Friday, June 27, 2008
Strength I find to meet my trials here
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment
I've no cause for worry or for fear
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best!
Lovingly it's part of pain and pleasure
Mingling toil with peace and rest
Every day the Lord himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour
All my cares he fain would bear and cheer me
He whose name is Counsellor and Power
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on himself he laid
'As your days, your strength shall be in measure'
This the pledge to me He made
Help me then in every tribulation
So to trust Your promises, O Lord
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation
Offered me within thy Holy Word
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting
E'er to take as from a father's hand
One by one the days the moments fleeting
Till I reach the promised land"
- Carolina Sandell Berg
This is one of my favorite hymns. There is so much truth in it and yet I'm sure so often we sing it without a thought. When I really think about the promise of this song it gives me so much encouragement. This song always makes me think of the passage in Matt 17:24-27. My dad preached a sermon on this one day and it stuck with me. It is talking about how the people who took up the tribute money asked Peter if Jesus would pay tribute and Peter foolishly said "yes". Well Jesus explained to him why he didn't need to pay tribute but said "Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee." Now, my point doesn't really have anything to do with the story except that did you notice that Jesus didn't say "Go get that fish and you will get a million dollars." He didn't make him rich so that he would never have to worry about tribute again but he did take care of the need of the moment. God may not always take away every burden and problem and He never promised to make us rich or allow us to have name brand clothing or the finest food around or the biggest mansion. But He did promise us that he would supply the needs. In reality, we don't even deserve that. What a good God! If we trust and depend on Him, He promises to give us the strength necessary for that day. Then we will come back to Him the next day for more strength. He is not just in control of our entire lives and our future but of each and every single day.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
It's for my good and for His glory. This trial's not the end of the story. There's a bigger picture God alone can see. Faith will take me through this sorrow, for I know He holds tomorrow; and He assures me it's for my good and for His glory.
I love the Lord and He has promised me He'll work all things for good. Through my tears I believe that His ways are higher than any of my own, and though my heart aches, He makes no mistakes!
It's for my good and for His glory. This trial's not the end of the story. There's a bigger picture God alone can see. Faith will take me through this sorrow, for I know He holds tomorrow; and He assures me it's for my good and for His glory."
The Lord really worked in my life this past school year through a verse that I had heard so many times before. Romans 8:28- "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." I was really struggling (as I have already mentioned) with the question "why". It seemed like the Lord spoke through sermon after sermon and devotion after devotion and in almost every single one for like a month, the person would mention this verse. It finally got through to me that God has a purpose for everything that He does. I don't have to know what that purpose is... just that He has one. He is working ALL things (not just the good but the bad too) together for my good. Now I could apply that in the way that God knows that this trial or circumstance will be good for me; make me stronger and increase my faith. And that's great! But, as it was revealed to me through preaching, the "good" that he is working things together for is to make me more like His son! Read vs 29: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." THAT IS THE PURPOSE! Now why would that be good, for me to be conformed to his image? Because the more I am like Jesus, the more I bring God glory. So it really is for my good and for his glory! I could finally stop asking God "why" because he answered it... "this is why this is happening: I'm trying to conform you to my son!" That's good enough reason for me!
Remember in your time of heartache or need, when you're wondering why this happened: His ways are higher than yours! You may not understand but you have the promise that the Lord is working all things together for Good (to make you more like Jesus!) and he makes no mistakes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Praise The Lord!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
How can I forgive the past and just start all over? How can I forget my scars and pour in the myrh? Is it really like me to make my enemy my friend? It's unlike me, but it's just like Him.
From the cross He said forgive them, for they know not what they do. When he said "It is finished" He made that possible for you. Calvary is where the hatred ends and forgiveness begins. It's unlike me, but it's just like Him."
Wow! What a song! This song spoke to my heart so much recently. For a while I had a hard time being around certain people at school because of some things they had said. And for a while I was angry in my heart toward people because of how they treated my family or friends. One day, my friend, Amy, gave me a CD with this song on it and I just started crying. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
How many times do we get angry with someone over something so silly. Sometimes, it's different, and there really is a lot of hurt and someone really did wrong us. But think of all the wrong that was done to Jesus. Has anything like that ever happened to us? No, probably not. Yet, he said "Forgive them." He knew what it was like to be betrayed, lied about, abused, made fun of, and forsaken. And we are constantly saying "What would Jesus do?" Well, what DID he do? He forgave. He had compassion and love for those people. We should do the same.
So, someone said something mean about me or lied about me... I forgive. When someone hurts me... I forgive.
After all... Let me not forget the great debt I have been forgiven, nor how much the Lord chooses to forgive me each day. (Read Matt 18:21-35)
Thanks for reading today! :)
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Lean on me, When you have no strength to stand. When you feel that you're going under just hold tighter to my hand. Lean on me, when your heart begins to bleed. When you come to the place where I'm all you have then you'll find I'm all you need!
