#1 Productivity Killer

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Spending time alone with God can be a difficult discipline, because it goes against the activity addiction of this age. But it’s the most productive thing you could ever do.

I am rarely doing two things at once. I’m usually multitasking 4-7 (or more) things at a time whether anyone knows it or not. I can tick more boxes off in a morning than some people do in a day. Some days there is so much activity going on in so many different directions that I’m sure it’s going to create a vortex that will devour the universe as we know it. Just suck it right in.

Activity. We are addicted to it. There’s lots to get done. And it all needed to get done 10 minutes ago.

Never before in the history of mankind have we had more access to scripture but less time to absorb it. You can’t microwave spiritual transformation.

My most productive days are the ones that started out sitting on God’s knee, or rocking on His Heavenly front porch and immersing myself in Him. Our time talking to and listening (don’t forget about the listening part!) to God, and reading God’s Word is about encountering God–Not ticking off another box.

 

My most unproductive days are the ones that I rush through time with Him. It’s the #1 killer. Bar none. Quietness and trust accomplish far more than we can imagine: not only in us, but also in earth and in heaven.

Whether or not we choose to acknowledge it, there’s a war going on. You may feel like you’re doing nothing, but time alone with God allows you to use heavenly weapons which have divine power to demolish strongholds and break every chain. Every. One. Did you get that? Go back and read that again. Living close to God is a sure-fire defense. And, He’s already won the battle. Let’s stay on the winning side.

If your life feels like chaos, pull up a chair….or better yet, sit on Daddy’s knee a while….

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” Isaiah 30:15

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GOD in Everything

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He is the God: let him do whatever He thinks best. – 1 Sam 3:18

See God in everything, and God will calm and color all that you see. It may be that the circumstances of our sorrows will not be removed, their condition will remain unchanged, things aren’t going as planned, things happening that we don’t remember signing up for; but if Christ, as Lord and Master of our life, is brought into it, ”HE will surround me with songs of deliverance.“ To see HIM, and to be sure that His wisdom cannot err, His power cannot fail, His love can never change; to know that even His direst dealings with us are for our deepest spiritual gain, is to be able to say, in the midst of bereavement, sorrow, pain, and loss, ”The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” He is God: Let Him do whatever He thinks is best

Do you acknowledge that God is everything but struggle to see God’s hand in everything that is happening right now, in your daily life?

Charles Finney said, ” A state of mind that sees God in everything is evidence of growth in grace and a thankful heart.”

Nothing else but seeing God in everything will make us loving and patient with those who [and those things that] annoy and trouble us. They will be to us then only instruments for accomplishing His tender and wise purposes toward us, and we shall even find ourselves at last inwardly thanking them for the blessings they bring us. Nothing else will completely put an end to all murmuring or rebelling thoughts.—H. W. Smith.

“Give me a new idea,” I said,
While musing on a sleepless bed;
“A new idea that’ll bring to earth
A balm for souls of priceless worth;
That’ll give men thoughts of things above,

And teach them how to serve and love,
That’ll banish every selfish thought,
And rid men of the sins they’ve fought.”

The new thought came, just how, I’ll tell:
’Twas when on bended knee I fell,
And sought from HIM who knows full well
The way our sorrow to expel.
SEE GOD IN ALL THINGS, great and small,
And give HIM praise whate’er befall,
In life or death, in pain or woe,
See God, and overcome thy foe.

I saw HIM in the morning light,
HE made the day shine clear and bright;
I saw HIM in the noontide hour,
And gained from HIM refreshing shower.
At eventide, when worn and sad,
HE gave me help, and made me glad.
At midnight, when on tossing bed
My weary soul to sleep HE led.

I saw HIM when great losses came,
And found HE loved me just the same.
When heavy loads I had to bear,
I found HE lightened every care.
By sickness, sorrow, sore distress,
HE calmed my mind and gave me rest.
HE’S filled my heart with gladsome praise
Since I gave HIM the upward gaze.

