Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Breaking Free: Obstacle of Legalism

1. What causes legalism to manifest in your life?
Thoughts that anything I do is worth more or can possibly please God more than what Jesus already did at the cross for me.

2. How does legalism manifest in your life?
Thoughts like, "Wow, Syd, I can't believe you did it again." Thoughts of self-condemnation. Going over and over again in my mind what I could've, should've done.

3. How has legalism hurt you from being free?
In my marriage I felt that there were things that I as the woman of the house was supposed to do. For example, ALL the chores around the house I thought that my tween and I would handle all of them. Little did I know that I would burn out very soon with that burden that I put upon myself.

Since the birth of my daughter, I am now a stay-at-home-mom and have noticed all the many more things that require attention in the home. I so wanted to ask for help from my husband but refused to because of this legalistic point of view. Nowadays it is very different. My husband helps out in the home with the laundry, helps feed and clothe the baby and other tasks that I may need some help with. He was always very caring and thoughtful in the area of helping around the home but again I took it all upon myself when I didn't have to. Don't get me wrong I take care of most of the chores around the home but when I feel I need some additional help I am no longer feeling that I shouldn't ask because he's the "man" of the house.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Counting My Blessings

Picture 19

1. Had such a lovely quiet Friday evening at home with my family
2. My tween accompanied me to Old Navy and I found these shoes at an incredible price (red ones were $1.38, blue ones $2.44!)

3. My husband and I joined Karen for some bowling...even though I didn't bowl just to be able to see how much they enjoyed themselves was enough for me!!!

4. After bowling we headed over to BabiesRUs and bought the baby some formula which 5I am so glad she drank it with no problem and she got a new toy!
5. My mom watched my girls while I went to go have our taxes prepared (glad that's done!) and as a bonus mom cooked an amazingly delish meal. I really have to try and make it :)
6. Breaking Free h.w. was a blessing and I am thankful to the Lord that when we listen and obey HE reveals and heals!
7. Tuesday prayer was so know that God is ever present in our lives and that HE can and WILL do!
8. Took a stroll on the ave with my tween, did my cvs run (.31 cents oop) and my daughter recycled her cans and received $2.25!

9. Thursday's prayer! As I prayed for Thursday's service during the day I didn't imagine all the Lord had in store for us! You are breathtaking God!
10. Received some fun things in the mail this week including diaper, body wash and laundry samples :)

Cast your cares on the Lord
and He will sustain you;
He will never let the righteous fall.
Psalms 55:22

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Breaking Free: The Obstacle of Prayerlessness

Spend some time praying for another person.
After you have prayed for this person, write them a letter
regarding what Holy Spirit put in your heart regarding them
during prayer.
Give them the letter.

I am so thankful that the Lord is so creative and does not have to conform to anyones standard because HE alone is perfect and knows all things. I have surrendered and know that all I need is Him. His love, presence and peace is what can fulfill me.

When Karen posted this week's assignment I thought, "What?..Holy Spirit what is THIS about?"
You see, we can get so focused on ourselves and our desires for our own spiritual lives that we can totally disregard that the Lord seeks laborers for His harvest. I know I must be willing to put the "I" to the side and stand in the gap for someone else.

So, as I contemplated on, "Who Lord..who is it?" Names did pop up in my mind. But I asked the Lord that I want it to be the person that He has assigned. The Lord had me pray for two people. Which by the way I was totally surprised He chose these specific ladies.

My time in prayer was filled with somuch peace in my heart...such a stillness and complete focus on HIM!

The first person I was in shock for a moment when the Lord pressed upon my heart to pray for even though I, do pray for this person this time the Lord gave me specifics. My desire is that she may come to know the Lord, that she may understand that in only Him there is hope and peace. That she does not have to rely on her own thoughts and her way of living life. His thoughts are perfect and much higher than ours. I, too was literally where she is at and all I know that the only one who was able to intervene and rescue me was JESUS!!
I prayed for her child and ultimately I am trusting God for their salvation.

