13 July 2012

Walking with Jesus

Some thoughts before bed...

I find that running is a wonderful picture of our lives as Believers, and tonight as I was getting a little exercise in on the treadmill some thoughts came to me that I wanted to write down and share.

Running is not easy. I love dreaming about being a great runner. Preparing for marathons (more like making my "plan" of how to prepare for a marathon), winning races, having that outer and inner strength that it takes to run with endurance even when the body is screaming for us to stop. O how beautiful and inspiring it all is as I sit and imagine about it all. And that is usually how I set out...I make my plans, dream my dreams, and then finally I go for a run. And do you know what?! That is when I realize how hard running is...and how my body really is screaming "NO!" At this point in time is when I usually want to quit (after looking at my watch and finding out to my dismay that only two minutes has passed!!!). I almost wish I had someone pulling me along or pushing me onward.

This is also a very true picture of what it is like to walk with the Lord. I love making Bible reading plans, setting down goals for Bible memorization and prayer time, envisioning great spiritual victories, anticipating sweet intimacy with the Lord, and overcoming the sin in my life. Then I finally set out on my spiritual journey, and I am all excited as I go along. The Lord seems nearer than ever before, His word seems alive in my heart, sin seems to have vanished, and all goes well for a time. But than 1 minute passes by, 2 minutes tick on, and 3...And my spiritual muscles start to ache, my soul starts to hurt, and suddenly I just want to quit. I don't see the results I wanted, my dreams fade from view, and all I have left is the dusty path I am running, my aching soul, and my longing for what I had anticipated.

It is in these moments that I do not feel God's presence, but I trust His promise. Jesus said He would never leave us nor forsake us, and so I know He is with me in this time. Walking with the Lord is not a short and quick sprint, but it is living life with Him day by day and step by step. Soon we realize that our little legs aren't strong enough and so we start drawing upon the hand that holds our little hand in His own. We pull on the Lord to find strength...little do we realize that we may think we are finding strength in pulling His hand when really we are gliding along because His hand is pulling us forward.

Jesus loves us! O think about that!! Jesus loves me!! And as I walk heavenward He is holding my hand in His own. I trust Him to lead me where it is best...I trust Him to strengthen me and carry me...I trust that He will never leave me. Yes Jesus is holding me and I will not fear!

Well, these are my rambling thoughts for the night! Be encouraged by Jesus' great, unfailing LOVE for YOU TONIGHT!!!

22 May 2012

Show Me Your Glory

 One day Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Take these people up to the Promised Land.’ But you haven’t told me whom you will send with me.
You have told me, ‘I know you by name, and I look favorably on you.’  If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.”
 The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.”
 Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place.  How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”
The Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.”
Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.”
The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.
But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.”

Exodus 33:12-23

     Yesterday after I got off work, I was enjoying some quiet moments crocheting and listening to some messages by Loui Giglio (I definitely recommend that you check him out on youtube!!). One message that I listened to yesterday was on WORSHIP. Within the message Loui used Moses as an example and used the verses from the passage above to make a very important and vital point.

     So before I continue on please take a moment and read (or reread) the verses from Exodus because they are so jammed packed with treasure and nuggets of gold.

     So the scene is set....Moses is meeting with God. That is enough to blow me away! But to give you a clearer idea of what is going on, I will back up for just a moment. In Exodus 32 a terrible thing has happened in Israel...Moses has been up on the mountain for forty days and nights, receiving from the Lord all the commands and laws that the Israelites are to live by. God has made the covenant with Moses that the people of Israel are His chosen and special people...He will be with them and take them into the promised land and bless them as long as they follow His laws and regulations with joy.
All the while this is happening, the people of Israel have assumed that Moses' is dead and they have decided to make themselves a gold calf to worship. They have turned away from the Living God and made an image that they can wrap their minds around and bow down to.
     God is not pleased with His people because of their faithlessness. So in chapter 33 He tells Moses to get going and lead the people of Israel into the promised land, but He Himself would not go with them. So now Moses is before God, asking Him to go with them...but He does not stop there.

