March 31, 2008

Broken pieces


Praise the Lord, O my soul;
All my inmost being, praise His holy name.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits-
Who forgives Your sins
And heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit
And crowns you with love and compassion,
Who satisfies your desires with good things
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s
Psalm 103:1-5

Does your life look like a mess scattered all over the floor? Do you ever feel like nothing could be made from the jumbled chaos that is your life? Between the sins, the hurts and the failures it all lays as a million broken pieces that long to be put together.


God created us in His image and we are a beautiful reflection of who He is. He gave His only Son for us so that our lives could be turned into a beautiful master piece through His grace. On our own, our lives don't make any sense. When we pick up the pieces and attempt on our own to put them together it only leaves a bigger mess and the pieces just don’t fit together.

There is someone who longs to put those pieces back together and He is waiting for us to lift them up to Him. Once we finally surrender and turn them all over to Him, He enters into the picture, picks up the broken pieces and begins to form them. He takes those pieces and ever so carefully turns them into a spectacular master piece through His mercy, grace, forgiveness and love. He transforms our lives into an object that makes sense and that is usable. We are touched by the Master, and when His creation (A reborn life) is revealed, it is made whole and new again! There are no flaws to be found because we are made new in Him. His finger prints are evident and it is clear that He is our source of completion and renewal.

"Lord, I am wonderfully made because You are my Creator. From my beginning until my end You form me into the creation that You have willed for my life. Thank you Lord! Thank you Lord that in my brokenness You pick up my pieces and make me Your beautiful master piece!"
Written by Nicole

March 28, 2008

Blessings

“I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have not withheld your son, your only son, I will bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

Genesis 22:16-18


Abraham was a successful man. He lived a long life, had many children, knew great personal wealth and left a great spiritual legacy. What was the secret to his success? It wasn’t knowing which stock to invest in or which books gave the best advice or which clubs to join. His success came from obedience in the One who knew his every need. He only needed to do God’s will and obey and God provided all that He needed and blessed him tremendously. He invested in God and not the things of this world. Without obedience, we will never be able to experience all the blessings that God wants to bestow upon us. We miss out on the provisions He has laid out for our lives when we choose to live life the way we want and make ourselves our own god.

Scripture is packed full of promises that God has made to us. When we respond to Him faithfully, nothing can stand in the way of what He has planned out for us.

Think back to the circumstances in which Abraham was placed. God had promised to Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and as sand on the seashore but how could that promise be fulfilled if Isaac was sacrificed? The irony in it all is that the promise was fulfilled because Abraham was willing to act on his faith in a way that seemed totally contrary to how it would be fulfilled. What if Abraham had refused to obey God? What if he had chosen his own emotions and desires for his son over what God commanded from him? He would have forfeited all those incredible blessings that God had promised to him. Although not the same, God has given us promises just as He gave Abraham. He has promised us wisdom, strength for our trials, a way out of temptation and fullness of life. When it comes to all those things, our obedience to Him is the key. No matter what circumstance that we find ourselves in, we need to understand that there is no limit to the power of God and what He says and promises us when we believe and obey. He is our provider and He wants to bless each of us. All He asks is that we surrender our lives to Him and obey Him in every area of our lives.

If you have been “sitting outside of that bakery shop,” hungry for the blessings that are inside then ask Him for help by giving you the grace to obey even the smallest of His commands. Before long, those small steps of obedience will lead to much larger ones and you will begin to walk in obedience that leads to a deepened faith in God. All of this will enable you to experience God as Abraham did and you will know Yahweh Yireh and the provider that He is for
each of us.

"Lord help us to be obedient and faithful to Your will. Show us how to trust You completely. I pray that we have the same heart for You that Abraham did. Let us always choose the path that You have laid out before us."

Written by Nicole


March 27, 2008

The Lord Will Provide

But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its thorns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said “On the mountaintop of the Lord it will be provided.”

Genesis 22:11-14

Can you hear God when He’s calling out to you? Do you spend time with Him daily allowing Him to speak to your heart? If He was calling out to you in the midst of a storm, would you even recognize His voice?

