Monday, April 7, 2014

The Answer!

I've been doing this devotional on the book of Daniel. And also just finished a book and small group study on the book the Circle Maker by Mark Batterson (it's about prayer).  I love how God puts the same message in my midst multiple times and from many different places. I guess he really wants me to get it!

Anyway as we finished up this study we as individuals and as a group prayed for many things, some we've seen answer right away (jobs, healing, etc...) some we may never see the answers but we won't stop circling these things in prayer, things like loved ones who've turned away from God, missions opportunities, unity in our church etc...

There are times when we pray that we want, or hope to see answers right away, but that doesn't always happen. In fact it rarely happens. I have been a follower of Christ long enough to know that! But I also know and believe that as soon as we think the thought, speak the words, or even mumble in distress God begins to work!

Daniel 9:23 AMP
At the beginning of your prayers, the word [giving an answer] went forth, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved. Therefore consider the matter and understand the vision.

Oh, how I wish I had a visit from Gabriel!
I am always Praying for the neon sign, bonk on the head, whatever it takes to know without a doubt God is answering. Who doesn't want to know that God is there interceeding for you or would like to know why something did or didn't happen. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is there death, and pain? Abuse? And hundreds of other questions.

When Daniel prayed God sent Gabriel.

When Gabriel visits Daniel, it's not by accident. Daniel brought him there. Daniel was praying. He was confessing his sin. He was seeking the Lord. And that's when the answers came.

I know that's the same for us, when pray seeking God he sends His messengers. He has all along, sometimes we (Me) need to quiet ourselves long enough to hear.

Jesus was sent to be a messenger  to us, and through His word we can find that message, of redemption, freedom, love,forgiveness, sacrifice! We need His message! We need Him!

We need Him when we're grieving, when the world hurts us, amidst the confusion the chaos, the pain, the joy and the situations that seem to have no answer. The situations that seem hopeless.

We need this Heavenly Visitor daily. And like Daniel, He comes to us when we pray. He pulls us closer when we confess our sin. He gives us rest from answer-seeking when we seek Him and love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and all our strength.

Whatever you are walking through today, whatever you are fighting to understand, make sense of or see- I hope you know Jesus is the answer! 

He is the Answer!

So don't give up! Know He hasn't left you alone!  He is with you!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

You may be the only Jesus they see!

I was reminded this week, how important your actions are. Words count don't get me wrong. However if what you say doesn't match up with what you do people will notice! 


I struggle a lot with people pleasing. God gave me a tender heart for others and sometimes, a lot of times it seems more important to me what people think of me then what God thinks of me. So I will say yes, way more often than no. I don't necessarily think this is all bad, but I have begun to recognize that you can do good things, and still not be doing what God is requiring of you.

Terry used a great example in his sermon Sunday.  If we need to forgive our brother, and don't right away but instead read scripture, do bible study etc... (which are good thing!) And put off the forgiveness, then you are not being obedient.  

All to often we will bypass what we need to do because it is hard, or boring, or whatever excuse we come up with, to do something that's more enjoyable, easier, etc..  or maybe we allow fear of not pleasing others, not fitting in, not stirring others up. 

This week two boys reminded me it okay to show, and share my faith everyday and everywhere!  The first boy is wearing his drama camp shirt that has this scripture on it:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with alll your mind and with all your strength.  Mark 12:30 

While enjoying some ice cream at DQ an older gentleman approached him, commented on his shirt and asked if he wore it to school. He replied yes. The older gentleman then asked if he went to christian school or public, the boy replied with public school. The older gentleman thanked him went on his way, as he was leaving he dropped something on the boys table.  
After opening the paper he realized it was $10.   Rather than blow it on more ice cream or something for himself, this young man gave it as an offering that night at his church.  God had blessed him and he was blessing others. His actions were way more powerful than his words.  


The next young man attends the school I work at.  He wore this shirt last week .  When I asked if i could take a picture of his shirt he was proud to show me and even proceeded to talk to me about the movie, and music that goes right along with it.  What a great way to get others talking and sharing about Gods love.  
These two boys showed me by example what it means to walk the talk.  They not only show it with their words but their actions as well. 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with alll your mind and with all your strength.  
Mark 12:30 

They do this, even more they exemplify the next verse 
Mark 12:31
The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.

We can all learn a lot from these two scriptures and these two boys. Just remember  you may be the only Jesus some one else sees!  

Have a Beautiful Day! 
Christina 



(I had permission from both boy's parents to post their pictures) 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

One day at a time!

