Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Ram is on the Way

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I have had a lot on my mind recently. As a result, I have not wanted to blog, because I do not know how I would begin to explain to you everything that God is teaching me. I so am overwhelmed that I am speechless, which is unusual for me.

However, I believe that this Proverb 31 devotional was just what God wanted to share with me this morning. I desperately prayed this morning, during my quiet time, that God would give me a word of encouragement and He was faithful to answer my prayer!

TRUST

That's right....trust. This is the one word that God has been teaching me about all weekend!! I have finally finished reading So Long, Insecurity and at the end of that book Beth Moore devotes an entire chapter on fear.

Beth says that in order to rid ourselves of our fears we must learn to trust God. Period.

I realized that I am not trusting God, which can be hard about learning something new. Oh don't get me wrong...I say that I trust God, but the truth is that I don't. What I thought was trust was actually me just hoping that God would never let the bad things happen to me. Then when bad things happen I see God as untrustworthy.

That's not how it works.

Bad things will happen to me, that's life. But I need to learn to trust God no matter what. I cannot see the whole picture like God does and maybe He has a ram on the way that I know nothing about that will change everything.


. . . . . . . . . .
A Ram is on the Way
August 30, 2011
Glynnis Whitwer

“So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.’” Genesis 22:14 (NIV)

Have you ever been in a situation so desperate that it looked hopeless?

Have you ever sat at the kitchen table wondering how you were going to pay the electric bill? Have you ever stood at a door that’s been slammed in your face by an angry teenager and despaired at having a relationship with him again? Have you ever had your heart broken so deeply that you wondered if you would feel whole again?

Sadly, we live in a broken world where desperate situations happen every day. I know someone reading this devotion is wondering how she will make it through the day because her situation looks hopeless. If that is you, I encourage you to keep reading. I believe God has a message of hope for you today.

That message is found in the Bible, in the story of a man who was dealing with his own desperate situation. His name was Abraham and he faced the greatest testing of his life. After longing for a son for many years, God finally gave Abraham a boy, whom he named Isaac. Abraham never imagined God would test his faith by asking him to sacrifice his son. But it happened.

It had to have been the darkest day of Abraham’s life as he trudged up the mountain, with firewood strapped to his son’s back. Every step took Abraham closer to what he believed to be the sad ending of a hopeless situation—the death of his son. Yet in spite of his sorrow, Abraham trusted God. His heart wasn’t soaring with joy. He wasn’t dancing up the mountain. But he put one foot in front of the other. Walking through the darkness of the situation; obeying His God’s commands.

Unbeknownst to Abraham, something else was walking up that mountain. Quietly. Out of sight. On the other side of the mountain. Something else was putting one foot in front of the other. Only Abraham couldn’t see it.

For every step Abraham took, a ram on the other side of the mountain took a step.
All Abraham saw that day was his solitary journey of pain. As he got closer to the top of the mountain, his dread must have increased. I wonder if he asked himself any questions. I would have. I would have wondered why hadn’t God intervened? Why hadn’t God stopped this testing? Couldn’t God see that Abraham was a man of faith? Why test him in this way?

But there was no answer. There was no voice from heaven. And so Abraham kept obeying his God’s command. He put Isaac on an altar and prepared to sacrifice his one and only son.

And just at that very moment, at the very last second, when it looked like the end had come, God spoke, stopping the sacrifice. Abraham looked up and there caught in the thicket was a ram. Abraham took his son off the altar, replaced him with the ram, and offered the sacrifice to God.

Abraham named that place “Yahweh-Yireh” or “The Lord Will Provide.” And the story was written down for generations of God-followers to read. It was written so that you and I today would read it as we face our own hopeless situations. It was captured in print so that you and I would know that God is already planning for our provision. We don’t see it. We don’t hear it. But we can trust that our God is at work. On your behalf, and on mine.

I choose to trust God today. A ram is on the way.

Dear Lord, You know how desperate I am today. You know that my faith has wavered. Although I want to trust You, I’m having trouble doing so. I ask for Your intervention in my situation, and for an increase of my faith while I wait. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Snow Cones on Saturday

Do you ever feel like the weekend is just too short!? That's how I felt this past weekend. However, I am very thankful that next weekend is a long weekend! I need one.

The best part of my weekend was when Jon brought me home a snow cone on Saturday afternoon!! On Jon's way home from work Saturday, he drove out of his way to bring me a snow cone. It was just what I needed on another 100+ degree day in Texas. I really like snow cones and I am so thankful that I was able to have another one, before we officially enter the months of Fall.

Me with my Birthday Cake snow cone.

Jon had a Tiger's blood snow cone.

Opps! The zoom was still on. Redo.

Much better!

I was very happy about my snow cone!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Flashback Friday: My Weekend with Bobbi

I really enjoy writing Flashback Friday blog posts! I think it is so fun to go through my old pictures to find something to write about. The possibilities are endless, because I have so many pictures that I have never posted on our blog!

Today our flashback takes us back to September or October 2006, just a few months before Jon and I got married. I had invited my sister Bobbi to come down to Portland, OR and spend the weekend with me! We took her to all of my favorite places in Portland. This also happened to be the same weekend that I got my ears pierced!!

Isn't Bobbi cute!? The first thing we did was to take Bobbi out for Chipotle, because it is our favorite!

She had the chicken tacos.

Yum! They were so good!

Next we took Bobbi to Powell's bookstore!!

Michelle, Bobbi, and I waiting for the Max to take us to the mall downtown.

You gotta love Portland!

Michelle enjoyed her meal at the mall.

Isn't Bobbi just beautiful!?

Sisters! Bobbi and I, the only thing missing was Vivian.

Friends! Michelle and I.

Then I got my ears pierced! This is right after I got them done.

It was painful, but totally worth it!


Visit Lauren for more flashbacks.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pictures from Our Weekend

It makes it very hard to blog when you do not take pictures. For some reason I have gotten really lazy about bringing my camera with me when we do things. This weekend I was very intentional to bring my camera with me everywhere we went!

So, here is a picture blog to show you what we have been up to recently.


Thursday night
Thursday night I made Oreo cupcakes (there is even an Oreo at the bottom of the cupcake)!
I was inspired to make these after finding some new recipes on Pinterest.


Saturday
This is me ready for my Saturday morning Weight Watchers meeting!
I am wearing one of the new shirts I got Friday night.

Saturday afternoon, Jon and I decided to go to the dollar theater to watch a movie.

We ended up watching "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides".
This was not my favorite Pirates movie, but it was still good!


Sunday
This is Jon and I Sunday morning on our way to church.

Sunday afternoon before I went to Bible study, I took a meal to a family in our Sunday school class.


Monday
Last night, Jon took me on a date to the new Genghis Grill in town.

Doesn't it look so nice?

We only had to wait about 5 minutes before we were seated.

Here is Jon with the kitchen behind him!

Jon's bowl

My bowl

Dinner was great! We had such a fun time together!

After dinner we headed home to watch some Monday night football!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The First Day of School

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Today was the first day of school for many of my teacher friends in Texas. Part of me really wishes that I was going back to school like everyone else!! Yes, I work at a university, so technically I am at a school everyday, but it is different. I work with the online students, which means that I rarely interact with the students.

I just want you all know that I am praying for you today!! I know that the Lord has placed specific students in your classrooms for you to minister to this year.

I hope that you all have a wonderful first day of school!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What's YOUR excuse?

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Last night, someone posted this on Facebook and I really liked it!

Jacob was a cheater,
Peter had a temper,
David had an affair,
Noah got drunk,
Jonah ran from God,
Paul was a murderer,
Gideon was insecure,
Miriam was a gossiper,
Martha was a worrier,
Thomas was a doubter,
Sara was impatient,
Elijah was moody,
Moses stuttered,
Zaccheus was short,
Abraham was old,
Lazarus was dead,
The Samaritan woman slept around,
Mark was a quitter,
Solomon was a bigamist,
Samson didn't keep his word,
Timothy was young,
Matthew was despised,
Hosea had marriage problems,
Rahab was a prostitute,
Job lost everything

Now, what's YOUR excuse? Can God use you or not? God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called! God doesn't call the perfect, but perfects the called!!

I think that for myself I usually have more than one excuse as to why God cannot use me. How many times have I talked myself out of being obedient to the Lord, because of the way I see myself? Don't let anything hold you back! God wants to use your imperfections in such a unique way!

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." 
- 2 Corinthians 12:9

Friday, August 12, 2011

Unlovable

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I have been moody the last few days. I hate to admit it, but it is true. I have been trying to shake my bad attitude all week. It seems like I get it under control until something goes wrong and it rears it's ugly head. How frustrating!

Trust me when I say that I needed this encouragement today!

Am I alone when I say that I struggle with seeing myself as lovable? I am sure that there are others out there just like me. This is probably where a lot of my insecurities stem from!

Why would God create someone that He could not love? What would it look like to be a woman who knew in her heart and mind that she was lovable?

As I was writing this post the song "Made to Love" by TobyMac came to my mind. Have you ever heard it? The chorus goes:
I was made to love you
I was made to find you
I was made just for you
Made to adore you
I was made to love
And be loved by you
You were here before me
You were waiting on me
And you said you'd keep me
Never would you leave me I was made to love
and be loved by you

I was made to love and be loved by the Lord!! I hope and pray that this is a lesson that the Lord will let sink deep into my heart so that I never have to question whether or not I am lovable again. I want to learn this lesson so well that I can live in the freedom of Christ's love for me!!

