Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Deliver me Jesus....

This is a prayer that has really challenged me in the past couple of months. Therefore, I wanted to post it for those that would desire to have it as well. It was given to me from my Advanced EXCEL Instructor and I desire to share it with you because of it's impact.

Deliver me, Jesus...
...From the desire to be praised, honored, glorified,
preferred, consulted, or approved. Deliver me, Jesus, from the fear of being humiliated, criticized, forgotten, ridiculed, maltreated, and from the fear of what others think. Oh, Jesus, give me the grace to desire: that others would be loved and esteemed ahead of me; that in the eyes of the world they would increase and I decrease; and praised while I pass by unnoticed; that others would be preferred in all situations; that others would become more than myself- in order that I would be as holy as You want me to be."
- Charles de Foucauld

Christ Fulfilled

Every human has a desire to be fulfilled. For Christians, I believe that their desire is to be "Christ Fulfilled," at least I have come to realize that, this is my desire. After analyzing myself and the many different heart felt desires I have, the base or bottom line of it all is the fact that my longing is to be fulfilled.

We, as humans, search out fulfillment in others, possessions, materials, etc. However, when we seek fulfillment in these things, we will not be completely fulfilled! :) Think about it for a moment. A child seeks fulfillment in his/her parents, a teenager begins to seek fulfillment in his/her peers maybe even the opposite gender, a girl seeks fulfillment in her father, a single person begins to seek fulfillment in the thought of marriage as though it will fill every desire, a married person begins to seek fulfillment in their spouse, and the list continues. You see, we all have that desire to be fulfilled.

Though our natural instinct is to seek this "thought of fulfillment" in those that we admire or can humanly see, we must come face to face with the fact that only true fulfillment comes from Christ. He knows and understands every single desire, passion, and longing. He is the One who desires to fulfill all of our needs. That is what He has set out to do in our relationship with Him.

We must let go of this "thought" of fulfillment and seek it only in Christ. He will not discourage us or fail us! Once we find fulfillment in Christ and nothing else, our act of desiring fulfillment in others will eventually come to nothing. However, because we are humans and are imperfect, just as Christ says to take up our cross daily we too must ask God on a daily basis to fulfill our every need and we need to have that desire to seek it.

"Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Matt. 6:30-34

Monday, April 23, 2007

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

Hebrews 11 gives us an account of those in scripture who walked by faith and not by sight. In fact, it is a chapter full of their testimonies. Consider Abraham when he was tried, He offered up Isaac his only son, who in Isaac, Abraham's seed shall be called. Consider also, Moses when God called him to lead those, God's children, out of Egypt. He too walked by faith and not by sight. They understood only what lay at their feet, nothing more until God revealed it to them. This chapter goes on telling us about these heroins of the faith. Often encouragement fills my soul whenever my eyes longingly scan and study the words that mingle into stories within this chapter.

As a believer I too am called to walk by faith and not by sight. Yet it seems so hard. It is hard! Sight is the most important sense within the "five senses." Yet the other four senses are just as important. Consider touch, without the touch of one's hand leading you, you really have no way of knowing which direction to turn. No true way of "feeling" the hurdles that lie before. Without smell, you would miss out on God's richest savory scents within the breeze. Think of the smell of rain, the lilacs that are in bloom. Also, without taste, you would not be able to completely "taste and see that the Lord is good" or even taste your grandmother's or your mother's famous desert. Without hearing, we are unable to hear the lullabies your mother sang to you as you fell asleep, unable to hear the pound of rain as it taps the ground, unable to hear your earthly father's voice as he commands you to obey, unable to hear the treasures of music, and the list continues. Therefore each have a huge purpose in life. None are to be taken for granted. Yet still, there is that huge uniqueness about them and how they connect with faith.

It is true that as believers we are to walk by faith and not by sight however, we have a loving Lord that desires to lead us in the path we will go, and when we allow the Lord to lead us, in a sense, He fills the different "five spiritual senses."

