Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Forgotten? I Think Not...

Do you have those moments, maybe even days, when you feel like you are alone and forgotten?  You feel invisible at work… the kids are growing up and spending more time away… you have not met the “love of your life.”  All these things can make you feel isolated and alone.

I know for myself when I have those moments I would rather just lay on the couch and pull the blanket up over my head.  And I might do that for a short time.  But I have come to realize that when I “feel” forgotten or alone… that is definitely a time to do the opposite of what I am feeling.

My encouragement to you today is that you are not ever forgotten… you are never alone! As a child of God, you know He is always with you… even when you don’t feel like it.  All the things you have done for the Lord will always be remembered... as a "warrior" you may end up hurt and distraught... but anything done in faith and love will be honored by God... don't let life make you feel insignificant or discouraged.  God remembers the good done in His name.

“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.  We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” ~ Hebrews 6:10-12

And you know one of the best ways to not feel forgotten is to take your eyes off yourself and put your eyes back on God.  He has given each one of us so many opportunities to serve Him and reach out to those in need.  And this seems like a great day to start! So my challenge is for each one of you to pick up your sword and get ready to slice through the feelings that are bringing you down!

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” ~Hebrews 4:12

Let the high praises of God be in your mouth, and a two-edged sword in your hand. (Psalms 149:6)

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Quiet, Please... Hear It?

Do you find yourself in the “bumps & bruises” of life? I really try not to let life get me down, but when it’s one thing after another… it gets very hard to keep looking on the sunny-side of things! I’m sure many of you may be feeling the same way. 

I was reading in 1 Kings 19:11-12… Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

As I read these verses this picture came to my mind & my heart… I could see unpleasant things of life happening one right after the other. Things that are scary… things that can shake your foundation… things that might even make you feel like you are losing everything… things you don’t understand, & you cannot get a grip on why it is happening. I am not saying the Lord causes these things, but I do believe whatever happens in life… God does allow.

When these things occur, we have a choice to make… we will let it rip us further from the Lord, or we will let it draw us closer to Him. We cannot live in the turmoil of whatever is shaking your world, because it is only in the quiet we can hear the still small voice… the voice of the Lord.

Do you hear it? Shhhhhh… Find a moment to step away from the hub-bub of life… quiet your heart… lean in to Him. He is whispering to the ears of your heart! He is a good Daddy… He will not always stop the yucky things of life, but remember He will always use them for good.

“…know that all things work together for the good of those who love God—those whom He has called according to His plan.” ~ Romans 8:28

My prayer today is that you will hear His still small voice… that the peace that passes all understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Cost?

A few weeks back I wrote the words, “The Cost?” on my notebook I write thoughts & prayers in… that is the only thing wrote on that page. I had some idea of where it came from, but it was not a complete thought at the time so I never wrote anything more. I was dealing with quite a bit of anxiety at that time… I knew God was working on me in this area… just writing those words gave me some relief in my heart & mind. But every time I flip through that notebook, that page keeps jumping out at me.

This morning I was reading in Exodus 16 about the Lord providing manna for the Children of Israel while they were in the wilderness. They whined & complained about the lack of food, which I’m pretty sure was not pleasing to the Lord, yet He still provided meat (quail) in the evening & bread (manna) in the morning. While I read this, the name, Jehovah-Jireh kept coming to my mind… the Lord our Provider.

I have always felt a connection with Abraham & Sarah in the Old Testament. They were not perfect by any means, yet God made a promise to Abraham & Sarah (Genesis 17)… no matter their “bumps in the road”… He kept His promise to them. There is so many good things to read about this dynamic couple, but today I was reminded of Abraham’s offering of Isaac, their son, to the Lord.

The Cost of obedience for Abraham was unbelievable… yet he was willing to obey. In Genesis 22 you will find this demonstration of faith, obedience & provision.

Abraham & Sarah had prayed for years for a child, & when this promise was finally fulfilled, the Lord asked for Abraham to give Isaac back through sacrifice! It just amazes me… I can’t even comprehend it!

