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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Bit More About Being Irritating!

Yesterday's post received this comment:
"Anyway, Jesus seemed to have the oppisite effect in that it was the religious types that had most difficulty with him not the so called "ungodly.""
So I thought I'd talk a little bit more about what I was talking about yesterday. This person makes a good point. Sinners did come to Jesus, BUT when sinners came to Jesus and stayed with Jesus, they weren't the same. They were changed.
For example Zaccheus didn't remain a lying, cheating thief. He did a one-eighty and completely changed his ways. He went from being greedy to being generous. Zaccheus saw his problem and trusted in Jesus to help him change it.
The problem was that the "religious types" in Jesus' day didn't want to admit they needed Jesus. They didn't want to admit they had a problem. Nicodemus came to Jesus by night. That shows me that the religious leaders had a pride problem. So they were just as "ungodly" as the sinners that came to Jesus. They just didn't want to admit it.
But what I meant yesterday when I said the "ungodly" was all those who are not truly Christians. Whether they sit on a church pew (the "religious" crowd) or whether they sit in a jail cell (like the so-called "sinners" of Jesus' day).
The point is that if the ungodly do not want to change their ungodly ways, they will not want to be around a true Christian for long. Because that Christian's testimony will be convicting to an ungodly person. The salt from a true Christian will rub in all the raw, decaying places of an ungodly life.
It's like I said yesterday. The salt of your life can either preserve someone by making them realize that they need a Savior, or it can irritate someone through their own rejection of the Savior.
We are to be like Jesus. We aren't to drive people away simply because they are sinners. We are to love them. But they will either stay with us and change their ways (like Nicodemus in John 3) or they will go away from us sad and wanting (like the rich young ruler in Matthew 19.)
Some people love their sin so much that they refuse the Savior. Those are the people who don't want to be around true Christians. They don't want to be around us because they don't want to be reminded of what they are missing.
Those are my thoughts anyway. What do you guys think?

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Few Things We Are

We have revival at my church this week. And though we've only had two days so far, God has definitely dealt with my heart. He hit me really hard Sunday night.
The preacher talked about salt and light. (Something a lot of us bloggers have been discussing lately, so it's been on my mind.) What he said though really hit me.
He pointed out that Jesus didn't say that believers SHOULD be salt and light. We ARE salt and light. Every believer has a witness to the world. Every believer has a chance to season the world with salt. Every believer has a chance to shine their light to the world.
It's just a matter of if we are doing it or not. He talked about bad salt and how it's useless. And he talked about how a dim light can cause people to stumble.
Then he talked about the purposes of salt and light.
Salt first of all seasons. Without salt things taste bland. Christ is life to the Christians. Without Him we are nothing. We are to be the salt that spreads Christ to others and shows them that there is a purpose to life.
Secondly salt preserves. We are living in a dying, decaying world. We as Christians know how those dying, decaying souls can be saved. It's our job to spread some salt on those lives and show them the hope of new life.
Lastly, salt irritates. Have you ever gotten salt into a cut? It burns. A person living in sin should not feel comfortable around us. Yes, we are to treat those people with love. But we are not to compromise our beliefs. If we are living like a true salty Christian, the ungodly will not want to associate with us for long. That's because a true Christian life should bring conviction to others. A true Christian life should make others feel like they are missing something.
And that's where the light comes in. See, light shines on the truth. When salt has done it's job and others realize that there is a difference in us, the light shines on the reason. See, the light points to Christ.
We as Christians are to serve one purpose. That purpose is to bring honor and glory to God. So the question is has your salt lost it's savor? Is your light nothing but a dim spark?
If so, go to Him today and ask Him to make you what you ought to be. This world needs a lot more salt and light!

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Verses About Watching Our Words
Last night I was reading my 90 days through the Bible reading when I happened upon a verse about Samuel watching his words. That verse is the first in this list and inspired the entire list!

1. I Samuel 3:19, "And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground." Samuel didn't use words that didn't mean something. He didn't let his words fall to the ground like dead leaves.

