Friday, December 27, 2013

I failed.

     It's amazing how easily you can make the same mistake multiple times. It's human nature I guess.
     This past month or two(give or take) I have failed. A lot.
     We all fail. We're human. Sinners.
     But I am oh, so grateful for God's grace, mercy and abundant forgiveness!
     I have spent weeks trudging through life, sometimes happy, sometimes sad...searching for something. But through it all I was letting myself get distracted from Christ. Just little distractions, but distractions I didn't get rid of.
     Through a series of events over the past week or so I realized just how much I'd like these distractions become the determining factor or how I felt or acted.
      But even when you realize you're in the wrong and you've failed, it's still not easy to get rid of the cause. At all.
      And I fought it for a few days-which put me in a REALLY bad mood.
      When you don't listen to God's still small voice...sometimes He'll give you something you won't be able to ignore. Usually something you won't enjoy at the time. And that's what happened.
      I guess you could call it a wake up call.
       And it kinda hurt.
      But it's what it took to remember, once again, how I had been letting these little things get in the way of following Christ with EVERY part of me.
     
      Don't get distracted. It can be anything. A job, a relationship, a friend, money, parties....if we let anything take priority in our minds above Christ... well... obviously something needs to change.
     Christ should be our #1 focus. AT ALL TIMES.
     And those things that are distractions, whether or not they in themselves or bad or not....need to be kicked out the door.
      We can tell ourselves that they aren't distractions, but that won't solve the problem.

     Just man up and get rid of them!
     Often times it will hurt. In fact, I can almost guarantee it will hurt. And you'll be tempted to go back even after you get rid of them. BUT IT'S NOT WORTH IT.


       Our happiness, our joy, isn't found in the day to day distractions of life. It's found in Christ. It's found in the hope He gave us for eternal life by dying for our sins. It's found in pursuing and serving Christ every moment of the day. And when those distractions come, it's turning away and seeking Christ all the more.


       What's distracting you today?
        I failed. I got distracted.
        Will you?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Answers.

 Two bins. 
One marked 'questions'
the other 'answers'
I make my way to the first bin
Inside are stacks of blank paper and a pen
I begin to write
Soon the stack of paper has reached an end
Each page filled with questions
Questions from my heart
Questions about my life
Questions of 'why' and 'how'
Questions I desperately want answered
I place the filled paper back into the bin
Then I move to the bin marked 'answers'
I take a deep breath, knowing the answers to all my questions
are in that box.
I tug at the lid
It doesn't budge
I tug harder
I use every ounce of my strength
the lid remains unmoved.
I punch, kick and pound at the box
Desperately, I want those answers.
"Why can't I see the answers???"
I sob into the air.
"I can't continue in life with all this unknown!
I need answers!"
I continue my plea, not caring whether anyone can hear me.
"If I just knew, even a few answers. I wouldn't feel so lost.
So confused."
Silence answers my plea.
I gaze around me.
I know not why I hadn't seen them before.
As far as my eyes could see there were rows and rows
filled with bins.
Half of them marked 'questions'
the other half 'answers'
Each 'questions' bin is filled with papers, 
many so full the lid doesn't close.
I walk over to one
the questions inside are similar to mine
but by someone else.
The 'answers' bin beside it is locked as mine had been
I continue to walk down the endless rows of bins
Searching for some way to find answers.
Far back amongst the bins
something catches my eye
One bin.
Marked 'answers'
 There is no conjoining 'questions' bin.
Could this answers bin possibly be unlocked?
I pull at the lid.
It flies off
Inside lays a single piece of paper.
 I slowly reach in and pick it up
The words draw me to my knees.
"He is the Alpha and Omega,
The beginning and the end.
Before you were born,
He knew you.
When hard times came,
He allowed them.
He knew the outcome.
He gave.
And He took away.
He never told you the purpose.
He never told you his perfect plan.
For his plan is far beyond what your mind could ever comprehend.
His thoughts are high above your thoughts.
He has seen you fail.
He has seen you repent.
And fail again.
He has forgiven you when you asked.
He holds the answers.
He is the God of yesterday, today and forever.
And He wants you to trust Him."

I put the paper back in the bin and shut the lid.
I still have questions.
But I know who has the answers.
And I will trust His perfect plan for my life.


Isaiah 55:8-9
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts."
 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

God's word... another book on the shelf?

     Can I just say something?
     We can't know the Bible unless we study the Bible. ...let me repeat that... we can't know the Bible unless we study the BIBLE.
     No 'christian books', not reading a bunch of 'feel-good Christian quotes'...we need to read God's word.
      To study God's word...USING God's word.
      Now, don't get me wrong...I'm not saying quotes, Christian books, etc are wrong. I'm just saying if we use them to replace God's word, they become wrong.
       So often we take for granted that this Bible is GOD'S WORD. Just think about that.....HIS word, divinely inspired, for us. Uh.......shouldn't we treat it as a little(lot) more important than 'another book on the shelf'???


....just, something to think about...

   

Thursday, September 5, 2013

This is my cry

A summary of my life in the past year: "The Lord gives...and the Lord takes away, may the name of the Lord be praised."

