Friday, October 28, 2016

Delving deeper...

Good morning my sisters-

Today I want to talk to you about delving deeper. What do I mean?  I mean delving into our souls, our thoughts and God's truth.  The Word is the source that takes away the old and brings in the new. Are you feeling down?  Do you lack purpose?  Are the stresses of work, marriage and children getting you down?  Maybe you are single and tired, has that made you wish for something different?

Life has a way of getting us down.  We do a great job of that too.  We fill our life with things that take our time, or we sleep, or we run so fast that God can't possibly penetrate our hearts.  All those things won't fill you and they won't help you out of the spot you're in right now.

The only way we can truly find God and ourselves is to delve deeper.  We need to do a self-diagnosis and God has to be our physician. The Bible speaks that the heart is fickle.  It is for sure.  I know that between my heart and mind I can paint a pretty bleak picture.  Most days I can stay positive through any circumstance but a series of events can take me from positive to weary, that is, depending on how I started my day.

I have recognized over the years that the fears and worries I have experienced are directly related to how much I have filled myself with the Word, the Lord and His purpose.  When I don't, that glass gets half empty quickly.  I will question everything and often, it leads to me thinking that I just haven't done enough.  But over the last year, as I spent hours searching the Lord and Scripture;
I found that by filling my soul with the Word, capturing every thought, I could take a bad day and fill it with Jesus.  Delving deeper into my heart has helped me self-diagnose faster and using Scripture for healing has taken me from despair to rejoicing.

Most people are scared to look in.  They think that they will crumble.  That's why so many Christians go from joy at the time they accept Jesus, to great despair.  Jesus is cleansing us from our world views and that's uncomfortable for us.  We don't want to lean on anyone.  We don't need to be dependent.  The world teaches us that we don't need anyone but ourselves but that's a huge lie.  We need a Savior, a purpose and a path.  He calls us by name and He leads us by still waters.

Is life difficult?  Absolutely it is.  Just think if you took that difficulty and gave it to Jesus.  What if you asked the Lord, "What do you want me to learn from this difficult time?"  Why does it have to be bad that we don't feel all warm about our lives?  Maybe that's our first indicator that our Lord is healing us from the inside, out.

These concepts were foreign to me until my journey last year.  I never wanted to be dependent on anyone.  I always wanted to believe that I didn't need people and I didn't believe I held sin in my heart. All of those things were completely inside of me and they were lies.  Those lies kept me from realizing that Jesus is my provider, He makes my path straight, and in all things I must surrender. By living my life that way I was able to come clean.  I recognized my pride, my performance based nature and the fact that I believed it was me that created success.  The realization was difficult and often heart wrenching but by delving deeper in the Word, I saw it, I understood it and I repented of it. The results have been amazing.  I now love delving deeper.  I love seeing what God wants me to work on.  I don't worry as much, I definitely don't fear as much and I have courage. Oh and I give Jesus all the credit.  I will never achieve without Him.  This philosophy varies from my former self and I have walked with Jesus for years.

So here's my challenge to you.  Ask the Holy Spirit what in your heart needs to be addressed.  You may have to give up running and sit still.  You might have to change your belief system in achievement or pride.  You may need to pray for a month before you figure out what's been holding you back but I promise you, spend some time with God and He will reveal it.  Quit being a victim or blaming your spouse.  Don't look at your best friend or others.  Stop running and address your heart, it will be totally worth it and most of all, challenge yourself to fill your cup with Scripture to fight against being part of the world. He's waiting.

Psalm 139:23
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts

Be well my sisters and delve deeper!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A message of hope...

Good morning all-

I have been up since 4 am thinking about all I need to get done today.  My daughter-in-law will be here in just a couple of hours and I'm excited to spend time with her.  I realized something as I woke up and saw a message from a man that my mother mentored, time is precious.  You see, he reached out to me in April and I just saw the message this week. I had the horrid task of telling him of my numerous losses including my precious mom.  He wrote back, "I've just stopped crying."  It brought back floods of memories and made me relive the moment I walked in the bedroom to see her lifeless body on the floor.  My few words to him brought floods of memories of her loving my boys, baking bread and singing to the birds.  It reminded me of her great painting talent and how she took in strangers but mostly, it reminded me that when you love a person, they never forget.

So as I reflect on the numerous people my mom touched in her life, I think about how many people Jesus has touched, without even being here.  He can't hug us or wipe away our tears.  He can't make us laugh at ourselves when we do stupid things.  He can't give us sound advice when we hurt someone, even if we didn't mean it.  And yet, for thousands of years, He has quietly spoken to hearts and said, "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden."  He stated from the beginning that He was our shepherd pointing us to His father.  And with His huge sacrifice, we have been touched in a way that no human could touch us.  He has guided millions to the cross, with forgiveness, hope and a future.  He has watched us as we have climbed mountains, fallen into valleys and drown in the sea.  He has been there in our darkest moments, encouraging us to just look up and when He molds us, He restores us more beautiful than before.  He is one of a kind and with His life and death came hope.  Maybe not the way man thinks but nevertheless, He is hope.

Many of us succumb to addiction, low self-esteem, greed, power, hatred, and a gang buster of other things without once looking up.  We have to look up.  All of our hope is stored in that one action.  When things are wrong, not fair, or just darn depressing, we have to look up and remember what Christ did for us.  That's what I did as the raw emotion came from my heart into my head as I wrote this morning how my mom died. I didn't crumble, I looked up!  He is my hope and He was her hope and He is the only hope we have in this evil world.  He holds the nations in His hands, He calms the storms, He provides and He loves.  He, not humans.  We think we do but really there's just not a lot of goodness without Him.  You might disagree with me but I know for a fact that our hearts are fickle and one day we might choose to do the wrong thing and who convicts us?  Jesus does, making us the humans we are.

I love Jesus Christ and He holds all my esteem. I'm in awe of the things He has done in my life and believe me they were not without growth pains.  I'm glad that I can rest in Him and watch as He fixes the messes I get myself into.  I'm blessed because through all my loss I have gained insight into a good God.  And I know that although I screw things up sometimes, He has a plan for my life and I'm His.  Hope is not just a word, its a truth.  Jesus brought hope and that hope has spread for centuries.  Religion can not hold you but God can.  People can not make you better but God can.  I realize every year how powerful the message of hope is.  Without hope, I just might have drowned.  Think about this, to commit suicide you have to have absolutely no hope, none.  That's the failure of the world but hope is the blessing that Christ freely gives.  Hope in the darkness. So if you're on a path that darkness is closing in, open your eyes, spread out your hands and ask the Savior of the World to penetrate your heart.  He will and then once He has, step forward in forgiveness, hope and love.  He is our portion, given freely.  We don't deserve it but it's ours.  Isn't that amazing?

My sisters we must unite and spread the word of hope.  We have sisters all over the world that need to hear that from us.  We need to be the choir on earth sending prayers to our father for those that feel no hope.  We are a chorus, mighty, strong and full of hope.  Why? Because we chose a mighty Father that provides hope when there's none left in the world.  Do not be afraid to pray for these women.  Do not be afraid to serve Him with your whole heart.  Do not be discouraged, look up and see what others are blinded to, Jesus is waiting for you!

I just got chills writing that. My prayer is that my sisters, those that know Christ and those that don't will hear the call of the One True God.  May our prayers be heard as we sing of the awesome hope we have in Christ.  Be well my sisters and let the love of Christ envelope you.

Pray this and know He is God.

John 17:25-26New International Version (NIV)
25 Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[a] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

My Psalm to My Savior...

Good morning all-

A couple of days ago I was reading the Psalms and thought about writing my own.  I used to sit and write poetry when I was young, so I wondered, could I write a Psalm?  For me, it's not a confession of weakness, it's a confession of the heart.  A Psalm illustrates a journey with God and each one of us is on that very journey.  Mine is different from yours but each journey is one small light towards  the sun (SON). 

I hope you like my Psalm and if you feel compelled write one and share it here.

In the silence of the night I cried out to you;
I was searching for you in every cranny of my being;
I wondered when you would deliver me and how it would come about;
My mind wandered and it was destructive;
I was weary and full of fear and indecision;
And then, like the sunrise, my faith began to rise and my eyes were open to the supernatural;
Your name was on my tongue day and night;
Even in the midst of despair, I sought you;
Your light was like a beacon and I sought it;
My soul yearned for my Savior and I found hope;
Upon the edge of despair you delivered me and made me a Warrior;
I praise You Lord and give You all the glory!

I wrote this in about 10 minutes.  If you feel inspired, sit down and write to our Lord and Savior. He loves when we cry out to him.  He loves when our hearts yearn for Him.  He loves making weak, broken, lost people into warriors.  How do I know?  Read the Psalm and there you will find my heart.

I'm praying for you my sisters and I hope this Psalm lifts you up and that you find yourself enveloped with Christ's love for you.  He delivers, He loves, He hopes and He directs.  He is light in the darkness and hope in despair.

You Sister In Christ.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Do you pant for God like a deer near water?

Good morning all-

I had a tremendous day yesterday starting with church and ending with a drive home as the sun set and the moon shown as a sliver in the sky.  Kansas sunsets are beautiful, the open roads allow a spectacular view to one of God's most beautiful paintings.

I've been working on getting fit over the last couple of weeks.  Traveling doesn't always allow you to eat right, exercise or do what many can do when they are at home. So I'm working with the best girl ever and she is training me long distance and it's working out so great.  It comes down to mind, body and food.  I think the thing I love about it most is that I think a lot about God, war, peace, love and prosperity.  I am more aware of the birds, the sunrises, the sunsets.  I feel better because instead of working to the bone and then falling apart; I'm off the couch and taking care of the vessel God gave to me.

And when I'm done, I'm very thirsty.  The thirst that I have had in the last years is not a thirst water can quench.  This thirst is powerful its my soul needing to connect to my maker.  So yesterday when we were at church and our pastor was speaking about the soul, it resonated.  I know exactly what he was trying to say to the congregation.  Our hearts and souls search for the quenching of the Holy Spirit.  They both need the tremendous drenching and infusion of God.  And if they aren't fed, they are fickle and will find something else to drench it and often that's something dangerous and destructive.  So when the Psalmist is writing in Psalm 42:1-2 NIV, "As the deer pants for the streams of water, my soul thirsts for God, for the living God," I get it and it depicts exactly what we all know, that we will pant for something and that something has to be the Word of God that flows from the crevices of our mind to our heart and soul.

If you had asked me a couple of years ago, do you pant for God?  My answer might have been different. I had gotten to what I would call coasting, some might call it, apathetic.  I was half-way in and of course I loved God but did I thirst for Him.  I can't say that beyond the year I got saved that I had thirsted for Him.  Over the last couple of years I have found myself thirsting for Him and drenching myself into Scripture.  I have read more devotionals in the last year than in my whole life.  I have needed Him every morning where before I would just jump out of bed and run out the door.  I have spent countless hours reminding myself that I am His and that this is His life I lead, not mine.  These are the things that have kept me seeking, thirsting and immersing myself with anything Jesus.

And as I have sought, I have definitely found.  I don't have it as bad as some of you but I've definitely gone through my own trials.  I have watched God's hand in every circumstance and I've learned to forgive so much more.  I have quit looking at myself as myself and am now doing things for Him.  This fitness challenge isn't about getting into a smaller dress size.  It's really about mind, body and soul.  If God fulfills the vision for my life that I believe comes from Him, I have to have stamina, energy and I need to take care of what He's given me.  That's my real goal.  I need to use the time I've been given for something more than myself.  This preparation time is about getting healthy from my mind to my heart to my soul.  We age and things will age with us, that's just a fact but trusting that God can do anything through us is so important.  And as I write today, He is doing things through me.  He has given me a purpose to care about people, to love those that no one else wants to love, to forgive and forget and to be there for people that are hurt, broken and just a wreck. 

The questions you must ask yourself today is: Do you pant like a deer at the stream?  Do you hunger for a God that is mighty?  Do you feel like your empty in your heart?  Does you mind tell you that your just not worthy? Do you destroy the good in your life because you don't feel like you should be happy?  Do your choices weigh you down? 

We can be saved and do all the good things on that question list and all the bad things.  We can hunger for Him and still feel such shame we can't step into a church.  We can yearn for our hearts to be whole and make choices that weigh us down.  We can know what His Word says about forgiveness and not being able to earn it and still hear in our minds, "Girl, your not worthy."  It's nonsense.  We didn't earn Christ's sacrifice on the cross, it was given.  He gave His life so we would have eternal life.  Every journey in this life will have hardship.  No one escapes losing a loved one.  No one escapes needing to be forgiven.  No one escapes moments they regret and no one escapes feeling empty inside.  God leaves a hole in our heart and soul that only he can fill and on top of that, only He gave His life to show all of us that we are forgiven.

Life is a series of choices.  We choose to fill our time with destructive behavior.  We choose to fill our time with television.  We choose to fill our time with work until it beats us to a bloody mess and then what, guess who gets a call and it's always the last call we make, Christ that's who.  Don't let life take you to the brink of destruction.  Stop, drop and kneel to the King of Kings.  Give Him the glory for everything.  Read your Bible, enjoy the birds and the sunsets, take care of the vessel He gave you and reach for the stars.  If you only realize one thing today, realize that we must all pant for water.  We must seek Him and find Him to fulfill our purpose and to give Him the glory He deserves.

Have a great day my sisters and remember, if you don't do anything else today, spend time with God and thank Him for His life, His sacrifice, His council and His love.  There are no regrets at the foot of the cross!

Psalm 42 NIV BibleGateway

For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah.

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One[d]
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.
My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.
By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God my Rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

If I never win a Pulitzer...

Good morning my sisters-

Do you crave recognition?  Do you want people to know you are talented?  Do you wish to win a race, take a trip around the world, earn riches and fame?  I know that not every human wishes for these things but for those that do, I wonder if somehow we have missed the boat and I mean that literally.

People look at Anne Graham Lotz, Beth Moore and Mother Teresa as these totally wonderful women.  I bet if you asked someone that is Catholic if they would have loved to touch Mother Teresa or even be in her presence the answer would have been, of course.  I know sitting in a huge event center, one of 14,000 people, I wished that I could go back stage and talk with Beth Moore just for a minute.  And often as I read about Anne, I think she would be a wonderful mentor and inspiration to a woman that wants to spread the word of God.  All these women have fame.  They are known for being women of God.  But that doesn't mean that they wished for this or even that they wanted it.  What they most want to do is serve Jesus Christ and therefore, the fame is an add-on, it was never the mission.

Circumstances in life make us yearn for fame.  We want to be liked and if you write a blog, you just hope someone gets on it and is touched by it or learns something.  If you write books, your hoping for someone to want to publish it and then of course, get on the New York Best Sellers list.  Why?  Because we are looking for recognition in all the wrong places.

Mother Teresa lived to serve.  She served in the poorest area tending to the sick and often the rejected.  God put her in that place and she did it well.  She never expected to be a Saint or to be famous, she was following God's own heart.  She was taking care of the destitute and outcast.  She was loving people that weren't ever going to be loved by man and she did it well.

Jesus came, not to be famous, which is why the Jewish people today still don't recognize the gift that was given. They believed He came to save them from all the rulers and enemies around them.  They thought that's what God meant by a Savior.  But in actuality, He meant that Jesus would come and save many from death, which meant that it wasn't about our current lives, it was about our after lives.
God's purpose for Jesus was much larger than mans.  He was to be Savior of the world for all time, not just for a moment.  Anne and Beth are wonderful Bible teachers and long after they leave this earth their writings will live, just like that of all the disciples but their purpose is not to be famous, it's to love God's people and to help light the way.  What's the way, it's Jesus. 

I may never be famous, you may never know who I am.  I may not win a Pulitzer or even publish a book.  If I want fame over service, it will never come.  God's way is different.  He wants us to look at Him as the only way and the only truth.  We fall into the pit of believing that we are important.  That's not to say we aren't important, it just means that our lives are part of a greater plan and it's a plan the world will never fulfill. 

Like many of you, I have my heroes.  You see there names above.  They are women that serve the Lord with all their hearts.  They haven't had easy lives, as a matter of fact, they have gone through troubled times and found Christ in every moment.  I have my heroes in the Bible too and someday I will get to meet them.  I like having heroes but I also like knowing that I was made for this moment.  I was made to serve without any fame or fortune.  I was made to love others and to spread the Word.  I was made to mess up, brush off and get back up again.  I'm like Humpty Dumpty who sat on the wall.  I've fallen and I've gotten back up and yes, I've even cracked my head in the fall.  I've been battered, bruised and broken.  I have been refined by fire and I have been sharpened.  I have lost and I have found and in all those painful, stretching moments, I landed at the foot of the cross.  My fame is that I'm just like you.  I have messed things up to wish for a do-over and I have walked on hot coals, regretting the day but every single time I come back to the same place, right at Jesus' feet.

He is my hero.  There is no fame that can change a heart or pick someone up out of the pit of despair.  There is no fame that loves.  There is no fame in the broken for fame is given to the glorious.  I'm not glorious, as a matter of fact, I'm just me.  It has taken me years just to be okay with me. 

Jesus is who we need to give fame to.  Jesus should be loved and not hated.  Jesus should be the reason we get up in the morning.  Jesus is the way, the truth and the light.  Jesus is who lifts my heroes up and makes them strong warriors, not for themselves, but for Him.  He is all I need and if He brings me fame that will be on His shoulders and if not, I still have a massive amount of purpose.  I am His daughter, who can write and publish across the Internet and spread the only message that matters.  Jesus came for you, is here for you now and loves you.  He is your hope, your future and your Savior.  He brings peace to the restless and hope to the destitute.  He doesn't hold your shame, your anger or anything else against you.  He is full of grace and hope of tomorrow.  He is waiting for you to say these words.  "I am a sinner, coming before you Jesus, asking for you to forgive my sins and wash them away."  He is waiting and I promise you won't regret it.  Say these words and right now as I write, I'm praying for one woman to read these words and fall in love with Jesus!

Have a great day and remember your fame is that Jesus loves you, you were chosen for this day and He has a plan for you and what a glorious plan it is.  May you find the peace of our Counselor and the love of the living God.  I pray all this just for you!  In Jesus name.

1 John 5:1 (KJV)
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

1Cor 16:24
24My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.

1John 3:23
23 What he commands is that we believe in his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as Christ commanded us.