Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I would like to start today, by asking for your prayers for my sweet boy, Nathan. He's in the midst of the stomach flu. He was utterly embarrassed yesterday at school when he threw up in the middle of math class. Although, his friends really appreciated the break from class. His teacher thought it was because he got too hot at gym class, so she let him stay. Thinking he was alright, we went to his sister's basketball game (yea - PC won!) but shortly after getting home, he was throwing up again. It has hit him hard, because this is the first time I can remember him ever throwing up on the floor (or should I say, light colored CARPET). I am so blessed because I have a wonderful husband who was right next to me cleaning up the mess that covered alot of territory.

I guess you better pray for me too, since Christie is not a nice girl without her full nights sleep.

Anyway, on to the last chapter of Ruth: Boaz goes to the city gate, where the close relative of Elimelech comes by. Boaz asks him and ten elders of the city to sit down with him. He asks the relative if he would like to buy the land that was Elimelech's and he does want to - that is, until he finds out that he also has to take Ruth as his wife in the deal. When he finds out about the marriage deal, he freely gives the opportunity to Boaz.

When Boaz accepts the offer, the elders and men of the city, confirm it as witnesses and they give their blessing over it.

So Boaz takes Ruth as his wife and she conceives and gave birth to a son.

Vs. 14&15 Then the women said to Naomi, "Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may His name become famous in Israel. May He also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him."

Vs. 16&17 "Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse. The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, 'A son has been born to Naomi!' So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David."

God brought so much good out of the tragedies in Naomi's life. Once again, this chapter reminds us of God's faithfulness. I wanted to share with you the commentary in my Bible on verses 16-17 as it brings such encouragement.

"To some, the book of Ruth may be just a nice story about a girl who was fortunate. But in reality, the events recorded in Ruth were part of God's preparations for the births of David and of Jesus, the promised Messiah. Just as Ruth was unaware of this larger purpose in her life, so we will not know the full purpose and importance of our lives until we are able to look back from the perspective of eternity. We must make our choices with God's eternal values in mind. Taking moral shortcuts and living for short-range pleasures are not good ways to move ahead. Because of Ruth's faithful obedience, her life and legacy were significant even though she couldn't see all the results. Live in faithfulness to God, knowing that the significance of your life will extend beyond your lifetime. The rewards will outweigh any sacrifice you may have made."

What an example of abundant life when we choose to trust in our Lord and Savior

Have a great day

Living fearlessly

Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy Monday! Thank you so much for praying for me. I lead 2 break-out sessions on Saturday at a retreat hosted by St. John's Lutheran Church. What a wonderful experience lead by a wonderful group of Christ-following women. It is amazing to see how God works through those who truly want to follow Him. Not only was it a renewing experience but also a great opportunity to stand on the promises of God as I shared what He has accomplished in my life. I was reminded of God's faithfulness, once again. How easily I forget.

As we continue our study of Ruth, we continue to see lessons of faithfulness. Today, let's look at chapter 3. Naomi and Ruth can expect a rough life if one of them does not get married. Naomi knows of the law in which a kinsman-redeemer was a relative who volunteered to take responsibility for the extended family when a woman's husband died. The closest relative could become the kinsmen-redeemer - if that relative did not want to, it would go to the next closest.

Naomi tells Ruth that Boaz will be threshing barley tonight and she is to get all fancied up and head to the threshing floor. She was to wait until after he is done eating and drinking, and lays down and lay down and uncover his feet when she covers up.

Now, this request probably seems very odd to Ruth, but because she trusts her faithful mother-in-law, she obeys.

This also seems odd to us but was according to Israelite custom and law. It was not a seductive act, just a custom that shows the man that he is to be the kinsman-reedemer.

When this all comes about and Ruth makes her request of Boaz, he answers: vs 11-13 "Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence. Now it is true I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the Lord lives. Lie down until morning."

Boaz is a godly and well respected man as we saw earlier in his actions toward his servants and to Ruth. As quickly as he was able to respond to Ruth, I bet he had already been considering this opportunity. I just get all giddy inside as we watch this love story unfolding!

Do you notice that all three of our characters are God-fearing people. They also are faithful and Ruth is even called excellent. This whole story is a reference to God's faithfulness and His blessing over those who are also faithful.

When Ruth gets up to leave, Boaz fills her coat with barley to take to Naomi. When she returns and tells Naomi what had happened, she responds: "Wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out; for the man will not rest until he has settled it today."

Even though, we so easily forget - our God is faithful. We can always stand firm on His promises. We can always rely on Him. We can always trust in Him. We can always believe that He will never leave or forsake us.

Are you a faithful person? Do people know that you will keep your word? Do you show others that you are reliable and will do your best? Your actions do make a difference. People won't want to get to know Jesus until they can see Jesus in you.

Have a great day

Living fearlessly

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Friday!! I'm preparing my list this morning of all I need to take with me to the women's retreat. I will be setting up tonight since I will need to be ready for a prayer meeting at 7:15am tomorrow. I ask that you will be in prayer over this retreat. I believe that God is going to do amazing things in the lives of the women there. It is so humbling and exciting to be a part of God's plan.

As we continue in our study of Ruth, I am amazed at the faithfullness of God. Maybe that's why I like this book of the Bible so much. I read something this morning that I thought was a great reminder and a great start to our study: Obedience and freedom go together, as do disobedience and slavery.

Now, on to chapter 2: The poor were allowed during the harvest to go behind the harvesters to glean what wheat may be left. Ruth takes the initiative to go out and glean to provide food for her and Naomi. In these days, without a man, a woman was much less likely to survive but that didn't stop Ruth from trying. She "happens" (by God's favor) to be gleaning in a field of a man (who just "happened" to be a Godly man) named Boaz who was also a relative of Elimelech.

He asks a servant who this woman was and gets all the scoop on her. After gaining the information, he approaches her and says: vs. 8&9 "Now, listen my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn."

She falls on her face in thankfulness and asks Boaz why he is doing this for her since she is a foreigner.

He replies: "All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you you have come to take refuge."

He then, allows her to eat with his servants at mealtime and take the leftovers with her for Naomi.

After gleaning until evening, Ruth brings home the leftover food and the grain to Naomi. She is pleased and gives blessing to Boaz.

Ruth continues to work hard providing for her mother-in-law during this wheat and barley harvest.

God never tells us that this life on earth is going to be easy - Naomi and Ruth have went through many struggles. But through it all, He has never left them. He is faithful in every circumstance. His love endures forever.

Have a great day and a great weekend

Living fearlessly

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I've been thinking about what book of the Bible we should study next - I remembered doing an indepth study of the book of Ruth many years ago, and really learning alot from it so I decided that we will now tackle Ruth. Let's get started:

Ruth begins in the days when judges ruled and there was a famine in Bethlehem. Elimelech took his wife (Naomi) and 2 sons (Mahlon and Chilion)from Bethlehem and moved to Moab due to the famine.

Now, the Moabites came from back in Genesis when Lot's oldest daughter had her father drink wine until he was drunk and then she had sex with him. She became pregnant and her son was named Moab.

The Moabites, among other gods, worshipped Chemosh, and their worship involved sexual immorality.

After moving to Moab, Elimelech dies and Naomi was left with her 2 son who then both take Moabite women as wives (Orpah and Ruth). After about 10 years, Mahlon and Chilion die too.

FYI- By God, Israelites were not to intermarry with other nations

After all this, Naomi hears that the famine is over and plans to return to Bethlehem. When she is prepared to go, she says goodbye to her daughter-in-laws and gives them her blessing. They inform her that they are not leaving her but returning with her.

She tries to convince them to stay saying that she will not have any more sons for them to marry and they should be with their family. Through tears, Orpah decides to stay but Ruth refuses to leave Naomi. Vs. 16&17 "But Ruth said, 'Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.'"

Wow! Knowing the Moabite background, I would have to guess that Naomi had quite an impact on these two girls, especially Ruth. We don't specifically know much about her, but her willingness to be faithful to Naomi and her God makes me think that Naomi had been showing God's love to her daughter-in-law.

So the 2 of them go to Bethlehem and caused quite a stir among the other people there. Naomi tells themin vs. 20&21: She said to them "Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?"

I'm sure Naomi's Bethlehem friends were wondering why she was bringing a Moabite into their presence. They both probably got "those looks" from the other women but Ruth continues to stay faithfully by Naomi's side.

From Naomi's words to the other women, we see her pain continues over the loss of her family. She feels that the Lord is against her. That's a feeling that I have felt before and I'm sure you have too.

Ecclesiastes 7:14
When times are good, be happy but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.

Bad times can come to the totally innocent, as they did to Jesus. Righteous people suffer. Sometimes that suffering is due to sin in the world. Sometimes suffering comes to the righteous because God has a plan that is hidden from their sight. But bad times can be a result of personal or corporate sin, for we do reap what we sow and God does test His people. That is why we must continually examine our hearts to see if we have wandered into the darkness.

Have a great day


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

God has given me a great opportunity to share what He has accomplished in my life. On Saturday, I will be leading 2 breakout sessions at a women's retreat. I have to admit, I'm becoming more nervous as the day approaches. In regards to this, I received some very encouraging Scripture yesterday, from our pastor.

I wanted to share these passages with you also - whether you are publicly speaking this week or not, the same principles apply. God wants us to share Him with everyone we come into contact with.

2 Corinthians 5:20
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.

Is 55:11 So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent.

1 Cor. 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Ezk 3:17 ...Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning for me

And one of my favorites that always seems to pull me from my worries:
Mark 4:40 He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?"

Whatever God is prompting you to say or do, today - know that you can trust in the One who is trustworthy

Living fearlessly

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Good morning all my bloggy friends! I hope this day finds you feeling great and prepared to serve our Lord.

As I write this post, I am watching 2 of my daycare children spin around in circles. I thought to myself, I have got myself into alot of trouble this way - as they spin, it is fun and exciting but the aftermath of dizziness makes you wish that you hadn't had so much fun.

While I was waiting for my internet to return so we could get back to Jonah, I was studying in Proverbs. The first four chapters brought much insight on wisdom. Two of my favorite verses in Proverbs is 3:5&6 but as the read the next two verses, I was impacted. Vs. 7&8 "Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones."

Check this out! Those short term happy and good feelings that we receive when we are in the midst of our favorite sin, cannot compare to turning away from that evil and having God bring healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

I was just discussing with a friend yesterday, about how there is no greater feeling than being consumed by the love and peace of God. No drug or sin could ever produce a greater feeling. Why seek these temporary fixes when we could have the peace of God at all times? It is our choice. For me, the guilt that consumes me when in the midst of or after sin, is not something that I enjoy. Consider this guilt before you make your choice, its condemning feeling comes from the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

Proverbs 4:11-15
I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble. Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life. Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.

What choice will you make?

Living fearlessly

Monday, September 22, 2008

Yesterday, our pastor, Brian Bill, bravely attacked a sometimes confusing and much debated issue of predestination. I thought you would benefit from reading it http://www.pontiacbible.org/index.php?/sermons/more/making_sense_of_predestination/

As I was driving down the road, I saw a raccoon coming up out of the ditch and preparing to cross in front of me. I noticed that as he ran across the road, he didn't look at anything around him, like my car coming right at him, but looking straight ahead, staying completely focused on what he was doing and where he was heading. It hit me at that very moment, I can be so much like that raccoon - not thinking of anything else but myself. Not concerning myself with other people and how they feel or what they need, but keeping my focus on what I'm doing and where I'm going.

I was reminded of this as I read Jonah 4. We talked last week about how God had made good out of Jonah's mistake and you would think that he would have been happy about it - but it's just not what Jonah wanted.

When Jonah saw that the people of Nineveh had repented, he became angry with God and threw himself into a pity party telling God "Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life."

As a Jew, Jonah was still against bringing salvation to the Gentiles. He didn't feel that the Ninevites deserved God's grace. How many times do we choose who we tell about Jesus? Isn't it easier to tell those who are like us or those we are comfortable with. When we choose who "deserves" to hear the Good News, we are forgetting our call from God just like Jonah. Guess what - you and I don't deserve salvation, either!!!

Then, Jonah goes out of the city, builds a shelter and sits (I would guess, pouting). God causes a plant to grow up and give Jonah comforting shade from the heat but overnight a worm attacks the plant and it dies. God causes a scorching wind and the sun beating down on Jonah makes him feel faint and miserable. He again, asks God to take his life.

My initial thought was "what a crybaby! he needs to get over himself" - that was until I thought about how many pity parties I have sat in over much less. Ouch!

Listen to God's response to Jonah. It sure put me in my place. "You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more that 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals."

My Bible commentary says this: Jonah was angry at the withering of the the plant, but not over what could have happened to Nineveh. Most of us have cried at the death of a pet or when an object with sentimental value was broken, but have we cried over the fact that a friend does not know God? How easy it is to be more sensitive to our own interests than to the spiritual needs of people around us.


Have a great day

Living fearlessly

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm FINALLY back - I wanted to kiss the repair man when he finally got here to fix our phone and internet (just to let you know, I did refrain). I'm up and running and the withdrawl symptoms are beginning to fade.

Just wanted to share with you some fun times that we had while I was away. We got over 7 inches of rain last weekend which in turn, caused flooding in our basement. We had spent most of Sunday trying to suck all the water out but had enough time at the end of the day to have some fun in our lake of a front yard
Have a great day and a great weekend! We'll start back with Jonah on Monday
Living fearlessly

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hello all! Sorry I missed you! My internet is down, so I'm borrowing my brother-in-law's computer to post this message. I'm hoping it will be fixed tomorrow, so maybe we'll be able to continue in our study of Jonah on Wednesday.

Talk with you soon


Friday, September 12, 2008

There are alot of things in this world, that are worth working hard at. They are worth the sacrifices that we make and the hardships that we face. Loving others, parenting, marriage, family, spiritual growth, etc. God is excellent and expects His followers to be excellent (doing their best) in all circumstances. Are you doing your best at everything you do? Not just the things like I listed above, but things like: driving carefully (paying full attention to the road, going the speed limit), cleaning your home (yes, even those yucky spots that have been calling your name), answering the phone (with a smile), addressing those around you (not as an inconvenience, but opportunity) - things that we may think of as insignificant, we must still do with the same attitude of doing our best because everything we do can be worship to God.

Now, on to my favorite chapter in Jonah, chapter 3. The Word of the Lord came to Jonah again, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you."

Hallelujah, he goes this time! I guess having a near death experience and then being swallowed by a fish can change you mind. He goes into the city and cries out the warning from God, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!"

Only by the power of the Holy Spirit, all the people believed and called for a fast and put on sackcloth. They believed!! Not only did they believe but even the king of Nineveh arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. They believed and repented! Praise God for His faithfulness! Praise God that He changed the heart of Jonah so he would obey and these people were saved because of it.

Vs. 10 "When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that He had said He would do to them, and He did not do it."

God has a purpose and a plan for each one of us. We don't always understand His purpose and plan, but we must trust in His faithfulness that He knows what is best for us and those we will come in contact with.

There have been many things that God has asked me to do that I didn't want to do - I was afraid, I would be uncomfortable, I would have to sacrifice something, I might be misunderstood by others, etc. The point is - we must obey. God is the only One who knows the future, we must trust in the One who is trustworthy.

Living fearlessly

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Have you ever noticed how beautiful the sky is on a crisp, clear autumn morning? My husband and I go outside about the same time each morning, I, to walk and him, to play with the puppies. We both have been awestruck by the beauty of the sky - the massive amounts of perfectly positioned stars and then the colors of a sunrise. I love waking up and being reminded of how great our God is. His creation is a connection point between Him and I. I hope you take the time to soak in the blessings of this earth we've been given. It's a gift from our Lord - don't take it for granted.

At the end of the first chapter of Jonah, Jonah is thrown from the ship and then a God appointed fish, swallows him, whole. As we move into chapter 2, Jonah is praying from the belly of the fish.

He recaps his experience in the water as he thought he was going to die. How he thought that he had been driven from God's sight. Vs. 7 says, "When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your Holy temple."

Vs. 9 "But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord."

God had not rejected Jonah, He just knew what it would take to get his attention. It takes coming through a near-death experience and then sitting in the belly of a fish to get Jonah to realize that He should obey what the Lord has asked him to do.

You may be thinking that this is pretty harsh, but coming from a very stubborn, hard-headed girl, I totally understand. God knows what it will take to wake me up and I have found myself in some places that I wondered how I ever got there. Today, I realize that it was the only way in which I would totally give myself to God. I am thankful now, for those times of total brokenness, because those are the times that my faith and trust has grown to new levels.

Vs. 10 completes chapter 2 "And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land." This verse always gets me - God spoke to the fish. How cool is that!!?? For those of you who may say that you don't hear God speaking to you, if He speaks to fish, how much more would he desire to speak to you! The question is, are you listening?

We'll have to wait until tomorrow to see what Jonah decides to do with himself after being vomited from the belly of a fish, so stay tuned!

Living fearlessly

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Isn't it so cool to know that God can make good out of our mistakes??!!! In our study of Acts, we saw how God changed Saul, from persecuting Christians to becoming Paul, a faithful follower of Christ. I too, have seen God turn my mistakes into good.

As I pondered what book of the Bible we should study next, I thought about Jonah, because I've been alot like him. The book of Jonah brings insight and proper perspective for me so I thought you may enjoy it also.

Let's get started. In Jonah, chapter 1, God spoke to Jonah and told him to go to Ninevah and call out against their evil. Well, Jonah obviously had other plans because he immediately ran from God. He hopped the first ship he could find going in the opposite direction of Ninevah, went down into the belly of the ship and fell fast asleep.

Due to Jonah's disobedience, God caused a major storm where they were sailing and the others on the boat were panicking from the fierceness of it. They were calling out to their gods to help them and awoke Jonah to do the same.

When he explained that he was running from the God of all creation, they were even more afraid and asked him what to do. He told them to throw him overboard and eventually, being terrified for their own lives, they did.

Here's the really cool part! Get this!! The sea immediately calmed and vs. 16 says "Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows."

Jonah's mistake - disobeying and running from God - caused others to believe in Him! God's plan is perfect, even when we mess up!

I am so encouraged by the fact that my mess-ups don't stop God. I thank Him everyday that He doesn't give up on me and He won't give up on you, either - mistakes and all.

Let this be the day that you let go of your past - know that God can and will forgive you - and start fresh, knowing that He can make good from everything.

Living fearlessly

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Do you ever feel like this in your spiritual walk.........

I'm sure that Paul felt like that sometimes too, but the thing that I think kept him going was the fact that he continously told people about "his story". When he gave his testimony, he was reminded of all the amazing things God had accomplished in his life - things that may have been taken for granted, if he stopped reminding himself by telling others.

How often do you give your testimony? How often do you share "your story" to someone who is hurting? How often do you take your salvation for granted? How often do you bring glory to God by sharing His glory with others?

Ouch! Those questions make me lower my head, too! It can never be enough, we can never give our testimony too many times.

Let's look at the last chapter of Acts today and see what our friend, Paul is up to. In chapter 27, Paul was on his way to Rome. The ship he was on, hit a reef and began breaking into pieces near an island. Just like the angel had assured Paul, each person safely made it to land. They were shown great kindness by the people of the island and Paul was able to heal the sick while he was there. They boarded another ship and sailed for 3 more months until they reached Rome. He called together the local leaders of the Jews and began to explain to them why he had been held prisoner. They wanted to hear from him and set up a date when they could meet together with him. On that day, he spent all day, telling them his case, his testimony, all about his God. Some were convinced and some were not, but he told them anyway.

Vs. 30&31 "He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance."

There he goes again, speaking with boldness and without hindrance. Those words bring such encouragment and excitement to me!! They remind me of my calling from God!

God calls us all to testify about Him. He calls us all to share what He has accomplished in our lives. He calls us all to spread the Good News of salvation.

Are you following God's calling????

Living fearlessly


Monday, September 8, 2008

Happy Monday my bloggy friends!! I'm looking out my kitchen window at an extremely large spider hanging on it's web. It's been there for a couple of days now. I've seen alot of spiders over the weekend, because I had to cut off most of my flowers. You see, our puppies have so enjoyed laying on and playing in everything green in my yard that everything has been flattened. May I ask again - who wanted those puppies, anyway??!!! Sorry, I got a little off track, there. O.K., back to the spiders - what I see as terribly scary and ugly creatures, God made for good. What I usually don't think about, is that they keep all the other nasty little bugs under control. Again, my perspective is sometimes altered and I have to remember that God knows what is best.

My husband and I normally get up at 5:00am during the week. Our daughter began morning basketball practice a week ago and now gets up at 4:30. Even though he misses that extra 1/2 hour of sleep, my sweet husband volunteered to get up with her and drive her into town to catch her ride to practice. He told me that, at first, he felt it to be somewhat of an inconvenience, but realizes now, that he really enjoys the time that he can spend with our daughter, alone, each morning. See, again, our perspective is so often altered until we see God's purpose.

I believe God has a purpose for everything. He has a reason, we just can't always understand it. He can make good out of all things - are you looking for the good?

In Acts 27, Paul is on his way to Rome. His boating journey is quite crazy as he boards and unboards many times. The seas become dangerous with major storms and the crew decides to look for land to spend the winter on. They were tired and hungry but Paul has some encouragement for them. In vs. 22-25 Paul explains "Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you. So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told."

Yes Yes Yes! Paul comes through again, oh how I long to have the faith of this man! Reread that last sentance again - "so take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told."

Do you and I have that kind of faith? Do you believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that God's promises are true? Do you trust Him so deeply that you can be confident enough to tell others that He will do exactly as He has said?

The angel told Paul, not to be afraid. Maybe his human side was beginning to fear, maybe he was really afraid - but after the assurance by his Heavenly Father, he is bold, once again.

God's assurance and affirmations can give us all the boldness and confidence we need. Are you listening for them in His Word and in your heart?

Just like my and my husband's altered perception, Paul doesn't really know why he needs to go to Rome, but he does know that God wants him to be there. Even with our limited understanding, we must be confident that our God knows exactly what He is doing. He has a purpose and a plan for each of us.

Are you trusting Him?

Living fearlessly

Friday, September 5, 2008

Good Friday morning to you all! I checked our rain gauge this morning, and it showed we got 3 1/4 inches yesterday! Wow, that's alot of rain but we sure needed it. I guess that means we'll probably have to start mowing again. :)

I was sitting at the table with my daycare kids yesterday while they ate their snack. My 4 year old becomes very serious and with hands on her hips, exclaims "Christie, my parents just don't listen to me!" Trying not to laugh, I told her that her parents don't have to listen to her but she must listen to and obey them. With a very straight face, she tells me "I like it better when my parents listen to me."

Oh, from the mouths of babes! After thinking about our conversation, I realized that I don't think much differently from this 4 year old. How easy it is for me to say that I always want God's will for my life - until, I want something different. I like it much better when God wants the same thing that I do but at times have dug my heels in when He wanted something different. I have found though, that the only way for God and I to desire the same thing is for me to open my heart and mind to Him so He can change me.

Remember, just as our parents tried to do what was best for us as children, God knows what's best for you because He created you and He also, is the only One who knows the future.

Now, on to Acts 26

King Agrippa gives Paul the floor to state his case. Our faithful friend, again, takes the opportunity to explain himself by giving his testimony. His heart truly longed for everyone to hear the Good News. Even when governer Festus, yells out "Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind!", he is not swayed. He calmly responds and proceeds on.

In verse 28, King Agrippa asks Paul "In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?"

Check out Paul's response "Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am - except for these chains." He is so passionate about bringing others to Christ! He inspires me to be more bold!

When they had withdrawn themselves, they said "This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment." "This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Ceasar."

This could have been a disappointing statment to you and I but remember Paul knows that God also wants him to testify in Rome. He is on his way to right where God wants him to be.

His plans are so good for us - even when we can't see it!!

Have a great day and a great weekend!!

Living Fearlessly

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Blogger has just come out with a new gadget that is pretty cool! It is located on the left hand column under: readers of this blog. If you sign up to follow this blog, it will give you updates when I post. All this technology is way over my head, but I think it's great that someone else understands it so I can use it. :)

There is not a whole lot happening in Acts Chapter 25. Festus hears both sides of Paul's case but doesn't want to make a decision, so Paul requests an appeal before Ceasar. Festus shares the case with Agrippa, the king, and he decides that he would like to hear the case.

Festus tells Agrippa in vs. 25, that he has found nothing that Paul has done to deserve death. In vs. 9, he says this is all because he wants to do the Jews a favor.

This irritates me. Festus, as the governer, should be making decisions by what he knows to be true, not by wanting to please others.

Then it hit me - how many times do I make decisions based on what others might think.

How many times have I told God no, so that I don't rock the boat or hurt someone's feelings?

How many times do I base my decisions on the lies of satan instead of God's truths?

More than I want to admit.

Irritating or not, I guess I'm more like Festus than I thought.

