Tonight I am taking a break from my 31 day challenge (sadly, I am not very good at following my own challenge since I should be over 1/2 way done it, but somedays I just don’t have the brain capacity to write) and I am going to share with you what’s been happening in my life lately.
If you have read any of my previous blog posts, you will know that this past month has been a rough one for me and my family. We went from losing a baby to me being sick for 3 weeks and now that I am finally out of it life has been getting back to normal.
Well, recently my family has been blessed by God beyond anything we could have ever hoped or dreamed for. The reason? We tithed.
Let me explain.
My husband, the youth Pastor at our church, makes sure that his 10% comes straight off of his pay cheques so we don’t have to worry about it. However, he does a bit of acting and writing on the side and this year he had forgetful moment for a few months and forgot to tithe on this income, as well we forgot to do so with our child tax credit and a bit of money that I had been bringing in.
And, like most families, we have a bit of debt that has collected over the years. The past six or so months have been such a huge financial struggle, so we decided that the only way to help us with our debt and to free up some more cash was to ask the bank to refinance our mortgage on the house. We tried, it failed. We tried again with another place and it looked grim.
Then two weeks ago, my husband came home and told me that it just hit him over the head like a tonne of bricks. WE HADN’T BEEN TITHING OUR FULL 10%. Well, no wonder we were struggling financially. We had not been fulfilling a commandment of God.
The next day my husband walked in to work with a bit of money, to help with our tithe for the month and within a week we not only had an approval from a bank to refinance our mortgage (the percentage and payments were going to be much less than we were paying currently) AND I randomly had a job offer to nanny for another Christian family once a week.
God answered so many prayers in just two short days! We couldn’t believe it.
So I wanted to share with you tonight something else about God – without looking at scripture (although I could pull a few verses out to help support what happened to us) – but just taking a look at an ordinary life and seeing what He can do!
This week has been a rough one for me.
This week the baby I was pregnant with would have been 12 weeks.
This week we should be celebrating with our friends and family about the miracle of life, and looking forward to May 2014.
This week I should be shopping for super cute maternity clothes for myself, and new baby attire as well.
This week I should be checking the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book a hundred times to make sure everything is going smoothly.
Instead this week I am feeling alone, empty, defeated and a failure.
Even though I am feeling this way, I am grateful for the ladies who, without even knowing me, are lifting me up in prayer (as well as for those who do know me). I am so thankful for a husband who, even not knowing how I am deeply feeling about all of this, can help ease my heavy burden. I am also amazed at the love of my God who speaks words of TRUTH in to my life.
“For you are God, O Sovereign Lord. Your words are truth…” 2 Samuel 7:28 (NLT)
This week I have been feeling like such a failure (especially as a mom) and doubt has been filing me up. But when I am filled with feelings of hopelessness and despair I know that 1) I am not alone 2) These are lies, not the truth and 3) When I turn to the one who is the TRUTH I learned what I really am.
I AM NOT the lies that the devil tries to fill me up with.
I AM loved – “…For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:5
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
I AM just how God created me to be – “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
I AM known to God – “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:17 (I probably could have posted the whole chapter, but you get the idea)
I AM valuable – “And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Luke 12:7
I could go on and on finding verse after verse of God’s truth and just how He has shown me over the last little while that I AM NOT what the world thinks or what the devil tries to put in to my head. That I AM more valuable and loved than that.
Simply Searching for Truth,
***Tonight we will be looking at Jesus. Who he was. Who he is. And how he can impact our faith.
I love Hebrews chapter 12. It has been such an encouragement to me, especially since we started our journey to Costa Rica (and since then as well). Tonight I want to look at part of this passage, verse 2 to be specific.
“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (NLT)
Jesus is our perfect example of how to live a holy life. He was perfect. And what a better standard to live up to? Obviously we are not perfect, because we have sin in our lives, but we can still strive to be the best person and Christian in the world.
The reason this chapter (and verse) have meant to much to me starts with that first line, “keeping our eyes on Jesus”. Doing a missions trip will always change your life, and in ways you will never expect it to, and during this past summer my life was and will be forever changed. I learned things about myself and found out how God could use me. However, it was a really challenging experience and keeping my eyes and focus on Jesus helped me through it all.
By keeping our focus on Jesus, we have the perfect example of how to live and how to be in relationship with other. In doing this we live like Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of our faith.
