Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thursday Jam

I know that I am late to the party but I just purchased Hillsong United's Zion cd after a dear friend raved about how good it was. Pick it up if you haven't already- you will be blessed by it!

This same dear friend also inspired this Thursday Jam because she told me that her favorite song on the cd was "Oceans" and I have been playing it on repeat ever since.

The part of the song that has stuck with me is the refrain:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I have noticed several other people have posted this refrain as a status on Facebook, and I don't blame them. These words are powerful!

But it makes me wonder what these words look like lived out in real life?

How many of us really, truly, want to go wherever the Spirit is calling us?
Desire to trust God without limitation?
Obedience without questioning?
No making excuses or needing confirmation 10 different ways before we take a step of faith?

Most of us want to go wherever the Spirit is calling us as long as its comfortable and not too scary.
As long as it doesn't involve confrontation or rejection or criticism. Or standing out from everyone else.

I can honestly say it is the desire of my heart to get to that place that I am wholeheartedly willing to go WHEREVER the Spirit calls me.

Just to be real with you: I can't say that I am there right now.

I mean after all, it took me FOUR YEARS to respond in obedience when I felt the Spirit leading me to start a blog. Sheesh!

I am most definitely getting better and becoming more aware of the Spirit's leading in my life- but I still have a looooong way to go in this area.

There are still times I find myself hesitating or making excuses when I feel like the Holy Spirit is leading me to do something....

Because where he calls me might be scary. Or uncomfortable. Or messy.
I might face rejection there and lose friends.
I might look ridiculous to others.
I might have to let go of some material things that I hold dear.
It may cause me to recognize some not so pretty truths about myself.
I might have to live differently than I do right now.

Sometimes I hesitate to do the simple things that the Spirit calls me to do like lay hands on and pray for someone I don't know. To bless someone that I don't know with a meal. To reach out to my neighbors. To share my faith with a stranger. To give grace to someone who may not be so nice to me.

Am I the only one here?

Stepping out in faith and living in obedience to the Holy Spirit's leading is something that takes courage and boldness. A willingness to live outside of our comfort zone. Discipline to say yes in obedience to the Lord without question.

I sing this song "Oceans" with that desire in my heart that the Spirit would lead me to a place of trust without borders. To a new place of boldness in my walk with the Lord. That I would be obedient to him no matter what the ancillary consequences may be.

Because I know that is the place where my faith will be strengthened and I will experience a new level of peace, freedom, and victory in my life and relationship with Jesus.

Each time I listen to this song, I believe my courage is bolstered just a bit.
My prayer is that it will do the same for you.

2 Corinthians 3:17 9 (AMP)
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom).(A)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monday errr.....Tuesday Meditation

On this Tuesday, it is a story (instead of just a verse or two) from the Bible that has been pressing on my heart, so I thought it was appropriate to share:

Matthew 14:22-33 (NLT)
Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning[a] Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here![b]
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong[c] wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said.“Why did you doubt me?”
When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

I have read this story countless times. And I love it. But this time, I noticed something different. I felt like God showed me something new in this story that was so timely and encouraging to me in my current season of life.

Side Note: That is my absolute favorite thing about the Bible! It is always relevant to the here and now of my life. God continually uses verses and stories that I have heard countless times to teach me new things. Awesome.

In the story of Jesus walking on the water, it dawned on me that when Peter focused on Jesus, he was able to walk on the water. 
The moment that he took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the storm going on around him, he began to sink.


Just let that absorb into your brain for a moment.

Recently my focus has been on the storm. And it does feel like I am sinking some days. 

And the mistake has been letting my focus change from God to what is going on around me. 

When I fix my eyes on my current circumstances, it gives the enemy an opportunity to tear me down even more. It becomes a downward spiral, and I tend to let whatever I am going through determine my attitude at that time.

This is not a good thing. For me or those around me. It puts me in a funk!

I need to remember we serve a mighty God who has the ability to bring me out of my circumstances. 
And even if he doesn't change my circumstances he can change my heart in the midst of them, give me his peace, and work every detail of my situation for good (Romans 8:28, Philippians 4:6-7) if I can just fix my eyes on him.

Its true for you too!

What is the current storm in your life that you are focusing on instead of Jesus?

Failed relationship

When Peter looked at the storm around him he became scared. And many of the "storms" we experience in life are scary and overwhelming. 

But Jesus tells us not to doubt him. 
To not be afraid. 
To take courage!

Its a commandment people!

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your current circumstances, feeling defeated, or rejected.

Take courage!

And if you need some ideas on how to get back on track.....

Get into the Bible and start reading!
Find a Bible based church where I can be fed and encouraged.
Listen to some praise and worship music.
Watch/Listen to sermons on the web.

I hope this story encourages you today as much as it did me.
Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Meditation

I seem to go through seasons of life in my relationship with the Lord where he gives me a revelation of himself, a better understanding of who he is, and then that understanding is deepened through different events that occur over a period of time.

In this current season of life, I feel like his message to me has been one of his GRACE.

The more I learn about his grace in my life, and the lives of others I am changed.

More and more I am convinced that understanding His grace changes everything.

It changes the way we see ourselves.
It changes how we respond to situations/people
It changes the way we treat others.

A revelation of his grace in my life allowed me to see others the way God sees them. It gave me the freedom to receive his peace in knowing that he loves EVERYONE the same way he loves me.

Understanding his grace gave me the ability to LET IT GO. It showed me how I should love others the way Jesus does, instead of trying to change them myself or act as the Holy Spirit in their lives.

I understand now that he doesn't see and weigh sin the way I did/do. Its all just sin to him.

We are all equal: a bunch of imperfect people in need of a perfect Savior.

Even though we sin and turn away from him continually, he is still kind, tolerant, and patient with us. Wooing us back to him with lovingkindness and undeserved favor (grace). There we can repent and find forgiveness.

It is the love and kindness of Jesus that leads us to repentance. 

I can't help but think what would the world look like if we would freely and actively show God's grace to others?

What would the church look like if we could extend God's grace, love, and kindness to everyone?

It would surely be a different place.

The verse I chose to share with you today was the catalyst for this revelation of grace in my life. I pray that as you meditate on it, you come to a new understanding of God's grace and love for you.

Because when you do, you will never be the same again.

Romans 2:3-4 (NRSV)
Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday Jam

Only one more sleep until the weekend folks!

I love Thursdays for this exact reason. I'm also beginning to love it because I get to share worship music that I love with you!

Plus this fall weather makes me happy.
I ate the most awesome donut with rainbow sprinkles this morning. <------so good!
And my friend is coming to visit this weekend.

Its the little things!

The song I am sharing today is just one of my favorites.

I listened to this on repeat while I was in labor with my daughter, which brings back happy (albeit painful) memories.

Whenever I listen to it, it just causes me to take a deep breath and relax a little.

Because life gets crazy doesn't it? Things are hectic and we try to fit so many things into our days.

All the responsibilities that come with being a wife/mother/friend/sister/daughter can be overwhelming and exhausting all at the same time.

Lately I have just been feeling weary. Like I need a rest.

I actually told my husband the other day my dream was to just have a day to sleep.

Dramatic I know.

Maybe you are feeling weary but for different reasons.

Family troubles.
Financial difficulty.
Marital strife.
Unruly children.
____________ (Fill in the blank)

Whatever it is, there is rest in Jesus. When you sit back from the chaos and lean into him, he will meet you there and give you the rest you are longing for.

The answer is Jesus. Every.Time.

I pray this song reminds you to take that deep breath, to open your hands and release your burdens to Jesus. Then receive his peace and rest friend. He's got it covered.

Amen and Amen!

Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Meditation

Well hello again!

Welcome to the start of another week.

There is no better way to start a Monday (in my opinion) than meditating on a portion of scripture.

Even if you are a busy person who hasn't figured out how to schedule in some quiet time with the Lord, I highly recommend choosing a verse that stands out to you and putting in in front of you all week.

Write the verse(s) on a notecard and put a copy in your purse, in your car, on the fridge, or maybe on your mirror.

When you keep it in front of you all week, you will be surprised at how God will make his word come alive to you during your day to day life. At the same time, you will have it memorized and when you need it the most the Holy Spirit will bring it back to you and use it again.

Its true! There is nothing more powerful and encouraging than the truth of God's word.

Today's verse that I am sharing with you has been at the top of my mind lately.

There are lots of people in my life that are going through rough circumstances or desert seasons.

I know all can relate to that!

In the midst of a trying season, when you are experiencing all sorts of hurts and/or difficulties it is a natural response to look for answers or a way out.

We want to blame someone and oftentimes, unfortunately, we blame and question God and his goodness.

John 10:10 reminds us that it is the enemy who is the cause of our misery. Anything that happens in your life that falls under the categories of steal, kill, or destroy is straight from the devil. It is not from God.

You will never be more prone to an attack than when you are on the wilderness road on the way to God's promise and plan for your life. 
-Beth Moore

I have noticed that some of the most trying and difficult times in my life have been when I am seeking God's will for my life and taking steps of obedience into his plan and purposes. The enemy's voice in my ear is loud, sometimes deafening. Stealing my peace and joy.

Maybe you aren't in a place where you are seeking the Lord's will and you are in the midst of difficulty, feeling hurt and defeated. The enemy wants nothing more for you than to keep you right where you are at.

Feeling angry.

The wonderful thing is that it doesn't have to be that way for you. When you are in Christ the enemy has been overcome and you have authority to tell him to get out and leave you alone!

John 10:10 reemphasizes this point. It states the kind of life God intends for us to live in him.

John 10:10
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [a]overflows).

Jesus wants you to live a rich, full, and satisfying life.

He wants you to have an abundant life. Until it overflows!

I looked up the definition of abundant just to give you a clearer picture:

    1. Abundant- existing or available in large quantities; plentiful
      Synonyms include: huge, great, rich, lavish, profuse, teeming, large

      I am all for some of that abundant, lavish, FULL life in Jesus! 
What about you?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thursday Jam: Remembering Grandpa

One year ago today my sweet Grandpa went to heaven.
All at the same time it feels like it was yesterday and then sometimes ages ago.

My grandpa was very special to me. He walked me down the aisle at my wedding. When I was young he called me "Miggily Piggily", which at the time I hated, but now the thought of it makes me smile.

I love how he always asked me how "his Meggie" was doing. That he would stop and tell me how beautiful I was to him every time I saw him. He made me feel important and special. I love that even though he hated to fly in airplanes, he flew all the way from Nebraska to North Carolina for my wedding so that he could be there for me.

He had a beautiful singing voice. He loved serving his church as head usher. He loved opera music, dancing, crossword puzzles, and the Chicago Bears. He LOVED dessert and had a major sweet tooth.

Most of all he loved my grandma. They were married for 66 years when he passed.

Right now he is walking with Jesus and I am so happy and comforted by that. I know towards the end of his life, he was desperately ready for the wholeness heaven would bring to his failing body.

This song "You Hold Me Now" by Hillsong United reminds me of my grandpa in heaven and makes me excited for the day when I get to see him again.
What a sweet sweet day that will be to be in the presence of Jesus together. I can't wait!

Revelation 21:4 (KGV)
And God shall wipe all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things have passed away.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I know I say it every week- but wow- Wednesday is here again!

Ever since I became a mother I swear it feels as if time just speeds up. I can't believe how fast the days go by. Slow down please! This mama doesn't want her baby growing up so fast. Do ya feel me?

I'm doing my best to try and get into a regular blogging routine. Its been a bit spotty these last two weeks as I am still figuring things out. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

So many things I am loving this week!

1. Old Navy Rockstar Skinny Jeans- I recently took advantage of the fact that these were on sale for $19 (Can you believe that price?!?) and purchased a black and a grey pair. They are sooooo stretchy and comfortable!

The black ones seriously feel like yoga pants. And as all you mommies out there know yoga pants=awesome mom uniform.

As a former jean snob, I was seriously surprised at the fit of these jeans. Check them out. So many fun colors and prints too. The sale ends today 10/2 so hurry up!

2. This weekend, my husband and I both had a hankering (haha) for a cheeseburger and fries. But after looking at the nutritional information on the restaurant versions (yes I do that- helps talk me out of bad eating decisions) I decided to make them at home. And they were out of this world!

I loosely based the cheeseburger recipe on The Pioneer Woman's bacon cheeseburgers. I used leaner meat than she does and I didn't use the cream. I also added half a packet of Italian seasoning and used 100% whole wheat buns. So. good. We may or may not have eaten them twice this weekend. Whoops!

I also made these Baked Oven FriesI found this recipe on Pinterest. They were so yummy as well! The secret is soaking the potatoes in water before baking for as long as you can. Makes the fries crispy and oh so yummy. I also had to cook them for much longer than the recipe states, just fyi.

3. This. Whoa.
A convicting thought. Been rolling this around in my brain all week.

4. Fall colors! The leaves are starting to turn here in Michigan and its just beautiful. My favorite time of year for sure.

5. My leopard flats. They are cheap, comfy, and go with everything. My perfect fall shoe!

I guess that about covers it. What things are you currently loving? I would love to know.
Have a happy Wednesday!