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Blessed and Refreshed

26 Jul

Well time certainly flies by and it seems like it has been for me. A few major changes have happened in my life too which also makes life a bit more exciting! One of those changes being that I have resigned from my job. This was a big step for me and required a lot of faith and trust in God  for what may come next but I’m looking forward to see what God is going to do on my behalf. He is ever faithful and has promised to be so!

Because of this change, I had the opportunity to fly out to Chicago to once again minister at IBLP, the former organization I used to serve at three years ago. The girls “Journey to the Heart” was this past week and I was blessed to be one of the team leaders. I had an amazing assistant who helped me tremendously! Our team consisted of 11 sweet girls ranging from 14 to 26 years old. Over the next 10 days, we had a great time seeking the Lord together. There were times of counseling, sharing, praying, reading, singing, fellowshipping, and sometimes just times of laughter or tears. To see God work in hearts and lives is thrilling. There are some that come with past hurts, some with current struggles, and some without a Saviour. We saw young women saved by the grace of God, relationships restored, and hearts revived. I trust that as these women settle back into the normal routine of life, they will continue to walk in freedom and joy as they love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ and those around them.

I stayed for a few extra days here in Chicago to catch up with some old friends – it’s been great. I’ll be heading home for two days and then flying out to Georgia to visit with my uncle and family. I’m certainly enjoying my summer so far and feeling mighty blessed! 🙂

My awesome team!

Session with Mr. Gothard
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Group Session up in the Northwoods of MichiganIMG_2133

Such beauty!
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Time of singing, sharing, and teaching

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Time for some relaxation and fun at Lake Superior!

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My awesome assistant!DSC_0070

Group photo with Mr. Gothard and team leaders/assistantsIMG_2188

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A Pastoral Tribute

15 Apr

Written for my dad.  Based on Proverbs 31.

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Who can find a faithful man? for his character is far above reproach.
The hearts of his household trust in him to lead, protect, and provide.
He will do good and not evil all the days of his life.
He looks for opportunities to serve and provide for his household.
He works willingly and fervently with his hands, doing all with his might.
He will rise when the sun is not yet shining and prepare his heart by meeting with his God.
He considers the weight of his earthly responsibilities and does not take them lightly.
He girds himself with the armor of God and strengthens his arms against the day of battle that awaits him – perhaps the battles of discouragement, lust, worldliness, or laziness.
He seeks for ways to reach out to the community and bless those who come across his path.
He chooses to not be afraid of what the future may hold because he knows that God is in control. He has dedicated his life and the lives of his household to God Almighty.
He may be known as a man of great integrity and wisdom yet he continues to lead a life of humility, keeping his heart with all diligence, and seeking after God fervently.
He is a great warrior willing to fight against all odds. For sure, his reward shall not be fully recompensed until a time to come in eternity.
He opens his mouth with authority yet is kind and gentle to his wife and children.
He is not passive in his beliefs or standards. He diligently washes his wife with the Word and has done his utmost to raise his children in the fear and admonition of God. Because of this, his children can respect and praise him. His wife can safely trust in him.
There have been many men of the past who have done great and noble deeds; but he is one that surpasses them all for he is my Pastor, my Father.
Flattery is deceitful; outward strength is vain; good looks are vanishing; but a man who whole-heartedly fears God shall always be praised. This man will not be forgotten.
Let him see the fruits of his work for it has pleased God and touched the lives of others.

Black, White, or Grey? Pt. 2

27 Feb

There are liberties that God gives us. After all, the Christian life is not a cookie-cutter type of religion. We are responsible to walk in the light that God has shown us to be true – whether these be truths from His Word, convictions He’s impressed upon our hearts, or standards He has allowed us to grow into. If we are not obedient to these, then to us it is considered sin. God may reveal different truths at different times to each one of us and it is our responsibility to be obedient and walk in them. Along with that, we are responsible for not using our liberties as a stumbling block to others. Yes, each person is responsible for their own walk with God however we are to encourage and edify our brothers and sisters in Christ. This also is a responsibility of ours as children of the King. The apostle Paul was an example to us as believers when he confessed that he would even abstain from eating meat if he knew it would cause his brother to be offended. That’s how seriously he took the probable effect that his Christian walk could have on those around him.

