"With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments." ~Psalm 119:10

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"The Joy of the Lord is My Strength!"

Today at church, I was able to meet little Madeline Joy DeVowe! The DeVowes began the process of adopting this little angel about 6 months ago. Madeline is handicapped, but that doesn't bother her at all right now! She is the happiest, most joyful smiling girl I've ever seen! They brought her home from the Ukraine on Wednesday, and this morning, three days later, she was already used to the 12 hour time difference and was at church!

She seemed a bit overwhelmed by all the people, but was still smiling and greeted everyone who came up to her with a "hello" in Russian. She is SO precious and beautiful! The joy of the Lord shines through her eyes.

This little girl is an inspiration to me. If one who is handicapped and was an orphan (until now) can be so incredibly full of joy all the time, how can I ever be without the joy of the Lord?! If I ever am, it is because of my own selfishness and pride that creeps up without me noticing. I need to focus on my wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ every moment! The fact that he saved me alone should be enough to keep me smiling and full of his joy all the time! And he has done so much more than that! My Lord is everything to me! I need to give everything to him and come before him in fervent prayer and reading of the bible every day so that he can fill me with his joy! And oh what incredible joy he gives to those who give their lives to him, get their focus off of themselves, and focus wholly on him!

I praise you Lord, for bringing this precious little girl home to her new family! And I praise you for everything you have done for us! Thank you for loving us so much more than we could ever imagine! Lord help me to love you more!

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die, but God commendeth his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." ~Romans 5:6-8

For those who would like to read it, here is the DeVowe family's blog, where they have posted their entire journey to adopt Madeline.
http://hebrewselevevone.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Higher Ground

Lately, as I said in a previous post, I have been beginning to realize the incredible importance of prayer. Of praying regularly, for a good amount of time, and fervently. "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." ~James 5:16. It has been getting a lot harder to continue having that time with the Lord every morning. I need to guard against looking at it as a chore rather than a precious time of fellowship with my savior. This morning I did not pray fervently, and as a result, it was not very refreshing and encouraging at all. Prayer is always good, it just wasn't as good as it could have been. No matter how hard it is, I NEED to start not only spending at least 30 minutes in prayer every day, but also making sure that my prayers are FERVENT the entire time.

I was just looking up the lyrics for the hymn "Higher Ground", which I am planning to learn, and was amazed at how well they apply to my life right now! The words to this hymn perfectly describe my heart's desire.

"I'm pressing on the upward way, new heights I'm gaining every day."
My heart's desire is to press on toward Christ through my prayer & bible times, and also in the way I live every moment of my life. If I keep pressing on and having a good time in prayer, then, with the Lord's help, I will indeed gain new heights every day!

"Still praying as I'm onward bound, Lord plant my feet on higher ground"
This stresses the incredible importance of continuing to pray every day as we go, and asking the Lord to continue making us more like Him.

"Lord lift me up and let me stand, by faith on heaven's tableland. A higher plane than I have found, Lord plant my feet on higher ground." This should continually be our prayer. Without the Lord's strength we can not even stand, let alone move to higher ground! God gets ALL the glory!

"My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay. Though some may dwell where those abound, my prayer my aim is higher ground." If we continue to seek the Lord in prayer and purpose to follow Him, than our hearts will have no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay!

"I want to live above the world, though Satan's darts at me are hurled."
Sometimes the world looks appealing to us, especially in little areas that aren't necessarily "bad", but take our affections away from the Lord and toward the pleasures of this earth.

"For faith has caught the joyful sound, the song of saints on higher ground."
This is what drives us onward! Away from the pleasures and temptations of this world. The Lord gives us a glimpse of himself and of what our relationships could be, through those we know who are closer to the Lord than we are! We see how much joy and peace the Lord gives them and this spurs our faith on and gives us strength and desire to continue!

"I want to scale the utmost height, and catch a gleam of glory bright. But still I'll pray till heav'n I've found, Lord plant my feet on higher ground."
We would love to become Christlike in one day! We'd like to have the Lord's glory revealed to us, even if it is just a glimpse, but we must remember that until we get to heaven, we have to pray for the strength to continue and that the Lord would lead us on to higher ground!

I love this hymn. It is such a beautiful picture of the way Christians are supposed to live. I pray that the Lord will help me to live my life in this way. Trusting God, and praying continually!

In Christ,
~Amy

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Florida!!!!

We arrived in Cape Coral Florida today! We are staying with my aunt and uncle, in the house they are renting, for a week! The house is on a canal that leads to the ocean! The neighbors across the canal from us have a light in the bottom of the canal so you can see the fish swimming around it at night!!!! It is SO awesome! Here's a video of the fish. :D



And here are a couple pictures.



The line where all the snow stopped.


Pretty Sunset.


Lights


Tomorrow we are going to Sanibel Island!!! I love it here already! :D

~Amy

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Prayer

This past week I have been learning the importance of earnestly seeking the Lord for a good amount of time every single day. It is in His presence that He gives us the strength to live for Him each day. Early last week, I had been noticing that I was much more irritable than normal, and got depressed rather easily. I felt distant from the Lord and it was affecting the way I felt, and the way I lived my life.
I knew in my head that it was because I wasn't spending enough time with the Lord in prayer each day, but I didn't want to put in the effort to start doing it. Finally, one evening, I was very depressed for seemingly no reason. I finally decided it was time to get my focus off of myself (it was making me miserable anyway) and put God back on the throne of my life. So I went out to my dad's office (He wasn't home) and cried out to the Lord for around 40 minutes. I told Him everything, repented and asked forgiveness for my self-centered-ness and spent time praying for others (getting my focus off of myself), and praising God. The Lord instantly forgave me and I was flooded with the most amazing peace and joy that only comes from the Lord! I could hardly keep from smiling!
Shortly after going inside and telling mom about it, dad came home from his bible study all excited about prayer! He talked about it for quite awhile and one thing he said really stuck with me and convicted me. He said that the best and most important thing He remembers doing years ago when he went through a revival experience, was purpose to pray fervently for at least 30 solid minutes every day no matter what. I really felt that the Lord wanted me to start doing that, so I did, and I started that evening.
It has been SO amazing and good! The Lord has been changing me and molding me far more than I thought possible in less than two weeks. It has been a struggle. I have missed about four days, but every time I miss a day I feel absolutely miserable and completely regret it. Then I am always sure to do it the next day.
I know prayer is hard, but I can tell you right now, it is SO worth it! It is worth every moment you spend doing it! As it says in Hebrews 5:16b, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." I believe every word of this. It isn't enough to simply pray, we must pray FERVENTLY. And we must also be righteous. So I believe it is also very important to confess any sins at the beginning of the prayer, and truly strive to be righteous in the way we live. If we do as this verse says, then our prayers will avail much! Prayer is ALWAYS important, and ALWAYS worth it!


On a lighter note, look what we saw in our backyard yesterday!