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Monday, April 30, 2012

Spiritual Couponing

Psalm 119:2-3 I am the happiest and blessed if I seek Him with all my heart and follow in His footsteps.


What does this look like in my life? I don't know why I think of this as an example, but for those who coupon, they seek for hours to get the best deal and coupons. They figure out how they can shop, have a lot of items and spend only a few dollars. I have not been able to make it work. I don't know if I don't "seek" enough, or if I don't use the right items. But I have spent a lot of time trying to coupon...and I'm still not a coupon enthusiast.


That's what God wants, He wants me to search and dig into His word to find the best deal. His deal far exceeds a coupon! His deals are forever, not only a weekly special! But in order for me to hold on to the "deal" I need to obey His word. Obedience brings joy.


Nothing should come into the place of seeking Him and obeying Him. Dying to self and carrying my cross. Follow in the steps of Jesus. As painful as it was, Jesus carried His cross, he never threw it aside and said, "I've had it! I'm done! What kind of God would ever ask me to do this, and especially for the ones who hate me? I'm out of here!" Sound familiar? But Jesus never did. He was obedient all the way.


The Word of God is better than a coupon...every day there is a "special" for us. Oh yes, sometimes we need to have some clipping done in our heart, but God is faithful and will give us the best "deal" you have ever found!


God bless you 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Remembering

Psalm 145:5 "I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." 
David often tells of remembering days of old, or God's good deeds. When we do that it brings praise to our hearts. We remember the goodness of God.


The past 2 days were filled with remembering. My sister came to visit, I think she was here more for the children than me. When we were planning our time together, jokingly I said "we could just remember our single days." And the planning started. We decided we will not cook. We will eat popcorn and cereal. Yes, you read it correctly. Whenever we got hungry, we went to the fridge. NO planned meals or cooking. What fun. Cooking takes time. We had lots of time to talk, drink coffee, and just do nothing. Oh it was so fun.


Did we eat healthy? Probably not. But we did eat watermelon and cantaloupe. That's healthy. So a bit ago, I asked Mary, "How about tomato soup and a grilled cheese before you take off? Mary: "Are you kidding, I'm eating cereal. Why break the vacation now." Love it.


It was a good and special time.


God bless you

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rain, Rain...

Zion, 3 years old, stands at the window watching it rain, and starts singing, "rain, rain, go away, come again another day." That song has been around for ages. It really indicates we aren't happy when rain interferes with our plans.

My heart is in Haiti. They have had torrents of rain. Many people have died in the flood waters. One little boy from one of the villages, got caught in the strong water and was washed away. The body was never found. How is that possible? When there is powerful rains coming down from the mountains, it is possible to get washed away. Patrick told me this evening, there have been floods in many areas. Rivers are high. Schools have closed, church meetings have been cancelled. Today it didn't rain as much.

There is another hardship that goes with the rain...the wood is too wet for people to be able to use it for cooking. Therefore there are no meals.

Pray for Haiti. Pray for the families of victims who have drowned.

God bless you

Monday, April 23, 2012

Magnetic Force

Hebrews 7:19 " (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God." NIV


Our hope in God draws us to God. It is not man-made laws or ideas of what Christianity should be which draw us to God, but it is that hope God puts into our hearts.


It works like a magnet. A magnet has a force between two points. When we are lost, and have a compass, it shows us the direction we are going. Think about it...there is so much force in the earth that a magnet works. Both the north and south poles have strong magnetic pulls. Please don't ask me how this works. I don't even understand this magnetic theory that science has figured out. I'm really clueless.


To be honest, I do not know how the drawing between God and I really works. How does He do it? How is it that when I desire Him, He draws near to me. When someone dies, the soul leaves the body. Major magnetic force there! How? I haven't a clue. The Bible also says that at the return of Jesus, "we shall meet HIm in the air." This is a force we don't understand, or at least comprehend. Well, maybe you do. I can't imagine. The magnetic "force" will be a drawing like we've never experienced before.


But until then, let's draw near to God, He will draw near to us. Let's experience the magnetism.


