In the darkness {He is near}

Love what Anna says here, “God will never give you more than you can handle…with Him.” We’ve all heard the saying, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I really see that saying as an incomplete thought without the words “with Him”. Amen and amen!!

no nightYou will have dark nights that leave you feeling alone and hopeless.

You will have storms that leave you feeling shaken.

You will have heartaches that will leave you broken.

You will have people that hurt you and leave you disappointed.

You will have temptations that leave you feeling overcome and powerless.

You will have trials that leave you feeling helpless.

You will face all of these one point in life or another but when you do you don’t have to lose hope because through it all you also have Jesus.

I’ve always heard this saying “God will never give you more than you can handle”, and I think for the most part it’s true, but it’s missing one very important part in the end : “God will never give you more than you can handle…with Him.”

See, I think sometimes God does give you more than…

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The Price Of Pursuit

bed

Another night of tossing and turning and running to the bathroom, and I was put out. Put out as in frustrated beyond my limits. This has been my thorn in the flesh for the past six years. I’ve tried just about everything to help me sleep. Every non-habiting forming, natural sleep-aid that didn’t cost an arm and a leg, I have tried and found them wanting. There are some nights that it helps, but they don’t always help.

It’s bad enough that my colon wakes me up to go potty in the middle of the night, but when my spirit is restless it makes sleep my elusive friend that I just can’t seem to get in touch with. I call and she doesn’t answer. What is a girl to do to get some sleep around here?

In the midst of my search for sleep, I’ve been on a fast, seeking God for direction to my next step. Just prior to starting a Bible study at my church, I felt the Lord direct me into a different path and so I canceled it. Ok, now what?

In one of my moments of prayer I felt the Lord asking me, What price are you willing to pay to know Me?

What a thought!

What a question!

Paul said,

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of knowing Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Phillipians 3:7-8a

Paul gave up a lot to know Christ. He gave up his position as a respected Pharisee. He gave up his reputation within the Jewish religious elite to know Christ.

There is nothing we do to earn salvation, but there is a price to pursuing Christ and knowing Him. Jesus posed this same decision before the disciples. The original disciples had the choice to give up their own reputations and livelihood as fishermen, to follow Jesus. He posed the same decision before the rich young ruler, who sadly, walked away from Him, not willing to give up what he had.

We can look at what we lose to follow Christ or we can look at what we gain. We gain the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. Knowing Jesus is worth far more than anything we can gain on this earth. You name the riches and knowing Christ is worth far more!

Luxury Gold Ring Designs for Golden Jewelry

Luxury Gold Ring Designs for Golden Jewelry (Photo credit: epSos.de)

I put on the altar my precious sleep. My prayer has been, “Lord, I give you my sleep time. Whatever you want to do with it, help me to know You. If You want me to pray, then lead me.”

It’s a tough prayer to pray, I admit. And I can’t say that every time I’ve tossed and turned I got up to pray instead. Most of the time I am still too asleep to even be conscience enough to pray. I’m asleep enough to dream but semi-awake enough to know I’m in bed asleep.

My desire is to be devoted to pursuing Christ. I want to pursue Christ to know Him. And as Paul finishes out this thought he says,

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Phil. 3:10-11

By any means possible.

Wow!

I’d say Paul was pretty serious about knowing Christ to say “by any means possible”. But the goal Paul had in his sight was knowing Christ and being acquainted with the power of the resurrection.

My teacher in school used to say, “Every one wants resurrection power, but no one wants to die to get it.”

Do we really believe in the surpassing worth of knowing Christ? If we do, we will count every thing else as worthless and pursue Christ with a reckless abandon. No price too high.

And Beloved, I suspect that He is worth it. Pursue Him! You will gain so much more than what this world can offer.

My Top Eleven Faves

Everybody has their favorite songs and these are mine. Yes, normally people post top ten, but I couldn’t condense down to ten because I thought of one more great song. What can I say? I’m not normal. 😛 Sooo, without further ado, here are my top eleven favorite songs, with an added twist, my favorite line (or lines) in the song.

  1. Divine Romance by Phil Wickham. Favorite line: “In Your presence, God, I’m completely satisfied.” This video is the acoustic version. Love it! http://youtu.be/QF0p4I9a1nw
  2. God’s Great Dance Floor by Chris Tomlin. Favorite line: “You’ll never stop lovin’ us no matter how far we run.” Watch the video. Listen to the lyrics and try not to cut a rug. I dare ya. 😉 http://youtu.be/R-WOneEXr00
  3. Already There by Casting Crowns. Favorite line: “One day I’ll stand before You and look back on the life I’ve lived. I can’t wait to enjoy the view and see how all the pieces fit.” Ok. So that’s more than one line. http://youtu.be/Qtg9axTtNLg
  4. You Are I Am by Mercy Me. Favorite line: “You’re the One who conquers giants.” Can I get a hallelujah??!! http://youtu.be/2JI4CPfuLW0
  5. Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave. Yeah, that’s the band’s name. Funny, ain’t it? Favorite lines: “I don’t have to be the old man inside of me cuz his day is long dead and gone. Because I’ve got a new name. A new life, I’m not the same. And a hope that will carry me home. I am redeemed!” Praise God!!!!! http://youtu.be/VzGAYNKDyIU
  6. He Is With Us by Love and The Outcome. New band and I love this song! Favorite lines: “We can trust our God. He knows what He’s doing though it might hurt now. We won’t be ruined. It might seem there’s an ocean in between but He’s holding on to you and me, and He’s never going to leave.” http://youtu.be/qYLoigK4WSI
  7. All Of Me by Matt Hammitt, lead singer of Sanctus Real. Though this song was written for his unborn son around the time he and his wife found out their child had a heart defect, I can see the heart of God towards us in it as well. Favorite lines: “So let me recklessly love you, even if I bleed. You’re worth all of me. You’re worth all of me.” http://youtu.be/50ygAc2qP5A
  8. What Love Really Means by J.J. Heller. Another tear jerker, but the awesome power and love of God just shines through. Story behind song is about a boy who grows up and marries but leaves his wife and is convicted of murder.  In the beginning the boy asks, “Who will love me for me?” At the end of the song, now sitting in prison he cries out to God, “Oh, Lord, forgive me. I want to go home.” Then God speaks. Favorite lines: “I will love you for you. Not for what you have done or what you will become. I will give you the love, the love that you never knew.” http://youtu.be/PgGUKWiw7Wk
  9. Every Good Thing by The Afters. Put your dancing shoes on. It’s a fast one. Not many fast songs on this list but a few. Favorite line: “You’re the reason for every good thing, every heart beat. Every day we get to breathe.” Amen!!! http://youtu.be/l1mMgPA0iJE
  10. The Love Of God as sung by 4Him. Yeah, old group. 🙂 Love these guys and love this arrangement. One of the most lyrically beautiful songs cuz of how it paints the picture of God’s love! This is a hymn. I didn’t care for hymns when I was a kid but as I got older those are some of the richest songs you can ever hear. This hymn is one of the oldest you will find too. Originally written as a Jewish poem in 1096 as titled “Hadamut”. A Nazarene priest named, Frederick L. Lehman, took it, translated it and composed it to a song.  Favorite lines: “Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made. Were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill and ev’ry man a scribe by trade. To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry. Nor could the scroll contain the whole tho stretched from sky to sky.” http://youtu.be/GAkAgPc88Vo
  11. Hello My Name Is…by Matthew West. Favorite lines: “I am no longer defined by all the wreckage behind. The One who makes all things new has proven it’s true. Take a look at my life!” Amen!! Hallelujah!!!!!!! http://youtu.be/ZuJWQzjfU3o

I hope you all enjoyed the songs on this list. I hope you were blessed and encouraged! Thanks for reading! 🙂

TOO MUCH STRESS?

Great post on benefits of prayer as well as tips for praying!

"Working for Christ"

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians 4:2, NIV)

Power of Prayer

The time you learn to spend in prayer and meditation has a number of immediate health benefits. Prayer lowers stress, decreases muscle tension, and provides a sense of peace. According to Herbert Benson, MD, “between 50 to 90 percent of all diseases can be affected by patient belief.” A physical state of deep rest is experienced when you pray or meditate regularly, changing your physical and emotional responses to stress. It has been shown that when you pray, you also have an immediate drop in blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of stress hormones.

Prayer unites our minds, bodies, and spirits. The good news is that you don’t have to be a spiritual guru to pray. Very simply, prayer is relinquishing your greatest concerns to the Maker of the Universe. It’s a time to honestly talk…

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Satisfied?

