I recently made some delicious Apple Butter for my neighbors for Christmas. When I was finished, the sides of the crock pot were covered with burned, stuck-on sugar that wouldn’t come off no matter how hard I scrubbed. I heard … Continue reading
8 years ago yesterday my life was forever changed when our daughter died. My pain was incomprehensible, even to me. I was in so much pain that I cried in my sleep and while awake. I truly thought that God hated me, especially after walking through years of life-threatening sickness and pain, the premature birth of our son, the challenges he faced, and now this death. It was more than I could bear on my own. Honestly, I didn’t even know how to pray…I just cried. Then, over the course of time, He did something I will never forget…He drew near to me. He drew me to Himself and His Grace. This encounter took my orphaned, devastated and broken heart and transformed it with His love. I like to say that He jump-started my heart back to life again with His love.
Now, here I am 8 years into this new place and of course I still long for my daughter, I grieve for my daughter, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that my God loves me and that He loves her and so my grief is now with HOPE. I know that He found me in my hopeless places and gave me life again. I know that He has healed my body and my son and my daughter. I also know that the impossible has happened in me after so much pain, no, actually in the middle of my pain and there is no way I could ever do this on my own….I now rejoice.
If you find yourself believing or feeling like God hates you, I pray that you will be encouraged to open your heart to Jesus. Letting Him in, is the way to life again, especially after devastation. He is the way. He draws close to the brokenhearted. He is love. Love is not an attribute of God, it is God.
“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” 1 Cor. 13:12
While I was perusing Facebook this morning, I heard Jesus speak to my heart, “If you are looking for connection, turn off Facebook and come see Me face to face.” I love to hear Him call to me, it is my favorite voice, my favorite words. Reminds me of something I read a while back, “God does not want us to seek His will, He wants us to seek His face.” So good. He longs for relationship just as I do. The God of all the Universe longs for connection with me…and with you. He bids you come…I can hear Him calling to you today…
Why do I let myself get so empty and lonely feeling? I don’t mean the kind of empty where you are poured out like a drink offering empty, I mean empty, lonely, tired, depressed, hopeless…when I know that I am empty without Him? I am created to experience Him. To look in His face and know this love and know this devotion and know this kindness and know this help and know this strength and know this peace all of my life, and it is readily available, yet I don’t come? I know that I come to Him with nothing and He expects nothing, yet I still don’t connect. Is it time or lack of it, is it busyness, is it disappointment? I perceive it is different for each of us. I know for me it is rooted in performance. In my mind I understand He doesn’t want an act, He wants me…the good, the brilliant, the bad and the ugly. So why do I avoid Him at times? Why do I not wake up, roll over and proclaim in the most endearing tone, “Good morning Holy Spirit!”? For me, when I don’t feel successful, when I feel hopeless, or powerless I assume I haven’t performed as perfectly as I should or I ignore Him when He hasn’t performed the way I hoped He would…I warned you really ugly.
I look in a mirror right now. You know that I always thought the King James version was literal. It says a glass and I just thought of that as being like windows
at my house, really dirty, distorted and hard to see through with clarity. But I looked up the meaning today and did you know that it doesn’t mean glass at all, it means a mirror. Not something you see through, something that reflects you. It liberated me. Right now we see in a mirror. We see what we are spiritually becoming incrementally. Similar to viewing your body age with a time lapsed camera. I have been looking in a mirror all of my life thinking I was looking through a dirty, hazy, blurry window at Him, never able to fully know Him. He doesn’t want me waking up every morning putting on a show for Him, judging myself, manipulating His presence or rejecting it. He knows that I see only partially in a mirror, but He doesn’t. I am known better than I know! I am seen better than I see! I am heard better than I hear! I am led better than I lead! I am graced more than I grace! I am helped more than I help! I am loved more than I love!
I can seek His face because He knows all of my limitations are at rest in Him. My face to face encounters come because of His love not mine, they come because I am known by Him.