Humor: When I was quite young, maybe 8 or 9 years old, and I first heard of us meeting Jesus "in the air" I remember thinking, "Oh my, I hope He doesn't drop me before we get all the way to Heaven."


God Bless You

Friday, April 20, 2012

Roller Coaster Ride

Today I look around me, and then feel the same thing. I have been on a roller coaster, it stopped suddenly, and threw me onto a very slow moving train. The slow ride is an opportunity to look around and enjoy  the goodness of God. The slow pace is providing time for prayer. There is only one prayer on a roller coaster "HELP GOD!"

The roller coaster is a "me" experience. I remember the thrill, the speed, the screaming. But have little memory of others on the ride. It can be a good time (for those who like roller coasters, I'm not one of those people), but it isn't something we want to do all the time. It's a thrill for the moment. I have met people who do not like to get off the ride. If they do, they may need to face themselves. Come to terms with life as it really is. Have you ever talked to someone, but you feel they aren't hearing a word you are saying? They are too busy thinking of what they should be doing, etc? That's a roller coaster, no one listens to the other person. Everyone is screaming at the same time.

What do we do when God puts us on the slow track? Are we comfortable when the busyness slows down? I believe God slows us down to get our attention. For you see, when we are on the fast track, we don't have time to notice the beauty around us. There is no time to hear God's voice. Too busy. We take little time to listen to others. We are just so busy. Do you hear people saying this, "I am so busy, I just don't have time to...?" You fill in the blank.

Ok so I confess, I have only been on a roller coaster once, and I promised the Lord if He got me off of it alive, I will not get on another one. I have never gotten on another one, and I believe I was a teenager when I made that promise.

God bless you


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Be Content

John 14:8 "And Philip said unto him, "Show us the Father, and we will be content." (NET version) The NIV says it with different words, "show us the Father, and that will be enough for us."

This is a powerful statement. All the disciples wanted was to see the Father. They wanted to know Jesus better. Isn't that how we are? We can learn more about someone if we know their parents, families and background. But Jesus told them, if they see him and know him they already know the Father.

But I fear our level of contentment is much lacking in today's world. Can you imagine being content? But then being content just to know the Father, God? Contentment never comes in things of the world. Oh they may make us a bit happier for a brief moment, but whatever that thing is, is soon forgotten and we wish upon another star.

God has been speaking to me about contentment. I am now in a totally different role and life since the quake. I have  more responsibilities within the ministry than when I lived in Haiti. But it is different working on this side of the ocean. Yet, I believe I'm more content. I just want to cling to Jesus and know the Father. I truly don't want to get to the place that I am discontent because of lack of things.  But to live it out, means no complaining, grumbling, and no jealousy at the lives others have.

If I keep my focus on Jesus, then my desire is Him and not things.

I'm looking at Promise's stroller for her baby doll. On the handles of this stroller she has 3 bags of "stuff" on one handle and another one hung on the other handle. She has been pushing these bags around for days. When I ask her what is in it, "Oh just stuff." She's a hoarder. Funny. But what a picture of us...clinging to those things we don't need, but continuing to collect more.

May we store up treasures in Heaven...and be content and thankful for God's provision...

God bless you

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

No Finger Pointing

Psalm 103:12 "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."


Always before when I read this verse, I pictured the horizon, and knowing my sin has been removed so far I can't see it anymore, and God doesn't either, although He could.


But this time I see it differently. When I come to God to confess my sin, He forgives. But what about tomorrow when I have committed the same sin again. Then what? The verse says nothing about it being removed as far as east is from the west on the first time of forgiving only.


This is what I picture:
"God, it's me again. Yeah, I was involved in gossip again."
God: "Oh have you been here before on that issue? I don't see any outstanding debts. Of course, I'll forgive you. My Grace is sufficient."


I don't believe there is a finger pointing at me, "Listen, you better not do this again. I've got some serious measures for second time "crimes." Oh there is discipline so that we can grow in Him. But God does not carry grudges. That's what WE do. 


God chooses not to remember my sin once He has forgiven me, and put it out of His sight. Why is it so difficult to forget the wrong done to me? 