When the road ahead seems rugged and the path is getting steep and I feel that I can't make it and I hang my head and weep. Then I turn to see who's coming to join me in the way. And I see that it's my Savior and I hear him gently say...
Lean on me when you have no strength to stand. When you feel that you're going under, just hold tighter to my hand. Lean on me when you heart begins to bleed. When you come to the place where I'm all you have then you'll find I'm all you need!"
Praise the Lord that we can lean on Him when burdens get too heavy for us. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is I Peter 5:7- "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." This is a lesson I learned in college this past year. My sophomore year was a hard one. I got involved with a guy first semester (whom I will have to explain at a later time) and I let myself be distracted from the Lord. Two days before Christmas break we broke up and the second semester was a living nightmare! We never had a time where we yelled at each other but there was absolutely tension and there was a lot of lies and miscommunication. Neither one of us handled it the way we should have, and I realize now, that as much as I blamed him, it was just as much my fault. I reacted in a very immature way and I definitely let the situation steal my joy and peace. But this is what I learned about 3/4 of the way through that second semester... I AM NOT STRONG ENOUGH!
I'm gonna let you in on one of my prayer journal entries from last semester just cuz I think this surrender is what is necessary to gain the strength you need in a hard time:
"Lord, I thank you for showing me through your Word that I'm not strong enough to handle all the situations in my life. I'm not strong enough to be a good witness at work and have a good testimony at school. I'm not strong enough to balance friendships. I'm not strong enough to handle finances. I'm not strong enough to handle Josh or his friends who are spreading lies. I'm not strong enough to be a good friend to (a girl) who has drifted away from you. I'm not strong enough to handle all these situations! My heart hurts too much. This heartache is making me weak. Thank you that I can cast it all at your feet and leave it. I know that you WANT me to give it to you. Thank you that YOUR strength is made perfect in my weakness. I love you, Lord. Please take these burdens. I give them to you..."
I have to go so that's all for today. But I hope that this will be a help to someone. Cast your cares upon him... you're not strong enough to handle them on your own. You can live life so much more joyfully and peacefully if you let go of the problems. More on this subject at a later time.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I have no idea who sings this song either but here it is:
Bow the Knee
There are moments on our journey, following the Lord, when God illumines every step we take. There are times when circumstances make perfect sense to us, as we try to understand each move he makes. But when the path grows dim, and our questions have no answers turn to Him.
Bow the knee. Trust the heart of your Father, when the answer goes beyond what you can see. Bow the knee. Lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the one who holds eternity. And when you don't understand the purpose of his plan, in the presence of the King, bow the knee.
There are days when clouds surround us and the rain begins to fall. The cold and lonely winds won't cease to blow. And there seems to be no reason for the suffering we feel and we are tempted to believe God does not know. When the storms arise don't forget we live by faith and not by sight.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I just wanted to encourage you today to make sure you have good godly friends! Looking back on some of the most ridiculous choices I made in life so far, I would have to say most of them were made because of the influence of a "friend". Not that I am not responsible for my own actions, but I was certainly influenced in the wrong direction many times by the friends I chose. When I was 15, I went through quite the stage of rebellion. I did a lot of things wrong. I hurt my parents so much and I honestly, hurt myself too mostly by messing up my testimony and making memories that are stuck in my head forever. It would keep us from making so many mistakes if we would just stop and think about #1- how it will affect our future, #2- how it will affect others (cuz it will!) and #3- how it will affect our testimony. If we will just think about this when making even the smallest choice (for instance- what to say when we smash our finger...) then we would maybe choose the right thing instead. The price of sin is much too high not to weigh the consequences. ANYWAYS... When I was in rebellion, do you think I chose to hang out with the good godly kids at school? No. I chose to be around people who were like me. Birds of a feather flock together- that is absolutely true! You are what your friends are or you soon will be what your friends are. Wow... now stop and think about your friends.
I have some of the BEST friends in the whole wide world right now. My bestest (yeah, I know, it's meant to be spelled that way) friend's name is Amy and she is amazing! I love her to death. Just today, I needed someone to talk to cuz I was struggling with something so I called her up. (just like I did yesterday when I was feeling discouraged) Well, she didn't answer but I left her a message explaining the whole situation and she called back while I was at work and left me a message that made me laugh and then just about made me cry, throwing in scripture and godly advice and assuring me that she loved me and was praying for me. Everyone needs a friend like that! She has been there for me when I needed to cry my eyes out or just talk about anything and she has always known just what to say or when to say nothing. She tells it to me like it is; never sugar coats it, which is important. And she can ALWAYS make me laugh! That's why she is my best friend! ( I will have to add a picture later) We go to college together and hopefully will be roommates next year! I'm so excited!
