Monday, December 22, 2014

You are Capable...

Forgiveness ~ it’s not about giving up your right to know why… it’s about giving it up to care why! I know I have been forgiven for so much from God, & I am sure I have been forgiven for things from others that I didn’t even know about. What is mind-boggling is how does someone forgive what someone has done against them or to them??? Just like salvation, forgiveness is a step of faith. I can pray & pray for God to give me a forgiving heart, but until I actually make the choice to forgive, my prayers really are fruitless!

I was thinking of how I carried around unforgivenesss for years, I didn’t even realize it! One day God showed me that it was there, so I knew I had to give it up & forgive this person. Did I get the answers I wanted? Did I get an apology from this person? Nope! But that was okay… just saying those words, “I forgive!” what freedom came in that moment! I was able to let go of the hurt, the questions, even the bad memories were gone. Did God erase it? Not really, but it just didn’t matter anymore! I had found the freeing power of forgiveness! The human heart has the capability to truly forgive, it is usually the brain that gets in the way, or “our rights”. As a Believer of Christ, we have received great grace & mercy. It wasn’t right that Christ should die from our sins, but it was righteousness that brought Him to that place. Think of all you have been forgiven of. God pours out grace each time we do something wrong. I came across this scripture & I was reminded that grace was poured out on me through Christ’s sacrifice for my forgiveness & salvation, but also so I can pour grace out on others who have wronged me.

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession (faith). For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  
~ Hebrews 4:14-16

So what if today you give up your right to be right & choose to be righteous??? What if you choose freedom through forgiveness over pain & resentment through unforgiveness??? Have you heard the quote, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” The choice is yours! I am not saying it is easy, & I definitely am not saying that what has happened to you is okay… I am sorry for the pain that has been caused in your life… but I am reminding you that there are many people in this world that have chosen to forgive horrible, horrible things & are living happy lives in freedom. Let go of the burden!

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Monday, December 8, 2014

It Doesn't Have to Make Sense...

I was reading in 2 Kings 5 about Naaman, captain of the King of Syria’s army. He was ill with leprosy. A maid servant from Israel had told them about Elisha, the prophet, & how his God could heal Naaman. So the King sent a letter with Naaman to go see Elisha. When he got to Elisha’s house, Elisha sent a messenger to Naaman telling him to go wash seven times in the Jordan River. Naaman was ticked off & I am sure his pride was a little hurt that Elisha wouldn’t even bother to come to the door & talk to him face to face. What Elisha told Naaman to do made no sense! Why did Naaman have to wash himself in the dirty Jordan River, why couldn’t it be in a cleaner body of water? Plus, why seven times?

That is me so many times… I ask God for answers & then when He gives me an answer I won’t pay attention to the answer because it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, or I scrutinize it & try to make sense out of it. Even those times that I have ignored His answer it is still disobedience!

In this story of Naaman & Elisha, Naaman had to trust what God was saying through His prophet. Naaman had to humble himself & take this step of faith into that dirty water. Could God have healed him just by asking God to? Yes! But what would have changed in Naaman? How would his faith been strengthened? How would Naaman ever come to the realization that the God of Israel was the only true God! Or even if Elisha would have laid hands on Naaman, would Naaman have given the glory to Elisha & not God???

“Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. The one who searches will find, and for the one who knocks the door will be opened.” ~ Matthew 7:7-8

What are you struggling with today? What answers are you seeking? Are you turning a blind-eye to what God is showing you? I know there are many times I have prayed & felt like God is being silent… I have to question… is He being silent or has He already given me the right answer & I have ignored it? Just a thought!

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Eyes of Father...


Forgiveness can only happen when I am willing to give up my right to hurt the other person for hurting me!

It takes faith in God to be able to really forgive someone else.

Jesus said to them, “Have faith in God! I can guarantee this truth: This is what will be done for someone who doesn’t doubt but believes what he says will happen: He can say to this mountain, ‘Be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it will be done for him. That’s why I tell you to have faith that you have already received whatever you pray for, and it will be yours. Whenever you pray, forgive anything you have against anyone. Then your Father in heaven will forgive your failures."    ~Mark 11:22-25

Do I trust God enough to let go of the hurt, the bitterness, the vengeance in my heart? The offense might have been directed at me, but by not forgiving I am showing God that I don’t trust Him enough. Do I really believe that God has forgiven me for everything? Then how can I do less for someone else? It is in these moments, when I choose to forgive, that I am able to see others through my Father’s eyes! I want my Father’s heart, but I long to have His eyes too! Eyes of grace, love & mercy! How lovely is that???

Help me, Father, to live out what You have shown me. Soften my heart where it needs to be softened. Remove the goggles of bitterness from my eyes that I can see clearly the world as You want me to see it! I lay my expectations down & wait expectantly for You to move through me. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Rejoicing in Truth, 
Carin

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Courage in a Cup...

Be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” ~ Psalms 31:24
This morning the verses I read were Mark 4:35-41, where the storm comes up & Jesus is sleeping in the back of the boat. I love the part where Jesus says, “Peace be still.” That’s it… peace be still! The winds & the waves obeyed! How can I not do the same when He is asking me to be still (stop striving)???
It has been months of striving! Striving to get the Inn in order! Striving to get ready for our open house! Striving to get ready for our ladies retreat! Striving to help get the new church building ready! So where does that leave me? I did it all for my love for the Lord… that I am sure of! But what I am not sure of is, should I have left more time to just be still? In those hurried moments there is no time to even think about that, but maybe that is because my flesh didn’t want to take time to think about it! I don’t know!
I have had this overwhelming feeling of uselessness. I have really been trying to pray through it, then Sunday during worship, God showed me that I am here to worship Him… it is not about me! Woo… ouch! I am making it about me, when it is only about Him! Do I trust Him enough to let this be enough for now??? He is enough! My worth does not come from my position or how many friends I have or words of praise from others… my worth is in Him! It boggles my mind to think about how to make this work right now! I know one thing for sure, I have to let go of control… I have to trust Him & be keenly aware of those moments He has for me! I just have to say, it is so much easier to be “doing”, then to be waiting & observing! Striving, I know how to do… thriving in the stillness, is totally new to me! Help me, Lord!
I know so many people are struggling right now, especially women I know. I must admit that after the women’s retreat/getaway, I was left empty! Before it, I knew exactly what God wanted me to speak on. And during it, I prayed constantly! I was so out of my element… it was all Him! But after, I was so drained… everything I spoke on came right back at me like arrows to my mind. There were things told to me that made me question if what I did was right. I felt like because I shared my heart & what God had asked me to share, I couldn’t trust anyone… maybe I revealed too much. Instead of drawing me closer to the ladies, I felt like I was farther away than ever! I know it sounds crazy as I write this, but I had a couple very dark days, & I had nothing to fight with at that point. Poor Luke! He did his best to lift me up!
So, I tell you all this to share something God has shown me through this… when we give all that we have for a certain project or cause, & we just keep pushing & pushing, don’t forget to just be still! It is in this stillness Father can minister to us. It is in the stillness, basking in His Word, that we are fed. It is in the stillness where we can put on the armor of God. You will never see a soldier putting on his armor in a moment of frenzy or attack… why? Because it is too late at that point! It has to be in the stillness where we put on the belt of Truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes to spread the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith to stop the fiery darts of the enemy, the helmet of salvation, & the sword of the Spirit (Word of God) (Ephesians 6:10-18)
And one other thing, when I was going through that horrible time, I felt like I didn’t even know how to pray or what to pray for… it was when I just threw my hands up to God that I was able to reach out to a couple very important ladies in my life to pray for me. We cannot do this alone… now is the time to have those people in your life… build those relationships, so when something like this happens, they are there to lift you up!
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Friday, September 26, 2014

Driving Through Life...

I cried out to God this morning because I have been feeling so overwhelmed at times lately. And you know what? He answered me with His Word!
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
I know being overwhelmed happens to me when I stop trusting God… when I try to figure it all out & trust myself… I become my own god! I know that will not work, but it is so easy for my flesh to slip back into that way of thinking! Even after all these years of being a Christian… God has definitely got His hands full with me! *Ü*
Read Psalms 5… This was the place in the Bible God took me to right after I prayed for guidance, strength, & clarity!
In verses 7 & 8 of Psalms 5 it says, “But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; in fear (reverence) of You I will worship toward Your holy temple. Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face.”
No matter the trial or even my imagination… I need to keep focusing on God. Trusting God! Believe that if I trust Him, He will lead me the right way… even when I cannot see any further than the next step!
Luke & I were talking yesterday about the windshield of the car compared to the rearview mirror… how one is so much bigger than the other. We were discussing how when you are driving your concentration needs to be on what you see looking through the windshield… you have the rearview mirror to glance back at to see where you have been & to check for hazards that may be coming up on you, but your real focus always needs to remain looking forward.
I can see how that lines up with my daily walk as well… if I spend all my time looking back at my failures or hurts, I will lose track of where I am headed & most likely run off in the ditch! God gave us a memory, not to beat ourselves up with or fret over past mistakes, but I believe it is so we can see where we have been & what He has brought us through! All praise, honor & glory belongs to God the Father & His Son, Jesus Christ!
Then in verses 11 & 12 it says, “But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.”
Trust… Rejoice… Shout for Joy… God is your Defender… He will bless you… He is your Shield
Be Blessed as you go about your day!
Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin
X-tra -- So funny… as I was typing the word, “shield” it hit me how God is like our “windshield”! He is shatter-proof, always in front of us to protect & guide. The cleaner we keep our windshield the better we can see through it! Not just on the outside of the window, but the inside too, where that filmy smutch builds up!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bumps in the Road...

I have had a couple really tough weeks! Not totally sure why??? Overwhelmed, thoughts of inadequacy, just plain tired! This morning I came across this verse: Judges 6:12 – “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!’”  In this chapter, Israel’s enemies are pressing in & Gideon has been called by the Lord to lead a force against this. Gideon felt defeated even before he started. When I read this story I thought, wow… how could he not be ready to go? It all seems so miraculous when I read it in black & white! As I read more of Judges & meditated on that, I really felt God showing me those things can & are still happening in our day! The God that led Gideon on his quest is the same God that has called me to what He has. “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior princess!” With a Father that says that to me, how can I doubt?
Wait, I need to take that statement back I made, “Not totally sure why?” I do know why… because the more my enemy, the devil, can keep me down, the less I can do for my God & His Kingdom! “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 Abundant life, Baby! Don’t you want an abundant life? I do! I do! The abundant life God has for us does not have anything to do with money or “stuff”, it has to do with overflowing joy (1 John 1:4)!
I am really being challenged, & I don’t necessarily like it! On the other hand, God is pushing me forward into areas I would have never even dreamed of… I know His plan is best! I know that!!! It just makes for some real battles from within… there are times I just want to crawl into bed & pull the covers up over my head! Now, I know what I need to do when I am feeling like that is remember the words of Judges 6:12 ~~ “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!” Those words are for you too! Princess warrior, some days you may have to fasten down your crown, but remember, the Lord is with you!
I know my words will not make everything great, no matter how much I believe them! Here is what I know to be true… God loves me more than I can imagine, even when I am a “hot mess!” God wants to carry my burdens, if I will just let Him! God has called me to what He has called me to, & that is not about meeting others’ expectations! God has abundant life for me, but it is by following His plan & vision for my life… and this may cause people to be disappointed or angry with me & I have to be ok with that!
I pray you will realize these are true in your life as well! Go ahead & read Isaiah 55… it is an invitation to abundant life! It was just what I needed… a great reminder from Daddy!
For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." Isaiah 55:12
Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Desired Haven...

“Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven." Psalms 107:28-30
This portion of Psalms became important to me at a poignant time a few months back… I knew we were on the right path, but everything seemed to be in such turmoil! After a year & a half our house sold with a quickly moving deal, we thought we were going to buy a dream house, we had it all worked out! The sale of our house went through with very minor bumps, but the deal on the house we were set to buy fell totally apart! I am still so thankful for the lovely couple that let us stay in their home for what was supposed to be our “short” transition... a couple weeks ultimately turned into 14 weeks! 
It was in this period that I cried out to God over & over! As I look back, I can see that He was calming the storm… what I felt was raging all around me was actually my will raging from within! It wasn't God not answering my cries... it was my tantrum inside me that was the problem! It wasn't that I absolutely wanted that first house, I truly just wanted the house God had for us, but I wanted it NOW!
We can cry out for God’s help, but that will not change the storm within us… it is only when we give up what we want in our flesh for what Father knows to be best! It is then we can feel Him calm the storm… finally the rolling waves are still! What peace that picture brings to my heart! Ahhhhh… true contentment, real joy… my desired haven! It might not have changed the circumstance, but it did change me from the inside out!
Are you in need of your desired haven today? Or has God seen you through rough waters to what you thought was your desired haven only for you to turn your back on Him? Turn to Him… cry out to Him! He is always here waiting for you to let it all go & rest in the stillness of Him!
Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin