The Rescue

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (MSG)

The Rescue

3-5 All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

Last Wednesday my cousin was laid off from her job. We’re not particularly close–it’s like that with most of my extended family on both sides actually, so when she texted me it was kind of surprising. I’m sure it was the Holy Spirit but I felt prompted to share a few Bible verses with her in response and reassured her that this was a God thing and that she could lay aside her stress and striving. Long story short what little I shared moved her to tears and she seems very open to hearing more Bible verses. It might be the time for her to develop a real relationship with Jesus. I believe she attends Catholic church–which I won’t judge as a whole being faulty–there are many Charismatic Catholics and Catholics who aren’t caught up in Mary-worship or Saints-worship and know that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. But sometimes I feel like in the Church (in this instance Catholic church) it can be easy to fall into religion and forsake an actual relationship with God.

I’ve been thinking about buying her a devotional, journal, and maybe a Bible too just so she can use this time wisely while she looks for another job instead of just jumping back into the same stress she just left.

I think it’s amazing how God works. Not too long ago I was laid off from a job that was so stressful and abusive that it took a mental and physical toll on me. And now it’s her turn. Like the verse in 2 Corinthians says: “we can be there for the person just like God was there for us”. Nothing is wasted.

If you wouldn’t mind please pray for her salvation and that the resources and/or texts I send her will stir up a hunger for God-things. Material things, big-title jobs, etc will always pale in comparison and produce striving and stress. God-pursuits only produce peace.

Friday Inspiration 12.26.14

Isaiah 9:6 MSG

2-7 The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
    light! sunbursts of light!
You repopulated the nation,
    you expanded its joy.
Oh, they’re so glad in your presence!
    Festival joy!
The joy of a great celebration,
    sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.
The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants—
    all their whips and cudgels and curses—
Is gone, done away with, a deliverance
    as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian.
The boots of all those invading troops,
    along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood,
Will be piled in a heap and burned,
    a fire that will burn for days!
For a child has been born—for us!
    the gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over
    the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
    Strong God,
Eternal Father,
    Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
    and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He’ll rule from the historic David throne
    over that promised kingdom.
He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing
    and keep it going
With fair dealing and right living,
    beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
    will do all this.

Christmas is over but the joy from remembering the birth of Christ doesn’t have to be. I like this verse because it reminds us that all of us at one point have walked through darkness. We’ve felt despair, loss, grief, depression, hopelessness, pain, confusion, etc. Some of us have seen the light and have come to salvation through Christ and His grace, but other’s are still wandering unnecessarily.

My prayer is that everyone will come to a knowledge and acceptance of the Good News so that they can travel through life less weighed down and more free. More full of life and joy and peace. Jesus was placed on the Earth to counsel us, to be our authority, our defender, and our hope. Through Him there are no limits to what we can do as His children.

So often people say the phrase “I love you to the moon and back” “I love you more than the stars in the sky”. But our God loves us in a capacity that is further than any star, planet or any other celestial creation. I hope that we never lose sight of His great love and sacrifice for us beyond the holiday season.

Found on lambchopps.com.au

Tuesday Inspiration 12.9.14

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Psalm 63:3 (MSG)

2-4 So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,
drinking in your strength and glory.
In your generous love I am really living at last!
My lips brim praises like fountains.
I bless you every time I take a breath;
My arms wave like banners of praise to you.

It’s been a long day and I’ve been having some flashbacks to some painful experiences in my past for whatever reason. But I love this Psalm. And no matter what sad things I’ve remembered today, this verse still makes me happy. Sometimes at church during worship I look up to the ceiling and pretend that I can see Jesus looking down on me. He can see me and I can see Him. No matter how painful my 20s have been I think I can finally see Jesus with 20/20 vision. In His generous love I can finally live. No matter what pain I’ve endured, or no matter what happiness I’ve felt, He’s still bigger and better than anything good or bad.

I hope this simple verse reminds you that no matter what negativity might be thrown your way today — that you have the ability to still look Heavenward and know God sees you, and loves you and because of that you can still have positivity and joy.

Photo Credit: worshipgifs.com

Thursday Inspiration 10.9.14

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Today was far too busy to start with a positive thought but I can end with one before bed. The Lord is with me and His words are everlasting in hope, truth and love.

Matthew 24:35-44 (MSG)

32-35 “Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner. So it is with you: When you see all these things, you’ll know he’s at the door. Don’t take this lightly. I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for all of you. This age continues until all these things take place. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out.

Monday Inspiration 9.29.14

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Today I feel sick. Just run down. I’m actually going to bed and it’s not even 9 pm. I like this simple thought that I can find refuge in His wings. My body may be weak but He is strong. He will watch over me as I rest. It is a comfort to remind yourself of such simple truths.

Photo credit: etsy.com

Monday Inspiration 9.8.14

Today I feel kind of heavy.

It’s not how I’ve been feeling lately and I was literally just reflecting and wondering why. I think it actually started Saturday night when a random stranger exposed his “family business” to me while passing by in his car. Like normally I can laugh. How ridiculous and stupid and move on. But it was merely the fact that it was done at all that was bothering me–and the feeling of “gross why does weird stuff like this always happen to me?”

That same night out of the blue a friend of mine asked “So when are you getting married?” across the dinner table. No rhyme no reason. And then out of the blue last night I was hit with some memories from my past right before falling asleep and was swept over for a few moments in heavy emotions. 

So today I remind myself that I am a child, a princess of the King of the Universe. He has brought me near to Him. Therefore I do not need to turn around to the past, or focus on what people do to me or say to me that I didn’t ask for. All that movement does is loosen the “crown” from your head. God regards me and all of those who have accepted Him as seated with Christ in glory. If I continually set my eyes on things above–I will never risk my “crown” falling. 

God is absolutely faithful. He longs to spend time with me and remind me who I am. His feelings for me transcend what happens to me in this life and what people may think or say about me. His feelings also are more true than anything I might believe about myself. I will continue to renew my mind with His word and seek verses that remind me of his unconditional love. So often quiet time can create space for the Enemy to whisper lies but luckily we are equipped with the Truth of God’s word and are always able to call out to Him in our times of need. 

I am extremely happy that I’e been consistent in my blogging and connection with God but there is always room for improvement. I hope to be able to create even more meditation and prayer time to refresh my mind and heart with my Father’s sweet promises for my daily life and my future. 

“Father, fill my spare moments with thoughts of you and your love for me. I want to ponder your Word and your glory in my heart all day long” – Vicki P. Graham.

 

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Friday Inspiration 9.5.14

Matthew 5 (MSG)

Salt and Light

13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

I’m writing this at the end of the work week. I’m pretty worn out actually but today was a good day. It started with a few of my girl friends from church chatting about going out for wine and chocolate. Yum. But then there was a brief diversion to talk about random things. And at one point I said how I admired Christine Caine and Beth Moore but how as great as they are one day they will be gone and who will be there to be powerful badass women of God then? Not in those words but in all seriousness I think about all the women who haven’t heard them speak about their pasts, mistakes, revelations, dreams, hopes, disappointments, all of that and they are so passionate and so talented that instead of only admiring that we need to learn to become it. So it’s not a matter of oh wow they are great and that was a good moment in history because they were alive to preach. We need to carry that light on. We need to keep it lit. And more importantly as a “light-bearer” I have my own unique “God-color” to shine. If Christine is say a Red God color and Beth is a Green…maybe it’s time for some Blue. Maybe Jess is Blue and you are pink and that girl you see in children’s church is Yellow. There is room for all of it. If God wanted one color/flavor of person He would have made only that. But He is pure white. And because He is pure white and pure light i.e. the light of the world that means that He contains all colors. What I mean is that it all reminded me how white light is actually made up of all colors:

“White light is the name given to what the human eye sees when all the colors that make up the visible light spectrum are combined; the visible light spectrum is made up of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet light, and these colors combined make white lighting. When shined through a prism, white lights are broken into the separate colors of the visible light spectrum. Many people commonly refer to white light simply as “light” or “visible light,” and it is this light that makes it possible to view one’s surroundings. Several sources of white lights exist including the sun and stars, certain types of lightbulbs, and some lamps.” – http://www.wisegeek.com

I love that idea. We were all created to shine individually because we are all unique but ultimately we all make up different aspects of God. All those God-colors are us. And He is ultimately the collection of all of us–the sum of all our parts because we are in His image. Once you understand this you really do in fact realize that it is this light and only this light, Jesus, “that makes it possible to view one’s surroundings”. He is the answer. He is the greatest One of all. He loves us with an ever lasting love. His face shines brighter than the Sun. He is all powerful and all merciful. Always only Jesus. And if He is the greatest light–we can be sure we won’t burn out. We will be bright enough for everyone to see. 

Tuesday Inspiration 9.2.14

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I’ve had two strange dreams. One happened last week and one was a couple of months ago. I couldn’t figure out how I felt about the one from a couple of months ago and sort of hemmed and hawed until I forgot to write about it. I’m still going to do that and am holding myself accountable to that. However, I’ve been praying before bed lately, in light of some just unpleasant–unwanted dreams that I believe have been attacks from the Enemy, for God to show something to me again. I kind of miss that with Him. For a while I thought I was maybe learning a new skill, a new way to talk to God but it doesn’t seem to be happening as much as it was. Was it because I never blogged about it like I did with my other dreams? I’m not sure. I know it’s not a punishment or anything but I don’t want it to disappear.

When I saw this photo it reminded me of my bed time prayers lately. I’m waiting. I’m listening. Where are the messages You have for me God? God promises in Jeremiah 33:3 (MSG) ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’

I looked up a two things about sleeping: 

HowStuffWorks: “During REM sleep, several physiological changes take place. The heart rate and breathing quickens, the blood pressure rises, we can’t regulate our body temperature as well and our brain activity increases to the same level (alpha) as when we are awake, or even higher. The rest of the body, however, is essentially paralyzed until we leave REM sleep. This paralysis is caused by the release of glycine, an amino acid, from the brain stem onto the motoneurons (neurons that conduct impulses outward from the brain or spinal cord). Because REM sleep is the sleep stage at which most dreaming takes place, this paralysis could be nature’s way of making sure we don’t act out our dreams. Otherwise, if you’re sleeping next to someone who is dreaming about playing kickball, you might get kicked repeatedly while you sleep.”

 

WebMD: “Usually, REM sleep occurs 90 minutes after sleep onset. The first period of REM typically lasts 10 minutes, with each recurring REM stage lengthening, and the final one may last up to an hour. Polysomnograms show brainwave patterns in REM to be similar to that recorded during wakefulness. In people without sleep disorders, heart rate and respiration speed up and become erratic during REM sleep. During this stage the eyes move rapidly in different directions.

Intense dreaming occurs during REM sleep as a result of heightened brain activity, but paralysis occurs simultaneously in the major voluntary muscle groups. REM is a mixture of encephalic (brain) states of excitement and muscular immobility. For this reason, it is sometimes called paradoxical sleep.

The percentage of REM sleep is highest during infancy and early childhood. During adolescence and young adulthood, the percentage of REM sleep declines. Infants can spend up to 50% of their sleep in the REM stage of sleep, whereas adults spend only about 20% in REM.”

I just find that information really interesting. 1. We dream in REM 2. Dreaming has restorative benefits in NREM sleep but in REM sleep we has heightened brain activity similar to being completely awake 3. We spend less and less time in REM as we get older 4. Your body is in essence frozen until you leave REM sleep

I’m not a doctor. I don’t know what I’m talking about really in regards to the scientific authenticity of what I’m about to say but the idea that God could speak to us when we are in a deep level of sleep, paralyzed in deep sleep, free from distractions, and fully heightened to His voice and visions for us is kind of amazing to think about if that was His intention with creating sleep stages and dreams. If sleep was only for awesome naps and restoration for our tired bodies there would be no point in dreams. Right? But I like to think God saw an opportunity to create illustrations for us, both good and bad , ones of hope and ones of warning, so we could have uninterrupted communication with Him.

With all that said I’m believing that this isn’t the end and I will continue to be shown things in my sleep. Things that God wants to show me and tell me things when I am completely undistracted and restored. 

 

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Wednesday Inspiration 8.27.14

Going into today I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about, but after reading an article in Time this morning I feel like I know what I want to do. For those of you who don’t know, I watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad/Bachelor In Paradise. I don’t remember when I started but the first season I remember seeing was Trista’s. Judge me please. I judge myself too but it’s become too much of a guilty pleasure that I can’t stop. Haha. Seriously the amount of pleasure I get from watching this stuff is unnatural. Second only to the hilarious tweets people write about it. Anyway. Apparently they announced the new Bachelor, Chris, on Good Morning America this morning and I don’t think anyone was surprised despite the delay in announcing it at the close of Andi’s season. He was too nice, family-oriented, and dare I say…too normal not to be chosen. What I didn’t know was that Arie–a contestant from Emily’s season hoped to be picked. Now I know this might not mean anything to most of you guys–especially if you have never watched these shows but Arie is beautiful. He’s a beautiful man. He has a beautiful smile and beautiful eyes and I feel like he’s the kind of guy that if you tried to talk to in person–you might black out. That’s all you need to know to track with me on this.

So then I stumble across this article on Time and Arie is talking about reading the Bible. WHAT? That was exactly my reaction. In the midst of season after season of people making out with strangers they just met in the ocean tide and on boats and ugly-crying during elimination, in this moment the Heavens parted, because Arie is here, single, and talking about the Bible. 

So picture me feverishly reading this article now until I reach this part:

It was an old Bible that looked like it had been in his family for years. I could tell someone had read that thing, because the pages were worn and certain passages were underlined, and he held it like a prized possession. He wrote in the front, saying he was giving the book to my mechanic and me.

“Take it so you don’t forget what you learned this weekend.”

“Are you sure you want me to have it?” I asked, touched by his selfless act.

He did.

That book came along with me as I traveled from that point on. In fact, the Bible sat next to me in the front seat of Betsy (yes we named our race hauler). It began to change me as I read it at night before going to sleep, though sometimes I felt I needed help understanding. Regardless, I knew there was powerful stuff in there. The Bible comforted me as I traveled from place to place… sometimes it was hard to keep track of where I was or where I was going.                                                                                       – http://time.com/3071743/arie-the-bachelor/

Wow. Here’s this guy who I don’t know outside of this often-ridiculous empire of a show and he’s throwing down some real talk now. The human part of me is like YES! now it’s officially okay that I was terribly attracted to him even though he was on a reality show, but the Christian part of me is also like OMG! I wish I could give him a Message bible or something. Right? Literally the only passage from Psalms he quotes is from the King James Bible. For most people it is literally the hardest language to read and comprehend. So on one hand I’m super impressed that he’s reading this thing day in and day out, but I also want to shout out that there are other versions! Sorry King James.

I’m writing all of this to say that reading this article was so encouraging. It’s hard to always take the show seriously even though there has been success stories and some couples are married and still together. I mainly watch it for entertainment value, and to sympathize with the normal ones that find their way onto the show, but deep down I think the show itself is unapologetically human. We all want to find love. We all want to be chosen. We all worry that we’re not enough or that we did something wrong and now we’re doomed to be alone. But this time, it also brings up faith, and how ultimately it’s good to want romance. God created us to want love and to show love, but ultimately above everything He wants our love for himself. As corny as it sounds, I’m going to go there, but Jesus was and is the ultimate Bachelor because He wants us to accept His gestures, His pursuits of us, His affection–His “rose”. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof:

Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG)

 

I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

          Romans 8:37 (MSG)

31-39 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

          Isaiah 43  (MSG)

          When You’re Between a Rock and a Hard Place

43 1-4 But now, God’s Message,
    the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
    the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.

5-7 “So don’t be afraid: I’m with you.
    I’ll round up all your scattered children,
    pull them in from east and west.
I’ll send orders north and south:
    ‘Send them back.
Return my sons from distant lands,
    my daughters from faraway places.
I want them back, every last one who bears my name,
    every man, woman, and child
Whom I created for my glory,
    yes, personally formed and made each one.’”

8-13 Get the blind and deaf out here and ready—
    the blind (though there’s nothing wrong with their eyes)
    and the deaf (though there’s nothing wrong with their ears).
Then get the other nations out here and ready.
    Let’s see what they have to say about this,
    how they account for what’s happened.
Let them present their expert witnesses
    and make their case;
    let them try to convince us what they say is true.
“But you are my witnesses.” God’s Decree.
    “You’re my handpicked servant
So that you’ll come to know and trust me,
    understand both that I am and who I am.
Previous to me there was no such thing as a god,
    nor will there be after me.
I, yes I, am God.
    I’m the only Savior there is.
I spoke, I saved, I told you what existed
    long before these upstart gods appeared on the scene.
And you know it, you’re my witnesses,
    you’re the evidence.” God’s Decree.
“Yes, I am God.
    I’ve always been God
    and I always will be God.
No one can take anything from me.
    I make; who can unmake it?”

           Colossians 1:15-20 (MSG)

           Christ Holds It All Together

15-18 We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

18-20 He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

          Ephesians 1:11-14 (MSG)

11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

13-14 It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

I could say so much more but that’s just a teaser. I’m just blown away by God right now. Blown away that what started as me watching a silly show, turned into this guy’s journey to find God, an article, and now a publicized curiosity for Him to embark on His own spiritual journey. If anything I’m pumped for Arie. So pumped! As naive as it might sound I want to pray right now that He continues to be open to all the things God wants to show and tell Him. I want him to know that God pursues him. Arie might be a professional car racer, but He is surpassed by the Hound of Heaven. God is so crazy for him, for all of us, that no matter how far we run, or drive away, He is already there. He beats us to our destination every time. He holds all the records for speed. Not because of anything we’ve done but it’s His very nature – which is love – He wants to have a relationship with us. I just love the idea of people going on this show, looking for love, and finding the greatest Love of all. It’s just blowing my mind today. God is faithful. God is amazing. 

Psalm 23 T(MSG)

A David Psalm

23 1-3 God, my shepherd!
    I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
    you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
    you let me catch my breath
    and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through
    Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
    when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
    makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner
    right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
    my cup brims with blessing.

6 Your beauty and love chase after me
    every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
    for the rest of my life.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com