Freedom by Sacrifice.

 

I wrote this a few years ago, and thought today it was most fitting.

A few days ago, I had the privilege of going to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA. As I walked around, I was overwhelmed by the realization that people from many nations over 60 years ago had enough courage to try to defeat the great enemy of Germany.  Thousands gave their lives for you and me to be free.  Get this — people gave their lives so you could go to school, go to church where you want, wear what you want, speak what you want, and be what you want.  As I thought about this, I found a spot on the side of the small bluff and allowed the wind to stroke my hair as I thanked God for the bravery of our fallen soldiers.

Please take a second to thank God for our brave Armed Forces that exist to secure our future.  Ask God to protect those that serve us so unselfishly.

Before I sat down on the hill, I overheard a tour guide teaching a group of US military say that the average age of a soldier in 1944 was 19.  Some were older, but many were much younger.  I sat in silence consumed by thought.  I gazed upward, tears in my eyes, and saw the American flag displayed, swaying boldly outward as if to exclaim the victory of the war.  Probably the most touching of all my observations were the aged veterans walking slowly from plaque to plaque reading the names of the American soldiers honored at the memorial, some of them perhaps looking for a familiar name.  The Blue Ridge Mountains in the background were breathtaking.

My mind was overtaken with the idea of sacrifice.  The ultimate sacrifice.  The complete sacrifice.  I thought of one name –Jesus.  Jesus, this guy we hear about so often in church.  This guy who has become a fad in our culture.  Almost instantaneously, I was upset that some of us do not remember that He sacrificed His life for us on a cross.  His death so horrible, so brutal, that His body was unrecognizable.  He died for you and me.  You cannot mention the word sacrifice without mentioning Jesus.  Today, I want to focus on the name of Jesus and what He did for us.  We respect our beloved soldiers so much for their sacrifice for our temporal freedom, but how much more should we respect Jesus for giving us eternal freedom?

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have EVERLASTING LIFE.

We know that God is perfect and cannot be around sin.  Because we are not perfect, God had to make a way for sin to be defeated.  So, He sent His only Son to sacrifice His life for YOU and ME on a cross, bearing the sin of the whole world. Now if we believe by faith in God and ask to be forgiven from our sin, we can have a relationship with God, and, subsequently, eternal life.

Jesus Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice us.  Let me say that again.  Jesus Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice for us.  Think of our culture.  What have we done with His name?  Do we respect it?  Do we honor it?  Unfortunately, quite the opposite.  We make fun of Him like He is some psycho crazy person.  We wear His name on our T-shirts like He is a fad, just like the latest thing from Hollister.   Even Christians don’t observe what He says in the Bible. We have made Him a joke by our actions and attitude when He made it possible for us to have a relationship with God in life and eternity through His death.  We are nowhere near worthy of that sacrifice.

Some of you already know this, but some of you desperately need to believe in this God I keep talking about.  Some of you have friends that desperately need to know that there is something greater than the latest celebrity gossip or what’s new at the mall!  Someone you know has a life crumbling around them, and you have the answer and have not shared it because of your own insecurities.  We need to wake up to the hurt and pain in the world and share the ultimate sacrificial story. We need to give our world hope, just like our men and women in uniform have done for us on earth. Won’t you join me in the effort to  saturate the world with the word hope.  God isn’t mad at you.  He loves you.  He is waiting desperately for you.  He loves you.  He loves you.  He loves you.  He loves you.  He loves you.

 

The all consuming power of PEACE.

My family made the trip to Indiana almost two weeks ago to go be with my entire family for my dads quadruple bi-pass and maze procedure surgery.  We had heard over the holidays this past year that this type of surgery would be a possibility for the symptoms my dad was experiencing.  Hearing of it then was a blow to my family’s security.

 

My dad is like no other.  He and my mom have been my pillars of the faith my entire life.  They have dealt with many hardships and trials brought on by satan and have triumphed with grace as the Lord had led them.  I can remember my dad always making time for me and my two siblings.  I remember after meetings with leaders of the church he pastored bringing our family home dairy queen just to let us know he was thinking about us.  He always put us first.  There was no question of where his loyalty lied.  He would take our calls during the work day and listen to whatever ailment we were encountering.  Although we didn’t have a ton of money growing up, we didn’t know because of the sacrificial giving on his part.  He is quite the man.  As he gets older, he has become not only my father, but my friend.  In the line of work God has blessed me in, I am always looking for insight on the pages of the scripture, when I hit a road block, I call Dr. Bible (my dad) to see what his insight is. He always has something to say that is solid which has grown my appreciation for him in a different way.  He doesn’t just teach the bible, he applies it.  He is famous for his 5 words of genius.  My dad isn’t perfect, but striving everyday for righteousness. I applaud his faithfulness to our heavenly father because every bit of it I have benefited from.

 

To say it would be a loss if anything would happen to him would be a understatement. So, the news of a major surgery was difficult to swallow.  In the past couple of months I have prayed for wisdom and guidance for my parents as they contemplated the decision to have this surgery.  Even though the circumstances were scary, the more I prayed, the more peace I had that this surgery just might be the answer to the healing prayers for his heart I have prayed for years.

 

When the time came for my parents to schedule this surgery, my siblings and I were all asked what we thought.  Knowing the peace God had given my heart, I was able to give a confident “yes” to the surgery.

 

The morning of the surgery was difficult.  Eddie and I had traveled the entire day before and were exhausted, but we woke at 5a to be in the lobby of the hospital by 5:45a.  As we went in the room there was a spirit of heavy anticipation.  Dad wasn’t talking much.  My family and I prayed with Him and then we left it in God’s hands.  Before they wheeled dad to surgery I hugged him and said, “I know you will be totally fine and I believe it will bring you complete healing.”  After I said that he looked at me and said, “Are you sure?”  Without a breath of hesitation I was able to say, “100%, without a doubt”.  When they took him to the holding room it was an amazing confirmation when we saw a picture of a man being operated on with Jesus standing behind him.  We all cried.  God was offering us the peace of knowing that He would perform the surgery through the surgeon that was chosen.

 

 

 

There is nothing like the gift of peace.  In the midst of hard circumstances, without the gift of peace we can almost lose our minds.  Peace doesn’t cost any money.  It isn’t something that can be forced on you.  You have to accept the gift of it from our Lord.

When we try to do things on our own anxiety creeps in and almost consumes us. Anxiety will murder any attempt at peace.  I love this phrase that the great Apostle Paul wrote in his letters to the churches of the New Testament.

 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

This phrase is is found in

Ephesians 1:2

Galatians 1:3

1 Corinthians 1:3

2 Corinthians 1:2

 

He used it several times.  It was Paul’s way of greeting the churches in his letters.

Knowing Paul’s journey spreading the gospel, he did not have it easy at all.  He had experienced being in prison, beatings, scourging, ship-wrecks, and etc.  He had a life full of crazy hard trials and still chose to greet us with the wish of grace and peace. I know that most of us if we even experienced one of these difficult things we would be pushed over our emotional edge.  However,  facing any of these things knowing God is reigning over it, brings us peace.

 

One of Gods name’s is the Prince of Peace.  Whatever situation you are in His peace power is available to you.  The bible calls this His peace, the peace that passes all understanding.  You can only gain it when you understand that God is taking care of your trial.  Rest in Him, my sweet friend.  He longs to ease the burden you bare.  He ways are so high, nothing can throw you if you are counting on Him to work.

 

I adore you, friend.  Thanks for reading.

I used to hate to wait.

There is not much I wouldn’t do for my blonde-haired blue-eyed girl.  She embodies life, and emotion in such a way that is electric.  In the morning she greets me and Eddie with a “good morning, beautiful mommy” or a “good morning, handsome daddy.”  She is in kindergarten and about 3p everyday I am in the pickup line and excitedly await the joy she will bring to the rest of my day.  She never disappoints when she climbs in the car and begins her little stories of the day.  She is always a leader is some capacity in her class.  From line leader to bathroom monitor she accepts her responsibility with the utmost sincerity and exercises her freedom with passion.  I have seen her develop so much this past year.  It’s amazing to watch her grow into a young lady.  Her vocabulary has changed, she has learned to read, and embraced a new normal.  I am so proud of her.

Last week there was a elementary dance at her school.  I knew of the dance only from the thousands of announcement sheets that are sent home with her.  I looked at it briefly, but coming out of a crazy season with The Blush Network, I knew that Eddie and I would want to rest this weekend.  Our family went on a walk on tuesday night and a nice man stopped us and was very interested in Grace.  I didn’t think much about it because we had met him before, and he has a lovely family.  The next day Eddie got a phone call from him.  He was so kind, but very direct in asking if it would be ok for him and his wife to pick Grace up and take her to the dance to accompany their son.  Did I mention she is in Kindergarten?

Eddie immediately called me and told me of the situation.  He asked me what I thought, and believe me I didn’t hesitate and gave a definitive “NO”.

Eddie and I didn’t say no to the opportunity because of the family or even the circumstance.  We said no because it was premature. She needs to wait for this type of event until time and maturity permits

I have had many conversations with people lately on the subject of waiting.  Waiting is so difficult.  It plays on all securities and confidences, it always lends to the temptation of quitting.  Funny thing though, that’s why I believe God has us do it.  It is the one thing that can purify motives, thought processes, and change our attitudes without a single event happening. It makes us build our faith in such a way that when an actual event in favor of the thing you are waiting presents, you run at it with reckless abandon.  Waiting makes you appreciate the thing when it comes.  Waiting prepares you in ways that you don’t even know you need to be prepared for.  Waiting is part of the process for anything great.

As Grace’s mom, I look at her and know what’s ahead of her.  I love her enough to know that she needs me to protect her from things that are just too premature for her.  That is my job.

 

I think of God looking at my life.  I think of the times that I have had to wait. I’ve hated each of them for a while.  In the process, I didn’t understand the wisdom that went into forcing me to purify my heart, and solidify God direct call in my life.  It’s also so amazing to me what He was preparing that I didn’t see.  I got tunnel vision so many times thinking of my despair while waiting for something, that I totally forgot that God had to work out the circumstances in peoples hearts and emotions that I didn’t see.  I wonder if He got angry with me being so impatient, when He knew what was just ahead, and the benefit the wait would be.

The great thing about waiting is that one day your wait will be over.  Waiting is only for a season.  If that ends with eternity or the answer to a prayer, waiting only lasts for a season.  The waiting will end, then what?

My personality is to do it myself.  I am definitely a go-getter. There have been many times that I have jumped WAY ahead of God just to reap destruction.  I couldn’t even count the amount of times that I sat regretting my decision to act, when God clearly said wait.  His timing is perfect, and the safest route.  When we choose to wait on Him as oppose to make it happen on our own there are no bad consequences.  He doesn’t punish, He is freed up to bless and there is no blessing like His.

 

May we be thankful in the season of the wait. If we wait gracefully we get the opportunity to please God.

 

Hebrews 6:15

And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

 

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal

 

Galatians 6:9

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

 

Psalm 27:14

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD

 

Psalm 130:5-6

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Who’s building your house?

Eddie and I live in a new neighborhood.  I think it’s been the first time in our 7.5 years of marriage that we actually know our neighbors.  We live on the end of the cul de sac with some of the best neighbors anyone could ask for. Our next door neighbor is a nurse, and she has come over a couple of times after a frantic call from me needing to know if Jude needs stitches.  Last week when we came home to our backyard fence blown completely over, our sweet neighbors were there to lend a hand with the cleanup.  Our neighborhood is in a building phase.  We, right now, have about six homes going up around us and at any given time you can hear hammers, drills, and the engine of the latest cement truck drive by.  Often I have looked out my back door and surveyed the process of the new homes.  As I think of it today, my mind goes to The Blush Network.

 

Necessary Building Blocks

 

This last year has been The Blush Network’s building phase.  We are planning (God-willing) for the long hall with our ministry, and tax forms, and legal papers must be submitted to become a recognizable organization.  If you haven’t guessed, I don’t like doing these little tedious things, however, they are the necessary steps in building an organization.  Often, I have referred to my amazing Board of Directors for advice and have leaned on my husband more than ever for help.  We have seen in the last two years an amazing transformation.  One of my favorite songs right now is “You make beautiful things” by Gungor, in which they sing the line, You make beautiful things out of dust, which we know is taken from the Bible.  I have seen in the past two years God has grown our little baby ministry from the dust.  It has been an amazing thing to witness knowing the tears, and the prayers, and the waiting it required.  One thing I know for sure is that God has done it.

 

One of the things I struggle with is doing things too quickly.  I have always been the impatient type.  I am ambitious, and passionate about just about everything, and it has caused me much heartache in the past.  God has worked on me in that area for years, and I’m still no where near where I need to be.  With Blush, knowing my weakness in this area, I wanted to be sure God was driving the ship, and not me.  With prayer we have entered into some new phases of the ministry.  If it was up to me, we would have done a whole bunch of different things, but my desire has been for us to walk WITH GOD, AND NOT IN FRONT OF HIM.

 

This verse speaks so plainly appropriate for today.

 

Psalm 127:1

 

Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor IN VAIN who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.

 

God Is The Master Builder

We, at Blush, want the Lord God ALMIGHTY to build our ministry, and we are asking Him to lead the way.  I know today as we open up our new website, we are seeing the very hand of God at work in building His ministry.  I ask that you pray for Blush and the difference we want to make on our sweet young women’s lives going forward.

 

Many times this year, I have clung to the verse Exodus 33:15.

The he said to Him, “If your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.

 

We are asking for God’s presence, because we know that He holds the answer to any problem or issue that we come across at The Blush Network.

 

Please check out the Blush Networks new website at theblushnetwork.com.

 

*****Big thanks to DAVID SHREIN, AND THE ONE AND ONLY EDDIE MILES FOR THE WEBSITE!!!!!!!!*******