Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Half-way is Never Enough...

When I got married over 27 years ago, I was under the impression marriage should be a 50/50 thing... give and take... 50/50. I had expectations of how the relationship should work... we need to meet each other halfway. Right? WRONG! It isn't just with marriage either... it can spread to any of our relationships with family and friends.

Live with expectancy not expectations!
Expectations bring disappointment,
Expectancy can bring miracles!

It didn't take long before I realized doing “50/50” just was not going to work!  By trying to do life that way, I was putting conditions on my love for the other person, which led to disappointment and frustration... 50/50 says "I'll do my part and you do your part"... it bases love on performance. We get more concerned with what the other person is giving rather than what we are giving. How could I ever judge what is my 50% or my husband's 50%... when I look at it like that I see I am trying to build a foundation all on my feelings... love isn't a feeling... love is an action... it's a choice. Like the choice God made when He sent His Son to die for each of us. God has always and will always give us 100 percent. Truthfully, I know I never even deserve 10% of His love... yet He pours His love out on me in abundance.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ Romans 5:8

Now, it is your turn… will you try to work on changing your marriage relationship to 100/100... in fact, how about trying it with all your relationships… even that person that gets on your nerves?  Not saying it is easy... and honestly it will never be 100/100... some days it might be 80/100 or 75/100... we are just human, but it gives us a goal to strive for each day. I know for me… I am a work in progress!  It cannot be done through our own strength but through the strength that comes from a life totally yielded to Christ.

I have had single friends say, "I am just trying to find a half-way decent guy." I have probably even said this before myself. Think about that... a half-way decent guy... or a half-way decent anything??? Why would we be willing to settle for "half-way decent" instead of all the way decent!!!??? Half-way decent means half-way not decent! I want more than that! How about you? Are you settling at the half-way point?

A little respect and loving kindness can go a long way… making just a small effort to reach out to others is a big deal!  Half-way is never enough! Every act of kindness will be water to a thirsty soul.  As Believers we are called to be light in this dark world, so whether our spouse or friends or family are Believers or not… they need to see that our words and actions bear witness to the Love we have living inside of us.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." ~  Matthew 5:16

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Friday, August 11, 2017

I Must Confess...

For the last 10 days I have posted each day with #honoryourspouse on my FaceBook page. I know some people probably don’t get why I did this. I never meant for any of this to come across as braggadocios. But today, August 11, is our 27th wedding anniversary, so I just wanted to do something a little special. And anyone that knows me, even just a little bit, knows how much I adore my hubby, and how thankful I am for this man God has given me.

I must confess… my actions do not always reflect adoration or thankfulness towards my hubby many times. Just yesterday, something happened or didn’t happen in a situation, and I ended up with hurt feelings. I am the kind of person that uses up a lot of words, whether spoken or written most days… words are important to me. Luke on the other hand… not so much! Water and oil!!! I was not asking anything complicated from him… I just really needed to hear what he thought or what was on his heart about a specific situation. What did I get… nothing! So when I pleaded with him for just a few words, I got, “I’m sorry.” I’m sorry??? Sorry for what? I just shut down from the whole conversation, which is probably better than the times I don’t keep my mouth shut!

So last night as I was feeling brokenhearted, I was talking to God… I knew that this little incident was something that the devil would love to make into something big. I was reminded that making a marriage work was not an easy assignment. There are so many married couples being torn apart… and more cases than not, it is a little thing that snowballs into a big thing! It breaks my heart to see families ripped apart! I was also reminded about unconditional love from the Father. I am not always lovable, BUT He always chooses to love me anyway!

As I was getting ready to crawl into bed, I remembered I had not written my #honoryourspouse for the day… REALLY! What did I even feel like writing when I was still wallowing in my emotions??? I dug down deep… asking God what can I write without feeling like a hypocrite??? Here is what came to me instantly:
“August 10... To love is a choice! It's in the hard times emotions can deceive...keep choosing to love! #honoryourspouse”

That pretty much says it all! Our life is far from perfect, but the God who brought us together is… that is how it works! That is the ONLY way it will work! Honor God with your commitment! And honor each other with God’s help in ALL things!

“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” ~ Ephesians 5:2

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin
video

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Always a Blessing in the Burden...

I came across this writing from a few years back... my heart was prodded to share it today. I needed the reminder, but maybe someone else needed it too:

How do you look at burdens, disappointments, illness? Do you ever feel sometimes that as a believer you should not ever see yourself as being burdened?  Can you see the good in burdens that we may face?  I know I started with a lot of questions… where do I find the answers? 

When I started thinking and praying about writing this devotional, I had no idea where God was going to take me.  The words “burden” and “blessing” kept coming to my mind.  In fact I had previously posted something on my other blog titled “Burden or Blessing” not realizing that this was the place God wanted me to go for this devotional.  The first verse that comes to my mind when I think of burden is:

“Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; 
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved." ~ Psalms 55:22 
         
No matter what we may be going through God is always there to carry our load if we will just give it to Him.  How can a burden be turned into a blessing or better yet how do I let God turn a burden into a blessing in my heart and life?  When the dreams and plans we may have for our lives just don’t go the way we think they should… how do we take that burden, that disappointment, that hurt and let God work His miracle to turn it into a blessing.  It just amazes me to see how God can take ashes and make something new out of them. (Isaiah 61:3)

Everyone has a story and this is mine... For years I carried a burden with me.  It was so personal and I “suffered” in silence most of the time, but anyone that really knew me knew it was always there.  I felt at times it became my identity… the burden of never being able to have a baby.  Many, many tests were done, but still no real reason for the infertility… no reason for the emptiness… no reason for the loss… no reason why I couldn’t give my husband a child.   For a long time I kept asking why God would allow such a thing to be a part of MY life… I always have done my best to live for Him… why did I have to carry this burden when I wanted to be a mom so badly?  I got plenty of unsolicited answers from so many people, but I never really got the answer I was looking for from God.   

I would often think of Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

I know I was born with the desire in my heart to be a mother.  I also know God gave me that desire.  Then why when I was “delighting myself in the Lord” was He not giving me the desires of my heart?

I never did receive an answer to that exact question, but what I did receive was that if I had a willing heart to trust that God knows best, He can change the desires of my heart. He can relieve the burden of the loss of my dreams.  And yes, He can even turn this burden into a blessing

You might ask where is the blessing.  The blessing comes from me surrendering my desires to His way in my life.  Psalm 37:5 goes on to say, Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” 

That is a promise from God… a God who never changes (Hebrews 13:8)… a God who never lies (Hebrews 6:18)… a God who will never let me go. (Isaiah 41:13)  It may not be my plan but it is God’s plan.  This is a favorite quote that relates to this, “It is dangerous to mistake my wishes for God’s will.”

Satan hates it when we can find the blessing in the burden. One of our enemy’s greatest weapons is discouragement… if I allow him to take that burden and add his lies and deception, then he has got me right where he wants me. He will use discouragement and discontentment to turn my heart away from God and all the blessings God has for me.

How do I combat when Satan wants to bring up that hurt and try to turn it back into a burden?  I praise & worship God.  I am not saying it is always easy, but I do know that God has already won the victory and I am so thankful I am on the winning side.

These are a few verses that help me praise God in those difficult moments.  I pray you will meditate on them and that you find comfort for whatever burden you may be carrying today.

"I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.  He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the LORD.” - Psalm 40:1-3 

“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” - Psalm 31:24

“The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.” - Psalm 29:11 

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.” - Psalm 28:7 

I pray that through God’s leading I will be used to be a blessing to someone today. Giving God all the glory, in Jesus’ Name. Share this with someone that may need to read this today too.

Questions to ask yourself:

Has there been a time in your life when you thanked God for a burden?

Share how God has turned a burden into a blessing in your life.


What do you do to get through those difficult moments?

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Focus Not Fog...

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.   ~ 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Do you ever have those times when anxiety seems to creep up on you for no real reason? I find that the busier I am the less anxious I tend to get. There is always cleaning, decluttering and organizing to do, but… I love it when it’s done, but I have to be in the mood to do it! 

I joined a group once for decluttering and putting perfectionism out of my life, called FlyLady. One of her articles was talking about driving in the fog and how if I get antsy and overwhelmed while trying to clean and organize my home it is like driving in the fog. 

I was thinking about how it is the same when I let my thoughts and emotions overwhelm me and cause me to be frustrated in my life spiritually! I take my focus off God and put it on the junk going on around me or the thoughts and questions I have going through my head.  I am guilty of using distraction to keep me from staying on task! Anyone else have that problem too??? I listen more to the enemy’s voice in my ear than the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart.  

There is no good way to get through my day in a fog… maybe fog stands for Free Of God??? WOW! Why would I want to live a life in FOG?  I don’t!  Waiting… being still… trusting is soooo hard for me to do so many times.  I have always been a doer and I know God has spoken to my heart about that so many times in the past.  Maybe this time I will actually learn something.  

The anxiety can so easily build up in me because my flesh says God is not moving quickly enough… He is not showing me the next step… He is causing my frustration and loneliness.  But in my spirit I know none of those things are true.  In these times I have to take a deep breath, confess my unbelief, and remember it is not about me anyway!  It is my fault for taking my eyes off Him! Don’t be like Peter when he stepped out of the boat. He was walking on water while he kept his focus on Jesus, but what happened as soon as he looked away? (Matthew14:22-33) God’s timing is perfect!  How many times does the Bible say to be patient?

Remember… if you are standing firm in your faith… then courage, strength and love should come more easily... it’s a good way to see what you are really standing on. Focus on Him!

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

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