Monday, December 30, 2013

God Is Able - the 2013 Victory Jar

What a wonderful Coffee & Cozy time with God today. Do you need some inspiration? Then check out these scriptures!

Heb 7:23-25, Daniel 3:16-18, 2 Cor. 9:8
I'm completely God is able! :)

Another thing I did in my Coffee & Cozy time today was to review my year's Victory Jar...oh Yay! This is one of my favorite times about the end of the year. For those that have not read my previous posts about it, it's a jar I fill through-out the year to remind me of personal victories, God's blessings, and of the encouraging things that have happened this year. The cats were very interested in this project - ha.

I've included links to post I wrote if they related to the victory. So here's a highlight list in random order:

  • Created fun & inspiring "Heaven Themed Dates"
  • Updated the look of Silver Trumpets and the blog hit 20,000+ page views 
  • Remained professional toward some very mean & hateful coworkers
  • Purchased some high-quality business suits (my frugal side really fought this - but I knew it was worth the investment...and it was!)
  • Applied for jobs - like a mad woman - and that took a lot of work, time, discipline 
  • Had a date with God to see the Dead Sea Scrolls (totally forgot about that!) 
  • Stood up to salesman who tried to push his way into access of my backyard (long story) 
  • Kept great communication with Purity, Chidodolo, and Rosebell - my Compassion Kid'os are such a joy. Celebrated 1 year of sponsorship!
  • Rocked three successful job interviews
  • My eco-friendly project (click here) won me a brand new Kindle Fire in a contest and has been repinned on Pinterest 286+ times
  • Wrote the post Disciple the Nations which has been on my heart for a long time
  • Took first steps toward adopting! Courage for a New Adventure
  • Spent many hours researched possible jobs for friends 
  • Dog-sitter for my folks dog Katie - for 3 weeks! *whew* :) 
  • Created art with clay for the first time
  • Had amazing 15 year spiritual birthday! And a great trip to my hometown to celebrate with Rachel, Nikki, and Collin. What wonderful, deep women! - A Weekend of Promise
  • Encouraging & helping some coworkers who are having a rough time
  • Completed all the certification paperwork & classes for the adoption. 
  • Don't know what all happened in Sept but I put in a piece of paper that read: "In general, just rock'n it!!" LOL
  • Great success in my hiking training! In March I was hiking up to 3 miles at a time a few times a week, then I broke my toe - ha. Oh well, starting over in 2014 - El Camino de Santiago 
  • Disciplined about giving my broken toe time to heal and learning lessons it taught - "Moving Slow"
  • Got offered the job I wanted and successfully negotiated the salary I needed 
  • Protected a young woman who was studying the bible from insensitive pressure from others 
  • A year of pups: After much research, I found a labradoodle pup for my wonderful friend, Ivonne and a pup had been dumped in the country by my folks house and I was able to help it find a new, loving home over Christmas with my friend Ashley. I love these girls hearts!
  • Birthday adventure in my first Tiny Home - Survived the eye! - ha - I have an interesting story for sure: Rest Secure
  • Found great deal on children's beds and dressers!
  • Let myself have a deep cry 
  • Invested in books to try to strengthen my career to prepare for adoptions
  • Building friendships with great women I met at the adoption/foster certifications classes
  • Celebrated World Day for Cultural Diversity
  • Started my 10 x 10 x 10 discipline 
  • Best Christmas ever with family! 
  • Had lunch with complete strangers at the museum! That was fun.
  • Finished some difficult projects at new job and had a great review! 
  • Encouraged the 21 neighbors on my street with cards and small gifts for Christmas. 
  • This whisk idea I made for my neighbors has been repinned over 691 times on Pinterest in only 25 days. ha...and I got the idea from another pinner. 
  • Overcame my fear of knocking on my neighbors door alone and didn't chicken out by just putting the gifts in their mailboxes. :) 
  • Helped a woman who crashed her bicycle in the park by my car during a thunderstorm - The Random
  • Won our family's first ever 'Chunk'n Pumpkin' competition
  • Was able to meet the President appointed Minister of Higher Education in Uganda, Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo and his daughter Caroline Nakaye
  • Unique adventure - my poetry picnic with God - I can't wait to do this again in the Spring
  • Got a bonus and a raise at my new job after only 5 months...go God!   
Overall, a wonderful 2013. Thank you for sharing it with me. :) Praying you have a wonderful and safe New Year in 2014!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Deep Peace in Uncertain Change

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go,  for to you I entrust my life.

