Thursday, February 16, 2017

See...

John 9:25 says, “One thing I know, I was blind, but now I see.” These are the words of the man who was blind from birth, who Jesus healed. This was the man’s answer as the religious leaders questioned him on why Jesus would do this on the Sabbath. It is pretty clear that the formerly blind man didn’t care what day of the week it was… only that he was made whole!

So I questioned myself after reading this… Are there things in my life that are causing me spiritual blindness? Or are there things that God has done in my life to remove my “blindness” I have not been willing to share to bring Him glory?

To testify… serve as evidence or proof of something's existing or being the caseDoes my life… does your life reflect enough evidence for proof of God’s faithfulness & goodness? Some days are so much harder than other days… I definitely get that! But even in those not so great moments… are we living proof of who God is?

Over this past weekend, my hubby, Luke, & I had the privilege to lead the first/our first marriage retreat at Camp Living Waters in Luther, Michigan. It was amazing for us! Not sure how it was for the attendees, but for us… we just cannot comprehend how or why God allowed us the opportunity! Father God is just so good & so faithful… He can take 2 broken people, both of us having our first marriages fail, surviving the devastation of infertility, letting Him mold us & make us into what could be used for His glory, bringing us together for now almost 27 years, to share about our marriage with Christ as the “knot” holding us together! All I can say is, “Wow!” I don’t share any of this to shine a light on Luke or me, but to praise God for His never ending mercy and grace! The only part we played in this was to have willing hearts and to be obedient. It was much work and a lot of stretching… but oh so good!

So I say with the former blind man… “I was blind but now I see.” What about you? Are there areas in your life that have been blinded from seeing who God is or who He wants to be in your life? I thank God that He is making me aware of these areas, and I know He will continue doing His work in me as I am willing to step forward on His path for my life.

I talked with a woman over the weekend who was struggling with wanting God to show more of how the path looked. Living or walking by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)… it is so hard when we are looking through our human eyes and not letting Holy Spirit guide our spiritual eyes! We always have to remember, if we could see the whole path clearly, then we would need God.

Father God, Thank You for revelation. Thank You for Your healing. Thank You for opening blind eyes to see more of who You are. I ask You to help my unbelief… to trust You more when I cannot see what may be next. Lord, keep me looking only to You for the answers. Give me a willing heart and boldness to testify of Your greatness in my life. I pray for each person reading this… let Your Light shine brighter in those shaded areas to bring You glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Once again, God is just impressing on my heart how important testimonies are. I can remember so clearly how impactful hearing peoples’ testimonies in church when I was growing up were to me. If the Lord is doing something in your life… share it! Now, if you are willing… please share a testimony of blind eyes being opened or an area where you could use some prayer. I once was blind and now I see!


Rejoicing in Truth! 
Carin 💖

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Heart of Unity...

As I have been seeing all kinds of ugliness on the news and social media… it can be very discouraging if I let it be. I try to be very selective about what I let into my view and thought pattern. I really don’t expect anything different from the world, but when I see the same vile attitude coming from those that call themselves Christians… it is heartbreaking! I am not saying I don’t ever let my “fleshiness” get the better of me… my mouth can be in overdrive at times! I guess what I am saying is this poison that I am seeing, no matter what side of the fence you are on, has been an awakening to closely check my own heart. It has also been my chance to pray for hearts… my own as well as others’! Unity is needed in our country, but even more importantly… unity is needed in the Body of Christ! Here is my prayer for unity:

Father God, The world can be so hateful & cruel, just as it was in Jesus’ time. Lord, guide our actions as followers of Christ. Give us an willingness to be humble and gentle. Help our hearts to be patient and loving, no matter what we face. Bring to our minds that we do not have to have the last word, the battle is Your battle and not ours to fight. Thank You for the hope we have in You… may this hope unify our thoughts and actions. Raise peace in us through the Holy Spirit. Thanking You for Your faithfulness, knowing that You have it all under control. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16


“I… urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling which you have been called, with humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in LOVE, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” ~ Ephesians 4:1-3

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Friday, January 6, 2017

Doubt, Faith, Power…

Learn to doubt my doubt, do not doubt God! I cannot let my past disappointments feed my doubts of today! Faith bigger than my fears!

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” ~ Matthew 17:20


Thinking & praying about what God is calling me to… the marriage retreat, & whatever else He has “up His sleeve.” Will what I have in me be enough? Will all that I have inside me come out, make sense, & really matter? What if I let the power, His power that lives within me come out? It is exhilarating & scary all at the same time!!!

