Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Chocolate Milk Day…

I can remember when I was in elementary school we always had chocolate milk on Fridays. Not only was it “Friday,” the day before the weekend, but we also got this extra special treat of rich, sweet, chocolaty goodness! Something as simple as that was what I looked forward to all week! I “suffered” through with the plain milk the other 4 days… knowing & expecting & believing the chocolate treat would come at the end of the week! A little thing that brought joy to a kid’s life!

Why couldn’t every day be a chocolate milk day??? And if every day was a chocolate milk day, would I still appreciate chocolate milk??? Such perplexing questions! ;) 
 
So now I come to the real reason I was even thinking about elementary school beverages… JOY!

I would tolerate the other 4 days of the week, just to get to the good stuff at the end of the week! When Friday rolled around I had joy that this was the last day of the school week, plus I got to indulge in chocolate milk!

In Hebrews 12:2 it reads, “We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of Him, so He endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it bought Him. Now He holds the honored position-the one next to God the Father on the heavenly throne.” (GW)…now don’t blow a gasket! I am not comparing elementary school to death on the cross or chocolate milk to being in Heaven! The point I am trying to make is that Jesus endured what He did because He knew what good would come from His sacrifice… He not only would save the world, but He would get to be with His Father in Heaven forever!

So let me ask you the same question I have asked myself... Am I living each day like it is a chocolate milk day or am I just enduring each day like a plain milk day???

We all have circumstances to deal with in life, some are more tragic than others, but what we all need to remember is JOY has nothing to do with our circumstances... it has to do with our focus!

"He is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trusted in Him, and He helped me. Joy rises in my heart until I burst out in songs of praise to Him." ~ Psalms 28:7 (TLB)

Are you ready to trust God more? Are you ready to let JOY burst out of your heart & mouth in praise? Shout it out loud!!! God, You are good! Thank You for this "chocolate milk kind of day!"

"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." ~ Psalms 5:11 (NKJV)

I pray we all have a chocolate milk kind of day! Keep the faith! Keep hoping with expectancy for God to work it all out in His way! Keep focused on Jesus!

"Also pray that by the will of God I may come to you with joy and be refreshed when I am with you." ~ Romans 15:32 (GW)

May you find refreshment in a "Chocolate Milk Day!"

Rejoicing in Truth! 
Carin

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Amazing Love…

Hearts, roses, Valentines, candy… all the things you see advertised this time of the year. February 14th is coming, but that need not be the only time or excuse we have to think about LOVE! Long ago, it was decided that we would honor the ones we love on the 14th of February. Maybe because in Michigan it is so cold that you just need a pick me up! Brrrr!

My hubby & I decided to take a Valentine Challenge this week from TimeWarpWife.com. Yesterday the challenge was to write a letter to each other. I am pretty much the kind of wife that speaks whatever I am feeling, so I have very few words that are left unsaid to my hubby, but as I sat & thought about what I wanted to say to the love of my life, so many other thoughts & emotions welled up inside me.

I love my husband so much! I cannot imagine my life without him, BUT there are many times when life puts us into “hum-drum mode”… are we the only ones??? We can become more like roommates than lovers! We let ourselves get so busy that we don’t even take the time to look at each other… really look at each other! And then if you have children, I can only imagine how hard that must be.

So I was thinking about those moments when I have just watched him, times that he didn’t even see me looking at him. It is those times when I could really see what a blessing God has given me in this man! He is strong & good-looking. He loves people, & he has a servant’s heart. He is so patient, which is a big-time help for me. He forgives quickly & shows grace, which is also a BIG bonus for me!

I write all this, not to brag or boast about my husband, but to encourage you. My life has not always been the way it is now… we have been blessed beyond measure… which I don’t understand, but am so grateFUL for! I praise God that He is still working on me… I am a work in progress… thank the Lord! Take heart that no matter where the circumstances of life have you right now, it can change in a moment. Keep trusting God! Be patient! Be faithful! Give thanks for where you are & where God is taking you! When you feel like you cannot take another painful moment… remember, as a follower of Christ, you are never alone! I swear… it is in the darkest moments of my life God has shined the brightest, but I can only see it when my eyes are fixed on Him!

“Don’t be afraid, because I am with you. Don’t be intimidated; I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will support you with My victorious right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10

As I was writing this, the song Amazing Love came to my mind… the words of this song are so beautiful!  So whether you have the love of a husband or a boyfriend on this Valentine’s Day or not… remember where LOVE all began… celebrate the love of your Savior!



Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My Marriage is Broken...

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. We must break our selfish desires we must lay our all at His feet we must let go of our pride & humble ourselves to receive what only God & His Son can do to cure our broken souls.

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

A few years back 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 getting back to 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 your selfish desires, lay your broken pieces down, humble yourself to forgive even when you feel you are justified in not. How much has God forgiven you for? Did His forgiveness make any sense? Yet He gave His Son to die for you! 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 lately! 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???

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???

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

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