FAITH is the word I have chosen as my word for 2016… I want to grow deeper in faith… I was to learn how to trust God more… I want to move forward in faith no matter how uncertain the road may seem. Remember, when you pray for stronger faith… that does not happen without difficulties of life to stretch you & grow that faith… it will cost you something! It will also be a time to cling, yes cling, to God’s Word even more.

Abraham packed up everything he needed to offer the sacrifice to the Lord as he & Isaac headed to the mountain. I believe that Abraham knew one of two things would happen… if he sacrificed Isaac, God would bring Isaac back to life (Hebrews 11:19), or the Lord would provide a substitute sacrifice. Which as we read He supplied a ram as the sacrifice.

I can look back & see how the Lord has provided throughout my life… always… in incredible ways! My anxiety does not come from His past faithfulness, I am living proof of that… it comes from not trusting Him for the future! It is crazy, I know! The Lord has done so much for me… but why should He do more???

Jehovah-Jireh does not mean “the Lord did provide”, it means “the Lord will provide”… it’s a demonstration of His ongoing faithfulness to His children. He is a good, good Father. I know that… I can trust that!

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” ~ Philippians 4:19-20

The truth is… I have no idea how our current situation will turn out. And I have to be okay with that! Trusting God for provision will cost me something… it will cost me anxious moments, it will cost me miserable days, it will cost me tearful conversations. On the other hand, anxiety has cost me dearly… it has cost me peace… it has cost me joy. Which has the biggest cost… which has the best outcome?

Everyone is going through something in their life… this is my story… I am a work in progress…taking it all day by day! I do pray for each person that reads these words & I ask that you might do the same for me.

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Stirred But Not Shaken...

It is 2016! How is your new year going so far?  Just a few days in… I pray it is going good!  This year I found a year ending and a new year beginning to be a little depressing.  Not really sure why… has anyone else felt that way?  I love every moment God gave me in 2015, and I am looking with anticipation to each day He presents before me in 2016.  2015 was a big year for us… lots of good stuff happening… our first summer with the B&B officially opened, my 50th birthday, Luke & my 25th wedding anniversary, my baby sister got married! Those memories & milestones are so precious to me! It was a year of celebration! So what happened to sour the way of thinking about 2015??? Although the past year was not all “cherries and rose petals” but each step I took, I had to keep trusting God, & He brought me through.

The last few years there has been an important word or two that has been significant in my life for that year. Most of the time it took me awhile to catch on that it was a word that was purposely given to me. So this year I decided to pray about a word to live by in 2016… God has stirred up the word, “FAITH,” in me! I know as a follower of Christ that should be a no brainer, right? But it is about going deeper in my faith… God has really been stirring things up in me… stirring is not always the most comfortable feeling, would you agree?  There are so many uncertainties in my life right now, but the one thing that is for certain is my FAITH & God’s faithfulness!

Do you have dreams that you let go long ago?  Has circumstances taken you off course?  Is there a huge “wall” in front of you leaving you feeling defeated?  Have you received a promise from God that has fallen by the wayside in your mind?  Maybe this very moment is the time to pray and ask God if He would stir up that thing in you again.  FYI…Do NOT do it unless you are ready for the stirring to begin! It could be going back to school for your degree… getting married… starting a family… going into business… ???  You know what that thing is for you.

Stirring is a time that will test (grow) your faith… BIG time!  When you are making a cake you put all the ingredients in and then you must stir it to make all those individual items turn into a cake.  I am sure if an egg had feelings it would not be thrilled when it is being whisked into the batter, but stirring is the way to get the end product.  I feel it is kind of the same when God starts stirring.  You may not be thrilled either!  I have said things like, “God, my life is good… I am comfortable right where I am.” Or, “Is my faith really strong enough?”  Or, “I am afraid.”  What God has shown me through this is that He brings these times into our lives to push us to rely on Him more… His strength, His mercy, His grace. 

It says in James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  Stirring… pure joy???  Umm, that may not be your first thought on that, but know that  each step you do take in faith brings more joy.  You will never persevere if you never take the first step!

I challenge you to keep moving forward, but glance back and see all that God has brought you through.  Remembering where you were to where He has brought you is always a faith builder.  Stand up to His stirring in you.  Trust that if He has stirred up something in you He will give you exactly what you need to complete it.  Choose to live in His truth and promises.

Father God, Forgive our unbelief.  I pray that whatever you are stirring up in each one of us would produce the faith we need to let You be BIG in our lives.  I pray the desire of each heart is what You have placed there.  Let the thoughts, dreams, and visions be what You, Heavenly Father, want for us. Shield us from the darts of the enemy… take fear far from us.  Grow our faith as we accomplish what You have set before us.  Praising You for who You are… what You have done and are going to do.  In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Finding a Piece of Peace…

I woke up around 4a.m. & I couldn’t get back to sleep. My brain kicks into gear & then it just swirls from one thing to another… a spiral of anxiety woven very rapidly! I knew I had to get it under control before it went too far, so I began to pray. Lately there have been so many times I really don’t even know what to say when I pray… sometimes all I can say is, “I trust You, Lord.” Sometimes I just say the name of Jesus! There is power in His name! Jesus tells us in John 14:13 that whatever we ask in His name, He will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. For me… just calling out His name brings peace of mind!

In my “grown-up” life I have pretty much always played it safe… although the last 10 years has brought a little more unpredictability at times. I guess that happens when you choose to step-out in faith… our move to Lake City 10 years ago was a big step for me. Then deciding to follow a God-given dream to move to Ludington was a “crazy” giant step! Through these times I never felt unsafe or insecure of the future… not that any of it was easy… hope was always at hand… I could see it, because God had given me a vision for it all!

I am not sure why this business adventure Luke/we are trying to get off the ground is knocking me for a loop! I know my dear hubby has searched for wisdom from God… I believe that Luke will do excellent as a crop consultant… it is perfect for his gifting! So why am I letting fear of the future consume me at times???

I know many people can’t understand why we are doing what we are doing… I don’t understand it either, from a human point of view… and for the most part peoples’ opinions really don’t matter to me! We are both in our 50’s! How crazy is it to start down this unpredictable path???

All of a sudden, I was just wondering why am I writing this & what is the point… but as I’m writing down these thoughts, I am seeing more of what is really going on with me… it all goes back to TRUST! With the B&B God gave me a very clear vision of how it should be… He painted pictures in my heart & mind… it was all very real & tangible to me! With Luke’s business, which he has named “Shining Legends Agronomy”, is all in his heart & mind… I can’t see the vision or even understand much of what he does or how it all works! The only real part I can play in it is to support Luke & trust that he is following what God is guiding him to do!

Oh man! Why does it have to be TRUST???!!! You can’t touch it… you can’t taste it… you can’t hear it… you just have to surrender to it! That is really the only way to have peace of mind! It sounds so easy… but it’s not… it really is not!

I came across something I wrote 4 years ago today:
“PEACE – complete surrender to God’s will; letting His breath breathe life into my soul; trusting completely that God has it all under control, regardless of what it looks like to me… there is no PEACE without faith.
For He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek PEACE and pursue it. 1 Peter 3:10-11”
This is a battle for me… I know God is stretching me & growing my faith. I am not trying to whine… I am just trying to be honest & real… hoping that whoever reads this might get a glimpse of what God has for them through my testimony! I am just a work in progress… I must be because I have big old growing pains!
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword?... Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” ~ Romans 8:35 & 37

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Friday, November 6, 2015

Feelin' the Burn... More!

A couple weeks ago, I was thinking how I don't want my passion for the Lord to wane when things are going smoothly... HA! Don't ever think that! Because watch out! God will let things be shaken up a little!!! It is a week now since my dear hubby, Luke, became unemployed. There's not hardly a moment that goes by that I'm not talking to God at this point. Mostly every time the pang of worry wants to play with my mind & emotions... I keep giving it back to Him! Anyway, I came across this post from 2 years ago today & thought it was worth sharing again, because it spoke to me... funny how that happens! And I hope you might get something out of it too! The circumstances are different, but the dependence on God has to remain the same...


