052215 Gina Update

Continuing to help my youngest daughter move into her new house. We’re almost there. Had a lovely phone call from a dear sister who said “get on that blog girl… come on now!” Oh how I hope to stay motivated although it seems as if living life is surely more important than documenting it at times. Just read this today and found it to be so real that I just had to post it.

Author: Julie Ganschow writes…

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

One Port In A Storm

Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said* to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:28-31

Are you ever so overwhelmed by circumstances that you are nearly paralyzed? I have occasionally found myself there over these last weeks and months. Each time I take my eyes off of Jesus and focus on what is happening in my life, I start to go under from the turmoil in life.

It may resonate with you when I say it is initially so much easier to try and fix things myself than to rely on God when the going is difficult.

This passage is a great reminder to keep our eyes and heart focused on Christ. Peter learned very quickly that he could continue to defy the odds and truly walk on water in the midst of the storm as long as he kept his eyes locked on Christ. We can do the very same thing even in the midst of great storms with trials that want to swamp the boat.

Jesus Christ is our only hope, He is our only “port” in the storms of life. We must keep our eyes fixed on Him, He is our refuge and strength and an ever present help in time of need.

How do you make this practical? Fill your mind with the Word, immerse yourself in the Psalms, pray without ceasing, be thankful for all the Lord is allowing to take place. Rejoice, He is sovereign and in control!

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051815 Gina Update

Well, it’s been a while but I guess that’s a good thing. I’m too busy to write apparently and don’t have much time to think and retrospect with so much going on in the present. Simply put, I am well and Paul is well. So far every single thing we felt about leaving Sarasota and seeking God on this journey seems to be happening just as predicted. That’s confirming and I’m thankful that I don’t have to wonder if God really heard my prayers or not because I know he did. I don’t have great stories to tell though. Nothing spectacular or earth-shattering. Just every day life with every day things, good things and sad things that involve family and friends (illness). Still, I’m certain that God is faithful and I never seem to lose sight of that. I praise God for his faithfulness. Thanks for prayers on your end. They are greatly appreciated.

042515 Gina Update

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I think this is a nice photo of Paul at a recent campfire we had. The property that we are staying at has a tiny hollow that has been turned into a campfire. It has a very large pit where many people can sit around. It also has many wooden benches too. The other night we were sitting there and saw about six deer come through the clearing next to us. They are large animals that are graceful and majestic. It’s darn near impossible to sit there and not think about Jesus and what heaven will be like.

I’m still very much seeking God on this journey that I’m on and trying to find out what his will is for my current life. For today, I see his will as us helping the beautiful widow that we are staying with. She is generous and kind. She is a lover of the Word. She is relational and I’m missional so it’s a good fit. She is fifteen years older than me but that doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. We never tire of sharing with one another and some of her most attractive qualities have to do with the grace she bestows everywhere she goes, in particular to her adult children and their families. I would say that she is the picture of Biblical grandmotherhood if there is even such a word.

You know… this business about relating to each other that are close to us in age, have similar interests, come from a similar background… all of it ISN’T Biblical thinking. The truth is that when it comes to the family of Christ, it should be more like, “I love Jesus, you love Jesus, and that’s more than enough for me.” One of the things that would be on my bucket list of all things has to do with “What is thinking Biblically and what isn’t thinking Biblically?” For some reason it feels as if there are times when I’m surrounded by sisters and brothers that seem so comfortable in not thinking Biblically and it has grieved me. Mind you, I often miss the mark when it comes to this but I can honestly say before the Lord that I want to get it right. I’ve often wondered if others have a deep desire to “want to get it right” too? Sometimes it’s pretty hard to tell.

041715 Gina Update

Yesterday was nothing short of a tragedy for two of my closest friends who experienced a sudden and unexpected death in the loss of not one but two dear friends- a father and his 18 year old daughter. We praise God that both knew Jesus intimately and we grieve for the loss that his dear wife, remaining children, and ministry are now experiencing. I praise God for the words below that have brought peace and comfort during this difficult time of trial. To God be all the glory, even when we can’t begin to comprehend these circumstances. Still, we know he is a good God, a loving God, who never leaves us. I praise God for that understanding and what it means deep in my soul.

There is strength within the sorrow
There is beauty in our tears
And You meet us in our mourning
With a love that casts out fear
You are working in our waiting
You’re sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding
You’re teaching us to trust

Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You’re with us in the fire and the flood
You’re faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

You are wisdom unimagined
Who could understand Your ways
Reigning high above the Heavens
Reaching down in endless grace
You’re the lifter of the lowly
Compassionate and kind
You surround and You uphold me
And Your promises are my delight

Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You’re with us in the fire and the flood
You’re faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good
You turn it for our good and for Your glory
Even in the valley, You are faithful
You’re working for our good
You’re working for our good and for Your glory

Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You’re with us in the fire and the flood
You’re faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

[Words by Michael W. Smith, music by Aaron Keyes]

041515 Gina Update

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 

He is our friend and he consoles us. When a person’s heart is broken there is a tendency to think that God is farther away but that is actually when he is closest to us. Our eyes can’t see him standing with us and living in us even though he is near. And so our flesh seeks peace in everything but God. Sadly, these are temporary fixes that pale in comparison to the help we receive by resting in our faith. Blessings flow as we walk in moments of brokenness and repentance. As we walk in condemnation the Giver of Life brings freedom. Biblical grief brings conviction in a way that leads to lasting joy regardless of our circumstances.

Truth:

Life is often hard for Christ followers. He doesn’t make it easy for us but he always brings us help when we are seeking him even in our darkest hour. Thank you Lord. Amen.

041115 Gina Update

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The view is lovely from one of the windows on the farm. It’s very peaceful here and the scene is to die for. Over the course of the last week I’ve had the opportunity to stop, look, listen, and feel more. “What are you doing that for?” some might ask. Simply put, I’m hoping to come across Divine appointments that God might be calling me to. In Biblical terms I’m wanting to make my ears attentive to wisdom and incline my heart to understanding- Proverbs 2:2. One thing I am certain of is that God is wanting me to develop my “listening skills” in a new way.

I believe that as I develop this skill with the Spirit’s help I will have increased faith to trust in God. Several of my sisters in Christ have called asking me how I’m adjusting to the situation? Sometimes I want to say, “What situation?” I think they are referring to the fact that we decided to leave Florida for a season, surrender Paul’s job, and seek Jesus in a different place. Strangely enough, it seemed perfectly normal to us. Maybe I should say that it appeared to be the natural outflowing of everything we had been reading and gleaning from over the last few years.

Somewhere along the way we were led to understand that radical obedience to the Father should not be equated with an easy life, good health, or wealth as according to the world. Instead, Biblical obedience realizes that living for Jesus puts all of those things and more at risk. Still, from an eternal perspective, our reward is unfathomable. The real question then becomes “Is Jesus more than enough?” to which I would respond, “Yes Lord, you are more than enough.”

Knowing Jesus intimately involves radical trusting without knowing what the future might bring. Many of our friends spoke wonderful words like “I just know God has a wonderful plan for your life.” Their thoughts and well-wishes were very encouraging but we were coming from a very different place in our thinking. It was more like “I know I’m an enemy of God. I understand that I am dead in my sin and my heart is inclined to rebellion. Therefore, I choose to depend on God more fully to do something with my life that I could never come close to hope to doing on my own.” I can’t help but wonder if suffering must be involved in this but I know if that happens, God will be at the center of that too. He is so good!

Gina Update 040915

Yay! Thanks for your prayers. We made it to our final destination in Blacksburg, VA, and had a good night of sleep. Now time to adjust. Thankfully the Word of God is helping us do just that. Travel so far has been a blessing and God has protected us along the way. I’ll write more soon to share what God is doing.