Tag Archives: laughter

Works?

21 Mar

One of the craziest, most mind blowing change that happens when you begin a walk with Christ, is this:  The more you know-the less you know; The stronger your faith becomes, you grow more and more needy for His direction, HIS wisdom, HIS approval, less concerned with your place in the world but rather, your place in His heart and His Heaven.

“He must become greater;I must become less. John 3:30 NIV”

As the years creep by that I have been making notes and highlights in my bible, I often revisit the same scripture that was so powerful before and maybe this time, it is just as powerful but in a different way, or today, it may just be a Good Word.  The Living Word, (*insert big sigh…) I gain new knowledge, new application, new wisdom every single time I open my bible. Every sermon, lesson, even a song, will lead me to the Word.

I didn’t always believe the bible. Well, I didn’t actually ever read it. I honestly didn’t really understand much more than Psalms. I figured it was man’s interpretation. Nature was my bible, my church. I had my own opinion of faith, prayer, and what Christians looked like.  I judged a relationship with Christ by those that went to church. I expected them to be perfect, and because none of them were, I judged them as hypocrits. I didn’t need to go there, and I didn’t need to read the bible. Until I broke; Until there was nothing left but God and I.

In the depths of my despair, He rescued me. He didn’t just make it all better, he filled me with unspeakable hope, he began a ‘good work” in me. What a fantastic journey it has been! And! …the Bible came alive for me. Understandable, expressive, moving, it truly sustains me.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

Now it makes sense. It isn’t “magic”-it’s just a wisdom that comes with growth and communion with the Holy Spirit.  We don’t begin our new or renewed faith knowing the bible either, nor does God expect that from us. You only need to know this truth. That Jesus died for you and has been waiting for you to follow Him ever since. That begins the relationship. God takes us through our very own journey designed just for us, full of mistakes and love and forgiveness and healing. He will bring those along side of you to help you along.  And you will want to know Him more. You will read the bible and it will begin to make more sense than you ever imagined.

You see this all the time…John 3:16 but there are so many more!

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace Ephesians 1:7 [Full Chapter]

Now, if you know me at all, you will agree that I am absolutely not legalistic.  I would describe my walk as a bit of ‘Grace and Mercy’ rebel.  I fight hard against any words that direct me to “DO” rather than “BE”.  Those that declare (which is grave sin) who is saved and who is false or heretic or unsaved, also push me away. I have been so hurt in my life by those faith talkers which is probably why it has taken me three different studies of James to fully embrace His writing.

Things are getting a bit shaken up and stirred out in a different way for me. I have gone toe to toe against believers that will disagree with my mercy belief; I always felt wrong because they were more studied than me, I never knew how to answer them. I just held hard to my hope that the Love He filled my heart with, was the same love He would pour out on all who seek Him. So I set out upon truth (growth leads to growth). I wanted to fully understand a more DO book, like James.

In my studies, which I now thirst after- *Psalm 42:1 (how did He know that about me?) I have grown beyond reacting to the legalistic undertones of some of our scriptures, to understanding rather our human journey to holiness. This is not something we do because scripture says to, we do it because as we begin to embrace our salvation and walk in it, we long to become more like Him. I have realized in my own journey that to understand what that looks like,  you first have to understand the entire journey from Genesis to Revelations, that includes the journey of the law (Torah).

First, lets define who is going to heaven. If you say everyone, do you truly think Hitler will? Do you truly think a child molester will? If you drew a line and labeled good and bad on either end, where is the line that says, too bad. Crazy as it seems, truly there is no stopping point of grace or mercy on that line for those that are in Christ.

Our salvation is bought and paid for by the suffering of Christ on the cross.  In my journey, I hung so tightly to that point and understood that the change that took place in my heart, is still taking place, every day, is Him, not me. It isn’t me being a “Good Christian”. I am on a journey of becoming holy, I am still changing. That said, here is the change in verbage for me….   even though you are saved, if you start at the ‘bad’ end, shouldn’t your salvation and hope move you a little closer to the ‘good’ end?

I remember hearing Francis Chan years ago, as he demonstrated faith as a balance beam exercise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y46YoVzX0VM   I liked it, it made sense. I read Kyle Idleman’s “Not a Fan” four years ago. I remember really enjoying it, but at the same time, not liking the legal tones echoing within my own heart!

It wasn’t the author, nor the scripture becoming legalistic, it was my difficult journey to know my worth to God. To understand ‘Agape Love’.

The truth is so crazy! ~ To fully understand what freedom we have in our salvation, we have to submit completely.

“Submit yourselves, then to God.” James 4:7, “in all ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight”. Proverbs 3:6

In the end, the legalism is to know where we have come from, who to turn to, submission, hope, trust…faith. To know the importance of submission to Him. Faith without works is dead. If we believe that Jesus died for us, and we are forgiven, this should shake our world! This should overwhelm us with repentance, hope, and a desire to “pay forward” if you will, that amazing gift. It should begin to change us, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. This is the DO part! Let HIM do!

If you read the Sermon on the Mount, it is all there. The sermon on the mount is my “go to” I find all I need to know, right there in the words of my Savior. Unlike the teachings of “The Secret”, the need for total perfection of thought and words, putting things or not putting things in the universe (where does that go?)~  Christ achieved that for me.

My goal is not perfection, my goal is obedience. Always has been. It is not a place you arrive at; It is a place you seek. He calls us to desire to live in a submissive longing to please God. To stop assessing (judging) how well other’s are doing in their walk, to come along side those that need help back up in their walk, gently, with love and humility. Not from a knowing better, but a place of “there but the grace of God go I, point of view.

Christ followers are called to Seek Him in all things. Seek the truth. It doesn’t matter what we DO, it is the very core of our faith that becomes the truth. Only God knows this place in us. What good is anything we DO if our hearts have any form of judgement, jealousy, envy, anger (same as murder) insecurity. That is the DO part of our walk. Cleanse our hearts, our minds and our spirit by meditating on Him at all times. (It is truly the only way).

Truth is humbly being transparent.  Truth is loving at all times the entire body of Christ. Truth is loving our neighbors, no matter their color, their faith, or how they sin. Truth is not pretending to know God, but seeking to know what He desires for us. Truth is submission. Truth is forgiving everyone, including ourselves, everything. Truth is not self seeking. Truth doesn’t reject or boast. Truth is not about anyone else. Truth is the humble understanding that He is the only one that truly knows our heart, our life, our walk, our sin nature, our journey. Truth is love in action and mercy towards others. Only He knows your neighbors heart. Truth is that it is from fear or ego that we judge. Judgement is not discernment and conviction is not condemnation and the anger of man can never truly be righteous. Watch that you are not representing God, but actually following Him. Submissively.

James 4:12 “But who are you to judge your neighbor?

If His words are not honing you, building you up, tearing you down, healing you, teaching you, preparing you, softening you, strengthening you, removing pride, arrogance, judgement, if His words are NOT creating your next steps to walk in His plan for your life, to share in His wisdom through your own testimony, then you aren’t doing it right!

This is the works. Submission and mercy. Gentle mercy towards all. Especially your body of believers.

In the end, my issue has not been with legalism.  My issue was with man’s (including my own) interpretation of what that meant. Jesus fulfilled the law so we could live with God forever. He did this because there was no other way.  God knew this. Truth…That takes but a mustard seed. However, that mustard seed should change you atleast a little bit, should it?

We will still have an accounting for our journey. If the world holds more value to us than pleasing God, then it is time to really assess what our true belief is.

Works: Acceptance that I will never be perfect but that I can embrace and openly admit my arrogance, my lies, my hypocrisy and doubts and fears, and submit to Him to heal and be healed is freedom. To allow him to hone me even when it hurts.  It allows for true relationship free from ego.That is what faith with works looks like. Because from that place, He shines so brightly within us. We give Him Glory.  We hear His calling, His prompting.

We become strong.  We can say to that mountain move, and it will.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

 

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Brotherly Love

4 Nov

Let love for your fellow believers continue and be a fixed practice with you [never let it fail]” Hebrews 13:1 AMP

What happens when a room full of God-loving, Spirit-filled friends begin to worship and pray together?

They begin to make waves. Change begins to take place. Just when they could do great things, when the seeds begin to grow, Satan sets his sights on doing all he can to stop this.

He hunts and seeks out the weakness in each of these people. Friendships will begin to be tested. Strong followers will become distracted. Where the weakness is, there will be satan. My weakness was weariness in struggle. My idol is security.

Beautiful friendships, built on fellowship, support and love, with Christ at the center, began to unravel. Judgement of one another began, eye rolling, gossip, arrogant judgement of those deemed not as “righteous” as them. Judgement turned to unforgiveness and rejection; Division took place.

Our whole world is built on the Grace and Mercy of Christ towards us, yet we are unwilling to extend that to those we worshipped with. Satan has had a field day.

We either ask God to remove the evil that lies there or we look outside and see the flaws that exist within us all, and close the door. The world will tell us that some people are “only in our journey for a season”, But GOD, in his most beautiful words, scripture, will say, leave no one behind.

Isolation is a tool of the devil. We are told to be there for one another, to protect each other from our weaknesses. Forgiveness, love and forbearance are attributes of God. We are called to be that for our brothers and sisters.

The bible is very specific about division within the body; It is most definitely not of God. Jesus spoke very clearly about forgiveness and judgement. Acts, and Paul’s letters to all churches include these instructions.

We absolutely do not know what is in a man’s heart. Only the Father knows. You do not know what is God’s wisdom, only the Father knows.

We are called to [and I have] examine our own hearts, and asked God to expose our own sin. God blesses us with freedom and peace in our painful refining. We need refining at all times, so we can be the light that we are called to be. To truly walk our purpose in this world.

I prayerfully and purposefully have asked for Him to reveal to me all that is in my heart that is not truth, that is not of Him. I have asked for His wisdom to be evident.

This is the truth He has shown me: Through prayer, through study, through sermon, and conversation.

Satan is never going to be stronger than we allow him to be. It all comes down to ONE truth, ONE way, ONE redeemer. Put your faith back in Him and not in ourselves. His words, His promise, His desires for our lives, His provision, strength and consistency.

We must be there for one another in the days that are coming. We MUST stop judging the saved and start supporting one another. Always.

We all stumble and let one another down. Nothing hurtful towards those we truly care for is ever intended to harm, otherwise that would be true of every one of us, of our intentions.

We all have different roles, different gifts, unique journeys meant to be learned from, cultivating a deeper relationship with Christ. We all have a purpose here, the outcome of walking our purpose is to be light-bearers to this world. The WHOLE world.

We are not the sifters of the heart. Only the Father can do that. Mustard seeds are very difficult to compare to mountains.

Our painful times, our testing times in the desert, are meant to deepen the faith in our hearts, so when that day comes, that evil stands before us we can, with confidence, claim victory through Him that gives us strength.

Our faith can move mountains. Our redeemer is amazing.

“Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.” Psalms 42:7 NKJV

“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:11-15 NIV

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:8-9 NIV

“[My] brethren, do not speak evil about or accuse one another. He that maligns a brother or judges his brother is maligning and criticizing the Law and judging the Law. But if you judge the Law, you are not a practicer of the Law but a censor and judge [of it].One only is the Lawgiver and Judge Who is able to save and to destroy [the One Who has the absolute power of life and death]. [But you] who are you that [you presume to] pass judgment on your neighbor?” James 4:11-12 AMP

“Where there is strife, there is pride,but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Proverbs 13:10 NIV

“he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:5 NIV

“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” Deuteronomy 32:2

Seeing God Through Love “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. ” 1 John 4:12

Does This Muscle Make My Faith Look Small?

16 Jul

1 John 2:16 (NKJV)
16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
1 John 2:16 (NLT)
16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

We are built to worship, and to sin. While Moses was up on the mount, just after God showed himself in a most incredible and grandiose way, (Exodus 14:21) they built an idol of gold (Exodus 32:1). Of course they did! We are so incredibly unfaithful, short sighted, impatient and self righteous. We do not like to be still and wait for God’s best and God’s perfect timing. It’s uncomfortable. It could be our fear that we suddenly feel as if we fall short, unworthy, that He left us. But why would He? We are so needy! He doesn’t break His promises to us, He never leaves us.

