Do you want to be made well?

 

John 5: 6… He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” That seems like a rhetorical question; one not meant to be answered. The answer would seem very obvious. Who wouldn’t want to be made well? Jesus asked him because he knew there was a part of him that didn’t want to do what it would take to be made well. He had to walk away from his sin. We don’t know what that sin was. But Jesus was asking for him to give it up. Sin can become so familiar to us that we become comfortable in it. Jesus wants to change that. Change is difficult. Many times it demands a great personal cost. While everyone wants to be well, not everyone wants it bad enough to pay the price. Are you willing to do what it takes? The man did not answer. He blamed others. He said, “I have no one to help me.” Jesus said, “Get up.” That’s what He says to us. Get up. This has kept you down long enough. Get up. Do this! You don’t need anyone’s help. You have Me. I am all that you need. Don’t say, “I can’t.” In doing so, you are essentially saying, “I won’t.” Change your mind! Nothing will change in your life until you change your mind.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

There is nothing you can’t do! This man had come to feel this is the way it would always be. He seemed to be telling Jesus that he can’t catch a break. He was feeling sorry for himself. And the more he looked at himself, the worse he became. Sometimes that’s the way it is with us. We get used to the way things are. Comfortable in chaos. We don’t like change. Even if it’s for the better. Change makes us uncomfortable. We don’t like what’s required. Jesus wanted to do more than a physical healing here. He had some soul work to do. But it had to start with the renewing of his mind. This man had a choice to make. Repent. Change his mind. Agree with Jesus and go in the other direction. Live. Truly live. Or stay put. Paralyzed. Unable to move. Sometimes it’s easier to stay where we’re at. It takes determination. It takes moment to moment trust in Christ to overcome sin that has held us captive for so long. He chose to get up and walk.

Hebrews 12: 1… let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…

Your life can change. Today. Do this. Get up and walk. Be free.



Small things

 
 

Mark 16:1,3 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary [the mother] of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him… And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” There was this small thing they wanted to do for Jesus. Many would’ve considered it a waste. They wanted to do this for Him, but there was an obstacle. A large stone was covering the tomb. Not a small stone; a large one. It didn’t stop them. They kept going forward. They were too weak to roll this stone away. There was no way they could do it. It didn’t stop them.  And God was one step ahead of them.  When they arrived to the tomb to do what God put on their heart, the stone was rolled away. God can do the same for us.  Whatever God has called you to do, go for it. Let not the voice of the enemy be louder. There is nothing our God cannot do. It doesn’t matter how extensive the need. The external appearance of the situation is irrelevant.  Our age has no bearing. We think we’re too old. Caleb was 85 years old when he spoke this:   [Jos 14:12 NKJV] 12 “Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim [giants] were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the LORD will with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the LORD said.” Or we may suppose we’re too young. 1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Do you homeschool? Have a child with special needs?  I have a whole lot of pencils, not a lot of strength. And I have a bunch of notebooks, but not too much education.  2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. They went to the tomb to do something very small for the Lord. Trivial in the eyes of the world. A big deal to them nonetheless. In doing this small thing, they saw a miracle.  The stone was rolled away.  Jesus Christ had risen from the dead! May the Lord surprise you today as you step out to do His will.



Hard Things?

 
The boy grabbed my hand. 

Exercise is hard. Having special needs makes it that much harder.

He spoke soft, “Holding your hand helps me keep going.”

I squeezed a little tighter.


Read more...

What Will Breakthrough?

Psalm 29: 4-5 The voice of the LORD is powerful; The voice of the LORD is full of majesty. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars, yes, the LORD splinters the Cedars of Lebanon.

The Cedars of Lebanon grow in the mountains of Israel, Syria, and Jordan. The trunks of these trees reach 8 feet in diameter and they can grow 130 feet tall. These trees are massive forces to be reckoned with. Often our trials can seem like these trunks; impossible to break through. As big as that tree trunk is, God’s voice is bigger still. This verse shouts out the awesome power of the voice of God. His voice alone can splinter this tree. There are obstacles that we are facing that seem impenetrable.


Read more...

Lord, we need You

 

Annapolis happened on my watch.

This is my mission field.

What could I have done different?

I could’ve done more. I should’ve done more.


Read more...

Truth is not relative

“You’re judging me…”
Sound familiar? Have you said it? Has it been said to you?
Take a look at my baby bunny.
We can learn so much from her.


Read more...

“I got that.”

I was too exhausted to move.
Standing before me was a weight I couldn’t lift.
I knew it too.
“Do you need some help with that?”

Read more...

Stay close to your Daddy…

 

I could not get out of bed. Literally. 

Unexplainable darkness permeated my soul.

Painful thoughts assaulted my mind.

What was going on? 

Daniel 10:8 …no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength.

Daniel was up against a very real spiritual battle. It was one he could not see physically. Nonetheless, it was fierce. At the right time, the hand of the Lord touched him. 

Daniel 10:19 NKJV – 19 And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”

Have you been feeling oppressed? 

Don’t give up. If you’re too weak to pray, just praise. Sing to the Lord. Your strength will revive. 

Cast out the lies. Take every one of your thoughts captive. Combat all the lies with the truth of God’s word. That’s what Jesus did when Satan pursued after him. He was in the wilderness; a desolate place. This is when Satan seeks opportunity. Recognize it for what it is: spiritual warfare. 

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Your heavenly Daddy has His eyes on you. He sees what’s coming on the right and left. You stay close. Follow hard after Him. Let Him be your defense. 

Psalm 34:7-8 The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the [wo]man who trusts in Him!

Taste and see. You can trust Him. Your Daddy will never fail His baby duckling.



She stayed still…

She was terrified.
Trembling, she stood still; not knowing what to do.
I’ll tell you what she didn’t do: she didn’t run off.
Let me explain.

The first time I saw her she was out in my front yard hidden in a hole and covered over by straw. Surrounded by her siblings, she was safe and sound. Her mamma was nearby.

But then the gardener came through.

He mowed everything to bits.

Life as she knew it ended.

It was all over in a matter of moments.

This little girl didn’t run off. She stayed put.

We can learn a lot from her.

When in doubt don’t.

In the midst of chaos is no time to make a decision.

Jeremiah 17:7 “But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.”

We can’t listen to our feelings, they can deceive us.

Be still.

Friends want to help, but they can get it wrong.

Be still.

God often speaks in a whisper. You don’t want to miss it.

Psalm 37:7 Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

More encouragement for your marriage:
 
 


Are you blind?

 

AUTISM? The boy who couldn’t speak? He spoke.

Let me tell you…


Read more...

Pursue love…

 

He got away from me. 

There was a distance in our souls.

I had a choice.

Close the gap or let it widen. 


Read more...

Death brings life…

 

One day changed everything.
It was devastating.
The cross. The beating. His death. It was brutal.
Have you received a devastating blow?
I did. When I heard the diagnosis, Autism, everything changed.
How about you?
Maybe it came out of nowhere.


Read more...

Long Shot

 

The boy took the long shot.
He missed.
He tried again. And again. And again.
Still kept missing.
Every time though, he looked at me.
I was giving him the thumbs up. A smile. Then a nod. A shrug of the shoulders. I just kept cheering him on. No big deal if he missed.
He tried. He gave it his all.
I saw some of the other boys making fun of him. Shaking their heads. Talking amongst themselves.
He didn’t see them. Do you know why?


Read more...

Lost sheep found!

 

 

 I remember like it was yesterday. 

The older boy was lost.

A parent’s worst nightmare. 

And it was in Disney World at that. 

Read more...

Out of the box!

There’s the ordinary way.
And then? There’s the extraordinary way. The other way. The different way.
The boy marches to a different beat.
 

Read more...

Savior. Rescuer. Healer

 
The boy wanted to know what it was like to be wrapped in swaddling clothes.
 
And I imagine.
 
God sent His only son. His baby. The love of His life. He sent Him to this wretched earth to be the Lamb of God who would willingly give His life for me. And you.
 
Back in the day, in that region, these swaddling clothes were used to wrap the newborn baby lambs to protect them. To keep them spotless and unblemished. These lambs were to be sacrificed in the Temple. They had to be perfect.
 
A perfect picture of Jesus. The perfect spotless lamb who came to die for our sin.
 
Matthew 1:21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
 
Jesus means Savior. Rescuer. Healer.
 
I needed rescuing. He was there for me. Waiting.
 
All I had to do was ask Him for forgiveness. Could it be that simple?
 
It was. It still is.
 
There is nothing He will not forgive us for. Nothing. His blood covered it all on the cross. His resurrection from the grave will empower you to leave your sinful life behind and follow Him. Equally so, He can give you the grace to forgive someone who has hurt you.
 
Come and lay it down. Worship this gift of Jesus.
 
Come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
 
Merry Christmas my sweet friends!


AMEN!!!

It’s a scene straight from heaven.

A vast crowd standing before the throne.

Revelation 7:10-12 …crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
 

In its original language, this word “Amen” is almost identical to the word “faithful.” It was an expression of absolute trust and confidence.


Read more...

God provides…always

 

Camden woke up, “I’m so thirsty…” He was languishing when he looked up and pointed to a bottle of water on the nightstand. It had been there for weeks. Had he not seen it until now?

He exclaimed, “Look, God provided!”

He didn’t have to go far to find what he needed. He didn’t even have to go downstairs.

There it was.

Do you have a need?

Does it look impossible?

Are you out of options?

Abraham was.

In fact, God asked something really hard from him. He had no idea how this whole thing might turn out. He just kept walking it out. At the right time, not moment too soon and not a moment to late, God provided.

Genesis 22:13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket…

Was it already there? Or did God bring it at that moment and place it there; unbeknownst to Abraham? Either way, we know this:

God provided.

He always provides what we need. At the moment, we may be out of options. Don’t panic.

We walk by faith, not by sight.

God always has a ram in the thicket.



On the Road

 
 
Genesis 16:7 Now the Angel of the LORD found her [Hagar] by a spring of water in the wilderness…
 
Her circumstances had her on the run.
 
Let me share a secret: You can’t outrun God.
 
Trust me, I’ve tried.
 
Everything was going wrong in her life. She had every reason to be angry. And overwhelmed, depressed and fearful.
 
God met her there.
 
He will meet you where you’re at.
 
This situation you’re in is not a happen chance mistake. God allowed it. It’s here in these desperate situations the Lord comes to meet you.
 
He will become to you what you need.
 
Do you need joy?
 
Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
 
Do you need hope?
 
Lamentations 3:22-24 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
 
Do you need security?
 
The Lord is your rock and your fortress.
 
Psalm 78:16 He also brought streams out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
 
Running on empty? You will have enough because He is enough. All sufficient.
 
Allow Him to whisper this into your heart:
 
I love you. You are wanted.
 
I’m not going anywhere.
 
I know you can’t see the end of the road.
 
That’s okay. I see the end from the beginning.
 
Revelation 21:6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.”
 
Wherever this road leads, I’ll be on it with you.
 
Circumstances are irrelevant.
 


Princess, Claim Your Crown…

 

This crown. 

I gaze to remember. 

It is a visible reminder of my value.

Things come into my life and make me forget. 

I forget. A lot.

I am not defined by the breakup of my relationship with some guy. My first boyfriend cheated on me. That left me so insecure about who I was.

My value doesn’t lie in the hands of my earthly father. He abandoned me. Rejected me. He did not want me. He still wants nothing to do with me. 

Whether my jeans are a size 10 or a size 20, my worth doesn’t change.

If I have 10 likes or 100 to this post, does not matter in the least. 

If my sons ace the SAT or can’t add two plus two, my value doesn’t lie in their performance.

Nor does it lie in my performance. I don’t have to be anybody in the eyes of the world. I don’t have to earn love. 

I have a heavenly Father who loves me. 

He loves me unconditionally. Just. As. I. Am.

His love never changes. It just keeps coming. 

Boyfriends come and go. Jean sizes fluctuate. FB friends are fleeting. 

When you can fully grasp how much you are loved, you can fully live. 

Until then, you have a very unhappy existence. Always seeking love and approval from the wrong place. Seeking love and approval from anywhere but your Heavenly Daddy will let you down. The world will disappoint you every time. 

You are the daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

That makes you a Princess. 

Claim your crown. 

You are loved. So loved. 

Surrender your life to the only One who will never fail you. Never leave you. Never stop loving you. 

Ephesians 3:18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.



Still there…

 

I rushed out the door. Threw everything in the front seat and sped off. Barreling down the highway I realized I missed my exit. I would need to go back. I took the next exit. At the stoplight, a woman was pointing and making gestures. I put the window down. She told me I left a book on the back of my car. I didn’t want to get out of my car at this intersection. I got back on the highway. When I arrived at my destination, there it was. 

It was my Bible. 

Still there.

It was a reminder for me. 

Psalm 139:7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

No matter what I’m going through, God is with me.

Psalm 139:1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

You have searched. The Hebrew word “chaqar.” It gives the idea of digging deep into the earth.  God knows the deep things of our heart. He sees. He sees beyond the surface. Behind the smiling face. He sees what no-one else sees. He knows the longings of our heart. Sometimes our longings take us off the right path He has for us. 

Sometimes we just need to be reminded.

God is with you. He hasn’t forgotten you. Nor has He left you. Even if you can’t see Him working in your life, He is. Especially when things aren’t going the way you planned. 

He is there. Take His hand and walk with Him. He will lead you on your way. His way.

That’s the best way. 

 


Reaping and Sowing

 

I watched in awe. Lost in my own little world. It was a little overwhelming. We’d been to this farm before. Not so long ago. It was a completely different scene. I was in the throes of Autism. The boy cried. The. Entire. Trip. He wouldn’t pick a pumpkin. He wouldn’t pet the goats.

He. Just. Cried.

My sons behavior was so out of control, I didn’t know what to do. His fears dominated every aspect of his life. And mine.

God said, “Teach him My word.”

And so I did. Day in and day out. I didn’t see any immediate changes. It was slow going. That’s how the Bible works though. You may not notice anything different. But one day you wake up and realize your whole life is different. Radically.

God’s word is transforming.

Pain is often the seed that grows a garden in our lives.

Seeds are covered in darkness. At the right time, the hand of God moves upon it. He sends rain. And the sun shines on it. That dead seed blossoms. New life is birthed. That seed is turned into something completely different. So it is as we plant the seed of God’s word. A new ministry, a book, a helping hand or comforting word is often birthed through suffering.

God makes everything beautiful in His time.

Darkness is just a season.

Those tears will reap shouts of joy.

Through that difficult time I learned the magnificent power of the word of God.

It changes you. It can reprogram your mind. It is more powerful than any drug. Street or prescription. It is matchless. Nothing can compare.

If you are seeking a change, give it shot. What do you have to lose?

Jeremiah 29:13-14 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity….

God wants you to seek Him with all your heart.

Full surrender. All in.

1 Corinthians 2:9 “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”



Foundation is everything!

 

He missed it y’all.

It was only an inch off.

Didn’t matter.

It would never pass inspection.

The county we live in has very specific codes and regulations that must be followed for building a deck.

My husband thought he knew what he was doing.

Turns out he didn’t. He just didn’t do it right.

The whole thing needs to be dismantled.

Foundation is everything. It is much the same in our spiritual life.

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have–Jesus Christ.

How’s your spiritual foundation?

We can think we know the right way to get to heaven. Doing it our own way.

Matthew 7:13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.

Religion doesn’t save us. Growing up in church doesn’t save us. Living in America doesn’t save us. Doing good deeds doesn’t save us.

A good father will always direct us in the right way that we should go.

Our Heavenly Father tells us very clearly how we can know for sure the right way to heaven.

Believe in Jesus.

John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

God loves YOU so much that He was willing to give His son to die on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin. And mine. Hell is the penalty for sin. It is a real place. God is loving dad who wishes none to go there. We have a difficult choice to make. Eternal life is a choice. It will cost you. What will it cost you? Your life.

Mark 1:15 … “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”

Repent simply means to change your mind. In other words, I was going my own way. I was living a life of sin and doing things that displease the Lord. I changed my mind. I turned from that life and followed Jesus. When Jesus died, He didn’t stay dead. He rose from the dead. His resurrection power will help us live for Him.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

I left my old life behind. I began to build a solid foundation in Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.

If you’ve never asked Jesus to forgive you, I want to encourage you to do that today. Surrender to Him. Ask Him to be your Savior. You can have new life today, what are you waiting for?



Mess or Masterpiece?

 
We see a mess.
 
God sees a masterpiece.
 
Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
 
God knows: I know your joys. Your sorrows. Your hidden pain. It’s not hidden from Me. You see no purpose for it. I see the those dark times as the backdrop of the sunrise I’m painting with the canvas of your life.
 
God asked Jeremiah to do something very difficult.
 
His reply? “Oh Lord, I can’t!”
 
Do you find yourself saying these words?
 
I can’t. I can’t be married to this man anymore. I can’t quit smoking this, drinking that, using and abusing. I can’t face this life one more day. Unspeakable fear. Humiliation. Rejection. I can’t be me. I’m too young. I’m too old. I’m too scared.
 
I can’t do what you’re asking me to do.
 
God’s reply? “Don’t say that. You can and you will.” When God calls you to do something, He will make sure you have everything you need to accomplish His will.
 
Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise…
 
Endurance: to remain under the pressure.
 
It may look very dark right at the moment.
 
Hang in there.
 
Jeremiah 1:8 “Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you,” says the LORD.
 
Fear no one.
 
Fear of man is a snare.
 
Fear nothing.
 
1 John 4:18…Perfect love casts out fear.
 
No challenge is too great for you.
 
God gave him what he needed. At the right time. God is always on time. Never late.
 
Not one word of God has ever failed. No not one.
 
If God is asking you to do something very difficult, take Him at His word. You can trust Him. You don’t have to do it alone. He was with Jeremiah. He will be with you. You got this. God’s got you. When you look back you won’t believe the beauty God made from the ashes of your life.


Where does our value come from?

 

I felt my breath sucked out of me.

100 % of all babies in Iceland diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted. That is horrific.

LISTEN UP, 90 % of all babies in the United States diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted. That is equally horrific.

There is an enemy at work, Satan, who only comes to steal, kill and destroy. He does this by lying and deceiving. Just like he did to Eve in the garden of Eden, “Did God really say….?” Can you really take care of that baby? Can that baby really have a life? 

Jesus came to give life. Abundant life. When we question what that life should look like, we break the second commandment. Don’t make for yourself a graven image. We make a god of our own imagination. We want to decide whose life has value.

Every life has immense value. Even and especially children with disabilities.

Someone I love very dearly has Down Syndrome. 

I want to share some things you may not know. 

These children are created in the image of God. God does not see as man sees. Man looks at the outward appearance. God looks at the heart. Their hearts just want to love and be loved. 

They have a deep relationship with Jesus. It may not “look” like they do. They do. 

When I need prayer, I know where to go. This child prays. He has the ear of Jesus. 

This child has changed the world. He has made it a better place. His sisters and brothers are the most selfless siblings I’ve ever met. And his parents? Amazing reflections of the heart of our Heavenly Father. So loving. So graceful. So patient. His dad calls him his hero.

If you ask them if they would give Down Syndrome back if given the chance, they would tell you, “No way. Our lives are far better because of it.”

If you have never had the blessed opportunity to love a child with Down Syndrome, I pray you will seek one out. Your life will be filled with more love than you’ve ever known. 

 


Let your wings down

 
There she was. Pretty little thing.
Before I knew it, she was gone.
Over here. Over there.
I tried catching up to her.
As soon as I got close, she was gone.
When she finally let down her wings, I caught up to her.

Ezekiel 1:24-25…and when they stood still, they let down their wings. A voice came from above…

We tend to be so much like this butterfly.

Constantly moving. On the go.

A trial comes. Or a decision needs to made.

What do I do?
Where do I go from here?
How should I respond?

No answer seems to come. We go on fluttering and flitting about.

Our same questions remain.

Let down your wings.

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know I am God…

God wants to speak to you. He really does. And He will.

Let down your wings. Rest in Him.

He will lead you.

Psalm 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah



First Love

 

Look at this. It’s almost laughable. But, not really funny at all. In fact, it is very sad.

These totem poles are all over Alaska. They reminded me of the ridiculous idols the people of God used to worship.

Exodus 20:3-5 “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God…”

Recently, the Lord revealed to me that I had an idol in my own life. Realistically, just as foolish.

Essentially, an idol is anything we think about more than God. The Lord wants all our thoughts. He wants our full attention. All our devotion. 
 
Revelation 2:4 …I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
 

This idol needed to go.

Right away.

My idol? An unsolved problem in my life. A difficulty that I could not fix. I couldn’t change the situation no matter how much I tried. And believe me, I tried. I tried everything. It became almost an obsession. It was all I could think about. All my time was wasted going over this thing in my mind. Over and over. When I woke up in the middle of the night, that’s what I thought about. Before I went to bed, yup, that’s what I was thinking about. In the morning, it was the first thing on my mind.

It consumed all my joy.

This needed to stop. Satan was having a field day with my thoughts. When I “prayed”, I wasn’t really praying. I was spinning my wheels. Not really getting anywhere. Just rehashing the yet unsolved situation.

1 Kings 18:21 Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.

Is the Lord your God Renee? Then follow Him. Trust Him.

Surrender this “thing” to Him.

This “thing” had become my idol.

He wasn’t just asking for partial surrender.

He wanted the whole thing.

I had to concede. No matter how much time I spent thinking about this, I couldn’t fix it. Make this happen. Speed up the process. Change this.

He can. Our God can do anything.

When I stepped aside, He could work.

All my efforts were only hindering Him.

Do you have an idol in your life?

Idols don’t necessarily have to be something bad. Your ministry can become an idol. Your prodigal child can become an idol. Unemployment. Autism. Your husband.

Bring it to the altar. Leave it there. All of it. Surrender.

It won’t be easy. Those thoughts will try to creep back in.

2 Corinthians 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Take those thoughts captive. Or you will end up the one captive. Enslaved.

John 8:36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

As soon as I surrendered this thing, I was free to do what the Lord really wanted me to do.

Freedom is bliss.

Leave your “thing” in the very capable hands of the Everlasting God, Creator, Sustainer, Graceful, Loving, Savior of the world.



Look to the Cross

 

There she was. Perched up on that cross in all her glory. 

The tour guide exclaimed, “Folks, that never happens. There’s an eagle on the cross.”

She was steadfast. Immovable. Not scared off by our threatening presence. But, stout and confident. 

Some days we don’t feel so confident. We feel overwhelmed. And tired. And discouraged. Even hopeless. 

Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the weak, and to those who have
no might He increases strength. 
 
Those who stand on the cross of Jesus Christ can have that Power. 

 

It is Resurrection Power. 

 

The weak. The weary. The exhausted. Those who are burdened with heavy labor. That’s who He gives power to. Power to continue on. Strength to rise up and overcome. When you have nothing left. Literally.
 

Look to the cross.

There is life-giving Power in the cross.

Isaiah 40:31 But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

 

Trust: hope, expect and await.

Expect God to show up. Look for Him. 

Await Him.

Those who remain strong in the Lord. They that hope in the Lord. Not hope in their ability. Nor their own wisdom. Manipulation. Coercion. Doctors. Or any other man made scheme. But those who hope in the Lord. They shall renew their strength. They will be invigorated.

Remain standing on the cross. 

There is no other hope. Hope is only found in the Resurrection. The Resurrection is true. Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He can resurrect any man that comes to Him. No addict is out of His reach. There is no one too far gone. Not one marriage is beyond His touch. He can change any situation. Any person. 

Are they beyond your reach?

Maybe the Lord wants you to take a break from all of your efforts. 

Rest at the cross. 

Resurrecting is His job.

Your job? Pray. 

Wait on the LORD. Await Him. He is never too late. Always on time. Always.



God can just be absurd sometimes!

 

Gideon was on the verge of battle.

He could see what he was up against; there was no way he could win this thing. So what does God do?

He makes it even harder. Utterly impossible. He stacks the odds so far against him that in order for him to have the victory, it would have to be a supernatural intervention of God.
God takes his team down to 300. The enemy had an army as numerous as the sand on the seashore.

Now God could work.

Why? So Israel would not claim the victory. God wanted to show His might. And power. And awesomeness.

Judges 7:9 It happened on the same night that the LORD said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand.

God promised victory.

Are you up against a pretty big challenge? Do you see no way out? Certain defeat?

Gideon was afraid. You may fear as well. God was already one step ahead of Gideon’s fear. He had given a man in the opposing army a dream. He sends Gideon to overhear the dream. In the dream, the opposing army is invaded by a loaf of bread. Our equivalent might be a hamburger bun from a kids meal rolling into enemy territory and collapsing their camp. The men know God has given Gideon victory. Gideon immediately worshipped the Lord. He rose up with new power.
He must’ve been giddy with excitement. He roused his guys and off they went. Guess what their tools for battle were?
 
A trumpet, an empty pitcher, and a torch.
 
And there you have it. Sound ridiculous? You betcha.
 
When the three hundred ill equipped men blew their trumpets, the Lord caused the opposing army to turn against each other.

 

God got the victory.

 

In your battle, sound the “trumpet.” Trumpets were used to announce war. Call upon the Lord. Let Him fight this for you. Take your “empty pitcher.” Your utter helplessness. And your “torch.” Your light.

 

John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

God will get the victory.

I’m thinking Gideon had fun that day. I hope you have fun as you walk through your battle.

Just remember: a hamburger bun. Yep, a hamburger bun.

God can use anything.



Delays?

 

I had a very vivid dream last night. I was kinda zoning out and lost in thought and I ended up walking into someones house, the wrong house. When I got inside and went downstairs, all the surroundings were unfamiliar. I immediately realized and began to head out. I was greeted by a lovely light skinned black women. Warmth rose in my cheeks as I was embarrassed by the situation. She was clearly a Christian and dispelled those feelings. I apologized profusely for being in her house. As she kindly escorted me out, I was greeted by her husband. He was not upset either. They walked me to the door and I was on my way. I strolled across their lawn. As I got to the curb, a car came to a screeching halt. I looked up quick. The driver had a gun and began to fire at a man who was running across the street. I ducked behind a car. Hidden from danger, my life was spared. I thought to myself, if I had not walked in that house, I would’ve been right in the line of fire. Peace swept over me.

