Archives for August 2012
Hello and happy Wednesday! I can’t believe that we are already in the last week of August, and that next weekend is Labor Day. The summer has seriously flown by! I’m enjoying the last few weeks of summer though, because I know that eventually it will be freezing here in the Midwest and I’ll be wishing for the warm weather to come back again:)
This morning I started reading the book of Ezekiel. I’m not all that familiar with Ezekiel, so it should be an interesting read—it has been so far at least. Ezekiel was asked by God to do many things, some of which might seem a little strange. For example, in chapter four, Ezekiel is asked to lie of his left side for 390 days to signify Israel’s future punishment of 390 years. He was then asked to lie on his right side for 40 days to signify Judah’s future punishment of 40 years. Now, I’m not sure if he was actually lying down 24/7 during this time period, but regardless this took extreme obedience on Ezekiel’s part. It could not have been easy, and it must have looked rather odd to the people who lived in his community. But, Ezekiel was obedient to God’s call in his life, and did the things that he was told to do.
In chapter three, after receiving an amazing heavenly vision from God, Ezekiel was sent to a place to prophesy and convince the wicked men living there to turn from their ways.
“The spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the Lord upon me. I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Abib near the Kebar River. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days—overwhelmed.”
Ezekiel says he went, even though he didn’t necessarily want to, and when he got there he felt ‘overwhelmed’. I bet he did. But you know what? It didn’t stop him from going where God told him to go and doing the things God told him to do. He may not have been totally sold on the idea of preaching doom and gloom to those wicked men, but he was obedient to God and didn’t let his personal thoughts or feelings get in the way of his calling.
We can learn a lot from Ezekiel’s obedience. It’s important to follow where God is leading us, even if it’s not popular or isn’t necessarily something that we want to do. God wants to use us in mysterious and awesome ways, but first we have to be obedient, like Ezekiel, and do what he tells us to do.
Hope you all are having a great week so far! God Bless:)
Happy Monday! I hope you all had an excellent weekend:) We didn’t do too much of anything around here, which was much needed. Just hit up the pool, and enjoyed the beautiful summer weather. In other news, I finished Jeremiah over the weekend! It was long book, but very interesting. I want to share one of the last verses of the book with you this morning…
“The arrogant one will stumble and fall and no one will help her up; I will kindle a fire in her towns that will consume all who are around her.”
If you haven’t read Jeremiah, the main theme of the book involves the prophet Jeremiah predicting the fall of Jerusalem, while the Babylonians forced the people into exile. Jeremiah was a prophet of God who came to warn the Israelites that God’s judgment was coming because of their sinful lifestyles. He was sent to warn them of their coming capture and exile, and to try and convince them to change their ways before it was too late. This however did not happen, and Jerusalem was overtaken by the Babylonians.
This verse is referring to the Babylonians, who were a very proud and arrogant people. Their pride was actually one of their main weaknesses. They believed they could do things on their own, that they didn’t need God. However, proud nations—and people for that matter—will eventually fall because they refuse to recognize God’s ultimate authority in their lives (which is what eventually happened to the Babylonians).
It’s important that we remember this, and learn a lesson from the mistakes made by the Babylonians. Pride is a bad choice, and we need to ask God to help us overcome it by focusing our attention on his goodness and greatness instead of our own.
Is pride something that you struggle with? If so, ask God to help you overcome it.
Hope you all are having a great Monday so far, and God bless:)
Hello and happy Friday! Technically I suppose it is already the weekend, seeing as its almost 7:00 as I’m writing this…it’s been a busy day. Anyways, yay for the weekend! It was a pretty warm day again over here, but that’s okay because I know in a few months I’ll be wishing I could have a little bit of that warmth back when the temp’s start to drop:) Not too much on the agenda for the weekend, just relaxing and enjoying some of the beautiful summer weather we are supposed to be having—always a good thing! With that being said, it’s time for Friday favorites number two…
5. I guess this would technically be from last week, but I received an email from a good friend whose wedding I will be standing up in next Spring containing links to bridesmaid dress choices:) It may sound silly that I would get so excited about an email, but I love weddings and I love her and I can’t wait to celebrate her special day with her!! (That is quite a few “hers” in one sentence lol) Yay. Haven’t picked out a dress yet, but definitely have been doing some browsing…definitely a good way to spend time haha:)
4. This may also sound silly, but the Hunger Games came out on DVD last week! My husband kindly bought a copy for me over the weekend, and watched it with me on Sunday night. Needless to say it was awesome, and I definitely have the best husband ever!
