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Oct 3, 2015

What are you HOLDING ONTO?


What (or WHO) are you HOLDING ONTO?
In good times and in bad times, we face moments when we need to HOLD ON to something. It's been around a lot, but there's that old saying, If there was a huge fire at your home (or disaster of some kind that was going to destroy EVERYTHING), and you could only take ONE thing, what is the ONE thing you would take?

Why do we always focus on the bad times? Why do we only seek to cherish things in the bad times? A loved one who's health is failing, and everyone is around them, but where were they in the 'good times'? Times are tough and times are hard, let's call on 'God' to help us, oh but He's not answering, so let's focus on our other 'gods' to help us... drinks, drugs, sex, addictions of other kinds, etc...  but what does this say about where our faith stands in the 'good times' and the 'bad times'?

What are we HOLDING ON to? I would hope that you are holding on to GOD. The one true God, not our 'gods'. There is only ONE God, and we are to worship Him alone. Other addictions that can get in our way become like our 'gods' & make Him a jealous God. He is the one we will be answering to on our 'last day'. Booze, drugs, porn, sex, food, shopping, etc will be no more. They are not important, and they will fade away. The only thing that will last is the LOVE of God. 

He is NOT a wrathful God, just waiting for us to screw up so He can send His wrath and punishment. He is a loving and caring God who wants what is best for us. He has GREAT and AMAZING plans for us, but if we walk away from Him, we cannot fulfill any of those plans. We are all given gifts and talents, in the physical as well as in the spiritual world. Sometimes those two collide and that's when God can do the amazing and unbelievable. You don't have to spend every waking hour in a church, YOU are the church. When you believe in a power that is WAAAAAAY greater than you, and 'know in your knower' that God is a good God, He is what you will want to hold on to.

It reminds me of the little story I love about the child walking with their Dad, (we use Dad as in the picture of our Heavenly Father).

 A little girl and her father were crossing a bridge.
 The father was kind of scared (for his daughter's safety) so he asked his little daughter: "Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don't fall into the river." T
he little girl said: "No, Dad. You hold my hand." 

"What's the difference?" Asked the puzzled father. 

"There's a big difference," replied the little girl. 
"If I hold your hand and something happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go. But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go." 

 In any relationship, the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond. So hold the hand of the person whom you love rather than expecting them to hold yours...


So, who are you holding on to? Or should I say, who is holding on to you?

We've all heard the statement, 'carrying baggage'... We can get extra 'baggage' of things that we are holding onto. Not all of our 'baggage' is bad, but if we put it ahead of our relationship with God, then it can be. For example picture with me, a busy Mama who finally has some time to go grocery shopping alone (crazy I know). She is tired from a busy day with the kids, maybe she works at home; maybe she goes off to work, maybe she had to make dinner... maybe she had to leave the kiddos with a sitter waiting for Dad to come home... maybe she's a single Mom... anyway... now that you have the image... picture her with her bags and bags of groceries. She is too tired to take more than one trip so she is carrying all her 'baggage' in one trip. She is 'bogged down'... and there's no room to hold anything else... Do you get my picture? 

Here's a visual for those who aren't as visual as I am...
What is she holding onto? BAGGAGE. Who is holding onto her? As pictured, nothing we can see. (But yes God is). Can she hold onto anything else? Now add a child in there with her... can she hold on to him? NO. She would put the baggage in a cart, or she would carry less... or yes, she would use a THIRTY-ONE tote (LOL!) (Hopefully she wouldn't just let him run beside her.) There's no room for her to hold onto anything else, unless she puts something she is holding, down. She would take the hand of her child first, as he is most important! Do you get my analogy?

Too often we are holding onto 'baggage' (good or bad)... and we cannot let go (or most often will not let go) to hold onto God. Thankfully He has us in His hands. But God doesn't want us to be overwhelmed. He wants us to rest in His hands, while He carries us! 

Picture with me again, we're going on a trip. We have to take a plane to a far away warmer destination. Super fun eh? How about just you... since I might not know you well enough to take a trip with you. You are so excited. A far away destination for fun, sun and more. (Maybe you're family is going too -- picture it however you want -- it's your imagination after all). You want to pack one suitcase each (crazy and probably won't happen), so what are you going to take? What do you pack for your week of fun away? 
Some people don't pack much, as they will purchase stuff there. Some people pack for a month (ha ha like me) so they have 'choices' of what to wear. You have to 'stuff' everything in, and hope it closes. Maybe you have to sit on it to close the zipper. (ha ha! there's a visual for you). What's so important that you have to take? Clothes, toiletries, Bible, book, etc. (NO ITS NOT A BUSINESS TRIP). Hmmm... but there are some things that you just might want WITH you. So thankfully you can have one carry-on each. In there, you can put your passport, purse or make-up (if a female), a snack(s), a book you're reading, pens, paper, kleenex, any meds, hobby items (crocheting, etc), and extra set of clothing (incase your other luggage gets lost - eek), things for your child, a neck pillow, your phone or laptop (& charger), camera, gum, music/iPod/mP3, Bible, notebook, etc... What is most important to you on your trip that needs to be on your person? Maybe a picture of your family (if you're going alone), maybe a keepsake of some kind to remind yourself of family or good times... You CRAM WHAT YOU CAN into your suitcase and especially into your carry-on. Unfortunately, there are luggage limits to what you can bring. So you have to alter what's in there... or move stuff from your luggage to your carry-all... etc. Frustrating I know! (Ha ha! After a trip to Kigali Rwanda and having to change over luggage items a few times!) What are you HOLDING ON TO? What is a NECESSITY that needs to be packed into your luggage that now sits in the luggage compartment on the plane --trusting it to an unknown luggage guy? What is IMPORTANT enough to pack in the carry-on that sits in the compartment above your seat (or part of it with you in your seat) that you have control over? What are YOU holding on to?? Why is it so hard to give our 'baggage' to an unseen God, when we freely give our luggage to the baggage compartment, which indeed has a record for losing our luggage? God wants us to 'lose' some of our baggage too!

God wants your 'baggage' in life to be 'unclaimed baggage'. Put it down, and never pick it up again!

Unfortunately, the world has also seen fit to pick up others baggage and re-sell it (sometimes good, and sometimes not so good). (The store idea is a great one, don't get me wrong. Literally, 'you never know what you'll find'. I'm talking spiritually. The world throws our 'baggage' back in our face, and others can get a hold of our old 'baggage' & get bogged down along with their own baggage!)


What BAGGAGE are you HOLDING on to? Are you LOST IN LUGGAGE?



My primary love language is PHYSICAL TOUCH {See http://www.5lovelanguages.com/ and read more about Gary Chapman and find out your top love languages - and those of your close family and friends, if you don't already know.} So songs or quotes, or stories that involve 'touch' really touch me (pun intended I guess); which is part of the reason I am choosing to write this devotional. Being a 'teacher' and having to hold the hand of a lot of children (& youth) I totally understand this thought too. (Having amazing parents helped that too of course!)

There is an amazing worship song called "My Anchor" by Christy Nockels. It is on the new PASSION album 'Even So Come'. The bridge part says "I hold on to You. You hold on to me" -- and I just love it! Such truth in two simple statements. Even when/if we don't believe (when we're not holding on to Him), He still is holding on to us! (This is a truth that the WORLD needs to know -- another reason to share this devotional.) Even though there is trials or suffering, and even in the good times, God is there! He is holding on to us! What a PROMISE to HOLD ON TO!

Here's a link to the song: My Anchor, Christy Nockels (will open in a new window, so it can play in the background while you read the words). 

Here's the words; read them and let it sink into your soul. Who is the ROCK you stand on? Who is holding on to You? Who or what are YOU holding on to?

    You're the Lord Almighty
    Your every word is sure
    And in Your love unfailing
    I'm safe when oceans roar
    Yes I'm safe when oceans roar.

    (Chorus)
    My anchor forever
    My shelter within the storm
    You're my Deliverer,
    You never falter
    Yes, You're the Rock
    I stand on.

     Here within the struggle,
    Oh and every crashing wave
    You are more than able, and
    Your hand is strong to save
    Yes I know Your hand is strong to save.

     (Chorus)

    (Bridge)
    I hold onto You, and
    You hold onto me, Jesus
    I hold onto You, and
    You hold onto me, Oh Jesus
    I hold onto You, and
    You hold onto me, My/(Oh) Jesus
    I hold onto You forever, and
    You hold onto me!

    'Cause You're my (Chorus)
    My anchor, forever
    My shelter, within the storm
    You're my Deliverer
    You never falter,
    Yes, You're the Rock I stand on
    You're the Rock I stand on.

Hebrews 6:19 says: "We have this HOPE as an ANCHOR for the soul, firm & secure!"


Be blessed today, as you let Him HOLD on to YOU, and hopefully you have LET GO of a lot of things so that you can HOLD ON to Him! Praying with you as you read these words inspired by Holy Spirit, and listen to this song. May you drop your 'extra baggage' that is not important (As Elsa sings, LET IT GO... LET IT GO!), and hold on to that which is important! 



Aug 9, 2015

TASTE & SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD - Experience Him for Yourself!

TASTE & SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD...

Wow! Today was an amazing day at church! God of course showed up and Holy Spirit had His way because a lot more of us surrendered to Him. We were hungry... and thirsting for MORE! Now if 100% of us did, what a time that would have been! Hard to imagine! But anyway... I knew it was going to be a good service in my spirit as we chatted with our Pastor ahead of time... and I knew what my lesson was on in Jr Church... but WOW! Nothing could have prepared us for what transpired... YES! I would have loved to continue worshipping, and staying in the sanctuary in the presence of God. BUT, that indeed went with our lesson for Jr Church. The kiddos in our church are an amazing bunch. Our Youth are finally stepping out in 'ministry' to the Body, and its awesome to see. I would like to see more of our Jr Youth doing it as well!! The power of God was so strong! Everyone in the building could EXPERIENCE God for themselves (if they chose to).

Teaching and imparting into the next generation is a call on my heart, but also a passion! I was excited to hear what the kiddos experienced in the worship service. They didn't however seem as excited as me. LOL! Most of them were colouring or chatting or just sitting, so they didn't technically experience GOD the way I was hoping. But God's presence follows us no matter where we go. Just because we leave the sanctuary doesn't mean that we leave God's presence. God was at work in the lives of our children...

So that brings me to this BLOG post... I had a lot of stuff prepared for this AM as I knew the service was going to be good... which usually meant also was going to be longer than usual. So I was prepared. (or so I thought). LOL! Anyway, I thought I would share a few of my notes with y'all here, as I got to share some of them with the kiddos and I didn't get to share the other. I may still continue for a bit next week. :)

One of our object lessons was to go with the verse found in Psalm 34:8, "Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who trusts in Him."

Objects:
Strawberry Syrup
Milk
Clear Glass
Spoon

Hold up the glass and pour in milk saying this is like our lives. The glass is us, and the milk is life and love. Taste the milk and say something like, "Mmm... delicious! I love milk it tastes so good in the morning with my cereal."

Ask the children, "Did you know that I could make milk taste even better?" (Pull out strawberry syrup). Add a couple squirts in the middle of cup. (Try to make it so you can't really see it.)  Say, "Now you can't really notice anything different, but when God comes into your life and stirs in your spirit (Stir the milk), a change happens and people notice the difference even on the outside. (Now taste it again) God's love in our lives makes us sweeter."

There's an old saying (and a little VBS song we know), "A little bit of love goes a long long way!" We didn't add much syrup, but look at the effect it had.

There's another verse in the Bible, Matthew 5:6 and Jesus spoke to many people who were listening to Him teach. "Blessed are those who hunger & thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."

We can't just get filled up with God once... we need Him daily (& more than once a day). Like food, we need God to keep us healthy and strong. We need to have a hunger and a thirst for God, His presence and power. When we hunger and thirst for God, He promises to fill us up. In the Bible, it tells us He gives us living water! We have a RIVER OF LIFE inside of us!

OBJECT LESSON #2:
One glass of CLEAN, FRESH, COLD water.
One glass of DIRTY, MUDDY, MUCKY, COLD water


One of these glasses of water is more 'refreshing' than the other. However if we were in a desert in the hot, hot sun walking for hours and hours we would get thirsty -- and if this (hold up the muddy water) was the only thing there, I'm sure out of desperation we would probably drink the muddy water. Now here we are thinking "YUCK!" But in a desperate situation and with that being our only option of relief, we might just do it.