Then, I woke up.

As I pondered the dream, God spoke to my heart. 

Delays are His grace. He was protecting me.

Psalm 9:9 The LORD is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
  


Rest for your soul

 

Salt water filled the morning breeze.

With the sun just peeking over the horizon, the boy and I walked slow.

“Mommy, would you ever sell me?”

What??? Where did that come from?

I retorted quick, “Of course not!” 

He shot right back, “What if someone offered you this whole beach filled with gold?”

“Never!”

Without missing a beat, “What if someone offered you the whole world?”

“There is nothing anyone could ever offer me that would make me want to sell you! You’re my priceless treasure.”

Do you know that is what the Lord thinks of you?

Yes, you.

You are a priceless treasure to Him. So valuable that He would give up heaven. Leave His throne. Come down to this filthy world. Make Himself vulnerable. Come as a little baby. There is nothing you could do to make Him stop loving you. Yes, you. Jesus was offered the whole world by Satan, if He would bow down and worship him. He refused. He had you on His mind. Yes, you. He lived a sinless life, and yet died as a criminal. He did that so you could spend eternity with Him in heaven. All you have to do is say, “Yes.” It’s like a marriage proposal. It’s a choice. It’s an offer I couldn’t refuse. Just like a bride, she leaves her old life behind to follow her husband. I left my old life. I received something way beyond what I could’ve imagined.

How about you? 

2 Corinthians 5:17 If anyone is in Christ [s]he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. Behold all things become new.

Jesus made me new. He changed me. He loves me. He loves you.

Doubts and discouragement come. Exhaustion and bone weary circumstances. That’s when Satan arrives. Rebuke him. Just like Jesus did:

Luke 4:8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written,

‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ 

Grasp hold of this: Jesus loves you with an everlasting love. Constant and sure. 

Steadfast.

He isn’t going anywhere. Every outward circumstance may change. He doesn’t change. 

Rest in that.

 
 


I will trust You Lord!

 

I had this dream last night. 

We were on a small sightseeing boat. 

It was cloudy. No rain. Overall, very uneventful. 

Out of nowhere, this gigantic ship cut us off. It came from behind. On a diagonal. We never saw it coming. 

The wake of the ship was massive. It was unavoidable; we would have to go through it.

Panic set in. 

Just then, the captain of our boat floored it; full speed ahead. He turned directly into the wave. 

I closed my eyes. 

My heart spoke soft, “I trust You, Lord.”

An unexplainable peace flooded my being. I opened my eyes. We took a direct hit from that wave. Crashed right into it. You know what? Not even one drop of water entered our boat. 

We kept right on going…

In the unexpected waves of life, we have a Captain. Jesus. He will see us through. Jesus is our protection. Without Him, we have no safety. 

We are not in control of the boat. He is. The hand that took us into the wave, will be the hand that takes us out.

In His time. Sometimes it’s a long ride.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

 

Trust with all your heart. No doubting. When we doubt, we become like the waves. Tossed and turning. Up and down. 

We have a wise Captain. 

Matthew 8:26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the waves, and there was a great calm…even the wind and waves obey Him.



My God Is Awesome!

 

“I’ve never seen this before.”

This. Coming from a Professor at Johns Hopkins, was confirmation.

My God is awesome. 

Here’s what happened: Over a year ago I was diagnosed with a thyroid nodule. This nodule caused me many uncomfortable symptoms. The doctor did a myriad of testing. She offered me three choices. Surgery to completely remove the thyroid. Definitely didn’t want that. Swallow a radioactive pill and burn the nodule and hopefully save the thyroid. Definitely didn’t want that. Take a medication the rest of my life that could cause liver damage. Definitely didn’t want that. 

Ray and I talked it over and both of us felt strongly I should wait. Let’s do nothing for now. 

Let’s ask our friends to pray.

The doctor scheduled me to come back in three months. Upon that visit she implied some of my testing may have been wrong. There were things that didn’t make sense to her. She couldn’t explain what happened. Later in the year, I had a biopsy. Although all the testing indicated cancer, the biopsy was negative. No cancer. All of my hyperthyroid symptoms subsided. I didn’t return to that doctor. 

Last month I went to Johns Hopkins. After looking over all my test results and some of his own, he exclaimed, “I’ve never seen this before. I should write a paper on you. Here is what is happening. You have two separate thyroid diseases. On the right, is the nodule. It causes the thyroid to be overactive. On the left side, you have Hashimoto’s disease. This causes the thyroid to be underactive. I can understand why your doctor was confused. All your blood work is normal. I can’t explain this.”

I can explain it! My friends were praying for me. God did His thing.

He sat speechless. 

He did lots more testing. Just got those results: Every last test was normal!

It was a great birthday gift.

Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”


PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR!!!

PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR…

Pray for your Pastor.

He needs it. Desperately.

Sometimes we don’t think about praying for our Pastor. After all, he’s the spiritual one, right? He’s strong in the Lord. Lives for the Lord. He’s a good leader. He fights for us, right?

Yes. He is all of that and that is precisely why we need to pray for him.

He is God’s chosen vessel to stand in the gap for the people. But we need to stand in the gap for him.

EVERY Pastor is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

There is a price to be paid to live out his call:

He is constantly under attack.

Why?

Souls are at stake. God’s word saves. He is delivering God’s word. He is teaching God’s word. Every week. He is feeding the flock of God. Strengthening them so that they can go strengthen others. Marriages are on the line. People are depressed and want to kill themselves. Your Pastor speaks words of life. Pray for him.

King David was tasked with leading the people spiritually. He had deep pain over his rebellious son. Some of his closest friends turned on him. He was continually being attacked. Many would’ve never known any of this.

2 Samuel 16:13 As David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, threw stones at him and kicked up dust.

This guy comes out of nowhere. Cursing, throwing stones, criticizing and kicking dust.

This happens to your Pastor more than you know.

Pastor’s are not immune to criticism. It may even hurt them worse than the average man. Simply because they understand the brevity of their call.

Pray for your Pastor.

Hebrews 13:17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.

I happen to be married to my Pastor. Trust me, there have been times when I was his biggest critic. He needs my prayers, not my critique. He gives his life for his people. Your Pastor does the same. It can be a long, lonely, difficult road. Pray for him. Pray for him. Pray for him. Pray. For. Him.

 


The best is yet to come!

 

I didn’t have much hope for her. She was literally just a stick when I planted her. No leaves. Not a branch to be had. Of course, no blossoms.

She really looked dead.

For all intents and purposes she was.

Still, I dug the hole. I put her in it and hoped for the best.

Hope does not disappoint.

She grew slow. At her own pace. In time, she blossomed big. Way more than I expected or dreamed.

So many times our lives can look just like this.

All seems lost. Even hopeless. There is nothing there. And if there is, it isn’t anything good. In fact, it may appear to be dying.

God brings beauty out of such pain. Life from dead things. It is a law of God, a seed must die in order to live. It has to be buried before it can come to life.

If you’re going through a particularly difficult time right now, wait on the Lord.

He is doing something you can’t see.

Just like my rose bush, hidden beneath the soil, God was working. He is making something out of all this adversity.

I get to enjoy the blessing of this flower. Her death and resurrection.

So it will be for you. You will be a comfort to those who have gone through what you’re experiencing.

2 Corinthians 1:4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

It may not seem so now.

Ezekiel 36:9 See, I care about you, and I will pay attention to you. Your ground will be plowed and your crops planted.

Our heart must be plowed and sown in order to produce fruit for the Kingdom. Just like the soil, it must be broken and cut into in order to produce a garden. While it is painful, it will be worth it.

God can rebuild ruins. He is able to create something out of nothing. Give beauty for ashes.

Ezekiel 36:11 …I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.

The best is yet to come. Be patient.

Ephesians 3:20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.



Through the Mountain

 

God doesn’t always move the mountain.

He just may take you through it.

Just ask Dashrath Manjki. When his wife hurt herself trekking up a rocky footpath, he had to travel around a mountain 43 miles just to get to the nearest hospital.

He decided he needed to do something about this. Not just for his family, but the whole village. They needed access to doctors, schools, and opportunity.

He carved a path through a 300 foot mountain by himself, using only hand tools.

He was just a poor laborer from Gehlour Hills in Bihar, India.

He sold the family’s three goats to buy the hammer and chisel and worked every day on the project to make it successful. After plowing fields for others in the morning, he would work on his road all evening and throughout the night.

It took him 22 years.

People called him crazy. Said he’d never be able to do it.

He did it.

Are you facing a mountain?

Matthew 21:21 Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.”

Sometimes it’s one rock at a time.

James 5:16 …The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Prayer is the work.

It is hard work.

When we face adversity and odds and staggering obstacles, common sense says quit.

Faith says persevere. Stay put. Keep going. Don’t quit.

Even if you don’t see any results, keep praying. Elijah didn’t quit. He went back seven times. Finally, the rain came.

Don’t have the right tools? I’m just a housewife. Just a grandma. Just a mom. Just a nobody.

God uses nobodies.

1 Corinthians 1:27-28 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.

God can use you to make a way where there seems to be no way.

Genesis 18:14 Is anything too hard for the LORD?



Did you bring your umbrella?

 

I showed up without my umbrella.

Even the bride had one.

Me? No umbrella. 

The forecast said rain. It was cloudy. 

I should’ve expected the rain. 

But, I didn’t. I wasn’t prepared. 

The rain did come. 

I would need that umbrella.

Faith can be much like an umbrella. We can show up without it. We can look at our  circumstances and become discouraged. Then we start to waver. We forget that promise God gave us. When God gives us a promise, it will happen. Sometimes that promise takes a long time to come to pass. We can start to lose heart. Don’t give up. Make sure you show up with your umbrella. Every. Time. 

Forecasts will fail. People are unpredictable. Situations change.

God never changes.

Jeremiah 32:42 This is what the LORD says: Just as I have brought all these calamities on them, so I will do all the good I have promised them.
 

God will do what He says.

In return, you do what He says. 

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love suffers and is kind.

This word “suffers” is the Greek word: Makrothymeo: it means to persevere and be patient and brave in enduring trials and trouble. It is that quality that does not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. It is the opposite of anger, and associated with showing mercy.

Whatever you’re going through, trust the word above your trial. Persevere. 

God has given us faith. We need it. It is a gift. 

Ephesians 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

Sometimes those darts are more like missiles. One after another. Lies. Lies. Lies. 

God will do what He says. 

Jeremiah 32:17 Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.
 

There is no heart too hard. No obstacle is too big for Him to move. No marriage too far gone.

Jesus never fails. Not one of His words has ever failed. You can trust Him.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to

His purpose.

Take out your shield of faith. Don’t leave home without it. 

God will do what He says.

 
 


Nothing is impossible!

 
The boy and I were chatting. Sharing some verses.

This one:

Luke 1:37 “Nothing is impossible with God.”

He says it with his eyes first, the doubt. Then this:

“Yeah, except, unless I tried to stand on a ball with two toes on one foot.”

I say plain: “Well, if God calls you to stand on a ball with two toes on one foot, could you do it?”

He agrees. Yes.

He searches his mind some more, and challenges, “How about walk on water? I couldn’t do that.”

I remind him of Peter.

He laughs, filling the room with grace like rain.

Really it’s the Lord reminding me.

“Nothing is impossible with God.”

There are no exceptions. None.

Not cancer. No not a broken marriage. Nor a wayward boy.

Mary’s heart had questions.

Luke 1:34″…How can this be…?”

Maybe you’re questioning. You just can’t see any solution to your situation.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Don’t be afraid.

The Lord is birthing something new in your life.

Birth is painful.

The Holy Spirit will endue you with Power.

Power to do whatever He asks you to do.

Even if that means standing with two toes on a ball on one foot.

Luke 1:45 “You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”


No Longer Slaves

 

Exodus 5:22-23 Then Moses went back to the LORD and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!”

I hear him so loud. His heart pouring forth.

“God, You have not done what You said You would do. This thing ain’t going down the way I thought. Nothing’s changed. In fact, it’s gotten exponentially worse. Why have You allowed this to happen?”

And I understand. Because sometimes we get discouraged when nothing goes as planned. 

Things look really grim.

Fear creeps in. 

Everything comes to a halt. We stop moving. And we stop believing the Lord and His word. We start questioning His promise. We’re ready to bail. One foot out the door. Handcuffed to fear. 

Romans 8:15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”

Abba means Daddy or Papa. 

Your Daddy is with You. There is never a moment that you are alone. Every battle you face, He is in it with you. You can depend on Your Heavenly Daddy. If He gave you a promise, He will come through. He will deliver. Jesus never fails. His spoken word can be trusted. Even when you can’t see any way, believe, He is on the way. He just may be taking care of a few more pieces. Your view is limited. He is there. He’s in the mix. 

Sometimes fear persists. 

God is greater than our fears.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.

Your Daddy loves you. If He called you to do something, do it. Don’t look anything else, but His word. 

Don’t look at man.

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.

Don’t make decisions based on the way you “feel.”

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

What if I fail?

Proverbs 24:16 The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.

God’s goal isn’t always success. At least not as we would define success. The cross looked like the biggest failure in history. 

But. The. Resurrection. Happened. 

God can resurrect your marriage. 

He can turn the heart of your rebellious child.

Your Daddy can break the cycle of addiction.

Papa can give you courage to take that step of faith. 

Keep looking for Him. Waiting. Expecting.

Don’t be a slave to fear again.

The Resurrection is true.

It is true.

It is true. 

It is true.



The Sting of Sin

 

Bee’s sting.

That’s just what bee’s do.

They sting.

It’s a fact. Proven. Time and again.

If we steer clear of them, we won’t get stung. 

A wise person does just that. He sees a bee, he calls it a bee and he will avoid the bee.

If he doesn’t, and he thinks he can touch the bee, he will get stung. 

Getting stung hurts. There is pain involved. Sometimes even death.

It works the same way with sin.

1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin.

This word “sting” [The Greek is kentron] is the same word used by Jesus when he spoke to Saul:

Acts 9:5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads [kentron].”

Saul was going his own way. He was doing his own thing. 

Maybe that is you today. You are on a difficult road. It will not end well. Sin hurts. It is painful. 

You will get stung.

I know. I have gone my own way many times. It never ended well.

Sometimes I even thought, I will just do it this one time. Or this is no big deal. It’s not as bad as what “they’re” doing. 

Proverbs 6:27 Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?

You will get burned.

It is best to avoid it altogether. If you happen to be in the midst of it, run in the other direction. 

1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 

God is faithful. Walk away from it. He has so much better for you. 

 


Forgiven

 
Psalm 32:1 Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! 
 

This girl seems to be singing with all her heart!

Really belting it out.

Her joy is contagious. 

It wasn’t always like that. Not very long ago she was buried in darkness. 

Just a dead seed.

The weight of the world upon her.

David felt that weight. 

Psalm 32:3-4 When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.

Carrying around guilt and shame wears a girl out. 

Psalm 32:5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the L

ORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

David is expressing his great joy that his sin is forgiven. 

David acknowledges it. He confesses it. He is forgiven. 

That’s the heart of salvation. Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sin. All our sin. Past. Present. Future. If we confess it and ask for forgiveness, He will forgive us. There is nothing He will not forgive us for. His blood is enough for all our sin. We do not need to feel guilt or shame any longer. 

We can live in freedom. 

Psalm 32:7 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory.

The enemy wants us to doubt. The Lord will shelter us from his lying assaults. 

He loves you so very much. He knows what is weighing heavy upon your soul. If there is any unconfessed sin in your life, be transparent with Him. Ask for forgiveness. He died to pay the penalty for that sin. He loves you that much. He gave His life for you, personally. He didn’t stay dead. He rose from the dead. That is the power of the good news. If you believe in Him, you will live forever in heaven with Him. Ask Him to come into your heart and make you a new creation. 

Psalm 32:10-11 Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the LORD. So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

 

David is certain of his salvation. He is rejoicing. You can have that certainty too. Heaven is real.

Revelation 21:4,5 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”

That is cause for celebration! 

You are precious. God loves you. Personally. If you want a new start, stop carrying that weight. 

Ask for forgiveness. Turn from your sin. That is how God will know you’re serious. Ask Him to come into your heart and help you live for Him. 

Now you can join this girl in her song!



Surrounded? Overwhelmed?

 
Surrounded. Overwhelmed. Underdog. No way out. Never gonna happen. Out numbered. I’m sure this is how David felt. Maybe you feel that way today. 
 
Psalm 27:3,5 Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident…For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.
 

He will hide me. Conceal me and keep me out of reach of the enemy. Keep me inaccessible. Especially to guard and defend. 

It doesn’t necessarily mean my circumstances change.

My thought life changes. 

Is this an hour of distress? Seek His Presence. If earnestly sought, it will not be denied. ~Charles Spurgeon

Me and my God, together, we got this. 

No one and nothing has ever defeated Him. Not even death. He overcame death. The resurrection is true. He rose from the dead. He is not still dead and inactive. He is working in the midst of me and this situation. 

Psalm 27:9 …You have always been my helper.

Jesus Christ is our faithful friend. To. The. End. He has never wavered. He continues to be with us. Remaining loyal and constant. Even when everyone else abandons, quits and moves on. He’ll never desert us.

Psalm 27:6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD
.

This word ‘joy’ in Hebrew can mean ‘blast of war’ or ‘battle cry’. In our singing and exulting, we can sound the alarm for war. We are at war. The enemy has taken some prisoners. Husbands, children, and loved ones. We can rise up in the face of a great enemy. Declare to the enemy we will not back down. We will fight. And we will get the victory.

Acts 12:5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. 

It was that constant prayer that won Peter his freedom. Let’s sound the alarm. We won’t back down. Let’s call upon the Lord. He will go to battle for us. He is much stronger, mightier and more powerful than anything we could ever do and say. 

Psalm 27:13-14 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the L

ORD n the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!



By Our Side…

istock_000070527995_small
 

2 Kings 6:16 Don’t be afraid . . . Those who are with us are more than those who are with [the enemy]. 

There’s this cuteness. 

He’s a border collie who lives on a farm in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. One morning, he and his owner, Tom, set out to check on some animals. They rode together in a small farm utility truck. When they arrived, Tom left the vehicle but forgot to put the brake on. With the pup in the driver’s seat, the vehicle rolled down a hill and across two lanes of traffic before it stopped safely. To watching motorists, it appeared the pup was out for a morning drive. Indeed, things are not always as they seem.

It seemed as if Elisha and his servant were about to be captured and carried off to the King of Aram. The king’s forces had surrounded the city where Elisha and his servant were staying. The servant believed they were doomed, but Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid . . . . Those who are with us are more than those who are with [the enemy]” (2 Kings 6:16). When Elisha prayed, the servant was able to see the multitudes of supernatural forces that were in place to protect them.

Situations that seem hopeless are not always the way we perceive them to be. When we feel overwhelmed and outnumbered, we can remember that God is by our side. He is in this place. In this time. In this season. He isn’t going anywhere.

He is with us, even when we can’t see Him.



Looking up…

img_6506

The boy drew it. It was a simple butterfly. But it comes at the time when I need this grace reminder. This prodding to look heavenward. To remember. This life. This pain. It isn’t forever. It is temporary. Life is a vapor. And it can change so quick. When it does, what’s a girl to do. Life can become hard overnight. Major decisions to be made. Loved ones fading quick. Struggling. Sickness is stealing time. Like a bandit. You don’t see it coming. You wonder what you could’ve 
done different. What can you do now? 

 

Look up. Heaven is near. 

 

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
 

Here and now can be painful. So much heartbreak. 

A butterfly is made beautiful only through pain.

The struggle is necessary. Darkness a must. 

It’s in the tight confounds of her cocoon her transformation takes place. 

No one can see what’s going on underneath. Not even her. She becomes unrecognizable. 

Psalm 37:7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…do not fret…

Fretting is like kindling a fire. It will consume you. Every aspect of your thoughts and heart will be destroyed. Your life is in the Lord’s hands. 

He makes everything beautiful in His time.

If the pressure is mounting, be still. Know He is God. Allow Him to do what He desires. 

What emerges from that season of pain, will stun you. 

A new creation. Something unimaginable. A whole different you.

Wings. Fluttering wings to soar to new heights. 

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

These sorrows are temporary. 

Fix your eyes on the eternal.

Look beyond the here and now. 

As for the butterfly, a life giving fluid must be distributed to her wings. This can only happen by her vigorous flapping under pressure in a tight dark place. 

At just the right, she emerges. Stunning. Strong. And soaring to new heights. 

Heavenward.

 
 


God sees…

img_6481
 
She was lonely. Completely out there on her own. In a situation not of her choosing.

Genesis 16:7 The angel of the LORD found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur.

Christmas can be such a lonely time. While we can be surrounded by a crowd of people, we still feel alone. There can be a longing in our hearts that no one can see. A loss of a loved one can weigh especially heavy during this season. Distance. Broken relationships. All of these things can leave us feeling down.

God sees.

Here.

In this place that you find yourself in today.

Even if it’s the worst of situations.

God hears your affliction.

He will give you strength to endure.

Exodus 3:12 God answered, “I will be with you…”

He will become to you all that you need.

1 Corinthians 15:58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

This season in your life will turn out to be a blessing. God wastes nothing.

Be still and know He is God. He is taking you beyond what you think you can do.

He sees. You. Personally. The desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

He knows when the journey is too much for us.

Trust it all to Him.

He loves you. You are His child. If need be, He will carry you through. That’s what a good Daddy does. You have a good good Father in Heaven who cherishes you.

That makes for a happy Christmas.



Come see what God has done!

Are you feeling depressed this Christmas season? Lonely? Angry? Let me share some encouragement with you…click the link:


His Presence…

img_6289
 

This guy doesn’t have a care in the world. 

How about you? 

Exodus 33:1 The LORD said to Moses, “Get going…”

Some days you may feel like me. My “get up and go, has already gotten up and gone.”
I don’t have anything left to face the day. I am overwhelmed, and the day hasn’t even begun. Certain more challenges lie ahead, I feel like pulling the covers back over my head.
 
Exodus 33:12-13 Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people, but You have not let me know whom You will send with me’… And [Lord, do] consider that this nation is Your people.”
 
Moses must’ve been overwhelmed too. 
He seemed to be asking, “Who is going to help me with all of this? I know You called me to do this, but I simply don’t have what it takes. How am I gonna get through this? Lord, show me what to do. These are your people.” 
I can relate. 
There are so many days I feel like I am in way over my head.
It appears Moses is reminding the Lord, but I think he is actually reminding himself. 
We should remind ourselves:
These are your people. This is Your marriage. This is Your child. It’s Your church. Ministry. Illness.
This is Your gig Lord.
 
Exodus 33:14 And the Lord said, “My Presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”
 
God told Moses He was going with him. That’s what He is telling us.
I am going through this with you. We’ll face this together. You and me.
And I will give you rest. 
Isn’t that what we really want? 
Rest. Peace. And to know all is well.
All doesn’t have to be well on the outside, but on the inside. That’s where it counts.
We want peace. 
Every outward circumstance may be crumbling, but Jesus is still with us. Should He call us to face an enormous challenge, we need to know one thing:
He is with us. 
He called us to do this. 
We have two choices. 
Be overwhelmed by it all or be overwhelmed by Jesus. I choose the latter.
 
Ephesians 3: 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
 
Lord overwhelm me with Your Presence. I can’t do this without You. Help me to keep going. Keep moving me forward despite all of my outward circumstances. Give me rest. Help me to sleep soundly tonight. My life is in Your hands. Jesus, you are good when nothing else is good. We will do this together.

 

~She Rises~December 9


In the fire

 
 

fullsizeoutput_3f1e

This little bear cub was rescued. A blazing fire raged around him. Smoke billowing from the forest, a brave man dared to go in and save him. Afterward, this cub would not let him go. He wrapped his tiny paws around his leg; clinging to him for dear life. He was following him everywhere he went. Others were standing around, he didn’t bother with them. He only wanted the one who rescued him.

Are you in the fire today?

There is only One who came to seek and save the lost. Jesus. Only One who can help in our weakness. Jesus. Only One can fill our emptiness. Jesus. Only One is the Savior. Jesus. Only One can restore what is lost. Jesus. Only One can comfort in the night. Jesus. Only One can part the sea. Jesus. Only One came to rescue us. Die for our sins. Rise again. Only Jesus. 

Take hold of Him and don’t let go. He will never disappoint you. Never abandon you. 

He loves you. Yes, you. 

Now that makes for a happy Saturday!



Eviction Notice….

fullsizeoutput_2c6e

The eviction process is long.

I know firsthand. Friends of ours have a squatter living in their home. He has taken up residence. He won’t leave. Outright refuses. He isn’t paying the rent. This man has no right to be there. Yet, day after day he occupies their home. 

He mocks. 

Even taunts.

At times, he even seems to be their friend. 

He is not. 

He needs to go. Today. Not tomorrow. 

Sometimes our thoughts can be just like this squatter.

Don’t welcome them in. 

Our thoughts are not always our friend. 

Thoughts of insecurity, failure, self loathing; none of these are from the Lord. They have no place in our heart. They tear down. Rob. Kill. Destroy. 

Who does that sound like? 

The enemy sows tares among the wheat. 

Discernment is very important. Line up the thought with the word of God. If it doesn’t line up, throw it out. 

Evict. Out you go.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. 

When we put our faith in outward circumstances, we give up possession of our joy. People will disappoint us. They will let us down. 

Possession starts with a thought. Just one. 

If we don’t immediately kick it out, it gains traction. It’s in the front door. Before you know it, this thought takes over the whole house. 

Possession is seized. 

Have some disquieting thoughts entered your mind?

Dismiss them immediately. 

Philippians 4:8 …Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

What is true?  

You are loved by an amazing God. A God who loves you with an everlasting love. Love that never ever quits. Love that isn’t conditional. You are safe. You can feel safe and secure in the Lord. He’s holding this all together. He upholds all things by the Power of His word. He has always taken care of you. He will never stop. No matter what happens. You are secure in Him. Your security doesn’t lie in another person. What they think or feel about you is irrelevant and trivial. When you aren’t sure about anything else, you can be sure of this:

God is faithful. 

He will never fail you. 

And that makes for a Happy Saturday!

 


Waddling along…

dae35499958b259031aa907f3157206d
 

These little legs can barely keep up.
It’s slow going. All that effort can tire a duckling out. 

Try as she may, she is growing weary. 

Isaiah 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

Are you feeling worn down? 

Hear the heart of Jesus whisper soft:
I understand. I know your heart. Feel your pain. I can see you are tired. And worn out. Utterly exhausted. You’re in a hard place. Many people would’ve run away. You stay. And you continue to stay. Keep pressing on. I will bless you for it. You will be rewarded. 

Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

Jesus grants us power to rise above our circumstances. Strength to do what’s next. That may be a step into the darkness. Capacity to love the unloveable. Ability to be still and calmly listen. Or get up and get going. 

Isaiah 40:30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall…

Sometimes it may feel like this long stretch is not going to end. God comes to meet us on the road. Right where we’re at. He comes gentle. 

Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Strength is renewed in waiting. 

Trials grow us up. They change us. Change is a very good thing. 

What changes? Is it our circumstances? Most likely, not. 

God changes our hearts. He gives us a new view of Himself. He increases our faith. He gives us staying power. Power to stay the course. To run, even when we don’t know exactly where that leads. Wait on the Lord. He will never disappoint you. Man will let you down. Jesus never will. Keep going. Don’t quit. 

Jesus never fails.



Come to Me…

img_5493
 

The boy has such a sweet heart. 

He extends his hand.

“I don’t want any of the squirrels going away empty-handed.”

He runs down the trail. Leaves crunching under his feet. Cool breeze blowing. Winter is coming. It always does. That squirrel will need to tuck some food away. But right now? He’s too busy. Can’t be bothered. Or maybe he is bothered by the boy chasing him down. Is he fearful? He could be. Undaunted, the boy follows him into the thick part of the woods. 

He got away. 

Now the boy is all sad. He expresses his disappointment. I commiserate with him. 

I think God understands how he feels. 

He doesn’t want us going away empty-handed. We do though. When things are going well, we don’t need Him so much. Skies are blue and all is well. And sometimes things aren’t so well. We need Him, but we don’t rely on Him. We go off on our own trying to figure things out. Relying on our own intuition instead of seeking our Maker. All the while He pursues after us. 

Matthew 11:28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

All we need is found in Him. One word from Him can carry us many days and through deep water. He is extending His hand to you. 

His word is food for the soul. 

Isaiah 55:11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Every single thing the world has to offer will leave us empty. God’s word fills the void that we can physically feel sometimes. That word or promise He so desperately wants to give you may be for a season to come. A word you will cling to through a cold winter. Or a word to get you through the next hour. 

Pause for a few moments. Come to Him and take that word He wants to give you. You will not be disappointed. 

 


Simple Cross…Simple Message

img_2088
John 20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
 
It was empty. The tomb. He was supposed to be there. 
She was distraught. 
Ever been there?
You just need Jesus and He is nowhere to be found. 
Where are You Lord?
As I taught this lesson to a brood of dirty faced little lambs, one of them caught my attention. He listened intently.
Jesus wasn’t there because He was alive.
The boy looks down at the simple black cross printed on the coloring page. 
His eyes light up. 
He gets it.
And he can barely contain himself. Exuberantly exclaims, “That’s why the cross is empty. Jesus isn’t dead. He is alive.”
With that, my heart overflows.
Simple cross. Simple message.
Too many times I have adult faith. Faith that waivers. Faith that’s filled with doubts. And questions. My worldly wisdom gets in the way. Cynicism takes over. I’ve seen it not turn out. Things fall apart. Trust gets broken. Faith that thinks it has to fix everything. I want my time frame. In my way. When it doesn’t fall into place, faith falls apart.
All the while Jesus wants us to have the faith of this child.
To see an empty cross and trust. 
The child who sits at His feet. And waits. Knowing his Dad is with him. And that’s enough. He loves His children. With love inexpressible. With love that comforts. And when we experience loss that hurts every ounce of our being, we can be sure God understands. He gave His Son so we could live eternally. 
He knows loss. His loss brought life.
But that life is for today. It is our hope today. Hope that our situation is held in the hands of a strong God who overcame death. And there is nothing we cannot overcome in our lives. No dark night can overtake us. The tomb is empty. Jesus is not dead. He is alive. Alive and active. Laboring on our behalf. Working behind the scenes. Just like He did that day when He rose from the dead. He was working in the darkness.
John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
 
Never.
The darkness of that tomb could not keep Him. No evil can overtake Him. He still rules. And overrules. He is still sovereign.
He still resurrects. 
Dead faith. Dead hope. Dead situations. Dead marriages. Dead prodigals.
Jesus Christ is alive. Go live like it!
 
She Rises~October 19
 


Bright Red Umbrella

a008d8a9237a27689dbd0aa21b080c9f
 

The girl got it right. 

She showed up with her bright red umbrella.

Here’s how the the story goes:

A drought continued for what seemed an eternity, a small community of farmers was in a quandary as to what to do.  Rain was vital to keep their crops healthy and sustain the way of life of the townspeople.   As the problem became more acute, a local pastor called a prayer meeting to ask for rain.  Many concerned people arrived at the church and the pastor greeted most of them as they filed in.   As he walked to the front of the church to officially begin the meeting he noticed the people were chatting across the aisles about their mutual situation and socializing with friends.  When he reached the front his thoughts were on quieting the attendees and getting the meeting started.  His eyes scanned the crowd as he asked for quiet and it was then that he noticed a young girl about 11 years old sitting quietly in the front row, her face beaming with excitement.   Next to her, poised and ready for use, was a bright red umbrella.  The little girl’s beauty and innocence made the pastor smile as he realized how much faith she possessed.   No one else in the congregation had brought an umbrella.   All came to pray for rain, but the little girl had come expecting God to answer.”

How about you? Did you bring your umbrella?

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.

Sometimes we can pray for so many years, we give up looking for the answer. 

We can become discouraged. Downtrodden. Doubt that God even hears us.

God hears us. 

James 5:8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Don’t give up. Persevere bravely through your adversity. Keep on asking. 

Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.
 

God will answer. He is faithful. His promises are true.

Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles,they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
 

God often comes when we least expect it. Look for Him.

Keep that bright red umbrella with you!

 


In the fire

img_5247
 

There he was out there on those rocks. 

I don’t know why he went that way. 

Why didn’t he go my way? 

My way was easy. Flat ground. No exertion. Straight. No curves. No climb. No worries.

The boy took the hard way. Climbing rocks. Slippery ones at that. There was danger. Anything could’ve happened. The threat of falling was real. It was strenuous. And tedious. Each step forward took great care. 

God sometimes takes us the hard way. A way we would not choose. 

Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.

 

When we can’t see what God is doing, it can be very scary. 

God doesn’t always save us from the fire. He doesn’t always deliver us from the storms. 

What He does promise is to always be with us in the fire. 

I’m reminded of the three boys thrown in the fiery furnace. 

They refused to bow down to the demands of the King. Even if that meant death. They believed that God was able to save them. They refused to bow down to the ways of the world. 

God was able to rescue them. But even if He chose not to, they would not bow down to fear.

They did get thrown in the fire. The worst thing did happen. Their worst fears were realized.

In the midst of all of it, God was there.

There were many people looking on. You know what they saw? 

God was with them in the fire.

As I looked on at the boy, he was smiling. And content. 

He seemed oblivious to the rocky road before him. There was no panic. Just a calm trust.

We can have that confidence. 

God is with us. 

Isaiah 42:6 “I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house.

God is using your trial to help others see His faithfulness. Keep hold of His hand.



Do I Look Pretty?

“Do I look pretty?” I was only about six years old at the time. In my new red dress, their response wrecked me…click the link to hear an encouraging message on where our self worth comes from…


One Thing Is Needed…

concert-music-hd-wallpaper-music-581655632
 

I can’t blame her much. Martha that is. 

 She was feeling overwhelmed. 

A girl can get overwhelmed sometimes. 

All the needs before her. That is all she could see.

Yeah, I’m there all the time.

How am I going to get all this done? Will we ever get there? What will happen when…?

Where? Who? Why? All the expectations. And all the doubts. What if’s….

Jesus spoke gentle words.

Luke 10:41… “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details. 

This word “upset” gives us a great picture in the Latin root. It means a crowd or a riotous multitude. All of these things that we see before us, the needs, the lack, the unanswered questions, the exhaustion of service, the distance, the doubts; all of these things can crowd out what is most important. 

Luke 10:42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Only one thing was needed. 

Mary discovered it. We know she was sitting at Jesus feet. 

I forget. This is Your ministry. These are Your people. This child belongs to You. We don’t have to have all the answers.

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Sit at Jesus feet.

As you go about your day, talk to Him. Walk with Him. Ask Him for wisdom.

James 1:5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.

Don’t speak unless you know He wants you to speak.

James 1:19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Jesus is in the details. Every last one. He will provide for all of your needs.

Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

 


In The Details…

14462756_10154057678109624_6218860093876817169_n
 
I watched close.
The boy tread light. He walked as far as he could on the rocky shore. He wanted to explore some new territory. Go out further and deeper. 
Wanting to try this new adventure, he took the first step.
He could’ve stayed on the shore. He didn’t.
He waded into unknown waters.
It was murky, one couldn’t see the bottom.
Going slow was key.
Feet may slip. Unsteady terrain; large rocks covered with moss make a slippery slope.
He stayed the course. He didn’t let his fears get the best of him. Nor the fact that he didn’t have his bathing suit. Just some ordinary shorts.
This was a big deal to him. Maybe not so much to anyone else, but for him this was exciting. 
He was filled with confidence. His smile spoke what was in his heart. 

“I can do this.”

Where did his confidence from? 

Dad was right there. Never took his eyes off of him. Not even for a second.
As he waded deeper, Dad went right behind. Hand stretched out. Just in case he needed some support. Dad ensured his safety. There was no need to fear.

Dad was right there.

Are you in murky waters?

Joshua was. He knew what it was like to be facing the unknown.

The Lord spoke clear.

Joshua 1:5 No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.

Joshua would face war. And giants. And fear. And discouragement.

Through it all, the Lord was with him. He is with you too.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

He will never leave you. You may not be able to see how this is all going to work out.

God sees it all.

Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

God sees the beginning. He sees the end. He sees everything in between.

Every detail. He is in the middle of this. He will provide.

He always has and he always will. In His own way. In His own time.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.



Nothing is impossible with God!

 
img_4962

Guess who was accepted into the Therapy Dog Program?!?

This guy was!!!

Y’all it was truly a miracle…

Here’s His story:

Ever since the first day we got him, we knew He was a gift from the Lord. He was the pup that we “shouldn’t have chosen.” According to the experts that is. They say not to choose the quiet one. The one who sits in the corner by himself. But I was drawn to him. I picked him up and never put him back down. He became part of our family. He is no longer that shy guy. Anything but! He is exuberant and joyful and he will just barrel you over to give you kisses. Literally. And that is why it would take a miracle for him to get accepted. He needed to pass many tests. One of them was to walk on a leash without pulling me. This was the one that would cause the most problem. I left it all in the Lord’s hands. Your will be done. If he is to pass this test, You will have to part the Red Sea to make it happen.

Luke 1:37 Nothing is impossible with God…

They took us into a room where they had tables set up in a square. We were instructed to walk around the tables. She would tell us when to turn. When to stop. When to start. We began to walk. He never left my side. He never pulled ahead. Not. Even. Once. I looked down. There were little cookie crumbs all along his path. He slowed to eat every single one. Just slow enough to stay by my side. He passed with flying colors! And of course, he passed all of the other tests as well. I was in awe. 

Matthew 6:8 …For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
 

God knew my puppies challenges. 

God knows your challenges. He knows every detail of your situation. 

He will provide. Down to the last cookie crumb. 

What seemed so insurmountable yesterday, became as nothing. 

Just when I thought there was no way. God provided in an unexpected way.

Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

 


Jesus is enough…

 
 
IMG_9275

Mark 8:1 About this time another large crowd had gathered, and the people ran out of food again. 

The disciples saw the need before them and they were overwhelmed.

The demands. Surely there was crying. And complaining. Finger pointing. And fighting. 

They were tired. Here they were again. Again, in the same exhausting circumstance. 

I mean I have one at home. I can feel like that. Maybe you have six. Or two with very strong wills. Or one with special needs. You can barely meet their physical needs, much less do anything else. Or maybe you have none. That need deep inside can be just as difficult. Or you may face a multitude of other issues. In any case, there is a great need. 

Mark 8:4 His disciples replied, “How are we supposed to find enough food to feed them out here in the wilderness?”

They were looking at their circumstances, and wondering how in the world they were going to feed all these people. 

Their eyes were on the wrong thing.

When our eyes are on our circumstances, we become worn out.

When the disciples saw the multitude, they concluded it was their job to feed them. They were wrong.

It was Jesus job. These were His people. 

He would provide for them. 

He will provide for you. 

Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Whatever your need, Jesus will fill it. Keep your eyes on Him.

Mark 8:5  Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”

That day they had seven loaves. They offered it willingly from the heart. 

Jesus multiplied it. He ended up feeding 4,000 men that day. 

In Jesus hands, it became enough. 

What do you have? 

You may have nothing. Offer your heart. Your willingness to please Him. 

Place it in His hands. Don’t focus on what is lacking.

Give thanks. You will have enough. More than enough.

Jesus has a way of making sure of it. 

 
 
 


Lord I Need You

IMG_0643

 
Matthew 8:24…But Jesus was sleeping.

 

Oh so calm. Unruffled. Resting well.

The disciples? They were freaking out. A fierce storm had come upon them. Waves were covering the boat. Wind was whipping. They just knew death was imminent. Surely they would drown. 

Ever feel like that?

You’re praying and things are going from bad to worse. It is serious. If things don’t change, something real bad is gonna go down. You’re desperate. And anxiety and worry start to overtake all your thoughts. Things intensify. You just need help.

Where is Jesus?

He was right there in the boat with the disciples. Here was the problem: they took their eyes off Jesus. They put their eyes on the waves. That overwhelmed them. They could feel the wind. It scared them. Our feelings can deceive us. We tend to assume the worse. 

Matthew 8:26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.

Jesus is in the boat. Still. He hasn’t left you. 

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or
understanding.

We can’t rely on what our outward circumstances look like. 

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. 

We can trust in Jesus to work in our situation. At just the right time. He is always on time. 

He is never too early. And surely, He is never too late. 

Habakkuk 2:3 …though it tarries, wait for it; it will surely come.

 


Faithful love…

 
IMG_4511
Everything in our lives may be removed, change, or alter.
Jesus remains.
His faithful love endures.
Through it all.
Nothing can separate us from His love.
Nothing. No-one. Nor the lack of someone.
Our health may fluctuate.
Jesus remains.
He is the same today as He was yesterday. And will be forever.
An immovable rock. A strong tower. Place of protection. A shelter from the storm. Constant companion. Heart healer. Wholeness maker. Uplifter of my head.
May you find it so too.
Happy Saturday!


Choose well

 

Moth

I watched her close. 

She went straight to the light. 

Fluttering and flitting. Coming close. But, backing away. Again and again. Always coming to the light. While the darkness seemed so much bigger, and wider, and vast, she came to the light. 

She chose well. 

Each of us have a similar choice to make. A big decision. It is not one to take lightly. 

What we choose here and now, will greatly effect our eternity. 

Each one of us will live forever. That is a guarantee. You have the power to choose where you will spend eternity. Choose well. Choose now. There will be a time, no one knows when that is, that God will remove the Holy Spirit. Thus, allowing a strong delusion on those who reject Him. 

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

 

This verse literally took my breath away this morning. The word “condemned” is translated “damned.” People are damned to hell. 

 

What people? 

 

People who do not believe the truth. People who had pleasure in unrighteousness.

 

John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

 

Who is the light? 

 

John 8:12 NKJV Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

 

Would a loving God send someone to hell?

 

Absolutely not! 

 

Jesus Christ is a loving Father. And just like any loving Father, He gives his children a choice. He didn’t make us robots. We get to choose to follow and obey Him. People who choose to do whatever they want and live as they please with a full understanding of what is right, have made a conscience choice to turn their back on God. Essentially choosing hell. 

 

Please hear the heart of our loving Father pleading with you to come to Him. Coming to Him means walking away from your life of sin.

 

Matthew 4:17 From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

 

Repent simply means to change your mind. In other words, I was going east and Jesus was going west. I’m gonna stop going east and head in His direction. As soon as you make that choice, Jesus will run to meet you. Ask Him to forgive you. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past. All of that will be washed away the moment you confess. Give Him your heart and He’ll change your life. He will fill you with the Holy Spirit. His Spirit will give you the power to overcome temptation and live for Him. 

Jesus loves you. How do you know that?

John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

You are loved. Your life has value. Jesus doesn’t look at your past. He looks at what you will become. What will you become? 

The sky is the limit! 

1 Corinthians 2:9 That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”



Let go of it

 
 

IMG_4355

Let’s be honest. I wanted to write this message for you. And that’s what I set out to do. Rather quickly, the Lord convicted my own heart. 

This message is for me. And just maybe, for you.

There was something the Lord was asking me to let go of.

Let go of it. 

I wanted to let go of it. I tried. But, not successfully. 

Do I sound vaguely familiar?

Exodus 8:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go back to Pharaoh and announce to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so they can worship me.

Pharaoh was holding on tight. 

Not letting go.  He said he wanted to let go, but didn’t. 

He clenched tighter. 

Every time I thought I could do it, I was assaulted with negative thoughts. 

Continuous. 

What if? Remember this? Remember that? 

Exodus 8:2-3 If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs across your entire land. The Nile River will swarm with frogs. They will come up out of the river and into your palace, even into your bedroom and onto your bed! They will enter the houses of your officials and your people. They will even jump into your ovens and your kneading bowls. 

Frogs everywhere. Up in everything. Bedroom. Ovens. Bowls. 

When we refuse to do what God asks us to do, there will be “frogs” plaguing us. 

That is what sin does. It affects every aspect of our lives. It destroys relationships. Infects the church. Separates us from the people we love. 

What is the Lord asking you personally to let go of?

Maybe you’re like me, asking, how can I let that go?

Surrender. Moment by moment. When the thought comes to mind, let it go. Don’t grasp onto it with all 10 fingers and draw it into your mind. Turning it over and over. 

Bringing up the past. 

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

Yeah but……..

Isaiah 38:17  …For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.

Yeah but…….

I have so much time invested.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

Yeah but…….

Everyone else is wearing it, doing it, going there, posting it, and maybe they are. But, the Lord asked, “Will you do this for Me? Will you let that go?”

He doesn’t force us. We have a choice. Our choices define our quality of life. For me, this thing is always weighing heavy on my heart. I knew it had to go. 

Pharaoh wanted the frogs gone. But, in the end he refused to obey God. We know the story well. More plagues came. More ruin. 

Whatever your need is today, know this:

Nothing is too big for God. 

Open up your hands and surrender it to God. Today. Not tomorrow. 

A new day will dawn in your life.

 


Do you just need Jesus to show up?

Having a special needs child can be especially challenging…let me share some encouragement with you…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsDpGMD2nkg
 


Fiery Trials

IMG_8545
 

The man wondered. I did too.

Why is that gold there on the chrysalis?

Where did it come from?

Does it have a purpose?

He delved deep into these things. 

Turns out that gold is an oxygen portal to the caterpillar.

The word chrysalis means “golden crown.” This golden crown is giving life to the caterpillar as she is enclosed in darkness. As she submits herself to the difficult process of transformation, the golden crown delivers oxygen.

Our trials act in much the same way.

When we are in a period of darkness, and we can’t see any further than what’s in front of us, we cling to Jesus. He is the sustainer of our souls. It is in our adversity that we cry out to Him. Our greatest times of need become our greatest times of spiritual growth. Oxygen to our soul.

God uses our fiery trials.

Fire births.

Fiery trials always birth a greater vision of Jesus. 

That’s what happened with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

They were thrown into a fiery furnace through no fault of their own. They were not alone in that fire. God never left them. His sovereign hand was over the whole situation. He used the fire to reveal Himself. And not just to them. Everyone looking on saw Him.

Daniel 3:25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

Fire uncovers.

It reveals what’s underneath.

Underneath it all are the everlasting arms of Jesus. Our strong mighty God. Our fortress. Our high tower. Our refuge in the storm. 

When we see Jesus like that, it brings a revival to our soul. Strength to spur us on. To grow in our knowledge of His ways. Increasing our faith to trust Him with our very lives.

Fire transforms.

We hate trials. But God uses our trials to transform us into something beautiful. 
 
IMG_8562

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Once we make it out of the fire, we can look back and see Jesus was with us. He never left us. He stayed. He shielded us. He didn’t fail us. Through all of it, He is with us.

As the butterfly looks back at her old self, she must be in awe of the beautiful change. 

An astounding difference.



He Will Lift You Up

IMG_4238
 

I hear the thud.

It interrupted the silence of this quiet morn.

I saw a bird flitting around. I just knew she was hurt. I went to her; wanting to help. As I got closer I could see it wasn’t just one bird, it was two. I was so shocked. They were fighting. These two little precious songbirds were going at it. This should not be. I wanted to shout to them:

Break it up. You are sisters. You need each other. Love one another. 

There’s room in that nest for both of you.

I got to thinking we girls can be like this sometimes. 

We peck at each other. Scrap and scrape to make our way to the top. To be lifted up.

God’s way is so much different.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

The world is against us. We need to stand together. 

Matthew 12:25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.

God needs more laborers. Not less. 

Luke 10:2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
 
Pray for the Lord to send more. There is room for all of us.

We’re not in competition with one another. 

Aren’t we sisters?

And should we notice a sister doing something that is not pleasing to the Lord, immediately lift her up to Jesus. Pray for her. Don’t talk to others about her. Talk to Jesus. 

Let’s lift each other up. 

We need each other. 

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.
 

Let’s outdo one another in showing honor!

Proverbs 18:21 Life and death are in the power of the tongue.

When we see another sister do something well, let’s celebrate with her. Applaud her. Compliment her. Cheer her on.



Stay On Guard!

FullSizeRender-5
 

There he was slithering up the brick. Trying to find an opening. 

It only takes a small space. A little hole and he’ll be in. 

Wreaking all kinds of havoc.

This is the way Satan works in our lives.

It only takes one unguarded moment. One thought. And he’s in.

He is so subtle. 

His tactics haven’t changed since the beginning.

Genesis 3:1…He said to the woman, “Did God actually say…”

He causes us to question God’s word. His promises. His goodness. His protection.

Gideon questioned.

Why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracles?

Judges 6:14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”

All the stripping away in Gideon’s life was preparation for his call.

How did he answer that call upon his life?

Judges 6:15 “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”

You can hear his insecurities. His fears. And feelings of being unworthy. 

Where do these thoughts come from? 

The snake. The Father of Lies. He is a liar and there is no truth in him.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

When we find ourselves questioning our abilities, God’s provision, anxious over insecurities, making comparisons, and bringing up the past, please know the snake has subtly crept in. 

God has work for us to do. A job for each of us. We can’t persevere until we get rid of these thoughts.

Judges 6:16 The LORD said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”

Renew your mind with truth. 

Keep your thoughts guarded. Make no provisions for the snake to enter.

Hear what Jesus wants to say:

I am not going to leave you. I will always be with you. Come what may, your life is in my hands. Tear down everything you’re trusting in. Trust in me. I will finish what I started. You can do this!



She Bear

IMG_0627

 
Do you hear the mocking voice of the enemy?

 

You’re not loved. You’ll never do this. You’re ugly. You’re fat. You can’t do that. You’ll never overcome that. It’s too big. Why are you wasting your time? Worthless. Stay in bed. Why try? How you gonna pay for that? He’s gonna fail you…

 

And on and on. And on.

 

Elisha heard some mocking voices. 

 

They were calling him names. Taunting him. Laughing. Scoffing. Making fun. 

 

2 Kings 2:24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

 

I’m gonna challenge you:

 

Bring out the she bear in you! 

 

Rise up with all your strength. Fight with all you got. Silence these voices.

 

Hear the truth of God’s word:

You are loved with an everlasting love. Jesus died for you. Not so that you could live a depressed anxious worried life, but to thrive. To be alive. Have joy. You are beautiful. A precious daughter of the King. Our Lord does not look at your outward appearance. He sees the heart. Your heart that beats for Him. Shines for Him. Wants to please Him. You will overcome. Because He overcame. He overcame death. That same power that rose Jesus Christ from the dead resides in you. Nothing you do for Him is ever a waste. It is precious to Him. He sees it all. Nothing goes unnoticed by Him. He who sees in secret will reward you openly. You are valuable. Your life is precious to Him. No matter what season you find yourself in, He has purpose for you. Jesus will always provide for you. You’ll always have enough. Because He is enough to sustain you. He will never let you go. 

Jesus never fails. 

Now rouse yourself up.

Work double time.

The Lord has need of you.



Still Small Voice

 
12524355_10153569691014624_2743816273138125357_n

I’ve had enough.

I can’t take anymore. 

I’m worn out.

I hear Elijah’s heart. 

The Lord did too.

And He came to him so gentle, “What are you doing here?”

1 Kings 19:10 So he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”

Elijah answered the question of why he was there. But that wasn’t the question.

What are you doing here?

That was the question.

Elijah was hiding in a cave. 

The Lord came and got him. He spoke soft.

1 Kings 19:11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD,

but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was

not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

The Lord comes and speaks to Elijah in that cave. Elijah was hiding. Doing nothing. He put himself out of commission.

That still small voice recommissioned him. 

The Lord called him to come out of hiding. Get going. 

If today finds you in a cave, hear the Lord’s still small voice.

