Defining Moment Has Come!

Where I find my defining moment

What I Have Learned from My Defining Moment.

Over the past couple months, I have been exploring the “how” God is being worshiped in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) in the area that I Live. Today, I reached a defining moment when it comes worship.

The LCMS has a particular order to the way worship service is followed. This what is termed the substance which is not to be changed. What may you ask does this mean? There are a number of things that are a part of the substance such as confession & absolution, the creeds, baptism, Gospel reading, communion and the Lord’s Prayer. This is what comprises a liturgical service. The way or order that these follow is what is termed the form.

‘As long as the substance remains the same, the form may change’ is the way one part of the LCMS looks at worship. I have visited a few churches and seen the various forms that worship has taken. From what I have seen so far there was one service that the form effected the substance. There were a quite few parts of substance that were not present. At two other services, the form was different but the substance was present with only one or more parts absent. My home church, I believe, has found a very good balance where the substance remained and the form was altered so that all parts were present.

My defining moment came when God helped me understand that what is the most important is the condition of my heart. Man judges the outward appearance but God judges the heart. If I am worshiping Him in spirit and in truth at my church then I am where I belong.

My Conclusion

I recognize that where I currently worship is right for me because God’s truth is taught through scripture reading and the creeds and He is worshiped in song. It is through confession and absolution that I admit that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I receive forgiveness of my sins through communion.  I am also able to worship Him in spirit and in truth for who He is. Therefore, I am a Christian who chooses to worship in an LCMS church.

Where are you able to worship God in spirit and in truth? Check out this Related Link: 5 Things I Love about my Church!

(1 John 1:8-9, Acts 4:12, 1 Samuel 16:7, John 4:23-24)

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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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Sweet Serenity, How is it Attained?

Serenity

How is Serenity Achieved?

Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr

  I am sure that most people are familiar with the first part of the Serenity Prayer.
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
But how many know that there is more to it? The second part is where serenity is truly sought.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Amen.

Discussion

It is in asking God to help me live one day at a time and one moment at a time. God helps me to be in the present not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Accepting hardships as a pathway to peace, now this is another matter. God helps me to understand that the struggles that I go through serve a purpose. No it is not fun nor easy but God has a purpose and a plan for me. 
 
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is. Jesus did after all tell us that there will be trouble. Yet, He has overcome the world. Now comes trust.  I am to trust in Jesus because He will make all things right if I surrender to His will. By my surrender to His will, I will be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy in the next. Again, there is no greater joy than knowing Jesus.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may others come to know You more so that they, too, can know serenity. Amen.
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Trusting in Jesus, Easier Said than Done!

Trusting in Jesus

What Does Trusting Jesus Look Like?

I had a dear friend ask me how does one know if he/she is trusting in the Lord. I told her that I would have to explore that some, so I turned to my Bible dictionary and trust means to have confidence in. To trust in the Lord is to place one’s confidence in Him that He is there with you whatever comes your way; having confidence that He will comfort you when you are hurting, give you the strength to stand or the words to say. It is also having confidence that He will keep His promises to never leave nor forsake you. It is taking Him at His word. Therefore, I will be trusting in Him in good and in bad times.

No, we are not promised a rose garden. Jesus said that there will be trouble but to take heart He has overcome the world. The joy of the Lord is our strength. This joy comes from knowing Him intimately and knowing that this world is not our home. Yet, while we are here we are to love and serve Him and let His light shine in us that others can come to know Him, too. There is no greater joy than knowing Him.

  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.  Isaiah 26:4 ESV

David trusted God to give him the kingdom long before it happened. Noah trusted God when God told him to build the ark and time and again when Noah sent the dove out. Peter trusted Jesus when Peter first stepped out of the boat but when he took his eyes off of Jesus he began to sink. Thus,  David and Noah placed their confidence in God and not in themselves. Peter fell short when withdrew his trust. Therefore, trusting is placing one’s confidence and hope in God and no one else.
 
One of my favorite verses is in James is chapter 1 verse 5 where it tells me that God does not find fault in me when I ask for wisdom, therefore, I do not believe that God will find fault in me if I ask for Him to help me trust Him more. One of my many favorite hymns puts it together so well is Trust and Obey. The link has the lyrics to this simply beautiful hymn.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV
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There is Power in the Name of Jesus!

Though the World Would Shut Jesus Out.
He Prevails!
The Triumphal Entry 
As Jesus entered Jerusalem on what we have come to call Palm Sunday, people then were crying out, 
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory to the highest!” 
The Pharisees, religious leaders of the time, told Jesus to rebuke his disciples but Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very rocks cry out.” 
Today, there are those who would have the name of Jesus censored from television. Yet, His name prevails thanks to a number of strong Christian artist who refuse to be silenced. Here is a link, Jesus’ Name Be Lifted Up, to view the artist and their astounding performances. It takes courage to take a stand for Jesus and it makes my heart glad to see young people refusing to be silenced. I pray that we will continue to see more and more people young and old alike praise the name of Jesus wherever they are.
It has been my experience to watch a room clear when Jesus is discussed. If there were no power to His name then why does His name effect peolpe the way it does? I will worship and adore His name until I die. Praise the name of Jesus!
Try as they may to keep Him out, the name of Jesus will prevail. To God be the glory!
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
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To Forgive or Not to Forgive…

To forgive or not forgive

That is the Question.

