Friday, April 28, 2006

Callings and Faith

I am taking a small break to sit and type just a little bit and then I will continue my fasting from typing on my blog a bit longer. This scripture passage was on the back on the sermon notes I'm getting ready to put into my notebook at some point this weekend. It appears on a lot of our notes and is such an amazing passage, which describes in great detail what I always talk about as "doing life together" (it's usually in NIV, but I found when I read this in a few different versions, that I really liked how it was worded in this one!).

Acts 2:42-47 (NIRV)
The Believers Share Life Together

42 The believers studied what the apostles taught. They shared life together. They broke bread and ate together. And they prayed.

43 Everyone felt that God was near. The apostles did many wonders and miraculous signs.

44 All the believers were together. They shared everything they had.

45 They sold what they owned. They gave each other everything they needed.

46 Every day they met together in the temple courtyard. In their homes they broke bread and ate together. Their hearts were glad and honest and true.

47 They praised God. They were respected by all the people. Every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.

This is a humbling picture in my mind, because even though we know this is how Christ wants us to live life, do we? There are so many times when the "noise" of life on this earth becomes so strong for me, that I do many times lose sight of what my true call is to be. Some days when I sit back and reflect on what all my "callings" are, I'm overwhelmed at what is required of me. I am a Child of God every moment of the day and I'm supposed to portray His love and I have to really reflect sometimes on whether I'm doing all that I can do and see if I need realignment, need to be broken of some things and begin the process of remolding and reshaping. The huge questions I have to ask myself at the end of everyday...Did I really portray an attitude and behavior that would be pleasing in God's eyes? Am I being the best spiritual role model I can be to my children and to those around me? Was I loving, caring, integral, compassionate, etc.? What do I need to work on changing and how will I accomplish it?

I will be continuing to reflect and fast from my blog throughout the next little bit. I have been and need to continue to be lifting three very special and integral women of God up in prayer. They are such amazing people and portray a life of hope, true faith and servanthood to God. There are so many times in this life where you realize that nothing's more important than being there for those around you in whatever way they need you...that's what the church, family and friendship should truly be!

I am also for one reason or another, dealing with some fear over my upcoming journey overseas...not really fear exactly, but a jitterness mixed with a whole heap of excitement, anticipation and inadequacy. It's really hard to explain, but this was a "vision" in my head for over a year and I honestly never thought it would become a reality. You have things which feed your're not a "missionary" (when we truly are all missionaries every day, no matter where we are, as our whole life's a mission-field), you're not going to be able to do what needs to be done (I wouldn't have been called if I didn't?!) and just a multitude of other things. So I need some time to really talk heart-to-heart with God and give all my fears and concerns to Him, continue to have the faith I've always had...that He has purposes for everything, reveals things in His perfect timing and we just have to continue to trust completely and openly that His plans are what need to take place. No one ever said that choosing to step out and live in faith was always easy, but in the long run, it is the most amazing lifestyle choice you can make!

A beautiful feeling,
Fills my heart.
Every time I think,
Of that wonderful day.
The day I pledged my deepest faith,
To Jesus Christ my Savior.
That step which brought me so close,
To my heavenly father whom I love so dearly.
Now a relationship so close and dear,
I am able to have with no fear.
Forever until I die,
My faith I will continue to pledge so high.
The gift of eternal life he handed to me,
The day I pledged my undying faith.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Time of Fasting

There are a lot of things happening right now in life and I am going to be focusing my eyes on them right now. I am going into a time of fasting...because things healthwise for me have been up and down the last little while, I don't know for sure how long I can sustain a fasting of food, so I will also be fasting my time from my blog, and using that time to be in prayer. I'll talk to you all in a while and I hope you'll be engulfed by His presence, love and grace in your lives and families in a very special way. God bless!

Psalm 145:17-19 (The Message)
17 Everything GOD does is right--
the trademark on all his works is love.
18 GOD's there, listening for all who pray,
for all who pray and mean it.
19 He does what's best for those who fear him--
hears them call out, and saves them.

Stepping Out of the Boat

Matthew 14:22-34 (MSG)
Walking on the Water

As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.

Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. "A ghost!" they said, crying out in terror.

But Jesus was quick to comfort them. "Courage, it's me. Don't be afraid."

Peter, suddenly bold, said, "Master, if it's really you, call me to come to you on the water."

He said, "Come ahead."

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, "Master, save me!"

Jesus didn't hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, "Faint-heart, what got into you?"

The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, "This is it! You are God's Son for sure!"

On return, they beached the boat at Gennesaret. When the people got wind that he was back, they sent out word through the neighborhood and rounded up all the sick, who asked for permission to touch the edge of his coat. And whoever touched him was healed.

This was the scripture passage which our Pastor based his sermon on in yesterday's service. I have been thinking ever since about the interesting ways in which God quietly works in our lives sometimes. Earlier on this weekend, I described my life this week as a comedy of errors and technical difficulties. It was a week which had a lot of blessings, but definitely didn't go off without a hitch. By yesterday morning, I was tired and empty and I got up and got ready for church, but I really wanted to just stay home and be by myself and have some solitude. I dragged my feet every step of the way yesterday family went out and got ready to go to church and I was still putting around doing little things, silently hoping they would just leave and let me stay. But no, Mr. Cinder sat in the driveway with the van running and I reluctantly made my way out there and down the road to church we went. One thing I feel I need to say is that my church is an amazing group of Godly people and they are awesome to be around and 'do life together' with. It had nothing to do with going to see them, because I honestly didn't even want to be around my family and anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis knows what love I have for them--they are true God-given blessings to me!

It was one of those times when you walk into a room and are only there for a matter of minutes before you know for sure that you have came there for a reason. The words of the worship songs began speaking to me deeply and I felt immediately that I was being filled with the Holy Spirit. He was filling me with the hope, with the strength and the endurance that I will need for this upcoming week. I felt a sense of peace come over me and was truly refreshed and refilled, by the music, but especially by the message, which talked about Peter's faith in stepping out of the boat and going towards a more personal sense I took away about the storms which happen when you step out of the boat and how you need to keep your eyes focused on Christ, instead of on the waves around you.

I did a lot of thinking this week about the journey God's brought my family on...he placed a mission on my heart and my husband's heart last year about this time and we didn't see how it could happen. We came up with a multitude of excuses for why this wasn't a mission for us. Then the prodding came from God to pick everything up and move our family and start afresh. It was a scary experience, as you were giving up everything familiar and the purposes you had in life and were being told to begin from scratch and have the faith that there was a clear plan, even though you couldn't see it. Things didn't go off without a lot of previous posts I've shared some of the storms, but we've continued to weather them and keep our eyes on Him through everything. God placed the mission from last spring on my heart again this fall and made it abundantly clear that it was supposed to happen. You see, most of the excuses and reasons why the mission couldn't happen, were taken away and removed, so they were no longer an obstacle in the path. Mr. Cinder and I found out this week that this mission is going to happen. We will be leaving the familiarity of North America for a couple of weeks this summer and will be travelling to Sri's still sinking in and it all began with visions of teaching children abroad and most importantly with a simple question asked, "Is the spirit of God speaking to you?" Little did the person know who asked me this question, that three weeks before I had asked a friend to begin praying alongside me, because I knew this mission was supposed to happen and that if it was truly God's will and not my own, that God would remove obstacles and opposition and that things would come together in a very decisive way...and they truly have! I have to say that right now as I'm typing, I am truly overwhelmed about where God's calling, but so completely at peace in the same sense. We're all the way out of the boat and now the exciting time will begin...the planning and preparation, the reality of truly working with God to do what He desires!

I'm going to end off with the statement which ends emails from our friend, the one who asked that very simple, yet totally thought-provoking question, a few months ago...this will definitely be a journey of a lifetime!

Faith is not blindness;
it is the acknowledgement of it...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

What Would You Do?

"It was like any other Sunday morning...families walked into the church and went to worship and classes. During the midst of the sermon that morning, two armed gunmen stormed the church and grabbed people randomly and ushered them to the front of the church. The men yelled, both at the people they grabbed and at the spectators, "Today some of you will live and some of you will die! We are going to see how strong the church truly is and whether your faith is worth as much as you say it is!" Then they asked one question, "Is Jesus Christ worth enough to die for? If you deny Him, you will go free...if you claim Him, you will die today!" Then they went through the line of people taken, asking them this question with a gun to their head. Most denied Christ so that they could get back to the safety of their chair and be with their friends and families again. The last though spoke out to their spouse and told them they loved them and their family and then turned and began to recite the Apostles' Creed...barely into it, a gun shot was heard and the life drained from the body as it fell to the ground. For this person, they couldn't have faced their family and explained denying Christ and the only action which they had was to continue to claim Him at any cost...He had done exactly that for them!

Are you wondering right now if I got this from a book about Christian persecution? No, this was a very vivid dream which I had and have continued to have. I was the last person and when I woke up, this dream left me in very deep thought about what all the purposes were for it coming into my head. You see this very subject had come up at a conversation with someone in passing. They tried to justify to me why it would be better in the long run in this situation to deny Christ...He would understand the gravity of the situation! They went on to tell me that it would be a tramatic time which Christ wouldn't want my family to endure, that we could still prove our love for Christ without having to deny Him and that we live in a country free from that type of violence and persecution, so why worry ourselves with it, because it's not going to happen here. So along with this conversation, the introduction to short-term missions and the beginning of a prompting towards pursuing this all brought this dream into mind.

What were the purposes/reasons I found for why this dream happened? The most important one was that I needed to dig deep, truly know what my faith is and what I'm living for and to know what I would do in this situation, because even though I don't endure persecution to this extent right now, it doesn't mean that it'll never happen. Yes, granted that what you might do in thought and what you might do in a real life situation are two separate issues, I believe that if you know deep down what you believe and what you would do, then that's what will transpire in a situation. The next was that my husband needed to know for sure what I would do, so that he was never taken off-guard. We had a long talk about what we believed and why we would both not deny. For us, to deny would be a greater sacrifice...we would then have to explain to our children why Christ made the ultimate sacrifice and we need to live our life for Him, but in a case of persecution, it's okay to deny Him, even though He didn't deny us. To me, this would be pure hypocrisy and I wouldn't be able to face my family and friends and especially have any semblance of an explanation to Christ when the time came. It also showed me that you need to cherish and treasure each moment in this life and live it for everything it's worth. We don't know when our last day is going to be and should truly be living each day with purpose, working towards leaving a Godly legacy and example of what we want to be remembered as.

