Who Is This God, Anyway?

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Yesterday we talked about being fearless. Immediately God took me to His Word and to a place in my heart asking Who is this God that you would serve Him fearlessly in this crazy life and in seemingly impossible circumstances? And, why??

Immediately He took me to Matthew 6:9; The Lord’s prayer. Specifically the first line: Our Father in heaven.

Who is your Daddy?

Because of Jesus, we come to God as our Father. A child, sitting on our Daddy’s knee chatting….and listening to His wisdom. Trusting in His care over us. We come to Him not as a fearful people to a tyrant lording over us. No, He’s kind. He’s gentle, yet sure and just. He’s your Daddy!

Some of you may have never had that feeling of being a Daddy’s girl. Never sat on your Daddy’s knee and felt that love, care, protection, strength, provision and wisdom. I’m sorry. I truly and deeply am. I know you have an idea or dream of who you wanted your Daddy to be, wished your Daddy to be.

I have some notes on Daddy. Notes on who He’s been to me, will always be to me, and most certainly wants to be for you. This list never ends, and is added to regularly. I’ll never be able to stop describing Him as He meets my every need, my every longing as I go through this life. Some of this list is from teaching notes, and all of it is true.

You are secure and taken care of because of Who you belong to. This is your Daddy. Follow Him fearlessly. Allow me to introduce you:

Your Daddy is…

the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End

Keeper of creation and Creator of all

Architect of the universe, Manager of all time

He always was, always is, always will be unmoved, unchanged, undefeated, and never undone

He was bruised, but brought healing

He was pierced, but eased pain

He was persecuted but brought freedom

He was dead and brings life

He has risen to bring power and was raised to bring peace. 

The world can’t understand Him, armies can’t defeat Him, schools can’t explain Him, and leaders can’t ignore Him.

Herod couldn’t kill Him, Nero couldn’t crush Him

He is Life, He is Love, He is Longevity, and He is the Lord

He is goodness and kindness and faithfulness and He is God

He is holy and righteous and powerful and pure

His ways are right, His Word eternal, His will unchanging, and His mind is consumed with US

He’s our Savior, our God, our peace, our comfort, our Lord, and He rules our lives

His bond is love, His yoke is easy, His burden is light, and His goal for us is abundant life

He’s the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the Ancient of Days, Ruler of rulers, the Leader of all leaders

His goal is a relationship with you and He will never leave you, never forsake you, never mislead you, never forget you, never overlook you, and never cancel your appointment in His appointment book

When you fall, He will life you up

When you fail, He will forgive you

When you’re weak, He is strong

When you’re lost, He is your way

When you’re afraid, He is your courage

When you stumble, He will steady you

When you’re hurt, He’s going to heal you

When you’re broken, He will mend you

When you’re blind, He will lead you

When you’re hungry, He will feed you

When you face trials, He’s with you

When you face persecution, He shields you

When you face problems, He will comfort you

When you face loss, He will provide for you

When you face death, He will carry you Home to meet Him

He is everything for everybody everywhere every time and in every way. 

He is your God, and THAT is Who you belong to

You see, with a Daddy like this, we can face anything, anytime fearlessly because we can trust Him. We. Can. Trust. Him. You are His creation. He’s invested and consumed with you. He can’t stop thinking of you, and doesn’t want to. He is the Supreme Ruler. Nothing can defeat Him. He’s your Protector. He never fails. He is madly in love with you. Madly. Crazy. Head over heals. Stalker type love….only not creepy. He is unstoppable and never gives up on you. Never. He is your Provider. When He calls you to a thing, He will carry you through it. He will equip you. He is powerful and majestic.

He’s your Daddy

 

You can do all things through Him who is your strength. In His strength, you are fearless.

 

 

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Satisfied

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It’s going on 6:30am and I’ve been sitting for over an hour and half holding a sweet sick child as she struggles with a cold. She’s finally sleeping. Due to her severe neglect she has a lot of sensory processing disorder issues and developmental delays that GOD is healing. Amen! This causes some confusing feelings in her especially when she doesn’t feel well. She and I are very close and when anything goes on, happy or sad, she wants Mama! She and I spend a lot of time together. She trusts me. We have a kind of “short hand” between us. I know what she needs faster than anyone just by a look, or a sigh. I can read her quicker than she can read herself. I know her. I’ve spent a lot of time studying and listening to her. My voice brings her confidence when she is confused by the messages her little world is sending her. Just the sight if me makes her relax. She often says, “I need you, Mama.”

I am blessed.

As I studied and reflected this week on Psalm 63 and the deep satisfaction GOD brings into our lives….His love, mercy, faithfulness and provision moved me. As soon as David woke he was aware of his need, his deep thirst for GOD. Even more so than the need for a drink. David was in the wilderness and knew thirst.

Because he had spent time with GOD in his life before the wilderness came, he knew GOD. Really knew Him. Our GOD is faithful. He knew GOD could quench his thirst, satisfy his hunger, fulfill his every longing. And, when GOD satisfies it isn’t with a quick snack. No, it’s a satisfaction from rich, solid foods that fills you up full and gets you through this thing. GOD knows David better than David knows David; knows what he needs better than he does. He holds David steady no matter how shaky the ground feels beneath his feet. One glance in the eyes of Daddy relaxes David. David has strength and confidence in a mighty, loving GOD Who is passionate about him. Who pursues HIM. Who is consumed with HIS love for him.

GOD is that crazy about each one of us. As I sit here holding a sleeping child and know how deeply I love her. How much I gladly do for her. How I am passionate about the love I have for her; how much I want to fulfill every need, every hurt, every longing that she has, I am blessed and confident. Confident in knowing my GOD can and will do all of that and so much more than I can think of or imagine for each of us.

HE is here in each of our lives sweet sisters! THIS is our Daddy! HIS love is perfect and pure. HE knows us better than we know ourselves. And, HE is there. Right there in front of you. Behind you. Beside you. Rest in HIM. Drink HIM in. Dine with HIM. HIS love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on you.

Blessings and love to you all xoxo.

In His Peace,
Christy

*I’ve been away from you dear friends and I’ve missed you. I’ve been away writing. I’ve written over one hundred daily devotionals that I will begin to share with you here soon. GOD is GOOD!

I’ve also been busy helping and organizing our growing ministry. GOD has truly blessed and we know HE will bring more to us. Things have also been very busy at home. We have children moving into full time ministry across the world from us, and traveling around busy with ministry here, and training up our newly adopted little one in the way she should go so that when she too is older, she won’t depart from it (Proverbs 22:6) . When you give your kids to GOD HE says ok, and we submit!

A Shot of Adrenaline

Do you see what this means–all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on?

It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running–and never quit!

No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it.

Because He never lost sight of where He was headed–that exhilarating finish in and with God–He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever.

And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.

When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through.

That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! 

Hebrews 12:1-3, The Message.

My Choice: My love Supremely (or how to mess up crap)

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In Luke 14:25-35, Jesus is saying that if we do not love Him supremely, more than our family and more than our own lives, we cannot be His disciple. There is no half-way measure. Not all believers bear the Cross. It is possible by living a nominal Christian life. This is called the lukewarm Christian life.

But, if we determine to be all out for Christ we must live the type of life that Christ lived when He was here on earth–a life of self-renunciation, reproach, persecution, temptation, in opposition of others, humiliation.

He wants us to understand that this living and leading like Jesus isn’t for wimps. We need to count the cost. To take up our cross daily is to expect painful situations everyday because of our allegiance to Christ.

I can certainly choose to live a nominal, lukewarm Christian life and avoid all that…..but, it would cost me so much more.

I would miss the miracles, the power, the blessings of seeing God move first-hand. I would miss this deep love affair that sweeps me off my feet. I would miss the dance and gazing into eyes of my Savior; that skin to skin closeness that leaves me speechless.

Who wants to miss that? Not me. Nothing I suffer here on earth could ever be more than what He did for me. Before I knew Him….when He was a stranger to me….He suffered and died for me. Most of us would give our lives for our spouses, or our children because we know and love them but not for a stranger that didn’t even know our names. We get goosebumps when a stranger in the car in front of us buys our coffee for us (I’m not knocking that show of kindness. I think it’s great). BUT this Jesus DIED for me BEFORE I EVEN KNEW HIS NAME. THAT deserves my life. My love supremely. My worship. Everything. No. Holding. Back.

Please allow me to speak bluntly with you:
I have heard many people say, “I feel like crap” or, “I look like crap”. I’ve probably said it myself. In Luke 14:34-35, Jesus is talking about the lukewarm Christian being useless and even messing up crap. Wow. If we stepped in crap, He would have to tell us to move out because we would be messing it up. How bad is THAT?! That is funny, but it’s not funny.

How about making Him throw up?? Take a look at Rev 3:14-22. I don’t want Him to vomit me out of His mouth! He urges us to cleanse, repent, shake off, open our eyes, to be committed. This. Is. Your. Call. Listen! He is standing at the door knocking. Hear His voice and open that door and dine with Him. Besides, the victor will get to sit with Jesus at the dinner table! I get excited about having the opportunity to sit and talk with brilliant people, but THIS! Whew, glory!

You’ve been feeling empty and seeking out your purpose. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).

When we give up everything to follow Christ, guess what we find? We find everything right there in Christ. Just like salt, we have a useful purpose. We are here for more than to breath oxygen, and collect treasures of this world. I know money is important and that living life here takes money. Breathing oxygen is important to life, but we are here for more reasons than to breath. We have a purpose to live out, and that purpose is to follow Christ. Christian, its time to live a purpose driven life that lives and leads your family like Jesus. Step out from the crowd, be committed, repent and let’s do this. Together.

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Defining Life

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Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I love Spring. It gets me excited. It makes me stretch all the cold bones of the winter and washes away all the mud and the muck. All those dreary days are forgotten at the sight of that first Spring flower. And my eyes dance. I love the newness.That freshness of all things beginning. Growth. Potential. Everything on the horizon.

When you ask Christ to be your Savior, you are a new creation. Your sins are forgiven. All things new.

Satan always defines your life based on your past; God defines you by your future.

“You’re never going to change!” “You always do that!”

Perhaps you’ve heard such words. Words can define us if we let them. Failure can be a warning sign that motivates change or it sends us into self-sabotage and shame. The cross paid the price for that. Have you accepted the payment on your behalf?

When you allow others to define who you are that is contrary to who God says who you are, you’ve made them an idol in your life. You’ve allowed a spirit of rejection and shame and performance to define you.

When we come to know Christ our spirit is 100% redeemed. However, our soul requires regeneration. This is a process. The Bible calls it sanctification. “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21). It is God’s responsibility to guide our maturity process as we yield ourselves to Him.

You are a new creation “in process.” Only Jesus made plan “A” in His life. God redeems our “B” and “C” plans to be His “A” plan. Accept God’s process in yourself and in others. Believe who Daddy says you are.

And besides….the next time the enemy reminds you if your past, remind him of his future

No Unemployment Lines Here {Living and Leading Like Jesus Study}

So glad to see you back here with us for week two: Luke Chapter 10 of our Bible Study, Living and Leading Like Jesus! Come on in with us!

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{Read: Luke 10: 1-7}

2) He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3) Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. (Luke 10:2-3)

 

In the beginning of Chapter 10 we see Jesus sending them ahead of Him to prepare the people for the coming Messiah. You and I are also sent out ahead to proclaim the coming of the Messiah.

Christian service has no unemployment!

The workers are few because of lack of participation of believers in the Gospel mission. It’s time for believers to take their stand out among their fellow believers and bring the Gospel of the coming Messiah! He sends us all ahead to the people with whom He wants to dwell.. Jesus is coming, and we are commanded to GO AND TELL! What prepared them for this mission is that they had been equipped with Jesus’ power and vision to reach people.  It is important to dedicate our skill to God’s Kingdom, and WE too must be equipped with His power and have clear vision of what He wants us to do….and that comes by asking.

Jesus’ first instructions were to pray for a gathering of believers in Jesus out from among the mass of unbelievers. He wanted full participation of believers. Begin by prayer and mobilizing people to pray. Mission is based on prayer. How much time will you devote to praying for God for missionaries? Missions are for humble people not for self-assured. Sound like you?

He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. We must stop believing the lie that we aren’t qualified. It’s true that in our own strength we aren’t qualified. His qualifications surpass any situation. He is highly qualified for whatever may come. A little police officer holding a badge up and saying, “Stop in the name of the law!” would have most of us freeze in our tracks. Not because of the officer’s stature, but because of who he represents and who qualifies him in his position (our laws). There is absolutely nothing that surpasses Jesus’ qualifications. These are the same qualifications we are sent with. How could we hold back?? Will you join God on a mission? Your mission field is right now. Right where you are. Take this lesson as your call to live and lead like Jesus on the mission field wherever you are.  Go! Now!

 

Missions is not a program in the church, it’s the purpose of the Church. It’ s a way of life right where we are. 

 

Don’t just go to church. BE the church. 

 

{Also note a cross reference in verse 3b to Matthew 10:16 to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves, meaning to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil…and to Matthew 7:15, Wolves: false prophets, people who have not been sent by God but who claim they have. Be vigilant to these false prophets}

 This stirs such a passion within me for His people. For the workers in that we here in this office are passionate about Encouraging, Equipping, and Empowering people to be all that God created them to be. For the harvest in telling the Good News of our coming Messiah!

 

Digging In: We are all laborers in the field- no matter where we are. What does your personal mission field look like? Who are you reaching out to?

 

We Are Jairus’s Daughter

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I woke thinking of Jairus’s daughter. We don’t know her name. We don’t know it because we are Jairus’s daughter.

I first imagined what it would be like to be a 12 year old girl lying on a sick bed, then death, then to life again. What would I do more of? Less of? Begin to do? She would never forget what it was like, coming from death to life.

But…we who have accepted Him as Savior know what this is like. We were once lost, and now am found. Once dead, and now alive in Christ.

When Jairus arrived with Jesus, the mourners were in full voice. There was no quiet whispers or quiet tears, no, this would be loud. Jairus was told his sick daughter had died, and there was no use in bothering the teacher any more. I wonder how many times our lack of faith stopped us just short of a miracle??

Although Jairus’s shoulders slumped, and the mourners laughed at Him, Jesus had a plan in His heart for Jairus’s daughter, and carried that through to completion. I’m ever so grateful for a love that isn’t fickle, and easily bruised!

“My child, get up!” She was called from death to life with a word, and the first thing she saw was the face of her Savior. What an incredible, unforgettable gift to her and her parents!! She could never be the same. Her life had great worth in His eyes. No doubt that she is a daughter of the one true God.

There are those others, like me, who have faced a near death of a loved one and have an incredible sense of security and destiny. We can relate to Jairus, the father. Jesus saves.

Each of us is called from death to life when God births us anew in His Spirit. He has reached down and taken us all by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” What an incredible, unforgettable gift to us! We can never be the same! Our lives have great worth in His eyes. “At once” she stood up…..He is calling us to a resurrected new life Let us rise and stand up at once in our new lives in Christ, for we are Jairus’s daughter.

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Exciting Days In The Wilderness

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Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. Mark 1:12


It seemed a strange proof of God’s favor. Immediately after what? Immediately after the heavens opened up and the Spirit descended to Him like a dove, and God said, “You are my beloved Son; in whom I am well pleased.”

The same spirit who descended on Jesus at His baptism now drove Him into the wilderness where He was tempted by satan for 40 days. It is no abnormal experience.

We, too, have passed through times of desert after a mountain top experience with God. God shines on us to make us fit for life’s desert-places……for its Gethsemanes, for its Calvaries. Testing that marks and mightily enriches a soul’s spiritual life is anything but ordinary. Although it can be a time when it seems all hell has broken loose, it ends in certain triumph for those who have committed themselves to Him. We become a greater “help to the helpless” and come away with a fire. Jesus’ ministry on earth began just after His days in the wilderness. How exciting to know….and if we would just keep that in mind during our own “sending out” times.

God has not left you. In fact, anointed one, He strengthened you for such a time as this.

The Ultimate Sweet Spot: Friendship With God

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Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4


David discovered a truth and shares it with us: if he finds his life’s delight in the Lord, all his desires are fulfilled. To delight in someone is to find joy in their presence, to welcome their unique qualities and to express pleasure in their company. When we make the Lord the object of our delight, spending time in His presence and reveling in His character, our deepest heart’s desires gradually align themselves with His own. Soon, what we want is what He wants—-and how delighted He is to honor our heart’s desire by keeping us in the center of His will…..and the center of God’s will is the ultimate sweet spot.

When we have a right-standing relationship with God we have a life of freedom, liberty, and delight….you are God’s will. And all your common sense decisions are actually His will for you, unless you sense a feeling of restraint brought on my a check in your spirit. You are then free to make decisions in the light of a perfect and delightful friendship with God, knowing that if your decisions are wrong He will lovingly produce that sense of restraint. Once He does, you must stop immediately -Oswald Chambers

There’s nothing this world can offer that can beat what it feels like to be right in the middle of God’s presence. Moses knew that, and thats why he didn’t even want the promised land with all its glory if God wasn’t with Him.

There’s also nothing like the feeling of being out of His will for our lives. I’ve been at a place where I knew God didn’t want me to be. The spirit rose up in me and said, let’s get out of here. The worse part about hell is being completely away from God. Being away from God in this life is hell on earth.

Being with God is what allows us to escape the fiery furnaces of life without even the smell of smoke on our clothes! Being with God is where armies are defeated, lives are changed and victory is won…..even when it seems all is stacked against us. Being with God is where the anointed power of God rests. Being with God is indeed the ultimate sweet spot.

No Longer At Sin’s Beck And Call

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……”This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:20


The New Testament of the Bible literally means “The New Covenant.” The word covenant means an arrangement made by one party, which another party involved could accept or reject but could not altar. We can accept or reject Jesus, but we can’t change or altar who He is, or what He accomplished. Religions try. People try. But it doesn’t change a thing.

The whole second half of the Bible teaches us about the new covenant given to us in Jesus. The Old Testament primarily records God’s dealings with Israel on the basis of the covenant given through Moses, while the New Testament describes the new arrangement of God with men through Christ on the basis of the New Covenant. The Old Covenant revealed the holiness of God in the righteous standard of the law and promised a coming Redeemer; the New Covenant shows the holiness of God in His righteous Son. The New Testament, then, contains those writings that reveal the content of this New Covenant

The message of the New Testament Centers on:

  • the Person who gave Himself for the remission of sins (Matt 26:28)
  • the people (the church) who have received His salvation
  • Thus the central theme of the New Testament is salvation. The Gospels introduce the Savior. The book called Acts describes the spread of the good news about His salvation. The letters (Romans-Jude) give details of the blessings of that salvation (and the practical application of Christian doctrine to life situations) , and Revelation describes the ultimate triumph of Jesus Christ and His people in the future.

    We are now under the New Covenant of Jesus Christ who brings us from glory to glory each day through His unwavering grace. We are a chosen people belonging to God who called us out of a darkness into His wonderful light. We must declare His praises! (see 1Peter2:9) We are no longer at sin’s every beck and call. We get included in Christ’s sin conquering death and we also get included in His life-saving resurrection.

    When Jesus died, He took sin down with Him, but alive He brings God down to us

    From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. Sin doesn’t get a vote. You are dead to sin and alive to God. THAT’s what Jesus did. See Romans 6:1-23 MSG.

    What will you do then with this Jesus? Accept or reject Him?

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    Jesus is a “come as you are” kind of guy….but you certainly aren’t leaving the way you came

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    Jesus is a “come as you are” kind of guy….but you’re certainly not leaving as you came!

