Progress

I was sitting here thinking of the mountain of boxes that I have to unpack, now that we have moved into our new apartment.

Then I noticed the pile of empty boxes by the door. I have a lot left to unpack, but I have already made progress. When I start feeling overwhelmed I can look at the stack of boxes by the door & see how far I have come.

One box at a time is how it will get done.

The same is true for other areas of life.

When we are discouraged about how far we have to go in life or overwhelmed by what has to be done. Look at how far you’ve come & take it one step at a time.

Nothing Separates

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38‭-‬39 NIV

https://bible.com/bible/111/rom.8.38-39.NIV

There is nothing you could do to make God love you less or turn His back on you. You are not too far gone. There is nothing He won’t forgive. Me and you are the reason He came and died and then rose again. So that we could be reconciled to Him and be part of His family. He loves you unconditionally! There is nothing that could make Him love you less than He already does.

God’s Will

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Matthew 26:39 NIV

https://bible.com/bible/111/mat.26.39.NIV

There are 2 things that struck me about this verse.

The first thing is that Jesus was willing to do whatever God’s will was no matter what. . If you read the whole story, you’ll notice He prayed this prayer 3 times.

Then I asked myself if I was willing to do that. Am I willing to do what God wants me to do no matter what? I would hope that the answer is yes. If I’m being honest though, there are times when I’ve been so scared to do what He is asking of me & I didn’t rely on Him, so I gave up & didn’t do it.

Much like Peter denying Jesus 3 times (Matthew 26:69-75).

Peter was forgiven and so was I. But I still think things like, do I have what it takes or will that happen again.

Well, considering that I still make mistakes, I’m sure there will be a time when I make another mistake. Mistakes happen more often than I’d like to admit.

The second thing I noticed is that He still asked God to take away the situation.

It’s okay to ask God to take away the situation. His answer may be no, but we can still ask.

We may need to go through the situation for some reason.

Jesus had to go through the situation in order to save the world & He did it because He loves us.

For us it may be a lesson to help us grow or it may help someone else in some way.

But we can still ask God.

Sold Out

What does it mean to be sold out to Christ?

I had a thought today. A comparison really.

Think back with me here. Remember what it was like to be a teenager and have that person or thing you were crazy about.

For me it was New Kids on the Block. Some may have to Google who they are. I remember begging mom to take me to concerts (I went to 2). I was always asking for merchandise (I had plenty). I wallpapered my room with posters. I had tshirts. I had all their music. I read books about them. I watched videos over and over. I even dressed up as one of them for Halloween one year.

I wanted to know everything about them. I wanted to meet them. I never did meet them though.

But if we take that same mentality and put it towards loving the Lord.

I’m not saying we need to have posters of Jesus or statues or other such merchandise.

My main thought here is that if I put myself in an environment where Jesus is what I’m seeking, then I will be more like Him.

If I read/study my Bible over and over so that I know more about Him and what He is like. If I listen to messages about Jesus. If I go to church and spend time with others of the same mentality. If I listen to music that is about and for Him.

Make life about Him. The more I do that, then I will become more like Him.

I know I have a long way to go to be like Christ. But God is still working on me and He doesn’t give up.

What is your life centered around? Just something to think about.

Known

The song “Known” by Tauren Wells was introduced to me a few weeks ago, when my pastors daughter, Sophie, sang it in church. She did such a beautiful rendition that I wish I had her version to share with you. But I do like both versions.

This song is now a new favorite and has been on my heart since that day. This song talks about what it’s like to be fully known and loved by God.

Hard truth equals the stuff that God tells us that may be hard to hear, but He loves us so much and He wants to see us grow.

Ridiculous grace is that he loves us and is always giving us opportunities to get up and start over. He loves us no matter what we do. Nothing can cancel His love for us.

I am aware of how inadequate I am in my relationship with Him, yet He loves me anyway and wants to show me how. He works with me and never gives up.

The song calls His love bulletproof. Nothing can separate us from Him. Not even death. In fact death ushers us into His immediate presence.

Blessed in the Storm

Well, I think it’s time to share an event that happened almost 2 weeks ago.

