Friday, July 17, 2009

"Officially" taking a blogging-break

The above Scripture from the book of Romans is my prayer for all my "blogging-buddies" throughout the rest of your summer season.

Here I sit on July 17th and can't believe how quickly this summer break is passing by. I am simply too wiped out to think straight these days so I am going to take a blogging-break until at least mid-August but look forward to catching up with all of you then. I will continue to pray for the needs and cares of those of which I am aware. Love and prayers especially go out to Carol, Denise, Tina, Laura, Liz, and Lelia.

For those who were following the posts on SHAME OFF YOU or EMBRACE GRACE, I will post the remainder of those thoughts when I return. May God bless each of you and keep You safe in His arms.

In Him,

Stacy

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Daily Gratitudes # 9

I keep a sidebar for my "Daily Gratitude". I enjoy having these moments of appreciation. I couldn't, possibly, list all that I am grateful for each day but having the simple reminder to keep an "attitude of gratitude" is proving to be worthwhile. I keep the sidebar posts going but 'cut and paste' that list when it gets lengthy.

I am grateful for:

July 11: for re-connecting with my friends, Kara and Karen, through facebook. Fun!

July 10: for days of feeling well and enjoying the simple things.

July 9: for days of solitude and peace to spend time in God's Word.

July 8: for my husband, Wayne and my friend, Jim, who both lovingly speak the truth and who are very patient with tears. I am blessed by their friendships.

July 7: for our loving, caring neighbors.

July 6: for my wonderful physician, Linda Roper, who really takes the time to listen.

July 5: for an enjoyable evening with my mom and my Aunt Susan.

July 4: for the safety of my brother-in-law, Raynard, on his return from Honduras and the safe
trip home of my friends returning from the Jamaican 2 Mission Trip.

July 3: for being blessed with a beyond-understanding husband, mom and aunt when I am feeling physically and emotionally worn out. I love you, Wayne, Mom and Aunt Susan =)

July 2: for an enjoyable afternoon of eating out and a movie with my friend, Cheryl and for an enjoyable dinner out with my husband, Wayne.

July 1: for having easy access to air conditioning and clean water. May God bless those who don't have these privileges.

June 30: for lazy summer days to sleep in when I can't sleep at night.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

sat july 11

Saturday, July 11, 2009
I just realized that as I typed out the date, that yesterday was the ‘anniversary’ of Kelly’s death and today marks the ‘anniversary’ of Elaine’s. That means in the ‘anniversary’ of Granddaddy’s death will be in 2 days. Wonder if that has been weighing on my heart even without realizing it.
Anyway, I don’t know that I’ve ever been prompted by a mental battle to get out of bed at a much earlier time than usual and get busy. But I feel that is what has happened today. I’ve been asking God to show me all the ways in which I may be hindering my growth in Him. Unwillingness to let go has been obvious for a while. That unwillingness has been ground in sinful defiance, self-reliance, and on my heart this morning, is the concept of forgiveness. Actually, un-forgiveness is what has come to my attention.
As I lay in bed this morning, I was arguing with myself about the concept of un-forgiveness.
It was as if a 2-sided conversation was going on within my soul.
Mind: I have forgiven. I’ve moved on.
Heart: Running away and moving on aren’t the same thing.
Mind: Well, I have forgiven.
Heart: No you haven’t. Forgiveness occurs when one truthfully acknowledge how they’ve been sinned against and how they have sinned against God and others.
Mind: I have acknowledged all that has happened, how I’ve responded and what I’ve done---both the good and the bad choices.
Heart: No, you haven’t. Reporting (acknowledging) the details is not the same as accepting the hurts and taking the responsibility for you own sins.
Mind: I have accepted the hurt. I’ve cried and been angry. I’ve asked God to forgive me. What else do you want?
Heart: Actions and acceptance aren’t the same thing either. You “report” to yourself, to God, and to Jim the facts. When emotions truly surface, You, flippantly, push all that aside so not to have the deal with pain and anger and if you can’t push it aside, you let it overwhelm you for all of the wrong reasons.
Now I sit here and consider making a visual list of things that I need to forgive and things of which I need to ask forgiveness. That consideration, in and of itself, makes my chest hurt and brings up intense uneasiness. Does the uneasiness come because I still lack the trust or is the uneasiness a physical warning to step back?
I may be responding too academically here but I’m going to begin with searching out the Scriptures that relate to issues of forgiveness.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins (#132) ( a lil' bit early)

(HAPPY FRIDAY TO ALL!! For more "Friday-fill-ins", click on the link above.)
And...here we go!

