Welcome, dear friends! Here you will find an assortment of snippets and reflections ... and hopefully some encouraging quotes from people like John Piper and C.S. Lewis and ... most of all ... the Scriptures. :-) Leave a comment if you'd like - I would love to hear from you! Have a GREAT day.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fond Greetings, My Friend ... It's Been a While ;)

Has it really been since February since I've updated? ;) Wow! I guess life has been busy these days! Things have been going well ... For an update, I hardly know where to begin? ;)

Maybe just a few of the highlights of the past few months ...

Beautiful snowfall in February and March ... what a treat!

More walks at the nature preserve

Such good times of prayer and fellowship in the Lord with friends

Continue to be so grateful for my church home

Heard such an impactful message from Pastor Francis Chan when he came and shared with our staff ... Two things that especially stood out to me from his sharing were:

1) When he shared about some believers who had been in danger for their lives, but who, when back to a place of safety, went and told their pastor they wished they were back in that place of suffering ... because of the incredible sense of closeness they experienced with Jesus. Pastor Chan talked about how he believes there is a special sweetness experienced for those who suffer in Christ.

2) When he shared about how the Lord provided for something he longed for (but couldn't justify spending the $$ on) in a special way ... He was so excited and basically said, "Is there ANYTHING in my life that the Lord doesn't care about?" Praise the Lord! What an encouraging reminder that we can trust Him ...that He is so good and knows what is best for us ... and, of course, those moments when He blesses us with something fun and "extra special" are fun and such a tangible reminder of His love for us, too. :) I feel like snow is one of those things for me ... It really felt so special that it snowed so much this year, and I was so happy! :))

And... judging from all the snowmen popping up around here when we had the incredible snowfall back in February, I would say I wasn't the only one! :-)

Monday, February 01, 2010

How He Spoke to My Heart

It's amazing how the Lord works ... So, last Thursday and Friday I was out of the office with maybe really bad sinues mixed with a mild cold? Anyhow, I struggled at different times with discouragement over that time and over the weekend ... I think the Enemy knows we're often most vulnerable when we're physically under the weather and/or tired... and I guess I was both. ;-) [or should that be ;-(]

But just to show you how amazing and patient and merciful God is ... I had been experiencing a desperate lack of spending time in His Word, alone with Him ... So either Friday or Saturday night (I think Sat.?) I was reading .... some more .... in a Christian fiction book ..... yes, instead of reading in the Word, which I was really desperately needing!

But in the book, one of the main characters "discovered" a really encouraging passage of Scripture ... and the Lord used that to speak to me and encourage me so much ... I even ended up writing part of it on my bathroom mirror .... Quite a while back, I had adopted a friend's idea of writing Scriptures on the bathroom mirror with those dry-erase markers ... :) Anyhow, before I head home for some much-needed time with Jesus [(smile, blush ... yes, please hold me accountable ... I need it! :))] .... here is the amazing passage He led me to this weekend ...

"See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come ..." --Song of Songs 2:11,12a

It really feels like something the Lord is speaking to my heart ... I get such a picture of His love and His care over me in these wonderful words... :) Reminds me a little of Zephaniah 3:17, where it talks about Him singing over us. Isn't that amazing?!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Place of Thanksgiving

I know I haven't written in a while. I guess life has been busy and kind of taken on a life of its own! (Don't tell my co-workers in the writing department that I just used a word twice in the same sentence. :-))

I had a while where I had some discouragement ... I think maybe that's been one way I've especially been hit by the Enemy in the spiritual battle at different times this year ... but friends have been praying for me and I truly experienced a wonderful breakthrough after praying with a friend last week. I am so grateful ... it's great to feel refreshed and encouraged. :)

But I am learning a lot, I think, about hoping in the Lord. At least, I hope I am! :) I am definitely still a work in progress .... as we all are .... but one verse I was reading last night really jumped out at me. I want to remember it in both the highs and the lows of life (there's definitely been a bit of both this year, in varying measures and at different times!).

"And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” --Romans 5:5

I LOVE that. It just has such a ring of ... well, hope ... to it! :) I am so glad the Lord put verses like that in the Bible for us. It's a wonderful truth. He is the God of hope, and each moment we can always find hope in Him. What a delightful thing!

On another note, I had a very nice Thanksgiving... Got to be with my whole family, which was so nice, and even got to do some hiking with my niece and nephews and enjoy not only a nice traditional Thanksgiving meal, but also some yummy mesquite chicken pizza at a fun new (to me) place. :) I also had fun playing UNO Attack with my niece and my mom ... It's so funny how you never know how many cards are going to come out of that contraption! :-D

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A City whose Builder and Foundations are God

"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. 9By 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. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." - Hebrews 11:8-10, NIV

Over the course of this summer, some of my "foundations" have been unexpectedly shaken at different times, and some even taken away. I won't lie; it has been hard and even downright painful at times, but the Lord has shown me sooooo much of Himself through it all. He has beautifully reminded me that in the storms and little challenges of life, I can fully lean on HIM as my True Foundation. Praise the Lord!

I have recently been listening to some CDs of a series taught on Isaiah 40 and have been so incredibly blessed through it. They are teachings by Nancy Leigh Demoss*, whom I can't seem to say enough good things about. :) (see below) One thing I loved that she brought out from the passage is, who can we compare God to? Nothing and no one on this earth could ever compare to Him. What wonderful, encouraging news for those moments in our lives when we feel like our foundations are being shaken around us .... especially when you couple it with Hebrews 11:8-10. :) This world is not our home. Sure, there will be pleasant moments and good times ... but in those harder seasons, how comforting and hope-giving it is to remember that we are looking forward to a lasting city*, whose builder and maker is God. HE is our foundation. Praise the Lord! :) This fills my heart with joy, even in the hard times. He is so good!

*Her teachings have encouraged and helped me soooo much in my walk with the Lord, and I have been loaning them out to friends at work as well, so they can be encouraged! :) I can hear the love and joy of Jesus in Nancy's voice .... I know it must be so contagious to those around her. Her heart and calling are to nourish women in their walks with Jesus, our Dearest Friend. And I highly recommend her website to you, where you can listen to many of her teachings online. :)

[If you are reading this and aren't sure how you can look forward to a lasting city whose builder and architect is God Himself, I would love to tell you! Just leave a comment on this blog … I promise you, this is something you will be so glad you asked about …. You won’t regret it!]

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Things Jesus is Teaching Me ... Lessons from a Hurt Finger ;-)

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." - 2 Corinthians 4:16,17

This passage is one I will probably be especially clinging to over the next few weeks or so. ;-) I feel like the Lord's been teaching me so much lately ... that even in those moments where I feel physically tired and weak, He is renewing me. May He get all the glory!

I'm so happy and grateful to Him, and hope this is an encouragement to someone who could use encouragement today, as well as to any who have been praying, that the Lord is using your prayers! Now, my little "suffering" lately is NOTHING compared to the incredible amount of suffering many of our Christian brothers and sisters on the other side of the world are facing all the time for loving Jesus. At the same time, the Scriptures are packed with encouragement we all as believers can glean from in "all kinds of trials," big and small! I am so grateful for how the Lord's used trials in my and my family's lives over the past few years to draw us closer to Him.

There have been several things going on as far as physical challenges lately, such as quite a bit of aching at different times in my left shoulder and a muscle in my back, a couple of other small things, and hurting my finger pretty seriously a few weeks ago. I did find out this past week that the finger injury may have some long-term (lifetime?) effects. I am not complaining, though ... the Lord is renewing me and teaching me so much!

The finger injury happened when I was jumping onto a blob on our ministry's staff retreat. Despite the injury, I can truly say it was a wonderful weekend of fellowship and good times with people! :o) And, too, I know that with God, nothing is by accident and He can totally bring good out of my hurt finger! :) (Romans 8:28)

A co-worker brought me to the hospital the evening I injured it .... and I could tell you some pretty funny stories from our trip there and back, including trying to explain to the nurse in the ER what a blob was. (She kept thinking I must have said "log" instead. :-D) We had some pretty funny things happen that night that definitely gave us some good laughs .... if you want to hear some of the funny stories ... just ask me! :)

I am happy about how the Lord has been working in my heart and teaching me through this time. It's definitely all Him and obviously not anything in me - His Word teaches that nothing good dwells in our flesh. It's so exciting to see Him work!

I went to the doctor earlier this week for my two-week follow-up. I was eager to hear some encouraging news about my progress, but learned instead that he's now thinking the little bone that broke off in the top joint of the finger may never move back to where it should be, even with wearing the splint the maximum time (six more weeks). He said, "We'll wait and see."

Only a few weeks ago, I wouldn't have known how to handle hearing my finger may not heal back completely, but as I thought about it this week, I realized the Lord was giving me total rest about either outcome. Wow! I definitely thank Him for that. :) I know the Lord is able to pick up that bone and move it back to where it should be (and you can certainly pray for this! :))). Of course that would be my natural preference (and would certainly make life much simpler!;), but more than anything, I want HIS will in this. As much as I would love to see my finger fully recovered and restored to full function, even more than that I am prepared to accept the outcome that would most glorify Him, even if it is different from what I may have chosen.

It may seem like such a small thing, but I am just so grateful for His perspective in all this ... It's all from Him, because I'm sure that in my natural human state I would have been worried and all. :) It's wonderful to know it's in His hands and I can TRUST Him and be free from worry! :) It's all because of Him. I was so encouraged to have an opportunity to share about the Lord a little with the receptionist there on my first visit and was thinking of how that may not have happened if I hadn't hurt my finger.

