I invite you to join discussions, it enhances the reading experience for everyone. Please share your thoughts, opinions and knowledge in a respectful manner. May we all learn something in our endeavor to educate our hearts and minds. I look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, September 30, 2013

I can't WAIT to join the Prisoner Club!

Have you ever seen other Christians receive blessing upon blessing and wondered why it’s not happening for you?

Have you ever prayed the same thing a million times and still not gotten an answer? 

Have you ever stood upon scripture, declaring truth in your life, and still not seen results?

If you’ve answered “YES” to any of these (or all of them if you’re like me) then join the PRISONER CLUB.

Being a Prisoner of Christ doesn’t have to mean a literal cell. 

Prison can take on a variety of forms: disease, financial strain, social isolation, job loss, miscarriages, etc.

It can be so easy to ask God, “WHY?” when we are sitting in a cell, WAITING!

Waiting for answers.

Waiting for deliverance.

Waiting for miracles.

Waiting to be used.

Waiting to find rest.

Waiting for God to DO something to change our situation.

I know I’ve been in this situation more than once (I tend to be impatient so waiting isn’t my strong point). But Sorge brought some healing and enlightenment in chapter 3 of his book, “The Fire of Delayed Answers.”

“God strategically imprisons some of His servants in order to prepare them for His purposes…The Lord oversees our suffering from beginning to end…”

The initial pain of waiting is hard and God understands that- He designed us after all. 

It’s hard to realize the answer we are looking for isn’t coming “how” or maybe “when” we want.

It’s hard to have a dream put on hold.

It’s hard to have plans changed, careers end, marriages collapse, and so on.

Waiting is hard.

Prison is hard. No matter what form it comes to us. 

When I was pregnant with my miracle son, I was on reduced activity (not bed rest, but close enough). It was frustrating not being able to DO things. I felt like time was passing me by and I wasn’t being productive.

God showed me that I could use that time to draw closer to Him. Instead of sitting on the couch watching movies that would pollute my mind, I could spend time reading His Word. Instead of pouring over the endless social media sites, I could use my talent to write FOR God. 

God used my down time to build me up, to grow our relationship and to show me there was more to me than what I knew.

“One of the purposes of prison is to give the prisoner
great quantities of time to spend with the Lord.”

Oh, that is so true, my friend!

I cherish that time. I wish I had MORE of it now.

I realize not all types of “prison” are as nice as mine, but the point is still the same, use that time to get to know God more. Don’t let it drive you away from Him, GO TO HIM!

“God is using your imprisonment to perfect the wine of your
love and to prepare you for greater fruitfulness.”

Don’t waste the precious time God has given you to draw closer to Him…you may never get it back.

Time is a comedy.

God is Good. 

Trust in Him.

Wait for Him.

Use your time wisely.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.Isaiah 40:31 KJV

Join the Book club discussing, “The Fire of Delayed Answers” by Bob Sorge, by either grabbing a copy of the book and joining the weekly discussions and/or leaving a comment below. You can read more about this chapter from: Jason, Sarah, Rick, Dusty, Keri, Glynn,  and Joell. Most post on Wed- sorry for any confusion.

Question: Do you find it hard to Wait? How can you use that time more productively?

Monday, September 23, 2013

The JOY of Losing it All.

There’s a song we occasionally sing at my church. When I first heard it, it irritated me more than I care to admit.

I’ll share part of it. See if you relate to these words, or if you’re like me, and your first thought is that the writer is either a LIAR or has never walked through real fire.

I've lost some good friends along life's way
Some loved ones departed in Heaven to stay
But thank God I didn't lose everything…
I never lost my hope,
I never lost my joy
I never lost my faith
But most of all
I never lost my praise

Right after my dad died, I lost my JOY, PRAISE, HOPE, and almost my FAITH. I lost all this even though BEFORE he passed, God told me it was going to happen.

“Jesus doesn’t lead you into theological crisis until He’s first given you His voice.” Sorge ch 2

God’s VOICE carried me through the worst months of my life with peace and assurance that could only come from Him.

However, as grief closed in, I began losing all the above mentioned items one by one.

It began with my JOY. 

I lost ALL joy. With it, went my ability to PRAISE God through the pain. 

Next, my HOPE disappeared. 

I found myself in despair with no way out. 

The walls were closing in.

I felt completely alone.

I couldn't hear the VOICE of God anymore. Where was He?
My world was upside down and it was God’s fault.

Yes, He had warned me He was going to take my dad, but did He have to allow such suffering before He took a saint home? Did He have to allow me to feel so isolated from loved ones? Did He have to continue to make my life a living hell? Couldn’t He ease up just a little? What more did He want from me?

These questions led me down a dangerous path…was God even real? Or had I been trusting in “RELIGION”? 

My FAITH was crashing, my new marriage crumbling, and my career was at a cross roads. 

This was the worst fire I'd ever experienced and as close as I’ve ever come to relating to Job.

