Monday, January 27, 2014

Is God good when life isn't? Part 1

When the cancer is in remission, we say, “God is good.” When the pay raise comes, we announce “God is good.” When the university admits us or the final score favors our team, “God is good.” Would we, and do we, say the same under different circumstances? In the cemetery, as well as the nursery? In the unemployment line, as well as the grocery line? In days of recession as much as in days of provision?
 Is God always good? 
    For Brian and Christyn Taylor, the question is more than academic. During this last year their seven-year-old daughter was hospitalized for more than six months with six surgeries for a disease of the pancreas, Brian’s job was discontinued, several family members died and another was diagnosed with brain cancer, and Christyn was pregnant with child number four. Life was tough. She blogged: 
     Multiple hospital stays with my daughter were exhausting, but I held faith. Losing Brian’s family members one by one until there was only one left, who was then diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer, was incomprehensible, but I still held faith. Being hospitalized seven-and-a-half weeks with a placental abruption was terrifying, but I held faith. I held to the faith that God works for my good, and though I did not necessarily understand the trials, I trusted God’s bigger, unseen plan.
     God and I had a deal- I would endure the trials that came my way as long as he acknowledged
 my stopping point.  He knew where my line had been drawn, and I knew in my
heart he would never cross it. He did.
     I delivered a stillborn baby girl. With my daughter Rebecca still at home on a feeding tube and her future health completely unknown, it was a foregone conclusion that this baby we so wanted and loved would be saved. She wasn't. My line in the sand was crossed.
My one-way deal with God was shattered. 
     Everything changed in that moment. Fear set in, and my faith began to crumble. My “safety zone” with God was no longer safe. If this could happen in the midst of our greatest struggles, then anything was fair game. For the first time in my life, anxiety began to overwhelm me.
We can relate. Most, if not all of us, have a contractual agreement with God. The fact that he hasn't signed it doesn't keep us from believing it. 
I pledge to be a good, decent person, and in return God will…
save my child
heal my wife
protect my job
(fill in the blank)__________
only fair, right? Yet when God fails to meet our bottom-line expectations, we are left spinning in a tornado of questions. Is he good at all? Is God angry at me? Stumped? Overworked? Is his power limited? His authority restricted? Did the devil outwit him? When life isn't good, what are we to think about our God? Where is he in all this? He's there!... I'll answer this in detail in part 2.
Excerpt from Max Lucado's Book "You'll get through this"

Saturday, January 25, 2014

God's Faithfulness

This is from a blog I follow:
It fit me so perfect, that I thought I'd re-post it.This is just a raw journal entry from today. Because not everyday is perfect.
Jan 14th, 2014

How can I be so foolish as to not fill my life with the Words of God? How can I afford not to be memorizing and meditating on God's Word daily?
There is no victory to the unfed, malnourished warrior.
These past few days as I have been struggling, I have asked God why it is so hard to follow Him. Why when He proclaimed "my yoke is easy and my burden is light?"
God as a loving Father sets a late of rich food before us-- His Word, His very presence.But instead of being still, of feeding on the food He has provided, I foolishly hop up and run out into the battle very near starvation. And I wonder why I fail.
It's be strong in the Lord and int the power of His might.
Not mine.
And yet I push and push in my own strength until I collapse, too weak to move on.
I begin to wonder where He's been. I am frustrated with myself for failing again. And in one black moment I believe that victory in the Christian life doesn't exists.
He approaches me so tenderly. Tears fill His eyes as He sees His beloved weak and beaten in a state of delirium.
And He draws me back to His side.
He forgives me.
He loves me.
He feeds me.

