Once in a blue moon….

Although the full moon on Aug. 31, 2012, will look like an ordinary full moon, it’s actually a bit extraordinary—a blue moon.

What is a Blue Moon?

There are in fact two definitions for a blue moon. According to the more recent definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month. For a blue moon to occur, the first of the full moons must appear at or near the beginning of the month so that the second will fall within the same month (the average span between two moons is 29.5 days). The full Moon on Aug. 31, 2012, will be this type of blue moon; it will be the second full moon in one month.

Read more: Blue Moons: myths, facts, history, and dates — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/spot/bluemoon1.html#ixzz25AuWaW2D

We often use this expression to describe an unusual event that does not occur often.  As I stood outside gazing at the blue moon, I wondered what random, unusual thing I could do to celebrate this extraordinary event that God has given us tonight?!

What wild, wonderful, passionate idea or dream do you have?  Let the beauty of the moon tonight inspire you to take that one step towards making that happen! 

“God is ABLE to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” (From God)

WOW! In typing that I had a huge AHA! moment.  So my deepest groaning prayer, passionate desires, my daily thoughts and wishes that twirl around in my mind, my very HOPES are nothing compared to what GOD is able to do in my life.

Oh wow!  God!  We ask for the challenge to experience this with you – a “once in a blue moon” event, life change.

I received an email from a friend who shared that her team went deep, deep, deep into the bush of a country to reach an unreached people group and begin sharing His love.  They went down physically dangerous roads and were potentially at the mercy of a government that would not approve if they caught them.  I just think of that woman or man sitting in their home in the bush when someone comes to share the love of Jesus with them, and to meet their physical needs.  That would be a once in a blue moon event for both parties involved!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh  Jesus! Stretch us!  Grow us!  Oh the majesty of your handiwork around us, and yet you have stated that we are much more cared for and loved!  We are your children!  If you can create the phenomenon of the blue moon surely you can create the same miracles in us!  We love you!

Readers! Our blog is reaching the world!

Below are the countries in which folks are reading our blog, Arrested By Grace.  I’ve been imagining someone sitting at their desk, or holding their Ipad at work researching more about Jesus or the topics we’ve discussed together.  Are they male or female?  How old?  Are they hurting and searching?  Do they need prayer?  So, whenever one of these countries show up as a reader on my world map on WordPress, I close my eyes and pray for them. 

Even if they were researching how to make butterscotch pudding and somehow came upon this blog, I pray God will just love on them and give them a Hope!  So, just know your comments, thoughts, prayers are connected to those around the world!  We really are neighbors.  Just think what heaven will be like.  So far the countries below are those that have participated. 

United Kingdom

Philippines

Netherlands

Thailand

Lesotho

Saudi Arabia

Romania

Malaysia

 

Lesotho Flag

Compare? Beware!

I had a wonderful meeting today with a LONG time friend from church.  She was sharing her awesome  mission trip (our post on Deborah House, a home in Romania for girls who have faced significant trauma).  We were catching up. We talked about so many things we were jumping around in the conversation. There was one point in the conversation that became a time to confess and apply God’s Word.

We both confessed comparing ourselves to each other and feeling like we don’t measure up. We laughed and acknowledged that at our age we’ve become aware it’s not just us that compares, but it is evident in many people. We just do it naturally.  Why?  Why do we feel like if I’m not like you, there must be something inadequate in me?  God made it perfectly clear (previous post) that each one of us was made for a purpose and created by Him. 

He didn’t have an off day when He made you, and a better day when He made someone else. 

We label people. God calls you HIS.  We say things like poor, middle class, wealth, pretty, ugly, smart, not so smart, extrovert, introvert, thinker, feeler, learning disabled, damaged, abused etc….the list is endless!  Then we attach meaning to these words and rank them.  I almost feel silly typing this post, but it’s so rampant I had to remind us to just STOP! 

So, according to Simon Cowell your voice is better for the shower.  Maybe you love to dance, but never had a day of lessons.  You apply for a job and someone else gets it.  You got bronze and your friend got gold. Your past is filled with trauma and struggles and some of your friends didn’t experience those things and you feel different.  All these examples are extreme to drive the point home. 

