Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Stormy Weather

" Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out.  But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy.  And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm.  But He said to them, “Where is your faith?”
And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!” 
Luke 8:22-25 NKJV

I read this the other day and was both challenged, and encouraged. The challenge comes in terms of my belief system. Just because I'm following Jesus is it smooth sailing? The encouragement is in the answer, no, but He is always good and in control. In control, if I'm in the boat with Him.

Lets look at this; Jesus gets in the boat and tells the disciples to get in with Him. He directs their course, and then rests. They are in the safest place on earth! They are in the boat with Jesus. Yet, even though they are with Him, and obeying Him, they get hit with a major life threatening storm. They cry out, and Jesus rescues them by exercising His sovereignty over the power of nature. Did they really need rescuing? Were they really in danger? After all, they were with Jesus. 

We should not be surprised that, when we follow Jesus, we get hit with the storms of life. Storms of sickness, fiances, relationships, sin, you name it. But if we are in the boat with Jesus even though we go through the storms, are we not really in a safe haven?

There are three keys to success in going through the storms of life that I want to point out. First, get in the boat with Jesus. Receive His invitation to enter into a life giving relationship. Second, stay in the boat with Him by staying in His Presence. Be filled with His Spirit, His Word, His people, worship, and service. Third, exercise the faith He has given you. I would add one more key; be thankful!

I really needed to receive this good news the other day. Like many of us, I'm facing a storm. Its good to know Who I'm in the boat with. Even the storm is no match for Him!

So, get in the boat with Jesus and don't be shocked when the storms of life come your way. You are in the safest place possible!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How Will You Be Remembered?

" And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.
But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Mark 14:3-9 NKJV

This account from scripture really speaks to me. It speaks of value systems, love, commitment, and, the heart of God. The woman in scripture is Mary, a friend of Jesus. The Alabaster jar and oil were extremely expensive. Mary poured out what was precious and of great value to her upon Jesus. When I read this passage I think of our lives. What is precious to us that we are pouring out for Jesus? 

People devote their entire lives to Jesus, and to many, including those in the Church, they are wasting their lives  away. I just came back from North Africa where I saw single men and women, who were devoting there lives to see the Bible translated into native tongues. I saw families living in conditions that were very difficult. They do this because they love Jesus, and want to share the living hope of Christ to a world that is in dire need of the Good News. To many this seems like a waste of life. You don't have to go to a distant country to pour out your life for Christ. Wherever you are is an opportunity to give your all for Jesus. Mary gave her all as a response to the love of Christ in her life. So can you.  Mary was considered a fool by many for giving her all for Jesus. And so will you. But Jesus treasured her love. He will for you. Jesus said that wherever people hear the Good News of salvation, they will hear about what Mary did for Him.

There is another person in this account that we should look at, his name is Judas. He is also remembered wherever the Good News is shared. If fact, his name is synonymous with being a traitor, a back stabber. Whereas Mary, gave her all to Jesus, Judas sold out Jesus for a few dollars. 

Two people, both close to Jesus. Both remembered for to completely different reasons. One for love and devotion, the other for selling out his friend.

How will you be remembered?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Soul Exploding!!

"16 I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves,17 and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, 18 so that you, together with all God's people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ's love. 19 Yes, may you come to know his love—although it can never be fully known—and so be completely filled with the very nature of God." Ephesians 3:14-19 GNT

There is so much in these verses, but I feel that the Lord just wants to us to keep it simple.

Read these verses, one at a time and really pray over what God wants to reveal to you and for you to receive. I say this because when I read it all at once, I get so many promises and information that I can't really receive it all--because it is so big and soul exploding!

As you read, what are you receiving? For me, the common thread is love. That my heavenly Father loves me so much that I can't really wrap my emotions, faith or brain around it. I keep saying to myself, "But I'm a sinner. I fall short all the time. I don't deserve this type of love." And then, if I was to be truly honest, I can find myself thinking, "Yes, I can receive this love, but what if I get all used to it and then He whips it away from me? What then? Can I truly trust in this love? People on this earth love me and then all of a sudden it seems, they take it away--what if God's this way too?"

But these verses are also about faith and faith is believing even if you don't see. Faith is doing something even in fear, if your God is telling you that should. So, if I was to simplify these verses for God's gift to me, it would be this: I can be loved and receive His love on the faith that He is true to His word. And it is not anything that I can earn or un-earn. It just is. And with that love, faith and the holy spirit inside me, I can be as bold and courageous as God created me to be. And I have to do some housecleaning--in this case, I need to take that hot, soapy water and Brillo pad and scrub my old thought pattern--old hurt--away. I can't receive my new thought pattern if my old one still has it's grip on me--do you see?

How about you? What was spoken was for me, but God may be speaking something different to you. And again, truly search your spirit when you read these verses one by one so that you can receive the whole gift that God has waiting for you to receive and to own. Be prepared for the possibility that you may have to do some "housecleaning"--clean out that old hurt, habit or hang-up--in order to fully receive your gift. That may be a little messy but so well worth it in the end.

And then watch out!! You may find that your heart, mind and soul will soon be exploding all over the place! 

 "20 To him who by means of his power working in us is able to do so much more than we can ever ask for, or even think of:21 to God be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 GNT

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


"Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way." Colossians 3:15-17 The Message

When you read these verses, what speaks to you? What pops out of the page?

What pops out at me is these three things: peace, thankfulness and "sing, sing your hearts out to God."

If you are like me, I can--at times--focus on the negative. Oh, I see the good, and I appreciate it so much. But then when a negative comes--bang!--good is all gone and all I see is negative. And then I am stuck there--usually too long. Because even if a good thing comes along, it can get colored by the bad thing that just left or that I am still stuck in. So, I can't really appreciate the good. Can you relate?

So, when I read these verses, I love the whole message that Paul is promoting. But for me personally, the "cultivate thankfulness" and "sing, sing your hearts out to God" means so much at this time of my walk. It reminds me that I need to be thankful for ALL that is happening in my life. That I need to sing, sing my heart praises out to God. If I truly believe that my God has my best interest at heart and that He is in control of ALL things--then good or bad--I need to sing praises and be thankful! And I have been trying that concept for the past couple of weeks and do you know what? It has helped. When something happens, I praise Him for either the blessing, if it is a pleasant thing, which of course is easy. But I have also try to genuinely thank Him for the pruning or lesson learned--when it is not so pleasant--which is hard. Yet, when I do it, I can honestly say that I truly do feel the sting go out of the unpleasant thing--and that is such a peaceful feeling.

What about you? What can these verses teach you? Or what is it that God wants you to glean from these words? There's many life/faith issues here. Do you need to spend more time with the Lord? "
Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives." Do you need to allow others to speak into your life or is God prompting you to speak into someone else's life? "Instruct and direct one another using good common sense." Do you need to make amends with someone but you have been procrastinating? "Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other." Do you need to make sure that you're living out your faith? "Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way." 

I challenge you this week to read these verses every day and then pray over them. Ask your Heavenly Father to reveal to you what He wants for you. Pray also that He reveal to you what you need to change, let go, etc, in your life, heart, mind--in order to be able to receive this new truth. Because you can't keep getting good stuff and stick it in with the old stuff that is not good. There's not enough room and of course, it's not healthy. 

What an exciting time this will be for you! 

OK! Enough talking--get going!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Caution--Use Wisely!

"Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.” Matthew 12:35-37 The Message

I ran across these words today and it made me stop and think. They made me stop and evaluate the words that I have spoken lately. Have I been kind? Have I been honest? Have I been gossiping? Have I spoken in anger or in an unkind tone? Have I been speaking words of encouragement when encouragement was needed? Speaking of words of love, when love was needed? Even words of accountability when accountability was needed? Have I been critical when I should have been forbearing? Do I speak the Christian language when I hang out with my Christian friends or when I'm at church, yet when I am at work, or home, or anywhere else, do I have a whole different language?

Then God brought my thought life into mind. Words are not always spoken you know. A major part of our words are inside, in our minds and spirits. What words have I been speaking there? Have I been complaining or have I been thankful? Have I been envious or have I been grateful for what I do have? Have I been having private conversations with myself about someone and I should actually be speaking to them instead? Have I been harboring hurts, disappointments, when I should be releasing them to God?

How about the written word? Have I written notes of encouragement? Notes of love? When I Facebook, when I email, when I twitter--are the words I post for all the world to see worthy of my walk? Would I even want the people reading them to know that I am a Christian? Would I post those same words or thoughts if I was twittering, Face-booking or emailing God? I don't know about you, but there are times when something that I see on Facebook or in an email can be perceived, at least by me, as rude or alarming. When I ask about the sender about it, the most common response is--it's just an post. It's just an email. But is it truly? 

Words are powerful. They are one of the most powerful, awesome gifts that God has given us. We need to use it for His glory. To build His kingdom. That doesn't mean that we only say sugar-sweet, marshmellowy, gooey words. No. Our Lord wants us to speak truth into someone's life and sometimes those words may be hard to hear as well as to speak. But if they are truly from the Lord, it's the spirit they are spoken in, the heart behind it, that makes the difference between a hurtful, harsh word of admonishment and a healing, kind word of admonishment. Does that make sense to you?

