Saturday, April 28, 2007

Check This Out

Now I know you're thinking, "What?! She posted again??" but this is worth it. I share a lot of my heart and my thought processes on here, but my biggest thrill is sharing things that have changed me in one way or another.

I'd like you to check out this blog: Observations/Conclusions/Ponderings

Most of the time, this blog is filled with pithy and amusing takes on every day life. Today, it was just like a punch in the stomach.

Gah, I can't describe it, just READ IT.

Love ya,

Friday, April 27, 2007

YWM And Talks About God

This past Wednesday, our church had our first young women's meeting! It was WONDERFUL!! (Check out Sarah's blog for a picture and her take on the evening.) We had about twelve young ladies attend and I think everyone came away with something to think about. God has been so good to all of us and I know He's going to take us waaaaay further than we could even imagine.

So! On with my post! I have a theory. Struggles and problems stem from a misunderstanding of who God is. (Wasn't that short and sweet?)

For every issue that I've dealt with in my life, I've been able to trace it back to a basic misunderstanding of God. When I realize that God is kind, that God is trustworthy, that He isn't angry with me, that He's full of joy, that He's GENTLE, He's full of patience, and most importantly He LOVES ME, it changes everything.

One of my biggest challenges is that I'm a pretty cerebral person. I love to logic things out. When I get into a mess, I tend to want to work it out for myself. Even when I say that I'm trusting God, it's more like, "Ok, I'm trusting God! So with the power of God flowing through me, I'm going to fix this!!" And then when I make it worse, I've found myself asking God why He failed me!!! >_<

Trusting God means that you have completely taken your hands off and surrendered the problem to God. Sometimes, He'll guide you through certain steps to get out of the muddle. Other times (and this is where I've been falling down!), He needs you to just leave the problem with Him.

If I had the full revelation of who God is, it would change my thought patterns. Instead of automatically jumping in to fix stuff on my own, I'd relax, lean back and watch God work. Instead of feeling condemned and stressed when I've done something stupid, I'd apologize and then feel free!

The good news is, the more you hang out with God (like praying or reading your bible, or something of that sort) the better you get to know Him. I've started hanging certain scriptures on my wall. Ones that are encouraging, or talk about a certain characteristic of God are especially good. I can think about those as I clean my room or get ready for work and it cements the image of that aspect of God in my heart. This is the whole "renewing your mind" thingie that pastors are always talking about! =)

I hope this helps. (I haven't arrived, but I've left and I'm not giving up!!)

Love ya,

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"Wanting A God You Can Talk To"

I'm feeling happy! Extremely, thoroughly happy! I've been reading this book by Jesse Duplantis called "Wanting A God You Can Talk To" and I'm loving it. It's filling me up on the inside and confirming just about every hope and dream I've had concerning talking with God.
(Sniper, if you wanted a book that would answer your questions about talking to God, THIS IS THE BOOK.)

I like this book because Jesse Duplantis keeps things simple. There isn't a whiff of religious-ness about him. It's not a hard read. I didn't feel like he had a thesaurus right by his side when he was writing the book. He just talks about his experiences with seeking God and offers encouragement anyone wanting to have a one on one friendship with God. Check it out!

(Thank you Becca, for giving this book to me! Anna has GREAT taste!)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

God Wants His People Flambe!

As I start this blog post, I'm not even sure what I'm going to talk about. I had a few ideas yesterday, but the day has brought new topics of discussion. (This post could also be called "The Mental Wanderings of Sam"!) So, I'm just going to type and see what comes out!

I was thinking about worship the other night. My ideas of worship have been overhauled several times now. I used to think that a really good worship service meant it was easy to get swept up into the singing. Somewhere along the way, that idea was discarded. I'm not even sure how I stopped thinking that way. I began to feel like I should step out more in the singing; stop being so conscious of the people around me and focus more on Jesus. When I started doing that, I found that it didn't matter how good the musicians were or how touching the music was, I got something from thinking about how wonderful Jesus is!

Good right? Very good! (I'm not "grading" myself, or saying it was wrong to feel that way. I just want to present another veiwpoint.) But what if worship isn't about "getting" something from God?

