Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Read it. Love it. Live it.

Hebrews 6 (New Living Translation)

1 So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. 2 You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.

4 For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come—6 and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.

7 When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. 8 But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it.

9 Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. 10 For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. 11 Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. 12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.

God’s Promises Bring Hope
13 For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying:

14 “I will certainly bless you,
and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.”

15 Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.

16 Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. 17 God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. 18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. 20 Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.


I left my phone at home this morning. Not on purpose, mind you. But now I feel naked, unprepared, and unwilling to face the day outside the walls of my office. I know that people might want to text me, call me, whatever, and I know that there's nothing I can do about it. I can't get those messages or respond to them. I'm cut off. I'm so bothered by it that my left eye is starting to twitch.

What if something horrible happens to one of my friends and they can't reach me, they can't ask me for help because stupid me left my phone plugged into my wall?
What if I need one of them and I can't call them because all of their numbers are in my phone?
What if everything that could possibly go wrong actually does go wrong and I'm helpless in it?
What if I overreact?

Why don't we feel this out of sorts when we miss our daily time with God? Why aren't we bothered to no end that we feel so disconnected from God when we don't pray? Why do we place our communications with people above our communications with God? Our communication with God, and keeping those lines open, is far more important than anything we could possibly say to people or what those people could say to us. We don't feel panicked when we miss our time talking to God... why is that? Why don't we realize how important God is to us? Why don't we overreact?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More by Matthew West

Who sings this to whom? God to us or us to God or both?

Take a look at the mountains
Stretching a mile high
Take a look at the ocean
Far as your eye can see
And think of Me

Take a look at the desert
Do you feel like a grain of sand?
I am with you wherever
Where you go is where I am

And I'm always thinking of you
Take a look around you
I'm spelling it out one by one

I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine, and you shine for me too
I love you yesterday and today
And tomorrow, I'll say it again and again
I love you more

Just a face in the city
Just a tear on a crowded street
But you are one in a million
And you belong to Me

And I want you to know
That I'm not letting go
Even when you come undone

I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine, and you shine for me too
I love you yesterday and today
And tomorrow, I'll say it again and again
I love you more
I love you more

Shine for Me
Shine for Me
Shine on, shine on
Shine for Me

I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine, and you shine for me too
I love you yesterday and today
And tomorrow, I'll say it again and again
I love you more

Than the sun
and the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine, and you shine for me too
I love you, yesterday and today
Through the joy and the pain
I'll say it again and again
I love you more
I love you more

And I see you
And I made you
And I love you more than you can imagine
More than you can fathom
I love you more than the sun
And you shine for me

God woke me with a smile, what can be better than that?!

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

~ John 10:10, NLT

Psalm 63 (New International Version)

A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.
1 O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.

3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.

4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.

7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.

8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

9 They who seek my life will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.

10 They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.

11 But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God's name will praise him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Some scripture for your beautiful Monday afternoon!

For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight.

~ Romans 2:13, NLT

God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

~ John 3:17, NLT

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.

~ Isaiah 43:2, NLT

Get real

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:19-24 NIV).

Are we brave enough to be real and honest with God? We might as well be; He knows our hearts inside and out anyway. A. W. Tozer, in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, wrote:

How unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us; or enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us.

God knew the real me before I even knew myself. David wrote, "Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD" (Psalm 139:4 NIV). Knowing what He knew and knows, it is a wonder that He even gives me the time of day. And to think, He gives us the time of our lives!

Jeremiah was a mighty man of God who was not afraid to be real before His maker. He wrote, "I am the man who has seen affliction because of the rod of His wrath. He has driven me and made me walk in darkness and not in light. Surely against me He has turned His hand repeatedly all the day. He has caused my flesh and my skin to waste away. He has broken my bones. He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship. In dark places He has made me dwell, like those who have long been dead" (Lamentations 3:1-6 NASB).

Jeremiah was mad and he was mad at God. As far as he was concerned, God was the cause of all his problems. He felt trapped and afraid. He continues, "He has walled me in so that I cannot go out; He has made my chains heavy. Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer. He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked. He is to me like a bear lying in wait like a lion in secret places. He has turned aside my ways and torn me to pieces; He has made me desolate...So I say, 'My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the Lord'" (vv.7-11, 18 NASB).

Jeremiah was in a bad situation...mostly because he had a wrong perception of God. God did not make him to walk in darkness, cause his flesh to waste away, or break his bones. God had not encompassed him with bitterness or hardship. But Jeremiah had allowed his perception to be skewed by his circumstances.

Even though what Jeremiah had to say was incorrect and certainly painted a bad picture of God, he was able to be real about what he was feeling. Jeremiah did not feel the need to put on a holy mask before an all-knowing God. And you know what? God didn't strike him dead for being real and saying what was on his heart.

Before we leave poor Jeremiah, let's notice what happens at the end of his lament. He begins to remember all the times that God had been faithful. "This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord's loving kindnesses are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I have hope in Him'" (vv. 21-22 NASB).

Jeremiah cleaned the clutter out of his emotional closet and rediscovered the treasures he had forgotten were there. His circumstances didn't change. God didn't change. But his attitude and perception of God changed and his emotions followed close behind.

Let's Pray
Dear LORD, sometimes I whine and complain and blame You for all sorts of trouble in my life. The truth is, I live in a fallen world where bad things happen and I make poor decisions. Help me to remember that Your ways are always loving and always kind. Help me to recall Your great deeds in my life! Thank you that Your mercies are new every morning! Great is Your faithfulness!

In Jesus' Name,

Now It's Your Turn
Have you been complaining to God about your circumstances lately?

Have you been blaming God for the difficult circumstances and forgetting to praise Him for the blessings?

Stop right now and offer up a pray of praise to God for all the wonderful deeds He has performed in your life. The gift of eternal life would be a great place to start.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Joseph and Paul.... praying for others.... a big smile!

Of all the men in the Bible, of all the examples I would want to follow besides Jesus, Joseph and Paul are the top two for me.

I think what I like most about these men was their ability to allow God to shine through their own imperfections. Their lives certainly weren't perfect though: both men made mistakes in their lives, both were a little cocky during their younger years, both spend time in prison, both had unique talents that they used for God. Yes, they were clearly anointed men, Joseph interpreting dreams and Paul preaching the Word with such passion and insight. But they had other talents as well.

Joseph was extremely organized and an amazing administrator, he had to be. It's not easy running a country on the verge of famine, but he did it. God used Joseph's divine talent of dream interpretation to put him in a position to use the earthly talents that God had been cultivating in Joseph his whole life through working for Potiphar, and holding a position in the jail, even through working with his father and brothers. Joseph was cultivated from a very early age to understand the importance and the many nuances of the role of administrator.

Paul was just plain brilliant. The pure knowledge that man held in his head amazes me! He knew the law like the back of his hand, he knew traditions, expectations, rules, and regulations. And he knew God. And he knew which one was most important. When Paul became a Christian, he went and spent time with the disciples because he knew that he needed to relearn things. He understood himself and God enough to know how to position himself to best learn what he needed to know. Both of these men used their God-given abilities, both natural and supernatural, to honor, obey, and glorify God. While I'm on Paul, I read Eph 1 this morning and learned how to pray for my friends and loved ones! Check it out!

How to pray for your friends and loved ones according to Paul (Eph. 1):

1. Do not stop giving God thanks for them and their faith and love for God and for others.

2. Continually pray for them; for God to give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they can know Him better.

3. Pray that “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints (1:18).

4. Pray these things also for yourself.

Sola Scriptura

Matthew 6:19-34 (New Living Translation)

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sola scriptura

Lamentations 3:19-33 (New International Version)

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.

20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.

21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."

25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.

27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.

28 Let him sit alone in silence,
for the LORD has laid it on him.

29 Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.

30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.

31 For men are not cast off
by the Lord forever.

32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.

33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to the children of men.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Daily Verses: Psalm 56; 57:7-10; 59:16-17

Psalm 56 (New Living Translation)

 1 O God, have mercy on me,
      for people are hounding me.
      My foes attack me all day long.
 2 I am constantly hounded by those who slander me,
      and many are boldly attacking me.
 3 But when I am afraid,
      I will put my trust in you.
 4 I praise God for what he has promised.
      I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
      What can mere mortals do to me?

 5 They are always twisting what I say;
      they spend their days plotting to harm me.
 6 They come together to spy on me—
      watching my every step, eager to kill me.
 7 Don’t let them get away with their wickedness;
      in your anger, O God, bring them down.

 8 You keep track of all my sorrows.
      You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
      You have recorded each one in your book.

 9 My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
      This I know: God is on my side!
 10 I praise God for what he has promised;
      Yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised.
 11 I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
      What can mere mortals do to me?

 12 I will fulfill my vows to you, O God,
      and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.
 13 For you have rescued me from death;
      you have kept my feet from slipping.
   So now I can walk in your presence, O God,
      in your life-giving light.

Psalm 57:7-10 (New Living Translation)

 7 My heart is confident in you, O God;
      my heart is confident.
      No wonder I can sing your praises!
 8 Wake up, my heart!
      Wake up, O lyre and harp!
      I will wake the dawn with my song.
 9 I will thank you, Lord, among all the people.
      I will sing your praises among the nations.
 10 For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.
      Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Psalm 59:16-17 (New Living Translation)

 16 But as for me, I will sing about your power.
      Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.
   For you have been my refuge,
      a place of safety when I am in distress.
 17 O my Strength, to you I sing praises,
      for you, O God, are my refuge,
      the God who shows me unfailing love.

Claim God's love and power for yourself every morning! It's not selfish, it's self-preservation. It's love, and love wins every time!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

House... depression... don't freak out

It always amazes me when people can talk about being depressed in large crowds of people, or even in small crowds of people. Blogging about it can be either, but it's disconnected because you don't have to look into anyone's eyes while typing it. Sometimes it's hard to separate the attention seekers from the truly depressed.

I posit this: it's the people who don't talk about it, who seem "fine" and tell you as much that are the ones we should focus on.

I don't know if you watch House, but in a recent episode, one of the doctors on House's team committed suicide due to depression and everyone was completely shocked because no one knew that he was depressed, no one even guessed it! The whole episode showed House trying to prove Kutner was murdered because House didn't want to accept that Kutner was depressed and everyone had missed it for the past two years. It wasn't until the very end of the episode that House seemed to finally accept Kutner's depression and his own failure to see it.

Here are some stats:

  • Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
  • Everyone, will at some time in their life be affected by depression -- their own or someone else's, according to Australian Government statistics. (Depression statistics in Australia are comparable to those of the US and UK.)
  • 15% of the population of most developed countries suffers severe depression
  • 30% of women are depressed. Men's figures were previously thought to be half that of women, but new estimates are higher.
  • 54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness
  • 41% of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help
  • 80% of depressed people are not currently having any treatment
  • 15% of depressed people will commit suicide
  • Chronic or life-long (endogenous) depression is caused by trauma in childhood which includes: emotional, physical or sexual abuse; yelling or threats of abuse; neglect (even two parents working); criticism; inappropriate or unclear expectations; maternal separation; conflict in the family; divorce; family addiction; violence in the family, neighborhood or TV; racism and poverty

Friday, April 17, 2009


A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door!

He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting, 'What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?' The young boy was apologetic. 'Please, mister...please, I'm sorry but I didn't know what else to do,' He pleaded. 'I threw the brick because no one else would stop...' With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. 'It's my brother, 'he said 'He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up.' Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, 'Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me.

Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat.. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay. 'Thank you and may God bless you,' the grateful child told the stranger. Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home.

It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message: 'Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!' God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don't have
time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us. It's our choice to listen or not.

Thought for the Day:

If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.

If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it.

He sends you flowers every spring.

He sends you a sunrise every morning.

Face it, friend -
He is crazy about you!

God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun
without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

Unbelievable Love

by Cindi Wood

Today's Truth
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" 1 John 3:1 (NKJV)

Friend to Friend
Last week our boys came home. They are grown, married, and live hours away from us, so it was a BIG DEAL that they were coming home for the weekend. The entire week before, I was busy preparing their rooms, shopping for little surprises, baking their favorite foods, and just pretty much consumed with the thought that we'd all be together having fun and just hanging out for an entire weekend. And that, we did! We bowled, ate out, ate in, stayed up late, played games, and sat in the den talking and laughing. For two and a half days, our entire purpose for being seemed to be enjoying each other's company. As we locked hands in prayer before they headed back home to their wives, my heart was about to burst with the wonder of love. Through blurred vision, their dad and I watched them drive away. "It's hard to believe how much I love them so deeply, so unconditionally, just deep down in the core of my being," I said.

Then God spoke softly to my heart. "That's how I love you, but more!"

It really is hard for us to believe God loves us unconditionally, isn't it? How can a perfect and holy God love someone like me? I am learning a valuable and life-changing truth. God does not love us because He is so lovable, friend. He loves us because He is love!

Today, celebrate the fact that you are a child of God, a son or daughter of the King -- and you are loved.