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2
Whatever revelation you have of Him today, see Him as He is. If you know Him as Savior, see Him saving you continually. If you know Him as healer, see Him healing you. If you know Him as peace, see Him commanding, “Peace be still over your life.” If you don’t know Him today or don’t know Him well, cry out to Him for greater revelation of Jesus and rest in that He knows you deeply and perfectly and completely and still bids you to come. Don’t settle for the mirror, when you can have face to face. Know that you are known by Him today and He longs for you to rest in that knowing. A funny thing will happen, the more you know He knows you and accepts you, the more you want to know Him. What a beautiful Savior. What a beautiful Jesus and “…as He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17 b
He is the Well by friend, come partake with me today!
“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:13-21
My son and I were having a discussion about church which quickly turned to a verbal wrestling match with me trying to get him to want-to do something because he wanted-to, not just get him to do something because he felt he had-to or was being made-to (which I see nothing wrong with, but in this situation, I wanted more). Motivating the unmotivated, that was my pursuit…not so easy, especially when it is oneself…
I had been thinking about this topic for a few days as it concerned me. I kept pondering the question, How do I get from the feeling of ‘I have-to’ to ‘I want-to’? In return, the same thought kept coming back to me…”Turn your have-to, to your get-to, then your want-to will come.”
I intentionally applied this to myself and I could feel a general gratefulness come over me as my mind shifted to the right perspective. It was kind of a spin on,”Kids all over the world are starving, so don’t take your food for granted” talk my parents had with me as a child and as I have with mine today, only with a much broader application. In that moment, I applied it to my boy. He didn’t want to go to church. I wanted him to want-to go to church as I always want him to want Jesus and all things Jesus. I didn’t want to threaten him to want Jesus, I didn’t want to convince him to want Jesus, I wanted him to want Jesus.
I read this article awhile back entitled, “7 year-old Indian boy tortured and killed for being a Christian”. I discussed with Jackson the get-to. This murder took place in India on November 17, 2013. Not 10, 25, 50 nor 100 years ago. This took place in our world 50 days ago…50. This child and his family endured the worst known pain for being filled with the Jesus we are begging people to surrender to. This child and his family only dreamed of getting to worship freely, yet we can and most times don’t.
As horrific as this story is and will always be, we can’t let this lesson pass us by. This may not be affecting our families to this degree today, but it always starts somewhere…as a thought. We don’t have-to worship Jesus, we don’t have-to read our Bibles, we don’t have-to stand against the Devil, we don’t have-to act like Jesus people, WE GET TO!! We get-to talk about Him, we get-to praise Him, we get-to go to church and proclaim Him. We get-to freely learn about Him and we get-to teach our children about Him!
We are new creations, not new converts!! We have gotten into this obligatory mindset that wreaks of death and filth when we were called out into the privilege of His marvelous light and life and truth and peace!!
As I shared this with my son I saw this have-to mentality get put in check. I saw him awestruck by the story of Anmol and he began instantly to change his mind (which by the way is to REPENT) about the things he and we all take for granted in our “Sunday School” culture. I saw him arise, dress himself on time and I genuinely saw him want-to worship Jesus because he gets-to!!!
How about you? Time to turn our have-to to our get-to so we will want-to. When we want-to, we really can go and change our world!
He is the WELL my friends, let’s partake of Him together!
Happy New Year my friends! I wanted you to know that I stopped making New Year’s resolutions about 10 years ago. Partly because by late February I had achieved the failure of self-effort and partly because I was just trying to survive my life, … Continue reading
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us…” 1 John 4:4-6
Know in your heart today that you are not of the world because you are a new creation when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. The world/ everything that is not of God does not hear you…but they do hear Him!
“…because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. 7 And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” 8 Suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves.” Mark 9:6-8
” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
” For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
When we open our mouths with the Word of God the world hears, the Devil hears and our spirit responds. We stop seeing our life as limited and useless and purposeless no matter the circumstances that haunt us. When we let the Word of God, who is Jesus, transform our mouths with His words, He transforms our lives. Then we become the nightmare to the Devil that he has tried to be to us!
Need a breakthrough? Stop using your words and start using His. He gave us His Word so that we would come to His fullness. Open your Bible and Open your Mouth! Begin to proclaim God’s word over your life and the lives of others. His words are healing and victory and power and peace. Watch Him lead you through into His breakthrough!
Start by declaring the books of the Psalm out loud each morning! No, you won’t feel like it when you start, but your spirit will respond and you will begin to feel your heart respond, then your emotions and so on. Read the word of God out loud and you will Hear Him! Then when you look around at your life you will see none of it anymore, but only Jesus!! His limitless, life-giving, loving self and you will say to yourself and everyone else, with Jesus all things are possible!
Beloved, He is the Well, let’s partake of Him together!
This is my little doggy and her name is Zoe! She is our little bundle of life and energy!!
One of our mainstays in training her is using treats. When she goes outside to potty she gets a treat. When she comes back in she will follow you everywhere expecting her treat… right behind your heels…everywhere! She never forgets until you get the message that she wants her blessing. Sounds similar to another story I know…
“And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. 24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” 27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” 28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. 30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”; ” Gen. 32:22-30
Our friend Jacob was in trouble, I mean it kind of seemed to follow him. In the natural, he had been given a name that meant, “Supplanter (substitute) or Deceiver” and apparently had lived up to that meaning. He had deceived his dad in blessing him rather than his brother Esau and Esau in turn hated him and wanted to kill him. Now some 20 years later God was speaking to Jacob and telling him to return to his family of birth because God wanted to deal well with him. I’m sure he was thinking, well? After what I have done?
At the same time Jacob is pondering his presumed demise, you see this scenario unfolding where Jacob’s men have just given him a report that Esau is coming near with a force of 400 men (vs. 6). Jacob is shaking in his boots with fear and dread. He has his wife and whole family that he has invested years to have and to build and adore. Now, this thing he did 20 years ago is coming back to potentially take everything from him the same way he took everything from his brother? What a dilemma! So, he continues reasoning and scheming to justify in his own mind how things could possibly go “well” with him and how he might, “help” God along. He tries to win Esau’s favor with stuff, tradition, intimidation and his preferred method…deceit. That night with his future uncertain and looming before him he has this encounter with what Hosea says is an angel of the Lord.
We know that Jacob is quite a tenacious man and he knows a thing or two about blessing. He deceived Esau out of his and then worked for Laban for years for a blessing from him. It seems fitting that he would go after it since it is such familiar territory! But, as with all things concerning God, mans tactics may work on man for a season, but they don’t work on Jesus. He sees straight through them and straight through us; right to our heart. He knows that Jacob has learned bad behaviors and has never understood who he is and that will not work for the ultimate blessing God wants to give him. He doesn’t mess around, He understands how Jacob sees himself and He doesn’t want to give him the opportunity to rely on his past methods. He jumps right in there in his face and wrestles him!! I love this!!
You can rest in knowing that God sees you. He will not allow you to operate in your learned behaviors when it concerns Him! He will not be manipulated or controlled! He loves you too much! He knows the only way for the blessing to come is by complete encounter with Him!!! Complete encounter brings complete transformation!! This transformation brought Jacob a new name, Israel. Israel means “Prince with God”!! All of these years Jacob saw himself as a deceiver and a substitute and God wanted him to know how He saw him…as Prince!
Jacob was destined for encounter. He was destined for blessing, that is why he was so drawn towards it his whole life. He just had to learn that he didn’t have to trick for it, work for it or any other human method. You simply receive God’s blessing through encounter. Then when he saw who he was in God’s eyes He longed to know who this was who had loved him so…
Do you ever find yourself like Jacob. God has given you a promise but the circumstances are the exact opposite of that promise and those circumstances are producing a dread in your heart, strategizing in your mind and anxiety in your soul? Well one thing you can trust is that God knows how to find you and there is nothing in all creation that will ever separate you from His love!! He will do what He needs to have a vibrant encounter with you. Call out to Him today in response to His love, grace and favor on your life. Jesus has made a way for you to have great relationship with him! He is the blessing! And that relationship is what will guide you through your distresses. He wants you to know how He sees you and what name He has for you so you don’t fall back into your old patterns and reasonings. So, when face to face with Him, you like Jacob will understand all He died to give and when you really see that love, you will not let Him go either until you receive Him as your blessing in Jesus Name!!
http://youtu.be/IoezWBPGRAc (Check out this amazing song, too!)