I have lost a lot in the past year, months and even week...
And I have been tempted to want to give up.
In fact, I have given up...multiple times.
I've thrown my hands in the air and fallen to the ground, unable to even cry.
And I've waited for someone to come help me up.
But the only response I've received is silence.
Maybe you've heard the saying, 'nothing speaks louder than silence' 
And you know what? It's true. It's really true.

And it's that silence that terrifies me. Makes me feel unable to go on. Makes me feel as if I am unable to ever stand again.

But isn't that how it is so often?
We let ourselves feel as if we cannot go on. We give up hope.

We forget that God will never give us anything we cannot get through on HIS strength.
Not ours.

It was a few days ago, and I was really hurting...I took a walk outside with my two lil bros...when I realized how much I had failed.
How much I had been trying to depend upon my own strength.

I'd hit rock bottom, and I hadn't looked up to where I should have been looking.  
A little while ago I wrote a blog post entitled 'rock bottom' (You can read it here)...
And now that I look back at it, it's so true...

Seeking Christ isn't a one-day thing.
It's continual.
Always seeking Him, always calling out to Him.

And when we come to the feet of Jesus, humble and repentant, He won't ignore us.
And that alone is reason to feel extremely humbled.
We have the AMAZING privilege and honor of being able to cry out to Christ with our hurt, with our pain...with our praise... and that...wow.

When life hurts, we are tempted to despair. But it is when life hurts the most that we are given the most opportunity to rely on Christ and shine His light in a dark world.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

to ponder...


To ponder all my tears in life
has left me beat and worn
But through it all
I've learned to stand
upon the strength of God
For I myself, I cannot bare
the sorrow of this world
But in His grace alone I stand
And praise Him evermore

Saturday, August 10, 2013

You would think...

You would think
the more loss you see,
the easier it would be
You would think
the more pain you feel
the more you will to heal



You would think...
but you would think wrong
Each loss
Holds the same pain as before
Except now
A new addition that hurts all the more
Tears
 that never run dry
Strength
fading as the days go by
Until
your strength has run dry
You stop
even asking why.
God, please grant me strength not from myself nor for myself
But grant me the ability to rest upon your strength
in order that I may praise Your holy name
How I long to be where there is no pain
How I long to go to my eternal home
But I know I am here for a reason
So please, God, give me the strength to continue on
With a song in my heart
To shine Your light
Though my heart grows weary
Though I lose the will to go on
Though You take all I have loved
Even when the tears won't stop
please give me the strength
to raise my hands
and say
'Blessed be, the God who gives
and who takes away'

Sunday, August 4, 2013

To Sit Upon a Moutain

To sit upon that mountain high
The valley far below
The breeze whispering softly to me
The music of the world
To spread my arms out wide
And feel the open air
To shut my eyes and listen
To the sound God's creation
Then open them wide
And take a deep breath
To witness that creation
So beautiful
So majestic
On that mountain
Is where I want to be
For on top of that mountain
It is as if
The whole world
Lies under me


Monday, July 15, 2013

Thirsty...

     Going through the blogs I follow this morning I came across this post someone made...and it really struck me.
    Go read it, it'll be worth your time. I promise.
http://shelbybennett.blogspot.com/2013/07/thirst.html

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Psalm 30

Psalm 30
I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O Lord my God,
I cried to You for help, and You healed me.
O Lord, You have brought up my soul from Sheol;
You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit.
Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones,
And give thanks to His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
Now as for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I will never be moved.”
O Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain to stand strong;
You hid Your face, I was dismayed.
To You, O Lord, I called,
And to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness?
10 “Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me;
O Lord, be my helper.”
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
12 That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Go

I laid on my back silently gazing up
The stars above me shone brightly
Occasionally twinkling as if they held some secret
The only sound I heard was the song of the crickets
and the croaking of frogs small and large
Memories swam through my mind
A tear slid down my face
I sat up and hugged my knees tightly
My heart ached with the pain of loss
"God," I prayed silently. "I don't know how I will get through this."
Tears flowed freely now.
"I feel so battered, and lost.

 I have lost all I care so much for."
Then His voice came all so clearly.
A whisper in my head.
"I have a plan for you, Clareesa.
A plan that far surpasses any plans you have ever had for you life."
I sobbed.
"But, God, what do I do now? In this moment...I don't know where to go."
His voice came again.
"A few years ago I told you to go, to go serve."
My mind wandered to the time when God had used a squirrel to show me that He wanted me to go.
To go and serve.
"I removed from your life something that held you back .

Something that was stopping you from going.
Now that i have taken that away, you are free to go.

 Go, Clareesa. Go and serve. Go and don't stop.
Don't let anything hold you back.
This is what I want you to do right now."

