Hope Renewed

Well, believe it or not, I have wanted to blog for some time now. I’ve been doing some of my own devotional journaling, but haven’t felt that complete nudge from the Lord to post. Well, tonight I really feel as though it is time to share some hope.

God has been teaching me to wait well and continually learn to enjoy the journey even with big dreams in my heart. I could say a lot on that alone, but what seems to trip me up spiritually the most is my hope being deferred. Part of it is sometimes not so much the waiting, but being used in the process or having others to share it with along the way. I know this is just a season, and I know it’s all for a bigger reason. The Lord is using this time to prepare me, to teach me and grow me. I know God is using me; it’s just in the small things. But here too, I am reminded that it is in the small things that God prepares us for the bigger things. So, OK, I am trying to go about the small things, and after awhile of praying and hoping, I am still doing the small things and still not feeling as though I am really where I want to be. God has to remind me that He is not limited by our limited conceptions of time. Ok, fine, but then add to that the fact of living in a microwave culture; where everything is sped up continually, and success is measured by how much you get done. So for a person who is in life’s waiting room, things can get a bit hard at times, and today was one of those days. No matter how much I prayed and tried to be obedient, and look past myself I was just spent. I tried to remind myself that God’s timing is perfect, that He has a plan, and that He is good. I read, I worshiped, but I just couldn’t shake this feeling of coming up short. .

Tonight was mid-week service at church and I knew I needed to go. So I packed up my daughter and we made our hour trek to the church where God has called us, (another huge part of the journey and lesson in waiting). I instantly got myself into worship mode, deciding that I was going to hear from the Lord tonight. I poured out my heart in desperation and He answered. When one of our pastors started to preach, he began with Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”. I thought “yep, I know all too well about feeling that way”. He said the devil can’t take your hope away and The Lord can’t give it to you. I had to chew on that one for a minute, but then it made sense; we have to exercise our faith. Heb. 11:1 says “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen.” So now I am choosing to hope because the potential of hope lies within me. I know this right? But hope deferred can cause me to forget. I must renew my hope by looking past my circumstances and looking at Jesus, He Is My Hope! I know it’s easier said than done, we all have those times of testing and weariness, but The Lord continues to be faithful and renew and remind us, just as He did for me tonight at church.

James 2:14 says “What use is it brethren if someone says he has no faith but not works? Can that faith save Him?” This here is talking about the need for us to put our faith in action, to choose to have faith because we are reminded that back in Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” I know often my hearts cry is to please God with my life; to be a good and faithful steward and to one day have him say “well done” by fulfilling the call that He has placed on my life. Again, it goes back to His time and in His ways. Hope and faith can only happen when you are put in a situation where you are not able to obtain in your own strength; when God is your only hope. Hmm, sounds a lot like my life at the moment. We are reminded and given hope in 2 Corinthians 4:8 which states “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;” John 14:1 says “”Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” Words from Jesus, who is comforting his disciples, that too, is you and me today. Bottom line is this. Hope deferred=Unbelief. Your heart is going to produce either hope or unbelief. Roman’s 5:5 reminds us that “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

I feel like I just squeezed a whole lot into a little space and perhaps I did, but this is the word the Lord gave to me through our pastor tonight. I added my parts of my own journey into it, but it remains true that the Lord met me where I was at tonight on the journey, and I am blessed to share that with you. My prayer is that I not only refer to this when my hope is running low, but it will cause me to draw more hope from the Word of God so that my faith can grow and I be strong in the Lord. As I was finishing up this post, the song “You are my Hope” by Skillet came to mind, so I posted it below, and I hope it blesses you.

Gotta Testify of God’s Continued Affirmation Over My Life.

This week, after a year of wavering, I took another step of faith and became a member of the church God has leaded me to.  I wanted to share a story of encouragement that is actually in 2 parts, because I couldn’t remember a song when I first shared this with some people.  So I hope you are encouraged in your walk and your faith is strengthened as I share this.

Part 1:

