Thirsty For Christ Thursday

Waiting On Him: What To Do?

Thursday

Waiting. Not one of my favorite things. And really, is it anyone’s?

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But, as we mentioned in yesterday’s post, currently, we are in a season of waiting on the Lord…So, I thought I’d talk a little bit today about what exactly that means…

Joyce Meyer explains waiting on God well when she tells us:

Once we’ve asked God to answer a question or solve a problem, we need to be eagerly awaiting His answer. We need to be serving actively, aggressively and expectantly. When our hearts are eager to hear from God, He loves to rush in suddenly with His solution. In many cases this waiting period actually serves as a time of preparation for the answer. If God answered right away, many of us would be ill-prepared to handle His solution.

Sometimes we find ourselves in such horrible messes that it’s hard to imagine waiting one more second. But we need to keep waiting on God and trusting Him with a sweet and simple faith. Then, in a way we never could’ve figured out—God moves suddenly!

When waiting on the answer to a prayer or for a promise to be fulfilled, I feel that so much of the ‘waiting room’ is about how you use your time. Waiting expectantly rather than passively is key.

Many examples in the Bible show expectant waiting, and the subsequent reward of answered prayer from the Lord: Hannah’s continuous prayer for a child; Paul & Silas praying and praising God in the midst being held in a jail cell; and Noah building the ark in expectation of the promised floodwaters – just to name a few.

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In our time(s) of waiting, Craig and I have certainly fostered stronger relationships with the Lord – both individually and together. We have tried to serve Him by serving others. We have spread His Word, and continue to focus on putting Him first in everything we do. We have delved into reading and studying the Word. And above all, we have prayed.

Is it, perhaps, the case that our waiting on Him – yours and ours – is often more about developing our relationship with God than our answered prayer or promise being delayed?

Caroline MacInnes wrote an article several years ago for Boundless.Org, with this to say about how beautiful the Lord’s waiting room can be:

Somewhere in The Meantime, God changed my theme verse from “How long, oh, Lord?” to “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19, ESV). And I literally went to the desert of West Texas to find that “new thing.” I attended graduate school to study what I loved, mentored kids, traveled overseas, and overall, developed a fresh vision of God’s plan for my life…

…Each of us can choose how we spend our days, but God’s wish for us is clear: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

satan loves to discourage us in our time of waiting…but as the first part of John 10:10 reads, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” Jesus is the one who came to bring us LIFE. And He doesn’t call us to live it out in front of the tv or with a box of tissues. He calls us to live BOLDLY for His glory – both in the waiting, and out. Don’t let the enemy bog you down by stealing your joy, killing your faith and destroying your opportunity! Use your waiting time wisely!

2 Timothy 1:6-7 ESV 

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Hebrews 13:6 ESV 

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

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Thirsty For Christ Thursday

The Long-Awaited Promise: Fulfilled

{This post is dedicated to my precious grandmother, Florence, since she ‘so loves’ reading this blog. Merry Christmas, Grandma!}

Thursday

I cannot stand waiting. As a matter of fact, I sometimes drive 10+ miles out of the way for the sole purpose of avoiding traffic and stoplights. When it came to ‘waiting’ on a husband, by the time Craig finally showed up when I was 28 years old, I was about to throw in the towel. And the most difficult waiting of all? Jonah.

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Still, after more than three years of praying and hoping, we are awaiting the arrival of our child – Jonah Elizabeth. (See the story HERE.) At times, it seems as though God’s promise will never come to fruition. At other times, we both feel that Jonah is closer than ever.  But the waiting – well, it never gets any easier.

Three and (almost) a half years is a long time…Or at least it seems that way until you compare it with how long the Jewish people had to wait for their promised Savior:

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“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.” Micah 5:2 NIV

That was prophesied about 700 years before the birth of Jesus! Talk about a long wait!

But it was a long wait that was well worth it. And over and over again, throughout the Old Testament, the Lord reaffirms His coming through the prophets:

2 Samuel 7:16
King David’s throne would be established forever

Daniel 9:24-26
Daniel predicted when an anointed one would be rejected

Deuteronomy 18:15-18
God promised another prophet like Moses

Genesis 22:18
The Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham

Genesis 49:10
The Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah

Isaiah 7:14
Isaiah foreshadowed the virgin birth of Jesus

Isaiah 9:6-7
There would be a son called God

Isaiah 11:1-10
Nations would seek the counsel of Jesse’s descendant

Isaiah 35:4-6
He would perform miracles

Isaiah 40:1-5,9
The Messiah would be preceded by a messenger

Isaiah 42:1-9
The Messiah would be a light to Gentiles

Isaiah 49:6
God’s salvation would reach the ends of the earth

Isaiah 50:6
Jesus was spat upon and beaten

Isaiah 53:1-3
The Messiah would be rejected

Isaiah 53:4-6
God’s servant would die for our sins

Isaiah 53:7
God’s servant would be silent before his accusers

Isaiah 53:9
God’s servant would be buried in a rich man’s tomb

Isaiah 53:12
God’s servant would be “numbered with the transgressors”

Isaiah 61:1-2
Isaiah foreshadows the ministry of Jesus

Jeremiah 23:5
The Messiah would be a descendant of King David

And that is merely a smattering of instances of Messianic prophecy from the Old Testament!!

The Lord reaffirmed His promise of a Savior, His Son, for many, many years before that promise was fulfilled…and now, here we sit – more than 2000 years after the birth of Christ, saved.

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Just as early Christians used the symbol of the ichthus to show their faith, we can use the traditional colors of the Christmas season as a reminder of the true meaning of this beautiful holiday.

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Red – the color of blood; Jesus’ death on the cross to save the world from sin.

Green – the color of life; The eternal life gained for us by our Savior’s death on the cross.

“…When we see the bright colors of winter decorations, we can remind ourselves and each other of the true meaning of Christmas. In this season, …[we] celebrate God so loving the world that He gave His only Son to us in human form (John 3:16-17; 1:14). In that way, Jesus could know and suffer all that we do, yet [doing so]without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He died for all our sins as the perfect sacrifice, reconciling sinners with a holy and just God, so that all who ask for forgiveness of their sin and turn to Him can have eternal life (2 Corinthians 5:4, 18-19; Hebrews 2:17).” -Saved By Grace Bible Study

Whatever it is you might be in a season of waiting for right now, know that all the promises of the Lord are well worth the wait – even if it is more than 700 years. (Please, Lord, don’t make us wait 700 years for Jonah!!!! 😉 )

 This Christmas, keep the true celebration  in your heart – the long-awaited birth of the Messiah, our precious Savior, who was, and is, well worth the wait.

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Have a beautiful and very Merry Christmas, y’all!

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Thirsty For Christ Thursday

Are You Missing The Point?

Thursday

Craig and I both seem to have this knack, you might call it…Whenever one of us goes somewhere – Wal-Mart, commuter rail, the hardware store, an airplane…. it could be anywhere – both of us are bound to run into a stranger and end up having an incredibly meaningful conversation.

Earlier this summer, I was flying standby and ‘made it’ on a flight out of Newark into Detroit. There were plenty of open seats on this plane, but it just so happened that I was seated in an aisle seat next to another standby passenger. At first, I was a little irritated. I mean, I was hoping that I would be able to nab two seats to myself and take a little snooze…but that wasn’t going to happen.

I sat down next to a woman named Beverly (a grandmother with sparkling eyes and a warm smile) and instantly, I knew I wasn’t going to take a nap, read a book, work on any projects, or listen to music. Beverly and I, within seconds, were deep in a heart to heart about Jesus and infertility. We took a selfie together, exchanged phone numbers and Beverly added Craig and I to her church’s prayer list. Craig was able to meet me (us) at the gate, and by the time Ms. Beverly gave me (and Craig) a hug, I was in tears. She was such a beautiful soul, and her words were so comforting to me. In fact, they were just the words I needed in that moment. And when I turned around to watch her walk away, she was gone.

I recall my mother and younger brother driving back from summer camp in North Carolina to our grandparents’ home in Georgia (or was it the other way around?). It was a holiday weekend and the roads were packed. My brother was young at the time – maybe 2nd grade – and it was just the two of them. My mother hit something in the road and it became lodged under the car. They couldn’t really continue forward, and obviously, couldn’t back up, so she pulled over to the side of the road and prayed. This is prior to the days of cell phones, and she couldn’t pull the piece of metal from underneath the car…and my brother was much too young to help…I can only imagine. I would have been a BALL of nerves. Out of nowhere, a white van pulled over. A man, dressed all in white, got out of the vehicle, and without saying a word, walked over and pulled the metal piece out from under my mother’s car. Then he walked back to his vehicle, didn’t say a word, and drove away. It was exactly what my mother needed in that instance…But before she could thank him, he was gone.

We are house-sitting for my parents this week, and so I have been taking the train into the city for work every morning. Yesterday, I boarded the train and sat down to realize that not only had I left my book behind, I had also neglected to bring my earbuds along for the ride. Ugh. Luckily, I used Kindle on my phone to read some of the Beth Moore book I mentioned yesterday, “Jesus, The One and Only“, but this morning I made sure that I grabbed the book I am reading about hiking the Appalachian Trail (it is SO on my bucket list!!!) and my headphones too!

I boarded the train, chose a seat on the inside, next to a window, so I wouldn’t have people stepping over me, and delved into my book. Aaaah. I wish I could ride the train everyday to work. I love a little ‘me’ time in the morning.

But wouldn’t you know it…at the very first stop, a man came and sat down next to me. He was dirty. His nails desperately needed to be cut. His clothing was tattered and torn. He was missing all of his top front teeth. And he turned toward me right away and said, ‘Good Morning!’. I inwardly groaned. All I wanted this morning was to read my book. I didn’t want to talk. But I looked up at him and there was something about this man’s eyes. They were unbelievably kind. He asked how I was and started to talk about how his father always said that getting up early in the morning made a real difference in how your day went, and talked about pollution and how it has caused sickness in our world. And then he was talking about how God is just so good. He always provides. He takes care of his people. He said that God places people in certain situations for a reason and for a task because He sees a  miles down the road and we can’t see what’s right in front of us.

He asked me, “What does a bird do first in the morning?” I smiled. He replied, “He whistles. He sings to God and thanks Him.” He said that should should tell you something. Nature knows. And he told me Good Morning is a powerful phrase. It can change the world and we don’t even realize it…Then he got up to let a lady sit down in his seat, and he told me it was really nice to talk to me and to have a good day.

I mean, there was tape holding his coat together. He had dirt all over him…But his soul was incredible. The words he spoke were exactly what I needed to hear and be reminded of…And just when I had gathered myself enough to process all of this, and wanted nothing more than to get up at the next stop and give this man who had made my morning a hug, I looked up to see he was gone.

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2 ESV

Friends, don’t walk through life with your head down, looking at your phone. Don’t focus so much on you that you forget the reason you are on this earth. Don’t look at the ‘little things’ as simply coincidental. The Lord tells us to have faith like a child – and children don’t believe in the coincidental. God chose you for something specific, and He puts people and situations in your path at just the right moment, for just the reason you need. He loves you THAT much that He cares about the details.
Don’t miss the point.
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Thirsty For Christ Thursday

Not Too Thirsty

Thursday

Thirsty for Christ. What does that phrase mean to you?

I’ll tell you what it means to me – hungering after following Him, being consumed by wanting a deeper relationship with the Father, realizing that nothing else can satisfy your soul the way He does.

We currently have a world population of more than 7.3 billion people. Roughly 31% of those 7.3 billion people claim to be Christians. That’s over 2.1 billion people. 2.1 billion.

If all two billion of us were truly thirsty for Christ, would this world be in the state it’s in today? We live in a world predicted by the prophets:

 “ Be sure of this. In the last days hard times will come. People will love themselves. They will love money. They will talk about themselves and be proud. They will say wrong things about people. They will not obey their parents. They will not be thankful. They will not keep anything holy. They will have no love. They will not agree with anybody. They will tell lies about people. They will have no self-control. They will beat people. They will not love anything that is good.They cannot be trusted. They will act quickly, without thinking. They are proud of themselves. They love to have fun more than they love God.They act as if they worshipped God, yet they do not let God’s power work in their lives. Keep away from people like that.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Um…that sounds like now to me…but regardless, shouldn’t we Christians (all 2 billion of us) be shining SO brightly that we overshadow the over 69%? Shouldn’t we be so loving and forgiving and helpful and full of JOY that people can’t help but be drawn to us?

Why is it then that instead of striving to be like Jesus, we are fighting, assimilating with the secular world around us, insulting, blaming, judging…

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

We are called to be transformed –  to be different, outsiders! We should have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, and therefore, have the mind of Christ – making it more than a little obvious when something isn’t right.

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.” John 15:18-24

I pray for all of us to strive to be more Christlike – to thirst for Him. Christianity is not passive. It is not a club you belong to and never visit. It is a LIFESTYLE that affects every single decision you make, and every single thing you do. It is a CHOICE to follow Him, no matter what is thrown in your path.

A true servant of Jesus Christ is one who is willing to experience martyrdom for the reality of the gospel of God. When a moral person is confronted with contempt, immorality, disloyalty, or dishonesty, he is so repulsed by the offense that he turns away and in despair closes his heart to the offender. But the miracle of the redemptive reality of God is that the worst and the vilest offender can never exhaust the depths of His love. Paul did not say that God separated him to show what a wonderful man He could make of him, but “to reveal His Son in me…” (Galatians 1:16). (from ‘My Utmost for His Highest’ by Oswald Chambers)

Are you willing to thirst and hunger after Christ at all costs?

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Thirsty For Christ Thursday

A Spirit-Filled Atmosphere

Thursday

Good Morning Friends & Welcome to Thirsty For Christ Thursday!

If you have been reading our blog for long, you know we love the devotionals written by Sarah Young – most especially “Jesus Calling” and “Jesus Today”. So this morning we want to bless you with a recent devotion from “Jesus Today”, in a format you can even print and hang by your desk as a reminder:

thirstythursday81815I just love the imagery that is derived from those last few sentences: ‘When Christlike goodness collides with worldly vileness, be on the lookout for miracles! The collision of spiritual opposites creates atmospheric conditions that are conducive to My powerful interventions.

Those words give me a visual of storm clouds erupting into miraculous lightening strikes.

 

You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations. Psalm 77:14 NLT

One thing to take from Ms. Young’s devotion is this: “Be on the lookout for miracles.” If you are told to be ‘on the lookout’ for an approaching train, you would be expecting that train to come around the corner at any moment! So the same we should be in being on the ‘lookout’ for God’s Mighty Hand at work!

As the psalm above says, He is the God of great wonders, and our faith in Him should reflect our belief that nothing is impossible with Him.

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:26 NLT

Be expectant of the miraculous in your circumstances!

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Thirsty For Christ Thursday

Captivated Thoughts

Yes, it has been eons since we have posted a thing. I cannot believe how quickly and easily time escapes from us. It seems like just the other day we were packing up our home in Georgia to relocate to Maine. Alas, we have now been living in Maine for more than 4 months, and have already moved to a NEW home! I can’t claim we haven’t been busy!

I began work on a second bachelor’s degree at the University of Southern Maine at the beginning of this January…I’m working towards a BS in Biochemistry…and we don’t even have our kitchen table set-up yet in the new house! Craig’s working, I’m studying, snow is falling and our Furs are restless, but we are pushing forward and getting settled into our new home – one box at a time.

In addition to all of this, I am still the youth minister for two parishes here in Southern Maine, and Craig & I have just joined a Bible Study group together with another church, near New Hampshire. We also both have some form of “the beginnings of pneumonia” right now, according to the nurse practitioner I made an appointment with Friday, and we have been keeping each other up late every night with our wheezing and coughing and nose-blowing. I am the cantor for Mass today, too, and I am praying God will sing through me – because I have absolutely no voice at all, right now.

Whew. My hands are tired from typing all of that, and my eyes are swimming with the jumble of words. If I stare at the lists upon to-do lists bogging my sweet husband and I down right now, my pulse quickens and I become anxious…

BIOCHEMISTRY?!?! What the heck was I thinking?!?! As the nurse told me yesterday, “…quite an age to start following such a dream!” Balancing chemical equations? Memorizing the electronegativity of endless elements, and studying the polyatomic ions from Table 2.24 in the text? Learning how to do math, all over again? Knowing the difference between an oxidation-reduction and a precipitation reaction? Which box do I unpack next? How am I going to shovel the driveway – I’ve never done that before! Walking to class in 14 degree weather??? What color should I paint this room? How are we going to survive another month without our former income? How can we really show the youth group Jesus LOVES them!?!?

That’s my mind before coffee and Jesus, every morning.

My brain can be overtaken by fear and anxiety so easily with everything going on…and I haven’t even mentioned the worry of never being a mother…

This is why a personal “quiet time” is so immensely important. Time alone with God everyday – every MORNING – is paramount. Why, you ask? Because you then have the ability to place all of your worries, fears, thoughts, lists and crises on the back-burner, and put Jesus first.

I have a peaceful time, before anything else, in the day when I drink my coffee and read God’s love letters to me. I have learned in this time to captivate my thoughts:

2Corinthians105I never truly understood what this meant until very recently. Taking your thoughts captive means to consciously recognize them, and dismiss them. I no longer allow myself to be bogged down with worry and overwhelming thoughts of everything that has to be accomplished. In my quiet time, I sit with God and allow Him to speak to me through His Word. Every verse I read, something new pops out to me from the page, and each time a worrisome notion begins to creep into my mind, I cast it out – with ease – in the presence of our Lord.

Life is overwhelmingly overwhelming – if you allow it to be. But Jesus didn’t call you to be anxious and stressed. You were created to be joyful and full of His Spirit! Take a few moments alone, first thing every morning, and spend those precious minutes in prayer and Bible reading. You won’t wish those moments had been spent any differently.

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Thirsty For Christ Thursday

You Won’t Need The Receipt

ThursdayHow our world changes in three weeks! At Thanksgiving, as Craig and I celebrated together at the Cape Neddick Inn, we were only praying this week would hurry up and get here. Now, as I sit in our living room, surrounded by boxes, I can almost breathe a sigh of relief.

Tomorrow is the day. We close on our new home in Maine! Finally, we will be able to settle down and nest into the first home we have chosen together, and other than the inordinate packing before my eyes, I can see a bright future ahead! We are so excited!

Here’s a sneak peek:

OurNewHomeSo, since I already know what Craig and I got each other for Christmas – our new house, I began thinking about other gifts my husband has given me in the past…

christmasgifts13

Anyone who knew me pre-Craig can attest to the fact that my car was always…well…crowded. In high school, I drove a Jeep Grand Cherokee and at one point, my parents were looking at selling it. A friend of mine remarked on this and said, “Does it come fully loaded?”… and he wasn’t talking about luxury options. He was talking about my STUFF.

Back in the pre-Craig era, I am fairly confident I could have driven into the desert and survived for several weeks just with the junk I was carrying around in my car. Not trash, mind you…but clothes, shoes, CD’s, books, bags, purses…You name it, my car had it!

But, when Craig and I started dating, he took one look at my ‘fully loaded’ car and shook his head. I think the name Lefebvre must translate roughly to “My Car Must Be Sparkling At All Times”. Before I could stop him, Craig set to work cleaning my vehicle – from the inside out. After a few hours of scrubbing and polishing and the filling of several garbage bags, my car looked brand-new. Long gone were the signs of the outfit I wore the month before or the stain where a friend had spilled a Coke along the ride…It looked like a different Pier-mobile…

And that’s what Jesus does for us.

Since He died on the cross, to save us from all of our sins, He became a living sacrifice for the the world. When you allow Him into your heart and let Him be Lord of your life, He will take all the junk, all of your baggage and throw it out. All the stains from your past will be cleaned. No one will ever know they were there. You will be a brand-new, sparkly clean person, inside and out.

Clean.BlogIsn’t that amazingly freeing? The other day, I was watching a sermon given by one of my FAVORITE pastors, Robert Morris at Gateway Church, and he told a story about being at the end of a service one evening, and the Holy Spirit pointed out to him a woman sitting in one of the first few rows. The Holy Spirit said to him, “Do you know that woman’s past?”, to which Robert replied, “No, I don’t”…

And the Holy Spirit said to him, “Neither do I.

Wow. How awesome is it that we not only serve a God who forgives us, but a God that blots out our stains, our past. He throws out our baggage and it’s gone. For good.

I don’t know about you, but when I truly realized that He loves us that much, it felt like I was walking on air. All of my junk is GONE. I am a new person, a new creation in Christ.

So let the Lord give you the most beautiful gift imaginable this year: His Son. Trust me, you won’t need to keep the receipt.

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Thirsty For Christ Thursday

Let’s Be Honest…

Thursday

Let’s be honest here.

Living a Christ-centered life isn’t easy.

I promise you that if I had my way things would look a lot different in my life. I probably would have said “FORGET THIS!” whole thing about waiting on God and His timing for a child a long while ago, and taken matters into my own hands. I probably would have chosen the big, fancy house we were looking at in Georgia, instead of the teensy, third-floor apartment 1,200+ miles away from either of our families. I probably would have chosen to continue working in a WELL-PAYING job so we could buy our groceries at Whole Foods and our clothes from Nordstrom, instead of at Wal-Mart and GoodWill.

But…God tells us to live otherwise. He calls us to live in Faith.

Get out your Bible this instant and read with me Hebrews 11. {God, specifically, just said to me-just now, “Look at verse 11:11.” If your know our Jonah story, you know that 11:11 is significant for Craig and I. If you don’t know our story, watch and listen here. Read verse 11:11 – Oh my goodness, right??? Goosebumps. Make that Godbumps. }

Thank you, Jesus.

But back to Hebrews 11. This entire chapter is subtitled “Faith In Action”, and that is how we, as Christians, are called to live our lives. “Faith In Action” should be your subtitle!

Hebrews 11 

Faith In Action

11 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

This is just the first verse, but already we can see how to live the life to which Christ calls us: by faith. You see, it is faith that tells me God is in control and that Craig and I will be parents. That God doesn’t need our help for that to happen. It is faith that reminds me, as I sometimes sit and think wistfully of our family and friends so far away, that we were called here for a purpose. It is faith that assures me that even though we aren’t able to live a lifestyle rich in things of this world, we DO have a life RICH in Jesus.

Let’s be honest. This Christian life isn’t easy. Sometimes it isn’t pleasant. Sometimes it doesn’t go the way we want.  But remembering our life is not our own, helps to put things in perspective. Remind yourself each day – Not my own will, Father, but YOURS, be done.

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Thirsty For Christ Thursday

Your Choice

ThursdayYes, I know. I’m the Worst. Blogger. Ever. If that award is anywhere to be awarded, send it my way. I deserve it! One of our last blogs already detailed how busy we have been, and the past few weeks have been NO EXCEPTION, but, at any rate, I feel guilty for abandoning my blogging family so much since our move! 😦

Forgive me?

Since taking on my new role as Youth Minister for two parishes in Southern Maine, I have been faced with new thoughts about our faith – some of them, I never thought I would have to look face-to-face, but therein lies the joy of life! Nothing is ever what you THINK it will be!

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Children and teenagers today don’t have it the way our grandparents did…or our parents…not even like I did. Youth of today are faced with enormous responsibility – so much so that I am fairly certain naptime would be a welcome word for many of today’s middle-schoolers and teens. Seriously.

When I was growing up, going to church and being involved with our Christian faith was not a CHOICE. It was just what your Sunday and Wednesday (evenings) consisted of. At least in my family, and the families of MANY of the kids I grew up with. Today, kids playing soccer or football have not only practice, but games and tournaments on Sunday mornings – forcing the child to CHOOSE between missing those activities and attending church…Wait, did I just say ‘forcing the child to choose’?!?

Oh…I did…and it isn’t any mistake!  Parents today are allowing their children to be tiny adults…They make decisions about the events they are involved in and where their priorities are placed…Do you see anything wrong with this picture?

Re-read the passage from Deuteronomy above: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

As parents, it is your responsibility to show Christ to your children. That is your JOB as a parent, just as it is your duty as a spouse to show Christ to your husband or wife. Children are not born to you for show and tell, dressing up, parading talents, or reducing your tax burden. Children are God’s gift to parents, and in turn, they are to lead them to Christ.

As a couple facing infertility head-on, Craig nor I take our future responsibility lightly, and it is painful to see the teens I lead have to choose between playing in their soccer game or going to youth group or church. Parents need to set priorities – and this is a nationwide phenomenon.

As Christians, if we believe what we read in the Bible, we know that Sunday is the day for the Lord. He teaches us plainly that NOTHING should be above Him in our lives, and that includes high school activities, Sunday football, shopping trips, family get-togethers, etc. etc. This past Sunday 6,000 Maine high schoolers were involved in a soccer tournament in the morning! 6,000 players and HOW many parents and siblings?!?

When did we stop being a Christian nation, and allow the future of our country to CHOOSE for themselves how they would spend their Sunday? Even worse, when did parents decide it was okay for school events to be held during church services?

Proverbs 3:6

In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.

Matthew 6:33

33 But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

This doesn’t just apply to parents or those raising children, either. This applies to each and every one of us. The moment you make the choice to put God first in your life, to take all of your concerns to Him in prayer, to lay all of those you love on His Altar, things will begin to dramatically change for you. Doors will be opened and His Will will begin to be illumined. Things that mattered so much before will fade away, and you will yearn for God’s favor.

It’s a miraculous thing being a child of God. Don’t pass up eternity for soccer on Sundays.

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Thirsty For Christ Thursday

A Porch With A View

Thursday

If you’ve ever asked God to lead you and to work in your life miraculously, you know the warmth that overwhelms your entire being when you recognize His will, follow Him and watch Him work. It is absolutely incomparable to anything else you’ve ever experienced.

Almost a year ago to the day, Craig and I knew we were ready to move on from our house in Dallas. Where were we to go? We had no idea. But we knew it was time for something different. At the time, we figured just another house in Georgia would do, and so we set about looking at the worldly ‘figures’ of how we would make that transition. With the market the way it was, we knew our house needed something to make it stand out from the crowd and with our new addition, Lucy, we decided that something was a fence.

So, we started building. And while it was a great addition for Lucy, and not much later, Caroline, when we finally got around to putting our home on the market, the fence wasn’t enough. We needed something more.

We prayed. We asked for God’s Will to be done. We gave up OUR desires and OUR dreams and OUR “ME ME ME!” attitude, and we asked God to soften our hearts to hear His voice in the matter. It wasn’t long before we ended up at FullTurn Church, where we began to insurmountably grow in our faith, and it wasn’t long thereafter that Craig came to me with the ‘suggestion’ from God that we simply “PACK”.

As you know from previous blogs, we ignored that suggestion – until we absolutely couldn’t let His voice fall on deaf ears any longer, and we packed.

Never in our wildest dreams did we consider God would move us to Maine. But He did.

As I sit on our patio this afternoon, with a cool breeze blowing in my hair, I look out at the steeple and the cross I can see in front of me, and I feel the warmth of His Presence.

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As I sat in my office at St. Bartholomew’s in Cape Elizabeth yesterday, I pondered how will I get everything ready for my youth group in time?!?! And God whispered, “Don’t worry. Follow me. I will show you. I will lead you. I will guide you. Don’t forget, I lead you here for my purpose.”

It is a wonderfully freeing understanding to realize that following Jesus doesn’t mean you are ‘dropped off in an unknown place’ and left to your own devices. It means that as long as you are in His Will, He’s holding your hand.

Isaiah 41:10

10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Sometimes I don’t think we realize just WHO God is. The King of the Universe is your guide – not your horrible boss, or your overbearing ruler. He is both your Creator and your constant companion. Take heart.

Love You All.

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