And today I choose to thank God for what I most detest in life--failure. Because failing always ends up bringing me back to Jesus' side.
Oh Abba, how prone to wander, prone to fail I am. Teach me to feed on Your Word and dwell in Your presence! I praise You for being so faithful to me and always--ALWAYS drawing me back to Yourself. Your mercies are renewed EVERY morning. Great is Your faithfulness. Selah.
        Come, thou Fount of every blessing, 
 tune my heart to sing thy grace; 
 streams of mercy, never ceasing, 
 call for songs of loudest praise. 
 Teach me some melodious sonnet, 
 sung by flaming tongues above. 
 Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it, 
 mount of thy redeeming love. 

2. Here I raise mine Ebenezer; 
 hither by thy help I'm come; 
 and I hope, by thy good pleasure, 
 safely to arrive at home. 
 Jesus sought me when a stranger, 
 wandering from the fold of God; 
 he, to rescue me from danger, 
 interposed his precious blood. 

3. O to grace how great a debtor 
 daily I'm constrained to be! 
 Let thy goodness, like a fetter, 
 bind my wandering heart to thee. 
 Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, 
 prone to leave the God I love; 
 here's my heart, O take and seal it, 
 seal it for thy courts above. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Trusting God & Waiting on His timing

This past week, I've been learning a lot about trusting God. I have the opportunity to go to Russia with a homeschooling family that I know. Because they leave in March, I have to get my first passport... So, I sent it in, and expedited the shipping. I got worried, that the passport wouldn't get here in time to get the Visa for Russia. I'm still worried! In fact, I was so worried, that my mom had to constantly tell me, "if it's God's will that you go, then He will make it happen! Don't worry about it! You've done all that you can do, it's in God hands now." What a great reminder! I was so worried that "I" did something wrong and that
"I" didn't do it soon enough, when really, it doesn't matter... it's in God's hands.
I've been really trusting God in this matter. Have you ever had that happen in your life? You feel like you've done all that you can do, and now you just have to... WAIT. :)
Waiting... waiting... and waiting...
Can't say that I like it. Time moves like an Alaskan glacier. The clock ticks every five minutes, not every second. Someone pressed the pause button. Life in slo-mo. We don't like to wait. We are the giddyup generation. We weave through traffic, looking for the faster lane. We frown at the person who takes eleven items into the ten-item express checkout. We drum our fingers while the song downloads
or the microwave heats our coffee/tea.
Waiting on God to give, help, heal, waiting on God to come. We indwell the land betwixt prayer offered and prayer answered. The land of waiting.
Are you in God's waiting room? If so, here is what you need to know: while you wait, God works. (John 5:17) He's working for you as well. "Be still, and know that I am God" reads the sign on God's waiting room wall. You can be glad because God is good. You can be still because he is active. You can rest because he is busy. To wait, biblically speaking, is not to assume the worst, worry, fret, make demands, or take control. Nor is waiting inactivity. Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief. To wait is to "rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;... not fret."
(Psalm 37:7)
Waiting is easier read than done. It doesn't come easily for me. I've been in a hurry my whole life. Keep waiting! "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
Fresh strength. Renewed vigor. Lets that don't grow weary. Delight yourself in God, and he will bring rest to your soul. :)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tearing Down Strongholds

This past week I judged in a Speech and Debate Tournament. One of the debates that I judged was called, "persuasive". In this debate, the young lady that I judged, was supposed to persuade me to believe her, on whatever they talked about... which this particular one was about Strongholds.
 In the Bible you see that Christ is our Ultimate Stronghold! During the hard times, bad times, good times, and best times! We also see another type of Stronghold in the Bible....
it's strongholds or "walls" as we call it that we put up... we put a wall up when we've been hurt, abused, rejected, alone, broken, lost... etc... the list can go on.
So, what do we do and how do we tear down the walls that we build up? Satan's favorite job, is to make us remember all our hurts and failure's... which cause's us to build up our walls... they can become so high sometimes, that we refuse to forgive someone, or get close to someone. So, we can choose to give it to God... Because God is our stronghold, only He can tear down the strongholds within us. Let it go. Lay it down at the foot of the cross, and let Him tear down the stronghold!
I thought these verses were very helpful that talked about strongholds and walking in the flesh.
In what ways has God helped you to tear down strongholds?

