Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!

I am grinning from ear to ear right now!! We are in the middle of our first snowfall of this winter!! Woooooooohooooooo!! My Mumsy and sisters were helping me with my gingerbread house, so we didn't notice the snow until I had to run out for more supplies. (Shouldn't have been munching so many of the candies... >_< )

It's super cold outside, so the snow isn't very wet, but the flakes are nice and generous. I had to let Marty (our golden retriever) outside so he could have his first snowbeastie frolic. He loves the cold and snow almost as much as I do! He'll go outside and run around at top speed, take a few mouthfuls of snow, and then flop down on his back to make the doggie version of a snowangel! Haha, I love watching him!

The first snow of winter on December 1st! That's gotta be a good thing right?

Enjoy the snow,

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Feeling PUMPED!!!

MAN. What a Sunday service! It was so good.... I barely know where to start.

My brother gave the offering message. Now you're thinking, "Oh HO! That's why she says that the Sunday service was great." Nope. Yes, it's nice to see your sibling progressing on the path God has for him, but I was praying that his message would get through to me. I didn't want to dismiss what he was saying just because he's my brother. Familiarity breeds contempt and all that rot.

Well, my prayer was answered. Praise the Lord, God got me right between the eyes with the offering message! He was talking about giving control of your finances over to God. I just condensed the subject of the message and left out a TON of points that he made, because I want to suggest something. Click the link over to the right hand side of the page that is marked: My Church. It's under my favorites, right above Dear Natalie and my pastor's blog link. Then, once you are on Empower's website, underneath the banner at the top of the page is a place that says Look & Listen. Click on that and you'll be able to find today's message.

If you have never checked out the links that I've provided, PLEASE! This is the time. I don't spam people and I'm not one to send chain emails. I know your time is precious and I wouldn't suggest it if I wasn't sure that you were going to be blessed by it. If the offering message doesn't teach you something and show you something new, the sermon Pastor Barlow preached will get you. If (by some amount of craziness and you are like a spiritual giant) you don't receive anything from the sermon, the missionaries that speak after the sermon will bless your heart!

I was so blessed today. My Father confirmed some of the things He has been speaking to my heart and He challenged some of my ideas about life in general. As it is, I'll have to go over the sermon notes again a couple more times, just so I know that I really GOT it all. God is so good, folks. He is the perfect Father, ever loving and everlasting. If you want to learn and grow, He'll take you by the hand and teach you. If you are wounded and hurting, He'll wrap His arms around you, comfort you, and heal you. He will NEVER leave you or forsake you, no matter what you are getting into. He loves you more than you could ever realize or imagine!!

Check out the link, and be blessed!!


Friday, November 24, 2006

Taking A Breather

Do you ever hear something from God....and then He repeats Himself like twenty times? It seems like everything you read or hear is on the subject He was talking about?

I need to spend more time with Him. I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to produce all this change instantaneously, and it's been crazy. I have such favor at school and work, I find myself really, really busy. I want the changes He's been working in my heart to be evident in my daily life, but my priorities have been messed up.

Today, when I was looking through my usual blogs, I heard a really good suggestion. Setting aside a time or day for a "date" with God. The immediate reaction was, "I don't have time" but that's just not true. I can ask for a day off and go spend time with Him. Get out of the house and just spend sometime hanging out, worshipping, and praying. The very idea feels refreshing and I can't wait to try it!

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I can hardly believe that it's Thanksgiving time again. Time just flew by!!

I've been SO blessed this year! God has been dealing with my heart, rooting up some unforgiveness and planting new seeds in there. I've learned so much recently that it's hard to try to express it all. But I still want to list some of the things I'm thankful for and feel free to share some of the things YOU are thankful for!

Thank you Father for:

~Your love, patience, and ENCOURAGEMENT this year!!
~That certain promise you told me about last year around this time! ;)
~My family; we've been tested, but YOU brought us through it! Praise the Lord!
~My new job and all the new friends I've made. I've been blessed with such favor from my coworkers and bosses; I know that's your handiwork!
~Our new church family!! Only You know how awesome of an impact Empower has had on our lives!
~My new car, it runs like a top!
~My school experience! You've worked some wonderful miracles in that situation and shown me what it means to trust You on a daily basis.

I could keep going for ages, but I have to go get food for my family. I hope that everyone's Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful, blessed occasion! One that brings friends and family closer together and closer to God!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Thoughts and Ponderings

So far, this blog has just been my jottings on things God has shown me. When I think about what I want to post, I review some of the major struggles and victories I've had in my life. It's funny though; I've been ministered to just by considering these things again. I want to talk about some of the battles I've been in; hopefully, they will be encouraging to you too!