I wiped away a last tear and looked at the creation of the stars.
The God who had created these very stars
Had a plan for me.
And right now, He was telling me to go.
To go.
And not stop.
My heart still ached.
But I felt a renewed hope.
I would go.
I would serve.
And I would fail.
But I would keep going.
Without stopping.
Because my God was faithful.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Path

The walls loomed above me
In vain I searched for an escape
For even a window of light
Nothing.
Darkness.
I knew not how I got here
When I had first started on the path it had looked harmless
I all too quickly learned the trust danger that lurked here
I felt bruised and battered
I pounded against the walls once more
"Someone, help me! Get me out of here!"
I felt something wet dripping down my hand
Blood and the dirt of the walls.
"Please, anyone."
I sank to the ground, my voice hoarse from crying out.
"Help me."
My salty tears mixed with the taste of blood around my mouth
If only the walls were gone
Then I could see the light
Oh, how I longed to see the light
Feel it's warmth upon my face
"Please, someone."
My voice was barely a whisper now
"Take these walls away."
The earth began to tremble
The walls - they were coming down!
I felt a renewed strength and jumped to me feet
I shut my eyes, waiting to feel the light against my eyelids
The walls roared as they crashed around me
Then silence
I slowly cracked my eyes open
Darkness.
My heart began racing in a new fear
Why was it still dark?
Why couldn't I see the path?
The wall were gone...
so why couldn't I see the light?
I stumbled forward
Soft dirt squished under my feet
I was on the path again
But the darkness remained
I strained my eyes in every direction
Desperately seeking even the smallest ray of light
"Where do I go?"
I cried out into the darkness
My question was answered with silence
Then I knew
At the end of the path, there was light
 The walls hadn't been blocked the light out
There was no light on the path in the first place
And if I could just make it to the end of the path
I would find not only light
But the guardian of the path
The Creator of the light
The One who would watch over me as I made my journey
My journey down this path
This path were I could not see ahead
But the Guardian could
The Guardian could see everything
As long as I remained on the path
the darkness would remain
And the journey would be long and painful
But at the end - a glorious light I would find
And each time I would stumble
I would know the Guardian was using that injury
To mold me into His image
But for now
I would continue on
With my eyes fixed ahead
Even though I could not see
On this path call life.

 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

It wasn't the smile...

     It wasn't the fact alone that she smiled.
     It wasn't the the way she laughed.
     It wasn't the words she said
     It wasn't her
     It was the fact that she could smile
     It was why she was laughing
     It was what she didn't say
    
     The fact that in such a difficult trial, instead of showing a face of sadness and pain, her face radiated with joy.
      The fact that in such pain, her laughter still came from the heart.
      The fact that she wasn't complaining about what she was going through, but speaking praise to God.
      It was Christ shining through her

    That's what stands out.
    That's what shining the light of Christ looks like.

    Matthew 5:16, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."

    James 1:2-4, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. "


      We all go through trials.
      But it's very rare to find joy in trials... but it's what we are called to do. And when we do...we shine a light greater than any light there is.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Wooden Wishing Well

     I was skimming through one of my notebooks from last year and came across something I had started writing and never finished. And since it was midnight and my insomnia was keeping me up...I decided to finish it.

The Wooden Wishing Well
At the end of the path now overgrown with weeds
I stood at the edge of an old wooden wishing well
Ready to drop a coin down and make a wish for a new car I wanted
I looked down and, though dark and far off, somehow I saw the bottom
Only small puddles of water remained
Twisted vines crawled up the cracked sides
But in those puddles of water, I saw hundreds of shiny relfections
Wishes
Some of the wishes took the form of dimes, others of pennies 
Some of the wishes even took the form of coins from another country
I thought to myself 'What if I could read those wishes?'
Then I found myself falling
Down into the wooden wishing well
Once I hit the bottom no pain did I feel
Inside I felt a sense of awe as each wish sparkled up at me
I bent and picked up a penny and felt my eyes widen
For clearly, without explanation, I knew this penny's wish
The wish had been made by a girl, no older than seven
Wishing for a new pink dress with ruffles for her doll
I picked up another wish, this one in the form of a silver dollar
A wish for a new bike 
Amazed, I continued to pick through the wishes
Some made me laugh
Like the wish of the little boy who wished he could be a real superhero so the girl next door would like him
Some made me cry
Like the grandpa who wished his grandson would beat his battle for cancer
If even just long enough to make it to his next birthday
A wish for a pony
a wish for her mother to come back home
A wish for a new job
A wish for the pain to go away
But no matter the wish
Each one was different
Unique to that person who wished it
And with each wish
I found myself realizing all the more clearly
That each life
Though so different from the other
Was imporant
Meant something
The pile of a wishes around me
Had become much more than a pile of wishes
They had become lives
Then I once again found myself standing above the wishing well
Staring down
I walked back down the path
Not looking back
I felt burdened with that thought that every life
Every person I passed on the street
They weren't just a another face
They had wishes
Struggles
Needs
I suddenly wanted to be part of all their lives
To show them that they were important in their own way
I never went back to the
wishing well
But I never forgot what I learned
It is easy to get wrapped up in our own desires
To think little of the lives or others
To view them as just another face with a wish
But they are so much more
They are a life
And some of those lives
I have the chance to impact
To show them I care
And maybe even answer one of their wishes
That is what I learned
at the wooden wishing well

Monday, June 10, 2013

Trials

    When God gives us trials, He also gives us new opportunities to serve and honor Him. Whether it be a distraction that is now gone or the ability to shine His light through suffering.

