Canaan Bound Brigade

My Journey to the Promised Land….

Judge Not…

Matthew 7:1 (60 kb)

     Judging….such a strong convicting word that I’m sure we’re ALL guilty of doing.  We judge others by how they dress, where they live, what their kids after school activities are, how they discipline their kids, homeschooled, private school or public, fulltime, part-time or stay at home mom, etc etc  Why?  Because for some reason we think we have the right to! 

     I have been judged for numerous things, but mostly my boys’ sports schedule.  The funny thing is that I tend to be judged by people whose kids don’t play sports or only play one.   Thankfully, I am not easily offended & have been blessed/cursed with the gift of sarcasm.  When someone tells me they’d NEVER let their child play more than one sport, I in my sweetest tone possible point out that, that’s most likely why God didn’t give them kids who want to play more than one sport.  Now hear me out, I mean that in the NICEST way!!  Jeff & I both played multiple sports & I was on various travel/club teams growing up.  Jeff also went on to play college football.  We make a GREAT team & totally see things eye to eye.  Our crazy schedule is no different then what he & I had growing up.  Our boys LOVE to play football, basketball & lacrosse.  We LOVE to encourage that & willingly make many sacrifices for them to do so.

     We must realize that God has a different plan for each one of us & our families.   That’s why it is important to seek God’s will & wisdom through prayer & His word. We may start off planning what we think is best for our life, but in the end God is the one whose plan we end up following.   Just like it says here:

Proverbs 16:9 In your heart you plan your life. But the Lord decides where your steps will take you.

      For someone to then judge the steps that God led me to take means that they’re basically judging God since God is the one who led me to make that decision.  

     This way of thinking has also help convict me of my most guilty judgement…..at what age to send boys to kindergarten.  I used get up on my holy high horse when I found out someone was sending their son to kindergarten early making him the youngest vs the oldest.  I judged their decision based on what I thought was best.  All four of my boys have August/September birthdays & all four of my boys started school at age 6.  I have helped some people with their decision, but unfortunately, I have offended some people too.  God REALLY convicted me this year when one of my friends decided to send her barely 5-year-old son to school.  Before I could even open my mouth to object, He shut it.  He reminded me that their decision was between Him & them, not me.  He also reminded me of a Scripture where Peter questioned God about John as if it were his business:

John 21:21-22 When Peter saw that disciple, he asked, “Lord, what will happen to him?”Jesus answered, “Suppose I want him to remain alive until I return. What does that matter to you? You must follow me.”    

     What does it matter to me?  I mean honestly, what concern is it of mine when they send THEIR son to school? Rather then spending my time judging people, God wants me to spend my time following Him.  Here are some other verses on judging:

Romans 2:1 If you judge someone else, you have no excuse for it. When you judge another person, you are judging yourself. You do the same things you blame others for doing.

Romans 14:13 Let us stop judging one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put anything in your brother’s way that would make him trip and fall.

James 4:12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge. He is the One who is able to save life or destroy it. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

     Who am I to judge my neighbor? My heart is convicted! How about you?  Are you having a hard time with people judging a decision that you’ve made according to God’s plans for you?  Are you struggling with judging others on something you may feel that you know what’s best?  I still struggle with both, but I am working on being a lot less judgemental & a lot more supportive as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

      

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Are You Ready?

     While I was looking for a picture to sum up my week, I had to laugh when I came across this one.  Why? Because see how that football is dominating the screen & edging out that book?  That book is my Women of the Bible book & it is being upstaged by a football.  This week my whole Biblical routine has been upstaged by football & I am NOT happy about that!  (I’m sure God isn’t too pleased either).  Not only am I writing my blog a day late, I have failed to do my daily Bible devotions & my prayer time has been rushed to say the least. 

     Yes, football season is a double-edged sword.  We say we are happily crazy busy as we do truly LOVE football! This year is especially crazy as I have a son in college, a son in high school, a son in middle school AND a son in elementary school.  And yes, they ALL play football!!  I have 4 sons playing football in 3 different cities.  (We ARE blessed that our college son plays within an hour of us so we are able to go to his home games.)  

     Thankfully, it is only crazy for 4 months.  I purposely do not have my younger boys playing ANY sports during the Summer.  Their Summer is their time of rest & our days are filled with beach trips, family trips, playdates & whatever they so choose.  That way when August rolls around, they are READY to go!

     I on the other hand, was not ready!  I should’ve been ready as I’ve been doing this football routine for over 15 years.  This year just snuck up on me & guess who took a backseat to football?  God!  Ugh, the conviction!  My heart was in the right place, but unfortunately my timing was not.  I had my days “planned” out & then the days came & nothing went as planned.   So, what to do when life happens? Be aware & make a plan on how to adapt. Here’s what the Bible says about this very thing:

Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.   The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

     Temptation.  What tempts you from keeping your time in the Word, in prayer & most importantly in God?  We are all pulled by something, whether it be sports, homeschooling, working, going to the gym, blogs, etc.  What is most important is recognizing when that pull starts to succeed & we are no longer pulling back.  Satan will use whatever he can to try & get us a part from God.  It is so IMPORTANT that we keep our time with God a priority & not an “if I have time” part of our day.  Here’s what the Bible says about remaining in Him:

Colossians 2:6-7  So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him,  rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

John 15:5-6 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

Romans 8:5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires;   but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

Proverbs 3:1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart.

Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

     I knew I needed to ask God’s forgiveness for dropping the ball (couldn’t resist).  I had allowed my boy’s football schedules to knock God from being my #1 priority of the day.  How about you?  Are you keeping God as your #1 priority?  What changes have you made to help you do that?  I am READY for some football, but most importantly, I am READY to keep God as my #1 priority as I am continuing on to Canaan.

SheReadsTruth

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Clean Up On Aisle 7

     Jeff & I are slowly coming out of our 18 month trial.  Once Jeff started his new job some people thought we were immediately back to “normal”.  That’s not the case.  We are now finding ourselves in the clean up stage.   A stage I like to compare to grocery shopping with a child.  I’m sure most of you have either been there or witnessed this happening to some poor mother.  You pull into the grocery store & life is great.  You’re singing along with your favorite music while promising your child you’ll buy them their favorite ice cream if they behave.  That in turn makes them happy as they start thinking about what flavor they want.

     Then you enter the store & all that good stuff goes out the window.  Just like when you’re hit unexpectedly with a trial.  Good feeling…..gone!  You are no longer singing happily as your little one accidentally knocks something over & makes a BIG mess.  Yes, it’s NEVER a little mess, but a BIG one.  Seems to be the same with our trials.  When we “run away” from God & decide to do things our way vs His way we too create a BIG mess.  And that my friends makes A LOT of cleaning up to do!

     That’s where we are right now, cleaning up the big mess we made.  Oh, we’re grateful that we’re no longer making a mess, but cleaning it up is still hard.  When your child genuinely feels sorry they made the mess, do you just stand there & say, “You made the mess, you clean it up!”  No, you realize your child has learned their lesson & help them clean it up.  THAT my friend is what God does too.  He waits till we’ve learned our lesson & then not only does He deliver us from our trial, but He helps us clean it up.  We are NEVER left alone to clean up our mess, God’s hands are right there with us.  He insures that our mess is COMPLETELY cleaned with no traces remaining! Here’s some verses that remind us that God IS here to help us:

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Psalm 54:4 Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.

Psalm 121:2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

     So you see life can change in an instant.  Trials come & make a BIG mess of your life.  It’s important that once you find your trial ending, you allow yourself the time to completely clean up the mess.  Don’t be in such a hurry that you leave traces of your trial here & there.  You want ALL evidence of your messy trial gone!  I know it is sooo hard to wait for your trial to end!  But, the waiting is not over, God is still working.  Before you can walk out of that store, you must make sure you left it completely clean.  Same thing with your trial, you need to make sure the mess you’ve made has been completely cleaned with God’s helping hands. Next week I’ll talk about the importance of not forgetting what you’ve learned during your trial.  It amazes me how quick we forget things once life is “back to normal”.  Until then,  I’m thankful I’ve got God’s mighty hands helping me clean up my BIG mess as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

SheReadsTruth

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Attitude or Gratitude?

     MY ATTITUDE

     When I was in the middle of my trial I found myself getting very discouraged.  I started questioning our decision on Jeff  quitting his job even though we KNEW it was what we were being called to do.  Once again I was reminded of the Israelites & how they too started grumbling on their journey to the promised land.  Take a look:

Exodus 16:2-3: In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”

     I loved how they conveniently chose to remember the food in Egypt, yet did not bring up their bondage & slavery.  I realized that I too was conveniently remembering  just the good times when reminiscing  about life pre-trial & not the bad.  That’s dangerous territory my friends as Satan will fill your mind with half-truths.  Yes, we did have a stable income, but we weren’t where God wanted us to be.  We now realize that God was faithful in refining us & purging us.  We needed to change & we needed God to change us in a way that only He could.  There’s even a verse in the Bible about not looking back, here it is:

Isaiah 43:18-19: Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

     I LOVE that verse as it totally stops me from dwelling on my convenient half-truths of the past & instead shifts my focus forward to my future post-trial.  He even tells me “I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  He WAS at work in my trial & He WAS making a way out…..it was just up to us to continue to follow His way to find that way out.  Unfortunately, it took us a little longer to find that way out when we inadvertently got off His path & started following our own (which can be read about in my archived post titled, “Our Detour”). 

MY GRATITUDE

     My attitude started switching to gratitude after meditating on that verse above as well as:

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

     Rather then focusing on the pitfalls of my trial that were igniting my attitude, I knew I needed to focus on the blessings.  Yes, you read that right….blessings!  Believe it or not dear friends your trials do bring blessings!  After reading the verses above I was filled with gratitude knowing God WAS at work in my trial for my good.  Plus..the testing of my faith during this trial was producing perseverance so that I would not lack anything.  How could I possibly continue to have an attitude after reading those verses?!

     I remember sharing with my Bible study group about how hard it was to pray sometimes when things were so overwhelmingly stressful.  One of the girls asked me if I was praying with an attitude of gratitude or just an attitude.  OUCH! GREAT point & totally made me stop & think.  My prayers were ALL about requests & very little gratitude.  Since that day I have made a point to start my prayers with gratitude & to pray for my attitude 🙂  How about you?  Do you have an attitude of gratitude or just an attitude?  I hope you can find some gratitude along with me as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

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He is Our Light

     One of my favorite places to go to is the beach.  I’m blessed that I live very close so I’m able to go quite often.  The beach is where I feel the closest to God as it is there that I am able to detox from life & fill up on Christ.  During our trial I would head over to the beach while the younger boys were in school.  I would sit & pray while feeling the warm sun on my face & the cool breeze on my skin.  The breeze felt like my trial….cold & uncontrollable, yet the sun felt like God, warm & embracing.  The warmth of the sun gave me the strength to tolerate the breeze, just like the warmth of God gives us the strength to tolerate our trials.  I was reminded of:

Psalm 4:6b Let the light of your face shine on us.  

Psalm 76:4 You are radiant with light, more majestic than mountains rich with game.

Ecclesiastes 11:7 Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 

I LOVE these verses on how God brings light to our dark paths:

Isaiah 42:16 Israel is blind. So I will lead them along paths they had not known before.  I will guide them on roads they are not familiar with.  I will turn the darkness into light as they travel. I will make the rough places smooth. Those are the things I will do.  I will not desert my people.

Isaiah 58:8-9 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I.

Psalm 112:4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.

Micah 7:8 Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.

       Yes, we had to do some traveling before the darkness became light.  Yes, we have been repeatedly calling on the name of the Lord to restore us and guess what?!  God’s light is beginning to shine & He has answered our cries.  We found out last week that Jeff got the job he had been interviewing for!  His first day is this Monday the 31st.  To say we are ELATED is an understatement 🙂  To be able to finally see the light breaking through on this dark journey feels so good & we are so grateful to God.  It has been a loooong 18 months! 

     Is your path dark right now?  Are you looking for some light to help you see the way out?  God’s Word has the light you need.  Just like it says in Psalm 119:105 Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.  It even says in Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. 

      It gives understanding to the simple.  Many times on this journey I threw my hands up in the air & screamed, “I don’t understand what you want me to do!”  One day, this simple girl understood as James 4:8 immediately came to me:  Come near to God and he will come near to you.  God just wanted me.  He wants you too my friend, so can you do it?  Will you draw near to Him while traveling on your dark path?  Can you trust that not only will you find Him, but that He WILL send light to guide you?  I know I’ve become A LOT closer to Him & am enjoying His light as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

Life in BloomSheReadsTruth

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Hope & Seek

     Hope is a word that I believe we have become desensitized in using.   I hope it isn’t hot tomorrow.  I hope I can go to the beach.  I hope I hope I hope.  But what exactly does the word hope mean to you?  Before my trial, I too was guilty of using hope in a desensitized way.  During my trial I began to understand what it means to TRULY hope for something.  Not something menial like the weather being tolerable or being able to go somewhere.  I’m talking hoping with gut wrenching prayers that God would sustain & provide for us while continuing on our journey.  Here’s the definition of hope:  to expect with confidence;  a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment.  BELIEF in fulfillment.  I smiled when I read that one. 

     My “word” when my trail started was BELIEVE.   My “word” right now is HOPE!  As in Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Plans to prosper me & give me hope for my future!  Do I hear an AMEN?!  Check out what else the Bible has to say about hope:

Titus 1:2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,

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.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

     But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  Did anyone catch that?? What we do not YET have.  Not won’t have, but yet have. Hoping for something  is the same thing as believing.  I believe that IF what we hope for IS in alignment with God’s will, then we WILL receive it.  We just have to do our part in order to expect God to do His.  What is our part?  We must continually SEEK HIM.  Just like it says in:

Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. 

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Deuteronomy 30:16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

Psalm 34:10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18  Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 John 5:14-15 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

         What are you hoping for?  It is my hope for you today to seek God & then delight in the promises He has for you.  When it comes to my Christian walk, I don’t want to continuously stumble on rugged paths & exhaust myself needlessly twisting & turning.  That’s why I’m making it a point to SEEK God with ALL my heart & soul.  I want to claim ALL His promises listed above & most of all, I want to claim HIM first in my life.  I want my journey to remain on a smooth path as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

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God Will Never Leave Us

       God tells us in His Word that He WILL NEVER leave us nor forsake us.  Not I could leave you or might leave you, no God is quite clear, He WILL NEVER leave us nor forsake us.  God knows our heart & He knows that during trials Satan likes to bombard us with thoughts that leave us wondering if God has left us & forsaken us.  That’s why it’s sooo important to stay in His Word.  The answers are ALL there! Take a look:

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.

Joshua 1:5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

     Another reassuring word that God uses is WILL.   Not only was it used in the verses above, but can be found here as well:

Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

John 14:1-3 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God. Trust in me also. “There are many rooms in my Father’s house.  If this were not true, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you. If I go and do that, I will come back.  And I will take you to be with me.  Then you will also be where I am.

Leviticus 26:12 I will walk among you. I will be your God. And you will be my people.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all of you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest.

John 6:40 My Father wants all who look to the Son and believe in Him to have eternal life. I will raise them up on the last day.”

John 14:14 You may ask me for anything in my name. I will do it.

John 15:26 I will send the Friend to you from the Father. He is the Spirit of truth, who comes out from the Father. When the Friend comes to help you, He will give witness about me.

Matthew 1:21 She is going to have a son. You must give him the name Jesus. That is because He will save His people from their sins.”

Luke 4:10 It is written,” ‘The Lord will command his angels to take good care of you.

James 4:8 Come near to God, and He will come near to you.

(All underlining in the verses is done by me)

      While on this journey I have honestly found myself at times questioning God as to why He’s allowed certain things to happen.  I too have wondered, does He truly care?  Is He still in this with me?  I am reminded that God not only cares about me but truly cares about my future as He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

     Well my friends, I hope after reading the above verses you too are assured that YES God is still with you & He promises He WILL NEVER leave us nor forsake us.   I take GREAT courage in knowing that I am not alone on this journey as I am continuing on to Canaan with God by my side.

    

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When God Calls Us to Wait

     Waiting is another emotion I struggle with.  Right now I am immensely struggling with it.  Jeff’s company hasn’t bounced back the way we thought it would & as a result Jeff has been looking for a job.  I came across a job online that was almost EXACTLY what he did prior to starting his own company.  Jeff has now had 5 interviews with this company.   Everytime he’d get a phone call we thought it was to tell him whether or not he got the job, but it wasn’t.  It was to inform him of the next interview. Now, don’t get me wrong, I DO realize we should be grateful that it wasn’t the call saying he didn’t get the job.  We are grateful, but it is still hard as we just want closure! Jeff was then told they would have a decision by Friday….as in last Friday.  We still don’t know.  This has been going on for over 2 months & we are getting tired of waiting. 

