Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Hymn-Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

John Newton (1725-1807)

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

In Who's Strength?

Recently, I received an e-mail asking a few questions:

"How do you know when you are trying to "do" life in your own strength? How do you draw the Lord's strength? Is it just through prayer? Meditation? Do you struggle with this?"

This is a very good question which I believe all us children of God need to examine in our own lives continually. It is so easy to fight battles in our strength but in the makes things harder.

There are some things we do naturally in our strength. We pick up our food and eat, carry heavy bags of groceries in (when our husbands are not around), flip the mattress over 2 times a year (do people really do that?)

Then there is the the emotional/spiritual strength side.

So how do you tell how if you are doing it in your own strength?

During a trial or just life in general, if you experience anxiety, worry, sleepless nights, just plain ol stress, I believe you are trusting in your own strength.

Simple as that.

So, examine your heart.

When something arises, do you find yourself thinking a lot about it?

Do you lose sleep or sleep too much?

Are you angry?

So sad where your thoughts are constantly thinking of the negative?

Irritable, snapping at others?

Start to eat more to comfort yourself?

Not eat?

Watch tv to numb the thoughts for awhile?

There are a multiple of things you might do.

The problem is, when you try to "deal" with things in your own strength, I believe this is breaking a commandment.

The 1st Commandment.

"Thou shalt have no other gods before Me."
(Exodus 20:3)

Anything that comes before Christ is an idol. A god.

Whether it be your children, sports, ministry in the church, OR trusting in YOURSELF to get through trials.

We now know what trying to do life in our own strength looks like, now let's discuss... How you draw the Lord's strength.

To be strong in our Lord Jesus Christ, we must die to our flesh.

We can not be of God AND flesh (our ways) because flesh is enemy of God.

Again, if anything comes before God, it is an idol. Including self.

If you have examined your heart and find yourself trying to live in your own strength, you must confess.

Confess this sin to God. Repent.

Admit you are lost without Christ.

Tell Him, if you are sincere, that you want Christ and His strength only.

Then you begin to pursue and train in the ways of how to have strength in the Lord.

It will not be as easy as just praying. It will take some hard work.

You need to know first of all, that nothing can separate you from God.

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

If God cares about the birds and the animals of this earth, He takes care of His creation, how much more will He care for us? It is a lack of faith to not trust in this (Matthew 6:25-34).Trust that our Lord God is in control of all circumstances.

Know that everything that happens in your life has been ordained by our great God for our own good.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God..." Romans 8:28

Every trial, though it may be hard, is for our own good. We do not see the whole picture, but we serve a great God who does and knows all things.

Once you have these truths deep in your heart and mind, begin to pursue God's strength.



Start to memorize scripture on these matters. Write them on little cards if you have to and post them around the house.

Psalms68:35 "...the God of Israel is He that giveth strength and power to His people"

Matthew 11:28 "Come unto Me, al ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you peace."

1 Peter 5:7 ""Casting all cares upon Him, for He careth for you."

there are many more but I will leave that for YOU to get into God's Word and search.

You also need to captivate your thoughts.

When you start to doubt, worry, get anxious...

go to the verses you have looked up, meditate on God's faithfulness.

Praise God in these storms. Praise Him, even in the deepest of times, even when you don't feel it.

If you have trouble on your own, go to the Word. Look in Psalms. They are full of prayers to God in times of distress.
Read Psalms 46. Psalms 88. There are many more.

And last, wait. Wait upon Christ, with anticipation, on how He will use this trial in your life.

"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:29-31)

Do I ever struggle with this? Yes. I am still in training, pursuing these things, and I will be until the day when I go to be with the Lord.

But the Lord has been so gracious to teach these things to me more and more in my walk with Him.

I still fail, but I am learning to trust more and more in Christ and His strength and not my own.

I now can honestly say, in the deepest of trials, I am learning to depend on His strength.

And if trials is what it takes for me to grow in HIS strength, then I desire these times, for I desire my Lord to be my complete strength. I will count them joy and a gift from Him.

It's not easy, but I will pursue His strength.

Will you?

"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." ( Joshua 1:8-9)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sunday Hymn

"Take My Life, and Let It Be"
by Frances R. Havergal,1874

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee,
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

I could not find a song to match perfectly, but this a pretty version.
(make sure you press "stop"on playlist before playing)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Zechariah!

Two years and 8 1/2 months ago, AJ and I learned of our newest blessing from our Lord in my womb. It was an exciting time for us. We were overjoyed and and I was VERY sick. At my first drs. appt, they did an ultrasound to check how far along I was.

During this time, the technician and dr. noticed something unusual about my blessing. He had many problems. To read more on this and my feelings, go here.

As the months passed, we were anticipating this wonderful blessing from God. With many in the delivery room to assist in the troubles that were predicted by man, my little boy was born.

Zechariah David.

He was born healthy. Though some would say, "Praise the Lord" and that we did, we would love our Zechariah even if he was not "normal" according to our world's standards.

7 weeks later he was admitted to the hospital and later to find out he had Pertusis. Not until recently did I realize the danger and how serious this illness was for a young one at this age. He should not be alive this day, but our Great God had other plans.

This picture is not the best quality to it but it has so much meaning to me.

After Zechariah being lifeless for the day, with an oxygen level in the 60's and his life wasting away, he was litarally slowly dying before my eyes. People were rushing around, drs were being called. When things started to settle down, and he was now concious, his eyes stayed fixed on me. I will never forget it. I praised God through the whole storm, giving Him praise for whatever the outcome would be.

It was a long 6 months of concern and never leaving him alone for even a minute, but our Lord preordained for our baby to be healed. "Thank you God"

As a baby, he was more on the fussy side. Always wanting to be close to me, but I took this as a blessing, thanking God for having him by my side. Yet as he has grown older, he has become a happy baby, and now toddler.

Though Zechariah has always been considered really small for his age, he has been our biggest and chubbiest baby.

Here he is at his 1st birthday...having his first "sweet"... a banana.

Some facts about Zechariah...

His nicknames are Cracker Zech and Zecharoni (thanks Elijah A.).

He loves to make faces at us...

Hates his hair to be cut...

Loves the water...

Likes to sit and play under tables and chairs.
Likes to stand while eating...Zecharoni likes to try and keep up with his siblings at times, but other times, he rather sit and play with cars.
He already has a sense of you a stoic face and we you turn your a sly smile.

Zechariah took his first steps at 18 months...

but he did not want me to know so he continued to do his crab crawl (when I was not around he would take a few I am told)
and began walking regularly at 22 months.

He says a few words...Mommy...E... and bye-bye.
He attempts to say look "deek", Katie Faith "Tee Tee"
and please "P".

Cracker Zech is full of character and continues to blossom and try new things each week.

His weight is around 17 pounds and

his latest new found joy is running around with his hands in the air! "Our Precious Zechariah, Daddy and I are so blessed to call you our son. We look forward to watching all the new things you will learn this next year. You are a true gift from God. We love you and look forward to see how the Lord will use you for His glory. Happy 2nd Birthday!"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Elijah!!!

We have had a good day. We started our day off with the breakfast of his choice...
homemade macaroni and cheese topped with 4 candles...

while sitting in his special chair decorated with feathers, ball stickers, balloons and streamers.

Daddy came home for lunch to celebrate it with us. Not much was done during the day except Katie Faith did school with him and he took a nap.

When daddy arrived home from work, we all piled up in the van and headed to Pizza Hut...Elijah's choice. He enjoyed his dinner and we even let him have sweet tea since it was his birthday.

When we arrived home, it was time to open presents. Each sibling took great time and care to make Elijah a card and pick out a gift for him.

Katie Faith gave Elijah her favorite blue bowl. I made sure she was ok and knew it was now going to belong to him, but she insisted she wanted him to have it since he loves blue.
Kaylyn made a card and printed out a picture of the two them. Elijah's face lit up when he saw the picture.

E also made him a card and gave him a lot of little goodies.

Now it was time for his present from mommy and daddy. We usually let the kids pick out a book for their birthdays, but we decided on something different this one time.

First, we made him close his eyes and E brought in his gift from us...

his FIRST bike!
He was very surprised and excited!!!

A few facts about our Elijah Bear...

Some of his favorite things are balls, the color blue, his froggy, pizza, and macaroni and cheese.

He loves to help me in the kitchen and follow his daddy around when he is home to help with manly duties.

Elijah is bashful, yet assertive when he "needs" to be.

He can dress himself, although he might put his pants on backwards most the time. ;)

He likes to snuggle, and he always has one hand on his pants to hold them up (not even a belt helps).
"Elijah Bear, Daddy and Mommy love you very much! You are a true joy and treasure to our lives. We pray God will give us the wisdom and knowledge to raise you for the Lord and you will become a man whose heart follows and serves Jesus Christ. Happy 4th Birthday, our BIG boy!!!!!!"