“Am I Willing?”

Another quickie here…

We had a missionary at church this morning.  Bro. Gaudet.  If you’ve never heard of him.  You should look him up. (Here’s a link. You’re welcome.)  He’s basically the frontlineman/strategist when it comes to getting the gospel into newly opened countries.  Whenever a country is open or even slightly open to missions, he is in there with a team to evangelize and to start translating the Bible and tracts into their language if they do not have them.  He gave a video presentation of how his mission field has progressed over the last 8 years.

During the presentation, what hit me the hardest was the amount of willing people that served even under dangerous situations… And it got me thinking…  Am I willing?  Am I willing to give up my home?  My family?  My friends?  My country?  Or even my life to serve God by reaching people with the gospel?  I cannot say with honesty that I would definitely be willing.  I might tell you timidly.  Perhaps shrug my shoulders with uncertainty.  But I believe that as God continues to work in my heart and life, that I will be able to say with all surety, “Yes, Lord.  I will give all for You.”

Will you? Something to think about…

Which Will It Be?

This will be short, but I wanted to leave you with a thought this morning that caused my heart to ponder…

I was reading I Kings 11 this morning for my devotions; three verses in particular stuck out because of some things I have been struggling with in my spiritual life.

And Solomon did evil in the sight of The Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.

~I Kings 11:6~

And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,

~I Kings 11:9~

Solomon and I seem to have something in common here… In verses 6 and 9, it is made abundantly clear that the Lord is angry with Solomon. “But for what?” you may ask… “All he was doing was following his heart and living out his dreams.” (See Jeremiah 17:9 and Proverbs 16:25) No. The Lord was angry because Solomon didn’t fully turn himself and his heart towards God. This is where I believe he and I are in common. I feel like I struggle daily with turning my life and heart completely over to the One who redeemed them. But God be praised! Wherever there is spiritual chastening, there is also a promise of spiritual victory if you will only head it…

And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.

~I Kings 11:38~

So my question for you is, which will it be? Will you head God’s commandment and give completely your heart and life to Him, and as a result reap bountiful blessings? Or will choose not to hearken to God’s voice and as a result anger Him? I hope this thought challenges you as much as it has challenged me!

Have a blessed day, everyone!

Longsuffering

The title word is defined in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as: “patiently enduring lasting offense or hardship.” This word and the thought connected to it reminds me now more than ever of the wonderful grace and mercy of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has waited patiently for me while enduring the offense of my following after the world. I am so thankful that He patiently guided my steps and waited for me to truly realize the supreme importance of giving all and following Him! I want to tell you about how He brought me back to His side… It’s a bit of a long story, but I will try my best to make it as short as possible. :)

All of this started back in November. I made a poor decision to obsess over an unnamed music group, which led to me taking my focus off of the things of Christ and I instead placed my focus on the the affairs of this life. (2 Tim 2:4) I very much regret it, and I am very thankful that God stepped in and began to work in my heart.

Now that I look back on it, I know that it was a slow, continuous process; but I know that the Lord allowed me to be able to go to a teen camp in Ohio for the purpose of taking my focus away from the distractions of this life and putting my focus on what He wanted me to learn. Before I get ahead of myself, let me explain… My pastor was asked to speak at a camp hosted by Lehigh Valley Baptist Church and he was invited to bring the teens from his church (that included myself, my brother, and our friend Naiomi). Back to the story…

The entire week was such a blessing! I got to meet a lot of new people and forged lasting friendships, but most importantly, I was greatly changed by the Holy Spirit working in my heart through the preaching. All of the messages spoke to my heart, but two in particular stuck with me…

The first (funnily enough) was the message preached by my pastor on the first night of camp. He entitled it “Fear or Fear.” Basically, (without going into long details) it was about fearing God or fearing man. Who do you fear more? And do you fear God at all? We were lead to so many verses in the Bible about the importance of fearing God. That it leads to wisdom, knowledge, courage, and peace. My heart was convicted. I knew that I did not fear God as I should. Since then, I have been seeking after His guidance to teach me to fear Him. And perhaps I should explain this before we move on for those that might not know; to fear God is not to tremble in sheer terror. It means to have reverence and respect for Him and to ultimately be in awe of Him. There, now we can move forward…

The second message to imbed itself in my heart was preached by my pastor on the last night of camp. He entitled it Fear and Faithfulness. The jist of it was this: if you fear God you will be faithful to Him spiritually, mentally, and physically. I was definitely moved by all three, but being faithful to God spiritually was the one that struck me upside the head hardest of all… Pastor had said that to be faithfull to God spiritually meant to have no other gods before me. (Ex 20:3, Deut 5:7) As you probably remember from the beginnning of this story, I had placed a very large and consuming god before Him. As the service went on and the altar call was given, I was broken. I cried out to God and confessed my sin. And oh how He’s continued to change my heart since then! I am rejoicing because He has worked in me exceeding abundantly above all that I would ever ask or think! (Eph 3:20)

There is more to this story of some other work Christ is doing in me, but we’ll save that for another day. But before I go, I think my blog needs a facelift… Yes, it needs a “new coat of paint.” ;) And here’s hoping I will be blogging more often in the near future. :)

Happy (late) Spiritual Birthday to Me!!!

Yes, I know. This should have been posted yesterday. In fact, I should have written it yesterday. *shrugs her shoulders* But what can ya do?? Anyways…

I want to take a moment to give my testimony. I know I have given it in one of my blog pages, but I think it’s time I re-wrote it so that the change that was wrought in me can be seen clearly.

I was born and brought up in a Christian home. I was educated at home all of my life, made a profession of faith at the age of a 5 (and false one, by the way), and was considered to be a “good kid.” I obeyed my parents, I went to church, and I recited scripture from memory to my Sunday school teachers. See! I was a good kid. But underneath all of the deception and acting, I was rebellious to authority, disrespectful of my parents, hateful to my friends and siblings, and my life was empty.  I lived with this feeling of emptiness for four more years until I could handle it no longer. I had to do something to make myself feel better. In August of 2003 (I was 9), I was sitting in the evening service at a summer camp. The preacher was speaking on hell, and telling all of the campers that if we did not believe on Jesus Christ, we would not be saved and we would go to hell to burn forever. (Never did the preacher mention anything about repenting of my sins and believing on Jesus Christ) I was so afraid! I knew I may not have any more chances to escape the fires of hell because I may die in my sleep! (See how afraid I was?) I went forward, prayed a prayer with the preacher’s wife, and just like that, I was finally safe! But, why was I still fearful every night that I was going to die and go to hell? The answer is so simple, I still don’t know why it took me four more years to see it. But God knew. He had a plan.

On July 19, 2007, I was sitting in the main service on a Sunday morning. Pastor Paul Morrison was preaching a message on true repentance. I had heard the word repentance before, but I never understood what it meant. He preached from Mark 15 and the verse he capitalized on was verse 39, which says, “And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man is the Son of God.”

After reading that verse, Pastor pointed out that the verse did not mention that the centurion had repentance. He then directed us to James 2:19-20, which says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”

Pastor explained that this verse was saying that if I have faith (believe) in God, I do well, but even the devils believe in God. Believing in God doesn’t save me. Only when I repent of my sins and believe on the name of  the Son of God will I be saved. This realization brought to mind a verse that I had memorized at a very young age but had not thought about in years. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Before I knew it, Pastor was giving the altar call. I want to go and kneel at the altar and repent of my sins before God and accept Hid gift of salvation, but I knew if I started walking, I wouldn’t make it without collapsing on my face mid-aisle. I knew God could hear me anywhere, and so, with tears streaming down my face, I confessed and repented of my sins to God and received His salvation! :D What joy was in my heart on that day!

“But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy…” ~Psalm 5:11a~

  God not only brought peace and joy to my heart and life, He has also worked in my heart and life these past four years to change me and make me into the willing vessel for His use. He has given me a new love and respect for my parents and all those in authority, and a new love and appreciation for my siblings and friends. There is still much work to be done in me. It comes slowly, but it does come surely. :) I praise God for His mercy and His guidance!