Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Absolutely Beautiful


If you have a spare minute or so, you may want to check this video out:

http://www.dennyburk.com/the-story-of-ian-and-larissa/

This had me boohooing today. Such a sweet testimony of unconditional love!

~Alyssa

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mourning to Dancing/We Are the Light of the World


"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." ~Lamentations 3:22-23

     
Thankful. I am so thankful! and so blessed.. and I really don't deserve it one bit. As I look back on some really hard things that I went through in 2011...difficult things..sad things...life shaking things... I look at today and I smile. Who am I, Oh Lord, that you have brought me this far? When I was in the middle of the storm, I couldn't see the end, couldn't see the light. But now...I see His hand in it all. He is good and is working all things for good. He does things to make us more like Himself. I heard Elisabeth Elliot say this quote by Ugo Bassi the other day and thought yes...that's it!


"Measure thy life by loss and not by gain;
Not by wine drunk but by the wine poured forth,
For love's strength standeth in love's sacrifice
And he that suffereth most hath most to give."
~Ugo Bassi
 
 
 
He that suffers most has most to give. So true. Because when we suffer...it drives us to our knees and we are so dependant and so in need of the Lord. We are in need of Him all the time...but during trying times it seems we need an extra portion of Him and His presence. God doesn't waste our suffering. Dr. Cabot said this in the book Stepping Heavenward:
"He will use no painful remedy that can be avoided.
Remember that it is His will that you should be sanctified, and that
the work of making you holy is His, not yours."
 
 
He uses every hurt and trial in our lives to make us more like Himself. This is why we can "count it all joy" when we face various trials. This is why we endure.
 
 
And as I look back on my trials..I pray that I learned the lessons God had for me in the pain. We serve a God who truly does turn mourning into dancing and weeping into shouting. He brings beauty from ashes! He has certainly done this in my life...and I am so incredibly thankful. He is faithful...always.
 
 
On another note...God is at work in my life and in the lives of people around me. Last night, we taught the children about the "salt and light" verses in the Bible:



Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
~Matthew 5:13-16

To illustrate us being the light of the world, we went into a dark room and turned the lights off. We handed each child a glow stick and when I shined the flashlight on them, they broke their glow stick. It was really neat to see how bright the glow sticks shined in the dark! It reminded us that we need to be that bright, so others can see us and our "good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven."  Outreach outreach outreach. What "good deeds" am I doing? What am I doing to point others to Christ? Am I a light? Do I shine bright enough for people to see? What am I doing for the least of these?

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
 ~Matthew 25:34-40
 
 
 
 Gradually learning to have a heart for the lost and for the least of these. So thankful for this lesson and for people around me who are being examples of this in my life and teaching me what this means with the way they are living it out. Lord may we all have a greater love for You and Your word. May we love who You love and care for the needs of people in Your name. May we have a bigger burden to reach out to people who need You.
His blessings are great!
Love,
Alyssa


Thursday, April 19, 2012

College and Radical Abandonment

      Hey friends!! I have been so busy with studying and writing papers and being with family and friends that I haven't had much time to post. I'm learning to cherish the moments in this season of my life right now. There is only a little over three months until I'll be making the big move to Boyce College in Louisville, KY! I absolutely love it Boyce! I love how everyone is so focused on God and growing closer to Him. I'm so very thankful that this is where the Lord is leading me for the next season of my life. He has been so good to work all details out thus far. He knows what we need, and He provides it! It will be so bittersweet though, because I will miss my family and friends and church so much! I'm trusting Him though, because He knows what is best for me. Wherever He leads, I'll go.

      I don't have much time, but here is a video that I have watched probably about a million times. ;) It is so good. It always reminds me that I am to be radically abandoned to my Savior, constantly forsaking all that I have and all that is good in the world's eyes to follow Him. He gave everything for me, and so I should be willing to give everything for Him. Oh how I love my sweet Savior!

