Friday, March 24, 2017

Our Broken Marriage Saved Us...

My marriage is broken & I pray it will not be fixed! Brokenness is required in marriage. Just like we need to come to Christ with our brokenness so He can save & heal us. I must break my selfish desires... I must lay it all at His feet I must let go of my pride & humble myself to receive what only God & His Son can do to cure my broken soul. I can only do that for myself… I cannot make my spouse or any other person choose to do that!

I can be a little spunky sometimes. It has pretty much always been this way. I look at things differently. If I played a game, I wanted to win so I always put my all into playing. I tended to be a right fighter you know, when I know I am right & I am willing to fight to the bitter end, just to prove a point! Not one of my better characteristics! And this of course made me a real gem to be married to, I suppose! Ha! (Luke is such a loving, patient man!)

“I love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my Savior, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the strength of my salvation, my stronghold. The Lord should be praised. I called on Him, and I was saved from my enemies.” Psalms 18:1-3

God reminded me that He is my Defender I don’t have to have the last word, because being right has nothing over being righteous. God showed me that even when people hurt me & choose not to do the right thing, I need to choose to rely on Him & let His righteousness fill me.

So the brokenness in marriage. The realization that God is more concerned about my righteousness over my rightness was a big change in my marriage! We are human & humans will hurt each other, intentionally or unintentionally there is a guarantee that it will happen! And the only way to get past the hurt is to break selfish desires, lay down the broken pieces, be humble to forgive even when you feel justified in not. Ask these questions: How much has God forgiven me for? Does His forgiveness make any sense? Yet, He gave His Son to die for each of us! There was no justice in that, but He chose to justify my sinful life!  Justification ~ just as if I didn’t sin!

Have you read the book of Hosea? I love this redemptive story! Short version… Hosea’s wife left him to be a prostitute and when he found her, he bought her back! Yes, he paid to get his wife back! He would have been justified in letting her go & moving on with his life, but he was willing to pay the price to forgive her! Please read the book of Hosea… it is a great story of love!

Marriages are taking hard-blows! In fact, all kinds of relationships are being hit pretty hard! Why is that? As Christians, if we spend all our time fighting with each other holding bitter feelings not being quick to forgive & letting it go then we are not fighting our real enemy, Satan.

I will be the first to admit I don’t have it all figured out! Some days are better than others! What I do know is that we have got to come together as Believers & be willing to pay the price to live a life for righteousness’ sake not that we will even come close to what we should, but that is where grace comes into play, isn’t it???

I love this quote: Love, to be real must cost. It must hurt. It must empty us of self! ~ Mother Teresa

Here is my prayer for my marriage & any of my relationships~

Father, I ask you to break me where I need to be broken. I ask for Your forgiveness where I have hurt or wronged anyone. Help me to see my husband through Your loving eyes. I let go of self & my selfish ambitions. Lord, help me to have a willing heart to forgive quickly. Fill me with a love that goes beyond reason so I will not settle for justice alone. Let me pour out grace & mercy to others as You have done for me. I pray for healing of marriages & lost relationships. In Jesus’ name.

So are you willing to pay the price to be broken??? This Casting Crowns song says a lot: 

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

LOVE...

(WARNING: I am just being real and honest in this post! If you have never struggled with LOVE then you need to stop reading this note.) *Ü*

LOVE for others.  It is easy to LOVE people that I see as lovable, but not so easy to LOVE those that are getting on my nerves.  I know that isn’t right! I have to remember I don’t know what is going on in others’ lives. God, forgive me for my aggravation towards those people I see as just plain wrong… please help me to see beyond what they are doing and just see who they are and how You LOVE them. It is not what they do… it is who they are.

I can point my finger all I want but that makes me no different than I am accusing them of being. 

