Thursday, April 29, 2010

God's Goodness Even in Trials

This has been a week filled with conflict and trials--just one of those weeks when God really tests whether or not I really trust that His plan is better than mine! A few nights ago, I was sitting in my room and just felt like everything was crashing down on me all at once. I hadn't been making any time to spend with Jesus, I had multiple projects and tests due, I was in the midst of conflict with friends, and overall I just felt as if I was failing to really do a good job of anything! It was then, that God tugged on my heart and said "Katie, stop freaking out and take time to listen to what I have to say to you. I'm here and I want to help you, but you have to let me." I realized that I was trying to do everything on my own--and failing MISERABLY!!! That's because we aren't supposed to do everything on our own! God offers us His hand for a reason. He is always right beside me waiting to help me and I am usually so busy trying to do it myself that I forget that I don't have to.

I've been reading in James a lot this week. I've read James more times than I can count! It's one of those books of the Bible that I've grown up reading and been taught my whole life. Honestly, I probably know it better than any other book in the Bible, but somehow God always teaches me something new every time I read it!! The other night when I was having such a rough time I just opened it and started reading. The second through eighth verse of the first chapter says, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being an double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."

The first few verses that talked about going through trials have always been really important and encouraging verses in my life, but this week they just really hit home! I needed to be reminded of that. Going through trials is never fun and obviously not easy (that's the whole point of trials!), but God has a greater purpose. Somehow these trials bring him glory. We may not see the big picture, but that's the point! God does! That's why He is God and we aren't!! If we were never tested we would never grow in our faith and we wouldn't have the need to believe in a sovereign God! If for no other reason, God tries us as a means to make us cry out to Him and realize our utter dependence on Him.

The second part of these verses talks about asking for wisdom and asking in faith. When God puts us in these difficult situations He wants us to cry out to him! He wants us to ask Him for help and seek His guidance. But He doesn't want us to just ask; He wants us to ask in faith. In fact, he says that if we don't ask in faith we are double-minded. We can't ask with an attitude of "Oh, maybe God will answer my prayer." God is all-powerful and all-knowing. He has the power to change every situation and sometimes He does, but we have to ask in faith with not even the slightest hint of doubt! This is not to say that God will change everything just because we ask, but if we ask in His will, wanting only what He wants, in order that He may get all the glory, He hears our prayers and sometimes He chooses to lead us out of hardships.

Ultimately God has been teaching me that He is ever faithful and He loves me so much! He tries us only to teach us and He is with us every step of the way through every situation! He hears us when we cry and He loves us enough to take care of our every need!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Give Thanks!

This morning in Church, Mark taught about about giving thanks. He read Psalm 100 which says:

"(1) Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
(2) Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
(3) Know that the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
(4) Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
(5)For the LORD is good;
His lovingkidness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations."

Mark really stressed the point that we are to give thanks for everything. It doesn't say "give thanks after God does something good." It says "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise." We are to enter with a heart of thankfulness! Don't just wait until God brings something good in your life and then thank Him for what He has done. Thank him for what He is going to do!

My heart was pulled this morning by the Holy Spirit. I have been given so much, yet I offer up so little. I have way beyond what I need. God has blessed me with family and friends who encourage me to press on in my walk of faith. He has given me what I need to survive physically and then much, much more beyond that. He has blessed me with good health and a place to go when I'm not in good health and medicine for doctors to prescribe if I need it and money to pay for the medicine! I am a BLESSED person and I take every day and all that is in it for granted! God is SO good!!! Have you thanked Him today?!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Cross

On this Saturday night before Resurrection Sunday tomorrow I've been contemplating the cross and what it means to me. In the past Easter has just been kinda a ritual to me...just something we do each year to celebrate the death and Resurrection of Christ. I had gotten it down to where it was just a routine. We go to church Friday night for the somber Good Friday service. Saturday we have a chill day just like any other Saturday except that we dye eggs that night. Sunday morning we wake up to see what the Easter bunny has left on our front steps for us and then go to church where I get to read who all the Easter Lilies were dedicated to in the bulletin. Sunday afternoon we have a picnic lunch and Easter egg hunt at Pinnacle Mountain with friends. Sunday Evening is the Resurrection choir concert and then Monday everything is back to normal with school and everything else. But this year has been different.

God has really placed the importance of Good Friday and Easter on my heart this year. This is what those of us who have been saved are here for! We are on this earth to share this great story and wonderful news with the world! This should be a grand celebration and much anticipated weekend for those of us who are saved by the grace of God! And until this year it hasn't been for me. Thankfully the Lord chose to do a work in my heart these past few weeks though and He has really pressed it on my heart continually that this weekend was coming up and I needed to be prepared for it. The weeks leading up to it have been a time of dwelling on God's goodness and the precious gift of the death and resurrection of His only Son! What a beautiful gift!!! So, to wrap this up in these last few minutes before Resurrection Sunday begins I wanted to post the lyrics to "Lead Me to the Cross" by Hillsong. It has really meant a lot to me these past few weeks. What a wonderful Savior we serve!!!

Savior I come
Quiet my soul, remember
Redemption's hill
Where Your blood was spilled
For my ransom
Everything I once held dear
I count it all as lost

Lead me to the cross
Where you blood poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to you
Lead me, lead me to the cross

You were as I
Tempted and tried
The word became flesh
Bore my sin and death
Now you're risen
Everything I once held dear
I count it all as lost

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Make War!

Currently I am reading "Lady in Waiting" (which I HIGHLY recommend!) and a Proverb a day for my daily devotional. This morning I got to the end of my chapter in "Lady in Waiting" and the author had me read Galatians 5:16-25. It says:

"(16) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. (17) For the flesh sets it's desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another. so that you may not do the things that you please. (18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. (19) Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, (20) idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissentions, factions, (21) envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentelness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (24) Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (25) If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."

As I read this I just kept thinking are those things true of me? Am I led by the Spirit? Do I live like I'm led by the spirit or do I live like I'm led by the flesh? Am I jealous? Yes. Do I have outbursts of anger? Yes. Am I loving? No. Am I patient? Definite no! Am I kind? No. So why is that?! If I say that I'm being led by the Spirit why don't I live like I am?

God has really been making a point to show me that this life is a battle! It's a constant battle! I can't just pray my sin away. I have to take up the armor of God and fight it! Not to say that I shouldn't pray or that I can fight it on my own because if I try to I will surely fail! But it isn't a passive thing. I have to take action! In order to be living as Christ did I have to study His Word and be fully emmersed in what He requires of me. And I haven't been!

The more I read the Bible the more I realize how little I know about it. I have grown up in a wonderful church with amazing pastors and leaders. I have been taught the Word both in church and in my home since the day I was born, but now I'm out on my own and it's my choice. I have to chose to get up and go to church on Sundays. I have to chose to get up earlier to spend time with my Savior. I have to chose to pick up God's Word rather than wasting time watching TV. My parents and my pastors and leaders aren't here anymore to tell me what to do. And I think now, more than ever, is when Satan wants to distract me from what God wants me to learn! And that is exactly why it's a battle and why I have to take action with the strength that comes only from "He who is greater than he who is in the world"!

Just my thoughts for the day! :) Hope it encourages and blesses you as much as God has used it to bless me today! Thanks for reading! Have a blessed day serving our Savior!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

"He's Coming for a Pure Bride"

Hello! :)

So, I tried blogging once and it didn't stick very long, but I want to get in the habit of doing it again. The Lord has been growing me and teaching me a lot this year and I want to share what He has been teaching me and what I have struggled with so that others may be encouraged and learn from my mistakes. Here goes my first post! :)

As you probably noticed, I've chosen for my blog name to be "Pure Bride--Psalm 24:3-5". The reason behind comes from two things. The first one is Leeland's song "Pure Bride". The lyrics say:

He's coming for a pure bride
He's coming for a pure bride
See Him riding in the skies
See the fire inside His eyes
Through the darkness His light will shine
In His glory He's lifted high
He's coming for a pure bride

The Lord is coming for His bride
Make way for the Lord
He's clothing all his children in white
Make way for the Lord

What are you doing
When no one is watching?
What are you doing?

Children, get your hearts right
God's coming for a pure bride
Children, get your hearts right

God has used these lyrics to both encourage and convict me. College has brought about many opportunities to make my own decisions and often times those decisions are made "when no one is watching". I might be able to get away with doing something that I know I shouldn't without anyone on this earth knowing...but God knows! He sees everything! And God is coming for a "pure bride"! He is coming back someday and I don't know when that day will be. But I do know that when it comes I want to be a "pure bride".

The second part of my blog name is Psalm 24:3-5. These verses say:

"(3) Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
(4) He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
(5) He will receive blessing from the LORD
and righteousness from the God of his salvation."
[English Standard Version]

I want this to be true of me! I want to have "clean hands and a pure heart"! I don't want to "lift up [my] soul to what is false"! I want to be pure in every way!!

So these are my reasons for choosing the name that I did. And I want this blog to be used to encourage others, share the mistakes that I make and what I learn from them, hold me accountable to God's high standards, share what God is teaching me, put God's goodness on display, and ultimately give the glory to Him who created me and who I was made to glorify! Thank you for reading! :)