Monday, December 27, 2010

Our New Place



I want to give praise to the Lord for his provision for us. We had been renting a place for six months since we came down but now our six months was up so we had to find a new place. We prayed and were confident that the Lord would provide. He did in true God style...two days before we had to be out of the old place it was confirmed that we had a new place and we moved the day of our deadline.

God provided for all the details and we were on our way...just in the nick of time! The house is cute and homey and the setting is truly tropical with fruit trees galore! What a blessing!

We are here for a year and then we'll see where God leads us on this grand adventure with him! Even though it's been stressful and difficult we would have missed so much had we not followed him. We are challenged daily with new obstacles but Jesus has our every answer! We are learning to be completely dependant upon him and we are meeting new friends along the way.

May God bless you as you step out on the water to follow him...there is never a dull moment for sure!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Little Red Purse of Love



God’s love is so amazing! I love it when he pours out a bucket load on you at unsuspecting moments. Like a friend calling out of the blue with words in due season that bless and encourage you or something as simple as a purse…both of which lavished God’s love on me today.

Sometimes you can see how he directs you without your knowledge and then he lets you see it just to show you how in control he really is…let me give you an example from my day.

I had gone to a department store to get some red shirts for work (we are wearing them because they are festive). While I’m in this department store, I think about buying a purse. Recently, I got a very small royalty check from the sale of my book about my daughter, so I thought I would treat myself.

Being a mom, that’s hard to do sometimes because you think about all the needs of the family instead of your own, so, I walked out of the department store without the purse. As soon as I stepped out of the store my purse strap broke, “Well, now I do need a purse,” I thought so I drove down to another store that was nearby to see what they had.

I looked around and found this cute little red purse that had a great price for the brand and I debated once again but this time I decided to just buy it. It wasn’t until I was down the road that I realized what I had done as the Lord spoke to my heart…Danni had a little red purse that she loved. We had worked it into her casket piece along with her favorite heels.

Joy flooded my heart and tears streamed down my face as I remembered her and her purse and as I thought about our current circumstances the Lord encouraged my heart that he had everything under control and he wants the best for us. He showed me how capable he is at the right time to cause circumstances to come together in my favor to lavish his love on me.

And now I had a little red purse to remind me everywhere I went! Oh, and a pair of earrings that said… “believe,” not even thinking about it I had purchased them too!

He loves us …Oh ..how he loves us…Oh…how he loves us…Oh…how he loves us!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Waves of Grace to Grace

I can’t believe it’s been two years since my sweet Danni died. She was only 19 when brain cancer consumed her body, you can see her story at www.dannifrain.blogspot.com if you like, it’s a blog that I did during that time and made into a book. It’s there as an eternal memorial to her. Since then, we’ve moved to Florida in effort to start a new chapter in our lives.

I’ve heard that her grave was covered in flowers and gifts as our community of family and friends remembered her life. That blessed me greatly, but then Danni was unforgettable.

Currently, we’ve been meeting with a wonderful couple here and Thanksgiving day was a tragic one for them as well. She lost her daughter. As I spoke with her on the phone a few days later, I was encouraged by what she had to say. I thought about how the grace of God had been so real to us as Grace (her name) spoke words of praise for the Father.

It was amazing to me that just the week before as we met for Sunday worship in our home, we discussed God’s love for us and how he makes us get into the boat like his disciples and go to the other side. (See Matthew 14:22, Matthew 8:23, Matthew 9:1 these are just a few)

As I was looking for scriptures, I was totally amazed by the number of times Jesus got into a boat and crossed to the other side with his disciples following or in other cases, he made them go on their own and joined them later.

It’s so very hard to think that God has a plan and purpose with all this crossing of many waters, some seas are so difficult to traverse, but he does. He wants us to grow and mature. He wants us to see him for who he really is in circumstances so dire that only he can rescue us. He wants to get us to a place that we can see his glory.

Grace, my friend, is in a boat once again crossing to the other side and we are with her. The waves are crashing furiously but she has shown me God’s glory within her shining brightly.

Yesterday morning as we sat on the beach near the ocean we discussed that in times of deepest distress, God will give us what we need to endure and that is so true. It’s at those times in life that he comes walking to us across the sea or he stands in the boat and calms the waves.

“Do not fear, it is I,” he says to us for he is always in control or “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” for he is always with us. Nothing happens to us without his knowledge or consent and it is always for our good though we may not see it though the storm.

“He loves us, oh, how he loves us, oh, how he loves us, oh, how he loves us…” is the song rolling through my heart, may these words comfort you in your crossing today. He’s there…he knows…he cares…he’s preparing you for others to see his glory through you and you will make it safely to the other side.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Battle...Breakthrough!

Last Sunday was a battle for us. We were fighting discouragement because it’s been a hard process for my hubby to gain employment. Don’t get me wrong, we knew it would be quite a test to move to Florida and we were prepared for the challenge. We have no regrets and would take the plunge again, however, it’s easy to let financial circumstances rule and overrule your every thought.

We were encouraged by our friend Kent that Ephesians 6 says that our fight is not against “flesh and blood” but that it is a heavenly struggle against wickedness. I had never before linked our fight with wickedness to other scriptures that spoke of “the wicked” or “evildoers”.

To be quite honest, I often thought of wicked people I knew when I would read those scriptures or I would think of where God brought me from. Right or wrong those were my thoughts but in light of Ephesians 6, I realized this week that there is a whole other dimension to “wickedness” beyond people.

That night, I was asking the Lord, “Lord, what is the truth about our situation? What is the truth that is buckled around my waist?” (Eph. 6:14) and he encouraged me to read my journal. As I read, I found Psalm 27 scribbled several times amongst my notes and I decide to check it out.

There in black and white was the answer to our circumstances. As I sat pondering the words “enemies, foes, attack, army, besiege, and war” I began to realize that there was a spiritual battle going on, enemies from the evil one had surrounded us cutting off all supply, but God would come to the rescue!

It was as if my eyes had been opened. Minutes later, as I sat in front of the fan in our room the pages were blown to Psalm 37 where I was strengthened again by it’s words. What an amazing surge of power came from the page to our spirits as Matt and I began to pray in agreement that God could be trusted and that he would intervene on our behalf.

I am blessed to report that the very next day, Matt got a call and was given a job!!

Somehow, I never put it together that our battle is against wickedness and that those forces are represented in scripture as, “wicked men, evildoers and the wicked” but it is the enemy of our souls working behind the scenes and through people to accomplish his evil schemes. (Ephesians 6:10-12)

To those of us who have been made righteous through accepting Christ as our Savior, we are the blameless and righteous ones in the scriptures. Let me make it clear that it is only through Christ that we are blameless and righteous because he took our sin upon himself on the cross.

All this to say, what an exercise and we are strengthened! I share this to encourage you if you are being besieged by the enemy and it seems that you’ve hit a brick wall in your circumstances.

I leave you with these words from Psalm 37:34, “Wait for the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.”

Praise the Lord … we have seen it!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

We're Grandparents!!


Nevaeh T'nes (Na veh ya) (Heaven Sent backwards) was given to our daughter Kirsten today and we are so thankful everyone's safe! She was born this morning at 7:11 A.M. and we're very excited :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Crossroads


This journey, moving to Sarasota, Florida, has been an adventure. It’s a continual challenge every day, but we are loving it. I will be honest, it isn’t always easy but we are sure we’ve done as God has directed us and that’s a good feeling.

How would we have known, unless we tried? And, Oh, what experiences we would have missed had we not been willing to go. We’ve faced many crossroads on this trek and we are sure to face many more.

We’ve come to realize that if we step out in a direction that isn’t where God wants us to be, he detours us in the right direction putting to rest our fears of, “What if we go the wrong way?”

I was in need of some encouragement the other day and came across Jeremiah 6:16 and I was strengthened and challenged, “This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…” What a prayer! Matt and I asked of the Lord and agreed to walk in that path together.

It’s so important for us to be together on the same path. I like the fact that when you are on the right track you will find peace there (rest for your souls). We have some major decisions coming up in mid-December as we have to move out of our current rental and find a new one.

We are confident that as we move forward with our plans the Lord will direct our path (Proverbs 16:9, 20:24) and we are learning to lean upon him for everything we need. He has been so faithful and I give him praise!

