and poetic and beautiful. I didn’t know anything about sacrifice.

President Lincoln delivered, possibly his most famous speech, on November 19, 1863 to a country in mourning. He spoke to a nation once conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, but now deeply divided on those very same principles.

The battle for freedom was twice fought. The price was high. During the Revolutionary War ‘Americans’ fought outsiders.

During the Civil war, the battled raged within.

There’s a saying in some circles: “Christians are the only army that shoots their wounded”. The price for our freedom was paid and yet, 2000 years later the battle rages within.

On this Memorial Day, as we honor those who fought for our freedom, wouldn’t be a grand tribute if we also honored the One who died for our ultimate freedom by laying down our arms and joining hands?

The price has been paid, far above our poor power to add or detract.


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You Are Not Alone

“…I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”—Matthew 28:19 (Message Translation)

What do you do when you are feeling all alone?

Far too often, for far too many of us, there are those times of loneliness, fear and despair. These feelings may be due to a lot of different things. For some this may be due to loss of a loved one, and for some it could be uncertainty about the future. Either way, it causes us to draw back and think that no one understands what we are feeling or going through, and that we are all alone in this world. This is a sad state to be in.

However, there is good news! Jesus told His disciples, before He left this earth physically, not to worry because He would be with them (us) forever! This is significant because, as believers, we are expected to live for and represent the Lord on this earth—all while facing all the challenges that life throws at us.

This a great article on the fact that God never leaves us alone! Written by Sebastian over at faith1stministry, this article deals with the Believer’s duty to teach others about Christ even through our personal challenges.

To finish reading this article, please head over to http://faith1stministries.com/2012/05/08/you-are-not-alone/. While you are there, why not check out the rest of Sebastian’s site? Let him know you were there and enjoyed something he wrote.

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Am I Saved by Grace? part two

Christ Carrying the Cross,
by El Greco, 1580.

If you have not read part one or do not remember it, I would suggest you read it here.

If we are saved…things will happen. There is no maybe in this, things will happen it is only a matter of time. Those around us will see us as different people. Even those who refuse to believe in God…will see a difference in how we act and live our lives once we have accepted Jesus. I myself was an alcoholic and a smoker. I had tried to quit smoking many times, but had no interest in stopping drinking. Then I met up with Jesus. I accepted Him as Lord and Savior and in time through His grace and mercy…He took away from me my desire to drink, and the desire to smoke. Just like that…I was done drinking. I was drinking as usual one day…and was completely done with that the next. Same with smoking…I still had to fight a desire to smoke, but the intense craving for a cigarette was gone. Church itself is another one. Many people who go to church view it as a duty, something that we are supposed to do maybe even to “fit in”. Knowledge of God and church attendance does not mean one is saved. When we are saved however…church is no longer a duty, it is something we look forward to and enjoy. This time spent worshipping our Lord and thanking Him for saving us is special. And this does not stop at church it carries through into our daily lives as well.

A genuine desire to spend time in God’s word (the bible) is another indication. Reading and studying His word and enjoying doing so is another effect of belonging to God. The exception to this is someone who is trying to prove that God is not real. Lee Strobel was one of these people. He is now a staunch believer in Jesus. His books are awesome! Another facet of the person who is saved is time spent in prayer. Time spent praying each day…especially for others.

How about a desire to please God? When we desire to live the way He wants us to, and pleasing Him is important to us…that is a strong indication of genuine salvation. This is what Jesus being Lord in our lives is all about…He is in charge of our lives, not us.

We will live forever with God after we pass from this life…and it is a free gift from God to us! John 5:24 I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. This means that after our bodies die…we will be raised up again (as Christ was) at the end of all things, and will live forever with the Lord if we are saved. John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” We will still meet Christ in the end if we do not know Him as Lord…but what happens to those who do not know Him will not be good.

Believe…and you will be saved. Don’t wait, do it today. Pray to God and He will hear you. A simple prayer is all you need to do. Lord I know I am a sinner. I am sorry for my sins and I ask for your forgiveness for my sins. I believe Jesus died upon the cross for my sins, and that God the Father raised Him back to life. If you prayed this and believe it, you will be saved.

Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

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