Monday, February 29, 2016

I Miss You!

Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8

Like me, I'm sure you've missed someone with whom you have a relationship. Your heart longs for conversations and activities together. But lives get busy, schedules change and our children enter busy seasons of athletics and activities leaving less time for relationships. It takes an intentional change to get these relationships back on track.

And such is our relationship with God. If God feels far away, the change was on our end. God is constant. He never moves. He doesn't change. God doesn't just want our 'want and need list'. He wants real relationship. He wants depth and commitment.

Relationships take intentional work. They involve talking and sharing our hearts, dreams, and hurts. Relationships require time and sacrifice. Relationships must be a priority if they are to thrive.

Today I'm missing several people in my life. I miss our talks, laughs and tears. I miss depth of conversation. It's time to become intentional and draw near to those I love, starting with my God!

How about you?

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Sing-along Saturday

Today's song is Soul On Fire by Third Day. It reminds us to pray that God will set our hearts ablaze with desire for Him. That he will keep working within us to help us know him intimately And we will share his love.

Click here to listen to Soul on Fire by Third Day

Friday, February 26, 2016

Take This Time To Pray

Then you will call to me.  You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you.  You will seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 GNT

I am drawn to asking you to pray today.  I don't really have more than that.  There are a lot of people on my heart who are calling out for help and healing and so I just want to take this time to remind you to pray.  Pray for the lost, the sick, the hurting, the leaders of our nations, the orphans and the sinners.  Get down on your knees for the people on your heart and carry their burdens to God.  Seek God's answers for them and for the things you desire, as well.  He promises you will find Him and He will have answers in His perfect timing.  Who are we that God should take the time to listen to our requests?  We are His beautiful children.  He wants our prayers, our discussions and our deepest secrets.  Enjoy your time with Him today :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Rules Set Us Apart

Leviticus is a very long drawn out book of the Bible that explains many rules over what to eat, how to eat it, how to handle skin diseases, who to touch, and the list goes on.  It can get very repetitive and so detailed that I have no idea how they kept up with it all.  I was fascinated by the detail that God provided His people and how serious he was about them obeying.  It got me thinking about today and the rules we have in place.  They aren't nearly as detailed, mostly because we have watered them down and sugar coated them and made our own compromises.  But, thanks to Jesus, we don't have that fear of getting struck down after making one bad choice.

God was very serious about His rules, for example, certain animals were unclean and people weren't supposed to eat those animals but it was just as important that they didn't even touch a dead carcass of those unclean animals.  There was more to this than just following rules.  God was laying a foundation.  He wanted His people to be set apart as holy.  They had to look different and act different than anyone ever before.  But saying they couldn't touch a dead animal can teach us something very important about sin and temptation.  We shouldn't go near it even if, like the animal, we think it's dead and not going to do a thing or cause us to trip.  God wanted His people to separate themselves from the impurities of the world and He still asks that of us today.  He didn't want any of His children going near that which was unclean because He knew that the temptation was strong and so He set up strict laws and punishments for people to follow.  It was very important that people understood the seriousness of breaking the law, that it could lead to further sin and destruction.

This all applies to us today.  No, we don't have to offer up sacrifices and we have doctors and medicine to take care of our skin illness, but we do still have to obey God and when He says don't do something we must take Him seriously and obey His command.  We shouldn't even go near that which tempts us to sin.  Just as God called the Israelites to be holy, He calls us to be holy.  We are to look different from the world and remain spiritually separate from the sins happening around us.

For I, the Lord, am the one who brought you up from the Land of Egypt, that I might be your God.  Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy.
Leviticus 11:45 NLT     

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Get Out of the Pit

I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me out of a horrible pit.... and set my feet upon a rock. Psalm 40:1-2

When I imagine "A horrible pit" I can almost feel the dark and dank around me. I shudder at the lonely and frightening sensation of the pit. I can feel the cold of the deep and the hopelessness of a soon to be rescue. If you've experienced depression, you know what this pit feels like. Perhaps someone or something threw you into a pit. Perhaps your own choices caused you to fall into this dark place. Or maybe your chemical balance is off leaving you confused and sorrowful. Whatever the cause, God did not create you to live in this pit. He created you to thrive and enjoy the life you have been given in Him. 