I pray that the Lord will use this devotional to encourage you. Just take a moment to read the Proverbs 31 devotional below, because it is so powerful.

Have a great weekend!


. . . . . . . . . .
Unlovable
August 12, 2011
Samantha Reed, Executive Assistant

“Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.” Song of Solomon 8:7a (NIV 1984)

“I’m unlovable.”

How many times has this thought consumed your mind? It swirls powerfully, like muddy rapids. Thrashing heart and mind round and round like a toy boat in a damaging river of doubt, fear and lies.

The “I’m unlovable” thought often tosses us from one painful situation to the next.
Rejection from a parent leads to a heart desperate to fill the void that leads to an unloving abusive relationship. A broken heart is patched up with food that leads to weight gain that makes us feel less than beautiful and unworthy of love.

The bruised parts of our hearts can lead us down dark alleys littered with regrets and sadness.

I don’t assume to know the tongue lashings, torturous words or deeds, and taunts you’ve endured. I don’t know what rejections, rudeness, or raw aches have slayed your heart. I don’t know what choices you’ve made—what choices were made for you—that pushed you into the roaring rush of this river that tries to drag you down with lies and pain.

I only know this—you will drown in that river unless you grab hold of this safety rope: You are lovable.

Yes. You. You are lovable.

There is an all loving Creator who is sovereign. This is a big word with bigger meaning: all powerful. He had the choice to concoct you in His mind. He had the option to create you. He had the wherewithal to call you by name. He didn’t have to.

He could have said,
Nah, I know how that one turns out.

Depression and doubts are her go-to’s instead of Me.
Guys are allowed to violate her body.
Her marriage falls apart.
Her relationship with her parents isn’t good.
Her kids can’t stand her.
She’s frumpy.
She’s not worthy of My time or talent.
She’s not lovable.


But He didn’t. No.

Instead, He said,
I know how that one turns out.
She trusts me despite her teetering emotions and difficult circumstances.
She redeems her past to inspire purity in young girls.
She encourages and invests in other’s marriages.
It’s My delight to be her Father and call her My daughter.
Her knees hit the ground in fervent prayer for her children.


She’s beautiful.
She’s worthy of my Son’s life and death.
She’s so lovable, I call her Mine and nothing she does—nothing that happens to her—can take My love from her.


I don’t know why you don’t feel you’re lovable. Or what lies come trying to convince you that your past, your actions, your shame, your guilt disqualifies you from love.

What I do know is this: you are worthy of love. You are lovable. And you are qualified as a child of God. But don’t take my word. Take His…

This is what the LORD says: ‘[Insert your name] who survives [insert what makes you feel unlovable] will find favor in the desert; I will come to give rest to [her].’ The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build [Insert your name] up again and you will be rebuilt.’” (Jeremiah 31:2-4a, NIV 1984)

Dear Lord, I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Thank You for knowing me fully and loving me completely. Please help me know…truly know…I am lovable. Thank You for the freedom You give from the hurt and lies. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Jake and the Bee

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Last night, a bee almost took the life of my brother youngest brother, Jake.

I received and urgent text from my Mom in the middle of the night which told me to call her ASAP. She explained that Jake had been stung by a bee and almost died. At the same time Mom and I were on the phone, Jake was being taken to the hospital in ambulance. Mom had been out of town for the weekend and as soon as she received the call about Jake she packed up her things and began to race back to be there for him.

The paramedics explained that by the time they got to Jake, he only had a few minutes left to live. Thankfully, they made it to Jake in time to give him the medicine that he needed. They rushed him to the hospital where the doctor gave him even more medicine. The doctor also gave Jake an epipen that he will have to carry with him everywhere he goes from now on.

When Jake was little he was stung by a lot of bees maybe 20, but he has never been stung since then. We had no idea that he was deathly allergic to bee stings.

I spent most of the night praying for Jake, because I could not sleep until I knew that Jake was going to be alright. I am so thankful that Jake is ALIVE! God has our days numbered and today was not Jake’s day.

Please pray that God uses this situation to bring Jake closer to Himself.

Jon and Jake at Vivian's wedding

Friday, August 5, 2011

Flashback Friday: Snow Day

I shared with you yesterday about how hot it is here in Texas.

In an effort to help us cool off, today's flashback is going to take us back to our Snow Day on February 12, 2010!! I wrote blog posts about this back then to read them click here and here.

Jon is from Colorado and I am from the Northwest. We are both used to getting snow during the winter months. One thing that we have really missed since we moved to Texas has been the snow!

Snow is always a special treat here in Texas, because it is so rare to see snowflakes falling from the Texas sky. However, Jon and I were so blessed to have a snow day back in February 2010! We tried to make the most of the snow while we had it. We even had a two hour delay the next day, which we used to play in the snow!!

At this point in time I cannot wait for the winter months to come and bring some relief to this heatwave that we are experiencing! Have a great weekend!





Visit Lauren for more flashbacks.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Defrosting the Freezer

Saying it's hot outside is an understatement!


In this extreme heat the ladies in my office decided that we should make the most of the heat and be productive. This afternoon at work we decided that it was time to defrost our small refrigerator. This freezer had not been defrosted since I came to work at LeTourneau in June 2008, so it was really long overdue.

Here are some pictures that we took of the process.

This is our little fridge. We had to put a sign on it, so that it did not get stolen.

There is a lot of ice on this freezer! The frozen meal is trapped!

Brenda took a pictures of the me and the tool I used to break the ice.

It worked!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence

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When we first moved to Texas I noticed that a lot of people drove pickup trucks. After making that one observation it seemed like the only vehicle I noticed were pickup trucks. They were everywhere! I think that God works the same way.

When God beings working on an area of my life He is relentless. However, He begins by showing me just a glimpse of truth that He wants me to learn. Then He reinforces that truth over and over again!

God has been teaching me a lot about my insecurity and He continues to reinforce these truths over and over again. This morning it came while I was reading my daily Proverbs 31 devotional. If you have a chance, please take some time to read it below.

I question my worth on a daily basis. I always wonder if I measure up. I constantly want to know am I good enough. I cannot tell you how many times I have agreed with the whispers of self-doubt and thrown away confidence that should be mine as a child of God.

A lack of confidence has cost me so much, but God is currently in the process of changing me! Thankfully, God does not want me to be insecure the rest of my life. Please pray that these truths would sink into the depths of my heart and soul!

. . . . . . . . . .
Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence
August 3, 2011
Renee Swope

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 (NIV)

One night I was cleaning our kitchen and found this little rubber thingy on our countertop. It wasn’t until after I threw it away that I realized it was the power button for our TV remote control. As I dug through the trash to find it, I regretted how quickly I’d thrown it away.

Then, as I reached to pull it out, I sensed God showing me that’s how easily I throw away my confidence—without recognizing it.

It’s usually very subtle. Sometimes I’ll be thinking about something I want to do or sense God calling me to, and a feeling of uncertainty comes over me and whispers to my heart, You can’t do that. You’re not good enough. Out of the blue, I’ll just get that awful, insecure feeling.

Too many times in the past I’ve gone along with it, tossing my confidence into the trash without even thinking.

For years, I didn’t tell anyone about my lack of confidence because I figured if I told them all the reasons I doubted myself, they’d see my flaws and agree with me. Honestly, I was convinced I was the only one who struggled with doubt.

However, I didn’t call it doubt. Maybe you don’t either. Sometimes I called it worry—worry that I was going to disappoint someone, worry that I might make a mistake and get criticized for it, worry that I might start something but not be able to finish.

Other times I’d call it fear—fear that I wouldn’t measure up, fear that I’d look stupid, fear that I’d look prideful thinking I could do something special for God. What I’ve realized over the past several years is that these feelings may end up as fear or worry, but their source is self-doubt.

Looking back, I see a pattern in my thinking that led to the pattern of my doubting.
As a child I thought I wasn’t worth keeping. My insecurity kept me from riding the carousel at an amusement park, because I doubted my dad would wait for me. In school, I thought I wasn’t smart enough. I avoided some great opportunities because they came with the risk of failure.

Even as a young bride, I doubted my worth in my husband’s eyes. Although he gave me no reason to fear he’d ever leave me, our newlywed memories include a lot of arguments based on my insecurities.

What about you? Do you ever question your worth as a woman? How often do you agree with the whispers of self-doubt and throw away confidence that should be yours as a child of God?

I’ve learned to ask God to show me when I’m tempted to throw away my confidence and then depend on Him to help me throw away my insecurities instead. Want to join me? Let’s hold onto God’s promises and depend on His truth for the security we need and the confidence we long for:

• When self-doubt whispers, “I can’t do that. I’m going to fail and look foolish.” Throw away that lie away and hold onto this truth (even say it out loud): “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6, NIV 1984)

• When self-doubt whispers, “I’ll never change.” Throw away that lie away and claim this truth: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in [me] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, NASB)

• When self-doubt whispers, “This is too hard for me. I don’t have what it takes to…” Throw away that lie away and hold onto this truth: “No, in all these things [I am] more than a [conqueror] through him who loved [me].” (Romans 8:37, NIV)

Lord, I want to become a woman with a confident heart in Christ. Will you help me recognize when I throw away my confidence, and remind me to throw away my insecurities instead? I want to persevere in Your truth so that when I have done Your will, I will receive what You have promised. When doubt or insecurity tells me I can’t do something, I will remember that all things are possible to her who believes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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