No thanks. I’ll just stay right here.

Last night, I was driving home from Bible Study and a song came on the radio. It was a song I love and know the lyrics by heart, but last night, the following words cut me like a knife. I, literally, felt sick to my stomach…

I am the man that called out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then, I turned away with this smile on my face

The words “turned away with a smile on my face”, even right now, still make me sick. I do that! We do that! We spit on Jesus’ face, walk away and do whatever it is we feel like doing.

Now, that I, hopefully, made you feel like crap…let me tell you the flip side…

In 1833 (United States v. Wilson), the Supreme Court made the following decision when a man rejected a presidential pardon he had received: “A pardon is a deed to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered, and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him.”

In essence, pardon can be given, but we have the freedom to choose it or not. So, let’s say, you are sitting in jail, chained to the wall. The person who you committed the crime against drops all charges and he, himself, opens the cell, and cuts the chains allowing you to walk away in freedom, but you in your genuine remorse choose to stay in the cell. Does that seem ridiculous to you?

Then why do we choose to sit in the cells of our past sins and continue to stew over them when God, the One who ALL sins are ultimately against, drops all charges, unlocks the chains and the cell and tells us not only to walk in freedom, but to walk with Him?

Now, let’s dwell on that for a bit…Your friend whom you love and has been your best friend for as long as you can remember does something horrible. (It can be as “simple” as stealing some money from you or gets involved with your husband.) Your heart-broken. Devastated. You can’t believe she would actually do this to you, but you know her heart and can forgive her. Okay. Wonderful. Now, to the shock and obvious disapproval of everyone, you go back to being her friend like nothing ever happened. No recovery period. No “give me some time and I will come around”. You say, I forgive you, let’s go out to lunch. Unbelievable, huh?

That is what God does for us. We go to Him, confess and turn away from our sins and then, He doesn’t forget what we did, He chooses to not remember them. 

Okay, now, that you have forgiven your friend and you ask her to lunch, she says “I’m sorry. I just can’t. What I did was so horrible. I just can’t accept your forgiveness.” Basically, “thank you for removing the chains and unlocking the cell, but I’m going to stay here until I think I deserve to come out.”

We have every right not accept the “pardon” and choose not to rekindle that friendship and not walk in freedom, but that doesn’t mean that the pardon hasn’t been extended to us. So…

God has chosen not to remember, will you?

2 Praise the LORD, my soul, 
   and forget not all his benefits— 
3 who forgives all your sins 
   and heals all your diseases, 
4 who redeems your life from the pit 
   and crowns you with love and compassion, 
5 who satisfies your desires with good things 
   so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:2-5

Free will…who says it’s free?

Everyday we are faced with decisions. Everything is a choice. We choose every step we take and every word we speak. We choose to react or not to react at all. Even when we are not consciously choosing, we are choosing. This is what is called “free will”. It’s a God-given gift.

This week, like every other week, I made bad decisions, but this, not like any other week, I chose to sulk in my defeat. Not necessarily wallowing, but “examining” why I did what I did when the answer is quite simple; I am not perfect and will not always make the best decisions. The part I forgot though, was that God already knew that.

He knows I am human and will make mistakes (sometimes the same ones over and over again), but He loves me anyways. My successes and failures do not determine how much He loves me or how He sees me. He always sees me the same…I am His daughter. He hurts when I make a bad decision, but it doesn’t change or alter His plans or love for me.

Knowing this truth should give me comfort. I should not feel bad when I make a mistake because, well, I’m human and it’s part of my DNA, but that isn’t the case. Because I know this truth, I want to do better, be better, live better. And in turn, I have another choice…

When I fall short (and it’s guaranteed I will) what will I choose to do? Will I hide and try cover what I’ve done? Will I justify my reaction? Will sulk in my defeat?

I already admitted, this week, I chose to sulk in my defeat with the cover-up of “examining” my behaviors. I, subconsciously, chose to entertain twisted truths of “I will never be good enough” and “I don’t deserve to be used for anything good”. Those statements are true: I will never be good enough and I don’t deserve to be used for anything, but God doesn’t see me like that, He sees me through Grace.