Pits are designed by the enemy of our souls. Depression keeps our minds focused on the past and the painful memories. Depression steals our hope. When you battle depression satan wants to keep you hopeless and downcast. 

In this Psalm, David cries out to the Lord for rescue from his pit. God hears and pulls him from the pit of sadness and sorrow. So, if you find yourself in 'a horrible pit' cry out to the One who can and will rescue you! Then, wait with expectation as He delivers you. Deliverance may not come in an instant, but know that God will deliver you! See a doctor and counselor as you wait on the Lord to do his part. He is faithful! He will deliver you!

Monday, February 22, 2016

In Case You Were Wondering

He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
Revelation 3:5 NASB

God knows us!  Plain and simple......God knows us.  He knew us before we were born.  He knows our thoughts before we think them, our words before we say them and our hearts better than we can understand ourselves.  His omnisience makes it possible for Him to rule over all creation, make all things fall into place for the good of His people, and fill the book of life with the names of all those who will join Him in heaven for eternity.  We can try and do a lot of things to get our name placed there, but all it really takes is a genuine heart after God and belief that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.  It's our desire to love and serve God that will carry on and act out our belief in faith, but those good things we do........they don't matter if our heart isn't real and they won't keep our names in that book.  God knows us and if we are sincere then our names are there and secure.  Written in permanent ink that can never be washed away.  When He wrote our names down He knew our future and everything about us.  He knew what was coming, the good we would perform, and the sins we would fall into but most importantly He knew our hearts.  God decided whose names would be written and He doesn't change His mind.  You cannot lose your spot in heaven!  You cannot ever fall too far away, unless that is, you were never truly His to begin with.  And how do you truly know?  If Jesus is your savior and if you believe He died and arose to take away your sin then you accept His sacrifice and believe you are saved.  Some will fall away, but true followers will always return.  We won't be perfect in our walk but our faith will never fail us.  As long as we have faith we are free and we are His for eternity!

I celebrate the day I will hear my name confessed to God.  Thank you for saving me Jesus!  Thank you for suffering for my freedom and eternity in heaven!  My name is secure, permanently fixed in the book of life, and for that I will share the Good News with everyone who needs to hear!  
Amen and Amen            

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunday Scripture

“Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:26-27‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Sing Along Saturday

We believe your love is the strongest way
You're tearing down walls and You break our chains
Even in this darkness hope will rise again
When we lay down our weapons we will let love win
Lord we lay down our weapons and we let love win

Powerful words that speak right to my heart as I prepare this Saturday blog for you.  My intentions were to post this song, say a little about it and move on but God had a different idea.  As I listened to the lyrics and let them move me God showed me, once again, that I am fighting a battle with human perspective and human weapons.  Although my fight isn't with a person and my love for others isn't affected, like this song would suggest, my fight is against God's work.  I need to lay down my weapons and let God's love for me take over and win.  I try to find answers and worry about feelings and outcomes when all God ever wanted me to do from the beginning of my journey is to let Him fight for me.  I don't need to work so hard at having a good day or finding new medicine or excuses for the way I feel.  I just need to let love swallow me up and fight for me.  Love wins, friend!  God's love for us will step in and fight any battle we face and His ways will bring victory and solve the most difficult problems!  Praise God for his patience with me, for tearing down walls, breaking chains and being our personal body guard!  No matter what battle you're in, let this song lead your decisions on what to do and how to handle it.  Amen and amen!  


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Stick It Out!

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate.  
For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
James 1:12 MSG

Unfortuantely I haven't succeeded in this in all my trials but I am finding, as my faith grows, that it really is the only way.  I've been on both sides of trials.  The side where worry takes over and fear consumes me, and then the other side that delivers a peace and strength that can only come from God.  The difference in each side is where my loyalty lies.  When my trust is anchored in Jesus Christ and I believe that whatever happens is God's best for me or the situation, I can rest in peace.  When my loyalty is found in worry and doubt then I tend to work alone and my faith falters giving me things to fear and hopelessness begins to take up residence in my heart.  