Just something to think about....

Thursday, June 6, 2013

It's okay to smile.

     When life gets rough sometimes its hard to smile.
Lately life hasn't been easy for me easy-it's been harder than I ever would have thought possible. And I've been tempted to feel depressed. Tempted to think I don't have a reason to smile.
I think a huge reason is we feel that when we smile, we are ignoring the hardship that we're going through. We feel like if we smile, it means everything is alright...when inside we are struggling so badly.
But ya know what? It's okay to smile when life is hard.
In fact it's good to smile.
There is a time to be sad, yes.
But when we smile through trials, we aren't showing people that the trial isn't hard...we're showing people that we have a God who is bigger than our trial and we have the strength and joy in HIM to smile.
Yes. Just smile.

Is life hard right now?
Are you smiling?If not...its okay. Go ahead. Smile.
When we go around with a frown on our face...what are we communicating? Are we communicating that we trust in Jesus completely with every aspect of our life? Or are we communicating that life is so hard, that the fact that God is in control, doesn't matter? 
Because if you've been born again...you have more than enough reason to smile. No matter the circumstances.

And who knows...that smile? It may just affect someone else in ways you never would have imagined.
And for the record..I can promise you that you look far better with a smile.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Post by a friend

     I've had a really difficult day. Life is really hard, isn't hasn't been bad-just hard. And that's not surprising...God has told us the Christian life won't be easy. Quite the opposite.
    But today...I succumbed to the pressure of everything around me and got upset at certain issues. Not outwardly upset nor angry, but upset and frustrated on the inside with certain people.
     And that wasn't right. At all.
     Even in the hard times, I want to be able to praise God...24/7! To be able to say, It Is Well with My Soul.
     Josh's younger sister posted this post today: http://moretothislife33.blogspot.com/2013/05/it-is-well.html And boy did it hit me like a rock.
     I wasn't saying it is well with my soul this morning. I was getting upset. Frustrated.
     But God is so faithful to show us what we need to hear, just when we need to hear it.
     Anyways, go read that post. It won't be a waste of your time, I promise.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Undeserving

      There's a line in a song that goes, "who am I to make demands of the God of Abraham"
      That line gets me every time.
      Who am I to be able to come before the feet of Jesus?
      Why would the God of the universe allow me, a wretched sinner, to continually come before him, time and time again after I fail, and yet still forgive me and give me abundant grace and mercy?
     What have I done to have the right to bring Him my requests?
     What have I done that He should listen to my cries for help after I turned my back on Him?
     What have I done to deserve abundant grace and mercy and love?
      Who am I to make demands?
      I am so incredibly undeserving of any of it.
      In fact, the only thing I do deserve for who I am, for my sins... is death.
      Think about that. What we deserve is death. Eternal death.
      But instead of death God sent His one and only son to DIE IN MY PLACE.
      Jesus Christ, the One without sin, God in flesh...bore my punishment upon the cross.
      And what did I do to deserve it? Nothing.
      What do I continue to do even after I know He has done this for me? Fail, sin...fall away.
      Each time we lay our requests before God, whether it be asking for forgiveness or seeking a request, maybe for a job-for health...whatever it may be... what are we thinking about?
      Are we thinking about how God should give us this or that or how we want this, need this...demand this?
      Or are we remembering what a privilege it is to come before Him?
      Because that's what it is. Us, in ourselves...we are nothing. Worthless, sinners, dirty, wretched...but in Christ...we have been made NEW! Our sin washed away! No longer worthless.
      We deserve death, but instead we have received the hope of eternal life and the ability to come before the Lord in prayer. Um... wow.
      So next time you pray...thank about that. Think about how undeserving we are to be able lay our requests before the Lord.


"My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever."
-Psalm 145:21

Monday, May 13, 2013

Music?


      Something I've been thinking a lot about lately...the importance of what music you listen to.
Yesterday my pastor summed it up pretty well in his sermon when he said,  "What music you listen to identifies who are you."
     I for one love most music. I love to switch between various genres and artists...I love variety. I have my worship music, my country music, my 'romance' music, my 'popish' music...I have all these different artists and styles I just love to listen to...all for different reasons.
     But something I've been really convicted of lately...is how unhealthy secular music is.
     About 1/5 of the music on my phone is secular music. Not necessarily 'bad' music-but music that isn't worship music.
     Living for Christ...shouldn't everything we do bring glory to God? Including our music?
     I'm not condemning anyone who listens to secular music...I still have my secular music on my phone(though I took it all off my 'favorites' playlist so I rarely listen to it now)...but I'm just encouraging to think about what you're filling your mind with.
    I listen to secular music for various reasons...sometimes the song is just really really catchy and fun to sing along to, sometimes the artist singing is just SO talented I love listening to them...but it's never because I want to worship God. Ouch.
     Over the past week I haven't listened to anything except for worship music. At all. And you know what's crazy? I have been so incredibly happy. Not because life has gotten any easier, but because when I'm focused on worshiping Christ...there is a LOT to be happy about.
Secular music affects us, whether we know it or not.

...just something I've been thinking about. :)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rejoicing.

Nearing the end of the day...I am amazed.
God is so good.
This morning in Church was sang How Great Thou Art & How Deep the Father's Love for Us. The first one being my favorite hymn this year through any sorrow and the second being Josh's favorite hymn that that we sang at his memorial. I was crying through both.
After Church I was driving up a steep hill, and as usual all my cd's spilled from their compartment...as I was cleaning them up I found an index card with 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 written on it. The same verse that Josh shared with me & that has been encouraging me this week. How it got in my car, or who wrote it...I have absolutely no idea.
And I received a hug and kiss...without being asked...from the lil dude.
God is so good to me. I don't deserve it.
My tears are tears of joy, humbled and awed at such an amazing God we serve.
In one year my life changed dramatically.
In one year I learned more about the goodness of God than I could have ever imagined.
And I can't wait to see what I'll learn in the years to come.

One Year.

One year.
How can one year feel like a lifetime but yet one day at the same time?
I cannot put into words what I am feeling right now. I woke up this morning with a million thoughts in my head-all related to Joshua Steven Eddy . Thoughts of how I missed him, thoughts of how I could be praying for his family and close friends, thoughts of how it felt like just another day to wake up...but yet....it's different today.
It was exactly one year ago that I got the news that one of my dearest friends, Joshua Eddy, had slipped and fallen into the Rogue River and drowned.
You can never be ready to lose someone you care about.
I miss Josh. So much. And I know so many others do as well.
I also know that God's plan to take Josh home when He did could not have been any more perfect. God took Josh home at JUST the perfect time. It may seem too soon for those who were close to Josh...but God's plan for everyone, when they are born, when they die, is SO SO perfect. Planned from beginning of time.
Josh left behind a testimony of what it looks like to truly follow of Christ. Anyone who knew him can tell you how he constantly would encourage and challenge you in your walk with the Lord.
Since Josh has passed, life has gone on. But the memory and testimony of Josh still remains. If he could see how many lives his passing has impacted in the past year, he would be so humbled.
A reminder of so many things: a reminder of how he isn't with us anymore and the deep pain that comes from missing him, a reminder of the life he lived-for Christ, and a challenge not to live our lives 'like Josh did', but to follow the same path he did in living for Christ, a reminder of how short life is and most of all: a reminder of how God is in control. Always.
I miss Josh. I miss him far more than I did a year ago. I miss receiving his famously long emails encouraging me to do what was right, so stand firm in the Lord and to always always keep my focus on God. I miss seeing new photos that he had taken where he learned a new photography technique and he would get so excited about it. I miss reading his heartfelt blog posts that always encouraged me. I miss his smile, his laugh. I miss him.
And a year later, through tears, I am praising God that He had this planned from the beginning of time. Because even though I miss him, I can rejoice that I will see him again.


Here's a part of an email I once received from Josh, it seems all the more appropriate now(As this was an extremely personal email, I replaced any names with '----'):

"No matter what happens, you need to trust in Him, and live for Him. Never live the complacent life. If you believe that God is in control of every single aspect of creation; not even a leaf falls from a tree without God allowing it to, then God has a purpose for every event in your life, and your job is not to say “oh, well, that wasn’t fun”. Your job is to say “Blessed be the Name of the Lord, You give and take away. What do you intend for me to learn from this, Lord? How can I grow from this experience?”  

Can I ask you a sensitive question? Do you love God more than ----? If God took ---- from you permanently, would you still love Him? Of course yes, I know that you’re far stronger than to turn your back on Him. But would you ever “forgive” Him? Would you resent it and always look on it as a curse? Are you willing to lay your friendship with ---- on the altar and “Lord, it’s yours, use it for you greatest Glory”?"

So many of the things Josh said, God knew how they would effect others after his death. Things about losing someone, about always trusting God...things that relate to Josh now.
It's amazing to see God's plan.
 

 
"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look no at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." -2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Thursday, May 2, 2013

No Compromise



Throw me in the ring, toss me to the flames
No one but my King walks me out unscathed
Feed me to the lions, throw away the key
How will they deny who delivers me?
How could I love another?

My knees bow only to One Name
My lips have One King to proclaim
I will lift none other high
This is my one heart's cry
No compromise, no compromise.

Let them keep their gold, I won't be seduced
Can't be bought or sold, I am rich in You
How could I serve another?

My knees bow only to One Name
My lips have One King to proclaim
I will lift none other high
This is my one heart's cry
No compromise, no compromise.

Kingdoms crumble, rulers fall
My God, You will out rule them all
Kingdoms crumble, rulers fall
My God, You will out rule them all

One King. One cry.
With one voice, no compromise.
One King. One cry.
With one voice, no compromise.
No compromise, no compromise.
No, no, no compromise.


     This entire album, 'Inspired by The Story', is definitely my new favorite album. 18 songs that are each incredibly powerful and encouraging. I've probably listened to the whole album at least 7 times in the last 2 days.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What's right...