     Moses dares to do what few of us would ever imagine. He is not satisfied with just the thought of God's presence going with them....He is not satisfied just knowing that God's favor is upon Him...Moses is not just satisfied because God told Him that he would have rest and be fine. No Moses wanted something more...something so much better and deeper and real. Moses wanted to see God's glory. He wanted to know this God who had promised to go with them into the promised land.

     And God did in part what Moses asked. He had all of His goodness pass before Moses as He hid him away in the cleft of the rock and than allowed Him to see his back. The Lord proclaimed His name that He is a God who shows mercy on those He wants to show mercy and compassion on those He wants to show compassion. And Moses was changed. His face was glowing! And the people saw it when He came back to the camp. They knew that Moses had met with God.

     But Moses' request was only partially answered...but years later in the town of Bethlehem a baby was born. And the angels shouted, "GLORY! Glory to God in the highest!! And on earth, peace to men on whom His favor rests." And that night born in a stable was the very Son of God who is the glory of God.

     Colossians 1:15 says: "Christ is the visible image of the invisible God..." Hebrews 1:3 also says: "The Son radiates God's own glory and expresses the very character of God ..."

     God's glory has come! Jesus Christ came to earth and has revealed the invisible, awesome God to us humans. How incredible is this truth!!!! Moses asked to God's glory, and He received his request in part only because the time had not come yet for Jesus Christ to be revealed.

     So now let me come in on this truth from my perspective. I read the story of Moses and I just long for such faith...for such a passion and commitment to God in my own life. I long to ask God to show me His glory, but often times I just know that He won't say yes yet because I still have so many things in my life that need to be fixed. I really don't want to be disappointed because I know that if I ask God to show me His glory that nothing miraculous will happen. I won't see flashes of light or see God's face or hear His voice. So I don't ask because I don't want to experience that let down nor do I think I am worthy to experience it. These are the conclusions my mind comes to all too often.

     But yesterday as I was listening to the message, something clicked in my mind...something I always tell others but find so hard to grasp myself. And that is this: God is not hiding His glory from me until I arrive at some pinnacle in my life where I have reached Moses like perfection. NOOOOOO!!! God has given me His glory in the person of Jesus. O I cannot even write the words that I long to express because this truth is so deep and we need to get this because our lives as Christians will not be what they are supposed to be until we do.

     Jesus Christ---the very Son of God, King of kings, Prince of Peace, Lord of lords, Creator and Sustainer or the universe, Word of Life, Eternal God, Majestic Lord, Mighty Savior---came to earth to DIE. Why? Because we were going to die. We broke God's law and the punishment was death...not just physical death but spiritual death and eternal separation from the goodness and love of God. All we would have know was God's wrath and that was our fate because of our sin. But Jesus came to take our place. Jesus came to take our punishment. Jesus came to give us His righteousness so that we could know God and not experience His Father's wrath. Jesus Christ died in our place and took our punishment and gave us new life. Jesus Christ was buried and on the third day He arose!!! Jesus Christ is no longer dead...He is ALIVE!!! And He stands at the Father's right hand interceding for us. When Satan accuses us, Jesus speaks up for us because He took our place and now we can be with Him forever when we die.

And now in this life we can see the glory of God in Jesus Christ. And it is miraculous!!!! God has completely transformed our hearts and as we look into the Word of God we are changed because we are looking into the glory of God because Jesus is the Word of God and we have His Word in our hands.

So today, ask God to show you His glory...and then set your face on Jesus. Look at Jesus, fix your eyes on Jesus, and let the things of this world fade away. Set your face like flint on seeking the Lord. Do not be satisfied with God's blessing and presence in your life. Go for more...KNOW GOD!!! Ask to see His glory, and He will not disappoint you. As you gaze at Jesus, you will be transformed. And this watching world will see that something is different about you. They cannot see Jesus, but they can see you and they will be wondering what in the world you are looking at as you gaze at Jesus. And then you will be able to say, "I am looking at my mighty, awesome Savior!"

