Have You Ever (not) Been Chosen

As I was driving to church one Sunday morning, for some reason, my minded starting wandering back to childhood memories.

Maybe I should say childhood hurts.

I pictured myself standing with a crowd of other children. Anxiously waiting to be chosen by one of the  captains, as our class was preparing to play a game.

On this particular morning I allowed myself  to consider what may have been going through my thoughts as I stood nervously waiting to be chosen.

Why couldn’t I be the captain?

I hope someone picks me!

Please, don’t let me be the last one standing here?

I WANT TO BE CHOSEN!!

And if I wasn’t chosen….what thoughts may have crossed my mind.

Why wasn’t I chosen?

Does this person not like me?

Why does this person always get to be captain.

I MUST NOT BE GOOD ENOUGH!!!

I am sure that you have been in this same situation. Right? 

Not only as a child, but often times has an adult?

As an adult, when I am not chosen I deal with the same hurts. And so often my thoughts about myself are the same.

Why wasn’t I the one chosen…for the perfect job… the promotion?

Why wasn’t I chosen for the solo part in the choir program?

Why want those ladies choose me to be in their circle of friends?

Unfortunately, my ultimate conclusion when I am not chosen is that “I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH”.

So many times I fail to see that what I may consider “not chosen” as really part of God’s timing and plans for my life.

This morning I have allowed myself to sit quietly and be in God’s word. I would like to share with you what His word says about being “chosen”.

May you be encouraged, as you hear that you and I are “chosen” by the most important ONE, in the most important game.

HEART VERSES

Deuteronomy 14:2
for you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.

Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

James 2:5
Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Shying Away From The Father

This morning I find myself a little restless. I haven’t really been feeling very well for several days.  Hopefully, just allergy stuff going on.

I slept in a little later than normal.  After I got up and  made me a cup…………Sarah……..Just stop……….. Just Stop…….Come sit with me.

“Just let me finish this post.”  

“No, Come now…..don’t put it off……….”

“Okay, Lord,okay you win. “

“Lord, I am so restless this morning. And most of it comes from the fact that I have been shying away from you.  Lord, I have to confess to you that I am afraid. I am afraid of the things that you have been speaking into my heart. Not really sure how to reign it all in. Not sure where it will take me.  Afraid of what it may require of me. Worried about what other people may think or say.  Afraid it may take me into what some may call undignified situations.

And once again, back to why would you want to use me?

Lord, I do love you!!!  I so want to follow after you and walk in obedience to the commands of your voice.

I have to confess to you this morning that I have been intentionally shying away from you. I have allowed so many different thoughts to consume me. I have not been faithful in trusting you. Forgive me for worrying about what people will think or say.  You have reminded me time after time that only you and I truly know what goes on in my heart. I have to confess that as you have spoken to me, instead of digging into you word for further instruction, I have sat down and done nothing or sought the opinion of others. I think this is more out of  fear of the unknown and afraid of doing the wrong thing. Forgive me for seeking and listening to the opinions of others, especially when your voice has been so distinct and loud.

I love you Lord and I thank you that you have reminded me this morning that………………TIME IS SHORT………. AND THAT I NEED TO BE ABOUT THE FATHER’S  BUSINESS.”

This morning as I was blogging, the Lord…just sort of stopped me in my tracks and reminded me that I had put off some business with Him, for way too  long. What I shared with you in this post this morning is a lttle bit of the conversation that went on between me and the Lord. I have been shying away from spending time with Him because I have not really liked or been ready to receive what He has been saying to me.

How about you?

How long has it been since you just sat with the Father and listened to Him? How long has it been since you just spent time with Him and just laid everything down?  Trusting Him? Allowing Him to shower you with His love and grace and forgiveness?  Allowing Him to direct your paths?

Today, I encourage you to set aside all of your busyness and life’s distractions and sit with the Father.

Oh, He loves you so much!!!  He is waiting so patiently for you!!! Do you hear Him whispering your name this morning?

