I’m a Believer

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

If I Told You My Story… August 30, 2017

Filed under: christian life,faith,Uncategorized — Laura @ 6:11 pm

tell you my story.jpg
I had occasion recently to write a Personal Statement of Faith. While I have strong convictions and generally know what I believe and why I believe it, it was a challenging exercise.  I’m glad I did it.  Here it is.

I came to Christ with saving faith as a newlywed over 25 years ago.  Through my childhood I learned several important truths about God: that God was real, God was good, and God was important.  I knew about Jesus, that He was the Son of God and that He had died and had risen again.  However, I had never learned about His complete work of grace that completely saved sinners just like me.  When someone finally shared the Gospel with me plainly, clearly, and personally, I surrendered to the Holy Spirit’s invitation and was born again and became a new creature.

As a new Christian struggling with how God could use me and I could walk in His will, I found Romans 8:28  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” What a treasure and an encouragement that verse was to this new believer trying to reconcile my past with His plans.  Years later, as an older Christian trying to reconcile my future with His plans, Luke 1:45 became very meaningful to me.  “And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.”  Indeed, I have been blessed when I have believed, and He has always kept His word.

Since He saved me, God has graciously ordered my steps through His sovereignty.  He has placed godly people in my life to teach me and to guide me.  He has made provision for me and opened doors of opportunity for me.  He has taught me of His faithfulness through trying and nearly impossible circumstances.  He has never left me nor forsaken me.  He has challenged me to serve Him and provided the people and places that have needed that service.  He has called me to believe Him.  He has equipped me for every spiritual battle that I have come upon.  He has forgiven me and shown mercy to me too many times for me to count.  He has given me good gifts of family and children and has entrusted their hearts to me for a time.  He has changed me.

I’ve learned so much about God and His love for His Church that it is difficult to put everything I believe into words on one piece of paper. But I’m grateful to have an occasion to try.

Here is my simple personal statement of faith.

  • God knew me before I was born. He made me and had plans for me long before I even acknowledged Him, and while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me.
  • The Holy Spirit of God drew me, comforts me, strengthens me, and fills me.
  • The atoning sacrifice of God’s Son Jesus Christ saves me eternally.
  • The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives me FREEDOM from sin and death.
  • The grace of God moves me to inexplicable gratitude.
  • The mercy of God covers me.
  • The Church of God gives me a place to serve, to be built up, and to belong.
  • The Word of God is the only Truth in this world.
  • The command of God is for His children to love Him and to love people, with the ultimate expression of that love being to share His Truth and His Gospel with the world.
  • The promise of God is that He will return for His people who were bought with the blood of Jesus Christ.  I will serve Him until He comes.

I’m a Believer!

Laura

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Perspectives on Motherhood May 9, 2010

Me with the girls who call me "Mom"

The idea of motherhood for me has changed a great deal from when I was a child and HAD a mom (note:  I still have a mom!), to when I had children of my own and BECAME a mom.  Here are some things I have learned:

  • When you are a child and you HAVE a mom, you may think she has some pretty strange tastes.  She likes the end piece of the bread, she always eats the burnt piece of chicken, and how can she stand those licorice jelly beans?

When you ARE a mom, you realize that when you go to make yourself a sandwich, the only pieces of bread that will be left in the bread bag are the end pieces.  At dinner you know that lonely burnt piece of chicken will just sit there unless you eat it –besides, you burned it, you earned it, you get to eat it!  And black jelly beans… well if you ever hope to eat another jelly bean at Easter time, you better learn to like the black ones.  They are my mom’s favorites.

  • When you HAVE a mom, you think it is sooooooo sweet that she always saves that last piece of cake and puts it up on a special little plate up in the cabinet just for you.

When you ARE a mom, you remind yourself once again, that next time you need to find a better hiding place for your secret snack time treats.

And just when you are tempted to have a pity party for yourself, you realize that Mom does not live by bread (or chicken or jelly beans) alone and that the most important nourishment you can get will come from God’s word.  (Luke 4:4)

  • When you HAVE a mom, there may be times when you are convinced that she is not nearly as fun as Dad and wonder why she doesn’t always come with you and Dad to the park, or the lake, or on a bike ride.

When you ARE a mom, you find yourself daydreaming about Dad walking in the door and announcing Prince Charming style that he is taking the kids to the park, because you know what that means…. you are going to get…. a BATH!

And just when you are about to lose your mind wondering if you’ll ever wash your hair again, you are reminded that a clean pure heart is even more important to God.  (Matthew 5:8)

  • When you HAVE a mom, you may think she does some strange things like crying when she is happy?!

When you ARE a mom, you know in your heart that those initial tears of joy you shed when you first saw your baby’s sweet face are only the beginning of many tears that you will have throughout the life of this child:  happy tears, sad tears, frustrated tears, worried tears, prayerful tears.

And just when we begin to wonder what all this crying in about, we can remind ourselves that our tears are precious to God.  The Bible says He sees our tears, saves our tears, and one day will wipe away all our tears.  (Psalm 126:5, Psalm 56:8, Revelation 21:4)

  • When you have a mom, you may find yourself wondering why she can’t be a “cool mom” that’s more like a best friend than a parent.

When you ARE a mom, you will find yourself calling your really cool best friend (who just happens to be your Mom) and asking her when you can quit being mom & just be a friend to your child.  She’ll tell you that the better parent you are now, the better friend you will have later.

And just when you are about to give up on your child having the kind of friends she needs, you will remember to tell her that Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a brother, and He is always there. (Proverbs 18:24)

  • When you HAVE a mom, you know that if you cry out because you had a bad dream, she will be beside your bed to comfort you.

When you ARE a mom and you hear that little cry from down the hall, first you wonder why Daddy ears don’t work as well as Mommy ears in the middle of the night, and then you rush to your child’s bed to assure her everything will be ok.

Just when you start to wonder how long you will have to make these midnight comfort runs, you are reminded that you won’t always get to, but that you serve the God of all comfort who promises His children that He is a very present help in time of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

  • When you HAVE a mom, you know she loves you.

When you ARE a mom, you suddenly know HOW MUCH she has loved you.

You also begin to get a glimpse, just a glimpse, of how much God must love you. (John 3:16)

  • When you have a mom, you are convinced that even though she does some things you don’t understand, she is the greatest mom in the world.

When you ARE a mom, you look around at other moms and you are convinced that you are NOT the greatest mom in the world.

Then you remember who gave you this job.  God Himself has graciously given you this job!  Your job is to raise your children so that they can move from depending on you to depending on God.  And as you serve this great God, He has everything you need to be the mother He has called you to be.  (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

Motherhood itself is the perfect Mother’s Day Gift!

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, who has taught me so much & loved me through all the tough stuff, and to all the other moms out there trying to do the best you can for your children.

I’d love to hear what perspectives motherhood has changed for you.  Leave a note in the comments…

I’m a Believer!
Laura

 

Daily Mercies…His Enduring Mercy Every Day August 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laura @ 10:26 am

My sweet friend Ginger @ Here’s My Cup Lord asked me to write about MERCY a few months ago for The Daily Mercies, and I’m finally getting around to it.  (Sorry for the tardiness, Gin!  But I do thank you for extending this challenge to me.)  When I accepted, I didn’t know that it would prove to be such a challenge, but as I’ve consciously looked at God’s mercy for the past few months, I began to see how vast His mercy is and how freely and justly He extends it – far more than could be expressed by my simple words in a blog.

Mercy and grace are often paired together when describing some of God’s greatest gifts to us.  Grace being the giving of good things undeservedly, and mercy being the withholding of bad things, also undeservedly.  They go together beautifully, but I believe that mercy must be greater or at least come first, because without the gift of mercy, we would never even have the opportunity to enjoy God’s grace.