Does life have you feeling a little deflated? Be encouraged… you are not alone! I find it so hard to keep perspective sometimes! Being in the “in between” place my hubby & I are in right now, I know we need to keep moving forward & pursuing the next thing in the journey, but then when something, “takes the wind out of your sails,”… it is so HARD!!! I know God knows my heart & He knows I don’t want anything but what He wants for me! I have always had a hard time just rolling with the punches… oh man, is He teaching me a lot in this area!!! I don’t like it, but at the same time I am so thankful He pushes me to be stretched!

You know how when you exercise, which I do every once in awhile, as your muscles work & become contracted… I usually hate every minute of it, but then… when you are done you can stretch. It is a burn that hurts but feels so good all at the same time! That is exactly how I feel with what is going on with me right now. The closer I move towards God… the more I seek Him… asking Him to use my life to glorify Him… the more of a workout I get! It is those little spurts of ~ learning, learning, learning… growing, growing, growing… stretching, stretching, stretching. There are so many times I just want to throw my hands in the air and say, “Enough already! I give!” And then God speaks to my heart & reminds me He created me to be a champion for His glory. It might be in a verse I read, a devotional I come across, the beauty of His creation in nature, or sometimes it is just a text of encouragement from a dear friend.

While we were waiting for our house to sell… I had those moments when things seemed extremely tough. In my flesh I knew I could just stay put where we were at… beautiful house, great friends, all we ever need… but those thoughts never lasted long because I knew what God has called me to. I also knew that if I said “no,” it would be okay because He loves me unconditionally. But I knew too what I could be missing out on… things greater than I could imagine!

“When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk they have secretly set a snare for me.” ~ Psalms 142:3

Read the Book of Esther… what a story! That is one of my favorites in the Bible. I love how God took a plain, orphaned, Jewish girl & used her to save the nation of Israel! Her uncle Mordecai told her she could keep silent & someone else would step in & do what she was asked to do. But he also asked her, if she might have been brought into the position of queen for such a time as this.

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” 
~ Esther 4:14

So let me ask you a question, one that I have to keep asking myself… What has God put before you? Has He been preparing you for such a time as this? I know for myself when I seem to lose perspective, I have to go back to the beginning of this journey & remind myself of what my motivation is. And the truth is… it really isn’t about me anyways!

Are you feeling stretched? Does it feel like sometimes you just might snap, like a rubber band?


"God's way is perfect! The promise of the Lord has proven to be true. He is a shield to all those who take refuge in Him. Who is God but the Lord? Who is a rock other than our God? God arms me with strength. His perfect way sets me free. He makes my feet like those of a deer & gives me sure footing on high places. He trains my hands for battle so that my arms can bend an archer's bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of Your salvation. Your help makes me great. You make a wide path for me to walk on so that my feet don't slip" ~2 Samuel 22:31-37

You are created to be a champion to bring Him glory too! What will your next move be?

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Monday, October 26, 2015

Leave it...

Fall… the time for things to change & the dead to fall away! I’m ready for that today! Let death-giving anxiety fall away… let joy-killing hurt crumble to the depths of the ocean… let hopeless fear & worry vacate my thoughts & heart!

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ~ Hebrews 11:1

When leaves’ colors start to change they are so beautiful… they have just enough green on them, so you know there is still some life. But as they change completely, dry-up & drop to the ground… life is gone! They crumble into dust! Even nature knows that the dead things need to fall away before new things can live! Yes, there will always be that pause of “winter”, but the freezing cold makes sure that what is no longer of use will be gone forever.

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

So how about it… are you ready to let the dead things go??? Leaves are called leaves for a reason… they must leave before new can come! Leave it...

“…A time to keep, and a time to throw away;” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:6

Letting go… it reminds me of what my dear husband always says, when I’m whining about the weekend being over, “Monday has to come before you can get to the next weekend.” Words of wisdom from my “the glass is full & overflowing” man!

Lord, have Your way! I am ready to let the dead things in my life go! Break off what is not of You! In Jesus’ name.

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin