September 29, 2010

One Thousand Gifts

Earlier this week I was sitting at my little desk with my laptop and all of our bills feeling weary in spirit.  I began sorting through them all and let out a huge sigh.  No reason in particular provoked such a negative response.  I was just tired.  So tired from feeling the weight of so many different things.   I went online to view our bank account. Knowing our present situation and expecting our account to reflect poverty status I looked at the balance and nearly lost my breath.  I had to look twice and thought to myself, "There is no "earthly reason" that we should even be making it."  No "earthly" reason whatsoever.

     I quietly whispered, "Thank you God.  Thank You for Your so very many gifts.  Thank You for a vehicle that runs. Thank You for food on the table.  Thank You for my family.  Thank You for a husband who loves me.  Thank You for my children and for their enthusiasm for life.  Thank You for meeting our needs.  Thank You for Your grace to meet us wherever we are.  Thank You for Your peace.  Thank You for LIFE.  Thank You for JOY.  Thank You that life is more than just "getting by".  It's about the extraordinary things You do. It's about You showing off Your goodness for the world to see.  A testimony to WHO You are and how You love us so.  Thank You.  Amen."

     My sigh was replaced with a smile as I just sat there in awe of God's goodness.  But here is where I found fault with my gratitude.  Why SHOULD I be surprised!?  In awe, yes!  Amazed, absolutely!  God never ceases to amaze.  But why should it surprise me WHEN (not IF) He does what He promised in His Word He would do!?!
 
     I looked at my husband and told him why I felt so overwhelmed and began to cry.  I quoted to him that familiar hymn, "Count your blessings name them one by one.....and it will surprise you what the Lord has done."  I said, "Why am I even surprised?"  I felt disappointed in myself....for ever doubting God's ability to not just MEET my needs....but to OVERWHELM me with His GREATNESS in meeting my needs.

To be living in EAGER anticipation of the next extraordinary thing He's going to do!  

     He can take an ordinary moment and turn it into something extraordinary.  He can take any need, big or small, and meet it in astonishing ways.  He's not just about moving on our behalf....He's about making His name great and showing off His glory and grace.  He's a jealous God and He wants everything in our lives to display HIS goodness!!!!  From the smallest of things to the biggest.

     I was moved in that moment to begin making a list of every thing, every moment, every person I considered to be a GIFT straight from the hand of Grace Himself.  I truly felt overwhelmed.  The list was long.  In that moment I decided that we as a family would keep a running list of every gift we have in the moment we experience and realize it.   

     The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” — Henry Miller

     It wasn't my idea.  While visiting "A Holy Experience" I learned of the challenge in creating a list of One Thousand Gifts....the joy of chronicling God's gifts.  After all....shouldn't we be doing this already!?  Living our lives with an attitude of expectancy and gratitude?

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

     I was reminded of how MUCH we truly have one day when I was on my face in my room before God praying.  My weary cries sounded more like pleading.  Almost as if I were begging God to listen to me and to move on my behalf.  I heard Him almost audibly say.  "My love, why are you BEGGING me?"  That's all I heard.  It wasn't a chastisement.  It was a gentle nudge to awaken my spirit to the reality of being a child of God.  It's all already mine.  Healing.  Wholeness.  Joy.  Peace.  Forgiveness.  Grace.  Mercy.  Blessings.  Love.  I already have all of those things.  I always have had them.  I don't need to ask for them.

I certainly don't need to BEG Him for them as if He is a God who would with hold ANY good thing from His children.  

I wiped my tears and I repented for my lack of faith.  For my ignorance.  For not believing in His goodness enough to KNOW what He's already done for me and given TO me.  For being ungrateful.  After all....every moment is a gift waiting to be unwrapped.  In it ALL you will find something that points to His undeniable grace and relentless love.  He's wanting so much to give to us.  He's desperate to love on us.  In every moment.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward

     After I repented I began thanking Him, NOT asking Him, for what He's already given to me.  I never realized how MUCH my lack of faith made less of the HUGE sacrifice Jesus' made at the cross.  It diminished the power of redemption's work in my life.  It weakened the effect of grace on my life.  It's all a gift.....waiting to be received.  Everything in my life points to [it].  (His goodness.)  Everything.  All of it.

     So we as a family  have begun our gratitude journals. I am blessed by my children's enthusiasm and humbled by my husband's response to this project.  I should think that after having listed every single moment we experience the goodness of God it SHOULDN'T surprise us what the Lord has done.  After all....we're expecting it. 

“There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.” — Ralph H. Blum

1000 Gifts: 
1.  His relentless and unconditional love in spite of me
2.  for Grace.  From Him, for me, for living my life, and to give to others
3.  my husband's hand to hold
4.  for happy children
5.  a warm hug first thing in the morning 
6. a friend who's fully aware of who you are and yet is always there
7.  a chorus of birds singing in the morning before anyone is awake
8.  *early* morning meetings with Him in silence
9.  for little projects---a happy distraction from routine
10. a vehicle that runs
11. having lunch and conversation with a friend
12.  celebrating life's miracles and answered prayers with someone else
13.  sharing tears
14. uncontrollable laughter
15. long walks in the cool of Autumn
16. celebrating birthdays
17. having a day to myself
18. the chatter of my little rooters after a quiet day
19. for my husband's willingness to do this gratitude journal with me
20.a productive day and the grace to roll up your sleeves "get 'r dun!"
21. a heart of flesh
22.  ears that hear
23.  eyes that see
24.  for a God who is ALWAYS speaking
25. my children's enthusiasm 
26.  neighborhood children wanting to stay
27. new friends
28. old friends who will always be there
29.  that His mercy is NEW every morning
30. for a giggle that just won't stop
31. playing outside
32. sleeping with peace of mind
33. being a jungle gym for the little monkeys to climb on
34. snuggly children after a bath
35. bedtime prayers
36. reading Tom Sawyer to 3 little boys
37. children singing at the TOP of their lungs with all they got!
38. for my husband's well thought out surprise---just because
39. for an unproductive and reflective day and the grace in knowing tomorrow's a new day
40. starting over
41. a random, unprovoked, unexpected, "I love you mommy"
42.  for *ALWAYS* having *SOMEthing* to give
43. living life in abundance in all things always having enough for me and MORE to give
44. for a personal violin concert given to ME with pride and a smile by my son
45. thankful EVEN for the recorder and the "beautiful" music it makes :)
46. Being still and just "KNOWING" it's ALL good :)


September 25, 2010

Peace is a Person and He lives in this Place


There is something so incredibly beautiful about a person who is willing to be transparent, whether it is in their brokenness, or in their strengths, you will always find a genuineness and sincerity about them and in what they have to say.  Through their journeys we are able to catch glimpses of Grace and Truth; and somehow find in their words an encouraging word for our own journeys.  I think God speaks so clearly through people willing to be open and transparent.  There is nothing to hide; for all of it is God's; to do with what He wills.  Their struggles, triumphs, battles, failures, victories, blessings and brokenness; He speaks through it all.  I have found the words of the author of A Holy Experience to be honest and pure; oftentimes even finding my own thoughts beautifully portrayed through hers.

One of her entries in particular spoke more to me than I had even recognized at the time: What a Home Really Is.

"In the day's last light....when the shafts fall heavy on the dusts and the piles....I remember that Home is Holy Ground and Peace is a person and He lives in this place....teaching us the ways of Grace." 

"Home is more than a place where we eat and sleep; it is where we learn Grace, where we glimpse Heaven.  It is where we find or lose God, or perhaps where He finds us....if we will only be still long enough to listen for Him."  ~Somewhere More Holy by Tony Woodlief
                                                                                                                                 
   Reading this has led me with even MORE earnest efforts to examine my own home, my life, even my heart; carefully and with great detail; using the Word as my magnifying glass, hoping to find every little thing that cannot be considered Holy and set apart for His design.  I pray sincerely that in my home.....my husband, my children and all who enter...............find GOD *here*....in this home.   To only find His peace here.... to always find His joy......consistently........and find nothing but the Truth.  Peace IS a person....and He lives in THIS place.  May my home be a pure and sacred place for Him to dwell.  May the things I choose to do only cause Him to be ever more present....constantly abiding.  Peace is always present....but may I never dim the light of His peace and presence by my own sin and ignorance; or by trying to do things my own way.  May I always be aware of His presence....aware of His voice...using it as a guide for my every choice, every thought, every 
motive, every intent and how I spend my time.   May MY home be a HOLY experience for my family and anyone who should happen to walk through my doors. 

September 21, 2010

Keep Your Head- Daniel 11

Be aware. Be vigilant. Be alert. Be diligent. Keep your head.
I think it would be prudent for us to sit up and pay attention. These are warnings. Warnings intended to keep us from danger or harm. So maybe that means that the consequence of not heeding the warnings are avoidable should we just take note of what is being said.
Be alert: 1 Peter 5:8 says Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping.
Be vigilant: Deuteronomy 4:9 Just make sure you stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves.(guard your life diligently) Don't forget anything of what you've seen. Don't let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Proverbs 4:23: Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the issues of life.
1 Corinthians 10:12: Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall.
I came across a passage from Daniel months ago. Its words continue to echo in my head still. I am no theologian. I am just a girl who's after the heart of God and is desperate for Him to show me SOMETHING about WHO He is in every passage I read. I have not studied in detail the book of Daniel or the prophetic meanings of all of the dreams found in this book.....but I DO know that God showed me something of value in this particular passage so I will share it with you.
In Daniel 11 Daniel is prophecying about the reign of 4 Persian kings. I fully intend to go back and study the book in depth. But a particular passage stood out to me when I got to verse 32. The king of the north will play up to those who betray the holy covenant, corrupting them even further with his seductive talk, but those who stay courageously loyal to their God will take a strong stand. 32 ""Those who keep their heads on straight will teach the crowds right from wrong by their example. They'll be put to severe testing for a season: some killed, some burned, some exiled, some robbed. 34 When the testing is intense, they'll get some help, but not much. Many of the helpers will be halfhearted at best. 35 The testing will refine, cleanse, and purify those who keep their heads on straight and stay true, for there is still more to come.
Here was a prophetic word that the king would single out those who weren't committed....those who were easily persuaded.. But those who took a stand and "kept their heads on straight" would lead others by example. They will be tested and it will be intense...it will be rough. But the battle will only refine, cleanse and purify those who maintain their resolve with diligence. There are those who will be caught off guard. Unaware of the impending attack. Not ready. Easily persuaded. Easy prey. But then there are those who are alert. Ready for anything and everything that comes their way.
What is it that could threaten your faith?A death of a loved one? Heartbreak? A disappointment so big it affects who you are? Temptation? Job loss? A bad report from the doctor? A tragedy of any kind? Marital conflict? Financial struggles? Things will come at us. And at times we will be hit HARD.But what will our response be?!?! Will we be ready to withstand the attack? Will we RECOGNIZE it as an attack? Are we aware of the enemy's tactics? Will we be resilient? Will we maintain our stance and our determination to stand up for righteousness and justice? Will we have a resolve to do what it is right in the face of a decision!?! Will we be able to keep our heads and stay focused so that we will respond with wisdom when such an attack arises? Or will it come upon us unaware...and leave us in panic and completely broken...surrendering and abandoning the fight. The enemy knows where we are weakest and how best to attack. He wants to overwhelm us with anything he can use to distract us from what it is we are here on earth for. He knows how a great a purpose we have to fulfill here on earth!!!! Even if he cannot defeat us entirely, he will try to keep us from living effective, productive, joyful, abundantly blessed lives. He will try to overwhelm us with things that would threaten our faith and try to weaken our resolve to stand in the face of adversity and attack. Maybe for you it's fear (for ANY reason), or pride, greed, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, temptations, envy, strife, doubt, hurt, a judgemental spirit, prejudice, tormenting thoughts and battles or the mind, feelings of unworthiness or inadequacy, timidity......whatever it is for you that would catch you off guard and cause you to lose your HEAD...to lose your focus. He would love nothing more than to keep us from serving our INTENDED purpose here on earth. The attacks will surely come. If we are ready we shall be able to say, "Bring it on! I am making a stand that I will NOT give in! I will NOT surrender! My GOD is my defender! My GOD is my healer! My GOD is my provider! My GOD gives me strength to overcome my enemy." Always carrying the Truth as your banner!!!!!!!! Ready for anything and everything. We don't need to be in fear of attack. Just on guard. Aware that at any moment something may come our way that would threaten our ability to stand strong. We are to live by the Truth of God's Word, it is to be the plumb line with which we evaluate every situation, every decision, every response, every thought, every feeling.
If you're ready for it then you will be as it says in 2 Cor. 4:8-9 We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair; We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone]; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed.
No one is exempt. If you think you are standing.....take heed...........you could be the one who is overcome.Will you be caught of guard or will you be ready for it with a resolve to maintain your ground to not be deceived when you prevailed against.
A Fight to the Finish
Ephesians 6:10-18
And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Be aware. Be vigilant. Be alert. Be diligent. Keep your head!!!!!!!

Raw Truth is Never Popular

I was reading Amos this morning from The Message. I LIKE The Message. :) It's BLUNT and to-the-point. For me anyway I have to be careful to not read the Word with routine contemplation but with awe and fear and the reverence it deserves. I appreciate being able to read it from a fresh perspective.
In Amos 5:8 it says: Do you REALIZE where you are!??!?!?! You're in a cosmos...star-flung with constellations by GOD! :) A world God wakes up each morning and puts to bed each night!!! ......God-revealed does all this. And He can destroy it as easily as make it. 5:10 Raw truth is never popular but here it is bluntly spoken. 5:21 I can't stand your religious meetings. I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions........I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. *WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SANG TO ME?"
Yes....raw truth is not popular. But HERE it is BLUNTLY spoken. What is it that we are offering to Him? And with what kind of heart are we offering it?....................................Where is our fear of God? Is what we are doing every day done in a way that we can be confident that it will bear good fruit in our lives and bring honor to His name? How MUCH of what we DO can we offer Him being confident He will receive it when we live our lives with complacency and apathy? We might as well not do it at all. The manner in which we serve Him has become so routine and we have become SO apathetic about it that it has become fruitless. Sadly it has become of NO value to God. He can do absolutely NOTHING with our empty sacrifice!! And that is what it is. EMPTY. USELESS. Our worship is just noise. Our service is meaningless. What are we HERE for!?!?!?!?! What is it that we're DOING!?!?!? And what are we doing it FOR!?!? Where is the PASSION? Where is our FEAR of GOD!??!?!
Look around you and you will find stress, complacency, lack of propriety, lack of graciousness, dishonor, a lack of restraint, unrest, no joy, selfishness, greed.......why? We've lost our sense of the fear of God.
Whether you are in a "position" of ministry or NOT...your *LIFE* (from the moment you wake up till the moment you go to sleep) IS a ministry. Everything that we do is to be done to honor His name and to showcase HIM!! Our lives are to be lived out with PURPOSE! We need to be deliberate in our actions, in our words, in our service to Him. Knowing that EVERYTHING we say, think and do will be significant. But will it have eternal significance? Will it be something we can offer to Him being confident He can USE it and be pleased with it? Are we a determined people living our lives as a testimony in Holy reverence to Him honoring Him with every moment of our existence?
Or could it be said of US as Abraham said in Genesis 20:11..."There is SURELY no fear of God in this place."What a scary place to be. Where there is no fear of God.......we've made NOTHING of Christ's incredible sacrifice. We've quenched the power of the Holy Spirit. We've minimized the work of grace. And we've dismissed the very presence of God HIMSELF in our lives.
I said it the other day and I'll say it again: It's time to get our heads in the game and be about our Father's business! It's time to stop "playing church" and get SERIOUS about Him and His purposes for His Kingdom! You can be a part of it or you can watch it all happen. He's moving with or without you!
LET God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field! Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over! Get serious, really serious! Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet. James 4:7-10
Hebrews 12:2 Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because He never lost sight of where he was headed--that exhilarating finish in and with God--he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.
Run your race! Live your life *DELIBERATELY* and *ON PURPOSE* always having the fear of God as the power that drives you in all you do so that what we DO offer Him can be done so with JOY and confidence...pure, undefiled, and sincere.

