Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Power of God's Presence

When we face trials in our lives, which we all do because the Bible tells us we will, it is imperative to remember this one very important fact...God is with us! All throughout the Old & New Testament, God tells people "do not be afraid, I am with you". He doesn't say "don't be afraid, I'm going to fix this", or "don't be scared, I will take all your troubles away". No, instead, He promises to be with us.

Example, when Shadrach, Meschach & Abednego were in the fiery furnace, Jesus (or the Angel of the Lord) was right there in the fire with them. When God commissioned Joshua, Gideon and Moses to do His work, he said "don't worry, My presence is going with you". Moses became so dependent on God's presence, he wouldn't even go where God told him to unless He promised to come with him. He didn't want God's blessing, he wanted His presence!

In the NT, when Jesus was preparing the disciples for his departure, He comforted them by saying "I will not leave you like orphans, but I'll send someone (the Comforter/Holy Spirit) to help you."

Why is the promise of His presence sufficient in all situations? I think we can look at Jesus' life as the key. Jesus went through more pain, suffering, shame, disgrace, rejection and betrayal than anyone can imagine. He not only suffered physically, but the emotional and mental pain was enough to cause Him to sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Still, the Bible says He was led like a "sheep to the slaughter" without opening His mouth. Some may think he endured this kind of pain because He was God, but I can assure you, He was also fully man! He had humbled himself to become man, subjected himself to all the same weaknesses, limitations, and possible emotions that we all face, only without sin. I believe the only thing that allowed Him to endure this level of torture, was the presence of His Father with Him through the power of the Holy Spirit. It was the same with Stephen when he was being stoned to death...he saw Heaven open and he had God's presence with him. This is the same relationship that is available to us today.

Jesus got His commission from the Father, submitted Himself completely to His will, then He stayed connected with Him through it all. When people spit on Him, with clenched fists of anger and hatred called out "crucify Him!", when the disciples rejected, denied and abandoned Him, when the guards pierced His side, placed the crown of thorns on His head, striped Him of His clothes and beat Him beyond recognition, then ultimately hung Him to die on the cross...His Father in Heaven was with Him. I know this because He didn't protest at all until one moment...the only time Jesus cried out...

The moment when God the Father turned away from Jesus because of the sin that had been placed upon Him (my sin, your sin, the entire world's sin). That was the only time Jesus didn't call God "His Father" - instead, He cried "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" The first and only time Jesus was ever separated from His Father's presence - that was the only thing he couldn't bare. Of course God had to turn from Hm for a moment, but not only restored Jesus to His presence, but crowned Him with all honor and authority both in Heaven and on earth.

This tells me that I can endure anything in life, as long as I have God's presence with me. I heard a teaching by Beth Moore one time where she said when it comes to trials and tribulations, there are typically 3 ways God deals with them.

1) He will take them away,
2) He will walk through it with you, or
3) He will deliver you from them by taking you on to Heaven.

Obviously we all pray for the first scenario, but when that doesn't always happen, we shouldn't think that God has abandoned us. We must trust that He is working in our situation for our good, just as He didn't spare His own Son, but instead had a greater purpose.

May we all come to say in the good times AND the bad, His presence is "better than life" and "I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength."

Monday, September 27, 2010

How He Loves Us

I was involved all weekend with our women's conference "PureLife" at our church. It was a wonderful mixture of fun, fellowship, and faith. The messages were moving, I laughed a lot with my friends, and I was even given an opportunity to pray for a few people and saw God do some miraculous things.

As I sit here this morning thinking over everything that happened, there are many things I've taken away from the conference, but particularly moving to me was a song we sang called "How He Loves Us". You've probably heard it, either by Kari Jobe, or perhaps the "David Crowder Band". I've heard it on Christian radio, but never really paid attention to the words like I did this weekend.

Listen to the words of this song

We as Christians, all know and somewhat understand that God loves us.
Eph. 3:17-19 says "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints, what is the width, length, depth & height, and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God"
This tells me that we all need to pray that the Holy Spirit will continually show us how much God loves us!

There were two very strong lines that really stuck out in my mind, and make this song so special to me.