It's time we meet our challenges head on, together.  My dear friends, I know you can relate to being on the right and wrong side of challenges.  It's time we stick it out and face our problems with confidence and complete loyalty to God!  No more telling God we don't trust Him!  No more giving up before we give God a chance to show us what He's made of!  And absolutely no more doing it alone!  We must share our stories and unite together to help each other stand up against our challenges through encouragment, prayer and fellowship.  I'm sticking this out, no matter how bad I feel some days, no matter what it does to me and how many times I get knocked down!  I'm going to continue getting back up and facing my challenge because I love my God and my loyalty is with Him and nothing else............and so we pray

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

You Can't Do A Thing About It!

"My God is changeless in his love for me." Psalm 59:10

Friend, I have something very important to tell you today! So, listen carefully! 

God loves you. He loves you right where you are at this very moment. He loves you in your messy. He loves you in your tiredness. He loves you in your confusion and in your pain. He loves you when you get it right just as much as he does when you get it wrong. He loved you in the past. He loves you right now. And he will love you in the future. He loves you and nothing changes that! He loves you. And you can't do one thing about it! You won't change his mind. He is love. He can't be changed. It's his character. It is the essence of his being. 

So stop right where you are and thank him! Thank him for loving you. Turn and face him. See the delight in his eyes as you say, "Ok God! Let me have it! Let me have all the love you've got to give me!" You might as well just surrender to his unchanging, unfailing love. Just face it! He loves you and there's not one thing you can do about it but to accept it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


And because of their unbelief, he couldn't do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them.  And he was amazed at their unbelief.  Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people.
Mark 6:5-6 NLT

Jesus was shocked at the way he was received in His hometown.  Those who were closest to him, who had watched him grow up and become a skilled carpenter, could not believe the teachings that this ordinary man was sharing.  Jesus was ready and willing to perform miracles for the people he grew up with but instead he left His hometown saddened and amazed at their unbelief.  

Jesus was God in human flesh, posessing all the powers to do anything and everything.  That day He had to leave without performing miracles and prove a very important message.  The miracles we receive, or don't receive, are highly contingent on one very important thing............our belief.  Jesus has all the power to make our dreams reality, our bodies whole and healthy, our families saved, our lost found, and our thoughts wise but if we don't believe then that power is useless.  Oh I wonder how many times I have missed out on miracles because I didn't believe!  

Aside from God's perfect planning and knowing that what He wants will happen, He knows our hearts first and foremost.  He knows how we will react to life and situations and what our belief looks like when no-one else is looking.  Even when we aren't necessarily full of faith, He can see our future and our willingness and our desire to change and believe with all we've got.........He knows us better than we know ourselves.  God knows that the miracles He has stored up for us will only be given to those who truly believe in Him and His sovereignty.  And when He finds himself in a place full of unbelievers He will move on.  He will not waste His time with those who do not believe and who aren't willing to hear His message and take a chance on Him.  And so GFF's, it is so important for us  to get to know God and His character.  To place our trust in Him and believe that the things we ask for will happen.  We must believe or He will pick up and head to the next town of believers where He can be put to work performing miracles and healing the sick for those who have placed all their trust in Him.  Let's not be left behind!  Let's experience all there is to receive from a God who knows our hearts, and desires to give us the things we ask for. 

Dear God,
All praise to You who gives us miracles and answers prayers.  Thank you for thinking of us and loving us.  Help us to place our trust completely on your shoulders and leave our worries and needs at your feet where we know, without a doubt, that they will be taken care of.  We love You and believe in You.  Be our place of refuge and strength, trust and belief, for a better tomorrow.  
In Jesus' Name  

Monday, February 15, 2016

Is It All Really Worth It?

