WWJD?

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Remember those bracelets, the ones everyone had?

WWJD

What would Jesus do? You might have worn one because you saw all of your friends wearing them and wanted to be a part of the crowd. Or maybe you actually knew what it meant. Either way, did any of us really think about that question?

Today, I pulled out of the parking lot at work to take my lunch break. Knowing I had to use my hour wisely because of my long list of things to get done, I began driving and planning my route. Bank, drug store, gas station, then food. I checked the bank and drug store off of my list and headed for the gas station. Pulled in, got out of my car to go in and redeem a coupon for my fuel purchase, and was stopped in my tracks when on the way in I heard, “Miss, Miss!” I turned to see a man sitting in a van park crooked in a spot, “Yes?”
“If I give you my (credit) card could you go in and buy my cigarettes for me? I’m in a wheelchair.”
Frantically trying to decide how to handle the potentially dangerous situation, I responded “I can’t, I’m sorry. I’m on a time crunch and can’t be late getting back to work.” I proceeded to go in and make my fuel purchase, but let the clerk know about the situation, wandered back out and passed the man still sitting in his van, and to my Jeep to pump my gas. I watched him pull out of the parking lot and began to think as my gas finished pumping.
“What did I just do?”
“Did I just miss an opportunity to show God’s love to someone?”
“What would Jesus have done?”

I knew the answers to the questions I had just asked myself, and I just prayed. I prayed that someone would come along and fix what I had messed up, that someone would be bold, not paranoid, and help this man if he was indeed in a wheelchair and just wanted a simple favor. (Even if it was buying a pack of cigarettes for him.) Jesus uses us in mysterious ways sometimes, and I fear that a lot of us miss many opportunities to show others the love of Christ because we’re to comfortable in our little bubbles.
I know that Jesus would have stepped out and helped that man. I also know that I should have stepped out in faith, knowing that I was protected by Him, to do that man a simple favor. I didn’t, and it made me step back and truly think about that infamous question,

What would Jesus do?

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If Heaven had an Address

(c) Mandi's Photography

(c) Mandi’s Photography

If Heaven had an address

I’d write to you each day

Put my heart on paper

I’d know just what to say

 

If Heaven had an address

You’d never be alone

I’d drive right out to visit you

And make myself at home

 

Though Heaven has no address

We’ll soon be reunited

I’ll make my home in glory, too

Because through Jesus, we’ve all been invited.

 

~Amanda N. Sams

October 4, 2014

 

Dear Christian Single

Dear Christian Single,

God's Best

I know it may seem like God has forgotten about you. You may feel like that you’re never going to find the spouse of your dreams and you’ll be single forever. Just keep hanging in there! You’re in this season of singleness for a good reason, although you may never find out why, God knows and that’s all that matters. Don’t lose hope, God hasn’t forgotten about you! His timing is perfect and when He finally brings you to the person He’s been preparing for you, you’ll realize that the wait was more than worth it. As you’re waiting, don’t put your life on hold because you feel as though you can’t go any further until you’re married. Use this time to your advantage, after all, God has put you here for a reason! Strengthen your relationship with Him, pray for your future spouse, make a list of qualities you want to find in and have for that spouse.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…”

James 4:8 (NKJV) 

Most of us can probably say that we honestly don’t spend enough time with God each day. I know I have days when I get out of bed, throw myself together, and go into work without even touching my Bible. Let me tell you, I can feel it by the end of the day! Even if you don’t always have time to open up your Bible, make sure to acknowledge Him each morning and evening. Whether it be a quick little prayer about your day, a “Thank You” now and then throughout the day, or even starting your day with some praise music on the way to or getting ready for work or school. You don’t have to spend an hour in your Bible and in prayer for it to count. Use your season of singleness to find different ways to draw closer to Him. Better yet, use this time to serve Him and love on His people. Volunteer, get involved with your church in different ways, mentor someone younger than you, there are plenty of opportunities! Watch, listen, and be open to change as he prepares your heart for that special person!

“Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4 (NIV)

Pray for your future spouse! It may seem silly because you don’t know who you’re praying FOR, but God does. Use your list of qualities as a guideline for your prayers. Also pray that the Lord will continue to prepare your heart and shape you into the person He needs you to be for that spouse.

You can kind of pick out the qualities I’m looking for in my future husband in a past post of mine entitled “From Me, with Love” go check it out and maybe take the time to write out a letter to your future spouse as well!

“God intends and expects marriage to be a lifetime commitment between a man and a woman, based on the principles of biblical love. The relationship between Jesus Christ and His church is the supreme example of the committed love that a husband and wife are to follow in their relationship with each other.”  

~ John C. Broger 

Thankful

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 I’m so very thankful

for each blessing that You give

So thankful for Your guidance,

for the life I have to live

Talents used to praise You

bring glory to Your name

You fill my heart with so much joy

these words cannot explain

I’m thankful most of all

for the blood You shed for me

Your selfless, love filled sacrifice

the blood that set me free.

~Amanda N. Sams

November 24, 2013

Don’t Leave Jesus in Ruins

Haggai Late nights with Jesus are my absolute favorite. Everyone is asleep, it’s quiet, and I can really focus on what the Lord is telling me through His word. Tonight, it took me a whole four verses in the book of Haggai before I knew that I’d be typing up a blog post before I could even think about going to sleep! It was these words that spoke to me:

 “Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: “Why are you living in luxurious houses while My house lies in ruins?”

~Haggai 1:3-4 (NLT)

So many different thoughts went flying through my head as I read those words, so many different ways to look at them and use them to better yourself and your relationship with the Lord. I think I’ve managed to choose two points that I want to share.

1. Are you too busy living a life of luxury to notice that your relationship with Jesus is in ruins?

There are so many prosperity preachers out there today that try to push a “how to use Jesus and His teachings to get rich” kind of message. I’m personally not a fan. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us to pull His teachings out of context, try our best to then use them to get rich and live a luxurious live of ease, then die and go to Heaven.

NO.

Jesus died on the cross so that we could find forgiveness, joy, comfort and love in Him and live a luxurious life in eternity with Him, in Heaven, when we die.

Yes, some people have worldly riches and possessions and are just as good of Christians as anybody. I’m not saying that having money is a negative thing, We can do so much good with money, as far as donating and helping the needy. I’m just saying that we need to be careful that it doesn’t cause us to forget about Jesus and turn Him into an after thought.

When He says “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance. (to the full, till it overflows.)” (John 10:10 AMP) He isn’t necessarily talking about living a life overflowing with worldly riches and possessions. Jesus Himself can and will give us a life overflowing with joy and blessing. So don’t get comfy and cozy in luxury and leave Jesus out in the cold and ruins! Like the temple in the verse, do you need to “rebuild” your relationship with God?

2. Are you living in the warmth and comfort of Jesus’ love while your friends are left in the cold ruins?

I think all of us are probably currently, or have been in the past, guilty of this one. Are you letting your light shine so that others can see it, or are you hiding it around certain people because you’re ashamed of it, or even afraid to “offend” someone with your Biblical views? I struggle with this as much as anyone! I want everyone I encounter to know the love of Jesus, but I worry so much about “shoving Jesus down their throats” that sometimes I miss opportunities to share Him with others! I just pray that through my blog and my Facebook page I can at least reach a few people and change their lives because of something I post or mention in conversation.

Share the warmth of Jesus’ love this Christmas season, don’t leave others out in the cold without it!

 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

~Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

Your Dream isn’t Necessarily God’s Reality!

A.W. Tozer

Sorry to break it to you ladies and gentlemen! Just because YOU have your heart set on a path for yourself, it doesn’t mean God is in agreement. But believe me, God’s plan for your life is so much better than anything you could ever imagine for yourself!

“But I want…” “Why can’t I…?” “Do I have to…?” The one that sticks with me is “I could NEVER do that! I’m not good enough.” or “I’m not qualified for that!” I’m not sure who’s credited with this quote, but it sticks with me… “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” If God only called the qualified, I’m pretty positive that NO ONE would be qualified enough to accomplish the tasks He has set out for each of us in His will for our lives. Without His grace, love, and guidance we really can’t do anything. Let me share how He’s been working in my life over the lsat few years and maybe you’ll see what I mean! 😉

When I started high school, I had NO IDEA what I wanted to do with my life after I graduated. There wasn’t one area of my life that I excelled at and could make a career out of. I was super quiet, got average grades, and at that point really just planned on taking a year off after high school to get my life figured out. Then, at band camp the summer before my sophomore year, something sparked inside of me and I decided that I wanted to make a career out of my music. So, I quickly started taking lessons, I was blessed with a teacher willing to push me farther than I thought I could go and keep up the momentum to make up for the lost time.

Three years of clarinet lessons, a crash course in music theory, some piano (HA! Definitely not a strength of mine…) and two years of choir later, I made it into my music program of choice. Through many auditions, recital performances, lessons, piano quizzes, I was a ball of nerves. (There’s a reason I wasn’t a performance major, my nervousness was it.) Long story short, I made it through the first semester, came home for Christmas break and ended up absolutely dreading going back.

HOMESICKNESS. DEPRESSION. STEESS. Basically I was an emotional mess! So when the end of the second semester FINALLY arrived, I went in to play my jury, (basically a huge final playing test that lets music majors move on to the next level of classes, if passed.) feeling pretty confident…

Scales.