One of my other bestest friend's name is Rachel. She is the goofiest girl I have ever met, and to be totally honest, I wasn't sure how to handle her when I first met her. But after you spend a little time with her you realize that she has a huge heart and I guarantee she can make ANYONE laugh in a matter of seconds! She is who I go to when I need to talk (cuz she's a great listener) and then I need to laugh. I laugh harder with that girl than I ever have at any other time! On top of all that humor, she is so very generous and giving and is gaining so much godly wisdom at college. I know the Lord will use her life in a big way. I love her to death! She is such a blessing. Everyone needs a friend like her too! (pic promised later)
I have another great friend who I was roommates with last year named Kimi. She is crazy and fun and we can have fun doing even nothing. We have drifted apart just a little bit recently but I would still say that she was one of the best friends I have ever had. We spent like 24/7 together my freshmen year in college. She is so much fun.
Then there is my childhood best friend whom I still keep in contact with but not very good, Holly. She and I were inseperable from the ages of 9-14. If you found Holly then you would find Jenny. She and I always had SO much fun together. We would spend every weekend at each other's houses and stay up all night just talking and watching movies and being goofy. She was always someone who understood me and I could always be my silly self around her and never be afraid that she would think I was stupid. I could be braver when she was around cuz I knew she would "have my back". She still never forgets my birthday. That's a true friend right there. I'll never forget her and all the crazy memories we share and I love her little girl, Leah. She is such a cutie!
I have a couple other good friends who I have drifted apart from over the last couple years but they both made such an impact on my life and I still hold them so dear in my heart. One is a girl who is a couple years younger than me actually but she was a great influence on me. Her name is Nikki and she is probably the sweetest girl I know! She taught me a lot (even though she is younger) about love and compassion and thinking before I speak! She became my best friend during my junior and senior year in high school and we had so much fun together eating sonic and watching scary movies. She is a godly young lady and a great friend and I miss her so much!
The other one is my youth pastor's wife from Arkansas, Mrs. Abby. She was actually only a few years older than me and we became really close. I still had much respect for her as my youth pastor's wife but we were also close friends. She and her husband (my youth pastor, Bro. Claud) made a huge impact on my life. I would not be where I am today without their guidance and leadership and example. For any teen girls that might be reading this- befriend your youth pastor's wife or pastor's wife. They can teach you so much and may be the best friend you could ask for.
Last but not least- every girl should make her mom one of her best friends. My mom and I have had our differences and still do every once in a while but we have a close relationship and I consider her one of my best friends. My mom is the one and only person who will always love me no matter what I do and my mom knows me better than anyone else and she can usually tell me even why I am feeling a certain way. We haven't always been as close as we are now and I regret that but I am so thankful for her and for our relationship now. She has been there for me and listened to me gripe about backstabbing people and cry my eyes out over the phone about homesickness or a guy. One thing that is very special to me is when she sends me mail while I'm at college. She sends me packages and cards and McDonald's gift cards that say "the sun will come out tomorrow" on it. lol Those are special and she always sends encouragement right when I need it. Now that's a mom and a friend!
Every person needs good godly friends like mine! They will laugh with you and cry with you. They will lift you up with Bible advice and a joke or just listen. They will sit in the hall with you and wipe the mascara away while handing you a Dr.pepper. Then drag you to the car without saying a word and take you to get chocolate ice cream just to make you feel better. lol They will let you bawl your eyes out and blubber and cry on the phone even though they can't understand what you're saying cuz they know it will make you feel better to just get it out. They are absolutely priceless and so are the memories we make! I hope this made you thankful for your friends or encouraged you to find some friends like this. Sorry it's so long but I love my friends! They can make you or break you!
"To know the value of a day, ask someone who lost someone on September 11Th.
To know the value of an hour, ask a high school student about to take a major test.
To know the value of a minute, ask a man who just missed his plane.
To know the value of a second, ask an Olympic swimmer who just won the silver medal."
Time is so valuable! Ephesians 5:16- "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
I think of how much time I wasted in high school on so many stupid things. Boys were definitely a problem... goodness! I hate to admit it but guys were even a time waster for me last semester in school. But after reading this verse, I really want to work hard and hopefully (through God's grace) not focus on any guys when I go back to school. I need to trust that if God wants me to be married then he will bring the right person into my life in HIS time. I don't need to go looking for him and try really hard to get him. " A LADY SHOULD BE SO LOST IN GOD THAT A MAN MUST SEEK GOD TO FIND HER." That's an awesome saying! I pray that guys will no longer be a distraction from "redeeming the time." I don't have time to worry about them... MY DAYS ARE NUMBERED!
