ANX4NTN

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Every day I learn something new and disturbing about my place of employment.  I have been there for approximately eight months now and struggle with going in to work each morning.  Without getting into too much detail, it is just a very unpleasant place to be.   I truly believe that I am there to share the gospel with those around me and be a light in the darkness.  With that being said, it is not easy.  At times my frustration level soars through the roof.  I have to continually remind myself that this is a mission field, that God sent me, and my sole (or soul) purpose for being here is to lead the lost to Christ.

In many ways I feel like Jonah.  In fact, God continues to bring Jonah and his experience to my mind.  I wanted to flee from this job at very beginning, but God showed me why I had to go.  It has been an uncomfortable and challenging journey to say the least, and I just want it to be over.  The only reason I stay is out of obedience to God, but there are still many days that I want to just run away.

Last night while driving to the store and sharing my concerns about my job with my husband, a car pulled in front of us.  The license plate on the back of this car read ANX4NTN.  In case you aren’t fluent in the language of license, it said “Anxious for nothing” as in Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Ironic? No. God.

God has always spoken to me in very unique ways. This was not the first time that He has said something to me via license plate.  After getting married, my husband and I started to notice messages on license plates quite often, usually when we needed a particular answer or word of encouragement from the Lord. Strange, I know, but true.

This word of not being anxious about anything truly came at the right time.  Although, I didn’t think of myself as being anxious when sharing the details of my day with my husband, I was.  I was speaking out of frustration, desperation and emotion. I was speaking as if somehow God wasn’t in control of my situation. I was speaking about things, that while annoying, had nothing to do with the bigger picture OR my purpose for being at this place.  Yes, I am in place that I’d rather not be, but I am there on a mission. The distractions are only there to get my attention on insignificant matters and off of God and my true assignment.

Instead of whining and complaining about how bad things are, I should be praying. Instead of talking to my husband in hopes that he would agree with me, I should be taking my wants, needs and requests to the Lord.  I find it interesting that God tells us in this verse that there is NEVER a time or a circumstance that warrants us being anxious.  Never. He says BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING! Does this mean that we will never have that feeling attempt to rise up in us? No.  It means that when it does, we respond with prayer.

God also says that we are to offer thanksgiving to Him.  What?  You mean, when I am feeling anxious, I should not only pray, but begin to thank God?!  Yes.  Have you ever noticed what happens when you give thanks to God or exhibit a thankful and grateful attitude?  I have.  It changes things. It may not change the situation you’re in completely, but it changes your mind about those things.  And just for the record, I have seen it change people around me and situations for the better. With a mind of gratitude, you are able to focus on what is good, instead of what is wrong.

Next God tells us to present our requests to Him.  Most of us don’t have a problem doing this.  In fact, for many this is the only time they come to God – when they want something.  God tells us to come to Him because He is our Father, and He has our answer.  Furthermore He tells us in Matthew 6:8 that He already knows what we need, but He still requires that we come to Him.  I believe this is because coming to Him shows that we trust and rely on Him.

This verse gives us several instructions at one time – it’s a package deal.

STEP 1: DO NOT BE ANXIOUS

STEP 2: PRAY TO GOD

STEP 3: GIVE THANKS

STEP 4: MAKE REQUESTS KNOWN TO GOD

So, what’s next?

Philippians 4:7 says “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Wow. When we do the first part, God provides the answer – PEACE.  He promises to give us peace and after all isn’t that what we need?  We don’t necessarily need our circumstances to change; we just need to be filled with God’s peace in order to endure whatever it is we are going through.

I thank God for reminding me of this verse.  The timing, as always, was perfect.  I don’t know what you are dealing with in life, or what your specific circumstances are, but I believe this verse is one that all of us can use.  Whether you are dealing with a health scare, financial troubles, concerns for children, or maybe a new phase of life that you are unsure about, this is a great verse to apply.  We have no reason to be anxious, because we know God Almighty, Sovereign Creator of All.  Because of His great love for us, He guides us through life and provides us with the answers we need to deal with any situation.  Above all, He gives us peace – His peace.

I have no idea how long God wants me to stay at this place, but I trust Him.  I will not be anxious, and with thanksgiving, I will continue to pray and present my requests to God.  For I know that His plans for me are perfect, and that gives me peace!  (Jeremiah 29:11)

I hope you all find this verse and little note encouraging.  Be blessed.

~ Melissa

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Breakfast with God

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My home is quiet once again! Yay!  My children went back to school after their 2-week long Winter break and my husband went back to work after about a 4-month long hiatus.  I love my family dearly, but so appreciate a nice quiet home and special alone time with my God.