No matter how this sojourn turns out, I know that God will be there at every turn saying, “…this is the way, walk in it…” (Is 30:21) and I’m learning not to fear and be overwhelmed by the crossroads.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fear Bully

When I was young, I had an acquaintance who was a bit of bully. This individual would threaten to punch me when I didn’t do things according to their plan. For years, I would succumb to the pressure until one day I had had enough. I remember thinking at that point that I didn’t care what happened to me…I was ready for my licks and was poised to punch back if necessary.

After this incident, the person went home and I never saw them again. I have since forgiven them but I learned quite a bit about myself that day. Recently, as I was contemplating a fear that was raising its ugly head in my life, I realized that fear itself is a bully.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came to mind in Daniel chapter 3, they faced a bully of a king who wanted them to bow down to his golden image. The trio would have nothing of it, they stood their ground even to the point of facing certain death. They didn’t care about the outcome and they came through the experience with great victory bringing honor and glory to their true King.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (2 Peter 5:6-7). 2 Peter 5:7 is used so many times in Christ centered teaching just by itself but I noticed as I read this scripture that “humbling”(in 5:6) ourselves is a vital part to “casting”.

It is very humbling to cry out to God realizing that he is our only hope but so many times the cares don’t go away when we attempt to “cast” them on Christ because we have forgotten to do the “humbling” part.

I decided to look a bit further into the word “humble” as used in this context in the Strongs and it means: 1) to make low, bring low 1a) to level, reduce to a plain 1b) metaph. to bring into a humble condition, reduce to meaner circumstances 1b1) to assign a lower rank or place to 1b2) to abase 1b3) to be ranked below others who are honored or rewarded 1b4) to humble or abase myself by humble living 1c) to lower, depress 1c1) of one's soul bring down one's pride 1c2) to have a modest opinion of one's self 1c3) to behave in an unassuming manner 1c4) devoid of all haughtiness.

One reason I don’t cast my fears and anxieties on the Lord is because I think that I can handle a situation when in reality…I can’t. I need God’s help because he’s the only one who can bring lasting change in my life.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego thought more of their God than of themselves (humble) and God honored their casting of anxieties (Daniel 3:17-18) with victory changing the worship of a king and his nation (Daniel 3:28-29).

What could God do with you and me if we were to follow their example and not let fears and anxieties rule our lives by bullying us into submission? What if we’d raise our fists to fear by acknowledging that we need the mighty hand of our God not caring about the outcome and truly cast them onto our God? I'm convinced, God would rock our world !!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Life is...

I haven't blogged for a while mostly because Jessi and Atlee, my kids, are homeschooling online which ties up the computer for most of the day and evening. Lately, I have no words of wisdom or catchy phrases to quip.

I feel as if I have been stripped down to nothing. I have found a job that I like very much working with people in a local restaurant. It's a good place for me to be and I feel like life has just started all over...again.

I can't believe that in another month it will be two years since we lost our precious Danni. The year has flown and so much has changed...where has the time gone?

We are enjoying our new surroundings and the people here are so kind. They work hard, very hard but seem happy.

I'm ready for a warm winter with no snow and I am excited with anticipation to see what God will do with our new lives. This week we safely tucked my parents away in their new condo life at the retirement village and it's good to know they are well taken care of. They have no plans of slowing down they just won't have the extra ins and outs of home ownership to deal with.

Life is what it is no matter where you are...what you make of it.

We're learning a great deal about being content in all circumstances and living on the joy that comes from within.

Walking on in him...Christy

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Heart of Love

My heart was moved to tears this morning as I read from Matthew 26:6-13. When was the last time that I just loved on Jesus? As I followed the example of the woman with the expensive jar of perfume, I ran to him in my heart and embraced him pouring over him the love he had given to me.

It is an expensive thing to love Jesus like this, it will cost you all you have and all you are but any other way is not enough. He deserves all the love and devotion we can give.

I thought it was interesting that in verses 8-9 the disciples thought that her act of devotion was a waste. How this must have wounded the heart of God, his disciples were so caught up in the “work” of God that they couldn’t see God. There he was, Jesus their Messiah reclining at the table with them just inches from their fingers ability to reach out and touch him.

They could look directly into his beautiful eyes; they could hear his voice clearly and directly. They could ask him any question and know for sure the answer that came from his lips. Oh, what I would give for that opportunity!! But they missed it. How tragic.

But there is always one left, a remnant that sees. The woman loved him so much and through her love her eyes were opened and she saw clearly the Son of God before her. She gave him her all. Oh, that I could be like her.

Jesus, keep my heart full of love and open my eyes to see past the “work” of Christian society so I can simply love you with all I have. Open the eyes of my spirit to recognize your presence so that I will never miss you. All my attention I give to you, Jesus, as well as my love. Amen

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Water in the Desert



I read an interesting story last night from 2 Kings 3, it’s about three kings who go to war. In order to meet their foe, they have to walk through a desert. As they went out after a “roundabout march” the word says in verse9, they soon run out of water and decide to find a prophet to consult the Lord about their situation.

We are so much like this as humans. We think that we have things under control and we can do this or that thing until the supply runs out and we turn our faces to inquire of the Lord. The story continues with the kings going to consult with Elisha the prophet and I found it interesting that the only reason he consults the Lord for them is because of the one righteous king (verse 14). We can only come to God through our Righteous King Jesus to seek his wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

The story unfolds further by Elisha asking for a harp and as the music is played, the hand of the Lord falls upon Elisha and the Lord tells him that he will not only supply the water they need, it will come out of nowhere and to top it all, he will give them victory over their enemies.

By the next morning the provision came from an unexpected direction and in abundance. The word says that the water came from the direction of Edom (verse 20) which was the direction of the desert (verse 8) and that it flooded the land.

As the sun rose on the water the enemy thought it was blood and that the kings had turned on one another. Oh, how we are mistaken when we follow our eyes and not the Lord…they were destroyed as they went to plunder the kings.

I love the beginning of verse 18 that says, “This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord…” We serve a God mighty in power and he is our source of provision!! We have endless provision in him, nothing is too difficult for him!! And he gives us victory over our enemies!! No wonder he tells us over and over, “Do not fear!”

This week I had a vision that helped me gain perspective over circumstance, I am continually amazed at how faithful our God is to us! I saw myself sitting on the Father’s lap and I was a child. He had a set of thick leather reigns in his hand firmly under his control and I was playing with the ends of those reigns hanging down in front of me.

I realized that God was showing me that he was in control at all times and that I could be no help to him. As I let the reigns fall from my hands I turned and looked up at him, this is where my focus should be. He has it all under control.

Thank you, Jesus, for your word and comfort to me. Take what you gave to me and bring comfort to others. Thank you for the reminder that you are in control and I need not be in fear; that you are my source and you are faithful. I love you so much, Amen.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hebrews Kind of Faith

I admit it. I’ve been a bit discouraged lately and for that I repent. Questions of “why” and “what for” have clouded my heart and mind. What is the purpose of all this moving and leaving of everything comfortable to us? I have been looking at the supposed goal and not the continual process we have been experiencing. I cried out to God.

He so graciously reminded me of other times in my life when I faced overwhelming odds that my first response by the power of his Holy Spirit was… “God has a plan and a purpose.” “Why” wasn’t my initial response. “Why” didn’t even matter at the time. It was only “who” that mattered. The “who” was my God, who was and who is and who evermore shall be in control of all things.

Oh, me of little faith. I had forgotten the joy I experienced in prior times of challenge. I got weighed down with the cares of this life. It’s easy to do, one minute you are walking in faith and then the next minute your eyes gravitate to the wind and waves crashing around you.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 came to my attention today. With all my heart, I want to please him, why else would I allow myself to be so uprooted from all that is familiar to me? Not that I am some super person, no, but because he has put the desire in my heart for his purposes.

As I read more in Hebrews 11, I was amazed by all of the people who never received in this life, that which they dedicated their lives to believe. The people of Hebrews 11 faced horrendous circumstances and were faithful to the end. If anyone had reason to ask “why” it would have been them and yet they marched on with their faces like flint focused on the prize.

I’m sure they had their moments, no one is impervious to weakness; otherwise, what would be the need for God? Yes, they were human but with a remarkable God just as we are.

I also noticed in verses 13-16 that the confessions of the people’s mouths and their thoughts lined up in agreement. “…And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”

They were looking forward into God for a better country. They had perspective. They knew that God had someplace for them. This should be my confession and thought. I realized that I needed to trust God in that he has brought us to this place and he has a plan, a purpose and place for us.

