There is a Purpose for You

     

Wherever you are, what ever you are feeling, whatever you are going through or doing – I feel led to tell you, YOU are NOT a mistake.  God knew what He was doing when He made you.  God made you with a purpose in mind, whether you know it or not. God has a plan for your life.  Part of your life’s journey is recognizing and discovering just what that plan is, you just have to believe. God tells us in His Word:

No matter your situation, God wants you to know that He knows you intimately, He made you, He loves you and you can bet He has a plan for your life. 

If you don’t believe me – ask Him and He will personally show you that it’s true.  You can also search your Bible and find out for yourself.  (If you don’t have or can’t get a Bible, message me privately in the comments section below, and I’ll see if we can find a way to get one to you).

I know, because He is doing it with ME and God is no respecter of persons.  I was born 3 months premature at a time when the hospitals didn’t have all the “fancy” medical equipment they have now, I had to stay in the hospital for forty days and forty nights.  They thought I was going to die – but God knew otherwise.    It is one of the reasons why my mother named me “Kelly” (which means warrior or fighter).  He has a plan for my life and He has a plan for YOU.  He has no favorites.  But YOU can bet, He loves YOU special.  It’s true, He does and if you are going through a prodigal time when you are journeying home and wondering how you are going to make it – know that He is right there with you, encouraging you and even though you don’t know it – directing you right back home to Him.  The Bible says:

“There is NOTHING that can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:38)

He directed you to this page because you needed to receive a Word from Him, for whatever it is you are going through or experiencing.  I have dedicated this blog to Him for Him to use as He chooses – and He chose to bring you to it.  Allow Him to guide you, to love you, to fill your heart with peace and to direct you – because you are important to Him.  He has called you by name.

“But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.” (Isaiah 43:1-2)

God is not a God that He would lie.  The truth is in His Word.  We need to believe it, believe Him and allow Him to mold us into whatever it is He wants us to be.  Believe me when I say that there is NO greater joy than to be used by God.  To realize the gifts He created you with and the fact that He wants you to use them!  That’s why He gave them to you in the first place!  If you don’t know what your calling is, PRAY.  He’s not purposely trying to hide it from you, but He is a God who gave you free will – which means you have to seek Him on it because You want to really know what that plan is.  And as you do seek Him, He will reveal himself to you and will open up doors.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
and
“Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.…” (Psalms 139:13)

He’s your Father, He loves You – He has called you by name.  You have a purpose  – find out what it is.  You’ll be ever so glad you did…

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Growing Pains – It Does The Body Good…

It is no mistake that God has you reading these words.  He has a call on your life.  Are you ready to listen?

 This is going to be an “ouch word..” Oh yes… Well, it is not directed at anyone person but if the Holy Spirit causes you to wince, just remember I am only a messenger and this word is one that has been kicking my butt because I haven’t wanted to be obedient and write it, but now the Holy Spirit is pushing me forward to do so.

Some words that God gives us are used to help us to grow in Him.  Words that cause growing pains and help us to move forward in what God wants us to do.  A lot of people tend to like to hear things “sugar coated” but I am not one to do that and the word I am writing today is one that even I need to pay attention to for myself.  So here it goes…

If you fit the definition of someone who is part of God’s Called Remnant (as described in the home page, you saw it when you first came on here).  You are someone who hungers to be in the center of God’s will for your life.  you are hungry to move forward into ALL of what God has for you… You love Him with ALL of your heart… That’s REALLY GOOD.  But in wanting to go forward, there are somethings that if you haven’t already found out – you WILL find out.  Being called by God in a world that is fallen is not something that is a piece of cake.  Jesus even said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18)

That is something that you would think would cause us comfort, but the truth of the matter is, it is painful.  It hurts.  It is something that if you are following Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have to accept – but it doesn’t take away the smarting pain of rejection when people look at you, sneer at you, mock you, hate you, turn their backs on you, label you “politically incorrect” because of your love for the Lord and for the Word of God.  IT HURTS.  Especially when you are ostracized by family, close friends or other people important to you.  James who was an actual brother of Jesus, said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:2-5)

Jesus went through it, the apostles went through it and yes – we go through it too.  When you think about it, it really shouldn’t surprise us, because it is only those who we love MOST in this world who can hurt us, so of course those are the ones that ol’ slewfoot uses to cause us the most amount of pain.  What is the answer to that?  KEEP WALKING.  KEEP PRAYING.  KEEP READING YOUR WORD, KEEP BELIEVING.  KEEP YOUR EYES FOCUSED ON JESUS.

I know from personal experience that it is NOT easy.  He never said it WOULD be easy.  What He did say is that He gets it, He knows.  He experienced it firsthand ALL the way to the cross.  Jesus could at ANY time have changed His mind and said, “Okay, Father – ENOUGH.  I’m fried, I’m done. No more! This hurts too much!  I CANNOT do this any more!”  But He didn’t.  He had a calling on His life.  He knew that He IS the way, the truth and the life.  The only way for us to be reconciled with the Father.  He didn’t focus on His pain, He focused on the Victory. He focused on His calling.  Jesus knew that He would be our example.  Jesus knew that He had to love us HIGHER than we could understand.  Remember that Jesus prayed: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:42-44)

You COULD be the only “Jesus” someone sees.

You COULD be the only voice calling to someone in this wilderness of a world…

There is someone who may only learn about salvation through you – and you have no idea who that could be.

It could be a family member who doesn’t know Jesus… 

He could be a co-worker or a complete stranger…

If YOU don’t allow God to use you, WHO will?  It’s not that God can’t use someone else – it is just that He has chosen YOU.

So you look at me and say, “but Kelly, I don’t know what God is calling me to do….”

My response – “SO ASK HIM…” My calling is one that I did every day, not even realizing that it is what God was calling me to do.  God’s exact words to me (and I’m seriously quoting what he said).  “What I have called you to do is as plain as the nose on your face… I have called you to write.”  I actually laughed out loud when I heard that.  (I really did).  Not once did I ever think of “writing” as my calling.  It was just a hobby, something I did.  But you know what? The things we are good at are what are called OUR GIFTS.  We often take them for granted because we are just so use to doing them.  They are our “go-to” place.  

Maybe what God is calling YOU to do is “as plain as the nose on YOUR face too?”  Maybe if you haven’t given this any thought, you might want to grab a piece of paper and a pencil and sit down and think about what you like doing.  What you feel good about doing.  Can you bake? Can you sew?  Are you good with money?  Do your friends come to you for help and advice?  Really think about yourself and take a good hard look at who you are.  God has given you gifts for a purpose.  FOR HIS PURPOSE.  He is only asking you to step out on faith (and yes, sometimes that could be stepping out of your comfort zone) and walk in HIM.

I never set up a website before. Are you kidding me??? But when God told me He wanted to me to take my writing to another level, it caused me to get out of my comfort zone and step out on faith to find out HOW to go about doing it.  He stretches us, He grows us we only have to be open to it.  You have to ask yourself, “Am I open to it?”  I will tell you that ol’ slewfoot will put doubts in your mind.  He will have you come up with 101 excuses on NOT stepping out on faith. “I can’t, I need this, I have to that… I’m not this…” Don’t listen!  God wants to work THROUGH you, remember?  Because really, it is ALL HIM.  It is just our willingness and obedience to to say, “YES LORD.  OKAY…. HERE I AM.  WHAT’CHA GOT PLANNED?!”  And with that submission He opens doors.  We are vessels of the Holy Spirit, it only takes a willing spirit.  Are YOU willing?

There are times in our walk when God is calling us to go further than we have it within ourselves to go  We have come to the end of ourselves.  But if you ask Him, He will strengthen you.  The truth is, that is when God is able to really show forth His power in our lives because we come to the realization that whatever we are going through, it is not our own strength that can get us through, it is His.

Maybe He is asking you to be still.

Maybe He wants you to know that “It is Not by power, not by might but by HIS Spirit.”

And if you think about the examples that God gives us of the people He has used and as you think about it, realize (if you haven’t already realized this) they were people that no one would have suspected God would choose to use in the HUGE roles that they ended up having.  God has a role for you. It is a role meant JUST for you.  And it may very well take you outside of your comfort zone, but in the end if you are open to what God wants you to do – it will glorify God and bless you because of it.

He didn’t say it would be easy – but what it will be is rewarding, fulfilling and oh so worth it, because honestly there is NO GREATER feeling than walking in the center of His will… Now is the time to stop, look and listen… Your Father’s got a calling with JUST your name on it… Take that first step – it’s called faith.  

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Are You a Vessel or an Un-Vessel?

  The Bible tells us that God knew us when we were formed in our mother’s womb, actually the exact words are as follows:

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart.”


God made YOU.  He formed you.  He knew you.  He had in mind what you were to be.  You are His masterpiece.  You are one of a kind.  You were chosen.  How special does that make you feel? If it doesn’t it should.  You are a creation of the Utmost High God.  He knows every part of you.  You are unique.  You are special and whether or not you acknowledge it or are aware of it, or believe it – You are HIS.


“For you formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well…” (Psalms 139:13-14).


I can visualize in my mind God creating you, with such excitement and pride and joy.  Think about it.  If you are a parent, a father or a mother – think about the joy you experienced when you found you were going to have a child.  As a mother myself, I can remember laying a hand on my stomach, talking to this little tiny peanut of a being with such love and joy and happiness and hopes.  I remember saying to my firstborn Joseph, when I found out:

“Oh how I rejoice in the fact that God has given me YOU.  You are answered prayer.  You are special, you are a blessing.  In fact, I use to a sing a song to him it was called, “God made you special” Sung by Denise Williams.  I spoke blessings over my unborn child, even though God had not yet formed his outward ears in completion, I know Joseph’s soul heard me.  I nourished him not only with that from my own body, but with my words of love and blessings.  If I did that with my own children – how much more so does God do that with us as He forms us?  He has great desires for you.  He has plans for you.  The only thing you have to do is choose.  He has given us free will.  We can choose to be that vessel He has called us to be, or we can choose to be an un-vessel.

Just as surely as God has created our physical bodies – He has created you with a desire that is to be one in communion with Him.  There is a part of us (whether or not we choose to acknowledge it) is hungry to be one in communion with God.  Originally it was our sole purpose in being created to have fellowship with God.  I often think about what the Garden of Eden must have been like before Adam and Eve’s fall…  I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the outdoors.  I love hearing the birds sing, seeing God’s nature in the different plants and flowers that He has created, I tend to believe that Adam and Eve communicated with the animals in the garden, because when the snake deceived Eve, she was not surprised that he spoke to her.  How peaceful it must have been, sheer joy and love and harmony and abundance – such as we won’t know until we get to Heaven. All around us is the witness of God.  In the hustle and bustle of daily life we get so caught up in activity or family or problems that those things that speak so clearly of God’s being get drowned out and often ignored or taken for granted as we live our lives.  Live our lives not realizing or identifying or acknowledging the true reason of why we were created.  When God made you, He made you with special gifts, special talents that were yours to be used  to glorify Him.

You can choose to be a vessel or an un-vessel.  

Definition of a vessel according to the Miriam Webster Dictionary:


” A vessel is a vein or artery that covers blood to the rest of the body” or “A vessel is a hollowed container for holding liquids” or “A vessel is a ship or large boat.”

An “un-vessel” (a definition a new friend just introduced me too recently) is someone who is a vessel and doesn’t know it… Maybe they try to fill themselves with things other than what God originally intended, but true satisfaction can never be found without filling it with what God intended it to be filled with – HIMSELF.  Even Jesus said:

“Whoever drinks of the water I give him shall never thirst.but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14-15)


You were made to be a vessel.  A very rare, special and dear vessel unto the Lord.  You choose what you will be filled up with – discovering the true purpose that God has for you or living a life as an un-vessel, filled with other things that will never give you the satisfaction or the completion you would receive if you realized that you were created to be filled up with God’s purpose; that is where the peace that passes ALL understanding described in Philippians 4:7 comes from.  I can’t adequately find the words to write to explain just what that feels like, it’s something you have to experience for yourself and here is the thing – just like our fingerprints are individual and unique – so is the calling God has for you.  It is better than ANYTHING you could have chosen for yourself, part of life’s journey is figuring out JUST WHAT THAT CALLING IS.  I can only compare it to a treasure hunt – with you being the treasure.  There is such a peace that comes about when you realize that God created you, He made you, He formed you SPECIAL.  That He has a purpose for your life – and it is not a contest, nor is it one where you are in competition with someone else.  God has no favorites.  He loves us each individually for who He created us to be.  He made you.  He knows you.  He loves you.   You were not made by mistake – no matter how you were conceived.  God knew you were coming.  You were no surprise to Him.  Maybe you were made to feel as though you weren’t special, maybe you were born into a situation where you felt unloved.  However you entered into this world, you need to know that YOU ARE LOVED.  Greatly, truly, wonderfully, completely loved.  Hear my words – for I am only a vessel unto the Lord, my calling – to write for Him.  To allow my fingers to fly over my keyboard and deliver whatever words of encouragement I can give you to allow you to know that God’s word is the same today as it was yesterday as it will be tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).  Whether or not you acknowledge it – you need to know, you were created to be a vessel. God desires to be glorified through your life with the gifts He has created you to utilize.  He loves you enough to give you the choice – to be a vessel or an un-vessel.