"For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ."
~2nd Corinthians 10:3-5~

"For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds."
~2nd Corinthians 10:4~

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
~1st Corinthians 10:13~

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Modesty: Why I wear Skirts

I've been asked this question a lot!: Why do you wear skirts all the time?
Before I answer that, I do want to point out, that this is my own personal conviction.
This is from:
It’s not all that often that I get questioned “why do you wear skirts all the time?” but in private settings (emails) I get asked that question quite a bit so I know its definitely on some of your minds. I’m going to try to answer this question today and the reasons for my answer may surprise some of you.
I started wearing skirts/dresses when I was 9 years old. Besides a week when I was 12 where we tried going back to pants, I've pretty much been in a skirt or dress since then. I wear pants maybe 2-3 times a year for various activities. (sledding, shoveling, playing sports, jogging)
Why I wear skirts all the time….
1. Because they are feminine and easily portray the fact that I am a woman.
This is honestly my strongest argument as to why I wear skirts. In today’s culture people seem to be extremely confused as to which gender they are (or at least many act and look confused). Homosexuality is rampant, as well as more disgusting forms of gender confusion. There are people near and dear to my heart that have chosen the homosexual lifestyle. This has made me even more determined to dress as a woman (for that is what God made me), to portray to my children that I am a female and I’m blessed to be one. Men and women properly functioning in their God given roles is one of the best defenses against the relational perversions we find in our present day...
2. Because they are easy to be modest in.
I’m not going to say that it is impossible to be modest in pants. My sister and I were out together recently, and saw an elderly lady walking to her car in pants and we commented that they were actually pretty modest. But that is because they were loose and not fitting her snugly at all.  I honestly would rather wear a skirt that is cute and pretty than wear loose, baggy pants. Most of the pants/jeans I see on ladies fit them rather snugly, and draw a lot of attention to their backside. Every curve is outlined for everyone to see.
3. Because they are comfortable 
The few times I wear pants I’m reminded of why I enjoy wearing skirts. They don’t cling to you, they are airy and cool instead of sticky and tight when it is hot out (if you don’t have a polyester slip underneath!). I find that I can do most things without pants on. Since I grew up this way it’s just natural to me.
You may notice that I don’t have the usual Deut. 22:5 verse mentioned as a reason why I wear skirts all the time. If read at face value it most certainly seems to point to the fact that women should wear dresses/skirts all the time. However I’m just not convinced that we can use that scripture as our defense. When that scripture was written, men and women alike wore robes. I think this scripture can be clearly used in regards to cross dressing, but as for the jeans vs skirt debate, I’m just not convinced. I also find it interesting that we are quick to pull this scripture out of Deuteronomy and cling to it as the reason we wear skirts, but there are countless other scriptures found in Deut. that we don’t observe.
I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from dressing in skirts by bringing this up, and I also don’t want to appear that I’m condoning women wearing jeans. I obviously prefer women to wear skirts, but I also have friends in my life who do not wear skirts all the time and I love them deeply. I’m passionate about modesty, so much so that I started a business selling modest clothes so ladies could have more options. What I’m not passionate about is the legalism and the judgmental attitudes that sometimes accompany ladies that wear dresses only. As if the faithful daughters of Christ would wear nothing else? I’m sorry, I simply cannot agree with that. However, no child of his who has knowledge will permit themselves to don the provocative or sensual or gender confused dress of those who know not God. As in all other things, we must must honor our King even by the clothes we wear. 
All this being said, if you have never tried wearing skirts everyday around the house-give it a try for a day or two! You might be surprised with how your family responds. 
I love femininity. I love modesty. I also love my fellow sisters in Christ. I might try to encourage you to wear skirts more, but I won’t throw you over board if you decide against it. ;)