The Lord Hears You

“The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”  Psalm 34:17-18 NLT

Another suicide has hit the media. I don’t know about you, but when I hear that someone has died of suicide my heart weeps. A childhood friend’s dad, died of suicide when I was teenager. A high school friend’s husband died of suicide. My sister’s friend’s husband died of suicide last year. And people I don’t know or hear about are dying of suicide every day.

My heart is weeping for all those left behind. My heart is weeping for all of those who took their lives, seeing no other way out. My heart is weeping for all of those who are effected by thoughts of suicide, even this very moment. If that’s you, please get help. There are lots of organizations available to help you, these are just a few.

Crisis Text Line

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

To Write Love on Her Arms

Please get help. If you had a broken arm you wouldn’t walk around without getting a cast or surgery or medication, please treat your mental illness the same.

Prayer works absolutely but God made the profession of therapist knowing we would need extra help. He made the profession of scientist to discover and develop medications knowing that sometimes we need more than just to talk it out. God gave people the idea to start support groups, understanding that, knowing other people going through the same thing as you helps. God made and gave us all the tools we need to deal with depression and the struggles in this life. Please get help. Please.

Lord, please be with every sad and depressed person who is reading this. Fill them with your love Lord. Give them your peace and push them to seek out help. Lord, please be with everyone who is reading this, that knows someone who is depressed. Help them to be an open heart, an open mind, an open friend that someone who is sad can talk to. Help them to see when talking isn’t enough. Help them to help those that they love. Lord, please be with all those that won’t read this, help them to get help, to seek out a friend, a family member, a therapist, a doctor and you Lord. Help us all, to help each other just a little bit better. Lord, please be with us all, as well grieve and deal with the loss of someone who died of suicide. Lord give us your strength, your wisdom, your peace, your comfort, your knowledge and your guidance as we do our best to be there for each other. We thank you Lord for spending time with us. We ask that you be with us in the coming weeks, months and years as we stand by someone who thought of suicide, who was left alone because of suicide and those that survive suicide. Please be will all of us. We ask all these things in your loving and sweet name, Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

loved

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The Real Super Hero

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldy enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:19-25 NLT

 

Thinking of the Salvation of Jesus Christ can, for believers and non-believers, be a difficult concept to understand. But it is somewhat easier to explain if you think of Jesus as not a God in human flesh, and not just a man but rather a super hero. He comes from the land of milk and honey–a land far far away. He swoops down in his cape and as we all throw light beams of sin on him he catches it all and in the last fight against the devil, he takes our sins with him to the grave. And in his death and resurrection we are given new life.

Does it make more sense now? Now that a superhero with amazing abilities has saved the day? But isn’t that who Jesus is, anyway? He doesn’t wear a cape, but he still heals the hurting. He didn’t swoop down from heaven but was instead born to a virgin. He doesn’t carry light beams of sin but he still died as man to save man from sin. He still rose from the dead so that all may have eternal life. He is our super hero.

This passage talks about how Jesus made us clean, how his death gave us freedom from sin. But it also goes beyond that amazing act to remind us that God keeps his promises. The author wants us to go beyond being saved to encouraging one another and to motivate each other to acts of love and good works.

Isn’t that the whole point of being a Christian? Who remembers that song from when we were kids “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine?” The light is the light of Jesus. It’s the knowledge that we are saved. We shouldn’t hide this knowledge but should rather, let it shine for all the world to see. You should share the salvation in act and in deed like through acts of love and good works but you should also share your knowledge so that all through Jesus Christ can be saved.

Do you have someone in your life that needs to hear of Super Jesus? Do you know someone that needs to be saved? If so pray to God that the opportunity to talk about Jesus will come about and that you will take the opportunity to share God’s love.