Whether I ever see those things come to pass or not doesn’t matter, I realize it’s the daily steps of belief and trust in him that matter. How sad it would be for me to live my whole life just looking forward to an end result and totally miss the in between; like a man who waits for his ship to come in only to die and never have received his desired treasure. The treasure was there before him all the time, but because he wasn’t looking for it in that form, he missed it. How tragic, how wasteful.

God, thank you for refocusing my eyes and helping me to stay in today. Thank you for causing me to realize once again, that every moment of life is precious. Help me to please you in all I say and do having faith and trust in you in all of life’s daily occurrences. I love you, Jesus Amen.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Praise, Praise, Praise Him !



Oh, the majesty of God, this morning my heart is filled with encouragement from the Father. It’s amazing to me how just spending time with him lifts me up and makes me ready for the days challenge.
As I looked outside this morning I was greeted by the approaching storm building in the west. It billowed up and out filling the sky with its power.

I viewed the scene unfolding before me and thoughts of God’s might filled my heart. My Father created and is controlling the earth and all that is within it. He holds it all together. Why do I fear? Why do I doubt? And yet at times, I do.

I thanked God this morning for bringing us to this place of such beauty, not only in nature around us but the work he’s doing within us. We are learning to be reliant upon him. All we need has been supplied and even more. God is so generous, loving and kind.

Psalm 29 has come to mind and it perfectly describes my place in time today. Let me share it with you…

“Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.

The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”

God gives me the strength to look into the storm this morning and see his majesty and control and not the potential damage it may do. It gives me courage this morning to face anything unafraid.

I thank you today, Father, that your voice shouts to me from the heavens encouraging me to be at peace and rest; that come what may you are with me! Thank you, Lord, that when the thunder and lightning come into our lives, it is your voice to us…a sign of your powerful presence with us! I praise you, Father, I ascribe to you glory and strength due your name, I worship you in the splendor of your holiness for through the circumstances, you are making me a mighty one!! Praise be to your Name! AMEN!
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Monday, July 19, 2010

God's Ways VS Man's Ways

This has been an interesting process from the selling of our house to trusting God for employment. It seems that every time we try to “take the reins” and try to make something happen, God brings provision through an entirely different avenue than what we thought. This move has been a study for me in God’s ways verses man’s ways.

When the Lord told my husband to put the house up for sale, we acted in obedience by putting a sign in the yard. Then a month went by and we had some showings but no offers so we decided to “help” God and put it on the internet. This was unnecessary and a waste of time and money because when the offer did come three weeks later it was from local people who saw the sign and knew us and the house.

This was only one example, but I have seen this pattern at work more than once on this journey we are on. Another example was the selling of our son’s truck. At the last minute, just days before we were to leave, my husband and I made another decision to “help God” and spent more time and money to put an ad on the internet to sell it. The very next day, we went out for pizza and there was a person we knew, through the course of conversation he inquired about the truck and he purchased it, cash in hand the very next day.

Once again, God didn’t need our help to get the job done. We spent countless hours on the internet before we came down here looking for a place to rent and what for? Days before we needed the provision, once again through a series of circumstances a house was presented to us for rent from a man in Pennsylvania for a fraction of the amount we were expecting to pay for rent.

Now here we are again, waiting upon the Lord to supply a source of income. Being unemployed is a test of endurance. We have been placing applications online with several different companies but no results. Looking back over the past few months and the pattern that has exhibited itself, one would think that it is entirely possible that God doesn’t need our help and will faithfully place us into the positions he requires for our living expenses to be provided.

Our learning experience in coming here also seems to be to live according to God’s word by faith in his loving hand of provision. This is a new level of living for us as we have always had employment and a mortgage and did things the world’s way. Now we are realizing more than we ever did before that we are at the mercy of our all powerful God.

Matthew 6:25-34 is becoming a reality to us. The challenge is to live according to the word, especially verse 33 which says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” This scripture is indicating that if we are about the Father’s business he will give us all we need.

Man’s way says, “get out there and pound the pavement, you have to go get that job.” But is that God’s way? Did he need our help before? Doesn’t he know what we need? Haven’t we asked him a million times already? No, he says to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and then the provision will come.

So what is his kingdom? I did a lot of research and this is what I came up with, I’m sure it isn’t everything but it’s a start. I was going to tackle righteousness too but the kingdom was a big bite to chew so here we go…

His Kingdom:

· Is made of priests…a holy nation - Exodus 19:6
· Set up by God and it will never be destroyed – Daniel 2:44
· One that endures from generation to generation – Daniel 4:34
· Handed over to the saints…everlasting kingdom and it’s rulers will worship and obey God – Daniel 7:27
· Requires repentance – Matthew 3:2 & 4:17
· Belongs to the poor in spirit – Matthew 5:3
· Is owned by saints that are persecuted because of righteousness – Matthew 5:10
· Many will come to feast there – Matthew 8:11
· It is to be preached – Matthew 10:7
· Is forcefully advancing and is taken by forceful men – Matthew 11:12
· Is like a man sowing a seed – Matthew 13:24
· Is like a mustard seed – Matthew 13:31
· Is like yeast – Matthew 13:33
· Is like hidden treasure – Matthew 13:44
· Is like a merchant looking for fine pearls – Matthew 13:45
· Is like a net – Matthew 13:47
· When instructed we are to own it and share it – Matthew 13:52
· Is like a landowner looking for workers – Matthew 20:1
· Is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son – Matthew 22:2
· Is like ten virgins – Matthew 25: 1
· Is like a man going on a journey – Matthew 25:14
· Is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost – Romans 14:17
· Is salvation and strength – Revelation 12:10

In addition, I found that you must enter into the kingdom as a little child (Matthew 18:3) and it is made of little children (Matthew 19:14). To be the greatest in his kingdom you must be like a little child (Matthew 18:1-3) and must humble yourself like a little child (Matthew 18:4).

So, if we are to live according to the word, we must humble ourselves to rely upon the Lord as little children and as we seek to do this, the Lord will guide our actions, embolden us and provide all we need.


Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences.

Conviction Update...

Recently, my husband and I decided to sow into the community by volunteering at a local food bank. We found the experience very rewarding and we plan to continue. This is in response to the need that God showed me in the blog below. It doesn't seem like much but its a start. I have a feeling that the Lord will open other opportunities to us as we serve.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sarasota Stroll

We’ve been here two weeks and have been getting acquainted with our new surroundings. This morning we took time for an interesting stroll through our local farmer’s market here in Sarasota. As the palm trees swayed in the breeze, the market buzzed with life.

There were people from all walks there as well as dogs of every color, shape and size. I was taken by how the people interacted with eachother as I watched. A lady in a wide brim hat floated down the street with her two pedigrees leading the way. She was dressed in a flowing dress and had a large jeweled necklace that hung appropriately in its place.

All the while a man who lived on the streets sat dejected in his familiar spot trying to escape the heat of the day. Every belonging he had was stuffed carefully into a dirty bag he had found. People walked by him and pretended not to notice. Even I tried not to stare but I wanted to make eye contact with him and I smiled, he looked at me with cold, empty eyes as he puffed on his cigarette not wanting my acknowledgement.

A woman sat alone on another part of side walk with a small cardboard sign that said something like, “a few dollars will help.” How desperate she must be to turn to begging. It took me by surprise that she was there doing that. I guess small town is still in my thoughts.

This silent drama played itself out throughout the morning in the downtown area. Tents were set up and musicians played. Fruit and exotic plants were sold. Rich people strutted their wealth while poor people begged for money. People sampled teas and sauces while dogs sniffed at one another. All this happened as if right on schedule.

This made me think of what God has been saying to me recently through his word. The way we treat people is important to him. James chapter two admonishes us not to show favoritism between the rich and the poor; it also says that there should be action with our faith.

Matthew 25:31-46 reveals more of God’s heart about this subject as Jesus prophesies of what will happen when he comes to judge us. It won’t be about how much money we had or whether we were or weren’t successful in the business arena. No, his judgment of us will be based on how we treated those who are poor and in need around us. Did we meet their needs or did we turn our heads and walk the other direction?

I must confess; I am convicted.

Father, forgive me for my negligence and thank you for showing me the opportunities all around me. What is it that you would have me to do? I so want to be pleasing in your sight. When you come to judge me, I want to stand before you a sweet sheep ready for your Kingdom. Lead me, show me and help me to be obedient to your will. Amen.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Moving is....an Experience.

Well, we finally made it to sunny Florida. Moving is a challenge. Moving to another state is a double challenge. When the movers came somehow the price we were quoted was $700 more...amazing but in a days time we had everything we owned loaded and ready for transport. I wonder if we will actually get our stuff from the movers. I guess if we don't, someone else needed it more than we do.

Moving is letting go of everything that has been familiar to you and casting yourself into the great unknown. Moving to a new state is interesting but being compliant to the new state's rules is not so interesting. Not that I'm complaining its just a huge adjustment. But God is faithful and he has so graciously supplied us with all we need and more.

Not having a job and moving to a new state is an even harder challenge...not that I'm whining, I'm just being realistic. I didn't expect it to be all roses. Matter of fact, I was willing to stay or go depending on what the Lord had for us...it didn't matter to me. Doors opened and we followed peace, that's about all you can do in this situation.

Even here in the circumstance in which we find ourselves; God's grace is sufficient. Last night, we had dinner at some friend's house in Sarasota and we had a wonderful meal and conversation salted with encouragement that God has been and will continue to be faithful. Oh how quickly I forget. It was good for me to be reminded.

I wonder if this is how Abraham and Sarai felt when they endeavored to follow the Lord's instructions to go to a land he would show them. I wonder if they had trouble getting Internet service or had to drag every piece of evidence that proved they existed to the license branch just to drive their camels :)

New chapters in life bring new challenges and more occasions to be patient and kind with people. I'm learning...we all are...how to persevere. But we are more blessed than Abraham and Sarai...at least we don't have to live in a tent!! And we have the constant presence of our Lord with us; he comforts us and brings us peace.

Lord, turn up the volume on your voice and mute the voices of naysayers and fear. Help us to walk in faith, trusting you for our very existence. I thank you for this opportunity to see you move on our behalf! I praise you! Thank you for a kind banker and insurance agent who worked patiently through her lunch to get us the best deal. Thank you for friends who feed us and encourage our hearts. Thank you for supporting and welcoming us here through kind neighbors and friends with food. Woo Hoo! You are so good to us!

Part the waters as we watch and lead our steps through on dry ground. We believe! Amen!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Love is the Answer!

Recently, the Lord has been showing me how to stay with him continually. I’ve noticed in my reading time that how we treat others is highly important to God and why wouldn’t it be? He gave the life of his Son for all of humanity. I am so amazed; I have never made this connection before in this way.

In John chapter 15, Jesus is speaking and he his showing us how to remain in him and remain in his love. Did you ever wish that you could be consciously connected to God constantly? That’s a mouthful, I know, but it is the best way I can communicate this principle of the Kingdom of God. Let’s look into the word and find out.

John 15:4-5 & 7 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

Wow, so not only if we remain in him will be very fruitful for God but there is also a promise attached to this statement, that God will give us what we ask of him. If we remain in him and his word is in us we can’t ask amiss because he is in us! Our wishes have come from him who remains within us and why wouldn’t God grant his own desires through us? He wants to bring glory to himself so mankind will see him and know he’s real!

We had to have a place to begin, but how do we remain in him and in his love? Well, let’s read on…in verses 9-10, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”

We remain in him and in his love by being obedient to Jesus’ command. This makes it possible for us to stay in a place of continual alignment with the Father! What is the command? Ah, here we go this is where it gets good in John 15:12, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”


Ok, but what kind of “love” is he speaking about? How has he loved us? Again in verse 13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” This is what is called “Agape” love in the Greek and what that literally means according to the Strong’s Concordance is this… “To welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly.”


This is a love that puts others before itself, that makes itself a servant to another and that is unconditional towards another.


This is the kind of love we are to have and if we are obedient and love others in this manner God says that he will keep us in Jesus and give us the things we ask him for. Have you been praying for something recently and can’t figure out why God won’t give it to you? Take a minute and ask yourself, how have I been treating others around me? My guess is that you will immediately know the answer.

This is not a way of manipulating God. This is walking in his ways and receiving the benefits of being obedient. I used to think that God had to give me this love but the scripture says we are to be obedient. This indicates to me that we have the love of God within us and we are disobedient when we choose not to love someone.

Our old nature would say, “You can’t love that person, look what they did to you.” In contrast, through the new nature that God has given us through Jesus we are to love them as he has loved us. He makes it clear that this is an issue of command and obedience and it is well within our ability to do because he has already extended his love to us. He showed us the way.

And now comes the test :) Pass it and be blessed!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It's Super God!!



Faster than a speeding planet toward its just reward, more powerful than an evil adversary able to take us out, able to humble himself to die on a cross…it’s King Jesus Super God to the rescue!!!

These are the thoughts that came to my mind today as I read from my Complete Jewish Bible in Isaiah 59. Man, this is good stuff…help me Jesus! It is clearly explained to us why God turns and hides his face from us…listen to this:

“Adonai’s arm is not too short to save, nor is his ear too dull to hear. Rather, it is your own crimes that separate you from God; your sins have hidden his face from you so that he doesn’t hear. For your hands are stained with blood and your fingers with crime; your lips speak lies, your tongues utter wicked things." (Isaiah 59: 1-3)

This scripture goes on to talk about the reason why there is no justice in our courts saying that no one is honest and all that is said and done is worthless. Verse 9- says, “This is why justice is far from us, and righteousness doesn’t catch up with us; we look for light, but see only darkness, for brightness, but we walk in gloom…”

Going on God shows the prophet the condition of the people’s hearts in verse 13-14 it says this, “...And our sins, we know them well: rebelling and denying God (Adonai), turning away from following our God, talking about oppression and revolt, uttering lies which our hearts have conceived. THUS JUSTICE IS REPELLED, RIGHTEOUSNESS STANDS APART, AT A DISTANCE…”

I love the build of these verses you can almost see God watching us, watching all the unrighteous acts of everyone everywhere…you can see the darkness coming over the land engulfing everything in its path like a spill of oil contaminating all it comes in contact with and then the prophet continues…

Isaiah 59: 15-17, Here is where King Jesus, Super God comes on the scene, “…Adonai saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, was amazed that no one interceded. Therefore his own arm brought him salvation, and his own righteousness sustained him.”

Hallelujah!!!! Here comes our hero to save us!!! “…He put on righteousness as his breastplate, salvation as a helmet on his head; he clothed himself with garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in a mantle of zeal.” Hallelujah!!! Hallelujah!!!

I can see Jesus taking up our cause and dressing himself with all these attributes rising from his throne and pleading with the Father to come to earth and I see the Father nod with approval, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased,” he says for everyone to hear. But let’s see the end of what the prophet prophesies….

Isaiah 59: 19-21 “…For he will come like a pent-up stream, impelled by the Spirit of Adonai. Then a Redeemer will come from Tziyon (Zion), to those in Ya’kov (Jacob) who turn from rebellion.” So says Adonai, “And as for me,” says Adonai, “this is my covenant with them: my Spirit, who rests on you, and my words which I put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth or from the mouth of your children, or from the mouth of your children’s children, now or ever,” says Adonai.”

Wooo Hooo!!!! That is something to get excited about!! Jesus (The Word) saw our plight and from heaven brought his righteousness to earth to redeem those of men who would turn from their rebellion and his COVENANT, (or forever, unbroken, constant, enduring promise) with us is that Jesus will be with us!

He has swooped down from heaven to save us! Our part is to turn from our rebellion towards God and receive his salvation!

I leave you with this thought….if Lois Lane where falling from a building to her certain death and Superman came to save her, would she say, “no thanks, I have this all under control?!” NO WAY!! She would let him save her and be grateful! There are those spiraling down to their emanate doom and every day they take in breath, Jesus gives them opportunity …he comes to save them.

What will be their decision, will they yield to his Almighty hand? Will they go to their doom? Or will they fall into the arms of their strong and powerful Savior, ask his forgiveness and receive his love for them.

My prayer is the latter…Don’t say to Jesus today, "I don't need you, I have it all under control," for you may be falling faster than you think.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Amazing Gift...Life

Well, now we’ve done it…we are officially without a home. Last night we sold the house we have lived in for 10 years. I’m sitting in the remains of the dining room as we’ve emptied the house of unnecessary items. It’s calm and quiet with hints of light coming from the living room. I don’t think it will fully hit me until we’ve closed the door for the last time that this phase of my life has come to an end and a new chapter is beginning.