Recently, I watched the movie, “The Shack”… I read the book years ago and got so much from it… I know there is a whole controversial thing going on with some believers… I am not addressing that here. What I do want to share with you is this one part of the movie where Mack, the main character, goes into a cave, and he has a conversation with a woman named, Wisdom. This really impacted my heart of how I choose to LOVE others. Such a great reminder that I have no right to judge peoples’ actions… rather showing grace… showing compassion… showing LOVE! I have no idea why a person may be the way they are… what they may have been through. It is not saying it is okay, but it is saying I LOVE you in spite of it… just like Christ did for me.

“Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same LOVE, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” ~ Philippians 2:2-4

Those words, “selfish ambition,”… what does that mean for me? To LOVE someone with a pure heart…. not because I expect anything in return… not to make myself look better… just out of LOVE. Lord, if anything I have done or spoken for selfish reasons… I ask Your forgiveness. Help me to see others through Your eyes. Cleanse my heart of anything that is not of You.

I am reminded of what LOVE is… patient, kind, rejoices in truth, bears all things, believes, hopes, endures all things. 

I am also reminded of what LOVE is not… envious, jealous, boastful, arrogant, conceited, prideful, rude, unbecoming, wants its own way, selfish, resentful, touchy, offended, rejoices in someone else’s problems… LOVE is not failing! 

The only real and true thing we can have in our life is LOVE… that is the only sure thing… real LOVE … LOVE that comes only through Christ living in us and through us.  When I look at the list of what LOVE is and isn’t with human eyes, my first thought is, “I am sunk!”  But because of God sending His only Son to die for my sins and to redeem me… that is an incredible example… the only real example of true LOVE.  Having Christ in me is the only way I can even start to LOVE others… when someone is annoying me or I just don’t like what they are doing or understand the choices they are making… it is then I need to dig down deep and let Christ’s LOVE live through me.  It is a choice to LOVE… it is a choice to give God the control… it is a choice to see people for who they are and not for what they do.

“So faith, hope, LOVE abide, these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13

I pray that my life will be used for God’s glory… that people will see Him in my face even before I open my mouth.  My hubby & I went through the LOVE Dare devotional and the prayer that came from one of the “dares“ was “Lord, teach me what real love is and make me a loving person.”  It is unbelievable that simple prayer prayed daily or a couple times a day can have such an impact.  I dare you to try it for a week.

If you made it to the end of this note, please LOVE me for who I am and not for what I do, and I will do the same for you.  Also, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on LOVE in your life.

Rejoicing in Truth!

LOVE, Carin

Thursday, February 16, 2017

See...

John 9:25 says, “One thing I know, I was blind, but now I see.” These are the words of the man who was blind from birth, who Jesus healed. This was the man’s answer as the religious leaders questioned him on why Jesus would do this on the Sabbath. It is pretty clear that the formerly blind man didn’t care what day of the week it was… only that he was made whole!

So I questioned myself after reading this… Are there things in my life that are causing me spiritual blindness? Or are there things that God has done in my life to remove my “blindness” I have not been willing to share to bring Him glory?

To testify… serve as evidence or proof of something's existing or being the caseDoes my life… does your life reflect enough evidence for proof of God’s faithfulness & goodness? Some days are so much harder than other days… I definitely get that! But even in those not so great moments… are we living proof of who God is?

Over this past weekend, my hubby, Luke, & I had the privilege to lead the first/our first marriage retreat at Camp Living Waters in Luther, Michigan. It was amazing for us! Not sure how it was for the attendees, but for us… we just cannot comprehend how or why God allowed us the opportunity! Father God is just so good & so faithful… He can take 2 broken people, both of us having our first marriages fail, surviving the devastation of infertility, letting Him mold us & make us into what could be used for His glory, bringing us together for now almost 27 years, to share about our marriage with Christ as the “knot” holding us together! All I can say is, “Wow!” I don’t share any of this to shine a light on Luke or me, but to praise God for His never ending mercy and grace! The only part we played in this was to have willing hearts and to be obedient. It was much work and a lot of stretching… but oh so good!

