Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Cor. 15:58

design

Monday, July 30, 2012

P. R. A. Y. by Mike R.


Well, it's great to be back. I'm glad to be back. I did do a guest post for this blog before. You might have seen it. (there is a link at the bottom) I always liked this blog. So, I asked if I could guest post, and i did, in 2011. Then I saw that this blog needed writers. So, with writing my blog, working on my new blog ( soon to be announced the release date of info)


     My favorite section of the bible is Matthew 5,6, and 7. The sermon on the mount. Starting, with the beatitudes and ending with the men who build houses on rock and the other with sand. Everything in between is my absolute favorite. If I was to pick one of my favorites from Matthew 5 6 and 7, ( Which is  hard) would be Matthew 7:7-8. And if you know your Matthew, this reading is the Ask, Seek and knock.



" Ask and it will be given to you;seek and you will find;knock and the door will be opened for you.  For everyone who asks receives;he who seeks will find; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."


__________________________________



     Are you scared to ask questions? Yes? No? Depends who it is? There is a lot of things that come into this question. What is the question? whom are we asking? What are answer are we looking for? What about this and that....  I often have questions.... And anyone who I know will probably say the same thing.


But i'm not scared to ask questions. When I don't know I ask. Like we all should. Ask if you don't know... As simple as that. I think it's very easy for us to ask God things.( Don't be scared to ask GOD) Ask him for help and peace and  wisdom. And indeed God never leaves one of his children unanswered. God, will only give us the things we need and that are helpful in fulfilling his plan. And for most things he gives us.

     What is the first thing you do when you know something is missing? freak out? Pray? I do! When I know something is lost, and it means a lot to me or as great importance ( House keys,games,homework,textbook ect....) Of course I will pray to God! But God also wants us to seek. We need to seek for our item and we need to seek God. And God will do many marvelous things with us.

 If we seek for Gods love he will give it to us. He will show himself. And then we can continue to grow and worship God in all love and joy. God, reveals himself to us EVERYDAY. We can only see him if we seek him. We have to seek him to know him.

 Whenever we go to someones house (of course) it is just to knock and wait. Knock and wait. Seek, knock, ask. Knock at the door to come in. God is always knocking at our door to our heart. Wanting to come in, and he wants us to seek him. For God loves all his children and he wants to be within us. 

Don't be afraid to ask God for something. Don't be afraid to seek God. And don't be afraid to knock on the doors of our friends. Don't be afraid to answer the door to God.


P.R.A.Y


P..... Praise God. Thank God for everything he has done for you and for everything he has given you.
R..... Rest in Gods Arms. Do not worry about a thing.
A..... Ask God for what you need.
Y..... Yes God. Say Yes to God, let him know that you want him.

____________________________________________________

-Mike....


hope you enjoyed! see you next month!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

1 Peter 4:8

think2

If you are discouraged about anything... if someone is trying to make you feel bad... if they are taunting you... teasing you... aggravating you.... especially if it has something to do with God or what you're doing for Him...

Read 
1 Peter 4

~Kelly

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Watched Pot Never Boils ~ By Stacy

Dinner needs to be ready in less than an hour so I fill the pot with water and set it on the stove to boil. I hover over it and run through my mental to do list which seems to be always growing longer. Wondering if I will have time to fit it all in, I stare at the water as if to say "please boil fast!", but I remember the all too familiar cliche,

 "A watched pot never boils". 

So I step away and trust the heat to accomplish the job. I have time to focus on other needs. The kitchen table needs to be cleared and dishes laid out. One thing at a time as the water becomes hotter. The vegetables need to be chopped and the meat cooked. A rolling boil begins. The dry noodles brought out, bread sliced, and sauce prepared. A full boil. And I think about this concept as I place the noodles into the pot to cook. There is so much I want to accomplish in this life. Plans and projects I wish to succeed, but they seem to linger on without a boil. I hover over them sometimes willing them to happen, but I become discouraged when the pace seems too slow. I forget that God is so much stronger and more patient than me, and he is the one who has the power to accomplish things in His perfect timing. He is the flame that brings the plans to a boil. And "a watched pot never boils". I look around the kitchen at chopped vegetables mixed into a fresh green salad, the simmering sauce and sliced French bread. This dinner is so much more than noodles. 

This life is so much more than one single plan. 

