Friday, May 19, 2017

No Fretting Allowed...

I pray quite often about trusting in God for the plans He has for me... how that
even though I do not know what in the world He is doing in our life situation His plan is to prosper me, not to cause me harm, to give me hope for a wonderful future.  How about you? Once again, I need to remind myself of the things I do know so I don’t let myself get frustrated about the things I don’t know.  I was thinking how not knowing is a really hard part for me, but if I did not trust the One who knows it all, that would be the hardest part and my biggest mistake!


For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Psalms 37 has come up a lot this week… today verse 7 especially jumps out at me, Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.”  

I have to rest in the Lord and His promises! I get to wait patiently for Him! No fretting! I must keep my eyes focused on Him and not on what others maybe doing around me!  Fret… one of the definitions is “to wear away or corrode the surface of something, or become worn away or corroded.”  When I fret it does start to wear away my joy… it does cause my “shininess” to become dull.  And after awhile I will be all pitted and corroded, like when you use coarse sandpaper on shiny metal.  Fret is just a different word for plain old worry!  I don’t want to be a fretter or a worrier!

Praying for each one of you that have come across my blog today... may God open up your heart to all that He has for you... and most importantly to trust Him! Remember... NO FRETTING!

Rejoicing in Truth, 
Carin

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Shining in the Dark...

I was reminded this morning of a very dark time in my life. It was 7 years ago, my mom was very sick, and I was not able to physically be near to her. There really was nothing I could do anyway, expect pray of course. It is so scary when darkness comes in the form of sickness… it feels like it will swallow you up. I was also reminded that on this same day my heart was prodded to thankfulness! Thankful that no matter the circumstances of life… I am loved by a great God who never leaves me alone… not even when the darkness surrounds me.

When you walk into a dark room, what do you do? Do you cry and complain about the darkness or do you take action? Do you search out the light-switch or light a candle? And where is that flashlight when you need it??? You could sit in that dark room with the source of light right there waiting for you to connect the power to light, or you could reach out to the light and let it illuminate the room!

What a picture this is! As followers of Christ we have the source of light always with us… not just the source, but the actual Light! When the world around us seems to get darker and darker… that is the time to let His light shine the brightest! How do we connect the light in our lives?
                ~ Abide in Him! Stay close to the Son and the warmth of His love! “I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” ~ John 15:5
                ~ Be in the Word! The best place to connect to the source of light is in the living Words of God! “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” ~ John 1:14
                ~ Identify yourself by what God calls you! Christ proclaimed that His followers are the light of the world because we have Him living in us! “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see you good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:14-16
                ~ Declare God’s Truths over the dark situation! In those times when I do not understand what is going on in my life… I always know I can claim God’s promises and what I do know to be true! Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” ~ Mark 10:27
                ~ Experience calmness and peace even in the dark. Even when the light is not shining as brightly as you might hope… redirecting your thoughts to praise and thankfulness to the Father can help to make the darkness not seem so dark. “Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” ~ Psalms 30:4-5

Life is not easy! Good news… the darkness will not swallow you up! Even on those days when you feel like you barely have a spark left… that is enough to light up the darkness! Just ABIDE… Abide, Be, Identify, Declare, Experience! And watch the light grow brighter in you… bringing Him glory!

“On this mountain He will remove the veil of grief covering all nations. He will swallow up death forever. The Almighty Lord will wipe away tears from every face, and He will remove the disgrace of His people from the whole earth. The Lord has spoken.” ~ Isaiah 25:7-8

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Monday, April 17, 2017

Never Been…

It was another Friday morning, but not just any Friday morning… it was “Good Friday”. Reading in Matthew 26:36-56… the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane praying to His Father
for strength to get through what He knew would be a horrible experience. Jesus was fully man, but also fully God… cannot even imagine how much anguish He was in with what He was to face.

This led me to think about the times in my life where I anticipated what was to come, but of course not really knowing what was going to actually happen. Although, my imagination can give me a very screwed-up representation of what might take place. You know the “what-if” game! I knew some of you are champions at this game too!

A few years ago, when I was going through some very hard, uncertain times I wrote this and it came back to my mind as I contemplated the above scripture:

I’ve Never Been This Way Before
It seems so unclear… the path I am asked to tread.
Finding comfort in the details would be a great help.
No facts are revealed.
All I know is… I’ve never been this way before.

I see all that is impossible.
Your Spirit within opens my eyes to all things possible.
You show me You are doing a new thing.
So that is why… I’ve never been this way before.

I will blindly follow You, Lord.
Each expectant step I take led only by Your Light.
Can I plan? No!
I must trust You because… I’ve never been this way before.

One day rolls into another.
Earthly time can be unkind.
Answer Lord! Do I stay or go?
I don’t know, cuz… I’ve never been this way before.

The frustration sets in so many times.
Uncontrollable tears flood down my face.
Fear, worry, anxiety… oh my wretched flesh! Why is this so hard?
Because… I’ve never been this way before.