I came home after work on July 11th. Waded through the down pour to get to my front door. Only to find that someone had kicked in the front door. I decided to go in. Mostly because I needed the bathroom & I didn’t want to stand in the rain.

No one was in the apartment. I thank God for that.

I will stop right there & say that it was a blessing that I didn’t show up earlier. I usually don’t hang out at the office after clocking out. I usually just head out the door. But that day I stood around and talked to a couple of coworkers for at least 15-20 minutes. I believe that was God keeping me safe.

It seemed like it happened later in the day. Maintenance also said they were working on the apartments facing ours all day until 4pm and didn’t see anything. So it had to have happened around the time I would have gotten home.

Now back to the event. I took an assessment. There was a mess in the living room. I noticed my husband’s laptop was gone. I continued. The safe & cash box were open in the closet & rifled through. I noticed the cash we had set back for vacation had been taken. In the bedroom I also noticed my laptop was gone & some drawers & bags had been gone through.

My heart sank. Because it was going to be hard to replace what was lost. As well as my laptop had some of my writing on it.

I was also kind of scared for if they came back. I texted my husband to call & come home. He had a chiropractor appointment. I couldn’t get a hold of him. I called the police. They said they would be there as soon as possible, but due to the weather there were a lot of emergencies going on. I later found out that a grocery store was on fire not to far away, among other events.

So I waited. My husband finally called me back & let me know he was on the way home. He called his dad. His dad came over and sat with me until after my husband got home, so that I would feel safe.

The apartment maintenance came and secured the door for the night.

My husband and I waited for about 8 hours for the police to get there. I fell asleep after awhile during the wait.

They took our statement & list of what was taken.

Then we went back to bed. We were a bit shaken up, but God allowed me to get rest.

My husband took the next day off to take care of getting everything done that needed to get done.

After work the next day we sat down & realized they also took the Wii U, all the controllers we had for it, & a game. So we called the police back. They came out relatively quickly this time & took down our added items.

All the officers that came to the apartment were extremely nice & helpful. May God bless them.

That Friday after work, I was a little nervous coming home. I would be there a couple of hours by myself. I wasn’t sure what I would find when I got there. God reminded me He was the one walking me to the door. I felt better. All was good when I got home.

We were supposed to leave on vacation the next morning & we didn’t know whether we could afford to go or not now.

God blessed us immensely though. Found out my husband had taken some of the cash that we had set back for some reason, so they didn’t get all of it. A couple of different family members blessed us with some money for our trip. Thank you very much to those family members. You know who you are.

We still left on vacation in faith. God took care of us & provided for our rest & relaxation.

We enjoyed our week long vacation to Oklahoma to visit family and friends.

Spent time together celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary & made it home safely.

We may have been robbed, but God is restoring us. He has/is taking care of us every step of the way.

Writing my blog may be interesting without my laptop until I can get a new one. But I’m improvising for now. I still have my phone.

Eye of the Storm by Ryan Stevenson really speaks to my situation.

The Cure: A Review

the cure

It is a great privilege to write a review on this book.  My pastor’s wife & my friend has written a book, which I am so excited about. The Cure For Everything You Crave by Ashli Van Horn.

I was able to take part in a focus group & read it before it was published.  Now it is published & I have just finished reading it for the second time.  WOW!  This book is worth every minute I spent reading it.

As she puts it, “The Cure is a simple truth I’ve been saying for years.”  It is simple yet so profound.

I recommend this for any craving or addiction you may have.  It’s not just about drugs & alcohol.  It is about any addiction/craving you may have & anything that comes between you and God.  It will open your eyes to seeing things in a different way than you have thought about them before.  God has opened my eyes to a new way of seeing God & my cravings.

There are so many things we can become addicted to in this world.  It is easy to get hooked on something.  This book will teach you how to handle those cravings.  God is using the principles in this book to teach me how to deal with my cravings.

I am so grateful for God’s work in my life & for Ashli allowing God to use her.

This book is for sale on Amazon or Ashlivanhorn.com.