I am ready for a Christianity that ruins my life, that captures my heart and makes me uncomfortable.-M. Yaconelli (Dangerous Wonder...The Adventure of Childlike Faith) ********BRING IT!
 Raw truth is NEVER popular. No. But necessary.

Live your life *DELIBERATELY* and *ON PURPOSE*

It's time to get our heads in the game and be about our Father's business! It's time to stop "playing church" and get SERIOUS about Him and His purposes for His Kingdom! You can be a part of it or you can watch it all happen. He's moving with or without you!

LET God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field! Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over! Get serious, really serious! Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet. James 4:7-10

Hebrews 12:2 Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because He never lost sight of where he was headed--that exhilarating finish in and with God--he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.

Run your race! Live your life *DELIBERATELY* and *ON PURPOSE*!

Run with Patience-George Matheson

Patience in "WAITING" does not mean you stop running until certain conditions are met .....but it is CONTINUING to run. Getting up every morning.....regardless of what circumstances surround you. REGARDLESS. We run!!!!.....keeping ONE thing in mind......the race set before us.
Keep running. Keep moving. Keep stepping. REGARDLESS. If you're broken. Keep running. If you're weary. Keep running. If you're sick in your body. Keep running. If you have a need. Keep running. REGARDLESS. We don't stop running.....THAT is true patience....AND endurance.
And takes greater courage and faith to KEEP running in the midst of adverse circumstances. :) (Run your race----with patience!!:) And you'll find yourself with PEACE governing your way. A peace that is beyond your understanding. Because PEACE Himself is running with you (carrying you if necessary:) !!!!!) Cheering you on EVERY.STEP.OF.THE.WAY. You'll never find a more loyal friend. You're not doing it alone. Keep running.
 "Endurance is not jaw-clenched resignation, nor is it passive acquiescence. It's a long obedience in the same direction. It's staying on the path of obedience despite counter-indications. It's a dogged determination to pursue holiness when the conditions of holiness are not favorable. It's a choice in the midst of our suffering to do what God has asked us to do, whatever it is, and for as long as He asks us to do it. " Chuck Swindoll


I read this article by George Matheson and thought it worth passing along.
Run with patience
"Let us run with patience" (Heb. 12:1).
O run with patience is a very difficult thing. Running is apt to suggest the absence of patience, the eagerness to reach the goal. We commonly associate patience with lying down. We think of it as the angel that guards the couch of the invalid. Yet, I do not think the invalid's patience the hardest to achieve.
There is a patience which I believe to be harder--the patience that can run. To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength; but I know of something that implies a strength greater still: It is the power to work under a stroke; to have a great weight at your heart and still to run; to have a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily task. It is a Christlike thing!
Many of us would nurse our grief without crying if we were allowed to nurse it. The hard thing is that most of us are called to exercise our patience, not in bed, but in the street. We are called to bury our sorrows, not in lethargic quiescence, but in active service--in the exchange, in the workshop, in the hour of social intercourse, in the contribution to another's joy. There is no burial of sorrow so difficult as that; it is the "running with patience." This was Thy patience, O Son of man! It was at once a waiting and a running--a waiting for the goal, and a doing of the lesser work meantime. I see Thee at Cana turning the water into wine lest the marriage feast should be clouded. I see Thee in the desert feeding a multitude with bread just to relieve a temporary want. All, all the time, Thou wert bearing a mighty grief, unshared, unspoken. Men ask for a rainbow in the cloud; but I would ask more from Thee. I would be, in my cloud, myself a rainbow--a minister to others' joy. My patience will be perfect when it can work in the vineyard. --George Matheson
"When all our hopes are gone,'Tis well our hands must keep toiling on for others' sake: For strength to bear is found in duty done;And he is best indeed who learns to make the joy of others cure his own heartache."

WHATEVER it takes........

Are you so desperate for a move of God......to know more of Him......to receive something FROM Him, (whatever it is that you may need or are seeking). Desperate to experience Him in ALL of His greatness and glory....hungry/ STARVING to receive all that He has in store for you that you would do whatever it took to be sure that nothing was standing in the way of Him getting to you?

Is your hunger for Him and His word strong enough to arouse something in you that reaches the very depths of who you are and what drives you, what motivates you.....to stir something inside of you so much so that you would DARE to ask of Him the impossible....the extraordinary.....the unthinkable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He's big enough.I KNOW this.

But if we want God to move in our lives, to do greater things, touch our hearts in deeper ways.....it's going to require something of US!!! It's going to require effort.....and it's going to require ALL of us....seeking Him with COMPLETE abandon. If we are truly wanting MORE.................then we've GOT to give Him more!!!!!!!! We've got to ASK big, We've got to THINK big. We've got to SEEK His face....drop to our knees and get our faces before Him and seek Him like we never have before! We need to remove anything in our hearts and in our lives hindering Him from getting to US.

What about the woman who was sick her body for years? "IF ONLY.....I can just touch Him." She PUSHED her way through the crowd of people. Her faith was born out of her desperation. She did whatever it took.

What about the man who lay sick on his bed? His friends dropped him through the roof because they couldn't find a way through the door...but they'll make a new way if they have to. They did whatever it took.

What about Nicodemus? A prominent leader among the Jews..a Pharisee...knew there was something more to be learned of this Jesus...and was so desperate to hear what this man had to say that he went out of his way to visit with him. He did whatever it took.

What about Jacob? He wrestled with the angel and said, "I won't let you go until you bless me." He did whatever it took.

Let's not forget the persistent widow. She asked and asked and asked and asked until she got what she was after. Persistent faith. She did whatever it took.

There's an inexhaustible list of stories in the Bible of men and women who with persistent faith and courage did what it took to see God manifest Himself in their lives in some extraordinary ways.

BE determined!Wrestle for it!Fight for it! It is worth fighting for. Do you want it badly enough? He's wanting to do the extraordinary in your life!!!!!!!!!!!!Don't leave that place that you are at with Him until you've received from Him what you are asking! There are some things in life WORTH fighting for...worth your time...worth your effort and energy. Or are you satisfied and content with where you are at?I'm not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want MORE! MORE of Him!! And I want Him to do more with ME!!!!!!!! Now is not the time for complacency or apathy.

Faith With Expectancy

Faith that can *MOVE* God to DO something on our behalf.

I was reading this morning the passage from Acts 12.....where Peter had been imprisoned.

............. *BUT* vs. 5 says the church got together to pray earnestly for him.
(and I thought it kind of neat and it brought a smile to face to know that in between two soldiers....Peter slept. Yes....he slept. While the church was praying
Peter's mind was at rest and he slept :))

But that's not what I wanted to bring to your attention.
Peter comes to the home of the "believers" who are praying for Peter's release. Praying for Peter's life Praying for divine intervention.
Praying for God to MOVE and do a miracle. That's all they COULD do.

Sweet little exuberant Rhoda goes to the door when Peter knocks. She recognized Peter's voice and immediately she knew their prayers had been answered.
In her excitement however she left him standing outside to share the news with the ones who had been praying. That always makes me smile to think of frantic Peter
standing outside the door WAITING to be let in and Rhoda is so excited to hear his voice she leaves him standing there.
(no doubt terrified that he may be discovered by soldiers standing there.)

She runs back into the house to tell them that their prayers had been answered...with Peter outside...THEY DIDN'T BELIEVE HER..............
Here they are.......praying....."earnestly" for Peter's release and safety.
And yet when God moves on Peter's behalf and answers the cries of their hearts?...................they don't believe it.
They thought for sure dear sweet Rhoda was out of her mind and had seen a ghost.

Were they actually praying believing that God would MOVE?
Were they praying *******WITH EXPECTANCY********* for God to do something GREAT?
If they were.......maybe they might have not been so surprised to find a God who will move Heaven and Earth for His people.
Our prayers reach Heaven and Heaven moves.

They were ASTONISHED. They were earnestly praying for God to do SOMETHING...and yet when He did....they couldn't believe it.
I heard it phrased this way once: "Peter continued knocking until the door was opened, not by angelic hands, as at the prison he had left, but by unbelieving human hands."
(It paints a humorous picture to think of Peter standing outside knocking continuously while everyone inside the house is talking about whether or not it really COULD be Peter)

Are we praying with EXPECTANCY?
Are we praying believing that God could actually do something extraordinary?
Are we praying with boldness? Do we DARE to believe that God would do the impossible? There are stories upon stories of men and women who
put God to the test with an expectant hope that God would actually move on their behalf. If we pray with THAT kind of faith....just IMAGINE...IMAGINE
what He *WILL* do

All......we........have..........to..........do...........is.....................ASK! :)
--
Psalms 126:3
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done GREAT things for them!"
The LORD HAS done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy!!!!!!!

Zephaniah 3

Zephaniah 3:14-17 (Amplified Bible)

14 *SING* :), O Daughter of Zion; *SHOUT* :), O Israel! *REJOICE* :) be in HIGH SPIRITS and glory with *ALL YOUR HEART*, O Daughter of Jerusalem [in that day].
15[For then it will be that] the Lord has taken away the judgments against you; He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, even the Lord [Himself], is in the midst of you; [and after He has come to you] you shall not experience or fear evil any more.
16In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear not, O Zion. LET NOT YOUR HANDS SINK DOWN or be slow and listless.
17The Lord your God IS IN THE MIDST OF YOU! a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will REJOICE OVER YOU WITH JOY! :) ; He will rest [in *SILENT SATISFACTION*] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing! :)

Isaiah 61:1-3

It's time we STOP living mediocre lives....satisfied with JUST enough....JUST getting by!!!!!!!!!!!
We've been given so much more that we're not even fully aware of!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We've been given all that we need to
live in the FULLNESS of Life that He came to bring! In His fullness of JOY!!!!!!!!!! With such RICH and abundant blessings!
His intentions for us go so much deeper and are far greater than "just living life" day to day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He created YOU with a purpose....and filled YOU with His power.
His anointing. ALL of His goodness is inside of YOU!!!!!!!
Do you know how much POWER is behind YOU!!!!!!!?!??!!?! How much POWER is BACKING YOU!?!?!?!!? How much power is IN you!??!!?!?
If our God is FOR us....(and without a DOUBT He is!) then WHO or WHAT can POSSIBLY stand against us or hinder us!?!?!?!??
There's NOT a thing stopping you! NOTHING. :)

In Isaiah 61 it states the reasons for which Jesus was sent to us. Been thinking about it all morning.
In particular I felt that I was supposed to share it with someone else early this morning....but have been thinking of this passage throughout my day. Staci Eldridge rephrased it in her book, "Captivating" this way:

God has sent me on a mission.
I have some great news for you.
God has sent me to restore and release something.
.......................And that something is YOU. :)
I am here to give you back your heart and set you free.
I am furious at the Enemy who did this to you and I will fight against him.
Let me comfort you............
For, dear one, I will bestow beauty upon you where you have only known devastation.
Joy, in the places of your deep sorrow.
And I will robe your heart in thankful praise. :)
In exchange for your resignation and despair.

Now that IS great news :)

What a GIFT. A precious, indescribable gift. His relentless love.
Be STILL......and just KNOW. He is God. Rest in that. In the quiet of His love.

We spend so much time hanging on to those things which we have already been freed from. And NOT embracing the things we've been FREELY given!
In Him in FULLNESS of *LIFE* and *FULLNESS* of JOY!!!!!!!
Anything else is NOT of Him!!!!!!!!!!

***Anger? Nope....not from Him. He's given us peace in our minds and in our hearts.
**Unforgiveness? That's not from the Father either.
**Brokenness? We've been healed from all brokenness. He NEEDS us to be healed so that we can
FULLY do what He's created us for! That purpose that only YOU can fulfill!
***Sorrow?........Nope :)....He's traded that for beauty and joy!!! :)
***Resentment? There's no place for it.......we've been given the ability to walk in grace.
***Fear? There's NO fear in love....PERFECT love...that PERFECT relentless love drives out all fear.
***Unrest in our minds? Isaiah 26:3 in the amplified says 3You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.
***Unrest in our souls? We can stand before God with boldness. Jude 1:24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with GREAT JOY! :)
With GREAT...........................JOY!!!!!!!!!!!

I quoted the scripture yesterday from Zephaniah and still dwelling on it today :). Zephaniah 3:14-17 (Amplified Bible)

14 *SING* :), O Daughter of Zion; *SHOUT* :), O Israel! *REJOICE* :) be in HIGH SPIRITS and glory with *ALL YOUR HEART*, O Daughter of Jerusalem [in that day].
15[For then it will be that] the Lord has taken away the judgments against you; He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, even the Lord [Himself], is in the midst of you; [and after He has come to you] you shall not experience or fear evil any more.
16In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear not, O Zion. LET NOT YOUR HANDS SINK DOWN or be slow and listless.
17The Lord your God IS IN THE MIDST OF YOU! a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will REJOICE OVER YOU WITH JOY! :) ; He will rest [in *SILENT SATISFACTION*] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing! :)

I pray that today you are able to walk in the fullness of life He's provided for us.
The fullness of JOY! :) He has given us life so that we can live it abundantly!
There's nothing holding you back! :) NOTHING......................

God's Whispering Your Name

He's calling YOU-----------by name.
Maybe even by nickname :) Something unique about YOU captures His attention.
HOW He loves us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Oh How He Loves Us"!!!!!
These are the lyrics to that song by the David Crowder Band:
He is jealous for me.
Love's like a hurricane,
I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of
His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.

Oh, how He loves us so
Oh, how He loves us
How He loves us so.

We are His portion and
He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption
by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns
violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way
He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us


A love like THAT?
There's NO other love that can compare. No one who is more interested in YOU.
No one who is more committed to YOU.
HOW............HE........LOVES.........YOU!
Maybe we cannot understand a love so grand...so beautiful........so pure.......so astounding.
But if we could just KNOW...........that He loves us so relentlessly!!!!!!!!!!!! If only we could REST in that love and
TRUST......with complete abandon.....just TRUST Him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We can TRUST Him and rest in that love.

Maybe you just need to be SURE of Him. Maybe you just need to know He's STILL there. In it all.
I am reminded of a quote from Winnie the Pooh:
"Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh!" he whispered. "Yes, Piglet?" "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."

You can be sure---------He's still there. I promise.
And He's whispering your name. YOURS.
He loves you SO! Your Daddy loves you.

This is an email I received, an excerpt from a book by Max Lucado. It was worth sharing. :)

WHEN GOD WHISPERS YOUR NAME
by Max Lucado

The sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
—John 10:3

WHEN I SEE a flock of sheep I see exactly that, a flock. A rabble of wool. A herd of hooves. I don’t see a sheep. I see sheep. All alike. None different. That’s what I see.

But not so with the shepherd. To him every sheep is different. Every face is special. Every face has a story. And every sheep has a name. The one with the sad eyes, that’s Droopy. And the fellow with one ear up and the other down, I call him Oscar. And the small one with the black patch on his leg, he’s an orphan with no brothers. I call him Joseph.

The shepherd knows his sheep. He calls them by name.

When we see a crowd, we see exactly that, a crowd. Filling a stadium or flooding a mall. When we see a crowd, we see people, not persons, but people. A herd of humans. A flock of faces. That’s what we see.

But not so with the Shepherd. To him every face is different. Every face is a story. Every face is a child. Every child has a name. The one with the sad eyes, that’s Sally. The old fellow with one eyebrow up and the other down, Harry’s his name. And the young one with the limp? He’s an orphan with no brothers. I call him Joey.

The Shepherd knows his sheep. He knows each one by name. The Shepherd knows you. He knows your name. And he will never forget it. I have written your name on my hand (Isa. 49:16).

Quite a thought, isn’t it? Your name on God’s hand. Your name on God’s lips. Maybe you’ve seen your name in some special places. On an award or diploma or walnut door. Or maybe you’ve heard your name from some important people—a coach, a celebrity, a teacher. But to think that your name is on God’s hand and on God’s lips . . . my, could it be?

Or perhaps you’ve never seen your name honored. And you can’t remember when you heard it spoken with kindness. If so, it may be more difficult for you to believe that God knows your name.

But he does. Written on his hand. Spoken by his mouth. Whispered by his lips. Your name. And not only the name you now have, but the name he has in store for you. A new name he will give you . . .

When God Whispers Your Name is a book of hope. A book whose sole aim is to encourage. I’ve harvested thoughts from a landscape of fields. And though their size and flavors are varied, their purpose is singular: to provide you, the reader, with a word of hope. I thought you could use it.

You’ve been on my mind as I’ve been writing. I’ve thought of you often. I honestly have. Over the years I’ve gotten to know some of you folks well. I’ve read your letters, shaken your hands, and watched your eyes. I think I know you.

You’re busy. Time passes before your tasks are finished. And if you get a chance to read, it’s a slim chance indeed.

You’re anxious. Bad news outpaces the good. Problems outnumber solutions. And you are concerned. What future do your children have on this earth? What future do you have?

You’re cautious. You don’t trust as easily as you once did.

Politicians lied. The system failed. The minister compromised. Your spouse cheated. It’s not easy to trust. It’s not that you don’t want to. It’s just that you want to be careful.

There is one other thing. You’ve made some mistakes. I met one of you at a bookstore in Michigan. A businessman, you seldom came out of your office at all and never to meet an author. But then you did. You were regretting the many hours at work and the few hours at home and wanted to talk.

And the single mom in Chicago. One kid was tugging, the other crying, but juggling them both, you made your point. “I made mistakes,” you explained, “but I really want to try again.”

And there was that night in Fresno. The musician sang and I spoke and you came. You almost didn’t. You almost stayed home. Just that day you’d found the note from your wife. She was leaving you. But you came anyway. Hoping I’d have something for the pain. Hoping I’d have an answer. Where is God at a time like this?

And so as I wrote, I thought about you. All of you. You aren’t malicious. You aren’t evil. You aren’t hardhearted, (hardheaded occasionally, but not hardhearted). You really want to do what is right. But sometimes life turns south. Occasionally we need a reminder.

Not a sermon.

A reminder.

A reminder that God knows your name.

I Throw My Life Upon All that You Are!

Those are part of the lyrics to "Where the Love Lasts Forever" by Hillsong. This phrase captures my attention every time I hear the song.

"I throw my life".........those words paint a bigger picture to me and speak louder than just saying "I surrender all".
I THROW my life....with ENTHUSIASM and complete uninhibited trust....with expectancy...with abandonment!
I throw my life.....in its ENTIRETY------all of the triumphs, and victories as well as the failures and trials, battles, confusion and pain....all of my dreams....all of my desires....all of my hopes...every last of my tears...all of my laughter....my family, my kids, my home, my job, my gifts, what drives me, what motivates me, my relationships.....all of ME and every last thing that concerns me.

......upon all that YOU are. You are sovereign, You are forgiving, You CARE! About it ALL! (yes.....even "that" too---whatever it is you just questioned Him about.) You God.....YOU are LOVE! You are generous. You are compassionate and slow to anger. You are long suffering. You are PEACE. You are comforter. You are Healer. You are Friend. You GET me. You UNDERSTAND me. You see us ONLY through your relentless Love and touch every moment of our existence WITH that Love. You are Holy. You are STRONGER. You are merciful. Your ways and Your thoughts are higher than ours. You are TRUTH. You are consistent and constant. You are secure. You SEE me. You are always there. You will never forsake us. You will never let go of us. You rejoice with us in our JOYS and mourn with us through our griefs. You SEE-TO-IT.....that we have all that we could possibly need. You surpass everything we could possibly imagine You are! You are MORE than enough. You are PERFECT. You are gentle. You are FOR us. Your attention is fixed intently on US. Your purposes are towards us. What concerns us is at the center of your heart.

Whatever it is you can think of that He could possibly be for YOU?......He is.

Complete surrender...willingly abandoning all of me. Laying aside all preconceived ideas. Letting go of all fears and insecurities. Everything that concerns me...everything I AM....everything I am to BE.....every moment of my existence....giving it ALL to Him...to do with what HE wants. I throw my life upon all that YOU ARE.
ALL that He is. He just IS. He is enough. For all of it.

Our Eyes are on You!

I am so excited to share this with you because I smiled when I read this and it filled my heart with HOPE! :)

When I had recently written about 2 Chronicles 20, I made mention of Jehosophat's response to the
impending battle that he was to face. His response to what was about to take place spoke to me on so many levels.
One of the many things that stood out to me was that Jehosophat reminded God of what He'd already done for them. (and maybe in that purposefully reassuring himself of God's faithfulness to move on behalf of His people) God had already come through for them once and he had faith in a God who is the same yesterday today and forever.  Irregardless of what they were facing and how things might have looked (he said....we stand no chance against this vast army----we don't know  WHAT to do---but our eyes are on You!) He put his faith in the One who could deliver them.

This morning I was reading over the story of Esther. What an incredible story FULL of hope and destiny, determination and courage. I cannot even begin to touch on how many things God has spoken to me through this woman's life story. But one thing specifically caught my attention this morning that reminded me of Jehosophat's prayer. How he remembered how God had delivered them in the past and how he was confident God would do it again.

