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It can Happen Anywhere March 3, 2010

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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, 2009

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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, 2009

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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,

Lauren

Happy 3rd Birthday to me, through HIM! December 24, 2008

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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,

Lauren

Old songs, New meanings, and the Sweetest Worship! November 20, 2008

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This year John and I celebrated our 5th anniversary of marriage! It is always a blessing to see what God has done with us from year to year. We had a wonderful evening that night ( August 31st), and John promised something very special was to be expected in the near future. So a month or two later, John suprised me with two tickets to Amy Grant’s 20th anniversary Lead Me On tour. OH. MY. WORD. I just got home today…and knew I had to make time to get here and write about it.

First, I should explain that John was not approved from work to get the time off. The concert was about 4 hours away, so he needed to take a day and a half off, but it didn’t happen! We were devastated for awhile, but I really wanted to go, and he really wanted me to go. After a couple of weeks trying to figure out “the plan”, my sister Ali and I were talking on the phone about how totally awesome it would be if we could somehow go together…(jokingly). We NEVER thought it was a true possibility. The concert was on a Tuesday night, which isn’t the easiest night to figure out childcare. I had a time working that out on my end, so I just never thought to even ask her for the same reason. Well, it’s just like God to work out things that appear unworkable. With fairly effortless ability, things fell into place, and Ali called me the Monday before the concert (at 7:30 am) to say….SHE COULD GO!!!! God, You are too good to us!

The drive was almost exactly a halfway point for us, about 4 hours each. We met at a hotel, grabbed some dinner, and off to the concert we went.

As we waited anxiously in our seats, we were reminded that 20 years ago, we were together with the rest of our family, backstage at Amy’s Lead Me On concert, hugging her, talking with her, hearing her share a story about holding 2 dozen long stemmed roses very tightly for a photo session, and the photographer kept telling her to hold them tighter and smile big and laugh…all the while she was trying not to cry from the thorns that were digging into her arms!!! What great memories Ali and I were able to share about all Amy’s awesome music that just seemed to always be a constant in our house.  We could hardly stand to wait a moment more, when….lights go down….it’s concert time!

Amy and her original band from the Lead Me On tour, put on a rockin, awesome, spirit-filled night! Even though Ali and I knew those songs frontwards and backwards, the lyrics had a totally new and precious appreciation. Ever since our salvation, God has given us these new ears to hear TRUTH, and that’s exactly what we were listening to last night. I am telling you…last night was the most powerful time of worship for us! WHAT. A. BLESSING. There were a few times I became totally overwhelmed with God’s grace and mercy. Just being reminded that although I’ve always loved her music, always loved her, this time it was different. I GOT IT! I UNDERSTOOD! Amy’s passion for Christ was (and is) undeniable. The moment for me that I felt totally broken (in a good way) was when she sang “What about the Love?”. Man. The chorus sings, ‘Somethin’s wrong in heaven tonight, you can almost hear them cry…angels to the left and the right, singing what about the Love, what about the Love, what about the Love of God.’ Each verse was such a great depiction and explanation about the world we live in. The world that may even claim the Christian faith. Oh man, I could write a whole post just on that, but needless to say, it was a very powerful moment in the evening. I got some great pictures and an awesome video of Amy telling a truly inspiring story….

After the concert was over, Ali and I just knew we somehow HAD to see her. We had absolutely no idea how that was going to happen, seeing how we didn’t have a backstage pass, or any “connections”. But, we just decided to wait with the group of people that did have backstage passes, and see what would happen. There was another group of ladies that were also waiting around, hopeful to meet Amy without any official passes, so we got to know them and visited while we waited. We decided to step around the corner for a quick second, because Chris Eaton (her keyboard player from original tour and singer/songwriter) was out there signing stuff and taking pictures. Ali took a picture of him and I, and we hurried back around the corner, only to find the ladies were…..GONE! We both looked at eachother with major sad eyes, realizing our window just closed. We just stood there for a couple minutes, trying to decide what to do. Nobody else was left. We were by ourselves, standing on the “wrong” side of the backstage door. I peeped my eyes through the doors, and I could see the ladies right there! Then I could see Amy talking to a bunch of people. I said to Ali, “come on sis, we are going in!” And we did! I just opened the door, acting like I had permission or something. I think Ali was in shock for a sec…(actually I think I was too). We walked to the end of the line, and the ladies looked at us and smiled, saying they were worried we were going to miss our chance. Our patient waiting paid off!!!

Amy made her way through each group, talking and taking pictures. Ali and I were the very last ones for her to meet. As she looked our way, I could feel the emotions start to stir. It took her just a moment to connect all the info we were throwing at her. Then it hit her. She remembered who we were. She grabbed both of us and gave us a huge hug. She asked us questions about our lives. She grabbed my arm and said, “I remember your young little face!” We told her what God has done in our lives over the past 3 years. We told her about hearing her songs tonight with new meaning, and such a deep passion. She looked at us and said, “you girls have had a rough road…but your mom is smiling down on you now, and she was a wonderful woman.” Tears began to fill my eyes, and I look over at Ali, and the same is happening to her, then I hug Amy and say thank you for sharing that with us, and look at her eyes, and they were as teary as ours. It was a tremendous blessing. The concert itself was just totally profound, but to have the chance to see her and share a few things….well, it was the “icing on the cake” as it goes. Ali and I were (and still are) on this great spiritual high. What an amazing night. What an amazing God we serve.  He didn’t have to orchestrate that for us. He is so merciful. He is so worthy to be praised!

A special thanks must go to two incredibly precious men. My husband John, and Ali’s husband David. They love us sacrificially. They were blessed for us. We are blessed to have them. Thanks be to God! We love you Amy!

His Mercy Reigns on me October 30, 2008

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God is so many things. Today, I am remembering and praising Him for His mercy. It’s unmerited, undeserved, and for our good. As I reflect over this past year, I find myself drenched by His mercy… reigning on me.

It was last October when I started this blog. The reason behind the desire to blog was a trial that I was enduring. I had encountered several people telling me of my bad luck, and having pity on me. God showed me that this was a perfect opportunity to give Him the glory, lean not on my own understanding, and boast in the cross (Rev 14:7, Prov 3:5, Gal 6:14). And so, that’s what I did. Getting my thoughts typed out here has been a tremendous blessing for me. I haven’t blogged as much as I thought I would…but when I took the time, God revealed so much to me. He drenched me with His mercy, by allowing me to grow, learn, repent, forgive, and rest.

His mercy is still reigning on me. Over this past year, it seems like it’s been one trial after the other…sometimes with the previous trial going unresolved. So many times I have wondered, God what are you teaching me? I struggled with weakness, frustration, impatience, and lack of trust. Then I would pray for help. Help me to be patient Lord…help me to be thankful. Draw near to me as I draw near to You. Help me to trust Your perfect sovereignty. Show me that when I am weak, You are strong (2 Cor 12:10). Remind me that Your Word is true when it says, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor 12:9). As you can imagine, as I prayed for help in each of these areas, God would allow a trial to come my way that challenged me to be patient, trusting, kind, leaning on Him and not my own understanding. He has even used my 3-year old to sanctify me by pruning out my unthankful heart. Wow God, I am drenched by Your mercy.

This year I have learned much from my Lord. He’s pruned out sinned and brought it into the light (Job 12:22). He has equipped me on how to proclaim the gospel as a true disciple, unashamed and to please Him, not man (Mark 16:15). He has shown me what is asked of me as a Christian wife and mother (Eph 5, Col 3, 1 Tim 3:11, 1Pet 3:1-7). He has reminded me how important compassion is in our Christian daily lives. He has proven to me that this life IS just a vapor, our bodies will fail us, relationships will fail us, the world we live in will fail us…..but HE will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5). He has guided me to so many awesome and life changing passages to meditate on throughout my day to day life. He’s kept me faced down at His feet, surrendering, submiting and trusting. He’s reminded me that He’s the one in control, He chooses who’s to be in His kingdom, not man (Selected Scriptures-“Sovereign Election”). Today, I am thankful for my trials and tribulations, for I know it has all been for my good, to Him be the glory! ( Jam 1)

 What a God we serve….His mercy reigns on us!!!!

Living what I Believe,

Lauren

So long self… October 14, 2008

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Well if I come across a little bit distant
It’s just because I am
Things just seem to feel a little bit different
You understand
Believe it or not but life is not apparently
About me anyways
But I have met the One who really is worthy
So let me say
So long, self
Well, it’s been fun, but I have found somebody else
So long, self
There’s just no room for two
So you are gonna have to move
So long, self
Don’t take this wrong but you are wrong for me, farewell
Oh well, goodbye, don’t cry
So long, self
Stop right there because I know what you’re thinking
But no we can’t be friends
And even though I know your heart is breaking
This has to end
And come to think of it the blame for all of this
Simply falls on me
For wanting something more in life than all of this
Can’t you see

Don’t feel so bad
There’ll be better days

 

 

Don’t go away mad (but by all means)
Just go away, go away

 **Mercy Me**

I love these lyrics. It’s like they watched my life before I was saved, and snuck inside my heart since I’ve been saved to understand my new desires. But that’s the amazing thing about the power of God’s transformation in our lives….it’s always radical like this! We are all different people, and diversity throughout the Christian faith is a certainty….but old self dying and new self being born is alike. It’s awesome. It’s humbling. It’s exciting. I am singing at the top of my lungs today…so long self!

Applying His Word October 12, 2008

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This passage has been running through my heart and mind ever since a dear friend shared it with me. It’s incredibly applicable to my life. Today, I am meditating, and resting in this passage of His Word. Hope you are too!

The context of this passage is Paul writing to the Thessalonians, after he had sent Timothy to report on how their church (which was infancy in stage), was doing. The news was mostly encouraging, however there were some important misunderstandings concerning his teaching’s of Christianity. Paul devotes part of the letter to correcting these errors, and exhorts the Thessalonians to purity of life, reminding them that their sanctification is God’s will for their lives.

 

“But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed— God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thess 2:4-12)

Applying His Word,

Lauren

Who is The Judge? September 12, 2008

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Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)

“You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” (Romans 14:10)

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we may come into conversations where “you are judging me” can be directed at us as we proclaim the Gospel. I have really had to pray at times when this attacking verbage has been thrown my way, because sometimes I want to waiver and apologize. But if I stop and consider the motive of my heart, the answer becomes clear. I am not judging, in fact, I’m really not even criticizing. Any time these words have come on me, it’s because of my confidence and obedience in God’s Holy Word. I see people around me that only find joy in temporal things…things that waste away. While finding joy in things of this earth can be okay, depending on what it is, it shouldn’t be the only joy. I don’t judge them for that, but I try to encourage them in (the spirit of love) about the joy that is eternal and everlasting…. Jesus Christ. I can be extremely empathetic because I was there just a few years ago. I understand when people complain about life, gossip and slander others…(maybe even loved ones), and live without hope. I UNDERSTAND. So, I would never dare judge someone’s life. I believe the journey that God allowed me to go through was for a specific purpose. And the people God is constantly placing in my life have this same reoccuring theme that was the theme of my former self. It makes sense to me. He knows someone like me can relate to them, share my testimony and radical transformation. He has given me the burning passion for evangelism. He knows how excited I am to share the Gospel. He also knows I’m still a baby Christian, and I am learning how to use my spiritual gift in a way that is MOST edifying. It’s a process of growth….sanctification…..and one day I will be perfected in Glory when I am standing on the golden streets in heaven. But because I am part of the fallen human race, I will stumble along the way. I am learning more everyday through God’s amazing and life changing Word…and I am always grateful that I worship a God of grace, not of law!

Lord God, thank You for Your Word. It encourages me and guides me more than anything I have ever known. Thank You for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. Empty my heart of any selfishness, pride, personal gain or agenda, and in exchange place humility(godly wisdom), patience, self-control, love, joy, peace, and above all to do everything in life for Your glory. Keep drawing me closer to You. Thank You for a week that’s been filled with clarity, growth, forgiveness, humility, and perserverance. Thank You also for giving me my husband. I know You are working something awesome in his life and mine. Thank You for filling the desire in his heart to be such a rock of support and love to me. He is a tremendous gift from You. Praise You! Amen.

Resting in Him September 11, 2008

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I’ve got a lot on my mind today. It’s easy to get burdened, depleted, defeated, and overall drained from the things of this world. But in the midst of my storm, I will rejoice because I know the freedom to be resting in Him.

 “Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.” (Psalm 73:25-28)

Life is hard, but GOD is good. That was Pastor Byron’s sermon title that tied in with this passage. He went on to give us a list of mistakes we make in life. First, that our focus in life can become escaping from our circumstances instead of benefiting from them. We MUST make room for pain in our lives so that we can be taught and grown by GOD. We turn into bitter people if we don’t allow trials to be what they are intended to be by God. We MUST examine our hearts. Bitterness removes our usefulness, our tenderness, and our ability to serve God and others. We become self-absorbed. Every conversation becomes about us, our pain, our problem. We are constantly looking for pity, validation, attention. We should be ONLY worried about the glory of God. We need to remember that it’s not about our circumstance changing (because it very well may never change), but about us(our heart) that changes.

Dear God, I thank you for the comfort and Truth Your Word provides. You are my rock, my refuge, my hiding place. Jesus, I am resting, …in the joy of what Thou art. I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart. Heavenly Father, I have a teachable heart….You are the greatest life teacher there is…..teach me! Take my heart and prune out my sin, mold me in Your image. O Lord I am eager to see you, to not be in this world anymore….but as long as You will have me here Lord, guide me on in true righteousness. Tonight my sweet God, I am resting in You, and relying on Your perfect counsel. Guide me in a manner that is worthy of You. You are ALL I need, You are all I have. O God, You are precious to me. I am grateful to be Your daughter. You are forever my resting place. Amen.