This is IT!

Isaiah 43:16-19 (NLT), "I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick. “But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."

Oh how I love that God is the creator. He who creates can change and can do something new. Knowing that he has the ability to create every thing that I see. From these mountains to the ocean of my youth. I have faith in him and all of his provision for my life.

2007 has been a challenge for so many people that I know. People are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Their finances, their family, their health. I know that personally it's been a really rough few months. Where we had security before we don't have now. Where we had savings before we don't have now. Where we had a plan for a future, a bright future we are going to bed at night crying out to God for mercy and for wisdom. I have cried more tears in the last few weeks than I can remember in years. It all seems so overwhelming, it all seems like it's just too much and I cry out like David. Psalm 22:14, "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me."

As my husband and I laid in bed last night discussing our business, discussing our finances, going over where we are at....I just wanted to crawl up in a ball and die. Nothing short of that. Not just find temporary relief, but go home to Jesus kind of relief. I know what the numbers are, I know that the possibility of he and I pulling this off without God is impossible. I told him that we are very successful at failure. We have been here before. We know what worked last time to bring relief and that just isn't an option for us any more. Right now we don't have a choice but to put our nose to the grind and keep moving forward. No matter how scary or overwhelming it may appear.

Acts 10:40,"
but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen."

Acts 13:30, "
But God raised him from the dead,"

Romans 5:8, "
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Hebrews 3:4, "For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything."

Jeremiah 10:12, "But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding."

Psalm 73:26, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Psalm 66:19, "but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer."

Acts 2:24, "But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him."

I love that we have a But God. There are times that we have nothing but God. But God is merciful, God is the creator of all things, the builder of all things, the redeemer sender, the fail safe provider. Psalm 139:16, "your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." He knows where we are. He knows what we are going through. He has promised us Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Yes he knows it all however, he is a But God.

Just when you think it's all over, just when you think you have breathed your last breathe, God is a God of resurrection power. He is a God of breathing life. He has the ability to bring back the dead...oh how I love But God.

Genesis 2:7, "the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

Ezekiel 37:4-6, "Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!"This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.' "

Lord as we go through this I pray for your protection. Lord, I give you my life, I give you my home, I give you my heart and everything that you have created for me. Lord, I pray that you send your breathe in 2008, not just for me Lord but for all of those that are suffering. For all of those that you are drawing to yourself. Lord, you are all we have, our only hope. We have tried to do it on our own and Lord we are not capable of anything more than what we have done. Lord, we repent of our lackadaisical ways. Lord, your word says faith without works is dead. Lord, I ask for an exponential outpouring of faith on us right now. I pray Lord that we will take that faith and work it in ways that change us, our church, our communities, our country and our world. Lord, I take the cap off of our ability to receive from you. You have such a desire to bless us and Lord all we have been able to do is choke on it or waste it. Lord, I pray for your wisdom, that you would send others into our lives that can teach us. People that have breathed onto dead bones before and seen them live. Lord, be with us as we leave the past, as we leave 2007 and move forward into 2008. You are our strength, our joy and our provision. You will net let us die, and for that I praise you in advance for the new rivers that you are going to bring to this dry land. Lord, I long to swim in the river of your presence and I call out to you today and say YOU ARE MY GOD, YOU ARE MY SALVATION, MY REDEEMER AND MY PROVIDER. I bless you Lord, I bless you with everything I am, with every breath that enters my body. I am done, this is it, I am moving forward in you, with you. I know where I came from but God is with me. Thank you, I love you, I worship you with all of myself. In Jesus Precious Holy Name. Amen.


How to get Peace

Romans 5:1-5, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Do you have peace?

When we read Romans 5:1 we know that we have been justified by our faith. We know that because it has been told to us the entirety of our lives. We are able to stand among the unrighteous and say that we are righteous because Jesus paid the price with His blood for our sin. Dikaioo, justification, I love this word. The implication of the word is that it does not negate the violation but it does liberate us from the sentence of guilt. If we read further into Romans 5, verse 8 states, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Still sinners. Still, even today. Still sinners. How do we have peace in that place? There is a difference between condemnation and conviction. It is excruciatingly painful and unattainable to have peace when we are living under the condemnation of Satan. He wants to convince us that the sacrifice was enough for everyone else, but not for ourselves. He lays upon us shame and guilt for our humanness, for our inability to walk in the perfect footsteps of Christ.

Yet, God Himself knew in the beginning that we would need a Savior. Jesus was set aside from the beginning of the separation of time, when God decided he wanted a family, he set Him aside as our redeemer. God’s grace created provision for us before he ever set our feet upon the earth. He gave us access to Himself through Christ Jesus. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He knows that he will have victory in the end, and he worked from the point of victory back to today to set us up for righteousness. He gave us an all access pass to his throne. He wants to commune with us. He wants us to come up on the Mount and be there. He wants us to glory at his power, to glory at how he has predestined our lives. He wants us to glow like Moses with his presence and with his love. He wants to share revelation with us that we can take to the congregation whom chose to not climb the mount.

How are we able to “be there” and commune with God, through Christ if we are so busy running through our lives. How can we attain the peace if we don’t take the time to just be there?

God who predestined us, loves us enough to train us and to teach us. He will create tribulations in our life to get us to our knees. He calls out to us and says, come sit with me. Come be with me. Come bring to me your burden, let me share it with you. Let me drive the yoke and let you rest in my power. So often we want to carry the burden all our self and curse him for the rain or lack thereof in our lives. There are so many neigh sayers that will blame God for everything and not see the blessing of the circumstance. We all have had painful circumstances. We have experienced death, divorce, bankruptcy. We have lost everything in the earth and yet we still continue to bless the name Jesus and God.

When we can see God’s hand in the circumstances, when we can see his provision through the times of lack, when we can praise him in the storm we are learning the character that comes in experience. I have faith in Jesus because I have experience with him. He has saved me before and I know that he will save me again. I know that when I learn and understand the circumference of my tree, when I realize what fields God has set me to work that with practice I will be able to teach others how to cultivate the same soil. Through tribulations we are driven to our knees. We are driven to call upon the name of Jesus. Then we see someone else faces the same giants we know which rock it will take to slay them.

