God brings good out of bad.

I Peter 1: 6-7 (NLT) ~ 6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

God is an expert at bringing good out of bad. He could have kept Paul out of prison in Philippi but instead He let Paul go to prison and the jailer became a believer as a result.

God could have kept Jesus from the cross but He let Him go — His own Son — He let Him suffer and die. Did He bring any good out of that? I’d say He did!

The things you wish were most removed from your life are often the very things that God is using to shape you and make you into the believer of character He wants you to be. He wants to use that problem for good in your life. There’s something more important than your pain. It’s what you’re learning from that pain. God is in control.

So what’s the key? What’s our response? Our response is to look past the pain. “This is the reason we never lose heart. These troubles which are temporary are winning for us a permanent, a glorious and solid reward out of proportion to our pain. So we don’t look at the temporary situation. We look beyond to see the eternal benefits.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17 Phillips)

~Youversion.com Daily Devotional Reading plan by Rick Warren, Saddleback Church http://www.saddlebackresources.com

Don’t Let Limitations Limit Vision

I was reading my YouVersion.com Bible study this morning and catching up on days that I had missed and this is one of them from Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional.

Esther 2:17 ~ And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen instead of Vashti.

God will not only use your gifts to fulfill your destiny, he’ll also use your limitations.

Consider Queen Esther: She had several big limitations that made her perfect for the role God wanted her to fulfill. She was an orphan adopted by Mordecai; she was a minority, a Jew living in a Persian country; and she was a single woman.

And God used all of these things, along with the gifts of her beauty, brains, and personality, to fulfill her destiny. Sometimes what looks like a disaster in your life is part of a much bigger plan. But you will never fulfill your destiny if you are having a pity party.

Esther could have just said, “If only I hadn’t been chosen, if only I wasn’t Jewish, if only I was like someone else.” A lot of people do that. They live their lives in resentment, always looking at people and saying, “Well it must be nice to be them.”

If you have that attitude you will never fulfill your destiny. You have to realize that the unpleasant obstacles in your life are often God-ordained opportunities to make a difference.

You might be in a situation right now where everything is going wrong and you can’t figure it out. But God knows. Nothing in your life is accidental. The pleasures and pains, the opportunities and obstacles, God can use it all. There is nothing God cannot use for good in your life if you’ll hand it over to him – and then trust him.

This reminded me that God uses all experiences and limitations to bring glory to Him! I think that is amazing! Pray and ask God to show you ways you can use your gifts to make a difference.

Forgiveness

“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love.” Luke 7:47a NLT

Overflowing love is the natural response to forgiveness and the appropriate consequence of faith. But only those who realize the depth of their sin can appreciate the complete forgiveness God offers them.

Do you appreciate the wideness of God’s mercy? Are you grateful for His forgiveness?

Your faith has saved you; go in peace. Luke 7:50 NLT

Mentoring

Have you ever had someone in your life that you really looked up to and thought that everything they said could apply to your life? Well, if you haven’t you need to have this experience. Everyone needs a Mentor. It is vital and crucial for your growth in Jesus Christ. Mentors give advice, pray and encourage those that they mentor, AND you don’t have to know everything to be a mentor.

Cindy Beall stated about Mentoring, “…to have people speaking into my life regularly is what caused such a passion to rise up in me for mentoring. We were not created to go through life alone. We have all experienced things in life that can benefit someone else.”

Here are some points comprised from OKC Lifechurch.TV Mentoring class June 4, 2011.

~Mentoring is empowering another person by sharing your experiences and resources.
~Mentoring is a God Journey that you take together.
~Mentoring is a way to help others reach their “God” potential!
~Mentoring is about who you are, what people see in you, than what you “know”.
~You don’t have to be perfect to be a Mentor.
~Mentoring is not a program, but a lifestyle and a culture.
~Three stages of Mentoring: Initiating the relationship, maintaining a healthy balance, and transitioning (finding end or change).
~To inspire change in those that are mentored, one must provide challenging opportunities and intentional conversations.
~Mentoring is not about you, it’s about what the person mentored wants, not what the Mentor wants to see happen.
~A mentoring relationship can start with reading a resource together and discussing it. Ask: What one thing stuck out? What do you disagree with? What is your favorite quote? What is the action to take?
~Remember not to over-talk. If you come to the end of Mentoring time together and you have said everything that you want to say, you said too much.
~The difference between mentoring and counseling: staying in the future and what is next, instead of the past and previous healing.