This morning I happened to wake up with a song in my heart – Great is Thy Faithfulness.  I just love when that happens.  Does that ever happen to you?  Ever wake up with a song on your heart?  It’s like God is giving us a special message to prepare us for the day ahead; something to think about throughout the day.  Songs are an easy way for us to remember things, so I believe many times God uses that method of speaking to us in order to get His point across.

While I was singing ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’ I made my way downstairs to prepare breakfast for myself.  Nothing fancy, just a nice bowl of cereal and freshly brewed coffee [I just started drinking coffee, and it has become one of my favorite things].  After that, I went to sit down at our dining room table in the large comfy chair that faces the back of our home.  I like being able to look outside when I eat breakfast and admire all the beautiful trees [although they are pretty bare now].  Every once in a while I see a red robin, a rabbit or even a deer pass by…oh so nice.

“Aaaaahhhhh….thank you Lord” I said.  Just to be able to relax and take some time to be silent feels so good.  Many times that’s all our soul needs is just a little quiet time with God without any distractions.

I also opened up my Bible and spent some time reading.  In between reading, I spoke to God and asked Him questions; questions about the things I was reading and even seeking His direction for my life and for this day.

After my breakfast and my time with God, I felt completely refreshed, motivated and ready to tackle the day ahead.  I felt physically and spiritually nourished.   My mind was clear and I was able to focus on the tasks ahead.  I felt God’s presence immediately. I knew that no matter what this day brought, the Lord was with me.  What a wonderful feeling!  Oh, how I love having breakfast with God.  It’s the one time of day when no one else is around and I am able to enjoy special quality time with my Lord and my Savior.

What about you?  When is the last time you had breakfast with God?

I know that many of you have very busy schedules.  With work, school, families, homes and everything else in life, it’s hard to find time to spend with God. The idea of having a sit down breakfast with Him seems almost impossible for many of us.  So, maybe breakfast won’t work for you.  What about lunch, dinner or a mid-night snack?

When I was a single mother working full-time, I found it a bit challenging to fit in alone time with my Lord.  I worked all day and when I came home, I was busy taking care of my sons.  I learned that having lunch with God worked best for me.  Most of the time I would “brown bag” it to work, grab my Bible and sneak away to a park somewhere in the middle of the day….just me and the Lord!  I always came back with a clear mind and a burst of energy to finish out the rest of my work day.  There is something so therapeutic about spending time with Jesus.  There is just nothing else on Earth like it.

Is it necessary to have a sit down meal with God?  No.  Although, I find something so special about doing so.  Additionally, the Bible talks about it on a few occasions.  Look at Revelation 3:20…

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

Interesting, right?  I thought so too.  Of all of the things that Jesus could have said he wants to come in and do, He chose dining with us.  One Bible version says sup, another eat, and yet another share a meal.  Clearly all meaning the same thing.

How about all of the times when Jesus sat down and ate with His disciples?  I recall one very special meal referred to as The Last Supper. Then after He died and prior to ascending to Heaven, Jesus chose to eat with two men on the road to Emmaus.  One thing I find interesting about this instance was the fact that the men didn’t recognize Jesus until AFTER they ate with Him .  After dining with Jesus their eyes were opened and they had a new realization of who He was (Luke 24:30-31).  I wonder how many things God wants to reveal to us that we miss out on, because we don’t take the time to sit down and dine with Him.

The Bible mentions another important meal – The Marriage Supper of the Lamb!  This is a feast for those of us who are saved, and takes place in Heaven with Jesus.  We get to dine with our Lord and Savior (Revelation 19:9).   What an amazing meal that will be.  I so look forward to that day!

I believe that there is definitely something special about having a meal with our God; a way of connecting with Him on another level.  Maybe a meal is out of the question for you, but is there a time of day that you could designate to sit quietly before the Lord?  To read His word, and talk to and listen to Him?

I’d like to encourage you to spend some time with the Lord today.  Some quiet time.  Some private time.  Share a meal with Him.  Share your thoughts with Him. Set aside some time for Jesus. I guarantee you will be blessed!

I Can Only Imagine

I just love that song by Mercy Me ‘I Can Only Imagine’.  No matter how old it is or how many times I’ve heard it, I never get tired of it.  I still get goose bumps when I hear it,  thinking about the day when I will see Jesus face to face.  As I thought about how exciting that day will be for me, I began to think about other people who I know who are not really looking forward to that day.  As a matter of fact, I have had people tell me that I am a little strange for being so excited about that day.  That comment made me think about the reasons why I am looking forward to it so much.