~Psalm 143:8

The verse above speaks to me so deeply right in this moment. You see, God is moving. Well, He always is...but there are just some moments when you can tell He's moving in huge ways, right? :) And it's easy for me to feel intimidated by change, or nervous and uncertain. 

But there is a time when deep peace settles in my bones and that's when I live doing two things:
1. Following God's word
2. Putting my trust in Him and my hope in His unfailing love

God says over and over again that we have to take our trust and PUT it in Him. It's easier to put our trust in our abilities, our understanding, or to put our trust in the way a situation is working out but we know our abilities, understanding and situations can fail us. It is only God who doesn't fail. If you get a chance, it's worth doing a bible search and study of the two words "put" & "trust."

Besides the verse above, here are three other verses below. I'm totally adding them to my arsenal of scripture to speak out loud in my times with God! :)

Psalm 25:1 - In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.

Psalm 56:3 - When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Psalm 86:4 - Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you.

Because He's putting life changes on my heart and maybe even a new path to my feet, I know that right now must be a time of waiting and seeking Him deeper. I'm okay with waiting but lately I am tempted not to cast my nets too deep into His word because He might make it so obvious that the things around me that I know should change are not changing. And I already know that a lack of change will eventually mean I will need to make a change into a different direction. I'm so thankful He loves me and is so patient! And so with all this, I decided to repent and seek deeper and Psalm 33 pops up in my Coffee & Cozy time with God to gently remind me...

"...the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all he does...the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love," and that "in him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name."  

So I return to digging deep into God's word, putting my trust in Him and resting all my hope in His unfailing love for me. Hello again, Deep Peace...I've missed you.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rosebell updated

Yay! I just noticed I have new photos of Rosebell. :) I'll get clearer ones in the mail soon but this made my day. This sweet, sweet young lady lives in Uganda. In her region, the typical monthly salary earned is $11. 

Someone else sponsors Rosebell but they have asked me to write and encourage her. I love it! It's such a joy to me. Isn't she cute in her outfit. 


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Neighbors' Christmas Gifts

In my neighborhood, it seems that people are beginning to open up. I see more waving, more "hello's" and more holiday decorations than I have the three years I've lived there. So while praying yesterday, God put the 21 homes on my street on my heart. I prayed for a way to go meet them all and decided I would stop by and give holiday gifts & cards. Below are the items I created. [Go Pinterest & the Dollar Tree!

Originally, I wanted to give everyone whisks and holiday cards but I bought the D. Tree out when I bought the only 5 whisks they had in stock. :) So I'm giving my 5 closest neighbors these gifts since they are always looking out for me and loving up on me. 

so cute!

For the other 16 neighbors, I'm going to give a bag of Jolly rancher candy, a holiday card, and again use the play on words from a Christmas song.

I want to wrap it all in prayer so I'll be praying for each home down my street for a day in December. Here's my nerdy little map to help me be specific - the visual side of me loves this! 
Anyway, I'm super excited and hopeful that I can meet many of them. Prayerfully, they will be encouraged by their "neighbor with the blue door." :D

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Celebrating the Ordinary

Today I'm celebrating!! Exactly one year ago today, I wrote a post about the progress in my health to overcome hypersomnia. Yay! 

I'm sleeping a little over 9 hrs a night now. (between 8/8:30p-5:30a...and I need all them hours!) Although my sleep is not back to the 7 hours I was sleeping before I got sick, I don't care, because at least it's not 14 hours anymore. My daytime energy is up, my life is functioning fairly normally and my spirits are higher. 