I can fill the pot with water, and ask for the heat, but I waste time when watching impatiently for the boil as if my thoughts could bring it any faster. There is a time to focus on other needs. And a peaceful trust replaces an impatient anxiety.

What about you friends? Do you have a plan that you wish would come to a boil? Do you hover over it, watching for any sign of progress? Or do you trust the Lord to bring the right plans to full boil in His perfect timing?






“(He) is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…”  Ephesians 3:20






 Shared from my heart ~ Stacy
_____________________________________

PhotobucketPhotobucket


Just one recommendation for weekend reading friends, but so deserving of our thought...


A Miracle Inside the Aurora Shooting: One Victim’s Story

God is good. All the time.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Think About What You’re Thinking About by Jan





“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Have you ever heard of a litmus test?
litmus test
n
1. (Chemistry) a test to establish the acidity or alkalinity of a mixture
2. a critical indication of future success or failure
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

Our thoughts are a litmus test for our future success or failure!

The things we think about – the things we allow to roll around in our brain determines what kind of day we have and consequently, determine what kind of life we have.

It’s like a chain reaction. If our thoughts are negative, angry, bitter or sad, it spills over in our attitudes and our behavior, affecting our relationships and possibly our future.

  • Cranky thoughts at work lead to poor performance on the job, which could get you fired.
  • Negative thoughts keep us from attempting things we just might be very successful at.
  • Unforgiveness leads to bitterness, which can actually affect your health.

On the other hand, keeping our minds fixed on things that are honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, worthy of praise…those things set you up for a peaceful, joyful, love-filled, successful life.

So, let’s think about what we’re thinking about!
~*~*~*~
Jan posts wonderful devotionals here every Thursday. You can find her at Fellowship of Christian Bloggers. If you have a Christian blog, consider adding it to their directory :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What to Expect... when you become a Christian.

1 Peter 4:1-11
(NLT)

 So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.

 You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. 

You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.


Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. 

But remember that they will have to face God, who will judge everyone, both the living and the dead. 

That is why the Good News was preached to those who are now dead—so although they were destined to die like all people, they now live forever with God in the Spirit.

The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. 

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 

Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.


10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 

11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Path Before You...


The task ahead of you is never bigger than the ONE behind you!

Be strong in the Lord, and in his mighty power. (Eph. 6:10)

Monday, July 23, 2012

When my Heart is Overwhelmed...


When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to a rock that is HIGHER than I. (Ps : 61:2)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Encouragement for Moms-Beautiful Grace~ by Stacy

My home is full of memories that once were grains of sand...

~Nick's in the wall made by arrows shot from little bows, held by little hands. 

~Shoes left in the pathway, as little feet rushed indoors to play.

~Fingerprints on the sliding door from tiny hands attached to arms searching for strength.

These grains, they enter in sometimes when I'm not ready for them. Irritations to the comfort of my oyster's shell, and I squirm and strain to get rid of them. 

~Legos rattling through the vacuum again. 

~Drumsticks set on the window sill. 

~The empty box of cereal placed back on the pantry shelf that growing arms could barely reach. 

~Skateboards and scooters left in the driveway. 

But the choice is mine. I can allow these grains to continue to bring discomfort, or I can cover them with grace.
  
And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16.


Beautiful grace smoothing over rough places. Beautiful grace so pure and white. I can choose to string together beautiful memories of little hands and little feet growing strong, memories of little boy laughter and love. I can choose to adorn my heart with beautiful grace.

The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45-46






Shared from my heart ~ Stacy
_____________________________________
PhotobucketPhotobucket



And may I suggest a little weekend reading?