“I see you. I hear your heart. I know. Things have been too much for you. I am with you. You are not alone. I know you’ve been overwhelmed. I have a job for you. I need you to get up and get going. Come out of the cave. Reach out to someone today. Pray for them. Write them. Text them. Give them a smile. I love you. I am for you.”



Sing a New Song…

 
IMG_1464

Are you despairing over a situation or person in your life?

Revelation 5:5 …“Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne,has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Jesus is holding the scroll of your life. He is in control of every detail. Beginning to end.

Sing a new song this morning. Acknowledge that He is on the throne of your life. Your marriage. Your singleness. Your illness. Your depression. Your anxiety. 

Keep your eyes fixed on Him. 

Let Him restore your hope.

Hebrews 4:16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Celebrate! 

He overcame death! There is nothing you cannot overcome. Nothing. 

You got this!

Job 42:2 I know You can do everything. 

There is nothing He can’t do. That’s your God. Big God. In control God. God that’s on your side. 

Sisters, can I encourage you to do what Job did? He prayed for his friends.

Job 42:10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends…

Something amazing happens when we pray for our friends. We are set free from despairing thoughts. Thoughts that hold us captive. Jesus fills our hearts with joy, even in suffering. 

Choose one sister to pray for today. 

I pray both of you will be singing by the end of the day.

Revelation 5:11-12 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice:“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”



Good Works…

IMG_5230
 
In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. (Titus 2:7 NKJV)

 

Sisters, we are exhorted in these verses to be a pattern of good works. A pattern is an example. Can people look at your life and follow you?

 

Integrity is what you do when no one is looking. 

 

We represent Christ. And these verses tell us people are looking on. And the enemy is just waiting for us to shed a bad light on our Lord. We want everything we say to honor the Lord. We should choose our words carefully. We want to speak uplifting words of encouragement that build others up and not tear them down. We should never speak poorly of another person to anyone. Nor should we listen to someone else gossip about another. All of those things tear down the body of Christ. 

 

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. (Proverbs 18:21 NKJV)

 

In addition, all of our actions should be a reflection of our relationship with Jesus.

 

Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV)

 

No matter what kind of pressure you are under, if it could even be a hint of impropriety, don’t do it. It is better to make the heart of the Lord smile than compromise with the enemy. 

 

This is a photo of a “Joseph Coat Rose”. She starts out pale yellow. The hotter the sun beating on her, the more beautiful she becomes; a radiant pink. A picture of a godly woman who maintains her pattern of good works even under the greatest temptations. 

 

Father, I need your help to be a pattern of good works. I want to glorify you with everything I say. I desire for all my actions to honor you. Holy Spirit, I ask you to shine your flashlight into every area of my life. Reveal any areas of compromise. I want to purify myself for You. In Jesus Name. Amen. 
 


God With Us

IMG_3589
 

I had a rough night. I woke up with some health issues. Heart racing. Anxiety. Fear.

Should I go to the hospital?

I wasn’t sure what to do. I woke my husband up to pray for me. He gladly obliged. I decided to read for a bit. Wait. And pray. I went back and forth; from begging God to heal me to reading some more. Before you know it, I was asleep.

I felt the Lord’s Presence last night.

He was with me. Through it all. I felt Him. His Presence. Immanuel, God with us. 

I feel great this morning. 

How are you?

Philippians 3:1 Whatever happens… sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.

Do you need reassurance? Are you worn out? Scared? Lonely?

God sees. He knows. 

He will be your constant companion through this dark night.

Rejoice and sing to Him. Worship Him for Who He is this morning. Not for what He can give you. Not for what He may do for you. Just for Who He is.

He is love. 

He loves you. You are precious to Him. He will see you through this season. You will overcome. 

Every storm brings the rain that helps us grow. We need rain. If there’s a storm right now, embrace it. He comes with clouds. Take His hand and He’ll walk you through it. He will never leave you.

Zephaniah 3:5 …Morning by morning He dispenses his justice, and every new day He does not fail… 

 


A Must Have For Marriage…

IMG_3607
 

 

The enemy said,  

‘I will pursue,

I will overtake,

I will divide the spoil;

My desire shall be satisfied on them.

I will draw my sword,

My hand shall destroy them.’ (Exodus 15:9 NKJV)

I can just see the enemy licking his chops.

You know the story well. Pharaoh is pursing God’s people. He has them literally backed up against the wall. No way out. They were doomed. 

Things looked impossible.

It can seem like this in our marriage sometimes. 

We can feel so frustrated. Like things are never going to change. Finances, prodigal children, step-children, addictions and many other things can bring division into our marriages.

I want you to notice the tactics of the enemy  here:

  1. He pursues.
  2. He overtakes.
  3. He divides.
  4. He destroys.

Satan’s tactics are the same in our lives.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…(John 10:10)

His sole goal is to divide you from your husband.

Your husband is not the enemy.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual

hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV)

Your marriage is under attack. If your husband has been taken captive by the enemy, you need to fight for him. 

Don’t give up on him.

Don’t distance yourself from him. Draw near to him. Even and especially when you feel like he doesn’t deserve it. 

Don’t dwell on the past. Let those things go.

Let’s be humble. Do a lot of overlooking. Forgive and move on.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go

back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided.(Exodus 14:21 NKJV)

God made a way when there seemed to be no way.

Let’s stretch out our hands to our great God. Ask him to part the sea in our marriages. In those impossible situations. Take the wheels off the enemies chariots. Be a prayer warrior for your husband. If we don’t pray for them, who will?

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT)

 

Father God, we desperately need you to intervene in our marriages. Speak to our husbands. Speak to us. Give us wisdom on when to speak and when to remain silent. Help us to choose encouraging uplifting words that bring life to our marriage. In those areas the enemy is getting the victory, Lord, crush Him. Bless our marriages so they will bring honor to your name. Amen. Amen.
 


Fighting the Real Enemy…

 
IMG_7438

Judges 5:31 “Thus let all Your enemies perish, O LORD! But let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength.” So the land had rest for forty years.

The enemy was in her tent. 
But, Jael was ready.
She didn’t waste any time. She quickly made an end of him. 
She took a tent peg and struck him through the temple. 
Yeah, that was radical. 
This women was brave. I admire her courage. She took a big risk.
Jael lived on the edge. She did what many women would be unwilling to do.
We can learn a lot from her.
Has the enemy entered your “tent”? Your thought life? Your marriage? Your ministry?

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Our battle is not with flesh and blood. The enemy is not your husband. Not your mother. Not your sister. Not your child. The enemy is Satan. 

Ephesians 6:16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

God is faithful. So very faithful. He is going to fully cover us with his protection. 
Rely on Him. He won’t fail you.

Our battle is spiritual. We need to fight with spiritual weapons. 

Don’t use your words. They will fall short. 
Don’t use manipulation. That won’t work.
Don’t try to play Holy Spirit. He does a better job…

You can grab your “tent peg” and crush the enemy. 

Ephesians 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

Prayer is power. 

The Lord will give us power to recognize the enemy.

Here are just a few of mine:

Pride. 

Ephesians 4:2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

So many times a situation can be diffused by one person saying, “You’re right. I am wrong.” We want to press our point when yielding would be better. Even when we know the other person is wrong. The Lord will honor your humility. 

Busyness. 

Luke 10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

There are so many things pressing in on us. Vying for our attention. Push it all aside and sit at Jesus feet. It’s there you’ll find what you’re really looking for. Don’t rush off. 

Fear.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Disunity.

Ephesians 4:3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Make haste for unity! Don’t allow Satan an inch; he will steal a mile. 

Come out against these enemies in full strength. Not your own strength, but in the strength of the Lord. 

Ephesians 6:10 Finally: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.



Good Good Father…

 

IMG_3560
Today can be a difficult day. I know. I didn’t have a dad. Well, I had a dad who didn’t want me. It was always an awkward thing to celebrate when I was a kid in school. It was a day I just wanted to get through quick. But, now it’s so much different for me.
 
I celebrate that I have my Heavenly Daddy. He loves me more than any earthly Dad ever could. He is a father to the fatherless. A protector. A shield round about me. He is the lifter of my head. He will never ever leave me.

 He will never fail me. He doesn’t come and go. He sticks closer than a brother. He provides for my every need. He knows what I need before I ask. He loves me unconditionally. Not more when I look good, and less when I don’t. Not more when I do something for Him, and less when I don’t. Not when He feels like it. He loves me just as I. All the time. 

Why? 

Because I am His daughter. 

I don’t have to earn His love.

Sisters, God loves you like that.

That’s a love worth celebrating, don’t you think?



Be Still…

 
IMG_3561

 

Are you feeling anxious?

Unrest in your spirit?

Turmoil within?

I was feeling just that way this morning. Trying to plow through my to do list. Decisions to make.Tasks to complete. Spinning my wheels and getting nowhere fast.

My mind was everywhere.

Why?

It wasn’t as though I didn’t spend tie with the Lord. I did.

Why the unrest?

We still had some unfinished business. He never answered me. 

Let me rephrase. 

I didn’t wait for an answer.

Well, I was much too busy to just sit there.

I didn’t have time for all that.

Turns out, I didn’t have time not to.

Ezekiel 1:25 Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings.

Lower your wings sister.

It’s so easy to start flapping away. And so difficult to sit tight.

Don’t waste any more time fluttering needlessly.

God will speak. 

Give him time.

Wait on Him.

Psalm 46:10…Be still and know I am God…

 


Our God is Able…

What is threatening you today? What is hovering over you like a roaring lion? Our God is able to rescue you…Click the link to hear a message of encouragement…
 


GOD IS ABLE…

What is threatening you today? What is hovering over you like a roaring lion? Your God is able to deliver you…


Commit Your Way…

IMG_6948
 
wallow: luxuriate, bask, delight, take pleasure, make merry
 

Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.

This girl has no worries.

Does she look anxious?

Is she fretting? 

How about worried?

Not. A. Care. In. The. World.

And if she does, you wouldn’t know it.

That’s how it is when you commit your way to the Lord.

You can wallow in Him. He’s taking care of this overwhelming circumstance. 

He will do this, not you. Let Him deal with it. 

God will protect you.

See that fence? 

It’s to keep her in, but it’s also to keep predators out.

She has nothing to fear.

Fear comes from forgetting.

1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

He is bigger than any giant you face today.

David remembered.

1 Samuel 17:34-35 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, “I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard and strict and killed it.
 

Those things from the past prepared him for what he faced today.

The same is true for you. 

You will overcome. 

David defeated the giant with a sling and a stone. 

The battle is the Lord’s.

Commit your way to Him. 

Wallow in that…

Trust Him.

He will bring this to pass.



Stay and fight…

FullSizeRender-3
 

He didn’t run.

Me, I would’ve run.

It was a sure loss. Pain inevitable. Death a very real possibility.

Nope, that didn’t matter. Odds were totally stacked against him. Enemy was looming large.

2 Samuel 23:11-12 And after him was Shaman the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines had gathered together into a troop where there was a piece of ground full of lentils. So the people fled from the Philistines. But he stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the LORD brought about a great victory.

 

He put himself out there.

Most definitely, he was open and vulnerable.

He stood in a field of lentils. Lentils are not a tall crop. They are very small and low to the ground. There was nowhere to hide. Nothing to protect him from this mighty force coming against him. 

They attacked en masse. Brought all they had. 

Everyone else ran away. 

They called it quits. And who could blame them. They could see what was before them. 

Certain defeat. 

Are you ready to call it quits?

Have you reached your breaking point? After all, there’s only so much a person can take.

We have our limits.

God wants to take us further. Stretch us. Grow our faith.

Will we stay and fight? 

Shammah stayed. He didn’t run away. He stood his ground. 

He was willing to make himself vulnerable.

1 Corinthians 13:7…[love] endures all things.

He was open for attack. He risked his life. Staked all on God.

God fought the battle for him.

He wasn’t alone.

You are not alone in your battle. 

Our great and mighty Savior is fighting for you. With you. And in you. 

Your marriage is worth fighting for. Even if it seems like too much to overcome. Stand and fight. Jesus overcame death. There’s nothing you can’t overcome.

Don’t give up on your child. Stand and fight. Your prayers are protection.

Or that friend. Fight for them. Forgive them.

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.

 

Shammah stayed. He fought.

He won.

 
 


Worth the Wait…

 

IMG_3627 - Copy

They waited.

When it didn’t come, they waited some more. 

Kept on looking for it. 

With certainty. They knew it was coming.

That big wave. 

It didn’t matter how long it took, they never gave up.

All eyes on the horizon. Waiting for that it to come. 

It did come. And they rode it into shore. Exhilarated and thrilled. Celebrating. And giddy.

It was worth the wait. 

Are you waiting?

Psalm 42:6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, and from the heights of Hermon, from the Hill Mizar.

This word “Mizar” means little. 

Has the waiting made your faith dwindle? 

Is it little? 

Matthew 8:26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
 

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Little faith, even the faith of a mustard seed can move a mountain. 

Are you waiting? Don’t know what to do next?

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

 

God gives liberally in that little place. Big wisdom. Big God.

Are you waiting? Ready to call it a day?

James 4:6 But He gives more grace.
 

Don’t quit. Keep looking. He gives more grace. Big grace. 

Are you waiting? Ready to walk out of the water?

James 5:7-8 Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time.
 

You never know when God will show up in a big way.

 Are you looking? Expecting Him?

He always shows up. Maybe not in my time. Nor my way.

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as
the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
 

Don’t look at how long it’s been. You’re just that much closer to fulfillment of the promise. 

Expect Him. Look for Him. Wait on Him.

Habakkuk 2:3…Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come…


In Step With Jesus…

 
 

IMG_3463

“Mommy, I’m walking in your footsteps…”

That meant 3 things to me:

He was close. Real Close.

He could hear my voice.

And he could definitely see me.

It didn’t matter that he wasn’t sure where we were going.

We were together. 

He could trust me.

Do you wonder what’s next in your life?

Where should you go from here?

What should you do?

Psalm 143:8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.

God loves you. He has a plan. If you are walking with Him, you won’t get lost. You can’t make a bad decision. His Spirit will prompt you anytime you’re getting ready to do something out of His will. When that happens, stop. 

When I don’t know, I don’t go.

Job 23:10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.

You may be walking a tough path right now. 

God knows. He sees. 

This is the hardest time to trust; when you don’t know what’s next. Here is what you do know:

God loves you. He will not allow you to fall. If you must walk through trials and heartache, He will not leave you. He’ll walk right through it with you. 

You can trust God with your life. Every detail. 

Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God…

God is the beginning and the end. He is everything in between. 

He is working all things out for your good. 

Stay in step with Him. 

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
 

If you can’t hear Him right now, come a little closer.

Wait on Him.

Isaiah 40:31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

 


Who Am I?

FullSizeRender copy
 

My man. He knows me so well.

So when I shriek, “Oh, pull over! Pull over!”

He obliges. No questions asked.

And I marvel. These girls are exquisite. Their colors. Look at them in all their beauty.

There they are. Overlooked by many. Not given a second glance. Never noticed. 

But, not today. I take notice. I stop. I see them. Not only do I see them, I am awed by them. 

My God put them there. Just for me. Even though they’re tucked away on some back road in central Florida, I see them.

What makes them beautiful? The eye of the beholder.

Where does today find you?

Have you been overlooked? Are you feeling inadequate? Less than. 

Here these words:

You are beautiful.

Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder. 

No one may take notice of you. But, your God, He sees. He knows exactly where you are. He planted you for a reason. You have a purpose. It’s to please Him. You bring Him joy. 

He accepts you. Just. As. You. Are.

Not when you become a rose. Not if you become a tall sunflower. Not when you become a singing Daisy. 

He loves you. Just. As. You. Are. 

If we try to live up to the worlds standard, we will be quickly depressed. It is a revolving door. Constantly changing. Never attainable. 

He loves you because you’re his daughter. 

He is pleased with you. Just. As. You. Are. Not when you get married. Not when you have a baby. But now. Not when you lose some weight. But as you are today. 

He is content with you. Just. As. You. Are.

Others might pass you by. He never will. He will stop for you every time. Maybe they have passed you bye. Maybe you have been left by the side of the road. That rejection is not who you are.

You are God’s beautiful daughter. You exist for Him.

Revelation 4:11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, because you created all things. It is by your will that they existed and were created.”

You were created for a purpose. Maybe this finds you asking, “Who am I? Why am I here?”

You are not your position. You are not your ministry. You are not what you do. 

Your greatest success is your intimacy with your God.

He loves you.

You make His heart smile.

Just. As. You. Are.



Prayer Is Power!

Are you feeling down over your circumstances? Does a loved one have you feeling hopeless? Let me share some encouragement with you…https://youtu.be/JFlx0YEmj-0


Slowing Down

13103409_10153706883319624_2619702906731574112_n

On a good day you can see deep into the city of Baltimore. The view is vast. 

 

Going over the Key Bridge this day was completely different. I couldn’t see the end. I really couldn’t see much of anything. It was scary. I had to slow down. Way down. To barrel on ahead would be dangerous. 

 

When life is foggy, it’s good to slow down. Way down.

Sometimes that seems frustrating. We want to run ahead. That can prove dangerous. Not only to us, but those around us. 

When in doubt, don’t. 

We hear that all the time. Then why do we keep going. Sometimes it feels right.

Our feelings are not good indicators. They deceive us. 

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceived above all things…

We want our way. Trying to force things to happen can only bring disaster.

When we’re not sure, we can never go wrong by waiting.

You know the first thing I did when I entered the fog?

I immediately turned my lights on.

When we don’t know where to go next, or what lies ahead, we can go to the sure thing. The Word of God. It never fails.

Psalm 119:105 The word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 

Align it up with the word of God. 

God’s word guides us. 

Joel 2:32 Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

“My situation is urgent, and I cannot see how I will ever delivered. Yet this is not my concern, for He who made the promise will find a way to keep it. My part is simply to obey His commands, not to direct His way. I am His servant, not His advisor. I call upon Him and He will deliver me.” 

~Charles Spurgeon

If your in a foggy situation, slow down. Wait. Give God time to speak. 
 
Psalm 27:13-14 
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living. 
Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!


Hope for the Hopeless…

Are you thinking about killing yourself? God has a message for you…


Rest Awhile

 
IMG_2864
 
Are you trying to carry some really heavy things? Jesus would say, “Come, lay them down at My feet and rest awhile.”
 
Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
forever.


Giving God Access…

IMG_2683

 

These flowers. So sweet and dainty. They’ve popped up everywhere. In fact, they’re in my own backyard. If you look real close, they’re not flowers at all.

They’re weeds.

Upon further inspection you’ll notice it’s killing everything underneath.

It’s all brown and dead.

Destroying the whole backyard.

This should’ve never happened. 

We pay Trugreen to come and spray the yard. Only one problem: The gate was locked. 

He couldn’t get into the backyard. It was tied up with a rope. Tight and secure. 

I’m sure the guy tried. 

There was no access.

So the weeds grew and took over. Now everything’s dying.

Something similar can happen in our lives.

There are things we allow into our lives that don’t belong. They seem harmless enough. Not a big deal. Everyone else may even be fine with it. But it takes over. Pretty soon it’s destroying your life. You start to isolate yourself.

Shut the gate of your heart. Don’t allow anyone access. Not even the Lord.

He needs you to let Him in. He won’t force His way. 

Bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness can consume you. 

In a similar way, so can any sin. 

It starts out as a small comprise. 

Something harmless.

2 Corinthians 11:14 No wonder, Satan disguises himself into an angel of light.

Before you realize it, you’re in a place you never thought you’d be.

Open the gate of your heart. Give God access. 

Let Him take all those things away. Don’t hold onto them any longer. 

Sit down with the Lord. Talk to Him about it. He already knows. He’s just been waiting for you to come to Him. It’s hard. I know.

Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.



Trusting the God Who Sees

Are you feeling depressed? Overwhelmed? Do you feel like running away? Let me share some encouragement with you…


Jesus sees it all…

Do you ever wonder if anyone sees what you’re going through? Let me share some encouragement with you…


Trying To Change Someone?

Trying to change someone is exhausting. Maybe you’ve been doing just that…let me share a word of encouragement…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twv7ae0jfMc


Do You See Me God?

FullSizeRender-1
 

Psalm 56:1 To the Chief Musician. et to “The Silent Dove in Distant Lands.”fn A Michtam of David when the Philistines captured him in Gath.

I seemed to see this little dove. She was all alone, when another flew by her side. 

That silent dove in a distant land. 

We can feel like her sometimes. Sitting in silence. Wondering.

Does anyone understand what I’m going through?

We can be surrounded by people, yet no one seems to really know our heart. The mom sitting at home with toddlers. Those days can be so overwhelming. Or the single girl waiting, patiently. Working moms feeling the weight of another day away. Broken marriages. Hurting hearts. Overwhelming circumstances. 

Do you see me God?

He does see. He sees your heart. Knowing every intimate detail of your situation. No one else knows. You could never tell them all the details. 

Your God knows.

Hold onto that. Hold onto Him with everything you have. Cling to Him. 

Don’t let go. 

Hold on.

You are held in the arms of God. He won’t let you go.

Psalm 91:1-2 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High

Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 

I will say of the LORD, “

He is

my refuge and my fortress;

My God, in Him I will trust.”

It may be a long night. The enemy wants us to fear and despair. 

Our Lord wants us to rejoice and trust. And we can. 

Psalm 56:9…When I cry out

to You,

Then my enemies will turn back;

This I know, because God

is

for me.

God is for you. He is with you. You are not alone.

You are loved. And cherished. God knows exactly where you are. He is coming along side of you in this. He won’t fail you.

Jesus never fails.

 


Fear or Faith?

 

IMG_2262

 

Mom called. She always wants two things when I visit. Small milkshake. Small fries.

Do you wonder where the boy gets it from?

A little voice from the backseat piped in, “Could I get a milkshake and fries too?”

He knows my usual answer is an an emphatic, “No.”

Today was different. I told him, “Yes. You can have a milkshake and fries too.”

He gushed, “You’re the best Mudder in the whole world.”

But I felt a twinge of pain in my heart. I want him to think I’m the best mother in the whole world… even if I don’t give him what he wants. 

Immediately I heard the Lord’s voice whisper soft, “If I don’t give you what you want, will you still think I’m good? Even if I don’t act in the way you think I should, will you still trust Me? If I say, “No” to your request, will you still praise Me?” 

God doesn’t always do what we think He should. 

We don’t always get the result we’re asking for.

He doesn’t always heal. 

He doesn’t always act in the time frame I have set. 

We can feel the pressure. 

Our fears can take over. 

 

Joshua 1:9 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 was a leader. He was still afraid. If he wasn’t, God wouldn’t have said, “Don’t be afraid.”

In fact, He didn’t say it just once.

He said it 4 times in one chapter.

Don’t be afraid.

 

I am with you.

Fears do come. 

Fear says:

I can’t… I won’t… I’ll never…

Faith:

I can… I will… I must…

Fears do come. What should we do?

Have courage. 

Courage is a state of mind. 

That’s where faith comes on the scene. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

We have many unknown variables.

But we have a known God. A certain God. A God who fights for us. A God who is mighty. Strong. Powerful. A God who can make the blind see. the deaf hear, open doors that are closed, and raise the dead. A good good God who always has our best interest in mind. 

 
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things

are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

 

Meditate on these things. Things that are true. Every word of God is true. Every word contrary to His word is a lie. 

Lies come from the thief who wants to steal.

Dismiss the lies. 

Whatever has come your way, you can know God wants to use it. He wants to reveal something about Himself to you. And others. Ask Him how you can use this to bring Him glory. 

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 

All things. Even things that don’t look so good right now. 
 
Our God is good, He loves you so very much. You can trust Him. He is in control of every detail of your life.


You CAN overcome depression!

Are you suffering from depression and anxiety? You CAN overcome this…let me share some encouragement…
 
 
 
 
 


Do You Have A Prodigal?

Do you have a child that you raised to walk with the Lord, but they’ve gone another way? Let me share some encouragement…
 
 
 
 
 
 


Are You Waiting?

12524355_10153569691014624_2743816273138125357_n
 

Are you waiting?

Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.

Zacharias prayed for a child for many years.

Did he give up praying for this child long ago? 

Did he keep praying?
I wonder if his faith wavered.
The Lord spoke: “Don’t be afraid. I heard your prayer.”

God answered that prayer. 

It was in God’s own timing though. He granted Zacharias a son named John.

God knew the exact time he wanted John to arrive on the scene. 

The name John means “Jehovah is a gracious giver.”

John preached a gospel of repentance from sin. True to his name, he shared with a nation of people that God is a gracious giver. He grants forgiveness to those who seek it.
He had to come at that specific time. To those specific people. Not before. Not after.
Zacharias was not waiting in vain.

The Christian life is one of waiting. 

What are you waiting for?

Don’t be afraid.

Your prayer is heard.

Luke 1:20 “But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”

The prayer would be fulfilled; just not yet. 

Therefore God chose to make him unable to speak until that time. Why was that?

Zacharias immediately responded by presenting the impossibility of the situation. 
I do it all the time. I look at the outward circumstances and doubt floods in. 

Sometimes it’s best for us to just be quiet. 

Our doubt can cause others to doubt. 

Discouragement is contagious. 

Gabriel came from heaven and spoke to Zacharias. He told him straight up what was going to take place. He was a messenger of God. Yet Zacharias still questioned. And hey, I’m not down on Zacharias because I know I would’ve done the same thing. You know what else I would’ve done? I would’ve demanded all of the details. 

I want to know when. 

I want to know how. 

And no matter how many details He gave I would’ve wanted more. That’s just me.
Zacharias seemed to say, “Don’t you see how old I am?” 

He was calculating without God.

Age is not a dynamic that has any bearing on God’s plan.

Time is not a factor of any relevance. God is not under our time constraints.

The doctor’s prognosis has no merit. God defies doctors every day. 

If you are waiting for a prayer to be answered, 

God is still working on it. 

Don’t give up. 

Your prayer is heard. 

God will answer.

It will be at just the right time. Not one day early. Not one day late. 

God is always right on time. 