I'm so thankful to my Lord, the Everlasting. Ya know, He really had mercy on me and helped me through the suffering, all the doctors appointments, the heartache & headaches, and the questioning that comes with being chronically ill. He saw me through to this other side - like only Jesus can - and I am so grateful. 

Being able to sleep the right amount seems like such an ordinary thing and it is, yet in the same breath I can say, it's not ordinary. We so easily take for granted our "ordinary" and "normal" blessings. In fact, when I was reflecting about things to be thankful for, I came across a PBS article that shared about the heart. Take your two fists and put them together in front of you in a ball. Your heart is probably about that size and this diligent organ beats around 100,000 times a Day! That's about 35 million times in just one Year and in the average lifetime, your beautiful heart will beat more than 2.5 Billion times!! Ordinary in an average moment but honestly extraordinary.

So this Thanksgiving, among all the things to be thankful for...I will celebrate the ordinary because when I look deeper, what I find is that my "ordinary" blessings are really a bigger deal than I thought at first. My thankfulness list will start off with normal sleep and my beating heart. :) 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Impact of Giving


Chidodolo is super special to me. In exactly one week, on Thanksgiving day, I'll have been blessed to be his sponsor and friend for a year! Compassion recently provided me an email update after an inquiry I sent. They shared that through some additional gifts, Chidodolo purchased: Three T-shirts, Pair of shoes, 5 kg of sugar, Soap, Tooth paste, Tea leaves, & some soft drinks (soda). I was so excited that they included these photos for me. Emily mentioned that Chidodolo had also sent me a thank you letter and it was on the way too.

Purity sent me a long two page update letter recently full of happiness and thankfulness that I'll share in another post. The letter mentioned that pictures would be coming of the goat they bought. :)

Rosebel's letter arrived yesterday updating me on her life. She addressed the letter as, "My best friend Ms. Amy Baker" and that warmed my heart. She greeted me from the family and from her, (especially her mum and sister). She told me they are beginning to get rain which they are extremely thankful for as the farmers are preparing gardens, planting and sowing. She shared that school was now closed for the holiday and that she had done great in her classes by ranking 10th out of 38 students! She thanked God for that, and me...which is super humbling. Specifically, she shared Psalm 7:1 with me which says, "I come to you for protection, O Lord my God. Save me from my persecutors—rescue me!"

Impact. I'm so grateful that Compassion and the children I sponsor take the time to show me the small ways I'm helping.  They show me the impact and probably don't even realize how much they impact me! I'm just grateful for these kid'os, for their letters, their faith, and that God has placed us in each others lives. 

All that we behold is full of blessings.  ~William Wordsworth

Monday, November 18, 2013

Extra Time in God's Midst

I found ideas for spending a personal day with God. I wish I had a full day to retreat but the holiday season does not often lend me that honor. Yet, because I tend to get really worn out this time of the year (can you relate?) I do long for more time with Him! 

Believe it or not, different amounts of time can pop up in our day, so I thought I'd share some ideas of ways to draw toward God when it happens! 

Only have 5 extra minutes alone?
  • set an alarm so you don't have to worry about the time and pray
  • listen to a song that inspires you...and close your eyes
  • write a list of things you are thankful for - as many as you can in 5 min. 
  • draw a picture of you hugging Jesus...really, go ahead! It doesn't matter if you are great at drawing; all that matters is changing your focus!
  • or maybe you need to focus on "being" not "doing" - take some time to "be still" and recognize God as God 
  • if it's at night, go out and gaze at God's beautiful stars, moon, or nighttime sky 

Only have 10 to 15 extra minutes alone? 
  • go on a prayer walk around the block
  • sit quietly for a moment then journal a response to the question: "What am I learning, or could God be trying to teach me, in the things going on in my life right now? 
  • take a moment and do some prayer stretching! Examples: Reach as high as you can and praise God in worship, stretch your arms as wide as you can and pray about being open to God's word, stand and stretch your chin to your chest while sharing with God how grateful you are to be His...
  • remember...reflect on the moments that God began to reveal himself to you through the Word, remember your baptism, remember joy, relief, peace...remember His love for you.
  • consider not talking and just be in silence for 10-15 minutes with a focus on listening for God or just enjoying his presence.

