Monday, August 31, 2015

My Past Does Not Define Me!

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 
2 Corinthians 3:17

Today I attended the baptism of a teenage family member. The service was beautiful as those being baptized gave their stories. Yes, they each gave 2 stories. One before knowing Christ and another after receiving him into their lives. Many shared stories of sinful pasts, lives lived in fear, or lives spent feeling empty. Now their stories held hope and joy. They smiled as they told about reading the Bible and praying. 

As they came out of the water, I couldn't help but think that their public proclamation declared their freedom. Freedom to be who God created them to be in Christ! As I stood on the hillside watching, I kept thinking, "My past does not define me!" 

I've sinned and often the consequences of my sin have followed me into my future. Shame knocks on the door of my heart wanting to come in and bring me down. Guilt seeks a place in my mind threatening my peace. Although I didn't get baptized today, I made a commitment in my heart to shut down the lies that beckon to be heard. It's time to let the past go. It's time to come out of the water, free and clear!

Do you need to let your past go too? Today is the day! Christ set you free and your past does not define you. In him we are new. When we seek forgiveness, it is graciously given. God puts our sins as far as the East is from the West, so we should too! It's not a feeling. It's a choice. A choice to believe that God's forgiveness is real. That his presence in us is the mark of a new life. Believe this to be true because God's word is truth and his truth is this...

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 
2 Corinthians 3:17

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Scripture

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
Matthew 6:21

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sing Along Saturday

I was fighting an ugly, dark feeling the other day. Angered by choices made by others and myself. Saddened by consequences. All of which were the result of lies that the enemy of ours souls had told. My heart was heavy and weariness beckoned at my door. Just then I heard a song playing on the radio that I hadn't heard before, so I began to listen carefully to the words. They were exactly what I needed to hear! The words reminded me that sadness and focusing on the loss only takes me away from my Father's heart. I needed to be reminded that the only power satan has is what I allow him to have because God has already won the victory. The enemy can hurt me, but he can't hold, me down!

The song is entitled, "Can't Hold Me Down" by All Things New. Read through the lyrics and then give it a listen. Click here to hear "Can't Hold Me Down!"      God is bigger. God is stronger. God has the final say!

Get off me devil
Don’t need your trouble
I know you come like a thief in the night
I’ve got the Good News
And I’m here to tell you
No you’re never gonna win this fight
My God is undefeated
Love has won my freedom
You can’t hold me down
You’ll never steal my joy, No
The grave has been destroyed
You can’t hold me down
Oh yeah, na na na na na
Get under my feet
Your lies are so weak
No I’m never gonna run and hide
Dressed in the armor
Of God my Father
And He’s fighting for His child
Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
And Grace will lead me home

Friday, August 28, 2015

Would I Have The Mark?

All throughout the bible God speaks of marking His people so that they will be easily recognized as His.  One such example is found in Ezekiel 9.  Ezekiel was experiencing a vision from God and in it God was announcing His plans to destroy the people of Jerusalem.  God had entered the temple where idolatry was running rampant and the people were committing sins of every kind.  God was angry at what He saw and the time had come to punish the people for their sins. God chose one man to "Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city (v.4)  Then a group of men were commanded to "kill everyone whose forehead was not marked.  Show no mercy; have no pity!" (v. 5)

I had to put myself in this place and think on whether I would receive this mark on my forehead.  Do my actions follow the characteristics of a person who puts her trust in one God.  Do I weep over the sins happening all around me?  Do I hurt for the hurting and cry for the injustice in my nation and my world?  On this day, thousands of years ago, the only way to tell if someone was faithful to God was in their sorrow over the sins of their nation.  Because their sorrow showed that they acknowledged the wrong and weeped over the pain and consequences that would consume their people.  They believed in God and feared the Lord's punishment.

So let's just say I was alive back then.  I had a best friend who had lost a child during her pregnancy and since then had much difficulty getting pregnant again. She was desperate to give her husband a child, a son to carry on the family name.  One day she decided to trust in a god of fertility.  This god promised to give her a child and keep her baby safe through pregnancy.  Then I had another friend who was a fisherman but for months the waters were dried up and the fish were not biting and so he turned to the god of fish (yeah not sure if this is real but you get my point).  I was experiencing sin everywhere I turned and instead of standing up against it and rebuking the wrong in it I sat back and let it happen.  By not speaking up I encouraged the people I loved to put their trust in something or someone other than God.  I was not affected by the sin nor did it make me had just become the norm in my sinful society.  Oh, but this sounds like society today........this sounds like life as we know it, and that, my friend, scares me.

Since Jesus died on the cross for me and I have accepted Him as my Lord and Savior, and because I follow God and have a relationship with Jesus Christ I know that I am safe from this kind of punishment.  I know that I cannot and will not go to hell because Jesus unselfishly suffered a horrible death to give me eternal salvation.  What I don't know is the consequences that may one day come from my tolerance to sin.  What punishment may arise because I was afraid to stand up for God and christianity.  Who will suffer because I was afraid to share the light and encourage their trust in one God, my God?  Friends, if we aren't heartbroken over the sins in our community, our nation and our world, then it may just be that we aren't as faithful as we thought.  Do our actions speak out against the sin and destruction that occurs around us daily?  Do our words speak truth in love so as to spur others on towards a faith filled life instead of a life run by lies and compromise?

Dear God, the things happening in our world do break my heart.  The senseless murdering, the disregard for babies in their mothers womb, the ignorance of the bible, and the selfishness.  There is evil everywhere and the lies that people are believing make my heart sad.  Give me boldness and wisdom to stand up for You and to guide people away from worldly standards and into Your loving arms.  I am sorry for the sins of my people and I ask you to forgive those who just don't know what they are doing. Show me ways to help others.  Give me opportunities.  Amen and amen

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Take Time to Rest!

"Do they to realize that I have given them the seventh day, the Sabbath, as a day of rest?" Exodus 16:29

Are you weary? Are you overcommitted and under equipped? Does your calendar frighten you when you see the schedule of events before you? Don't worry if you said, "Yes" to every single question you just read. You are not alone!

I just left my accountability group, my GFF's. We were all excited to hear that Jesus said, "No!" to good things. He could have healed 24/7. He could have told children the stories of his father for hours on end. He could have ministered to the lost, hosted banquets and fund raisers, and led study after study of God's word. But he didn't. There were many times when he turned others away because he needed to rest. And he didn't feel guilty!

God rested on the 7th day. He took time to reflect, to enjoy, and to refresh. And he didn't feel guilty!

Dear Friend, If God and Jesus both needed rest, why are we pushing so hard? As followers of Jesus we need to learn the art of graciously rejecting every opportunity even if it means someone else will have to carry the ball for awhile. It means protecting our quiet time with God, honoring our marriage, and establishing healthy boundaries for our children's activities. When our children's schedules run our lives, something is out of whack! 

"No" is not a word reserved just for bad things! It is a word that defines boundaries... healthy boundaries! Even when they involve faith based activities! Don't feel obligated to justify to others why you can't serve on another committee or why your child isn't part of the most recent activity (even if it's a good thing!). If you need to say no, say no graciously and be done with it. (And yes, I'm going to have to work on this one myself!)

Saying no creates margin in our lives. It allows for rest and time to reflect on the day. It allows for time to refresh and see the work that God is doing all around us! Saying no is freedom!

Dear Lord,
We busy our lives because of a lie. A lie that says, "The more we do the better off we are." But God you rested because it was important. Help us to have the wisdom and discernment to say, "NO!" to things that will be distractions to our rest and well being.
In your name we pray,

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Listen To Them Carefully For Yourself

Then he added, "Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first.  Listen to them carefully for yourself.  Then go to your people in exile and say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says!'  Do this whether they listen or not."

When reading scripture I often have no trouble applying what I read and learn to another person's life.  I may have a friend who is hurting so I easily see where God's word could be used to encourage her heart.  I may know someone dear to me who is not living as he should and so I can apply God's word to the sin in his life.  I have even listened to a sermon and wished a certain person was there listening with me because I know it would be of good encouragement or rebuke.  Why is it so easy for us to apply His Word to someone else's problems but when it comes to our own we so easily forget?  I struggle with this often when I don't have a lot of "things" going on in my own life, when I'm not desperate for His Word to help me with a situation.  

I believe this scripture is saying to apply His Word to our own life first.  He wants His Words to sink deep into our hearts so that we understand them before sharing them with others. We need to know where God's promises come from and we need to apply them in all areas of our life so that we are living examples of Christ followers.  We are to listen to His Words because they are dialogue between us and Him, and whether something can be applied directly to an issue in our life, or not, it is still very useful.  We can easily hold it in our hearts until an issue arrises.  

God was sending Ezekiel to talk to the people of Israel and give them His warning of the destruction that awaits if they don't get their lives turned around.  Ezekiel had a big task and in fact many of the people would not hear a word he said, but God still insisted that he go and share His message.  If Ezekiel had not applied God's instructions to his own life then the things he was about to share would have less of an impact.  If we aren't applying what we believe and know to be true in our own lives,  when we try to share it, no one will listen.  We would be less effective if we were telling people to live one way and we were living another. 

Dear God, help me to understand your Word and apply it to my own life first.  I want your Words to sink deep into my heart and I want to live them out so that when you give me opportunities to share my life will be a living example.      


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Just Ask

Many Christians never reach all that God has planned for them because we get stuck in a pit. We get consumed by the things that are happening around us, both good and bad. We are apprehended by our circumstances, agendas, pains and trials. Schedules, deadlines, and events preoccupy our time, money, and our minds. I'm currently stuck there, and I want out!

Life on this earth is precious, but it is not the end all. It is not the goal. It is the training ground for greater and more glorious living. So often we pray for our children to be successful in their jobs or to do well on a test. We ask God to bless our event or increase our business. We seek discernment in which home to purchase. And yes, God honors our petitions for these concerns. They have value and reason to be brought before the Lord. But David had a deeper and greater understanding of what to ask the Lord for in his time of prayer. In this next passage David prayed that God would deepen his love for the scriptures. He prayed for a means to greater spiritual living. To love God's word!

"Give me an eagerness for your decrees." Psalm 119:36

I believe with all my heart that this is the kind of prayer that sets God's heart ablaze with love and delight for his child. This kind of prayer is asking to know God's heart. It is a prayer that God is honored to answer because it is focused on eternal value! It is a prayer that will not only change the one asking, but will have lasting benefit on those that are under the care and influence of the petitioner.

Take some time this morning and just let God search your heart. Ask him to dig deep within you. What do you really desire? Is it a more intimate relationship with him? Do you long to understand the Bible and memorize His word? Or perhaps you long to know how deeply you are loved by him. Perhaps you need to ask him to reveal his true character to you. If you aren't hungry for his word, ask him to increase your appetite. If you aren't on fire to share his love ask for a heart that is compassionate and open to sharing.  Whatever the desire of your heart, ask, and it will be given to you!

Ask and it shall be given to you. Seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives, the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

Monday, August 24, 2015

Don't Be Too Late!

I slept, but my heart was awake, when I heard my lover knocking and calling:
"Open to me, my treasure, my darling, 
     my dove, my perfect one.
My head is drenched with dew, 
     my hair with the dampness of night."
But I responded,
"I have taken off my robe.
     Should I get dressed again?
I have washed my feet.
     Should I get them soiled?"
My lover tried to unlatch the door, 
     and my heart thrilled within me. 
I jumped up to open the door for my love,
     and my hands dripped with perfume.
My fingers dripped with lovely myrrh
     as I pulled back the bolt.
I opened to my lover,
     but he was gone!
     My heart sank.
I searched for him
     but could not find him anywhere.  
I called to him 
     but there was no reply.
                           Song of Songs 5:2-6

As I witnessed two hearts brimming with excitement over their union as one this weekend I am drawn to my own marriage and that amazing feeling I first felt when I could refer to the love of my life as my husband.  The newness of love and life together brings so much joy! 

Recently I was challenged to read Song of Solomon.  I will be the first to admit I have not been loving my husband as I should.  I won't deny that I have taken my marriage for granted.  I just assume my husband will always be there.  With 3 children (and extra's from time to time) life can get so busy and days can go by so fast that we can find ourselves miles apart in the same home.  Especially as our kids get older, we each have several things occupying our mind and schedules that demand our being apart.  We have come to accept this as our normal and we adjust to make it all work.  As I read the beautiful words of love and adoration between two lovers, this passage really catches my eye.  I see myself on this page, as I've used my selfishness as an excuse to be lazy, putting off intimate time and time to just spend getting lost in my husband.  I don't want to be too late!  I don't want to take for granted this man whom I have made a beautiful life with.  Unfortunately the world does not always encourage love between a husband and wife.  The world teaches us to be selfish and demand our wants and desires over others.  It keeps us busy and apart from each other and, in fact, works against our union.  How then can we keep our marriage strong in a world where satan is working overtime to destroy us?  

Well, I don't exactly have that answer for you but I am determined to find in it my own marriage and search for what works in my situation to keep the fire burning.  I want to challenge you to dive into what God says about love and commitment.  Read Song of Solomon and let it reignite that spark you once had for your spouse!  No matter your age, no matter where you are in life, God wants your marriage strong.  There is so much more to being married!  So many beautiful surprises and special blessings waiting.  Don't settle for anything less than God's best! 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Scripture

Praise God. Praise God our savior
For each day he carries us in his arms. 
Psalm 68:19

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sing Along Saturday

Today is beautiful.  The sun is shining.  As I sit here typing, my view is the glistening pool in my back yard and the birds are chirping.  We have a very special wedding to attend later.  My kids are happy and we are blessed beyond measure.  I chose this song because of the catchy tune it has and the smile it brought to my face the first time I heard it.

Sing it loud and claim it!!  Have a perfect day, friend!  

Thursday, August 20, 2015

But Jesus Is Free!

