Where I Serve the Lord in My Church.

Please allow me to tell you about the ways I serve in my church. There are a few ways that I am blessed in serving. The one thing that I have come to appreciate is how God calls me out of my comfort zone to do so.

Serve the Lord

Serving Individuals with Unique Challenges.

First and probably the biggest blessing is God’s calling to serve the Rock House Bible class. The Rock House is a separate organization that provides homes and work for unique individuals with differing challenges. They arrive by vans and escorted by their drivers.

We have 25-30 class members who have mobility issues, learning disabilities, and a couple who are blind. They are a very loving group to those who serve them yet they do have their challenges often with each other. Some are not able to communicate clearly.

Even though they all have their own challenges, each one is created in God’s own image. Therefore, they are to be treated with love and respect as much as the neuro-typical person is. I believe that they each fit the least of these that Jesus refers to in Matthew 25:31-46. I am blessed by each one and grateful for the opportunity to teach them about Jesus and God’s Word.

We are currently working on confirmation teaching. This month we are on the unit about the Apostles’ Creed. I love this unit because it is our statement of faith and what we believe about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

I Serve the Lord with Gladness.Ways I Serve the Lord

The second area where I serve the Lord is in Joy Mission Circle. This is a group of women who meet once a month to support various missions and for Bible study. It is a small part of a larger organization, Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. We provide meals for VBS, Lenten Suppers, and Advent Devotions. We support missions through our mite boxes where we collect our change. I am amazed at how far reaching pour mites go to support both state and national missions.

Last but not least, I am further blessed to serve on the Capital Zone as Vice President of Christian Life. My duties are to encourage other societies to utilize the LWML website, organize rallies which there are 2 every year, and the Capital Zone retreat. Furthermore, I have had opportunities to attend 3 Texas District conventions since 2010, and my first National Convention just this year.

Thank the Lord!

I rejoice in the Lord, my God. By no means, do I mean to boast of myself. For God has made all of this possible. Apart from God, I can do nothing. He works in me and through me. All glory belongs to Him.

Related link: 5 Things that I Love About my Church

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My Overwhelming Gratitude List

Gratitude List

My Gratitude List

I suffered an injury to my back in March and my world has been different ever since. Despite the pain and inconvenience, I have chosen to compose my gratitude list. This exercise has been most rewarding and uplifting because there is so very much to be thankful for.

God’s Many Blessings!

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

On the night of April 3rd following cortisone shot, I lay in bed trying to go to sleep and my mind was flooded with thankfulness. Here is what I am thankful for:

  • My husband for all that he does for me and for his working from home to look after me.
  • The sound of my husband snoring because it meant that I am not alone
  • My mom’s sound advice and help and having followed it & I benefited
  • Friends that prayed for me and I know that God heard their pleas.
  • Even for the lonely Mockingbird singing after 11:30pm to way past midnight.
  • The doctors and nurses that had to put up with me when I was hurting and complaining
  • The fellow Christian blogger who did not know me but cared enough to send me her book on Help and Hope while You’re Healing; Thank you, Christine Carter
  • The community of fellow Christian bloggers that prayed for me though they did not know me
  • Pastor Crowe who brought me communion
  • Kay Gray who came for a visit
  • Dee who helped me more than once; her kindness is beyond words.
  • Most especially, my brother-in-love who brought my sister and my niece for a visit
  • My two young men who have helped fix and prepare dinners and helped me in many ways to include cleaning house.
  • The one night which I slept well since I injured my back
  • The friends that offer to help in anyway and the emails and Facebook replies.
  • The faith that God has given me through Jesus Christ, His Son

I Give Thanks!

Dear Lord God, I cannot begin to give You enough thanks for the many blessings that You have given to me. You alone are worthy of all my worship and praise. Please bless all my friends and family. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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My Home Church Then & Now

Church home

Once My Church Home was Baptist. Now It is Lutheran.

I grew up attending a Baptist church during my adolescence. It was baptized in a Baptist church in Terrell, Texas, that I was baptized. There I felt at home in my church. I am quite familiar with a number of hymns such as “Because He Lives,” and “I Surrender All.” I have often thought of myself as Baptist at heart. Yet I have not been a member of a Baptist church since 2006.

I first attended an ELCA* Lutheran church in my senior of high school. This became my family’s church home. I attended faithfully with my parents. When I later joined the Air Force, I went to the Protestant service which was a Lutheran church service. I have on more occasions said that I am a Christian first and where I worship may change.

After a dispute at our church home, my parents, my son, and I started to attend services at an LCMS* church. I was a single parent at the time due to the death of my first husband. Over the many years since first attending a Lutheran service, I have grown accustomed to the liturgical order of worship.

During my early 30’s, however, I struggled to find my place of worship. I did not feel like I fit in at the Lutheran church where I attended with my parents. Therefore, I elected to attend the Church of the Nazarene. I was there for five years after which I started to attend a Baptist church again. At first, I felt like I had come home, but God had another plan for me.

God brought someone wonderful into my life in 2004 and we were married in 2006. My new husband was a very active member of the same church that my parents were still attending. I became a member once more on the Father’s day before we were married. We have made this church our home until God tells us differently. God’s plans are truly greater than anything that we can plan or imagine.

I have found my church home to be in an LCMS church. There, the truth doesn’t waiver and Christ is taught and worshiped. It is not perfect but God’s Word is the rule. I guess you might say that I once was Baptist but now I am Lutheran by choice.

 

*Footnote: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA); Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS)

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When I am Troubled I Turn My Eyes To Jesus

There is No Better Place to Turn My Eyes

My dear mom reminded me to turn my eyes to Jesus today. Through the past weekend and into Monday, I was greatly troubled with negative and disturbing thoughts. I was one step away from seeking help on a professional level. There were a couple of my go to verses that helped me. Isaiah 26:3, You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You (ESV). Here I am told that God will keep me in perfect peace when my mind is stayed on Him because I trust Him.

James 4:7, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. In the Amplified , it reads that So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you (AMP). By first keeping my mind on God then I am to submit to His authority and stand against the devil and he will flee.

Eyes to Jesus

My mom told me that when she is troubled with such thoughts she sings Turn Your Eye Upon Jesus and she reads the 23rd Psalm. This is reassuring because when I do turn my eyes on Jesus my thoughts are restored and my strength is renewed. I do have to admit though that turning to Jesus was not my first reaction to what troubled me. I began to look elsewhere for help.

Forgive me, Heavenly Father for not first turning to You.

Thanks be to God that He does not fail and I have had another opportunity to experience His divine grace and renewed thinking. After all, God’s grace is sufficient for me just as it was for the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9. Jesus is the author and perfecter of my faith. Committing scripture to memory has helped me to renew my mind and to focus on Jesus. To God be the glory!

How has turning your eyes to Jesus helped you?

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Without a Doubt God is Good!

I Know This from My Own Experiences
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8
 
 I know that you have heard the phrase, “God is good.” Yet, inside you might find this hard to comprehend with so much going on in your life. I know this to be true though my experiences would give me cause to say otherwise. God has given me eyes to see my life in a different light. As Big Daddy Weave’s song, ‘Different Light,’ reads, “there is no after without before.” God had a purpose and plan for everything that has happened in my life. I see now that I could not be where I am today if I had not gone through all that I did. After all, God works all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Yes, it was not easy but I was never alone and He was patient with me as I began to heal; which He was responsible for bringing about in me. He is in the processing of making me His light to the world. 
In today’s Jesus Calling, He reminds me that He is in the business of healing broken hearts, broken bodies, broken minds, broken lives, and broken relationships. Abiding Him gains me healing but if I need or want more all I have to do is ask. James 4:2 b tells me that I have not because I ask not. Yet, I need to ask with the right motive. So I am asking God for healing in a relationship. I have seen Him do it with others so I know that it is possible. All I need to do is trust Him with it.
God has unique ways in which He brings about healing. For me, He does it through my friends that He has blessed me. Thank you to the friends that I have had the pleasure of spending time with these past two days. God’s blessings to you all.
To God be the glory!
My Prayer: Dear God, Hear my prayer, I know that Your are my healer and that all I need to do is ask for more. Please heal my relationship with someone so dear to me. All to Your glory Lord. Amen.
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The Desires of Our Hearts

