Saturday, April 30, 2016

Thanking You in the valleys....

Good morning all-

I've been blessed to be on my husband's business trip soaking in a little of Florida's beautiful sun and ocean scenes.  It's been a fun trip.  Honestly, my husband and I haven't been on a trip by ourselves since our honeymoon.  We had kids right away and we took family vacations, which were absolutely wonderful.  I can see though, that us spending time together, reconnecting and finding our way back to each other is even more wonderful.  When you take time to connect good things happen.

So I'm connecting and it's not just with my husband it's with my Lord and Savior.  I've learned a lot about how much time I actually was taking with God before, during and after my trial.  I can tell you I spent a little time with Him before, I ramped up and spent hours and hours with Him during the trial and now, I can say I'm spending some time with Him but it's different.  I find myself talking to Him throughout the day, thinking about the Scripture He gave me in the morning and going to bed thinking about all that He has done.  And as I wake every morning, I say, "Thank you."  It might not be about anything in particular but I'm just so thankful for my time with Him.

My biggest lesson learned this month, to believe in His will and have faith that He knows me and my circumstances.  Why you ask?  Because faith came from the trial and faith broke me of my idols and faith set me free from many of my fears.  I'm still a work-in-progress so don't hear me wrong.  It's just that I've learned to capture every negative thought, not believe in myself more than my Lord and really see things with His eyes not mine.  Hard lessons win great rewards.  My reward was to fall in love with my God stronger, harder and hopefully, deeper.

My greatest desire is to win the hearts of women for Him.  He has taken me through many journeys in my life and my love for Him has grown day by day.  Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the purification of my heart  and ministry more than the journey of the last year.  I have found Him in the valley and watched as He held my hand up the mountain, over it and to the promise land.  I know I have never loved Him more because now I need Him first thing in the morning and before I go to sleep at night.  Man has a way of infusing his own spin on life.  He believes he understands all things but no one does but God.  Jesus prayed for us, He gave us prayers to pray and He loved us unconditionally.  No man can do that.  Even if you can pray for your enemy, it's hard for us not to try to repair our reputation.  Jesus knew that on the other side of this world was peace, prosperity and grace.  He knew that the world we live in is evil and man's heart could be evil.  Even with all that, He laid His life down for us and gave us a heart to yearn for Him.

I've never yearned more.  I've never needed Him more.  And I've never been this thankful about anything in my life. It's hard for us to forgive. It's hard for us not to want all the glory and power.  We think we achieve that when we get to the top of our careers or make a bundle of money.  The truth is that true success means you trusted in Jesus to make you His steward and that every step was guided by His hand, not for our individual glory, but for His.

I hope this day finds you well and I hope no matter your circumstance, you seek Him mightily.  The only way to get through a trial is to hunker down, spend time with Him in reading and prayer and only look at today.  Looking out past today will only make you more depressed.  Tomorrow will come soon enough.

My heart is for you and every one of those that could hit this blog by accident.  We are all on a journey full of valleys and mountains.  Let's climb them together with our Savior.  Day by Day, step by step, we will reach the pinnacle if we trust Him with all our hearts.  I  leave you with the Scripture He gave to me this week.  It's a confirmation of my life's purpose and I am committed to see it through.

Isaiah 42:5-7 (NIV)

This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
    who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
    who gives breath to its people,
    and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
    I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people
    and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
    to free captives from prison
    and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

Nothing in this life is easy.  Whether you know God or not, you will go through trials.  However, when you know God, your trials bear fruit.  Something to think about today, don't you think? I want any hardship in my life to bear fruit for generations, don't you?  Be well my sisters and pay this prayer out loud.  We all should want to open the eyes of the blind!  In Jesus name we proclaim.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Assurance in God...

Good morning all-

It's a glorious morning in Kansas.  Last night I watched as the sun set into a beautiful pale pink and this morning the sun is rising with a blazing yellow.  Isn't it good to be assured that every evening we will watch the sun set and every morning it will rise again.  We count on it and we can tell everyone that we are assured that the sun will rise and set daily.  If we are so confident in those two facts, why are we not assured in Jesus Christ?

Assurance is knowing that you can count on something.  You believe in it 100%.  Most of the times I think we hold onto assurance in our own ability but that's false.  We are assured as long as we do a great job at work, we will never lose it.  And then there's our kids, we feel assured that our parenting will make them pillars of society but even that statement and thought process is false.  We can't hold any assurance in our ability or the world.  As a matter of fact, the only thing that holds assurance is Jesus Christ and yet we flounder, doubt, worry and basically lack assurance.  Why?

I think it goes back to the Israelites.  I hate thinking I am like them but I've found myself being like them in the past and probably will be in the future unless I am 100% dedicated to my Lord and Savior Jesus!  They took their eyes off the prize and once they did that the world enveloped them and they became a stiff-necked people.  Think about that for a moment.   I woke up this morning with a stiff-neck.  For one it hurts, it's hard to turn my head and it's just a pain all around.  When Moses describes his people like that you have to wonder how stubborn, obstinate and sadly unfaithful they were to God.  Well, we know that they were and Moses was afraid for his people. Thank goodness God is a graceful God who is slow to anger.  If it were not so, that entire people group of that time, along with all of us would be wiped from the earth.  But God is patient and we can be assured of that.  How do we know?  Because we still live on the earth and we're still making the same dumb mistakes and yet, God has sat back for thousands of years waiting for all of us stiff-necked people to turn to Him.

The signs of being stiff-necked are simple, we believe we are in control, we lack faith and we plan our futures.  Really?  Do we have any idea what our futures hold?  No. God does though and He reveals it to us little by little as we seek Him.  God is the direction, not us.  Oh, how I had to learn that lesson and it was painful but totally worth it.  I never wanted to be an Israelite.  As a matter of fact, as I read, I often thought how stupid they were.  So imagine my surprise as God took me into the desert to test my assurance of Him and in those moments it was revealed, I was an Israelite.  I might not have made a gold cow but my direction was owned by me and that control only brought worry, fear and frustration.  Once I came to a place where I wanted water, needed water more than I needed anything, Christ met me and allowed me to drink from His eternal well.  And oh how I did.  I repented, tossed security out like you toss a dog bone and waited, wondering what the next day would bring.

Through that great trial, I began to see a God I never knew.  I became assured that He went before me and that I was His child.  That doesn't mean everything will be perfect, it just means that God has my back and I need Him to.  I need Him every morning and every evening and now that I count on Him daily, I can be assured He is with me and that I have found favor in His sight.  With my surrender and repentance, I found peace, direction and love.  It wasn't easy, it never is.  Just look at the Israelites if you want to see a journey of frustration and confusion.  I repented and the confusion became a clear, concise direction that only God had control of.  I don't care how hard I work as an employee or a wife and mother, I will fail if it isn't for the assurance that Jesus Christ is Lord.  I still may fail in the world's eyes but I'm not looking for the world to give me a pat on the back.  I need Jesus to be with me and to go before me.  That's the only assurance in life that matters. So if you can't get past yourself, I suggest you pray about it, reach out to me so I can pray with you or talk to your best friend and repent.  It's time we let Jesus bring in the catch and rely on the assurance that He came for us so that we might have eternal life.  Everything else doesn't come close to comparing.  I could win hundreds of awards but if Christ uses me to save one person, I have completed the race.  Think about that today as you go to church.

Colossians 2:2 NKJV:

that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,

I'm praying for you my sisters and thanking God that we have the assurance that He is with us.  All we need is Him.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

My faith is restored...

Good morning all-

I left Wichita Kansas early this morning on my first business trip since I left the corporate world.  I'm excited and full of anticipation.  It reminds me of the day I got saved.  I was so full of hope and excitement for Jesus and my heart was open wide.  I'm there again just more mature, tried and tested.  Life has away of doing that but then you put God into it and you get steel being sharpened.  The heat has been hot for some time now.  I have often felt like a piece of pottery being molded and re-molded.  I can't say I loved every minute of it because I didn't.  I put fear, worry, anxiety and obsession in front of  love, peace and faith. 

The lesson to be learned was that in order for me to have true faith, I needed to surrender all and live moment by moment.  Anybody ever try that?  It's just not that easy.  Life is to be directed, drawn out and should go exactly to plan.  Well, if you can say you're one of those people then you are truly blessed.  I, however, haven't been that lucky.

As I give God all the glory for the doors He is opening up for me, I must also give Him all the glory for restoring my faith, helping me to release control and only live for today.  The glory fully belongs to Jesus because there is no human way I could do it.  I'm just too type A to give up everything. 

Having time on my hands made me go through old notes, these notes consisted of prayers from 2015 and wow how I see God's hand in everything that's happening now.  I prayed for adventure, so I quit my job.  I prayed I would trust, so I quit my job.  I prayed that I would have faith that moved a mountain, so I quit my job.  Do you get the picture?  And, yes, I know I sound crazy but I was on my knees the whole time.  I was asking, seeking, reading, praying and getting Holy direction.  My person was stretched to the limit and as I was stretched, the Holy Spirit started filling in the gaps.  He reminded me that the only direction was one that He had for my life and fortunately, I don't have to figure out all the details.

Faith restored is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.  I had become a product of the world.  I looked at things and could project the outcome.  I forgot the power of the cross, the beauty of the death and resurrection of Jesus and the supernatural.  I was looking at the circumstances like a detective looking at evidence.  If I'm not planning and plotting out my future, who will?  Well, the truth is God couldn't get through to me.  My cellular tower was intermittent and the signal was fading and then a trial came and I had to open up the channels and faith opened up. And that's the day Jesus met me once again.  He didn't scold me for lacking faith.  He didn't judge me for all that I had put in front of Him.  All He did was meet me right where I was and when He did, my faith was restored in a God that is faithful.

I'm sure this journey will have many more turns.  I will rest in today though, for tomorrow will come soon enough.  Your peace for today resides in your faith for today.  How do you get both?  You accept that Jesus does have the wheel and you're part of the tapestry, living moment by moment with Him. That's what I'm going to do. 

I hope today finds you well my sisters and if you don't know Jesus, today is the day! It's so simple.  All you have to do is say, "Jesus, I believe in You.  I believe You died on a cross for my sins and that I'm forgiven through Your blood."  What is your gift?  Your faith will be restored, not in man, but in God!

John 3:16 New International Version (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Your praise is ever on my lips...

Good morning all-

I've been up since 3 am this morning so I've already spent my quiet time with Jesus, looked up recipes to make this week and will be praying for all of you.  My time writing is one of my favorite times with the Lord.  I sometimes feel as if He's writing through my fingers and when I read back, I'm in awe.  Over the last months I couldn't write.  I tried and maybe if I was having a good day, I wrote a couple times a month but all the creativity and energy it took to write was hard to summon.  I was in the desert and the desert felt dry, dusty and if I'm honest, like quicksand.  There was no brightness or rainbows.  There was just me and God trudging day to day together, moment by moment.  Those moments have turned into the best of my life.  If you knew all the details, I don't think you would agree and either did I, in the moment.  However,  I now realize its been the best time of my life because I'm learning to rest in God, trust in Him even when I can't see and just praise Him with my lips.

It is easy for me to praise you for what you've done well.  I like to be praised and I know that others do too.  So praise comes easy for me, normally.  God tested me in this over the last year.  He pushed me to my limit and requested that I respond with praise.  I'm surprised He heard anything through all that complaining but eventually, as I gave Him everything, the praise became my saving grace.  I literally found myself, and still do, praising Him in the morning and in the evening.  I praised Him when I was driving, cooking or cleaning.  I praised Him whenever possible and little by little the light came through the clouds and what once was dry and dusty became beautiful and bright.

It didn't happen overnight.  I really complained.  I grew weary of complaining and of my negativity.  Every day I had to choose to be nice, thoughtful, encouraging and uplifting.  The smile on my face didn't capture the grumbling ogre within.  I covered it by acting like life was great but over time people that knew me began to ask me how I was.  I would answer with great, fine, why?  And they would push until I talked.  All I wanted to do was hide.  I was ashamed that I was handling my life deplorably and I was ashamed that I was grumbling more than praising Jesus.  I just felt dry and alone.  That was the lie.  I wasn't dry or alone.  I was being stretched to believe.  Jesus wanted me to put down all that I treasured for Him alone and He was showing me through others that my acting was awful.  At least with people that knew me well.  I couldn't con people that cared about me.  It was freeing to humble myself and say, "I'm going through a rough time and need prayer."  So little by little, day by day, the grumbling lessened and the praise increased. 

As I praised, I saw Jesus in His true form.  I saw a God that loved me for me.  My heart broke and I began to see the beauty of the Lord in a way that I have never experienced before.  I needed Jesus, not just for my token 20 minutes a day.  I needed Jesus 24/7 and I still do.  I now read my devotional morning and night.  I wake up most days thanking Him for all He has done.  I pray more for others and I'm more aware of the world and what Jesus wants the world to know.  And through this beautiful transformation, I started writing again, reading more, loving more and really seeking Him in all things.

God is good and He is faithful.  I've realized that my desert period, although very difficult, was the only way I was going to rest in Him, believe in Him for all things and have faith in the unseen.  I had become jaded and I truly believed I was in control of my own destiny.  I had to be broken from my world thinking that makes us believe that we are the final judge and jury.  Many of us have fallen into this viewpoint and we must repent and let Jesus take the wheel again.  We can't be women that seek Christ if we don't give Him all the credit, all the praise and all the direction.  We must surrender all to see the world through His eyes. Surrendering does not make us weak creatures, it gives us strength, courage and perseverance.  We go from being a lamb to a lion as we give our Lord all the control.

Today, I can say I'm thankful.  I also realize that no amount of advice would have helped me during my trial.  Only Jesus could show me my path.  I needed human people to lift me up in prayer but what really got me through was praise on my lips.  Praising and thanksgiving took me from the negative to the feet of Jesus!

If you don't know the Lord, it's time.  Repent of your sins, tell Him you accept Him and love Him and He will give you the keys to eternal life. We will all have struggles but through those struggles He shows us His love and mercy.  He's worth it, take the first step today.

Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV)
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

Psalms 119:171 (NKJV)
My lips shall utter praise, For You teach me Your statutes.

Lord we just praise Your name and thank you for your goodness.  As the world repents, we pray You would continue to go before us.  Help us to surrender all with our lips!  We know You are good and that the things of this world must fall for us to see You in all Your splendor.  Bring Your sheep forward and through their praise make them lions. We need You Lord in every facet of our life.  Thank You for taking off the blinders and replacing them with Your eyes.  May we praise You morning and night for all Your loving kindness. In Jesus Name, AMEN

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Veil...

Good morning all-

I hope no matter what your journey is right now you woke up with thanksgiving in your heart. I'm excited this morning because you can hear and feel the rain coming.  It's like God is preparing all His little creatures and sending them a message that provision is on its way.  The birds are chirping to our king and we are all in anticipation for April showers.  God is good and we are blessed moment by moment with His presence and peace.   I pray there is never a time in our lives or those that will go on after us that God is not present. Actually, I pray that for the whole world because a world where God steps back would not be a world I would want to be in.

Well like always I'm a little off of topic.  I really wanted to bring you into our title today.  Why the veil?  Well, I was reading in Exodus, not sure why, it's just where my fingers took me yesterday and God showed me something I'm sure I've seen before but you know when a word just jumps right out of your Bible and your like, Hmm, what is that for?  And then you get into your devotional and you see the word again and your like, okay, this is not a coincidence, right?  So as I made my coffee today it made me think about the meaning. A veil is to hide behind.  It covers the unseen in the spiritual world and it's the picture we have of the temple when Jesus died and the veil was torn.  The curtains tore from top to bottom, remember? I'm sure you do but the veil I'm talking about was of Moses and the experience he had with God and what none of the movies show.  In this story of Exodus, it is revealed in Scripture that Moses wore a veil after he spoke to the people about what God wanted them to know. Interesting right? I found it so.  Why a veil?  I gather it was because he glowed with the power of God.  Remember when God said that He found favor on Moses.  In that Scripture, it reveals that Moses could see God's back but not His face.  And because Moses was so close to the God Almighty, he glowed. And then this morning in my devotional (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young), which off the topic is one of the best I've ever read, it talked about the veil again and I thought, "Lisa you have to put two and two together."  So I did. And what my human brain can gather is that when Jesus died the veil wasn't just torn in the church; it was torn from our eyes.  Through His death and resurrection all of us today have the ability to participate in the same experience Moses had with God and if we let the Holy Spirit take over, the power of God glows within us.

Now that's mighty!  Moses spent time with God and His glory changed Moses' face. We spend time with the Holy Trinity and we will be transformed in that glory.  What a beautiful connection to make on a day when God sends rain to Kansas. I find delight in that, don't you? Because Jesus died on that cross, the veil between God and His people was torn, not just a tad but forever.  We were given the Holy Spirit to be in communion with Jesus Christ so that we could experience God daily. We don't have to hide ourselves behind a veil, we get to live it, speak it and allow people to witness the full glory of God through our lives. I'm in a wow moment, how about you?

Often, I think Christians and non-Christians believe God has no idea what He's doing.  I know there have been times in my life when I was like, "Really God, I think there should be another way." And of course there wasn't because God can see the future and the future is His to see, not ours.  So as I sit and write today, I feel so much thanksgiving in my heart.  I worship a real God.  I worship a majestic God that knows every hair on my head, every step I take and every breath I breathe.  I can look on the cross and see pain, mercy, love and devotion to a people that are blind, kind of stupid and really too self-centered to see Him half the time.  And yet, He loved us so much that He gave His Son to death so that we may have life.  I think sometimes we forget that the life we're living is the purpose but the purpose is for Him to live through us, so that we may have eternal life.  There is no end for a Christian! Take that in today and thank God for tearing the veil and allowing us to be in His presence through His One and Only Son!

Exodus 34: 33-35 NIV

33 When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face.
34 But whenever he entered the LORD’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD.

2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV

18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.                                

Thursday, April 14, 2016

What's in it for me....

Good morning all-

I'm watching the sunrise as I sit here and write this blog.  The sun is rising in the East and I'm reminded that God is constant.  I love the mornings because they remind me that everything is the same but different.  How can that be you might ask?  Life changes moment by moment.  We can never be sure what today will hold but every day when we get up the sun rises and every night as we look to the West the sun sets.  The best thing is it happens in every part of the world.  God set the timing and although man thinks they control everything, they don't control that, ever!

Have you ever thought how wonderful it is that God arranged the morning to have a time and for our rest He gave us night?  It really is interesting how every single detail in a humans life is orchestrated by a God many don't even believe in.  And if we do believe, I think we ask way too often, what's in this for me?  I know I have a time or two.  This point was brought to light definitively for me.  As you know my life verse has been Jeremiah 29:11.  I walk by this verse because I need to know daily that God has a purpose for all the road blocks, windy turns, and rocky climbs.  I need to know that I have support that's stronger and larger than me.  I need to know that all of the craziness of this life boils down to one thing, Jesus and yet, I know, just like you, I have thought, "What's in this for me?" Right now as I sit and write I'm waiting to see what God is going to do in my life.  It would be easy for me to say to Jesus, "I've spent more time with you, believed in you more, so where in the world are you and the blessing Jeremiah 29:11 promises?"  Probably not a good question to ask.  Why?  Because He is with us always and because as smart as some of us feel, we just can't know what He's doing or where we're headed without Him aligning every step.  For a person like me that's extremely difficult. I love to know and yet, every morning when I get up, my future and my finances are in His hands.  I have no idea what tomorrow will bring and if I try to map out all the details, organize them and put them into compartments, I will miss out on the greatest blessing of my life and so will you.

The question should never be, "What's in it for me?" The question should be, "How hard do I need to seek you so that I can know your will?" It doesn't matter what's in this journey for me because it was never about me.  If Jesus had that mentality where would we be? We would be lost and not saved that's for sure.  Do you think He had the luxury of saying to His Father if there was something in it for Him?  He should have been put on a pedestal.  He should have been praised by the masses.  He should have watched everyone kneel to Him and yet, His Jeremiah 29:11 was to lose His life for you and me.

This is the picture that has been placed in my mind over the last months and it's the only thing that has kept me directed and walking toward Him.  My husband who is a sometimes believer lives by, "What's in it for me?" So when this journey didn't go as planned he really didn't understand.  He even said to me that I was the one that read my Bible, prayed and went to church.  He thinks God owes me because I do all those things.  God never owed me anything.  He walked beside me, He watched over me and He righted my path when I didn't even know if it could be righted.  He has comforted me like no human could and He has given me more purpose, more passion, more verve than I've had in 10 years.  He has taught me to rely on Him and not myself.  He has given me hope when I was hopeless and rest when I was weary.  He has molded me and reminded me that as I seek Him, I will find Him. There is no greater gift than Jesus.  So if your asking yourself, "What's in it for me?"  You might not get what you want but you will get something far better.  You get to sit at the feet of the maker of heaven and earth.  You get to stand next to the maker of the sun, moon, and stars.  You get to feel the presence of the great one, the only one, Jesus, the Son of God and experience the Holy Trinity.  You get to transcend this life to Him.

I don't know what today will bring.  I can't even fathom what today will hold.  What I can tell you is today will be as complicated and messy as the world makes it but I'm going to be led by a shepherd who has made me, who loves me and who will use me however He wants.  He will get all the kinks and cracks out of me and eventually I will be a pot worthy to be with Him. Until then, I will pray that the word is spread throughout the world and that many will seek Him and find Him.

At the end of the day, there's really only one thing that's in it for me and it's not a new car, home, boyfriend, husband, baby or job; what's in it for me is Jesus.  Take that to heart as you go along today and thank Him for bringing you to a place where you yearn for Him moment by moment.

The Scripture following Jeremiah 29:11 is Jeremiah 29:12-14 and here's what it says in the NIV version.

 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[a] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Lord we call upon You to guide us and to bring us out of captivity! Be well my sisters and pray this prayer for God loves when we spend time with Him.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Provision day by day....

Good morning all-

Well I couldn't sleep because exciting things are happening in my world.  I am watching God's hand on my business and the movement has begun.  It has been an exciting time but I must say, often I think, "What have you done?"  And then I sit back, read my Bible with prayer and surrender.  I love to know what tomorrow brings. I plan for the future in my head all the time but often, the future is not exactly how I pictured it.  You have to know what I mean by that.  Tomorrow comes whether we like it or not but truly, can any of us predict tomorrow?  The answer to that is no, unless your a prophet and if so, everyone would want to hear what you have to say.

This week as I was driving, the words of my devotional came upon me and just like that I realized that God didn't design us to speculate about tomorrow, we were designed to remain in today.  It's the world that wants us to live for tomorrow, next week, next month and fast forward on to retirement.  Oh the world is ramping up so fast that no one can simply stay in today without hearing about the future.  Now this doesn't mean we shouldn't pray about the future of people, nations and God returning. We are to pray about all of that for sure.  What I'm saying is that God designed us to live in this moment, in this hour, in today.  Gosh, I hope your light bulb went off like mine.  I actually said out loud in my car, "Oh, that's what I've been missing!"  And to be very honest, I was missing this very important fact.

When we worry or are anxious, we have followed the world's view of life.  The world creates havoc, unrest and a general atmosphere of frustration and grumbling.  If you don't believe me just look around at local, state and world events.  Isn't everyone wondering who will be President?  Of course they are and no one really knows the outcome.  But the more it's discussed the more people worry about the future of the US, who will lead the country and what will happen to our children and their children.  Am I wrong?  No, I'm not. The more we look beyond today the more we get caught up in the uncontrollable circumstances in life and the less we focus on Jesus today and that's more of a problem then who will run a certain country.  Not focusing on Jesus means we are trying to control circumstances we have no knowledge of.  I would never have foreseen me leaving my company, starting my own business and connecting with key movers and shakers within one months time.  As a matter of fact, the moment I resigned, I started looking out three months and wondering what in the world did I just do.  But Jesus has worked and worked on me and every day I have found Him as I have sought His wisdom, knowledge and peace.  The reason the Israelites started grumbling after He parted the Red Sea was because they started looking further and further out and guess what, they got to wander in the desert 40 years because they didn't stay with God one day at a time.

