facing the future


dsc06580.jpgNoise. It’s a trademark of our culture, a signet of our lives. Whispers can be hard to be heard over the blare of society. There’s a lot of demand out there. Insistent shouts increase to an ear-piercing decibel, and pressures to do this and be that can catch us up in a vortex that is never satisfied.

In a world of so much noise, the voice of God is just a whisper. You know, it’s amazing how much His whisper can stand out. It’s like a violet blooming between the cracks in a sidewalk. The hard and ugly surface is broken by a simple little beauty and splash of sunlight.

His whispers are precious. When we’re caught up in the throws of life, we forget to listen for Him. Sometimes our over-stressed minds make God out to be a demanding taskmaster. If you’re laboring to fulfill the pressures and demands the world is placing on you, you just may be tuning in to the wrong station.

  • A shout demands; His whisper offers.
  • A shout invokes stress; His whisper brings peace.
  • A shout insists on its own way; His whisper invites a way in.
  • A shout provokes one to labor and toil; His whisper grants a place of rest and sweet repose.
  • A shout carries in its sound waves a threat of rejection; His whisper carries a secret of acceptance.
  • A shout suggests anger, animosity, hate; His whisper expresses His love.

Go to Him, all of you who labor to fulfill the demands others place on you, and He will give you rest. Listen for that still, small voice.

Advertisements

Life continues to rush on, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, time slips through my fingers like sand, and I am unable to pen all the rhetoric thoughts that are appropriate for this time of year. Things like, looking ahead, trusting God with our futures, and how to keep resolutions (don’t worry, I don’t have the answers on that one 🙂 ).

 As is not necessarily so unusual for me, a last minute decision sent me spending my first day of 2008 on the road with my Nebraskan part of the family. I am now currently residing in this state that has really grown on me and will be here for an unprecedented length of a month–give or take.

 In other words, my writing speals will have to be squeazed in between the nannying of three wee ones, ages three and under, and that is why this little spot on the web lacks in things most of your blogs are full of. A simple Happy New Year sounds slightly cliche, but will have to do for now. Eloquence dwindles when morning comes so soon.

by Rachel Marie

img_0407.jpgI remember very well one evening several months ago when I was having an extremely difficult time, both spiritually and emotionally. I had just about decided to give up all my crazy “dreaming.” Dreaming about the future (my future, specifically), seemed to only disappoint and disillusion my heart and mind. After all, how much of it actually had come true so far…?

Hm, not much, I guessed. I was disheartened. I was disappointed. I was confused. I was unsure. I was sad. I… I… I…

Looking back I see what my problem was, clearly. All I could think of was myself. My ambitions, plans, and wishes. I was not concerned for others; I was not concerned for Christ’s Kingdom. I was only worried about myself, and what would become of me.

I knew what I wanted, but it seemed to me that God either didn’t understand or wouldn’t answer me. And wasn’t I supposed to look forward to the years ahead? Wasn’t I supposed to be dreaming up and anticipating great things? Why did it seem like all my hopeful sunshine had died down to a few faint sparks?

Perhaps it was all because the Lord knew and saw my heart, and realized that I was so self-focused that I could no longer see much else.

This is not to say that dreaming is wrong. It is not wrong. Dreams are indeed the very stuff of life. God’s Word instructs us to have hope, and to have vision, without which we would “perish”. This is also not to say that I have now arrived to some selfless plain of perfection. No, far, far from it. However, I can now thank and bless God for allowing me to experience the struggle of “dreamlessness.” I’m learning more and more that the struggles and trials which the Lord chooses to lead me through are not for vain purposes, or for further disappointments. In truth, such struggles do often only appear as disappointing and vain while one is in the midst of them; but many blessed, beautiful truths are learned and birthed out of the deepest of agonies and struggles, and the Lord in His infinite wisdom knows that.

That same night when I was mulling over myself, and everything that I wanted, the Lord brought something to my attention, which both convicted and challenged me. It was an article written for people in my stage of life, going through my kind of struggles. God used it to bless and change my outlook on life… for the better, and for His glory. It spoke directly to my heart and life where I was at that time. It showed me that “Impossible Dreams” are not impossible after all…“For life to be fully lived it must wrestle the impossible and win. For life to be fully lived, the God of the impossible must be fully trusted with the writing of the script.”

I have far from “arrived,” but although the learning is at times so wearily painful, I see how that simply dreaming up things that will please myself is so very futile. The Lord can never bless such dreaming, and will likely bring it all to naught in order to show you Himself, and what truly matters in life.My encouragement to you if what I have written here has spoken to your heart in anyway, is to seek Jesus. That precious, heavenly Babe born in the lowly cattle stable. Seek Him First and Foremost. Focus on Him, and He will direct all your dreams down His way of perfection. It may not be exactly what you’ve hoped and planned for, but His way is always perfect. Only TRUST Him now. He knows, and sees, and loves all.

:::the article previously stated can be found here!:::

img_0653.jpg

img_0009.jpgRachel Marie is a sweet young lady who loves the Lord with all her heart. She is keenly interested in the study of biblical womanhood and authored a well-noted article, Just a Girl Through & Through. Along with her gift of writing, her hobbies also include photography, flowers, sewing and a host of other avenues she uses to vent her creativity. Her heart beat is missions with a particular love for China.Contact:
lajiemarie@gmail.com
www.lajiemarie.blogspot.com  

by Stephanie

9.jpg

Trust – the pivotal point where a life moves forward or falls back. Trust is the attitude of heart that either shows one’s ultimate life philosophy or else a hypocritical thought pattern. I must no longer tell others how they should trust in God if I am not living out these beliefs in my own life. My words must actually come to be reflected in the way that I live. Will I believe God or will I live in fear and doubt? Will I hope in Him or will I give up on everything good?

God’s Word teaches that He will work in my life in the way that He knows is best for me. This means that I must not grasp at what I think is best when I should be hoping in God. The hardest part is likely the waiting and allowing the unknown to be worked out in me.

Again, trust is the fulcrum of all progress in one’s life. No forward movement can be made if one is not willing to lay his/her life down before the Heavenly Father. How can He do anything with an unwilling and fearful vessel?

My desire is to be a vessel that is willing and open for the Lord to use. Scripture says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding.” If I insist on having my own way in whatever situation is before me, then the promise that comes with this verse… “and He shall direct your paths…” will not be applicable to my life.

The challenge that is calling out to you and to me is this: “Commit your way unto the Lord; trust also in Him, and he shall bring it to pass.” (Ps. 37:5) What is the ‘it’ that is referred to here? I believe ‘it’ refers to the perfect and holy will of God – that which He knows is best for each one of our lives. Are you willing to join me on the adventure of entrusting our lives into God’s hands? Will you seek to allow Him total access to each area of your life? This is my prayer for my own life, and I hope it is the desire of your heart as well.

gse_multipart14173.jpgStephanie, a Christian young woman living in the beautiful mountains of Idaho in the summer and on the East Coast of Florida during the school year. She has a passion for drawing closer to Jesus Christ and reaching out to others through writing, music, and in any other way the Lord would choose.

contact:
www.stephswindowseat.blogspot.com

Fingers curled at a desperate attempt to retain body heat within the sleeves of my light jacket, I trudged drearily around the darkened track. A breeze that carried the distinct scent of winter rustled my tousled hair while the leaves of autumn crunched beneath my pink sneakers.

My eyes could but make out the outline of trees in the darkness. A friendly cat criss-crossed in front of me like a little white leprechaun desperate for attention.

Thoughts were storming my mind, questions pervaded my soul, my heart was troubled and throbbed of emptiness. Decisions, responsibilities, and desires all clouded my vision. The way before me seemed so dark and slippery. I faltered in knowing where to put my next footprint in the path of life. “Why? What? How? Where? When?” I found myself asking God over and over. The silent fresh air, a distant howling of a coyote and a white cat rubbing against my leg was the only response. Life had been going so good, I had it figured out! But then suddenly the big events were over, tragedy occured, future goals disappeared, plans were disrupted and inspiration vanished away on the winds of change. And now here I stood on a dark, cold, lonely countryside wondering “What next?” My heart ached with doubts of the capabilities of God’s hand accomplishing anything in my life.

Making my way around the bend I inhaled the fresh air of the night. Turning my eyes heavenward, my breath caught in my throat as my heart welled with wonder. As far as the eye could see, and beyond, spread a dark sky covered in sparkling galaxies. The Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, the Milky Way, and all the other formations I don’t recognize studded the clear night sky. Millions and millions of stars glistening for all the world like diamond dust. There are no words to possibly describe the surreal beauty of such a clear moonless night.

As my eyes took in the splendor of the incredible view, the still voice of God reverberated against my heart.

If I can speak the word and the worlds come into order, don’t you think I can take care of you?

If I can hold the Universe in the Palm of My Hand, don’t you think I am capable of carrying you?

If I can thrust the stars into space and paint a night sky like the one you see, don’t you think I am proficient enough to weave together the tapestry of your life?

I am God. Am I not big enough for you?

It was as though He took an eraser and applied it to all the doubts in my mind. With every smudge wiped clean I collapsed into bed with peace in my heart and a renewed joy in the Lord. The stars glistened through my window, while a beam of love and assurance shone brighter than any star out of the recesses of my heart.

The night is never so dark when the beauty of Christ penetrates it.

“For He knows the way that I take. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Job 23:10

carnival_of_beauty.jpg

The rough, eternally scarred hands of a Carpenter reached out toward one who pushed them away. No stranger to suffering, He heard the man’s words as if they were the only words spoken in the universe.”No, My son. This is not the time. That is not the place. Your dreams were not too big for Me. They were too small.”

Dominion,
novel by Randy Alcorn


Dreams. We all have them. Sometimes perhaps they’re far-fetched romantic fairy-tales. Other times nothing but simple caricatures of our imagination. But our dreams are the manifestation of our longings, wishes, prayers and cries of the heart. Dreams are the grounds of our emotions, the basis of our hopes, the reality of our desires.

I’ve heard those who claim dreaming to be a silly waste of time. But I find such a notion debatable. God is the one who placed in us the desires that we have, and to try to piously snuff them out is ludicrous.

Our outlook on life and goal for our future is shaped by our dreams. How can we expect Him to fulfill the desires of our heart when we shun the dreams He has placed there?

We cannot out dream God. He has a purpose for each of our lives, and the dreams He places within us help us to reach His potential for us.

There are those dark times when life shatters into a nightmare, and dreams seem stupid and useless. In our darkest times it is easy to become confused and wonder if we expected too much. Our dreams look stupid and silly, and maybe too big for God. But even in those times of confusion His plan exceeds our own. His dream for us reaches way beyond what our imagination could fathom.

It’s not that our dreams were too big for Him. They were too small. He couldn’t fit in them. Those are the times He has to dash our dreams.

But He will never tell us to stop dreaming. Instead He encourages us to dream on, to follow our hopes where ever they may lead, to find the dawn, and to cling tightly to Him.

Dreaming is our daring hope, and sometimes it’s all we have. In the Bible, Joseph wasn’t afraid to cling to his dream. When everything pointed the other direction, he dared to dream on. It wasn’t until after he was sold as a slave, unjustly made a prisoner for many years, and served a country that was not his own that his dream finally came true.

Dream on. There’s always the promise of the dawn.

by Stephanie  

As I was journaling last night, I found that I was full of questions, and as I wrote, a few answers, none specific, but some words from God anyway, were given to me. I know we cannot have a formula for “How to Wait on God,” but some specific thoughts and verses were an encouragement to me….

Does every young (or even older) woman wonder whether God has anyone special out there for her, or are there any who have achieved that fragile state of longing trustfully everyday without deeply aching for a husband? Or, on the other hand, are they all resigned in a bitter, sort of “poor-single-me” way? Maybe some young women are wondering how to gain the first, without falling into the second. I know I have been in that place recently.

How does one reach that spiritual place (is it a specific state?) of Mary – “Do unto me whatever You say, for I am Your bond servant.” (Luke 1:38 – wording mine) That’s beyond acceptance, that is an attitude of trusting devotion! How can one learn to trust God that way?

I believe that there must come a point in each one of our lives when we reach out in faith to God. Faith in what? Faith that if we commit our lives to our Heavenly Father, He will bring ‘it’ to pass. ( Ps. 37:5) What is ‘it?’ It is God’s plan – a specific plan “for a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11 KJV) This plan may or may not include a spouse. It may or may not bring biological children to us. What this plan does include is peace; for the one who centers her mind on God is kept “in perfect peace.” “The steadfast-of-mind You will keep in perfect peace.” (Isaiah 26:32 NASV) The steadfast young woman may also know contentment, because Paul says, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” (Phil. 4:11 NASV)

Does this mean that until (or unless) one marries it is impossible to have meaningful human relationships? No, look at Mary, the sister of Lazarus. We have no record of her having married, but it seems that she was loved deeply and also loved others deeply as well. In John & Stasie Eldredge’s book Captivating, (I do not endorse this entire book, but there are some helpful and encouraging thoughts in it) women are encouraged to love, to woo, to encourage, and to fight for the hearts and souls of others. This hardly sounds like the life of a lonely hermit. (Captivating, John & Stasie Eldredge)

So, while living in this stage of wondering, waiting, and yielding trustingly to God, follow the direction that Paul gives in Philippians 4. (I don’t have all the verses numbered out for you, I suggest reading the chapter along with this section.)

1.Live harmoniously with fellow believers.
2.Live a life of JOY in the Lord.
3. Maintain a gentle spirit.
4. Do away with worry and anxiety.
5. Give your requests to God in prayer and supplication (which according to some web definitions is also known as petitioning.) link to definitions
. Thanks Google!
6. Let God’s peace rule and dwell – take over and guide – your heart and mind.
7 Keep your mind pure – dwell on positive and clean thoughts.
REMEMBER – Christ is your strength!

Later I began thinking that this is not necessarily limited to people longing for a family of their own. It relates to anyone in any kind of waiting situation. I have learned that God often requires us to be still and allow Him to work silently before we see anything going on. I believe this is why God’s Word says, “Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your hearts before Him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” (Ps. 62:8)

(Thanks to http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/kjv/ for the help with the Scripture references and punctuation!)

gse_multipart14173.jpgStephanie, a Christian young woman living in the beautiful mountains of Idaho in the summer and on the East Coast of Florida during the school year. She has a passion for drawing closer to Jesus Christ and reaching out to others through writing, music, and in any other way the Lord would choose.

contact:
www.stephswindowseat.blogspot.com

Next Page »