It’s Not About Me!

A friend, named Cheryl Lutz, posted this on her blog the other day, and as I read it this morning, I was reminded of the fact that this is how God wants each of us to live our lives. I pray that you enjoy it, and it touches your heart, as much as it has mine.

It's Not About Me!.

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The Desires of Your Heart

Psalm 37:3-4

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. (NASB)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I find myself questioning, “What really is my heart’s true desire?”

This morning, during my quiet time, I was focused on this scripture, and as I read I sensed the Holy Spirit saying ‘Do good, that I should be happy with what I’ve been given, and that it’s important for me to keep growing in my Christian walk. A walk that portrays a life journey where my heart and soul know that I can win, in this race called life, and I can do it for the glory of my Lord, Jesus Christ.

I’ve been a Christian long enough to know what that means. But, continue asking, “Why do I always seem to be just going through the motions and not surrendering all my choices to fully embrace God’s word? And, “What is it that seems to get in my way of having the heart for more intimacy with Jesus?”

How have I become so apathetic to ignore His pleas only to take delight in what’s temporary and rationalize that ‘I’ll be okay when I get that old-familiar feel-good feeling of a real job to pay for what I think my heart’s desire is, a new car, hardwood floors, furniture, or a new mattress.’ We Christians like to call this materialism. Then, I think, is this old worn out orb that we all live on, along with all its evil, child abuse, civil disobedience, suffering, and torture, worth it? Is this all we have to live for? God’s word says,

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”John 16:33 (NLT)

I do believe that my struggle with this question is just one of Satan’s ploys to keep from basking in the intimacy that only Christ can give me. My relentless adversary likes to smack me down with “He doesn’t want anything to do with you! Or, “You’re not good enough. Remember when…It’s a waste of your time! Get busy with something else!” The list of assaults goes on and on…

…that’s when it’s time to close my office door and insert my CD of Mercy Me’s, The Hurt and the Healer. God meets me in the words of that song and my soul gets lost in complete surrender at the awesomeness of my Savior. My spirit is renewed and finally, I’m at peace because I know that I’m kneeling at the feet, or resting in the arms of the One who gave His life for me.

You know what? He’s given His life for you too!

Sharing our testimony for God’s glory

I absolutely love it when hubby picks up our evening devotional, Morning and Evening, by Charles Spurgeon.

He began to read, “I have yet to speak on God’s behalf” from Job 36:2, and I knew this reading would be exactly what I need.

We should not desire to be known by others for our virtue or for our zeal. But at the same time, it is a sin to always try to hide that which God has bestowed upon us for the good of others. A Christian is not be to a village in a valley, but a city set upon a hill. He is not to be a candle under a bushel, but a candle in a candlestick, giving light to all. (See Matthew 5:14-15) Retirement may be lovely in its season, and to hide one’s self in modest, but the hiding of Christ in us can never be justified. The keeping back of truth which is precious to us is a sin against others and an offense against God. If you are of a nervous temperament and retiring disposition, take care that you do not indulge in this trembling tendency too much, lest you become useless to the Church. In the name of Him who was not ashamed of you, decide to ignore your feelings. Tell others what Christ has told you. If you cannot speak with the sound of a trumpet, use the still, small voice. If the pulpit is not your platform, if the press does not carry your words say with Peter and John, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I unto thee” (Acts 3:6). Talk to the Samaritan woman by the well if you cannot preach a sermon on the mountaintop. Utter the praises of Jesus in the house, if not in the temple; in the field, if not in the city; in your own household, if you cannot speak in the middle of the great family of man. From the hidden springs within let sweetly flowing streams of testimony flow forth, giving drink to every passer-by. Do not hide your talent. To speak for God will be refreshing for ourselves, cheering to saints, useful to sinners, and honoring to the Savior.

This devotional seemed to impart words I hadn’t considered in quite some time, yet I’m so thankful for the reminder that sharing my testimony doesn’t mean keeping silent and hiding out of fear. Instead, it means that wherever God directs my steps I’m to share the testimony that He has blessed my life beyond measure.

What about you? Do you boldly proclaim God’s praises in your house, in the field, in the city, or on the mountaintop? Speaking for myself, this devotional is a true wake-up call and a feast for my soul.

How can truth set us free?

Ephesians 1:3-9 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance to his pleasure and will-to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ. More

Trials and Joy

Re-posted from InTouch, by Dr. Charles Stanley, September 16, 2014

My pastor is currently preaching from the book of James and Dr. Stanley’s message today is a perfect reminder that through out our lives we all suffer under a variety of difficult trials and hardships. But, if we consider that those times of suffering can be used as a catalyst to help us be mindful that the Lord uses them to mold us into what His desire is for our lives, they’re so much easier to bear.

Trials and Joy

James 1:2-4,12

“Consider it all joy . . . when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2)—what a preposterous statement! How can that make sense when joy and trials don’t fit together? But James is presenting a divine vantage point, not a human one. There are some surprising benefits in suffering, which aren’t easy to discern.

First of all, we need to understand that these verses are not telling us to be happy in our pain, but rather to rejoice in the blessings that accompany suffering. The word consider is an accounting term that means “to evaluate.” When we look at hardships from God’s perspective and place the proper value on them, we can rejoice in the beneficial outcome, even while experiencing pain. Humanly speaking, trials hurt; but from the Lord’s point of view, they help.

The only way to rejoice during trials is to understand what God wants them to accomplish. Regardless of the difficulty’s source, we can know that the Lord wants to use it to test our faith and thereby produce endurance and spiritual maturity. In every trial, He has hidden a precious character gem, but whether we receive it depends upon our response. Those who want to be transformed into the image of Christ can rejoice in the many benefits that accompany suffering.

How about you? Does your hunger to know the Lord and be transformed by Him exceed your dread of suffering? None of us want to experience pain, but since it’s an unavoidable reality in this fallen world, why not respond in a way that produces eternal benefit? Let’s not waste our suffering.

Book Launch Invitation & two reader comments…

 

Made New Book Launch flyer

…I laughed, I cried, my heart and soul ached for all that you went through and I felt boundless joy reading about how your relationship with Christ has evolved and is continuing to grow daily. When you asked questions, you asked the hard questions that require soul searching for answers. Thank you for doing that as I don’t think we ask enough hard questions in this present age. Thank you so much for obeying God and telling your story. This book has the potential to help so many people who are hurting because of choices they have made. ~ Patty

I spent the weekend with you and your friend, Judy!! What a journey – what courage – what a faithful God to bring you to this place!! It has given me such insight into who you are and how God has brought you here – for such a time as this. I found myself in parts of your story – the me I had forgotten even existed. Your journey was a tough one, but look at the victory!! Amazing grace, no doubt about it. ~ Cathy

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13

Joan began attending another Baptist church, near Caruthers, and we quickly followed. We were attending this church when our son was born in 1980. I became very involved in the young married couples’ group and made several lifelong friends. Another married couple, Bob and Bernice Pierce, began mentoring me in my spiritual growth. This godly couple proved to be a true blessing throughout the next few years of my life.
Although I don’t recall specifically what I was going through emotionally at the time, one evening I found myself crying near the church parking lot, having my first conversation with Bob. He was such a loving and tender man. His height, thin build, and gentle tone of speech reminded me of Abraham Lincoln. He put one long arm around me and said, “Judy, I don’t know what you’re going through right now. But, I want you to know that we have a promise from the Lord that we can lean on when times are tough. It’s Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”
“Okay. Thank you, but I’m not good at remembering verses, but I’ll try to memorize it.” Not trusting in myself.
“If you can memorize it, you’ll always have a verse that you can cling too, when times aren’t so good.”
I’ve never forgotten the impact this verse has had on my spiritual journey through the years. Up to that point in my life no one outside of my family had had such a profound impact on my spiritual life as this couple did. Bernice Pierce was just as precious as her husband was. Shortly after we met, she told me that she was a breast cancer survivor, not once, but twice. I knew that this woman truly knew Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. She seemed to have God’s Holy Spirit emanating from deep within her heart and it manifested itself in the way she spoke and in the way she prayed. Any time I had the privilege to be with her was a memorable one. Those times left an imprint in my heart and they were beautiful representations of Christ’s love for me.
My last memory of Bernice centers on a warm and breezy afternoon as I drove my ‘69 Corvette convertible towards Fresno Community Hospital to say my final good-byes to my dear friend. I walked into her hospital room, and as I entered her smile and the precious glow of her face, gave me a peace in knowing that she knew she would be making her journey to heaven soon. Though her skin was pale and she wore a covering over her head because of what the chemotherapy treatments had taken from her.
“Oh, Judy. Come here and let me hug you.”
Crying, I said, “Bernice, I had to come and see you one last time.”
Other close friends were present, as well, and we talked about old times; social get-togethers, swimming parties, Bible studies, Mary Kay parties, and Mexican feasts at Sal’s in Selma, California after church on Sundays.
She said, “Some day, we’ll all be in heaven together having the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, at one long table, big enough for all of us, and Jesus will be at the head of the table!”
I said, “Eating Sal’s Mexican food!”
Everyone laughingly agreed especially Bernice.
Bernice and I hugged and cried together. We knew that we wouldn’t see each other again on this side of heaven, and we both knew that she was ready to meet the Lord. Within a week, she did.

Excerpt from Made New: A Hippie Chick’s Journey From Abuse to Forgiveness