I felt weary from the battle that has gone on for so long. I felt tired and beaten down. I have drawn nearer to God and allowed Him to make changes in me, yet I'm wondering if those around me see and long to know Him. I found my momentarily weary heart asking, "Is this all really worth it?" Then I read a familiar scripture that touched my heart like it hadn't before. I read Hebrews 12:2 and God spoke to me in my weariness. It says, "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Jesus came to this earth as a baby. As God, in human form he entered this world. Jesus came to this earth to die for us. He came out of obedience. He came out of love. He came to love, heal, and lead us to the Father by giving us an example to follow. He knew that it would be painful, and he would be cast aside by many. He knew that he would be mocked, beaten, and crucified. He knew that his friends and family would betray him.  So why did he do it? Why did he choose to endure all of this?

Because He knew the end of the story. This passage of scripture tells us that He knew 'the joy set before him'.  He endured all of this because he knew that in the end he would take his seat in the best seat in "the house". He would be seated at the right hand of God!

I too, know the story. I know that Jesus' death and resurrection has made heaven a reality for me! Yet, in my weariness, I allowed my eyes to lock in on my circumstance and lose focus of Jesus. Proverbs 4:25 cautions us of just that, "Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you." 

Now, GFF, I must ask you? Are you facing persecution for your faith? Are family and friends questioning your newfound hope and joy?Are you momentarily weary in the battle?  If you are, keep going! Don't give up when it gets hard. REMEMBER because of Christ, we will be seated before the throne of God one day. He will delight in us as we delight at being in his presence. So fix your eyes on the one who gave His all so you can look forward to the joy that is set before you! You also know the end of the story, so rejoice in the trials because you have a great inheritance awaiting you!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sunday Scripture

But that's no life for you.  You learned Christ!
My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him,
been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus.  
Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, 
everything - and I do mean everything - connected with that old way of life has to go.  
It's rotten through and through.  Get rid of it!  
And then take on an entirely new way of life - a God-fashioned life, 
a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct 
as God accurately reproduces his character in you.
Ephesians 4:20-24 MSG

Saturday, February 13, 2016


So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 1 Corinthians 4:18 NIV

Today's sing-along is by King and Country called "Fix My Eyes".  This song reminds us to keep our eyes up! To keep our eyes on what is eternal and not what is temporary. Circumstance, promotions, sickness are all temporary. Jesus is eternal! The things of God are eternal, and this song reminds of us all that is of God! 

And just the time we take our eyes off our Jesus, we find ourself wandering in the desert... afraid and unsafe. So, Friend, keep your eyes up today. 

Love like I'm not scared
Give when it's not fair
Live life for another
Take time for a brother
Fight for the weak ones
Speak out for freedom
Find faith in the battle
Stand tall but above it all
Fix my eyes on You
On You

Friday, February 12, 2016

A One Man Band

The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath from all things;
Acts 17:24-25

God doesn't need my help!  Unfortunately, there have been times when I thought I had to make decisions or consume my thoughts with certain things because God needed me to help Him here on earth.  And while it may seem that way, since we are His hands and feet, God can accomplish His plans with or without us if He so desires.  He is all powerful, perfectly capable of doing anything beyond what we could even begin to imagine, all on His own.  God is a One Man Band!  

Knowing all this shouldn't cause us to quit talking to Him and stop doing the right thing.  Just because God doesn't necessarily need us doesn't mean He doesn't want us.  God longs for a relationship with us and He longs to see us working on His behalf in the world.  He delights in seeing His children loving each other and living by Jesus Christ's example.  He may not need our help in accomplishing His plans but He wants our help.  He loves having conversations with us and hearing us open up to Him.  He desires to watch us grow and mature making godly decisions and placing our trust in Him.  We can't keep God locked up in our hand made churches and we can't control what He does nor help Him accomplish His plans but we can walk with Him and serve Him.  We can serve Him out of our love for Him, and nothing more.  Not because we want blessings or answers to prayer or a place in heaven, no, we shall serve God because He is the creator of the universe and He provides our every need all on His own.........He is just that good!

