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Monday, January 22, 2018

Quote of the Day

"I have been wearied of being so perpetually beholden to Him, necessitated to come to Him always in the same strain, as a poor miserable sinner. I could have liked to have done something for myself in common, and to have depended upon Him chiefly for extraordinary occasions. I have found indeed, that I could do nothing without His assistance, nor anything even with it, but what I have reason to be ashamed of. If this had only humbled me and let me to rejoice in His all-sufficiency, it would have been well. But it has too often had a different effect, to make me sullen, angry, and discontented, as if it was not best and most desirable that He should have all the glory of His own work, and that I should have nothing to boast of, but that in the Lord I have righteousness and strength. I am now learning to glory only in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me; to be content to be nothing that He may be All in All. But I find this a hard lesson; and when I seem to have made some proficiency. a slight turn in my spirit throws me back, and I have to begin all again...Humbled I ought to be, to find I am totally depraved; but not discouraged, since Jesus is appointed to me of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; and since I find that, in the midst of all this darkness and deadness, He keeps alive the principle of grace which He has implanted in my heart."
              - John Newton 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Quote of the Day

"How does your heart work on God's promises in difficult cases? When we judge by sense, reason, and outward probabilities, we are driven to our wits' end. But faith lives above sense, and will be a support and strength to your soul. In such cases, reason and faith are in competition. How do the workings of your spirit incline you - to reason, or to faith? Faith can trust God's word in the midst of difficulties when sense sees nothing but hazards and sorrows. Faith holds to the promise against all hazards and rests on God whatever we may feel to the contrary." 
              - Thomas Manton 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Quote of the Day

"...A Christian is to pursue his lawful calling with an eye to the providence of God, and with submission to His wisdom. Thus, so far as he acts in exercise of faith, he cannot be disappointed. He casts his care upon his heavenly Father who has promised to take care of him. What he gives, he receives with thankfulness, and is careful as a faithful steward to improve it for the furtherance of the cause of God, and the good of mankind; and if he meets with losses and crosses, he is not disconcerted, knowing that all his concerns are under a Divine direction; that the Lord whom he serves, chooses for him better than he could choose for himself; and that he best treasure is safe, out of the reach of various changes to which all things in the present state are liable."
                 - John Newton

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Quote of the Day

"I don't know how to love like I want. I don't know how to smooth out angst or stress or worry, but I do know either you leave your worries with God...or your worries will make you leave God."
                      - Ann Voskamp in The Broken Way

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Quote of the Day

"...When tempest-tossed with care, my breast
Is like the troubled sea,
Sweet peace shall hush the storm to rest
If Thou remember me."
- John Newton 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Guest Post: Instead Of Asking Why, Ask Why Not!

 Today it is my great privilege to welcome to the blog my good friend Zerbin Singleton. I first heard about Zerbin several years ago when he was a star running back at the Naval Academy and later, as a motivational speaker whose story inspired me deeply. He was the 2007 Disney Spirit Award winner for college football and has accomplished many things in the course of his young life. I was blessed enough to meet Zerbin two years ago thanks to him kindly answering a message from me on social media, asking to meet him in person the next time he visited his family here in Alaska. I didn't expect much beyond a one-time meeting but, since then, we have become good friends, and I am thankful for the inspiration he has been to me and so many others. Awhile back, I asked him to do a guest post for this blog, and he graciously agreed. I am sincerely honored to let him share his story with you today. Please take a few minutes to read this! I promise you will be glad you did! I hope and pray that you are inspired, encouraged, and blessed by his testimony of what God can do with a willing person, even in the worst of circumstances! 

Zerbin, the blog is all yours...

"James 1:2-5 says, 'Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.' 
How and why would I consider it PURE JOY when I face trials of many kinds? Where is the joy in poverty, death, hunger, destruction? Why did I lose my job? Why did my brother die? Why can't I have a baby? Why are all these horrible things happening to and all around me?