Sharing Your Walk

The Desperate Homemaker's Epiphany

~*~*~*~
You can visit Stacy at Daily Surrender to Jesus

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How Soon We Forget~ by Jan


I was reading Psalm 106 this morning. It tells the story of how God delivered the children of Israel from slavery and led them out of Egypt. He allowed them to escape the pursuing army by parting the Red Sea, enabling them to cross on dry land. What a time of rejoicing that must have been!  They were finally free and headed toward the Promised Land. God had performed many miracles to bring them to this place, and yet, the Psalm goes on to say…
But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.” Psalm 106:13
When I read this, I just want to shake my head. After all God did for these people, it says they soon forgot what he had done and instead of waiting for his plans for them to unfold, they started making plans of their own. When God didn’t seem to be working fast enough for them or in the way they thought he should, they began trying to figure things out on their own – with a bunch of mumbling and complaining thrown in, I might add.  Isn’t that just crazy?
Uh…isn’t that just what we do?
I’m raising my hand…guilty as charged. I hate to admit that, but it’s true.
Just recently my husband had to have complete knee replacement surgery. The cost to us was going to be over $4000. (and that’s with insurance!)
I don’t know about you, but we don’t have that kind of money laying around. We had no idea where we would get it, but God had it all under control. We received checks that we did not expect, friends started giving us money, co-workers took up an offering, we auctioned off a few things and they brought in more money than we dreamed they would.
By the time his surgery came around, we had it all paid for – and that was God’s miracle to us. But, what happened next?
Our income changed and we were bringing in $400 a month less than we had been.  What did I do? Did I remember the financial miracle God had just performed? Did I relax and wait for his plans to unfold for us?
Nope!  I started wracking my brains for ways to earn extra money, spent scads of time on the computer researching different small business possibilities, and began to let worry and anxiety creep in. Until this morning, that is. Until God led me to this passage of scripture and showed me that I was behaving exactly like the children of Israel did. Those people that I was so quick to judge.
So, now I’m back on track, but wondering…
Does this kind of stuff ever happen to you?
If so, let me encourage (read strongly urge) you to go read Psalm 106. I can pretty much guarantee that once you’ve read it, you won’t want to travel the same road the children of Israel did. Remember how long it took them???


~*~*~*~


Jan posts wonderful devotionals here every Thursday. You can find her at Fellowship of Christian Bloggers. If you have a Christian blog, consider adding it to their directory :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Overdrawn and Deposits by Stacey

                                                      

 I dislike balancing my checking account, ok I despise it. ~sigh~

It is by far one of my least favorite tasks. Just like so many these days, my account is a pay check to pay check type of  balance.  I find myself praying by Wednesday of each week that I have enough to cover my bills and daily living.

Each week God comes through like the champ He is and provides for me and my daughter. And even though he is faithful to me, I still find myself at stress levels that are unbearable at times. It is the negative, the big red mark that will appear in my account that leaves me in knots. 

Trying to make it through a week with only $20 left in my account is a negative to me. It tells me that I don’t have anything in case of an unexpected expense or not enough to carry over for the next weeks bills.  

And again, my daddy God provides for me every time……

He is wonderful like that~

But what about when we go through spiritual overdraw?

When we have prayed for everyone and everything……..

Served on every committee………….

Worked every fundraiser…………..

Taught every Sunday school that was asked………

Chaperoned every youth trip……

Worked a full day every day…..Cooked, cleaned and managed our homes….

Have driven what seems like 10,000 miles for our children….

And we are now to the point that we feel as though we have nothing left to give…..

We are overdrawn and what appears to not have a deposit in sight……

Our daddy God steps in (in) his wonderful, amazing way and HE makes the deposits into our lives that we need to continue.

He sends others to pray for us, to step in and stand in the gap.

He provides shelter in the midst of our storms, and sunlight for morning.

Psalm 23: 2

 “ He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me besides quiet waters, he restores my soul”

He restores my soul~

I simply love that………

It is through Christ our spiritual deposits are made.

He gives us peace, grace, mercy ,joy and love.

( Our accounts is now coming out of the negative)

He gives us strength, courage and power to overcome.

( Our account is now postive and overflowing again)

The more we seek God and deposit his words into our lives, the bigger our spiritual account becomes.  I encourage anyone who feels tired, weary, and overdrawn to seek Gods words daily and watch your spiritual banks grow!

He will restore our souls~

                                                            Blessings~

             Stacey



Isaiah 41:29-31He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and even young men stumble and fall; but those who have hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

~*~*~*~*~
Please visit Stacey at Shakin' the Foundation. She blogs here every 3rd Wednesday of the month.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In The Shadow Shelter of God: by Suzanne


I love this Psalm! No one knows for sure who wrote it, but most Bible scholars believe it was penned by either Moses or King David. Some scholars believe that the beautiful shadow image was inspired by the pillar of cloud that hung over the Israelites in the desert by day and the pillar of fire at night.

 And yet, the shadow image does not just appear in this psalm. We find it again in Psalms 17:8-9: “Keep me as the apple of Your eye: hide me under the shadow of Your wing.”

