Friday, July 19, 2013

Flashback Friday: Don't be a Bildad!

I'm not sure why the Lord is leading me to re-post this blog entry, but I bet there is someone out there who needs to read it so here goes!

Don't be a Bildad!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sunday's Sermon: This is My Story

Three weeks ago, Pastor Aaron introduced a new series called This is My Story. Because he was taking a 30-day sabbatical, four different staff members would be preaching and telling their "stories" which were according to him POWERFUL and would minister to us greatly. I was skeptical that I would actually enjoy four weeks without Pastor Aaron's preaching, but then he gave a teaser to one of the stories. The story of a young girl halfway around the world on a mission trip to India when her mother passed away unexpectedly.... The story reminded me of my dear Christina, and I knew that come heck or high water I would NOT miss that story!

This weekend.... ohhhhhh this weekend!  Friday night we had our Pampered Chef fundraiser and a few hours before while I was still in the HEAT of barking out orders to the kids to clean up, trying to make homemade salsa and guacamole, and had not yet taken a shower, I found Auntie Marge wandering down the hallway wearing nothing from the waist down but one sock. This was my final clue that she was indeed, as I had been suspecting for about a week, ill. The doctor wouldn't prescribe anything without seeing her, and I couldn't get her to the doctor that night so I planned to take her in the next morning. We were up late from the Pampered Chef party and didn't get to bed till nearly midnight. At about 2 a.m. Hannah woke me when she banged her puke bucket into my head, "I think I'm gonna throw up, Momma." I spent the next few hours listening to her bark this AWFUL cough that made her sound like a yippy dog before drifting off into a VERY light sleep next to her. At 7 a.m., I heard Auntie Marge calling me from the bathroom. She had an accident that required a shower and full cleaning of the toilet/bathroom. The weekend proceeded much like that.... went to the urgent care with BOTH Hannah and Auntie Marge. Hardly slept AT ALL Saturday night as well because of a headache and some insomnia over stress... Sunday morning dawned, and I did NOT feel like going to church. I was EXHAUSTED... But there was NO WAY Satan was keeping ME from THIS sermon!  John and I devised a plan that involved going to church in two shifts in order to keep our little Sickie Vickie from infecting other children. I threw down a cup of coffee and headed off to first service.

The worship was POWERFUL and amazing as always. This guy they have leading worship at our church lately is nothing short of FABULOUS!  He wrote the first song we sang.... It was the debut of the song in Sunday service, but had been sung in Youth Group already.... Jeremiah leaned over and said, "Mom, this is IT! My favorite song I was telling you about!"  I love when my children are excited about the things of God!

So then it was time.... I had my plan... pay attention closely for some good stuff to tell Christina... wisdom that she would TOTALLY be able to relate to.  She came out... This adorable young thing who wasn't even BORN when I graduated from high school!  I was sure she had something to share with Christina but me??? I'm an old foggie.... I've heard it all before..... WHATEVER!  She ROCKED MY WORLD!  I mean it ROCKED MY WORLD!

Her testimony of losing her mother made me BAWL.... that I expected. I am such an empathetic person that I felt her loss, as told through her story, VERY deeply. But then like a right hook out of nowhere, this girl started getting in MY kitchen. She talked about the choice when you suffer a loss... the choice to be bitter or to trust God.  She talked about the fact that EVEN Jesus wept... so WE can weep too in loss. But I think what gutted me the most was her bare-naked honesty.... I am SO glad this young lady had the courage to say what wouldn't make her look the best in some circles. She admitted that on the way home to the United States after her mother had passed away she questioned God... she thought, "Really God.... I'm here doing YOUR business and You couldn't just have her hang on a little longer so I could say goodbye?"  It GUTTED me!  See I have felt that!  I have thought that!  "Lord, I've given you my life!  I've served you UNWAVERINGLY since I was a little girl! You really couldn't just protect this one thing I held MOST dear???"

After the sermon, I went forward for prayer. That was a BIG step for me!  I have RESISTED God's prodding to do so many times before at this church... I don't know why... I think mostly because I don't like the unknown of how it is going to go down... But this time... I just walked up there... straight to the beautiful, young whippersnapper who had just WRECKED me with her sermon. And as she prayed for me I felt a WEIGHT I have been carrying for several years lifting off my shoulders.... a freedom that it is OKAY to hurt and feel and WEEP... and a release from some of the weight of my guilt at not being "godly enough" to weather my loss with a smile on my face and pep in my step.

See I have LONG believed that God isn't afraid of our honesty. I have LONG believed that I had permission to weep. But for some reason, on THIS day, from THIS girl, in THIS moment I had a WORD from God that GRIPPED my heart.... and I really BELIEVED that it was okay to weep because Jesus did it too!

Today my friends let me encourage you.... Whatever you are going through right now.... Whether it is a MAJOR loss or a minor setback, it is OKAY to weep, to feel, to be angry, to be HONEST... It is okay because that is the model Jesus set for us.... He was honest.... he even got angry.... he even questioned God in the Garden of Gethsemane.... he WEPT... so we can too.

Oh and one final thing.... I realized at the end of the message that I didn't even know what to tell Christina.... I had gone to church "for her" so I could share things that would minister to her, but two minutes in I completely forgot about her because I was in the midst of my own moment with God.... Don't worry... I sent her a link to the live feed of the second service so she wouldn't miss out completely... And I'm pretty sure she'll read this blog too...