I want to finish off tonight with this same passage (adding in verses 1 and 3) but in The Message translation. I think it is a perfect way to end the night.
“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”
“I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” Revelation 1:8 (NLT)
There are so many things about God that just blow my mind. And so many things my tiny, human brain just can’t even grasp (despite how hard I try to understand them).
Time in relation to God is just one of the things that I find so hard to understand.
In our world today, time dictates everything we do. We live our lives by the clock. So many of my nights are spent dreading waking up (I LOVE to sleep), and when I am awake I count the hours on the clock until I can go back to sleep. My life is planned and organized around our toddler’s schedule. I try to keep our days at home simple, and yet the concept of time always creeps in.
Because we live under the rule of time, our lives become very hectic and fast-paced. People with jobs are always under some sort of deadline, there are meetings and projects and a set amount of time for lunch, etc.
What would our world look like if we did not follow the clock? Or if we followed God’s idea of time?
It would be Heaven. Literally.
In this passage in Revelation, God tells us that He is beyond time. He was, and is, and has always been. He existed before the world did, before time was really a thing.
God is also telling us that even though we are so focused on this whole time thing, we need to realize there is one part of time we don’t know. One date on our calendars that we will never have written down – His return to earth.
He is coming to save us and to give us a new life; our eternal life and home. This statement from God happens in the beginning of the book of Revelation, and He is telling us that He is coming AND SOON! That is a concept I can understand!
Even though I do live by the clock and calendar and the concept of time, that is not what drives my relationship with Christ. And even though it is hard for my human brain to really understand God’s idea of time, I know that His promise of coming back is true.
Our Pastor has just started a great series called “The 7 Habits of of Serious Christ Followers”, and this past Sunday (yesterday) we talked about Habit #1: Daily Devotions.
Every time I hear a sermon on this very subject, I am reminded of how awful I am at remembering to do my devotions daily. I feel so convicted, I make a promise, I do them steady for a week or so, and then life gets in the way.
Are you like this too?
This is one of the reasons I decided to do this 31 day blog challenge, so that I was forced to daily (or almost daily) open my Bible and read it. And to ask God what to share/what He wants to lay on my heart, and think about it for more then a minute.
Our Pastor made it so very clear that without spending an adequate amount of time reading the Bible, praying and listening, our relationship with Jesus would never grow. Just like a friendship or marriage here on earth, without these things they wouldn’t exist.
Today I wasn’t sure what to write about, my brain has not been working very well this past week. Then it hit me: A relationship with Jesus Christ is what being a Christ Follower is all about (that and making disciples), and He is our firm foundation.
Isaiah 28:16 says this (and I love this verse), So the Lord and King speaks. He says, “Look! I am laying a stone in Zion. It is a stone that has been tested. It is the most important stone for a firm foundation. The one who trusts in that stone will never be shaken.”
The one who trusts in that stone (being Jesus) will never be shaken.
God has given us His most precious thing (His one and only son – John 3:16), and this son (Jesus) is what we are to build our lives on. When we trust in Him, when we build our lives on His foundation, we will never be shaken or moved.
The verse says that Jesus has already been tested and tried and He has defeated sin so we wouldn’t have to. How awesome is that?!?
Now that’s the kind of stone I want to build my life upon.
There is nothing I like better on a Saturday morning than sleeping in and staying in my bed, wrapped in my comforter watching a movie or just being lazy all day.
It has been a long time since I’ve spent a Saturday like that. Being married and having a toddler doesn’t allow for many lazy days like this. However, my husband was a Saint this morning and I am doing just this! I got to sleep in today, watch movies and just be lazy.
The best part of days like this is being warm (especially since winter is on the way), covered by my comforter and feeling safe.
If only the blanket on my bed could be there for me all the time, help me out in times of need and not just when I need to stay warm.
Jeremiah 8:18 says this, “Lord, my heart is weak inside me. You comfort me when I’m sad.”
My God has been with me through everything. During the times when I scraped my knee as a little girl, He was there. When I struggled through high school and university, He was there. During our first few years of marriage when life wasn’t awesome, He was there. When we lost our baby a month ago, He was there.
He is the best comfort I have ever had. When I cry, He wipes away my tears, when I am lonely His arms wrap around me and when my heart breaks, His heart also breaks. Just like Jeremiah 8 says, the Lord will be beside me when I am weak and sad.
Let God be your comforter, today and always.