Simple (Having An Expectant Heart) (Guess Blogger)

I would like to take a moment and introduce to you my guess blogger Bethany:

Welcome! I’m Bethany E. Donham and I love my life! I’m also in love with a man who is not my husband. But it’s ok, my husband knows all about it and encourages the affair. In fact we often talk about Him casually over the dinner table and His name comes up in our pillow talk on a regular basis. His name is Jesus. Have you met Him?

It’s because of this love affair that I started this blog. A lot of times I find myself  lost in thought over something Jesus is trying to teach me. Or I just can’t seem to understand something without writing it down. So this is more for me than anyone else. If you like what I have to say, great! If not, that’s ok too. These are true stories inspired by my daily struggles as a wife, mother of two girls, and Preschool Minister.

I treasure life, laughter, and above all else, love!  So, check it out. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts too.

Twitter

I’ve always believed that less is more. Fewer activities. Smaller houses. Closer friends.

So, why is it a surprise then, when God shows up in the most humble ways?

Lately I have been amazed at how God has been responding to me. And if you are in a place where you feel like God has forgotten your hurt, maybe it’s time to get back to basics.

My heart hurts a lot. I know a lot of people who are hurting and God has wired me to practically feel physical pain when those that I love share their hurt with me. I’ll be honest and say that can become quite burdensome if I don’t keep it in check. I retreat a lot. I go off by myself a lot. I am not at all uncomfortable spending an entire day in solitude.

It’s during those times when I am still that I can hear God the loudest. Notice I did not say that He speaks the loudest when I am still. I believe He is always there waiting to say something, I can just hear him better when I am still. I draw up on Psalm 46:10 a lot. I have to.

Because when I am still I notice. I notice when He answers me.

I have two teenage daughters. (Prayers are always welcome on my behalf). They are loud, busy and always moving girls. They are always playing music too loud, running off somewhere or engrossed in the latest YouTube craze. Each one has a flair for the dramatic and have their own theater and dance outlets. They are priceless beauties and I am losing my grip on them more and more each day. As it should be.

Imagine a typical evening at my house when each one in their separate rooms have on their own favorite song. I don’t know about you, but if my favorite song is on, it ain’t at a low volume.

So it is with my girls.

What happens if I call to them? Do you think they would hear me? Do you think they would notice my voice?

Of course not. They continue dancing in their bedrooms or (and I have no idea how she does this with her music on let alone in the quiet) continue to work her Pre-Calculus homework.
I have to go directly to each one of my children, tell her to turn the music down so I they can hear me.

Do you need to turn your music down?

God’s not going to yell to get your attention. He’s just not. He’s a still small voice that speaks whispers into the hearts of those who are listening for it. He’s working every single moment of every single day and He delights in giving you your hearts desire.

But, can you hear Him? Do you see Him working?

What is so cool about God is that He’s God, but He doesn’t boast about it. He’s so complex but so very simple. He could move mountains. He can heal the sick. He can mend broken hearts. But He’s not going to be obvious about it. He’s a bit of a seek and find kinda guy. You gotta be looking for His handiwork in the every day.

I needed God to show up today. I needed a reminder that He’s still here even after a long week. I headed to my quiet space and told Him that.

And this is how He responded. This is the whisper into my heart.
Why do you need me to show up if I am always there?

It was so simple. And I was reminded of the beauty of that truth. He is always there. In everything He created.

So, then I just wanted a simple reminder and confirmation. And you know what the Creator of the Universe did? He sent me a tiny bird to dance and dazzle me in the treetops.

Simple right?

But I was looking for it. My heart was expectant.

I think sometimes we don’t get what we ask for because we don’t expect God to follow through.

Why wouldn’t He?

Why would your Father give you a snake instead of what your heart desires? (Luke 11:11)

We aren’t looking for it. We are too busy on our devices or we’ve got our music too loud. Or our calendar is too full to just be still.

How many blessings have I missed because I wasn’t expecting the simple but looking for the extravagent?

Follow on Twitter @BEDONHAM

 

Advertisements

Doubting Thomas

John 20.png

Now Thomas (also know as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him. We have seen the Lord! But he said to them. Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hands into his side, I will not believe. A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Thought the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put our finger here, see my hands. Reach out your hand and put into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, ” Because you have seen me, you have believed, blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.”

                                                                         John 20:21-29

There can be absolutely no doubt that Thomas loved Jesus, enough to go to Jerusalem to die with Him, while the other disciples were hesitant and frightened. What Thomas expected, happened. He was so distraught that he couldn’t bear to be with anyone. All he wanted was to be left alone in his grief. He wanted to deal with his suffering and sorrow alone. Thomas made a big mistake, he withdrew from the Christian brotherhood. He choose to be alone. Because he was not with his other brothers, he missed Jesus’ first appearance to them. We do ourselves great harm when we isolate ourselves from the Christian community. We experience things during fellowship with other believes that don’t happen when we’re alone. It is precisely when we are overcome with sorrow and pain that we need the fellowship of believers. It is also the most likely place to meet Jesus.

But Thomas did have two very good characteristics: He refused point-blank to say he believed when he didn’t, that he understood when he didn’t. Thomas honesty was admirable. He would never try to still his doubts by pretending they didn’t exist. He would not believed from someone else unless He had Jesus with his own eyes and touch where the nails were. There is more faith in the person who insists on making sure than in those who support things they don’t really believe. It is doubt like Thomas that leads to faith in the end. Once Thomas was certain, he was willing to walk all the way with Jesus, He said, “My Lord and my God! Thomas doubted before he was certain, but once he was convinced, he was prepared to give his all. Working through your doubts up until the end gives you the certainty Jesus that Jesus is Lord and God. The words of Jesus to Thomas were you believe because you have seen Me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing Him. And even though we haven’t seen Jesus like we can see one another we still believe that He was and is the Christ, our Risen Lord and Savior. 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Two Kinds of Faith

John 14 b.png    Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us,” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.   John 14:9-11

People travel different road to find faith in God. Some have a dramatic experience with Him and never doubt Him again. Others struggles with conflicting and perplexing ideas that they finally resolve. There are those that live a promiscuous, and ungodly life, only when they are on the verge of despair, do they seek a better road and find it in Christ.

Jesus here speaks of two ways in which we can come to faith in Him: to see Him as He is or to get to know Him in all his fullness. In the first way, the person takes Jesus at his word, form, and responds in love and surrenders. It can be called “intuitive faith,” where people meet Christ in a deeply religious experience that fills their whole life with meaning, purpose and direction.

In the second way, the person reasons things out. On this road to faith, the person says, “I see the world and it looks wonderful. It must have a Creator. I read about this remarkable man who healed the sick and died a brutal death on a cross. He must have loved us very much. I see the impact he has on many lives where he reveals miraculous grace. I will now walk this word myself.” Whichever route you choose to faith, just make sure that you know Jesus Christ as your Friend; that you worship Him and serve Him as your Lord and Savior.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends 

Record My Misery, Oh My God!

Psalm 56,.pngBe merciful to me, my God for my enemies are in hot pursuit, all day long they press their attack. My adversaries pursue me all day long, in their pride many attacking me. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God whose word I praise–in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? All day long they twist my words; all their schemes are for my ruin. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, hoping to take my life. Because of their wickedness do not let them escape; in your anger, God bring the nations down. Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll—are they not in your record? Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, those word I praise–What can man do to me? I am under vows to you my God; I will present my thank offerings to you. For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of my life.                                                 Psalm 56

There are many times in your life I am sure, as well as in my that we cry ourselves to sleep because of some kind of physical or emotional pain deep within our spirit. We begin to wonder God are you out there somewhere, why does my heart cry out in pain, doesn’t anyone understand, and believe me at times we simply don’t understand it all. We are in the grief period of time in our lives and we seek for some compassion and understanding from you, Oh God. If we are still and Know that I am God (Psalm 46:10) we can hear that no matter what trials you or I are enduring, we can count on God’s love and his compassion to get us through. God can bring good out of everything he allows in our life, but much of what he can do is far beyond our understanding. When adversity strikes, we tend to feel as if God displeased with us. We just don’t realize that God most devoted followers are especially targeted in spiritual warfare. The devil and his demonic underlings delight in tormenting those who lives close to the Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When we are going through times of suffering and afflictions. and our troubles seem endless, we need to remember that Jesus is tenderly present in our afflictions. Instead of lamenting the way things are search for Jesus in the wreckage of adversity. You or I will not fail to find the Master when we do search for him with our whole hearts.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Who Am I?

John 1a.pngThere was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will but born of God.                                           John 1:6-13

As we go through difficult times in our own lives, we sometime wonder who were are, at times people and even ourselves put labels on us such as: victim, depress, no good, failure, impossible, strange, addict, I don’t matter, being angry, unforgiveable, anxious ,rejected, weak, refugee, empty, too many regrets and I am sure many of us can even think of more names that are NOT true.

Jesus’ light shines on each and every one of you continually, whether you are aware of it or not. During the wee hours of the night, your thoughts can be distorted. Although you may feel as if you’re enveloped in the darkness, remember that darkness and light are alike to him. You need the light of Jesus more than you need the light of the day. When the way before you seems dark and threatening, you can still trust him to guide you. Walking by faith is important for all to discern the way you should go. Instead of trying to see through clouds of uncertainty fix you eyes on Jesus. He can and will show you a way forward where there appears to be none. As you strive to stay in communication with Jesus thru prayers your soul will begin to open to the Creator of the Universe the “Great I Am” and even in the midst of your dark days you will come to know just who you are “JESUS BELOVED CHILD” you do matter!

Grace and Peace to You My Friend

 

 

A Gift Called Grace Part 2

Grace part 2.pngWhere the grace of God is missed, bitterness is born                                                                   But where the grace of God is embraced, forgiveness flourishes.                                               The longer we walk in the garden,                                                                                                  the more likely we are to smell like flowers.                                                                                The more we immerse ourselves in grace, the more likely we are to give grace

( By Max Lucado: book called in the Grip of Grace)

I am not sure if you have had the opportunity to read any books by Max Lucado, if you haven’t I would recommend it very highly. I personal have read many of his books as watch him preach on television, and I truly enjoy his books and his preaching. Max talks about God’s amazing gift of Grace, and that gift is for all of us, so it doesn’t depend if we are smart enough, rich enough, living in the right neighbor, went to the right school it is for all mankind and believe me I am glad that it is. Yesterday’s posted I shared with all of you about Prevenient Grace that John Wesley the founder of the Methodist believe and the three aspects of grace. Now the second is:

Justifying Grace: The Grace that makes our brokenness whole. Justifying grace brings a big change to the relationship we have with God-it’s the present in which we are holding that we should open. Through justifying grace we begin to realize and trust (have faith) that we are restored to relationship with God. We come to acknowledge our sinfulness and trust that we are forgive by God’s grace. Just as justifying text in a document aligns it a certain way, justifying grace aligns us with God through Jesus Christ. To know God’s love in this way, to be touched by God’s justifying grace is a life-changing, life-rearranging experience. It creates in us an urgency to know God, to follow God’s way, and to trust that God is always with us. As poets and theologians often remind us there are many ways to realize and accept God’s justifying grace as there are ways to fall in love. For some people, it happens all at once “at first sight”. For others, it is gradual and cumulative, Some people comes to love eagerly, others need more time, fearing or resisting vulnerability. The way you come to receive God’s grace does not matter nearly as much as the truth of God reaching out to you with justifying grace and making you a new creation in Christ.

For myself I was raised as a Christian since the time of my birth, as a young adult I was always involved in my church one way or another. It was until a few years ago I began to search, truly search for myself, what in the world was I born for, and why am I here on earth. I began to search the scriptures, having more time with God thru my own prayer life then I realize the more I know of God, the more I had to know about him. I wanted to do deeper and deeper in understand who He is and His love for me as his child.  As I read these words that Paul wrote to Rome in the book of Romans 8:37-39

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels, nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Grace and Peace to you My Friends

Little Christmas

wisemen2.png On Friday January 6,2017 it will be Little Christmas or some may call it Three Kings Day, Christmas is a celebration of twelve days and not just one day. As we read from the Gospel of Matthew 2:10-12 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the place they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. You can find different answers about how old Jesus was when the wise men came, however, we can say this, that the Wise men or Magi (Kings) didn’t arrived to worshiped him on the same night since they did travel by camel it did take a little longer. God gave humans the perfect gift, his one and only son to be sacrifice for all, the wise men also gave gifts to Jesus, and today because we love others we also give gifts to show that love to one another. Since they were earthly kings that bowed down to the Christ child because they truly believed who he is, shouldn’t we today continue to bow down in understanding who Jesus truly is.  As I have mention before in other writings, if we search for God with all of our hearts we will find him. In order to truly understanding the true meaning of Christmas we need to open up a Bible and read it to know that God loves all of his children. People today seem to get caught up with all the craziness of the holidays season, with all the sales at the stores, the lights outside of our apartments or even our houses, and let us not forget the Christmas shows on our television. Thru it all we seem to totally miss the Reason for the Season, and that reason and the only reason we celebrate this time of year is because the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Even the churches on Christmas Eve seems to be a little bit fuller than some Sundays, my question is this, the other days (Sundays) aren’t people still searching for the baby in a manager. Why is it that we only  attend church and give thanks mostly on Christmas and Easter, and the rest of the year people seem to be way to busy to take a moment to pray and give thanks to the Father (God).

If you are truly searching for God one of many steps is to find a church that welcome you with Open arms, no matter what you look like, smell like, how rich or poor you are. I personally am a member of the United Methodist Church our words are this Open Doors, Open Mind, Open Hearts, we welcome all of God’s children whoever is searching to have a personnel relationship with Jesus Christ. Just search on the internet to a UMC near where you live and you will find one near by. For me when I walk thru the doors ( which for me was 20 yrs ago)  to where I worship today at, I truly can feel the Holy Spirit at work there, I knew then as I know now this is where God wants me and where God is calling me to do His ministry. I have true joy when I am serving our Lord. Wise men and woman still are search for the baby who laid in a manger many years ago.

 

Grace and Peace to all of you