Be the one God created you to be! Be YOU! Don’t hand over your “you” to anyone! We all need you!! We aren’t supposed to be the same, but we can live in unity and purpose with our differences and glorify God
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
1 Corinthians 12:14-20
So many friends and loved ones are going through some very hard things right now. I’m praying so much for them all. And in case any of you are too, I want to pass this prayer on to you:
Dear Lord God,
You are my Shepherd.
You watch over me.
You tend to the needs of my heart and my life.
Help me to trust Your guidance in this time of uncertainty.
It is so hard to look ahead and not see a clear vision for my future.
Please help me to trust in Your timing.
Let me always seek Your will.
Please fill me with Your peace, knowing that You are the one true God and You love me.
…my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.
Thank You for watching over me.
In Jesus’ name I pray,
Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:6 NIV)
Do you know what “Abba” means? It means “Daddy Father.” Have you ever thought about God as your Daddy? When Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father” in Matthew 6:9, the same word in Greek is the word “Pater” – “Abba Father.”
American children say, “Da-da.” But in the Middle East they say, “Abba – Abba.” Jesus says that we can call the great God of the universe “Daddy.”
When the call came that my son got caught up in a powerful rip tide and that he was being admitted into the Intensive Care Unit in Florida, my heart and soul cried out. No, it screamed out for Daddy so hard I could feel it throughout my whole body. I just wanted my Heavenly Daddy. I wanted His loving arms surrounding us because I knew being close to Him was the best place to be. It was the only place I wanted to be.
I’m so glad that our Heavenly Father never gets too busy running this universe and commanding the angels that He forgets us. He wants to be with you like there is no one else on earth and nothing else for Him to do.
Do you wish you had a hug right now? You can crawl up into the lap of your Daddy Father, and He has nothing better to do than to give you a hug.
I had the privilege of reading Reclaiming Eve:The Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God. Visit HERE to get your copy, today!
To be invited in the blog tour was a blessing, but it was only the beginning. Reading this book blessed me on so many levels. My electronic version has so many highlights in it that the whole book is nearly yellow. It unlocked so many things I already knew and encouraged me to continue searching out true freedom in becoming the woman God intended me to be when He created me: a strong power and agent of rescue. An ezer
The following is an excerpt from Reclaiming Eve Chapter 5
God of Community
The spirit of our times could be described with one word: “alienation.” Garage doors go down, people sit entranced in front of computers and televisions, while the solitary lives we lead are crushing our souls. There isn’t a person God will put in your path today who doesn’t long to be known and loved. The bank teller, the boss, the mail carrier, the child, the client, the sister, the old college roommate who just asked to be your Facebook friend.
If it’s true that God calls to us in our pain, then he calls to the isolated businesswoman who has no friend to call when she needs to visit the emergency room. With arms outstretched, he beckons the teenager who was just rejected by her boyfriend after being used. He patiently longs to comfort the fifty-year-old woman whose father abandoned her at birth, leaving a gaping emotional wound that paralyzes her in relationships.
We all long for connection. The ezers and the adams. The single and the married. Those with power and money and those with nothing. In fact, a study from the University of Chicago showed that as you age, loneliness actually raises your blood pressure just as much as obesity or a lack of exercise. The message: healing is a group activity. It’s not only unfulfilling but also physically dangerous to go it alone.
We were hardwired for community. And while you may not have thought about it in this way, you’ve known it all along. You knew it when your mother or father laid you down as an infant and you longed to be held. You may remember moments of friendship that made your heart soar, along with your confidence. And if you’re anything like me, you remember a time when your body physically ached from the ending of a relationship you held dear.
How amazing that in a world of isolated individuals, God the Creator provides the answer to our longings by pointing us back to his original plan. Remember? A God of community, dancing around in a three-in-one relationship, creates Adam. Immediately afterward, he recognizes Adam’s loneliness, highlighting Adam’s complete lack of any suitable companion. Then God dispenses a prescription with only glorious side effects: to end the loneliness of the single human, I will make an ezer who is suitable for him.
The Creator who made his ezers designed them as agents of rescue to destroy isolation. Think of it: simply by being born female, you are a dazzling testament to the beauty of community. You see, it is not good for Adam, or for anyone, to be alone. It violates God’s design and leaves us empty, depressed, and even hopeless. God created his ezers to remind us over and over again that we cannot, must not, go it alone.