2. Job 33:3, "My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly." Words show what is in the depths of the heart. A person with a right heart will speak what is right, and will show true knowledge.

3. Psalm 19:14, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." The prayer of every Christian is to live a life acceptable to God. That starts by meditating on things acceptable to Him, so that we will speak things that are acceptable to Him.

4. Psalm 59:7, "Behold, they belch out with their mouth: swords are in their lips: for who, say they, doth hear?" Our words can be sickening to others. They can be like swords that cut them to the very heart. We must watch how we use our words very carefully.

5. Proverbs 6:2, "Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth." Words can get us into trouble. They can trap us in situations that we didn't want to be in.

6. Proverbs 8:8, "All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them." Our words should be filled with righteousness. Perverseness should never cross our lips.

7. Proverbs 10:19, "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise." We should know when not to say anything at all.

8. Proverbs 15:1, "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." We can either use our words to bring peace or to bring strife. We are to seek peace.

9. Proverbs 15:26, "The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words." Our words will show whether we are wicked or pure. If we are pure, our words will be pleasing to the Lord.

10. Proverbs 16:24, "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." Words that are pleasing to God are good for us and for others.

11. Proverbs 17:27, "He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit." A knowledgable person knows when not to say anything.

12. Proverbs 18:8, "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly." Words of gossip hurt others deeply.

13. Proverbs 22:21, "That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?" It is important that we know the truth so that we might speak the truth.

This topic could obviously go on well past 13 verses, but I hope that this small list of verses has made you think about your words as much as God made me think about mine last night!

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Rejoicing of My Heart

Can you look back at times in your life and say, "I know that God was with me right there."
I sure can. There are countless incidents I know God brought me through. I can't began to count all of the times, but here are a few times that God has been with me.
When I was about 15, I was riding with my friend Melissa. She hit a curve wrong, and we ran off the road. We went back and forth across that road many times. Now it isn't a very busy road, but still there is usually a car or two driving in both directions. That night we were the only car on the road. Melissa was close to hyperventilation (literally), and God allowed me to remain calm for her. Finally the car stopped. Melissa says she doesn't remember stopping the car. (I know who stopped it!) The car turned off and wouldn't start again. My aunt and uncle lived about a mile or so up the road, so we started walking back there. And God sent a lady who let us ride in the back of her truck to their house. Then later on when they went back to check out the car the saw that the car had stopped mere feet from going into a huge lake. God was with us in a mighty way that night.
Then right before I turned sixteen I had to have an emergency appendectomy. It took the doctors a little while to find the problem because my appendix wasn't in the right spot. Want to know why? Because my other organs had strangled my appendix to keep it from rupturing. Who but God could design a body in such an awesome way?
Fast forward to when I was 22. I had to have decompression surgery on my brain. I know that God guided the surgeon's hands through that surgery. I recovered very quickly and could even lift my head and turn my head a bit later that very night. God had heard my prayers and the prayers of my friends and family. He was with me.
Now these are testimonies of times of trouble in my life. But He has also been there through all the good times. God wants us to look back on these times He has been with us and remember.
Psalm 119:111 says this, "Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart."
The testimonies of what God has done for us should be a heritage to us forever. We should tell those around us what He has done so that they can know what an awesome God He is. These testimonies are our reason to rejoice because they are proof that God has been with us. And if He was with us in the past, He will surely be with us now.
What is your testimony? What times can you look back on and say, "I know that God was there!"

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

He's Still Got A Song

On Sunday my family sang at a church in our area for their homecoming service. It was a really great service. My brother even surprised us and came up to sing with us because we sang at the church of one of my mom's best friends, and my mom really wished he could be there. So we were really blessed when he showed up.
I also got another blessing while I was there. We sang a few songs in an afternoon service for the people who had to work in the kitchen and miss the morning service. One man that stayed for the afternoon service really blessed me.
See, this man has alzheimers. And his physical and mental abilities are obviously diminishing. He couldn't walk far distances without his wife leading him. He couldn't carry on very much conversation. This fifty-something man was pretty much reduced to the level of a toddler.
But when we sang his face lit up like a Christmas tree. No, not because we're the best singers in the world or anything. But because we were singing the songs of God. The songs that were hidden deep in the recesses of his mind. Recognition spread across his face. And he began to sing along with us. Not the quiet reserved type of singing along that most do. He sang along with his full heart, and for the most part he was right on pitch, not that it mattered. If every note had been off key, I would have still been blessed just by seeing the look on his face. It was a look of sheer joy. And when we finished singing he looked disappointed, like he wished we could have gone on all day.
I don't understand alzheimers, and it always saddens me to see how a person can go downhill so far. But on Sunday I was reminded that if a person truly knows God, even when their memory fades, God is still in their heart. And He can still give them a song to sing in their darkest hour.
I'll leave you today with this verse from Psalm 77:6, "I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search."

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Finding God in the Little Things - Neighbors

I didn't have much time to post on Friday so I put my "Finding God in the Little Things" post off until today. I think God had a hand in that because he really showed me a neighborly little fellow on Friday night.
See Friday night I went to the rodeo. I work for the company that makes Wrangler Jeans, so we got free tickets. I'm not a rodeo fanatic, but I usually like to go when it's in town because the clowns are really funny!
Anyway, back to my point. My tickets were for the upper tier, but the curtain had been put down to close off the section beside us, so we were moved to fourth row on the bottom, directly in front of the chutes (how cool is that?)
This is something I think God also had a hand in. See, had I not been moved down, I would not have been placed near this boy. I'm not sure exactly what was wrong with him, but it was obvious that the boy had limited mental capacity. In some areas. In others he was way beyond me.
See, he cheered those cowboys on like no one I've ever seen. And even when they didn't make their "8 seconds" he would say things like, "That's okay buddy. At least you tried." or "You'll get next time, just wait and see."
I have a feeling that he has been encouraged much in his lifetime, so he's passing it on to those around him. But it made me think, how often do I encourage someone when they are down? Do I use words that will lift them up, or do I pretty much kick sand in their eyes by using hateful degrading remarks about their failure?
I learned a lesson from that boy on Friday night. A lesson I hope I don't soon forget.
Galatians 6:1 says this, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
When someone falls, we are to restore them. To go to them in meekness. We aren't to lord their failures over them. Because at any given time we may fall ourselves.
I have a feeling that this little boy had suffered many "falls" in his lifetime. So he understood to a point how those cowboys felt. So he tried to do what he could to cheer them up.
I want to remember this attitude when I see someone around me fall. So that I may go to them with the right words and the right heart.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

You Have to See These Clips

I don't have a lot of time to post today, so I wanted to share some links to a couple of clips! After watching them I hope you feel the same way that I do, that we have a Gospel that we MUST share and that we don't have much time left to share it because Jesus could return AT ANY TIME!!!

Go to this site and watch the two clips, one will be under the title of "Care For a Little Guilt, Scarecrow?" and the other will be under the title of "Are You Ready?"

Have a blessed weekend! Share Christ with someone!

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thirteen Things About Grace

1. Before we can experience the grace of Jesus,we have to realize our need for it. If we don't think we are sinners, why would we need Jesus' grace to cover our sins? This is why the first three chapters of Romans talk about our sinful condition. Before Paul could show the people how they could be saved, he had to show them that they were lost. He pretty much sums it in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

2. Once we realize our sinful condition, we must realize that there is a penalty for our sin, and that penalty is death. Were it not for the grace of God, we would have to pay that debt. But through God's grace we are given life not death. Ephesians 2:5 says, "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"

3. We must realize that there is nothing that you can do to earn our own salvation. It can come by grace alone. There is nothing that we can do to deserve it. If you could have saved yourself, Jesus would not have had to die. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast."

4. Grace can only come through God by the gift of His Son Jesus Christ. Romans 5:15 says, "But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many."