Sight is given to us through God's eyes. The more drawn we are to Christ to more we see through the eyes of our Lord. We see different hurdles or sin that come our way. We see and begin to understand the compassion our Lord has on those in need and therefore, we desire compassion on others the same. As we begin to look through the "eyes" of Christ, we also are then enlightened in scripture as the Lord shines His brightness as He reveals His treasures. Most of all though, as we draw closer to God, we begin to see His beautiful face, the smile that wrinkles His cheeks and the brightness that fills His eyes as He gazes upon us in love.

Hearing comes as we listen to that still small voice spoken quietly day to day. The closer we become to the Lord, the easier it will be to hear the voice of our "Shepherd." We will be able to hear His warnings throughout the journey of faith, hear His encouragement when we are weary and fainthearted, and hear His challenges as He desires us to mirror His image.

Touch is given by the Lord as He holds our hand throughout our walk with Him. He engulfs us in His arms as we shed our tears and carries us through the hard times in life. If we fall, which often we do, He stretches forth His hand, picks us up, and brushes us off. He gives us "pats" on the back when we do a good deed. Most importantly though, He is the best comforter when no one seems to understand.

As we follow the Lord in faith, His sweet savory smell fills the breeze that brushes past Him and surrounds us. The smell of refreshment overwhelms us as we follow close behind.
Taste comes as we let God's flavoured bounties remain on our hearts and ponder His goodness. When we "taste and see that the Lord is good."

Each will be given to you as you walk in faith and obedience wherever Christ has you. Remember as Peter took his eyes off the Lord, he began to sink. So too, in our faith, we must continue to keep our eyes upon the Lord and we will draw closer to Him. We will find our fulfillment in Christ, nothing else. Yes, walking by faith is and will be the hardest thing anyone has done in their life, however, the best place to be is in the shadow of His wings. Keep striving in faith, don't let weariness overcome you, if you do, you will begin to stray farther away from the Lord. Let these heroins of the faith written here in Hebrews 11 be that encouragement to fill that desired need on a daily basis.

May you all be found in the shadow of His wings, the safest place to be. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


"To Everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under the heaven: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted, A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, A time to get and a time to lose, a time a keep and a time to cast away, A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak, A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace..." Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

April has arrived and spring is here. The flowers are blooming, the birds prepare their nests for their young, the temperature gets warmer as the days go by the stream flows softly, and the trees bud in preparation for leaves. It seems like yesterday that winter was here and now it is gone. Time flies so quickly, more now than it ever has.

Life's adventures are like "seasons" that come and go. As I get older, I realize more now, that first of all, time is of the essence, and second of all, that time is precious as well. I recently left the teen stage and am now in a completely new phase...season... of life. Just as before, I don't know what the upcoming years will bring, however, many examples have plowed the way for me and I am grateful for their many testimonies. I understand the importance of the "Titus 2 Woman" who is called to lead by example and testify to the younger generation of women. The influences of the different "Titus 2 Women" have made a great impact on me and I am grateful for it. I am grateful for their willingness to hold my hand and encourage me as I step into the "waters of the unknown." What blessings each of them have been. What an honor to be in their "wind" of influence.

Yet, as I begin to walk in this new season of life, I realize the importance of many heart felt things. As I said before, time has made a huge impact on me, especially as I look back at the past ten years of my life. I know I could have done more for the Lord and His Kingdom, yet didn't. The thought of regret does not at all come to mind. God blessed me with many life changing opportunities that gave me a chance to leave my fingerprint on, however, I know that I could have done more. Because I do not know or foresee what the next 10, 5 or even a few years will bring, the conscious, continual decision must be made to keep pressing toward the mark in life and spend every hour and minute wisely.

I am not at all fearful of what this next season will bring, in fact, excitement fills my heart as I watch the Lord pull back the blinds of life and unfold the different blessings and opportunities that lay ahead. As I begin the different discoveries, the one thing that I am most grateful for is the Lord walking continually by my side. He will never leave me nor forsake me.

Yet, because I am human, change has been hard for me to encounter. Change in pace of life, change that lay ahead, and change in general...I feel as if I play the part of Joe in Little Women. Just as she desired things to stay the same, in a way, I too, desire for things to stay the same. I know that life never stays the same, and if it did, we would all be worthless.