18 May 2012

Rekindling Joy

Recently the Lord has been reminding me of lessons that I thought I had already learned...and in His sweet kindness is so gracious and patient to teach me again. As I look over my time in the Coast Guard, I see that in that first year right out of boot camp, the Lord really taught me deep lessons in "JOY". I struggled when I first arrived at my boat (as you can see if you go back and read earlier posts from 2009), but the Lord stayed by my side. Even as I was swamped with my first set of quals that I needed to work on, feeling homesick once again, and not really liking where I was...the Lord showed me that it did not matter what I was doing but what really mattered was who I was doing it for.

he Lord has placed me here on this earth to glorify His name and s everything I do in life is for this ultimate purpose. I learned those early days in the Coast Guard that if I am going to paint a wall then I am going to do it for the Lord and because I am doing it for Him I can do it with a smile and joy. God taught my heart joy amidst circumstances that were far from what I would have wanted them to be.

And now as I come to my last year in the Coast Guard, I believe that the Lord is bringing this lesson back to the forefront. He is reminding me to not just endure my last year in the Coast Guard here in Eastport, but to use it as a way to point to Him by being joyful even when I am studying, washing the boats, standing radio watch, etc.

So here is my game plan so to speak(-:

Rejoice and be filled with thanksgiving!
-When I first wake up in the morning, I am going to spend those first few moments thanking the Lord for the new day before me and praise Him for who He is.
-When I go to work I am going to give thanks to God for the new opportunity to shine the light of the Gospel in a dark place.
-At work I am going to study hard and look for was to learn more and more.
-At work I am going to look for ways to show mercy and kindness and not to gossip and destroy people with my words.
-When I am skyping with my wonderful fiance Fidele, and the Internet connection is terrible and all I wan to do is cry, I will rejoice and thank the Lord that He has blessed me with such a good, wonderful man who is waiting faithfully for me to be His wife and who is giving up sleep and trying to skype with me even though it is not working.
-When I feel lonely and homesick, I will thank the Lord for the wonderful friends He has given me here in Eastport and the wonderful church family I have.

Those are just some starters...I find that once you give yourself to rejoicing that it is hard to find a place to stop. The Lord is so good and kind to us and the things that I can stop and thank Him for are endless. His mercies are new every morning! His faithfulness is beyond my comprehension! He is my glorious strength! And my steadfast peace that calms my raging soul. He is always with me so I will not give in to the struggles and worries that weigh upon my soul. The Almighty God is my refuge so I will not fear, but I will trust in Him.

So today I am learning to rekindle the joy that once was burning and alive in my heart. I thank the Lord that He can relight that fire in me and make it even more alive and bright than before. I pray that the joy of the Lord fills me now and transforms me to be about His work and to glorify His name here in Eastport, Maine.

12 May 2012

Into God's Word

My Hat Projects

Today I was busy working on some crochetting projects I needed to get done. I was making a couple hats for a lady at my church. I thoroughly enjoyed spending the time crochetting while listening to some of John Piper's messages as well as watching a good movie called "No Greater Love" (I highly reccomend it!!). I also took a nice walk around Eastport and enjoyed some good thinking time.

As I have been thinking over the lessons I have been learning the past week (which I wrote about in my last post), I have also been struck with this: I so often long for God's presence with me and sometimes wonder where God is when I am struggling, but really I should examine my own life and see if I enter the Lord's presence. The Lord has not left us alone in this world. We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, teaching and comforting us, and Jesus also promised that He would be with us always before He said goodbye to His disciples. We have God's Word in our hands, but what we need is to have His Word in our hearts, planted deep within our souls so that it can blossom and bloom in our lives.

Moses asked God to show him His glory and the Lord was pleased with Moses' request. God has revealed Himself to us as well and we can see His glory as we gaze into His Word. So I am challenged instead of spending time and energy wondering where God is and asking Him to be with me that really I need to be thanking Him that He is with me. His promises stand true today as they did back when He first gave them. And I need to enter the Lord's presence by sitting at His feet with His Word opened, as I take His Word in my hands and plant them deep in my heart. The Holy Spirit will transform our hearts through the Word so let's start digging deep into the Bible!

10 May 2012

Almost A Year Has Passed!!!