Patience is an act of obedience. Like with my own children. When I ask them to wait, I am giving them a direct assignment. I am asking them to not grumble, not to question me, not to jump up and down in rebellion. I am asking them to wait. It is of my opinion that patience is the most difficult act of obedience that we encounter as humans. We want to fix it our way, right now. Jesus does it immediately, but for us that isn’t fast enough. Matthew 14:31 states, “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" Poor Peter. He had the courage to step out of the boat, he had the courage to walk and take the first steps but as he got closer to Jesus, the goal, he started to give up, get tired and lose his faith. Jesus, immediately reached out for him. He didn’t wait until he was 6 foot under. He grabbed him as soon as he started to slip. There is hope in that.

Experience is in the simplest terms practice. We practice our righteousness, we practice our character traits, we practice crying out to Jesus first. I know that when my grandfather was alive he was my first phone call, whether trouble or celebration he got that call. When I lost him I had to retrain myself to call Jesus first. I had to learn to not turn to that phone for encouragement but to get on my knees. The experience brought me practice. I had to replace one savior with another. It was through that time of tribulation that my experience resulted in change within myself. I was able to learn, to react with reflex the ability to call upon the name of Jesus in times of crisis, or ceremony. Just like we would know to not sit on a broken chair, it’s not something we would even have to think about, our experience would tell us that it can’t hold us and we would walk past it and find another chair without even thinking. With practice and experience all of us can learn to let Jesus be that first call. He can be that friend that love us like no other and can encourage us in a way that no one but he can do.

Our hope comes when we trust God to do what he says he is going to do. When we quit trying to do it our way. When we can be patient and wait for his hand, we can receive the love and the grace that waits in abundance for us. The kind of grace and love that can produce peace. There is not guilt and condemnation, there is no need to be ashamed. One of the most profound things anyone has ever said to me, Drew Russe looked me in the eye and said, “Never be ashamed of how he got you there”. I walked in shame of my past, I walked in shame of my present. I had the thought that I was disposable and never enough. I would never measure up to the bar that God set for my life. I would never have the character to minister in the way that I felt called and lead to do. That one sentence, despite the fact that I knew that to be true, set me free. I can look at my life now and see God’s hand in it. I can see him holding the spoon stirring me gently over a refining fire. I have learned that in the face of adversity, and there will be adversity, that Jesus and God are more interested in being intimate with me than me getting it right.

I often ask my children if it is better to be right or to be happy. I want to walk in the peace of the Lord. I want to be able to know that everyday when I wake up his grace and mercies are new for me. I want to have a peace that passes all understanding and I believe that only comes with realizing that our time here on earth is a process. Tommy Tenney said, “Our King does not alter the robe of righteousness to fit the person. He alters the person to fit the robe of righteousness.” It takes time, it takes patience but what it produces is a person capable of love, capable of pouring for the love of God to others and for others.

The Holy Spirit is our guide. He is our teacher and our comforter. He can nudge us in the right direction if we are there in the presence of God. He can prompt us to talk, to listen or just to hug. We are in this process not for ourselves. We can’t be content with chasing after the footsteps of Jesus just for our own good. When we can get a hold of Jesus, when we can wrap our heads around the fact that God so loved us, that he sent his only begotten son, even while we were sinners. That he set in place a fail safe way to keep us in his company even as we fail, even as we fall. It is in those failures, in those falls that we are able to teach others. That we are able to see the unfailing love of our Father God. We are able to see ourselves and our circumstances next to Jesus on the cross and realize that ours circumstances are temporary and that God is using them to our good. Every day. Every circumstance.

That’s where we find the peace that passes all understanding. Where we can get up on a Sunday morning, not only to get dressed for church but to take time to get into the presence before we get there. We are able to show up with something to offer and not to stand in the spiritual welfare line. We don’t have to slide in the parking lot sideways cussing the brother that took our spot. We can love from the abundance of God’s love, we can look at the others who act like we used to act and give them grace and mercy, a cup of coffee and a hug.


Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays I am going to take a few days to spend with my family and friends. I will be back after Christmas.

It is my prayer that we will all enjoy the reason of the season, that we will all be salt and light in the world around us, for the next few days and for the remainder of our days. We are an abundantly blessed people. There seems to be a lot of travesty going on this time of year. I can't count the amount of people who have lost loved ones in the past few weeks. Know that my heart is breaking for you. We will be overcomers, God will be victorious if we will just submit to his will.

I love all of you and will miss you as you travel. You are in my heart, my prayers and I just pray for blessings in abundance in your life. I am humbled by your support and your love for me.

Let us pour out of the overflow and encourage others around us.

In Christ's holy precious name. Amen.


Be There!

Exodus 24:12, "And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them." KJV emphasis added.

Isn't it funny that God had to tell Moses to be there. Come and then be here. It's kind of like waiting to have a date night with my husband, come and be with me, except he is watching the TV behind my head at the restaurant. He is physically with me but he is not engaged. His mind is else where and despite the fact that I love to be physically close to him, I long for the intimacy that comes when he is "being there". When he has turned his attention to me and isn't distracted by anything else going on.

I truly believe that is what God is saying to Moses. Come up to the mount, and be there. Just be. Be engaged, be filled up with my presence. I think that is what God wants from all of us. He is the bridegroom, he has chosen us, he is courting us, and he wants our full attention. Oh believe me this time of year especially we can get wrapped up in the hustle and the bustle of the holidays, but when it comes down to it, what is more important to God? That my house be decorated perfectly or that I take the time to look him in the face and "be there". We all want to say that the holiday is about Christ, but how much time do we really spend with him running to and fro to gather goods from far away merchants?

The consensus among my friends this year is that this year God is impressing on all of us that less is more. We have all been the living the commercial Christmas all of our lives. But even now as we are growing, there is this calling to get back to the truth, the truth can and will set you free from sin, from debt and from trying to keep up with the Jones'. Christmas has it's roots in paganism, more so than Christianity. Every year Satan convinces us that we need more, our kids need more, we need bigger decorations. We lie to our kids about the "magic" of the holiday and tell them that some man is going to come down the chimney and leave them gifts. We drag them to the mall to have pictures taken on this man's lap then the other 364 days of the year we tell them not to talk to strangers, or to take candy from them.

God is calling us to righteousness, he is calling us to be faithful, he is calling us to patience and to obedience. I had quite a few people balk at me over the last few days as I told them I hadn't done any shopping yet. I haven't baked anything yet. See the thing is, we know that 2008 is going to be a year of exponential growth. But you can't have exponential without a base number. You have to have a base number to be multiplied. I am not a math whiz but I do remember that. So we have the option of entering 2008 with a positive number, a larger base number, or we have the option to enter in with a negative number, which no matter how many times you multiply it exponentially is a negative number. So we decided to not go into debt to pay for Christmas. We could, we have just opted not to.

All this revelation came with being with God. By taking the time to sit before him snot flowing and pouring out a mother's heart. By being real, and telling him that it was breaking my heart, that I wanted to do so much more for my family. It was arching off when I was a kid and my parents split around Christmas but we still had Christmas and if they could pull it off so could we. That was when God revealed the lies about credit and the fact that yes my parents had pulled it off but they paid for it for many years to come. I sat with him and let him hold my face in his hand and remind me once again that he is enough. The blessings that have come from that are exponential. I am already beginning to see the fruit of the faithfulness.

My daughter yesterday, my mini-me, preached to her grandmother about "It is better to give than to receive", even finding the reference in Acts. She is 8, that warms my heart better than any new robe or sweater could ever do. My husband and I came home last night and checked the mail, there was an anonymous card with a cashiers check in it. We have no way to know who sent it, but I do have my suspicions. I will be able to do something for my kids without going into debt. I will be able to have dinner Christmas Eve and bless other's around me out of the generosity of someone else. Isn't that what family is for? God provided in a way that I never would have imagined. How humbling it is to be on the receiving end.

So I say all of this to say, Be there. Be fully engaged with God. Even during the preparations, even while wrapping the gifts and singing Christmas carols. Find time to get with God, one on one face to face. You may be amazed at what he is trying to tell you. My word was patience is obedience. Just when I thought I couldn't hold out anymore he showed me his hand. He called me on it, so this morning I sit here finding his face to give him thanksgiving and praise. Yes I know that someone sent us a check, but I also know that the Holy Spirit laid it upon their heart. Ah HA...you know what else....they had to "Be there" to hear God's heart. They had to "Be There" to be obedient.

Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Lord, let us know that you are always wanting to meet with us. You are never too busy, you are never too tired. You are always faithful, always loving, always waiting for us to be there. Lord, I am sorry that some days I make you wait all day on me. I am sorry that I consider my agenda more important than yours. Lord my heart for 2008 is to be exponentially a better woman of devotion to you. Lord, it is my heart to seek you every day first thing. Lord, if I can talk to you first every other conversation that happens throughout the day will be radically different. Lord, I can minister out of the overflow of your presence instead of out of the overflow of my caffeine. Lord, you knit my heart to yours more and more everyday. On the days that I do find you, that I do make time for you, Lord your revelation is overwhelming, the knowledge of you is powerful and it changes me day by day. I love you Lord, I am in love with you and your ways. I love your surprises and I love your Son and your Spirit. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.


Love is a Verb

Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained. ~CS Lewis.

Deuteronomy 7:7-16, "The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him. Therefore, take care to follow the commands, decrees and laws I give you today. If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your forefathers. He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land that he swore to your forefathers to give you. You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor any of your livestock without young. The LORD will keep you free from every disease. He will not inflict on you the horrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but he will inflict them on all who hate you. You must destroy all the peoples the LORD your God gives over to you. Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you. "

I often joke that I need a YouTube player that I can use all the time. Because as I read this passage this morning I was thinking, Tina Turner, What's Love Got to Do With It? The answer is everything. Because of God's love for us, and oh how I love CS Lewis's definition, God did everything to get a hold of us. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Proverbs 31:12, "She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." That is love. That is what love is all about. Hoping for good, no matter what the current circumstances, looking towards the future with expectation. The circumstances may be rough, the forecast may be bleak, but the Lord, who still lives his covenant of Love is still loving us and creating ways for us to find him again and do him good and not harm all the days of our lives.

God created us for the sole purpose of having a family to love. Imagine being love and having nothing to pour it into. Now imagine being love, creating creation, pouring love into it and then seeing them not hogging it all but sharing it amongst themselves. If we are saved we all sit in the same position to God, what is possible to change is the personal relationship with have with him. The amount of meddling power we give him in our lives, the amount of time and energy we devote to him. You have heard me say it before that there is a major difference between being a Christian and being a disciple. Have you ever heard Joyce Meyer sing, "This is the way we go to church, go to church, go to church, this is the way we go to church every Sunday morning." That is what a Christian does, they come, sometimes, they come looking for something, get filled up and then walk out. A disciple, comes in and has prepared before the got there. They have been in the Word all week. When the pastor starts preaching, there is an agreement in their Spirit because the Lord has already been putting His finger on this area of their life. They come full, they come to give to others. That's what devotion and love can do to a person. We can tap into the source ourselves and quit standing in the Spiritual Welfare line looking for handouts.

Just because you had it once doesn't mean you have it now. I know people that have walked in the anointing, that have been true disciples and now are too weak, too frail to even stand in the welfare line. They want to sit an be beggars, looking for someone, anyone to walk by. They have great giftings of the Lord, they flowed so easily in them once but circumstances, have left them full of shame and guilt and now they don't feel "worthy" to do anything with them. They know that they want it, that they need it, but their lack of self worth keeps them sitting begging instead of walking in the authority that God gave them. Then they are so full of excuses in why they think it is okay to rob the body of Christ of their gifts, of the provision that God placed in them for the corporate church. God left the flock to find the one, why? Why would he leave 99 to find one? Because he loves them and wants them to be 100 instead of 99 and that one.

God's purpose was family. It was for us to look at him at the head of the table and know that he is our Daddy, but beyond that it is to look around the table, and know that we are all family. If we believe by faith, in the Lord Jesus, we are saved and we are family. I have Baptist sisters, Methodist brothers, does the denomination really matter? If we are redeemed, if we accept the cross as the only means to get to God, if we trust Jesus as the High Priest and Intercessor, then guess what, we are family. When we sit at the banquet table when Jesus comes to get his bride, we will all have a very special thing to place on the table. It's about sharing of ourselves, not hording, not getting spiritually constipated. Sometimes we have to retreat back into ourselves to find God again, sometimes the circumstances are there just for that reason. So that we will cry out to Jesus once more, so that he can come in and remove some more clutter from our hearts so that he has more room to work. Let us not get stuck there. Let's continue to learn, to love, to grow and move from glory to glory. Let's take our claws out of the door jams, quit fighting to cover our mess, and let use it for his glory. They whole reason it was placed there anyway.

