You know, if there’s one thing I’ve learned through my most recent experiences, it’s been, that having a personal relationship with God – is what you need the most. You can’t count on being able to go to church, you can’t count on being around other believers to lift you up, you can’t count on having someone else help fill you up. You have to learn how to have the personal connection with God, in order to keep yourself going. And, when you’re down and out and you don’t know what to do, you’re not always going to be able to reach out to someone for direction. Especially, when you don’t really know what’s wrong with you. The Father knows His children. He knows just what you need. And, He will provide.
These past several months, I haven’t been attending church because of the coronavirus. I was able to attend Bible Study because we got it set up online. I was still in contact with other believers throughout the time, but not nearly like it was before. And what really helped me through all of this, and ultimately what helped lead me out of being burnt, was prayer.
What helped me get through months of isolation. Prayer.
That personal time with God. Talking to the Father. Prayer is the key. The key that unlocks so many things. That helps us tap into the Father, tap into ourselves. Helps bring the Father’s kingdom to earth. Manifesting His will among us and in our lives and in other’s lives. I cannot emphasize it enough. I really enjoyed a post I did a while back on Prayer, so I’m going to leave you with that today, and some links to all the other ones I’ve done on Prayer. I hope it helps. I hope it heals. I hope it helps you move forward in your faith and have a deeper relationship with the Father.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day, and all the days. Thank you that you sent Your Son so that we may have a personal relationship with you. That we may talk to you anytime and all the time. Thank you for blessings us now and forever after with all the many blessings that you have for us. That you guide us and watch over us Father. That you keep your Word and that we may keep Your Word in our hearts that we may know your truth. Thank You Father that you have given us one of the most powerful tools there is, the ability to talk directly to You, anytime, anyplace. That we may grow deeper in our connection with You Father. That we may know you, on the deepest level. That we may help manifest Your Word and Your Will here on Earth, through the mighty power of prayer. That you may know us Father and guide us according to your will. That you may forever change our lives for the better, and that others may know you through us. Thank you for all that You have done, and all that You will have us do. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Busy, busy, busy. As I’ve stated previously, we were house-hunting for our new place to live. Well, now we’re in the home-stretch. We start moving next weekend, and we have to be out of here by the 1st of July. We hope that we’ve planned it so that this move will be considerably less stressful. A good chunk of our house is packed, but still lots of packing to go. We’re hiring movers this time to get all the big stuff and save our backs from days of recovery. And, it’s really starting to feel like, it’s just going to be smoother this time. Which is a far cry from last time, where we literally had to move twice in less than 30 days. Both times were over a weekend, an entire house. Just pure chaos. And, expensive!! We didn’t hire any movers those times. And, oh did I mention, we have an 1800’s stand-up piano? Lots of people volunteer to help you move such things…. 😉 I’m really hopeful that this move is pretty seamless.
We’ve been discussing waiting in our Bible Study, as I have mentioned previously. And as we were discussing 2 weeks ago, someone said this, “Suspense feeds hope.” And that really struck a chord with me. Suspense does feed hope. As you are waiting, and suspense is building, you do start becoming more hopeful about the situation when God is in your life. When you know the Father is on your side. That intense sensation feeds your hope. As you get closer to what you’re waiting for, you become more and more hopeful. I like to think that sometimes God makes us wait so that when we do get what we’re asking for, we’re more appreciative of what we receive. If we always got what we wanted, when we wanted it, we wouldn’t be nearly as grateful. Waiting is a part of life. It’s a cycle that we all have to go through. And, it always says a lot about us, in what we’re doing while we’re waiting.
I feel like my vast experience of waitings has enabled me to grow stronger in my faith with the Lord. He has showed up on several occasions and even when He doesn’t show up how I want Him to, I still understand and appreciate His answers. Because I know that He is the good, good Father, who shows up, who has all the right answers, and that He can see the big picture, and He wants what’s best for me. That I always have to believe in His timing, and His answers. That I have to trust Him. Like, trust-fall, trust Him, every time. I have this Father who wants to step in, and watch over me, and move in my life, and in order to see the wonders and works of His ways, I have to trust Him with every situation. And, He does not disappoint. God is on my side. And on your side.
Do you trust Him that much? To just let go, and let God? I challenge you to really ask yourself that in the coming weeks. When you don’t know what to do next, pray about it, and let the Spirit guide you. And if you don’t feel like you’re being guided: wait, and keep praying until you do.
It felt like a good time to revisit this post. It was laying upon my heart last night as I fell asleep. This was originally posted as “Not about us” on September 20th of last year.
So, one of the other things that was really driven home last week, as I was listening to our guest speaker, Bill Vanderbush, was, this guy gets it. He understands one of the biggest things that has changed my Faith. The way I talk the talk, and walk the walk. He gets one of the biggest things our world today is trying to smother. What the world today cannot afford to let people know.
What if, we loved others-the way God loves us?
This is so incredibly important, let me repeat myself, What if, we loved others-the way God loves us?
Now, in order for us to get this from our heads to our hearts, we have to understand how God loves us. So, let’s take a moment to think about how God loves us. He loves us: when we don’t pray, when we don’t worship him every day with all our hearts, when we don’t say thank you for all the amazing things he does for us -every day, he loves us…. Even we don’t know that he’s there (before we become believers or understand the concept of God.) He loves us, even though we still sin. He loves us when we hurt those around us, intentionally or not. He loves us. He loves us, like you love your child. That swelling deep inside your bones, love.
Now, imagine-loving others that way…. Ok, I love my kid when he’s ungrateful and defiant. I love my spouse, even when they lie, whether it’s a little, white lie or something a little more serious. But, what about someone who’s done me wrong? Ok, I forgive that co-worker who stole my project idea… I forgive that jerk who ran into my car because they were careless and texting and driving…
But what about…. Someone who doesn’t believe the same things I do? What about someone who’s a different social/economic class than I am? What about a criminal? What about an addict? What about a murderer?
What about these people? Are we practicing God’s love here? Have we really reached down to understand the depth of God’s love in these situations? It’s all fine and good, when it’s suits us. But what about when it doesn’t? What about when we’ve been hanging on to our hate and prejudices for so long, we don’t know how to let go? To forgive. To love. Those who have wronged us, wronged those we love? What then?
We have to get to the end of Us.
It’s not about us.
You have to get over yourself. It’s not about you. It’s about God. And God loves ALL OF US. ALL OF US.
You have to remember, sin is sin, no matter how big or small. Lie is the same as murder, it’s all sin in God’s eyes. You are no better or worse than anyone else. We all put our pants on the same way, and we all go in about the same size hole at the end of this life. Holding onto that hate and hurt is just closing a door that doesn’t allow God’s love in. And, let’s all just take a moment to act like life’s too short for all that hate. Well, because it is.
In order to understand and exercise God’s love, we need to tap into his grace and mercy. And to understand his grace and mercy, let us remember that he tells us to forgive our brother seven times, and seven times seven, and seven times that. Why? Because if we forgive that much, we’ll lose count. That’s the whole point. God does that for us. How can we expect that God will extend that grace to us, but not to Joe-schmoe over there. Nope, he’s just too bad. Not worth saving… Saying it out loud hurts, but it’s true. That’s what you’re doing. You are saying that, that person is not worth saving. And you need to admit that, to yourself and to God, and ask that he forgive you and let you see that person the way he does. Because you can’t experience everything that God has to offer, until you get past the fact that this is not about you.
Because in order for God to show us grace, he must first show us mercy. He must first, not give us what we do deserve. If God didn’t first have mercy, He would be so busy punishing us, He wouldn’t have time to show us grace. And, in our ever present struggle to grow in our faith, and become more like Jesus, we have to take hold of this. We have to understand that to move into the realm of over-abundant, unrivaled grace, we first have to understand that we have to understand this mercy. We have to understand this relentless, abundant mercy of not giving people what they do deserve. If we’re so focused on trying to make sure that people know how wrong or bad they are, how are we supposed to extend grace?
God’s mercy is that if we commit sin, and ask for forgiveness, it is forgiven. Not, He’ll think about it, not He has to go deliberate, decide if you’re sin wasn’t too bad, not have you done enough after asking for forgiveness to determine that you receive forgiveness…. It’s just, you are forgiven. Simple. You are forgiven. You just have to ask for it.
But, let’s also look, at the fact that we had fallen away from God. We had broken our covenant in the garden, and were doomed to wander the Earth apart from God. God was separated. We were sinful things, who couldn’t follow 1 rule. #youhadonejob 😉 But, even after we had fallen, and were cast out of the garden. Did God give up? Well, obviously not. He started a series of complicated events to get us to where we needed to be again – back with Him. He began working everything together for His good, to get His son here, to get us back into His proverbial garden, by sending His son. Why? Because He has mercy. Because He created a God-shaped hole in our hearts, and He knew that we will do ANYTHING to fill it, but He knows that He’s the only thing that can fill it. So, in His Mercy, He sent us the answer to the question all of creation was begging for – where is our creator? What is our purpose? And, that answer, came in the form of Jesus Christ. But, think about that mercy, we didn’t even know how to ask for it, and He knew what we needed, and how to get us there. Also, the mercy involved, in not forsaking us and leaving us to perpetually wander without Him. This mercy, that we take for granted today. Because we do not know what’s it’s like not to have this option available to us. David did. David understood how hard it was to get back to the Father. Jesus Christ hadn’t come yet, so he was perpetually battling to get back from his fall. We simply need to ask.
But, yet, as we continue to grow deeper in our Faith, we also need to understand that some people are never going to ask, or maybe they don’t even know how. So, we need to dig deep, and tap into the Father’s mercy to extend that to them, without their asking as well. We need to understand, that we can’t grow deeper in grace, until we stop focusing on how much punishment everyone needs and how they need to get what they do deserve, because they don’t. And, that punishment, is not ours to give anyway. May He without sin, cast the first stone. For we are all sinners, and have fallen short of the glory of God. And, if we want to understand Him better, and grow deeper in our relationship with Him, and shine His light for others. First we need to start trying to tap into His form of mercy, so that we can extend grace.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You. Thank You that you save us from us. That you have made each and every one of us with a God shaped hole in our hearts that we want to fill with you. That you love each and everyone of us beyond comprehension. That you forgive us seven times seven times seven. That you have an abundance of Grace and understanding that we can tap into to move past ourselves. That you can give us that grace that surpasses all understanding, so we can give it to others. I pray today Father that you overwhelm us with that grace, that we may truly understand how much you love us, so we can love others the way you do. So, we can move past ourselves and be more like you. So, we can shine Your Light into the world that others may want to come to You and know You by Your love, shone in our lives. I pray that we all become shining examples of Your love and understanding and tolerance and grace. I pray that we all become more like you, each and every day. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Can’t stress this enough! You ARE A MISSIONARY!!
Focus on the positive. If you are already doing something, then bless you! Keep on, keeping on!
Ways to reach out, where you’re at:
Make a video of something fun and interesting for those in isolation
Facetime people you know who are in isolation
Are there elderly/older people around you? Save them a trip to the store (next time you go), by picking up their stuff too and delivering it to them
Make masks and donate to local clinics, nursing homes, older people you know (many states have a specific #millionmaskmayday page to find local places that need masks if you’re local clinic isn’t accepting them.)
Participate in #worldofhearts or #we’reallinthistogether by decorating your windows with hearts
Think of something on your own. What can you do to help? Everyone can be a missionary, where they’re at.
It’s funny, we’ve been reading a book on waiting in our Ladies’ Bible Study, and here we are, going through a season of waiting. When we started the book, no one was going through a waiting season, but as time progressed, the Coronavirus happened, and we’re all going through a season of waiting. And, now, I’m going through another season of waiting on top of it. Waiting for an answer to move into a house. Just another rental, but still. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Waiting for an answer, waiting for things to open up, waiting to return to a semblance of normal. Waiting. Nobody likes waiting, but it’s definitely a part of our lives. So, what do we do while we wait?
We trust in the Lord.
We believe in His timing.
And, when we finally get our answer, we accept it. Whatever that may be.
This, reminds me of a story. Years ago, I was working for a different company, in a different town. I was having to commute every day to get to work, and here in South Dakota, that can be a challenge. The snow and the winter definitely make commutes more dangerous, even when they’re only 20 minutes. I thought my job was going really well, and I was loving it. So, my husband and I had decided that we would start looking to relocate to the small town, to eliminate my commute. We just-so-happened to know someone in that town, and she owned a house that she didn’t live in. Because she liked us so much, she was willing to sell us the house as a contract-to-deed. We started the process. My husband and I put together a down-payment. We started making arrangements and packing. We were going to get together with her 2 Fridays from now, and have lawyers go over the paperwork, sign, and give her the down payment. Small, exciting season of waiting. This was all decided on a Wednesday. That Friday (exactly 1 week before the lawyer meeting), I was pulled into the CEO’s office with a fellow employee, and we were both ripped from stem to stern. I had never experienced this before, and was rendered speechless. After the meeting, the other employee and I could only figure out that maybe they were trying to get him to quit because he was so expensive for insurance, but why I was there, we could not figure out. To this day, I cannot fathom what I did that so egregiously offended them as everything they discussed didn’t seem to be anything worthy of termination, let alone the eating-alive that I had received. Over the weekend, I decided I would leave the company. I proceeded to work there for 1 more week, until Friday – the day that we were supposed to meet with the lawyers and put a down-payment on a house, when our truck suffered a catastrophic failure. I was done. Apparently to me, I had my answer. This is not my road. And, within 2 weeks, I started working for the company I’m at now. And, I have shared with all of you, the winding journey to where I’ve gotten today. But, without that small season of waiting, I wouldn’t be here. Without giving God that time, who knows where I would be today. And, although, this is just one story of waiting, of course, I’ve had many, as I’m sure you have. But, it doesn’t seem to make waiting any easier.
But, that story, has made me more accepting of God’s answers while I wait. And, more aware, that you never know what’s going to happen while you’re waiting. Sometimes the waits are more important than the final answer. What you’re doing while your waiting can completely change the outcome of the situation. And, you never know, what God is doing behind the scenes. The story of Ester is a great example, and also the one we just read about in our Bible Study. While Ester was waiting for the second feast, that was the night that Xerxes couldn’t sleep and decided to read the chronicles of his kingdom and decided to honor Mordecai for saving his life. And Ester used that situation to her advantage in the plea for the lives of her people. But, if she hadn’t waited that one extra day… would the outcome have been the same? I mean, thank God, she did as it gave her people a fighting chance, but here everything was right at the edge of her grasp, and she decided to wait… just a little bit longer. To trust God, that now was not the moment. And, He used that time to give her the edge she needed to ensure her victory. (Ester 5:5- 7:10)
So, take heart and do not be discouraged in your season of waiting, for the Lord is good and wants to give you good things.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
2 Peter 3:9
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You! Thank you for always taking the time to direct my path. To direct the paths of others. To work your blessings into my life. That in all our seasons of waiting, you are working. You never stop working your blessings into our lives. Thank you God for patience, perseverance, character, and hope. Thank you that you are watching over us Father. That you know how the pieces fit. That you bless us. That you guide our paths in the way we should go, that we may honor you. We just pray Father that we always see the glory in the wait. That we understand the blessings you may have for us, at the end or in the in-between of our waiting. That we are faithful servants to you Father, and that You may always give us the answers we need when we are waiting. Bless us Father, guide us in your ways, and thank you for also making us wait sometimes. As we grow stronger in You. Bless the words of our mouths, and the work of our hands, all day, every day. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
The out-pouring of love I have seen in the recent weeks has been very moving. The resilience and ability to overcome and to reach out and to still find ways to help one another has been incredible to watch and experience. God is on the move. I have heard several people in the last weeks say that there will be a great revival. I believe it is already in motion. I believe that people are already experiencing it. Currently as the numbers climb and the stress and lack of foresight increases, it is important to focus on the positive things. To focus on what you can do within your circle and be encouraged by what others are doing.
Millions of people are sewing handmade masks at home and donating to their local hospitals and nursing homes to help protect those in need. And fabric stores are donating material to mask-makers.
Landlords are waiving rent fees for their tenants.
Schools are offering food to needy families to help with school closures.
A famous football team donated their jet to be used to go to China to acquire 1.2 million masks to go to New Jersey and New York for people in need.
Companies from other parts of the world that are not as affected are acquiring and shipping masks to companies they do business with that are affected.
Teachers have stepped up and figured out how to help make online school possible for thousands of students so they don’t have to try to make up this time later.
People are finding innovative ways to help keep connections with those in isolation by reading books on TV, doing facetime videos, and praying and socializing on messenger.
Movements like #we’reallinthistogether and #worldofhearts have been started as outward displays of solidarity during this time.
People are doing grocery shopping and stores have started special hours for the older people to help minimize their risk.
Restaurants have shifted gears to offer free and contact-less delivery to help make sure people can still go to work and eat and utilize food resources.
Truckers are getting free meals for offering an essential service.
Companies are changing their work to help protect their employees and sometimes modifying what they manufacture to utilize their resources to help make items that are in short supply.
Stores are shutting down and disinfecting every night to help minimize risk to their customers. And essential workers are still going to work and risking their lives to help keep these places open.
#Godshowedup! You know last night, we were watching a movie together and toward the end, I turned to my son and said, “Humans can do incredible things, and what’s funny is they don’t even realize it until it’s happening, until it seems like the only thing that can be done.” We step up. When the cards are down, and our backs are against the wall, we step up. And when you look back at human history, we’ve been doing it forever. There are millions of stories throughout the ages of the incredible things that humans can accomplish.
And, I like to think, it’s because we’re tapping into that part of us that God sent his son to die for. God knows that we’re amazing. God knows his creation. God loves us so much that he sent the one to die for the many. He made the ultimate sacrifice to save our souls, that we may live in Him and feel that connection to Him. Remember in this time, to focus on the positive and remember your Creator. He is incredible, and He made us – no less incredible.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you! Thank you for sending your son to die for us, that we may live in You. That we may honor you with our lips and our lifestyles. That others may see you through us. That you may bless the work of our hands and the words from our mouths Father. We also pray for everyone. For everyone on the front lines helping those in need, for the physicians, the nurses, the hospital staff, for the fast food workers, the grocery store clerks, for the truckers, for the manufacturers, and for everyone who is doing their part in every way. We pray that you heal the nations and wash over us in Your Great Glory. We pray today and every day that you keep people safe, that you continue to work miracles, that you work miracles through us. That you heal the sick and bless their bodies. That you watch over the well, and keep us safe. We pray from deep within our souls Father that you bless us. That you pour out your blessing on each and every one of us, that we may know that You are God. Thank you for all that you’ve done for us, and all that you will do. In the blessed name of JESUS CHRIST!! AMEN!!!
This week I’m encouraging you to find a way to help out. Focus on the positive. If you are already doing something, then bless you! Keep on, keeping on!
But if you haven’t, then show the world your love, and God’s love for them by finding a way to help here:
Make a video of something fun and interesting for those in isolation
Facetime people you know who are in isolation
Are there elderly/older people around you? Save them a trip to the store (next time you go), by picking up their stuff too and delivering it to them
Make masks and donate to local clinics, nursing homes, older people you know (many states have a specific #millionmaskmayday page to find local places that need masks if you’re local clinic isn’t accepting them.) (see last week’s post for links to patterns and instructions)
Participate in #worldofhearts or #we’reallinthistogether by decorating your windows with hearts
Think of something on your own. What can you do to help? Everyone can be a missionary, where they’re at.
I had to take a little hiatus last week, as I tried to cope with everything that is happening right now. This current crisis is my worst nightmare. I’m not completely sure why, as I’m not a germaphobe. But it is. This pandemic has been at the top of my list for most of my life, as the worst possible thing that can happen to humanity. Maybe because it’s so uncontrollable, maybe because it doesn’t discriminate, maybe because it doesn’t matter where you live or who you are or what your political views or anything. None of it matters. You are at risk every time you step outside, and you can contract it by doing the things that we’ve been taking for granted all our lives, like going to the grocery store or work or school. All of those things are now at risk of infection. The one thing, I keep thanking God for, is that the recovery rate is high. That for most people this will be a little more/less serious than the flu, and then they will be ok. But, that still doesn’t take away from the severity of the current events.
Now, I understand that most people are getting tired of hearing about it, but at the same time. It’s very real and still very prevalent, so therefore, it’s tied to my blog today, but hopefully we can shed some light on the situation and grow closer to God and deeper in our faith here.
I read this last week and it struck a cord with me. That I can sit over here and worry about everything that’s going to happen and all the fallout from this, or I can just do my best to do everything I can to keep myself and my family safe and trust God for the rest. And, I stated in my original post two weeks ago, Knowledge is Power. Although this is my worst fear come to life, I know that God’s got me. That it is my responsibility to do my part (following the CDC guidelines as much as possible), and that God is going to handle the rest. I know some people out there are believing this is God, trying to punish us or whatever. It’s not. We live in a fallen world, and diseases happen. God is not doing this to us. We live under the New Testament God, and this is not part of His plan. He is the good, good Father who wants to bless us, and have us be happy. This is not something He is doing. In fact, it has Satan’s signature all over it. People are afraid, people are blaming God, churches are closed, people cannot get together to encourage and uplift each other, people are dying. He is here to steal, kill, and destroy. Once again, he has fooled the masses into blaming the wrong guy. Seems like pretty typical Satan to me. So, if you want to blame someone, at least know who’s pulling the strings here.
I’m not sure how this is going to help anyone, but I deeply feel compelled to share something that I have realized, just this morning. For almost a year now, I have been struggling with the deep connection I have felt to Jeremiah – the weeping prophet. I have discussed with my Pastor, my Bible study group, and some of my close friends, I have even written about it previously. And, none of us, could understand truly why I would feel such a connection to Jeremiah. Initially, when I would read the Bible, sing worship songs, and sometimes during prayer, I would cry. I was so moved by the Spirit. I felt it so deep in my soul. The simple reading of scripture would make me weep. So, we had all kinda chalked it up to that. But in the last couple weeks, as I watched the coronavirus spread across China, and infect people by the thousands, I felt it. I felt it coming. As we saw our first cases outside of China and in the rest of the world, I knew. I watched it like a wave. I knew. I could see the writing on the wall. As we saw our first cases in the United States, I raised the red flag to people I knew. It’s coming. And many people, brushed me off. We would get it under control. Then, the spikes started coming. Again, I expressed my concerns. “It’ll be fine.” And, I literally had people looking at me like I was wearing sack cloth and standing in Times Square preaching about End Times. I was doing my best not to sound hysterical, but at the same time, I couldn’t not say anything. It’s coming. I have had several moments in the last few weeks, where I have expressed my concern about the next thing that’s going to happen, and people have poo-poo’ed me that day, only to see it as the headlines the next. Ahhh, Jeremiah. Here we are. The one really crazy thing, to me, is that I have been crying over the loss of life during these times. People I have never met, don’t even know their names. But, I weep. I weep for them, and their families, and these times. It’s heartbreaking. And, until this morning, I hadn’t made the connection. My heart and soul pours out for everyone during this time. I ache for everyone experiencing this right now. Words cannot express my sympathies.
But God. God is here for us. God loves us. God wants this to all be over soon. Keep praying, keep revoking Satan, keep your faith. Keep yourself safe. Do everything you can to help yourself and your family, and let God do the rest. We are his children, and He loves us. Let me share with you, something our Pastor shared with us this week.
The Blessing: The Blessing is irrevocable and irreversible, it is a constant. As God’s people, we live under His “Blessing”, no matter what our circumstances, even through this pandemic. God has commanded His Blessing on you and your household. The Blessing doesn’t come and go. God doesn’t change His mind from day to day or hour to hour. He changes not. An Old Testament story tells of someone who wanted this “Blessing” removed from God’s people, but this was impossible. Here’s what was said, “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? Listen, I received a command to BLESS; God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!” So, all day long, we can agree with God and be aware of the BLESSING. Bless everyone you know, frequently. Via Skype or in person, look people in the eyes and release the Blessing. It’s so simple but huge. There are endless benefits to the blessing. We bless you all!