“I want to make a difference and leave this world knowing that I did!”

If you are interested in finding a mentor, check out Findamentor.TV provided by the Lifechurch.TV~Oklahoma City campus.

Toto, we aren’t in Kansas anymore…or California…

On Monday evening, my cousin, Willie and Uncle Jerry flew in from California. They were here to visit my family and grandma for a week. Tuesday, May 24, was Willie Rose’s 22nd birthday, BUT she got a very different birthday present, because on Tuesday, May 24, 2011, multiple tornadoes tore through Oklahoma leaving at least eight people dead and dozens more injured. The main massive twister left a trail of damage 50 miles long.

Read more: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-tornadoes-8-dead-60-injured/article/3570916#ixzz1Nq4qTAJy 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Willie Rose! We were planning to take her to dinner and celebrate, but the weather changed our plans. She experienced the scare of Oklahoma weather. AND she still wants to move here and live with us! Amazing! BUT there were not just tornadoes in Oklahoma, but Kansas, Texas and Arkansas as well, all on the same night. Storms raged through Dallas and Denton, and also Hugoton and Great Bend, Kansas.

On Wednesday evening, our Lifegroup went out to Piedmont on Northwest Expressway and helped a family of 6 clean up debris and try to put their life back together. We assisted the Piedmont Church of Christ group at this home.  The sweet man who lived there spoke very little english, and every time someone spoke to him, tears welled up in his eyes. It was so surreal and sad to speak with him but see the appreciation on his face to have the help with the cleanup. (Photo below by Eric Urbach)

(Photos below taken by myself)

Lifechurch-OKC had several families who attend our church and live in Cashion, that lost everything and our church has rallied together and provided shelter, food and cleanup the past week and will continue to do it throughout the coming weeks. I am in awe at the servant hearts of our church members. Praise God for each one of them. (Photos below by Sunny Thomas)

The devastation that stretched across our state was unbelievable and I pray for each family and life that was affected by these massive tornado storms, prayers for strength as they rebuild their lives and thank God for the ones who survived! Thoughts and prayers for each family that lost loved ones for comfort and healing.

Getting past your past…how hard is that!?

There is a series that Craig Groeschel is preaching right now about getting past your past…and he shared an amazing lesson last week, the first week of the series, Breaking the Labels that Bind. We all have a label or labels that we have been given. If this had been years back I would have been reluctant to share my label (s). But by being a member at Lifechurch, I have learned to be transparent and real because I am not judged or ridiculed by doing so.

I have been labeled: Melissa the Rebel, Melissa the Blacksheep and Melissa the people-pleaser. I have a very sad but victorious past, and those are my labels that I have heard others call me and I have called myself. If its something rebellious, I have done it. “You can’t make me follow your rules, I am my own person.” Hmmm…I needed to listen to God’s rules, and not try to set my own. With the people pleaser label, when I was young, I wanted everyone to like me, so I tried to do everything in my power, good and bad to please everyone, but was not pleasing to God, who is the most High and the only one I should be worrying about pleasing.

So. as it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, …anyone who belongs to Christ has become a NEW PERSON. The old life is GONE; a new life has begun. (NLT).  That is what I have in Jesus Christ! A new life!

The day that I heard Craig talk about this, I thought that he was talking one on one right to me. It was so close and personal to my own experiences that I had to sit and thank God for his grace and mercy that led me out of that pit into HIS light. And then God is going to use those experiences to  save others, I just know it.

The next day, I was listening to K-Love and the DJ was reading out of a devo book that they are doing every day. I had the book and started reading along with K-love as they go on this journey. The book is Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. In this book, Sarah takes scripture and puts it into easy words, words from Jesus talking to you. This is what was on the next day, Monday, after I heard Craig speak on Labels.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, I can bring good even out of your mistakes. Your finite mind tends to look backward, longing to undo decisions you have come to regret. This is a waste of time and energy, leading only to frustration. Instead of floundering in the past, release your mistakes to ME. Look to Me in trust, anticipating that My infinite creativity can weave both good choices and bad into a lovely design. Because you are human, you will continue to make mistakes. Thinking that you should live an error-free life is symptomatic of pride. Your failures can be a source of blessing, humbling you and giving you empathy for other people in their weaknesses. Best of all, failure highlights your dependence on Me. I am able to bring beauty out of the morass of your mistakes. TRUST ME, AND WATCH TO SEE WHAT I CAN DO! Romans 8:28

Powerful! Trust God and see what He can do in your life!!

When you feel inadequate or discouraged, just remember this..God has always thought of you as precious and He has a very special purpose in mind for you!

He has great plans for you!! Jeremiah 29:11

Forgetting what is behind…Philippians 3:13-14

How could a mom be any more proud…

As a mom, we always dred the day that our children grow into their own person…or do we long for it?

I want my daughter to be her own person, not to listen to what others have to say but to rely on what God thinks and says. I want her to have her own faith and relationship with Jesus. I believe that she is doing just that…being a fully devoted follower of Christ. On February 19, 2011, my husband John, baptized Callie Anne. She is 14 years old and she is walking in His light.

Because this past weekend at Lifechurch, OKC, her and 5 other Switch kids lead worship for the Loop. The Loop is a worship place for 4-5th graders, a step below Switch at Lifechurch. They led those kids in worship and to a place where God is. It was amazing to witness! They led me into a place where God was, and I was just there to watch Callie sing. Our Youth Pastors, Sean and Tim are teaching these kids how to love the Lord with all of their heart and use their gifts to bring praise to His name. But it is also important for these kids to get Godly training and instruction at home. So God instructs us to lead by example. I just pray that I can do my best to serve Him and be the example to Callie that I should be so that she will continue to grow in the Lord.

 I am so proud of the young woman that she is becoming…and I pray for her relationship with God everyday.

Oklahoma City, April 19, 2011

Photo taken by http://lifephotographylove.com

The Survivor Tree at the Oklahoma City National Memorial

“We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace hope and serenity.”

The inscription around the inside of the deck wall around the Survivor Tree reads:

“The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated, our deeply rooted faith sustains us.”

We will never forget…Sixteen years ago…9:02 am…

The Oklahoma City bombing was a bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. It was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Oklahoma blast claimed 168 lives, including 19 children under the age of 6, and injured more than 680 people. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a sixteen-block radius, destroyed or burned 86 cars, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings. The bomb was estimated to have caused at least $652 million worth of damage.

On April 19, 2000, the Oklahoma City National Memorial was dedicated on the site of the Murrah Federal Building, commemorating the victims of the bombing. Annual remembrance services are held at the same time of day as the original explosion occurred.

We will never forget…may the Lord be with everyone that was affected by this tragedy.

WEiRD

So, our pastor at Lifechurch.tv, Craig Groeschel is kinda weird. You say, hey don’t talk about him like that! Really, I am not being mean. He likes to be called weird! I want to be weird too. Weird in “God” way!

Craig just wrote an amazing book, called WEiRD, because normal isn’t working.

It sets out the lifestyle that we should all be living. A “GOD” lifestyle, not a wordly or normal lifestyle. It teaches you how to think differently about your time, money, relationships, sex and values. Because what we think is what we become.

Craig shows us that it is not just okay to be different, it is BETTER! 1 Peter 1:16.

It is better to please God, than everyone else. So that is what we should strive to do. Please God! Becoming obsessed with what people think about you is the best way to  forget what GOD thinks about you. Proverbs 29:25

Pick up a copy of the book, you will not be sorry.

My life is my message.

My life is my message. ~Gandhi

I am a child of God~a fully devoted follower of Christ, a wife, mom, mentor, coach, volunteer, friend…many roles. What can I tell you about me? I have had an interesting life with that has its good and bad, its ups and downs. I guess you could call me WEiRD? or could you?

I used to think that I was just a “Normal Person” but now I strive to be more…

I want to use my life and be an encouragement to women to live in holiness based on God’s word; following His guidance to live a radical life of service. My Chazown…my purpose.