1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Lord, thank you for your love. Thank you Father. I can't even begin to fathom your love for me. Even as I struggle, even as I retreat back into myself you are awesome to call my name, you find me in the night when I am at rest in you. Father, your heart for me exceeds my comprehension, your love for me keeps me on my knees. You picked me Father, you chose me, for such a time as this. You know every day Lord before it gets here and you give provision before I have even opened my eyes. You dance over me with joy even when I sit at the foot of my bed and cry. You are good to bring me to the river of snot, and then you are even more awesome to sit there and wrap your arms around me. I continue to see you in everything. I love you, I will continue to do you good and not harm all the days of my life. Bless you, all glory and honor to you...in Jesus Name. Amen.


Grace in Abundance

1 Peter 1:1-2 "To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance."

The greek word for grace is charis (χάρις), what a wonderful word that grace is. Oh how we strive to get it right, we strive to be perfect, we won't teach until we get it all together. Grace is defined as "good will, loving-kindness, favour", "of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues". He kindles us to "exercise". Exercise is the building up over time. If you exercise you are going to see change, if you exercise consistently, it becomes easier. So what is the difference between exercise and strive? Oh I think that you will agree that it is as vast and as wide as it was from the left hand to the right hand of Jesus on the cross.

Exercise is to put through exercises, or forms of practice or exertion, designed to train, develop, condition, or the like. Strive is to exert oneself vigorously; try hard; To struggle or fight forcefully; contend. According to Peter, "who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit", we are chosen and the work of the Spirit is what does the work. So what role do we play? We take the revelation of knowledge and we exercise it, practice it, and learn from it. Striving would be to think that we had to be perfect in every struggle and walk away with a trophy every time then falling into condemnation upon ourselves for being human and making mistakes. Champion horse riders fell more times then they got it right, surfers fell more times then they got it right. The difference long term and the key to grace is the willing to get back on the ride.

God doesn't expect us to be perfect, he truly doesn't. Our inbox is always full of new lessons, there is always something new to exercise, there is always a new revelation waiting for us. He created us in Him image and the first thing we did was fall. We walked in perfection with him for a very short period of time before Satan came along. The newness wore off rather quickly didn't it? Just like buying a new car, it was perfect on the lot, but as soon as you sign the papers and drive it away, it's value is decreased and the more you drive it, the more it decreases. That is Satan's plan for us. To ride us into the ground until we feel that we are so depreciated that we are useless, he wants to set us in the junkyard and let us rust. Then we won't be effective, then we won't drive around throwing Holy Ghost hand grenades, we won't make an impact and we won't practice.

My Grandfather G. taught my mother this saying when she was little, "Good, better, best, never let it rest, until good is better and better is best". He was teaching her to practice. She wasn't going to get it right the first time, she was going to have to practice, she was going to have to yoke up with a teacher, let them guide her, make mistakes, learn from them and then try again. If he had wanted her to strive it would have been more of a "You know this, now do it!" and then she would fail and beat herself up because she didn't do it perfectly.

We are all in practice. A friend yesterday was talking about her Doctor and said "that's why they call it a practice, they don't have all the answers". Yeap, you are right. But I love the practice, I am grateful for the skinned knees and the tears on my pillow because it means that I am still practicing and I am not in the junk heap yet. The Holy Spirit is still working and I am still trying. That in and of itself is a blessings. I didn't give up, I may have slowed down, I may not be able to check it off my to do list, but I am still moving forward in my growth because it still hurts.

Marriage takes practice. You have heard that before. You can either keep practicing with the husband you have or you can get a new one and try the process all over again. No matter, it will still take practice. I still have to practice submission, I still have to practice not getting insulted, I still have to practice not picking up someone else's offense and just because I get it right once doesn't mean I won't have to practice it again. That's the gift that grace affords us.

Matthew 25:21, ""His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'"

It's the journey, not the destination that God is interested in. Through perseverance the snail was obedient to heed the call to get on the ark. He left some slime along the way, but he was there when the doors shut.

Father God, thank you for the slime in our lives. Thank you for your grace that we can continue to move forward with you even when we fail our lessons. Father even as you are training us, we are practicing. We are falling forward with every attempt to wrap our brains and our flesh around your teaching. Father, I haven't done it right every time. Only you know of the places I have failed, the times that you were teaching me the hard lessons and I thank you for the challenge. Father, it hurts to fall, it hurts to fail you but I know that your grace and mercy is new everyday. That you watch me fall, that you offer your hand to me and help me stand back up on my feet. Lord, your daily bread is precious, your daily teachings are priceless. You love us enough to teach us, you love us enough to continue to call us to You. I sit in awe of your love for me, for the times that I thought I had to nail the landing, fell on my butt and you wrapped me yet again in your arms of grace. Your pride is in us as we continue to practice. You set the bar with Jesus, you have given us your Word as our text and you have given us the Holy Spirit to be our teacher. Thank you Lord, for your mercy, your grace and your faith in us even after generations of failing. You are all powerful, all merciful and all loving. I praise you. Father I love you. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Check out this video that a friend sent me yesterday. I really loved it.


Daddy Lift Me Up Part 4

2 Samuel 14:28-33, "Absalom lived two years in Jerusalem without seeing the king's face. Then Absalom sent for Joab in order to send him to the king, but Joab refused to come to him. So he sent a second time, but he refused to come. Then he said to his servants, "Look, Joab's field is next to mine, and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire." So Absalom's servants set the field on fire. Then Joab did go to Absalom's house and he said to him, "Why have your servants set my field on fire?" Absalom said to Joab, "Look, I sent word to you and said, 'Come here so I can send you to the king to ask, "Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me if I were still there!" ' Now then, I want to see the king's face, and if I am guilty of anything, let him put me to death." So Joab went to the king and told him this. Then the king summoned Absalom, and he came in and bowed down with his face to the ground before the king. And the king kissed Absalom."

In my continued study of David I know that at times he was the perfect example of the coming of Christ, but it seems after Bathsheba he just really has a hard time getting it right with his kids and his family. David had multiple wives and concubines and they all had his children. So he has children that are half brothers and sisters all living under one roof. Amnon another of David's sons raped Tamar who was Absalom's sister. They all had the same father which just really shows that more than one wife can make it difficult on the children. So Absalom after waiting for two years for his father King David to resolve the issue takes punishment into his own hands and has Amnon killed. Think of this young man avenging the defilement of his sister. Something I know that most brothers and fathers would do. However in this situation it also happens to be his half brother, and a son of his father.

