Saturday, February 5, 2011

Away for this weekend.

Hello everyone this is Isolino, Laura on a girls only weekend getaway to the Bay Area. She asked me to let everyone that she won't be doing her blog for a couple of days.
So I leave you with this video, and I'm also including the lyrics. Take the time and read these lyrics, it will show how amazing our God is. (This video cant be embedded so you will have to click the link at the bottom of this page, and then watch it on youtube).

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning'
and Who told the ocean you can only come this far'
and Who showed the moon where to hide 'til evening'
Whose words alone can catch a falling star'
Well I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testifies
This life within me cries
I know my Redeemer lives yeah
The very same God that spins things in orbit
tuns to the weary, the worn and the weak
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I'm broken
They conquered death to bring me victory
Now I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I know my Redeemer, He lives
To take away my shame
And He lives forever, I'll proclaim
That the payment for my sin
Was the precious life He gave
But now He's alive and
There's an empty grave
And I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I know my Redeemer,
I know my Redeemer
I know my Redeemer lives
I know my redeemer lives
I know that I know that I know that I know that I know my redeemer lives
Because He lives I can face tomorrow
I Know I know
He lives he lives yeah yeah I spoke with him this morning
He lives he lives, the tomb is empty,
He lives I gotta tell everybody.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Watch Out For Where You Step

We had a wonderful time last summer, taking my brother and his daughter and another brothers son, to Bodega Bay for the day.  We went to the Jelly Belly factory first, and then went on our adventure to Bodega Bay.

My brother and his daughter and our nephew, had never been to Bodega Bay, and for my nephew, it was his first trip to the ocean.  So, it was a day of real enjoyment, watching the kids play in the water, and having so much fun.  I never saw such play between cousins before, and how much fun they had, letting the waves come up to their waists, and running out, so they didn't get any more wet than they had to.  We laughed, even though the wind was strong that day, and it was crowded.  It was so crowded, that the coast guards let us park in their area.  That was so nice, because the beach was just across the street.  It was a day that seemed so blessed in every way.

Then we came back to the van to head for home, and what a time we had, trying to get our feet cleaned off.  The sand just would not come off.  As you can see here, even wet wipes didn't help much.  That is what happens when we get caught up in the world.  The stuff just sticks to you.  It is very hard to get off.  I am going to give you an example from my own life.  I am sorry to tell you, but yes, I caved to the "world's" ways with my kids.  I never liked them using the word "butt".  I would tell my kids over and over again, "Don't say that word, you know I don't like it."  And over and over again, they would say to me, "But there is nothing wrong with that word, it isn't a cuss word."  I would say, "No, it isn't a cuss word, but it is a rude word."  Well, it was a losing battle.  I was outnumbered, and out stubborned (I told you in a different blog, that they got a double dose of stubbornness, sigh).  Guess what?  I began using that word, even though I had always hated them using it.  I just heard them all using it so much, that it became part of the vocabulary around our house.

I had a different problem when I was younger.  I heard cussing at school so much, that I gained a sailors mouth.  Well, maybe not so bad as that, but it was pretty bad.  I knew it was wrong, but for some reason it made me feel better, so I didn't care, because I was angry and needed to "let it out" somehow.  God convicted my heart at a youth retreat about the way I used my mouth.  How it did not reflect His Light within me.  What a poor witness it made me, for Him.  You know, it took lots of prayer, lots of self-control, and lots of years, before I conquered that bit of "sand" in my life.  I began to find better ways to deal with the anger inside of me, and I began to be conscious of what I spoke from my mouth.  You see, God's Word tells us "We have what we speak".  So, if you are speaking garbage, you are going to get garbage.  It is the same with where we go.  If we go to where there is trash, we are going to reap that trash.

I don't know about you, but I would rather have good things in my life.  I would rather have treasures, than trash.  So, that little song most of us sang when we were little, "O Be Careful Little Eyes What You See", does have real strong Truth to it.  What we see, what we hear, what we do, where we go, what we think about, what we believe.  They all have power in our lives to help us to our destinies, or keep us from them.  Sometimes I would tell my kids, "I rebuke that curse, in Jesus Name."  when they would say something that went against the destiny that God calls His children to.  You see, these things can be blessings or curses to us.  If we choose to find God's way, then we will be blessed, but if we choose the worlds way, then we open ourselves up to curses.

We are so unaware of this aspect of the kingdom of God, that most of us live without even recognizing the signs of the "world" in us.  We speak negatively, gossip, whine, brag, or any number of things that cause the "grime of the road" to stick to our feet.  You see, Jesus told His disciples that the path to God was a narrow road, and that few would be upon it, but wide was the way to destruction.  I know that I struggle with many of these same issues, as everyone else. My desire, though, is to work hard at breaking the holds these things have in my life, and reaping the godly reward, that goes with living a holy life.  Remember, living holy doesn't mean you are perfect, it just means you are consciously living for Christ.  You are trusting and obeying Him in your life.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Standing Strong

Today, I was struggling to stand strong.  You know, how sometimes life just gets in there, wearing you down, with all the demands on time, emotions, and getting the right amount of sleep.