3. Last Sunday, James and I got to spend some time with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend. We went out to eat after church, and then took a long walk on a path near our neighborhood. It was great to talk with them and catch up…excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon:)
2. Today, James took me out for lunch to a vegan restaurant here in town that I have been wanting to try for FOREVER. Now, let me clarify—my husband passionately dislikes vegetables, so for him to take me to a vegan restaurant was a big deal! The food was great, and I think he actually enjoyed it haha. It was a fun little lunch date:)
1. I got up early every morning this week to run/exercise. That may sound like a strange thing to include in a list of Friday Favorites, but it is something that I am proud of! I’ve been really trying to get in a better/ more productive daily routine, which includes getting up early before work to run or work out. I know that when I do this I have way more energy throughout the day, and am also able to get a lot more accomplished in the afternoon/evening. It’s something I’ve been working on for awhile, and this week was definitely a step in the right direction!
So that’s my list of Friday favorites. What were some of the fun things that you did this past week? Hope you all have a great weekend!!
Have you ever had something that you really want to do, but have always been afraid to start? Or maybe there is something you want to see changed in your life, yet you can’t find the strength to actually make the change. I think this is a fairly common feeling, and something that I have frequently experienced. As soon as my heart begins to muster the courage for such a task, my head decides it is not a good idea—thus defeating that little bit of strength I was able to come by. Lately I’ve been feeling this way. Like there is a constant struggle between what my heart and head are telling me—each seem to have their own idea of what’s best.
It goes something like this. Generally my heart is telling me to follow the dreams and passions God has placed inside me, while my head is constantly weighing out the reasonability of following said dreams and passions. Is it safe? Would it be worth it? Am I really good enough at it? You will probably fail. Those are the sorts of things that go on inside my head. Like I said, constant struggle. When you think about it, those types of questions and statements aren’t really fair. How much can my head actually know about the things I have always been afraid to start?
Let me clarify. I’m not saying it’s a good idea to throw all caution to the wind, and follow every single dream in your heart. Dreams require some planning and preparation in order to come true, and no one achieves their dreams overnight—it takes time. But, what I am saying is don’t let you head get in the way of what your heart is trying to tell you. If you feel like God is directing you down a certain path, or creating an idea inside your heart, by all means follow his guidance. Don’t be afraid of what others might think, or of what your head is telling you. Most of the time God speaks through our hearts more clearly than through our heads anyways.
Just because you’ve never done something before doesn’t mean you have to be afraid of starting it. And don’t believe those lies that are going on inside your head—the ones telling you that you aren’t good enough, or that you’ll never make it. They just simply aren’t true. If God has placed something on you heart to do, then do it. Don’t think about it too much—it will cause doubt and fear to creep into your mind. God gives us creative ideas, dreams and passions for a reason—he wants us to achieve them. Don’t give in to fear and doubt. Trust in the abilities God has given you, and rely on his strength working through you in order to accomplish your goals and achieve your dreams.
Just something that has been on my mind this week. Hope you all are having a great week so far and enjoying these last few weeks of summer! God Bless:)
Hello and Happy Monday! Hopefully you all had a great weekend. Not too much happened over here—just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful weather we had all weekend long. It was beautiful outsideJ
Over the weekend I also read one of my all time favorite verses…
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Like I said, one of my favorite verses. I can still remember memorizing this when I was quite young, and it has definitely stuck with me through the years. When ever I’m feeling a little stressed or unsure of what’s next, I always think of this verse and it reminds me of God’s promises to me. That he always has a plan and purpose for my life, and his plans are always full of goodness and hope. When we allow ourselves to trust him, we can have new hope in that goodness of his plans for us. But, just because these plans are good doesn’t mean we will be spared from all heartache and pain. We all go through things at different times in our lives—test, trials, heartaches, and sometimes lots of pain. However, we can rest assured that the end result will be glorious—better than anything we could ever have imagined.
Trust that God has a perfect; good plan for your life, and allow yourself to trust him enough to see it through.
Hope you are all having a great week so far!