One was where it said something about our afflictions being eclipsed by His glory . I can't tell you how many times I've been going through something and I know that prayer won't even help until I first go spend some time in God's presence, worshipping Him. It doesn't take any time at all before all my problems seem to fade away in light of His presence. Nothing may have changed right away in my circumstances, but now I have a Heavenly perspective and the joy of the Lord, which is my strength. After all, the Bible says that in His presence is fullness of joy!

The other great line in the song was when it talked about not having time for regrets when I realize how much He loves me. Again, if we focus more on God's love, we let go of our past, we open ourselves up to forgiveness, we forgive others who've offended us...the Bible says "perfect love casts out fear" - we don't have to be afraid of anything! This can mean fear of man, fear of God's judgement, fear of mistakes & past failures, fear of the future & the unknown, whatever the fear, it's not always that you need more faith...sometimes you just need a greater measure of understanding God's love for you!

I pray that prayer in Ephesians (Eph. 3:17-19) over myself and hope you'll do the same.

Lord, let ME know and experience Christ dwelling in my heart by faith; let me be rooted & grounded in love today; may I be able to comprehend (today) how much You love me, how high, wide, long & deep You love me! Even though this love You talk about is "beyond comprehension", I know that only means that I can't understand it in my natural mind and without the help of Your Holy Spirit, but through Your Spirit, You can begin to help me understand Your love. Thank you that I am being filled with all the fullness of God!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Prayer for Fruitfulness

Stepping out, moving up
to a higher level I must go
maturity and fruitfulness are calling
to put into practice the things I know

Insecurity and fears be gone
you're not welcome here anymore
I'm breaking free from my past
with greater revelation than ever before

Walking in repentance
shaking off all that would hinder
forgiving every offense
to You, Jesus, I completely surrender

I'll trust You with my future
and listen for Your voice
if I obey as You lead me
I'll always make the right choice

I pray you'll teach me to number my days
and not to squander the gifts You gave
I also want my life to impact
the ones You came to save.

by Angie Mauer

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Hump Day" Humor

1. How do You Catch a Unique Rabbit?
Unique Up On It.

2. How Do You Catch a Tame Rabbit?
Tame Way.

3. How Do Crazy People Go Through The Forest ?
They Take The Psychopath.

4. What Do Eskimos Get From Sitting On The Ice too Long?

5. What Do You Call a Boomerang That Doesn't Work?
A Stick.

6. What Do You Call Cheese That Isn't Yours?
Nacho Cheese.

7. What Do You Call Four Bullfighters In Quicksand?
Quatro Cinco.

8. What Do You Get From a Pampered Cow?
Spoiled Milk.

9. What Do You Get When You Cross a Snowman With a Vampire?

10. What Lies At The Bottom Of The Ocean And Twitches?
A Nervous Wreck.

11. What Kind Of Coffee Was Served On The Titanic?

12. Why Did Pilgrims' Pants Always Fall Down?
Because They Wore Their Belt Buckles On Their Hats.

Now, admit it . . . at least one of these made you smile.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Favorite Things About Fall

I LOVE the Fall season more than any other! I know it's fun to take Summer vacations, the Spring brings new life as everything is blossoming, and the holidays are always a wonderful time of family, friends & FOOD, but I still think Fall is my favorite.

I love the cooler weather after suffering the long, hot & humid days of Summer. I enjoy the leaves changing color in the trees, and the pumpkins people put out on their porches to mark the beginning of the Fall season.

While I'm not a huge football fan, my husband and kids are so excited about all the games, it's hard not to be happy for them, it's too cute. They enjoy watching their favorite team play, going to the games, tailgating with friends. What do I get out of it? Often I get a weekend to myself, with food I like, no cooking, and chick flics on t.v.!

Fall brings my friends' Corn Maze, Harvest Festival at churches (which means Brunswick stew, yum!), the NC State Fair (which my kids love), and our Fall Fiesta at my church (which replaces Halloween for us).

