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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Delights in Mercy...

Thinking of the time when I was a teenager, I was walking down a sidewalk at night & I fell over a post that was lying across my path. There was lights in the parking lot where I was, but the sidewalk was pitch black, because shadows made it so dark. I can remember thinking someone hit me from behind… it was like I was knocked to the ground out of nowhere! As I picked myself up & got to my feet… I don’t remember if I was crying, but I probably was because I cry over almost everything! J I do remember thinking what in the world happened to me… I didn’t see that coming at all! My jeans were torn, & my leg was bleeding, & of course my pride was hurt, but overall I was okay!
I know for myself I have had the same experience in my spiritual life as well. I would be walking along the path, minding my own business… light is around me, but I chose to step off the lighted path into the shadows. God is still with me, but I am not listening to His call to get back on His lighted path… I am trusting in my own direction! And He let me go… He even let me fall… but He was there to pick me up & comfort my wounds when I was ready to turn back to Him! That doesn’t mean I didn’t have scars or consequences from my choice to get off track… it just means like the best parent you could ask for, He was there for me!
And you know, after that little spill I took on the sidewalk, it made me way more cautious of walking without light on the path… both in the physical & the spiritual!
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalms 119:105
As I was thinking about this these verses in Micah came to my mind… Don’t laugh at me, my enemies. Although I’ve fallen, I will get up. Although I sit in the dark, the Lord is my light.  I have sinned against the Lord. So I will endure His fury until he takes up my cause and wins my case. He will bring me into the light, and I will see His victory.” Micah 7:8-9  And in verse 18 it says… “Who is a God like you? You forgive sin and overlook the rebellion of Your faithful people. You will not be angry forever, because You delight in mercy.”
He delights in mercy! I am so thankful I serve & am loved by a merciful God! Aren’t you?
Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Anchored...

The weather is finally getting nicer… summer just might be around the corner! All kinds of new activities that we have not enjoyed over this long, I mean LONG winter! Camping, biking, fishing, cookouts, swimming, maybe even some boating. I am not an outdoorsy, camping person, so no camping for me & the lake has to get pretty warm before you will find me swimming in it, but those other things… count me in!
So I was thinking about when you go fishing on a boat you have to anchor the boat to stay in one place. That led me to think about what we anchor ourselves to keeping us firm & steady. I really had to go back to where my anchor lies or doesn’t lie… it isn’t in money or family or things… it is not even in my husband, although Luke does help to keep me anchored. Getting into God’s Word & asking Him to show me exactly what He wants me to see… going deeper into His Word is a great place to get anchored! It is not about being deep… it is about having His Word go deeper into our souls!

“Only be strong and very courageous, faithfully doing everything in the teachings… Don’t turn away from them. Then you will succeed wherever you go.  Never stop reciting these teachings. You must think about them night and day so that you will faithfully do everything written in them. Only then will you prosper and succeed. I have commanded you, ‘Be strong and courageous! Don’t tremble or be terrified, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’” Joshua 1:7-9

I must confess, I have been having a little “drifting” problem lately at times. There just seems to be so many things going on in my life right now, & it makes it easy to lose track of where I need to be anchored! I am so thankful Father is patient with His daughter as I learn these hard lessons. He will let me “drift” some, but it makes me a very unhappy person, then I have to do a heart check… it is when I realize I am drifting on my own that I lean into Him! He is such a good Father!
When we lose focus of who God is to us, what He has shown us, how He made each of us with the gifts He has to do what He has called us to do,.. that is when we will all start to drift. Once again He reminded me to go back to what He has promised me… reevaluate my motives… take my hands from in front of my blinded eyes & clasp them in prayer to Him… asking for strength, for wisdom, for opportunities to serve Him… all in thankfulness! As long as we keep our heart anchored to God in constant devotion, we will not drift! He will not let us drift… for He is our Rock!
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.” Psalms 18:2
Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Friday, April 25, 2014

You Are His Masterpiece...

I was thinking about great works of art & how the artist will always sign their masterpiece. That work of art will always be identified by that artist’s mark or signature… there is never any confusion of who created it. Just like when God created each of us, He put His signature on us… whether you believe in Him or not… His mark is all over you!

So why are we not satisfied with the way the Master created us? It says in Psalms 139:13-14… “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. Do you recognize the masterpiece God created you to be?

I know for myself, I spent many years trying to change what I didn’t like about me! I’m not talking about weight loss, hair color, or better nutrition… I am talking about physical characteristics, or if I couldn’t change it then feeling insecure & less than. It usually would start with comparing myself to someone else, by wanting to be like someone else I was actually trying to erase the Artist’s mark & put my own signature in His place. I was trying to make a “better” version of God’s creation! God showed me one day, every time I compare myself to another person, I am actually trying to be god! Oooh, ouch! That was a hard reality! 

We would not take a great work of art like a Michelangelo or Rembrandt & think it was okay to change it & call it our masterpiece, would we? But we think it is acceptable to try & do that with God’s precious work of art, you & me! 

I guess what I want you to see in all this is that you are God’s masterpiece… we are all still a work in progress, but the work to be done yet will be done by God, not by being discontented with ourselves.For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV) or in another translation, “God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.” (GW)

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Growing in Glory...

I have so many people in my life that are going through a rough patch… I feel so bad for them, but feeling bad for them will do nothing! I just need to carry their burden as far as getting on my knees & lifting them up to the One that is in control. I know at times when things to be so dark & no light in view, you can feel like you are losing your mind! No matter what your circumstances are now, you cannot allow the enemy to use it to your detriment! Thinking back to those times in my life, what I do know and believe is that through it all if I can keep looking to Jesus and keep praising God… I am on the right track. Praise Him through the tears, and that is okay at least continue to praise Him!

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13

It is hard sometimes to realize when we are going through something painful, those are the times we can be growing the most in the Lord… those are the times when God’s glory can be revealed more through us! I know those have been & are the turning points in my Christian walk. It is painful & so hard, but growth is never easy! It is so difficult when people may not understand the choices we make… choices we know God has called us to. It is tough to have people turn their back on you.

When trials come it is like having the soil turned over in our “potted plants”… we need to let our soil be loosened up and weeds pulled out. God wants to loosen things that can choke our lives… things that can stop us from radiating joy. And yes, unfortunately it may be those same people that have turned their backs on you that also could be choking out your joy. Forgive & move forward!

Hang in there… it is not fun to go through painful or troubled times, but if stirring up my soil is what it takes to move me forward in my walk with the Lord… I look with anticipation for the joy and fruitfulness to come! What He has for each of us will be greater than we could ever imagine! It is not easy and sometimes can be lonely but I choose to surrender it all to God… will you join me in this? And remember, those good people God has placed in your life are here to lift you up & take your burden to the Lord!

Father, I lift up each person that is reading these words. I pray their focus will be on You. Help them to see Your Truth in every circumstance, that they will hold on to the hope that can only come from You. Lord, I pray they will feel Your presence surrounding them as they place their burdens in Your hands. I praise You & thank You for Your love, for the blessed hope You have given each of us through Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray this all in Christ's precious name. Amen.

“Those who bless God in their trials will be blessed by God through their trials.

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Praying for Our Husbands (part 16)

Praying for your husband’s feet… I am sure most of you have read the poem, “Footprints in the Sand.” Those are beautiful words with great sentiment, but have you ever thought about the times in your life when you can see two sets of footprints in the sand veering off it two different directions? God has asked us to follow in Christ’s footsteps, & things go pretty smoothly when we do that. Sure there are still those “bumps” in the road, but we can always rest assured that God is leading us down the right path.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalms 119:105

Your husband faces many choices throughout his day… will he choose to keep in step with the Holy Spirit or be distracted by the world? His steps will become a lifestyle & ultimately his legacy.

So as you pray for your husband’s feet, pray that he will be directed by the Holy Spirit, that he will hear clearly his path. Ask Father to help your husband walk in tandem with Him, wherever life’s path takes him.

Okay, ladies we have covered praying for our husbands from head to toe… I ask you to stay on this adventure of loving him through the prayers you pray for him. I am over-joyed to see how writing these devotionals has changed my heart & my way of thinking towards praying for my husband! And I am so excited to see how your prayers for your husband will grow your relationship! God is good & so faithful… He hears every prayer you pray!

“The fervent prayer of a righteous person are powerful & effective.” James 5:16b

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Praying for Our Husbands (part 15)

Praying for your husband’s knees… when I think of kneeling, it reminds me of being humble. To me there is nothing more humbling than to drop to the floor on my knees before God… sometimes to praise & worship or sometimes just to pray & cry out!

I can remember one time when I learned an impactful lesson about this very thing as a young girl. There was some kind of conflict going on in our household… I have no clue of what that was now. Whatever it was set my dad off for some reason… now please know he was & still is an extremely patient man… I cannot imagine what could have set him off with 3 daughters & a wife in the house!! J Anyway, he realized he had treated me unfairly & he came to me, got on his knees & asked for my forgiveness… at the time I am sure I felt awkward about it all, but that memory is still so vivid in my mind! That is the perfect picture of humility to me.

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10

So as you pray for your husband’s knees, pray that he will humbly submit to God’s plan for his life & the life of your family. Pray against pride & the pitfalls that can come with that. Ask God to show him those areas where he needs to humble himself so that God can be the One to lift him up to greater things.

You are doing great, ladies! Only one more day!

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin