Monday, July 30, 2012

We are the Champions

Ever get a line from a song stuck in your head? Lately I’ve had one going through my mind consistently. It’s from one of my new favorite songs by Big Daddy Weave called “Redeemed”. I love the entire song, but this lyric has stuck:

“And you look at this prisoner, and you say to me son ‘Stop fighting a fight that’s already be won’.”

It’s that last part there that gets me. I hear it over and over again like an old record with a scratch. Now this song is about redemption, and I know I’ve been redeemed, but how often do I still fight fights that God’s already won for me?

When my past mistakes rise up and overwhelm me.
When my future seems like a muddled mess.
When I feel forgotten.
When I feel unworthy.
When I give into fear.
When I see the giants rather than the smooth stone God’s placed in my hand.
When I forget about His blood.

Come on, I’m not the only one, am I?

I know I’m not.

And as this line played in my head yesterday morning, I sat and listened to my pastor’s sermon.  It was on David and Goliath--check it out here in audio or video form. Out of everything he spoke on, the one part that stuck strongest with me went along with this whole “stop fighting that fight” that God’s been whispering to me nearly every day.

David didn’t hesitate. He KNEW God had already won the battle. He ran into it. And with one stone, he killed Goliath. But he didn’t stay there fighting, lobbing his other four stones. No. He cut Goliath’s head off--no messing around, he was DONE with this fight--and he TOOK the victory. Sealed it. And moved on.

Moved on.

In victory.

Into what God had for him.

Yes, God calls us to fight—but in a battle HE always wins, and He's on OUR side. Too often we keep fighting the same battle over and over, forgetting the fact that when He died on that cross, He WON. Done. It truly IS finished.

And we need to live like He won.

I mean, have you ever seen someone win with their eyes downcast? No way! They throw their hands up. Their faces beam. They jump, yell, celebrate. And have confidence in their victory. They don’t give it back. They don’t look for excuses as to why they maybe shouldn’t have won. They are victorious, and it shows.

So when your past comes calling. Or you start going another round with your addiction. When that little voice says you’ll never be who God called you to be, remember this:
He already won that for you.

So stop fighting a fight that’s already been won.

For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. Deuteronomy 20:4

How about any of you? Do you have a pair of boxing gloves on right now that need to come off? Praying you unlace them today:)


Friday, July 27, 2012

CD Shelf Friday

Okay, I admit it, I have yet to finish any of the books I'm reading. I have about three going at once (which is SO not like me!) and until I finish one, I can't post it. I have, however, fallen completely in love with this song. My sister posted it on her Facebook page last week, and I've been listening to it over and over. Put it on, turn it up, and keep your hands free--you're gonna want to raise them up:)

 
Have a great weekend:)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blessing Wednesday

Recently we've found out some not-so-great news. My father-in-law was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, and it's in his lungs. However, we have much, much to be thankful for. So, yes, we'd love your prayers, but today I want to stop and proclaim God's goodness even in the midst of all this. Because always, no matter what, He is worthy of our praise.

Today I'm so thankful for:

~the amazing, Godly man who raised my husband and has loved me like his own daughter for fifteen years now. I can remember the night we got engaged, he gave me a big hug and said, "You're one of ours now. Anything you need, you can call us too."

~Doctors and nurses.

~A PET scan report that was clear. They prepared us to find the cancer throughout his abdomen too, and it came back clear! PRAISE THE LORD!

~This wonderful family, and my cousin who squeezed us in to take our picture before Dad's not feeling so well (chemo actually starts today). Ya'll know me, Hubby & our kids, then that's Hubby's parents and Hubby's brother with his family (My niece and nephew are adorable, aren't they? Jack and Jillian...AKA Jack and Jill...:) )
My uber-talented cousin, Dan, took this photo of us. Check him
out: Dan Johnson Photography

~God's faithfulness.

Hoping you all are enjoying a fantastic week. Mega blessings to everyone. Start counting and share some here, please:)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gone Fishing

I got to spend this weekend hanging out with Hubby and our friends from college. Our lives have taken us all in different directions, but we still try to get together at least every other year. Yeah for social media that keep us all in touch, but nothing beats faceTIME:) (Get it? FaceBOOK/FaceTIME??? hehe)
Anyway...check us out:

The men folk:
Brandon, Hubby, and Martin

The women folk:
Me, Becky, and Dawn





Oh the tangled web of connections here...long story made short = Doug and Martin were roomies, they met Dawn at Campus Ministries, Becky was her roomie. We all became friends. Doug and I married on 9/26/1997. Martin and Becky married on 9/26/1998. Brandon got stuck with us all when he married Dawn (they were high school sweethearts who reconnected after college...awww)

So this year we found a weekend to all get together in a cottage on a lake. Lots of food, swimming, and laughter all around...and a few kids. Yeah, times are definitely different than back in the college day. Doug and I left our kids at home, though, and got to play "fun parents" to all their kids. Hubby had the little girls there wrapped around his finger--or maybe it was the other way around--and a great time was had by all.