So, instead of hiding, covering, justifying or even examining where I made a wrong turn, I can just go to Him say, “I messed up, can You show me why and how I can avoid doing this again?” And the Awesome part? He will!

Choosing to come clean and admit I made a mistake isn’t the easiest of the choices and sometimes requires alot more of us, but who said free will would actually be free? After all, the Ultimate Price was paid on a cross over 2,000 years ago!

It’s Time…

Beloved, it’s time we crawled up into the Savior’s lap and
receive His lavish acceptance.

It’s time we quit trying so hard.
It’s time we relent of questioning of God’s motives.
It’s time we identify with Jesus’ sacrifices for us.
It’s time we fully believe in Jesus’ forgiveness.
It’s time we renounce trying to surrender and just do it.
It’s time we put an end to resisting God and begin resting in Him.
It’s time we dump what we’re not and reach for who God is.
It’s time we plant our feet firmly on God’s promises.
It’s time you and I delight in God.
Maybe it’s time we type this out and tape it to our mirrors
to remind us: It’s time.

-Excerpt from Tammie Head’s Duty or Delight?

Well-being AND Calamity

Isaiah 45:6-7 reads “I am the Lord, and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.”

We love the good news. Everybody is in favor of the God who says, “I am the One who causes well-being.” But most of struggle with the God of the Bible who goes on to say, “Wait! I’m not only the Author of well-being, I’m the One who creates calamity.” Whoa. How can we marry those two facts about God?

Here’s the truth: God created a world in which we have the freedom to choose right or wrong, good or bad, sin or righteousness. God is not the author of sin, but He is the One who created a world in which we can choose. And from our choices flow the sin and suffering we see all around us. Much of the pain in the world s the direct consequence of individual sin. But there is also the suffering we all must bear as members of a fallen race. The effects of a sinful humanity show up randomly n human sickness, natural disasters, and the very process of aging itself. While God does not hurl these hardships at individual people or nations, He most often refuses to prevent the fallout from a fallen world. In that sense it can accurately be said that God is the author of a world in which calamity does strike.

In spite of that reality, the world He made is a good one for all who receive the gifts He offers freely. Into this world of sin and suffering God does not hesitate to say, “I’m the One who made the world this way, and if you trust me you will see that My ultimate plan is good.”

-Excerpt from James MacDonald’s Gripped by the Greatness of God

One Down…

So, our first fundraiser is now over and we are now 5% closer to our goal! PRAISE THE LORD!

As the garage sale was FINALLY over and we had cleaned everything up and were adding up what was made, I felt the Lord kiss me on the cheek. You know when you just wanna love on your child or a friend and you just give them a sweet kiss on the cheek…that’s what I felt. It was a reminder of why we are doing this. Why He is requiring me to actually get in there and work for this.

It is for Him that we are moving. It is to speak the truth of His Holiness and Love to those who may not have heard or have not fully experienced it. It is to share His redeeming love with so many who share my same story. It is to bring freedom and light to bondage and darkness.

My other lesson right now…He has required me to get out of my comfort zone and work for everything extra hard because, to be honest, I need the practice. I can a bit spoiled and expect things to happen with little effort on my part. And being the Awesome and Gracious God He is, He is allowing me to learn my lesson here, before I go!

I still don’t know why He would choose me for this work, but I am Grateful for the opportunity and look forward to making my Father proud! 😉

Garage Sale – Day 1

This week has been crazy! I have traveled all over Pinellas County getting items for the garage sale from so many Amazing folks, pricing every single item and then getting over the whole reality of haggling!

In reality though, I really have no complaints about today. It all went so Amazingly well! The weather was perfect, the traffic was steady and we sold TONS of items!

God is so, SO GOOD to Bless with some pretty AMAZING friends. From those who donated, to those who helped me price, help me sell and OF COURSE, those who BOUGHT most whom I met today!! I cannot THANK YOU ALL ENOUGH!!

The grand total made today is $527.93!!!! Isn’t my God AWESOME?!?!?!?! Praise Him! All Glory to Him!!!