Jesus Calling seems to be spot on lately! I've taken on a new attitude, since returning from my trip to Honduras. It's an attitude of letting go of self! Way easier said than done.  But I am working on it, not willing to give up, because I know God's not through with me yet!

Below is the devotion written by Sarah Young and my ramblings in the {brackets}

Stop trying to work things out before their times have come.

{How often do I do this trying to rush God, as if I could! Thinking God isn't listening if He doesn't respond my way,in my time!}

Accept the limitations of living one day at a time.  {Ask fir help, knowing it's impossible with out God}{So much easier said than done, But not impossible}

When something comes to your attention, ask Me whether or not it is part of today’s agenda. If it isn’t, release{don't keep going back for it } it into My care and go on about today’s duties. When you follow this practice, there will be a beautiful simplicity about your life: a time for everything, and everything in its time.

A life lived close to Me is not complicated or cluttered. {I am seeing that more and more, even though my circumstances haven't changed my perspective on them has!}

When your focus is on My Presence, many things that once troubled you lose their power over you. {Those things lose the power they once held over you}

Though the world around you is messy and confusing, remember that I have overcome the world. I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have Peace. {Such amazing peace. A peace that cannot be faked, altered,or copied. A peace you can only get from Christ!}

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. —Ecclesiastes 3:1

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33

God has been using so many things around me to speak His truth and His peace unto me, from my morning bible reading, (Daniel), my devotions (Jesus Calling ), our small group study (The Circle Maker), and  even songs on the radio. I know I am always growing, stretching, learning, about Christ and His role in my life, and I am excited to see what God reveals to me, in His timing of course. So for now it will be One day at a time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Control!

The following is a Jesus Calling Devotion from the other day that just really spoke to my heart! I added my  notes in { these brackets} 

This is a time in your life when you must LET GO: {release whatever it is that is blocking  you from complete dependence/trust in God} of Loved Ones, of Possessions, of Control. {I have control issues, I don't  always need to be in control, but I do like to know whats going to happen, and when!  I Like Plans, Order!} In Order to let go of something that's precious to you, you need to rest {refresh, unwind, unbend, slowdown, recharge} in My {God's} Presence, where you are complete! {Complete/whole in His presence!}

Take time {unhurried, linger, without haste} to bask in the Light of My Love.  As you relax more and more, your gripping hand gradually opens up, releasing {set free, liberate, remove restrictions} your prized possessions into My care.  

You can feel secure {certain,  freedom from anxiety/fear}, even in the midst of cataclysmic changes, through awareness {knowledge of, alertness, familiarity, understanding, recognition} of My Continual Presence.  The One Who Never Leaves you is the same as the One Who Never Changes: I am the Same, today, and forever! 

As you release more and more things into My Care, remember that I Never Let Go of your hand! Herein Lies your security, which no one and no circumstance can take from you. 


{My Ramblings}:  I think this spoke so much to me because even though I don't consider myself to be a control freak, I do lean closer to that side of the line than to completely be free to not worry, stress, plan, etc... I know as I grow in my faith {I believe that we can continue to grow our faith everyday until we are no longer on this earth} that I will be able to Let Go more easily, and not feel the need to plan, worry, etc..  I also know and believe that the more I bask in God's Truth and Love the more I take time to linger in His Presence the closer I am to releasing or setting free those things that I try so desperately to hold on to! 

 Such great things to remember! Let Go and Let God!

 When I think of my need for control I am reminded of how hunters catch monkeys in the wild!  The monkey is a pretty stubborn animal, and so they put a treat in a coconut shell with a hole big enough for a monkey to fit his hand in.  The stubbornness of the monkey won't allow it to let go of or release it's grasp on the treat inside the coconut shell and therefore becomes trapped, and even killed because of it!  I wonder how many times I have been so focused on the unseen "treat" inside the coconut shell that I can't let go and allow God's freedom to surround me? 

Psalm 89:15
 Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the people who know the joyful sound [who understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by the feasts]; they walk, O Lord, in the light and favor of Your countenance!

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today, [yes] and forever (to the ages).

Isaiah 41:13
 For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord, Who says to you, Fear not; I will help you!

Father Thank You, that you are in control that you can take my rambling, bumbling mess and make it into something beautiful, the brokenness in me can be used for your glory. Thank you for your Word, and Truth! 



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sow Seeds!