Only have 20 or 30 extra minutes alone? 
  • read through one of the smaller books in the New Testament. Devour it whole! Some great examples are Philippians, Colossians, James, 1 John or Jude.
  • take a look at a story from the bible you love and read it very slowly...picture what you are reading like you were watching a movie.
  • spend some time praying wide. Look on a map and pick a country you've never been to or prayed for...pray for the country and the people there, pray about Jesus' love spreading there.
  • is there something you need to get off your heart? Pour out your heart in a journal or internal prayers to God

Well, right now I have about an hour before an evening work event, so I'm off to grab hold of the extra time God's given me. Can't wait!!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

4 Question Quick Quiz - Being Humble

Humility is HARD! I have failed so many times to be humble that it seems ridiculous to even submit this post, yet the Spirit pressed this quiz on me during my prayer time as a creative way to share so I have to be humble to that, right?! ha.   

People don't automatically know what a humble response is since humility is often rejected as weakness in the world, so prideful responses are the normal responses being modeled for us. So here's a quick quiz - select how you would respond:

Someone tells you that something you did hurt them and you say, 
  1. "I am sorry you were hurt."
  2. "I am sorry but I didn't mean to hurt you."
  3. "I am sorry you felt hurt."
  4. "I am sorry I hurt you."
  5. "Oh well."

Someone apologizes to you after you've expressed being hurt by them and you say, 
  1. "I forgive you but..." then list all the times they have hurt you.
  2. "I forgive you." ...and never bring up that hurt again.
  3. "I forgive you if you will..._____."  
  4. "I forgive you."...and pull your heart back so they can't hurt you again.
  5. "Yeah, sure. Whatever." 

You notice someone consistently acting different or distant toward you so you,  
  1. Are sure to be extra friendly with them next time you see them.
  2. Ask their closest friend how they are doing.
  3. Go ask them if everything is okay between you.
  4. Reason that if they have a problem, they need to come to you.
  5. Decided, "I have got my own problems."... and ignore it. 

You have a disagreement with someone and decide to pray together. During the prayer, you:
  1. Pray to see what you can change or if you are misunderstanding the situation.
  2. Pray for God to build unity and peace around the world.
  3. Pray and confirm your clear conscience then ask God not to hold their sin against them.
  4. Pray for God to help them see their fault.
  5. On second thought, you decide to refuse to pray with them.  

Some of these above statements may seem outlandish but I've experienced each of them so here's some insight I've received o
ver the years from Christians much older in Christ than me - passing their wisdom along.

Someone tells you that something you did hurt them and you say, 
  1. "I am sorry you were hurt." (apology that they got hurt yet this subtle statement dismisses that you have any responsibility for it and is prideful)
  2. "I am sorry but I didn't mean to hurt you." (the 'but' cancels the apology before it, attempting to justify your intentions is to suggest they should feel differently and is insensitive)
  3. "I am sorry you felt hurt." (dismissive; you have pushed the blame of their hurt back on them, taking no responsibility)
  4. "I am sorry I hurt you." (humble and loving, apology and recognizing something you did hurt them)
  5. "Oh well." (uncaring, unloving) 
When we commit an obvious sin against someone we are often fine with apologizing. Yet we struggle with humility if we didn't intend to hurt the person or don't believe they should feel hurt. Why is this? Because in our pride, we care more about being justified and right. But in the average situation of hurt, what would be a humble heart? Being proved right? Or concern that somehow the one Jesus loves has been hurt? Be humble, be a peace-maker and in this you can find solutions so that this situation doesn't happen again. Let God justify you - you just focus on being humble and loving. Consider the heart of scriptures like 1 Cor. 6:7, Philippians 2:3-11, Eph 4:2.
Someone apologizes to you after you've expressed being hurt by them and you say, 
  1. "I forgive you but..." then list all the times they've hurt you. (not truly forgiving, holding record of wrongs, 1 Cor. 13:5)
  2. "I forgive you." ...and never bring that hurt up again. (humble - Eph 4:31-32)
  3. "I forgive you if you will..._____." (conditional forgiveness = unforgiving) 
  4. "I forgive you."...and pull your heart back so they can't hurt you again. (you've made a promise you don't fulfill, since you've left the friendship)
  5. "Yeah, sure. Whatever."  (unloving-distrustful) 