Don’t look at the impossibility of it happening. 

The surrounding circumstances are irrelevant to God. 

Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

~She Rises -Renee Bollas -March 12



He Hears Our Cries…

 
IMG_2286 copy

Do you remember that feeling?

The first time you felt your baby move inside you.

How about towards the end of your pregnancy?

That indescribable love.

You knew with all your heart you would fiercely protect this baby. You would shelter him from anything that would hurt him. You just couldn’t wait to hold him. And then when he was born, you brought him home. Scarcely could you sleep, listening for his cry. Any whimper and you were on it. You didn’t miss a beat. You even awoke when he wasn’t crying, just in case. Sneaking in his room to get a peek at him while he was sleeping was delightful. 

He was yours.

This baby needed you. 

And you were there for him. 

In the same way, this is how we can depend on our God.

Psalm 69:16-17 Hear me, O LORD, for Your lovingkindness is good; turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies. And do not hide Your face from Your servant, for I am in trouble; hear me speedily.

 

He hears our cries for help. Not only does He hear, He comes running. Many times, I wouldn’t let my children see me right away when I heard them crying. That didn’t mean I didn’t love them. Nor did it mean I didn’t care about them. I was teaching them to grow. To problem solve. I didn’t intervene right away. My intervention may stunt their growth. Sometimes we can’t see God. We may wonder if He is there? Just like a good Daddy, He is right there. He hears when we call. He doesn’t always jump right in, but He stands by ready. He is growing our faith. Teaching us to trust Him. 

 

He can be trusted. 

 

He is a good Daddy that can be counted on. Everything in our lives may be uncertain; He is certain. He is faithful. Not allowing anything to touch us that hasn’t been filtered through His loving hands. He cherishes you. His love for you cannot be measured. It doesn’t have to be earned. He loves you just because you’re you. He loves you even when you’re unlovable. His love never fails. 

He sees you. He hears you. He is there for you.

You are His. He is yours.

 


Presence is Power…

 

FullSizeRender-2
 
Yeah, it’s dark, but this girl is singing. 
She isn’t flying away. She isn’t hiding.

Nope. 

She’s facing the day with a song.

God wants our hearts to sing. Even in the face of uncertainty. Great difficulty. And overwhelming challenges.

Where can we get that song? Only one place, coming face to face with our Lord.

 

Psalm 67:1 God be merciful to us and bless us,

And cause His face to shine upon us, Selah

That Your way may be known on earth,

Your salvation among all nations.

 

The Presence of God brings the power of God.

Power to wait. Power to go. Power to stay. Power to endure. Power to trust.

We can go from sinking to swimming in a matter of moments. His Presence brings that reassurance. He is with us. He is for us. He is our Life Guard. He is on guard. He guards our lives. Our jobs. Our families. Not us.

He is brighter than our darkest day.

John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Sometimes we just become overwhelmed by all that’s before us, we forget who has gone before us. 

He will make a way where there seems to be no way.

His Presence brings that to light.

But getting into His Presence proves difficult.

Push everything aside. But not that. Get alone with Him.

When we pray, we don’t always come away with an answer, but we do come away with His peace.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.

Presence brings peace that transcends understanding. It just can’t be explained. Try Him on it.

And then do the “thanksgiving” part. The giving of thanks always guards our hearts from ungratefulness.

My heart needs to be guarded. How about yours?

If anxiety is getting the best of you, sit down and praise God for ten things He has saved you from, healed you of, or helped you with in the past. Write it down.

Here’s mine:

  1. Jesus saved me from my panic attacks when I couldn’t even leave the house. Haven’t had one in over 15 years. 
  2. Jesus helped me quit smoking.
  3. Jesus helped my son talk.
  4. Jesus helped me pay my bills when I was single and broke.
  5. Jesus was a father to me all these years when I had no earthly one.
  6. Jesus never left me, even when I left Him.
  7. Jesus brought me such a loving husband.
  8. Jesus got me out of a really bad situation when I worked.
  9. Jesus opened my eyes to see His word as truth.
  10. Jesus saved me from myself destruction many years ago.

 

Wow! Is your heart as happy as mine?


Take The Risk!

bright-star-evening-sky_8f02456c76a2f67b
 
I was feeling a little out of sorts this morning. 
“Go for a walk.” 
That’s what I felt God pressing on my heart. Don’t go through your regular routine. I know He wanted to speak something fresh. I went outside and God just lit the sky up for me. It was a crystal clear morning and the stars twinkled bright on the dark backdrop of the night. But there was one star in particular that garnered my attention. It stood out just a little brighter than the others.
As I began to ask God what He wanted to speak, I remembered a guy who was mentioned last night at our prayer meeting. He “stood out” a bit brighter than all the others.
 
Psalm 106:30 Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was stopped.
 
Phinehas was in the midst of a perverse world. It broke his heart.
Instead of joining them he said, “Enough is enough.”
He had the courage to go against the tide. One man made a difference. 
How big of a difference?
He changed the destiny of a whole nation.
Did he know it at the time? I doubt it. He was moved in his heart to stand up for what was right. He cared so deeply about the people around him that he had to act. 
Being silent was not an option.
His conscience wouldn’t allow it. He saw people being destroyed. He knew why this plague was rampant so he did something about it.
He stepped out on a limb.
It takes great courage NOT to go along with the crowd. He didn’t care what people thought of him. He didn’t consider his reputation. Nor did he pay any attention to what others might say. 
He threw caution to the wind. 
God posed a question to me:
What would you write if you didn’t care what anyone thought?
I don’t always say exactly what I know I should. Of course, there is prudence in choosing our words carefully. But, I’m talking about doing what God called me to do and saying what He called me to say.
So now I’ll pose a question to you:
What would you do if you didn’t care what others thought? What would you say? Where would you go? 
What ministry would you step into? What would you step out of?
Singles: Would you be willing to walk away from that guy/girl, those drugs and that alcohol?
How would it change if you didn’t care what others thought?
Would you be bolder? 
Would you try something new?
We cannot live a full vibrant life if we are always worried about what others think. We can’t fulfill God’s perfect plan if we aren’t willing to take some risks.
Sometimes walking in God’s will is very difficult. Sometimes He asks us to do things that don’t make sense. You can be sure our God will give us what we need to accomplish what He called us to do.
 
She Rises~pg. 81
 
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I want to challenge you today: Take a risk on someone. Choose someone you have nothing in common with and take the first step to get to know them. It may even be someone who acts like a porcupine. Invite them for coffee. Find out their story. It may surprise you. Invest in them. Pray for them. See what God might do.


He Makes Everything Beautiful

IMG_2175
 

Spring was almost here. Warm days and sunny skies. Fluffy clouds beckoned a new season.

And then the snow came. Heavy. 

The sheer weight of it threatened to break the branches of the trees. Since the bushes weren’t expecting it, they too looked as though they would cave under the pressure. 

How long would it last?

How much can one tree take?

Sometimes our hearts can feel like this. So weighed down, they may just break. 

Psalm 69:15 Don’t let the floods overwhelm me, or the deep waters swallow me, or the pit of death devour me.

Fear of the unknown can take us captive. Uncertainty of the future can bring us low. Overwhelm our very being. Rob us of security. Steal our peace. Kill our joy. 

Joshua 1:6 Be strong and confident and courageous…

 

Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Not yours. Not the doctors. Not the prognosis. Not the statistics. 

Be confident in the Lord. He will be with you. He will not abandon you. No. Never. He will be all that He says He is. Faithful. Trustworthy. A rock. A fortress. Immovable. Firm. And secure.

Be courageous. Be brave. Things may not look good right now. But He will make them good. 

He is good. 

Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. 

Everything. He redeems everything.

Wayward children. Foolish decisions. Cancer. Autism. All of it. He redeems it all. 

IMG_2163-2
 
FullSizeRender
 
IMG_2159
 
Psalm 69:29-30 But I am poor and sorrowful; let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high.I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.

 

David’s answer to the floodwater, the heaviness, the uncertainty?

 

Praise God with a song.

 

Praise takes us above the situation. It brings us inaccessibly high. Higher than our enemy. 

 

When we can sing during the storm, the dark night, in the midst of deep sorrow, it honors God.

When we seek His face before His hand, we see Him high and lifted up. Higher than our problem at hand.  We magnify Him, and our problems become smaller. The more we worship Him, the greater He becomes in our field of vision. We remember, no man can stand against Him. What he has done in the past he can do again. He has healed me before. I’ve also seen Him choose not to heal, and it was for His good ultimately. He got more glory by not healing. I remember what He did in Paul’s life. And David’s. And mine. Somewhere in the midst of that praise, I get lost in Him. I’m not captive anymore. I’m not bound by my worries and my anxieties. I am free. I am not a prisoner of my circumstances. And joy is a choice. And I can worship Him freely. And I can choose to be thankful because he is good and I have a lot to be thankful for.

If your find yourself in that stuck place, get your praise on!

Grab yourself a verse. Pray it. Own it. This is mine. 

Hear Him. I Am with you. I will not leave you. I AM in this with you. This is just a season.

Spring will arrive. It always does. 

Psalm 30:5 …weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. 

 
 


Something New!

IMG_2121
 

Jeremiah 33:1-3 Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the prison, saying, “This is what the LORD says—the LORD who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the LORD: ’Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

This precious word came to Jeremiah when he was still in prison. Held captive against His will. He was stuck with no way out. And maybe today finds you in that place. You still have no idea what to do. Your situation still appears impossible. You’re still not in a good place. You thought something would change by now.

But, it hasn’t. I like how the Lord reminds us Who He is. We need that sometimes. He seems to shout, “I am God Almighty. I made the heavens and the earth. Out. Of. Nothing. 

I can do that in your situation.

Don’t put me in a box. Your finite eyesight puts limits on Me. I can form new circumstances. I can transform. I can intervene. But, even if I don’t, I want you to trust Me. Trust that I am enough for you. I will not leave you.”

God doesn’t always remove us from our trials. But, He is always in them with us. 

Always. Even in this one.

Isaiah 43:1-2

But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you.

O Israel, the one who formed you says,

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.

I have called you by name; you are mine.

When you go through deep waters,

I will be with you.

When you go through rivers of difficulty,

you will not drown.

When you walk through the fire of oppression,

you will not be burned up;

the flames will not consume you.

 

At any given time, He can change the whole thing. In His time. In His way.

 

Isaiah 43:19 For I am about to do something new.

See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

I will make a pathway through the wilderness.

I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

 

He has already begun to work in your situation. 

 

You just can’t see it yet. 

 

 
 
 
 


Clean Slate

coffee

I can’t believe I just did that.
As I sat down at my desk,
I placed my coffee on my journal. A little groggy and not yet fully awake, I jostled the cup. Coffee spilled all over it. I sat there for a few seconds, immobilized.
 

Are you just gonna sit there and look at it, or are you gonna do something about it?

I had to do something about it. And quick. The longer it sat, the more damage it was doing. It already started seeping through to the next page.

I promptly went to the kitchen for some paper towels. As I tried to clean it up, the pages began to rip. I made the decision to just rip them out. They had to go.

Underneath? A clean slate.

No one would ever know that just moments ago coffee was all over the place. Threatening the whole notebook. A big ole mess. One that could’ve caused so much damage.

God’s grace looks just like this.

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

Maybe you’ve done something foolish. Said something you shouldn’t have said. Went where you know you shouldn’t have gone. Don’t keep going. If you do, it will seep through to every aspect of your life. Every relationship you have will be tainted. But especially your relationship with the Lord. It’s impossible to live in sin and have peace in the presence of the Lord.

Stop.

When we come into agreement with God, yep, that was wrong, and we turn it around, and ask for forgiveness, He forgives.

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD,
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…”

That’s an offer you can’t refuse.
We can have a fresh start, a clean slate. A new beginning.

He rips that page out. He throws it into the depths of the sea.

He doesn’t save it. He doesn’t throw it back at us and remind us of it.

That’s the gospel of grace. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

If you’re having a hard time forgiving someone, it’s helpful to remember what we’ve been forgiven of. For me, that’s a lot. Jesus doesn’t measure sin. Size and extent are irrelevant. His blood was enough for it all.

For that, I am grateful.



Every Detail

Does God care about the little things in my life?

Sure, I know He’s in the big stuff, but what about the small?

Matthew 17:24-27 On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?” “Yes, he does,” Peter replied. Then he went into the house. But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?”“They tax the people they have conquered,” Peter replied.
“Well, then,” Jesus said, “the citizens are free! However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”

I want to share a story with you that will answer this question with a resounding, yes. Yes, He is in every single detail of my life and yours.

I was going to be sharing with a group of ladies at a Bible study in Cambodia. When I teach, I often like to use tangible items to illustrate the point being made in the verses. In this particular story I wanted to use silver dollars. I actually had gold dollars, but I didn’t want gold, I wanted silver. I could’ve used quarters, but I didn’t want to use quarters. I wanted silver dollars. There were only a few days left for me to get these silver dollars when a blizzard struck the Northeast. I was snowed in. It was impossible for me to get to the bank.

What was I going to do?

Not only did I need one silver dollar, according to my list of names, I need six. One for each women.

I began to talking to the Lord. “Lord you know I need these coins. Well, I don’t need them, but I was really depending on them to illustrate the point. What am I going to do?”
And then He brought a thought to my mind. Many years ago, my Aunt Marg collected coins. She had given my granny her collection before she died. About 15 years ago, my granny gave them to me in a small change purse. It is one of the few things that I have that belonged to her. It is very special to me. When I went upstairs, I found that little purse under some envelopes and papers in my desk.

 
IMG_1901
IMG_1905
 
IMG_1189
IMG_1185
 
I opened it up.

Inside was six silver dollars. Exactly what I needed.

Hot tears of joy welled up in my eyes.

I was overwhelmed by the goodness of God.

He is in every detail of my life.

We can see in the above verses, Peter came to Jesus with a need. Jesus anticipated his coming. He was one step ahead of him. Jesus is always one step ahead of us.

What do you need today?

Matthew 6:8 …your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!

Jesus started meeting my need over 15 years ago. That’s amazing. He’s preparing things now for my future. He is providing for my children’s needs as well. He will meet the needs of my health. My finances. All of my personal needs. I want to point out that Peter didn’t find a million dollars in the fishes mouth. He found what He needed for that particular day. Jesus will provide what I need for today. He does care about the little things in my life. He makes little things big. Because I have a big God.

Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.



Anxious Mind?

peace

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your specific requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart], that peace which transcends all understanding, that peace which stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

May I say I woke up with overwhelming anxiety…physically feeling it…This verse says in everything by PRAYER…and supplication…first prayer…this place of acknowledging God…my God. My Strong tower. My refuge. My God who holds the stars in His hand…the God who is in control of me and my health…part of prayer is worshipping Him for Who He is and not necessarily what He can give…and I did. I just sang my heart out and then I asked for stuff (supplication)…by then I forgot all my anxiety because the peace of God came upon me. If you’re not there yet, spend some time acknowledging Him and worshipping …He is the Alpha and Omega , and everything in between. He who began a good work in you will complete it.

 


He Is Faithful

 
rainbow blog

When God gives you a promise, it will definitely happen. The word ‘maybe’ isn’t found in God’s vocabulary…Our God is never late; always right on time, every time. ~She Rises


Be Still

 
be still
 
Be still and know…
What is it He may want us to know here on this side of the Atlantic? What with a Nor’easter about to land right in our front yard, a good 2 feet of snow is expected and the boy and I leave for Cambodia in six days.

 

He may want us to know:

Expect the unexpected. Just when you think you know the plan, it changes.

He changes it. All.

It’s been happening since the beginning of this whole thing. The mission trip.

I had my plan. It was all figured out. I was going to Cambodia by myself. I had a specific thing I wanted to be doing and it’s not suitable for children. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. When. How. It was going to be so awesome. In my head. Then one day the boy comes and tells me “God called me to go to Cambodia.” Well I just knew someone must’ve planted this outlandish idea in his little head. So I waited. I told him we had to pray about it. And so we did. When I asked him about it again some time later he told me, “God called me to go to Cambodia. My belly told me.”
 
cambodia team 2016
 

John 7:38 He who believes on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

And that was not part of the script.

There went my plan.

So as I sit in my warm house and watch this beautiful snowfall I smile big. We have a big God who is holding all of this together. His plan is bigger than mine. It is better than mine. And sometimes He throws a big ole Nor’easter your way. It may wreck your plan. Delay your plan.

Sometimes storms are part of the plan. His plan anyhow. He takes things away. But He also brings new things. But He can’t usher in the new until He gets rid of the old.

He knows what He’s doing.

So if you’ve been disappointed lately, sit tight.

Be still.

Know.

He is in complete control. He isn’t caught off guard in the least. Know He loves you. He is for you. He is God. His ways are not our ways. He doesn’t think like we do. We look at outward appearance of things, even though He tells us not to. Know this: He sees behind the scenes. All of it. The big picture.

Psalm 84:11 No good thing will He withhold from those who do what is right.

He knows what we need. When we need it. And will provide all of our needs in His good time.

In the meantime, we can be still and know He is God.



BE FREE!

FullSizeRender (15)
 

They weren’t locked.

The handcuffs.

They were easy to open. All I had to do was push that little release button and they opened right up. It was that easy.

Freedom is that easy.

Sometimes we sit shackles of our own making. Our thoughts. Chained to fear. Handcuffed to the past. Sin. Regret. Failure.

Jesus separated us from our sin as far as the east is from the west. He doesn’t see it.

Jesus cast our sins behind his back. Period. So why do we keep trying to see them.

Whatever it is that has a hold on you, bring it before the Lord.

Psalm 7:1 O Lord my God, in You I take refuge; Save [yasha: rescue, open, set free] me from all those who persecute me…

There is a voice that continually dogs us. It chases after us. Pursues and pursues. That’s what this word persecute means in the old language. It means to pursue. Run after in order to catch. That’s what the enemy does; he tries to wear us down in our minds until we give up. Don’t give up!

There is freedom for the one who can grasp the fact that God knows all of her fears. He sees our hurt. Is well aware of our anger. Our failings. He knows us so completely; inside and out. When we are exhausted with our anxiety, He knows. He knows our desire to be understood, heard, seen, validated. Our need to be loved, and feel loved. Filled. Full. And healed.

Even if an addiction has had a hold on you for years, today you can be free.

Ephesians 1:18-20 And I pray that the eyes of your heart the very center and core of your being may be enlightened flooded with light by the Holy Spirit, so that you will know and cherish the hope the divine guarantee, the confident expectation to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints God’s people, and so that you will begin to know what the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His active, spiritual power is in us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of His mighty strength which He produced in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places…

In His Presence we find freedom.

Only He knows the secret longings of our heart.

His Presence brings refuge. The assault to our thought life is brought to a halt. Our thoughts of guilt, regret, discouragement, and hopelessness are deprived of power.

Proverbs 26:20 Where there is no wood the fire goes out.

Don’t look at the past. Move on.

Philippians 3:13…I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead…

Don’t fear the future. He is already there.

Combat the enemy with the word of God. Grab your sword. Jesus did. Shouldn’t we?

Ephesians 6:17-18 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

The enemy has no power over us; only what we give him.

Give him nothing.

Rather, give this to the Lord.

Luke 10:19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.

Surrender this thing to Him. Sometimes surrender is literally moment by moment.

Matthew 9:28 Do you believe I am able to do this?

Hit that release button. Take those handcuffs off.

Be free.



TRUST HIS WORD!

 
IMG_9565
 

Genesis 15:5, 11 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

The Lord took Abram outside. He told him to look up at all the stars and gave him that wonderful promise: He would give him descendants that were as numerous as the stars in the sky…
that’s a lot of stars…and that’s a big promise to believe seeing that Abram had zero children and his wife was barren…BUT GOD…and it says Abram believed God…but we still see he asks God a legitimate question…

How?

God often confirmed His word with a sacrifice. Sacrifice often represents surrender. We don’t always understand what God is doing. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense.

2 Corinthians 5:7 We walk by faith, not by sight.

We need to live as though the things that are not seen, are already.

Full surrender.

Has God asked you to believe Him for something big? Trust Him in a way you’ve never trusted before? Is He taking you way outside your comfort zone? Asking you to step out in a big way? Step out onto nothing but His word?

Sometimes we do look at the situation and think it’s impossible. We know it is.

But God…

Luke 1:37 Nothing is impossible with God

God tells Abram to bring Him a sacrifice: a heifer, goat, ram, dove, and pigeon.

He brought ALL the Lord asked. Have you brought ALL the Lord asked?

Full surrender?

Notice what happens when he brings all:

Genesis 15:11 Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.

This is exactly what happens to us when we grab hold of one of God’s promises; the enemy swoops down to steal our trust. Steal our confidence. Steal our word. Steal our joy.

Did He speak to you?

You can trust Me.
Don’t be afraid.
I am with you.
I will supply ALL your need.
I will change him/her.
I will intervene.

Don’t let the “vultures” steal that word from you.

Keep in mind the vultures were just the vessel. In our lives, the enemy will sometimes use our own family or friends to steal that word.

Drive them away. Right away.

In the Hebrew, the word for “drive away” often meant “to blow like a wind”…it only takes one breath of the Holy Spirit to come drive the enemy away…One breath of the Holy Spirit to bring life…one breath to raise the dead… Ask the Holy Spirit to come breathe on your situation…drive out the voice of the enemy and allow the still small voice of the Lord to be louder.

Yes, it did look impossible. It was impossible. Except that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!!!! He only asked Abram to believe. He didn’t ask him to make it happen.

That’s what the Lord asks of us. See the invisible. Believe the Promise.

The word of the Lord can be trusted!



BE YOU!

 
IMG_0615 (1)
There’s this happiness all wrapped up in a big bundle of fur that I want to tell you about. His name is Smiley. Smiley was born without eyes, a condition often associated with dwarfism. His legs are a little bowed, his head is a little large and he stands “a little crooked,” his owner said. He was one of 85 dogs rescued from a puppy mill in a small town in Ontario. They found homes for all of the dogs. Well, all except for one. Smiley was rejected. No one wanted him. The lady who found him decided to keep him. She knew instantly he was special. She believed in him. Smiley became a therapy dog! He goes to nursing homes. He sits with people who need a listening ear. He visits children with special needs. He encourages them to do new things. Helps them achieve new levels. He makes them smile. Special needs create opportunity for special deeds. Smiley’s disability gave him the ability to serve a very special group of people. Without his disability, he would NEVER have served them or even met them. They have opened up so many doors for him. He was rejected my man, but chosen by God. God has a very special plan for his life. God has a plan for your life as well. A path chosen just for you. Be YOU! Blind, gimping, not a good speaker? Make noises? Have tics? Different? Yes! Different is good! Embrace it! Make it yours. Make it your message to the world. These things make you relatable. On a side note, we as women strive to look like everyone else. We want to have that perfect body. There is no such thing. Strive to be YOU! YOU are perfect. Just. The. Way. You. Are. If Smiley could see, I guarantee he would’ve been adopted into a loving family. He would’ve had a good life. Comfortable. And easy. His special needs gave him so much more! His life is so much fuller than the average pup. He is much stronger in every way. The same is true for you. Disabilities create need. And weakness. They make life more difficult. No doubt about it.2 Corinthians 12:9-10…My power works best in weakness…That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. We become stronger on the inside. Our faith grows exponentially. God is giving us unique opportunities. He is enabling us to reach people others can’t. People who are just like us. Opening doors to touch so many more people in need. Smiley rose above his circumstances. And God is using him in a big way. He will do the same in your life as well.
 
Proverbs 31:15 She rises…God wants us to rise above our circumstances as well. He will help us to overcome every obstacle we face. He will use it for our good and His glory.
 
Dear Jesus, how can I use this disability in my own life? Who can I reach out to? How can I serve you best? Lead me to cross paths with someone I can help along the way. I know that you have a purpose for it. All Your ways are good. Please help me to see this as You do. ~She Rises p.1


Just Put It Out There…

FullSizeRender (12)
 
The boy just put it out there.
The bowl.
It was only 7:30 in the morning. I wondered who he thought might see it?
It didn’t matter.
It was raining at that.
That meant nothing to him. He had only one thing on his mind. He just wanted to help someone. This was all he could think to do.
When he brought the bowl back in at noon, do you know how much money he collected?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was empty.
I had to ask myself a question. What would’ve happened if he didn’t put the bowl out there?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
At least he tried. It may not look like anything to anyone, except One.

1 Samuel 16:7 …For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

God sees the heart behind it.

Leviticus 27:9 … all that anyone gives to the Lord shall be holy.

Anything you offer to the Lord is precious to Him. You are His child. It moves His heart. When your own child gives you a present, do think to yourself, “What will people think of this ‘gift’?” Or “What am I going to do with this stupid thing?” You would never think that. You’re just so happy this kid wanted to give you something that you can’t stop smiling. You want to call everybody up and tell them how cute this was. Post pictures. Tell the world all about how great this kid is.

As we close out this year, were there some things you wanted to do that just didn’t get done? You feel the Lord calling you to do it. Maybe you wanted to write a note to someone. Or write a book. Start an outreach. Make a phone call. Create a website. Go on a mission trip.

Do it.

Just put it out there.

It may be just a few words, just another book, just a little outreach. Who cares if no one comes. Just offer it. All that you have. All that you are. It’s precious to our God. If it’s offered to Him, watch what He will do with it.

Even your emptiness.

God can do anything with a willing heart. And open hands that are willing to give what He asks.

We evaluate. Scrutinizing our work. Our words. Our grammar. Our situations. And inabilities. We think God can’t use this, or me, or that.  You know what? You’re right, He can’t use it if you don’t offer it. If you don’t put it out there, nothing happens. No change comes.

Or how about being a mom? It’s all I can do right now. Are you doing it for the Lord? Bring it to Him as an offering. Bring it. Offer it. Put it out there.

All that anyone gives is holy. Precious.

All.

Not just big things. But little things too. Even suffering. Weeping.

Offer it to Him as a sacrificial present. Its priceless to Him.

How about your marriage? Or lack there of.

Give it to Him.

How about cancer? Special needs child? Prodigal?

