12 June 2013

Fortress of Faith- Pillars of Faith: Study Five

Pillar Two- God the Savior
 
Thank you for coming back for this next study.  Previously, we have learned about the first Pillar: God our Creator, and God our Father.  A couple weeks ago, we learned about God the Son.  Today, we learn about God our Savior.
 
When you think of a savior, what attributes come to mind?   Many of us probably associate a savior with a hero.  Someone who acts to save a life- a policeman, a firefighter, a soldier, a doctor, even a regular guy who happens to act to help someone in distress.  In our fiction world, heroes and saviors are essentially one and the same.  A superhero that saves the world from some supernatural force.  A team of heroes that take on evil villains.  There are plenty of examples in day to day life, both real and imagined, that play on the inherent human need to be saved, even if we do not realize that is what we are looking for.
 
Throughout the Old Testament, God promised His people that He would send a Savior.  From a human perspective, the Jews envisioned a Savior who would free them from earthly persecution and tyranny, who would reward them with their uncontested promised land, and would sit on the throne as their King.  Never did they imagine that God would send His Son to be their Savior, to save them from eternal damnation, to sit on an eternal throne.  Yet, according to Matthew 1 verses 18 through 23, we learn that Mary and Joseph were both told of the coming of Jesus who would be the saver of sins, who would be God among men.
 
Then when Jesus was born the humble birth in a manger, an angelic host proclaimed to nearby shepherds: "Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord..."  Luke 2 v 10-11
 
That Jesus is not just the Son of God but also the Savior that our Lord spoke of is not something to take lightly.  First, we must understand that Jesus had the ability, given from God, to save us all.  Second, we must understand that Jesus was WILLING to take on our sins in order to save us.
 
According to Romans 5 v 6-11, Christ's ability and willingness to die for us saves us from God's wrath.  We all know, as it is repeated throughout both the Old and New Testaments, that our God abhors sin. Sin frustrates Him, angers Him, and disappoints Him.  He gave us life.  He gave us free will.  But like any parent, as He directs us one way and we struggle against Him to go our own way, especially to the point that we knowingly break away from morality, He experiences all the same pains a human parent does when they walk through those trials with their child (of any age.) With our human tendency to simply continue to sin, He certainly feels a large amount of wrath at our willfulness, our stubbornness, and our blatant disrespect.  Wrath that He has rained down from Heaven throughout history, though now many, I am sure, would reason away with modern technology and "understanding" of science.
 
Not only does Christ's sacrifice save us from God's wrath, but according to John 1 v 29, Jesus also saves us from our sins.  This is repeated throughout the New Testament.  The book of Romans especially covers the wages of sin, and the price Jesus paid to pay those wages.  However, this does not mean that we can continue on in the sins we commit.  Rather, as new creations in Christ, we are encouraged to try to leave those sins in the past, to move on to a more Holy life, to try to be more Christ-like.
 
In Romans, we learn that the wages of sin is Death.  This Death is not dying and being non-existent.  No. Eternal death- in this case, eternal damnation.  Eternal suffering.  The wages of sin is to be separated from God for all eternity.  In John 11, Jesus very clearly addresses this with Martha upon learning of Lazarus' death.  He said to her,"I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?" Jesus very clearly identifies Himself as not only the Son of God, but also as the Savior of us all.  "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Luke 19 v 10
 
Throughout the rest of Jesus' life, he performed miracles, he spoke of love, peace, and humility.  He showed us that "righteousness" is not always "Godliness."  He lived a perfect example of living last, putting others first, striving to fulfill God's will no matter how hard.   Then, when the time came, He took up the Cross, not His Cross- OUR Cross, and He carried it upon His shoulders.  He took the lashings.  He suffered the humiliation.  He suffered the betrayal, the ridicule, and the torture.  He sacrificed His very life in order to fulfill God's promise of salvation to all mankind.   He paid those wages.  Then He rose victorious over death and damnation, and offers us each salvation, hope, love, and peace.
 
Hallelujah!

10 June 2013

Musical Monday


PCS season is upon us.   Like my family, if you are in the midst of a move, you will be leaving your assignment with mixed feelings.  On the sad side of those feelings are the friendships, the lasting relationships you have made with neighbors, with coworkers, with church members.  

The following song is a favorite despite it being a classic at this point.  However, it reminds us that those friendships that are based on His Truth- love, respect, truth, honesty, integrity, hope, and peace- will last throughout our lives no matter the time and distance that separate us.

God bless you, your families, and your friendships!


03 June 2013

Musical Monday


Two words- You are...   (He IS)

This song by Colton Dixon makes a great prayer.  Take a moment to use this song as a prayer today.  A prayer of recognition of His love and grace.  A prayer acknowledging His presence in our lives.

God bless you!


02 June 2013

Sacred Sunday


A reminder on the constancy of our Lord.   A reminder that His promises are not like our promises.   Humans are fickle.  We change our mind.  We fail to keep our promises.  We lie- big or small, white lies, justifiable lies- still lies.  We are never constant.   God- OUR GOD- is constant.  He does not lie.  He does not promise and then forget His promise or break His promise. 
God bless you this week as you remember His promises, and take comfort in knowing those promises will be kept.

19 God is not human, that he should lie,
not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?
20 I have received a command to bless;
he has blessed, and I cannot change it.
~Numbers 23 v 19-20

29 May 2013

Fortress of Faith- Pillars of Faith: Study Four

Pillar Two- God the Son
 
 
Four pillars hold up our Faith.  The first pillar, God the Creator who is God our Father, is not alone in upholding the Faith we hold dear.  The second pillar is God the Son who is also God our Savior.  This week, we will learn more about God the Son. 
 
For thousands of years after God created all that we know to exist, after He proved Himself to be actively interested in the lives of His people, God realized it was time to fulfill His promise of salvation. 

We all know the Christmas story.  A virgin girl found herself pregnant.  During a period and in a culture where being pregnant out of wedlock meant being cast out or worse, that young woman and her skeptical fiancee were visited by angels and directed on what was truly happening.  Into their humble lives, they were about to welcome the Son of God made into human flesh with the promise that He would be the Savior their people had been waiting for.

From the very beginning of His life on earth, Angels first declared Him to be the Son of God.  Throughout His life among us, people gathered around Him, at first skeptical, but later admitting they too knew Him to be the Son of God, for no other man could have done or said what He did.

In Luke 2 verses 41 to 50, Jesus was a young boy on the cusp of becoming a teenager.  He found Himself in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast along with Mary and Joseph.  When it was time to go home, His earthly family left him behind without realizing it.  When they did realize He was missing and turned back to search for Him, they found Him in the Temple where He was learning from and sharing His thoughts with the teachers there.  Of course, as a distraught mother, Mary rebuked Him for the worry she felt over His disappearance.  In reply, Jesus said to her,"...Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?"  This was Jesus' first recorded admission that He was the Son of God.

Later, as an adult, Jesus visited with John the Baptist.  John instead wanted to be baptized by Jesus, but finally relented and baptised Jesus.  As Jesus came out of the water, God Himself declared,"This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased."  Matthew 3 v 13-17

What is the significance of Jesus being the Son of God?   

Why does it matter that Jesus Himself, God the Father, Jesus' disciples, new believers, and even the unbelievers acknowledged Him to be the Son of God?

As Christians, we believe in right and wrong, heaven and hell, good and evil.   We believe that there is life after death.  What many of us struggle with is the reality of a place we have not seen, and the reality of salvation.  All doubts in our Faith stem from society's take on our God, our Savior, our Spirit, and our Word.  Because of these society induced doubts, the significance of Jesus as the Son of God is amplified.  If He is not the Son of God, then He truly is just a fantastic teacher, prophet, and one heck of a magician and illusionist. 

However, when you weigh all His words, all His actions, and all his teachings, we find that He never sought to uplift Himself.  He never asked for anything more from His followers except that they listen, believe, and follow.  He did not ask them for their earthly possessions.  On the contrary, He asked them to leave those things behind.  He did not ask anyone to fight for Him.  On the contrary, He healed the man Peter injured in the attempt to resist arrest.  He did not provoke His followers to riot as He hung on the cross.  On the contrary, He prayed to GOD, His Father, to forgive us.

If Jesus were simply human, the miracles He performed time and again throughout His short life among us are nothing more than coincidental chances of luck.   But because He is the Son of God, He has the power to not just heal, but to CURE.  He has the power to not just preserve life, but GIVE life.  He has the power to not just look over our sins, but to FORGIVE them.  Most importantly, He has the power to love us, like His Father, completely without condition and without expectations.

So if its so important to keep in mind that Jesus truly was the Son of God, why must we also acknowledge His humanity?

Many of us, as parents or child care workers, realize on a daily basis how hard it is to relate to children of any age.  From infant, to toddler, to child, to tween, to teen, we adults forget what it is like to walk through certain struggles.  Even as adults, as we move from one chapter of life to another, we forget the struggles we walked through and then have a hard time understanding what our neighbors are going through even as they walk through something similar.  In a perfect world, we would retain all that knowledge and experience and treat our fellow man better and raise our children with more patience and unconditional love.

In that way, Jesus, as the Son of God, was a perfect being.  However, how does God save His children if He has a hard time understanding the struggles they face?  When Jesus became human, even in His perfection, He felt the emotions we feel.   He was tempted by wealth, by power, by earthly things.  He struggled to do what He knew was expected of Him by His Father.  He even felt anger when He saw His faith being watered down and marketed.   His time among us drew Him closer to us, drew His empathy, drew His compassion, and committed Him to His role as Savior.

His humanity and His deity in combination are what make all  He accomplished so completely perfect.  His actions, His character, His words, and His faithfulness were so incredible that even the soldiers who crucified Him admitted."Surely he was the Son of God!" Matthew 27 v 50-54

Do you have a hard time imagining a perfect human being?   Take a few minutes to imagine what the perfect person would be like.  What attributes would they have?  Would they be someone well liked?  Or would they be someone met with criticism?