     It's really easy to get discouraged. To feel like as hard as we try and do what's right, follow God's leading...to feel like sometimes it's not doing anything.
     Maybe it's finding continual contentment where you are in life.
     Maybe it's continually praying for a friend, when you don't see you prayers making a difference.
     Maybe it's remembering to be kind to those who don't return the kindness.
     Maybe it's giving of yourself without expecting anything in return.
     Maybe it's all of the above.

     Never ever ever tire of following Christ.
     Yes, it's easy to get discouraged and want to give up.
      But the Christian life isn't easy.
      It's a battle, a struggle.

    Today has been an odd day for me, and I've felt discouraged. I opened my Bible to 2 Thessalonians. And boy is it what I needed to hear. Isn't it so awesome how God does that?
But the verse that stuck out to me the most was this: "And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right." (2 Thess 3:13) (And go read the whole passage, it's important to get the verse in context!!!)

    It's easy to get discouraged.
    I don't want to be discouraged, to be weak. I want to stand FIRM in the Lord. To NEVER TIRE of doing what is right.

    It's a battle though. A continual battle. And only by the grace of God will I be able to do it.
    I want to try harder. To be praying more faithfully then I have been, to be in the word, learning more about God, to be seeking Christ EVERY SECOND.
    Will you join me?

Monday, April 29, 2013

I will.

I will not pretend to have life figured out.
I will not try and mask the pain that comes.
I will not lie and say that with God life is without struggle.
I will not say the Christian life is easy.

But I will proclaim the truth of God's love.
I will shout for joy because of the undeserving grace I have been given.
I will strive to seek Christ with the struggles come.
I will smile in the midst of pain, because my God is greater then anything trial I may face.
And I will, I will fail.
For I am a sinner.
But I know that I have been forgiven.
And each time I fail...
I will be forgiven again.
And I will praise the very God who gave His son so that I, a wretched sinner, might be saved from the punishment of death which I so deserve.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Time


    In light of the grace & mercy He has so abundantly poured out on us, shouldn't we be giving God more of our time? We feel loved when a friend gives us their time...but then we forget to give time to the God who gave us life. How can we give Him anything but EVERYTHING?

     (I'll be posting more on this later, but that is just a summary of what God has been convicting me of the last few days)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What would you say?

     A few years ago I first heard the song, What Would You Say by Trailor Choir.
     That song got me thinking-a lot. What would I say if I only had a few minutes and a piece of paper to write a few thoughts?
     (Maybe I've written a post about this song before, I honestly can't remember.)
     I have spent the years since trying to figure out what I would write. It just seems impossible to try to think of a few that I would I want to be my last.
     I thought of different ways I'd tell people I cared about them, who I cared about. I thought of different ways I would try to leave a note of encouragement, to encourage people to keep focused on Christ...but nothing seemed to satisfy that thought that I still really hadn't found what I would actually write.
     I was listening to this song again today, and it hit. I know what I would write.
     I wouldn't write to tell people how much they meant to me. If the first time they heard it came from a piece of paper, then I didn't live a life loving of Christ would. I should be living that out day to day.
     I wouldn't write an encouraging not to tell others to follow Christ, my life should be shining that out day to day. If the only way they knew how much I loved God and wanted them follow Him was from me writing it down, well I definitely hadn't been living life shining my light as a Christian in a dark world.
     I would want to write something to this effect, and mean it with all my heart: "I am ready. I have no regrets. Do not cry for me, rejoice! For I was a wretched sinner, but by the precious blood of Christ I have been saved. Rejoice. For God is faithful."


     "What would you say?"

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Blink

Blink.
You just lost a second of your life.
      
     A second may not seem like much. But have you ever stopped to think how much can happen in a second?
     In a second, a life can be over.

    I was looking through some photos from a few years ago. I was thinking about how it seemed like those photos had been taken yesterday but how much had changed since then. Then a thought struck me; I could never how those moments back.
     Life 2 years ago for me was hard, as life always is...but some of my greatest memories were from 2 years ago. Moments I took for granted. Even the hard days. I took them all for granted, and now they are gone.
     A few days ago I was driving past the retirement home of some adopted grandparents of ours, the passing thought of stopping by and visiting them crossed my mind. It wasn't tell I got home that I remembered my adopted grandpa had died and they didn't live there anymore. It had become such a habit to go there and visit them, when I passed their home it looked as if nothing had changed. But it had all changed.
     You are in this moment right now. A moment you will never get back. 
     Don't take this moment for granted.
     Even if you're going through struggles in life and you 'just want to get through it'. Don't. Stop trying to get past the moment, and live in the moment.
     Don't be in a hurry to reach a point in life. God placed you in this moment for a reason.


     Take this moment to fix your eyes on Christ, to follow His leading.
     Take this moment to show the ones around you that you love them.
     Take this moment to shine the light of Christ to someone who might not otherwise see that light.
     Live this moment so that in the next moment you can look back and think, 'wow, I lived that moment to the fullest.'
     Because you can't have this moment back and you don't know how much you may miss it later. 
 
