Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Struggle is Real (part 2)

Celeste-podcast

The Struggle is Real Part 2

He redeems our struggles. Sometimes we’re merely seeing things from a human perspective, but we need to ask God to help us to see things from His perspective. In our struggles, He not only is working on our own hearts, but will often use our struggles to help someone else.

John 16:33 (NCV)- “I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.”

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The Struggle Is Real

Celeste-podcast

The Struggle is Real!!

We all struggle. The struggles you are currently facing may seem like they are going to take you under. Sometimes the Lord doesn’t deliver us ‘from’ something, but wants to walk us through it. I hope today’s podcast is an encouragement to you!

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Posted on CelesteBarnard.com

 

Daily Bread

Bible With Bread And Chalice

“Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”—Deuteronomy 8:3

What would happen if we only ate once a week? We’d be starving of course. (Unless you are fasting- then you’d be starving but for a greater purpose). But realistically speaking, we need food to survive and give us strength- and we need it every day.

When the Israelites were in the wilderness, they began to grumble and complain because they were hungry. And the Lord sent manna from Heaven each day so that they would know the He is the one that would provide for them. What exactly was manna? Manna was a sweet gum or resin type of bread that God supernaturally sent from Heaven to feed His people.

Exodus 16:4a- Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.

Exodus 16:13-18 13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer (omer- used in the Bible as an ancient unit of volume for grains and dry commodities)  for each person you have in your tent.’” 17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.

The Lord specifically said in Exodus 16:4 to go out and gather enough for that day and in Exodus 16:19 He told them not to keep any of it until the morning. They listened about as well as a 3 year old in a candy store.

Exodus 16:19-2019 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” 20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.

Didn’t they trust God?

John 6:32-33 32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

We were made for spiritual food. Jesus is the bread from Heaven and we need to receive Him (His Word) just like the Israelites received the physical bread (manna). When I haven’t eaten in a while, I start to manifest symptoms. When I’m hungry my stomach starts to make terribly loud rumbly noises. And if it’s really been a while since my last meal I get light headed and shaky, and even a little cranky. And I go directly to the kitchen for food.

Food for Thought:

1)  Just like the Lord asked the Israelites specifically not to take manna for tomorrow, we also need to make sure we’re getting our spiritual food each day. I can’t rely on my time with the Lord over the past few years to carry me into today. I need fresh food. The old stuff starts to stink and rot. It needs to be spiritual manna for today- a fresh word. None of us can rely on last week’s sermon or that great time of Bible reading a few weeks ago or that wonderful prayer time we had a few months ago. He has something fresh and new for us each and every day. Otherwise, it just turns stale. There is a reason He refers to Himself as our daily bread.

2)  Our spirit manifests symptoms (hunger pains) just like our stomach. We need to listen to those spiritual hunger pains. I can’t tell you how many times I start to feel anxious and wonder what’s wrong or why I’m feeling off. Spiritual ‘hunger’ pains. When I’m quick to respond to my husband or kids in anger or frustration before even thinking twice- hunger pains. I have moments where I’m feeling unsure of myself or insecure- yep, hungry again. Need food… spiritual food. Because when I start to have these symptoms of being ‘hungry’, nothing else satisfies. I know when I haven’t eaten in a while. His Word is meant to fill us up today. And then tomorrow, repeat.

Today, may we be sensitive to those hunger pains and choose to feed ourselves with that that will truly fill us up and give us life. May we choose to follow that prayer in Matthew 6:11, “Father give us this day our daily bread…”

 The Word of God is the bread of life, the living water, that sustains and strengthens our spiritual life. The Word of God feeds that life, it nourishes that life. – Matthew 4:4

 

 

Examining our Motives

Celeste-podcastcelestebarnard.com

In this podcast we will talk about examining our motives. Why do we do what we do?

Also, please head over to iTunes & subscribe to my new Be Your Best Brave Podcast!

Beauty in the Broken

Image-1
“I think that you just gotta have the bad days so you can love the good days even more…” -Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Spring break… a week of relaxing, hanging out, playing games, watching movies, and just enjoying not being super-scheduled. We only had one day planned out where we were going to travel, but it was only a two and a half hour drive, so it wasn’t anything crazy. Heading to Corpus Christi, leaving in the morning and coming home at night. According to my weather app it was going to be sunny and 65 degrees. I packed picnic blanket, egg sandwich with cookies and strawberries for a picnic on the beach before we hung out at the aquarium. Then we’d have a nice dinner & head home. My husband was going to be working for the remainder of Spring Break, so we were all looking forward to a nice day away together.
It started off, well quite honestly, cold. Really cold (Mr. sun forgot to show up). But we found a great picnic bench next to the water. Okay, it was sandy and dirty, but still. My husband and my two boys tossed the football around while my daughter took scenic photographs. I assembled sandwiches. We all ate, including the nice homeless man next to us. The boys went back to tossing the football while I cleaned up. And then it happened.
My pretty, picturesque reality of our perfect little day came crashing down. My oldest son Noah dove for the ball (on pavement) and tripped and fell and tried to catch his fall with his hand. And as I was off in the distance, all I could hear was his crying. Panicked, pain-filled crying. I ran as quickly as I could. Noah was on the ground. As we got him to stand up, we could tell this wasn’t good. He was bleeding on his knee and both elbows. A lot of blood, I thought. This can be cleaned up and might be painful, but will heal. But his wrist. He couldn’t stop crying and complaining of pain in his wrist. We cleaned him up the best we could. We drove to the aquarium thinking they must have a 1st Aid Kit. But as we parked, his wrist pain intensified. We had to decide- should we just go in and see if he feels better or do we try to find an emergency clinic or hospital to look at him. We decided to send me in the aquarium with my other two kids, and my husband and son would travel to seek help.
We were blessed to have friends there that had a connection with a new emergency clinic (thank you Luis & Dionne) and informed them we were coming. Several hours passed. I tried as best as I could to enjoy my kids at the aquarium, but I felt a little guilty because my son Noah loves the aquarium. My other son Joel said, “I wish Noah was here”. Me too buddy… me too.
Finally, a text update- a break in the wrist, he’s in a splint, and we will need to have it put in a cast in a few days when the swelling goes down. And it’s his left hand, and he’s left-handed. They finally made it back to the aquarium, less than 2 hours before closing. He was still upset and visibly worried about how he was going to do his homework and future schoolwork.
Although my perfect little day didn’t turn out as I had imagined (or anywhere near) the Lord showed me that He was still with us even in the mess. I could have easily missed it. So even though the sun didn’t show up, the Son did.

For starters, our friends who lived in Corpus Christi just happen to be friends with the owners of this new emergency clinic. And then when my husband got there, they realized they didn’t take our insurance. My husband assumed he was going to have to leave and find another place, but they said they would see them and not only did they see them, they didn’t charge us anything!! They were so kind- they gave us a cd of the x-rays and texted the x-rays to my husbands phone. Then when they got to the Aquarium, since it was closing soon, I asked the lady if it was still regular price, and she said yes. So it would have been about $45 more, and my son Noah through his tears said, “It’s okay, we can just go home.” I said no, we’ll pay for you and my husband said he would just hang out somewhere. We had mentioned to the lady that they just got back from the emergency clinic and my son broke his wrist. The lady paused, and said, “hang on, you’ve tugged at my heart strings, I’ll be right back.” She came back and said they can both go in…for FREE. Then, as we were leaving, we realized we were supposed to purchase a $5.00 parking chip in the aquarium. It was just a bar that was supposed to go up for our car when we put our chip in. Uh-oh. But we saw a guy working on one and we told him we forgot to purchase our chip and he said, “It’s okay, you can just go through.” I’m telling you, for having things totally not go as expected, God was with us!

Sometimes we don’t see the evidence of God in our crummy days because we’re so focused on how crummy it feels. We can easily get caught up in “why me?” And if we’ve had a particularly hard day/week/life then we start to feel isolated and think we’re the only ones. When my husband was grieving the loss of his brother it was hard to see past the fog. Many people messaged him and shared their own loss- some had also lost a sibling. He told me it made him realize that he wasn’t alone and that there were so many people out there hurting just like him.
When I first moved here, I had a full on pity party. It was one of the largest pity parties to date. I was so focused on how hard it was and on things I didn’t like, that I wasn’t able to see the gift in where the Lord had brought me. I almost missed it.

“Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean we’re not called to it. And just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not good.” Michele Cushatt, Undone.

You see, the enemy wants for us to focus on how hard things are and how stressful this life is. He wants us to focus on that fight with our spouse or how bad our finances are. We feel broken. What this day taught me was that there is beauty in the broken. God wants us to surrender the hard and see the beauty in the unexpected, unplanned, unwanted thing. He wants us to surrender our disappointments to Him. Ask Him what He’s doing through the hard. I bet if you look back, you will see people He brought your way, you will see when that friend sent a text, or an unexpected gift came in the mail- you will see that He walked you through it. The signs of His goodness and love are all around. But sometimes we’re so focused on the broken parts, we miss the beauty. Today, I encourage you, even in the hard, broken places, look for Him. I promise He’s there.

Romans 8:28 (ESV)- “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Your Life is a Gift

Celeste podcast
About two years ago, the Lord put it on my heart to start a podcast. And I’ve been thinking and praying about it ever since! At the beginning of the year I felt like it was time to start. Here’s Podcast #1- Your Life is a Gift. And we hope to have them up on Itunes by next week so you can subscribe. I will start writing every Monday and Podcasting every Wednesday. This is new to me, so it is a work in progress! They will usually last between 7-10 minutes. It’s a way to get a dose of weekly encouragement, and to be challenged to be all that God has called us to be (Your best brave). So grab a cup of coffee and your journal, and enjoy! (Would love to hear your feedback- feel free to comment and share!)

Relentless Love

Portrait of romantic woman running across field

Romans 5:8- But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Relentless: steady and persistent

Before I knew the Lord, I was living a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol. I pursued whatever fit my fancy and knew no boundaries. And unfortunately, I looked for love in all the wrong places. I was on track to no-where fast and desperately searching for something real to hold on to.

That’s when I realized I was being pursued- pursued by God. And when I say pursued, I mean a relentless pursuit for my affections.

It seemed that no matter where I tried to hide, He found me. I would wander in a church service without telling a soul. I would find myself perusing the Yellow Pages under the ‘church’ section. A young man came to my workplace at the local dry cleaners, continually inviting me to a Bible Study. I would come home from nightclubs and there would be a deep emptiness. “What is going on?” I thought. I pushed these feelings down, until I just couldn’t do it anymore. His relentless pursuit of me collided with my out of control life until I stopped running. I stopped trying to hide. And when I surrendered to Him, my life was never the same.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God went about looking for them. He longed for that relationship. His first words in Genesis 3:9- “Where are you?”

We all want someone to fight for us; to relentlessly pursue us, don’t we? Why do you think we love chick flicks so much? The man pursues the woman and fights for her through the conflict and in the end he wins her heart. We love this because deep down we want to know that there’s someone out there who loves us so much that he’ll go push aside every obstacle and come running to find us. “Where are you?”

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That’s how much He loves us. And I promise you He will never give up on us. Never. That’s relentless.

Lord, I can’t say thank you enough that you pursued me and never gave up. While I was knee deep in my sin, your love was deeper. Continue to pursue my heart. I am yours.