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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Resurrection Day

Happy Easter to all!  We had a great service today at the Farmer's Market (Train Depot) in Alma.   Southside Alma combined services with a non-denominational church in our area.  It was fun to worship outside and with another body of believers.  We also had several people from the neighborhood join us today.  I was told by one lady, who lives close to the church but does not attend, that she had been waiting for an outdoors service to attend.  We had several of our van ministry children bring their parents.  These children were so excited to introduce their parents to us. 

Aaron Matthews (Pastor Southside) and Bryan Tabakian (Pastor Genesis Fellowship) tag teamed to share the hope found in the gospel message.  This hope is only found in the resurrection of Christ.  Because Christ is risen we have hope.  Because He is risen we have salvation.  Because He is risen we have peace. 

Saturday was our Spring Festival.  The plan was to set up inflatables, egg hunt, food, and games.  The down pour of rain changed these plans.  We contemplated canceling the festival but the Lord led us to hold the activity in the gym.  Several people brought their kids for the games and food.  We were able to invite them to our worship service at the Farmer's Market and several of them attended.  Being in the gym seemed more personable to me, it was easier to visit with the people. 
This holiday weekend held another celebration.  Today March 31 is Kolby 19th birthday.  It seems like yesterday that I was in labor delivering that black haired baby.  She has grown into a devoted godly woman.  Kolby was our "surprise" child.  There are ten years between Kolby and my oldest child.  We were so busy with a nine and a five year old during my pregnancy that I forgot I was pregnant many times.  It was funny the words that came out of my mouth when I delivered her, "I really was pregnant!!!"  Todd almost passed out and needed to sit down.  I don't believe this was due to the birth process because he attended and participated the births of the other two children.  She was a great surprise and such a blessing.  We have all enjoyed our gift from the Lord.  He knew what He was doing when He gave us Kolby.  She is the most kind and tenderhearted of all my children.  Kolby loves the Lord.  Her relationship with Christ flows so easily out of her.  She is a fun loving girl, to know Kolby is to love her.  Really, when she walks into a room the whole atmosphere changes.  I love this girl!
After worship service today, we had lunch with some amazing people. I love the Battles' family.  Thank you, Jennifer for being diligent in continuing to invite us. Jennifer has been a great friend and she has loving ministered to me during this transitional time in my life.  Now if I start talking about people who I love and who the Lord has connected to my heart this blog will be way to long. so I'll leave you with this. 
But YOU, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious,
longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. 
Oh, turn to me and have mercy on me! 
Give YOUR strength to Your servant
and save the son of Your maidservant. Ps. 86:15

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Undivided Heart

If we watch close enough our actions and behavior can reveal the condition of our heart.  If we are placing our self under the teaching of the Word, God is able to use both of these things (our actions and His truth) to reveal Himself in a fresh new way. 

"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil.  For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."
 Luke 6:45
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

This plays true in my life often and I am thankful to a merciful and faithful God who desires to reveal Himself to me even in my rebellion.  I am thankful that I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, so that when I feast upon other things they become bitter in my mouth.  What is the natural response to tasting something bitter?  You spit it out. 

This is what needed to happen to me this week.  I realized by my actions and attitude that something had gone astray in my relationship with God.  God brought forth conviction to my heart as I sat under the teaching of His word.

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mannon." Matt 6:24
Mammon could be money or really anything that captures your heart. This verse circled in my heart and mind all afternoon.  I questioned if this verse applied to me.  Really, could I be double minded?  Could I have a divided heart?  God is faithful in revealing truth and my actions proved my heart was unstable and double minded.  The bitterness was in my mouth and what must a girl do? 
You can choose to ignore the problem and continue chewing on the bitterness, many people do. But I promise if you choose to ignore the problem you will eventually vomit the bitterness all over someone else.  It is best to acknowledge it and spit it out. 
Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in rebellion. Hebrew 3:15
I chose to stay home Sunday evening and lay my heart bear before the Lord.  I found my heart to be very hard and God's word to be very dry.  Yet, another indicator of my heart being divided and feasting on lusts of the flesh.  God's word says,
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth;
 Unite my heart to fear Your name. Psalm 86:11
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. Psalm 24:4
You may be thinking by these verses that this Christian life if hopeless.  Maybe you are aware that your heart is not pure.  You are aware that your heart is divided.  The enemy could be screaming lies to your heart as well, "You can never have a pure heart and clean hands. This is a hopeless walk, learn to enjoy the bitterness and continue on."  Friends, these thoughts are particle truths, on our own we can NEVER be pure in heart.  We can NEVER be righteous and have clean hands. True, but we are NOT without hope.  God is faithful and He does not leave us alone!  Once we understand that we cannot produce this purity, righteous, cleanliness on our own we are almost whole.  You see, Jesus did not die to make us better.  He did not die to give us a set of good moral behavior.  No, He died to make us alive.  We are dead without Christ.  A dead person cannot produce righteousness and purity.  Jesus came to raise us from the dead.  Jesus died to clean our hearts.  He came to make us pure, holy, and righteous.
I love to be given a step by step system to work a project.  It is comforting to have a set of rules. When we obey them we believe we are doing well but our Christian walk does not work that way, religion might, but a relationship never does.  How do you think your spouse would respond if you gave him/her a three step program on how to love you?  Do you think you would feel very loved?  Our Christian walk is not a three step program.  It is an persevering relationship with Christ that continues to the end of our life and all through eternity.

Not that I have already attained or am already perfected, but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Phil. 3:12
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Tim. 4:7

In saying that, I do have three things I can share that will help in your relationship with Christ.
 1) Confess to the Lord Jesus that your heart is impure.  Confess that your heart is divided.  Confess (acknowledge) your sin before Him.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

2) Look away from your self to Christ 
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:4
3) Wait and trust Him by faith.
My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.
Psalm 62:5
Unto You I lift my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until He has mercy on us.
Psalm 123:1-2
You may not "feel" different at the very moment of confession but this is where waiting and faith comes into play.  Are you willing to wait until God comes in power and reveals Himself to your heart?  Are you able to walk in faith knowing His word is true and He will at His appointed time bring peace and hope to your heart? 
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 
Psalm 51:10
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Psalm 51:12
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast, I will sing and give praise.
Psalm 51:7

Monday, March 25, 2013


God is faithful. He is faithful to Himself and He cannot lie nor deny Himself. Because of this one truth our hearts can rest assured that what He has begun He will complete. Many times we find ourself in a struggle or a battle. Sometimes this battle is due to our own sin. Other times it is due to a spiritual attack or a pruning of the Lord. It really does not matter much the reason because the solution is the same. Confess, look away from yourself to your Savior, and wait upon His promise. The question comes do you trust Him? Can you trust God in the silence? Can you trust Him in the pain? Wherever you find yourself. God is faithful.
Psalm 33:4   4 For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
Psalm 36:5
5 Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
Psalm 86:15
15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Psalm 89:1
1 I will sing of the LORD's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
Psalm 89:8 
  8 O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you.
Psalm 91:3-6
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
Psalm 92:1-3
1 It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, 2 to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, 3 to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.
Psalm 108:4
4 For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Psalm 115:1
1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
Psalm 143:1 
  1 O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief
Lamentations 3:22-23
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Romans 3:3-4
3 What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? 4 Not at all!
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
1 Corinthians 10:13
13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
1 John 1:9 
  9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.