The story of Abraham and Isaac is that of a real man and his son. A man who had a tremendous amount of faith and trusted God no matter what He asked of him. We know this story and we know how it ends but what if we didn’t. What if this had been our own son or daughter that was the fulfillment of a promise that God made to us? Could we have made that three day journey to Mount Moriah knowing the whole way that we were going to have to sacrifice our child? Could we have taken that knife in our hand? As a parent, it is not hard to imagine the thoughts that were running through Abraham's mind. What a burden of emotions that poured out as he agonized the command that he knew he must obey.

God is a God of faithfulness and He will always provide what we need when we are seeking after Him. He is Yahweh Yireh, The Lord Will Provide. He is the One who will provide for our every spiritual, material and emotional need when we live in obedience to Him because He is God and He sees our past, our present and our future. He is able to anticipate, He sees before hand what we need and He provides accordingly.

We have a tendency to live our lives as though God’s grace is cheap. He sacrificed His only Son for us and allowed Him to take our place so that we would one day spend eternity with Him. Sometimes God asks us to sacrifice because He knows that there is no other way that we will learn that He in fact is God. When we are asked to sacrifice something that we love to Him, we have to acknowledge that He is God and that we are not. This in turn leads us to worship in a way that will allow us to experience His provisions for us.

We all will at one point or another be asked by God to sacrifice. As a parent, we won’t be asked to physically put our child upon an altar but it may be that we are asked to place our child in God’s hands, relinquishing our own tendency to be a little god to our child. If you don’t have children, it may be a relationship, a career or possibly a dream. When that day comes for you, will you be able to turn it over to Him? Is Your faith and trust solely found in Christ alone and His words of promise and faithfulness? Does the wisdom you seek come from Him and His word or from books that promise the answer to all your questions? We must always remember that only He has the answers and only He can provide the response that our life requires.. We must train our hearts to be in tune to the One who knows our every need and be ready with whatever it may be that He may ask us to turn over. We must be willing to surrender it all to the God who will provide all that we require because He is Yahweh Yireh.

"Father, giving up control can be so hard. Help me surrender to Your will so that I may lay down whatever it is that You require of me. Write upon my heart Your promises of faithfulness so that I may always remember that You and You alone are the provider of my every need."

Written by Nicole

March 25, 2008

Abraham and Faith

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountaintops I will tell you about.”

Genesis 22:2


Would God ever ask us to do something wrong? Of course not but He will test us to confirm the strength of our faith and commitment to Him. The story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac is such an incredible story of faith and trust in God. As a mother of five I often wonder if my faith could withstand the same testing.

God commanded Isaac to sacrifice his one and only beloved son. In order to understand God's test of Abraham we have to know that the promises of God to Abraham would be specifically fulfilled through Isaac.

Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”

Genesis 17:19

But God said to him, "Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.

Genesis 21:12

The reason for this command was so that Abraham could demonstrate his faith and trust in God completely. God of course already knew that Abraham had faith in Him, but it was necessary for Abraham to prove it through the very act of faith. Through his actions, "His faith was made complete by what he did" (James 2:21-23 ) because not only God, but Abraham, his family and his future generations knew that he trusted God. This trust was important because it showed that Abraham’s relationship with God was one of obedience and faith.

Abraham’s obedience through this whole ordeal never ceases to amaze me. He loads up his donkeys, gathers some servants, gets Isaac and they begin their journey to the mountaintop. Not once along the way do we hear of Abraham bargaining with God trying to find a way out of what God has commanded him to do. I believe that he agonized over what God was telling him to do just like any parent would. He clearly could not have wanted to sacrifice his son, but because of his faith in God, he had the peace of knowing that God would provide. He states more than once that “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering”. (Genesis 22:8) I believe that Abraham probably thought that God would bring Isaac back to life once he sacrificed him. Abraham knew that his son would not be gone forever because he knew the promises that God had made to him. He knew that God would be faithful in those promises.