God is still working on me with the whole provision thing. It's a daily journey of capturing every thought and asking God to reveal Himself to me.  I continue to pray for peace and courage and if I'm honest, trust.  Not just any trust, a supernatural trust that transcends all my thoughts and feelings and little by little, I'm seeing Jesus in my thought pattern. Thank You Jesus!  I need to rely on Him for all my provision. I need to rest in Him when I want to be weary and I need to give my life to Him, which includes my husband, children and business.  I  must not look at tomorrow, which to be honest will be hard but if I'm not made to look there, why am I?  It definitely is a question we must all ponder.

Day by Day Lord, this is the song I sang as a young girl.  It's the same song that came to  mind on my drive to the store this week.  Living day by day is what we were made to do.  No wonder He talks so much about coming to Him as little children.  Little kids don't wonder who they will marry, how much money they will make or if their parents can provide, unless of course you live in a country that is torn apart by war, hunger and terrorism.  I think in those circumstances children probably do think about tomorrow and yet, we see African communities shouting to Jesus in the midst of their circumstances.  We see Christians rising up in the Middle East and we have watched as men were walked to their beheading.  Life is happening all around us and I think it's arrogant for us to believe we know what the future holds.  Jesus said to come to Him as little children.  If that's the case, then why aren't we?  That's the very question I asked myself this week.  If I believe that my Savior provides, then why am I looking toward the future.  If He wants me to prepare for the future, He will definitely prompt me to do so, which was the case for Moses, Aaron, Noah and Jesus.  He gave them insight into more than just today but when they started on the journey, it was day by day, walking and communing with Him.

So as I leave you today I am excited about today and wonder what in the world will Jesus do today.  One of my good friends is moving and leaving friends she's made over the last 15 years and another is coming home for the first time in over 10 years.  Life is evolving and so am I. I want to be present in today so that I can capture every moment God is giving me to be there for someone else.  Our goal is not what this life can give us but what God wants us to do with it.  I'm still learning and I'm glad that Jesus has opened my heart to believe in Him.  I really don't want to be an Israelite but if I needed to for a time, to be closer to Him, then truly the trial has been worth it.

I'm praying that you capture every thought, that you slow down and are still and that in this moment you begin to look for Jesus day by day.  He is our manna, thrown down from heaven to be taken up again.  He saved you and He does love you.  Try to stay in today for tomorrow will come I promise. Hoping that this day brings you a ray of hope and that Jesus is in the middle of all my words. I owe Him my life, today and my future.  My purpose is to love Him and make Him known and I hope this blog is doing just that.  If you like what you read, please share it with a friend.  Have courage that He will speak through words to get to them in a way you can't.  Jesus loves all of us and wants us to know it.  It's our duty to tell someone how much they are loved even if they don't believe.  Praying and holding you up today!

Please read all of Exodus chapter 15 but if you don't have time, here's an excerpt for you.

Exodus 15:20-25 NIV

20 Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing.

21 Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.”
22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water.

23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.a )

24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”

25 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink. There the LORD issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test.                                

May the Lord of my heart write these words on our heart and help us to rejoice in today so that we can come out from the desert into the promise land where milk and honey flow. In Jesus name we pray!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

When we are stretched to our limits, who will save us?

Good morning all-

As I write, I can hear the birds out front signing as loud as they can.  I've taken my shower and am half way ready to be at church this morning. I woke up with thanksgiving in my heart for a God who is constant and I began in prayer, wondering what the future holds and not really caring about the direction as long as Christ was directing it.

This is not a normal place for me.  For over a year, I grumbled, had trouble getting out of bed, was misunderstood, lied about and in some ways humiliated.  I woke not wanting to leave the comfort of my cave and yet knowing I would.  It was a miserable existence for someone who loves to love, feel the sunlight on her face and who wants to stay positive for herself and others.  Instead, I let pride and depression become my compass and with that dread, conflict, confusion and despair became my friends and in no way were they my friends. 

That's when I grabbed the rope.  And it wasn't just a little tie my lumber down in the back of my truck rope.  It was a Godly inspired rope.  It was made of steal, wrapped in titanium and flashed like lightning.  It was from heaven and it was my saving grace.  I really didn't picture this until a sermon last week and I thought to myself, "I grabbed the rope with Christ and tugged and tugged and He never once let go."  My rope had many facets including crying out to the Holy Spirit for direction, reading my Bible, digging into Scripture daily, making images of it and praying it out loud. And of course, I confessed my sins, repented for things I didn't even know existed and asked God to put my feet on solid ground, which by the way it wasn't.

Many would probably think I was weak and I guess in some ways I was.  I was being stretched to my limit.  I was being molded, shaped, crushed and re-made.  I felt like putty going in every direction and hoping that when I was stretched to my limit I didn't break.  That's where I was and that's what I remember now as I'm being stretched again.  As I wonder what God is doing in my life, I have a choice.  I can trust that God has gone before me or I can panic and flounder like a fish out of the sea.  I get to choose.  I get to either stand still, realize God has my back or I can control what I don't know and worry, fear and quake.

Being stretched was hard but the blessing on the back end was worth it.  I imagine that's how Job felt.  I'm sure when he was going through illness, distress, failure of earthly support and loss of home, possessions and children, he felt stretched to his limit and yet, as he prayed and grumbled God came to him and restored him for his faithfulness.