’Twas new to me, yet old to some,
This thought that to me has become
A revelation of the way
We all should live throughout the day;
For as each day unfolds its light,
We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.
Life will, indeed, a blessing bring,
If we SEE GOD IN EVERYTHING.”
—A. E. Finn

He is God: Let Him do whatever He thinks is best

The Game of Life: Follow the Leader

 

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As we headed through the hall, she wanted to lead. She didn’t know where I was going, but she felt she knew and wanted to lead anyway. For a little while she was going where I was headed but as soon as we were at a crossroad, she went the wrong way.

Aren’t we all like that with God? We walk with Him a while, and then we think we know what’s best and begin to take over the lead. That inevitable moment comes when it is obvious we were wrong. Ouch.

We all want God on our side. God wants to be. He wants a growing, thriving, active relationship with us. We don’t have to struggle and beg for it. He wanted to be with us so badly that He sent His Son to die to make that happen. We definitely don’t have to wonder if God is for us. He’s made that obvious.

WWJD

We can learn a lot from Jesus’ life. He lived intentionally. Remember WWJD? We can lean in and learn what He did, to know what we should do:

Jesus only did what God was doing (John 5:19). Jesus never did anything that He didn’t see the Father doing. We follow Jesus who follows God. But we get caught up in wanting to know “what is going to happen if” (fear). We think we know, and that’s when we start taking over.

One family night my hubby dropped my daughter and me off at the door to the movies. On the way out, we didn’t know where our vehicle was. She asked several times, “Where are we parked, Daddy?”. I used the opportunity to teach. Daddy knows where the car is. We can trust Daddy. If we follow Daddy, we will get to the car. Jesus knows what He’s doing too. We can trust Him. If we follow Him, we will always be going the right way. 

Hey, I get it. I really do. Life is scary. There are a lot of unknowns to us. We. Don’t. Know. Where. We. Are. Going. But, Jesus does. Where He is, the Father is. Are you in Christ? Are you doing what He is doing? There shouldn’t be a big disconnect between the stuff Jesus does and the stuff that we do because we should be looking at Jesus, doing what He is doing as Jesus is looking at the Father, doing what He is doing. You know, follow the leader, Simon says game. Only, life isn’t a game, and we aren’t kids. 

We spend so much time trying to get Jesus to turn around and follow us…..and we don’t even know where we are going. If we lead, it is rarely good for anyone that we influence or who follows us.

If our passion–if our focus is on Jesus–then we are headed right where God wants us. And, wherever God is….that’s for sure where I want to be.

What about those neutral things? Those things that aren’t right or wrong? What about when I mess up? David messed up. Big. Yet, He was called the man after God’s own heart. David’s secret? Humility. He knew that a truly humbled heart is the way to please God (Psalm 51:17).

In contrast, being proud is a sure-fire way to guarantee that God is NOT with you. God resists the proud (James Ch 4).

The idea that God is on our side can lead us two ways:

  • Thinking that it means now we can get done all we want to do because He’s with me. He’s on my side.
  • Worship. Know myself truly, that apart from God there isn’t one thing in me good. I don’t want to be on my own side. It stinks! I want to be on God’s side. I join in with Psalm 124 and say, “If the Lord had not been on my side.” I say in all humility, BUT GOD. By His grace go I.

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.

 

 

Don’t Look At Scripture

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Scripture gives perspective. The Word builds fruit in our lives. We sometimes look “at” scripture but not “through” scripture.

Go through your day by looking at it “through” the scriptures. Because He told you this morning in His Word that He loves you and goes before you, gives you wisdom, has good plans for you, you will respond to things rather than react to things. Live out your day on those promises fearlessly when things come your way, knowing that He meant what He said.

We can walk through things boldly and confident in Christ when we see every event, change, or situation through His promises.

But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. Psalms 1:2, 3

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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New Future With A Past

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“Agreed,” she replied. ” Let it be as you say.” Joshua 2:21

It wasn’t unusual for strange men to appear at her door. She was, after all, a prostitute. The Israelite spies came to Rahab looking for a place to hide, and they put their lives in her hands.

