Friday, October 13, 2017

Seasons...and Ephesians...

I am continuing this year in a season that I never would have thought I would find myself in.  It has been and still is one of great struggle, pain, identity lost and found.  Through it all what has kept me afloat is His word.  I just keep digging into the spiritual food I have been languishing for - years of undernourishment led me to a place where I had nowhere to go but up.

Yes, I read my Bible on occasion.  Went to church at Easter and Christmas.  Listened to Christian radio.  Read Christian books. They did not feed me like I needed to be fed though.  It wasn't the "daily bread" that would fill my soul.  They were just small morsels, not the full feast.  God has prepared for us a feast!  Did you know that?  Yet many of us never eat from the table...we only get the leftovers and scraps that fall on the floor.  We are not pursuing our rightful place as His heirs.

If I could choose to be done with this season I am in I would have ended it months ago.  Yet it is not my will but His.  He has me on this journey for a purpose and a reason.  I may not enjoy parts of it and I may question and even rail against it (yes, screaming, crying fits are okay...He can handle it), however, I am learning there is meaning in it.  I am growing in it.  He is making me a daughter...a child of the King in new ways.

 I am learning, really learning and taking it to heart for the first time, that I am not defined by my past mistakes, fears and failures.  They do NOT hold me captive.  HE has the FINAL word!  I am so very glad!

In what I call a God-cidence, another daughter of the King, Mrs. Sarah Koontz, has written a most excellent online Bible Study that is starting Monday, October 16th.  This study is so timely to me in this season I am walking in.  I think you will find it helpful for whatever season you are in right now as well.

Through this study you will learn more about your worth in Christ...your strength in Him...your calling.  Worthy of the Calling is the name of the study...and the time commitment is small.  Just 15 minutes a day...and it is even accessible on a mobile device! You can register via the link here - Ready to go deeper? Enter here!

I really hope you will join us as we dig into rich truths about who we are in God and how we can walk "Worthy of the Calling".

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Roller coaster ride

My life has literally been a roller coaster this year.  It has been full of tears, fears, pain, heartbreak, distrust, trust regained, wounds, scars, and finally now...healing.

If you are struggling today, give it to Him...whatever healing you need, physical, mental or spiritual, He can handle it...He can heal any wounds, any illness, any hurt. And he is much better equipped to battle than you are. Let His strength be your comfort.

Another verse that has been a constant companion this year has been Psalm 28:7.  Psalms and Proverbs both are great places to start if you feel a need for comfort and wisdom.  So many rich little bits there!

My continued focus for this year is to keep my eyes on Him so that I will not stumble, fall, or be a stumbling block for someone else. My biggest problem is and has been worry...when I forgot to give everything to Him, when I do not spend time in prayer and His word...I find myself slipping back into a pattern of worry, fretfulness, easy to be angered, upset, thinking the worst in all situations, seeing things in a worse light than what they truly are.

It is only when I begin to pray and read His word more diligently that I become centered and grounded again in the truth that He proclaims over us...the power of His love, grace and mercy. God let my focus stay on you...lest I worry myself into a frenzy over something you have already defeated and won victory over.

If I can just remain focused on Him and not on my situation, everything becomes much calmer...more peaceful...not fixed maybe, but hopeful at least.  I leave you with this illustration...

Now arm yourselves with Biblical weapons and go SLAY!

Monday, February 27, 2017

To be a woman of God and not the world...

I've been thinking a lot about God's blessings to us and how, at least for me, I have taken many for granted lately. As I delve into scripture more and more I am reminded of how divided and unholy my thoughts and ways are at times towards my fellow man...and woman. It reminds me of James 3:10 - "Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing". (Chapter link for perspective on this verse
Just as the Bible says, this should not be so...yet it happens. Every day. Every week. We get angry, we get offended, we get upset...and in anger and haste, words pour forth in a torrent. And we apologize. But are we forgiven? And do we truly forgive others when we are so attacked? I dare say we often do not...or we take our time about it.
I am far from perfect, yet I pray most earnestly that God will work on me in these areas to bring blessing and words of positive praise and good report to others. To lift up and build up, not mock and tear down.

It is often easy to find fault in what someone has done to us in the heat of the moment, yet if we stop, can we truly say we have always been good to them? Have we always been kind? Loving? Generous? If not, how can we resolve to do better?

I yearn to be a Proverbs 31 woman...a woman who finds good in everything, is pleasing in temperament and wholesome in her speech. Who is industrious without complaint, smart and strong, yet without being haughty or rude.

If you are struggling like me, will you be brave and comment "Me too!"? It is always nice to know you are not alone.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

One thing never changes...New Year or not.

As we start a New Year, everyone is talking about change. We have a new President about to take office. Some people are moving to new homes. New jobs. There are new babies. New friends. Resolutions to change their weight, become more educated, or to just be kind.

Not all change is welcomed or deemed positive. Some is downright scary. A bad health diagnosis. A lost job. A lost child or spouse.

One thing that I am so glad never ever changes, is the character and nature of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 13:8 tell us that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever". Doesn't that make you smile??

Let it comfort you my friend if you are dealing with frightening changes in your life...and if things are pretty rosy for you, well then, praise the Lord for your blessings! He will never leave nor forsake us. He will always be right here. And we can always expect the same love and grace that flowed from His death on the cross to meet us where we are right now. Or ten years from now even. Amen!!

#BGBG2 #Hisloveneverfails

Friday, November 4, 2016

Suffering does NOT mean you have done wrong...

