1st Peter
So Praise God if you find yourself suffering for righteousness sake = suffering brings us closer to be like Christ
From #SRT: That is the hope we carry (Revelation 21:1-4)—and should be ready to share (v.15)—the hope of Glory in Jesus and with our Father. There will be no more suffering, no more tears, no more tragedy, no more terror, and no more worry when the full Glory of God is revealed to us. But, it took Jesus’s suffering to reconcile us to God, and our suffering can make us more like Christ (Philippians 3:10).
This is a great reminder! So many of us want life to just be easy. Through my trip to Africa a few years ago I saw just how "easy" our life was! Suffering is part of being human but not a lot of us have experienced true suffering. I thank God every day for the many many blessings in my life and remember that Jesus has paid the true price through suffering. Our lives really are walks in the park compared to what He went through and what others today continue to go through.
From #SRT: These are all the thoughts that run through my mind when submission comes up. Whether it’s spiritual, marital, financial, governmental – you name it. We don’t like submission and we can all come up with a million and one reasons why we absolutely shouldn’t have to. Only, Jesus never used any of his available excuses. He had all the reasons in the world not to submit and He came to earth only to hand over His rights for the glory of God and the good of man, submitting all the way to the cross.
My Post: This is a great reminder of being humble, quiet, a good listener, modest and true to Christ. I needed this after my work week. I found myself grumbling a lot about patients that were rude or new changes in policies at work. I just need to remember that what Christ was going through was FAR FAR worse!! He shed is blood in the most painstaking way and did not doubt, curse or groan once! How remarkable is that..but then again He was God in Human form. A perfection we can never strive to even come close to and He did it all for US! Every drop of blood was for US! My heart will forever sing for that Man that died on the Cross for My sins!!

From #SRT: In context, Peter is speaking to a believing wife with an unbelieving husband. I imagine many of you are in this place today – attending church and even small groups alone, on your own when it comes to spiritual instruction for your children, and perhaps after one too many words, the gospel has become an untouchable subject in your home.

Sunday June 2nd, 2013
"And you a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, Incredibly patient, with tongs of love - you didn't dump them. you in your amazing compassion didn't walk off and leave them in the desert."
God never leaves us, even on our best days and our worst days, In his almighty steadfast love we have a forever friend. I have a tatoo on my foot that reads "Huruma" which means compassion in Swahili. Showing compassion and patience is a great reminder of how to live my life wether it be in my career or in my marriage. One thing that always stuck out to me during Alex and I's marriage counseling was when the pastor explained that if you are fighting with your spouse or are mad at them, take a moment to look at them like you would look at Christ. There is a part of Christ in all of us. The Holy Spirit is an amazing part of the Trinity that allows us to feel filled with the spirit and drawn closer to the Lord. If I think of Alex in terms of Christ (not to be confused with seeing him as an Idol) then I take a moment to rethink my attitude and change my heart. I find an abundance of patience and remember that I am a woman of God that should stay compassionate and patient no matter what the circumstance. I should treat him like God treats me :)

"It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and the saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gottenready for us to do, work we had better be doing"
I like reading these verses in The Message version because it is so straightforward. God knows that if it were up to us we would become self-centered and brag about how we saved the world. We need to understand that the Glory is to God and that it was His Son that saved us. We don't have to means or strength to save the world and without Him we would be in big trouble! He says very straightforward that we are to do Christ's work with the power of Christ and that we better be sure to do that work! I know one thing I like to brag about is God. I can't brag about my christian life because it wasn't mine to begin with. It was a gift from God and I would love to share this gift with even more people.

This devotion explains that God's Law (such as the covenant, rules, communion) can NEVER get us to Heaven. God's reasoning for this is genious actually. His Law may be a good example of how to live life as a Christian but we will always fall short if we rely fully on His Law. It is not by the Law alone but through His Son that we can be fully saved and win heaven!! We need Christ and we need to realize that Christ fills the gap between The Law & Heaven.

The Gospel is not about formulas; it is simply about putting our trust in Jesus!


I thought this was very fitting with all the news of the Oklahoma tornado. "Build us back up for your glory" - as in building back schools and homes!
The first day's devotional explains how what if you heard that your hometown was in ruins? I would be devastated if Marcus was completely gone and would feel like a huge part of me was lost. I remember the feelings of just moving a mile to another house when I was a freshman in highschool and feeling a lot of loss from that because all of our memories were in that house and it seemed like such a big task to create all new memories in our new house. I see our house now though as our home and love all the wonderful memories we have there!!