...............and so we pray to Him thanking Him for all He is to us and for loving us so much that He  gave His only Son so that we could join Him and the choir in heaven one day.  Thank You God!  We praise You for being this One Man Band.  For taking care of all our needs and wanting an intimate relationship with us.  We plan on serving You until the day You take us home to meet you face to face!  Show us where to go and what to do.  In Your Son's Name.........Amen  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Life Among The Weeds

And the seed that fell in the weeds - well, these are the ones who hear, 
but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives 
worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun.
Luke 8:14 MSG

This scripture reminds me of my old life, the life I lived before finding an accountability partner and developing an intimate relationship with Jesus.  I went to bible studies and attended church.  I read christian books and volunteered to help with church activities.  I wanted to do the right things in life and I thought being involved and going to bible studies would get me right with God.  At one point in my life I knew that there was more to life than just being a participant.  I finally realized that I had to take the things I learned from the bible and make them part of my every day.  Until then I was like the seed that fell in the weeds.  I heard the Word through books, bible study and church but I would leave those places and let the world, and my life crowd it out.  Nothing came of it!  I didn't let God's word change me or affect my choices, I just heard it with my ears and left it there.  It took a conscious decision and effort to start letting God into my ever day.  It wasn't natural for me to trust Him with the little things and turn to Him for guidance.  I had to slow down and place Jesus in my presence.  I had to invite him in.  I still forget some days and can easily start to feel like I'm being choked out by life, by the weeds that can consume a person, but I am quicker to turn back.  I am doing more than just hearing God's Word, I am letting it become my basis for living and decision making.  And that, dear friends, is the difference.  So many people hear the Word but they don't let it penetrate their hearts and minds.  They don't let the Word transform.  They start out healthy and pretty but as the weeds begin choking them out they get overwhelmed and loose their strength.  They start to get smaller and sometimes even die because they are overtaken by the weeds of life.  This was me and I don't want to go back to this place ever again........and so we pray

Dear God, Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path.  Your Word is my guide in life.  Don't let me hear your Word and walk away from it.  I don't want to be like the seed that falls among the weeds.  I want to grow strong and flourish and become beautiful in Your wisdom and in knowledge.  Help me to slow down and allow Your Word to transform my life.  In Jesus' Name  Amen          

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

it all begins with a thought

I woke up the other day and the first thing on my mind was a leftover negative thought from the day before. I had been worried about something and it stayed with me. However the thought never even came to fruition. And yet this one thought threatened to control my entire day.  Scripture gives us the remedy to negative, worrisome, and fearful thoughts.
Philippians 4:8 tells us how we are to think.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Noble, right, lovely, pure, admirable... These are the attributes of God. We begin changing our unsettled peace  by training our minds to stay fixed on God and the things of God. It won't all happen at once, but as you continue to train your mind to release negatives and replace with positives you will find yourself having more and more peace. 

So begin today! What one thought can you release and replace with a thought of God and his glory?  

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Day Of Rest

Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God.  On that day no one in your household may do any work.  This includes you, your sons and daughters, you male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested.  That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
Exodus 20:8-11 NLT

I know the 10 commandments.  I learned them at a very young age and as my children have gone through Bible school and Sunday school classes I have had many chances to be reminded of those 10 commands that God gave to the Israelites so so long ago.  The laws that God laid out for His people are still regarded today as being the 10 great commands that we Christians should follow.  In fact most of them are morally engrained in us.  We use them as a standard when making decisions in choosing right from wrong.  As I look at them closely I see a pattern in the ones we tend to follow and those we set aside.  Obviously the big ones that have legal consequences we tend to stay away from easily, such as stealing and killing.  But what about the commandments that no one even knows we disobey?  Those little white lies, having other God's, disrespecting our parents, jealousy or even adultery, these seem to be grey areas in people's lives these days.  As I read Exodus 20 slowly the other day I realized that I am not following all of God's commands.  I have often overlooked number 4 that says to: Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  I haven't taken this one seriously, but by reading the many times God expected His people to rest throughout the bible, I am now conviced, more than ever, that this command is no less important than refraining from murder and theft.  What's even more scary is how serious God was about his people obeying Him and following His directions.  Just in the chapter preceeding the 10 comandments God announced He would kill anyone who came close to the mountain or touched its boundaries (Exodus 19:12).  I know a lot has happened since then and Jesus came to offer mercy and grace, but still, there is a something God has told me to do and I am not doing it well.

