Please note: Posts on this site may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my full disclosure statement.

You may find this post linked up with my awesome blogging friends at these Blog Parties. I hope you'll check out their blogs!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Valentine

I've joined "Be My Valentine" a marriage challenge over at Women Living Well where for the next four weeks leading up to Valentine's Day I will join women in expressing our thankfulness and appreciation to our husbands.

We are in Week 1 which is: "Look for ways to praise your husband verbally. Praise him in front of the kids, friends, family, co-workers, on facebook, tweet it – get praise out anyway you can! Try to mention something noteworthy he has done – in his role as provider, father, husband, lover, or friend. If the thought of trying to come up with one terrifies you, then pray right now that God will give you new eyes to see your husband as God does. Then open your mouth and say something kind and uplifting to your husband today and tomorrow and the next day until Valentine’s Day arrives!"

I think this is a very cool challenge. For so long I think Valentine's Day has been all about us women...the chocolates, the roses, the special dinner. I'm excited to accept this challenge and take my focus off of me and put it on Phil, My Valentine!

God has been writing our love story for over 15 years now. This April 5th we will celebrate 16 years of marriage. This is what I've come to love and appreciate in my dear husband:

* He loves God.
* He is a spiritual leader in our home.
* He prays with me.
* He is an encourager.
* He is a great listener.
* He loves me.
* He makes me laugh.
* He works hard as the provider of our house.
* He makes time for our children.
* He makes time for me.
* He is giving.
* He is tender.
* He is my best friend.
* He is disciplined.
* He has great faith in God.

Interesting...15 qualities from 15 years of marriage! This must be God's cute way of showing me there is much more to discover and appreciate in the years that lie ahead of us!

We have shared many grace-filled-moments in our marriage. I'm thankful for them all! They have made our marriage what it is today. The inscription I had placed inside of Phil's wedding band was from Song of Soloman 3:4

"I have found the one whom my soul loves."

Another scripture that was part of our wedding day was from Ecclesiastes 4:12

"A cord of three strands is not easily broken."

God is woven all throughout our marriage. I wouldn't have it any other way. The one whom my soul loves has been found and our covenant of marriage is important enough to keep the cord of three strands tightly knit together!

I love you Phil...My Valentine! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Faith to Follow

Women of the Bible

Luke 1:37-38 "For with God nothing will be impossible. Then Mary said, 'Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to Your word.' And the angel departed from her."

Mary was just given the most amazing news that she was going to be the vessel God would use to come to this earth as a baby to save the world! She couldn't understand how this would be accomplished since she had never known a man. But as the angel told her, nothing is impossible with God. It's along the same lines as the response the angel gave to Sarah in Genesis 18:14 ("Is anything too hard for the Lord?"). If nothing is too hard for the Lord, then everything is possible with God!

Although Mary didn't completely understand HOW God was going to fulfill His promise, she chose to BELIEVE His promise and SUBMIT to how He was going to fulfill that promise. There are lessons for us in this story that is recorded in Luke.

First, in applying that to our own lives, I believe God wants to use us in His redemption story that continues in our world today. We have the Greatest Gift to the world in our possession. Are we going to submit to God's desire to use us in whatever way He chooses to offer that Gift to the lost people He places in our lives? May our heart's response be as Mary's..."Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to Your word."

Second, God's Word contains many promises for us. We may not always understand how God is going to fulfill those promises in our lives. Trials come our way and in the midst of those trials we can either moan and groan our way through them, or look for God's hand as He gently molds us and shapes us through those trials to be a vessel He can use as an encouragement to someone who may face that exact same trial later on down the road. 

Can you imagine the ridicule Mary faced when everyone found out she was pregnant and not yet married to Joseph? At that time, being pregnant and unmarried could get you stoned to death! We know that Joseph, after being visited by the angel as well, decided to stay with Mary and they were married. Scripture doesn't record it, but I sure would like to know how Mary carried herself through what must have been a very painful time in her life. Mary had been given a promise and I'm sure she must have held on to the promise Gabriel had told her. That's what we must do - hold on to the promises we have been given by God in His Word when we walk through trials in this life.

I'm a planner. I love to have a plan, to know what's going to happen and when it is scheduled to happen! I want to know why when things don't always go according to my plan. God is teaching me to lay aside my "right to know" and to simply trust and follow in the path He has lovingly laid out for my life. I don't need to know how it is all going to work out, I just need to believe in the One who holds my life in the palm of His hand, and trust that He is always in control. That's faith. Faith to follow without having all the answers.

That's the kind of faith Mary had. With all the unknowns and risks she faced, she chose to submit. She became the willing vessel God desired in order to bring our Savior into the world. She had faith to follow God's plan. Will we? Will we use the trials that come into our lives as opportunities to grow in faith and knowledge toward God so that in turn He can use us as His instruments to share the hope of eternal life available through Jesus Christ to the lost He places in our lives?

May our response be: "Behold, the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be according to Your Word." Amen!

Walking in His Grace, 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Seeking Strength for the Journey

Finding Strength in God's Word

I don’t know about you, but in this crazy uncertain world we live in, I don’t want to face it alone. I need God in my life. I need His love, His power, and His presence every single day for this journey called life.

I am told in God’s Word that I can to look to Him and His strength. (1 Chronicles 16:11) I am also told in His Word that His power is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) God tells me in His Word to be joyful in the trials that come my way (James 1:2) because the testing of my faith produces patience (James 1:3). Now that last one is hard to swallow! But I can swallow it when I look back to what He tells me in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.”

I’m coming to realize that God can use the trials of my life for the spiritual growth He desires in me. When the trials of life bring me to the weakest point of my life, I have the opportunity to seek the face of God for His strength to walk through it. In doing so, God is able to mold and shape me into the vessel He desires for me to be.

I am going through something right now that has got me on my face before God seeking His love, His power, and His strength. I’m sure this makes the devil really mad…he would rather have me focusing on the crashing waves around me, but I’m choosing to look to God and His strength! Some days are hard, I have to admit, but on those days when I’m at my weakest, I’m reminded of the words of Isaiah 40:28-31:

"Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."

So on those days when I am weary, I call on God and ask Him for His power and His strength to continue the journey He has set before me. It is my prayer that you will do the same. I know you are on a journey too. Just remember, this world is not our home. You can find your strength in God…seek His face my friend, and you too can experience Grace-Filled-Moments!

Walking in His Grace, 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hiding God's Word

Scripture Memorization

 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
     so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11

I believe memorizing God's Word is very important in the life of a disciple of Jesus. It's a discipline necessary to defeat the flaming arrows of our enemy. It's power in a believer's prayer life as we can speak the promises of God back to Him, knowing He will be faithful and true to answer His Word!

We find in Hebrews 4:12 that God's Word is "alive and powerful, sharper than a 2-edged sword". When we speak and pray God's Word we are coming into agreement with Him and releasing His power to answer our prayers according to His will. Scripture memorization allows us to be able to do this.

I am so thankful for the scriptures I have already committed to heart! I am using those scriptures in my prayers over a particular situation going on in my life right now. And as God tells me in Isaiah 55:11, His Word will not return void, but will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which He sent it. For that I am thankful!

Scripture Memorization

This morning as I was preparing for an upcoming Bible study with Good Morning Girls, I found a link to Do Not Depart, a blog about abiding in God's Word. While at Do Not Depart, I discovered they are leading a Bible Memory Challenge. Beginning January 13, I will join the challenge in memorizing one to two verses a week of Psalm 71. I am very excited to have found this blog and to be able to join other women who share my desire to hide God's Word in our hearts.

If hiding God's Word in your heart is a desire you share, I invite you to head over to Do Not Depart where you can sign up today to join us in hiding Psalm 71 in our hearts. It's a discipline that will not return void...I promise!

Walking in His Grace, 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I Wrestled with God and He Won

Dealing with Asperger's Syndrome

Recently, as I struggled with a situation going on in my life, as hard as I tried not to, I began to question God and even got to the point of being angry. I asked God, "Why do I have to go through this trial when I'm doing everything I can to serve You?"

You know the idea...I'm doing everything "right" so why is this happening? Have you ever struggled with that? Well, I have and recently I let it all out to God (as if He didn't know what I was thinking already! Psalm 139:1-4 says:

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

I figured I might as well be real with God since He already knew the thoughts I was having anyway. So that's what I did - I wrestled with God over this trial - and thank God, He won! My questions and anger turned into tears of thanksgiving as I reminded God of his promises to me which are found in His Word that over the years I have hidden in my heart. It was the Holy Spirit of God who brought these verses to my mind as I began to speak back those promises to God in prayer. He reminded me of his grace, mercy, and love for me and my family. When it was all over, I felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders and that peace which surpasses all understanding began to guard my heart and my mind again through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

Then God brought to my mind the story of Jacob (found in Genesis 32) and how he had wrestled with God at a time of fear and uncertainty in his life. Jacob was returning back to his homeland and in doing so, he would also be returning to his brother Esau whom he had cheated out of his birthright and his blessing. He was afraid of what Esau would do to him. Before Jacob wrestled all night with God he had prayed to him and it was a prayer that was rooted in fear, much like mine had been. As I began to study about this, I discovered many new things about this story we have recorded for us in the Bible. But what I want to focus on here and now is this point: Jacob knew about God but didn't know God...Jacob was wrestling for his divine identity, his blessing - not Abraham's, not Isaac's, not Esau's - but HIS and he had to give up himself in the struggle in order to get his blessing.

We all have struggles in this life. Jesus even told us in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The word for the Messer family in 2013 is Peace. Funny how that is the word that is printed on the Christmas ornament we bought while spending Christmas at the beach. (A new Messer family tradition...getting an ornament that describes how our family has experienced God during the year.) I believe in buying that particular ornament (that I searched high and low for <smile>), God was reminding us that for the coming year it would be His peace that would carry us through any struggles we may face. The verse of our last family devotional for 2012 contained the following scripture from John 14:27:

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

So I'm giving up myself in this struggle and finding God's gift of peace as I surrender the unknown to Him. I'm trusting that all things will work together for good because my family and I love God and we are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
How about you? Is there something you are struggling with in your life. If so, then I pray that you will surrender to God and experience His peace which surpasses all understanding. It will truly guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus. I know because I have experienced it and you can too! 

Walking in His Grace, 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013...A New Year with God

As I sit here thinking back on 2012,  I am thankful to God for His grace that got me through many moments of my life that were trying to say the least. I also am reminded that those trying times were also opportunities for growth in my life and in my personal relationship with Jesus. It is one thing to know how to talk ABOUT God, but it is totally another thing to KNOW God. Even now as I enter 2013 facing the unknown in a less than desirable circumstance, God is teaching me to trust in Him as He gives me the grace to walk through this.

God is also teaching me that to truly KNOW Him, I've got to have these kinds of "not so desirable" circumstances to experience His goodness and His power. These can be moments of experiencing God if I keep my eyes focused on Him. I am thankful for my husband whose faith and encouragement have been a witness to me as we have walked together with God these past 15 years (16 years on April 5th, praise God!).

At the beginning of 2012 my prayer was to grow closer to God. I am thankful that God has answered my prayers. It may not have always been in ways that were cozy and pain-free, but I can say that as I start 2013 I know that God has used all things to work together for my good. (Romans 8:28)

So here is to another year of Grace-Filled-Moments with God. Welcome, 2013!

Walking in His Grace,