The second person the Lord gave me while I was in the middle of prayer. I know it was the Lord asking me to intercede for the heart, thoughts and ideas of this person. I felt so much conviction for what I was praying for knowing that the Lord is dealing with this person and hoping that this she can receive all the love that the Lord has for her. That He created her in HIS image. That she may know and consider it is a privilege to walk in the footsteps of the Lord.

My desire is that the Lord continue to cultivate an intecessory spirit in us all!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Counting My Blessings

1. Although it was really windy this weekend, my husband braved it in order to take our daughter to the library..thanks my love!
2. The storm this past weekend caused damage to homes in the area however it did not affect the church building...your mercy Lord is evident!
3. A BIC blessed us with some homemade bread. It was so good!
4. My mom invited us for dinner and although I do not eat fish she made me steak! A mother's love :)
5. I tried Karen's pancake from scratch recipe and it turned out very good!
6. My husband helped me out with a cleaning project that was overdue..he is always so ready, willing and able;
7. The Lord saved my from a potentially serious injury..thank you Jesus!
8. CVS deal went swell..only .43 cents oop;

9. Received some more goodies in the mail this week,

10. My husband surprised me with some yummy treats :)
11. Had the privilege to come into agreement with a SIC re: her petition,
12. The Lord has blessed us with warmer weather this week, and I took my daughters out for a stroll..thank you Lord!
13. Baked some chocolate cookies and although they did come out very well...I still had fun trying ;)
14.Thursday nights service was a blessing, as our Pastor began strumming his guitar to worship the Holy Spirit guided him to praise in his own words and the congregation was blessed and the same with the message, the holy Spirit guided him to preach something totally different than what he had in mind. Thank you Holy Spirit!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

I know it's early to be thinking about the holiday season, especially since it seems like only yesterday we were remembering the birth of our Lord Jesus. However, I wanted to share the following:

I received a newsletter from Samaritan's Purse. The newsletter contained information on the destinations of many gift shoe boxes that were donated.

I had received an email from them a while back stating that my shoe box went to a child in the Philippines.

The newsletter contained numerous testimonies of different children living in impoverished countries receiving these shoe boxes filled with goodies. A testimony that impacted me was of a young teenage boy from India. After his local church distributed the shoe boxes he accepted an invitation to attend a follow-up discipleship program Samaritan's Purse sponsors. Not long after this the young man received Jesus and his Lord and Savior. He then persuaded his father to invite the Pastor to their home. The Pastor shared the good news of Jesus with this young man's family. The Pastor continued to visit the family and share the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ on a weekly basis. His father's heart was softened and decided to take his family to church. Soon both his mother and father received Jesus and their Lord and Savior. Afterward, they placed their idols in a bag and dismantled the temple they had behind their home. They took the bag to their Pastor and said, " We don't need these anymore. We have Jesus."

And it all started with a gift of a shoe box packed with love and much prayer.

The look of joy on the smiles of these precious little ones truly touches my heart.

So far, I have been able to gather these goodies for the shoe boxes my family and I will prepare this year. I start early to be able to catch some really good sales through out the year.

Want some ideas on what to pack in a shoe box? You can check HERE for some helpful ideas. But do not limit yourself to what you see there on the list. My sister Karen (you can see her post HERE on her shoe boxes) gave me the great idea of packing socks. I also include deodorants, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap. With all the great deals I get at CVS and Rite Aid, I have a surplus of hygiene products to include.

If you didn't donate a shoe box last year, won't you prayerfully consider to do so this year?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Breaking Free: The Obstacle of Pride

As I read this week's chapter and read the questions on page 279 the Holy Spirit led me to answer this question:

"What forms have idols taken in my personal experience?"

Anything that goes before the place of God in my life is idolatry. As a Christian have I put anything in the place of God?

When I put my own reasoning, what I consider logical before what the Word of God says, I am idolizing myself. I am thinking that what I have come up with somehow has the ability to surpass the Word of God. How can I possibly think that my own plans would prove fruitful over what God has already spoken before the foundation of the earth?

I refuse to live that way any longer. Sinning is tiring and I am tired of living it out my way.

