My Hearts Resolution

With the new decade quickly approaching, I, like so many others have been thinking about my new years resolution.  We all make them or have made them in the past.  Sadly, I rarely stick to mine usually because I forget what it is!

The last couple of days I’ve been thinking about my new years blog and praying about what to write and I’ve asked myself many questions…  Why do we make resolutions, especially on January 1st?  Why do we wait until Monday to start kicking a bad habit?  Why not start on Thursday?  Why do we start in the morning and not the evening?  When we decide what it is we are going to do … why don’t we choose to start RIGHT THEN!  Why wait?  Why don’t we see that next breath as the perfect opportunity to be the starting point of our newest resolution?

I’ll admit, I’ve made a resolution, but I’m not calling it a new years resolution.  I’m calling it my “Hearts Resolution” and really I’m returning to it.  It’s to be more like my father, Jesus.  To aspire to be more like Him in my actions, my words and to seek His approval and no other.

Father, my prayer for this entire world is that we would ALL seek to be like you.  I pray that as we close this decade and enter into a new one, we would follow you, love you and live for you like never before.  I pray that we would seek your kingdom first and look for you in everything we do.  In Christs Name, Amen.

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Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 11:37 am  Comments (1)  

Oh! To Have Been A Shepherd Back Then!!

Luke 2:8-20 “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  The the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will fine a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was a with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”  And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.  Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.  And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.  Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

***

Can you imagine?  Talk about life interrupted, as Lysa Terkeurst would say!  Here these shepherds are tending to their sheep, minding their business…  I can’t imagine that sheep tending is a very “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of career, can you?  All of the sudden, out of nowhere Angels show up, heavenly hosts and divine information is being delivered!  Uh hello!!!!  Woah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What if this was us?  Today, December 25, 2009?  What if it was yesterday or last week?  I wonder what kind of reaction I would have had, had the Angels and Hosts stopped me in the middle of sixteen loads of laundry to tell me that the Savior of the world had been born today?  What about you?  What do you think your reaction would have been?  I sadly think we believe that God doesn’t speak to us in great ways such as this anymore.  Or is it that we choose not listen?  Is it that we drown Him out with the sounds of the TV and the radio,  is it the constant attention to a blackberry that causes us to miss His voice when He speaks?

Notice what they did as soon as the Angels disappeared, it says they came with haste, which means they ran!  They ran and found this Savior and worshiped Him.  Are you running to Him this morning and worshiping Him this day and every day?

Oh, wow!  To have been a shepherd back then!  Yeah, their jobs may have been boring and lowly but look at what they got to experience!  Some of the first to be told of the birth of our savior, some of the first to worship the newborn king and some of the first to carry the good news that He, indeed, was born!

Happy Birthday Jesus!!!

Published in: on December 25, 2009 at 8:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Re-gifting

So I’ve decided to do this post, while some may think it has nothing to do with touching the heart of God, living out a purpose filled life or biblical principles, I happen to think it does!

Have you ever re-gifted an item?  Some people don’t even know what this means.  So allow me to explain.  You receive a gift, you decide to re-wrap and give it to someone else.  Apparently, there are many reasons for doing this such as, you might not care for the gift, you may not need it, you might already have one, etc.

There are a lot of rules about re-gifting that are floating around out there such as you should never re-gift if there is a chance that the original gift giver will find out you gave away the gift and the person you are giving the gift to should not know its a gift that you’ve already received and you are passing it on to them.  Sounds so tiring, doesn’t it?

So, I’m curious…have any of my readers ever re-gifted?  If so, what did you re-gift and why?

I re-gifted a carousel photo thingy once because I didn’t need it and there was an elderly woman I knew that would love it and she did!  The bible says to give, period.  Who cares where it comes from, so long as we didn’t steal it, right?

Published in: on December 21, 2009 at 2:09 pm  Comments (2)  

Compliments, Daggers & Reactions

The holidays are fun, festive and bring a sense of warmth to our lives, at least they do that for some of us.  While for others, the holidays are a time of debating, scheduling, conflict and well I might as well say it, arguing.  As I’ve spent time talking to friends and relatives I’ve found so many commenting about how they love the holidays but there is always something dreadful about a get together, an office party, a gathering etc.  It usually involves a specific person, a past spat or exchange of words that leaves them uneasy and slightly dreading their upcoming events.

I’ve been guilty of this too.  Might I suggest we take two pieces of advice I’ve used over the last year that have actually worked and have really helped me just, get over it!  One, I read in the bible study “What Happens When Women Say Yes To God” by Lysa Terkeurst, “Never let others compliments go to your head or their criticisms go to your heart”.  I have a tendency to take things personally if you catch me in the wrong mood.  I’ll replay something in my head and think, “did they mean for that to sound that way?”  Lets face it, some people are just mean, period.  They are out to hurt us, even at Christmas!  I know, big shocker, right???  Let’s not take the flattery too serious or the daggers that come our way.  Lets also realize sometimes we take things too personal.  Things get worded wrong or just come out wrong, no ill harm meant.  Same goes for compliments.  I once heard from a very wise pastor that compliments and flattery were like great smelling cologne, they smell magnificent but you don’t want to drink them!