Who could have failed to hear about the Israelites? They had been in the desert for 40 years and now were headed straight toward Jerico. But Rahab told the spies she had heard of the God of Israel and the deeds He had done on behalf of His people. It was as if she was waiting for evidence of Him in her own life. When she saw her chance, she did not hesitate. She joined the cause of this God whom she believed to be greater than the gods worshipped by her people: “for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Joshua 2:11).

What if these men betrayed her? What if their God failed her? There could be no turning back. Risking her own death, she was obedient to the conviction of truth within her–no debate, no consultation, no wavering.

Within minutes if her decision, Rahab revealed her extraordinary heart. Rahab interceded for her family’s safety as well as her own. Her family heeded her, for when the walls of Jerico came down, her relatives were with her.

Over the ensuing years, Rahab surely needed to learn a new way of relating to men. Perhaps her restoration required the greatest faith of all–everyday choices, without drama or spotlight, to be chaste, to forgive, to trust again. Scripture reveals that she continued to hold on to the God who gave her a new beginning. Matthew 1:5 lists Rahab among the forebears of Jesus. But she is not called “the prostitute,” for the stigma of her past is overshadowed by the honor given her by God. And by choosing her–a Gentile sinner–God confirms that He is the Savior of all peoples, for all time and in all circumstances.

Is there a hope for a woman with a past, someone who has made bad decisions and given herself to a life of sin? Our enemy wants us to believe that nothing good can come of such wreckage. But Rahab’s life demonstrates the benefits of believing God instead.
When Rahab chose Him, He gave her a completely new life. And He set no limits on her potential as His child. NONE.

Read about Rahab in Joshua Ch 2

{the picture above is of a scarlet cord that hangs in my office window as a reminder of Rahab and of the great God of redemption I love and serve.}

Miraculous Faith: Part 1

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What happens when you run out of something, like milk, at your house? Most of us put it on our grocery list, so we can buy some more at the store. But what if you had no money to buy groceries? And what if you had no hope of earning any money? This was the case for a widow woman in Elisha’s day.

In 2 Kings 4:1-7, a woman came to Elisha. Her husband, one of the prophets, had died. Her husband owed money to someone, and she was unable to pay the debt. The person to whom she owed money to was going to take her children to be slaves in order to pay the debt. This woman was desperate. She came to man of God for help. She came to the right place!

The woman told Elisha that the only thing she owned was a little bit of oil, but it was almost gone. Elisha told her to get empty jars from all of her neighbors, and to start pouring her oil into the jars. One by one, the jars would be filled with valuable oil.

Right away, the widow woman went to her neighbors and asked for empty jars. This action proved that she believed God would perform a miracle for her. Sure enough, the woman began to pour her last drops of oil into an empty jar, and the oil kept on pouring! Soon the house was filled with jars that were brimming with oil! The woman could sell the oil, pay the debt, and have money to care for her children. Can you imagine the look on her sons’ faces as the oil poured and poured? God had provided; they would not become slaves!

Only God could do a thing like this. Only God can create something out of nothing (Genesis 1:1), or fill an empty jar with oil. The Lord loves His people, and He is happy to take care of their needs (Matthew 7:11).

Look at the birds of the air. They don’t plant or gather crops. They don’t put away crops in storerooms. But your Father who is in heaven feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? – Matthew 6:26

Every person is important to God. You are important to God! He delights over you, and He wants to provide everything you need (Zephaniah 3:17).

Our GOD is a GOD of miracles! Our GOD is a GOD of abundant provisions! Our GOD is a GOD of the unimaginable!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, (Ephesians 3:20 NIV84)

Just like this woman, we had a debt that we couldn’t pay. She was powerless. We were powerless, too. Miraculous provision came from heaven down to earth in Jesus. HE is our miraculous provision.

Freedom: We hold the keys

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I was visiting with someone this week that was severely fenced in with bitterness. As I watched and listened, I saw how her life, those around her, and those on the potential other side of her choice to live this way are effected. Not only the relationships now, but the ones that “could be” are in the balance. I wonder how many divine appointments have been overlooked….will be overlooked. I wonder how many great people and opportunities have slipped by. Three words away from breaking through those chains into freedom.

Free is such a beautiful word.

“The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Lord’s Spirit is, there is freedom” 2 Corinthians 3:17


We are often one liberating act away from opening a huge door to enter into a beautiful new world.

“I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I am speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!” 2 Corinthians 6:11-13


Are there areas of your life right now where you may feel trapped, not experiencing the freedom your heart longs for? Are you three words away from freedom? “I forgive you….He forgives me”

  • Is there someone you need to forgive? Bitterness is the spawn of unforgiveness. It’s bothering you way more than that other person. It’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
  • Is there something you need to forgive yourself for?
  • Is there something in your life where you feel shame and the need to hide?
  • Hebrews 12:1-2 beckons us into a life of freedom and victory: “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance this race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”

    I read this somewhere and made note of it. It speaks truth:
    We hold the keys to our freedom in our hands and hearts. As we keep our eyes on Jesus and allow His love and grace to flow into our lives, we become a channel of freedom for others as well. As we walk in the way of life, we become an avenue of life for others.”

    He gives it to us so that He can give it through us.

    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).

    When the answer comes, don’t run from the giants…

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    A few days ago I was in my favorite spot and talking with God. As we chatted, I asked Him for a breakthrough on a certain thing that was very close to my heart. That very afternoon it came. Praise God! With this breakthrough, came lots and lots of things for me to do. As I was getting bogged down by the mountain, I thought about the Israelites. I always think of them when I pray for something to happen, it happens, and then inside my head I am tempted to complain for various reasons. It always sends a jolt through my body. Praying for a blessing, and then complaining when it gets here?! Crazy!

    We have a dream. We pray for a new position at our jobs….with that position comes new responsibilities, and more work. We complain. We pray to open that business, and yet, we complain about the long hours. We pray for that relationship, and then complain about the work it takes. Aren’t we a bunch of fickle people? We think that just because we are blessed with something, it means we can shift into cruise control and do nothing. I mean, God gave it to us, doesn’t that mean it should be easy? This is the point when a lot of people quit and miss out on God’s best for them.

    The Israelites dreamt of the promised land. I believe God gives each of us a dream. A dream especially tailored for our talents and purposes…..a dream we were destined to fulfill.

    But just as they were promised a land flowing with milk and honey only if they had the faith to move ahead and take the promised land, so too does everyone with a dream face obstacles that would keep us from God’s best for us. Those giants they had to overcome struck fear in the hearts of those to whom the promise was given. Some drew back as a result. Discouragement, fatigue, impatience, and unbelief set in. All of these were common to those men and women who spent 40 years in the desert because they simply could not walk in faith toward the destiny God called them to.

    You know in your heart that God has great things for you. But, with every advancing step, you meet obstacles. Yes, giants are in the promised land, but God is too. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. There are times in our lives when it’s normal to feel overwhelmed or in over our heads. When the Israelites had that sea in front of them, and Pharaoh’s army behind them, it was okay to feel overwhelmed. We just can’t let our circumstances circumvent seeing God move. Had they not moved forward with God, that sea would not have parted and they would have missed the miracle. And so would we.

    God does huge things in our lives. Take the remnants of that into our next thing.

    Focus on these truths:

  • God has a plan for you. They are good. Jeremiah 29:11
  • Emmanuel, God is with you
  • He will make a way
  • God is never surprised or caught off guard. There are no emergency meetings in Heaven. He’s got this
  • God is an expert at resurrections. He brings dreams to life
  • In a way only God can do, He will bring you through. Only then do you understand that that the real joy isn’t in the dream itself, but rather in the richer faith you’ve acquired along the way.

    “If He calls us to slay giants. He will make us into giant slayers.” -Christine Caine

    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?

    Encouraged Encourager

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    It’s been several days since my last writing to you. Very strange for me, I know. I’ve been writing, but not to you, at least not here. You’ve all been on my mind and in my prayers. I have so much to tell you. Lots of things happening here. Great, awesome and terrifyingly wonderful things. It’s for another post though….another time….a little later…

    For now, I want to share with you how encouraged I’ve been. All these changes, and on the most trying of days, have been met with such great words of encouragement. I’ve always been so conscientious about encouraging others, but for now, in this season, God has been pouring them on me. I’ve needed it. I’ve needed it a lot more on some days than others, and He knows that. He always knows that. He always gives it freely.

    A simple text, an email, a short voicemail message, a Facebook message, a message on Twitter…..all so small, so quick to do, yet make such a huge impact on one’s day, or moment. I call these divine interventions. Ever felt that? The sudden urge to contact someone? To give a positive word, or simply ask how they’re doing? Don’t dismiss it. Go with it. It could change a life. It will change a life! It’s part of a big plan that you’re privileged to be part of!

    An encourager leaves people full and refreshed. God has cornered the market on encouragement.

    You’re never more like God than when you are encouraging people

    When our lives get hectic, when our legs ache, our throats burn, and our whole body cries out for us to stop running this marathon we call life….this is when friends and family are most valuable. The cheers, the encouragement help us push through the pain to the finish.

    A word of encouragement offered at the right moment can be the difference between finishing well and collapsing along the way

    Let me encourage you today to find a needy person and enrich them; a lonely person and include them; a misunderstood person and affirm them; an undiscovered person and develop them; a failing person and restore them. And, go to a leader today…the one that is always so strong….and encourage them. Speaking from experience, because we are so strong, people forget we sometimes need to lay down, rest, and receive a good word of encouragement too. Be sensitive to God’s using you to bless others in this way.

    Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…..(1Thessalonians 5:11)

    Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God (2Corinthians 1:3-4)

    Watch this inspiring video and allow it to encourage you

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    What Are You Looking At?

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    Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

    I love the book of Hebrews, and I especially love this chapter, and the chapter before it. Their faithfulness is encouraging in Chapter 11. They are our cloud of witnesses. We don’t struggle alone and we are not the first to struggle with the problems we face. Others have run the race and won, and we can too! I picture them cheering us on, and then at times when that “thing” happens and we say, “can I get a witness?” they say, “uhhh-huhh”.

    What things hinder your race? Because it says, “let us throw off” that means we can. We have it within us as the children of God to throw off and lay dead those things that hinder us from winning with Christ and those things that endanger our relationship with Christ. Drop the dead weight that slows you down, entangles you, and causes you to stop altogether.

    Our race has been marked out for us. Why should that comfort you? It comforts me to know that I’m not out here in this marathon of life bumping along in the dark…..a plan marked out for me by Someone who continually tells me and confirms with me His awesome intentions to prosper me and bring me victory…..One who gave His life to make that happen!

    It is because of Jesus that we can have faith in a future, and our faith endures and gets better because of Jesus.

    Where should we fix our eyes as we persevere? On Jesus! Jesus set the example for us here. He knew the horror and shame of the cross and endured it anyway. Why? For you. For me. He kept His eye on the Prize. His finish line was ever before Him and it consisted of Him sitting at the right hand of the throne of God, and us there with Him! We’ll be in the very presence of God too! Hallelujah! This place isn’t our home either.

    We aren’t a body with a soul……

    …….We’re a soul with a body

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    In Matthew 14:22-23 we see Peter walking on water, and then sinking. We (including me) often talk about Peter’s lack of faith, but let’s look at the flip side. It took enormous faith for Peter to say, “Jesus, if it’s really you, tell me to come out there with you. I’d like to walk on the water too.”

    I wonder, would you have had enough faith to step out of the boat onto the water?

    Peter’s faith is strong as long as he focuses on Jesus. But when he gets out in the wind and waves, concentrating on Jesus is more difficult. Does your faith seem strong until trouble comes? Strong and fired up at the beginning, and then when struggles come….you dwindle? Perhaps you take your eyes off Jesus and start looking too intently at your situation too.

    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.

    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)

    When Division = Multiplication

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    “Bring them here to me,” (Matthew 14:18)

    I love this story in Matthew 14:14-21. Jesus had spent hours teaching and ministering to the people. It was around 3:00 pm and well passed lunch time. The disciples were concerned that they were out in a remote place with nowhere for the people to go and get food. The Bible says 5,000 men. Traditional calculations say around 15,000 when you include women and children (How would you like that kind of crowd popping in unannounced this Thanksgiving?).

