“But even if He does not…”

   

    Wow, I haven’t done this blog post thing in a really long time, but the Lord definitely hit me with something as I was reading Daniel this morning, so I’m back, finally! 

 

  I’m sure we all know about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace after refuding to worship the idol King Nebuchadnezzar set up, right? Well, the Lord lead me to the book of Daniel this morning, and as I was reading, verses seventeen throguh eighteen of chapter three lept off the page at me. King Nebuchadnezzar was angry at the three guys for refusing to bow down to his precious idol, and informed them of their consequences for not doing so. They replied (paraphrasing) “we don’t need to defend ourselves over this issue. Go ahead, throw us into the fiery furnace, we’re not afraid, because our God is able to deliver us from the fire, AND from your hand that threw us in there in te first place. BUT, even if He does not, we’re sticking to our guns and we STILL won’t bow down to worship your silly golden idol…” well, that REALLY ticked him off and he ordered for the furnace to be turned up to SEVEN times hotter than usual, and in they went. The heat even killed the soldiers that were assigned to throw them in there, that’s hot!! 

  I went back and let verse eighteen set in for a few… “But even if He does not…” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego fully believed and trusted that God had the ability and power to rescue them from the flames, but they were also 100% set on refusing to worship the idol even if it wasn’t the Lord’s will that they be rescued from the flames. They fearlessly stuck to their word and expressed their unwavering allegiance to their God, the King of Kings! 

 We have to really ask ourselves, is our faith dtrong enough for the “but even if He does not…” moments in life? Even when God doesn’t pull a Superman and swoop in to rescue us from our situation or circumstances immediately, we MUST trust Him, and go throguh it knowing that He’ll use those circumstances for our good and our growth, and for His glory. We must go into any and all of life’s “fires” with confidence that God will NOT let them destroy us, but instead refine us, strengthen our witenss and testimony, and use us as living proof of His mighty, saving power. 

Trust Him, even in the fire. He’s got yout back. ūüėČ 

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Looking back Thankfully and Looking Forward Faithfully!

“We have this moment to hold in our hands2014-Sign
and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand;
Yesterday’s gone and tomorrow may never come,
But we have this moment today.”

So so true! Those are probably some of my favorite Bill Gaither lyrics. Each day of our lives is filled with moments that could be our last, I’m so thankful that the Lord gave me another entire year to live out, to grow in, to love more, to bless others. I’d have to say that, looking back, 2013 has been one of the best years thus far! I’ve grown as a person, a writer, a musician, and most importantly as a child of God. The Lord’s blessings on my life have been so overwhelming this year that it goes far ¬†beyond a “Happy New Year!” Facebook status.

God has placed so many amazing people in my life, each helping me to grow, encourage me, and just love on me. I’m so thankful for my wonderful family, my church family, and my friends. Because of these beautiful people, I know there will always be someone there for me to turn to in times of trouble, to pray with me or for me, to share my joy with, just to do life with! Each of them means the world to me and I’m so thankful for their presence and involvement in my life, be it everyday or once a year. I wouldn’t be who I am without the impact they’ve had on my life.

2013 was not only filled with wonderful people, it was also overflowing with incredible inspiration and growth in my writing. If you would have told “senior in high school” me that four years from then I would be writing poems, for fun, I would have laughed at you. When the Lord hit me with that initial poem in August of 2012, I assumed that it was a one time only thing. Boy was I wrong! It was five months until He fed me the second one, but since then He’s handed me the inspiration and words for 30 more of them. I’m in awe everyday as He works through me. It’s an amazing feeling.

As much as I LOVE to write and the quiet time that comes with it, I love even more being able to play clarinet to bring glory to the name of Jesus. I’ve mentioned this in multiple posts, but it’s such a huge part of who I am, I can’t be thankful enough for the opportunity! Our church has been blessed with an incredible piano player, (whose CD is playing as I type actually!) she blows me away every week. Not only has our church been blessed with her wonderful music, I personally have been blessed with her ¬†love of accompanying. Many Sunday mornings she’s come in to rehearse and told me how late she was up working on an arrangement, then hands me a beautifully printed and bound piece of music for us to begin working on that morning. Each time we get together to play, I grow in musicality and how I express myself through my playing. “It’s better to express than impress,” that’s what we live for. I’ve gained confidence in my playing and learned things that I would have never learned had I continued on my career path for music education. I’m right where the Lord wants me musically and I’m forever greatful that He’s put me here. I’m in awe of her abilities. Her and her husband are so sweet to me and I thank the good Lord EVERYDAY for the blessing they are in my life.¬†Piano and Clarinet

Last but not least, 2013 was a year of incredible spiritual growth. I’ll be honest, I didn’t manage to read through the Bible in a year, but what I did read of it, has done so much work in my heart, my life, and in how I look at those around me and the situations life throws me. I’m taking my time to read through the Bible so I can have the time to listen to the Lord and soak up what He speaks to my heart. ¬†I may not have spent my childhood in church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night, but I’m so thankful for the solid Christian upbringing I did have. My grandpa was a huge part of that and I really don’t know where I’d be today if he hadn’t been there to tell me Bible stories, teach me the life lessons he did, and show me the love of God from a young age. Now that he’s gone, and I’m at the age that I understand and explore God’s word for myself, everyday I find that I long for that guidance that I didn’t completely understand while he was with us. I want to have those deep conversations, to run my blog post topics by him and get his input.