As I was stopped at a traffic light yesterday, I looked over at the local liquor store and couldn't help but notice the sign out front.  It read: 
"Wine is cheeper than therapy.  All Wine 10% off Wednesdays"
Immediately out of my mouth came:
 "But Jesus is free!" 
My GFF's would agree!  In fact, we often call our weekly meetings therapy because we always feel so much better leaving than we did arriving.  When we talk about Jesus and learn what He is doing in each other's lives we are encouraged and find healing from our daily stress and burdens.  

Friend, if you are struggling to find relief from stress and you are seeking answers to your problems by using alcohol as your therapy I want to pray for you right now.  I have seen the effects of alcohol on an individual and a whole family and it's just heartbreaking.  I want you to know that although your relief comes within minutes of that first drink or two, it as easily wears off leaving you feeling just as miserable, if not more, as when you began.  I want you to know that your true healing and relief come from God and godly counsel.  Wine is not a bad thing as long as you can control yourself.  A drink or two is not sin unless you become drunk or it cause others to stumble.  Drunkenness is sin because the Spirit is unable to work within in you.  Drunkenness controls you and ends up taking over your life and the lives of your loved ones.  It is a tool of satan and it will cause damage.......satan is a thief, always prowling around looking for his next victim.  

So where do we go for therapy?  What do we do when our day was stressful and our week is dragging on?  Who do we talk to when a crisis is on the horizon or we are dealing with the unimaginable?   We can go to God.  We can spend time with friends who will encourage our faith or read the bible and be renewed by the great and wonderful promises that are for us to enjoy.  By trusting in Jesus to take away our hurts and stress we will lay our lives in His hands instead of the bottom of a bottle.  I can't imagine it is very easy climbing your way out of a slippery, glass bottle or a smooth sided beer can.  Let God help you.  Let God be your healer.  Let His chosen people guide you and give you therapy.  A therapist has to be way cheeper, in the end, than a alcohol addiction.

Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death 
 and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle's!
Psalm 103:1-5

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Keep it Simple

The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. 
Colossians 1:27

Keep it simple. Jesus loves us and died for us. He is our reason and our hope! He is alive and seated next to our Father in heaven. He is working for our good.
Keep it  simple: Jesus loves Me!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Do Your Creative Best!

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.  Don't be impressed with yourself.  Don't compare yourself with others.  Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can do with your own life.
- Galations 6:4-5 Msg -

Why do we get so caught up in what others are doing?  I am constantly telling my children to worry about themselves when it comes to getting their work done and making choices.  The impact we have on eternity lies in our ability to explore our own life and find what it is that God calls us to do.  Usually this is something we do well and a passion we hold dear to our hearts.  It is a talent that not all people possess and something that others may recognize in us.  We then must take that gift and cultivate it, improve on it, care for it, prepare for it and grow it.  It isn't always God's job to do all the work.  He wants us to take what we know and use our creativity to follow through with His plans for us.  The bible isn't going to show me exactly how to use my gifts of writing and encouragement.  It is up to me to explore my options, what I have time for and what fits into my lifestyle.  It is my responsibility to take my gifts and do the creative best that I can do with my own life.  I am not to be worried about others and what their gifts are.  It's not my responsibility to make sure everyone is doing what I'm doing or to compare my work to the works of others.  

So what is it you have been gifted?  Search yourself........What are you passionate about?  What are you good at?  What is that one thing, job, interest that God just won't let you put aside?  Take that interest and your passion and sink yourself into creating ways to use that gift for God.  Don't worry about what others think, or about what others are doing with their gifts.  For once, think of yourself and the ministry God has called you to.  My dear God First Friend, you have been called to live in freedom.  But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature.  Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13)  So start exploring your talents and the many ways you can serve God's children in love.  What ever your gift, you have a great and important responsibility to reach people and share God's amazing love and mercy.  Get those creative juices flowing and possibilities are endless!

Dear God, you love me and gave me special gifts to use in furthering your Kingdom.  Yes, you could do all the work yourself just by performing miracles and loving people the way you do, but instead you include me in your work.  There are desires that you have laid on my heart, help me to discover those and give me creativity in finding ways to serve others.  As I take my step of faith I know that you are right beside me with your big hand on my steering wheel. 
Amen and amen!     


Monday, August 17, 2015

Time To Do Some Weeding

Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God. 
2 Corinthians 7:1 NLT

I just weeded my flowerbeds a little over 2 weeks ago, and yet today it was again time to do some weeding. I'm not exaggerating when I say some of the weeds were to my mid thigh. It was absolutely ridiculous. 