Now, if we were to ask ourselves – “This liberty of mine, will it cause another brother to sin? Will it cause him to pull back and fall away from a fervent, vibrant relationship with Christ? Or will it point Him to see more of the goodness and awesomeness of God?”  – what would our answer be?

To our shame, I think we too often take our Christian walk and its influence on others too lightly. We simply don’t care. We don’t think that the spiritual aptitude of our fellow brothers and sisters could weigh heavily on the behavior of our lives when in all honesty it really can. What precedent and legacy are we leaving for our children and grandchildren? Nancy DeMoss has said, “We cannot sow seeds of halfhearted, undisciplined, worldly lives, and then hope for “crop failure” in the next generation.” Perhaps we too often look at the influence that our lives have on others from a temporal perspective rather than an eternal perspective.

Psalm 34:2 encourages us to make our boast in the Lord. “My soul shall make her boast in the Lord”. To boast is to make a show to others. How often do we make a show of God’s wonderful goodness? How often do we show the joy that comes from being called His own and being called to be separated from this world? Do our actions and the way we ‘live out’ our lives point others to the glory of God or does it point them to seeing more of us in our flesh?

Our ministry throughout life ought to have a focus on bringing others into a desire to magnify and exalt the name of the Lord. “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together” (vs 3). We shouldn’t just want to give in to the complacencies of life in the flesh but rather build each other up in spiritual ways so we can bless God and advance His kingdom on this earth.

You may be thinking…..”great, so do I have to sit and read my Bible 24/7 to point others to Jesus?” “Any time I’m with my friends, are we suppose to be in prayer and be having Bible studies?” Remember, there are times and seasons for everything. There are times when it might be more beneficial to steal away and pray with a friend who is hurting but then there may be times to have a pizza party and encourage yourselves together in laughter and sharing!

It all comes down to the motives of our hearts. What are we feasting on in our lives? Psalm 34:8 says to taste and see that the Lord is good. The more we taste of His riches, goodness, and pleasures – the more we will want. And the more we want of the Lord, the more we will become like Him. And the more we become like Him, the more His character will flow through us out into the lives of others.

We have free wills. God can’t twist our arms and no one else can twist our arms to do this or that. Authorities can caution us in our lives. Trials can come to teach us one thing or another. Family and friends can admonish us. But really, we will make our own choices. We will choose to live how we want. We will choose to abide in the light or take our hiding in the cares and snares of this world. We will choose if we want to live with a clear conscience before God and others or a conscience that’s been hardened and seared by the burdens this world has to offer. We will choose to live for ourselves or decide to take up our cross and and follow the Saviour. We will choose how we want to live.

We don’t need to be reminded of the fact that our lives will eventually come to an end. We may be given the privilege to live to the ripe old age of 92 but then that one day  will come when we will enter those pearly gates and meet our Savior face to face. Just imagine if we are able to look down from heaven. Would we want to see our friends of the past counting to remembrance the days when we lived moment-to-moment just havin’ a good time despite the fall-out and repercussions it brought; or would we rather see lives that were dramatically changed and impacted for eternity by our testimony and walk of faith?

What will you choose? Will it be Black, White, or Grey?

Black, White, or Grey?

25 Feb

God has given us truth as a gift. The question is “what are we going to do with this gift?” Will we abuse it, neglect it, or use it?

Truth is given to us in a variety of forms. We can receive truth through the reading of God’s Word; we can receive it through authorities God has placed in our lives; we can receive it through trials and lessons we’ve learned along the way. In either case, we are given it as a gift from God. It is entrusted into our care.

In whatever form we receive this truth, the fact of the matter remains the same. We are to use it to our benefit and God’s glory. Would you not agree that truth is a good thing? Well, every good and perfect gift comes from God. In His providence, He deemed it best to share with us specific truths and is looking to see how we are going to use them in our lives.