Another view which came out of the discussion with my friend that day was that my point-of-view was pretty 'fanatical' and rather unbelievable...what was I trying to be, a martyr! I found it interesting that day as the conversation turned to the fact that there aren't as many martyrs today and it's especially a symbol of 'fanaticism' if you talk about it in a first person sense in the Western world. I love the music from the Christian music group DcTalk and when their CD "Jesus Freak" came out, Mr. Cinder and I were right there to get it...the song "Jesus Freak" is a very powerful song; one which I found so much truth in because of where I've come from. They came out with a book and it's on my long list of books to read and/or purchase, but I haven't yet. I borrowed this book from a friend last night, Jesus Freaks, DcTalk and the Voice of the Martyrs...yes, this book, along with the fact that I recently have had this dream again have probably brought this post on...but the book gave a definition of a martyr and also some very powerful statistics dealing with this subject in the modern world. I'd never really thought about what a 'martyr' was and about what the statistics in today's world truly are. I'm going to type them out, as I don't think we really take enough time to actually know them...they are sobering and things we need to know, regardless of whether we are actively being persecuted.

mar-tyr [from the Greek word for "witness]

1) One who chooses to suffer death rather than to deny Jesus Christ or His work.

2) One who bears testimony to the truth of what he has seen or heard or knows, as in a witness in a court of justice.

3) One who sacrifices something very important to further the kingdom of God.

4) One who endures severe or constant suffering for their Christian witness.

5) A Jesus Freak.

"It is said that there are more Christian martyrs today than there were in 100 A.D. - in the days of the Roman Empire. According to a study done at Regent University, there were close to 156,000 Christians martyred around the world in 1998. An estimated 164,000 will be martyred in 1999."

What would you do if faced with the question, "Is Jesus Christ worth enough to die for?" Have you ever given it any thought...if not, shouldn't you?

Hebrews 13:3 (CEV)
Remember the Lord's people who are in jail and be concerned for them. Don't forget those who are suffering, but imagine that you are there with them.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Anchored to My Rock

I find it really interesting that during a time of reflection for me, I sometimes look back and don't even recognize the person I was a little while back. To look and see, that the road you took through a situation was so winding and up and down, and realize it's truly a small miracle that you even made it through that portion of the's a blessing and testament of who He truly is!

God brought me through a visual journey of the last 7 months of my life this weekend. He especially took me to a time only 4 short months ago when I was in the battle of my life...right smack in the middle of the season of 'adventure'. I was being deceived into believing that I wasn't good enough to be a wife to my husband, a mother to my kids and a friend to anyone who crossed my path. I fought through the mental battles which were saying, "They're better off without will be hard, but they'll get through and there will be someone who's better suited for them than're better off dead, rather than's not going to get any better, it will be quick and painless and this is the best possible thing you can do for everyone involved!" I look back now and I don't even recognize myself at that point of my life. I know at that time I couldn't fathom that things would actually get better and despite the constant love, adoration and praise of my husband and family, I couldn't shake the notion that they'd be better off without me. I didn't want to seek out help and counsel from my pastors, because I was too proud to let people see what I was enduring. I look back and think that one important reason this happened, was to show me that I needed to surrender my prideful ways...I needed to quit masking my battles and trying to fight them on my own...I needed to realize that when you truly need it, it's not inconvenient to ask for help and counsel, it's a necessary thing to do, in order to effectively navigate the storms of life. Despite everything that went on in that battle, the one thing I do know is that even though I felt so far away from God in those moments, I knew He was there with me. I knew that no matter how dismal things seemed to me, that those notions weren't from God...they were deceptions and I needed to hold tight to my rock, even though I felt I was slipping off of it fast. I've had two clear visuals which describe this time in my life...One of the monkey on my back...the monkey had gotten off my back and in my face, but it wasn't just in my face at that moment...he was blocking my vision and trying hard to suffocate the life right out of me. Another one is of me being under water, with the surface in sight, but unable to get up for air...slowly drowning and paralyzed in terms of knowing what to do.

I know that all the situations in our life, both good and bad, help to shape us in many ways. They teach us to be patient and wait on the Lord, they help us to gain strength and perserverance to aid us during future storms of life, they help us to gain a clear perspective of what's most important in this life, they help us to hear the voice of God in a clearer way and so many other things. Would it have been nice to not endure some of the past storms of life which I have been in? To have a smoother road to walk and less bumps or detours to navigate? I honestly don't think I would have as strong a walk with Christ or be the servant He needs me to be if I hadn't have walked the road which I have. He's made us all unique creations for a specific reason...we aren't supposed to endure this life in the same way and we need to be equipped for where He needs us to go, which might be a place where someone else never goes.

He's given me a new visual...I'm firmly planted on my rock of life and even though I know the path might not always be a smooth one, I know I'm going to make it through and be stronger as a result of what comes my way. No matter how tough things might get, my anchor is holding strong and no matter how hard I might be tossed and thrown around, I won't sink and will never be far from Him, because my anchor is embedded deep within the rock of life. He's not about to let me go and will never let me sink...that's heavenly truth and reassurance for me!