Look at the example of Jonah.  God told him specifically what he wanted him to do and what did Jonah do?  HE RAN!!!  He thought he could run from God and for the purpose that God had for him.  You can read about it yourself in the book of Jonah in  your Bible.  To get Jonah’s attention God had to have a whale or “great fish” swallow Jonah up, what a way to get Jonah’s undivided and complete attention.  I have written a post about it in my blog – you can look it up on the side of my page, under my blog entries from 2013, the month is October and it is entitled “Are You in the Middle of a Jonah Moment.”  The point is – God will continue to capture your undivided attention for as long as you have breath in your body.  He loves you, He knows that the purpose He created you for your life will bless you more abundantly than you can possibly imagine!  There is no greater satisfaction or joy than to be used as a vessel by the One who created you – God.  So maybe God hasn’t swallowed up someone by a whale or big fish in these current times (or maybe He has and we just haven’t read again about it yet… hehehehe…)  But if you think about it – what point in your life do you keep coming back to?  Someway, somehow God is trying to capture your attention.  Only you can determine if you think long and hard about it how He is doing that… 


“Here I am!!! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me.”  (Revelations 3:20)


Listen – do you hear it? Quiet your soul. Quiet the noise around you. LISTEN.  It is God knocking on the door of your heart.  Open it. What do you have to lose? You have only to gain.  Try it – see what it is God is telling you.  I know that as you read this word, that desire that God instilled for Him within you is crying out.  Maybe for the first time you are recognizing that you were not created to be an “un-vessel,” but a “vessel.”  You won’t be whole until you recognize and fulfill the purpose that God has for your life.  And here is the thing – YOU are the VESSEL. HE is the provision.  He wants to be used in YOU, through YOU, by YOU.  So let Him in…

Here is the thing about vessels.  They come in all shapes and sizes, they are not all the same.  We are an imperfect people, God is in the business of using those imperfections to draw people unto Him.  I think about my own imperfections and it makes me realize all the more – I am called to be a vessel, yes that is true… But here is the beauty of it – God fills me up.  God makes me beautiful. The beauty you see in me – is Him.  Without Him, I am an un-vessel, incomplete and not used for the intent in which I was created.  The beauty you see in me – is HIM.  

I think there is very clearly a reason why throughout the Bible God has chosen to use people who you would not have thought He would use.  They were not the strongest, they were not the most beautiful or perhaps they were the last people you would expect to be chosen for “Team God.”  Yet they opened themselves up through their faith to allow God to use them.  Mary did, David did, Jonah (finally did ) as did so many others that you can read about in your Bible.  When you read about them, remember that these are not a made up bunch of characters – but real individuals like you and me – who decided upon their own free will to be vessels unto the Lord.

God created you for a purpose.  A beautiful one of a kind purpose.  Will you be that vessel unto Him?  Listen… Do you hear it?  He’s knocking… It’s time for you to stop ignoring the knock and open the door wide.  You won’t be sorry…

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.  Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.” (Psalms 34:8) More Words for Your Journey

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I’ll Bet You Didn’t Know This About Yourself…

This post is dedicated to a true warrior of the Lord – Rhonda, who goes from “divine appointment to divine appointment” and I’m so glad I was one God scheduled you to meet. YOU are a TRUE member of God’s Called Remnant. This post was inspired by the Sister you are…

  I’m about to tell you something you may not already know… If you have made Jesus Christ Lord of your life, if you have given your life to Him, you have a new identity.

(At the moment that you are reading those words, I trust the Holy Spirit is playing the Superman theme music into your head). Now I want you to do three things… Ready?

If you are not already standing up, get up onto your feet. Come on! You can do it!  Rise up!

Now that you have risen up, stand with your legs apart and place your hands on your hips!

Raise your chin up and try to look majestic because YOU are a warrior for the Lord. Oh yes you are! I kid you not!  When you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you also received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and that was your seal of superhero dome.  YOU are a super hero for the Lord.

Oh yes…. YOU have been accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven and you are now officially a superhero for the Kingdom of God. Yep! YOU are part of God’s Called Remnant!  Mightier than a Marvel Superhero!  And if you allow yourself – you will surround yourself with other Superheroes that God will align you with because YOU are part of the body of Christ!  And you have a significant contribution to make in His name!  And the only one that you stand accountable to – is the LORD!  Your instructions come from Him!

Visualize this – on the outside people just see the person that you are. Your character, the things that the world defines as who they think you are.  Just as Superman and Supergirl and all the superheroes you were taught of as a child have disguises.  YOU are disguised in your every- day persona life.  What they don’t know (unless you choose to reveal it) is that a change has ensued and now you have a calling on your life.  YOU are called to live a victorious life.  You are called to intercede for those who are walking in darkness.  YOU are a SUPERHERO for the Lord.  Your weapons?  They are so much more powerful than any that you have read about as a child.  YOU have the Word of God!  You have the power of prayer!  You have ministering angels and warring angels encompassed all around you.  As long as you remember WHO YOU ARE IN HIM you can wield your weapons with great strength!

And as you do, it is important for you to remember that “It is not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit.” Says the Lord.

Oh we can do nothing in and of ourselves. It was never us.  It has always been Him!  And ol’ slewfoot and his dominions know that with God’s power behind you, YOU are a force to be reckoned with!  And that is why it is important for you to remember a few things:

  1. Pray without ceasing! Even as you go through the mundane task that seems to take precedence over us doing the every day tasks in our daily life. It can be annoying when all you want to do is bask in the word of God and in the presence of His Holy Spirit – but Superhero! But there is work for you to do! Rise up!  God has a calling on your life.  YOU have become part of the Called Remnant!  God is calling you by name. (Isaiah 43:1) He has plans in store for you! Plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11) and more importantly – plans to glorify His name!  (Are you surprised? Did you feel as though you had no worth? – THAT is one of the biggest lies of the devil.  When God formed you in your mother’s womb I can picture Him excited over you!  Speaking promises over you!  Delighting you!  You are a work of art! YOU are created in HIS image! (Genesis 1:27)  He has called YOU by name! (Isaiah 43:1)
  2. Read His Word! The Bible tells us to “study to show ourselves approved” (2 Timothy 2:15) – That really is not for God’s benefit – it is for ours! The Bible also tells us “that man cannot live by bread alone.” (Matthew 4:4)  In order to grow in Christ and to know the fullness of our promises and also to learn from what others have gone through (Oh yes – those are REAL people just like you and me that you are reading about in the Bible!)  You need to immerse yourself in God’s Word.  The beauty of that is it is really God’s love story for His love for YOU.  As you read God’s Word you will grow and the Holy Spirit which resides inside of you will bring those words and promises to your remembrance as you read it.  You will hide God’s Word in your heart.  I cannot tell you how often I hear the whispering of the Holy Spirit bringing forth what I have read to the remembrance of my mind when I have needed it most!  Also the Bible tells us that God’s Word is a double edge sword! (Hebrews 4:12) You will NEED this as you go forth on “divine” appointments that God will set your life.  It is your greatest weapon!
  3. Sweet Fellowship – Link arms with those who God puts into your life – He has not called you to be an island. You are a Warrior for the Lord.  Those that He places into your life He may just place for a season or for the rest of your life.  You never know!  But you can bet that the people He places into your life will help you grow!  And will help them as well!  There is a saying that I saw a few months back that has made me laugh!  “You are either a blessin’ or a lesson’” And that is true of the people that you will encounter in your life!  Pray that God will give you the wisdom to be able to recognize which one they are!  Some of the most valuable lessons I have learned in my walk  over the last 30 years has come from spiritual growth.  Be open to all that God has for you!

The realization that God has called us to be his earthly “superheroes” is one that came into my mind while I was in the middle of a work meeting. There was the person who was conducting the meeting speaking, and all of a sudden as I listened, he started to sound like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons.  “Wahhhh wahhhh wahhhhhh!”  And all of a sudden everything in that meeting faded in the background as I came into the realization that one day all earthly things WILL fade into the background and all that will remain is the spiritual realm – which really IS our reality.  The Bible tells us that “only what you do in Christ will last.” The devil has blinded the eyes of humanity to thinking that reality is what they see before them – in the world.  The news, events – but the truth of the matter is what is going on BEHIND those events.  Not what you see with your earthly eyes.  Ask God to open up your spiritual eyes to see clearly so that you can function affectively in the spiritual realm.  Jesus is our example. 

As I sat there I had the realization that I was annoyed… I was annoyed because ALL I wanted to do was to bask at my Father’s feet and enjoy Him and I felt as though having to go through all the daily life things that I had to do was an annoyance from what I really wanted to do.  Then God revealed it to me that underneath my wordly persona – a wife, a mother, a worker and all the titles that go along with our life – was a superhero for him.  And I almost wanted to giggle as He made me think of Clark Kent hiding his true identity behind a pair of glasses and a business suit – only it was me as the world knows me.  But any of those people who REALLY know me know that behind the every day grind and daily duties that make up my life is a superhero (and at this point He showed me ME ripping off my daily clothes of which behind I am clothed in my spiritual armor as described in Ephesians 6:10-18).  My head covered with “the helmut of salvation.  My breast covered with the breast plate of righteousness.  Around my waist the belt of truth.  My feet shod with the preparation of the gospel.” (Again as in Ephesians 6:10-18) Heck! I am a Wonder Woman replica for the Lord!  (Okaaaaaaay, maybe that is a bit of exaggeration but you get my point!)

What does the world see when it sees you? What is it that you see within yourself?  Because truth be told – YOU are God’s earthly superhero!  So now it is time for you to jump up, back straight, legs a shoulder’s with apart, arms on hips, head held up, chin high.  YOU are a child of the MOST HIGH GOD – royalty!  You represent the Lord if you call yourself a Christian.  Get in tune with God.  What is it He wants you to do this day? Listen… Do you hear the cries??? Those are souls that need saving!  Hear that?  It is the Holy Spirit prompting you WHO to pray for! Where to go! What to do!  Open up your spiritual eyes to see and your ears to hear!  God’s got work for you to do!  Go in Him! Go glorify His name!  The world needs God and He’s sending you!

 

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How is Your Oil Holding Out?

                         Got Oil?

I thought I had been prepared… I had anticipated this day for as long as I could remember. What could I have done with it? Where could I have put it? HOW could I have forgotten it????

There were ten of us, you see… When we heard He was arriving, that the wedding banquet was prepared. Oh if you could only know how fast my heart was beating in my chest. I had waited for this day… Some days had been easier than others. The years had flown by and there were times in my life where I lost faith. Where I had thought He had forsaken me. There were times when I was grateful for God’s grace that He had not yet arrived.

You see, patience is not one of my strong suits. There were days that I cried out to Him, begging him to HURRY up and come! Days where I raged at the fact He was not here already.

Where was He? Why wasn’t He here already? How much more evil could these days get? And then there were days when I was disappointed with myself. Where I knew that it was clearly His grace, forgiveness and love that kept Him from coming. There were days where I was actually part of the problem… (And more then likely part of the reason for His graceful delay…)

Now He was coming and we were on route. Where had I placed my oil for my lamp? In my rush to get out the door had I forgotten it? In my absent minded mind was He arriving on a day where my faith had grown as dim as the lamp before me? Now my heart filled with trepidation.

Oh the horror of the thought that I had waited so diligently and with joy anticipating His arrival, was all that to be tossed away because He was arriving on a day where my faith was weak? Where I felt as though the Holy Spirit had left me? A day where my eyes had been removed from Him and on to my circumstances? Oh woe is me!

“May I have some of your oil?” I asked tapping the back shoulder of the virgin ahead of me.

She turned her head and threw me a look of genuine pity and shook her head. “If I give you some of mine, I may not have enough, I can’t risk that – I’m sorry…” She proceeded to quicken her steps anxious to get to Him.

My shoulders slumped, I tried to think back to where I had placed it, but the worries of the world, worries of my life had crowded in and I had been consumed with them instead of walking in faith and believing that He would supply all my needs. Fear, worry, anxiety, depression had all taken up residence in my heart and had made me lose my faith, my trust in He who is greater than any concern. I had placed importance over that which was most important above all things. I had allowed the things of the world to overtake me; consume me and turn my head to that which I had been warned not to. I was in a place I never expected to be. He had warned me over and over again to be prepared.

 The fault was mine. My faith had faltered and I had allowed myself to be weighed down with the cares of this world.