Instead of looking at the why, look at the why not. I used to ask why, until I learned to ask why not, which enabled me to go F.A.R in my relationship with Christ and in life. The F in F.A.R stands for Faith, the A, Attitude, and the R stands for Reaching. When it is time to ask why not, ask yourself, 'How is this increasing my Faith? Do I have the positive Attitude of Christ, and am I continually Reaching for God and everything He has in store for me?' 

So, I would like to introduce you to my life, as a testament to the adversity God has empowered me to overcome and the difficulties I have faced in asking why not. See, I was born in Anchorage, Alaska to a mother who was addicted to drugs and a father who left before I was born. I was born premature; my heart was beating too fast, and the first miracle in my life was that I grew into a healthy baby. Though at the time my mother didn't always make the best decisions, she laid a strong foundation of teaching me how to pray and trust in the Lord. This was the beginning of my faith. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as 'the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.' In order for you and me to persevere through our trials and tribulations, you must have faith. You must first believe in God and, secondly, believe in yourself. If you don't believe in yourself, who else will? 
Growing up with my mother, I experienced domestic violence. I repeatedly saw her get beat on by men. I've seen her with bruises, black eyes, and broken bones. I've had nightmares and suffered from PTSD all the way through my high school years. Growing up, I witnessed my mother sell, buy, cook, and use drugs. There have been times we were homeless and hungry in Alaska, but because of God we were always protected from the storm. There have been many times where I had to visit my mom in jail. 
Now, if you look at the why - why was he placed in theses circumstances? Why would God allow such desolation, you set yourself into a downward spiral of pity and grief, rationalizing through man's eyes instead of God's eyes. Isaiah 55: 8-9 states, "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.' 
But, if you look at the why not, it can bring a presence of faithfulness, peace, and hope. You can't have a testimony without a test. How can you learn to weather the storm if you have never experienced one? How will God use your perseverance and faith to strengthen someone else? Why did it happen to you? It's because God won't bring you to something He won't bring you through! He may be preparing you for a blessing, and without this test of faith, you would not be in the proper place mentally, physically, and spiritually to receive it. How will God use you as His vessel?

Today, I am an officer in the Marine Corps that flies attack helicopters. I had the privilege of attending the United States Naval Academy, majoring in aerospace engineering and playing Division I football. After my mother went to jail the last time, when I was 10, I moved to Georgia with what was biologically my cousins but, in all actuality, was another mother and father to me. The year I was initially accepted into the Academy, I was hit by a drunk driver, broke my collarbone, and my admittance was rescinded. I was reaccepted the following year. My biological father who I began a good relationship with when I was 15, committed suicide the first year I was at the Academy. Again, there were many times when I asked why, but when I asked why not, God would edify His plan and purpose. 

There have been so many lives God has changed through me by revealing what He enabled me to overcome, which was nothing short of amazing. From what God has done in my life, people have accepted Christ, rekindled marriages, renewed their faith, learned to persevere, changed their minds about committing suicide, and began to live out the purpose God has given them. Remember: 'Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.' When you ask why not, you are preparing yourself to go F.A.R (Faith, Attitude, Reaching) in your walk with Christ." *

If you were inspired by what you read today and want to follow Zerbin's continuing story, follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @zerbins. 

* NOTE: The opinions expressed here are solely those of Zerbin Singleton and do not express the views or opinions of any entity of the Department of Defense. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Quote of the Day

"...This is matter of joy and glory indeed, to find peace and comfort within when things are disagreeable and troublesome without. Then we are enabled to set to our seal that God is true; then we learn how happy it is to have a refuge that cannot be taken from us; a support that is able to bear all the weight we can lay upon it; a spring of joy that cannot be stopped up by any outward events. A great part of the little we know of our God, His faithfulness, His compassion, His readiness to hear and to answer our prayers, His wisdom in delivering and providing when all our contrivances fail; and His goodness in overruling everything to our souls' good; I say, much of what we know of these things, we learned in our trials, and have therefore reason to say, It was good for us to be afflicted."
           - John Newton