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

Friday, September 26, 2014

Driving Through Life...

I cried out to God this morning because I have been feeling so overwhelmed at times lately. And you know what? He answered me with His Word!
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
I know being overwhelmed happens to me when I stop trusting God… when I try to figure it all out & trust myself… I become my own god! I know that will not work, but it is so easy for my flesh to slip back into that way of thinking! Even after all these years of being a Christian… God has definitely got His hands full with me! *Ü*
Read Psalms 5… This was the place in the Bible God took me to right after I prayed for guidance, strength, & clarity!
In verses 7 & 8 of Psalms 5 it says, “But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; in fear (reverence) of You I will worship toward Your holy temple. Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face.”
No matter the trial or even my imagination… I need to keep focusing on God. Trusting God! Believe that if I trust Him, He will lead me the right way… even when I cannot see any further than the next step!
Luke & I were talking yesterday about the windshield of the car compared to the rearview mirror… how one is so much bigger than the other. We were discussing how when you are driving your concentration needs to be on what you see looking through the windshield… you have the rearview mirror to glance back at to see where you have been & to check for hazards that may be coming up on you, but your real focus always needs to remain looking forward.
I can see how that lines up with my daily walk as well… if I spend all my time looking back at my failures or hurts, I will lose track of where I am headed & most likely run off in the ditch! God gave us a memory, not to beat ourselves up with or fret over past mistakes, but I believe it is so we can see where we have been & what He has brought us through! All praise, honor & glory belongs to God the Father & His Son, Jesus Christ!
Then in verses 11 & 12 it says, “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. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.”
Trust… Rejoice… Shout for Joy… God is your Defender… He will bless you… He is your Shield
Be Blessed as you go about your day!
Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin
X-tra -- So funny… as I was typing the word, “shield” it hit me how God is like our “windshield”! He is shatter-proof, always in front of us to protect & guide. The cleaner we keep our windshield the better we can see through it! Not just on the outside of the window, but the inside too, where that filmy smutch builds up!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bumps in the Road...

I have had a couple really tough weeks! Not totally sure why??? Overwhelmed, thoughts of inadequacy, just plain tired! This morning I came across this verse: Judges 6:12 – “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!’”  In this chapter, Israel’s enemies are pressing in & Gideon has been called by the Lord to lead a force against this. Gideon felt defeated even before he started. When I read this story I thought, wow… how could he not be ready to go? It all seems so miraculous when I read it in black & white! As I read more of Judges & meditated on that, I really felt God showing me those things can & are still happening in our day! The God that led Gideon on his quest is the same God that has called me to what He has. “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior princess!” With a Father that says that to me, how can I doubt?
Wait, I need to take that statement back I made, “Not totally sure why?” I do know why… because the more my enemy, the devil, can keep me down, the less I can do for my God & His Kingdom! “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 Abundant life, Baby! Don’t you want an abundant life? I do! I do! The abundant life God has for us does not have anything to do with money or “stuff”, it has to do with overflowing joy (1 John 1:4)!
I am really being challenged, & I don’t necessarily like it! On the other hand, God is pushing me forward into areas I would have never even dreamed of… I know His plan is best! I know that!!! It just makes for some real battles from within… there are times I just want to crawl into bed & pull the covers up over my head! Now, I know what I need to do when I am feeling like that is remember the words of Judges 6:12 ~~ “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!” Those words are for you too! Princess warrior, some days you may have to fasten down your crown, but remember, the Lord is with you!
I know my words will not make everything great, no matter how much I believe them! Here is what I know to be true… God loves me more than I can imagine, even when I am a “hot mess!” God wants to carry my burdens, if I will just let Him! God has called me to what He has called me to, & that is not about meeting others’ expectations! God has abundant life for me, but it is by following His plan & vision for my life… and this may cause people to be disappointed or angry with me & I have to be ok with that!
I pray you will realize these are true in your life as well! Go ahead & read Isaiah 55… it is an invitation to abundant life! It was just what I needed… a great reminder from Daddy!
For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." Isaiah 55:12
Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Desired Haven...

“Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven." Psalms 107:28-30
This portion of Psalms became important to me at a poignant time a few months back… I knew we were on the right path, but everything seemed to be in such turmoil! After a year & a half our house sold with a quickly moving deal, we thought we were going to buy a dream house, we had it all worked out! The sale of our house went through with very minor bumps, but the deal on the house we were set to buy fell totally apart! I am still so thankful for the lovely couple that let us stay in their home for what was supposed to be our “short” transition... a couple weeks ultimately turned into 14 weeks! 
It was in this period that I cried out to God over & over! As I look back, I can see that He was calming the storm… what I felt was raging all around me was actually my will raging from within! It wasn't God not answering my cries... it was my tantrum inside me that was the problem! It wasn't that I absolutely wanted that first house, I truly just wanted the house God had for us, but I wanted it NOW!
We can cry out for God’s help, but that will not change the storm within us… it is only when we give up what we want in our flesh for what Father knows to be best! It is then we can feel Him calm the storm… finally the rolling waves are still! What peace that picture brings to my heart! Ahhhhh… true contentment, real joy… my desired haven! It might not have changed the circumstance, but it did change me from the inside out!
Are you in need of your desired haven today? Or has God seen you through rough waters to what you thought was your desired haven only for you to turn your back on Him? Turn to Him… cry out to Him! He is always here waiting for you to let it all go & rest in the stillness of Him!
Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Delights in Mercy...

Thinking of the time when I was a teenager, I was walking down a sidewalk at night & I fell over a post that was lying across my path. There was lights in the parking lot where I was, but the sidewalk was pitch black, because shadows made it so dark. I can remember thinking someone hit me from behind… it was like I was knocked to the ground out of nowhere! As I picked myself up & got to my feet… I don’t remember if I was crying, but I probably was because I cry over almost everything! J I do remember thinking what in the world happened to me… I didn’t see that coming at all! My jeans were torn, & my leg was bleeding, & of course my pride was hurt, but overall I was okay!
I know for myself I have had the same experience in my spiritual life as well. I would be walking along the path, minding my own business… light is around me, but I chose to step off the lighted path into the shadows. God is still with me, but I am not listening to His call to get back on His lighted path… I am trusting in my own direction! And He let me go… He even let me fall… but He was there to pick me up & comfort my wounds when I was ready to turn back to Him! That doesn’t mean I didn’t have scars or consequences from my choice to get off track… it just means like the best parent you could ask for, He was there for me!
And you know, after that little spill I took on the sidewalk, it made me way more cautious of walking without light on the path… both in the physical & the spiritual!
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalms 119:105
As I was thinking about this these verses in Micah came to my mind… Don’t laugh at me, my enemies. Although I’ve fallen, I will get up. Although I sit in the dark, the Lord is my light.  I have sinned against the Lord. So I will endure His fury until he takes up my cause and wins my case. He will bring me into the light, and I will see His victory.” Micah 7:8-9  And in verse 18 it says… “Who is a God like you? You forgive sin and overlook the rebellion of Your faithful people. You will not be angry forever, because You delight in mercy.”
He delights in mercy! I am so thankful I serve & am loved by a merciful God! Aren’t you?
Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Anchored...

The weather is finally getting nicer… summer just might be around the corner! All kinds of new activities that we have not enjoyed over this long, I mean LONG winter! Camping, biking, fishing, cookouts, swimming, maybe even some boating. I am not an outdoorsy, camping person, so no camping for me & the lake has to get pretty warm before you will find me swimming in it, but those other things… count me in!
So I was thinking about when you go fishing on a boat you have to anchor the boat to stay in one place. That led me to think about what we anchor ourselves to keeping us firm & steady. I really had to go back to where my anchor lies or doesn’t lie… it isn’t in money or family or things… it is not even in my husband, although Luke does help to keep me anchored. Getting into God’s Word & asking Him to show me exactly what He wants me to see… going deeper into His Word is a great place to get anchored! It is not about being deep… it is about having His Word go deeper into our souls!

“Only be strong and very courageous, faithfully doing everything in the teachings… Don’t turn away from them. Then you will succeed wherever you go.  Never stop reciting these teachings. You must think about them night and day so that you will faithfully do everything written in them. Only then will you prosper and succeed. I have commanded you, ‘Be strong and courageous! Don’t tremble or be terrified, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’” Joshua 1:7-9

I must confess, I have been having a little “drifting” problem lately at times. There just seems to be so many things going on in my life right now, & it makes it easy to lose track of where I need to be anchored! I am so thankful Father is patient with His daughter as I learn these hard lessons. He will let me “drift” some, but it makes me a very unhappy person, then I have to do a heart check… it is when I realize I am drifting on my own that I lean into Him! He is such a good Father!
When we lose focus of who God is to us, what He has shown us, how He made each of us with the gifts He has to do what He has called us to do,.. that is when we will all start to drift. Once again He reminded me to go back to what He has promised me… reevaluate my motives… take my hands from in front of my blinded eyes & clasp them in prayer to Him… asking for strength, for wisdom, for opportunities to serve Him… all in thankfulness! As long as we keep our heart anchored to God in constant devotion, we will not drift! He will not let us drift… for He is our Rock!
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.” Psalms 18:2
Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin