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.

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Rich, poor, comfortable, uncomfortable, first world or third world this principle remains true: the presence of God comes to those who seek Him..

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There is a woman in Haiti that goes outside her tent everyday, raises her hands in the air and praises God for everything she has. Out loud….in front of everyone. This dear woman only has about 5 things in her whole possession (AND lives in a tent!). 5. 5 things, yet she praises God with everything in her. All around her are people living just like her. Want to know her secret? Her security doesn’t lie with her circumstances, but on the promise and presence of God. She is passionate for His presence. Rich, poor, comfortable, uncomfortable, first world or third world this principle remains true: the presence of God comes to those who seek Him. I have way more than 5 things. You have way more than 5 things. We need to walk around everyday praising God. We need passion for His presence!

The Lord recently brought a sweet girl into our family. Her name is Bella. Although she has a lot of hurt, and a lot of pain in her young 6 years of life, we stand on the promises of Psalm 103 and see His healing, redeeming, crowning. Oh, the crowning of love and compassion. That brings tears to my eyes for her. Every single day I tell her she is loved, treasured, and wanted. He is faithful and He is healing her heart and her body and is redeeming her from where her circumstances could have taken her.

Want to get in the presence of God? Praise Him. Remember all that He has done, who He is, and what He will do. He forgives. He heals. He redeems. He crowns. He satisfies.

We have a compassionate, loving, gracious God who is crazy about us. We talk about the benefit packages we have with our jobs. The benefits of a child of God are listed here in this Psalm. When you feel as though you have nothing for which to praise God, read David’s list and worship. God’s love is overwhelming, all consuming, and everlasting. He wants to overwhelm you now with His loving presence.

Go ahead…..walk outside your door, raise your hands in the air, close your eyes and praise Him with everything in you. People may say your crazy, but deep down they want to do it too 🙂

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A Door To Hope ministries does a great work in Haiti. We are very impressed with them and encourage you to click the link and get involved.

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

    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)

    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

    God’s Memory Loss: He says no more and He means it

    For I will be merciful to their wrongdoing, and I will never again remember their sins. Hebrews 8:12


    The Message translation says it this way:

    …..kindly forgiven, with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean

    When God forgives you of your sins, and then the next day you bring it up……

    He says, What are you talking about?

    When He says He remembers no more, He means it….and that’s it

    As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

    This YouTube video says it so beautifully. I just never get tired of it. Check it out here

    If you are reading this, and you feel that pressure…..that dread that comes when you’re not sure if you died today, that you’d go to heaven, be sure right now. Go to this link: Settle It. Come back to this post and let us know about it. Nothing but love and support here.

    I love you deeply. Walk freely forgiven with the King.

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    Continue reading

    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:

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    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!)
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    But like this:
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    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?

    Rescued and Redeemed, walk in it: Colossians 1:13-14

    For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14

    We have been rescued! We needed rescuing from the domination of the enemy. His ways are meant for our destruction and harm. Let’s speak the truth….he’s after us.

    Thanks to Jesus and His redeeming forgiveness of the cross, we reside under his dominion no more!!

      God rescued us from darkness to light….
      from slavery to freedom….
      from guilt to forgiveness….
      from hell to heaven….
      from the power of satan to the power of God.

    The enemy no longer has any dominion over us. We are freeeeee!! Thank You Jesus! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! Sweetest name I know!

    Paul mentions we are rescued AND redeemed:

    Rescued: to save someone from a dangerous or distressing situation; keep from being lost or abandoned; to set free from danger; a deliverance

    Redeemed: Do something that compensates for poor past performances or behavior; to recover ownership by paying a specified sum

    Isn’t that cool? Rescued and redeemed….that’s what we who accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior are! Saved and set free……paid for and under the power of a great and wonderful God!

    Any bondage we are in is by our own doing.


    My husband puts it like this:

    Imagine being raised by a mean man….mean to the core. This man continually tells the child, “You can’t do this, you can’t do that.” or, “You must do this, you must do that.” One day this man dies, and that child is on his own. He comes to know that the old man was wrong about everything he said; that there is freedom in Christ that’s been there all along.

    We need to start listening to the right Man! You see, we are co-heirs with Christ. This means everything Jesus has, we now have. Everything. We have put ourselves in bondage to things in this world that we are free of.

    You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

    (For more in relation to the former life read Ephesians 4:17-32)

    But before we can have a former life, we have to gain a new life in Christ. I ask you now, if your life ended today, would you go to heaven? The Bible tells us all about how we can claim our salvation: read here and then come back and tell us about it, and let us celebrate with you.

    Our sin debt is paid. We have been redeemed and and rescued. Our sins have been removed from us as far as the east is from the west to be held against us no more(Psalm 103:12). Let’s walk in it!

    There’s an awesome song that speaks so well what we’ve talked about today. Go here and allow this song to speak to you in worship of our risen Savior.

    I love you deeply. Walk freely with the King.