Whining or Worshipping?

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Waiting and Whining or Waiting and Worshipping?
Let’s face it. We all have to wait. We wait for the ramen in the microwave, for the light to turn green, and for bigger things: job promotion, an increase in pay, or growth in relationships. Prolonged anticipation is never easy. I think the hardest time to wait is when you don’t know if the wait will ever end.
“Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. “James 1:2-4 HCSB

When God’s teaching me patience it can take a long time….. I think this is because I don’t listen and try to hurry the process along. While I am in the waiting waters, I struggle to stop and listen to what God is saying in the present time. I become blind to His blessings and instead hold a laser gaze on what I want NOW. I do not allow patience to be molded into me by the trials God allows into my life. I let myself think that I am suffering because God has withheld something when in fact God knows that it is not the right time for me to have what I want. Through this withholding God wants to cultivate richer intimacy with Him. Because once I reach my goal there will be something else to be reached and I will squirm again as God tries to teach me patience and cultivate a quiet heart towards Him. The goal cannot be getting what I want. Rather the goal must be receiving more of God, learning to enjoy His presence, and listening and obeying His voice. In the Old Testament Sarah grew tired of waiting for her promised child and so she took matters into her own hands. This resulted in years of heartache and regret. She did not allow herself to seek God first during her wait. How many times later did Sarah feel pangs of regret over her quick fix? What we do in an instant can impact and change those around us long after. (See Gen. 16 for full account.)

During a winter of waiting I am more susceptible to sin because I feel that it’s justifiable. I wouldn’t verbalize that, but I act that way. I complain and am more critical of those around me. I glaze over my sin and focus on the sin of others and think I am more spiritually for it. (Matt. 7:1-6) I also give into more of my whims and indulgent desires all to help ease the void in my life rather than turning to God during moments of emptiness and longing. All these things are a way of my acting in rebellion towards God’s season of waiting. I can make my waiting season longer simply due to my lack of obedience and surrender to His plan.

God’s withholding  may feel like suffering, but that’s because I can’t  see the whole picture. God may give me what I want now and then I wouldn’t use it for it’s God intended purpose. When I was about seven years old, I had a super cool Cinderella umbrella with a blue handle. Was that umbrella used in the rain? Uh,no way! Why wait that long? I ran around the backyard waving my umbrella singing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” at the top of my lungs! My umbrella was open and with each wind gust I was certain that I would actually begin to fly. But after flying day after day, my umbrella began to tire a little faster than I did. And then there was the sad day when my umbrella broke. I was sad. No more Mary Poppins adventures.

Sometimes I think my dreams and deepest desires are similar to my Cinderella umbrella. I want it now and God knows that if I get what I want now that I will not be able to use it for its intended purpose. I will be like a seven-year-old who is happy for a short time before reality strikes. I’m sure it rained shortly after and I was wet because I had misused my umbrella. I had to wait before I could get another one.

God also chooses to wait. He could have Jesus come back right now to rapture the church and yet He waits because He knows of one more person that is so close to letting Him in, and He knows of another person that everyone says is too far gone for Jesus. God smiles because He knows better. He knows what others cannot know and sees what others cannot see without eyes of faith. God waits for people to come to Him, waits for His children to desire more of Him. God could make us change but He blessed us with free will and He gently waits, calling us closer to Him.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NKJV

In the garden after God had created everything He rested.
“Thus the heavens and the earth and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Gen. 2:1-3.
God could’ve been anxious about all the people He would make and the happenings of the world.  But God was not in a hurry. He is outside of time. And so, He waited and rested from creating on the seventh day. He rested. Knowing He was in control. He set a precedent of trusting Him to guide the course of our lives.

So, I can imagine that you are waiting for something. Look for ways to grow in your relationship with God. Rather than becoming bored in the wait, look for new ways to be renewed in His presence. Go look at the sunset, see the dew drops after the rain or sense God’s power with the hurricane. Crack open your Bible. His Word is so alive that it speaks to me something different every time! Don’t waste this beautiful time of waiting, anticipation, and longing.
“Wait on the LORD and be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait I say on the LORD!” Psalm 27:14
Much Love,
Anna. ❤

 

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18.

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Even So, It Is Well With My Soul

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When you’ve been hurt deeply and when you stand in the shadows of grief how  do you move forward?  When the voices of the past call to haunt and the perfectly packaged lies beckon you to choose a life of ease rather than purposed pain and joy in Christ, how do you walk forward? How? Somedays the pain is so great getting out of bed is a chore as you force your led feet to slip over onto the carpet and face the day. When the wounds of the past dare to rip you to shreds and the lies continue to circle in your head it is then that a choice must be made. A choice must be made to remember the truth. Not the truth of the pain, but the truth of Jesus who is unchanging.  A resolve must be made to walk forward with arms raised, confident of His strength. Confident that when I wait on the LORD that He will renew my strength and that with Him I can run and not grow weary. Because of Jesus I can walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31. During seasons of brokenness I must rest in the hope of Jesus. I must choose to saturate myself in the truth.
When I think no one loves me I remember His love was great enough to go to the cross. Romans 5:8
When I feel lonely, I remember He will never leave me or forsake me. Heb. 13:5
When I feel that my sin is unforgiveable, I remember that I am saved by His grace alone and that if I confess my sins that He will forgive!  Eph. 2:8-10. 1 John 1:9
When God’s love seems distant I remember that nothing can separate me from His love. Romans 8:37-39.
When I feel overlooked, I remember that God chose to be mindful of me. Psalm 8:3-4
When I am hurt, I remember that Jesus is the healer and the restorer of the broken. Isaiah 54:11-12
When I cannot sleep, I can run to Jesus who never sleeps. He is always there. Psalm 121:4
When I am surrounded by chaotic circumstances, I can rest in the fact that He is never changing. Heb. 13:8.

Even though it hurts hard enough to bring you to tears, “even so, it is well with my soul.” Because I know who holds me. I know who holds the past, present and future in the palm of His hand. God is the author of time. He will bring healing, but it is in His time. So, during this season when your heart stands guard at the graveyard, dare to dig deeper into God’s Word, deeper into God’s character. See His loving hand woven into every conversation, every drop of dew, and every sunrise. It is through my deepest valleys of suffering and pain where intimacy with my Savior blossoms. Through the valley of the shadow of death I can experience a deeper closeness with Jesus.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; You rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

Much Love as you draw closer to Him.

Love,

Anna ❤

 

“It is Well” was written by Horatio G. Spafford.

 

Jesus, You Make the Darkness Tremble

 

20190419_142600 The sky carries many messages from God. There is a tendency to focus on the tear jerking sunsets or the sunrises that fills your heart with renewed energy and hope. But dear friend, God speaks just as loud if not louder in the storm and the loudest in the silence.

When Jesus died on the cross there were many storms going on. There was the physical storm. Darkness eerily blanketed the land and the ground shook in holy fear. (Matt. 27:45,54) Then there was the spiritual storm.  People and soldiers mocked Jesus and scorned Him, as was predicted by the prophets. Their words are the mirror image of my sin and the moments when I allow apathy to be Lord instead of JESUS.  As Jesus hung on the cross the taunts and insults defaming His Lordship were slung like mud upon His face. And yet there was silence in Heaven as Jesus begged His Father for answers. “Why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46)  Why? The love of Jesus was so great that it far exceeded making sense. It was life altering and earth shaking and in Christ’s love He bore the pain of silence in order to shout His love for you!

You couldn’t have been in Jerusalem that day and not have been changed.  The sky turned dark at an unusual hour and the earth fumbled beneath you. What you thought your life was founded on was sinking. What you thought was allowing you to see was really making you blind. And you longed for healing: to who would you turn?  If you were in the temple you would’ve seen the temple curtain torn in two from top from bottom, an act never done before or since. This demonstrated that God broke  the divide between God and man. Jesus made it possible for us to enter the throne room with grace.  If you were in the graveyard when Jesus died you might have seen a relative jump out and start praising Jesus. Because of Jesus, death has lost its sting. Nobody could’ve ignored the cross that day, but Jesus could’ve been ignored. Nobody could ignore the fact that their plans had been altered and something different was stirring in town, but did they really know why Jesus was there? Did they stop long enough to listen to the sound of His earth shaking love that made the darkness tremble?

Yesterday was Good Friday. The clouds were onomious and the wind howled. I think the weather was a picture of the first Good Friday. Everyone in town, was talking about the storm, racing to the store to stalk up on chocolate, milk and bread. (the essentials of course) There was a state of frenzy and fear. You couldn’t be in town and not hear about this storm or feel it’s power.  And yet people weren’t discussing  who made the storm or the power behind the breath of God’s  mouth. But it was God’s day as is everyday, rain or shine. Through that storm and every physical storm, I believe God speaks to people as a whole and as individuals.  Everyone saw the storm yesterday, but I think only few really let God speak to them through the wind, and the billowing clouds. Sometimes God speaks in the storm and sometimes in a still, small voice. And sometimes God speaks to us in the center of our silence and our cry to Him in the deepest moment of our pain. Even when it feels like He does not answer He is still there. Jesus died on the cross for everyone who has and who will ever live. But there is a message of grace and hope for you dear friend, personally. Jesus doesn’t just see a throng of people, He sees indiduals with personalities, smiles, giggles, heartaches that rip you, and dreams that make you cry. Jesus knows you inside outside and upside down and He still chose to die for you. Now friend, that’s love.

Give Your heart to Him, open Your eyes and choose to see what He has for you. It will not always be easy, but with your hand placed inside of His scarred hand, there is comfort that you will never walk alone.

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“But God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

 

Much Love and Happy Easter!

Anna ❤

 

The song “Tremble” (which was used in post) was written by Hank Bentley, Mia Fieldes, Andres Figueroa and Mariah. Check out the song and the story at this link. 🙂

https://www.essentialworship.com/songs/mosaic-msc/tremble#STORY

 

 

Jesus ,Take Me to the Cross.

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I love a good snowfall! Don’t you? The snowflakes tenderly cover the thirsty, yearning ground. When I look out the window instead of seeing dry grass, I see a covering of cold and peaceful  perfection. I think the snow is a picture of God’s amazing grace. When God looks at us, He could choose to see everything we’ve ever done wrong. But instead when we say yes to Jesus, God see His son reflected in us. Jesus is my covering. It is only because of Jesus that I have any purity. The only righteousness I have is because of Him. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph. 2:8-9. (NKJV)

Dear Jesus, thank You for the cross; for forgiving me.                                                          Love is much more than kisses, chocolates, and random romantic gestures.  Love is deeper, messier, and more complicated, than a perfect life free of arguments or misunderstandings.  Simply, look at the cross. The cross is the deepest symbol of love.
“But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (HCSB)
When Jesus died on the cross, He paid for my sins, thousands of years before I was born. Jesus already knew what sins I would commit, and He paid for them anyway. Jesus still loved me with all His being, all of His blood, beatings, and scornful insults that were wrongly thrust on Him. Most of us are familiar or have heard of Lam. 3:22-23. “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”  I am so thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning. But I cannot simply be thankful and harbor bitterness and hurt feelings. Every morning when I wake up I must extend God’s mercies to those who’ve hurt me and who will hurt me. I know you’ve heard this before, but it’s true. “The people closest to you will hurt you the most.” So, does that mean that I avoid people? Do I avoid loving people because I struggle to  forgive? Because I struggle to forget? No.

Jesus died on the cross for everyone, knowing that many would reject Him. But Jesus still took on the pain. Jesus chose to forgive. I must also choose forgiveness.Matt. 5:14-15.

“He heals the brokenhearted. And binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.” Psalm 147:3-5.
“Satan aggravates wounds from the past to devastate your future.” (Linda Barrick, Beauty Marks.)

Whenever I am tempted to criticize or become bitter when someone I dearly love fails me, I must look to the cross and remember Jesus.  What else can I do but simply surrender and forgive?  Jesus  continues to bring me back to the cross. He continues to bring me back to 1 Corinthians 13. He shows me how much He has forgiven me and therefore I must forgive.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail, whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away ….For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I am also known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor. 13:4-8,12-13. (NKJV)

“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Prov. 17:9 (NIV)

So dear friend, I don’t know what hurts wall up your heart. I can imagine that it is wrenching to thing about. Maybe you’ve shed some tears or tossed and turned unable to fall asleep. Don’t wait until you feel like forgiving. That time will never come. Forgive in faith. We must forgive if we want to move forward with Jesus and His amazing grace.

 

Much love,

Anna ❤

 

“Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Luke 7:47.

