This was encouraging to me so I am sharing it with you!!!

This morning Jess had a hard time obeying with a happy heart and as we were working through some discipline the time came for her to ask for my forgiveness and for forgiveness from Jesus. She was having a really hard time looking me in the eyes as she was talking to me and it was making her upset so we talked about that a bit and ended up asking her if I could pray for her and ask Jesus to help her feel peace and be able to look me in the eyes and ask for forgiveness. So i prayed for her and immediately felt her whole body soften as I held her and she looked up at my eyes and said what she needed to say. I immediately had a few tears and pointed out to her that Jesus answered our prayers! She got a  huge smile on her face!

Move ahead a few hours… I had a question for my mother in law and had a phone call in to her. When she called back I could not for the life of me remember what I was going to ask her but I knew it had been important. We said goodbye and as I hung up the phone I prayed out loud “Lord, please bring the question back to my mind so I can get the question answered and not have that extra “pop up” going in my mind!” Immediately again the question came back! Praise the Lord!

As I took a few moments to think back over my day while I was driving to the store, the thought came to my head that so often we pray and ask God for miracles and by miracles I mean big huge changes or crazy things that could never be accomplished on our own and we say that our faith will grow if and when those miracles happen. Or we say that miracles never happen to us, they only happened in bible times.

I think a lot of times we pray for little things throughout the day just kind of expecting that God will answer them or…or maybe not expecting that He will depending on where we’re at in our relationship with Him. Then he does answer and maybe we take those small answers to prayer for granted sometimes instead of choosing to intentionally see those little answers as miracles from our Heavenly Father and thank Him for those and let those moments be the building blocks for our faith!

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Last night we were getting the kids ready for bed. Josh was tucking the boys in and Jessa and I were finishing up brushing her teeth. We walked into their room and it was SO dark in there having come from the bright bathroom and hallway. I made a comment about how it was dark and the kids talked about it as well. Then my eyes began to adjust and soon I could see everything around me quite well. I used that opportunity to explain to the kids that God made our eyes to adjust to the dark and they thought that was pretty cool. And then the Lord put a really cool picture into my head. There are many times in life where we go from a place of “light”; a comfortable known path, to a place of “complete dark”; a difficult time or unclear future. At first when that dark or unknown hits us it feels very dark and unmanageable. We can’t see our fingers in front of our face and everything we thought we knew is taken over by the dark and we even panick a little. We want that bright light back or even a flashlight so that we can locate the things that are important to us so we feel like we are in control again. Instead though, if we can stay calm and wait and trust in God who created each of us and who is Lord over all, He begins to adjust our eyes to our situation and slowly makes things visible to us. We begin to see everything around us little by little until we can see quite well in the dark.  Our tendency is to try to do things on our own so we run for the flashlight so we can illuminate the situation. By doing that we are only able to see a few things in the room at one time and everything else around it is still dark because that is what flashlights do. And God quietly and patiently waits for us to turn off our flashlights, surrender and let Him illuminate things in His way. He adjusts our eyes, not so that the whole room or way is bright and clear to us, but enough that we can see around us. And as He does this He whispers, “I love you my child and bit by bit, in my time, I will continue to be faithful and help you see what you need to see.”

I love that in the midst of busy life, if we are eager and willing to bring glory to him, he faithfully gives us glimpses of himself and his promises. That was so simple yet so encouraging to me last night.

Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

This is a verse that I have heard so many times and I have to say its easy to read it when I want to feel good or be encouraged. But I think we miss the heart behind it when we read it and interpret it the way we want to for our situation instead of studying what God meant when He inspired these words.

I am in a Bible study this fall and we are doing a study on the book Becoming A Woman of Prayer by Cynthia Heald. The lesson this week was studying what it means to delight in God. I looked up the Hebrew definition of the word delight and it means to be soft, delicate, dainty, or exquisite delicacy. The word is most closely related to the idea of celebrating the Lord with oohs and ahhs in the same way that you would if you were at an incredible banquet at a dear friends house. That is the way we are called to be in relationship with God, our Creator. His desire is that we would study His word so closely that we can’t help but know His voice and see Him in every part of our lives.  True delight will come as a result.

The next part of the verse tells us that when we delight in God, He will give us the desires of our heart. I have been reflecting on this verse a lot recently, even before this study as I seek God and His will for our marriage, our parenting, our ministry at church. As I have been reflecting I have been spending time in the Word and pouring my heart out to God and telling Him the desires of my heart and then asking Him if those are really the desires He has placed there or if those are my own selfish human heart’s desires. I know that God loves and honors those who are seeking to understand Him even when we come to Him with questions and doubts. So in the midst of those questions I have been making it a discipline at the end of those conversations with God to speak the truths of His word so I am reminded of His faithfulness and love for me.

As I was studying this verse this time it hit me that maybe the desires of our heart are not so much about temporary circumstances but more about matters of the heart, character qualities, or the fruits of the spirit displayed in our lives. Not that God doesn’t care about the daily happenings of our lives, but those experiences are catalysts for our character to be grown. God cares so much more about our heart because that is eternal. When we seek Him with all our heart and truly desire to know Him just to know Him and be known by Him rather than to know Him so we can get the answer to our next adventure in life or solution to our current dilemma, we just might begin to notice that the desires of our heart aren’t so much about our situations anymore as they are about our desire to imitate the character qualities of Christ.

Sometimes when I have these ah-ha moments I feel silly and think ‘i’m sure everyone else has already figured this out and here I am finally making this connection’. Then the Lord’s quiet encouraging voice speaks to my heart and says “I am so proud of you for persevering and seeking”.  His deepest desire for us is that we would pursue Him, that we would be captivated by Him, and that we would delight in Him.

