Monday, September 12, 2016

Safe in His Arms...

The days are getting shorter… Fall is drawing near! I love Fall… the trees changing colors, the cooler temps, sunny days with cool nights. Last year, the autumn season was a very tough time for me… turmoil & anxiety invaded my life… it was a horrible, struggling time for me. A time I do not want to revisit! Trying to prepare my heart against any of the discouraging darts of the enemy with this next season just around the corner.

Looking to Psalm 139, the whole chapter… it's an incredible “word picture”. Verse 10 is a verse of peace for me…“Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” This verse brings to mind the lyrics to this song by 33 Miles:
 
I know it seems like this could be
The darkest day you've known
But believe you me
The God of strength will never let you go
He will overcome, I know

Through many dangers, toils and snares
You have already come
His grace has brought you safe this far
His grace will lead you home

And the arms that hold the universe
Are holding you tonight
You can rest inside
It's gonna be alright

And the voice that calmed the raging sea
Is calling you His child
So be still and know He's in control
He will never let you go

It is a great reminder that no matter what you may be going through our Heavenly Father is here to lead you and hold you.  As followers of Christ we are never left alone to deal with the turmoil of this world.  I can picture God holding me up with His right hand while pointing me to the path He has planned for me with His other.  Trusting and resting that He is in control… giving it all up to You, Lord.  What peace that puts deep down in my soul!!!

Could you use some peace today? Go ahead, read and meditate on Psalms 139 and see what Holy Spirit will show you to give you comfort in whatever circumstance you may be going through.
“Even though I walk into the middle of trouble, You guard my life against the anger of my enemies. You stretch out Your hand, and Your right hand saves me.” ~ Psalms 138:7
God’s hands will never fail you… not ever!
To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. ~ (Jude 24-25)

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Promises in the Dark...

As we are getting closer to the end of summer, it makes me a little sad.  You can see the days are getting shorter… it gets darker earlier.  To be perfectly honest, I am not a fan of the dark!  I don’t know if it is because I really cannot see what might be lurking in the dark or what… all I know is the dark makes me uncomfortable. 

Almost all of my life I have slept with a nightlight on at night. When I was young the light in the hall outside my bedroom was on every night. I shared a room with my older sister & we always kept the door opened, at least a crack, so the glow from the hall could always be seen in our room for security’s sake! Even now as an adult I still have a small light somewhere near so I can fall asleep easier. Some may think that is silly, but for me there is nothing worse than waking up in complete darkness! In the dark, things don’t look like they should… I imagine things that aren’t really there… reality is askew in the darkness. When I can see the light… anxiety & fear fades away.

In the Old Testament of God’s Word you can read that God dwelt in the darkness (Exodus 19:9 and 20:21).  In 2 Chronicles 6:1 it says, “…The LORD hath said that He would dwell in the thick darkness.”  I know these verses are referring to God always being with the Children of Israel in the dark cloud that followed them on their trek to the Promise Land, but when I read that verse in the King James Version… I found a comfort in knowing that God is with me even in the dark. 

It’s the same way in my spiritual life… the world can be a dark place… an anxiety escalator for sure. There are so many times in each one of our lives when we feel like we are in the dark. Maybe not a physical darkness, but an emotional darkness… financial problems, illness, a death of a loved one, loss of a job… those can all put us in a feeling of being in the dark, which in turn may settle us in a spiritually dark place.  When those things happen do you ever question where God is… do you feel abandoned?  In our logical way of thinking we know He is always there with us, but when life’s disasters seem to be piling up one after another, do you question if God is keeping His promise to you? 

“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” ~ Hebrews 13:5b

That is a great verse… a great promise, but it is one of those verses that rolls off the tongue but maybe not always sinks into the heart.  God never promised us that we would not have troubles in our life… in fact He told us we would have troubles, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33   Really?... ok, great, He has promised us trials (yikes), but He also promised us that He will give us the strength to get through anything… the words of victory, “I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.”  But we still need to do everything possible to always see the Light of Christ. Remember, Jesus Christ knows what it was like to face the darkness of this world too. As He took His last breath on the cross the world went dark. 

If you are a follower of Christ then you have Him living inside you so that makes you an overcomer!  You are not alone! God is always with you, even in the darkest places of your life… His light will shine forth… you will make it through… and on the other-side of this trial you will have a testimony that will have His glory shining all over it!  Believe it when Christ promised us, “…lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. ~ Matthew 28:20b

Let God be your nightlight, your daylight… your only LIGHT! Darkness flees in the LIGHT!

