Sunday, April 06, 2014

YOU CAN BE FREE FROM SIN.

Reading this morning from Philippians 1 and I hit this verse (27) and I just had to keep reading it over and over.
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

The words that stuck out to me were "your conversation" and "I may hear of your affairs".

It's fascinating watching the trends on Facebook. But watching my own trends, I see easily that the affairs I choose to tell the world are only my good ones. But if someone else had the responsibility of reporting on me, I wonder what their report would look like.

I don't want to come across as a Christian that has it all together, one that is holy and perfect and obviously doesn't struggle with the same things you struggle with. Yet, rarely will you see the post that shows "Hey, I'm messing it all up today, and I'm choosing to do it because for the moment it seems more fun than bowing my will to God's."

Let me tell you, there's many a minute, hour, day, and upon occasion weeks that go by where it just seems like I just try and shut my eyes to God and hope that I'll pick Him back up again after I'm done doing what I really want to do. Only to find myself at the end looking around at no peace, no joy, fussy kids, anger building up inside me, and frustrated with myself that I've done it again.

The Christian life isn't usually perfect.

But here's the kicker - it could be.

There isn't a single sin or temptation that's going to come your way that you don't have the power of God to overcome, to run away from, to stop in it's tracks. It's almost a given that you will let sin in, but never confuse the fact that you do with the promise that you didn't have to.

Before you were saved? Yes.  You had to.
After you are bought with a price, purchased by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ? Nope. You have power to overcome.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Romans 6:6,7
WE ARE FREE! These days of frustration and no peace are of our own making - In CHRIST we are free from sin. We are dead, crucified with Christ, that we, from here on, should not serve sin.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Romans 6:13

Does a trumpet sound like a piano? NO! Neither should an instrument of righteousness be sounding out unrighteousness! BE what you are! And glory to God, that is free from sin!

 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:17 - end

Oh my goodness!
I praise God that my visa was held back. I praise the God of all wisdom and knowledge and power, that is continuing a work in and through me, that He knew I needed one more blow to pull down some walls of pride.
As this day has progressed I've only become more and more free and happy and joyful. 
You see, before my visa was held back, I've been fighting, hard, trying to get everything done and honestly I had begun getting frustrated with God. It seemed like I couldn't catch a break. Everything just had to be so hard!
But last night I came to a point where I just ground to a halt. I stopped.  And I said "God, there is sin in my camp. Just like the Israelites saw defeat when there was sin in their camp, I think that's what is happening in my camp." and I went on and repented, and very humbly asked God to straighten me back out. And friends, the difference today has seen has been wonderful. 
Where I'd slowly strayed from reading my Bible as I should, in the last day and a half there's been a hunger and desire that had been missing. Oh friends... oh Friends. 
KNOW my Savior. His name is Jesus Christ. He has freed me from sin, brought me back into a good relationship with Him. He IS it.. IT.. whatever your IT is. He's what you need. He'll change you.
And face it, you know you want to change. You know things have happened in your life you didn't like. You know you've walked paths you shouldn't have. You know, deep in your heart, that even in your happiest days, the happiness just wasn't quiiiite complete.
He's it. He will free you from sin, and bring you into HIS family, as His son, His daughter. He bore your sin on Calvary, It's finished. Repent and be saved. SAVED. Let my Jesus show you just how lost you are on your own path. He is mighty, willing, ready, and more than able to save.

Are you a Christian? Will you share your testimony here of how God saved you?
Are you not a Christian? Or do you believe you are a Christian but don't seem to know the joy or peace that I'm expressing here? Would you like to know more about this wonderful God I serve? Will you contact me? Please?

Saturday, April 05, 2014

I remember when my van rolled away.

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavers is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. James 1:6

Based off the old hymn "I remember when my burdens rolled away"
I remember when my van rolled away.
I had driven it a year, night and day.
Then I sought the blessed Lord,
And I took Him at His word
And now my old van has rolled away.

I had to remind myself of that verse today. I was cleaning my car, vacuuming it, pulling out all the random food bits the kids had knocked under seats, the stray pen, that toothpick that rolled under the drivers gas pedal, all that fun stuff. I was cleaning it because later this afternoon someone was coming to take it. They were taking my vehicle.

As of now, I no longer own a car.

I don't know about you, but that idea is pretty big to me. I got a great deal on this car. It was a great car. It was a minivan. And now I'm selling it all in the name of going to India. You didn't see it, but even in that last sentence I had to stop my fingers from writing "in the hope of going to India".

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavers is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed.

As I cleaned it, I felt the ping, that nudge saying "you don't have a visa yet, what if they ..."

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

Sometimes you honestly just have to stop thoughts, dead in their tracks.

Which is what I had to do this afternoon.

Even as I type this, there are a ton of doubts and worries that want to come up. But the easiest way to silence them is to consider what I actually know.

I know, beyond a doubt, that God made clear that India was next.
I know, beyond a doubt, that God gave us our specific destination in India (Atmakur).
I know, beyond a doubt, that God gave us our contact in India (John Pradeep)
I've given up everything to follow that calling. I can trust that God can see through His part. God isn't stymied by Indian Visa Consulates.

Some days this journey feels so unbelievable that it can't be real. It's really hard sometimes. But God has helped. He's made it possible for us to still be on the schedule we believe He put us on. We believe our departure date is His departure date.

The bulk of my stuff is sold, I have no job, I have no car, What I do have are two beautiful daughters, passports and God's directions. My God is able to do the rest.

And that said... I'm a bit more excited now that my van just drove away.
Nothing wavering.
25 days to India.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Where have you been all my life?

Okay, not all my life, but the last few months certainly.

Would you believe the answer is as simple as me getting a new laptop that  has a very poor working keyboard? Several letters always missing, I, who pride myself on typing as fast as I can think (sometimes faster since I tend to be a bit slow in the head on certain topics), found it infuriatingly tedious to try and type anything on that keyboard.
So... I didn't type that much.

As a birthday present for myself this year I went out and bought a keyboard that connects to my laptop so I can sit here and happily type away on a normal keyboard. Ahhhhh I'm typing again. I'm doing my own version of "talking" again. It's sweet sweet relief.

Especially sweet since I will quickly catch you up on all the things I didn't say because my daughters new name has a "p" in it and old keyboard often stuttered on 'p's"

January 23rd (1/23/14)

My foster daughter, New Kid, officially became MINE. M. I. N. E.



She is now Sophia Nicole.
And she is awesome.
Mine.
Awesome.
Daughter.
Awesome.
I have two of them now.

Let me tell you, it's pretty stinking hard - that's right, I'll say it, even though the recent facebook article circulating says I shouldn't - but I will also say that it is even more aromatically wonderful.

We're 44 days away (Lord willing) from boarding a plane with a one-way ticket to India. Almost there.
Currently selling everything I own, and I'll tell you - that's not a piece of cake either. If you know anyone that would like a fantastic German piano, call me huh?

I also turned 33. The number of completion (just one step under the "7" as far as significance goes).  I've got high hopes for such a biblically significant age. Surely this will be the year I get it right, right? Right.

If you've read the blog long you know I love music, and especially focus in on lyrics. So.. for year 33 I thought I'd have an "anthem" song. It's "Completely Yours" by David Phelps.




Lyrics:
I brought to you my heart
Stained by the guilt of sin
You took this broken life
And made it whole again
Then your spirit came
And all my hope renewed
And I fell at your feet
And there I promised you

That I'm completely yours
The rest of all my days
And this eternal debt
Can never be repaid
So I give to you my all
Though it may seem small
You are all I need
And I will always be
Completely yours

Like David long ago
Whose heart was after you
This is my one desire
As daily I pursue
To know you more and more
Till I'm completely changed
May the life I live
Bring honor to your name

For I'm completely yours
The rest of all my days
And this eternal debt
Can never be repaid
So I give to you my all
Though it may seem small
You are all I need
And I will always be,

Completely yours
For the rest of my days
And this eternal debt
Can never, never be repaid
So I give to you my all
Though it may seem small
You are all I need
And I will always be
Completely yours

Monday, December 02, 2013

How to win souls and convert sinners.

I watched a sermon tonight that led me to a scripture, which led me to think of another scripture and when I looked up that scripture... wow. Just wow.

Okay, this will. not. work. as. well. unless you read the following verses out loud and with an utterly sincere tone, perhaps even desperate tone, to your voice But man, the fire it burns in me when I do.. here we go - READ OUT LOUD:

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness: according to the multitude of thy compassions put away mine iniquities. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from mine sin. For I know mine iniquities, and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, against thee only have I sinned, and done evil in thy sight, that thou will be just when thou speak, and pure when thou judge. Behold, I was born in iniquity, and in sin hath my mother conceived me. Behold, thou lovest truth in the inward affections: therefore hast thou taught me wisdom in the secret of mine heart.Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones, which thou hast broken, may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and put away all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thine holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and establish me with thy free Spirit. - Psalms 51:1-12

You cannot read these verses with a tone of boredom. You cannot read these verses and be unaffected. You cannot read these verses without gaining fresh respect for the holiness and righteousness and goodness of God.
You cannot read these verses without knowing that David, the person who wrote them, was desperately seeking after God.
I cannot read them tonight without that desperate tone in my voice, Oh God, purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean! Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow! 
I cannot change myself, I cannot clean myself, I have an absolute need for a Savior, a Redeemer who alone can make me clean.
But this chapter gets even better. It does not stop there with his plea, but the very next verse has a promise. It says this:
Then shall I teach thy ways unto the wicked, and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Psalms 51:13
Everyone understands what "then" signifies. It holds a promise, IF this happens THEN this will.
How often have I prayed to be able to win souls to the Lord? Here is a promise, If we pray Psalms 51, verses 1-12, and God answers to cleanse us from sin - then verse 13 will happen. Then I will teach Gods ways to the wicked and sinners will be converted to God.
If you feel you are not winning souls to God, if you are not teaching Gods ways to the wicked - get down on your knees and pray Psalms 51:1-12.
If it is in the Bible, it IS a strong promise. Before we can win others to God - first we ourselves must be clean. It isn't optional. Go to your Redeemer, be washed and clean, and then with the fresh joy in your salvation that God gives, you will be a fisher of men.
It is a promise.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Slapping God on the back with a "Hey Buddy!"

I saw a quote recently, that looked something like my that. It said that the culture of the world today was such that there was so little reverence of the holiness of God that many today would feel comfortable slapping God on the back and greeting Him with a "hey buddy!"

That, along with a recent discussion on the Sabbath, and how God made it a set apart day that was to be holy, made me wonder about how much reverence I have for God.

I haven't come up with any answers, because the only thing that I can think of was even if I am doing many many things to reverence God - the fact still remains, I'm not doing enough.

And it's not that I'm not doing enough because I don't reverence Him or feel that it's okay to be flippant. Instead, it's that I can do everything I can think of, and still not be doing enough.

He is a Holy, Righteous, God. He's so holy that... here, Revelation 4 describes some of the goings-on of Heaven as this:
And the four beasts had each one of them six wings about him, and they were full of eyes within, and they ceased not day nor night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Which was, and which is, and which is to come.
And when those beasts gave glory, and honor, and thanks to him that sat on the throne, which liveth forever and ever,
The four and twenty Elders fell down before him that sat on the throne, and worshipped him that liveth for evermore, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy will’s sake they are, and have been created.
That is something beyond what we'd think is necessary today. But the Angels of the Lord can see Him as He truly is - they can see the Holiness and Glory of God in a way that we can. If we even saw the full glory of the Lord our physical bodies would die, because it was simply too much for them.
I don't even know anyone whose "glory" could make me break out in a sweat. Much less kill me. But the glory of God is so great, so powerful and amazing, our physical bodies can't handle seeing it.
Yet, just like that I said earlier, there are those who feel they can simply go to God with a "hey buddy". He is a friend, just like the Bible says, a great friend that sticks closer than a brother, but in that we should never forget His holiness. God is not like us. He loves us, but He's not like us.And when we come before God, when we talk about holy things, we should always remember that we are talking about a God whose mere sight could kill us.
I think we want to be friends with God. We want to assume He is like us simply because we don't know how to respond to someone who is not like us. And I also see that part of the reason I don't reverence Him with the same reverence of the Angels is because I don't see Him. I don't see that glory. It's not impressed on my heart with the same fire that the Angels can see it.
So my only solution, since I want to reverence God even more than I already do, is that I am praying that God will show me more of His holiness, more of His glory. I want to see as much of God as I can and not die. I always pray for more of God in my life, but very specifically I am going to start praying to see the Holiness of my God. For a revealing that I've never had before.
In my last post about the supernatural God - I think the reason we don't see supernatural things is because we aren't asking for supernatural things and expecting them to happen. And we certainly aren't putting ourselves in a position where we need a supernatural action. 
If you want a supernatural God you need to ask Him for supernatural things.
If you want a Holy God, you need to treat Him as though He is holy, and ask Him to help you see His holiness. 
Only God can show me who He is. I can't sneak around a corner and catch Him by surprise. But I can spend my every day, my every prayer, reminding Him that His child wants to see Him. 
He will not fail me.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Did I dream that? -- The God of the supernatural

This is a piece of a conversation I recently had with my brother in India. It's mid-conversation so my first sentence doesn't make much sense out of context, but keep reading:
Readers guide:
emiti = "What"
yela =  "How"
dhanyavadalu = "Thank you"


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thankful for the anti-blessings

I've watched my facebook blow up this month with so many friends, or I guess I should go ahead and add the quotation marks "friends" (because everyone knows no one can have 231 actual friends :)  ) anyway, all of those friends are posting every day in November what they are thankful for.

Completely unconnected, I saw someone else mention how their daughter had won an award, and they mentioned "we are blessed".

The two things came together in my mind and I'll admit that I'm likely going to write the next paragraphs with tears rolling down my cheeks.

Tonight, I'm thankful that my beautiful/wonderful/priceless Bella (a foster child that I had a great honor to love for a short time) is no longer with me. If she were with me still, there is a good chance I would have made different decisions, rather than following this crazy path God has allowed me to travel. I'm thankful for the week of absolute torture she and I went through together. I learned more about Gods love and mercy during that week than at any other time in  my life I believe.

Tonight, I'm thankful for years, horrific year after year after year of debt. If it weren't for those years, I wouldn't have had the pleasure of witnessing Gods miracle of getting me out. That miracle was part of the confirmation I asked of God so I would know that He really was asking me to adopt Precious.

Tonight, I'm thankful for a courtship that didn't work out. I am completely confident that walking away  was God's will for me.

There are more, oh there were more. Just living life for a few years as an adult would leave no doubt of that. But these three are the top, largest most unique failures in my list.

Some of my best blessings in life are the things that didn't work out. The ones that left me in tears, and aching in ways I sometimes didn't think I could breathe through. But like I quoted recently, "I would choose no other life, than the life I have had." (C.S. Lewis - The Last Battle).

There were many roads, some beautiful and promising and full of hope. But they weren't my road. At least, not the road God has chosen for me. The other roads wouldn't have been bad. They just wouldn't have been God's.

If there is one prayer that I hope God will always answer, it's that He will protect me from myself. From the bad decisions, and even the seemingly good ones. And that even the bad decisions He will use to teach me of His faithfulness.