Money became disappointing to us in the past 10 years. We shifted from spending it,to chasing it, to bigger houses, to what we thought we would be able to control better. That didn’t work out so well.The bubble burst…. Now what?

I have watched this shift of idolatry from money to muscle. To fitness and looks.

There is pride in there and control. Doing a thing because we love it, because it brings us joy, is one thing. There is nothing wrong with balance and right thinking. Pride in how we look needs to be addressed. Pride in how tough we are, setting goals, achieving them, for personal gain is a very slippery slope.

If we focus on improving our health with removing gluttony and laziness. Great! If we are putting more emphasis on performing, working out, etc, than we do on God, and Godly things, then we have built our own idol of gold..(Gold’s Gym) … see what I did there. ha!

The focus on the external is so significant. Justification to use the physical is as worldly as it gets. The focus on what you do to achieve health gets convoluted with how you look. We flatter one another in our workout attempts. We congratulate the accomplishment of weight loss. We say this in terms of health but that is untruth. You don’t look at someone and say, you look so healthy! We say.. “wow, you look great!”

I was always in good shape, blessed with good health. I am not in my prime. I am not in the greatest shape or with the best looks of my life. Outward appearance was a very big deal to me. Something that broke me, deeply, was the reason my husband gave me for leaving my marriage. “You got fat”. I wasn’t in great shape anymore. Well, I am still not that sassy, skinny girl of my younger years, yet, I feel more beautiful than I ever have in my life.

What is the difference? I think the true difference is I have finally matured to the point where outside voices, or even the whisper of the enemy, cannot overshadow the knowledge that I am His Prize. Think about that statement. God’s Prize.

I wonder what our children think. I wonder if they are being told they are worth more because of all He gave or because of what they accomplish and look like.

My beauty comes from a knowledge. It isn’t the outside of me. It is from this acceptance and knowing that I am cherished, adored, beloved. My beauty is HIM. It is joy, love, truth, knowledge, hope, peace, forgiveness, Grace, Mercy and all that is Jesus. It is the reflection of love and laughter in the faces of the people God puts in front of me. It is the light in my grandson’s eyes when he looks at me.

It is the overwhelming gratitude of seeing Jesus on the cross and being so incredibly humbled and loved.

Our body is a temple and we are to take care of it. There is so much to be enjoyed in a good healthy lifestyle. The warning comes to those that may be building an idol of gold, instead.

1 John 5:21 (AMP)21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols (false gods)—[from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life]. Amen (so let it be)
Exodus 20:3- (NIV)3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

Jonah 2:8 (AMP)8 Those who pay regard to false, useless, and worthless idols forsake their own [Source of] mercy and loving-kindness

Galatians 5:19-21 (MSG)19-21 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.

1 Corinthians 10:14 (AMP)14 Therefore, my dearly beloved, shun (keep clear away from, avoid by flight if need be) any sort of idolatry (of loving or venerating anything more than God).

Leviticus 19:4(NIV)4 “‘Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.

But God!

25 Jun

HIS words, not his words,not her words, not our words.

But God…
But God says I am wonderfully made
But God says I am his prize
God gives us all we need. Even scripture to back up His promises and to show how much He loves us!