Imagine living a life where you never questioned what God did because you so trusted the plan He had laid out for your life. What a peace there would be in our daily living. Abraham never faltered. He prepared the altar with the help of Isaac and then he “bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.”(Genesis 22:9-10) Wow. He did not hesitate but totally trusted God to be faithful. Think of the emotions that flooded his mind as he is laying his only son on the altar. Can we say that our faith is that strong? Do we trust God that completely? Do we trust Him with the lives of our own children? It is such an incredible picture of obedience when you are talking about the sacrifice of your child and the one you waited for 100 years at that!


As Abraham raises the knife above Isaac, he hears an angel of the Lord call out his name, and he answers with “Here I am”. In the middle of this emotional act, he hears this angel and is able to answer. The angel says “do not lay a hand on the boy", he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:12) Abraham looks up and in a thicket, sees a ram that he then sacrifices in his sons place. Once again, the Lord provided. Abraham was obedient and God provided the sacrifice. He was faithful just as He promised and because Abraham did not withhold his son, God promised that He would bless him and make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. Because Abraham obeyed, God promised that all nations would be blessed. WOW!!

What blessings are we missing because of our lack of obedience and faith? When we try to live life on our own accord and merit, we are missing a life full of blessings from the One who has it all written and planned out to the very number of hairs on our head. In order to know the abundance of His blessings, we must put our full faith and trust in Him and turn over every aspect of our lives to Him.

"Father, help me to relinquish the hold I have over my own life, the lives of my children and the things that I do. Let me not doubt when you speak or move in my life. Make me Your servant, righteous and faithful, ready to say “Here I am” when You call."

Written by Nicole

March 24, 2008

Forever Reigns

Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.

I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortal men, who cannot save.

When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,

the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
the LORD, who remains faithful forever.

He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,

the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.

The LORD watches over the alien
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

The LORD reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the LORD.

Psalms 146:1-10

"Write this truth upon my heart so that I may praise You always and remember that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. You are unchanging and will reign forever. You are faithful to all who love and obey You and will provide and protect all those that You have created and who's hope is found in You."

March 18, 2008

Righteousness

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,

“when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch,

a King who will reign wisely

and do what is just and right in the land.

In His days Judah will be saved

and Israel will live in safety.

This is the name by which He will be called:

The Lord Our Righteousness…

“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel

after that time,” declares the Lord.

“I will put my law in their minds

and write it on their hearts.

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.”

Jeremiah 23:5-6;31:33

What is righteousness? Righteousness is not a very popular word in our culture but it is important to our happiness because we must be found righteous in order to be in a right standing relationship with God and only God can bring us true happiness.

Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was not only a demonstration of God’s love for us but it was the ultimate expression of Christ’s own love for those who would receive the gift His life offered. He alone made that sacrifice for each one of us.

Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:2

He is Yahweh Tsidqenu (yah-WEH tsid-KAY-nu), The Lord Our Righteousness. He is the One who intervened on our very behalf so that we could be restored and in fellowship with God through His life, death and resurrection.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Matthew 5:6

Our righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. (Romans 3:21-22) It involves conforming to God and His character and realizing our responsibilities toward Him and those around us. Righteousness is not just about outward behaviors but it is also an issue of the heart; of our thoughts, our motives and our very desires. It’s not only about doing what God says but it is also about becoming like Him, His reflection. It means that we must resemble Him in terms of His character by displaying His love, mercy, forgiveness, integrity and humility.

Scripture says that “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Romans 3:10, which proves our need for a Savior. Because of our sin it is impossible for us to have a relationship with God on our own. There is only one way that we can be restored and reconciled to that right relationship with God and that is through Jesus Christ.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

1Peter 2:24-25

Jesus absorbed the penalty of our sin by His crucifixion on the cross and suffered the punishment that we so deserved. He was pierced for our transgressions and through this restored us forever to the God who so loves us when we call upon His name and believe.


Father I pray that you make me hungry and thirsty for righteousness. Make me aware of my constant need for a Savior and that I alone can never achieve righteousness. May I never forget all that You endured to restore my relationship with You and may I never take for granted the cost of my sin and the suffering You endured to restore that relationship and draw me back to You.

