But is HE really enough??? August 31, 2012Posted by theregenerateme in Uncategorized.
But He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Cor 12:9
Recently, something has become painfully clear to me. Something that quite frankly, I’ve been unwilling to see….my own blind spot if you will, in my walk with the Lord. I’ve proclaimed for years now, that I trust God. Of course I do, I am His child. I cling to His Word. I believe HE is Sovereign. So yes, of course I trust Him…..don’t I? Man, I wish it was that simple sometimes……and yet, I know (now more than ever), that it CAN”T be this simple. For if it was this easy, it would only be a short matter of time before every one of us would STOP seeing our desperate need for Him.
So, if I feel so confident in my trust for and in Him, then I must be a great example, and should be able to share with all of you what this said trust looks like, eh? Hmm, now I’m not feeling so confident…..not feeling so sure about my trust. The thing is, as I reflect over the years of my walk with the Lord, and how I’ve dealt with trials and burdens, well-I’m not so sure I totally like what I see. I see myself picking up the phone…..A LOT. I see me turning my brain OFF with the tv or a movie. I see me running to the kitchen to find something to eat, scurrying around the house in a mad effort to see instant results in something….dust, clean bathrooms, vacuum (but still no peace)…..almost NEVER in my walk with the Lord, have I FIRST run to Him. I almost always get there, but never FIRST. This breaks my heart, and no doubt Christ’s too. What am I saying about what I believe with my actions?? I am saying that a friend is more trustworthy than GOD? That a movie will make me feel better somehow? That food will cure my weary heart? Oh my Heavenly Father….please forgive me!!!
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
I’ve known this passage since I was a little girl…so why have I not allowed it to break my bones and pierce my heart? Because I have chosen not to trust that HE ALONE is able. HIS KINGDOM ALONE is all I have ever needed. Even as I write this, I find myself praying to GOD to help me overcome my disbelief. My feeble faith fails me, time and time again. But I want to believe more…..trust more…..strive less.
I thank GOD for precious members of the body of Christ. I am not saying that we aren’t suppose to be there for one another, and carry each other’s burdens. We are. But we all also MUST put Christ first, and in doing so, we can better see our sweet sisters and brothers needs to do the same. I thank my Lord for some of the best friends I will no doubt ever have (you know who you are, and I love you!). Through you all, and His Word, and my own prayer life, my sweet Savior is making it LOUD and CLEAR. It’s as close to an audible voice as it can get. “Come to Me. Rest in Me. Trust ME. I created you. I know you. I know every single thing you think, do, have done, and will do. I am the best Counselor. RUN. TO. ME.
“Evening, morning, and noon, I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice.” Ps 55:17
“Come to me, all who labor and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Oh Abba, You are always right here….always. The unending mercy You have shown me, as I have clumsily walked with You….many times letting Your hand go, and following my own will, my own selfish controlling ways. But YOU GOD, You never left me. You never leave me. You’ll never forsake me. Ever. How can I know that, and not RUN TO YOU as fast as I can? Oh my grieving heart! You are too good to me, to love me enough, to patiently teach me this. And forgive me Father, for I know You have taught me so many things, OVER AND OVER. Yes indeed, Your grace is sufficient. Of course it is. I am drenched in Your abundant grace, and feel the daily mercies lavishly overflowing onto my life.
Your blessings are never ending. You’ve given me a husband, (9 years ago today in fact), 3 beautiful children, a precious church family…..but most of all Lord, You have given me Your son, Jesus Christ. Forgive me for taking Him for granted. Forgive me for not trusting that You are perfectly able to give me a peace that passes all understanding. Help me to long for You. Help me to RUN to You alone. You are good. You are faithful. I am undeserving. I love you.
“Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8
God’s instruments October 17, 2011Posted by theregenerateme in Uncategorized.
If I could write everyday, I would. If somehow I could transpose my thoughts onto paper by just thinking them, I would have written a few books by now, no doubt. But alas, other priorities that God has entrusted me with must come first. My husband, children, and home. And I am deeply grateful for my calling….but just for a few minutes today, my writing will take 1st place, as I desire to piece together what only God has orchestrated, and continues to….
Just the other day I was thinking about the word instrument, in how we relate it to being used by God. Just like we consider what it means to be a “part of the body” of Christ, so it is with being a used instrument by Him. You see, when something is broken, in need of repair, or just in need of different parts to perform correctly, we use an instrument of some sort to fix that said issue. Doctor’s use many instruments when performng simple routine procedures, all the way up to a very intricate detailed surgery. Mechanics are no different. They use multiple instruments and tools to repair vehicles. The list can go on and on. You get the idea. When I think about the parallel example of a doctor and his instrument, to God and us…it really blows my mind. Though the doctor is skilled and full of knowledge in a very complicated surgery, without the proper surgical tools, he is unable to perform the task. Of course any parallel that we have with the Lord will come up short, not being the exact image, because God is perfect, and obviously does not “need” us to perform or complete His tasks. However, we are His, created by Him, created for Him, and can and will be used by Him for His glory. This has certainly been the case in all my Christian life over the last nearly 6 years. To be specific in this present case, I have seen the hand of God absolutely move within and through His instruments, to orchestrate something encouraging, something that gives me hope, something that is worthy to give Him praise!
Four years ago today, I was involved in a car accident. It was my 2nd accident in 2 weeks, and I was 7 months pregnant. That began what has become one of the greatest longsuffering trials in my life. Though I know it may not be over any time soon, today I must praise my Lord, for all the work He has done in me, through me, and for me. I am closer to Him, relying on His strength, not my own, in ways that I may not be if it weren’t for my chronic daily back pain. God has even used my pain to train my children at a young age what compassion and carrying one another’s burdens in prayer looks like. My husband also suffers from chronic daily pain (headache disorder), so we are more able to understand one another, give compassion and lots of grace, and lift one another up in prayer too. God has brought kind people into my life within the medical field. A Christian chiropractor who has become a friend and a prayer warrior on my behalf. A massage therapist who loves Jesus with all of her heart, and has devoted much time over the years to treat me, pray over me, and even care for my children. Even the doctors that God has brought into (and out of) my life that weren’t as kind or able to help–God prepared my heart beforehand for them too. I listened to an awesome sermon on Job several years back, the night before I was to meet with a neurosurgeon about possible back surgery. Once the apt. came, my heart was softened with proper perspective, and the doctor’s arrogant bedside manner couldn’t even touch my joy that day. I look at all of these people as God’s instruments really. Some have been obvious encouragers, and others have still had a greater purpose. A purpose to remind me that He is really the only one that will not fail me. He is really the only one I can fully rely and depend on. Because sin entered this world, our bodies wasting away and getting sick is just one of the consequences. I see more clearly because of this trial, that my reward is still awaiting me at HOME; heaven. I honestly understand why we (believers) are called “aliens to this world”. I can tell I don’t belong here, but my citizenship is in heaven with my eternal Heavenly Father. But, for as long as He sees fit for us to be here, He uses us as His instruments…and I am very grateful for that.
Just over the last couple of weeks, I have gone through another “valley” of this trial. A new MRI with reports of degenerative disc disease and severe inflammation in my low backbone, lots of stressful phone calls to get medical info where it needed to be, in hopes of seeing a new neuro surgeon, and then a call of rejection by that said doc’s office. My heart has felt a bit broken, but my gracious Abba has brought me much comfort today. After only 2 days since the declined consult call, I talked to a different doctor’s office, and they wanted to see me right away. Wow. Trying not to get my hopes up, I said a prayer of praise and thanksgiving, and asked for proctection over my heart. Today I met this doctor. Right before he walked in, I felt the tears begin to build up and out of my eyes, streaming down onto my cheeks. I wiped them away and whispered softly, “Not my will Father, but Yours….Your grace IS sufficient for me.” After about a 25 minute consult with this kind man, I walked away with hope. Something I have not felt (for this particular situation), in years. We talked about surgery, procedures, medications, etc. He wants to help me, and does not want to give up. Praise God!!!!! I know this may be a slow process, producing the need to perservere. So I will continue to cling to Romans 5:3-5. I had my sister paint a canvas of it that sits beautifully over our bed. It’s really both me and John’s life verse. What a solid truth to meditate on. He will never disappoint us!
So, to all who has been His instrument on my behalf….thank you!!!!! I love each and every one of you, some I realize I do not even know or have not met. Your prayers, calls, meals, kindness, support, and love for me and my whole family are deeply humbling, and I am forever grateful. Please continue to pray for John and I, for clarity and wisdom. We have some big decisions to make, regarding back surgery, and the BIG recovery involved.
Life is hard, but God is good, and worthy to be praised!
In His Hands,
Remembering what only HE can do!! December 23, 2010Posted by theregenerateme in Uncategorized.