We’re on the adventure of a lifetime…or so it seems. We have made some plans but are waiting for the Lord to direct our steps. I am in awe at the whole experience. Most of our worldly possessions were packed into our garage, driveway and front porch last weekend and what didn’t sell for full price was sold at half price or given away.

We will be traveling light into the next paragraph of life and we are very excited to see what God will do. We are guaranteed to face some hardships as Jesus said they must come, but we are looking forward to the challenge.

Where will we live? How will we eat? How will we survive? Jesus said not to worry about these things for the Father knows we need them. Once again I am at a place where my faith is put to the test. Do I really believe the things I say I believe? I must or else I have wasted the better part of my life believing in a fairy tale. But it’s not a fairy tale….Jesus is reality.

Faith and action are about to join again and be worked out for the entire world to see…that is if they care to watch. The kids are excited but it’s hard to let go of everything familiar to them. I am confident that just as God has a plan and purpose for our lives he has one for theirs. I’m glad God has given us this grace and opportunity to show them that like Abraham, we can let go and follow God where ever he sends us. I want them to be brave and courageous so I must show them fearlessness.

I want them to be able to soar with God when it is their time to soar. I want to see them put their whole heart and soul into loving their God. May they set their face like flint to follow him no matter what the cost. We haven’t time to waste…life is short.

I’m also confident of the fact that we will learn much though these experiences and while moving to another area of the country is our plan; God may have other direction for our steps. Life can change at a moment’s notice when you least expect it and so we are keeping our focus on the Father and our ear attentive to his instruction.

What an amazing time. What an amazing gift. God isn’t a respecter of persons; he loves us all the same and he has placed amazing gifts in each of our lives. The only requirement in receiving the gift is trust.


Let go of things that hold you back today and cling to the Father, let him direct your path and ask him to show you the amazing gift he’s placed in your life, no matter what it may be.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's Done !


Here's a picture of my book. I just received it yesterday and I am thrilled! The book is based on the blog that I wrote during the time of my daughters battle with brain cancer. I've also included other things I remembered as I was reliving the events of this 10 month period as well as memories from Danni's childhood. If you would like to have a copy, the book is available for purchase at www.amazon.com in the book section under the title "Hug Life".
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Sunday, May 16, 2010

What God Wants...

What a week! Moving furniture and preparing for a huge garage sale is a lot of work but man, did we have fun in the end! We had prayed that needs of people would be met and that God would sell everything! Our front drive was full, our big front porch was full and our garage was bubbling over with items we had accumulated over the years.

Where does this stuff all come from??? I ask this question with a grin because I know the answer. It was so much fun watch as God met the desires of people’s hearts with things that were just gathering dust in our home. What fun and joy was had by all when a lady came and had been praying for God to give her a book from a conference she had gone to years ago. She had loaned her book to a friend and then lost touch with the person and to her dismay the book she so loved.

I had been to the same conference when I was a teenager, some years ago and had kept the book all these years never even looking at it again. She had prayed for that book for a long time and when she saw it her eyes got big and she shouted for joy giving us all high fives!! What Fun!!! God is sooooo good! And to add to her joy, it was “Get done by Noon” day at our garage day so we were giving a lot of items away and that was one of our free items! I love to watch God at work, what a joy.

That wasn’t the only item or circumstance of the day; needs were met and people were blessed and now we don’t have to move anything more than our beds, clothes and a few small furniture and kitchen items….WOO HOO …thank you Jesus! What a freeing feeling to shed all that we’ve been hanging onto as we embark on this new adventure in our lives.

This morning as I was waiting upon the Lord, he took me to Matthew 25: 31-46. Now, with the sale of our home and other things, we are waiting to see what the next door will be and we are trying to discern what the will of God is for our lives. What does God want from us?

As I was reading this passage, verses 34-40(Complete Jewish Bible version) God says to his sheep, “…Come you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you made me your guest, I needed clothes and you provided them, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.

Then the people who have done WHAT GOD WANTS will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you our guest or needing clothes and provide them? When did we see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’

The King will say to them, ‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you did these things for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me!’…”

Did you see it? WHAT GOD WANTS? I did this morning. We have been trying to determine where God wants us to live and what he wants us to do and here in plain English was what he wants from every one of his children. Heaven waits for those who see a need and simply meet it with what God has given them.

So many times I have heard people say, “Why does a good God allow bad things to happen?” I’m in no way saying that I have the complete answer to this question but I did have some thoughts about it this morning.

How would we fulfill what God wants without a need being present? How could anyone ever see the light of Jesus in us through our deeds to men without the darkness in which we live?

I learned something about myself and God’s desires for us through this week of preparation and the separation of my material things. It is so true what Jesus says, it is more blessed to give than to receive. Matter of fact, I think it is the most freeing feeling I have ever experienced apart from the salvation of my soul. I’m learning to let go and give all of me to the purposes of God. What fun!!

I’m not all there just yet, but the light is beginning to dawn and this new thing God is doing is beginning to shine brightly upon me.

Thank you, Jesus for your gentle grace, love and mercy for each one of us. Cause your people to rise up and meet the needs around them just as you rose up and met the need for every one of us. I love you, Jesus ….Amen.

Friday, April 30, 2010

He Calls from the Shore...

It’s been a while since I’ve written. This is the busy time of year for my work and in the meantime I’ve been trying to review the text of my book so that it can have the final changes made and go to print. I’m really excited about that because it’s been a pretty big project.

Also, a sale is pending on our house and a world of opportunity is about to open to us. Not to mention the garage sale that I’m trying to organize. Needless to say life has been a little stressful but exciting at the same time. Change can be a challenge but it is good and we feel empowered to move on. Ask me if I’m still empowered three months from now :)

My thoughts are turning to Jesus now and how he spoke to his disciples on countless occasions of the “change” that was coming but they didn’t understand. When he died and didn’t fulfill their expectations as a reigning, conquering king, they went back to the only thing they knew.

In John 21:3 Peter says, “I’m going out to fish…” I wonder if he was thinking that would be a good way to clear his head. Sometimes when I’m trying to hear from the Lord or I have a burden on my heart I will do something menial to clear and calm my mind so I can hear him better. Or maybe he was sulking; Peter must have had the weight of the world on his shoulders knowing how he had betrayed the Lord.

I must say that I absolutely adore this story. It shows the heart of Jesus for his kids as he calls to them from the shore in John 21:5. “Friends…” he calls them. He knew their hearts. He is so gracious to them even knowing how they had completely deserted him in his time of need. There is no condemnation with him, only love for them.

Then Peter doesn’t waste any time jumping out of the boat when he realizes it is Jesus…he just had to make things right and here was his chance. To top it all off, Jesus blesses them with a huge haul of fish and fixes them breakfast! What a heart of love, what poise and grace considering the situation. Jesus then breaks the ice with Peter. I absolutely love the way the Lord convicts us when we’ve offended him. He is so gentle and kind but firm; he is a wonderful, faithful friend.

Jesus restores Peter expressing complete forgiveness and then gives him a mandate. He tells Peter to show his love, by feeding and caring for his sheep. So many times when we have blown it we think we could never do anything for God especially not teaching or speaking to anyone about his word. But when Jesus forgives us, it is as if the sin never happened and he puts us right back on track.

“Follow me!” Jesus adds in John 21:19. This is my encouragement to you today if you have fallen…get up, come to Jesus, repent and be restored. We haven’t any time to sulk and go back to our old ways of doing things. It’s time to rise, follow him and he will show us what to do because change is coming!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Precious Passover

Last night our family celebrated a Passover Seder for Christians. We had a blast! I was amazed at how Atlee enjoyed the 2 and a half hour service (his sister was with her boyfriend bowling, I had forgotten I told her the day before she could go which was a bummer). I found the Haggadah (telling) online and decided to give it a try. I’m sure that it wasn’t totally kosher but we did our best. We had fun working through it as a family.

We were amazed at how even though it was basically a Jewish Seder, Christ was everywhere! We were touched by the way the Jewish ceremony seemed to grieve the Egyptians loss of life so that they could go free. I was also impressed by their prayers for all of God’s children from many nations to be set free from their bondage.

The lighting of the candles was special for me as it represented the presence of God with us. It was good to remember the story of Exodus 12-14 and how God saved them at that time. We were also blessed by the new depth that was brought to us by learning about these customs and how they so beautifully intertwine with our beliefs.


