Archives for July 2012
Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend….I was at a wedding in Detroit with my husband’s family, and it was beautifulJ I’ll try and post some pictures later. Also on the agenda last weekend was watching the OLYMPICS! I seriously love them so much. Every year I get way too excited about them, and usually end up watching the action every night they are on! Die hard fan right here. I got to watch some of the equestrian cross country jumping this morning, which is what I used to do (well—not at the Olympic level haha). It was so awesome!
On a different note, I wanted to go back and take a look at a verse from Proverbs that I read a few weeks back…
“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.”
Sometimes I wonder why we have to go through certain things. Wouldn’t life be much simpler if it were easy and carefree all the time? Wouldn’t it be easier if we didn’t have trials or struggles to deal with? It might sound easier, but in the long run those trials make us into the people God has called us to be. Just as the furnace is used to refine gold, so God uses trials in our lives to refine US and make us SHINE.
Think about it like this. Say you’re an athlete, and you REALLY want to go to the Olympics in your sport of choice. If you won all the time, and never had anything bad happen to you, would you truly be able to appreciate that moment when you finally made it? Not having any trials along the way may sound like the easiest and best choice, but in the end it won’t mean as much. I’m sure you’ve heard some of the remarkable Olympic comeback stories—how certain athletes will seriously injure themselves, think they won’t be able to complete again, decide not to give up, and then end up winning the gold medal. It’s the challenges that make us stronger.
God challenges us in the same way—to make us stronger. If there is something you are struggling with, or there’s a trial in your life that seems impossible to overcome, don’t give up. Keep on fighting. Keep on pressing on. In the end you will be a stronger person, and have a stronger faith, because of it.
Hope you are all having a great week so farJ God Bless!
Hello! Surprisingly, it is already Thursday evening. This week has really flown by somehow. At any rate I’m glad it’s almost the weekendJ
I thought I’d go back and take a look at another verse from Proverbs today, because for some reason it has been rolling through my head all day long.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
I’m sure many of you, myself included, have heard this verse at some time or another. It’s pretty standard. But, for some reason it really stuck out to me as I was reading the other day. For me this verse reminds me that keeping the right company can mean everything, because the people you surround yourself with play a large part in determining the person that you will be.
Let’s say you are surrounded by negative minded people. You can try all you want to be a positive light to them, but in the end they are probably going to weigh you down. Or, say the people you are close with choose to live in a way that is not pleasing to God. Odds are that you’ll eventually fall in to the same lifestyle sooner rather than later.
Choosing the right people to surround yourself with is one of the most important decisions you can make in life. Surrounding yourself with positive and uplifting people is key to becoming the person God has created you to be. You won’t get far if the people you go to for support and advice are always bringing you down. Choose your friends carefully and wisely, because those are the people will either push you towards or away from becoming the person God has called you to be.
There have been times in my life where I’ve had to say goodbye to certain friends. Not because they were bad people, but because I didn’t feel I was growing in the Lord through our friendship. I wasn’t feeling pushed towardsbecoming the person God called me to be. It can be a hard decision to make, but in the end God will bring about the right group of friends to uplift and encourage you through your walk with Him.
Hope you are all having a fabulous week so far!
It’s another rainy morning here…and I love it! For some reason rainy days always make me happy. Not sure why exactly.
I was reading in Ecclesiastes again this morning, and came across this verse…
“So I (Solomon) commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of his life God has given him under the sun.”
This really got me thinking about how I choose to live the life God has given me. Sometimes I feel like I focus so much on the difficult things in life that I forget to be joyful, peaceful and content. It seems like I’m always worried about something, and I find myself getting so caught up in worry that I forget to live. God gave us life not only to do his work, but also to enjoy it. He wants us to find joy in the things we do, as well as peace and contentment with the life he has given us.
The way I see it is this. Life is a journey. A journey that is not going to be without some struggles and trials at times. But, it’s important that we are happy and content with what God has given us. Joy brings refreshment and strength to continue doing his work here on earth. A life without joy would be a sad life indeed. I of all people need to remember that. It’s okay to let go of worry, and learn to be content. Even when life isn’t easy, or you just don’t feel lie being happy, it’s important to remain joyful in the Lord. Don’t let anything steal your joy.
Hope you are having a great week so far. God BlessJ
Hello and happy Monday! James and I were away over the weekend visiting friends and family in Michigan, but I’m back now. It was a great fun-filled weekend, but I’m glad to be back home. Bonus—it RAINED this morning! Yes. I love rainy days anyways, but things have been so dry around here lately that I loved it even more this morningJ
On another note, I finished Proverbs over the weekend. I may come back to it in the future for journaling, but for now I’m onto Ecclesiastes. Now, when I think of Ecclesiastes, the first emotion that comes to mind is…depressing. Now I know that’s not the case, but when a book starts out saying “everything is meaningless,” it kind of puts a damper on your mood. Good news is, I’ve decided to change my mentality about Ecclesiastes. I’m going to try my hardest to look past the somewhat depressing verses, and pray for God to show me what he really wants me to get out of it. That being said, one verse that stuck out to me today as I was reading was this-
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun.”