In Esther chapter 3 Haman sent out the edict for the Jews to be annihilated....it was the 14th day of the month. (which marks the beginning of passover)
Imagine all of the Jews receiving these documents about what was to become of them (by an order that "CANNOT BE REVOKED-----SIGNED SEALED AND DELIVERED BY THE KINGS' DECREE") on the very day that they were all sitting around recounting the story of how God brought them out of Egypt.
The fear and terror that gripped their hearts on that day no doubt was indescribable...HOWEVER---if you look at it through God's perspective! :)...and through the grace mercy and relentless love of God....the timing is actually perfect.
These events too were touched by the sovereign hand of God. They have an imminent need on the very day they are remembering and discussing God's past deliverance.

Maybe Haman was reveling in his plan---thinking it was HIS timing that was perfect. But can you see God smiling and agreeing?.....YES...the timing is PERFECT. :)

The story they were recounting that day....the story of God's mercy and deliverance gave those on that day who were WILLING to see it....WILLING to understand it.....WILLING to believe it.......WILLING to trust.....a HOPE in the middle of terrifying news. He who delivered them once....is able to deliver them again!

Remember what God has done for YOU in the past. He has a history with YOU! Remember WHO'S you are. And HOW SO VERY MUCH HE loves you!!!!!
Remember to see things through God's perspective....and His perspective alone. What satan meant for evil......God uses for good.
He has woven so intricately His plans, His purposes and His intentions into EVERY moment of our existence!!!!!!!!!!!!
That should give you HOPE! :)

No weapon formed against you shall prosper! Isaiah 54:17
There's hope in the middle of whatever you are facing! There's ALWAYS a hope! Because every moment of your existence has been touched by the sovereign hand of God Himself!

And just as Jehosophat prayed:
"God we don't know WHAT we are going to do.........but our eyes are on YOU.......the One who can do the IMPOSSIBLE!"

Hold Your Positions!

I have been reading 2 Chronicles 20 over and over for the last couple of weeks.
I can't seem to tear myself away from the story!

The Moabites Ammonites and Meunites were coming to make war with Jehosaphat and all of Judah.
No doubt Jehosaphat felt shaken.
But notice his first response.......he was determined to seek the Lord!

I don't know about you, but I am ashamed to admit how many times I have been in a situation that seemed impossible where MY first response was panic. Jehosaphat was clearly aware of the situation.
But instead of panic----he turned his fear into prayer. What leadership!!!! He calmly gathered all of Judah to seek the Lord about what they should do. He didn't seek out intelligence about the armies about to attack to see what he was up against. He didn't go to his armies first to see how strong in battle he would be. He didn't seek counsel from those around him. He didn't gather his armies to plan an offensive attack. He gathered all of Judah.................to pray.

In vs. 7 he says, " 7Did not You, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham Your friend?"
Jehosahat remembered a time when God had delivered before....He made good on His promises.
God has a track record.
God has a history with you. Has He not proven Himself faithful to you in times before?
Has He not provided before where the impossible suddenly was made possible?
Did He not surprise you before? He is the same yesterday today and forever! His Word is FULL of promises to YOU. His Word is full of HIS-story. REASONS for you to BELIEVE without wavering...without doubting....being persuaded that those things in your life that you've committed to Him....He will be faithful to.
You have every reason in this world to place your full confidence in Him...full rely on Him....when everything around you seems overwhelming. You could be attacked from every side.......completely surrounded. The devil has you surrounded......but God has you surrounded as well. And I have news for you....you can throw up the white flag of surrender.

Look at what happens next. Jehosaphat says in vs. 12, "For we have no might to stand against this great company that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You."

He knows it seemed to be an impossible situation. He had not a CLUE how to proceed or what to do next.
BUT................."Our eyes are on you".
I can't help but think of Peter....on the water.....with Jesus. You all know the story well. As long
As his eyes were fixed on Jesus, the waves did not overwhelm him. But when he took his eyes off of Jesus he began to drown."
Isaiah 26:3 says, "You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You."
He will keep you steady....in your mind. In your emotions. Stay focussed on the one who is holding you.
He's got you. He's not about to let you go. He's the ONE sure thing in your life. He's the ONE with all the answers. Not only will He bring your deliverance...but He's the ONE who will sustain you and keep you through it all.

Jehosaphat understood that. He had not a clue how to handle this situation....but he fixed His eyes on the One who did.

God's response to Jehosaphat's faith and resolve?
He spoke through Jehaziel to say this to them, vs. 15 be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's."
Vs. 17 You shall not need to fight in this battle; take your positions, stand still, and see the deliverance of the Lord [Who is] with you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Fear not nor be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.

God told them.."you don't even HAVE to fight this battle. Just HOLD YOUR POSITIONS....and stand....wait and watch the deliverance of your God!" Wait and WATCH GOD DO WHAT ONLY HE CAN DO!!!

So in vs. 20, Jehosaphat, being great in leadership, became the cheerleader for all of Judah and reminded them of the Word of the Lord to them, "Hear me, O Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God and you shall be established; believe and remain steadfast to His prophets and you shall prosper."
He told them that they could put faith in what the prophet said to them and that God would keep them...they WILL succeed! He was convinced of this!!!! Of COURSE he knew what was at stake. Of course he was aware of the armies approaching and what it could mean for Judah. He even said in vs. 12, "We don't stand a chance against this!" But his confidence was NOT in his own armies. His confidence was in God. His eyes were not fixed on his enemies...his eyes were fixed on God.

Now this part I LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!
Jehosaphat appointed singers and praisers to go before the army.
They were not on offense OR defense. They did not come after their approaching enemies with a vengeance and fear in their hearts. They just praised.
While they were shouting and praising God.....confusion came upon the 3 armies attacking Judah and they were "self-slaughtered".

Hear is the TRUTH that sums it all up!!!!!!
God will defend His word....for His name's sake.....He will honor His name....simply for the sake of defending what He's already promised He would do.....He'll defend who He is. He WIll be sure to fulfill His promises.
Why?
For the GLORY OF HIS NAME!!!!! That's reason enough for Him to come through for YOU! This is an opportunity for God to do something GREAT in your life...on your behalf....for YOU...and for the sake of His name! But there's another reason He WILL come through for you...He loves you relentlessly!!!! He will NEVER let go. He Is fighting for you. He Is sustaining you.
He is keeping you and holding you. Because He LOVES you!!!!! How He loves us!!..so very much!

One of my favorite passages of scripture is this: Psalm 126:2-3. And it says
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
Our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
3 The LORD has done great things for us,
And we are filled with joy.


Look at the end of the chapter. 29 "The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. "
(They were the TALK of the nations!!!!!!!!!!!)

30 And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side!!!!!!!!!!!!
He doesn't need our HELP. What good would it have done for Jehosaphat to panic, and spend all his time drawing up a plans and a course of action of how best to approach the situation? The battle was already WON in God's eyes!!!!
He is not a man that He should lie....He will do it!!!!
I am convinced of this. I am persuaded.

Look at what God's already done for you. 1 chronicles 16:12 says, "REMEMBER what He's ALREADY DONE!"
You have His word...to YOU...giving you more than enough reasons to take your positions and just stand FIRM and watch and SEE Him bring you through. He WILL deliver you! And He's got you surrounded.
Just RELAX! And start praising Him NOW for who He is what He's already done and what He's about to do!!!!
Because soon He will bring you rest on EVERY SIDE!

Each Morning I Have a Choice~Max Lucado

Good morning!  It's a new day!  A new week!   He's got new blessings prepared for you!   And He's got something for YOU to do TODAY! Divine appointments woven into your day. Be sure your agenda lines up with His! You only get ONE shot at this day! Make the most of it! He's already gone ahead of you and promises you GRACE for THIS day. Yesterday is over and done with...tomorrow is not yet here. TODAY is the day you have in front of you!  Have a GREAT one and choose to walk in all that He has for you!  You ever hear of the butterfly effect?  Your actions and choices have the potential to have lasting impact and effect well beyond today.  So choose wisely :)  And have a GREAT day!!!!!!! 