God Knows Them & Desires to Answer
Psalm37:4 AMP
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. 
There are desires in our hearts that we ourselves do not know of because God put them there. I know this to be true. For God gave me my heart’s desire 9 years ago tomorrow. I had read Psalm 37:4 before meeting him. I put my heart into serving the Lord and others in 2003. A dear friend of mine told me in January 2004 that she was praying for a husband for me. I had no clue what my heart’s desire was until I met my husband in the fall of 2004. My husband proposed to me on Memorial Day 2006. We were married August 5, 2006. I am truly blessed and for ever thankful for God answering my friend’s prayer and giving me my heart’s desire. I know that every good gift is from above, coming down from the Father.
Delighting one’s self in the Lord is spending time with Him and His word and seeking to do His will. When I keep my focus on God, He blesses me. Matthew 6:33 tells me that to seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you. It is not an easy road at first because this world wants to draw one’s focus elsewhere. 
There are many other ways that God has blessed me. I have a better relationship with my mom. I have an opportunity to serve God in other places as well as in my church. I am content and as I look back I see how God has used difficult times in my life to help me grow. I know that He delights over me with singing and calls me friend.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him Psalm 34:8 May you to desire to serve the Lord with gladness.
My Prayer: Dear father in heaven, You are mighty and woorthy of praise. Thank You, Lord, for blessing me with my heart’s desire. May others come to know You more and see that You are good. Amen. 
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How I Know that God Loves Me

Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me. I cried out to Him; His praise was on my tongue. Psalm 66:16-17
My son likes to watch top ten list so I thought that today I would make a top ten list of ‘How I Know that God Loves Me.’ It is my way of telling you what He has done for me. So here it goes;
  1. Jesus died for my sins and rose again that I, too, may have eternal life. This is first and foremost. Eternal life is a changed life now and to live with Him forever in the next.
  2. Even though my son was diagnosed with Autism, I am blessed to be a mom and he is now a strong young man of faith. I see his disability as a blessing now because we did not have any troubles with bad behavior.
  3. When I was widowed at 25 and three months pregnant, I was able to fly from Germany to the U.S. God gave me the strength I needed to make it home.
  4. In both my first and current marriage, God gave me men who love and treasure me. I am married to my heart’s desire since 2006. I am blessed to be a part of a family of six now. God has gifted me with three wonderful children of my heart. I am honored to be a part of their lives.
  5. God sustained me through the loss of loved ones; my baby brother in 1977, my first husband in 1990, the passing of my maternal grandparents, and the death of my biological father this year.
  6. Before my bio father died, I was able to visit with him and make amends. God also gave me little hidden treasures along the way.
  7. God brought about reconciliation between my mother and I in 2014. We now have a better relationship.
  8. God continues to change me from the inside out. He made uncomfortable at times in order that I would grow. This occurred more than once, I assure you.
  9. God has blessed me with so many wonderful people to be connected with.
  10. I am not who I used to be. I no longer live in my past and I know who holds my future.  

These are just a few of the ways. There are so many more. To God be the glory for things that He has done and yet to do.

I challenge you to think of 10 ways that God has shown His love for you.

My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I cannot possibly begin to tell you how grateful I am to You for all the ways that You have revealed Your great love to me. I want to tell everyone what You have done for me. All praise and glory belong to You. Amen. 

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In The Compassion of God

You Find Forgiveness & Mercy
Theses are just a few of the examples.
There are several places in the Bible that describe God as compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love. Everyday is an example of His compassion as well as a gift. God forgave King David when the King repented of his sins before God. God called many people who did not seem to fit the picture of a prophet but He showed mercy by equipping them for the task that they were called to. Yet, the greatest show of His compassion was sending Jesus to pay the price for our sins that we could not, for the wages of sin is death. He sends rain to everyone and answers the prayers of those who love Him. 
Mercy is not receiving that which we deserve – punishment for our sins.
Grace is receiving that which we do not deserve – forgiveness through the cross.
Embrace God’s compassion and mercy for it is to all who believe in His son. 
Nothing on earth or in heaven can separate you from the love of God. When times are tough and the way seems too dark remember who is on your side. He will see you through it to the other side while at the same time helping you to grow and to learn to trust Him more. Believers were not promised a rose garden but a God who is closer than any friend or brother and who will provide grace and strength to the weak. Once forgiven, He remembers our sins no more. He rejoices over us with singing. 
When I look back over my almost 50 years and I see numerous times that God’s compassion was there. I have lost loved ones but I am forever grateful for the times that I had spent with them. Some I have regrets for not having spent more time. If it were not for the tough times in my life I would not be where I am today. He sustained me in the valleys and brought joy on the mountaintops. God is good all the time.
Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who trusts and takes refuge in Him.
My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I am forever thankful for Your compassion in my life. For You have sustained me many a time and have changed me from the inside out through it all. To Your glory. Amen.
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Testify to the Truth

What Does It Mean?
According to dictionary.com 
Testify means to make solemn declaration.
To declare, profess, or acknowledge openly.
 
I am called to testify to the truth of Jesus Christ and what He means to me. There are a number of passages in the Bible that speak to testifying. Telling my story is important because it cannot be denied. It is mine and therefore is my experience to the life change that Jesus has done in me. I am to proclaim it to others so that they, too, can receive eternal life in Jesus. For I cannot deny Him or He will deny me before the Father. Jesus is real and He is life. I am not who I used to be and as long as I am on this earth I will continue to abide in Him because He has given me His Holy Spirit (1 John 4:13). My attitude should be like Paul in Acts 20:24, But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
As I tell my story, may it be seasoned with grace and gentleness. There is power in the name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit will put the words in my mouth to say. It is for His glory and not mine that I wish to speak for Him.
 
May you also be called to testify to the truth with grace and gentleness by the power of the Holy Spirit. To God be the glory.
 
Interesting Bible Fact: 2 John has the fewest number of verses of any book in the Bible – it is the shortest book in the Bible.

The word “Christian” appears only three times in the Bible: Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16.

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The word “Christian” appears only three times in the Bible: Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16.

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My Flesh Contends with God’s Spirit in Me.

My Spirit is Willing but My Flesh is Weak.
Galatians 5:17
For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  

Mark 19:38
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
 
This has been my quandary for this week since my surgery last Thursday. I was depressed yesterday. I knew what I needed to do but I found myself reluctant much like a sick child not wanting to take her medicine in order to get well. With all of the sundry things that have challenged my health so far this year, I am not happy with the changes in my body. I am feeling my age and lamenting over how things used to be, therefore, the struggle between my flesh and God’s spirit in me has become more noticeable. Please forgive me for my pity party. 
In order to turn things around, I need to remind myself of the many things that I have to be grateful for, which to name a few are healthcare to be able to take care of myself, house and home, loving husband and family, and the resources to shake off this mood. Praise be to God for He loves me just the same. Learning to admit this is the first step to a healthy recovery. It is much like following doctor’s orders to improve and get better, therefore, I need to sing praises to God, pray, read my Bible, and confess my sins.
Isn’t God great?! He is full of mercy and grace for He knows that I will fall short more than once in my lifetime. Victory goes to God!!

My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, forgive me for feeling sorry for myself and being reluctant to turn to You for help. Restore to me the joy of Your Salvation and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Amen.
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