Anxiety About Past Sins & Blog Hop

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No matter what you’ve done in the past, God wants you to worship Him wholeheartedly today and enjoy life to the full.  It’s possible!

When I stand on a sandy beach looking out over the watery expanse of the ocean, hearing the thunder of the waves, I am awed.  Every time, I think, “What a magnificent creation!  What a marvelous Creator who holds these waters in the palm of His hand!

Instinctively, I begin to sing “How Great Thou Art.” No one hears me as the wind rushes my words to the Lord alone.

One otherwise beautiful spring day, however, it was not thoughts of God’s grandeur that filled my mind as I surveyed the mighty waters stretching to the horizon.  My own sin had my attention this time.

I thought of one particular sin that I knew had grieved my Creator.  And there I sat with Bible in hand and the ocean before me, trying to come back into His presence.

That week I had been memorizing Micah 7:18-20.  Verse 19 came back like a song:  “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (NIV).

As I confessed my sin to the Lord, in faith I believed that it had sunk to the deepest depths.  I then remembered what Corrie ten Boom used to say, that after God hurls our sins into the ocean, He puts up a sign that reads, “No fishing.”

A sin I could have allowed to haunt me was gone altogether. What freedom, what peace, what joy!

My faith in God’s total forgiveness was tested only a few weeks later.  I was traveling with some friends to a weekend conference.  When we neared the seaside town where I’d been the previous month, I panicked.  I realized, This is where I had left my sin!

But the fear passed quickly as I realized my sin was nowhere to be found—it was gone for good.  Not buried at sea with the grim possibility of being someday washed ashore, but totally forgotten by God through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Since that experience, I often think of the promise of Micah 7:19 and thank God for the joy of being cleansed completely, being made pure and new.

Renee Sanford About Renée Sanford

Renée has been married to her high school sweetheart, David, for 30 years. They are the parents of three grown and married children and two teens and blessed with six grandkids. Renée has a passion for encouraging mothers at every stage—in an article, at a conference, or over a cup of coffee or tea. Renée is the co-author (with David) of How to Read Your Bible and the notes for the Living Faith Bible.

 

Welcome to Be Inspired By Others Thursday Blog Hop.
Now let’s link up in community.

 If you don’t have a blog, I invite you to visit some great posts from bloggers around the web. As always, I’m thankful for those of you who linked up here last week. I loved reading all of your posts. Thank you for taking the time to say hello.

Come inspire us by linking up your wonderful posts here so we all can be inspired. All family-friendly posts such as, marriage, motherhood, crafts, recipes, homeschooling, organization, and more are welcome. If you decide to join the fun by linking up with us, I request that you add Home Educator Mom’s button to your posts or site so others can join us as well. You can find the html code in the sidebar, or “save as” copy, and paste the button below on your blog.

Link-up-icon-3

If you have a Giveaway, check out my big list of Sites to List Your Giveaways. I personally use this list myself so the links should work.

Hop on over here to see my list of Blog Hops / Link-up Parties to add your link and join others.



Anxiety When I Don’t Understand God & Blog Hop

 

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This side of heaven, life often doesn’t make sense. The best thing to do is stop and listen.

Sometimes our family will be sitting at the dinner table discussing plans for the upcoming weekend.  “No one told me about that!” someone will protest.

“Where have you been?” we reply.  “We’ve been talking about that event all week!”

On many occasions, I’ve asked my oldest son to complete a task or have given him directions on where to find a missing item.  Although I speak the words aloud, his channel finder is tuned elsewhere and he often doesn’t hear a thing I’m saying.

Before we left for a week away from our children, my husband and I looked our then 16-month-old baby in the eyes and told him we were leaving, but we would be back soon.  His young brain couldn’t translate the words into usable meanings. So, in spite of my warnings, he woke up confused and irritated to find someone besides Mommy or Daddy looking over his crib.  But you can’t say I didn’t warn him!

Jesus told the disciples all about His coming suffering, death, and resurrection, but they didn’t get it.  But you can’t say He didn’t warn them.

Hours after His resurrection, Jesus walked along the road to Emmaus with two friends and explained the Scriptures in a way they had never comprehended before.  The suffering, death, and resurrection of the Messiah shone from every passage and fell into place like an intricately planned pattern.  God had not been silent before that day—they simply had not understood the words before.

The disciples had more than the Scriptures, which came into sharp focus on hindsight.  They had Jesus with them—the One who revealed the glory and will of God daily.  They heard with their own ears His very direct and pointed explanation of what was to come, but their hearts could not absorb it.

We beg God to explain His plan, but many times, He already has.  Perhaps our minds are distracted with the worries of the world.  Perhaps we don’t know the Scripture and thus don’t know the heart of God—a knowledge we need in order to comprehend and trust His ways.  Perhaps we haven’t come to spiritual maturity—just as our baby boy was too young to comprehend what our older children readily understand.  Or perhaps the understanding is beyond our reach.  God could tell us plainly, but our ears would hear only the foreign language of heaven; our hearts and minds would not understand its meaning.