It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.  ~Lamentation 3:22-23

As I studied the GOODNESS of God, I became more and more convinced that God’s goodness is epitomized in His mercy.

O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.  ~Psalm 136:1

Psalm 136 says that because of God’s enduring mercy, we can know and be thankful that He is good.  After beginning with a declaration of God’s goodness and his mercy, the psalm lists all the things God has done for His people and repeats 26 times that God’s mercy endures forever!  Were it not for His great mercy, we would not be able to receive His great blessings.

In who He is, God is merciful.

In creation, God is merciful.

In defeating our enemies, God is merciful.

In delivering us from bondage, God is merciful.

In making the impossible possible, God is merciful.

In leading us through the wilderness, God is merciful.

In slaying the strongholds in our life, God is merciful.

In giving His children a heritage, God is merciful.

In remembering us, God is merciful.

In redeeming us, God is merciful.

In providing for our physical needs, God is merciful.

I give thanks to the Lord for He is eternally merciful!

When the Solomon’s temple was completed (2 Chronicles 5), and  the congregation gathered together to restore the ark of the covenant to its rightful place, they praised God together and declared God’s goodness and mercy with amazing results:

It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD;  So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.  ~2 Chronicles 5:13-14 (emphasis added)

God has a supernatural mercy both for His children and for unrepentant sinners that I cannot comprehend, yet for which I am eternally grateful.  This supernatural mercy was extended to me while I was in the process of rejecting Him.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  ~Romans 5:8

It continues to be extended to me now that I am one of His own.  Daily He gives mercy freely and completely.  Christ died for ME! and declares now that since I have received His ultimate gift of mercy, the sacrificial death of Jesus, that I am the temple of His Holy Spirit.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  ~1 Corinthians 3:16

Imagine the power we will have as Christians, when we declare that God is good and recognize that His mercy endures forever, when the glory of the Lord fills our temples so completely that our flesh cannot stand because of His glory!  My challenge to myself daily, and to any of you who would pick it up, is to declare daily the mercy of God in all things, and then to walk in victory because of the glory of the Lord that will fill your temple.

Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever.  ~Psalm 118:4

I’m a Believer!

Laura

is of] the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
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Lam 3:23 [They are] new every morning: great [is] thy faithfulness.
 

Things I Learned From My Dad May 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laura @ 10:40 pm
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My Daddy celebrated his birthday this past Monday, so I thought it would be a good time to share some things that this unique man has taught me throughout the years.  Once you meet him you will find that he truly has the mind of a mad scientist and a heart of gold.  He is a great adventurer and a student of many things.  He always carries a pen or pencil and a notebook, a tire gauge, a pocket knife, a little plastic coin purse, and if you are really lucky, some electrical tape.  I’ve tried to learn as much as possible from this man who likes a thorough experience of life.  Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

  • Curiosity is Good! Not only is it good – it is imperative. “Curiosity killed the cat” has never deterred my daddy from anything. He has the curiosity of at least 90 cats, and he must have the 810 lives to go along with it. “I wonder…” has been the beginning of many of Dad’s great adventures. As we drove over a bridge on vacation it would suddenly become necessary that we know how the bridge holds up all that weight, how it was built, and what the bridge was made of. It has always been important that we not only understand what something is, but how and why it is the way it is. Curiosity has served my daddy well.  He is curious about everything except computers.  Although I think he and Mr. Google would quickly become fast friends!May June 2007 047
  • When you get sleepy, the grass is the best place for a nap!
  • Good snacks are important. Some of my favorite memories of my Dad involve yummy things to eat.  I remember when I was very little and he traveled in sales, we could always count on him bringing us back “Stage Plank” or “Rock N Roll” cookies (the gingerbread with the pink icing… mmmmm….).  As I got older, I was able to “help” him on jobs in the summer.  We always stopped to get a good lunch – I remember my first personal pan pizza at a Pizza Hut somewhere in Texas at lunch with my Daddy.  In recent years, he has showed up at my house with a box full of orange push up pops for my girls.  He’s even been known to travel with a brown paper bag of boudin.
  • Velcro is amazing! When my dad discovered velcro, nothing was safe from being velcroed.  The dashboard of his car was a masterpiece of velcro art.  I believe he still loves velcro, though I haven’t seen as much of it in these past few years.  Perhaps he is past his “Velcro Period.”  He also had a “Copper Period.”  (All great artists do this, right?)May June 2007 073
  • Dancing at weddings is one of life’s great joys (for Dad, if not always for his partners).  You must dance like you mean it at the weddings of those you hold dear.  From the 20-somethings to the little old ladies, no one is off limits as a partner.
  • Helping people is good. It might be difficult, but it is good to help those in need.  Dad has always been available to help family and  even the occasional stranger stranded along side the road.  He has stopped at accidents and offered encouragement to people at some of the most difficult times in their lives. He’s cared for old lonely people, he’s changed flats for strangers, and written letters of encouragement to hurting people.  The world would be a better place if we all cared for people so fearlessly.
  • Water in the back of the toilet is clean enough to drink. (No explanation available at this time)
  • When streaking (yes, that kind of streaking) always wear your shoes, and keep your undergarments in your hand. Also, when you hit 50 (years old, not MPH), you aren’t running as fast as you think you are.

  • scan0025Children are not insignificant. Dad has always been a family man. With great joy he still loves to tell of bringing me home from the hospital in a box. He was amazed at how tiny I was. (I would need a refrigerator box now!)  As I grew I remember sitting on his shoulders, rolling in the grass with him, him teaching me to ride my bicycle.  I remember him taking me & my brothers out in the boat and teaching us to swim.  I remember Dad taking us to the park when we got bored at Grandma’s house.  We could always count on him to push us the highest on the swings.  As children, we were not insignificant.  He enjoyed us, and we enjoyed him.  This is why I smile when he takes my little girls on walks to the park or to the McNeese farm:  because I know he knows they are significant.
  • You can make it through hard times and come out better. Mom & Dad did have some hard times and several challenges throughout their 41+ years of marriage.  Employment was a challenge for a few years when I was growing up, but he always did what was necessary to support the family, and when he started his own business, it gave him great freedom to be a husband and a dad, as well as a breadwinner.  He and mom were always committed to each other and to us, and they made sure that we knew it.  I felt so secure in knowing that…I still do.
  • It is a parent’s right (and responsibility) to embarrass their kids thoroughly, and often. As your children get older, it is not only a right and a responsibility, it’s downright enjoyable.  Favorite moments typifying this:
    • Dad standing in the middle of the road in front of our house waving madly and yelling “SLOW DOWN” at the “cool people” driving down my street.
    • Sitting at the table with one of my high school friends as Dad wrote her a speeding ticket for “talking too fast.”
    • Standing at McDonald’s wondering if that really is my dad walking behind the counter to turn off the French fry buzzer because it is getting on his nerves (or perhaps it’s a dream…  Nope, not a dream.)

    If you are really good at the embarrassment strategies, you will eventually embarrass your children without even trying.  As you approach your senior years, it gets even easier to embarrass the grandkids.

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Killing 2 birds with one stone - showing love & embarrassing the kids!

  • Spray paint and epoxy are AWESOME, but the greatest is love… My daddy is a man who thinks deeply, and loves even more deeply.  Many a tumultuous teenage argument ended with his assurance that he loved me.  Whether it’s sneaking an embrace from mom in the kitchen or still kissing me goodnight when we spend the night, I’ve never had any doubt of the love of my father.  I count myself privileged to be loved by him.

Happy birthday, Daddy (2 days late, of course!).  I love you & I’m glad you’re my Daddy.

I’m a Believer!

Laura

(To read about my Mommy, click here.)

 

Bloggy Recommendations April 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laura @ 6:10 pm

Hello!  I pray everyone had a blessed celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and an equally blessed spring break.  I know I did.

I’m busy in preparation for our upcoming beach retreat.  Please pray for us this week as a group or 19 ladies head to Fort Morgan for our spring retreat.  This year’s theme is Taste & “Sea”. 

O, taste & see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.
~Psalm 34:8

I’ll be leading the teaching portions and ministering with the retreat team.  (Going to the beach is a tough job, but someone’s got to do it… GRIN!)

I plan to share much about what I learned when we get back.

In the meantime, I would like to share a couple of blogs with you that I LOVE!

heremycuplord_button2One is my friend GINGER.  Her blog has a brand new look, and she is celebrating her one year “blogaversary”.  It is not only beautiful to look at – complete with my favorite color (red) and animated ladies drinking coffee in a little sidewalk cafe, it also has great content:  from recipes, to spirit lifting scriptures, prayer requests, beautiful writing, and much encouragement.  Stop by Here’s My Cup Lord and allow the Lord to fill your cup to overflowing. 

pink-ribbon-joy21The other blog is a blog of someone I’ve never met, but her strength and boldness during a difficult time encourage me every time I stop by.  Her name is Lori Moon, and she is battling cancer.  Her blog, My Own Road Home, is full of the word of God and testimony of His faithfulness even in the dark times of life.  She has beautiful music, things to laugh about, and personal stories.  Stop by and be encouraged.

I’m a Believer!

Laura

 

He Is Risen! April 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laura @ 6:00 am

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.  

~Matthew 28:6

 

Father, Into Thy Hands (Surrender) April 11, 2009

(This is part of an Easter series: The Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross.  To view all posts in this series, click here.)

PRESENTATION OF HIS LIFE & SPIRIT – Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. ~Luke 23:46

Again, Jesus prays.  He began with a prayer, He prayed in the midst, and He ends with a prayer.  As He lived, so He died, in perfect communion with His Father.

At this point, Jesus has been brought through anguish, obedience, darkness, and recognition of the completion of God’s plan.  It has been a long, painful day.  And so at the end of this day He prays and addresses God again tenderly as Father. 

Again He prays scripture:

Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. ~Psalm 31:5

Psalm 31:5 was the “now I lay me down to sleep” type of prayer of the day.  Many Jewish mothers undoubtedly prayed this prayer at the end of long days with their children.  Perhaps even Jesus had done so throughout His life.  Now He prays it one last time, knowing that even though He had felt forsaken only hours before, His spirit will be safe in His Father’s hands.  These words speak the ultimate surrender to the will of the Father, and now the redemption spoken of in the psalm is completed.

There are several noteworthy things about this presentation of his spirit, but the main one is this:

IT IS LAST!

Many times we think that we can just skip to this step when trying to walk through something difficult, trying to crucify something about our flesh.  We yearn desperately to press the fast forward button to get to the finish line and run headlong into the arms of our Father who is waiting for us.  But can we really expect a heart of surrender toward Him if we aren’t willing to walk in forgiveness, mercy, grace, provision, spiritual dependence, obedience, knowledge of God’s plan, as Jesus did on the cross?

We must walk through what God has for us.  Jesus had to – what makes us think we are so special??  We ARE special though – God sends the Holy Ghost to empower us – to help us as we walk by faith seeking to do the will of the Father.  He is conforming us to the image of His son. 

To commend our spirit into God’s hands demonstrates complete and total trust in the nature of God and the plans of God, as shown in the Word of God. 

At death, after living a perfect life, as Jesus presented His body as a sacrifice for all believers, He commended His Spirit into the hands of His Father.  If you have accepted the sacrifice of Christ as atonement for your sins, when you come to the end of your life, you need not be afraid.    If you practice a daily life of surrender into the hands of God, how much more joyous will that day be when you confidently and with sweet surrender and relief run into the open arms of your loving Father who waits for you.  I’m looking forward to it! 

I’m A Believer!

Laura