As I meditated on the previous chapters fear and pride are forms of idolatry as well. These emotions can take the place of the Lord's Word and instead of delighting ourselves in what God has to say we can concern ourselves with anything but God's promises. We can build an alter of fear and render it homage by walking according to that fear.

God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
(Numbers 23:19)

I did read John 4: 1-15 and below is my answer to the question:

"In what ways can you see yourself in this woman?"

"but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. "The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water." (John 4: 14-15)

Isn't this how many of us came to know Christ?

She was in the middle of what I assume was her daily task of going to the well and filling her jug with water to complete her duties to cook, clean and wash clothes. However, this day was different. This day there was a man at the well whom she recognized as a Jew. Noting the distinct dislike of the Jews and Samaritans she immediately questions his water request.

I know when Jesus found me I was going about my business much like the Samaritan women was that fateful day. He found me since I certainly was not looking for Him. My conversation with the Lord went something similar to her conversation with Jesus. The Lord in His infinite mercy humored me with my questions on spiritual matters that I being carnal could not perceive at the time. Much like the Samaritan women who was confronted with her sin and ignorance by Jesus so was I. He confronted me and my life of sin and presented me with His plan for salvation. My sinful life would prove to not be a barrier for what His precious blood provided.

Through His love and eternal mercy He showed me a better way. His way...for He is the TRUTH!

Whom better than to quench our thirst for Living Water?
Who else can satisfy our hunger but the Bread of Life?

Only J...E...S...U...S !!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Counting My Blessings

Picture 19

1. My baby turned 7 months this week!
2. My husband went on a men's retreat with the others brothers from church and I praise the Lord for what He did in every heart. I was also edified hearing my husband testify on the Word the Lord gave to the brothers;
3. My sister came over with her girls and we laughed, talked about the Word and confident the Holy Spirit was doing a work in me;
4. I am thankful for what the Lord has done in my relationship with Karen;
5. I enjoyed spending Saturday with my girls and we also went out with Karen and her girls for some yummy ice cream;
6. On Sunday my husband received the manifestation of healing from a pain he had in his lower back! By HIS stripes...;
7. We received a visit from a young man at church and I am praying that he knows that God CAN change any situation; There is hope!
8. I enjoyed some lovely time with my tween baking and cooking together. She is a great conversationalist and a good cook! Cook once and had dinner ready for the week..thank you LORD!

9. Received some great samples in the mail this week!

10. Purchased first snacks for the baby...awwwwww;

11. Rite aid and Target deals were really fun this week;

12. Was able to purchase one of my husband's favorite cereals at CVS at a great price this week along with some other goodies;

13. My baby has been doing great eating her cereal and baby if she would only drink from her sippy cup!
14. Baby is enjoying tummy time more so this week,
15. Four more months until my tween becomes a teen;
16. Took our loose change to the bank and it turned out to be a pretty penny...pun intended :)
17. Thanking the Lord for the lovely warmer weather we have experienced this week;
18. Was able to share time with a SIC and her family..thanking you Lord because only you can strengthen and comfort them;
19. A beloved SIC blessed my baby with a matching scarf to the hat she had given her a while back. Now she has the set and it is sooo cute :)
20. Listening to my husband testify of the Lord's grace and favor upon him at his job is such a faith booster! Thank you Jesus for your mercy upon him;
21. Was able to chat with my nephew this week and joyous that his delight is serving you LORD;
22. A much loved couple visited Thursday night is always a blessing to have them home;

The One Who Sees ME!

Mother and Child Pictures, Images and Photos

"The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?" "I'm running away from my mistress Sarai," she answered. Then the angel of the LORD told her, "Go back to your mistress and submit to her." The angel added, "I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count."

The angel of the LORD also said to her: "You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery. She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me."
- Gen 16:7-11, 13

When God confronted Hagar, she responded, "the God who sees me". This impacted me because she was a slave, a nobody, pregnant and not wanted. The miracle is that the Almighty God saw her. He saw what she was enduring and He did not ignore her. The Creator knew His creation. Hagar was obedient to what the angel of the Lord had instructed her to do and her obedience changed the direction of her life. She turned around, and was obedient to her mistress.

Some years later Hagar was told to leave and this time it was a permanent decision. The reason was that although everyone thought Sara was unable to bear children she became pregnant. She also bore Abraham a son.

One day Hagar's son teased Sarah's. Sarah exploded, she said to Abraham "Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac." .

So Abraham sent Hagar and their son Ishmael away.

"When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down nearby, about a bowshot away, for she thought, "I cannot watch the boy die." And as she sat there nearby, she began to sob. God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation." - Gen 21: 15-18

In spite of the lonely wilderness that surrounded them both, God was mindful of them. He did not abandon Hagar or her son. He saw their affliction. He comforted them both.

The promise that the Lord spoke over both their lives did come to pass.

This story narrates and confirms a merciful and loving God. The One who saw Hagar in the wilderness also has His eyes upon His children today. The promise that He has spoken to our hearts will come to pass according to His perfect will. We must not grow tired of doing what is good because our redemtion is near, we submit ourselves to the Word of God and know that HE is our rest and refuge.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Breaking Free: Chapter 9

Read Genesis 3:1-13.
What are some things that jump out at you regarding pride here?

Adam and Eve received specific instruction from the Lord regarding the garden of Eden. How good is our loving Father that He loves us so much that He gives us specific instructions as to how we are to lead our lives. He left us His written Word to guide us in all that we must do and how we are to live the life that He has graciously allowed us. He has blessed us with the ever-present Holy Spirit which dwells in us that brings conviction to our lives.

Having received the specific instruction from the Lord why did they choose to disobey God? PRIDE! The devil tempted Eve by telling her that, "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." After the devil said this Eve noticed the fruit and she noticed that it, "was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it." She noticed all the benefits she would reap upon eating the fruit. Sounds kinda selfish, too right?

After both her and Adam realized that they disobeyed the Lord they noticed they were naked. They no longer felt the freedom to remain as they once were they felt shame (Gen 2:25). The Word exhorts us to remain blameless in the eyes of the Lord. We must understand that our lives are a written letter everyone can read it and recognize our good work (2 Cor 3:2).

It is so unfortunate that when we choose to disobey the Lord's word out of selfish ambition the last thing that many are thinking is that there are consequences to our decision to stray from the Lord's Word. On the road to sin few are contemplating the consequences, contemplating on the lives that may be affected by actions of disobedience. Instead some have a what's in it for me attitude totally disregarding that the Lord requires obedience to HIS Word.

How are you struggling with pride right now, today, at this moment?

One evening I asked my husband to please fold and put away our daughter's clothes. As I walk into our bedroom I see a pile of her clothes on our bed another pile on top of her dresser and the rest tucked in the dresser (not in the appropriate piles either). I noticed that my husband started on another task. I asked him why didn't he finish putting her clothes away first then go on to the next task. He looked at me and in his calm manner said to me, "Oh, I will put it away in a minute". He proceeded with another duty that was to be done in the house. As he went on his merry way, I couldn't leave it alone. Again, I asked him, "Honey, don't you think it's a better idea to get one thing done then move on to the next?". He answered, "Yes.".

I was bothered by the way he chose to get his list of things done and did not take my "advice" on how to get things done more "efficiently". Did it even matter as long as at the end of the night it was all done? It shouldn't have but it did to me. I thought my way of doing things was better than his idea of getting the job done. What would Jesus have done in that moment? He would've meditated on the Word and declared:

This is an area that I ask the Lord to minister me and deliver me from thinking that I have all the answers and that my way of doing things is the better way!

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

~ 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Friday, March 5, 2010

Counting My Blessings

1. My PIL visited with us this weekend, my husband took the day off. We spent time discussing the Word and my MIL even taught me how to make tortillas her way, they are so yummy! (she made two while I was still working on my first one :);

2. Took my PIL shopping and then out to lunch it was;
3. My Sis took my daughter to a lil SIC earthday celebration! Thanks again Karen
4. My mom and sister came over to visit with us Saturday and prayed over my PIL;
5. My FIL had the chance to show my husband a few guitar keys and my husband is on his way to learning to play the guitar for God's glory!
6. MY PIL were able to attend Sunday service with us...I pray Lord that the work you have begun may come to pass;
7. Went to Old Navy with my girls and caught some great deals on clothes (.92 cents for a dress for my tween, .09 for a scarf, .74 cents for a few shirts and .36 for a shirt for my baby to name a few);
8. CVS run went fabulous this week with an excellent buy for Ensure Shakes (.41 each cents for 24) and a .25 c Softsoap body wash!
9. Tuesday's study on the prophesies of the book of Daniel continue to be a blessing;
10. Said our farewell's to my PIL hoping to see them soon in the name of Jesus;
11. My MIL left me with some wonderful gifts;
12. My SIL blessed my daughter with such a pretty dress;
13. The Holy Spirit has been revealing to me many things through the BF study and I am grateful!
14. Received rebate checks totaling $23.75..woo hoo..thank you Jesus;
15. Noticed that my baby who will soon be 7 mo. has two more teeth for a total of 6!
16. Spent a lovely evening of family bible reading and discussing the Word;
17. Thursday evening's preaching by my Co-Pastor was edifying. I do not want to focus on the minor things but know that the bigger picture consists of my eternal blessing in Christ Jesus!

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline ~ 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Breaking Free: Chapter 8 H.W

Read Mark 6:1-6 and Matthew 8:5-13.
After reading these Bible passages, do you think Jesus is more amazed at your unbelief or your faith? Why?

In my bible version it states that Jesus was amazed in both instances. However, there was a clear and significant difference. The centurion had such a faith that he stated that He believed that the Lord had the ability to cure his servant without stepping foot into his home. Wow! That's faith.

I asked my husband the question and his answer would be that the Lord is more amazed at his unbelief. He stated that for example when the Lord asks him to believe in His divine providence according to Matthew 6:25-34 then he should not waiver in his faith because God does not lie. Every promise in the Bible are for His children and will come to pass not because of anything we have done or any quality that we may posses but simply because His Word binds a covenant between Himself and those who believe in His Word.

In my walk with the Lord, I think that Jesus is more amazed at my belief. In certain situations in my life it was been much easier for me to doubt and let the doubt manifest in my words and actions. It has definitely taken more of me to muster up faith than to display disbelief. When I am confronted in a situation I clearly hear the Lord telling me to simply believe. Believe HIM. Believe HIS Word. With the help of the Holy Spirit I am then able to step out in faith and trust completely in who His Word says He is and who I am in HIM.

The Lord knows everything about me. He knows my heart. He knows that I am a weaker vessel, an imperfect being. I would like to think that He is amazed, smiling at me with love and looking at me with tenderness like when a father sees his child overcoming an obstacle triumphantly, when I read His Word and believe HIM and act out in that belief!

Wedding Anniversary

Today my husband and I recognize the day the Lord united us for HIS purpose...for HIS glory.

I can say that without a doubt the Lord's hand has been in our marriage from the very beginning. The Lord showed me that I would not be able to be a good wife and have a successful marriage in Him without submitting first to the Lord's will which meant submitting to my husband. It was no easy task for me in the beginning of our marriage. I thought I had all the answers...all the right ideas and would refuse to hear anything to the contrary. So many times when I would lose my peace and cry out to the Lord in almost a physical agony because of my disobedience my husband lovingly could comfort me and remind me that in the Lord there is hope and forgiveness.

His love and most of all his patience has been such a testimony of his love and faith in the Lord. I am so thankful and grateful that the Lord has blessed me with the husband that He has. I am so in love with the man that I have seen the Lord shape and mold my husband into.

I thank the Lord for the peace and understanding that He has cultivated in our marriage. I am in awe of all the things the Lord has done, is doing and will continue to do in our marriage for HIS glory and honor!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

The Lord has ministered me so much on truly loving my husband in these verses!