After Absalom accomplishes his vengeance he flees Jerusalem and stays gone for three years. Three years he wanted for David to call him and say son it's okay come home. I forgive you and I love you. That message never got sent. Finally Joab concocts a way to get Absalom back into Jerusalem but King David says he can go to his own house but he can't see my face. This is a father talking about his son. This is David who is the king, but was once a small shepherd boy, that found so much forgiveness and grace in God's eyes. Who ran from Saul and doubted his anointing, now here he is essentially doing the same thing to his son. Yes vengeance shouldn't be ours, God is the punisher and the judge but in his mind I am convinced that he thought "If Dad isn't going to avenge Tamar than I will". This is a time when kinsman redeemers were very real and brothers were held accountable to take care of their sisters. You have to think culturally here, if it had been anyone but his half brother we would all be cheering at his valiant efforts.

David, however didn't welcome Absalom back into his arms the way the father did of the prodigal son in Luke. I can almost here him saying, "He can come back to the city but he better stay out of my face." Think of the rejection that Absalom must have felt. He was so eager to see his father and to receive his forgiveness that he set Joab's fields on fire. He was willing to do whatever it took to get an appointment with the king. Finally David relents and Absalom gets his moment at the throne and instead of a hug of a father he got the pardon of a King. He was devastated. His father, the hero, the giant slayer, think of the stories he grew up listening to. He defeated death more times than we can count, yet, he doesn't know how to run his household and he doesn't know how to pour out of the abundance of grace and love God has given to David himself onto his children. Absalom became bitter and angry. He set out to make things right. I am paraphrasing Beth Moore here, "If he couldn't get him in the home, He would get him in the throne".

Oh how we seek our father's approval. How we do everything to please them. We learn to wear masks, we learn to keep quiet, we learn to take the teaspoon. I pray that we learn to find forgiveness of ourselves in God and not in the humans around us. The other person doesn't have to ask forgiveness for us to give it to them. It is a decision within our own hearts. We release something whether they ever receive it or not. It kills the burden within ourselves and we are able to walk in the freedom. What a blessing that we aren't like Absalom that our Father God always has arms for us when we are ready to let go of our offenses and turn back to him.

I know that even now at 34 years old I can get overwhelmed. My commodity is time much like my husbands is money. If I don't have time as you all have heard before I can get anxious, he is the same way with money. There are still times that I wish I could crawl back into my Dad's old recliner and feel the safety of his smell, the way I was able to do years ago. That I could crawl back on his lap and let him assure me that everything is going to be okay. He would pick me up and carry me through the flood of my anxieties. But it doesn't work that way anymore does it? My Dad lives 400 miles away, I have a life here, he has a life there. He always wraps me in his arms when I get there. Like he has been waiting for me since the last time I left. But I also know that there are times that I have to call out to Jesus, and Father God. Daddy lift me up.

Lift me up out of my depression, my anxieties, my circumstances. Daddy lift me up to where you and Jesus live. Daddy lift me up and wrap my in your arms of love. I have tried, I have failed and my legs are tired of running in the other direction. Daddy lift me up. As I stand at church on a Sunday morning with both of my arms raised that is what I am saying. Just like when my children were little, they didn't have to say a word all they had to do was approach me with their arms up and I knew that they wanted me to pick them up. I know that God sees me I know that he hears my praise, "Your the best Daddy in the whole world, pick me up Daddy". Just like I did when I was little at the feet of my own father.

Psalms 5

Give ear to my words, O LORD,
consider my sighing.

Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.

You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
with you the wicked cannot dwell.

The arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
you hate all who do wrong.

You destroy those who tell lies;
bloodthirsty and deceitful men
the LORD abhors.

But I, by your great mercy,
will come into your house;
in reverence will I bow down
toward your holy temple.

Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness
because of my enemies—
make straight your way before me.

Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with destruction.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongue they speak deceit.

Declare them guilty, O God!
Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Father this morning I come to you and say Daddy lift me up. I have created a mess of my life, I can't do it without you. Today Father I just ask you to be my Daddy. To know that you are here with me today as I go through my circumstances. I will talk to you today, I will commune with you today. Father I need to feel your arms around me and your breath in my hair. Father let me rejoice in the birth of your Son. Pick me up above the circumstances so that I can see the face of the baby that you sacrificed for me. Let me again find the joy of my salvation as I look upon this season. Father let my focus be on your and your family instead of me and mine. You are so strong, so majestic, so awesome. Thank you for choosing me from the foundations of the earth for such a time as this. I love you Father, you are my first love. I have loved you since my first breath and I will love you for eternity. I lay my head upon you this morning and sigh with contentment. Thank you Father, bless you and yours. You are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the Lion and the Lamb and today you are my Daddy. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.


Daddy Lift Me Up Part 3

Ezekiel 11:19-20, "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God."

What does honor look like and how do we honor with our old spirit, and with a heart of stone? I know some will say that we are born with a heart of stone because of the fall of man, but I don't know that I would agree with that. I know that as a little girl I loved whole heartily and trusted with a naive love. It was only as I got older that I had "experience" that made me not able to trust that made me have a heart of stone. We are told not to judge but yet I seem to have done that at some many points a long the way. When my parents had my brother, when my parents fought, when they divorced, when they walked that out and my new life emerged I was a bitter, I was confused and I didn't trust with such abandon as I had before.

Judgments against our parents, they didn't meet our expectations and more often than not, we judge them as inferior. We don't only condone the behavior we judge them as less than. When I grow up I will NEVER.... I will NOT ever say that.... I will never let them see me cry. What about the simple things of not being honest about a situation? We have judged them unmerciful before we have even approached them. We think we are doing it to protect them but are we not judging them as inadequate to handle the truth? I know many people that have walked in years of pain because they tied their parents hands in being able to do what should have been done because they were dishonest. Then we want to know why they didn't jump to our aide. Which just leads to more resentment, bitterness and you guessed it judgment. I believe that it is with loving honesty that we are able to have a new spirit and a softened heart. It is in the confession of our own faults that we can be softened and changed into a new creature.

Romans 5:1-5, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

So how do we find this forgiveness for those who didn't live up to God's plumb line? We have to find our faith to be truthful. "Yes, I know that hurt me deeply, but I know that you were working out of your own limitations." God's grace it sufficient. It is through his love and grace for me that I am able to share it with others. That I am able to know that in my hardest moments, the seasons of excessive sin in my life that God was loving me through it. It is through those hard places that I have been able to praise and bless God in my life. Those who knew me when will be shocked to know of the growth, the softness and the tenderness that God Himself has worked into my life. I can come to them now and love them again with a naive love because God's love for me is limitless. Even if they never change, I have changed. Our Pastor was joking yesterday talking about family playing your buttons. What if they don't stop playing them, we are changed, we are different, we don't have to react the same way we did before we learned of the redemptive love of Christ.