Since I was kidless, I got to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee on the deck Sunday morning. It was early, and no one was up yet. A slight breeze and gorgeous sunshine, my Bible, my coffee (did I mention that already???), and the lake in front of me. Now that's a morning I can love:)

As I sat there, I noticed a man rowing out into the middle of the lake with his fishing pole. Here's the interesting thing, he could have stayed on shore. I mean, look at this picture:

This was actually Martin, though I didn't know it at the time:)

See him there? (look closely, I didn't have a zoom lense on) See how close land was? It was easier--by far--to walk to the end of one of those docks and throw out his line. No rowing. No balancing his coffee. Not sweating in the already warm morning. Just fishing. And yet I sat and watched him. Each time he'd drift too close to shore, he'd row himself back out. Why?

Because the fishing was better out there.

It made me think. How often do we stay on shore where it's comfortable? Yet sometimes the people we need to catch are out there a ways. It takes work, maybe a little sweat, and maybe even leaving our comfy spot to go out there and catch them. But boy, they're waiting for us...if only we'd come.

So today, ask God where it is He might want you to drop your line. It could mean putting your coffee down and getting into the middle of the lake--even if that spot seems a bit far off or slightly out of your comfort zone. I know, believe me, that can be incredibly hard...but you never know who might be ready to nibble on your line:)

What were you up to this weekend? Hope you got to play a little.  Oh, and on my way home I even got to stop for my favorite latte only found in Jackson, Michigan (but if you know of elsewhere, please oh please let me know!)....Myan Chile Mocha...oh my yumminess! If you're a coffee drinker, what's your favorite? If you're a tea drinker (I'm equal opportunity here), what do you drink?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bookshelf Friday - The Blessing Seer by Paula Mowery

I am so happy to show off my friend, Paula Mowery's, debut! Paula and I met when I first joined ACFW a year and a half ago. She's a fellow homeschooling mom who shared the dream of being published. On July 6th, Paula got to realize that dream! I am beyond excited for her.

The Blessing Seer is truly unlike any book I've read before. It's a novella written in first person and here's a short blurb:

When God sends Addy a special messenger who challenges her to step from her comfort zone, she isn’t sure she’s up to the job. She feels inadequate to take on the task of encouraging others, and when she starts seeing visions, she worries she’s losing her mind.

Yet, Addy wants only to be used by God, even if that means seeing visions and risking relationship with family and friends. By stepping out on a limb, can Addy really accomplish something significant for God? What affect will her surrender to His will have on those around her? And, what affect will it have on her own life? 

What was so unique for me was while this book is fictional, I felt over and over again as I read it like I was sitting with someone, listening to them tell me their personal story. It didn't read to me like fiction book, but rather a testimony from a friend. And she challenges you in many ways. To listen for God. To be obedient to Him. To move outside of your comfort zone. To deepen your faith.

Now I've got to admit, I always am interested in what inspires a person to write the stories they do, and this time I just had to ask. Paula happily shared her story:

One evening I was thinking on an illustration I hear pastors use sometimes. A man went to Heaven and was touring with one of the angels. They arrived at a warehouse filled with beautifully wrapped gifts. The man asked what they were and the angel said: “These are all of the blessings God wants to grant but haven’t been asked for.” I continued to contemplate the story when I went to bed. Not to sound mystical or anything, but God suddenly “downloaded” the whole outline for THE BLESSING SEER into my mind. I had to get up and write it down. Throughout the writing God has taught me what it means to leave my comfort zones and do something significant for Him. I don’t ever want to miss out on blessings God has in store because I didn’t ask or didn’t obey His directives.

One last thing, The Blessing Seer is also intended for use by Bible study groups. Paula's included instructions and questions at the end of her book, and she'd love to chat with you all either here or at her blog--you'll find the link below.

Blessings to you all and have a fantastic weekend, friends!

