I need thee…

I’ve been needing this song. Anyone else? Hope it encourages you to keep your focus on the Lord.
-Ally

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I’m not where I used to be…

Whenever I get to complaining for long I try to remember complaining is wrong… I think that line is from VeggieTales…I’ll tie it in shortly 🙂

Lately people have been letting me see more into their lives and I am struck with the fact that I am so stinkin’ blessed. I complain A LOT…just ask my family. That is why that quote came to mind. It’s not even just that complaining is wrong…how can I possibly glorify the Lord if I am constantly finding something to complain about.

As a Christian that is what I have dedicated my life to, to glorify Him. Over the past few months I have learned to be less selfish, quick to hear, and slow to speak. I’m not trying to say that I am anywhere close to perfect in those places, but I am saying that I have seen growth in my life.

There is a song that says, I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not where I used to be.

That’s kind of where I am. I don’t want to get stuck in the, I’m not where I want to be part though.

I want to encourage everyone reading this that the past is over and done with, and most importantly all of those past mistakes and regrets that you have can all be washed away by the ONE TRUE GOD!

Maybe for you it isn’t enough to hear that. You’re thinking, You just don’t understand. You don’t know what I went through. You don’t know what I have done. I don’t…but I know one thing, God is who he said he is. There is forgiveness. You want a promise to hold onto…

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21-23

Or maybe you know you are forgiven yet you keep asking God forgive me, forgive me, forgive me. If that’s you then check your faith. When you pray to God you’ve got to believe that He will be faithful. Now…let it go. It’s hard, but ask for His strength, and take it.

The Lord has AMAZING plans for your life if you just give it to him. And once we do we can complete that song…but I’m not where I used to be. Thank you Jesus!

My prayer for you is that of Paul’s,

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
If you need prayer check out the contact tab on the blog and email us. Whether you do or not, know that I am praying for everyone who reads this blog. 🙂
-Ally

Community

I have had a pretty easy life. Even so, I have learned the importance of community.  I am not great with words but I will try to get my thoughts down in a way that makes sense-not that what I am about to write is anything new..just a reminder.

I am a pretty private person, and my pride keeps me from sharing a lot of my struggles with others.  I like thinking that other people think I have it all together.  But the trouble with that is two-fold.  First, I can actually become a bit of a stumbling block for others who are struggling with my same (hidden) struggles.  Maybe they will feel like giving up or that they need to hide their own struggles so they too can seem to have it all figured out.  I’m sure I am not alone in saying the following: when I go into another persons house-especially another woman who seems to do everything perfect- it gives me comfort and actually encourages me, to see that they too might have that one room/closet that everything was shoved into so the rest of the house could look clean, or to see that unweeded area of their yard or that their child too throws a tantrum or that they have to work hard to have the fit body they have achieved.  I realize that my struggles are not unique to me and that we can actually support each other. Providing help, rest, or just sharing ideas.  God tells us in His word that we need friends and mentors.  There aren’t any struggles unique to only us.

So secondly, I become a weaker person by not being real.  I might snap at my family when things aren’t just so for company. And it keeps me from seeking God’s wisdom and help because I am so busy trying to seem perfect…I’m not saying that anyone actually thinks that by the way.  And I think by not being genuine it keeps other relationships more shallow.

I think community happens easier during a crisis-it’s kind of hard not to be real.  For me it is something I have to remind myself of during the easier times.  I am so encouraged by my family (both by blood and through Christ) and friends.  As I try to be more transparent I am able to be held up through prayer and words of encouragement.  And I find that the other people in our lives open up more as well-becomes a nice little circle that I think God intended.  We become stronger and smarter.

So all that to say-be real and intentional today when you interact with others…especially with God-He already knows us intimately and He loves us still.  With that kind of security we really don’t need to fear what others will think. Don’t make excuses or partake in little white lies-fess up and do better.  My sister-in-law used to always say (not necessarily to me), don’t be sorry-be different.  Well, of course we can be sorry for our mistakes but we most definitely should try to be different-God didn’t intend for us to struggle with the same sins our entire life-we just get stuck…mostly because of the excuses we try to make.  Hope this encourages someone today.  You are loved and accepted..you are a child of the one true king-so be courageous and be yourself and allow God to work in and through you 🙂

-Tina

Another step of faith.

The truth is it freaks me out that I’m going to start college in a few days.

While praying the other day The Lord put a piece of scripture in my heart. Lamentations 3:

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord…Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord ! Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven:… “I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit; you heard my plea, ‘Do not close your ear to my cry for help!’ You came near when I called on you; you said, ‘Do not fear!’ 

Lamentations 3:21-26, 40, 41, 55-57

God is faithful. I can hold on to the promise that he is with me, and he loves me unconditionally! At the end of the day all that really matters is that I glorified God.

I was positive I was not going to pass the test to get into running start, and I said

Lord, if this is what you want, you know what to do…so sure enough I passed the test my first try.

I’ve been starting to realize that He just wants me to trust him. So I’m gonna trust you Lord. I’m gonna need you to keep me focused because I just know I’m going to be distracted so easily by schoolwork. I want to be bold in my faith. I want to make a difference in the lives of the people around me. I’m taking your hand Lord. I trust you.

Slow down!

Life gets so busy for all of us. Let’s take a minute to slow down…It’s critical that we take time out of our day to spend with the Lord. It’s our choice whether or not we abide in the word of the Lord, and let his word abide in us.

We need to not just abide in the word of the Lord, but carry it out. Allow it to become a part of us.

We have to approach the Lord with faith and expectation.

So here we are Lord. We’re expecting that you will meet us right where we are in the busyness of life. Thank you! Be with us over this weekend and the week to come. May our lives be an overflow of the love you have lavished upon us. I’m waiting here for you God. We adore you Jesus. I want to glorify you in all I do! I pray that that is the desire of all the people reading this tonight. That their hearts desire is to glorify you, and to carry out your word. We love you Lord.
Amen

-Ally

Let your light shine!

I don’t want to dumb down my passion for the Lord. I want to stand out. I want to shine the light of Jesus! Lord, remind me that it doesn’t matter what people think about me. I want to bring you glory!

Remember as we go about this day that YOU are called to shine!

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Remember the people around us will know us by our love.

Though You Slay Me

I keep falling into this place of melancholy. (I can’t write or say that without thinking of Megamind, “mel-onc-oly”)

Honestly I believe the enemy is trying hard to take my focus off of the Lord.

I’ve been reading Job, and I cannot even imagine having everything that could fall apart, fall apart all at once. But even after all he had gone through he said,

“…The Lord gave and has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised.”

One of the verses that really hit me said this,

“…Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

and, “For he wounds, bu he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.”

Here’s the deal…

God knows what we are going through. And he cares (Luke 12:6-7, Hebrews 4:15-16)

James tells us,

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

God won’t give us more than we can take. In the book of Job we see that God did allow Satan to afflict Job, but he set boundaries. Job didn’t know that. We have an advantage. We are able to see that God was in control still, it wasn’t as if Satan had snuck up when God wasn’t watching. So we’ve got to remember, God is in control.

Whatever the trial or test, there is always room to grow. Suffering isn’t always a “punishment” for your sin. in our trials and tests we should ask God for wisdom. Even Jesus learned through suffering. (Hebrews 5:8) God wants us to grow.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

When bad things happen we try to search through our hearts to figure out what we did wrong. We ask ourselves, Why is this happening? Remember bad things do not only happen to bad people. Sometimes we just have to ….

TRUST.

Let me clarify. Trust doesn’t mean, go obey. Obeying is easier than trusting. We trust someone because we believe in them. We need to TRUST that He knows what’s best for you in all situations. We’ve got to TRUST that whatever He puts in our lives, He is still to be praised.

When everyone else told Job to curse God and die he said,

“Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him…”

It’s pretty easy to trust God when everything is going good, but what about when your world goes totally wrong? Satan figured that if God removed all the blessing he had given to Job, that Job would surely turn away. But he didn’t.

We’ve got to ask ourselves,

What am I in this christian thing for? Am I in it for the blessings?

What is my relationship based on? Jobs was based on his love for God. A sincere love, and devotion to his Heavenly Father. A steadfast trust. That’s what our relationship MUST be based on, not on the benefits. We trust God when we have a real relationship with Him.

So do you trust Him? Do you know Him?

Do you trust him for your salvation?

Do you trust Him for you daily needs

Do you trust Him for everything?

God is just. Life doesn’t always seem fair. I look around and see people who make no intention of serving the Lord, yet they seem to have blessings raining down on them.

This life is temporary.

Ultimately God will reward the righteous and punish the wicked. That doesn’t mean we won’t receive blessings while we’re here on earth. Job was blessed even more after all of the trials he went through. But don’t expect life to be “perfect” or “fair”.
The Lord lifts these trials and tests off of us once we learn what he is trying to teach us.

Now we can read all that, be inspired, and the next time something comes it’s so easy to go right back to saying WHYYYYYYYY! I’ve done it so many times. Just last night I realized what the Lord was trying to teach me. If you haven’t experienced that, I am sure you will. All of a sudden the Lord makes something click in your brain and you can feel this weight lifted off of you! It’s great! Life would be AMAZING without all the stresses and struggles, BUT life is even more amazing when you are able to see the Lord work through you in those times.
“Our trials can make us bitter, or they can make us better.”

The next time something comes up remember that.

And remember,

He is JUST.

He is SOVEREIGN.

HE is HOLY.

He is AWESOME.

He is MERCIFUL.

AND I LOVE HIM!

-Ally