So I say with the former blind man… “I was blind but now I see.” What about you? Are there areas in your life that have been blinded from seeing who God is or who He wants to be in your life? I thank God that He is making me aware of these areas, and I know He will continue doing His work in me as I am willing to step forward on His path for my life.

I talked with a woman over the weekend who was struggling with wanting God to show more of how the path looked. Living or walking by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)… it is so hard when we are looking through our human eyes and not letting Holy Spirit guide our spiritual eyes! We always have to remember, if we could see the whole path clearly, then we would need God.

Father God, Thank You for revelation. Thank You for Your healing. Thank You for opening blind eyes to see more of who You are. I ask You to help my unbelief… to trust You more when I cannot see what may be next. Lord, keep me looking only to You for the answers. Give me a willing heart and boldness to testify of Your greatness in my life. I pray for each person reading this… let Your Light shine brighter in those shaded areas to bring You glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Once again, God is just impressing on my heart how important testimonies are. I can remember so clearly how impactful hearing peoples’ testimonies in church when I was growing up were to me. If the Lord is doing something in your life… share it! Now, if you are willing… please share a testimony of blind eyes being opened or an area where you could use some prayer. I once was blind and now I see!


Rejoicing in Truth! 
Carin 💖

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Heart of Unity...

As I have been seeing all kinds of ugliness on the news and social media… it can be very discouraging if I let it be. I try to be very selective about what I let into my view and thought pattern. I really don’t expect anything different from the world, but when I see the same vile attitude coming from those that call themselves Christians… it is heartbreaking! I am not saying I don’t ever let my “fleshiness” get the better of me… my mouth can be in overdrive at times! I guess what I am saying is this poison that I am seeing, no matter what side of the fence you are on, has been an awakening to closely check my own heart. It has also been my chance to pray for hearts… my own as well as others’! Unity is needed in our country, but even more importantly… unity is needed in the Body of Christ! Here is my prayer for unity:

Father God, The world can be so hateful & cruel, just as it was in Jesus’ time. Lord, guide our actions as followers of Christ. Give us an willingness to be humble and gentle. Help our hearts to be patient and loving, no matter what we face. Bring to our minds that we do not have to have the last word, the battle is Your battle and not ours to fight. Thank You for the hope we have in You… may this hope unify our thoughts and actions. Raise peace in us through the Holy Spirit. Thanking You for Your faithfulness, knowing that You have it all under control. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16


“I… urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling which you have been called, with humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in LOVE, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” ~ Ephesians 4:1-3

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Friday, January 6, 2017

Doubt, Faith, Power…

Learn to doubt my doubt, do not doubt God! I cannot let my past disappointments feed my doubts of today! Faith bigger than my fears!

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” ~ Matthew 17:20


Thinking & praying about what God is calling me to… the marriage retreat, & whatever else He has “up His sleeve.” Will what I have in me be enough? Will all that I have inside me come out, make sense, & really matter? What if I let the power, His power that lives within me come out? It is exhilarating & scary all at the same time!!!

I must learn how to speak… loud, proud, & boldly! This realization is life-changing for me… my words have the ability to move with power, effectiveness & life… because of God’s power living inside me. This is the same power that raised Christ from the dead! Life giving, life raising power! Just think about that!!! I can’t even grasp that!

All that God has placed in me is just waiting for me to let it work out through me! Wow! Christ is in me… He will work through me… I just need to let Him flow!

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” ~ Colossians 1:27

This is a verse I learned years ago when I went to Lake Ann Camp when I was 11 years old. Never did I fathom what this really meant! To be totally honest, I am only starting to minutely understand it now! Which is probably why I spend so many of my days feeling debilitated & useless.

Ok, so here it is… what if I really believed… God has poured into me His powerful hope that has transformed my life & that through me He can do a work that can impact others’ lives? What if I really believed… people might be able to see Christ through me, changing the world in a supreme way?