How about you? When you read the above verses, what comes into your spirit? Your mind? Is there some embarrassment of words you have spoken, thought or posted in the past? Is there a face that comes to mind that you need to connect with and make amends?

Take a moment today--right now if you can--and pray to your Heavenly Father for strength, discernment and courage to do the right thing. If He brings something or someone to your heart, if you can, take care of it. Do what He leads you to do. Don't put it off. You never know what is around the bend. It may be just to pray a prayer of forgiveness to Him or He may lead you to make a personal contact. Whatever it is, just do it. And then thank Him. Praise Him that He cares so much for you that you doesn't want you to just sit around in your own stinky muck and mire. He wants you to run free and feel the fresh, clean wind of His Holy Spirit just rushing over you. You are free, free indeed!

"The Lord and the Spirit are one and the same, and the Lord’s Spirit sets us free." 2 Corinthians 3:17 CEV

Thursday, February 21, 2013

You Want Me to do WHAT?!

"And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, GIVING PRAISE TO GOD THE FATHER through Him."  Colossians 3:17 AMP

This Sunday our church is having a "Celebration Sunday." It's a Sunday to celebrate not only our church's birthday, but also to celebrate all that the Lord has done in the lives of our church family. 

But this year, it got me thinking about exactly what am I thankful for. Oh,as I'm sure with you, I'm thankful for the blessing of my wonderful family and friends. I am thankful for my job. I'm thankful for the earthly possessions that He has blessed my family and myself with. But I wanted to go deeper.

And then last night God brought me to this verse, which I read in the NIV. But I like to take a verse and see in other versions, and this morning I discovered that I loved the amplified version. If you take it line by line, it brings being thankful and how you live--in a different light. At least for me. Especially the "in dependence upon His Person." It's in HIS power, not ours.

You see, we need to take EVERYTHING and thank our Heavenly Father for it. Even the bad. Even the not-so-much-fun. The nasty. I need to thank my Father for my husband's bad health. I need to thank my Father for my desperate fight to be free from relationship codependency bondage.  I need to thank my Father for when I don't understand why a special friend seems to be pushing my away and I don't understand why. I need to thank my God for the fact that even though my husband and I are both working, that there seems to be always something taking our money--the list could go on. But do you see what I am saying? The above verse doesn't say to just thank our God for the pretty, the sweet, the nice--and don't get me wrong, we need to thank Him for those things too. But I think, and this is just me, it is easy to thank for those things--not so much the trials.

And when we do it, we need to do it right. When I was walking this morning, talking to God about the friend issue, He spoke to me and said, "Praise Me. Praise Me in ALL things and think of what this time of struggle, confusion and hurt is teaching you." And I did. And you know what? Even though I am still confused and hurt, it gave me a peace. Crazy right? But it truly did. I guess you can say that it put it in a different light.

So, now it's your turn. What is it in your life that may not be the best situation, the not-so-nice, the nasty, the hurtful--but you need to PRAISE your Heavenly Father for? Got those things in mind? One at a time, give them to your Father. Pour out why that thing is not so nice--pour out the frustration, the hurt, the confusion, whatever--He wants to hear your honesty, your genuineness  And believe it or not, He already knows. It's not news to Him. And then praise Him for what it. Praise Him for the opportunity to be learning, to be learning how faithful, gracious of a Father you have. How you can be totally, completely, dependent upon Him--always. Praise Him for the opportunity to be able to learn a new coping method, for correcting a character flaw, whatever it is. That is between you and your God. And then be still, listen for that small--yet powerful--still voice in your spirit, and know that HE is God--YOUR God!

"Your sun will never go down again.
Your moon will never again be dark.
That’s because the Lord will be your light forever,
and the dark days of mourning will end." 
Isaiah 60:20 ERV

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My Daddy is Bigger Than Anything!

"The Lord is far above
    all of the nations;
he is more glorious
    than the heavens.

No one can compare
    with the Lord our God.
His throne is high above,
and he looks down to see
    the heavens and the earth." Psalm 113:4-6 CEV

WOW! I don't know about you, but when I read these verses, all I could say was WOW! Oh, don't get me wrong, I knew my God was big, but this big? Just the picture that He is so big that He has to look down to see into the Heavens. I always thought of Him in heaven, but above? That just wowed my spirit. This may seem weird, but it actually gave me a newer, deeper, sense of awe--of respect for the God I serve. For my Daddy.

What about you? Is your view of your Heavenly Daddy limited to the clouds or can you envision the true size of Him? Do you still think that He is too small for your life? For your problems. For your hurts, habits or hangups?

Your Daddy is SO big that there is not a space that is big enough to hold Him. He encompasses EVERYTHING! Did you get that? EVERYTHING! Not some things, not a just portion--ALL--EVERYTHING! 