I must learn how to speak… loud, proud, & boldly! This realization is life-changing for me… my words have the ability to move with power, effectiveness & life… because of God’s power living inside me. This is the same power that raised Christ from the dead! Life giving, life raising power! Just think about that!!! I can’t even grasp that!

All that God has placed in me is just waiting for me to let it work out through me! Wow! Christ is in me… He will work through me… I just need to let Him flow!

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” ~ Colossians 1:27

This is a verse I learned years ago when I went to Lake Ann Camp when I was 11 years old. Never did I fathom what this really meant! To be totally honest, I am only starting to minutely understand it now! Which is probably why I spend so many of my days feeling debilitated & useless.

Ok, so here it is… what if I really believed… God has poured into me His powerful hope that has transformed my life & that through me He can do a work that can impact others’ lives? What if I really believed… people might be able to see Christ through me, changing the world in a supreme way?

As Luke & I prepare for the marriage retreat we are leading in February… He & I have had many conversations about why we have been offered this opportunity… I’ve questioned if we are really up for the “task” set before us. What God is showing me is that He has been preparing us for this… now I need to believe it to be able to see it… walking it out in faith! The steps may be shaky at times, but I know & believe Christ is within me… today I choose to let Him flow through me with the power He has already placed within me!

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

WAIT!

Many years I have been given a word that would be a prominent word for the coming year. It was usually something that easily just came to me, but this year... not so much! I’ve been thinking & praying about my “word” for 2017… nothing was really coming… I think I was trying too hard! Trying to figure it out, as I sometimes tend to do... running ahead of God! You never do that, do you?

So this morning, it was made pretty clear… “wait”! WAIT! Really???

I was reading in Psalms 40:1-3 ~ I WAITED patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock. And established my goings. And He has put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

Patience is not always my forte! It might take time for me to get on board with a new idea or project, but once I do I want to get the “show on the road.” I tend to run a little behind when I am meeting someone… I am guilty of making other people wait for me, but I don’t always like to be the one waiting!

I was having a messaging conversation with a friend the other day about praying for God to open the door for an opportunity. She said God is teaching her patience. Learning patience in the heat of the moment is oh so difficult!

Waiting is hard! You wait at the store checkout, in traffic, for an appointment… like your time is less important than anybody else’s! We do everything we can do to keep the frustration level down… or at least we should! Even harder to wait for is a check that doesn’t come, a wayward child to return to the Lord, or for your spouse’s heart to change. We wait for a child to fill up our arms. We wait for our heart’s desire!

So as I was thinking about the whole “waiting game”… God showed me that I need to not focus on the waiting, but on praising Him through the wait! As David said in verse 3… He puts a new song in my mouth… a song of praise! So the wait just might be a good time to learn more about humility, submission, patience, endurance, & persistence. Also, trusting God completely! None of this is or will be possible without trusting the Lord every step of the way! Like it goes on to say in Psalms 40:4 ~ Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!

Let me worship You, Lord, while I wait… drawing others to You!

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Every Morning...

We are on the threshold of another new year. Do you see 2017 as a new beginning... true it can be a new beginning, but changing the calendar is no guarantee that life/circumstances will change. Let’s not put too many expectations on the new year being the "fix" for our happiness or lack thereof!

The bad news… going from 2016 to 2017 is not a magic pill! Happiness, per say, in any form is fleeting! Living a life dependent on feelings is a setup for disappointment!

Okay, now for the good news... Tomorrow morning, January 1, 2017 is a new beginning, but so is every morning that your eyes open and you have air in your lungs! Lamentations 3:23says that God's mercy & compassion are new every morning. I will take a new beginning every chance I can! In fact, some days my "new beginning" happens in the middle of my day! I see a new beginning as any moment when I recognize my actions or attitude are not in line with the way I know to be right.

Being happy is a good thing, but happiness is a feeling that fluctuates with circumstances. True joy comes from within... I know for myself, my joy comes from the Lord! Psalms 30:5 talks of crying through the night, but that joy comes in the morning (new beginning). And in Psalms 90:14 it says, God's mercy satisfies us each morning that we will have joy the rest of our lives.

So do you agree we put too much importance on the "new year thing?" New year... New you? Why wait? Make this very moment your new beginning! Don't expect flipping the calendar is really gonna fix anything!

I challenge you to go into this new year with an expectancy that your life will be different! Don't make the same choices as you always have... the definition of insanity - making the same choices & expecting a different result. Yep... been there, done that… still do at times! Are my circumstances perfect right now? Nope! Far from it! But you know what? I would not give up one ounce of my joy for it to be any different! Can you say the same? If not... I pray that over this next year you make the right decisions for you so you can say the same at the end of next year!