With this new season comes new responsibility. I have known for years that other young girls looked up to me, however now, the reality of the fact sets in. Knowing this, pushes me to my knees before Christ. With that, my prayer is that they would not see me, but that in whatever I do, they would see Christ and Him alone and desire to mirror His image and not mine.

What joy it is to know that "God has made everything beautiful in His time..." In whatever I walk through in life, He considers it beautiful because He made it in His time. He owns time, He created it! Therefore, because everything is beautiful in His time, things may not go as planned. If my desires are His desires then those desires will be fulfilled; I must wait on Him and be of good courage. Sometimes the desire flows forth for time to "speed up" in life, I am grateful that it doesn't. If it did, I would constantly be catching up! :)

This past weekend, snow reared it's face again. Just when I thought that winter was done, it snowed. Then I got to thinking about it. Even though the winter season has past and spring is here, that snowfall was like a memory of the winter season. So too in life, when a season of life comes and goes, you have memories that trickle their way into life's continual busyness. When those times come, aren't you grateful for them? I am. :)

It is the memories that I hold dearly! As I step forward into this new, unknown season of life, the sweet God given memories will be that continual refreshment of what God has done in me over time. What a blessing!

"To Everything there is a season..." In whatever your season may be, may you find many awaiting blessings that hide around the corner!

Monday, April 2, 2007

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus lays the spiritual foundation by giving examples relating to His disciples. Repeatedly you see His desire to pour himself out in any way to fill the needs of not only the 12 men that adored Him, but also the multitudes of people that searched Him out.

As He walked about the many cities, Jesus portrayed servant hood to His disciples as He tended to the needs of His people. From healing the sick, the blind, and those with leprosy, to feeding the hungry and casting out demons, He sought the needs of others over Himself to the point of death. By serving those He loved, He also showed compassion, kindness, and concern. Mark 10:13a and 16 illustrates this well, "And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them...And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them."

Jesus gave numerous parables that scatter throughout the book of Mark. While teaching the multitudes, Jesus used parables as the disciples sat near and listened to their importance. When the multitudes did not understand the message of one on these parables, He graciously explained the meaning, for example the parable of the sower found in Mark 4:13-20. Not only did He teach using parables, He also taught using Scripture as well, which formed the foundation in all His teachings.

Jesus also invested His time in teaching His disciples, whether He called them unto Himself privately or if Hi taught them openly. He desired for them to learn, to know His principles, and the written Word. As a result, Jesus used each moment as a teachable moment.

Jesus understood the importance of time as He went about each day. Knowing His earthly ministry would end shortly, He discipled Himself to make the best use of His time by continuing to teach, heal and fulfill the many needs of those He met. Because the disciples followed Him, they, too, understood the importance of time.

Since Jesus spent the majority of His time with His disciples, He led by example and not by His word only. "Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men." Mark 1:17 Because Jesus led by example, He had an immense influence upon the disciples.

Furthermore, He modeled His relationship with His Father before them when He frequently went up into a mountain to pray. Consider the time when He knew that His hour approached that He should give His life, "...My soul is exceedingly sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him." Mark 14:34-35 His relationship with His Father was priority. As a result, His testimony stayed with His disciples as an encouragement.

Jesus chose His disciples, and ordained them that they should go out and teach, (Mark 3:13-19) therefore, clearly demonstrating His understanding of the principles of discipleship. When you invest your time in one or many persons, they in turn will invest in one or many persons. As a pebble drops into a lake, creating the ripples that move throughout the water, so too will a discipleship create the ripples of influence that pass forth and bear fruit.

O how perfect the model of Christ! As I disciple those given to me by the Lord, I desire to mirror Christ's image. Instead of teaching all the time, God challenges me to lead by example. I desire to walk out my faith before those watching so that they may, in turn, take it as a testimony in their lives. Just as Jesus portrayed servant hood by looking beyond His needs to the needs of others, I too must die to self and my desires and search out the needs of those placed in my path. I must also invest time in teaching whom I disciple and build God's written Word as my foundation. As God allows me to place my touch of discipleship on others, I aspire to leave a ripple of influence just as a pebble leaves a ripple upon the water.

Happy Easter to all that read this! May the reminder of God's ultimate price for our lives fill your hearts and minds as you celebrate Christ's resurrection!