It's the teaspoon bucket thing again. They are limited in their ability to love because they don't know of the love of God. Even if they have sat in a pew every Sunday for the last 40 years it is possible that they have never been honest enough with themselves or others around them, or God Himself for God to be able to show them the overflowing love that he can give. It is in our weakness that He is made strong. If we are unable or unwilling to show our weakness, if we are so full of ourselves then there is no room for God to come in and soften that part of ourselves. We have to die to our pride and our will.

John 12:23, "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds."

That's how we find the overflow, the abundance and the ability to let God work on us and in us. By being vulnerable, by submitting to the death, God can and will resurrect us. To something more, to something that doesn't just suck the nutrients around it but produces something that can be shared with someone else. We grow exponentially, we have something to give out because we haven't stolen all of the Sonshine for ourselves.

Lord, it is my continued prayer that you would teach me forgiveness. That I would remember the forgiveness that you have shown me. The mercy Father that has been so abundant for me. Lord, let me die to my will and my pride that keeps me from being able to be exponentially able to give to others. Lord, I thank you for the calling on my life. That Lord you have called me and every other one of your children to live in the fullness of your love. Lord, teach us to not be stingy with your blessings but to pour them out on everyone around us. Especially our parents and our family Lord. Lord, you have given us the ability to pick our front row, our friends Lord, but teach us to love the hecklers in the balcony Lord that remember us before you cleansed us. Lord, I love you and thank you for your mercy, Lord, I humble myself to that and say that my life belongs to you. All of it Lord. There is nothing that I hold back in my own self righteous indignation. You created me, you have seen every offense, you have seen every hurt. Lord, there is nothing that I can't share with you. You know it all anyway. Thank you Father for your continued redemptive work in my life Father. Continue to teach me how to pour it out onto others. You are the lover of my soul, you are my rock, my fortress and my redeemer. I give you all glory, all honor and all power. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.


Daddy Lift Me Up Part 2

It is my recommendation that you read Ephesians 2 in its entirety before proceeding.

Yesterday we were talking about our earthly fathers, the ones that either do or do not take the role and how no matter how hard they try they can not fill our abyss of need. Isn't is awesome that Father God made a way, He made a way for us to come into his family? That we aren't left on our own to struggle that we weren't the last one picked for the yard game.

Deuteronomy 7:6, "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession."

Ephesians 2:4-7, "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."

So often we think of sacrifice in maybe paying our tithes when we aren't sure how we are going to buy groceries, or how we held our tongue when all we really wanted to do is let someone have a piece of our mind. Here is the ultimate sacrifice. He offered us something that he has never asked of us. He took his son, without blemish, without sin, and offered Him to death and then raised Him up, we could say for us, but what I want you to know is it is more personal than that. God would have done that if the only person living was me. If the only one living was you. So often we can take this and apply it to everyone around us, we can see it in our daughter, or our husband, our mentor, our Pastor, but God did it for me JenniLee and he did it for you.

Jesus was a man, like my son, my husband, my father. He had Daddy issues too. Joseph married his mother despite the fact that she was pregnant. He had faith in God which is evident in his obedience to marry her. Do you think he ever doubted it though? Do you think that maybe like us receiving a word of God that there were nights that he laid there next to her and wondered if this was all for real? Think about him looking at this young man and knowing that he didn't participate in his consummation yet had the responsibility to raise him? Do you think he could look at his son, tinkering with his hand tools and wonder what his role was going to be?

What we do know about Joseph is that he and Mary when Jesus was 12 years old didn't know where their son was. Boy today if you went three days without knowing where your 12 year old son was you would be prosecuted for neglect. However, in my imagination, Joseph and Mary are walking along and Joseph says, "Hey Hon, have you seen that son of yours?". "Well, he's probably with Elizabeth hanging out with John, keep an eye out and I will look for them." So they turn around and head back in the crowd, see Elizabeth and ask her if she has seen their son. "No", she says," last time I saw him was when we were still in the city". So they continue their journey back to Jerusalem. Somehow they knew he was in the temple. Can you imagine their frustration? I know that if I had lost my child because he had wandered off my first reaction would be to hug him, then I would want to yell. I know that about myself. Here is the exchange that happened.

Luke 2:48-52, "When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.""Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."

Notice Joseph didn't say a word? Mary spoke for herself and for Joseph. We really don't hear much from him. That is the last time he is mentioned. The options of where he went are limitless. Did he get full of resentment and bitterness, did he die? We aren't for sure. But what we know is that after the age of 12 we don't see Jesus having an earthly father. We know that Mary was with him. She never seemed to leave his side. We know that they had more children. What we do know is that it was about the same time that Jesus started referring to God as His father. We also know that Jesus went home and submitted to his parents. He honored them because he had no sin, and the word used is "obedient".

Deuteronomy 5:16, "Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you."

He didn't say honor their behaviors, he didn't say that they would never let you down, he didn't say they would always get it 100% right. He knew that they wouldn't be perfect, He knew that only he could be the perfect Father. He knew that there would be an abyss. Yet we are commanded to honor them. Do you see the promise that follows that command? It's the only commandment that comes with a promise.

It is my prayer that you are making sense of this. I know that my own heart is being worked over pretty good doing this work.

Father God, thank you for loving us enough, for having enough grace for us an individuals Lord. That you created parents, you enable some of us to be parents ourselves Lord. Father I know that I don't always get it right. I know that my parents may not always get it right, I know that we are all humans and that in and of itself is enough cause for let downs. Lord, today I lay down my expectation of perfection, I choose to honor the position despite the behaviors. Despite what I see to be their fullness Lord, I know that they like me are still in process. Lord, I thank you for my parents. I thank you for the labors of my mother, and the dedication of my father. Lord they were your chosen vehicles to get me here for such a time as this Lord. Bless my parents Lord, abundantly, overflowing, exponentially. Thank you Father God for your provision and for the beginning of my own comprehension of this teaching. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.