It’s just a couple days until Christmas. It’s always right around this time that I reflect on what the Lord did to me and for me, 5 years ago. I went back and read an old post I wrote back in 2008. Can’t really say I could add more to it, so I just thought I would repost it for today. I pray today whomever reads this, that the Light of the World has been made known in your life. And if you do not know Him, that is, Jesus Christ Lord and Savior…that today would be the day that you would see your sin for what it is, your need for a Savior-your eternal substitution, and that you would repent and ask Him to transform your life into something that reflects His image. Merry Christmas….celebrate what God did for the entire human race, in the most lowly of all circumstances…..a baby.
Wishy Washy People Part 2 November 23, 2010Posted by theregenerateme in Uncategorized.
Okay, I’m back to bring my point to fruition…as even I meditated on these thoughts. The timing of me writing this was impeccable. My pastor is expositing 1Cor. right now, and when I wrote Part 1, it was a Saturday night–the next morning at church I see the title to the sermon is “In and not Of, but Definitely In”. I was like, “WOW!!!” It completely correlated with what is on my heart, and what I had written the night before (of course, his was WAAAY more deep, theological, accurate, amazing, etc). But I am no pastor (praise the Lord)–rather just a fool for Christ, sharing what He has laid on my heart. So, with that-let’s get on with it:
The whole point to this post is about self-examination. It is for (all of us) to consider how we are living our lives, and for WHOM. Jesus said we can’t serve 2 masters (Matt 6:24)so stop putting one foot in your faith and one foot in the world. It doesn’t work…better yet, it’s a sin! If you say you are for Him, then BE FOR HIM! I have grown to be incredibly passionate about this…maybe because of the radical transformation God caused in my life…maybe because I live in the South, where almost everybody is a “christian”, but very few actually have fruit-producing radical life transforming lives. Probably both. And my passion leaves me with this thought. I…AM…FED…UP. Fed up with the hypocrisy, the heretics, the blasphemy, and the “christian posers” putting a bad name on behalf of the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Unfortunately, I know MANY people like this. They claim the faith, but they are living for themselves. It’s something like this: Monday-Saturday–work, play, appointments, dinners, work, play harder, (maybe a Wed night church thingy is slipped in as a check off list), work, play even harder…fall over, sleep it off…wait for Sunday morning, get up and dress up…have some sort of religious service where God is mentioned, but it’s more of a social club than anything…go out for lunch (and maybe drinks), go back home and sleep off all the hard playing from the week…and then do it all again. That, my friends, is WISHY WASHY! Nothing about this said lifestyle reflects the finished work of Christ. Nothing shows a comparison to “suffering for Christ’s sake”. Everything shows the world hypocrisy though. The world looks at that life and sees nothing different from its own, and is left thinking, “then why would I be interested in their God?” How completely irresponsible….
Truth is, this said life most likely is in fact NOT a truly transformed one. It is someone who has made God in an image that is easier for them to tolerate and accept, therefore making it no big deal to claim Christianity as their faith-all the while living for the world and their own pleasures. I could go on and on about this subject…but you get the point. So where are you in all of this? It’s time for some self-examination…..
Who do you think God is? Let me tell you the truth-He is who He says He is…which can ONLY be known in His Scriptures. He is SO MUCH more than LOVE. He detests sin, and will not allow it to enter into His kingdom..heaven. And being wishy washy like this IS SIN! You can’t create a God that makes you feel good….that is NOT the Christian faith, and believing that is damning. Obviously there is a lot more to say about Him, but this is a start and if you wanted to know Him more, pick up the bible and start reading. Romans is an excellent place to start. 1John is also a great book to read if you are unsure where you may stand with God (ie, if you are truly saved).
I literally could write 5 pages on this everyday for the rest of my life…that’s how passionate I am about these kind of people. The Gospel of Jesus Christ must be protected! When wishy washy people are out there defacing the name of Christ, the world is left wondering…even laughing at the Christian faith. And I should know. I was the chief leader to these said people. Claiming the faith as my own, yet living the life I gave for example in earlier text. By God’s grace, He plucked me out of “the world”, showed me that I now belonged to Him and gave me new desires-ones that resulted in me not being “of” the world, and He mercifully commanded me to stay “in” this world, just not be “of”…..but definitley “in”.
