Thursday, February 28, 2013

Planned Preclusion

Hi honeys, did you think I had forgotten about you all today!? No, just busy at work! End of the month craziness and all... Although, I have to admit, I somehow did let writing slip my mind for the past 2 hours since work... Which, considering I thought about it the whole way home is strange. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what I should be writing about tonight... I've had a few ideas but none seem "great." Here's the thing, God has been so good to me I just have to share something! First, I have a suggestion for you: download the "Jesus Calling" app by Sarah Young... It's a devotional app and although I'm not too into that sort of thing normally, they are just a couple of paragraphs each and the couple I've read so far have really great thoughts to them.

Now onto the actual post... A few weeks ago something happened to me I didn't like at all... Someone with authority over me limited me! There was something I wanted to do and for some reason I wasn't chosen to participate in the way I wanted... And worse yet, other people who really couldn't have cared either way were given more responsibilities than I! Ugh! I speak a good two weeks trying not to think of it too much but we all knows what happens when you try not to think about something... That's right, think about it even more.  I actually even got a little (take a deep breath and buckle up, it's confession time) angry.  I didn't understand at all and it felt really personal because I couldn't come up with any other reason... I even prayed about it and nothing changed. I whined a little to God about not understanding why He wouldn't change it, take care of it for me and made sure He knew I wanted Him to and it wasn't too late for Him to come to His senses. (I was a little too big for my britches at this point...) and instead of what I expected to happen, God stayed silent.

So the time came around for me to watch others doing what I wished I could do.  I was watching the place I wanted to step into be filled by others... And then something happened: God spoke.  He spoke alright, He spoke conviction into my heart and changed my perspective.  See the thing is, I wasn't doing what I wanted to be doing at all, I was doing even more! I wasn't standing in the spot I wanted but the place I was meant to be. Not exactly what I planned but definitely what He planned.  And that's where I realized that God had answered my prayer, He had taken care of it... Just not how I thought, in fact, he had taken care of it before I even knew what He had done... Probably before I prayed.  I did have to step out of the one space I wanted but I gained so much more territory I hadn't even noticed was there and didn't think I could have! God is so awesome!

I still don't know why I didn't get chosen for the responsibility I thought I wanted but it doesn't even matter to me! Even if the person in authority over you is holding you back on purpose God can make another way, a better way... God won't allow anyone to take away from you anything He has planned or promised you! Trust in his love for you, if it was enough to drive Him to Calvary it is enough for Him to turn it around for you! The motives of others don't matter, anything or anyone trying to hold you back is inconsequential to His promise, who is too strong for God!?

So, no matter where you are or where you think you're not... No matter what you have planned that seems to be falling apart... No matter what you've asked/told God He should do that you're not seeing any progress in... There's only one thing you need to know... His ways really aren't our ways but it's because His ways are so much better for us! His plans are greater for us than we can even imagine! Our minds don't dare to tread on the territory He has waiting for us to overtake! Trust His heart, trust His promises, trust His intentions and plans for your life! He is going to work things out even better than you could plan for yourself! Trust in His ways!

Isaiah 55:8&9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

Jeremiah 29:11&12 " For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."

Psalm 40:5 "Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Our Hearts & God's Valley

Hi bunnies!  Okay, I don't really know where that one came from except that I could REALLY use some spring weather and bunnies come in spring, right? Haha! Anyway... Moving right along...  This past weekend, Youth Xplosion 2013, Shift, was AH-MAZING and I just want to say, even if you missed it (you could order DVDs or CDs from you need to know that God is calling you deeper!  No matter what you're going through right now, no matter if life seems great or bad, whether you have all you want or are waiting on Him to supply your need, whether you have direction for the next year or you're waiting on direction for the next step, GIVE HIM PRAISE! Not because you have everything in life at this moment exactly how you want it but because regardless of what's missing God is ever-present and ever-loving!  It will come, maybe right after need to offer one more song, dance, shout or prayer or maybe in a few months of pushing through and growing yourself but if He's in it, if He has planned it, IT WILL COME!

And that not being my topic, let's keep moving forward with it...  The week before last I was in Connecticut for the Winterfire conference... Yes, we got storm-stayed and yes the conference went from four meetings to two but NO, we didn't miss out on one word God wanted to speak!  It was honestly a landmark in my life and the lives of many others and I encourage you to attend next year!  My pastor, Raymond Woodward, spoke at the conference.  Pastor spoke on a thought I had heard him teach previously but it was just as impacting the second time... Did you know the Jewish alphabet has a letter that represents the name of God? It's called the SHin (pictured below).  Jewish people place the SHin on door posts of buildings and homes, they touch it when they walk in to those buildings and then kiss their fingers, never forgetting God is everywhere! 

Also, the SHin is found in the actual landscape of Israel... There are three mountains and valleys that make up the image of the SHin... God said he would put his name in Jerusalem, and there it is, embossed in the Earth! 1 Kings 11:36, 2 Kings 21:4, 2 Chronicles 6:6

These two pictures show/explain how the SHin is found in the landscape of Jerusalem.  Above is to give you an idea of what you're looking at in the right hand actual topographical map... You can clearly see the SHin in the darker valley lines.

But none of that is the best part!  Jewish professors have long taught medical students (and I would only assume theological students that the SHin is also placed on our hearts!  Can you imagine!? God's actual name placed on each human heart! Of course, if you're like me you want to see the pictures of that too, any you're in luck!

 I chose the above two pictures to be sensitive to the squeamish... And I have to admit even though I am not one of those people the pictures of actual hearts can be a little yucky, but if you're brave and won't pass out on your computer, go ahead and google it :) In the diagram to the right you can clearly see the pink at the bottom being the SHin!

In all of this awesome knowledge of God placing the SHin both on the City He's called to be his own from the beginning and even better being on EVERY human heart He has called to be His own forever, I see something else... Both in Jerusalem and in the heart I notice the SHin is made up of the valleys!  God is in the Valleys! He has placed His name in the valleys of your heart and life so be secure!  Again, even if you seem to be in a valley now, whether a valley of pain, decision, confusion, fret, worry or impatience, God is with you and whatever He has planned for your life will happen! You are not alone and not forgotten, make sure you're not forgetting God!  Offer Him praise in the place of His name, pray to the name written on your heart, remember Him in the valley! IT WILL COME!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Singles Awareness Day! A.K.A Valentine's Day

Hi honeys!  I hope Valentine's Day dosen't have you depressed! ha! But seriously... I've always had a distaste for this "holiday," most likely because I've never been half of a couple this time of the year. Last year I saw a tweet about "Singles Awareness Day" and it stuck in my mind because it's SO true!  Normally I'm -oooh, what's a good word to use here?- jealous and sickened on Valentine's Day but this year it's all changed! haha! That's right folks, I've crossed over to the darkside and I'm happy it's Love Day!
Last one haha

That's right, it's pink galore and a smile to boot! I love pink any day and maybe it's the color that's partially responsible for my change in heart but I think it's a new season.  I'm expecting great things in life whether single or coupled and I'm even expecting love! I do, like the rest of you, have those lonely/kill me now moments but they are fleeting and the truth is, it's better to be lonely because you actually are alone than to be lonely because your partner allows you to feel that way... Don't you think? 
Best of all, and the biggest part of why I'm loving Valentine's Day this year is I actually have a VALENTINE! Woohoo! All those family members who were worried, you can breathe a sigh of release! ha!  He's absolutely perfect! He gave me the best Valentine's Day gift EVER, a life long commitment! He loves me more than anyone ever has - yes mama, that includes you - and I know it will last forever! I've always heard "you know when it's right" and I've always thought I would know even though I didn't have a clue how I would know... And I do! I know! I know because he shows me in his actions, tells me through his words, wants to talk to me every morning when I wake up and just before I go to sleep, he believes in me and helps me be a better person!  And I know you are probably almost ready to lose your lunch but just hold on, this can happen to you! You can have EXACTLY what we have! In fact, you can have Him! His name is Jesus and He loves you just as much as he loves me! He wants all of the things with you that we have! He believes in you and so do I!
What better day to start or renew a relationship with Him than Valentines Day!?  All you have to do is repent of your sins, not just say sorry and feel bad or maybe shed a tear but actually purpose in your heart and make a decision to stop, turn and change... Ask for Him to help you, He will... This step is continuous, you will make mistakes, you will revert back to old habits but just keep repenting daily (maybe more if you're like me! ha!) and give yourself some room, you'll look back one day and see all the changes that were invisible during your failure.  Get baptized! If you haven't been Baptized in the name of Jesus or you don't remember how you were baptized, get it done! It's an amazing experience that I guarentee will change who you are from the inside out!  There's something about the words they speak over your in conjunction with that name when they emmerse you in water that just makes you a new person it's lke the water is God's arms wrapping around you, never to let you go again!  And lastly, Jesus has one more thing but this is actually His gift to you, all you have to do is ask for it!  It's a comforter! Not like the blanket kind, the holyghost, which sounds a little creepy and weird but all it means is "God's spirit living in you" and it's the ONLY way to live! I can't even tell you how much I love Him, I can't tell you what His love feels like all I can say is "try Him, it'll change your life forever!"
Happy Valentine's Day sweeties!