Do you find it hard to imagine how Jesus could balance His divinity and His humanity?  Take a moment to compare the struggles we face as humans to live a life free from sin.   Do you think Jesus had it easier or harder than we do?

Read the following passages to learn more about Jesus as the Son of God:
Matthew 14 v 29-37
Matthew 16 v 13-17
Matthew 17 v 1-7
John 3 v 16
Hebrews 1 v 1-3
Phil 2 v 6-11
 

27 May 2013

Musical Monday- Memorial Day Tribute


In honor of those who sacrificed so much for our Country, I created this video.

God bless America!  God bless the men and women who gave their all.

26 May 2013

Sacred Sunday


In honor of Memorial Day- in honor of the men and women who have ever fought for their Faith, fought for their Freedom, fought for their ideals, fought for their Country, and fought for their Family.   God bless those left behind.  God let us remember the sacrifices made.  God bless America.

For those who now stand in the shadows of those who have come before, who voluntarily take up arms to follow in the footsteps of those we honor this weekend, I salute you.   Memorial Day is for those who have come and gone, but its also a reminder to you to encourage you and challenge you.
God bless you as well!

"10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."  ~Ephesians 6 v 10-20

19 May 2013

Sacred Sunday



For anyone who knows me, and for those who have looked close enough at my profile picture, you can see that I am turning gray at a young age. 

I am a worrier. 
 
I admit it. 
 
Worry is my recurring shame, my biggest sin, my unbearable weakness. 

 I have no reason to worry- He has proven to me over and over in my life that He has EVERYTHING under control and I have no reason to worry.  He HAS PROVEN that to me in big ways and in small ways, in ways that defy logic, reason, and the typical series of consequences for mistakes I have made.   And still--- I worry. 

((How glad I am that He does not give up on me and STILL chooses to prove to me
that He cares and that He has it all under control.))  

Now, here we are, my Military family, on the brink of another PCS, and I find myself tossing and turning, praying and pleading, and worrying and stressing even as I know in my heart and mind that my worry only hurts me.   So I turn, once again, to His Word and I draw comfort from Jesus' words as he entreats [me] not to worry.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  ~Matthew 6 v 25-34
 
I have asked for prayer from you all previously, and I continue to ask you to pray for me as I struggle through this transition period. 
 
Do you also struggle with worry and stress?  If you do, I hope the above passage helps you refocus your gaze on Him, and help you place your trust more fully on Him.  Let's place our worries at His feet, and move forward with peace in our hearts that He has this under control!
 
God bless you!

13 May 2013

Musical Monday


Our lives are a serious of decisions from when we are really young to when we are really old.  Our choices shape us, who we were, and who we are at this moment. 

However, the choices we have made do not have to define who we become.  There is no shame that is too deep for Him to conquer.  There is no sin so great for Him to turn you away.  We are ALL sinners.  We ALL fall short of perfect, yet He still chose to die for us.

The greatest choice we can make, as creatures of free will who can act beyond instinct, is to turn to God, to accept His love, grace, forgiveness, and redemption.  That simple choice can wash away every choice we made or failed to make that we fear can impact our future negatively.

Have you chosen to follow Christ?  Have you let your past be washed away by His love, by God's forgiveness?  If you have not, and would like to please let me share with you more about His perfect love, and how to have a new future in Him.

God bless you!

12 May 2013

Sacred Sunday

 
 In honor of Mother's everywhere:   HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Being a Mother means different things to different women because we are all mothers in slightly (or vastly) different circumstances.   We all love our children and do our best to raise them right.  We all struggle against outside influences and the effects they might have on the malleable minds of our youngsters. Regardless of how we choose to mother, we all become a jack-of-all-trades. We all take on multiple roles.  We all wear a dozen or more hats.  And we all do a bang up job, though much of what we do is never noticed or acknowledged.

God bless you, Mothers!

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
~Proverbs 31 v 25-30

08 May 2013

Fortress of Faith- Study Three: Pillars of Faith

Pillar One- God the Father
 
When we think of "father," no doubt we have many different preconceptions associated with the person who fits that role in our lives. 
 
What characteristics do we ascribe to men we consider to be "good" fathers? 
 
Do we think they must be strong, handsome, fearless, masculine, tough? 
 
Do we think they should be men who demand respect and honor? 
 
Have our experiences with our human father left us full of love or empty and wanting?
 
No doubt, we each have a little different idea of what makes a good father.  However, our God, our Heavenly Father, has set the bar for fathers.  He has been an example of the perfect Father, as well as offering us insights into the characteristics that drive His actions in our lives.
 
First, we must acknowledge that God is not just our Creator.  He did not just say "do it," and it was done.  He is omnipotent and omniscient and a million other things that make Him God.  However, He did not just make us to then leave us to our own designs.  Our Lord created us with the intention of having a relationship with us.  He created us with the intention of watching us grow, of leading us on our way, of reveling in our successes, weeping with us in our sadness, and carrying us through our struggles.  Our God the Creator did not create us and then leave us alone.  
 