It is so comforting to know that the God I serve doesn't remember my sin. Every time I come to Him with my sin, it's as if it were the first time I brought my confession to Him.


Forgiveness is not for the one who has sinned against me, but it frees me from the festering wounds that remembering sins causes. Lord, help me to forgive!


God bless you

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

As A Flower

Psalm 103...this was my grandpa's favorite Psalm. He had memorized it. 


Reading it this morning, verses 14-17 "For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.  As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him..."


Izzy, at 21 years old, was a flower in full bloom. We didn't see that, but God was ready for Izzy in Heaven. The celebration of this transaction at the funeral and viewing was truly a reminder how wonderful God is. The sadness of the death of a saint is not for them but for us who stayed behind. As one of Izzy'a friends said, "I'm so jealous," that he is in Heaven and I'm not there yet.


There can be rejoicing when we remember that God has our days numbered. God remembers who we are. He doesn't take us from this world because He is tired of dealing with us, but He takes us Home because He is ready for us to be in Heaven.


Sad? yes, we are. Miss him? Of course. But in the midst of this, we can rejoice. Thank you for all your prayers on behalf of Izzy's family, the team that was with Izzy on the team and for Patrick and I. Continue to pray for the Yoder family. Patrick is still in Haiti. Pray that he has found comfort and grace to walk through this difficult season of the ministry.


We are so blessed. God is always Good and Right. Thank Him


God bless you

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thank You for Caring

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, Bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits." Psalm 103:1-2

Bless the Lord, in spite of circumstances. God is worthy of my praises. He is worthy to be blessed. My inner being needs to constantly praise Him. Seek Him in all situations, at all times.

I will be traveling to Indiana tomorrow to visit the Yoder family. I only wish it would be in a different situation that I meet this beautiful family. I  pray in some small way I can be bring comfort and blessing to them. Emotions run like a roller coaster—overwhelming sadness, then the rejoicing in the goodness of God even in a most difficult situation. The very helpless feeling of wanting to take the hurt away from all the young adults that will miss Izzy so much, yet knowing I can't do that. Only God. Wanting Patrick to be here to go to Indiana with me, yet knowing that he is comforting the haitian community.

As God lays it on your heart, pray for all who are going through this experience together. We see God in so many ways through this.

I will probably not have the opportunity to blog before the beginning of next week.
Thank you for being my friend, praying and caring so much

God bless you

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Healing in His Hands

The past few days have been painful, sorrowful, exhausting and yet, above all that we feel God's peace and presence. Our hearts hurt so much for the Yoder family, and for the team members who witnessed this tragic accident.

But there is healing in the hand of the Lord, you may find the post from youtube of a song that I found this afternoon which is just beautiful and so fitting for this time of my/our lives. I have also taken great comfort in Psalm 91, knowing that I may take refuge under God's wing. But in order to enjoy that, I need to be close to God so that His wing can cover me.

Although God takes us through the fire and the floods, He is always there with us. He doesn't expect us to do it alone. He knows we cannot. He loves us too much to turn His back on us.

Thank you Lord...You are awesome!
God bless you

healing is in your hand_ Christy Nockels

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He is Risen

Today is Resurrection Sunday. I'm thinking of the women as they got up and went to the tomb, they were sad. But were going to give to Jesus their final offering of love by preserving his body with spices. But they found their Lord gone.
He had already Risen. He was not there. The Lord is Risen Indeed!!

That is what I am feeling this morning...very sad and feeling so sad for the family that lost their 21 year old son this week in Haiti. We have all been grieving. It hurts. Our hearts hurt for those young people who were so close to Izzy. Yet he is not here, he has gone to Glory. Today He is celebrating the ultimate Easter. The ultimate Resurrection.

Since Thursday when the accident happened, our lives have been turned upside down. But we have also felt the prayers and love for the team, Patrick, the family and the natives. Peace that passes all understanding.