Sabbath means a day of rest or abstinece from work.  We know that God took a day of rest after He created the world.  He acknowledged, early on, the importance of taking a break and resting our bodies.  He passed that on to us and demands that we take breaks too!  Most Christians refer to the Sabbath as Sunday but Jews celebrate the sabbath on Saturday.  I don't know which day is the right day, or if God even cares, but I do know that He wants us to choose a day each week and offer it up to rest and worship.  He may not even mind if the day changes from week to week just as long as we are slowing down to choose a day that we devote to Him and His request for refreshing our spirits.  Life is busy!  The world is fast paced!  It is hard to slow down and choose a whole day of rest, but God calls us to it!  And not just take a day off, but to keep that day holy, to honor God and devote our time to Him.  On our day of rest we should be thinking of God and spending quiet time with Him.  We should have nothing to hurry us or take our thoughts off of God, but be thinking on things that please Him.

Dear God, help me to slow down and take my rest seriously.  You were the first to show me the importance of refreshing my soul and you have asked me to keep one day a week holy for you.  Show me how to rearrange my schedule and choose a day that is devoted to You and my love and worship of You.  Take away my desire to keep up with the world and give me peace in resting in You.  
In Jesus' Name   Amen 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Scripture

“Understanding your word brings light to the minds of ordinary people” (Psalm 119:130 CEV).

Saturday, February 6, 2016


The Bible is full of personal stories. Adam and Eve tell the story of sin and God'sgrace that covers it all. Abraham's story tells of faith and God's faithfulness. Hannah tells of being authentic before God and His love that hears and understands.  The stories go on and on. And in everyone the story isn't complete without the story of God's hand, his mercy, and his grace.

What is your faith story? I'm 100% sure that if you tell your story you will point to Jesus. His death on the cross covers your sin. His grace welcomes you without condemnation. His mercy spares you the consequences you deserve.  To tell your story is to tell of him!

Listen to Big Daddy Weave's song called "My Story" and focus on the lyrics and hear how Your story points back to Jesus!

Click here to listen to "My Story" by Big Daddy Weave

Friday, February 5, 2016

Blessed Are Those

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.  
They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.  Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.  Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT

I love the description found in this scripture.  I want this life where I am so grounded in my faith that I am untouched by the things that threaten me daily.  When I say untouched it's not that I mean nothing bad will happen.  No, I am certain bad will come, but when it does I don't want it to move me too far to the right or left.  I may get knocked around a bit but I don't want to be bothered by it.  My circumstances in life won't have the power to scare me off course or stop me from producing fruit.  

Blessed are those who are like this tree!  Peace will fill their days and God's work can continue through any situation.  If you haven't already, make this scripture yours!  Believe in the power of God and trust that you can do anything with Him.  Trust in the Lord and make Him your hope and confidence!     

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Don't Forget!

Then the people complained and turned against Moses. "What are we going to drink?" they demanded.  
Exodus 15:24 NLT

The Israelites had just witnessed some of the most amazing miracles of all time.  After suffering at the hands of the Egyptians, for many years, they were desperate for freedom but getting out of Egypt took time and creativity.  God laid 10 different plagues on Egypt after Pharoah's heart had hardened over and over.  The Israelites, although, were often spared from these plagues because God was protecting His people.  They witnessed these signs and miracles and knew that God was their protection and hope.  The final plague, which called for the death of the firstborn babies and animals, was what finally broke Pharoah long enough to let them flee from Egypt into the wilderness.  I can't imagine seeing these plagues first hand and witnessing the wailing and groans of those who lost everthing during this time.  They lost their health, livestock, crops and children all because Pharoah was too stubborn to let the Israelites leave.