5. Grace has more power than sin. Romans 5:20 says, "Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:"

6. Grace does not give us freedom to sin. Romans 6:15 says, "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid."

7. We are given gifts through God's grace. Not only are we made clean in God's sight, but He uses us in His service. Romans 12:6a says, "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,"

8. God gives us the strength for any good work through His grace. II Corinthians 9:8 says, "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:"

9. God's grace will always be sufficient through any problem in our lives. II Corinthians 12:9 says, "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

10. Grace is something we should want others to receive. Ephesians 1:2 says, "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."

11. We should watch our words because it is our job as Christians to share about the grace of God with others. Ephesians 4:29 says, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."

12. Grace should give us a song in our hearts. Colossians 3:16 says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."

13. If we want God's grace, all we have to do is ask for it. Hebrews 4:16 says, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Results of Holiness

The last two days I've posted about how I'm striving to be holy. To be like Christ.
Last night I went by my grandma's house, and she showed me this article, and I know that God meant for me to see it. He wanted to encourage me. To show me that living for Him is totally worth it.

The article is about a tent revival that's been going on in Asheville, NC. A tent revival that started on July 31 and didn't end for six weeks. Then they had a huge baptizing service in the Cane River. Six weeks of revival. And the crowds never dwindled. THEY GREW. To crowds of sometimes 4,000.
Was there something amazing about the preacher? No. Was he performing miracles before their very eyes? No. I've heard him, and I know that all he does is preach the Word. And the Word alone.
But it wasn't about him. See, a man can't change a life or save a soul. It was about God, and about people who were willing to give of themselves to God in order to see a mighty work from God.
Sitting outside in a tent revival in August can get pretty hot (I've gone to them, I know) but these people were thirsty for God. They didn't care about the heat or the uncomfortable metal chairs. They cared only about hearing what God had for them.
They were hungering and thirsting after righteousness (Matthew 5:6). And I believe that they have been filled over the last six weeks. And I pray that it doesn't stop there. I pray that they will share what they have learned. I pray that they will keep that fire that has been sparked througout this revival.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that living a holy life can affect amazing things. I'm sure that there have been a faithful few praying for this revival to happen. I'm sure that it started with a small number of people who wanted to see God work.
I want to be one of those faithful few in my area. I want to see God work, first in my own life, then in the lives of others around me. The possibilities are endless if I will just learn to lean on Him.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

How to Be Holy

1 Peter 1:16 - Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

I've been thinking about this verse a lot over the last several days. As I posted yesterday, I'm making some changes in my life. I want to strive more to be holy. And the verses that I read for a devotion this morning reminded me (AGAIN) just how I can do that. Look at these verses:

Psalm 119:9-11, " 9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."

How can we live life in a pure way? That's what the psalmist asked. Then he gave us the answer that God gave him. We can cleanse our way by taking heed to God's Word. And we can't just do it halfway. We have to put our whole heart into it. If we don't commit fully, we will wander. Only by staying in God's Word and hiding it in our hearts can we keep from sin.
That's it. Simple really. All we have to do is stay focused on His Word. But we make it so difficult. We let the smallest little things distract us. We skip our devotions for a few extra minutes of sleep. We'll miss, "just this one service" to catch up on things around the house. We let a TV show keep us from the Word.
No, it doesn't take much to throw us off the path, but the great thing is that Jesus is willing to forgive us, and He is there to lead us back to the right path after we get misdirected.
With God's help I'm working on this holiness thing. I know I'll never be perfect before I see heaven, but I want to grow closer to Him everyday.
What about you?

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Monday, September 11, 2006

RE-sensitizing now

Last night I was convicted...MAJORLY. First off my brother preached a great sermon on how it is NECESSARY that we share the Gospel. It isn't just something that we should do, it is something that WE HAVE to do! Check out these verses:
Luke 24:46-47, "46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
Did you see that little word "behoved"? That means it was necessary. It was necessary that Christ must die and be our perfect sacrafice. It was necessary that He raise from the dead to defeat death, hell, and the grave. But look at that 47th verse, it says that it is necessary that repentance and remission of sins be preached. That's our job as Christians.
And I for one have fallen slack on the job. I don't share like I should. I don't care for souls like I should. Only 4% of my generations claims to know Christ as their Savior. That's only 40,000 out of every million teenage/young adult souls. 960,000 out of every million souls are dying and going to hell. That's reality folks. Hard reality.
And why have I fallen slack? Because I've allowed myself to become desensitized. I have gotten myself used to looking over a little sexual junk because the premise of a movie is basically good. I've gotten over people using foul language in everyday life even though it isn't something I would say or something I approve of. I've gotten used to same-sex couples being promoted on pretty much EVERY TV show as a normal lifestyle.
Sure at first I was offended, but then I found a little humor there too, and the more I watched it, the more I overlooked the sin. That's right I said sin.
I'm not here to judge, but I am here to say that I'm fed up of standing by and overlooking these things.
Last night after church a large group of us went to eat with my brother because he is leaving for school today. Some missionaries that were visiting our church went with us, and the children really convicted me. They saw a commercial for wrestling on TV, and they were like that's just awful. See, they've lived most of their life in Africa, away from modern conveniences and modern TV. They still see it as wrong to basically beat each other to death. I mean it's fake, it's acting. But how many stories have we seen on the news where some kid obsessed with wrestling or a violent video game has bludgeoned someone to death? It's stopped being wrong and has become everyday.
So, I'm making a stand today. If it has cussing in it, I'm NOT watching it or reading it or listening to it. If it has sexual scenes in it or sexual conotations in it, I'm NOT watching it, or reading it or listening to it. If it promotes homosexuality as a normal lifestyle, I'm NOT watching it or reading it or listening to it. If it promotes violence, I'm NOT watching it or reading it or listening to it.
Psalm 101:3 says, "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me."
I want that to be my testimony. I'm going to look into God's Word more and at the TV less. I'm going to get resensitized to sin and stop overlooking it!

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Finding God in the Little Things

Amydeanne over at The 160 Acre Woods offered up a challenge last Friday. We are to journal all month about finding God in the little things of life and then share our thoughts on each Friday of the month. I must say that thinking about this has made me more thankful this week.

This week's theme is Everyday Things. I know that Everyday Mommy does Everyday Tomatoes on Friday, so I guess this will be kind of like that, but these are things that I have done or used this week that make me very thankful!

The first thing I'm thankful for this week is my DVD player. I know that this might sound all materialistic or something, but it's really not. See, having a DVD player has given my brother and I some real quality time together this week before he moves away to college. We've been watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and laughing at our own little inside jokes about it. Great times.

Secondly, I'm thankful for lowering gas prices. I know we aren't supposed to complain, but I've had more than one ungrateful moment about the gas prices (there I said it, my conscience is now eased.) Anyway, around here they've been dropping (and I've heard it's a trend nationwide), plus I heard that gas would average around $2 by Thanksgiving. This will make visits to see my brother and visits from my brother more frequent because it won't be quite as expensive to drive back and forth! Yay!

Thirdly I'm thankful for keys, I know this is kind of random, but my brother drove off in my car last night from our church, and I rode with a friend. My brother had had my keys and his keys, and I was locked out of my house. So I'm thankful for that little key!

Which leads me to the fourth thing, I'm thankful for a friend's house down the road, so that I didn't have to sit in the dark and wait for my brother!

Which leads to the last thing, I'm thankful for a brother who didn't mind giving up some time with his fiance to come and give me a key so that I could go to bed, even though I was the dummy who handed him both sets of keys! (He's not really a thing, but I am really thankful for him, and I'm so proud that he is going off to seminary next week, but I'm sure gonna miss him, even if he does forget to take out the garbage!!)

Those are my things for the week, there have been many other things, but these are the ones I'll share! More to come next Friday!

