Friday, December 26, 2014

all this from making a cake

I really enjoy making and decorating cakes. I find it to be fun, frustrating and creative all at the same time. I surprise myself sometimes as well on how they turn out. I  was working on decorating a cake for a birthday today and I began thinking about the verse in Isaiah 64:8 that says, “But now, O Lord, thou art our father, we are the clay, and thou our potter: such that we all are the work of thy hands.” (JUB). I began by baking a cake and making tasty filling and frosting.  I chose to make a delicious cake with that wonderful homemade taste. I stacked the cakes with yummy filling and then spread the frosting over the whole thing.  I could have left it as is.  It would taste delicious. But I then began to work on smoothing out the frosting until I felt it looked good. I then rolled out fondant and began to cut shapes to decorate the cake with pretty flowers and a ribbon.  I wanted to make sure it looked pretty as well as tasted good. I realized that God not only takes the time to make us.  He also takes the time to mold us, shape us, fill us up with His Spirit, blessings, love, etc. but also takes the time make all that is on the inside show forth. We are made in His image after all. 
I have posted before about surrendering to God. I think as the clay in God’s hands, we don’t really have much of a say in what He wants to do with us. The cake and the frosting had no say in what I did with them.  I used them as I willed. They did not argue or say no.  They didn’t try to convince me to do it differently. They obeyed. 
How often do we forget to submit to the His shaping and molding?

I think for myself, I often forget that God has only my best interest in mind. In 1 Samuel 15:22 Samuel explained to Saul that obedience was better than sacrifice. God asks that we trust him enough to obey him. He wants obedience to His will.  In Psalms 81:15 it says “Those who hate the Lord would pretend obedience to Him, and their time of punishment would be forever.”  I don’t want to pretend to be obedient. I don’t want to be partially obedient.  I want to be all in, fully trusting, fully propelled by God and what He wants for me.  If we love Him, we will keep his commandments.  1 John 5:3 It is not about just doing a bunch of stuff for God. It is about loving him so much, we want nothing more than to be with him, do for him, express to him how much we love him. I know that I love my husband so much.  I do for him many things just because I love him and want to show him how much but what I do and how I treat him. I want my actions to be an expression of my love for him. How much more should I express my love for my Savior by what I do for him.  By giving him complete trust and surrender.  By allowing him to take control of my life and giving him complete and utter devotion. Even when I don’t see the reason, or the big picture, I still need to allow him to shape, mold and chip away the things he sees are no longer needed or need to change. 

I remember watching a master woodcarver one time working with a piece of wood. It started out all misshapen and bumpy.  He began to use his tools and worked and worked to carve, cut and sand. It was interesting when he came across a spot that looked like an area of rot and ruin.  How could he work around this blemish in the wood?  He began to work with that area. He didn’t remove it, He used it. It became part of the ultimate finished product. He lovingly saw something in the wood that was only revealed by working, shaping, carving and sanding.  He used what some would have thought ruined the wood and made it a feature that caused great beauty in his finished product. A product that became quite beautiful and worth much in price. 

I think we sometimes see in ourselves or others a flaw or blemish.  We think how can this ever be used of God?  How can I be used with this great problem in my life?  I will never be any good for God to use! But God sees the outcome. He sees what will be when we give ourselves over completely into the potters’ hands. He can make something of beauty, something of worth, something only He can use for His glory and for His kingdom. 

I also realized as I was decorating, that at times, I would use a decoration to hide a mistake or a flaw. God doesn’t hide our flaws. He uses them at times to be our greatest testimony. He uses them because in our weakness His strength is perfect 2 Corinthians 12:9.  He gives beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3). He will be glorified in us, through us and in spite of us. 

I want to submit to His will, I want to be that clay he is molding and shaping for His purpose.  Without complaint, without protest, only trust and obedience in His master plan. Make me, mold me, use me. Inside and out.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Amazing God

Romans 11:33

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are  judgments, and   past finding out!

God is bigger, more powerful, more amazing than we can ever comprehend with our tiny human minds. I was talking with my sister yesterday about how awesome God is and it really isn't in our vocabulary to come close to describing him. His ways are past finding out. He knows all, sees all, he made all. God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1. He made all things to praise him and glorify Him. We are part of that creation, but the most precious in that we were made in his image. We were made to have a relationship with our creator.  We were made because he  loves us and wants love from us.
1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us. We should worship out of our love for our great creator. He is beyond description. He is awesome,  amazing,  and all powerful.  Yet takes time to meet with each one of us. He speaks to our hearts, meets our needs and keeps an eye on every sparrow.

We watched the following videos by Lou Giglio at church. They just scratch the surface of the amazing creation of our universe. Enjoy and then take time to think on the awesomeness of God. You won't be able to stop the praises that will pour forth.
The most amazing part is the God who created these stars and the universe is closer than a brother.  He can be a best friend to each person.  He is right here, right now for each one of us.  We can call on him and he hears us.

the starmaker

how great is our God

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

i am expecting!! great things from God

Today, at work, the students were often talking about Christmas.  They are so excited about the parties on Friday, the presents they hope to receive, and being out of school!  They are expecting great things.
It reminds me that we are to be expecting great things from God. Hebrews 11:1 says Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  We haven’t seen or received all God has for us yet.  We should be in that state of excitement and expectation for what God still has coming.  Romans 8:25 says But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Many times we have hope for a moment and then give up before we actually receive it.  I saw a cartoon one time of a miner digging and digging, but at some point he gave up.  The thing he didn’t know was he gave up too soon, the great treasure was just a few more inches into the mine.  His hope did not persevere into the reward.

Even Herod hoped to see miracles and was excited to see Jesus.  Luke 23:8 Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him.  How excited he must have been to finally see this man of miracles. He had heard the stories about Jesus and what he could do.  He wanted to see him and maybe see a miracle.
So expectations are like being pregnant.  My cousin is due to have a baby on Friday. I can guarantee that they are expecting with great excitement. Friday can’t get here fast enough for the birth of this baby. This is the Christmas season where we celebrate the greatest pregnancy and birth of all.  The birth of Jesus changed the world. He is the one born to save the world.  He lived, died and rose again to give us hope. Expectations need to build for the coming hope of salvation, for relationship with Jesus, for miracles, for answers of prayer, for guidance, for what He can do through me.
1 John 5:14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. I can have confidence that God hears my prayers and I can ask. 
I also can expect great things because he promised those that believe that signs would follow them  in Mark 16:17-18  And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”  I should be expecting to heal and see these signs.   In John 14:12 he also promised we would do greater works than had already been done. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. Have I really believed enough in these promises?  I want to pray as the man did in mark 9:24, Lord, help my unbelief.  I hear about wondrous things happening around the world. I have even seen some miracles with my own eyes.  I want to be expecting of these things, these wondrous works of God, to be happening more often. I want to be used by God in these moments.   I want to act when he says act, I want to pray when he says pray, I want to heal when he says heal. I want to speak when he says speak.  I want to know His will when he is ready for me to move and act and breathe and speak.  Wow, what great things can happen, when we believe and get in His will!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

have you heard the falling snow?

Here it is. The busy rush of the holidays. We get so busy trying to rush here and there, buy this and that, decorate the tree, and hurry to the next event. All this busyness on top of our daily lives.
We have become a busy society, trying to stay afloat.
We have made many appointments. We have many activities. We have many things to do.
We have conveniences that are supposed to save us time, but never seem to have enough time.
Does this sound familiar?

I was reading my devotional this morning and it was speaking about a Christmas carol "Still, Still, Still." I have no recollection of hearing this carol but the first line says, "Still, still, still, One can hear the falling snow."  Have you ever heard the falling snow?   I can't say that I have ever taken time to just listen for the sound of falling snow.  I think next time it snows, I may go stand on my porch and listen for the falling snow.

The verse used in the devotional was Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. God is asking us to be still. Just be still and know Him. He is asking for us to take time to be with him, talk to him and really just listen to him.

About a year ago, I was at a conference and had a brief conversation with a dear  man of God, Bro. Larry Young. He has been a great worker in the mission field and I admire his dedication.  He said to me, that one thing he has learned over the years is to be still and just listen to God.  He said the greatest thing you could ever do, is just listen to God and what he is saying.  Bro. Young said he has learned more, understood more and has been able to obey God in greater ways because he learned to listen. 
This advice has not left me.  It has stirred my soul.  When I begin to get busy, and my time with God, begins to suffer, it shows in my attitude and my daily life.  I will remember that I am forgetting to be still.  I go and find that place to be still and just listen to God. 

When I am still, I have realized how great a God I serve.  He calms my spirit, He calms my storm.
He speaks to me.  Sometimes, only to say he loves me. But what a great thing to hear.  
I begin to realize how much I have missed hearing His voice.   When we take time often to hear Him, it gets so much easier to recognize His voice.  John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  How truly simple God made it, Just hear his voice and follow. We are the ones who complicate the matter.  

I think about the prophet, Elijah in 1 Kings 19.  He was hiding from Ahab and Jezebel, feeling sorry for himself. God began to ask him what he was doing here.  He went and stood on the mountains.  There was a mighty wind, but that was not the voice of God. He experienced a mighty earthquake, but that was not the voice of God. There was a fire, again, not the voice of God.  But after the fire, a still, small voice. The voice of God came to him as a still, small voice.  You have to be quiet to hear the still, small voice. 

I think I need to make sure to keep the most important appointment of the day: the time of stillness. That moment of time, when all is quiet, so I can just listen.  I will know He is God.  He will be exalted. He will speak. He will lead me in His paths of righteousness.  
I know it may seem impossible sometimes to find still and quiet, especially as a busy mom.  But I have found those moments early in the morning before any one else is up, or after they go to bed.  I have found, if they are busy, I can get myself to another place to just listen to God.   I do my best to make time.  Make time for God, not just to hurry through reading the Bible, and asking for all those needs that need prayer. That is important too. It's time to follow the best advice I have every been given.  Take time to be still and listen.

Have you taken time to just listen every day for the voice of God?  

Oh, and next time it snows,  guaranteed, I will be out on my porch listening for a few moments to the sound of falling snow. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

why study the Word?

2 Timothy 2:15 says: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, man that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

We know from this verse that the Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to study the word of God.  He wanted him to rightly divide the truth.  Simple right?

I want to rightly divide or understand the truth in God's word, but there is more to study of the Word.
David wrote "Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you." Psalms 119:11.
His word will lead us away from sin. It can become our guide and our passion. If it is in our heart, that is what comes out of us.
Jesus said : "those things that come out of the mouth come forth from the heart" in Matthew  15:18. What comes out of my mouth comes directly from my heart! What does that reveal about my heart?  I want my heart to be shown as a heart for God. I need to fill it with His Word to do so.
When a heart is filled with God's word, love can be perfected in us because we are a keeper of the word. 1 John 2:5.
It is also important to realize that the word is God. John1:1 When we read the word, we are experiencing God. He can speak to us, teach us, guide us, and be with us. We get to know him, understand him, and develop a deeper relationship with the best friend we could ever have. We will recognize His voice much easier, we will know His will. We will be able to respond with confidence knowing we recognize His voice. I could go on with all the benefits of studying God's Word.
My most important reason is that I get to spend time with my God everytime I open my Bible and begin to read. I experience God. He pours into my soul and I am changed. His love is demonstrated to me and I am spending time falling more in love with my wonderful Savior. I love Him because He first loved me. 1 John 4:19. Because of this love, I just want to spend more time with him.  Just like falling in in love with my husband, I could never spend enough time with him. It's the same with God. I just want to be with Him as much as I can.
May I challenge others to consider falling deeper in love with the Savior. Dive into His word daily to discover Him and His purpose for us. Daily communication is an essential part of any good, growing relationship. Pray on this. Make a plan to begin a daily practice of reading God's Word.  There are many tools available to help keep track of reading and suggestions for ways to read the Bible.  Take advantage of some of these tools. It will become a part of the day that becomes exciting, restful, rejuvenating,  and most important. Will you join me in the Word this upcoming year? Let's get to know our Savior intimately.  God bless!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

we need complete surrender

While praying the other day, I saw an image of a man with his arms outstretched head back and looking up to the heavens.  There was a large  column of light pouring straight down into him and then pouring out of his belly into the world. This column represented or was God's love and will pouring into him and out to others. It could only flow through  him when he was completely surrendered to God's love and will. It could only pour out to others when he complete surrendered to God. Wow! This made me think about my surrender.  I need to completely and totally surrender to God's plan, His will and His love.

Romans 12:2 NASB

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

I was watching Toy Story That Time Forgot and was intrigued by the idea that the Battlesaur was fighting so hard to be what he thought he should be. He came to the realization that surrender was needed to allow his kid to really make him what he was intended to be.  We need to surrender to God and allow Him to make us who He intends us to be. It will be "glorious!" link to Toy Story part 10 link to Toy Story part 11

What does complete surrender mean in our lives?


Why did I start  this blog? Well, I feel lead to keep track of the things I am learning in God's Word.  I want to be able to look back at what He is revealing to me. I want to  be able to share with others on this journey of growth in relationship with my Savior.  Please join me and share if you want.  I hope to post at least once a week,  so check back and read. Hopefully you will be blessed and feel free to leave a comment. I would love your input too.