I don't know how things were for y'all, but for me this was an amazing weekend...full of celebration, time with family and friends, R & R, fun and a lot of reflection. My head's starting to hurt from all the reflection (it's probably also from the 4 hour drive yesterday with my tired kids...they woke up at 6am and that's not a good time for them!) My sister and I each savored the taste of an ice-chilling Tim Horton's ice cap on our travels yesterday...I gave up Tim's ice caps for Lent and so my sister did too, as since the move, we tend to go indulge our Tim's habit together! I realized something important during this Lenten season...when I get stressed and in a state of feeling overwhelmed, I don't always turn to God in prayer, I will a lot of times turn elsewhere to 'numb' the pain and stress! This Lent, I was forced to face many problems and issues head-on with God, instead of just simply sweeping them under the rug and ignoring them. I am so grateful for what I have learned each year since I started partaking in giving something up for truly does cause you to turn your eyes towards Christ and focus on Him in a clearer and stronger way!

We went to Good Friday service at our 'old' church. It's been 3 months since we've been back and some people we haven't seen since we left in September. It was exciting to walk in and just pick back up with friends and begin Easter celebrations with them. I fielded a lot of questions, as to how things are going...last time we were there, I was still having some hardships with depression issues and truly coming to terms head-on with everything. It was good to see the smiles as I let people know that things are going really good and that the city and church are 'home' now. I revealed to a friend something I haven't really let out of the bag, but that I think played a huge part in the hardships. At first things were truly difficult for me, until I surrendered everything to God and realized that He would show me the light at the end of the tunnel in due time. As I did start to make connections, serving in ministry and enjoying them both, I felt an extreme amount of guilt and role as a betrayer. It didn't take long to be here, to realize how much I loved the church we're now at and what a perfect fit it is for our family. I felt like I was betraying my 'old' friends by beginning to 'do life together' with my new church family and friends. I knew they were moving on and probably weren't feeling any guilt, but it was something I couldn't shake for a while. I loved seeing my 'old' church family and friends this weekend and also attending the church I did for 19 years of my life, but I am so glad that I'll be back worshipping at 'home' this weekend...that's a really good place for me to have gotten!

My friend ended off the Good Friday service by saying he wanted everyone to try and take a few minutes between Good Friday and Easter Sunday to just simply sit back and think about everything God's done for you and what you have to be thankful for. It was a great lesson that for me went past Sunday, into yesterday and will probably continue on, as I'm realizing that when you have a mindset of thankfulness about you, things don't seem to be nearly as bad. As I sat back and looked at where God has brought me this last year, I was brought to a place of humbleness and also felt a huge amount of gratefulness. My mom is doing well, despite all the health issues going on, I have family members drawing closer to knowing God...some of them are ones which I didn't think I'd ever see this happen with, my marriage is stronger than it's ever been and we are more in love than we've ever been (I didn't know what our marriage would be after this move...I honestly didn't know if we would survive the stress and strain which came our way this fall), our family is stronger in so many ways. The biggest change has been in me...I am vastly different than I was last year or even 7 months ago. I have found an inner strength that I knew was deep inside somewhere, but that I've never really had to draw on. I've drawn closer to God and finally felt what it's like to truly surrender and rest in Him. So many more things have happened, but what I'm feeling the strongest right now is a sense of contentment and reassurance in knowing that stepping out in faith is the only way to go. He'll never fail you, He's always there (even when you might not be able to feel His presence) and He'll never leave you.

I'm excited to see where God's going to lead me, my family, my church, my friends, my city, etc. this next year and am just so thankful for the reassurance of knowing that no matter what comes my way...good or bad...He is there and He's never leaving and that He's all I need to get through whatever comes my way!

Colossians 2:6-7
You received Christ Jesus as Lord. So keep on living in him. Have your roots in him. Build yourselves up in him. Grow strong in what you believe, just as you were taught. Be more thankful than ever before.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Most Amazing Love Story

It's so humbling how God truly works His wonders in us. Yesterday I struggled to see His light, let alone keep my eyes on Him. But as the day progressed, I began to see Him more clearly and as it came time to close my eyes yet again, He brought me a deep sense of peace, in knowing that things will be okay in His time. This morning I woke up with an anticipation of the weekend which is on the horizon. I went into my storage room determined to find my "Resurrection Eggs" so I can sit and talk with my kids about the Easter story, through the use of 12 symbols representing Easter. They usually would have been out sooner, but with the move, they were packed away and it's been difficult to find their box, so we'll spend a fun-filled weekend learning with these. Last year, I was blown away by the questions my kids came up with and I can't wait to hear what they want to know this year! What most people might not know is that growing up I learned about the crucifixion and the resurrection, but it's only been in the last 13 years that I've truly experienced it with great celebration. When I became a mother, I knew I wanted my kids to experience the birth of Christ with great anticipation and what His crucifixion and resurrection represent for us with great celebration!

Despite the rough patches and curvy roads in the last while, this will be a truly amazing weekend. For Little Miss, it's her first Easter after asking Jesus to come into her life...I think for a mom this is the most special have led all three of my kids to Christ by their bedside...that's truly the most important job and gift we can ever have! The special thing about this one was that our boys helped in the process of telling their sister what she needed to do and why and then we all prayed together...that was a very amazing experience!

I am simply going to end off with Christ's amazing love story...I pray you'll all have a very blessed weekend and that you'll feel His love in a very special way as you partake in all the celebrations of Easter...Hallelujah. He is risen!

Matthew 27:32 - 28:20
As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!"

In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.' " In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, "He's calling Elijah."
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him."

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"
Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons.

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."

"Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Subject: God Wanted Me to Tell You

It shall be well with you this year. No matter how much your enemies try this year, they will not succeed. You have been destined to make it and you shall surely achieve all your goals this year. For the remaining months of the year, all your agonies will be diverted and victory and prosperity will be incoming in abundance. Today God has confirmed the end of your sufferings, sorrows and pains because HE that sits on the throne has remembered you. He has taken away the hardships and given you JOY. He will never let you down. I knocked at heaven's door this morning, God asked me... My child! What can I do for you? And I said, Father, please protect and bless the person reading this message... God smiled and answered... Request granted.

I received this by email yesterday at a point in the day where I was experiencing excrutiating pain from an infection I'm continuing to battle. I haven't talked to this person in a while, so they didn't even know where I am right now in life. Do I agree with it totally? There will always be battles in our Christian walk, especially if we are working hard to be on track with God, striving to serve Him with all we have, looking to serve Him in new ways, etc. From experience I find that usually the battles come through illness, pain or experiencing agony, frustration, confusion, etc. in situations. Does it mean God's not there? Not a chance...He's always there by our side and He's never leaving...Hallelujah for that! I've been on my knees the last while, praying for a blanketing of protection on my pastors and church, family and friends, for the simple fact that I know He's with them and He will be their light, no matter how dark or bleak things might get and no matter how good things are going. The simple fact of life is, that even though we might not be experiencing a battle currently, chances are there very well might be one right around the next corner. The comfort for me is that no matter what's around that corner, God's walking with me and ready to give me the strength and endurance I need to make it through!

During a discussion via email, this was quoted, and being someone who has truly battled with some 'storms' this last little while and also struggled with the feeling of loneliness, this spoke mountains to me and gave me a lot of comfort in knowing we are truly walking beside each other. "But God - there's the phrase that resounds through all human history - responds not only to our hearts' cry but to our faithfulness amidst the storm. So much comes down to whether we can hold on long enough. There are voices of despair who love to whisper that "it's hopeless... this is never going to end" but they speak in vain. Part of the strength that we draw from the Lord is imparted upon us through each other. So never think you are alone - that's the voice of despair trying to buy your heart with yet another lie..." I would much rather lift my family and friends up in truly does something to you when you do that. I read in a book about a church who was challenged for Lent to not pray for themselves, except in thanksgiving and to only pray to uplift those around them. I'm trying hard to do this...I have to admit yesterday I did say a small prayer for strength and endurance, but then began to think about how thankful I am to be surrounded by my family and church family, to be able to go to the doctor and receive medication and tests when needed, to be able to freely be who I am and to practice my faith whenever and however I want. In the last while I've also found that when you choose to lift those around you up in the storms, that God does help you to bring your focus back to Him, and if even for only a moment, the storm doesn't seem quite so hard to endure.

I spent last night before bed reading Psalm gave me a lot of comfort and peace, considering all that's went on the last truly said what I needed to hear before I closed my eyes!

Psalm 55
1 Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea;
2 hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
3 at the voice of the enemy, at the stares of the wicked; for they bring down suffering upon me and revile me in their anger.
4 My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me.
5 Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.
6 I said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest-
7 I would flee far away and stay in the desert; Selah
8 I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm."
9 Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech, for I see violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they prowl about on its walls; malice and abuse are within it.
11 Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets.
12 If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him.
13 But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend,
14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.
15 Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the grave, for evil finds lodging among them.
16 But I call to God, and the LORD saves me.
17 Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.
18 He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me.
19 God, who is enthroned forever, will hear them and afflict them— Selah men who never change their ways and have no fear of God.
20 My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant.
21 His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.
22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
23 But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption; bloodthirsty and deceitful men will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


This post has been flying through my head for quite a few days and I still really don't know where it's going to go, but I guess I'll just start typing away. The last few weeks have been extremely interesting and perplexed has come into my head a lot in terms of describing things.

per-plexed: not knowing what to do or how to act; puzzled and confused

Have you been there lately or at some point? In a situation which completely baffles you and brings you to a point of not even knowing how to act or even having a clue of what to do? For me when I'm in a place like this, I tend to just walk around in a confused and puzzled state, which I'm sure I wear on my sleeve for everyone to see. It comes to a point where I just have to step back and re-evaluate everything. I've had to look at things recently and realized that I can't walk around in a perplexed zombie sort of state.

I came to an important conclusion this weekend...I'm enduring a time in my life where I need to focus my eyes, attention and strength on what God needs me to, instead of being worried about an issue which I have no apparent control over. The only real tangible thing I can do in this situation is to pray, to try and encourage where needed, yet not get so involved in the situation that I end up feeling like I'm drowning in the issue! Like I told a friend this morning, being able to say this point, but actually finding the discipline and strength to apply it on a daily basis are a continual struggle for me. I know I need to do it, but there are times where I get so consumed with the situations going on, that I lose sight of what I need to's a huge control thing for me, to completely give up control of something when it involves friendships and relationships.

I'm slowly learning to relinquish things to's kind of funny that even though you know it's the only way, that sometimes human nature continues to kick in and lead you off the path you know's the only way to go. I guess that's why we're continual works in His hands...thank goodness He has the patience and love to stand by us through everything!

For me I think the the most important thing to realize is that I need to be portraying Christ's love in all situations, no matter whether they are good or bad. He endured so very much and did it with grace and that is what we need to do each and everyday, no matter what we are faced with! I came upon this passage of scripture this morning and want to end with it...I think this is another passage which I need to draw upon daily.