Each second
A gift.
Each breath.
A blessing.
Each blink of an eye.
Will pass.
     Only memories will be left.
You're in this moment.
Live it.

    Blink

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A favorite passage

"So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father."
 (Colossians 3:12-17)
....wow.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Let go |part 2|

     Almost a year ago I posted about letting go. Letting go of those things we cling to on this earth and clinging to God, with both hands.
     This past week, once again, God has been teaching me to 'Let go.' But there's more to it than that.
     We can let go, sure...but what happens afterwards? All to often it's easy to seek to try and figure out what to do after we 'let go'.
      Letting go doesn't just mean releasing our hold on something, it means releasing our hold and not worrying about the result. 
     I have spent the past two months searching for answers, trying to figure out what God wanted me to do...I had let go in my mind. Let go of so many things, but I was trying so hard to figure my life out...I let me focus slip from remembering that Christ is the one in control of my life. Yes, I knew He was in control, but I kept trying to 'help' Him out.
     Big mistake.
     God doesn't need our help in figuring our life out.
     God convicted me that I had been spending too much time in the 'trying to figure out' process rather than the 'serving Him in the moment I was at' and letting Him take control of the rest.
     Let go and let God.
     The past week has been one of the most amazing weeks of my life. Not because 'good things' have happened or I've done anything special. The hardships of my life are still there...but, by God's grace, I am learning to release my grasp from trying to figure it out myself. And once you do that, the joy that comes from seeking Christ is...amazing.
   
     To wake up in the morning, and to be able to smile and say, "today will be a good day because it's a day God has given me" is amazing. To be able to wake up without dreading what the day holds, because you know that with your focus on Christ, you're where He wants you to be.

    Just a clarifying note, I am not saying that I continually am joyful and have continually kept my focus where it should be. I am a sinner, just the same as everyone else. And I fail, continually. But I am also learning continually, and striving to continually be joyful and keep my focus where it should be. :)

     Colossians 3 has been extremely convicting to me lately. Verses 1-3 say, "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seating at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."
     What is your mind on? Have you truly let go of the things of this earth? Or are you 'trying to help God' figure things out? He doesn't need help, I promise. ;)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Identity

     When someone looks at you, who do they see?
     Go read Colossians 3.
     Feel convicted? I know I do every time I read that chapter.
     Verse 13 and 17 stand out to me right now. 13: "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." 17: "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
      Are you clothing yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience? Are you doing everything you do in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks?
     When people look at you, do they see you?
     Or do they see Christ?

     I want to live every moment of my life seeking Christ in such a way that those whom I am around, friend or stranger, can look at me and see not me, but Christ.
     I want my identity to be in Christ.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I want to love.

It took me awhile to sort my thoughts out. But to summarize what I learned over this weekend would be this:

I want to love with the love Christ has for us. Love shamelessly, with a love that isn't about my own gain but blessing the other person. With no fear of the future of losing those I love, but only a continued reliance on Christ's perfect plan.

How Great Thou Art

     Yesterday would have been Josh's 20th birthday.
     A year ago I never would have imagined that instead of sending him a happy birthday email, I'd be visiting his grave.
     God opened the doors for me to be able to make the 5 hour trip to Grants Pass and visit Josh's grave. What a trip. So many emotions. But I am extremely thankful God allowed me to go.
     Visiting Josh's grave wasn't what I expected it'd be. I'm not positive what I expected, but I thought that when I went there would be all this extreme pain.
      And while it did hurt, there was this overwhelming sense of peace. That THIS was how it was supposed to be. This was all in God's perfect plan, and I didn't want it any other way.
     I spent most my visit at the grave, walking around the cemetery singing praise songs and praying. One song I just couldn't get off my mind was, 'How Great Thou Art'. I sang it over and over. The lyrics are so powerful.
     One of the verses goes,
O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works they hand hath made
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed;
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great thou art!

     I miss Josh. A lot. But God's plan is so perfect. He created the whole universe. I just look outside and see His mighty hand. God is so good. And His plan so perfect. I rest completely in His holy will for everything that happens.
     While in Grants Pass I was talking with a friend and we were talking about how in everything, God is so faithful. And how in the hard times, and in the unknown, it gives us all the more reason to trust and rely in God.
     It's easy to get wrapped up in our own plans for life. But when something happens to someone dear to you, everything changes...and then it becomes easy to worry about loving for fear of losing someone. But God is so faithful.
     Yesterday is a day I won't soon forget.
     Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Where to go from here

     I heard this song on the radio a few days ago, and it hit home.

I don’t know where to go from here
It all used to seem so clear
I’m finding I can’t do this on my own

I don’t know where to go from here
As long as I know that You are near
I’m done fighting
I’m finally letting go

I will trust in You
You’ve never failed before
I will trust in You

[Chorus:]
If there’s a road I should walk
Help me find it
If I need to be still
Give me peace for the moment
Whatever Your will
Whatever Your will
Can you help me find it
Can you help me find it

I’m giving You fear and You give faith
I giving you doubt
You give me grace
For every step I’ve never been alone

Even when it hurts, You’ll have Your way
Even in the valley I will say
With every breath
You’ve never let me go

I will wait for You
You’ve never failed before
I will wait for You

[Chorus]
I lift my empty hands (come fill me up again)
Have Your way my King (I give my all to You)
I lift my eyes again (Was blind but now I see)
‘Cause You are all I need

[Chorus]

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Even in the Pain...

