“Sword of Light”

That is the name of the chapter in our study of the book called “Girls with Swords”… first of all, I am ever so grateful for the women in this group. It never ceases to amaze me how God orchestrates what He knows we will need and when we will need it! These last few weeks have been tough, I have learned the importance of discernment and wisdom on a whole new level, and not even my own, but being able to seek God’s wisdom and the wisdom and discernment of other followers of Christ.

A wise friend told me that the Holy Spirit never uses guilt to get us to do something. Its true that sometimes we will be convicted or something will be put on our hearts but guilt will never be the the avenue used by God to get us to do what He wants. At the end of the day whose voice are we listening to? Another wise friend read this tonight and it really hits home: gods-voice-satans-voice-2

Come Along Now Chelsea…

These are the words that my parents would say to me when I was a little girl and I would probably dawdle along- waiting until the absolute last second before I absolutely had to listen. Well, the title of this year’s Women’s retreat was “Come Along” and I was so incredibly blessed by it and it got me to thinking how often we wait to obey God’s call or wait to hear His voice- if we listened right away (unlike my childlike self who dawdled) how much greater could He use us for His glory?

Jane Rubietta was such a blessing to us this weekend, she shared with us how Jesus calls us to “Come Along” in many different ways… He calls us to

Come Along to the River- The Jordan River and all the significant things that happened there

Come Along to the Temple- How we can “Wear White” in God’s presence because Jesus paid the price for our sins

Come Along to the Meadow-How important it is to have growth in our lives

Come Along to the Garden-Becoming ourselves by not allowing our fears to control us but listening to God when He says “Do not be afraid”

This weekend was precious, I learned so much from the Gospels and how gracious our Savior is. He loves us with an everlasting and unconditional love and we don’t have to care what others think of us. It only matters what God thinks of us.  And He loves us more than we could ever imagine! My favorite session was on Growth because Jane challenged us to take a look at our lives and see if we have seen growth and what we can do now to prepare ourselves to grow more over the next 5 years.

We were broken up into response groups and it was wonderful- I was so blessed by the women in my group, they are all in different stages of life and it was so cool to hear their hearts this weekend. I am in a transitional phase of my life right now and it is exciting! I have had many wonderful opportunities to serve the Lord and I knew that as time changed so would my priorities and my ministries. I see the women in my group who are in different stages of life and what a blessing and encouragement they are to me to live a life that honors God and my prayer is that as I grow I can help those younger than me to grow and flourish for the Lord as well. I want to encourage my friends that waiting is worth it- God will honor you as you wait on His timing. Waiting is hard, no matter what season of life you are in there will probably be some type of waiting. But we can’t allow our waiting to stop us from serving or living for our Savior. What are we doing for the Kingdom of God? Are we discipling others ( our Kids? Neighbors? Coworkers? Friends?) or  are we stagnant? Are we seeking godly council in our lives? Memorizing Scripture? Studying Scripture? I need to work on all of these things. Sometimes we can only do one of these things at a time, sometimes we are drained physically, emotionally, or spiritually. But if we allow ourselves to Come to the River, we can experience new life in Christ. He will help us to see the opportunities around us for growth and if we take those chances we will be blessed.

We also talked about detours and change- how sometimes things happen that we do not expect and our responses can draw us to God or away from Him. Even in our conversations with other Christians- are we drawing them to Christ by speaking life or are we going to be a cause of their detour with our hurtful words? Speaking the truth in love is key- and I know I am guilty of not always succeeding in that but that is where prayer and wise council come in. We will not please everyone in this world and sometimes people won’t agree with us or understand our decisions but we have to rest assured that God loves us and His opinion is what matters. If we are seeking Him and doing His will then THAT is what matters!

I am glad I got to “Come Along” this weekend, my prayer is that we would all seek to follow Jesus and grow as we seek Him!

I just bought Jane’s book “Come Along” and I am so excited to get started! You can order her books here: http://www.janerubietta.com/books.html

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We ALWAYS have a Choice-So Choose Wisely!!!

