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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Shhhh...

I need a word of encouragement today… and just maybe you do too! So many times you have heard, “God is Love!” Which of course that is true, but I have a little secret to share with you… God is Peace too!

Life can be so chaotic! Family, work, bills, health, and the list goes on and on! Just living life, trying to get through another day… we all get it! Each of our circumstances maybe different, but the chaos is there, none the less! You might just want to crawl back in bed and pull the covers up over your head… but face it… that really is probably not an option! (Although??? Hmmm… Nope not an option!)

I know… just let “life” or “adulting” stop just for a little while! The thought of just retreating into that place of your own personal paradise… shut the noise off, close your eyes, sleep till the sun comes up (the next day), or a massage??? Yep, a massage that might be the answer! No, wait, I got it… a big, warm chocolate chip cookie… that would hit the spot! Wouldn’t it?

In Philippians 4:5-7 it says: Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

Ok… so now is not the time to retreat! Now is the time to march forward! God is the God of your past… He is the God of your future… let Him be the God of your present too! It is in grabbing a hold of Him, now in life’s chaos, that we can find that He is Peace!

Like it says in 1 Corinthians 2:16b: But we have the mind of Christ. (ESV) Transforming our “stinkin thinkin” to renewing our minds in Christ Jesus. Will you join with me? Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or dread the day for the Lord, the God of your present, goes with you. He will never leave you or reject you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

One more thing… changing our mindset must start with this… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if there is any excellence, or anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned, received, heard, and seen… practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trade-In...

I find myself taking my life for granted too often... it is not a pretty picture of the women I know I was created to be. I do have the best husband in the world (for me)! I don't say that to brag or cause envy... I say it because it always hasn't been this way, or rather I didn't
always see it this way.

For the first few years of our marriage… it was a different story. Oh, we were happy! We got along good, but there was always something in me that wanted more… wanted him to change to suit how I thought things should be! Little did I know back then… it wasn’t him that needed to change it was me!

I was reminded of a conversation (wrestling match) I had with the Lord about trading my expectations for who I wanted my husband to be for me, to live with trust in God for who He would bring Luke to be for Him! Trading my expectations in for a life of expectancy in God!

Things did change… radically change… the change was in me, in my heart! When I surrendered my expectations it freed me up to pray for my husband in a whole different way. To be perfectly blunt… God had shown me that He (God) did not need me to butt my nose into His business… He was more than qualified to handle anything that needed handling with my hubby!

So let me ask you, do you pray for your husband? Do you have a long list of things you want God to change in him… a “shopping list” of sorts? What would happen if you started to pray for your husband from a point of expectancy and not a point of expectation??? Wonder what the difference is… “expectation” is having a certain outcome in mind; while “expectancy” is from a heart of hope, releasing the outcome from any expectation.

You know Father God sees your husband in a total different light than you! He sees him for who He (God) created him to be. We all have flaws and sin… we are all human after all, but no matter what God has a plan!  Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.” This verse is speaking to you, but it is also speaking to your husband.

Maybe life isn’t where you want it to be. Maybe your husband isn’t even a Believer yet. Don’t give up! Give in! Give in to let God do the work on your heart and his! Ladies, we need to treat our husbands and pray for them from a point of where God knows they can be and not where we think they should be. Isn’t that what praying and believing is about? Praying over your man with faith!

Now go to Psalms 1:1-3, in your quiet time begin to pray these words over your husband or future husband if you are not yet married. Blessed is (your husband) who walks not the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the path of sinners, not sits in the seat of the scornful; but (your husband) delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law (your husband) meditates day and night. (your husband) shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever (your husband) does shall prosper.

The change can start in your heart immediately, but be patient… keep trusting the Lord! There are great things in store! Believe it!

Dear Lord, I lift up every person reading this to You… may they find the joy that comes from trusting You completely! I pray against the attacks on marriages, fill them up with Your grace and Your power. Help them to show the grace and mercy to each other as You have shown to us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Friday, March 24, 2017

Our Broken Marriage Saved Us...

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. I must break my selfish desires... I must lay it all at His feet I must let go of my pride & humble myself to receive what only God & His Son can do to cure my broken soul. I can only do that for myself… I cannot make my spouse or any other person choose to do that!

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

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 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 selfish desires, lay down the broken pieces, be humble to forgive even when you feel justified in not. Ask these questions: How much has God forgiven me for? Does His forgiveness make any sense? Yet, He gave His Son to die for each of us! 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! 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???

I love this quote: 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??? This Casting Crowns song says a lot: 

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

LOVE...

(WARNING: I am just being real and honest in this post! If you have never struggled with LOVE then you need to stop reading this note.) *Ü*

LOVE for others.  It is easy to LOVE people that I see as lovable, but not so easy to LOVE those that are getting on my nerves.  I know that isn’t right! I have to remember I don’t know what is going on in others’ lives. God, forgive me for my aggravation towards those people I see as just plain wrong… please help me to see beyond what they are doing and just see who they are and how You LOVE them. It is not what they do… it is who they are.

I can point my finger all I want but that makes me no different than I am accusing them of being. 

Recently, I watched the movie, “The Shack”… I read the book years ago and got so much from it… I know there is a whole controversial thing going on with some believers… I am not addressing that here. What I do want to share with you is this one part of the movie where Mack, the main character, goes into a cave, and he has a conversation with a woman named, Wisdom. This really impacted my heart of how I choose to LOVE others. Such a great reminder that I have no right to judge peoples’ actions… rather showing grace… showing compassion… showing LOVE! I have no idea why a person may be the way they are… what they may have been through. It is not saying it is okay, but it is saying I LOVE you in spite of it… just like Christ did for me.

“Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same LOVE, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” ~ Philippians 2:2-4

Those words, “selfish ambition,”… what does that mean for me? To LOVE someone with a pure heart…. not because I expect anything in return… not to make myself look better… just out of LOVE. Lord, if anything I have done or spoken for selfish reasons… I ask Your forgiveness. Help me to see others through Your eyes. Cleanse my heart of anything that is not of You.

I am reminded of what LOVE is… patient, kind, rejoices in truth, bears all things, believes, hopes, endures all things. 

I am also reminded of what LOVE is not… envious, jealous, boastful, arrogant, conceited, prideful, rude, unbecoming, wants its own way, selfish, resentful, touchy, offended, rejoices in someone else’s problems… LOVE is not failing! 

The only real and true thing we can have in our life is LOVE… that is the only sure thing… real LOVE … LOVE that comes only through Christ living in us and through us.  When I look at the list of what LOVE is and isn’t with human eyes, my first thought is, “I am sunk!”  But because of God sending His only Son to die for my sins and to redeem me… that is an incredible example… the only real example of true LOVE.  Having Christ in me is the only way I can even start to LOVE others… when someone is annoying me or I just don’t like what they are doing or understand the choices they are making… it is then I need to dig down deep and let Christ’s LOVE live through me.  It is a choice to LOVE… it is a choice to give God the control… it is a choice to see people for who they are and not for what they do.

“So faith, hope, LOVE abide, these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13

I pray that my life will be used for God’s glory… that people will see Him in my face even before I open my mouth.  My hubby & I went through the LOVE Dare devotional and the prayer that came from one of the “dares“ was “Lord, teach me what real love is and make me a loving person.”  It is unbelievable that simple prayer prayed daily or a couple times a day can have such an impact.  I dare you to try it for a week.

If you made it to the end of this note, please LOVE me for who I am and not for what I do, and I will do the same for you.  Also, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on LOVE in your life.

Rejoicing in Truth!

LOVE, Carin

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