Wednesday, June 30, 2010


"At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights He was tested by Satan. Wild animals were His companions, and angels took care of Him." Mark 1:12-13 (The Message)

I have this friend that has this dilemma--He has been offered this job that is closer to his girlfriend and pays more money. But he also is a dad to 3 children and this job will take him 5 hours from them. So he is torn between the nice new job and the girlfriend and knowing that he should stay at the old job so that he can be around for his children.

His walk with the Lord is somewhat shaky. He wants to do the right thing, but Satan is dangling this temptation in front of him.

When he was telling me this, the story about Jesus in the desert came to my mind. (Luke 4:1-13) Satan knows what we desire just as much as Jesus does. He knows how to play games with your mind and spirit that can make seem that it was or is the choice you should make, but it's not.

To me it's a no brainer--stay with your kids. But I'm not making the decision. Have you ever been there? You're trying so hard to stay on the path that you feel the Lord wants you on, and then oops, there's a concession stand, right there in the middle of the road. It has all the things that you want on it, but what we have to remember to ask ourselves is this--are those things what your Heavenly Father wants for you?

Satan tempted Jesus several times that time in the desert. He even used scripture to try to trick Jesus up. Jesus was hungry--Satan tempted with bread even serving it with a Bible verse. Jesus didn't fall for it, He came back with His verse. He offered Jesus power over all of the kingdoms--Jesus didn't flinch, He came back with His verse. Satan taunted Jesus that if He really believed in His Heavenly Father, He would jump off this cliff, knowing that the Father would save the Son, complete with a Bible verse--Jesus calmly stated 'no need' and came back with His verse.

So, there will be times that you are tempted, and please remember, not all temptations from Satan are going to be obvious. They are not all going to be flashing Code red, Bad idea, Satan Alert. They are not going to be on the list of the Top 10 'You Shall Not's..." Because if you noticed, Satan offered Jesus bread. Is eating bread when you are hungry bad? No, of course not. But if you haven't checked in with your Heavenly Father and find out if that is what He wants for you, then, yes, it could be the wrong choice, for that particular time.

My heart's desire, "when I grew up", was to get married at the age of 18 and have lots of children. That was my dream. Well, when I turned 21 and wasn't married, I panicked and married the first guy that asked me. It ended in sadness. Looking back now, I see the temptation story in my own life. Was it wrong to marry? No. But did I check in with my Heavenly Father to make sure this was the mate He had picked out for me? Not really. I thought I did. I used the worldly thought that He wanted me happy and if this made me happy, He was alright with it.

When you are tempted by something that you are not sure about, do what Jesus did. Check with your Father by praying and getting into His word. Jesus had His Father's powerful words to counteract Satan's. And you can see, Satan also knows God's powerful words. So, you truly need to be immersed in His word and presence so that you have discernment to know the truth.

So, please, don't be afraid of temptation. But be ready. Be spiritually ready. How? By feeding everyday on the words of your God (Bible life), by being in constant communication with Him (prayer life), and by surrounding yourself with mature, godly, spirit-filled people. You do these three steps, you'll be O.K.!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bad Apples?

"God's Message:
'But just as one bad apple doesn't ruin the whole bushel,

there are still plenty of good apples left.
So I'll preserve those in Israel who obey me.
I won't destroy the whole nation.
I'll bring out my true children from Jacob
and the heirs of my mountains from Judah.
My chosen will inherit the land,
my servants will move in.
The lush valley of Sharon in the west
will be a pasture for flocks,
And in the east, the valley of Achor,
a place for herds to graze.
These will be for the people
who bothered to reach out to me,
who wanted me in their lives,
who actually bothered to look for me.'" Isaiah 65:8-10 (The Message)

The Lord lead me to this verse this morning, and to be honest, I'm not sure why. And I'm sure that if I was a true pastor, I would know all the significance meanings of all the verses.

But I'm not a pastor and so when I read these verses, what the Lord spoke to my soul is that He never gives up on us. NEVER. If there is ANY hope of us turning back to Him, He is there, waiting for us. Encouraging us. Pleading for us, to come home. Come back into His loving, welcoming arms. His arms ache to hold you again.

Sometimes the world teaches us that we have only one chance. We have sayings like, "One bad apple spoils the bunch." "You can never go back." "That was your one chance Baby, and you blew it."