As I reflect on the Greatness of God and how He has orchestrated so much on our behalf, I can’t help, but think of so many who do not yet know Him as their personal Savior. I ask, if that is you, please consider The One who is the Provider of all in existence. Consider listening to His call to follow Him. You may think it too risky, and you are right, lots will be required of you, but the payoff of an Abundant (way beyond anything you could ever imagine for yourself) life is what He has in store for you. WIll you hear His call? For more details, go to Why Jesus. I am praying for you!

I am now going to get some rest, so we can do it all again tomorrow! Hope to see many of you!! 😉

In His Love & Service!

Coming Along Beautifully…

So, here’s an official UPDATE of what is going on with the move…

1. Tickets have been purchased for the November trip which I will be meeting the folks from Vida Nueva, researching schools for Jake and looking for a place to live.

2. Garage Sale Fundraiser coming up next weekend! September 16 and 17 7:30am to 2:00pm. 7801 42nd st. Pinellas Park, FL 33781.

3. Dinner/Silent Auction Fundraiser is on November 3 at Bascom’s Chop House at 6:30pm. Please call 727-687-4693 by October 31st to RSVP.

4. The “Why Us?” page has been updated to include a more detailed description of how this huge decision was made. Enjoy!

We are still looking at moving in February, so we are praying all things will continue to fall into place as Beautifully as they have so far!

P.S. I am currently not working as the hours at the hospital have been non-existent for the past month. If anyone knows of a part-time or temporary position, please let me know. I am also willing to babysit, house and/or dogsit if you happen to need it. Thank you!

Fear not!

Do you pick and choose the characteristics of God you want to think of?

Some may think of Him as this grandpa rocking away in a huge rocking chair. Some think of Him like a dog who waits by the door, waiting for us to come to play with Him. Others think of Him, as this huge figure standing 100 feet tall waiting to smite anyone who makes a move He choses not to like at that moment. Me? Alot of times, I think of Him as a good friend that I call when I want to talk about certain stuff, but withdraw when I “know” what He will say and I really just don’t want to hear it.

At church, you hear all these great terms for God. He’s our Friend and our Healer and Comforter. We sing about going to the Mercy Seat where He calls us to go. All of these are true and He IS all of those things; our Friend, Healer, Comforter. We can go to Him ANYTIME. But we need to remember WHO HE IS!

He created the universe and everything in it. He is the Author of our lives. He sent His Son to die for the stupid choices we make everyday. He struck people dead…DEAD…when they didn’t give Him the proper reverence He deserves and Demands! We need to not forget that although He loves us more than we could even comprehend, He is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY! (Just one or two Holies wouldn’t cut it.)

My prayer for me, and for all of us, is for my/our fear to grow more everyday. That sounds funny, but think about it? We are taught to fall in love with Jesus and grow closer to Him, but that really can soften the image we have of Him. And as Loving as He is, He is NOT soft!

 

 

Watching from the stands

It’s called life. And this one is yours.

No one else has your version. You’ll never bump into yourself on the sidewalk. You’ll never meet anyone who has your exact blend of lineage, loves and longings. Your life will never be lived by any one else.

Life is racing by, and if we aren’t careful, you and I will look up, and our shot at it will have passed us by.

But if you’re anything like me, it’s not enough for you to do well. You want to do good. You want your life to matter. You want to live in such a way that the world will be glad you did.

-Excerpt from Max Lucado’s Live to Make a Difference

I have had a hard week. I’ve been disappointed in myself and my actions and just wish I could and would do better…I guess that’s why I haven’t written. I haven’t felt very inspiring or inspired and then I get a huge wake up call…

It’s not about me! It’s not about what I can do, it’s not about what lies are being whispered to me. It is about the One who lives in me! It is about what He has for me, for my life. And I can choose to sit and I sulk at what I have or haven’t done or I can look to Him for the strength, energy and motivation I need.

I refuse to sit and watch from the stands…or even the sidelines for that matter. I want to be right there on the offensive line, taking hits and moving the ball forward because although I want to score touchdowns, my goal is to win the game and make the enemy wished he never even suited up! Who’s with me?