The next few verses go on to describe different seasons in life, and how there is indeed a time for everything. I’ve read this verse before. In fact, I’m pretty sure I had this passage memorized at one point in my junior high career. However, reading it again caused me to look at it in a different light. You see, the verse isn’t just talking about how there is a time to be happy, sad, embrace, refrain, what have you—It’s deeper than that. The underlying theme here is God’s perfect timing. There is a time and a season for everything in our lives yes, but it is always WITHIN God’s perfect timing.
“The secret to peace with God is to discover, accept, and appreciate God’s perfect timing.” (footnotes)
I’ve talked a lot about finding God’s plan and purpose for our lives, but finding, accepting, and living within His perfect timing is just as important. We may have an idea of what he wants us to do, but until we know that it is the right timing, it’s better to wait for him to speak. And he will speak. We just need to be listening.
His timing may not always make a lot of sense to us, especially at the time. It may even confuse and frustrate us. But, it’s important not to doubt that his timing is perfect, while relying on our own timing instead. Our timing is never perfect, and it will usually lead us to places God never intended us to go. Trust in his timing always—even when it doesn’t make sense. Because in the end, he knows what’s best, and he has a plan for our lives—we just have to patiently wait for his perfect timing.
Lord, help to accept that your timing is perfect, even when I don’t fully understand it at the time. I’m sorry for relying on my own timing more than yours again and again. Forgive me. Help me to live within your perfect timing each and every day. Amen.
We finally got some RAIN!!! It’s been a beautiful gloomy rain-filled day over here, and I am totally LOVING it. We seriously needed it so badly. Thank you Lord for sending the rain!
In other words, Proverbs is still proving to be interesting…and insightful. One verse that stuck out to me today was this…
“All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.”
“People can find an excuse for doing almost anything, but God looks behind the excuses to the motives of the heart.” Now that’s a reality check right there. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve talked a lot about finding and fulfilling our purpose, and how it is so important to follow God’s plan for our lives…not necessarily our own. Well, this verse just seems to fit right in.
For me, it was a reminder to check my motives when deciding to do something. I’m not talking about the small things like deciding what to eat or what to wear, but deciding something big—like a life changing decision. Is it something that God wants me to do, or is it something that I personally want to do, and conveniently talk myself into believing that it’s also something God wants for me. Does that make sense?
When faced with tough choices and decisions, it’s easy to gravitate towards the choice that best suits our personal needs…or at least what we think to be our personal needs. But is that choice really the best decision when placed in the larger context of our lives? Only God knows that. Sometimes the right decision may not seem like the easiest one. In fact, it may be the most difficult. It may seem crazy. Absurd. And it may not make a lot of sense at the time. But, it’s important that we trust where the Lord is leading us…even if everyone around us it telling us otherwise. When we choose to trust him and make our decisions with the right motives in mind, everything will be okay. It may not seem like it at the time, but I promise you it will. God knows your heart, and he knows why you choose to do what you do with your life. Focus on directing your heart towards him, and carefully pray about your important decisions with an unbiased mind. Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone a little. Because in the end, the decisions you make with a heart, mind and spirit focused on God will always be the right ones.
Hope you all are having a fabulous eveningJ God Bless!
So I feel like I’ve definitely been on a ‘finding your purpose’ theme lately. It’s strange, but as I read my Bible each day, those are always the verses that pop out to me. I imagine this is because God is trying to teach me something, and I am hoping that this is a topic you all are feeling the same way about…because that’s what I’m going to be talking about. Again. It’s funny how God will highlight certain verses in certain seasons of our lives. I guess this season for me (and hopefully for many of you as well) is about finding purpose in life.
That being said, one of the verses that stuck out to me in Proverbs today was this…
“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.”
It took me a little bit to figure this one out. At first I almost skimmed over it, thinking that it just had to do with war or preparing for a literal battle. I don’t think this is what the verse is implying though. You see, God has a unique plan and purpose for each one of our lives. Now, we can plan all we want on our own, but our efforts are useless without God. That being said, we are not completely off the hook. We can’t just sit around and wait for God to do something miraculous in our lives. It just won’t happen that way.
