Thursday, April 5, 2012

Abundantly free...

"Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, His blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people - free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans He took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in Him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth." (Ephesians 1:7 MSG)

This was the verse of the day yesterday on Biblegateway and it still speaks to me today. Last night I had coffee with a dear sweet friend. As as she lamented over the past and all the "should have done" and "wish I would have"things I just longed for her to understand that it's all forgiven and forgotten in Jesus. I told her that was then & this is now & that Jesus just wants her to draw closer to Him... to seek out His face & that He just wants to love on her... to heal her hurts from her loss & from her past.

This morning as I was rereading this verse... it spoke to me again. So many times we sit and lament over what we wish we would have done or what we should have done differently and we don't realize that His blood being poured out on the altar of the Cross... covered all our sin and our "should have done things differently" and as a result, we are set free from the past... and not just barely free either... we are ABUNDANTLY free!

This morning... God wants us to know that Jesus covered it all and He's taken care of everything... He's provided for everything we could ever possibly need... He's provided for everything... in Jesus.... and in HIM... we are completely & ABUNDANTLY free!

Friday, March 30, 2012

God's good plan...

Exactly 14 years ago God gave me these verses:

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you," says the LORD. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

And I've held onto the hope of those good plans for all these years!

This morning God showed me something that I felt like I was supposed to share... it was a different perspective on the brokenness of losing a child and the pain of the years since. It was one of those moments that was tough but powerful at the same time.

As I was doing my devotions this morning, I was praying about how I don't want to get off the path of His will. I feel like we have finally hit some of the "good" we have been waiting for and I don't want to risk losing that. I don't want to get off track like before and experience more pain & heartache. I was questioning what took us down that hard, broken path and again... taking on some of the blame & responsibility that I know isn't mine to carry (but it creeps up every now & then anyway). I was telling Him how I just want to follow Him always because His way leads to life & restoration and when I follow my own path... it leads to death & destruction. I was asking Him to show me His path and to speak to my heart.

I pulled up the Biblegateway site in preparation for a study we're doing at church and I read the verse for today:

He was despised and rejected - a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for His own sins! (Isaiah 53:3-4)

I felt like I should keep reading so I pulled out my Bible and picked up at verse 5 to the end...

But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him... the sins of us all.

He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth. Unjustly condemned, He was led away. No one cared that He died without descendants, that His life was cut short in midstream. But He was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man's grave.

But it was the LORD's good plan to crush Him and cause Him grief.

Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have many descendants. he will enjoy a long life, and the LORD's good plan will prosper in His hands. When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of His experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins. I will give Him the honors of a victorious soldier, because He exposed Himself to death. he was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

So many times we think that the good plans God has for us are easy and rosey... not hard and difficult.. hard and difficult equals bad in our minds... I want the good... I don't want the hard times... so in order to get the good then surely that means I have to stay within God's path (& His good graces).

"But it was the LORD's good plan to crush Him and cause Him grief."

When I read those words... the Lord spoke to my heart that the brokenness of our lives... was a part of His good plans for us... (tough but powerful words to hear) As a result of being crushed and walking through deepest grief... Gerad has the pleasure of enjoying a long life in the presence of Jesus! As a result of being crushed and walking through deepest grief... we will have many descendants when we share our story of God's redemptive grace... As a result of the LORD's good plan... as a result of this experience... many will be counted as righteous when they believe in Him.

Just as God was glorified in Jesus' death & resurrection... LORD be glorified in our brokenness and restoration! LORD let glory & honor come to You because You have restored our future and our hope!

LORD... be glorified!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Morning devotions...

This morning... God has reminded me of His goodness & grace.
This morning... God has reminded me that He is my refuge & strength.
This morning... God has reminded me that His unfailing love surrounds me.
This morning... God has reminded me... to be still and know that He is God.

It began this morning with studying Psalm 11:1 - "In the LORD I take refuge...." There was a word study on the word flee and I was reminded of how in James 4:7 it tells me that as I humble myself before God... I am able to resist the devil and that the he will flee from me! The LORD is my refuge & strength! I sent an email to my small group saying, "I would rather humble myself before God, stand firm in HIS Truth, and take refuge in HIM rather than running away from & being scared of the devil. My Mighty God was and IS victorious over any schemes the enemy can throw my way!" As I take refuge in the LORD... He will strengthen me & empower me to resist the enemy.

Then I was taken to Psalm 32 where I was reminded of the joy of being forgiven of sin & cleared of guilt. I was reminded that when I held onto my sin... I wasted away and my strength was all gone. But then... as I confessed my sin, as I stopped trying to hide & deny my guilt... the LORD forgave me and my guilt is gone! The LORD is my refuge... my hiding place & He protects me from trouble. He surrounds me with songs of victory! I am so thankful that the LORD promises that He will guide me along the best pathway for my life. He promises to advise me and to watch over me. He promises that His unfailing love surrounds me as I trust in HIM. So today I will rejoice in the LORD and will be glad! I will shout for joy because He has set me FREE!