I know that I need to get to bed earlier,  Isolino has been trying very hard to get me to get to bed sooner.  It is not that I don't want to, it is just that life gets in the way.  Each time it is something a bit different, but something always seems to get my time away from me.  I have even tried shutting the computer down sooner, but then it is something else that snags that time away from me.  I know some of you can relate to what I am talking about.  Well, I have been praying about this a lot, because my desire is to be a good helpmate to my husband, and I know it will please the Lord, if I am rested and able to do more, because my body isn't running on empty, as far as energy goes.

I marvel at women who seem to have all the energy in the world to accomplish what they need to do.  I wonder what makes me so different?  Then, I realize we are all different, and some have gifts in the area of organization and administration, and some have more eclectic gifts that make those things challenging.  We all have to accept ourselves where we are, and go from there.  Some have gotten their lives in a pattern, so things are done quicker, because the steps are all in place.  I have always wanted to be like that, but you know what happens in my life?  The patterns are always varied each day.  They are never the same.  I told my mom once, because she was saying that she was struggling with things not turning out how she had planned them, "welcome to my world".  I told her that "I have learned to just go with the flow, and forget the things I can't change or control.  Do what I can, and leave the rest in the dust."  I had to give all that to God.

Well, I have come to the realization, that is what I have to do about the sleep time, too.  I know the enemy is battling me, because as hard as I try to get into bed on time, it rarely happens.  That tells you this is an important battle.  Something is going on.  That is why I have been praying so much.  To understand and have wisdom on how to beat the enemy at this crucial fight.  I know that I stand on the Word of God.  God gives sleep to those He loves.  I hold on to that with both hands.  I know that I tell the enemy to get out of here.  I do that.  I know that I have to pray that the Holy Spirit will give me the wisdom and understanding I need.  I pray for everyone in the home to get into line with God's plan.  Mostly, I know that I have to keep that spiritual armor on each day, and that when I have done all that I can, to STAND.  To stand in the knowledge that it is God Who goes into battle for me.  I am just to access the weapons He's given me, and let Him deal with the enemy.  I rebuke the enemy, and he must flee from me, but first, I have to draw near to God.  If I keep my distance from God, I am not going to get the enemy to flee.  You see, he'll know that I have no power apart from Christ, so if I am not doing my part, to stay close, then the enemy can defeat me quickly.

So, I encourage you to put on that spiritual armor.  I will just quickly go over them right now, but on one of my blogs, I plan to spend a lot more time on going over them, and what they mean to us.  Here is what you need to put on.  Read Ephesians 6 for the whole passage.  The belt of Truth.  The breastplate of Righteousness.  The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace.  The Shield of Faith, with which we deflect the darts of the enemy.  The Helmet of Salvation.  The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  And, two more, praying in every way, for every one and all the saints, and then the Cloak of Zeal (this one is found in Isaiah).  I found a passage of Scripture where it indicated we needed to put this on daily.  I know since I have followed this rule it is much harder for the enemy to get to me, like he used to do.  I know this seems like a lot, but when you go to work, you have your work clothes, right?  Well, this is the same.  We are ambassadors for Christ, and these are our work clothes.  We put them on each day, right?  So, when you have done all that you can, then STAND.  I pray this for all of my family as well.  Each of them is a part of me.  I need them to be able to stand strong in Christ, too.

My brother and I went to Montana, when my mom broke her shoulder.  We had an older Tom Tom GPS that didn't know the changes in the road.  We ended up taking a few detours.  My brother shudders, when we ask him if he wants "TomTom", now.  But, we just did the best we could to find the right road, and we ended up finding some unique ways to go the right way, but we got to Montana safe and sound, and with a lot of laughter, because of "TomTom".  I am so grateful we had "TomTom" as it did make the journey easier, but be prepared for some strange directions, if you have an older "TomTom" that hasn't been upgraded, because roads do change with all the building and changing in cities and towns.  Our own town has a new bypass, and if you aren't prepared, you might end up somewhere you weren't expecting to, just because it might not be in an older gps.  I have to say, that we had our family in tears from all the laughter, as we shared how our travels went.  So, we can be afraid of the unknown, but we can't let it stop us from living our lives.  We have to be willing to go in different directions than we might have planned, just to get to where God is leading us to be.  I am on a journey to beat this getting to bed on time issue.  You might be on a different journey of discovery in how to win at something God has laid on YOUR heart.  I pray that this has encouraged you to be willing to step into the unknown, with a sense of adventure,, and the knowledge that no matter where you go, if you are going at God's direction, He will always be leading the way.  It may have curves, and unknown detours, but it will be  a wonderful adventure.  God bless your "spiritual travels".