Over the past 10 years, I have gotten to know Jesus….and I absolutely adore Him!  I continue to learn more about Him every day.  He speaks to me in so many ways.  I share my thoughts, my dreams, my fears, my pain and my praise with Him.  He is the first One I speak to when I wake up and the last One I speak to before I go to bed.  He lets me know that He is with me all the time.  He is my Savior!  He comforts me.  He gives me strength.  He gives me wisdom.  I see Him working in me and through me every single day of my life.  There is not another relationship on Earth like the one we have with Jesus!  These are just a few of the reasons why I am looking forward to that day.  When I leave this Earth, my eternal home is in Heaven with Him.  I am so grateful that I know exactly who I will be spending FOREVER with!

I began thinking about people I know who say they “know  Jesus”, yet they don’t spend time with Him.  I wondered why anyone would want to spend eternity with someone they don’t even know.  I mean eternity is a loooooooong time!

Several years ago I met my husband through an online dating service.  At the beginning, the only thing I was presented with and knew about him was his name, his age and where he was from.  That really wasn’t enough to grab my interest, but he continued to send me little “nudges” to let me know that he was interested in me.  After a while, he got my attention.  When I opened up his profile, I was impressed and a little curious to know more about him.  I began to read and learn more about him and each day I was a little more intrigued.  I looked forward to coming home each day, just so I could get online and communicate with him.  We began to exchange emails and with every message, I grew to like him even more.  After a while, we started talking on the phone to one another.  I would stay on the phone with him for hours.  Eventually, we decided that we would meet in person.  I eagerly awaited that day, and when the day finally came, I was so happy!  When I met him in person, he was everything that I hoped he would be.  It was so nice to be able to see the person that I had been communicating with for so long.  I realized after a few dates that I was in love with this man. After a few months he proposed to me.  I knew for sure that this was the man who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with (no doubt).  Our love continued to grow for one another and then finally, our wedding day came.  It was THE MOST wonderful day!  It was the beginning of our life together.  I would finally be able to spend the rest of my life with he one that I had been talking to this entire time.

Our relationship with Christ is very similar.  At first we don’t know Him.  At some point we realize that Jesus is pursuing (nudging) us.  Some people may not be interested at first and may click the “not interested” button.  However, many of us open up His profile (The Bible) to see what He is all about.  His profile is so impressive that it usually grabs our attention right away. The more we learn about Him, the more we are taken by Him.  We become more and more enamored by Jesus.  We spend more time in His Word, more time talking to Him (praying) and really begin to enjoy getting to know Him.  We can’t get enough.  After some time, some of us make the decision to “make the relationship official” (in other words, we get saved), and then spend the rest of our lives getting to know Him more each and every day.  We will continue to do this until He returns for us or until we go to Heaven to meet Him.  Oh what a glorious day that will be!  Just like my wedding day.  The Bible actually calls us (believers) the bride of Christ.

Revelation 19:7 ~ Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.

How amazing is that?!?!?!  My question to you is, do you know Jesus?  I mean, do you really KNOW Him?  It’s not just about knowing a few facts about Him or knowing a couple of Bible stories.  It’s about KNOWING Him personally.  It’s about knowing Him so well, because you’ve taken the time to learn Him.  It’s about knowing His character and personality.  It’s about  knowing His likes and dislikes.  It’s about knowing His voice and when He is speaking and when He is not.  It’s about knowing when He is close by and when He is far away.

As with any successful relationship, our relationship with Jesus requires QUALITY TIME .  I know for me, I feel so loved when my husband spends special time with me.  I know that he cares for me when he listens to me and shares things about himself with me.  I appreciate when he invites me to go on road trips with him or when he treats me to a romantic dinner for two.  It works the same way with my boys.  We spend time together.  They talk to me throughout the day.  We talk before and after school, during dinner and before they go to bed.  They will give me hugs for no reason at all (just because), and that makes me feel so good!  You know if my kids only spoke to me when they needed something, I would feel used and not very cared about.  Or if they only came to me once or twice a day to tell me some rehearsed sentence (ex. “now I lay me down to sleep”), I would feel like I had robots for kids….and wouldn’t like that at all.

This is the same way that some people treat Jesus.  They never spend any quality time with Him and only come to Him when they need something.  That’s not a relationship, that’s religion and it doesn’t work.  God did not create us to be robots.  He wants us to share ourselves with Him honestly and genuinely.  He wants us to spend time with Him.

Please take some time to ask yourself the following questions.  Do you really know Jesus?  Have you spent quality time Him lately?   How does Jesus know that you love Him?   Are you looking forward to spending eternity with Him?  If not, why?

Spend some time with your Savior today.  Get to know Him…you will be amazed!  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

John 14:1-4 ~ Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”