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Sinner Saved By Grace

Wow!  When your up late praying about an overwhelming, stressful, and ultimately difficult situation.  You pray for God to lead you to answers and this video comes up!  Spoke right straight to my heart!   Pierced the very core of my heart and my wicked, sinful, and hurting flesh crumbled to the ground!  I can’t imagine living a life without Christ at the center!  Christ uses “whatever” means to speak truth to my heart and works to get my attention!  So thankful for this message of hardship, grace, & forgiveness!  

Suddenly, I don’t feel like such a “sound” Christian… I feel like a baby needing to be reminded of the most basic facets of the gospel!  Purpose for our difficulty & tension, forgiveness for others through the forgiveness we’ve received, and grace to be human and to allow others the grace to be human!  

To think… my problems today seemed so overwhelming and huge… then I watched this video and God surely got my attention!   Corrie Ten Boom a Hallacaust survivor is asked to forgive a soldier who tormented her almost to death and succeeded in killing her sister!  Yep, my struggle today was nothing!  Why, did I allow this struggle

to steal my joy?  Cause tightness in my chest?  Sabotage my peace?  Take my eyes off of Jesus?  Why, am I so weak?  Yet, other times, I feel so strong?  

“We like sheep have gone astray!”  After all these years of following Christ, why do I still  find myself wandering away from the truth I know?  Why???  Why do I fail to relax knowing God in in control, even when my husband tells me, “Relax, God is in control!”  

It’s because I’m human!  I’m a sinner, saved by grace!  I am not God!  

I now focus on getting my heart right with God!  Not allowing Satan to instill tremendous shame and guilt, but to allow God to teach, comfort, and guide me into his truth, understanding, grace, love, and forgiveness!  “Worldly sorrow brings death, Godly sorrow brings repentance, that leads to life abundantly!”  

Thank you God for loving me too much to keep me in a place of brokenness, forgive, and trust!

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Call For John McCarthur to Publicly Apologize to Beth Moore

I used to be a regular Beth Moore student. I learned many spiritual and life lessons through her studies. I am thankful for her ministry during a time when I needed the material in her books. God knows what and when we need certain lessons! Although, I do feel for me her teaching has lost emphasis and depth; Or, I’ve learned to more specifically love reading God’s word alone, which is more likely the case. I personally no longer feel lead to study her material.

I also believe the Bible is clear regarding requirements for pastors and overseers. Men are to be the head spiritual leaders of the church and the home. I do believe women are highly valued, respected, and used by God to enrich and grow the kingdom. Women have their essential callings in the ministry and they are of equal value to God, church, and the ministry. To name a few women of the Bible… Mary the mother of Jesus, Ruth, Esther, Mary of Magdeline, Elizabeth, Sarah… Case in point! Women are a vital and important part of God’s kingdom.

The issue here is not about whether women should be “preachers”. John McCarther has preached this countless times in many situations and circumstances. The issue is whether or not he responded in a Christ-centered and Biblical way. No, he did not! He belittled Beth Moore, a sister in Christ, in front of a large audience. He put her down in a demeaning manner! He did NOT speak in love! There is no place in God’s word, where this behavior is acceptable!

In his defense, I feel he was put on the spot due to an uncomfortable “game”, which he should have either refrained from participating in or paused a moment longer to formulate a Biblical response . Looking for “acceptance” and “popularity”, he responded poorly! I do know a little about God’s word and what Christ-like behavior looks like! This response does not match the manner in which Christ calls us to live and treat others!

My husband and I respect his ministry and feel he is a solid Bible scholar. However, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God! He sinned in placing himself in the seat of her “judge” and in front of the world, showing a prideful and judgmental heart.

“This is when we have the opportunity to grow in our faith, by admitting our human frailty and doing everything in our power before God to “be at peace” with all men.”

This is a wonderful opportunity to live out the Biblical truths he so wonderfully teaches, by responding Biblically to his sin. This is the difference between a Pharisee and a follower of Christ. A true follower of Jesus, not only knows God’s word, but responds properly in everyday life to the word of God. We are called as believers to live out God’s word in the face of adversity!

I call for him “To publicly apologize”! I will continue to respect him as a Bible scholar, if he responds according to God’s word and admits his mistake! This would truly show a man who is humble in His calling as a teacher of God’s word!

Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Titus 2:7 “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness.”

Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

1 Peter 2:17 “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”

Blessings, Crystal

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What Do You See?

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I snapped a photo in the moment, as the beauty of the forest overwhelmed my senses.  I looked at the photo afterward and immediately noticed the dead trees stood out like ogres. I questioned whether I should post the photo on Facebook or if I should delete the picture permanently.  As I stared at the photo on my smart phone, God began to speak to my heart.