I was listening to a sermon in the car on the way to my brother's school. The minister was talking about how when the Israelites went into the temple to meet with God, they always took a sacrifice. They wouldn't think of going without having something to burn for God. Later they found out that God didn't really care about the burnt offerings, it was their hearts He was watching as they came before Him.

How's your heart as you come before Him? On Sundays, or whenever you've got some time set aside for worshiping God, do you lay everything else down and devote yourself to Him? Maybe you have a bunch of kids who hang on you and bug you all the time, or maybe you have money issues that are clamoring for your attention, or maybe you're struggling with some emotional problems? Lay it all down.

Worship isn't "needs" focused. Worship isn't "me" focused. Worship is an offering to God before you accept the word He has provided for you through your pastor's preaching. It's saying, "God, I love you. I think you're amazing. I don't care about anything else right now; I just want you to know how wonderful I think you are!"

It's not always easy. But, that's why it's called sacrifice of praise!

Hebrews 13:14&15
For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name.

Sometimes, putting all the distractions out of your mind is an uphill battle through a flesh forest while it's pouring emotional rain. But when you push beyond your comfort zone, God will come and set you ablaze!

Remember Elijah and that bunch of baal priests? They were trying to decide whose god was the true god. The priests of baal had spent all day trying to get baal to burn up the animal on the altar, with hilarious commentary from Elijah. Nothing happened. When it was Elijah's turn, he decided to make things interesting.

1Kings 18:32-35
With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, "Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood." "Do it again," he said, and they did it again. "Do it a third time," he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

The wood was soaked. The whole thing would probably take days to dry out naturally. But in verse 38, we see what happened when after Elijah called on the Lord:

Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

Our God is big into bringing more than enough! No squabble with your mother-in-law can put out the fire He starts in you! Nothing your boss says can dampen your wood to the point of making a spiritual blaze impossible! If we trust Him, He'll bring the increase! Get out of your comfort zone, and you're into the supernatural!

So there we are. That's what I've been thinking about. Since I've been having growing season (>_<), this message is for me too! To be completely honest, all of my posts challenge me, so don't feel badly if you've got some things to work on!

Hope this helps and have a GREAT week!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Enjoying The View From The Rock

So recently, I've been re-re-evaluating everything. As I sail through life, things pop up and the way I react to them affects my flow. I'm learning to just run to God with anything and everything. Feeling unsettled? "Father!!" Saw something funny? "Hey Dad, guess what!" Tempted to get ticked off at someone? "Hold me back Lord!!"

When I was younger, I clung to my older brother when anything really disturbed me. I expected him to make me feel better. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. But that wasn't really fair to him. I tried to make him my solid spot, and people get smushed when you stand on them.

As I develop a deeper relationship with God, I've found that every time I'm troubled inside, He has the answer. I can get my focus back on my Strong One and either everything changes, or everything shrinks back to the right size in my mind. Problems aren't huge anymore. My schedule isn't overloaded. I can see again the progress that God has made in my life.

From this I will not be shaken, my God is my rock and my strength. I will find rest in Him.

Ps. 100: 1 - 5
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Moving Beyond The Veil

2Cor. 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

1. to change in form, appearance, or structure; metamorphose.
2. to change in condition, nature, or character; convert.

Do you ever have days where it seems like you'll never get to the place you want to be? I do. Pretty regularly, I go cry out to God about my progress. It's because I want to be more than I am right now. I want to be more than a correct Christian. I want to be more than a friendly face in a crowd of people. I want to operate in the power that Jesus had. I want to exercise the same obedience and diligence. I want the same heart of compassion. I want His boldness.

In the above scripture, Paul is talking about Moses and how, after Moses came down off of Mount Sinai with the tablets, Moses' face was glowing. The Bible actually says his face was radiant! This was the effect of being in the presence of God. It completely changed the appearance of Moses' face.

Exodus 34:29
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant and they were afraid to come near him.

The Israelites had the chance to spend time in the presence of God. Earlier, when God handed down the Ten Commandments, the people heard the voice of God and were terrified. But instead of pushing past their fears and listening to the voice of the one who had led them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and supernaturally fed them, they drew back.

