Wednesday, 26 November 2014

I'm Getting A Puppy!

   I am getting a puppy! After a dream two years in the making, "Reagan" is officially coming home with me Monday, December 1st! Woo hoo!
Reagan is on the far right. Isn't she cute?

    Waiting for this puppy has definitely been a hard lesson on waiting for God's best. When I first started the journey of looking for a puppy I had planned on only having to wait a year. I picked the litter and waited with anticipation as that year of waiting went by. The year passed and the breeding took place, and I was going to get the pick girl out of the litter. I prayed over the puppies everyday, I bought puppy toys, I scheduled school to have time off for her. I couldn't wait till she was born! But the litter wasn't meant to be. The breeding didn't take, and then mom got an infection in her uterus (pyometra) and had to be spayed.

  Devastated does not even begin to describe how I felt. I had so been looking forward to that puppy, and my hopes were crushed. But the breeder was determined to make sure I got a puppy, and so I kept waiting.

   Another year I waited. The breeder had a couple litters in that time, but every litter just wasn't the right one and God would turn my heart to say no. There was even one litter that I desperately wanted a puppy from, but the mom only had one puppy and I was second on the list for a puppy. Things kept not working out.

   Until Reagan's litter. The breeder was repeating one of my all time favorite breedings of hers and wanted to know if I wanted pick girl. I said yes! Not only that it was the same sire as the original litter that didn't work out. I was getting my puppy after all!

   October 13th. 9 precious puppies were born, the exact number of puppies I had prayed for with the original litter. 5 girls and 4 boys, again exactly what I had originally prayed for.

Waiting for God's best was hard. There were times where I considered compromising. I considering giving up the dream of a puppy. I definitely tried to force things to happen faster. But in the end, God's best was worth waiting for. When I met Reagan yesterday I realized how much better God's plans were than mine. God is good, and all things do work together for those who love Him. Even when it doesn't look like it.

                                 So I am getting a puppy, and God is good.



The Old Testament

   I am an Old Testament girl. I love the Old Testament. I always have. The majority (probably 80%) of my devotional time is spent in the Old Testament and almost all of my personal revelation is on passages in the Old Testament. This has been the case since I was a little girl, and as I have grown older I have become amazed at how many Christians don't love the Old Testament. They love the God of the New Testament, they love Jesus, but they read the Old Testament and see an angry God. They try and separate the God of the Old and the God of the New. But you can not separate the two, for they are the same God. If we start trying to pick and choose the sides of God we like and are ok with, we dethrone God and idolize our false ideas of who we think God should be. We start putting ourselves in place of God. We start setting ourselves up as god when we dictate what He can and cannot be. When we decide things like God can be loving, we will believe in that God, but God can't be angry, we don't believe in that God. God can be forgiving and merciful, we like that God. But no, God can't be a holy God that won't tolerate sin, we don't like that God. But they do not realize you cannot separate the two. God cannot be a forgiving God, unless He is a holy God who cannot tolerate sin. Why? Because if God isn't a holy God who cannot tolerate sin, there would have been no need for Him to die in our place so that He may forgive us and be merciful to us. There would be no need to forgive or way to be merciful to us.

   If you find yourself struggling to see a loving God in the Old Testament, here is what I would have you to do. Read the Old Testament (start with Ezekiel 16), not through the lens of an angry God or a God that enjoys suffering, rather through the eyes of a Holy, Jealous, Loving Husband, whose wife not only betrayed Him and became a prostitute but abused their precious children. Yet He wants nothing else but for her to come back to Him. Yea, begging, pleading with her at times to return to Him. And yet burning with Holy Jealousy for her and for the justice of their children. Through all this He promises to have her again, if only she shall return to Him with her whole heart. See a loving God yet? I do. The God of the New Testament who would die for us, is the same God that burns with passion in the Old. They are one and the same. Do not separate the two, for without the first you can not have the latter. Without knowing the first you can not understand the latter.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Meet Searcy, Our New Bloggirl!

Me. How do I describe myself in a single paragraph? The first things that came to mind were intelligent, beautiful, perfect, etc. but so you don't think I'm proud and haughty I shall refrain from such an answer. :p And in reality I'm none of those things. I'm broken, I struggle, I hurt, I deal with insecurity just like any girl, and only by the grace of God am I still standing here today.

No, I did not ruin the dress. It survived
and anyway I bought it on sale for $10.