So where do you stand with God? Are you wishy washy in your faith? Do you put Christ in your back pocket, and then go about living your life for yourself? Are you excusing your sin, finding ways to justify your lifestyle based on popular trends? Truly, truly, I tell you…repent and live! The time is at hand….it is now….stop being wishy washy and join me in being a fool for Christ!
Wishy Washy People Part 1 November 14, 2010Posted by theregenerateme in Uncategorized.
Are you wishy washy in your faith in Christ? Do you even know what that means? Here are some questions to ponder that may reveal where you stand:
Is Jesus someone you think about on a regular basis? If not, why-and if so, in what way do you think about Him?
Do you put faith in your back pocket? (meaning, do you live your life the way you want, then reach in your back pocket for your Sunday morning/Wednesday night faith?)
Do you claim “Christianity” as your religion, but have no real, intimate, one on one relationship with Jesus Christ?
Do you enjoy talking about the Lord and His Word, and hold a high value in having friends that do the same?
How do you react when someone shares Scripture with you, either for encouragement, exhortation, or possibly rebuke? Do you even know what these things mean?
Lastly, do you truly understand what you say you believe? (meaning, do you understand the depth of the Christian faith, and not just “Jesus loves me, this I know…”)
Depending on how you answered these questions will tell you much about where you stand with God. Maybe you started reading, then got an idea of where this was going and stopped(which means you probably didn’t get this far). Maybe you are in denial, and think what you have is just fine, and it’s working for you, so why re-evaluate? In any case, we ALL need to read this, and ALL need to investigate our hearts. If there is ever a time that any one of us thinks things are dandy witihin us, repentance is sure to follow. If you did stumble upon this blog post, take some time to meditate on these questions, and come back soon for Part 2 of Wishy Washy People.
Her Legacy lives on… May 26, 2010Posted by theregenerateme in Uncategorized.
Today, May 26th 2010, would’ve been my birthmom’s 56th birthday. I miss her so much, though during the years she was living as my mom, I was very young and don’t have lots of memories to hang on to. She passed away when I was 6. Only through some scattered stories and pictures over the years, have I gotten to know little bits of who she was. I have always wished that I knew her better and remembered her more.
It’s been over 4 years now since I’ve been saved, and really ever since then, my mom’s life/death has laid heavily on my heart. At least 3 years ago I began praying for clarity and opportunity to know more about who she was. I never knew exactly how that might all work out, but I kept on praying. Well, I am so delighted to give thanks and praise to my faithful Lord, who hears my prayers. Over the last couple of years, I have found her! Through stories, pictures, audio tracks of her speaking, and her own writings, I have come into the knowledge of who Linda Jane Granger really was, and Who she belongs to. She was (and is) my sister in Christ! The Lord has blessed me with confirmation after confirmation that she was indeed saved by Grace–something I never knew for certain, and never would’ve truly been able to appreciate until I was in the faith. I believe the Lord knew all of that, and has been so merciful to lift the veil for me in so many ways. One of the gifts from God through all of this just came to me at Christmas (of 2009). My dad gave my sisters and I some cd’s that he put together. One of them was the audio of their wedding. Listening to the way my mom spoke of Jesus immediately brought joy to my heart and tears to my eyes. There is just no doubt how deeply she loved Him. Her desire to be a godly, submissive wife was obvious. It was all so precious…truly a gift directly from the Lord, and another answer to prayer for confirmation of her saving faith. I can now rejoice over her life and over her death, because I know I will see her again. It’s not important to me to have all the “why’s” of her life/death answered anymore. It’s not important to me to understand why she might have done certain “things” wrong. You know why? Because, “no one is good, not even one” and “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Rom 3:10, 23. So of course she was a sinner, just like you and me. But she was saved by Grace, and is eternally in her state of glorification with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
And her legacy lives on. Now being a mother myself, I know what it’s like to have that deep desire for your children to be saved. I am sure she prayed for our salvation, just like I do over my children’s heads each night. Though she never was living on earth to see salvation take place for me, the Lord was faithful to her prayers too. And now I can say (with confidence), that I am a lot like my mom, and to me, that is exciting and joyful. I am thankful for these little nuggets of knowledge the Lord has allowed me to know, and I praise God continually for saving her, and for saving me. Today, I celebrate a wonderful woman. A woman who may have worn many hats, some of which were: mother, wife, daughter, sister, chef, poet. But those hats simply cannot compare to her greatest “title” and greatest joy…she was a daughter to the King of Kings, a disciple and teller of the Good News, and an heir to His eternal kingdom. I love you mom, and celebrate your life on earth, and your new life in Christ. I can’t wait to see you again!