Think of it like this. Say you are a really amazing basketball player, and it is your ultimate dream to be in the NBA. You can sit around a dream about it all you want, but that’s not what is going to help you obtain your goals. Practice, and a LOT of preparation is what’s going to get you there. It’s the same thing with God and following his plan for our lives. He has a specific plan and purpose for us, but we have to do our part in preparing for that plan in order for it to be completed. God may have called you to be a powerful worship leader, but you’re going to have to learn how to sing and probably play the piano first. If you don’t, you won’t end up fulfilling God’s call in your life. It’s that simple. God will accomplish his purposes through us if we are willing to do our part and become well prepared for doing his work.
Is there something that you feel God calling you to do? If so, what sort of things can you do to become well prepared for the task? Or maybe you don’t feel called to anything in particular. It’s okay. Seek God in prayer and ask him. He will show you want you need to do.
Happy Tuesday! It’s another hot day over here. As much as I love summer, I’m almost looking forward to fall being here already. Is that strange? It’s been so dry here that some of the leaves are already changing colors. Now that is strange. Fall is definitely my favorite season though, so I guess it’s okay that I’m looking forward to it.
I’m still in Proverbs, and let me tell you—it is so intriguing. My devotion time is taking longer and longer each day as I try and decipher what each proverb actually means. I’ve been doing a lot of highlighting and underlining in the good old study Bible, so I guess that’s a good thingJ
One verse that stuck out to me today was from Proverbs 14…
“The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easy to the discerning.”
At first I kind of skimmed over this proverb. It made sense in my mind, but I felt I was somewhat missing the point. In the footnotes (of course) I noticed that the word “mocker” referred to someone who scoffs at any and all advice and instruction given to them. Intrigued, I read on a bit. If you are someone with a “mocker” mentality when it comes to seeking wisdom, you won’t find it because you aren’t taking it seriously. You don’t really care that much about the outcome, because your mentality is stuck and you aren’t willing to change. People who aren’t willing to change are not going to receive advice well, let alone wisdom, and will remain stuck in their ways, wondering why they are going nowhere.
It’s all about attitude. If you are someone with an open mind to advice and instruction, wisdom will come easily. You’ll gladly come to the Lord in prayer and seek counsel with those wiser and older than you when faced with a decision or choice. What’s more, you won’t just listen to their advice—you’ll actually take it.
“Knowledge comes to easy to the discerning.” If the wisdom you need does not come easily to you, perhaps your attitude is the barrier. Check yourself. Maybe the wisdom you need has already been given; you just weren’t listening well enough. Are you someone who responds well to the wisdom and advice of God and others? Or is it hard for you to accept constructive criticism?
For me it’s a little bit of both. The older I get, the easier it is for me to accept advice (I guess I don’t actually know everything like I thought I did as a teenagerJ). It’s important to keep an open mind when it comes to receiving advice and instruction. Now I’m not saying that all advice you receive will be Godly and true—that’s where the discernment comes in. Always pray about the advice you receive. But, keeping your attitude in check and allowing yourself to have an open mind can do wonders in receiving good quality wisdom from those who are much wiser than you or I.
Hope you are having a great week so far, and God bless J
If you’re anything like me, you sometimes get easily distracted. And when I say sometimes, I mean quite often. Not in the sense where I’m unable to focus on what someone is saying, but more so that I struggle staying on task. Let me explain. When I was younger, I wanted to try everything. I dabbled in pretty much every sport possible in middle school, tried downhill ski racing, rode horses competitively, and was a slight band nerd throughout high school. In college I got into sailing, running, and changed my major four times. I was always the kid who was “sort of good” at lots of things, but was “really good” at very little.
You see, I am quite indecisive when it comes to making life choices and deciding what I want to do with my life—hence changing my major four times. Actually, I am indecisive about everything. What I wear, what I eat, what I choose to do with my day…I could go on and on. I guess you could say it was tough for me to really figure out who I was and what my strengths were—especially as a younger person. It seemed to me that I tried everything, and nothing really seemed to fit. I remember feeling discouraged, even lost sometimes in college as I desperately tried to figure out what I wanted to be “when I grew up”. I ended up getting a degree in communications and business, which I enjoy, but it still just doesn’t quite seem to fit.
The way I see it, God has a special plan for my life—one that doesn’t really involve a traditional career. I’m not saying that I regret getting a degree. I use the skills I learned in college pretty much everyday. But sometimes I get too hung up on the things that I could have done, or the careers I could have pursued. Know what I mean? I think about what my life would be like if I were a teacher, a doctor or a nurse, and I forget to live the life that God has called me to live. I forget that he has directed me along this path for a reason, and that this is the road he has chosen for me. Those other options? They are there to distract me, and keep me from fulfilling my true purpose in life. I won’t be able to do the things God has planned for MY life if I am constantly trying to be someone else. It’s time that I accept the path God has chosen for me, embrace it, and stay focused on the task at hand.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, especially as James and I are in a season on transition. It’s funny how God will place verses right in front of you exactly when you need them. Example. This is one of the passages I read in my daily Bible reading yesterday…
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; keep your foot from evil.”