 We can’t allow ourselves to be “that girl or “that guy” – I have written from my heart because I have felt like her, honestly – more recently than not. I thank God for his mercy and His grace. Sometimes it is easy to fall in the “People-Around-the-time-of-Noah” mentality that Jesus isn’t coming back. But He’s prolonging His return BECAUSE of His grace.
  “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:22)

It is so easy for us to become desensitized. I have felt that way myself. This world grows with its problems and demands and there are days when I myself am wondering HOW to get through them. But we need to keep our eyes focused on the Lord – like Peter did when he was walking on water. It was when Peter took his eyes off of him that he began to sink.

Are you sinking???? Cry out to God for help. Ol’ Slewfoot would have you believe that God is not listening, that you are not important enough for Him to hear your cries. That is a LIE from the pit of hell!

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

It is so very easy to allow the oil of our faith to dry up. To stop believing, to become discouraged or distracted or bitter or envious or jealous of others – all those feelings are *not* of God. Cry out to Him. Talk to Him, Pray to Him.

Jesus said:

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:2-3)

And also:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

We need to not leave nor forsake Him as well… And if we do – the very first step is being honest with your feelings and talk to Your Father who cares so much about you how you feel. He will revitalized your oil and make it flow like a running river.
 

Thank GOD for His grace, His mercy and His love. Our Lord is coming we MUST be ready. Help us Father. Forgive us! Guide us that ALL of us may enter the Wedding Feast and not let one of us be shut out.

In Jesus name I pray…

 AMEN

 

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Zombies really DO Exist!

 I have been thinking about Noah a lot lately… God told Noah to build a boat – and not just a tiny little boat but an Ark!  Oh how his extended family and neighbors must have ridiculed him.  They laughed at him and mocked him, yet what did Noah do?  He stayed focused.  God had given him an assignment to do and he remained focused keeping his eyes on Him.

Times have not changed all that much… What has happened in the past, still happens now.  If you are a Christian living in this day and age (especially in a liberal area) there is a very good chance that YOU have been laughed at or mocked for your faith.  Maybe you are the only Christian in your family and God has given you an assignment – the assignment is to intercede on behalf of those you around you who have not yet had those scales removed from their eyes.  They are walking in the dark.  Modern day Zombies who are existing from day to day not aware of what they don’t know.

Still you go and “build that boat.”

What has God called you to do?  Whatever it is you can bet you are part of a puzzle that we will not see the fullness there of until all is said and done.  Remember that we only see in part, while God sees in full.

Next time you are being treated badly by a modern day zombie, just remember that there was a time when YOU were one too.  The only difference between you and them is that God brought you into the knowledge of Him and the scales were removed from your eyes.   You awoken to the knowledge of what Jesus had done for you and of God’s loving grace.  As you sit there reading these words, reflect upon how you came to know Him.  And rejoice and praise God for His love, forgiveness, mercy and grace which is the only difference between you and someone who has not yet come into the knowledge of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Remember, there ended up being  a time when that Ark God had Noah build was finished and the animals and Noah’s family were all tucked safely away in it when the rains came pouring down.  All of a sudden the mocking and laughter of those who had ridiculed Noah turned to fear and the realization that he had been right!  But it came late, for God had closed up the doors of the ark and all those mockers were lost.

The thought of that should make us more compassionate towards those who persecute us for our faith.  If Jesus was persecuted, and the apostles were persecuted there should be no surprise that we are persecuted as well.  PRAY for all those you know who are the “living zombies” and are unaware of it.  Pray that the scales will be removed from their eyes and that they won’t be lost like those in the flood.

God has called us to PRAY.  God has called us to LOVE the unlovable.  YES it is hard to love someone who hates you for who you are.  But if when dealing with them you look at them realizing that you are looking at someone who is in a spiritual war and isn’t even aware of it. PRAY FOR THEM.  Intercede for them.  Look beyond their hateful actions and think about this.   Just as the rains DID eventually come and all at that time realized that Noah’s prediction was true, Jesus IS coming again.

 

 More Words for Your Journey 

 

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God Said it – Believe it!

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

Everything within us is connected.  We are made up of a body, spirit and soul. They are connected.

The body is our outward package which houses the spirit and the soul.

“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27)

 

The  soul connects our mind, will and emotion to our physical heart and is what makes up our personality. The soul not only is connected to our physical body (which is like a container, because the body houses both the soul and the spirit which are intricately  woven together.) but also goes hand in hand with our spirit.

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

The spirit – is the very core of who we are and houses our need and dependence upon God.

“and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7)

Those who are spiritually blind and have not come into this spiritual awakening are constantly trying to fill this void with other things (i.e. approval from people, addictions, money, prestige, etc.) The Bible talks about the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) Which only occurs when one comes into the knowledge of their salvation and the spiritual blinders are removed.

 

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The body as one grows older, goes through transformation, one passes from babyhood to childhood to adulthood.  Parents refer to this as “growing pains.” Just as our body goes through “growing pains” so does our spirit and just as we feel them within our body as we grow in Christ, God stretches us spiritually as well.  This stretching grows our trust and our relationship with the Lord and it can feel painful.  But spiritual growing pains are what help you to mature in your walk with the Lord.  God desires us to go deeper with Him.  Part of that requires dying to our self. And as we daily choose to die to ourselves (our will, our emotions, our desires) and choose to grow in Christ (His will, His desire) we flourish in all three body, soul and spirit.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Growing pains  can hurt – be it physical or spiritual, but the end results create maturity and also helps us to develop a deeper relationship with the Lord.

As long as we have breath in our bodies and desire to grow in Christ we will experience spiritual growing pains.  The older we get in Christ the more we are able to look back on our walk with Him to see where He has taken us and to share our growing experiences with others that God brings into our lives.  We are able to extend our right hand of fellowship to those who might be at a different spiritual place of growth than we are, which glorifies the Lord and encourages someone else that they are not/have not gone through what they are experiencing alone. 

We are beautifully and wonderfully made by a God who has loved us beyond anything our minds can comprehend. Let us love Him with everything He has made us to be, body, soul and spirit which is the reason we were created in the first place and in doing so we fulfill our true purpose in Him.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13-16)

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How About That Noah?!!

 

What a day we live in!  I have been thinking of late how we forget that the Bible was written to be a guidebook for us, to help us, to encourage us to teach us, yet often it is the last place we look for wisdom and for strength.  I think back to when I first became a Christian at the age of 21, not having grown up in a Christian family, once I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and was introduced to the Bible, the words would jump off the pages and I would be so into what I was reading there would be nights when my head would fall asleep with my face right in the Bible!  Twenty-nine years later I am chagrined at thinking how it has become difficult to find the time to read the Word of God and how, especially at this time in history it is the answer to so many of the questions we have because it is very much the LIVING Word of God and as the Bible says:

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17)

Also it is spiritual food for us and I have found myself discouraged, depressed, depleted and anxious when I don’t take time to read it.  It is spiritual food for our soul.  It was written for a purpose and the purpose was for us to grow in our relationship with Him.

The fascinating thing I have found is how as I have grown in my walk with the Lord what I have read has been stored within my heart.  Reading the Word of God helps us to hide his Word in our heart and often time we don’t even know that is occurring until a scripture just jumps out in our minds! I get tickled by this because it is the Holy Spirit bringing forward a word of encouragement to my remembrance when I am praying for answers.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding, in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”  (Proverbs 3:5).

The Bible is also a map for us.  I was thinking this week about the days of Noah, how often we forget that that is a TRUE story, one that can be applied to our lives today.  As I have thought about the world today and how many do not choose to follow God’s Word or believe it I think about examples of such times as are written in the Bible.  The people in Noah’s time thought he was insane.  Building a boat when there wasn’t any rain.  They laughed at him.  They mocked him, they made fun of him, they went on living, working, marrying, carrying on with their lives (such as we do today) not heeding God’s warning or Noah’s words.  Then the day of rains came.  Can you imagine the shock and horror of the people when they realized that all along what Noah had been doing was right?  It was too late!  The world hasn’t changed.  The Bible talks about the days to come, yet still we go through life not believing, not giving it much thought that what God’s Word says will come to pass.  Just as in the days of Noah.  Just as in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. 

Even as a Christian I can see my own faults, weaknesses and sins before me.  It is so easy to get discouraged – especially during the times when God feels so far away.  Ol’ Slewfoot and his dominions would have us really believe that God IS dead.  That He is not concerned with us, our needs or our lives.  He would have us doubt God’s promises and turn away. He would have us be discouraged or disheartened.  But the TRUTH of the matter is that God LOVES us.  That He is NOT dead.  That He is very much alive.  That He CARES.  We live in a day and age where people are looking those of us who are Christians and struggling and they mock us and laugh at us and wonder WHY we would serve a God who clearly makes us suffer.  And sometimes, as a cancer survivor who is struggling to make ends meet for my family – I DO question God.  I ask Him WHY.  When it seems like what is such a big problem for us is a little “ant hill” to Him.  WHY doesn’t He just alleviate the difficulty I have. WHY do I go through the things I go through when I have a Father who could just snap His fingers and take away my burdens like He was flicking a piece of lint off His shoulder and honestly there are times when I rage and I cry before Him and I ask Him, “Lord HOW do you receive the glory in my being burdened by A,B,C??? Why won’t you help ME??? Your Word says, “If I being evil give good gifts to my children how much more so will you help ME?” (Matthew 7:11)  There are times when I cry out to Him, “Abba Father!!!!” And He seems quiet.  He seems distant and far away.  That is when the scripture promise I cling to:

“I will never leave nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

And I have to remind myself that regardless of whether or not I understand what I am going through.  The Bible also tells me:

“The steps of the righteous are ordained by God.” (Psalms 37:23)

Remembering that my righteousness is NOT my own – that I have been made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ – who loved me enough to die on the cross for forgiveness of my sins.

I know without a doubt within my soul – that also as the Bible says: 

 “He is the way, the truth and the life.  The ONLY way to Heaven.” (John 14:6)

He is: 

The peace that passes ALL understanding.”(Philippians 4:7)

You see?  In reading His Word, I have hidden such scriptures in my heart.  The faith part comes with BELIEVING them.  STANDING on them.  Holding FAST to them.  Not to go by my feelings – but to know that my Heavenly Father cares.  He’s There.  The Word also tells me:

“He is an ever present help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

He is:

“The lifter of my head.” (Psalms 3:3)

I can trust Him.  He knows what He is doing.  Jesus even said:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)

We are living in a time where we have to choose who we are going to believe.  satan or God.  We have to decide who’s voice we are going to listen to.  It is NOT easy.  It is so easy to feel as though God is far away – especially when we look around at ALL the things that are going on in the world.  There is NO common sense anymore.  There is NO common courtesy.  Even Christians are not living and walking in the manner that God intended them to walk.  The Bride is NOT ready.  We have become wordly – and we need to ask God to forgive us and to help us be ALL that He intended us to be. 

The Bible talks about the days to come.  The last days. 

“People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2nd Timothy 3:2 – 3:5)

It is SPELLED OUT right on the pages of the Word of God.  So WHY does it come as such a shock to us when we hear about it in the news, when we see it happening right before our eyes?  When we find OURSELVES acting in a manner that does not glorify God? 

When I look on my life over the last 29 years of being a Christian.  My answer to those who see me struggle as a cancer survivor, a divorced woman raising two of her three children on her own.  My answer is – don’t look at ME.  Look at HIM.   I am not IN this life because of what God can do for me – although daily I hope He will help me with the burdens I carry and the things I go through in life.  But the fact of the matter is I love Him and have become a Christian not for what he can DO for me, but for what He has DONE for me.  He died on the cross for forgiveness of my sins.  He made a way for me to be able to enter into a relationship with God the Father because of His obedience.  He made a way through His shed blood for me to be able to go to Heaven when I die.  NOT because of anything I have done but because of WHAT HE has done.  I am in it because I love Him.  I am in it because I trust Him – even when I rage and have temper tantrums.  I am in it because I know that His Word (regardless of how in frequently I have taken time to read it myself of late) is TRUE and the Words written in God’s book – The BIBLE WILL come to pass regardless of those who think is nonsense.  Just as in the examples He has allowed those God inspired men He used to write it, write it for us to read.  He wrote it as a love story for us – so that we would be encouraged.  So that we would SEE how MUCH God love us.  The choice (which he also gave us – free choice) is OURS.

As you look out at the world and the things that are occurring around you – what will YOU choose to believe?  Where is your hope? How do YOU go forward in life in a world that often times seems as though it is growing darker and darker.  (It is…) But if you read the same Word that I read – you will be encouraged to know that Jesus said:

“He is the Way, The Truth and the Life.” John 14:6)

  We only need to walk in it… I’m going to continue trying – how about you?



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Time to Fight! – You Are At War Soldier, Pick Up Your Weapons and FIGHT!

 
You can either use the weapons God has given you to fight this war you are in or you can be defeated – which will you do? The choice is up to you.

I often wonder what God thinks of us… Does He sit up there in Heaven shaking His Head? Thinking, “I’ve given them a guidebook – The Bible. I’ve given them the tools – prayer and STILL they run around like turkeys with their heads cut off?”