    The definition of "forgive" - to grant pardon for or remission of offense, debt...etc, to absolve, to give up all claim on account of, to cease to feel resentment against, to cancel an indebtedness or forgive interest owed. Just the definition challenges my heart!

You notice someone consistently acting different or distant toward you so you,  
  1. Are sure to be extra friendly with them next time you see them. (avoidance, dodging the situation you see)
  2. Ask their closest friend how they are doing. (not dealing directly, unloving)
  3. Go ask them if everything is okay between you. (humble - consider Matthew 5:9 & 23-24)
  4. Reason that if they have a problem, they need to come to you. (prideful)
  5. Decided, "I've got my own problems."... and ignore it.  (selfish, detached)

You have a disagreement with someone and decide to pray together. During the prayer, you:

  1. Pray to see what you can change or if you are misunderstanding the situation. (humility - focus on being a better you for God and that you always have room to improve)
  2. Pray for God to build unity and peace around the world. (evading issue, non-participation)
  3. Pray and confirm your clear conscience then ask God not to hold their sin against them (passive aggressive, read 1 Cor. 4:4-5)
  4. Pray for God to help them see their fault. (pride, consider Luke 18:9-20)
  5. On second thought, you decide to refuse to pray with them. (arrogant, hard-hearted)  

    I hope this post provides some things to "chew" on and pray about...Here's to growing in our humility to one another!!! :)  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

10 Powerful Daily Questions To Ask Yourself

I came across the MindBodyGreen website on Pinterest and have been enjoying their articles. This one I thought I'd share it!! I'm going to try to answer these questions as often daily as I can. :)

It’s all too easy to measure yourself by how much you’ve achieved or how much money you’ve earned, or how many Facebook likes or Twitter followers you have. It's so easy to start rushing to earn more, do more, be more, that we fail to notice the simple blessings that we encounter every day.

The questions you ask yourself on a daily basis will create the person you become. So rather than interrogate yourself with the all too common, Have I achieved enough? Did I earn enough? Am I good enough?, ask yourself these 10 power questions before you go to bed each night.

1. What did I learn?
We can learn something from everyone we meet and everything we do. Embrace each opportunity to dare greatly, to fail greatly, and to learn greatly.

2. Who did I love? 
Love is when we are both at our bravest and our most fearful. To love takes courage. But to give love rewards you with love.

3. How was I vulnerable? 
Being vulnerable is magical. Being vulnerable is about taking off your mask and allowing yourself to be deeply seen. It is asking for help, taking risks, and stepping outside of your comfort zone.

4. What am I grateful for?
Gratitude reminds you that you have enough and you are enough. A gratitude jar is a lovely way to practice gratitude.

5. Who did I listen to?
Sometimes we just need to be listeners. No fixing, no advice giving, no sympathy, just taking the time to listen to a friend, a colleague, a stranger, who wants to share her pain, her joy, or her story with us.

6. How was I challenged?
Challenge is not the same as struggle. You may have to overcome the same obstacle or confront the same demon but it's your choice whether you see it as a soul-destroying struggle or embrace it as a spirit-awakening challenge.

7. What made me laugh?
Never underestimate the power of laughter! If you haven’t laughed today, then a have a private giggle to yourself right now.

8. Who did I connect with?
Connection is the energy created between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued. It provides us with a sense of belonging that helps us to realize that we are not alone.

9. How did I grow?
We grow everyday through every experience; we just fail to appreciate it. You may have made a big leap on your journey of growth and blossomed from a bud to a flower, or you may have just made a baby-step up the stairs or personal growth.