It's quiet.  It's early.  My coffee is hot. The sky is still black.  The world is still asleep.  The day is coming.  In a few moments the day will arrive.  It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun.  The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day.  The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race.  The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met. For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day's demands.

It is now that I must make a choice. 
Because of Calvary I'm free to choose. 
And So I choose.

I CHOOSE LOVE . . . .

No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness.
I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

I CHOOSE JOY . . .

I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance.
I will refuse the temptation to be cynical . . . The tool of the lazy thinker.
I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God.
I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.

I CHOOSE PEACE . . .

I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.


I CHOOSE PATIENCE . . .

I will overlook the inconveniences of the world.
Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so.
Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray.
Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I CHOOSE KINDNESS . . .

I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid.
And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.


I CHOOSE GOODNESS . . .

I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one.
I will be overlooked before I will boast.
I will confess before I accuse. I choose goodness.


I CHOOSE FAITHFULNESS . . .

Today, I will keep my promises.
My family and friends will not question my word.
My spouse will not question where my loyalties lie.
My children will never wonder if I will be here for them.

I CHOOSE GENTLENESS . . .

Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle.
If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise.
If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer.
If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.

I CHOOSE SELF-CONTROL . . .

I am a spiritual being . . . After this body is dead, my spirit will soar.
I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control.



Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace.

And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.   

(- Max Lucado)

He is giving us Grace for THIS day.  Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow is not here yet.  Live in THIS moment.  You only have ONE shot at it!  Make the most of it.

Psalm 18

I was reading my Bible this morning and came to Psalms 18.
I know God has our best interests at heart. I KNOW He is fighting for us. I KNOW He will move Heaven and Earth on OUR behalf! He will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to GET to us! To get to our heart. To change our circumstances. He is ready .....waiting for us to call out to Him.....and He will come!!!! I know this....but to see it in black and white this morning excited me.
What an incredible God He is who loves us SO much more than we could ever possibly imagine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you have a need....all you have to do is ask and He is on His way!!! :)

David is crying out to God in Psalms 18 and he says, "In my distress I called to the Lord. I cried to my God for help....from HIS TEMPLE HE HEARD MY VOICE....my CRY CAME BEFORE HIM into HIS EARS....the earth TREMBLED and QUAKED...the foundations of the mountains shook......He parted the heavens....and came down.....The Lord thundered from heaven...the voice of the most high resounded....He shot his arrows and SCATTERED THE ENEMIES....He REACHED DOWN FROM ON HIGH AND TOOK ....HOLD.... OF.... ME. :)
HE DREW ME OUT OF DEEP WATERS...HE RESCUED ME FROM MY POWERFUL ENEMY...WHO WAS TOO STRONG FOR ME.....they had confronted me in the day of my disaster....BUT THE LORD WAS MY SUPPORT!...HE BROUGHT ME OUT...HE RESCUED ME BECAUSE HE DELIGHTED IN ME.

What a GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

SMILE! =-)

For someone who needed to BE on the receiving end of a smile today...I thought I'd share some food for thought with ya'll.
Being someone who could really use a smile today I wasn't about to wait around for someone to bring some joy to ME....the day could be here and gone. The sun would set and I would've done nothing more than think about my own sorry self and did NOTHING to bless a single person around
me if all I did was think about what I needed throughout the day.

BUT when you spend all your efforts and energy into seeing how many people you can bless...how many people you can make smile...before you know it there are a half dozen or more people smiling INCLUDING yourself.........
Make it your GOAL to every day TOP how many people you were able to bless each day adding to the numbers!!!!!!! It can be a rather fun game, actually! HAHAHA!
Today in running all of my errands I came to a small store I frequently stop at and the gentleman who owns the shop met me at the door. I smiled my biggest smile and asked him how he was doing today. The smile was returned AND he helped me with my packages!!! hahaha....BONUS! Later on I met a cashier with the most beautiful smile...so I told her, "Just wanted you to know that you have a beautiful smile!".....I started to walk away. She stopped me to thank me with an even bigger smile and a heartfelt genuine "thank you".
It takes SECONDS to spread joy...but the effects last much longer and you'll find that it IS contagious. Like skipping stones in the water....and the ripples left behind.


-- Give and it shall be given unto you...The Message says it this way: Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."
So....give away some JOY...you'll find JOY given back....given back with bonus!!!!!
it's a simple principle set in motion by God that HAS to work. Go ahead....PROVE IT TO BE TRUE!!!!!!! Give a smile...a smile will be given back to you. Spread some joy....joy will be given back to you.
Good measure....pressed down...shaken together and RUNNING OVER will men give back to YOU!!!!!

HAHA!....running OVER....that's a whole lotta smiling goin on! That's a whole lotta JOY! =-)
I am NOW smiling...but it's NOT because I've been waiting around for someone to bring ME a smile......
Frank Sinatra was onto something....when you're smiling the world DOES smile back at you! And when you're laughing....the sun DOES come shining through............=-)

Do You Have Any Idea What This Means? :)

Wow!!!!!!!!......just THINK about this for a minute........this will change the way you think about livin' life!

When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert what was it he offered Jesus?!?!?!?

He took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and all their splendor. And then Satan ....offered it all.... to JESUS........um..... SATAN!?!?!?? was "offering" JESUS!?!?!?!? authority over the kingdoms of the world!!?!?!?

The devil had to have known what was at stake.....though not an EASY road He was about to take....He knew what He had to do. He knew the Word of His Father...He knew the Truth.
He knew what lay ahead for Him beyond the immediate suffering and pain....He knew what was in store....for Him and for "the church"...(I'm pretty sure that somewhere back in the Old Testament we're told that Jesus was going to bruise the serpent's head?!....right? I think Jesus must have gotten the memo somewhere a long the way....that all things would be found UNDER his feet one day....and unless you missed PREPOSITION day in English class you know that in order for something to be UNDER..."something" else must also be OVER) It was all going to be His soon enough anyway!!!!....so fast forward .... To Jesus' death on the cross. ALL that He accomplished through that!!!

He got the keys to death, hell and the grave. He paid for our sins. He made us righteous. Through His death He made us worthy. Justified. Made right with God...finally..."FINAL"...ly!!!

Sure enough.......when the work was finished on the cross.... the moment Jesus was resurrected...EVERYTHING CHANGED...............Did you catch that?!!??!?!

The MOMENT Jesus was resurrected....everything ....CHANGED.
That was the final word in the SPIRITUAL realm!!!!! It is FINISHED.

But then GET THIS!!!!................................HE...........GAVE..............THAT.............AUTHORITY.................TO.............THE CHURCH!

The same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead dwells inside of YOU!


Look at Ephesians 1:20-23 (I'm going to use The Message...cause I LIKE it...=-) )

.....God raised him [Jesus Christ] from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, (HA! What?!?!? In charge!?!?!? Of the universe!??! ) everything from galaxies ...to governments.....(hmmmm....), no name and no power exempt from his rule. (whatever you're thinking.....YEP!....THAT too......) And not just for the time being, (here on earth...now....in charge of what concerns US!!!!!!!) but forever.... He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.

WOW!!!!!!! This is where it all unfolds....God's spectacular plan for all mankind!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The final word.
At resurrection. When Jesus was placed at the right hand of the Father. Given authority over it all. NO POWER exempt from his rule. If that authority has been given to US.....What does that means for us!?!?!?

