Seeing A Greater Purpose In Adversity

20130124-085011.jpg
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….

20130118-070917.jpg
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.

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

20130113-063632.jpg


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

    What We See As Only A Process, God Sees As The Goal Itself….

    20130111-062843.jpgImmediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side…….(Matthew 14:22)


    We often think that if Jesus compels us to do something, and we are obedient, that He will bring great (and quick) success. We think everything God has us do is leading us to a specific end, but that’s not always the case. What we see only as a process of reaching a goal, God sees as the goal itself. God’s purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future.

    God’s purpose is for me to depend on Him. To have faith in Him. To depend on Him and His power now. We often say patience isn’t the ability to wait, it’s how you wait. The same concept applies here. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused in the storms of life, the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. His purpose is the process itself.

    What He desires for me is that I see Him walking on the water with no shore, no success, no goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see Him walking on the water. (see Matthew 14:22-33)

    It is the process that is glorifying God.

    God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. God is in charge of what comes from our obedience, and we shouldn’t concern ourselves with it. He is running the show. What we call preparation, God sees as a goal itself. This is where we grow and change.

    God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life now. If I keep looking at the shore, I am not paying close enough attention to the present time and I miss the miracle of the walk. If I realize that the moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.

    Don’t miss the miracle of the walk.

    How To Be #1 At Being #2

    20130107-095623.jpg
    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.

    20130107-095843.jpg

    Psalm 1: The two ways and the destiny that follows

    20130102-193556.jpg

    In the first chapter of Psalms, we see in 6 verses, a clear description of two ways of life and the destiny they create. We see the behavior. We see the destiny. We see what is anticipated for those who follow the each way.

    What does a person look like that doesn’t follow the advice of the wicked, or do what the sinners around him are doing, mocking God and all He and His people stand for? Happy. And, blessed in all circumstances because God is with them, watching over their way. They know God and are delighted by learning more about Him, and what He wants our lives to be. They think on and apply this to their lives, their decisions, their relationships and are fruitful, blessed and wise. The more they delight in obeying God’s word, the more fruitful they are.

    When we apply God’s wisdom, the fruit…..the by-product….will be good. Just as a tree soaks up water and bears fruit, we also are to soak up God’s word, producing actions and attitudes that honor God. And, notice the tree is on a river bank….never thirsty, always filled.

    When we allow God to proceed into every area of our lives, we succeed at having the abundant life He plans for us and came to give us.

    How happy (blessed) is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the LORD’S instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. The wicked are not like this; instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not survive the judgement, and sinners will not be in the community of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin. Psalms 1:1-6 {Emphasis mine}

    2012: A Year Filled With Attitude

    20121231-064420.jpgHAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Can you believe that 2013 is here?! Wow! I have whiplash from 2012!

    As God woke me this morning and took me to our scripture, I smiled. I smiled because of all this brought me through in the last year.

    giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20)

    Does this mean my 2012 was entirely filled with all positive things as I skipped and twirled through my days? No. Absolutely no.

    And, yes. Always and in everything there is something to run to Daddy about. Keeping this practice keeps us communicating with Him….which is precisely where we should be.

    A person that is filled with the Spirit is mindful of and grateful to the Source of all things good. And, when things aren’t so good we can thank the Source of strength that got us through.

    Keeping my heart and mind in praise and thanksgiving keeps me on the right path….whatever the attitude I have that has me face to face with Him is ok. The point is the face to face part.

    New Year’s Eve 2012 was spent gathering in my home filled with friends old and new celebrating, thanking God in prayer and praise for all the victories won. All of them. Everything. All things good, and all things that were for our good. 2012 started out in a very painful neck surgery that blessed me with time to be still, learning and growing closer to Jesus. Lost loved ones….some through death….some through betrayal and choices of their own. A drawing closer, skin-to-skin with God. A calling. Another calling. Another calling. Another calling. A child. That blessed child! New relationships. All life changing. All woven while sitting, serving, speaking, loving with my Jesus.

    Whatever 2012 was for you…whatever 2013 will be for you….speak the name Jesus over it/ for it/ to it. There’s power in your words. Your tongue can have a Lazarus effect on your life.

    Give thanks always, and for everything because we serve a God who does not sit high on a hill and bid us to climb out of the valley. No. He bungees down and carries us out. He doesn’t build a bridge and command us to cross it. No. He crosses the bridge and shoulders us over. Grace. This is the gift that God gives. A grace that changes us and leads us to a life that is eternally altered. A life that gives thanks always and for everything in that sweet, Holy name: Jesus.

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

    20121220-054616.jpg

    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 🙂

    What Are You Looking At?

    20121215-072649.jpg

    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

    20121215-075150.jpg

    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

    20121209-063504.jpg

    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

    20121208-053955.jpg

    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

    20121206-073836.jpg

    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

    20121205-064119.jpg
    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

    20121204-070413.jpg
    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

    20121203-055910.jpg
    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

    20121130-115735.jpg
    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

    20121128-073735.jpg
    “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?

    20121127-063614.jpg

    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

    20121126-073858.jpg
    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

    20121120-090110.jpg
    “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

    20121119-065226.jpg

    This is our “Thank Tank”

    20121119-065419.jpg

    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

    20121119-065820.jpg

    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.

    20121119-070125.jpg

    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

    20121119-070435.jpg

    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

    How Do You Live Out Your Love For God?

    20121118-075500.jpg

    I read this story online somewhere(?) and wrote it down:

    A tired father came home from work, grabbed his newspaper, and settled into his favorite chair with a sigh of relief. All he wanted was a little peace and quiet. All that his young son wanted was his daddy. The little boy raced into the room and asked, “Dad, can I get you something to drink?” The man lowered his newspaper, smiled and replied, “No, thanks. I’m not thirsty. I just want to read the paper.” He then raised his newspaper and resumed reading. The little boy thought for a moment and then said a little louder, “Dad, can I get you something to eat?” The slightly exasperated father lowered his paper and said, “No son, I just want to read the paper!” As the father resumed his reading, the little boy tried again. “Dad, can I get you……..” but before the little boy could finish his question, the now irritated father lowered his paper and demanded, “What is it that you want son?” The little boy sighed and gazed into his father’s eyes as he explained,

    “I don’t want anything, Dad.”

    “I just love you so much that I have to do something about it.”


    How do you live out your love for God?

    Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deut 6:5)

    Jesus: All Access Pass

    20121116-064610.jpg

    In Matthew 6:5-15 Jesus is teaching us about prayer.

    “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (Matthew 6:9-13)

    The Lord’s prayer is a model for our prayers. There’s no “formula” to it, no ritual or secret way to better channel the strongest waves of communication to or from God. We have all access to Him.

    20121116-060634.jpg

    The Message version puts it this way:

    The world is full of so called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
    Our Father in heaven, reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best–as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the devil. You’re in charge! Yes. Yes. Yes.

    God loves us, and has done all He’s done for a relationship with us. Talk to Him. That’s the point, talk to Him. Communication draws us into more knowledge of, and closer to the people around us. If we want to know more about this mighty God, we need to get to know Him. To get to know Him is to talk with Him. To talk with Him is to get to know Him. A conversation. Just start talking.

    .

    God + Nothing = Everything

    I love the feeling I get when I see a box of things from our past. I smile just walking in the direction of the box. Opening them and talking about what each thing represents. The laughter, and love that flow as we remember. Things my kids made, holiday decorations, funny and sweet notes my children wrote, things sweet friends gave me, mementos of my Dad and other loved ones no longer with us. We’re all transported back. It’s cozy there in the kisses from our Heavenly Father.

      20121115-092217.jpg

    What a blessing it is to cuddle with each kiss! It’s like getting blessed all over again. Passing to the next generation the moments of joy we have in raising our children, growing and loving in marriage, the awe, fear, wonder, and victories in God. I was talking with a friend the other day who said we don’t remember days, we remember moments. I agree.

      20121115-092203.jpg

    I give thanks for remembering. For the remembering brings joy. Joy in giving God the glory and thanks in a life lived well. I add quickly not a life lived perfectly, but with honest passion, desire, love and compassion authored by God Himself. A passionate desire to follow, glorify and honor God. This story of love is authored by Him. A life together made on our own would not have been so great. In our own weak attempts we fail. For we are nothing and have nothing without Him

    For you see, God + nothing = everything

    .

    All-out Control Freak: There’s Treasure In Letting Go

    20121113-072904.jpg

    This is a picture I found somewhere on the Internet at some point. I don’t remember where or I would give credit to the author. That isn’t a picture of me, but I have a lot of hair…maybe not as out of control as hers….and I can relate. It’s a big picture because I think sometimes….a lot of the time….ok….all of the time, we need a BIG reminder about control.

    My husband likes it when I wear my hair up. At any given day, it takes AT LEAST this many barrettes to keep it tucked in, up, down, and over or whatever:

      20121113-073607.jpg

    Sometimes I even use more!

    As leaders and decision makers of our home, and in our workplace, we have a lot to be in charge of as women and men. But sometimes our strength of being conscientious can morph into the weakness of being slight–or all out–control freaks!

    I think this stems from that age old fear of the dark. The unknown lurking in the shadows. Outright fear.

    We’ve been hurt before by things out of our control, so controlling what we can feels powerful.

    Today I was reminded of a verse that I had marked very well in my Bible and had notes on.

    I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. (Isaiah 45:3)

    “Wow! The truth of this verse rocks my world. Don’t miss it!”

    “God has gone before us and buried a treasure in every problem and stored rich truths in every minute of darkness we will face. The only way we can discover that treasure is to embrace it as an opportunity to trust God and uncover a new seed of victory. Some things cannot be learned in the light–they are treasures of the darkness” –GiG

    I challenge you today to let go and let God have His way with you, and that situation. There’s a treasure waiting for us there in the unknown.

    Stop Wearing Those Christian T-Shirts!!

    I was in a conversation the other day that got me thinking. I love it when that happens.

    We were talking about our influence and purpose here on earth….you know just a little light hearted chit-chat.

    The subject got on Christian apparel and the fact that we should stop wearing them

    Not like this:

    ImageImage
    This one really cracks me up and reminds me of my Dad…pre-Jesus because he was an alcoholic and used to drink that brand of beer but kicked it and found the Lord (Praise You Lord!)
    Image
    But like this:
    Image

    The point was IF we are here to bind up the brokenhearted….release from darkness for the prisoners….comfort all who morn…provide for those who grieve….bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes….the oil of gladness instead of mourning….to rebuild the ruins and restore….instead of shame and disgrace, there will be rejoicing (Isaiah 61) and tell all of a God who heals and restores and forgives us of all our sins

    Why would anyone approach us, or allow us to approach them with the message of their sin on our chest accusing them???

    I’ve never had an abortion (but I’ve certainly sinned!!) , but I have worked a lot with a wonderful crisis pregnancy ministry and I know if I walked in wearing that t-shirt (not that I ever would) the clients would leave running!

    What about wearing them to church…in the public?

    If that christian wore a t-shirt that said something like:

    alcoholic fathers are losers who hate their families

    I know my dad would have NEVER went to that church or talked to that pastor and gotten saved, and restored.

    Maybe you’ve never had an abortion, or never been an alcoholic, but what if someone invited you to a church and the pastor or elder had on a shirt listing your sins and how disgusting they were? Yeah, that’s right……..the one you just thought of.

    The point was this: Would Jesus wear those kinds of shirts to our church or in our community? The kinds of shirts that speak loudly about what we hate er go a message that would translate our hate of that person.

    Do they accomplish the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20? Would the woman at the well have listened to Him that day? Would Rahab have felt welcomed or loved there? Would Mary….an unwed mother? I know she wasn’t an abortion minded person, but what about a shirt screaming about waiting until marriage…or about pregnancy before marriage? What about loud mouthed and lying Peter? Or Paul, who indeed was a murderer?

    Believe me when I tell you I am a definite advocate of all things Jesus. He is my life and breath and my focus in ALL that I do. Ministry is what I do. Every day of my life is spent loving and caring for people. I do indeed deeply love each and every one.

    But, his point is are we really doing a modern twist on this:

    The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At his, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:3-11

    If our sins were written on a t-shirt, would we wear that one too? Even after we’ve gone and left our life of sin? I don’t think so. And, I don’t think we would have been open to anyone claiming to have a message of forgiveness and a Savior while wearing a shirt telling us they hate what we’ve done.

    What do you think?

    Don’t quit yet….He’s got cha pepper: Colossains 1:11-12

    20121102-090105.jpg

    “being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the Kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:11-12

    Here, Paul is continuing his prayers for the Colossian believers.

    I don’t know about you, but endurance is what I need. At times I loose my pepper, a term my old track coach used to use.

    Starting off is never hard for me…it’s the ‘keeping on’ as I round another lap, and another, and another I wonder if I’m ever going to be able to finish with the pepper. As I run and am pelted with this spiritual attack, that spiritual attack….the utter beatings from the enemy as we serve others….the times as a woman you never ‘get’ return for all you ‘give’. When we still haven’t seen a breakthrough on that thing we’ve prayed about forever….Sound familiar?

    My coach taught me to stop thinking about when the race would end. With each lap, he would say, “you can give me just one more” and I could. I could give one more. At the end of the next lap, he would say, “just one more Christy” and I would run again. Endurance is what he wanted. He was training me in endurance to be a great long distance runner. He didn’t want me thinking about the other runners, he wanted me to finish….one lap at a time. And I did. Every time, and greatly so.

    In my own strength I get impatient, wanting to see the results quickly. I’ve run long, and now I want to see the results, I’m tired. He supplies the patience to wait….and the endurance to keep running.

      Being impatient is what causes us to give up…we want our way, and right now. If not right now, then we quit.

    God gives us all the strength, endurance and patience we need for this life…and has enabled us to share in the SAME inheritance with all the saints in His Kingdom of light. Ohhhh, how I joyfully thank Him…because I don’t know about you, but, I sure ain’t saintly!

      I thank Him for giving me what I don’t deserve….an eternity with Him paid for me by His own Son!! Whew! That makes me do the Jesus jig!!

    Talk about keeping the pepper! We WILL keep the pepper by His glorious and mighty power!

    With the joy of our salvation we run. We run with His gloriously mighty power…and with the pepper….and we don’t stop….and we completely go…… and keep going until the glorious day we are with Him in the Kingdom of light. He is faithful to complete the work He began.

    Lord, I thank You. I thank You for the joy of my salvation. I thank You that You created me, died for my salvation, and give me all the strength, power, and endurance I need for my life here on this earth. What an awesome God You are. I adore You. I am Yours. In Jesus name, amen.

    Everyday (Not-so) Ordinary Gifts

    To pause and give thanks for every gift God blesses is a good thing. It’s a great thing.

    “This giving thanks–this is what we are made for: To give Him more glory. More thanks. This is more joy!”

    Not only do I want to thank Him for all the huge ways He shows up in my life, but also the little ways….the “kisses from Daddy” as I like to call them. All blessings no matter the “size” are kisses from Daddy!

    For that favorite bird that flies in my path, that favorite flower I see, that encouraging phone call or text from a dear friend, that Bible verse at just the right time, that hug from one of our sweet darlings, that pleasant greeting and smile, that…….

    “God’s presence is always present. And He is the gift, the One I can’t stop giving thanks to.”

    The world is full of reminders of how cruel things can be. I want to off set that every day by listing the gifts of grace He brings. Ann Voscamp has inspired me to do just that.

    In her book she introduces a way of seeing that opens your eyes to the ordinary amazing grace, a way of living that is fully alive, and a way of becoming present to God that brings deep and lasting joy.

    I plan everyday to tell about a gift in whatever form I’ve received it….A verse, a kind word, a gift, a smile, a show of kindness, whatever. Won’t you join me? Let’s hastag them #1000Gifts and spread the joy.

    Let’s sling open our arms, and throw back our heads and dance in praise to the Giver of the ultimate Gift and say……..Thank You! Thank You! Thank You and tell others of His great goodness!