Tuesday, May 23, 2017

God first...

Good morning my sisters-

I have been reminded twice this week to think about where my treasure is stored.  I wonder what God is trying to say?  I have a clue of course, I chase after fame, fortune and security, which of course are worldly things not God things.

I have worked very hard all my life and I think God has rewarded that work often.  In the last year, I have been molded, crushed and threaded harshly.  With all of that, I have been refined under fire and found myself new and different.

What's different?  I have found courage in the face of fear.  I have found God in my mountains and in my desert lands. I have found water through Christ that has renewed and refreshed and I have found Jesus in a much more intimate way.  I'm learning that my priorities were all wrong and that when I pray I've prayed that women would be saved, that children would know Christ and that our husbands would become God's men but I haven't prayed the most important prayer which is, "Lord who do you want me to impact, lead me to the broken, help me serve them and not myself."

I have been in my life too much, which  has gone through extreme terrain over the last couple of years.  I have been up, down and all around. I have had to squash my pride, dig deep and read and pray daily.  I have had to address my idols and see my deficits.  And in all of it, I think I just figured out this week that my priorities have been way skewed. I had lost something very valuable that I knew as a young girl...undeniable dependence on God.

My treasures can be seen by people but they come with a cost.  I have a beautiful house and plenty of food.   I could pay all my bills without even thinking about them and my family from the outside looks pretty good.  The world worships money, power, image and perfection.  God treasures servanthood, sacrifice, fallen pride, weakness and dependence.  Do you see the difference?  It is stark in nature and yet, we all fall short.  Paul knew this and so did John.  John saw in Revelation that we would all fall short and that the only savior was Jesus.  He was saddened that not even the people closest to Christ rose to the occasion and yet, through their failure, we have churches, evangelists, missionaries, ministries and faith, even 2000 years later.

So today as I read once again about treasures stored in Heaven I had an epiphany.  That epiphany was God comes first when I have time.  I'm like the rich people giving to the church large sums of money thinking how good I'm doing, when in reality the woman without a job giving her last two pennies knows more than me.  She knows that money will not buy you what she has.  What did she have you might ask? She had two things, God first and full dependence on Him.  She had greater treasure than anyone of us because her treasure isn't here on earth, it truly is in Heaven!  You see, I am no different than those Israelites making a golden calf at the foot of the mountain.  I'm the same and more than likely so are you.

I am committing to put in my mind God first.  Now life gets busy, that's part of the lie.  We put chasing the world in front of what's real and true.  Is my making money more important than the couple that has housed over 80 emergency foster care kids in the last two years?  The answer is no.  Is my working 12 hour days more important than the mother working two jobs to make the rent? The answer is no.

I have stored my treasures here on earth and what do I have to show for it you may ask. Not what's important.  I want to store treasures in Heaven.  I want to use what God has given me to His glory not mine. I want to spend time with Him first so that my direction is His and I want to re-prioritize my life by sitting back, asking His guidance and living for Heaven.  I have been part of the world and I will have to work tirelessly to break that pattern.  I will have to grow down.  What do I mean by that? I mean I will have to get back to that child who yearned to go to church, who sat in the dark praying the Lord's Prayer and had complete dependence on a God she couldn't see.  That little girl had a ton of treasure because she knew without a doubt that God came first.  That woman has lost that child- like focus and it's my prayer that Jesus restores that sight back to me so that when I pray I ask what is most important to Him, not me.

I am off to an interview today where I may be given a job. I don't know the future or where God is going to place me.  My prayer is that if I am blessed with a position I don't forget the  most valuable lesson of the last 6 weeks, which is God first.

I love you my sisters and I am reaching out over the web asking you to commit to Jesus or re-commit to Jesus.  He is the reason, He is our security, He is our Savior.  Be a child for just a moment and let Jesus seep into that burdened, hardened, skeptical heart.  Let Him remind you there is a beautiful place where treasures are stored, not on earth but in Heaven.

Be well!

Matthew 6:19-21 NIV

19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

It's all in the journey...

Good morning my sisters-

I was woke up this morning by an ambitious puppy that wanted to play and oh, how I needed my coffee.  I'm sure you can relate, whether it's waking everyone up for church or a hard night of sleep or just a million things you have to do from church to grocery shopping, sometimes we women just want to sleep. 

In this case, I'm glad my little Bre' saw fit to wake me up.  I ended up doing a daily devotional from Lifeway that was so tremendously touching it made me smile.  In my estimation today, millions of people have just failed at something.  They had every intention of winning their battle with drugs, pornography, image, food, job performance, relationships and  unfortunately, they failed.  I don't know about you but I have tried not to fail ever since I flunked a math test back in 7th grade.  My mom was so mad at me that I thought, "I'll never do that again."  That one thought has propelled me into someone that works harder than others, puts work over family, has me doing the books for my husband, working a job and trying to do everything in my own will.  It has made me a performer for men.  Ouch!  That hurt.

I have become a series of serious and traumatic behaviors all adding up to perfectionism and a fear to fail and yet, I fail just like you.  I don't need to go into all the waves I've conquered but they are many  and I'm still being perfected today.  So as I read this devotional, I was reminded that Peter and I have something in common, we fail.  Now the father of the church, who denied Christ at His most pinnacle hour was prayed for. Jesus knew he would betray him but he wanted Peter to remember that he had already gone before him.

I, myself, get caught up in the chaos of today and work for man instead of God.  I forget the big picture, often, and now realize this is exactly why I had to lose my job.  I had to stop a pattern that was not in Christ's will.  He knows I want to be His woman so He's perfecting me the hard way.

For those of you who have failed, I have these words for you, Jesus has prayed for you to keep the faith, to run the race long and hard and to be His woman.  I don't know why we are so petrified of failing, every historical figure known to us, failed only to succeed.  We should be remembering that not running around with fear in our hearts.  I wish I could save us from the trials of life but it's not possible.  The trials come for everyone and my hope is at the end my faith its stronger and so is yours.

The journey began with a purpose for God but the world gets in and tells you  stupid things, like you must be perfect, look beautiful, be the best and never FAIL!  Well those are the lies and when we believe them we lose hope in our future and in our Lord who has prayed for us.

I stand firm today and say, "Jesus knows you and wants to reveal your inner-insecurities.  He wants you to know He's with you."

As we go out to listen to another sermon, let's take our trials and put them at the feet of Jesus.  He knows them and He's praying that we gain faith, endurance, and His will though them. I don't have this beat yet but I'm willing to struggle with it, are you?

Read Luke 22 today and get to know what Jesus wanted us all to know--He's gone before us.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Power of Prayer!

Good morning my sisters-

Praise the Lord of the World and all of Creation, again I say praise to the Holy Trinity.  If there is one thing I have learned in the last few years, it is to praise Him always.  It's so easy to praise Him when things are good and it's so easy to tell others to praise Him during difficult times if we are in the light.

This year has been full of praises, from my oldest getting a wonderful job to my youngest growing up and finding work that suits Him.  Personally, I have been stretched again with a layoff I didn't see coming and a few months to find my way.  I wish I could say I praised Jesus through every situation but that would be lying.  I can tell you I have been able to praise Him probably 85% of the time and my goal is 100%.  How will I get there you might be asking?  Through prayer and petition that's how and by renewing my mind to look Heaven bound and for my Kings will.  That's a steep order, right? Well, we are asked to do that daily, it's in the Word so why don't we take the time to praise, pray and look Heaven bound--because we've been lost in the world, that's why.

I look at it this way, when a hardship comes what is the first thing we as humans do?  We look at our circumstances (the world). Am I right?  I believe I am. Oh and then we ask why did this happen to me?  Both questions are perfectly human and we shouldn't be ashamed of asking them but we must realize that the minute they pop out of our minds or our mouths we have entered the world and lost a very precious moment with Jesus.  So I have taken it upon myself to start praying during these times. I'm a big "why" person.  As a  matter of fact, I like to know the why behind everything. I'm sure I was that two year old that asked her mom, why a million times and luckily my mom complied most of the time.  When she didn't, I can remember becoming absolutely furious. I needed to know the why.  I think from time to time we all want to know from God, why us, why this situation, why?!

We are not God and that's the first step in understanding why prayer is so powerful and needed on a daily basis.  Prayer is our link to our Father.  Through the Word He gives us vital information on how to bring forth His majesty on earth but through prayer He challenges us, changes us and molds us into His image.  It's through prayer we find peace, understanding and power.  You might be asking me what kind of power do we find in prayer?  We find Heavenly power, majestic power, over-ruling power and spiritual power.  Power is prayer and prayer is God's will and bridge to our relationship with Him in heavenly places (unseen world).  The world blinds you to believe that this is all we have but that is a lie.  We can bring forth power through the Holy Spirit with one word, JESUS!

Now does that mean that every prayer will be answered our way.  Unfortunately not. Our way is not the best way but it will be answered and God will do it in His time.  We will see it in the storms that move, in the mountains we overcome and in the lives of others as they find Him.  We will see it in our lives, in others lives and in world events.  We have the power to come together through Christ and make a difference in this world and in Heaven.  The power of prayer is mighty and it has moved mountains, parted seas and resurrected our King.  Prayer is the power of the times and we are called to use it.

The use of Scripture, the ability to ask for forgiveness and the desire to read the Holy Word is how you learn to pray.  Praying the Lord's prayer, praying the words of our forefathers and knowing that God the Father is the head and that He said, I AM, is how we release the warriors in Heaven and how we battle in a world we can't see. If you are dissatisfied with life, I'm sorry.  I understand that life gets tough and that often we are met with challenging circumstances. I myself have battled many and I'm sure that as I pray and work toward sending the message of Christ to the masses more will come. I used to be afraid of that. I used to be afraid of my world being rocked. I like things comfortable and consistent but for me that hasn't been the case in a long time.  God has stretched me and through those experiences, I have become courageous, passionate and likeminded with Christ my King. I can't say I always like what's happening to me but I like what I become after the hardship and I like the relationship with my God. 

Being one with Christ takes prayer. I often wish that the women in Jesus' life would have kept journals of their prayers.  Words written with specific prayers for the future of the world, for the people they were around and for Jesus as He hung on that cross.  You know Mary had to be praying for her son, she had to be praying to His Father and she had to be asking, take this cup from my son.  And yet, Mary followed Jesus, knew there would be a time He would be taken and instead of being the mother that tried to save her child, she let Him go knowing He was the Savior of the World. Through prayer she had strength to watch her son die and be resurrected. Through prayer Jesus was able to face being humiliated, betrayed and crucified. Through prayer I have found Jesus and with finding Him I have known love, peace, grace and forgiveness.  Through prayer, I get one step closer to meeting my goal of 100%.  It's going to take one day at a time, calling on Him through prayer and petition and receiving the power that resides in His name.

For all of you out there going through mighty challenges remember that we didn't get this way overnight and we won't change, although sometimes God takes a life and changes it in that moment. I guess I'm just a work in progress so I'm going to continue to watch for Him in every part of my life, worship Him with praise and study His word so that I can pray for you and the thousands that need to know Him. I'm one little person on this earth with a mighty gift, I can pray!  Be well my sisters and know I am praying for you always.

James 5: 15-17 NIV

15And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick. The Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power to prevail. 17Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.…

Lord as Your warriors spread Your Word and Your story, give them peace, protection and our prayers. We cry out to You asking You to help those around the world that are spreading the good news and we ask that people would start believing that You are the way, the truth, the light. Pick up the pieces of those that are being challenged, feed them and cover them with Your presence and peace. Forgive us for putting other things before You, for believing in a world that is evil and for our lack of passion. Lift us up as we pray and give us wisdom to see what's not there and to remind us daily that we are Yours for eternity.  Thank You for loving us and for giving us tools to slay the dragons that bind us on earth.  In Jesus Holy Name we pray!  AMEN