Put it out there. Ask Him to use this for His glory.

Begin this new year with your offering. Your present to your God.
 
IMG_2273
 
IMG_2263
FullSizeRender (11)
FullSizeRender (10)
 
 
Did God call you to do something? Say something? Start something? Write? Love?
 
It may look like just an empty bowl. A few bread crumbs. A simple card.
 
Don’t underestimate the impact you have. Just put it out there.

Do it.

Do it with all your heart. Do it with joy. It brings Him joy.

This is all about Him. He is all that matters. He finds your offering of great value. It’s important. Cherished. You will be so surprised to see how He fills even your emptiness. He’ll use it all.
 
You just may change someone’s life.


What He Truly Wants For Christmas?

chr candle
It’s hard to capture the look of awe with words.

I wish I could.

Last night we went caroling through the neighborhood around our church.

One particular home stood out.

The children went up to the door and knocked.

No response.

They knocked again.

No response.

After a third attempt, we started to move on.

But out came this little woman. She came close. Standing right at the edge of the yard. We sang a song for her. I wished her a Merry Christmas. She leaned over and tried to give me some rolled up cash.

I recoiled back. “Oh no, we don’t want any money. We just want to wish you a Merry Christmas.”

She paused for a long moment. I could tell she was trying to process what I said. Trying to take it all in. The whole scene. She finally spoke soft, “You mean you don’t want money?”

The look on her face was priceless.

My heart smiled big. “No, that’s not why we came.”

Isn’t that a picture of Christmas.

A Savior came to give. He knocks on the door of our heart. Persistently. Not because we deserve it. It’s all grace. Getting what we don’t deserve.

Just because He loves us. He gave His life so we could have life. Eternal life.

What could we possibly give Him in return?

Proverbs 23:26 My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways…

All He asks for is our hearts.

Give Him the best gift this Christmas, your heart.

All. Of. You.

Your inner most being, your will, your understanding, your thinking, your feeling, your obedience, your resolution, your determination, your trust…

Everything.

That will make for a happy Christmas…



I Need A Savior

Joy to world? Perhaps you came here for joy, but along with you come the overwhelming thoughts of all that you still have to do. The gifts to buy. People you forgot to buy for. The people you did buy for, but what if they don’t like your gift. What if they think you’re cheap? The pressure. How am I going to pay for all this stuff? I hope my husband doesn’t find out how much I spent. I know he sees the bill. He pays it but…And then there are the pressures at work. Pressures of ministry. Pressures of children. Cookies to bake. Those cheap presents need to wrapped. Dinner plans and other plans. Family we haven’t seen. Family we don’t want to see. And on top of all that is the same old thing, the big thing that weighs heavy on your heart. Maybe it is a desire on in your heart that remains unfulfilled. A person or situation you want to change and it seems further away than ever.

 

Mark 3:1 Jesus went off with His disciples to get away. But, a huge crowd came…

 

He knows what we are feeling.

 

Mark 3:10 For He healed many so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him.

 

I want to bring a word in this verse to our attention. You may want to underline it. This word “afflictions” in the old language is the word mastix. It is the Greek word for scourge or to whip. In the literal sense it was the Roman flagellum. Romans would, according to custom, scourge a condemned criminal before he was put to death. The Roman scourge, also called the “flagrum” or “flagellum” was a short whip made of two or three leather (ox-hide) thongs or ropes connected to a handle as in the sketch above. The leather thongs were knotted with a number of small pieces of metal, usually zinc and iron, attached at various intervals. Scourging would quickly remove the skin. According to history the punishment of a slave was particularly dreadful. The leather was knotted with bones, or heavy indented pieces of bronze.

 

Maybe you come here this morning feeling whipped. Beat down. Hurting in your heart. And maybe no one knows what you’re struggling with. On top of all the Christmas stuff: A decision. A child. A husband. An illness. A sin. In the deepest recesses of your heart you are crying out.

 

Jesus sees your need. He knows. It may feel like you’re in this thing alone. Or like you’ve been forgotten. Jesus hasn’t forgotten you. He sees.

 

The crowds pressed into Him. Press into Jesus. When my sons were babies, there was nothing greater than when they were all worn out they would just come and snuggle up in my lap and lay their head down. Press in close. I would wrap my arms around them and squeeze tight. Eventually they would fall asleep. Camden was little more obstinate though. It would take him a lot to come and just give in. Sometimes we can keep fighting that surrender. Press into Jesus. Hear what He has to say to you. Press in close.

 

Luke 2:11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord.

 

Today we gather together to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Let’s begin by defining what the word Savior means: To rescue, to deliver, to preserve, to keep safe, to set free.

 

First and foremost, Jesus Christ came to save us from our sins. Save me from my sins personally. My sins which are many.

 

Luke 19:10 The Son of Man came to seek and save that which is lost.

 

I want to share some verses from Luke 15 about our Savior. Our Rescuer. In this chapter is a parable. One parable with three stories. It’s like one song with three stanzas. Jesus is replying to an accusation that He receives sinners and has nerve to eat with them too.

 

Luke 15:1-7 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

 

Sheep are notoriously famous for being stupid. They are foolish. They do foolish things. Sheep are so dumb they can’t even find their own food or get to water nearby. They need their shepherd to guide them. They wander aimlessly and mixed up so easily. How right the Lord was in likening us to them. Without our shepherd we would wander right into hell.

 

He came to save lost sinners from hell.

 

Jesus Christ left heaven. Streets of gold. Sinless perfection. He came as a little baby and He made himself vulnerable and came to earth, the only man born to die. He came to pay the penalty for my sin. The penalty for my sin was eternity in hell. He came to die a brutal death on the cross to pay my penalty. And yours. That is how much He loves you. He will pursue after you  until you willingly come to Him. If a little sheep wandered off habitually into areas that could be potentially destructive, the shepherd would break its legs. Then, after carefully setting the bones, he would carry the sheep on his shoulders while the bones mended. When the sheep was healed, so close did she grow toward her shepherd that from that time on, she would never leave His side. Therein lies the reason we don’t want to wander. Every time we think a particular sin is not that big of a deal we may reconsider what can happen-not because the Lord is angry or vindictive, but because He wants to save us from danger and damnation. If you’re like me, you’ve had a few broken bones on your journey, and you’ve learned to say, “Lord, I want to stay right next to You every step of the way.

 

Jesus our Savior.

 

The next story in our parable:

 

Luke 15:8-10 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

 

To explain the seeming panic over the loss of a single coin, it must be understood that in the Hebrew culture at the time, on her wedding day, a woman would be given a necklace that was strung with ten gold coins. It was very valuable. It would mean the world to her. It is much like our wedding ring today.

 

A lost coin would make the necklace lose its value.

 

The loss was at the hands of someone else’s carelessness.

 

 The same thing can happen to us.

 

We can feel as though we are worthless due to what someone has said to us or what they didn’t say. Something from last week, last year, or childhood. Things done to us. Past rejection. Past abandonment can leave us feeling less. Or never enough. Not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not worthy of being loved. Whether that rejection or feeling came from a father, a mother, a boyfriend, husband or anyone else.

We feel less. We put ourselves down. We don’t take compliments well. We hurt ourselves. Beat ourselves down. We feel like failures as moms if we have a bad day.

Our Savior comes to set us free from this constant beat down in our minds. He wants to set us free in our thought life. Lift us out of the depression. The anxiety. Set us free from fear.  Fear of being ourselves. Free from being defined by man’s opinion.  Our value is not in what any man thinks of us. Our value is not found in our jobs, careers, or ministries. Our value is not in being a wife or a mother. Our value is not found in what we look like. How much we weigh or the size of our pants.

Our value is found in being a daughter of the King.

You are His. In this parable the women searches frantically for that lost coin. When she finds it, she rejoices. She celebrates. When that coin is back where it belongs, there is a celebration. While the parable continues to be about the lost sinner returning, it is a great picture of the celebration that will take place in our heart when we understand the true love of Jesus.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

Fear is from the enemy.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Complete understanding of the love of God sets us free from fear.

 

We can get a beautiful picture of our Fathers love in our third story from Luke 15.

 

Luke 15:11-24 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

The love of the Father. It is the only place you will see the Father running and it’s to meet a repentant sinner. You have never gone too far away that the Father won’t run to meet you. On his way home perhaps the son expected to be berated and yelled at. But he was only met with grace and love. It wasn’t earned. Grace is not earned.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Love doesn’t have to be earned or worked for.

 It DOESN’T come and go.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The name that I love the most in this verse is Everlasting Father. I’ve never met my father here on earth. He abandoned me.

Jesus Christ is my Heavenly Father. My Dad.

He is the Everlasting Father my heart longs for.

Everlasting Father: He doesn’t come and go. He stays. He never leaves. He will never desert us. He will never let us down. He will never disappoint us. He will always be there. He always has been. He always will. He is always certain. He is stable. He is sure. He can be counted on. Relied upon. He never grows weary. He always knows what to say. He always knows what to do.
 
good dad
 
dad holding hand
 
father_love__by_bobbytnr-d3crweo

 

The Fathers love.

True love.

He pursues after us like the shepherd and his lost sheep.

We are valuable. Cherished and precious to Him.

He is our loving Father who runs to meet us no matter where we’ve gone. No matter how far. No matter the reason.

Jesus Christ came to set the captives free.

Maybe today you want to be free.

John 8:36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Our hearts long to be free. Free to love like He loves. Free from fear. Free from guilt. Free from the opinion of man. Free from fearing the future. For ourselves or our children.

Jesus Christ came to set us free. Free from doubt. Free from depression. Free from hopelessness. Free to have joy right where we are. Free from addiction. Free from sin.

Revelation 2:17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”’

This white stone is very significant. It is given to the one who overcomes.

It’s important to understand the meaning behind this white stone.

In Jesus day, stones were used to cast a verdict after a trial. A black stone meant guilty. A white stone meant innocent.

Jesus paid with His blood for us to be set free. He paid the penalty for our sin. We can receive this white stone with joy.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Condemnation is from the enemy. There is freedom is Jesus Christ.

Innocent and set free.

Here is the second part of Revelation 2:17:

On the stone is a new name. It is a new name the Lord wants to give you today. A name that is only between you and Him. Only He knows your heart.

You may say, “I want that new name. I want to be free from these things. But how?”

It seems impossible. It seems so far away.

I want to close with a very familiar story that will teach us how.

Matthew 14:15-21 When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

I want you to take a little bit of a different perspective of this story. I want you to place yourself in the crowd. Each one of those people made an individual decision that day. Jesus gave the invitation. They came and sat down at his feet.

They waited expectantly.

Did some of them leave? Go off on their own to find their own provision? If they did, they missed the miracle.

The people came with great need. They were hungry. They were far from home. They had nothing. Some were desperate. Most had no idea a miracle was about to happen.

Jesus saw their need. Individually. He didn’t see a crowd. He saw the heart.

He sees your need.

Matthew 14:19 Then He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and He took the five loaves and the two fish and, looking up toward heaven, He blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people,

Jesus took what they had. He looked up to heaven. He looked up. He didn’t look down at what was there. He didn’t complain there wasn’t enough. He looked up. He blessed it. He blessed God for the little bit he had.

A good example for us.

He broke the bread.  So often I say, “Lord, break him, break her, breakthrough in this situation and the Lord gently says, “I want to break you.”

 Also note, it was the Lord that did the breaking. Not the people. He doesn’t need our help in that area.

He looked up. He blessed God. He broke the bread.

The miracle happened.

The people sitting at his feet waiting saw the miracle happen.

They came expecting and he delivered.

He met their need supernaturally. He will meet yours in the same way.
 
gold coin

 

In the box is a gold coin for you to remember how valuable you are to Jesus. When you place your heart, your mind, your will in His hands that’s where your value lies.

And the white stone. Your white stone. It’s for those who overcome.

A reminder of the verdict. Not guilty. Set free.

And a piece of paper for you to write your new name. The name the Lord wants you to leave here with.

Let’s pray.

What do you need from your Savior today?

He wants to give you a new name.

Maybe you came here and you’ve never given your heart and life to Jesus. You’ve never asked Him to forgive you of your sins. And you want to do that. Today He forgives. Your new name is forgiven. Child of God. Daughter.

Did you come here fearful? He wants to give you a new name:

Trust. Confident. Your future is secure in Him.

Did you come feeling worthless? Your new name is Valuable. Precious. Treasure. Beautiful.

Did you come bitter or resentful? Leave with a new name: Sweet or Accepting.

Did you come unloving? Leave with a new name of Love. I will love.

Or feeling unlovable? Leave with a new name of Loved. Cherished.

Did you come prideful? Leave with a new name of Humble.

Did you come insecure? Leave with a new name of Secure.

Ask the Lord to speak to your heart and then write your new name on a piece of paper to remember this day. Go back to it often. Take it with you. Put in your pocket. Remind yourself. Every day.

You are Loved. Valuable. Treasured. Cherished. Precious. Beautiful. Full of beauty because of Whose you are.

You are His.



The Word of God: Matchless in Power

I love the Word of God. The word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than a two edged sword. It cuts like a scalpel. It does hurt sometimes. But it is so powerful and that is what I stand in awe of today. It is more powerful than human wisdom. Overrules doctors and therapists. All. The. Time. It has more power than the most effective medicine on the market. More efficacy than the latest therapy known. Do not underestimate this word. It has supernatural power that we cannot even imagine or think of. One word of God is enough to raise a man from the dead. Literally and spiritually dead can rise up and walk. They can run. This word can give sight to the blind. It is wisdom. Teach this word to your children. No matter how old they are. Irrespective of their perceived ability to understand. Many children with special needs don’t make eye contact or speak. No worries there. They are hearing just fine. You’re trusting in the power of the word and not in your delivery. The word of God says even little tiny babies have the ability to praise Him (Matthew 21:16)! Speak it. Read it. Sing it. Go for a car ride and play a CD. You have a captive audience…and their strapped in. Win. Win. This word is doing things in the heart that our minds can’t fathom. This word. I love this word. I love what this word has done, is doing and has promised to do in them.
boys chr

Joshua 21:45 Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken…All came to pass



Giving a little

The boy is onto something big.

“Hurry Mommy give me dollar.”

He must’ve seen her before I did. I don’t think I put the car in park and he was out of it, hovering over me.

I heard the jingling of the bell. I looked back and saw the red pot.

Digging in my purse, I couldn’t even find one dollar.

“Never mind. Just give me a penny. Just some change.”

He opened the small drawer next to the steering wheel. It held a handful of change. Nothing big. Only dimes, nickels, and a few pennies. Not even a quarter.

The boy was real happy with that. Smiling big, he skipped to the big red pot. He put in all he had.
The lady politely thanked him.
She said, “Do you want to ring the bell?”

He replied soft, “No thank you.”
FullSizeRender (6)
FullSizeRender (7)
FullSizeRender (8)
FullSizeRender (4)

It wasn’t much, but you would’ve thought he gave a million bucks the way he was smiling as we walked away.

I think God intended it that way.

Giving I mean.

We don’t have to give much to get a big return.

That applies all the way around.

How about a kind encouraging word. A compliment. Or a “you can do this!”…a simple word that may just turn someone’s whole day around.

A note or card with a Bible verse could be just the thing they need. Only takes a few minutes of your time, it could mean the world to the receiver. Just the fact that you cared speaks volumes.

Pay for the person behind you in the drive thru. Give them a message:
Merry Christmas! Jesus loves you! Just that Name…so much power…who knows what He will do with it….

Happy Saturday!

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over with no space left for more. For with the standard of measurement you use when you do good to others, it will be measured to you in return.”


Time To Slow Down…

 

I hear a hint of desperation in his voice. That’s probably because it’s echoing out of mine as well.

Exodus 33:12 Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me…”

Moses seems to be overwhelmed by all of his responsibilities.

He seems to be asking, “Who is going to help me? How am I going to get through this alone?”

He had a lot on his plate.

But, doesn’t it say God spoke to him face to face? Moses did go out to seek God, and God would meet him.

God always meets us when we seek Him.
 
IMG_9277
IMG_9821
IMG_9966
IMG_0051
IMG_9275

I can’t help but wonder if Moses gave God a chance to speak. What if he stayed a little longer in the Presence of God? Would the conversation have been different? Maybe one of thanking Him for promising to be there for Him? Or praising Him for His faithfulness?

Exodus 33:11 …And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

In the old language these words “turned again” mean “to yield.”

Was Moses, as the leader, feeling the pressure of the demands of people? Meetings to go to? Plans to be made? Or implemented? Discrepancies to be settled? People to deal with? Or did he just want to catch up on his FB feed? Did he yield to the demands and the distractions?

When we yield, we lose every time.

The incessant demand of the ministry never supersedes the demand for alone time with God. Nothing is more important. Demands seem to close in on us. Decisions do need to be made. People do need us.

But we need God first.

We leave His Presence too soon. We end up feeling anxious all day.

Slow down. Sit for a while.

Luke 10:42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.

She sat at Jesus feet. First.

We will find all that we need is there as well; if we sit long enough to hear Him speak.

 

 

 



Good Good Daddy…

untitled3

 

 The boy wanted to go ice skating. I was apprehensive. He’d tried his hand at it before.

 It didn’t go well.

 I don’t think he made it out on the ice. The walk into the rink was too much for him.

 He gave up.

 A few years passed, and he was ready to try again.

 Very enthusiastically I might add.

 When we arrived at the ice rink, there were lots of skaters out there.

All different ages.

All different abilities.

 It was quite intimidating.

 The boy was undaunted though. He didn’t seem to notice.

 You know why?

 His Daddy was with him.
untitled7
untitled6
untitled
untitled4
untitled5

 He went out onto that ice with confidence. It wasn’t long before he fell flat. But he got back up and tried again. He fell countless times. He didn’t care. He was still laughing. He even set goals for himself. “I’m gonna try to make it around the rink one time without falling.” He didn’t make it. But he tried. He gave it his all.

 Before the end of the evening, he did it! You should’ve seen his smile. It was priceless.

Has God called you to take a step of faith? Try something new? Or go back to something old? Go back to church again? Start a new church? Or go for the very first time?

Go for it!

God wants to show you He is a good good Daddy. And when you’re out there on your own, you’ll find He is right by your side. Though you will surely fall, He will always be there to pick you back up. He’ll set you back on your feet, again and again. Not only that, He’ll be right there cheering you on. Your biggest fan. After a while, you’ll stop looking around to see who’s watching; who’s waiting for you to fall. You’ll only seek His nod of approval. And you’ll get it too!

 Do you want to know the best part? You are never alone. You get to do it together. Just you and Him. Precious time spent together as you seek Him. Cherished moments as you do this venture together.

 

 

 

 



Beware!

snake
 

The boy wrote it:

Adam and Eve lived in a beautiful and perfect garden called Eden. They were happy there. They had everything they needed, but one day Satan came to the garden. He didn’t want Adam and Eve to be happy so he disguised himself as a tricky SNAKE.

Who was the snake?

SATAN.

On the next page he described what happened. He ended with this:

It was very sad.

I have seen that snake working overtime.

He is out to destroy marriages. YOURS in particular. Mine too.

He is very crafty. And subtle.

It never starts out with, “let’s have an affair and destroy my marriage and crush my children.”

It starts out with a little nibble of an apple.

Beware.

Flattery always leads to compromise if your not careful.

Flattery: excessive and insincere praise, especially given to further one’s own interests.

A little text from an old friend.

And a little compliment. Innocent conversation.

You can bet it comes on the heels of a bad week with your man. Satan waits for an opportune time. He is very patient. Don’t take the bait.

Married women should never converse privately with a man who is not her husband.

Facebook, text or phone.

If you never converse with a man in private, you significantly reduce or remove any chance of an affair.

Is that legalistic? Billy Graham wouldn’t so much as get on an elevator with a woman.

How would you feel if you knew your husband was chatting with another woman?

1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

We don’t even want a hint of impropriety.

Proverbs 31:11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her…

Don’t try to make your husband jealous.

Dress modestly. Don’t display what belongs to him.

Honor him.

I love this truth that Camden wrote:

They were happy but…

Satan plants those little seeds of discord and they grow rapidly.

If you’re considering divorce because you’re not happy, stop.

You’re being deceived.

Your life won’t be better. It will be much worse. Ten times harder. And Satan will be laughing.

Invest in your marriage. Don’t give up. Give it all you have.

Marriage isn’t always about being happy. That is a fairytale that belongs in a Disney movie.

I am so glad God didn’t give up on me when He wasn’t happy with me. I would’ve been kicked to the curb a long time ago.

If you’re receiving counsel from a friend or professional who is telling you to get separated, run from that counsel. It is not biblical.

If a friend comes to you for advice, don’t give your opinion. Your opinion doesn’t count. Encourage them to seek the Lord. Even if there has been adultery, God can restore.

He is in the business of resurrection.

Matthew 19:6 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Renee you don’t know this guy. He isn’t doing his part.”

What about you? There are many times each of us fall short.

Marriage is not 50/50.

There is a percentage in the Bible: ALL.

Jesus gave all.

Even to the one who betrayed him. Jesus loved Judas to the end.

1 Corinthians 13:7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Fight for your man. Not against him. He is not the enemy.

Ephesians 6:12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits…

We are battling the powers of darkness. Satan himself. Don’t let him have the victory.

Your marriage is a picture to the world of Jesus and His love for His church. His love is endless. Always pursuing. Never leaving us. Staying with us. To. The. End.



Do You see me?

 
IMG_3891
 

I see the moon spilling over into the darkness. A light to my path. Speaking softly the words of God,

“I am with you.”

 

With that, a calm covers me.

 

So many things to be overwhelmed by this morning. Things that are out of my control. I don’t like that. There are situations I can’t change. Mountains standing in the way I seek. I need answers. None coming.

 

 It’s easy to feel like you’re out there on your own.

 

 God do you see me?

 

 He whispers, “Just because you can’t see Me, doesn’t mean I can’t see you.”

 

 We can never trust our feelings.

 

Oh my. Our feelings can deceive us. They tell us our situation is hopeless. There’s no way God can fix this. This is never going to happen. I could never love her again. He will never change. I’ll never find anyone. No way can I make it through this. I don’t know what to do. I can’t.

 

 2 Corinthians 5:7 We walk by faith, not by sight.

 

Depending on the season, the moon appears larger and brighter or smaller and dim. Clouds may cover her over. Circumstances may prevent us from going outside to see her. None of these things change the moon.

 

 The moon remains the same.

 

 So it is with God.

 

God never changes. He can be trusted. He remains the same in every season. A constant source of strength when we are weak.

 

 He is always with us.

 

 How do I know?

 

 His word says so.

 

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you will be able to bear it.

 

God never leaves us alone in our trials. There is no illness we are left to ourselves to get through. We will never be in a bad situation that He lets go of us. He always makes a way for us to endure beyond what we could possibly do on our own.

 

Even in situations where we have failed Him, He never gives up on us. Never. So many times I have not done His will. I have doubted Him. Shed a bad light on Him. Even disgraced Him. He never gave up on me though. I walked away from Him, but He never walked away from me.

 

God is so faithful.

 

If you can’t see Him today, He is still there. Quietly working behind the scenes.

 

2 Samuel 22:29-31  O LORD You are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army. With my God I can scale any wall. God’s way is perfect. All the Lords promises prove true. He is a shield for all those who look to Him for protection.



Gentle and Quiet

 
IMG_4873
 

Life throws us some curves.

When it does, how we react is paramount.

1 Peter 3:4 … the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit…is very precious in the sight of God.

What does a quiet spirit look like?

A quiet spirit is of priceless value when performing outward activities. Nothing so hinders the work of God’s unseen spiritual forces, upon which our success in everything truly depends, as the spirit of unrest and anxiety. ~Streams in the Desert

Meekness in the Old Testament described those who wholly relied upon God to defend injustice. Thus meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, and that He is using them to purify His people, and He will deliver His people in His time. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all.

Gentleness and meekness are the opposite of self-interest and self-assertiveness.

It is a calm mild disposition in the face of adversity of every kind.

A quiet spirit is an inward belief that God is on the throne. He rules and reigns, no matter what’s good or bad outwardly.

Revelation 5:8-9 When He had taken the scroll…they sang a new song…

The scroll of my life is in the hand of God. I am not in control of any of it. He calls the shots.

No matter what’s good or what’s bad, we can still praise Him. He is worthy of praise.

Here’s why:

Revelation 5:9 “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain,

 And have redeemed us to God by Your blood…

He bought us with His blood. He paid for us. He owns us. He gave His life for us.

Because He loves us.

We can sit quietly trusting.

God You are who You say You are.

I can trust you in every season of life.

Lonely on the outside and crying out for companionship?

God meets us in that lonesome place.

He takes us by the hand and teaches us to walk with Him and Him only.

God is faithful.

Nothing formed against us can stand.

 Psalm 118:6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

 This is such a great word for singles.

 You don’t have to take matters into your own hands.

 Sit tight.

 Cling to Him.

 Get to know Him.

 Give yourself to Him.

 Keep the scroll in His hands.

 Otherwise you open yourself up to a lot of unnecessary heartache.

 Don’t compare yourself to others.

 Time is not running out.

 Daniel 2:21 …He changes the times and seasons…

 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him

 Don’t let the expectations of the world weigh on you.

Psalm 37:3-4 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Enjoy your time with Him and use it to be used by Him.

There are certain things that you can only do when you’re single. It is a beautiful season of life. Don’t allow Satan to steal that joy from you.

How about if I’m married? My man is not walking with the Lord. In fact, he’s walking away from the Lord. Or my child, she is so far away right now.

1 Peter 3:1…even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives…

Love them where they are at.

Seek the Lord. Each of our situations is vastly different. And I think that God allows that so we must seek Him

Everyday.

Each new day the battle plan may change.

Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

We need to know what to say. And what not to say.

Sometimes less is more.

We can talk so much they can’t hear the voice of the Lord.

Psalm 141:3 Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips.

Lastly, nothing can rattle us more than physical illness. In myself or my child. When there is no definitive answer and uncertainty abounds, we can stay calm inwardly.

