Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Breaking Free: Tearing Down the High Places

Your enemies will cower before you,
and you will trample down their high places.
Deuteronomy 33:29

As I read this chapter the Lord just reminded me of a quote I heard from Pastor Sarah Utterbach. She said,"My present confession will be my future habitation." What a jewel of a quote.

In the back of the book Beth Moore has listed discussion questions for each chapter of the book. This week I will focus on one of those questions listed.

1. How can unforgiveness cause a person to become an idol?

Anything that we place above God in our thoughts is an idol. Beth makes a great point by mentioning that for example, "If we don't surrender our minds to Christ, the loss of a loved one can take us from appropriate grief and mourning, to a lifetime of agonizing captivity.".

I thank the Lord that I have not had to grieve over the passing of a loved one but can relate to what she states about grieving and mourning appropriately.

When I first received Christ I was battling with events that occurred over the course of my life. I would relive those moments in my mind and cry out in sheer agony asking why those horrible things had to happen to me. I would be in church enjoying my time hearing the Word and fellowshipping with my new found family. However, once I got home and the still and quietness surrounded me, I was tormented by thoughts that I felt I couldn't control. As time passed, I became comfortable carrying around my hurts and sorrows. I battled with depression and would isolate myself because the enemy had deceived me into thinking that no one would possibly understand my troubled heart (depression is a generational curse that operated in the women of my family. I thank the Lord that He has given me the authority to break all generational curses in the name of Jesus). There were unresolved hurts in my life that I HAD to ask the Lord to heal and to help me get over them.

As the loving and caring Father that He is, He did! He showed me that I had unforgiveness in my heart towards certain people and therefore I had created a high place/alter for them in my mind and life. I had elevated them to a position that only God deserved to have. I was holding on to these individuals as well as holding on to what they did to me. He showed me how to "mourn" over the situation by allowing the healing balm of the Holy Spirit to cover and heal my wounds. He would constantly remind me that it was all over and that HE was in my life now. He would work out my past for my present good. I could surrender my hurt to HIM and He would heal. And heal He did!

Through honesty (admitting that I was hurting, that I was angry, resentful) and confessing all sin I was healed. I am thankful for my Pastor and the elders of my church who have lovingly dedicated time to hear me out and pray with me. I am thankful that the Lord has surrounded me with men and women of God who stood in agreement with me for my deliverance.

Thank you Lord, for those who are willing to stand in the gap.

If there are hurts from the past, certain events or people that consume your thoughts or that you remember from time to time and still feel hurt, guilt, resentment, hate...seek help.

The Lord has come to give us life and that we may have it in abundance. Living with tormenting thoughts is not living out that abundant life.

In my walk with the Lord I have learned that reading and studying the Word of God will only be effective in my life if I decide to believe what it says and live it out.

Be blessed precious ones.

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven."
Luke 6:37

Monday, November 29, 2010

Counting My Blessings

1. My sister and her tot stopped over for a quick visit and I was able to give her a little something I crocheted for her.

2. My mom generously offered to stay with my girls while I ran into Manhattan for a quick errand.

3. I bought my daughter a much needed winter coat and after she removed the coat she was covered in feathers! Thankfully, the store accepted the coat back and although I wasn't refunded my money I was able to exchange it and get her a "church" coat!

4. Wednesday night prayer at my mother's home was amazing to say the very least. The presence of Holy Spirit is beautiful.

5. CVS and Rite Aid deals were GREAT! I was able to get some more goodies for my mom, teen and husband.

6. I had so much fun prepping for our Thanksgiving dinner. My teen made the potato salad which turned out AMAZING! The cherry cheesecake was a hit with the family.

Flan (Spanish style egg custard)

7. Enjoyed dinner with my FIC at church Thursday evening and then continued feasting on the Word of God. A brother who we love dearly preached until the wee hours of the morning! It was awesome. We got home at about 3:30 am from service and the Lord strengthened my husband who had to be at work by 7:00am!!!

8. My sister in law's, brother in law, confessed Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior during our Thursday night vigil!!!!!! Answered prayer!!!!! Thank you Lord for all that you have done, are doing and will continue to do in the life of our brother Eli!!!

9. Friday evening we came together as the body of Christ to share in the Lord's supper. It was beautiful to be able to share with my FIC and remember the death and sacrifice of our Lord and Savior who carried my sins on the cross.

10. I purchased a sewing machine this week. God is so good! I was eyeing a machine but was not willing to pay the price. On Black Friday I noticed that Target was selling a machine for a great and reasonable price. It was even lower than the sale price they advertised a few weeks ago.

11. With my new machine I was able to sew my baby a skirt. It took me a while to figure out how to do it but was glad with the results:)

12. My sister and her family came over for dinner Saturday evening. My sister brought her game of Trouble and we played two rounds! We laughed and laughed as the girls cheered us on. I didn't win:(

13. Later on that evening, my mom stopped by for dinner and she testified on how she spent time with her co-worker preaching the gospel. Her co-worker was eager to hear and asked questions also. Lord, have mercy on her.

14. Received a rebate check for about $40.00:)

Lord, thank you for all that you have shown Yourself to be. I am amazed at your transforming power. I am not the same women that met you a few years back. I have been renewed and my sins you remember no more. Thank you, Lord! Thank you ever more!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Boxes are Done and Delivered!

Last night my daughter and I finished up packing up the last few boxes for Operation Christmas Child. As we packed, we talked about God's love and His divine providence. His mercy has overwhelmed our hearts.

I truly feel thankful to be able to participate hoping that these boxes touch the lives and hearts of the children who will be receiving them.

My teen included a fun fact sheet about the family, a gospel tract and a picture of us 4!

Boxes ready to be delivered!

Earlier this afternoon we stopped by a local collection site. The lady testified on how the goal was to collect 350 boxes and they have collected 733 so far! She was so thankful to see how the Lord exceeded her expectations for providing boxes to ship overseas.

Glory to GOD!

Please watch this video and see the joy ONE box has given this young boy!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Counting My Blessings

1. Visited my SIL's home this past Saturday. She prepared a delicious meal for us (chicken soup, rice, salad, tortillas, beans and cheese). We were able to share of Jesus' love with her husband and his cousin. Praying that the Lord works a miracle in their hearts.

2. Headed out to Target with my girls and my mom. We were both able to get some grocery items at a good price. Also purchased yo-yo's for the OCC boxes.

3. My daughter and I packed up some of the boxes that we will be dropping off this year. It is our desire that each child may feel the love of Jesus Christ as they unwrap what He has prepared for them.

4. My mom prepared dinner for my family and my sister's family Monday evening. She made a yummy spaghetti and chicken dinner. It is one of my fav's!

5. My SIL went for her first prenatal visit and glad to hear that mom and baby are well. She is due mid-May:)

6. Headed out to the library to do homeschooling there. My teen completed her studies for the day and I had a lovely time reading books to my baby. Bumped into my sister with her two girls there. Karen is just to funny:)

7. Prayer at my mom's house again this week was a blessing. Thank you Lord, for that specific prayer!

8. My teen and I prepared our first ever apple pie. Although, I did not make the crust from scratch this time I certainly want to try to do so. My husband really enjoyed it...Glory to God!!

Sliced apples

Teen kneading dough

Apple mix with sugar, flour and cinnamon

Ready to go into the oven

Done and ready to eat:)

9. Michelle's husband John preached this Thursday on Joshua 7. May we love each other enough to bring correction!

10. Thankful for all the love and understanding that the Lord is weaving throughout my marriage.

11. Crocheted a beret for my sister. I hope it fits:)

12. Had an interesting conversation with a SIC and I hope that the Lord breaks all chains to the past that do not bring her closer to HIM.

Moses summoned all Israel and said to them,
"Israel, listen to the statutes and ordinances
I am proclaiming as you hear them today.
Learn and follow them carefully."

~ Deuteronomy 5:1

Monday, November 15, 2010

Counting My Blessings

A few days late posting my CYB's. This is for week Nov. 7th - Nov 12th.

1. Going to BJ's a few weeks back I lost my baby girl's shoe.

So this weekend we headed out to find a replacement. This is what we bought for her:)

2. A beloved brother and his wife stopped by and visited the church on Sunday. He gave a word of love and encouragement to the congregation from the LORD!

3. Enjoyed a lovely Saturday afternoon at home. We stood home and lounged about.

4. Rite Aid deals...I am totally thankful for what I was able to get this week!
More for my boxes:)

5. Farmer's market this week proved to be just lovely. Got some fresh onions and lots of carrots (carrot bread?).

6. My teen surprised me with breakfast this week. She prepared for me peanut butter and chocolate chip pancakes (weird sounding...but oh so good!), scrambled eggs and sausage. It was so thoughtful of her. Thank you my love!!!

7. My husband was able to go over to my mom's house and meet up with my sister and her husband for prayer. It was such a blessing for him...Praise the Lord! (My baby fell asleep and we decided no need for both of us to stay home. So he went over and brought the blessing home:)

8. My teen helped out with chores around the house this week. She is such a great helper of mine:)

9. My SIL and my BIL celebrated there Earthday's this week!!! Woo hooooo!!!

10. Received some great freebies in the mail this week including a full pack of gum and the tiniest bottle of olive oil:)

11. My husband is such a dear. His boss discards the coupon inserts that come in his newspapers and my husband always keep a look out for them and asks his boss for them. Thank you for the sweet gesture, my love:)

12. So thankful that the Lord's precious Holy Spirit is ministering the life of a young boy. Along with his mother and 9 yr. old sister they just started attending our church.

13. Made two batches of sofrito (spanish marinade consisting of onions, peppers, garlic and any type of herb you want to include. All ingredients get blended in the blender.)this week. Tried it out on steak tacos I made on Friday and it sure gave a delicious taste to the steak:)

Peace and joy my bloggy friends.
May you have a blessed week in HIM!!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Breaking Free: A View From the New

For though we live in the world, we do not
wage war as the world does.
The weapons we fight with are not the
weapons of the world.
On the contrary, they have divine power
to demolish strongholds.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up
against the knowledge of God, and we take captive
every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10: 3-5

The previous chapter I studied about the steadfast mind from the perspective of the Old Testament. This chapter I compared it from the viewpoint of the New Testament.

Satan wants to get us to a place of where we are doubting the power that is in knowing and believing God's Word. In 2 Corinthians 10:4b-5, the scriptures read that, "We demolish arguments and every high minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." Arguments will rise that try and make us question God's promises to us, question our identity in Christ, however if we are saturated with the wealth of God's Word we can refute all lies and fiery darts from the enemy and remain focused and in communion with the Lord.

How do we take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ?

With the Word...the BIBLE!
When the enemy tries to attack my identity, I refute him by telling him that I have been created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26), a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession (1 Peter:9). When the enemy tries to attack my finances, I declare, "I have not seen the righteous abandoned or his children begging bread." (Psalm 37:25).

I re-enforce the importance of studying God's Word to my daughter. I tell her that she must be equipped with God's Word to be able to fight the war that the enemy is trying to wage and he has declared the battlefield her mind. I thank the Lord, that my teen truly loves HIS Word and studies the Bible. There are times when I see that she is in her room studying the Word and that confirms to me that she is also aware of the war brewing against the believer.

Beth shares this in her book:

1. Every stronghold is related to something that we have exalted to a higher position than God in our lives.
2. Every stronghold pretends to bring something we feel we must have aid, comfort, the relief of stress, or protection.
3. Every stronghold in the life of a believer is a tremendous source of pride for the enemy. Let that make you mad and determine to stop giving him satisfaction.

The enemy will stir up pride in us in order to keep strongholds from being broken. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God will not despise a broken and humble heart. Humility is necessary for strongholds to be broken. Pride is a barrier for freedom to be realized.

Hosea 11:4a says of God, "I lead them with human cords, with ropes of kindness. To them I was like one who eases the yoke from their jaws,"

Satan also desires to lead us. He wants to lead us to disobedience and to perdition. However, my focus has to be on God. My eyes have to be fixed on HIM. When my eyes have focused themselves on anything that is not from the Lord I have lost my way. I thank HIM because His Word is a lamp to my feet and guides me to all TRUTH when I have wandered from the path.

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there is no fruit on the vines,
tough the olive crop fails
and the filed produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will triumph in the Lord;
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!
Yahweh my Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like those of a deer
and enables me to walk on mountains heights!

Habakkuk 3:18-19

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christmas Card Memories

I have fond childhood memories of Christmas cards. I remember my mom displaying them so beautifully in different areas of our home. I would read all the lovely messages that were written with love to my family over and over again. I remember admiring the cards with the gold embossed letters and beautiful pictures twinkling at night. The cards with the embossing were my favorite.

Our family has not had a Holiday card done, yet. I am so excited that this year we will be doing Christmas photo cards. The hardest part will be which family picture and design to choose.

Shutterfly offers a wide array of items to commemorate the 2010 Holiday season from canvas art to Christmas cards.

Are you deciding whether or not to do holiday cards this year? Shutterfly is sure making that decision easier by providing bloggers with 50 free Holiday cards by simply signing up here!

Shutterfly is well known for quality print products and I look forward to receiving my photo cards!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Counting My Blessings

1. Saturday we ventured out to visit Masker's Orchard located in Upstate NY. What a day! I have never been apple picking and I had such a great time. My sister and her family joined us which is always a blessing when we spend time together.

Driving up the mountain was so beautiful.
I didn't even mind when we got lost:)

The orchard even had a small petting zoo.
They had chickens, rabbits, and this lil guy.
Isn't he cute?

My teen enjoyed her pony ride on Strawberry!


Can you tell my husband was excited about picking apples?

My 15 mo. old baby girl grabbing a souvenir

After pony rides and a lot of picture taking...finally the apples!

We had a lot of apples to take home...this is just what's left
after I made bread, muffins, sauce!

Oh! and Sunday this is what topped our homemade pancakes...apples:)

2. My camera gave up on me. However, thankful that my sister took many pictures of us enjoying the orchard.

3. Driving back we all stopped by my sister's in-laws for a visit. My BIL's mother had a delicious dinner waiting for us complete with dessert, johnny cakes and coffee. She even blessed us with some johnny cakes to take home!

4. To top off the visit Michelle was there with her family as well!!

5. Was busy making apple muffins, bread, and sauce out of all the beautiful and ripe apples that we picked. My teen was so excited to taste the muffins. Praise the Lord, she said they were really yummy:)

6. Monday my mom invited us over for dinner. She is such a great hostess.

7. CVS run was a blessing. Was able to pick this up for a total oop (out of pocket) expense of $1.65!

8. Wednesday night my sister and her family came over for a prayer session. The comfort of Holy Spirit was present. Thank you, Lord for orchestrating that lovely surprise gathering in your name.

9. Thursday night our Co-Pastor preached a message of hope that was so refreshing to my soul. Thank you Lord...you know I needed that Word. I will wait on you..your timing is perfect!

For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
it testifies about the end and will not lie.
Though it delays, wait for it,
since it will certainly come and not be late.

Habakkuk 2:3

10. Stopped at Target for an impromptu visit and purchased some items for OCC gift boxes and coffee creamer for $0.50 cents a bottle!!! French vanilla...my favorite:)

11. My BIL had work to finish up at church Friday evening and my husband hitched a ride with him to spend some alone time in prayer. Thank you for depositing the desire to seek you, Lord. You are his all.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Breaking Free: A View From the Old

You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in You

Isaiah 26:3

Freedom from strongholds comes from delving totally into the Word of God, applying and believing the truth of His Word. There is a battle going on in the spiritual realm for my soul and for yours. We must dress ourselves in spiritual warfare to be able to battle against the plots and schemes of the devil. We have to be armed with the sword of the Spirit if we are going to win this battle. Are you up for it? I am. I refuse to live anything less than the abundant life Jesus' blood has provided.

When I first came to Christ, I learned that confessing and renouncing sin from my life was essential to being set free from captivity. Spiritually what that did was that it sent a message to satan telling him that I am no longer bound to that sinful nature. All yolks and bondage's created by his deceit and lies were cut in the name of Jesus.

Confession was key. I did not want to have any intimate secrets between the devil and I, so I confessed it all in the name of Jesus. I continually ask the Lord, if there is anything, even hidden in my subconscious that I am unaware of, that He may reveal it to me so that I can confess and renounce.

I approach God in prayer with a sincere desire to be set free. I know only He is able to help me with my struggles. I recognize my need to be molded and transformed by the Potters hands.

Praying the Word of God is such a necessity to winning this war which is set in the mind of the believer. The devil attacks the believer in the area of their thoughts. When Jesus spoke of the parable of the soils we see that the devil comes to take away the Word that has been sown in some people (Mark 4:15). If we are not taking our thoughts captive the door to our minds have been left open and he will make his way inside. We must catch those little foxes that ruin the vineyard. It is our duty, since the truth of the Word of God has been revealed to us to be watching, praying and meditating on the Word so we do not fall into temptation. If we are meditating on things that do not edify or bring glory to Jesus that is a door left open for the enemy to come on in and make himself at home.

Beloved, we must put on the FULL armor of God so that we can stand against the tactics of the devil. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the powers, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:11-12)

If there is any area of my life that I have not surrendered to you Lord, I am here and I am paying attention. I want to have those ears to hear you Lord, to hear the instructions from precious Holy Spirit who guides me to the truth of Jesus Christ. My life is in Your hands and there is no better place for me to be in than in YOU!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Breaking Free: Part VI Freedom and Splendor

As I draw near to the end of my journey reading through Beth Moore's book I do know that this is not the end. In fact, this is the beginning of a new and improved walk with Jesus. The Holy Spirit has revealed so much of what is deep in my heart so that there could be changes. The change that needs to occur in me, my marriage, my relationship with God, my role as a mother, etc. all begin with ME. I have the responsibility, after receiving revelations from the Lord, to put to work all the precepts that He has taught me. The road may be rough and rocky but I have the ultimate Rock. I have the One who has breathed the breath of life into me on my side cheering me on.

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.

Isaiah 43: 2-3

I welcome the changes that have begun in my life and walk confidently in HIM who has all of my days written and planned in His book.