Let’s Get Our Praise On {get your feet dancing and that body moving!}

20131107-124905.jpg

Dear child of God, sister, mother, brother, father, son, daughter, friend, family or foe,

Let’s get our praise on…

You are beloved of the most high GOD. The One True GOD. You are bought, paid for, redeemed, restored, re-done, repurposed, and worth it. He is crazy about you, mad about you, obsessed about you, His mind is stayed on you.

You are beautiful. His eye is always in you. All heaven praises and celebrates you. If you falter, He will drop what He’s doing and come running for you. Everything He does is a solution for you. There is nothing you can do to make Him love you any less and there is nothing you can do to make Him love you any more. YOU.ARE.SET.FREE!!

The Creator of the sun, moon, stars, day, night, land, air, sea, mountains, trees, seasons, and mankind has you in the palm of His hands. You are the apple of His eye. He created you in His image to reflect His love to this world. You, my friend, my sister, my brother, are His love song to this world. The Word That Became Flesh became you on that cross so that you could become Him in this world.

He is mighty, He is power and He calls you friend. He goes before you, behind you, stands beside you, makes your paths straight, and directs you. He covers you, protects you, and shelters you.

You.Are.His.


He spoke the world into existence, and the sound of your voice turns His head.

He takes the unlikely and makes them the one. He takes the unqualified and gives them power and position. He takes the unworthy and gives them a crown. He takes the humble and gives them a seat of honor; love and acceptance to the unlovable. He takes the sick and makes them whole….hope to the hopeless. Trades sorrow for joy, pain for pleasure, fear for perfect peace. His burden is light.

He.Is.Yours.

Hear that beat? Here that music thumping? Come on, get up! Let’s get our praise ON!

Advertisement

A Boss or a Leader {Which one are you?}

Leaders remember: you’ve got to live it to lead it

20131019-111601.jpg

Just a short post today as I ponder leadership.

There is a difference between a boss and a leader…
Anyone can be bossy, but not everyone can be a leader

Leaders lead~~Bossy people are just bossy.

Leaders inspire, build up, and encourage~~Bossy people blame and tear down.

Leaders want others to succeed~~Bossy people walk in fear and jealousy.

Leaders see clearly that there is no “I” in team~~Bossy people see no “I” in team.

Leaders thrive on giving~~Bossy people snatch, take false credit, and think everyone is out to get them.

Leaders speak well of your accomplishments to others~~Bossy people belittle you and gossip.

Leaders make much of Jesus~~Bossy people need to be upfront and center with the spotlight on them.

When a leader sees someone younger in the faith making a mistake, they come alongside, teach in love, and keep it between them ~~~Bossy people see someone make a mistake, call it out and tell others about it. (whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats a matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9)

Leaders do this:

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV)

Go. Inspire someone today. Encourage. Equip. Empower others to the attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ

Leaders: Remember, you’ve got to live it to lead it. A boss says “Go!” A leader says “Let’s Go!”

I Am Second: The Movement

m

What a beautiful picture of freedom in Genesis 2:25:

Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame….

Absolutely nothing hidden. Honesty with themselves, each other and best of all with God. What a pure, beautiful way to live. So inspiring!

There’s only one way to get that kind of life and that’s by living second. We live in a culture that all about being first at whatever the cost. Where lives are lived in secret and where money and me, me, me is what counts. It’s exhausting. There is no joy.

I am on the launch team for the I Am Second Organization. We launched  a new and improved book this week. It’s updated with even more content and inspiring stories about God making extraordinary differences in ordinary people like you and me. Real stories. Real people. Changing lives. 

I know the people in this book. I know them because I saw a little piece of me in nearly every story. Maybe you’ll see a little of yourself in the pages too.

No matter what walk of life we come from, we all experience pain. Some caused by others and some caused by us. One thing for sure….no matter the cause of the pain, the one and only freeing way to live is second.Living second is living surrendered to God. Fully. Him first and upfront, center stage and having His way with you in every area of your life. No secrets. No holding back.This book is full of evidence of the powerful hand of God that moves freely and victoriously once He is given the freedom to. These ordinary people surrendered their lives and allowed God to use the platform they’ve been given. He blessed them for it. And, He’ll do the same through you and me.

The words “change me” are the two mos

t powerful words a Christ follower can say. Once said, God began doing a work on all of the heart ache, pain, punishment, prostitution, hate, drugs, pride, pornography, alcohol, bitterness, shame, and loneliness and more. God is a God who can do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). We see this truth in this book. This book is about victory.

The stories in this book will warm your heart, draw you closer to your Savior, and inspire you. Get.This.Book.

Do you know someone that needs encouragement? Someone that needs a Savior? Someone screaming out for help in the wrong direction? Someone you want to reach with the Gospel? Get.This.Book.An

d.Gift.It.To.Them.Now.

A person on our team shared this verse and I agree that it does a great job at summing up what this book is all about and what the people in this book are doing:

Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me. For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me. Psalms 66:16-20

This isn’t just a book. It’s a movement. 

Here’s the link to purchase the book on Amazon: I Am Second

A few quotes from the book:

The Scruggs Q3Michael W Smith Q2

Michelle Aguilar Q1

Annie Lobert Q1

Chris Plekenpol Q1

Lecrae Q2

Brian Welch Q2Karen Green Q1

*I do not profit in any way from this book. I get no money whatsoever from the sales. We here at E3 are about Encouraging, Equipping, and Empowering others. This book is a holy hallelujah touch down in accomplishing this and so we pass it on to you. We are honored and blessed to be a small part of the team*

He’ll Bring You Back

word-hug

God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden to rule on His behalf.

But, they chose to disobey God’s one command and through them, sin entered the world. They were banished from the Garden and their fellowship with God was broken.

Their.Fellowship.With.God.Was.Broken. This, my friends, hurts my heart. The mere thought of sweet fellowship with my beautiful Jesus being broken just grieves me. It grabs me deep and my soul screeches and pours out, “noooooo!” We’ve all felt further away from God in those times in our lives when we smother Him out and don’t keep Him a priority. But, broken?! Oh, how they must have HURT!

Take this world, the magazine articles written, the speaking engagements, the classes taught, take it all. Take this world and give me Jesus! I’ve GOT to have Jesus!

But, friends, we have an amazing God who is more addicted to fellowship with us than we are to Him. God immediately set into motion His plan to bring us back. This is the story of the whole Bible.

Everything God does is a solution.

God continually works to redeem us for Himself. He wants to lovingly bless us with good things as we seek and find our hope in Him. He is the source of all good things.

No matter what we do, or how we mess up, EVERYTHING God does is a solution to bring us back. Get us back to where we are supposed to be. Back in the game. Back on track. Back in the joy of our salvation. He meets us where we are and never leaves us there. 

The story of the whole Bible is God redeeming His people and bringing them back. It also tells us who God is…it reveals His personality, His character, and His plan for us. And, it also reveals His deepest desire: To relate to and fellowship with the people He created. His deepest desire is a passionate, loving relationship with YOU.

Are you at a place today where you are desperate for God? Empty and needing a Savior? Well, guess what….He wants that even more than you do. It’s called grace. So, don’t be shy. Nothing you’ve done will make Him love you any less. He’s better than we humans about that. Go right on up and climb into Daddy’s lap. He’s running to greet you now.

See: Genesis 1: 1-2:4, Genesis 3:1-24, Luke 15:11-32, James 1:17, John 3:16

Creation: A Love Story

Creation-ALoveStory

 

The book of Genesis begins with “God created the heavens and the earth” The world—and you—are not products of blind chance and probability; God created it and us. They are here. We are here. God created all that we see and experience. Here we begin the most exciting and fulfilling journey imaginable.

God did not NEED to create the universe. He CHOSE to create it. Why? Love. God is love and love is best expressed toward something or someone else. So, God created the world and people as an expression of His love.

We can know in a very personal way this God who created the universe. God’s deepest desire is to relate to you. To have fellowship with you, His creation. He took the ultimate first step in this relationship with us through His visit to this planet in the person of His Son, Jesus. Now, it’s your turn. It’s your move.

How do you grow closer to understanding and hearing from God? By giving heed to His gentle checks, His delicate restraints and constraints. His voice is still and small and must be felt.

God is love and His voice is for the ear of love. And, your love should be intent on hearing even the smallest of whispers.

You know…those times in conversation when you’re just about to say a word, and you feel that gentle nudge. And, those moments when you’re about to pursue something that seems clear and right and there comes a quiet suggestion that another way is better.

It’s a voice quietly spoken in your heart at first but the more you listen and obey, it grows louder and clearer.

If you want to know Him better take heed to His voice even when is seems contradictory from a human standpoint. Obey even when He asks you to move in the dark. When you do, you will experience a fellowship with God that is wildly overpowering, wonderfully overwhelming, and more than you could ever imagine. A relationship that will hold you and He closely together even in the most severe testings and pressures.

 

Remember: You are part of creation, and He is pleased with how He made you. If at times you feel worthless, remember that God made you for a good reason. You.Are.Valuable.To.Him.

 

See: Genesis 1: 1- 2:3; Isaiah 30:21; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 3:20

 

Public Relations 101: the spiritual battle

20130926-073131.jpg

As we look at Luke 20:1-8, we see Jesus rocking it out at public relations as He always did. It’s Passion week at this point. Jesus has already made His triumphal entry at the end of Chapter 19. The air is thick with praise. The universe seemed ready to burst any minute with praise and worship over King Jesus.

Ever felt that way in worship? Like you’re just going to explode right on the spot with worship and you’ve just got to get it out? Jesus said if the people stopped their worship, the very stones would cry out! He is worthy and He will be praised, but, a rock isn’t going to have to take my place at worship. I love Him, and my praise will be done by me, amen and thank you very much. Lord Jesus, may I never miss and opportunity to tell You just how beautiful You are…

As He approached and saw the city of Jerusalem, He wept for her. I know something of the deep sadness that comes over you when you see someone who just can’t see what’s there as they reject what GOD has for their life; choosing a destructive way of life instead. Heartbreaking. I want everyone to know my Jesus and how it feels to be close to Him. It’s breathtaking.

Jesus went right to work. He was there for a reason, and He stayed on the planned path. First things first. He cleaned house. Ever felt like that? I know I have come home and seen a hot mess going on and had enough and I “cleaned house” like a banche….saying, I.have.had.enough.of.this. This party is o v e r. Jesus went into the temple and saw these people desecrating it by using it to make a profit. He threw them out! He is not playing around with this glory stuff. It’s Daddy’s house, and His glory. Done and done.

Lord, I pray there has never been (and never will be) a time that I have perverted your call on my life by profiting from it. I never want to be thrown out from Your presence. There are so many ways to do that. Ever seen GOD do something powerful and took the credit? Ever wanted to make a name for yourself, all in the name of working for The Lord? Ever tried to manipulate things so that someone sees you do what you did for The Lord and His people? And get mad when you think someone is doing a better job than you, or getting more attention than you…..all in the name of “serving The Lord”? Ever tried to manipulate a situation to make your life easier….on that committee?

Ever been led by fear that someone is trying to take your place and begin trying to discredit them?

That’s what the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders (a.k.a. the Sanhedrin) were trying to do. Jesus caught them sleeping on the job by allowing those things to take place in the temple. They were embarrassed and angry. They wanted to destroy Him. So, they did what any good committee would do: they marched themselves in and disrupted things. They made a scene. You know they were puffed up thinking they had Him right where they wanted Him because of the way they busted right in on that crowd and questioned His authority to throw the merchants out of the temple. They didn’t really care about the answer, they just wanted to arrogantly debate. Ever known someone like that…..who doesn’t really care one way or the other, they just want to fight?

As He often did, Jesus turned the attention back on them. Finding themselves in a no-win situation, they said they didn’t know the answer. Having caught His opponents in a trap made by their own hands, Jesus also refused to answer their question. What a genius!

What is our response to criticism and opposition? Do we anticipate it as the Bible says we should? Do we act as Jesus did? He remained calm and always addressed what was at the heart of the opposition instead of the behavior itself. He remained on the task of completing the mission here on earth.

When we are truly following Jesus, people will question our motives, attack our character, and ridicule the authority we have been given by GOD to serve Him and change lives here on earth. We need to do what Jesus did. We need to mimic Him through our patience, professing the Word of GOD, and stay committed to the task GOD gave us. We don’t need to get caught up and distracted by the emotions. I mean, that’s the real plan anyway….to get us distracted from what GOD has for us. It’s all a spiritual battle. All of it.


Let’s all just stay on task. Let’s live, lead, and love like Jesus, ok?

The Need To Impress

20130925-071705.jpg

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in The Lord is kept safe. Proverbs 29.25

The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in GOD protects you from that.

Fear. Fear. Fear. The opposite of peace.

Fear can torment, dilute your impact, and snatch your ministry.

Instead, Focus on Pleasing GOD and the fear of others’ judgement will disappear. Attempting to impress others will stop. It’s trap! We aren’t performing here. This isn’t a competition. This is real life. A real eternity is at stake.

Focus your attention on sweet Jesus. You can trust Him. Take the energy you’ve been using to impress others and pour it into trusting Him…..the One that will never leave you, or forsake you.. This is how we stay connected to Him and are made keenly aware of His presence. Begin today in baby steps to take GOD at His word and before you know it those giant leaps of faith will come in victory. And, that fear of others’ opinions will be no more.

If you’ve noticed your impact and ministry being diluted, begin now to let your faith be bigger than your fear.

The Need To Impress

20130925-071705.jpg

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in The Lord is kept safe. Proverbs 29.25

The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in GOD protects you from that.

Fear. Fear. Fear. The opposite of peace.

Fear can torment, dilute your impact, and snatch your ministry.

Instead, Focus on Pleasing GOD and the fear of others’ judgement will disappear. Attempting to impress others will stop. It’s trap! We aren’t performing here. This isn’t a competition. This is real life. A real eternity is at stake.

Focus your attention on sweet Jesus. You can trust Him. Take the energy you’ve been using to impress others and pour it into trusting Him…..the One that will never leave you, or forsake you.. This is how we stay connected to Him and are made keenly aware of His presence. Begin today in baby steps to take GOD at His word and before you know it those giant leaps of faith will come in victory. And, that fear of others’ opinions will be no more.

If you’ve noticed your impact and ministry being diluted, begin now to let your faith be bigger than your fear.

#1 Productivity Killer

Clock

 

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

The Game of Life: Follow the Leader

 

followleader

 

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.

Identity Crisis

I saw this a while back and saved it. I do that a lot when I run across things on the World Wide Web. The problem is, often times, I can’t remember where I get them.

I wanted to share it here with you to bless you and help you all to remember your identity in Christ. The true and powerful identity we have after we accept Him as Lord and Savior.

This, my friends, is who you are in Christ. There is no identity crisis here! Name it and proclaim it!! Don’t forget it. Brothers and Sisters, don’t you dare believe anything less than who your Creator says you are!

Thank You Jesus!!

20130910-083416.jpg

Now, join me in a Jesus jig! Praise You, Lord! There’s no way we can read a list like that and not worship and glorify Your name! Hallelujah!

No Ordinary Conversation

prayernoordinaryconvo1

Our Father In Heaven

Hallowed be Your name Matthew 6:9

My favorite way name for God is Daddy. I love to crawl up in His lap, snuggle in and chat a while with Him. He is so warm and inviting. So loving, and comforting. My favorite place to be is in Daddy’s lap. It’s because of my relationship with Jesus that I am able to call Him Daddy.

Although He and I are very familiar with one another, I also know that talking with Him is no ordinary conversation. We come to God as Father, but we need to also know who we’re talking to. Daddy has a name to revere and respect. He indeed is our Father but His name is Hallowed.

Our Daddy God is holy and just and mighty and should be revered. 

In Exodus 19:16-20, we see God coming. The people of Israel hear thunder and lightning. They see a thick cloud, smoke. The earth was trembling; there’s fire, and a trumpet sound. A loud trumpet sound. They. Are. Shuddering.

Not many of us are storm chasers. When there is a storm we usually go in the opposite direction. These people are shuddering as they move closer. And, we see Moses talking to God, and God answering Him in the thunder. How cool is that?! God. Answered. Moses. In. The. Thunder. Wow! What would you think if as you were praying God suddenly started talking to you through thunder? My face would hit the ground, I’m sure.

But, I want you to notice what we see in verse 20: God invited Moses up.

God invites us all into that holiness. Prayer is God inviting you into His space.

Prayer is THE Holy One and His holy ones speaking together. He isn’t content to be holy from a distance. He invites us in. But, we aren’t invited in as a trembling slave to a lord that owns us and is a tyrannical leader. No, we are invited in as holy. Not as sinners, but as saints:

By this will of God, we have been sanctified (made holy) through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. Hebrews 10:10

We are invited in as holy sons and daughters. Beautiful. Thank you, Jesus.

We go to God as sons and daughters, but not like we are the brains and He is the braun. He knows what to do. Trust Him. Leave the plan and solution behind and just bring faith. 

You won’t blow His mind with an awesome solution that He didn’t think of. EVERYTHING GOD DOES IS A SOLUTION. Just. Bring. Faith. He is God, He is Holy. He’s got this.

Remember: prayer is the Holy One and His holy ones speaking together. Because of this, prayer is no ordinary conversation

Our Father in heaven, we know exactly who You are. And, You are holy. Thank You that You don’t just have us standing at the bottom of the mountain looking up. You invite us up….

Who Is This God, Anyway?

who_is_god_main_titles

 

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.

 

 

Satisfied

20130802-070028.jpg

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!

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

20130503-061734.jpg

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.

20130503-061640.jpg

Go All In {Bible Study: Living and Leading Like Jesus}

20130328-205238.jpg

Read Luke 10:25-37

Focus: Luke 10: 27, 37

27) He answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 37) The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus tole him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:27,37)

The ‘expert in the law’ was testing Jesus. He was quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. I had to giggle a little about Him quoting scripture to JESUS. Ha! He had no idea that he was talking to the Word made flesh and quoting the Word to the “Word”! Ha! The purpose of the law is not to save from sin, but to produce knowledge of sin…the function of the law is to show man what a guilty sinner we are. Jesus was trying to make a point with this man about following the letter of the law versus following the heart and Spirit of the law, but he didn’t get it. We know this by the way he says, ‘the one’ instead of saying the Samaritan. He knew the answer in his head but not in his heart.

Love God and Love people. That’s it.

Makes sense to me that these verses are in this order…. Love God with all of you and love His people. The closer we grow in our walk with God the more we can understand His love and be filled with love for others. All the more reason to be sure I am spending time with Him every day. Jesus is telling us to live as He lived and love as He loves. And, that is loving God supremely with the TOTAL person…go ALL in.…allowing nothing to come between us and God….and then go and love His people like THAT.

The question started out: Who is my neighbor? but it ended by posing the question: To whom do you prove yourself a neighbor? My neighbor is anyone of any race, creed or social background. The real test of love is action, not just profession. Loving God with all of me and see people as He sees them. ALL are worthy.

 

God wants us to understand that people are always more important than our schedules, our things, our money, and our time. Helping people means personal sacrifice, but that’s how we show God’s love to them. And we let God love them through us!

 

I love the picture of Christ here: The Samaritans were despised by the Jews because of their mixed Gentile blood. It was a despised and hated Samaritan that stopped to care for the Jew. Jesus came to this world, despised, rejected, and hated….for us. He saw us in our desperate need, had compassion on us. There is nothing….no debt of ours….that He leaves unpaid by the sacrifice…..payment for my soul….for all eternity. His blood paid my sin debt. Woo!!!! THANK YOU JESUS!!! (also note that this is a picture of how Jesus extended His hand of love to His own people….the Jews….in spite of how they reject and despise Him)

 

Our Greatness Is Measured By Surrender {Live and Lead Like Jesus Bible Study}

20130327-225917.jpg

Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.” (Luke 9:47-48)

The Twelve were thinking about rank in the kingdom. They wondered which of them would have the highest position and the most prestige. Jesus knows us intimately. He knew the competitive pride that fostered the argument and was quick to point out that spiritually whoever was least was great.

By standing the child beside Him, Jesus gave the child honor. Acceptable service involves caring about people, even insignificant people A child was the least significant person in Jewish and in Greco-Roman culture. It reflects His interest in neglected people.

To live and lead like Jesus is to know that greatness in the Kingdom has nothing to do with greatness in this world.

Jesus meant that instead of seeking status for ourselves, His disciples should give their attention to the needs of people who have no status. The disciple who ministers to a person with no status, as though he or she was ministering to Jesus, does in fact minister to Jesus and to God the Father. Our care for others is a measure of our greatness. The principle here is that: the disciple who is willing to sacrifice personal advancement, in order to serve insignificant people, as the world evaluates people, is truly “great” in God’s estimation. Our greatness is measured by surrender and acceptance of God and His will.

We are free-ist when we obey, tallest when we are kneeling, and most alive when we die. A great leader is a servant leader—that’s who Jesus was, and that’s who we need to be if we want to live and lead like Jesus.

In short:

Being “important” isn’t important. What is important is serving others in the name of Jesus

~ I also think this is talking about more than just actions. It’s easy enough to “do” good things to help others and to serve those around you. It’s an attitude of saying that others are important and that Jesus loves them. That in itself is enough reason to give that person value. And because they have value, I’m willing to do whatever I can to help them! Sometimes the heart attitude comes after the actions of our hands, so we should be willing to work even when we don’t feel like it. -Amanda GMG

Prayer:
Lord, thank You for Your grace. We try to make things about us. Forgive us! May our focus be ever on decreasing so that You may increase in our lives. May we be spiritually sensitive and accepting of Your will and Word, and be found faithful. In Jesus name, Amen

Note To Self: You’ve Gotta Go

20130326-233841.jpg

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:23-26 NIV)

Having outlined His own future in verse 22, the Lord invited the disciples to follow Him. This would mean denying themselves and taking up their cross daily. Anyone who intends to come along side Jesus has to let Him lead. Nothing material can compensate for the loss of a walk with Jesus—Jesus’ disciples are not to use their lives on earth merely to please themselves; they should spend their lives serving God and others. In efforts to focus on acquiring all the worldly things, the true purpose of life is missed. What good would that do when we would only have it for a short while, then leave it forever. It would be an insane bargain! Serve Him with boldness!! And, don’t miss the excitement of His coming back….how could that compare with anything this world could possibly say to us to cause us embarrassment?!

To follow Him we must lay down our devotions to this world and live for Christ and His mission. The fact that He mentioned that we need to take up our cross tells us that we can expect painful situations every day because of our allegiance to Christ. To take up the cross means to deliberately choose the kind of life that He lived. The life He lived involved this and more:

  • Opposition of loved ones
  • The reproach of the world
  • Complete dependence on God
  • Obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit
  • Proclamation of an unpopular message
  • A pathway of loneliness
  • Organized attacks from established religious leaders
  • Suffering for righteousness sake
  • Slander and shame
  • Pouring out one’s life for others
  • Death to self and to the world<
  • But, it also involves laying hold of life that is life indeed! It means finding at last the reason for our existence. And it means eternal reward. Do we think of our relationship with God primarily in terms of, what’s in it for us, or in terms of what we can do for Him? Am I willing to deny myself, take up my cross daily and follow Him? Willingly renounce any so called right to plan or choose and to recognize His Lordship in every area of life? Surrendering to God’s will does not mean you lose. It means you win. God’s will is always best, even when we cannot imagine how!

    This life of abandonment is genuine living and brings profound spiritual pleasure. It has a joy, a holy carefreeness, and a deep inward satisfaction that defies description.

    It is possible for believers to temporarily cower in fear around unbelievers and act “ashamed” of Jesus as Peter did in his denials of Christ. Hurt people hurt people and will often try to embarrass someone for the stand they take in an attempt to make themselves feel better.

    “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose” -Jim Elliot

    Prayer:
    Deny myself… oh what a challenge for us at times, Lord, but even moreso when we take our eyes off of Jesus and what He’s done for us. This I know Lord… when I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and lose my life for His sake, I am filled with such peace and contentment that can only come from Christ! God, help us to be “all in” in our relationship with You – we can’t have one foot in the world and still fully follow You. Help us to boldly live for You, knowing that it may cost us temporary comfort, but oh what joy for such an eternal reward! In Jesus name, Amen.

    New Future With A Past

      20130302-102337.jpg

    “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.}

    If I had the power to stop time…..{a writing prompt}

      20130216-151505.jpg

    If I had the power to stop time, I wouldn’t. If that question were asked of a younger me, I would have answered differently and given a list of moments that I would have stopped the clock. But not the “today” me. No, not a chance.

    I would have chosen the first kiss from my husband; so sweet and exciting. If I had stopped time there, I would miss our wedding day, the look in his eyes at the births of our children, our deep love grown stronger with each passing year. I would have missed our first home, the teamwork and prayers we’ve shared on our knees. I would have missed his leadership grown from loving and serving our Lord together. The way that even now, 24 years later, when I look at him my heart still skips a beat. The many lives led to Christ. I would have missed miracles.

    I would have chosen the first time I held each of my two children. What a blessed and joyous day! Kissing their sweet faces and touching them for the first time was beautiful, miraculous, and filled with awe. If time had stopped there I would have missed the first word, the first steps, the hugs, the first “I love you Mommy”, school days and being their teacher, accepting Christ as their Savior, first jobs, the times of speaking and sharing the love of Christ with others, traveling and serving God alongside them, and all the people and opportunities that have come into our lives through that ministry. I would have missed miracles.

    If I had stopped time there, I would have missed the fantastic way God brought our brand new 6 year old daughter Bella into our lives. I would have missed the way He whispered her name to me weeks and weeks before I knew her. I would have missed the way her face entered her older sister’s dreams months before that. I would have missed the beautiful love that we all share. I would have missed miracles.

    Yes, I would have missed deaths of dear loved ones, hurts, betrayals, losses, sicknesses, heart-aches and pain that came. But our most effective ministry, our ability to love deeper and more fiercely, to praise often and more loudly, to pray with more surety and authority, to stand quicker and more strongly, to speak up and more boldly, to show great mercy and grace to others, comes out of our deepest hurts.

    Instead, I would use that power to embrace a little longer, engage a little deeper and envelope a little wider. You see, if I stopped time, I would miss each new thing….each new person….each new ministry….each new experience that God brings me….and I would miss miracles.

    Thanks so much for the writing prompt, Ellen. It was great remembering how blessings outweigh the pain.

    We Are Jairus’s Daughter

      20130207-082149.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Continue reading

    Freedom: We hold the keys

      20130202-111313.jpg

    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.

    The Ultimate Sweet Spot: Friendship With God

    20130131-082125.jpg
    Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4


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

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

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

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

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

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

      20130128-075057.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Patterns Everywhere: Which to follow?

      20130127-134001.jpg

    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.

    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.

    Encouraged Encourager

    20121230-013129.jpg

    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

    .

    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)

    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.