“Life is full of beauty and “dead trees” are a part of everyone’s story!  Are you going to focus on the two dead trees and fail to see the beauty of the forest in it’s entirety?”  

With tears in my eyes, I thanked God for the beauty of the forest!  

I didn’t stop there…

I thanked God for the beautiful day, a day at home with my family, for dear friends, the amazing weather, for the gift of life, and for gentle life lessons!  As I looked at the forest and thanked God for the blessings in my life, my heart grew peaceful and joy filled the deepest recesses of my spirit.

Suddenly: The forest came alive and the beautiful colors “popped“! I encountered a divine moment there in the woods; A priceless and unexpected gift!  The Holy Spirit’s presence,  whispered to my soul!  I was in awe! Wow!  God is good, ya’ll!

As I encountered God’s presence and spirit in the woods…

I thanked God for the dead trees!

The lesson God taught me through the dead trees, was nothing short of profound!  Without the dead trees, I would have missed an important life lesson and a precious moment with my Savior!

The lesson:

Never miss the beauty of life, due to a couple of dead trees!  Life, like the forest, is full of living, vibrant, colorful, and wonderful gifts and scenery!  We will experience pain and hardship in this journey of life!  There will be “dead trees” along the journey!  We get to choose, whether we allow God to use the dead trees in our lives for His glory.  Or do we needlessly “fight” the pain, brokenness, and trials; And fail to experience the life-breathing lessons these trees produce.

The strangest thing happened in the midst of this God-ordained life lesson. The dead trees, were now at the top of my ‘thankful” list!  Without the “dead trees” the moment wouldn’t have been near as powerful, beautiful, or life-changing!  Without the “dead trees” along our life’s journey, we will never fully be able to appreciate the gift(s) of life!  Without the dead trees along life’s journey, we will never be able to experience the power of redemption, forgiveness, & unconditional love of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.  In fact, our Lord & Savior, died on “a dead tree” to give us eternal hope, power over death, and purpose & meaning in this life!

James 1:2-8 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full!”

Friends, May I ask you…

What are the dead trees along your life’s journey today?  

Are you experiencing difficulty, pain, confusion, brokenness, trials, or hardship?  Have you lost your job?  Do you have a broken relationship?  Are your children walking away from the Lord?  Is your marriage filled with pain and loneliness?  Are you struggling to make ends meet every month?  Have you lost a loved one?  Are you struggling with anxiety/depression/trauama?

God desires to use these “dead trees” in your life to draw you closer to himself!  He longs to turn the brokenness in your life into beauty, purpose, & meaning!  In order for God to turn our greatest trials and heartaches into beautiful life lessons… We MUST first surrender our hearts, our lives, and our struggles over to Him!

What are the “dead trees” causing pain in your life today?  How can I pray for you?  Please comment below and I will add you to my prayer list!

Blessings, Crystal

 

 

 

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God’s Word ~ Challenge to Read Daily

A month ago I started reading “at least” a chapter of God’s word daily… There have been a few off days… But for the most part I have read God’s word almost daily!

I began in 1 Corinthians and today begin in James! Many days I couldn’t stop after a single chapter and have had to read several chapters. This journey is not hurried!

As I tell my family, friends, & clients… It’s the journey that God uses to prepare us for destinations. We will not arrive at our destinations until we’ve learned the necessary lessons along the journey! For this reason, I have decided to take my time and really absorb God’s words!

What a difference it has made in my mind, body, & soul! God alone changes hearts! He changes desires! He changes people! We can NOT become more like Jesus, when we fail to ingest God’s word!

Make a commitment today, choose to read “at least” one chapter a day and sit in silence for even 10-15 minutes. I write up my Bible ~ I want special verses to pop out as I turn the pages of God’s word! Whatever works for you, do it! Commit to reading God’s word on a regular basis! Spend time praying for guidance from the Lord, he will show you and put on your heart a plan that will work! He’s patient & loving like that! God accepts us right where we’re at, but loves us too much to leave us in that place!

Friends, my spirit is renewed and my heart has been much lighter! I hear myself laughing out loud, making jokes, and have a deeper joy inside! I feel freer to truly live and enjoy the gift of life that is today! As we focus on becoming more like Jesus and deciding to spend “intentional” time each day sitting with him… We become better people! We begin to show the fruits of the spirit; Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self-control! (Galatians 5)

My challenge for you today ~ Read God’s word!!! Not because you have to, but because you desire to know God more and grow closer to Christ your Savior! Blessings, Crystal

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Post For Mom’s – ALL Mom’s Must Read

This morning as I was getting ready for the day, this song came on Apple Music. It is called “Mom” by Donna Taggert.

“Little baby told God, hey I’m kind of scared
I don’t really know if I want to go down there
From here it looks like a little blue ball
It’s a great big place, and I’m so small
Why can’t I just stay here with you
Did I make you mad, don’t you want me too
God said child, of course I do
But there’s somebody special waiting for you

So hush now baby, don’t you cry
‘Cause there’s someone down there waiting, whose only goal in life
Is making sure you’re always gonna be alright
A loving angel, tender, tough and strong
It’s almost time to go and meet your Mom
You’ll never have a better friend
Or a warmer touch to tuck you in
She’ll kiss your bruises, your bumps and scrapes
And anytime you hurt, her heart’s gonna break
So hush now baby, don’t you cry
‘Cause there’s someone down there waiting whose only goal in life
Is making sure you’re always gonna be alright
A loving angel, tender, tough and strong
It’s almost time to go and meet your Mom
And when she’s talking to you, be sure you listen close
‘Cause she’ll teach you everything you’ll ever need to know
Like how to mind your manners
To love and laugh and dream
And she’ll put you on the path that will bring you back to me
So hush now baby, don’t you cry
‘Cause there’s someone down there waiting, whose only goal in life
Is making sure you’re always gonna be alright
A loving angel, tender, tough and strong
Come on child it’s time to meet your Mom

Immediately, upon hearing the words, the flood poured! Yes, it was immediately after I put on my mascara. Ha! Why the tears? Because, although I fail at this “mom” thing pretty much everyday, many times a day… I have wanted nothing more out of life than for my kids to know they are loved by me, no matter what! I have made it my goal to ensure my kids know I love them before they go to bed each night, no matter what! As a child & teenager, I went to bed almost every night feeling unloved and unloveable. As a result, I never wanted my children to feel the emptiness that comes with feeling unloved!

Even if we have the biggest argument, my kids will tell you, I go into their room before bed and tell them, “I know we’re upset with each other, but I do not want you to go to bed feeling that I don’t love you! I love you! And we will get through this! Okay?” Usually this solves any disagreements between us… interesting! 😉.

More than anything in this life, I want my children to know and understand the unconditional love of God! I want them to know that God made them with a special purpose and has amazing plans for their lives!

I will fail them… I will hurt them… I will selfishly yell at them… I will get distracted… One day, I will die!

Thus, I am trying fervently to continually point them to Jesus!

Because…

He will never fail them! He will never hurt them! He will never selfishly yell at them! He will never be distracted! He will never die!

I am thankful that we serve a God of grace! I am thankful for my children’s forgiving hearts! I am thankful for songs that, even though the timing was poor, force me to step back and look at my actions, my heart, and my desire as a mother! Link to song is below… Listen at your own risk! Trigger alert is a euphemism!

Blessings, Crystal

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Traveling Together

Before I met my husband, my world was small. I grew up in the same rural area and rarely left the city boundaries. The few times I did travel, it was within a four hour radius from my home. Due to limited exposure to traveling, the thought of leaving my comfort zone was fearful, as it was all I knew and understood. My husband grew up in a military family and as a child he traveled the world. Traveling was a huge part of his childhood and created within him a longterm passion for seeing the world.

Soon after we married, literally on our honeymoon, he began introducing me to travel. On our honeymoon, I flew on an airplane and saw the ocean for the first time. I immediately fell in love with the ocean, I couldn’t and still can’t get enough of the beauty of the sea. My husband is an explorer at heart and isn’t afraid of the unknown. In fact, he runs into the unknown of a new environment and thrives! I have always admired his adventuresome spirit and tenacity to see the world.

I wish I could say, I easily picked up my husband’s love for seeing the world. However, traveling is intimidating to me, overwhelming, and fearful. I have always had a difficult time with the “unknown”. Thankfully, my dear husband, has been challenging me and my comfort zones for as long as I’ve known him.

I was a small town girl, who rarely traveled too far from home. I had never seen anything beyond the Midwest, until after we were married. In all honesty, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to see “The World”! Traveling was not something I grew up being accustomed to and I had little knowledge and understanding of the world at large. Looking back over the past 19 years of our married life, I see where my husband has challenged me.

Traveling is only one area where he challenges me. There are many areas of my life where he challenges me, especially in my walk with the Lord! I am most thankful for the way he challenges me spiritually! He speaks truth to me when I need it, accepts me as I am, and encourages me to keep my focus on God!

Back to traveling… Due to the intimidation I have to traveling and stepping out of my comfort zones, I’m embarrassed to say, all too often he has had to almost “pull” me into these excursions. The fear of leaving my “comfort” zone has always been strong. I am thankful that he has never given up on me and continues to challenge me in many wonderful ways.