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Kindness Of Strangers

Tonight a dear friend of ours almost got stuck in a ditch. We happened to be right behind her, so we immediately stopped to help. She was wedged in there pretty good, and lo and behold, a big truck came by, and asked if he could help. Well, he wasn't exactly a stranger to us, but it was really nice he stopped to help. Then as he was getting his truck into position, another big truck comes along, with a nice young man and lady in it, and he gets out, and offers to help too. So, between all of us, we were able to get our friend out of her dilemma and her car safely into her garage.

It was such a blessing to have people stop so quickly to help, and to keep our friend from having to use her tow package. That is what the kingdom of God is about. Kindness. Going the extra mile. We have a really special yearly (and really it is supposed to go on all year long) event that is promoted here, in February. It is called "Random Acts Of Kindness", and people are given a blue ribbon when someone sees them do a kind act. The schools pick winners of kindness essays, and then the top winners are able to give awards to their heroes at the City Council meetings. It is a work that involves a community, not just certain people.

My own daughter wrote about her kindness hero, Sherri Holcomb. Sherri has done so many kind things for our family, and she is such an encourager to me, and supports me with words of knowledge, Scripture, and by praying for us all the time. Her whole family is so dear to us. Her husband Sal, son Seth, and Sherri's parents, Jeannie and Jack, who all treat Kaylee and the rest of us as one of their own, are just as precious as she is. Kaylee didn't win the class essay, but I am proud of her, choosing someone she looks up to, someone she admires and strives to be like. Someone whose kindness has impacted her life in such a way, that she wants to be kind as well. To do things for other people.

Isn't that what we should all strive to do? Make those around us aware of the difference of our lives, compared to the world's way. I heard a sermon once in which the pastor said, "If you are just like the people of the world, you are not doing your job as an ambassador of Christ. You should not look like the world, you should be so different, that the world stands up and takes notice." It says in Scripture that people will praise God, when they see our good deeds. People who don't know God, will praise Him, because of what they see in us.

Another friend of mine wants "to pay it forward". If you haven't seen that movie, it has some gritty parts, but the story is priceless. It is about a young man who is given a class assignment and comes up with a unique (to him) idea. How helping 3 people could impact a larger group, because if they all help 3 people, and those people help 3 people, it could get big real fast. I say this was a unique idea to him, but Jesus gave just as radical an idea to the people (and us) of His time. He told them to "go the extra mile", that when a soldier asked them to go 1 mile, to go two." You see, they only did what was required of them, and no more. Jesus was asking them to do more. To show kindness to their enemies. He said that by doing this, "They'd be heaping coals of fire upon their enemies' heads". I don't say be kind to get revenge. I say be kind, because it sets you free to do even more for Christ. Let your enemies burn with their own attitudes and problems. You get to walk free into a more peaceful, joyful life. It also says in God's Word, "overcome evil with good". We overcome evil by each good, kind act we do. Wow. Just choosing to act kindly, can get rid of evil.

She started to believe, not just by words, but by the actions of her husband. He was so kind to their children and to her. He was a changed man. Kindness spoke louder than words to her heart. Our kindness has that impact, because we are indeed Christ's ambassadors. We represent Him in this forsaken world. We are the ones people see, when we speak about Him. If our actions don't line up with what the Bible says we should be acting like, they aren't going to believe us, about a Saviour that is real and can change lives. So, let our actions be actions of love. I read a book once, that impacted me so deeply. It was about a church who decided to impact their community by finding ways to help others. They would wipe windshields, give out sodas on a hot day, clean local business' bathrooms (yes, any business that had a bathroom that needed cleaning), do free car washes, all this, just to impact their community with the chance to let them know Jesus loved them, and as His ambassador's, they did too. It meant giving up many things in their lives, that they may have wanted to do, but their commitment to Christ meant more than those things.

What are we willing to give up, to answer that call to kindness? Are there things in our lives that hold us back from helping a friend in need, or fixing a meal for a hurting family, or just being a support system for those around us? Sometimes we are asked to give up sleep. Sometimes we need to wake up earlier than usual. Sometimes we are asked to go on a road trip, a meeting, a lunch, a breakfast, a dinner, a tea, or something else. We can only go that extra mile, with Christ inside us, showing us the way. Each step we take in bringing forth kindness in our communities and world, makes an impact. Look at a rock thrown into a pond. The ripples are small at first, and then as they radiate out, the circle of impact is so great. Just like "paying it forward" or "going the extra mile". Jim Bergantz and his wife Judy, have been doing the kindness event for a long time. It has made an impact, but he told Isolino and I the other day, he'd love to do this for other cities. He'd love to be able to go all over the place and help other communities get kindness events going there. His vision isn't just for one place, it is to change the world with kindness. The kindness of strangers, what an impact it can have. We experienced it tonight, with two different men stopping what they were doing, and taking the time to help us out. What impact will it have in the world around us? Let Christ shine out of you,, so your impact will be great. God bless you all, dear ones. Let the fragrance of Christ permeate those around you, so that as they see your kind actions, they begin to praise God.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Hemmed In, But Not Defeated Psalm 4