It can Happen Anywhere March 3, 2010Posted by theregenerateme in 1.
Over the weekend, I attended the annual Veterinary Conference that comes here locally. Although I am not currently practicing (veterinary nursing), I don’t ever want to lose my license. So, I attend these annual conferences to receive my 12 mandatory CE (continuing education) hours, thus keeping my license in tact. So, Saturday morning arrives, and I head to the conference. I was a little late arriving, so by the time I got there, a session had already begun. I checked in and received my package, then found a seat to look over everything and wait a little while for a break. It’s when I was waiting for one thing, when along came something else….something unexpected….something SO MUCH BETTER!
This older man was walking by (in a bit of a hurry), and looked over my way saying, “hello there dear….you aren’t married to a Veterinarian are you?” I of course replied, “No, I’m a veterinary nurse.” He asked me what part of town I work, so I started to tell him that I am not currently practicing, but own a small pet sitting business. Well, he held up his hand and said, “Hold that thought honey, I’ve got to get to the little boys room, but you sound like you are full of information, so I’ll be right back….don’t you move.” I said okay with a laugh, then got back to my material. Sure enough, a few minutes later he comes on back, sitting down in the chair right next to me. He continues, “So tell me about what it is you do?” We chatted back and forth for several minutes, discussing my business and animal health care. He told me that he lives in Madison, AL and has a practice there. “The name’s Jim (Dr. Jim) Powers.” He started asking me some personal questions, like what made me get into this business instead of staying in the medical field. As I was answering his questions, one after the other, I thought to myself…”This is not ordinary. A complete stranger interested in getting to know another complete stranger for really no reason, no benefit. Some people might really be annoyed with this, or uncomfortable…wanting him to get up and walk away already. But I don’t really mind. I appreciated him. I love elderly people, always have. This is kind of cool.” Well, little did I know the conversation was about to shift in a direction that would sure cause more enjoyment.
He asked me what my husband did for a living. I told him he worked at LifeWay Christian Resources, here in Nashville. And here’s where my story gets interesting. The following is our dialogue over the next several minutes:
Dr. Jim: “Well, I bet they only want Christians working for them, so how do they go about making sure that happens?”
me: “They actually asked him to share his personal testimony during the interviewing process.”
Dr. Jim: “Wow, you don’t say? If I did that at my practice, I’d be sure to get slapped with some sort of lawsuit of prejudice, intolerance, or discrimination. How can they get away with that?”
me: “Well, they are a business set on biblical principles, working together for the good of the Gospel, so it behooves them to inquire each employees’ beliefs. I would think that is an understood requirement and desire for each person that applies to work there. Of course, anyone can say anything to get hired. Only God truly knows if each individual working there is in fact saved.”
Dr. Jim: (pausing and scratching his chin for a moment, then says) ” Well Ms. Lauren, how long have you been a Christian?”
me: “Four and a half years sir.”
Dr. Jim: “Well what took you so long!” (with a sweet smile on his face)
me: “All I can tell you is that I certainly thought I was a Christian my whole life. I was raised with just enough Christian understanding around me to think I was….but the Lord just recently opened my eyes to His Truth about Him, and the Truth about my sinful state.”
Dr. Jim: (huge smile on his face now) “Honey, let me just tell you about a conversation I had earlier with a young lady in the room right across from us.”