But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you are saved

But God said, You are made new! You are not the past.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
But God said… You are now Holy because you believe!
1 Peter 1:16 (NIV) for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
But God said, I am enough! I am all you need.
Psalm 16:5 (NIV)Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.
But God said, don’t look there.. look here! Renew your mind but hearing me!
Romans 12:2 (NIV)Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
But God said, you are wanted, you are my prized and cherished prince and princess!
1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
But God said, hey! I made you just the way you are, I don’t make mistakes, be strong in that.
Ephesians 2:10(NIV)For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
But God said, Wipe those tears. You are not alone, I dwell within you. You are strong!
1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV)Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
But God said You are a child of God.
John 1:12 (NIV) But to all who have received him–those who believe in his name–he has given the right to become God’s children
But God said you are a branch of the true vine, and a conduit of Christ’s life.
John 15: 1, 5 (NIV) I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me–and I in him–bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing
But God said you are a friend of Jesus.
John 15:15 (NIV) I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father
But God says.. I have been justified and redeemed.
Romans 3:24 (NIV) But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
But God said, I am adopted as His child, I am a fellow heir with Christ.
Romans 8:17 (NIV) And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)–if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him
But God said, I have been accepted by Christ.
Romans 15:7 (NIV) Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God’s glory
But God says I am wise and beautiful
1 Corinthians 1:30 (NIV) He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption …
But God says, I am not alone, the Holy Spirit dwells in me.
1 Corinthians 6:17 (NIV) But the one united with the Lord is one spirit with
But God says, don’t let the cruelty and heart ache of this world define you. That has been set free by Christ!
2 Corinthians 3:14 (NIV) But their minds were closed. For to this very day, the same veil remains when they hear the old covenant read. It has not been removed because only in Christ is it taken away
But God said You now share the righteousness of God in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God
But God says that I am no longer under anyone’s rule but his and I am His child and an heir.
Galatians 4:7 (NIV) So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son, then you are also an heir through God
But God says!!! I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 1:3 (NIV) Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ
But God says!!! I am chosen, holy, and blameless before God.
Ephesians 1:4 (NIV) For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love
But God said! I am redeemed and forgiven by the grace of Christ.
Ephesians 1:7 (NIV) In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace
But God said, I picked YOU! This is all for you.
Ephesians 1:11 (NIV) In Christ we too have been claimed as God’s own possession, since we were predestined according to the one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will
But God said that YOU have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.
Ephesians 1:13 (NIV) And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)–when you believed in Christ–you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit
But God said, Who cares who breaks promises here. I never break mine!
Ephesians 1:13 (NIV) And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)–when you believed in Christ–you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit
But God said I am mercy and love, You are made alive with Christ.
Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV) But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you are saved
But God promises that I am seated in the heavenly places with Christ.
Ephesians 2:6 (NIV) … And he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus …
But God says, HUSH! Don’t listen to the criticism..YOU are God’s workmanship created to produce good works.
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them
But God says.. You are MINE by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:13 (NIV) But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ
But God said, Look around, you aren’t alone! You are surrounded by your whole body of believers..
Ephesians 5:30… The Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus
But God says.. No! I didn’t make you weak! I made you STRONG! I am HERE!
Ephesians 3:12 NIV… In whom we have boldness and confident access to God because of Christ’s faithfulness
But God says.. He guards my heart and mind.
Philippians 4:7 (NIV) And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus
But God says.. I got this!! I will take care of all you need.
Philippians 4:19 NIV And my God will supply your every need according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus
But God says here, here is this beautiful jacket I a made just for you. Because you are my beloved.
Colossians 3:12 NIV Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience
But God loves me and has chosen me.
1 Thessalonians 1:4 NIV We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you
But God says.. I made you in MY image.
Genesis 1:27 (NIV) So God created mankind in his own image,in the image of God he created them;male and female he created them.
But God says, I loved you so much, I longed for you’re here, I let my Son die so we can be together.
1 Peter 1:18 (NIV)For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,
But God says.. Hear Me! You are strong in me, you are beautiful and designed by me.
2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV) That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
But God said, why are you looking down! I designed you! I pursue you all the time!
Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV) For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,I know that full well.My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed body;all the days ordained for me were written in your book,before one of them came to be.
But God said. Do not worry about a thing! Read this promise from me to you! I got this!
Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life.And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
But God said! I am enough for you!
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
But God said, let go. Surrender to me. I will take care of you.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “
But God said, You are precious! Yet you let doubt in. I won’t let you down!
Matthew 10:31 (NIV) So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

We Are Blessed

9 Jun

My love story with the Holy Spirit has been incredible. The Holy Spirit has been all things in my life. I have spent every day in communication with my Father, with my Savior, and with my strength and compass, the Holy Spirit. I have stumbled and fallen, and I have this peace and joy in my heart with Him so near. God promised to provide for my needs and He has fulfilled His promise to me, even when I have panicked and doubted Him. He is so near when I am lost or scared, calming all my fears. When I am lonely, there is a presence so close, His fragrance is here. He has never once, let me down. Not once. He has put incredible situations and people in my life, to teach me, to love me and to be His mirror.

I have danced with Him, sang to Him and with Him, sat in silence with Him, watched the beauty of His creations together, in a sunset, a rainbow, a child. I’ve shared beautiful meals with Him, He gave me a song, our song from the first day I began this amazing journey with Him. I have been madly in love for 4 years.
He has kept every promise to me. He was and is, so close to this broken hearted, beloved child of God. Now I am a mature, blessed, grateful woman in Christ. I stumble still, and always will, I am not perfect and never will be. He has provided amazing leadership, and especially Godly mature friendship to lift me up, speak truth into my life, love, laughter, tears and to rejoice with.

God said it wasn’t good to be alone. Yet, to share this walk with someone, I struggle with feelings that I am cheating on The Lord. He has been my husband, my lover, my friend, my protector, my everything. I also struggle with fear. When I step back and see all He has blessed me with, outside of me but especially within me, there should be no fear in me. He will bring me someone perfect. Someone to learn with, grow with, to encourage and be encouraged, and mostly to enrich the ministry in which He has designed us for.

I am not above being tempted, though He gave us instruction to reach out in prayer and guidance so I can continue to walk in my faith, even if it hurts. God may be a jealous God, but only when we are longing for what He has not given us. It is difficult to be obedient, it is difficult to be in this world and His.There is no conviction in that, no wrong. There is only Love in that. It is a journey, a discovery, because when we are obedient, the favor is 10 fold.

This is a beginning, a new journey. It may not have an end or may end tomorrow, but what I know for sure, this is still the path that God has chosen for me and He wants to bless us, to heal the broken hearted. As long as He is at the center, as long as obedience reigns, He will bestow great reward; the blessing of restoration, of hope, of sweet healing and possibility. He wants us to be fully aware of Him at every moment of every day, at every conversation, every gentle touch, every new discovery.

We are blessed.

Matthew 5:3-5(MSG)
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

Psalm 34:18 (MSG)
If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

Psalm 34:18(NIV)
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 106:1(MSG)
Thank God! And why?
Because he’s good, because his love lasts.
But who on earth can do it—
declaim God’s mighty acts, broadcast all his praises?
You’re one happy man when you do what’s right,
one happy woman when you form the habit of justice.

Psalm 106:1 (NIV)
Praise the Lord.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

Philippians 2:1-4(MSG)
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Philippians 2:1-2(NIV)
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

Small sacrifices

30 May

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family” Matthew 5: 8-9 MSG

Today I had the honor of praying with a mother that lost her daughter. Her not quite woman, no longer child, beloved daughter. Her heart is heavy with grief, a grief I do not know and pray I never do. What I saw in her eyes was something haunted and at the same time, peaceful. Her faith is strong and she knows her child is now with Jesus.

I was incredibly moved by her, but what I found so incredible in her words and heart, was love. She humbly apologized for tearing up, stating she knows that other’s have it worse. She expressed such a gratitude for the time she had with her child, shared a joyful hope of watching her other child grow, she feels blessed to participate in his journey. She was gracious and humbled by the outpouring of friendship she has received from neighbors and family. This woman is strong in Jesus.
Her strength of faith, her tenderness and her sorrow all touched me deeply. Would I be so strong in faith? I would like to think I would. I have had my own grief and found the joy in that, but that took time and my grief was divorce, not the death of my child.

When I see people being so bogged down in their own anger and bitterness, the contrast to this beautiful faith-filled woman is stark. I am not speaking of those that are under fire, or those that struggle with mental illness or chemical imbalances. I am talking about those that are rude or unkind for no apparent reason, those that are so jealous of what other’s have they don’t see their own overflowing blessings. Those that speak out against faith,in bitterness for being slighted, in anger for the life they don’t have, for those that find the negative in every situation.

When you look at the eyes of anger, you are inclined to turn away. This world will tell you to not take it personal, don’t let them get away with it. Christ said to love the least of these. I believe the woman that lost her child but loves the Lord has far more than the one that is filled with anger. We are instructed to be drawn with compassion to love our enemy. We can do this safely from afar or minister directly to the one that is so angry. God didn’t create us to be doormats, through Christ He made us strong and victorious.

The next time someone is rude, rejecting of you, hurtful towards you, pray for them. Instantly. Pray for a compassionate heart. We ask for prayers for those that are reaching out to God already. They are in His hands. Safe and sound. Pray for those that don’t know Him. Pray for those that do and can’t begin to trust Him. To be in relationship with Him.

