The Garden of My Heart

20140511_171111I read a devotional every day by Sarah Young called Jesus Calling.  Today’s reading was a WOW moment for me when I read these words… “I want you to walk with Me in the garden of your heart, where I have taken up permanent residence.”  Four years ago I asked Jesus to come into my life and be my savior, and that is exactly what He did, He took up permanent residence in my heart 🙂  Every since that day my life has been a totally new walk, with something new blooming every day and my life is much more meaningful and beautiful.  What I love the most about all this is I no longer walk alone, Jesus walks with me now….He walks with me in the garden of my heart

 

 

Dear Brother

I know right now it feels like everything is crashing down in tiny pieces so scattered you think they can never be put back together again.

I know your life feels as if life is whirling out of control.

How do I know?

I know because I have been there.

I know how it feels to carry your burdon everywhere you go, ghosts of the past bounding you up in chains, until they become so tight they begin crushing the life out of you. Sending you down a path of self destruction so deep into the darkness that you don’t know how to begin to find your way out.

What you’re doing to yourself is not ever going to take away the pain that you hold on to so tightly inside. No amount of self destruction will ever take it away, it can’t be numbed and you can never hide from it.

It doesn’t have to be this way…you can choose to let it go.

Jesus sees what you can’t see…

He knows you are worth so much.

He knows your hurting.

He can fix the broken pieces

He feels your pain and he can take it away.

Please take his hand…he’s reaching out for you.

All you have to do is grab on…trust him, let him save you.

I promise He will lead you out of this place you are in.

Dear Brother,  Jesus loves you so much. I want you to know Jesus. I want you to have what I have now. Hope, joy and peace, they all can be yours, all you have to do is accept his gift.  Please just give Jesus a chance. I promise you won’t be sorry.

Love,

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When everything comes crashing down

I looked around and it’s you I found

Picking up the shattered pieces

I couldn’t put together again

I know you can see what I can’t see,

I know You know how this will end

You can fix the broken and lead the lost

Your the place I will fix my eyes

Take away all the fear, doubt and pain

Comfort my brother

Take him in your arms

Hold him tight and wrap him in your love.

My Refuge

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Live Second Day 32: Love Defined

Before you read my 4th and final post from my Live Second journey I have something to say….. Though the book I have been blogging through is titled ‘Live Second’ I feel like I am not second…  Yes you heard me right I said “I am not second”   The way I see it the order should be this way…. 

#1 Jesus  

#2 Others 

And Then …ME  “I am Third, I am Fourth, I am Fifth…maybe even LAST.

with that being said here is my final post from my Live Second journey…..

Day 32 of my Live Second Journey:  Love Defined

 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal – 1 Corinthians 13:1

‘All of life, every good deed, every noble task, if not colored and painted with love creates only an empty canvas’ – Live Second

As many of you know I am a child sponsor and also child advocate through Compassion International.  It is something I have been a part of for a little over 2 and a half years and one of the many huge blessings of my life.

The first time someone asked me to sponsor a child I gave them the answer of no but after I was asked I could not seem to get those kids out of my head.  I kept going to Compassion’s website and looking at the kids over and over eventually sponsoring a little girl from the Dominican Republic named Walkiris.

I realize now it was God pressing me to sponsor but at the time of my life I was just starting my journey with Jesus and was not really in tune with all the Jesus ‘vibes’ yet.  I think I sponsored her more because I thought it was what I should do more than doing it out of love.

When a child is sponsored through Compassion the sponsor and the child are encouraged to write letters to one another.  In the beginning the letter writing was not one of my strong points.  Even though now I will sit for hours writing a blog post or writing in a journal, writing letters was not something I liked to do and when it came to writing that little girl I could not think of a thing to write.  Thankfully even though it made me very uncomfortable I did still write to her.

About 3 months after I sponsored Walkiris I received my first letter from her.   Because she was only 4 years old a grownup wrote her letters for her and she drew me pictures signing the letter with her little finger print in blue ink. The minute I read that first letter was the moment I first saw the love.  I could see all the hard work she had put into making those pictures special for me and there was just something about that blue fingerprint that moved me.   After I received that special letter I began pouring love into the letters I wrote to her and somewhere along the line I began to love that little girl like she was my own child.

The author of Live Second wrote ‘All of life every good deed, every noble task if not colored and painted with love creates only an empty canvas’.

Something I realize now is though sponsoring her was a good deed, God did not call me to sponsor her to just send her money and do a good deed, He called me to love her.  He called me to give of myself to her. He wanted me to take the time and write her letters.  Had I just sent her a check and not took the time to write her I am pretty sure I would have missed a very huge blessing.

Something I have been discovering through these past few days of blogging is that love is not just some mushy feeling you get inside.  Love is everything that makes anything worth while.

Love is what happens when your heart cares for others so much that you want do nice things for them.

Love is when you feel someone else’s pain and want to take if from them or when you find yourself loving or even crying for someone you have never met.

Love is also when you find yourself praying for a person who just treated you badly and you find yourself humbly washing their feet.

When you selflessly give of yourself and don’t think of receiving something in return, then you have found true love.

Today I saw a picture someone posted on facebook.  It said, ‘I hate it when someone treats you like dirt and you still care about them even though you shouldn’t.’  I had to stop and think about that for a minute because truth is… we should still care about them not matter how they treated us.   We don’t have to like them but we should love them. We should love like Jesus loved us.  He hung on the cross praying for those who hung him there dying not only for my sins but those who hung him there too. We love because he loved first.  I ask myself today, can I love like that?

‘Love has little to do with feelings and everything o do with selfless, humble thoughtful care for another person.’ – Live Second

Can you imagine our world if we did not have love?  What would be our purpose of living?

Today is Christmas Eve and as you are going about your Christmas celebrations today and tomorrow please remember what Christmas is all about.  Christmas is about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He is the greatest gift of all and He is love and once we accept the gift of his salvation we are redeemed and forever saved!  If you put him first in your life and I promise you you will never regret it, your life will never be the same and you will have peace, love and joy forever and ever, that is love defined!

Thank you for reading Merry Christmas and may God bless you with his love, peace and joy this coming new year!

Do you want to know God? click the picture for more information

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Do some last minute Christmas shopping and give a child the gift of your sponsorship this Christmas

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Give an unsponsored child a gift this Christmas

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#IASlovedefined

#itsaboutgiving

My Advocate

I just started taking a new Bible study class 3 weeks ago.  Tonight’s class got the gears turning inside my head so much I decided to write about it.

The verses we studied in tonight’s class were John 14:15-24

This is the NIV version

John 14:15-24 

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

We talked about how in this scripture Jesus was telling His disciples that though He was leaving them, He was going to ask the Father give them another advocate, that advocate being the Holy Spirit.

A question that we pondered for quite some time was…

  • Once we accept Jesus as our savior is the Holy Spirit with us forever?  If we later would fall away from Jesus and say we do not believe in Him or do not love Him is the Holy Spirit still with us??

The people in the class seem to me to be a group of well seasoned Christians and since I am a new person to the class I struggle a bit with speaking up, I guess its the fear that I may be wrong?  Though I am sure that in this class it would not matter if I was right or wrong because they all seem very nice and seem to respect each others opinions very well.  I almost spoke up a few times but found myself keeping quiet. I still am not sure if we ever came to a conclusion or not but this is just what I think so what I am writing is what I most likely would have said had I the courage to open my mouth.

First thing I notice is that Jesus says the word ‘if’,  I think the scripture could be taken in the way that says if we keep his commands and love him only then will the Holy Spirit be with us forever…BUT  what if we don’t keep his commands and love him? Will the Holy Spirit then leave us?

I personally think that the part that says ‘He will give you another advocate to Help you and be with you forever’   means forever no matter what and this is why I think that.  I think that the key words here are  ‘help you’ .  Remember I am a person who has not always walked with Jesus.

A long time ago I tried to do the “church thing” though I never really understood it.  I even felt moved to be saved, I went forward during a church service a long time ago and I accepted Jesus as my savior.  I even got Baptized but unfortunately I did not really understand what it all meant and I eventually fell away from church and God.  I then spent a lot of years being angry and saying I did not believe in God.

  • Did I not receive the Holy Spirit when I went forward?  I did not know what the Holy Spirit was at that time, but something nudged me to go forward, I am thinking that was the Holy Spirit.
  •  Did I believe in Jesus at the time?  Yes I did believe in Jesus.
  •  Do I think that after I fell away from God the Holy Spirit left me?   No I don’t.  Just like the scripture says Jesus sent another advocate to help me and be with me forever.  So I think that even though I fell away and said I did not believe in God, the Holy Spirit stayed with me.  He stayed right here with me as my advocate, waiting for just the right moment to show me that God was real and help me find my way, that was the night I saw my father in law go to heaven… (click to read that story here)

Then the Holy Spirit began to nudge me to act on that newly found knowledge that God was real.

He then nudged me to pick up and read a daily devotional book that gradually led me look up stuff in the Bible which in turn caused a lot of Bible reading.

Then gradually he nudged me that it was time to find a church. I would go to churches but then I would chicken out from going in the buildings.  I remember sitting in the parking lot of the church I now belong to, trying to get the courage to go in and hearing this voice in my head telling me I was not alone to go on in.  That was the Holy Spirit again being my advocate.  When I felt so paralyzed with fear that I could not move He helped me get out of my car and walk in the building.

One Sunday about a month after attending the church I belong to now the pastor’s sermon was on the Holy Spirit.  He also did a baptism that day and then afterwards offered that anyone who wanted to could come up and dip their fingers in the water to remember their own baptisms.  I can’t remember the pastors exact words or even much of the sermon but I do remember feeling so emotional as I was realizing what I had missed at my first Baptism and then I felt the nudging and the word “Go”.   I stood up, went to the front and dipped my fingers in the water.  As I put the water on my face a feeling of peace came washing over me and I knew I was finally back where I belonged in my Saviors Arms.

Do I think the Holy Spirit stays with us forever?  Yes I do.   The Holy spirit is my advocate,  he stood up for me when I could not stand up for myself, He came to my rescue to nudge me back into the right direction.  God loved me even when I was denying Him.  He sent me Jesus.  Jesus died for my sins and He sent me an advocate in the Holy Spirit, the advocate who is with me forever because Jesus sent him.  I finally after all these years do know who I am when I am in Christ.

If you would like to have Jesus help guide your life you can get more information by clicking the link below.

Thanks for reading and God bless you 🙂

Differences of Opinion With the Same Destination

Since the first day I started writing this blog I have ran into a lot of different opinions about blogging and how blogging should and should not be done, my blog has fit into both of these categories.

The day I published my first post I received my first opinion.  It was not even a live person who gave the opinion; it was the publishing area of the blogsite.  When I hit the publish button to send off my post wordpress congratulated me on a job well done.  From that moment on with every post I make I get a pop up message from wordpress that says “congratulations you have reached post number such and such!”  Which makes me want to pat pat pat myself on the back….(insert eye roll here) Of course I really don’t pat myself on the back but it makes me laugh and wonder why I deserved a congratulations for posting lots of posts.

I have also heard that it is good etiquette to make sure I always reply back when someone comments on my blog.  Does everyone really go back to see if I reply back to them?  I do not go back to check on comments I have made on other people’s blogs nor do I expect a reply back.  Most of the time I do reply back to those who comment on my posts though I do have a life outside of the blogging world so sometimes it may be days that I am not on the blogsite to even know someone has commented.  I never set out to hurt any feelings or not have good etiquette.

We all as people, including myself, seem to have an opinion about anything and everything, some of us being more opinionated than others.  We as bloggers are sharing our opinions with anyone who cares to read them. Let us also not forget the  little comment box that encourages other bloggers to leave their opinions or for those who do not want to comment there is a “like” button.  I wonder why they did not bother with a “dislike”  button?   Isn’t that a scary thought?  having a bunch of gravatars lined up at the bottom of the screen with the words ’25 people disliked your post you should go on over to their site and see what they have written’ 🙂

Because my blog deals a lot with faith type topics and a lot of my readers come from different church denominations and cultures I know that others will not always agree with me or with those who leave a comment on my posts.   I do not claim to be an authority and know that I am not always right.  I am just trying to share here what Jesus has done for me.   Only God is the one who knows who is wrong or right.  There are more important things to do than argue about our differences of opinion.  The more I get to know God the more I know that if I am in the wrong sooner or later He will show me the error of my ways.

Some readers and writers may be newer Christians or maybe still searching for Jesus.  Not all of us have known Him our whole lives.  There was a time in my life that I did not believe in God. Eventually God showed me he was real in watching my father in law die.  You can click this link to read the story if you would like to read it… The Journey Begins.  At that time in my life I was bull headed, stuck in my ways and had a lot of my own opinions about life and how I thought it should be lived.  At that same time in my life I also met a person who was a Christian who was different than any Christian I had ever met.  This person became my friend never looking down on me.  I was allowed to ask all sorts of endless questions and I was always answered with patience and kindness. I was never made to feel embarrassed about what I did not know.  I was shown God in a gentle way never feeling force fed or overwhelmed with information.  Instead of spending time arguing and telling me how I had it all wrong I was shown by their actions that God was all right.  God’s perfect love was shown to me in that person’s kindness and actions.

For us Christians that have not always known Jesus, from the moment we accept him as our savior we head down a new path in life which to be honest can be quite scary at first.  We all stumble, we all fall, He catches us and helps us pick ourselves back up again, dusting us off usually having taught us something new along the way.  He never gives up on us and keeps leading and teaching us more and more as we go along on our journey.

As Christians God gave us the job of spreading and planting seeds to be watered, but only God can make them grow.   We are like flowers in the garden; different kinds of flowers take different amounts of water.  In the heat of the Summer Vinca only need small amounts of water to grow into beautiful plants.  If you give a Vinca too much water they will drown and wither away.  Impatiens are just the opposite, they require a lot of water to flourish in the heat of the summer or they will wither away.  So what is good to help one flower grow may not work for another.  God created each flower to be unique just as he created each of us to be unique.

I guess I am just trying to say here is even here on the blogs where opinions are encouraged we should show others the same grace that God has shown us.   We should show God’s kindness, patience and love.  We never know where someone has been or where they are at right now in their walk with Jesus.  We all may walk a little differently or choose a different path to get there, but we all have the same common final destination in the end.

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

Romans 12:10   Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 

Thank you for reading and God bless you 🙂

His Gift

Every single sin that I have ever committed Jesus died on the cross for.  He died for all of my lies, greed, gluttony, broken promises, hate, lust, envy, fear, drunkenness, judging, addictions, selfishness, gossip, cheating, prejudice, laziness,  and pride.

He hung on that cross feeling all of the shame and the pain that should be mine.  When they came to get Him to torture Him He did not hide in fear.  He was not afraid of the pain he would have to bear.  He took it all every single bit of it, to save my life.  How do I go about my life ignoring what He did? He put on the garments of my sins and wore them for all the world to see.

It’s hard to think about His suffering isn’t it?  For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son and whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

That’s a huge gift He gave me.  It’s the biggest gift anyone could give anyone ever.  How do I repay that gift?   Do I show my thankfulness in my actions? Do I take up my cross daily?  Do I show Him to the world in the way I live?  Do I wear his kindness, compassion, caring, honesty, kept promises, goodness and generosity?   Do I wear Him as he wore me?  Do I show Him to others in everything I do? Or do I keep it a secret?   Do I worry about what others may think of me because I chose Him?  Will I worry about the suffering I may have to bear for choosing Jesus?

What would have happened if Jesus had been afraid of the shame and suffering He would have to bear?   What if He had hid?  What if He had not stepped up for me?  What if He had not stepped up for you?

Mark 8:34-35  Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.