It truly brought to us a new understanding of our Communion celebration. It made us conscience of our sin and ridding ourselves of it. . We drank deeply of the four cups: Sanctification/Freedom, Deliverance, Redemption and Thanksgiving all the while thinking about our Lord and what he has done for us.


Eating the matzah and thinking as they do not only about our deliverance from the slavery of sin but the expectation of what is to come was also very meaningful.

Shopping for our meal was a challenge and if I were to do it again, which we very well may, Lord willing, I would start a day or so in advance. The matzah (unleavened bread) was hard for me to find but apparently I went to the wrong stores so we had to use other cracker things with no yeast. The leg of lamb I found was huge and expensive so we went with the chicken option which was very good.

I loved how the Seder or order of the meal slowed it down and gave us a chance to spend quality time around the table together which is a lost practice in our society. We actually enjoyed our food as we talked about the deeper meanings of each phase of the Seder.

At one part we said together, “Blessed is he who has come in the Name of the Lord” from Ps 118:26, Matt. 21:9, 23:39, Mark 11:9 and other places with joy in our heart knowing that our Messiah has come and will return again!

I also liked how each member of the family had a part to do making it special for everyone. It was good for us to remember that this was a fun family time and we had a new experience that may become a lasting tradition.

While we didn’t have head coverings or the right matzah, food, linens and dishes; all in all it was a special time between God and us.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Niagra! April Fools :)


This morning I awoke to my husband’s alarm clock blaring Steven Curtis Chapman singing… “The rivers deep, the rivers wide, the river’s water is alive…so sink or swim I’m divin’ in.” Then my hubby rolled over and shut it off and a picture popped in my mind of me hanging onto a root, just about to go over Niagra Falls.
No wonder I’m tired!

I knew I was in God's river and the "movie" I was viewing was about what he wants to do in my life and that I needed to let go but I just couldn’t …I was afraid. “What is this root?” I asked the Father, “and why can’t I let go?” Just then Jesus was with me in the river and he gave me perspective…it wasn’t Niagra at all, but just a dip in the river…I felt like a fool.

The root was wrapped tightly around my arm and wrist and Jesus bravely dove into the water to cut it’s tentacles from my arm. He came back up and told me I was free and all I had to do was unwrap it from my wrist. I did so and it came off easier than expected. The root seemed to have a deep hold on me at first but then I realized with Jesus’ help it was a breeze to remove…the root was self-pity and it was holding me back....

I found new strength and courage as I clung to Jesus and we floated down the river. He’s taking me into new water where I am becoming aware of how much he is my only source. Fear and self preservation (which is what self-pity really is) had made the situation look larger than it was but Jesus put things into perspective…nothing is too big for him …he is the Overcomer!

Ezekiel 47:3-12 came to mind where Ezekiel is led into the river that flows from the temple. First he is ankle deep, then knee deep, then up to his waist and finally he is swimming in a river that no one can cross. Then he is led back to the bank of the river. Jesus leads us like this.

Each time Ezekiel is led deeper into the water a “man” is taking measurements. First comes the measurement and then Ezekiel is led deeper. This is how our walk with the Lord is…Jesus measures off our path leading us so far to test us or see if we “measure up” and then if we are ready and willing he takes us to a deeper level. Deeper we go into the pure water that flows from his throne nourishing everything within it and along its banks.

Then this water flows into the salt sea (verse 8) and quenches its thirst with fresh waters causing huge explosions of life to come forth from it… “Swarms of living creatures…large numbers of fish” (verse 9). Where the water flows … “everything will live….” (Again in verse 9).
Life is in the flow but where the water is stalled in the marshes and swamps the water is left salty (see verse 11). Stay in the flow. If life seems to have left you stuck in the mud and thirsty, maybe you have wandered into the swamp!

The river causes the trees along both sides to be strong and hardy, and they bear fruit like clockwork. This fruit is for food and the leaves of the trees are for healing. (Eze 47:12) God provides everything we need and causes us to grow and be healed so we can give to others.
This river is our dwelling place where “…God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6) and we are supplied by the river or power of God with “… everything we need for life and godliness…” (2Peter 1:3).

As I shed the root and clung to the Rock (Jesus), I had new enthusiasm for what the flow of the river would bring and as long as Jesus is with me…I have nothing to fear. He will keep me… “Because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12) He is my life-preserver!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sonshine


This morning as I sat on the couch with my usual cup of coffee in my usual spot and thought about what I had to do today, suddenly the rising sun shone in my face and I closed my eyes to enjoy its rays. There is something about the sun that can lift your spirits and fill your heart with gladness. My thoughts turned in anticipation, "What would God do today?"

Every day you can see him working in big ways and small ways if you’ll just take the time to enjoy simple things. My thoughts turned again, "What does a person really need to have a fulfilling life? Money? Job? Success? What is the definition of success?" You can have a great job and be living the American dream and have a “successful” life on the outside and be totally unfulfilled on the inside.

Recently, my hubby and I have been doing some soul searching. What is it in life that we are most passionate about? We have asked ourselves this question and the answer was not about where we live or what we do or what we have, but about lives in need of Christ. This answer came not from us but from the passionate heart of God within us.

The rays of his love have begun to penetrate our lives changing our viewpoint. What is it we want to accomplish with these lives we’ve been given before its time to go home? We have begun to crave those God appointed meetings that happen throughout the day when he gives us a chance to open our hearts wide and share the love of Jesus with others.

For me, it isn’t all the time that I'm looking for these encounters though, I'm still human and sometimes my flesh takes over and distracts me but I’m realizing more and more that this is a process, a work lovingly being done in me by the tender hands of my Father. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

He is the one who does the work for his glory in us and through us. Just as we cannot make the sun to shine, so we cannot do the work that only the Father can do. But when he flows through us touching the hearts of others as only he can, it warms our souls and brings encouragement to all like the sun shining on our faces after days of grey gloom.

Never forget that it is the work of His Spirit that accomplishes lasting good in our lives; we are totally dependent upon him. I am encouraged today to lift my face to the SON and let the rays of his love fill my heart and prepare me for what he has in store. I am confindent that no matter what it initially looks like, his golden goodness will be woven all through it.

What an amazing journey we’re on…the road to knowing him, lit by his forever shining love.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Redo You!


Paint, paint, and paint some more! Getting your house ready to sell is a lot of hard work! Not that I’m complaining, I actually love to take a tired looking space and give it new life. I must confess that I am an HGTV junkie. Remodeling gets my juices flowing.

I was reading in 2 Corinthians last night during our family bible time about how God loves to do the same thing. He is the God of restoration! He is the God of reconciliation! He loves it when people come to him and allow him to “redecorate” their lives. :)

He can take the vilest of person and completely transform their life. It even seems that the worse they are the better God likes it because his grace is displayed in bigger more obvious ways. One shouldn’t think that their life is too far gone to receive Jesus as their Savior because of this very fact!

This kind of thinking is a tactic that the enemy uses to keep people from coming to God, but if we were to look closely at the people that Jesus hung with while here on earth we would find that they were the ones that society would consider outcasts….prostitutes, tax collectors, fishermen, and people who had been plagued with disease and demons.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

So let’s break it down…If we receive Christ as our Savior we are changed into someone completely new and all the old goes. We come to God through Christ Jesus and only through Christ Jesus. We come to God only because he really wants us to be with him and so much so that he doesn’t count our sins against us!

So no matter how bad you may be, if you are reading this today and you don’t know Christ there is hope! God is saying to you, “Come, accept my perfect way through my perfect sacrifice (Jesus) and I will forget all the bad you’ve ever done; I won’t hold it against you.”

Then he gives us a ministry….to help others come to him. This ministry is given to everyone who has received him as Savior not just the preacher! He makes us his personal ambassador to speak his message of reconciliation through us to others in need.

I will echo the words of the Apostle in my own words as I plead with you today, don’t let the lies of the enemy stand in your way and come to God and be made new. If you are sick and tired of the way your life is going and your old ways of doing things have not been working so well for you……try something new!! Ask Jesus to come into your heart and be Lord of your life today. Acknowledge to him that you are full of sin and you need his help and peace will flood your life like never before! I know because he did it for me and he will do it for you.

It’s time to do some remodeling of the soul….

Friday, March 5, 2010

Nature Speaks...Glory to God!