Many clinics are in short supply for masks. We have taken up making masks. Many fabric stores are supplying materials to those who are willing to make masks as well. I encourage you to look in your local communities to see if there is a need near you. Here is a pattern that I particularly like that is being accepted in many places. Do what you can, where you’re at.
In the midst of all that is happening, always trust in God. With the media blasting coverage over a virus, school shut downs, sports events with no fans, stores being wiped out, and nursing homes going into lockdown, everyone is reading more articles than ever. Knowledge is power. So allow me to empower you through the Word of God.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Knowledge is power. A Bible that is falling apart, usually belongs to someone who isn’t. I strongly encourage everyone to take general precautions and use common sense. Stay safe out there.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all that you have done for us. Thank you for being the good, good Father. Please watch over each and everyone of us. Please guide our steps and let us know which way we should go. Please put knowledge and wisdom into those who need it during this time to help find a cure, to help the sick, to guide the masses. Please lay your blessed hands on those who are caring for others and doing your will during this time to give assurance to those in need. Please wipe this from the earth as quickly as it started. Please lay your blessed hands upon all of civilization that we may fear this no more. Give us the peace of the Messiah. Bless our bodies. Heal us. Heal the nations. Watch over us Father. Bless the work of our hands, and the words from our lips. That we may all exalt your Holy Name, for you are the good, good Father. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Again, I’m a big believer that knowledge is power. So, I’m just posting some local links for actual information about the virus and information about where you can get help if needed.
Every once in a while, I like to think back on where I’ve been and how I got here. It’s really enlightening sometimes. It’s crazy to think about our lives in retrospect like that. How did we get to where we are today? All the incredible twists and turns and decisions, and miracle moments that led us to this moment. And, one of the ones that frequently pops into my head is this one. You know, any time you’ve had someone confess to you, that you’re the reason they’re here today, it’s nothing to take lightly. And, it will absolutely change your life forever, or at least it should. I personally have had that moment 3 times in my life, but the one that really changed me and how I treat people and my perspective on life, was this one. So, although I’ve shared this before – it’s just too important not to keep sharing as you never know what’s going on in someone else’s life, and it’s important to reach out and let others know that you are there, and so is God.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Do not quench the Spirit.”
My mom is constantly reminding me not to quench the Spirit. And it’s true. Don’t quench the Spirit. This means when the Holy Spirit moves you to do something – Do it. That’s what this blog is all about – literally. I’m not a writer – but the Holy Ghost is. So here we are. Here I had thought that I had this next week’s post all figured out, but then as I woke up this morning, the urge to post it now just wouldn’t stop. So, double dose this week. Also, you never know what small gesture is going to change someone’s life, in a small way or in a very big way. Let me share a quick story about something that actually happened to me.
I had been working somewhere a while back. And I had a desk job that didn’t really have me interacting with a lot of people. A lot of leg work and paperwork. But there was another gentleman that worked in a different dept across the way, who also had a desk job, and not a lot of interaction with others. We occassionally would see each other, he seemed friendly enough. Anyway, time went by, life was happening. And one day, I saw him in passing, and he just looked off. Just kind of not the same. And, although I didn’t realize it at the time, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me shake it. My day was going by, and I just couldn’t stop thinking about him. Something was off. And so, a little before lunch that day, I went over to his desk, and said, “Hey man, I know I don’t know you that well, but you look like you need a hug.” And with a surprised look on his face, he says, “Yeah, I do.” So, we hugged, and I asked if he wouldn’t mind if I came and sat with him for lunch. “Sure.” We started chatting, and he starts telling me about some stuff happening in his life, nothing seemingly huge to me, life stuff. We continued to have lunch, became fast friends. Just chatting. Then, a couple months go by, and I come over to sit with him at lunch, and he says, “I have something to tell you.” And, he informs me that a few months ago, he was going to kill himself. He had it all planned out, his wife was going to be gone that weekend. He picked up his favorite meal that he was going to prepare, his favorite drink, and he was going to end his life that weekend. And, he says, “And you know what happened?” My mind is reeling! I’m trying to take it all in. And, I’m like, “Omg, what?” and he looks me dead in the eye, and says, “You. You happened. You came over here, and gave me a hug.” And we started crying, and hugged again. I couldn’t believe it. I can’t imagine him not being here. Now, we no longer work at the same company, but we’re still friends, and I get to hear about his kids, and his grandkid(!) and see the joy in his life. And the joy that I have because of that, the encouragement and reinforcement to reach out to people. To me, it was just a hug, but to him it was literally a life line. It was just reaching out, where I was at, and taking a chance. He could’ve just as easily shut me down, and I could’ve just as easily not reached out. But, I’m so grateful that I didn’t. He is one of the best people I’ve ever met, that I’ve ever had the privelage to get to know. I wouldn’t take it back for the world.
Some people are called to go. Some people are called to go-where they’re at. You never know what people are going through. You never know what one small thing is going to change someone’s life. This one was in a big way, but maybe someone just needs a friend, to know someone cares. We are called to be the light of the world. That we live so that others might see Christ through us. No man left behind. God doesn’t throw anyone away. Maybe he’s calling you. To make the gesture. Calling you to Show UP!
Isaiah 61:1-3 says: The Lord God has put his Spirit in me, because the Lord has appointed me to tell the good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort those whose hearts are broken, to tell the captives they are free, and to tell the prisoners they are released. 2 He has sent me to announce the time when the Lord will show his kindness and the time when our God will punish evil people. He has sent me to comfort all those who are sad 3 and to help the sorrowing people of Jerusalem. I will give them a crown to replace their ashes, and the oil of gladness to replace their sorrow, and clothes of praise to replace their spirit of sadness. Then they will be called Trees of Goodness, trees planted by the Lord to show his greatness. (NCV)
The Lord has filled you with his Spirit, to comfort the broken hearted. You know, one of my favorite songs says, “Waymaker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the Darkness – that is who you are.” Because he lives within us, that is who we are. If He is all these things, so are we. He is the breaker of chains. He sets us Free! He keeps ALL of his promises. He works miracles! He IS THE WAY! And the LIGHT OF THE WORLD in Darkness. A whole world of Darkness, we need to shine HIS LIGHT! To comfort those who are broken. To reach out. Thank God he saves you from you! Get tucked into his glory! Be his light for others, in a world so dark, share his light. Galations 5:6 “… the ONLY thing that counts is faith expressing itself through LOVE.” The world needs more love, and God’s got it in overflow, to flow through you.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you! Thank you for this day, for your words, for your Spirit. For living within us, that we may shine your light for others. That we may bless others the way that you have blessed us, that you may shine your light through us. May we show others your light in overflow. Bless the work of our hands, and the words from our lips. May we be soldiers and ambassadors and lights and comforters and everything we need to be to show others your great love. May your Kingdom come down through us and show others the light and the way and the love that you have, O God. May we never quench your Spirit. May we always have the strength and the courage to do your will. Thank you Father for all that you have done, and all that you would have us do. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
I’m taking a moment to encourage a mission that isn’t near my home, but it’s focus is near and dear to my heart. PTSD, mental illness, and addictions are serious, and real. They affect millions of people every year, and they’re so deceptive because they typically are dressed in normal clothes, and look like regular people. But, as my entire life has shown me, these people struggle the most. How hard is it to explain that your brain is your own worst enemy? How impossible is it to explain, that there is no tangible reason that you can’t function like everyone else, because you simply can’t. These are the battles that millions of people face. An underlying disease and crisis that sits just below the surface and doesn’t get nearly the attention it should, considering how many people are struggling with it. Feel free to check these guys out, I did find one that has a focus on helping people find Christ while they endure this journey, but really, take a moment and reach out wherever you can. Even if you don’t understand, sometimes the biggest impact you can make is just being there for someone who needs it.
As I’m coming off this season of busy, I’m thinking about how every step matters. It’s a step in the right direction. How many steps it took to get here. To get there. To get to where I’m going.
You know, looking back on my life, I took a lot of steps. Steps in the wrong direction. Steps down bad roads, and wrong turns, and dead end streets. And many times, I purposefully took that step. I knew, I didn’t care. Took that step and stayed there, took another step further. I went so fast down that way, my own friends and family didn’t recognize me. I had turned into a monster, that frankly scared people. I was so far down that road, I couldn’t see the way back. The forest for the trees. I was pretty content there too. That’s something a lot of addicts don’t talk about. We’re not usually sitting around in self-loathing wondering how we got here. We’re totally happy here. We don’t need saving. We’re good.
And now, today, to think back, I ache. I ache because of the pain I caused my loved ones, but not really for myself. I don’t feel bad for myself, I did that, but thank God for his grace. For his everlasting, loving light. For his reassuring, guiding light back. Always reminds me of how he’s a gentleman. He could’ve done all kinds of stuff to try to snap me out of it, and he did send a couple messengers/nudges over the years, but I had to come back on my own. No one else could do it for me.
And now, I’m so different. So different from before. And what’s super crazy, is I liked both of me. I liked the old me, but I love the new me. I’m so grateful for all the baby steps that got me here. I’m thankful for the incredible grace that allows me to not be defined by my mistakes. I’m not who I used to be. Thank God, he saves you from you.
As I was reading Ephesians today that all kinda flooded into my head. I think that’s part of why I like Paul so much. I can relate. Although I’ve never killed anyone, Paul was one nasty dude. And a lot of times, when I think back on who I used to be, that’s who it reminds me of. This completely different person, totally transformed by the grace of God. Just like my buddy, Paul. Sometimes it’s just really incredible and inspirational to think about the little miracles that God is doing every day. And the really inspirational part to me, is that no one is ever too far gone, for God to bring them back. We can always come home.
I AM AN EXAMPLE OF WHEN #GODSHOWEDUP
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you! Thank you for being the incredible miracle-worker that you are. Thank you for your incredible example of Paul, to show us for thousands of years, that no one is too far gone. We can always come back home. We can always come back to you Father, and live in your over-abundant grace and glory. That we can always believe in you, and trust in you. We can always count on you to be there for us in our times of need, and in our times of plenty. That you are the Good, Good Father that always provides, always heals, always forgives. Thank you for your everlasting love Father. For all that you are and all that you would have us be. For all the days of our lives. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Channel to Brazil – Talk about a mission group that saves people! I first discussed them in God’s Plans. And they were the first mission that I started focusing on when I started Mission’s Circle. “Our work is all about offering a pathway out of poverty for children. With 35 years of experience of working in Brazil, our programs are designed to support families and build stronger communities.”
Sometimes you just move in the Spirit. Sometimes things just work out and it all comes together. I was once again feeling guilty that I had missed my Saturday morning deadline, but as I’ve stated last week, still coming off of burning it on both ends. So, this morning I go to church. And, as I’m sitting listening to our Pastor’s report from India missions, I started thinking about how grateful I was to have such a wonderful church family. That maybe I should stop and talk to one of the Pastors afterward to see what I might be able to do to help keep this blog rolling. I’m just having a hard time getting into a rhythm again. To know what it is I’m supposed to be talking about here.
And, as I was kinda packing up my stuff and looking around, here came an usher, that I see every Sunday, but don’t think I’ve ever really talked to before. And, he starts sharing with me about this really motivational speaker he listens to, and she gives daily blessings that he shares with a list of people every day. That he encourages all these people every day. And, I shared with him that I have a blog and a ladies’ Bible Study. And, you know #Godshowedup. As he always does. He sent me a messenger. An encourager. Another set of resources to reach into. To find these people that encourage others every day. And, I appreciate it so deeply. I love that the Spirit moves and that those who allow him to move through them, will never be disappointed.
I’m so grateful to have a personal relationship with Jesus and to see the Spirit move in miraculous ways, every day. I am so grateful for everything that I have, and everything that I’ve been through to have such a wonderful testimony that God urges me to share with others, that they might also be encouraged in their walk. That they might have the veil lifted to watch for the ways God moves all the time. To continually remind me that #Godshowedup.
And, I did have a moment with the Pastor to encourage her and share how inspirational she is and how much I appreciate everything they do for the Lord and for others. To remind us, that the most important thing is to share the GOOD NEWS! To bring others to Christ. To encourage one another. To be here and to let the Spirit move through us to bring people to the Light and to build each other up.
Here is what I wrote during the service today, before my messenger showed up:
“Living in the Word has sustained me. Believing in Jesus Christ has made it so I can live. And I am winning at life. That I may be so grateful and blessed. This was emphasized again today as I sat in church. That I find it so uplifting and it makes me full. That I may not be lukewarm. Part of why it’s so important to have a church family and fellowship with one another. That you may be uplifted and encouraged, that you may grow in your faith. That may be in tune with the Spirit and be a channel for God to show up. That you may be in tune and understand when God shows up.”
7 fInstead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
they shall have everlasting joy.
I have been enjoying just digging into scripture lately, and especially sharing some of my favorites with you. I heard this one for the first time a little over a year ago, on a podcast. The preacher informed us that we could borrow it, but that it was his. LOL. He was just kidding of course. But, this was also during a time where I was praying a lot of scripture in my prayers. And let me tell you, that when you start praying scripture in your prayers, you better be ready for what happens next.
I believe that this scripture is for everyone who follows Christ. We are to help everyone we can, and help be the hand that rains blessings on others, and bind up the broken-hearted. To recite this prayer on a regular basis and remind yourself what it is you are striving for, will most assuredly change your attitude, and your life.
I find it interesting, when I was growing up, we were broke. This is what my mom always told me, “we’re not poor, we’re broke.” We have enough money to pay the bills and put food on the table, but not a lot past that. So, as most kids living in that situation, I had great dreams and aspirations of growing up to get a job that was going to fix that issue. I was not going to be broke when I grow up. And, as we all know, easier said than done. But, I did, I set my heart to that goal. I have fought and struggled every step of the way, to try to not have that lifestyle. And, it’s finally starting to pay off – you know 14 years into being an adult, I’m finally getting there.
But what’s really incredible, what really blows my mind, is that every since I’ve renewed myself to Christ, and really started to walk in the faith. To take these goals, and smash them, and start taking leaps and jumps into where I’ve wanted to be. My mind has only turned to how can I use what I have, to help others. I find myself wanting to go do missions, to donate my time and my resources, to be about my Father’s business. I found myself compelled to write a blog even. <– It doesn’t always have to be money.
The point is, my Spirit has changed. It has aligned itself with the truly important things of this world, and the next. I always felt that once I reached my goals, I would feel this sense of satisfaction and completion, but now that I am here, quite literally living my dream, I only find myself wanting to do more. Not to have more money, or more things, or whatever, but to do more for God. This wanting, urging feeling that I need to go. How can I use all that I have, to do more for Him?
I’m sharing all of that, to tell you this. I believe that if you are not already praying scripture, that you should. You should find a scripture that speaks to you, and start praying it. Write it down on an index card, and start praying it. Once a week, every day, whatever you want, but just start aligning yourself with the Spirit of Christ. Another favorite scripture of mine to pray, is this one. Talk about “be ready” for what the scripture will unlock for you. This one is POWERFUL. Paul’s prayer for spiritual wisdom for the Ephesians.
15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere,[e]16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom[f] and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you! Thank you, that you do not leave us where we’re at. That you bring us into your fold, and make us more like you. That you bless the work of our hands, and that you give us the need and desire to do your will. That you make ours lives forever more blessed and abundant through your Word. I pray today Father, that you renew in me a heart for you. That I will always rest-assured in you, and abide in your will. I strive to be more like you, and less like me. That you may bless the work of my hands, and the lives that I touch in such abundance that all will know your name, and know that you are the good, good Father who provides, who heals, who binds up and looses all things Father. I pray that I be a shining light for you and your will. That more may come to know you, through me. That I am the good, good servant who is about their Father’s business. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Our church supports a lot of missionaries and missions. Including our Pastors – Dave and Jeanne Kaufman! They are in India this next week to support the Pastors and Preachers there. They have held 21 Pastor’s Conferences all over India in the last 2 weeks! They have been pouring out blessings upon the people there, and have witnessed miracles and miraculous healings! Feel free to support this worthy cause and encourage them on their trip, and remember you can always pray for them! – Just choose “missions” in the drop down. 🙂
Putting on the Full Armor of God. It’s not a piece of armor, it’s not a small bit. It doesn’t protect just a small portion of us. It’s Full Armor. The helmet of Salvation, the Sword of the Spirit, the shoes of the Gospel of peace, the belt of Truth, the breastplate of Righteousness, and the shield of Faith. Complete from head to toe. I do like to say that it leaves your back exposed, but God’s got your back 😉 Also, all the armor is toward the front, because we’re supposed to be moving forward. Please believe that we are fighting a battle. That the devil attacks those who are aware, and leaves those who are blindly following the way of the world alone for fear of removing the veil. If you never feel spiritually attacked, it’s probably because you aren’t going the right way.
I will say this Armor has changed my life. About a year and a half ago, when we started our Ladies Bible Study, we dug in to a heavy study by Priscilla Shirer. It was amazing! It was life changing! It’s a complete, in-depth study into the full armor of God, and I will never be the same. We all joked during the time that it was too heavy, and that we may have bitten off more than we could chew, but even if you retained half of what it was trying to help you understand, you’re better off for it. Now, I’m not here to promote her book, although I have linked it in her name so you can find it if you’re interested. I’m here to encourage you, to dig in to putting on God’s armor for yourself.
The Bible repeatedly tells us that there will be trouble, that we will suffer, that we will be attacked, but that we already have what we need to defend ourselves. The mistake that most Christians make is that God is inside our Sunday box. He was never meant to be there. In today’s world, we have so much of our life separated out into their own boxes and sections that we forget – that all of those boxes – belong in a bigger box – the God box. We belong in God’s box. He was never meant to be kept apart from the rest of everything, He was meant to hold on to everything in Him. Part of how we do that, is by putting on our armor, daily.
Don’t you already feel like every day is a battle? We joke that it is, but it’s a half-hearted joke, because – seriously – it is. Don’t you think, you would feel better if you felt like you were prepared? That if every morning you woke up, and put on your breastplate of Righteousness, because you are Righteous. You are righteous, because He has made you Righteous. You are His. You are the Victor. You are blessed. You are forgiven. You are as Righteous as Christ. Then, hold your breastplate of righteousness in place with the belt of Truth. His Word is Truth. You are holding your Righteousness to yourself, with His Truth that He has given us. That He has spoken over us and to us. Strap on the shoes of the Gospel of Peace. Because He is peace. His word brings peace. He gives us a supernatural peace that cannot be explained, except only as the Love of God. The consuming, overwhelming, reckless Love of God. His Love implants a Peace deep within our souls, a peace that I have only tapped into recently, but am so deeply in love with. An ethereal peace that blows my mind. The Helmet of Salvation – that I touched on last week. Something to protect your most sacred of space, the one thing that can make you, or break you. Your own mind. A Helmet of Blessed Assurance, of eternal Salvation, of the knowledge of a God that will never leave you or forsake you, a God that has overcome the world, and the devil, and everything in between. A God that sent His Son to die for You, that you may live, may WIN LIFE, that You may stand victorious with Him forever and ever. A God that only wants good things for you, a God that believes in You, that made you so perfectly woven together because the world needed one of you too. Your Sword of the Spirit and your shield of Faith. Because when you can’t attack with the Spirit, you block with your Faith. Thrust & perry. Actively alternating as needed. And also, with a Sword, you apply very little effort – with a whole lot of effect. It’s a giant extension of yourself and it does all of the work. You need only to learn how to use it, like everything, it takes practice.
I am a new creation in Christ because I actively put on my armor every day. Because I pick when to use my shield, and when to use the Sword. I’m constantly retraining my brain to be more like Christ – and it shows. All the time. I hold tight to my Gospel of Peace, because I know Peace & Love are from God, and I want everything He has to give me. I know I am Righteous because the Truth has told me so. I am a Warrior in God’s army, the most calm, loving warrior I can be. Because only love drives out hate. Because light overcomes darkness. Because I am fighting a winning battle. I’m playing with a stacked deck, and the best armor there is.
I hope you choose to start putting on your armor too. It’s a gift from God, that prepares you for this day, and every day.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you. For this day, and every day, of the rest of my life. I praise your name, Almighty Father. Sweet, sweet Father of everlasting peace. That you give such amazing gifts. That we may cloak ourselves in Your Armor. Built to defend and defy satan. That we may always know who our real enemy is, that we may hold tight to our Salvation. That we may rest in your blessed assurance and supernatural peace. That we may always move forward, even when it’s slow, and know that you’ve always got our back. Bless your Holy Name Father, THE GREAT I AM! That we may always and forever be, faithful and victorious warriors in you. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Last Chance for Operation Christmas Child!! Collection starts all over America on November 18th! Last year, 10 million shoeboxes reached children all over the world. Spreading good news, and great joy to even more children! Spreading the Gospel, and hopefully planting the seed of the armor for their lives. Please take a moment to read about and pray about this wonderful ministry, and that each of those boxes – get exactly where they need to go. YOU CAN EVEN BUILD ONE ONLINE!! – $25
I’m circling back to Mercy and Grace this week. I’ve heard a lot of people this week talking about being offended. How they’re offended, how someone has done them wrong. And, I know, we say that they need to “let it go”, we tell ourselves that we need to “let it go”, but how? How do we let it go? How do we get over it? How do we extend that mercy and grace. How do we stop drinking the poison of anger and pain and suffering (and expecting the other person to die)?
Well, I will share of my experience of getting past a major offense. Something major and traumatic had happened between a family member and myself. And, every time, I started to think about what that person had done and how mad I was about it, I picked a scripture, and would replace those thoughts with that scripture. I started to retrain my brain. Every time I got mad, I would start reciting that scripture to myself. Now, this was not easy, and sometimes I had to recite that scripture for hours in my head, and sometimes I would dwell a little while before I started reciting that scripture, but eventually it just started working. It got easier and easier to stop thinking about how angry and hurt I was, and it started closing that wound up. It started to change my heart of stone, to a heart of flesh. It started to change the way I think. And, I believe that was one of the most powerful things I’ve learned as a follower of Jesus.
For several reasons:
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” – Psalm 119:11
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” – Phillippians 4:8
“In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. – Ephesians 4:26-31
11 Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. – Proverbs 29:11
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. – James 1:19-20
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. 9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. – Psalm 37:8-9
And, here was the verse I memorized, the scripture I recited repeatedly, the one that helped calm me and retrained my brain to stop living in the past, to stop giving the devil a foothold, to letting someone else steal the peace that God has given me and that no man may take away:
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for peace today. I pray that we learn to “think right” that we clothe ourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. That we forgive those who have offended us as you have forgiven us for all of our sins, and continue to forgive us. I pray that we meld ourselves more to the mind of Christ. That we love our brethren. That we believe in the mercy and that grace that you have for us, and that we extend that incredible grace and mercy to those around us. That we claim the peace that you have given us for ourselves. That we continue to bend our hearts to walk like you Father. And that you reach inside us and give us healing. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Operation Christmas Child! This particular mission, is very near and dear to my heart. What an incredible opportunity. For less than $20, you can make a shoebox for a child, and drop it off at a local collection center, and spread love and the good news around the world. From right where you’re at. In every shoebox, Samaritan’s Purse puts a leaflet that gives the Salvation Story in their language, and as they’re distributing them, they share the story of Jesus Christ.
So, as I was getting ready to post the most recent blog entry, I kept having this nagging feeling that it was incomplete. Kept feeling like there was more to that entry. More than just me admitting that I struggle too, that I’m still completely human sometimes. The reason I don’t post those things as often is because I’m trying not to focus on those moments. It’s kinda the same philosophy as: you are what you eat. This blog is to be lifting people up. It’s how God is working in my life, and those around me. And, if I sit here and focus on all the bad stuff all the time. I could go on for days and days.
My life is not perfect, by any means, I have my own struggles, I help people with theirs, other’s lives are so intertwined with mine that theirs become mine. But, that’s not the point. I’m sure you do too. That’s life, I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of life. It’s not our cars, or what we have, or where we work, or any of that. It’s our experiences. It’s the problems we face, it’s the problems we fail to face, it’s where we succeed and where we fail. I admitted my problem because it’s still a problem. I still battle it. It’s been over 2 years since I’ve been there, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not still overcoming it. It’s been over 10 years since I’ve battled some of my other issues, it doesn’t mean that I do not still constantly battle them. It doesn’t mean that Satan doesn’t still use them to try to make me bend or break. And please believe, some days are harder than others. But, I’m on team God now.
And, I have my eyes on the prize. I’m about my Father’s business. I will be attacked, I will be persecuted, but I am more than an overcomer. I am the secret weapon of God.
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
We had the prophetess Crystal Jones speaking at our Women’s Alive Conference this weekend, and she spoke these words over us, and now I’m speaking them to you. You are God’s secret weapon in someone’s life. You are more than an overcomer. You are here to be about your Father’s business. May you be emboldened with the Will and Strength and Desire of God to be about his business, as I am. May you reach out where you’re at, and beyond where you’re at, to be God’s secret weapon. To shine His light so brightly, that men will know that You work for the Almighty God.
Something else that was said this weekend, was where she admitted that she had called our Pastor Jeanne in a moment of turmoil and grief to ask for guidance. And our pastor told her, “Lean into Easy”. God’s yoke is easy. Lean into God’s yoke. Read your bible, pray, minister to others, go to church, fellowship, call or text your fellow believers and tell them to pray for you. Lean into Easy. Take your yoke off and throw it at his feet. It is not yours to bear, you are to lay yours down and pick his up. Lean into Easy. When life is too much to stand, kneel. This week, when I could’ve let the devil win, I just turned on praise music instead. I just started overwhelming myself with podcasts of victory and overcoming. I buckled down, and reminded myself who I belong to. I ran to my Daddy and told him to take this away from me. And He did. Because He never fails. He makes me more than an overcomer. I am a victor. I am royalty. I serve the Almighty God, and I bend to no man, and I definitely don’t bend to the devil. God loved me too much to leave me there. And, He loves me too much to leave me here. I’m going to continue to go further, to be more. Because God is more. He is so much more. He is more than I could ever think or imagine, and He wants me to have it all. And You. I’m not special, by any means. I don’t have anything different than you. I just love God, and know that He loves me back, and with Him I CAN DO ALL THINGS.
You know, it was funny, I told a couple people that the only reason I don’t like going to conferences or big spiritual events like this is because then I get attacked. And, I hadn’t even made it home from the conference, and I was being attacked. Then, I got home, and here was another blow. But, I just reminded myself that, “If you’re never getting attacked, it’s probably because you’re going the wrong way.” I was warned in podcast that if you ever wanted to be a preacher, or a mouthpiece to God, you were going to be attacked. It’s not an easy life. But, God makes it easy. His yoke is easy. The devil isn’t attacking me, he’s attacking God in me. He’s trying to shut me up. He’s trying to steal, kill, and destroy. He is the source of all lies. And, I believe the one true, good God. And Satan is never going to shut me up, he can’t have my joy, I will win life. Every day of the week – because I’m on team God.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you!! Thank you that your yoke is easy. Thank you that you take all my burdens away. Thank you that you have removed the veil from my eyes, that I may always see my true enemy. Thank you that you love me too much to leave me where I was at, or to leave me here either. That I may continue to go above and beyond. That you may give me all you have, that I may bless others with your gifts, and may show your light to the world, that no man may deny you. Blessed be the name of our ALMIGHTY GOD!! IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
I realized this week, that I may have painted this picture for my audience that has me being “holier than thou” sometimes. And I want to take a moment to make sure that I completely understand that this is not the case.
I’m so broken sometimes, so very, very human. I simply choose not to focus on that part so much, not because I want you to think I’m good or perfect or anything really. What I want to focus on is that God is, that he has things to teach us, that he knows we are a work in progress, and loves us anyway, forgives us anyway.
This week, I was very human, very me, but in the midst of all of it I was putting on a garment of praise.
“And provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. I was praising God for giving me the strength to not be me, or the old me anyway.” Isaiah 61:3
I had a couple tough days this week, but I was praising God in the midst of it, because thank God I don’t drink anymore. There was a day this week that I would’ve crawled into a bottle before 10am and called it. I was done. But instead, I didn’t. Because God didn’t leave me there, he has given me the strength to move past that. And please believe, the devil knew I was struggling, he just kept piling it on, but I buckled down. I thanked God that he is good and that alcohol is not my answer anymore. I have to be about my Father’s business.
I am a work in progress, if I’m still breathing -he’s still working. And that’s ok. I’m never going to be perfect. I’m just trying every day to be more of who he wants me to be. One step at a time, one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time. Less of me and more of you, God. Sometimes, I’m my biggest reader. I write this blog with some incredible insight that has been given to me, sometimes I don’t even realize what I’m writing until I go back and read it, and I’m like, “wow, good stuff” (and I’ll admit, sometimes not so great- but I’m a work in progress!)
I’m just walking by faith, letting my Savior lead me. Trusting that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, praying for guidance and understanding, praying that I am about my Father’s business.
Because that’s what all of this is really about. A journey, a relationship, both of those things are messy, not perfect, not always exactly what you think, and may not take you where you were expecting to go, but unlike any other relationship or journey, I can promise that they are absolutely worth it. Thank God that he loves you enough to save you from you. He loves us more than enough. He wants more than enough for all of us.
He wants to make us more like him, and less of us. That’s the incredible thing about this relationship, it’s God who defines us, not our situations or our circumstances or anything like that. It’s what the Bible says we are, what God says we are, we are the Sons and Daughters of the Almighty God! We are His children, we are royalty, we are heirs to the throne, we are his beloveds, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God loves us for who we are. He created this whole big wide world and galaxy, and decided that the world needed one of you too. Don’t ever forget that!
Dear Heavenly Father, THANK YOU!! Thank you, that you don’t leave us where we are. Thank you that we can boldly come before your throne. Thank you that you give us a garment of praise, oil of joy, and beauty for ashes. Thank you that you are the incredible GOOD GOOD FATHER! Thank you that you watch over us, guide us, and protect us. Thank you that you are the Light! That others may see your light through us. Thank You for all that you are Father. Thank you for this blessed life. Joy for the morning and life all of our days. Thank you for giving us the victory. That you have already won. That we may stand with you as victors in Christ Jesus. That you are the SAME GOD who rose Christ FROM THE DEAD, and that you will raise us too – that all we ever have to do is ask. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Operation Christmas Child! This particular mission, is very near and dear to my heart. What an incredible opportunity. For less than $20, you can make a shoebox for a child, and drop it off at a local collection center, and spread love and the good news around the world. From right where you’re at. In every shoebox, Samaritan’s Purse puts a leaflet that gives the Salvation Story in their language, and as they’re distributing them, they share the story of Jesus Christ.
I really had no idea what I was going to write about this morning, but as always, God provides. As I sat down at our computer desk, I was flooded with the thoughts of how things come full circle. Of how, God prepares you for what you’re going to need later. As I spoke these last two weeks, first on Mercy, then about how I had needed to apply mercy that very week. It’s all just so incredible how God works.
It’s true though. Another great example, is one of my Pastors, was recently moved to write a book, like couldn’t shake the urge. And, when she sat down to really start writing it, she started going through her notes from previous years, and realized, she had practically already written it. Now, her book is available to everyone, and it’s a message of Goodbye Panic, Hello Peace. You can find it for sale here. #Godshowedup!
I have another friend, who started a home business in the past couple years. She’s a home & life organizer, she helps people declutter their houses, and their lives with creative and positive solutions, while being understanding and supportive. And recently when she was going back through some of her paperwork and different things she had collected (articles, documents, etc.) , she realized that this had been a passion of hers for years. And, here God had helped her make it into a business. #Godshowedup!
Even with the example of my mercy story, and the many, many other stories I’ve related to you over the almost 1 year I’ve been writing this blog. I felt compelled this week, in the fact that 1) I’ve been writing this blog for almost a year (?!?!? What?!) and 2) this week, I had yet another miraculous series of events that has compelled me to reflect in awe and wonder as to what the future will hold. Many, many moons ago, my husband and I had a candle business, and in our first real year of running the business, we turned a profit. But, then, life got in the way, and we focused on various other things for a long time, but as a lot of things have calmed down, and we’ve had the ability to refocus some efforts… here we’ve come full circle. Now, over the years, it’s been very tempting to restart the business, but it’s never been a good time, or we couldn’t focus our efforts. But now, it all seems right. And, with the internet businesses better than ever, I’m more optimistic than ever. I also had a girlfriend recently who was getting rid of a bunch of candle stuff, that I took off her hands for her ;). I mean – #Godshowedup!
It’s really incredible, when you leave everything in God’s hands, you do start seeing God’s hands in everything. I could go on and on, but I’ll just share a recap of this year’s areas where #Godshowedup. Because when you let him, He’ll show up, every time.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you!! Thank you for being the incredible, amazing, Good Father that you are. Thank you, that you show up! Thank you for being faithful. For wanting the best for us. Thank you that you are the Good, Good Father, who slowly shows us all the things we need to work toward your will for us. Thank You for laying your hands on our lives. Thank You, for all that you do Father. My words cannot express my gratitude for your will and hands in my life. I pray that everyone reading this experience the amazing awe and wonder that I have experienced at watching you work my life, for your good. I love you Father, and I appreciate all that you’ve done for me, and I ask that you show everyone here how much you show up. I pray that they let you work your hands in their lives. I know that you are the ALMIGHTY GOD WHO SHOWS UP, EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK! And, I’m so grateful for that. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Women’s Alive Conference is this next weekend! This is held in Brookings South Dakota, every year in October. A time for refreshment and renewal. A time for women to get together and encourage each other, and to soak in God’s word, and make lasting relationships with each other, and God. It’s October 18th & 19th. Crystal Jones is the guest speaker this year.
If you would like to join us, please register with the Holy Life Tabernacle. (Click here) It’s only $20!
Or if you would like to donate, click here, and chose Women’s Alive Conference in the options.
As I have been overwhelmed this past couple weeks, with all the things. Fun things, enjoyable family things, life things, I have struggled to get to church on Sunday morning. Ever since I hurt my back, I’ve noticed that I tire easier. Get worn out. And, have to take life a little slower. Which is a blessing-since I’ve lived a good portion of my life at Mach 3, but sadly these past two weeks, I didn’t wake up in time to get to church. So, then when I heard this past Wednesday that we were having a guest speaker – who I listen to their podcasts – was speaking. I knew, I had to go. And, I wanted to go. But Satan pulled his old tricks, and started making me feel guilty about not spending time with my family during a weeknight, when we’ve been so busy. He also made my work absolutely crazy that day, so I would be dog tired by the time I got off work. And, I had forgotten to do anything about supper and now I had no time to make it. But, right at the last minute, I dug my heels in – and said, I’m going to church. And, my pastor’s voice rang out in my head, “If you don’t go, you’ll miss an opportunity.” I had to attend. Those small words were just confirmation that I was going to be blessed, and I was meant to hear the words that night. And, I was not disappointed. Because, did we ever doubt it, #Godshowedup!
This past Wednesday, Bill Vanderbush was the speaker at my church. What a blessed word!?! Revelations were made and had, and #Godshowedup. Without a shadow of a doubt. I’m sure everyone had their own revelations, but as I have digested these things for a couple of days, I will share what was revealed to me.
It’s been bothering me for some time, that we have Religion. That when people ask what I believe in, and I say Jesus Christ, they then ask what church I go to. Or what denomination I am. Or whatever. I don’t fit in a box. I don’t necessarily believe what any of the “religions” are teaching. I believe the Bible. I believe in the feeling I get when I’m praying. I believe in Jesus Christ, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit that lives inside me. I believe that God is alive and well, and working in my life. I believe that Jesus died for my sins and was resurrected to make a new covenant for man and God, and that I have the Holy Spirit of God living inside me that is my connection to my God, and that enables me to do all things. I struggle with the fact that humanity has fallen so far away from God, that they believe you can put Him in a box. That He is this clearly defined thing that we can sum up in words like, “Catholic, Lutheran, Non-denominational” to know what it is I believe.
Oh my goodness. I just want to shout it from the mountaintops. I believe in GOD. I believe in the Almighty Father, who is the Alpha and Omega. I believe in the God, who raised Christ from the DEAD. Who raised Lazarus from the DEAD. Who healed lepers, and paralytics, who knows all things, and sees all things. Who is the VICTOR. Who defeated SATAN. Who saves me from me, and you from you. I believe in the GOD who removes your sins so completely from your life that you can be a new person. Like, literally, a new person. A NEW CREATION. I believe in the God, who after man had broken his covenant (Adam & Eve) made a way to have a new covenant that we couldn’t break – because Jesus would make that covenant for us, and we can’t break something that we don’t have. I believe in the God who performs miracles. Who created us. Who created everything we see. I believe in the God who breathed life into us, and spoke creation into existence.
It just breaks my heart that so many “believers” out there, seem to miss the mark. They’re like, “Yeah, I believe in God, and that Jesus died for my sins.” But DO YOU? Do you really? Do you understand that the God you believe in, LIVES INSIDE YOU? He’s not somewhere out there. He’s INSIDE YOU. You and Him are one. And I’m one with Him. Do you truly understand that the SAME GOD who raised Christ from the DEAD, lives inside you??? That if You believe, that you will receive, that what you give, will be given to you? I ache that I seem to be part of this small faction that understands the amazing, awesomeness of the fact that God wants to have a personal relationship with me, and that He lives inside me. And, that we are ONE. That I am sent to bring others to this revelation. That if you truly understood that God LIVES in YOU, You would be on fire too! That it would bother you that not everyone seems to be getting it! They have not truly received the Holy Spirit, to understand that God has re-established this connection that we lost for thousands of years and was only reconnected after Jesus came and re-established it. That we can feel everything God wants us to feel. Love, peace, joy. They’re all ours to be had.
Months ago, someone revealed to me, that Jeremiah, was nick-named the “weeping prophet” – and in that moment, something rang true in me. I identified with Jeremiah. I then began to read Jeremiah, and I wasn’t understanding why I had identified with him. But, for months, it’s been nagging at me. The weeping prophet. But, just now, as I’m writing this to you. It all makes sense. I have this connection with God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ. I have this incredible, amazing feeling, deep down in my bones whenever I’m reading the Bible, or praying, or just walking around living life. Because I know, that there is a God, and he loves me, and you, and wants us all to be saved, and to understand what it’s like to have this relationship. And, yet, here’s the rest of the world, living in depression, and hate, and sinfulness, and despair, and they don’t seem to have any idea, that there’s a God out there that wants you to feel Amazing! That wants you to be happy, and have the best things in this life, and the next. And, that if people truly understood the connection that God wants to establish in you, that you would feel that way too. I ache and I weep because I want to airdrop this feeling into everyone. I just want everyone to get it! On every level. Just like Jeremiah. I’m not weeping for myself, or for God, but for everyone else.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your wisdom and your understanding. Thank you for imparting your Holy Spirit to us, and for saving us from ourselves! Thank you for speaking to us. Thank You that You sent Your Son to save us, and to make a new covenant that cannot be broken. That You don’t leave us where we’re at. That You are the Great, Amazing Father who blesses us. That you watch over us and guide us. Thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit that You may live inside us, and give us this amazing connection to You. Bless Your Holy Name Father. May we live forever in You. IN JESUS NAME!! AMEN!!
I’m going to be promoting this one for the next several weeks. It’s the beginning of Operation Christmas Child! This particular mission, is very near and dear to my heart. What an incredible opportunity. For less than $20, you can make a shoebox for a child, and drop it off at a local collection center, and spread love and the good news around the world. From right where you’re at. In every shoebox, Samaritan’s Purse puts a leaflet that gives the Salvation Story in their language, and as they’re distributing them, they share the story of Jesus Christ.
If you’ve been with me for a while, you know, that all of this started because I trust in God’s timing, or try to, anyway. If you’re just joining, I’ll catch you up. Last year, in April, I had been praying for a Bible Study for about 2 years. I had been going to different ones I had heard about here and there, but the timing wasn’t right. I couldn’t do it on the particular night they had it. They didn’t have it as often as I would like. Different stuff. It just wasn’t working out. Then, as I’m walking to my car this crisp April morning, I heard this whisper as clear as if someone was standing behind me and had breathed on my ear. “Why don’t you start a Bible Study?” I actually turned around to see who had said it. I was in disbelief. Me?! Start a Bible Study? I just started going back to church? (In the grand scheme of things, I hadn’t been attending church as long as I had felt it necessary for someone who leads a Bible Study’s caliber required.) But, my doubts only lasted a moment. Yeah, that’s a good idea. I know a couple people. I’m going to see them both tomorrow (up to this point, the only time I would ever be seeing both of them in the same day. Coincidence? I think not.) So, when I saw each of them the next day, I asked. They would love to. I also informed another life-long friend that I was starting a Bible Study without thinking she would want to attend, and lo-and-behold, she invited herself. We had gone from a concept to our first meeting within two weeks. Since then, we have lost a member, gained a member, had a member go on hiatus and come back.
Then, this past May, I threw a kick-off party. I invited everyone I could think of. I wanted the Bible Study to grow. We had grown personally so much. We now had this tight network of people that we could count on to pray for each other. To be there with us, when life was throwing us hard balls. To have “jam sessions” where we just talk about life, how God’s working in our lives, or getting guidance when we don’t feel like he’s working. We rented out a room to support “everyone” that was going to show up. We made bars, had games, prizes, everything. And, not one new person came. I was disappointed, but that’s ok. Not everything always goes according to plan. But, I haven’t given up. I always have to remember – not my timing. Now, since May, on a random Tuesday, we got a new member. Who has been a great addition to the group, and hopefully feeling that same sense of fellowship that I know the rest of us have grown to depend on. And then, this past Tuesday, another new member has joined. And, I have whisperings that this coming Tuesday, we’ll have another. We have almost doubled in size – since May. Without a party. Just God nudging people’s hearts to attend. 2 of the 3 weren’t even invited to the May party, I believe. Look at God’s timing. Look at how #Godshowedup. I’m so grateful. Not necessarily because I just want more people, but I cherish the Bible Study so much, that I want others to have that in their lives. I want others to grow. To have that sense of fellowship. To have a network to help them work through life. To have people praying for them.
It’s so important to trust and wait on the Lord. To know that He will fulfill His promises. That if we take leaps of Faith, He will catch us. This blog is another testimony to God’s timing. He had been laying it on my heart to start this blog for some time. Then, one day, I had said during morning prayer, if I have time today, I’ll do it. He proceeded to make everyone cancel their plans with me that day, before noon. Within a few short hours, everything I had on my calendar, had been wiped clean. Text after text came rolling in, can’t make it, can we do it another day? and so on. Ok, God. No more signs. Since then, I have had people share their testimonies about how this is just what they needed to hear that day. I’ve had people print and save some of my prayers for themselves and for others. I’ve had a total of at least 344 visitors (I don’t believe my website catches all who read it.) What an encouragement, for myself and for those who read it. I never aspired to be a writer, but the Lord has stuff to say, and I have prayed to be a mouthpiece. May God always bless the work of my hands. I hope this encourages you, to pray that God use you. To pray that you trust in his timing and his path. May the work of your hands always flourish and may you see and cherish the moments where God shows up! Because they’re amazing! And they never get old. And God is most definitely alive and working today. I hope that you’re a willing vessel to bring His Kingdom to Earth, that you may see His works, and live in His awe and wonder.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You! Thank you for showing up! Thank you for your timing. Thank you for instilling a trust in us, to trust in You. May we be vessels for Your work and Your Word. May we have the patience and the peace that surpasses all understanding to know that You’ve always got our backs. That You will always fulfill Your Word, and that You only want good things for our lives. Bless Your name Father that You are the Good, Good Father who watches over us and protects us, and that You have everything done in Your timing and not our own. That we may always continue to see Your work and wonder in our lives. That we may be a blessing to those around us, and that we may bring Your Kingdom to Earth. That we may shine Your light into the lives of others. That we may be beacons of hope, the hope and assurance that You provide, and that we may guide others to Your Light. Thank You for all that You do Father. May we always bring glory and honor to Your name. IN JESUS NAME! AMEN!!
Hurricane Dorian has left much of the Caribbean devastated. Please take a moment to pray for these people and their families. Samaritan’s purse is there, helping as much as they can. To read more: Hurricane Dorian
This past week, an important discussion came up. Which church do you go to? I’m not sure if I’ve discussed this before here, but my ladies Bible Study group is not church-specific. It is compiled of ladies that have come together through networking, a couple of us go to the same church, but most of us don’t. And, one of the things I really love, is that the churches we do attend, are all different “denominations”. Because please believe, denominations were not God’s idea. That is a tool that Satan has used to keep us separate, and sometimes, even pitted against each other. The more I read and understand, the more I see the enemy’s handiwork and understand how’s he’s got some people so twisted. – Anyway, today I would like to discuss the importance of church – in the sense of gathering together and fellow-shipping with others.
Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. All Church. And we are the Body. Collectively and singularly. The Body. Together we are supposed to be functioning as extensions of the Head, doing all the Body work as combined efforts. And singularly, working as an individual within the Body to further the efforts of Jesus Christ, which means putting our own effort in. So, we are supposed to have a church group where we can “plug in”. You can attend and get fed the Word, fellowship with other believers, and spend time in unified worship of our Father. And, this is what 75% of church-goers are doing. (By the way, that’s 75% of the 38% of Americans that are attending church every week). But then- there’s this whole other step that we’re supposed to be doing. We are not supposed to be going to church – just to go, just to get fed, just to feel better about going? We are supposed to be furthering the Kingdom. The church has WORK to do! The Body doesn’t just lie there, on a big chaise lounge, eating grapes, waiting for the Son to return. Also, Christ didn’t say he was the Head of a building (stationary and ungrowing), or the Head of a tree – that just stays where it’s at. He purposefully picked the Head of a Body. A moving, growing, changing thing that can manage and operate the world that it’s in.
We are supposed to be using our gifts to plug in and help the Church expand and grow. We are supposed to be helping one another and figuring out how to win more souls, how to get more people coming to the Faith – and hopefully coming to Church! We are supposed to be growing as believers and helping other people grow too. We are not supposed to be at church to go through the motions. And, if you are a believer, you should be going to a church. It’s important to have a relationship with Jesus, and read your Bible, but iron sharpens iron. Humans are pack animals, no matter how much some people want to say that they’re loners, we have an inherent sense to be a part of a community – some people just prefer smaller communities. The more we go to Church, the more you should want to go to Church. The more you grow, the more you should want to talk to others about what you’re learning to try to understand the concepts more. Church should challenge you to want to grow. Church should be a place where you can challenge others to grow. A place where you can plug in and be a part of the body, and also find your place within the body to help the body move into new space and further the Kingdom. We were never meant to sit still.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You! For all that You’ve done. Thank You for sending Your Son to die for us. Thank You for Your grace, and Your wisdom. That Your wisdom may flow into us, and give us a deeper understanding of Your Word. Bless Us Father. Bless the work of our hands, and our thoughts, and guide us in the way that we should go. Show us Your way Father. Show us where we’re supposed to be and guide us to get there. May we grow ever stronger in You, and may we bring others too, to bask in Your light and love, all the days of our lives. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
History suggests that church planting remains the most effective form of evangelism.
The church is God’s primary vehicle to advance his kingdom on earth. The goal of our evangelism and mission work is to establish new churches and strengthen existing ones. We don’t randomly scatter seeds with the hope that something grows. We strategically plant churches that will become strong enough to plant more. Learn more about EveryNation Church Planting here.
Many moons ago, I talked about how God is Love. God is Love. He is everything that is love, He is all those feelings, He embodies it, He is the definition of it. And love feels so good doesn’t it? To love, to be loved, all the good things that love gives us. And, God himself, is Love. And in John 13:35, it says, And everyone will know you, by your love. Because if we are true believers in Christ, You should be striving to be like Jesus, and if Jesus is God, and God is love. You should also be love.
As a few weeks ago, I was talking about how, if we’re just striving to be like Jesus, then, you will see your fruits. They will just come naturally, as you continue to grow and draw closer to God. One of the fruits is Love. And several times throughout scripture, God tells us to put on love.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-8
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
1 John 4:7
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
1 John 4:11
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:16-18
“Do everything in love.”
1 Corinthians 16:14
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
One of the biggest things that hurts my heart is believers who acknowledge him with their lips and then deny him by their lifestyle. Or deny Him by speaking out in hate against others. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that we get wronged and get upset about things that happen to us. But we’re not supposed to let it fester. It’s not supposed to continue to live in us. Even Jesus had righteous anger in the temple against the gamblers and hypocrites, but then he moved on. He didn’t bear that grudge. He didn’t continue to beat them over the heads with how wrong they were, physically or verbally. In the very next verse, he starts healing the sick and goes about his business. Because He was here to do the Lord’s business.
One of the most difficult conversations I have, is trying to explain that I believe in the Bible and am a follower of Jesus Christ, when we have such a bad wrap – because of all these people who obviously weren’t grasping the main point of the Bible and being a believer. We have the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, even the Klan is said to have religious ties. Not to mention all the horrible things that have been done by people throughout the ages, while clinging to the “guise” of Christianity while doing it. It’s hard to make others understand, that those people who did these things were really missing a big point of the Bible. We are supposed to be love. Others should know we are believers, by our love. We are not supposed to seek vengeance, or put others down because of what they believe, or judge them, and we are definitely not supposed to be hurting anyone who doesn’t believe the same things we do.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
As I was having this disagreement with another believer at one point. Who had a very strong disliking for a specific group of people who did not believe in the Bible, they were up on their soap box, telling me how immoral it was and how wrong these people were. And, I looked at them, and said, “I understand that, but how are you supposed to win any of those people over by telling them that? By hating them? Who wants to come into a community and a relationship with God, when the example that they have, you, is spewing hate and filth? You know, God created them too, and wants them to be saved too, and you’re not winning any souls with that attitude.”
We have to remember that we hate the sin, not the sinner. We all sin, and in the eyes of God, all the sins are the same. A lie is just as bad as murder. Not one of us is above another, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. In this century, and the last, and the next to come, the world needs more Love, more God. More of Him, and less of us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you. Thank You, that you are better than us. That you love each and every one of us so much, that you sent your Son to die for us, every one of us. I ask You today Father, to take out our hearts of stone, and give us hearts of flesh. Hearts like Yours Father. Wash us in Your Word. Remove the logs from our eyes, that we may see the world as You do. Give us supernatural peace and understanding to love one another, to love ourselves, and to love You. To know that You are the Good, Good Father who loves us. To see that we live in a fallen world, and that others should see your light, and know your love, by our love toward others. Bless the work of our hands, and the words from our mouths, and the people in our lives by our love – which is Your love through us. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
A mission finder! Help out here! Spread the Love of God’s Word. This particular mission, is a agency that will connect you where you are. You can go on short trips or long trips, local or the other side of the planet.
I think one of the most powerful things I’ve learned in the past couple years as a new creation in Christ, is that only the devil wants us looking back. Any time, we start to fixate on the past, that’s the devil’s handy-work. Every morning you wake up and you get a new chance to make new decisions. Every day, you get a new chance to forgive yourself and forgive others. And, one of the most powerful tools that the devil has is You. Your own mind. Your own insecurities. Your own anger. You. And if he can keep you in the past, then you can’t live in the now, and you can’t move forward. Sure, you’re still getting up and going places, but where are you in your head? God knows this. Why do you think He gave us the helmet of Salvation? Because some of the biggest battles you face, are going to be with yourself.
I like how the New Living Translation says it, “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.” Phillipians 2:12
I know how hard of a battle this can be. I’ve been an addict, an abuser, and been abused. Trust me, there’s been a lot of Salvation to work out. When I was called to write this blog, those were definitely some items that were trying to hold me back. Who is going to believe me? Who is going to want to read my stuff? I’ve been in the lowest of the low places. But, I just have to remind myself that God has forgiven me, and that I’m trying to share his word and bring others to the Faith and have a closer relationship with him. Because if God can forgive Paul (a murderer) who turned out to be one of the biggest advocates for Jesus Christ, He can forgive me, and He can forgive any body else who asks for it. And please believe, I have not admitted some of these things openly before because there are people who read my blog who don’t know these things about me, and could think differently about me because of it. But we all have our own struggles, and I have overcome all of mine. Because God has set me free. And because I serve the one true God who will watch over me and guide me and has been urging me to be honest and open with my audience. Because He has forgiven me, and I have forgiven myself, and I have forgiven others, and I don’t live there anymore. I’m only looking forward. And, now, here I am, a new creation in Christ. And, I’m not special. It’s available for everyone. You just have to work for it.
Sometimes, it’s crazy to think what my life used to be, compared to what it is now. But that’s part of what’s so amazing about your relationship with Jesus Christ. He removes all your transgressions, as far as the east is from the west. He washes you white as snow. If you ask for forgiveness, He doesn’t just forgive some of the things, He forgives ALL of the things. Sometimes Satan tries to sneak in there and tell me that I’m not worthy of God’s love, that I’m not forgiven, that I’m going to suddenly get in trouble for something that happened 10 years ago. But those are all lies. They’re all in the past. I haven’t lived there for 10 years. And, I’m only looking forward. I continually am working out my Salvation with fear and trembling. But, I just reassure myself that I am a child of God, Holy and Beloved. That God only wants good things for me. I have spent a decade becoming a new creation in Christ. I am sad that Satan had a hold of me for so long, but I have spent 10 years being a new person. 10 years growing into this new creation. And, I am looking forward to the next 10 years, because it can only get better. I am a child of the Overcomer.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your incredible love. Thank You that you forgive ALL things, and that we can all rest assured in Your Salvation. That You are the Overcomer, and that You give us the strength and the Salvation to be overcomers ourselves. Thank You Father, that you only want us moving forward. That we do not live in the past. Thank You Father, that you gave us Paul as an example of anyone who seeks your Salvation and your word can be a Child of God. Thank You that you sent your son to die for us. Thank you for all that you’ve done, and may we all continue to work out our Salvation with fear and trembling. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!
When I was a teenager, I went on a mission trip here to help out for a week. A homeless shelter in downtown Atlanta. Preaching the Good Word and trying to save souls and lives.
This past week, I just received the title up there of what I would be discussing. How to pray through. It has become one of the most powerful tools that has effectively changed how I think and how I act as a Christian. I read a book a couple years ago, that spoke on this topic, and it really opened my eyes to all the different kinds of prayer you can do, all the concepts behind prayer, all the ways and situations we could and should be using prayer in. And, thank God, I will never be the same. It is incredible, the power of praying through. If you haven’t heard of this concept, let me share some information about it, then I’ll share a story of one of the first times I really applied it.
So, I’ll admit, I’m a nerd, and I love Science, always have, always will. But here, I’m going to share some information, and share how it applies to our prayer life. So, a couple years ago, I was reading an article about information they were discovering about the brain and how we think, and they have since grown and expanded this information and you can read more about it almost anywhere if you’re interested. So, we can grow up thinking one way, and being a complainer and griping about all kinds of things all the time. And just thinking that everything that happens to us is the most awful thing ever, and telling everyone and their dog about it. Or — every time, we start to think that way — we can stop that thought in its tracks. And think about something positive. If we start doing that – thinking about something that makes us happy when we start stressing out – and we have to keep at it. Start getting stressed out – think happy thoughts – quite literally. You can actually REWIRE your own brain. Let me say that again. YOU CAN REWIRE YOUR OWN BRAIN. Now, God told us this a long time ago, but you know, it takes us humans a while to catch up sometimes.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
So, if you continue to battle those negative thoughts, by thinking good thoughts when they start to creep in, you eventually will be thinking that way – naturally. You can rewire your own brain. — I cannot stress that enough. God has given you the power to rewire your own brain. You can do this. And, it’s incredible. I’m going to show you two different ways I have applied this.
I’ve touched on this before in the Year of Great Loss, but we’ll dig a little deeper today. One of my family members was in jail for a crime they didn’t commit, waiting for their hearings and trial. Their bail was set at an astronomical amount. But, at one point, our family had set another bail hearing to try to get it reduced. Now, I absolutely had no means to give the bail money, even if it was $100. But, I was convicted that he would be getting out on bail. I had set myself that he would be released. That was the only possible outcome that day. For weeks in advance, that was all I was praying about. Not only that the bail would be reduced, but that some angel would come and give the bail money, and he would be released. I couldn’t stop praying about it. God was about to give us a miracle. I knew it in my bones. I went and visited him one night, just days before the hearing, and after the visit, my in-law and I walked the courthouse block and prayed that God was about to work a miracle. I wrote that he would be released in my prayer box the night before and thanked God for his miracle. I was so sure of it, I was acting like it had already happened. I had a dream just days before that I was going to give him a hug. This was absolutely happening. The day came, and I was fasting and praying all day long, and I received a call (I had to work), that not only had his bail been reduced, but someone had put up the money and HE WAS OUT!!! GOD IS GOOD!! I had prayed through, and #GOD SHOWED UP!! I knew that it was going to happen. I trusted God, and He showed up!! But, that story, is one of the many where God has showed me that He loves His children, and He shows up. Praise God!!
Flipping the coin
Now, another part of this rewiring of the brain concept, is a little different. For a while, I’ve had a family member that stresses me out. Like, really stresses me out. They kinda live in chaos, and every once in a while that chaos seeps out into my life. And, after a few very interesting and stressful situations, one of Satan’s little demons snuck in and grabbed a hold of me. His name is Anxiety and Panic. After these situations, I started to live in fear. Live in a constant state of being afraid. Afraid that the phone would ring and chaos was about to ensue. Afraid that there would be a knock at the door, and I was about to have another horrific incident of terrifying mayhem. I couldn’t think straight. I was terrified all the time. I wasn’t living my life because of it. I couldn’t make plans. I couldn’t do all kinds of stuff because I just couldn’t. Those demons had a death grip on me, and were choking me. I was being suffocated by it. And, I just couldn’t. I couldn’t do anything (I mean, I was going through all the motions of life) but I was checked out, and I was checked in to Satan’s hotel of pure anxiety and fear. And, one evening, the phone rings and here is chaos. And, I am freaking out, what am I supposed to do? How do I stop this? What?!?! AHHHH!!!! And, I look over at my husband, and he’s just hanging out. Now, a tiniest snip about my husband, he grew up in chaos similar to what I’m currently experiencing. And, I go, “How?! How did you do this? How can you be so chill?” And, he just says, “What are you going to do about it? What can you possibly do?” And in his words, my chain-breaker showed up.
Although my husband is not currently a believer, God used His words, to channel my Holy Spirit, to tell me that I needed to stop. Just stop. Stop living in fear, rip those demons from around my throat and send them back to where they belong. And, from that moment on, whenever those demons try to sneak back in, I start thinking positive thoughts. I memorized a verse, I would recite that verse to myself in my head. I started thinking about all the good things God has done for me. Now, I will admit, sometimes I still get a little panicky. I start getting nervous about something I think might happen. But, I just start reciting that verse in my head again, and it starts calming me down.
Colossians 3:12-15 “12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
But God has given me the peace that surpasses all understanding. I have to let go. Chaos is going to happen, at some point, at some time or another, whether with my family member or someone else or something else. It’s like death and taxes… inevitable. There is no way I can live in this fallen world and think that I’m untouchable and that just because I’m a believer that I get to be over here living this perfect life without Satan trying to sneak in here and mess stuff up. But, I do know, that God tells me not to fear. Do not be afraid, for I am with you, and I hold you up with mighty right hand. That I’m on the winning team. That no matter what happens – I just have to pray through it. Sprinkle some praise on it. Thank you God for giving me my life, that it may all glorify and honor you. That you may bless the work of my hands, and use it all for your glory and your goodness. I can tell you that I no longer live in a state of constant panic. I am no longer a giant ball of nerves. My chain-breaker has set me free.
Dear Heavenly Father, THANK YOU! Thank you that you are the chain-breaker. That you SET US FREE! Thank you!! Thank you for all that You are. Let us all come before You, that you may show us how to free ourselves from those demons that wish to steal, kill, and destroy. That You may help us change our thoughts. Change the way we understand life. Bring us to Your level. Lift us up with Your mighty right hand. Remove these thoughts and this fear from our lives. Rule our hearts Father. Show us to not be afraid. To be the warriors you’ve called us to be. To watch over us, and help us watch over ourselves. To remove the veil from our eyes that we may see the schemes of the devil, and that we send him packing. Bless us Father. We are the head and not the tail. Watch over us. Guide us. Make our paths straight. Straight unto Your Holy Kingdom. That our paths may shine bright and show others the way to You. Bless Your Holy Name, the GREAT I AM!! IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
It’s hard! It’s hard trusting your parent when you’re growing up to know what’s best for you. Maybe not so much in that manner, not like you’re thinking as a kid, “I hope they’re making the right decisions.” You’re just thinking, “this is what I want, why won’t my parent let me have it?!” Or, “I don’t want to do it that way, I want to do it MY way.” Right? We all had these moments growing up. It’s just part of growing up. It happened to everyone, we thought we knew better in all of our kid wisdom… And we were so wrong, weren’t we? Now that we’re adults, we know and understand that many of those decisions were made in OUR best interest or for OUR good. Now, little differences between our natural parents and our SUPERNATURAL Father, is our Heavenly Father, is always looking out for us, and He’s always the perfect parent.
So, in this, we are the children. In all of our kid wisdom, we are charging ahead, trying to do it our way, and thinking we know what’s best, but the Father has a better plan in mind. I think part of this kid wisdom we retain is because we’re still maturing as Christians. And, as we grow, it becomes easier to trust God and know that He’s in control, and He’s doing what’s best for us. Same thing in the natural, as we grow, we trust our parent’s decisions more and more. We gain the understanding that maybe we don’t know all the answers and that our parents have a better understanding of the world, and maybe they know what’s best. I believe, that as we strengthen our relationship with God, it becomes a little easier all the time to know that He’s got it figured out and we just need to trust Him.
Let me share some of my life experience here to show you what I mean. When I first started out as a “baby” Christian (as an adult – we’re not counting all the years that I was saved and “going through the motions”). I was going to church, and really starting to get this connection with God, and feeling the Holy Spirit stirring in me. I made the decision that we were going to move to Arkansas. We started selling/gifting pretty much all our stuff, we notified our family in Arkansas, we started saying good-bye to all our friends and family here, I sold our mobile home. We are hitting the road Jack! And, at one point, someone asked me, “Have you asked God what He thinks about all of this?” And, in the moment they said that, I knew, God said No. I knew it, but I never straight out asked God, it was just as soon as they said that, everything in my body screamed, “NO”. But, as children do, if you don’t ask, they can’t tell you “No”, Right? So, I didn’t, I never asked, I just barreled ahead, this is what we’re doing. And, two weeks before we were to leave on a “scouting” vacation to start putting some more stuff together, I got the job offer of a lifetime. Haha, I mean, the one thing God knew better than anyone, let’s put this in front of her. And, for 3 days, I struggled. But, I was only struggling with myself, I knew that this was the path, not Arkansas. And, I took the job, and we had to re-build everything right where we were. Now, looking back, I know that this is what God wanted. Just a few years later, my dad would pass suddenly, and I would’ve regretted my decision to move away SO MUCH! I’m so grateful God saved me from me. I wouldn’t have the amazing job I have now. I wouldn’t have my ladies’ Bible study group. I wouldn’t have so many things, I wouldn’t be a member of the church I am now, I could go on and on. Hindsight is 20/20. Thank God, He saves us from us.
Fast forward, a few years later, and we’re living in our rental. I have grown much deeper in my Faith, and I’m spending a lot of time in prayer and reading my Bible, sharing time with God, and just burning for our time together. And, the landlord knocks on our door one morning (in the midst of a million other things happening) and says, he’s going to demolish the house in 45 days. We need to move. I don’t even know where to begin, but I didn’t start looking for places to live right away (for some reason?). I talked to a few people, and our sister-in-law had a house lined up to move into October 1st, I didn’t even check anything else, we just accepted. Come to find out, after we have moved in 75% of our stuff, this landlord is Crazy (like certifiable), and we’re going to have to move again (or pay 3x the rent….), and low and behold, the day we start looking for another new place, this little house pops up (just hours before), that is “perfect”. Not really what we love, but better than anything else that you can find mid-semester in a college town. We take it. And the rest, is another story. But, see how all of that, worked together? I’m just following God’s lead, everything was syncing together like a giant puzzle, every time it seemed like one piece fell into place, another one was ready. We couldn’t have ended up where we are without it.
One of the really big moments that happened in the midst of all of this, was a moment I had with my son. We hadn’t quite moved out of House A (the one that was going to get demolished), and my son is outside on his skateboard, and I came out to watch him from the porch. I called him over, and I said, “How are you doing buddy?” He says, “I’m fine.” I said, “Really? Wow. I mean, we all have a lot of stuff going on right now. I’m not fine.” He kinda looks at me. And, sits down next to me on the step, and I said, “You know. It’s OK to not be OK. I mean, we have A LOT of stuff going on right now, and to be honest, I don’t know what’s going to happen next.” And, in this moment, that little kid and I just broke. And cried. And, I said to him, “You know, no one in that house is OK right now. There are a lot of things happening, and moving is a big deal, and I don’t know where we’re going to go or what’s going to happen next, but you know what I do know? I know that God’s got this, and that it’s all going to be OK eventually. That we just have to trust Him.” Then, we prayed for a little while, and we picked ourselves back up, and went about life. And, eventually, everything was ok. But, I mean, just a few short years of growth, and I’m a totally different person. I go from not wanting to talk to God about my decisions, to not even really making decisions, just going with the apparent flow that is happening. And, showing my son, that I’m just trusting God for these things. He takes care of the sparrow, why not me? There are so many moments in my life this recent years, where I just, did my best, prayed it was blessed, and trusted God for the rest. And He does not disappoint. He always shows up. #Godshowedup. Every time. Because He doesn’t change. When you trust Him. He shows up.
Father, I pray today, that all those reading this, receive peace. Receive the overwhelming peace of the Messiah. Of the God whose peace surpasses all understanding. We do not know what’s best for us Father, but you do. I pray that you share your ethereal, overwhelming, overflowing peace with all my readers today, and every day. I pray that you air drop peace into their souls. That you steady their lives from within. That you resonate within them Father. That you quiet the world around them and share your ever-loving peace with them, in them, and that it may spread from the inside out. You, Father, take care of the sparrows, and you will take care of us. All the time. May we lean in to You Father. And you shelter us from the storm. This storm and all the storms to come. Thank You for all that you do Father, and all that you will do. May we always trust that You will show up, because You always do. IN JESUS” NAME!! AMEN!!
This week I’m focusing on a group that supports missions and missionaries. They sponsor mission’s trips and they help connect people with other groups and outreaches if you’re looking for missions but aren’t quite sure where to start.
Let’s talk this week about one of the biggest issues that faces Christians. Why won’t God answer my prayer? Right? We’ve all had this moment. Something is happening, and you’re praying, and you’re praying, and….. nothing is happening. And, you start to doubt, you start to wonder, maybe…. I’m not praying right, maybe God doesn’t love me enough, maybe whatever. Well, I’d like to take a little time this week, to go through some possibilities of what’s going on. I know it took me a while to figure some of these out myself.
First thing, we have to understand why God does answer prayer. God answers prayer, when it’s His will. So, as I’ve stated previously, you have to pray for God’s will to be exercised through you, you have to bring His will onto Earth. I’ll use money as an example: You can pray for more money, but then you have to be ready for the responsibilities of more money, be ready to give His portion back (you should already be giving Him his portion too), be ready to walk through the opportunities that He gives you to get more money. But, with all of this, it also has to be the right time for you to get more money (and only God knows when that is.) Sometimes, your circumstances have to be what they are for God to work the blessings He has in store for you, and if that means you need to be strapped for cash right now, then that’s how things are going to be for a minute. But know, that God does want good things for you, through your trials and tribulations, remember that God plays the long game. You need to as well.
This ties into the second one, which I’m sure we’ve all heard. It’s in His timing. This one is rough. ” But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” 2 Peter 3:8. The Lord’s timing is completely different from ours, and that makes waiting seem like it’s taking f o r e v e r. But, it’s true. God only does things when the time is right, and he never does it during the wrong time. And, as Christians, this goes back to trusting God. We have to implicitly trust in His timing. Again, it’s the long game. God’s got all the time in the world to make His will happen in our lives. Our relationship with God, is a marathon. Even the Bible refers to “running the good race.” “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” – Galatians 5:7 I like that it asks you this ^^ question right after, seems like we’ve all struggled with keeping to the Word sometimes. 😉
Sometimes, it’s not God’s will. —-OOOHHHH, ouch. Although that one is a little cutting, let me lessen the blow. Sometimes, it’s true, what you’re asking for, is not what God has in mind, but this is two-fold. 1) Because He has something better in mind, which again, we have to trust that He knows what’s best since He is the omnipotent God. 2) It’s truly not His will. —- Now, we as Christians are supposed to be trying to align ourselves to be more Christ-like, to be more in-tune with God, to have a heart and mind like God does…. not just for ourselves and our daily lives, but for our prayer-life. Then, if we are achieving this harmonious relationship with Jesus and our Lord, we begin to pray accordingly – more in line with the Father’s will – and therefore seeing more of our prayers being answered! <— See how all that melded together? As I grow in my prayer-life, I realize more and more, that I’m not praying for my outcome – what I think I want to happen in the situation. I am praying for the situation, and that God put His hand in there and do what needs to be done for the best outcome. A big part of that, is because I’ve been shown, that I obviously have no idea what the best outcome is sometimes because I’m over here thinking about options A, B, and C, and God comes out of left field and answers the situation with Option M – which no one even thought was possible or in the realm of being able to answer the situation. But, that’s really some of the most AMAZING work that God does sometimes. He completely exceeds our expectations and gives these miraculous answers, but we have to be ready and open for these answers too.
And, then, my final one. Which may be the most difficult one to understand at times. Going back to my post last week. We live in a fallen world. And, sometimes, our prayers don’t get answered because there are more things at work. Sometimes, when it’s a situation that the devil obviously has a hold of, it may take longer to win the battle. I feel that sometimes, we can pray all we want, but if you’re not dealing with just yourself in the situation, and the devil’s got a hold on the other players, those players are going to have to ask God to step in. He’s a gentlemen. Maybe the only thing you can do is pray that they see the light. Or try to pray with them. Continue to be a blessing of love and light in their lives, and pray that they ask God to enter the situation. ” For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12. Sometimes, it’s not our part to solve the situation, but to pray for the right person to do the right thing. No matter how bad we want it. This is a moment of let go, and Let God.
