Believe

faith

Believing for something to happen, even when you can’t see it possible with your human eyes, is called faith.

Jesus said that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed and believe, it is enough.  God’s word says that I can boldly approach the throne of God and ask in prayer, my requests, and God will answer. Now I realize that sometime’s in life, many of us think that if God doesn’t answer right away, then he didn’t hear our prayer, or he doesn’t care, but sometimes his answer may be no or sometimes his answer may be yes, or his answer might be wait.  Isn’t waiting the hardest thing now a days.  Society is so fast paced. We are all so used to having answers on the spot. Whether is be on a test we take, a job interview, a medical outcome. We have all gotten used to everything in the world. I want to know what it is and I want to know now.

Psalm 46:10 New International Version (NIV)

10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

God’s timing is always perfect. And in the times of stillness, pray, thank God, be still and see what he will do for you. Expect good things to happen because you believe on faith that it will.

You may not see or even conceivably imagine what God has planned for your life-it may seem unreachable, but remember this:

Matthew 19:26 New International Version (NIV)

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Jesus came to give us life and give it abundantly!

God loves you~may you be blessed by Him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comfort Me Lord

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Being one that has the Spiritual Gift of Encouragement, I sometimes find it difficult to encourage myself, when times are tough.  I have no problem sharing the Word with others and doing my best to lift them up, and pray for them and with them, but when it comes to praying to God for myself, I sometimes feel that I am being selfish; putting my needs above others.

Last month, I injured my knee to the degree that after a week of trying to push the pain aside, and continued to walk on it or maybe I should say limp along; I finally conceded to getting it checked out.  I have always been the one that takes care of everything, not the one needing taken care of.  But through rest and many prayerful moments, talking to God, I have come to realize that we are not meant to handle anything on our own. Anything.

I have found that when I go through struggles in life, some of my own choosing and some that Jesus lets me go through, because then it reminds me that I must totally surrender my life and everything in my life, to Him.  And going through the daily struggles of life, we face in the flesh-in the world-with His guiding, we can than comfort others because we can share our testimony with another person.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.-Matthew 11:28 (New International Version)

God reminds us through His word, that we are to come to him. He is our resting place. He is our refuge in times of trouble and he is also a loving Father, that wants nothing more for His children to come to Him, regardless of why. Many people, and I have been just as guilty, seem to run to God when life isn’t going the way we think it should, but he also wants to share in our joys as well.

Whereas, the devil wants to take our joy, our hopes, and dreams and toss us back and forth like the waves on the high seas.  Satan knows what doubts we have, and if we let those doubts become thoughts and we linger on them, it is then, that he tells us lies, lies we usually believe and fail to see what is going on, until it seems like there is no way but failure. Don’t fall for it.

In 1 Peter 5:8 this is a reminder, from the Lord:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Trust in the Lord, rely on Him.  Cast all your cares on Him. All of them. Letting go and letting God do your work and fight your battles will really improve your life. I know because I let Him fight mine. It took me a long time to learn that simple fact. And, yes, there are times I need a gentle nudge and reminder.  But God gives me grace. And His grace is enough.

May you be blessed,

Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Jesus

As the 2015 Christmas Season has passed and the New Year is upon us, I sit her thinking how thankful I am that God has a plan for each one of us and even when our lives seem chaotic and out of control, we must remember to not sit in the rocking chair called worry or let the enemy entrap us in fear, but trust in  Jesus.  

I am ever thankful that God gave us His son Jesus to die for our sins, once and for all.  Although there are many people that either reject the idea of God sending His son, Jesus to be born a man and live on earth and die for our sins or reject the idea that when Jesus died for us on the cross, he died for all of us and all of our sins, so we could live with Him eternally.  

There are people that I love, that are near and dear to my heart, that are actually a piece of me, that refuse to talk about Jesus or accept that He IS and that He is the only way to the Father, but I press on, knowing that the best I can do is to continue to model my life is such a way, that when people that don’t know Jesus, that don’t have a personal relationship with him – that hopefully by seeing me and knowing me, they will get to see Jesus.

The Lord had placed a desire on my heart for many years to locate an old friend, who was like my other half. We grew up together, went to school together and then as we graduated, through circumstances beyond our control, we lost contact with one another, but I often wondered about my friend and where she was and how she was.  I am very blessed to have located her and recently renewed our lost years apart. The greatest blessing of having true friends in your life is that no matter how much time you spend apart from one another, and how many things have happened in your lives, you can pick up the conversation with ease, share things you might not share with someone you just met and know without a doubt that you are blessed.  

1 Thessalonians 5:11 New International Version (NIV)

11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Trying to catch up with one another after 31 years apart, to most, would seem utterly impossible; but not for us.  I am so thankful that my friend is back in my life and not just my memories.

God always has a plan that is better than ours. We may not understand why we going through difficulties such as missing a dear friend, but when HIS timing is right, it all works out.  So, today I am thankful for the blessing  of renewed friendship that I thought was lost.

No matter what storm or struggle you are going through right now, know that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is with you. He will go to battle for you. He is my strength and my protector, my father and friend.  I

And know this, no matter what kind of mess you think your life is, or how broken you are, HE LOVES YOU!

May you have peace in your hearts and joy in your souls! Blessings for 2016 to be your year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where He Leads

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As a parent myself, I find it quite ironic that when I try to teach my children and they don’t always listen or follow my lead, I feel disappointment and sadness that they don’t understand I am not trying to lead them down a path of regret and sorrow, but save them from making mistakes and trying to share with them lessons, I have learned over the years.

Now, I know that my Father In Heaven, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit have never made mistakes, but I wonder how many times we grieve them when we choose to not follow their leading; but I am so ever thankful that because of their mercy and grace, I am given multiple chances to get it right.

John 10:2-5 New Living Translation (NLT)

2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”

At the age of 11, I chose to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and to follow Him and wherever He leads me, I would go.  I love the fact that my parents chose to follow the Lord and gave me a great example of Godly Love-unconditional love-no strings attached kind of love-and rooted me with a strong foundation for my life. Gave me a rock to stand on and hang onto every day of my life. My daddy always use to say, “the Lord provides for us dummies”, no matter when times were tough and struggles were real, I always knew it would be okay, somehow. I trusted him to take care of me. He was my dad.  By my father modeling his life after the Lord, I came to know that Jesus is faithful to me and He is always with me and He only wants the very best for me.  He wants the only very best for you too!

When Jesus, Son of Man, walked among us, he told us (paraphrased), I have come so you may live life abundantly; you will have struggles, but I have already overcome anything you will face. Trust me. Follow me. Have Faith.

It is easy to say have faith and trust in the Lord, but I am sure you have heard or used the phrase, ‘easier said than done’; however, it really is easier and simpler than we think.  The problem that I encountered and maybe you have encountered the same problem is, change isn’t always easy. Sometimes changes mean a whole lot of new things, which leads us out of our comfort zones. Oh, we know that we need to move in different ways or areas of our lives, but we become complacent and stay stuck.  Sometimes, because staying stuck is better than the unknown, but if you remember that Jesus will never lead you astray and that HE is always with you, no matter where you are or where you go, would that make it even just a tiny bit easier.

A little over a year ago, I was stuck.  I was attending a church that had become my family; they had seen me through good times and a few too many hard times and I felt safe and secured and loved. But a few months before I left that church, I felt God telling me it was time for me to move on; He needed me elsewhere and I really struggled with that. I didn’t share the struggles with anyone, because I wasn’t sure why I was feeling these emotions I was having. Was I hearing God right? Did He really want me to leave and follow Him to another church? There was nothing wrong with the one I was at~but in order to grow me, grow my faith and use me as He wanted I had to be willing to trust Him and follow. Being obedient to the Lord is not always easy, but because I love Him so much, and because I knew that He wasn’t going to back down on this ONE subject-I prayed to Him, I talked to Him and I waited for a sign, any sign that would tell me that I was misunderstanding His leading-it never came. So in a bold step of Faith, I decided to visit this other church and see what is was all about.

From the moment, I stepped through the doors, through the announcements, worship and sermon, I knew that I had heard Him correctly. I could feel it in my soul. I was still sad though, because that would mean I wouldn’t see friends as often as I did, because of the move.  The next week, my husband suggested, we return to this other church and just make sure that we were hearing God right.  We were and we are still there today.

The best part is, being part of God’s Family, doesn’t matter where you decide to corporately worship and spend time with him, because I still have those deep relationships I had before I left my ‘old’ church, but now I have new relationships that are cultivated every day and I am growing in the Lord. And by my being willing to follow Where He Leads, and not left to my own devices, I know I am learning how to hear His voice more clearly.

 

Matthew 4:19 New Living Translation (NLT)

19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”

Jesus loves you so much! He loves you right where you are, but He also has many places He wants to take you, if only you are willing to follow Where He Leads. May you be blessed in knowing that there is nothing you can do to earn this love, except accept His love, repent of your sins and ask Him into your heart. Let Him be your Lord and Savior, and He will take you places you would never have thought of on your own!

 

 

 

 

We Are Called

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Matthew 22:37-40 New International Version (NIV)

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

 

We are called to love one another. And I see all this stuff in the news, and the world around me.  I see people being mean and hateful to one another, I see evil daily as I watch the news and I think to myself, how difficult is it to simply love one another as God loves us.

I know that as a Christian, some people have expressed to me, how can you possibly love all the time and believe me, it is not always the easiest thing to do, but it is the only way to be. Every time, I think about being unkind or not loving, I think about what Jesus did for me on the cross. Now that’s LOVE. He died for me. But He wasn’t a sinner. He never did anything wrong, but HE took my punishment on the cross, for all, once and for all.

It’s easy for fear to creep in, and doubt, if you let it, but that’s exactly what Satan wants. If enough people have fear of someone or something that is “of the world” and not of God, than the enemy of our souls can make you those lies seem like truth, but they are not. 

God promises us in HIS WORD that HE will never leave us or abandon us. He tells us that when our burdens are heavy, to give them to Him and HE will give us rest.  Due to the electronic age, the world is moving faster than ever and as much as I enjoy being able to have access to the World Wide Web; I believe that there are many things that people publish or write online to induce fear and panic and because there are no editors to check and double check the facts and sometimes triple check before running something, like they used to do before the internet came into existence, many people believe everything they read and don’t stop to think. This applies to many areas, unfortunately.

Regardless of what you read,it may not always be true, but the Word of God is the same as it was yesterday, today and will be tomorrow. That is one thing that has never changed. Trust in the Lord, and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

I can’t tell you why things happen or why God allows some of the things that go on in the world and around us, but I can tell you that for those that HE loves and follow Him, he will turn every bad “thing” or experience into good for HIS purpose.

I am reminded of Jesus talking and telling his disciples to love your enemies and pray for them. What good is it to just love those that love you?  If we are to be more like Christ, we have to love everyone. Let Him pass judgement.  

God Loves You~in your mess~in your brokenness~in your joy~in your sorrows~all the time, every breath you take is His gift to you; what you choose to do with that gift is entirely up to you.

I can do all things through Christ, He strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

May you be blessed today and always.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Trusted Friend and Companion

This is my Bible. My trusted friend and companion and it has been missing in action for over a week now!  I was so happy to finally locate it today, and when I think back on it; I do recall putting it exactly where I found it, but in the panic and chaos that ensued looking for it, I failed to remember one thing, I can’t do anything and I mean anything in my own strength!
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God is my Light and Salvation! He is my strength and my shield! He carries me when I feel like quitting and strengthens my resolve when I feel like giving up or throwing in the towel.  He protects me and keeps me safe and grounded! I am so thankful that I have Jesus Christ, MY  Savior, that will do all that for me and so much more!

He is my rock and he keeps my feet from slipping and tumbling off the slippery slopes that the devil attempts to place in my path and Jesus keeps me on the narrow path, the path He has laid out for me.  This is third Bible I have had in my 50 years. I was given one when I gave my life to Christ,many years ago and when it became worn and frazzled, I retired it and got another one. I recently picked this one up a few years ago because that second one had many of my personal notes and reflections in the margins.  Some notes were reminders to me and some that I wanted to share with others. I’ve tried journals over the years, and usually lose them or can’t locate them when I want to refer back to something that I need, so, I highlight verses and chapters, make notations and know that as long as I have my friend with me, I can find what I am searching for.

Many people I know, have that one verse that they cling to, the one that gets them through and this is my favorite one (I have many, but this one reminds me of the Love Jesus has for me).

Jeremiah 29:11-14

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and  come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

And when I say this verse to myself, I am reminded that the Lord of Lords and King of Kings has a plan for me. That I am worthy enough for Him to have made plans for my life. Plans that I prosper in all I do, plans to keep me safe from harm and plans that give my life hope and a future, an abundant one at that! And all I have to do is seek Him, pray earnestly to Him, trust Him and HE will listen to me! But the key here, in my opinion is I must seek Him with my WHOLE heart, not a part of it, but ALL of it.  And whatever is holding me captive, in bondage, HE will set me free.

That means to me, that all the things and thoughts that I let bring me down and entrap my way of thinking are false. It says in

1 Peter 5:7-9New Living Translation (NLT)

7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers[a] all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

The devil will do anything to entrap us.  He will use any means to bring doubt to us and the situations we are in, and make us think, if we let him, that we can’t accomplish God’s plans for our lives.  It is such an easy trap to get caught in.  We must live in truth and we must walk in truth and God is truth. His word will never fail. It is the same today as it was over thousands of years ago.  He is everlasting and never failing.

I have many other Bibles, that I use, I have study Bibles with notes and commentaries; that are very helpful, especially when I read something and may not understand the concept that particular scripture is teaching.  I have concordances that I can research and Greek and Hebrew meanings of words so I can truly understand what God was saying when he breathed these words and books into existence from Bible Times; but nothing is as comforting to me, when I can hold my Bible in my hands and know that certain notations made in the margins are when I could hear God speaking to me and wanting me to remember it; specifically for me.  I have a Nook that has several Bibles downloaded onto it. It’s great for when I am on the go and have limited space to carry books, but I will always be the type of person that loves to feel the paper between my fingers as I read my Bible.

My Bible is my trusted friend and companion. My God and his son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that lives within me, my heart, are my friends and family. They are always with me. Even when I misplace the printed Word, I carry the Word with me everywhere I go. I am so very thankful for everything God gives me, everything.

I would encourage you to pick up a copy of The Holy Bible. Read it, devour it, let it speak to you, like it speaks to me. There is no right way or wrong way to read it. But when you read it, if you don’t understand something you are reading, seek counsel from a trusted friend or mentor; perhaps a pastor from a local church where you are located. Also, one thing I learned over the years, using scripture to help another, don’t take the scripture out of context to fit what you think God wants people to know. Sometime’s in the best of intentions, people can unknowingly hurt someone by taking scripture out of context it was intended for.

As a child of God, it is not only my joy, but my responsibility, to encourage and build people up; not tear them down and condemn them. It is my calling to love.  

Matthew 22:37-40 New Living Translation (NLT)

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

If I forget these two simple commands, then I am missing it. Period.  

May the God of Love, fill you with HOPE and JOY and PEACE today and always. May you know that He is always with you and HE loves you right where you are! Blessings to you!

Out with the Old & In with the New

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But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.1 Peter 2:9 (MSG)

As I read this verse on my computer screen this evening, I realized how lucky we are that we are chosen by God, to be a holy people, to do his work, to spread the good news of the gospel and the Love HE has for each and every one of us. No matter where we are in life or how messy our lives out. HE LOVES us just the way we are and HE wants us to come to him, to accept Jesus Christ, His son, as our Personal Lord and Savior.  Accepting Jesus as my Savior, at the age of 11 was easy for me to do, because I had great role models in my life and knowing and believing I would have eternal life with God through Jesus Christ, was far greater a reward than I could ever hope or imagine.  However, I realize that there are many people who have never had someone teach them about Jesus Christ or how different your life not only will be once you accept Him as your Lord and Savior and build a relationship with HIM.  I know this, because somewhere along the journey I fell out of step with the Lord; and that is a very hard thing for me to admit.

When I was blessed enough to become a wife and a mother, I stopped talking and walking with Christ. Well, let me be a little more specific, I talked with Him occasionally, but not daily and not all day, like I do now. My spouse didn’t want to go to church with me and I somehow felt if I went alone, what would people think and that was my downfall.  I was so worried about what people would think, I didn’t give it much thought about what God or Jesus would think. Sad, I know. But for years, many years, I tried to do everything in my own strength, without the guidance of God or His Holy Word.

But God never gave up on me. Many times I felt drawn to Bible Study groups or churches, but the fear that I would be looked down upon, kept me away. Mostly the shame I felt, the enemy used that and that shame had such a grip on me, I just felt defeated. So, needless to say my children-our children, did not grow up grounded in the truth and their lives weren’t built on a strong rooted foundation as mine was, in Christ.  Oh, they knew that at Easter, Christ arose from the dead, but it really didn’t have much bearing on their lives. And they knew Christmas day was about celebrating God’s gift to the world, Baby Jesus; but they really didn’t grasp or care to grasp why God sent Jesus to earth in human form.

I would try to teach them about faith and what faith was and when they struggled, I would say you’ve got to have faith. If something isn’t working, you need to try harder; don’t give up; don’t quit, but I didn’t say let’s pray and ask Jesus for His help. Because I had fallen out of being instep with the Lord, I didn’t think to share the great message with my children. And, if you are a Christian and a believer, you know how easy it is to lapse. Miss a service here, don’t take time to pray or talk to God or get in the Word, and pretty soon, you feel so far way~much like the prodigal son did.

After years of struggles and disappointments, I realized that something had to change. Was it me, was I the problem? Why had life become so difficult? I fell to my knees and I cried out to God, where are you? I need you? Why aren’t you answering me? And when I sat there, in tears, that continued flowing and didn’t think they were ever gonna stop-I felt this tug in my spirit, this tiny whisper, I am here. I have always been here, I was just waiting for you to invite me back into your life.  What a powerful moment!

In God’s Word, he promises us that HE will never leave us or forsake us. THE MESSAGE TRANSLATION puts it like this:

Hebrews 13:  Message (MSG)

5-6 Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote,

God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?

And so it began, a new chapter in my journey with the Lord. I returned to the fold and HE welcomed me with open arms. While being prayed over, by a woman I had never met, but who has since became a great friend, I felt such peace, that I knew from that moment, God was with me-had always been with me-I just hadn’t noticed because I was trying to do everything on my own, instead of doing it in HIS strength!

You see, because we are of the world, it is very easy to think we can do everything on our own, in our own ways and our own power, but in the WORD (Holy Bible), God reminds us in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ, He gives me strength.” God did not create us to do anything without Him. But he did give us free will to make our own decisions and choices.  If we choose to do it without Him, we are bound to make a mess of our lives. We may have small victories, every now and then, but we won’t have the JOY and PEACE in us, if we don’t have HIM in our hearts.

I started dragging my children to church with me as young teenagers. I tried to get them involved in the fabulous, energetic, passion, on fire youth group at the church I was attending; but they weren’t interested.  And by dragging, I mean sometimes they were actually kicking and screaming on the way in the door during weekly evening services. And I was quite embarrassed and shocked by their reactions. Mostly embarrassed. But one of the pastors told me not to worry about it. As a parent, it was my job to get them there and let God do His work.   Seemed simple enough, but it was the farthest thing from simple that I could imagine. But each week, I would take them. And each week, they sat there, irritated and aggravated they had to be there.

Our children our 19 and 21 now, and oh, how I wish I could say that they found the Lord and walk with Him, but they are still fighting the fact that they need Him now more than ever. But I continue to trust God that He is in Control; that He has a plan and the best I can do now, is what I have been doing-pray for them, love them, let them see God/Jesus in Me and leave the results up to Him.

My greatest fear, as a parent, is that they will die, never accepting Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But through a friend, God told me, years ago, I have a plan for your children. Trust Me. And I am trusting Him.

So, when you decide to truly follow Jesus and take up the cross and walk with Him, you let go of your old life and shrug off the old things that made you the person that was used to be condemned for your faults; but when you accept Jesus, the slate is wiped clean; because HE has already paid the price for your sins-all of them-and you become pure and righteous-not by anything you did-but everything HE did. And you become a Holy People.

It’s pretty cool, actually when you think about it.  I am Holy. I am also a mess at times; my life is utter chaos but I have the Holy Spirit within me. No matter where I am or what I am doing, HE is ALWAYS with me! I can choose to let the chaos rule me or I can let God’s Peace cover me and permeate my being and I can choose how I respond to whatever it may be-loving and kind or not so kind. I strive to be loving and kind. I don’t like to be the “not so kind” type of person, because then I am not a good representation of who Jesus is. And that is my goal. I want to be the person, that when people look at me, they want to know how can you be so calm in this storm?? AND then I can share JESUS with them. 

So, just remember this: no matter how far away you feel from Jesus; no matter if you have never even given Him a thought, HE CREATED YOU, HE LOVES YOU & HE WILL MEET YOU RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!

May you be blessed! Thank you for reading this and please share if you feel led to do so.praise the lord