Monday, April 9, 2012

He Finishes What He Begins (Calvary Love)


A friend and I were e-mailing back and forth a while back and I wanted to share what has been on my heart. Here is a little part of what God has been doing in my heart and mind over the past weeks:

It seems that God is constantly humbling me. I am so thankful for that though, because as the sinner that I am my tendency so often tends to be prideful and comfortable in my little life I'm living. Once again God opens my eyes to see that its not about me, it's not about me at all ~ It's about Him and His glory. I was just thinking yesterday, that if I could really really grasp that ~ that this life is about His glory, and that all it is is a training ground!! A place where I find that I am absolutely nothing without Him. A place where I can experience heartache and failure and where I can see how I fall so so so short. A place where He teaches me to know Him and be His. How differently my life would be if I could completely wrap my mind and heart around that!

...and to add to that, if this life is just a training ground, a place where God is showing me Who He is, and my chief end and eternal purpose is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever...then why don't I live like that? Why am I not constantly on my face before Him in awe? Why don't I talk about Him every. single. chance. I get? Why do I not have more patience, more love, more forgiveness, more joy? "What do I know of this Calvary Love?" Sweet GRACE, friend! How thankful I am for that! We have far to go, precious friends. far to go. Our Savior always finishes what He starts, and that is a promise.

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 1:6

"...will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." We are constantly being perfected, perfected, perfected...until the day of Christ Jesus, until the day He brings us home. He is working in you today if you are His! He is working in me today! What an encouraging thought! We weren't the same as we were yesterday! I remember my pastor saying this quote a lot:

"I'm not what I ought to be, but praise God I'm not where I used to be!"

He is working friends, but until that day we strive to be made whole. It is my prayer that He will pull me near and He will open my eyes more and more and more to behold His beauty. These quotes from Amy Carmichael have had a huge impact in my life. They are so convicting, but that is exactly what I need. That is exactly what I want, because anything that convicts me only serves to draw me nearer. I hope the Lord will use these in your life like He has mine.

If I belittle those whom I am called to serve, talk of their weak points in contrast perhaps with what I think of as my strong points; if I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting “Who made thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou hast not received?” then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I find myself taking lapses for granted, “Oh, that’s what they always do,” “Oh, of course she talks like that, he acts like that,” then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another; if I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not feel far more for the grieved Savior than for my worried self when troublesome things occur, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can rebuke without a pang, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If my attitude be one of fear, not faith, about one who has disappointed me; if I say, “Just what I expected” if a fall occurs, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, “You do not understand,” or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other’s highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am content to heal a hurt slightly, saying “Peace, peace,” where there is no peace; if I forget the poignant word “Let love be without dissimulation” and blunt the edge of truth, speaking not right things but smooth things, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I hold on to choices of any kind, just because they are my choice, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am soft to myself and slide comfortably into self-pity and self-sympathy; If I do not by the grace of God practice fortitude, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I myself dominate myself, if my thoughts revolve round myself, if I am so occupied with myself I rarely have “a heart at leisure from itself,” then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If, the moment I am conscious of the shadow of self crossing my threshold, I do not shut the door, and keep that door shut, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I cannot in honest happiness take the second place (or the twentieth); if I cannot take the first without making a fuss about my unworthiness, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I take offense easily, if I am content to continue in a cool unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I feel injured when another lays to my charge things that I know not, forgetting that my sinless Savior trod this path to the end, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I feel bitter toward those who condemn me, as it seems to me, unjustly, forgetting that if they knew me as I know myself they would condemn me much more, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it, because the spirit of discernment is not in me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the praise of others elates me and their blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I crave hungrily to be used to show the way of liberty to a soul in bondage, instead of caring only that it be delivered; if I nurse my disappointment when I fail, instead of asking that to another the word of release may be given, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not forget about such a trifle as personal success, so that it never crosses my mind, or if it does, is never given room there; if the cup of flattery tastes sweet to me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If in the fellowship of service I seek to attach a friend to myself, so that others are caused to feel unwanted; if my friendships do not draw others deeper in, but are ungenerous (to myself, for myself), then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I refuse to allow one who is dear to me to suffer for the sake of Christ, if I do not see such suffering as the greatest honor that can be offered to any follower of the Crucified, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I slip into the place that can be filled by Christ alone, making myself the first necessity to a soul instead of leading it to fasten upon Him, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If my interest in the work of others is cool; if I think in terms of my own special work; if the burdens of others are not my burdens too, and their joys mine, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I wonder why something trying is allowed, and press for prayer that it may be removed; if I cannot be trusted with any disappointment, and cannot go on in peace under any mystery, then I know nothing of Calvary love

