Friday, February 29, 2008

The Beauty of the Lord

During praise and worship at our church we sing a song called "The Beauty of the Lord".

"Jesus Your love has come one step closer,

I will trust, You will never let me go

Jesus Your love has won me over,

All my trust has found no other.

I will declare the beauty of the Lord

Nothing compares to the beauty of the Lord

Jesus Your love takes my breath away

Now, I'm living everyday for the beauty of the Lord

Jesus, Your love it takes my breath away."

This is one of my favorite worship songs, although I have to be honest, I love every worship song! When I sing these songs, they are not just songs to me, but prayer from the depths of my heart! The first line of this song, states that the love of Jesus has come "one step" closer. What does that mean? I believe if we are praising Him, we have indeed "come one step closer"!!

Through His word, we know, when we seek Him, we will find Him, when we find Him, He will not release His hold upon us.

Next, we sing that the love of Jesus has won our hearts and our trust is placed in only Him! Read those words again. His love, and His trust, has taken "first place" in our lives!

If we truely absorb the meaning in these words, there can only be but one result; It will take our" breath away", then, We will declare the beauty of the Lord!

To be in His presence, in His grip, and most assuredly in His heart, how can we not see just how incredibly beautiful He is!

I pray that you will recognize His beauty today and His beauty will remain with you always!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

God Speaks

"Hear Me with Your Eyes" and "See Me with Your Ears"!

This is the message that came to me repeatedly for months as I prayed. Initially, I thought it was in reference to all of God's creation, that we see Him through these things. Not that I dispute that in any way, I just think we've come to say it so much, instead of grasping the true essence of the meaning, it has just become cliche'. "We see God in the trees, the sky, and the stars"! And, we do, but, I just knew God was speaking to me to seek the greater depth of His words. I prayed for clarity! "Hear Me with your eyes, see Me with your ears". I prayed for understanding! "Hear Me with your eyes, see Me with your ears". I prayed for God to show me what He meant! Still, the words I would hear remained the same.

As the days turned to weeks and weeks to months, life went on, bringing with it the joys, and the struggles and heartaches of this life, and I just surrendered the "knowing" to God, knowing He would reveal the meaning in His time and not a second sooner. In the meantime I had begun facilitating a study on the prayers of Jesus, and had been praying about the" hearing of His voice", as well as grieving in my heart about the loss of a young man to suicide. I continued to think about this young mans family and how they must be feeling, and asking God to use me to be somehow, a beacon of light to them.

The day of the funeral as I listened to the accounts of family and friends of what could possibly have happened to bring this boy's life to such a traggic end, my heart wrenched in agony for what his final moments must have been like. As I looked around I watched and listened and I could literally feel the heaviness in my heart begin to grow. For this young man to be in so much pain, and to feel he had no one to turn to and to believe he had no other way, still just breaks my heart.

For several days after, I desperately prayed for this family and their loss. It didn't make sense to me and I questioned why such things have to happen. For days upon days I prayed and I heard nothing, then this began to frustrate me as well. I was asking God, "why can't I hear you?" "Won't you answer me, tell me something, anything?'

Two weeks after the funeral and four weeks into learning about the way Jesus prayed, it happened........revealation!!!

I was driving along this driveway to my moms place, which looks something like a park, with lots of trees and wild animals. (By wild I am referring to the sort such as chipmunks or squirrels, not like bears and coyotes!) As I was admiring the prettiness of the snow, untouched on the ground, layered upon the bushes and covering the branches on the trees, something caught my eye! I stopped the car, when I saw the brightest red cardinal sitting up in a tree, who was then accompanied by another. I felt the Holy Spirit well up within me as I watched even more beautifully, bright red cardinals join these initial two. As I looked around, they were everywhere, about fifteen to twenty birds some sitting and some fluttering from tree to tree! I was so excited, even as I yelled out to Libby to "look" , "see them?" I also began to pray, thanking God for such an awsome sight! Still looking into the trees, I noticed the cardinals weren't alone! There were more birds, beautiful birds, black, white, and red! I still don't know for sure the species, but I think maybe they were woodpeckers. My heart was beating so fast and so hard, the way it does when you know the Holy Spirit is speaking to you, and it came back to me;" Hear Me with your eyes"! I cried out, "Oh, Lord give me understanding, I want to hear what You are showing me in this"! I felt the Lord telling me to take in all He had placed before me, to really look at what I was seeing. I was in awe, seeing all these brilliant colors dashing through the stillness of the cold, the dead of winter, where everything appears lifeless. It was as if God had taken Spring and set it right down into the middle of Winter!!!! Right in the middle of what appeared to be desolation, came life, exquisite and stunningly beautiful life!