     Wow. I am continually amazed by God's love and grace.
     I've said before life lately has been difficult, and it continues to be. But the crazy thing is: the more difficulties that arise, the more God shows me how much He is in control.
     A lot of things in my life currently hurt. And I struggle every day. But even in the pain, I am often filled with a joy I can't describe.
     Just this morning, I was playing a worship song on the piano, and something happened and brought a huge flood of pain and hurt and I just started crying. But even in that very moment, when I had tears streaming down my face...I didn't feel lost nor alone. I felt pain yes, but I also felt joy. It was an feeling a can't describe. To hurt, but to know God is there and in control and to be filled with His joy...wow. It's amazing.
     Life hurts, but God's love is stronger. There is pain, but God is in complete control. I may not understand my pain nor hurt, but through Jesus Christ, I have been made new and can have a joy that is indescribably. PRAISE GOD! :D


Even in the pain, God's love is shining through
And through each tears that falls, I am being made new
When my eyes are on the Savoir, who's grace I can't comprehend
And I can't help but smile, and thank Him for this day
:)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

For what reason?

     This last month I have learned a huge life lesson...about doing the 'right thing'.
     I usually don't have a problem with doing the 'right thing', even when it's hard. I know what's the right thing and, even if it takes some time and pain, I eventually do it.
     But doing the right thing isn't enough-I've failed big time on the main reason WHY we do the 'right thing'...to obey Christ, to do it with a heart to follow Christ. NOT just because it's the 'right thing'.
    If we do the 'right thing' merely because we have to do it and because we know it's what we're supposed to do...we may as well not do it at all!
     We aren't saved by our fruit and what we do. We are saved by our faith in Christ Jesus.
     Colossians 3:17, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
     We are to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. We are to do it from the heart. 
     The past few months I've made decisions that were the 'right thing' to do...but I didn't feel peace about them. I was frustrated and didn't understand. Hadn't I done the right thing? Why didn't I feel better about it?
     Because I only did it because I knew it was the right thing.
     I didn't do it with my heart FULLY trusting in Christ and desiring to glorify Him.
     Doing what's right isn't the hard part...it's our motive for doing it.
     What is your motive for each decision you make in life? Do you only make choices and changes because it's the 'right thing' to do? Or do you do it out of a desire to glorify and serve Christ from the heart?
     I for one need to be working a lot harder on making my motive for decisions the latter. What about you?


Saturday, January 12, 2013

A hard year...

2012 is over. 2013 is here. 2012 was by far the most painful year of my life, mainly because of loss.
The lost of friends moving away, going off to the marines...dying. 
The hardest loss was in May, when Josh died...each day, even 8 months laster, I think of him. I miss him.
And the most time that passes, the more I miss him. I miss his encouraging words, his selflessness and his smile. You couldn't have a conversation with Josh without being challenged in your walk with Christ.
But you know what? In all this pain, all this hurt...Christ has been glorified SO much! Josh's life and death were such a testimony. Why? Because he truly was a man who sought to honor God every moment of his life. He was a dear friend, and an amazing light that shined in a dark world.
I miss him, but I don't wish him back. This is God's plan. Everything that happened this year has been GOd's plan. Every moment that hurts. Every tear that falls.
I desire more than anything to make my life all about Christ...I've made a lot of changes in my life recently. Changes that I pray will ultimately draw me nearer to Christ. One of those changes included a very painful decision I made a few days ago. Hardest thing in my life I have ever done. It hurts so bad sometimes to follow Christ's will. But the Bible makes it clear the road to following CHrist isn't an one one. Quite the opposite.
Christ doesn't call us to a life of ease. We must endure hardships, for without those painful moments, there would be no reason to rely on the strength of Christ. When we stand firm during the hard times, we not only draw nearer to Christ, but we glorify Him and that should be our ultimate goal in life.


Life hurts right now.
But I will stand firm.
Not on my own strength.
But leaning upon the everlasting arms of Christ.
Shining His light.
Glorifying His holy name.
Praising Him with every breath He gives me.


His name is forever praised. Amen.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Selfless

     These past few months have been some of the most difficult months of my life. I'm struggling more then ever and quite often failing. 
     It's often hard to smile. 
     And I know that a huge reason is because I am thinking about myself.
     What would happen if I were to think about serving others...100%? To completely disregard anything to my gain(except drawing nearer to Christ through spending time in His word and pray)? If every part of me were focused on servings others and shining Christ's love, what would happen?
     I know for a fact doing this isn't easy. And I'm trying to do it more-but what life gets hard it seems nearly impossible to take your focus off your own issues. 
     ...Life hurts right now. But my goal is to make it hurt less for others...and in doing that, that hurt in my own life will lighten.
 
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." -Luke:6:32-36