How ironic that the very place in which Adam and Eve violated God’s love is the place in which he wants to restore each of us. His community. The place in which each of us are hurt the most, through our relationships, happens to be the same avenue in which God wants to bring unimaginable healing. Whether or not you like it, you are dependent on other men and women to fully experience Christ’s love for you.
There is so much more packed into this book! You must go and grab a copy for yourself and grab hold of your powerful calling in the Kingdom of God for your good and His glory. You are created in God’s image to be an ezer – a strong power and agent of rescue!
Unlock that power today!
Sometimes things don’t go as planned. T’s crossed. I’s dotted. You even prayed about it and was sure things were going your way. There was peace. There was joy. And then the door slammed shut. Hard.
I had this happen to me a few weeks ago. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I prayed. I lamented. I asked GOD to show me the lesson. What did I miss? What did I need to learn from this?
Maybe you had a dream vanish, a relationship suddenly go south, a friendship ran its course, a deal went sour, and big plans fell through. Maybe you were in the middle of something great and God called you to move out of it. Or maybe for you it was bunch of little things that together, became seemingly unbearable.
God moves in ways we seldom understand. We must let go of judging the situation as failure. Couldn’t it actually a blessing?
GOD has an awesome way of redeeming the broken situations and the hurting people and creating something beautiful from it.
Here’s a few examples:
He took a team conflict between Paul and Barnabas and created two successful ministries instead of one.
He used Joseph’s forced exit from his home to deliver two nations from starvation.
After Peter publicly rejected Jesus three times, God made him the founder of the modern church.
When Jesus’ earthly father Joseph relocated out of concern for their lives, a prophecy was fulfilled that verified Jesus as God’s Son.
Don’t misjudge the situation as loss. We are super conquerors in Christ. Once we let go of judgment, we find freedom from grief, anger, and disappointment.
There’s nothing like change to reveal how we truly handle change. How many times do we kick and scream against it? With our carefully marked itinerary in hand, we get mad and try and take back control.
There’s a popular saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” I don’t think God would ever maliciously laugh at us, but I do think He wonders why we thought we had the right to determine our course in the first place.
Who’s plan do we operate by?
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps” Proverbs 16:9
Dealing with a change in plans requires us to have God’s thoughts as our focus. Jesus says in Matthew 16:24 that if we want to follow Him we must deny ourselves. Following Jesus requires a change in our plans. We must relinquish our desire to plan, scheme, and insist our way through daily surrendering our lives to Jesus.
While salvation is secure through our Savior Jesus, the struggle to make Jesus Lord is a constant giving up of our plans for God’s plans.
When your plans change, look for something unexpected. Look for something amazing that changes your course and gives way to God’s life-giving plans. Look for something that came about because of those changed plans.
We all have it.
Your clout is your God-given power and influence. You are uniquely made by God. When we discover and unleash our God-given influence – our clout – we position ourselves to lead with passion and purpose that DEFY our personal limitations. Defies it. Goes beyond. Soars way past anything we could ever imagine in our finite minds! Whew! That’s exciting!
I’m thrilled about a book that came out this week called Clout by Jenni Catron:
Jenni’s leadership is outstanding. She is the Executive Director at Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee where she leads the staff and ministries of 5 churches that has grown exponentially under her leadership. Her writing is full of heart and shows her desire to help us all grow exponentially! I was deeply encouraged. My book is covered in highlights.
I love what Jenni said here: “One of the most important lessons we have to learn about unleashing our God-given influence is that it is not simply for our benefit. It is for God’s plan and purpose to be accomplished through us for the blessing of others.”
Each of us has the ability to change the world around us.
We all are capable in influencing others.
We all want to matter. We all want to know that our lives are making a positive impact on the world around us.
There are some common traps which short-circuit our clout. Jenni discusses seven clout killers and teaches us through scripture how to avoid these traps:
- Confronting Fear
- Understanding the Impact of Jealousy
- Squeezing Out Scarcity
- Identifying Insecurity
- Purging Pride
- Relinquishing Control
She doesn’t stop there. She goes on to share how we can cultivate our clout, making the most impact in our area of influence:
- Discovering Your Identity
- Developing Your Confidence
- Defining Your Mission
- Determining Your Passion
Thomas Nelson Books has graciously offered me a copy to give to one of you! And trust me, you will want to get in on this. The offer will end on Tuesday, January 28. The winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Wednesday, January 29. Enter to win by leaving a comment below. The book will be shipped directly from Thomas Nelson.