     In order to help me cope with waiting, I had to remind myself what the Bible says about it. 

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His Word do I hope.

Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

James 5:11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

Isaiah 30:15 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

Psalm 40:1-2 I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me and heard my cry.  He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay. And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.

   Be strong & let your heart take courage.  I LOVE it when I read a verse that completely speaks to me.  God is telling me BE STRONG!  He KNOWS I’m struggling, He KNOWS how HARD it is for me to wait right now.  Yet His Word says He WILL strengthen me while I wait, 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. 

    Waiting can bring about an ongoing battlefield in your mind.  You can make yourself stronger for battle by seeking God’s wisdom & strength through prayer & His Word or you can crumble & allow Satan to fill your mind with antagonizing thoughts of worry & fear.  When I feel myself allowing Satan to win the battle I just stop & pray.  This is where Scripture memorization also helps.  My go to verse right now is Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.  Stop thinking….just BE STILL.

     Waiting can also be hard as sometimes we mistake waiting for “doing nothing”.  I’ve found numerous times when I haven’t waited & tried to do something, it ended up being something other than what God had planned.  Kinda like when Sarah jumped the gun & gave Hagar to Abraham rather than waiting herself for God’s timing in giving them an heir.  Can we really help God with HIS plan??   Does God need our help??  How often we forget that ONLY God knows our future & as a result, what truly is best for us.  We only think we know what’s best based on what we see.  It’s what we don’t see that makes the difference.  

   I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, “God’s timing is seldom early, but NEVER late.” Not sometimes late, but NEVER.  Never is a word I’m claiming right now. He’s NEVER late & He will NEVER forsake me.  On a side note, I COMPLETELY left off 2 of my FAVORITE books from my last post on Worry.  These books are VERY INSPIRING & are keeping me from succumbing to the pitfalls I’m facing on this journey.  They are both daily reads & I HIGHLY recommend them!  They are:

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Streams in the Desert by  L.B. Cowman

      What are you waiting for today?  I’ll be praying for you & that you wait patiently on Him & His perfect timing.  I too may have to wait a little longer, but I’m trusting His perfect timing & not mine as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

 

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Got Worry?

     Where do you turn when worry starts to take over your mind & turn a sunny day into a dark one?  The first thing I start to do when worry starts to overwhelm me is pray.  I’ve found too that if I start my prayers praising God & thanking Him for my blessings it then helps me to focus more on what’s going right vs what’s going wrong. 

     After praying I like to look up verses in my Bible to remind me of God’s promises.  Sometimes I just blindly start reading, other times I’ll actually do a search on my computer for “Scriptures on worrying.” 

     Although, your Bible should be the first book you go to for answers, I’m also an AVID reader.  It’s completely normal for me to be reading 2-3 books at a time. When my trial started my mom & dad bought me some AMAZING books which have helped me TREMENDOUSLY during this trail. They are:

Anxious for Nothing by John MacArthur.  One of the things I LOVED about this book is that after finishing the book, the back has a study guide where you then go back to each chapter & answers questions, followed by a prayer guide & then an “assignment” to put into play what you learned.   You can use the book for an actual group Bible study or like me, do it on your own.  Also included is an entire chapter of Psalms for the anxious.   Some of my favorite quotes from the book are: Anxiety is blatant distrust of the power and the love of God,  Jesus wants us to realize it doesn’t make sense to believe God can save us from eternal hell, but not help us in the practical matters of life and lastly, Jesus gives us, His children three reasons for not worrying about this life: It is unnecessary because of our Father, it is uncharacteristic because of our faith, and it is unwise because of our future.  These are just a few examples on how uplifting this book is!

When Life is Hard by James MacDonald. This book is broken down in chapters including: What Are Trials? Why Trials? What to Do with Trials? What If I Refuse this Trial? Why Some Trials Never End? & Come Forth as Gold.  This book too has a study guide in the back.

A Steadfast Heart by Elyse Fitzpatrick.  This book is based on Psalm 57 which David wrote when he fled from Saul into the cave.  This book will help you experience God’s presence & comfort in trials.