“You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

This morning I was doing my devotions and a verse stuck out to me that never has before. I love reading God’s word for so many reasons but it is always so cool to me that depending on the circumstances you are facing in life, certain aspects of God’s word make more sense or have more meaning to you than at other times or other parts of scripture.

So I began reading and here’s what the verse says. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus”. That’s it. It is a very simple verse in which Paul is beginning his letter to Timothy and so he is referencing himself. But as I read it today I was struck by the first part of the sentence Paul wrote, “an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God”. Take time to reflect on Paul and his earlier life before God radically transformed him from his ways of persecuting christians and living his life as an enemy of the cross of Christ. Then read the verse that says that Paul is now an apostle of Christ Jesus, which means he was devoted to spreading the gospel message to anyone who would listen, and all this was done BY THE WILL OF GOD. Does that give you the same hope and encouragement that it gives me?!

God is in control and he has power to transform hearts and lives!!!!

I am reading a book called A Mom After God’s Own Heart. It was recommended to me by a dear friend and mentor of mine. I have been so encouraged by it and I have been learning a lot! Today a sentence from the book stood out to me and really encouraged my heart in light of some current events happening in my life. “Only God can save your child’s soul. And only God can work in your child’s heart. But His Spirit works through His arrows—His word and His truth…Be faithful to open your mouth. Be faithful to hang in there and persist, while being faithful to live out genuine faith. And, of course, be faithful to pray!” This was directed towards a mom interacting with her children but God spoke to me this morning as an encouragement to me not just for my kids but others around me that I love and care about that haven’t chosen to accept God’s gift and a personal relationship with Him. But through prayer and God’s Holy Spirit softening and speaking, hearts and lives can be transformed just like Paul’s. I am having to cling to that today and rest in God’s faithfulness and truths.

This past week Josh and a few adult leaders from our church DROVE 16 high school students to Colorado Springs, Colorado for a youth conference called Desperation. Up until about 3 months ago we had no idea this conference exsisted but when our new senior pastor started at our church he told Josh about the conference and said we should take our students. Looking at our packed summer youth schedule we weren’t sure how it was going to work but we knew it had to happen somehow! Once we knew we were taking students to the conference we had people who began praying for the Lord to show His strength and mercy and reveal himself to our students in ways they could not have imagined!

And boy did He! I just flew back home from Colorado and my mind feels a bit numb after what I experienced this weekend at Desperation. To be praying for the Lord to transform lives and anticipating the work that God wanted to do in the lives of our students at Evergreen and then to be abudantly blessed to be a vessel for what He had planned had me on my knees this weekend in awe of God’s faithfulness and mercy!

A precious life was saved this weekend and I praise God with everything I have within me! This song is on my heart because it  beautifully describes the work God did this weekend in the heart of this student who has been redeemed! Praise the Lord! He is SO worthy of our praise!

You’re My Beloved- Kari Jobe

You’re My Beloved
You’re My Bride
To sing over you is My delight
Come away with Me My love

You’re Beautiful to Me
So beautiful to Me

Under My mercy
Come and wait
Till we are standing face to face
I see no stain on you
My child

You’re Beautiful to Me
So Beautiful to Me

I sing over you My song of peace
Cast all your care down at My feet
Come and find your rest in Me

I’ll breathe My life inside of you
I’ll bear you up on eagle’s wings
And hide you in the shadow of My strength
I’ll take you to My quiet waters
I’ll restore your soul
Come rest in Me and be made whole

You’re My beloved
You’re My Bride
To sing over you is my delight
Come away with me my love

This song has been on my heart for the last few days. Thought I would share it.

I know you’ve heard the stories
But they all sound too good to be true
You’ve heard about a place called home
But there doesn’t seem to be one for you
So one more night you cry yourself to sleep
And drift off to a distant dream

Where love takes you in and everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in

And somewhere while you’re sleeping
Someone else is dreaming too
Counting down the days until
They hold you close and say I love you
And like the rain that falls into the sea
In a moment what has been is lost in what will be

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart

And this love will never let you go
There is nothing that could ever
cause this love to lose its hold

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in it takes you in for good
When love takes you in

A few weeks ago Josh, Jayden and I had the opportunity to go Colorado Springs for a prayer summit. At the time we didn’t know much if anything about the summit and what it consisted. Our pastor who was from Colorado before he came to Evergreen told us about this prayer summit followed by a youth conference called Desperation which is in June. He told us he wanted us to go so we signed up and booked flights to Colorado! When we got there we were abundantly blessed to find out that the weekend was a  time for youth pastors from around the country to gather together and spend time praying for today’s youth all across america! The Desperation band led worship and throughout the weekend we had time to sing and pray by ourselves and then to reach out to other youth pastors and be a support to them through prayer. It was an incredible time and the Lord really spoke and ministered to both me and Josh.

While we were there we got to stay with a couple who our pastor had known while living in Colorado! They were so hospitable to us and made us feel so at home and loved! The morning after we got to Colorado we woke up to about 12 inches of snow!

It was Jayden’s first snow so we had fun taking pictures to document!

We visited garden of the gods while were were there which was absolutely beautiful! Josh started climbing the rocks unharnessed then looked down at his wife and son and decided that was all the further he wanted to go at the time!

Jayden LOVED the fresh air and bright sun even though I thought it was chilly! Each time I tried to cover him up or shield him from the sun he would sqwak. Then i would uncover him so the breeze would blow on  him and he would quite right down! He’s DEFINITELY his father’s son!

We had a fabulous time in Colorado and can’t wait till we go back in June for the youth conference! Be praying for the hearts of the students that they would be ready to receive what the Lord has to teach them during the weekend!