Prepared piece.

SIGHTREADING.

Oh shoot, sightreading… another one of my weaknesses. (Ironically, I’m pretty good at it now. I have no idea how that happened…)

In the end I failed it, came home for the summer and decided that it just wasn’t in the cards to go back the following Fall.

Now, I had to figure out something else that I liked well enough to make it into a career. Easier said than done. I dabbled in photography, overpopulated field. Business Administration? Pretty flexible, but I’ve heard it’s like watching grass grow, so I’ll pass on that one too. Okay, now what?

You see, the Lord used this time to draw me closer to Him and really begin to work in in my life to help me become the woman I am (and am still working on becoming) today! He uses our rough patches, valleys, good days, and bad days to shape us into Godly men and women who reflect His love into the lives of others.

I thought the calling for my life was to be a middle school band director, now I look at my life now and then look back at that thought and laugh. Really hard. (No offense to all of you middle school band directors out there, you are superheroes, really!)

Where am I at now in life? Well, for now I feel drawn to a career in Christian counseling with a concentration in drug and alcohol abuse/addictions. I’ve found my place musically, playing clarinet at church with a beyond amazing piano player by my side, singing on praise team, and teaching clarinet lessons. I have a wonderful Monday through Friday job that allows me to stay as involved as I am with my amazing church, and I also just recently started teaching Sunday school. (That last one is a shocker even to me, never in a million years would I have seen that one coming! Thy will, not my will, right? 😉 ) I’m exactly where God wants me to be as He continues to work in me and through me and I’ve never been happier!

So, after all that, what am I trying to tell you?

Wait on God.

Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

~Psalm 27:14 (NIV)

God’s way is better than your own.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
 As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

~Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)

Trust Him completely with your life.

Never say never. (Although it holds a lot of truth, I cringe a little every time that phrase gets thrown around because of it’s affiliation with Justin Bieber… seriously.)

God works in mysterious ways, never doubt His faithfulness.

And hang in there, God knows what He’s doing, I promise!

Jesus and a Bunch of Preschoolers

Jesus with Children I know, I know, the titles of my posts are getting weirder and weirder. I haven’t completely lost it though, I promise!

As I was hanging out with Jesus this morning before work, (I’m an assistant teacher in a beginning preschool classroom. Hence the title of my post… 😉 ) having a conversation with Him about the day I had ahead of me, I realized that a lot of the time us Christians act kind of like grown up preschool kids. I look at how most of my kiddos act on a daily basis and see a good amount of those same behaviors mirrored in the Church as a whole. There were three that jumped out at me:

1. We tend to whine and cry when things don’t go just the way we want them to go. 

Much like my preschool kids, (or any for that matter) who whine, cry, and throw fits when they don’t get what they want, or get to do what they want, we tend to do much the same. Calling out to God when something didn’t go the way we thought it should or wanted it to. Instead of trusting in His plans and that His way is infinitely better than ours, we blame Him, complain, and maybe even kick and scream when things don’t go our way. (Okay, I’d hope there’s no kicking and screaming going on, it’d look a little silly to have a full grown adult on the floor pitching a fit… ha!)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”

~Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

“Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

~Psalm 37:4 (NIV)

“Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.”

~Psalm 37:7 (NIV)

2. We’re all a giant mess!

I’m constantly going behind my kiddos and either picking up toys that they’ve left out, wiping up spills, washing off their faces when they manage to get half of their lunch smeared all over it, etc. Jesus is constantly going behind us with His grace and cleaning up the messes we make in our lives. Cleansing our stained garments with His blood and making them white as snow. We may not get our lunch all over our faces, or leave a trail of toys behind us, but we are definitely messy!

3. Do we honestly spend enough quiet, one on one time with God?

Do you ever look back and wish that you could take back all of those naps you didn’t take, or fought hard to stay awake through in your preschool years?

ME TOO.

My preschoolers usually fight tooth and nail to take a nap. Are you doing the same when it comes to spending quality, quiet, one on one time with Jesus?

It’s not exactly the same as taking a nap, but it’s even more rewarding. How much quiet time do you spend with God on a regular basis? I know the moms out there love it when their small children will nap for even a short while so they can get things done in peace! Well, God wants us to take time out of our day, even ten minutes, to talk to Him. He wants to reveal things to you and begin working in your life and blessing you more than you can imagine! Just like moms can’t get much done with young kiddos up and running around the house like crazy monkeys, God can’t get much going in our lives unless we talk to Him, pray, read His Word, and be fully connected with Him and His voice.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” Sheep

~John 10:27 (NIV)

“I wait quietly before God,
for my victory comes from him.
 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken.”

~Psalm 62:1-2 (NLT)