Others books I read include:

The Gospel of the Canaan Journey by Herbert W. Byrne

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller

The Red Sea Rules: The Same God Who Led You In Will Lead You Out by Phillip J. Morgan

Life Interrupted: Navigating the Unexpected by Priscilla Shirer

Giving It All to Him by Max Lucado

Trials & Triumphs of Faith by Mary Cole

God Has a Plan for Your Life: The Discovery that Makes All the Difference By Dr. Charles F. Stanley

It’s Only a Flat Tire in the Rain: Navigating Life’s Bumpy Roads With Faith and Grace by Max Davis.

EVERY book written by Cherie Hill

     As you can see, reading is my hobby 🙂 As you can also see, so is worrying!  Here is a great website with Scriptures on worrying: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-worry-20-comforting-scripture-quotes/ 

     I HATE that I worry, especially because I know it’s a sin along with being fearful & anxious.  A sin I MUST overcome! It’s amazing how worry doesn’t tend to be just about today…..it spills into worrying about tomorrow & the next day.  My go to verse for worrying right now is:

Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

     The reason I like this verse is that it reminds me that God only gives me strength for today.  So how can I worry about tomorrow when God hasn’t given me the strength yet to face it?!  Let God meet you where you’re at EVERY morning, one day at a time.  Don’t jump to tomorrow just like we’re told in:

Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

     How about you?  Do you have any great books you’d like to share?  I’d LOVE to read more 🙂  Just let me know in the comments section as well as your favorite go to verse if you have one.  Until then, I’m praising my Savior for getting me through today & looking forward to Him strengthening me to face tomorrow as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

    

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Our Family

Once we lost our savings I became very bitter. I couldn’t understand why God would allow us to lose everything. That was the LAST thing we thought would happen after we obediently took our leap of faith & followed His will. I soon realized that most things don’t happen the way I expect since my ways are not necessarily God’s. Just like God says in:

Isaiah 55:9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God had something else in store. Trials are prime opportunities for Satan to crush you….if you let him. I know Satan wants this trial to harm me, but I also know that God wants to use this trial to bless me like it says in:

Genesis 50:20 You planned to harm me. But God planned it for good.

Instead of focusing on the pitfalls of this trial, I choose to focus on the blessings. One such blessing is my greater appreciation & gratefulness for my parents.

My parents have completely embraced us on this journey. They have prayed for us, offered words of wisdom & comfort, emailed/texted encouraging scriptures, provided for us when needed & most importantly supported us for following God’s will. I have always been close to my parents, but when this trial started closing in on me, my relationship with my parents took on a whole new meaning. I realized I had taken them for granted when life was easy. After EVERYTHING I have been through these past couple of months, I no longer take them for granted. I now realize how truly blessed I am to have them in my life & I honestly couldn’t have continued on this journey without them. I realized that no matter where our journey takes us, my parents will always be there to help in ANY way they can.

My gramma has touched me in ways she’ll never completely understand. Jeff & I got married while he was still in college playing football back East. My gramma & grandpa used to mail us letters with money enclosed as a treat to use on ourselves. That was 22 years ago! When our oldest son went off to college 3 years ago, my gramma started mailing him letters with some money for him to have as a treat. When our trial started do you know what my gramma did? She started mailing us letters once again with some money for us to have as a treat. Her letters are another blessing that I am receiving as a result of this trial. Jeff’s mom has been faithfully praying for us & calling Jeff weekly to give him words of wisdom as well as share scriptures. My brother John & his wife Becky have also been praying for us. Becky started her blog 2 years ago & then introduced me to blogging. Her blog can be found here: http://organizingmadefun.blogspot.com/

My sister-n-law Jeanene & her husband Justin have brought me many smiles on days I didn’t feel like smiling. They have been on their own journey & are full of wisdom & encouragement to help me continue on mine. They too are praying for us!

Jeff & I are TRULY blessed to both come from Christian families who pray for us, encourage us & understand that as Christians this is all part of our walks & that God DOES have a plan for our trial. I can’t tell you how many AMAZING conversations we’ve had at our house with our families on all the ways God is working in our lives. Not only are we growing from our trial, but our family is too as they watch God at work in the midst of all this. My go to verse right now in overcoming our trial is:

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

I know when Jeff quit his job our families didn’t plan on joining us on our journey, but they have & together we are all continuing on to Canaan.

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