Day 2: "God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us" Ephesians 3:20-21
"Beloved, our great and pressing need today is to give ourselves waiting upon God, because waiting time is never wasted time." I need to remember this and know that God's timing is perfect. There are two things that I apply this to right now. 1) my next trip to Africa - whenever that may be. I waited last time and stayed in prayer to ask if it was a good time to go to Tanzania then and I know God helped me make the right decision by spending all my savings and just going because I didn't know if I would have that opportunity again. And now God has lit a fire in my heart to return. But I have a husband and a house, finances to watch over and a job that puts limits on my time away so I again have to wait for the perfect time and ask God when I should go again. 2) Work on a different floor - I enjoy my unit but I know it is not the place I want to spend the majority of my nursing career. So as I fill out applications and still don't get interviews I somehow think that is God's way of telling me to slow down, stay where I am and also focus on my new job at the pregnancy center. I have also seriously considered getting my masters degree in nursing so I think this is a good place to work while I may be pursuing that.

Day 3: In spite of the seemingly insurmountable, the mockery and ridicule, He will give us success.

She Reads Truth - Prayer in the Bible
* Martin Luther " The fewer the words, the better the prayer."
*So Bombarded with the "bad" news of the day, we may start to numb our hearts to all the scrolling tickers on our television and the headlines in our papers. Rather than turning a blind eye to the world's issues, we should see these alerts as opportunities to pray. The poor, brokenhearted, captives, and prisoners are being set right in front of us. What better opportunity to pray?
*One great point that was brought up was asking yourself if you are sharing a picture or verse with your friends on facebook or instagram because you are doing it to be impressive or you are doing it because He's impressive? I can see how the first option could be tempting. It is so easy to "like" something or "share" something but I must always keep in mind that I am doing it for others and not myself. I am sharing those pictures and verses because I truly want more people to have the same relationship with Christ that I do and I want others to know him! "Your cleansed and obedient life, not our words, will bear witness to what I have done" - Luke 5:15
* I have really enjoyed this devotion about prayer because I believe it is a really strong connection and important aspect of being a Christian. I love that communication with the Lord is always open whether we are in bed, at work, running or in the shower. I have felt a sense of peace many times when I have cried out to God for help and I know that he is always there. I don't have to wonder if he recieved my text or if I will get his voicemail....He always Listens and Answers!!
"Rejoice in Hope, be patient in Tribulation, be constant in Prayer" - Romans 12:12
This is not from #Shereadstruth but I found this link on pinterest and thought it was well written. Here is an Article entitled "why the world needs Good Friday"
One of the advantages of coming to Christianity from lifelong atheism was that I got to read the New Testament like a suspense story. I knew from cultural osmosis that Jesus was born in a manger, that three wise men visited, and that he was eventually crucified, but I that was about it. So I was caught off guard when I learned the details of his conviction and execution. I was particularly shocked that many of the same people who shouted “Crucify him!” had joyously hailed his entrance into Jerusalem just a few days earlier. What could explain such a drastic change of heart?
There were undoubtedly many factors at play, and each person who joined in the shouting had his or her own reasons. But I’ve often thought that, at least for some of them, they were lashing out in anger—an anger driven by fear and disappointment. When they saw him enter Jerusalem they recognized him as the long-awaited King, and thrilled at the ideas of what his kingship might involve—maybe peace? Prosperity? Riches? Surely it would mean that life would somehow be easier and more comfortable for everyone. And when they saw the Lord’s seeming powerlessness in the custody of Pilate, they were crushed. Because what they had wanted more than anything—a decrease in earthly suffering—had not come to pass. In fact, the One who was supposed to make it happen was about to experience the worst kind of suffering in the world. And I believe that this fear and hatred of suffering is what was behind at least at least some of the cries calling for Jesus’ punishment.
This same fear of suffering is at the heart of so many of the scourges that plague the modern world. When suffering is seen as the worst evil, even worse than death, it opens the door for all sorts of malevolent ideas. Euthanasia is seen as necessary. Eugenics starts to look reasonable. Suicide doesn’t seem so bad. Contraception and sterilization appear to make life better. Abortion can even be touted as a compassionate choice for the children who are being killed, on the grounds that they might have experienced suffering had they lived. A terror of suffering always leads to death, whether it’s killing ourselves, our unwanted people, or even our Messiah.
This is why the world needs Good Friday. I don’t just refer to the great act that took place on this day, that reconciled us to God once and for all—that part goes without saying. But the world needs this commemoration of it, a day set aside to focus on the figure of Christ crucified. Because it is there, on the cross, that we learn that suffering is not the worst evil. It is there that we see the shocking truth that we do not suffer alone, that God himself suffers with us. And it is there that we come to understand that our suffering is now bearable, because it has been redeemed.
I thought this article was interesting because it focuses on "commemorating" Good Friday. In a world where Christianity is put on the back burner and the world fears to be "politically correct" rather than saying the word "Easter" in the school systems, Christians need to hold on to the remembrance of Good Friday! I still remember going to church services during the advent season at my hometown church. Lighting the advent wreath, having fellowship after the wednesday services but most importantly was the Good Friday service. During the service the lights in the church would gradually dim and the ending is something truly remarkable because the pastor would read from a large bible and when he read the final passage of the Christ's death he would SLAM the book shut. It always made me jump but just imagine being at Christ's feet at the moment he took his last breath! How sad but yet how uplifting knowing that YOU ARE WORTH DYING FOR! We all might as well been the ones to pound those nails into his palms and to crown him with thorns because it was OUR sin he was dying for. Thank God...Yes Thank you God for giving us your Son so that we may Live! At the end of the service we would leave in darkness and in silence. Silence because how else could you portray the feeling that night. What words are there to capture the death of my beloved......no words at all.
The new devotional for this month is Songs of Ascent and here are a few take-aways from the last few days!
Thursday- Troubles develop passionate patience in us which produces virtue. This makes me think of Fidel and what he is going through right now. Fidel is one of the kids that Alex helps take care of at school. He had to have a major surgery and is recovering right now in the hospital. He is strong beyond all measure. Even though his muscles are depleting he still radiates kindness and humor! He is so great to be around and I had the pleasure of visiting him last night with Alex. We stayed with him until 4 am because he didn't have anyone to spend the night with him and there was a thunderstorm outside that he was scared of. He loves Alex so much and I can tell how much Alex loves him too! It just melts my heart to see Alex come into his hospital room and give him a kiss on the forehead and a big smile while Fidel instantly feels better that Alex is by his side! Before we went to sleep Alex softly said to Fidel "I love you" and the genuine friendship that these two boys have is amazing! Fidel is going through a very difficult time with his health and he doesn't see the path or timeline for his life. He has to squeeze every ounce of life out with the time he has, which is something everyone can learn from. Fidel is so funny too because he jokes with me about Alex and says "Lauren how do you put up with all of Alex's complaining?" I'm really glad that God brought Alex into my life so I could meet Fidel. Right before we went to sleep the other night he had the nurse turn him on his side so he could be facing Alex and I. It was so adorable :)
Friday- He is the good shepherd, truly and He cares for Every Single Sheep!
Saturday- In grace, in truth, in love, in expectation, we walk forward day after day, growing together and growing closer to Him
Sunday-Sufferings --> endurance --> character --> HOPE

"Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don't see things the way you do. And don't jump all over them every time they do or say something you don't agree with- even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently."
Even though it may not be easy, your toxic relationship may grow to such a dangerous point that you may have to end it. Today you will read more from God's Word about why it is sometimes necessary to end a toxic relationship, and examples of toxic relationships that ended.
Why do you think we tend to have more toxic relationships in our lives instead of healthy ones?
Today's devotion reminds me of a saying I saw not too long ago that goes something like "You are put on this earth to help others, and if you can't help others, at least done hurt them" People have toxic relationships but what is really saddening is realizing that you are the one that is toxic in a relationship. sometimes you have to step back and look to see if you are being selfish and hurtful. I know that I can only strive to be a good aspect of a relationship if I have the help of God who gives me patience and positive thoughts. Sometimes it is nice to just say a prayer asking for patience so that you can get through the day.
While scavaging through Pinterest I came across a wonderful website http://shereadstruth.com/
I started doing their daily devotionals and it is a good reminder about what really matters most in this world. The one right now is Soul Detox and I'm about half-way through. This devotional has just short passages with some questions and food for thought about some toxins in our daily lives that stray us away from Christ.
Today's devotion covers toxic relationships. The first thing that comes to mind would have to be during middle school and high school when you wanted to fit into the "cool" crowd and would do whatever it took to be accepted. However in doig that of course you loose your identity. Thank goodness after all the friendships and clicks I ended up ok! Haha! I'm grateful to be in an amazing relationship and have very close friends that believe in my same beliefs. The number one thing that applies currently to great relationships in my life right now is my new job at the pregnancy center. Those women are great! Many of them are volunteers that just want the opportunity to share the gospel with women who are going through a difficult time. I get to pray at the beginning of my shift with them and they are involved in caring, wholesome groups/churches that are encouraging to talk about! I'm so blessed that Alex and I moved to a neighborhood right next to the center and feel it was all a part of a great plan for me to find a good fit with my occupation and faith.

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