Umm…yeah. Pretty crazy huh? “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.” Definitely something an indecisive person like myself needs to work on. You see, God has a specific plan and purpose for my life, just as he does for yours. But, this plan can be sidetracked and sent on detours by our own selfish desires, which will eventually lead to sin. Proverbs is pretty clear here. Keep your eyes fixed on the task ahead of you while staying focused on God’s plan for your life, and you will be on a firm (right) path. We need to focus on guarding our hearts against the things that would distract us, and keep us from becoming the people God has called us to be.
What about you? Is there anything in your life that is keeping you from the path God has called you to walk? Or maybe there is something you know you need to be doing, but aren’t. Either way, put it before the Lord in prayer, and he will guide your steps.
Hope you are all having a great weekend! God Bless J
Happy Friday! Nothing all that exciting going on around here…except for more HOT weather. Praying for rain! Anyways, yesterday I started reading in Proverbs. I was a little scared to start—Proverbs can be a bit daunting, and you have to read rather slow in order to take everything in—but now that I’ve begun, it’s not so badJ My reading yesterday included one of my favorite verses of all time…
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
I seriously still remember learning this verse in my fourth grade AWANA class back in the day. I must have been paying attention, because it has stuck with me through the years. This verse has been a verse that I fall back on when ever I was faced with a tough decision, or felt overwhelmed by a situation or just life in general.
Here’s how I see it. When making important decisions, it’s CURTIAL that we include God in the process. Actually, more than include. He should come first—before any of our own ideas. Why? Because our ideas can become partial to the things that we personally desire. Then of course, there’s our pride. We think we can make our own decisions and we want to be independent—we don’t want any outside help. However, if we were to fully rely on ourselves (rather than on God) before an important decision, it would most likely be made out of our own selfish desire—not necessarily the decision God would have is choose.
On the flip side, involve God in your decisions, and you are pretty much guaranteed a right answer. I’m not saying it will be the easiest or most convenient answer, but it will be the right one. And that’s what is most important.
Acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
The decisions he has you make may not always seem to make sense at the time. In fact, they may seem downright silly. Especially to those who care about you and want the best for you (ie family and close friends.) If you’ve ever had to make a tough decision and chose to follow God’s prompting instead of the prompting of those around you, then you know what I mean by this. But in the end those decisions will be the best decisions you have ever made, because when you “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” you can’t go wrong.
What about you? Do you have a tough decision that needs making today? Pray about it. Ask God for direction ad guidance. And then listen. Pay attention to his promptings—because they may come in ways that you least expect them.
So…still praying, and seeking God’s guidance. I guess this is something I should always be doing, but lately it’s been more hit and miss. I’ve decided that I need to be more intentional about this. Not just when I need something, but always seeking his guidance and perfect will for my life. It’s going to be extra important in the next couple of months here though, as James and I are trying to make some plans for the near future. More on that later.
Ironically, as I was reading today in my last reading from the book of Psalms (think that means I’m about half way through reading the Bible in a year), I again was drawn to a verse about planning and purpose. Seems like a common theme lately for me…maybe God is trying to tell me something? Probably. I guess I’ll get it eventually. I can be kind of stubborn sometimes.
Anyways, the verse I read was this…
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me, your love, O Lord, endures forever- do not abandon the works of your hands.” Psalms 138:8
And me, being the studious nerd that I am, of course read the footnotes for said verse…
“…to make the most out of life, we must include God’s plan in our plans. He alone knows what is best for us; he alone can fulfill his purpose for us…”
Umm….yeah. This verse couldn’t have been directed more at me if it tried. It’s almost like someone threw a bucket of cold water over my head in the middle of the night saying, “pay attention, this one’s for you!”
You see, I am a planner. Pretty sure I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. I plan, and if I’m not careful I end up planning my life away—I always like to know what is coming next. That is partly why I am seeking God’s direction and guidance so adamantly and diligently—I don’t know what’s next. And it frustrates me. But, I am slowly learning that I need to let go of the reins, and let God be in control. He alone knows what is best for me, and he alone can fulfill his purposes and plans in me. BUT he can only do this if I let him in and allow him to become the planner instead of me. It’s not easy, but I believe it will be worth it in the end. I need to trust that he can see what I cannot. That his plans are perfect, and mine are only half-baked.
So for now I am trying to let go. I’m asking God to come in and take over the planning. He does a much better job at it anyways.
What about you? Are you an excessive planner like me? Imagine what could be if you allowed God to come in and take control for a while. For always.
Hope you are having a great week so far! God Bless 🙂