Let's Pray
O Father, I just can't get my mind around Your love. As deep as my love is for my boys, it's unfathomable to me that Your love is deeper. But I know it is. You love me -- even me, with all my junk, my failures, my sins, and my messes. You love me deeply, unconditionally, and from the core of Your being. You are God. You are love. And Lord, my heart bursts with love for You. Thank You, oh thank You!

In Jesus' name,

Now It's Your Turn
Precious friend, it's important that you accept the reality of God's love - for YOU! You may feel unlovable, unworthy, unclean, and undeserving -- but that does not negate His love. He loves you because you are His creation. Right now, you may pray this simple prayer to God your Creator. Dear God, I don't understand how you could love me, but I accept the fact that You do. Teach me more about Your love so that I may love others in the way You love me.

In Jesus' name,

feelings vs. facts

You know, I've been through a lot in my life. I'm 28 years old and I feel like there's not a feeling that I haven't felt. But as I process this thought, I hope it's not true. I know what I have felt thus far in my life, and much of it wasn't all that great. I've been everywhere from suicidally depressed to so happy that words actually failed me (strange thought, I know). But I know that this cannot be all there is. It just can't be!

But this I do know and what I really wanted to blog about: feelings do not change facts. I'll say it again: Feelings do not change facts. I may feel happy one day and sad the next, but that doesn't mean that God has moved away from me or that anything has changed in my relationship with Him. It just means that I'm a human female with fickle emotions.

I may feel like I'm alone, but that doesn't mean that God has gone away.
I may feel like no one loves me, but there is ample evidence to the contrary.
I may feel like scared about a situation, but doesn't mean that God's not in complete control of it.
I may feel down on myself, but that doesn't mean that I'm not still created in the wonderful image of God and He has created me a specific way for His glory.
I may feel unsure, but doesn't mean that God is not leading me by my hand.

Feelings do not change fact. Regardless of what you feel, God loves you, Jesus died for you, and wants nothing more than to have a relationship with you. And you can take that to the bank!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

definitions of God's transforming love

Beside each one, write your own definition and thoughts.

We call it mercy - it is God's forgiving love.
We call it fate - it is God's caring love.
We call it kindness - it is God's accepting love.
We call it death - it is God's proven love.
We call it the plan of God - it is God's perfect love.
We call it heaven - it is God's rewarding love.
We call it eternity - it is God's unending love.

My personal definition and thoughts:

We call it mercy - it is God's forgiving love.

With tears of love shining in His eyes, God looked down on His daughter and knew that she loved Him through her imperfects, through her faults. She fell to her knees and begged for forgiveness for her weaknesses. He scooped her up in His strong arms and held her close, knowing that she would always be His.

We call it fate - it is God's caring love.

"Look at my hands, at my feet, at my side" Jesus said. "Look how much I love you! If I didn't love you, you would have sustained these wounds, you would have died and not risen." She fells to her knees at the feet of her Lord and cried tears of joy for His life, thankfulness for His gift, love for His love.

We call it kindness - it is God's accepting love.

She tired everything for love, searched everywhere- even in the wrong places. All she wanted was to be loved and accepted, was that too much to ask? She didn't think so. She had jumped through every hoop imaginable. She had done things she never thought she would do. She had changed everything about herself multiple times in the search for acceptance. But it never lasted. Sooner or later, everyone let her down. She came to a crossroads, which path should she choose? She sat in the parking lot at Walmart, not sure if she was going to go in a buy a Bible or the 4 bottles of pills that she would go home and swallow. She had the radio on some random station, anything to drown out the noise of her own thoughts. She laid her head back on the head rest and said to the ceiling of the car "Someone stop me". She closed her eyes, hearing the DJ on the radio, hand going to the key to turn the car off and go inside. Music started to play, "A choice is set before you now." One line of a song stopped her hand. "living or dying, blessing or cursing" She cried.

A choice is set before you now
living or dying, blessing or cursing
You know, the time has come around
to turn from your fighting
and rest in his mercy

Choose life, that you might live
the life that He gives
He gives you forever
Choose life, the way that it's true
from the one who chose you
your father in Heaven
Choose life

Trust the Lord with all your heart
all of your soul and all of your being
Hold on, listen and obey
surrender your life into His keeping


And the weight you're under
will be lifted away
And the world will wonder
what happened here today
then you'll stand right here and say


(Choose Life by Big Tent Revival)

She went inside and bought a Bible, a journal, and a Bible study book.

We call it death - it is God's proven love.