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love.” 1 Peter 1:3-8a
I love a good movie. But, an absolute requirement for me is that it must have a happy ending. I am okay with the character(s) going through great difficulties, but I will not entertain a story teller who does not have the foresight to tell the redemption of the hardship. Why sell yourself short? Unless of course you don’t believe in happy endings…but I must tell you…
Even if you don’t believe in happy endings, Happy Endings Believe in You!!!
I can understand, to a degree, why you personally might not be a believer of a happy ending given the way your story has played out so far…
- Your setting may be a home filled with alcoholism, abuse, mental instability, raging, negligence, pain, sickness, poverty, perfection, rejection, abandonment and grief.
- Your characters have been introduced one by one and we can just imagine the variety and complexity here…
- And your theme has been layed out. That is, the underlying idea of who you are, what you are about, why you are here, where you are going, and to think these messages have bombarded you since conception…
It is no wonder why a happy ending is not too high on the priority list or gone completely from your horizon. For some, it is just a miracle that you have even made it this far to live to tell.
But, even in the midst of these lifelong great and overwhelming messages, we have an even greater message of hope that I would like to share with you today. A living hope that can completely dominate the landscape of a life devastated, cheated and defeated. A hope that is alive. A hope that cannot die. It cannot be separated from us. It cannot be lost. It cannot be corrupted or defiled or fade away. This hope is kept alive by the power of God Himself. This living hope is Jesus Christ and it came through His resurrection from the dead. Christians know this to be Easter Sunday’s meaning. Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
Above, verses 6 and 7 say, you may have been grieved by (my word-unimaginable) trials and tested by fire. Their importance to our landscape, is to reveal a genuineness of faith. This means to me, that He will/has shown you what is really important in this life and what is not important in this life so that you never get the two confused again; a means to hold on to peace against all odds. Verse 7 concludes, “may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
And this my friends is the turning point to any amazing story, the revelation of Jesus. This will meet you wherever you find yourself today. If you have never heard of Him before, just recently heard of Him or have known Him all your life, the revelation of Jesus Christ hinges the door of all living hope. He alone is your happy ending. Relationship with Him is the great reward and you can have that now on this Earth while we await the saving of our souls eternally. Call out to Him today for His salvation.
How else could Peter write verse 8 if he had not seen this revelation work out in other’s lives, “whom having not seen you love.” How can you love someone you have never seen? You love because when He is revealed to you, you get this amazing understanding that He loves you and no matter what setting you have been given, His love is greater. No matter what characters speak into your life, His love speaks louder. And no matter what theme has been presented, His message for you is stronger. His love never fails, it never disappoints and it is alive! Your circumstances may or may not change, your setting can change, the characters in your life will come and go, but the revelation of a love that never fails, never disappoints, never abandons you, never forsakes or rejects you no matter what will never ever change. He is the greatest love story ever known! The happiest of all endings is Jesus! For this we rejoice today at His revelation and at His resurrection from ALL THINGS DEAD!!
So Father, in the mighty name of the Risen Lord Jesus, I declare hope to spring forth today to all weary souls. I call forth lives to be restored to a living hope by the power of God. I declare that the revelation of Jesus is greater than the revelation of all circumstances. And that no sin and no circumstance can have greater power than Your love. I believe in you as my happy ending to all things…all things present and things to come. I re-engage where I have fallen into self pity and hopelessness and I take up my shield of faith and sword of the Spirit. I believe in you Jesus. I believe in your resurrection power to empower my dead bones to live again! I will not give up this power any longer. I assert that my grief is not my defeat! I thank you that I am your child and that I was bought at a high price and that you live evermore to save me and give me a living hope! I give you glory, honor and praise ahead of time for all that you are and all that you are going to do!! In Jesus Name! Amen
For some, Christmas is the experience of great joy, surrounded by love and peace. For others, it is an experience of great pain, as they are separated from their loved ones here on Earth, their dreams have been dashed, and their sufferings seem endless. Wherever you find yourself this Christmas use this time as a reflection of His Majesty in your life.
Today I want to speak to those who are downcast. Those who feel lonely and wanting. Those who are grieving, in transition and working through life’s obstacles. Be encouraged, today as you read…
…As I awake this morning, I am met face to face with the circumstances of my life and the taunts of the enemy. I feel heaviness all around. When I purpose to figure things out, all I see are my faults and the faults of others and I wonder exactly who is to blame. My mind is confused, my emotions are raw, my path feels uncertain. I constantly face reproach, ridicule, and scorn within and without. I wonder how long my enemies will be allowed to triumph over me?
So, good morning Lord! Today, I come to you as I am and I bring You all of this. This pile of blah and grief and frustration and yuck and failure and pain. I lay these burdens at Your feet and I choose to turn my gaze upward…
…There I am reminded of Your mercy and Your salvation. I choose to set my heart and my mind on things above. I refuse to allow my heart to be troubled and I will not fear because of the hope that you came to give me.
Today I surrender all control. I surrender what I hoped life would be like for me. I surrender all of my dreams, all that I am and ever hope to be. I know that I have no right to anything. In and of myself, I deserve nothing… but Hell. I acknowledge my need…
Today I am making a choice to silence all voices in the presence of the One true Majesty!
- The One who came to Earth and died just for me!
- The One who humbled Himself and was humiliated beyond understanding so that I could be empowered against His enemies.
- The One who knows I don’t deserve anything, but still wants to give me all things freely.
- The One who is my hope, has adopted me as His own, has taken all of the reproach that I am to face in this world upon Himself.
- The One who has taken on the trouble of this world and overcome it so I can have life.
- The One who fights my battles, crushes my enemies and conquers my foes.
- The One who has conquered death, hell, and the grave so I never have to face that type of hopelessness.
- The One who has offered me a home in His heart here on Earth and an eternal Home in His Presence.
- The One who numbers my hairs and saves my tears.
- The One whose benefits cannot be counted…
…This is my Majesty!
Everything I have put my hope in, I now see how vain and meaningless it is. Not one of those things has laid down all that it is to see me completely victorious and completely free. You are my Majesty, Jesus.
I worship You with all that I am, all that I have, all that I ever hope to be. I praise You for who You are today and I thank You for what You have done and what You will do.
Happy Birthday My Majesty. Happy Birthday to You.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from our home to yours friends!
Flourish and prosper in His presence. Move forward in freedom and peace. Allow all that He died to give you be yours today. Believe Him and live! Trust Him and experience fullness! Receive His love freely and freely give! You are treasured and valued and prized and righteous and blessed abundantly in Christ!!
Resolve to learn what that means this year, above all else…
Declare with me today, His Lordship. Renew with me today, your surrender… and claim your freedom! Speak out loud the name of Jesus. There is power in His name. And declare His Lordship and His Christ!! He is Emmanuel, God with us!
Jesus is Lord
Jesus is my Lord
Jesus is Lord of my Heart
Jesus is Lord of my Life
Jesus is Lord of my Peace
Jesus is Lord of my days and Lord of my nights
Jesus is Lord of my home
Jesus is Lord of my health
Jesus is Lord of my finances
Jesus is Lord of my relationships
Jesus is Lord of my past
Jesus is Lord of my present
Jesus is Lord of my future
I receive all that you died to give me. I receive your presence. I receive your purpose. I receive your favor. I receive your goodness. I receive your mercy. I receive your love. I receive your salvation. I receive your hope. I receive your friendship. I receive your comfort. I receive your joy. I receive your peace. I receive your strength. I receive your deliverance. I receive your sustenance. You do not give as the world gives.
I will no longer trust in what I see, what I feel, in what I hear or in what I think. I trust in you alone!! I receive what you show me, what you speak to me, what you impart to me, and where you lead me.
You are “with me” by virtue of your very name… Emmanuel. You do not lie. I am never alone, never forsaken, never rejected, never abandoned, you are always with me…
I live by resurrection power. Death has no control over me and Hell has no power that can stand against me. I am covered by your blood and your righteousness is my fruit. He who is “with me” is greater than He who is against me.
Thank you for everything you are allowing into my life right now. Thank you for everything you are allowing me to experience. Thank you for everything you are allowing me to learn. Nothing compares to you and I know that nothing can ever separate me from you and from your love.
In Jesus Name!