Tranquility can remain.

He knows us inside and out.

Psalm 139:16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Our faith stands on an empty grave. Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Don’t limit His work in your life, your man, your child, you personally and your situation.

Don’t underestimate your God. Your life, and all the details are in His hands.

Keep possession of that gentle quiet spirit. It is very precious in the sight of God.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

 



Just A Weed?

 
IMG_7828
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And then there’s this.

 

It may be just a weed to some. To him, it was his gift.

 

He did it for me. Just wanted to make me smile. To see me happy.

 

And he did. I lit up.

 

You know what I didn’t say? I wish you gave me roses. Sure wish you had given me a few more flowers here kid. No, I didn’t ask him if this was it. Is this all there is? Is this the best you got? Those things didn’t even cross my mind.

 

Lots of days we beat ourselves down over things we didn’t get done.

 

God is not disappointed in you. No way. He is pleased with you. Beyond pleased.

 

All your work, whatever you do for Him, He is delighted over. Anything set apart for Him, blesses His heart. It is never wasted. You know why? Because He sees your heart behind it. He sees our little weeds. Soft hands holding out what we have as an offering to Him. For Him. No one else.
 
That makes His heart smile.
 
You may feel unimportant. Insignificant. Overlooked. Not by your God. Never.

 

Sometimes we only see dirty diapers. I’m just a mom. All I do is clean up messes. I’m just a chauffeur. Only thing I do is cook all day long.

 

There are no insignificant jobs in the Kingdom.

 

God took the time to record a cook.

 

1 Chronicles 9:31 Mattithiah… had the trusted office over the things that were baked in the pans.

 

The man was entrusted with baking pans. This was his calling. His appointment. His divine assignment.

 

Not prestigious in the eyes of the world, but God recorded it.

 

He records.

 

He hasn’t missed one thing you’ve done for Him either.

 

Here these words:

 

He loves you. He sees your heart behind it. He doesn’t compare you to others. He doesn’t wish you did something else. Something more important. What you’re doing is important. He made you for your specific job. Whatever He has called you to do, do it with all of your heart. For Him. An audience of One. The only One to whom we look for approval.

He sees your little weeds. They make His heart smile.

 
 


Whose Standard?

IMG_7770

The boy shows up with this.
All shy acting. Reaches out to me, “Here you go Mom.”
Just at the right time. It was.
There was the doctor’s appointment for him this morn. A routine check-up. And the question that lingered long in my mind, echoing.
“So Mrs. Bollas, would you say he is above average, average, or below average academically?”
I pause. And smile polite.
I want to ask her a question.
“By whose standard?”
My God doesn’t compare. He made this guy who He decided He should be.
In His eyes He is perfect. He is WAY above any standard. He brings God’s heart joy because He is His son. Not because he can read or can’t read. Not because he is better or worse than someone else’s kid at Math.
Comparisons bring coveting.
When we compare our children it puts so much pressure on us, and them.
What we’re really looking at are deficits.
Should we focus on perceived shortcomings? Not at all.
God doesn’t measure. Nor should we.
God celebrates.
He made us each different for a reason. We are unique in every way. For a very specific purpose.
What is that purpose?
To know God, and make Him known.
And God chooses to do that differently in each one of us individually. We shouldn’t strive to be someone we’re not.
Praise God for who you are. He gave you special gifts. Use them.
If He blessed you with children, thank Him for who they are. If they are “below average” according to the world’s standards, God is going to use that in their lives. Be encouraged.
It is in our weakness that we are strong. Strong in Him.

1 Samuel 16:7 … For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

This boy’s heart is big. It makes me smile big.

 


He Is Able

uttermost
 
Hebrews 7:25 He [Jesus] is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Take risks on this. Stake your all on it. Mrs. C. Cowman

Believing this will change your whole life.

Let’s define uttermost: it means all the way, fully, completely, lacking nothing, finally, at all times and in all seasons.
Where does today find you?
Are you dealing with an impossible person?
God can save anyone at any time.
Are they out of your reach?
No one is beyond His reach. Distance is no matter for Him. When we call upon His name, He acts.
He intercedes. They may not be speaking to you. No worries.
Romans 8:27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
The Spirit intercedes on our behalf. His voice is unavoidable.
Do you think they will never change?
Jesus doesn’t come for good people.
Mark 2:17 Healthy people don’t need a doctor, sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.
No one has gone too far.
Nothing is off limits for Him.
There is not a marriage that He cannot restore. No drug addict He can’t redeem. No child He can’t return. No struggle we can’t face.
He is able.
I am not.
Jesus Christ has the power to change a man on the inside. To give a new heart. Melt a hard heart of stone. Renew a depraved mind.
He is capable of all that I am incapable of. All that I can’t handle.
He can break any stronghold.
There really is nothing our God cannot do.
He never fails.
He is all knowing. All wise. All sovereign. All good. All in all, He is all that I am not.
He saves. He keeps safe and sound. He can rescue from danger. Heal. And restore.
Saving is His job. Not mine. My job is to trust that He can. And proceed accordingly.

1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

He can bring life in the most unexpected places.



Fear: the ultimate thief

fear

I see the headline and I know it’s true.
Fear robs us.
And I remember what the boy said. And I felt it deep in my heart.
All downtrodden, “I can’t go to church. I’m a dummy.”
I inquire, “Did something happen? Did someone call you a dummy? Who?”
He puts it like it is, “Satan.”
So I probe a little more, “What does he say?”
“He says I’m a dummy. When I’m in my Sunday school class. He says I’m a dummy.”
Satan does whisper lies.
If we aren’t careful, we just may believe them.
Here are some of his subtle lies:
I am not enough. I wish I was better at that. If only I was smarter. Skinnier. Better. More like that person. Had that voice. That hair. A ministry like that one.
He instills fear. Fear that we won’t live up to someone else’s expectation of us.
Fear is not from God.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

How can we discern truth from lies?
Go to the Word of God. It is truth.

John 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life…

Don’t mull these thoughts over in your head.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
God is our refuge from these falsehoods.
The Word of God is truth. You can stand on it. Call upon it. Believe it. Grab hold of God’s promises.

Psalm 139:14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

God made you perfect. Just. As. You. Are.

Others may be smarter, skinnier, prettier, or funnier. God made each one of us unique in every way.

You have everything you need to do the will of God in your life.

May I suggest you write this down? Put it in your pocket. When the lies come, and they will, pull it out and read it. Ask the Holy Spirit to come and fill you with His truth.

Psalm 46:5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved



Tried and True

marriage

What is the secret to a good marriage?
Since I didn’t have a dad growing up, I had no idea what it should look like.
Cinderella?
Cinderella never had kids.
Real marriage includes real problems.
When those problems come, and they always do, the world says trade it in for a new model.
I’ll tell you what, that something shiny and new with all the bells and whistles couldn’t compare to what I have now.
No matter how ugly.
No matter how many wrinkles.
No matter how many stretch marks.
He knows how I got them. How we got them.
The pain we’ve been through.
The fights. The struggles.
The hospital visits.
When I promised yesterday to give you some practical ideas for having a good marriage, I thought I might share some fun ideas to do with your man. I was going to suggest writing him a love letter, kiss him in public, go for a walk, spend the whole day with him without your phone, or linger over a cup of coffee. All of these are wonderful.
But, for me and my man?
I’ll have dark chocolate covered malt balls waiting for him. We used to get them every day at St. Agnes hospital when Camden was in the NICU for two weeks struggling for life. We would come home and collapse on the couch; finding sweet solace in the chocolate together. It was the worst of times.
It wasn’t romantic.
It was the fight of a lifetime.
The bonds of war forge comrades for life. I will never forget that time. I never thought I’d say it, but I thank God for it. It made us stronger. It made our relationship with the Lord so much stronger. We needed Him. Together, we cried out to Him. He didn’t fail us. He held us together.
We’ve been through so much. I know you have too.
I don’t want new.
I want the old. Tried. Worn. Comfortable. Familiar.
That’s lasting love.
Your marriage is worth fighting for. Give it everything you got.

“No one gets left behind. You know that.”
-Mark Bowden, Black Hawk Down



Lost Connection

 
divorce

Divorce: A separation of two things that were once connected.

I was trying to enjoy a peaceful morning walk, listening to some music. Quite unexpectedly, my phone died. Well, actually it wasn’t all that unexpected. There were warning signs. I ignored them. Kept on my way.
It wasn’t until I lost it all that I that I decided I had to do something about it.
Every phone has to be charged every day. It is so simple. Why do we neglect it? We forget. We put it off. We get busy.
Suddenly we lose connection with everything.
This is exactly what happens in our lives when we lose our connection to Jesus.
It is not intentional.
Everything is going well. We get busy. It’s so easy to forget about the Lord when things are comfortable.
Revelation 3:17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
When things are good, we forget that we need Him.
Every last thing in our lives goes downhill from there.
Divorce doesn’t happen overnight.
It happens when one or both have lost their connection to Christ. When we don’t connect to Him every day, we lose our connection to one another. Self sets in. Focus on self instead of focus on Christ results in a major system failure. It can happen before we realize.
How do we reconnect?
It takes work. Good marriages take effort. Marriage is not all rose pedals, and fluttering butterflies.
Love is a choice. Love is not about feelings. We don’t always ‘feel like’ loving. Or being kind. We don’t always ‘feel’ attracted.
We choose to love despite our feelings.
Staying connected is a choice.
What if connection has been lost? It seems hopeless.
With God all things are possible.
John 14:6 I am the way, the truth and the life…
He is the way to Eternal life. He is the way to have life in your marriage. Life again. The way to real life. Real connection. There is no other way. He makes a way when there seems to be no way.
He is truth. Truth is not relative to our feelings. Truth is black and white as it is found in the Bible. When we lose our connection to Christ, we can be easily deceived into believing the lies of the world.
The world tells us if we’re not happy, just get a divorce.
Matthew 19:6 Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.
What God has joined becomes a permanent bond. One.
When you attempt to separate, it’s never a clean cut.
It’s ugly.
Divorce literally rips your hearts apart.
Children lose the most.
Even adult children are broken inside. It’s devastating.
There is nothing you can’t overcome.
Revelation 12:11 And they have defeated him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.
There is strength and power in that blood. That blood washed. It cleansed. It is precious.
Costly.
It brought life. Eternal Life. It gives life for today. And power. Power to overcome whatever disconnect has come. Power to change you. Power to change your husband. It is not a weak maybe. It is a definite Yes. He can. Jesus Christ overcame death. The grave. There is nothing He can’t do. Nothing He can’t fix.
He has the power to stop the march to separation.
He has power to resurrect even the worst of situations.
Reestablish your connection to Him. Pray to Him. Cry out to Him.
Pray for your husband. Pray without ceasing.
Watch what your God can do.
Ezekiel 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about some practical ways to stay connected…



Fiery Trial?

 

IMG_7141
 I want to tell you about a family I recently read about. The Vaughn family. John and Brenda Vaughn. John is a Pastor. They had three children at the time. The family was preparing to move to a new home. John was doing some tidying up and for reasons unknown, he decided to bring a gas can that he found outside and place it inside the home in a utility closet off the kitchen. He told his wife Brenda it was in there. He exhorted her to take caution and not allow their toddler near that room. She was only two at the time. Brenda was very busy cooking dinner and doing chores. She became preoccupied. Suddenly she looked up to find gas running out into the kitchen and her daughter sitting in the midst of it. As she closed the oven door, there was an explosion. Her daughter was engulfed in flames. Instinctively, she picked her daughter up and ran for the back door. She also became engulfed in flames. They made it outside where neighbors came running. They spent months in the hospital and years recovering. Brenda had burns over about 80% of her body. Their daughter Becky had burns over 95% of her body. She lost both of her ears. Although she could still hear. And she lost both of her hands. Pastor John recounts that one evening Becky was sitting on the living room floor reading a picture book. Her older sister was playing the piano. He watched Becky struggle turning the pages of the book with what was left of her hands.
Becky looked up. She asked her mom Brenda, “Mommy when I grow up will I have hands like Debbie?
Brenda didn’t miss a beat. She said gently, “Becky, Debbie has the hands that God has given her to do her job, and you have the hands that God has allowed you to have to do your job.
You have everything you need to do the will of God in your life.
And that is the main message I have for you today.
You have everything you need to do the will of God in your life.
While most of us don’t have the trauma that the Vaughn family had, we do each have our own unique situations.
Maybe some of you have a new addition to your family. Some of you don’t have a new addition but you have little ones that are now being homeschooled and that makes 6! Or some of you have illnesses that you’re dealing with. While others may be dealing with a strong willed child or one that has learning disabilities.
Each of our family’s dynamics can be extremely trying and challenging.
Sometimes overwhelming.
Our God is not caught off guard by our situations.
Our needs don’t surprise Him. He ordained them. Yes even the most trying ones are sent from His hand. Nothing touches us that is not filtered through His loving hands.
Every new school year finds me feeling like Moses when God called him to go speak to Pharaoh. He did not feel equipped. He didn’t feel he had the skills to pull it off.
He said, “Who am I that you are calling me to do this?”
Maybe you feel that way. How am I ever going to do this? I have no idea what I’m doing! How will I make this work?
Moses questioned himself. What will I say if they question me?
God so graciously said to Moses, “Tell them I AM has sent you!”
It is not about who you are Moses, it’s about who I AM.
I AM ALL THAT YOU ARE NOT. I will become to you all that you need.
God says the same thing to us.
I called you to do this.
You have everything you need to do the will of God in your life.
Psalm 138:8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.
He will complete what He called me to do. He will finish it. He will bring me to the end.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
God called you. He will equip you.
Something I want to point out.
Things didn’t go exactly as Moses planned. Pharaoh didn’t let the children of Israel go right away..
Things may not go exactly as we have planned either.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
If you’re like me you have your calendars. Your time frames. Your agendas.
BUT GOD HAS HIS.
More often than not, God deviates from my plan.
DELAYS happen. DELAYS ARE PART OF THE PLAN. Don’t be discouraged if your child doesn’t learn something as quickly as you like.
Don’t compare them to other children AND ESPECIALLY THEIR SIBLINGS.
THAT CREATES PRESSURE.
Don’t compare yourself to other Moms. That brings pressure on you. It creates unrealistic expectations.
Pressure steals your joy. It steals the joy from your children.
Homeschooling is a gift that we’ve been entrusted with.
We have a goal at our church: we want to make our sheep the best taught and most loved. BEST TAUGHT AND MOST LOVED.
God will give us what we need to make our children the best taught.
Maybe you feel like me and you are underequipped and lacking in every area…
2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you my power is made perfect in weakness.
God’s grace is enough for you.
Don’t be afraid.
Fear is not from the Lord.
2 Timothy 1:7 God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
God called us. We have His power.
We have his love. Love trumps all.
Let’s love our children well.
Encourage them. Praise them every chance you can. Tell them they are doing a great job. Tell them often.
Will there be trials? Absolutely!
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
There are two Greek words that make up this word patience.
Combined they mean TO REMAIN UNDER.
REMAIN UNDER THE PRESSURE. DON’T QUIT.
1 Peter 4:12-13 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
There is a reward.
1 Thes 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?
Our reward is raising a kid for the kingdom of God.
Yes it is costly. It will cost you your time. Your energy.
David says, I will not give God that which costs me nothing.
Costly but worth it!
You have everything you need to do the will of God in your life.
Let’s use this year to go over the top to make our children the best taught most loved. LOVE THEM WELL. LOVE TRUMPS ALL.
THERE may be others smarter or more equipped to teach my child but NO ONE can love him like I can!
LOVE THEM WELL.



Children Need Two Parents

two parents

Children need two parents.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one

I pass this family every morning. I love how they love. They stay close. When I come near they both perceive the threat. They go on high alert. Necks craning. Mom is looking one way; Dad another. They’re protecting the children, but in the process they have each other’s back. Each one could’ve flown away.
But they didn’t.
They stayed.
Each one made a choice.
I will stay. I will die for you, if need be.
Marriage is much the same.
Each one makes a choice.
I will stay.
Even if:
I have to die to my plan, my way, my pride.
I don’t feel like loving.
I don’t feel happy.
Marriage is not always about being happy, but holy.
What does that mean?
Choosing to be a peacemaker, not because he deserves it, but in your desire to honor God. It’s about choosing the hard.
For better or worse. There’s a lot of worse that happens. But it’s often making it through the worse that you get to the best.
It’s about staying when everything in you says go.
What about all this insecurity?
Love makes itself vulnerable. Love finds security in Christ and Him alone. Love sees the future and can smile. It knows Who holds the future. No matter what may come, Jesus Christ will be there.
Commitment to Him is essential.
What does that mean?
Surrendering your life to Him.
Placing your man is His hands.
Raising your children to know Him.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 …A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

He is the stability.
The one constant variable that never changes.
Everything changes in marriage.
Jesus never changes.
You can trust Him with your life.
Your man.
Your children.
Place your phone aside. Find something fun for your family to do together today. Something that doesn’t cost money. Somewhere to connect. Be together.



Clutter Needs To Go

worry

We walked out of the store and there it was.
This car.
Even Camden was taken aback.
Is this really someone’s reality?
The drivers side door opened. Very slowly.
Even slower, a middle aged gentleman struggled to get out. He shuffled into the store. Where would he put anymore stuff?
As I examined each thing individually, old newspaper, picture frames, even trash, I wondered why he didn’t just throw it away.
Get rid of it.
I began to think about all that clutter.
Our lives can begin to look like this sometimes. Before we realize it, we’re carrying around a bunch of junk that doesn’t belong.
Here are some things that need to go:
Old hurts. Yeah we say we let it go, but we’re really holding onto it for future ammo. We’ll use it some day.
1 Corinthians 13:5 [Love] keeps no record of wrongs.
Past regrets.
Philippians 3:13… I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.
Fears. Worry. And more fears. And even more worry.
“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength-carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
-Corrie ten Boom

Maybe this week has brought many heavy things. Unexpected things. Commit them to the Lord. They are His to carry.



Take the Leap

midair

I saw the boy from across the park.
Midair.
I couldn’t believe he did it.
Jumped right off the ledge.
I had mixed emotions pulsing.
What if he gets hurt?
But he didn’t. He made it. And just like that he was climbing up again.
Only this time he was shouting for me, “Momma, come here. Come here. Watch this.”
He didn’t know I saw.
I ran to him.

All giddy and out of breath, “You can call this my leap of faith.”

He leaped again.
No fear.
Pure power. He landed firm.
Has God called you to take a leap of faith?
Sometimes a leap is just taking a baby step. The boy didn’t get a running start. He just took a step forward.
Stepping into something new or out of something old can be scary.
You may be hesitating.
If I step out, what if things don’t work out?
I would rather be alone in the will of God, than miserable out of the will of God.
What will people think?
It’s a real good thing the boy didn’t ask me first what he should do. I would’ve definitely said it was a no go. Don’t do it. I like the sure thing. Predictable and comfortable.

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.
You may fear the future.
Fear and unbelief go hand in hand.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.
The boy had no one and nothing to depend on.
He had his faith. He had his God. More so, his God had him.
Your God has you.
If God called you to do it, He will give you everything you need to accomplish it.
Physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…”

God wants you to wholly rely on Him for every detail.
You are safe in His hands. Safe to give Him all.



Let That Go

 
frog
 

Found this guy along the road. Alive and well. Made me think of Pharaoh. And the plagues. And the frogs all over Egypt. They were everywhere.
Destroying everything.
Have you ever wondered why Pharaoh was so stubborn?
Why didn’t he just let the people go?
God tried to be gentle with him. He sent others to talk with him.
Warn him. Exhort him. Beg him.
But he still refused to listen.
Pharaoh wanted things to change. He begged for a reprieve.
One was available.
Let’s be clear. He had a choice.
Exodus 8:9-10 You set the time!” Moses replied. “Tell me when you want me to pray for you, your officials, and your people. Then you and your houses will be rid of the frogs…”
So he said, “Tomorrow.”
What was he thinking?
This plague was destroying him, his family, his job and everyone around him.
And yet, he wanted one more day with his frogs.
We’re not so different than Pharaoh. In fact, we’re way more like him than we care to admit.
Each of us have frogs in our lives.
Things that need to go.
Relationships, addictions, pride, unbelief, anger…just to name a few.
God told us to let it go a long time ago. We keep holding on.
We say, “Tomorrow.”
Give me one more night with the frogs.
We each have a choice.
John 5:6 … “Do you want to be made well?”
The ball is in your court. Things will change the moment you say so.
It is a matter of obedience. We are not at the mercy of some disease that is out of our control. We can’t blame our parents nor our circumstances.
In the secular world, sin is often labeled as a disease. Therefore, you are not personally responsible for your actions. No culpability. Just a victim.
That’s nonsense.
If you’re not sure what you’re dealing with, just look in the word of God. That is the only place to find truth.

John 8:32 …The truth shall set you free.

You are a slave to sin.
At your choosing, you can be set free.
Jesus Christ came to set the captives free.
Either you are a slave of Jesus Christ, or you are a slave of sin.

Sin is blatant mutiny against God, and either sin or God must die in my life. The New Testament brings us right down to this one issue— if sin rules in me, God’s life in me will be killed; if God rules in me, sin in me will be killed.-O. Chambers

If Christ is your Master, give Him full reign of your life.

Straddling the fence with one foot in the world and one foot in the church is painful. There is no rest. No peace. Only constant turmoil.

I know. I did it.

God loves you too much to have you continue on status quo. He is trying to get your attention.

1 Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Today.
Let that go.
Today.



Choosing the Right Path

handwriting
 

From Camden’s handwriting book…just right for me today…

 

 


Strong Hand

dad holding hand
 

Psalm 121:2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

 

My help isn’t some vague distant “maybe” that might show up, but a definite reliable Person. A big strong Dad who won’t let his daughter go out of His sight for even a moment. He is fighting on my behalf, leading me in the best direction and giving me His wisdom to make difficult decisions. He will give me the strength to follow through and squeeze my hand tighter when I’m afraid. He made heaven and earth. He holds them in the palm of His hand. I think He can handle what comes my way today. We can do anything together!

 
 


I Can Still Trust God

hab 3
 
 

It was so cloudy this morning. I couldn’t see very far ahead. My usual path was hidden underneath the dense fog. I was reminded that when I can’t see what lies ahead, my God does. When there are a lot of unknowns I can still trust my God. I know what this looks like. Everything around you contradicts what you were told. Trust God. Suddenly and in an instant, life can change.

 

Habakkuk 3:17 Though the fig tree not blossom nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls; Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength.

 



Break Through

 
cedar of lebanon
 

Psalm 29:4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; The voice of the LORD is full of majesty. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars, yes, the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon.

The Cedars of Lebanon grow in the mountains of Israel, Syria, and Jordan. The trunks of these trees reach 8 feet in diameter and they can grow 130 feet tall. These trees are massive forces to be reckoned with. Often our trials can seem like these trunks; impossible to break through.

As big as this trunk is, God’s voice is bigger still.

This verse shouts out the awesome power of the voice of God. His voice alone can splinter this tree.

There are obstacles that we are facing that seem impenetrable. They stand as stout as this tree. They are a domineering force, but God is able to break them as if they were little toothpicks.

His voice can pierce the hardest heart. It can penetrate even the most boisterous noise of the world. He can bring silence to the taunting voice of fears that attack us without warning. His voice alone can birth new life. It has more influence than all the competing voices of the world. While the enemy hovers as an imposing force and we are overcome with worries, His voice interjects to bring a new found confidence. One Word from the Living God infuses us with strength we never knew we had. Some of us have family that we’ve been trying to reach for years; unsuccessfully. No matter how far away they are, God can reach them. Distance is nothing for our God. He can reach where we cannot.

No heart, financial hardship, disability, broken relationship is beyond the voice of God.

Jeremiah 32:17 “O Sovereign LORD! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!”

 
 


My To-Do List

 
Cam1
 

Bouncing toward me was this.

 Hair all flopping around.

 Cheeks gleaming rosy.

 Smiling angelic.

 Sometimes the love of God is so surprising.

 This is love.

 God meets me on this road.

 It’s moments like this that take my breath away.

 I miss too many of these moments. My eyes are on my to-list.

 Today, he is my to-do list.

 I’m gonna slow down and laugh with him.

 Run with him.

 Play with him.

 Look him in the eyes.

 Listen to him. Really listen.

 Capture the moment.

 Love him well.

 Cherish my gift.

 Thank you Jesus for Your love. This love. It is overwhelming.

 Today I pray God meets you on your road. And surprises you. And overwhelms you.
 


Behind That Cloud

moon 11 19 13
 
 
 

It was a perfect morning. The air was crisp and cool. Not a drop of rain in sight. A brisk wind was blowing. I was immediately captivated by the moon. It was brighter than usual. Surrounded by clouds its light whispered a soft melody. It was radiant. I seemed to drift off in thought and not even 5 minutes later it was gone. Where did it go? Black clouds moved in. They swallowed up my beautiful sky.

 

Our life can go that way sometimes.

 

Everything is going perfectly one minute and the next it’s falling apart. It may be the worst thing that you’ve ever gone through. What good could possibly come from this? We may wonder why this is happening.

 

 

I did.

 

When Camden was first diagnosed everything went black. My life literally had no color. I saw no purpose for any of it. I could not see God in any of it. I found out He was in it. He was in all of it. He was there the whole time. Even when I couldn’t see Him, He was there. Now several years later I realize God allows pain in our lives so we can know He is the pain reliever. He allows everything to fall apart so that He can pick up all the broken pieces and put them back together. He makes something beautiful out of it.

 

He can fix it all.

 

Even though you may see no purpose for it right now, God is doing something you can’t imagine. He will use this “thing” in your life in ways you never thought possible.

 

Although I couldn’t see the moon, it was still there.

 

God is still there. He hasn’t left. He is with you. He’ll see you through this.

 

You can trust Him.