Paula Mowery is a pastor’s wife and a homeschool mom. She has always been an avid reader of Christian fiction. She began writing in the area of nonfiction creating three Bible studies which were self-published. However, she crafted fiction stories which she shared with friends and family. When one of her readers encouraged her to pursue publication, she joined American Christian Fiction Writers, learning more about the world of fiction. Her debut work of fiction is a novella published by Harbourlight, a division of Pelican Book Group – THE BLESSING SEER. Learn more about Paula at her blog – paulamowery.blogspot.com Read more of her writing in her monthly columns on ChristianMagazine.org.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Blessing Wednesday



Oh doesn't that sound perfectly perfect? Let's try it--it is Wednesday after all :) Come count blessings with me.

~Blue skies
~Bright red cardinals...each time I see one I'm reminded of Grandma Boo (Hubby's grandma), and we've had one making her home on our swing set. Every morning, there she is.
One of the pictures I took
of my kids for Hubby for
Father's Day.
~My kids getting along. Seriously. I was praying about this, and God's blown me away with the love in this house. And during these hot, summer days no less!
~Electricity
~My most wonderful husband who takes his time and patience to help me figure out all things tech related. Who loves me even though I'm an introvert, and he's a completely sold-out extrovert. Who's the Tigger to my Eeyore. And who never misses telling me I'm beautiful when I'm just not feeling it. God truly blessed me by giving this man to me.

So give it a try. What beautiful blessings do you see around you today? No matter where you're at (life's given us some hard knocks this past week) you can still see blessings if you simply look. And when you do, even if it's for a moment, your entire outlook will change. So today I challenge you to praise Him, even in the midst of what you're going through--your day won't be the same :)

Blessings dear friends!





Monday, July 16, 2012

An Apple Living in the Shadows


Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8

I simply love this verse.

Especially lately.

See, I often fight the feeling of living in the shadow of other people. And satan knows it’s one of my weak spots, so he often hits it…he’s wily that way.  So when God recently showed me this verse, I fell in love with it. Um, yeah, that’s right. I’ve read the book of Psalms many times in life and somehow missed this verse. But God knew it was there, and He knew right when I’d need it. Gotta love how the Holy Spirit drops in right when you need Him. That’s because our God is so much bigger than anything satan can throw at us.

And recently he's been lobbing that whole idea of me being in the shadows. I’ve got to believe I’m not the only one who at times feels eclipsed by others.  You know, feeling like someone else is achieving your victories. That God is choosing to use them instead of you, that you’re lost in their light. It creates a rather sour grapes attitude—and it’s not how I want to live. I’m pretty sure coveting was mentioned in the Ten Commandments.

But living in a shadowy place doesn't have to be an issue, as long as we live in the correct shadow—God’s. Look at that verse. David asked God to put him in His shadow. Where another’s shadow can begin to create jealousy, God’s is meant to protect, hide, even mimic Him. (So often God spoke of how He’d use things as a shadow of His plan to come.)

And what I love about that verse above is not only will His shadow cover me, but I’m the apple of His eye. Love it! I’m special to Him in my own way. Unique and loved. It pulls me out of the place I was stuck, and hides me in Him. A much better place to be.

The best part? David was the apple of His eye too. And so are you. See, God doesn’t play favorites (Romans 2:11--God does not show favoritism).  He’s made us all with unique talents bound within us to be released at just the right moment to fulfill the plan and purpose He created us for. Sure, some gifts might look similar to others, but they will not be used in the same manner. Who you reach, what you accomplish, will be uniquely yours. God didn’t arbitrarily create you in the hope that He could use you. No. He created you with something specific in mind. And if you let Him, He’ll use you to do it. But you have to stop looking at everyone else first. Step out of their shadow and into His. I'm taking that leap right now.

Oh, and I'd love to hear what your favorite verse is right now. Share please, I may be missing another apple of the eye moment:)

Friday, July 13, 2012

CD Shelf Friday

I'm still in the process of refilling my bookshelf--thanks to so many good suggestions last week by everyone! So, today I'm going to leave you with some music I've been listening to.  This song has really attached to me recently with so much meaning in so many places. And I'm a big Kutless fan...so it's all good:)




Great song, right?

Even If...
I will praise you.
I will trust you.
I will grasp my faith.
I will love you.
You are still God.
You are still faithful.
And I will praise you.