Exodus 20:18&19
When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

Look at that! They actively distanced themselves from the voice of God! Look at the sorrows they went through as a result. They thought that if Moses heard from God for them, it would solve their problems. They would listen to him, and everything would be fine.

The truth is, THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR GOD SPEAKING INDIVIDUALLY TO YOU. Even the most anointed preacher can’t touch your heart the way that God Himself can. The bible says that “the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12) And we know what happened to the Israelites. They didn’t obey Moses. They didn’t listen to him, even though they said they would.

The Israelites maintained that distance from the presence of God. After Moses would return from speaking with God, he put a veil over his face. The Israelites were afraid to come near him until he put the veil on. (Exodus 34:29)

What would have happened if the Israelites had kept that reflection of God’s glory before their eyes? In the presence of that anointing you’ll have heart change and break throughs. It literally transforms your mind.

Isa. 10:27
And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off they shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yolk shall be destroyed because of the anointing.

2Cor. 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

If you want more from God, if you want to get further in life, you have to spend time with God. You have to develop your relationship with God. We are made to be imitators of God, made in His likeness. It's only by spending time in his presence, that the Holy Spirit has a chance to work on your heart. The Israelites turned away from God. They kept Him at arms length. If they had pressed in, they would have seen His glory. They had the chance! One of their number took that opportunity:

Exodus 33:11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

Where was Joshua? Still in the tent, still talking with God. And he grew up to lead the Israelites into the promised land. What would have happened if more of their number had followed Joshua’s lead?

Jesus died so that we could have an intimate relationship with God. So that we could draw near to God and talk to him face to face.

2Cor. 3:12
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.

2Cor. 3:16
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Turn to the Lord. Seek His face and listen for Him to speak individually to YOU. Watch and see how He’ll transform you and your situation because of it!

2Cor. 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Sunday, April 1, 2007


(Why is it that I always find myself posting in the wee, small hours of the morning??? O_O)

I've been talking to a lot of people recently who have been blessed by something that I've posted or something that I've shared with them. Cool, right? Definitely! But that crystalized a thought that I wanted to share.

John 6:1-9
Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. Then Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Feast was near. When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"

Now imagine this. See it in your mind. What happened next is DEFINITELY an act of love! This boy had followed Jesus for days now, seeing miracle after miracle. Maybe he was one of many people healed at the hands of Jesus. After following Jesus and his disciples for so long, perhaps he knew that the disciples hadn't packed any lunch for anyone. Maybe he had been looking for a way, SOME way to show how much he appreciated all that Jesus had done for him. It's then that his heart whispered, "Offer Jesus your lunch! At least you can do that much for Him!" It was just a little sack lunch his mom packed for him, but at least Jesus wouldn't have to go hungry. Besides, his mom was known for her wonderful bread!

John 6:11-13
Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

What I want to say is this. Everyone has something to offer. Everyone has a word of encouragement, a talent, a testimony, or gift to offer to Jesus.

1Cor. 14:26
What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.

Maybe God has brought you through some tough times. Maybe you are really good at encouraging people. Or maybe, you just like hugging on folks! All the boy had was a lunch. And look what happened! Even if you feel like all you have is a crust of bread, give it to Jesus for His use! When the boy offered his lunch to Jesus, Jesus brought the increase!

Even if you feel shy about sharing with people, get out there! DO IT! When I started this blog, I was tempted to feel so nervous. "What are people going to think about me??" Tell that little voice to can it. Jesus has done so much for me! He's brought me SO far! When I read these posts over again I get blessed! Maybe these aren't the most elegant entries, but glory to God, they've born fruit!

2Cor 3:5
Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence has come from God.

Don't worry about how you look or how you come across! Share your testimonies with people! As you put yourself out there and trust in the Lord, the Holy Spirit will teach you how to speak and how to act. It's even more powerful when someone who is a complete MESS on their own starts allowing Jesus to flow through them!

One last verse:

2Cor. 4:5-7
For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness, " made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.