How does God tolerate us? We are (as the Bible has indicated in the Old Testament) a “stiff necked” people. We should rejoice and praise God for His patience and grace with us. I include myself amongst that number. Sometimes the answer is so obvious we don’t see it! Last week my chapel had a movie night – they showed a movie I had not had a chance to see called, “The War Room.” How appropriately entitled it was because the truth of the matter is – WE ARE AT WAR. We are in the middle of a spiritual war and even if we choose not to recognize the truth of that matter – it is occurring and happening ALL around us. We can choose to acknowledge it and participate on the winning side – the side of the Lord or we can choose to hide our heads in the sand like ostriches and act as though nothing is going on around us. This does not mean that in doing so you will not be choosing by not choosing, either way – you make a choice as to whose side you will be on. The fact of the matter is we ARE in a spiritual war and just because you cannot see the spiritual side of what is going on does not mean that the war is not taking place.

God has given us the weapon and tool of prayer to bring those things that concern us to His attention. We are able, through the shed blood of Jesus, to come boldly to His throne by way of the cross and submit things to God through prayer. The War Room Movie portrayed in a very effective manner how God hears and answers prayer.

I felt convicted and greatly encouraged at the same time after watching the movie. It is a movie I highly recommend! It made me excited to pray. I have always “talked to God” but this movie lit a fire underneath me and furthered my desire to pray. You see, prayer is a two way conversation with God. It’s not a soliloquy – it is bringing those things that are on your mind and in your heart before God for His attention and answer. The Bible tells us that God knows our thoughts before we even think them – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek Him through prayer. I find it exciting to see when I have brought things before my Father and He answers! No matter what that answer is, I know that God cares and that He is listening! He desires us to come to Him in prayer.

I think one of the biggest attacks of ol’ slewfoot is our not believing that God cares enough to answer prayer – God does! And I have found that my peace and encouragement has come through being submissive and obedient through praying. I can do NOTHING in and of myself – but when I bring the attention of things that concern me, trouble me, bother me or things I just plain want to know what God would have me do – I pray! Prayer should not be a drudgery, it should be a time of conversation with your Father. If you find prayer to be a drag – you simply need to find a better way to approach it! You don’t have to be sitting in a pew to approach your Heavenly Father (although that is a place of quiet and I find it to be a place where I can be alone without interruption before my Father). You can talk to God ANYWHERE. Perhaps go for a walk? Go for a drive – I will say that working two jobs and being a divorced mother with two children, there have been many a day when I have (while caught in traffic) had long conversations with my Father while driving in to work. I’m quite sure that people seeing my lips moving and an occasional hand gesturing while in traffic, driving have probably thought I was insane – but some of my best conversations with my Father have been at times such as these.

The truth of the matter is you can pray ANYWHERE. In the movie The War Room the women cleaned out there closets and used them as “prayer closets.” I thought that was a creative idea. I opened the door of my walk in closet and got totally distracted by ALL the junk I have folded up and stored in there and not liking small enclosed spaces, I decided instead that I would use my bedroom as my “prayer closet.” I grabbed a notebook and began to write my prayer requests down as I brought them to the attention of my Father. It is amazing how quickly time goes by when you are focused on praying and communicating things that are important to you, things that you are seeking an answer from with your Heavenly Father. Two hours quickly went by and I had only touched the surface of all the things that were in my mind and on my heart. Next to each item I had brought to God’s attention I drew a line. A line to which once I have received an answer from God I will fill in next to that item. God ANSWERS prayer. I want to record when He answered as well as what that answer was. It is exciting when you see that God hears you. That He cares. I find it greatly encouraging when I have received an answer from the Lord, even if the answer is one that I did not expect. There is NO GREATER JOY than being in the center of God’s will. Even being sure of what God’s will is. There have been so many weeks lately, where I have thought about Moses, and how He was focused upon going up that mountain and seeing and hearing from God. He came back down with His face radiating the glory of His time with God. I want that! I want to have the assurance that I know what God wants for me! That He and I have this amazing relationship – communicating. I want that! With the knowledge of what God’s will is comes that peace that passes all understanding and that is something that in this day and age we badly need.

Do you believe in prayer? Have you tried it? Of course the first step is making Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior – the first prayer you should be praying or an example of one is that which allows you to come before the Father and the only one who provides that bridge is Jesus. He died on the cross for forgiveness of our sins and the ONLY WAY to come to the Father is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. In order to do so, you have to pray a prayer such as this:

“Father God, I come before You through the shed blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ who has made a way where previously there was no way. I believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, that He lived and was crucified on the cross for forgiveness of my sins and that He rose from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I ask, Jesus that You would come in to my life and be my Lord and Savior. I thank You in Jesus name I pray. AMEN.”

The Bible tells us:

“God so loved the world that He gave His Only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

There is NO greater joy than being in a relationship with your Creator. I have fallen tremendously in love with my Father over the last 29 years I have been a Christian (since I myself prayed that prayer). I have had struggles and victories that have come only because of Him and through Him. I believe that life is a journey for each of us. Each of our journeys are as unique and different as our hand prints. God has NO favors. He loves YOU. He wants to be in a relationship with you. He wants you to know Him. The best way to do that is through His instructional book (The Bible) and through prayer (conversation with Him). You don’t have to believe my words – just TRY what I have written and see for yourself. When I came to Christ and prayed that prayer my conversation with God was, “Okay Lord – IF you are REAL YOU need to reveal yourself to ME. IF we are to have a relationship as I am being told we can – I need YOU to prove it. Not because of what people tell me – but because of what YOU tell me and what YOU do.” In the 29 years since I have said that to Him – He has shown me that He is real in only a way I can receive it. He WILL do the same for you. As I have said throughout my blog – I don’t have all the answers, I am FAR from perfect and there is much work that God is doing with me. BUT I DO KNOW WHO IT IS WHO HAS THE ANSWERS and I can direct you to Him. We were created to have a relationship with God, throughout our lives we constantly try to fill it with other things – but the truth of the matter is – the only one who can fill that void in us is God. We were made to be in a relationship with Him, it is only when we realize that and acknowledge our need for Him that we are able to be filled with that peace that passes all understanding that can ONLY come from being with Him. The Bible tells us:

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

Honestly, there is no greater joy. No matter the turmoil and spiritual war that is around us – and as you can hear from the news our world is in turmoil. The only One who can restore our peace is our Creator. Prayer is our greatest weapon against confusion, discouragement, depression, anxiety and all the things that would bring you down. TRY IT. See for yourself. God is good, He is real, He loves you and He cares.

Posted by The Prodigal Daughter

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The Undefeated Soldier

She was down for the count, face first into the mud.  She’d fallen for the enemy’s trick yet again! She should have known better, she had been trudging through the mud for the past 28 years.  Had it really been 28 years?  She could still remember when she had first received her shiny new soldier’s fatigues.  How she wore them with such pride.  How she had been ready, willing, determined and able!
“Yes let’s go kick enemy butt!” She had said courageously puffing up her chest and ready to spring forward.

Had that really been 28 years ago?  There had been a spring in her step and determination in her eyes.  That was when she hadn’t personally known that the enemy would not fight fair.  It had not occurred to her that he and his dominions had been studying her since birth.  Knew her every weakness and temptation, she had not thought the battle would be so vicious.  But the enemy did not fight fair.

Her army fatigues were faded.  She was weary, though still she pressed on.  She had to.  She believed in what she was fighting for.  She had loved ones that (although they didn’t know it) were counting on her. She couldn’t give in, couldn’t give up.  She had to stay focused. Her steps were ordained by God.

There were times when the mud on the road got thick, so think she had compared it in her head to what it must feel like to walk in molasses.  Sometimes it pulled at her body giving her the sensation that she was sinking, like that of quick sand.

Give in, give up.” The mud seemed to say as it pulled her body down deeper into it, sometimes as high up as her thighs.  There were times when she could hear the enemy taunting her, “Who do you think you are? Do you really think He can use you??? Your sins are ever before you.  Why remember when you did this? Or when you did that? You weren’t thinking of Him then were you?” And the enemy would laugh a malicious laugh.

“GOD!” She would cry out as the battle sometimes got too heated, “Abba Father! Jesus I neeeeeeeed YOU!!!!” Then she would feel the mud drop its hold from her.

She cringed at temptations she had given in to, the times when she had followed not what her commander had instructed, but had gone by her own feelings, times when she had lost focus and gone off course.   Those were the times where she had just wanted to stop and wallow in the mud.  But she couldn’t because the cost was too high.  She had willfully enlisted, on her own accord.  And even when she was at her weakest moment – she still believed.  Deep in her heart she knew that because she had given Christ her heart.  She knew that it wasn’t her strength – but HIS.

There were times when she just wanted Him to hurry up and call them all home, but she knew that was selfish.  There were still many who needed to hear the truth.  To hear the message and be set free.  The battle would continue on until God deemed it OVER.  It was already FINISHED, but until He said it was over she would keep going.  Keep praying, keep, fighting, keep believing.

She had her weapon firmly in her hand – The Word of God.  Over the course of the 28 years a lot of it had gone from the pages of the Bible into the depth in her heart for her to call upon her promises whenever the battle got heated.  Oh how the enemy cringed when she spoke out her promises out loud.

“I will trust in the Lord with ALL my heart and I will *not* lean to my own understanding.  In ALL my ways I will acknowledge Him and He will make straight my path!” (Proverbs 3:5) (Emphasis, her own for she had personalized it…)  After all, THIS was personal…

She had gotten to the point where she (more often than not) could recognize the enemy’s tactics, as they often resorted to the same tricks over and over again.  Sometimes they worked and she would have fall into the trap to regain her footing.  She was 48 years old.  She had enlisted 28 years ago, which still left 20 years of old habits and old ways of thinking to muddle through.  Never had it been easy.  She would get mad at herself for falling for the same trick and temptation over again.  She had always been for the motto, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice – shame on me.”  Sometimes she had literally walked right into it.  How humbling it was realizing she had fallen for the same trick yet again.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.” (Psalms 51:10-13).

“I’m tired Lord,” She would state when the going got particularly rough.

“Not by power, not by might, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6)

“I’m tired Father…”

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31) Would come the response.

Every step of the way her leader would speak words of encouragement.  Unbeknown to her was in the spiritual realm the angels that fought in front and behind her. She stood not alone.  To her right and back and front were others who had heard the calling and had on their own accord enlisted the same as she.   She knew the number of her days God would fulfill.  Her life’s purpose all about Him, although the battle at times got fierce, and she got weary, she would continue fighting as long as the Lord commanded her to fight.

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thess, 4:16-18). 

She loved Him, completely with all her heart, with all her soul with all her mind, in spite of all her faults and imperfections.  But it was never about her being “perfect.” No, there was only One who was perfect and that was Jesus.  How could she not love Him? He had given His life for her. The keys to winning the battle was to acknowledge that it was nothing but His grace, His forgiveness, His mercy, His love and His sacrifice that kept her going.  Whens he was at her weariest she would think on these words:

Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength— he will make my feet like those of a deer, equipping me to tread on my mountain heights. (Habakkuk 3:18-19)

You see, it wasn’t until the scales had been removed from her spiritual eyes that she had known what real love was, the most unselfish love of all.

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have ever lasting life.” (John 3:16)

With a new burst of energy, she picked herself up out of the mud, wiped the dirt off her face and stood with her back straight and her chin up.

“Okay satan – so you got me on that round.  You won that fight, you tripped me up in a moment of weakness and temptation –  but let me remind you of this – You *may* have won that round with me but YOU have already been defeated in the war.  Jesus DEFEATED YOU by His shed blood and the work He accomplished on the cross.  So laugh at the way you just tripped me up – but look at me?  STILL I RISE.  And I will go forward in His name and I will fight with every bit of strength I have within me.  And when I sin, I will confess my sin and ask for His strength so I will be stronger the next time around.  Because my strength is not my own – it is HIS.  I shall plead His shed blood down upon me and He will wash me clean! Because I belong to HIM. And every time I fall – I will rise UP again because my Savior lives! And just so that you know for me, to LIVE is Christ, to die is to gain because I know that the number of my days HE will fulfill and I also know that it is in Jesus’ name I pray! AMEN”

… Did you hear that?  It’s the sound of the enemy and his cohorts shrieking.  The fiery darts that they tried to throw her way have reversed in direction mid-air and they have become the target.  God is on His throne and in control… The thing is, He always has been, since the beginning of time. More Words for Your Journey

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The Battlefield

 (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos)

Waking up she sat forward, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes; with a yawn she stretched her arms over her head and then ran a hand threw her wayward sleep tossled curls and turned her eyes towards the stunning view outside as a new day began to gloriously dawn…
The field was perfect for battle, both sides positioned at opposite ends, ready to die for their cause – they stood upon the territory for which they battled, lines drawn. Just waiting for the signal to charge…
“Which side will you choose today?” The raspy voice spat out. “Make up your mind!” He tapped a toe in impatient exasperation waiting for the response.