It's been some time since I've blogged, no reason really other than I haven't felt like I had anything of significance to say. Not sure if what I will say today is of any significance or not but I am feeling prompted by God to be obedient and I want so much to be obedient to His calling in the "BIG things" so I need to be obedient in the "small things" as well.
I just returned from my second trip to Honduras to serve and work with Open Doors Ministries there, and also with My Brothers Keeper Ministries. The trip was amazing! Life changing! Inspiring! An Answer to Prayer!  Healing! and so much more.

I have to give you some background to understand how I got to right now!  Here goes something:

For the past few months I have felt alone, isolated, abandoned by God, I know He wasn't pulling away it was all me.  I can't even pinpoint the exact moment it happened it just sorta started and rather than drop to my knees in prayer, I sat by and allowed it to happen.  I caused friction in relationships, disillusion in ministry, and helplessness in everything.  I felt alone, misunderstood, under appreciated, and abandoned. No matter what I tried it wasn't working! Then the depression started to creep in.  I wasn't ready to end everything, but I knew that I wasn't feeling like my typical self.  I was doing an okay job of faking it, and putting on the smile like everything was okay but it wasn't.  

The couple of weeks leading up to the trip were busy, and so I continued to push it off, this feeling.  It wasn't until we were on the plane to Honduras that I let my self think about it, and pray! It was superficial at first, but that's a great thing about God, He can take our ramblings and use them to bring Him glory.  All through out our time in Honduras He spoke healing to my heart! Through the smiles and hugs and laughter of the children in the Orphanage and at the girls home.  Even at the feeding station. 

We arrived late Friday Night and checked into our hotel and tried to sleep.  I was restless most of the night!  I heard every little sound.  It was not a good start, but God has a funny way of using even those annoyances to show His glory . We met for breakfast, devotions, and were on the long drive to Tocoa before 7:30 am. When Saturday night came I was worn out! (that's not good the first day!) As I journal ed and prayed that night I read Psalm 119: 33-40 and wrote this as my prayer:

God, Teach Me lessons for living so that I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what You tell me- my whole life one long obedient  response. Guide Me down the road of your commandments: I love traveling this freeway! Give me a bent for your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot. Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets.  Invigorate me on the pilgrim way.  Affirm your promises to me-promises made to all who fear you.  Deflect the  harsh words of my critics-but what you say is always so good.  See how hungry I am for your counsel; preserve my life through your righteous ways! 

 This was the first step in bringing healing to my heart. Each day God continued to healing, and I know He is not done yet! His Word,  His truth and getting out of the way was the catalyst for healing.  All long the time there God was healing me, and showing me only I was to blind to see it completely! Several more things happened during my time there that I know was God directed for me to see and know He heard the ramblings of my heart and mind and He was there!  

Our last day in Tocoa was the most powerfully I felt God!  To start that morning a few of us got to tour Dr. Ivan's  private hospital  and then his wife, Lesbiea prayed for each one of us individually, and even though it was in Spanish it was as if my heart knew exactly what she was saying.  I could feel God working through her touch on my heart and my head as she prayed.  The tears falling were like the toxic thoughts and feelings leaving my body.  I felt like that whole day I was on the verge of tears.  That night when it was time for us to leave Tocoa, we were saying our good byes and as a team we were asked to pray for the pastor and his wife, she was feeling alone, tired,etc... just like I was.  Our leader Deb pushed me gently to the front to lay hands on them both and pray! I am not sure what words were spoken I only know that at that moment I felt God holding me and them in His hands, whispering I got you! I love you, you are not alone! Tears streaming down my face, thankfully it was dark and I didn't have to explain to anyone what it was about because I don't think I could! 

Through out the rest of our time in Honduras my eyes were slowly being opened to reveal more of Gods truth, more healing, and that leads me to today. 

We had some missionaries that spoke at church this morning.  They spoke on the parable of the Seed from Matthew 13: 3-8, 18-23 .  It was the perfect ending to my mission trip and last day before I return to work and getting back to life.  He titled his talk the Parable of the Soil.  He talked about the different kinds of soil, the sower, and the seed.  

The Sower = Jesus was the original/ first we are now the sower
The Seed= Gods Word, Telling others Sharing the Gospel
The Soil= The heart condition of the one hearing it

He reminded us to be faithful, keep on sowing the seed!  It's not up to us to save just sow, God will do the saving! 