I also wouldn’t be where I’m at in my walk with God if it weren’t for the two incredible men I get to call my pastors. I’m beyond thankful for their guidance, love, and encouragement. I know I can always turn to them when I doubt myself or need clarification. I’ve been blessed with the best!

Through the notes my grandpa left behind, his resources, and the guidance of the Lord, I pray that I can continue to grow in my relationship with my Heavenly Father and become a woman of God that my grandpa would be proud of and impact the lives of others with God’s love and message of hope and salvation through His word.

Thank you 2013 for being so good to me, I can hardly wait to see what the Lord has in store for me in the coming year! I pray that it’s used to bring even more glory to His name!

“And whatever you do,¬†whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks¬†to God the Father through him.”

Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

Papa Bible

I’ll Meet You on the Other Side

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The day you died,
I was broken inside
My face left stained with tears

But deep down I know
God needed you at Home
much more than I did here

One day soon
He’ll call me too
Heaven’s gates will open wide

When the race has been won,
and the work on earth, done,
I’ll meet you on the other side.

~Amanda N. Sams

In loving memory of Floyd Edward Chapel (Papa)
January 9, 1944-August 5, 2010
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With Me Always

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In the darkness
You’re my light

When I’m lost
You’ll be my guide

When I stumble
I know You’ll catch me

You’re always walking
by my side

When I’m facing giants
You give me strength to take them down

When my joy is found in You
I rarely ever wear a frown

No matter what life throws me
You’re always there to see me through

In all life’s trials and troubles
I hear You whisper “My child, I love you.”

~Amanda N. Sams
June 13, 2013

My Friend Lazarus

IMGP6506-2¬† I’m at a point in my life where I’m kinda stuck in a rut, a vicious cycle. I don’t have a job, I’m not going to school, and my driver’s license expired because I/we can’t afford to insure me at this time. In order to get to a job, you have to have a car, which requires insurance, and THAT requires an income. Like I said, stuck in a rut. I’ve put in tons of job apps and nothing has become of any of them.

What does this all have to do with Lazarus you ask? Well, last night while I was lying in bed I had a revelation. Jesus used Lazarus’ death to show the glory of God. Despite the doubts of those around Him, He had no problem raising Lazarus from the dead. All it took was a simple “Lazarus, come forth,” and out he came wrapped in grave clothes.

I, like Lazarus, am at a “dead” period in my life. Before Jesus rose Lazarus Martha said to Him “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days!” I feel like potential¬† employers are the “Martha” in the situation and they have doubts because I have little job experience and they’re afraid if they hire me I might “stink” at my job. (Haha… see what I did there?) I’m just waiting for Jesus to swoop in and say “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Or maybe it would be something like “Did I not say to you that if you would give her a chance, you would see that she won’t let you down?” I know that if I continue to wait patiently, there’s a job out there that’s perfect for me and when that time comes Jesus will let me know that it’s the one. “Mandi, come forth.” Maybe God is using my life, and my waiting patiently for His glory, just like He did with the death of Lazarus.

I thank everyone who has been praying for me and my employment status, I really appreciate it. There’s something out there for me, I just know it! Until them, “my soul will wait on the Lord.”

Heaven Someday

Oh! What a glorious day it’ll be

when that trumpet sounds and calls us home

Oh! What a glorious day it’ll be

The face of Jesus we’ll finally see

Oh! What a glorious day it’ll be

when I can call a mansion in Heaven my own!

Oh! How beautiful it will be

when we all get to Heaven someday.

Oh! How beautiful it will be

to be reunited with the ones we love

Oh! What a wonderful day it will be

when the troubles of this world have all gone away

Oh! What a glorious day it’ll be

when we all get to Heaven someday!

~Amanda N. Sams

January 20, 2013

Life is Precious

I’ve been really bad at keeping up with regular postings. Coming up with at least a post a week sounded like a good idea when I first created this! Clearly, I’ve slacked… a lot. Anyway, on to my real post…

Last week I lost a younger friend of mine to Lukemia, she was only 18. When I heard the news I felt terrible because I kept telling myself that I needed to make time to go visit her, whether it be in the hospital or at her house between hospital stays, I never made it. I had been back and forth between Michigan and Illinois and hadn’t realized how much her condition had caused her to go down hill, fast. I saw her at a band concert at my high school in October and maybe once after that before I headed to Illinois for a month, but that was the last time. Talented, full of life and a passion for music. My senior year, she was a freshman and she and I and another friend always joked that when we died, we were going to come back and haunt the band room. We practically LIVED down there practicing and enjoying each others’ company¬† Little did we realize, that one of us would begin her “haunting” spree sooner then we ever would have imagined. Jasmine, her talents, and her bubbly personality will be missed and definitely never forgotten. The Lord gained an incredibly talented musician in His heavenly orchestra May 2,2012.

Use this as a reminder, life is a precious gift that can be taken away unexpectedly. Never forget to tell the people around you how much you love them, care about them and appreciate their presence in your life. Procrastination is never good, but it’s especially bad when you’re dealing with human life, friendships, and those that you care about. Keep your friends and loved ones close to you as often as possible, if not all of the time. You never know when the Good Lord may call them home.