If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; if my fellows hesitate to ask it and turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the Cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

That which I know not, teach Thou me, O Lord, my God.

~From the book ‘If’ by Amy Carmichael


Teach me Lord, because I fall so short. What do I know of Calvary love? I know You, sweet Savior, and I cling to your promise that You will finish what You began. Oh how I need You!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

New Again



Happy Easter friends! I am so thankful that our Savior makes all things new again. Even the cross. He is risen! Hallelujah!!!

Love in Him,
Alyssa

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Remembering the Price...

     When I think of those three days, my heart is filled with sobriety, gratitude, and joy all at the same time. As I remember Jesus and what He did, tears swell and a smile forms. Know why? Because what happened on that cross looks like something terrible from the outside. something absolutely horrible. And it was. Jesus cried from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" The Son of God was being beaten by mere men. But those of us who are His today are able to see the other side of the story, and it calls for rejoicing and worship! What happened on the cross goes much much deeper than what can be seen with the human eye.
     When Jesus cried out, "My God my God, why have You forsaken me," the Father poured out all sin and all His wrath on His perfect Son. In that moment, Jesus bore all our sin and death. What kind of love is this? That He would lay down His life for us? It is a love that conquers all other. I am reminded of the movie, The Chronicles of Narnia, when the people killed Aslan. They didn't realize what they were doing. They didn't realize that in three days, He would break the chains and rise again.
     It was the same for our Savior. The people thought it was over. They thought they had finished Jesus. But what they didn't know is that actually...He was finishing something stronger than death. He cried out "It is finished!" from the cross, which in other words is, "Paid. in. full." He paid for us with His life and He finished our salvation.

"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation."
~Psalm 13:5

     But it didn't stop there! Three days later, the women went to the tomb and found the stone rolled away! They assumed the worst and thought the body had been stolen until they saw the angels and heard them proclaim, "He is risen!!! He is not here!!!"


Mary Magdalene continued to sob until she saw Jesus with her own eyes. She didn't recognize Him at first. I can just picture Him grinning as he exclaims "Mary!" She immediately recognizes His voice and clings to Him.


     Today He lives!!! He sits at the right hand of the Father, and His spirit lives inside His children's hearts! Our God is NOT dead, He is SURELY alive, He's living on the inside and roaring like a lion!

He faced death for us, He stood in the gap for us! Oh praise Him!! Let us rejoice this Easter as we remember what He did!



  Let us sit at his feet and thank Him. He is worthy of it all! I love Him so much! I challenge you to read Isaiah 53 this Easter. I read it this morning. It is such a reminder of what our Savior went through. This weekend, let's remember the price He paid for our Salvation. Let it bring tears. Let it bring rejoicing. Let it bring us to His feet.

Love in Him,
Alyssa



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dreams...

When I was younger, I had tons of dreams. I dreamed of being a famous singer, an actress, an orthodontist, and the list goes on and on. But now that I'm older, as I've grown closer to my Savior, I am realizing that my biggest dream is not any of those things. It is to be a woman after His heart. And the dream that falls right after that is really precious to me as well ~ being a mommy one day! I dream of little feet and little faces that look a little like mine. Little hands and little smiles, little noses and little joys! I am discovering through the Bible and through older Godly people that one of a woman's greatest roles in life is to be a mother. To raise children up to be men and women after His heart. To teach them His words, His songs, His life! How precious. How absolutely sweet to dream about the days to come should God bless me in that way. Here is the song that inspired this rather random and daydreamy post today:  ;)


Waiting On Him,
~Alyssa


Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Baby!!



1 year. 1 year full of baby smiles, baby kisses, baby blessings! These two little lives have blessed my life with joy! They are my first cousins, but they feel way closer than that! ;) God sure did give our family two precious gifts when He brought them into our lives. They were born only a day apart: Callie was born on March 31, 2011 and Will was born on April 1, 2011. These two have my heart! I am praying that they will grow up to be a mighty man and a virtuous woman who fear the Lord and who follow Him with all they have! Men and women who are after His heart.


"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above." ~James 1:17


Dear Will and Callie,


How precious you both are to Lyssa! Thank you for making me smile and laugh when I need to most. Thank you for touching my heart. Thank you for the times when you unexpectedly give me kisses, just because. Thank you for falling asleep in my arms ~ that melts my heart. Thank you for letting me take a bazillion pictures of you. Thank you for doing things with me that probably seem silly to you, like letting me paint your feet and make footprint pictures on paper. Thank you for reaching for me and wanting me to hold you. Thank you for quieting down when I sing "Jesus Loves Me" to you. Thank you for bobbing your head when a song comes on you like, that makes me smile. Thank you for making silly faces at me. :) Thank you for letting me teach you things like how to blow bubbles. You make days fun! You both are precious and beautiful and I thank God for giving you both to us! I love you both so much!


~Lyssa

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sometimes



Sometimes.... my heart is so full that I want to throw my head back and let out one great, big, laugh. And not a half way laugh. A real laugh that makes your cheeks hurt and your eyes water.

And sometimes..... my days are so happy that I skip everywhere I go and smile at everyone I see.

But sometimes.... my heart isn't so full and my days just aren't so happy. And you know what I've learned? That's okay.

What if we were never unhappy here in this land we sojourn? What if we were always happy people, living our happy lives in a big, happy world? Would we long for Heaven? Would we long for the day when our sweet Abba Father will wipe every tear from our eyes? Would we still pray, "come quickly, Lord?"  Would the thought of leaving this earth and being with our Lord forever still make our hearts swell with excitement? ...Would we cling to Jesus with all we have?

All the time... I'm thankful that this is not my home.

"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." 1 Peter 5:10

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18

" Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." Romans 8:23



No turning back,
Alyssa

Monday, March 26, 2012

~Learning to Have a Steady Mind~


He will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You." ~Isaiah 26:3


I battle daily to keep my mind steadfast on Him. To pray continually. To think thoughts that are pure and honorable. To have an encouraging spirit instead of a critical spirit. To just think about Jesus more than anything else.

I believe that if we can get that under control, than many other areas in our lives will follow that lead. My friend and past pastor said this in a sermon last week: "Have HIM as the supreme object of your affections and you will be exactly what people need you to be in their lives." ~ Brother Ed

See, I often worry that I am not measuring up to what people want/need me to be in their lives. Brother Ed reminded me in his sermon that if all of my thoughts, actions, and affections are set on HIM, than everything else will fall into place. Only then will I be exactly what people need.

So how do we keep our  minds centered and our affections focused? Live a life that is permeated with Him!! Read His word. Read it read it read it read it. and after you've read it, read it again.and again and again. don't stop. Memorize His word. Hide it in your heart so you can constantly be "reading." think about it when you are in line at the grocery store, when you are nervous, when you are happy, when you are afraid. Meditate on it while you lie in bed at night, while you run, while you walk. Just remember it and think on it. And pray. pray pray pray pray. Pray while you're driving, pray while you're cooking, pray in the middle of a conversation that God would give you words to say, pray when you wake up, pray when you go to bed, pray before you eat, pray after you eat, it doesn't matter when or where or what you're doing...just pray pray pray without ceasing. (As a kiddo I remember my Sunday school teacher asking us where we could pray. We kids would try our best to come up with the most creative places we could pray and God still hear us[anywhere of course!] My favorite answer I remember saying very often was "Underwater!! Underwater, Mrs. Mary, God can still hear us underwater!!";)

Abide in Him. Constantly live in Jesus.

I have such a long way to go with this, but this is what I'm learning on my journey of being His at the moment. Let's encourage each other! :)

John Piper used this acronym as an example to help keep our minds focused on Him:

" Through the day I will pause and ask, What are your A.I.M.S? And I will answer:
A. I will call to mind the stupendous truth that Jesus is ALIVE. (Luke 24:5–6)
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”
I. I will remember the breathtaking reality that Jesus is IN me. (Romans 8:10).
“Christ is in you.”
M. I will ponder the all-comforting fact that Jesus is MIGHTY. (Matthew 28:18).
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
S. And I will savor the sweetness that Jesus is SATISFYING. (John 6:35)
"Whoever believes in me shall never thirst."
http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/a-i-m-s-a-new-acronym-for-living-my-life




Jesus is worth our all,
Alyssa

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fearless



Hey friends! I've been listening to/reading a lot of John Piper this week. I have learned so much from him! He paints a good picture of Biblical womanhood in this video.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."          ~Proverbs 31:25

Let's be fearless, friend, because we know Who holds us. He's the One who calms the raging sea, who named all the stars and sustains them, who molds our hearts, who breaths life into dry bones, who knows when every sparrow falls, who sings over His children; the One who is working all things together for the good. That's the One we can entrust our entire lives to and become so fearless that we laugh at whatever stuggles may come. That's the woman I want to be ~ a woman completely surrendered and resting in her sweet Father's hands.

Hoping in Him,
Alyssa

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Letter to an Incomplete, Insecure Teenager by John Piper

Hey friends!! I was so greatly encouraged by this post by John Piper today: Letter to an Incomplete, Insecure Teenager. I hope you will read it and I hope it encourages you as much as it did me. Happy Thursday!





You Can't Run [or fly] When You're Holding Suitcases


A few Sundays ago in Sunday school we found our place in Genesis and read about God telling Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Brother Mike used that to remind us to be willing to give our all for Him, to be willing to sacrifice that which is most precious to us for Him, and not to drive our "tent pegs" too deep in this world. When we release something to God, He replaces it with something even better. The reward is far greater than the sacrifice.


"And without faith it is impossible to please Him. He who comes to God must believe that He is, and He is a REWARDER of those who diligently seek Him." ~ Hebrews 11:6
And I believe all those things with my whole heart! In my early teen years when I was still in public school, I began to feel God press on my heart that I needed to come out of the public school system. This meant great sacrifice. It meant giving up all I had ever known school to be: friends, cheerleading, tennis, beta club, awards, homecoming, dances, even graduation this year! It meant letting go of so many things that I thought I couldn't live without. With much uncertainty, I decided along with my parents that I would finish my highschool education at home. Once I finally surrendered all His hands, He replaced all that was surrendered with things worth far more than any of the surrendered things ever could. Eternal things. He filled my heart with joy and taught me to fly. He rewarded me with Himself! And words cannot even describe how awesome and faithful God was during that time of testing, how He provided much better things than the things that were surrendered. I grew so much closer to my sweet Savior and so much more of my life was focused on Him. I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world! What a precious season of my life that was!! The things of this earth grow strangely dim in the light of His great glory and grace. God said to Abraham in Genesis 15:


Genesis 15:1 NKJV


"After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."


HE is our reward!! I love that! It is soo true! "In His presence is the fullness of joy!" Psalm 16:11


Remember, friend, when you take a leap of faith, God will do one of two things: He will catch you, or He will teach you to fly. And it's awful hard to fly if you are holding suitcases. ;-) Let them go.