I am instructed to forgive other regardless of the other person’s reception. For it is about me and not them. In Matthew 6:12, I am to forgive others in order to receive forgiveness of my sins. In doing so, I receive grace, peace, and freedom because holding on to a grudge is only hurting me and my relationship with God and others. I have acrostic for this.
Forgive
Others            Matthew 6:12
Regardless
Grace             Ephesians 2:8-9
In
Virtue to         Colossians 3:13-14
Everyone!
Grace is a freely given gift. I am, in turn, to freely share grace with others. Jesus made it all possible. I am grateful for this because on my own; I would fail.
To forgive is a virtue for every believer in Jesus. It is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. I am to pardon others as Christ first forgave me. I did not deserve it and there were no conditions to be filled before I could receive other than believing and confessing Him. He will help me work to absolve others of their sin against me. All need to do is ask Him to help me.

What it Means to Forgive.

Forgiveness is not that we forget but in choosing not to pick up and mistreat/gossip about it. Matthew 18:15-17, provides instructions on how to go to someone and offer forgiveness for a wrong that has been done to you. Reconciling is a healthy and right thing to do. I heard it said in a sermon that if that person refuses after every effort has been made you are to treat the person as an unbeliever and try to win them back. Reconciliation is the ultimate goal. Yet, this passage is often abused because people will quote it but rarely is it ever modeled in the church. I would like to see it modeled in a sermon via a skit.
Max Lucado put it this way; when I forgive, it sets the prisoner free and that prisoner is me. I can honestly say that I am free! There is no excuse for me not to do this for others. Therefore, I will choose to do the right thing.
 
I choose to forgive. Is there someone that you need to forgive?
My Prayer: Dear God, forgive me as I forgive others. Remind me that holding on to a grudge only hurts me more than the other person. Cause me to embrace Your forgiveness that I may, in turn, forgive those who have hurt me and offer amends to those I have hurt. Amen.
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Christ Jesus Came to Set Us Free!

Free

Yes, There is Freedom In Christ Jesus!

As a believer in Christ, I have been freed from the slavery to sin. In Stasi Eldredge’s book, Becoming Myself Embracing God’s Dream of You, she lists the things that we have been freed from and to those that we have been freed to do. We can be free from:
Bondage, sin, the fear of man, shame, regret, rage, disappointment, addiction, fear, You name it.
We are free to:
Be happy, be glorious, succeed, love, live, forgive, not be bound by chains. She goes on to say that we are free to fail! Because we are free from the cages of other people’s expectations, demands, yokes and judgements– even our own.
Therefore, I will rejoice. Hallelujah!! How amazing is that?! I no longer have to be “perfect” in the eyes of others or my own. I can admit my mistakes and seek forgiveness, therefore, I am free from guilt and shame. Yes, I will fail but I know that if I confess my sins to God, who is faithful and just, He will forgive all my sins.

The Law of the Spirit of Life has Set You Free!

In addition, if I allow someone’s inability to forgive me to keep me captive in shame and guilt, I am giving that person to much power. And what is that saying about God’s forgiveness? It is saying that I am not accepting of it.
However, this is no longer to be the case for the law of the Spirit of life has set me free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.  Thus, I can stand firm and no longer submit to a yoke of slavery to sin. The word free is found 56 times in the New Testament.
Furthermore, I have a new lease on life for I have been made new. God created me and I will choose to live in the freedom that He has given me. I know live for Him and for His glory.

Live in the Freedom God Has Given You!

Don’t let faulty thinking rob you of the freedom that there is in Christ. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Here’s your challenge: to embrace the freedom that is in Christ Jesus. Ask Him to show you how.
My Prayer: Dear Father God, thank You for setting me free in Christ Jesus, Your Son. Help me to choose to live in that freedom daily. All to Your glory. May others embrace it as well. Amen. 
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Spiritual Liberty is Found in Christ

Liberty

Know the Truth and the the Truth Will Set You Free.

Spiritual liberty is the emancipation from bondage to sin thus freedom. There is no other place to find it than in the truth of Jesus.

John 8:31-32 (NIV)*
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
 John 14:5-6 (NIV)*
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Celebrating Liberty

This 4th of July, I not only celebrate my freedom in America but I also celebrate my freedom in Christ. For He has set me free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). I, especially, like the way 2 Corinthians 3:17, in the Amplified, reads,
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom).

I am not free to sin but free from bondage to sin because I am a new creation in Christ. I heard said that ‘we are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners’. This is what Christ has freed me from. Yes, I will have times when I do sin but I can confess my sins and repent.God will forgive me and cleanse me from all righteousness. (1 John 1:8-9). God has given His Holy Spirit to help me remember what I have been taught and provide a means of resisting temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).

lIBERTY

So celebrate your freedom today and everyday!
My Prayer: Dear God in heaven, I give You thanks for the freedom that You have given me through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Help me tell others about this freedom. Amen.

Psalm 118 verse 8 is in the center of the Bible: “It is better to trust in the Lord than put confidence in man.”

Copy and WIN : http://ow.ly/KNICZ

Psalm 118 verse 8 is in the center of the Bible: “It is better to trust in the Lord than put confidence in man.”

Copy and WIN : http://ow.ly/KNICZ

Psalm 118 verse 8 is in the center of the Bible: “It is better to trust in the Lord than put confidence in man.”

Copy and WIN : http://ow.ly/KNICZ

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An Attitude of Gratitude Can Bring a Smile to Your Face

Gratitude

Looking for Things to be 

Thankful for in Everyday Life!

Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (ESV)
This verse tells us that in whatever we do, in word or deed. This means when I go shopping, going to the doctor’s, cleaning house or just about anything do it in the name of the Lord. It also refers to what I say to my family or the clerk at the store. Therefore, I am to speak as if Jesus were listening which He does. I am to give thanks to God the Father through Him. There are time when I do not always get this right but if I stop and think about it, it is a game changer.

An attitude of gratitude is what separates the believer from the unbeliever. It should also be what attracts others to Jesus. Gratitude is the state of being thankful. So on my trip to see my father last month it was easy to see many things to be thankful for. But upon returning home that I seemed to be challenged to find things to give thanks to God. Now I try to focus on the little things that I can be grateful for and give thanks to God. For His love endures forever.

Developing An Attitude of Gratitude

 1 Thessalonians 5:18
In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (KJV)
 
Gratitude for the simple things in my life brings a smile to my face. I am thankful today for the Christian women in my life. I am thankful for the cancellation at a doctor’s office so I could be seen. I appreciate it when the traffic lights are green. When someone tells me that they were thinking of me when I call makes me smile. God somehow made my time multiply and I was able to get much accomplished before my flight tomorrow. Getting to hold a child even for a little while brightens my day. My husbands calm and collective reasoning to help me work through my emotions to make a right decision. My loving young men who ask how I am doing and give me hugs. Most of all I am forever thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus made so that I may reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him in the next.
What little things in you life that you can be thankful for and give thanks to God? Smile for Jesus died for you!
 
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Air Force Training and Service to My Country

My Air Force Training

My Years of Training in the United States Air Force

 After high school, I went to Air Force Basic Training in San Antonio, Texas, in the summer of 1984. Following basic training, I went to Colorado for Air Force Technical school. I was training to be a munitions system specialist. I would go on to handle, store, inspect, and deliver Aircraft munitions. After training, I went back to Bergstrom AFB and served 2 years there in the Air Force Reserve.
I made an attempt at living at home and commuting to the University of Texas. I majored in electrical engineering, big mistake. Physics class presented me the hardest course. I joined the Air Force ROTC which only made it harder because I had to take 15 to 18 hours a semester. Yet, I had too much fun in the ROTC. I especially enjoyed going to football games. Gradually, my grades started to reflect this and I had to drop out. I made the decision to go full-time active duty.

Going from Reserves to Active Duty

In 1986 after going active duty, I went to Tyndall AFB in Pensacola, Florida. This would be my first active duty assignment. I was a bit of a recluse there and I met my first husband while stationed in Florida in 1987. In August of 1988, I received orders to go to Korea for a remote tour. In February of 1989, I flew home to get married and returned to Korea to finish my tour and change my follow on assignment.
My husband returned to Florida and received his orders for Morbach Air Base, Germany. I distinctly remember putting in for a joint assignment knowing that God would answer this request. God indeed answered because I later received my orders to Hahn Air Base. By September 1989, I was in Germany. I found out that I was pregnant in October 1990. We were in Germany until his death in December 1990. I took a hardship assignment back to Bergstrom AFB.  My son was born in July 1991. I would be there until the base closed in 1992. As of July 15, 1992, I was honorably discharged from the military. God was with me every step of the way. He was my comfort and mainstay.

My Faith in God Sustained Me

It was times like this that I look back and see one set of footprints in the sand and know that Jesus carried me through. If it was not for my faith in Jesus, I am not sure how I would have managed to get through that time in my life. However, I am now blessed with a handsome young man that my son has become. I am grateful for the places and experiences that I went through as well as for all the people I met along the way. I leave you with this verse because God never wastes a hurt.
 
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
 Related Link: My Story
My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me and impart to you what I have learned from His Word.
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