Psalm 57:1: “O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge.”

Psalm 63:7: “Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.”


All of these psalms using the shadow metaphor were written by King David. All of which suggests to me the psalm 91 was also written by him. But I am not a Bible scholar.


As a visual artist I am always trying to envision the scriptures in my mind as I read because I love to illustrate them. The image of the “shadow of the Almighty” presented a challenge though since 1 John 1:5 says: “God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in Him.” (NLT) Shadows are clearly dark.

“Lord, how could Your light produce a shadow?” I asked Him, my mind trying to conjure a literal vision to satisfy my imagination.



The Holy Spirit reminded me that the Psalms are poetry, and that poetry is art made of metaphor, simile, and symbols.



One of my favorite artists, Edgar Whitney, once said that “Art is more concerned with the Truth of a thing than the fact of it.”


The shadow image in Psalm 91:1 reveals a powerful truth about the reality of God that goes far deeper than its literal meaning.


The Psalmist is saying that the shelter of the Most High is God’s shadow. A shadow is similar to a reflection in a mirror in that, although it might be an intangible thing in and of itself, it is always being cast by something that is actually there---a reality on the other side of it.


For King David, known as “the man after God’s own heart,” God’s shadow is the secret place of the Almighty, and that though it is an invisible fortress, a refuge not made with hands, forged of faith, and seen only with the eyes of the heart, it is a Living Truth so strong and powerful that he could bank his very life on it.


Many people love this psalm. We like to claim every one of the verses and imagine we are abiding in the shadow shelter of the Almighty--until the bottom falls out of our lives and we come apart. 


Suddenly we are confronted with a major challenge that reveals to us either a heart of faith as flimsy as the fortress we’ve been trusting in or it moves us closer to the shadow shelter where we come to know that God and God alone is in control and we must be still and trust and wait on Him.


God is asking us to stop trusting in the things we can see—to stop demanding that we be in control of our lives. For that is the very essence of idolatry and it breaks God’s heart.


Our human nature recoils at putting our trust in a shadow fortress. We want a pill to stop our pain, a program to fix the schools, a guaranteed plan to keep us healthy. We want our lives to be predictable.


But what happens when pills no longer stop the pain, when they run out of antibiotics to fight the infection and the doctors can’t fix what’s wrong with us? When schools are falling apart, leaders don’t know what they are doing and no one seems to have the answers?


What happens when all the fortresses we’re trusting in come falling down on us one by one and there is no one to help?

God wants us to know that He is still on the throne; He is in control of our destiny.

He who counts the very hairs on our head and who measures the dust of the earth loves us with an immeasurable love and will never leave or forsake us.


He says, “Be still and know that I am God, trust Me. Come abide in My shadow shelter; all will be well.”


Every single promise in Psalm 91 is true and all are contingent upon our faith in the first two verses. The issue is: do we really believe in them?  


God is very real. A shadow is always an intangible projection of a solid reality beyond itself. God’s shadow is the safest, most comforting place you will ever know.


Prayer: Almighty God of love, thank you for your priceless gift of faith. May you open our eyes to see your shadow shelter and draw us closer to you that we may abide in the secret place of Your heart. In the name of Jesus we ask. Amen.

The Shadow Shelter of God © 2012 Suzanne Davis Harden 

All Rights Reserved. 

Unto The Least Of These  suzannedavisharden.blogspot.com


~*~*~
Suzanne Davis Harden is a monthly contributor at Encourage 365. She will post every third Tuesday. I'm very glad to have her... AND that we have our computer glitches worked out :) ~Kelly


Linked with: On Your Heart Tuesday @ A Pause on a Path

Friday, July 13, 2012

New Blog in Directory :)

I'm very happy to announce a new blog in the directory: Unto the Least of These


It is written by Suzanne Davis Harden (our newest regular contributor here at E365! She will be blogging every third Tuesday for ya'll!)


Here is a snippet about her blog: "Inspiring messages of hope and encouragement pointing people toward the love of God."


Please head over and give Suzanne some love: a long with the other blogs in the directory. Check out the list on the left hand side of the screen for updates on these wonderful blogs!