Well, I felt my face light up, and my rear begin to scoop to the edge of my seat. He went on to tell me about this woman he had spoken with a couple hours before. She was an episcopal (which was my previous background). He asked her when she accepted the Lord and Savior into her life. Her response was something about going to church regularly and getting baptized. As he is sharing this, I’m sitting here thinking, “wow Lord, he basically was having a conversation with an old version of me! I was in that liturgical, ceremonious type of denomination, I assumed going to church and getting baptized was just what you had to do as a Christian too.” I was wondering what he said next to her, about baptism especially. My heart delighted in his response to her. He told her that doing that stuff was good and all, but that wasn’t what he asked her. “When were you saved my dear?”, he asked the woman. He said she just sort of stuttered a bit with her words, and said she believed who Jesus was, and really liked going to church. He told her that God will forgive her for “getting saved twice” (play on words if you will), but He won’t forgive you if you never become saved. Wow. I think at this point I must have been smiling from ear to ear. There is no greater joy when you realize you are in the presence of a fellow believer. At first it appeared that we were two strangers, having no more than a love for animal in common, but within minutes we both realized we were siblings in Christ, heirs of His eternal kingdom! He had witnessed to this young lady just a couple hours earlier, and was doing the very same thing with me now. What a pleasure to us both knowing that Liberty had already come our ways. We talked quite a bit more…about my testimony, my marriage, my church home, and the overflowing joy I have in Christ alone. He said that as soon as he started talking to me about God, my face lit up and my whole body looked more alert. I told him that didn’t really surprise me…nothing in life excites me more than sharing the passion I have in Jesus Christ. I told him I used to be an episcopal, and had very similar responses to what the woman earlier that morning had stated to him. We talked about how liturgy, ceremonious acts, good works, and “religion” are so far from the One True Gospel. I looked at Dr. Jim and said, ” It’s Grace, and Grace alone, you know?” He said, “absolutely my dear….you got it!” He stood up and told me there was another young lady he had just briefly talked to earlier (not about Christ), and that he wanted to go find her and witness to her. He shook my hand, saying “God bless you” and told me my husband was a lucky man (more like I’m the blessed one!).
As Dr. Jim Powers from Madison, AL walked away, I took a pause to digest what just took place. Here was a Veterinarian, attending a Veterinary Conference, but he wasn’t necessarily there to hear all the lectures. He was on a mission….the same mission that every human being was created for…to share the Good News with everyone.
“Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and He rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen. And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation.” Mark 16:14-15
As I got up from my chair to continue on about my day at the conference, I said a silent prayer of great thanks to the Lord for that sweet encouragement and reminder of why we are all here, and that we can (and SHOULD) be always that eager to tell of His great GRACE. Thank you Dr. Jim, my dear brother in Christ, and thank you Lord for such a sweet moment in my life…It can happen anywhere! Amen!
If you’ve ever wondered how or if God speaks… August 24, 2009Posted by theregenerateme in 1.
I had to make time today to write this down. Blogging for me has become less of a priority in life as a mommy of 2 very mobile children….but yesterday’s unfoldings are worthy to be shared! I picked the title as such because there are so many “doubters” of the Christian faith, that God can actually speak to us. I myself used to fall into that category, thinking people that said that were “not all there” or using it as an excuse for a choice they wanted to make but needed “God’s name” to permiss it. I now know that this is not so. He absolutely speaks to His children….maybe not an audible voice like we speak to one another, but just as loud…no louder and much more powerful than any human voice ever known. Here’s my story of God talking to me yesterday:
It all started very early in the morning, around 5:45am. It was still a bit dark outside, and I was in my car driving to a pet sitting job. I am not a morning person, but man I wish I was! God creates such beauty in the wee hours of the morning. The stillness, the dew, the fog just above the grass, the sunrise, the song birds…breathtaking! I turned on the radio to help keep me awake and alert. A song had just started, so I turned it up. I didn’t recognize the song before, but I knew that voice; it was Fernando Ortega, whom I love! The song was precious and worshipful. The first line was “Come, let us worship and bow down”…had me almost in immediate tears. That one line says so much of where are hearts should be. Humbled, contrite, in fellowship with one another, and in submission to The King worthy of being bowed down to. What a way to start off my day.
I get home, and after the morning routines of the household, we head to church. Right as service begins, we open with a Psalms and prayer. It was Psalm 95, which I wasn’t yet familiar with. As I am reading along, we hit verse 6, and tears begin to fill my eyes. “Oh come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker.” God had allowed me to not only hear this psalm in song form for the first time a few short hours before, but to be affected by it. It penetrated my heart in the early morning hours, which then caused a deeper love and affection for His Word shared hours later at church. The next verse was also a part of the song…vs 7: “For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.” What precious truths in this passage! God wanted to tell me…remind me, of who I am and who HE is to me. I was so touched and in awe of how He communicated that to me.
Next, our pastor began to pray. In his prayer he referenced 2 separate passages from Scripture that both John (my husband) and I had as our facebook status’. We had just talked about both of them in the morning before leaving for church. Mine was Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for all those who are in Christ Jesus.” And John’s was Galatians 1:10-11 “For I am now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” So, as I stood there, in humbled adoration of my God already, He brought me even deeper. He knew those passages were on our hearts already, and obviously on our pastor’s as well. He knew it would serve to be another great encouragement and a blessing of how His supernatural and precious Holy Spirit works and speaks in ways we never think possible. I was floored! Where was a box of kleenex when I needed it!
After hearing one of the most powerful messages of Christ’s sufferings for my own personal sin (Matthew 27:26-31, “The Crown”), our pastor shared with us the desire to sing a song that was close to his heart, and completely appropriate for the sermon just taught. It was “Crown Him with many Crowns.” He said he really loved the arrangement done by….Fernando Ortega. Now I know this isn’t as big of a deal, but still just so cool how God ties all things together for our encouragemnt and joy. We closed service by singing it altogether…it was so tender and glorifying. So on that high note, John and I head home. The conversation was so rich and fruitful between us…what a blessing! We were both talking about how thankful we are for being saved, being His true inheritances of the Kingdom. I was sharing with him a conversation I had a couple days prior with a dear friend of mine. She was asking me questions about my past, and wondered if I am ever “haunted” by all the sin that was committed, especially living in the same town as much of it took place. As I was sharing with John my answer to her, a car drove by us on the interstate that had a liscense plate reading “By Grace”. I read it aloud, then a burst of joyous laughter proceeded. God…You are unbelievable! The words that were just about to leave my lips were, “I don’t ever feel haunted, but ever mindful of His huge grace in my life.” I told John and we just sort of sat there for a moment, in reverent amazement. Yes God, I hear You! I hear You from the words writtin in Your Book. I hear You Lord Jesus through the prayers of your dear and gifted children. I hear you Abba Father, in the melodious and joyous songs about who You are and how it penetrates my heart. I hear You oh Holy God, and I respond in total humility, with my face at the foot of Your cross, confessing that You are my Lord, who has declared me righteous through Your Son’s blood, and bestowed this unmerited, undeserved, gift of grace in my life. Thank You for speaking to me. May I always be aware enough to see it as such!! I love You!
Doctor’s Apt. and a Clear Message February 25, 2009Posted by theregenerateme in 1.
I shared this via email with friends and family that have been praying for me. I wanted it here too…to give another opportunity to bring glory to God. He is SO good!!!
My loving family and friends,
First, please forgive me for the mass email. I know there have been SO many of you praying for me throughout the last 16 months in regards to my back. Some of you may not know that I had an apt with a neurosurgeon today to discuss possible surgery. I would like to tell you all what happened, but to do so, I need to share this weekend’s happenings with you first.
Ever since early last week at the chiropractor’s office, I have been a bit melancholy. My doctor told me we were no longer going to continue decompression treatment. I had fulfilled my package deal of 20 sessions, and he has even allowed 6 more sessions post that to see if it would be effective. The treatment in completion was 45% effective, which is a praise. It’s not what I expected, nor the doctor’s had hoped, but a change nonetheless. My doctor referred me to see this neurosurgeon today, hoping he could be of some help….possibly neurosurgery of some kind. All last week, I (tried) not to get excited about the possibility of total and complete healing from surgery, but my friends, this wasn’t easy. The thought of having this chronic daily pain…GONE within 20 minutes post surgery?!!? Well, it was easy to indulge in that hope! But God wanted my perspective to be right. Saturday night, as I was folding laundry, I decided to listen to the session from the NCCT conference that I had missed to stay home with a sick child. John had gone and told me it was awesome and I needed to listen to it. So, I began to listen to the sermon titled, “Beholding the God of Sovereign Supremacy; Good, Evil, and Ministry” by Dr. Bruce Ware. http://media.churchandtheology.org/ It was all about the life of Job. I have never spent any time in this book, so I was unfamiliar with his life. For those of you who don’t know, Job endured unimaginable suffering, ultimately by the hand of God. It’s intense, it’s hard to comprehend, it’s humbling beyond anything I’ve yet read. A little over half way through the sermon, I began to weep; so much so, that I found myself on my knees, holding my hands over my face. Job endured more than I can begin to digest, and instead of complaining, instead of cursing His name or blaming Him…..he worshiped, giving thanks and praise. Wow. I began to think…have I done that, even once since all this adversity has come my way? The answer was clear even before the question was finished. No I have not. Though I have not cursed Him or blamed Him, I also have not thanked Him for this suffering and affliction, knowing He loves and cares for me, and this is for my good. It was a moment in my walk with Him that broke me and caused a deep desire to repent. The next morning (yesterday), John and I sat down in the sanctuary, excited to hear a guest speaker (Don Whitney) preach. The sermon titled, “If God is for us, who is against us” (Romans 8:31), was on the screen. As Don began speaking, John and I looked at each other in awe of God. The sermon completely was like a part 2 from the sermon I had just listened to the night before. Don even was talking about Job, and all the suffering he endured. Is God for us if we are going through such tremendous suffering? YES HE IS!!! God made it so clear to me over the weekend that not only does He know the details of my life, but He cares for me, He loves me, He gives me His word for comfort and encouragement. Oh my, what a God I serve. He allowed this weekend’s teachings to equip me with a new song in my heart. A heart of worship, of utter trust, and of total peace. (Proverbs 3:5) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”