Go on…………Go sit with Him………… You will be glad that you did!!!!!!!

Rejected

Rejected!!  Rejected!!  Once again, you are not good  enough!!  Your can’t do anything right!!

These were the words that rang in my ears as I read the results of the scholarships for the She Speaks Conference.

My name wasn’t on the list!!

I didn’t win!!

Rejected!!!  Your not good enough!!  You can’t do anything!! You didn’t win!!  Your a loser!!

These were the lies that the enemy  whispered  SHOUTED in my ears as I  was reading the results of the contest.

But, He was wrong!!  

To be honest with you when I first read the results of the contest my first thoughts were disappointment!!  Then I started with the but God thing.

But God I thought….. But God why……. But God I wanted…….But God …….on and on……. 

What Satan didn’t know on Monday morning was that I was not choosing to listen to His lies!!!

I chose to listen to the sweet whispers of my Jesus:

“Sarah, I love you. You are my beautiful child.  You were wonderfully made by me.  Oh my sweet baby girl, not winning this scholarship is not a rejection from me. It is proof of how much that I do love you. I know the plans that I have for you concerning the She Speaks Conference. You see my child —-you are a winner.  The old Sarah wouldn’t have entered the contest. She would have listened to the lies of the enemy instead of listening to me. I am so encouraged that you stepped out and submitted your post. You listened to me. You trusted me. You are getting it !!!  You are listening when I tell you that  ” You can do all things through me”.  I love it when you are totally dependent on me. I want to assure you that I am on this journey, with you every minute of the day. Walk with me today. Talk with me. Be aware of My Presence. I am with you!!”

Wow!! What beautiful words that I chose to receive from my sweet Jesus, to guide me through the rest of my day.

How easy it is to listen to the voice of the enemy!!!  Before we know it we are allowing our thoughts to spiral out of control. Believing one negative thing after another.

How about you? Whose voice are you listening to today!!! I challenge you to slam down the gauntlet on Satan and his lies!!!

Open your heart to hear the voice of your sweet Jesus!!! 

Oh How He loves you!!!

 

We All Have a Story to Tell

In March of 2007  I was attending my church’s Annual Ladies Retreat. 

 It was during the third session of the weekend that I really began to feel very uncomfortable. You know, that uncomfortable feeling that you get when God begins to speak to you, or maybe it might be better to say, when God begins to convict you that what you are doing is not quite right.

The uneasiness that I felt didn’t come from the message that our speaker was giving that weekend,  it was more from a particular song that we were singing.

The music leader was leading our group to sing the song titled “Take My Life”.   As I began to sing these words, “So take my heart; conform it. Take my mind; transform it. Take my will; conform it, to yours , to yours, oh Lord,” I heard  these words softly spoken into my ear,  “do you really mean this, my sweet child?”

I was so taken back by this that I just simply stopped singing and sat down in my seat.

Now ladies, if you are like me, most of the time when we attend a weekend conference or retreat we get on this spiritual high. A few days later we fall back into our daily routine and forget most of what the weekend was about — and what the Lord was speaking into our hearts.

But this weekend was different for me.

The next day as I came home, the  words to that song kept ringing in my ears. The more that I allowed myself to think about my life, in comparison to the words in that song, I came to realize that I needed to make some changes in who I was.

Upon returning to work the following Monday, I remember a coworker asking me about the weekend.  My reply to her was – “I will never be the same.”

Since that weekend I have been on a journey earnestly seeking for God to take my life and transform it to His will. Asking Him to conform my heart to His way.

There have been a lot of  bumps in the road.  I have steered off of His path many times. But He has ever so gently directed me back to where He is leading me on this journey.

In 2010, I felt His urging for me to start a blog.  “Now hear this, ladies. He is speaking to a lady that could hardly type an email. I was a hunt-and- pecker on the keyboard.  But He has promised that He would equip me to do what He is leading me to do.

So, with His help, I started blogging. I am hoping to encourage women and help them to see how much He loves them.

I strongly believe that we have to love ourselves before we can fully grasp His love for us. When we are able to love ourselves and accept His love, then we can be set free from all that entangles us. Therefore, enabling ourselves to become all that He intends us to be.

In October of 2010,  following His  leading, I started a small group in my church. The intention of this group was to encourage, fellowship and pray with women in our church. I wanted to encourage these ladies to open their hearts  to God and help them to see that He has a wonderful plan for their lives. I  prayed that they would allow themselves to hear Him when He whispers a dream into their heart. I wanted these ladies to know that God can set them free from the lies of the enemy. I wanted them to know that they can fly ……….. with God.

Over the past four years, with God’s help, I have accomplished things that I never thought possible. I have stepped out of my comfort zone and have become more bold in who I am and can be through Him. I have come to trust Him when He says that He will equip and strengthen those whom He calls. On a side note–we are all called. The question is – will we listen and respond?

Today, I am sharing this story with you because I feel that the Lord has opened the doors for me to continue on to the next step of this journey that I am on with Him. Lysa TerKeurst is giving away two scholarships to the She Speaks Conference.  If  I am fortunate enough to win one of these two scholarships, I feel that it would give me access to a  lot of tools that would enhance my abilities to effectively minister to women through blogging and leading small-group Bible studies.

 If  attending the She Speaks Conference is something that God wants for me, at this time in my life, then I am trusting Him to provide. I strongly believe that everything is in His timing. He already knows who will be at this conference and what He intends to happen in the hearts of all of the women who will be attending.

Hope to see you there!!!

You’re Beautiful

Just a reminder today–just in case you are feeling a little down and unloved , not too beautiful.

 You’re beautiful-to Him.

You were wonderfully made by Him.

You are a treasure of His heart.

He created you for a purpose. He has a plan for your life.

He takes great delight in you.

He will quite you with His love.

 Listen to His heart whispers-He has something to tell you.

Walk in obedience, trusting Him.

Laying all of your fears aside.

You’ re beautiful to Him.

Heart Verses:

 Psalm 139:14
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 37:7
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;

Isaiah 43:1
[ Israel’s Only Savior ] But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have
redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

 

He Loves You, He Loves You Not

Today is Valentines Day. 

A special day set aside to celebrate and show the  special people in our lives how much we love them.

People say ” I love you “or ” you are special” in many different ways.

Some may express their feelings with a card and a box of candy.  Others may say ” I love you” with flowers or a special dinner.

While today is meant to be a day of celebrating love and happiness, to some people this  can be a very sad and emotional day .

Some people may feel that they do not have that “special someone ” in their lives.

Sometime we may hear the words ” I love you” but still not feel loved  at all.

What ever your circumstances are  today, let me assure you that there is someone who loves you more than you could ever imagine.

He loved you enough to allow His son to die on the cross for you.

HIS LOVE IS EVERLASTING!!!  HIS LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL!!!  HIS LOVE IS DEEP!!!  HIS LOVE COVERS OVER ALL THINGS!!!  AND MOST OF ALL HIS LOVE IS FREE!!!!

You never have to wonder if  He loves you or loves you not.

There is nothing that you can do to cause him not to love you. He loves us all the same!!!

HEART  VERSES:

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Psalm 107:31
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

Psalm 103:17
But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—

 

Day After Day

So may times I find myself looking around at all of the decay and immoral behavior that is going on around me and wonder how much longer will my heavenly Father put up with all of this. I find myself concerned with what the next generation will have to face. 
 
Or even what I, myself  might  have to face before I leave this world or the Lord returns.
 
 This past Sunday in my Bible Study class  we were studying in Romans Chapter 8 : 18–27. This particular passage is talking about our future hope as believers. (I encourage you to take the time and read this passage.)
 

This passage is saying that as believers we can see how the world is decaying and is infected with sin. We may think that there are a lot of things that are going on that are out of our control. We may find ourselves  feeling hopeless and in despair. If we are children of God we do not need to fear all that is going on.  God is our Hope.

There are a lot of things that man can take away from me, but no one can take away my salvation.

Satan likes to attack my thoughts and take me off focus. Sometimes causing me to lose focus of the bigger picture. Causing me to lose hope.

Until the Lord returns I want to focus on seeking more of  Him. Seeking his will and way in leading me to serve Him. I desire to have a servant’ s heart allowing others to see Christ living in me.  I want others to be able to see that there is hope beyond what they see in their every day life. 

The Lord never sleeps nor slumbers. He is aware of all that is going on in my life and yours. Nothing is a surprise to Him.

Please listen to the words of this song that I have included with today’s post. I have heard this song on the radio several times in the last few days. The radio station has been running a partial interview, that took place with the artist, Kristian Stanfill. He shares that he was inspired to write this song, after listening to the world news broadcast. He and his wife were concerned for the state of this world. He was also concerned with what the future held for him and his family. After continuing to talk with his wife he said he realized that his hope is not in the things of this world but in the Lord.
 
Heart Verses:
 
Psalm 31:24
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.
 
Romans 14:11
It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

Some Thoughts to Ponder

This past December I had the privilege to attend a Deeper Still conference in Alabama.

The  speakers for this weekend conference were Beth Moore, Kay Arthur and Priscilla Shirer.

I know!!!  Wow!!!

It was an awesome weekend. A really great treat for me during this time of year. A break from the stressful life of retail.

A few days ago I decided to look over my notes from that weekend and reflect back on what I felt  the Lord was speaking to me through these three beautiful women.

Words cannot be put to paper concerning all that took place in my heart during those two days. It was such an honor to worship the Lord with over thirteen thousand women.

I think it is pretty neat how God can gather that many ladies together, in one place, to  hear one message, and each lady can receive that one  message in a different way that is applicable to her own life.

I would like to share with you some statements that I jotted down in my journal that weekend. Some of the statements and questions are from the different speakers that spoke. Others are some thoughts that  I jotted down, as I allowed my heart to be opened to hear God that weekend.

Some thoughts to ponder:

Are you ready and willing to hear from God?  If so, are you willing to obey?

You have no idea what can happen when one person is obedient.

Do we know what He really expects from us?

Do we understand what it means to follow God?

What would happen if we all did what He asked us to do?

What are you doing with your life that you shouldn’t be doing?

Do you live and order your life by instruction from the word?

Christianity is not adding Jesus to your life.  If you’re a christian – Jesus is your life!!  Not an add-on.

Christianity is a change of mind that embraces Christ.

He is going to be the Supreme ruler of this earth one day- so why is He not the Supreme ruler of our lives?

Quite a bit to ponder……………………don’t you think?

Why are you Downhearted?

I wrote the following post in November. I had never published it. Today as I was reading over it  I felt very impressed to share it.

I can say, that the condition of my heart is very different today, than it was the day that I wrote this post..

I am so fortunate that I serve a God who restores our heart. A God of  hope.

Here is the post that I wrote in November:

Today as I was reading in I Samuel chapter 1 these words  “Why are you downhearted ?” caught my attention. This question was asked to Hannah by her husband Elkanah.

This past weekend I was  feeling  really  “downhearted”.

On Saturday afternoon I went out to eat with some of my family members.

They were laughing and talking. As I surveyed the other people in the restaurant, they were also laughing, talking and seemed to be having a good ol time enjoying one another’s company.

 I have to admit I wasn’t enjoying anything. I resented hearing all of the laughter and seeing everyone smiling.

 Why were they afforded the privilege of being so happy?  When I was feeling so “downhearted”?

 Now, I have to admit the circumstances causing my feelings were  nothing in comparison to what was causing Hannah to feel so downhearted.

In this particular passage Hannah is faced with the reality that she was unable to conceive a child. In Old Testament times if a woman could not conceive a child she was considered a failure.  It was ancient Middle Eastern custom for the wife to give one of her maid servants to her husband to bear children for her if  she could not conceive  a child.

Hannah was  married to Elkanah who was also married to Peninnah. Peninnah had children. Peninnah constantly provoked and taunted  Hannah concerning the fact that she could not bare children.  Thus, causing Hannah to have feelings of unworthiness.

According to customs Elkanah could have left his barren wife. But Elkanah loved Hannah and remained devoted to her  even in the midst of social criticism.  Elkanah tried to encourage Hannah but his kind words and actions were not enough to heal Hannah’s pain.

The symptoms for my feeling downhearted and Hannah’s were completely different. But the solution to overcome this present state of mind is the same.

Hannah had good reason to be bitter and sad.

She was constantly taunted and put down by Peninnah. Eli, the high priest did not understand her motives. Elkanah, her devoted, loving husband could not solve her problem for her.

Hannah had a choice to make.

She could strike back at the people in anger,using ugly words and continue to live with the fact that she would never have children.  She could have turned away from everyone and everything and became a bitter lost soul.

But Hannah chose to turn to the Lord and pray.

In this passage in I Samuel 1:15-16, listen to Hannah’s response to Eli,who thinks she has been drinking.

” Not so my lord,”  Hannah replied,” I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer, I have been pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”

Hannah was pouring out her soul to God.  She was praying out of great  anguish and  pain.

I am sure that all of us have been in a  similar situation like Hannah’s  before. Where we have felt there wasn’t a solution to the problem.  Maybe no one understands what you are going through.  Maybe we have felt that there was no one who could fix things for us.

Today you may be going through a difficult circumstance in your life. You may feel that there is nowhere to turn.

Hannah’s story is a story of hope. This story allows us to  see the faithfulness of God.

Where will you turn?

Will you choose to turn away from God? 

Or will you choose to turn to God and pour out your heart to Him?

 

 HEART VERSES

Psalm 117:2
For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.

Psalm 62:8
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

 

 

 

It is Well With my Soul

Today is my oldest brother, Eddie’s sixtieth birthday.

Eddie  is not here today to celebrate his birthday with his family.  I can’t pick up the telephone and tell him happy birthday and how much I love him.

He is celebrating his sixtieth birthday in heaven. 

His death was sudden. There was no time to say goodbye.

If  I could have one more conversation with him, here are a few things that I would say to him.

Ed,

I love you!!  You are one in a million.  I am blessed to call you my brother.

I am so proud of you and your family for the way that you have been so faithful in following the Lord. You are such a godly example to me and my boys. Thank you for always encouraging Chris and Aaron. For cheering them on and telling that they could accomplish whatever they set  their minds too.

I am proud of you for stepping out on faith and selling your business and doing ministry in the coffee shop. I wonder how many people’s lives are going to be changed by their visit to that place.

Remember the first day you and Carolyn opened the coffee shop?  It was for family only. Remember the couple who drove up from Knoxville to get married at the little wedding chapel next door, only to find out that the chapel was closed?  But wasn’t it just so GOD that this was your first day at the coffee shop. And you just happened to be an ordained minister. You performed their ceremony and then invited them in for fellowship and refreshments.

 What an awesome way to start a ministry.

I love to see how much joy that you have found in humbly serving and giving to your church family. It is so good to cross paths with a member of your church and hear them tell how your ministry to them has made such a difference in their lives. God has truly blessed you in allowing you to see His power released on that church. Allowing lives to be changed forever.

Ed, you seem so happy. You have the most beautiful smile. You seem to be so fulfilled and content. Your life is a testament to finding the key to true happiness.  I now that you have found that the way to peace and contentment is only found in a deep relationship with the Lord. Fully committed to serving and following your Lord and Savior in true obedience.

You have set an example for all of your family. I am so proud of you and all that you stand for!!!

I love you!!!

Sarah

The song  “It is Well With my Soul” was one of Ed’s favorite songs.  And I can say that when he left this world everything was “well” with his soul.

How about you my dear friend? Is everything well with your soul?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ED!!! YOU ARE FOREVER IN  MY THOUGHTS AND CONVERSATIONS!!!