Father, I thank You for Your promises.  I thank You that You are always near.  I pray, Father for each person that reads this to feel Your holy presence embracing them.  I ask You to pour out a greater portion of Your strength on them… that they know and believe that it is only through You that they can conqueror whatever trial stands before them.  I praise You for what You are doing and for what You are going to do. Giving You all the glory in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Thursday, August 11, 2016

That Special Someone...

How precious is it to hear that “special someone” call you by name? Luke & I have been married for 26 years today. In all those years he has actually called me by name very few times… I do love to hear him say my name. This might sound strange, but much of the time he either calls me sweetie or sweetheart… most of the rest of the time I just hear his voice & I know he is talking to me. Hearing the voice of the one I love & the one who loves me, makes me stay in-tune to him… not always, but most of the time… that is what we try for anyway!

Isaiah 43:1 says ~ … this is what the Lord says, who created you… He who formed you: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine…”

I can look at this verse in a couple different ways… one being as an observer, not really seeing this as personal. Like looking at someone else’s story, wishing it was my story. 

Or I can take it in as a participant, this being a personal message for me. Grab a hold of all that this includes... "you are Mine"! Those words make my heart leap for joy! What about yours? 

Have you accepted that love from Father, or are you still just an observer? Have you let the blood of Christ cover the sin of your past, present, & future? You don't have to wish this to be your story... you just have to ask Christ to be the Lord of your life! He is that special someone... He has called you by name! Will you heed the call?


The voice of Father calls you by name… the Love of a lifetime is speaking your name! Do you hear it? Are you in-tune to it… to Him?

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

On a Mission...

I just have some thoughts to share today… hopefully it will speak to your heart too!

We were so blessed to have last-minute overnight guests from the Netherlands… a mother & daughter from Holland. Funny because another room was occupied by a couple from Holland, Michigan! I am amused & amazed many times by how God orchestrates these visitors to our home! You might call it coincidence, but I call it God wink moments! It has happened many times in the last 2 years with the B&B!

At breakfast there was great conversation between the Michiganders & the Nederlanders… the ladies from the Netherlands shared that they speak 6 different languages! That just blows my mind! I speak a little French & a tiny Spanish, & I am still working on English!

Part of my quiet time every day usually includes “Our Daily Bread”… today it just fit so well with my life! The title of today’s was “True Communication”… most of it was about the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. But here is one statement that spoke to my heart, “We may not speak or understand many languages, but we know that the Holy Spirit equips us to connect with people in other ways. Amazingly, we are God’s hands and feet – and mouth – to further His mission. Today, how might we – with the Spirit’s help – reach out to someone unlike us?”

Every time we are blessed to welcome “strangers” into our home… I am in awe of the opportunity the Lord has given us! Why did He put this gift of hospitality in both Luke & myself? Why did He see fit to give us this home to fulfill this mission? Why does it not bother me to clean toilets & do laundry? When God impressed on us the name for the B&B, Shining Light Inn Bed & Breakfast… we knew it was not about a job, but a vocation!

In the past I had a friend that would always ask me, “What is your passion?” I never really knew how to answer that. Doing what I love to do… using the gifts God has given me… that was just who I was, not what I necessarily saw as my “passion”. This morning two of our guests mentioned the word passion… they said how every detail shows how passionate we are about what we do with the B&B. Also, that doing the little extra things for presentation & flavor of the breakfast was done with passion. It hit me this morning that this is my passion… loving on people… making people feel extra special… just listening to their story… making the environment warm & welcoming! Passion… passion… passion! Honestly, I never saw it… what I do & how I do it is just who I am… true passion doesn’t have to be hard! Duh! I’m a little slow sometimes! Ha! It might entail hard work, but it will still come naturally!

"Love sincerely. Hate evil. Hold on to what is good. Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other. Don’t be lazy in showing devotion. Use you energy to serve the Lord. Be happy in your confidence, be patient in trouble, and pray continually. Share what you have with God’s people who are in need. Be hospitable.” ~ Romans 12:9-13

I am thankful that Father God has given us a chance to connect with people from all over the world! He has equipped us to be His hands & feet while operating the Inn. He also has equipped you to touch lives wherever you are at today or whatever you are doing! We just need to be aware… don’t get so caught up in the job that we miss the mission! That is a great reminder for me as well!

Our prayer for the B&B is, “Lord, bring us exactly who You want to come through our door.” Hey & if you are prompted to come for a visit… our door is always open!

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

It's All Good!

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” ~ Hebrews 4:13 (TNIV)  What does that verse speak to you?  In the New King James version it says, And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”  I love how the word, “naked” is used!  When I read that it made me see how freeing that is… that God sees me “naked”… warts, moles, lumps, bumps, sin, and all!!! And yet He still chooses to love me and use me in His great plan!!!