Looking at our world today, they are much like that -- they are choosing the dirty worldview choices over the fresh life found in Jesus. Jesus offers us "LIVING WATER" where we will never thirst again -- meaning He has ALL we need, we don't have to look elsewhere to fill our hunger or thirst.

But I'm sure after drinking this muddy water, I would still be thirsty! So it's good to know that God will fill us with His LIVING WATER.


---

Did you know that it's YOUR JOB to know God for yourself, and to share His GOOD NEWS with others? God wants His children (like you) to know the TRUTH. (Using one of my Life Verses)... Psalm 78:4-7 "We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about His power and His mighty wonders. For He issued His laws to Jacob; He gave His instructions to Israel. He COMMANDED our ancestors to teach them to their children, SO THE NEXT GENERATION MIGHT KNOW them, even the children not yet born, and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set it's hope anew on God, not forgetting His glorious miracles and obeying His commands."

So I'm sharing it with you... so that you can share the TRUTH with the generations that follow you! (and if you didn't hear it from the generations before you, make sure you tell them too!)

BE BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING!!

Aug 2, 2015

He Washes me with Super S.O.A.P...



So I've been slacking a little with my devotions, and 'quality' quiet times with God... (& clearly haven't posted a blog for almost a year)... so I've been googling and Pinning different NEW and FRESH ideas on Pinterest. Checking out different devotionals, etc and came across the S.O.A.P. method. Now the idea itself isn't NEW to me, as I always try to apply what I read. Even when I teach, it needs a purpose, a way it can be applied to our lives; something that can be lived out! But it was a FUN way to jump back in faithfully...

So, for my first S.O.A.P.box Study...
S stands for SCRIPTURE... You choose a Scripture (or Holy Spirit leads you to one). I chose/was lead to a verse found in 2 JOHN 1:8&9 NLT. (I am loving the NLT version.) "Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father & the Son." I don't remember reading or studying or meditating on this verse before. So it was a good one to start with especially once I read it, as I am stepping forward in becoming more diligent and faithful in my relationship with GOD!

O stands for OBSERVATION... Write down any observations that you make from the Scripture you read. Since I haven't studied this verse before, Holy Spirit gave revelation as I read it.
* Everyone can lose salvation, faith and our relationship with God the Father, the Son (& Holy Spirit).
* We need to remain FAITHFUL and DILIGENT to receive our REWARD in Heaven.
* We need to remain in the TRUTH, and the teaching we have learned.
* Do NOT be deceived!
* Do NOT wander away from the teaching of God's Word!

A stands for APPLICATION... Now you take the Scripture (the TRUTH) and your Observations (Your interpretation of the TRUTH) and APPLY it to your life.

*Remain FAITHFUL & DILIGENT so that we don't lose any of the GOOD that the Father has for us. Keep our relationship STRONG!

P stands for PRAYER... Now putting it all together, you make a prayer to GOD, reflecting on each of the above and how He can help you APPLY what you OBSERVED from the SCRIPTURE! A cleansing S.O.A.P. where God can make you NEW as you grow in your relationship with Him! Talk to God like you are talking to your Best Friend ('cause really He is just that)!

*Thank you Lord that You remain faithful in those times when we feel unfaithful. Help us to remain diligent and faithful in our relationship with You. Keep us strong and give us more/greater discernment spiritually so that we will not be deceived and that we will receive that which You have promised. I will SPEAK THE TRUTH! LIVE THE TRUTH! SHARE THE TRUTH! In Jesus' Name, AMEN!

Now as well in my studies I also love LEXICONS or word studies... The Greek or Hebrew meaning behind words. For this one I just chose FAITHFUL and DILIGENT...

FAITHFUL: Pistos (Greek) -- Trustworthy, faithful, reliable, believing, loyalty to faith, fullness of faith. Steadfast!

DILIGENT: Charuts (Greek) -- Diligent & Sharp; Conscientious hard work and perseverance, particularly with regard to a relationship with God. In Scripture diligence is highly commended.

Be blessed to be a blessing!! Why not take your own 'BATH' with Jesus, and use S.O.A.P. in your own life too! :) It's super easy and quick to do! Plus you get new revelations each time! 



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