Friday, December 28, 2012

Security

Once upon a time, I got on a plane headed north to a place I'd soon refer to as home. Stepping off the plane, it was so different from the busy Atlanta airport I was accustomed to. While impatiently waiting for my bags, I received a phone call from my family saying they'd be there shortly. As the anticipation grew, butterflies took off in my stomach. All I could think of was how badly I had missed my family those 4 months I had been without them. I didn't realize how much I had missed them though until it finally came time to see them. Stepping outside, I gazed over to the long line of cars pulling up to the curb. Seeing their car pull up, I felt a peace I simply cannot explain. I was no longer in a sea of unfamiliar people. My brother jumped out of the car along with my mom and embraced me as if it had been years since they had seen me. Throwing my bags in the car, we chatted away catching up on life. 

There's something about being in the presence of your family that provides such a feeling of security. That's when it hit me. I thought about being in the presence of the Lord! On earth, I am a control freak! I hardly ever feel secure. No, I'm not a crazy paranoid person. I'm just the person that truly believes ANYTHING can happen to me. I'm sure if you've read some of my previous posts, you gathered that. It's not that I don't believe the Lord is in total control; I just have trouble accepting it. When I was younger, I use to pile up pillows around me at night thinking it would prevent any "monster" or "bad guy" from getting me. Call me a nut! Yes, I'm in my 20s and still sleep with my blanket... (as I'm sure I've admitted 100 times).  I need to feel secure though. It's the only way I feel comfortable. It's the only way I feel "at home." My dad asked me this past summer if I was ever going to give up my blanket. Without missing a beat I responded, "No. Everyone has something they won't give up. Mine is my blanket. Whoever I marry someday will have to get over it. If it could go to heaven with me, I'd take it!" In my eyes, my blanket is my "piece if home." My sense of security is found when I'm with my family and sleeping with my blanket. However, coming to this conclusion I realized how wrong I am. I should be placing my security in the Lord. Someday, when He brings me home, I would feel ashamed to stand there admitting I found security in the world. 


The world is not our home, We as believers are never to get too comfortable here. Family is important; but not more than our relationship with our heavenly Father. My blanket means so much to me, but it's not the blanket that dries my tears when I'm sad. It's not the blanket that saves me from the world. I understand, we are human and it's only natural we look to earthly things to "secure" us. That is not what the Lord intended though. My family is not the source of peace I feel when I'm with them. My blanket is not the source of a peaceful night's sleep. The spotlight shines on Christ alone. Without Jesus, a feeling of peace would cease to exist. 


As weeks passed, I finally felt at home in my parents new house. Thanks be to the Lord. Though I must remind myself, this world is not my eternal home. Here's to the security we will find in His presence. Amen.   




Scripture Reads:

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.'' ~ Hebrews 12:2


"One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. For in the days of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock." ~ Psalm 27:4-5


“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Do you have Fertilizer?

Once upon a time, the Lord spoke words that calmed the fear overtaking my thoughts. As I laid in bed contemplating the events of the past few weeks, I could not help but feel an overwhelming burden for our nation. I began to fear for my life, and the generations of people to come. God makes it very clear through His word that He is in control and the battle is already won. However, my thoughts enveloped me. I kept picturing the end coming and people crying out in terror. Why do I ever let myself think thoughts of destruction that lead to worry? The bible says we are not to worry! (Matthew 6:25-27, 34, Luke 12:25, Philippians 4:6-7) Well friends, it was as I laid there that the Lord reminded me just how important I am to Him. Funny, no one would ever guess just how He spoke to me. I can honestly say He caught me by surprise. My cousin posted a silly youtube video and after that video, there was a link leading to more!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=argbjMdueug

Yes! This youtube video is called "Doggie Poo!"

Laugh and roll your eyes! I know it seems really dumb and slightly immature; but there was a message I got out of it. So, here goes:

Sometimes, we feel like doggie poo. We feel like we have no purpose in life. All we see is the end. Thankfully, the Lord opened my eyes and reminded me that He has great plans. Everything has purpose in life. But most importantly, to be anything of value, we need our fertilizer, Jesus. Alone, we are poo. With Jesus as our fertilizer, we can grow into dandelions. We are called to go out and share the love of Christ. We are called to disciple. What better analogy than that of a dandelion. As a dandelion is covered in fertilizer, it grows, and as it grows it spreads it's seeds and plants more dandelions! We should be sprouting seeds and investing in the lost. The Lord has given us a gift that is priceless, the gift of eternal life. How can we sit back and not share with others? 


Thousands of years ago, the Lord blessed a young woman with a child who changed the world. He made the ultimate sacrifice out of love for generations of people. Who is this mother, and who is this child? Her name was Mary and her son, Jesus. It was because of our sin, the Lord sent His one and only son to lead a sinless life that He may die taking our punishment, so that we may be given the chance to live eternally with our heavenly Father. How blessed are we?


There has been so much talk about this world coming to an end. We have a president leading our country who does not claim Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He does not seek the ways of the our heavenly Father; yet Americans have boldly re-elected him. It's hard enough to run a country, but I couldn't imagine doing so without the help of God.


Therefore friends, I share with all of you! I am a follower of Jesus Christ! I stand firm in Him. I pray He uses me, that He fertilizes me and turns me into a dandelion, that I may share His love and plant seeds all over this world. Alone we are nothing; but with God we are everything. Don't lose hope. Continue to pray for our nation and those who have yet to hear the Good News! 


Scripture Reading:

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."  Philippians 4:13

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” 
 Isaiah 35:4 

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  
Joshua 1:9

"I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:4



  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Next Chapter....

Once upon a time, a new chapter of my life began. It was a rainy Sunday after church when I found myself opening a door to a place I finally felt at peace since my family had moved. My friend and I had gone out to buy cupcakes to take to his grandparents house. That afternoon, I found myself eating cupcakes with an amazing family the Lord truly blessed me with. This summer was a roller coaster as you probably gathered from past posts. However, the feeling of the Lord's presence in times of chaos is priceless. There is nothing like seeing Him work and watching His plans unfold as He takes your hand and walks you each step of the way. He definitely came through for me and He never ceases to amaze me. It was that afternoon I realized just how promising our heavenly Father is. He comes through for us even when we don't always see it. Arriving to his grandparents house, I finally felt like part of a family and I couldn't have asked for any better answer to prayer.

Ever since I was a little girl, I prayed the Lord would bring my family together. I prayed everyone would be close and get along. There was something about those Thanksgivings when my grandfather was alive. All the grand kids got together and celebrated with food and football. Those were some of the best memories of my childhood. Sadly, when he passed away... my family stopped coming together. No one got along anymore and the "glue" that held us together was no longer present. Holidays were later spent with my parents, and my brother.... no one else. I remember crying myself to sleep so many Christmas Eves telling my mom, "All I want for Christmas is family. No presents. I just want to wake up and have my cousins here." I could never understand why the Lord wouldn't bring my family together.

Ten years or so later, I am now surrounded by the most amazing family I could ever imagine. I have a "gram" and "granddaddy" who truly care. Never having grandparents who truly enjoyed spending time with me makes me value my friends and their family that much more. At the beginning of last summer, the Lord placed someone in my life who I couldn't imagine my life without now. She is the most beautiful person inside and out. She is genuine. She is not only my best friend, but my sister in Christ. Her name is Carlee and I have to say... I can't thank the Lord enough for her. She has the sweetest family who has taken me in as if I were their own. My own family loves them and they hardly know each other. Her younger brother is awesome and her cousin Kane has practically become a brother to me. I can go out and spend time with any of them whenever and they make me feel right at home. It's friendships like these that are to be forever cherished.

As I sat there, on that rainy Sunday afternoon laughing and carrying on eating cupcakes and drinking coffee with the most amazing grandparents in the world, the Lord opened my eyes. He answered my prayers and filled my heart with an overwhelming joy. I would do anything for this family. Friends, I am truly blessed. I pray the Lord blesses you and that you are able to see Him work in His mysterious ways.


Blessings in Scripture:

"Friends can destroy one another, but a loving friend can stick closer than family." Proverbs 18:24



"Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?" Proverbs 20:6


"Two people are better than one because [together] they have a good reward for their hard work.  If one falls, the other can help his friend get up. But how tragic it is for the one who is [all] alone when he falls. There is no one to help him get up."  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

And So... It Begins

Once upon a time, I stood in an empty room. Four bare, sky blue walls faced me and all I could think about were the years of memories held within them. It's funny how quickly time passes without a moments notice. One day I'm sitting in that room with my dolls playing house and the next I'm saying goodbye as my family packs up and I head back to college. Never again will I step foot in that room. I remember laying in bed thinking, "I wonder who I'll be when I'm older. I wonder what I'll look like. I wonder when I'll be married." I've never met a little girl who didn't like to think about those things. Now I lay in bed and think, "If only I could go back to that time, where life was that simple. I would enjoy nap time, eating my vegetables, and having most every decision made for me." Sometimes I pretend I'm back home. I'm surrounded by my pillows and blankets and my parents are just down the hall. Some may say I'm strange, but I don't care. The Lord blessed me with a wonderful childhood and a family He knew would mean the world to me.

There are nights when I long for that little girl I once was. Crawling in bed with my parents because of a bad dream or a scary noise was comforting. Now, I have to rely solely on our Lord. Friends, when you hear a noise, how badly do you wish you had your parents arms to run to? It's difficult at times to swallow that dose of reality making you realize that you are now an adult. Feeling alone is not a feeling the average person enjoys. In the end, we can't help but grow up, move out, and make a life of our own, no matter how we feel. I've reached the point in my relationship with the Lord where I finally feel like He is my groom. Those days where I see couples walking hand in hand and sharing pet names and complimenting each other, I am reminded that the love of my life is so amazing He can't even compare. I am never fully alone. I have the Lord 24/7 and He never ceases to amaze me. Though I can't always feel Him or hear Him, I know He is there. I wouldn't change my relationship with Him for the world; no matter how desperate I may feel at times. Once we take control and put our time and focus on our relationship with the Lord, everything will fall into place. What greater plans the Lord will have for you once you begin living your own life rather than when you are depending on your parents to make life's decisions. Our life is too precious to take for granted and live according to how someone else thinks we should.

Now I lay here in my new bed, in my new house, staring at khaki colored walls covered in pictures. All I can think is, "There are many memories to be made and stored in these 4 walls." I have been blessed with an amazing, supportive family and a loving group of friends. Though I am sad every now and then, it's okay. I know the Lord has my life laid out and my path chosen. I continue to pray that the Lord directs me and blesses those I come into contact with everyday. When I said goodbye to my family and watched them in the rear view mirror as I drove away, I said goodbye to a small chapter in a big book. There's still plenty more chapters to go. I'm just beginning... life on my own, but NEVER alone.

 Find it in Scripture!

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  
Hebrews 13:5

 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him....
2 Chronicles 16:9

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!
Psalm 31:24
          

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Stormy Weather

Once upon a time, the storms rolled in. Friends... you know those times when things aren't going how you want them to? Everyone around you keeps saying, "It'll all be okay. Be optimistic! Look at the bright side! There's always a silver lining!" Yet you are standing there on your tip toes about to blow and all you want to scream is, "Let me sulk and not look at the bright side for just a little while!" If you're anything like me, you are awaiting your venti Starbucks drink because a tall isn't good enough. You have your "I'm depressed" music playing, and all you can think about is wanting to curl up in a cozy blanket on your comfy sofa and ball your eyes out; but you don't even have the energy to shed a single tear. It's not answers you are necessarily looking for and sulking about... it's the lack of control and stability you are feeling.  

Well friends, I have news! You go right ahead and sulk! Sometimes, there's no other way to get rid of the way you feel unless you give in and let it out. Sadly, I've not been giving my frustrations to God and letting go lately. I've held on to them with a tight grip. Friends, I have to say I've  found a solution to letting go without venting! What is the solution you ask! Writing it all out in a letter to God works wonders. I've provided you an example from yours truly!

Dear Lord,
I'm tired of chaos. I want to be in a routine! I am sad because my family is leaving for Ohio and I will be left in the south. Going through my things while helping momma pack has made my heart ache. This new job You have blessed me with is stressful and I'm scared. I'm tired of being thrown into drama, trusting people too quickly, and giving my heart away so easily only for it to be crushed. Though I am so blessed to have the friends and family you have given me, it doesn't change the fact that I am still hurting inside. I want to depend on You solely, but it's scary for me. I like to feel like I am in control, but I know You are the only source of control.

This summer has been full of trials and tribulations and though I am thankful because I have used this time to attempt to grow in our relationship, I am still left uneasy. I've felt months of frustration and sadness and I am ready to let go and give it to You. I continue to ask that Your desires be my desires, that I seek not what I want but what You want, and that the troubles I encounter I give to You and learn from them. Please forgive me for my lack of obedience at times and my impatience. You've shown me what happens when I go my own way and Lord, please pick me up and carry me before I go too far astray.

Love, Your daughter
There are times in life where things don't go our way. There are times when they do. As I have learned, I would much rather things go as God has planned than how I have planned. Don't go bottling up your frustrations. Be sure to let them out. It's okay to be sad. Life will keep going and things will get better. Just keep focused on one day at a time.

Words of Comfort

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Not Enough Faith

Once upon a time, I read a comment from a reader posted on this blog you are currently reading. "God's not real." If you are the anonymous person who wrote this, I do not mean to call you out, condemn you, or judge you in any way. Friends, in my heart I know that not all who read my posts are saved. God did not put me on this earth to convert any of you. In fact I'm here to say that our heavenly Father loves us so much He gave us free will to accept or deny Him. Have you ever loved someone so much only to find he/she didn't love you back?

I just finished a great read (considering I hate reading... I don't even read the Bible like I should) titled "I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist." Let me tell you, as soon as I finished I realized I'd never have enough faith to be an atheist. Assuming the person who respectfully left his/her opinion must be an atheist (because I don't know of any other religion that does not believe in a higher power), I would like to ask that if it interests you, take some time and read this book. See how much faith you have! I am not a Bible thumping Christian looking to shove the Word of God down your throat. Christ did not walk this earth begging people to come to Him preaching cheesy, feel good sermons enticing people to pick up their cross and follow Him. He did not gather crowds together to trick them into believing in Him. He never said following Him meant that everything would fall into place, life would be easy, everyone will love you, etc... No He said just the opposite.

"And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them."                                                           ~Mark 6:11
 So it is proof that we as Christians won't be accepted by all! We will be hated by many. 

 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."               ~John 15:19
I want to encourage anyone reading my blog to take the time to determine why it is you believe what you believe. Has something happened in your life that has turned you from God? Do you believe in God because your parents brought you up in church and Christianity is all you know? Do you believe in Judaism, Christianity, Atheism, Darwinism, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, Taoism, Sikhism, Shinto, Voodoo, Confucianism, Mormon, Jainism, or Baha`i Faith? Can you prove your belief to be true? Do you have evidence?

I am not a fan of Jesus Christ. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a Christian. I believe in my heavenly Father. I have evidence He is real. I have joy in my heart and peace that can only come from the Father. I pray for all of my readers! My name is Sara Cerny, and I am written in the book of Life.

Please note that God has already overcome the world. Where will you go when we are called Home? I'm not trying to attack anyone. I want it said plain and simple... not to be misunderstood... God is love, mercy, grace, hope, and just. I pray you are blessed in abundance in this world. I am thankful I have enough faith to believe in my Savior. Please, don't be afraid to ask yourself, "What do I believe and why?"


Words of Love

"May the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows." 1 Thessalonians 3:12

"I pray that God will greatly bless you with kindness, peace, and love!" Jude 1:2


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dance with the Fireflies

     Once upon a time, the stars lit up the night sky like a blanket of sparks flickering amongst the moon. Caressed amongst the trees, swinging slowly back and forth, a small group of friends joined together. In love and laughter they celebrated the beginning of a blessed summer making memories that would last an eternity. Fireflies danced about their heads as they laid in hammocks wishing they could stop time, if only for a moment. As the night grew darker the woods grew colder. One of the friends decided to keep the fire burning all night occasionally getting up to stir the flames. Not a worry in the world could ruin the happiness shared amongst them that night.

     There's something about sleeping outside that makes God so real, though I never noticed until this past year.  As a little girl, I hated camping because I hated the feeling of being surrounded by darkness in an environment that I could not control. After school I'd come home to play with my brother on our swing set for hours until Momma called us to come in for dinner. Yet every time my parents tried to plan a camping trip, it put me in an ill mood. What is it about the setting of the sun that makes everything in the dark come to life? I remember laying there in a sleeping bag, in my parents tent, hearing sounds outside that scared me instead of comforted me. It's as if my mind went into alert mode where I was ready to flee at the drop of pine straw hitting the ground. Wussy was my middle name. If I felt harmed in any way, I'd make it known. Yes, I was that child who climbed into her parents bed in the middle of the night up until I entered my teens. I'm the girl who still sleeps with a blanket. Laugh... my favorite thing to do anyways! I mean, how ridiculous to be in college and still sleep with a blanket... one side pink and the other covered in unicorns... You think that's weird? How about when I'm not able to sleep I turn the T.V on to Little Bear... Ok, might as well give me crayons and a coloring book! But friends, you'd be so proud! This girl can camp now! I learned to stop being such a wussy when I began volunteering as a leader on high school retreats. Where most kids go on retreats to grow in the Lord, I went partly to overcome my fear of the dark.
    
     Swinging back and forth in that hammock reminded me of God's magnificent power! Over these past two years, I've witnessed the Lord's protection of me on multiple occasions that have built my trust in Him. As my group of friends gathered together to camp the other night, the Lord reminded me of His faithfulness. He is the good Shepherd who watches over His flock. Though at times we feel out of control or lost, He is there to comfort us. Staring into the bright flames of fire burning in the pit... I was reminded of the light that never burns out in those who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. College years are some of the best years in your life meant to be spent with friends you love growing together in the Lord. That night, I wanted to hit the Pause button. For the first time, I didn't want the sun to rise... I wanted the darkness to stay. Though I heard sounds throughout the night that startled me, God was there to protect us. What greater protector is there than our Mighty Warrior, Prince of Peace? Friends, let your light shine before men. Enjoy every moment of the life you've been given. Go outside and dance with the fireflies! 


Words from the good Shepherd:

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." 
Matthew 5:16


For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 
2 Corinthians 4:6


"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song."
Psalm 28:7

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Answer Me Already!

Once upon a time, I looked up the definition for patience. It is defined as:
The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
How many of you can honestly say you do not struggle with this on a daily basis? There has to be some area of your life that you can't help but become impatient. Whether it's standing in line waiting to check out, watching a movie on the edge of your seat to see how it ends (because you don't have patience enough to read the book), praying your house will sell so you can begin a new chapter, fishing for that perfect guy/girl the Lord has for you, or getting pregnant (as long as you're married), patience is what we lack. We want things now, we wanted life to happen how we wanted it to yesterday. Instant gratification is running ramped through this chaotic world we live in and God tells us what? Be patient!

These past few weeks, the good Lord has had an ear full of listening to what I want and excuses to why I need them. Would you like to hear a good laugh? If you would, keep reading.

"Lord, I need You. I need You to hear me out. I want my house sold, my parents in Ohio together happily ever after, a job for the summer, an amazing Christian guy who is completely in love with You.... did I mention I'm 20 and time is ticking for someone who has NEVER had a boyfriend? Did I mention I'm ready to be on my own, in a relationship, doing whatever You ask as long as it doesn't involve me working fast food... staying in Marietta, or being single the REST of my LIFE? Oh yeah, and most all of my friends are dating and I'm ALWAYS the 3rd wheel. Yeah, and if You could get me that job tomorrow, and sell my house tomorrow, then I'll be forever grateful! Thanks Lord! In Jesus most precious, holy, blessed, glorious name AMEN!"

Great prayer right? God is definitely listening to me.... and most likely laughing. Ah, but the Lord says we do not have because we do not ask. Well, I'm asking. Are you asking? How are you asking? Who are you asking?

My mom has come to me over the past weeks concerned with our house selling. Is the price of the house too high? Did Dad make the right choice in taking this new job? What is there not to like about our house? These questions are played on a broken record titled, "Needing Answers." If not for these questions I would not have developed my new motto!
"Then again, it's all up to Him."
 I don't have answers friends. I want them like the next person; but like the next person I have to be patient. Do I find myself wanting to scream into a pillow at times out of mere frustration? Yes! Have I felt the need to slap someone because they are impatient and seeking answers from me I do not have? Yes! God never said following Him would be easy. I'm in this impatient, sinful self, tapping my fingers and slamming my keys as I type this post awaiting the grand finally... the final point of what I am trying to say.

We all want answers. We all want things to happen on our time. We want God's will for our lives but our lack of patience can easily get in the way. So friends, hear this. I am praying for you and me. Not the prayer I posted above. It's selfish and not pleasing to our heavenly Father. Praise the Lord He has patience for us. I thank the Lord I am not Him, because I'd have given up on me and everyone else the day Eve took a bite of that apple. Remember, life as we know it isn't up to us if we are following Him. We don't decide. He does. So sit on your hands if you have to and let your life go based on God's timing. I've heard too many horror stories from those who took matters into their own hands!

Scripture says:

And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
 Hebrews 6:11-12

 ....As for that in good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.
Luke 8:15



   

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Renewing my Vow

Once upon a time, the phone rang silent. I knew it was ringing.. but no one else could hear it. Hesitantly, I reached for it slowly as if it were a call I dreaded answering. Who's on the other line? If I answered, would I regret it? Looking at the caller id, it read "RESTRICTED." Giving into curiosity, I picked up the phone and said hello. On the other end, my Groom awaited. Butterflies arose in my stomach and I knew it was time.