On her website, she also has a video blog, which is amazing.  Go check it out.

I am not being paid to write this.  I am just genuinely excited about this book, excited for my friend, & want to share it with you.

Ocean

beach clouds cloudy coast
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Have you ever stood on the beach & looked at the ocean?  Did it leave you in awe?

I have.  It reminds me of how big God is.  It reminds me of how much He loves me.  It reminds me of what an amazing creator He is.

Being on a boat on the water is also amazing.  I haven’t been on a cruise yet, I want to though.  I can imagine being in the middle of the ocean.  No land in sight.  It sounds amazing.

One other thing I notice, is that listening to the ocean is quite loud.  It is peacful though.  To me, it is the ocean giving praise to God.  It’s beautiful.

I haven’t been to the ocean in a few years.  I’ve only been 3-4 times in my life, but I have enjoyed it every time.

Simplicity

Simplicity is a topic I’ve been reading & hearing a lot about recently.  I have also been giving a lot of thought to simplifying my life.

I can get overwhelmed so easily with all the perceived responsibilities/commitments that I have.  Some are actual commitments that are necessary to keep.  Others are only things that I have perceived to be responsibilities or things I think that I have to do.

Things that are actual commitments that I must attend to & I want to attend to include my relationship with God, my relationship with my husband, what I have volunteered to do at church, my job, my relationships with my family.  These are all relationships that are important.

Things that are just perceived as commitments include Facebook, games that I play, Pinterest, hobbies, tv, books.  These are all things that set themselves up to look like commitments.

Somehow these things have become reversed.  For example, when I feel that I have to watch that tv show or check Facebook instead of spending quiet time with God or talking to someone.  Technology is such a temptation.  My phone is there.  I always think I have to check it on a regular basis or I might get behind on notifications.  I have to play my games on a daily basis or my friends might think I don’t want to play the game anymore.

The phone is handy.  Technology is helpful.  But when it starts taking the place of my relationships, it becomes another thing entirely.

It is so easy for me to hide behind a computer/phone.  I’m an introvert by nature.  I draw energy from being alone.  I often don’t always know what to say in social situations.  Being in a crowd drains me due to so much going on.  I know my fellow introverts understand.

However, there are relationships that I have that have suffered, because I don’t take time for them.

Something I’m working on is not worrying about how much I’m spending on things & work on how much time I’m spending with the people I care about.  I know that will take time & it may not always appear that way to others, but God is working in me to be a better person.

 

Philippians 2:13  for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Philippians 1:6  being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

I also need to work on changing my thoughts towards all my perceived responsibilities.  Those things are NOT things that I have to check on a daily basis, if I don’t want to.  It’s just a routine that I have started.  I need to start a new routine where I don’t do all of these things as often, which could leave more time for what’s important.

Romans 12:2  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you wil be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

It also will decrease my feelings of being overwhelmed.  I can only do one thing at a time.  So some things may just end up going by the wayside.

It is time for some evaluation of what is part of my life and how much of a part of my life it is.

So the process has begun.

Ambassadors

Imagine with me for a moment.  The king or president of your country has come to see you or has sent for you.  He asks you to go somewhere.  He wants you to be an ambassador for your country.  He wants you to go to another country & speak with them.

So what does it mean to be an ambassador?  You would be there representing your country.  You would be representing your country with everything you did.  Your behavior while in the other country would need to represent the country you are representing.

2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

Heaven is our rightful home & the country/nation that we are from.  We are on this earth as Christ’s Ambassadors.  We are representing Heaven/God in whatever we are doing.  When we sit down, we are from Heaven.  When we stand, we are from Heaven.  When we speak or don’t speak, we are from Heaven.

God has been speaking this to me over the past couple of days.  How am I being an ambassador of Heaven in my daily life?  Wherever I live, work, volunteer, attend church, etc., would people see Christ in me?

He wasn’t asking me to be perfect or trying to condemn me for any specific actions.  It was kind of a revelation to be more aware of my actions & to do what is possible to represent Him in this fallen world, such as whatever He is asking me to do & live by the example of Christ.