10. What did I share?
Never underestimate your ability to inspire someone, to teach someone, and to make someone else’s life better. You are a unique individual with a story to tell. You can share what nobody else can."

Monday, November 4, 2013

Simple Banana & Peanut Butter snack

I totally dig bananas, especially if they are a tiny bit green, but find that it's often hard for me to finish a whole bunch. So I went hunting on Pinterest for a solution.

Ta-da! Frozen Banana bites. :) I sliced the bananas, placed them on a wooden cutting board then added some of my favorite peanut butter on top. For an extra treat, I also topped them off with some dark chocolate chips. 

Once they hardened, I placed them all in a freezer bag and they have done great! Anytime I need a little snack, I just grab a quick frozen bite. The only thing I'll change next time is to cut the banana's a bit thinner because it's a mouth full! ha. 


Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Closer Walk - Love

Day Four:

Song of Solomon 8:7says that many waters cannot quench love; rivers can not wash it away.

I know that God sees a beauty within each of us that will escape most people. God's love and heart for you is as passionate as Solomon's words to his beloved! Nothing can quench His love for you...think about it...rivers cannot wash His love away! 

Today, I took out a piece of paper and drew hearts all over it. (about silver-dollar size) On each one, I wrote something unique and beautiful about me. Care to join me? You are God's! You are cherished, pampered, and held close. I pray you will meditate and secure these 'hearts' in your spirit as a positive re-enforcement to fight any negativity you hear or feel.

If times are particularly hard right now for you and you are having trouble thinking of stuff...ask someone you are close to if they would share something they see as unique and beautiful about you. It's not prideful...sometimes we just get so beat down that we forget the facts.

I hope your day is flooded with God's love.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Closer Walk - Mighty Mercy

Day Three:
Exodus 37:1-9 (AMP)

Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood—two cubits and a half was the length of it, a cubit and a half the breadth of it, and a cubit and a half the height of it.
He overlaid it with pure gold within and without and made a molding or crown of gold to go around the top of it.He cast four rings of gold for its four corners, two rings on either side.
He made poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold.
He put the poles through the rings at the sides of the ark to carry it.
[Bezalel] made the mercy seat of pure gold, two cubits and a half its length and one cubit and a half its breadth.
And he made two cherubim of beaten gold; on the two ends of the mercy seat he made them,
One cherub at one end and one at the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat he made the cherubim at its two ends.
And the cherubim spread out their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, with their faces to each other, looking down to the mercy seat."
The mercy seat and the presence of the old testament the location of grace, the cover of the ark of the covenant. For my coffee & cozy today, I'm remembering that God's presence means mercy. I'll close my eyes, sit up straight, breathe deeply, and picture God on His throne...His throne and seat of mercy. What else matters?

The Lord is majestic! Today I will meditate on the grandness of God and His amazing mercy. I imagine angels around me today, facing me on either side with their wings raised high overhead covering me peacefully. In fact, when I sit down throughout today, I hope to remember that God's seated on His mercy seat. My God is on the throne! 

May today be full of reminders for you on how majestic your God is and may expressions of gratitude for the amazing mercy He extends overflow.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Closer Walk - Compassionate Samaritian

We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. ~Charlie Chaplin

Day Two:
Luke 10:30-37 [NLT]

This Samaritan spent time, money and gave his heart to care for the needs of someone who was hurting. Today, I'm asking God if there is anyone He'd like me to serve, love and encourage. Who knows? This person could be across the world or just across the street!

"My Faithful God, send me. Send me to those you want me to specifically love up on. I am open to serving. I am open to getting out of my comfort zone. Even if it's just a random act of kindness...use me God, in Jesus name, because I don't want to be self focused. I want to have the heart that this Samaritan displayed. Amen."

For some fun ideas, spend time praying to God and then check out this database of 332 Kindness Ideas for inspiration!
May our wonderful God bless you today with dreams and avenues to serve others.

Monday, October 28, 2013

S'Mores Halloween Gift

Mom and I put together some Halloween treats to give out to friends and encourage some folks at a Senior Services Center. Easy & cute! 

