THE Arrival

In this Holiday season, I pray you all are keeping your devotion time going. Often we put them aside when we’re busy but that’s when we need them the most. We’re distracted and busy…and a prime target for the enemy. And, this Holiday is about Christ anyway, right? Let’s keep our focus and the flame of our love affair with Him burning bright. Do an Advent study/Devotion this season and worship Him. Grow deeper and closer to our Savior. 

And I think you’ll find keeping Christ in Christmas will help your busy Holiday time go much better! Also important: We see a lot of people this time of year that we don’t see regularly….as well as stores packed full of strangers. What a prime opportunity to share Christ and His Gospel. Remember why you’re here 😊

Arrival. That is what the word “advent” means. Only the Advent we are celebrating here is not just any arrival. It is THE Arrival.

This is Advent: the coming of hope to the hopeless, the arrival of peace, the long-awaited exhale of freedom for generation after generation gasping for air.

Advent is the elaborate yet stunningly simple plan of God to descend to His children, to become like them in the most unexpected, unglamorous, fully human way….and He’s coming again! 

Expect Him. Watch for Him. 

This is the beginning of a great ransom story. And you’re in it. 
Merry Christmas!

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When fear comes knocking….

  

….for you are with me… Psalm 23:4

Your peace is a weapon. There are many opportunities created in this world to rob us of our peace. Your confidence in the God of peace declares that you are not falling for the lies of the devil. The first step in authority is to have peace in spite of our circumstances. When Jesus confronted the enemy, He didn’t confront him with His emotions. Knowing he was a liar, He simply refused to be influenced by any other voice than God’s. His peace overwhelmed the enemy; His authority shattered the lie and sent the enemy fleeing.

This week, that trickster tried to stake a claim. The peace of God overwhelmed and he fled. Praise You Jesus! God is always so very close. mmmm……yes, He is.

There is a place of walking with God where you simply fear no evil. David faced a lion, a bear, and a giant. In this Psalm he stood in the shadow of death itself, yet he feared no evil. Our trust in the Lord is what brings peace, not trusting in our abilities. 

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” Psalm 23:5a

Because God is with you, every adversity you face will unfold in victory and become a meal for you, an experience that will nourish and build you up spiritually. 

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

The source of God’s peace is God Himself. If fear has been knocking at your door, begin to face that fear with God’s peace. It’s God’s secret weapon to destroy fear. 

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Overcoming

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It happened. We got “the call” about our daughter serving overseas. She got sick. And not just sick. The go-to-the-hospital-kind-of-sick.

There’s one thing you’ll notice about our family: When something goes down, we get quiet. We collectively, as if we are one body, click into a mode where we talk very little, listen, hear from all sides, get information, take in information, pray, get others to pray, go to scripture, take in more information, hear from all sides, and pray. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. It’s our form of running. Except we don’t run away…. we run into Daddy’s arms. This is how we overcome and conquer…in Him. All Him.

Everyday is filled with the ups and downs in life – the excitements, the disappointments, the scary unexpected, the adventures, and the times that aren’t so exciting. What we choose to do, and how we respond to these situations, indicates the type of people we are on the inside.

Jesus said, “In this life, you will have trouble. But take heart! For I have overcome the world” John 16:33

Jesus knew we would encounter disappointments. He knew we would encounter troubles, fears, and doubts. To that He says, “Take heart!” because He’s already overcome this life. If we choose to take Him at His word, we choose to live in the place He’s called us to. A place not devoid of sorrow, but where we know and live in victory.

GOD has a plan for each of us, and we are defined by His intentions not our present circumstances


In spite of trouble, in spite of doubt, GOD is there with us.

Here’s the thing: we will encounter sorrow. We will encounter disappointments. But GOD didn’t create us to live there. He created us to overcome, to rise above those circumstances, and to let His light shine through us, in spite of it all.

But those who wait on The Lord will find new strength. They will fly on wings like eagle. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

This is the place where we are called to live. A place of overcomers and conquerors. Choose to let GOD’s light shine through your circumstances – in spite of your circumstances. Choose to be a person who overcomes – in spite of everything. And rest in the fact that GOD is right there, in the midst of it all.

You, dear children, are from GOD and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37

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

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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!

The Need To Impress

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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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Who Is This God, Anyway?

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Yesterday we talked about being fearless. Immediately God took me to His Word and to a place in my heart asking Who is this God that you would serve Him fearlessly in this crazy life and in seemingly impossible circumstances? And, why??

Immediately He took me to Matthew 6:9; The Lord’s prayer. Specifically the first line: Our Father in heaven.

Who is your Daddy?

Because of Jesus, we come to God as our Father. A child, sitting on our Daddy’s knee chatting….and listening to His wisdom. Trusting in His care over us. We come to Him not as a fearful people to a tyrant lording over us. No, He’s kind. He’s gentle, yet sure and just. He’s your Daddy!

Some of you may have never had that feeling of being a Daddy’s girl. Never sat on your Daddy’s knee and felt that love, care, protection, strength, provision and wisdom. I’m sorry. I truly and deeply am. I know you have an idea or dream of who you wanted your Daddy to be, wished your Daddy to be.

I have some notes on Daddy. Notes on who He’s been to me, will always be to me, and most certainly wants to be for you. This list never ends, and is added to regularly. I’ll never be able to stop describing Him as He meets my every need, my every longing as I go through this life. Some of this list is from teaching notes, and all of it is true.

You are secure and taken care of because of Who you belong to. This is your Daddy. Follow Him fearlessly. Allow me to introduce you:

Your Daddy is…

the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End

Keeper of creation and Creator of all

Architect of the universe, Manager of all time

He always was, always is, always will be unmoved, unchanged, undefeated, and never undone

He was bruised, but brought healing

He was pierced, but eased pain

He was persecuted but brought freedom

He was dead and brings life

He has risen to bring power and was raised to bring peace. 

The world can’t understand Him, armies can’t defeat Him, schools can’t explain Him, and leaders can’t ignore Him.

Herod couldn’t kill Him, Nero couldn’t crush Him

He is Life, He is Love, He is Longevity, and He is the Lord

He is goodness and kindness and faithfulness and He is God

He is holy and righteous and powerful and pure

His ways are right, His Word eternal, His will unchanging, and His mind is consumed with US

He’s our Savior, our God, our peace, our comfort, our Lord, and He rules our lives

His bond is love, His yoke is easy, His burden is light, and His goal for us is abundant life

He’s the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the Ancient of Days, Ruler of rulers, the Leader of all leaders

His goal is a relationship with you and He will never leave you, never forsake you, never mislead you, never forget you, never overlook you, and never cancel your appointment in His appointment book

When you fall, He will life you up

When you fail, He will forgive you

When you’re weak, He is strong

When you’re lost, He is your way

When you’re afraid, He is your courage

When you stumble, He will steady you

When you’re hurt, He’s going to heal you

When you’re broken, He will mend you

When you’re blind, He will lead you

When you’re hungry, He will feed you

When you face trials, He’s with you

When you face persecution, He shields you

When you face problems, He will comfort you

When you face loss, He will provide for you

When you face death, He will carry you Home to meet Him

He is everything for everybody everywhere every time and in every way. 

He is your God, and THAT is Who you belong to

You see, with a Daddy like this, we can face anything, anytime fearlessly because we can trust Him. We. Can. Trust. Him. You are His creation. He’s invested and consumed with you. He can’t stop thinking of you, and doesn’t want to. He is the Supreme Ruler. Nothing can defeat Him. He’s your Protector. He never fails. He is madly in love with you. Madly. Crazy. Head over heals. Stalker type love….only not creepy. He is unstoppable and never gives up on you. Never. He is your Provider. When He calls you to a thing, He will carry you through it. He will equip you. He is powerful and majestic.

He’s your Daddy

 

You can do all things through Him who is your strength. In His strength, you are fearless.