    The people just couldn’t leave. They were surely hungry, but it was another kind of appetite they needed satisfied.

    The disciples saw things as getting desperate and were worried about the outcome. Jesus said, “they don’t need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

    God wants to do the supernatural, and He wants us believe for it too


    They were still thinking too small…..all we have are these five loaves of bread, and two measly fish.

    We do that too!

    Daddy says, I’m here….cast your cares on Me….I go before you…..I go behind you….no weapon formed against you will prosper….I have plans to prosper you…..I give you the Comforter….I give you my Son….you’re in the palm of my hand….I divide the seas…..I raise people from the dead….bring fire from heaven……create something out of nothing….and I’ve got this too

    Sometimes things seem impossible. We’ve tried in our own strength and we’re still not seeing the big picture.

    Daddy says, “Bring them to me.”


    When a child has a broken toy, and tinkers away for a while trying to fix it, Daddy says, “Bring that to me.” What the child has put so much effort into attempting to do seems so effortless now as Daddy fixes it with ease.

    Jesus says, “Bring them here to me”

    “Them”

    those issues
    that mess…
    your brokenness…
    that marriage…
    that potential man/woman…or lack thereof…
    that job…or lack thereof…
    your family…
    that past…
    that child that has stepped away from the church…
    that situation you just can’t seem to forgive…
    that situation you just can’t seem to get forgiveness for…
    all…..them ALL
    Bring them all to Him

    And don’t hesitate at the multiple problems….”them” is plural….take it ALL

    Jesus told them to sit down. Bring them to me and sit down—-I’ve got this…..sit down and rest while I do my thing.

    Then…..and don’t miss this….Jesus broke the bread, and then it multiplied!

    Did you catch it? Multiplication happens out of brokenness!

    It’s when that thing breaks me–when I let it go–take it to Him–and sit it out–and let Him work–that His blessing multiplies

    Whatever measly things we have….whatever seems hopeless, or too big…..take it to your Daddy first. He’s reaching for you and asking you to Bring them to Him. Obey. Take it to Him and sit down and watch Him do His thing.

    Happy Thanksgiving from all the gang here! We love you all and pray abundant blessings for you, your family, your calling, your church, your work. This office will be closed through Monday. Give everyone great big hugs as you celebrate and enjoy Thanksgiving together.

    Walk closely with the King!
    Love,
    Christy

    Full Tank: He Holds No Good Thing

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    This is our “Thank Tank”

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    It’s a wonderful container that I got as a gift and turned into a thank tank years ago when my children, who are now 23 (next week) and 18, were very young. The card I placed in the top says,

    “Thank Tank”
    That my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever (Psalm 30:12)

    And this poem:
    Consider what the Lord has done for you and those you love; then give Him thanks with hearts of praise for blessings from above

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    It’s been filled with lots and lots of notes. Personal ones that are only for God. These notes are written by my family and countless other people who have been in our home over the years. Small groups. Teenagers spending the weekend for a youth group function. Traveling choirs filled with strangers that come and fill my home to the brim. Grown ups as we talk and praise God for His goodness.

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    So many memories of year round teaching groups of girls, and guys and seeing them grab the empty pages and write their hearts on them

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    This tank is full of thanks to Him for blessings passed, and blessings coming. Hopes confirmed by seeing His hand, and hopes confirmed by the promise of His hand.

    This year finds me in the same place. I look back over the years and see His victorious hand through many, many, MANY hard things. The joy in the many, many, MANY wonderful things. And just like in Matthew 14:20, when the disciples took the remnants of the blessed miracle of feeding the 5,000 men into their future, I take mine and give thanks for all He has done, is doing, and will do.

    God is the same God that has done all He’s done. God is the same God that is doing all He is doing. God is the same God that will do all He’s going to do. His hands are capable. I trust His hands. No matter what, He knows me better than I know myself and His bountiful love will always fill my life full and over flowing into my future too. He loves us and holds no good thing from His children.

    That my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever (Psalm 30:12)

    Forever