A pic of me and my fiance, Fidele....story to come!
Wow!!!! I can hardly believe that it has almost been a year since I last wrote a post on my blog!!! Time has just flown by even though many days along the way, I never thought the time would pass...especially here in little Eastport, Maine! So much has happened this past year, so it is quite hard to know where to begin now that I am dusting off my laptop keys to write down some thoughts. Maybe the best place to start is right where I am today...

I am sitting at work tonight waiting for 10pm to roll around so we can go and do lock ups for the Coast Guard Station. Lately I have been struggling with a great deal of stress here at work because I am trying to become fully qualified in my job as a boat driver, but a lot of things overwhelm me and then I start worrying that I just will not make it and that I will end up failing. I pray and pray that God will strengthen me and give my heart peace, but sometimes it all seems slow in coming. However the Lord comforted me in a special way the past couple days with two different verses that I read from the Bible.

#1...As I have been praying for peace this past week to fill my heart and calm the raging in my soul, God graciously turned my eyes to Philippians 4:8-9: "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all that you learned and received from me---everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of PEACE will be with you."

And after I read those verses, the thought came to me: This whole week I have been praying that God would just give me peace, but maybe He wants me to give me something more than peace (more than what I perceive peace to be, which is a calmness and stillness of my soul...a quietness within me). The Lord not only wants to give me a quietness in my soul, but He wants to fill the quietness with His presence....He wants to be my quietness/my peace. And so instead of focusing on the lack of peace in my heart and soul I need to be putting into practice all that I have learned and received from God's Word. I need to be thinking the kind of thoughts that Paul talked about...and then I will not just have peace...."Then the God of peace will be with me."

#2...I have also been praying that God would give me strength...strength to accomplish the things here at work and strength to serve Him...and to be honest the more I pray sometimes the weaker I feel. But the Lord also so kindly directed me to Psalm 89 tonight and two verses stuck out to me (16-17): "They rejoice all day long in Your wonderful reputation. They exult in Your righteousness. You are their glorious strength. It pleases You to make them strong."

WOW!! In many ways when I pray for strength, I know that I often think of receiving an increase in my own strength, but that is not God's idea of blessing me. No His plans are much higher and better! He does not want to just give me strength...He wants to be my strength!!!! And not only that He wants to be my GLORIOUS STRENGTH!! From this I really see that God is not a vending machine to ask for something and wait for it to pop out...prepackaged and ready to be consumed. No our God is a consuming fire. He is the Almighty One. The holy and majestic King enthroned in majesty! And He is so kind and merciful to us. I ask for strength, and I am disappointed and upset when He says no. But little do I realize that He says no because He wants to give me something better---HIMSELF!! The Lord wants to be my glorious strength in life.

God does not want to just give His children peace...
He wants to be their peace.
He does not want to just give us strength....
He wants to be our glorious strength.

So these are my thoughts from the past couple days and the lessons that have been tough for me to learn but so wondeful too at the same time. I will keep trying my best to update this blog on all the happenings of my life over the past year little by little....and keep it updated on my life right now as I serve the Lord in Eastport, Maine.

To God be the glory in my life today and tomorrow and forever!

30 June 2011

God's Promises


Eastport, Maine
June 29, 2011

 Once again it is time for the sun to set over the horizon, but since the fog has already settled over Eastport it is impossible to catch a glimpse of the sun’s golden rays. The frogs are happily singing now as I sit in my little motel room, thinking back over my day. A quiet peace has stilled my heart; a peace that only comes from God.

I spent my evening walking out by the water on the rocks, thinking about so many different things. Sometimes I feel like a fog rolls over my soul just like the fog that settled over the rocky cove; a fog that does not hide the beauty of the sun’s rays but the beauty of God’s promises. But just because I cannot see and feel God’s promises does not mean they do not strengthen me and attend me each moment as I journey heavenward. So as I sat on one of the giant rocks looking out over the bay, God reminded me once again of His great and precious promises: I AM WITH YOU, MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, MY COMPASSIONS ARE NEW EVERY MORNING, I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU, I HAVE HIDDEN YOU UNDER MY WINGS, I AM YOUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH, MY NAME IS A STRONG TOWER, I AM YOUR SAVIOR, I AM YOUR REDEEMER, MY LOVE IS BETTER THAN LIFE, I WILL NOT LET YOU FALL, I WILL DIRECT YOUR PATH, I WILL FILL YOU WITH JOY, I AM ALL THAT YOU NEED……….