Once you get your mind off  God’s beautiful way He created YOU and His plan for you, we start comparing, and then the big green monster of jealousy comes. 

Instead of filling our minds with God’s Truth, we listen to the world saying we don’t measure up.  When I feel that green monster knocking on my door,  I purposefully call it what it is in my mind and say STOP!  Then I, on purpose, look at that person as a child of God (just like me) who God is working His plan in.  God has a plan for each of us and each of us has to do our part.  If I try to do your part then I can’t do my part.  Then all of a sudden when I get tired of trying to be like you, I switch to someone else and try to be like them, and a vicious, never-ending, never measure up, poor self-esteem life happens.  Rick Warren in his book The Purpose Driven Life says, “Those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it.  I don’t know all the keys to success, but one key to failure is to try to please everyone.  Being controlled by the opinions of others is a guaranteed way to miss God’s purposes for your life.  Jesus said, ‘No one can serve two masters’.    We create unused potential, unnecessary stress, and an unfulfilled life.”

Comparison is rooted in fears of trying to measure up and feelings of failure or self hate. It is very closely related to approval addiction (a previous post) in which we strive so hard to please everyone by constantly comparing ourselves and measuring our life by someone elses’ standards.  The sad part about comparing ourselves to others is that we never get the benefit of  healthy, Christian relationships, and we are constantly mentally beating ourselves up.  The  most significant issue of comparing ourselves to others is that we don’t spend time developing our God-given talents because we are so busy comparing.

Mentoring relationships are healthy.  It’s when you walk in a room and look around measuring, adding it up, and waiting for someone to say in some way “You measure up tonight!  Good job!” then that’s when you know you are involved in the comparison game.

Your measuring stick is God’s redeeming love for you, and HE ADORES YOU! He sees you through the finished work of Jesus Christ – no blemish and beautiful!

“Let everyone be sure to do his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work done well and won’t need to compare himself with someone else.” (Galatians 6:4 LB)

And, on days when you fall short of your best you serve a Savior whose mercies are new every morning! (His GRACE is amazing!)

Pursue Him and watch your life become what He intended YOU to be.  He doesn’t want you to be anyone else. 

I’m so glad my sweet friend Melinda is all she is in Christ and all the things she will become!  I can learn from her, but when I start comparing myself to her, then I miss out on my potential, and we both miss out on a more healthy, Christian friendship.

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Even Before You Were Born You Existed

Isaiah 44:2a (CEV) “I am your Creator, You were in my care even before you were born.”

Some books never get old.  The church we are visiting is offering families the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.  It’s updated in that you can scan a barcode using your Iphone on each chapter and see a small video that emphasizes the chapter.  Cool beans!  Technology is so amazing!

Honestly, I believe the truths of God are so complex to our minds that we read them like a long sappy Hallmark card and say, “Awwww that was sweet”, and then we move on.  We never REALLY apply it or believe it for ourselves.  We say it on Sunday in worship but Monday comes and we feel defeated from a situation or thought.  We might even think the Bible is just that – sentiment, a positive self-help book instead of truth.

Stop and really think about YOU existing in the mind of God BEFORE you were born.  The book shares: “Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God.”   God wanted YOU and created YOU. Why?  So you can be in a relationship with Him.  He created you to be loved by Him.  God IS love. He commands us to share His love with others.  It’s really that simple, yet hard. 

It’s hard because the world enters in and mankind tells you different.  Some of us know the pain of being told you were a mistake, or accident.  Or, maybe it wasn’t said to you but their actions implied that you were in the way and a bother.  I work with girls who try very hard to feel significant for the opposite sex and do everything to gain that acceptance only to be left alone or rejected.  I remember a horrible relationship I was in as a teenager.  This person said that if I left him no one would ever love me, and He listed all the reasons why no one would want to love me.  His words  profoundly impacted me as a teenager, and it manifested in negative coping skills on my part. I lost sight of God’s love for me and His plan.   These words and situations collect in your mind unknowingly and over time you accept them as truth. It must be so. God’s grace and mercy in our lives restores us over time as we acknowledge His truth.  Let me just say that short sentence is an understatement of His Work.  That’s another story for another day!  It takes courage to bring these things into the light and deal with them by applying God’s Word consistently.

How does knowing this TRUTH help us in day-to-day?  If we truly believed this with all our being then life’s ups and downs and trials would be wrapped in the knowledge that if God conceived me in His mind before I was born, He obviously has a plan for me.  I can trust Him.  The other truth would logically be if anything speaks against His truth, then it’s false and I should not accept it into my mind or heart.  YOU ARE NOT AN ACCIDENT.  YOU ARE HERE FOR A PURPOSE.  NEVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU  THAT YOU ARE NOT LOVEABLE!

If you’ve ever given birth, or visited someone in the hospital after their child entered the world – Go there in your mind.  But, instead of thinking of that event transfer the image of you being conceived in the mind of God, and He has the biggest smile!  He is overjoyed, knows exactly what He wants you to accomplish, and creates every cell of your body into this masterpiece. You belong to Him, and He brings forth this life – YOU – destination Earth.

Rick Warren includes this poem in Chapter 2:

You are who you are for a reason.
You’re part of an intricate plan.
You’re a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God’s special woman or man.You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb,
You’re just what he wanted to make.
The parents you had were the ones he chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom designed with God’s plan in mind,
And they bear the Master’s seal.
No, that trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into his likeness you’d grow.You are who you are for a reason,
You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because there is a God!
 
Poem written by Russell Kelfer
 
The Bible says…
  • ” The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me…”
  • “You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.”
  • “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe.  Every day was recorded in your Book!” (DID YOU THINK ABOUT GOD KEEPING A DIARY ON YOU?)
  • “From one man he made every nation…and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”
  • “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love.”
  • “God decided to give us life through the word of truth so we might be the most important of all the things he made.”
  • “God formed the earth….He did not create it to be empty but formed it to be inhabited.”
  • “God is love.”
  • “I have carried you since you were born; I have taken care of you from your birth.  Even when you are old, I will be the same.  Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you.  I made you and will take care of you.”
  • “The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us.”

Let Freedom Ring! Let the White Dove Sing!

Melissa wakes up each morning wondering how did she get to this confusing place. Everything, it seems, has come to chaos; yet she knows that it’s been years of not dealing with issues, or being so busy, she hoped that would solve the constant remembering.   She is disappointed in herself that the years of Bible Study and education seems to not be enough to solve this one.  One day while driving to work, she hears this song on the radio that describes how she feels inside, and it makes her uneasy.  As she sits there listening to Martina McBride sing Independence Day angry tears flow.  She is scared of her anger and the depths of her pain.

Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today
Is a day of reckoning.
Let the weak be strong,let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay
It’s Independence Day.

She thinks in her mind what her day of reckoning would be? Who in her life story would she invite to this play/drama, place them in their roles and scenes, so she could re-write history.  What she had no control over as a little girl, she wants complete control now.  Where she was powerless, she wants to be the one in power.  She imagines her weak moments made strong, and those who were guilty would have a do over, a day of reckoning.

At church that Sunday Melissa brings a heavy mind and heart to worship, but she’s so glad she’s there. Of all places in her life, this is the one place, especially worship time, in which everything in her heart and mind has the opportunity to cry out to God.  She can be real and honest in her mind as she prays and simply asks God the hard questions, “God what am I going to do with all this?”  “God, where do I put it?” The praise team is singing over and over again this line, “I’m going to worship You forever!  I’m gonna worship you.”  “Oh God in light of eternity with You and Your love, my situation will be redeemed, perhaps forgotten, and no longer a heavy weight.”  For some odd reason, God brought to remembrance Melissa’s theme song for the week, and it seemed that the tune of the worship song flowed rather well with Martina’s song. “Yes, Jesus – Let Your freedom ring! Let your white dove of the Holy Spirit sing over us.  Let the whole world know, Jesus, that this IS the day of reckoning.”  

Leaving worship to attend a class, a man quickly approaches them, and asks Melissa and her family if they had just been in worship. Normal pleasantries are exchanged but suddenly Melissa knew in her Spirit that this man had come over to deal with some of the baggage she brought to church.  Maybe he sensed this heaviness, but He listened to the Spirit and ministered.  He wasn’t afraid to get involved or too busy.  This man who was taller than an oak tree and presented just as solid in his love for Jesus wrapped his arms around Melissa and she melted.  Melissa knew the danger of starting to really cry, you may never stop.  Conscious of her surroundings and a class to attend, she and her husband surrounded in the huge loving arms of this man asked for prayer.  As both of their heads were nestled on his chest, he prayed, “Dear Jesus just as you taught Peter to walk on the water, will you elevate this family, and teach them to walk on the water with You?

“Elevate us?”  Melissa wondered how this man knew that she was buried alive in memories, anger, and years of not dealing with junk?  What a miraculous change it would be for Melissa to feel that her family was walking on water – elevated!  Not a materialistic, successful elevation, but a life filled with peace, joy, and healing.  What would it be like to be completely healed? 

Would the day of reckoning make it right?  Would the guilty brought to justice make it disappear?

Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. Colossians 1:22

The Day of Reckoning has already happened!  The guilty did pay – through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! It was our sins that led Him there.  As a result of this Day, He has brought us into His own presence!  Just like the arms of that man wrapped around us, God is wrapping Himself around our family!  Melissa wonders how her life could be seen as blameless, without a single fault?  She thinks that her mind should linger there, and continuously claim this promise from God. 

Melissa is reminded of her human nature, and still wrestles with confusing questions about her past and future, but remembers a favorite passage in Romans chapter 5:

1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, wea have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And web rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but wec also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

We have now received!  We may feel powerless yet God is all-powerful in us.  He has already given us the Day of reckoning, and we are reconciled through the work of Jesus’ love displayed on the cross.  All of this was done at “just the right time”.  God is never early and never late – He works in our lives in His way, in His timing, and Has a plan for us.

Yes Martina, the stone was rolled away over 2000 years ago, and the guilty did pay, but it was on the back of Jesus,  who loves us beyond what our mind can comprehend.  Melissa decides that a lifetime this side of heaven getting to know the One who loves her that perfectly is a good place to rest.

HOW DO I PRAY FOR MISSIONARIES?

Here are some specific, practical areas of missionaries’ lives to pray for:

  • Solid family relationships. The tasks of full-time ministry, often in a foreign culture, can cause a strain on the relationships within a family — husbands and wives, parents and children. Pray that the Lord would strengthen these family bonds and draw them close together.
  • The well-being of family members from whom they are separated. When missionaries leave their homes to serve God on the mission field, extended family remains behind, and children sometimes leave their parents for schooling. Pray for the health, safety, and encouragement of these family members.
  • Strength in the “inner man” (Ephesians 3:16). Loneliness, discouragement, despair — these struggles occur in the lives of missionaries, and sometimes frequently. Pray that their hearts are encouraged and strengthened.
  • Provision of physical needs. Missionaries depend on others for their financial support, and at times, that can be burdensome. Pray that God would supply their every need (Philippians 4:19).
  • A strong personal walk with God. Pray for daily faithfulness to spend time in God’s Word in the midst of ministry busyness. Ask God to protect and strengthen them spiritually and cause them to grow in their relationships with Him.
  • Good physical health. In foreign lands, good health care can be hard to find. Pray for physical strength on a daily basis and long-term good health.
  • Strong relationships with co-workers. Sadly, personality conflicts and relationship struggles happen among missionaries as they seek to work together to bring people to Christ. Pray for unselfishness, kindness, and humility in these cooperative efforts (Philippians 2:3-5).
  • Ability to speak accurately. Ask God to cause them to speak with clarity and precision as they declare God’s Word (Colossians 4:3-4).
  • Opportunities to relax. Servants of God are just like anyone else–they need a break sometimes! Ask God to provide them with recreation and rest.
  • Wisdom in all they do. Pray for the wisdom to make good decisions in their personal lives, as well as their ministry lives (James 1:5.)

Read more: http://www.allaboutprayer.org/prayers-for-missionaries-faq.htm#ixzz24mi4qloO

Please take the time to pray for our missionaries……..