The beautiful view quickly turned grey as the worries began to infiltrate her mind, like a rain cloud coming in to overshadow the sun.
She frowned. The worries were ugly black creatures known to wait until the wee hours of morning to harass and wake one up from their sleep, while whispering taunts in one’s ear.

“How are you going to resolve this problem or this one…. or this one… or this one…”

They were notorious for stealing a person’s peace and filling them with fear and worry. The more of an ear you give them, the louder and more aggressive they became. Their biggest trick, to taunt and repeat the same thing over and over again…

“You have to take care of A,B,C – but you can’t… Because all you have is this… How are you going to do it? You can’t.. There will be ramifications… You are in trouble…”

Louder and louder they became because they are “faith drowners.” If she listened to the worries, the voice of her faith would become a whisper, and eventually it would blow out like a fire that becomes nothing more than an ember and she knew that if she were not careful and let them multiply and over throw her thoughts, they could totally blow the fire of her faith, leaving a residue of smoke.

“NO!” She shouted covering her head with her hands. “Go AWAY in Jesus’ name!” She slammed her hand down on the covers of her bed.

One side of the army cringed and shrank back a step. The other side took up the step lost by the other side. Ready to move forward.

The worries scattered like roaches running from a turned on light.

She threw the covers off her legs and touched a toe down on the ground. It was time to get up. The armies waited in expectation – waiting to charge forward at the command.

She was opening her mouth, she knew what she had to do to eradicate the thoughts… Both sides stood poised like runners waiting for a gun to give off a shot to start a race.

“This is the day the Lord has made… I will rejoice and be glad in it!” She said it with confidence and determination and with authority. Both feet on the floor, hands on her hips.

The side that had lost a step, grimaced again and stepped further back. The side that had gained a step’s armor began to glow with a light. They moved forward raising their swords high and confidently positioning their gigantic shields in front of their chests. They moved foward in unison, line by line as the other side shrank back, also in unison another step with fear on their faces.

“Father God I give YOU this day. I thank you for it! I come before you and I give YOU all my worries! I place them each at the foot of your cross! I may not be able to do anything about them but I have a Father who can! Greater is He that is in me than he that is within the world!” (1 John 4:4)

Clank came the sound of sword against sword as the two sides began to battle. The radiating side growing more and more radiant with each prayer and scripture she quoted as she continued to pray.

“No!” Rasped the voice of the captain from the other side. “Stop her from praying!” He sent troops over to a side of the field which was not infiltrated by the other army.

“What are you talking about?” They taunted her back, sneering. “You are sinful and willfull and disobedient. God is not going to help you. Look at you, you keep struggling with the same issues over and over again like a dog chasing her tail. And it will be that way all your life! You will never have enough to do anything else but struggle, no matter what you do. You call your life victorious? Ha!” They shot off their fiery arrows into the sky trying to gain back the territory they had lost.

“NO!” She shouted. The battle was on full forced now. Army against army a full fledged battle. Metal clashing against metal.

“It is true, my righteousness is as filthy rags!” (Isaiah 64:6) “And I could never defeat you on my own accord. But I don’t come before you in my own righteousness. But in the righteousness of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Who made a way for me when there was no way! I am fully clothed in the righteousness He has provided for me by the power of His shed blood! He came so that I could have life and have it more abundantly! (John 10:10), and I know that it is not by power, not by might but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6) that I am able to do ALL things. He is my provider, He is my rock – He is my Lord! And I choose to believe His promises to me this day! Because I know that He is the same, yesterday, today as He will be tomorrow! (Hebrews 13:8). My confidence and faith is not in myself – but in HIM!”

Screams of pain came from the losing side as the radiating army’s swords met their mark, causing many members of the other side to fall and as they fell they to disappear in clouds of dark black smoke. As quickly as they fell the line behind them would take up position and rise to the front as the battle roared on.

“I dress myself in the helmet of Salvation!” She stated boldly, using a hand motion as if to dress and put an invisible yet powerful helmut upon her head. “I put on the breast plate of righteousness! Around my waist I put the belt of truth! I shod my feet with the preparation of the gospel, pick up my shield of faith and my sword of the spirit!” (taken from Ephesians 6:14) Although in the earthly realm these garments could not be seen, in the spiritual realm her armor dressed her body as fine as any soldier ever had. Glowing with the same intense glow of the radiating army that was currently defeating the other side. The fiery darts being aimed at her bounced off the shield that she had raised real high. “Lord, I choose YOU today in whatever I do and wherever I go! I give this day to YOU. I ask that You would be glorified this day. If there be any evil within me I pray that you would remove it. I ask that you transform and renew my mind and I thank you for the victory over every area of my life that needs Your touch. Forgive me for my sins, wash me with the precious blood of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Be glorified this day in Jesus name I pray! AMEN”

The radiating army shimmered with a glorious bright light, growing brighter with each word she prayed and crashed down upon the losing side with a holy fierceness. As members of the opposite side fell in defeat, they screamed in pain and disappeared in puffs of black smoke.

“She has chosen! Be gone! You are defeated with the blood of Jesus!” Shouted the radiating captain to the opposing captain as he pierced his chest with the sword of truth.

“Ahhhhhhh!!!” Screamed the defeated Captain in excruciating pain, clutching his chest with a black claw., spittle forming at his mouth, “You may have won this day! But we will return! of that you can be sure!” And he disappeared in a puff of black smoke along with each member of his line and the line behind him, and the line behind them, until none remained.

The battlefield was clear. The radiating army stood upon its ground. A joyous shout of victory went out. The captain raised his hands to simmer them down. “We may have won this battle, but the war is far from over. Take cover and be prepared, for the enemy will surely return and try to regain what ground they have lost. We need to take cover, wait and be prepared for they will return.”

One sneaky little enemy unseen by the radiating, rejoicing army peaked out from his hidden spot a short distance away. Clutching the inner part of the girl’s ear with a claw and whispering into it, “they may have won on the battlefield of your mind today, but tomorrow is another day and rest assured we’ll be baaaaacccck…”

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The YOU Plan

One day God got an idea in His head… One that He couldn’t wait to begin.  Oh how excited He was… He is the Creator, and creating is something God loves to do.  This special day, He had the plan of YOU.

Gently He molded YOU, a pinch here a pat there.  The Potter lovingly kneaded the special ingredients of YOU.  In His mind’s eye He already saw YOU in complete formation.  Each kneading with His hands lovingly done.  Caressing the makings of YOU.  You see, YOU were being created in the image of Him, formed in God’s image.  How excited God must have been over the creation of YOU.  He knew YOU would be one of a kind.  Lovingly He filled YOU with the breathe of life, floating around in amniotic fluid YOU were surrounded by His Holy Spirit, no matter the situation of how YOU came to be – YOU came to be because He chose YOU to be. YOU were never a mistake.  YOU were a plan.  A God ordained well formulated plan.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

YOU were not a mistake.  YOU were not a surprise.  No matter your conception – YOU were created in love by God.  Oh how proud He must have been as He stood back to see the results of His work in YOU.  Watched YOU grow in your mother’s womb with joy and expectation and pride and a fatherly love.  He took joy in the creation of YOU.

“You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.: (Psalms 139:2-4)

God developed YOU.  He knew the day YOU would arrive into the world.  Like an expectant Father, He watched as YOU took your first breath.  Your entrance a gift to the world.  How hard it must have been for God to release YOU into the type of world He did not originally create it to be.  Your birth was not into a Garden of Eden type of environment that God had originally planned for YOU to exist in.  But into a cursed world full of dangers and temptations and experiences that God originally never intended for YOU to have to face.  But knowing that in advance, He put into action the plan of Jesus, a chance for YOU to be reunited through Jesus back to Him.  Did He kiss YOU on Your forehead before You were born and whisper into your being that along with all the other gifts He had created in YOU for YOU to discover along the course of your life – He had given YOU the gift of free will.  Oh how hard that gift must have been for God to give each one of us… Free will… To choose Him or to deny Him.  He has loved YOU since He created YOU and in that love given YOU the choice as to whether or not YOU in turn will choose, in the course of your life to love Him in return.

“In the same way, I tell you, joy breaks out in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who changes both heart and life.” (Luke 15:10)

It is not easy for a parent to allow their child to journey on their own, knowing fully well the dangers they may encounter along the way… But your Heavenly Father allows certain things to come into your life that will give YOU the opportunity and the knowledge that YOU need Him.  As long as YOU have breathe in your body – breathe that He originally put within YOU, He gives YOU the chance to recognize Him for who He is.  He is your Father.  He created YOU, He loves YOU, He believes in YOU and the only thing that He wants is for YOU to love and believe in Him.

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalms 34:8)

There are no words to be able to describe that no matter what YOU go through in life, what comes your way – the absolute joy and knowledge that God is with YOU.  He has been since your creation.  Even during the times when YOU have been at your lowest moments and those times when you have felt the pain of loneliness.  YOU are not alone.  You are His precious child – even if  YOU don’t recognize it, it doesn’t change the fact that the One who formed and created YOU loves you beyond any adequate words I could write.
Deep within your being – is a part of YOU that He reserved to be filled with Him and Him alone.  There is a cry that is within your soul that desires to be filled with one thing – HIM.  Nothing that YOU try to substitute in that spot will quench the thirst that is as much a part of YOU as the color of your hair, the freckles on your nose, your lopsided grin… There is a part deep within YOU that was made to be filled with a love so amazing, so transforming, so fulfilling that nothing can compare to it.  YOU just need to choose Him and see for yourself.  YOU see, it is called a “personal relationship.”  It is between YOU and Him.  It has always been just between YOU and Him, YOU just never recognized it.  
“But now, this is what the LORD says– he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
 
Quiet yourself for a moment… Listen… If you quiet your mind and listen, YOU will hear.  He is summoning YOU.  YOU will recognize the sound of His gentle voice – for it is one He spoke over YOU when He formed YOU.  Listen – deep within your heart YOU will hear a voice you previously may have drowned out with the business of life.  He loves YOU.  He always has.  Every tear YOU have cried, every disappointment or hurt that has come your way.  He has wanted to reach out to YOU and let YOU know that YOU have never been alone.  He does not love as the world loves.  He does not disappoint as the world disappoints.  He longs to show YOU His original plan of YOU.  For YOU to love and be loved in return.
Those are the blueprints for the plan of YOU.

“Lord, I hear you – and I choose You this day because long ago, when You created me – You chose me.  I love You, I need You, I want You to come into my life and to be my Lord and Savior.  I believe You were born, that You died for my sins and that You rose again. I choose You Lord as You chose me before my days even came into existence.  I choose to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior.  Please come into my life and guide me.  I love You Lord – and I choose YOU.”

More Words for Your Journey

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No Matter What, God’s Got You!

“I will fulfill the number of your days.” (Exodus 23:26)

 This past Monday was my 4th year “cancerversary” (or so we survivors call it).  It was my 4th Year annual appointment from having been diagnosed with early stage, triple negative breast cancer.  I have been cancer-free for 4 years, but no matter how much time passes  these yearly mammogram appointments fill me with anxiety, fear and trepidation.  This time I was definitely concerned because I had been having painful sensations at the lumpectomy site; sensations I had not felt before and of course ol’ slewfoot taunted me with all kinds of horrible thoughts on what it could be…  Some cancer survivors like to refer to themselves in “remission” personally I have never liked (or used) that word.

I Googled the term “remission” and a Dr. Z’s medical report, Published May 17, 2006 written by Ed Zimney, MD (whoever that is…) popped up. He defines remission as such:

“Complete remission means that there are no symptoms and no signs that can be identified to indicate the presence of cancer. However, even when a person is in remission, there may be microscopic collections of cancer cells that cannot be identified by current techniques. This means that even if a person is in remission, they may, at some future time, experience a recurrence of their cancer.”

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but for me, I find the term “remission” to be insulting, offensive and inaccurate.  You see – I am *not* in remission, I am HEALED.  God has healed me.  To call it anything else is to belittle what He can do and what He has done and I refuse to belittle God and identify my cancer-free self as one who is in “remission.”  Now it is a personal thing, and many survivors fine with that term, I find it insulting and am quick to correct someone who describes me as such.  God has healed me, He has given me a second chance at life and for that I am truly grateful. I found myself thinking of the scene in scripture when Jesus calls Peter out to walk towards Him upon the water.   Matthew 14:22-33:

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.   After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.

“It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.  

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.”

“Come,” He said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,”He said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.   Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

I didn’t want to focus on the taunts the enemy was whispering in my ear, because I knew just as Peter had – I would begin to sink.  So, with my mother by my side, my back straight, my chin firmly set I went to my appointment at the Dana-Farber holding on to my promises.

“I will fulfill the number of your days.” (Exodus 23:26)

“I have made you the head and not the tail.” (Deuteronomy 28:13)

“Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. Your builders hurry; Your destroyers and devastators Will depart from you.…” (Isaiah 49:16)

This is why God tells us to hide His word in our hearts so that we can find strength in His promises. Unlike people, God does not make promises He doesn’t keep, we can trust that if it is written in His Word – He meant it.  He is not a God that He would lie. He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith – He knows the beginning of the story of “us” as well as the ending, so who better to trust???!