As Luke & I prepare for the marriage retreat we are leading in February… He & I have had many conversations about why we have been offered this opportunity… I’ve questioned if we are really up for the “task” set before us. What God is showing me is that He has been preparing us for this… now I need to believe it to be able to see it… walking it out in faith! The steps may be shaky at times, but I know & believe Christ is within me… today I choose to let Him flow through me with the power He has already placed within me!

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

WAIT!

Many years I have been given a word that would be a prominent word for the coming year. It was usually something that easily just came to me, but this year... not so much! I’ve been thinking & praying about my “word” for 2017… nothing was really coming… I think I was trying too hard! Trying to figure it out, as I sometimes tend to do... running ahead of God! You never do that, do you?

So this morning, it was made pretty clear… “wait”! WAIT! Really???

I was reading in Psalms 40:1-3 ~ I WAITED patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock. And established my goings. And He has put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

Patience is not always my forte! It might take time for me to get on board with a new idea or project, but once I do I want to get the “show on the road.” I tend to run a little behind when I am meeting someone… I am guilty of making other people wait for me, but I don’t always like to be the one waiting!

I was having a messaging conversation with a friend the other day about praying for God to open the door for an opportunity. She said God is teaching her patience. Learning patience in the heat of the moment is oh so difficult!

Waiting is hard! You wait at the store checkout, in traffic, for an appointment… like your time is less important than anybody else’s! We do everything we can do to keep the frustration level down… or at least we should! Even harder to wait for is a check that doesn’t come, a wayward child to return to the Lord, or for your spouse’s heart to change. We wait for a child to fill up our arms. We wait for our heart’s desire!

So as I was thinking about the whole “waiting game”… God showed me that I need to not focus on the waiting, but on praising Him through the wait! As David said in verse 3… He puts a new song in my mouth… a song of praise! So the wait just might be a good time to learn more about humility, submission, patience, endurance, & persistence. Also, trusting God completely! None of this is or will be possible without trusting the Lord every step of the way! Like it goes on to say in Psalms 40:4 ~ Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!

Let me worship You, Lord, while I wait… drawing others to You!

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Every Morning...

We are on the threshold of another new year. Do you see 2017 as a new beginning... true it can be a new beginning, but changing the calendar is no guarantee that life/circumstances will change. Let’s not put too many expectations on the new year being the "fix" for our happiness or lack thereof!

The bad news… going from 2016 to 2017 is not a magic pill! Happiness, per say, in any form is fleeting! Living a life dependent on feelings is a setup for disappointment!

Okay, now for the good news... Tomorrow morning, January 1, 2017 is a new beginning, but so is every morning that your eyes open and you have air in your lungs! Lamentations 3:23says that God's mercy & compassion are new every morning. I will take a new beginning every chance I can! In fact, some days my "new beginning" happens in the middle of my day! I see a new beginning as any moment when I recognize my actions or attitude are not in line with the way I know to be right.

Being happy is a good thing, but happiness is a feeling that fluctuates with circumstances. True joy comes from within... I know for myself, my joy comes from the Lord! Psalms 30:5 talks of crying through the night, but that joy comes in the morning (new beginning). And in Psalms 90:14 it says, God's mercy satisfies us each morning that we will have joy the rest of our lives.

So do you agree we put too much importance on the "new year thing?" New year... New you? Why wait? Make this very moment your new beginning! Don't expect flipping the calendar is really gonna fix anything!

I challenge you to go into this new year with an expectancy that your life will be different! Don't make the same choices as you always have... the definition of insanity - making the same choices & expecting a different result. Yep... been there, done that… still do at times! Are my circumstances perfect right now? Nope! Far from it! But you know what? I would not give up one ounce of my joy for it to be any different! Can you say the same? If not... I pray that over this next year you make the right decisions for you so you can say the same at the end of next year!

Here is the place I start... Fixing my eyes on Jesus, the writer and finisher of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross for my sin, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. (Hebrews 12:2)

Happy "New Year!"
Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin