Saturday, June 6, 2015

Intentional KINDNESS

Just a few thoughts from my heart to yours!

I have been thinking about KINDNESS… especially when you see so much cruelty in the world. I’ve been going through some tough things lately, physically, emotionally, even spiritually. I know it is only God’s grace & mercy that has brought me through, but something else too… a KIND husband!

What a gift his KINDNESS has been to me! My crying & complaining… not to mention my moodiness & down right ugliness at times… and what has he given me in return??? KINDNESS! There is nothing like a little KINDNESS to encourage a person’s heart! And you know you don’t have to understand exactly what someone is going through to just be KIND!

You hear all the time about doing, “random acts of kindness”… what if KINDNESS wasn’t just random… what if it was an intentional act?And what if we started doing acts of KINDNESS daily in our own homes with our own family??? What would that look like? How would that change the dynamics in the home?

“Love is patient. Love is KIND. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up!” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I think KINDNESS is one of those things that is so overlooked! It is not about a “political” statement… it is about a condition of the heart! To be KIND doesn’t have to infringe on your rights! To be KIND doesn’t have to cost you anything, but your pride & selfishness!To be KIND doesn’t go against your religious beliefs!To be KIND takes way less effort that it does to be cruel! 
I’m not talking about just ignoring the bad things going on around you, I am saying to speak the Truth, but speak it in love! Ephesians 4:15 talks about “speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things unto Him who is the head - Christ.”

And men, you have a great task ahead of you! God has placed you as the head of the home, to love your wife as Christ loved the Church & gave His life for it (Ephesians5:25). That is the ultimate KINDNESS and act of love! KINDNESS is obedience… obedience is expected! Are you doing what is expected from God? I have a great husband, he sets the “bar” pretty high, but he is not perfect… however he is working on himself daily… and how do I know that??? Because he shows me KINDNESS even when I am not so KIND!
  
How can any of us show KINDNESS when we don’t really feel like it? Through prayer, being in God’s Word, & encouraging words through the KINDNESS of others. See it is a continuous cycle! Try showing a little KINDNESS today, for the love of Christ! 

Rejoicing inTruth! 
Carin

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Muddy Moments...

Have you ever come to a time in your life where it feels like you have been stripped away of almost everything that you know & are familiar with??? In some ways, I really feel like I am there. Just when I think I am making headway & connections… it seems like I am back to square one!

I have been pretty self-sufficient in my way of thinking & doing things… rarely letting what others think have an influence over me. God has blessed me with natural abilities, talents, & lots of stick-to-itiveness… or is the bull-headedness??? I have been aware of my abilities, aware of my strengths, & oh so aware of my weaknesses, which has brought me to many good & successful moments in my life. Realizing that none of this would have been possible without God’s guidance! I can also see God’s “green light” in new endeavors… even when I wish He would put on the “red light”… but He knows best… Right?

This I know… my love for Father has brought me to this point! His love for me & for you is greater than anything imaginable. He has placed compassion in my heart for those living without knowing Him. He has asked me to trust Him as He guides me down unfamiliar roads. He knows that my burden for others to know His love… to live in fullness of joy will be a difference maker in my life & in others’ lives as well.

Here is my struggle with this… I am not always able to get this message across! I have so much passion in my heart for people to know they are loved… that God loves them! To have them experience how special they are in God’s eyes! I have prayed for God to let me see others through His eyes… and those moments when I get just a glimpse of that… WOW! It has changed my outlook! The hardest part for me is when people don’t want it for themselves. I can want all the goodness in the world for someone, but I cannot force them to receive it!

My heart is a little heavy… I am fighting off discouragement. There are 2 events I am involved with coordinating in the next month & it feels like I am at a stand-still. It is not about putting on the events… it’s about getting people interested in coming… to see how much more God has for them. That’s the thing, when you try to do new things… it is a risk! And trying to control what I have no control over is a cause for anxiety in my life. Here is what the Holy Spirit reminded me of… “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6

The truth is, no matter what happens with these events… I am being obedient! If only one person shows up… then I will pour out God’s love on that one person! God knows my heart… it is not about me… it is all about Him! I will give Him glory no matter what!

Obedience to the Lord will never be seen as failure!

Sometimes when you step out of your comfort zone, you will step in the mud… but that is okay, ‘cuz God will turn that mess into a message to be used for Him! Not a message in a bottle, but a message in a puddle! It will be worked for good!

Rejoicing in Truth!.
Carin

PS: Go over to Holley Gerth's "You're Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect" for more inspiration!

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