The memories of my cancer experience always hits me a new when I walk into the doors of Dana-Farber.  The confusion, the shock, the fear of the unknown, the uncertainty of what’s to come all come flooding back.  I guess it is a natural “knee jerk” reaction.  Once again, I went through my check in, my blood work and next – the dreaded mammogram (dun dun…) this huge machine that would give the radiologist the knowledge of what was going on beyond the surface… 

This is where most of us Pinks are found sitting in the waiting room, bitting our fingernails, holding our breathes, only to release them when the results (prior to leaving the Imaging Department) are handed to us.  It is the waiting that is the hardest part, the not knowing.  This time around when I was told that everything was normal, I burst into tears. Tears of relief and gratitude.  According to my oncologist, nerve endings can come back to life anywhere from 10 to 20 years from a lumpectomy post surgery.

I cannot tell you what I would have felt if the report had been otherwise, I can only draw upon my previous experience of receiving a phone call saying, “you have cancer…”  But I can tell you this – I believe that God would have given me the strength to face whatever I needed to face as He has done throughout the course of my life and my walk with Him, things may come as a surprise to us – but they are never a surprise to Him.

I have come to realize more and more that each day – EACH day is a gift, a blank sheet of life for us to write upon, one that we will never get back again.  Somewhere along the line we humans began to take each day for granted, to treat each new day as if it were “owed” to us.  The truth is – it’s not.  We were originally created to live forever – before Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden bringing sin and death into the world.  But most people never feel like “they’ve had enough life.”  Have you ever noticed that “old” is something that is 15 years older than what you are?

Life is a precious gift.  What are you writing upon the pages of your life? How do you wake up in the morning?  Do you rejoice?  No one knows what the future holds – but instead of worrying about whatever will be, why don’t we just rejoice and praise God for what He has given us today?  When you wake up tomorrow visualize the day as a blank sheet of paper.  What will you write upon it?  What memories will you make?  How will you view things? What difference might you make in the life of someone else?  Write well dear reader!  You won’t get these moments back… See? Another has just passed… Make every moment count because make no mistake about it – each one is a precious gift from God.

 

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Are You There God?  It’s Me, (Add Your Name Here)…”

When I was a child, I read one of author Judy Blume’s books entitled, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” It is the story of a 6th grade girl who is coming of age and how she converses with God. It is what began my own childhood conversations with God.

When I pray, I talk to God like I talk to you – readers of my blog. I speak my mind. I am honest and transparent. I am REAL with God. Why? Because the Bible tells me:

He knows my thoughts before I even think them.” (Psalms 139:2)

So why not just be honest and forthcoming? Besides God desires a relationship with you, a relationship requires communication. My own personal opinion is that God loves it when you have “conversations” with Him.

“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” (Isaiah 29:13)

The above describes being “religious” having a personal relationship with God is communicating with Him, having a relationship with Him. Your heart is in your conversations with Him, it is a one on one conversation and yet because God looks at the heart of an individual, while we can only see the outside – it is up to God to determine whether or not it is a “personal relationship with Him.” It is between that individual and God.

Any “relationship” requires communication. A relationship should be a two way street – even one with God. I have had many a conversation with God that is similar to that of a child having a temper tantrum on the floor of a store aisle with some of my prayer requests, like a child who wants their parent to buy them a piece of candy and the parent says, “no” there are times when I have brought a request before God and He has said no. No child wants to hear the word “no.” But in looking back at my past prayer requests I can see times where God has compassionately shown me why He has said no. (He doesn’t always show us – He doesn’t have to – He is God). But the one thing we can keep in mind is that:

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

We don’t see the FULL situation but God does, He has our best in mind. The Bible tells us:

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)

If you are a parent you can relate. There are times when you have had to say no to your own children – maybe it’s that they want a cookie before dinner and you say, “no.” And while all they see is that they want that cookie and you have said no! What YOU see is that if you give them that cookie before dinner, it will lessen their appetite to eat food that is more nourishing for them. If we think that way, how much more so does our Heavenly Father who sees oh so much more than we do?

I have come to the conclusion that it is all about the issue of trust…

Trust… What a small word with such a significant meaning…   The definition of trust according to Webster’s Dictionary:

Trust – Reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. One in which confidence is placed.

Who is your confidence placed? Who do you trust?

Trust is something that makes us vulnerable. Who we trust or how we trust is pretty much based upon our past experiences. It also makes it difficult when we have been let down to confidently; walk by faith and not by sight. When people have let us down, it is hard to confidently trust in a God who says He won’t. It is probably one of the hardest lessons to learn in our walk with Him. He desires us to trust Him. Do you trust Him? When you find yourself in a situation where it feels “pitch black” and you can’t see two feet in front of you – do you feel as though God has your back? Sometimes God allows you to be in those situations just so you can place your trust in Him. When you are out of answers and your head is in your hands – Who do you trust? Do you believe you can trust God?

Sometimes we can make trust a “head thing” and not a heart thing. God wants us to step out in faith and know without a doubt that we can trust Him. This is hard to do because while we have God desiring us to trust Him, there is ol’ slewfoot standing by our heads whispering in our ears:

“You are certainly in a fine kettle of fish. You are here because of fault A,B,C – all of your own doing…” Or he taunts me saying, “Yeah – look at Suzy Q over there. She has A,B,C, while you – well you are lacking in D,E,F, G. God must love her more than He loves you…”

Those are lies from the pit of hell. The devil doesn’t want you to trust in God – even when you don’t see an answer. Remember he is the author of lies and confusion. The very last thing he wants you to do is trust in God.

Trust… Sometimes we don’t even “trust” our own selves to make the right decisions. It’s enough to make you want to cross your own eyes. Do you second guess yourself? We all have weaknesses. We all have our “Achilles heel.” And the devil knows how to rub salt into wounds that need to be healed. “Why would God want to help you???” The taunts go on and on hitting those nerves that either push us into depression, despair or are used to push us farther away from believing that God is concerned about us and really cares. Instead of believing the promises we have, we believe the author of lies who (if you recall) deceived Eve and caused sin and problems and death to enter into the world in the first place… His tricks are still the same, they haven’t changed, if they were good enough for him to use on those “REAL” people (notice they were not characters – but real people like you and I) in the Bible, why would he not try to use those same methods and tricks on us now? Remember, he even tried to boldly tempt Jesus in the desert. If he was bold enough to try and tempt Jesus, what makes us think he won’t try to do the same with us?

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

God desires that you have life – abundant life. Who are you going to believe and trust? This is one of the ongoing lessons we continuously have to decide throughout anything that life throws our way.

Communication is an ongoing element in a relationship. Relationships in order to be successful satisfying and in order to grow require nourishment. If you are mad at God – Tell Him! He knows! Nothing you are feeling surprises Him. He is your Father. If you need guidance or clarification, tell Him! If we take time to quiet our souls and listen, we will hear Him speak. If we can quiet down the noise of our worries, concerns (and sometimes ourselves even!) You will hear God’s steady, soothing quiet voice. In my own experience God has never once “yelled” at me. Disciplined me, yes – but His voice has been one that is calming and soothing and personal. It takes time to form a strong relationship, but a relationship is something that requires two individuals and God has already said:

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelations 3:20)

God already desires to be in a relationship with you. To reveal His plan for your life, to reveal how much He loves you. It requires trust which is an ongoing element and difficult to do at some moments in our walk with Him. But when we do trust Him, even when we don’t understand the “why” of a situation, we can experience “the peace that passes ALL understanding” (Psalms 4:7) that comes only from trusting that no matter what we are experiencing, God is in control. Because whether or not we “feel” or “believe” that He is. He is.

 

Hi, are You there Lord? It’s me – Kelly… I am going through a situation that I have NO clue as to what to do. Which way to turn, but I trust that my steps are ordained by you. (Psalms 37:23). I know that you have given me certain promises in the Bible to cling to and believe in when I don’t see a way. I trust You. You tell me that “You have engraved me in the palm of your hand.” (Isaiah 49:16), while I don’t understand or fully see all that is going on around me – I know you do and I know that I belong to You. I need You. Thank You for being an ever present help in time of trouble. Help me to rest and trust in You. In Jesus’ precious name I give this situation to You. I drop it at the foot of your cross knowing fully well that you are more able to handle it than I. Knowing fully well that You have my best interest in mind. Knowing that my steps are ordered by You. I thank you for Your provision, Your help, Your love. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen”

 More Words for Your Journey 

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Are You Captivated?

He Came to Set the Captives Free – And That Freedom Includes YOU Too!!

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” (Luke 4:18)

There He is, Jesus – with the key to your jail cell.  I have a vivid imagination, as I read that scripture, I picture one of those large old fashioned skeleton keys – you know the kind, you see them in every old cowboy sitcom or movie.  There Jesus is standing there, outside your cell, unlocking the door with a key only He has.  The door creaks as it opens wide, Jesus is telling you to come forth! That you are free!  What is your reaction?

You have been in the dark for so long – You think you are having a mirage.  There stands a man, in blinding white light outside your cell.  You can hardly look upon Him for the light surrounding Him is blinding. You say to yourself: “This is not real, there is not a man dressed in white with a beard and a key outside of my cell.  I’m having an illusion.”  You blink your eyes from the brightness and turn your head to face the wall which you have faced for many a season…

Or…

You run out that door as quickly as your legs will carry you, stopping only at the opening to throw your arms around the man who has rescued you, throwing your arms around Him and say, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!” Tears of joy and relief and thankfulness streaming down your face…
Or….
You look at the man releasing you with a look of distrust wondering what is in it for Him.  What will this cost you? Thinking that this is another trick.  “No thank you, the devil that you know is better than the one you do not…”  
Jesus came to set the CAPTIVES free!  He can set us free, but He cannot MAKE us accept that freedom!  The cost was His life for YOURS.  He gave it willingly, obediently and with more love than we will not fully understand until we truly stand before Him.  What are you going to do??
I understand all of the above reactions – because I have felt them.  Have you?  I say that humbly and with shame.  Often times when we don’t walk out of our situation thankful for Jesus having made the ability for us to do so, is because we lack enough faith… (Ouch…)  Faith to believe that God is BIGGER than any situation or problem… Or that He even cares enough about us to do anything about it.  If we don’t become discouraged or depressed we become mad at God because we think He doesn’t “love us enough” to help us get through whatever situation we are in.  Even if it is a situation that is of our own doing… And yet that is another reaction we have.
“Lord, this is my mess… I made it.  It is my fault – Mine! Mine! Mine!  I deserve whatever hell I have allowed myself to be in…” 
That is an absolute LIE from the pit of HELL.  There is not ONE of us worthy! Or Righteous! NOT one!!!  The Bible tells us:
“As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10)
and also:
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
 
There is no degree of sin.  And all of us sin!  (Oh yes…) But the good news is that Jesus took those sins upon the cross with Him! He died for forgiveness of our sins!!  The problem that we have is that we dishonor Him by believing that that is not ENOUGH to get rid of them!  We believe we deserve to be miserable or to stay in the cesspool we have probably created ourselves.  And that is simply not true…
If you were in the ocean drowning, and you were to be rescued – say they threw out a floaty to you.  Would you reach out and take it? Or would you continue to drown, thrashing your arms and yelling, “Help! Help!”
Your help is right before you!  Take the hand of Jesus and allow Him to pull you out of whatever mire you are in.  It doesn’t MATTER the reason.  The Bible tells us:
“You have searched me and known me.You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.…” (Psalms 139:2-3)
Nothing comes as a surprise to Him.  He knows you intimately.  Let Him love you, let Him heal you, let Him deliver you.  He is there at this very moment that you are reading this.  You may not be able to see Him physically with your eyes.  But if you soften your heart, and just quiet your thoughts – you will by the Holy Spirit feel Him.  TRY IT. Don’t just take my word for it – experience it for yourself, what do you have to lose? Listen…
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelations 3:20)
Do not allow your own captivity to keep you from experiencing the freedom that Jesus bought with His own blood…  Do not allow doubt, or sorrow, or depression or self-hate to get in the way of allowing Him to free you.  He is BIGGER than your situation.  He loves you.  Truly loves You.  Don’t hold yourself back.  Walk through those cell doors that Jesus has opened – rejoicing.  Thankful.  it is WHY He gave His life.  He gave it for YOU to walk freely away. 
The price is to turn away from whatever it is that held you captive previously.  Believe that God has better in store for you…. It is true you know.  He wants you to walk through those gates or doors that have held you captive so that you can live the life that He has created you for!  You have a purpose!  You have a reason for being!  Isn’t it time that you found out what that was?  There is nothing more satisfying than walking in the purpose that God has for your life!  Take time to discover what it is, if you don’t know already!
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5).
Now that is a loving Father, don’t you think?  You are consecrated!!!
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
Take His hand. Talk to Him.  You don’t need fancy words – just talk to Him.  Share yourself with Him, it is not as though He doesn’t know you already, He does… But He likes to hear you share your mind with Him.  It’s called “having a personal relationship.”  And that is what He desires.  The Bible says:
“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalms 34:8)
It is the only way that you can discover it and enter into a relationship with Him.  Just like that floaty, you have to reach out and grab it.  It is there – just receive it! Accept it! And when you do – cling to Him.  He is your forever eternal life line.  Once you have tasted and seen that the LORD is good – you won’t ever want to let go!  And guess what?  If you find yourself walking back into that “cell” – you’ll stop and turn around and say, “No!  I have been there and done that! No!  Once those God has freed are free indeed!!!”
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
You will reach a point where you know – whatever place you are at in your life that what God has for you is so much better than what you had for yourself!  And no matter how many times you turn around – God will be there directing you, strengthening you, encouraging you, loving you, believing in you…
Go! Be Free! Walk out of that cell that has held your mind captive!  And believe in your freedom that He has bought with His own precious, precious blood.  
“God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world.” (1 Corinthians 7:23)
Look! The door is open! Fly high! Glide! Soar! Walk in that freedom and don’t look back!  The best is YET to come!
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The Worries

The worries woke me up this morning… They are the ugly black creatures that wait until the wee hours of morning to harass you and wake you up from your sleep whispering in your ear… “How are you going to resolve this problem or this one…. or this one… or this one…”  They steal your peace and fill you with fear and well – worry.  The more of an ear you give them, the louder and more aggressive they become.  Their biggest trick is to taunt you, often times repeating the same thing over and over again…”You have to take care of A,B,C – but you can’t… Because all you have is this… How are you going to do it? You can’t.. There will be ramifications… You are in trouble…”  They get louder and louder because they are “faith drowners.”  If you listen to the worries, the voice of your faith becomes a whisper until it blows out like a fire that becomes nothing more than an ember and if you’re not careful they can totally blow the fire of your faith out until all that is left is smoke.

