Saturday, March 31, 2012

Through God’s Strength {Something to Think About}


For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:13 NLT)

Only through Christ’s strength can I…
Do what God has planned for me to do.
Wait on God’s timing.
Persevere.
Forgive.
Love.

Have a blessed day!

In Christ,
Laura  

Linking up today with Barbie at Fresh Brewed Sundays, Deidra at Jumping Tandem, and Joan at Sharing His Beauty.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Time is a Gift

Time is a gift from God.

I often don’t see it that way. I grumble throughout a bad day and wonder when it will end. I ask Him when I’ll move from this season into the next. From the season in my life I’m unhappy with and struggling through to the next season, which in my mind won’t have these troubles of today.

But time is a gift.

A day has 24 hours, good or bad, they are from God. A bad day will end…but so will the good day…and I don’t want to miss it. My bad day is just a moment in time, no matter how long it may feel. And so is a good day—in a blink of an eye, it will be gone.
Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is. (Psalm 39:4 NLT)
In Christ,
Laura  

I’m joining Lisa-Jo today for Five Minute Friday, where she offers a writing prompt and we write for 5 minutes, without editing or over thinking. Today’s word prompt: Gift. 

Also linking up with Faith Filled Fridays and Spiritual Sunday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

TRUST Acrostic Challenge

Trust is my One Word for 2012. If you haven’t heard of One Word 2012, it’s choosing one word, through thought and prayer, to focus on for the year. 

Today I’m taking a fun challenge offered by my friend Tracy at My Daily Walk in His Grace. The challenge…to make an acrostic using my one word—Trust.

T he Truth found in God's Word
R eveals His
U nlimited and unending love for us.
S urrendering my will for His
T o experience all He has planned for me.

Trust in God’s word.
Trust in God’s love.
Trust in God’s plan.

This is what I’m striving for.
“For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.” (Psalm 33:4 NLT)
Do you have one word you’re focusing on this year? Care to take the acrostic challenge? To share, leave a comment and/or link up with Tracy at My Daily Walk in His Grace.

In Christ,
Laura  
Grab My Button

Monday, March 26, 2012

God-Sized Dreams Depend on Trust

Wait and trust the Lord.

(Psalm 37:7a NCV)


Last week I wrote about God-Sized Dreams—a dream we feel called to, while knowing it can only be accomplished through God. But what about the dreams we can’t identify? Sometimes a God-sized dream is more of a feeling. A feeling that God is calling us to do more…but He hasn’t shown us what we’re supposed to be doing.

In that case we have two options…rush ahead and try to figure it out or trust that God will give us more than a feeling in His own perfect time.

Which option would you choose?

In my experience, option one doesn’t work out so well. While I may be praying, I’m not listening. Although I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing, I convince myself that I have God’s plan figured out and I rush ahead to act. When I look back, I see that God hasn’t moved forward with me. I didn’t hear Him say “wait” because I was too busy taking it into my own hands and trying to control His plan.

Option two is to wait patiently, knowing and trusting that God has it all under control. Waiting patiently is not easy. I want to be doing something. I want to get started on whatever His plan is. But that’s not how it works. Sometimes God gives the feeling of a dream long before He reveals what the dream is.

That’s what happened to me.

Last year, I started my blog for the purpose of hosting online Bible studies for women. It wasn’t my idea. It was God’s.

I’m employed in church ministry, but for at least a year prior to the idea of an online study, I had a very real feeling that I was supposed to do more. More of what, I had no idea. But the feeling was undeniable.

I mentioned it to only a couple of friends, and when I talked about it, I felt like I was bubbling over with energy and excitement. I still didn’t even know what I was excited about, but I guess that’s how a God-sized dream is. You can’t help but feel energized thinking about it.

During that time, I continued to pray and trust that when He was ready, He would share the plan with me. As I look back now, I see that He was preparing me to step outside of my comfort zone. I knew nothing about social media, nor did I want to learn, so this was a huge leap for me. Without the year of God growing the feeling of a dream in my heart, I most likely would have quickly dismissed the idea of an online study. I think God knew that. {smile}

In Christ,
Laura 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Psalm 36:5 {Something to Think About}

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. (Psalm 36:5 NLT)

God Bless,
Laura  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Let the Truth Speak Loudly

God’s Word speaks loud and clear on the depth of His love for us, how much He cares for us, how special we are to Him, and how we are to behave (and not behave.)

So, why do I still have days when I question if something I’ve done is enough to lose His love?
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. (Romans 8:38 NLT)
Why are there so many times I do what I don’t want to do, and don’t do what I want to do?
I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. (Romans 7:19 NLT)
And how can I ask Him where He is when He’s promised to never leave me?
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. (Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT)
God’s Word is Truth! And I have to let the Truth speak louder than the lies the enemy wants me to believe.

Do you have days when the lies try to drown out the Truth?

I’m joining Lisa-Jo today for Five Minute Friday, where she offers a writing prompt and for 5 minutes we write, without editing or over thinking. Today’s word prompt: Loud. 

This is my first time joining in, and let me just say, it was trickier than I thought it would be. I may have written for 5 minutes, but I’ve been thinking about it all day! I realize that breaks the “no over thinking” rule, so I’ll have to work on that. {smiles}

In Christ,
Laura

Also linking up with Faith Filled Friday and Spiritual Sundays

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

God-Sized Dreams

Have you ever felt a calling to do something, but had no idea how to start? Maybe it’s a God-sized dream that you’ve never mentioned to anyone because it feels so far out of reach.

That’s what a God-sized dream is…something we feel called to do, but it seems impossible. That’s because it is impossible…without God. But with God anything is possible!
“God never calls us to do something He has not equipped us to do.” –Micca Campbell, An Untroubled Heart
God will not put a dream in our heart and then say, “Now, go figure it out.” If He is calling us to do something, He’s already there preparing and equipping us. Even when we don’t know it!

That doesn’t mean everything we want to do is a dream from God. Satan can be crafty in making us think something is good, when in reality, it is not in our best interest.

So, how do we know?

I believe it starts with prayer and waiting for God’s direction. If a dream is from Him, He will be there to direct the way. It may seem impossible, but if it is of Him, He will open doors that we never imagined could be opened.

Stepping out into unfamiliar territory can be nerve-racking…and downright frightening. But God has made us a promise…we do not need to be afraid because He will be with us.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT)
Not only will He be with us; He goes before us! I don’t know about you, but that alone brings me comfort and encouragement. God may be leading me to do something completely outside of my comfort zone, but He doesn’t send me out on my own.

When God plants a dream in my heart, it is part of His plans. There may be a period of waiting, but it is not a time of doing nothing. It is a time of preparation. He’s preparing me for what is to come, and He’s preparing anyone else who may be touched by His plans.

And when it is time for me to act in His God-sized dream, He will let me know.

This week wraps up our online study of An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell with Chapter 12 “Living With Courage.” Whether you have joined me in the study or just visited my blog, I thank you for being here! What a blessing it is to share God’s Word together!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

An Untroubled Heart Online Study - Week 12

Welcome and thanks for visiting!

It's hard to believe this week wraps up our study of An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell! I hope you've enjoyed the study as much as I have and feel it was worth your time.

The next study I'll be hosting here will be the book Do You Know Who I Am? And Other Brave Questions Women Ask by Angela Thomas, beginning on April 29. Click on the link for more information. If you'd like to join me in this study, please send me an email with your name, email address, city, and state.

Have a blessed week!

In Christ,
Laura 

Week 12 – Mar. 18-Mar. 24, 2012
Monday & Tuesday
  • Read Chapter 12 “Living with Courage.” Underline or take notes on points you want to remember or go back to.
Tuesday/Wednesday
Wednesday & Thursday
  • Reflect on, and answer, the Bible Study Questions at the end of the chapter. 
Friday
  • Spend time in prayer and reflecting on the reading. What have you learned from this study?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spiritual Nourishment

“Good morning, Lord! What are we doing today?”
Have you ever started your morning by talking to God before even getting out of bed?

I don’t do it every day, but I try to. I wonder what the day will entail and ask for what I think I’ll need during the day (guidance, patience, strength, etc.); and as I spend time with Him, I listen for anything He might want to share with me.

Sometimes this conversation before and while I get up is all I have time for in the morning. Other times, I know I need more. So, I grab my Bible and maybe a devotional book and find a place where I can spend one-on-one time with my Lord.

It’s not just in the morning when I need the peace and spiritual renewal He offers. It’s anytime—morning, noon, night…during and after a long day…when I’ve blown it again in some way…when I just can’t take anymore…and when I just want to cuddle up and spend time with Him.

God is our source of life filling us with peace, energy, strength, and so much more. What happens when we skip this time with Him? I find that I get irritable and restless. I worry more, lose my focus, and become stressed out easily.

When I’m separated from my source of life, I start to wither, much like a leaf that gets severed from the stem.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. (John 15:4-6 NLT)
To receive spiritual nourishment, we must stay connected to God and spend time with Him. The more time we spend with God, the better we get to know Him personally. We grow to trust and depend on Him more, and through our relationship with Him we receive the nourishment only the Lord can provide.

Thank you for visiting today! If you’re participating in the online study of Micca’s Campbell’s An Untroubled Heart, we are in Chapter 11 “Practicing His Presence.”

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Lord is Our Fortress {Something to Think About}

The name of the Lord is a strong fortress;
the godly run to him and are safe.
(Proverbs 18:10 NLT)

fortress - a fortified place; a place of security or survival (Tyndale NLT Study Bible)

Where do you go when you are afraid, lonely, hurt, confused, weak, tired and weary, and ready to give up?

Run to the Lord where He provides shelter, comfort, and safety. He loves on us with compassion and gives us rest.

Spend time with God in prayer and in His Word where He guides us and gives us peace. There is nothing the Lord cannot handle. Let Him calm you from anxiety and fear, and strengthen you as only He can.

In Christ,
Laura

Photo: Christ the Redeemer in Brazil (iStockphoto)


Saturday, March 10, 2012

An Untroubled Heart Online Study - Week 11

Welcome! It's hard to believe we're nearing the end of our study of An Untroubled Heart. How is the study going for you? Is there a chapter that has really made an impact for you? If you are comfortable sharing, please leave a comment with your thoughts.

In Christ,
Laura

Week 11 – Mar. 11-Mar. 17, 2012
Monday & Tuesday
  • Read the Chapter 11 “Practicing His Presence.” Underline or take notes on points you want to remember or go back to.
Tuesday/Wednesday
Wednesday & Thursday
  • Reflect on, and answer, the Bible Study Questions at the end of the chapter. (Don’t worry if you don’t get to all of them.)
Friday
  • Spend time in prayer and reflecting on this week’s reading. Friday can also be a catch-up day if needed.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Flawlessly Created

Welcome! I’m over at 5 Minutes for Faith today talking about how God created us in His image, and yet we see ourselves as flawed. Here’s a bit of what you’ll find…
You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
there is no flaw in you. (Song of Songs 4:7 NIV)
I was recently part of an online discussion on MODsquad regarding this Scripture verse. It was a discussion, I might add, that had me pondering Scripture all day long, as well as the days following.

What do you think when you read this verse? I wonder if it’s anything like my first reaction was.
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling…”
As I read this first line, I felt comforted to hear God’s sincere opinion of me.

Will you join me at 5 Minutes for Faith to read the rest? If you do, please leave a comment. I’d love to know you stopped by.

Have a blessed day!

In Christ,
Laura


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

God’s Unfailing Love

“His love is never changing. It doesn’t depend on what we do or don’t do. God’s love is constant, steady, and unconditional.” -Micca Campbell, An Untroubled Heart
Unfailing and unconditional love.

In our everyday life, it’s hard to imagine—a love that doesn’t depend on what we do, how we act, mistakes we’ve made…and yet, this is God’s love for us. No matter what we do or don’t do, God continues to love and care about us.
But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15 NLT)
God’s love is unfailing, but that doesn’t mean He condones our sinful ways. There are consequences to our actions. The result of sin is separation from God. 

Have you ever had a disagreement or argument with someone and until everything was made right, it felt like there was a rift in the relationship?

That’s what I think of when I’m separated from God. He hasn’t turned away from me, but by following my own ways, I’ve distanced myself from Him. How do we get back to Him when we’ve strayed?

God, in His mercy and grace, will meet us where we are, but He loves us too much to leave us there. God reaches out His hand to take us with Him. Will you take hold of His outstretched hand?

Going with Him means turning away from sin and letting Him change our hearts. Trying to change ourselves won’t do it. But when we invite our Heavenly Father into our hearts, change begins.

The changes are not easy. In fact, at times they can be painful. Letting God change our hearts means letting go of our pride, selfishness, fears, anger, desires, greed, and much more. Dying to myself means I let it all go and let Him fill my heart with Him and His desires for me.

Letting go is unfamiliar territory. I don’t know how to act if I’m not acting out of emotions, anger, and feeling like I’m in control. But as God changes our hearts, He will be there to see us through it all. He promises to never leave us, and God never breaks His promises.

Thanks for visiting today! If you’re participating in the online study of Micca’s Campbell’s An Untroubled Heart, we are in Chapter 10 “The Love of a Father.”

Linking up this week with my friends at On Your Heart Tuesdays, Women Living Well Wednesdays, Winsome Wednesday, and Faith Barista.

In Christ,
Laura


Sunday, March 4, 2012

God Cares About Our Hearts {Something to Think About}




But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7 NLT)

We see what’s on the outside, but God knows our hearts. Changes we make on the outside don’t penetrate our hearts, but changes God makes in our hearts produces change in our outward appearance and behavior.

God bless,
Laura

Linking up today with Barbie at Fresh Brewed Sunday, Deidra at Jumping Tandem, and Joan at Sharing His Beauty.



Saturday, March 3, 2012

An Untroubled Heart Online Study - Week 10

Have a great week!
Laura

Week 10 – Mar. 4-Mar. 10, 2012
Monday & Tuesday
  • Read the Chapter 10 “The Love of a Father.” Underline or take notes on points you want to remember or go back to.
Tuesday/Wednesday
Wednesday & Thursday
·         Reflect on, and answer, the Bible Study Questions at the end of the chapter.
 
Friday
  • Spend time in prayer and reflecting on this week’s reading. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Trusting God…With Me

Trust

Trust is my One Word for 2012. If you haven’t heard of One Word 2012, it’s choosing one word, through thought and prayer, to focus on for the year. Since beginning this, I’ve been surprised, and sometimes amazed, at how often the issue of trust becomes present in my relationship with God.

A few weeks ago, I shared that I planned to spend more time studying Scripture verses regarding trust. While I’m still doing that, this week I realized that the issue of trust is underlying even when the word “trust” is not in the verse.

Have you ever felt like a Scripture verse leapt off the page when you read it? I love when that happens! I feel like God is being really obvious in getting my attention, and honestly, sometimes I need that. He grabbed my attention this week as I read Psalm 139.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
And lead me along the path of everlasting life.
(Psalm 139:23-24 NLT)

I’ve read these two verses many times, but what came to mind this time was trust.

Do I trust God…with me?

I often turn to God in prayer asking Him to change my heart, but then I slip in a change in situation or someone else that would benefit me.

Lord, please change my heart…and could you also change him (or her)?

God, I know I need work on my heart, but if you could also change this situation, everything would be a lot easier.

After all, these are the sources of my troubles, right?

As I read these verses over and over, I wondered…When I ask God to change my heart, am I prepared to accept that He might work on me and not the other person or the situation at hand?

Do I trust Him enough to change my heart knowing it means laying down my hopes and desires that might not line up with His plans for me?

Maybe you’ve considered this before, but it struck me in such a way that I had to think about it and have a heart-to-heart with God. If you’ve ever had an honest heart-to-heart talk with God, you know it can be gut-wrenching.

As I spent time (and shed a few tears) with Him, He showed me a few areas that need some work, to put it mildly.

Jealously…it starts with comparing myself to others, and wanting something more, better, or different than what I have. Jealously feeds on itself until it’s completely out of control and making me sick.

Disappointment…it comes from relying on others instead of God. I don’t mean the “don’t forget the milk at the store” type of reliance. I mean putting my trust and hopes in someone, expecting that person to handle such a huge burden and not let me down.

Unhappiness…the outcome of jealously and disappointment. It’s what happens when I spend my time focusing on what’s not going right in my life (according to me), instead of what’s going well. Unhappiness leads to a lack of thankfulness.

God searched me and showed me what is offensive to Him.

Do I trust Him to clean this poison out of my heart and change me? Yes.

I know it won’t be easy. In fact, at times I think it will be emotional and painful. But I surrender. I trust God to make changes…in me.

In Christ,