Picture is stock from microsoft
This morning the sun was lifted in the sky and its beams cut through the mist and fog. Every day this drama unfolds and we as a human race are graciously given one more day to come to him. It doesn’t matter what language we speak, the sky, sun, moon, and stars with all of nature speaks universally. Every twenty- four hours we behold the beauty and majesty of our Lord.

Psalm 19: 1-6 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.”

If you’ve ever just taken time to sit quietly and listen to nature you will hear what this scripture is proclaiming. Nature is used by its creator to fill us with peace and a unique awareness of his presence. This scripture says that everyone can hear it, regardless of whether they recognize it as the glory of God or not.

All day and all night God reaches out to us through his creation hoping that men will seek him. Psalm 121 says this about God in verses 5-8, “The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

What wonderful comfort it is to me this morning that God will be watching over and protecting our family. We have some “coming and going” to do and it’s good to know he will keep us from harm. I was blessed by these words today and I hope you were as well. If we are right with the Lord, his eye on us is a comfort, if we are still at enmity with him, his watching us may be a bit unnerving.

Let his kindness draw you today and take time with him. Stop for just a minute and look around at his glory displayed in nature and give him the praise due to his Holy Name! Make things right with him as you bask in his glorious presence and you will receive comfort for your soul.



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Friday, February 26, 2010

Forever and For Always, No Matter What.


I have a sign in my kitchen which reads, “Forever and For Always, No Matter What.” It is amazing to me how if we let him, God will speak to us through anything. He keeps the flame of his word stoked within us by reminding us here and there with normal every day things, causing us to meditate on what he has said to us. As I looked at this sign today I was reminded once again to think about what he has been teaching me, the meaning of covenant.

I recently heard a preacher on TV say that we have no idea what is the meaning of a covenant. He explained that God’s word speaks against allowing us to have an intimate relationship outside of the covenant of marriage and if that is what God expects of us then those boundaries will also apply to Him.

He will not have intimate relationship with us outside of a covenant relationship with him. He further went on to explain that a covenant is as follows: Everything I have is yours and everything you have is mine. See Jesus relationship with the Father and us in all of John 17, especially verse 10.


He used the example of Christ on the cross saying that when Christ died for us he took everything that was rightfully ours: sin, guilt, shame and punishment for these, upon himself and he gave to us everything that was his: righteousness, holiness, access to the very throne of God and so much more.

All this stirred deep within my spirit as I had to question my relationship with the Lord. Was I in covenant relationship with him or not? Through my tears I thought, I don’t ever want to wonder about this and right there and then I renewed my covenant with God. I gave him all of myself and took all that was his. This has forever changed my life through a deeper intimacy with him that I have never before experienced, one that can be forever trusted…no matter what.

When Christ says to us that he will never leave us and never forsake us, he means it. It is his everlasting vow to us, his bride. Unlike when we as humans say our wedding vows and then break them later on in life, there is no changing his promises. I can completely trust the bond I have with Jesus. I don’t have to worry that I did or didn’t hear what he said to me clearly. I don’t have to worry that his power won’t be there when I need it to help me through.

My Father, because of the covenant he has with me, will never leave me in times of trouble. He will never fail me and in token I will take him wherever his heart desires to go and I will do whatever his heart desires to do. As a part of the covenant, he will also provide for all my needs. Everything has been given to me that I will ever need to do what he has called me to do. (2 Peter 1:3-11)

Sprinkled throughout Isaiah 41-44 today, I found sweet comfort crystals for the days that lie ahead. In the midst of all the people were going through, God spoke sweetly to them with a calm reassuring voice. See if you can hear him singing over you today. Read these passages and you too will be blessed.

My husband and I have taken a big step this last weekend and we put our house up for sale. We are not sure where the Lord is leading us, but I am sure that because of the covenant relationship we have with the Father he will lead us where we are to go and what we are to do. We are remaining open to his leading and we are staying close to him. It is a big step of obedience for us but we rest in his presence as we look forward to the adventurous journey ahead.

I am so glad that the Lord spoke to us to renew things with him so that we could be assured of our security in him no matter what. I know there will be tough times because Jesus tells us there will be, so we can expect it, but where else would we rather be? I love what it says in John 6:68, “Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” There is no other place than Jesus. There is no one like him and never will be. He is our source. Everything I have is his and everything he has is mine.

Galatians 2:20 beautifully speaks what I am trying to convey, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

I hope I have spurred you on today to think about the level of intimacy that you have or do not have with Christ. My prayer is that he will stir in you as he did in me to sit at his feet and say, I renew my covenant with you today, Jesus. I give you all of me, good and bad, and I receive all that you have for me. His promises can be trusted. Spend some time with him and see what he has to say to your heart.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lord! Save Me!



Oh, to be like Jesus. Today this is the cry of my heart as I read from Matthew 14. Here Jesus learns of the tragic beheading of his cousin John. This is a gruesome tragedy Jesus suffers and his response to it is to withdraw to a place of peace to be with the Father.

Jesus goes by boat and the people follow by shore. When he lands, he sees them and it says in verse 14 that he has compassion on them and heals them. Even in the midst of his own personal tragedy and grief he is drawn by his heart of compassion to love and minister to the people. He’s so strong as he handles this situation. Grace flows from him as he invests himself in the needs of others.

I am so taken with the depth of his kindness and it doesn’t end there; dinner time has come and the people need to eat. Jesus takes what little his disciples have and breaks it, gives it back to them and tells them to feed the people. He multiplies it to meet the need and then some. Once again love and generosity flows from him through his disciples to the people.

How could I ever doubt that he loves me and desires to come near to me? How could we ever doubt that he wouldn’t provide for our needs? He can’t help himself, he loves us so much.

The scripture goes on to display his glory to those closest to him. He makes the disciples go out into a boat as he once again retreats this time to the mountainside to pursue peace and be with the Father. I want you to see as I did what resulted from his time with God. He walks on water! When we have spent time with the Father, we can walk on troubled waters with grace and peace even as he did. God was his source.

The disciples are afraid by what they see. Think about the miracle they had just seen with their own eyes as Jesus fed five thousand men, not counting the women and children and yet they are terrified by their circumstances. Who will save them?

I love the beauty of Jesus’ words as he immediately speaks to them in verse 27, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Man, he immediately speaks to them when they are frightened! Really think about this situation and allow your thoughts to put you in the boat with them. The wind and the waves have picked up, the only light you have is the moon, you are very vulnerable and there seems to be danger all around when you look out across the deep, black water and what do you see? A figure walking toward you on the water! No wonder they were terrified.

Then you hear the master speak; Jesus wants to speak to you in the midst of what you are facing today and what is he saying to you? Do you hear him? “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” I am so intrigued by the boldness of Peter as he calls back to Jesus saying in verse28, “Lord, if it’s you…tell me to come to you on the water.” This is a lesson to us, as well, when we are seeking guidance from the Lord to test what it is we are hearing and seeing. Jesus says, “Come”. That one word from him is enough for Peter to risk it all and he got down out of his place of safety onto the rough waters to go to Jesus.

Just one word from Jesus and he risked it all, this is so powerful. Then it seems that his senses return to him and he realizes what he’s done. Fear and doubt come to torment him and he cries out, “Lord, save me!” then verse 31 says, “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.” Jesus chides him a bit but he is still kind asking him, “Why did you doubt?”

Whenever we take a leap into the unknown for Jesus we can expect fear and doubt to come, but we have nothing to fear for Jesus is there to immediately reach out his hand of grace and mercy to save us. Everything about Jesus is salvation. All through this scripture is weaved the golden thread of salvation and Jesus is the one bringing it to everyone.

The disciples worshipped him upon entering their boat proclaiming that he truly is the Son of God. If his kindness to them has found you today and you haven’t yet given your life to him, hear his words to you, “Take courage! It is I.” and don’t be afraid to leap into his arms of safety.

Pray with me… “Lord, save me! I acknowledge that I need you. I’m in a boat with deepest, darkest circumstances around me and I’m afraid for my life. Come into my heart , I acknowledge you are the Son of God and that you died in my place for my sins. I receive you as my Lord and Savior today. Thank you for saving me. I believe! Amen.

If you prayed this and believed it from your heart, the bible says that you are saved. (Romans 10:9) And if you are already a believer and you are facing wind and waves take courage because Jesus is there to save you too! Immediately, he will reach out his hand to you when you call! Have faith, don’t doubt, don’t fear but believe!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Don't Be Surprised that They Hate You!