"Behold, this is our God for Whom we have waited..." Is 25:9


Love in Him,
Alyssa


alyssa0343@hotmail.com
alyssa.psalm37.4@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Life~

Sorry I haven't posted in a while! Still having internet troubles, but I hope to be back regular really soon. Here is a peek of what's been going on in my life over the past few weeks:



God is so good.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Set Apart Sparkle

They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed.
~Psalm 34:5

I have been memorizing Psalm 34 this past week. What a sweet scripture to a hungry soul it is! I've read this chapter many times in the past, but I've never really meditated and thought on it.

Often, my prayer to my Savior is that I would shine with His glory; that when people look at me, they would be able to see Him and His light. After reading Psalm 34 a few times and really thinking on it, I finally made the connection between my prayer that I pray so often and what the Bible says in verse 5. It says that they were radiant...when they looked to Him. When their gaze was fixed on Christ Jesus and His Word, His beauty; when their minds were turned from all the distractions of this world and were steadfast upon Him, then they were radiant.

They were radiant, filled with peace, and they trusted God.

"You will keep in perfect peace him [or her] whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in You."
~Isaiah 26:3

That's what I want. I want my mind to be so fixed and so steadfast on my Jesus that it makes my face glow, makes my mind full of peace and trust, and makes my heart overflow with exceeding joy.

I looked up the Hebrew word behind the word radiant, and found out what it meant. (I love doing that ~ it let's you go soo much deeper in the Word and find out in full what the verse says and means.) I found out that radiant also means sparkle. To sparkle!!!! :-) Wouldn't it be beautiful if our faces constantly sparkled and glowed with Heavenly radiance?! If we want to have that set apart sparkle, our lives have to be lived out in His presence. We have to move out all those distractions and meditate on His word. We have to talk to Him and get to know Him and spend time with Him. We have to have a pure heart, because those with pure hearts see God. He shines on them.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
~ Matthew 5:8

So let's work on our heavenly sparkle this week. Let's spend time with Him who can truly satisfy everything our hearts desire and long for. Let's let His glory shine on us and make us radiant so others can be drawn to Him. He is more beautiful and more soul satisfying than anything we can imagine!!

Oh praise Him!!!

Love,
Alyssa

Thursday, March 1, 2012

In Moments Like These

It's March 1st! February is gone. Wow, how time flies! Our internet has been down this past week so I haven't been able to post lately. I'm sending this quick post from my phone.

My week has felt like a whirlwind so far but at the same time it has been good. It has been filled with lots of children and smiles! I am learning that it is so important to just stop and cherish the little moments: baby cousins taking their first steps; blowing bubbles, going on "a hike" and having a picnik with a little cousin who is not quite so little anymore; listening to my parents sing and play hymns and songs that are so dear to my heart; tears filling eyes while listening to the prayer of a little boy whose prayer sounds more like its coming from the mouth of a mighty man of God than a 5 year old; a roomfull of kids reciting verse after verse of scripture from memory; being a little girl again and building a fort on a rainy day with 2 sweet kiddoes who I have missed dearly; capturing memories on camera with those same kiddoes; quiet moments with my Savior; thinking and smiling about the future with soon to be roommate if the Lord wills; watching a whole field bloom with purple wildflowers; sweet hugs from new friends; moments of learning from people of God much wiser than me; laughter; a heart that smiles again; and last but certainly not least ~ overflowing thankfulness to my Abba Father after reflecting on sooo many blessings and moments of joy....God is faithful. Always. 

"In moments like these,
I sing out a song,
I sing out a love song to Jesus

In moments like these,
I lift up my hands,
I lift up my hands to the Lord

Singing I love You Lord
Singing I love You Lord
Singing I love You Lord
I love You"

~Moments Like These

Love in Him,
Alyssa

Monday, February 20, 2012

All This Time


     I heard this song on the radio for the first time a week or two ago and had to share it with you! It made me stop and go, "Woah God! You've been walking with me all this time...from the first tear cried til today's sunrise and every single moment between." It reminded me just how far He has carried me. I don't want to think about where I would be without Him. He was with me at my lowest. I'm so so so thankful for His faithfulness. His love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out.

    Sorry to be short, but I have to get started on school work. I'm studying for a math CLEP test and I'm oh so close to being able to go take it! Thank You Jesus!! :-)

    "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all."
                                                                                      ~Psalm 34:18-19

Resting in Him,
Alyssa

P.S. What song is on repeat for you this week?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Healer


Me and my cousin Callie ~ She is one of my sweet Valentines!! I was saying "Awwww!!" in this picture :-)

Happy Valentines Day everyone! I pray your day is filled with reminders of how much you are loved. My family began this Valentines Day by praying for many of our friends who need comfort and healing. There are many friends of ours who are having health struggles right now. My heart is heavy for them. I came across this video last night and it really touched my heart.



Kari Jobe singing "Healer" to a little girl who desperately needs healing.

This reminded me that our sweet Jesus is the ulitmate Healer. He is not only the One who can heal our bodies, but also the One who can heal our hearts. There are also many who I am praying for who need healing in their hearts. I am one of those people. Oh, how I have experienced Jesus as my Healer over these last few months!

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.


~Psalm 147:3-5

Nothing is too big for Him. Nothing. That means No. Thing.

Praise Him!
Love,
Alyssa

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Small But Big Thoughts...



He is so faithful ~ Even when we are faithless. His love for us never ends!! In Psalm 139 the Bible says that His thoughts toward us are more than the grains of sand. I can't even wrap my mind around that! I was talking to my kiddos in children's church about this last Wednesday. I love hearing their responses to God's Word! I reminded them of the verse where Jesus says that He knows how many hairs are on our heads and then asked how many they thought were there.

 "Fourty thousand!!!" "A million!!" "A BAZILLION!!!"  

Too many to count. Have you ever stopped and really thought about that? Working with kids has made me have to think about things more simply, which has been a blessing in disguise.

David cried out in his prayer: 

Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord GOD. You have spoken also of your servant's house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord GOD! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord GOD!  Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it. Therefore you are great, O LORD God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears."

~2 Samuel 7:18-22

"You know Your servant....Who am I that You have brought me this far??" He knows me... but who am I that the King of Kings would want to know me?? He certainly doesn't need me, but He wants me. What a thought...

"Who am I that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt

Who am I, that the bright and morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are!

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am...
I am YOURS"




Oh Praise Him!!!

Love,
Alyssa <3

Thursday, February 2, 2012

All I Need

When the day is done
And there's no one else around
While I'm lying here in bed You're in my heart, You're in my head
You're all I need

There are a million voices calling out my name
But You're the one I want to hear, so make the others disappear
You're all I need, You're all I need

You are all I need when I'm surrounded
You are all I need when I'm by myself
You fill me when I'm empty
There is nothing else
You're all I need

When the morning comes
And Your mercy is renewed
There's a fire in my bones
I'm not afraid to go alone
You're all I need, You're all I need

The sun on my face
I hear You whisper loud
You're still the God that opens seas
Every flower, even me
You're all I need, You're all I need!

You are all I need when I'm surrounded
You are all I need when I'm by myself
You fill me when I'm empty
There is nothing else
You're all I need

I'm drawn to everything that You do
Nothing compares with You

~All I Need by Bethany Dillon

Lord, help me to remember that You are all I need ~ and You are more than enough for me! Nothing can satisfy me like You do.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Let My Lifesong Sing to You!

Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com/

    
     This past Sunday in Sunday school, we got to talking about how everything worth doing takes time. Almost all of us in the class play an instrument, so Brother Mike asked us if we learned how to play them overnight. All of us replied with a firm "No!" This got me thinking about the time when I was learning to play the guitar. When I first began, I had to learn the chord shapes, and my fingers had to move in a way they were not used to moving. After learning some chord shapes, I started practicing them a LOT. The steel strings would cut into my tender fingers. The pain would sometimes be almost unbearable! I did not know I was signing up for all this pain when I wanted to learn how to play the guitar! Day after day, I would continue to do the very thing that caused my untrained fingers so much pain. Why did I continue? Because I knew what the outcome would be. I knew it would be beautiful. So I endured.

    I thought on that for a while and suddenly had an "Aha!" moment. Jesus began to press on my heart that this is exactly what He has been doing in my life.

"We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." ~Romans 5:3-5

     See, just because I am a Christian and my Father is the Almighty King of Kings does not mean that my life will be all rainbows and butterflies. There are going to be hard times so that endurance, character, and hope will be produced in my life. Elizabeth Elliot was asked this question one time: "But doesn't God want me to be happy??" She replied with, "No, He wants you to be most holy."

     It isn't about what I want. It isn't about me at all. It is about making much of Him. This is where my greatest joy is found, in making much of my Savior. "In Your presence is the fullness of JOY." ~Psalm 16:11

     I slowly endured the pain of learning to play the guitar and as time passed, the sounds that came out of my guitar were not just broken notes anymore. The sounds that came out made a beautiful, joyful song! It was a song that couldn't have been there without enduring the pain.

     Lord, I want my life song to be beautiful to you. Mold me, make me, and stretch me until my life is a sweet, sweet sound to Your ear.

"I love You, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
O my soul, rejoice!
Take joy, My King, in what You hear,
Let it be, Let it be a sweet, sweet sound
In Your ear."

"Let my lifesong sing to You
Let my lifesong sing to You
I want to sign Your name to the end of this day
Knowing that my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to You" ~ Lifesong by Casting Crowns

So why do we continue? Because we know that God has planned the outcome. We know that it will be most beautiful to Him. So we endure, joyfully! :)

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11





Thursday, January 26, 2012

Find You On My Knees


Image credit: Google


"Troubles chasing me again
Breaking down my best defense
I´m looking
God I´m looking for You

Weary just won´t let me rest
And fear is filling up my head
I'm longing
God I´m longing for You
But I will

Find You in the place I´m in
Find You when I´m at my end
Find You when there's
Nothing left of me to offer You
Except for brokenness

You lift me up
You never leave me thirsty
When I am weak
When I am lost and searching
I find You on my knees

So what if sorrow shakes my faith
What if heartache still remains
I'll trust You
My God I´ll trust You
Because You are FAITHFUL"



I will find You on my knees. This song has been playing in my heart over and over since Kari Jobe's new CD came out. (It is great by the way, you should check it out! :)

I've learned through difficult trials that these words are SO true. It's when I come to the end of myself that I am closest to Him. It's at that point when I have nothing else to offer except my brokenness that I can almost feel His arms around me. It's when I discover just how weak and frail I am that I can see best how strong and mighty and glorious He is. It's in the darkness that I can best see the light. The valley is the place of vision. 

He is GOOD, even when things don't seem so good. He is the One who is working, even in the darkest places, because "even the darkness is not dark" to Him(Psalm 139:12).

I have experienced those things in the past season of my life, and I am so thankful! He has been working in my stubborn heart, bringing me closer to Him, turning my eyes towards Him, tuning my heart to sing His grace.

I've heard it said before that everyone is either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or going into a storm. I believe that. But I also know that Jesus walks with me through the storm. Most of the time He is carrying me. I'm not on this journey alone. I can't make it to my destination in my own strength! He is a good Father, who teaches His children what they need to learn and "will use no painful remedy that can be avoided." This earth is nothing but a training ground for those who belong to Him.

"[We live in] a fallen world, which must not be a real heaven lest we should love the land we journey though so well as to want to pitch our tents in it forever and cease to look and long for the home whither we are bound." ~ Elisabeth Prentiss

"Count it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." ~James 1:2-4

So as Elisabeth Prentiss put it in her journal years ago, we are on a journey of "stepping heavenward," and this journey is uphill. But it a journey filled with the joy of knowing Him! He is all I need. He brings beauty from the worst situations. The same God who walks me through the valley is the same God who stands with me on the mountain! The same God who paints the sunsets and rainbows! Thank You Lord! You are a good Father and I trust You.