During the Sunday School hour both missions teams (Chicago, and Honduras) shared about their experiences and from all of this,

I heard God clearly tell me my Mission Field is here, where I am now!
You see I have been saying for the past several years that once our youngest graduates we (my husband and I) will go be missionaries somewhere, Africa maybe, Honduras, who knows but I thought it would be away from what we know, and that may still be the case. I don't know!  But I do know that God does and that in His time He will reveal it to us.  For now I am to be a sower of seeds where I am!  The foreign missions are important, going to other places is important, and if called I will go obediently.  But when I am home here in Augusta I can and should be being a missionary right here!  Sow seeds! Let God worry about the Saving! 

God has given me a heart for girls and women's ministries and I need to follow through on being obedient to that! Sowing seeds into the lives of the girls and women He puts before me.  

This blog will be one way I can do that by sharing my heart, my struggles, my weaknesses, as well as my victories, through Christs leading in my life.  


Christina
Sower of Seeds

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Getting My Baby Fix

The First day we went to the Orphanage, the kids there didn't quite know what to think of all of us.   One of the team members had come a few days early to get the playground equipment and tools organized and ready for us to work, when we arrived.  We toured the compound first.  There are currently three homes, in the compound one for young boys (under 5) Older boys (5 & up) and one for Girls (all ages), and a church.  The hope is to have one or two more homes, finish the church, and have a storage building for supplies, clothes, etc..   Eventually they would like to have an on site pastor full time.

When we started working on building the playground, several kids came out from school, and morning chores to check out what we were doing.  Most stood back and just watched us, some tried climbing on the equipment as we built, and one ornery little girl Katarina (we became fast friends) started playing a game of catch me if you can with the jungle gym we were putting together.  We did finally get it together.  After several days we completed the entire playground, a jungle gym, trampoline, hop scotch, balance beam, and even fixed the two swing sets they had there.  The kids LOVED IT!

To see the smiles on their faces as they climbed, and played was worth the work.  Plus I even got to use some power tools.

There are about 40 or so kids in the orphanage.  There were a few who really captured my heart.

Katarina was of course one of them.  She has a twin sister Nicole, a younger brother Josweigh, and younger sister Carla.  Katarine reminded me so very much of my Katie when she was younger.  Always running at full speed, happy, and curious about everything.  She Loved playing and running. She has a beautiful smile and her laugh was contagious.




Several family groups of kids live in the orphanage, and one family group that I got attached to was Wendy's family.  This is Wendy :

She was found in a home with her Siblings: Jasmine (8), Fanny, Vladi, & Jonah.  Jasmine the oldest was taking care of them, no parents or adults around, and they were so filled with parasites that had they not been found when they were they would not have survived.  They are still dealing with medical issues from the parasites but they are getting better everyday! Wendy loved to be pushed in the swing and always had a sweet smile on her face.

Xavier caught my attention right away.  He was quiet and shied away from all the noise and action.  He was afraid to slide, jump on the trampoline and swing by himself.  I spent much of my time swinging with him, and encouraging him.  His smile and little laugh warmed my heart.  I can still see his smile as he would conquer a fear.



The little one that still has a piece of my hear is Manuel.  He and his brother were abandoned by their mom, whom we ran into one morning outside our hotel.  She used to work at the orphanage and decided being on the street was better for her, thankfully she left the boys their to be loved and cared for.  As a mom myself, I can not even fathom leaving my children.    Manuel just wanted to be loved.  He attached to me pretty quickly and I had no problem with that.  I only wish I could have taken him and his brother home with me.  Every day when we would get there, he would come out and look at our van, walk around it until he found someone to hold him.  As I held him I prayed, sang, and talked to him.  He was the hardest for me to leave.  Manuel is one reason I know I will go back to Honduras.  



The above picture was snapped by one of the ladies on the trip.  We went back to say our good byes, and I had just sat  Manuel down to leave and he looks up at me like this.  I had to choke back tears, and when ever I see this picture is brings back all the emotions from that final day.  

I loved my time in Honduras.  I learned so much about who I am and where I belong.  I got to see God in action in the lives of  everyone we came in contact with.  I know I will go back to Honduras one day. I loved seeing the joy and excitement in the kids, as they played and to know that I was privileged to be a part of that!  To also know and see the amazing work God is doing through Open Door Ministries (Honduras) in the lives of the children and people of Honduras was such a blessing to me.  

We have another team scheduled to go to Honduras in June and I have already started praying that God would use them in mighty ways! I can't wait to hear their stories and see how God works in them.  

Next time I will share about the Feeding Stations! 

Have a Beautiful Day! 

Christina