Are You Afraid of Heights?


mountain20climbing20man20wallpaper__yvt2

I have acrophobia, the fear of heights. But I wonder if I have that fear spiritually too.

I’ve heard many times that God can use me, He wants to use me. Then I read wonderful devotionals, replete with stories of God working in the lives of saints living today. I think, “I can never do that.” Because I’m afraid or don’t believe in myself I don’t try. But that sort of thinking limits God.

 John 14:12

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

 Isaiah 40:29-31

29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

 1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

It’s a command. God expects to use us. Relax and let God take over. Remember, it is God doing the work. You have nothing to fear. Go reach new heights for God.

Advertisements

Spiritual Warfare


Image

I’ve been feeling harassed lately. Not by a person, but by something evil. The closer I get to publishing my Bible Study the worse it gets.

We’ve all been there.

 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

But God tells us how to handle these attacks. The text goes on to say,

“Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:9

Sometimes I feel like I can’t handle one more thing. But God has made us stronger than we think we are. We’re taught early in the Scriptures to be strong and courageous. Just before Joshua took the Israelites into the Promised Land, God told Joshua to be strong and courageous. He used this phrase twice in three verses. God promised Joshua He would be with him. He also told Joshua to be obedient so that Joshua would have success, using this phase twice also.

7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9

These few verses are very powerful because they show us just what the Lord will do, through us, if we trust and obey Him.

But it is so hard sometimes. That’s why God gave us tools. Every day, we can put on the full armor of God to help us fight off the enemy.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-16

You can have godly success. God gave us tools, and He is with us.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Walk in His Light,

Julie

The Anniversary Dinner


My Father-In-Law called the other night. He does not usually call to talk to me, but to talk to his son; possibly because of the slight language barrier. My father-in-law is Cuban and although he speaks fluent English, his thick accent is hard to understand sometimes. I have very little in common with my In-Laws, and we have butted heads on more than one occasion (politics, child-rearing, working moms, etc.)

Monday night was different, however. Gerardo started out by complimenting my cooking (more than usual) and my home, and then he asked me to plan and prepare a very nice anniversary dinner at my home, to include all the children and grandchildren that can be in attendance. My in-laws will be married 54 years this Sunday. So yes, I’m going to jump up and plan something very nice. He asked for an anniversary cake, steaks and whatever special accompaniments I could come up with. He told me to spare no expense. (That’s a major request from a family that celebrates its thriftiness.)

But there was more to the request, the unspoken words. Gerardo fears this may be his last Anniversary meal with the love of his life. My mother-in-law is just not well. Since their elaborate 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration, Haydee has suffered 2 major strokes and has other health issues. When I met my future Mother-In-Law (some 18+ years ago) she was still a vibrant woman, talked a mile a minute and could tell you every detail about her children and grandchildren. She cooked for huge family gatherings, able to feed a small army; a skill she honed because of the duties of a Pastor’s wife and raising 5 children. Now her memory is faltering and she can barely warm up prepared food items. He didn’t say it, but my Father-in-Law mourns the changes in his wife and he only wishes to celebrate their life together, possibly this one last time. Heroes come in all sizes. In this case it’s a 79-year-old man planning a special outing for his very best friend – he wants it to be very special.

My children are fortunate; they have had the luxury of knowing both sets of grandparents. I don’t know how long that will last. My father was just diagnosed with cancer. So, the meal is planned. I’m pulling out the good china & wine glasses (when was the last time I did that?), table cloths, linen napkins and the like. I’m grateful I planted flowers on the patio last weekend. Haydee will like that. I have croquet, horseshoes and a lawn chess set to ensure a fun family gathering. I’m charging the batteries to every camera I can find. I’ll probably pick up a few disposable cameras too. After all, it’s not about the food, it’s about family.

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Garro, and thank you for the example.

PRAYER LABYRINTH


Prayer Words

 

We know prayer is powerful, but imagine being immersed, surrounded in a prayer experience designed to help you communicate with God. While I was chaperoning the youth mission trip I was able to experience a Prayer Labyrinth. One of our pastors set up this a peaceful room, with several stations designed to give a person a peaceful, reflective experience as he or she walked through a labyrinth. It was a very meaningful experience to me. Although I can’t really explain my experience, I can tell you what a Prayer Labyrinth is. You can Google Prayer Labyrinth and get a lot of information, but this is how ours was set up. Our Prayer Labyrinth was set up for three evenings of our mission trip.

~

The lights in the room were dimmed and there were candles lit in many locations. This helped me quiet my heart as I entered the prayer labyrinth. Upon entering the room we were given written directions to follow. We were invited to slow down and simply be present with God. All the Scripture we were given was from The Voice version.

PRAYER WALKING

Then we were guided to a path, laid out like a maze. You walk this path slowly. This helps you quiet your heart further. We were given a Scripture to pray as we walked this path:

Psalm 139:23-24

Explore me, O God, and know the real me. Dig deeply and discover who I am.
Put me to the test and watch how I handle the strain.
Examine me to see if there is an evil bone in me,
and guide me down Your path forever.

  SALT AND LIGHT

In the middle of the labyrinth was a pool of Salt and Light. We were able to touch the salt and objects of light. Seeing the various forms of light against that white salt brought new meaning to Jesus’ parable about salt and light. The beautiful colors of light against the purity of the white salt helped me understand more about what Christians are to be in this dark world. The relevant Scripture was printed out for us to read.

Matthew 5:13-16.