He looked down from the cross and saw her. In indescribabe pain, He closed His eyes and saw her, saw everyone. Every person danced before His amazing eyes and He loved them all. He lifted His eyes towards Heaven and, in His pain, called out to His Father. The Father stared at His Son, waiting for His human heart to stop beating before letting the Son continue His work. Love and sorrow flowed through the air as His body was taken from the cross and placed in Joseph's tomb. Love brought tears to the eyes of His followers as they mourned Him. Love sparkled in the air like electricity when He rose!

We call it the plan of God - it is God's perfect love.

Why do we spend so much time worrying about what's going to happen next in our lives? Why do we plan so far into the future that by the time it actually rolls around, we've forgotten what we had planned? Women are really good at this. We love to plan things. We can see a total stranger across the room, like him, and in seconds, in our minds, build an entire life together. We can see the children, house, dog, and cat we would have together. Our imaginations can really fly when let loose. But why do we do this? Do we not realize that God's plan is better? Our plans are fueled with selfishness and greed, things WE want, people WE love, and a life WE want to have. But God's plans are fueled by a perfect, selfless love that wants to give us a hope and a future.

We call it heaven - it is God's rewarding love.

Where will you go when you die? Do you know? Do you care? I've met people who didn't know and were scared; people who knew and were scared; people who didn't care and felt nothing; people who knew and were secure in their knowledge, but should have been scared; and people who were secure and safe and right. It's easy to say, "yeah, I'm going to heaven", but why are you going there? Is it because of something you've done that was just so incredibly wonderful that God cannot possibly keep you out? Is it because you said a prayer when you were a kid and only think about it at Christmas and Easter? Or is it because of God's love that bathes you daily, showering you in His light? God wants that none should perish, His greatest desire is for us to know Him, I mean really know Him! But people will perish. It's a sad but true fact that people will die and go to Hell for all eternity because, even though God's desire was to save them, they did not let themselves be saved. Pride truly does go before the fall.

We call it eternity - it is God's unending love.

"How long is forever?" a little girl asked her grandfather. The man smiled at the innocence of his beloved granddaughter.

"Well" he began, pointing the far off blue mountain top just visible on the horizon. "You see that mountain way way out there?"

She squinted in the sunset, "Yeah, is it that far?"

"It's farther than that" he replied.

"How much farther?"

"Farther than we can see. What brought this on? Why are you thinking about forever things?"

"Well, in Sunday school this morning, Ms. B said that God will love me forever. I just wanted to know how long that was going to be."

He gently wrapped the little girl in his arms, "God will love you your whole life and then after you die, He will love you so much that He will want you to live with Him in Heaven."

The little girl sighed happily, "I like that."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lamentations 3:19-33

Lamentations 3:19-33 (New Living Translation)

19 The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words
20 I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
21 Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
26 So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.
27 And it is good for people to submit at an early age
to the yoke of his discipline:

28 Let them sit alone in silence
beneath the Lord’s demands.
29 Let them lie face down in the dust,
for there may be hope at last.
30 Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them
and accept the insults of their enemies.

31 For no one is abandoned
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion
because of the greatness of his unfailing love.
33 For he does not enjoy hurting people
or causing them sorrow.

Lamentations 3:19-33 (Shanna’s Personal Version)

19 Thinking back over my past, remembering my complete and utter loneliness makes me throw up my in my mouth a little bit. 20 I will never be able to wipe the memory of those feelings and how I tried to hurt myself, of all the time I spent completely useless to God. 21 And yet, I can still have hope, because I know this:

22 God’s love is always faithful and never ending! His favor will always rest on me! 23 His faithfulness to us is renewed every morning, it’s that great! 24 I say to myself, “God is my prize; my heart and my hopes are safe with Him.”

25 My God is a good shepherd, gracious to those who depend on Him, to those who are searching for Him. 26 So I will wait expectantly for Him and for my salvation. I will not try to impress Him with my knowledge or good works. It’s not like that’s going to do any good anyway. 27 I’m glad I began this journey when I was young, even though I went my own way somewhere in between now and then.

28 I’m learning to sit quietly and not talk God’s ear off; I’m learning to listen. 29 I’m realizing just how little I am; I’m learning how to humble myself before God. 30 I’m learning to be meek without being a doormat. I’m learning how to love my enemies.

31 God has never left me and never shall leave me. 32 Even through the lessons He knows I need to learn, He shows such love and compassion on me! 33 God doesn’t ever want to hurt me; it’s not in His character. He loves me, wants the best for me, and much like a parent, must teach the child for the child’s own good. I would much rather learn a lesson from a God who loves me than a cruel world who wants to kill me.