 What song are you listening to right now? You know, that one that you play over and over again? Share...and have a great weekend, my friends!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blessing Wednesday

We had a wonderful vacation and are settling back in here at home. Can you even believe summer is half over??? I know, I'll hush now :)

And it's Wednesday! Time to count our blessings, and today I have to start with one of my favorites:

~my daughter Ella. Ten years ago today this amazing blessing entered our lives...our first little girl and entry into all things sparkling and glittery.

~the color purple - seriously. Without it sunsets wouldn't be nearly as beautiful. (and the movie was amazing too)

~homemade lemonade. It is one of my favorite drinks in summer. On the 4th of July they were selling it in the park and there's nothing better.

~the breeze. Another creative thing God created for us way before air conditioning. I am beyond thankful for it!

~my small town. At times I forget how blessed I am to live here, but I truly am.

What are you thankful for today? Share!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Bookshelf Friday

I'm refilling my bookshelf this week...I'm on vacation!

This is me (well, technically that's my toes), sitting on my lounge, enjoying the lake, and reading as many books as I can get my hands on--in between playing with the kids, eating more smores, and hanging with my BFF.

Here's what I'm currently reading:

I loved the first one and reviewed it here. I've got several other books on my Kindle lined up to read, and a few from the library, but I'd love to hear suggestions from all of you if you have some. I read any and all Christian fiction, so give me one of your favorites to check out.

Hope you have a great weekend! I will be gone till Wednesday, enjoying this crazy, hot weather and time with family and friends. Catch you next week!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Blessing Wednesday / Word Wednesday

Happy Fourth of July!

My blessings are rather easy to count today ~ I bet yours are too!

~Praising God that I live in a country where I can praise Him openly, and I'm beyond thankful for each person who has fought for me to have that freedom.

I can go to church, listen to my Christian radio, pray anywhere, read my Bible in public, learn the Word...so many freedoms that I don't ever want to take for granted.

So go celebrate today. Be with your friends and family. Eat lots of hot dogs, watermelon, and apple pie. Try not to burn yourself with sparklers (We do. Always. Every single year.) Oooohhh and Aaaahhh over some amazing fireworks. And thank every single veteran you encounter today.

And for those exercising your freedom to learn the Word with me:), here's the next verse. If you learned your verses in June, please let me know, one of you will win a small treat.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Be blessed today!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Listen First, Ask Later

So I was reading Jeremiah the other day and chapterthirty-two stopped me. Mainly because of it’s title: Jeremiah Buys a Field.

Really?

Smack dab in the middle of all his prophecies and Israel’sdestruction by Babylon, Jeremiah stops to buy a field. And not just any field.One that’s in the middle of the rubble. That’s like buying a block of Londonright in the middle of the bombing during WWII. Crazy.

But that’s what’s so cool about Jeremiah. He did crazybecause God asked Him to. Make no mistake. He didn’t fully understand it atfirst either, but He did it.  In fact,listen to his response:

“See how the siege ramps are built up to take the city.Because of the sword, famine, and plague the city will be handed over to theBabylonians who are attacking it. What you said has happened, as you now see.And though the city will be handed over to the Babylonians, you, O SovereignLord, say to me, ‘Buy the field with silver and have the transaction witnessed.’”(vs. 24-25)
                                         
Thing is, that response came after he obeyed.

Here’s his initial response:

“I knew this was the word of the Lord; so I bought thefield…” (vs. 8 & 9)

Here's the thing, there will be times where God calls us to do something thatwe don’t fully understand, but all He’s asking for is obedience. That takes ahuge amount of faith. It also means we better know His voice. Jeremiah shelvedhis questions until after he responded because he knew God’s voice.

And that’s what I want—to know His voice so intimately thatI don’t even have to ask. I can jump, no matter how crazy it sounds to me. I’mnot always going to have the full picture, but I’m not supposed to becausethat’s His job. All I need to do is be willing.

Ultimately, God does answer Jonah’s question. It’s all onebig object lesson. He’s punishing Israel by handing them over to Babylon, butthat punishment won’t last forever. Yes, He was angry, yes they were beingpunished, but then He was going to hug them. He would “bring them back to thisplace and let them live in safety.” (vs.37) They’d return and “fields [would]be bought” again. (vs. 44)

And He demonstrates this promise through Jeremiah purchasing the field.

Good thing Jeremiah listened first.

 It allowed God to bring hope in the middle of what appeareda hopeless situation.

What about you? Have you ever been told to "go buy that field"? If not, do you know His voice well enough that when He asks, you'll listen?