With all that being said, I hope it helps. I hope you have a better understanding of some of your situations right now, or some of your situations in the past. I hope you can apply some of this knowledge in the future. To know, that God does want what’s best for you, and for those around you, and to ALWAYS trust in Him. I hope that you continue to grow in your Faith and your understanding of the deep love the Father has for you, and that you may grow in your love with the Father as well.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you! Thank you for all that you’ve done for us. For all that you continue to do. For your great knowledge and understanding of our lives, and our hearts. I pray Father that you give deep knowledge and consolation to all those reading this. That you lay your hands upon their lives, and hold them close. That we may all share in the understanding that You do know what’s best for us. That Your hand may be at work in our lives, in all the best ways possible. That you give us the peace that surpasses all understanding as we wait for Your will to be done here. That You continue to watch over us and guide us in Your ways. That You bless the work of our hands and the words that come out of our mouths. That they may be blessings to those around us. That we show others Your light through our actions and our words. That all the world may know Your love, and that we may be a part in sharing that love. Bless us. Bless those around us. That it may all be for Your glory and honor. IN JESUS’ NAME!!! AMEN!
The Kulpahar Kid’s Home is a missions based in India. It’s the oldest missions there, and the ripe age of 72 years! This missions helps local children living in a very impoverished area get an (Christian) education, medical attention, and a home. They home over 90 children on these 32 acres, keeping them safe from the elements and helping them lead healthy, happy lives in an otherwise very dangerous and unstable area of India. For $60/month you can sponsor a child. Or you can just donate as your heart feels.
So last week, I touched on something that was an incredible revelation for me, and I thought I should dig deeper because it’s probably a big missing piece for others as well. We live in a fallen world. Now, I think we all know that and have probably said it at some point, but what does it mean? What does it mean for us? What does it mean for those around us?
In the beginning, God created a perfect world, and put Adam and Eve in it. And, if you remember, at that point, God walked around on the world, and interacted with Adam and Eve directly. And life was good. But then, along came Satan, and sin. And he tempted Eve into biting the apple. And because Eve and Adam had free will, they made a choice, falling into the traps of the devil, and so we – and the world – fell. At this point, death became the ultimate repercussions for sin. And the world became Satan’s domain. Because, as we know, God cannot be in the presence of sin. He cannot look upon it. We then, spend the next couple thousand years trying to get back to God, which obviously we cannot, and so God sent His son to give us that connection back.
When Eve bit that apple, God didn’t step in and put his almighty hand between her mouth and the apple. He could have. But He didn’t. He gave us free will. Free will to do what we wanted with our lives. Free will to make choices. And, with Satan at the helm, we make the wrong choices. ” The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
Big picture – when Eve and Adam bit the apple, the condemned us to living in Satan’s world. Think about it – after this God banished them from the garden (which we have never been able to find again on Earth.) and put them out to work the fields and endure hard labor and to always be bitten by the snake, and to always have the choice to crush the snake’s head. And then, God left Earth. I do not believe there is another mention of God stepping onto Earth after the garden. He gets close, he speaks from the heavens, he manifests himself into other things, but God actually stepping on the Earth – never happens again. Because, Earth, is Satan’s playground.
Here, Satan causes all these terrible things. He uses the minds of others to manifest his wants, to kill others, to hurt others, to damage things. To steal, kill, and destroy. That’s all Satan. And, it’s not God “allowing” it. This isn’t his place. As I’ve always said, He’s a gentlemen, and this isn’t his house. That’s part of why we’re asked to let God into our hearts, to give our lives to Jesus, to have a personal relationship with God. Because that’s the only way that God can do his will on Earth – is if we ask for it. We are his vessels to manifest His will here. Think back to the Lord’s prayer – “your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.” We have to bring it down. We have to speak it into existence. We have to overcome the Devil, and demand that God bring His will into this world. Because, Adam and Eve already made the choice for us, that He had to leave, and we have to make the conscious choice to bring Him back down here.
Another – closer example – would be the Year of Great Loss, all this crazy, horrible stuff was happening. And, I’m over here going, “God, why are you doing this?” “What is the point?” “Why is this happening to me?” But see, even Satan can make a puppet that looks like God. And, if he can convince us that it’s God’s fault that bad things are happening – then, ooooh what a way to shake your faith?!?! Turn you against your Savior? Make you believe that the one thing that can save you, is the reason you’re in the mess you’re in?!!? Then, he’s GOT YOU! God doesn’t do these terrible things! He did in the old testament, but He has made a new covenant with us.
And, if you think about it, during the my year. Satan was picking at me, doing all this mayhem. Turning me on my heels. I’m begging God in prayer to stop whatever’s going on. Then, during a prayer one morning, I had this revelation, that it wasn’t God. That it was Satan. Then, I changed the game. Realized that God and I were on the same team. That we had the Victory, together. That – we – together would defeat Satan’s plots. And, if you remember, as soon as I knew who I was battling against – it only got worse. It was like Satan was like, “Fine, if you know who you’re messing with anyway,” And then proceeded to roll up his sleeves and pull out all the stops. It only spiraled into this nightmare of chaos. (I never said it was going to be easy.) But, guess what? Who’s got the victory? I do. God and I do. Because as the rest of John 10:10 says, ” The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ” or as Luke says, ” Stand firm, and you will win life. ” (Luke 21:19)
Believe in Jesus, give your Life to God, pray for Him to make you into the vessel He needs to manifest His will on Earth. Understand who your enemy is. Pray that God opens your eyes to the schemes of the devil. Pray for the peace that surpasses all understanding. Give your problems to God that He may make them into blessings. I mean, when I consider the Year of Great Loss, while it was happening, it seemed that there were no blessings in it. But, I’ve grown so much since then. I’ve used those experiences to grow. I’ve used them to help you grow, to help others around me grow. My life is so blessed now. And, even in the days that it’s not, I know who my real enemy is, and Satan will never pull that wool over my eyes again. I hope this helps. I hope this blesses you. I hope it removes the veil that Satan so enjoys having over many of us. That you never fall for this trick of the enemy again, and that you may be stronger for it. Take the victory, my dear friend.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank YOU!!! Thank you, that you have given us the victory. Thank you for this time together. I pray Father, for all who read this, that they may never falls for this trick of Satan’s. That they may always see who’s really running these puppets. That they may have the deep understanding that we live in a fallen world. That You only wish for us to have life, and have it to the full. That you rain down your blessings upon us. That you watch over us, and lay your mighty hand upon our problems. That you guide us in your amazing wisdom, in your understanding that surpasses all understanding. That we may trust in You, even when we cannot see the forest through the trees, that we know who guides our steps, and where our Faith belongs. That You may always show us the way out, always show us where our next step will be. That you are Jehovah Shammah – the God who is there. You are here, and where we’re going and all the places in between. That We may understand that, and speak your kingdom into existence-here. Thank You Father for all that You do, and all that You are, and that we may draw ever closer to You. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
This week, I’m focusing on Samaritan’s Purse. They do a lot of incredible things, and I’m sure many of you have heard of them over the years. Operation Christmas Child (which will definitely be a focus of mine in the month’s to come – as it is very near & dear to my heart) – but this week, I’m promoting because there is a current Ebola crisis happening, and Samaritan’s Purse is in there getting their hands dirty to help out. So, even if you cannot give – please pray for them. Pray for the workers, pray for the mission, pray for all those who are suffering this terrible illness. Pray for healing. Keep them in your prayers. Pray for them now. May God bless you and keep you always.
I’ve been jamming out to one of my favorite Christian rock bands recently, who were really popular when I was pretty new to the Faith – DC Talk. And, at the intro to one of their songs, they have a little saying that really got to me this week.
The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today
Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips
Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.
That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.
DC Talk, What if I stumble
This tied into another revelation I had this week. Our Faith is something we are constantly working through. ” Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, ” Phillippians 2:12
I say all of that to say this, our Faith is not something that we just have. We work on it. We exercise it. And the more we exercise, the stronger we become. Now, I would say in order to exercise it, you have to understand what you have. I think my Faith has grown significantly since I truly started to understand what my Faith meant. At its core. Let me attempt to explain.
We are saved by Jesus Christ who died for us that we may be free from having to pay for our sins, which also enables us to have a direct connection to the Father. – this is where a majority of Christians stop.
Our connection to the Father enables us to have a personal relationship with the Almighty.
In our relationship with the Almighty, we are to work toward being Christ-like – as He was the perfect example that was sent to us.
We attain this movement toward being Christ-like by exercising the will of the Father in our lives, and bringing Heaven to Earth (manifesting the will of God on Earth through us.)
We are able to perform the will of the Father because the Holy Spirit lives in us, and through the Spirit we are able to perform the will of God. (But – we do have to “activate” it by speaking it into existence through prayer or speaking).
By working for the Father, through the Holy Spirit, we become more Christ-like.
^That’s it! That is what we are to be actively doing as Christians. I believe that is what is meant by “working out our salvation”. As I stated a couple weeks ago, it’s not that we are trying to attain fruit, it’s that we are trying to be more Christ-like, and the evidence of our behavior to be more Christ-like will be evident by our fruit.
Now some of you may be asking, how do I help bring God’s will on Earth? Or why does God’s will need to be on Earth? Couple key things to understand here.
After Adam, Earth was no longer perfect and it became the kingdom of Satan. That’s why, when bad things happen, it’s not God doing it. God only wants good things for us, but we live in a fallen world. God doesn’t do the bad things, but He does see us through them. So – in understanding that this is Satan’s domain, we have to be the ones to speak the Will of God into existence. God is a gentlemen. He always has to be asked to enter the situation. You can’t just expect Him to show up. You have to be the vessel that helps manifest his will into this world. That is part of why you have the Holy Spirit, it enables you to do the Will of God, when you ask for it.
I personally think that’s a lot to take in. This past week, it all literally came together like a giant ethereal puzzle that I had to digest. I was getting all these bits and pieces, and even my blog has been evidence that I’ve been putting it together, but this last week, I was slammed with the real, whole, entire concept that just put it all together.
One of the things I would implore you to try in the coming weeks, if you are interested in growing your Faith and deepening your connection with the Father, would be to pray this prayer over your life.
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. – IN JESUS’ NAME! AMEN!!! (Ephesians 1:15-23)
This week I’m focusing on the “Alpha House” out of Sioux Falls. This organization is a non-profit that focuses on helping unexpected pregnancies. They help teens who want to keep the child become more prepared, enabling them and connecting them with networks of organizations that will continue to sponsor and assist throughout the child’s life. They also help parents navigate the adoption process if needed. *As you will see they also have information about abortion, but in no way condone, refer, or perform them. They are mainly focused on trying to help parents of unexpected and/or unwanted pregnancies find help and assistance to ensure that the baby is placed in a healthy, happy home with informed people, and that those people know that they are loved and supported throughout the child’s life.
I was having a really hard time thinking this week about all the various things I could tell you, that I couldn’t really settle on one thing. But then, as I sat down to discuss this week, I realized it’s really been on my heart that some of my original items didn’t get as much spotlight as I felt they deserved. They were the reasons that I started this blog, were these stories. They spawned the need to share with the world what God is doing in my life. Some of the original #Godshowedup. So, I decided I wanted to give them another boost. Sometimes to move forward, you have to remember where you’ve been.
The Bible Study
So, about 6 months after my dad died, it’s morning time. I’m getting ready for work, I’ve been praying (I was now back to really praying – praying for this person, these problems, etc.) And secretly, praying for a Bible Study. Oh Lord, give me a Bible Study, give me some people to help me grow. I had been praying for this for a couple years, off and on. Sometimes, thinking I’d found one, but scheduling would make it so I couldn’t go, one thing or the other, etc. But here, on this frosty April morning, as I’m walking out to my car, had just finished praying, getting ready to start my car and let it warm up for a few before I head off to work, and I hear it, clear as day. “Why don’t you start a Bible Study?” I stopped dead in my tracks. I felt like someone had just knocked the wind out of me. “Me? A bible study? That’s crazy….” And, then, “Well, maybe not so crazy. I have a couple Christian friends…. Maybe they would like to be a part of it.” Now, conveniently, for the only time that I can recall, I was going to see both of them, independently, the next day. So, I posed it to both of them, and they were both ecstatic. They would love one. Then, I told my mother about it in church the following Sunday, I’m starting a bible study, and my mom wanted to join. Alright, let’s do it!! So, we did. Now, because of all of this, I had resolved myself, that when the Holy Spirit tells me to do something, I do it. The bible study, was just the beginning.
Fast forward to months later, and here the Bible study starts to bring forth some fruit – or more appropriately cookies… Chocolate chip cookies to be exact.
So, when our bible study started, first of all, we dug in deep. Most of the ladies present were fairly well versed in the Lord, had seen him in our lives, etc. Therefore, we all felt pretty comfortable that it would be ok to just jump into a hardcore bible study entailing the Armor of God. Which, was incredible, and for the most part what a lot of us needed. But, when we really started getting our feet wet, getting the rhythm of being in a bible study down, and finally got through this hardcore meat-and-potatoes bible study. We all decided that maybe the next study would need to be an appetizer, or a dessert, and as the quasi-leader-ish person of this study, I did my homework on getting some promising books for the next study, and as a joke, wrote down a book that had “chocolate” in the title. This book is supposed to be a totally light-hearted fun filled study for a wide-variety of groups, and it really has been, but to bring us to where we are now. It has recipes in it, and every couple of bible study evenings, we make some of these items together as a group. But, part of the catch with these is that, you’re not just supposed to eat these yourself, you are supposed to share them. Share them with non-believers or believers, or whatever. They’re conversation starters, and oh how God has blessed that. Conversation starters they are.
So, our first real recipe that we’re supposed to be making is cookies… The most amazing little chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever eaten. Now, go out and share them. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not a very outspoken person when it comes to my faith, or at least, I wasn’t. So, now I have two small bags of 6 cookies each, and I’m supposed to share these with a scripture, to encourage someone… Great.
Now, for the weeks leading up to this, I had started be-friending a lady at work a little bit. And, we were really getting on good terms, and life was going great, the whole fast-friends business. Loving it! So, of course, the Holy Spirit says, share the cookies with her. And, I’m like, “But, I like her, and I don’t want to scare her off.” And, then, I was reminded of my Bible Study, the bible study that has led us here. The bible study that the cookies came from. And here, the Lord is nudging me to give her the cookies. And so, I did. She was overwhelmed. She was touched. It began conversations of the fact that she had been wanting to go back to church, but how, and fears of religion, and, and, and….
And, all these conversations I never would have had, had I not shared the cookies. Had I not moved with the Spirit, to reach out, to someone who I had absolutely no idea ever went to church, let alone had been feeling the tug of the spirit to come back. And, we have since only grown stronger, and I have only continued to encourage her in her faith, and thanked God for the incredible experience and opportunity. *Small disclaimer, the other cookies that I shared have not brought fruit that I know of, but maybe that will be a story for a later day.
Spoons (pt 1)
Ladies bible study, next chapter. Can I just say, for a book that was supposed to be light – and more like an appetizer, we are digging deep and taking a bite out of our faith here. *Little background noise here, there is a lot happening in all of our lives since this bible study has begun, and all of this is just building, and everyone has been doing a lot of growing.
We finally get to the end of the 3rd chapter of this book, and it’s spoon time. We decide to melt some chocolate and make these little spoons, that again, like the cookies, we’re supposed to share with people. This time though, I have no idea who I’m supposed to be sharing with, so they just kind of sit there, on my vanity, where I pray, hanging out for a few days, and to be honest, I forget about them for a minute. Fast forward to Friday morning, my son is getting ready for school, and I’m taking a minute to pray for the day. I put my hand down, and “Oh yeah, the spoons.” Well, I better bring them with me because otherwise, I don’t know who else I’m going to give them to. One lady I know’s name pops into my head. Oh, I bet she would appreciate one, I don’t really know her that well, but sure. So, I get to work, and I make an impromptu oragami box to put them in, and bring them up to her office. And for the lack of anything better to say when she looks at me standing in her doorway, “Hi. Good morning, I, um, have a gift for you.” And practically drop the box on her desk. I had a put a little note in there, stating something to the effect of “God bless you” and have a wonderful holiday. And, she is just overwhelmed! She begins to cry a little, and hugs me, and just thanks me over and over. We have a little discussion about our faith, and how I got to giving her little chocolate spoons this morning. And, it’s all very incredible. And she says to me, that tomorrow morning her niece is coming over for coffee, and she’s going to save her spoons and share the gospel with her then. WOW! How incredible. I’m on cloud nine. These spoons are amazing, and God is amazing. And, until an hour ago, I had no idea who I was going to share the spoons with. *And, this is just one of the spoon testimonies. – spoons – to be continued. ❤
Spoons (pt 2)
Spoons continued. Please know, we are within hours of sharing the spoons with the lady who’s going to share them with her niece. I’m trying to get back to work, and I kind of have another lady in my head, because you know – ladies bible study – sharing with ladies… right? Wrong. So wrong. 😛
So, I get a phone call, from a higher up (like higher than my boss.) Hey, Stephanie, please bring me blah, blah, blah, work stuff. Ok. *Please note here, I absolutely love my job, love the people I work with – whole separate story, but just cannot emphasize that enough, I love my job and the company I work for* So, Ok, bring you stuff you need for a meeting – check. But, as soon as I put the phone down, the Holy Spirit goes – Hey, give him a spoon. And, I’m like, No – that’s crazy. I like my job, and he’s a big boss, and I’ll get fired. And, the Holy Spirit is like, Give him a spoon…. And, I’m like, aw man. Here we go. Now, in these following moments, I’m walking around grabbing the materials requested to bring him, and I’m “rationalizing” in my mind, “Well, maybe that’s why I have my second job right now, is because I’m going to get fired. It’s going to be OK, you know, I have a good church, and a good support system, and God won’t let me fall, and I’m supposed to share these spoons, and … I’m going to get fired. Well, maybe I won’t get fired til Monday….” On and on it went. But, I packed up the little spoons, and I wrote a little note, stating I’m in a bible study, and I’m supposed to share these to share my faith, and Jesus loves you – essentially. And, I go to the office, and I drop off the stuff, and I bolt (because he’s in meetings – so at least I don’t have to see him face-to-face). I’m no sooner back at my desk when the phone rings. Are you kidding me? I answer.
“Um, hi there. Well, thanks for running that stuff right over for me.”
“Oh yeah, no problem.”
“Well, I’m really calling about the other gift you left on my desk.”
*My brain says: Of course you are… “Oh yeah, sure.”
“That’s really thoughtful of you, I really appreciate it.” *I’m now absolutely, 210% floored. Excuse me, what? I was slack-jawed on my end of the line.
This was just the beginning of a at least 5 minute conversation, where we just briefly touch on my ladies bible study and what denomination I am, and then this happened.
Him speaking, “Well, I’d like to share this article with you about some stuff that’s happened to me. I’d fallen away from the faith for a while, and then a lot of really miraculous stuff happened, and I just have this little article that someone else wrote about my experiences, and this may seem a little crazy, but you gave me the spoons, so maybe not. Would you mind if I shared with you?” “Oh absolutely!!” So – disclaimer – now I’m thinking, an article – like newspaper article, like little blip of a whatever, but that’s cool, I’m excited, this’ll be neat, and look at God show up, how incredible?! Like, I’m already ecstatic, and I can’t wait for his e-mail to come through.
Um, people, this was a four-page magazine article about him having visions/dreams (while he is fallen away from the faith), waking up in the dead of night, with inexplicable dreams and then he’s given a word. A word that will take him to Bosnia…. where these dreams come true…. and he assures me that the stuff that has happened since then is even more miraculous… WHAT?!?!
Because I shared a chocolate spoon people! Because I listened to the Holy Spirit nudge me to talk to him. To her. To them. To GO!! To GO where you are. We have since discussed that he and his wife are trying to write a book and get it published, and I just so happen to know some people who’ve published some books…. ?!?!
The Holy Spirit moves, and lives, and if you’ll let him, LIVE IN YOU!! & And Through you! And you too will have and experience the incredibleness that is God. ❤
I had an interesting experience this week. With this warmer weather, and the joys of summer coming into play. The gorgeous sunsets, the beautiful evenings, all the events that summer has to give us, and the bugs. Ugh, the bugs. I know they’re God’s creation too, but they need to stay out of my house. The only thing my husband and I can figure out, is that we had a neighbor shuffle recently in the house/apartments next to us… and someone has bed bugs. Now, I have never had bed bugs before, but it doesn’t take long to figure out why everyone hates them so much. During the time when you are sleeping, these little guys are feeding. A time when you are supposed to be safe and secure, resting and relaxing, and here are these little parasites munching away and disrupting you, when you are you’re most vulnerable. Just like Satan.
So, yesterday, when I got off work, I stopped by the store, and loaded up on supplies. Thursday before I went to bed, I had done some homework, and put together a game plan. And, as my family lovingly calls it, I went into full on “Mom mode”. Bad situation, handle it, move on. I hit the ground running, tackling the worst room first, cleaning EVERYTHING! And, it was kind of interesting, the whole time I was cleaning, vacuuming, and bagging everything up, I was reminded how we have to clean Satan from our lives. You have to get in there, and do every little inch of everything, otherwise, he’ll slowly creep back in. You have to make sure you’ve got everything covered, a plan for all of it, otherwise, you’ll miss something and he’ll use that chance to eek back in. But, also, once you’re done with the first sweep, you have to be diligent, you have to continue to keep an eye on it, so you can act at the first move to keep him at bay. These little guys are no different.
Funnily enough, right in the midst of all this, I also received a phone call from the bank that my debit card had been hijacked. Seemingly from the very mundane place where I grabbed lunch on Friday. Since my picking up lunch on Friday, there were a few attempts to use my card at some odd places around town – even though my card was with me. But, the bank was all over it. My debit card was quickly locked out, and the situation was under control. Again, like Us battling Satan. Swift crackdown. You can’t let him have the foothold, otherwise, he’ll just dig right in (and wipe you out!). You have to remember sometimes, you’re not his first victim, and you won’t be his last. He’s been at this game for thousands of years. He is the Father of Lies and deceit. He has ruled over kings and kingdoms, he has coerced people into doing unthinkable things. We are up against the most formidable foe. But, take heart, we are with the Victor. We are on the winning team. And God has a victory plan for us. We just have to live in Him. We must stay in His strong tower, and He will keep us safe.
As I quoted last week, “A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” (Charles Spurgeon) We have to keep His words in our heart so that when times such as these come, we are prepared. You have to read the Bible and be in The Word when times are good and peaceful, so that you have that ammo in your belt when you need it (and maybe there isn’t a Bible close by). You have to be so immersed in the Word that you can handle these situations when they’re happening. This, is the Strong Tower. The Tower that you make in your mind, with the Word, through building your relationship with Jesus, through prayer, through listening to God, through fellowship. All of these things work together to create the Strong Tower. You can’t just go to church on Sunday, and keep him out the rest of the week, and expect to have a Strong Tower – it’s more like a little, baby outpost (easily overrun). God’s not calling you just to go to church, that’s not what saves you. He isn’t calling you just to believe in Him, you have to trust Him. You have to immerse yourself in this relationship that you are called to have. Your relationship doesn’t end on Sunday. If you think about it, this is the only relationship that we treat this way. I’m only going to see this person, at this time, on this day, and only talk to them when I want to, but they’ll still be there for me? How would you feel if someone treated you like that? We are called to have a relationship, in every sense of that word.
Even to go back to my earlier analogy, a couple weeks ago, that He is the Tree of Life. We are the branches. We have to be connected, otherwise we’re dead. The next thought would be, how are you connected? Are you one of the little branches way out at the edges that easily breaks off? Or are you one of those big mama-jammas down near the base, tapped into the trunk, shooting off little branches of your own? You need a chainsaw to get those guys off, they’re so deep in there, you could cut them off on your own if you wanted to. Also, those big branches are healthy, aren’t they? Because they’re tapped into the source. The trunk that gives nutrients. When the weather gets tough, they’re still solid. Not those little guys, they break, sometimes with the slightest wind, they snap off into the air to be tossed about. Which one do you want to be? That’s the question here. That’s what you need to be asking yourself. You have the key. You have the trunk right at your fingertips, GRAB IT! Dig deeper. Don’t let the excuses of not enough time hold you back. Make time. This is your salvation! Let the grace of God live inside you.
What does the Bible say?
” The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. ” Proverbs 18:10
For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. Psalm 61:3
For he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours because we have sought the LORD our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered. – 2 Chronicles 14:7
For thus the Lord says to me, “Go, station the lookout, let him report what he sees. “When he sees riders, horsemen in pairs, A train of donkeys, a train of camels, Let him pay close attention, very close attention.” Then the lookout called, “O Lord, I stand continually by day on the watchtower, And I am stationed every night at my guard post. – Isaiah 21:6-9
God, in her palaces, Has made Himself known as a stronghold. – Psalm 48:3
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. – Psalm 1:1-3
But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever. – Psalm 52:8
Each of them will sit under his vine And under his fig tree, With no one to make them afraid, For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken – Micah 4:4
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls – Proverbs 11:30
“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 7:17-19
“They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands. – Isaiah 65:22
Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness. – 1 Peter 2:24
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you! Thank you for sending your Son to save us. Thank you for making a way, when there was no way. Thank you that we can have a personal relationship with you. That we can live in your Word, and have you build a strong tower within us. That we may know that You are God, in every part of our lives. That your hands may be at work within us, and that we may worship You in all that You are, and everything we do. We thank you Father for your Amazing Grace and Mercy! That you may help us to grow in Your Word. That we may be Your branches. That others may see Your light by us, and through us. Give us the still peace that You are, give us the glorious grace that we need, give us every nutrient You have Father. Give us the words, give us the actions, give us everything we need to live and grow closer to You. Help us be the Victors in You Father. Help us crush Satan under our heel. Make us the head and not the tail Father. Shine Your glorious love in us, and through us. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Kid’s Night Out! is this week!
Sponsored by my local church. They advertise in the papers and invite the whole community to a night filled with games for kids, and FREE BIKE GIVEAWAYS. They do this via Raffle. We’ve given away hundreds of bikes over the years, and while we’re raffling, we also share THE GOOD NEWS with everyone in attendance.
So, I had an interesting experience this week. I started a ladies bible study group about a year ago, and over the course of the year, as I’ve shared with other women, I’ve received a lot of people telling me they would like to get involved. This past week, we were getting ready to launch our new book, so I had a kick-off party. I invited every single person who said they were interested over these past few months. I invited some other people who I thought might enjoy it. I shared the word like I was starting a church. I organized games, prizes, drawings, snacks, had the first chapter of the book made in mass so everyone could get a preview. It was going to be GREAT!! I was so excited. All these women getting together to share and grow in Jesus.
Now, my “core” group is great! We are all friends outside of group, we’ve grown and shrank over this past year. We’ve been through some rough stuff and some great stuff. We’ve gotten together and hung out, outside of bible study. We’ve been there for each other. We’ve had nights where we had so much going on in our lives that we’ve just shared and been there for each and to give encouragement or advice, or just shared testimonies of how Jesus is working in our lives, instead of doing the actual “study”. We’ve crashed other bible study events because someone else was doing something that we thought we’d all enjoy and set our lesson plan aside. We’ve had craft and cooking nights, where the items we make are meant to be shared with people outside the group, to share our testimonies and bring others to the faith, or simply encourage them on their walk. I’m so proud of this group, and so encouraged by them. They’re exactly what I want and what I need. I believe that this is a big part of why I have grown so much in my walk over the past year, is because I needed this. I needed a core group of fellow believers to help me digest everything I’m learning during the week, to help me apply these things to my life, to share their experiences, to share scripture they know and give me insight on what Jesus says I should do in this situation. And, I do the same for them. Part of what’s so fun about our group, we don’t all go to the same church, nor are we the same denomination. And, I believe that we’re all changed, and definitely better believers, and better people for it.
Now, back to the party…. We set up, we had a room big enough to fit everyone reserved, we had name tags, snacks, everything. My core showed up, helped set up, brought their snacks, we arranged tables, got the games out. And waited…. and waited…. and no one came. No one. Not one new person. We waited a good 45 minutes after we we’re scheduled to start. Not one.
But, you know what? We still had a great time! We learned new things about each other, we’ve all been hanging out for over a year, and I still learned new things about my group that I didn’t know. We won all our prizes 🙂 Everyone went home with something. We all decided that we really enjoyed doing the games and we would start doing something with new games at either every meeting or every craft/cooking night. We had a really good discussion about stuff that’s been going on. We worked out our schedule for the summer. We definitely ate a lion’s share of all the chocolatey good snacks and really enjoyed each other’s company. We made arrangements for the following week. And, everyone reminded me, that people weren’t saying “no” to me. And, I get that, but I was so excited because this whole experience has done so much for me, and I wanted to share that with others, but I guess that’s just not part of the plan yet. And, that’s ok. I’ll have another one in the fall. The people who are supposed to be here, are here, and the doors are always open. As we all know, the Lord has timing for everything, and we just have to trust it.
What does the Bible say?
Now, as my mother always says, when the bible has a “therefore” look at the before.
1 Thessalonians 5:8-10 ” But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.”
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28
12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Now, I believe that Bible studies are important because you need help. You need a group of people praying for you, a group sharing with you, giving you advice, helping you grow, reminding you what the Bible says about your situations, because:
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14
You are going to face trials. You are going to struggle. Because you’re a believer, and because we live in a fallen world. And, you need support. Just like you need church. Just like Jesus had the Apostles. Our relationship is with the Lord, but having those around you to encourage you and help you grow, I believe, are just as important.
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:19-20
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you. Thank you for our experiences. Thank you for our chances to grow. Thank you for everything you do for us. Thank you for sending your Son to save us. Thank you for encouraging me in the Faith today, and every day. Thank you for the blessing of believers that you have brought into my life. I pray that you bring these believers and encouragers into the lives of everyone. That you may lay your hands upon others to encourage and to grow, and to find their people to help them along their walks. That you may lay the same fire in their hearts to grow closer to you Father. That everyone can find encouragement in those around them, that they walk closer to you Father. I just pray for your blessing in our lives. I pray that we see your work everywhere, and in everyone. Words cannot express how grateful I am that you laid it on my heart to start my own Bible study and that you gave me such an incredible group of people to grow with, and I pray for that blessing on everyone reading this. I pray that everyone finds a group or fellow believer to have such a relationship with to grow. To learn your word, to make them better people. Thank you so much for all You do Father, and what you will continue to do, in all our lives. IN JESUS’ NAME! AMEN!!
Mission this week:
Each week, I’ve taken to supporting a mission outreach, here’s this week:
I’ve had a story in my heart this week. And it all started with stumbling across this picture. It spoke to me. AMEN!! Sometimes, Faith will make you look stupid… until it starts to rain. I mean. It just flooded me with a particular story, which led to another, which has brought me to another…. and two of them, were after I saw this picture.
Let me share an interesting moment. Several years ago, my life had blown up in my face. I had just left a job of 5 years, with one of my favorite people, to start a new career path, and we were going to buy a house in the little town that the new job was in. And, I was loving the job. Everything was great! And, then, one day I got pulled into the CEO’s office, and proceeded to get eaten alive by the CEO and his right hand. I was able to pull out of buying the house in time, but it was all mortifying and heartbreaking! I still had a job, but if stuff was going to be like this, I wasn’t sticking around. And, in the midst of this angst, I put in an app at one company. That’s it, just one, and prayed for the best. It was all just taking a minute for me to really wrap my head around what was happening, so I hadn’t really hit the streets with my application yet. Then, our 1 vehicle started acting up, and I didn’t feel comfortable driving the 30-45 minutes to this job I was planning on leaving, anymore. So, I just quit. Turned in a resignation online, and just gave up. – This was on a Friday. I got called in for an interview on Monday. That all seemed well and good, couple days went by, I get called in for the next interview. Now, this job was entry-level, but bills don’t care right? So, I go in for the second interview, and I’m thinking I’m going to be talking shop, which I can do. And, they throw me a curve ball, and give me a manager who I don’t think has done “shop” a day in her life. So, I’m answering the ticky-tacky questions that they’re required to ask, and we get all done, and she just flips the paper over, and looks me dead-in-the-eye, and says,
“What are you doing?” “Excuse me?”
“What are you doing? You obviously are way over-qualified. What are you doing?”
She caught me so off-guard, I just told the truth.
“Well, my career just blew up in my face, I just backed out on buying a house, and I still have to pay my bills. I’m good at running machines, you have machines, and I just need some time to think and figure out what I’m going to do.”
“Ok, thanks for coming in.”
So, of course, everyone’s like, how’d it go? blah, blah, blah. And, bar none, worst interview ever. But, that afternoon, they called, and I started that next Monday. That was over 5 years ago. I spent a year on the floor, four years as a Quality Technician in the Evaluation Lab, and I just got promoted to being a Buyer. Look at #Godshowup! It all seemed like utter madness when it was happening, but I wouldn’t have thought of it myself. Which is why I’m so glad, God has better plans for us, we just have to trust Him and HE WILL BRING THE RAIN!!!
So, I met a man last night, who has an incredible story. 38 years ago, he was going through a similar circumstance. He had dreams, goals, things he had figured out with his life. And, he failed. It all blew up in his face, and he said, the whole time that God was nagging at him to minister, and he kept saying, “I will when ….” whatever. Well, all his whatever’s fell through, and here God had gotten him all alone, and was like, “Go”. And, he says, “With what?” God told him, “with what you have.” He had coffee and bread. This man lives near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Near the favelas. Where some of the poorest of the poor live.
He went out on the streets with coffee and bread. He stumbled across some kids (12-14 years old) who were so high they couldn’t even tell him their own names at first. After giving them some of the coffee and bread, one of the kids asked this man to spell his name. “Ok, what’s your name?” “Cisero” So, he wrote down the kid’s name on a piece of paper. And, the kid said, “Now, I’m somebody!” That simple act had made those kids feel important. He asked them if they wanted to know Jesus, they did. He led them in the Sinner’s prayer, and talked with them a while more. Then, right as he was getting ready to leave, one kid yells out, “Hey, you coming back tomorrow?” The man said, “Yes. I’ll see you tomorrow.” This was the beginning of his ministry.
Over the years, he has helped thousands of kids break the cycle of poverty. He now leads a ministry group that orchestrates a school for the kids of the favela teaching them photography, music, art, computer skills. They have one of the only computer labs in the city! Feeding them every day! Feeding their entire families a couple times a year! Encouraging them to fellowship with each other and minister to others. Sometimes they help the kids all the way through college, and all the while teaching the love of Jesus. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE MINISTRY!! It seemed crazy, and then GOD BROUGHT THE RAIN!!!
So, I’m talking to the guy a little after service is over, and we start discussing some different stuff, and I tell him about my blog. This peaks his interest. He needs a Marketing Manager for their Facebook and social media. They’re so busy down there with the day-in and out of the kids and activities that they’re struggling to get the word out to people to help their ministry. Well, because I have my blog, I also have a social network. I tell him I will reach out to the ladies who also have Christian blogs to see if someone might have the skills he’s looking for. So, I get home last night and post it to the FB page. I’ve already had two people reach out who are both looking for a ministry, and have been to the area in Brazil and would love to be a Marketing Manager for him! People who have been praying – for rain! and – GOD BROUGHT THE RAIN!!!
Now, if I hadn’t started a blog, we would’ve had an entirely different conversation. If I had stayed home last night, I never would’ve met him. If I hadn’t…. believed that God would bring the rain. I don’t know that I’ve ever posted something to this FB group, except for the usual stuff we do, reading each other’s blogs, encouraging each other, etc. But, last night, I jumped on and threw it out there. And God brought the rain. He always does.
All of these stories have also inspired me to try to see if my ladies’ Bible Study would be interested in doing free will donations to featured ministries every other month. AND, I will be promoting a ministry in my blog. You can check out this gentleman’s ministry here, and donate or sponsor a child, or just pray for them! Because who doesn’t need more prayer?!?!
I hope these encourage you. I hope they bless you. I hope you know, that if you have faith, God will always bring the rain!! He never fails, never gives up, and he’s always there. One of my favorite Pastor Kevin quotes, “God has more faith in you than you do!” Tell him to BRING THE RAIN!! He will not disappoint.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your everlasting rain. Thank you for always showing up, right on time, all the time. Thank you that you give us the examples of Noah and people along our walks to reassure us that you will always bring the rain. You are the beginning and the end, the SAME GOD as Noah and Abraham, and who raised JESUS FROM THE DEAD, is the SAME GOD TODAY! You’re always there. Always watching, always ready to catch us, and show us something better. Give us the Faith and the peace to trust your will, and that you always have something better in mind for us. Thank you Father that you have more Faith in us than we do, and may we all learn to have the same Faith in you. Thank you for all that you are and all that you would have us be. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
To learn more about Marcondes Marques and his ministry. Check out @ChanneltoBrazil on Facebook or go to their website: http://www.thechannel.org
This past week has been a week of worry for quite a few people in my life. And the mix of things go from worrying about something small that is going to happen the next day and be over in ten minutes, to life-changing adult issues that could, and probably will, affect the rest of their lives. And, to be honest, I’m pretty proud, because I think this is the most chill I’ve ever been in my life. 3 years ago, it wouldn’t have been the same story. 3 years ago, I would’ve been a wreck. I would’ve have been worrying, and racking my brain on how to help all these people. But, I’ve really grown in the past three years. I’ve learned that God shows up. I’ve learned that the ONLY thing I can do sometimes, is pray about it and trust that God is going to put his hand in there and sort it all out. I have also learned that God is going to fix it, however he’s going to fix it, and that I need to trust what he does. Not all of my concerns have worked out the way I thought, or in a way that I feel is right, but I also know that I can’t see the big picture, so eventually, someday, it’s all going to make sense.
What does God say:
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. – Proverbs 12:25
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God – Phillippians 4:6-7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
And, as I’m sure, many of you have heard in your lives, the Bible is quoted to have said, “Fear not” 365 times, which is one for every day of the year. Why? Why should we fear not? Because God has promises, and we need only to remember them.
The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still – Exodus 14:14
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. – Isaiah 40:29
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, – Isaiah 54:10
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14
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
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
So, if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed – John 8:36
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. – Mark 11:24
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. – Phillippians 4:19
I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. – Psalm 18:3
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. – Psalm 34:17
God is putting his hand on your life. God will step in for you. God will show up. God will be there, if you only let him. God has got it all under control, and you just need to pray for the peace that surpasses all understanding in Christ Jesus, to let him do it. Humble yourself to the Lord, and ask him to fix it, and to give you the peace to stand back and let Him.
You know, it’s always so incredible, and part of why I love my blog so much. There are weeks, where I totally know what I’m going to talk to you guys about, and then there are weeks like today, where I literally sat down in front of the computer without a clue of what we were going to discuss, and sometimes it’s just a word, and sometimes it’s everything that’s in here – just comes pouring forth from my fingertips. That someone who reads this, it’s exactly what they needed to hear. That God is speaking to you. I’ve received so many incredible testimonies of people moved by what is shared here. And, I pray that it continues, as long as it needs to. I pray that God continues to use me as a vessel to help others see his glory and his grace and his overwhelming love for all of you. That it may bless you and keep you, just as the ever-loving Father intended.
Dear Heavenly Father, you are such a good God, and I thank you for all that you are. I thank you, that you are actively working in our lives and that you care for us. I thank you for the opportunity to share with these people and help them grow in Your word. You are so incredible and amazing, and I thank you that you sent your Son that we may be your people. I just want to pray for anyone reading this, that they may see you Show UP! That whatever is troubling them may be overcome by you. That you are the Victor, Father, and that we need only to trust in your word and in You. That your blessings may pour out on our lives, that we become so blessed we don’t know what to do with ourselves but share the testimonies and victories with others that they may receive your blessings too. That you are the great and glorious God of all, and the SAME GOD who blessed Abraham, and the SAME GOD who sent his Son for us and raised Him from the DEAD, is the SAME GOD who is blessing us today. That NOTHING is too big for You God, and we need only to be still and let you have your way with us, and in us, and around us. May we be so blessed that all we can see is YOU. Thank you. Thank you for your blessings. IN JESUS’ NAME! AMEN!!!
If you would like some stories on how life can be a wreck:
So, if you’ve been with me for a while here, then you know, I completely see God working in my life. If not, feel free to take a stroll through some of my previous posts, like Christmas Story, Year of Great Loss, or How I’ve gotten here. But, the truth is, I absolutely see God working in my life. This is also evidenced by my Prayer Box. Which is a collection of answered prayers over the years, which, if you don’t have a way to record how God is answering your prayers, I suggest you start, since it really gives you a chance to reflect, and to thank God for all he does for you. It also is a testimony you can share with others, when they’re having questions about what your God does for you.
But, I’m really telling you that ^, to tell you this. What makes us so different? Do I have something you don’t? Do you feel like God isn’t showing up for you? He can. He absolutely will. If you want him to, he’ll step right in, and be all that you think he can be, and more. If you do feel like God is actively present in your life, AMEN! Good for you! I’m glad! It’s one of the most incredible and amazing feelings there is. It’s comforting, it’s amazing, it’s just bar-none, one of the best feelings you can experience, and if you’ve already got it, then I’m so happy for you. But, if you don’t… read on. Let me share with you a big part of how I got here.
Change the game
Obviously, if you don’t feel like God’s showing up, change the game. The first thing, I suggest, is prayer. Talking to God – makes you want to read about God, reading about God – makes you want to get around people who are experiencing God in their lives, and experiencing God in our lives – is the end game, right? Everything else kinda falls in after that. Once you’re really experiencing God in your life, you want to tell people about it, you want to volunteer, you want to draw closer, learn more, be more – all of it. But, if you’re struggling to have that connection, the most powerful thing you can do is pray. There’s a reason they’re called prayer warriors. They’ve honed their skills, they’re in battle, they’re making plans and waiting to listen to what the Father has to say about what they should do. They’re warriors, they’ve spent time on their knees, on their hands and faces, crying out to God, talking to God, sharpening their iron, and asking the Father for exactly what they need or want, or whatever. But, how do we get there? It’s going to sound simple, because it is. Take the time to pray.
Now, how do we pray? How do you pray? Well, their’s the Lord’s Prayer, which really is a very basic template that we can use. And, from everything I understand, if we follow that template, it gives you a really good start to get rolling.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
So, let’s take that. Starting with telling God how good he is. Thanking him for everything he’s given to us. There’s another scripture that tells us, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4. We start with telling God how amazing we know he is, or how amazing he can be, and thanking him for all we have. You can be as specific or general as you are comfortable. You’re proclaiming this, reassuring yourself and God that he is good, and you are grateful. Grateful that he sent his son to die for you and thankful for all that you have. He is the good Father, and he wants to do good things for you. Also, let’s remember that it’s much easier to ask for stuff when we’re talking nicely isn’t it? Get more flies with honey, start the conversation off on a good note.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,
Here it gets a little more intense. One of the hardest things for us to get through our heads, is that we need to ask for his will to be done. Not ours. His will, is always, so much better than ours. His will be done. Bring it down to Earth. Don’t ask for the specific outcome you want all the time, especially if it’s a tricky situation. Example: a very sick baby is in the ICU, you may instinctively ask for the baby to come home…. but what we really want is for a healthy baby to come home, no matter how long that takes in the hospital. Therefore: Heal the baby. Miraculous, overwhelming health, so the baby can come home. Proclaim the baby’s health over the want for it to come home. Right? That’s a very basic example, but really, you have to change the way you think a little bit. Think about what you’re asking for. Or, if you don’t know what you’re asking for (i.e. you don’t understand what the situation’s best outcome would be) then, just give it to God. “God, lay your hands on this situation. Give everyone the understanding and the wisdom to make the best choices. You, Father, are the only one who knows how to fix this, put the solution in the minds and hearts of those who need to know how to fix this.” We’re messengers and warriors bringing his will down to Earth. Proclaim it, give Him the in to the situation. His will be done.
Give us this day, our daily bread
Provide for me and my family, meet our needs, exceed our needs. Help me know throughout the day, what I need to do, and give me the strength to do it. Help me give bread to others.
And forgive us of our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us
OOOOOOoohhhh snap. Can we skip this part? lol. This, is a good reminder, that every day, we need to forgive, because he forgives us. That grudge you’ve been holding, let it go. If God can forgive you, you need to forgive others. Ask for him to help you forgive others. I’ll be honest, I’m still actively working on this. I have a couple people, I need to forgive, and I’m continuously asking God to help give me the grace and the peace to forgive them. I know that the problem is my own, the people have shown repentance and remorse, and I need to forgive. I need to forgive because it’s what’s best for me, not necessarily what’s best for them, even if they haven’t acted sorry or said sorry, we didn’t say we were sorry originally either, but God forgave us, so we must also forgive. Take a moment to be honest with God. Or take the moment to ask for forgiveness about stuff you know you did wrong. We’re all sinners, struggling to get better, ask him to help you be better, it works. He will. He wants the best for all of us, but we need to be honest about it.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
Ask Him to help you walk the straight and narrow. We all have monkeys on our backs, skeletons in our closets, and vices that we’re dealing with. Ask him to guide you to the better you. Give him the in to your conscience, to catch you up when you’re looking to slip up. Ask him to save you from you. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. He knows that, the apostles knew it, Jesus knew it, everybody knows it, ask God to help you with it. We are our own worst enemies, that’s why God put a God-shaped hole in us, because only in Him can we be complete. Only in Him can we conquer our demons. Only in Him can we aspire to be more than we are, in every way. And if you’ve got something that you’re struggling with, start spending that time with God, praying, reading, getting with the right crowd, whatever. Fill it up, with God time. He does not disappoint! I can personally attest to the fact that NOTHING else fills that hole like Jesus does.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen!
Amen and AMEN!!! We’re closing with a promise. Your kingdom, forever and ever and ever. He is the victor. Bring him down to Earth. Thank you God for being good. Thank you God that your kingdom reigns.
If you follow this template, you’re on the right track. You’ll be spending more time with God. Open up the prayer. Carve out time from your schedule to talk to God. I wake up 10-15 minutes earlier than I used to, just to be sure I have God time. I get down on my hands and knees, with my face on the floor, most mornings, and proceed to pour out my soul before I start the day. I ask him to guide my steps. I ask him to protect me and my family and friends and whomever else I’ve been asked to pray for. I ask for his intervention where-ever it’s needed. Feel free to step in at any moment God, I will absolutely step aside. I don’t need to fix everything, I can’t fix everything, and THAT’S TOTALLY OK!!! We are not God. We’re just his children, and sometimes with children, parents need to step in. Just let it happen. You’ll be a better person for it. Ask for the wisdom to understand when those moments are.
I think I feel so compelled to share this with you, because I recently prayed with someone, and when I got done praying. They lifted their head, and said, “You are praying totally different than I’ve ever heard. I don’t think we have the same God.” And, I responded, “Well, my God shows up. And my God knows what to do, and I just pray in a way that let’s him show up and do what he needs to do to fix it.” And, to be honest, that was a really hard prayer, over an incredibly difficult and scary situation, and I just started with, You’re the Good Father, we’ve messed up, but you love us, and you’re absolutely going to step in and save us, because that’s what you do, you’re the God that saves. – it was a lot longer than that, but I have never felt so calm and relaxed and confident about a situation in my life. But, I know that He shows up, you just need to step aside. And that person felt much better about the situation too, just because I felt so confident about it. But, trust me, that person and I used to pray the same way – the only difference is, I’ve changed the game, to how it’s really supposed to be.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much. Thank you for this blog. Thank you for this opportunity to talk to all these people. Thank you for being amazing! Thank you for all the incredible things in my life. Thank you for knowing more than me and knowing what’s best for me, and looking out for me, and all these people reading this. Thank you that they are taking the time to read this, that they want to draw closer to you, Lord. Watch over them Father. Keep them safe. Bless them. Bless their lives. Open your windows and pour out blessings upon them. Give them so much that they don’t know what to do with it all, and then give them more. Bless their relationships, bless their minds and their hearts. Reach in there, and make them hearts of flesh and hearts on fire for you, Father. Draw them closer to you Father. Help them fill that God shaped hole in their life. Forgive them Father, help them forgive others. Help bring us all closer together. Help us see what you want us to see, bless our hands and feet that they do your will. Help us bring glory and honor to you, in all that we do. IN JESUS’ NAME!!! AMEN!!
These past few weeks at my new job have been interesting. And, again, I deeply appreciate my guest entry last week, as that helped lighten my load, as it started to warm up here, and it created a whole slew of things to do. But, as I sit down, to wonder what we’re going to discuss here this week, it all became clear – in an instant. Be your best you. As my verse this week states: we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God made us just as we were intended to be. Be your best you. Easier said than done. I’ve had a couple reminders these past few weeks. I’ll share with you here.
Get it together
I’m a really organized person. Like really organized. It’s a control thing, it’s an OCD thing, it’s how my brain works, and when things get too messy, I struggle to cope and to keep up. Which is a far cry from where I used to be. But, how I got here is not too much of the point. The point is, with a new job, you have to switch gears. You have to get a new kind of organized. What worked for your old job, will not necessarily work for your new. And, in my new role, I’m moving at the speed of the internet, so taking the time to figure out how to organize stuff is not really up there on everyone else’s priorities, but it was jamming me up. What I mean by that, is my new boss would ask me a question about something, and because I haven’t gotten a system together yet, it’s taking me 3x as long to get the answer, get it together, figure out where that one thing was written…. UGH!!! Not me. Not me, at all. Although, he’s been incredibly graceful and understanding, I feel like I’ve got egg on my face. So, I took extra time these past couple days to start sorting, organizing, and putting myself back together. And, I already feel a lot better. Because I know, that my best self, cannot function under a certain level of chaos. But – it took me a long time to figure that out. Before, I would just buckle under pressure. Not understanding what my issue was. Not understanding why I suddenly just couldn’t do something any more. Retrospect – it got too messy, and I had not been taking any maintenance steps to clean it up. Or any extra steps to get it under control in the first place. Although you might not need to clean or organize to function, you do have something that helps you feel like you’ve got it together, and you need to make sure that when life starts spiraling, you’re taking the extra time or making time to do what you need to do, to be the best you. Otherwise, something’s going to give… and it’ll probably be you.
Give yourself some grace
Now, because I’ve learned from past mistakes, and because this isn’t my first rodeo. I also understand that I need to give myself some grace. We are always our own worst critics. And as you saw a moment ago, my boss has been very gracious, he gets it. This job is intense. You know the job’s going to be intense, when they’re forewarning you, in the interview. Straight-up. No beating around the bush. How do you handle stress? And, we strive to only work 45 hour weeks… Absolutely transparent about what I’m signing up for. And, although, it’s only my second week, I knew that I needed to figure something out quickly, even if it would go through major re-vamping later. And, my boss has told me, almost every single day, “Good job.” “You did well today”. Something. So, I know that I’m putting my best foot forward, and he is acknowledging that. It’s ok that I’m struggling for stuff here and there, I’m trying to catch 50 balls in the air, it’s no easy task. In the first few weeks, some stuff is going to hit the ground, and that’s ok. I think, everyone would be surprised if some stuff didn’t fall. I still feel really great about my job. I like my boss. I do not regret my decisions. I do not feel like I have to be perfect. And, I’m totally honest when I catch a mistake. And, everyone would much rather be told that a mistake happened and proactively do something about it, than catch it two weeks from now when it hit the fan. Learning moment. *By the way, that’s just something to live by. Own your mistakes, asking for grace in advance is much healthier than asking for it afterwards. And, it slips out of people’s memories a lot faster than when it all went catastrophically wrong and you spent twice as much time cleaning up the mess. Ain’t nobody got time for that 😉 Give yourself grace like God gives you grace. Every day, all the time. It’s hard being a human. Cut yourself some slack.
Know your worth
Here’s my favorite story of the week. My son was playing a new computer game the other night, and unbeknownst to us, it had a chat feed at the bottom of the screen. So, here’s my son, playing a brand new game that he’s been all excited about, and he’s struggling, and the trolls show up…. And, you know, they all start saying all this horrible garbage, because that’s what trolls do. Next thing we know, we tell him his time is up, and as he angrily closes out the screens, he turns around, and he’s got tears streaming down his face. And, I’m thinking, he’s upset because his time went by “too quickly” and he wants to keep playing. So I start saying, you know, we set a timer, timer’s done, man. He’s like, “No, it’s not that. It’s just that everyone sucks.” And I’m like, ? “What are you talking about? Who sucks?” He says, “All those awful people in the game.” Again, “What?” Then, he informs us that there was a little chat screen below the big game window (that we couldn’t really see from where we sit), and that he was having a hard time playing the game because he didn’t understand some of the stuff, and that people were making fun of him. OOOOOOHHHHHH!!!! *Mom moment* Well, honey, you can’t let those people get to you, they’re just angry little kids, they had no idea it was your first time playing. (disclaimer, my son is almost 10) The conversation continues, and morphs into a discussion where I finally looked at him and said, “I’m going to give you some real grown up advice here. You ready? You can’t ever let someone tell you what you’re worth. You have to decide that. You know, you’re an amazing little kid, you’re in Cub Scouts, you do community service, you’re learning the piano, you’re an A/B student, you’re amazing. You have a good heart. Those kids don’t know any of that stuff. Same thing goes for kids at school, they have no idea all the stuff you do, and even if you’re not good at some things, you’re an incredible human being.” He kinda just looked at me like I was stuck in the dark ages. So, “You know why I got this new job?” “Because it gives you more money.” “No, I mean, do you know why I got this new job when other people didn’t? I was up against like 20 other applicants. Why I got it?” He shakes his head no. “I got this job, because I walked in there and told those people I was worth it. Didn’t matter that I was one of the youngest applicants. Didn’t matter that I hadn’t done this job in over 5 years. Didn’t matter anything else. I walked in there, and I owned it. Because I knew I was worth it. Because I decided a long time ago, if I want something, I’m worth it. You know, when I was growing up, I got made fun of because I had glasses, because I was poor, because I lived on a farm, because I had an accent, because of whatever, but I realized one day, that I’m worth it. And no one else is ever going to tell me that, you can’t ever let someone else decide how much you’re worth. You have to know, then tell everybody else how it is.” <—- I think that’s some of the best advice that has ever come out of my mouth. It was a super proud mom moment. I hope it sticks. It’s true.
She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. – Proverbs 3:15
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Luke 12:6-7 (During a time when pennies were like a day’s wages)
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved – Colossians 3:12a
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. – Psalm 139:13-14
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God – Matthew 5:5-9
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. – Psalm 100:3
We are beautiful and wonderful to God. He made us. Every last bit of us, and although we are always striving to be better people in general and more Christ-like, we’re still worth it. Every day of the week! Every time! We’re always worth it! One of my favorite pinterest quotes is this:
I mean! C’mon! Think about yourself that way! I hope this helps. I hope it inspires. I hope you all know, I’m praying for you. For you to be the best you, but even if every day doesn’t feel like that, you’re still trying, being a human is hard. Take a tip from the Father, and give yourself some grace! ❤
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace. Thank you for your overwhelming grace and mercy. May it pour out upon us. Into our souls. Deep down in the depths of our being, so much, as to overflow onto those around us. That others may see your grace through us. That we may show your grace because we know your grace. Thank you for your blessings Father. Thank you for the lives that we live. Thank you that you are the great Father that knit us together in our mother’s wombs. That you remind us of how special and precious we are. That you, who created everything, decided the world needed one of us too. Thank you for giving us the chance to honor you with our lives. Thank you that your grace and mercy knows no bounds, and that you don’t leave us where we are but you are always helping us fine tune ourselves to be more like you. Thank you that we’re worth it. Every time, all the time. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!!
This week, I’m happy to have a guest entry. I’d like to introduce Jeff Struwe. We go to the same church, and we work at the same place. Jeff and I connected a few weeks ago after Sunday Service, and I gave him my card to hop online and check out my blog. He was so interested and excited about it, that I offered to have him do a guest entry for me. And, he did not disappoint! Jeff is working with a local group to compile a book, that I must admit, I cannot wait to read! I hope you all enjoy Jeff’s share as much as I did. ❤ Thanks Jeff!
The Wide Gate
Walking In Faith is one of those blogs that once I read the first one I look forward to the next. Stephanie Hale has created this blog who gives us life lessons while walking in faith. I am extremely privileged to be allowed to participate in this week’s Walking In Faith.
My personal testimony is perfect for Christ’s teaching in Matthew 7. And making a bold prediction, many born again Christians will admittedly agree.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7: 13-14
When I was 14 years-old a friend’s father paid for a one week Baptist bible camp in North Dakota. This was in lieu of payment for doing chores on their family farm. I concurred. What followed was my biggest life changing moment. On the next to last day of camp, I gave my life to Jesus. However, what followed for 39 years was anything but living a life of Christ. Our actions are our responsibility. I had no idea how to follow up once I gave my life to Jesus; regular bible study (daily), attending a bible based church, and the camaraderie with other born again Christians. You see, for the 39 years I did virtually what I wished. Nothing bad, but certainly not a Christian lifestyle. I basically put Jesus on a back burner and helped raise a family until after 20 years of marriage ended in divorce.
But never once did I feel miserable. A second relationship didn’t fare well either. But this time I knew things had to change. Not only was this last relationship a failure, but after working for 20 years with the Post Office – a job I really loved – work began to get on my nerves.
The Narrow Gate
I left everything behind and struck out for a place I referred to as home (South Dakota). I guess I was like Jonah. Trying to hide from God. We all know how that turned out and it was no different than my situation.
You see, I was walking on that wide path and realized destruction wasn’t far away. I needed to do something, so . . . I literally called out to Jesus and reminded Him that 39 years ago I gave Him my life. Imagine, reminding Jesus of my situation. After being hired by my current employer, the Holy Spirit spoke to me about finding a church. (#Godshowedup) I attended a few in the surrounding area of Brookings, but after dating a co-worker for a month or so, she brought me to Holy Life Tabernacle in Brookings. BINGO. Twelve years later, my most important day of the week is Sunday. Fellowship at the Tabernacle. And that co-worker? We have been married 11+ years.
I have to be perfectly clear though. Even knowing that I am on that narrow path leading to the greatest prize, Heaven, I must watch my step. And I know that many, many others are in the same situation I am. I would like to offer 2 Christian songs about my Walk In Faith. The first is the song, “I Am A Child of God.” The lyric is: “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.” You see, fear is the opposite of faith, and to walk in faith we are applying the teachings of Jesus and living with the Holy Spirit within us. The other is a song by Building 429. The title is “Where I Belong” and the lyric is, “All I know is I’m not here yet, This is not where I belong, Take this world and give me Jesus, This is not where I belong . . . “
Dwell on these lyrics. John 14:6 says, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Walking in fear is giving in to the devil and walking in faith is following Jesus. And Building 429 tells us that as followers of Christ, this world that we live on is temporary and living with Jesus is eternity. To all my brothers and sisters in Christ, walk on that narrow path that Jesus describes to us in Matthew 7. Walk in Faith and you will be rewarded the grand prize.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you have faith in us. Thank you that you do not leave us where we are. That you save us from us! Thank you that you have made a way for us to get to you. That we are reminded that You want us all to be saved. Whether we sin terribly, or whether we’re just not quite walking as straight of a path as we should. You’ve forgiven it all, you’ve removed our sin from us as far as the East is from the West. That we may always remember that you wash us white as snow, as the pure, freshly fallen crystal snow, that’s so pure. Our sin is removed by your blood, that you’ve paid the ultimate price and that we may honor our covenant with you by living in a way that you would want for us. That we may honor your name with all that we are, that we continue to straighten our feet and keep our eyes on the prize – our eternal life with you. That no matter where we’re at, we can re-adjust our steps and fall in line with your will for us. That you are the good, good Father, and that you only want good things for us. Thank you Father for all that you are, and all that you would have us be. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
I’m kinda at a loss this week. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be writing about today. I’ve been in a bit of a lull, as things open back up and cases rise, getting back into schedules and the swing of things, I have been struggling for growth.
The one thing I can tell you, is that during this time, my routines of fellowshipping with God have been very important to keeping me in line with the Spirit. Of not letting my lull become a backward slope. Just as important as they were when churches shut down and interpersonal fellowship wasn’t possible any more, here they are again, keeping me grounded in the faith. One thing I’ve realized is that maybe this concept could help others. Years ago, I smashed the sides of God’s box and let him in to all aspects of my life. And that, has truly changed my relationship with Him, and who I am as a person. This has grown my faith exponentially, and contributed to so many things that I am grateful for today.
One disclaimer I would like to put here, is that I did not add all of these things to my life at once, it was a slow process, but now that I am here, I cannot imagine not doing these things all the time. And, I am grateful for their constant reminders and continued contribution to my faith and keeping me connected and growing as much as possible.
I listen to Christian music as much as possible. I started with DC Talk since they were some of the first “cool” Christian bands I had heard of way-back-when. This has evolved into several different Christian stations between live worship music, DC Talk attitudes, old gospels, and anything in between that keeps me in the constant worship attitude. I do also listen to secular music from time-to-time, but I do try to limit it to bands with minimal/no swearing, positive messages, and the like. Just because I have personally noticed that tripping down that rabbit hole of other music does tend to change my attitude to my environment.
I pray every morning. To start my day off right. Now, I’m not perfect, I do miss some days, but for the most part, I try to make a point of praying every morning. I used to have lists of what subject I was particularly praying for on what days, and sometimes I still revert back to that. But, I’ve grown so much in my prayer life, that I no longer find these reminders necessary. I pray for general subjects every day and sprinkle in specific subjects as needed, but really it’s the time of talking with God and getting started on the right foot. And, I always pray, that he guides my path today, blesses the words from my mouth and the work of my hands, that they may bring glory and honor to Him.
I go to church. Now, I did get to go to church a while back, and it was very refreshing and filled me up, but sadly as cases have increased in our area, and as I’ve been getting back in the swing of things, this tidbit has fallen by the wayside. But, I don’t find this to be as critical since I am further along in my faith. And, I also have had a Bible Study that I am consistently able to attend (either in person, or virtually during the time when in person was not necessarily “allowed”). This enriching ability to discuss growth and needs and concepts with others helps keep perspective and growth possible. This interaction with other believers is part of what the body of Christ needs. Whether through going to church or meeting together on a smaller scale. The body of Christ needs to be connected. You have to have others around you to connect with and grow, just like children and family. That accountability, perspective, and support is vital. There are parts of church, of course, that you don’t get from a Bible Study, and vice versa, and it is best when you can have both, but during these times, you take what you can get.
One of the biggest parts of missing Church, is missing the sermons. The ability to just sit back and have your cup filled. Which is part of why I listen to podcasts of sermons. Sometimes, I binge on sermons and really get the cup filled, and other times I just need to be “topped off” and I’ll just listen to one or two. One aspect I really enjoy about this, is that I’m able to listen to various speakers, and I’ve started to realize I can listen to certain ones when I’m struggling with particular topics. Or some give you meat and potatoes and others give you milk and bread. Really just depends on your needs and where you’re at.
Then, of course, there’s actually reading your Bible! I haven’t done this one for a while, and as I sit here writing this, I realize that maybe this is what I need to get worked back in. I personally enjoy the YouVersion Bible app, that allows you to pick studies and get them in daily doses on truly whatever subject you want, and set little reminders to get your daily dose in. And, one thing I’ve found with reading the Bible is that it really fills you up. Seems to me, that a little bit, goes a long way. You really have to take time to digest what you’re reading, and that’s the nice thing about the app, it gives you insight from the author on what they pulled out of the scriptures to chew on. But really, however you can get some scripture in, you should. The Word fills you up. Breathed straight from the mouth of God. Speaking to you. Every time you read it.
So, I hope this helps, as usual, I see it has helped me. Sometimes, getting back to the basics, is how we move forward. Maybe there is something in here that you would like to integrate. Wherever you’re at, just remember that God is with you, and as long as you are trying to move forward, you will.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day, and all the days. Thank you for your incredible patience with us. Thank you for all the ways you’ve given us to connect with You. Thank you for being with us in our ebbs and flows. Thank you for your incredible love that is unconditional and never ceases. Thank you for all that You do for us. That You are the Good, Good Father, that guides us, protects us, sustains us, comforts us, and is all things to all men. That we may all continue to grow in Your Love, in Your Spirit, in Your Everlasting Self. That we may continue to become better versions of ourselves and we continue to strive to be more like You and Your Son. Thank You Father, for all that You do, and all You will continue to do. May we all enjoy Your blessings, all the days of our lives. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Please forgive me this week, as I do not know much about this mission at all, but just discovered it recently and it seems really neat. There is a online shopping website that donates a portion of it’s proceeds to missions, and it has quite a few faith-based items (wall-hangings, jewelry, etc.) I am not receiving any of the proceeds nor am I affiliated with them in any way. I just think it’s neat and wanted to share.
“You are what you eat.” That has been on my mind this morning, and in my life this week. You are what you eat. Simply put, you put good stuff in, you get good stuff out. Garbage in, garbage out. I’ve had a couple instances throughout the past two weeks that really reinforce this fact. And, I’ve talked about it before as well. Prepare for Battle, Battle!, and Speak Life all touch on this concept.
But this week, it really feels like the news has become Satan’s soapbox to get everybody wound up. Which reminds me of some good information my mother gave me at one point: You know, the news, used to be a 10-15 minute segment on TV, once a day. That was it. 10-15 minutes of news, just the headlines, and if you wanted more information, you could grab the local newspaper. Now, there are channels dedicated to news 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You want to hear about how insanely horrible it is out there? You want a quick shot of depression? You want to spiral into a rollercoaster of sensing impending doom, watch the news for a minute. We have human trafficking over here, a double-dose of brink of war over there, a full cup of injustice and oppression for today’s special, and oh yeah, just in case that wasn’t overwhelming enough – let’s give you today’s death tolls from COVID, from war, from murders, from anything else we can get our hands on because you all need to know every single detail so you become so frozen with fear and angst and everything else that you can’t live your own life because look at all of this!!!
Ugh. What a nightmare. Now, I’m not saying these things are not important. They absolutely are. But, it’s like eating a balanced diet. There is absolutely no need to gorge yourself on the news. Besides the fact that they broadcast so much news and so many stories that you could get lost all day in there, which is not healthy. I would like to say it’s like chocolate, but you know, chocolate is actually good.
I personally do not watch the news at all. I read articles about the news, when I want to, when I’m in the right mindset and feel like I can handle it. I also take most of the news with a grain of salt, because I understand that there are a million different views about the situation and I’m only reading one flawed human’s interpretation of what happened. – Which by the way, let’s remember that even the best reporter is simply regurgitating “facts” they could find about an event, let alone the many people that are simply giving you their interpretation of events sprinkled with facts.
Another thing I keep in mind about the news, is that – Am I going to do anything about what I’m reading? Yes, the Russians doing whatever they’re doing these days is probably not good, but am I, going to do anything about it? – Probably not. So therefore, if I’m not going to invest my time and energy into doing something about this, should I be reading it? If I still feel like I should be reading it, fine, but then, if I am upset by what I have read, I have to decide how much time I’m going to be upset about it, then I need to let it go and let God handle it.
You know why I believe the news is Satan’s Soapbox? Because it gives people are spirit of fear. Which is not from God. The Spirit of Fear never comes from God. Never. God gives us the spirit of peace, love, understanding, and compassion.
I will say that I found it very interesting: Here we were, just a few months ago, mid-pandemic, and the news was full of articles about how much everyone was helping each other. How much humans were all getting together and loving on one another. We were going to get through this. All was not lost. Whispers of Revival were happening. So many people were just being the better side of humans, and it was touching and beautiful. Then, the news took a hard turn, and we’re back to every man for himself, and you can’t trust anybody, and nobody cares about you. Satan got scared, and he turned up the heat. Can’t be having that love stuff going around, can’t be letting God into the situation. – Because God is Love. And you know, that you hardly ever see articles about Love in the news… another good indicator of who’s really running the headlines.
So, I’ve said all of that, to say this. You are what you eat. If you are constantly munching on bones of bad news and everything that Satan wants you to focus on for items that more often than not, you can literally do nothing about, then you are going to be overwhelmed, depressed, and afraid. But, if you focus on the Word of God. If you read your Bible, and listen to sermons, and worship music, and spend your time loving your neighbor and trying to win souls for Christ, then You are putting good out there. You are being the light of the World. You are showing that there is Hope and Peace and Love to be had. By the blood of Jesus. By the redemption of our Savior. If you just try to change the world, by loving the circle that You are in, and showing love to your fellow man, and loving your neighbor as yourself, then THAT is what God’s plan is for you. And if you can do more – AMAZING!! If you have an idea about how to help some of the situations you are seeing in the news, God BLESS YOU!! But, do not let it be a tool from the devil to hold you down and let it be a spirit of fear that paralyzes you into not being the Light that God wants you to be. Break the chains that Satan aims to put on you. Be diligent for he stalks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he can devour. If you have been gobbling it up like Thanksgiving dinner, then maybe it’s time to consider a diet. Because You are a CHILD OF GOD. YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. YOU ARE AN OVERCOMER. YOU ARE VICTORIOUS. YOU CAN WIN LIFE.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You!! Thank you for being the Good, Good Father that you are. Thank you for being the love in the world. Thank you that you give us hope. That you give us life. Thank you for your amazing grace and your overwhelming peace. Thank you for giving us the supernatural peace that surpasses all understanding. Thank you that you never give us the spirit of fear. Thank you for loving us, for loving us so much that you sent your son to die for us that we may be redeemed, that we may know what your love feels like. That we may show your love to others. That we may put on the garment of praise to cast of the spirit of fear. That you have good plans for us and not to harm us, but to bless us. That we may bask in your love and be the light of the world for others, that they may also know your love. Thank you Father, for all you do for us, and all that you continue to do. That you may bless the work of our hands and words from our lips that they bring glory and honor to you Lord. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Trusting God. I had someone tell me this week, that they don’t trust God. That really threw me for a bit of a loop. You don’t trust God? But then, I remembered that there was a time, where I didn’t trust Him either. For that matter, I went through years of my life, with my back turned – not even believing in Him. Guess, the only reason it took me by surprise was because I trust Him so implicitly now, that the concept seemed foreign.
I reached out to this person, later in the week, and shared one of my trust building exercises that I did to learn how to trust God. Because, for me, that’s kinda what you have to do. It’s a relationship, a very difficult one at that, to get started. Because your relationship is with someone you can’t see or hear, but you can feel. And, you can see the evidence of, but not actually see God. When you think about it that way, it really makes a lot of sense, that it’s hard to trust God, because in order to trust Him, you have to have a relationship. And the relationship you build with God, isn’t going to be like any other for many reasons, but if not, solely for the fact that you can’t interact with Him like you do anyone else. And, that is a hard relationship to build on, when you’re getting started at least.
So, way back when, God and I did trust building exercises. I made the conscious effort to pray as much as possible, (like once a day), but then I would remember what I prayed for. And, I would continue to pray for my list of things, every time, until they got answered. Then – when I would get an answer, I would write it down on a slip of paper, and put it in my prayer box *pictured above*. (I decorated a shadow box, but really you could use a shoebox, a mason jar, whatever container you like.) And, it didn’t have to be long or anything. I prayed for “Jamie’s job opportunity” or “healing for Linda”. But once the prayer was answered, it was written down, and put in the box. Next thing I knew, the box was so full, that I needed to empty it! I wanted to continue to keep my answered prayers, so I also bought one of those film sheet photo albums, and laid the answered prayers in there. Then, started the process all over again. I now have quite the collection of answered prayers, which is fun and neat to share. Look at all the time’s #Godshowedup! But, really, in retrospect, it was a trust building exercise. I’m sure there are plenty of ways to learn how to trust God, but I really enjoyed mine that gave me actual physical evidence that God was working on me, and cared about me. That we were in this relationship together. I wasn’t testing Him, I was giving myself actual, viable proof that He was doing exactly what He said He would.