My desire is always to be faithful.  Am I?  No. I'm just like you.  I quake and when I do I have a Savior waiting to straighten me, direct me and set  me on solid ground.  Jesus helped me and He will help you too.

I leave you this morning with this question on my heart.  Who saves us when we are stretched to our limit?  Only Jesus can!

Psalm 40:2 NIV

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

Ask this and watch Jesus work and answer you!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Jesus my only constant...

Good morning all-

I started my day this morning at 5 am talking to my best friend.  We have known each other for over 25 years and for the last ten we have been talking every morning.  Beyond my devotional with the Lord, it's the best part of my day.  Constants in life are what we all like to gravitate to.  When we have a constant, we know we can count on it day by day.  If that constant changes, we feel depleted, a little lost and maybe even a little sad.  Why?  Because we count on constants, they never change, right? 

Like you, I have constants in my life.  I know that I'm going to get up early and go to bed by 10 PM.  I know that the first thing I'm going to do in the morning is brew my coffee and before I speak to my best friend, I'll already have taken my first sip.  For the last 20 years, I have gotten up, gotten ready, talked to my friend and entered the door of my employer at 7 am.  These were my constants.  My relationship with my husband and sons changes daily depending on the circumstances but my routine is ever constant.  That's how I lived at least until 15 months ago when the sand began to shift under my feet and I needed a rope strong enough to keep me from drowning.  I needed Jesus every morning and every night and to be honest, every minute of the day.  My constant became more than my routine, it became a life changing event.

Now don't get me wrong, Jesus has always been in my life.  Sometimes, He just had to take a back seat to my busy life(I know you can see where this is going).  I'm sure you're all rolling your eyes right now but you know that it's the truth.  You meet a new guy you want to date and spend less time with Jesus.  Your chasing your toddlers around and you spend less time with Jesus.  Your juggling children, your spouse and a career and you spend less time with Jesus, or your kids start growing up and new challenges come and you have your career and you spend less time with Jesus.  That's life.  We all have things that have to be done in this life but the one thing you should never do is fit Jesus in when it's convenient.  That was the lesson I needed to learn, Jesus was the reason I breathe.  He is my whole focus, my whole life and anything else in this world is not constant.

Children grow up and leave you, your career might go from being life changing financially and professionally to crashing in the blink of an eye.  People are in the world and the world deceives and destroys. And yet ,when we are in the race ,we take our eyes off the treasure we have in Jesus and everything that we believe is important becomes like dust filling the sky.  Have you ever seen dust fill the sky?  It puts a haze on everything, it blurs the beautiful picture behind it.  No longer can you see the pillowing clouds or the bright sun, all you can see is a haze.  That's what putting our trust in constants is like. It's hazing over the true constant, the everlasting constant, the one who never changes.

So today, as I read my devotional I thought of all the times I cried out to Jesus this last year.  I thought of the things I treasured that are now like dust and I know that my trial was to remind me that even though everything is shifting around me there is one constant and it's Jesus.  He has never left me.  In the blink of an eye, I went from being a VP of Sales to an owner of a company.  In the blink of an eye, I went from having stable income to wondering when the next paycheck will come.  In the blink of an eye, everything I held dear was replaced with one thing, Jesus.  The world failed me but Jesus righted my path, directed it and is doing so as we speak.  I have confidence in that because He holds the keys to my past, present and future.  I can count on Him to be my constant because He said so and His word is worth more than gold.  All the things I've treasured for the last 20 years don't add up to one second with Jesus, which leads me right back to the title for today.  What do you believe is constant in your life?  What do you treasure more than your time with Jesus?  What obstacles are you putting between you and the one who never leaves you or forsakes you?  These are the questions we must answer so that we put nothing before our only constant.  Jesus remains the same.  God has never left His people, His people left Him.  You may not think you have but look at the time you spend each day and ask yourself, "How much time did I give to Jesus today?"  That's how I'm living now, moment by moment with my maker.  I'm still not where I want to be but I'm on a much better path and with that, my confidence is moving away from me and toward Him.

Every day we make a choice to choose Him.  Jesus, on the other hand, chose us before time began.  We were His chosen people.  He knows us by name and for over thousands of years the God of Abraham is the same God in 2016.  He is constant, never changing and scanning the world for people who believe.  What are you going to trust in, the world or Jesus?  Big question, I know. However, there really is only one answer, trust in Jesus!

I leave you today with love, prayer and a heart for Jesus.  I'm so grateful that Jesus loves us even if we only give him a token of our day.  He is our one true constant and that even when I'm like shifting sand, He stands on the rock.  Thanks for reading these words and like always I'm praying that you find Jesus in them!

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

I Chronicles 28:20 (NKJV)
And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.

Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

O, Lord our Father who art in heaven, thank you for being constant throughout the ages.  We thank you for your consistency in our lives even when we aren't.  You, O, Lord deserve so much more than we give but You love us anyway.  Please help us to put you first, make You our constant and remember that we can count on You so much more than we do.  I, for one, am grateful for Your love, sacrifice and ever presence in me today.  May the Lord of our lives light the paths for all that seek YOU!  In Jesus name, Amen

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Do you love money more than me?

Good morning all-

The sun is rising this morning and shining through my front door.  I can hear the birds singing and see the shadows of my bushes hitting my window.  It looks like a urethral painting and I'm sitting here watching the master paint it.  In the last 20 years of my life, I haven't watched many sunrises.  I've been to busy running to work.  As a matter of fact, I would be sitting in my office right now working and preparing for the day ahead.

Sometimes I miss that world.  It hasn't even been a month yet but I still feel like I should be in the race and not in the crawl.  The thing that's so strange is my stress level.  I really couldn't even write in the past months.  I dabbled at it but my creativity was stifled, I felt lost inside and maybe a little unworthy.  I just quit doing what I loved and I especially quit looking for the beauty of the morning.  All that is done now, so as I sit and write many things come to mind and I think the one thing above all others that I struggle with is my love for money.  I love to know I have money in the bank and really if I could stuff it under my bed, in closets and in crevices I would.  I fear not having it and it drives me crazy.  My son is wearing clothes he had since high school and my closet is 1/3 of my husbands.  I'm not a spender, I am a saver.  I'm like the chipmunk gathering for the winter, holding  my stores and not wanting to let go but all of the sudden, I must let go.

So the stress I've felt for the last weeks and months has dissipated but the provision part is still holding me down.  Will God provide?  Did I hear correctly when I left my job?  Is this going to be okay?  Will He bless me for leaving and show me my way? At every corner, these are the questions I'm asking myself and then there's the fear of the unknown and the money.  The greatest benefit this trial has given me was the awakening that I loved money and that I needed God to provide all things. And yet, it still has a grip on me.  Why?  Because the evil one controls the world's markets, which means he controls money and if we fall in love with money and allow it to be our idol, our focus will leave the supernatural and become selfish, worldly and minimize the power of God.

I read in my devotional today that He is molding us like clay.  We are on the potter's wheel and Jesus' goal is to beautify us by smashing the impurities and bringing us round and round until we are a beautiful piece of clay.  I have felt like a piece of pottery for most of my life but never like I have in the last year.  The last year showed me things about myself I would never have guessed.  God purified my heart by revealing all the bubbles that resided in it.  Now, I have some more work to do.  I must trust Him in all things.  I must give up my love for money and give all the glory to God.  I must commit my new business to Him and allow Him to work the way He sees fit and I must believe in the power (Greek word: Dunamis) of Jesus Christ.

I confess today that money has been an idol.  I'm not proud of it but I'm glad its been revealed.  Anything can be an idol in our lives, so daily we should ask Jesus what we idol and for Him to take it from us. If you had asked me a year ago would I pick money over Jesus, I would have said no, when in reality I was choosing money over Him.  Even now I sit and wonder how all the bills will be paid, will my husband support the move I've made long term and will I be able to truly surrender this need to have stores and treasures on earth.  I'm going to work on it day by day and I know the Lord will meet me where I am.  It's sad for me to think I'm the rich man that wanted to follow Jesus but couldn't part with all his possessions.  I truly believe he wanted to follow Jesus but just couldn't bring himself to trust Jesus. 

So I leave you with this parting thought, what do you treasure on earth?  Is it money, status or even your job?  Whatever it is, we're to put it at the foot of the cross and give it to Jesus.  It might not even be something large, it could be fear, worry or anxiety of something that is really not that significant but it penetrates our hearts until that's all we can think of.  Jesus doesn't want our thoughts on anything but Him.  The glory must go to God always and if the glory is on things of this world then it's time to pray over them and ask Jesus to move them from our sight.  I know this won't be easy.  It's a day to day journey full of pitfalls and although I'm strong right now, if I'm not careful I will begin to focus on money over Jesus and all this brave text will be for not.  So I choose to put my mind in God's hands, give over what is already His and watch the dunamis work in my life.  Dunamis is the Greek word for ability and power.  It's the root of our English word, dynamite.  I don't know about you but if God's holding dynamite for my life, bring it on.

Take time to analyze what you treasure on earth.  If you think it's an idol, spend time with Christ and ask Him to remove it from it's place of power and replace it with the glory of Him.

Praying for you my sisters and I hope these words bring you encouragement, site and a holy fire for our Lord Jesus Christ.  Without Him, life would be worthless.

Hebrews 13:5-6New International Version (NIV)

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”[a]
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?”[b]

Dear Lord, we come before you a fallen people.  We admit that we hold idols before you and repent of our need for them.  You are the only one we are to focus on, yet the world holds our sight.  Please focus our eyes and hearts on what matters to You and bring us to a place of quiet so that we might see Your holy dunamis released upon our lives, our families and our countries.  We surrender all at Your feet and know that You will  lift us up to a place of wisdom and prosperity in You!  We pray all this in Jesus Name!