Pain to Victory

TeresaTeresa Martin:  I understand her drive! Some are born with a driven personality and some are “gifted” it through trials. When you face the hard and push through it, learning all the while what God has in store.  Taking it and growing in compassion for other women.  That’s Teresa!  I’ve only known her for a short while but thrilled that the Lord has blessed me with another “gifted”driven woman in my life.  Can’t wait to see what God has in store for us as a team.

 

 

 

I always knew there was a God but I did not know him.  At age 34 I had not read or studied the bible.  I only knew what others said about God and I didn’t hang around people who followed his ways.  When my childhood sweetheart and husband of 19 years had yet another affair and I knew divorce was the choice I had to make, I became a follower of Jesus, not just a person who believed he existed.  I started to pray through my pain and go to church and then eventually attended a bible study.  I watched people who worshiped unashamed and I longed for a relationship with God like that.  As my life, as I knew it, crumbled before me, I began seeking to know God and understand who he says I am and how much he loves me and my life was forever changed.  I committed my whole heart and surrendered my plans for my life to His plans for me.

In John 10:27 Jesus says “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.”

We can mature in grace and live the Christian life through a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ. If we fully respond and are serious about this relationship with Jesus, then we are his disciples. Discipleship is the process of becoming the whole person God calls each of us to be through our relationship with Jesus Christ.  A disciple embraces God’s highest purpose for his or her life – to grow in the likeness of Christ for the sake of others.  Upon the advice of the Christian counselor I was seeing after my divorce, I went to see the minister of a large church in Lexington to talk about divorce.  He listened to my story and told me I was a minister because I could minister to those going through divorce.  He said his church had 8000 ministers because everyone who attended thee had their own ministry from their life’s story.  You do not have to be a clergy-person to be a minister.  Ministry is helping people become the whole persons God calls them to be in Jesus Christ.  Jesus called common fishermen to become the greatest kind of fishermen they could be- fishers of people.  God uses the pain of my divorce for me to serve others who are suffering in the same way.  I experienced the pain of divorce ending a 19 year marriage.  I could not have survived the pain without Jesus.  We lived on a farm and I was the one to leave because I knew I couldn’t take car of it.  My son, my only child, chose to stay at the farm.  I lost all of what I knew at the time to be mine at that moment, my home , my son and my husband.  My husband had been my best friend for 19 years and was my high school sweet heart.  My mom has an entry in my baby book from kindergarten “Teresa has her first boyfriend” and it was the boy I married in 197.  In Isaiah 61:1, we read, “He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted” and in chapter 61:2, “to comfort all who mourn”.  The Lord showed me that he was all I could truly call mine.  The Lord does not waist a hurt and has put in my path women going through divorce so I could share the generosity I have experienced from God.  I had been in bible study a couple of years when I was asked to lead a small discussion group.  I did not feel adequate , however the leader told me if I did I wouldn’t need Jesus!  I lead that group through several studies and saw God work in amazing ways.  Then the leader’s husband was called to ministry in another state.  She asked us to pray about who would take the leadership position of this large group of women.  As I prayed I heard  in my spirit the words “feed my sheep”.  I felt myself saying I can’t do that Lord.  Again I heard a still small voice saying, “you can do all things through Christ”.  I  was driving at the time so I sat down with my bible when I got  home knowing that if I heard from God it would be through His word.  I found both of those in scripture and other women on the prayer team confirmed they felt God was calling me to lead the group.  I was 34 years old before I accepted Christ as my Savior and as I surrendered to His will He called me to disciple other women.  I have been remarried 16 years and life can still be challenging and painful. I am thankful for God’s word that sustains and fulfills me.

We read about two kinds of persons in the Gospels:

  1. The crowds- the thousands of persons who sought out Jesus.  They were hungry and wanted to be healed.  But most were curious, not committed.  They were more FANS than FOLLOWERS.
  2. The disciples- those few who heard the call to follow, committed their lives to Him and put their faith into action.

The same two types of persons exist in today’s church.  Each of us must decide which we will be.  Will we stop short of fully responding to God’s grace and Call?  Or will we gratefully and wholeheartedly respond by becoming disciples of Jesus Christ?

Lord Thank You for giving me women like Teresa to share life with.  I praise You for know exactly what we need.  Please help us hear you clearly! Amen!

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Time

Jeremiah 29:11 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Only God knows what is planned for our tomorrow.  It’s not my job to plan it out, it’s only my job to follow His lead.  Take the time for relationships, love, old and new.  Cherish the time today and live with the excitement of what comes tomorrow.  Thank Him for the friendships that He has given and Thank them for loving us as we are.  Living not for what is in the past but for what is in the future.  Where there is Hope there is God.

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Thank you Lord for putting MORE in my life.  Amen!

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ONE THING I LOVE

Psalm 145:5 [Full Chapter]

They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

One thing I love is WATER.  Water of  any kind that is in it’s natural setting.  Water running in a ditch way, rocky creek on a path,  streams flowing out of the rocky cliff, water fall gushing down a mountain top, babbling creek running along the road side, a lake and the ocean.  Yes, I even love the rain.    I love my fountain in my back yard making beautiful music with my wind chimes.  Natural waters, I love!
My husband knows that full well.  It just puts me in a peace that is un-explainable.  So when he takes me for a ride on our bike, we must seek out any form of water there is. God did that for me.  He placed those things on this earth to give me a place of peace.  He placed them here to create joy in my heart.  He placed them here so that I would be able to meditate on His wonderful works.
Along those rides I also experience other beautiful sights.  The glorious splendor of His Majesty.  I’d like to share that with you.  And I pray that peace will also be with you.
Giving Him glory for His love. Amen!

LEGACY

Deuteronomy 6:6-9   These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

BibleGateway.com-LogoDeuteronomy 6:1-25 (click for full chapter)

I never thought much about “Legacy” until I had grand children. It just wasn’t something that I was taught.  Never living in a close geographical location to my own grand parents, there just wasn’t that time of “sitting around the table” talking about our family history and laughing about the memories.  That is a sad realization.  And honestly when I was raising my children, even though we went to church as a family and were involved, I’m not sure that I did my part of making God part of our home life too.  I was JUST trying to make it through the day, as most young families are today.  But as I age I realize that I missed out on some rich conversations as I was growing up and as I was raising my children.  Some conversations that would have told me a lot about who I am as a person in my earthly life and in my spiritual life.  And told my children a lot about who they are and increased their desire to be with God.

Maybe if I’d had those conversations then it wouldn’t have taken me 45 years to see who I am to God.

So now I start with my grand children.  Spending time with them.  Talking with them about important events in our lives, sharing with them who I am, showing them their value as a person, laughing with them, crying with them, helping them and letting them help me.  But mostly sharing with them the wonders of a God who is ever lasting, loving and wants to give them their hearts desires (ref:  Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart).

So today I’m going to share with you a little from yesterday’s  sermon at church.  Take the time to have those conversations with the people in your life.  It’s never too late to start!

Leave a Legacy:

  1. Starts with You  Deut 6:1-3
  2. Move towards your family  Deut 6:2 – No IMPACT without CONTACT
  3. Connect with your local church Deut 6:6
  4. Broaden your reach to the community  Deut 6:9

Here are a couple of resources to get started with.

LEGACY QUESTIONSFAMILY TREE

The ordinary Christian family is simply ordinary Christian people, living in the ordinary circumstances of life, out of the extraordinary grace of the gospel. ref: Tedd Tripp from “The Ordinary Christian Family” Click for full article

Lord, help me start today to make a more beautiful tomorrow for those I love. Amen

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Distractions

1 Corinthians 7:35 And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.BibleGateway.com-Logo

Get up, watch the news, jump in the shower, put make up on, drive to work listening to the radio, rush into work, sit down and don’t look up for 8+ hours, leave work, pick up kids, run to the ball field, do the work you brought home or talk on the phone to job or volunteer related person, game over, run to grocery store, get home, get dinner prepared while catching up with stats on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram and throwing some laundry on, get dinner served, rush everyone along, clean up kitchen, tend to laundry, sweep the floor, play a little angry bird as you’re pushing the kids to finish homework, turn on your favorite weekly show, fold laundry, catch up on your weekly bible study, play some candy crush and scan your social media again, wash face, brush teeth, jump in the bed and YOU’RE OUT!  What an exhausting day then you get up the next morning and doing it again.   Where does this get you? Do we ever not have something to do?  Can we just sit and be still? Do we seek out time in our day to talk to the Lord without distractions?  Do we embrace the time that we can listen to HIS calling and grasp what He’s telling us? How? All this stuff has to be done! Distractions………..whatever they may be can consume us! If we desire relationships we must invest time into them, the same goes for our relationship with the Lord. But how? Evaluate our time spent and truly see the things we fill our time with and ask………..do I spend just as much time the Lord as I do with the distractions?

Lord, today I thank you for the silence in my head. I search my life to make time for You.  Lord I don’t want You to be a fleeting moment in my day.  You are the greatest relationship that I seek and I pray that You will show me how to slow down and be at rest with You.  Without Your intervention in my life I will be worn out heading in 2,3,4 or 5 places through out my day.  Thank You Lord for being my steady force to calm my soul. Amen!

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GOD in my LIFE

Numbers 23:19 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.

Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?

There is only one God and HE loves me.   I can’t even count how many people that I have come across in my life time.  How many that I have invested time in.  How many I have loved.  How many that I have probably hurt a time or two.  How many who have hurt me.  How many who have come and gone.  How many?  But there is only ONE who can be everything to me.  Only ONE who has invested in me unconditionally.  Only ONE who promises will never fail me.  Only ONE!  GOD!

Lord, I love and I’m grateful! Amen!

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Baptism

Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Oh so many years ago, when I was baptized into Christ, did I really know what that meant for my life?  Was it a miraculous transformation of mind and body?  I wish I could say it was.  Now, was I more aware of my sin once I made that decision? Yes!  But it didn’t keep my humanness from showing its true colors at times.  Deciding to honor my Lord through baptism and working towards that transformation, for me, has been a work in progress.  Everyday over the last almost 40 years I have taken baby steps towards finding my way to Him.   I also have taken more than a few steps backwards.  But that is okay, not okay that I sometimes consciously take them, but okay because I know my Lord will forgive me when I admit the error of my ways and go to Him with humility and sorrow.  No one is perfect once they step foot out of the pool of water from baptism and He knows that but it is the 1st baby step towards seeking Him to fill your life with love and wonderment!  Honor Him with this decision and walk in the newness of life forever.  I know that today I will be a little closer to being that person that He has designed me to be.

Lord Father, thank You for being my Father. For understanding me, for who You have made me and not for who I portray at times.  Be with me today during my walk with You, helping me straighten up when I curve off Your path.  Amen!

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Investing

1 Thessalonians 2:8   so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.   BibleGateway.com-Logo

Invest………….  we each will have a different thought when we’re asked “What do we invest in?”.  Most would say is 1st a financial thought.  Stocks, bonds, IRA , whatever form we need to get a financial return is what we invest in. We might move to our careers. Which school, academic grades, job choices,  whatever is going to make us the most successful in the career arena is what we invest in. Some invest in their hobbies,  health, religious knowledge, our homes and our churches.

I invest alot of time in my hobby. I love to have a beautiful yard and it takes time, sweat and sometimes tears of pain but it’s worth it for me to have a beautiful yard so I INVEST IN IT.

In Thessalonians, he is talking about people.  Investing in people.   Unlike my yard and my flowers, I can plant it and most of the time it will grow without me doing 1 other thing to it. But sometimes I have to fertilize it, nurture it and feed it so that the roots will take hold and grow strong.  People are the same in that way.  I can’t say “HI” to someone and they automatically become my best friend.  I can’t quote a scripture to them on God’s love and they automatically become a follower of Jesus.  I can’t invite them for dinner, feed them a meal and think they will put down roots and grow strong.  I have to invest my time with them.  Generally that means a life time, theirs and mine.

I have had many people over the years invest in me.  Help me through the rocky mountains and pull me up from deep deep valleys.  They have nurtured me , feed me and walked with me as my roots became deeper and my heart became stronger.

1 Thessalonians 2:8   so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.

We must invest. Just as we invest in our finances, careers, hobbies, homes and churches, we must invest in people.  We 1st must invest in the people we live with.  Be delighted to share the gospel of God with everyone you meet. Invest for a life time and you’ll be invested for an eternity.

Lord, You know me better than I know myself.  You know my areas of weakness and you know what I need to become deep rooted in You and fully invested in others.  Help me! Amen.

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Friday’s Question

Has God hit me upside the head to move and I stood still?

Job 33:14 For God does speak—now one way, now another—   though no one perceives it.

Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

Matthew 7:24  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

John 16:13  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

Isaiah 30:21   Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

I know that there have been certain things that I’ve said “If God wants me to do that (whatever it is) then he is going to have to knock me down, kick me around and hit me upside the head.”  But generally He does not work like that.  Man it would be so much easier if he did.  We must stay connected to HIM daily and pray to be FULLY ALERT to the callings of the Holy Spirit who dwells inside us.  Most likely it’s going to be a gentle voice that’s talking to us from within.  Sometimes He may even talk through other people.  You have to be ware of this though because it’s not always the Spirit talking through others.   The Holy Spirit will give us nudges, if we ignore them, he will nudge again.  Eventually we can’t ignore them any longer but we can make a conscious decision not to move.  Are we connected with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and do we move when He nudges?

Lord, help me to hear your voice guiding me. Amen

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