1. The last thing I ate was frosted mini-wheats and cereal.

2. A new Study Bible is something I recently bought.

3. When it rains, it makes me want to put on some comfortable PJ's, curl up in a soft chair and read a good book.

4. My husband was the first person I talked to today.

5. Hugs are welcome on most days.

6. Chocolate adds extra comfort to days where hugs aren't welcome.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching a movie, tomorrow my plans include cleaning the house and Sunday, I want to begin re-organizing my guest room after attending A.M. Worship Services!

ABC's of the Word: V


(For more ABC's of the Word using the letter V, visit the link above.)

Father, Help me to believe, with all certainty,
that the victory is Yours.
Since the victory belongs to You,
then so does the battle.
Please get rid of my arrogant pride, and schemes
for self-protection.
Help me to, fully, accept
that I don’t have to even be on the battlefield.
I can retreat into Your loving, capable, protective arms
and know that my battle is over.
The fight is not mine,
because I am no longer mine.
I am Yours,
and I CHOOSE to trust
in Your protection and guidance.
AMEN

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Embrace Grace CHAPTER 3: Embrace Faith


(Direct words from the book are noted in red. For more info. on this study, click on the "Yes to God" button or visit Lelia here.)

Ms. Higgs begins this chapter with:
"Faith is not an act of man; it is an act of God, drawing us to Him."
She encourages the reader by saying that for faith to begin only requires one simple step. One must allow God to do the work---"...leave the burden of proof to Him.. He will not disappoint You." God's unlimited love for us was discussed. The following words really touched my heart:
"Faith is not something you fall back on; faith is something you step into."
The chapter presented Scripture after Scripture that emphasized the astoundingly comforting thought that God IS on our side. We don't have to live in fear, regret, or shame because "A constant awareness of His superiority keeps things in perspective and frankly, takes the pressure off." Ms. Higgs discusses the reverential fear of God and how all relationships that are healthy are based on respect.
This chapter was so very encouraging to me. Ms. Higgs noted that those in the Lord will still face the challenges of life but that "...trouble is no longer spelled with a capital T." She encourages the reader to turn their fear to wonder and then turn that wonder into faith. I was, also, introduced to a "new" Scripture:
The fear of the Lord leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched, by trouble. (Proverbs 19:23)

End of the Chapter Questions:

  1. What does "faith in God" mean to you? Having faith in God allows you to trust , even in and with the unknown, because of the fact that there is NOTHING unknown to God and He does not allow ANYTHING that won't eventually result in the furtherance of His good and perfect will.
  2. If you imagined Jesus looking at you, what might you see in His eyes? I, once, believed I'd see disappointment, anger, shame, and possibly sadness IF He even chose to look my way. Thankfully, Truth (with a capital letter T) is allowing me to know that I would see compassion, forgiveness, pride, gentleness, and possibly even tears of joy.
  3. Since we cannot physically look upon the Lord's face, then where do we turn to "see" Him? to Scripture, to His creation, to the innocence of children, and to other believers who aim to imitate Christ in their lives

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence


This devotional book, Jesus Calling… is unlike any other devotional book I have ever read. There is a short devotional for each day of the year. The 8-page introduction offers insights and references specific materials that motivated the writing of this remarkable “gift book“.


The author, Sarah Young, shares how she regularly journals in her daily devotions with God. She tells the readers of the amazing occurrences that led her personal prayer journaling to become more of a dialogue, rather than a monologue. The book is written from the perspective of Christ “speaking” to the reader. This perspective adds a meaningful, personal touch based on specified Scriptures from the One who loves us most.


Each daily “conversation” reads like a love letter from the Savior and Creator of our universe. Scripture is skillfully woven into each devotional with Scriptural references available on each page. I found this book to be the perfect lead-in to my personal prayer time.


God has worked through Mrs. Young’s penned words to bring the reader into a reverential, awe-inspiring, time of communing with the Lord. These daily devotionals will soften your heart and transform your thoughts through an enriching private time of devotion. Highly recommended!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins (#131)

For more fill-ins, click on the link above. Hope all enjoy the holiday weekend!


And...here we go!

1. When I heard July 1st on the radio I couldn't believe the summer break is almost 1/2 way over!! So much still to do...

2. Prayer, faith, laughter, and good friends are the best medicines.

3. It's late, but sleep still won't come.

4. God is with me always.

5. My eyes have seen many wonderful things.

6. We are strongly in need of rain!!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to reading my new book: Jesus Calling, tomorrow my plans include 4th of July get-together with in-laws and Sunday, I want to see my friends who will have returned from Jamaica and hear about their trip!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Embrace Grace CHAPTER 2: Embrace Doubt


(Words directly from book are noted in red.) For more info. on this study or this book, click on the pictorial links.

"God meets us where we are. Even if we aren't looking in His direction, He is always looking in ours"

There was a time in my life that words such as above struck fear in my heart. I, obviously, wasn't viewing God as He presents Himself in His Word. Now, I can't seem to hear enough of how: "...He watches over all who live on earth." (Psalm 33)

I LOVE that there is no place that I can hide from God nor is there a need for me to hide. God's love for me and the fact that He actually desires a relationship with me is still beyond my comprehension yet I am filled with loving gratitude.

In this chapter, Ms. Higgs told of one who explained how she felt that she was never good enough. Those words still sting my heart. I grew up in a home and in a religion where I felt that I could never measure up. I was never good enough. Whatever bad came my way was deserved. Those types of thoughts and emotions are hard to live with.

When I realized that God's acceptance of me was not based on my goodness, but ON HIS, I tasted a freedom I'd never known. God knows I can never measure up and has provided for that fact through Christ---not through punishment. PRAISE! PRAISE! PRAISE!

"When we come to the end of ourselves, God is just getting started,"

Though I KNOW those words to be true, this is an area where I still struggle with doubt. When things aren't going well/when I am in pain/when I can't make sense of anything...the last place I usually turn is towards God. I, mistakenly, look to myself to make things better or assume that I've finally done enough to cause God's abandonment. Unfortunately, this continues to be a regular struggle but I am slowly learning to hold fast to the truth in these words spoken by God: "...My power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I often struggle with the purpose for my life. The book reiterates the Biblical concept that:

"...you were made to love God and to be loved by Him."

I do find hope in those words but doubt that I am fulfilling that purpose well. My life is not at all as I imagined it would be---not necessarily, bad---just not as I'd hoped/planned. And those type of feelings do lead to unsettling moments of doubt. I LOVED these words from the book:

"God loves you. Not because you are good, but because you are His...The day we realize we're not perfect is the the day we start asking 'Who is perfect? Who is good?"

That moment of realization is TRANSFORMATIONAL!! Yet another praise.

Ms. Higgs discussed the doubts of the disciples in Luke 24: 38-39 and brought out a fact that I'd never considered before. She emphasized how Christ did not punish the disciples for their doubts; he simply addressed their concerns.

"In face of our doubt, the Lord offers a sure word of encouragement." Mark 5:36: Don't be afraid; just believe."

END OF THE CHAPTER QUESTIONS:

What doubts or fears---about God, about faith, about heaven---do you harbor in your heart? My lack of whatever will cause the abandonment of God

Pinpoint any experiences in your life that might have triggered such uncertainty. Actual abandonment, several unexpected losses through untimely deaths, betrayals in a few relationships

What would it take for you to put aside your doubts and fears and "just believe"? Continual prayer, willingness to risk, DAILY moment-by-moment surrendering to the TRUTH of His Words, Continually hiding Scriptures in my heart

For more insights on this book study, visit http://www.leliachealey.blogspot.com/