Jesus wept.
John 11:35

Friday, July 12, 2013

Flashback Friday: Your enemy the devil....

Here's an old blog of mine that MINISTERED to me yesterday.  I needed to remember that Satan will NOT take my resolutions sitting down. He will NOT just idly stand by when I pray for revival, when I ask God to renew me, when I get a WORD directly from God.... Nope! He ATTACKS hard and heavy!

Praying God's protection over all of you today.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thankful Thursday: the Word of God

Hebrews 4:12 NIV
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Today I am thankful that the Word of God is ALIVE... It isn't some dusty, old-fashioned book of stories. It isn't the same-old, same-old I've read since I was a little girl. It comes ALIVE and ministers to me in a NEW way every time I read it!

This morning I opened up my YouVersion Bible app and started reading today's devotional entry in the reading plan I am currently working my way through. I read passages of scripture I have read a JILLION times... some I even have memorized.... and the words JUMPED off the page and ministered to me in a BRAND NEW way. It was as if I had NEVER seen them before. They brought me brand-new, deeper understanding. They brought me FREEDOM from bondage to wrong thoughts. They gave me the courage to let my spirit rise up and SCREAM at Satan "NO! I won't believe your lies anymore! I won't let you tell me all that I have lost, all that was broken, all that I am NOT! Instead I am going to tell you about the victory that was won! The RESTORATION that resulted! And who I am in Christ!"

Today I am thankful for the word of God because it is the data cable God uses to speak to me EACH and every day. But most of all I am thankful for the God that "data cable" is plugged into. That He loves ME enough to connect with me... to speak to me... to reach out anew every single day.

I pray that today the Word JUMPS out at you too. That He reveals something brand-new to you today. And I pray that the new thing He reveals to you smacks you RIGHT where you are TODAY with EXACTLY the Word YOU need to hear.

God bless everyone!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Worship Wednesday: Glorious Ruins - Hillsong Live [church]

Hello, my name is Jami, and I'm a perfectionist. I still am... I always have been... I will struggle to my dying day to realize that God does NOT expect perfection from me....

Lately God has been working me through a season of removing a few layers of my perfectionism. It is NOT comfortable... It is not fun.

I want life to be orderly: bills paid on or ahead of time, rooms clean, beds made, children happily working on their lessons.... but there is BEAUTY in the disorder too. There is FAITH and TRUST in looking for God amid the late charges, rumpled beds, math tears.... Imperfection is my lot because I am human, and I need to learn to embrace that.... For in MY weakness HE is made strong, and with ALL of me I only want to reflect HIM more.  When will my thick skull realize that those very imperfections that drive me nuts are the areas where HE can shine through most brightly???

Anyways.... I haven't done Worship Wednesday in a long, long time, but this song is GRIPPING my soul as I walk through what seems like NOTHING but imperfections.... trying to crucify my longing for them to be perfect and trying to surrender to allow God to show me the beauty in my Glorious Ruins....

Here are the lyrics... and a video.... hope they minister to you.

Glorious Ruins
Hillsong Live

When the mountains fall and the tempest roars You are with me... When creation folds still my soul will soar on Your mercy... I'll walk through the fire with my head lifted high and my spirit revived in Your story... And I'll look to the cross as my failure is lost in the light of Your glorious grace... Let the ruins come to life in the beauty of Your name rising up from the ashes God forever You reign... And my soul will find refuge in the shadow of Your wings... I will love You forever and forever I'll sing... When the world caves in still my hope will cling to Your promise... Where my courage ends let my heart find strength in Your presence... I'll walk through the fire with my head lifted high and my spirit revived in Your story... And I'll look to the cross as my failure is lost in the light of Your glorious grace... Let the ruins come to life in the beauty of Your name rising up from the ashes God forever You reign... And my soul will find refuge in the shadow of Your wings

Monday, July 8, 2013

It's not about me....

This morning I read this on Instagram:

Humility is not thinking less of yourself,
It is thinking of yourself less
C.S. Lewis

It got me thinking about how MUCH I think about myself. Everything is about me, me, ME!  How much sleep did I get? How do I feel this morning? What does this date in time represent to ME? What did this sermon say to ME? But guess what it is NOT about me!

I read this verse this morning in the YouVersion reading plan I am currently working my way through:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Did you catch what this verse says about why God comforts me? It doesn't say He comforts me so I will feel better. It doesn't say He comforts me because what I am going through is hard. It doesn't say He comforts me when I have had enough or because I deserve to be comforted.  It says, "who comforts us in all our troubles, SO THAT WE CAN COMFORT THOSE IN ANY TROUBLE..."

It is NOT about ME!  The purpose of my suffering is multi-faceted; however, one thing is for sure God comforts me in my suffering SO THAT I CAN COMFORT OTHERS!

I don't know where I first heard this said, but I hear it ALL the time, "We are blessed so we can bless." Take what God has given you today:  financial blessings, compassion, sensitivity, hope, healing, COMFORT in your times of trouble, and USE IT to bless, love, inspire, heal, COMFORT someone else.

Blessings my friends!  Hope today brings many opportunities for you to spread God's love.
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