Earlier this week I was talking to a friend who basically said, "Praise the Lord - if you end up needing to have a hurt finger for the rest of your life, but this doctor gets saved - what is that compared to eternity." I thought about it and knew I agreed completely... I would be more than willing to have a finger that doesn't heal 100% if it means the doctor comes to know Jesus and will be able to spend eternity in heaven (and not have to perish in hell!). Wow, what a great trade-off! :) Whether the Lord draws this doctor to Himself through him seeing a miracle in my finger, or whether He would choose to use me as a vessel in his life as I accept either outcome, either way it would be a miracle! Anytime someone comes to faith in Jesus, it is a wonderful miracle and something He brings about.****

Isn't it wonderful that as a Christian, we can't lose? Our lives are in His precious hands ... we can TRUST Him. :) And our lives are not just about us ... they're for a so much greater purpose ... for His glory and for bringing precious souls to Him. I am full of joy and want to give Him the glory for all of this ... This peace is all from HIM, and I am so grateful. Whatever you may be going through today, big or small, I hope this is in some way an encouragement to you. Anything we go through as believers is for a bigger and greater purpose ... how exciting is that?!

****[If you're not sure what this is all about, but would like to know ... I would just love to chat with you about what JEsus did for you on the Cross to redeem you, and how you can know Him personally and know for sure you will be with Him in heaven one day.... and have life take on a whole new meaning! :) It's the most important decision you'll ever make...]

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hope for the Least of These

This is a video about precious Dalit children in Asia, put together by a co-worker at the ministry ... I have seen this a number of times, but again found myself in tears ... even sobs ... as I watched it today at my desk. [To watch, go to the end of this entry and click on the arrow ... It will start playing for you.]

Oh, how my heart goes out for these precious children, so dear to the heart of the Father. I thank the Lord for, once again, lifting me above the "here and now" ... the things around me that I can so easily allow to distract me ... and opening my eyes afresh to some of the things that breaks His heart ... How humbled I feel, and yet how in need I am of Him to remind me ... of what is important, what is dear to His kind and loving heart!

These children's lives here on this earth are so hard ... yet there is incredible hope for them in Jesus .... For a while now, I've been able to sponsor some of the precious children whose plights are like those shown in this video clip and I thank the Lord for this ... at the same time I'm so challenged that I could be a lot more purposeful with my finances so that maybe I could help another precious child! What greater joy could we have to invest in during this lifetime, than in the things of eternity, the things dear to His heart? :)

If your heart is touched by this video ... I so much encourage you to pray about whether the Lord may be calling you to sponsor a precious child, too ... bringing the transforming hope of Jesus to a child and his/her family! I promise you, you won't regret it. (Even if you don't feel you can help a little one in Asia financially at this time ... you can PRAY ... this is huge!!!)

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Place Where We'll Never Grow Weary

I have been kind of tired lately, and felt weary at times ... Last week was really busy with writing projects, and while I honestly enjoyed a good bit of it (writing is fun!), I don't think I realized until later just how tired I was. ;-) Life in general has felt so busy for a while now ... I am finding myself in need of making sure I'm not doing "too much" ... of taking time to rest and be rejuvenated ... and realizing that I shouldn't feel "guilty" about needing my rest ... the Lord can use me sooo much more if I'm rested than if I'm not! :-) And I believe He desires that we take those times to rest and rejuvenate while here on this earth in our finite bodies ...

The pastor's message at church yesterday was on Heaven. It was so encouraging ... He was talking about how our best moments on this earth are a tiny foretaste of Heaven ... and of course, they can't even begin to compare to the exquisite joys of Heaven. :) It will be amazing ... and, too, we will have heavenly bodies and will be able to enjoy an infinite amount of fellowship with the One who created us and with other believers, without ever running out of time or energy. Think about how awesome that will be!

Romans 8:18 tells us that those weary moments, those trials, anything we experience that may try to discourage us or weary us here on this earth ... none of that is worthy of being compared with the glories of Heaven. What a wonderful promise! I remember another passage, I believe in 1 Peter, about how our trials here on this earth are only "for a little while" ... a very short while ... compared with eternity in Heaven! :)

I am feeling more energized and encouraged already ... how 'bout y'all? :o) I do think I'm going to take a walk at the nature preserve in this nice weather and listen to my GoBible. I have definitely been challenged and convicted lately of how I need to be in the Word so much more ... I love Jesus SO much and want to know Him more each day. How dearly I love Him, even if with an imperfect human love as long as I'm on this side of Heaven, and how I long each day for more of Him and less of me. I am grateful He is so patient with me ...

Here's a song that encouraged me so much just now ... hope it encourages you all, too. :) And if any of you don't know this amazing God personally ... I would LOVE to tell you how you can have a personal relationship with the One who created you and wants to redeem you. You won't regret it!

Everlasting God
Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

*lyrics by Benton Brown