About a year ago, I had a powerful experience. It changed me and the way I interact with God. There was a minister at our church who was talking about Hannah and the sacred vow she made to God. The sermon culminated in the minster having us ask God for something that we'd been longing for and then, making a sacred vow to Him. Not a sort of quid pro quo type of arrangement, because there isn't anything with which we could bribe God. It was just to finally ask God for EXACTLY the thing we'd been wanting, the thing that we'd been longing for and too afraid to ask Him to give. Then dedicate something to Him to mark the occasion.

I asked God to take away the heavy darkness that was always resting on the top of my stomach. (I found out later that feeling was shame.) I dedicated the rest of my life to Him and doing whatever He led me to do. Then, as a congregation, we all praised God for hearing and fulfilling our requests.

The dark feeling? GONE! In an instant, that feeling was ripped away and in it's place, this wonderful, warm peace. I knew that God was on the inside of me, that He filled that place now, and I'd never feel like He was far from me again.

About three days later, I went to a Dave Duell meeting and God finished cleaning me out. God told Dave about something the doctor had diagnosed me with and Dave prayed for me. I'd never even considered getting prayer about it before that!! (A couple days later, I found out that medically the sickness was gone too!! There was no trace of the disease any more.) But through that prayer for healing, God healed other emotional wounds as well. That experience was so FREEING! I KNEW who God was. I KNEW He was happy with me, that He loved me, that He was a kind, gentle, joyful Father.

Even now, when I look back at those weeks, I still get this big smile on my face! I can still feel the joy and peace of that moment. I wasn't concerned with how I looked or what others thought about me. I just rested and let my Father minister His overwhelming love to me. What an amazing experience!

Still Smiling,

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Trusting God

Whichever way we go in life, we have to consult God for directions. Whatever we want to do, whatever result we want to see in our lives, God has the answers.

Have you ever found yourself somewhere and you have no idea how you got there? Not literally, but figuratively. Sometimes, because of pressure or fear, we take the easy road or a detour and suddenly, we wind up somewhere insane!

Example: I'm graduating college in a couple weeks. I'll have a degree in culinary arts, one that I worked very hard for. But the sad thing is, I'm not passionate about culinary and I know that I don't want to cook for the rest of my life.

Praise God, I know that God can use the skills I've obtained, plus, I know that I've grown a LOT in culinary school. It wasn't a complete waste of time. But what would have happened if I had trusted God in the first place and asked Him what He wanted me to do?

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

My First Blog!!

Heheh! So I know that the name of this blog could be alarming to some people, but don't worry! I'm not too crazy..... Hahah, actually the title of this blog is the meaning of my name! And I really wanted to talk about that.

Do you ever think about how important names are? In the bible, you see that when a parent would name their child, very often the name would mean something special. Either the name would describe something the parent was going through around the time of the child's birth, or it would foretell something about the child or the child's life. Benjamin, the son of Jacob (also known as Israel), almost was named Ben-Oni which means son of my sorrows! Rachel was going to name her child that because she was dying, but what kind of life do you think he would have had? He would have had to hear that he was a child born out of sorrow every day of his life! But Israel, even though he was saddened by the death of Rachel, wasn't willing to have his son named for sorrow. Instead, he named him Benjamin which means Son of my right hand. What a name! Instead of hearing that he was a child associated with death and sorrow, Benjamin grew up knowing that his father LOVED him and that he was highly favored!

Sometimes God would change someone's name to reflect the new circumstances and blessings He was about to shower on them. Isn't that beautiful? No matter what your parents or friends think about you or say about you, God sees you how you are! He can change your name to reflect the tremendous love and compassion He has for you. He will wipe your slate clean and give you the name that reflects your TRUE self, the you that He sees!

One of the reasons names are so important is that they are spoken outloud. Whether you know the meaning of your name or not, if affects your life. I have a best friend whose name means, "Enlightened One" and "Out of the dark river". His life has been filled with struggles and trials. He's been into some really dark things, but God got hold of him and now, my friend is fullfilling the meaning of his name! He's enlightened and he's passed the dark times!

My name may mean Listener of God, but I've always been called Sam. When I was younger, I went through struggles and dark times, and I'd find myself thinking that I didn't really reflect the meaning of my name. Sometimes, when I was really down, I'd wonder why it felt like God wasn't hearing my cries or comforting me. One time when I was really feeling dark, I went online as usual and started checking my emails. On a whim, I went to a baby name site and looked up my name again. In the bottom corner of the page, there was a hyperlink that led to my nickname. I clicked it and guess what I found out?? Do you know what Sam means? "God hears!"

God bless you!

Samantha F.