This all happened so quickly, yet I realized, when a little old man was trying to get into my car, freaking the day lights out of Libby, that I had been blocking the drive. I proceeded on my way, though the Holy Spirit was still speaking to my heart. This vision I had taken in and Gods voice stayed with me the rest of the day and throughout that night. Although I believe this is one of those moments that God will continue to bring me back to, to reveal new things for a very long time, maybe even for the rest of my life. I believe what He was telling me right then was three things. One: Just how incredibly personal our God is. God knows my love of birds, He knew those birds would attract my attention. And, He knew my heart had been troubled. Two: No matter how desolete anything or situation can appear, underneath or inside is life. And God will bring newness and color into even into the darkest of circumstances. We may not understand or even see it happen, but I know God will bring something good out of that traggic situation. Third: God longs to speak to us in many ways, not just when we go to church or during praise and worship, or during our daily prayer or devotion time. God wants to and will speak directly into our hearts, if we will only keep our eyes open to hear Him. I think sometimes we kind of keep God in a box of our limited expectations, believing He will only speak to us as others do, when we are active in conversation. Although, I know God does speak at those times, I know now it's not the only time He speaks. He truely does speak to us in so many ways, He knows our hearts, our hurts, our ways. He knows exactly how to speak to us and when, if we will only keep our eyes open to hear!

Also, I experienced the love of God in a new way that day, in a way that I really don't think I could describe no matter how hard I tried. Since then, I have seen God speaking in several circumstances and situations, through people He has placed in my life, through books I am reading, Not to mention through His word and through prayer. The list of ways He speaks to us is literally endless.

I'm still praying about the second part of His message to me, "See Me with Your Ears", although I think maybe it's similiar to the first part, I'm going to keep an open mind and an open heart, not to mention eyes and ears to however the Lord would choose to reveal. I don't want to ever keep Him in a box of my own limited expectations again!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mirror Image

The tool we use to check the reflection of our outer image is the mirror.

The tool we use to check the reflection of our inner image is God's Word!

How's Your Reflection Looking?

1Corintians 13:12
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face;
now I know in part but then I will know fully just as I have been fully known.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Gods Perfect Rest Awaits Us All

"To be Almost in the perfect will of God is to miss it completely".

Sometimes I think we miss the will of God just due to our own lack of patience. Or, maybe it's more that we really don't believe God's working in our lives, in all areas.

Why do we find it so hard to just rest in Him? Trusting that His word speaks truth, that He does know everything there is to know about us and all that is going on in our lives?
"Control", we hear of this issue right from the very beginning with Adam and Eve. God had been very clear with His instructions to Adam," you shall not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat from it, you will surely die." Yet, Eve later reaches right up into that tree and picks an apple (or whatever fruit is was) and bites into it! How this must have grieved Gods heart! God knew from the beginning His plans for them, His perfect plan! We don't know how the outcome would have played out if Eve had not taken the fruit that day, but God does! He knows the perfect plan He has prepared for each of us.
I can't help but wonder how different many things in my life may have panned out if I would have rested in Gods plan instead of me taking control.
The only way we will ever find it within ourselves to "rest" in Him, is to stay connected to Him. Continually listening for His voice to give us our directions and He will give us direction! He didn't leave Adam and Eve hanging out in the "Garden of Eden", just winging it, trying to figure everything out for themselves. No, He gave them directions. Just as He did then, He still does today, with us. If we would only listen, and trust, and rest in Him. Relinquish control!