As I looked at the flowerbed I had to determine which plants were weeds and which were flowers. I then had to start pulling the largest weeds and gradually the next layer of weeds appeared. Finally, I had the weeds pulled well enough to see the ground cover type weeds that lurked on the surface. Just when I thought I was finished, I glanced back over the area where I had recently weeded. I literally said out loud, "What! Where did you guys come from?" There, spattered throughout the bed were tiny little weeds just waiting for a chance to spring up and take over once again. It was then that I was reminded of my verse for today:

Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God. 
2 Corinthians 7:1 NLT

It doesn't take long for sin to spring up in our lives. And if left unattended, it can begin by blending in with our regular activities. This scripture tells us to cleanse ourselves of everything that can defile our body or spirit. We do this by reading scripture, talking with fellow Christians, and taking action to quit and remove our sinful habits. 

Sins, like weeds, can appear in layers. It's easy to see glaring sins like adultery, murder, or stealing. But just removing 'the biggies' from our lives doesn't cleanse us of sin. It takes more weeding. Talking with fellow Christians, reading of scripture and prayer to become aware of sin so we can take action. Like some weeds, they've been around so long, we think they belong in the flowerbed. And don't forget those tiny ones waiting to sprout up again!

Dear Lord,
Help me to cleanse my life of sin. I desire to live for you, pure and holy. Teach me your holiness as I seek to remove the weeds of sin from my life!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Scripture

There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me.
1 Corinthians 13:9

Father God, let Your Spirit fill me with the confidence and strength I need to do your Work in my community.  There are things that need done and people who need loved, from which, You have laid on my heart great works for Your kingdom. You have opened doors for me to pursue these things and you wait on my obedience.  Now give Your servant great boldness to take the steps necessary for completing this task and following through with Your work.  Although many may oppose me, Lord, let it be you Who I report to and You who I dedicate myself and my works to.  Take my worries about what the rest of the world will think and show me the way to everlasting peace and contentment in You.  When things get heated and I am up against a brick wall show me how to stand firm and keep pushing until it falls.  Lord, you are my God and I love you!  I want to walk through Your open doors and pursue all things Godly.  
In Jesus' Name, 

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Thief

The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.  My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
John 10:10

We are God's sheep.  We know the voice of our Good Shepherd and as the gate opens and He calls us by name, we follow as He leads us out into new, greener grass.  We don't recognize the voice of strangers, in fact, we run because the voice is unrecognizable (John 10:3-5).  I have to apply this thought to my own life and recall the times that this unrecognizable voice tried to lie to me and direct me on the wrong path.  Even now, as a more mature christian, I am caught off guard by this voice and it sends me into confusion if I don't quickly counter it with the voice of Jesus. In John 10:8, Jesus said that all who came before Him were thieves and robbers but His true sheep did not listen to them. 

This question I ask you, I ask myself, as well.  Do you know Jesus' voice?  Do you know Him so well that when satan comes in to steal, kill and destroy you can counter the voice with Jesus' voice?   Any words that condemn you, make you feel less than, or unworthy are all words that we should recognize as lies from satan.  Jesus would never talk to us that way.  These hurtful things, and deceptive lies are all just trying to steal our joy, and peace.  This thief is working to kill our hope and destroy our faith.  Occasionally he will tell us "nice" things but that only leads to sin in the end. His sole purpose is to hurt us and make us as miserable as he is.  This thief is a jerk and we should run when we hear his voice.  His voice changes often with the weather and so it is unrecognizable.

We are trained to follow one voice.  To respond in obedience to this One voice that is our savior and friend.  So why do we let this stranger, this thief,  have a chance!  Why don't we run from this unrecognizable voice sooner?  We should only trust the voice of Jesus who is working in us and for us on His plan to give us a rich and satisfying life.  Friends, next time you hear a voice that doesn't follow Christ's character or a voice that is spewing lies and hurtful things at you run away as fast as you can!   

Dear God,
Thank you for your kind, loving words.  Thank you for your strong and reassuring voice that I can recognize easily.  I don't ever want to forget the sound of your voice. Please give me strength to stand tall and run when I hear an unrecognizable voice.  Help me to counter the lies with your promises, and give me energy to run to you.  Open the gate for me, dear Jesus, call my name and I will follow you.  Amen        

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Above All

The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Recently I fell victim to an attack from the enemy. It was an attack that was greater than any I've ever experienced. It caught me off guard and threatened to take me under. I am still reeling from the blows of his evil and his deception.

Questions about the attack threaten to take over my mind and heart... Why did this happen? Who am I really in Christ? Where do I go from here? Was I wrong in what I believed to be my calling, my purpose? How do I even find the closeness with God that I had before this evil came at me?

However, in talking with my GFF's I'm seeing that the enemy attacks when we are active for the Lord. He responds out of fear. He fears the outcome of our following the Lord and the eternal effect that it will have on us and those around us. The enemy of our soul wants us to wander and question God. He wants us to remain ineffective.