Jesus acknowledges this fact when He instructs us how to pray.
 
“This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name',
~Matthew 6 v 9
 
Throughout Jesus' life among us, he repeatedly spoke of His Father in Heaven.  As young as a pre-teen boy who wandered off to be found among the adult men in the temple, Jesus described His own relationship with God as a Father-Son relationship.  However, in the prayer Jesus gives us, He makes it clear, that we too are children of God the Father.  We too have an opportunity to have that Father-child relationship.
 
Second, God our Father is not an absentee father.  The Bible is testament through its myriad of recollections that our Father is present in the movement of this life.  Psalms 121 v 5-8 speak of our God as one who watches over us, who cares about the lives we live, and the struggles we might face.  Psalm 85 v 5 and 1 Thessalonians 4 v 9 both speak of how our Father teaches us; He specifically teaches us how to love as He loved us.  Because of His love for us, the Bible also tells us that He sometimes disciplines us (Psalm 3 v 11-12), just as we would expect a human father to discipline his own child out of love.  The Bible goes on to speak of the presence of our Father, saying that He remains close to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34 v 18).  From cover to cover of our Bible, we can find evidence of a loving, but just God (Nahum 1 v 3)- acting just as a Father concerned for His children acts.
 
Third, God our Father has all the attributes of the Perfect Father.  He is a prime example of what fathers should strive to be.  Our Father is strong, but loving (Psalm 62 v 11-12).  He is slow to anger, compassionate, and merciful (Psalm 103 v 8-13).  He is forgiving and good (Psalm 86 v 5).  Plus, He is not just our Father, but He is also open to adopting.  Psalm 68 v 5 says that He is Father to the fatherless.  Of course, this means two things- He is Father to all the literal orphans and left-behind children this world has seen and will ever see, and He is Father even to those who never call upon His name and join the Christian family. 
 
Finally, our Father does not expect nor demand perfection.  Though many people today shrug off Christianity condemning us all as hypocrites, because they mistakenly believe we must strive to be perfect to meet standards of perfection, which of course, we cannot come close to living up to.  No, He does not demand perfection, as most human father's do not of their own children.  On the contrary, He expects us to TRY our best.  He expects us to do the BEST that we are capable of.  He expects us to use the GIFTS He has given us.  Do our human father's not expect the same things from their children?   No, He does not expect perfection, and knowing that we are imperfect, He offers us forgiveness, mercy, grace, hope, and SALVATION.
 
Have you come to know our God to be your Father?
 
Would you say that you have a relationship with our Father?  What does that relationship look like?
 
Did you have preconceived notions of a harsh God, a distant God, one who does not truly care about you and your life?   Has that changed?  Would you like that to change?
 
This week, I challenge you to read the verses included in the text of this study.  Think on the ones that stand out to you the most.  Consider why they stand out to you.  Then practice praying to our Father as though you were speaking to your human father.  Consider if God the Father were physically in front of you, what would you say to Him?  What do you think He might say to you?
 
 God bless you!

06 May 2013

Musical Monday


I want to take this opportunity to ask all of you to remember me in your prayers this week.  Nothing is wrong, I just have so much on my plate, and I find myself getting easily overwhelmed and frustrated.

Keeping that in mind, I draw much comfort from reading His Word, from prayer, and from Christian music.  So today, I wanted to share two songs with you that bring me comfort.  I hope they bring you comfort as well!  

Please... if you have prayer requests as well, please add it to the prayer wall... I want to pray for you!




01 May 2013

Calling ALL Christians

In light of the news I have seen plastered all over my Facebook and Twitter walls today, I have had a heavy heart all afternoon.  "Pentagon: Religious Proselytizing Is Not Permitted"

I have previously written about my own struggles as a Christian while I was serving on Active Duty.  One simply did not share their faith.  I had been asked on numerous occasions how I was able to work through one struggle or another, or if I was simply cheerful, I would be asked why I had such a sunny outlook.  In real life... LOL... I hate saying that... I would share exactly how I get through struggles, or why I am joyful- because of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.   However, when those questions were asked of me while I was on duty, I knew I could not simply answer that way.  I would always have to couch my answer in some vague "Oh... Well..." hem and haw... "a lot of it has to do with my Faith..." 

Walking on egg shells...  We all know we are not allowed to "evangelize" in the Military.  Duh.  That is common sense.  However, if someone asks me about my faith, or WHY I am the way I am, I should NOT live in fear of sharing the TRUTHFUL answer to those questions.

Walking on egg shells...  Since 1999....  That is when I went through Basic where I was told I could not pray with others outside of Chapel, where I was told that if my Bible offended someone, I would not be allowed to read it again except at Chapel.

Now... walking on egg shells is facing the potential of walking through a land mine for Christians serving in the Armed Forces as Pentagon leadership sits down with a well-known anti-Christian group leader, Mikey Weinstein and entertains his plethora of anti-Christian rhetoric concerning new regulations for our men and women in the Military.

I am no longer serving.  However, my husband is.  I have hundreds of military friends all around the world serving their country, and serve our Lord.  They already walk on egg shells.  They already bite their tongues when an opportunity to share His Word, His Love presents itself. 

I have prayed and prayed today about how handle this news.  I know His will is going to be done ultimately.  I am praying for peace.  I am praying that the sense of foreboding deep in the center of my chest is replaced with the HOPE I know He has given me.  Finally, I have come to this conclusion.

Let us all get on our knees.  Pass this on.  Share with your friends.  Share it at church.  Post it on your Facebook page, on Twitter, whatever your social outlet is to get prayers out.

Let us all pray... Not just that this piece of military regulation falters, if it is His will, but more importantly, pray for Mr. Weinstein.   Let us start a prayer chain that lifts this man up to our Lord, to soften his heart, to wash away his hate or his anger or his bitterness, to offer him true hope and peace and truth.

Will you pray with me for Mr. Weinstein?


Fortress of Faith- Study Two: Pillars of Faith

God our Creator

As we move forward in science and technology, it appears on one hand that we are discovering the secrets to the universe, but just as quickly as we learn the way something in nature works, we also discover that we have no idea why finding instead that a million other questions are left unanswered.

In modern-day Christianity, we now see more and more science spilling into explanations of the miraculous.  Sometimes that science allows us to see just how miraculous the miracle of creation is, but more often then not, the science is a poorly veiled attempt to draw our focus away from our Creator, to demean His abilities and ultimately His love for us.

Genesis chapters one and two clearly lay out the narration of God creating not just our world, but all that we comprehend to be real in this universe.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..."  According to Scripture, God spent several days creating all we know, not millenia, there are no gaps in time.  If there were gaps in time as some insist, when God inspired Moses to write Genesis, he would have directed him to say "-the first period."  No, over and over the time of creation spanned "-the first day," "-the second day," and so on.  Still, science, and those even among the Christian community cannot fathom such a monumental task occurring, so our Creator is put into a neat little box with a label on it saying He can't literally create a universe, a planet, ecosystems complete with plants and animals, and people in one week.  Yet, He did.   Scripture clearly states God created all that we see around us in a miraculous manner, to include us.  (Job 38 goes in depth on His handiwork versus our arrogance in thinking we can understand creation.)

Romans 1 v 20 says "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

As Christians, we should be able to see Him in the world around us.  We should be able to see the divine architect's plan as we learn about the amazingly perfect balance nature has.  We should be able to see the miraculous when we learn about the human body with its incredible cells, chemical makeup, and inter-working systems that work together in perfect harmony so that we  not just live, but we also reason.  We should be able to see all that science has learned as proof of His existence, not as a reason to doubt.  We should see Him in creation, but even more so, when we look at ourselves, we should see He is OUR Creator.

Genesis 1:26 says that God created us in His image.  Now, we will not know until we meet Him in Heaven exactly what that means.  Does that mean our bodily appearance reflects the physical build of our Creator?  Does it really matter?  What does matter is that He thought as an artist.  He hand-crafted us in a manner pleasing to Him, and He breathed life into us, and He thought we (according to verse 31) that we were pretty cool.

Psalm 139, one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, speaks of His relationship with us as our Creator.  According to David, who wrote this Psalm, our Creator has an intimate relationship with us.  He knows us inside and out, knowing what we wish to say before we do. 

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139 v 13-16

I encourage you, as you go about the rest of your week, take a moment to wonder at creation.  Take a minute to truly consider the balance of our ecosystems.  Take a minute to truly look at the veins in a leaf, and consider how it moves nutrients that are absorbed by the sun and changed in the fiber of the leaf.  The look at yourself in the mirror.  Try to count the hairs on your head.  Try to fathom how your body's systems work together, automatically.   Try to really line that up with the "scientific" explanation of a big bang versus the well-planned execution of a divine plan.

You, my friend, are a miracle living among the miraculous! 

God bless!




29 April 2013

Musical Monday


This song by Matthew West was a reminder to me when this time last year, I found myself struggling.  The weight of the world seemed to be on my shoulders.  Even in my relationship with our Lord, I felt weak and helpless. 

We have all been through times in our lives, whether it was a single situation that was over in a day, or a period in our lives where each day seemed to last a year and the journey seemed too much to bear, where the struggles we face seem too big for us to get through.

What a blessing to be reminded- we are not alone.  He is with us.  He is carrying us.  We can rest in His embrace and know that His will is being done, even if we cannot see it or understand it.

28 April 2013

Sacred Sunday


This passage speaks for itself!  I hope and pray each of you has a fantastic week!

"4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."  ~Philippians 4 v 4-9

24 April 2013

Fortress of Faith- Study One: Pillars of Faith

This "Fortress of Faith" Series is meant to take us back to the roots of our Christian faith, and apply that basis to our lives as women who play a part in our modern Military.  In "Fortress of Faith: Foundation of Love," we were reminded that everything we believe, the essence of our Faith, the truth that surrounds our God is all based on this concept of love- the love He has for us, and the love He encourages us to have for each other.

In the next ten weeks, "Fortress of Faith: Pillars of Faith," we will look more deeply at what our Christian Faith is built upon.  We will spend several weeks on the following rough outline (forgive me, I am writing this study as we go):

Week one- Introduction (today)

Week two- Pillar One: God the Creator

Week three- Pillar One: God the Father

Week four-  Pillar Two: God the Son

Week five- Pillar Two: God the Savior

Week six- Pillar three: God the Spirit

Week seven- Pillar three: God the Intercessor

Week eight- Pillar four:  the Word of God

Week nine- Pillar four:  the Holy Bible

Week ten- Conclusion

Ladies, we are standing on the firm foundation of His love.  We know deep in our hearts that our God, our Savior, and our Holy Spirit guide us from an aspect of love.  We know deep in our hearts that our faith is built on a love so deep and so genuine we cannot fully comprehend its value.  We know deep in our hearts that our faith in rooted deeply in love.

However, love without God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God has no strength, has no power, has no direction, and cannot stand or be built upon.

My prayer is to take this journey with you as we rediscover the pillars upon which our faith takes shape.  My prayer is that we rediscover the many facets of our Lord and His Word, and that we reawaken a passion to gather our faith closer to us as well as a desire to share our faith with those we come into contact with us as we move from place to place.

I hope you will join me next week.  In the meantime, please think on the following:

Do you have a relationship with our God?

What does that relationship mean to you?

Do you regard the Son of God as your Savior?

Do you have conversations with the Spirit?

Do you dwell in the Word of God and accept it as the His true guidance for us?

Finally, I ask that you pray this week.  Please pray for me as I work on this study, and please pray for the readers who might follow this study.  Please pray for yourself, that He opens your hearts and minds to whatever He might wish to teach you through this study.

God bless you!


15 April 2013

Musical Monday

 
 For all the boys and girls part of our Armed Forces.
 
You are worth more than gold!!!
 
 


14 April 2013

Sacred Sunday


From The Message: Encouragement to avoid debate that results in argument.  Encouragement to speak gently or simply listen.  It is not our duty to argue someone into Heaven.  It is our duty as Christians, to offer an avenue, insights, experience, and direction according to His Will.  HE will bring non-believers in His time, in His way.

22-26 Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God. Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. God’s servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, enabling them to escape the Devil’s trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands.
~2 Timothy 2 v 22-26

13 April 2013

2,000 Views Giveaway


WOW!!! 
 
Thank you, dear Readers, for following this blog.  You have helped this blog reach two thousand views.  You have responded with comments, emails, and shares.  You have inspired me to keep writing, and challenged me to address issues that affect you most.

I am honored to write to you, to share with you what our Lord has laid upon my heart.

In honor of you, I am giving away a short Bible Study.



A Woman After God's Heart is an eight week Bible Study that "challenges you to grow into Spiritual maturity.... Through eight weeks of study, you'll discover the core beliefs and practices of mature Christianity, dig into the teachings of Scripture, and reflect on the past, present, and future of your walk with God."

In order to enter the drawing for this giveaway, please follow the directions below:

1.  Become a follower.  There are different avenues to become a follower.  In the left column, you may join the blog directly, join through Google+, or join through NetworkedBlogs.  (Joining to follow by email does not notify me that you have joined my blog.)

2.  Share one of your favorite blog posts from Military Women of God on Facebook or Twitter.

3.  Leave a comment under THIS posting letting me know which blog post you shared so I may verify.  If you are a blogger, please feel free to leave the name of your blog as well as a brief description of it.

4.  Finally, please tell me how your learned of this blog, what you like about it, and what you would like to see covered in the future.

I will choose the winner of the giveaway in one week (Saturday, 20 April 2013).  I will then notify the winner to arrange shipping.

Thank you again for visiting, reading, sharing, and providing me with your thoughts! 

God bless you!

08 April 2013

Musical Monday


In honor of the Military Child: the following song is performed by two MilKids.   A beautiful song from the perspective of a Military Child, what they go through, and a positive outlook on the military way of life.

Take some time this month to honor the children of our Military Members.

07 April 2013

Sacred Sunday



From The Message:  This passage tackles head on Faith versus Works.  God bless you!

Galatians 3

The Message (MSG)

Trust in Christ, Not the Law

3 You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.
2-4 Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!
5-6 Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Don’t these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God.
7-8 Is it not obvious to you that persons who put their trust in Christ (not persons who put their trust in the law!) are like Abraham: children of faith? It was all laid out beforehand in Scripture that God would set things right with non-Jews by faith. Scripture anticipated this in the promise to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed in you.”
9-10 So those now who live by faith are blessed along with Abraham, who lived by faith—this is no new doctrine! And that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure. Scripture backs this up: “Utterly cursed is every person who fails to carry out every detail written in the Book of the law.”
11-12 The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. Habakkuk had it right: “The person who believes God, is set right by God—and that’s the real life.” Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping, a fact observed in Scripture: “The one who does these things [rule-keeping] continues to live by them.”
13-14 Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into himself. Do you remember the Scripture that says, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse. And now, because of that, the air is cleared and we can see that Abraham’s blessing is present and available for non-Jews, too. We are all able to receive God’s life, his Spirit, in and with us by believing—just the way Abraham received it.
15-18 Friends, let me give you an example from everyday affairs of the free life I am talking about. Once a person’s will has been ratified, no one else can annul it or add to it. Now, the promises were made to Abraham and to his descendant. You will observe that Scripture, in the careful language of a legal document, does not say “to descendants,” referring to everybody in general, but “to your descendant” (the noun, note, is singular), referring to Christ. This is the way I interpret this: A will, earlier ratified by God, is not annulled by an addendum attached 430 years later, thereby negating the promise of the will. No, this addendum, with its instructions and regulations, has nothing to do with the promised inheritance in the will.
18-20 What is the point, then, of the law, the attached addendum? It was a thoughtful addition to the original covenant promises made to Abraham. The purpose of the law was to keep a sinful people in the way of salvation until Christ (the descendant) came, inheriting the promises and distributing them to us. Obviously this law was not a firsthand encounter with God. It was arranged by angelic messengers through a middleman, Moses. But if there is a middleman as there was at Sinai, then the people are not dealing directly with God, are they? But the original promise is the direct blessing of God, received by faith.
21-22 If such is the case, is the law, then, an anti-promise, a negation of God’s will for us? Not at all. Its purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship with God, and therefore to show us the futility of devising some religious system for getting by our own efforts what we can only get by waiting in faith for God to complete his promise. For if any kind of rule-keeping had power to create life in us, we would certainly have gotten it by this time.
23-24 Until the time when we were mature enough to respond freely in faith to the living God, we were carefully surrounded and protected by the Mosaic law. The law was like those Greek tutors, with which you are familiar, who escort children to school and protect them from danger or distraction, making sure the children will really get to the place they set out for.
25-27 But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise.

In Christ’s Family

28-29 In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.

03 April 2013

Month of the Military Child: Ideas



In brainstorming for ideas of how to make this month special for my Military Child, this is what I came up with:

Design a "Military Brat" T-shirt

Have your kids pick out a t-shirt from Wal-mart (or other inexpensive store).

Using fabric paints, have them design their own shirt with the following phrases:
                  Proud to Support My [Military Branch] [Mom/Dad]
                            Proud to Be a Military Brat
                                       I Am A Military Hero Too
              or whichever phrase you like that identifies your Kiddo as a Military Child

Design a Certificate of Appreciation

You can create your own if you have the time and are crafty.  Or you can go to Blue Star Families to print out a pre-generated one that you can personalize.


Throw a Party

Big or small, all mil-kids or mil and civ kids, make a cake, serve some icecream, and have the mil kids share stories about previous bases, favorite moments in military life, etc.  This allows them to share with each other and to share with civilian kids why they like or don't like the military way of life (and offers us parents a sneak peak into their real thoughts on our lifestyle.)

Be sure to include mil-type party favors and decorations.  Create some mil-style games.


Share Time

Something I think my Kiddo would benefit from is an opportunity to ask questions.  Take a moment to sit down with your kids and let them ask you questions about what you do in the Military and why.  Be as honest as you can.  Then ask them questions as well.  I believe opening communication with the kids is important as we struggle through deployments and PCS's.  Giving them an idea of why we choose this life will go a long way in helping them understand and cope.


Get Involved

Be sure to check your base events.  Most bases will offer some sort of event that will both honor the kids as well as educate them on what it means to be in the military.  Find out if your base has an event like Operation: Military Kids and sign them up before the event is full.  Or check out Soldier's Angels for a list of daily ideas to show your support.


02 April 2013

Month of the Military Child

In 1986, April was designated as a month to celebrate the children of those who serve in the Armed Forces.

Believe it or not, this month to celebrate is news to me, and I have experience with the military since 1999.  Even now that I am a Mom of eight years, I have never once heard of any events on any bases, or by any spouses groups, or even from the Chapels that focus on the children, that get their perspectives, or that celebrate their triumphs as they are moved from one place to another, as they struggle through the absence of a parent through TDY's and Deployments.

 Apparently, I have been living under a rock.

However, I want to take this month and collect ideas that we can do with our children to show them our appreciation for THEIR sacrifices.



This month offers us the opportunity to pick their brains.  Let's gain their input and perspectives.  Let's offer them a chance to have a say about the life we have chosen, that they had no choice in.



I know previous moves have not affected my child so far.  However, we have an upcoming PCS.  He has known about it for a while, and he has struggled with it.  He loves the area we live in.  He loves his school.  He has friends he doesn't want to say goodbye to.  Plus, this time, he is experiencing fear of the unknown- what will his future home be like, what will his future school be like, will he make friends, etc, etc.

I know I have taken for granted the struggles my son must face each time we move.  I know I have taken for granted his ability to put on a smile and just work through it.  Such a tender age, and yet, he often displays characteristics of a grown man. 



Are your military children the same way?  Have you spoken with them about it?  Do they have opinions, and do their opinions play a part in the decision making?

I am certainly going to do my best to celebrate my kiddo's life as a military child.  I hope you all will join me.   And please pass it on to your military friends.  Please check your Base events to find out if they are doing anything to honor our kids.   Also check your local communities, some of them may be holding special events as well.

God bless our Military Children!

01 April 2013

Musical Monday


This song was first done by Rich Mullins... This version by Third Day and Brandon Heath is a beautiful tribute to the original, and a beautiful rendition of the Creed we Christians abide by.

I hope you all have had a beautiful Resurrection Day with your friends and family!  Carry that gift of new life, of forgiveness, of grace and hope with you every day!

31 March 2013

Sacred Sunday


Today, we celebrate His resurrection!  Today is not about colorful eggs, baskets over-flowing with cavity inducing candy, or outfits that are both beautiful and colorful.   These things are great symbols of new life, of triumph over death, but do not let them distract you from the vision of an empty tomb, of our Lord standing before you with the holes in his hands and feet.  Celebrate the beauty of new life in Him even as you focus on His love for us and His triumph over sin and death.

Happy Easter to you all!  He is Risen!  Hallelujah!
 
 
 

John 20

The Message (MSG)

 

1-2 Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”
3-10 Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.
11-13 But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”
13-14 “They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.
15 Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”
She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”
16 Jesus said, “Mary.”
Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”
17 Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: “I saw the Master!” And she told them everything he said to her.

 

19-20 Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.
20-21 The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”
22-23 Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”
24-25 But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”
But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”
27 Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”
28 Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”
29 Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”
30-31 Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.

29 March 2013

Celebrating Resurrection Day

I wrote this on my personal blog (A God-blessed Life), and thought I should share it here as well.

Disclaimer: My family celebrates Easter with eggs, baskets, and chocolate as most Christian families do. My intent is not to take away from family traditions used to teach the importance of Christ's resurrection- rather, my intent is to speak to adult Christians mucking around in a watered-down faith of our modern church to go back to our roots.


Easter is this Sunday.
 
Hallelujah! He is Risen!

For some of us this means putting on our nicest church clothes, getting up before the sun has risen, and rushing to a church that only sees us on major holidays to offer a feeble proclamation of praise and worship to a God we ignore the rest of the year.

For some of us this means several days of preparation: coloring eggs, decorating the house, shopping for pretty clothes for Easter pictures in front of the display at church, followed by a family meal that competes with Thanksgiving dinner, and very little thought goes into the actual representation of the day.

Then there are some of us who take great pains to remember Christ on this day, to use traditions and adopted symbolism to teach our friends, family, and children about Christ, His sacrifice, His Victory, and His love for us, while still trying to keep up with cantata's, dawn services, egg hunts, family dinners, etc. And try as we might, we still miss the big picture.

Easter Sunday, or as I prefer to refer to it, Resurrection Day, is the day we celebrate Christ rising from the dead of HIS OWN accord in victory over death with the debts of sin for every generation paid in full.


Please read that again. Let it sink in.

He died for our sins. Mine. Yours. Our parents. Our ancestors. Our children. Our grandchildren. Their grandchildren. He died for every single sin ever committed by every person who has ever lived, and who shall ever live! Think on that!



We no longer have to atone for our own sins... we merely need to accept that He did that for us, and accept His forgiveness, and offer our thanks, and strive to live better lives. Yet, we take his death for granted. We still go out living in sin that we KNOW in our hearts is sin. We think to ourselves that we are forgiven and that justifies our lack of action to stop sinning. Shame on us for wasting His gift!

But in addition to His dying for our sins, He willed Himself back to LIFE! He left the sins He paid for at the feet of Satan, and left the place of eternal damnation to prove to us His power over life and death, to prove to us He is the Son of God. On the third day after His death, Jesus Christ the Son of God, broke the gates of hell and walked among us once more.

Jesus Christ fulfilled all the prophecies of the Old Testament freeing us from a life of law and inviting us to a life of peace, love, and freedom under His Grace, Perfect Love, and Mercy with the promise of eternal life at His side. This too we take for granted. We assume that living a life of peace, love, and freedom means that we can allow our Faith to become watered down. We study the Word less and cave into the world's views more. In the end, we start believing what the world has to say about our faith more than what His Word says about our faith and we are left hollow, confused, angry, and bitter.



My encouragement to you for this Resurrection Day, as you follow your family or personal traditions, is to add to your traditions a deliberate return to His Word. Make the time to lift your face to Heaven and call upon His name. His death and resurrection offer you the opportunity to directly seek His face. Raise your voice in prayer and praise. Tell your friends and family why modern Easter practices are simply icing on the cake of a gift so precious we need to stop taking it for granted.

Celebrate Resurrection Day and let the rest of the world have Easter.

God bless you!