Hello and happy Friday! It’s almost the weekend…already:) August seems to be flying by for some reason, and before we know it, it will be fall! I love fall, but I’m still enjoying these last few weeks of summer. Seeing as it’s Friday, I thought I would start something new on the blog. Sometimes I have a hard time being positive and thankful for the good things that have happened to me. So, I thought I would start a weekly “Friday Favorites” post to help me remember the positive things that have happened throughout the week. Feel free to join in and comment about your favorite parts of your week if you’d like. My goal in this is to start being a more positive and thankful person all the time…not just when things are going my way. So, without further ado I give you the first ever Friday Favorites!
5. The week started out with a trip to Mackinaw Island with my family. I am so thankful for them, and the opportunity to spend quality time with them in a beautiful setting. It was such a great weekend, and I am truly blessed.
4. The rain. It rained a bit while we were on vacation, and normally I would have been bummed out. However, with the recent drought-like conditions we’ve been experiencing in the Mid-west, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for the rain. God knows we need it, and I’m thankful that he provided it—even if it was while I was on vacation:)
3. My car. Let me first clarify that I drive a ’98 Buick Century, given to me by my grandmother. While the car may not be the most stylish, it is certainly reliable and true. We drove it all the way to Mackinaw and back without any issues, which is something I would not have been able to do with my past vehicle. The Buick also has no car payments attached, which is always a great thing as well.
2. Spontaneous outings with my husband. Wednesday, we went and got half hour massages…need I say more? James is always coming up with fun things to do, and I always enjoy spending a little quality time with him:)
1. Beautiful weather is in the forecast! It’s actually been a really nice week here, and this coming week is supposed to be even better—75 degrees and sunny pretty much everyday! Can’t ask for much more perfect than that:)
So, that wraps up my first Friday Favorites post. What are some things that you were thankful for this past week?
Hello! So it’s been a few days since my last post…I was out of town this past weekend visiting family in Michigan. My aunt and uncle were in from New Zealand, so James and I went up to visit them, my parents, and my brother. We all went up to Northern Michigan and visited Traverse City, Leland, Crystal Lake, and eventually we ended up on Mackinaw Island for a few days.
|The harbor at Mackinaw|
|The hubby and I on our bike ride around the Island|
|The bro and I|
Such a fun trip, and so good to see the famJ
Anyways, while I was away I finished Isaiah and started on Jeremiah. One of the first passages in Jeremiah really stuck out to me, so I thought I would share…
(this is right after God has called Jeremiah to speak to many people)
“Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I (Jeremiah) said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.”
Jeremiah was feeling insecure about the job God had given him to do. He didn’t think he was adequately prepared to speak to many people, and he let his insecurities get in the way. He believed the lies telling him that he wasn’t good enough for the task at hand. Fortunately, God stepped in and told him not to be afraid, and not to let his insecurities get in the way.
How often do we let our insecurities get in the way of doing what God has called us to do? We may not feel totally comfortable with the situation, so we back out—convincing ourselves that we did the right thing. How much more could we accomplish if we weren’t afraid or insecure? I’m thinking quite a lot. Even if we are afraid of doing what God has called us to do, we need to trust in him to get us through. We need to rely on his strength instead of our own, and be courageous and fearless in the face of our insecurities. We are bigger than the obstacles we put in our own way. Trusting in God and relying on his power and strength is the most important thing we can do. Just as the Lord told Jeremiah that he would rescue him, so to will he rescue us from our fears and insecurities.
What about you? Is there anything in your life that you feel you should be doing, but have always been afraid to start? Turn your fears and insecurities over to God, and trust in him to help you.
Hope you all are having a great week so farJ God Bless!
Hello and happy gorgeous Wednesday! It is a beautiful day hereJ I was reading from Isaiah out on the deck this morning (yay) and I came across this familiar passage…
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heaves are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
I know I’ve read this passage before, but it really stuck out to me today for some reason. Lately I’ve been struggling with discerning God’s plans from my own. It’s hard sometimes to differentiate between the two. This passage reminded me how important it is to truly seek out God’s plans for our lives and diligently follow those plans always. The footnotes for the scripture say it best. “It is foolish to try and fit God into our mold—to make his plans and purposes conform to ours. Instead, we must strive to fit into his plans.”
