Friday, January 15, 2010

Delight Yourself

"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalms 37:4)

Last night Pastor David spoke about dreams. He spoke of how often God will give us desires that will seem to nag at us and not go away. These dreams or desires are often placed there by God because they reflect something God wants us to accomplish in our lives, or bless us with. We can fuel these dreams by bathing these desires in prayer and exercising our faith in these areas to see these desires come to fruition. We start to hope.

*There are many stages in the process of God fulfilling our dreams. First of all, we need to look at our dreams/desires and determine if these are really from God. God will not give us desires which are not in His will.

Do they glorify God?

Are they contrary to God's word?

*As we progress along in our journey of faith, these desires become clearer. Over time they begin to take definition as we start to see answers to our prayers. No longer do these desires seem like impossibilities, but they begin to have substance. They actually begin to make sense. :)

*Once the substance stage comes along there are often distractions or temptations which spring up to get us to take a detour.

One biblical example of this was Abraham and Hagar.

*We can also make decisions which are contrary to our dream/desire which will prolong it from happening.

Biblical example of this was Abraham and Lot. God did not give Abraham a son until he parted ways with Lot. He did not "leave his father's house" like God had said.

*Even after we are obeying and trusting in God and He has brought the desire to a substance and began to clarify it, we still must wait. These are the times when we need to persevere.

*After we have waited and persevered, there comes trials and problems which begin to take our dreams/desires away. We are bombarded with doubts and fears of all types. We may come to the end of ourselves and want to give up completely. It is in this time when we get on our knees and come to a place of absolute surrender. We realize that God is the only one who could make these problems disappear. He can use this time to cleanse our motives and strengthen our faith. This often happens right before our desires come to pass.

This really encouraged me on a number of levels because God has planted two specific things in my heart which have not happened yet. Two nagging desires that I cannot shake. I can confidently say they are from God because they would glorify Him. Still at times I have doubts and I have been tempted lately to make decisions contrary to these desires. Thankfully, I have escaped these temptations.

I am also encouraged because I feel this year is different. Not like a New Years resolution or whatever, because I don't believe in New Years resolutions. I think they are lame. But, lately things have slowly begun to change. The trials that I have been in for the last 3 years or so, seem to be lifting. It was as though I was in a state of continous trials for so long, I thought it had become permanent. I have *never* experienced trials like I have in the last few years. It was starting to become ridiculous and almost inhumane. I was so tempted to become bitter, and did a few times. I despaired for relatives who were in trials, I fought for my marriage, I saw a loved one completely walk away from the Lord, we had a layoff, a custody battle, anything and everything you could possibly think of happened. In a three year period. A few of these things haven't been resolved yet, but some have. Just *barely*. I felt like I was in a desert land wandering around without water, sandals or a visor. It's as though I just found a water fountain in the middle of the desert, and I have been drinking water but I almost forgot how it tasted. But now I see maybe God wanted these things to happen, maybe He allowed these things to happen because they were part of His plan. Maybe he wanted to get my attention and drastically break me into a million little pieces so He could put me back together. Maybe He wanted to bond my marriage so tight that He brought trial upon trial upon trial to teach us to unite. Maybe He wanted to grow my trust in Him and teach me to love.

Whatever the case He uses all things to work together for His good and I am thankful....for whatever horrendous reason these things have happened.

To think that even now He would even use a time like this to wave a glimmer of my heart's desires before my eyes brings tears to my eyes. Man, he is good.

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
1 John 5:14

Monday, June 15, 2009

Francine Rivers Does it Again

One of the things I hate most about reading is when I finally find a great book to read and I completely devour it say, within a day. This is what happened yesterday when I bought my first e-book, The Atonement Child, by Francine Rivers. I bought the book yesterday around noon and I was done before 9pm. Now I am back to square one looking for my next book to read. Sigh.

Francine Rivers is an exceptional author who writes books about subject matters which are excruciatingly intense. This book was no exception. The book centers around the main character Dynah, who is a college student engaged to a wonderful Christian man who is an aspiring Pastor to be. Everything in Dynah's life was going great, she couldn't ask for anything more. Until one night the unthinkable happened, when she was attacked and raped on the college campus.

Dynah's life quickly went from bad to worse as she received news she was in fact pregnant. The fiance she was soon to wed didn't take the news well which put distance between them. Actually, their relationship completely dissolved. He met someone else and was engaged again within three weeks. Everyone in Dynah's life began to put pressure on her to have the baby aborted. Dynah was soon asked to leave her Christian College which did not condone pregnant single mothers, no matter the situation. Dynah was faced with the decision of a lifetime as she is forced to put her faith to the test. The book is beautifully written and is a wonderful story of a girl who encounters the unthinkable, and makes it through with her faith intact.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kids and Carbs

This past Saturday Jeff and I had the opportunity to go and visit a Advent group home in our area. The home is only a few blocks from our house. :)

We brought snacks for them and even had a little bible study. It was cool to just hang out with them because they are actually really good kids who just need some guidance and love. I played basketball with a few kids while Jeff had a heart to heart talk with one of the boys. It was cool because although their language was terrible and used four letter words as adjectives, it was cool to hear their hearts and answer genuine questions they had about God. I am excited to go back and continue to develop relationships with the kids in hopes to minister to them and in someway make a difference in their lives.

Jeff and I also started a new diet. I got the idea of the "no flour, no sugar diet" from a friend of mine. The diet basically lets you eat all of the meat, fruit, cheese, veggies and proteins you want but minus the chips, breads, tortillas, pasta and of course sugar. You can have brown rice and whole grain breads and pastas instead.

We have been on it for a few weeks now and so far it hasn't been that bad. It has been forcing us to eat better and eliminate the needless carbs out of our diet. I have been feeling a lot better eliminating the breads out of my diet. I have felt a lot less bloated after meals and I generally have more energy.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Out with the Girls.....

Last Thursday night we skipped bible study and had a girls night out instead. We went out for dinner and a movie and we also celebrated Mary's birthday afterwards. I don't think I have ever ate so much food! I had a great time and felt like I was in high school again as we laughed and acted silly all night.
I am so blessed to be a part of our ladies bible study. I love the group of ladies we have and the fellowship we share. It is a treat every Thursday as we grow closer and learn together. The accountability has been great for me as I am continually challenged to give up everything for the sake of following Jesus.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Walk Mondays. Faith in Motion.

"The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. " Genesis 12:1

Our family has been going through a lot of changes lately. My husband was laid off in January from his job of more than 12 years. We have also been attending a new church for the last month. Yes, a lot of changes. It reminds me of Genesis 12 where God told Abram to take his family and set out for the place He will show them. Abram was to leave everything that was comfortable and familiar and travel somewhere new. But God didn't give Abram any details other than the command to go. For some reason God didn't want Abram to know the details - maybe because Abram wouldn't have wanted to go had he known the situation. Or maybe, God wanted to test his faith, or maybe the journey WAS the destination.

This is hard to grasp because I am a person that likes to know all of the details. For example, last Summer we took a trip to So Cal to visit Disneyland, Sea World and Universal Studios. I planned the entire trip in advance, we had our tickets, coupons, everything. Nothing was left to chance. I thoroughly enjoyed going over the details again and again- well in advance. I spent hours reading park reviews, maps, mulling over ticket prices, and hotel accommodations because I wanted everything to be just right. I wanted our vacation experience to be well thought out and well prepared. I just wanted us to have the best time possible.

Going on vacation took no faith on our part. We had the maps, ticket receipts and itinerary confirmations. Everything was set for us to simply show up.

But Abram was given a completely different mission. He was basically told to leave home and start walking with directions to follow.

This is the faith that Abram was later commended for in Hebrews 11:8-10

"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God."

He didn't merely believe what God said, but he took it a step further. He put his faith into motion when he took his family and set out for this unknown destination. His faith was activated the moment his sandals hit the road. He obeyed before he saw any evidence, before there was a Messiah or the Holy Spirit.

As I think of God's faithfulness in Abram's life I am excited to see what God has in store for us. I want faith like Abram, where I don't just believe in God, but I want to put my faith into motion. Maybe it's not so much about the destination as it is about the journey.