I wanted to share how Awesome God has been in my life today.  As you know, I shared how I was going to stand in front of church with the new membership class today to be officially welcomed in as members. It was kind of a big deal for me after all God has done to get me to this point.   One of my consistent signs from God as I have journeyed to Wooster Church  of the Nazarene, Seminary and now NTS, this past year have been birds flying in the sky with their wings spread open.  ( I think they are hawks, but I am not sure), anyway, there have been times of crying out to God in the valley’s, as well as shouts of praise on the mountain top, and every time I cry out in a deep need, doubt, or praise, He shows me the birds soaring with their wings spread, which is always a reminder to me that He is near and He will raise me up on wings like Eagles, which also renews my faith and strength when I see them (Isaiah 40:31).  Well, today, on my drive in to church, I had asked God once more out of my sheer nervousness of taking this next step of faith, and “sealing the deal” if  you will, by becoming a member of the church.  As I got closer to the church, I was anxiously looking to the sky for my sign.  At one point I ran into an accident that made me take a detour, and it was at that moment I stopped asking for my sign, and starting praying for whatever happened on the road, that an entire fire truck  would not even let cars get close; I started counting my blessings and realized I have no reason to worry; and feeling a bit selfish for asking; after all, God has been so faithful, with this and other signs continually along the way, so I had really no need for a sign.   Later, after church on my drive back home, God showed me the bird in the sky, with it’s wings spread wide.  I wasn’t looking for it, but He blessed me with it.  As I continued to drive, other concerns came into my mind.  As I flipped the radio channels and heard the same song that I heard when the first bird flew over my head, I also saw another bird with it’s wings spread out soaring around some other birds that were in the sky.  At that point I lost it, I started laughing, then balling like crazy, because not only did God affirm the direction of my life at that point twice, but He was showing me how much He loves me and I was once again assured that all my faithfulness, sacrifices, and efforts to live for him are known and that He does have such a wonderful plan and purpose for my life.  I thought I’d be daring and ask one more time, and sure enough several miles down the road there was one more bird with wings spread out that flew over my car. At that point I stopped asking and realized how faithful God always is. My faith was strengthened and I am so excited to continue to see what God is going to do with me.  There are so many unknowns, but I have such a peace that God is going to do something awesome with me.  So next time you see a bird soaring in the sky think of me and say a little prayer.   I hope and pray my story blessed you and encouraged you today as you too journey on the path God has set before you 

Part 2

I was thinking that I wanted to share the song I mentioned in my last post, but couldn’t remember it.  Ha, it was on my ipod, I didn’t even know!!  I wanted to share it with you, because God used music A LOT to speak to me, and this is another song that he spoke through.  The link has the words; the song is called “walk on the water”, there is a line about stepping out in faith and walking on water in faith; Well, when I was in my great tension of coming to Wooster Naz. for good, I had read the book “If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat”.  by John Ortberg, and The Holy Spirit had been prompting me for some time in this same way. So now, it’s like it’s all coming full circle, again!!!!  To hear that song on my drive home 2x’s with all the birds soaring, WOW!!  I wish I could tell you all the amazing things God has done with me, it’s AMAZING!  And to lead me not only into the Church of the Nazarene, but to Wooster, where I have had so many God-encounters, and the sheer fact that it is an hours drive, it’s all God ordained, it’s very cool.  I hope you enjoy the song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7R3K0sqgfvM

Where’s The Fruit; Part 2 ; Re-Evaluating Where You Are

As I have sat here, I look over at some of my drafts, and I have about 3 or 4 at this point.  It seems at the moment The Spirit is just flooding my  head with stuff; scripture, sermons, application, biblical references and bible help website, commentaries….  One thing that I am so happy about is that with all this information, God’s Spirit does move!  Thank God I am not just filled with head knowledge. Really, I’ve always been one who has struggled with stuff like most of the Old Testament, lineages, and the like, but when I stop and just take it one passage at a time I do much better.  I am slowly learning to not try and know it all, but to read and listen as God’s Spirit leads me to.  I know it is God’s Spirit who will give me understanding, and I know that He will reveal to me what He wants me to know and when he wants me to know it; I just need to remember this and obey His leading. So what if I don’t know every account that ever occurred, or if I get my facts mixed up, the point is, or maybe the question we should be aksing  is “is their growth?”.  I  mean this not just in a clearer understanding of the Bible, but in every area of my Christian walk.   It’s not just the renewing of our minds, but  more of our hearts! Becomming  more like Christ in every way is the purpose and the pilgrimage of the Christina Walk.  So I challenge you to ask yourself some fundamental questions:  Am I being transformed? Am I Going deeper? Am I experiencing continued intimacy and closeness with God?  Am I being changed in ways that others takes notice of?  Is my prayer life integrated into every area of my life? Do I even have a prayer life? and if not why not?  Are there areas in my life that I need to cut out to be able to spend more time with God in prayer and in HIs Word so to be able to grow my relationship with Him the way He wants.   These are just a few basic questions, but they are not  to be taken lightly for the Christian who is truly serious about their life in Christ.  May we constantly strive to become more like Christ in every area of our lives and living a life that brings Him Glory and honor by the way that we live out our lives. Be blessed and May you grow closer to our awesome Lord and Savior who has formed you in His  image and desirs a strong, healthy, and continual relationship with His chosen.  May I challenge you once again to truly put on the ring of commitment and not mearly “play house” with God.  For he died to set us free that we would bear much fruit for His kingdom.  Lord, today I ask that you not only renew our minds, but our whole beings.  Draw us into a new level of love with you Father God and let us experience more of you.  Let us always take our commitment to you seriously and blatantly show us what we need to do or not be doing so to always put you above all else in this world.  We Love you Lord and we Thank you .  Help us to become more like Jesus in everything we do and say; and let us truly Reflect The Son! Amen!!