I pray you find rest in the Lord today. No matter what may be going on in our lives, our Father knows and cares, and simply waits for us to come to Him to put His perfect plan into action. He does the work and offers us "rest" in all things!
May His peace "rest" upon you, and His love saturate your soul and bring joy to your heart!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hearing the Voice of God

YI just want to share God's faithfulness and how He knows and speaks directly into our hearts.
For the last couple of days my heart has been very troubled about a situation, and this lead me to a place where I was questioning if I had been hearing God's voice correctly! It just didn't seem as if the situation was the way God intended it to be. Yesterday, I continuely sought the Lords heart on whether I was in error, I began to doubt, and as the day progressed this doubt escalated, then I began to get confused, and my heart was even more troubled.
Last night before going to sleep, I got "still", before the Lord, and simply asked if I had heard Him, and were my actions pleasing to His heart?
Then, this morning I received this in an e-mail-

Of course you've heard from Me. Of course you've walked with Me. Of course you've adjusted and made changes according to My Word and according to My ways. But I'm saying and telling you today there is more, there is new, there's greater, there is a furtherance, there is a completeness and there is more victory than ever before." Shine, shining, a light. (tongues) "Yes and it will all fit in just right. It's not up to you to make sure that others turn in special ways but it's up to you to turn yourself up into more of My ways. Adjustments. It's all in the Book, it's all written out. Pre-planned, pre-described." "So hold fast to the call that I've placed within you. Don't quit. Don't give up. Don't give in! But press out. Press in and press over into that which I have called you to."

This is only a portion of the message I received but, it's the most revelatory to the situation, and to reveal that God does hear the cries of His children.

I think we tend to give into the schemes of the evil one without even realizing it. I see now his attempt to discourage me and to keep me bound in something that was just attempting to keep my focus away from God and His plan to use me for His purposes.

My prayer, I ask that any and all who would happen upon reading this blog would be encouraged and their hearts made lighter, knowing our Daddy in heaven does know everything about us including the condition of our hearts. I ask that eyes be opened to the schemes of the evil ones attempts to hold us back. I ask Father, teach us what it is to be in consistant conversation with You and open up the meaning of "hearing You with our eyes and seeing You with our ears". Help us to take You out of our little "boxes of expectation", thinking You only speak in one way, continue to show us all the many ways You choose to speak directly into our hearts. Expand our hearts for more of You, and less of self.
ummmmm........Your love Lord is ever so us to be a clearer reflection of You.
In Jesus Precious Name I ask these things...................Amen

Monday, February 18, 2008

Under every burden, God will slip His hand-

Every gulf of sorrow, His great love has spanned.

Into every heartache, God will pour His balm;

Ease the pain and anguish, bring a blessed calm.

I find it so refreshing yet at the same time, painful when through lifes circumstances, God gives us a glimpse into His heart.

When we are actually able to understand how our actions or even the lack of them sometimes must make Him feel.

Why is it that we have Him and His word so readily available to teach us Godly wisdom at anytime and in every circumstance, but we still choose to learn lessons the hard way? Like the lesson in 1 Samuel when the Israelites demanded a new king and God told them through Samuel of what would come upon them, yet they continued to demand things be their way. Even though they were told what their actions would bring and just how difficult this would make their lives and the lives of future generations, they refused to listen to the words of Samuel. So God gave them what they wanted, King Saul.

They then lived through year after year of disobedient and foolish leadership and warfare.

This is exactly what we do when we make choices to follow our own paths and our own ways instead of seeking the Lord's guidance. Not only do we suffer the consequences of our own choices, we grieve God's heart. I believe it so saddens the heart of God when He has told us He has every answer in every situation, and we don't come to Him. Then we find ourselves in the middle of dispair and turmoil and want God to fix it!

Sometimes I have to wonder if we have changed much at all since the days of Saul the King.

Just my own "thinking out loud"!

My prayer is that all of us would learn from those who have gone before us, and that we seek after Godly wisdom. God promises,"if we ask, He will give", lets take Him at His word, and let our minds be focused on bringing joy into the heart of God with the choices we make.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Closer Walk

The MPact girls went to see Casting Crowns last night at EMU! For Libby, this was her first concert, and she loved it! All the girls had such a great time.
I was moved to tears when I looked around and witnessed not only Libby but many of our girls bowing in prayer and raising their hands in praise! I thought to myself, "this is what it's all about". Leading, leading the next generation to the floor of the throne. Their message was so strong, and right to the heart! I loved that!
I believe we are at a time when we really do just have to quit fooling around with "being Christian". We need to realize, our walk is being viewed by those around us. Yes, we stumble and we fall, we are fleshly. Our Father promises to brush the dirt off as He helps us back up.
But, I believe all of us need to be more mindful of our day to day actions and how we treat those around us. This topic came up in the car on our drive home last night. One of the biggest mission fields placed before us in this life we are given is with our own families. How we treat those closest to us. How we treat our spouses, our children, or our brothers and sisters. If we would take just a few minutes each day asking ourselves, "If this were my last moment with him/her, how would I treat them"? Would I be kinder, gentler or more forgiving? I think we tend to take those we are closest to for granted more easily than those outside of our family circle. But, I believe this is where the true reflection of our walk can be seen. We all put on what looks good to go out among our friends and others in the world. I think all of us need to step back and take a true look at ourselves, and ask ourselves, "what does my true walk look like'?
How can we say in one breath that we love Jesus, and speak in hatred at another in the next?
Let today be a new beginning, by showing the love of Jesus to all and in all we do. Not only will those in our own family be changed but those outside of the family circle will see and be changed also. Let today be the beginning of a closer walk with Jesus.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Thing(s) We Give

