Monthly Archives: January 2013


Do You Really Believe in that Jesus Stuff?

A while back when driving home from church one Sunday, I overheard a conversation going on in the backseat of our van. It was between my son Christian and a couple of his friends that had been occasionally attending church with us. Their discussion had started off with statements about what had been studied that particular day in Sunday school class and I wasn’t really paying attention to what was being said at first.

For some unknown reason, my ears suddenly tuned in to their conversation just as one of the boys asked my son, “Do you really believe in that Jesus stuff?” As I heard the words coming out of Christian’s mouth, I felt the tears beginning to well up in my eyes. He answered, “Of course I do, I’ve seen Him. I sat on His lap when I died and went to heaven”.

For a moment I thought I might have to pull over as the tears began to flow. Christian seemed to take it all in stride, as if it was nothing out of the ordinary. But his friends were rather quiet for a few seconds. Then one of the boys asked, “Well what was it like, being in heaven”? Christian replied, “You know, it was the most beautiful place and there was lots of angels singing, and it was really bright. And it just felt so peaceful and good there. I didn’t want to ever leave”.

Again there was a brief silence, and then their conversation changed to the plans of activities for the afternoon. Once again I was reminded of how Christian’s perception of the world is so very different than mine. Not so long ago it was almost unperceivable to Christian that there are people in the world that do not believe in Jesus. For a while after his accident, he didn’t understand why people were so shocked when he told them that he had died and gone to heaven. To him, it seemed so acceptable and natural, because he had never had any doubt in his faith. His belief in the realness of Jesus was just as sure as knowing that day follows night, and he just couldn’t figure out why everyone else didn’t know that too.

Recently, after beginning to see and hear more about so many people that do not believe in Jesus, Christian seemed to be in a somber mood one evening. He asked me, “Mom, do you believe Jesus is real”? I was a little surprised by the question, but I answered, “Yes, I know He’s real”. He replied, “But you’ve never seen Him, so how do you know He’s real”? I said, “Because I can feel Him in my heart”. He thought about that for a moment and then asked, “Why can’t everyone feel Him in their heart and believe in Him”?

I thought back to the time before I believed and I asked myself the question, “Why didn’t I believe in Him then”? I knew about Him then, but I didn’t know Him in the personal way I do now. I remembered the painful and empty hole in my heart, a hole that had been there for almost as long as I could remember. How that hole had grown larger and more painful over the years, until it was consuming me. Even though I had read a lot of things in the bible and I knew about Jesus and what He did, I had never chosen on purpose to believe in Him. I had never invited Him into my heart. Then I remembered the night I did choose Him, and how that hole inside of me was filled with a love that I can’t explain. I can say that it is a joy like I’ve never known before, and I never want to lose it! It would be like losing the blood flowing through my veins and I would die without it.

I tried to answer Christian’s question, but it was not something that I could fully explain. I told him that a person has to choose to believe that Jesus is real and they have to open their heart to let His Spirit in. He won’t force His way in, He gives us the freedom to choose.

The question of why anyone would not choose to believe came up, and that question was easy enough to answer, but harder to explain. The answer is in the sinful nature of the heart of man. Because of that sinful nature, the heart and mind become confused and overwhelmed. The truth that can set us free (believing in Jesus) becomes hidden behind a wall of doubt and chaos. Satan keeps us in the darkness by deceiving us, trying to keep our minds focused on anything but the truth.

Why do you misunderstand what I say? It is because you are unable to hear what I am saying. [You cannot bear to listen to My message; your ears are shut to My teaching.] You are of your father, the devil, and it is your will to practice the lusts and gratify the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me [do not trust Me, do not rely on Me, or adhere to Me].” John 8:43-45 AMP

As I was explaining this to Christian, I noticed the tears beginning to form in his eyes. He said, “I just wish everyone could see Jesus like I did and they would know He is real. Then they would love Him and want Him in their hearts too”. I told him that is why we tell others about Jesus’ love for us and the gift He has given us, and how He wants to give that same gift to them. We show His Spirit in us by the way we live our own life. But we cannot make anyone believe, that is a choice they must make for themselves.