 

Isaiah 41:10 There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

 

 


Discerning the Times

 
polar bear
 
 

I had a dream last night. It was so vivid. My front yard was filled with water; much like the Arctic. There were a few polar bears scattered about. Some were above the surface and some below. One polar bear in particular stood out. He was large with a commanding presence. He had two little cubs following closely behind him. They were swimming in a circle; playing and romping about. Noticeably, he was looking down. His head was below the surface. All the while very large storm clouds were rolling in. Things were getting dark and ominous, but this bear was oblivious.

 

This is such a picture of what is happening in our world today. Things are getting darker by the minute.

 

The Bible tells us there will be a day when the Lord returns for His people. Everything around us points to the fact that the time is eminent for this to happen. While the Bible clearly states that no one knows the exact time, it does point to things that will happen. There are telltale signs.

 

2 Timothy 3:1-5 You should know this… in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.

 

If this verse doesn’t describe our society, nothing does.

 

Discern the signs and the times.

 

Matthew 24:37-44 37 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

 

If that polar bear had been looking up, he would’ve seen what was coming. He could’ve protected his cubs.

 

Look up.

 

Your cubs will follow you anywhere. You can’t afford to miss this. Knowledge is power. If you don’t know you, you owe it to yourself and your children to find out the signs. The only place to get your answers is found in the Bible.

 

Don’t put it off. The time is short. Don’t ignore it and hope it goes away. The storm clouds are rolling in.

 

God is trying to get your attention.

 


Soul Needs

 
do you see me

 

Philippians 4:19 My God shall supply all your need…

 

Many times we think of this verse as referring to our physical needs and sometimes it is. More often, God is concerned about our spiritual necessities…our soul needs. He wants to conform us into His image. He definitely uses suffering to bring that about.

 

He will use the physical to bring about the spiritual.

 

 

That is what He did with Hagar.

 

Genesis 16:13 She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

 

Hagar did nothing to deserve the things that were happening to her. She had no control over her situation. She decided to run away. She didn’t get very far. God came. He found her where she was hiding out. She was so scared. Alone and feeling like she had been abandoned, she probably wondered if anyone knew what she was going through.

 

It was here in this place of desperate need that God revealed Himself to her.

 

God met her there. He spoke to her and she was able to endure the trial before her.

 

It will be the same for you.

 

Our vision is so clouded by things that don’t matter. When crisis comes those things are whittled away.

 

Sometimes we may not understand what He’s doing or why. But we can trust His word. He was doing something big in Hagar’s life. She just didn’t know it yet.

If you’re in a difficult situation right now, here are a few things God wants you to know:

 

He hears your heart.

He sees your need.

He has something to say.

 

Don’t miss it. He will speak to you. Slow down. Pray. Take time to read His word…those are some ways He speaks to us.

 

Jeremiah 29:12-13 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

 


Decisions Decisions

a_long_and_winding_road_by_vaggelisf
 
 
 

Facing a major decision can be exhausting. It keeps us up at night. We play out every scenario. We make lists; weighing the pros and cons. We get people’s opinions. If you’re like me, you become so filled with anxiety you can’t even think straight. It’s just that we don’t want to make a bad decision. There’s a lot riding on this.

 

We can feel like a little baby lamb wandering aimlessly…alone and lost.

 

God hasn’t lost sight of us. We’re not in this decision alone. Sometimes we just forget God is there.

 

God says, “I see you.”

 

Equally important, He can see things we can’t. God knows what’s best for us.

 

Psalm 139:3 You comprehend my path…

 

I love the picture this word “comprehend” captures. It’s a picture of winnowing grain. Back in the day, women would crush their grain to loosen the unusable part called chaff. Then they would throw it in the air and allow the wind to carry the chaff away. The very best part of the grain is what remained.

 

If you find yourself despairing, lift up your situation to God. Allow Him to carry away the choices that aren’t His best.

 

If you’re struggling financially, remember if God wanted you to have it, He would provide the money. If you can’t afford it, don’t bankrupt yourself. It’s not for you. It’s not God’s best.

 

Let it blow away.

 

Will your decision wear you out physically? Will there be nothing left for your family? Don’t do it. Let it go.

 

Let it blow away.

 

Will your decision draw you closer to Jesus? If not, it’s not God’s best.

 

Let it blow away.

 

Will this choice be the one that brings God the most praise, and give Him all of the credit? If not, don’t do it.

 

 

Let it blow away.

 

 

 When you give your decisions to God, He’ll blow away the choices that aren’t best for you. He’s your Dad. He won’t allow you to make a bad decision. He loves you too much! He’ll show you the best path. Be patient.
 
 
 
Winnowing was not a quick process.

 

 
 


Determination or Defeat?

 
women climbing
 

Determination or defeat?

 

Judges 1:27 But Manasseh never managed to drive out…[their enemies]

 

Neither did Ephraim…

 

Nor did Zebulun…

 

Nor did Asher…

 

Therefore we can conclude they never possessed ALL that God had for them.

 

I had to ask myself if I indeed have possessed all that God has for me this year.

 

Have I done what He called me to do?

 

Have I finished well?

 

Or have I left some things on the back burner?

 

In order for us to accomplish all that God has for us we need one thing:

 

Determination.

 

In fact, we need more determination than our enemies.

 

The enemy will fight you tooth and nail…subtly…he doesn’t jump out and make it obvious…he puts a nail in your tire so to speak…he sends someone to discourage you…he brings up past failures…he causes doubts…

 

Be an overcomer!

 

Make your life count for Christ!

 

Don’t be content with mediocre.

 

God has so much more in mind!

 

Did God call you to do something?

 

Do it.

 

Do it now.

 

Do it with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength.

 

There are people he wants you to reach. There are places he wants you to go. For me, I don’t want to use this disability as an excuse. I have a good excuse in the eyes of the world…but NOT in the eyes of God. God is calling me to persevere.

 

He is calling us to a higher calling.

 

Always wanting us to climb a little higher to our high hills.

 

Let’s finish strong…no regrets…

 

Gotta get going I still have a lot of work to do!

 

 


Just Us

granny when
 

“Granny when are you going home?”

 

“Granny when are you going home?”

 

Ray and I had just returned from a conference. I was gone longer than usual. My mom was gracious enough to take care of Camden while we were gone. Excursions to Toys R Us and Little Caesars were the order of most of his days. My counters are overflowing with Oreos and candy corn that would delight any child. And while all of those things were great, it was me he wanted.

 

I scolded him for his rudeness; admonishing him that we just don’t say that to people. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized there is a place for getting away from everything and everyone.

 

 

He just wanted my full attention. He wanted me all to himself.

 

This is the way God feels about you.

 

Psalm 25:14 The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.

 

In the old language this word “secret” gives us a picture of a big comfy couch on which you can relax and enjoy the company of family and friends.

 

My mom knew exactly what Camden was desiring and made a quick exit. Camden beckoned me to cuddle on the couch in our living room. He wanted me to watch a video with him; just the two of us.

 

“Momma watch this with me!”

 

Sheer delight exuding from his voice, “Look at this! Are you watching?”

 

He kept turning to look at me; snuggling closer and closer.

 

God beckons us to come join Him. He doesn’t want anything from us; He just wants us.

 

With so many things competing for our attention it’s often difficult to just sit and enjoy time alone with our God. It’s worth it to set everything aside for Him. You may go into it frazzled, but you’ll come away with an overflowing heart.

 

It’s never wasted time.

 

He just wants to be near.


 

Ray and I had just returned from a conference. I was gone longer than usual. My mom was gracious enough to take care of Camden while we were gone. Excursions to Toys R Us and Little Caesars were the order of most of his days. My counters are overflowing with Oreos and candy corn that would delight any child. And while all of those things were great, it was me he wanted.

 

I scolded him for his rudeness; admonishing him that we just don’t say that to people. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized there is a place for getting away from everything and everyone.

 

 

He just wanted my full attention. He wanted me all to himself.

 

This is the way God feels about you.

 

Psalm 25:14 The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.

 

In the old language this word “secret” gives us a picture of a big comfy couch on which you can relax and enjoy the company of family and friends.

 

My mom knew exactly what Camden was desiring and made a quick exit. Camden beckoned me to cuddle on the couch in our living room. He wanted me to watch a video with him; just the two of us.

 

“Momma watch this with me!”

 

Sheer delight exuding from his voice, “Look at this! Are you watching?”

 

He kept turning to look at me; snuggling closer and closer.

 

God beckons us to come join Him. He doesn’t want anything from us; He just wants us.

 

With so many things competing for our attention it’s often difficult to just sit and enjoy time alone with our God. It’s worth it to set everything aside for Him. You may go into it frazzled, but you’ll come away with an overflowing heart.

 

It’s never wasted time.

 

He just wants to be near.

 


Choosing Joy

plant broken
 
 

This plant is stunning. The color is so vibrant. It’s really beautiful.

 

How come I can’t see what everyone else sees?

 

My eye is drawn to the one broken limb that’s hanging down.

 

 

I realize I can do this quite often in my life. I can focus on the one thing that isn’t going my way. I’m immediately drawn to the negative. Instead of being thankful for all the good, I focus on the one bad.

Sometimes many good and wonderful things are happening all around me. New things are springing up. Buds are coming to full bloom in this new season.

 

Do you feel this way?

 

Everyone is singing. You don’t feel much like singing though. Celebrations are all around. Somehow you don’t feel much like celebrating. Joy is abounding in everyone else, but you’re just not feeling it.

 

There is only one solution.

 

I have to cut that limb off.

Take every negative thought and remove it immediately.

Be thankful for all of the many blessings.

 

Don’t let that one thing steal your joy.

 

Whether it’s a big thing or small is irrelevant.

 

Joy is a choice, and thankfulness lifts the weight of every heavy heart.

 

God is not finished yet.

 

Psalm 27:14 “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”



Empty Hands

open hand
 

The people that Moses was called to lead were complaining and questioning. But, he was just doing what God called him to do.

 

He was doing the best he could.

 

Exodus 32:26 Moses stood…and said, “Whoever is on the Lords side-come to me!”

 

 Some came and some didn’t.

 

The ones who didn’t were cut off. This is a great example for us.

 

There are negative, condescending, and critical people surrounding us every day.

 

Let go of the negative influences in your life. Don’t allow them to take one more ounce of your energy. Don’t allow them to steal your joy.

 

Exodus 32:29 Then Moses said, “Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD that He may bestow on you a blessing this day…”

 

God has called each one of us to serve him in a unique way.

 

Consecrate has a surprising meaning here in this verse. In this verse it means to “fill your hands.”

 

It is difficult to “fill your hands” with the things of the Lord if you are still holding on to a bunch bitterness, anger, resentment, complaining, arguing etc.

 

Jesus wants all of you. He wants all of your time. If you’re spending time complaining about the negative people, it’s wasted.

 

He wants all your energy. If you’re allowing these negative thoughts to consume you, YOU are the one being robbed.

 

He wants to fill you completely up with His Holy Spirit. There’s no room for anything else. The heart and soul of Jesus is to bring glory to His Father. And that should be our goal as well.

 

 


Walk Away

 
 
mulch
 

I want to walk with Faithful. It’s one of things I hoped for when I got him. I want to do everything with him. I want to share life with him. Walking will be so good for him. Dogs absolutely love walking.

 

There’s only one problem. He won’t get out of the garden.

 

He wants to eat mulch.

 

 

I chide him, “No Faithful.” He doesn’t seem to hear me.

 

He continues to eat mulch. Next thing I know he has a big piece of bark that he’s chewing on. Mulch is toxic. It’s sharp and could cut his throat. I run over and get it out of his mouth before he gets hurt.

 

I call his name.

 

Nothing.

 

I call him again.

 

Nothing. Again and again I try. He still won’t come. I tug on his leash. Nothing. I tug a little harder.

 

I can’t do anything to make him come.

 

I just want him to walk with me.

 

He doesn’t understand.

 

I don’t want anything from him.

 

I just want to be with him.

 

He’d rather sit there and chew on mulch. He doesn’t know what he’s missing.

 

We do this in our lives.

 

God calls us to come walk with Him. We don’t come. We’d rather chew on mulch.

 

Maybe that mulch is something someone said to you. It hurt you and you won’t let it go.

 

Or it may be a relationship that you know is not good for you. Instead of coming when God calls you to walk away, you remain in a toxic situation.

 

It may just be fear of the unknown. It’s easier to stay where you’re at.

 

Walk away. Leave it.

 

You don’t know what you’re missing!

 

God has something so much better for you.

You have nothing to lose (except for pain, heartache, bitterness, anxiety, depression etc.) and everything to gain.

 



Stretched Out Love

 
stretch armstron

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another…

 

As I was pondering these verses this morning I noticed this word “fervent” in the old language meant “stretched out.” God desires us to have a “stretched out” love. He wants us to love one another even when it is undeserved. That is where the stretching comes.

 

People stretch us. But God will stretch us further still.

 

Just when we think we’ve reached our limit, He takes us beyond.

 

I think I know God well enough to say He has brought someone to your mind just now. You probably said, “Nope not them. I can’t.” That is exactly who God wants you to love.

 

Matthew 5:46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that?

 

God is using this person to stretch you beyond yourself.

 

I love what the outside of this package for Stretch Armstrong reads:

“Stretch him long, stretch him thin and watch him go back into shape again”

 

Grab hold and pull. You can stretch 13 inch Stretch Armstrong up to four feet! Squish him, scrunch him, and stretch him out. He always returns to his original shape. Ready for any wild positions kids can think up.

 

No matter which direction he is pulled in, he is pliable.

 

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others.

 

Even when stretched long and thin, he never broke.

 

In every circumstance we are called to love. In every instance where people are involved: marriage, children, friendship and even the church God desires us to love extravagantly.

 

Perhaps you are dealing with an exceptionally difficult person. God will enable you to do what is humanly impossible.

 

2 Peter 1:3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…

 

We can’t do this on our own. We are depending on His divine power, not our own.

 

Whether we are dealing with an unreasonable husband, demanding friend, or ungrateful sister our response: love out of a sincere heart.

Love must be intentional, unceasing, and constant in effort.

 

When we give until it hurts:

James 4:6 … He gives more …

 

The distinguishing mark of a Christian is love.

 

John 13:35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

Sometimes we know what we should do, but just don’t want to. We feel we’ve done all we can do.

 

Malachi 3:8 …will a man rob God?

 

In this particular verse the people were holding back their offering. They had more to give. They knew what God expected but they were unwilling to give it. I think that we can be that way with our love. We can look at a person and size them up by the things they’ve done or haven’t done and say, “I’m not reaching out to them. I won’t love them. They don’t deserve it. Look at the way they’ve treated me.”

 

God wants us to give more than we think we are able. He desires us to go all out; love lavishly.

 

Mal 3:10 Bring ALL…into the storehouse…try me now in this… “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”

 

When you bring ALL that you have and “stretch out” like this, God will pour out His blessing on you.

 

You may start out looking like one of these pictures, but in the end you’ll be looking more like Jesus.

 



Come Home

 
 
 
 
thomas kincade
 
 

There’s no place like home for the holidays.

 

Wouldn’t you agree?

 

Where is home?

 

 

Home is where the heart of my Dad resides; my Heavenly Dad.

 

I know this concept of God was hard for me to grasp. Since I didn’t have a Dad growing up, I didn’t understand. Let me share what I learned.

 

A real Dad never abandons His child.

 

We may leave God, but He never leaves us. No matter how far we walk away from Him, He stays put.

 

He waits.

 

He pleads; but never forces us.

 

You don’t have to live in the pigpen anymore. If you’re tired, you can come home.

 

Walk away from it. A new life awaits.

 

A real Dad never stops loving His child.

 

There is nothing we can do to make Him stop loving us. There is nothing He cannot and will not forgive.

 

If you doubt that love, you need look no further than the cross.

 

He died for you.

 

A real Dad never gives up on His child.

 

That longing in His heart for the relationship to be made right is always there. The heart of our Heavenly Dad is overflowing with love and life.

 

Come back to His house.

 

Whether it’s been 2 weeks, 2 years or 20…He waits with open arms. He longs to have you back.

 

Won’t you come Home for the holidays?

 

 


No Thank You

beer can
 
 

Why am I so vehemently opposed to alcohol?

 

Recently my friend shared a very painful story with me that I cannot get out of my mind. She has an autistic son who is 10 years old. Every day her life is filled with havoc. She is challenged by screams, cries, and irrational unpredictable behavior daily. Her stress level is unimaginable. And yet she told me growing up with an alcoholic mother was ten times worse than what she deals with now.

 

When I walked past this beer can I wondered if the owner would leave behind such a legacy.

 

 

My grandfather did.

 

He was also an alcoholic. My mom has shared stories about her past that no child should suffer.

 

The thing about alcohol is that it never starts out looking so ugly. In fact just the opposite.

 

2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder! For Satan transforms himself into an angel of light.

 

Satan often makes bad things look good. He deceives us into thinking alcohol is no big deal. For some it’s not. For others it wrecks their lives. They don’t even realize it’s happening. Before they know it they depend on it, crave it and it overtakes their being. Maybe that isn’t what happened to you.

 

Do you want that for your children?

 

Of course not, but you simply don’t know that your child won’t be taken by it. Maybe you don’t drink in front of your children. They still see it in the house or in photos. That alone sends a subtle message. It says we approve of this. We like this. And for some it says, ‘we can’t have fun without it. If it’s ok for mom, it’s ok for me.’

 

What if they become an alcoholic because of this subtle message you’re sending?

 

What if your grandchildren live the legacy of my friend?

 

Is it worth it?

 

There is a photograph plastering the news today of the Attorney General of Maryland at an underage drinking party.

 

Lest anyone think I am judging, please let me say that could’ve been me in that photo. I was as lost as those kids are. If I can save one from a life of destruction, that’s my goal today.

 

Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker…

 

Will the Attorney General lose his job?

 

Was it worth it?

 

How many of those kids will lose their scholarship because of alcohol?

 

How many got arrested on the way home?

 

How many will end up pregnant?

 

Is it worth it?

 

1 Corinthians 8:13 So if what I eat [drink] causes another believer to stumble, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.

 

As for me and my household, we choose to live alcohol free…and very happily I might add.



Pruning

hydrangea
 
 

A few months ago I felt the need to cut this hydrangea way back. The idea really began the year before. It began to take up too much space in my garden. Instead of complimenting it began to dominate. When it would rain the blooms would sag down to the ground. It was just out of control. I missed the winter pruning time. I was really hesitant to actually follow through with cutting it back.

 

Would it still be the same?

 

When spring came I knew what I had to do. I had to cut its branches way back. I didn’t know what to expect. Did I wait too long? Would it bloom at all? Well don’t you know this Limelight Hydrangea grew back three times as much as I cut off?

 

It is more magnificent than ever!

 

Are there some things that need to be cut out of your life? Maybe you’ve been putting it off. You know it needs to go, but you’ve been hesitant. You may be afraid it’ll hurt too much. Change is always difficult. But once that weight is lifted, you’ll be so free! It will be so worth it! You’ll be more vibrant and beautiful than ever!

 

John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”

 



Losing Our Independence

independence
 

My morning walk was a tough one. There was no breeze. The humidity was stifling, almost suffocating. There was a palpable darkness in my heart. It’s hovering over this nation as well.

 

Today is the Fourth of July. Bold red letters from the local food store circular shout out, “Celebrate Independence Day!”

 

I’m having a difficult time celebrating independence.

 

Like never before in this country we are losing our independence.

 

Dictionary.com defines independent as:

Not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself: an independent thinker.

 

In this country Christians are losing their freedom. Personally it scares me to death. Everyone in this country is allowed to their opinion, but if one Christian stands up and shares his, the backlash is nearly intolerable. It seems to be coming like a tidal wave.

If you are a Christian that means you follow, obey and adhere strictly to the teachings of Jesus Christ. You don’t get to pick and choose. It is all or nothing.

 

The Bible is the sole authority on everything we do.

 

That puts us in a great position.

 

My opinion doesn’t count.

 

My feelings don’t count.

 

It doesn’t matter what this author thinks. I need not look any further than the Author of life. He made this earth and everything in it. What He says goes.

 

The Bible is the sole authority on all matters big and small.

 

God hates all sin: lying, adultery, homosexuality, fornication, stealing, drunkenness etc.

 

When congress enacts a law that tries to force me to accept something that goes against the Bible, it hurts deep. It robs my freedom. It is an attempt to undermine the authority established by God Himself.

 

I shudder to think of the utter devastation this is wreaking on the children of this generation. There is a strict accountability to those that stumble God’s little children. Anyone who would teach something contrary to the Bible should take heed:

 

Mark 9:42 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.

 

Today my heart is in mourning for these misguided children. I’ve just heard of another child who is so depressed she wants to take her life. There is a very real enemy wreaking havoc through this new agenda. He is destroying the moral fabric of our society. The powers that be want to extinguish the only Light that can bring hope to these hurting souls. When a country wants to do what’s right in its own eyes, it is the children who pay the price.

 

Proverbs 14:34 Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace….

 

God we turn our eyes to You. We beg you to save our nation. Hold our children close to your heart. Give us wisdom to raise our children in Your ways, not veering to the left or the right. Fill the emptiness in their hearts with love for You. Help us to share your love with those who are deceived. God please bless our nation. You and You alone make it great.

 


Pain Is A Gift

videosafe_image
 
 

Matthew 26:36 Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane… He said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”

 

Gethsemane was the place that Jesus was brought to right before He was crucified.

He was distraught over His circumstances. The burden of what He had to bear was unimaginable.

 

 

Gethsemane means olive oil press. Olives must be crushed to get the essential oil out.

 

The crushing is necessary. It is the same in our lives as well.

 

Pain is necessary.

 

But, who would choose it? Certainly not me.

 

But I can look back at my own life and say I wouldn’t trade it.

 

Five years ago my son was diagnosed with Autism. I was crushed beyond words. It was only two years ago I enrolled him in public kindergarten. After three months, his teacher spoke words to me that I will never forget. She said, “Mrs. Bollas I don’t know if Camden is learning anything. I have no idea whether he can learn at all.”

While I adored her and know she did the best she could, I removed him from the school. I began to homeschool him and depend on God and His word alone to work in this child.

 

As I listen to this precious voice of my son, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness.

 

I am so thankful for Autism.

 

It is the greatest gift I’ve ever received.

 

I would’ve never known the awesome power of God’s word if He didn’t have this “disability”. No therapy, medication or intervention can match it.

 

If today finds you in “Gethsemane” it is not by chance.

 

These circumstances you so desperately want to get out of will be the place you will see your Savior.

 

If you will allow Him, God will use it.

 

The crushing is essential.

 

No crushing; no oil.

 

While it may be the most excruciatingly painful thing you have ever gone through, it will be the most transforming thing spiritually that you have ever experienced.

 

Psalm 107:20 He sent his word, and healed them…

 

The Bible has been his “speech therapy” for the last 5 years. I think it’s working…

 




 

Do you want to be made well?

 

John 5: 6… He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” That seems like a rhetorical question; one not meant to be answered. The answer would seem very obvious. Who wouldn’t want to be made well? Jesus asked him because he knew there was a part of him that didn’t want to do what it would take to be made well. He had to walk away from his sin. We don’t know what that sin was. But Jesus was asking for him to give it up. Sin can become so familiar to us that we become comfortable in it. Jesus wants to change that. Change is difficult. Many times it demands a great personal cost. While everyone wants to be well, not everyone wants it bad enough to pay the price. Are you willing to do what it takes? The man did not answer. He blamed others. He said, “I have no one to help me.” Jesus said, “Get up.” That’s what He says to us. Get up. This has kept you down long enough. Get up. Do this! You don’t need anyone’s help. You have Me. I am all that you need. Don’t say, “I can’t.” In doing so, you are essentially saying, “I won’t.” Change your mind! Nothing will change in your life until you change your mind.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

There is nothing you can’t do! This man had come to feel this is the way it would always be. He seemed to be telling Jesus that he can’t catch a break. He was feeling sorry for himself. And the more he looked at himself, the worse he became. Sometimes that’s the way it is with us. We get used to the way things are. Comfortable in chaos. We don’t like change. Even if it’s for the better. Change makes us uncomfortable. We don’t like what’s required. Jesus wanted to do more than a physical healing here. He had some soul work to do. But it had to start with the renewing of his mind. This man had a choice to make. Repent. Change his mind. Agree with Jesus and go in the other direction. Live. Truly live. Or stay put. Paralyzed. Unable to move. Sometimes it’s easier to stay where we’re at. It takes determination. It takes moment to moment trust in Christ to overcome sin that has held us captive for so long. He chose to get up and walk.

Hebrews 12: 1… let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…

Your life can change. Today. Do this. Get up and walk. Be free.



Small things

 
 

Mark 16:1,3 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary [the mother] of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him… And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” There was this small thing they wanted to do for Jesus. Many would’ve considered it a waste. They wanted to do this for Him, but there was an obstacle. A large stone was covering the tomb. Not a small stone; a large one. It didn’t stop them. They kept going forward. They were too weak to roll this stone away. There was no way they could do it. It didn’t stop them.  And God was one step ahead of them.  When they arrived to the tomb to do what God put on their heart, the stone was rolled away. God can do the same for us.  Whatever God has called you to do, go for it. Let not the voice of the enemy be louder. There is nothing our God cannot do. It doesn’t matter how extensive the need. The external appearance of the situation is irrelevant.  Our age has no bearing. We think we’re too old. Caleb was 85 years old when he spoke this:   [Jos 14:12 NKJV] 12 “Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim [giants] were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the LORD will with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the LORD said.” Or we may suppose we’re too young. 1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Do you homeschool? Have a child with special needs?  I have a whole lot of pencils, not a lot of strength. And I have a bunch of notebooks, but not too much education.  2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. They went to the tomb to do something very small for the Lord. Trivial in the eyes of the world. A big deal to them nonetheless. In doing this small thing, they saw a miracle.  The stone was rolled away.  Jesus Christ had risen from the dead! May the Lord surprise you today as you step out to do His will.



Hard Things?

 
The boy grabbed my hand. 

Exercise is hard. Having special needs makes it that much harder.

He spoke soft, “Holding your hand helps me keep going.”

I squeezed a little tighter.


Read more...