I’m a Believer

…blessed is she that believed… -Luke 1:45

Off to the Beach! April 30, 2008

I’m off to the beach for a few days for our Ladies’ Beach Retreat.  I’m really excited to share what I’ve learned in preparing my messages.  I’ll try to summarize some of them when I get back.  Here’s a quick overview, so you can see what you are missing. 😎

I’m A Believer Retreat
May 1-4, 2008

I’ve had a great time studying and one thing I’ve discovered that bears out through scripture is that BELIEVING THE WORD leads to KNOWING THE TRUTH, and KNOWING THE TRUTH leads to FREEDOM. 

Take the time to read John 17 with fresh eyes and a fresh heart.  Wow!  What an amazing plan God has allowed us to be a part of.  Make note of how important belief is to this plan…

Pray for us while we are gone.  I’ll stick my toes in the sand for y’all!

I’m a Believer!

Laura

Advertisements
 

New Page – Book List April 26, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laura @ 10:54 pm

I added a page to the blog (tab at top) – Favorite and Current Reading.  I’ve listed some of my favorite books.  Check it out and let me know some of your favorites.

I’m a Believer!

Laura

 

Great Song! “What a Way to Go”

This past Sunday, our Pastor & his wife sang What a Way to Go.  I love this song, and I really enjoy watching them minister in song together.

You can watch it here…(and you can watch the whole service, if you want to)
http://riveroflifeworship.blogspot.com/2008/04/sundays-message-4-20-2008.html

What a treat!  I love my church family…

I’m a Believer!

 

Here’s Your Sign – (What’s an Ebenezer?) April 24, 2008

Wow!  I had no idea…Someone at the LA DOTD must have read my blog and felt sorry for me!  Just one week after my cakes were crushed on the way to church (see previous post Crushed & Shattered Dreams) this is what appeared on the side of the road (complete with BLINKING LIGHTS!), just before the EXACT spot where the “incident” occurred.  

To me it is a funny thing; to my husband I think it is more like a depressing roadside memorial.  It makes me grin each time I pass it on the way to church.  It makes him cringe.  To me it is a reminder not to get upset over small things (smashed cake), to forgive quickly (the driver), to know what’s really important (not cake!), oh yeah – and to take the curve at 30 MPH.  I’ll have to ask him what it is a reminder of when he looks at it (probably my “mean face” or my hissy fit).

You know, I believe God is pleased for us to have reminders of both  our defeats (whether induced by self or enemy) and our victories that come by His hand.  I believe it is a faith builder to remember how far we have come by God’s grace, and it is an absolute necessity that we remember the spiritual lessons we have learned along the way. 

In the Old Testament, the Israelites set up stones as memorials of great victories given to them by God’s mighty outstretched arm.  Many times God commanded them to do so.  This was not only to remind themselves of the past, but to give testimony to anyone in the future who might one day ask “Hey, what’s that stone doing there?”  Samuel set up a memorial when God delivered he and his army a victory in battle. 

Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.  1 Samuel 7:12

I like this story because I love victorious endings, and, besides that, I just like saying “Ebenezer.”

Thanks DOTD for my Ebenezer!

I’m a Believer!

 

What Do You Have to Believe? April 21, 2008

I’m posting the lyrics to the song that is our beach retreat theme song – I Have to Believe, by Rita Springer. (You can listen to it, too, by clicking on POP OUT PLAYER on favorite songs in the green column on the right———–> over there  —->)  UPDATE – CLICK HERE FOR A YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THIS SONG – IT’S BEEN REMOVED FROM PLAYLIST.  Kim Hill sang it at the Celebration of Women Conference at Calvary Baptist in Alexandria, and it really ministered to me about the importance of faith. 

In order to be victorious, there are some things I HAVE TO believe.  I have to believe that God is enough.  I have to believe that He has it all worked out.  I have to believe that God loves me more than I can ever imagine.  I have to believe that His word is true.  I have to believe that I can believe.  I have to believe that He can help me believe.  I have to believe that Jesus paid for my full salavation and there is nothing I can do to earn it, lose it, break it, mess it up or misplace it!  I have to believe that He hears me.  I have to believe the TRUTH!  I have to believe there’s so much more I have to believe…

I HAVE TO BELIEVE
by Rita Springer

I have to believe that He sees my darkness
I have to believe He knows my pain
I have to lift up my hands to Worship
Worship His name

I have to declare that He is my refuge
I have to deny that I am alone
I have to lift up my eyes to the mountains, that’s where my help, it comes from

He said that He’s forever faithful
He said that He’s forever true
He said that He can move mountains
If He can move mountains
He can move my mountain, He can move your mountain too

I have to stand tall when the wind blows me over
I have to stand strong when I’m weak and afraid
I have to grab hold, ahold of the garments, the garments of praise

He said that He’s forever faithful (and I know it)
He said that He’s forever true
He said that He can move mountains
If He can move mountains
He can move my mountain, He can move your mountain too

I have to sing praise when the hour is midnight
He unlocks these chains that bind up my soul
My sin and my shame He has forgiven, and made me whole

He said that He’s forever faithful
He said that He’s forever true
He said that He can move mountains
If He can move mountains
He can move my mountain, He can move your mountain too (yeahhh)

I have to believe

He’s got everything under control
I have to believe
mmmm yeah
Lord I believe, help my unbelief
I have to believe in you
I have to believe

 

What do you have to believe?  Leave a comment and let us know your “must believes”…

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.  And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.  Mark 9:23-24 

I’m A Believer!

 

God’s Faith Building Program – Baby Steps April 18, 2008

In a previous post, I looked at the life of Elijah the prophet and how God began to reveal Himself to him.  I was fascinated at the elaborate training God put him through for a time in his life where great faith would be needed.  God’s faith building program starts with baby steps.  It did for Elijah.  It began with God giving Elijah boldness to go before the ungoldly King Ahab.  After giving the prophecy, God instructed Elijah to go the brook Cherith where God had provided ravens to feed him there.   Elijah stayed there obediently, but the brook eventually dried up due to a drought in the land.

We see that Elijah did not panic and go looking for water somewhere else, or decide that his hiding time must be over, or just give in to thirst and despair and decide that God must have forgotten him.  No, he made the choice to wait and listen for God.  As always, God was faithful.  

And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. 1 Kings 17:8-9 

Again we see the word there in the specific instructions from God, not just once this time, but twice.  God lets Elijah know that He has provision for him, but again, it is in a specific place, this time complicated by the fact that it involves another person.  (Yikes!  It’s so much easier to believe God when His plan doesn’t depend on me and somebody else being obedient.) 

Now, Elijah has another choice at this moment.  He can look at things “logically” and conclude that he must be mistaken in what he is hearing from God or perhaps that God’s plan is unreasonable or doesn’t pertain to him because there is no way that a widow woman will be able to sustain him OR he can trust the God that just came through for him and remain on the path God has for him, complete with provision.  Elijah, remembering the faithfulness of God, chooses to believe and to act on God’s command.

So he arose and went to Zarephath.  1 Kings 17:10a

When Elijah got there, there she was, just as God had said.

And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.  1Kings 17:10b

Wow!  Another faith builder in the life of Elijah…It happened just as God said it would.  Basing his faith on the word of God, and remembering God’s previous provision, Elijah found the boldness to ask for more than just water, but for sustenance that had been promised to him.

And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. 1 Kings 17:11

The widow woman, not knowing that she has just been enrolled in God’s faith building program, protests because her circumstances are impossible and hopeless.  Who wouldn’t?

And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. 1 Kings 17:12

But God has bigger plans for this woman and her son.  He wants to so increase their faith in Him that His resurrection power can be demonstrated. 

It brings to mind a picture of a parent first teaching a child to walk.  Do you remember holding a tiny little hand, looking into an uncertain little face, and saying something like, “Come on!  I’ve got you.  You can do it.”  The child may then look at your face, then look at her feet, then look at your hand, making sure your hand is firmly clasped in her tight little fingers.  She then has a choice to make … Do I believe this person who has fed me, held me, and sustained me?  Do I take a step?  Or do I sit down and cry? 

With the widow woman, God extends His hand to her through His word (as He did with Elijah), asking her to take a baby step. 

And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.  For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.  1 Kings 17:13-14

The widow has everything she needs to step out in faith.  Is she willing to do it?

Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24

How about you?  Can you share a time that God held your hand, gave you His word, and asked you to take that first step toward Him?  I’d love to hear about that first step & how far He’s led you since then…

I’m A Believer!

 

Recipe for Crushed & Shattered Dreams* April 15, 2008

Ingredients:

  • 1 overscheduled mom
  • 1 overscheduled dad
  • 3 overscheduled children
  • 1 work day at church
  • 1 school carnival
  • 1 ball practice
  • 1 half empty pantry
  • 1 commitment to bring 2 cakes to the church cakewalk
  • 1 commitment to bring 5 gallons of homemade lemonade to church fair
  • 1 curvy road

Instructions:

Combine all overscheduled ingredients early on a Saturday morning.  Be sure overscheduled mother picks up overscheduled teen from friend’s house and takes her to grocery store after church workday to purchase items for 2 cakes and dinner, while overscheduled dad takes 2 other overscheduled children to school carnival & conducts ball practice. 

Get home from grocery store and realize that all the eggs in (dirty) fridge are boiled, and thus, cannot be used in baking 2 gourmet cakes for cakewalk.  Call overscheduled dad at ball practice and ask him to please pick up eggs on way home from said ball practice plus pick up one bag of ice (in his spare time, of course). 

Cook dinner while waiting for eggs.  (Be sure that the enchiladas you cook are “too spicy” for anyone to enjoy.)  When eggs, sunburnt husband, and dirty overscheduled children get home, send them all to tub and begin making cakes – one “Orange Dreamsicle” and one “Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Dream.”  Allow overscheduled clean children to “help” while dinner is baking.

Eat enchiladas.  Listen to complaints – “My mouth is on fire!”  “I need some more water!”  “Why did you make these so hot?”  Try to clean up mess so that you can make another mess while finishing cakes.  Run to Dollar Tree to pick out two cute plates for gourmet cakes.  Finish cakes with artistic garnish & flair (think Martha Stewart).

Make 5 gallons of homemade lemonade & slice 15 lemons.  Allow children to “help” again. Try to lift 100 pound lemonade dispenser.  Decide that husband will be the one to move it.

Let all ingredients rest until Sunday morning.  Load up the van early.  Begin 17-minute ride to church.  As you round a curve in the road, turn the wheel sharply to avoid oncoming traffic in your lane.  Listen carefully for the crunch of 5 gallons of lemonade toppling on top of artistically garnished cakes, crushing Orange Dreamsicle cake to smithereens and half shattering Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Dream.  Pull over to the side of the road & hysterically throw a hissy fit in your Sunday clothes.  Pick up lemonade from atop your shattered dreams cakes, and continue to church house in strained silence.

Get very angry at oncoming car, overscheduled children, overscheduled husband, and overscheduled self.  While in communion service, realize that it was only cake, the “wasted time” spent baking it was time spent with children, that you really didn’t want your husband have a head-on collision on the way to church, and that artistically decorated cakes are not indispensable to the church cakewalk.  These things happen…

James 4:14  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Vow to carry cake on your lap next time.

*Based on a true story.

I’m a Believer!
Laura