Such a Time as This

If you keep quiet at a time like this,
deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place,
but you and your relatives will die.
Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?
Esther 4:14 NLT

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I had to read it five or six times. For some reason, my eyes kept going back to this verse. I finally had to write it down, word-for-word, and carry it around with me for a couple of days. Tucked neatly in my pocket, pulling it out every chance I could to breathe it in.

And this is what I feel God is telling me through it:

I can sit still. Watch the world go by. Be witness to God moving around me.

For God’s plan will prevail. With or without me.

But if I’m willing to surrender to Him. He will use me. He will work through me.

This is my time. Right here, now, to be used for His kingdom.

This is the moment He made for me. It’s my time to shine for Him.

And who knows what God could do through me if I let him. If I rise up and risk it. If I lay aside my fears and follow.

Who knows if perhaps I was made mother of my boy
for just such a time as this?

Who knows if perhaps I was made wife to my husband
for just such a time as this?

Who knows if perhaps I was made to be a friend to _____
for just such a time as this?

Who knows if perhaps I was made to share my words with you
for just such a time as this?

Who knows? He does. God knows. He knows what I’m capable of. What I could do to bring Him glory.

He made me for just such a time as this.

I pray I risk it. I pray I don’t hold back.

Lord, make me an Esther. I want to be used by You, for You. For the very reason You made me. I want to set fear aside. Throw caution to the wind. Pay no attention to the repercussions of following You. Let’s do it. I’m ready for just such a time as this.

How about you? What will you do with your time? Will you allow Him to work through you? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Will be linking up to:

Author Unknown

The word “UNKNOWN” caught my eye as I was flipping pages. Pages between Esther and Job. I guess I was unaware we weren’t sure who wrote this masterpiece we call Job.

At first I thought, “Oh, that’s too bad. Because this Book is brilliant. They deserve the credit.” Then I heard what my head said. Who deserves the credit?!?

I circled the word and found myself writing in the margin:

I may be unknown, but my words matter.

Yes, Lord. Let’s keep it that way. May my words speak Your name. Not mine. May my writing be so that the author is forgotten, but what is remembered is You. Your glory. Your grace. Your love. Your works.

I am but a vessel. Your handiwork. Nothing more than a piece of clay. Nothing less than a masterpiece.

And when people look at me, may they see who made me. May Your style resonate so that my face is forgotten. For all they see is You. I cannot think of a greater legacy than that which leaves Your fingerprints on everything I’ve left behind.

Lord, make me unknown.
Known only to You.
And while You’re at it,
can You make me okay with that, too?

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I cannot tell you how thankful I am for doing this Bible in 90 days challenge. Aurie, thank you for encouraging me to do this.

It’s reasons like this I fall behind some days as I get so wrapped up in what God is showing me. But it makes me want more. It brings excitement for each new day of exploring His Word in this type of format.

And for this Thankful Thursday, that is at the top of my list.

Because I’ve never had a post less than 200 words, here are some other things that made my ThanksLiving list this week as I continue to count with Ann:

  • Sounds of snow melting off roof. Like grace pouring down.
  • Safe travels
  • The comforts of goulash
  • Being able to stay-at-home
  • Brief moments of grace (Ezra 9:8)
  • That in spite of us, there’s hope (Ezra 10:2)
  • A good night’s rest
  • God = great power, a strong hand, and tender love (Nehemiah 1:10)
  • Wedding ring found
  • A 57 degree day in March. Unbelievable!
  • Trader Joe’s natural creamy peanut butter
  • Doing Pinterest crafts with my boy

How about you? What are you thankful for today? Are you okay with being unknown? Will you join me in striving to leave a legacy filled with Him? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Am linking up to:


Timeless Praise

Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Each day proclaim the good news that He saves.
Publish His glorious deeds among the nations.

Tell everyone about the amazing things He does.
Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
He is to be feared above all gods.
The gods of others are mere idols,
but the Lord made the heavens!
Honor and majesty surround Him;
strength and joy fill His dwelling…
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
His faithful love endures forever.

1 Chronicles 16:23-27, 34 NLT

David sure knew how to worship. He sure knew how to praise.

After reading through his legacy, knowing full well he wasn’t perfect, I wonder if that’s why God loved Him so. David always gave credit where credit was due. If his army won a battle, he would make sure everyone knew it was the Lord that won, not himself. Even when he didn’t get his way, David still worshiped.

And I can’t help but notice every time we get to read how David praised Jehovah, his words are applicable today. These words were penned thousands of years ago and can still be proclaimed in the 21st century.

It seems any tribute of praise towards God is timeless.

For God’s faithfulness has stood the test of time.

His love truly does endure forever.

And The Great I Am hasn’t changed one bit.

That in and of itself is something worth praising. That’s worth proclaiming.

I kinda like David’s way with words. I’m sure David wouldn’t mind if I praise Jehovah myself while quoting him. In fact, I often do.

But I really like the idea of writing down my own words of worship. Somehow. For if any words will stand the test of time, it will be those of praise to the Most High.

How about you? Do you write your worship? Do you pen praise? If so, how? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Linked up to:


A Fool-Proof Promise

God’s way is perfect. 
All the LORD’s promises prove true. 
He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection.
II Samuel 22:31 NLT

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Every God-direction is road-tested. 
Everyone who runs toward Him makes it.
II Samuel 22:31 The Message

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As for God, his way is perfect: 
The LORD’s word is flawless; 
He shields all who take refuge in Him.
II Samuel 22:31 NIV

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I could go on and on. No matter which translation you use, the verse is no different. It says it all.

God’s way, God’s promises are perfect. They’ve been tested time and time again. He does not make mistakes.

And if we run to Him…If we focus on Him and seek Him…He’ll protect us. He’ll guide us. He’ll make sure we make it.

That’s a promise.
That’s His promise.
To me. To you.

And His promises are fool-proof. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to run to Him. That’s what I’m striving for.

How about you? Are you running to Him? Are You finding refuge? How are you seeking Him today? I’d love to hear. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me. And thank you for your patience in this delayed post!

Simply striving,

Nikki

I’m late, but I’m linking up to Barbie on:

But a Breath

For what great nation has a god as near to them
as the Lord our God is near to us
whenever we call on Him?
Deuteronomy 4:7 NLT

I can travel to the other side of the world or to my neighbors twelve blocks away. I can search wide and discover what they worship. Why they regard someone/something above all else.

I can listen to their methods of reason. Their stories of proof. I can learn to understand why they believe what they do.

And I have. As much as I feel I need to, anyway.

But no matter how far I look, no matter which questions I ask, no matter what rewards I see; I cannot find anything that comes close.

As close as my God comes to me.

He’s but a breath away.

I don’t need to go anywhere to seek Him. I don’t need to wait my turn to make my voice heard. I simply need to call upon His name.

And however, whichever, whatever way I call upon Him, He’ll be there. Hearing me. Listening to me. Loving me relentlessly.

For He’s but a breath away. 

The relationship I have with Him is up to me. And if I need more of Him, if I ask Him to shower me with grace, that’s exactly what I’ll receive.

So if anyone comes to me and asks the very questions I’ve asked about what they believe, I will tell them:

There’s no one like my God.
No matter where you’re at, He’ll meet you there upon request.
Death can not contain Him.
Not one came before Him.
Love encapsulates Him.

Yes, there’s no one like my God.
For He’s but a breath away.  
Always.

May I not take Him for granted. May I hold Him in the highest regard. May praise be continually on my lips. May His glory shine upon my face.

And may I call upon Him relentlessly.
For He’s but a breath away.  

How about you? Have you called Him today?  What do you think makes our God unique? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Linking up to WordFilledWednesdays over at Internet Cafe Devotions

For more Biblically inspired posts, visit:

On Sundays!

Love Like This {Jehovah Qanna}

Photo Credit: Johntex

Happy Valentines Day!

I trust you have found a special way to celebrate the Greatest Commandment today — to love.
Please, share your traditions with me! I’d love to hear.

I’d also love it if you’d join me over at My Freshly Brewed Life today.

~~~~~~~~~~

I started reading My Freshly Brewed Life long before I started blogging myself. Barbie’s blog has always been an encouragement to me.

Shortly after I started blogging, I mentioned Barbie in This Post. I’m so glad I finally got brave enough to contact her and let her know I did so for it began a friendship I value greatly.

Barbie is a tremendous, encouraging friend
who has a selfless heart fueled by His glory.

It humbles me to have Simplystriving featured on her blog this month. She’s selfless like that. And today I have the privilege of sharing a post with her readers which I’ll admit, I’m a tad nervous about.

Friends, it would mean the world to me if you’d join me over there today.

I’m sharing about love.
Jealous love.

Here’s a sneak peek:

The full moon hangs heavy on the horizon. It burns amber, gleaming through the thin clouds trying to conceal its beauty. My breath escapes me as I wind around the lake, its reflection setting the water’s surface ablaze. I’m completely captivated as I realize

The very God that hung this moon
Whose hand spun it into orbit
is jealous for me.

Click on the button below to read more:

So, will you join me? Would you even be willing to let me know you did?

You’d make my Valentine’s Day. As I would certainly feel loved. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me us.

Simply striving,

Nikki

My Offering

All whose hearts were stirred and whose spirits were moved
came and brought their sacred offerings to the Lord.
They brought all the materials needed for the Tabernacle,
for the performance of its rituals, and for the sacred garments.
Both men and women came, all whose hearts were willing.
They brought to the Lord their offerings...”
Exodus 35: 21-22 NLT

Friends, this was how the Tabernacle was built. Those who felt God’s calling gave their most prized possessions. Those who felt moved by the message from the Lord offered their time, talents, money, prized fabrics, heirlooms, their rainy day funds — whatever they had, they gave to God.

I imagine some gave little. I imagine some gave a lot. I imagine some gave everything they had.

If even one of those people would have held back, they wouldn’t have had enough to complete the enormous task at hand.

~~~~~~~~~~

When I read these verses this last week, I felt a pang of guilt.

Because I have thought:
What do I have to give?
I have nothing of worth to offer.
There are others far more capable.

~~~~~~~~~~

And I wonder…what’s stopping me? Why do I not follow my feeling of being moved? For God has touched me. He has stirred my heart numerous times. Isn’t that enough?

Because it’s not me — It’s Him.
I don’t have to be enough — He is.
I don’t have to do it all — He will.

I don’t have to know all the details. I simply have to be willing. Willing to be used by Him. Willing to have Him do great things through me. With whatever talents He’s blessed me with.

Yes. This I can do. I can be moved. I can be stirred. And I can react. I can offer all that I have. For Him.

Take it, Lord. Take all of it. Here You go.
I may not have much,
but You’ve done greater things with far less.

And I can’t wait to see You make something beautiful out of what I have to give.

How about you? What will you offer Him this week? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Linking up to my friend Barbie for:

as well as:

From Unwrapping to Overflowing ~ Such Joy

“Joy is always given, never grasped.
God gives gifts and I give thanks
and I unwrap the gift given: JOY”
~ Ann Voskamp One Thousand Gifts pg 57

I’m unwrapping gifts today. Will you join me?

I have been overwhelmed by my reading through the Bible in 90 days. I’ve just finished Leviticus, so my unwrapping of gifts in His Word have only just begun! I know I’ve talked about this some already, but can I continue to share tidbits with you?

{And please know some of these I plan on expanding on in future posts.}

When you read Exodus straight through, you discover underlying patterns I had never considered before. Amazing. For example, I had never dwelled on all the ways God revealed Himself to His chosen people– the Israelites. He showed them He is:

  • The Great Healer (Ex 15:26)
  • Our Provider (Ex 16:11-12)
  • Our Rescuer (Ex 18:10)
  • Our Advisor (Ex 19:9) Just to name a few.
  • And oh, how He loves us (Ex 20:6).

Thank You, Jehovah, for revealing Yourself to us. This is the best present I’ve ever received.

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You know what else? Oh, how he KNOWS us. Truly. Even after thousands and thousands of years, we haven’t changed much.

Have you ever noticed God only explains two of the ten Commandments? Most are written in instruction form, no need for explanation. But He intentionally dwells on two of them, providing thorough explanations as to why these are important. Do you know which ones?

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind” (Ex 20:4)
Why? Because God wants to be your most important relationship.
He is a jealous God after all. (Ex 20:4-6)

and

“Remember to observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” (Ex 20:8)
Why? Because nothing is too important that we need to do it 7 days.
If God can rest one day, we can too.
Because He deserves one day of remembrance out of our busy lives.
Take your pick. He gives plenty of reasons. (Ex 20:9-11)

And I wonder…did God explain these two intentionally because He knew even after thousands of years, we would struggle with these two the most?

I’m still pondering this one.

Did you also know if you read through Leviticus in one or two sittings, you’ll realize He talks about these two commandments the most? Something tells me we need to step back and look at our own lives on these two. For they are near and dear to His heart.

Thank You, Father, for opening my eyes so I can linger long on these. What a gift!

And I’ve had lots more. I’ll keep sharing them here and there if you find encouragement with them, too.

~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve also been able to unwrap joy in more tangible ways this week:

  • Two of my very dear, long-term friends are doing this Bible through 90 days with me. Simply because I asked and they responded. What a joy!
  • My husband gave me an amazing, thoughtful gift this week that cost him more time than money. My favorite kind. I will never forget it. Talk about joy!
  • I shared some confessions this week and you all lavished love on me. Your responses via email and in comments have overwhelmed me. Thank you for gifting me with such joy!

I am blessed beyond measure. For I serve a living God who thinks I’m to die for. And I have amazing friends, both near and far, to share this journey with. What more could I need? My joy tank if overflowing!

How about you? What gift did you unwrap this week that brought you joy? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Am linking this up with the lovely Theresa at:

Make sure to stop on by — these Thankful posts will make your day!

Worship by Name

…At that time people first began
to worship the Lord by name.

Genesis 4:26b NLT

I read this verse my first day of reading the Bible through in 90 days and I’ve contemplated it ever since. It caught me off guard particularly because of the paragraph it was included in. The verses before were mentioning how Adam and Eve gave birth to Seth (after Abel was killed) who later had a son named Enosh.

These verses didn’t lead my thinking into worship
and yet these verses had everything to do with worship.

The book of Genesis was written to account the beginning of history. To share to the people of Israel how everyone in history has faced trials. And yet, God always shows a way out. (note: I’m not a theologian, this is my opinion based on basic observations)

The author Moses, in the process of explaining their lineage, thought it was worth mentioning how worship had turned into an intimate affair. Right then and there. Almost as an after-thought, yet entirely worthy of mentioning.

Friends, I see it now. In the midst of Eve mourning the loss of her son, Abel, to death. In the midst of the pain from having to turn away their other son, Cain, they were blessed with a 3rd son. Who was later blessed with another son, Enosh.

But the most important thing worth mentioning? They were blessed with the invitation to worship The One who made it all possible. The One they had sinned against was still offering grace. For proof, God invited them to dwell in His presence and worship. By Name.

And thousands of years later I stand amazed.
That I, a simple housewife,
can worship the Lord by name.

No formalities.
No requirements.
No appointment necessary.

I can stand in His presence and address Him by name.

My Creator
El Shaddai (Gen 17:1)
Jehovah Jireh — My Lord that provides. (Gen 22:13-14)
Jehovah Shammah — The Lord who is present (Ez 48:35)
Abba Father
Emmanuel
Redeemer
The Great I Am

I can call Him by name and praise Him. In the midst of my pain, mourning, anguish and joy, I can call upon God Almighty by name.

May I never take that for granted.

How about you? What name do you like to call Him while worshiping? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

And join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Simply striving,

Nikki

I’m linking this post up with Barbie at:

And please stop by and visit Joan’s beautiful blog:

And Word Filled Wednesdays @ The Internet Cafe Devotions

All Things New

Today I rise early in excited anticipation. For this day is filled with all things new. New month. New mercies. New gifts waiting to be discovered.

This week marks my 3rd month of blogging. Of sharing my journey with you. In some ways it feels familiar.

Like an old friend.

And yet, each week continues to bring new adventures I had never imagined. What an amazing journey it continues to be! Thank you so much for sharing this space with me.

I pray I bring Him glory through my words and continue to foster friendships with all of you. I can’t even begin to express what a blessing you are to me!

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I am incredibly honored to have my friend, Barbie at My Freshly Brewed Life,  sharing my journey today. What a blessing it would be to have you stop by her beautiful blog today and leave an encouraging hello.

And for those of you stopping by from My Freshly Brewed Life, WELCOME! I would love to get to know you. We already have something in common — retreating to Barbie’s blog for encouragement. Please say hello! I’d love to hear more about you.

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Today I begin my journey of reading the Bible in 90 days. It was one of my personal goals for 2012. I’m excited to begin and am so thankful to have the community of accountability via my friend Aurie’s blog: Welcome to our Good Life.

Do you mind if I share some of my journey with you during these 90 days? I’m hoping you can help me sort out whatever ponderings I stumble upon!

How about you? What new thing do you face this day? What are you looking forward to most this month? I’d love to hear. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki