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"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?...Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly;" 2 Cor 9:24-26

It Is Indeed

Posted by Emma on November 27, 2011 | Filed under: Christianity,Daily Thought,Holidays

Hark the glad sound! The Savior comes,
The Savior promised long;
Let every heart prepare a throne
And every voice a song.

He comes the prisoners to release,
In Satan’s bondage held.
The gates of brass before Him burst,
The iron fetters yield.

He comes from thickest films of vice
To clear the mental ray
And on the eyeballs of the blind
To pour celestial day.

He comes the broken heart to bind,
The bleeding soul to cure,
And with the treasures of His grace
To enrich the humble poor.

Our glad hosannas, Prince of Peace,
Thy welcome shall proclaim
And heaven’s eternal arches ring
With Thy beloved name.

by Philip Doddridge, 1702-1751

A Challenge

Posted by Emma on November 23, 2011 | Filed under: Attitude,Christianity,Daily Thought

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A day on which most Americans get together with family and friends and give thanks for the good things they have, while feasting on turkey and pumpkin pie. This is not a bad thing. Taking time to stop and think about what we are grateful for is a very good thing and can show us how much we have that we take for granted.

Giving thanks is always a good thing to do, especially when our thanks is directed to God. Countless times in the scriptures it says give thanks to the Lord. 1 Chronicles 16:34 is just one such example, “O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever.” Another is 1 Chronicles 16:8 “Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people.” When we give thanks to God we show what He has done for us.

It is easy to give thanks for the good things in life. We do it all the time. But can you give thanks for the bad things in life? Is it possible to give thanks to God for a health problem that you or a love one has? How about the hurts that have taken place in your life? Or the loneliness you might feel? Can you truly thank God for taking away your dearest treasure or cherished dream? How about the empty areas of your life? What about the hurts your loved ones are going through? Can you thank God for the worst experience you had this year? The person who hurt you the most? The darkest time?

These are hard questions. A man who went through some very hard times responded to them saying, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10) Good and evil will both come our way. The good is easy to look at as a gift from God, the evil not so much. But if we are a Christian we need to consider Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” All things. Not just what we perceive as good, also those things we think of as evil. If all things work together for good we should thank God for all things.

This is what Paul tells us to do in 1 Thes 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” In every thing give thanks, not just somethings, not just the good things. In every thing give thanks. We should thank God for the bad as well as the good, for the hurts as well as the joys, for the dark times as well as the light times. God allows the bad things to happen to us for a reason. When we thank Him for those things we start seeing the good in them. we start seeing why they happened. We take the focus off ourselves and put it onto God.

Let me challenge you this Thanksgiving to thank God for the bad things in life, not just the good. It will be hard, but it is also rewarding.

The Best Journey of My Life

Posted by Emma on November 16, 2011 | Filed under: Christianity,Faith,Life's Race,Prayer,Repentance

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with your whole heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Eleven days ago I embarked on a journey that changed my life. It was the best journey I have ever taken. This journey was not a journey in the physical realm. It was a spiritual journey, a journey to the heart. That journey is probably the best journey you could every take.

After a few days of prepping, the 42 girls and eight wonderful leaders taking part in this journey traveled up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. During our time of prepping to Lord gave me a verse to take with me on this journey. Psalm 10:17 “Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:” This was His promise to me for the time we were in the Northwoods. There in a quiet secluded part of the world we began searching our hearts and seeking the Lord.

The time was insightful and I learned lots but I just kept feeling like something was between me and God. I did not want that, but I was not really sure what it was or what to do about it, also Satan was bringing doubts about whether I was saved. After struggling with it for about a day, I asked my amazing team leader if I could talk to her. She was wonderful and talked and prayed with me for several hours. However, nothing was really different.

A battle was going on inside of me. I knew there was ground that I had given to Satan, but I did not know how to break free from his hold. The next day was spent fighting an inner battle. I prayed, meditated, searched the scriptures, cried out to God, meditated some more, begged God for help, thought and fought the day away. The day went really fast, I don’t have a clear memory of a lot of it. I just know I was seeking God with all I could, hanging on to the promise He had given me at the start of the journey.

Towards the end of that day, I got another opportunity to talk with my team leader. I told her what had been going on that day inside of me and she gave me different scriptures. At length we prayed. By this point I knew I needed to surrender to Christ, although those words had not formulated themselves in my mind; the concept was there. I could not do it. I prayed. I begged God to bring me to a place of complete brokenness. But I could not surrender. Something was holding me back and I could do nothing about it.

The rest of that night was spent with this inner battle and turmoil. I continued to seek God as best I knew how and pretty much spent the time alone with Him. At one point I told a good friend, who was praying for me, what was going on. I found out I did not need to tell her much because God had already told her. I was up late that night praying and seeking God. As I was sitting up, pretty much everyone else in bed, I could sense the battles going on. More than just mine were being fought and won, as I found out later.

The next morning we headed from our cabin to the main lodge. The lodge has a tower with big windows, it was to this tower that I went. That morning I prayed and paced and meditated ad paced and prayed some more. Nothing was changed. Our leaders had told us to look at a prideful heart. After awhile of praying and pacing, I settled down to read it as best I could. There was a list of evidences of pride. The last item on the list slapped me across the face. It read, “Pride is refusing to surrender your whole life to God or resisting HIs will in any matter.” Then and there I knew what I needed to do. I needed to surrender everything to God. But it was not as easy as just knowing. Satan did not want me to surrender. So I paced and fought some more.

Finally, in desperation, I went onto my face before the Lord. Visually and verbally, I surrendered every area that I could think of to the Lord. When it was all in Jesus’ control, I had more peace that I had felt for days. Now, I could quietly read and pray.

There was not much time after I surrendered and when our leaders called us together. I found out more of the battles that had been fought and won the previous night. Although I had more peace, I knew it was not a finished work. That afternoon, I called home and confessed to my parents a whole ton of different sins and things which I either had not told them or had not been perfectly honest about. I asked their forgiveness and they graciously gave it. When I finished, I had even more peace and felt free.

That night, Jesus smiled on me in many ways and I felt the love of God more that ever. The next morning I woke up before the other girls in my cabin and was giddy with joy. It is very rare for me to be giddy, I knew it had to come from God. It was the most amazing feeling ever! I cannot describe it but I wish I could live in it for the rest of my life. I prayed, read the Bible and then because I could barely contain myself went on a walk with Jesus. I ran, shouted, jumped, sang, and in general praised my Savior and Lord and communed with Him. It was wonderful, just not long enough. Later that day, God confirmed His love for me in the form of a heart shaped rock He put on the beach just for me.

A mighty work had been done. But the work was not complete. Although, I had peace and was free, I knew something still was not right, something seemed to be lacking. I did not know what, I still do not know. But that evening, after I had surrendered all to the Lord, I was sitting talking with God and meditating. He gave me another promise; one to take with me as I left that part of the journey. “Being confidence of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will preform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Phil 1:6. God’s work in my life is not finished. There are still areas that need to come completely under His control. There are still areas that need cleaned out. There are still things to be dealt with. But I know that He will continue this work that He has began.

I am going to keep seeking God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. I am begging Jesus to help me do this. I would appreciate your prayers, as I keep seeking Him and wanting Him to take complete control of my life. I know the prayers of my leaders and friend helped carry me through my battle during Journey and I know your prayers will help carrying me as I continue journeying on. Thank you ahead of time for them.

I embarked on what I thought was a ten day journey. I found it was a life time journey. My journey has just begun. I am not far on it. But I am journeying on with Jesus as my leader, guide, and companion.

You have talent? So what?

Posted by Emma on November 3, 2011 | Filed under: Books

Everyone has talent, at least we like to think so. But if everyone has talent then why do only a few people really make it? In his book Beyond Talent, John C. Maxwell presents thirteen basic principles that can help anyone take their talent and do something with it.

These principles are easy, anyone can live by them. They are also the key to developing your talent and going somewhere with it.

I have always liked to think that I had talent, but never seemed to be exceptional at anything. In Beyond Talent John Maxwell teaches that yes everyone does have talent, only a few may be exceptional, but you have talent. He tells us how you can go far with your talent, even if you are not exceptional. This book opened up my eyes to ways that I could make my talent count for something. John Maxwell showed me that it is better to become, as he puts it, a talent-plus person with average talent, than to be exceptionally talented but not have the character it takes to really succeed.

I would recommend this book to anyone who really wants to do something worthwhile in their lives. Internalizing these concepts and making them part of your life will help you go far. You have the talent. John C. Maxwell can teach you how to make that talent count.

And now to fulfill  Federal regulations:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”