Worries  can only become as big as you allow them to get.  If you give them your undivided attention they grow, bigger and bigger and bigger!  They make your heart palpitate and ruin any enjoyment you might get from a day.  They drown out everything around you until you are consumed with them. Like a tornado they can destroy everything good in your life.  Wiping out family moments, or enjoying the small things in life because all you can see is the darkness of the worries and the more you give them room – pretty soon they are all you can focus on. All you can see is their blackness, they choke out anything good around you and rob you of the simple things in life. Their job is to steal from you – peace, joy, love, contentment, happiness.  They fill you with stress, heart palpitations, health issues and sometimes turn you into a person full of bitterness instead of one of faith.

How do you combat the worries when they come flooding into your mind? Sometimes having someone to share them with helps to make them shrink down into the little itty bitty things they really are. Two heads are better than one, sharing your worries helps sometimes helps put them in perspective. 

The most powerful slayer of worries, is the Word of God.  The best way to combat the worries is to quote scriptures out loud.  Sometimes the louder you quote your promises, the bigger your faith becomes and the worries shrink.  Lift EACH worry up to the light of your Heavenly Father in prayer, because He is BIGGER than ANY worry that can harass you.  How to handle worries are even addressed in the bible:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food? And the body more than clothes? (Matthew 6:25)

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” (Luke 12:26)

“I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from ALL my fears.” (Psalms 34:4)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:5-8)

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) 

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13)

We choose how we live life.  We can allow “the worries” to overwhelm us and take over and live our lives in worry and fear – or we can choose to recognize those worries, sort out the things we can change and pray about those things we have no control over.  The choice is ours. Worries are thieves that try to enter our mind and rob us of all the good things in life.  John 10:10 tells us that “God came so that we could have life and have it MORE abundantly.”  Who do you choose to listen to? The Author and Creator of life? Or the worries that are nothing more than annoyances that try to deplete us of the enjoyment of life that God has so abundantly given us?  

L’Chaim – To life!  Choose life!  When the worries flood your mind – combat them by “changing your mind.”  Watch them dissipate as you concentrate your mind on your blessings instead of on your lack.  Darkness cannot abide with light.  As you begin to think of all the many ways that you are blessed those little dark “worries” will run in fear, for they cannot stand when you replace them with recognizing ALL the blessings you have in your life.  They will flee. Try it and see and watch God as He blesses you with an increase of faith, mercy, grace and appreciation for ALL the good that is in your life.  

“Worries – be gone! I’ve no room in my mind for you today as I concentrate on all that is good and right in my life. I give you no more power over my mind. You may not steal any more moments of my life or take away my peace of mind! Be ye gone! I cover you with the blood of Jesus. In Jesus name! AMEN!”             More Words for Your Journey

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Are You at the Point of No Return?

 

 

What are you running away from?  Or headed towards?  Have you even really thought about it – or do you just find yourself running and you don’t even know to where?

There are several different ways of escape.  If you are looking for one, you will surely find it, but before you open that door – whatever it maybe, perhaps you should stop for a moment and collect your thoughts and think.  Just quiet your mind and try to gather up your thoughts.

Try and think about what has brought you to the point you are at in the first place. Is it a traumatic event?  Is it a family upset?  Do you feel lost and like you just “want to run away from it all?”  Do you feel as though God let you down?  Or perhaps you thought you had heard the voice of God and things didn’t turn out so well and now you are confused.  Maybe someone has disappointed you and you are hurting and all you want to do is run away from the situation.  Everything inside of you is screaming out, “ESCAPE! RUN!!!” And you know you are in flight mode.

Stop in your tracks. Calm down. Breathe.  This is when you are at your most vulnerable. This is the point where most Christians become prodigals.  Instead of running towards God, they run away and become disoriented, confused, angry, sad, frustrated and lost.

Watch out! You are headed right towards one of ol slewfoot’s traps and you are getting ready to step right in it! And once you step in it you’ll become all tangled up.

How do I know? Because it happened to me.  Sometimes unexpected situations occur in our lives that we didn’t see coming.  They are outside of our comfort zone or realm of understanding.  No matter how much we try, we can’t seem to make heads or tails of it. “Why Lord? How? I followed Your rules, I did what you asked – WHY did this happen to me??!!”  We lose faith in God and be it in anger or confusion or sadness we step away from Him instead of towards.

What has been your escape?  Perhaps you entered into it and you weren’t even aware that you were taking that first step into the unknown.  You didn’t see the “Beware” or “Danger” sign – maybe it was your own ignorance or maybe you were so tuned into your own emotions that you didn’t even see it as you passed it by.  You entered a realm that was not meant for you to venture into.  Perhaps at first it felt soothing.  It took your mind off your situation or your problems.  It seduced you and made you walk deeper still into its escape.  There are so many different kinds – one for every personality.  Was it drugs? Sex? TV? Alcohol? Work? A pretend world? The Internet? These are just to name a few.  Like entering a spider’s web, did you get stuck in it?  Did it disorient you and give you a euphoric sensation?  Did you feel accepted? Loved? Did you feel as though you were able to escape who you were? Or where you came from? Like you entered an oasis.  Maybe the farther you entered into the escape the less you wanted to return to reality.  You were cajoled, enticed.  Usually a form of escape has some appeal to it – it just depends upon your personality, your likes and your dislikes.  Deeper you walked into it until even if you looked over your shoulder, you couldn’t see your way back.  The way you once knew was gone.

Maybe it didn’t happen to you but someone you love.  Maybe you saw them become less and less who they were and right before your eyes they were disappearing and no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t reach them.  The fact is – they couldn’t see you anymore and they didn’t want to be reached… Sometimes the only one who can reach them – is meant to reach them is the One who created them. Not YOU.  But here is the thing, God has given us free will.  He has given us the ability to make choices.  Good choices and bad and sometimes He sits back and watches us and allows us to make mistakes.  It is not the path He chose for us but He allows us to walk it.  Knowing fully well it will bring us pain and regret and sorrow but hopefully more importantly it will bring us growth.

It couldn’t have been easy for God to watch Adam and Eve make the worst decision of their lives.  How much sorrow and pain it must have brought to God, knowing fully well that the choice they made would not only affect the two of them but everyone throughout the course of history.  He made them out of love and they turned their back on Him.  We could get mad at Adam and Eve for what they did – but the truth is we all turn our back on God at one point or another in our own walks.  (Ouch – that one hurt to write…)

Yet all the while God had another plan in place.  He knew what was going to happen and while I’m sure it pained Him, He already had a plan in mind of how He would unite us once again to Him. This time for all eternity.

Adam and Eve when they sinned tried to hide from God.  We try to hide from God.  We try to hide from situations we create.  The truth is – we can’t.  It’s (pardon the pun) “fruitless” to even try.  Whatever escape you are trying or have walked into – it is only temporary.  You can’t run from or escape from God.  The consequences are not those that He intended you to experience. Guilt, sadness, regret, confusion, embarrassment – to name just a few. How many times along the pathway home did the prodigal hesitate and want to turn around and not face his father?  Yet he knew that there was no going back the way he had come.  He also knew that he was a different person than the person who had left his father’s house with his inheritance at hand.  Hopefully he was wiser.  I’m quite sure he was humbled beyond words.  Every step back home must have felt heavy.  How many times did he play what he thought would be the reception he would receive in his head?  (And more than likely it was not the one he ended up receiving!)  I’m quite sure he did not expect to see His father running down the pathway to meet him halfway!  I’m quite sure he did not expect his home coming to be celebrated!  He probably wanted to just disappear into the woodwork of the house due to shame and embarrassment.  How shocked was he at his Father’s joyous embrace?  How long did it take him to be able to receive the forgiveness and acceptance his Father so freely, graciously gave him?  And how many things that his brother said to his father about him had he himself not thought?

Making your way back home is harder than any words I can write.  But for every prodigal I say, keep trodding.  Keep stepping.  Keep walking.  Keep praying.  Keep looking ahead and not behind.  The journey back home includes having to walk in forgiving yourself for your own transgression.  There may be things along the pathway that would try to tempt you and pull you back – but they will have no hold on you, for you know that their escape is really not one of escape, but pain, regret and falsehood and entrapment.  In order to go forward in life you have to walk through the pain.  Pain caused to you or pain you have caused.  In order to walk forward to where God wants you to be you have to realize that there is ONE reality and no matter how hard you’ve tried to hide from the reality, the reality has always been the same.  It has never truly gone away.  Instead of trying to escape a situation – face it! Head on!  Has someone disappointed or hurt you? Forgive them!  Communicate with them, they may not even realize that they have hurt you or made you feel rejected.  If they DO know that they have done it and don’t care – then know that you are not responsible for someone else’s actions – only your own.  This is where we learn to walk in forgiveness.  When you release someone – you also release yourself. Sometimes the only thing we can do is release them into God’s good and capable hands.  Its not easy to do – but sometimes its the only thing we can do.

Here is another thing… God can turn things around.  Use our mistakes and bad decisions for His glory.  Through my prodigal period I have learned that it is truly nothing but God’s love, His grace and His mercy and His forgiveness that has saved me.  The truth is – I was NEVER good enough to earn redemption or Heaven.  It is totally by His grace and love.  I think on some level, I felt as though I had “never done anything bad enough.” But the truth of the matter is there is no degree of sin.  Sin IS sin.  The prodigal in the Bible found himself eating pig slop.  I’m sure in his eyes it wasn’t possible to get any lower than that.  God can take your lowest moments and be glorified through them and when it happens, you will realize that it is TOTALLY God and not anything YOU.  I think God allows us to make our “bad” choices because He knows that we will grow from the experience and will be able to extend the right hand of fellowship once we have arrived back home from that journey and help someone else or have compassion and not judgment upon someone else who is going through a similar experience.  So what ol’ slewfoot meant for trouble – God uses to for His glory and to draw men closer to Him.

Next time I feel like running – I will run towards God and not away, like a child who is afraid and runs into his/her parents arms for protection, I will run towards my God because the only TRUE escape one can find, is in Him. Isn’t it time you stopped running? Stopped trying to make an escape? And ran to the One who can give you what you truly need? Who knows what you truly need? He is a balm and will provide you with the peace that passes ALL understanding – just run towards the LIGHT – the light is HIM.

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Are You Becoming Contagious?

Wherever you are in life – don’t let the weeds of worry choke out the joy. Rise above it and allow yourself to bloom and be a blessing. Roses have their thorns but they are NOT their thorns. Lift your face up to the SON and allow yourself to blossom in the manner He created you to. Once you do, you will experience in the midst of whatever storm you are in what it means to have “the peace that passes ALL understanding.” It is a daily doing – one that we must practice until it becomes a habit. I’m ready, are you?

 

Worry, WoRrY, W O R  R Y, WORRY!  Ever notice how worries reproduce themselves in your head?  Maybe you start out with just one teeny weeny concern that leads to another and another and another until they begin to drown out all the good things in your life.  Until they consume you.  Until you can’t think about anything else except your next concern.

It can become habitual!  Worries spread!  Worries are contagious!  They can infest your head until they become so big that they are no longer little “nitpick” thoughts but big ol’ anxieties that make it difficult for you to even see past them anymore.

