May 29, 2011

Out of the Comfort Zone

You may be facing a decision that’s forcing you to choose between the easy and the adventurous. How you decide will tell a lot about how much of your life you’ve entrusted to God.
Jack Hayford

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When I saw this quote in my Women of Character book it was referring to Orpah (Ruth’s sister-in law) however, I immediately thought about Nehemiah. Nehemiah is one of my favorite biblical characters. I admire his love for his people, his strength and his dedication.

When we first meet Nehemiah in chapter one he’s just gotten news from home.
3They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire. Nehemiah 1:3 NIV
As you can see, the news wasn’t good news. The wall of Jerusalem, which was a form of protection from the enemy had been torn down. Nehemiah’s heart was touched by the plight of his people and he immediately went into fasting and prayer as to what God would have him to do.
4. When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.11. Oh Lord let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.I was cupbearer to the king. Nehemiah 1:4,11
What stood out to me in this verse is when Nehemiah said, I was cupbearer to the king. I’m not certain what the job entailed but I do know that Nehemiah was in a comfortable position away from all that was happening at home. You can go as far as to say Nehemiah was in a comfort zone.

Isn’t it just like God to wait until we’re in a position in life where we feel comfortable and at peace to call us out of our comfort zone to do something quite difficult. On the other hand, isn’t it just like God to give us everything that we need to get it done?

Nehemiah was sheltered and protected within the palace walls. The lack of a wall around Jerusalem did not affect him physically. However, Nehemiah looked beyond his own comfort and well being to that of his countryman. Nehemiah made a choice that day he chose the adventurous one. Not everyone was happy when he arrived in Jerusalem and began the task of rebuilding the wall. He was ridiculed, he was threatened, he was discouraged but yet he did not give up. We see the real strength of Nehemiah’s character as he continued on in spite of all of the obstacles he encountered. He kept his eyes fixed firmly on his goal.

15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16. When our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God. Nehemiah 6:15-16
What’s your comfort zone? Is God calling you out of it? If he is just remember that although it may seem a difficult thing for you to do he’s going to give you everything you need to get it done. Not only that, he’ll be with you every step of the way. He’s just that kind of God.

I shared this over at Laced With Grace a while back, however I thought I'd share it again simply because I've heard God calling me out of my comfort zone recently...

Trusting Him,

May 25, 2011

Get in the Game...

I always get a kick out of listening to fans talk about their team’s performance whether it’s football, basketball or baseball. They are truly invested in the game and know everything there is to know about the game.

A true fanatic fan knows the game better than the coach and players. They will tell you with complete certainty which player should have played better defense or offense. They know who should have passed the ball more, who should have taken more shots and who should have stayed on the bench. They can tell you exactly how to win the game…. from the safety of the sidelines.

I'm at Laced with Grace today. Do stop by to read the rest of my article Get in the Game.

Trusting Him, ~Bernadine~

May 19, 2011

Concerning Trials

I don’t like trials. Not at all! On a scale of one to ten I think they stand somewhere in the negative numbers.

If I could avoid them I would in a heartbeat.

I’d choose the way that didn’t cause heartbreak.

I’d choose the relationship that didn’t end five years down the road.

I’d choose to have my family always understand me.

I’d choose to surround myself with people who always said and did the right thing.

However, I can’t. Also if I could how would I grow?

The Bible tells us in James 1:2-4 that we are to consider it joy when faced with trials because our trials come to make us stronger and cause us to become more matured spiritually.

The apostle Peter calls them fiery trials. This means our trials can be intense, severe, and definitely not easy. Fire can be dangerous and it can destroy. However, it also purifies and refines. It destroys impurities and leaves only that which is true behind.

I like how the Message Bible puts it,

1 Peter 4:12-14 (The Message)
12-13Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.

So I’m trying to remind myself when facing trials that although it may be intense, although it may hurt unbearably… in the end I’m going to get through it.

Trials will not get the best of me. I’m going to be stronger from it.

Trusting Him,

May 14, 2011

Stuck on Faithful

Whenever I’m driving I’m usually listening to music. I have a tendency to listen to one CD over and over again before putting in something new. So it was a while before I noticed that the CD I was listening to was stuck on one song, Great is the Faithfulness. When I realized I turned up the volume and sang along.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father…

As I sang I reflected on His faithfulness because truly He has been faithful to me. During the hills and valleys in life we often forget that God is there, holding our hands, soothing our hurts, letting us know that though our nights sometime seems long and endless morning will come.

Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

God is indeed an awesome God. He is everything that we need Him to be.

He’s the faithful friend that always lends a helping hand.
He’s the faithful provider that supplies all of our needs.
He’s the faithful confidant that never tires of hearing our hearts’ cry.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest…

In every season of our live God proves Himself to be faithful and I’m so grateful for His faithfulness to me.

Trusting Him,

May 8, 2011

An Offer of Friendship

Who ran to help me when I fell, And would some pretty story tell, Or kiss the place to make it well? My Mother.-Jane and Ann Taylor 

It had been a rough week. Whatever could go wrong in the life of a teenage girl probably did. I can’t remember the reason but I know that after being away from my mom for an entire week attending high school in another town I found myself sobbing brokenly on her shoulder. She listen to my choppy words uttered through hiccups and breathless gasps and hugged me tight to her. Then came those words uttered with absolute love, “Bernie, I’ll be your friend.”

As a teenager that wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Which teenager wanted a mother as a friend, especially one who was as strict and old fashioned as my own? However after I finished high school and began my journey towards becoming a mature woman I began to appreciate the rare kind of friendship my mother offered and silently took her up on her offer. There was nothing I couldn’t talk to her about.

She was the keeper of my secrets, my trusted advisor, my spiritual mentor… no matter what I was going through in life she always advised me to “turn it over to Jesus and everything would be alright.”

My mother was the making of me. She was so true and so sure of me, I felt that I had someone to live for - someone I must not disappoint. The memory of my mother will always be a blessing to me.-Thomas A Edison

I miss her. This is my fifth mother’s day without her and for some reason this year I miss her as much as I did in the beginning. Tears have flowed these past few weeks as I longed to hear that loving voice, soak in the warmth of her tender hugs or just be in her presence. I still hurt that she’s gone however I’m forever grateful that because of her prayers, because of her teachings, because of Christ I will see her again.

I sure miss you; life will never be the same with you not here
Each passing day has brought much pain
But with God's grace my strength remains
I sure miss you, but heaven's sweeter with you there
The Crabbs

Trusting Him,

May 4, 2011

A Wounded Heart

Tears stream down her cheeks
As she raise her eyes toward heaven
Her heart is broken, her dreams shattered
Her world has been torn apart

She doesn’t know what to do
And the world just walks on by
They ignore her tear-stained cheeks
And avoid her pain filled eyes

Her family doesn’t understand her
Her friends she can’t find
So where can she go but to the Lord
And His voice seems far away

She prays silently for answers
To questions she can’t verbalize
She hurts so much inside
She falls to her knees and cry

She cries and prays, Lord I won’t give up
Until your voice I hear
You promised never to forsake me,
So Lord I know you’re here

I can’t seem to let it go Lord
I can’t get rid of the pain
You’ve got to help me release it,
I can’t carry this hurt inside of me

I want to let it go Lord
But I don’t know quite how
So I ask you tonight Lord
Please take it away from me now

As she prays she feels a quiet peace
Flows deep within her soul
And she quietly wiped the tears
That had begun to overflow

She knew that God had answered
Although she heard no words
For she felt her burdens lifted
And knew God had kept his word

She got up from her knees
With a quiet prayer of thanks
And a song of praise within her heart
That was finally freed from hurt