God was with them every step of the way.  He went before them as a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of light at night.  They had no reason to be afraid, safe with God at their very side!  Then as they looked behind them they saw a huge army of Egyptians chasing them as they were trapped between the Red Sea and the mountains.  They had no where to go and they began to panic.....crying out to Moses for bringing them to the wilderness to die.  Instead of remembering all the powerful miracles that God perfomed on their behalf, they quickly fell to fear and doubt.  So God showed up once again.  

Moses told the people, "Don't be afraid.  Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today.  The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again.  The Lord himself will fight for you.  Just stay calm."   (Exodus 14:13-14 NLT)  And again they witnessed something so amazing.  God repositioned himself to the back of the group as a pillar of cloud at day and pillar of light at night.  He guarded the Israelites' backs until they safely crossed the Red Sea.  God parted the waters so that they could cross on dry land and as soon as they were safe He closed the waters and all the Egyptians died.  They were safe once again!  God certainly fought for them that day!  But three days later they were thirsty and began doubting again, which brings me to the above scripture.  Just three days after crossing a rushing sea on dry land, as they passed huge walls of water on both sides of them, they were complaining of thirst and wondering if God was able to save them.  

It is so easy for us to read all of this and wonder how on earth the Israelites kept loosing faith. As you continue to read in Exodus, it is easy for us to judge and even get a little angry with them for doubting after all those miracles they had witnessed.  But how different are we from the Israelites?  Do we experience miracles and blessings of God's great provision every day and still quickly forget His power and love in our life when something starts to go wrong?  I know I am guilty of it.  I am not proud to say I have feelings of doubt, but it's reality, and something I must work on daily.  This is why it was so important for the Israelites to celebrate the passover and share the stories with their children and generations to come.  It is why we are to share our stories of God's great love and provision in our own help ourselves remember in times of help others know that there is an all knowing, all powerful God who promises to care for them and protect them.  Don't keep your stories to yourself.  We need to build each other up in confidence and help one another to remember God's great stories from the bible and our own lives.  None of us wants to be like the Israelites, forgetting God so soon after the awesome miracles He performed.  We want to grow in our faith and with each day be more and more confident in His love and provision in our life.  Let's celebrate God's power!  Let's share His stories!  Let's spur one another along in faith!  
....................And so we pray      

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Carry Another's Burdens

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 NIV

In this verse Paul encourages us to carry one another's burdens. In order to fulfill this task, we must understand that God created us to be in relationship. Not just with him, but with other human beings! We were not made to live this life alone. God created us to be in community; He designed us to help one another, celebrate with one another, and support one another when times get tough. 

This means to pray for those who are hurting. We empathize and sympathize with them. It means to help wherever we can in whatever way we can. We bring in meals, run errands, babysit children and help financially if we are able. Cards of support and encouragement mean the world to a hurting heart. And sometimes, we just sit and cry right along with them. Carrying one another's burdens doesn't mean we solve their problems. It just means we are available and feel their pain along with them.

Do you know someone who's going through a hard time? Is a friend or neighbor struggling in their marriage, parenting, or health? Perhaps a young mom is parenting alone. What can you do to help her out?  Ask God today to open your eyes and heart to the possibilities to serve!

Dear Lord,
We ask that you soften our hearts toward the hurting. This life is tough and we need one another. Give us courage to step out and offer help to another. Give us the words to say and the timing in which they will be received. Help us to remain silent when necessary and just offer our love. Lord, use us today to be your strong hands, tender whisper, and amazing strength. 
In your holy name we pray, 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Jesus' Peace

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Do not let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
John 14:27 NASB

I have a confession to make.  The peace I have recently been seeking is that of a worldy view.  As I have been battling anxiety for the past few months the only thing I can focus on somedays is wanting to feel better.  I desire to feel "normal" again.  My body is tired of the rollercoaster.  My mind is a mess from feeling great one moment to having an overwhelming irrational fear over something I can't even put my finger on.  I just want to be my old self again, and just when I get a glimpse of healing I am reminded that I still have so far to go.  I don't know why God has me in this place right now but I am sure that there is something for me to learn and grow from.  I am confident that something good will come from my suffering because that is His promise to me.  Even so, I struggle to feel peace during this time.  Unfortunately, I am not proud to admit, I have been looking in the wrong place.  

After repeating this scripture over and over in my mind I realized the other day that the thought of being healthy and feeling good, is worldly peace.  God's peace isn't necessarily giving me healing but it is giving me the ability to carry on when I am down and ill.  The world wants me to think that if I am sad, sick, poor, weak, lonely, or depressed that I will only have peace when I feel better.  When I can hide the hurt or take away the feelings by replacing them with things, money, people, or put all of my energy into treating my illness, then the world says I will have peace.  So I think on my problems daily, tring to figure them out and find ways to feel better, or excuses for why I don't feel good, all the while trying to encourage myself that things will be better with time.  I am seeking answers from a world view instead of letting God's peace rule in my heart.  I am trying to do this alone.  I am selfishly consumed with my problem trying to fix it telling myself I will feel peace when I do.  Sounds silly but it's reality for so many of us.  We can never reproduce the peace that comes from Jesus Christ ruling in our lives.  The peace we seek only comes from one source.  Micah 5:5 tells us that He will be our peace.  Jesus is my peace and knowing that I have him working on my behalf should give me the strength to carry on even when my body doesn't feel "normal".  In fact, I have experiened this awesome peace that comes straight from God.  The peace that comes when you know looking at your circumstances you should be a puddle on the floor but instead you are standing tall and confident that God is in control.  That, my friends, is Jesus' peace.  The peace that no matter how hard we look, no matter what we pay or who we know, we will never find until we trust in Jesus with every ounce of our being.  And so I repent of my ways of not trusting enough.  I am sorry for seeking worldy peace and making my focus on being well instead of living through the unwell.  

Joseph had many unfortanate events take place in his life and he continued to trust in God.  His peace came from the Almighty I AM and he thrived in a life that many of us would have given up on.  He stayed the course and patiently endured because he knew God was his source of peace in the dark times and his source of joy in the good times.  That, my friends, is what I seek most in life.  I want to live the life that knows joy and peace even when things around me are falling apart.  With each new problem there is a transition phase but I pray that God always brings me back to Him and that Jesus will never be forgotten as my source of peace and authority over the powers of this dark world.  Praying for all my GFF's today!  That you can seek the peace that is free and never ending.  The peace that was given to us as a gift when Jesus took our sins upon His back.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.........And so we pray!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Intended for Good

We could all point to someone who hurt us intentionally. We don't have to look too hard into our past to find that one or more people who put us into a pit by their actions or their words. But today I stand in awe of Joseph's grace and forgiveness. Of his love and trust in the Lord.

Joseph's brothers were jealous of him and hated him. They plotted to kill him and threw him in an empty pit. They 'kindly' chose not to leave him for dead, but rather sold him into slavery. Joseph then was made a slave to Potiphar. Thrown in jail on false accusations of rape where he spent 2 years for something he didn't do. One ugly event lead to another ugly event all because of hatred and jealousy.

Yet, when the time came that Joseph had the upper hand and could seek revenge, here is his response...

But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good and to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:19-20

Joseph knew that God is sovereign and trusted that even the bad situations inflicted by others would be used for good.

Oh, friends, how I need that kind of truth, grace, and forgiveness in my life. But honestly my wounded heart is not quite there yet. A great wrong was committed and now I have the choice- to offer the grace of my Savior that I accept for myself every day or retaliate. I pray that the grace and love of Jesus will overpower my heart and make me as humble and broken as Joseph.

What about you? Do you need to join me in praying for your heart to offer grace instead of retaliation? Do you need your heart to be reminded that God will use all pain, intentional or otherwise, for our good?

Dear Lord,
Forgive me for the anger I feel in my heart at the one who committed injustice. Help me to hate the sin and not the sinner. Remind my heart that you can and will use all things, good and bad, for my good because I love you. Lord, I want a heart like Joseph because Joseph has a heart like you. Hear my prayer today, Jesus, and soften the cold, hard places in my heart. Amen