For the last few weeks, I have found myself waking up early in the morning with a worry in my head. Believe me when I say it is *not* a fun way to start the day.  This morning, I woke up with a worry – and I decided. NO MORE.  I am not waking up like this ANYMORE.  The best way I know to combat things that I feel I have no control over and am “worried” about is to PRAY.  So today I woke up declaring the Lord’s Prayer.

 “This is the day the Lord has made I WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT!!!”

When I said it – it was more like I was commanding myself.  I WILL!  If I have to wrestle a worry to the ground and roll around and straddle it and contain it – I WILL!  As I lay there having this wrestling match with this worry – I got to thinking about Jesus.  The thing I love so much about the Bible is that it is the “living” word.  It may have been written in the past – but it is very much present and useful for today.  The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 1:9  “There is nothing new under the sun.”

I’m quite sure the things I worry about are things that other people worry about. And here is the thing about worry – sometimes we spend so much time worrying we spend less time concentrating on what we can do to alleviate the worry.  We give “glory” to the worry!  Have you ever noticed that most of the things that we “worry” about don’t even come to pass? Worrying can become an addiction! -And I decided, that that is one club I refuse to become a member of!
Problems are real.  Situations are real. Concerns are real.  I am not “belittling” them- they are all parts of life.  We acknowledge them for what they are, we do our best to work through them and we PRAY about them (put each one into God’s more than capable hand) and we learn to release them.  We recognize that there are things that are out of our control. We work on the things we can resolve, we seek help over the things we cannot figure out how to resolve on our own – and we try to have the wisdom to recognize the difference between to the two.  There is a very well known prayer called “The Serenity Prayer.”  It goes like this:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.”

We all have weaknesses and strengths.  Certain “worries” may  be the results of areas that God is trying to strengthen or teach us.  Skills we need to learn (for instance for me – it is the area of finance). Things we need to work on to better ourselves.  Those things take time.  In a microwave society – such as we live in, we can be impatient especially with ourselves.  Our impatience can expand our worries like someone blowing up a balloon.  Think about it… The worry is a tiny little balloon, but as we put more worry and thought and energy into it, as we get anxious that little flat balloon gathers air in it and gets bigger and bigger and BIGGER and BIGGER!  Until it fills every corner of our life – pushing out all the good things that are there.  There becomes no more room for anything other than that “worry.”

I don’t want to live like that – do you? I don’t want to look back on my life and think, “yep – I lived from worry to worry…” Because guess what??? Problems ARE a part of life.  But they SHOULDN’T BE the main dish!  When I woke up this morning, I realized I’ve been living worry to worry!  Crossing off worries from my list and moving on to the next one!  Are you doing the same?  It’s time to stop.  It’s time to take the power back from your worries. And contrary to popular belief a person who is an optimist CAN still be a worrier!

I got to thinking about Jesus’ life.  He is suppose to be our example, right? So maybe His life is a good thing to examine.  Here is someone who was born with a calling like NO OTHER.  From day ONE. If anyone had caused to worry – Jesus did.  People were trying to kill Him from the day He was born! Yet from what my Bible tells me – He was filled with peace. He is referred to in the Bible as the “”Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)  If anyone had cause to worry – Jesus did!  But time and time again He would look at people (with wonder it seems) and ask them:

“Why do you worry? Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life. What you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food? And the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable then they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-34)

What did Jesus do when He was concerned? His concerns were unselfish – they were about others and not about Himself.  Yet, when He came to the garden of Gethsemane and the worry of the cross weighed Him down – He didn’t “sit there worrying.” HE PRAYED.  Jesus knew that regardless of what He faced, His Father’s will would be done. He was born for a reason. WE were BORN for a reason. As I thought about Jesus, I thought about how He had a purpose.  His life had real concerns. But I can almost bet that Jesus took pleasure and joy in the things in His life too.  He went to weddings, He ate at people’s houses.  He played with children. I can bet you that Jesus found enjoyment in life. He never lost focus He kept His eyes on the path before Him. 
He walked in grace, mercy and love. Maybe He’s telling US we need to do the same.
This day I am *choosing* not to walk my life in a thick mire of problems and worries – I’m not going to give them any more power than I already have.  I will acknowledge them, and do the best I can to work through them  – but I will NOT allow them to rise up like weeds, wrap their cords around me and choke the enjoyment of life out of me.  I won’t let them be my focus on living anymore.

How about YOU?  Will you look back on your life and see it in terms of what you worried about? Or will you look back at your life and see all the sweetness of the things that made life worth living? And all the lessons that you learned because of it?

Don’t sit there worrying about – give it to God. Release it. Pray about it. Realize that you are only ONE person. You are human.  There is very little that we have control over in our lives. A lot of our worries are over those that we love. Recognize that as much as YOU love that person – that God loves them more. He created them!  He really does! Give that child that husband that wife that situation to GOD.  He is much more capable of taking care of it than YOU are.  Trust Him.  He has your best interest at heart (and also their’s. Here is something for you to remember – you can’t out love God!)  Also, remember that sometimes God allows situations to come into our lives to mold us into what He wants us to become.  It’s not meant to destroy us.  It’s meant to help us grow.  Sometimes our problem is that we fight Him every step of the way.  Like a child dragging their feet as they go. Maybe our situation is one that He is telling us to trust more in Him.  He is our Heavenly Father – remember that we only see in part – but HE sees in full.  He knows SO much more than our little minds do.  We need to trust Him. As those worries come to our minds we need to recognize them, acknowledge them and give them to the One who knows.

He didn’t give us life to live “worry to worry.”  Life is suppose to be a gift – not a burden.  It’s time to live it as such, don’t you think? 

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 Do You Babel? (Yes, I Know I spelled it Incorrectly)

Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. (Proverbs 25:15)

 

Did you ever play the game “Telephone” as a child? I remember playing this at camp with friends. We’d form a line, and the leader of the line would turn and whisper into the ear of the person beside her a secret and then that person would whisper it into the ear of the person beside her, and so on and so on until it reached the very last person at the end of the line. The person at the end would then turn to everyone and repeat what she had heard. How interesting it was to see that what had been the original “secret” had become distorted into something that the leader had never said – I always was astonished whenever I was at the beginning of the line to hear what the end results were, and then to clarify what the actual secret had been. It was funny as a child playing a game – as a grown up, not so funny.

Can you imagine what the world was like before the saga with the Tower of Babel? (Genesis 11:1-9). If I recall correctly, the people were trying to build a tower that would reach the Heavens. God did not want this to happen, so He confused their language. Can you imagine the chaos? The shock? The surprise? The confusion? And most of all – the astonishment?! Imagine being next to your life-long friend, “Ida” and all of a sudden you can’t understand a WORD she says???? And the results are misunderstandings, hurt feelings, anger – when perhaps what was said was meant in love?
I think that we have “Babel” moments continue to happen even in this day and age. You can’t perceive how someone else will receive what you say (or write), because people receive out of their own experience, values and even sometimes – pain. Not everyone thinks the same. You have no idea when you say something how it will be “filtered out” into the mind of someone else, no matter how it is said (and the same goes visa versa). So how do we limit our “Babel” moments? I suppose that is a continuous life lesson. I think sensitivity is key, being non-judgmental as each person’s story is different. God looks at the heart. Man can only look at the “outward appearance.” Sometimes listening is sufficient.
Through my experience being a cancer survivor, my insight upon things has drastically changed from bc (before cancer). I have become more compassionate and less judgmental. I have learned to listen more and speak less. When I talk with other pink survivors (breast cancer survivors), I realize, as I listen, that I am not looking at a mirror image of myself. Each survivor has their own story, their own journey and their own place from which they’ve come. Their experience or the way they cope with the aftermath of their “storm” is no less significant than mine. We are as different in our experiences (and backgrounds) as fingerprints on fingers. Yet we share one thing in common – We’ve all come face to face with a life threatening disease that has changed us in many different ways and in many different aspects of our lives. That is what unites us. Strangers turned into Sisters.
What makes me embrace my fellow pink sister is the fact that we allow each other to feel – whatever we are feeling. There is no right or wrong way. We allow each other to “express” our circumstances however the need is – to rant or rave, to pray, to vent or cry, to laugh or act ridiculously silly. These are a few of the qualities that endear us to each other. There is “NO WRONG OR RIGHT WAY.” We allow each other to FEEL. I think that is something that perhaps others can learn. Our stories are diverse – and yes, there are those “Babel” moments. Where you learn what the scripture means when it says, “To guard your heart.” (Proverbs 4:23) Understanding, compassion, forgiveness, patience and looking outside one’s self is something I think we would all do well to walk in. If I stub my toe, I may “hop around on one foot.” That does not make my pain any less relevant than yours if you’re not a “foot hopper” when you stub your toe. And while I can’t promise that I won’t laugh at how you express your pain ( if you are a friend of mine) I can promise that I will be there to help you through it and make you smile through your tears and certainly try to make you feel better than worse for stubbing your toe in the first place. Smiles and bad moods are contagious. You determine which one you’d rather spread. A smile goes a long, long way…
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Spreading my arms out wide and saying – “Ta Da!”

This is called a “Ta-Da” Moment. Brought to you by your Heavenly Father. So how about truly “letting go and letting God?” (*image from Imagebank.org.uk)

Have you ever given something over to God – reluctantly? I mean like you say to Him, “Father – I want to give to this to you.” And then when you hold your hand out to give it to Him – you’re still holding on to the other end? And you kind of have a gentle tug of war going on?  He never yells at you to release. Because our Father is patient. But finally He might say, “When you are ready to let go, let’s try this again.”

Have you ever asked the Father to change something inside of you – because you can’t even make “heads or tails” of what that “something” actually is? You just know that it needs “fixing?” Maybe He has brought you to a point after going around and around like a dog chasing his own tail – where you are ready to throw your hands up in the air and say “I NEED TO GET OFF THIS MERRY GO ROUND!” And then you do one of those flying jumps off it because you just know you can’t go around and around it once again?

Or maybe He has brought you to a point where you are running to the Father.  And your “pushing whatever it is” right into His arms. Maybe you are saying, “Okay, Okay – I can’t do this anymore. HERE! You win! Take it quick before I change my mind!!!!”  I visualize Him looking at us when we do this – with a cocked eyebrow and an amused smile on His face.  Because you see, He knows the “whole story of you.” We only see the situation, or the problem and it seems real intense.

Sometimes we get so frustrated with ourselves – we beat ourselves up. “Why can’t I do this? Stupid me. This should be easy! I know my Word….” And we walk away from the Father grumbling at ourselves. Not sure that He will be able to fix whatever it is we’ve given Him.

But like planting a seed in the soil. We don’t see the growth under ground until it comes to the surface of the earth. It doesn’t mean that something isn’t going on down there. It means that we can’t see it with our eyes.  I think that is what God does with us when we give Him something that is too big for us… I think that sometimes we forget or think “He won’t DO anything with what we give Him to fix.” But think about it – if your child falls, and skins his knee, and comes to you crying? Comes to you frustrated. Comes to you in pain. Do you turn him away? Noooo. You take him by the hand or perhaps you lift him up into your arms, and you carry him gently some place where you can take a look at it. And always the worst part is the “cleaning the wound up” because it stings and your child might cry or try to get out of your arms. But after that – you put some antibiotic on it – and a bandaid. And maybe even afterwards – you lean down to kiss the boo-boo, smooth your child’s hair back and reassure him that its going to be okay, that its going to get better.

Matthew 7:11 says, “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”


If you truly have struggled with something – and have brought it before the Father and released it (albeit reluctantly).  Don’t be surprised – if He changes you… It may be a slow process. We sometimes give something to God and then wait for that “Ta Da” moment.  We may even stand there and say – “Ta Da!!” And then expect to feel rejuvenated… And then we don’t so we say it again – “Ta Da!” And we stand back – and nothing happens.  And then we think “God can’t change this!” And we grumble some more.  But the things that we need changing with us are usually things that didn’t just happen overnight.  Somethings take time.  And it doesn’t mean that God can’t change a person instantaneously – there are times when I  know He has. But I think there are times when He is in us “tinkering around” like one would in an attic.  And you wake up one morning with an “Aha moment!” A realization that – Hey! Wow! I feel different. This thing that I have struggled with and given to God doesn’t seem so “front and center” anymore.  Or maybe you have had a realization that you weren’t able to face before – and its not so bad.  We can trust that when we are struggling with something, and we bring it to the Father that He won’t disregard it. That it matters to Him. True repentance starts in the heart. It’s a heart thing! And your Father sees that. He sees what is going on inside of you. We cannot “change ourselves” somethings only God can. And we have to allow Him to do it. And more than that – we have to trust that He will. And when He does – rejoice. Because He’s “cleaned you up, covered you with the salve (his precious blood), applied the band aid of the Holy Spirit – and leaned over and kissed you and said – You are healed for I am the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Now THAT is how MY Father works! He is all the “Ta-Da” we need.

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