Each pack includes: 2 gram crackers, a snack size Hershey's chocolate bar & one ghost "Peep."

A Closer Walk - In His Presence

Day One:

I'll be posting a four day study designed to inspire you by adding a little something to your times with the Lord. The ideas are small but the impact can be big. Have fun!

Over the next few days, I'm going to light a candle when I have my times with God. I'm lighting it to announce..."In this special time, I'm acknowledging your presence, God." (If you don't have a candle, you could also shut your eyes and imagine lighting one in front of you.)

The point is to do something to make sure that you are deeply acknowledging God's presence and not just rushing through blindly in your time reading or praying.

Proverb 20:27 (para) The lamp of the LORD searches the spirit of his children - it searches out their inmost being.

Today I will meditate on this verse above and spend time asking God to search my heart, remove any veils and cut out the negative, the ugly, the hard spots in my heart and character.

Today I also did some keyword searches for scriptures that include 'light' & 'lamp.' So uplifting!
May your day be blessed with God's holy light.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

When Jesus Prayed

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray…” Luke 11:1

This morning, I spent all my time with God focused on this study. Just picture it... hearing the very voice of Jesus as he prayed. The thought almost gives me chills. There is no “exact” method for prayer but Jesus and the scriptures do provide guidance. I love the humility of the disciple to ask Jesus to teach them. It's so honest and real because who is really comfortable the first time they start praying consistently?? Below are some other scriptures on Jesus' prayer life that I like to read:

Jesus teaching & His example
Luke 11:1-13, Matthew 6:5-8 What stands out to you about what he shares?

Matthew 19:13, John 17:1-26 Jesus prayed for others. Who are you praying for?

Matthew 26:36 Christ turned to God when he was in need. He also invited others to pray with him.

Matthew 14:13 & 22-24, and Mark 1:35 Jesus spent time alone with God.

Jesus even spent all night in prayer because of the importance of the decision he had to make the next morning!  Luke 6:12

Pray with persistence: Luke 18:1-8

Prayer isn’t always perfect or “pretty” – Hebrews 5:7 What else does the writer in Hebrews share about Jesus prayer life?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Praying for Others

"If we could all hear one another's prayers, God might be relieved of some of his burdens." ~Ashleigh Brilliant

my prayer bench

We have Jesus' example of prayer and we also have the examples of other believers in prayer from the bible. It's good to pray and worship God then cast our cares. Being in prayer for others is something I have been trying to do more of in my prayer life. Speaking blessings on the lives of others is completely refreshing, freeing, and can really help to turn your focus off yourself! Below are a few examples I found that are inspiring in both areas:

Constant – Acts 1:14, Colossians 1:9-12, 2 Thessalonians 1:11

“Wrestling in prayer” – Colossians 4:12 What does it mean to wrestle in prayer for someone?

Praying for God to be glorified – 2 Thessalonians 1:12, John 17: 1-5

Paul’s words on prayer – Philippians 1: 9-11, 4:6-7

~ Additional people to study:
  • King David (many of the Psalms are his prayers)
  • Daniel 6 (He was sentenced to the Lion’s den for praying diligently to God instead of worshiping the king. And God saved him)
  • Jonah 2 - crying out to God inside the fish
  • Disciples in Acts 4: 23-31
~Simple guide: Some people like to use the "A.C.T.S." way of praying as a simple way to guide themselves when it's hard to stay focused, (especially early in the morning). This stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication (supplication is a humble request for help).

Of course, these little studies aren't designed for me to do all the work. They are built for you to go and look up scriptures, study, and mediate. I hope reading scriptures of other believers in prayer will inspire you to widen your view of prayer!!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Weekend of Promise

This past weekend I went on a girls' trip out of town. Our purpose was relaxation, bonding and getting closer to God. Two of the main activities on the trip were seeing an outdoor play about the life of Christ called "The Promise" & hiking up to an overlook in the Dinosaur Valley State Park to get inspired by having a time of worship & communion with God in nature.

It was a great trip!! The forecast the whole week predicted RAIN but we (and I'm sure others) were praying diligently and God answered with favor. I don't think I even felt a drop of rain. Although we did get to see a rainbow up in the clouds while at The Promise. 

As you probably know, the symbol of the rainbow is God's promise to us and the reminder of the covenant He made to never flood the entire earth again. (Genesis 9:9-17) It was moving to see the rainbow at The Promise because we were about to watch the story of Christ and be reminded of the promise God fulfilled in Jesus! One of the lyrical lines from a song in the play says, "God is a God of promise. His promises ring true. His words can all be trusted. What God has said...He'll do!"

I've been reflecting a lot on the words of God and have been asking myself..."Are you living like you trust these words and are you believing that what God has said, He will do?" This has been so helpful in my life at this moment to reconfirm and take God at his word! 

Doubt can jump into my thoughts quickly about all kinds of things. Recently, doubt says to me, "Can you really take on children as a single woman? These kids are very tramatized. You could ruin your life forever." or "You don't have that much support...the number of people that have even checked on you concerning the adoption can be counted on one hand with fingers left over!" 

My friends, I'm not naturally negative and I know those thoughts are not from God... so where do they suddenly come from?

Well, in the play, you can often see the actor of satan chill'n in most scenes. In a spotlighted scene of Peter & Jesus, when Jesus shares that he will be betrayed, killed and then rise again, Peter gets upset and says that he will not let those things happen to Jesus. Just then the spotlight widens and you see that satan is beside Peter. To which, Jesus then speaks the famous words of rebuke, "Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God's." (Matthew 16:23) 

So over the past week what I realized is that those doubt filled thoughts are from a human point of view and not from God's! They are a dangerous trap. I'm certain evil would love me to give up on adoption! My life will not be ruined...I'm following God's heart, His will. I'm striving for a life of love and of course satan wants me to focus on my comfort and on how "hard" it is to follow in the steps of Christ.
The evil one has no new tactics...just his old tricks as a tempter. He tried to mess with Jesus so of course he's going to try to mess with little ole me so I the answer for me has been to reconfirm truths from God like Jesus did in Matthew 4 by answering with scriptures - aloud. I've been encouraging other also to speak God's words aloud to fight off temptation & doubts. There are many examples of this in the bible. I hope you research it! 

"It is written: 'I believed; therefore I have spoken.' Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak..." 2 Corinthians 4:13

I'm trusting God at his word. I know that the God of Promise will bring good to those who follow Him whether the good is in this life or the next and so will hold unswervingly to the hope I profess, for He who Promised me, Is Faithful! Heb. 10:23

Monday, October 7, 2013

Homestudy Update

I had my adoption home-study this week. It's one of the last pieces I need to be certified. It was exciting and fun plus stressful and time consuming to get ready. I thought it would take them a bit more time to process my paperwork, but I was wrong because they moved very quickly.

Even though it was not a "must" to have the room set up, I felt it was important to show that I've given a lot of thought and am prepared. The lovely caseworker mentioned that she was glad to see it done so I was pleased that I worked so hard.

The home-study was supposed to take 1.5 hrs but stretched into 3hrs! Lots of questions, lots of laughter, a few tears shed by me and a deep sigh of relief. Questions ranged from my family's parenting style when I was growing up and of my own parenting style. There were questions of my practical plans all the way to odd questions (at least to me) of did you attend your high school prom and what was your very happiest moment growing up and what did you learn from it.

During this whole process, I've been talking with two wonderful women who went through the certifications classes with me and am so thankful we get to update each other on our progress. They REALLY understand the excitement, nerves, and hopes I carry and I'm grateful for their support. They are support & friends I've been praying for. :) 

The lovely caseworker said it would take her about 2 weeks to write up her report and find out answers on a few questions. So what am I to do in the meantime? WELL, I'm resting, I'm looking for a photographer that can take some fresh shots of me for my adoption profile book, and I'm going to enjoy the peace of the ordinary days that have come back upon me for the time being.

I'm also taking a small girls trip! Woo-hoo. Can't wait!!