Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Praise You In The Storm

God knows His plans. The entire time Cam went through this job interview process we have prayed that if this was not God’s will that we would not get it. We found out this afternoon it was not God’s will.
This job seemed to be an answered prayer, Cameron was almost a shoe in, but God had other plans. We thought we saw how God was going to financially take care of our newborn’s medical care, by providing her with insurance. But, God knew better.
With as surprised as I am, I take comfort that God is not surprised at all. He knew our heart’s cry was for His will to be done. That above all we wanted His provision. He knows we don’t want to take a step without His guidance, so he guided us.
Max Lucado tweeted something that resonates deeply with me today. He asked, “Do you see closed doors as interruptions of your plans, or indications of God’s plan?” Well, today I choose to see this door as an indication of God’s plans.
As much as it hurts right now, I know that God has a plan…and that thought is exciting. I know that there is something bigger and better in store for my husband and our little family. It may not be financially bigger or better, but spiritually it will be. If it’s nothing more than teaching us even more how to rely on Him, what better thing could it be?
We have been through this before. We have been asked to step out in faith, and we have. Once again we are standing on the water like Peter, but though the waves may come up around us, we refuse to lose sight of Who really matters.
This is God’s time. We know that He has a plan for us. He has a plan to prosper us. He wants to give us a hope and future (Jeremiah 29:11). We will trust in Him and we refuse to lean on our oh-so-limited earthly understanding. (Proverbs 3:5-6). We will spend time worshipping our Lord through this, because all we can have is gratitude that He has allowed a little pain now, so that we can experience BIG victory later!
Thank you for your prayers today! I plan to get back to the Christmas stories tomorrow, but tonight I will spend time worshipping my Lord and loving on my husband.

Prayers for Cameron

I have a wonderful husband! He is unlike any man I’ve ever met. He is the most devoted husband and father (already) that I think exists. He is SO wonderful! He has taken care of me this entire pregnancy and he is just wonderful.
Today he needs your prayers. He has a big job interview (I guess every job interview is big). He has wanted this job for three years, and it finally came open. He has worked diligently towards advancing his career in order to better support his family.
This job would include a pay raise, but most importantly it would give us health insurance. Right now I am on a health plan, but it will not cover our baby when she comes, which could leave a very large hospital bill. Also, he doesn’t have insurance at all, and can’t get accepted through a private policy. He has not seen a doctor in over a year (when our previous insurance expired), and I know it would take a lot of stress off of him if her knew his entire family were medically covered.
He has a lot of good references for this position, but the most important reference is God. We do want this job, VERY BADLY, but we understand that if he doesn’t get it, it is God’s will. We want His will above ours. So, today, please pray that this is His will and that Cam’s nerves will be calmed as he waits for this interview.
I want to see my husband’s smiling face tonight knowing he got the job, or at least did all he could do. Thank you in advance for your prayers! God bless, and hey, if you have any prayer requests please leave them in the comments section. I will make sure to check them throughout the day and pray over each item.

I will post the Christmas devotional this afternoon.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Satan's Lies

This is completely off the Christmas topic, but it’s something I feel I need to share. Lately I feel as though the enemy is attacking me in every way he can. It’s as though he knows I won’t let just one of his tactics get to me, so he’s trying a bunch of them at once.
Somehow, just this week, he has convinced me that I am worthless, ugly, undesirable, unlovable, and unforgivable. I know these things are not true, but after a day full of attacks I started to believe the lies. The attacks weren’t necessarily large things, in fact individually I wouldn’t have been bothered at all, but all together they made me miserable.
I know hormones probably played a large role in this. My third trimester is hitting me hard, and the enemy even used that to bring me down. Because I was tired and didn’t want to cook, he convinced me that I am a horrible wife and that I was not taking care of my family.
On top of the negativity he made me feel, he attacked me with stress. I am naturally more tired than I should be just because I’m pregnant. But, it’s also the last few weeks of school, so most of my professors are really hitting us hard. I have two large papers due in the next two weeks, and both make up large portions of final grades. Since I haven’t started either one I felt extremely stressed.
After a good cry I realized what was happening. I saw the lies the enemy was telling me, and decided it was time to combat them the only way I can: with the Word. Christ used the Word while battling with temptation in the desert. His fight with Satan was much different than mine, but any fight with Satan can be won just by pulling out the Truth that is the Word.
First, I realized that I am chosen by God. Ephesians 1:4 tells us He chose us before the even created the world. Wow! Think about how valuable that makes us! God, the very creator of the universe took time to CHOOSE me before he even made the world! He wanted us to be His children. He paid an enormous price and died on a cross, suffered incomparable pain, just to have a relationship with us! WOW!
As if that weren’t enough the bible tells me that I can do everything through Him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13). I’m sure you’ve heard this verse before. If you’ve watched college or professional football in the last few years you almost certainly have, but with as many times as I have heard it, it brought life to me. Yes, the last few weeks of school will be stressful, but God called me to go to school, and God placed this baby inside of me. He will give me the strength to finish strong!
I sat down today and made a plan of action. Just having a detailed to-do list made me see how manageable the next few weeks can be. I will trust in the Lord and remain in His Word, and I know that the next time the enemy tries to discourage me I will be able to refute his claims.

Zechariah's Story

Luke 1:18-20
18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
 19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

Keeping with the topic of obedience, today I want to introduce Zechariah. Though the mention of Zechariah is very small, he is one of my favorite characters from the bible.
While Zechariah was serving as a priest he got some of the most shocking news of his life. He was chosen to go into the temple and to offer up the incense to the Lord. I know whoever was chosen to go beyond the curtain had to wear bells so the others would know he was still alive. This task, as honorable as it was, still must have been overwhelming…almost frightening. He was entering the holiest place there was. He was going to stand before God and offer up incense and prayers. I can’t imagine all the thoughts going through his mind.
When Gabriel appears to Zechariah we discover one of the thoughts floating around in the temple. Along with the corporate prayers and incense, Zechariah was sending up a deeply personal prayer. A prayer as much for his wife as for him: Lord, please let us have a child.
I know this prayer well. In fact, until about 8 months ago it was my constant prayer. I don’t know how it is for a man, but for a woman the desire for a child can be nearly excruciating. It is miserable to watch so many around you taking part in one of the most natural processes on earth, one that you so badly wish to experience, but month after month discover you’re not pregnant. Thankfully it didn’t take long for my prayer to be answered, but for Zechariah and Elizabeth it took a long time. In fact, so long that Zechariah had almost given up hope.
There are two things I really love about Zechariah. First, that he was thinking about his and his wife’s desires while he was before God. This shows just how human he was, and that his human prayer was heard…well that is just about as uplifting as it gets. Next, I love his response to Gabriel. He, like Joseph, sees the angel; but, instead of immediate belief, he questions him. How can this be? That is so like me. Okay God, you say I am going to have something, but how?
I just have to remember that the how doesn't matter, it's not for me to know.What does matter is that God WILL accomplish His promises. I should have no doubt that God will do something He says He will. He is not a liar, He doesn't tease, He is God. He only says what He means.
God, thank You for accomplishing Your plan through ordinary people. Thank You for the examples You give us from the Bible. Thank you for your patience when I don’t understand, and forgive me for thinking I need to. Thank you for always fulfilling Your promises. Help me to trust You as I wait to see Your will. - Amen

Monday, November 28, 2011

Joseph's Obedience

Since Christmas is less than a month away I wanted to go ahead and get my heart in the right place. It’s so easy to get distracted with all the shopping to get done. It seems like December is the busiest month of the year. For me it means not only the Christmas shopping, but my husband’s birthday, and finals. And, this year it means just a few more weeks until baby Goodwin should arrive.
I don’t want to get caught up in all the meaningless parts of the month, when the true focus should be celebrating Christ’s birth, and the ultimate gift: His death. So, for the remainder of November and all of December I will focus on a different part of the Christmas story.
In Matthew 1 we learn that Joseph had to adopt Christ as his own.
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Sometimes God asks us to do things we don’t want to do. Actually, it seems that He asks us to make difficult choices much more often than easy ones. To say Joseph’s choice was difficult is more than an understatement. He was highly respected in his community. He was known as a Godly man, and all of a sudden his fiancée is pregnant.
Joseph had the right to have Mary killed. If he didn’t have her stoned, it probably appeared as though he was the father of her child. No one was going to believe Mary and Joseph hadn’t shared a marital bed. How was he supposed to prove she was a virgin?
His love for Mary showed, since he didn’t have her punished. Since an angel had to appear to him to convince him to stay with her, I strongly doubt he even partially believed she was carrying the Messiah. I can’t imagine the jealousy he experienced as he suspected his fiancée had an affair.
But, the moment he woke up after the angel appeared to him, he obeyed God. I wish I would be so quickly obedient. Yes, he did have a heavenly being actually appear to him to further his belief, and I am sure the appearance of an angel would quicken my obedience. But, I shouldn’t need that sort of encouragement. I love my God, and when He asks me to do something I should do it, without hesitation.
Lord, help me be more like Mary and Joseph. Help me be obedient to Your will. Allow me to remember that I don’t have to understand why or how something will happen; I just need to trust You and act in accordance to Your will. Thank you for this season when we can focus on the gift of Your son, and our salvation. Amen.