Monday, 24 June 2013

Amazing Grace

On Saturday, we spent the day at Canada's Wonderland, for WonderJAM, a day of fun at the park with some shows by Christian artists and speakers. This year Hawk Nelson, KJ52, Manic Drive, Third Day and Chris Tomlin were there. It was a blast!! I love love love Roller Coasters.... I went on the Leviathan twice,  the Behemoth once, the Windseeker, as well as a bunch of other smaller awesome rides! :)

I'm still not sure what my favourite part of the day is yet (I always have a really hard time doing that), but one of the highlights was when Chris Tomlin was doing 'Amazing Grace'. Or rather, you know, Chris Tomlin was pretty much leading the whole crowd in worship. It was pretty amazing!

So we were singing Amazing Grace, with his chorus right, and the words go:

My chains are gone! I've been set free
My God, my Saviour has ransomed me
and like a flood, His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace

And I've sung that song hundreds of times before, and that night, we got to the part, 'I've been set free' and I'm thinking to myself, this is surely true, I know it! I know it! but how often do I live like it? How often do I live like I've just been set free? The God of the universe just set me free, broke my chains, but I still choose to live like I'm not free. I live chained by fear of not fitting in, of people not liking me, not being accepted and what they'll think of me, I live bound by the idea that I need to be better, on my own, I live like I'm enslaved by lots of things. But I shouldn't be! So we were singing that chorus, Chris Tomlin, the giant crowd, and I, and I tell myself I need to live free! I am rejecting the full power of the cross when I don't live free - because that is what Jesus came to do!

I challenge you all today, to live free! God made you, He loves you, He accepts you, He has already paid the price! You just need to believe that every moment of your life! You need to live and breathe that truth! You are free!!

And the second thing that God showed me on Saturday as we were singing this song, was the third line of the chorus, 'and like a flood, His mercy reigns'. The first thing that came to mind was this, and that one line to this song. (<links) Because if grace is an ocean, and mercy is a flood, and we are loved, and free, then what more do we need? And I was thinking flood, ....flood... and my mind went to the recent flooding in Alberta. I've seen videos of that, the water rushing along, taking with it whatever it comes in contact with, whole houses rushing down the water, everyone flooded, the water just seeps in everywhere. But what if that was mercy? What if mercy rushed along, and everything it came into contact with became part of the flow, and you couldn't escape it, what if it seeped into your heart and your soul? Why do we so often voluntarily evacuate when there is a mercy floods?

 And so I lifted my hands, and sang that chorus without abandon, thanking my God for breaking my chains so I am free, and for flooding me with amazing grace! I just wanted to share with you what God taught taught (retaught?) me through that song on Saturday. I pray that maybe He will show you too.

Also, I've heard that the McCardles are home (thank the LORD!) but there are still many things to continue praying for, so please continue to keep them in your prayers.

Have a lovely lovely day!!
love Emma

Friday, 21 June 2013

God's Presence

When you look in the Bible, it seems to me that the greatest promise that God has to offer us is that He will be with us. If the God who created the universe simply by speaking it, who saves nations from ruin, who conquered death, - if His greatest promise is that He will be with us - it has to be nothing short of the most super amazing totally awe-inspiring thing ever! I think sometimes, that we tend to shortchange this promise - I know that I do.

I found this whole list of comforting verses and I can think of even a few more off the top of my head. If you read those verses, most of them say something along the lines of 'do not fear for God is with you.' That is a promise!

There is this song.

And this one.

(sorry if there's a lot of music on this blog, but it is one way that I can really feel God speak to me)

 For me, when I am in the middle of trouble, of a peace-less time, I will petition God for something, whatever it is I feel like I need. But what I really should be doing is simply thanking Him for being with me - for He is; His promises say so, and He will keep His promises! What else do I need besides that, really? It's not wrong to ask God to do something to save me, but it shouldn't be my first priority.

If the absolute best thing He can offer us in times of strife is that He will be with us - how awesome can that be? His presence is worth than we give it credit for many times. 

I've heard many times, the idea of how the story of this whole world is like a tapestry, and God can see it from the top, and we can only see it from the bottom, and even then only a limited, very small section. From our vantage point, it looks ugly, and we might ask why? But from God's vantage point - where He can see all of the top - it is an extremely beautiful tapestry, all to His glory!

Everything on this earth happens for a reason, sometimes for several, but the reason overall is to bring God glory. And I know it's easy to say this, sitting on a comfortable chair, in my nice house, wearing nice clothes with a full stomach, but I would like to think that I could get through anything to bring my God glory! Especially if He is with me - which He is.

It is really easy (for me anyways) to lose sight of the fact that God - the Creator of the universe - is right here with me!  It is something I need to remind myself over and over again!

I feel like I'm starting to go around in circles, as I can't really think of any other points or ways to explain it... I know I've said it before, but honestly, if the greatest thing He has to offer us is His presence - then know that it is great! It is enough!

Isaiah 43:1-3
But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord your God,  the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Our God is great, He is in control, and He is with us!!

May God bless y'all today and may you feel His awesome presence!
love Emma

Monday, 17 June 2013

eeeeksss :P

Hello all!!

I just wanted to pop in and let y'all know that I haven't forgotten about this!! Right now we are just in that crazy-busy transition between school-year and summer, and I really hope that I can get back to writing more regularly again very very soon!

Thank you all for reading this blog, I feel so honoured that God might use me in this! :)

Friday, 7 June 2013

Walk on the Water

I have always loved the story of Jesus and Peter walking on the water, but yesterday as I was reading it again, I discovered a few more things about it and now I love it even more! I just thought I would share them :)

Matthew 14:22-33
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Some of the things I noticed:

This story happens during the night. During the dark. It clearly says 'shortly before dawn'. This reminds me of this song and all those things we say about it being the darkest before the dawn. It was also storming (okay maybe not a storm, but at least very windy and wavy). 
 This story is applicable during the dark, during life's storms, during hard times. Jesus and Peter were walkin' on the water in the middle of the storm, in the dark. Not on a calm, beautiful sunny day. 

Something that I have always seen, but thought I would put down again, is that they were all afraid. In v 27 Jesus tells them 'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.' It is I. Why don't I listen to those words in my own life? When I am crippled by fear, why don't I look over to Jesus and wait for him to say those words?

Then Peter responds to Him, saying, 'LORD, if it's you, tell me to come to you, on the water.' I guess Peter still had a little bit of doubt going on. So He called to Jesus to show Himself, prove it was Him. He said, LORD, if it's you, let me walk on the water. Jesus tells him 'come'.

So Peter gets out of the boat, and starts walking on the water towards Jesus. In the middle of this dark night, in this storm, Peter is part of a miracle. He has let go of his fear, He is trusting in Jesus, and look at the amazing things that are happening! But then Peter took his eyes off Jesus. He saw the wind, and he became afraid, and began to sink. 

What storms am I going through in my life right now? Where is it dark, right before the dawn? And I'm afraid; I just want to stay where I think it's secure (even thought it's really not, even). Jesus tells me, He says to me, 'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.' But I don't listen. Sometimes, not often. But He's saying them! Peter, then still struggling with a little doubt, as I'm sure I would be, calls to Jesus. LORD, if it's you, give me a miracle. Throw me a lifeline - show me! And Jesus says, come. That's it. Come. Not 'come when you feel secure' not 'come when you have a better job' or 'come when you grow up' or when you have a bigger house, or when your kids grow up or anything. Just 'come.' And it takes faith to step out there. Peter did - and look what happened! He was walking on the water! Walking on water people! I think sometimes, as Christians we've heard this story (and so many others) so many times that while they are still miracles we forget to revel in the miracle in it. So I will say it one more time - People, He was walking on the water! But then Peter got caught up in the wind around him and he became distracted, and fearful, and he wasn't sure if he could do this anymore. We forget to focus on Jesus and the storm (mentioned above) begins to make us fearful again. And we begin to sink. But Jesus is greater than the wind. Once they got back into the boat, He calmed it.

Why? Why? Why do we do that? We've got it all! We're trusting Jesus, we're walking on water, in the middle of life's storm nonetheless. But we let our circumstances influence us, send us back to fear all crippling and maiming. It's not really that hard. Okay, maybe it is. But it's not really that complicated, there's no 10 page instruction manual for how to walk on water. You simply have to have faith. 

I pray that I, and that all of us, would be able to fix our eyes on Jesus, that even in the dark, in the middle of the storm, that we would trust, and that we would come, and that we would walk on the water. I pray that while we are walking, that we would not be tempted to look around us, and think about the storm - because Jesus is greater! 

What is crippling you today? Where do you need to hear Jesus' words, and step out and join Him on the water? 

May you all have a lovely lovely day!! :)

P.S. there is a really awesome song; Walk on the Water by Britt Nicole which you might also enjoy listening to :)