Addison Leitch (professor of theology, husband of Elisabeth Elliot) says that righteousness “is primarily and basically a relationship, never an attainment…Christian righteousness…is a direction, a loyalty, a commitment, a hope- and only someday an arrival.”

“Blessings crown the head of the righteous”
Proverbs 10:6


“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life”
Proverbs 10:11


“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.”
Proverbs 10:25


The righteous are delivered from trouble, and the wicked get into it instead.”
Proverbs 11:8

Written by Nicole

March 13, 2008

Empty?

"He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD."
Deuteronomy 8:3



Do you ever wake up feeling empty or void of something? Like your life is missing something or something within you is just not right? Is there an unfulfilled longing that you just can’t place? Let me ask you this, when was the last time you sat down with your Father and read His love letter to you?

Everyone is hungry for God because we were created that way. There are distractions and sins in this world that keep us from recognizing that longing within us. Sin entraps us and blinds us with things like success and wealth, fears and failures, and addictions and hurts that mask the hunger that we have for His word and fellowship. It can leave us feeling empty and lonely. Without Him present in our lives, we have no purpose. We remain hungry and empty as we try to fill ourselves by striving daily to please the people around us. Those efforts though, will only create a bigger void and will leave us feeling defeated and unsatisfied.

Only He can satisfy that hunger within us, that craving to please and make a difference. If we are trying to please the world or serve the world then our hearts’ greatest desire will never be satisfied. Our ministry is not that of pleasing people but that of serving. When we serve it is not for our own gain but is to be done through God's strength and power which brings Him honor and glory. When we act in that strength and power, we not only please our Maker, but we gain that ultimate and deep satisfaction that our soul longs for and can only be filled by Him.

"Let them give thanks to the LORD for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men,
for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things."
Psalm 107:8-9


When you wake up hungry and your heart desires something, pick up His word and fill your soul with what He has for you. Only then you will know the fullness from being filled by the Holy Spirit.


"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."
Matthew 5:6
Written by Nicole

March 12, 2008

Two are better than one

Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their work:

If one falls down,

his friend can help him up.

But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Also, if two lie down together,

they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,

two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Have you ever looked at something on paper and it just didn’t add up or make sense? How about a relationship? Are you in a relationship with someone who is your complete opposite? I think for the majority of us we could say that we are married to our opposite. What about your friendships? Are any of them your opposite? Have you ever really thought about how that all works out?

My dearest and closet friend is my opposite. She and I view things very differently and for the most part are on opposite sides of the spectrum. It can make for an interesting relationship. A few weeks ago we were talking about how different we are and how it is that we are so close with one another yet see things so differently. We recognized that God plays a tremendous role within our relationship.

When friends pray together and share their faith they are able to reveal the deepest parts of themselves to each other because of trust. That trust can only come when we are secure in the love of Christ. When our friendships are based on these things, we can experience a relationship that is unparalleled.

What this means is that we must keep our eyes focused on Him at all times. He must be the heart of our relationships with not just our friends but our spouses too. When we keep our focus on Him and not ourselves, it becomes easier to love, forgive and trust those people who are so close to us.

Scripture says that two are better than one and God blesses our relationships when we work together to serve and love each other and in it He is glorified. People who isolate themselves only make life harder because they miss out on the immeasurable advantage of other people’s wisdom and experiences. God did not intend for us to have to figure things out for ourselves and desires for us to be in relationships in which we can come together to help one another deal with whatever this life offers. It doesn’t mean we will always agree and it doesn’t mean that the sparks won’t fly at times but when we “sharpen” (Proverbs 27:17) one another through the process of sharing our differences and wisdom we are able to make better decisions and be an encouragement to one another.

I love how the above passage of scripture ends. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” That verse says it all. It’s hard to break apart a relationship that is intertwined with God.
Written by Nicole

Challenge to the readers

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."
Proverbs 27:17

I would like to offer a challenge to the readers that in the long run will challenge me. I would like for you to send me questions you may have about my beliefs or questions that you may have about the bible itself or whatever is on your heart. I would love to share my heart with you and how God has worked within me.