Faith of a child sounds so simple.
You hold the best plans for my life in the palm of Your hand.
Trusting You should be easy too!
Even tho… I’ve never been this way before.

In Your arms I find comfort.
In Your Words there is peace.
You are my hope.
No matter that… I’ve never been this way before.

Crying out to God to know more, to understand more.
In a sweet whisper I hear You say, “I know.”
He knows… that is all that matters!
He knows… I’ve never been this way before, but He has.

I don’t think I have ever shared this publicly, but I believe now is the time! It is very personal for me, but I hope it helps someone else that may be struggling today!

At the Good Friday service at church, we were asked to write down the truth against a lie you believe about yourself and to nail it to the cross at the front of the church. My truth was, “I am complete to accomplish all God has called me to do through Christ Jesus.” I will not let my feelings of inadequacy hold me back!

Remember… You are not alone!

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Shhhh...

I need a word of encouragement today… and just maybe you do too! So many times you have heard, “God is Love!” Which of course that is true, but I have a little secret to share with you… God is Peace too!

Life can be so chaotic! Family, work, bills, health, and the list goes on and on! Just living life, trying to get through another day… we all get it! Each of our circumstances maybe different, but the chaos is there, none the less! You might just want to crawl back in bed and pull the covers up over your head… but face it… that really is probably not an option! (Although??? Hmmm… Nope not an option!)

I know… just let “life” or “adulting” stop just for a little while! The thought of just retreating into that place of your own personal paradise… shut the noise off, close your eyes, sleep till the sun comes up (the next day), or a massage??? Yep, a massage that might be the answer! No, wait, I got it… a big, warm chocolate chip cookie… that would hit the spot! Wouldn’t it?

In Philippians 4:5-7 it says: Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

Ok… so now is not the time to retreat! Now is the time to march forward! God is the God of your past… He is the God of your future… let Him be the God of your present too! It is in grabbing a hold of Him, now in life’s chaos, that we can find that He is Peace!

Like it says in 1 Corinthians 2:16b: But we have the mind of Christ. (ESV) Transforming our “stinkin thinkin” to renewing our minds in Christ Jesus. Will you join with me? Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or dread the day for the Lord, the God of your present, goes with you. He will never leave you or reject you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

One more thing… changing our mindset must start with this… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if there is any excellence, or anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned, received, heard, and seen… practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trade-In...

I find myself taking my life for granted too often... it is not a pretty picture of the women I know I was created to be. I do have the best husband in the world (for me)! I don't say that to brag or cause envy... I say it because it always hasn't been this way, or rather I didn't
always see it this way.

For the first few years of our marriage… it was a different story. Oh, we were happy! We got along good, but there was always something in me that wanted more… wanted him to change to suit how I thought things should be! Little did I know back then… it wasn’t him that needed to change it was me!

I was reminded of a conversation (wrestling match) I had with the Lord about trading my expectations for who I wanted my husband to be for me, to live with trust in God for who He would bring Luke to be for Him! Trading my expectations in for a life of expectancy in God!

Things did change… radically change… the change was in me, in my heart! When I surrendered my expectations it freed me up to pray for my husband in a whole different way. To be perfectly blunt… God had shown me that He (God) did not need me to butt my nose into His business… He was more than qualified to handle anything that needed handling with my hubby!

So let me ask you, do you pray for your husband? Do you have a long list of things you want God to change in him… a “shopping list” of sorts? What would happen if you started to pray for your husband from a point of expectancy and not a point of expectation??? Wonder what the difference is… “expectation” is having a certain outcome in mind; while “expectancy” is from a heart of hope, releasing the outcome from any expectation.

You know Father God sees your husband in a total different light than you! He sees him for who He (God) created him to be. We all have flaws and sin… we are all human after all, but no matter what God has a plan!  Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.” This verse is speaking to you, but it is also speaking to your husband.

Maybe life isn’t where you want it to be. Maybe your husband isn’t even a Believer yet. Don’t give up! Give in! Give in to let God do the work on your heart and his! Ladies, we need to treat our husbands and pray for them from a point of where God knows they can be and not where we think they should be. Isn’t that what praying and believing is about? Praying over your man with faith!

Now go to Psalms 1:1-3, in your quiet time begin to pray these words over your husband or future husband if you are not yet married. Blessed is (your husband) who walks not the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the path of sinners, not sits in the seat of the scornful; but (your husband) delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law (your husband) meditates day and night. (your husband) shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever (your husband) does shall prosper.

The change can start in your heart immediately, but be patient… keep trusting the Lord! There are great things in store! Believe it!

Dear Lord, I lift up every person reading this to You… may they find the joy that comes from trusting You completely! I pray against the attacks on marriages, fill them up with Your grace and Your power. Help them to show the grace and mercy to each other as You have shown to us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

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