Archive for the 'God' Category

26
Aug
09

WHAT’S YOUR RELATIONSHIP DESTINY?

Whether you are married or engaged or single, but preparing, the following thoughts penned by Relationship Coach and Pastoral counselor Don Bailey, can be a helpful challenge to consider:

“Do you believe your destiny is predetermined? Maybe you believe it is put in place by God (See: Jeremiah 29:11). I personally believe God has a perfect plan for us in all aspects of our life, but we have the power to mess up the plan as He allows our free will to be at work. I recently found a writing (author unknown) which I believe makes our part in defining our destiny clear.

Watch your thoughts,
They define your words.
Watch your words,
They define your actions.
Watch your actions,
They define your habits,
Watch your habits,
They define your character.
Watch your character,
It defines your destiny.

“Now, let’s apply this to our relationships.

“First, THOUGHTS… Do you think positively about your mate or date? Or do you find yourself thinking about their faults more than their strengths? Do you think about your relationship with commitment or as one that is on the brink of shattering with every upset? Proverbs 23:7 KJV says, ‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ That makes it pretty clear that the destiny of our relationships begins with our thoughts.

“Now, what about the WORDS we speak? Remember, they are defined by our thoughts. We have a choice of what we say and how we say it. Proverbs 15:1-2 NIV says, ‘A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.’ It is clear that our words have a dramatic impact on the actions of our mate or date. Managing our tongue to speak truth with a soft tone produces the best result. Seldom are we forced to use angry words to accomplish our purpose.

“What about your ACTIONS? So often we’d like to blame them on someone else such as our date or mate or even ‘the devil made me do it.’ Just like with our words and thoughts, our actions are made through our choice. Unfortunately, we may not stop to make a choice, but we react based on our emotions.

“It will be much easier to make a choice about our actions if we are managing our thoughts and words. Psalm 1:1-2 gives us some insight as to how to do this. ‘Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.’

“Well, we’re getting closer to our destiny. Now we need to consider our HABITS. They are defined by our actions and are a matter of conditioning. I believe I’ve heard that repeating an action twenty-one times causes it to become a habit. Some of us may be more resistant to change so it may take 30, or 40, or 50 times. The key is that we are making a choice to change our habits. Why? The reason is because it defines our character.

“What is CHARACTER? Well, it’s who you are. I’ve heard that it is what you do when no one is watching. It’s who we are when all of the masks are removed and our vulnerabilities, as well as our strengths are seen by our mate or date. Hopefully, it is the greatest factor on which they make a decision about whether you are worthy of a relationship with them. And let’s face it; it is defined by our thoughts, words, actions and our habits.

“Well, here we are at our DESTINY in relationships. What we want is to be happy, to be loving, to be committed, to be caring, to be empathetic, and to be emotionally healthy. The list goes on and on as we consider who we want to be to our self and others. We are forced to make choices which lead to a destiny in our relationships and the quality of our life.

“So, we reach the end; our destiny. It’s based on our choices and we are responsible for it. We can’t blame anyone else. But, now, we must go back to the beginning and start out again as life is constantly changing and we are presented with new choices. What a challenge it is! But now we know how we got to where we are and how to get to a better place in our future.”

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

07
Jan
09

lives that touch

today at work at man (probably early 30’s) came by the booth to pick up a wheelchair. i noticed that he was on crutches and then realized when he sat down that he only had one leg. he had an oxygen tank with him as well. when he returned a few hours later with the wheelchair, he asked if i could push him outside to his car where his wife was picking him up. so i did and along the journey, pushing him to his car, noticing his bald head was covered with brown spots, i was bent over listening intently to what he was saying. he was so thankful for the wheelchair and thanked me about 5 times in our 3 minute walk. he told me how bitter he is about having to push his oxygen tank around and cant stand getting stared at but he was so very overjoyed to have a day out. he said he had been doing a lot of testings lately (i didn’t ask. i felt that all this man just needed someone to listen, so i did). he also told me that tomorrow he was headed back to vanderbilt for more testings and skin cell replacement procedures.

“they told me that this is my last hope,” he said.

oh, how i wish you could have heard him speak! he was so tired from the sickness, but yet full of energy on the inside. he longs to be healthy again. he is clinging onto all hope! then he got up, put his crutches under his arm, told me thank you again and started to hobble into the car. with tears in my eyes, all i could say to him was,

“God will bless you.”

usually what you say is, “God bless you” but for some reason it came out “God will bless you.”

my eyes filled even more with tears as i walked back to the booth. i prayed out loud, “Lord please bless him. give him strength and health that can only come from you!”

i don’t know why i said “God will bless you” but i did. and he will. that is his promise. 

so i ask you, please pray for brian. pray that God’s blessings WILL come quickly. thank you Lord that you bless us, even when we don’t deserve it.

04
Jan
09

how big is your GOD?

i am signed up for a monthly  e-newsletter from a company called marriage missions. it’s been quite amazing to me over the past year how pertinent these emails are to me when i receive them. every single time, it never fails, i am dealing with, reading or praying about the exact topic in their email. recently i have been reading through genesis and the creation story; thinking about just how big GOD is and how small i am. how he took the time to create me, out of nothing, and put me here on this earth. it’s baffling and quite humbling. he allows me to go through hard times and to struggle because he knows that i will be able to support, encourage, and understand someone else’s pain in the future. kinda the whole “his pain, my gain” idea. he uses us, every single fiber of our being for his glory! me… little me. wow!

i was pleasantly surprised, yet again to receive their email… here is an excerpt from their most recent email called “how big is your GOD?”

***

How big is your God? Do you recognize Him as the “Creator of heaven and earth” — the One who with His “own hands stretched out the heavens”, “marshaled their starry hosts”, “established the sun and the moon”, “laid the earth’s foundation”, “set all the boundaries of the earth” making “both summer and winter”, “every living creature” and “created mankind upon it”? How big is your God — Does He know and see you?

Pastor/Evangelist Louie Giglio answers that question this way: “He’s big enough to breathe out stars, yet intricate enough to fashion together the trillions of cells that make up every facet of who you are. The God who spoke the universe into existence made you, too, and knows everything about you. From the smallest molecule to the situation you find yourself in right now. He’s aware of your circumstances and is intimately acquainted with everything you do. He cares about you and promises to carry you through.”

He goes on to say, “He will hold onto you and hold you together, giving strength to those who hope in His unfailing love. He is the everlasting God.” Do you believe that? How big… how great is the God you perceive Him to be when it comes to helping you?

It’s a question I can confess that I personally struggled with for many years. I wondered whether God really did create the Heavens, the Earth and every living creature including human beings, instead of it all originally bursting forth and evolving somehow as many scientists propose. I struggled to believe that Jesus is who He says He is and that He is “the only way” to having a personal relationship with God. I questioned whether the truth of the Bible (because of so many arguments I’ve heard to the contrary). But time and again, God has revealed Himself to me in so many personal ways, that even though all of this still tries to eat away at my faith, I know that I know that I know, Who He is, and that my faith in Him is not misplaced.

Yet even though I eventually believed God to be the Creator of the Universe and every living creature, including me — I still struggled with knowing Him as my Heavenly Father — One who truly saw and cared about my life and marriage.

I saw God answering the prayers of others but didn’t see Him answering mine to the same degree. I would find myself feeling that He is a great God and one that answers prayer –but not mine. What has made it especially difficult has been having adult prodigal sons who left their faith in the exclusivity of Christ being the only way to relationship with God– with one son now claiming to be an atheist. It has been years and years of praying, struggling to keep believing, and continually longing for their Christian fellowship that especially chinks away at my faith.

Other circumstances I’ve prayed for have also shaken their fist at my faith as I’ve received either “no” answers or silence. But as I’ve sought Truth, eventually I remember that God’s ways are not my ways. He is God and I am not. I cannot begin to know all He does. I keep forgetting that. Yet through it all, God is patient and reminds me that I am not responsible for the choices of others, including my sons, to accept or reject Him. I am solely responsible for the choices I make. I find I can and must trust His heart and love for me and everyone else. It’s difficult at times, but it’s also sweet when God has comforts in ways that He knows I understand.

I share this with you because I want you to know that you are not alone in your “doubtstorms.” We all have vulnerabilities and go through times of temptation and struggle. Steve and mine are just different than yours. But none of us escapes “trials” and “tribulations” as we live in this fallen world. Don’t allow the enemy of our faith to fool you otherwise (see: James 1:2-5; John 16:33; Matthew 5:43-45; and 1 Corinthians 7:28). “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). How can we exercise faith if we see and understand everything?

And how could we relate to others who are suffering if we don’t suffer? For this reason, “we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” Beyond your hurts of today, there may be someone God will point your way so you can help and comfort them with compassionate understanding.

Through all and despite all, we can be “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (see Romans 8:37-39). That is why we are continuing with this point this week. As God’s children we should not underestimate who we are to God and what He can do in and through us. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, and love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Once we comprehend who we are in Christ and Whose we are as children of God, we can approach the throne of God with boldness (see: Hebrews 4:14-16), knowing that He hears our prayers and is a “rewarder” of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

It’s important for us to recognize how big and great our God is — yet embrace that He knows us in personal ways. He knit us together and knows everything about us. Our problems do not escape His sight. Once we really grasp this, we will look beyond our immediate circumstances with hope towards what God will do in and through us — not walking around or conducting ourselves as if we are defeated.

We pray this will help you in your Christian walk and your marriage to confidently trust God for all things.

Cindy and Steve Wright

P.S. If you think of others who may benefit from these weekly messages, please forward this to them and encourage them to subscribe to this FREE ministry. To subscribe, go to our web site, www.marriagemissions.com and click on “Subscribe” and fill in the necessary information. Every week we add new articles to the web site, so return often because you’ll find other helpful marriage information. If you don’t have access to the internet, you can send an e-mail to subscribe@marriagemissions.com and write “Subscribe” in the subject line. NOTE: If you receive our messages at work, be sure to ask the Administrator of the e-mail accounts to add Marriage Missions to their list of acceptable IP addresses, otherwise your company’s SPAM filter may prevent our Marriage Message from reaching you.

07
Nov
08

doorway

this afternoon i decided it was time to clean the front door. there were a few scuff marks on the door and the doorway left over from the last people who lived in our place and probably a few from us moving in. i’ve been looking at those marks for about 4 weeks now and finally i was able to take the time to clean them up. so i grabbed my magic eraser, the most amazing invention EVER, and began scrubbing. while i was on my hands and knees i started thinking about all the things i need to do to clean in the inside of the house… laundry, sweeping, mopping, dusting, dishes and on and on. but i NEEDED to get this door cleaned. for some reason this was more important than the rest of the house. there were quite a few marks, a lot that i hadn’t noticed before, some so dark that it took pretty good elbow grease to get them off and some wouldn’t even come all the way off. whew! what a relief to get this taken care of. now people won’t think we’re dingy b/c our door is finally clean! then, i wished for just a moment that the inside of the house would be miraculously cleaned when i went back inside. too bad it doesn’t work that way, huh? clean the outside, and poof! the inside is clean. now that would be amazing!

then i began thinking, now matter how hard we make the outside look good,  it just doesn’t matter does it? the inside will still be the same and honestly, the inside matters the most… so who cares what the outside looks like? if we don’t maintain what’s on the inside then we are in disarray despite our outward appearance. we all have our scuff marks and scars on the outside that have remained from life’s journey but true beauty is from within. we have to continually keep it clean and looking good. by God’s grace and mercy we are refined and our scuffs are wiped away, we just need to acknowledge His power and wisdom in our lives.

not only do i want my home to be a place of beauty for my family and friends but i want to be a beautiful wife, sister, daughter, friend, co-worker too! 

such a simple lesson that came from a simple task. thank you Lord for leading me to that doorway today!

13
Sep
08

deeper still photos…

08
Aug
08

and they’re off!

about this time last year, we were in the process of digging our heals into the bay area. we had been here about 4 months and we still felt like we were on a little excursion, if you will… not at home. we were in the midst of all the things you do when you move to a new area – finding doctors, a trusty car repair shop, where-the-locals-go establishments, etc, but most importantly – a church home.

we had begun our search, but it was a slow one. we found ourselves somewhat disheartened by the lack of churches in the area. coming from the bible belt, it was quite an eye-opening experience. i realized my naivety about areas outside of the south. i expected to see a church on every street corner like back home, but we found the exact opposite, in fact. hoping for a miracle, we continued searching for our church home. driving around the streets of the peninsula, we hadn’t found much. dear friends, if you ever are presented with “the church hunt” when moving to a new area, remember this – you cannot judge this particular book by it’s cover! i began thanking the lord for his reminder to me…

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.    Joshua 1:9

we began with a couple of “big” churches, then moved to the “cool” churches with the snazzy websites, and finally after two dead ends, began seeking recommendations from friends who knew the church-circuit out here. the very first place we visited was the highway community, and it was completely by chance. we really liked it a lot. it just felt good, however, we didn’t want to say yes to the first place we visited. we found that it’s kind of like apartment hunting, it looked like it would work out but there may be a better deal out there, ya know? over the next several months we visited a few churches but we kept coming back to highway. we really enjoyed the laid back casualness of the crowd, the challenging sermons, and the worship was refreshing. everything felt good but we weren’t completely set on it until this one particular crisp sunday morning… there it was… there, in the program… we saw “the sign” written just inside the front page… in dark bold letters it read…

 

WIENER NATIONALS

i believe i looked at jason in that very moment and said one word… SOLD!

i was sold at that very moment! i thought, if a church accepts me, great, wonderful, lovely, but if a church literally goes above and beyond to reach out to my dogs… heck yeah… i’m pretty much there. it was then, that we committed to this church, amen. that’s a funny story, huh? but the Lord has done a mighty work thus far, so far beyond what we could have ever imagined! i am so thankful for this church. god knew exactly what it would take to get our attention. he knows our hearts; he knows our joys; and he used our precious four-legged blessings to guide us! (oh, and you better believe that our dogs competed in those races! mucho fun was had by all!)

… … … … …

so here we are, a year later, completely in love with the community that we belong to, and we’re off to the races again – this sunday! i will post pictures and a recap for all you dog lovers!

with this event, i am reminded of the faithfullness of the lord to provide his people with the comfort, guidance, love, and the community that we need, and that comes from being part of a church. i am so thankful for our home!

29
Jul
08

begas vaby!

oh wait… strike that… reverse it…

vegas, here i come! AGAIN! wahoo! i am SO excited! what’s better than vegas? oh yeah, vegas TWICE in a year! and on top of that, the reason i’m going to vegas makes it so much more exciting! i know there are most likely a couple questions pondering around in your mind right now, I just know it… why? when? with whom? and why again?

first of all, i’ll get the “with whom?” out of the way. i’m going it alone. yes….. i’m crazy! vegas…..? alone….?! who would be that dumb? oh yes, that’s ME! right here! i’m just that loco. (unless anyone wants to join me, feel free. i’m up for tag-alongs!)

and that leads me to the why… 

i have been dying to see this lady for quite some time now. she is one of the most inspiring spiritual teachers in the world today. last time i saw her was in houston for a conference that i volunteered for. she’s not going to be coming to the bay area any time soon so, i thought, why not combine one of my favorite places with the most amazing speaker of our time?! so, that’s exactly what i’m doing. a little bit of beth and a little bit of vegas! she will be leading, along with these ladies, a two day women’s conference at UNLV

so be praying for me september 5 & 6 that the LORD will teach me, bless me, move me, mold me, refine me and shape me those two days. also pray for safety 🙂 (mom, i’ll be fine!)

not only are beth moore and kay arthur teaching but my old choir director from back home (a.k.a. NashVEGAS) is leading worship. i think it’s been about… oh… 4 years or more since i’ve been in the same room as this guy, let alone experiencing him lead worship. i’m super duper pumped! i’m ready for GOD to move!

here’s a little glimpse of what lies ahead… http://www.vimeo.com/1382951?pg=embed&sec=1382951




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