But our Heavenly Father isn't like that. Sure, each time we fall, each time we turn away, each time we make a bad choice--it saddens Him, it tears at His father's heart--but He's never turns away. He never rejects you. You may reject Him, and He may not be able to work within you because of that choice you made, but He is still there, in the background, praying that you come back. Ready for that glorious moment when you choose to ask for forgiveness and turn back to Him.

It's like the parable of the prodigal son. You can never 'out-bad' your Father's love. What does that mean, you may ask. Well, what hits me is that, like in my family, my dad was truly a good man. He was a very hard working man. He financially provided for His family which wasn't easy when you have 12 children and he was the only bread winner. The only thing that I truly lacked as a daughter growing up was the sense of His approval. I never had it. I felt that in order to have it, I had to be perfect--my sister next to me, in my eyes, seem to never do anything wrong--and my dad seemed to like her. She didn't irritate him. So, I thought, boy, that's what I want to be--perfect. Alas, I wasn't and still am not, perfect. But to this very day, 47 years later, subconsciously, I still strive to be that 'perfect' God-daughter, daughter, wife, mother, sister, friend--for the fear of not being, is taking the chance that you will lose the love from that person.

Have you been there? Are you there? Are you at the place in your life that you feel, because of your earthly experiences, that in order to have someone love and accept you that you have to be perfect? That once you make a mistake, a bad choice, whatever the situation is, that you can't undo it? That your Heavenly Father wants nothing to do with you any longer? That He has erased your face and name from His heart?

Dear Child of His, He hasn't. Can't you accept that? His father's heart rejoices until it feels like it's going to burst when you come back to Him. When you ask for forgiveness and fall back into His warm, strong fatherly arms. All He wants is to hear you call Him by whatever name you have for Him, and tell Him you want to come home.

If you need to, do it today. Seriously. Oh, and by the way, Welcome Home.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Are You Weary?

"My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.

Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me through your law.

I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set my heart on your laws.

I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD;
do not let me be put to shame.

I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free." Psalm 119:28-32 NIV

Have you ever been to that place? That place that where your soul is so tired--tired of fighting, tired of the stress, tired of the sadness?

In Noah Webster's International Dictionary, weary is defined as: v. i.) To grow tired; to become exhausted or impatient; as, to weary of an undertaking. I've been there. And sometimes when I am there, I'm not a very nice person. Oh, you may not notice it on the outside, but in my spirit, God sees a whole bunch of ugly.

I'm not proud when I allow my spirit to get to that point--and blessfully, it doesn't get there very often. But when it does, I am so humbled because He brings it out to the light. (And hopefully before it spills onto others.) I see all my ugly and I have to cry out for forgiveness. Have you been there? Have you had to just back away and see yourself in the mirror of your Heavenly Father's eyes and see what your weariness has become--to see what it has caused your spirit to smell like? It smells like garbage.

That may seem harsh and it may offend you, but isn't that what a spirit filled with impatience, irritation, and judgement is--garbage? We don't plan it. Most times it just sneaks up on us. But we don't need to recycle it, do we? NO! We need to take it to the landfill and just leave it. Put it in the incinerator and let our God take it and burn it.

Then we can come back to Him, praying for Him to fill us up with His Heavenly spirit, with His sparkling joy, with His unending graciousness.

Do you know how to keep your spirit from becoming to that point--the point that it is so weary that you can't keep the bad out? First, pray. Be in constant conversation with your Heavenly God so that you know where you are at spiritually. And secondly, read His Holy Book. This book is a more than just a 'book'. Each and every page is a love letter to you. It keeps you filled--so your spirit is not weary but full of the wisdom of His heavenly pages. It keeps you focus--so that you stay on the path, emotionally, spiritually and physically, that He has designed for you.

"Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear." Matthew 24:35 NLT. That's a promise that brings such joy into my soul. How about yours?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Heavenly Therapy

"When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
the moon and the stars you set in place—
what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?
Yet you made them only a little lower than God
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You gave them charge of everything you made,
putting all things under their authority—the flocks and the herds
and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
and everything that swims the ocean currents.

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!" Psalm 8:3-9 NLT

Do you ever just stand at night and look up at the dark evening sky full of the twinkling and blinking of a billion and billion of stars? How does it make you feel? Are you full of the awe that your God made this? That in His ominous He created each and every star and placed it where it is?

