Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Week Six - August 31, 2006

Hello and Happy Friday to one and all!!!
 So I guess I have gone from long to longer with my weekly messages but thusfar {besides George} no one has complained so I will ask you to bear with me as I am not yet skilled in shorter versions of what I wish to share with you each week.  I want to open with a few Bible verses that I came across while preparing and researching this week.  If the Romans verse is a little long for you to follow please read at least verses 3-5.  Thanks!
Passage James 5:16:
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
Romans 4:1-5, & 18-25
(1)What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? (2)If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. (3)What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."  (4)Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. (5)However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. (18)Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." (19)Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah's womb was also dead. (20)Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, (21)being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (22)This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness." (23)The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, (24)but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. (25)He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Passage Genesis 15:6
Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Wow, powerful stuff here!  God is so awesome!  I just cannot get over it, nor do I want to!  I found the first verse in James on, it was Monday's Verse of the Day.  When I read "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective," it made me remember the other verses.  I am going to say I believe God wants us to share not only our happy and sad times with him and with each other...but He also wants us to confess out shortcomings, our sins, our debts to each other.  Okay, now I know personally my pride makes me say, "How embarrassing, I'm supposed to share all my mistakes with those around me?"  However, really think about this and picture that your experience, sin, whatever, maybe by sharing this with a fellow Christian or better yet, a Non-Christian, maybe by doing so you help that person become closer to God.  We are constantly learning, aren't we?  Isn't also true then that we can learn from each other's mistakes, and we can learn how to overcome our pride by sharing those sins and praying with and for each other?  I know this almost seems crazy but maybe if we share our sins with a non-believer and also share our forgiveness of those sins through the power of the cross with that same Non-believer, isn't it possible that God would use that sharing to open a path into the non-believer's heart?  Of course it is possible!  All things are possible with God!!! It gives me chills and thrills and makes me pray even harder for the courage to witness outside my comfort zone.  But wait, I am only halfway through James 5:16, it gets better still!  So next it tells us to pray for each other so we may be healed, right?  Healed, such a loaded word!  There are so many perspectives on that word.  But let me give you my take on how it relates to this verse...we know that sins causes the pain and suffering in this world and in our homes and even in our bodies, so if we confess those sins to each other and pray for each other then I think God is telling us that is exactly the medicine we need for our healing!  I could really keep expanding on that but I would like to leave it open to your own prayerful considerations.  I see this is getting long but please hang out with me just a bit more because I want to discuss the last part of the verse from James.  This is where the Romans and Genesis passages tie in..."The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."  Alright, so at first this intimidated me and I thought, 'So who's considered righteous, because I have a long list of people I am praying for and maybe my prayers aren't effective enough?"  I did not dwell on that thinking long, instead I remembered the verses in Romans and Genesis where the Bible touches on this very matter!  Ok, I know, wrap it up Niki!  Indulge me if you will and scroll back up and re-read Romans 4 verses 5 and 24.  Go ahead, I will wait.  Ready?  Whoa!  Totally, incredibly, overwhelmingly amazing!!!  God's love and grace towards us blows me away!  He is telling us - have faith and I will credit to you as righteousness!!  So friends we are all righteous through our faith, when we keep that faith in God, and His promises to us we have become righteous!  Therefore each and every one of us has the power to pray powerfully and effectively by our faith!  This to me is...well I am nearly speechless on how cool it really is.  {You are thinking, yeah right, you speechless?} But truthfully, some mornings when I am talking with God I get so overwhelmed by His love and grace and promises that I simply smile and say, "It's a good thing You know what's in my heart Lord because this morning Your love has me speechless."  Something to that effect.  Ok, I make it sound a little too does explain further that we need to believe in hope, not waiver through unbelief and continually give glory to God...but as Christians isn't that what we are supposed to do?  In all things give God the glory, right?  It may not be an easy road to take, nevertheless it is the most rewarding travel.  With our ultimate reward being victory over death by way of Jesus life saving blood.  I've gotten a little off track here at the end but I hope that you are able to take something from this away and use it to stay strong in our Lord this week. 
I pray this week that you find ways to believe God's promises for your life in hope stay steadfast and strong.  I pray that you each will not waiver through unbelief but instead find ways to give glory to God.  I additionally pray that God surrounds you with His love, favor and blessings this day, this week and always.  Have an awesome weekend and week ahead!
Love through Christ,
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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Week 5 August 24, 2006

Happy Friday to one and all!!!
I had to do something this week that I fear a lot...I had to go to the Dentist.  Now, for a lot of people this may be a normal bi-yearly visit.  For me, on the other hand, it is a confrontation of a phobia!  I freak out, I get sweaty palms and whether I tell them to stop or not my eyes leak {crying tears} a lot.  Long story short, went in for a toothache and they of course took an x-ray.  Then this New Dentist I had never before met in my life tells me I need a Root Canal and I need it today.  I prayed.  I pray everyday, I pray all day but yesterday I prayed with urgency that you can only have when facing your worst fears.  God answered this prayer swiftly and might I even say miraculously.  The dentist got in the tooth and found the cavity had not reached the nerve as she feared and she was able to treat with a mere filling instead.  Hallelujah!
So here I am this morning praying, "Lord, THANK YOU so much!" Then I realized I had spent so much time this week worrying about a silly tooth and I had no idea what I was going to type about this evening.  So I kept praying, "Lord, please inspire me so I may inspire others."  You know I no sooner spoke that prayer then the thought came into my mind...Prayer!  The power of prayer, the answers God uses...what a huge topic.  {And I have heard from hubby that my emails tend to get too long as it is.}  So I just want to share a few of my prayer highlights if you will...though it's really not enough in my mind to do any justice I will try not to undermine it.  My Grampa used to tell me {and I know you're reading this Grampa so please forgive me for not recalling exact phrases and word but I'll try to get as close as I can} about the different ways God answers us.  Of course we tend to think it's just a yes or no deal...but our God is a God of choices and He is so much bigger than a simple yes or a simple no.  He may use those but I would venture to say {and here's where I am paraphrasing if you will} God might tell us "not yet, the time is not right," or He may choose to tell us "that's not what I had in mind."  However, so many times if we ask for something in faith and are patient and continue that faith then He rewards us with something better than what we originally prayed for and it is then that I think God has answered our prayers by saying, "I have a better idea."  How awesome is it to know that the One listening to our prayers knows us better than we know ourselves and has better ideas, truly plans, for our lives!  The power of prayer, especially knowing that God might say, "Hey, I've got a better idea," that power is so great!  It is all encompassing, it tells me that not only does prayer hold the power to heal, comfort, strengthen, lift up, save, and forgive...but it also is being received by a loving, awesome God who knows what is best for us and wants to give it to us if we have faith.  Trust me this is a concept I am very young in.  I am just starting to find the power of prayer and feel strong enough to have faith in God to answer those prayers for the best.  I am still fumbling, I still fall, but I am getting so much better at picking myself back up and reminding myself that the more I pray and have that faith like a mustard seed then softer the fall.  I may have said this before but I love to tell myself all of the time...Life is hard anyway, we have to work at it no mater which way you slice it.  I have had people ask how I can stay cheerful so often and isn't that so hard to do.  But I say to you and to them, if Life is going to be tough work anyway, may as well work at being cheerful along the ride.  Things always look brighter when you carry a smile!
I'm sorry but I'm afraid I have typed a long one anyway.  I pray that each of you feels God's love surrounding you.  I pray you may find the time to explore the power of prayer and see what God answers with.  Time seems so fleeting but ASAP-Always Say A Prayer.
Love through Christ,
Ephesians 5:1 ~ Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
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Monday, August 21, 2006

Week Four 8-18-2006

Hello and a Happy Day to all!!
Week 4 and I am a little less nervous about writing now.  Our weekly subscriber list has grown to 9 people!  There is a quote I love that I do not know the author of but I would like to share it with you.  "God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called."  I love the perspectives that can be taken on this.  One angle I see is that God chooses each of us for His calling no matter what talents we think or others think that we have or do not have.  God is in charge and He doesn't wait around for a "qualified" person He picks us for the job!  But I think an even better perspective of this quote is this... The world views or even our own views of what qualifies someone to minister or share their faith or serve others in a multitude of ways are not the views God uses to call His people.  He knows what each of us is capable of in every scenario.  He made us!  God calls us because He knows what we don't, He knows we have what it takes to get the job done.  Whatever the job may be.  I feel that if God has called us to do a job that seems over our heads or for someone more "qualified" then He is using this experience to strengthen us...spiritually and emotionally!  He also knows that we may be afraid and are trying to point at the more "qualified" as a mere cop-out because we don't realize our own potential.  Here am I, a 27-year-old, married, mother of one and I am weekly addressing not only the 9 of you but also an unknown number of people on my Care2 homepage at
I had been praying for God to show me how I could make any difference, even just a little.  I have been asking my Savior to please allow me to bless other, that He might use to me for His work.  How awesome to think that my little thoughts/messages might touch someone's heart.  I want to share His love!  There is nothing greater than sharing His love with others, starting with the ones closest to and friends.  Being a part of that - even a small part - is a total faith high!  There is nothing like it!  I would rather have this feeling, this joy of hoping I am lifting even one person's spirit, I would rather have this than a glass of wine or a bowl of ice cream.  My prayer this week is for each of you to feel God's love and favor in your lives.  He has called each of you to His purpose for your may be uncertain or even afraid but He will get you thru!  He will show you how strong He knows you are.  I believe in your strength through God and I pray He shows it to you.
Have an extremely blessed weekend and week ahead!
Love through Christ,
Romans 1:6
"And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ."
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Week Three 8-10-2006

Happy Friday and Blessings to all!!!
Picture this: Standing in line at the Wal-Mart dressing rooms, on one side the shopping cart with back-to-school clothes to be tried on and on the other side my antsy nearly 6-year-old little girl.  It’s our turn.  I ask her, “Stasi-Ruth do you need mommy do come in there and help you try these on?”  She pauses only a moment before excitedly replying, “Nope, I can do it all by myself! I’m a big girl!” With that she takes the first six items to try on and disappears behind the open door to her little dressing room.  Only a minute or so later and she pops out in an adorable red flowery dress and says, “I love this one!  It’s a keeper!” And just as quickly disappears again.  This continues for each outfit, some dubbed as not a keeper, and I sort the throw backs by hanging them on the outside of the cart instead of the inside.  This scene from last weekend brings to mind a line from a country song I like…”I love this crazy, tragic, sometimes almost magic, awful, beautiful life.”…I think this describes life pretty well, especially life blessed with a child or children.  Crazy: I found four informal definitions of this word, “possessed by enthusiasm or excitement,” “immoderately fond; infatuated,” “intensely involved or preoccupied,” and “foolish or impractical; senseless.” Looking back over my short 27 years on this earth I can honestly say I have in one way or another experienced each and every one of those.  Tragic: part of the definition I found for this word includes, “very sad,” which I know I have experienced only lightly.  I have had things I felt were tragic happen near me, to those I am close to but I have been blessed in that I have really not had a lot of tragedy hit me, at least not on the level I associate with the word.  Nonetheless, since tragic moments still happen around us every day, so life can be tragic.  Sometimes almost magic: Need I say more?  I do need to emphasize that almost is key to me here because I do not believe in magic.  I believe in miracles that God blesses us with and I believe in illusions.  Still, there are moments I wish I could bottle up and open later when tragic events occur around me…release a little “magic.”   Being pregnant with Stasi was a miracle of life that felt like magic and watching her grow up {way too fast!} can feel like magic.  Awful: There are things around us that are awful, there are things we do and say that are awful.  I feel awful when I don’t pray enough during the day.  The more I pray, the less awful I feel and I know it’s because “awful” is a feeling that Satan uses to pull us down and try to keep us there.  That’s why I keep Bible passages taped up all over my desk.  When I feel that awful tug downwards, I read, “This is the day the Lord has made…let us rejoice and be glad in it!”  Or, “You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.”  Then I say a little prayer and smile.  Beautiful: I think this one is my favorite because it can be perceived so many ways!  The perception can also be said about life, life can be perceived in many, many ways.  That being said, beautiful is probably not only an adjective of life but also a comparison.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?  Perception!  Life is what we see it to be, we choose how we view it.  There's that word again, I guess it's my biggest faith concept right now.  Grasping the choices God gives us.  Back to beautiful, and how it can be viewed differently by each person.  Take my husband for instance, in his eyes I am beautiful, he's always telling me so.  {What a great catch I have!!!} I don't always seem to agree with him there but I have a different perception.    On the other hand, he struggles a bit more to see the brighter side to life especially when troubles arise.  Which for us has been often lately!  However, I am like the cheerleader most of the time trying to lift everyone's spirits even when it's the 4th quarter, 2:00 minute warning and we're down by more than 2 touchdowns.  I try my hardest to see life as beautiful and though I may stumble, I cling to God and His promises and I can feel the devil flee when I quote verses to ward off a bad mood. 
My prayers are with you all this week.  It is my perception that you are each beautiful!  I pray you see the beauty in life this week and the beauty in others.  I pray also that God blesses each of you and grants that His favor may go with you.
Love through Christ,
Psalm 27:4 "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple."
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Week Two 8-3-2006