ImageThis weekend I had the opportunity to serve at Senior Winter Camp. I have never been to Senior Winter Camp before so I didn’t really know what to expect but God definitely spoke to my heart! Jesse Gentile spoke about the power of our choices and we went over different people in the Bible that had a decision to make and how those choices affected them (positively or negatively). For example, Ruth was given the choice to go back to her people after her husband died or to go with Naomi… she chose to go with Naomi even though it was out of her comfort zone to leave her people and her gods to follow the God of the Bible. The short term consequences may have been uncomfortable but she followed God and God provided for both her and Naomi through Boaz. She even became a part of the lineage of Christ! We also talked about David and his choice to take Bathsheba…his first choice was to stay home from war during a time when Kings usually went to Battle… he then made the choice to go up to the roof (probably with the knowledge that he may see something)…once he saw Bethsheba he wanted her and secretly had her brought to him so he could fulfill an unrighteous desire. Once he found out she was pregnant he made the choice to have Bethsheba’s husband Uriah put on the front lines of war so he would be killed in battle… Jesse made a point to let us know that whenever Bethsheba is mentioned in the Bible it is noted that she is the Wife of Uriah. Even though David repented of his sins and the choices he made he still had to deal with the consequences of his choices. God forgave him and he was still noted as being a man after God’s heart but his choices affected his life and caused a lot of unnecessary heartache.

I was talking to the girls in my cabin and I shared with them that I remember hearing people make the excuse that “it just happened”. This phrase likes to remove our own responsibility but in reality there are always choices that lead up to our decisions. Whatever choices we face in our lives, we must be weighing the consequences. In the examples above we saw that the choices that had difficult short term consequences usually had positive long term outcomes and vice versa.

I think a lot of Christians don’t emphasize the importance of our choices. We are often told, “Don’t do this” or “Don’t do that” but teaching us to think critically about how these choices will affect us is not talked about regularly. Psalm 119:11 says, “Your Word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You”. I have found that the most effective way to make good choices is to memorize Scripture that deals with our struggles. When we hide God’s Word in our hearts, the Holy Spirit brings those verses to mind when we need them most.

I recently met an amazing man of God who is pursuing me and has asked me to be his girlfriend. I chose to say yes. I have been praying for a man like Tony to come into my life for a very long time and the more I get to know him the more I see God’s hand in bringing us together in His timing. I am new to the whole “relationship thing”. I have never really had a boyfriend before and I am excited that we have both chosen to do this God’s way. While sometimes change is scary (I have been single for 26 1/2 years) I have made the choice to see what God has in store for our future. I have said before that I don’t date for fun. I date with a purpose. I was “stubbornly waiting for suddenly” and then one day I met Tony. He walked into my life and pursued me in a way that I always prayed for. We have the same heart and same passion for people and drawing them to God. I stand amazed that God is giving me the desires of my heart… I have seen God answer prayers over and over in my life and yet I am just so blessed and encouraged by this man of God who sees my heart and wants to pursue it. I have been the recipient of many tidbits of “why you’re single” advice- I’m not godly enough or I’m not ready… the truth is we are never godly enough and never ready but God still chooses to bless us in His timing… yes HIS timing. Being single was a daily battle for me, I had to choose to trust God with my future and believe that He is in control. I had to choose not to be bitter when one more person got engaged or married. Sometimes I poured out my heart to God and told Him how I really felt… sometimes I would simply sing “I cast all my cares upon You”. God hears our prayers, I am a living testimony of that. I don’t know what the future holds but I do know that we are making the choice to honor God in this relationship.

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Nothing is hidden…

Hebrews 4:13~”Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

This was our AWANA verse last night… it made me think. The kids learned during Council time that Adam & Eve only hid after they had sinned against God… and when God found them they each “gave an account” of who ELSE was to blame because of their actions. And it made me think, when we give an account to our parents after something happens between siblings are we being truthful or not? At the end of time we will all stand before God and “give an account” for our actions and yet because we serve a God who is Omnipresent ( everywhere) He will know already if we are telling the truth or not. 

Unfortunately our society today makes it so easy to lie- we even have a term for it now… “Oh, that person is just a pathological liar so we can’t trust in what they say.” Lying, like sin, has become a disease, and instead of taking responsibility for our actions we feel we must cover them up so nobody will know just how much of a sinner we really are. It breaks my heart. We put bumper stickers on our cars that say, “Christians aren’t perfect-just forgiven” but do we live like we have been forgiven? Or do we go on living as if we are ashamed or assume that our sin is too great for God to forgive? It isn’t. One day every knee will bow before the King of Glory and we won’t be able to say, “I didn’t trust You because…. OF THEM” We can’t blame our actions on other people just like we can’t blame our lack of trust in Christ as our Savior on anyone but ourselves. EACH one will give an account but this time we will be called out by what really happened… are we going to tell the truth? Or go on assuming we can live our lives however we please…covering up the truth?

 

Fun, Faith, and Flashbacks

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a conference at my church entitled “Hope On Trial” the speaker was Kevin Fitzgerald and he was so empowering! I cannot wait for the “real conference” to begin tomorrow… Whether we are in school, work, or  wherever else God has put us to be His witnesses we must always be ready. Because satan is ready to try to eliminate our faith with whatever it takes… in one of the workshops we were talking about the importance of wisdom and how to get it. It says in the book of James that all we need to do is ask for it… we also talked about the difference between wisdom and knowledge- that knowledge is knowing the answer but wisdom is deciding whether or not it is wise to share it… I know that for me personally, I have done a lot of research on my faith because I am stubborn and I want to know why I believe what I believe… but sometimes when faced with the opportunity to share that faith, it comes out as word throw up and just doesn’t come across in a loving manner but rather in a way that seems as if I think I’m better because I have the right answer. I am a sinner saved by grace and I am so thankful that my God can use me in spite of myself!

We also touched on the importance of teamwork and fellowship- and the Power Rangers were brought up… now before you stop reading, go with me here for a second…. they worked together for a single purpose, they needed each other in order to succeed… same with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Captain America- It took the team to fight evil just as we need to be building each other up in prayer and encouragement in the Body of Christ. We can’t walk with Jesus on our own because we will fail, we will give into temptation, and we will fall flat on our faces. We NEED each other. As Kevin said today, if we are christians, we have to love people because God loves people, we can’t hide our light under a bushel- we must let it shine, and the brightest lights come from those who realize they can’t do it on their own. They need the prayer warriors, encouragers, teachers, shepherds, administrators, and helpers to impact God’s Kingdom. We all play an essential role in the Kingdom cause and we must be ready to give an answer when anyone asks a reason for the hope that is in us!

This entry was posted on November 11, 2013. 1 Comment

I’ll keep Pushing Back the Dark

Josh Wilson’s song Pushing Back the Dark has touched my heart a lot lately. We live in a world that is so dark at times and as children of God we have to keep pushing back the dark. No matter what we face we can be confident that God is bigger and more powerful than the powers of darkness. Let’s go shine for Jesus!

Seeking whom he may devour…

Have you seen The Incredibles? There is a part towards the beginning of the movie where Frozone (Mr. Incredible’s best friend) loses his invisible car and doesn’t “find it” until later in the movie. Lately I feel like an invisible car is going to come out of no where and hit me when I am driving… and while that may sound ridiculous, I think this fear isn’t just about an “invisible car” that is actually coming out of no where but a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.

1 Peter 5:8 says: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

I feel really attacked lately, nothing drastic, just little things that seem to attack my attitude or my joy. Last weekend for example, I dropped my phone, dropped a picture frame on my toe, and then almost got in a car accident that probably would have left the passenger dead. When we follow Christ and choose to honor Him with our lives, satan WILL try to destroy us, through our attitudes, road rage, reactions when bad things happen. ANY way he can affect our purpose or our testimony for Christ, he will.

AWANA started this week, and I know satan is angry. He doesn’t want me or anyone else telling little children about Jesus Christ. The good news is, I know who wins in the end and it absolutely 100% WILL NOT BE satan. He may try to postpone the cause of Christ but the victory has already been won because Jesus Christ became the perfect sacrifice for my sins when He died on the cross. The song “Mighty to Save” says it well, “My Jesus CONQUERED the grave”. He conquered death so we could live forever, and that is a message satan does not want YOU to know.

We must protect ourselves from the fiery darts that will come at us. Are we wearing the Armor of God? Because if we aren’t, he will hit us where it hurts. He will strive to ruin our testimonies, and he will succeed if we aren’t prepared for battle. He can’t get us if we are already in the family of God but he will try to minimize our witness for Christ. And that my friends, is why we must be ready for battle, every second of every day, because we never know when he may strike.