Luke6:38-"Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
So many times when I've heard this verse quoted, it's in reference to the giving of money. Not that I think the giving of money is a bad thing, I just think we've taken the depth out of this verse.
When we read this and immediatly think of the giving of money, we take away ourselves, our personal selves. The giving of "us".
I believe this is the depth of this verse. Sometimes I think it's just too easy to give money yet never have a real change in heart about the giving of ourselves. When we give of ourselves it becomes personal, from the heart, from our depths. Whether that means spending time with an elderly person, someone who is ill, or just lonley or not lonley or sick or older! When Jesus hung on that cross He gave Himself, when those nails pierced His hands and feet, He gave Himself.
I believe this is the true essence of this verse in Luke. To pour out Christ like love to others, no matter what circumstances or trials we may find ourselves in. To give of ourselves from the depths of our hearts. How ever deep our realization of God's love for us, we are to pour out to others. When we become faithfully true to this verse, the Lord returns back to us multiplied.
I pray we are all recipients of the multiplied blessings from God.

So wherever you go today, look around, open your eyes and ears to the voice of God and share of yourself.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Geography Night.

We are finally ready for Geography Night!!! It has been over a month of researching, studying, drawing, gluing, stenciling and painting any and everything about India! All but the food is done and ready to go. I think Libby is excited about this, being homeschooled she doesn't get many opportunities to show her work. Of course this is a "family project" and we have all played a part, even dad! Dad has been our map maker and our pillar builder and of course he will get the duty of carrying all of this stuff into the church to set up Monday. For any who might read this and want to come, all are welcome. Passports will be given for your adventure, as you pass from one country exhibit to another you will receive a stamp or sticker. There will be foriegn treats to taste from many countries. It's being held at Christian Fellowship Church @ 6711 Pilliod Rd, Holland, Ohio. If you need directions give me a call. It's real easy to find, out by Spring Meadows.
Hope to see some of you there!

With all this cold outside...I pray you spend time in the warmth of Jesus!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Where's Your Mission Field?

This morning when I got up and let the dogs out I couldn't help but be in awe of just how beautiful the untouched snow looked laying on the ground and on the trees. As I looked out our back door just taking in the scene before me, seeing all that snow out there...and believe me the awe within was not because I am a big fan of the snow! But, I happen to just start looking around at the houses and there was a saddness that came over me. I had this feeling come over me about our old neighborhood. I missed it!
Mind you I have no regrets about our move. I know in my heart we are right where God has called us to be. There's just something different here, something I noticed immediatly after moving in.
You see in our old neighborhood we would all get together out front in the evenings and play games with the kids, talk and just be about each others lives. We always had our eyes out to help each other. Ironically, for each younger family that lived on our street there seemed to be an elderly person to look out for. We had Mary Lou to our left and the Taylor's had Mrs. O'Leary to their right, when they moved and Mike and Jean moved in, they kept an eye on her and Kim and John had the little blind man to their right, just can't remember his name right now! I do remember, he wasn't very nice, but we all helped him anyway. But, we were all connected! That's what's missing here, the connection. It's not due to the lack of trying and I can't say we don't know our neighbors at all. We know their names, we know what they do for a living, how many children they have and what car they drive, and we wave as we pass on the street. But for the most part, that's where it ends.'s not there. Not just with the adults either, it's in the kids too. I remember not long after we moved in standing out front with Libby, sometime in June right after the kids were let out of school for summer vacation. I stood there and just listened and there was almost absolute silence, and it was early in the afternoon. No sounds of children out playing, laughing or even arguing for that matter. Nothing but the sounds of birds in the air and the cars on the road. I found this abnormal somehow, so unlike where we had just moved from. After a year or so of being here I had to ask myself if it was me, was I not doing my part to connect with the families around me?
I had asked the mom across the street to go for a walk with me, I've stopped and spoke to people on my walks or tried to connect with those from the neighborhood that have come to my garage sales and I've gone to theirs, and we've had conversations that I thought were ice breakers and were going to make a difference. Then nothing, I see them again and they wave a hand and continue on with what their doing. At one point I was really beginning to take this personal,thinking maybe I was being stand offish. Although I know there is always room for improvment in ourselves, I don't believe that's it. I've spoke to others who live in similar surroundings. The word...detached...comes to mind. I think thats why this feels so...abnormal to me, and out of place. It's just not the way it's suppose to be. God created us with a need for each other, a need to connect, and not just on the surface. Relational accountability is spoken of in the word of God, it's a part of our being. Without connection there can be no relationship much less relational accountability. We are accountable to each other to keep a balance. I think that describes what I feel about the surroundings in which we live right balance. And it still feels as foreign to me as it did right after we moved in. The thought just accured to me about foreign missions.....this is my mission field! I do have a sense within of being on foreign ground.
Last night in our "Made to Count" group this is exactly what we spoke about, our ministry fields. Where are they and what do they look like? My answer to that is simply..... just look out your door!