When uncertainty rocks your world or your cries to God seem unanswered—stop to listen.  Listen with the ears of your spirit to the voice of the Holy Spirit in His Word.  Perhaps He has answered you plainly already.  If not, remember our limited understanding is only temporary.  Like the disciples, the day will come when we will all exclaim, “Of course!  Why didn’t I understand it before?”

Renee Sanford About Renée Sanford

Renée has been married to her high school sweetheart, David, for 30 years. They are the parents of three grown and married children and two teens and blessed with six grandkids. Renée has a passion for encouraging mothers at every stage—in an article, at a conference, or over a cup of coffee or tea. Renée is the co-author (with David) of How to Read Your Bible and the notes for the Living Faith Bible.

 

Now let’s link up in community:

 If you don’t have a blog, I invite you to visit some great posts from bloggers around the web. As always, I really appreciate those of you who linked up here last week. I loved reading all of your posts. Thank you for taking the time to say hello.

Come inspire us by linking up your wonderful posts here so we all can be inspired. All family-friendly posts such as, marriage, motherhood, crafts, recipes, homeschooling, organization, and more are welcome. If you decide to join the fun by linking up with us, I request that you add Home Educator Mom’s button to your posts or site so others can join us as well. You can find the html code in the sidebar, or “save as” copy, and paste the button below on your blog.

Link-up-icon-3

If you have a Giveaway, check out my big list of Sites to List Your Giveaways. I personally use this list myself so the links should work.

Hop on over here to see my list of Blog Hops / Link-up Parties to add your link and join others.

 


Anxiety Over the Storms of Life

Betty Tran liked this post

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I can experience God’s peace only when I remind myself that He genuinely cares for me.

Shortly before our first son reached his first birthday, we had to take him to the hospital for surgery. The time had come for a skilled surgeon to separate two of our son’s fingers that were fused together.

While the surgery was important, it certainly wasn’t life-threatening. As is standard procedure, our son could not eat or drink anything after midnight. After the anesthesia, we had to let him be wheeled into surgery without us.

As a parent, I was concerned for his safety, but I had full confidence in the doctors and nurses committed to his care. What plagued my heart more was the thought of my son’s anxiety over the strange things happening to him. Surely he would feel confused and afraid. Why were Mommy and Daddy not feeding him? Why were they leaving him in a strange place with strange people?  Would his little mind question the security of our love?

A small child in a big hospital bed may wonder, “Doesn’t my Mommy and Daddy love me?” when yet another nurse comes to poke his arm or take her blood. Similarly, we may interpret painful things in our own lives as indications that God does not care about us.  We may think, Perhaps He doesn’t love us, after all.  Even the men who knew Jesus the best, in the face of one of their greatest fears, cried out, “Teacher, don’t you care…?” (Mark 4:38).

Mark 4:35-41 shows us the scene of an evening on the Lake of Galilee. After a long day with the crowds, Jesus’ disciples are fishing.  The Master is exhausted from the hours of preaching and meeting the needs of the people. He lies on a cushion and falls asleep in the back of the boat.

Suddenly, a storm rises up from the lake, and even the most seasoned fishermen among them are afraid. They grew up on this lake and they know the violent potential of the waves and the wind roaring about them.  It was not a fanciful fear—water was already filling the boat.

In their panic, they shook Jesus awake. Their cry for help revealed the agony in their hearts: “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are going to drown?” (NLT).  Not, “Help us—You can save us.” Not, “Do something!” But, “Don’t you care?”  In the raging storm, they wondered aloud whether Jesus genuinely cared whether they lived or died.

Jesus speaks, but not to them.  He commands the wind and the waves—“Be still!”—and they obey.  A great calm and an eerie silence frames Jesus’ two short questions to his men: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”  The storm had been real—their clothes and hair still dripped from the wet beating.  That storm was far less real, however, than the man they had seen heal the sick and drive out demons.

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Like the disciples, we all face storms in our lives—storms and dangers that are incredibly vivid and real.  The water is rising in the boat, the bills are due, the accident happened, the pink slip isn’t a joke, the medical test is positive.  What will we cry out to the Lord?  We cannot see or hear Him; it may feel like He’s sleeping at the back of the boat.  Unlike the disciples, we know that Jesus died and rose from the dead. Yet do we believe, today, that He cares for us?

We don’t know how the storms will end or whether our small boat will make it across to the other side.  All our greatest fears may indeed come true. But sometime, somewhere, we must answer Jesus’ probing questions: “Why are you afraid?  Don’t you trust me?”

Our son had not lived long enough to know that we longed to do everything to care for him.  He cried before he went into surgery and he cried when he came out.  What a difference seven years later when we took our son to the emergency room for stitches after he crashed his bike.  Not only was he calm and trusting, but he knew I was there and would take care of him.

In our heart of hearts, do we trust that Jesus is our compassionate, committed Rescuer?   If He is not concerned, I will slip into the waves and be lost for sure. But if He cares, I can endure and experience His incredible peace anew.

Renee Sanford About Renée Sanford

Renée has been married to her high school sweetheart, David, for 30 years. They are the parents of three grown and married children and two teens and blessed with six grandkids. Renée has a passion for encouraging mothers at every stage—in an article, at a conference, or over a cup of coffee or tea. Renée is the co-author (with David) of How to Read Your Bible and the notes for the Living Faith Bible.

A Family’s Journey in Sponsoring a Child Through Compassion

I am excited to be here today, sharing with you about a ministry that has impacted my life in so many ways. More than 18 years ago, God opened my eyes and broke my heart for those living in extreme poverty. We all know poverty exists. We like to turn our eyes the other way and pretend it’s not there because it makes us uncomfortable. We wish we could do something to make it go away, but the enormity and complexity of it is overwhelming.

Although I do not have the power to end extreme poverty in the world, I do have the power to rescue one child and one family from its devastating effects.  When I was in college, I was introduced to the ministry of Compassion International and was challenged to partner with them in child sponsorship.

Compassion International is a Christ-centered, child-focused, holistic development ministry that works in 26 of the most impoverished countries in our world. By working through the local church, Compassion’s programs provide physical, educational, social, economic and spiritual help to children and their families. Their goal is to release children from poverty in the name of Jesus.

As a college student, I stepped out in faith and sponsored my first child, Judith in Kenya. As we began developing a relationship through letters, I realized her life was being greatly impacted by sponsorship. In one letter she reported to me that she used her birthday money to buy a blanket so she could sleep better at night, and also bought chickens so her family could have eggs.  Hearing this did something to me and I realized that her life was not the only one that was being changed.

God began to change me and open my eyes to His heart for the poor.

“Suppose a brother or sister is without warm clothes and daily food. If one of you says, ‘Go, I wish you well;  keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” – James 2:16.

One of the things I love most about Compassion’s child sponsorship program is that my whole family can be involved in ministry together. As a family we pray for our sponsored children and their families. We read and write letters together. As a home educating family, we have taken a global approach to our learning and try to learn as much as we can about the countries and cultures of our sponsored children. We all have “birthday buddies” which gives extra meaning to our birthday celebrations.

sponsor a child with Compassional International

In August 2010 I traveled to Peru to see Compassion’s ministry first hand, and in January 2012 my husband traveled to Nicaragua to meet Josseling, whom we’ve sponsored for 9 years.  These recent trips opened our eyes to a hurting world and have ignited a passion in us in terms of advocating for these children. We are grateful for opportunities to share in the work God is doing through Compassion.

After 18 years of involvement with Compassion, I can verify that this ministry works. In her final letter to me after six years of sponsorship, Judith wrote…

“If I look back into my life, I’ve very much impressed and comforted of what good you have done in me. Your help has shown light in my life. I’m educated. I never knew in my life I would have such kind of education compared to my family’s poor standard of living. Jill Foley, though we shall no longer more communicate, I will never forget you. I will keep on remembering you in my prayers because what you have done in my life is great. May the Lord Jesus give you prolonged life. May you live to be remembered.”

We have also met several graduates of the program, and each one has a unique and special story of hope and opportunity that came about because of sponsorship.

God is using the ministry of Compassion International to change lives. If you want to sponsor your own child, simply go to Compassion’s website and begin browsing through the profiles of children who are waiting. You can make a difference in the life of one child.

Jill Foley About Jill Foley

Jill is a homeschooling mom to two daughters. In addition to being passionate about child sponsorship, she likes to hike, garden, run and play violin. Jill blogs about Compassion at Compassion Family and about simple living at Daily Bread.

Who Needs Friendships!

While shopping at my local thrift store, I came across a book that caught my eyes.  I stopped before passing by, picked it up and could not put it down until I was almost finished with it.  I was glued to the pages because the words pierced my heart.  I could not put to words what I was going through but the author penned it so well.   It was so well that I did not noticed a drop of water had hit the page, and it was not raining outside, the store did not have a leak, the water drop was from my eyes.  If you know me, a river usually follows a tear drop.  I knew right then that I had to buy the book and finish reading it later.

The book talks about the many dimensions of friendships.  As I get older and the busyness of life takes its course, I began to realize and understand how fragile friendship is. At one point in my life, I was discouraged at making new friends; thinking why put in the effort when I’ll lose them eventually.  That’s where this book helped me put things into perspective.  No matter how many times we think, who needs friends, we all have a desire to connect with someone at any level.

Here are some poems from Flavia Weedn’s book Forever.

Some people
come into our lives
and quickly go.
leave footprints on our hearts,
and we are never,
ever the same.

When we care deeply about someone,
we learn the real gifts found in time…
And that its true measure of value
is discovered not in its duration,
but in the sharing of its moments.

Some people come into our lives by chance,
or maybe not really by chance
Perhaps in destiny’s grand design
there are no random meetings
And all is meant to be.

 

 

 

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