I am a Child of God, and that is who I am. Everything else is a reflection of His heart, but not directly tied to my identity and who I am. I am 17, homeschooled and always have been. I love animals, especially horses and dogs. I love photography (see my photos here). I am passionate about my Beloved Jesus and the character of God. I am an emerging theologian, apologetic, and writer. I am an evangelist. I absolutely love provoking people into deeper closeness with Jesus, whether that looks like a softly spoken thought, meaningful question, or outright fiery challenge. That makes my heart come alive, and I love it even more when someone provokes me back. 

My middle name is Trouble (seriously, Searcy is my middle name and it legitimately means Trouble). I have a very sarcastic/snarky sense of humor that I have to watch so it doesn’t actually get me in trouble. (Oh, and to all y'all out there that think God is boring and no fun, I am living proof He isn’t. I am made in His image, and I am unbelievably fun, and the farthest thing from boring, so any God who would make me HAS to have a sense of humor!) I am a passionate, all or nothing teenager with a very fiery spirit. I love a good debate, but rarely participate in them as I am also very sensitive to people's feelings and never want to hurt anyone.

I have an amazing mentor, Megan, who is such an incredible woman of God. I am so blessed to have her in my life; she was and is truly a Godsend and she has supported and loved me more than I could ever have asked or imagined. I thought I should mention her, as I will probably quote her a lot in my posts. 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

When God Gave Me Fairies

How many of you truly feel like a daughter of the King? How many of you know that God delights in you? That nothing gives Him more pleasure than being with you and granting you the desires of your heart. God’s heart is the heart of a father. He sees you as His precious daughter. He sits in heaven plotting and planning divine encounters and surprises to make you laugh and smile. Because He loves your smile and He loves the sound of your laughter. He can not help Himself but to do something new to make you smile and laugh again and again and again. He loves it and He can not get enough of hearing you laugh and seeing you smile. The Fathers heart is to delight His daughters.

One of the pictures I took of the fairies God gave me.
I was going through a really hard time in my life a little over a year ago. I didn’t have friends, I was struggling with depression, I was facing a massive struggle and my walk with God was crumbling. My spiritual parents had just moved across the country and I had no one left that I could really lean on anymore. I told God that I would trust Him, but that He had to do something. And God came through for me. Amongst the many things He did, two especially stuck out to me. He sent me a mentor and He gave me fairies. The first is a story for another post and the latter probably has you convinced I’m crazy (and that again is a story for another post). He really did though. God gave me fairies. I was taking a walk with my camera and on the way home the sight that was before my eyes took my breath away.

The sun was hanging low in the sky just before sunset, casting everything in a golden light. And in the light were fairies. Hundreds of thousands of these little bugs (probably midges and mosquitoes) were lit up and aglow in the light. Holy Spirit started speaking to me, reminding me of His love for me. He told me I was going to be ok, I was going to make it through this. He brought back to memory a night from years ago when I was at our church youth group. They had passed around a question box and told everyone to put a question in. The only thing I could think of off the top of my head was, “Are there bugs in heaven.” I was in junior high, I was goofing off with friends, it was a stupid question (the youth leaders even used at as their example of the stupid questions they received in the parents meeting along with their example of good questions). I never expected an answer. But God answered anyway. And when He brought that question back to mind He started telling me how He made everything perfect and beautiful.

The little bugs that I was seeing were created to be creatures of light. They were affected by the fall like all creation, but the purified versions were in heaven. Yes there were bugs in heaven (and I dearly hope by posting this none of you girls decide you don't want to go to heaven, but if it makes you feel any better hell has bugs too and they are nasty and gross there, as the Bible says the worm never dies in hell. Heaven is a much better choice). He answered the stupid question that I asked back in junior high, that I cared nothing about, because it mattered to Him. He heard my voice then, and it mattered to Him that I knew I was heard. That my every cry and question were heard by God and meant something to Him. He told me that He loved me and that He still cared. Though all others had forsaken me, He would carry me through the struggle I was facing. And so I smile every time I see a midge or a mosquito (and unfortunately the mosquitoes still bite me, though not often) because I remember that God loves me, and He cares. I feel like it’s my little secret with God, I see a mosquito and while everyone else gets annoyed my face lights up, because I know what they were created to be. And then I swat the mosquito anyway. :p

This is just one example of something He has done in my life that made me smile. The ways God devises to make you smile and laugh are probably very different from how He makes me smile and laugh. But I know He does do things just to see you smile. Next time you catch yourself smiling, maybe stop and thank God for that moment and know that He loves you. (Then come and comment so we can share the joy with you!) :D

Friday, 31 October 2014

Freedom's Choice

You are only as free as you want to be. As I write this I am faced with a decision. One choice is easy and does not require stepping out of my comfort zone. Only it results in continued bondage. The second choice is hard and requires stepping out of my comfort zone (in more ways than one) but will result in truer freedom in Christ. It will raise painful questions and things I would rather see remain hidden. 