You may send your questions anonymously through the comments or through the alignwithhim@gmail.com email. If you would like to remain anonymous, scroll to the bottom of this post and click on post a comment. Type in your question and then click on anonymous and it will be sent to me.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Nicole

March 11, 2008

My fear

"God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in Him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like Him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother."

1 John 4:16-21

We all have been hurt by someone we love, trust and care for deeply. We all know the pain and struggle in dealing with forgiveness and grace towards someone. We know it takes time to heal and trust again. For me, this is an area in my life that God has had to do the most work. I was probably one of the least trusting people in this world when it came to friends and family. Funny thing is I could totally trust that stranger I met on the street. I have no issue with giving the man money on the street corner holding up a sign. He’s done nothing to hurt me and so he is easy to trust. As for the people in my life, that is a different story.

Today, I’m going to get a bit more personal and make myself vulnerable to those who read this blog. Vulnerability was one of my biggest fears and those reading this that know me, know how much I have struggled with this in my past. I have had a hard time in the past trusting women due to past hurts and I am very quick to avoid relationships with other women because of the fear of rejection and trust or lack thereof and the other issues associated with that of women relationships like gossip. The question for me is do I feel like this a sin? The answer to my question is yes.

God has commanded us to love everyone and with love comes trust. No matter who they are, what they have done or how they have hurt us, in order to walk with Him and obey Him, we have to make ourselves vulnerable. Being a believer means a life full of rejection by the people of this world. It means ridicule and hurt. I’ve come to realize that all of these things are totally worth the emotional pain when my focus is on Him and His love for me. Jesus Christ walked this earth and was ridiculed, slandered, beaten, rejected and crucified all because of His love for me. His love for me is perfect and complete and unfailing. He does not judge me and He loves me just as I am. He will never reject me or hurt me and I can totally trust Him with every part of my life. I’ve come to realize that when people reject me or what I’m doing, they are really rejecting Christ. When I give out my love and trust to others and they betray or reject it, they are not betraying or rejecting me, they are rejecting Christ in me. When we are walking with Him, and He is our reflection, we love the world through Him and not ourselves. His love is perfect and it should drive away all of fears.

As we learn to trust, we begin to fear less because God’s perfect love for us drives away that fear and we are able to find rest in His truth. We gain a confidence and boldness because we begin to recognize that God works all things out for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) If we walk around in fear, again we are trying to control our own life but when we trust God and His love, we are giving Him the control and putting our trust in the One who loves us so perfectly.

Now that I have accepted this as truth and understand God’s love, it has opened doors for me and I find myself able to trust and I am no longer crippled by the fear of rejection. Because of this, I have made myself vulnerable and opened myself up to relationships with wonderful people who love me just as I am, flaws and all, and who are a great encouragement to me. He so blesses us and life becomes a blessing when we give God that control and allow His love to flow through us.
Written by Nicole

March 7, 2008

Shackles

Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me through your law.
I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD;
do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free.
Psalm 119:29-32
What if we lived this passage with our whole heart? Can you imagine the kind of joy we would experience? When we allow the shackles of sin to be removed, we are able to release the burden of our hearts that hold us back from giving our everything to God. We can turn our focus toward the race that He has planned out before us and run with a perseverance that makes us even more determined to live a life of obedience and purpose.
His ways are perfect and the path He has laid out for us is perfect. We choose whether we will stay on that path with the finish line ahead or detour down a road that will prolong the race possibly bringing about more struggles. Ultimately He knows the choices we will make and will use those struggles to grow our faith so that our joy is increased when we realize how He has worked all things out to glorify Him.
Rejoice in how God takes our sin, struggles and pain and uses it all to bring glory to His name.
Written by Nicole

March 5, 2008

Meet with Me

"I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things."