I can have a little sass to me at times. I'm praying that sass is used to fuel me on to love and good deeds, to come back fighting! I refuse to let the enemy take another day from me, another moment from my life. He may have knocked me down, but I won't stay down. Why? Because Jesus is in me! He's fighting the fight for me! He already won my salvation, and now he is fighting for me to win the battles I face here on the earth. The daily fight for my joy and peace. The enemy is strong, but God is greater than he!

Friends, the enemy cannot keep us from God. God is greater. God is stronger. God is already the victor! Our job is to continually seek and abide in the Lord. We are to cling to his promises and call to his name when the storms of life threaten to take us under! Attacks on us are confirmation that we are moving in the right direction!

Help me to abide in you. Keep me alert and focused on you! Give me a heart of praise, a will to seek you, and the ability to impact others for your kingdom. God you are greater. You are stronger than anything I will ever face. Teach me to walk with you as you prepare the way before me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I Used To Wander

I used to wander off until you disciplined me; but now I closely follow your word.
Psalm 119:67

I was encouraged yesterday by this simple scripture.  As I was reading from Psalm 119 these words popped out at me and encouraged me to keep building my relationship with Jesus.  This scripture describes who I was a few years back, before I really knew Jesus and before I understood His character.  Before I started spending time reading the bible I never really did anything to change my life or behaviors.  I claimed my salvation and I had pretty good morals, but I never thought before I acted.  I didn't rely on prayer to lead me and I most certainly didn't have patience to wait on God's voice to direct me.  I was like this description, "I used to wander off until God disciplined me".  I would make choices based on my knowledge and I would do things out of selfishness or worldly understanding.  I rarely thought about what Jesus would do in a similar situation and I never went to the bible for answers to my problems.  I was on my own, just wandering in my own knowledge stopping only when God redirected me (a nice word for discipline).  As I have grown, my tendency is to closely follow God's word and let Him guide me.  I try to do the godly thing before the discipline comes.  No, I am not perfect every time but I see the growth and it encourages me to keep on going.  I am excited to spend time with God in the mornings.  I want to learn knew things and make the right choices based on His teachings.  

Dear God, thank you for this encouragement and help me to keep seeking you.  As daily "stuff" competes for my time, help me to stay focused on meeting with you daily.  Keep growing me as I learn to live God first instead of me first.  I don't want to wander anymore but be strong in your knowledge.  Help me to be patient and wait on your direction instead of going off on my own waiting for your discipline.  Most importantly, Lord, I want to know you.  I want to know everything about you and live a life that mirrors Jesus Christ.  I love you, Amen       

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A New Beginning

A new school year. Newly sharpened pencils with full erasers. A full box of sharpened crayons; Crayola of course!  New backpacks, school shoes, shirts and jeans. New classes and new teachers. The beginning of the school year is always exciting even for those who like school the least. There's just something amazing about a "new" start.

Life in Christ is the same. When we first meet him we are so excited at the new freedom we have in his grace. We are thankful for his mercies and and delight in his extravagant love. It's a fresh start! In his love, grace, and mercy we are made new. Jesus offers us forgiveness with no reminders of the past. He sees deep into our soul to who God created us to be and washes away the sin and shame through his blood on the cross. We are made new.

Today, as school begins, let's celebrate our new beginning! Scripture tells us his mercies are new every morning... so, here we go again, a fresh start!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Monday, August 10, 2015

Turn Away From Evil

But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription:  “The Lord knows those who are His,”  and “all who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.”  
2 Timothy 2:19

I remember the D.A.R.E. slogan when I was in middle school, many years ago.  We were taught to "Just Say No" to drugs and alcohol.  It is a good concept, and a catchy phrase to remember, especially in that split second when a child is forced to choose between right and wrong.  "Just Say No" has helped many kids understand the dangers of drugs, but as I associate it with this scripture, I am seeing that it isn't always enough to just say no.

In the Merriam-Websters dictionary under the phrase "turn away" several verbs are listed.  AVERT which means to see coming and look away or avoid.  REJECT to refuse to accept, consider or submit to.  REPEL to fight against or resist, to drive away or discourage, to be incapable of adhering to or mixing with.  Turning away is more than saying no to something we know is wrong.  Turning away takes boldness, strength and discipline.  God knows the temptations that come with sin, and He commands that we don't even give it the time of day.  We can't even let our minds go there, or our bodies take one step towards sin.  The temptations can become too great and we would allow satan too much power over our mind, especially if we are too weak in our faith, or we are not disciplined enough to "Just Say No".  Yes, God will always be right there to help us in our need but sometimes we put our selves in places where His voice is barely heard and His influence on our decisions is pushed to the side.  Sometimes we are safer to have a plan of turning away before we get too far.    

Turning away means we don't even watch that movie that encourages adultery and we don't entertain the thought of having sex before marriage.  It may mean we turn off the songs that sing about getting drunk or we walk away from a gossip circle. Even our friends may have to change if we are serious about turning away from sin and evil.  And only we can truly know what trips us up and what we are in danger of falling into.  

