Canaan Bound Brigade

My Journey to the Promised Land….

Canaan

Proverbs 16:9 (72 kb)     When I posted my last post here http://canaanboundbrigade.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/2013-one-year-later/ I truly felt that our trial was coming to an end and we were living our new normal.  What I NEVER in my wildest dreams imagined, happened instead. Eight months later our new normal included moving to Texas. 

     How did we go from saving our home to winding up in Texas? Purely God’s plan and not ours.  We planned on living in our home for a very long time. We loved our home, our church, our neighborhood, our community, the closeness of the beach, etc etc.  We truly had it all…..except we were still struggling financially.  I started looking for a 2nd job to no avail, the doors were slamming shut in all directions.  After weeks of praying and searching I knew God was calling us to take a leap of faith and leave California. I had to laugh as I realized my blog is called “Canaan Bound” and I was ending all my posts with “continuing on to Canaan” yet I wasn’t really going anywhere.  Until now…

     I went to Jeff and asked him if there was any way he could transfer with his job outside of California.  After looking at the list of states with openings, we then narrowed them down to which state not only had a more affordable cost of living, but a lifestyle we were used to.  Texas! No state income tax, GREAT schools and about as conservative as they come. We then talked with our boys to see how they felt and amazingly enough they were on board. We continued to pray to make sure this was indeed God’s will for us and not us trying to get ahead of God.  We knew 3 things had to come together: 1) Jeff’s salary had to stay the same 2) His company would move us and 3) I could keep my job even though I’d be working in a new state.

     When Jeff spoke with his company about relocating, their first response was that they would adjust his salary to Texas’ pay scale & we’d have to move ourselves since it was a lateral transfer.  Jeff told them if that was the case then he would stay put.  His company then came back a month later and said they would honor Jeff’s request and let him keep his salary as well as paying to move us here.  Next I called my boss to inquire about working from Texas instead of California.  She mentioned that she just so happened to be switching payroll companies.  As a result. she could transfer my payroll from California to Texas.  Had she not been in the process of switching companies, I would not have been able to keep my job.  Coincidence? Not in God’s plan.

    We were 3 for 3 and the last hurdle was going to be selling our home.  God was faithful in that too…..it sold! Here’s where our complete faith in God kicked in. We have NEVER been to Texas, yet picked our home and where we’d live solely through trusting God and prayer. We found a realtor online, who just happened to be a Christian, and found our city and home online and sealed it all with our realtor over the phone.  We saw our house and city for the first time when the moving van pulled up to unload our stuff.  And guess what?  We love it! We have settled in and feel like we’ve been here forever.  The boys have adjusted wonderfully and really like their schools.  After all that we’ve been through with this trial, we truly feel like we’ve made it to “Canaan”.  Of course, whether God keeps us here in Texas is in His hands, but for now, we’re enjoying our stay :)

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2013….One Year Later

   Proverbs 10:30 (47 kb)

      As the boys school year starts to wind down, I can’t help but be reminded of how far we have come in almost a year!  I started this blog in May of 2012 as a way to “journal” God’s presence in our life during one of our most difficult trials EVER.  Not only did I want to remember how God got us through our trial, I also wanted to give hope to others who may be experiencing their own trial.  The Holy Spirit placed this verse on my heart: 2 Corinthians 1:4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.  God made it clear that although my journey was going to be hard, He would be walking alongside me strengthening me, so that I in turn can strengthen others through Him.  Although, God did bring sisters into my life for me to encourage, I wasn’t prepared for the many sisters God brought into my life to encourage me & pray with me, giving me back my hope when I felt all hope was lost.  

     At this time last year, Jeff & I were both unemployed.  You know that light that you tend to see at the end of the tunnel, we weren’t seeing it.  All we could see was hardly any money coming in, bills that needed to be paid & a house that we most likely were going to have to sell.  When it came to the possibility of leaving our home, the fighter in me kicked in & I was DETERMINED that I wasn’t going to sell our house, unless God Himself demanded it.  To me, sometimes the easy way out is another way of giving up and giving in.  I wasn’t about to give up or give in.  This was my home & I wasn’t going down without a fight!

     Why all the passion you ask?  Well, Jeff & I have been married almost 23 years.  During those 23 years we have moved 13 times & lived in 4 different states.  Not by choice, but God’s will.  The longest we have ever lived in one house has been 2 years!!  When we moved into this home back in 2006, I prayed that God would PLEASE let us finally drop roots & grow.  We LOVE where we live.  We have a GREAT church, our school district is ranked amongst the top rated districts in the state, we are 20 minutes from the beach, & oh ya, we live at the end of a cul-de-sac with great neighbors!  I waited 16 years for this type of stability & was feeling pretty blessed.  So when our trial threatened to shake that stability I knew I needed to arm myself with Scripture & start praying for my house & most IMPORTANTLY that my will WOULD align with God’s will.  I felt I needed to claim Scriptures & just keep praying over my house.  I also happened to read a really good book during this time too called The Circle Maker by  Mark Batterson.  For those of you who have read this book, I know you understand where I’m coming from :)

     Here are the Scriptures that I lifted up daily in hopes of keeping our home:

Proverbs 10:30 The righteous will never be uprooted, but the wicked will not remain in the land.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Jeremiah 42:10 “‘If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you, for I have relented concerning the disaster I have inflicted on you.”

John 15:7 If you remain in me and follow My teachings, you can ask anything you want, and it will be given to you.

Ephesians 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the Church and in Jesus.

     Well friends, I’m thrilled to report that we are staying in our home :)  As you know, Jeff got a job back in July & I was able to find a part-time job back in October.  We’re still digging ourselves out of this mess, but we have a much bigger shovel & can feel God digging right along side us.  How are you all doing on your journey?  For those of you who have been with me for the long haul, has God answered some prayers in your life or is He still working things out in His timing?  I’m thankful for God’s answered prayer regarding our home, and am continuing to pray for answered prayers with other loose ends from our trial.  I know my journey’s not over, but I praise God that I now can see the light as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

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On Clearance…

Image     For those of you who know me personally, you know my FAVORITE grocery store is Fresh & Easy!  One of the many many reasons I LOVE Fresh & Easy is due to their clearance aisle.  You see, one of the many benefits of fresh food is that it doesn’t have a long shelf life. As a result, Fresh & Easy drastically discounts their food on the day of expiration & displays it in the clearance aisle.  Same thing with flowers & plants.  As you can see from my picture I snagged this sorry excuse of a flower for a mere $1.75.  I am now determined to bring this flower back to its beautiful state that I know it once was.  

     As I set the flower on my window sill I couldn’t help but see myself in that plant.  I sometimes feel like my flower has quickly faded & I am not who God made me to be.  I believe we are His beautiful creation which has the ability to bloom & shine.  However, life happens & sometimes our flowers dry up & our beauty fades.  We feel discouraged & wonder if we’ll ever bloom again.  We put ourselves on the clearance shelf. 

     It’s on the clearance shelf that we have to trust that God can restore us.  Like me & my vision for the above flower, God too has a vision for us.  God wants to take us off the clearance shelf & love us & nurture us back to the blooming flower we once were.  The question isn’t if He can do it, but rather, will we allow Him?  Sometimes, it’s easier to feel sorry for ourselves & wallow in our dejected state.  We stop praying, reading our Bibles & seeking God.  We stay in the moment, rather than seeking God to get us out the moment.  Here are some verses on being rejuvenated:

Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator

Titus 3:5  He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

So if you too feel like you’re flowers faded & you’ve been put on the clearance aisle, take heart!  I promise God won’t leave you there.  He too likes to restore the beauty from our sorry old state :)  How about it? Will you let Him?  I know I’m looking forward to my flower blooming once again as I’m continuing on to Caanan.

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Accountability

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (38 kb)

One thing that has helped me stay on top of my daily reading is being a part of At Home with Kim’s Monday Morning Moments on her blog as well as her Morning Moments Facebook page.  I have met a bunch of other bloggers/facebookers (Is that what we call ourselves on FB?) who truly love the Lord and have a desire to share what He is doing in their lives.  It’s sooo neat to read about what they’ve read that day & how God is speaking to them & working in their lives.  I highly encourage you to either pop over to Kim’s blog by clicking here: Morning Moments or if you’re on Facebook by clicking here: At Home With Kim | Morning Moments FaceBook GROUP  I PROMISE you will inspired and encouraged by what you see/read :)  I know I feel sooo blessed to have met more friends who are inspiring me and encouraging me as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

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JOY

JOY JOY2

     As 2012 was coming to a close I started doing a lot of thinking about 2013.  Everytime I started praying or just thinking I kept being filled with the word JOY.  Sure enough, that word started popping up here and there at just the right times.  I was at a Bible study Christmas party where we did an ornament exchange.  I saw this beautiful pine ornament with the word Joy on it and told my friend that, that was the ornament for me.  Unfortunately, someone else grabbed it and it was not meant to be.  The next week my friend presented me with a little gift.  That gift is the ornament you see in the pictures above.  The other ornament may have been nice, but I knew this one was a gift not only from my friend, but from God too.  How special that the ornament was in the shape of a gift as well?!  The best part was the verse on the back, God had given me a verse to go with my word!  Here are some other verses that deal with joy:

Psalms 5:11-12 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.

Psalms 63:5-7 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

     I’m going to be honest here and tell you that some days it’s hard to think about my word.  Some days life doesn’t feel very joy-filled, but you know what?  I really believe God is preparing me for those days right now by having me concentrate on being joy filled, ESPECIALLY when I don’t feel like it. 

     As most of you know from reading my prior post I joined up with other people over at http://www.rachelwojo.com to read my Bible in a year.  I’m only on day 7, but WOW, has God really been speaking to me through his Word.  Verses I normally just read over are now popping out at me and giving me joy.  I find myself wanting to read more in order to be filled more :)  God is at work!

     How about you?  What is your word for 2013?  Where do you see God working in your life?  I know some days are easier than others, but what’s important is that you keep seeking Him in order to have the strength to make it through those tough days.  I know I’m glad He’s filled me with joy to prepare me for what lies ahead as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

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Read Your Bible in One Year!

Bible

Hi Friends!

     It’s been awhile since I’ve read through my Bible in a year.  I was inspired by Rachel Wojnarowski over at http://rachelwojo.com/read-your-bible-in-a-year-challenge/ to make 2013 the year I get back into reading my Bible on a daily basis.  I’m sure most of you like me do Bible studies so feel like you’re doing your part.  But in all honesty, I tend to do my Bible study in three days and then leave my Bible on the shelf for the other four.  I want to be in the Word EVERY day this year!  How about you?   If you feel he same way, I encourage you to join me and dust off your Bible on your “off” days. 

Happy New Year!

read your Bible challenge

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Empty…

     Empty…it’s a feeling I’m sure everyone has felt at one point in their lives.  I know as we’re still trying to clean up the mess of our trial, there’s days I just feel completely empty & tired.  It was on one of those days that I received an answer to my prayers through an email from Cherie Hill.  You may remember me talking about Cherie in my post here: http://canaanboundbrigade.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/rays-of-light/ Anyway, Cherie just always seems to know when I need a lift & it’s no coincidence that on my darkest days, I always seem to find an email from Cherie waiting in my inbox.  God has used Cherie sooo much in my trial & I am so grateful to her for always obeying God’s call & reaching out to me each & every time :)

     Which brings me to this latest email.  As I mentioned above, I’ve been struggling with some things lately & just needed a boost.  On cue, Cherie emailed me that her new book was coming out & she graciously gifted me a copy for my kindle.  Cherie’s new book is titled, “empty.”  I read it in 2 days!!  Now I want to make it clear that Cherie gifted me her book as a friend.  In NO WAY did she ask me to blog about it, this is COMPLETELY done on my own.  I am a firm believer that when God blesses you with a gift, you in turn bless others with it.  ALL of Cherie Hill’s books have blessed me TREMENDOUSLY & I want to pass her gifts along to you :)

     Cherie Hill’s new book, “empty” will help you fill up your emptiness with God’s truth & promises. You will go from endlessly searching how to self fill your emptiness to the many ways God’s waiting to fill it for you :) You WILL be encouraged with statements such as, “God ALWAYS gives us more than we can handle, in order to reveal what He is able to do through our faith in Him.” and “He wants to bring about miracles that go far beyond our imagination.” How, you may ask? It’s all in the book & I promise once you start reading it, you’ll start filling up your emptiness in ways you never imagined. You’ll view your emptiness in God’s eyes & not your own. You’ll learn that, “every obstacle is an opportunity for faith to rise above it.” Don’t believe me? Read the book & see for yourself, you’ll be glad you did! I know I am! To purchase a copy of Cherie’s book, please go here: http://www.amazon.com/Cherie-Hill/e/B002BM00SC & scroll down till you see “empty”.  While you’re on that page, I encourage you to check out Cherie’s other books!  You’ll be glad you did :)  

     May you have a joy-filled Christmas & a blessed 2013!  I know I’m looking forward to what God has in store for my family & I as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

Cherie Hill’s blog, Journal of Faith:

http://cheriehillblog.blogspot.com/

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I CAN Do ALL Things…

     I absolutely love this picture that I found on www.heartlight.org.  It really describes how I’m feeling right now.  Overwhelmed!  I was blessed to have started a part-time job working from home last week.  I am a comment moderator for a popular website.  The drawback is that I work from 11-3AM.  Thankfully, I don’t work every night, but the night’s I do, means I don’t go to bed till 3:30 & then I’m up with my boys at 7:00.

     My friend referred me to the job as she too works the 11-3am shift.  When she’s on, I’m off & vice versa.  She has done this for over a year & is continually assuring me I WILL adjust to the lack of sleep.  I don’t believe her! Ha!  What I DO believe is that, ” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. 

     I’m a firm believer that if God brings me to it, He’ll get me through it. I have been praying for a part-time job that would allow me to still be with my boys when they’re not in school.  I applied for 4 jobs to no avail.  In my heart, I was relieved I didn’t get those jobs as even though I’d be working while my boys were in school, I’d still have to make some sacrifices.  I’d have to give up my Tuesday morning Bible Study, I’d have to quit volunteering as a childcare worker at my church on Thursday mornings, I’d no longer get to grab a coffee with my friends here & there & I’d have to give up my solo beach days alone with God.   I basically would lose my time.  Then there was the other problem of what to do when my boys were off of school for holidays & Summer vacation. 

     That’s how I knew this job was a blessing from God.  NONE of my concerns listed above are effected by it.  I did spend A LOT of time in prayer asking God for His reassurance that I would be able to function with my new sleeping schedule & He was truly faithful in sending me His assurances:

Exodus 33:14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Mark 6:31b “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Hebrews 4:10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,  just as God did from His.

     After finding assurance through prayer & God’s Word, I called my friend to find out how to go about applying.  Within a week, I interviewed, got the job & have already started working.  One thing I learned from this experience is that when God acts, things just seem to fall into place.  When we act, we seem to have to shove & push things in order to fall into place.  Even if our plans do fall into place, they’re NEVER perfect like the plans God has for us.

     When God’s plans seem too difficult to do remember, we are not left alone to adjust.  HE is with us, strengthening us & equipping us to succeed.  Knowing that this job is a gift from God truly is helping me to persevere with my struggles.  How about you?  Are you struggling with something God has blessed you with?  Are you tapping into His Word to find the strength you need to persevere?  Are you spending time in prayer with Him pouring out your heart & asking for wisdom & knowledge to discern what He wants you to do vs what you think you should do? 

     I’m praying for you and that you won’t be crippled with the heavier load He may be asking you to carry.  It is my prayer that instead you would feel His hands helping you carry that extra weight.  I know I’m thankful for His hands helping me as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

 

    

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Be Strong and Courageous!

Joshua 4:24 (117 kb)

     When I found out I was going to be studying the book of Joshua in my Bible study I got really excited.  It seizes to amaze me that no matter where I am in His word, it always applies to me & whatever I’m going through at that time.  God’s word truly is the same yesterday, today and forever!

       The book of Joshua opens up with God commanding Joshua to take over for Moses.  I love how God didn’t ask Joshua if he wanted to lead the people into Canaan, He told him he was going to do it.   God is direct, even today.  God knew Joshua was probably nervous and overwhelmed with what He was asking.  As a result, He tells Joshua:

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

     How comforting are those words?  God is speaking those same words to us today.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged.  Why? Because God Himself said He WILL be with us WHEREVER we go.  He doesn’t put us on a path and then hug us good-bye.  No, God puts us on our path and then takes the journey with us, each and every step.

      When it came time for the Israelites to cross the Jordan into Canaan,  Joshua once again immediately obeys God.  God tells Joshua to inform the priests that when they reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, to go and stand in the river.  Bare in mind people, these priests are ALSO carrying the ark of the covenant.  Now I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time going into a river on a horse, let alone by myself, let alone carrying an ark.  I kept going back, trying to find the verse where the priests grumbled and told Joshua he was crazy.  As you all know, there is no such verse.  They too obeyed and walked in the raging river remembering what God had done at the Red Sea:

Joshua 4:23b The Lord your God did to the Jordan just what He had done to the Red Sea when He dried it up before us until we had crossed over.

     After the nation had crossed over the dry river, God asked Joshua to call 1 man from each of the 12 tribes. God wanted them to take a stone from the middle of the riverbed precisely where the priests stood and put them down where they were staying that night. God had them build a memorial as an everlasting reminder for generations to come.

     God is a God of miracles and He knows how we tend to forget all He has done.  We forget how powerful He is.  We have His amazing book filled with miracle upon miracle, hope against hope and yet when trials come (or we’re asked to step out of our comfort zone) we forget and fear, complain and/or argue with God.  Let’s look at the reminders God has given us in His word:

1 Chronicles 16:12 Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced

Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you;  be not dismayed, for I am your God;  I will strengthen you, I will help you,  I will uphold you with my  righteous right hand

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said,  “With man this is impossible,  but with God all things are possible.”

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

2 Timothy 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and  self-control.

     Whatever it is that God is asking you to do today, it is my prayer that you remember the miracles God has done in your life.  By remembering these miracles may you surrender to Him knowing that what He was capable of doing in the past (Red Sea), He is more than capable of doing in your future (Jordan River).  I know I’m going be remembering all God has done for me as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

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Disclaimer

     Hi All~I was reading through my prior post on public prayer & felt I needed to clear up one thing :)  I have NO problem praying publicly with my family and/or Christian friends.   The situations I talked about in my post were with people who weren’t used to praying publicly, thus my concern on embarrassing them or making them feel uncomfortable :) 

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