Here is the place I start... Fixing my eyes on Jesus, the writer and finisher of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross for my sin, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. (Hebrews 12:2)

Happy "New Year!"
Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Gift of His Presence...

In preparation of Christmas I got out the boxes and boxes and boxes of decorations.  Some bring back precious memories, while others are just a passing fad.  I love adding just a little something new every year to keep things fresh though.  Did you ever notice that after the ornaments have been hanging on the tree for a few weeks they get kind of dusty?  Or is that just at my house?  I have an ongoing battle with dust… I hate to dust and I think dust purposely antagonizes me!!!

As I was checking my gift list and what we still need to get… my mind was drawn to Christ, Father’s Gift to us all.  The most precious gift ever! In so many ways, it has been a rough year for so many that I care about.  But my eyes keep turning back to that original Gift… no matter the circumstances of life the only thing that matters is our relationship with God... that started on that first Christmas morning.  Jesus Christ was born in a dusty stable, but from that very moment He started to change the world… He takes all the “dust” and grime of our lives and sweeps it all away never to be seen again, if we just turn to Him.

There have been many questions of why God lets things happen… some feeling like the bad circumstances are a punishment from God.  If you look in the Bible there are so many instances when bad things were happening to people and it was not as a punishment!  Look at Job for instance… what would we do if all our possessions were taken… we lost our job… our kids were killed???  I know for myself, I probably would ask God why He would allow such things… if He loves me so much how could He let me go through all this pain???

We like to understand things… we like to try and fix things… we think we know more of what we need than God does… admit it, we have all been there.  I will admit it… I am impatient… I like to figure things out on my own… I want to live in comfort not pain!  But if everything was “peachy keen” all the time how would I ever grow?  And truthfully, what would I need God for?  God may not bring on any of the distress in our lives but He will allow it… ultimately to be used for His glory!

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

In Job 38 and 39, God and Job are having a “conversation.”  If you take the time to read it you will see that God was letting Job know that no matter what his circumstances were God was still in control!  God created all things… He should know how to keep things going and in order! Hmm… not so easy to remember sometimes.

Getting back to the gift part… if our Heavenly Father was willing to give up His only Son to restore His relationship with us… why would He ever do anything to cause us harm?  He sent Jesus to earth as a precious little baby but He wants us to let Him be so much bigger than we can ever imagine in our lives!  So I guess the question is… If Father was willing to give me and you such a precious Gift are we willing to trust Him no matter our circumstances?

“Blessed are the people who know how to praise you. They walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. They find joy in your name all day long. They are joyful in your righteousness because you are the glory of their strength. By your favor you give us victory.  Our shield belongs to the Lord.  Our king belongs to the Holy One of Israel.” Psalms 89:15-18 (GW)

Father, I thank You for Your goodness and the precious Gift of Your Son! I praise You for Your presence… that You will never leave us alone!  Lord, You are so faithful! All praise to You!


Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Monday, December 5, 2016

My Weakness, His Strength...

I have often heard people say during times of stress or problems, “I must be strong for them.”  Well, if you are dealing with pain, stress, sickness… here is something God spoke to my heart. He reminded me that I need to be weak in these times. I know that may sound ridiculous to you, but it is definitely what He showed me & here is why... 

God showed me… It is when I let myself be weak that my pride gets out of the way.

But when Jesus heard it, He replied, “Those who are strong and well (healthy) have no need of a physician, but those who are weak and sick.” ~ Matthew 9:12

It is when I am weak, I cry out to my Heavenly Father for help.

Pay attention to my cry for help because I am very weak. Rescue me from those who pursue me because they are too strong for me. ~ Psalms 142:6

It is when I am weak, I have no illusion that I am in control.

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

It is when I am weak, I will experience the blessings and benefits of being God’s child.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, ~ Ephesians 1:3

It is when I am weak, His strength becomes mine. 

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

It is when I am weak, my vulnerability brings His presence even stronger in my life.  

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. ~ Psalms 91:1

It is when I am weak, life detours will not distract me but will allow His will to shine through.  

Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. ~ Hebrews 12:12-13

It is when I am weak, He gets all the glory!

He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, ~ Romans 4:20

Let me be weak, Lord, living in Your strength!

So do not fear, for I am with you; 
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10


Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin


PS: This verse was laid on my heart today for someone… maybe it is you! When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” ~ John 11:4