Before making any decision today, ask God to show you His truth and His will for the situation. Allow Him to invade your heart and your mind so that your life will bring glory to Him

Have a great day

Living fearlessly

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I have a little venting to do this morning. Last night was "one of those nights". Right after my last daycare child left yesterday, I was looking through my son's bookbag to find that he had been supposed to be reading 70 minutes per week since school began and he hadn't read at all. I was discussing this with him while I started supper. Our daughter was short and grumpy since she had been up since 4:30am for basketball try-outs. While supper was cooking, I sat down to look over what we were studying in our small group and the phone rang. It was my husband calling to tell me that he'd be home late. My blood pressure was boiling at this point. I noticed that I didn't see the dogs out the kitchen window, so I went outside to find them. As I walked around the house, calling their names, in my flip-flops, I stepped in something very squishy that my wonderful puppies left behind. I shouldn't even say, I stepped in it, it was more like, I shuffled into it, as my toes were covered in it!!!!! YUCK!!!!

I came back into the house to get cleaned up and then, wanting to calm down, I kicked my daughter out of the living room, and sat down to relax for a moment and cool my nerves. Within moments, my son and daughter come in explaining to me that they had been discussing how grumpy I was and they really didn't like the way I was acting. My response was "who do you think makes me that way?" My daughter replies "You really shouldn't allow other people to affect your positive attitude." AAARRRGGGHHHH! I hate it when my words of advice come back to haunt me!

O.K. - all that said and done, today is a new day, I'm ready to be back in my positive attitude. Hopefully today, I will end with a little more patience and alot more happiness.

So, now back to our study of Acts. Yesterday, Paul was sent to Felix the Governer to be tried again. In chapter 24, after 5 days of waiting, the high priest came with some others and made their case against Paul. Then Paul had his turn to speak. After hearing both sides, Felix states that he will make a decision after Lysias, the tribune comes and then put Paul back in prison to wait.

After a few more days, Felix and his wife ask for Paul to be brought to them and heard him speak about Jesus. He continued to sent for him and met with him often and conversed with him.

2 years later, Paul was still in prison, when Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, there he remained.

Learning that Felix wanted to meet with him and hear about Jesus, I wonder if Paul ever got excited that Felix may let him go because of their relationship. I wonder if he would be hopeful and excited only to be disappointed as he continued to sit in prison for the last 2 years. Irregardless of what his feelings may have been, he didn't stop talking to Felix about Jesus. He didn't allow his emotions to overcome his actions. Once again, he was faithful.

Emotions are just feelings, they are not supposed to rule our lives. Unlike my decision, last night, to allow my emotions to rule over me, it is possible to overcome you feelings and do what is right. God teaches us about and desires us to have self-control. How far are you allowing your emotions to go? How much of your life are they running?

Seek God's will over your own and your emotions can be tamed.

Living fearlessly

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Good Tuesday morning, my bloggy friends! We had an exceptional weekend and I hope you did too. I was so nice to be able to spend it with family and friends and Friday I had the day to myself to write. I would ask that you please pray that God will speak as I continue working on the messages I will give at the "Breathe" women's retreat on Sept. 27. I desire His words to be spoken because I know the way that He can change hearts.

Continuing on our journey through Acts - chapter 23 starts with Paul standing before the council and once again, speaking with boldness with causes violent dissension among the Pharisees and Sadducees. So, thinking that Paul is going to be ripped to shreds by these people, they put him back in prison. Vs. 11 "The following night the Lord stood by him and said, 'Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.'"

As I read the Lord's words, I immediately thought of a situation from years ago. I had committed to living my life for the Lord and soaked up every second I could reading His Word and had just such a great desire to learn everything I could. We had an interim pastor at the time and his wife started a women's Bible study. I excitedly attended each week and began understanding more and more. When it was time for the pastor and his wife to leave, she asked me to lead the study. I immediately told her no, but eventually, through prayer, affirmations from God and her continuous push - I accepted. Although, it ended up being a great blessing to me, the next thing God asked me to do, was bigger and more difficult. I remember saying to Him, "I said yes and lead the Bible study - isn't that enough" "Why are you asking me for more, I'm already way out of my comfort zone".

Our own spiritual growth and the growth of others, only comes from obeying - no matter how hard it may be. God tells Paul, good work on this job, now let's move on. It's not just a one time deal when it comes to following God. As you grow in Him, so will His requests of you.

It may seem scary and overwhelming at times, but the cool thing is: He doesn't ask us to be qualified, only open and available. Say yes and let God do the rest.

Living fearlessly