If you have a blog you'd like to add, please email Kelly at ohthatmomagain at yahoo dot com. Thanks :)


Friday's with Stacy P.~ Light Shining in the Darkness

Stacy P. from Daily Surrender to Jesus has written today's blog post. She's the Friday girl around here :) Please visit her site and show her some love.~ Kelly
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Summer sunshine warming through the depths of me. The brightness shining down upon my waking face. Oh how I love to bask in the light. What a glorious God we have to show us just a glimpse of His unfathomable depths within the tangible created things of this world. Our Creator whose fire is too much to look upon. The light of Christ reaching down to bring this world out of darkness. The warmth and power of His Spirit fully present in our hearts.




For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2Corinthians 4:6







The fire, the light, and the warming energy of the sun. Three in one. I don't propose to belittle our God by wrapping Him up in the small package of our world's sunshine. But I LOVE that God uses the created things of this world to help us understand Him just a little better. So that when my eyes take in His truth...


But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go. Exodus 10:27


and I ponder how that can be so, for my God is a God of love and grace, He shows me through these pictures; these parables; these real and concrete things that I can see and feel in this physical life, that there is no discrepancy in His Word. My God of Love does indeed harden hearts, just as the sunlight hardens clay. And He softens hearts just as the fire melts my candle's wax. He simply shines his light upon us, and allows the heat to produce the natural outcome of the substance that is exposed to Him. What is the substance of our hearts?


But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. Daniel 5:20


What makes the candle melt? Is it not the oil?


Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. 1Samuel 16:13


God's Spirit softens. Let us not deny His Spirit. Even this...


The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD. Psalm 97:5a


Lord, how I want to melt like wax in your presence. To be left with nothing but the oil of your Spirit within me.

And He replies...


If you then, though you are sinful, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:13


Have you asked Him friends?

Shared from my heart ~ Stacy
_____________________________________
PhotobucketPhotobucket


And may I suggest a little weekend reading? ....

Tuesdays with Jesus My Friend David   Because I love her words... "my friend David, taught me that it's okay to be human."

Victory RoadHe Is   Because I love her words... " I find myself asking the Spirit to fill my deflated lungs with who "He Is.""

Black-White-Brick-Wall-1122347-4 I Am Still... Stacey Wilson   Because I love her words... " I know who I am in Christ."!

Linked with: Faith Filled Friday @Beholding Glory

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Are You an Encourager or a Discourager?



From Jan: Thursday's Writer
I have been both this week and it wasn’t pretty, but I realize now, that God was putting me through the paces to prepare me for being a part of the Encourage 365 team.
While thinking about what to write for my first post here, I was reminded of Hebrews 10:24
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (NIV)
Spur – that’s a good word!  Other Bible versions use the words stimulate, motivate, incite, help each other, provoke, stir up, encourage, excite, arouse, to call to action – all good words to describe what it means to be an encourager.
This verse urges (another good word) us to consider, pay attention to, think about ways that we can encourage each other to move toward love and toward doing good deeds.
As Christian bloggers, we need that encouragement. We write, because we are called to write. To share our lives and the love of Christ with those around the world. Sometimes we wonder if anyone is actually reading what we write. Stats are confusing and often unreliable, comments are few and far between and followers don’t really seem to be following.
This is exactly why we need encouragement, because without it, we are apt to wax cold. We begin to think that what we’re doing doesn’t matter, that we aren’t making a difference, but that’s just what the enemy wants us to believe. He wants to stop us cold and put an end to all this God stuff.
He wants to bring discouragement into our hearts, but guess what…we’re not going to let him do it!
Together we are going to encourage one another and every reader who finds their way (directed by God) to Encourage 365. Not only that, we are going to encourage other believers to blog – to use the internet to share the awesome great love of God for His creation, for His people, because in doing so, we are fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) to carry the gospel to all nations. What better way to do that than the internet!
Few of us will travel to a foreign nation as missionaries in our lifetimes, but we can go the nations from our kitchen table through blogging. We can let people know that they are loved, that their lives have purpose and that they matter to God and to us!
So, let’s rally the troops, let’s be a small but mighty army of encouragers, provoking (in a good way) one another on to fulfill our calling in Christ Jesus.
As for me – I’ve learned my lesson the hard way. This week, I’ve seen what words of discouragement can do to both myself and to others and I’ve felt my spirit lifted by the encouraging words of others.  You might say that God gave me an object lesson regarding the power of words to both encourage and discourage.
Lesson learned!  I’m happy and honored to be a part of the Encourage 365 team and will be posting here every Thursday. Thank you, Kelly, for this opportunity.
-------------------------------------------
How about you? Have you been both an encourager and a discourager? What has God taught you in this area?
***
Jan Christiansen is a freelance writer, web designer, blogger, and author of Wake Up Your Muse-1001 Story Starters for Fiction Writers, and two devotional books, More of Him, Less of Me and Desert Morsels. Her work appears in Love is a Verb Devotional by Gary Chapman and in several online publications. Jan is the founder of Inspired Ink Writers Group (IIWC) and Fellowship of Christian Bloggers (FOCB) and is a member of ACFW, working on her first fiction novel. She will blog here at Encourage 365 every Thursday! 