Lord, we thank you for your salvation. We thank you for the gift of freedom from sin. We pray that as we go through our day to day, we will find someone to talk to about you. We pray that as opportunties present themselves that we will be open to the opportunity and let you lead. We ask you to watch over us and help us to be better stewards of your kingdom. Lord help us to encorage one another and motivate each other to acts of love and good works. Lord, we thank you so much for your sacrifice for our sins. Lord, we thank you for spending time with us and ask that you would continue to be with us, day in and day out as we do our best to spread your salvation, love, compassion, peace, kindness and good works. We ask all this in your name Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Savior

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Finding Safety in God

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and will protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 91: 1-4 NLT

Where do you find your rest? Rest doesn’t mean sleep. It means, where do you go to feel at peace? Where do you go when hard times hit? Do you go to God? I absolutely do. Some one tells me something is going on with them and I say, “I’ll pray for you.” Then I follow that up with actually praying for them. When something is going on with me, I go to God. He is my rest. Worrying about the problem won’t do me any good but bringing it to God and laying it at his feet will. And when I lay my problem at God’s feet I find my rest in the shadow of the Almighty. He alone is my refuge, my place of safety.

He is my God and I trust him. Do you trust God? Do you trust God to be there? Do you trust God to keep you going, to give you strength? Do you trust God to give you love? Do you trust God to get you through the hard times just like he helps you through the easy ones?

He will rescue you from every trap and will protect you from every deadly disease. What do we take from that? I think it’s about putting your faith in God. Believing that he will rescue you from no matter what ails you. But it’s hard to talk about protection from disease or deadly disease because some people get sick, even good and faithful Christians get diseases and die. But what I choose to take from it, is that God won’t leave you in your disease. He will give you peace and comfort and the strength to face it.

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Beautiful imagery yet again. We will soar on the wings of eagles and God will cover us with his feathers and shelter us in his wings. When I think of this I see a beautiful embrace or hug. God will wrap his loving arms around you and provide protection, shelter and love. His promises to never leave are your protection and armor in your life.

Can you think of an area in your life where you need to fully trust God? Can you think of one thing that you could lay down at God’s feet and leave there, trusting that God will take care of you? Want to give it a try now? Close your eyes and picture a cross or Jesus standing in a room. Now picture your worry or your fear or your trouble, name it. Now walk that worry or fear or trouble over to the cross or Jesus’s feet and leave your trouble there. Ask God to keep your trouble and to not let you pick it up. Trust God to take care of your trouble and to take care of you.

Lord, we thank you for spending time with us today. Lord help us to lay our troubles and worries at your feet and to not pick them up again. Help us to trust you Lord. Give us your peace and your comfort so that we can feel your protection. Thank you for not giving up on us Lord and for helping us to trust you more. Thank you Lord for meeting us where we are and coming along on our journey. Lord be with us each day going forward and help us to put all our trust in you. Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Trust

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The Fullness of God’s Love

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV

Today has been a painful day. Chronic illness sounds about as much fun as it is…..or isn’t actually. My official chronic illness is Fibromyalgia and unofficially because doctors are dumb, Rheumatoid Arthritis and today was painful. My fingers hurt, my shoulders hurt, my back hurts, my hips hurt and my neck hurts. Today my neck hurts the most, more than any of the other hurts.

On my drive home from work, checking for blind spots was not fun, as in “IT HURTS” in all caps because I was yelling every time I had to do it. And I knew when I got home I wanted to find something else to focus on. Something other than the pain. So I finished some projects and when it came time to work out, I decided I would first search for a verse that would give me something else to focus on and avoid working out.

So I turned to Google in my search and found Ephesians 3:16-19 and my heart was filled. I pretty much love this whole passage. Christ dwells in our hearts, and by doing so we are rooted in love and together with the people of faith have power to grasp how wide, deep, long and high God’s love is for us and that this love surpasses all knowledge we have so that we are filled with the fullness of God.

Can we just think about that for a second? God’s love is so huge it is beyond knowledge, beyond comprehension. I think about the love I have for my mom, my dad, my sisters  and brother-in-laws, and then I go a step further and think about the love I have for my nieces and nephews. I love them all lots, so much so I miss them when they are not around. But the love of God surpasses that. God’s love is so huge there is no way I could ever leave it. Think about that for a minute. God’s love is so huge you can never leave it. Even when you turn your back on God, his love never leaves you. Isn’t that amazingly awesome?

So no matter what has gone on in your day today, God loves you. No matter what you have done in your past, God loves you. No matter what you will do tomorrow, God will still love you.

Lord, we thank you so much for your unconditional love. We thank you that it is so huge we cannot understand it. We thank you, that you never give up on us. That you never leave us, that your love is steadfast. We thank you for your love that surpasses our knowledge and we thank you for spending time with us, Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Night

This song has been playing in my head, “How deep the father’s love for us. How vast beyond all measure. That he should give His only Son. To make a wretch his treasure.”

Do not let your hearts be troubled

Faith Over Fear

John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”

It is literally storming outside. It’s like the lyrics from a Garth Brooks’ song, “and the thunder rolls and the lighten’ strikes.” I keep getting dings from my phone saying that there is a Severe Thunderstorm warning.

There are some people in the world that see a Thunderstorm warning and get worried. I’m not one of these people. I have fond memories of Irwin, PA sitting on the front porch watching it storm. I love the rain and I love storms as long as there isn’t any hail, I like my car the way it is.

If I hear that a storm “may” carry hail I bow my head and ask for the protection of my car, no matter how silly that may seem. The warning just added hail and I literally stopped what I was doing and asked God to protect my car or just not drop the hail. I know it may seem like a meaningless or silly worry but when money is tight, hail damage is not in the budget. So I say a little prayer asking God not to drop the hail and if the hail does drop, that my car is protected.

Just this past week I was dealing with bigger more serious worries and when I focused on them, they were all I could see. They were all I could focus my mind on, but when I turned to God and focused on him there was nothing else to focus on. My worry wasn’t weighing down my shoulders and it wasn’t even on my mind. Then someone would bring it up or I would turn on the TV and there it would be and then I would pray, reminding myself that there is nothing to fear, that there was nothing “known” in that moment, that God is in control.

And it turned out to be nothing. God is in control all the time and when I acknowledge that, my fear and worry disappear. Just like praying for my car in this storm, I prayed, gave it to God and poof it is no longer my worry. God wants us to remember that he is in control and that we can lay our worries at his feet. God wants us to believe in him, to put our Faith over our Fear.

What’s troubling your heart right now? What fear can you give to God?

Dear Lord, please help us to lay down our fear and worry at your feet. To let go of what is troubling our hearts and give them fully to you. Lord, hear what we are giving to you and when we pick it up again remind us that it is yours. Lord, help us to be free of our fear and to walk in your freedom. Fill us with your peace Lord God. We ask all these things in your peace giving name Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

Church Shopping: Week 1

Today I went to my first church in Sedalia. I wish that the first church I went to was the church I stuck with but the visit this morning has me doubting that will happen.

So instead of just telling you how it went or what I thought, I thought I would turn it into a Church Shopping  blog series. That way I can continue to update you as I continue to experience churches. Plus I thought this would help me turn disappointing churches into fun blogs to write. There’s nothing worse than sitting down and realizing within minutes that you don’t want to be there. Such an experience happened to me this morning but I said a little prayer and asked God to help me get through the service and out popped this idea for a blog series.

In this series I will name the church, and talk about particular points and ratings for each individual church.

The points will be

  • The welcoming atmosphere
  • Ease of which to follow
  • Age range and size of congregation in attendance
  • Music
  • Sermon
  • And over all feel

There might be bonus points that I go over as well but those could change week to week so there’s no point in bringing them up now.

The ratings will be on a scale of 1-5 (1 being they’re missing the mark, and 5 meaning they’re doing it just right). This is of course a subjective system and is only reliant upon my opinion.  You might be offended by my ratings and if so invite me back to you church and I’ll give it another try.

I decided this morning that each church will get 2 weeks to impress upon me it’s ways. I thought 1 week might be unfair because people have off weeks and so church’s might too because after-all they are made up of people.  Plus if like today’s church they have another service to attend I would like to give that a try. So with that said let’s get down to the first church in the series.

Broadway Presbyterian Church of Sedalia, MO

It must be said that I didn’t really like their website but this church is .6 miles from my apartment so I figured I could walk there on nice days. Today was a cold and windy day but I walked anyway. It was chilly but I made it and I got to see more of the town I now call home.

I went to the 10:30 service and I’m glad I did because their 8:30 service was not actually held today. This might be a good thing to put up on their website. If I had tried to go to that service this week I would have been disappointed.

Anyway, I walked in the church which was actually much harder to do than I thought. The front of the church had doors but they were all closed, probably because of the cold, so I just assumed I couldn’t go in that way. When I walked to the back none of the doors were clearly marked even though that is where there main parking is. I that once in the building it was clearly marked which way was to the sanctuary but I would have preferred a sign outside. My church back home has it clearly marked on the outside of the building which entrance is the main entrance. It is the one under the “Welcome Home” sign.

Let’s get to the points of discussion and rating.

  • Welcome 4. When I speak of “Welcome” I mean were the people welcoming. Yes they were. I had 3 separate people invite me to the after church coffee social that I didn’t want to attend. I had the same 3 people try to find out information about me and to invite me to go the weekly dinner (that I work too late for) and the weekly Women’s Bible Study. Which I thought was really great. The pastor even came up to me when Communion was being done (intinction style) and asked if I wanted him to serve me. But I’ll come back to the that in the bonus. Overall I found the church very welcoming so I gave them a 4.
  • Ease of which to follow 2. When I say, “ease of which to follow” what I mean is can I easily find the entrance, can I easily follow the music, is there an atmosphere in the service’s flow that makes me feel welcome? I have to say that they failed at this. They are a welcoming group but not being able to find the entrance to the church is kind of a big deal. The entrance I did find had me going in through the doors at the front of the sanctuary (ie stage area) so everyone that was already seated got to watch me walk to the back of the sanctuary where I wanted to sit. It was kinda creepy. The bulletin was also not easy to follow or understand so I was at the beginning stumbling quite a bit. And the hymns we sang no clear voice was leading it and the pace for at least the first one was off, so that by the end of the song people were ending on different words. It was so bad I stopped singing. Also when it was time to sing a hymn they gave you no time to find the hymn. I need at least a few seconds to find a hymn please.
  • Age range and size (there’s no rating for this I’ll just give you the range and size). The age range in general terms was 0-90. But that’s not taking into account that they have no 20 somethings, 5 30 somethings including me, and the rest of the congregation fits into the 50-90 range. So not a lot of people in my age range and those that were, were married couples with little kids. The 3 people I had conversations with were in the 60-80 range. Not that there’s anything wrong with an older congregation but let’s get real. I’m young and would like to hang out with people in my age range. Even at my previous church the people I hung out with met the 30-60 range. But there was a range. I need the range. I need people my age in attendance so that I can have a community that has range. The size of the congregation in attendance today was probably 50 people. It’s a small congregation but this is a small town so that is to be expected.
  • Music 3. The choir was good and the instruments that were played were good. But it’s not my style. Their earlier 8:30 service I have been told is contemporary so I will be checking that out next week. I like contemporary music and style because it’s easy to follow and I understand the words and can easily find meaning in the songs. Hymns for me are an older style that I cannot get into because I have to stop and read the words and then find out the meaning of the song. I know hardly any hymns and the way they were played today is definitely not my style. But like I said the choir did a good job and they deserve props for the music that they sang.
  • Sermon 4. I was actually quite surprised by the sermon. I mean the pastor is still wearing robes, and the music was so old I figured I was in for a real snooze fest but he was actually really relate-able and interesting. The sermon was all about being careful and thoughtful when you speak because we cannot take back our words. He told good stories and even though he spoke from the podium he did so without a manuscript which I thought was great. He also pulled out a guitar at the end of the service and played some of the songs with the organ. It was an interesting sound combination but I like that he tried to bring the service some contemporary pieces.
  • Overall Feel 3. I didn’t feel out of place in the service but I did at the beginning have to talk myself out of leaving or even leaving early. I had to convince myself that it would be worthwhile to stick around. I’m glad I stayed for the whole service. I’m not sure I would attend this particular service again but I look forward to giving their contemporary service another try next week.

Bonus: Communion. They had communion today by intinction (dipping the bread into the juice/wine), which with a smaller congregation you can get away with that. The deacons served the meal and then the pastor walked around serving it to the older members who were not able to go the front. Before the whole thing began the pastor mentioned he had a gluten free option which I thought was really cool. I was going to go up but when he came around I noticed that the gluten free option was on a plate right next to the bread! EEK! And that the gluten free option (rice cake) was going to be dipped into the same juice as those with bread! EEK! EEK! I politely declined knowing that God would understand that I’d rather not poison myself today. I thought it was cool that they offered the option but they obviously need some more education about gluten free and how to properly serve it.

Bonus: Cute kid. There was a little girl being baptized today and she screamed through out the whole thing. She even grabbed the pastor’s mic (wire on face) and tried to pull it off. She was cute but her brother was cuter. After the sermon her 3 year old brother kept saying, “All Done.” He said it so much I was beginning to think the same thing. This service should have been “all done” quite a while ago. It was super cute.

All in all it wasn’t too painful but I’m holding judgement until I see what their contemporary service is like.

For today their total score is: 16/25 64%

31 Random Things About Me: 16-18

It’s a good thing we’re almost to my birthday, I feel like I might be running out of Random Things About Me :). Be sure to check out the first post in this series: 31 Random Things About Me.

Today’s Random Things:

  • 16. I love to write. I have always loved to write. I enjoy writing fiction and non-fiction alike. I have 2 other blogs besides this one and enjoy writing for both. In my Seminary education I loved writing papers because it gave me the chance to write. I once wrote a 5 page paper in 59 minutes. I never ran out of words to use, now that doesn’t mean that my words are always brilliant but I love to share them with others. When I was a child and we were living in Irwin, PA my Elementary school had talent shows each year. Back then you could do a talent and also submit something to the writing talent show (they were the same show but different categories). So I would submit a dance and also a story. I don’t remember any of the pieces I wrote but I remember the joy of writing and submitting them. I also wrote for a high school publication and any time I was on a committee I had no problem being the secretary. These days I mostly write about my life but every once in while I try to write some fiction just for fun. 🙂
  • 17. I love rocking chairs. Sometimes I think I am such and old soul. I mean I love to knit and I love rocking chairs. But nonetheless I do love rocking chairs. When I was living in Madison Square back in Pasadena, CA I had a rocking chair on my front porch. I used to love sitting outside on a nice day, of which there were plenty, and writing in my rocking chair while listening to music. It was awesome. 😉
  • My rocking chair that used to sit in Grandma Shirley's living room. I can still picture her sitting in it working on some project or looking out onto the lake.
    My rocking chair that used to sit in Grandma Shirley’s living room. I can still picture her sitting in it working on some project or looking out onto the lake.

     

  • 18. I absolutely love listening to music. I do not know many people that do not like listening to music but I love listening to music. I get inspiration from music and I worship with music. I love singing in the car and listening to tunes either walking or driving to a destination. I love reading with music on or knitting or doing just about any activity. I love artists that are played on popular music stations as well as artists that are not as well known. Some of my favorite artists at the moment are: Pink, Fun, Scars of 45, NEEDTOBREATHE, Big Daddy Weave, Florence + The Machine, Lumineers and Johnny Cash and old stuff from Ozzy Osbourne. 🙂 I have an eclectic taste in music.

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