Second piece of advice is this, “we are not responsible for others actions but we ARE responsible for our reactions.”  This probably isn’t the most grammatically correct way of putting this but some folks just don’t act right, that don’t mean you got to act up too!  Lets put out there what we want to receive from others in return but with a twist, let’s NOT expect it in return.  Uh huh, you read it right, let’s not expect others to act so graciously in return.  How about lets just be responsible for ourselves and know that there is a loving father watching over ALL of His children.  The good, bad and yes, even the ugly.

Go to your parties, your gatherings and your events!  Have fun, be merry, spread cheer and lets not forget THE most important thing, let your light shine for JESUS!

Merry Christmas!

Published in: on December 21, 2009 at 1:44 pm  Comments (1)  

Angels In Disguise

I was trolling Facebook this morning and I happened upon an update left by a friend who was upset because she went Christmas shopping at a large, well known chain.  The experience left her hum-bugged to say the least.  Her friends began to comment about how they hated shopping at this particular place too, how the experience was “taxing” and a shopping trip to this place was more like a shopping trip to hell.  One person commented this…”But would it be christmas without the toothless gutter rats? I was lucky enough to be behind someone who paid IN CHANGE!!!  As in actual pennies and dimes! I half felt bad- then was just annoyed. There was more, but I won’t bore you!!  Enjoy ur trip.  Wash ur hands and just try not to kill.”

I read the above, shook my and felt really sad.  Not really sad for the person who paid IN CHANGE but for the person who left the comment.

I believe there are angels masquerading as people all around us.  I believe God sets up appointments for each of us to come across these angels in certain scenarios to test us and see how we respond.  In Hebrews Chapter 13, verse 2 it says “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” How divine!  What if those gutter rats are angels?  I know that’s not what we picture in our minds when we think of angels, we think of them in beautiful gowns, with halos and gorgeous Pantene hair!  But picture in your mind for a moment, all that stripped away and God says “I’ve got a job for you today.”

Ponder this…this season is busy and stressful and hectic because WE’VE made it that way.  How about lets not blame innocent bystanders?  What would you have done, had that person been in front of you paying with change?  Would you have been patient, compassionate and understanding?  Or been put off by it?

As Christ followers, this faith of ours only works when its exercised and put into practice.  With the season and celebration of our Saviors birth at hand, I see no better time than the present to begin.

Lord, as we follow you and come across what may or may not be divine appointments, I pray we will exercise this faith you perfected for us.  That we will show mercy, kindness and compassion to others.  I pray that we will turn our hearts towards you this Christmas and remember the “gift”.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 1:05 pm  Comments (3)  

The Old Ball And Chain

We all have a ball and chain.  Something ugly about us that we war against.  For some it might be an internal issue, for others external.  And when I say war against it, I mean we battle against this demon day in and day out.  We awake and it’s there and throughout our day we wrestle with it and at night, it is all but singing us to sleep.

My ball and chain for most of my teenage years and my entire adult life has been a battle of the bulge.  If I could have picked my addiction, I certainly would not have picked this one!  It is such an obvious one.  So here it is…”My name is Renae and I’m a foodaholic.”  This has been as expensive as any drug addiction out there when you consider the cost of clothes, the cost of diet plans, the cost of all the food I’ve shoveled (literally) into my mouth the last 15 or so years, it’s been quite expensive.  When you add in a sweet Italian husband (whose so Italian that sometimes I swear there is Ragu sauce running through his veins)  into the mix with the same addiction, the cost only doubles along with the troubles.  Don’t get me wrong, our marriage is full of bliss, blessing and lots of lovin’ but we’ve been “partners in crime” in packing on the pounds together!

What he and I have both realized is not only are our weights dangerously unhealthy, we’ve not been able to interact with our kids physically like we wanted but also and most importantly our bodies were not glorifying God in the way that He created us to be.  Now when you sit down and you read scriptures like Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”  Proverbs 13:25 “The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul, But the stomach of the wicked shall be in want.”  Proverbs 23:20 “Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.” if you are like me, I realized this overeating wasn’t just a biological trait, it was S-I-N!  I know!  I know!  It’s not politically correct to call downfalls sin anymore, but that is exactly what gluttony is!  My eating habits were not pleasing God.  Period.  I was not and have not been presenting my body a living sacrifice.  Hello!  There it was in my face…scripture plain as day, “Renae you are not pleasing God.”  I couldn’t deny it any longer.  Maybe you are just like me and seeking to find freedom from your ball and chain, hopefully you will realize that the answers are in Gods word.  God desires to fill us, to satisfy us and to help us overcome.  We can cut the ball and chain loose but not by ourselves.