The Thomas Nelson Books team are amazing and they are giving away an iPad mini in celebration of Clout’s release! Here’s the link to the offer on the Clout website: go here
Don’t forget to leave a comment to win the book!
#discoverCLOUT #JenniCatron #Influence
No subject is unsuitable for discussion with GOD. Our tendency is to avoid certain subjects with GOD even though this not taught to us in scripture.
It doesn’t take long when reading in the book of Psalms to discover a writer that went to GOD about everything. The good, the bad, the ugly. Even anger and vengeance. The anger expressed is intense and graphic – directed at GOD because they are intimately aware of GOD’s justice. Vengeance – or action taken as a result of something they have done – is to be carried out by God (Proverbs 20:22, Romans 12:19).
In Psalm 59, we see David’s angry outburst against Saul’s pursuit. The Man After GOD’s Own Heart never took personal revenge on Saul. He always freely spoke His mind to GOD, having confidence that He could sort out what was meant and what was felt. Pray with that same confidence – GOD can be trusted with your heart.
Some of you haven’t suffered intense cruelty on a personal level, but love someone who has. And it hurts. Bad. Your heart breaks because, through no fault of your own, you weren’t there to rescue them when it happened. And you just want to stop their pain. You want to go back in time and rescue them. Just thinking of what your loved one endured stirs up so much emotion and grief.
I’m holding your hand and saying I know. Boy, do I know. Let’s stand strong together and pray for GOD’s intervention.
Yell. Whisper. Scream out to God if you want to. He can handle it. He can be trusted with your heart. He knows the real you and how you feel. No subject is unsuitable for discussion with God. Speak up for them and advocate for them now (Proverbs 31:8-9).
Some of you have suffered such intense pain and hurt inflicted by others that you can’t breath…and still….years later….you are awakened by the same frightening nightmares. Like King Saul in Psalm 59, they chase you. The scars you bear are deep and wide. Your past isn’t your past because it’s right here. Right now. In your present. You’re dying inside. Your body physically can’t handle the secret anymore. It impacts everything about you – how you relate to everything and everyone in your life.
I’m holding your hand and saying, I know. Boy, do I know. Don’t hide anymore.
Don’t keep quiet. Bring it out into the Light. Drag it kicking and screaming if you have to. Speak out. Scream it out with God if you want. No subject is unsuitable for discussion with God. He’s a big boy. He can handle it. He can be trusted with your heart. I see you. More importantly, GOD sees you. You will sing songs of victory over this. I’ll be even do a Jesus jig with you.
Do not fear the scars. Do not fear the victory.
When GOD heals you – and He WILL if you let Him – don’t be ashamed of the scars of life that GOD healed for you. When Jesus appeared to His disciples, He showed His scars openly. No one escapes suffering in this life. Even the innocent. Jesus was innocent. He connected with the disciples…with us…through His scars. He brought redemption through His scars.
We all need to offer our scars to the world. Not only as proof of what we’ve been through, but as tangible proof of the healing power of Christ in our life. To show not only that we are human, but that we are healed.
Someone is waiting right now for you to speak out and speak up. We connect to others through our scars – thereby connecting them to Christ through our scars.
We think we have to pretend the scars don’t exist and that we have it all together. Wrong. Lies. There is something intrinsically broken inside everyone. Jesus comes as the Great Physician. Jesus is redemption. The Rescuer. Restorer.
Sometimes He heals the scar completely and it isn’t seen anymore.
Sometimes He allows the scar to be seen as a reminder.
Someone is waiting to connect with you – and Christ – right now.
Show them your scars.
GOD still listens.
GOD still answers.
GOD still heals.
GOD still forgives.
GOD still leads.
GOD still directs.
GOD still cares.
GOD still loves.
GOD is still here.
GOD is alive!
(Some of you are the very ones inflicting pain on others. Verbally, physically, emotionally, whatever. Stop. Now. Remove yourself. And run. Run to a professional. A hospital. The first police officer you see. Get away and run for help not from your problems. Run to GOD. Grace was made for people like you (Grace was made for all of us). He knows all about it anyway, and vengeance is still His. But, I’m standing here telling you that I’m having none of it. Stop what you’re doing and step away from that precious child, that precious girl or precious boy. That precious woman. That precious man. Whoever. I love them, and what’s more…GOD loves them. They are not yours to vent on, abuse, hit, take your own hurts and frustrations out on, or whatever else you are doing to them. Seek help. Seek a professional help. Stop. S.T.O.P. GOD will forgive you. But, you need to stop.)
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me.
Ever said something in the heat of the moment and then instantly regretted it? Yeah, me too. You know exactly what I’m talking about. That crazy moment when you’ve lost all good senses and out it comes. And there it sits….looking just as ugly as it felt coming out. We’ve all done it.
Or, have you ever said something carelessly and had no idea the impact your words had?
Words are important to God. God spoke all of creation into existence. God spoke. That’s all. And whatever He said, it happened.
God is serious about our words and how we use them, and we should be too. Our words have the power to influence and shape the world around us – physically and virtually- in a good and bad ways.
James talks about how our tongue is used for evil:
“Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is a fire. A world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed or have been tamed by man. But no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men , who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth, come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (James 3:5-12 NIV) “
But in Proverbs, we get to see how our words can bring light and a future!
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked. (Proverbs 10:11 NIV)
The lips of the righteous nourish many, but the fools die for lack of judgement. (Proverbs 10:21 NIV)
An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. (Proverbs 12:25 NIV)
Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body. (Proverbs 16:24 HCSB)
Before you speak – think:
Is it uplifting? Is it beneficial? Will it strengthen and encourage? Will it bring glory and honor to God? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then it’s not something that should be voiced.
Let’s taste our words before we spit them out, shall we? Me and you. Deal? Deal.
There are SO many more verses on our words and how we can use them. I would encourage you to look them up! It’s so rewarding.
I just can’t believe the people that GOD has blessed me with. Incredible. I had so much fun writing this with our dear, sweet Morgan. I’ve had a peek at a few ideas she has. You guys, I can’t even. You will be blessed. Can’t wait for you to see what’s coming.
Our writing team is growing. There’s room for you. Contact me with what you have and let’s talk.
I’ve had quite the week. One child extremely sick and facing emergency surgery. Mom in another hospital facing the same thing. Me, coming down with bronchitis, sinusitis, and strep throat.
No matter what mountains we’ve faced this week….or will face in the future….one Thing remains solid.
His name is Jesus.
And those mountains?
They take one look at GOD and melt, melt like wax before earth’s Lord.
Whatever you’re facing, just remember who you belong to
The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights” Habakkuk 3:19
The book of Habakkuk inspired Martin Luther’s reformation and the book “Hinds Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hunnard. Habakkuk encourages us to question what God is doing in our lives. When we are thrown into suffering for a period of time, or our enemies are prospering while we are just barely getting by, we wonder about the equity of God and life. Habakkuk affirms that God is God and we are made to scale the mountains of adversity. We just need to be still and know He is at work. He is who He says He is and does keep His promises.
God equips His people to scale the heights even in the midst of great challenges. He enables us to go to the higher places with Him where we are set apart from the world. Sometimes the way we have to go to get us there is through suffering and sorrow, but if we rest in Him and trust Him we come out where He wants us.
When Jesus told the disciples He was going to send the Holy Spirit to them, it was in order for them to scale the mountain before them with a new form of power they had not experienced.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8)
If you find yourself in a place of doubting God and His plan for your life, know that this is a normal aspect of your journey in God. However, know that God has made available His Holy Spirit in order for you to accomplish the tasks that lie ahead.
Ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to achieve the heights for which He has created you.
~Today God Is First~
The sermon this week was teaching on fear. Specifically on fear of failure. It made me remember some notes that I made a few weeks ago and I wanted to share all of this with you. Because, dear friends, fear can cripple you. Fear can stop you in your tracks. Fear can corrode our confidence in God’s goodness. What you fear tells you where you trust God the least. Did you catch that? Chew on that a minute.
Fear can rob you of your joy of living…..
….If you let it.
Don’t believe anything fear says to you. Ever. It’s a trap to keep you frozen and ineffective for the Kingdom. It’s that simple. And it’s that complicated.
Fear always bugs us with those crazy “what if” questions.. What if I fail? What if I mess up? And baaad? What if I’m not enough? What if…what if….what if…..(insert your version here)?