Happy Friday and Blessings to all!
I felt inspired to write my email last week and have been on a faith high ever since. I have decided for now to send out a weekly email to whomever wishes to stay on the list.  I do love how the Internet can keep us all connected!  Please reply to this message so I can continue to email you if you wish to continue to receive my weekly thoughts. 
I am all about hope, strength, and faith in God and from God this week.  I can feel the more I cling to His promises and speak them over my life, the more He is renewing my strength and my spirit.  I cannot say everyday has felt like I took flight, but lately, the more I hope in Him, I have not grown weary.  My prayers seem to beget more prayers.  Not the way I used to pray, no longer desperation in my darkest moments alone...I pray all day, when I am thankful, when I feel praises floating up in my heart like bubbles on the top of the water!   I also pray now more for others than for myself, thankful prayers,  prayers of hope and blessings.  I pray for each and everyone of you every morning and every night.  I know we all face problems.  Health problems, money problems, relationships and even our own moods...all of them on different levels...some smaller, some seeming bigger than we can deal with.  My faith and hope lies in the fact that our God is bigger than anything we face.  Faith tells me I can talk to God and ask, "Be big in my life!" and He will!  I thank God in advance because I know His promises are to us to prosper and bless us.  I know that when I place my hope in God, He renews my strength.  With Him in my corner {where He always is, no matter what} I can do anything.  Even have the courage to send emails to many that may only touch one or two.  I had the privilege of taking part in several Bible Study's with my friends at New Hope Lutheran Church out here in Virginia.  I got to watch with them several lectures in series by Beth Moore.  I had never heard of her but wow, is she infectious!  She inspires and uplifts like few other speakers can do.  I want to leave you a final thought from Beth Moore which I keep taped to my computer at work.  It helps to remind me whose I am and to believe God when He tells me so in His word.  Beth told us to recite this everyday to ourselves, "In love, I am Blessed, Redeemed, Forgiven, Accepted, Chosen, Adopted and I'm believing God!" 
I pray that you all have an extremely blessed weekend and week ahead, that you will walk in the favor of God and remember He will renew you when you place all of your hope in Him.
Love through Christ,
Numbers 6:24-26 "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and grant you His peace."
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Week One 7-27-06

Ok, so maybe you will read this and think that Niki has finally lost her marbles.  I hope some of you are inspired, encouraged or have your spirits lifted.  I just feel so inspired myself to share God's love.  He has been working in my life so much these past 2 years.  My walk with Him has felt closer than I ever really knew it could be.  I have always believed, but my faith is so much stronger now.  I feel that truly our whole lives we are ever becoming Christians, we learn more about His love every day.  God has made us so many promises, and He asks so little of us in return. Believe, have faith...take Jesus as your personal Savior and repent of your sins.  Sure it can be hard, some days more than others.  I know I have had entire weeks where I felt as if the best of me was just waiting to begin.  But it is our choice how we view each and every moment.  We have to make the choice to be happy.  Nowhere have I read in the Bible that it will be easy.  However, since we know it is a hard road no matter what we choose, then why not choose happiness.  I am going to be honest with you, I have days where I chose not to find the brighter side.  The best part of it is though that each day is a new beginning, in fact, each minute, every second can be a new beginning.  We just have to make the choice to shake off the bad and ask God to help us focus on the good.  After all, He told us that all things work for good for those who believe.  We all face hard times, yet I feel God wants to use these trials to bring us closer to Him.  It is good to cling to God!  He wants us to confide in Him, lay our burdens upon Him...He has already paid for us.  I believe when He died for us on the cross it was not only to save us from our sins but to also save us from the consequences those sins have.  Big and little...Jesus bought our freedom from death and from unhappiness.  He has given us hope and joy and peace, we just have to grab it and hang on for dear life.  I pray that God grants you each His supernatural protection and deliverance, favor and peace.  Have an extremely blessed weekend.
Love through Christ,