God is so good.
Have a Blessed Easter


Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Painful Moment

Jesus and His disciples are spending their last evening meal together before Judas betrays Jesus, with a kiss no less.
Even though Jesus had often told them of his coming death, the disciples seemed to be clueless to what was coming. The passover was always a solemn meal, but also a celebrating of the freedom of the children of Israel from Egypt. So this is what they were celebrating, the passover. He told them clearly, they will eat then He will be handed over to be crucified. Jesus looked around the table, "One of you will betray me."

Judas was there. He heard Jesus. What was going through his mind? Was he wishing he could back out of the plans? Or was he counting on the money? Have you ever been in a similar situation? You know what you are planning to do is so wrong, but you don't want to disappoint your friends? Or maybe it is fear that makes you go ahead. I wonder if that was Judas. He knew the soldiers had the power to kill him if he didn't keep his promise. Since the Bible states that Judas was born for this, I believe he was powerless to renege.

Yet, the moment was painful...spending every day for 3 years with a disciple and he betrays you for a bit of money. Cold-hearted! But wait...have we not done the same thing? We have chosen wealth instead of wisdom, gold instead of glory, popularity instead of peace, fame instead of forgiveness, self instead of salvation.

Jesus chose the painful moments of that night so that you and I can have the cleansing of the blood, and enjoy eternity with Him. "Near the Cross" a song many of us know, but maybe never thinking about the implications of being near the cross. Near the cross was ugly and painful. Painful cries that shattered the very heavens. Uncontrollable blood flow. Cursing, mockery, extreme fear. Then the darkest of days....

Have you been near the cross? Come to Jesus, His blood will cleanse you.

God bless you

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Quiet Stream

Psalm 23:2 "He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me by still waters..."

Every afternoon the kids have "quiet" time, which sometimes is not very quiet. We try to balance between having them be quiet but not sleep. Falling asleep then is late night awake.

The Lord leads us to quiet waters and green pastures. A perfect picture of quiet and rest. But just like kids, our quiet time isn't always so quiet. Our spirits are struggling, we bring worry, complaining, un-forgiveness, hatred, etc. All these things rob of us the quiet moments. So even though we have been to the quiet waters, we are not refreshed.

Other than not quieting all the voices around us that want constant attention, I believe there is a greater reason why we do not want to be quiet. If I am alone for a while, the moment will come when I face myself, my problems, who I really am and who God really wants me to be. There are so many fears when facing "me." It will mean giving in to God and giving up on me.

It may be too painful to have God reach into the depths of our hearts to remove all those things that we have hidden for years, and never wanted to confess or deal with. When we cannot come to terms with ourselves, we forfeit peace.

The encouraging word is that God, in His mercy is ready to help you. Go to that quiet stream or green pasture and cry out to him...let Him do a work in you. Just a reminder, God will not be shocked at anything He finds in your heart. He knows what is there, and is waiting for you. He loves you unconditionally!

If you are troubled today, and don't know how to start to uncover the layers of hidden agenda...allow God to reach into your heart and gently do the "surgery" that needs to be done. Allow Him to do a work in you like never before. You will probably need many quiet times by the stream, but God will meet you there each time.

Just like the kids, after quiet time, they are energized.

Run into His open arms.
God bless you

Monday, April 2, 2012

Which Prodigal Am I?

Romans 12:15 "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep."


This was one of the verses Pastor Bob used yesterday in his teaching on the older prodigal son. Yes, he also was a prodigal son, he didn't leave home but he had some issues. He thought his father owed him so much BECAUSE he always served him and obeyed him.


But when his long lost brother finally came home, he could not rejoice with his father. He was waiting for honor because he thought his father should have given him the fatted calf and party because of his good works.


He had lost his joy, focus and perspective. When we compare our goodness with others we also are at a great loss.


Pastor Bob asked the question—which prodigal am you? Are you the one who has squandered all but came running back to the Father for forgiveness? Or are you the prodigal who is counting  on good works to give me a rightful place at the Banquet Table? Can I forgive and rejoice when the lost has been found? Or have I lost my focus in comparing my goodness to the repentant sinner's obvious sins? 


To say the least, the message gave room for soul searching.


God bless you