1 Peter 4:1-11: Learn to Think Like Him
Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.

You've already put in your time in that God-ignorant way of life, partying night after night, a drunken and profligate life. Now it's time to be done with it for good. Of course, your old friends don't understand why you don't join in with the old gang anymore. But you don't have to give an account to them. They're the ones who will be called on the carpet--and before God himself.

Listen to the Message. It was preached to those believers who are now dead, and yet even though they died (just as all people must), they will still get in on the life that God has given in Jesus.

Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless--cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God's words; if help, let it be God's hearty help. That way, God's bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he'll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything--encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Suggested Television Commercials

So I have a post which I am working on, but I haven't been sleeping and this one's gonna take a while to write, so meanwhile, my friend from college sent me a cute email today and I thought I would post it...I thought it was a pretty neat assignment and the answers were pretty good!

A fifth grade teacher in a Christian school asked her class to look at TV commercials and see if they could use them in some way to communicate ideas about God. Here are some of the results:

God is like..
He works miracles.
God is like...
He's got a better idea.
God is like...
He's the real thing.
God is like...
He cares enough to send His very best.
God is like...
He gets the stains out that others leave behind.
God is like...
He brings good things to life.
God is like...
He has everything.
God is like...
Try him, you'll like Him.
God is like...
You can't see him, but you know He's there.
God is like...
He's ready when you are.
God is like...
You're in good hands with Him.
God is like...
VO-5 Hair Spray
He holds through all kinds of weather.
God is like...
Aren't you glad you have Him? Don't you wish everybody did?
God is like...
Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet nor ice will keep Him from His appointed destination.



Okay, I have participated in a few blog quizzes, but this one is freaky in the fact it's so true...almost like my family wrote it :o) ! There are some things which I don't think are completely screaming ME...yes, I'm very close to my family and friends, but I don't think it's really hard to get into my inner circle, but that's me speculating. My power color is JADE...I don't know about that one! This was an extremely interesting quiz to take...thanks to Corry who took it first!!

Your Birthdate

You take life as it is, and you find happiness in a variety of things.

I've learned that it's so much easier when you are able to take life as it is...this is a continual growth area for me. I definitely find happiness in a variety of things...I like life to be an adventure.

You tend to be close to family and friends. But it's hard to get into your inner circle.

God is my #1 love, but family and friends are the next important thing and I wouldn't have it any other way but to be close with the ones you love. Once I know you are truly by my side, it's not hard at all to get into my inner circle.

Making the little things wonderful is important to you, and you probably have an inviting home.

I like to have people over just because...I like to shower those around me just because. My wish is that my home will always be inviting and one of comfort, love and refuge to anyone!

You seek harmony with others, but occasionally you have a very stubborn streak.

I love harmony with those around me...I will work hard to bring harmony to situations whice are not harmonious. Sadly, I do have a very BIG stubborn streak...I'm working on that one daily...I guess I'll be a continual work in progress at God's hands.

Your strength: Your intense optimism

I know at times I may lose sight of it...nobody's perfect, but most of the time, I try to look for the positive in situations.

Your weakness: You shy away from exploring your talents

I am grateful for all the talents God has given to me, but I know I don't always explore them all as much as I should. If it involves me being in the spotlight, I'll definitely shy away from it.

Your power color: Jade

I need to think on this one some more. I like green, but I tend to think that my power color is Blue...who knows, maybe I'm a more than one power color woman!

Your power symbol: Flower

I do like flowers...they are a very refreshing symbol to me...they remind me of God's beautiful creations in nature. They remind me of my courtship with Mr. Cinder and they remind me of rebirth in the springtime!

Your power month: June

Sounds good to me!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Life's An Interesting Ride...Part 2

It's been an interesting time in life for me...this post, like most of my writing is just simply coming from within and sometimes is also all across the board (I'm sorry if this one goes in that direction, but that's what my mind's been doing the last little bit!) I don't ever really plan what I'm going to say or just comes to me and there are times when I'm too busy and ignore what's in my head and it goes away, but there are also times when I ignore it and there's a continual prodding to get paper and write it down. This poem was one of those times...I was having one of those days when you're just behind from the start and nothing seems to be going the way you want it to...let's face it, for me there are weeks where it seems that way! This poem came to me and I said I don't have time to write it down, I'll do it later. I heard a still, small voice which said, "Write it down'll understand why later!" So I sat down and took the 10-15 minutes to hurriedly write it down and then I continued on with my day. Later that afternoon I got a call from Mr. Cinder and he said he'd received his wasn't a surprise, due to the industry he was in at that time, but you tend to secretly hope and pray that it won't happen to you. For us, it came almost exactly two years to the day that his former company had decided to restructure and had called him in and said he longer had a job. It's times like these where you sit back and ask the question, "Why me?" But for us it was also a time when we found a great deal of strength in our faith...we knew that there was no other choice, but to give it to Him and trust that He knew best for our family. That's not easy and it doesn't happen overnight, but in the same sense, I couldn't fathom not having that strength to draw and lean on!

I look at this poem and see so much truth for what I see in my life and marriage. I was young when we met, but I knew that I wanted to be with this man for the rest of my life, without question and that will always be the way it is! We joke sometimes that there may be times where you don't always like the other person, but you love them no matter what. I had friends who tended to be cautious about marriage say to me, "How can you truly say FOREVER at your age?" I told them I could, because that's what I wanted my marriage to be. Just like having my heavenly Father's unconditional love forever, I know that no matter takes place in this life and no matter He leads us, that I'll have my soulmate with's a precious gift that Christ gives us, by giving us a forever friend to walk together in life with.

I was talking with friends this morning about what we would ever do if something were to happen right now to us or our spouse. This crosses your mind at certain times throughout life...I thought about it a lot this summer, when we were in separate cities and we especially thought about it this fall when our friend was near death. We sat down and discussed the fact that no matter when this happens...we're human and death at some point is inevitable...we want the person to continue on with life and to find someone to spend their life with. I've had other friends who say, "I'm the only one for them." If I were to die, I wouldn't want my best friend to have to go through the rest of his days on this earth alone. Do I want to think about if that were to ever occur? No, but I think when you choose to become one with another person, you have an obligation to speak about all issues...including life and death and all the aspects which come with death...funeral arrangements and wishes, having a will, especially when you have young kids (the last thing you would ever want if both of you were to die, is to have a fight over who gets custody of your kids...they would endure enough without needing more stress and uncertainty), moving on after the death of either of you, your wishes for your spouse and your kids and also making sure your loved ones around you are aware of these things.

Well, I'm going to end off with my poem now...I don't really know why this post came out today, but it's what came into my head. I guess when you go through a time of reflection in life, God brings all things to the forefront...for me, I see it as a concreted way of bringing clarity to me! I guess my wish for me in this life would be to be the best I can be in all my roles of life. I want to be the wife and support system that my husband needs, the example and nurturer that my kids need, a friend that my friends know they can depend on, but that won't be a burden or hurtful to them, but just walk alongside and be there, not be annoying and whatever I need to be in all my other roles! Life would definitely be a lot less interesting and fun if it were the same thing over and over again...there are times when I love to see those pockets of even roads and familiarity, but then after a while, I ready for another huge ride of life!

Our Ride of Life
What a ride we enjoy together each day of life,
Through forks and roadblocks, we continue on together.
By my side is the truest love I’ve ever known,
My closest friend to have ever crossed my path.
You complete me more fully than I thought I could ever be completed,
Truly handpicked by the only person who knows me more than
I truly know myself.
My heavenly Father, who so faithfully cares for me with fatherly love,
Looking out for me in this world of selfishness and the
“what’s in it for me” attitudes.
Granting me the special blessing of a life together with my best friend,
Side-by-side, hand-in-hand, we’ll walk the winding roads of life together.
Sharing in the pleasures and joys of life,
Growing closer, as one in love, when dealing with the
hardships and trials of life we’ll face.
No person in this world I would rather have by my side,
My love, I long to be completely one in spirit together.
As we grow closer everyday, I am excited and awed by the
new things God reveals about you,
I long to know you more.
I am truly yours forever,
I feel completely protected in your arms.
My guide through life you will be,
With him as our ultimate roadmap.
Truly exciting adventures we will have,
Together, we will enjoy them so much more than if we were apart.
Our love for each other is his gift to us,
The relationship and life we continually create together is the ultimate
gift we will ever give to each other.
As we continue the path of life together, I give you my unconditional promise,
Of the vows I promised you the day we started this journey
together as husband and wife.
I take you to be my wedded husband,
To live together according to the pattern of God’s Holy Word.
I will love and cherish you,
Honor and sustain you,
In sickness and health.
I pledge myself to be true and loyal to you until
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Or until God separates us by death.
Forever, on this amazing ride,
I will be by your side with love and true devotion for you, my true completion!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Life's An Interesting Ride

Some people look at me funny when I make comments like this title, but to me our life is one huge web of roads and God is the ultimate roadmap you can have! This past week has been an extremely interesting one, which was full of ups & downs and twists & turns. Sometimes it's really hard to know why things are happening and it's especially hard not to say, "Why me?" or, "How on earth did I get here?" I find it interesting that depending where you are, who you are with, what's being said, etc. truly colors not only the person saying the words, but it also deeply impacts the people around them who are taking those words, attitudes and emotions in. This may not happen for everyone, but I know in speaking personally, it happens to me a lot, especially when negative things are said. I've spent a lot of time this weekend in prayer and's amazing how God knows exactly what you need in each situation...He led me to various passages of the Bible and they were all right on line with what I needed to be hearing! He does the same thing for me through Christian music...I made a special trip to the Bible store on Friday to get a CD for this song...I like the group and the CD was very cheap and with the way Friday went, I was willing to pay whatever price to get this song, as I knew it was what my heart needed to hear.

Never Alone
by BarlowGirl, BarlowGirl

I waited for you today
But You didn't show
No no no
I needed You today
So where did You go?
You told me to call
Said You'd be there
And though I haven't seen You
Are You still there?