A lot of people are stumbling around blindly on this earth.....Not REALIZING what has happened here!
Don't look down....CHIN up!!!! Look to the glory and lifter of your head. (Psalms 3:3...."you O Lord are the ONE who holds my head HIGH!)) We've got no reason to look down!
He's given that POWER TO YOU!....the CHURCH!

So when we pray...we can pray in light of WHO HE IS and all He has accomplished!............okay....who IS He exactly then?!?!? There is NO one like Our God!!! He's Creator and sustainer of the earth. Savior of the World. Father to the Fatherless. Hope to the Hopeless. Peace to the restless. Our provider. King of Kings. Lord of Lords. Lord of Heaven. Lord of Earth. Our Healer. Our Friend. The One who defends OUR CAUSE. The Beginning and The End. OUR sustainer. Our Righteousness.

Pray in light of who He is and ....in light of what He's doing IN THE CHURCH....in Jesus' name.

It can change the way we look at this world and the circumstances surrounding us!!!! We've got no reason to look down. Look UP! What does Satan have now!??! NOTHING...except for what we give him....That surely should change the way you look at life!!!!!!!!
It's time to start livin' and lovin' life! Abundantly. The way God intended.
Be confident. Be bold. We know the Truth. We've been given God's final word on things!!!!! No arguing!!!! No second guessing!!!! No talking back!!!! The final word!!
Open it up and see for yourself!!! It was all done.....FOR THE CHURCH. And YOU, my friend....ARE THE CHURCH!!!!!!!!!!!

All THIS for a King! :)

This morning I had been listening to David Crowder's song, "O Praise Him (All this for a king)"
Turn your ear
To Heaven and hear
The NOISE inside
The sound of angels awe
The sound of angels songs
And all this for a King
We could join and sing
'All to Christ our King!'

I was just TRYING to fathom.....(and I say TRYING to...because it's IMPOSSIBLE for me to fully comprehend) the incredible and overwhelming awesomeness of God and His Son Jesus!! Even Creation praises Him....all throughout scripture it speaks of creation praising the name of the Lord.

Throngs of angels continually sing around the throne, "Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty"

Psalms 148 talks of ALL of creation praising the name of the Lord!!!! ALL of it! Created for His glory!
But in vs. 13-14 it says : Let them (US) praise the name of God—
it's the ONLY Name worth praising!!!!!!!!!
His radiance EXCEEDS anything in earth and sky;
he's built a monument—his very own people!
Praise from all who love God!
Israel's children, intimate friends of God!!!

The CREATOR of this awesome universe!!!!!!! The one who set things in place in SUCH order and so intricately that we don't even question IF the sun will come up in the morning.
Or if summer will come after spring. Or if the birds will know how to find food. SUCH perfection! SUCH a GRAND and awesome creation He has established! And this awesome God...THIS perfect, HOLY, AWESOME God calls US....intimate friends. ME?!?!? I.....am......HIS....intimate friend!!!!!

I can't even wrap my MIND around the concept that this GOD....this Holy, awesome, INCREDIBLE, God---who has the POWER to create and sustain the universe...calls me....his intimate friend.

I come to Him...in His perfect Holiness...so IMperfect....so broken....just as I am. Just me. Nothing spectacular. Nothing flashy. No ceremony necessary. Just as I am...I can approach the Throne of the King of Kings Himself!

The more I know Him. The more I am aware of how little I KNEW Him. He's too grand for me to ever fully understand. And yet He LONGS for us to know Him...intimately....as a friend. As children. Sometimes we come to Him....cool and indifferent..... Without that feeling of WONDER.... Forgetting how awesome He truly is.
But yet we also come to Him and forget HOW much He loves us. How HE is just as captivated with US as we are HIM!!!!!!! We're afraid to come into His presence. Thinking we're not worthy. Thinking we have to BE something we're NOT in order to be WORTHY to be in His presence.
We've BEEN made worthy to be in His presence. He MADE us worthy. He is EAGERLY anticipating our arrival into His courts!!!! Think about what people had to go through to even be in the king's PRESENCE!!!!! All the steps they had to go through to approach the king! We don't have to go through all that...nor do we have to slink into His presence....we can come BOLDLY into the THRONE of grace. (Hebrews 4:16)

ALL this for a KING!
And yet....He calls me His friend!!

Sometimes ministering to someone is simpler than we think.....

This is a story from Beth Moore. It REALLY ministered to me....this story can be taken BOTH ways...if you have a need no matter how SMALL.... The Lord will make a way to see to it that your need is met...He has our best interests at heart and is interested in EVERYTHING that concerns us. His heart breaks when our heart breaks and He will move Heaven and Earth to heal our hearts and meet our needs. Even if all you need is your "hair brushed" and to know that God has NOT forgotten you....but on the other side of this story....we need to be willing vessels to be used at any moment's notice....to give a smile, lend a hand, share the love of Jesus...or yes.....even to brush someone's hair...because you never know how your being instant IN season and OUT of season may be MORE than just "brushing someone's hair"...you could be meeting a deeper need that God is wanting to meet in an individuals life....

It doesn't matter what we have need of....
******"He knows if you’re exhausted,you’re hungry, you’re serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you’re hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you’re sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!"
 
April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville, waiting to board the plane, I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I’d had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least of which is your ego.

I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man. I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I’d just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the airport… an impersonator maybe? Was a camera on us somewhere?

There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served up on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let’s admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man. I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I’ve learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing. I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. ‘Oh, no, God, please, no.’ I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, ‘Don’t make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I’ll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don’t make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!’ There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His highness, ‘Please don’t make me witness to this man. Not now. I’ll do it on the plane.’ Then I heard it …’I don’t want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair.’

The words were so clear, my heart leap into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No-brainier. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, ‘God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I’m on this Lord. I’m your girl! You’ve never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am going to witness to this man’ Again as clearly as I’ve ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. ‘That is not what I said, Beth. I don’t want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair.’ I looked up at God and quipped, ‘I don’t have a hairbrush. It’s in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?’ God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God’s word: ‘I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works.’ (2 Timothy 3:17)

I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story, my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies. I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, ‘Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?’ He looked back at me and said,’What did you say?”May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?’To which he responded in volume ten, ‘Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you’re going to have to talk louder than that.’At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out , ‘SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?’At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Long Locks. Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face,and say, ‘If you really want to.’ Are you kidding? Of course I didn’t want to. But God didn’t seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, ‘Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don’t have a hairbrush.’ ‘I have one in my bag,’ he responded.I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger’s old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing.

I stood up and started brushing the old man’s hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don’t do many things well, but must admit I’ve had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I’d done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands,remembering to take my time not to pull. A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man’s hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me.

I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair. I know this sounds so strange, but I’ve never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I – for that few minutes – felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while.The emotions were so strong and so pure t hat I knew they had to be God’s. His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant’s. I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knees and said, ‘Sir, do you know my Jesus?’He said, ‘Yes, I do’ Well, that figures, I thought. He explained, ‘I’ve known Him since I married my bride. She wouldn’t marry me until I got to know the Savior.’ He said, ‘You see, the problem is, I haven’t seen my bride in months. I’ve had open-heart surgery, and she’s been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride.’

Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we’re completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I’ll never forget it.Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I’d acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, ‘That old man’s sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?’I said, ‘Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!’And we got to share.

I learned something about God that day. He knows if you’re exhausted,you’re hungry, you’re serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you’re hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you’re sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way . . all because I didn’t want people to think I was strange. God didn’t send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.

John 1:14 ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’