I know what it means to be hungry. It’s really a long story that should be saved for another day, so without going into too much detail, I will tell you the reason why I was hungry. I was sick. In the year of 2006, I had lost a total of 30 pounds, and not on purpose, mind you. I was not purposely starving myself. Food had become my mortal enemy, for whenever I put food in my mouth, my abdomen screamed with pain. The moment I put food on my tongue I had to jump and run to the bathroom. This went on for months til I decided I was not going to eat anymore. Instead, I regressed back to the eating habits of infants. Yes. I ate baby food for two months.

While I wrote off food as my mortal enemy, I still dreamed of it. I longed for food. Real food. Not the baby food I was eating. I dreamed of hamburgers. I’m not even exaggerating to make a point. I really dreamed of hamburgers. I dreamed of hamburgers, tacos, and donuts. Powdered donuts. The baby food did not satisfy!

A hamburger with a rim of lettuce sitting on a...

The word “satisfy” is translated from the Hebrew word “saba”, pronounced sa-vah’, and means “filled to satisfaction; have enough”.

No, I certainly was not getting enough nourishment from the baby food. Hence, the reason why I was losing weight.

There are other things in this world that I have learned are not enough. My job does not satisfy. Relationships with others do not satisfy, though they are helpful. Material possessions do not satisfy. Wealth and good health for an active lifestyle do not satisfy.

I might long for these things. I do long for these things. I got to be honest. It would be nice to be surrounded by friends that love me and to have a doting husband. It would be great if I had the money to buy all the things I’ve ever wanted and to never be touched with an illness.

At one point in my life I had at least part of these things and then had them removed from my life. I have found these things to be a distraction that kept me from discovering the true longing of my heart. Once removed, I realized a deeper longing–that longing for God.

Jesus, after feeding the five thousand, spoke to the crowd that remained the next day about the bread of heaven. He said,

“For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” ~ John 6:33

Did you catch that? He said, “For the bread of God is he”. He didn’t use the personal pronoun “it”. No, instead, Jesus used the personal pronoun “he” in describing the bread of heaven.

The disciples then pleaded with him to give them that bread still thinking of their stomachs. They didn’t get what Jesus was saying just then so Jesus went a little further to make it plain.

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” ~ John 6:35

I know it sounds a little morbid to say, but how do we feast upon Jesus? Not literally of course, but how does Jesus satisfy?

Jesus

Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I always seem to find a song to reference to make my point, but here I go again. 🙂 Toby Mac‘s song, “Made To Love”. He was right when he sings, “I was made to love You…Made to adore You. I was made to love and be loved by You…”

There is something about worship that connects us to God. Something about praise. Something about prayer that brings us into the same room as God where we can reach out and touch Him. I don’t fully understand it; I just know that it does.

Psalm 63 reveals this mystery of communion between God and ourselves. The psalmist describes his hunger after God and knows only the Lord can satisfy. “My soul will be satisfied with fat and rich food (a.k.a. a great steak dinner…yum) and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed and meditate on you in the night watches.” (Ps. 63:5)

It is true.

We find a picture of a table that God wants to set up before us in Psalm 23 and also in Song of Solomon. The Lord wants to bring us to His banqueting table and feed us. The table is spread out with rich foods. Like a buffet at a restaurant, we can indulge and gorge all we want. This food will make us fat but good fat that we can pass on to someone else that needs it. Sorry, I know that’s a crude analogy. Who wants someone else’s fat? Well, I believe me, I did when I lost all that weight!

Christmas Banquet Table -- Longwood Gardens Co...

Christmas Banquet Table — Longwood Gardens Conservatory (PA) December 2012 (Photo credit: Ron Cogswell)

Jesus has food that satisfies. He is that food. He invites us to His banqueting table to eat. All we have to do is pull up a chair and dig in. We can’t expect to get full if we have someone else go in our stead. No! I tried that. I asked my family to eat for me since I couldn’t but I was not satisfied. We can’t do that in the physical realm, so why do we expect that to work in the spiritual?

Even in the times like a few nights ago when I went to God pouring out my complaint to Him and telling Him how I hurt and how scared I am, I find myself leaving the table surprisingly satisfied. In the exchange of releasing my pain, He gave me Himself to fill.

Amazing.

Beloved, wherever you are today, know that Jesus has a table spread out for you with a chair and a placard with your name on it. If you are hungry, come. Eat. Dig in. Pour out your heart to Him and let Him fill you with the richness of who He is.

“In Your presence, God, I am completely satisfied.” ~ Phil Wickham, Divine Romance