My heart is so full of compassion for those that don’t know Grace, Mercy, Hope, Forgiveness, Peace… This world is only the beginning. My friend is at peace because she knows one day, she will hug her daughter again. We will all pass from this world. We won’t have the opportunity to do this over. Our actions and our words will stand. Our hearts will be examined, not for how good we were but did we know and share Jesus. Were we transparent in our sin, were we striving to love better, to share the insurmountable, unexplainable Joy of Faith? Not for those we condemned or those we avoided because they were mean to us. Not because we were moved by a woman’s deep sorrow at the loss of her child.

Small sacrifices are as simple as swallowing your pride, loving first and mostly, in spite of.

Love Your Enemies

“Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5: 38-48 MSG

Changed

10 Apr

I saw an ad tonight for a beautiful kitchen. You know the one, state-of-the-art appliances, beautiful cabinets, gorgeous floor. I was shocked that I found no interest. I appreciated the beauty of it, but I didn’t desire it.

There was a time I would have poured over all the trend magazines, worked on new designs for the next dream home. Furniture, paint, colors, toys, clothing, designer bags… (Ok.. still love handbags, I am a work in progress). I realized, in that moment, how different I really am.

Transformation is not something we are ever aware of. How could we be? We are too self focused.

We zone in on our circumstances, our dreams, our people… our feelings. It is when we look back that we see how far we have come. Everything is changing so fast;I am changing so quickly. It’s weird to see this from an almost outside perspective. I have these challenges, these life altering times and hardships that are so swift in the processing. From shock, to fear to anger, to sadness, to seeing God’s hand, to seeing his plan, to hope, to joy, in a matter of days. I can’t explain this any more than this. I lost all I thought mattered and gained everything I didn’t know existed.

Who would have thought I would be this alive in Christ, this deep into my faith? I am the fun girl, the party girl. I am the woman with the controlling nature, the right and wrong, black and white side. Walking this path for Christ, by joining His Army..(did I know I was joining the Army?) we will suffer greatly as we struggle to let go of our version and plan for our life, and learn to embrace His version and plan for our life.

My passion has shifted so tremendously, what I value has changed completely. What gets me excited and what makes me afraid… completely different.
As I lose more and more of my attachment to the things of this world, my love deepens for the people of this world. Not so much their person, not who they are or what they do, but the soul of the person.

I love and miss what is familiar to me, my children, my family, my friends, and I am caught in this place that can feel so alone. My faith is so isolating at times, but that is my greatest Hope of all. He is leading me and I am following. Even as the pain of it settles in at times, He never leaves me alone in it. He has brought righteous, loving guidance. Gentle wisdom and loving friendship to lift me, to keep my eyes on Him with joyful faith.

There are no rules except to love the Lord. Love Him, seek Him and trust Him. The sinner will still sin. That’s okay. We grow and He will guide us where He wants us. Each path is so different, each lesson unique. No one path is greater than another, no need to compare.

I have learned that Faith, Trust, Hope, Forgiveness, Love, all the beautiful gifts of the Spirit, come in layers. Each layer of trial that is peeled back, is a new layer of healing. The best I can explain it would be a shower routine: We get mired down in the muck, we get dirty, we get weighed down. When you have had enough and are ready to be cleansed, you peel off this new layer of your struggles, (unforgiveness, injustice, heartbreak, fear, disappointment). You put that into the hamper to be washed clean by housekeeping. You step into the shower, letting the warm water comfort you, you slowly come to life. You slowly come clean and you feel refreshed. You step out and put on new clothes that have been chosen for you, bought for you. They are a gift. Sometimes it is simple clothing, sometimes it is rich garments with beautiful jewels. These are special items, they never need to be cleaned, you get to keep them and treasure them for ever and no one can ever steal them or take them from you.

That is the Love, Grace and Mercy of Christ. You are healed, made new, strengthened, surrounded, saved, by Him. You don’t even realize how far that Love will reach in until you begin that walk to find it. Suddenly, Grace walks in and everything is different. This makes me cry such tears of joy and gratitude. Jesus, the only name you need to know on a first name basis.

Luke 18
27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”