Ouch! Ever feel like you’re the welcome mat someone has just wiped their dirty shoes on? Recently, I’ve been experiencing this kind of tribulation and it sure does put your flesh on the run. It will keep you up nights if you let it.

It’s hard to be hated and unjustly accused. It’s hard to forgive and let God deal with the situation. I’m thankful that God is the judge and he sees our hearts. I’m thankful that we can come into the light and be free. I want God to see my heart and help me through because only he can heal me.

But if you’re not careful and in control of your thoughts you will watch the movie of circumstance in your mind over and over trying to see what you did to make them hate you. It can make you crazy if you let it. Seeing the pictures over and over can feed the resentment that wants to quietly grow on our souls. Like mold with deadly poison, it wants to consume you until you are completely shut down. The only way to kill it is with forgiveness spray and the stiff scrub brush of Jesus’ blood.

As I thought of my circumstance I was reminded of the many times in the bible where Jesus told us we would be hated for his name sake; Matthew 10:22 & 24:9, Mark 13:13, Luke 21:17 and John 15:18 to name a few.

Sometimes people hate us and they don’t even know why. It’s helpful for us to look at things from a spiritual perspective, the world hated Jesus and if Jesus lives in us they will hate us too. I believe that more happens on the spiritual level than we are aware. Ephesians 6:12 helps us to see who the real culprit is saying, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms.”

It is not so much the person who hates us but the spirit who is controlling that person. Keeping this perspective will help us to fight against the source and not the person who is before us. Understanding is a powerful gift from our Father that will keep us from taking things personally. Jesus used this approach as he prayed for the people who were unjustly mocking, beating and crucifying him. Listen to his prayer in Luke 23:34 as he hung on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

In fact, all throughout this story in Luke 23 as Jesus was being unjustly tried and found guilty of doing wrong, he was able to keep his cool in circumstances that would have ground us into dust. They killed him and they didn't even know why! I wonder what his thoughts and prayers were during that time. I’m sure he could clearly see the enemy weaving in and out of the crowd inciting the people and rulers against him. Praise God, he knew the bigger plan! He could see the bigger picture!

Hebrews 12:1-2 gives us insight to his thought process and a hidden key to overcoming such dire happenstance as it cries with passion, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus kept his eye on the prize and trusted that God would take care of the rest. Don’t let the enemy trick you into thinking that you can never forgive someone because it is not what the scripture above tells us.

WE CAN throw off those things that the enemy wants to hinder us with and we don’t have to live there. Matter of fact there is a stern warning in Matthew 6:14-15 in regard to forgiveness that helps us to see that forgiveness is not so much for the person who wronged us but for OURSELVES!


Keeping these eternal perspectives will help us when we find that we are in this kind of situation. Jesus said it would come! So don’t be surprised when it happens and gain understanding, so that you can be free from the poisonous mold I mentioned earlier. You are doing yourself a favor by forgiving!

I hope this has helped someone today, I know it has encouraged me in my circumstances. May your day be full of bright hope, peace and freedom! Amen!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What Kind of Ground is Under You?


I was challenged in our bible study last night to think of the Word of God in a new light. What will I do with what I have learned? So many times I approach passages in the bible as things to remember instead of things to do. Once again I had to repent. In Luke 6:46-49, Jesus asks his disciples, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?” How can I say that Jesus is Lord when I am not willing to let him have his way in every aspect of my life?

Jesus goes on to liken the kind of person who comes to him, listens to him and puts his words into practice to one who builds his house on a rock. This person isn’t shaken because they have built on a firm foundation. God wants me to obey his word so that when the storms of life blow in, I can weather them with confidence. He isn’t trying to just get me to follow some rules and regulations. There is a method to his work.

Jesus continues by comparing someone who doesn’t do what he says to a person who builds his house on the ground without a foundation. Collapse and destruction are the result.

It is so hard to change our thinking. Only daily reading of the word and help from the Holy Spirit can accomplish this feat. If I don’t know what the word says, I’m not putting it into practice and I won’t be ready for what comes my way. I will crumble.

The Word of God is not there for me to just gain fun-filled trivia facts or have “one up” on someone…on the contrary, it is there for me to live every minute, of every hour ,of every day. The Word is there for me to eat, sleep and breathe it. It should be as necessary to me as life itself.

I confess that I cannot do it on my own, but it takes the love of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit to practically implement it in my life. Paul uses the beautiful illustration of a husband loving his wife in Ephesians 5: 25-26 saying, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.”

Christ uses his word to wash us clean and change the way we think and act thereby making us holy. It is encouraging to me that Christ does this for us through his Holy Spirit, lovingly changing us from day to day. Thank God for that because without him doing this work of restoration in me; my house would be flattened! I hope that you are as challenged as I was today to put the word into practice with the Holy Spirit guiding your steps and to be a doer, not just a hearer. (James 1:22)

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Barrier Walls are Coming Down!


Recently, I read an article about Haiti and in it a story was told of opposition between a church of believers in Christ and an 84 year old voodoo priestess. When the pastor started his church, she vowed that if they did not leave within a year, she would kill the pastor and every member. When the earthquake happened, the voodoo lady’s house, as well as the pastor’s church building and house, were destroyed along with other members of the church.

This left all of them homeless living in tents and struggling to survive. The people of the church cared for the voodoo lady’s needs and since then, she has been attending their nightly bible study and worship times. There was great loss of loved ones on both sides and it was reported that the voodoo lady and others like her have been coming to Christ.

Ever since these things happened in Haiti, I have been watching and asking God what he is trying to say to the world. I’ve heard Christian people say that they are under judgment from God but I don’t feel that it is my place to determine such things. We do know that the last days will be full of earthquakes, wars, famines and other horrible things (see Matthew 24) and many believers are of the thought that we as followers of Christ will be “raptured” out of these occurrences.

This may be true but I have read more than enough scripture to support the thought that we will not be taken out but this is not my point in writing to you today. I think that Haiti is a snapshot of what is to come as God is using the destruction to bring good to his people who are in bondage and set them free. God had his people positioned in Haiti at just the right time to bring humanitarian aid in some areas and in other areas they were in need just as much as the people they had been living among and serving.

Acts 17:26-27 says “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” He is the One who determines these things for his purposes.

Like the voodoo lady and the church, God has turned what Satan had meant for bad to bring salvation to his people who didn’t even know they were his people. He broke down the walls between them so that the love of Christ could efficiently flow. The suffering came and gave them a common denominator, survival. The darkness happened so that the light could brightly shine and salvation was the end result.

I popped awake at 1 a.m. this morning thinking of all these things and the Lord reminded me of several scripture that I would like to share with you. We know that there will be those who believe that live through the tribulation because Matthew 24:22 tells us in Jesus’ own words, “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” What if they are there for God’s grace and mercy through the gospel to be extended to those who are of his kingdom and have yet to come to him?

Romans 10:12-15 speaks of those who believe sharing the gospel with others, this is our purpose and our command once we are saved (see Matthew 28:18-20 for one), but it takes the work of the Holy Spirit using any and all circumstances of life to break down the walls and prepare the heart to receive the Gift of Salvation, who is Jesus.

I have heard people ask the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” and I admit I have wondered about this as well. I think 2 Corinthians 1: 3-7 answers this question beautifully, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

“For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”

Through our family being touched by my daughter’s cancer and death, I have come to realize that the Lord allows such things so that we can relate to someone who may or may not know him, who is going through a time of pain. The only way we have learned the intimacies of this kind of pain is by walking through it. God has given our family a vantage point with which to see clearly into the circumstances of another, allowing the walls to be broken down and his grace, mercy and love to be able to flow freely to others.

We all suffer for the gospel in one way shape or form, but I never clearly understood why that was so until now. Unless we who believe suffer, we cannot adequately relate the message of the cross. As the scriptures have taught us, our suffering is for others just as Christ suffered to comfort us with salvation. Unless he came and lived among us, sharing in our pain and dying to his life, he could not comfort and save us.

Father, help me not to fear suffering anymore. My flesh screams and trembles at the thoughts that are running through my mind. Help me not to be afraid of pain. Thank you for identifying with my pain, so that I could be comforted. Thank you for dying for me, so that I could be saved. Father, use my pain to comfort others and point them to you. I ask for souls without number for the kingdom and grace in abundance to abandon my life and live for you. Help me Holy Spirit! AMEN.