Fear asks who will be watching when I fail? Who’s watching…that’s the big one. The possibility of someone seeing us fail is what we fear most of all because, whether we admit it or not, we have a deep need of the approval of those around us. We aren’t as fearful of failure if others won’t know about it, right? Even bigger than our fear of failure is the fear of who will SEE us fail, don’t you think?
It’s true that you may mess up. In case you didn’t know, let me tell you something: everyone messes up sometime or other. No one is perfect at everything. But that failure isn’t final, and the labels people give you don’t matter. The world will always try to tell you that you’re less than who He says you are.
And, hey, since we all know that, why measure ourselves by the world and it’s standards anyway? Why claim those labels? Why? Why? Why?
We don’t have to.
So let’s stop that. Deal? And while we’re asking all these questions, let me ask you another one: what if you don’t fail? What if you actually go out there and rock it? That’s a way bigger risk! That is just not worth passing by.
Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world
Find out what pleases God and do it (Ephesians 5:17). Why? Because He is the ultimate Master you’re serving. He is the One from whom all blessings flow. He is the One who is madly in love with you and thinks you’re to die for…..and proved it.
We don’t overcome fear by being passive. We overcome fear by attacking it. We overcome fear by the victory King Jesus has already won. We put on our Ephesians 6 armor and do as Jesus did….we remember, BELIEVE, speak, and claim the promises of God. We remember that we are the child of the one true King. THAT’S who you are. THAT’S your name. Believe it.
The next time the enemy tries to remind you of your past…..remind him of his future!
Around 1406 B.C. God brought His people to the edge of the land He had promised to their ancestors, and Moses handed leadership of the nation over to Joshua. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, finally the people of God were ready to realize the promise of living in the land of Canaan. All they needed to do is to obey and trust Him in order to take possession of the land. In other words, trust Daddy and do what He says.
What is your edge? God spoke something to you a while ago. For some, a long while ago. Is It to begin teaching a Sunday School class? A small group? Or maybe it’s a big step in changing a lot of things in your life. Maybe it’s a little step. Maybe it’s to finally begin leading your family in the Way they should go. Is it to say yes to that mission trip? What promise is God calling you to realize in your life?
Some of you are right there on the edge. It’s time. You can see it. You can feel it. The only thing standing in the way is you putting your trust in Daddy God and obeying what He tells you to do.
It’s time for you to take that step. Take possession of that promise. Don’t worry, if God brings you to it, He WILL bring you through it.
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study the Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all that you do. This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9
See: Joshua 1-6
If you’ve ever been in a city during rush hour traveling down 5 lanes of traffic, you know the busyness of it. Everyone in a hurry to get where they’re headed so they go…and they go FAST.
It was on a day like this, at just that time of day, that I was traveling home from work. Suddenly, right in the middle of that 5 lanes of busy, rush hour traffic, my vehicle just stops. Dead. In the middle of those 5 lanes. No puttering to stop. Just stops with no engine running. Stopped dead. As I look in my rearview mirror and see that 18 wheeler and all those vehicles headed right at me, I yell….”Jesus, no!”
“When they call on Me, I will answer; I will be with them in time of trouble. I will rescue and honor them” Psalm 91:15
It wasn’t a rhetorical using-of-His-name-in-a-sentence type usage (which I can’t, stand by the way). I was literally talking to my Savior, needing Him to save me in the physical realm this time. As if there was a bubble around me, the vehicles started parting. That 18 wheeler got close enough for me to see the panic on his face as he yanked hard and fast on his steering wheel to the left to pass by. My Lord saved me that day. My vehicle finally started and I went on my way, calling my hubby to praise the Lord with him.
There are days when we wake up and look around to say, “How in the world did I get HERE, and how did things get THIS way???” Call out that name: JESUS….the sweetest name I know. Don’t try to clean things up before you do, like some people do just before the housekeeper comes, or when company is coming. He says, come as you are, mess and all. You are tired of the mess, of the juggling, of the hiding, and the keeping of the secrets….
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28
Dear Lord, thank You for meeting me just where I am, mess and all. Thank You that You rescue us….over and over again. Your love never fails. Your love endures forever. There’s power in Your name. Lord, I call on your name right now. I need You. I thank You……
Photo credit: tomtom.com