Friday, January 10, 2014

God is so good!

God is So Good

January 10, 2014

            Last year at this time I was feeling really depressed and discouraged. We were getting ready to return home from Arizona and I truly did not want to leave. Going home would mean that I had to return to the cold, rainy, and gray weather in western Washington. It took me a long time to get over the blue funk and to feel like God even cared one iota about me. I just felt like I had been left alone to wallow in my self-pity. But, I wasn’t alone because when I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior I also received the Holy Spirit and my body became His temple. Ever faithful, the Holy Spirit began to remind me of the truth of God’s Word.

            Well, for those of you who have been following my blog, you already know how the Lord is making His blessing very abundant and visible in my life recently. He did it again yesterday and I just have to give Him all the praise and share this testimony with you.

            My daughter, Rebekah, has been longing to be on the special olympic’s ice skating team ever since she found out that they started a team in Bremerton last January. She thought that they only practiced for the winter games which meant they would start practicing this month. Rebekah contacted the coach by email a couple of times to find out when practices would begin, but she never heard anything. So, I gave her the phone number for the ice center and she gave them a call. The instructor informed Bekah that she thought they would start on Tuesday. We were at the rink last Tuesday, but no one ever showed up. We talked to the instructor/owner and decided to try again on Thursday (yesterday). My daughter was very upset when no one showed up and it took a lot of prayer and talking to get her over the mental issues.

            A little back-ground on Rebekah. Most of you know that she is autistic and also deals with mental illness in the form of mood disorder. She takes medication for it, but it doesn’t make her a brain dead zombie. So she still has to deal with emotions that can overwhelm her. And now back to the blessed story.

            On Thursday we left early for Bremerton because I needed to get gas and wanted to look around for birthday gifts for Jerry. For that reason, I wasn’t home to answer the phone when two ladies called. At least they left messages. Jerry came home for a minute to get his work computer and to do a load of laundry. He was the one that listened to the answering machine. I was at SVDP when he called my cellphone and gave me some really bad news about ice skating. I had to pause a minute to pray and get myself prepared for how Rebekah would react to the news. Jerry was kind enough to tell Bekah the sad news that the team roster was full and that she could not be on the team. She took the news well and asked if we could still go to the practice. I figured it was worth going just to talk to the coach.

            Rebekah had a nice time talking to her friends while we waited for the coach to arrive. I was dreading the talk with the coach because I don’t like any type of confrontation. So, while we waited, I prayed. When I finally had the opportunity to talk to the coach, she explained fully about the program being different from the other sports offered by special Olympics due to the fact that the team was also a part of the federation of skaters and that the team practiced off and on all year long and competed in more events than just those sponsored by special Olympics. She was truly kind and encouraged Rebekah to learn and practice ice skating and try to join the team again in April.

            Once I got home I listened to the messages on the answering myself. One was from the coach and the other was from a good friend. My friend said she would call back later and she did. She wondered if I was okay and what was going on. That morning, before she even got out of bed, the Holy Spirit has impressed upon her heart to pray for me. I couldn’t figure out why the Lord had done that. We chatted for several minutes and I couldn’t think of any reason for why God did what He did. When I finished the phone call, I asked the Lord, “Why did you place me on my friend’s heart, Lord?” And immediately He replied, “Do you remember how well things went this morning? Remember how well Bekah did with the bad news and how nice the coach was when she didn’t have to be? I DID THAT!”

            WOW, all praise to God for He is great and His mercy is amazing.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My notes for the EPIC talk I gave on January 8, 2014

            Once upon a time, not that long ago, and in a kingdom called poor torchard, there was a beautiful, teenage princess. Okay, so maybe she wasn’t a real princess, but she sure wished that she was one, and sometimes she really acted like a diva.
          The beautiful, teenage princess could not wait for her prince charming to come along and rescue her from the haunted non-castle where she lived with her bratty, warty, and smelly younger brother who made life miserable for everyone. She hoped so fervently that prince charming would come along soon and would save her from the ogre, also known as her dad, and from her mother, who she considered to be the wicked witch of the west. Even though she wasn’t being held captive by a fire-breathing dragon, it sure felt that way to her.
When she was only seventeen, the princess couldn’t wait any longer for prince charming to come riding up in a white mustang (preferably a 1969 model convertible), so she went out looking for him by herself. The princess went out with Larry, but he was just too old and started to remind her of her dad, the ogre. She had one date with Terry just to give him a try. She actually fell in love with Barry, but he didn’t love her. She also Fell in love with Kevin and was actually engaged to Keith. She went out with so many guys that she stopped counting after ten, but either they turned into toads or they figured out that she was more of a commoner than a princess.
Oh, uh, wait a minute…I’m supposed to be talking to you guys about real life, not some fairy tale.
One of my favorite movies of all time is this one right here. I love the part where the Princess Buttercup and the horrible Prince Humperdink are in the chapel about to be married. The priest turns around and says, “Marwidge is the weason we are gatherahd here today.” And later he says, “wuv two wuv…” The whole thing is a fairy tale. We have all heard them, we have all seen them, and probably all dreamed about them coming true in our life. I know that’s how I thought when I was a teenager.
Actually, the story I began to tell you was not a fairy tale, it was a part of my life. I wanted to be married and taken far away from my home. Family life was very hard for me and I believed that I needed some man, a Christian man, to marry me and save me from all of the stress in my house and with my parents. Little did I realize that I  could not escape from my problems by just changing my location. (But that’s another story for another day.) Today, I am here to talk to you about dating and marriage relationships
By the time I was nineteen, I had dated so many guys that I can’t even remember how many there were. I was so hungry for someone to love me, to just love me. For my 19th birthday, my younger brother decorated my birthday cake with these little plastic items that represented all of the guys I had dated over the last two years. It was really, really funny, but also really, really sad. I had just broken my engagement with Keith and I was getting a bit more cautious about giving my heart to anyone else. A month after my birthday, right about this time of year, the Lord began to teach me to be much more selective about the next guy I dated. I knew that I was not to marry someone who wasn’t a Christian according to II Corinthians 6:14-18. God also showed me those verse meant that I also needed to find a man who loved and served the Lord as much, if not more than I did. So, in my mind I created “the List” of Godly qualifications I needed to know that the man possessed before I would even consider going out with him. He had to attend church faithfully. He had to read his Bible every single day. He had to be serving the Lord at the church. He had to be a soul-winner. He had to be respected by other Christians. He had to have a job that could support us, and more good things that I won’t go into right now. Then, I waited for Mr. Right to show up.
Well, the church I was attending when I was nineteen was getting ready for their annual Sweetheart Banquet. I was so full of stinking pride that I thought I would just wait for all the guys to ask me and then I would make my decision as to who I would go to the banquet with. Yep, you guessed it, no one, absolutely no one, asked me to the banquet. God was trying to teach me another lesson: to not be so full of pride and to wait on the Lord. The next morning, I dreamt that I was crying from a broken heart from being all alone with no one to love me. In my dream I was living alone in an apartment in Florida and was so lonely. When I woke up, I was crying my eyes out, and the Holy Spirit said to me remember Hebrews 13:5b, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” God let me know that He was right there with me, comforting me. He reminded me of Proverbs 3:5&6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In ALL thy ways acknowledge him, and shall direct thy paths.” The Lord gently told me to stop worrying about a husband, that He already had one chosen just for me, and to just wait on Him. I stopped crying and began thanking and praising my Lord Jesus Christ
That night was Wednesday evening church and my good friend asked Jerry if he had invited anyone to the banquet. At the same time I came up to talk to my friend, he suggested to Jerry that he ask me. Sweet, shy Jerry worked up the strength to ask, and I immediately said yes. Jerry and I had known each other for a few months, but I would have never considered him dating material because he had red hair. God, on the other hand, considered him perfect for me, not only as a date to the Sweetheart banquet, but as my future husband. And the rest, is history. Did we ride off into the horizon in a white mustang? No, but Jerry did have a white Chevy van! Did Jerry rescue me from the Ogre and the Wicked Witch? Not for a while, because life has a way of turning out so different from the Fairy Tales. Did we end up living happily ever after? Yes, but it took a long, long time.
So, how can this help you, right here, right now? I have prayed and prayed for this time that I have with you, that whatever I say would be just what you need. There is so much that I could tell you. There is so much that I can teach you. There is so much that God wants you to learn about dating and love and marriage. But I only have a few minutes to talk to you and try to encourage you to do the right things.
This is what I want to get across to you more than anything else: Make a commitment to the Lord that you will keep yourself pure in body and in mind and that you will trust in the Lord and wait on Him to bring you the man or woman that He has chosen especially for you. Once you have given yourself to sin, especially the sin of fornication which is having sex before you are married, you have lost the only thing that you can give to your spouse…your virginity. I know that hormones and emotions can become overwhelming. You know what? God knows that also. He’s the one who created you, saved you, knows all about you, and loves you more than you can imagine. I wish that I could give you all of the answers to all of your questions and concerns. You know what? I can, they are found in your Bible. Get into it every day, pray about what God wants you to learn, and then obey as He shows you.
In the meantime, what I can give you is an outline that you can study, as well as some hugs, kisses, and hearts. Enjoy!


I. Different types of love:

            A. Phileo means brotherly love. I Thes. 4:9, Titus 2:4, I Peter 3:8, I John 4:20

                        1. It is the love between family members.          

                                    a. It goes deeper than conscience.

                                    b. It is long-lasting.

                        2. It is the love between friends.

                                    a. It can last long.

                                    b. It is a conscious desire.

            B. Eros means sexual. II Samuel 13:1

                        1. It is an overwhelming desire to satisfy urges.

                        2. It is usually temporary.

                        3. It is fleeting and can be quenched.

            C. Thelo means desire. Mark 12:38

                        1. It is self-centered.

                        2. It is a desire for others to adore what you do.

II. What love is not:

            A. Lust: selfish, self-centered desire to satisfy one’s longings.

                        1. II Samuel 13:1-20, the true story of Amnon

                                    a. selfish desires to have relations with his half-sister.

                                    b. once fulfilled his lust became hate.

                                    c. his consequence was an early death.

B. Infatuation: a feeling of foolish admiration for another.

                        1. I Samuel 18:20, 28, Michal thought she loved David

                                    a. actually she was infatuated with him.

                                    b. I Samuel 19:11-17, she lies for him.

                                    c. she gets married to another.

                                    d. she winds up despising David.

                                    e. her consequence was no children.

III. What love is:

            Love is the constant commitment to always seek that which is the best for the other person no matter what it costs you.

            A. I Corinthians 13, love is described as charity:

                        1. It is long-suffering. It puts up with the other person.

                        2. It is kind.

                        3. It does not envy.

                        4. It does not brag about itself.

                        5. It is not prideful.

                        6. It behaves with respect.

                        7. It is not selfish.

                        8. It doesn’t get angry quickly.

                        9. It doesn’t think evil thoughts.

                        10. It does not rejoice in sin.

                        11. It rejoices in the truth (the Word of truth, Jn.17:17)

                        12. It bears all things, it carries the burdens.

                        13. It believes and gives the person the benefit of the doubt.

                        14. It hopes all things, especially for the other person.

                        15. It endures all things, even if they hurt really bad.

                        16. It never fails.

                        17. It is the greatest.

            B. Agape: The love of God in action through you to another person.

                        1. I John 3:18, love in deed and in truth.

                        2. I John 3:7-8, love is of God.

                        3. I John 4:10, we love God because he first loved us.

                        4. I John 4:11, God loves us and we are to love others.

IV. How to keep from sinning in love:

            A. Remember that your body is the temple of God. I Cor. 3:16-17

                        1. And of the Holy Ghost. I Cor. 16:19-20

                                    a. Jesus bought and paid for your spirit, soul, and body.

                                    b. God owns you once you accept Jesus as Savior.

                        2. Present your body as a living sacrifice to God. Rom. 12:1-2

                                    a. Don’t be like the world.

                                    b. Be transformed.

                                    c. Renew your mind, prove what is good, and do what God says.

            B. Wait to date until you are ready to get married. I Cor. 7:1-4

                        1. Keep yourself pure for your future spouse.

                        2. Don’t get married just to have “legitimate sex”.

                                    a. marriage is so much more than just sex.

                        3. Make a commitment and trust in the Lord.

                                    a. you may need to wait a long time.

                        4. Only date someone who would be pleasing to the Lord.

                                    a. It will make the rest of your life so much better.

V. Realize how much God loves you.

            A. It is an everlasting love. Jer. 31:6

                        1. It draws us to Him.

            B. It is a worldwide love. John 3:16

                        1. It is a giving love. Everlasting life.

                        2. It is sacrificial. It cost Jesus his life.

            C. It is a great love. Eph. 2:4

                        1. His love for you.

            D. It is inseparable. Rom. 8:35-39

                        1. absolutely nothing can take away God’s love for you.

            E. It is amazing. John 17:23, 26

                        1. the Father loves you as much as He loves Jesus.

                        2. that same love is within you.

a. when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.