Daddy Lift Me Up Part 1

Ezekiel 16:4-14, The Message"On the day you were born your umbilical cord was not cut, you weren't bathed and cleaned up, you weren't rubbed with salt, you weren't wrapped in a baby blanket. No one cared a fig for you. No one did one thing to care for you tenderly in these ways. You were thrown out into a vacant lot and left there, dirty and unwashed—a newborn nobody wanted. And then I came by. I saw you all miserable and bloody. Yes, I said to you, lying there helpless and filthy, "Live! Grow up like a plant in the field!" And you did. You grew up. You grew tall and matured as a woman, full-breasted, with flowing hair. But you were naked and vulnerable, fragile and exposed. I came by again and saw you, saw that you were ready for love and a lover. I took care of you, dressed you and protected you. I promised you my love and entered the covenant of marriage with you. I, God, the Master, gave my word. You became mine. I gave you a good bath, washing off all that old blood, and anointed you with aromatic oils. I dressed you in a colorful gown and put leather sandals on your feet. I gave you linen blouses and a fashionable wardrobe of expensive clothing. I adorned you with jewelry: I placed bracelets on your wrists, fitted you out with a necklace, emerald rings, sapphire earrings, and a diamond tiara. You were provided with everything precious and beautiful: with exquisite clothes and elegant food, garnished with honey and oil. You were absolutely stunning. You were a queen! You became world-famous, a legendary beauty brought to perfection by my adornments. Decree of God, the Master. "

I don't know anyone who can't relate to this in some way. That we have all come from places that weren't pretty. Very rarely does God find us on our best days. Very rarely do we need someone to save us when things are good. I know that God found me on the darkest days of my life. Usually face down in the dirt hurting over yet another attempt to fill the void within.

As I write this I have numerous friends and family struggling to find health in their fathers. Circumstances happen and life gets out of control but what we all want and need is to be protected and cared for. There is a need so deep, so vast, abyss-like that we try to fill with our earthly fathers. We start out as sweet little daddy girls. He is our hero, our defender, our provider and our stronghold. We find strength in smelling his after shave. We giggle as he rubs our cheeks with his whiskers - they tickle and scratch at the same time. They curl up on the couch with us and explain to us their passions whether it be flying, hiking or football. They pour into us in such a real way.

Not all Daddy's are there, not all Daddy's protect, not all Daddy's provide, there are even Daddy's out there that don't know their children at all, they don't know the giggles of their own children. There are Daddy's out there that are the molesters of their own children, that use their children as their punching bags, that have no love whatsoever for the little people that look up to him with eyes of expectation. Eyes that question if Daddy is going to love me today.

Yet the truth of the matter is, the abyss remains. The greatest of all earthly father's can not fill it.

My mentor always says it's a bucket of need that can only humanly be filled one teaspoon at a time. We look for other ways to fill the abyss. We have sex, we form addictions, we get married, we have kids of our own, strive for great careers, eat, don't eat, cut, hurt others, something anything to fill that void so deep that we can't describe it or define it we just know that it is there. This isn't just about women and being Daddy's Girl, this is universal. My father loves me whole heartily to the best of his ability. His father before him, well Lord rest his soul, he walked out on my Daddy when he was 5. But, when I go back one more generation, my grandfather was on his own at 8 because his father had a new wife. How in the world was my Daddy supposed to learn to be a "father"?

I tell my children often, "If I was perfect, you wouldn't need God". If I had it within me to fill their abyss, I would. I know that in my heart. I would pour into them everything that I possibly could to fill that whole that even exists in their little lives. My husband, he is a Father. He dedicates his time to his own kids, and it doesn't stop there he does it for other kids, whose Daddy's aren't interested. His free time is spent hiking and camping with boys. Teaching them to be men. Teaching them, by example how to be fathers. Does it fill the bucket? Is their abyss any smaller because of his efforts? No, but he can give them one teaspoon at a time. What if that is the only teaspoon they get that day?

What if we could find an overflowing resource? What if we could find a source? Sit under a waterfall and have that hollow place filled to overflowing? Where can we find it?

Galatians 4:6, "Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba,Father."


The Beginning of Something

I have sat here for close to an hour trying to come up with something profound to say. I have thought about God being my Dad and my earthly father. Today I am going to rest in what God is giving me so that I can have a clearer vision of what he wants me to say. I will share it with you when I can get it written.


River of Snot

Psalm 126:5-6, "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him."

I truly believe that tears are God's way of cleansing us. He cleans us through his word and he cleans us through provocation of the Holy Spirit. I am convinced the that road to righteousness crosses a lot of rivers of snot.

There were years in my life when I saw crying as a weakness. A few years back when the medical world wanted to label me with a diagnosis to explain my emotions, I lived in fear that if anyone saw my crying that they would think I was losing it. I did lose it for a time, I lost my love of God, I lost my love of life and I was living running from God. There was a specific moment in time when I remember looking at my family and saying, "There is no God." Yeah, talk about inviting God in to show you what your life would be like without him.

A couple of months ago, I found myself really feeling hard hearted. I was angry at the world, my husband, my children, which really in all honesty is just trying to say that I was disappointed in God. God is good to keep from my memory what I thought was so important at the time, but He is good to remind me of how He met me in that time. I believe a huge testimony to my maturity is that now when I find myself in those places I call upon the great people that God has put in my life. I called one of the prayer warriors of our church, she got with my mentor and it was a warm Saturday morning that they came to my house. I explained what I was feeling. They began to pray with me and for me. One, that I would find rest in the Lord. Two, that I would be reignited by His love. Well I made it through the prayer part, I made it through the afternoon. My husband and my kids were camping, I had the whole house to myself. I remember thinking I should at least do some laundry while everyone was gone. I went down to switch a load and it was almost as if God himself was sitting on top of my dryer.

I started singing to the Lord. It was nothing more than trying to find my joy, it was a sacrifice of praise. I didn't feel like praising, I didn't feel like doing the laundry, but by putting my hand to the plow of the hardness of my heart God himself was able to meet with me. I can tell you that the presence of the Holy Spirit became overwhelming and I found myself sitting on the cold floor of the basement with my head against the front of the dryer. Tears were falling, I was singing, I began to pray aloud to my King. What came pouring out was so deep, it was my deepest fears for anyone to hear. I poured out at the alter all the feelings of resentment and bitterness that had been growing in my life. All the feelings of neglect, not only of my own spirit but of those of my children and my husband around me. I knew that for the past couple of weeks I had thrown one tremendous pity party and it was time to close that chapter and to move on.

An hour and a half I sat there in the glory. Snot flying, tears drenched my shirt. As it was coming to a close, as I was sensing that the river was drying up I remember thinking, I had the whole house to myself. There was no one here and yet God built an alter with me in my basement. At the place that I so grumblingly do laundry and serve my family. Where my duties take place. I remember thinking that odd. Looking back now I know that it was God's divine plan. This site was born out of that night. The whole "cape in the washer". That's how I felt. Like God took me, a dirty little servant girl and made me into Cinderella. As I climbed out of His throne he was quick to show me my place at the banquet table of his love. How good he is to do that.

For the past few weeks since the incident, I don't seem to be able to make it through any church events without crying. I am so in amazement and awe of Him that it overtakes me and the river of snot begins to come back. There are times during the daily duties of my life that I can get my eyes on my circumstances and off of Him. When I can feel overwhelmed, when I can begin to doubt that any change is happening. All I have to do is walk down to the basement and see my dryer. I know that he met me, I know that he touched me, I know that he changed me yet my old habits haven't died. That's what we call walking it out. He can change all He wants to, but just like an inheritance left by family, we have to go pick it up. We have to put forth the energy to make the change within ourselves. Asking for a willingness to be willing Spirit.

1 Peter 2:1, "Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind".

Even Peter knew we had to "rid ourselves". There are a lot of references to doing it for "yourself" in the Holy word. But it is only through Christ Jesus and the love of the Father that we can attempt anything. We do have to do more than show up. We have to be obedient, we have to lay down our preferences, humble ourselves, encourage ourselves. God did the work, it's not about us doing works to earn it. We could never earn it, the price was too high to pay. We have to embrace it. We have to take what the Lord has taught us and apply it to our lives. That's the only way it becomes real. That's the only way that we will see change.

Father God, I thank you for you love, I thank you that even as I am tempted to put on a hat and throw streamers in my pity party that if I take that and turn it to praise as a sacrifice of praise to you that you will meet me. Your cross wasn't easy but you carried it. You drug it through the city for all to see and Lord today I thank you for that. I can't imagine the humiliation, of knowing that you had the ability to strike them all dead but yet you were tormented, mocked and ridiculed. Lord all I have to do it take care of my family, you had to take care of all creation. Every person that has ever walked this earth you have paid for them in full. No partial payments, no credit plan, all at once with your life. Lord, thank you that I don't have to do anything to earn it beside love and obey you. That seems so minute. It seems to simple but yet in my flesh sometimes it seems the hardest task. Lord, thank you that you did the heavy work and then said that you would yoke up with me. You drive this, you make it light just by your mere presence and Lord I again find myself in tears this morning. I am sorry for my selfishness and Lord I pray that you remove my blinders so that I can see things through your eyes and not through my limited vision. Father, I give you all the glory and the praise. For you are good, and your love endures. Forever and ever! In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.


Peace be within me

Psalm 122:6-8 "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels." For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, "Peace be within you."

I don't know about anyone else's weekend but my own was a constant sprint from one activity to another. Dancers, youth concerts, serving our congregation, and Christmas parties. This morning I struggle to slow down to enjoy today as another day that the Lord has made with mercies and grace new for today. Today I seek peace around me and with myself.

There are so many things that I want to do. I need to get the house ready to decorate for the season, I need to do umpteen loads of laundry. I need to go to the grocery store, we are out of everything. One week of excessive activities and it seems that I am again so far behind that I feel like I am first. I don't have time to do the things that I want to do because I have to do the things that I need to do. I was watching Oprah the other day, Denzel Washington was on talking about his new movie. There was a line that I just loved, "Do what you have to do so that you can do what you want to do". That's what I am doing today. Doing what has to get done so that I can do the things that I want to do.

There is a ministry opportunity everywhere I turn, but I feel like the Lord is telling me to do my duties today. If my family is suffering while I am ministering to others than I really feel that I am being disobedient. If I don't focus on them first, then no matter what breakthrough I feel I can bring to others, I don't believe I will see it. If I walk in the disobedience of doing what I want instead of what God has set before me, I go back to the alter of sacrificing what God isn't asking for. So often we can feel pulled in a thousand directions when all God would say to us is to go the task he has set before us no matter how insignificant they may seem.

In my travels this weekend I have heard some really great words. The Youth speaker challenged our teens to do more than to just show up. Showing up is only a small part of it, be engaged, seek the face of God, and offer something that hurts. I can wrap my head around that for my own life today. If I just show up this morning, if I just get up and show up, nothing gets done, I want someone to give me applause for showing up and I haven't done anything. Jesus did more than just show up, he put some effort behind it. He evoked change no matter where he went. Today I choose to do more than just show up, I lay at the foot of the Cross my desires and my preferences and for today decide to make memories with my family even as we do the duties that it takes to keep a house moving forward. We will do more than show up, we will engage with God in every activity that we do, and even as I fold mountains of laundry today I will keep my eyes upon the throne and sing his praises.

Our Pastor this weekend preached on what is worth dying for. Is my family worth dying for? We would all say yes, I am sure. But am I willing to kill my desire to do more and be more than a mom today? I am willing to lay aside my own agenda and serve their needs? Am I willing to die to the self within that demands to have her own way? Am I willing to kill my own selfish motivations and just be what they need me to be today? Or do I need to go conquer the world to feel like I have played a role?

Psalm 85:10-11, "Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven."

Doing what needs to be done, instead of apologizing for being busy is easier. Putting my hand to the job at hand, instead of running chasing after my own sense of heroism, is obedience, it's taking what the Lord has poured into me for today and giving it back as a sacrifice of praise to the Lord. Today I choose to be obedient to what the Lord has put before me. Today I choose to live fully engaged in the lives that I touch while doing my duties, even if that only means my own children, and my own self.

Lord, thank you for today. Thank you Lord that you don't put pressure on me to overcome the world, because through Christ Jesus I am more than an overcomer. Your Words says it and I believe it. Thank you Lord that I can have peace within my own home by laying down my agenda and picking up yours. Thank you for your whisper in my ear, thank you for the gift of my home and my children. Thank you Lord that even as today is trash day in the natural that you too are cleaning the trash out of my heart, my soul today as I move forward in your will. Lord, thank you for the opportunity to buckle down and serve you as I serve my family today. You are so abundant in your provision for me Lord and today I chose to maintain the gifts that you have so extravagantly provided for my family. Bless you Lord, Bless your Son and Your Spirit. The only thing I chase after today is you and your will for me. I give you all the power, the glory and the honor, taking off my martyr hat and offering it as a sacrifice for today. Thank you Lord, for your sacrifice so that mine can be complete. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.