"Suffering doesn’t always mean you’ve done something wrong. Sometimes it means you’ve done something right" - Dr. Tony Evans, Urban Alternative #CarryYourCross

I really really love this! When we are going through trials and tribulations it is so tempting from a human perspective to figure out the why? The what have I done wrong question is oftentimes not the right question when it comes to what God allows us to be taken through.

In whatever season you are in, whether it be job loss, loss of a family member or other loved one, illness or injury remember this...God loves you. You can say that is trite, that it is just some kind of comment meant to make people feel better, but what it really is, is the truth.

Some people wrongly think that if bad things are happening to them they must have done something bad.  I think the perfect example of this being untrue is the life of Job.  Here was a man who had a heart for God, did all the prescribed things he was to do under the law (remember his story was before the cross, before grace) and yet he lost everything.  He nearly lost his life.  Not because God did not love him mind you.  But because God allowed Job to be show that Job's faith would not fail.  Now it wavered!  It wavered mightily as he lost his family, his livelihood and his home.  However, in the end, Job declared "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

Just as parents want the best for their children, so our heavenly father wants the best for us. And sometimes just like you have to let your children go through hard things to learn the lessons they need to learn or to be an example to others, so does God allow things in our lives to help us grow, strengthen our faith in Him, deepen our relationship with others, and ultimately draw others to Him.  I can tell you from my own personal experiences that it has been in the hard times that I have learned best how to trust God.  It is when nothing else is making sense that I can run to the shelter of His wings and take refuge and know that all is going to be alright. If you are His you know that all things work together for the glory of Him.  That is peace.  That is joy beyond comprehension.

Some verses to ponder:
Romans 5:8 [Full Chapter]

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

Romans 8:28 [Full Chapter]

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
If you do not know this love yet, you can friend!  Just ask God to forgive your sin and enter your heart to live as your savior.  He will answer your prayer and will begin to walk with you through every part of your life.  It is a sweet journey! 

*all scripture references taken from Bible Gateway; NIV and KJV

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Holidays are upons it Ho, Ho, Ho or just Ho Hum to you?

The approaching holiday season with Thanksgiving and Christmas has always been my favorite time of year.  I am reminded of childhood times at my grandparents homes, spending time with cousins, the aromas of all the food and the laughter that filled the air.  I am reminded of Christmas concerts, church socials and Christmas morning around the tree.  Of my Daddy sitting in his recliner sipping coffee and watching us with merriment in his eyes. Of my first Christmas with my husband as we unwrapped all of our wedding gifts...we had been married just a few short weeks and it was such a glorious first Christmas together.

For some though this time of year is especially painful because of the reminders of loved ones lost.  It may be painful because of recent diagnosis of illness, recent lost jobs, homes or divorce.  It may not feel like the most wonderful time of the year to them.  Whatever the loss, I am reminded of Matthew 5:4 - God hears and will comfort you.  It is promised.

Still others may fret over this time of year because of all of the busyness that often accompanies it.  Parties at the kids' schools, parties at work, the neighborhood block party, presents to buy, Secret Santa, Black Friday lines, UGH!  They may simply feel like they are slogging through and cannot wait for it all to just be over with.  If this is you friend, let these words bear you up:  God is waiting to provide rest for still.  Listen.  Set aside time in the busyness to just be with Him.  There you will find peace in this season.  Matthew 11:28 assures us of this.

Regardless of where you fall in this spectrum, giddy with anticipation for the season, sorrowful from your losses, or agitated before it even begins...God is here to comfort bring peace and joy where there is none.  We cannot manufacture this on our own...we need Him in us to bring that peace which surpasses all understanding.  Even for those of us who are excited about the impending holidays, we must not get swept up in the glitz and glimmer of lights, tinsel and bows.  It is the child in the manger which should have us shouting for joy!  It is His presence that should leave us in awe.  For He is who we are celebrating...enjoy your family, friends, parties and presents.  But please don't forget the greatest gift that truly makes this the most wonderful time of the year!

Monday, August 1, 2016

A Long Time Coming...

Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt like "If I could just get through this, everything will be easier?" and then you get through that one thing only to have something else block your path?  I think if we are being honest, we all have!

In the last 11 months I have been dealt some things that if I had known were coming, I would have been shocked by.  If I could have run away from them I would have sprinted.  If I could have avoided them I would have taken a 1,000 mile detour.  But I could not avoid them and I could not run.  They were part of my story that God is writing for me.

Jeremiah 29:11 says this:  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Did you see that?  HE KNOWS!  He is not surprised by our trials or tribulations. (John 16:33) Whatever you are going through, be it big or small, it is part of His plan...and His plans are always good!  Not evil, not meant to break you down, but to build you up.  To grow your spiritual life and character so that you will know the blessing comes from Him alone.  So that you can speak a word into someone else's life when the same type of trouble visits their doorstep.

It is not easy to walk the path when it is strewn with rubble and rocks and rabble.  A friend told me today that so often in our chaos we plead with God, begging for the blessings He has already promised as if He does not know our predicament.  As if we are not His precious children.  Instead we should approach as the writer of Hebrews 4:16 says "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  There is no need to be shy or to plead in fear that He will not answer.  He is our Father and He wants to give us good things.  Yet, we must accept that there may be struggle on the way to success.  That overcoming temptation often means encountering trials.

So when you are taken surprise by the tumultuous events that toss you about, remember that your heavenly Father is still in control.  He has not let go of you and He will carry you through it.  Trusting the Lord is a lifelong lesson that I am just beginning to grasp.  In each new test that has come upon me these last 11 months I have faltered, went back to my faith and found new strength to stand again.

I suspect I will still falter at times and that is okay.  He is holding onto me so I will never completely lose my footing as long as I keep looking to Him.