And as I sat there out upon the rocks thinking upon God’s promises my heart was renewed and it was like I was given new strength. The Lord is faithful and I praise Him for I can not stand a moment apart from His grace. He fills my heart with joy and makes my soul sing with glad songs…songs of praise to my God! So I think and dwell and meditate upon the promises of God for they give me strength and joy to press on hard after Jesus. I am sustained by God’s grace, and each moment becomes more sweet than the next because each moment Jesus is with me as I walk this narrow path.

So I am here in Eastport, Maine now in a new place that is filled with new people and challenges and adventures. I face all of these things in the strength that God supplies and I face them as I stand firm in the promises God has given through His Word. I am here to honor and glorify my Lord and Savior and that is what I will do by God’s grace. May I be spent, may I be broken, may I be completely used up for the glory of my Lord who I love with all my heart! Jesus is my treasure!!! He is my joy!!! He is my life!!!

29 June 2011

Eastport, Maine

June 29, 2011

I began a new chapter in my life today as I waved goodbye to my family and turned to face my new life in Eastport, Maine. I am confident that it is God who has placed me here as His light in this small fishing community. The town itself is pretty small as it only takes about five minutes to walk from one end to the other. As I write, I am sitting in my small motel room, enjoying a quiet day. The temperatures a slightly colder here, seeing as how I am wearing my winter coat right now in the middle of June!!! I am excited about the new life I have ahead of me for the next two years. I do not know what God has in store, but I commit everything to Him that He may receive all the honor and glory.

I know that God will be teaching me many lessons here, stretching me in my faith, challenging me in my dependence on Him, and preparing me for the work and ministry He has in store for me in the future. This is my ministry now, but I know that God will use this experience to prepare me for new challenges that lay ahead. He will teach me deeper lessons in trust, surrender, humility, patience, and so much more. I know that what He has in store will exceed my wildest imagination, and so I step forth in His strength, ready to take on this new challenge.

I will be reporting into my new duty station on July 1 and also moving into my new and first apartment. I am excited and nervous, but most of all sure and confident that God is with me, leading me forth. I am His sheep and He is my shepherd. He leads me and I follow. And my soul cries out for a deeper walk with Jesus, a deeper love for my Savior, a deeper trust in the Almighty One as I follow Him and learn to trust Him more and more. I am nothing, but Jesus is my all and He sustains me by His grace. I do not walk on from here alone, but with the Shepherd of my soul leading me forth down this path that leads HOME.

Destroying Our Idols

God's Will or Your Own?



Written for my family as they move to Cameroon, Africa to share Jesus love with the people there.

Rejoicing in all God has done.
In your lives, I see Him displayed
As your greatest treasure of all;
Your mission: to proclaim His name.

Fix Your eyes on Christ…Run hard to the goal.
Consider the work He has done, He has saved your souls!

Press on, HOPE IN GOD…IN HIS HANDS you are safe. UNDER HIS WINGS…you are held---
you are HELD BY GRACE.
Take up your cross, follow Christ, let His praises resound.
as you journey HOMEWARD BOUND.

Cheering you on as you go
As you make much of Jesus today,
Considering all else as loss
Compared to the Savior’s name.

Fight the battle of faith…stand firm in Christ.
Trust Him with all of your heart, give Him your life.

Press on, HOPE IN GOD…IN HIS HANDS you are safe. UNDER HIS WINGS…you are held---
you are HELD BY GRACE.
Take up your cross, follow Christ, let His praises resound.
as you journey HOMEWARD BOUND.

Praying for you in my heart.
May God’s sustaining grace push you on
To follow Christ outside of the camp,
Calling the nations to join the song!

Jesus is mighty to save
For while yet sinners He died in our place.
Shout---shout His praise For He has given us grace!

Press on, HOPE IN GOD…IN HIS HANDS you are safe. UNDER HIS WINGS…you are held---
Take up your cross, follow Christ, let His praises resound.
as you journey HOMEWARD BOUND.

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