Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

I just wanted to let you all know that i am not doing a regular blog post today because of the holiday. I thank you all for reading & following ifrogcrafts & more & pray that you all have a fun & safe Memorial Day. I'll be back next week. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kisses From The King

As i began writing today, i was reminded of a romance novel - or at least the cover. I could see the strong Hero holding his love protectively in his arms, kissing her on the mouth. Jesus is my hero. He suffered through so much & died for all of us. Now, if that's not a hero, i don't know what is. And He does send His protections constantly. He may not kiss us on the mouth, but metaphorically, He does kiss us: through His prophecies, His provisions, & His presence. How? You might ask....through His word.

Have you ever had the experience of a Bible verse jumping off the page at you & knowing that it was a word from God, just for you at just the right time? If so, you've been kissed, but the King of Kings. To prove this, i just said a little prayer to let me find a Bible verse randomly. I asked to please let me be kissed by Jesus with this verse.

"Charm is deceptive, & beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
Proverbs 31:30

Reading this verse right now, reminded me how much i used to do to myself to be more attractive. I think i lost 5 pounds every night when i took off my makeup. lol.  I laugh as i think of some of the clothes i used to wear. I didn't know what it was like to put on a pair of jeans & zip them up the first time by not laying on the bed. It didn't matter if i could breathe in them or not, i looked good. It was during these times that i was "looking for love in all the wrong places", rather than to Jesus. Thinking about these times, all i can do is shake my head at myself. Now, i'm not saying that i don't wear makeup anymore - just not near as much & not near as often. But through my relationship with Jesus, i've learned to be happy with who i am...and first, above all else, i am a Christian.

Another way to be kissed by the King is through His provisions. The Bible teaches us that God will provide for our needs. In this economy, i've certainly seen that! And Jesus provides for us, not only materially, but spiritually also. It always amazes me how the Spirit works. He puts us in the right place, at the right time to see His work. You know what i mean, those "Amen! Hallelujah! Thank You Jesus!" kind of moments. Each one of those moments is a kiss from the King. 

The third way that Jesus kisses us is with His presence. I know when i was single & truly began my walk with Him, as a single woman, i didn't feel alone anymore. When we are first in love, what is most important is being close to your love. And even though we still go through each day, facing whatever comes our way, we experience such happiness when we think of the One we love. We have peace. We have contentment.We feel Jesus' love. Living with Jesus by your side needs to be as necessary & consistent as breathing. We need to be aware of His presence in everything...what you think about, the music you listen too, the friends you keep company with, etc. Whatever you allow to get to you  will affect you love relationship with Jesus. As i child, in Sunday School, we sang, "I have the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart." I am so thankful that i finally understand the last verse. "I have the peace that passes understanding down in my heart; down in my heart to stay!"  

"I know what it is to be in need, & I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any & every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."
Philippians 4:12-13

Monday, May 16, 2011

With Dying, Comes Living

Did you know that Jesus has been thinking about you from the beginning of time? He is our Prince Charming who wants to awaken us from an evil spell - from deathly sleep - so that we will want for Him as well.
God demonstrates His love & tenderness not only through His creation, but also through the testimony of others. God brings others across our paths  & prompts them to tell their stories. Have you ever heard a testimony that moved you so that you wanted to find out more about God? Someone who had a torrid past, but was saved by the Grace of God & now lives their live for Him. These testimonies are on of God's way of wooing us. And after He woos us, we have to make a choice. We can either accept Him or reject Him. Often, if one hesitates to accept Him, it's because of the "cost of commitment". And that cost is the death of their old life. They don't understand that dying is the key to living, that by abandoning their old life, that new life springs forward & that with surrender comes a supernatural peace & a supernatural hope.
Some people wonder, "Will I really be 'happy'?" "Happy" is not the goal. "Happy" is fleeting, like the thrill of riding a roller coaster. The goal is loving Jesus. Only then do your experience true joy. Others wonder about all the "dos & don'ts" involved in being a Christian. These "rules" are not because God is a big dictator who get a kick from manipulating us or making is miserable. He gives us "rules" because as our creator, He knows what's best for us. And as your grow & know Him more, your trust grow & you're able to see why He requires certain things of you. God always acts out of love. That doesn't mean that you won't feel a loss or that the process won't be painful. But God will be there with you each & every step of the way.
I remember this transitional part of my life. I missed the part of my life when i was going out & about almost every night. At first, when i began to feel lonely & wanted to go out, i would spend time reading my Bible, or studying a Christian lifestyle/help book, etc., & in prayer. I knew that i wasn't alone, because God was with me, but i still felt lonely sitting at home. So, i'd talk to my new best friend, God, & inevitably would feel better. And also, since i had a lot more time on my hands, i became more productive, doing counted cross-stitch & other little jobs that i never seemed to have time for before. It was also amazing, how much i learned about myself, my God, & how our relationship grew.
As bleak , dark, & hopeless things seem to be, the best  news is that God has a perfect plan. Just as He brought Christ back from the dead after 3 days. He'll bring life out of mot only the death of our old lifestyle, but of our earthly life.

"We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in or that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may have new life."
Romans 6:3-5 (NIV) 

Monday, May 9, 2011

God Yearns For Us

Do you understand that God longs for a personal relationship with you? That He made you for Himself? That His stubborn love will simply not let go of us?

It can be difficult to believe that God yearns for us. He is so holy & we are so unholy. He is so great & we are so small. And God doesn't need anything.So why would He yearn for a relationship with us? But god made us in His image & we yearn for a relationships also, whether it's with our true love, our best pal, or a social group. And in our mind's eye, we see those relationships. God saw us that way too.

"For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy & blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure & will--"
Ephesians 1:4-5 (NIV) 

God is our pursuer. He is longing for us. He is the Bridegroom longing for His bride. What an amazing thought that our Bridegroom, Jesus, is preparing a place for us, & is looking forward to when He will come & take us home. And what bridegroom wants an indifferent bride?

In biblical times, the Jewish marriage ceremony had 3 different parts:

  * The betrothal, as in the betrothal of Mary & Joseph. The woman was considered to be the man's bride & even though the marriage hadn't been consummated, the commitment was considered permanent & legally binding.
  **Secondly was the period of separation while the bridegroom prepared for the bride to come & live with him. Then, when the bridegroom's father felt that all was ready, the bridegroom would come for his bride in a great processional. The bride did not know when the bridegroom would come for her. So, she needed to be ready.
  ***Finally, the last part of the ceremony was performed. After a 7 day celebration that included a great feast. The bridegroom finally took his bride home.We are betrothed to Jesus. We are His bride & we are in the period of separation. He is preparing a place for us.

"In my Father's house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go & prepare a place for you, I will come back & take you to be with me."
John 14:2-3 (NIV)
And when Jesus comes, it will be the absolute grandest processional of all. And He will take us away from this world. Our mind's eye really can't do justice to the place that Jesus is preparing for us. But we know that we will live forever with no tears, no aches & pains, no diseases or afflictions. We'll be reunited with loved ones & there will be harmony & security the peace that passes all understanding. And the best of the best - we will be with Jesus.

As in biblical times, we don't know when our Bridegroom will be coming. Are you ready?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Are You Sacrificing the Peace of God?

God's timing is always perfect. As believers, though, we often get impatient waiting . Some may feel that there is not enough immediate payback when we give our life to Him. Especially when we've followed the wrong path for so long. We may feel lonely & we don't want to wait for God to fill, what we think are, our needs. So we may settle for a temporary fix - so to speak. If you return to that wrong path, it's just going to be a quick fix with a false sense of fulfillment that will all come crashing down around you.

But nothing - absolutely nothing - is worth the cost of sacrificing the peace of God. The partying, the excitement, etc. might be fun & can give you pleasure. But i don't know anyone, including myself, who doesn't wake up the next morning feeling empty because the peace of God has slipped away. That's the realization that even though the festivities made you feel alive at the moment, it's all false. A false aliveness, a false sense of passion. A false sense of euphoria. You know what thoughts i mean.....
*** "A new outfit will make me feel better."
*** "Give me the carton of ice cream & a spoon. That will make me feel better."
*** "I know it's wrong, but those arms around me feel so good. No one will know."
*** "I'll just play the penny slots. It's not really gambling if i bet so little."
*** "I'll just do it (whatever it is) one more time for old times sake."

"I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure....
When I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what i had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun."
Ecclesiastes 2:10a,2:11 (NIV)
Everything "under the sun" can give us a temporary high. But that high never lasts. If you choose the wrong path, at the end, you'll only find a pile of shame & guilt. Then you find yourself back peddling. I've lived this & i've back peddled many times. It's OK to back peddle, but it's even better when you don't have to because you choose the right path to begin with. I've realized that i want God's peace more than anything else. I've learned too, that sometimes, in the God given peace that passes all understanding, that it's OK to feel a little lonely. It's in those times of feeling lonely that my relationship with God grew & strengthened. I would seek fulfillment through reading His word & talking to Him through prayer. And in that process i learned. Most importantly, i learned that "folly" was meaningless. For may years, i had thought that "folly" was priceless. NOT!!!

"...wisdom is better than folly,
just as light is better than darkness."
Ecclesiastes 2:12 (NIV)

Overall, the wisest thing we can do is give everything to God. Our trial & troubles, our thanks & praise. I am so thankful for all that i've learned from my past. But i am even more thankful for my present & my future with a living God.