And it's all there for you to receive. You just have to humbly ask--(pray), be still--(listen), take what He tells you (receive) and then thank Him (praise).

Your Daddy is above all daddies. Isn't that AWESOME?!

 “Are there any gods like the Lord?
    No, there are no gods like you—
    you are wonderfully holy!
    You are amazingly powerful!
    You do great miracles!" Exodus 15:11 ERV

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Let Freedom Reign!

"The Spirit we have been speaking of is the Lord; and where the Lord’s Spirit is, there is freedom."  2 Corinthians 3:17 KNOX

FREEDOM! Isn't that an amazing promise! What other god can say that? When I read this verse, my soul was just amazed at the mere thought that we have access to freedom. Freedom from our past. Freedom from our hang-ups. Freedom from our hurts, from addictions, from any and everything that would hold us back from being the son, the daughter that our Heavenly Father created us to be.

This is true freedom. Freedom IN Him. You can't buy it. You can't earn it. You can't even barter for it. God has it for you to just receive. And once you receive it, you can't lose it. Nothing will come between you and your God, nothing: "neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:39 NIV

It's there for the taking. All you have to do is ask. Go to your Heavenly Father and just have a heart to heart. Get all the distractions away--phone, cell phone, computer, T.V., family, friends, time restraints -everything and just give Him your undivided attention--your heart, soul, mind. And just pour out all you have in you. He will listen. He is a great receiver. And then when you are emptied of the things you need freedom from, stop. Stop and now listen to Him. He will fill you up with His Spirit that will give you the freedom you so yearn for. And then the last and most important step--PRAISE HIM!

Praise Him for being the Father that is above all other Fathers that have ever been and will ever be. Praise Him for loving you SO much that He will give--in fact He desires it so intently--the freedom you so badly need.

"It’s you, God! You who are my king,
    the one who orders salvation for Jacob.
We’ve pushed our foes away by your help;
    we’ve trampled our enemies by your name.
No, I won’t trust in my bow;
    my sword won’t save me
    because it’s you who saved us from our foes,
    you who put those who hate us to shame." Psalm 44:4-7 CEB

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Movie of the Century

"8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying:
'You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.'
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice:
'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!'
13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
'Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!'

14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever." Revelation 5:8-13 NKJV

Picture this--the scene opens with the main character--a Lamb--sitting on a throne. There is a few supporting characters circling around the Lamb. As they encircle the Lamb, they begin singing this beautiful song of love and worthiness. This new song. A song that came straight from their spirits. When they are through singing, the camera pans out a little further.

Now when the camera picks up the next scene, the lens is full of angels. Thousands upon thousands of angels. Still in the center of the stage is the Lamb and the supporting characters, but now the lens, as far as you can see, is full of angels. And then they start singing their song of praise. Can you imagine the sound? The wondrous sound of all those voices singing a love song to the Lamb. Can you feel the walls and floors shaking with the sound? Can you feel the pulse of the emotion striking you in the chest? It's like your heart beats in the rhythmic of the song. How is the Lamb receiving all of this? Does He look scared? At peace? 

Then the next scene is panned out even farther, the farthest a camera can pan. In this scene, not only are the billions of angels still there with the lamb in the middle, but now the earth, the creatures of the earth, in the earth and under the earth, the creatures in the sea and on the sea--all join in with their song of glory and wonder. Isn't that amazing!?

Then in the closing scene, the camera zooms back to the Lamb-- background is black, with a single light upon the Lamb and then the original supporting characters fall face down in front of the Lamb and praise Him! What a moment!

The Lord led me to this passage last night and WOW! I can't even begin to share what it has done to me. It just made me weep. I was so overwhelmed by the fact that the Lamb was worthy to open the seals because He was slain for me to be redeemed to my Father. My spirit cried out, but Lamb, you were already worthy to open those seals. But while He was, I wasn't. He had to for me. But not only for me, but for you and all the nations, all the languages, every tribe, every people--oh how our father loves us! He doesn't want to lose any of us! What faithfulness & grace!

How can we turn our noses at Him? How arrogant of us! How can we NOT receive Him into our hearts, souls, homes, marriages, lives, jobs? How DARE we? How can we go on, sinning and rejecting and not even consider what we are doing and whom we are doing it to?

People! This is the year that we need to turn from our ways and embrace His ways! We need to stop living on His grace and start giving back. Listen, even those in Hell know who He is and worship Him in the end.

So, please, pray for the Lord to show you where you need to ask Him to take over and then do it. Give Him your life--ALL of it! Not just the parts that make you feel good. He needs to be the Lord of ALL every single tiny part--there should be no closets with closed doors in your spirit. If you do this, what a year you will have! Praise Jesus!