Philippians 3:8

Before you read any of this posting, I ask that you click on the song at the bottom of the screen in the green box titled "How can I keep from singing your praise" and listen. Just listen to the words and allow them to speak to you and play as you read this post. (don’t forget to turn up your speakers)

I heard an excellent illustration this past week from one of our pastors at church about our walk with the Lord. Our walk with Lord can be measured by how we handle the storms of life. He used the illustration of a hurricane. He said that when a hurricane is coming, people board up their homes, they stock up on food and water, they prepare. When the storm comes, they’re ready and prepared for whatever it may bring. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be devastation and chaos but because they were prepared with what they needed, they are able to weather it just a bit easier. It’s the same with our walk. We can’t expect to get through the hardships of life if we’re not prepared, armed and ready to stand against it. We have to be in an intimate relationship with Christ, walking with Him daily, reading His word and living His word. When we are prepared, we too can stand up to those storms that sweep through our lives.

We were created to fellowship with God. This means that we have to meet Him everyday for a time of fellowship, praise and worship. He created us to walk beside Him so that through the good and bad times, He can rejoice with us and comfort us. Our walk with Him is reflected in how we handle those times of pain and joy. We can’t cope with the pain if we don’t know what truth says about that pain and we can’t experience true joy if we don’t acknowledge who gives it to us. None of this can be accomplished without Him and daily quiet times with Him. It means meeting Him in stillness, humbling ourselves before Him and allowing Him to speak to our hearts. Allowing Him to reveal who He is and what He has planned for us. Sometimes it means falling on our faces before Him in total adoration and awe because of who He is and how awesome He is. It is in those moments alone with Him that intimacy is established and He begins to fill and meet our needs. Once He has become our everything and those storms come our way, we can stand tall with our arms outstretched and Praise Him with all our heart!!!

"It is a joy to Jesus when a person takes time to walk more intimately with Him. The bearing of fruit is always shown in Scripture to be a visible result of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ."

- Oswald Chambers


"O, the fullness, the pleasure, the sheer excitement of knowing God here on earth."

-Jim Elliott

Click on link below for lyrics to the first song

Written by Nicole



March 4, 2008

Heirs

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die;
but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body,
you will live,
because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear,
but you received the Spirit of sonship.
And by him we cry,
"Abba, Father."
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
Now if we are children,
then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,
if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:13-17
"Precious Father, Help me to remember that Your Word says that Your Spirit Himself testifies with my very spirit when I am Your child. Now if I am Your child, then I am Your heir and co-heirs with Christ and will share in His sufferings so that I may share in His glory. Help me to not get caught up in the hardships and trials of this life so that my focus is taken off of You. May I know that the glory of eternity in no way can be compared to the present hardships of this life. Let comfort and love overflow from You and may I be filled full of You everyday."

March 3, 2008

Roots

Droughts can be devastating for plants. If they don’t die from the lack of water and extreme heat, they’ll at the least wither under the harsh conditions. Have you ever felt like you were experiencing a drought in your life? Maybe you felt like the heat or pressure of life would break you or weigh you down more than you could bear. Or, maybe you felt like you weren’t seeing the blooms or fruit of your prayers…. prayers for your marriage, your children, and/or other people or situations in your life.

When our backs are bowed by the pressures of this world, be it parenting, being a friend, working with our finances, surviving in the workforce (or on the school campus), combating self pity (or self-centeredness) or other temptations, we have two choices. We can put our trust in ourselves or in the Lord. We can try in vain, in our own strength, to figure out our own method of survival or we can call on the Lord who created and controls all things and experience true abundant life through Him. Only He can grant us life that stands up to the harshness of this world and the trials it produces.

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:7-9

When our confidence and hope is in the Lord, we are blessed. We can be victorious through the trials and temptations that we face, and we can stand without fear. We can know that the roots we have grown in our faith of the Lord will withstand the heat and droughts of life while producing fruit.

Lord, I pray that we not fall prey to the deceit in our own hearts…that we not buy into fear, condemnation or lies of defeat and of being overwhelmed or incapable. I pray that we put our trust and hope in you when it rains and when it’s dry and hot... when our lives seem to be running smoothly and when they seem to be strained or out of control. May our faith and confidence in you be unwavering despite our circumstances or what our feelings tell us. Lord help us to yearn for you and your goodness and to know and feel your presence. Help us too to give you the glory and credit for the fruit in our lives. Amen
Written by Stephanie