If we have a heart that is right before God, it is easier to choose truth when it comes to the “black and white” areas of life. If there is something that defies God’s word, we call it sin and stay as far away from it as possible – at least that’s what we should do. However, some Christians believe there are “grey” areas. These would be areas where there is no specific Scripture reference saying “Thou Shalt” or “Thou Shalt Not”. I’m not here to prove if there are or are not grey areas but I am here to get us thinking. 🙂

For the sake of this blog post, let’s say that there are “grey” areas in the Christian life. What will we do with the truth we’ve been taught along the way concerning these areas? Do we take for granted the knowledge of being able to make the best, wisest choice when it comes to these areas of conflict but decide to go ahead and disregard the prompting just to please ourselves or appear not so legalistic to those we associate with? Do we pursue after these “grey” areas more than pursuing after the righteous and holy in our lives? What areas sum up our lives as a whole – Black, White, or Grey?

True joy and contentment come from walking in the light that we’ve been shown. An overwhelming sense of God’s pleasure rests on us when we remain faithful and obedient. Freedom rings within our soul and takes flight when we choose to deny the flesh and live in the Spirit. So why is it that our hearts yearn to go off the straight and narrow in pursuit of ‘checking out’ the unknown territory just to see if it’s dangerous or not? Why wouldn’t we want to stay as far away from these grey areas if we’re not sure that they’d be healthy for our relationship with Christ and our fellow brethren? Do these grey areas threaten our love relationship with the Lord? Do they end up being the little foxes that spoil the vine – perhaps taking away our desire to read the Word, or pray, or be kind, or to hold our tongue from hurtful words, or to be less judgmental?

We’re told that he who loses his life will find it. If we can find deeper fullness and meaning in life by following after Christ in ways that separate us from the world, why wouldn’t we really want that? Why wouldn’t that desire overtake our other desires and cause us to live-out a passionate obedient life in Christ? Can we choose to deny ourselves pleasures in this world – even seemingly good pleasures – just to attain more knowledge of the Holy? If this desire comes from a heart that really wants to please Christ, it’s NOT going to be drudgery. It will be a choice of joy because  it comes from our own choosing and we’ll know that the beautiful reward will be a closer more vibrant relationship with the One who created us and gave His life for us.

Think of it this way: If a husband or wife does what is right towards each other, the marriage will have a certain sweetness. However if the spouse acts upon a desire to please the other and do something out of the ordinary just to bless and show their love in a special way, won’t that go a longer way in the marriage? Of course!

Just think of how our desire to stay as close to the good and right way will bless our Lord who loves us more than anyone else ever could. Wouldn’t this desire please Him? Wouldn’t it be a sweet aroma to Him that may just bring a smile to His face? I think so! Wouldn’t that result far exceed any small insignificant satisfaction we may get here on this earth? There will be a lasting satisfaction in eternity for sure!

To be Continued………

In the Presence of the King

3 Aug

My heart is breaking. It’s breaking for a family who has lost a son and brother. This world is now missing a faithful servant of Jesus Christ.

Exactly one year ago, God gave me the opportunity to meet a young man (18 years of age) who had a passion for serving Christ and promoting His kingdom on this earth. That young man’s name was Chandler Brazell. He was called Jimmy by his friends.

We met at the Chicago O’Hare airport, excited to be leaving for Beijing China. He, myself, and Brooke Martens were entering a new chapter in our lives and looking forward to many new adventures together. We were heading to a strange land to teach character to boys and girls we had never met before and in a country we had never visited!

Throughout the three months that we spent together, we would share lesson plans, pray, eat together, visit new restaurants, attend church services, and soak in the Chinese culture.

I can definitely say that Jimmy was brave! He wanted to participate in everything and anything. He would make new friends so quickly. He tried his utmost to immerse himself in the culture, learn the Chinese language, and share His passion and love for the Lord by sharing a smile, greeting the elderly with a ‘Ni hao’ (hello in Mandarin), or spending time at his students’ homes.

I was blown away by his testimony and fervency for the Lord! I knew he loved God and God loved him!

Just two days ago, my heart sank when I came to find out that Jimmy was taken home to be with Jesus after a swimming accident. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it! I would have never thought something like this would have ever happened. I would have never imagined that the young man that I spent many hours with – while sitting laughing in conversation or catching the city train or listening to him sing from the next hall – would be taken one year later.

I’m stunned but I’m happy that Jimmy is home with his Saviour that he loved. He is worshipping Jesus in a perfect way. He’s most likely singing praises with a heart of gratitude perhaps while he skips down the golden streets of heaven – certainly beats skipping down the busy streets of Beijing like he would.

However, my heart breaks for his family and close friends. My prayer is that the Lord will strengthen them, give them peace that passeth all understanding, uphold them in His care, and surround them in His unfailing love.

Jimmy was a testimony of God’s faithfulness to me. Without a doubt in my heart, I know he will hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant”.

Girls Gone Wise Bible Study

27 Feb

In the past several weeks, the Lord has laid a burden on my heart to begin a women’s Bible study and this desire was confirmed by the encouragement of others in my life whom I respect and admire. So Lord willing, beginning mid-March I will be hosting weekly study in my home.

I sent out the following announcement to many of my friends and I thought I would share it with you as well. If you are located near my area, it would be great if you would join us during these times of sharing, prayer, reading, discipleship, and fellowship!

I am very excited about this opportunity and I deeply desire for Christ to have full sway in all that is done and said. So even if you cannot participate and join us, it would mean so very much to me if you would keep me in your prayers. If Christ would be glorified and hearts would be encouraged to walk in obedience and faithfulness to Him – then I couldn’t be more pleased and fulfilled!

“A Girl Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild”

Whether you’re a guy or gal, I’m asking you to please spread the word!

Beginning in March, I will be hosting a challenging Bible study for women ages 16 – 30 years of age! This study will take place at my home on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 – 8:00 pm.

We will be working through Mary Kassian’s book entitled, “Girls Gone Wise”. Mary’s writings are captivating and deal with many of the pressing issues that young women face in the outside world and personal relationships. We will be learning the differences between a ‘Girl Gone Wild’ and a ‘Girl Gone Wise’. Her insights from Proverbs on the differences between a saucy, seductive Wild Thing and a smart, biblically savvy Wise Thing is a must read!

Chapter Topics Will Include:

*Affections of the Heart

*A Godly Approach to Love

*Body Language – Dancing to the Beat of a Different Drum

*Sexual Conduct

*God-Given Boundaries

*Dealing with Neediness

*Becoming a Positive Influence

….and more!

Do you or someone you know (perhaps a friend, relative, school mate, or a gal in your church) often feel alone in being a set-apart young woman in this sex-crazed world? Would you be interested in seeking God with other passionate young women? Then you’ll want to join us! These weekly sessions will be a great way to get to know others who are devoted to becoming the women God has called us to be while at the same time giving encouragement as we read, share, discuss, and pray.

If you or a girl you know would be interested in becoming a ‘girl gone wise in a world gone wild’, please respond and let me know! You can email me at: onlytrusthim@gmail.com

May the Lord bless you in amazing ways!

The Root Cause

2 Jan

Christians disgruntled, marriages failing, relationships turning sour, children breaking their parent’s hearts – sadly, these are common happenings in our day. Are we surprised anymore? I don’t think so. Are we saddened? Do our hearts still break? Do we wonder why? Are we looking for answers? Yes.

Too often, I see parents agonizing over the blow of rejection when their child leaves home in rebellion to God and their authority. They weep till there are no more tears to cry. They kneel in prayer on behalf of their flesh and blood until their knees are numb and hurting. They seek prayer from others. They relive moments in history wondering where they went wrong.  And too often, they inwardly beat themselves up thinking that somehow someway it’s all their fault that their child has gone astray.

Why is this the all too common story?

Continue reading

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