So true. No matter how hard I try, my plans are never going to work out as well as God’s. This can be a difficult thing to admit, especially for someone like me who always loves to have a plan. But it’s crucial to do so if we ever want to get where we are supposed to be in life. His plans are perfect, while ours are nowhere even close.
For me, I need to focus on trusting him to reveal his plans to me by learning to be patient, and by following the passions he has placed in my heart. I truly believe that God gives us ideas, passions and talents for a reason. He wants us to do the things we love because he is the one who placed those passions within us in the first place. Making the connection between his plans for our lives and the passions he has placed in our hearts is critical to fulfilling our purpose in life.
Is there something you are passionate about that you feel God calling you to pursue? Don’t wait any longer. Trust that he has a perfect plan for your life, and follow the promptings he places in your heart.
Hope you all are having a great week so far! God Bless J
Happy Monday! Hopefully you guys all had a great weekend. We didn’t do too much over here, which was nice, but we did watch quite a bit of Olympic actionJ
I’m going to get right in to the portion of scripture I read from Isaiah over the weekend…more specifically one verse that happens to me a favorite of mine.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will sore on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
I love this verse. It always makes me think of the movie “Chariots of Fire”, which is one of my all time favorites. As I was reading it this time though, it hit me in a deep and personal place. When I read the footnotes for this verse, it mentioned how “hoping” in the Lord means to “trust” in him. Trusting in him helps us be prepared for when he speaks to us. “Then we will be patient when he asks us to wait and expect him to fulfill the promises found in his word.”
Lately I have been so tired—weary. I’ve been pretty stressed with different things going on in my life, and it is causing me to shut down emotionally and physically. I’m sure most of you have felt this way before at some time or another. I need to refocus and remember that God is in control, and that his plan for my life is perfect—I just need to trust in him to fulfill it in his own timing. Putting my trust in him completely will give me more energy and strength each day.
Have you been struggling lately? Do you feel tired or weary? Maybe it’s time to refocus, regroup, and remember that God is in control. Run to him, abide in him, and he will renew your strength.
Hope you all are having a great week so far! God BlessJ
Yay for the weekend! It’s been a busy week, so I am definitely glad for a little break in the action today. It’s also cloudy and just starting to rain, which makes for a perfect relaxing sort of day. We still need a lot of rain where I live, so anytime it rains I get a little extra excitedJ Also have been enjoying a LOT of Olympic action over the past few days, which I LOVE. I’m sort of obsessed with the Olympics, so I get really excited every couple of years when they are on. Going to watch some equestrian events in rerun this afternoon, which should be great!
Anyways I’ve been reading in Isaiah over the past week in my daily Bible reading, and one verse in particular really stuck out to me…
“The Lord says: “These people come near me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”
This is definitely one of those verses that causes you to stop and think about how you are living your life. How often do you feel like you are only going through the motions of being a Christian? Anyone from the outside looking in would assume you are doing all the right things, but deep down you know you are living a lie. You know that your actions don’t always match what you say you stand for, and there is little real meaning behind the things you do.
You’re going through the motions without any emotion. You’re not really excited about going to church, worshiping God, reading your bible, being a kind person, etc. But you do it anyways because it feels like the right thing to do. You go along with it because it makes you look good on the outside to those around you…when what really matters is what’s on the inside. God can see passed the motions of our actions, and looks at the motives of our hearts. He knows what we are really thinking and feeling on the inside, and can tell when we are not being sincere.
It’s easy to get caught up in just going through the motions of Christianity. At first you may have good intentions, and may be genuinely sincere in your actions. However, after a time a sort of routine develops, and it’s easy to kind of space out and not become emotionally involved in your faith. Trust me, I know. I’ve been there. It’s funny how fast going through the motions creeps up on you without warning. You may not even realize it at first.
If you feel like you are going through the motions of Christianity, I challenge you to take a step back and refocus. Refocus on who God is and why you worship and serve him. Remember why you are giving him all the praise and honor, and then do so with enthusiasm. Change your time with God from routine motions to an expression of praise.
One thing that has helped me in the past when I feel like I am in a rut in my personal time with God is to start a prayer journal. Write down verses you read in the Bible that catch your attention, and journal your thoughts about them. Write down your prayers to God. It’s a great way to stay accountable, and really get more out of your daily devotional time with God.
Hope you all are having a great weekend so far!