I cried out with no reply
And I can't feel You by my side
So I'll hold tight to what I know
You're here and I'm never alone
And though I cannot see You
And I can't explain why

Such a deep, deep reassurance
You've placed in my life
We cannot separate
'Cause You're part of me
And though You're invisible
I'll trust the unseen

It was one of those things where I sat in my car and just listened to it over and over again. What it speaks is so very true! For me, there are some days where it seems like I can't feel God as close as He sometimes is...that's usually a time when I'm being's during those times though where your faith truly grows the most, because I focus in on the fact that He's there and I'm going to trust Him harder than ever, because you do have that deep reassurance that He's been put in our life for a very special reason! These last almost 7 months have been a huge growing experience for me and they have strengthened me and my marriage in a way I couldn't have fathomed! The one thing which I take the most comfort in though, is the fact that it's freely talked about in my new surroundings that a lot of times when negative things happen, when you feel like you're being hammered, it's usually our Adversary in this life, as his main purpose is to try and steal the glory from God in situations. You might think that's weird to take comfort in this, but up to this point, most of my churches and friends haven't really talked about this a lot and so when I did feel really battled in terms of illness, being depressed, etc. I felt an extreme amount of guilt. I felt I hadn't been trusting God enough or had went off track somehow, when in fact, this usually came into play right smack during a time when I was working towards doing something in ministry. If someone would have said it's an enemy roadblock or bump, that would have done so much to helping me through it. I take great comfort and assurance in a response my friend gave a few years back when asked if she thought she done something wrong and that was why she was battling through illness. Her response was, "I don't serve a God who punishes...I serve a God who's my heavenly father and loves me deeply!!"

So many times I was felt to think that I'd done something to "deserve" what was happening, as I went through a rough patch in life. We're supposed to walk alongside each other and help to uplift people and during those times, I felt so alone...I didn't always feel God, but I knew He was there and I clung to that and still do! I learned a very important lesson this week, especially about myself who has the blessing of having Mercy as my #1 spiritual gift...there are definite benefits and also definite disadvantages to this gifting and I've experienced them all at one time or another. I learned that even though we're supposed to walk alongside each other and help to uplift each other, that I have to be very cautious about the fact that I tend to take someone's burden on my shoulders and it ends up being becoming my the end it is a very draining experience for me and tends to bring me into a place where I don't like to be! This week I've battled through the whole question of how you uplift someone, but also how you stay focused and know when you need to walk away or separate yourself from this situation. How do you walk away from a situation and not have it affect the call of God to work together in unity to do His kingdom work? How do you open yourself up to the possibility of losing a friendship you have just started to develop? How do you have an understanding heart in the situation, when you don't know what you did and because you aren't "wired" in the same way, don't completely understand the actions going on?

I've received a lot of good advice this week on it from my family and friends. You see, I'd told my husband earlier this week that I was going to take a step back...I was going to isolate myself. His response to me was, "You haven't done anything wrong, why should it be you who takes a step back?" Someone else reminded me of this very important fact and one which I know very well... "My observation, both from personal experience and the testimony of others, is that followers of Jesus are vulnerable when they isolate themselves from other believers." In response to possibly having to choose between two friendships, a friend gave me this response, "Misplaced loyalty is satan’s counterfeit- it is illegitimate unity...misplaced loyalty may be that thing that causes us to try to not make waves by protecting a confidence, when we know that the protection of this confidence may result in a weakening of the body of Christ." I've spent a lot of time in thought and prayer over this one, both due to current circumstances and past ones as well. As this new week starts, I read this statement with so much clarity and it seems in my mind there's not really any question for how I need to approach things. As my sister reminded me yesterday, "Sometimes tests happen, because God has something that all parties need to learn from the situation."

Yesterday at church our Pastor urged us to come forward to be prayed for...he preached a sermon which had me deep in thought, so y'all know I'll be blogging about it in the near future :) !

The funny thing was that the last few weeks, there have been times to respond to the message and even though I was feeling prodded to go, for various reasons, I didn't. Throughout this week, I felt a still small voice saying, "If there's a time of response, you need to go forward!" I was singing yesterday and even though there was a time of response, I went up on stage with the worship team anyways, but as I sat there and saw people coming up and was listening to the music playing, I knew I had no business being anywhere, but down at the front on my knees, so I went. God's love washed over me and the tears came...probably would have been more, but I don't remember crying as much as I did on Friday, so I was a little "dry". Our intern prayed with me for wisdom, direction, encouragement, etc. and throughout yesterday, God revealed a lot to me and I know He's going to continue to. The main point revealed was that I don't need to take a step back...I need to continue to walk through the doors to His sanctuary and meet with Him and His people, my friends and church family. He also said, "Just be yourself! The people who want to truly be your friend, will be there and will accept you for who you are and and no matter who you are friends with. You need to continue to serve Me in love and devotion and not worry or fear about what those around you think, not worry about whether someone will continue to walk alongside you in friendship, depending on how you react to a situation. The last can't continue to take on people's burdens as your own, because it's going to hurt you in the long run!" He's showing me the route I need to take and as always, because He's the one doing the leading, it brings you to a place of real peace.

I'm going to end off with another song from the CD I speaks about what we need to do in this's human nature to hold onto things and to try and do things on our own. The truth is that we need to surrender everything to Him...our dreams, our need to control all situations, our fears and worries, etc. We need to trust in the deep reassurance that He's always there and He truly know what's best for us!

by BarlowGirl, BarlowGirl

My hands hold safely to my dreams
Clutching tightly not one has fallen
So many years I've shaped each one
Reflecting my heart showing who I am
Now You're asking me to show
What I'm holding Oh so tightly
Can't open my hands can't let go
Does it matter?
Should I show You?
Can't You let me go?

Surrender, Surrender You whisper gently
You say I will be free
I know but can't You see?
My dreams are me, My dreams are me

You say You have a plan for me
And that You want the best for my life
Told me the world had yet to see
What You can do with one
That's committed to Your calling
I know of course what I should do
That I can't hold these dreams forever
If I give them now to You
Will You take them away forever?
Or can I dream again?