Dear God, help me to see my weaknesses and know when I should turn away.  I want to stay away from all temptations and not make it harder on myself by sticking around.  I don't want to fall into sin because I am too weak to "Just Say No".  Give me courage to turn away from things that are wrong and the things that can trip me up.  Give me strength to trust in you and not conform to the world.  Give me discipline to turn away.  In Jesus' Name....Amen 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saturday Sing Along

I hope you are all waking up with a smile today.  I pray that your joy is evident in your attitude, and even though you may have some troubles lurking and some battles to face, my wish, for you, is that you can praise God through it all.  Praise Him for the good things and acknowledge Him in the dark places.  Know that, no matter what, He is in control.

Blessed is the Name of Lord!  Blessed be God who carries us in His big strong arms!  Enjoy this song and just try to listen without singing it the rest of the day.......I don't think you can do it! ;)

Friday, August 7, 2015

No Regrets!

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

The longer I walk with God, the more I am aware of the tactics of the enemy. Among many, he uses doubt, discouragement, distractions, disillusionment, devastation, and fear to keep us down. All of these are lies! So we must focus on the truth, and often to know the truth we need the help of another Christian. We become blinded by the lies and need someone to look at our situation from the outside. Who is your friend that gives you a clear perspective?

My GFF's keep me thinking clearly! Currently the enemy wants me to regret my past, trying to make me buy into the "what ifs". But 'what ifs' aren't from God. As I shared my regrets with my GFF's the other night they all shook their heads as I spoke. They were telling me these weren't thoughts that God was giving me or that even line up to God's character. Yes, I've made mistakes. Yes, I've compromised myself and my beliefs. Yes, I've even compromised the word of God. But the truth is, we all have. Even the most faithful of Christians. And the truth is, God's love covers it all. 

Over 2 thousand years ago, on a cross, my sins were forgiven- erased and consumed! Every day is a new day with our God. Every morning I wake, it is a chance to live differently. A chance to speak with Godly confidence and boldness. A chance to accept His love and love with His love. Oh, how great is God's love that he gives us multiple chances. How great is His love that his patience never fails!

Live today with no regrets!

Dear Lord,
Thank you once again for friends who hold me accountable to truth. It is my prayer that each of the readers today will seek a friend who does the same. Lord, the lies are subtle and can entangle us for too long. Give us friends that will help us find our way to truth quickly so that we can carry on in your joy and love.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Think Again!

Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies.
Lamentations 3:30

Of course God doesn't want us hitting people.........Jesus did not go around hurting people physically and emotionally, but He did speak out in truth and love.  Jesus did not let people get away with manipulating behavior and sinful motives.  He saw wrong and He spoke out, sometimes with a gentle voice and others with anger and force, depending on the issue.  I have always found this scripture to be hard to swallow, mostly because for years I have misinterpreted it.  As I sit and think back on my personal life, and even the things I have passed down to my children, I'm not afraid to say I have had it all wrong.  Partly because I am a people pleaser and I never wanted anyone mad at me (something I am working on), but also because I misunderstood Jesus for so many years.  I never recognized that Jesus has a rougher side to Him.  Yes, he is all loving, gentle, and patient with us, but there is a side of Him that we tend to overlook.  Jesus didn't allow people to keep doing wrong.  He spoke up when things weren't right and he never overlooked a sin.  He knew how to rebuke in such a way that spoke truth in love, but He never just turned the other cheek to the bad that was happening.  Jesus spoke out against the bad things people did and He allowed people to experience the consequences to their choices.  This scripture is referring to getting back at someone or getting revenge with an enemy.  This does not mean that we should stand around and let our spouse or someone we love continue to hurt us physically, emotionally or spiritually.  God never intended this command to hurt us, and staying with someone who continually hurts us is never something God wants for our lives.  Notice the end of the scripture refers to enemies.  A spouse, friend, or family member is not an enemy.  Those are the very people whom we love and spend lots of time with.  God does not want us undergoing continued abuse from someone in our lives.  Enemies are people we don't know well, they are people who misunderstand us and people who are just plain mean.  Their intentions are to hurt and destroy, not characteristics of a person God wants us hanging around with on a daily basis.  So my dear friends, if you are turning the other cheek because you think that is what God would want, think again.  Take some time to reflect on who you are turning from.  Who are you allowing to hurt you daily?  Is there someone in your life who you are staying with because you feel God wants you to "stick it out" or "turn the other cheek"?  God says to turn the other cheek to our enemies and accept their insults because it usually consists of a one time thing.  He wants us to practice self control and perseverance with those who misunderstand our motives and the God behind those motives.  If we are dealing with someone who is not a believer then we should show them love but never let them walk all over us.  We are not to be a doormat.  