 

 

When fear comes knocking…

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….for you are with me… Psalm 23:4

Your peace is a weapon. There are many opportunities created in this world to rob us of our peace. Your confidence in the God of peace declares that you are not falling for the lies of the devil. The first step in authority is to have peace in spite of our circumstances. When Jesus confronted the enemy, He didn’t confront him with His emotions. Knowing he was a liar, He simply refused to be influenced by any other voice than God’s. His peace overwhelmed the enemy; His authority shattered the lie and sent the enemy fleeing.

This week, that trickster tried to stake a claim. The peace of God overwhelmed and he fled. Praise You Jesus! God is always so very close. mmmm……yes, He is.

There is a place of walking with God where you simply fear no evil. David faced a lion, a bear, and a giant. In this Psalm he stood in the shadow of death itself, yet he feared no evil. Our trust in the Lord is what brings peace, not trusting in our abilities. Because God is with you, every adversity you face will unfold in victory and become a meal for you, an experience that will nourish and build you up spiritually:

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” Psalm 23:5a

The source of God’s peace is God Himself. If fear has been knocking at your door, begin to face that fear with God’s peace. It’s God’s secret weapon to destroy fear:

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

Sometimes We Forget To Remember….

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And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Matthew 14:32

We forget when we’re in the middle of the chaos, the calamity, the danger, the darkness, that the same God that just brought us this far, is the same God that’s in the boat with us as He’s coming to us as well.

Many of you have incredible storms, adversity in your life and you may be thinking, God, I did everything right, how did I end up in this storm? Every now and then He sends us into a storm to test us and to show us that there’s more in us than we even know or realize. It’s often in a storm that Jesus will come to us in a form that we don’t even recognize. They thought He was a ghost but it was the same Jesus that had just been on the mountain with them all day dividing fish.

The same God that has brought you this far is the same God that’s going to take you to the other side—the same God that has done those miracles in your life before is the same God that’s with you in that storm right now. He will give you the grace and protection to get you through—just don’t take your eyes off Him. The disciples picked up the remnants of the miracle of feeding the 5,000 men (estimated around 15,000 including women and children). Take the remnants of the miracles before the storm into the storms of the future and into your life every single day. God has brought you through some stuff. Just take a few minutes to stop and think of what He’s done before….brought you through….a sickness healed….relationship restored….some open doors that He made happen for you.

Remember that the same God that brought you through that is the same God that will bring you through this. Praise is your weapon.

First Things First: Peace

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Rejoice in the Lord always. will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts, and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)

It seems strange that a man in prison would be telling a church to rejoice. We can learn a lot about attitudes from Paul.

Our inner attitudes do not have to reflect our outward circumstances

Ultimate joy and peace comes from Christ dwelling within us. No matter what happens, Jesus Christ is within us.

In all situations–everything–I need to run and talk to my Father about it. That should be my first thought and my first action. And, because I have done first things first, I have joy in the midst of tragedy. Because my confidence is in Him, I am calm, gentle and at peace instead of freaking out at that crisis, and anxious about a doomsday coming…..rather real or perceived.

Even if things do go differently, remember…….

……..sometimes, when things seem to be falling apart, they are actually falling into place

He guards our hearts and our minds with His supernatural peace.

It’s His supernatural peace that enables us rest peacefully and to know in the middle of all the chaos, that we are “covered and under his wings in refuge”

……in the middle of all those unplanned crazy times, “his faithfulness is our shield and rampart”

……when we just don’t know how things will turn out, we can rest peacefully, because in Him, we “will not fear the terror of the night (unknown), nor the arrow that flies by day” (known possible attacks/crisis/tragedy)

……because we “dwell in the shelter of the Most High and rest in the shadow of the Almighty!”

……In the midst of everything we will say, “the Lord is my refuge, and my fortress and in whom I trust!” (Psalm 91)

……and we will say THANK YOU! Thank You Jesus, for you are near! I feel You! I see You! Thank You!

How do I know? Because I’ve been here. I was just here four days ago, and He was faithful. He will be again.