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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Being Seperate in a "Normal" World

This is a picture of Alaena and her "Shaw-aw-awn" (Southern little girl for Shawn.) She loves Shawn. Funnily enough, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to how country she sounded when she said his name. Likely because I'm a southern girl, with southern parents, southern grandparents. In other words, what I heard was normal.
However, Shawn said, "She sure is country when she says my name." Now don't misunderstand, Shawn has a southern drawl to compete with the best of them, but he has family who isn't from here who pick on him incessantly for his accent. So he hears it more in himself and others.
Anyway, I started thinking about all the things we just let pass through our lives as "the norm" anymore. The pastoral candidate at our church right now has been studying Psalm 1 on Wednesday nights, and he has talked about the righteous person, and the ungodly person and the differences between them.
A truly righteous person is a rare gem these days. This person is someone who steers clear of the ways of the ungodly person. Check out the first verse of Psalm 1:

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful."

A truly righteous person doesn't listen to the counsel of the ungodly. (For example, they look to God's Word for direction, not Oprah.) As I sat thinking about what I look at as normal, I realized that I myself sometimes look to this world's counsel. I think, Hmmm, if that works for them, then maybe I should try it... And it isn't on necessarily bad things, but God told us to look to Him as our authority on EVERYTHING. Why? Because if we start to look to the world as our directive on the small, seemingly meaningless things, eventually we will look to them for the bigger things, the things that matter. Eventually we'll find ourselves saying, "Well is THAT really so wrong?"
A truly righteous person also doesn't stay stuck in sin. They don't just stand there thinking, "Hey, this makes me happy, it's not going to hurt." They realize the wrong they are doing, and they can't stay there. That's not to say this person is sinless, but they can't stand being in that sin for long. The close relationship they have with God won't allow them to stay there. Today, it's normal to "stand in the way of sinners." Open sin is looked over, even in many church settings.
I'm not saying this to judge churches or people. I'm saying this out of love. I've been there myself, and I realized that just because I tried to justify something, God had never moved his stance on the situation. I pray that I'll strive to be a truly righteous person, and when I do fall into sin, I pray I won't stay there.
Basically, I'm going to strive to make sure that I don't accept those things God sees as wrong as something normal. Because I want to live a life that He sees as useful. I want to live a life that He is pleased with. I want to live a life that is seperate from this world.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

A Revival of the Blog

Well, Blogging Buddies, I know that it has been forever since my last post. Life has been so hectic and crazy that I felt I could never catch my breath, much less make logical statements from the million thoughts floating through my brain. My boyfriend Shawn said he has never met people who go so much, what he doesn't realize is that though I am used to going a lot, the past several months has been insane, even for me.

Because of the hectic state of things, I decided to take the week after Christmas off of work, and let me tell you, it was just what I needed. A week to spend time with Alaena and Shawn and the rest of my family and just relax. It was wonderful, and it helped me clear my head a bit.

So, here a few days into this new year, I've decided to begin the blog anew. I'm not going to promise anything daily, or hold myself to any kind of schedule, but if I have a word or two I feel I should share, I'm gonna post it.

Today I'm gonna talk about holding onto things too tightly. Pictured above is Alaena, holding her "puuuuupppyyyyy" (that's Southern little girl for puppy). She loves the puppy. She constantly wants to hold the puppy, and the puppy has pretty much resigned herself to that, as you can see in the picture above. But there are times when Alaena wants to hold on just a bit too tightly, and the poor puppy finally decides she has had enough and tries to escape.
I find myself trying to pry the poor puppy from Alaena's hands, offering her anything else to distract her attention from the puppy, punishing her when she screams about losing the puppy.
But as frustrating as prying that puppy away from her at times can be, I realize that sometimes I act just like her. God will try to pry something from my grasp, and I try just as hard to hold onto it for dear life, kicking and screaming when He takes it away when all the time He is offering something better.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."
God's plan is never to harm us. He never does anything to bring us evil. He has a plan for our lives, and He never takes anything out of our lives that He doesn't replace with something much better.
I pray that I will hold things a little more loosely and realize that God knows best when He rearranges my life!

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Monday, July 06, 2009

It's Been Forever I KNow

Hi Blogging Friends! I know it's been forever since I posted. Things have been totally hectic and finding the time to think has been hard, much less finding the time to put those thoughts into some sort of coherent piece that you could read.
Anyway, I promise to be back to normal blogging soon, but I wanted to ask all of you to pray for my family. My Grandpa Cockman passed away on the 4th. He and my grandma would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in December. He was ready, and he was at peace with it, but we are going to miss him. Thank you so much for your prayers!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Am A Promise

I am a promise
I am a possibility
I am a promise
With a capital "P"
I am a great big bundle of potentiality
And I am learning to hear God's voice
And I am trying to make the right choice
I am a promise to be anything God wants me to be

Last night I went to Raegan and Trace's end of year program at school. Very, very cute. Lots of laughs had by all. But it also held a great message. The song above was the theme of the whole program. It's just a catchy little tune but look how true it is.
Each and everyone of us is a promise. If we surrender all to God, the possibilities are limitless. Jeremiah 29:11 says this, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."
We have an expected end. God knows just how each of our stories will end. And He wants peace and not evil in our lives. We just have to trust in that promise. We have to trust that He is in control.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Anything Is Possible

Matthew 17:19-21:
19Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Well blogging buddies, I know I have been pretty much silent lately. Life has been going by at a hectic pace that I can barely keep up with. I've started dating a really great guy named Shawn. I'm definitely not going to rush anything because I want everything to be in God's timing, but he is definitely a blessing in my life right now, and Alaena adores him, so that's definitely another plus.
Also, being that Alaena is my child who is JUST LIKE ME, she has been fighting allergy season hard. We've gone through sinus infections, bronchitis, strep, thrush triggered by the medicines that fight the aforementioned illnesses. Plus she's starting to hit the "Mommy is the only person who can make me happy stage." So the screaming it has commenced at my house, but I have to admit, it's nice to be the person who makes her happy, although it also makes it a bit difficult at times.
So there's a lot going on where I'm asking God for direction and help. I want to do what He wants me to do. I want to show Alaena the right way.
You're probably wondering what the verses above have to do with all of this, but I guess my biggest problem these days is belief. I mean I believe the big stuff. I know Jesus died for me. I know He rose again. I know He saved me.
But at times I have problems believing that He could still have this really awesome plan for my life. I mean, I know I'm forgiven for the past. It's the past. But now things are starting to happen, things are starting to look like they have potential and to be completely honest I'm scared to death because of all the "WHAT IFS?" And these verses have kept popping up in sermons lately.
I was even saying them to Shawn THIS MORNING (because he's starting a business and really believes its the way God is leading him so pray for him, but more on that later). The thing is, I've heard them. I've even passed them onto the next person, but I'm not applying them to my life. I'm just sitting there saying, "What if this goes wrong like the last time?" But Jesus said I can MOVE MOUNTAINS. I just have to have the faith to do it. I just have to trust in EVERYTHING He said and know that NO MATTER WHAT, He'll be there to catch me even if I fall.
I guess what I'm saying is that I want to take those steps of faith. I want to put the work that's required into it. So pray for me. Pray that I take the steps God wants me to, and that I won't sit here wondering "What if?"

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Satan Can't Get Me

John 10:28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
30I and my Father are one.

Do you ever have those days where you don't "feel" saved? You woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and everything seems to be going wrong. Your socks don't match, your hair is a frizzy mess, you spill Dr. Pepper all down the front of your shirt, and you barely make it to work because some crazy person on a cell phone cut you off. And on days like that, the last thing you want to do is the "Christian" thing.
To be honest, you want to cuss and cry and whine. And you want to make somebody else's day just as bad as the day your having. Because after all, misery loves company!
But being saved isn't about how you feel, thank the Lord. It isn't about our doing every little thing right. It isn't about being perfect (although that's what we all should strive toward.)
Being saved is about being held in our Father's hand. And no matter what we do, no matter how far we fall, God's hand is a place that no one can touch us. Once we are held in God's grasp, no one can remove us from that grasp. We are held there in love.
I don't know about you, but that's an amazing thought to me. I look back over my life and see all the many times that I've failed Him. But in the midst of those failures, He has held me. He has picked me up and dusted me off and said, "I forgive you. Now go and sin no more."
I'm amazed at my Father's love. I feel cherished knowing that I'm in His hands. How about you?

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Unlikely Heroes Are God's Likely Candidates

Yesterday morning I got to go into my Uncle Joel's Sunday School class. Normally I'm teaching, but I didn't have any students yesterday, so I got a break. And although I believe that those I normally teach should have been in Sunday School, I think that God had a hand in my being in my uncle's class yesterday. Because I got my toes stomped a bit. Or a lot actually.
He talked about Gideon in Judges chapter 6. Now we all know Gideon, he was the guy who God used to defeat the Midianites with an army of 300 men who were armed only with broken pitchers, trumpets and lamps. But before Gideon became the man God used, he was the man who begged God to prove Himself.
See, Gideon was pretty much a chicken. When we are first see Gideon, he is threshing wheat in a winepress, trying to hide it from the Midianites who had the Israelites held captive. The Midianites were most likely trying to starve the Israelites out. They didn't want those Israelites getting strong enough to defeat them. So Gideon had evidently grew a small amount of wheat and hidden it from the Midianites and he was threshing it where no one would find him. Basically he was just trying to lay low. Just trying to get by.
But God had a different plan for Gideon. He wanted to use him to defeat the Midianites. And no one was more surprised about God's plan than Gideon himself. He was like, "Me? You can't mean me? I'm the least of the least. I come from a poor family. And I'm the least important one in that family."
But God continued to tell Gideon that He planned to use Him. But Gideon still resisted. He kept asking God for signs. He put out his fleece and had God prove himself, not once but twice, and that was after he talked to the angel of the Lord FACE TO FACE.
It's easy to sit here and think, how could Gideon have been so doubtful. It's easy to get a holier than thou complex and say, "Well, if I had been Gideon, I would have rushed right out and done what God commanded, no questions asked."
But how many of us really would have. How many of us have things that we know God wants us to do, but we sit in our comfort zones saying, "Are you sure God? I mean, I'll go if that's what you really want, but do you mind giving me a sign or a million? Because I want to make sure this is YOU talking God." And while we're sitting there begging for a sign, the work God has for us is not being done.
I've definitely been challenged to trust God more and question less. I pray that each of you will be challenged today as well!