 You, beloved, are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes bland and loses its saltiness, can anything make it salty again? No. It is useless. It is tossed out, thrown away, or trampled.

And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light illumines the entire house. You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.

WATER

At the water station you could go get a cool drink of water. This was to help us understand God’s grace and the love He is pouring into us.

Romans 5:1-5

Since we have been acquitted and made right through faith, we are able to experience true and lasting peace with God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King.  Jesus leads us into a place of radical grace where we are able to celebrate the hope of experiencing God’s glory.  And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance,  which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love.

We were guided to ask God to help us receive His Grace. As we drank the cool, refreshing water, we were to imagine God filling us with His Holy Spirit to the point of overflowing. It was a very powerful moment.

PRAYER LOOM

Here, we had the opportunity to write out our prayers on large strips of construction paper and place them on a loom. The long threads of the prayer loom represent God’s grace. Once we wrote out our prayer we wove it into the threads of God’s grace.

At the end of the mission week, these prayers were strung together like Christmas chains. It was a very powerful sight. Our teens are very prayerful people!

PRAYER STONES

At this station, we were reminded about forgiveness and to love our enemies.

Luke 6:27-28.

If you’re listening, here’s My message: Keep loving your enemies no matter what they do. Keep doing good to those who hate you. Keep speaking blessings on those who curse you. Keep praying for those who mistreat you.

We picked up a stone and wrote the initials of someone who troubled us on that stone. We then prayed a prayer of blessing for that person. Then we washed that stone as a representation of washing away the grudge we held, just as the water washed the initials away. It was a reminder of how the blood of Christ washed our sins away.

PRAYER WORDS

At this station, you could spell out words that came to mind during your experience. It was just a scrabble board with all the letters laid out, but it was a beautiful sight as I looked at the words of all those who came before me. I placed the word that came to my heart on that board. All the words combined made a beautiful group praise.

PRAYER WALL

At the prayer wall, we were invited to draw an expression of our love and devotion to God. This was a time to sum up the experience God had walked me through, and a time to thank Him for such a precious experience.

It was a wonderful opportunity. God was definitely present in that room.

http://www.rethinkingyouthministry.com/search/label/camp

STONE JOURNEY


It’s good to be back to my blog after a devastating hard drive crash. It’s just amazing how we come to rely on electronics. When those electronics are absent, we feel totally hopeless. But we can emerge stronger than before. This brings me to a book recommendation.

One of my dearest friends has just published her children’s book. It’s about feeling hopeless. For those who have “tweens” I highly recommend it.

stone journey

STONE JOURNEY STORY SYNOPSIS:

“There isn’t a more hopeless, lonely or panicked feeling than being lost. And we all get lost, in one way or another, sometime in our lives.” These are the words of 14-year old Cheyenne, describing her struggle to survive in the wilderness when she becomes separated from her dad and brother while on a family trip to Yellowstone National Park.
But Cheyenne’s struggles go beyond the daunting physical challenges that nature has in store for her: she’s buckling under the guilt that’s weighed heavily upon her since her mother’s accident. And, since she’s given up on God, it seems that she literally doesn’t have a prayer. Somewhere, in all the darkness and difficulties, though, Cheyenne discovers a path that takes her on the journey that we all must take at some point in our lives… the time when each of us suddenly finds that we’ve somehow gotten lost, and wonder if (and how) we can ever find out way back home again.”

http://www.amazon.com/Stone-Journey-ebook/dp/B00BVWNK6W/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1373835432&sr=1-1&keywords=Stone+Journey

“HAND-ME DOWNS”


boren 1

A local elementary school is being rebuilt. It’s old and over-crowded. So when the doors closed on the last day of this past school year, the school was closed. The children will go to a different school next year while their school is being rebuilt. But that doesn’t mean the old school out lived its usefulness. There were still many items in the classrooms that could be used, lockers, desks, chairs, whiteboards, etc. The school district auctioned them off by classroom. My church bought more than a dozen classrooms for our Mexico Mission Ministries. Part of our youth mission project was to load up the items we purchased. In two days, 24 students and 6 adults loaded  1 1/2 tractor trailers with approximately:

  • 12 banks of lockers
  • 300 student desks
  • 300 student chairs
  • 25 teacher desks
  • 40 Adult chairs
  • 30 Tables
  • 20 Audio visual carts
  • 20 file cabinets.
  • 20 book shelves
  • 10 white boards
  • Contents of the nurse’s clinics
  • Even a box full of pencil sharpeners

It was hard work. The lockers and white boards had to be removed from the walls. Some desks had to be partially disassembled. The student desks and chairs had to be gathered from locations all over the building. But our “hand-me-downs” will go on to bless and educate a generation of kids in another country. Please pray for those receiving these items. Pray for them to have a safe and comfortable learning environment. And please pray a blessing on the kids who just finished this mission project. They are outstanding teens. I was a privilege to be a part of their team.

Walk in His Light,

Julie

Mission Trip


I’m very blessed to be part of a church that serves. This afternoon I am honored to have the privilege to join 150+ teens and 50+ adults who will begin a week long mission trip to Mansfield, Texas. That’s right; we’re staying home and serving the community that has given so much to us. So if you see one of 20 white vans (there will be a number in the window) be sure to wave and say a prayer.

A year of planning.

Countless support people.

2,400 Meals.

800 Showers.

150 Teens.

50 Adults.

20 Vans and work Teams.

5 Days.

2 Churches.

1 City.

United Mission Week. Mansfield Texas.

We appreciate your prayers.