You might wonder why I would see it as freeing… how many of us can even fathom the idea of standing naked in front of anyone and the vulnerability that would produce???  I know… yikes!  Almost intolerable, right?  But this verse shows that we are already that vulnerable with God.  We can never pull anything over on our Heavenly Father, so why try???  Do I sin?  Do I make mistakes?  Do I judge others unfairly?  Yes… yes… and yes!  It is not that I will never screw-up, but when I do it is just so much easier to confess it and seek God’s forgiveness as soon as I recognize my sin.  That is what is so freeing for me!  Father always knows what is coming… we never surprise Him.  And He has promised us He will always forgive when we ask with sincere hearts.

“If we freely admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just, true to His own nature and promises, and will forgive our sins and continuously cleanse us from all unrighteousness (everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action).” ~ I John 1:9 (AMP) 

A weight has been lifted off me! I cannot hide my “nakedness” from Him, but that is okay!!!  I challenge you to take the time to read Hebrews 4 and see what other great things God has for you.  Remember to allow yourself to stand “naked” before God… let Him point out those things that may not be quite right.  You are already accepted… it’s ALL good!

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Living Strong...

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:12

Just like a braid… if you just twisted two pieces of hair or rope or string it might stay for awhile, but it will fall apart.  If you braid three pieces of hair, rope or string it will hold up forever or at least until a part of the trio weakens or becomes frayed. 

How do we keep our hair strong and healthy? By eating right, having good nutrition, cleansing it regularly, trimming the split ends. It is the same in our walk through life… we need to feed on God’s Word, we have to receive every bit of nourishment we can from Him.

We need to ask & allow the Holy Spirit to show us what needs cleansing in us… asking for forgiveness and getting freedom from the “dirt” that can easily build up. Chances are we may not even notice it until it shows up in our stinky attitude! This is where I have to really watch & pray… there have been/still are so many changes going on in my life. Some days I wake up on the “wrong side of the bed”… I need to seek God immediately! These times of weakness & ungratefulness are the moments the “dirt” can start piling up. Who needs to carry around that extra weight? Unlike Pigpen from the Peanuts cartoon, we don’t have a dust cloud following us around to show the filth! But we do have the Holy Spirit to shine light into those dark areas!

And the hardest one of all… we need to accept that God (the gardener) prunes us to produce more fruit in our lives. Ouch! A painful process that can lead to greater things in our life! We have a good, good Father… He doesn’t just make a cut & leave us to bleed out! He gets rid of what is no longer useful, & then places His healing hand of love on that exposed area. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about how precious those moments are… when I throw my hands in the air & tell the Lord to have at it… take what needs to be taken… I surrender… it’s all His anyway! Whatever will bring You glory, Lord!

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken over you.”  ~ John 15:1-3

I don’t know what any of you are going through at this very moment but know that you don’t have to be alone in it! If you are married… the cord of three should be you, your spouse, & God. If you are single… ask God for discernment in what friendships you can trust to strengthen your cord of living for Him. We are not called to live life alone.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a person sharpens the countenance of a friend.” ~ Proverbs 27:17
Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Monday, April 11, 2016

Accepted… It’s ALL Good

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” ~ Hebrews 4:13 (TNIV)  

What does that verse speak to you?  In the New King James version it says,And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”  I love how the word, “naked” is used!  When I read that it made me see how freeing that is… that God sees me “naked”… warts, moles, lumps, bumps, sin, and all!!! And yet He still chooses to love me and use me in His great plan!!!

You might wonder why I would see it as freeing… how many of us can even fathom the idea of standing naked in front of anyone and the vulnerability that would produce???  I know… yikes!  Almost intolerable, right?  But this verse shows that we are already that vulnerable with God.  We can never pull anything over on our Heavenly Father, so why try???  Do I sin?  Do I make mistakes?  Do I judge others unfairly?  Yes… yes… and yes!  

It is not that I will never screw-up, but when I do it is just so much easier to confess it and seek God’s forgiveness as soon as I recognize my sin.  That is what is so freeing for me!  Father always knows what is coming… we never surprise Him.  And He has promised us He will always forgive when we ask with sincere hearts.

“If we freely admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just, true to His own nature and promises, and will forgive our sins and continuously cleanse us from all unrighteousness (everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action).” ~ I John 1:9 (AMP)

A weight has been lifted off me! I cannot hide my “nakedness” from Him, but that is okay!!!  I challenge you to take the time to read Hebrews 4 and see what other great things God has for you.  Remember to allow yourself to stand “naked” before God… let Him point out those things that may not be quite right.  You are already accepted… it’s ALL good!

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin