Wednesday, March 28, 2012

$500 Million Dollar Lottery Winner

I normally don't get caught up in the whole Lottery thing...buying tickets weekly in hopes of being the 1 in 176 million to win (the odds of winning with a single ticket according to the lottery group.) But $500 million, really? So while walking our dog the other night, my husband and I got on the "dream" topic...the "What ifs?" "What would you do with it?" Our answers were similar, buy a house on the beach, travel etc...but I immediately began to think about how important it would be to use that money to make a difference. Imagine how money like that could change so many lives for the better. The charities you could start, the hurting people you could help. Imagine waking up each morning being able to think about who you could bless? 

But, wait a minute...aren't there people I can help without being the lucky 1 in 176 million dollar millionaire? Aren't there hungry, homeless people around me everyday on the street corners? Isn't there someone who may be hungry that I can give a fast food restaurant $5.00 gift card to? Isn't there someone I can offer words of encouragement? Is there someone I can pray with or for? 

Sometimes, you may get caught up in your dreams; the things you hope for and look forward to in the future. But in doing so, don't forget that each day you have an opportunity to enrich someone's life. You are a believer of Jesus Christ, and in Him you've been given the greatest treasure of all, eternal life. It is worth more than gold, silver or $500 million dollars. The odds He gives you when you accept Him are 1 in 1. If you accept Him, He will come into your life. He will do an incredible work in your heart. As you seek to know Him, you will be changed, renewed, healed, and used to make a difference in the lives of others.

Yes...I will probably go out and buy my lottery ticket tomorrow, because having extra money would be nice. But I know that I don't need to be a millionairess to be happy, to make a difference or to change a life. Jesus Christ has set me free from my sins. He has placed my feet on solid ground and healed my broken, hurting heart. I am rich in Him and have been given His treasure of  forgiveness, love, peace, and eternal life.

"This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:22-233

"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him." Romans 4:7-8

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - maybe proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:3-9

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Your Will Vs. My Will

Have you ever wanted something and then prayed about it? You waited for God's will...only to have Him close the door while you continued to pound on it? I used to do this constantly. I prayed and ended with, "...but your will be done God." Deep down, I only wanted His will if it was directly aligned with my will. I could come up with all kinds of reasons why I deserved to be blessed with this or that. But God often had other plans, plans that were completely opposite of my well thought out, perfectly organized and rationalized plans. I often wondered, "Where are you God when I truly need you? Why couldn't you give me this one thing? So and so has it. Wha, Wha, Wha,...Me, Me, Me...Why, Why, Why...sound familiar? I hope I'm not the only one who lived like this for years. It's normal to want things, to ask God to give you favor. But it's not good to question God's will or motive's behind when, who, or why He decides to bless people or situations. God knows your heart and when you may need growth, a lesson, a little discipline or a blessing...remember, you are his child *"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 God is a loving and just father. We need to remember that HIS PLAN is bigger and better than ours. *"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

While car shopping this past weekend, we had a BIG hurdle to overcome; a car that we were upside down in (owed a lot more than it was worth.) We prayed about it, asking for God's favor, direction and wisdom. He blessed us with an awesome loan (very low interest rate), but after two full days of frustration on Saturday and Sunday and people trying to get money out of us that we didn't have, we felt discouraged. We began to wonder if maybe we were supposed to just keep our big ol' gas guzzler. But we decided to continue to wait on God.

While sitting and talking Sunday evening, exhausted and not really knowing what to do, it hit me. It came out of nowhere, the realization of GROWTH! In the past, we would have done whatever it took to get a car, (like writing a post dated check for the $$ amount for a down payment with money we didn't have.) Which would only put us in trouble later on...(aka beating down the closed door.) But this time, we waited, even if it meant we couldn't have what we wanted (a new, economical car.) *"The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty." Proverbs 21:5 We've grown, we finally understand the importance of being in GOD'S WILL and knowing, HE KNOWS BEST. He sees the BIG picture.

On Monday morning, my husband called me and said the people at the credit union had worked some things out for us to lower the balance on our car. So we headed out to look again, with the knowledge that "a door had just opened."  We pulled into a local dealership, after talking to a friend of a friend who knew the General Manager (yet another opening.) We were introduced to him and given the VIP treatment. They worked everything out, no problems whatsoever. They even brought a car up for me from their storage lot with a blue tooth built in. It wasn't something that I thought I could afford (the extra's) as the money we had only allowed for the bare minimum model. But once again, the door had  flung wide open with complete ease! We drove off in our brand new car...excited about the extra's thrown in. We were completely blessed by God's favor over the entire transaction!

This is an example of God answering the way we had hoped. We'd gotten to a place on Sunday evening where we were ready to just keep our old car. We had grown in our trust and faithfulness. *"All a man's ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart." Proverbs 21:2 It's been a LONG road, but each step of faith has taught us to know that there is no place more safe, peaceful and comforting than being in GOD'S WILL, even if it goes against yours.

Today if you are facing a situation that has you battling; your will vs. God's will, stop and pray, open up your scriptures and WAIT ON THE LORD. Seek Him throughout the day and ask for HIS WISDOM and guidance in all areas of your life. Be open to walk away from the closed doors and through the open ones. God has a good and perfect plan for your life...and sometimes it may not include all the things you had planned. Stop beating on the closed doors (your will) and walk through the open doors (God's Will.) Let Go & Let God! *"A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?" Proverbs 20:24

Blessed w/my new car when I put GOD in the driver's seat!
 "Does God listen to his cry when distress comes upon him? Will he find delight in the Almighty? Will he call upon God at all times? I will teach you about the power of God; the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal. You have all seen this yourselves. Why then this meaningless talk?" Job 27:9-12

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Come Join The Party!

The party was just beginning, white tables & chairs set up near the palm trees. Colorful balloons securely tied around each table. The jumper was pumped up and the entire park appeared to be in party mode. The kids began to excitedly arrive one by one with their parents. It was going to be a wonderful celebration.

I sat in church, surveying the party outside as we began to sing praise music. We lifted our voices in joyful sound, worshiping the Lord: the harmonious sound resonating out the doors, throughout the park. We too were celebrating, honoring the Lord. Lifting up our hearts for our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. We were having a party. There were no balloons, jumpers or physical presents. But we gave something greater...ourselves. We were letting go and trusting Him. We gave our brokenness, fears, loneliness, joy, openness, time, faith, hearts and most importantly...our Love. We are His greatest treasure. He desires a relationship with us. When we celebrate Him; He rejoices. We are His children and He created us for a Love relationship with Him.

Don't allow anything to keep you from spending time celebrating your Savior Jesus Christ, (your past, sins, shame, hurt, fears, addictions, and/or insecurity.) Remember, you are no surprise to Him and for your mistakes and weaknesses, He freely gave His life so you would no longer have to carry the weight and burden of your poor choices. There is complete and utter freedom in His Glory, at the foot of His Throne.

If you've been carrying a heavy load, a burden that's weighing you down, go to a quiet place and pray, ask for forgiveness; ask for help in forgiving yourself. He hears you, and is faithful to answer. He wants you to join in the party, celebrating your new found freedom, joy and life in Christ Jesus. His Love for you is unending!

Hosea 6:3 "Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”

Hosea 11:4 "I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them."

 Micah 7:7 "But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me." 

Nahum 1:7 "The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." 

1 Peter 1:3 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."