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Hymns I Love
I go to an Old-Fashioned Baptist Church Where We Still Sing the Hymns Every Service, Here Are Some of My Favorites

1. Just As I Am -

1st verse: Just as I am, Without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, And that thou bidst me come to thee, Oh Lamb of God I come, I come.

2. When We All Get To Heaven -

Chorus: When we all get to Heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be, When we all see Jesus, We'll sing and shout the victory.

3. At the Cross -

Chorus: At the Cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light, and the burden of my heart rolled away. It was there by faith, I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day.

4. Amazing Grace -

Last verse: When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, We've no less days to sing God's praise then when we'd first begun.

5. Oh How I Love Jesus -

Chorus: O how I love Jesus, O how I love Jesus, O how I love Jesus, Because He first loved me.

6. It Is Well -

1st verse: When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, even so, it is well with my soul.

7. I'll Fly Away -

Chorus: I'll fly away, oh glory I'll fly away in the morning, when I die hallelujah by and by, I'll fly away.

8. I Surrender All -

Chorus: I surrender all, I surrender all, All to thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

9. I Am Resolved -

Verse 1: I am resolved no longer to linger, charmed by this world's delight, things that are higher, things that are nobler, these have allured my sight.

Chorus: I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free, Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to thee.

10. Everybody Will Be Happy -

Chorus: Everybody will be happy, will be happy over there, We will shout and sing His praise, Everybody will be happy over there.

11. Wonderful Peace -

Last verse - I am resting tonight in this wonderful peace, resting sweetly in Jesus control, for I'm kept from all danger, by night and by day, and His glory is flooding my soul.

12. Heavenly Sunlight -

Chorus: Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight, flooding my soul with glory divine, Hallelujah, I am rejoicing, singing His praises, Jesus is mine.

13. What A Day

Chorus: What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see, when I look upon His face, the One Who saved me by His grace, and when He takes me by the Hand and leads me through the promised land, what a day, glorious day that will be.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

You Gotta Have Faith

On Sunday morning my grandpa brought an awesome message on faith (I know I'm probably prejudiced, but seriously it was a GREAT message!) It talked about faith.
The first point talked about the beginning of faith. Romans 10:17 says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." We gain faith when we hear more and more of the Word.
Now look at John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Jesus is the Word that John was talking about hear. Jesus is the Word we need to hear to gain faith. We have to hear about what Jesus did for us on the cross. We have to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is where faith begins.
Once we believe on Jesus our life changes forever. We open our eyes to the call of faith. We start to trust that God has a greater purpose for our life than we ever could have imagined, and we step out in faith to answer that call He has on our life. Just like Abraham did in Genesis 12:1-3.
We follow the call of God because we have faith in His promises. He promises to bless us for our faith. For Abraham it was a better country. For us it's a place that Jesus has gone to prepare for us. (John 14:2-3)
I Corinthians 2:9 says this about that place, "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
That's a pretty awesome promise don't you think? A place that is beyond anything we could ever hope or dream of. I don't know about you, but I've had some pretty elaborate dreams in my lifetime, and God has something prepared for me that I could never even imagine.
I don't know about you, but I want to share this faith with those around me. I want to have some fruit to prove my faith. I want to win others to my faith. This is what Jesus commanded us to do in Matthew 28:19-20, "19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Sure it won't always be easy. The Enemy of our Faith, the Devil, will try to bring us down at all costs. (I Peter 5:8) He wants us to fail. But through faith we know that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (I John 4:4).
And because He is so great, I want to share Him with everyone I meet! How about you?

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

When the Routine Goes Crazy

Last night I was in the middle of my normal bedtime routine of doing my Bible study when suddenly my brother's fiance yelled out, "Oh my goodness."
I of course asked her what was going on, and she told me about how The Crocodile Hunter had been killed. It's a sad thing, though I'm sure some weren't exactly shocked. I mean he faced death everyday on his job, but I'm sure it wasn't something he or his family expected at all.
The thing that most of us saw as death-defying, he saw as everyday, run-of-the-mill. The thing is that each of us has a different routine. For some it's getting up at 5:52 AM exactly and getting cup of coffee #1, taking a shower and putting on clothes, cup of coffee #2, putting on makeup and fixing hair, cup of coffee #3 (to go of course), and hitting the probably packed road to get to work. For some it's waking up the kids and doing school. For some it's travelling with the circus.
We all have our routines. And all of them can be thrown into hysteria in a split second. A car that pulls out in front of us during our morning commute can change our plans for the day very quickly. A sick child can make homeschool plans go haywire. An escaped lion can make a normal day at the circus an adventure.
Things will happen in life. That's just what I was studying last night in my "Experiencing the Heart of Jesus" Study. The thing to remember is that Jesus understands. He had crazy, stressful days. He had a day where he heard his friend and cousin, John the Baptist was beheaded. Then the man who had killed John the Baptist wanted to know more about Jesus (probably wanted to have Jesus killed too), then his apostles came to Him telling Him all about how they had healed in His name (throwing His emotions in the complete opposite direction.) Then He was mobbed by a huge crowd of people (5,000 men alone, no telling how many women and children) who wanted to hear Him speak and see Him perform miracles, plus the people forgot lunch, so Jesus had to make lunch for all of them, then He sent the disciples away, and He went up alone into the mountain, promising to meet the disciples on the other side, then a storm came up, so He did a little sea walking to comfort His disciples, He had to give Peter a lesson in faith, plus He calmed the storm, then when they got to the other shore the people of the area begged to touch the hem of His garment so that they might be healed. (You can read about this day in Jesus' life in Matthew 14.)
Jesus understands what we are going through. (Hebrews 4:15) He understands the crazy days. He understands when the plans that we had go haywire. And the fact that He understands should bring us peace. We serve the One who can say "Peace be Still" to the storms in our life, and even if He chooses not to calm the storms, He can walk the raging seas with us.
So on those days when the unexpected keeps happening, turn to the One who whispers peace. Turn to the One who has been there. Turn to Jesus!

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Friday, September 01, 2006

What's in My Name

Well, like I said yesterday, today is my 200th post. And for my 200th post I decided to explain the name of my blog. Barb over at A Chelsea Morning threw out the challenge to everyone to explain why they named their blog what they did. I decided to hold off for this 200th post to participate!
Well, first of all, I LOVE roller coasters. Seriously, there isn't one fast enough or high enough for me (though I don't do the wooden ones much since my surgery.) But as much as I love roller coasters, the name "The Roller Coaster Ride of My Life" truly is what that second line says, "A Journey Through the Ups and Downs of My Daily Life."
Not long before I started my blog, Ane a lady in my critique group, The Penwrights, sent this article through our critique group about how it's a roller coaster ride being a writer. So the thought of being on a roller coaster ride was kind of on my mind anyway. But for several years before I started the blog, my life had been a roller coaster, not just my writing life. Life. Period.
Anyway, I had been talking to my friend Heather Smith (weird huh) who had started an animal blog for her cat Oreo. She kept telling me that I should start a blog, that she really liked my writing. The only problem was that I had no idea what to do. I had no idea what I would name it. I had no idea what I would write. Well, the best advice that I've ever heard about writing is to write what you know.
Well, I know nothing better than I know my own life and how God has been there each step of the way. Through each of the slow climbs, and plunging drops, and twists and turns, He had been there. Yes, I realized that my life had been a roller coaster. So I started my blog wrote my very first post.
Since then I've come to realize that God had a definite hand in it. Like I said yesterday, He has blessed me abundantly through this bloggy adventure. The biggest blessing of all I think is that through it all, writing the blog has kept me realizing that God is there. I can go back and read past posts and think, "Man, God really helped me through that one" or "I'm so glad God directed me that way right there."
So I guess to sum it all up, my blog got named this way because of something I love to do, and because I'd read an article I liked recently, but God brought it all together in my heart to mean so much more. After all, He knows what He's doing! (Jeremiah 29:11)