I also spent so many years afraid of what other people thought. I was so self-conscious and must admit I still struggle with it. I worry all the time about looking stupid! Well, for those of you who also wrestle with this, here is what I've learned: If you spend so much time worrying about looking stupid or sounding stupid, you will never learn to enjoy life! Stop worrying about what others think! I'm telling myself this too. You will enjoy life so much more if you learn to let go of your fear of others and seize the moment. You will miss out on so many memories if you don't! Remember- Your days are numbered! Don't spend them sitting on the sidelines because you are afraid! GO! DO! GET INVOLVED in something! You won't regret it!
Well, that's what I learned today. Hope it is a help to someone! :)
Friday, June 6, 2008
If you are a teenager in your parents youth group, here is my advice... Don't expect special treatment. When you are at church, you are one of their teens and you are therefore, not exempt from the rules. Believe me, I know how hard it can be to have your parents as your youth workers. It's like you can never get away from them! And sometimes, it's actually the parents who have a hard time distinguishing between parent and youth worker. Instead of treating you like "one of the teens" they are too busy acting like your mom or dad. They will probably expect a little more out of you too (sometimes forgetting that you are still just a teen). Be patient and talk to them about it. That's the best thing you can do. And my personal opinion is that it's ok if you feel that you need to seek godly counsel from someone besides mom and dad (even though they are the youth workers) Just make sure it's godly counsel. Talk to your pastor or his wife or another trustworthy, godly adult in your church... but make sure you keep your parents informed about things and be willing to talk to them too. I think they need you to bring your problems to them sometimes. It builds a bond of trust.
" The seed you've planted deep, is yet to grow. You wonder when you'll reap the things you sew. And how long has it been since rain last touched your brow. You search the skies but the rain just can't be found. But it will rain again! The fruit will fill the vine. The stalk will bend with wheat, the grapes burst forth with wine. So go into your field. Your work is not in vain. God promised harvest. And I know it will rain. So lift your head today and see the task. The rain will come your way, if you will ask. Go build your barns my friend. Prepare to store the grain. The clouds are coming, and I know it will rain." (The McRaes-"It will rain again")
Don't ever give up on those people you're trying to reach. Just keep working and keep praying! You never know if you are making a great difference in a person's life.
Now, from the daughter's point of view... My parents were pretty good about balancing family time and church time. Parents, don't let your children take a back seat to your ministry. Family comes first. Your kids need you and you don't want to be so caught up in someone else's that your own feel like you are too busy to deal with their problems. If you are breaking your back to make it to one of your teen's sports activities then make sure you are at your own child's school function. Also try not to share too much of the dirty details of the ministry with them. There are some things that they just don't need to know yet. My parents were quite cautious of complaining about teens in front of my brother and I. If all your children ever hear about and see is the rebellion and lies and such that are a part of most ministries, it could drive them away from ever wanting to serve in the ministry later. Make sure they see the good stuff too. Make sure they understand the importance of a life changed and a soul saved. Make sure they understand what a great thing it is to have a teen make a decision to serve God. More likely than not, your child probably looks up to at least one of those teens.
If you have teenage children then make sure they are part of the youth group. Don't always expect them to be super Christian just because they are your child. Remember, they are just a teen too. Make sure there is a little bit of separation between parent and youth worker. When you are at church or on a youth activity, treat them like "one of the teens". Try not to constantly be getting on to them. Don't forget, other teens go to camp and get a break from their parents for a week, your kids don't get that. I'm not saying you can't ever treat them like your child but just give them a little room to just be a teen. They will probably appreciate it.
Finally- let your teens see that it's real in you! Don't be a fake. Be genuine! They can tell!
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
We immediately became involved in church. My dad wanted to learn all he could about the Bible and soaked everything up like a sponge. He was amazed that someone could go 31 years through his life and never hear the Gospel. After only about a year he became the youth director and the teen class grew from 3 to 30 in a few months. God blessed tremendously!
There was a church split after about 4 years there and our family ended up leaving and attending another Baptist church in a nearby town. It was while we were attending there that my dad surrendered to the call to preach. We moved to Cleveland, Oklahoma (a small town about 45 minutes from Tulsa) and my dad took a small church there. That was where I officially became a "Preacher's kid". I was 14. My dad pastored there for 3 years and God grew the church in a major way. Then my dad felt the need to move to Heber Springs, Arkansas to get some more training under another pastor. We moved there when i was 17 and the plan was to eventually be sent out of this church to start one. Well, I went off to Heartland Baptist Bible college in the fall of 2006, and in May of 2007, my family was moving again... this time, back to our hometown area. Dad felt called to start a church in a little town right near where I grew up. My first summer home from college was also my first summer being not only a pastor's daughter but a church planter's kid. I have learned a lot from my experience as a youth director's daughter, a pastor's daughter, a church planter's daughter, and leaving home to go to Bible college. I continue to learn to trust God each day and I have learned so much about his control of my life. I hope to share some of it with anyone willing to read and I pray it will be a help. :) That's all for today. Come back again later! Thanks for reading!