I made a promise, a vow, 15 years ago. I married the most wonderful man in the world. He chose me as I chose Him. For 15 years, I picked up my cross and followed Him. My senior year of high school, He changed my life by leading me down a path I would never turn back on. He began leading me into the mission field. With a sigh of relief that it was His voice on the phone, I asked Him what He wanted of me. In the most precious awe- consuming voice He replied, renew your vow with Me.

Thinking back to that glorious day I said, "I do," I realized the memory had been erased. I couldn't remember anything about that day besides the story my mom told me of how I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. I knew I had to renew my vow with Christ, for it to take full effect in my life. It is true, once you are saved your name cannot be erased out of the book of life. However, it bothered me that I could not remember doing so. I went through the doubting stage in middle school where I'd asked Christ to come into my life every night for almost 3 weeks. However, I still struggled with keeping Him first. When my heavenly Father asked me to renew my vows, I knew I was ready. I needed to let go of some areas in my life I'd struggled with for years. When my pastor preached a sermon on baptism, without giving it a second thought I knew that May 6, 2012 would be the day I made my VOW with my heavenly Father public to family and friends.

Answering that phone call was the best decision of my life. My faithful Lord and Savior reminds me daily of his covenant with me, His promise that He will never leave nor forsake me. As I was called to come forth, my heart fluttered as if it were my wedding day. My associate pastor, Whit Maxey asked me the one question that has forever changed my life, "Do you, Sara Cerny, take Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior?" Without missing a beat, the words flowed from the bottom of my soul, "I do." Forever and always, I will continue to seek God and try my best to keep Him where He belongs, first in my life. Without Him, I am nothing. It is He who is in me that lives. My prayer is to continue following hard after Him. For the past few years, He has made His calling for my life very clear through people He has placed along my path. I ask you to join with me in prayer that His hands remain at work through me. I am being called to Romania in Summer of 2013. The Lord has given me a heart to share the gospel with gypsies and abandoned children. I know He equips those He calls and by His strength we can do all things. My vow with the Lord is a symbol of the promise I have made to Him. Where He leads me, I will follow.

Is your phone ringing? Does the caller-id show RESTRICTED? Do not be afraid. Pick up the phone, and answer. No one can do it for you. Answer, and watch your life be changed in ways you never imagined possible.

God's Promises:

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6 

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 6:23

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wrapped up in Love

Once upon a time, an overwhelming love filled the air. It was like taking a breath outside after an afternoon rain shower inhaling the sweet smell of flowers. I could feel, smell, and breath it as it ran through my veins. As I laid there wondering why this precious love surrounded me, I thought of my unworthiness. I didn't deserve this love. I don't deserve this love. Yet this love is still given to me. This love, it's unconditional.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought, "I'm filthy. I am stuck in this sinful flesh and so incredibly unworthy." I am doing a bible study with a dear friend on grace. What is grace? What does it mean to live up under God's grace? Some think it's their ticket into heaven; sin all you want guilt free because you have the ticket! Others think it works like a brownie point system; I sinned so I must repent and do a good deed for every sin I've committed so that I will be forgiven. Friends, I will tell you now, neither of these ways of thinking are correct. Grace is given by our heavenly Father with unconditional love for His children. As children of God, we are granted His grace and all He asks is for us to come to Him with a broken heart in repentance. Grace is not earned by the amount of good deeds we do here on earth. Grace is forgiveness bought at great price. Through the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior we are able to receive this grace.

Do you keep a tally of your sins? Do you doubt God's grace? Do you feel unworthy? Friends, we are unworthy. We doubt God's grace. If you're like me, you forget God doesn't tally up your sins. In all honesty, this wicked flesh doesn't deserve God. Yet, our heavenly Father loves us. Think about yourself as a parent. Would you stop loving your child if they disobeyed you? No. God's love, grace, and mercy is unconditional and unending. Feeling like a piece of trash? Get on your knees and repent. Crawl up in the arms of our heavenly Father and be at peace. You are forgiven. Your sins have been wiped away. All glory, honor, and praise be to God.

Now breathe. Let go. You are not alone. You are wrapped up in the love of Christ.

Scripture says

Their hearts were not really loyal to God; they did not keep His agreement. Still God was merciful. He forgave their sins and did not destroy them. Many times He held back His anger and did not stir up all His anger. He remembered that they were only human, like a wind that blows and does not come back.
Psalm 78:37-39

The Lord is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 84:11

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Afraid of the Dark!

Once upon a time, there lived a young girl in a small town just outside of a big city. Spring had sprung and the streets were covered in bright yellow puffs of pollen. It seemed the weather had gone from chilly to warm in a matter of days. The young girl loved spring because to her, it meant a time for new beginnings. As she walked a path to campus everyday, she noticed the flower buds slowly start to bloom, the bees buzzing by, and the birds begin to sing soft sweet melodies. As she soaked up the sunlight, she prayed that she would learn to enjoy each and every day remembering it as a gift from the Lord. Her life was full and growing busier with each week that passed. In her heart, she knew the Lord was preparing her for something great.

As the months lingered on, she spent time meeting with brothers and sisters in Christ to grow in her spirituality and strengthen her relationship and trust in the Lord. During the day, everything seemed fine. Her happiness overflowed into others as the joy from her heavenly Father ran through her veins. She had a passion for people, a love for laughter, and a heart that only wanted to make everyone's life better. Though she shared her struggles, she didn't think they mattered. The young girl only wanted to help others, not to burden them with any frustrations she dealt with. Some friends asked her if she ever got upset or had reason to cry, because all she cared to let them see was her happy, bubbly self. Her goal was to bring a smile to people's face through the love of Jesus. As she continued in her pursuit, the storm hit.

A battle between light and darkness came in the night. Not every night did this battle rage, but off and on for weeks. I've heard say that Satan always strikes hardest when God is about to do something amazing in your life. This young girl could feel the blows. As she sat in her bed at night, Satan attacked her thoughts. In her thoughts she was reminded of all the hurt she felt and the burdens she carried. She thought about her dear friend in the hospital whom she could not make better. She thought about her friends and the struggles they had with family and their faith and was again reminded she could not make things better. Thoughts of abandoned children in a Romanian hospital broke her heart as she again remembered she could not make things better. A negative mentality plagued her mind as she continued to think about things that only upset her. Her dreams turned to nightmares and with each morning made her that much more thankful for the rising sun.

In light of new beginnings God used those nights to reassure her that though she could not fix things and make people's lives better, He could. Though Satan made her feel like a failure, the holy spirit gave her peace in remembering that she can do all things in Christ. Though at times the young girl didn't feel equipped, her heavenly Father equipped her. Most importantly, He reminded her of her significance to Him. As a daughter of our heavenly Father, she was overcome with a peace that He is in control of every detail in our life. His grace and mercy is renewed with each passing day. His love is unconditional and His joy is unending. Don't be afraid of the dark; for just as Winter turns to Spring, so light conquers darkness.

Power in the Word:

"You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him."
Psalm 18:28-30

"Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify me."
Psalm 50:15

"A twinkle in the eye means joy in the heart, and good news makes you feel fit as a fiddle."
Proverbs 15:30

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hold on....

Once upon a time, all went quiet. The sound of the dryer muffled in the background. Outside, the storm calmed and the thunder silenced. Slowly, the rain hushed its pitter-patter against the fogged window panes of my apartment. An inner peace enveloped my body as I no longer thought of the noise that had increased in volume over the past several weeks. One by one, my troubles seemed to fade. The burdens, anger, hurt, fear, sadness, and disappointment I carried lost meaning. Physically and emotionally drained, there was no where else to turn.

I've listened for so long to others' problems I cannot fix, I've barely made any time for myself. More than anything or anyone, I need my heavenly Father right now. My family has made some drastic changes these past few months that are affecting me in more ways than one. As I lay here in the quietness of my home, I am reminded that Jesus calms the storm. Realizing that my life is not in my hands by any means has a tendency to make a control freak like myself become easily overwhelmed. However, our heavenly Father is not a God of chaos and confusion. Why we get so caught up in questioning our Lord is not because He purposefully confuses us or brings chaos into our life, but because we are so impatient. When we get impatient with God, we find ourselves trying to seek answers from others. I have struggled with keeping my questions and thoughts between myself and God. I seek answers but have a difficult time waiting for them. What will I be doing this summer? How will I cope without my parents living an hour down the road? Who will I marry? Where might I attend graduate school? All these questions plague my mind when God says not to worry about tomorrow! I'm not suppose to worry about tomorrow and yet I find myself worried about the next several years! Wow, does God ever have patience!

I'm finally done with these questions. The answers don't matter. In trusting God, I am taking the passenger's seat and letting Him do the driving. I'm living for Him; therefore, He is my guide. Though my body is worn from the emotions I've held in, I feel at peace. It is my time to rest and refocus strengthening my relationship with my heavenly Father. I don't want those around me to think I stopped caring. I just need time to myself, time to let go, and time to be alone with my heavenly Father. The world on my shoulders is beginning to crush me and I'm ready to be renewed.

As I snuggle in under my fuzzy blanket with soft melodies filling the room, I'm free. I can sleep and know that God is looking after me. Through the noise, I find my peace in Him. I'm holding on to Him, clinging to Him. I pray you don't have to hit rock bottom to see the Lord as your way out. His love will always find you. He knows our every thought, feeling, and desire. Follow Him, and everything will fall into place. He will guide you on the path He has chosen for you. When there's no one to turn to and you find nothing of this world can mend your broken heart, call on Him and break free.

Scripture Reading:

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

"When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet." Proverbs 3:24

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Are you Listening?

Once upon a time, I found myself alone with God in the woods outside my cabin. It was cold and rainy and the only sounds heard were those of students laughing and carrying on in the main building. As drops of water splashed against my cheeks, I stood there begging for God to give me peace in the chaos of my life. This past weekend, I went on a retreat. I went to work on deepening my relationship with my heavenly Father and grow closer to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Retreats are thought to be times of reconnecting with God and friends along with relaxation from worldly troubles. However, this retreat did just the opposite.

One prayer request I hold dear to my heart has been prayer over confrontation and conflict. Not only should we desire to confront, we should also work on how we accept it. This weekend, I tried using confrontation to solve conflicts between my friends. I have learned from past experiences that ignoring situations does not solve problems and can create more. It wasn't until now.... now that I am back from the retreat, that I realized what a mess I caused.

I placed my desires over God's desires for my life. I wanted someone outside of my family and friends to care about me and make me feel good about myself. When the opportunity presented itself, I ran with it in flying colors. I set this rule that I'd have to be friends with someone before starting a committed relationship. Well friends, I put my trust and emotions into this friendship way too quickly. I was ready for commitment within a few weeks of spending time with this person. Now some people say there's nothing wrong with that. However, my mistake proved correct... I need to be friends with someone for a while before entering in a relationship. This guy, he was amazing, and he pursued me. He met my check list:

-In love with God
-Loves mission work
-Respected among friends
-Desire for a family
-Heart for ministry

...and the list goes on. So without question, I jumped in ready to commit. Unfortunately, things didn't work out in the way I'd hoped.

He didn't want to talk in person... and I couldn't handle not talking. So I opened my BIG FAT MOUTH and ranted to a few friends who weren't even involved. It was wrong of me... and no matter how I try and justify it, it was still wrong. I've been riding on this roller coaster of emotions turning every which way when I feel like this whole time God has been telling me to hush and give it to Him.

Curled up in this cozy bed... surrounded by blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals... all I can think to say is, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I didn't hush. I'm sorry God for not giving it to You as if You aren't good or strong enough to handle the situation. I'm sorry for involving so many people and most of all, for not putting all my trust in You."

Friends, how often do you find yourself putting God's desires for your life on the back burner? How often do you find yourself talking to everyone else about your issues but those who are involved? God is the almighty Healer. He is the Prince of Peace. So why do we think other people are the solution to our problem? Try placing your trust in God... He's our security blanket! When life isn't going how we think it should, we should go to Him.

Some of us feed on drama... some love chaos... but where is God when there's constant disruption? I could let this crazy mess keep me down, or I could go to God, give it Him, and move on. What's keeping you down? Let Him take control.

Peace in the Word:

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..."
James 1:19

"A gentle answer turns away wrath,but a harsh word stirs up anger."
Proverbs 15:1

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
Matthew 5:9

"In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry..."
Ephesians 4:26

Monday, February 6, 2012

Searching for Answers

Once upon a time, a little girl was given a puppy. She had wanted a puppy for a long time and on her 13th birthday, her parents surprised her with a Mutt. That puppy followed her around and hated being without her every time she left for school. He wanted her undivided attention when she was home to play and curl up next too. His tail would wag every time she picked him up and the two would spend the afternoon watching cartoons together until dinner. It soon became routine; the puppy had her schedule memorized when it came to knowing what time she'd leave for school in the mornings and what time she'd return. For weeks this kept up as the puppy grew bigger and bigger.

Then one afternoon the little girl got off the bus, took a look at her puppy as she walked in the door, and headed to her room. Without giving her puppy so much as a pat on the head, the puppy stared at her perplexed. What happened? Why won't she play? Scurrying up to her room, he found the little girl in tears. Barking did not get her attention... pawing her wasn't either... and neither was pulling at her shoelaces. There was so much going on in the little girl's life that one puppy wouldn't make things better. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't help but take it out on the puppy. With the puppy's tail between his legs, he scampered out.

Weeks passed and the little girl still refused to play with the puppy. The puppy spent most of its time outdoors barking amongst the neighbors' dogs and digging up holes to hide his bones. Would the little girl ever come around again?

How many times do you find yourself trying to fill the emptiness in your life with what the world says is missing? I have the most amazing heavenly Father and yet I still don't feel like my cup is overflowing... or even close to full for that matter. I have found myself searching for place holders whether it be friends, a guy, or family... when I feel God telling me to come to Him. Is it that I don't like the answers He's giving me in certain areas of my life? Could it be that I'm not surrendering enough to Him? What is bothering you? What are you not giving up? Have you tried to take on the world only to find it weighing you down? Do you relate to the little girl with the puppy, that the puppy isn't good enough and therefore you are taking out all your frustration on it?

For me, the puppy represents my family... I am trying this new thing where I make my own decisions and those of you who have kept up with my posts will remember from my last entry. However, I still feel the need to have everyone's opinion. In convincing myself that I'm claiming independence from my parents in this area, I found instead that I was seeking everyone else. Every time my family would have something to say, I'd take my frustration out on them. No one said growing up would be easy. So I have a new motto, if I'm going to be independent, then I'm ONLY seeking God in my decision making. I do have mentors in my life who have and continue to help me; but they help in directing me back to the Lord and doing what I feel is right by Him. God is constantly changing us for the better. What we need to do is practice patience, be still, and listen. Things of this world cannot make our struggles disappear, though we wish they would. However, God says to come to Him. Friends, if you are going through hard times right now, you are not alone. I am praying for you. Reach out to the Lord and let your requests be made known to Him.

Seeking the Lord through His Word.

"In the multitude of my anxieties within me, your comforts delight my soul."
Psalm 94:19

"The Lord is the God who lives forever, who created all the world. He does not become tired or need to rest. No one can understand how great His wisdom is. He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak. Even children become tired and need to rest, and young people trip and fall. But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again. They will rise up as an eagle in the sky; they will run and not need rest; they will walk and not become tired."
Isaiah 40:28-31

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Didn't See That Coming!

Once upon a time, I gave up. I had been fighting for weeks to handle life on my own. Friends, life can't be handled on your own. I took a step back and realized that my life is not in my hands; it's in God's. I need to stop depending on my parents and myself and depend on Him. It's so hard to give up when you've been struggling to hold on for so long. I was still having panic attacks, and still not falling asleep til at least 2am when it hit me. What's keeping me up? Life.

It was the start of the semester where the wheels started turning and God started pulling at me in ways I didn't feel ready for. He began putting people in my life at just the right time... for reassurance of His presence in my life and guidance when I've needed it the most. I've been living in a spiritual battle thinking I'm going crazy when those I look up to remind me... I'm in the flesh. God has plans for me and I don't need to be concerned with things only Satan has placed in my mind. Let me just say, let Satan in an inch... and he'll take a mile. Try listening to fights in the apartment above you at 1am and having to call the cops... or coming back to find drugs on your table and an abandoned room in your apartment... or your roommate who'd abandoned the apartment showing up 3 weeks into school around 12am with her brother crashing on your couch... why on earth would God allow all this chaos in my life? After calling my parents left and right asking them to help me and make me calm down... it hit me.

I was depending more on my parents than God. Who created me and gave me life in this world? God. Who watches over me and knows everything I am dealing with? God. Who carries me when I'm too weak to go on? God. Now wouldn't you think I'd have realized this sooner? No. Finally looking at my life I've realized the burden I've placed on my mom, and it's not fair to her. Any problem I've ever had, I went to her for answers. She's always said we've had a healthy relationship... but if it was so healthy, then why is it that if God were to take her tomorrow, I'd be beside myself. It's good to depend on your parents... but only to a certain point. God did not make me for my parents, He made me for Him. I found myself getting so concerned about my parents and myself... our health and things I shouldn't even worry with... that I didn't see the big picture... and I still may not see it fully... but piece by piece I am putting it together. In hard times, be thankful... God is teaching you and working on you the most. I want to be a girl after God! I want Him to be the reason I keep going in this life. I don't want to be concerned with where I am tomorrow. If I died now, I'd be in the presence of my heavenly Father! Isn't that amazing? Isn't that what we should all be longing for?

Get your priorities in order. Mine obviously weren't where I thought they were. I'd been thriving for my plan. My plan was to please my parents and live the life I've been imagining since I was a little girl. Fact is, it's not my life. It's God's. My body is a temple for Christ; I am suppose to be living Him out. Greater is He who is in me than he who is of the world. I think of myself so many times as easily destructible. Guess what though friends, when God has plans for you, He doesn't make His children weak. He gives them strength. So why is it that every time I feel God trying to teach me something, I feel like I am dying? Well here it is.. the answer... the break through I've been waiting for... I AM DYING!! I am dying to flesh! But I am living to eternity. So many hours awake at night... wondering why God needs me awake in the middle of the night... friends, He's calling! Hello, pick up the phone! Get excited! God is calling. Why lay in bed restless, when you can be praising Him! So what if you only got 3 hours of sleep? You had at least 7 more hours with the Lord! So listen, put your thoughts and concerns aside.... that's just the flesh talking. Let the Lord who created you, who placed you in your mother's womb, and calls you His be praised!

Need answers, go to Him. Be in prayer. Quiet your mind and listen. He always answers... though it may seem like it's taking forever... He answers. If God needs to tell you something or get your attention, He will! He's God for crying out loud. He isn't human! Humans are hard to depend on... you should never fully depend on them anyways. God, the almighty ruler, the everlasting King, Prince of Peace is in total control. Woah.. pump the breaks! Say what? God in control... did you hear that? Bet you didn't see that coming! So give up already. You lose. Your flesh dies. It's a fact of life that shouldn't be so difficult to grasp. God is using our time on earth to prepare us for our heavenly bodies... our heavenly duties... our eternity meant to spend praising Him! Friends, praise without ceasing! Wow, I'm on fire... I've got the holy Spirit running through my veins and I'm telling you... let go. Your life is God's... so to Him be ALL the glory, honor, and praise!


The Living Word

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galations 2:20

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

He Will Wipe Away Your Tears

Once upon a time, I lost control. I am terrible at dealing with change. Most of my posts lately have been about worry, letting go, and giving up my need for control because in this part of my life, I am learning that God is ultimately in charge of my life. Anyone who thinks they have it all together, take a look in the mirror. God, our heavenly Father is constantly molding and shaping us. As of now, I am back down at the base of my roller coaster... I lost control and am struggling for God to pull me back up.

This past week I was on my way to visit family when.... I lost control. We pulled off at Wendy's to get a drink and take a restroom break when my mind gave in to hell. See, earlier that morning I was mistakenly given a grande latte instead of my usual tall. Ladies and gentlemen, I am now refraining from caffeine for the next several weeks. Standing in line, I felt my body going limp as the fear of fainting came over me. My mind immediately pulled together these thoughts...

1) You are having an aneurysm and will die shortly.
2) You're blood sugars are messed up and you will be diagnosed with diabetes.
3) You are having a heart attack.
4) You're mentally unstable and need to be checked into a mental hospital.

See, what most likely happened is that I experienced a caffeine rush which in turn sent my heart racing. I had little to eat that morning, so caffeine on a nearly empty stomach will of course bring on panic attacks. On top of the caffeine, I felt a panic attack coming on for a good 2 weeks and simply tried to avoid it at all costs. However, what I learned is that it's better to give in and let go then store and save up a whole bunch of emotions. So as I made my way back to the car (without fainting) and shut the door, I broke down in tears. I thought my days of panic attacks were over long ago. I thought I had the strength to keep them from happening again. Well friends, I was wrong. Sitting there in the car, I felt defeated. I felt like Satan was winning my spiritual battle and I had no where to go.

What brought all of it on? Well, I could name a list. It could be the fact that soon I will be living much farther away from my parents and my brother.... or my grandmother causing more chaos... or the start of a new semester... However here's the key, I'm no good with change. I have trouble leaving the details to God. I worry about the little stuff until it piles up and sends me over the edge. As I lay here typing, I am emotionally drained. I am waiting for God to intervene when He is saying He's been here the whole time... fighting for me.

As time passes and I think about how far God has brought me in my walk with Him, I remember I am not alone. Do you suffer panic attacks? Have you had horrifying thoughts cross your mind? Let me remind you, this is not of God. Our heavenly Father wants His children to give it all to Him and not live in fear. What is scaring you? What keeps you awake at night? Do you know that through the hardest of times, God is bringing you closer to Him? When I am too weak to walk, He carries me. When I am scared silly, He gives me peace. Stop allowing Satan to bring you down. Focus on God, our Daddy in heaven, and He will lift you up.

Be at Peace Through the Words From our Savior

"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." 1 John 4:4

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10