As a child, life was about survival, it was all I knew and understood. As a young girl, I never really had a childhood and had to become an adult at a very young age. As a result, I never learned how to have “fun” or to live with excitement. To be completely honest, I have to work at finding “joy” in life. For this reason, at my core I am reluctant and ambivalent when it comes to stepping out of my comfort zones. I feel bad at times, as I am sure my reluctance can be difficult to understand. I know it is easily misunderstood as lack of desire and excitement. I admit, I can be a boring individual, content to do the same things day in and day out.

Growing up, the “unknown” was almost always frightening. Thus, I have learned the key to survival is to always be in control and fully aware and prepared for anything that might happen. The instinctual way my flesh responds to the world around me, is something as a believer I am continually working to overcome. Healing is a journey, not a destination! God has used my husband’s love for traveling, to challenge me along this journey of healing!

As a result, I am learning to enjoy exploring God’s great big world! In fact, it has become a dream of mine as well. Although, at times my poor husband has had to begrudgingly pull me into new and unknown experiences. After 19 years of marriage, traveling is not near as overwhelming as it used to be. In the present tense, it takes much less time for me to embrace the journey with excitement!

God has blessed me with a husband who is able to see beauty in the world, humor in life, and excitement in the journey! Robert {my husband} has been teaching me to “see” the beauty of God’s creation, since we dated in high school. He taught me to stop and smell the roses, to gaze at the fascinating colors of a sunset, and to {never} allow fear to hold me back from experiencing God’s best! Walking with him along the journey of life, has taught me to be more intentional about living life!

I will never forget, as a young girl madly in love; This amazing guy of mine would gently touch my shoulders and turn me toward the skies and quietly say, “Crystal, come here and look at this beautiful sunset!” Sadly, I remember “stopping” only to appease him, as I had never grown up in an environment where anyone stopped to appreciate the beauty of a sunset. The concept was completely and sadly foreign to me! It didn’t take long before his love for God’s creation, rubbed off on me. As an adult, I can’t get enough of the vibrant colors of a sunrise/sunset. As a mother, I am trying to instill this love for God’s beautiful creation into our children.

Nineteen years ago, my husband surprised me for our honeymoon and planned a trip to the ocean. Little did I know, our honeymoon was the introduction to the most amazing life God had prepared. A life he was going to use to heal a broken young girl, who clung to him for hope. Not only did he bless me with the hope of salvation and healing; He blessed me beyond my wildest imagination. I am thankful to God, for providing me with a partner who teaches me to see the beauty in the world and to never take for granted the beauty of God’s world.

Currently, I am writing this post from Europe! My husband and I are blessed to spend 2 1/2 weeks exploring Croatia, Paris, Germany, & Austria! Walking through the streets of Paris, drinking coffee in outdoor cafes in Zagreb, riding in a train through the Alps heading to Austria, sleeping in the hotel where The Sound of Music was filmed, and swimming in the Adriatic Sea. Many times on this trip, I’ve had to pinch myself to see if I am dreaming! I am truly blessed to spend time with the love of my life, journeying through Europe and seeing God’s most magnificent world together.

This trip has been such a blessing! A celebration of God’s goodness! In June, we began our twentieth year of marriage! I can attest to how faithful God is to bless a marriage that is surrendered to a life of loving, serving, and honoring Christ!

Thank you, Robert! My truest friend, life-partner, travel buddy, brother-in-Christ, and the love of my life! Thank you for opening my eyes to the magnificent aspects of God’s great big world! Thank you for blessing me with the ability to travel to many places and always being patient with me along the journey! Thank you for continuing to challenge me and ensuring that the life we live, as a couple, is exciting, vibrant, and eventful! With you, my world is “full of life”! Thank you for walking with me through life’s many journeys! I am truly blessed to be your bride!

Blessings,

Love, Crystal

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How wide And Long And Deep Is the Father’s Love

My theme verses for fall, 2019! So often, even though I’ve been a surrendered vessel for over 20 years, I can find myself struggling with grasping how wide and long, and high is my Father’s love for me… My spirit needs to settle on these verses and allow the truths of this passage to encompass every question, doubt, & fear that plagues my spirit! My desire is the be more Christ-like, to be so lead by the Spirit, that anything outside of God’s perfect plan disappears! To be filled with the fruit of the spirit at my very core!

“Cast away all anxiety, because he cares for you!”

It is my prayer that perhaps, these verses reach into a deep part of your being and give you hope, peace, & comfort!

Blessings, Crystal