It's a great time of year! Hope you enjoy it. Be sure to tell me your favorite things about Fall.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembing 9/11

Since 2001, America will never face this day on the calendar without remembering & reflecting on what happened. 9/11 forever changed our Nation, and many individual's lives. But these many years later, I've been asking God how we're supposed to remember, and what is our response supposed to be?

It's not to dredge up bad feelings of bitterness, that only lead to hatred. It's not to feel fear and insecurity as we realize that if something like this happened once, it could happen again. It's not to just pity the victims' families, although we should offer them our prayers and support. It's certainly not to forget about it and add it to so many other "historical" events that happened in America.

What is the proper response as we remember 9/11?

I think that Anne Graham Lotz (Rev. Billy Graham's daughter), and Joel Rosenburg have the right idea. Next year, on 9/11/11, the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attack, they are holding a live simulcast all across the Country to call people to pray. You can go to Anne's website for more information. I'm excited about this event, but I say, we don't have to wait until then - take time today to pray and ask God to heal America. (2nd Chronicles 7:14)

I also think we should remember how we all came together right after the attack. People put aside their political and theological differences and came together for one united cause. Why must it take a tragedy for us to focus on the common ground as opposed to what divides us? Just look at the spotlight that has been placed on a small congregation in Florida who wanted to take action, but is going about things, in my opinion, the wrong way. Let's remember 9/11, but do so in a productive, healing way - not in doing more harm than good.

I end with this prayer:

May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, be with the families of the victims of 9/11. May He grant them peace and strength today, and all their days. I pray that they have no bitterness or unforgiveness in their hearts, but they let Your joy & peace reign in their lives. I pray that all their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs be met.

I pray that America will turn to You, repent of our sins, and once again be a Christian Nation, unashamed to lift up Your name! I pray that we would not hate anyone of a different faith, but neither will we stop praying for their eyes to be open to the truth, knowing that Your Word says You are the only way! Let us not be silenced under the guise of political correctness or the worry of offending someone. After all, these are not our words or our ways, it came from You, spoken by Your Son. I pray that Your Church would rise up, not in a political way, or a self-righteous way, but boldly speaking the truth in love, show Your heart in our words and in deed. I pray that Your hand of protection would be on us, even as we pray for the peace of Israel. I agree with Joel Rosenburg, and pray that You would visit in a miraculous way, the muslim people, opening their spiritual eyes and ears to see You, even as Saul beheld You and became Paul. Finally, let the knowledge of the glory of the Lord cover the earth, even as the waters cover the sea!

God bless America

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What I've Been Up To

Hello my long lost blogging friends! Well, I guess you haven't been lost, I have been M.I.A. Just wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten you, and I hope you haven't forgotten me. I've been soooooo busy lately.

Here is what I've been up to these past several weeks:

School started again - I've already had to do, I mean "help" with a school project with my 5th grader.

I'm organizing the Mom's Group I lead at my church and trying to get it ready to begin in October. Meanwhile, I've become the Volunteer Director for our upcoming Women's Conference "PureLife" - any of you local NC ladies, please join us! Go to to register

My youngest just turned 8 on 9/5 and we had a "camp out" birthday party for him.

His grandpa gave him a trampoline for his birthday.

Yes, it came in this box! It took some patience to put it together, but my Dad, with a little help from the birthday boy, did a great job. Thanks Papa!

I thought I'd save $$$ this year and make his cake myself. It was hideous looking, but it tasted okay. It caved in and the #8 candle kept falling over in the cake.

The boys ended up playing in the creek behind our house. Can you tell we need rain?

I've helped two of my friends move, one not too far away, and the other sadly about an hour or so away.

We enjoyed some time at the beach this summer, not as much as we would have liked. We've had a lot of friends over to grill out, including on Labor Day. Everyone's enjoying the trampoline. The weather is starting to get a little cooler.

I am going to help my friend Beth at "I'm Heading Toward My Destiny" with her corn maze this fall. Here are some pictures of me & my crazy hubby at the farm.

The boys are headed this weekend to the mountains to watch their favorite college football team. I will stay here and go to a friend's birthday party at the pool.

Life is busy, but very good. Hope you're all doing well. I promise I will take some time to catch up on what YOU are all up to as soon as the PureLife Conference is over!

God bless