blinkie from photobucket.com

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

But the Lord Determines Our Steps

Hi all!!!!! My name is Kathy and I am Kelly’s oldest sister. I made the mistake of saying I might help her out on her encourage365 blog and got drafted for the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Forgive the ramble (it runs in the family lol), I’m not the writer in the family, she is. But I do love the Lord and am starting in the ministry.

Editor's (ie little sister's) note: I do not ramble... I run in circles sometimes to get to a point I don't remember... but I don't ramble ;) And she didn't make a mistake: I LOVE having her guest post. I think you'll love it too...

***************** 
Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps. NLT Version




Plans.... how many of us “plan” out our lives? Everybody does. You decide what kind of career or job you want. Whether or not to go to college. Whether or not to marry.

All these plans are good . But those plans don’t always work out.

Take my life for example. I married very, very young. Had two sons. Lived on a small farm. Husband had good job and I worked too.

Life was sweet. Went to church on Sunday and was very active in our church. Went to family dinners and worked on the farm raising gardens and cattle. Lived the American dream. I thought that my life was set. It had been that way for over thirty years, so why wouldn’t it stay that way? My “plan” was to be married, live on that farm, have family dinners at my house, and sit on the porch in a rocking chair with my love next to me, looking out over the farm until the day I died.

Then came November 4, 2004. The day of the note left on the dining room table. The day my life turned upside down. The day that I thought I would die. The day I will never forget.

That day was the start of a long five year rollercoaster ride. The days of “I’m leaving” to “I want to come back home” to moving out, to moving in, and eventually selling house and farm and building another house on a small lot.

Life wasn’t sweet anymore. It had become a battlefield where hurtful words were common, tears were always present, and broken promises were made.
It also became a time for me to lean solely on the Lord. My trust had been shattered by the one I trusted to always be there for me. The only hope, the only peace, the only trust I could find was through the Lord.

It was also during this period that the Lord was really dealing with me to go into the ministry.

For years I would go to my small church, to play the piano while no one was there. But I always wound up behind the pulpit…. Preaching.

But I couldn’t preach!!!! I was a “woman” and “women “ weren’t supposed to preach!!!!!!!! Or so I thought.. or so I was taught and told my whole life.
After the divorce as I was praying one day the Lord spoke and said “ go to lay speaking class” Well I’m one of the quietest, shyest gals who you will ever meet. I didn’t want to get up in front of people I knew, much less some I didn’t. But I took the class. And loved it!

I went back the next year for the certified class. By this time I knew the Lord was dealing with me to preach. And guess what the name of the class was? “Go Preach”.

I had to write and deliver a sermon on the last day of the class. I was so nervous. But with the Lord’s help and guidance I did it and it was the most “Awesome” feeling in the world!!!!!

After that I talked to my pastor, we talked to some higher ups in the ministry, I got a mentor, I took tests, I did everything they asked of me……..And I got my first church appointment this month. I am now preaching the first Sunday of every month in a small country church!!!!!!!!

So you see I made my plans. I had mapped out my life. Going to church was in my plans. Serving God by “just” playing piano was my plan. But God had other plans for me. And what a wonderful plan it is.

So don’t listen to other people. If God is dealing with you to do something, do it! No one but you knows what God has in store for you. If it’s wrong, it will never work out. But if it’s right, oh my, what a ride!!!!!!

God Bless,
Kathy

Kathy used to have a blog, but now she's busy preaching (and reading my (Kelly's) books/stories/frazzled text messages). She has a facebook page called Prayers and Praise. Please 'like' it. She'd love to have you leave any prayer requests you have or praise reports you like to leave.




Linked with: On My Heart Tuesday