    Even the worse day of your life, God can redeem. He can go back, pick that thing up and bring about a complete transformation. The devil will be sorry he ever messed with you -Beth Moore

    There’s nothing more powerful on earth than a Christian walking in full on bold faith in Christ, and all He is and does and can do.

    The devil wants you walking around feeling small and defeated, but it is he who is defeated. He has no power over you.

    You are accepted….redeemed…..renewed…..assured of a present and future glory with Him……reconciled with Christ and re-created!

    He breathes new life! You are a NEW creation…..not a turning over of a new leaf….the old is gone, and a new life has begun!

    Yep, that’s right, when you bring up to Him your past sin, He’ll say what sin?

    You can choose to let your past define you, confine you, refine you, outshine you, or you can choose to move on and leave it behind you…..because you, my friend, are a brand new creation in Christ.

    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

    Patterns Everywhere: Which to follow?

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    I’ve been teaching a lot on patterns in school and in ministry lately. Patterns in the world, and the patterns we trace. We’re told in Romans 12:2 to break the patterns of this world in our lives. The renewing of our minds to the mind of Christ transforms our lives as we grow to know what God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will is for our lives.

    In Psalm 127:1-2 it says, Unless the Lord builds the house, it’s builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchmen stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. The Hebrew word for house in verse one can actually be translated family. That is one reason why the next few verses read like this:

    Behold, children are a heritage of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has a quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

    If you have sat up late, worrying about your children or your family, you need to know that God can turn things around.

    Trust Him to build and protect your family. Do your part, but look to Him for guidance and strength. And trust Him to do what you cannot do. Be their ideal; let them follow the way you teach and live. Be a pattern for them in your love, and your faith. God recently blew our minds and busted our hearts wide open by bringing a sweet little 6 year old into our family. She loves to walk around acting, talking, and teaching like I do. My husband and oldest daughter noticed it before I did. It’s so cute, but it also has me watching her closely. Just as she traces those squares and triangles while I’m teaching her shapes, she is tracing my walk. As I’m watching her closely, she is watching me even more closely! I’ve got to be sure I’m following the pattern Christ gives to us as she is following my pattern.

    He can cause your “arrows” to be effective against the enemy instead of wounding your heart. He can turn things around. My little “mini-me” came from a very abusive background. God is healing and restoring her. God can turn our lives around! He’s an expert at renewing, restoring, and resurrecting! He makes all things new, and that includes your family. Trust Him to do what you cannot do.

    “House-building” and “city-guarding” cannot succeed apart from God. You are His beloved. Allow Him to give you peace and rest now.

    May you be happy with your quiver of “arrows,” and may God be glorified in your family.

    Equip: Effective Bible Study

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    I’ve had several people ask me about effective Bible study so today I want to make it available to everyone. Remember, if He can give it through you, He will give it to you. I have a blended method, but found the acronym “SOAP” through Good Morning Girls to be easy to remember so in sharing this, I use that acronym and added some things that I find to be effective. That’s what listening to God is all about. Use this, and listen to God yourself as you grow closer to Him through His word. You can tweak this however you want:

    The acronym is SOAP but as I said, I’ve added a twist:

  • Scripture: First, get yourself positioned to hear from God. Pull away from distractions into quiet, no matter where that may be for you (many, many times over the years I’ve had to do this in the car while waiting to pick up one of my children, so just wherever that is for YOU).
      Physically write out the scripture. You’ll be amazed what God will reveal just by taking the time to slow down and actually write out what you’re reading. We’re looking for quality here not quantity. Write out one verse, then a paraphrase of this verse; pulling out the major points. So, you’re paper will have one verse, your paraphrase, the next verse, your paraphrase, etc.
  • Observation: Pull put spiritual principals. Who is the audience? Is there a repetition of words? What words stand out to you? Circle those words. Is there a promise? An attribute of God to know? Something I need to learn (there ALWAYS is)? A promise? A command? Really put yourself into the story. Feel what’s going on.
  • Application: This is when God’s Word becomes personal. What is God saying to me today? How can I apply what I just read to my own personal life? What changes do I need to make? Is there an action that I need to take? What is it I am supposed to learn from this? Something I need to do…..be….do better……more of? Ask yourself: am I heeding that command, that promise in scripture? He always speaks for our obedience.
  • Prayer and Plan: Pray God’s Word back to Him. If He has revealed something to you during the time in His Word, pray about it. Confess of He has revealed sin in your life.

    Plan to do what God wants you to do. If you need to start a new habit, new walk, new anything, more of something….be strategic about it. The enemy’s attacks are strategically placed against us….be equally strategic in how you are going to do what God wants you to do.

  • Feel free to share anything you have found to be effective in your own Bible Study!

    Seeing A Greater Purpose In Adversity

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    But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” -Acts 16:28


    At this point, an earthquake erupted and the jail cell was opened. “Deliverance! Praise God!” would be the first response by most. But not Paul and Silas. Rather than leave, they stayed. What?! Isn’t that a great sign that God said they can/should go?

    Paul and Silas didn’t leave because they were tuned in to God and knew there was a higher purpose for which they were in prison. They were not looking at their circumstance; they were much more concerned about the unsaved guard. The story goes on to tell us how he took them home with him. Not only did the guard get saved but his entire household as well!

    How often we are so busy looking for deliverance and comfort from our circumstance that we miss God completely. God is looking to do miracles in our circumstances if we will only look for them. Sometimes as believers we get so obsessed with our goals that we miss the process that God involves us in……which may actually be where the miracle lies. What if a problem has arisen due to something God is doing beyond what you might see at this time? Maybe that person that’s annoying you is unsaved and is there for you to speak to? Our adverse situations can often be the door of spiritual opportunity for those who need it. It’s as if we as believers forget that there indeed aren’t chunks of time that God is not in…as if the situation is separate from Him and His work because the only thing out of our comfort zone where God is concerned is when He asks us to go to Africa. Not so! When God said, “….all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purposes” (Rom 8:28)….He meant all things. “Those who are called” means you, child of God. If Jesus is your Savior, you are indeed called, and He does have great purposes for you. It’s up to us to be faithful in the process.

    In your next adversity (or maybe your facing one….or a couple right now) tune in your spiritual antennae and ask God for discernment to see the real purpose for the adversity.

    Sometimes We Forget To Remember….

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    And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Matthew 14:32

    We forget when we’re in the middle of the chaos, the calamity, the danger, the darkness, that the same God that just brought us this far, is the same God that’s in the boat with us as He’s coming to us as well.

    Many of you have incredible storms, adversity in your life and you may be thinking, God, I did everything right, how did I end up in this storm? Every now and then He sends us into a storm to test us and to show us that there’s more in us than we even know or realize. It’s often in a storm that Jesus will come to us in a form that we don’t even recognize. They thought He was a ghost but it was the same Jesus that had just been on the mountain with them all day dividing fish.

    The same God that has brought you this far is the same God that’s going to take you to the other side—the same God that has done those miracles in your life before is the same God that’s with you in that storm right now. He will give you the grace and protection to get you through—just don’t take your eyes off Him. The disciples picked up the remnants of the miracle of feeding the 5,000 men (estimated around 15,000 including women and children). Take the remnants of the miracles before the storm into the storms of the future and into your life every single day. God has brought you through some stuff. Just take a few minutes to stop and think of what He’s done before….brought you through….a sickness healed….relationship restored….some open doors that He made happen for you.

    Remember that the same God that brought you through that is the same God that will bring you through this. Praise is your weapon.

    The 7 Realities of Experiencing God

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    I LOVE this. Read it out loud with your name inserted. Believe and walk in it now.

    The 7 Realities of Experiencing God via Blackaby

    (Insert your name into the realities and journal this)

    1. God is always working around (your name).
    2. God pursues a continuing love relationship with (your name) that is real and personal.
    3. God invites (your name) to become involved with Him in His work.
    4. God speaks to (your name) through the Bible, prayer, circumstances and the Church to reveal Himself, His purpose and His ways to (your name).
    5. God’s invitation for (your name) to work with Him always leads to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
    6. (your name) must make major adjustments in her life to join God in what he is doing.
    7. (your name) will come to know God by experience as she obey’s Him, and He accomplishes His work through (your name).

    How To Be #1 At Being #2

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    Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28


    It was an extremely busy day. I was at an appointment at a huge facility and the valet parking to enter the building was jammed. Tight. I looked around as I was handing my keys over and noticed the grim, busy, hard, impatient faces of everyone. Including the workers. The negative vibe was heavy and thick. My attempt at kindness was noticed, but overlooked. It had no effect. I went in for my appointment but all those people were on my mind, and I prayed. A little time passed, and I stepped outside that same area to get my vehicle, and boy oh boy what a difference! The change? One man. There was one, positive, loud (in a good way), smiling, jumping around helping and serving everyone, man. I watched as slowly all the faces changed. The air grew lighter as he was hopping around, smiling and working for everyone, including the other workers…..who were now doing the same. Smiles were everywhere. The sweetness I overheard him give to everyone he came in contact with was beautiful. He was contagious. He was spreading like wildfire through the place. And, then, just before getting into my vehicle, I heard the question, “Who is that man?” My eyes stung as the worker explained that he was a boss in another part of the building who had come by and noticed that they needed help….this isn’t even his job. Another gentleman overheard this and said, “Well, I’d like to work for him!” the worker agreed that he did too.

    In 8 verses, Jesus explained what leading really is. It’s being a servant. It’s being a servant leader. You see, in serving, we lead. Want to be a leader? Be a servant. If we want to make a difference, we need to take the word of the Man who is the ultimate leader. The word “for” in our verse means, “in substitution”. Now, replace the word “many” for your name. Jesus didn’t come to be like the rulers of the world who dominate and lord their power over the people (verse 25). He came to serve and be the substitution for Christy, for you….for every person on the planet. He took our place. He did it for us. Our man of change that day at that office was indeed leading. It didn’t take long to notice that everyone around no longer went to the people who were the actual workers for direction. They went to the one serving the most. He saw there needed to be a change, and that change became him!

    Be the change you want to see

    That was a divine appointment for him that day. More difference was made than if he had walked by, noticed what was happening, and exercised his authority by having a stern talk with those workers. He led by serving. I’m sure, as a leader, he had a million other things to do that day but he chose his divine appointment instead. I’m grateful he did.

    God is calling leaders to be about the business of encouraging, equipping, and empowering His people. He’s doing a thing. He has divine appointments for all of us and I don’t want to be like the priest who walked by that wounded man. I don’t want to be an example for everyone of what not to do.

    We are never more like our Father than when we love and serve someone in His name


    Just as those workers imitated my happy buddy and everything changed…..let’s do that. Think. Act. Do. Serve as though God has moved into the neighborhood…..our office….our church….our group….our friendships……our marriage…..our family…..our home. Let’s live as though the mic is always on and allow Him to use us to make a change.

    Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also must love one another. 1 John 4:11

    To be a true leader is to model after Jesus…..go to serve. In serving we lead. In serving, we become a great leader. In putting ourselves as #2, we become #1.

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    How To Tip: A Day In The Life of A Powerful, Focused Leader

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    Even when He is busy, high in demand and hyper-focused on His work, what does He do? What’s the secret to being a powerful, sought after leader with stamina? What can we learn and do in our own lives to be that person too? Let’s lean in and take a look in a day in the life…..

    Jesus’ ministry had just begun. He’s in Galilee, preaching the good news. As He walked along, He gathered Simon, Andrew, James and John and they went into the town of Capernaum. Right away Jesus preached a sermon that blew their minds, and then drove out a demon. As soon as they left church, He went to a friend’s house and collapsed on the couch exhausted and took a nap because He was done for the day. WRONG…..he healed Simon’s mother-in-law, who then, in turn, saw to their needs.

    That same evening, after the sun had gone down, the WHOLE TOWN came pouring in with their various sicknesses and demon possessed loved ones. Because He had already done His daily deed of preaching a knock-out sermon, gone the extra mile and drove out a demon AND healed that sick woman, He informed them of His office hours, prayed for them and said He would see them then. WRONG….He ministered, He healed their sick, and demon-possessed loved ones.

    Whoa…..pause! Can you imagine the exhaustion? I’m a crisis counselor, and I know when I’ve had a “big” day filled with a few heart broken, abused, and hurting people, I am worn out……and I don’t have the whole town at my door…..all in one evening (some days it feels that way). When I’m finished traveling and speaking somewhere, I’m ready to kick my shoes off, and hang loose for a while. And if it’s really late when I’m done, I look forward to sleep.

    Very early in the morning, while it was still dark (around 4AM), He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there. (Mark 1:35)


    The very next morning, He didn’t sleep in. He knew to energize wasn’t by sleeping in. He didn’t say, well, God knows I did all that fantastic, powerful, life changing stuff yesterday and will understand that I’m exhausted and sleeping in. He kept His focus. He knew that was the first step to complacency.

    You see, that time with the Father is what gives us what we need to do…what we are called to do….when we are called to do it

    It’s our power pack. Remember, His desire….ABOVE ALL ELSE….is to spend time with us.

    When Jesus was busy, in demand and focused on His work, what does He take time to do in this verse? It inspires me to focus on first things first…..powering up with the Giver of supernatural power. I don’t want to be complacent. I want to be on fire! I want to be a mover and shaker….a person who impacts and changes the lives of others. I don’t want to sit in the stands….I want to be right in there, leaning into all He has for me. I want to encourage, equip, and empower others to do the same. I want to make Kingdom differences. I want to walk in power with the King. I want to be like Jesus. May it be so for all of us reading this, Father, for Your glory!

    How does it impact you?

    No Matter How Crazy It Sounds, It’s Happening….

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    I woke up at 3:30 this morning….which is quite normal for me….and my first thoughts were about how crazy God is. Not crazy insane, but crazy fantastic. Crazy outrageous. Crazy about us. Crazy like a fox. Crazy impractical. Crazy excellent. Crazy unusual. Crazy ironic. Crazy excellent. Crazy wow, ridiculous and unusual!

    My heart woke to Philippians 4:13 where it says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. This means, no matter how crazy it sounds, if it’s His will, it’s happening! I think about all the crazy, fantastic things God has done in my life. What He’s doing right now. I used to say God rocks my world, but now I say, God flips me out and blows my mind!

    God specializes in crazy things, doesn’t He? Outrageous, unusual, and miraculous things happen when He’s working. Dead rise! Seas part! Blind see! Deaf hear! Old women give birth to prophets! Men don’t die….EVER, but go straight to heaven! A man walks in water! 5,000 men….not including women and children….are fed with 5 laoves and 2 fish! 4,000 men….plus women and children….fed with 7 loaves and 2 fish! Fire comes down from heaven! The lame walk! Savior born of a virgin! He came and died so that we could live! He rose again and is alive right now! When I listed the first few things I had a period after each one, but they all deserve and exclamation point! These crazy things happening!

    God loves doing the impossible, the crazy, and the out of the ordinary–the fact that He uses any of us might just be the craziest of all! He’s crazy about us!

    Or….is it really crazy? Is it all unordinary because we measure the ordinary/unordinary by what we know to be ordinary? Are the workings of God unusual because of us, not because of Him? Not being used of God this way, or seeing God move this way, sadly, is normal for most. What if it was normal to be used of God this way? It is normal….for God! It’s perfectly normal for all these miracles to be happening. The heavenly hosts aren’t up there saying, Wow! That’s so cool! Didn’t expect that to happen! They expect what we call the unexpected. Elijah is a great example of a flipped out, mind blown life that was normal for him. When the fire from Heaven came down, He didn’t stop and say, ” WOW, that was so CRAZY!”

    Elijah was bold, and He believed His God to do amazing things, and that was His normal. And believing, having, seeing God….and being used by God to….do the miraculous can be normal for us too

    Every time I see God do the impossible, I fall more and more in love. Not because of what He does, but because of who He is. A God that is so crazy about us that He’ll part seas, raise the dead, walk on water, make the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, become a lowly baby, born of a virgin, in a lowly manger…..heal the sick…..raise your marriage from death to life…..bring your child home….deliver you from addictions……make sense of the senseless…..renew and use a prostitute for His Glory (there was a prostitute in the blood line of Jesus Himself! Don’t count yourself out sister, He loves you and will use you too! You’re not used up trash! You’re a BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS!!! Rise up and walk for your Prince has come to rescue you!)…..turn that hard heart into a soft, open heart…..come into your heart and save you to live all eternity with Him…..transform your LIFE to walk anew….cast out those strongholds….turn a worrier into a worshipper…..give peace to the panicked…..peace to the chaos…..a financial breakthrough…..a home to the homeless……be a Father to the fatherless…..turn that man’s heart back to you…..deliver a child to the barren…..give a new family to the orphan…..set the captive free…..set fire to the tongues…..give you a crazy love for Him and His people…..make a leader out of a follower…..place a fire in you that doesn’t go out….a boldness to walk wherever He leads, and say whatever He tells you to say, and do whatever He tells you to do…..Why? For you. For me. For love.

    Why not let God use you? Let your new normal be a fantastic, crazy-to-this-world life watching…..expecting…..seeing God do the crazy, the unusual, and the miraculous! Let your new normal be a life being used by God in fantastic ways!

    Is God doing a crazy thing in your life? Is God calling you to do crazy things for Him and His people? Of course He is! That’s God, and that’s perfectly normal for God 🙂

    Joy To Your World

    20121211-055633.jpgNehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10)

    When the people heard God’s Law, they experienced deep sorrow. They had ignored and betrayed their sovereign and personal God. The very thought of their sin made them sob. Instead of patting them on the back and telling them how great it is to mourn their sin, they encourage the people to turn their mourning into a celebration. Once they understand God’s written message and accept His mercy, their joy overflows.

    We need to do the same. Sinning is something to be sorry about (for real) and shed tears over because we have grieved our Daddy. I was a daddy’s girl growing up and nothing caught my heart quicker than grieving my dad. But we don’t have to stay there…..God’s mercy over us is something to shout about. Mercy is not giving us what we deserve. God had mercy on us and sent His Son to die so that instead of getting what we deserve, we get heaven…..we get forgiveness….a pardon….we get to dance and shout for joy instead of mourning. To skip Jesus means we are still lost in our sins. Don’t skip Him! He loved you enough to die for you! You are valuable to Him….that’s why He came!

    Jerusalem’s wall was strong and restored and now the people needed to restore and strengthen their relationship with God. Nehemiah tells them that their delight in the Lord will be their inner fortification.

    Need to mend the broken relationship between you and the Lord? Go ahead! He’s waiting. He’s not standing there with a pointed finger, waiting to say I told you so…..He’s standing there with a smile on His face, joy in His heart, and arms open wide for His prodigal child has come back. All of heaven is waiting too, with their party hats on and their noisemakers ready to scream and shout. You are valuable and dearly loved.

    The people were no longer to focus on their inadequacies, mistakes or sins. As they repent and find their source of life and celebration in the Lord, their self preoccupation diminishes. They came out of their sin heavy funk and had a party! They experienced the truth of Nehemiah’s words: “The joy of the LORD is your strength.”

    You’re forgiven child! When you bring that sin back up to the Lord, He’s going to say, “What sin?”. He’s not kidding when He says you’re forgiven. Don’t waddle in it anymore (and don’t do it anymore!)…..do a Jesus jig along with the rest of us because Jesus came and brought joy to your world! Ever see someone go through something so horrific with such strength? This is their secret….the joy of the Lord is their strength!

    “Send some to those who have nothing”….. spread the news! There are others around you who need the joyous news right now. There’s plenty of joy to go around, share the good news!

    The Same Jesus Of The Past Approaches You Now

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    Kids just love to twirl and spin. They giggle and twirl, and laugh so hard they can scarcely catch their breath.

    They begin twirling and go faster until they are so dizzy they fall down. What starts out in control, ends up out of control. The body gets dizzy as the world keeps spinning and our bodies soon take us to the ground without our say so.

    I used to get vertigo. That sudden spin and the nausea that came with it did not make me giggle.

    Ann Voskamp said something on twitter a while back that is so true:

    “If my life isn’t cross-centered, my life is off-centered….and the warping spin leaves me sick”

    Things start out fun, then quickly spin on, and before we catch our breath, there we are on the floor and our eyes continually try to grab site of something to make the spinning stop. We sit there until things seem settled, get up and do it again. Sitting there, knocked down, we are in the perfect position to pray.

    There is someone this message is for today. Peace be with you. Like the parent who sees the child has had enough and knowing that if she doesn’t intervene the child will continue, God’s hand of peace is extended to you. Enough. If you feel like you’re sinking, call out to Jesus and He will quickly take your hand and escort you out of the storm. Jesus is there. Although you’ve known and walked with Jesus before, and don’t recognize Him right away in your need, He is approaching your situation. The disciples did the same thing. They had just left Jesus as He miraculously fed the 5,000 but didn’t recognize Him right away in their storm.

    That same Jesus that has done so much in your life in the past is the same Jesus that approaches you now

    Step out in faith and you will walk on the water too. Keep your eyes on Him, not those circumstances, no matter how loud, out of control and spinning they are. Jesus can calm your storm

    When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I, don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it is you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Matthew 14:26-32 (emphasis mine)

    Stay Close to the Light

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    Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become children of the light.” When he has finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them. (John 12:35-36)

    Stay close and the darkness won’t overtake you…..

    I remember that night so well. We could hear the tornado coming. The electricity was out and there we were in the dark.

    Suddenly the house we knew was unknown. We had one tiny flashlight that barely lit our path in front of us. Kids were scared, and I was doing a good job at faking my calm. The already dim flashlight began flickering….darn, I forgot to replace the batteries…..and I wondered how long the light would be with us.

    For a brief second, a child stepped away to grab something but quickly discovered that when he stepped away from Mom the darkness would overtake him. “Stay close and the darkness won’t overtake you”…..the child that was clinging tighter than my pj’s said: messaged received.

    Jesus was teaching that He is the light. His crucifixion was near, and He was urging them to believe in and walk closely with Him while there was still time…..stay close to the light and the darkness won’t overtake you.

    In our home we knew so well, we were constantly unsure of where we were as we inched along.

    When there is absolute absence of light, even the familiar is unknown

    When we believe and give our lives to Jesus as Savior and Lord, He (the Light) remains with us forever. Darkness will not overtake us. Like a light shining in a dark place, He points the way we should walk.

    As Christ followers, we are to be Christ’s light bearers, letting His light shine through us. How brightly is your light shining? Can others see Christ in your actions? Walking in the Light isn’t simply about living a moral life; it’s a matter of following Christ, Who is the Light.

    I’ve been to some pretty dark places in my life…..and in the lives of others. I’ve seen darkness overtake people: message received. I cling tightly to my Savior.

    Jesus’ return is near. He is urging you to believe in Him, and give Him your life while there is still time. Walk in the Light and the darkness won’t overtake you.

    For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of the light. (Ephesians 5:8)

    God Sings and Shouts With Joy

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    When I think of the Lord God of the universe…..the Creator of EVERYTHING finding delight in me it seems so surreal. He has loved us so much and I am in awe that He sent His son to die for my sins….me personally an individually…..and you too….personally and individually.

    The Lord Himself exults over us with gladness and sings, resting in quiet ecstasy over us in whom is all His delight. Wow. WOW! Do you feel worthy of that? I don’t! But, it’s true! This awesome and undeserved love stirs within my heart a need to rise up and praise Him.

    The mighty God is with us…walks with us, speaks to us and quiets all the loud stirrings within us with His complete and perfect love. His patient, forgiving love. His peaceful love. His faithful, unending love. His joyous love. His kind love. His gentle love. Alllll of His love……. this awesome, huge love is given to you….brought and introduced first to this world in the form of a baby. Born to die…given to you. And all because he loves you!

    God is with you, mighty to save. He sent His Son to die on the cross for your sins. Giving your life to Him quiets and brings rest to your soul. You’ll find confidence in your future for you know He is with you in this life, and in the life to come. He is victorious….therefore those who belong to Him are victorious. Giving your life to Him causes Him great rejoicing. Yes, rejoicing no matter what you’ve done, and who you are, and where you are….He rejoices over you. And you too rejoice with gladness for you know what He rescued you from and forgave you for

    Giving ourselves to Him to love and care for us delights Him and causes Him to break out in a song and shout with joy (rejoicing!). This very day, as the great big mighty God of the universe thinks about us, He is glad, He is delighted, He loves us and it causes Him to sing.

    The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17)

    Directions For What Path To Go On, And The Steps To Take To Get There

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    Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. (Psalm 119:105,106)

    God’s word both directs us on which path to go on, and what steps to take to get there.

    I love thorough planning. I like to have a plan in place but then be very fluid within that plan; allowing for His divine appointments and His Spirit to move. When working with a team I like to be thorough and simple in my instructions….here’s what I want you to do, and here’s how I want you to do it.

    The light of His word exposes truth and righteousness…..sheds some light on the subject for seeing ahead to what’s coming down my path, and what I’m doing in the right now

    His word exposes the right direction, while keeping us sure footed, preventing us from stumbling or stepping into a trap…..or entangled in false values (sound familiar? Been there? Done that? Me too…and I didn’t like it and I’m not doing that again!). On such a path there is no danger but a heritage and joy. The guidance of the Lord’s instructions allow us to rightly divide right and wrong.

    God loves us. He’s safe and we can trust Him. Firmly vowing to follow His word and plan for our lives is definitely a step in the right direction. If we love Him, we will want to obey Him (John 14:15). We have a powerful tool to guide us in obedience–His word.

    Here it is:

    If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll keep getting what we’re getting………..

    …………If we don’t like what we’ve been getting, then we need to stop doing what we’ve been doing


    There’s a new day dawning. Firmly…..I said, firmly this time……vow to trust God for a change and follow Him.

    It’s Simple

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    One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “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.”

    God’s laws are not burdensome. They can be reduced down to two simple principles:

    Love God and love others

    Love is the primary affection with which we are to relate to God–and do it with our total being…everything…..no holds barred….ALL……

    ……All is a keyword here. Life is so busy and sometimes we are partially focused on God. He wants all of us, not just our leftovers……

    …….There are no “ors” in this, it’s all “ands”…..grouped together with no room for partial pieces. All always means all!

    Love Him with all your heart (affections) and with all your soul (spirit) and with all your mind (intelligence) and with all your strength (will).

    This Christmas season, give Him your heart and let your spirit dance a love song with Him. Allow Him to refresh and renew your mind into right thinking and focus on Him. Say to Him, not my will but Your will be done.

    Making A List and Checking It Twice

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    Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1John 4:7-8)

    As much as I try or even want to love on my own strength, I cannot love well and completely unless I am connected to God. Believe me, I’ve done that, and it ain’t pretty.

    When we first know Who God is and experience His love, grace, and forgiveness in our own lives, we are then filled up with a supernatural love that overflows to others…..even those who are hard to love.

    It’s this same supernatural love that God pursues us with. His tender passion is not found in this world, oh, no. This world is full of fragile loves–love that abandons, love that fades, love that divorces, love that is self-seeking, self-pleasing, and plain out selfish….me, me, me, it’s all about me, and right now. This isn’t love….these are “feelings”. God is not that kind of love. Real love is like God who is holy, just, giving, kind, patient, seeking others needs first, never gives up, never looses faith, always hopeful, and endures forever.

    He’s personal and intimate with us in our hearts, in our prayers, and in our lives. His love is everlasting.

    Who Christ is and what He’s done should cause us to act. His generous love and compassion is not to stop with us. We should find ways to show compassion to those who are suffering (even if it is at their own hands) because Christ is compassionate towards us. (Believe me when I tell you that there are days when that alone keeps me going. I could start another blog on that alone….these aren’t empty words here). His love for me is my fuel and lights me up…keeps me fired me up and overflows to others.

    “You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving….great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves and in spite of ourselves.” -Victor Hugo

    Here’s your list….check it twice 😉:

  • Love for God can be seen only in love for other people. (4:11-13,16-21,5:2)
  • Love and fear are opposites. (v18)
  • Love is a gift, not a possession. (v10,13,19)
  • Confession of Christ and love of others cannot be separated (vv19-21)
  • God’s love is certain. Christ showed that on the cross. (4:10,14; 5:6)
  • Because He first loved us….

    It Isn’t A Christmas Season For Me

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    And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will rise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:12-13)


    The believer’s hope comes through the Scriptures, which were written and inspired “by the power of the Holy Spirit”

    God alone is our source for eternal hope, life, and salvation. True joy and peace come from God. We often try to find joy and peace through worldly things that fade away.

    Our joy is directly proportional to the grace we have received–at least the perception of grace that we have received

    Receive a small gift, and your joy might be minimal. Receive a large gift, and your joyous reaction is greater.

    I just gave one of my daughters a cute note pad, and she had a big smile on her face and squeeled, “Thank you mommy!”. I gave my other daughter a car (very used) and she squealed, jumped up and down, cried and thanked me a million times. Receive a small gift, and your joy might be minimal. Receive a large gift, and your joyous reaction is greater. When I think on the grace, mercy, love, hope, joy, life, gifts and salvation God has given me I jump up and down too! My rejoicing is great and I start Jesus-jigging!

    When Christ followers don’t have much joy in their lives, something is wrong. Spend time thinking on the things God has given you–rescued you from–brought you to–brought you through. We’ve all been through some “stuff” and God has brought us through them.

    Just as when the disciples gathered up the remnants from the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000 into the storm, take those blessings from your past into your right now and into your future.

    True Christmas joy comes from rejoicing over the great big~bigger than life~gifts of grace.

    Christmas isn’t a time or season, it’s a year round state of mind….a condition of the heart.

    A Branch for Christmas: the richest gift of all

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    “The days are coming”, declares the LORD, “when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. “In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line”; he will do what is just and right in the land.



    God’s grace-filled promise is paid in full in Jesus Christ- the Righteous Branch. He came with a journey of love to carry out and He did it, and did it well….righting wrongs, and bringing justice for all who receive Him.

    Grace: giving us what we don’t deserve. I don’t know about you, but I certainly have done nothing to deserve this kind of love and sacrifice.

    God’s promise is true for my salvation and also just as true for my daily life. In all things (all means all) God works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8).

    “In those days and at that time”….God knows what’s going on with you and me. Believe that God will swoop right in at the right time and work for your good. I ask again, do you really think God would love us enough to send His Son to die for us, and not care for us in our daily life? What would be the point? What about that would make us eager to serve Him? No, He’s all about the details of our lives. We just over look Him and aren’t listening for His voice.

    There’s a power of God that you and I can’t even imagine, and that power is at work in us, for us and through us

    This Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior…..a King born to die….let’s remember that His love for us is consuming, overwhelming, never ending, awesome, and huge. He brought salvation to us, and He also brought an invitation….a front row seat to allow Him to work in us, for us and through us in such powerful ways.

    What a mighty and loving God we serve!

    Thank You, Lord for our Christmas Branch….a Branch for Christmas is the richest gift of all!

    Walk in loving power, and at the edge of your seats with the King.

    What’s In A Name?

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    The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God. (John 1:9-12)

    Jesus, the only true light….the only path to eternity….came. Though offered to everyone, not everyone recognizes Him for who He is as Savior. Those who do become children of God.

    Through every situation, Jesus is offered as my hope daily…..minute by minute….and no matter the situation. Do I recognize Him? Do I recognize His work on my behalf?

    He’s my Savior! Do I really think He’s going to love me enough to die for me, and then leave me to stumble through? No, He’s not a love ’em and leave ’em kind of guy! He said He’d never leave me and I believe Him.

    He’s my hope and my salvation and there’s power in that name

    Call out to Him. Try it. There’s power in that name.

    When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

    Lord, thank You for the hope and salvation we have in you! I sit at the edge of my seat watching for You in my life. May it ever be so! Thank You that You came and that You keep coming every day in every thing.

    The Guiding Light, As The World Turns: Before The Beginning Began

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    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. John 1:1-4

    Before the beginning began the Word….Jesus…was with God.

    Jesus wasn’t created; He has always existed. The Word was with God and is the second Person of the Trinity, the Divine Revelation, the expression of God, God with skin on, the visible manifestation of God.

    The Word was with God, yet willingly gave that up to become like man, born to die, humbly obedient even to the point of death on the cross for you and me. Therein lies hope.

    He is God’s Word to us and in Him there is life, salvation and deliverance.

    His life is the light of men; guiding and directing our paths, removing darkness and keeping us from stumbling around in it. Without Him we would be lost.

    He is the real Guiding Light as the world turns, and the only one I want to watch and imitate in my own life!

      We, as children of the Light…..

      …..are each valuable and unique, and alive in Christ.

      As children of the light…..

      …..our lives, attitudes, and decisions reflect Christ to the world.

    (Image by Soy Negrense)