If I can Stop One Heart from Breaking

SAM_4210The Power of One
How many people went to the cross?- one, the perfect Jesus
And yet millions had the opportunity to be saved for eternity.
How many people gave up their lunch?- only one little, insignificant boy.
And yet a multitude was fed.
It only takes one.
How many people does it take to stop a suicide?
It only takes one to tell that person I am here for you and I care.
How many does it take to save a beating heart?
It only takes one to speak loving truth.
It only takes one.
Everyone is important to God.
“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:13-14
We are all made in the image of God.
“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on that earth. ‘So, God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:26-28
Do you sigh when the cashier at the gas station gets chatty or do you stop and listen to her and love her? Do you dare to see past the smile and that people wear and try to see the hurt and questioning veiled behind? Do you dare to bring Jesus into every conversation?
Everyday we have the power to love people like Jesus did.
One at a time.
Did Jesus have to stop at the well and have a personal conversation with the outcast woman?
No, but He chose to see her as one God had placed before Him.
Did Jesus have to forgive the woman caught in the act of adultery?
No, but He chose to see a woman needing His grace.
Did Jesus have to heal the paralyzed man brought down from the roof during His teaching time?
No, but He chose to see the one before Him.
Did Jesus have to save your soul?
No, but He chose to see you.
Did Jesus have to love you?
No, but He chose to see you.
He saw You before you were born.
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; Before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
So, this morning, ask God to help you see, truly see, the people He puts in front of you, on your phone, on your social media feed, in the grocery store, or time with a friend. Choose to love the person God puts in front of you. Choose to love with the sacrificial love of Jesus.
Love those God has put in front of you.
Understand the power of one and then one more.
Together we can impact the world for Jesus .

“If I can stop one heart from aching, I shall not live in vain,
If I can ease one life the aching I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again
I shall not live in vain.” (Dickinson)

Much Love,
Anna. ❤

A Refiner for Gold

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Scrape, scrape. I clenched my hands together as I nervously squirmed in the polyester chair at the dentist. The trained dentist continued to push and scrape and shape my teeth. I wiggled my toes, shut my eyes shut and squeezed my hands together. I pushed in my stomach in and waited for the terrible procedure to be over. The floss came intentionally between my teeth. I shut my eyes very tightly hoping that I would not cry while laying in the chair!

“The crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the hearts.” Proverbs 17:3 (NIV)

The dentist had to scrape away at the plague, and other imperfections so my teeth could be healthy again. Some of my bad habits in eating and drinking had contributed to my pain.  God was gently reminding me that I must also layside my pride. I must  put it in the corner and allow Him to chip away at my sin, and my past that I cling to. I must give my sensitivities to Him. Jesus is the only one who heals my pain. However, sometimes before there is restoration there must first be a death of the past. When I choose to go deeper with Christ, it will be painful. I cannot only allow God to chip away at my sin but I have to daily let His Word wash me.  If I choose to remain in the land of just enough than I will suffer deeper pain later.

Sweet friend, I do not know what Jesus is trying scrape away at  your life. I can imagine that your pain goes much deeper than an uncomfortable time at the dentist. Don’t take the scalpel out of the Refiner’s perfect hands.  Submit to Him and allow Him to gently peel away all that is keeping you from the gold He has called you to be. Wait sweet friend. Wait on Him.

For His Glory,

Anna ❤ ,

In the Darkest of the Night He Hears. In the Quiet of the Dawn, He Sees.

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“I will lift up my eyes to the hills- From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. “Psalm 121:1
My eyes gazed longingly at the periwinkle blue mountains and the strong trees at the top of the hill. The clouds draped themselves high above the atmosphere. The hill ran down toward the fence at the bottom of the hill and then up towards the mountains in the distance.
“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory. The rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God. “ Psalm 62:5-7
No matter how many times I look out the windows at my grandma’s house, the mountains and the trees are always there, strong, proud, and protective. Seasons come and seasons go, and the mountains change hues, the sky can be fierce and angry or calm and caring. And somehow this peaceful scene reminds me of my Heavenly Father. Seasons come and go in my life. Sometimes my life is as a beautiful as a picture. Other times my life is rocky and confusing. But the Lord Jesus never changes. His arms are always open ready for me to run to Him.
“Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.

For those of you who know me I can fall asleep at the drop of a pin or the sound of a soft voice. That particular night however, I was restlessly tossing and turning. Regrets of my past were crashing over me, making me feel like a defeated failure who might as well quit now rather than disappoint God again. In the darkness of the night, God comforted me. He allowed my tears to slide off my cheeks. And in the middle of the night God forgave me and restored my soul.

Regardless of our circumstances God is still God. He is faithful and unchanging. Run to Jesus with a heart ready to repent and be restored. Let His love cover you.

“If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13

If I can encourage you in anyway please let me know. Thank you for supporting me in my writing.

For His Glory,
Sarah ❤