So, as I walked in (and back out) of the doctor’s office today, I had His peace. I just had this feeling that the Lord prepared me so much this weekend for peace and trust, that I was hardly worried about the outcome (a completely different perspective from earlier in the week). After examining me, looking at my MRI images, and talking with me, the doctor said surgery is 100% not an option for me. He was (sort of) uncompassionate even, and lacked a bit in bed side manner. I saw God’s hand in that too. I had such the temptation to put my hope in a doctor, or a surgery. Then I get a no for surgery, and not the “nicest” doctor to deliver the news. My hope is in HIM! All this to say, I truly believe that the Lord prepared my heart over the weekend for this news today. If my perspective was still the same as last week, I’m sure that I would be in bed crying, disappointed, maybe even hopeless. This isn’t to say there isn’t a fraction of disappointment…I am still human. But His peace trumps it all! I walked out of there today feeling a joy that can only come from Him, because I know He allows all things for my good and His glory!
So, thank you ALL who have prayed. I praise Him for you all in my life, the encouragement, accountability, and deep friendship. I could’ve just shared “the news” with you all today, but I had to take this opportunity to glorify our amazing Lord for the work He is doing in my own heart. I want to strive for a faith like Job, falling on my face in humility and deep worship! God bless!
By His Grace Alone,
Happy 3rd Birthday to me, through HIM! December 24, 2008Posted by theregenerateme in 1.
I love December for lots of reasons. My top three reasons all have to do with birth.
1.There is no greater day than the day that God Himself became the Incarnation, JESUS, born to Mary and Joseph in a lowly, dirty stable in Bethlehem Christmas day.
2.Last year on Christmas, I was in labor, preparing for the arrival of my sweet daughter Ruby. Her birth came the morning after Christmas, and I can now add it to my favorite days of this month!
3.Lastly, the week before Christmas of 2005, God began to transform my life, giving me the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, and allowing the Holy Spirit to supernaturally dwell inside me. Since I just celebrated my birthday in Christ, I wanted to take this moment to give Him the glory.
Three years ago my life seemed uncertain. It appeared to be falling apart…and fast. My complete dependence on the Lord became clear to me. I remember praying that day. I had prayed many times before that day, but because I had never truly confessed of sin in my life, repented, and depended on Jesus soley, those prayers were never heard. But this day was different. I was a broken human, and my heart was contrite. Hopelessness was all I could see really, which is why I began to pray. I remember while I was praying I began to weep. It became clear to me what I had to do, and regardless of the situation, I wasn’t afraid. I didn’t fear the outcome of my life. I had been given Hope. I felt confident through my deep weakness. It was His strength, not mine (2 Cor 12:10). It was the day I died to self, and was born as a new creation, His daughter(2 Cor. 5:17). I was an infant, in need of nurturing. God provided that tender care through His Word. I was so eager, so thirsty, so teachable. God provided through His Word. I was in need of pruning out sin, and being given new desires. God provided through His Word. He has caused great sanctification in my life, and I know my future holds much more.
What a joy it is to have this blessed assurance of my eternal resting place. God says there will be many suprised people come Judgement Day. That could’ve been me. Going through life without a care of my sin. Claiming Jesus as someone I truly knew and loved. Having one foot in the world, and one foot in my (empty) faith. I am so thankful that God won’t look at me and say, ” I never knew you, depart from me!” (Matt 7:23) .I know it is only by grace, through faith, that I am saved, not of any works I could ever do, but an undeserved gift from God (Eph 2:8-9). I could keep writing and writing about this amazing gift that He bestowed on me because, well….I continue to stand in complete AWE of our God that transforms lives, saving souls. Today I am celebrating my 3rd birthday in Christ, and giving HIM all the glory! I love you Jesus. Happy birthday to you! You are my King!
His new creation,