Wednesday, August 5, 2015


“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:11b-12, NIV).

Paul chose! His life in service to Christ was not one of ease and respect. Paul was beaten down, shipwrecked, imprisoned and rejected. But he Chose to be content.  He was content inside himself. His circumstance and other people did not determine who or whose he was. His heart was joyful because he believed the promises of God. He had joy because he walked with Christ in his heart believing every word of scripture to be true. 

Dear precious friend, don't let others steal your joy. Be content in the joy of knowing Christ is your savior and you are his. He WILL return for you and take you into eternal glory with God the father. CHOOSE to be content! Read his promises and recite them until you believe his truths. CHOOSE to be changed.
CHOOSE to not let this life define you! CHOOSE to be defined by who Christ says you are!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Jesus......Your Foundation or Boulder?

Welcome to the living Stone, the source of all life.  The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor.  Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you'll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.  The Scriptures provide precedent:
Look! I'm setting a stone in Zion, a cornerstone in the place of honor.  Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation will never have cause to regret it.  To you who trust him, he's a Stone to be proud of, but to those who refuse to trust him,
The stone the workmen threw out is now the chief foundation stone.  For the untrusting it's
............a stone to trip over, a boulder blocking the way.  They trip and fall because they refuse to obey, just as predicted.  
1 Peter 2:4-8 MSG

I'm not sure I need to say much more after this message.  I was drawn to it the other day because I worry that we don't put enough emphasis on Jesus.  All the world knows about God.  Even satan believes in God.  The problem arises when we don't believe in Jesus and we don't focus on Him as our savior.  Our lives should be revolving around Jesus and our relationship with Him.  Do we know enough about Him to know what to do when we are between a rock and a hard place?  That Rock is Jesus calling for us to choose His way and that hard place is sin.....satan, calling us away from our foundation.  The cornerstone, our foundation, must be built on Jesus!  We must know Him and His character to understand what choices to make and which way to choose.  Like the old popular saying, "WWJD" - What Would Jesus Do, if we are to make decisions based on how Jesus would react in our  situation then we better trust Him and study Him and know Him so that we can make the correct decision.  It takes knowing Jesus on an intimate level, cherishing our time with Him, studying His words and actions, and taking on those for our own.  

Do you want to be a building stone that stands on Christ, the foundation?  Together with all the christians in the world do you want to build God's church to stand tall and strong?  Our lives must be dedicated to trusting God and living with Jesus!  We can't know Him well enough if we aren't in our bibles daily.  We can't know how He would react..........our Teacher can't teach us unless we are willing and able to learn.  We will stumble and fall if we aren't prepared by knowing Jesus personally and knowing all about God's instructions and promises in our life.  

Friends, have you chosen to build your life on Jesus, the foundation or have you chosen to trust in yourself.  What is the foundation of your life?  What do you build your life on and what are you helping to build up?  Is it work, sex, your spouse, your children, food, or alcohol?  What do you go to work on every day building it up to make it stronger in your life and in the lives of others?  What or who are you living for?  If your answer is not Jesus, your  Living stone, our Cornerstone, and chief Foundation........then friends it's time to reevaluate your life. Stop tripping over the boulder in your way and choose today Whom you will serve!          

Monday, August 3, 2015

Listen to Advice

Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry. Proverbs 25:11-12

Everyone wants to be wise. We all want to be perceived as intelligent. We feel confident when we know the answers, but in reality wisdom isn't any of these things. Wisdom is being able to listen to others, read and discern information, and then make a decision based on all the facts.
Wise people listen to others. They intake information and filter out what doesn't line up with God's character. Wise people listen to criticism from others. They aren't afraid of hearing about their mistakes and learning to do things a new or better way. Wise people feel blessed when they are shown their errors because wise people value truth.
When is the last time someone told you that you needed to make a change? Maybe it was a change in your behavior, your character, or simply in the way you completed a task. If we are wise, we will listen to others' advice. Our natural reaction is to defend ourself, but wisdom listens, considers the advice, and makes changes if the criticism is valid.

Help me to be open to valid criticism. Help me to consider what others are saying and choose to act on advice that will make me a better person, help me be a better employee, or strengthen my Christian walk. Lord, let me be one who is wise because I've chosen to listen to others.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday Scripture

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to him.
2 Chronicles 19:9

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Sing Along Saturday

This world gets a hold on us and it feels so hard to break free. But, "there is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain!"No matter what sin or hardships have a grip on your life, your freedom is just a spoken word away..... Jesus! He longs to enter into relationship with you and set you free from sin, guilt, shame, pain, fear, or whatever is binding you!

Enjoy this song today by Jesus Culture!
Click this link to listen to this powerful song...

Break Every Chain