Only Job was a righteous man (Job 1:1) and I was far from it. I’ll be honest,  my walk with God was on the downward slope even before my dad’s death. God didn’t rank high in my life…He knew it and I knew it. Heck, everyone knew it.

Oct 1st it will be five years since my dad went Home. In that time, a great deal has changed in my life (and marriage) and I can honestly say my father’s death was the pivotal point. 

“But he knows the way that I take;
    when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
Job 23:10 NIV

I still don’t completely understand why I went through that fire, but I can say that my faith is stronger. 

“Job had always been a man of faith,
but at the conclusion of his ordeal he had a faith
that was purer and stronger and deeper than anything he
had previously known.”  Sorge pg40

I’ve been asked what I would change about those days if I could…after much prayer (and maturing), I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing.

All the pain. All the doubts. All the fears, frustrations, questions, anger… all the FIRE, was worth the Relationship I now have with my Savior. 

Excuse the pun, but it was hell going through. But the end result is worth far more than gold. It’s changed me. It’s healed me and it’s helped me realize I NEVER want Religion in place of a Relationship with Christ.

Only the fire could produce this. 

I pray the next time I go through a large fire I won’t lose my FAITH, HOPE, JOY, or PRAISE.

 But even if I do loose it for a time, God’s still got me. He’s still big enough to handle anything I throw at Him. And in the end…I’ll come forth as gold (or at least closer to it).

Join the Book Club discussing, “The Fire of Delayed Answers” by Bob Sorge, either by grabbing a book and joining the weekly discussions and/or leaving a comment below. You can read more about this chapter from: Jason, Sarah, Rick, Dusty, Kari, Glynn,  and Joell. Most post on Wed- Sorry for any confusion.

Your turn: Tell me about your fire...can you see God in it?

Monday, September 16, 2013

The JOY Before Him...

I’ve been thinking a great deal about Heb 12:2, specifically this part, “…for the joy set before him he endured…”

A few weeks ago Floyd posted Riding out the Storm. That prompted a few bloggers to write on that same subject (way to go Floyd).  

In his comment section I posted, “In Christ, Death has lost its sting. What does that mean for the believer? To me it’s starting to mean that we should live without fear of any kind. It means that persecution (like the kind Christians are facing in Egypt right now) can be faced with joy knowing that death is only the doorway to more life. (emphasis added)

Going back to Heb 12:2, Jesus knew what was on the other side of His painful death- LIFE! Life in heaven with God!

Knowing that, He was able to endure the cross.

Did you get that… on the other side of death, is life

That should give us boldness to Live FULLY for Christ. We can have JOY, knowing we overcome death!

But there’s more to this scripture that can comfort us in trials and provide inconceivable joy. 

It wasn’t simply for LIFE after DEATH that Christ endured the cross with JOY, it was for YOU and for ME!

Heaven wasn’t His only reward for dying- WE ARE!

We are His JOY!

He endured all that pain so that someday, when we die, He will get to spend eternity with us!

He loves us that much!

While we view the death of a loved one with sorrow, it’s a WELCOME HOME party in heaven!

He’s happy to see us.

That’s awesome, but there’s more…

As I’ve pondered “…the joy set before Him…” I realized something.

I LOVE my son beyond all human logic.

I would do ANYTHING to keep him safe…even die (God willing I will never have to follow through with these words).

Even if tomorrow my son renounced me. Even he was the one who wanted me dead, I would do it.

In a heartbeat.

I LOVE him that much.

Knowing he was safe would settle my spirit and give me courage to endure the pain of death. The “joy before me” would be HIM.  His life, his safety, would prompt me to give everything.

It’s the same with God. He gave EVERYTHING so we could be safe from the consequences of sin. He had JOY in knowing He was providing for our future. 

Am I making myself clear?

I hope so.

I pray this grips you. That you really understand the depths of the LOVE Christ has for you.

Even if you were the only one, I’m confident that Heb 12:2 would still have been written.

You are His JOY.

You are His reason for hanging on the cross.

You are not a burden to Him that He had to overcome in order to LIVE in heaven.

You are His child and He loves you even more recklessly than I love my son. 

Now that’s something to shout about! 

Death is a storm we can overcome with JOY

After all, due to His sacrifice, death is a door that leads to greater life. 

Thanks, Floyd, for inspiring another writer with your post.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39 NIV

I don’t know about you, but that scripture gives me JOY!

Monday, September 2, 2013

On Vacation!!!

Just wanted to let you know that I'm on vacation till Sept 16th.

Have a blessed few weeks and hope you enjoyed the Labor Day weekend.

God bless.

Oh, and if you haven't signed up for my Newsletter you're missing out. Chris Vonada from I'm Just Thinkin' gave a great interview that will be coming out Wed. Sept. 4th. You can sign up here. Who knows, you could be the next Featured Blogger in my Dec. edition :)

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." Proverbs 9:10 NIV