Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Be Bold: Exodus 14:13-14

13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will seethe deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (NIV) 
13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. Forthe Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (ESV) 
13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. (KJV) 
13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” (NKJV)

Exodus is probably one of the most well known stories in the entire Bible. Believers and Non-believers alike are extremely familiar with the base story of Moses. Moses and the Israelites are often thought to be extremely brave and courageous. I know that when I read this story it is hard for me to relate to either Moses or an Israelite. How does a person have so much faith and so little fear to go against an entire government, much less one your brother runs, to fight for a people you do not know. With that, how do you follow a person who used to oppress you  in to a harsh climate with no knowledge of a destination or security.

In our lives in the 21st century, it is hard to relate to these types of decisions; however, we face similar trials on a daily basis. Do our decisions affect the entire direction of a nation and later the world? Let's be honest, probably not, but our decisions do affect our small hemisphere of influence.

When we pray to God for help, it is so hard for us to not expect an immediate response. He is the Lord God almighty. He created the heavens and the earth. He created me out of dust. Then why can't He answer the simple prayer that I am praying for my life. When you are having these thoughts, look to Moses and the Israelites. The Israelites were enslaved for 400 years. The prayed daily for God to release them from their bondage. Do you think that He didn't hear their prayers? Yes, He heard their prayers, yet after 320 years he sent a new born baby to provide their salvation from slavery. That baby grew up for 80 years before he was sent to answer their prayers. In 400 years, don't you think some of those Israelites were getting pretty irritated at their unanswered prayers?

So, as we approach our Lord Jesus Christ on our knees in prayer, we need to remember that an unanswered prayer isn't a no and may not even be unanswered. God may have already sent you your answer in the form of a baby that just needs time to grow in to the answer. Pray with fervor and pray without ceasing, because God does hear you, he just works on a different time table then we do sometimes (okay, all the time).

Be Bold: Genesis 15:1

After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:“Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield, your very great reward.” (NIV)

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” (NKJV)

After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. (KJV)

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” (ESV)

From the very beginning, the Lord has had our back. While you go through your life each and every day, you are to be encouraged that the Lord has your back. When God told Abram, "Do not be afraid", he did not mean to not be nervous or to not have anxiety. What he meant was for Abram to keep the bigger picture in mind. That bigger picture is that Abram would not only have a baby, but that he would begin the lineage and the history that would eventually save the world. Wow, what a big picture that is. 

When someone tells you, "Don't worry" or "Don't be afraid", we think small time. We like to think about what the current and immediate situation is showing. So, like Abram who went to the bed of a servant girl, we try and begin "fixing" the problems that are in front of us. Instead, we need to shift that thinking to, What is the bigger picture? There is always a larger picture. Is that meeting at work important, absolutely, but what could be further down the road for you? We can not always see the bigger picture at the time, but we must have faith that there is a bigger picture that is playing out in the world.

Will this thinking help you to not have the bear the wrath of your boss when you walk in late to the meeting? Nope. It will however, help you to be able to take a deeper breath and to stand there and accept whatever earthly punishment that you may receive. In 2 Corinthians 11:24-28, Paul shows us that these earthly punishments may be severe. 
24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food,[a] in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
There is no assurance that you will have a happy and wonderful and gleeful life on this earth; however, there is a bigger picture being played out on the cosmic level. Take solace in the fact that you are a player in the greatest play ever written. You may not know what will happen in the next scene, but your scene is integral in progressing to the next, and the next is going to be glorious!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Be Bold and Without Abandon

I became a Christian, a true blue born-again Christian, later in life. I was 26. While this may seem young, when I look to friends of mine, they were Christians from very early in life. They did Bible drills, they memorized Bible verses, they talk to Jesus as if he were their best friend. I have never had this relationship with Jesus or the Bible until I was 26. Now, I am trying to learn where the books of the Bible are. Heck, half the time, I am trying to figure out what the books of the Bible are. I haven't memorized Bible verses until a couple months ago. I am still finding it hard to jam them in to my brain and somehow glue them in there. I am learning. I am working on it. I am trying my hardest. 

Right there it is. MY hardest. The hardest thing for me to do since becoming a Christian has been to give it to God, stand boldly before the throne, and the live without abandon. As a person there are "impossible"s in life, but with God in our corner, there is no impossible. Look at the mountains and the oceans. He created those, and He created me. So, why am I not willing to let Him handle my problems? I believe that it is because I am scared. I do not want to give it to God and then fail. I feels as though I would be failing God. So, I let the fear of failure stop me. 

The Bible commands us over and over and over again to "Fear Not", "Have No Fear", "Be Bold", but what does that mean to me, living in rural Virginia in 2015? How do you live without fear and in a world that pushes us to accept the very ills and travails that the Bible warns about? 

Now, don't get me wrong, following a calling across the country to a new job in a new field with a husband, four dogs, and a cat was pretty bold; however, what about the little things in life. What about those daily pains and nuances?  What about that frustrating conversation at work in which someone didn't do what they promised to do? What about that morning traffic that made you late to the most important meeting of your career, even though you left your house with double the time it takes you to get there? What do we do then? It is easy for someone to say, "Give it to God", "Fear not, God will handle it", or "God has a plan", but let's be honest, doesn't that just make everyone angry? It shouldn't, for the Bible is our guiding principle in life, right. I know that I feel like a bad Christian, and to be honest, a horrible person, when I want to yell at those people who always have a cheerful response from the Bible. 

"You know what?" I want to say "The Bible isn't all cheery and lovely. The Bible is full of heartache and pain and trials." The Bible is a story of hope and care, but not every single thing in the Bible resolves in a pretty package. No, the Good News of the Bible is not that you will live a happy and perfect life. The Good News is that by putting your faith in Jesus Christ, you will have a wonderful life in eternity; however, your life here on Earth may not reflect that gloriousness that Jesus is promising. 

So, this means that we need to just wait out our annoying, awful, and irritating lives on Earth in glorious hope for the eternal life that Jesus is preparing for us? NO! We are still called to be Bold and to live without Abandon. Those posts floating around Social Media claiming that the Bible says "Fear Not" 365 or 366 times for the purpose of assuring us every single day of God's love may not be true, but so what? Being bold and living without abandon is not just about living without fear. It is about living in hope and in strength that there is better things to come, and it is about being so excited and so on fire for this Good News that you want every person you encounter to experience that glorious eternity with you. 

Yes, it is hard. Yes, it is scary. I am not a bold person. I want to stay home, read my Bible, love my Lord, and have a wonderful life with my family. That is not my calling though. That is not any of our callings. Each person is different; however, each person has that fire inside ready to go! Join me as I explore various verses of the Bible encouraging us to Be Bold, Live without Abandon, and to be On Fire for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! 

Friday, September 25, 2015

New Life, New Direction, New Series

Prayer: Lord Father, Thank you for all of the blessings you have showered down on my family over the past many months. Thank you for enlightening me and bestowing so much grace upon me even though I am so unworthy. 

Wow, so much has happened since my Mother's Day post. I began putting off posting due to some major life changes and then I let those life changes take off and overwhelm me. So, this is a quick catch up post and I will introduce a new series that I am working on. This time I am serious. This time I will not fail. This time I will let the Lord's strength and power lead my way.

My husband and I visited my in-laws in Virginia over the Easter holiday. We had a wonderful visit and some wonderful time together to meditate, pray, and reflect. As we did so, we felt drawn back to rural Virginia. We began to ask God to open the doors and show us the way if that was his will. That night as my husband was on the computer, he came across a job posting that looked as though it was divinely written for me:

Job Summary:
The Equine Support Services Coordinator manages the day-to-day operations of the Equine program.
Essential Job Functions:
Coordinates events for the Equine Center
Compiles a task sheet to be completed by the employees on a daily basis
Supervises the acquisition of supplies including feed and equipment
Oversees the care of the horse herd
Schedules monthly vet and farrier appointments
Develops the riding program including all work projects
Orders and picks up supplies from farm store weekly
Non-Essential Job Duties/Tasks:
Meets with visitors as needed
Promotes PHFS to the surrounding community as the opportunities arise
Updates the social media site for the Equine Center
Oversees the upkeep, maintenance, and overall appearance of grounds
Supervises the Equine Center's fund raising events, which are held two to three times a year
Work Contacts/Employees Supervised:
Communication in person, and/or utilizing email or telephone:
Daily – peers, supervisor
Weekly – directors/peers from various departments

We prayed and took the chance to apply for the position. We put it in God's hands. We decided that we wouldn't push the opportunity, but if God opened the door, then we would boldly walk through. Was it hard? ABSOLUTELY. Was is stressful? OH YES. Was it hurtful at time? HORRIBLY. After several months, we received word that I had gotten the position. My husband spoke with his job and they smoothly and quickly processed a cross-country transfer. We followed God's leading, but the devil continually had his hands in the move. With God's help and encouragement everything was completed.

We have now been in Virginia for a little over 90 days. It has been a glorious move. I absolutely love my job. It has not been without it's hiccups, but it is glorious. My husband is enjoying a rapid move-up within his job as well. We are loving being closer to family and friends. I miss my family every single day and wish there was a way that we could be close to both sides of our family. I pray that one day God will find a way for this to happen; however, for now, we are happy to be near part of our family. I am planning a trip to see my family in a few weeks for my sister's bridal shower. We will then see them again in November for my sister's wedding. I will then find a way to be back for the Christmas holidays. I am hoping and praying that this trend continues and my chance to see my family only increases as we move forward with our lives in Virginia.

So, my family has a new life spreading out before us. Wow. Since moving to Virginia we have not found a home church, so I have been listening to my Colorado church online. We are trying a new church this weekend. This one is a Calvary Chapel, which is what our Colorado home church is, so I have high hopes. I miss the fellowship and the uplifting joy that a home church can bring. I have started a women's Bible Study on Tuesday nights, so that has helped.

Finally, that brings me to the new blog series I am beginning. I have recently seen a post floating around on Social Media similar to the following:

In researching the truth behind these claims, I have found so much conflicting information. So, I am going to explore this. Is the phrase actually in the Bible 365 times? Is the sentiment? Is the thought? Is it just another social media falsity? I hope you will join me as I embark on a VERY ambitious journey to prove or debunk this information, study my Bible more closely day by day, and stay onest and accountable to the task! 

Here. We. Go.