19 pounds ago I was introduced to an online bible study called “Setting Captives Free” http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com it’s a site devoted to helping people overcome food, alcohol and drug addiction.  If you are being held captive by addiction and feel that you are stuck and won’t ever be free, that this is just who you are, don’t believe it!  There is freedom in Christ!  Now I must warn you, it’s not a “get skinny quick, praise the Lord” kind of program!  Its intense!  Its biblical and it was just what I needed.  It’s not a pill, powder or even a diet plan and there is no cost involved.  It is absolutely FREE.  Let me put it this way, Christ has already paid for it!

If we truly seek to be free, He will free us.  Amazing things happen when we submit willing hearts to Christ.  His word is powerful, it lifts us up, it heals, it corrects us when we are wrong, it encourages us.  2 Timothy 3:16 says “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. I don’t know about you, but I need God’s truth, I need his instruction, I need him to correct me and guide me, especially when it comes to my “ball and chain” but not just that, in this every day, hour to hour life that he has given me as well.

Lord, you set the captives free on Calvary more than 2000 years ago!  Thank you, Lord, that by your grace we are set free!  In Christs Name, Amen!

Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 1:57 pm  Comments (3)  

Finding Jesus In A Slum…

A few weeks before Thanksgiving I received an email from Pastor Diwakar Wankhede from Mumbai, India.  He had stumbled upon my blog through the blogspot website.  He saw that I had a heart for the people of India and the oppression in which they suffer there and asked if I along with my husband would consider taking a short term missions trip to Mumbai and visiting the slums there in which he ministers.  Pastor Diwakar and I have emailed back and forth several times over the past couple of weeks and I’ve been delighted and burdened all at the same time.  While I rejoice in the work that is taking place there in the slums and praise God over those that are meeting Jesus through the various ministries that Pastor Diwakar is part of there, my heart is greatly burdened for the people of India.

The extreme poverty and struggle for survival are a large problem for the major cities in southeast Asia.  Almost 25% of the population of these areas live in slums.  Open sewage, polluted water, lack of health care, poorly educated or no education at all, famine and diseases such as AIDS are just some of the battles these unreached people face daily.  The unemployment rates are soaring!  Most have to resort to begging, stealing and prostitution to be able to eat.  There are no social agencies in place to help these people like there is here in the United States.  Aren’t we blessed?

I told Pastor Diwakar today through email that I would post his prayer requests on my blog today.  Would you join me in knee bending for these people?  These are God’s people.  We might look at them as some far off, distant problem, someone else’s problem in a 3rd world country, but these people ARE OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS. These people are God’s people.

Do you recall what Jesus said in Matthew Chapter 25?  When he was speaking to the disciples about seeing those in need and passing them by?  Starting in verse 35 he says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.  Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  “The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ end verse 40.

These people need Jesus.  They need Jesus just like you and I need Him.  Please join me in prayer for Pastor Diwakar and his ministry by praying for the following.

-Pray for the Tailoring School that provides education for the women in the slums where they learn new skills like sewing and also teach them how to save money from the little earning they make.

-Pray for the Nutrition Program that currently helps feed malnourished children and pregnant women.

-Pray for the Kindergarten program and the children who attend school there.

-Pray for the Revolve Fund Program which gives small loans to the slum people so they can start small businesses on their own and earn a living and live life with dignity.

-Please pray for the JESUS film ministry that is present in this slum.

-Please pray for the country of India as a whole.  There are several hundred other slums throughout Mumbai that have no such ministries taking place presently.  Pray that the Gospel of JESUS would spread rapidly throughout India.

Starting today, I am taking up monetary donations for Pastor Diwakar’s ministry in Mumbai.  If you would like to donate, please contact me at 252-937-7956 or email me at renae.williford@gmail.com Would you open your heart and give to these indigenous people?  Would you help share Jesus with a child by supporting the ministries taking place in this slum?

Heavenly Father, we lift up Pastor Diwakar and the ministry that is taking place in the slums of Mumbai to you today.  I ask LORD, that you would touch each life there in a special way.  Please relieve their suffering, show us how we can use the resources you’ve so richly blessed us with to help them.  I pray that in whatever we give, whatever we send, that you would bless it and use it to build up your kingdom.  Most importantly I pray that souls would come to know you as Lord and Savior.  I pray that you would touch their bodies and heal their sicknesses.  Keep them safe, somehow provide food for them.  Lord, forgive us of our greedy ways.  I pray that we will humble ourselves before you and with willing hearts submit all we have to be used in your service.  We ask these things in your name, Jesus.  Amen.


Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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