Then I was reminded that when I try to rely on my own strength... things are much harder... harder to give up & let go of... harder to understand... harder to be victorious. When I lean on & rely on GOD... He gives me the strength I need... to overcome... to understand the next step to take... to be victorious! Again... I would much rather humble myself before Him... take refuge in Him... and rely on HIS strength because when I try to rely on my own strength... I fail miserably. When I lean on & rely on GOD... He helps me be Victorious & Free!

God is SO good & today... I'm thankful for His grace! I'm thankful that He is my Refuge & strength! I'm thankful that His unfailing love surrounds me on every side! I'm thankful that I can lean on & rely on Him and HE is all that I need! And I'm thankful that He reminded me to just be still for a few minutes & to know that HE is God!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

simply put...

He has chosen me and He will never EVER abandon me!!

He is right by my side... ALWAYS! He will Protect me... He will ALWAYS keep me... He will guard me and by my shelter. 

The opposite of abandon is KEEP. 

He will always KEEP me... He won't ever throw me away... He will tend to me and watch over me... He will never take His eyes off of me... He is in "perfect attendance" to my every step. The Lord HIMSELF watches over me and KEEPs me. 

As I start a new semester tomorrow... these were just wonderful words of assurance that I needed to hear tonight. I love that as I walk into a new day tomorrow... He will be right by my side and He won't leave me... EVER. When I look at the mountain before me... I know that my help will come from the Lord... the Maker of heaven and earth... my Protector and ever present help. 

He is just SO good!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Year...

The days that have transpired since my last post have not been uneventful. I have been learning a lot about grace & love... about my own heart issues... and most recently about how HE has chosen ME. I am in awe of God's Grace. I am in awe of how much He loves me. I am in awe at how much He carries me through this journey called life.

In a nutshell:
Just before Thanksgiving I began (again) the Made to Crave study but this time... with my sister Wendy. At first, I have to admit, my thought process was to prepare for the wedding this coming August of my daughter to her wonderful fiance'. Of course... God had other plans and ultimately... my desire became that I wanted to be free of the issues that held me back from being all that God desires of me. He has been changing and transforming me and showing me things on a deeper level... Again... I am amazed at His love & grace.

Christmas is almost always a challenge for me financially as well as emotionally. This year though was different. God reminded me that the true reason for the season was the birth of His Son. While our gifts to the kids were small, I know that it meant a lot to them. For others... I wanted to show them how much they meant to me and to bless each one. God's idea of course blessed them indeed.

The New Year... came in quietly but God spoke to my heart tenderly one evening and it's been on-going through the last several days. He revealed to me the reason behind my food issues and a deep healing has begun. I rejoice in His love & care for me and in this simple promise:

Isaiah 41:9 ~ For I have chosen you and I will not throw you away.

I will share more in the days to come!

Friday, December 2, 2011

December 2nd...

I remember this day, 18 years ago.... like it was yesterday. Being extremely large with child, going into the hospital to be induced for what would be the last time.... the extremely FAST birth of my youngest and largest child and the concern in my doctor's eyes. But more than anything... I remember that night, when I looked out the window while holding you in my arms... there were these light snowflakes falling... it was such a beautiful night. I remember wondering... Was this what Mary felt like the night Jesus was born? So filled with awe and wonder... and a "knowing" that this child in my arms was different... special.

I just want you to know that I still miss you... I wish you were here so we could celebrate your birthday. I wish I could have watched you grow into a young man. However, in all my wishes I'm thankful... thankful for the years we did have with you... thankful that you're safe in Jesus arms... thankful that one day we will see each other again and thankful that when I do see you again... will be even more joyous than the first!

I love you little buddy! Happy 18th Birthday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Tonight my heart is so full and so thankful... not just because tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day but because... I'm just so thankful for God's grace on my life.... it never, never ceases to amaze me.

Things I'm thankful for....

  • My beautiful daughter is getting married in 9 months to a really sweet young man! Today we looked at dresses!! As I sat and watched her try on each one... I was just amazed at God's goodness! 
  • My handsome son who seems to grow taller by the day... what a fine young man he has become! He is strong and healthy and loves God and his boots! :) I'm just amazed at God's faithfulness!
  • My beautiful angel boy who waits for me in Heaven. I know he's having such a great time playing in God's big, big house! I'm just amazed at God's grace!
  • My wonderful husband who truly has stuck by my side for better or for worse... we have definitely had our share of hard times but in the end... we love each other more today than 25 years ago when we were young & foolish! I'm amazed at God's love!
  • My family who has helped me more times than I can count! For praying for me, loving me & loving God with me! Thank you mom & dad for the wonderful examples that you were & for showing me what it means to love deeply until death do us part! I'm so amazed at God's mercy & grace that He would give me you as my family!!
  • My dear, dear friends that God has brought into my life... for each season of my life! They too have seen me through some rough roads but their words of encouragement have helped me take each new step... I'm forever grateful for God's kindness!
  • Mostly though... I'm thankful for the love of Christ who accepts me as I am and loves me too much to leave me that way! He loves me so much that He gave His life for me... to show me that He is my biggest fan and will keep cheering me on until the day I see Him face to face!

Happy Thanksgiving!!