But I am only as free as I want to be. The latter choice will require leaning on God to see me through. But the former I can do in my own strength. I won't need anyone else. The question hangs, the choice is mine. Will I make the easy choice and continue living in bondage, or will I make the hard choice and lean on Christ to see me through? I will lean on Christ and I will be free. The road ahead may be painful and filled with tears at first but Christ will see me through to freedom. I will live free. 

What about you? We all have a choice to live in freedom, or to live in bondage. What are you going to choose today? Will you live free today, or will you live in bondage to sin and shame? The question hangs, the choice is yours. What are you going to do today?  

Monday, 23 December 2013

See Amid the Winter's Snow

See amid the winter’s snow,
Born for us on earth below,
See, the gentle Lamb appears,
Promised from eternal years.

Hail that ever blessèd morn,
Hail redemption’s happy dawn,
Sing through all Jerusalem:
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Lo, within a manger lies
He Who built the starry skies;
He Who, thronèd in height sublime,
Sits amid the cherubim.

Say, you holy shepherds, say,
Tell your joyful news today.
Why have you now left your sheep
On the lonely mountain steep?

“As we watched at dead of night,
Lo, we saw a wondrous light;
Angels singing ‘Peace on earth’
Told us of the Savior’s birth.”

Sacred Infant, all divine,
What a tender love was Thine,
Thus to come from highest bliss
Down to such a world as this.

Teach, O teach us, holy Child,
By Thy face so meek and mild,
Teach us to resemble Thee,
In Thy sweet humility.
     "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

     May God fill your hearts with joy this Christmas.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Developing in the Dark

Do you know what happens to a roll of film when it is exposed to light? It's completely ruined. Once the light strikes it there is no going back.

Today I learned that faith, like film, develops in the dark.

81/365 Mar 22, 2011 by becca.peterson26
81/365 Mar 22, 2011, a photo by becca.peterson26 on Flickr.
I heard a message from Sue Gilmore, a woman of strong faith whom I greatly admire. She spoke on Luke 1:26-38, the Annunciation, the time an angel came down to a simple girl from Nazareth and told her the mind-blowing news that she had been chosen to give birth to the Messiah. 
...God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
"Troubled" is probably an understatement. If an angel greeted me right now I might just have a panic attack. No wonder Gabriel's next words were, "Do not be afraid." He announced to the girl that she would conceive and give birth to a boy named Jesus. "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end."

Naturally, Mary was curious as to how this was going to work. She was engaged but had never slept with a man, and was no doubt nervous about what this was going to look like.
The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."
It's a well-known story, and I tend to glaze over whenever I hear it, but put yourself in that place with Mary today. How would you feel? Scared? Vulnerable? Confused? Anxious? The truth is that Mary was kept almost completely in the dark. She knew the basic facts: angel, favor, baby, Son of God. What she didn't know was the step-by-step guide to coping with an unplanned pregnancy in the kind of culture where sexual immorality could result in ostracization, or worse.

Something I had never realized about this passage until today is that this is what happens to every Christian. You won't be called on to give birth to baby Jesus, but you are called to give birth to the Spirit of Christ within you. The Holy Spirit comes to overshadow us, completely envelop us, and do what we are unable to do. This does not result in an easy life, but just the opposite. It throws us into the world's teeth, like lambs surrounded by a pack of wolves. Discipleship is a challenge, and a dangerous one.

But God knows what He is doing, and it's far more wonderful than we could ever imagine. He is the one who effects the miracle, but He waits for us to respond.
"I am the Lord’s servant," Mary answered. "May your word to me be fulfilled."
If God is keeping you in the dark, rest assured it's for a good reason. Your faith is putting on muscle right now; this is the place where you are meant to grow strong.

Today God is asking for our obedience. No matter your current situation, there is probably some area in your life that you hesitate to turn over to your Lord. I know there is in mine.

Will you choose to believe His promises and say "Yes" like Mary, allowing the Spirit to work in your life, or will you squelch Him and refuse to take the dangerous step of obedience?
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