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

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Pictures!

Here are some spring pictures. Enjoy!

The creek is flowing again! :D

Nathan, havin' fun on "The Old Bridge"

Being a good brother and helping Daniel up :)

Shep jumping the creek! I love his expression!

Bein' a country boy!

Big girls can play in creeks too!

Daniel & Shep, biking at the park in Rockford. :)

The Crow River is HUGE! This is a sidewalk that used to go down to a parking lot & boat launch. Now it goes right into the river.

We've been seeing lots of deer this year! This is a herd of 10 deer back on Youth With A Mission's property

Grizzly! Daniel's new little Netherland Dwarf bunny. :)

Shep and Grizzly are best friends! It's SO adorable! :D

Andrew, holding the little bunny. CUTE!

Shep and Grizzly played in the front yard for 20 minutes! It was SO cute!

Andrew had no idea that mom took this ADORABLE picture! :D Andrew & Gideon, basking in the sun.

Me & Junior, one of my neighbor's horses. He is SUCH an awesome horse!

Me & Gray, my neighbor's horse. I learned to ride on this horse. He is AMAZING!

We are LOVING spring!

"Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you." ~Jeremiah 29:12

This past week I have struggled with prayer. More so than before. It became torture to spend a solid 10 minutes in fervent prayer. "Lord, what happened? Why? Why could I spend an hour in fervent prayer without much effort last week, and this week struggle to give you 10 minutes?" I believe there were two reasons. First of all, I had slacked off on my prayer times. I was only spending around an hour total in prayer each day split up into several prayer times. I am not saying there is anything wrong with an hour. The problem was that I knew I could do more than that. And I knew that the Lord was asking for more. But I justified it in my mind instead of obeying the Lord's prompting. I told myself that an hour was plenty of time! The thing I was leaving out was that it is not the quantity of time that makes a good prayer time, it is the quality. How could my prayer time be good, how could I break through and experience God's presence, when I knew that I was holding back the full amount of time God was asking me to give? That was part of my problem.

The second part of my problem was this. God WAS asking for more, as I said, but he was also allowing it to be a little bit harder than before. I believe this is because he wants me to grow even closer to him! He wants me to experience even more precious time of prayer! But growing in my prayer life and in my relationship with God requires the painful cutting away of self. It requires dying to myself even more than I already have. It requires giving more time to the Lord, even when it is a huge struggle only to pray for a short amount of time.

yesterday, when I was on the verge of giving up, the Lord revealed to me that this has happened before in my life. I remembered back to all of the really good times in my walk with the Lord. Particularly after I went to Journey to the Heart. Those were sweet times of intimate fellowship with my God! I had always wondered what happened. Why did those times end? The Lord revealed to me that this was the turning point. Yesterday was the day that I would decide either to obey God and spend much time in prayer until I broke through the veil of self and felt his presence; or I would give up, spend only 10 minutes in prayer, and slide back to where I was before I began devoting my life to prayer several weeks ago. I have gotten to this point many times in my life, and so far, every time, I have failed. The Lord showed me that this was it. Was I going to give up, or was I going to pursue God no matter how much of a struggle it was?

By God's incredible grace and mercy, I chose to pursue my savior! I spent the first half of the day struggling to break through in prayer. I fell to my knees and labored before God in prayer. Then when I could continue no more I would either read the Word, or watch a little more of Paul Washer's sermon I was watching that was all about prayer. When I felt revived and ready to try again, I dropped to my knees and prayed fervently yet again, for as long as I could. This continued all morning and part of the afternoon. Then, finally, by God's infinite grace, mercy, and strength; I broke through the thick veil of self that was separating me from my savior, and Jesus poured out his presence upon me! Suddenly, prayer began to flow out of me easily, and I was able to delight in it! The Lord blessed the entire day.

Today, I have continued to labor in prayer. God, in his great mercy and grace toward me, has steadily drawn me toward himself and I feel that I have grown in Him today as well! I have never struggled against my flesh so hard in my life as I did yesterday. It was the most painful thing I've ever done. But also the most rewarding and fulfilling! I must press on! This is only the beginning. If I slack off again in my prayer life, I will only have to go through that same painful struggle yet again. I can not, I will not, let self put up a veil between me and God again! Daily I must pray before my God and beg him to rip out and destroy all of the self that remains in me until I am truly and completely dead to myself and wholly God's! Only by God's grace, mercy, and strength have I come this far, and only through him will I continue on! I give God ALL the glory! It was HIM! NOT ME!

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." ~Jeremiah 29:11-14

"For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?" ~Deut. 4:7

"Let us therefor come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." ~Heb. 4:16

"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)" ~Heb. 10:22-23

"He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the East is from the West, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." ~Psalms 103:10-14

"Ye have not because ye ask not" ~James 4:2b

"Those who seek God by faith with regard to a certain matter, he will never say no to them, he will always reward them for seeking him. But, he may choose a reward that is different than the petition, and not because it is less, but because it is greater! I tell you, God always answers prayer, it's just that, sometimes he gives you better than what you are asking for." ~Paul Washer
(Just to clarify, what he is talking about here are times, for example, when you ask God to heal someone who is sick, if it is not God's perfect will to heal the person, he will instead give the person the grace to stand despite their affliction. And in the end, the outpouring of grace will turn out to be far better than healing would have been. This has happened in Paul Washer's life. He has a lot of health issues, but God has chosen to pour out his grace upon him rather than heal him, and Mr. Washer said that he is glad God chose to do that instead of heal him! It is better!)

"This is not about getting your best life now, this is about the glory of God, and pouring your life out into other people like an offering.To give your life away. To throw it away! Upon the needs of others and for the glory of God, and praying and asking God for strength to be that way!" ~Paul Washer

"You wonder why the Christian life, at times, is so difficult? I'll tell you why it's so difficult. It's not a mystery! Most believers are not doing the basic things of Christianity: Renewing their minds in the Word of God and persevering before God in prayer." ~Paul Washer

"You gain passion for God by knowing him and spending time in prayer before him." ~Paul Washer

"The most difficult thing that you will ever do as a Christian is this; to come to believe that God loves you as much as he says he does." ~Paul Washer

"Importunity in Prayer" by Paul Washer Part: 1 - http://vimeo.com/15140129
"Importunity in Prayer" By Paul Washer Part: 2 - http://vimeo.com/15849057

We serve a truly awesome and amazing God!


Monday, April 11, 2011

"God's Word is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword!"

"...The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you... But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them... Be ye strong therefore and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded... And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul:... And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with all their desire: and he was found of them, and the Lord gave them rest round about." ~2 Chr. 15:2b, 4, 7, 12, & 15

"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart if perfect toward him...." ~2 Chr. 16:9a

"Stand up and bless the Lord your God forever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all the things that are therin, the seas, and all that is therin, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee." ~Neh. 9:5b-6

"Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and witheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst." ~Neh. 9:20

Saturday, April 2, 2011


I need to pray. I have to pray! I must pray often. I must pray early. I must pray long. My prayer time must be fervent. I need the Lord's strength and grace to make these changes in my prayer life! LORD, please help me! I am completely helpless, weak, and pathetic without you! Dear God, I'm begging you to bestow your grace upon me, who could never deserve it. Lord, I praise your Holy name for your infinite mercy! I LOVE you Lord Jesus! And I will serve you with everything in me. Forsaking ALL else! "Worldly pleasures ALL forsaken, take me Jesus, take me now! I surrender ALL!"