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
1 John 5:14-15
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for everything. Thank you for your Good Words. Thank you for showing up! For giving us an incredible opportunity to have a relationship with you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us. For continuing to be there for us, to help us along the way. Thank you for answered prayers Father. That you bless us Father, each and every day. That You are always working in our lives. That You care about each and every one of us. Words cannot express my appreciation for you. How much my soul rejoices to be in this relationship with you. The gratitude I have that you are my salvation, and my rock, and my shield, and my comforter, my Father, and friend. Thank you for blessing me Father, all the days of my life. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
What better mission to focus on this week, than the Gideon’s. You know those Bibles you find in your hotel room? The Gideon’s make that happen. The Gideon’s number one request of their sponsors, is prayer. You can join and receive a daily prayer guide.
Part of their mission statement:
“We exist as an advocate for the lost, to bring them the saving knowledge of the Word through not only placing and distributing Scriptures, but also through personal witnessing and by associating together for service. As a united force for the Gospel, we remain rooted in tradition, but we operate under the firm belief that anyone can be a valuable asset to this invaluable cause. We provide many opportunities to partner with us through either prayer or financial support. Join us, and let’s spread the Good News.”
“Make a plan, then go with the flow.” – Pastor Dave Kaufman
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” – Pastor Dave Kaufman
Both of these statements have had a profound impact on me. I heard them quite some time ago during a sermon about financial responsibility, but really they apply to most things in life. They have also helped me accept change so much. I used to be someone who was completely “put out” when someone messed with my plans. But, now, that seems to be the constant state. My life has become this ever-evolving state of “making a plan, then going with the flow.” And, really, the Bible, is almost nothing but examples of how people had a plan, then ended up going with the flow, either willingly or after repeatedly kicking against the goads.
Sarah and Abraham
Joseph (and the coat of many colors)
The Apostles (particularly Peter)
All sorts of people that had lives heading in a particular direction that they had planned out for themselves, and then having to adapt to a hard left turn, or several turns. One of the many things, I have brought out of this concept of making a plan, and going with the flow, is the simple fact that understanding that the chances of the plan going my way is less than likely, has made me incredibly willing to accept change. And, the ability to understand that and to know that at any moment the plan will change, has also given me a certain peace. That supernatural peace that surpasses understanding. This ability to shuck off the yoke of worry about tomorrow, tonight, 3 weeks from now.
If I have gained anything in the most recent years, it has been that I have no idea what’s going to happen next, and there is absolutely no way to prepare for it, except to make a plan, and go with the flow. And, the making a plan part, is still critically important. You still have to have a general heading, an intended direction. Otherwise, it’s like you’re going along and you get thrown in a deep pool… you still have to know which way is up. Whether it brings you to the other side of the pool, or just above the place where you went in. And, God is like your lifeguard. You have to be willing to let Him help you navigate your way out. <– That thought reminds me of lifeguard training. They actually teach lifeguards how to grab someone in a rescue situation, because, they state – you are going to have some people who are panicking so much that they will endanger your life while you are trying to save them. God knows how to hold onto you, whether you are being cooperative or flailing about hysterical.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for your supernatural wisdom. For your amazing grace to us, and our situations. That You, Father, are our lifeguard. That you hold onto us, and protect us from harm. That you bless us in all that we do. That You, are the good, good Father who reaches out and lifts us up with your mighty right hand. Thank you for your guidance Father, that You have given us Your Word filled with examples of people who plan, adapt, and overcome. That we are sided with You, Father, the great Overcomer! The Victor, in all things. That we may join with you, Father, in each day, through each trial, through each plan and come out on the other side, exactly where we need to be. Thank You Father, for your many blessings, that you guide us and protect us, each step along the way. Thank You for all that You are, and all that You would have us be. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
As I have been recovering from burn out, I was reminded of this post a little while back. It was during the recovery from flu season a while ago:
I just went through a rough season, my entire month of February was a wreck. Like, freight train. First, my son got the flu, then my husband, then myself. Only, my son got a fever and some gut rot deal, my husband had a fever for 5 days and pretty much slept the whole time. And, I got some sort of stomach flu deal, that made it impossible for me to keep anything inside me. Day 3 of my flu, I had become so dehydrated, that I required medical attention. I woke up as soon as the clinic opened and told them that I needed to get in ASAP. They could see me within the hour. Amazing. I opened up my front door, blizzard. I seriously was so delirious from my illness that I considered calling an ambulance. But, I knew that if I could just get there, I would be ok. So, I get the last of my strength, and I get in the car to go to the clinic. I’m practically delusional by this point, my mouth and throat are dry, every time I take a drink my lips and throat instantly need more fluids and are dry again. The doctor pretty much just looked at me and said, “We need to get some fluids in you.” I had lost 10 pounds, at least, maybe more. I’m not someone who can afford to lose 10 pounds. I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror. As they took me back to a room and got me situated, my messenger app buzzed. It’s the women’s feed from church. We use it as a way to share encouraging words, or request prayers, quick notes, etc. The Pastor shared her morning devo: “Come to me for rest and refreshment. This journey has been too much for you, and you are bone-weary. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life.” – (which is an excerpt from Shannon Stoddard on beliefnet) But, this word came to me, right as they are plugging IVs into my arm, and I just shed a tear. Yes, Lord. You are my rest and refreshment. I ended up needing two bags worth of fluids to get me back to some sort of human. And, I rested while they pumped me full of fluids, but I knew I was going to be fine with that word. Amen.
I have been experiencing an emotional season of being “bone-weary” – what a great expression. Deep down in your bones weary, the kind of exhausted that doesn’t go away with a nap and some food. The kind of can’t-give-any-more that you just don’t know what to do with. God knows. He knows this happens. That’s why He tells us that He is our Living Water. That He is our rest and refreshment. That we can tap into Him and He will take us through the rest. Just like the “Footsteps” poem, where when there was only one set of footprints – He carried us. We don’t need to be strong, He is strong for us. We don’t need to be everything we need, He’s got us covered.
“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
That he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
God wants to refresh us. God doesn’t want us to feel bone-weary. And, one of the most refreshing and powerful ways to feel refreshed by God, is to pray and to worship. Prayer is the most intimate and refreshing time with the Father. A time to discuss, to speak our needs and to listen. To let Him overwhelm our souls with the answer. To let Him work in our Spirit to give us the living water that we need. And then, to worship out loud our exhaltation to the Lord. It’s a renewing interaction to shout to the Lord and praise Him for all that He does for us. To look back and see all that He has done, and to know that in the looking forward, He will do even more. He never fails, His words do not return void. He will always be there for us, and will lift us up, and even carry us – when we need it most. Do not let yourself struggle through the exhaustion, turn to the Lord who has everything you need to get you through whatever season in your life. He is the Living Water. He has everything you need to refresh your soul. Take a drink and thirst no more.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you! Thank you for being our Living Water. Thank you for refreshment. Thank you for your blessings in overflow. Thank you that You bless us, and have given us Your Word, full of encouragement. Your Word which holds the key to our salvation, both eternal salvation, and salvation every day. That You bless us with the exact words we need, when we need them. Thank you for sending Your son, and making it possible for us to have a personal relationship with You. That we may seek You in prayer. That You will answer us. That You will bless us, and not only meet our needs, but exceed them. That we may know that You are the good, good God who never fails and who loves His children. That You know that we become bone-weary and that is why You have given us the words that You are the Living Water. That we may live forever in You. That You help us win Life. Life in the here and now, and Life eternal. Thank You for Your many blessings Father. Thank You for ALL that You have done, and all that You will continue to do. In JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
I don’t know about you, but there’s been a few times in my life where things just get super hectic. I’m a busy person anyway, an “A” personality type. Always got something going on, but believe it or not, even so, I still always feel like I’m managing it… most of the time, or right up-until I’m not. A few years ago, I fell and hurt my back, which did cause me to slow down some. And, at the time, caused me to slow down a lot. But, even when I recuperated, I had learned from the experience and still tried to manage my busy-ness a little better. That time made me realize that I could take a lot of things off my plate, because really, I was the only one who had put them there. Then, a bit later, I was working two jobs trying to keep our heads above water, and once again realized that I didn’t need to be doing as much as I was – and more things fell off my plate. Even further back, I had a realization that in all the busy-ness, it was essential to take time for myself. And, I have found ways to do that over the years, and it’s really helped me manage the busy times. But, recently, something happened that I realized I had never experienced before…. I got burnt out. It was like a switch had flipped. And suddenly, I wasn’t me anymore. Now, I’m still burnt out, but I feel like I’m coming out of it.
Now, I’m a google-er. Symptoms, Google. How to, Google. What’s this, Google. But, this time, Google kinda failed me. I Googled “burn out” and visited a variety of sites to see what could be done about this new experience, and read about all my options, and was kinda like, “I can’t really do any of this stuff right now.” I need something to do – today. You know what never fails? God. God never fails. In this intense moment of how do I handle this? I dug into my experiences. What did I do when I hurt my back? Leaned into God. What did I do when I was working two jobs? Leaned into God. Well, sad to say, but that’s not going to be one of the results that Google brings up for you. “Have you tried asking God to help you through this?” “Maybe you should double-down on listening to sermons and worship music” But that’s what’s helping me here. God’s strength, God’s patience, God’s intersession. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, when I can’t do it, God can. And, I just need to channel the Holy Spirit to work through me. I’m not doing it anymore, God is. He knows what to do, and I can’t do it without Him.
One of the most powerful prayers I have ever learned is Ephesians 1:15-23:
15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere,[a]16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom[b] and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.[c]
19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself. – (emphasis -my own)
Let me say that again, “I ALSO PRAY THAT YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THE INCREDIBLE GREATNESS OF GOD’S POWER FOR US WHO BELIEVE HIM. THIS IS THE SAME MIGHTY POWER THAT RAISED CHRIST FROM THE DEAD AND SEATED HIM IN THE PLACE OF HONOR AT GOD’S RIGHT HAND IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS.” — That’s the power you have inside you when you believe. I don’t know about you, but every time I pray this prayer, I feel like Superman. I have access to the power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead. When I don’t have the strength to go on, I have the power that raised Christ from the dead. When I don’t have the patience to understand, I have the patience of the God who waited 3 days to raise his Son from the dead – which must’ve seemed like an eternity. When I cannot fully fathom the situation, I have the same God who created the universe living inside me who will help me understand when the time is right, or give me the peace needed to know that I don’t need to understand. SAME GOD. It’s one of the most important things I’ve learned as a Christian. The SAME GOD I’m praying to and worshiping because of all His Awesomeness, is the SAME GOD living inside me. AND WE CAN DO ANYTHING.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for your infinite wisdom. Thank You that you save us from ourselves. Thank You that you drop eternal understanding deep into us that we may always know what to do in every situation. That You have Power beyond our understanding. That You always have the strength to do more. That You will always guide our steps if we just hold up the lantern. That you are an endless spring of everything we need. That the answer is always You, God. We just need to have the sense to remember it. Thank You Father for having Paul write down these words that we may always remember that the SAME GOD who rose Jesus Christ from the dead – lives inside us. And that we may always be able to face each and every situation with the understanding that it’s not us, it’s You. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
It’s been an interesting week. I feel like I’ve written that so many times. I’m coming to believe that I must live an interesting life. Or maybe my bar for interesting is really low. I’m not sure, but life is definitely an adventure. I really enjoy my life, even when it’s hard, even when it seems impossible, even when absolutely everything is going left… because you know it isn’t going right. – Lol! I’m sorry, I had to. That’s my kind of humor right there.
So, I feel the need to share this week about something that might not be considered completely biblical, but it is important. You have to stay positive. Thinking positively, leads to positive results. And, I believe my happiness is directly linked to my perception of life. Which is something I taught myself. I didn’t used to be positive. I used to hate life and be angry at the world. I used to be a little ball of rage and hate – all the time. Life was unfair, I had gotten the short end of the stick, and nothing was ever going to go my way. But, years ago, some really tragic stuff happened. Years ago, I went through various life-altering experiences that were the by-products of the choices I had made, that were so significant that I couldn’t continue to go that way. And, although, I’m not comfortable enough to speak about all of that. I can tell you that I had to start thinking positively to get out of it. What had to change, was me.
So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I set the bar low on positivity, and that has been my main standard ever since. Although I definitely have grown from there, when I’m feeling really down in the dumps, or everything’s going left, I resort back to my original standard. And, to share that standard with you, I’ll tell you a cute little story.
Years ago, my dad showed up at my house unexpectedly. And, when I answered the door, he just started regurgitating his upset feelings and how upset he was to me (and if his anger had been valid, I would’ve listened, but he was all bent out of shape over nothing.) So, I stopped him, put my hand up between us, and said, “I’m having a good day, if you want to come hang out that’s fine, but I’m not going to listen to this, you’ll have to find something else to talk about while you’re here.” At which point, he got that deer-in-the-headlights look for a second, he thought about it. Then, he said, “Ok, I would like to hang out.” So, I welcomed him in, and he sat down and started hanging out. Some time had passed, and suddenly he asks, “What made your day so good?” “Excuse me?” “Well, you said earlier, you had a good day, what made your day so good?” “oh, well, nothing really. But, nobody is in the hospital, nobody has died, and nobody’s in jail, so, it’s a good day.” He was pretty shocked. And, replied, “That’s a pretty low bar for good days.” And, I said, “Well, if you set a really low bar, you have a lot more good days.”
And, it’s true. There are bad moments during your day, but they only take up a fraction of that time. And, you can even have huge sections of your day that are rough, but two things to keep in mind, is that You control how you respond to them, and at any given point, You can get over them and turn your day around.
A couple weeks ago, I was having a particularly rough day because things were not going my way. Our ability to move was at a standstill and completely dependent on things that were out of my control. And, I had to wait for a response. I was livid. So, I packed up my family and we headed out to the farm to take care of our garden for a while, while we waited. By the time we were done weeding and chatting, I was much calmer, and right as we were getting ready to leave, we got the call that everything could move forward as almost originally planned. But, it still wasn’t a bad day, it was a rough few moments, it was infuriating for a time, but we did get to work in the garden, see my family, we were productive, and by the time everything was said-and-done, it all worked out. I did keep telling myself that within 2 weeks, one way or another, this would all be over.
These last 12 weeks have been a roller coaster for me. Work has been intense, there is a virus out there, we’ve had to move. But, I have technically have had 0 bad days. Rough moments, intense times, but no bad days. Because it’s all about perspective and positivity. And, it’s not something I think we come by naturally. We have to work at it. And, if you have to set the bar really low to help you get started, then do it. It’s worth it. It completely changes your outlook on life, and it really helps you have more good days and starts changing the way you look at the world.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you! Thank you for your many blessings. Thank you for helping us grow from trial to trial, and grace to grace. Thank you that you only want good things for us. That you only wish to bless us and to lift us up! That You are an AMAZING GOD, that watches over us and protects us. That you love us in all of our flaws, and that you only wish to make us more like your son, through a love and guidance that only you can give. That You are the amazing good Father that watches his flock, guides his people, and keeps his children. That you love us so unconditionally. That You give us a wholeness and fullness at life. And through You and Your Son, that we may win life. Life everlasting, and the life here. That you bless us each and every day, that all our days are good. Thank you for all that you do for us Father, and all that you will continue to do. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
My season of waiting is over for now. We have successfully moved. Although I am grateful to be done with the wait, as always every experience helps you grow. There were times during the wait that it seemed like it would never be done, times where we were tip-toeing around remodeling people and the landlord to orchestrate this thing. It was one of the most stressful and time-consuming endeavors my husband and I have had to deal with for a while. Which is a little crazy considering some of the things we’ve had to deal with over the years. But live and learn. And, as I kept reminding myself and my husband, that by the 1st, this would all be over. And for the most part, it is.
It was kinda funny, as I woke up this morning and started thinking of what to write this week, I was reminded of another bizarre story of waiting. I’m not completely convinced that I should share it, but I do feel like the Lord reminded me of this particular time, for someone out there reading this. So, here we go.
Years ago, I started getting a lump on my hip during that time of the month. Like a lump the size of an orange. And, then, after about a week, it would disappear. 3 weeks later, here it was again. After 2 months of this, and a coworker asking me about it because they could see it’s gargantuan size through my shirt, I decided to go to the doctor the next time it showed up. This began a series of doctors visits. Ultrasounds, scans, tests, etc. for months. And each month it would disappear, and reappear. Just on the right side, and about the same size, every time. It was terrifying, what was happening? Doctor after doctor, visit after visit, test after test. And no one has an answer. You can visibly see it, but it’s not showing up as anything. No ones knows. I finally go in for this last ditch test before they state that they’re going to have to give me either an MRI or they’re going to do exploratory surgery. I go in and they do the test (I cannot currently recall what kind of test it was), and I wait. And, I wait, and I wait. No one calls me after 3 days with results. Finally on the 4th day, I call the doctor’s office, and they tell me the doctor will call me back today. So, I wait, and when the doctor finally does call me back, she starts talking about all the stuff we’re going to do next, and I’m like, “What about my test results?” And she says, “Oh, we didn’t see anything, and you know, after all these negative tests and nothing showing up….Maybe you’re just imagining it.” I hung up. I’m imagining it? No, sweetheart, I’m not imagining a lump so large that I have purchased different pairs of pants to accommodate it. I’m not imagining something that multiple people have now questioned me about, and even one of the technicians stated, “Oh there’s definitely something there.” while conducting one of my tests. So, at that point, what do you do? Multiple doctors, multiple tests, many months of insane bills and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. To have someone accuse you of imagining it? Well, I’m not sure what you would do, but I stopped going to the doctor. Apparently, this is part of my life now. I just accepted my fate, and essentially laid down. I’m not paying any more doctors to deal with this. Well, a couple months later, I went in for my annual check-up, and my doctor at the time started discussing all this with me, and stated that because of all these issues and being unable to truly diagnose it – that I should be aware that I might have problems having children….
I don’t know about you, but I was never one who thought they would have children. I was more concerned with growing up and being super successful and having a penthouse apartment and being the CEO of a company – not getting a husband, and a child, and settling down. But, as soon as someone tells you, you can’t (or might not) have something, suddenly, that’s the only thing you want. And, after my parents tried for 17 years to have a baby before I came along, I was a little nervous about my family’s track record of being able to have babies. So, I went home, and told my boyfriend of 7 years at that point, that I wanted to have a baby. There was some discussion, and he conceded – we would start trying to have a baby. And, as I tell people whenever I tell this story, little did I think about that I was dating a man from one of the most fertile families I have ever met. We tried for a whopping 30 days, before I found out that I was pregnant.
So, I call the doctor for my first baby appointment. I walk into the office, I talk to the nurse, and then, the doctor comes in and starts getting my history. Have I ever had any problems with my reproductive organs? Well, for the past year, I have had this crazy lump that grows on my hip and then disappears after a week… I did several tests but no one could ever tell me what it was. She asked my 7 more questions about the lump, I answered yes to all of them, and she says,”Oh I bet I know what it was. Humans have mammary glands in all the same places dogs do. Every once in a while, when your hormones get out of whack, one of them will swell up like that, and disappear with your cycle. 95% of women get them in their armpit, but the other 5% show up in the other spots. I bet that’s all it was, and why it didn’t get diagnosed properly. It wouldn’t have shown up on any of those tests – you would’ve needed an MRI. And, now that you’re having a baby, I bet when you’re done, it’ll never happen again, because your baby will reset your hormones.”
$6000 and a year after my lump started, I walked into a doctor’s office that I only could’ve met if pregnant, and she tells me what my lump is – with 7 questions and no tests. And, it’s true, it has never returned. Like I said, a bizarre story of waiting, but so many interesting aspects, and so many good things came from it, of course, the most important, being my son. But, what a bizarre story?! Even as I’m writing it, it just blows my mind. This whole thing took place during a time when I was not close to God, but I did start going to church during this time. Starting opening the door to have God back in my life, but I think, that he was already there just waiting on the sidelines whether I realized it or not.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day and all the days. Thank you for your miraculous blessings. Thank you for being behind the scenes and in front of the scenes, and the omnipresent God that you are. Thank you for all that you have done for us. Thank you for everything that you do for us on a daily basis. Thank you for being there in the wait, and in the success, and in the failure. Thank you for all that you have done for us and all that you will do for us. Thank you for your amazing grace and mercy as we wander through these lives of ours. That you watch over us and guide us, sometimes without us knowing, or always being in the fold. That you always have good plans for us, to prosper us and not to harm us. That you help us maneuver through these lives of ours in, sometimes, only a way that you could. That you watch over us so much and love us so much. That you are the Great, Great Father who lifts us in our troubles and helps us celebrate our success. Thank You for being the AMAZING GOD that you are, and we are so blessed to have you in our lives. Thank You! IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Tick… tock… tick… tock… Waiting, waiting, waiting. Funny how you think that you wait well, until you have to. Then, I feel like we all turn into children, watching the clock, waiting for Christmas morning. Where our nerves are so on edge, and the minutes seem to take hours, and it seems like the waiting will never end. I’m going through a short season of waiting right now, as I’m sure I stated last week, and I decided this week, I was going to get a little help and perspective from some of my other bloggers out there. Ones who have waited. Sometimes for years, some for months, and some might be still waiting. It always helps to know you are not alone. That we all take turns waiting for something. So, this week, I’m shining the spotlight on some of the other people out there who have shared their stories of waiting. And I hope they encourage you, that it’s not over, it’s not the end, that His word never returns void, that He always fulfills His promises, and that we can wait, and hopefully continue to learn to wait well.
“Is this what life is like when God is quiet? Grey, foggy, silence . . .
I have several friends waiting on God right now. These friends are waiting on a forever home, a spouse, a baby, a prodigal child to return to God and to hear about a job. Their humanness wants the silence to end right now, showing them their happy ending in this season. Their desire for holiness tells them He is who He says He is as they ask for more patience.
It’s so hard to be in the waiting room as you long to hear from God. The feeling of frustration, anxiety and even fear can be overwhelming. Any answer is better than waiting.
I learned the difficulties of this season when my younger son, Wesley, was about ten weeks old. A group of us had gone to an Amy Grant concert so my sister graciously agreed to come over and watch the boys. There was a whole debacle with lost keys so we were rather late getting home. When I entered the house, Beth rushed over to tell me that Wes’s lips had turned blue when he was sleeping. She woke him up and he seemed fine but she thought I should know.
Seasons of waiting are hard. About 10 years ago, we were selling our house to move about an hour away to the bigger city where my husband’s office was. I was also pregnant with our first baby, so we had a bit of a deadline.
First we had our house for sale by owner and sold it. Then the buyer backed out. We decided to list with a realtor. We told the house again. And again the buyer backed out.
We were beyond discouraged. I especially struggled with it because I have anxiety issues and the added pregnancy hormones didn’t help. We even ended up in small claims court a few months later with one of the buyers over earnest money. It was ridiculous.
Knowing there was something to be learned even in our struggles, we looked for God’s message. And we waited.
It’s nearly fall 2018, and in many ways, we are still waiting for God’s direction. While we’ve moved to a new season of ministry, there is still the element of waiting lingering and no clear direction on what we are waiting for.
Are you waiting for a miracle and growing weary in the meantime? Have you given up hope that God even hears your prayers or cares to answer them? Let’s face it, waiting for a miracle is hard work.
As a child and then an adult, I desperately shouted out to God to heal my step-father. Here was a man who had it all, a lucrative profession, a family who loved him, and status in the community. He was fun, loving, treated me like his own, had a heart of gold, and was full of life before his addictions took over.