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Power in Worship

The presence of the Lord was so powerful yesterday during worship I was brought to tears once again!! Not really anything new with the tears thing for me, it seems everytime I sense His nearness I weep. But yesterday I had a new experience and He has amazed me once again! I am not at liberty to share a name, because I didn't ask her if I could. But, as we were worshipping I sensed I was to pray for my friend, so I did and went back to praising, as my hands were raised I felt a heavyness in my left hand and into my wrist, it was slight at first then became stronger and I felt warmth, my hand felt like it was being pushed toward my friend, so I laid my hands upon her and prayed for her again. After praise and worship she grabbed me, so excited and said she felt the Lords touch when I touched her and it went all the way to her feet! I just know she was set free from a physical condition!

God is so faithful and good!!!!

God uses the praises of His people to bring glory to His name.

Psalm 100
1Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
2Serve the Lord with Gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.
3Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. 5. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.

The Bible teaches us of all Jesus did while He walked upon this earth and He told us we would do" even greater things than these" through the Holy Spirit.

Open our eyes Lord, that we may hear you better!

Be blessed and in His presence.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

My Nickname!!!!!!!!! Tugs!!

Many have asked how I have came upon the nickname “Tugs”, It’s not real exciting but, interesting, at least I found it interesting when I was first told about it.
I am the baby in my family and the only girl, so when my mother was expecting me, she and my dad had only considered names for boys. Then here I am, obviously not what they were expecting. My dad had been at the hospital all day and half of the evening before I came into the world when he went home to take care of my brothers and to get some sleep. He said he was so stirred up that I was actually a girl that he just couldn’t sleep so he laid down on the couch to just watch television. At that time there was a television series on called “The Waterfront”. This show was about the life of a Dock Master and his family, who traveled about on the waters surrounding the San Francisco Bay, rescuing those in distress or in any kind of trouble or need. Their form of transport on the water? A tugboat! And the tugboats name?
You got it…….the Cheryl Ann!!!!!! As my dad began watching the show the name stuck with him and when he went to the hospital the next day he told my mom and she liked it, and that was that!
A few years ago I began to research this little boat and I was amazed at the findings. First being there are hundreds or maybe even thousands of Cheryl Ann’s out there named after this same tugboat! I found chat rooms full of women who share the name. In reading through some of the posts I also found out other information about my namesake tug. Not only was this tug used to film this show, it was an actual tugboat docked in the San Francisco Harbor. The name was changed after the series ended to “The Patrick Henry”, (I am really glad they choose my name before the name change)!!!!
I have also found tapes of four of the episodes of the “Waterfront” and a picture of the actual tugboat. The show is quite dull in comparison to what we have on television now but still cute, in a corny kind of way.
Well, when the story was told a couple of our childhood friends were there and they found it interesting enough to tell others and before I knew it “Tugs” became my new nickname. I say “new” only because the name in which I was mostly referred to prior was “peanut”, which some still call me.

There you have it…….

Be blessed all,