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Growing Pains

As another crazy, yet blessed year comes to a close, I find myself glancing back at what I have accomplished, how far I have come, and how much I have grown. I think it is truly amazing how God uses all things to bring growth and glory in my life, and in the lives of all his children (including you!).

This past year, like so many before it, has seen its share of pain and anguish: the death of my father, my uncle, and a close friend, family chaos and fighting (which often sadly occurs when death comes), broken relationship and a shattered heart, an unexpected move, and financial strain. Yet, oddly enough, this year brought beauty, healing, love, and provision through it all.

You see, despite the pain and suffering, God was in it all, working his will, his plan, his glory through all of it. Pain and suffering is a normal part of life and an integral part of spiritual growth.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

Hebrews 5:5-8 So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, “YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”; just as He says also in another passage, “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.” In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

Jesus Christ Himself was not exempt from the pain and suffering of this world. Pain and suffering in your life is one way that God prunes you, building you up and making you stronger. Much like a great work out at the gym, there is often pain afterward (even during the workout as you push yourself), but the results are wonderful in the long run if you keep working out and building up muscles that increase your strength. Another example is the olive tree. A farmer must cut (or prune) the branches back in order for the tree to produce a more abundant crop the next season. If it is not pruned, it grows unkempt, producing less fruit, and therefore yielding less profit for the farmer.

John 15:1-3 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

You and I are the branches on the tree of life, and if we are not pruned, we tend to not bear the fruit of righteousness, purity, or holiness. We become weak, wild, and unkempt, losing sight of what we are here for–to produce fruit that brings honor and glory to the Lord, bringing others into his kingdom, showing the light of God for all to see.

Pain and suffering in this life are also motivators for growth. When you get stuck in the mundane routines of life–work, family, home, friends, etc., it is easy to get comfortable and not change or stretch outside of your comfort zone. Going back to the workout example, if you keep doing the same exercise routine day in and day out, you will see results, but eventually they will plateau and your workout routine will be only for maintaining, rather than continued strengthening. Even weight loss will fade if the workout routine stays the same. You have to change things up to see continued results, to build more muscle mass, to thin out more, and to tone consistently.

Spiritual growth is similar. If church and scripture become mundane routines, the same thing day in and day out, you will get stuck, your spiritual growth will plateau. God wants your spiritual growth to excel, to continue to grow each and every day. This means that you have to be forced out of your comfort zone sometimes, and often the only way to get you to do that is through pain and suffering. When life is grand, going smoothly, and you have no worries or stress, God tends to be put on the back seat. Ever notice that your prayer life and devotional time picks up a great deal when there is pain, suffering, trials, or tribulations in your life. That is because during those times, your reliance on God is stronger and more evident. You can’t fix things, make them better, or change them, and thus you seek God, seek His will, His discernment and wisdom to handle all that you are facing. You may even reach out to others in your community–church, work, home, neighborhood–for help and guidance.

Often during the most painful times in our lives, we are forced to take responsibility for our failures and learn how to adapt and change so as to not make the same mistakes next time. Other times, we are confronted with requests that take us out of our cushy comfortable place to become a witness and light for God. It may be that you are asked to forgive someone who has hurt or betrayed you. Perhaps you are being called to share your pain with someone in order to show the glory of God as he brings you through it. Maybe the pain in your life is building perseverance, patience, or other spiritual fruits in your own life. Whatever it may by, God is using the pain and suffering to motivate change and growth in your life.

James 1:2-4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 5:11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Romans 5:3-5 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ

Though I faced my share of pain and suffering in 2014, I can look back on each and every moment and see God’s mighty hand at work through the entire event. Through the deaths that came into my life, I was able to find courage and strength to do what was right midst the chaos and family fighting. Though my heart was broken and a relationship ruined, I was given comfort and wisdom midst the storm, making a few of the toughest decisions of my life, which ultimately brought peace to me and my son. Even through the financial difficulties, God changed my view of budgeting, helping me save more than I have before. In the moments of pain and suffering, I didn’t always see his mighty hand at work, but looking back on the year, it is evident he was with me, guiding, building, refining, and growing me into the woman of God he designed.

So, my friends, fret not when you are facing pain, trials, tribulations, or suffering, for in time, God will produce an abundance of fruit, helping you change the old patterns of life, enabling you to grow spiritually! With that said, I look forward to another year and what may come–the good, the bad, and the ugly! Bring it on, for with God, we can all rest assured that good will come, hope will be renewed, and the future will be bright.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God bless and keep you in the coming year and always! May you rejoice midst the pain and suffering, knowing that God is working all things for your good! He is with you always and forever, and will never leave you nor forsake you, providing all you need to face all that comes your way.

In Christ’s Love ❤

Freedom is Here!

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. The will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:1-3

favim.com

favim.com

Freedom is Here!

Waiting for peace to come can seem like death
Longing for the heart to be still
Hoping that life will just rest
Ah to be free from the burdens and cares

Hold on tight
Never let go
For freedom will come
And all will be right

Emptiness resides where love should be
Robbing the soul of joy
Stealing life away each day
Ah to be free to love and laugh again

Hold on tight
Never let go
For freedom will come
And all will be alright

Surrender all
Trust in the One who died for you
The One who came to set you free

He is yours
And you are His
Let the love of Christ’s sacrifice save you

Hold on tight
Never let go
For freedom is here
And all will be alright

For freedom is here
And all will be alright

From this World to Glory

I am so very blessed to have an awesome son who is now a teenager in high school.  He is such a wonderful young man with a heart of gold, and man do I pray and worry about him.  I have always raised him in the Lord and His word, using scripture to encourage and convict, using gentleness, and trying to lead my life by example, hoping that he will faithfully follow the ways of the Lord.  All I can do is as scripture states: Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).   My son is not my own, he is a gift from the Lord, given to me for such a short time.  After his time with me, he will set free into the world and be engulfed by a myriad of views that contradict our Christian beliefs.  All I can do is pray he will hold tight to all he has learned, and constantly return the Lord’s beacon which brings hope, joy, peace, renewal, mercy and grace.

In God’s love may we bring up our kids in the way of the Lord and let them soar as a light in this ever shifting world.  God bless and keep you all.  In his love ❤

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.  ~ Proverbs 22:6

operation-redemption.org

operation-redemption.org

From this World to Glory

Oh, my son
My beautiful, wondrous son
You have grown so much
Becoming the man God created
May you know your worth
Feel God’s love for you
Know that you are forgiven and free
Deny the voices of evil
Lies whispered in your ear
Ignore the thoughts that you’re not good enough
The world will beckon the doors of your heart
Tempt you with things
Bringing only momentary happiness
Taste and drink from the Lord
He will fill you to overflowing
Bring you comfort, joy, peace
His mercy is never-ending
He knows your comings and your goings
He thinks of you more than the grains of sand on earth
He knows every hair on your head
You my son are the apple of His eye
Let not the world deceive you
Do not succumb to its wicked ways
Trust your life to Jesus
Listen to the still small voice
Believe there is more to this life than things
Seek the eternal prize
The gift freely given from such great sacrifice
Salvation and freedom from the bonds of this world
Hope for a future filled with glory
I love you my son
Hold on and fight the good fight
When the world is dark and in despair
Know that God will hold you
He will guide you on the path of righteousness
No matter how far you may stray
He will always be there
With open arms and an overjoyed heart
His love never ends
Your rock and fortress He will be
A shelter from the insanity of life
Walk in His ways my son
You are robed in righteousness
Veiled in holiness
You my child are adorned with gifts yet unknown
Blessed beyond compare
Let God bring glory through you
Be an instrument in His hands
A light unto the world

New Beginnings–Live life to the fullest this year!

journeyofredemption.com

journeyofredemption.com

With the new year comes the opportunity to leave the old behind, and focus on the future and the things to come.  Now is not the time to regret what you have done, or where you have been, but it is the time to repent, forgive, and press on for the eternal glory of God.

Live life to the fullest this year, and love the life you have.  It may not be perfect.  It may not be easy.  In fact your life may be complicated, difficult, or you may be going through grief and loss.  However, even amidst the pain, there is hope.  In the midst of complications, there is peace, and in the difficult times there is wisdom and endurance.  All these things are at your fingertips; only a prayer away.  Ask God into your heart, claim the beauty, grace, mercy, and peace of Christ for yourself.  Surrender your circumstances to the One and Only Lord of all Creation for He is bigger than all that you face!

Find the beauty in life, even when in the center of life’s storms!!  Remember, where there is rain, a rainbow comes.  Where there are fires, new life grows.  Where there is snow and ice, the buds of spring come forth.  You are more blessed than you realize.  Just breath, seek, and find the glory of God that satisfies!

Now is the time to begin again!

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  ~ Philippians 3:13-14

Nehemiah ~ Yahweh Comforts

“I pray, LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God.
You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments…”
Nehemiah 1:5

waitforourblessedhope.blogspot.com

Nehemiah ~ Yahweh Comforts

There is comfort in the Lord
A light to show us the way
An example for the masses

Hope is wonderful
Prayer is useful and necessary
But life will not happen by hope and prayer alone

Open your eyes
Seek God in prayer
Pour your heat out to Him

Be active and involved
Prepare for the doors God will open
Be willing to trust His way

There are always obstacles
Some sent from Satan to deter
Others sent from God to test our endurance

Research and study
Find ways to adhere and grow
Rely on God’s gracious hand to grant opportunity

Build and renew
Claim God’s promises for you own
Focus on Him and give Him the glory