Today is the day for Psalm 4. As I was reading this beautiful Psalm, I prayed for a song to go along with it. The one I was getting, just didn't seem to fit, and so I felt I was to go looking. A few almost fit, but didn't feel right. Finally I found this one. I will post it at the end of the Psalm for you to enjoy. I pray that as you listen to it, you will be impacted as I was, with how well it fit this Psalm.

Psalm 4

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness (uprightness, justice, and right standing with You)! You have freed me when I was hemmed in and enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me and hear my prayer.

O you sons of men, how long will you turn my honor and glory into shame? How long will you love vanity and futility and seek after lies? Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself [and given distinction to] him who is godly [the man of loving-kindness]. The Lord listens and heeds when I call to Him.

Be angry [or stand in awe] and sin not; commune with your own hearts upon your beds and be silent (sorry for the things you say in your hearts). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

Offer just and right sacrifices ; trust (lean on and be confident ) in the Lord.

Many say, "Oh, that we might see some good! Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord.

You have put more joy and rejoicing in my heart than [they know] when their wheat and new wine have yielded abundantly.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep for You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust.

Be blessed, be freed, be encouraged. Enjoy this precious song.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sweet Moments In Time

These are some of the flowers Isolino and I saw yesterday on our Murphys trip. I loved seeing these precious Narcissus flowers. They sure brighten up any day, with their white petals and yellow centers. They are a little piece of Sunshine, all in themselves.

How about us? Are we sweet moments of sunshine in someones life? Do we make life harder or better for those around us? Do we take out our anger and frustration on them? I really hate when I do that to someone else. It makes me feel bad all day long, and until I can ask that person for forgiveness, it makes me worry and fret about when I need to ask them, and then, when I ask, if they don't receive it well, than I wonder why I made the problem in the first place, by being in a rotten mood.

This morning I woke up with a wonderful song in my head. It was "How Great Thou Art" and it made my day. I went on utube to find if anyone had recorded it, and I found so many wonderful renditions of it, that it really blessed me.

I hope that as you listen to that clip with its wonderful pictures, that it will inspire you to trust God more, to believe more of His awesome power to help you overcome all that comes against you. How great our God is. He is mighty to save. He is mighty to deliver. He is mighty to battle.

This reminds me of a time when a friend and I got together for prayer. We were praying over some heavy things, and all of a sudden I got to laughing as I saw this picture in my head. I saw Jesus coming forth on a white horse with such an army around Him. Before I could see Him, it had all been black as black can be, with a heavy feeling of defeat. When He burst forth, I could see Him laughing on His horse. As He laughed, the enemy kept going backwards and backwards and soon they were scattering so fast it was hilarious to see them fleeing. The Lord spoke this verse to my heart, "The Lord scoffs at His enemies". I tell you, with that picture in my mind, it was really evident of how that could be. His laughter drove the enemy to flight. They could not stand in the midst of His joy. They were leaving the field of battle so fast, that it would be like seeing a hill of ants scurrying away from something that threatens them. God really can defeat those who come against you. Trust Him.

Sometimes our bad attitudes come from a hurt we are feeling. Please give that to the Lord. Let His love, peace, and joy come forth out of your heart instead of the bitter seed the enemy planted there. Let forgiveness flow. Let peace come forth. Last night I watched a truly phenomenal movie. It was about the Amish tragedy a few years ago, in which many young girls were killed by a hurting man. The Amish people gave forgiveness, because they knew bitterness would destroy them. They gave forgiveness because God asks all Christians to do that. At the end, one mother said something profound. She had struggled to forgive, but when she found out what her daughter did, before she was killed, she was able to overcome her bitterness and forgive too. That is what God calls us to. A more excellent way. Is it easy? No way. It is hard to forgive those who spitefully use us. That is why we need to cling to How great God is! He is able where we aren't.

I pray that God will give you songs in the night. I pray He'll give you new songs to sing. I pray that as you give your hurt, pain, and sadness to God, He will bless you with His Power in your life. I pray that His deliverance will come forth in such a mighty way, that you will be in awe of His Glory. I love you dear friends. Be blessed. God bless you richly in Christ Jesus, Who loves you with such a great love, He died to see you set free. He went to the cross with JOY. Imagine that! JOY. I told you His laughter was powerful! He defeated the enemy and gave us the keys to the kingdom, that is POWER! Hallelujah!