I am so very thankful for Christian’s faith, and his desire to see all souls be saved. He has inspired my own faith and touched many hearts in more ways than he will ever know. I pray that fire in his heart never goes out, that the truth of Jesus continues to spread, and that hearts will be opened to receive Him. May God bless us with His Holy Spirit, creating in us a desire for revival and a passion for sharing Him with everyone around us. Amen.

Here is this week’s #TBSU List. I hope you’ll take some time to check out their sites. If you see something you like, please share. Have a great weekend, and God bless!

http://mustardseedbudget.wordpress.com/

http://caddoveil.com/

http://morningstoryanddilbert.wordpress.com/

http://preachercarter.wordpress.com/

http://mychristiancoffeeshop.wordpress.com/

http://jelillie.wordpress.com/

http://greenlightlady.wordpress.com/

http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/

http://community321.com/

http://breadforthebride.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

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The Seven C’s of Character


7 C's

Very well said. But I would have to add an 8th “C”. This “C” would be necessary as the foundation on which to build the above list. Without a strong foundation, the walls cannot stand. Without the last “C”, none of the others could be prevail. The final “C” of course, is Christ Jesus.

Praying that as we go through each day of our lives, the character of our hearts is reflecting the heart of Jesus. Amen.

 

Let His Light Shine


Sorry I’m late with the post today. It’s been a very busy week and I’ve let myself get behind on a few things.

First, an update on my son, Daniel. He ended up having a second open heart surgery on Tuesday due to some bleeding, but things went well and he is recovering now. I got to talk to him on the phone briefly, and though he was tired, he sounded good. I praise God and thank Him with all of my heart! I know He is there, watching over my boy, even when I can’t be. And I want to thank you all again for your loving prayers!

I am reminded often of how loved and blessed I am by all the kind and generous people God puts in my life. There are many that I may never meet in person here on earth, but I believe we will know each other someday in heaven.

I’d like to share a story that was posted on a new friend’s blog at Morning Story and Dilbert.

The Wise Woman’s Stone

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.

“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given

This story is the perfect example of what it means to let His Light shine in us, and through us. I know there have been too many times in my own life when I’ve ignored the opportunities my Lord has given me to reach out to others and show His Spirit in me. I don’t want to waste anymore time going through the motions, playing the part of a Christian. I want it to be real, in every area of my life and with my whole heart. When people look at me, I want them to see Jesus.

Lord, I pray that Your Spirit leads me where You want me to go, that Your love is always in my heart, Your truth always on my lips, and that my eyes will see others as You see them. Amen.

Kenny has a lot of inspiring stories over at his blog, full of truth and wisdom. So check out his site at http://morningstoryanddilbert.wordpress.com/

And last but not least, here is the #TBSU List for this week:

http://community321.com/

http://www.christianbook.com/

http://breadforthebride.wordpress.com/

http://sharpword.wordpress.com/

http://ghettoscorner.wordpress.com/

http://learningtobeblog.wordpress.com/

You know the drill, check ’em out and if you see something you like, please share! Have an awesome weekend, and God bless! – Amber

Thank You For Your Prayers!


I just wanted to give a quick update, and a VERY BIG THANK YOU for all your prayers!

I just received word, my son is out of surgery and in ICU. He is doing well!!!

He was born with Aortic Stenosis, a defective heart valve. They have waited for years for technology to improve in replacing these valves. He now has a mechanical valve which should last a lifetime, and without further surgeries.

I am a very thankful mother this morning! God blessed me with three beautiful sons. My oldest went Home and walks with Jesus. My youngest went Home for a visit, but was returned to us. Now my second son has a new heart. And I pray it will always be filled with a love for Jesus!

With all my heart, I thank you all so much for your prayers! I know God hears, and answers. He has surrounded with caring and kind hearts that have lifted me up and encouraged me with hope! He gives me courage to face the storms, and strength to go through them. Thank You Jesus! – Amber

A Prayer Request


I have a prayer request this morning.

I’ve seen and felt the power of prayer, I know that God hears and answers. So I’m asking for as many as would join me, to pray for my son Daniel. He’s not the type that would ask on his own, so I’m asking for him. He’s having heart surgery in a few days. I’m praying for his soul first, and then his heart.

I thank you all in advance for joining me in this. If you could pass it along to others, I would appreciate it greatly.

God bless, Amber

Where Is Jesus? He’s In My Heart!


Where Is Jesus? He’s In My Heart!

Some people are saying that America was never a Christian nation. Some are saying that it used to be, but is not now. And others are insisting that it still is. I can’t honestly and accurately say what is (or was) in anyone else’s heart or mind but my own. I guess it doesn’t really matter what anyone calls this country. I personally, am a Christian.

The word Christian means to follow Christ, to be Christ-like. It was first used (Acts 11:26) in Antioch (not as the English word we use now) to describe the people that were following the teachings of Jesus Christ and trying to live their lives according to the examples He had given. More accurately, it described the people that had received the Spirit of The Holy Ghost and had given their lives completely to Him. It did not mean to simply believe in Jesus, for even Satan believed, but I’m pretty sure he would not be called a Christian.

In any case, the core nature of being a Christian is not about being in a group where everyone agrees with or goes along with everyone else about all things. It is more about a personal relationship with Christ in our own heart. God made us all individuals, each one of us is unique. In being unique, we are not going to agree with each other on everything. But as Christians, we are all subject to His instructions (the Bible) in loving one another and how we are supposed to work together for His glory.

The Bible says in Romans 12:3-5, “For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him. For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use, So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another].” (Amplified translation)

In this context we are being instructed to work together for the common goal of what is good for us all, with each contributing his or her own unique gift or talent, but moving in the same direction as a whole in God’s will.

Not including our past history or how this nation was founded, the current percentage of the population claiming to be Christians in America is 73%. (Wikipedia) So I have to wonder, if we are doing what we are supposed to as a whole (living under God’s leadership), how is it that we have allowed so many of (man’s) laws to be passed that are essentially “escorting God right out of our lives”? If the majority of this nation is declaring that we are Christians, why are we condoning these laws with our silence? God’s Word is pretty clear about homosexuality, murder, theft, etc. Yet we continue to allow our own government to pass laws to the contrary, just so long as they call it by a different name or don’t bother us with it.

As an individual with only one voice, I cannot change much. But as a population of 73% of the American public, when we stand together, we can change a lot of things. That is to say, if we stand together and take action. The Bible commands believers in Psalm 94:16 to RISE UP and STAND UP for God against evildoers.

I am not suggesting that we try to force anyone to become a Christian. That is not our business, it’s God’s. What I am saying is that by being too silent and ignoring the direction our politicians and government have taken and the laws they have passed under the pressure of a small minority group, we are allowing the moral fabric of our nation to be destroyed.

Our children are growing up confused and unbalanced. In their hearts they may feel something of a basic sense of what is right or wrong, but they see the examples of what is being allowed or being pushed as “normal and acceptable behavior” plastered all around them. Even in a lot of the Christian homes there is compromising and excusing, instead of truth and obedience.

And then we cry out in wonder at the insanity of a brutal beating of an elderly man for a few dollars. We scream in outrage at the raping and beating of a young teenage girl. And we ask why in the shooting of innocent children. Why would or how could anyone do such horrible things? The answer is simple, because of evil.

It’s not about passing more laws to take people’s guns away. (Cain didn’t use a gun to kill Able.) It’s not about passing laws to allow people to carry guns either. In fact, it’s not really about passing any laws at all. We were already given Ten Laws a long, long time ago, and if those laws were actually observed, there wouldn’t be any other laws needed.

The problem is we can’t obey those laws without God’s help. That is why Jesus came. He lived to teach and show us how to live. Then He died, rose up again, and ascended back up to Heaven to give us the gift of His Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). It is only with His precious gift that we have the means to live in obedience of His Word.

But what good can His Word do if no one sees it, hears it, or experiences it’s power around them? We need God and His Word to be the center of our lives, because without Him, evil overcomes.

It is not my desire or intention to judge anyone else for what they believe or not, or for what they do. It is just my belief that as a Christian and an American, it is my right and responsibility to stand up for what I believe in, and to live my life accordingly. I believe in “the land of the free, and the home of the brave”. I believe in “the right to keep and bear arms”. I believe in “one nation, under God”. I believe in “God shed His grace on thee”. I believe in “thou shalt have no other gods before me”. I believe in “For God so loved the world…” I believe in “love one another, as I have loved you”. I believe in repentance, being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. And I believe in “…as for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord”.

I will live my life and teach my children as Jesus leads me. I will vote as Jesus leads me. I will speak as Jesus leads me. And I will love others, as Jesus leads me. Will you?

My prayer today is that hearts and minds are opened to Jesus’ gift, that eyes will see the truth, and that the people of this country and all around the world will know His great love for us all. May peace and joy surround you, and God bless. – Amber

Sound Wisdom


Sound Wisdom

I’ve heard people say that the Bible is old fashioned and out of date, that it doesn’t really apply to our modern times. Really? Check this out:

Bible Emergency Contact Numbers

Seems pretty up to date to me. God’s word is always true, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

My son likes thinking about this way:

B.I.B.L.E. – Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

The more I read my Bible, the more I realize I need Him more!

It’s Friday, and as promised, here is my #TBSU (The Blog Scratchers Union) List:

http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/

http://www.christinesmusic.com/

http://faithwriters.com/

http://caddoveil.com/

http://www.gregglover.org/

http://www.gods-411.com/

http://www.gpastures.co.uk/

http://www.apostolic.net/

http://www.christianbook.com/

I pray you all have a fantastic and blessed weekend, with His Holy Spirit in your heart to guide you where He wants you to be. Safe journeys and God bless! – Amber

 

 

 

Words


Words

 

“Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.” (Ephesians 4:29 AMP)

Last night, an elderly woman that I admire and adore came over to me at church and prayed with me. Afterward, she hugged me and told me that I was special and that she really appreciated me and my friendship. I can’t even describe how wonderful hearing that made me feel inside! Her words caught me off guard and I didn’t know what to say, except a heart felt “thank you”. This woman’s words, though simply spoken, did so much more than just make me feel good. Her gesture also showed me just what it means to reach out to others and love them. She showed me a living example of how just a few words can say so much and do so much good in lifting up a person’s spirit. She and her daughter-in-law have been wonderful mentors to me, even if they don’t know it, and have given me great examples of what it means to be a virtuous woman. Not only in their words, but in their lifestyle as well. I greatly respect and admire both of these women, and feel very privileged and blessed to know them. And I pray that in the days to come, I will learn to follow in their footsteps with the examples they have given in living out a godly life, being helpful and edifying to others as Jesus taught.

I am not what would be considered a qualified speaker by most standards, although I can talk with the best of them. But the impact my friend’s words had in my heart last night is the kind of impact I want to share with others. I think this would fall into the category of “random acts of kindness”, and that is something the world definitely needs more of.

So, I pray today that each person that reads this will receive a blessing of kind, loving and sincere words from someone, whether it is from a friend or stranger, and that it will stir up and inspire their heart to do the same with someone else. Let our hearts be led by The Holy Spirit, and our lips always ready with His truth and love. Amen and God bless!

A Happy and Blessed New Year


A Happy and Blessed New Year

 

I want to wish all of you a very happy and blessed 2013! I pray that this new year brings a renewed joy and peace to your hearts, that your spirits are filled a burning passion for Jesus that shines bright, and that His great love overflows from you to everyone around you!

Over the past few weeks I have been spending some thinking about my priorities and my schedule. Life seemed to be getting filled with many frustrations of not being able to accomplish all of the tasks on my lists. I realized that I was spending too much time on unnecessary things, and not enough time on the things that really matter.

My first priority is God. Although I had made the decision for making Him my number one a long time ago, lately there had been so many other things in my life that I felt like I was rushing through my time with the Lord, to hurry up to get onto other things. This is not right, this is not treating Him with the honor and respect that He deserves!

This was also the situation for me with my family and friends. I was telling myself that I had to wait until all of the other things on my list of “to do’s” needed to be done first, and then I would have time to spend with my loved ones. The problem with that is my “to do” lists never seemed to get completed, or if they did, I was too tired to do anything else. And some of my relationships have ended up suffering for it. This is not right either.

In retrospect, I have always tried to be a responsible person, taking care of business and getting the job done. However, it was always my decisions and goals that I was working on. I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for the first half of my life, and seeking His guidance on what to do with my life has been a difficult thing for me to learn. Being raised with an independent personality, I was used to directing my own path, and I couldn’t figure out why things didn’t work out the way I planned. It wasn’t until I learned that I am not in control, that I even began to seek His counsel.

For the past couple of years, I have been feeling the Lord directing me in my heart toward certain endeavors. But I was trying to figure out how to follow His directions and mine at the same time. It was a hard realization to finally figure out that I can’t do both. But it was an easy enough choice to decide who to follow, especially with my established track record. My ways did not work outside of His plans for me.

And so I have spent a lot of time praying for His guidance, asking Him to reveal to me what He wants for me and from me. This was how the subject of my priorities came up. In addition to God now, my greatest passions have always been my family and friends, animals, and writing. There are many other things that I care about and enjoy, but these are the areas that Jesus wants my main focus. When I realized that I had been spending more time on things other than these four priorities, it made sense that this was where the majority of my frustration was coming from.

This past two weeks I had slowed down my hectic schedule and began spending more time with my son, just to enjoy his company. And I spent more time in prayer and reading the bible. I discovered that our time in church was also far more enriching to my spirit and my joy was returning. I also made time to spend with some of our friends, and with our pets. Even though some of my tasks did not get completed, I felt a renewed sense of joy that I have not felt in a while.

One particular thing that had been heavy on my heart was my family. Most all of my family lives far away, and it’s been many years since I’ve visited with them. Money and time have always been an issue, which in itself has caused a lot of stress. But a few nights ago, I was feeling a strong desire in wanting to see my family. I went onto the internet and looked up the specials on airfare and found a 65% discount available. I checked my savings account and found that I could actually do this! There may be some things that will have to be sacrificed for now, but my family is worth it! So I will be taking 3 weeks off in February to spend with some people that are very dear to me.

After making the reservations, the excitement in me has grown and created more energy than I have felt in years! God is leading me into a new direction, showing me the importance of letting Him have total control, and the precious peace and joy that comes from it. And I have a renewed spirit for my writing as well. My writing has always come from my heart, but lately it had started to feel more like an obligation or another task that needed doing. And it felt like I had to force the words out, one at a time, instead of letting it flow like water. But the enjoyment of it has returned, and I look forward to my time putting the words down again.

I can’t say exactly what all this new year will bring, but I can say there is a positive outlook to it. I am expecting good things, even though I know that it may not all be good. I am expecting joy and peace, even though I know there may be times of chaos. I am expecting many blessings, because I know God is good, all the time. He has already blessed me in more ways than I count, and I have learned that the greatest blessing of all is love! Jesus loves me! HE LOVES ME!!! What more could I possibly ask for? And yet, He gives me so much more! A family and friends that I love very much, the awesome beauty that surrounds me, a home that keeps me safe and comfortable, a Pastor with a heart for truth, a church where I know His Spirit flows, a mind that can form words and a desire to share them, comfort in times of trials, strength when I am weak, courage when I am afraid…the list goes on forever!

I know every day of my life is another chance for learning something new. Each day brings new opportunities and blessings. I have a new excitement in my heart, to see what wonders God will bring each day, and knowing that no matter what, He is always with me!

I am thankful for everything God has done and is doing for me. And I am thankful for the opportunity to share it with everyone. I pray that this new year will be filled with many good things for all of you, and I pray that many more souls will come to Him that saves!

God bless, and Happy New Year!

 

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