For me, I think of the times that after a long day, whether it is a good day or a bad day, I feel the draw of going outside and just look up at the night sky and pick a star--my God star-- and tell it all about my day. It may sound crazy, but it is, for me, a wonderful way to just unwind from the day and spill my feelings, my thoughts, my fears, my joys-- out to my God. I focus on my God star and pray for my children, my husband, my family, my friends.

Our God, our Heavenly Father, is such a majestic God! And during those times when we are going through our valleys, we can tend to get lost in those valleys, But look around! Look at the beauty around you! God has loved us so much! He created the simplest of beauty to calm our souls--to give us peace. Whether it is just the brush of a gentle breeze, the brilliance of a sunset, the promise of a sunrise--God created it for you!

How loved you are! Praise Him today. I challenge you to find at least one beautiful thing this day that you can claim that your Heavenly Father made just for you--and share it!

Then, thank Him.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Heavenly Strength

"'Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!'” Nehemiah 8:10 NLT

When you are going through times that are not exactly pleasant, times that make you wonder how in the world you can make it through another day--remember this verse.

You may think that you have to be the strong one. That you have to be the one to make this situation better. That you have to do it all your self and quite honestly, you know you can't. Guess what? You are right! You can not do you it--but God can. You are not strong enough--but God through you is.

You may be thinking, "But you don't understand. You don't even know where I am coming from or what situation I am in." And you are correct. I don't know--But God does. Your Heavenly Father knows and has given you a way--His joy in you! His joy in and through you is all you need.

Do you remember hearing the old saying, "A house divided will not stand?" The same can apply here with your relationship with your Heavenly Father. If you are one with Him--if you are in Him and He is in you--you are the strongest that you could ever be. But if you leave Him out, if you are at odds with Him, if your Heavenly relationship is unbalanced--you will falter.

Joy(n.) To rejoice; to be glad; to delight; to exult. If you allow the Heavenly joy that comes from your God above--to fill your day, you will be strong enough.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Times of Strength

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you.
Don't be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
For I hold you by your right hand--I, the LORD your God.
And I say to you,
'Don't be afraid. I am here to help you.'"
Isaiah 41:10, 13 NLT

Our church family is going through a very sad time right now. One of our young sisters in Christ had a head-on a couple of days ago and was killed. She was in her early 20's. She was her mother's miracle baby--her only child. She was going to be married next month. We were going to have her bridal shower next week--and now we are planning her funeral. We mourn deeply with her mother.

These are the times that the above verse holds so much power. We all deal with grief differently, but we have the same God. We have the same Father that will strengthen us when we grieve--in whatever stage that is. We mourn for the loss of Becky in our everyday lives--we rejoice that she is where she is the happiest--in her Heavenly Father's arms.

Don't you love the image of the last verse, "For I hold you by the right hand--I, the LORD your God. And I say to you,'Don't be afraid, I am here to help you." ? When I read it, I get this vision of an outline of this big, tall, strong Father figure (my Heavenly Father) reaching down and holding the hand of this little 3 year old child (me). Looking into the scene, you feel the sense of security, of protection, of love. Because, at least for me sometimes, when I am going through emotional times, I do get a sense of fear. Of insecurity. Do you?

Times like these, when we don't have an answer to the question, "Why?"--we truly don't need it. It is enough to know that He is in control. And He cares enough to see us through all things.

Our God is an AWESOME God.

Monday, June 14, 2010


"Job, are you listening? Have you noticed all this?
Stop in your tracks! Take in God's miracle-wonders!
Do you have any idea how God does it all,
how he makes bright lightning from dark storms,
How he piles up the cumulus clouds—
all these miracle-wonders of a perfect Mind?”
Job 37:14-18 The Message

Are there times in your life when saddness seems to prevail? That you feel your faith is being taxed? There's uncertainity--or worse, you're just going through the motions of life and living?

Don't give in to it. Think upon this verse and so many more like it. God is a God of miracle wonders! Even in your sorrow, your saddness, your grief--He is there. Eyes filled with compassion and understanding. Lips to kiss the tears away. Arms that want to hold you tight and give you security--assurance that even if you don't understand why--He does. You don't need to.

All you need to do is crawl up into His big, familiar lap and have a good cry. Pour out all your feelings, your saddness, your questions. Let Him have it all. And when you are completely spent and empty--allow Him to do His miracle wonder in you. When you are empty, then He has room to fill you up with His Holy Spirit, His peace, His sparkling joy.

Our God is an Awesome God! Rejoice in this day!